Reflecting on 2017 : Favorite Moments & Life Lessons

2017 was a crazy year! Can you believe it is already over? I learned so much about life, family and myself this year. Here are the top five lessons I learned :

1. This year like I said was the year of me really trying to always be present with the family. I have mentioned this a lot on the blog and I have learned that this is something I will always have to work on but little by little I do get better at it.

I actually have this meditation app (the Calm app) and they do this exercise on there where they play soft music but every couple minutes will ring a bell and the bell rings for about 60 seconds from when it starts to when it completely fades and you are supposed to only focus on the sound of the bell the entire time it is making sound. Little things like that really help. Or just telling myself when I am with the kids “be present” and reminding myself!

 

Shop My 2017 Instagram Looks

2. Our good friend gave us the advice “be unapologetic when it comes to business.” This year I have learned to stand my ground more and to be confident in my decisions. I can trust my gut even when people don’t agree with me. I have learned that people will try to take advantage of you when it comes to business so you have to be ready to stand your ground and stick up for yourself.

3. I learned to value more privacy. I have always been really open with anyone and everyone. I don’t really have a filter when it comes to sharing things and I like when my friends don’t have a filter either. I love when you meet someone and you can tell they aren’t just giving you BS fluff answers but they are really just saying it as it is. But this online world is still so new and I have tried really hard to learn what is too much and what is the right amount when it comes to the family. I still don’t know what the answer is. I think all kids will grow up with a social media footprint because most mothers are sharing photos of their kids online whether they have 10 followers or 100k followers – and I think it all comes from a place of being so excited that these are OUR tiny humans and we are so proud of them and don’t want to forget a single moment so we document and share. And I think it is SO great. Documenting (and sharing) really does bring me joy. I love the community of mothers on social media. I have just been trying to find what is best for our family and I still don’t know and am still trying to figure that out.

4. I want to look back on each and every year and think “we had so much fun this year.” This year was fun. There were a couple really devastating things that still really hurt but there was also so much good and so much fun. I think why plan itineraries and fun stuff just on vacations? I want to always have fun stuff planned for the family. Activities, outings, new sights to see, whatever it is. I just want us to look back and think, “we had so much fun.” And better yet, we didn’t wait till summertime to have fun or whatever it is.

5. Because of the devastating deaths (David’s brother and dad) I think I can speak for both David and I when I say we definitely learned that family is the most important. Of course we have always known this but it was just a really big reminder to keep that in the forefront of our minds. It has been so nice to spend so much time with family this year and I am so happy the kids have all their amazing cousins to grow up with. Family always comes first.

Favorite Moments of 2017

1. Rosie’s first dance recital.

2. Watching Atticus learn to swim!

3. Seeing Atticus score a goal in soccer.

4. Riding a vintage car on the Amalfi Coast of Italy.

5. Surfing for the first time in Hawaii.

Rosie's Dance on Instagram

I travelled to so many amazing places this year. These are my favorite destinations from 2017, click
the “read more” button to read my blog posts from each separate destination.

1

Iceland

"Exploring Iceland"

Wow guys Iceland is all it is talked up to be — I mean really wow! Every corner is something completely new and beautiful. We passed about 20 waterfalls on every drive and mountains and wild flowers – ahh. Really so stunning! We had so much fun pulling over and stopping to explore all the little corners. We saw these yellow flowers and had to pull over!

Read More

2

Japan

"Blossoms By Boat"

How beautiful are these cherry blossoms?! Coming to this park has been on my bucket list for so long. There were only 3 people allowed in a boat so we did 2 and 2! Which ended up being really hard haha – I started with Rosie but where I had to hold her – I couldn’t row without bumping Ro so we were moving very slowly haha. I passed her off to David and they found a better groove and me and Atticus had our little “Notebook” moment.

More Blog Posts from Japan: Outfit in Japan,  Japan Pigtails , Kimono Love , Riding Swans at Inokashira ParkFall in Japan & Meguro River in Tokyo.

Read More

3

Singapore

"Layover in Singapore"

The best layover ever! We had a layover in Singapore and went swimming, to the Art Science Museum, ate at a superhero cafe and went on a Ferris wheel.

Read More

4

Maui

"Poolside in Maui"

I really had the best Mother’s Day weekend ever! We went to Maui and stayed at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. It was our first time there and we loved it – especially the shallow pool which the kids had a blast in. We spent most of our time in the pool and by the pool.

Read More

5

Malibu

"Airstream in Malibu"

We woke up this morning to the most beautiful sunrise – it looked like we were floating on top of the clouds! We slept in this Airstream that I rented on Airbnb and it was such a magical adventure with the family. We drove up the windy dirt road and got to the airstream on a cliff in the middle of nowhere! We immediately explored and tried to find animals – we saw deer, butterflies, and bunnies! We played lots of duck duck goose on the deck, ate dinner, played make believe, and watched the craziest most beautiful sunset!!!! I seriously can’t even explain how amazing it was.

Read More

Five Business Accomplishments 

1. Hiring 12 new employees! Hiring and managing employees has proved to be the biggest business challenge thus far. It is really tricky and requires skills that I definitely didn’t have and have had to kind of learn. I still have a long way to go and need improvement but I am really proud of our growing team. Each employee we have is very independent and hard working and I learn so much from them and I love that.

2. Getting featured by Forbes as one of their top 20 influencers of 2017! This was such an honor. They even posted a photo and little blurb about me on their Instagram which I just DIED over (even if I seriously hated the photo lol)!!!

3. Our new warehouse/office!!! We have always worked from home so having an actual office has been life changing, truly. It is so so nice. It is also so great having our own warehouse and doing in house fulfillment.

4. Getting to work with some really amazing brands this year. I loved working with all the brands I did campaigns with but some highlights were Amazon, Kate Spade, J. Crew, Disney, Pandora, eos, CoulourPop, Kerastase, Shiseido, Willow and Clay, Shutterfly, Old Navy, Hanna Andersson, Olay, Nume, SKI-II, Fairmont and more!

5. All of the online and print magazine features that I was honored to be in this year! From Cosmo to People – it is always an honor to be highlighted.

Five Personal Accomplishments

1. This was definitely a year of being more present and intentional with my time especially my time with the kids. I really tried to focus on enjoying and making the most of each moment and I feel like we definitely did that this year!

2. It has been such an accomplishment to see Atticus succeed in school – he really makes my heart so happy. Every day the teacher sends home a little progress report of sorts and each day she will say if they were happy, sad, frustrated, etc. and EVERY single day his comes back marked ‘HAPPY!’ which I definitely consider an accomplishment as a mother. I want my kids to feel joy daily.

3. Fitness was a big one this year. I wanted to FEEL healthy and strong and have really focused being a more mindful eater and working out to build muscle. I don’t build muscle easy so I don’t know that I have big physical changes but I definitely feel stronger and healthier.

4. Swimming with sharks! I am a big wuss and get really scared to try new things – all the scary things I have done in life started with my crying very very big tears haha. I cried before I went sky diving, before going down for my first big scuba dive, when I went repelling down a mountain, all of it I cry haha! But I always feel really proud when I do it. Even if I threw up on the boat after.

5. Bought some cars and feeling like real grown ups.

What were your favorite memories of 2017? Was there a memorable moment that taught you an important lesson and helped you grow this year?

44 comments | Join the Conversation

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  1. Love reading your posts and the photos of your adorable family! My son and daughter-in-law live in Phoenix. They are in the middle of fixing up their home. Do you know of any great consignment stores or thrift stores for furniture in the area? Thanks you so much!

  2. Love this post! I love when you share about where you are at personally, just hearing your thoughts is nice.

  3. You are so inspirational Amber! I love this post and getting to hear all of your many amazing accomplishments. It makes me want to strive to be a better person, wife, and mother someday. I hope 2018 brings you more joy and happiness! xoxo-JS

  4. Love this post. It is really well written and inspirational. You are a great example.

  5. What an amazing year! I love following this blog and seeing your growth over the past few years. Happy New Year!

  6. I loved reading this! You’re such an inspiration, Amber – you do it all! I’m so happy for you, your family, and your business. 2017 sure was a big year – I got married!! Here’s to an amazing 2018 xx

    http://www.qustomquinns.com/blog

  7. I have loved reading your posts this year and looking at your pictures! I started my very own blog this year, which was a decision partially influenced by your wonderful page! so, thank you thank you thank you!

    nicholaraewrites.blogspot.com

  8. a motivational post! this excites me for next year! a lot of your personal accomplishments are ones i’d like to achieve. i started my very own blog this year, and reading yours inspired me! I love seeing your pictures, and watching you and your cute little family travel! So, thank you! Very very much!

    nicholaraewrites.blogspot.com

  9. I love this! It’s crazy how much you can fit into a year, but when you look back, it’s over in a blink of an eye! Enjoy every second with your family. One of my 2018 goals is definitely to be more present with my little family! Happy New Year!! <3

    thebrunettefactor.com

  10. What an amazing, sweet family you have! Just started following you and I’m in awe of all you get done & accomplish! I love that you are & have been focusing on being present especially with your kids! Its hard for a busy mom to do that consistently, & I admire you for working so hard on it!
    Happy 2018!

  11. Loved reading this! It’s so crazy to look back and think about how much happened, yet the year seemed SO short! It’s like, wait what? I did all that in this short amount of time?! haha

    BlondieintheCity.com 

  12. Sounds like an incredible, bittersweet, and fun year! Congrats on accomplishing so much!! My favorite memory of the year was cliff jumping in Hawaii! Such a rush. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2018!
    Xx
    Courtney || https://courtneylivin.com

  13. Loved this post and I seriously was crying because my heart was so happy watching Rosie’s dance! The cutest ever!!

  14. I love your posts and stories. What I love the most is that you aren’t “perfect” or trying to be. I follow a couple other bloggers that you do but really can’t stand most because it’s obviously unrealistic. Congrats on Forbes and your Barefoot Blonde extension line. Cheers to 2018. 😉

  15. I had no idea you were listed in Forbes!!! That is so amazing – i would love to see the article 😉 Also, I can totally relate to not knowing how much to share on social media. I use my instagram literally as a virtual baby book for my kids, and I constantly am scrolling my own feed reminiscing! I think you’ll find a balance as the kids get older!

  16. You have accomplished alot this year as a family and made some wonderful memories. Thankyou for sharing it with us 💕

  17. Thanks for sharing this Amber. I love how real you are with us, makes for the greatest blog! Wishing you luck in 2018.

  18. Love love this post!! Being fully present with the kids is something I’m trying to work on as well! There’s always a chore to finish, text or email to respond to, but they are #1! Thank you for sharing, i love following along!

  19. Thanks for sharing Amber 🙂 I’m a junior in university right now and sometimes the road is hard, but your posts always make me smile. You are such a role model for me!

  20. I loved reading this post, as I do all of your posts, but this one in particular was very uplifting and inspiring for me. I love you’re positivity and strive to be more like that in my own life!

  21. I LOVED this post!! What an amazing, hard, but wonderful year. Love you! So proud of you!

  22. I loved this post! You have been my role model as a young adult, I started following you when you were pregnant with Atticus! This year my husband and I welcomed our first little girl which was my highlight of the year. You and David continuesly encourage and inspire me to create the best family memories and document it! So I want to thank you both! Excited for what this next year brings for your fam!

    1. Wow thank you so much for following along and a huge CONGRATS on your baby girl! What a blessing for you two. I hope you three have a wonderful NYE! xoxox

  23. I think this post transparently reflected on the highs and lows of your year. You honestly recounted areas for growth and areas of accomplishment. I agree that we cannot always be happy but it’s nice to try to be!! And not every human body is the same. If you don’t pack on muscle easily, it’s not simply because you aren’t eating enough – we are still learning so much about how our genes shape us. Meeting you was a fun highlight of 2017! Warm wishes for the new year!!

    1. Thank you Linaja!!!! So wonderful to meet you and I hope you have an amazing NYE!!! xoxoxo love ya!

  24. I loved this post Amber! I loved that you shared a bunch of different things! It is so cool to reflect on all of this!

  25. I loved keeping up with your sweet family’s adventures this year! Thank you for sharing!
    xoxo,
    Anna
    simplychicbyanna.com

  26. I love your blog so much, especially witnessing your family moments. I agree with you 100% on having fun and boy have you mastered it, in my opinion! That’s what I want for my kids as well. For me, I think it started out as a goal to give my kids a different childhood than the one I had but seriously what is anything without joy? I think kids excel so much more when they are truly happy. Thanks for the inspiration!

  27. Lovely post Amber! You’ve inspired me me to be more present with my kids too. Thanks:)

  28. Sounds like being happy is a huge deal for you. Just remember that it’s impossible to feel happy all of the time, unless you are on drugs. Kids especially need to learn how to handle all of their feelings, and not expect to be happy constantly. You’re setting them up for a tough life if you focus on feeling happy so much. Feeling proud of yourself for your accomplishments is much more important. Feeling empathy isn’t a happy moment, but it’s so important. <3

    1. Really interesting that this is what you got from the post. Isn’t it a big deal for everyone? I am not saying we don’t feel and accept other emotions. I am also not saying that if A’s progress report came back and said “SAD” that I would be disappointed. My kids can feel any emotion they want and trust me they feel a variety of emotions each day just like every toddler in the world. But it does make me (and I am sure other parents) feel happy and proud when I see them happy and thriving.

      1. I’m totally with you here Amber and I didn’t gather this from your post. Jane Lansbury has a book I loved called Elevating Childcare and she discusses allowing your children to feel whatever emotions they are, without just telling them to be happy. Obviously there are going to be times when he’s at school and isn’t happy, but overall- she’s telling you he’s well adjusted and enjoying school. People need to get over their pettiness.

        I loved this recap and your honesty. I’m so sorry about your deep struggles with loss, and appreciated you sharing what you’re learning as you grow your business. I too, have followed you since the college banana bleaching days. 🙂 and I think you’ve handled your enormous success with grace. Congratulations on all of it. And keep being the mom boss you are.

  29. To build muscle you need to eat a caloric surplus so if you’re always dieting you’re not going to!

    1. I am not dieting at all! In fact I have been increases my caloric intake and making sure that I get lots of protein! I have been working with a dietitian to make sure I am doing it all correctly.