2017 Year in Review


2017 was an incredible year. I went on 25 trips, traveled to 5 different countries and had countless adventures all over the world. I looked for months on end and, after many failed attempts, finally found my dream apartment and moved into said apartment with my boyfriend (my first swing at co-habitation, or as they called it at Catholic school 'living in sin'). I ran a 5k and two 10ks, spoke at two conferences and hired my first employee. I helped plan my best friend's engagement to the love of her life. It was a crazy and wonderful year so grab a cup of tea or, if you're like me, a stiff drinking settle in. Here's a look at my 2017 in review. 
The year was off to a great start with a wild New Year's Eve party at Fohr Card, one of my favorite influencer agencies in New York. Gerry and I drank too much, danced all night and regretted everything the next day but I wouldn't change that memory for the world. 
An amazing escape from the cold, in January I headed to Mexico to join my parents at my dad's work conference in Riviera Maya. A few days in the sun at an all-inclusive resort drinking tropical drinks by the pool with my mom was an amazing way to start the year. We snorkeled off a catamaran, explored inside an underground cave and had massages on the beach. Just sitting here writing this blog post in the freezing New York winter has me googling  flights to the Caribbean.
 For the first girl's trip of the year my blogger bestie Noelle Downing & I packed our (many) suitcases and headed to Paris. It was Noelle's first time in Paris so it was such fun for me to show her around my favorite city on earth. She told me over and over that, even though she had such crazy and magical vision of it in her head, Paris exceeded her wildest dreams. Unfortunately she got a cold while we were there along with some serious side eye from a French pharmacist who said "well she iz not dressed for zes weather, where is ze scarf?" I'm still laughing thinking about this very French exchange. On our last day in Paris we just barely made the Eurostar to London. We were so late after spending the entire afternoon at the department store Printemps, mostly in the tax refund counter. Two underdressed American bloggers trying to run across cobblestones at Gare du Nord with huge suitcases must have been hilarious to any French onlookers.
Our few days in London were just lovely. We stayed at the adorable Hotel Indigo Kensington where we had an amazing dinner at their restaurant, Theo's Simple Italian and met the very charming chef Theo. The food in London, in fact, was one of the the biggest highlights of our trip. Our favorites were Sketch, Dishoom, The Real Greek & the Instagram-famous Peggy Porschen. We also loved catching an, albeit expensive movie at Electric Cinema in Notting Hill. There we cozied up in oversized armchairs and cried watching "Lion."
Once I was back in the City, it was around this time Gerry and I decided to move in together. To commemorate our new life together (and valentine's day!) I partnered with jewelry brand A.Jaffe. They create custom necklaces where you can have coordinates engraved with a diamond on a special location. For mine, I chose the coordinates of our first apartment together. Moving in was a great decision for us but I can't say there wasn't growing pains. We quickly realized we would need a bigger place so my search started then and wouldn't end for many, many months. Real estate in New York is tricky af.
Less than a week after being home from London I was on back in the air headed to Barcelona on a romantic getaway with Gerhard. The week away exploring Spain was a perfect trip We loved spending the afternoons enjoying the quirky architecture and stuffing our faces with tapas and cerveza. After a few days in Barcelona we took the train to Madrid. There we shopped, visited museums and saw an incredible flamenco show. And, of course, ate more tapas especially my favorite patatas bravas. It's become our tradition to take two week-long international trips every year (Spain & Denmark in 2017) and these are, without a doubt, my favorite days of the whole year.  
Literally the day after getting back to New York from Spain I packed up my things and headed on a last minute flight to Hawaii with Noelle for Aveda. I was not mentally prepared for a 12 hour plane only a day after flying 8 hours. Also our plane had no meals so we literally bought every snack on board. One of each, please. But, once we arrived at the gorgeous Turtle Bay resort in Oahu all my complaints fell to the side. You would think changing time zones for a total difference of 11 hours from Europe would make me so tired, but in gorgeous Hawaii I was totally refreshed and relaxed. We were invited by Aveda to the Wanderlust Festival, a yoga & lifestyle retreat. Aveda was the lead hair sponsor with a very popular braid bar. Every morning we rolled into the Aveda tent around 10am to get our hair set in gorgeous braids. Then we'd spend the day on the beach, kayaking in the bay, taking yoga classes & eating acais bowls. It was a ton of fun to try both aerial yoga and stand up paddle board yoga.  We also road horses which I hadn't done sine I was a kid. I also pretended I could surf to get that wanna-be Blake Lively photo. #NoRegrets Honestly it was one of my favorite trips of this whole year. It gave me a chance to recharge and spend some very quality time with my lady love, Noelle!
I've always loved public speaking (I know, I'm probably in the minority here!) and in March I was invited to speak at my second Create & Cultivate conference down in Austin. C&C is a female empowerment networking conference with panels on subjects from influencer marketing to brand building. Last year I had the pleasure of speaking on a blogger panel in Atlanta. My favorite part of that experience was the small group mentoring break out session where I had the opportunity to give advice amazing entrepreneurial women. This year the conference was a small pop up in an adorable house during SXSW. The topic of our discussion was  Real Time, Right Now: Exploring the realm of 24/7 content creation, which is such a relevant conversation in our social media all day everyday world. I brought Noelle along for the trip and we had a blast checking out the local food scene aka all the tacos. We loved Torchy's, hello fried avocado taco and Grizzelda's for more delicious tex-mex. Juice Land is also one of my favorites for the freshest smoothies and juices I have ever tasted. It was hilarious because we actually had to stay an extra day due to a huge snow storm in New York. We were soaking up the sun at Barton Springs, an outdoor swimming hole in the 75° sun while a winter storm was passing through NYC. I definitely didn't mind that extra day in warm Austin. 
Just a few days later Gerry and I headed down to Gerry's hometown, Richmond, VA for a friend's wedding. Incredibly, the day before the wedding it had been quite chilly and rainy and yet day of, it was so warm I was wearing my dress with no coat! We stayed at the adorable Quirk Hotel in downtown Richmond. Some of my favorite spots in Richmond include Charm School for a delicious scoop of ice cream, Mama Zu for down-home Italian food & cozy southern fare at Comfort.

My farthest trip was to Macao, China which was also my first ever flight to Asia. Noelle and I were invited by the Macao tourism board to explore the "Las Vegas of Asia" although our itinerary was pretty tame. We stayed at the gorgeous JW Marriott with incredible views looking over the city. During our few days there we tried some amazing food, visited the ruins of Saint Paul, learned how to 'pull' noodles and explored the mix of Portuguese and Chinese cultures throughout the 11.8 square mile country. Definitely a trip I'll never forget.

I wouldn't want all my photos in this post to be travel pics. I did have some great times in the City as well. At the beginning of April Gerry, Noelle, Danny & I went to a Yankees game. Gerry initially objected since he's a Mets fan but relationships are a compromise, right G? And I love those pinstripes! 

2017 was my first year at Coachella. I love music festivals so I was so excited to finally go to one of the most infamous ones out in the desert. I flew into L.A. and met up with Noelle & Danny who were already in California with Danny's family. We all road tripped out to Palm Springs, stopping for In N' Out on the way. I was actually born in Southern California so it was fun to get back to my west-coast roots. We stayed at the Saguaro Palm Spring Hotel which has the cutest, most colorful pool. The service was not so excellent and the management lost one of my packages that had clearly been signed for. But, we still had fun drinking and dancing by the pool during the day and singing along to our favorite songs at the festival at night. I must say that it is a total pain in the ass actually get to the festival grounds from the parking lot. It takes so long to find a place and then you have to walk almost a mile to get to the actual stage area. But, alas, we had a blast partying it up for a few days in the sweltering heat.

For my dad's 60th birthday my mom planned an incredible trip for our family to Golden, Colorado. She got tickets for everyone to see Tom Petty at Red Rocks and surprised my dad just before leaving. We hiked the scenic hills and went white water rafting. We were so nervous when my uncle fell out of the boat! The concert was amazing and little did we know it would be one of Petty's last shows. I feel so lucky that I was able to see him before his untimely passing and at a beautiful outdoor area.
Back in the City, I went to the Veuve Cliquot Polo match for the 3rd year in a row! This year I brought Gerry and we had a blast. It's always a fun New York day, getting dressed up, day-drinking champagne and pretending to watch polo. See ya next year, Veuve. 
On July 1st we moved into a new apartment. But let me back up. Finding my dream apartment in one of the most competitive markets in the USA was not easy. For months scrolling through every rental site, (Streeteasy, Naked Apartments, Craigslist, etc) canvasing the streets, meeting with annoying brokers and looking at underwhelming apartments was practically my full-time job. Good apartments go fast so you have to be keyed-in all day, every day. It's exhausting. I thought I had found 'the one' it was a modern yet charming duplex in my favorite neighborhood, Greenpoint. It had a small but cute little backyard and I was smitten. We were ready to put down a deposit. That very weekend a big rainstorm came through and the broker called us to tell us the apartment had FLOODED. It was devastating, but of course a blessing in disguise. Soon after I saw an incredible listing and I was the first one there at the open house the next day. The apartment was 3 bedrooms with a rooftop terrace and even though it was at the top of our budget, I was sure this was 'the one.' We show up to the open house and the realtor tells us that the listing was so popular they decided to raise the rent $500. Five hundred freaking dollars. What a stab in the heart. So I kept making the rounds looking at shitty overpriced apartments all over North Brooklyn. One day, while looking through Craigslist I landed on the impossible. A 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom duplex with a backyard in prime Williamsburg (near the Lorimer stop). I called right away, went to see the apartment and after 3 agonizing days the owners called us to tell me we had gotten the place. We've been here now for 6 months and I can honestly say I wake up everyday and say 'I can't believe we live here.' We just love it.

Just one day after moving into our apartment Gerry and I tried to hop on a flight to Houston for my cousin's wedding. I say try because it certainly wasn't a 'hop' we ended up being 18, yes eighteen hours delayed. We literally made it to Houston about an hour and a half before the ceremony. The weekend was a blast since it was basically a Martino family reunion. I have over 20 cousins on my dad's side and we all hung out on the lake, jet-skiing, wake boarding and enjoying the sunny Texas weather. It was great to have Gerry meet my extended family who welcomed him warmly (but don't worry all my uncles gave him a hard time!) By the end of the trip we were anxious to get back home and start unboxing our life into our new apartment.

My mom asked me if I wanted to join her on her work conference at Disney World and she even said, 'bring a friend.' It was like being in high school all over again! So I invited Noelle and the three of us spent a few days in Orlando. We rode all my favorite rides; Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, It's a Small World & The Matterhorn. I also visited Universal Studios for the first time. The Wizarding Would of Harry Potter was awesome even if the park is overpriced. The Butterbeer is delicious.
From Florida to New York back to Florida, Gerry and I spent a fun quick trip in Miami. We were invited on behalf of ShopStyle to see the Miami El Classico soccer match. The Edition hotel was a perfect place to stay. The modern lobby is filled with plants and the beach access is amazing. Highly recommend if y'all are planning a weekend away! Now that I think about it, I'm ready for another trip down to the sunshine state ASAP. 
A fabulous year called for a fabulous birthday and a chance to break in the backyard. On the night of my birthday I had a small dinner at my favorite French restaurant Laduree and over the weekend we had a party. We had a few friends over for a get-together with my famous watermelon margaritas and my favorite birthday treat, pie! So much better than cake in my opinion. Such a great way to celebrate. 
Like I mentioned earlier in this post I actually love public speaking. Back in November I met Cathy & Jessica of The Blog Societies serendipitously in Chicago while they were looking for a venue for their annual conference. We had a few drinks and they told me all about the great resources they provide to bloggers though their society and yearly conference. They asked me if I would be interested in being the key-note speaker and I, of course, said yes! I had so much fun meeting so many interesting women over the weekend. My presentation was a success and I got a ton of positive feedback. If any of y'all are looking for more resources for your blog or social media channels, be sure to check out The Blog Societies and attend the conference next year! Thanks again to Cathy & Jess for hosting me. 
Back in the Big Apple my dad came to visit so we could attend the US Open! He's a big tennis fan so being able to get us box seat in the Emirates tent was, for me, a great way to say thank you for supporting me all these years. Even when I told you I was going to quit my corporate job to pursue a crazy little thing called blogging. Eh, pops? 
Ok you guys, Denmark is rad. In September, Gerry and I packed our bags for a week long adventure in Copenhagen. And an adventure it was. Things did not get off to a good start. We booked an Airbnb months in advanced since hotels are quite expensive in Copenhagen and since the Airbnbs are cheaper they go fast so we planned ahead.  After a long overnight flight we were exhausted when we arrived at the cafe where we were supposed to pick up the keys to our Airbnb apartment. The staff at the cafe had no idea what we were talking about. Our host had cancelled day of! We were rightfully pissed. Fortunately Airbnb was able to place us in another place. Everything after that was much much better. The food is incredible, the canals are beautiful and the people speak perfect English and are very nice and helpful.We biked around the city every day using one of the city's bike-share's programs. My favorite day was the one we spent at Tivoli, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. It's totally devoid of commercialism and utterly charming. If you've been considering a trip to Copenhagen I highly recommend it, but it is an expensive city. But in my opinion totally worth it!

September in Paris became the craziest trip of my life so far. Over the summer, Noelle and I had decided to take a trip to Paris at the end of September. Coincidentally I was invited to be a part of a Maybelline Live in Paris with some incredible French YouTubers. I headed to Paris two days early for the shoot and Noelle joined me after the shooting wrapped. It was nerve-wracking going live in French but the show turned out great in the end (if you're curious you can watch it here). The day before the shoot I got a very interesting call from Noelle's boyfriend, Danny. He told me he wanted to come to Paris, surprise Noelle and propose! I almost dropped the phone out of my hand in the hotel room. I told him I got this. So when Noelle got to Paris I had to organize everything without her realizing. It was so stressful! I hired a videographer and told her I wanted to do a fun girl's shoot together to celebrate our friendship. Thank god we're bloggers, she totally bought it! So when the day came I was a WRECK! We set up on the bank of the Seine with balloons and the videographer (who was in on the whole thing) He took some photos and videos of us for the 'girl's shoot.' Then we told Noelle to turn and face the river so we could do a 'time lapse.' Then Danny came down the stairs and tapped her on the shoulder. The rest is history! We all cried and she said 'YES!' It was one of the most beautiful days of my life and I will never forget it. Danny left the next day to get back to law school and Noelle left the day after that. I shot a lookbook with the same videographer (here in English / here in French) and enjoyed the city solo for a few days. Then Gerry arrived from New York and we had a few days to spend enjoying Paris before heading back to Brooklyn. I got some of my absolute favorite Paris photos on this trip - could the city be any more beautiful? 
It stayed warm in the City for so long, a true Indian summer. But eventually fall came with its glorious leaves in New York. One of my favorite autumn activities is heading upstate to pick apples at an orchard. The past two years Gerry and I joined our friend Lacey and Michelle on the ride upstate in search of apples but mostly spiked apple cider and apple cider doughnuts. This year we went o October 23rd and it was still hot. I was seriously sweating in my sweater and hunter boots. But, alas, I do it all for the 'gram. 
This year I ran 3 races; two 10ks and one 5k (all ending with my signature 'I did it pose' and copious amounts of coffee and doughnuts. If you would have told me too years ago I would even be able to finish a 10k I wouldn't believe it. Fitness is something that I've struggled with my whole life. I was never athletic unlike the rest of my family and it wore on me. Two year ago I decided enough was enough and committed to my health. Read more about my fitness journey here & here. 

In November, Gerry & I took a little trip to Atlanta thanks to Hotel indigo. As much as I love traveling internationally, I always enjoy exploring new places in the US. When I was younger we took a few trips to Atlanta since it was only about a 5 hour drive from our home in Kentucky but I'd never visited Atlanta as an adult. We had a blast. The food was incredible my absolute favorite being Kimball House. It was probably one of the best meals of the year! We also loved The Lawrence, The Bitlong Bar & Ladybird. We also got an amazing backstage tour of the gorgeous Fox Theatre, a historic theatre that first opened its doors in 1929. For fun activities I recommend the High Art Museum, shopping at Ponce City Market, Skyline Park & The World of Coca Cola. Over Thanksgiving, I headed down to Florida with my parents for a wonderful, relaxing week. I decided not to post any photos from that trip on IG (except my race photo from the 10k turkey trot with my momma). It was so refreshing to have an entire week without taking photos, putting on makeup and wearing yoga pants every day. It gave me a chance to take a break and spend sone quality time with my family. 

Once December hit I was back in my element capturing Holiday content all over town! I love New York during the Christmas seasons - the lights and decorations are so beautiful. I did all my favorite winter-y activities; playing in the snow, ice-skating in Bryant Park, visiting the Rockefeller tree & lots of snuggling at home. See my Holiday look book here {ENG / FRE
For Christmas I headed home to Kentucky to spend time with my family. It's always nice to see my parents, my sister and my adorable nieces. The week went by so fast! After Christmas I headed to Richmond, VA to spend a few days with Gerhard and his family Then it was back to New York just in time to ring in another year! 

Happy New Year, y'all! Best wishes to you & yours in 2018. 


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