2019… WHAT A YEAR!
Where do I even begin? I say this every year but how are we already a month into the new year? And not just a new year, A NEW DECADE!!
This year was one of the most rewarding but also one of the most challenging years. I’m still licking my woods from some of the 2019 hurdles.
I remember back in 2017, when I first left my 9-5 and when Instagram became my fulltime job. I would say my goal was to travel 4 times a year. Look at me now. This year I visited 5 of 7 continents, added 5 new countries and 2 new US states to my passport and discovered more of my beautiful home country, Canada #iamcanadian.
I traveled over 17 times for content; Vancouver, Winnipeg, Tulum, Puerto Rico, LA, Fiji, Australia, France, Whistler, Vegas, Utah, Dubai, Egypt, Oman, Dubai, USVI, and ending the year in the Dominican Republic. It sounds like a lot, but I spent more time at home this year than I had in the last 2 years.
In February I celebrated my birthday in Tulum with some of my best gals and favorite fellow Canadian creators. For the past 5 years, I’ve always celebrated my birthday in a different country – London, Costa Rica, Bali, Hawaii, and Mexico.
February is the coldest month of the year in Montreal. Everyone is in hibernation mode so it’s always hard to get friends out to celebrate. So I’ve always been in the mindset of if I’m going to celebrate alone, I may as well do it somewhere warm!
I attended 4 music festivals, Osheaga (Montreal), Ile Soniq (Montreal), Wake Up Call (Dubai), Life is Beautiful (Las Vegas). For some reason, so many music festivals were interested in hosting me this year. It’s crazy! But I’m not complaining – I love live music!
August 30, 2019 – MY ACCOUNT GOT HACKED! I was locked out of my own Instagram account. My photos were deleted, my username was no longer available and a ransom email was sent! I was in a state of panic! To think in a split second, everything you have worked so hard on for the past 3 years is taken from you.
It’s a scary thing having your whole audience on one platform. I didn’t want to lose touch with you, and I want to prevent this from happening to anyone else in the future. I decided to share the whole story on how I got it back so quickly in a 3 part series in my newsletter. If you’re curious to give it a read and protect yourself from this ever happening to you, sign up below!
In September I chopped my hair in spite of your votes to keep growing it. Truth be told, I had wanted to chop it for a while but wasn’t ready to commit. Normally I always play it safe with my hair, but this year I was a bit of an extremist. It was either chopping it really short or going really long with extensions.
I had tossed up the idea for two years but kept getting persuaded to grow it out. As much as short hair sounds like less hassle, any curly-haired girl will understand that long locks are much simpler when traveling to beachy destinations to avoid looking like a lioness. But, the second I sat in the chair it was sheer excitement. I have never loved a haircut more!
The last time I had my hair this short was exactly 10 years ago! This was me at 20 years old, 10 lbs heavier and with much thinner eyebrows.
2019 also allowed me to visit two of my biggest bucket list destinations (Australia, Egypt) and one of my biggest honeymoon destinations (Fiji).
In May I got to spend 3.5 weeks exploring the east coast of Australia with my bestie. It was absolutely epic! Australia has been one of those places on my list since I was a little kid.
My dad is an international basketball referee and went to Sydney in 2000 for pre-Olympic trials. I remember begging to go with him. When he returned home, he had tons of photos of the wildlife, the harbor, the ocean and he spoke about the incredible weather. I always said I was born in the wrong country, I was born to be an Aussie! I live for sunshine and an ocean breeze. Since then it’s always been a dream of mine to visit.
We were flying out for a job in the Whitsundays but decided to go 2.5 weeks early to enjoy ourselves and really get to experience Australia properly. We hit Sydney, Byron Bay, and Melbourne before meeting the rest of the girls in the Whitsundays (known to have one of the nicest beaches in the world!). A full Australia blog post is still in the works, so stay tuned!
November took me back to Africa to finally check Egypt off the list. Egypt has always held a special place in my heart as my dad was born there. My grandma used to tell us the most incredible stories about growing up and spending summers on the Nile. Once there I felt far more connected to the history and culture than I could have ever imagined! Read all about my 10 day Egypt itinerary here!
Fiji has been one of my top honeymoon destinations for years. And to think that I got to visit all my dream spots, Fiji, Tahiti (November 2018), and the Maldives (December 2018) all within a 12 month period is incredible! Now I have no idea where I would actually go when the time comes! At the beginning of April after spending a few days in LA, I flew to Fiji with a group of gals for one week of island-hopping adventures.
Fiji, Tahiti or the Maldives? I get asked this question often so if I’m being honest Fiji was my least favorite of the three. However, I also think it was due to our itinerary. Since I was there on a project, we didn’t leave the hotels much. That’s why I say I feel like my experience was very Americanized. I would probably feel differently had we explored more or visited on my own.
In October I was in my first magazine shoot and featured in the December issue of Elle Quebec along with some incredible local talent. The entire experience was a dream come true. From hair and makeup to the launch party, the experience was different from any shoot I’ve ever done before. Plus, who knows when I’ll ever be featured in a magazine again!
To make the experience even more special, the magazine shoot was in partnership with Michael Kors. For me this really symbolized my success and how far I’ve come in the past few years. Reflecting on it I realized how it’s all really come full circle. In 2013 I was working for the Michael Kors brand as an assistant manager in one of their stores. Fast forward to 2019 and I’m now working in partnership with them promoting on my Instagram account.
They say bad things come in threes, so get ready for the grand finale as the end of the year took quite a turn.
By now many of you have guessed from my lack of stories and amount of DMs I’ve received asking where James has been. In December, right before the holidays, James and I broke up just a few months shy of our 4 year anniversary.
This is the first time I am mentioning it online. Every time I say to myself ‘today is the day to let people know’, I chicken out. Saying it out loud completely terrifies me. It makes it all that much more real. And I’m not sure I’ve really come to terms with it yet.
I never understood when people would say sometimes love just isn’t enough. I used to think, if the love is there you can get through anything. But here we are and in fact, love wasn’t enough. In the end, I needed more out of the relationship. The hardest part is that there is still so much love between us, and I don’t think that will ever change.
James, I have nothing but love and respect for you. You’ve made me laugh harder, love deeper and feel safer than ever before. xx
Then just before the end of the year… seriously, December 29th, I slipped on black ice and broke my ankle. I fell late at night, so I was only able to get an X-ray the following day where I was told I fractured my fibula. Not quite the end to the year I had hoped for.
Now I’m in a boot and not allowed to bear weight on it for 6 weeks. Then I will walk with the boot for a while before I can finally walk on my own two feet again.
And finally, to top it all off, I got a blood clot. At this point, I was just waiting for one more thing to hit me, but I was not expecting this!
It started with me complaining of pain and swelling in my calf. I had an appointment to see the orthopedic surgeon the following day, and I almost didn’t mention it to him. The pain wasn’t unbearable, it just felt like I had walked in heels for hours the day before so I didn’t think much of it. But when I asked the doctor if it was normal, he immediately sent me for an ultrasound where it was confirmed.
Note: If you ever develop swelling and tightness in your calf, go to the hospital right away. Clots develop in the calf and can break off and travel to your lungs which can be fatal. I trusted my gut and said something to the doctor, and I’m so thankful I did.
NEW YEAR, NEW ME
Now let’s focus on the year ahead. Goal setting has always been a big part of my life. I don’t just set goals once I year I actually check in monthly to see if I’m on track and re-evaluate them quarterly.
If you’re new to goal setting and don’t know where to start, lululemon has always been a great resource to me. My years within the company taught me so much about personal development and setting achievable goals. This worksheet is a great place to start!
2020 HEALTH GOALS
Now a month into 2020, I’m hoping to leave all the bad juju in the past and focus on my recovery so I can get back out there!
If you follow me on Instagram, I’ve been pretty open on stories about the highs and lows I’ve been facing. Though this is a temporary disability, I’ve had my own battles with it. By nature I am a very active person, so going from traveling non-stop and working out every day to not putting weight on my right foot for 6 weeks and being so dependent on others has been its own struggle.
My biggest and most important goal right now is to focus on my recovery. I want to allow myself the time I need to complete physio and regain 100% mobility in my ankle. Follow my recovery though my Instagram highlights!
2020 PERSONAL GOALS
Everyone keeps telling me maybe it’s a sign I need to slow down. Maybe my body is telling me to relax and focus on me. I do agree, the past 3 years I’ve been traveling non-stop in and out of time zones.
The last few years home base has been more of a dumping ground for my to swap my luggage and keep on adventuring. This year my biggest goal is to buy property. I want to have a place to call my own, somewhere I can come home to and feel inspired to create in.
While I don’t know that I will still live in Montreal, I definitely still want to buy something here. Then I can decide if I want to live in it or rent it out for a few months while I explore living abroad.
2020 BUSINESS GOALS
Some of my biggest goals for the year are actually outside of travel. Over the past year, I’ve been focusing on what I want my legacy to be and how to expand myself beyond social media. It’s scary to put my goal out to all of you because they are big, but nothing motivates me more than sharing my goals and having others hold me accountable to them.
Ever since I was a little kid, I have dreamed about having my own clothing line. It’s something I have seriously been brainstorming the past year and even discussed with some of you. A lot of you shared you’d love to see me create a line of athleisure/ workout and swim, exactly where my head was at. I’d love to hear from you! Let me know if you’d want to see something else from me!
Based on your feedback, another goal of mine is to launch a social media development course. Over the past few years, I’ve shared my successes and failures and many tips with you on social media. Many of you have voiced how you’d like to see all the knowledge I’ve shared in IG stories, IG live sessions and IG posts together in one place. Any specific topics you want to know more about?
And finally, the much-anticipated re-launch of my presets! After a year hiatus, I can say that presets will be coming back. I’m working hard on developing new packs for both mobile and desktop and figuring out the best way to divide them. Would you want to see them by country or by theme (ie. Sand, Ocean, Jungle, Sunset)? Let me know!
In the meantime, if you don’t already have my free preset you can download it here! It works for both mobile and desktop.
And if after downloading it, if you are looking for help on how to edit, check out my Youtube tutorial – how to edit in lightroom in under 10 mins.
2020 TRAVEL GOALS
Although I’m focusing on my recovery as my top priority right now, I can’t help but take the time to create this year’s travel bucket list!
Here are my top destinations I want to travel to for 2020:
- Explore more islands of Indonesia (I was supposed to be there right now)
- Philippines (where I was supposed to celebrate my birthday)
- New Zealand for Lupins season
- Cook Islands
- Take a summer road trip through Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greek Islands)
- Japan for Cherry Blossoms season
- Swim in the Dead Sea
- Vietnam (last time I was there was 2014)
- Sri Lanka
- Saudi Arabia
What are some of your goals for 2020? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
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