I’m not going to lie, guys. I’m kind of glad to see the back of 2017. Don’t get me wrong – this year has had some major highs that I’m sooo pumped about.
There was my father’s successful kidney transplant in August. Our trip to Spain and England – one of the best trips of my lifetime. Reconnecting with my family in the States and Barbados was a huge highlight. In addition, I landed some major campaigns and worked with some topnotch brands…work that I’m very proud of!
I also accomplished a lot of goals this year, like learning my new computer and some awesome programs that have really leveled up my blog and photography. Turns out I’m not that tech-challenged after all!! I also reached some “minor goals” that brought me a lot of happiness like saying “F*ck it” and buying that designer bag I had been salivating over forever.
The thing I’m most proud of this year is my work with the community and upping my charitable contributions. If it wasn’t for the Ottawa community’s endless support and encouragement, this blog wouldn’t be where it is today. This year was a year to give back, and working with The Tamir Foundation, The United Way, Local Talks and The Ottawa Hospital were gleaming highlights.
2017 also had some serious lows for me. My grandmother’s death was the low point of the year. Losing the matriarch of our family was absolutely terrible. My father’s recovery from the kidney transplant was a rough one. Things were pretty touch and go there for a while which caused some major family stress. While the blog is booming, I still have a full-time job, so finding a good work-life balance was hard. I started burning out and really needed a break. Then there was all the stuff in the media…from fear of the world blowing up to tensions in the States and constantly reading about absolute monsters like Harvey Weinstein took its toll on me.
So, as I look back at one of the weirdest years in history, I’m reflecting on how I can personally make 2018 better. Here are my thoughts:
Stop Doing Shit You Don’t Want To Do
One of the biggest awakenings this year for me was sitting down and determining what I want to do, and what I definitely DO NOT want to do.
With blogging, I get bombarded with offers daily. When I first started, I felt flattered to be contacted by companies who wanted to collaborate and felt obligated to promote all of the products I received. I stopped that right quick when I realized that many of them weren’t a good fit for Style Domination and my readers. My life got a lot easier when I learned to say “no” more.
This crosses over to all aspects of my life now. If I need some downtime, I take it. If I can’t make it to a bunch of events because I need to rest, I politely decline. Saying no when you need to is absolutely freeing. Saying “yes” when you want to is the BEST.
Reconnecting With Family
My immediate family were the only ones living in Canada for decades. Recently, a few more have “seen the light” and become Canadians too. When my dear Grandmother passed away, a lot of the family converged in our native Barbados for her funeral. While it was a very sad time, meeting my cousins, some of whom I’ve never met, was absolutely fantastic. To look at a bunch of people with shared traits and personalities was awesome. We continue to stay in touch frequently and have even visited each other throughout this year.
Getting Serious About My Health
My father has a lot of underlying chronic conditions like diabetes which frankly, really put my own health into perspective. To see him struggle with a disease that for many is completely avoidable is an eye-opener.
While I’m pretty careful about what I eat, the time had come to really reduce the alcohol and sweets-consumption. I found myself saying a lot this year: “Do I really need that third cookie?”, “Is a third glass of wine necessary?”, “Maybe diving head first into maple syrup isn’t a good idea.”
I want to live a happy and fruitful life – a healthy one so that I can spend as much time as possible enjoying the company of my best friend (Ryano) and experiencing the world. In order to do so, you really need to wake up and take care of yourself.
What Worked For Me This Year
A few things really worked for me this year:
I Stopped Second-Guessing Myself
If I wanted to go to an event in another city that I felt would really benefit the blog, I went. If I felt I needed to be more assertive to achieve a goal, I put my Big Girl Pants on and grabbed that opportunity. If I wanted a pair of shoes, I stopped stressing and bought them. After all, life is too short to say no to those glittering shoes!
I Took Part In Things I Really Enjoyed
I got back to gardening, an activity that brings me peace and allows me to reflect. Running outdoors was my saviour this summer. Finding a fun running route really helped too!
Sunday Spa Days became a “thing” for me this year, and my glowing skin is thanking me.
Partnering up with one of the best personal trainers in the city was definitely one of the best things I have done for myself this year. I look great. I feel great. I discovered muscles I didn’t know I had. Thank you so much, Premium Performance, for whipping me into shape!
I Got Organized
My husband treated me to an external hard drive for my computer and it’s keeping me and my millions of photos organized. One of the best organizational gizmos ever.
I also treated myself to a Moleskine agenda. My iPhone calendar just wasn’t working for me. I need to write things down to remember them, so that little black book is literally my personal assistant. It’s surgically attached to my hand along with my iPhone.
Writing out all of the events I have to attend on a giant wall calendar helped me immensely too. No more accidentally forgetting a major function or double-booking myself. This brought me a huge sense of relief.
I Made My Life Prettier
I spend a good chunk of my waking moments in my office working on my blog. The office used to be a dismal, beige box littered with products and clothing that I needed to review. One day I snapped. Entering that clutterbox made me stressed and it absolutely was not conducive to concentration.
Structube – a popular, modern furtniture store here in Ottawa was my saving grace. I was on a budget, and they had furniture that was gorgeous and moderately priced. I treated myself to a beautiful white desk, bureau and a huge bookshelf is on its way.
I also bought some gorgeous teal silk curtains and a matching velvet, tufted desk chair. My friend Emilie is a talented artist, and I commissioned a huge black and white painting from her. I topped off the room by acquiring a bunch of pink and gold accents. Currently, I’m working on a gallery wall…so excited!
This “prettier life” thinking also translated to my wardrobe. I unloaded a ton of old clothes I no longer wear to my sisters, and sold a bunch via Preloved Ottawa’s awesome consignment service. This funded some investment pieces that I added to my wardrobe. Along with the big clearout, I took a long look at what I always wear in my closet, and started buying classic, well-made pieces to complement them. I feel much more put together, which boosts that confidence, my dears!
What Didn’t Work
This year was a sad one for many reasons, one of which was realizing that you sometimes outgrow people. It’s no one’s fault. Life just directs us to different paths and lifestyles.
I also made the realization that sometimes those people who seem friendly and helpful are only doing so for their own benefit. This was a tough one. It took a lot of courage and soul-searching to take the initiative and cut ties with those who do not uplift others and prefer to wallow in negativity. Life is too short, you know?
Blogging Until The Wee Hours Of The Morning
I was burning out. Tired and anxious, I knew I needed to make a change. I was working out more too and needed the sleep, but felt compelled to churn out content quickly.
Then I noticed something…life started to pass me by. I wasn’t seeing my friends as much. My poor husband got used to screaming at himself while watching basketball on tv, instead of at me. I longed to hear: “CURRY! YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS!!” Looking ragged, I started to dread blogging. Since I LOVE my blog, I needed to make a change and fast.
Scheduling posts in advance, researching fun topics, and frankly, blogging when I wanted to helped. My content was better and I felt less rushed. I reclaimed my life and started taking more breaks and doing things to help me unwind like watching 10 straight hours of Song Of Style’s YouTube channel or researching new friends.
Saying Yes Too Often
Attending way too many events, I was subsisting on a diet of champagne and canapés. Officially exhausted, I took a break and evaluated which events I really wanted to go to, which ones would further my blogging career, and which ones I could safely say no too. My waistline thanked me.
The same went for other areas of my life. Relatives who want to visit for two months straight? NO. Taking on work projects that I didn’t need to and that were no fun at all? Absolutely not. Feeling pressure to look a certain way (constantly shopping for new clothes for events and photoshoots)? No Nopety Nope.
This year was the “Year Of No”. I’m liking the Year of No!
What YOU Guys Liked!
You guys love perfume!
As always, I am so grateful to all of you for reading my blog, laughing at the ridiculous videos I post on Facebook, tuning into Instagram and cheering me on and watching my YouTube videos. It’s been an absolutely fantastic ride! It makes my heart swell to get all of your emails, DMs and comments on social media. The overwhelming support has given me the confidence to excel at something I love. THANK YOU!
I’ve rounded up a list of my most popular blog posts of 2017…some of which were a total surprise to me:
A fun little post about how I forgot my pants for a photoshoot…mainly because I was always stressed and in a rush.
I collaborated with Sympli Clothing, a Canadian born and bred clothing company that focuses on quality and best fit. I think this post resonated with many of you because I wrote it in the dead of winter. Many of you were heading south and appreciated a review on this travel-friendly clothing.
Four months after purchasing this bag, I finally got to blogging about it. One of my favourite bags of all time, I loved photographing it, and you guys loved reading about this Gucci Blooms Dionysus Bag.
I wrote this post after a frustrating exchange with a popular brand with deep pockets. The problem? The brand wanted major promotion on my social media accounts, but refused to compensate me. This experience sparked this post and it turned out that “knowing your worth” really resonated with many of you.
Well, that wraps up this 2017 overview. Again, I thank each and every one of you for reading Style Domination. It means the world to me. And for those of you who read this blog, follow and comment on all of my social platforms, and have now become friends – I’m eternally grateful for your encouragement.
Love you all and wishing you a very fruitful and healthy 2018!