DRESS: Express (regular or petite)/BAG: old, more options here/SANDALS: old, here and here/NECKLACE, EARRINGS: (c/o) Dannijo/LIP COLOR: “Heat Wave” by NARS

LIKE WOAH. We’re two days away from another new year.

It’s also been a hot second since my last #realtalk post. So rather than talk about fashion, I wanted to share a quick story…

NEW YEARS, Dec. 31, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2017

Last year was one of the hardest New Year’s to celebrate. My relationship had just ended, I was in Texas with my parents and so sick (seriously, I look back at that time and think I had the plague!) unable to fly back to Florida because my Dr. said no. Don’t ask me how but I somehow mustered up the strength to celebrate the holiday with my mom and dad at a local restaurant where the waitresses wore too much “flair” and those cheesy New Year’s hats with glitter on them. As I sat there hopelessly staring at my glass of champagne, I thought to myself, “why is it so hard to be happy today?”

2016 wasn’t exactly “my year.” It was rough. I went through a lot of personal ups and downs – more downs than anything trying my best to maintain a long-distance relationship with someone who was emotionally unavailable while struggling to keep multiple jobs so that I could keep blogging. Throw in a curve ball or two and it’s safe to say 2016 sucked for the most part. (Refer to “breakup post” here)

As the clock struck “midnight,” waitresses tossed their cheesy hats in the air and my parents kissed. They looked at me and said, “We’re so happy to have you here with us. We haven’t celebrated New Year’s with you since you were a little kid.” I took a sip of my champagne, flashed a half-smile and excused myself to the bathroom. I stared at my puffy eyes in the mirror (from crying) and thought, “Will it ever get better? I’m 28 yet I feel so lost,” as I imagined what my friends and sucky ex-boyfriend were doing.

You know, it’s funny. Last year, I published a post about how I don’t believe in resolutions and how you should strive to meet your goals no matter what day it is. Which is true. I still believe that.

What you don’t know is, despite publishing that post, I created another list of “personal goals” in my journal on Jan. 1, 2017 that I vowed to make happen. Those goals were some of my deepest, darkest desires. Things that did not include “reach 100k on IG” but rather, “create from your heart,” “find soul mate” and “true happiness.”

2017 ended up being one of the most incredible years of my life. I finally hit my creative stride (F-You IG algorithm. I’m going to continue to #DoMe this year.) and without caring much too about it, hit 100k. I stopped searching for “the one” and met the most incredible guy who swept me off my feet and with every passing day tells me, “I love you so much sweetheart.” And while on this journey, I found peace with a lot of things – my fears, my insecurities, my quirks. Above all, I found happiness again…

If, like me on Dec. 31, 2016, you feel the same way – don’t fret, I promise it’ll get better. 2018 could be your best year! You just don’t know it…

Thank you again for following! If I don’t say it enough, I’m forever grateful that you continue to take time out of your lives to read my blog and support this journey. It means everything to me…

*Clink* Here’s to another chapter.

Xo, Stephanie

Tonight’s post is dedicated to my best friend.

[Chelsae Anne | Photographer]