I am seeing so much “BYE FELICIA”, “BYE 2016-  YOU SUCK”, and “HOPING FOR A BETTER YEAR…” online and I’m hearing it in real life, too! But I guess I just don’t really get it. I understand that there were a lot of negative things that occurred in 2016 and that an election year brings on a ton of divisive feelings all on its own,  but there were tons of amazing things that happened in 2016, too.

Just like in any year, there will be positive and negative happenings, but it’s up to us to focus more energy on the good. I think it’s a really appropriate act to allow ourselves to process whatever negativity we deal with, but then to move on to better things that will help us to be happy and experience growth in our lives.

With that said – I’m listing some of my favorite moments from 2016, along with some of the not-so-great and how I decided to use those moments to promote self-growth, happiness, and acceptance in my life.

Let’s start at the beginning >>>>

1.  My sister turned 21. This was big for me because I experienced more anxiety in a place I thought was comfortable for me and it sort of pushed me do more for myself in that area. While puking in an empty Chick-Fil-A cup while being driven home at the ass crack of dawn by my half-asleep boyfriend doesn’t seem like a happy moment for me, It’s something I needed to experience so I could realize that I really did need more help with my anxiety that I was allowing myself to get. And I did. I sought more help, and I’m doing a million times better this January than I was last.

2. I learned how much fullness can come from really chill, low-key, in home time spent with Kyle and my family. We cooked breakfast for dinner for Valentine’s day, and it was such a sweet night with him spending time together in the kitchen and being ourselves, completely. For my birthday I went shopping with my mom and some family friends and it was the best time ever! We shopped all day long and it was a chilly, rainy, day anyway – but it was really nice to spend quality time with some of the best women in my life!

3. We traveled. I spent time between Kyle and my family traveling a little bit this year. Since my anxiety started travel has been so off my radar because I’ve been focused on bettering my mental health. Between December 2015 and January 2016 when I realized I needed more for that, I got it. And it changed my life. I enjoyed traveling this year which was a breath of fresh air! I hadn’t been able to do that all of the previous year and it was really hard for me. We went to Wilmington, NC, the OBX, road tripped between the east coast and the mid-west, went to Florida, I spent so much time in Raleigh, at my parent’s house, Virginia, I got to go to Charlotte, I experienced the best chicken and waffles EVER, kayaked in the ocean, explored some of our best local state parks, experienced my first low country boil, and I’ve become a lot more spontaneous with my time – which I love! 

4. I’M FEELIN’ MYSELF. If you know-know me or have read about it here, you know I’ve struggled a lot with my self-esteem. In middle/high school I cried daily whether it was in the morning while I got dressed, or while I was in school, I couldn’t control it. I hated how I looked, and I hated eating in front of people, so I just didn’t eat at all. Looking at myself in mirrors made my physically ill, and this is the first year that I’ve been noticeably happier with how I feel in my own skin. Which is ironic because I’ve gained a significant amount of weight since then. But it’s okay, because I realize now that there’s more to me than that, and I don’t need to be so wrapped up in my appearance. I have bigger goals and dreams than being skinny. Now that I feel like my mental health is in a place that I can lose weight in a healthy way, I think I’m ready to do that. And I’ve literally never felt so motivated and excited to do that.

5. I discovered my love for the ocean. 2016 was the first full year I’ve lived out of my parent’s house and I think not having the ocean so close to me made me crave it that much more. I’d go home just to go to the beach. And I mean, everyone loves the beach. But I started feeling like I literally needed it. Every time we would go, the second I would get out of my car and smell the salt water, it’s like my brain just released all the happiness and I knew this was where I needed to be. The fact that I realized I’d be happy living near the ocean for the rest of my life brought me so much comfort, because thinking about having to live in one place has always kind of made me anxious. I grew up moving every few years, and I grew to love that lifestyle – I really didn’t think I’d be one to settle in one area (which would really complicate my relationship LOL)

6. Blogging has become my life! This could be both a blessing and a curse HAHA. I really love blogging and I think it’s so much fun to share my life and point of view with others. I enjoy being inspired and learning new things and I think that’s why I like to bring my own experiences to the mix. Especially since I do live with chronic illnesses and deal with some anxiety/depression. I’ve been blogging for about 2 years now and this year has been one for growth! I’ve been working hard on my internet presence, networking, and making connections and it’s brought some serious excitement to the blog! I cashed my first check this year just for posting to social media (seriously cool feeling) and I opened a Paypal account, and was able to buy certain things I’ve had my eye on for a while with money I earned through blogging and posting to Instagram!!  On top of that, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing brands that are both good for my stylin’ girls on a budget, my creative friends, and foodies! I love bringing newness to my blog and working with brands that fit will here, and I’m so excited for what’s to come this year!

7. I learned how amazing it is to give. in 2016, I had to pleasure of working with Kyle’s family on a fundraiser with the Food Bank of the Albemarle. I learned a lot about how much our dollar really does for that cause, and it got me so interested in doing something on my own. You can read about the fundraiser HERE! Now, this year, my friend and I are in the very first leg of starting something amazing and I am so damn excited and I can hardly stand it!

8. Through all the confusion, misguided ambitions, and lack of motivation – I finally figured out what I want to do with my life! Through working with Kyle’s mom, I learned that I want to get into Speech Therapy and now I just need to get it going!

9. Spicoli Died. This was… awful. To say the least. You can read about it HERE – Spicoli was my best kitty friend and I was so obsessed with him. He was quirky, lovable, and so funny. I looked forward to going home every day, after every trip, every dinner date, just to watch him run into the living room when we opened the front door! We were devastated when we had to put him down, and we cried… a lot. But that same day, I went home and adopted a new kitten.  Some might say it was too soon, and it might’ve been. It certainly was hard to bring him home and I felt guilty for not being excited about his adoption like I was when we adopted Spicoli, but I knew I needed it. And I knew he needed a home. And I learned that I just have a huge heart for animals. And as long as we have the room in our home and we’re allowed to have them, we’ll have animals. We need animals in our home. It brings a new sense of happiness and it fills holes in our hearts we didn’t know we had until we didn’t have them in our home anymore. Maverick and Spicoli have been such a life lesson and as sad as it was to lose him, we have Mav and he’s been a new wave of sweetness and love that has made us so happy all over again.

10. Kyle fought fire in the west. This past fall the west part of NC and some of TN experienced several wild fires. It was obviously devastating to those that live in those areas and the wildlife. People were evacuated from their homes, some lost their homes. But it was amazing to watch Kyle literally jump at the opportunity to go when they were calling for people from our area to go. Wild fires are unpredictable and they work different than any other fires Kyle is faced with in his day-to-day job. Obviously, we were all nervous for his well being, but he was so happy to be able to go and help with the efforts and to do what he loved to do on that big of a scale – despite the dangers. It was that moment that I knew I’d be lucky to have a career that I was that happy and excited about. I was so inspired by him and so motivated to start my education/career so I could get to a point where I had my own career and daily job that loved going to every day!

11. Bucket Lists! Everyone has either a mental or physical list of things that they was to accomplish or experience and I checked off a few! This year I want to do even more! I swam in the Gulf, learned to snowboard, went river boat gambling, and I played with SNAKES!

2016 had its sucky moments, just like any year does. But more than ever, I feel so prepared, so ready, so motivated, so happy, and like I’m stepping into a new year on the right foot and with the best attitude. If we could all look at 2016 this way, squeezing the good out of the bad and finding the silver lining in every dark situation we encounter, we could all say something similar.

Happy 2017 everyone!


    • Kaleigh Reply

      Thank you, it definitely did! I hope you have a great year!

  1. It’s always good to look positive things from life. My grandma said once that “there’s always something positive, even in things that might feel the worst things at the moment”. She’s so right.

  2. Are you crazy to pose with a snake on you? I will freak out or just collapse, but i won’t be calm that’s for sure!! Shame man that you cat have passed away…she looked so adorable! I’m also a cat lover just a pity that my dad don’t like cats at all, so i have other forms of a cat collectiion like a pencil bag, ornaments, mugs etc.

    • Kaleigh Reply

      HAHAHA! I guess so! It was for a friend of mine who specialized in that spray-makeup! She wanted to do something more creative, and asked if I’d “model”! So I met with her photog and she had me with snakes around my neck, in my HAIRRRR, and all over. it was so fun though! and that is too cute! It was sad, but we have a new kitty and he’s just as sweet.

  3. You had really a great and amazing year. So many accomplishments. Congratulations on your blogging success. So sorry to hear about loosing your cat. I love cats so much and i can really feel you. Wish you happiness and a New prosperous and joyful year. Helene/ http://www.beautifulismyattire.com

    • Kaleigh Reply

      It was definitely something else, that’s for sure!! Thank you so much! And yeah, it was rough, but we’re getting better each day! I hope you have a great year!

  4. It seems that 2016 made everyone stronger and more hopeful for 2017. The best thing to do is to be grateful for all the lovely moments that we had and create more of them.

    Happy New Year 🙂

  5. You had really amazing adventure in 2016. It has its magical treat, doesn’t it? I feel much much more positive entering 2017 after all the things happened in my life during 2016.

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