My good friend, Dominique Baker wrote a blog post about her 2018 in review and it kind of inspired me to do the same. Since IG stories was released, I usually do a “year in review” on there but figured it would be nice to add a bit more context and lay out my plans for 2019 as well.
I’m really bad at journalling so I think detailing my year will help me remember all the good that happened! It can be really easy to have December 31st roll around and feel like nothing happened – this will help me avoid that this year, haha!
Frankly stated, 2018 was meh. No deaths in my immediate family and for that I am truly grateful. However, I wouldn’t say it’s a year that I’d love a do-over (maybe to fix a ton of shit). I also reminded myself that even though the worst of the worst did not happen, it’s still okay to be disappointed. Both equally apply.
I am someone who deals with my tough times, privately. I’m definitely a ruminator and I really like to think through my problems, discuss them with a select few (sometimes, not always) and/or my therapist. That being said, I don’t naturally gravitate to my blog or Instagram to discuss what’s going on – both since I am a soul living through the human experience.. I definitely had my lows this year too.
(The end of my 2017 birthday trip – in Lagos! Other than the mosquitoes devouring my ankles that day, I had such an amazing time)
(Sipping a Margarita on South Beach reading ‘When Breath becomes Air’… Still haven’t finished because I was getting SO sad reading it, lol – Jan 2018)
January also brought two major collaborations that I am so proud of – a year long commitment with McDonalds/McCafe Canada and Lady Speed Stick. Both pushed me creatively in different ways and were hands down some of the best professional highlights of 2018.
(Nneka and I at the Rock-It, Spring Media Preview – Feb 2018)
(Jeneika and I at Baro, tasting their new brunch menu – Feb 2018)
(One of my many airport pics – I’m pretty sure this is YYZ)
(Babes on babes on babes – Kara’s Birthday – Feb 2018)
(First collab picture with SoulCycle – Mar 2018)
(Dinner at my absolutely fave Italian restaurant in Toronto, Terroni – Mar 2018)
(Dinner with Chanel in Philly – Mar/Apr 2018)
The following quarter was just as sweet – more collaborations, like this one and this one. More travels – Atlanta, Paris, Monaco, Philly (on a press trip, OKAYYYYYY), Houston, Cartagena, St. Maarten and Miami. The shittiest thing was me unexpectedly having my position eliminated and me getting laid off mid-April. I pushed forward because I already had so much momentum from blogging that I decided I was going to ride it out and ride it out, I did.
(Wawa Coffee is definitely the Philly equivalent to Tim Hortons Coffee – I loved it, Apr 2018)
(Hanging around Yorkville, Toronto – Apr 2018)
(One of my favourite trips of the year – Cartagena Apr 2018)
(Started working with Lee Zavitz and created so much magic together – Apr 2018)
Things cooled down in the Summer and for some it was industry standard but it definitely rocked my self-confidence. I like to be busy and working is supreme joy for me – so needless to say I was pretty down and out in June but then July was the busiest month for me in blogging and that FELT SO DAMN GOOD! Especially since June was such a drought and TBH the feeling didn’t last long…
Rewind about 2 ish years ago, I came back from Monaco and knew that I needed a change. I needed more than a couple of days here and there – I was ready for something new.
I had seen my sister, Chanel – make huge sacrifices and take mega risks years ago when she left Toronto to finish her undergrad in Chicago and wanted a similar experience for myself. Since I was a kid, I always felt like I was truly a Global person. So much more than my neighbourhood and city – I always wanted to see, do, experience the world! I started doing a bit of digging and it confirmed my fears and I live in one of the most liberal, immigrant-pro countries in the world and yes, the rest of free world isn’t as easy to migrate to.
Long story short, there was finally a real opportunity in front of me and I spoke to two people that I knew had done the same and both really couldn’t contain how much they loved the experience and how much they knew that I would love it as well.
One said “I think you would really thrive in London” and that’s all I needed to hear; My bags were mentally packed.
With all the legalities that are involved with moving to another continent – admittedly, my foot wasn’t on the ball after NYFW. I sort’ve gave that and my October trip to NYC all that I had blogging wise and just focused on my move shortly there after. Can you blame me? Packing, fulfilling commitments, seeing friends/family and prepping for a new life took it’s toll. I retreated, a lot. Not because I was upset, overwhelmed or even sad – I just had a lot of shit to do and didn’t want to make room for much else.
(Met Jeanne Grey of The Grey Layers at the ShopBop party – definitely a highlight. She is so incredibly sweet and gracious!)
(Met Saheedat in August – connected again at NYFW and spent the whole week together – love her!)
NYFW in September was a lot of fun, with a bit of BS as well. Such is life. Didn’t/Couldn’t take away from the great experience I had.
NYFW taught me a couple of things that I will throw in this post for good measure…
1// When people show you who they are, believe them. Don’t let your gut send you indications and you ignore it for whatever reason. The warning signs will keep showing themselves.
2// Stay in your own lane but don’t be afraid to ask for help. I had a bit of stuff planned for NYFW but me getting out of my own head and asking my peers for help, so that I could do more resulted in my trip being 1000% better.
3// NYC is a lot of fun and a lot of $, but SO worth it. My trip of 5 days became a trip of 7 days and I swear if I could’ve found a reason to turn it into 10 days I would’ve lol.
4// Everyone is there hustling, so get in line or get out of the way! It’ll either motivate you to do more and be your best, or make you feel like you’re not doing enough. Either way, let it inspire you – don’t let it bring you down. Every single person there is working hard to achieve something and so are you. You belong everywhere, always.
5// It’s easier to have desk-sides and meet brands & agencies after NYFW is over. They are all so incredibly busy during this time, that’s its difficult to schedule solo/one-on-one time. That being said, reach out anyways to everyone and anyone – you never know who can make time or what event they could invite you to.
With the last point being made, I made one last trip to NYC for the year in October – collaborated with the amazing Millennium Hilton and dedicated this trip to solely connecting with PR Agencies. Wow, I can’t tell you how fruitful that trip was – I booked a full day of meetings and was so incredibly proud of myself for doing so. All me, no help and all cold pitching. One thing I need to remember is that when I’m focused – I’ll get it done, no matter what. The key is remaining focused when my heart is bruised (for whatever reason)…
Once I got back, the retreating reeeeally went into focused. TBH, I felt let down by people this year and it felt different than the past. I think because I realized that I can’t want more for those around me than they do. Not in an elitest way AT ALL – I just can’t push/motivate with no reciprocity. I’ve realized that it drains me and makes me want to .. retreat *shrugs shoulders*.
Also, relationships (all kinds, including familial and friendships) are seriously TWO WAY STREETS. I refuse to make the mistake of wanting more out of my friendship with someone than they care of me. This is a reoccurring lesson that has popped up frequently in my life and of course, 2018 was no different. When it comes to intimate relationships, I’m so thorough but friendships? Ugh, I guess I want it to be different so I’ll invest a bit more and hold on a bit longer…
With the loving help of my therapist – that is slowly diminishing in a healthy way that’s aligned with my high value of friendship. Life is truly one long winding journey…
..and that brings me to October 2018, I packed up and let go of my beautiful first big girl solo apartment (still makes me sad TBH), dumped all my shit at mama’s house (what would I do without you!??!!!) and got on my one way flight to LHR.
(The day I arrived – at the Emirates Stadium to watch an Arsenal game, so cool! I was so jet lagged, I barely made the game, LOL)
(My sweet dear friend Audrey who came into town from Amsterdam, to officially welcome me to Europe – Take care of those who show up for you, often when you don’t even realize that you’ll need them!)
(Walking around the neighbourhood)
(One of the many selfies on my couch, that I send my mom, LOL!)
(Pink skies and Pizza – all that this picture is missing is champagne!)
The bulk of Q4 was getting adjusted to sharing my life in a new place. It’s also reinforcing the lesson that I can’t control everything (ugh, just typing that kills me lol). London has been a slow adjustment (not by choice) and figuring out the blogging world has been, admittedly tough. Simply put, I am essentially starting over (but not really?). I’m in a new country where I knew 1 person lol, so it’s been an uphill battle.
I’ve done what I know I can do and that’s get shit in motion. I’ve met some amazing people who have all helped me adjust and helped me in ways that they can and for that I am truly grateful. The love that has been bestowed upon me in London, never goes unnoticed – ever ever ever. Overall, how am I? Learning, growing, being expanded every time I’m lost, late, frustrated or confused. All of which a big move like this will ask of you.
As tough as I’ve described it, London sets my soul on fire and I feel alive when I’m there.
Finished off the year, returning to my roots – Toronto for Christmas, love and all the goodness that comes with the holidays! Then to Guam and Honolulu for my 30th – if you haven’t read that blog post, you really should!
In terms of 2019 resolutions/goals, they aren’t too complicated. My word for 2019 is EXECUTION. Seriously, I want to think/plan less, execute and get shit poppin’ MORE. That’s all I got. Keep minding my food and what I put in my mouth, eat like I love myself. Keep going to therapy. Laugh more, party more and I’m always praying for more joy in my life. Tell my family that I love them more often. Keep checking off all of these bucket list countries, deepen my spiritual practices, pay attention to the signs much more and make 6 figures! Doable right? Hell ya! What are your goals/resolutions? I feel like this post was a million years long but if you made it this far then I appreciate you!
Here’s to all of us having the absolute BEST YEAR of our lives!