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A Look Back at 2017

~ First, I just wanted to say that I so needed to write this post right now…today. I needed to write it for me, to remember how blessed I am that 2017 happened and celebrate the successes instead of over-evaluating the losses (aren’t we always are toughest critics?). Thank you so much for being a part of my year and for continuing to read and to support the blog. I am SO GRATEFUL for each and every one of you…for every e-mail or comment of encouragement….you seriously have NO IDEA!

A QUICK LOOK BACK AT 2017

~ 2017 was such a big year for me. It was 7 months of feeling SO FULL OF LIFE and 5 months of transition. This year almost feels like it was 5, because it happened in so many different places and I feel like so much has changed and I also feel like I have changed.

I’m the first to admit that it’s hard for me to reflect on this time last year, because I miss so much of it and wish I could do it all again. I headed back to Milan for the last half of my masters program, so excited to be back in my flat and see my classmates again. It really makes me laugh to think of that flight back…with my ski bag, my giant duffel, and clunking onto the plane with my ski boots and helmet hanging off of my backpack hitting the rows of seats as I struggled through the aisle! I had debating bringing all my gear back, but after learning that there were more than 200 ski resorts less than 2 hours from Milan, I was resolute.

Last winter, my dream of skiing the alps became a reality! I’ll never forget that first trip to Cervinia and Zermatt with my friend, Laura, who flew over from England. The whole thing felt like a dream come true, and it was the first time I fogged up my ski goggles with happy tears. I felt like the fearless aggressive skier I used to be before my accidents, and it was AWESOME! Our first day was white out conditions, and then the next was a fresh powder, first tracks, BLUEBIRD day! Back in Stratton, VT, every weekend that I stayed with my best friend, Meagan, and her family, we would all watch Warren Miller by the fire after dinner. In her ski house, there is a huge black and white photo taken by her grandfather at the foot of the Matterhorn with skis all lined up. It felt surreal to be skiing Warren Miller territory at the base of the Matterhorn and I wished the Fishers were there that day, too! I also had other incredible ski trips to Courmayeur and back to Cervinia and Zermatt. It was all such a dream!

I loved my lectures at school, and being that we were already into the last half of the year, I really tried to soak up all the knowledge that I could during those key lectures that I knew were so important. I loved my elective workshop on Luxury Brand Communications and it inspired me to start working with boutique luxury hotels on the blog. In March, my best friend, Fizia, and I travelled all over Puglia and Sicily and I partnered with 6 incredible hotels during that time! As the weather got warmer, I became obsessed with escaping the city and taking the 40 minute train ride to Lake Como. I couldn’t get enough!

There were so many amazing trips taken that spring. When my mom came for Easter, we went to Santa Margherita and Portofino! Then, I had the most incredible 5 days in Rome with my two best travel buds, MC and Verena! On a whim, I decided to take my very first solo trip to the island of Ischia…one of the lesser known islands in the Bay of Naples, off the Amalfi Coast. It was WILD and so beautiful! Right before graduation…I FINALLY got to visit my dream island with my best friend, Verena: The pastel (*but mostly pink) island of Procida. I had pinned pictures of this place early in the year while looking for local, non-touristy islands, and the real thing was more beautiful than you can imagine (if you missed that post, you HAVE to see the pictures!).

For my last workshop at school, I opted to take Entrepreneurship with the most talented group of Entrepreneurs from all different creative backgrounds. I had an advisor and gained so much from my lectures during that time. Being able to ask professionals questions about the blog as it pertained to marketing, SEO, advertising, and finance, really was incredible.

I graduated with my Master of Fashion Styling & Visual Merchandising! My mom and cousin flew over for my graduation and I was SO happy to have my little crew there to watch me walk across the stage in my laurel wreath crown in my special pink dress! The Italian brand who made my dress, Motivi, shared my instagram photo and the girl who helped me select the dress at their store was so excited (I love special stories like that!). Immediately after graduating, my friend, Christie, and I headed out for my last adventure in Italy: The Dolomites. It was my last trip and one of my very favorites.

Moving out of my flat in Italy by myself was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life (*physically and emotionally). If regular moving is hard…putting your life into suitcases and leaving special things (like your own artwork and DIY projects)…is A LOT HARDER.

But…the silver lining was the reunions that followed. First by surprising my nieces at the beach (I’ll never forget those happy days), then immediately visiting my best crew in Baltimore, than up to Martha’s Vineyard for a week, then to Stratton with my other best crew, and then home just for a little before the MOST MAGICAL month on Martha’s Vineyard filled with so much joy, adventure, great people, and new friends! Sweet sweet September. 

While I was on the Vineyard, my parents bought a house! It’s very pretty and it has a guest cottage, where I’m currently staying. The old owners used to own a ski company and the cottage feels very VT…which I love! Needless to say, another move made me feel even more transient and I still have a lot of things in boxes…too hesitant to settle in just yet.

I started freelance styling for HBC (Saks, Gilt, and Off 5th) at their Pottsville studio and love it! I love their team and am always so happy to come to work! I never thought freelancing would be for me, but so far I’m really liking the flexibility it offers and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

I’ve grown more this past year than I have in the past 5…truly. It’s a proven fact that when you are immersed in a new culture, you feel more full of life in every little thing that you do. It’s hard to readjust when normal things don’t feel like an adventure anymore, but even though things have slowed down a bit, I think I’d give myself a B+ for making it through these past few months without a serious breakdown (half joking).  It’s weird to compare myself now to how I was in my last year in the US…I feel so different! It’s so easy to be sad about not being in Italy, but it’s hard (*yet important) to recognize how much I’ve grown. I feel SO independent and brave enough for solo trips. I feel a certain level of confidence in all things, that I never really had before. I feel OPEN to all different people and all different experiences. I have a newfound respect for those living in a country where the native language is not their own. I put up with less than I used to, and have no time for nonsense or for those coming from a place that’s not loving. I feel like I can move ANYWHERE and make it feel like home and find myself a family of friends (If I can do it in Milan, it can be done anywhere). I feel sure of what I want – out of life, out of people, out of experiences. And even though I still recognize that I’m in a time of transition, I feel really content, somehow not stressed, and feel sure that the future is bright! I’m grateful for where I’ve been, who I’ve met, how far I’ve come, and for all that is to come.

 

Gratefully with love,

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo Rhiana

 

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