Best of 2017: A Year in 12 Reflections
Eeek! It's 2018 - a brand new year and an optimistic, fresh start of something that could be wonderful. Upon the passing of each year (#Bye2017), I like to take some quality time to reflect on the previous year. All of the ups and downs, the belly laughs, the tears, the favorite books and experiences and meals that nourished my body - it all adds up. This year, I'm choosing to reflect by answering a collection of 12 simple yet meaningful questions that I came across through one of my go-to YouTubers, Gillian from Gillian at Home. Her Dad sends the same questions to their family every year, and Gillian and her sister, Hilary, always make a video with their honest (and sometimes hilarious) answers on New Year's Eve. So, shall we get started? Grab your champagne and let's get going.
1. Best Song/Album
Definitely Saving Mr. Banks by Thomas Newman.
I didn't need to think too hard about this question because Spotify already answered it for me on my "Year in Review" assessment. Thomas Newman, the composer of the film Saving Mr. Banks, was my most-listened-to artist of 2017 and I'm totally okay with that. If you haven't watched the film yet, I highly encourage you to. It's an all-around fantastic film and the score made it even better. Here is my favorite piece from the film:
2. Best Movie
Okay, I have two - Disney's live action remake of Beauty and the Beast and Disney-Pixar's Coco.
I was so stinkin' excited to see Beauty and the Beast back in March. I really enjoyed the cast (i.e. Josh Gad, Emma Thompson, and Luke Evans), and the costume and set design were phenomenal. Although I could've done without Emma Watson's auto-tuned voice, I couldn't stop humming and singing Céline Dion's How Does a Moment Last Forever. It's a beautiful song for a beautiful film.
Oh, Coco. Gosh, this film was so, so good. The animation was breathtaking and the songs were original and beautiful. I loved the storyline and fell in love with the characters, particularly Dante, Héctor, and Mamá Imelda. I can't wait to purchase the film on DVD once it's released!
3. Best Concert/Live Event
The "Happily Ever After" firework show at Disney's Magic Kingdom.
During our trip to Walt Disney World in May (more on that below!), we were lucky to catch the third official showing of "Happily Ever After" at the Magic Kingdom. The park was packed like a can of sardines, so we didn't have the best view. We did, however, immensely enjoy the show. Like, so much that I cried. And then I cried every time that I saw it for the rest of our trip. I loved how the show highlights some films (i.e. The Princess and the Frog, Hercules, Tarzan, Brave, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc.) that don't often receive enough attention and affection. In addition, the video projections on the castle worked seamlessly with the music, fireworks, and lasers. If you're interested, check out the show below. It's amazing!
"Grab hold of your dreams and make them come true,
for you are the key to unlocking your own magic. Now, go - let your dreams guide you. Reach out and find your happily ever after."
4. Best New Experience
Being a brand spankin' new, fresh-eyed small business owner.
Whew! This has certainly been an experience, and I haven't even launched my Etsy shop yet. Although there's been some pitfalls and mistakes, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to pursue something like this. I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit and lots of creative ideas in my head, so finally having the time and resources to tackle this endeavor has been an amazing experience. I'm excited to see what 2018 has in store for my small business!
5. Best Book
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, for sure.
It's engaging, humorous, and well-written. As stated in my book review of Big Magic, here are five things and ideas that I loved about this book:
- You don't need a permission slip to create things.
- Creativity and fear can coexist.
- The importance of inquisitiveness.
- Stop trying to be perfect.
- Elizabeth Gilbert's writing.
For more detailed explanations of these five points, check out my book review (APPLY LINK...apply link above, too) of this gem.
6. Best TV Show
PBS's Victoria Series (Season One).
This show definitely took me by surprise this year. Victoria was my distraction while The Crown was filming, and I'm so happy that I chose to give it a shot. While there are certainly some historical inaccuracies, I thought the acting, costume and set design, and storyline were captivating. Also, I have all the heart eyes for Prince Albert. If you’d like to watch this series, you can find it on AmazonPrime Video.
7. Best Joke or Funny Moment
Honestly, the internet.
I love laughing, so this question is a tough one. I feel like the internet gets funnier with each passing year, and it definitely brings a smile to my face on days when it seems like the world has erupted in chaos. Between the ridiculous memes, random tweets, and hysterical vines (#RIP), the internet - despite all of it's glaring flaws - certainly knows how to make me laugh! Here are a couple of my favorite gems from this year:
8. Best Trip
Walt Disney World, of course!
This past year marked another week-long, family vacation to "The Most Magical Place on Earth." We went in mid-May and had loads of fun! We celebrated my parents' 37th wedding anniversary, which is always a special occasion. Our usual "Eating and Drinking Around the World" shenanigans took place at Epcot, and we dined at 'Ohana, Spice Road Table (one of my favorites!), Be Our Guest Restaurant, and Morimoto. Since we're Disney Vacation Club members, we were able to preview Pandora before it opened to the general public. It was magical, especially since it wasn't crowded and everything was open for the preview! Oh, and we watched the third showing of "Happily Ever After" at the Magic Kingdom. It is, by far, one of my favorite firework shows (see more above!). In addition, I met two of my most-watched YouTubers, Grav3yard Girl and Ellie Steadman, at Epcot in the World Showcase. 'Twas a magical trip, indeed!
9. Best Meal
Dinner at Bohanan's Prime Steaks and Seafood Restaurant in San Antonio, Texas.
Holy moly - this meal was life changing. If you'd like to look at the exact menu items, here's the restaurant's dinner menu. Alright - for the appetizers, our table nibbled on assorted sliced bread and various kebabs that were loaded with seared sashimi tuna and grilled steak and vegetables. For the main course, I ordered the Texas Heirloom Salad, an 11-ounce filet (cooked rare because it would be a travesty not to) with béarnaise sauce, and jumbo asparagus with hollandaise sauce. The table ordered potatoes au gratin and lobster creamed corn to share, so you best believe that I added those to my plate, as well. Lastly, I ordered the Madagascar Vanilla Crème Brûlée for dessert. It was, by far, the best meal of 2017.
10. Best Personal News
I'm going to be an auntie to my first niece!
I mean, what's better than that? She's due in mid-March, and I can't wait to meet her. I've already picked out some cute outfits for her from Target, and I'm planning on buying her some little Liberty of London headbands from my favorite hair accessories shop, Mane Message. Her name is absolutely beautiful, and I'll be sure to share it once she has arrived.
11. Best Toy, Game, or Amusement
Books, books, and more books.
I fell in love with reading all over again this year. Although I was an avid reader as a youngster and teenager, I lost touch with reading while I was in high school. Now that I'm a second-year graduate student, I've reconnected with reading as a hobby. Even though I mostly read non-fiction in 2017, I did purchase quite a few novels toward the end of the year that I'm super excited to read in the New Year. Here's a few books that I read and loved this year:
- Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose. by Lara Casey (my review here!)
- Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas
- The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore (my review here!)
12. Best Change or Personal Improvement
Taking intentional, meaningful actions to pursue my goals and dreams.
Here I am, writing on my very own blog! This has certainly been a work in progress since the summer, and I've learned so much along the way. Also, I'm in the midst of preparing to launch my Etsy shop, also known as Wit & Gumption, this spring! None of this could have been possible without getting vulnerable and stepping outside of my comfort zone, which is something that I've definitely struggled with in the past. Personal growth and development was a huge theme in 2017, and I'm nervous but ecstatic to see what the next year has in store for my life and passions.
Thank you so much for reading! If you'd like to keep up with me on social media, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Goodreads. For more fun and interesting content, check out my YouTube channel! If you’d like to be alerted whenever I publish a new post, you can follow me on Bloglovin’. Are you a blogger too? Let me know the name of your blog - I'd love to check it out!