Happy New Year, my friends! I’m still in disbelief at how fast 2018 flew by, and it was one of the best years I’ve ever had. I earned more money than any other year, traveled to some pretty incredible places, moved yet again and crossed off a few major milestones. Let’s take a look back at some highlights, some lessons learned, and some of my favorite posts from the past year!
2018 Year in Review: The Highlights
- I moved back to Virginia, and in with Tom. I had a fantastic year living in Philly, but as most of you know, Tom and I were long-distance from the get-go. Since we’re both self-employed, we actually saw each other a lot and were able to travel across the country together. However, it’s still annoying to not live in the same city as your significant other, so I decided to make the move to Charlottesville last summer. I can’t wait to share more home content with you all in 2019, as our apartment is finally coming together!
Overall, I think the move was a good choice: by moving to a smaller city, I can save on rent and travel more. And my roommate isn’t so bad either…
- I bought a brand new car. I was able to buy a brand new car this year (a 2018 Honda Civic EX-T), which was incredible, given the fact that I am 100% self-employed. I didn’t need a co-signer, and I was able to land a pretty incredible interest rate as well. I also was able to negotiate it down to a pretty fantastic price as well, which I’m pretty proud of!
- The AliciaTenise.com Team expanded. I finally learned that it was ok to ask for help. I worked with a couple of assistants last year (I had a wonderful assistant named Ellie this past spring, and Lauren joined my team this fall), and I brought on a brand manager as well.
- Landed a few dream collaborations. Without a doubt, 2018 was my most successful year financially. Last year, I signed on to a year-long partnership with Olay, and I got to work with some pretty incredible brands for the first time, including American Express, Reebok, Express, Stella Artois, Celebrity Cruises, Walt Disney World, Air Canada, Abercrombie, Dunkin Donuts and more. I also had the opportunity to work with LOFT and Ann Taylor again as well which was incredibly special, because these brands were the first major retailers to ever work with me.
2018 Year in Review: Lessons Learned
- Work/Life balance might not be entirely achievable. For years, I’ve tried to achieve some sort of work/life balance…and I think last year I finally learned that sometimes I won’t have that balance. I have a very unusual career, and I work with brands all across the globe that set their own deadlines. As much as I try to set up office hours and to log off for the day by 6 pm and not work weekends, sometimes you just have to do it. Sometimes, you’ll get an urgent email that you’ll have to answer during a holiday. Sometimes, you have to do a photoshoot instead of hanging out with your friends on the weekend. I was happy to connect with some other female entrepreneurs through meet-ups after I moved to Charlottesville, and we all expressed the same sentiments. I started to reduce my screen time towards the end of last year which helped, but I always have to be “on” with what I do.
- I could be a better friend. 2018 was a fantastic year business-wise. However, in my personal life, I did see some friendships end in 2018. My hectic travel schedule and work commitments were two things that prevented me from being fully present last year. Not to mention, I’ve made two long-distance moves within the past two years, and it’s just been difficult for me to maintain some long-distance friendships. Meeting new people has also proven to be a challenge since I’m self-employed and don’t have an office or co-workers to mingle with.
- Mental health is important. I ignored my physical health in 2017 and let my knee injury get too out of hand, and I spent half of 2018 visiting doctors about my knee and trying to get up and running again. However, with such a heavy focus on my physical health, I ignored my mental health in the first half of the year and struggled to function on several occasions. I’ve gotten a lot better since the move this summer, but there’s always room for improvement.
2018 Year in Review: Favorite Travel Destinations
I traveled to a lot of really incredible spots in 2018, and I’m incredibly thankful for it! I kicked off the year with a trip to Nashville and Pigeon Forge to see my girl Greta, headed to Disney in February, and then Paris and London in March. I partnered with Visit Williamsburg in April, and then made two trips to Boston in May (plus another quick trip to Disney World with my mom!) I visited San Francisco for the first time in June and took a couple of months off from traveling to make the big move from Pennsylvania to Virginia. I spoke at TBScon in Atlanta in August and spent a few days in Raleigh, and then spent 1.5 weeks in New York this past September for NYFW. October was my craziest travel month by far: I went to Austin, Montreal, and then made a quick press trip to Anne Arundel County, MD. I ended the year with a press trip to preview the Celebrity Edge, and decided to take a much-needed break from travel for the rest of the year!
2018 Year in Review: Most Popular Blog Posts
My top 5 posts of 2018 surprised me: every single one of the articles that received the highest amount of traffic last year were travel guides. This year, I tried to put out meaningful content rather than just posting OOTDs, and the results are pretty evident. I was also pretty shocked that Mid-Atlantic travel performed really well — 2 of these guides were from North Carolina, two from Virginia, and my Baltimore guide that I wrote in 2017 also gained a lot of traffic this year as well.
I want to create more Mid-Atlantic travel articles in 2019, since they seem to perform very well and, well, since I’m based in the Mid-Atlantic it’s pretty easy for me to travel to these destinations. If you have any travel article requests for 2019, please let me know. And P.S., I will be working on a proper D.C. travel guide this year!
Happy New Year! What were some highlights for you in 2018?
Photos by Tom McGovern