2018 In Review: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Holy crap, 2018 is over! For me, this is how this year went: Jannnuuuaaaryyyy, Febrruuaarrryyy, MarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember. The beginning of the year I swear felt like a year in itself, and the rest of it just flew by. When the New Year comes around, I like to do a recap of the year and reflect. Remember all that happened- the good, the bad, and the ugly. In 12 months so much can happen, and I think the idea of “a year” is actually really cool. It holds potential, opportunity, mystery, and unknown all in one. As we say goodbye to 2018 and leave it behind, I hope you all end this year with a grateful heart and an open mind. Here’s a 2018 recap of what happened over here. warning: brace yourself for some low quality photos as I deleted all of our travel pictures since I print them and put them in an album, so these are pictures of pictures. better than nothing!

January

It started out with a bang, that’s for sure. New Year’s Eve will forever hold a terrible gut feeling for me, quite possibly for the rest of my life. We (as in my family and I) were supposed to be getting a full nights rest because we were heading to the world famous Rose Parade in Pasadena the next day. Instead, we spent it at the hospital, hearing the heart wrenching news that my Dad had a brain tumor. And then, 2018 all of a sudden became a nightmare. My Dad was then diagnosed with cancer, and it has been a roller coaster ever since. January consisted of practically living at a hospital, tissues being our new best friend and all sorts of feelings. I was lucky enough to be able to escape for a weekend, and go with Tim’s family to Big Bear. I saw snow for the first time, and it was absolutely magical. It was the getaway I needed after a long and miserable 3 weeks.

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February

After what seemed like a year, February finally came. My wildest dreams came true and I attended New York Fashion Week as a blogger for the first time. My best friend, Sydney, came with me and we took on the city with two of my blogger girlfriends. Talk about exhausting though, holy crap. 12 hour work days, filled with little sleep and just about no time to relax. I tried to live it up as much as possible- soak in the hustle of the city, and be as present as I could be. I modeled for Maggy London and went to my first fashion show. Besides living the blogger life to the fullest, Tim and I spent our first Valentine’s Day together. Crazy to think that now our second one together is now around the corner, and this time, we’re engaged! (We met in 2017 after Valentine’s Day already passed.)

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March

Since the beginning of the year was such a s*** show, March was the first month where things were actually calm. No travel plans. No activities besides our Disney date nights here and there. We were adjusting to our new normal of my dad being home and no longer working, and really just settling in to a new life. March was probably the only month of the year that I got to take a breather & sit back, well for the most part. My one year blogiversary took place on March 7th, and I celebrated all month long here on Danielle Alana with 4 huge giveaways, a fun photo shoot and loving on all of you. I still pinch myself that this hobby of mine is seriously a dream come true!

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April

For Christmas gifts, and gifts in general, Tim and I like to give each other experiences instead of materialistic items. We gifted each other our first trip, since our goal is to cross off all 50 states together. New Mexico was drawn out of a hat, and we actually loved it. We went to the four corners, enjoyed hot springs, the scenery, and of course quality time together. As much as New Mexico is such a random state, its definitely on our “go again” list! We stayed for 4 days and 3 nights, and we left with still a couple things that need to be crossed off. After getting the travel bug out of our system, we ended April with celebrating our first Easter together and battling the forbidden “splitting holidays” thing! Which surprisingly hasn’t been too bad so far… not willing to jinx myself though. :)

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May

Tim and I were talking about getting married WAY before our one year anniversary. Also, way before my Dad got diagnosed with cancer. After announcing our engagement, a lot of people thought we were “rushing” to get married since my dad was sick. We laughed about it because in reality, the end of 2017 we were already talking about 2018 being the year we get engaged and planning on getting married June 8th, 2019, which is happening! Tim was saving up for my ring and I was doing my research WAY before he popped the question. When May came, I was doing venue research and the one I really wanted for our date had already been booked. I was shocked, so we actually started doing some planning in May to get (super) ahead of the game. Besides doing some planning on the side, May was the month that I decided to jump into essential oils. I’ve been using them for quite some time now and I LOVE them. I’m even more excited to start using them in my own home here in a few short months!

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June

June is such a special month, and I think a majority of you know why. June is the month of our anniversary, and this upcoming year will be our wedding month. We will be getting married on our dating anniversary, so we have one special anniversary to celebrate— June 8th. 2018 we had our first anniversary and went to Catalina Island for the weekend. We got a golf cart, saw as much as we could, walked pretty much the entire island, laid out on the beach, and enjoyed heavenly ice cream. Oh, and I cried on the way there and back because I was having major motion sickness. Good times :) After our weekend getaway, we RELAXED because July started our crazy travel plans and we were about to be on the go non-stop for about 2 months.

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July

This is where our year really picked up. Fourth of July we spent together for the first time, since in 2017 I was in Hawaii with my nanny family. The following weekend we went on our first cruise together for the Schlueter Family Reunion. We went to Ensenada and back, drank way too much and stayed up way too late. We had one short work week and then we headed out to Palm Springs to celebrate my 21st birthday! I still can’t believe I’m only 21, but it is pretty cool I will admit! Feeling like you’re 25 but actually being a couple of years younger. Not a bad thing, right?!

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August

After getting back from Palm Springs, we had about one weekend to relax before our butts were back on a plane. Tim turned 24, and we headed out to Kentucky for 4 days. Another state was crossed off and not only that, but it stole our hearts. Tim and I have been throwing around the idea of moving out of state, because Orange County and California in general is EXPENSIVE. Even though it is random, it has everything we want and our looking for. Not to fear though, Tim and I will be in California for at least a year longer, and then we’ll see where life takes us! After day dreaming of a life together outside of California, we came home for 5 days and then hopped on ANOTHER plane. This time, to Costa Rica. 10 straight days in literal paradise with Tim’s entire family (minus his one sister + family) and it was nothing but heaven. We were adventurous to say the least! We went tubing down a river, zip lining through the jungle, and white water rafting in the wild. Since high schools been over, I haven’t really seemed adventure and I’ve definitely been more calm. I stepped way out of my comfort zone and had the time of my life.

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September

September also started out with a bang! On September 1st, Tim got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I have pictures that will last me a lifetime, and that I’ll never get sick of looking at. We came home to an I Do BBQ engagement party filled with our family and friends, and as you can imagine I couldn’t stop crying. We asked our bridesmaids and groomsmen to stand by our sides, and all of my little people to join me down the aisle! The wedding planning continued and we started pre-marital counseling since we were officially official. But man, September was a dream come true! You can read about our engagement here and engagement party here.

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October

I immediately hopped on wedding dress shopping since I knew that was the next priority! I went with my mom, sister, god mother, Tim’s mom, grandmother, and sisters to two dress shops to find the one. Lucky for me, it was the VERY FIRST dress I tried on. I have my bridal consultant Lisa as my witness, who will tell you I said it was the one before I even left the dressing room. When I went out to show everyone I said it was the one and pretty much everyone was speechless! My dress is truly my dream wedding dress and I can’t wait tot show all of you come June! I also collaborated with Essense of Australia which you can read here, and believe it or not… the dress I chose was this brand! Sydney and I played dress up at Deborah’s Bridal for a day and it was so much fun. Other than wedding festivities, Sydney and I went and saw our favorite comedian John Crist down in San Diego and he did not disappoint!

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November

I originally wanted to go to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday back in July, but since it was the summer and a lot of things were happening in the city, prices were insane! We instead went in November to celebrate mine and Tim’s cousins birthday and brought the Costa Rica gang. I got to see Celine Dion in concert which was HEAVEN. Then we explored the night life for about two hours until it was time to go to bed, ha! I hadn’t been to Vegas since I was in third grade so it was total new experience this time around. That concluded our traveling for the year and we got excited thinking about the next time we’ll be on a plane, which is for our honeymoon! Shortly after returning home from Vegas it was my Dad’s 70th birthday. This was a special birthday since none of us were sure at the beginning of the year if he was going to make it to this point. We went out to dinner with some of his siblings and enjoyed the company of everyone. Then just a few days later got back together to celebrate Thanksgiving! Still crazy to me how next year will be our first married one.

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December

Since we live in Orange County, Disneyland is our neighbor— and we are lucky enough to have annual passes! A Disneyland Christmas is unlike any other experience, you really just have to go to understand. We got the Schlueter family all together to enjoy a day together and it was the perfect day. We all expected it to be packed, but instead we got on a ton of rides (thanks max pass!), enjoyed Goofy’s kitchen (first timer) and got front row seats to the parade. December is a busy month, so I’m really happy we were able to fit this in with everyone and get a full day at the happiest place on earth! The festivities continued with Tim’s work party the next Friday and that was a first for the both of us. I’m a social butterfly, so I really wanted to go last year but Tim insisted on waiting until we were engaged… and getting to know people around the office ;) Cozy nights in are our favorite so we drove around the famous Brea neighborhood to see STUNNER Christmas lights! If you’re in the area, you should definitely go down Santa’s Lane and see the whole thing. It’s an entire neighborhood that has become a huge tourist attraction due to the amount of lights and decorations that go up. It’s remarkable! Being a nanny, December is one of my busiest months of the year. Everyone and their mother has a date night, work party, gift exchange, you name it. Last year I made the mistake of overbooking myself, and Tim and I barely got to see each other. I switched this year and only took a minimal amount and left some weekends open so I could have some time to enjoy the holidays myself with family and of course Tim. The week before Christmas was hectic, as we were both behind on our Christmas shopping. We were the crazies going shopping and buying everyones gift last minute… lesson learned for next year. Schlueter Family Christmas takes place the Saturday before Christmas every year, and the whole gang gets together to celebrate. By the whole gang, I mean Tim’s Grandpa and his two brothers entire bloodline. All of their kids, plus the spouses, kids, and those kids kids. I’m dizzy just thinking about it. Tim is German so this night includes a lot of food but also Christmas caroling in German. My part during this is listening and eating all of the yummy dessert, ha! Then the crazy business finally dies down, and the most wonderful day of the year is here. The Lord, Our Saviors, birthday. We spent it with both sides of the families and took in that this was the last Christmas morning we would be spending separately. Next year, and the future, holds waking up together in our own place with eventually our kiddos running around. How crazy to think that this big life change is less than a year away already.

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2018…bittersweet. Literally the best word to describe it. We suffered from major wanderlust and traveled all over the world. Probably the most I’ve ever traveled in a year. I hit some huge milestones for my blog, and it just keeps getting better. We got engaged, and wedding planning is in full force. My dad was diagnosed with cancer, and with God’s grace he is still with us today. 2018 had a rough start, but I’m stepping back today and really reliving the moments that made me feel most alive. Whether 2018 was your best year yet, or you couldn’t wait for it to be over, a new year is upon us. I pray over each and every one of you that 2019 is filled with love, big dreams, and happiness.

XO,

Danielle Alana