Can you believe it? 2017 is coming to an end, and 2018 is about to begin. Although I started my blog back in 2016, at the beginning of 2017 was when I really decided to start taking it more seriously. I did a lot of research, joined several Facebook groups, and really dedicated a lot of time and effort into Life with Larissa. I know I still have a long way to go before my blog is where I would like it to be, but I’m beyond happy with the progress I have made so far. Not only have I made strides in my blog, but I’ve also met some really cool bloggers, done numerous collaborations, and started my own travel blogging Facebook group! Let’s take a look back at the 2017 year highlights:
The beginning of the year 2017 started off with me heading back to my alma mater, Campbell University. Each athletic team on campus has a day/night game, meet, or match that is dedicated to the seniors, known as Senior Night. It’s a pretty big deal – parents come out, flowers are given, and it’s a huge celebration! Alice is from Sweden, so her parents weren’t able to come out, as they understandably wanted to fly out for her graduation. So Alice asked several alum to walk her out – I was honored to be one of the ones asked! I was more than happy to be able to celebrate both Alice and Olivia during their Senior Meet, and to reconnect and hang out with other CU Swim alumni!
I don’t think I did anything too exciting in February. The most exciting thing that happened was that I turned Alice’s favorite number – 24.
Ever since freshmen, my college best friend, Heather, and I have spent every spring break together. We didn’t think the tradition should stop after we graduated college, so we continued going on our “spring break” trips. Two years after graduation, on our 6th “spring break” together, we decided to go on a cruise to the Bahamas! We went on the Carnival Ecstasy and made stops at Half Moon Cay and Nassau. We had a blast, and of course just enjoyed spending time with each other! Read more about my thoughts on the Carnival Ecstasy here 🙂
Who’s lucky enough to have two spring breaks? This girl! As my coaching job follows the schedule of the public school systems, we were off for their spring break. So my sister, Brit, and I headed to Honolulu, Hawaii to visit one of my college friends and teammates! We had an absolute blast swimming in the ocean, learning about the Polynesian culture, and just enjoying the the ways of Hawaiian life! Read about the Go Oahu Card and our experience in Hawaii!
This month, I had the amazing opportunity to witness the union of a college teammate and her now husband. It was a beautiful wedding, and I’m so happy to have been such a wondrous day! This is the group from Campbell that travelled near and far to southern Georgia to help Carly and Phil celebrate their amazing day!
At the end of the month, my family and I headed down to Sarasota, Florida to kick off the beginning of summer! This was our first road trip with our dog, Biggs. We had a lot of fun, and it was a much needed relaxing trip for the family!
I also decided to start my own Facebook for travel bloggers, called Life with Travel. This decision was one that definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I have no regrets. I wanted to create a community to share travel stories & pictures; discover new cultures & destinations; and support & encourage each other. I’ve met some of the most amazing travel bloggers, and read some of the most incredible stories. I am continually learning lots – about blogging and about travelling – through the wonderful individuals that are a part of the group!
At the end of the month, my sister and I headed down to Orlando, Florida for Fourth of July weekend. We drove straight to Disney World to meet up with one of our long-time friends, Courtney, who works there. We spent the day at Disney, and even had the chance to get a glimpse of Pandora!
Brit and I were still down in Orlando, and we spent the rest of our weekend with our cousin, JoJo. We hit up Universal for the day, and that was a lot of fun. I stayed away from all the roller coasters, but there still lots of different rides I could go on – and of course, we made a trip to Harry Potter World! FYI – the frozen Butterbeer is way better than the original!
Later that month, JoJo’s brother was throwing a baby shower, so we drove up to Virginia to help them celebrate! It was nice to get some of the family together, even if it was only for a weekend.
At the end of the month, I made another trip to Orlando because there’s no such thing as spending too much time with your cousin [if you have ones as cool as mine], and who doesn’t love going to Florida! JoJo and I went to the Kennedy Space Center for the first time, and it was very educational!
I was still in Orlando at the beginning of the month. JoJo and I had so many different activities planned throughout the week I was there – a food tour, a cocktail cruise, an escape room, the shooting range, and so many other ideas! Can you believe almost all of our plans fell through for various reasons? Hahaha it was the like the week that wasn’t meant to be; however, we were able to go to the escape room [we didn’t escape 🙁 ], and we went to the shooting range for the first time! We also made our own cocktails, our own food, and we enjoyed a good game of bowling!
I got accepted into the Master’s program of Public Health at Georgia State University, and I started school again. It’s definitely been an exciting adventure, and I realized just how much I missed learning. Throughout this semester, I’ve had some of the best professors to help ease me back into school, and I even had the opportunity to meet the dean.
I had the opportunity to attend Music Midtown in Piedmont Park, Atlanta, Georgia. This is a two-day outdoor music festival filled with great talent, delicious food, and fabulous people. There’s something for everyone at these festivals, and the people-watching is phenomenal! Everyone is just here to have a good time, and the vibe is just awesome! Some of the musicians in the line-up included Big Sean, Mumford & Sons, Bastille, Weezer, Blink-182, Milky Chance, Zara Larsson, Young the Giant, Future, and so many more! One of my favorite performances of the festival was Bruno Mars! It was so much fun – and he was such an energetic performer!
This month was filled with various activities – the Georgia State Fair, winning a trip to St. Simon’s Island, and having my first glassblowing experience! I went to The Georgia State Fair with my sister, Brit. It was fun for a little bit, but it’s not really my scene. Brit enjoyed playing various fair games and won a stuffed animal! We also indulged in fried Oreos and fried cookie dough – not as good as we’ve previously had before.
A few days later, my mom and I headed over to St. Simons Island, Georgia because I WON A TRIP! I’m still in disbelief that it actually happened. We were able to attend the St. Simons Island Food + Spirit Festival, check out the St. Simons Lighthouse, and even head over to Jekyll Island to spend some time over there. It was a lot of fun, relaxing, and I’m so happy I was able to spend that time with my mom! I have reviews of The Georgia Sea Turtle, The King & Prince Beach and Golf Resort, and I also wrote about my experience at the St. Simons Food + Spirit Festival – check them out if you’re interested!
During the middle of the month, my friend Derek and I attended our first glassblowing class! I did not expect it to be as cool as it was. I’m so happy Derek invited me to go. We got to see each and every step of glass making, and then we were able to conduct each step with the help of our teacher! Read about Decatur Glassblowing, and get the full scope on our experience!
I visited my first Asian country – Japan! One of my best friends from high school, Vika – her boyfriend, Telal – and I went to Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto! It was an experience of a lifetime, and I’m so happy I was able to go. We got to go on a MariCar Tour! We ate so many different tasty treats and so many noodles – saw various different sights, and I got to meet Vika’s friends from college – Kaori and Taku. I also had the chance to meet Kaori’s boyfriend, Wayne. They are so nice, and showed us around the cities! I even put together a photo essay of Japan!
The first weekend of December, we drove up to Virginia to celebrate our cousin, Kevin, getting married to Paris! It was a small, intimate wedding, and truly a beautiful ceremony. We spent the weekend having fun and hanging out. We got to meet our two new baby cousins [not pictured], and got to see our family again!
A few days later, can you believe Georgia had snowfall?! I was talking to one of my friends from Canada and she was telling me that they hadn’t even had snow yet! It was crazy!! SNOW COVERED EVERYTHING! I’ve never seen anything like it! It happened so fast – trees were literally breaking and falling from the weight of the snow. But we made the most of it, and went outside and played in the snow, and of course had a snowball fight with Biggs!
At the end of the month, the fam and one of Brit’s friends, decided to go check out the Atlanta Botanical Garden Lights! I had seen pictures from a fellow blogger, and they expressed how much fun they had, so off we went to see for ourselves! Absolutely no regrets. It was a beautiful display of lights and music – and you can even enjoy hot drinks and s’mores [unless you’re there super close to closing, which was our case, so we just made s’mores at home]. But seriously, we all had a great time, and I highly recommend going to see it!
2017 year highlights:
As is with each year, 2017 was filled with many trials and tribulations, but it was also filled with family, happiness, adventures, and love. I want to thank each of you who has supported Life with Larissa as I continue to find my voice in this blogging community. There are times when blogging can becoming overwhelming and challenging, but each step is a learning experience, and I am blessed to have this opportunity to share my life with you! I’m excited to see what’s in store for 2018, and I look forward to sharing those adventures as well!