There’s a song that I absolutely adore by Lana Del Ray, called Summertime Sadness. And you can sure bet that after coming home from a long vacation at the end of August, I’ve got that summer time sadness.

As I sit and reflect back on my summer, I think about how wonderful it was, and how blessed I have been to travel, wedding plan, have coffee dates with friends, and have quality family time. I take for granted these little things so often, but after a long trip out west spent exploring our nation’s national parks, seeing new sights and meeting new people, I have more gratitude in my heart and a newfound appreciation for simplicity.

By far, this has been the most fast- paced and busy summer of my life. Since today’s post is a transition back into “reality” after traveling the country for 17 days straight, I thought I would reflect back on these past few months, and show you where my future is leading me.

A Summer of Growth & Change

Wow, I can’t even describe to you how crazy this summer has been. And as fast as it’s gone, it actually seems that it was a long summer.  I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished and some of the major road blocks I pushed through. Let me re-cap some big things that happened:

– I made the decision to stay home this summer to blog for an income
Self-employment is unpredictable, scary, and hard to describe to others who don’t know exactly what you’re doing. I took the risk and decided, since my blog income is roughly matching what I would typically make nannying or waitressing a month, to try it out just for the summer. I was terrified of this decision because: A.) I felt like I would face judgement from others that I wasn’t “working” or didn’t have a “real job,” and B.) I come from a blue-collar family and felt that staying home to do what I loved doesn’t feel like I’m working hard enough. I wasn’t going to make the jump until a friend convinced me that it was only one summer, and that I would end up regretting the decision not to someday. The result of my decision? I both loved AND hated it. I don’t think I could work from home 24/7. I got bored easily, even when I was busy all day long. I would wake up at 6 and excitedly work on building my brand for literally 8 hours straight (with a lunch break, of course). By around 3pm, I needed to get the hell out of the house. I began to love trips to the grocery store. I’m not sure if I could ever blog full time, hence why I’m happy that I’m only one year away from earning my Master’s degree in school counseling. I crave REAL, human connection, not just internet connection. Does that make sense? I guess I didn’t feel fulfilled enough, but possibly because I am uncomfortable still with the concept of self-employment.

– I completed a summer course in my grad program
I was happy to get out of the house twice a week during my 8-week summer course for my Master’s program. I felt like by going to my class, I was actually accomplishing something and one step closer to my dream career. I just can’t wait for the day I have financial freedom and have a regular 8-4pm. It feels so close, but yet so far.

-I made a better effort to connect with friends and family
Here’s the thing about me. I’m an extroverted introvert (I believe ambivert is the word for that?) I love going out and hanging, but I get easily exhausted by humans. Sometimes it’s hard for me to stick with plans that I make, especially since I live so far from my friends. I vowed to myself this summer to actually be more intentional with my friendships, and I’m proud to say that I made some strides. I went for coffee with an old friend whom I barely see anymore because our schedules are both so crazy. I hung out with a few counseling friends for Bachelor night. In addition, my old college roommate and I planned a weekend for me to visit her. I also started going to my parent’s house for dinner every Tuesday night and went on a few girls’ days with my sisters. It felt so good to reconnect with all of these wonderful people.

-I connected better with my fiancé 
This summer has been particularly challenging for us because we both felt so many pressures from work, wedding planning, the stress of traveling, etc. I could feel both of our anxiety raising throughout the summer and in result, tensions were a little high. Ultimately, these made us stronger as a couple. I feel so much closer to my fiancé than I did the start of the summer. I love you, Trev!

-My grandma passed
I still don’t even think it’s hit me yet, even though her passing was in June. I love you, grandma. I hope I make you proud. I’m happy I could tell you I loved you in the hospital before you passed.

-I bought my wedding dress
Holy shit, this thing is actually happening.

-I traveled LOTS & learned I’m not as hardcore as I thought I was
If you’re a loyal reader, I’m sure you’ve already read all about my adventures, but if you haven’t, check out my Travel Diary HERE. It’s funny. I actually learned so much about myself on this 17 day trip. Before this trip, I always imagined myself as a gypsy girl who could just easily pick up and leave if need be, but I actually got pretty homesick halfway through the trip. I loved visiting big cities and being in the wilderness, but I really missed my small town in Wisconsin and the Midwest in general. Also, my phone broke a few days into my trip, and I realized (embarrassingly) how I am OVERLY connected and need to just chill the eff out. This sounds so pathetic but I had major anxiety from that damn phone being broken. Just because I’m a blogger doesn’t mean it has to consume my life. So this trip taught me so much more than I had ever imagined it would.

-I got a case of really bad baby fever
I don’t know what it is, but I just really want a kid! In fact, laugh at this all you want but I actually cried about this a few nights ago when I was drunk. (Lay off the Fireball, Chels.) I know the timing is not right though, and won’t be for a few more years. But that’s what’s been on my mind lately! However, I’m really trying not to wish my life away, something that I tend to do often.

-I stepped out of my comfort zone
I joined a local Rising Tide Society meet-up in Green Bay, and it was life changing! Green Bay is small town compared to other urban areas, so one of my biggest struggles as a blogger is meeting likeminded individuals serious about their creative passions. This meet-up allowed me to connect with local photographers, small business owners, and other creatives for a space to talk about our craft. As such, I scored a few photography collaborations. (I met Colleen from Capture Life Moments, whose beautiful work I am featuring, through this awesome group!!)

Elegant in blush |

New Beginnings

I’m really excited for this Fall, but I’m also really scared. Lots of things are going to be changing.

-Starting my internship
I’m going to be starting my school counseling internship at a local high school, and I have so much anxiety about it that I could puke. Like, I know that it’s going to be great (my supervisor is awesome) but I’m still super nervous.

-Starting a new job
Along with my internship, I scored an on-campus job. It’s not a ton of hours a week or anything, but I’m nervous about how I will be able to balance a new internship, a new job, my studies, AND my blog. I love my blog so dearly and feel like I’m really making some strides. I hope that I still have time for fashion photoshoots, writing, and just time in general for myself. However, I really am excited for a new challenge in life, and feel that I need to make a few changes in my life to get ahead to boost my career. This is one of them.

-Starting my 2nd year of grad school
Shit is getting a lot more real, guys. My first year in my counseling graduate program was sort of the counseling “ged-eds.” Now, my classes will focus on specific topics of school counseling and will integrate the schools in our classroom. Indeed, shit is getting real. I should clarify that when I say I am nervous for these things happening, I’m nervous excited. I love my program and my cohort, so I know it will be lots of fun, but I’m most nervous about keeping that balance. (How many times have I said the word nervous so far?!)

-Baby sis is gone
We are moving my baby sister to college this Thursday. And although I’m so incredibly excited for this new chapter of her life and proud of her, I don’t want to let her go. As I mentioned, it’s hard for me to see friends because we are all so busy, or they are far away. My sister was that one person I knew would be just 15 minutes away. Alas, I have to let her go. Also, shout out to my awesome parents, because they officially become empty nesters this Thursday. (Sorry Mom, didn’t mean to make you cry again!!)

-Starting the Whole 30
Or the raw diet, whatever you call it. Starting September 1st, things are seriously changing around here. I bought the book It Starts with Food and a Whole 30 recipe book. I am so excited to get my health back. I have been getting frequent headaches and I overall lack energy because I’ve been living off of pizza, Spaghettis, and Tator Tots this summer. So I decided to quit it all cold turkey. More on the Whole 30 in a few days when I blog about starting my challenge.

Elegant in blush |

So there you have it. The good, the bad, the ugly. The moments of happiness and the hurt. My hopes, dreams, and fears. As always, thank you so much for reading my blog and for your support. I love you guys so much and am thankful that I have such a supportive, kind network of beautiful souls.

All photos taken by my new wonderful friend Colleen from Capture Life Moments photography. Her work is stunning and deserves to be recognized! Colleen specializes in weddings, family photos, and more. To see her work, head to her blog! Colleen is also on Facebook and Instagram.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me your highs, your lows, or if you prefer, both of your summer. Leave me comment below!