As most people tend to do around this time of year, I have been reflecting on the year that was 2016, both personally and for Sista With Style. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, a little up and down. But on the whole, I can’t really complain. There are people MUCH worse off than me. I choose to count my blessings rather than my misfortunes, and really, when you do that, you realise that there have been far more positives than there have been negatives.
Let’s take a quick look at the year that was 2016 for Sista With Style….
January saw me bringing in the New Year in Hawaii – the place I said I would go once I kicked cancer’s butt to the kerb…. and I did! I fell in love with Hawaii. It was AH-MAZE-ING!!! So much so that we promised ourselves to go back to Hawaii and take more of the family for Christmas/New Year 2019/2020. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. But oh boy – did I shop up a storm in Hawaii! I have never enjoyed shopping so much. I am still on a high from that experience 12 months on! You can read all about shopping in Hawaii and my tips and tricks here.
In January I also got to see one of my idols – Dawn French. I learnt a very unique way of looking at our bodies from her. The way she has learnt to view herself and accept all her curviness blew me away. If you missed it, you can read all about it here. I will never forget this lesson and am so grateful I got to hear this sensational woman speak.
Looking back, January was a really big month because I also got to met the wonderful Lisa Kerr from Lisa Kerr Designs in Melbourne and had a personal fashion event with her here in Brisbane (read about that one here). She’s got a new range out now that you might like to have a look at. I love how she doesn’t like to use a number for her sizing on her garments due to the negative connotations it can have. Instead she uses inspirational words such as “confident” or “gorgeous” to size her clothing rage.
From January to March, we talked a lot about surviving breast cancer and what you can expect life to be like once you are “cancer free”. These two articles on surviving cancer and recovering from cancer can be found here by clicking on the links. Please pass them on to anyone you think could benefit from these posts. After all, that’s one reason I’m here… to help others that are going through cancer (or their loved ones) to get through those tough times and let you know that you are not alone and it doesn’t just stop once your active treatment is over.
We’ve had many, many fashion posts through the year. I think these have been the most fun to write. It’s like playing dress ups! I had the opportunity to work with some fabulous companies such as Lisa Kerr Designs, Said She Loungewear, My Boutique Curves, MadLegs, Style Me Luxe, The PQ Collection (formally Lilliana Plus and Passion Qld), Perfect Purchase, Ruby & Lilli, Frankie4 Footwear, Active Truth, Goddess Bridal Capalaba, Jolie, Hunt + Kelly, Glasses Shop, and also Free Borne Chic and Capriosca Swimwear from Sequins and Sand very recently. To all of these companies, I am incredibly humble and grateful to have worked with you all in some capacity in my very first full year of blogging. Thank you so, so much! It means a terrible lot to me and I am excited to be working with you (and other new companies) in 2017. Cannot wait!
Let’s not forget the beauty side of things too. There were a number of great beauty products reviewed during 2016. So many more to come during 2017!
In June, I was asked (and was honoured) to offer style advice and help shoppers find some bargains at the Fab 14+ Markets in Brisbane. As it was winter, I was able to talk to fellow sistas about the art of layering clothes to look stylish and feel fabulous. You can read about that trick here. We also looked at the best (& easiest) ways to tie your scarf during winter, or “Brinter” as we call it here in Brisbane as it doesn’t get as cold as some places around Australia.
In July, we did another follow up blog on the trials and tribulations of living with lymphoedema after cancer. This was another area that some cancer survivors like myself sometimes struggle with post-cancer.
July also saw Sista With Style supporting the charity work of Shaune Watts Fundraising at a charity high tea for Mater Little Miracles. Shaune and his wife Kimberly (pictured with me below) do phenomenal work raising HUGE $$$ each year for the Mater Little Miracles so that they can provide exceptional health care to some of the state’s sickest children and premature babies, something Shaune and Kimberly have experienced first hand (see Shaune’s website for their story and how you too can help).
September saw me spend 8 days in hospital after a major allergic reaction to penicillin (read about it here). Not exactly how I intended to start my Long Service Leave and the few weeks leading up to my big trip to Africa, but I am very good at throwing a spanner in the works of my best laid plans. This was probably the lowest part of my year and it has taken until mid December to really get past all the associated health issues I had as a result of this. But in all honesty, my problems are nothing compared to some. If this is the only major hiccup in my life during 2016, then I’ve had pretty good year in reality (at least that’s how I choose to look at it).
September wasn’t all bad. I became an aunty for the very first time after I got out of hospital. Here’s my “proud aunty bragging moment” with the pic of the day I met my new niece, just a few days before I left for Africa.
October – Oh my goodness! How on Earth do I sum up the month of October in just a short paragraph. I don’t think it’s even possible! I will give it my best shot…. October saw me heading to Africa for 3 weeks where I got to tick some BIG things off my bucket list (look out for a series of upcoming posts on Africa, what to wear in Africa and also the importance of bucket lists that are coming very soon!). I even got to celebrate my 40th birthday in Africa – truly memorable! Once in a lifetime opportunity and experience.
November – Wow! I don’t even remember this month very much as it was such a whirlwind. I was still recovering from a HUGE September and October and it’s the biggest one in the school calendar as there are many things to finalise and report cards to write. I don’t think I had time to breathe or sleep in there. So let’s just move on to December….
December. The final month of the year. This month, as life has settled down and school holidays have started, I’ve been able to focus and get back to the blog and to you, sistas. Some of you in the community have emailed in with questions, which have prompted blog posts. I’ve been able to get out and about and meet some of you. I’ve even been able to catch up with some of the girls in what I call my “blog squad” and strengthen some great friendships there. I’m feeling rather blessed and grateful with all these connections and they are something I will treasure as I didn’t expect to make such wonderful connections with people when I started this blog 13 months ago. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
So that’s the year in review, but let’s look forward to 2017. What does that look like for this sista? Well, I’ve been in planning mode for both the short term and long term. In the very short term over the summer, I’ve got some gorgeous outfits and swimwear to share with you. As I mentioned earlier, there is an upcoming blog series on Africa for you as well. In the longer term, all the good things you’ve come to love will continue. Monday Motivation, Wardrobe Wednesday, outfits, the “how to” and the “where to” on plus size fashion and beauty, well-being and body confidence posts, some competitions and much, much more!
But for now, my Christmas wish for you is to have a happy and safe holiday season surrounded by the ones you love doing the things that fill your heart with joy. Why don’t you tell me what you are doing for Christmas and New Year in the comments below? I’d love to hear all about it! Many blessings and see you in 2017!
Until then….. stay stylish, sistas!