TCP

My 2014 Favorites

I love doing my favorite things recaps every year. I normally do a top 10 of things, but I’ve been trying to put one together for this year… and it’s a little different than year’s past. 2014 was too great. This post is definitely going to turn into a long ramble of sorts. 
When I was in school, I felt like my years were really quite bogged down. Filled with stress and monotonous day to day busy work, homework, projects, and exams. In a way the years seemed to stretch on forever and with each passing year it moved a little quicker. Now… I don’t really know. In a sense, I feel like this is the first year where I truly feel like I lived a FULL year. Every day was well spent, whether it was working, traveling, or relaxing! I’m excited to see what 2015 will bring.
1. The College Prepster


I quit my job last fall, but this was the first full year of blogging full time. It started as a three-month experiment and hasn’t been without its problems, but I really really loved this year. I finally feel comfortable working from home and I’ve just found a good little rhythm. I’ve mentioned it on here before, but doing The College Prepster full time has allowed me to have a life. Before it was something that, I did because I loved it, but had other priorities ahead of it: school and my job. Now I can do what I love… and have time for everything else! Sleeping seven or eight hours versus last year’s three/four is enough to cheer about! Because it’s now my full time (dream) job, I also feel like I can separate myself from it a bit which has helped reduce a lot of anxiety I didn’t even realize was there before. The College Prepster is my job, but it’s not my life. That’s a huge weight off my shoulders. The fact that I LOVE it is icing on the cake (and really the reason why I do it at all!).

2014 brought some amazing things for The College Prepster:

– My blog “goal” for the year was to work with photographers to create more– and better– style content. I really love the content I produced and it absolutely made a great impact on readership and engagement as well as the type of campaigns I was asked to be a part of.

The College Prepster app is doing really well in the app store. This has been such a fun project to work on. Big thank you to everyone who downloaded from the beginning. I always pass along feedback and suggestions that I receive to make the app even better with every iteration.

Working with Teen Vogue was one of the most exciting things for me. It’s always been a bucket list item for me. I LOVE the Teen Vogue team and I’m so proud that I had a chance to work with them this year.

– I’m fully set up with attorneys, accountants, and (!!!) management. Cue the hallelujah chorus. The management component was something that I absolutely did not anticipate at the beginning of the year. By June, The College Prepster had grown in a way that I knew I would need some kind of help, I just didn’t know in what way. I struggled a bit through the summer and actually had a little breakdown that pushed me over the edge of getting by okay and really needing help. There are a handful of agencies out there that represent bloggers, but it was important to me to to find someone who would really take TCP’s best interest into consideration in a BIG way, beyond simply “the blog.” Typical blogger agencies “tier” and categorize bloggers and give opportunities based on those tiers/categories, which is why you see weird campaigns go live on a bunch of blogs at the same time. I did not want that!!! This 2014 change will definitely make a big impact come 2015.

2. Traveling


I hit the ground running last year with travels. I actually think I burned out a bit with all the traveling and ended up not leaving Manhattan the entire summer! Sheesh… so many places!

– Scotland and England with Barbour
Washington, DC for a Meet and Greet
Dominican Republic with my family
Buffalo, NY for a Meet and Greet
Newport, RI with Teen Vogue/Sperry
Dallas, TX for a blog conference
Tampa, FL to surprise my sister for her college graduation
Long Island to visit our friends Howie, Jana, and Lilly
Princeton for a quick road trip
Back to Long Island to see the Gujas again
Cape May, NJ for a mini vacation
Charleston, SC with a group of bloggers
Boston, MA for a Meet and Greet, visit with friends, and a baby shower
Tampa, FL for Thanksgiving
Ludlow, VT for a spontaneous ski trip
Tampa, FL for Christmas

I mean… is that a good year of travel or what!? 

3. Garrett

This was such a great year with Garrett by my side. I never really pictured myself as the girlfriend type. My thirteen year plan that I came up with when I was a senior at college didn’t have a boyfriend in it at all… It’s crazy how quickly someone can become your best friend.

I love that everything Garrett and I do together feels like an adventure, whether we’re heading downtown for our favorite French fries or heading out of town for a trip or venturing through all nine seasons of The Office. Gar pushes me out of my comfort zone and still makes me feel comfortable while doing it.

Honestly, I have one million things I want to say and I just don’t even know where to begin. It’s just been a really, really great year. I’m thankful, happy, and completely in love.

4. Teddy


A whole year with the cutest puppy. He was cleared to walk the sidewalks of the city the first week of 2014 and it’s only gone up since then. I’m convinced he’s the best dog in the world. He gets cuter and cuter every day and is a bright spot in my life. I never in a million years would have guessed how much of a dog person I would become. Going off-leash in Central Park has to be one of the most fun things in the world to watch. Being a dog owner is not always easy, but at the end of the day it’s so worth it.
5. Trying new things

I have tried so many new things this year! I was trying to put together a list of everything, but I know I left things off. I’m very competitive, so I tend to hate things that I might not be good at. In the past, I wouldn’t even try something new out of fear of “being bad at it.” This year, I gave so many things the ole Girl Scout try… regardless of whether I was good or bad. The funny thing is that I was actually pretty terrible at everything, yet had the BEST times. Windsurfing (fell so many times), running a 5k (so slow), pottery (I made a mushy bowl), skiing (pizza’d the whole mountain), and more.

6. New York City


I have a serious love/hate relationship with this city going on right now. I’ve come to the conclusion that I definitely want to leave the city when my lease is up in September. It’s a difficult place to live and if you don’t completely love it, it’s hard to stick with it. It wears on you. Living in NYC is different than it is in movies or on Instagram. For every convenient thing there’s an equally inconvenient thing.

But 2014 was a great year in NYC. Not having to commute to work every morning made my time in the city a lot more fun. I had energy to explore and venture on the weekends, whereas before I would have wanted to just relax on my couch in my apartment. Now I work from home and can’t wait to get out and explore. We’ll see what next year will bring…

7. Friends

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I’ve never believed this saying more. This year, I’ve been focusing on surrounding myself with the absolute best of the best. The friends who love me for me. The friends who inspire me in everything they do. And the friends who are genuinely good people. I’ve had friends this year who quit their jobs to pursue their dreams, gave birth to beautiful babies, and worked incredibly hard to achieve huge accomplishments. Every day I am inspired by them and strive to be as great of a friend to them as they are to me.

I know I’m a better person because of our friendships. For better or for worse, a lot of my friends live far away, but it’s easy to stay in touch when you love them that much. We’ve been emailing and texting and whenever we happen to be in the same city, there is NO QUESTION that we will be be catching up… even if it means an early morning coffee or late night dinner. And when we do get together? We always pick up right where we left off.

8. Cooking

This might just fall under the most random discovery of the year, but I have really taken to cooking dinner! I used to hate it. I’ve always loved baking, but cooking seemed like too much trouble. Now I love researching recipes online, watching Youtube videos to figure out how to do something, and even (gasp) grocery shopping. Who would have thought?

I tried to get into cooking a few times throughout the year, but it seems to finally be sticking. I definitely want to keep experimenting and learning more in the kitchen. (Maybe when I move in September, a normal sized oven and refrigerator will be in the picture.)

9. Skincare


This is a little bit of a strange addition to the post, but my skin has been an issue for me since middle school. I’ve tried everything growing up and it always seemed more like a battle than anything else. Turning 25 made me realize that I should probably be taking better care of my skin. I’ve always been a sunscreen-every-day kind of girl, but I definitely kicked it up a notch this year. I really wanted to establish a “routine” and I think I accomplished that. It takes a few extra minutes, but in my opinion, it’s completely worth it. My skin feels totally different… and the actual routine is a great way to unwind at night and get ready for the day in the morning. This is the first year where my skin has been under control. I still get the occasional stress breakout, but it’s nowhere near the severity it was in the past. I alternate between my Clarisonic and this sponge: gentle exfoliation and lots of moisturizing. (Plus frequent facials!)

Fresh Cleanser + Fresh Toner + Fresh Serum + Fresh Moisturizer (day) and face cream (night)

10. ME. 

So… I’ve talked about a lot of things and people in this post. The major component that makes it all work (the friendships, having a puppy, being in a relationship) is me. This has been the happiest year, not because of circumstance, but because of choice. I’ve been choosing, even if it’s difficult, to be happy.

Some of my Type A, control freak tendencies are harder to shake than others. However, I have been making a great effort to push myself out of my comfort zone, try new things, take time for myself, relax a bit, and enjoy the moment. I have to say, I feel like a different person, in an incredible way. I imagine it’s like the cliche about needing a good foundation. When my relationship with myself is good, all of my relationships (with friends, with family, with Garrett) are good. A romantic relationship won’t make you feel better. Having friends won’t make your life all of a sudden better. But if you work on the relationship you have with yourself, the other relationships can be built on that foundation.

It’s been a good year indeed. Happy New Year’s Eve 🙂


xoxo

PS Here are my favorites from: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

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18 Comments

Tori Moore

These are some of my favorite posts of yours to read. I'm so glad you're so happy, and I cant wait to see where TCP takes you in the future!! Happy new year!

Tori

Reply
Sally Sanderson

I like your idea about cooking. Many people regard baking or making deserts to be for fun, while cooking is something obligatory, and it is so great when the one is able to feel the taste of cookery. Back at school I even used homework help online services, like Homework-desk.com, so that I can have more time for the kitchen. 🙂

Reply
Brianna Kolota

Thank you for writing this post, which made me reflect on and appreciate my whirlwind of a year . . . the good and the bad! I can't wait to read about your adventures in 2015! 🙂

Reply
Alyssa J Freitas

Great, reflective post, as usual! Sometimes I feel as though this type of post is overdone and not original, but the way you broke it down is fresh and completely you. I'm excited to see how life out of the city will be for you! Happy New Year

Alyssa J Freitas

Reply
Gaby

Carly, this is officially my favorite post. I am so glad to see how you've grown throughout this year, and I'm so glad to have followed you along the way. Thank you for being such a constant role model in my life, haha even if I haven't met you (yet). Have a Happy New Year, and I look forward to what this new year will bring!

xoxo
Gaby

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livinginsteil.com

Congratulations on all of your success this year! What a great post to close out the year with. I'm happy to hear that you are enjoying cooking – it's something I'm trying to work on in the New Year and I really hope it sticks for me. I hope you have a happy and healthy 2015!

http://www.livinginsteil.com
Vanessa

Reply
Shannon Falzon

I have been following the blog since my freshman year of college, and having graduated in May it never ceases to amaze me how much I can relate to what you're going through.

Thank you for continuously inspiring your readers and I cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store for you!

Reply
Maria Fernanda

Great post Carly! I wish you all the best in this new year. I have been reading your blog for a couple of years now, but it's my first time commenting. Your blog has inspired me a lot. Sending you love from Puerto Rico.

Reply
Amy DeSalvo

Hi Carly! I would love a post about how you taught your pup to play outside without his leash – I have a 5 month old maltipoo and would love some tips! 🙂

Reply
Natalie

I love this list! I think it really celebrates what's important in life and not just material things (although those are great too).

Natalie
pugsandpink.weebly.com

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