2018: A Year In Review

One of my favorite kind of blog posts to write are the weekend recaps, and year in reviews. If you’ve been following my blogging craze since 2014 you’ll know that I love loading these kind of posts with pictures and lots of words. I’ll try and contain myself this year and not use too many pictures. January.

I started 2018 with a BANG. I had just graduated from Utah State University with my bachelor’s degree in Sociology. I was over the moon to have finally graduated and was looking for a job. I was on fire and determined to change the world with my expensive piece of paper. I found a job as a support staff supervisor for a non-profit organization in Salt Lake that worked with women and children who were either homeless, or on the road to recovery from substance abuse. I was working anywhere from 40 to 52 hours a week. It was an exhausting job, but I loved it. As much as I loved it, I had to unexpectedly quit because of some ethical differences that I couldn’t stand by. I really started the year off with a BANG because I was jobless, and had bills to pay. I started looking for a new job and wasn’t having any luck because every job I applied for either wanted more experience, or told me that I was completely qualified but they hired another candidate.


If I were to describe February in one word it would be unexpected. My life flipped upside-down in an instant. I still was struggling to find a job, and was loosing my mind because nothing was turning out how I thought it was going to be after graduating college. To top off the month, I also ended things with the guy I had been seeing on and off for the past two and a half years. It was a very difficult decision but it’s on that I don’t regret.


March was full of tears, chocolate, and a cloud of doubt the size of Texas because of the breakup and job hunt. The beginning of the month, I still was not having any luck with finding a job. I was very frustrated, and heartbroken…so naturally, chocolate and Grey’s Anatomy were my best friends. Meanwhile, my real best friend, Sarah, took some updated photos of me [they turned out amazing and you can check out her on Instagram @sarahsorensonphotography ] and gave me the best advice: Just embrace the good, the bad, and one day the right guy will come. Just don’t let it get to you. Live your life. Thankfully, by the end of the month I found a job at Verizon Wireless. It wasn’t my dream job, but it was a job nonetheless.


April is one of my favorite months of the year (and it’s not just because it’s my birthday month!). I love the weather, and how spring is in the air! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year (for the record, I hate the snow and can’t figure out why I still live in Utah). April was full of birthday celebrations, baseball games, a baby shower for one of my closet friends that lives in Washington, and the start of training for my new job at Verizon.


May was a very busy month. I was still working at Verizon full-time, and trying to get used to my unusual hours (11 am to 7 pm) during the week days. I attended my sister’s high school graduation, and helped her get ready for her Roaring 20’s Prom. I also attended some baseball games that my little brother played. It was a good month despite the weird work schedule.


June was a fantastic month. I saw my two best friends that I’ve known since I was eight. We try to get together as often as we can but two of us live on the opposite sides of the state, and the other lives in Washington DC so it can be tricky. Katie and Jessica are certainly my two best friends and known me better than I know myself sometimes. I’m so grateful for their friendship. My cousin, Bailey, also got married to the greatest guy! It was so much fun helping her with her wedding day craziness and seeing her so happy. I also started looking for a new job because I really hated mine (turns out I’m not much of a desk-phone-job kind of person).


July consisted of concerts, fireworks, job hunting, movies, Jamba Juice, and camping. I continued to still look for a job because I started getting to the point where I dreaded going to work. I saw Keith Urban with my other best friend Ashlee, and sister. He sounded AMAZING live! We all had so much fun singing and dancing at his concert–it was also so good running into my good friend Amanda from my Snow College days. I also saw my other best friend (sheesh, I have a lot of close friends!) Alyse! She had just welcomed her newest little boy into the world. So, we naturally celebrated by going and seeing the newest Incredibles II movie. It was excellent!

Also, my family celebrated the 4th of July with watching fireworks from the Oquirrh Mountain temple hill and went camping for the 24th of July. We went camping with some of our good friends from our Eagle Mountain days. Between the 4th and 24th my mom had an emergency surgery on her gallbladder. Thankfully, everything went smoothly and she recovered just fine. . . . Like I said, July was insane.


The job hunt continued into August. I was feeling pretty discouraged that I wasn’t in a job that I loved. In the very-paraphrased words of Loralie Gilmore, all of my hopes and dreams of what college graduation was going to bring were starting to get crushed. I was interviewing job, after job and was not having any luck finding a new one. Everyone said that I had the qualifications but because I lacked experience other candidates beat me. Talk about frustrating. August also brought a bittter-sweet goodbye. My best friend Ashlee left for grad school in Brussels. We went out to breakfast one morning before I had to go to work. We always joke that we do better at keeping up with each other when she’s on the other side of the world (Ashlee has traveled all over the place). But this time, we’ve definitely sucked at it. So, Ash if you’re reading this. . . HI!!!


September was the hardest month of the year. Despite all of the challenges that I had with my job search, September brought a lot of sorrow. The month started off really good. I saw the Dan + Shay concert with my best friend Sarah and Heidie, with Sarah’s sister-in-law. We had a blast and it was definitely the best concert that I have ever been to. I still wasn’t having any luck with the job search and I was fed-up with my current job. Then my grandpa passed away. My grandpa lived in Tennessee with my grandma and the rest of my family.

Our plan was to drive out to Tennessee and to spend a few days with my grandma, and then make our way to our motherland of Wisconsin which is where my extended family is at. I didn’t have a lot of time-off left at work due to the camping, and emergency surgery; and only got five days of bereavement. I needed an extra two days off so I could attend the funeral, and my supervisor did absolutely everything she could to help me. But, unfortunately, I did not get the two days. Ultimately it came down to two things: I could go back to work at a job that I hated and knew I wouldn’t be at forever; and miss the funeral which is something I would regret for the rest of my life OR I could be written up for going over my vacation time by 16 hours and attend the funeral.

Obviously, I attended the funeral and took the write-up. My mom surprised me and found a cheap flight home the morning after the funeral. This allowed me to go back to work and avoided any additional warnings thatI was going to be facing when I returned—I was literally a warning away from being suspended because of the vacation issues. But it was worth it. I met my grandpa’s side of the family that I had only ever heard stories about. I met my great aunts and uncles, and formed friendships that I’m going to have for the rest of my life. I also heard so many stories about my grandpa’s life that I didn’t know about or hadn’t heard in a really long time. It was so good being with my people during a very difficult time.


Things started to brighten up immensely in October. After being back for about two weeks from Wisconsin, I was offered a salaried position as a full-time program manager at a facility that works with adults who have disabilities. I LOVE my job. It’s been one of the biggest blessings of this year. October also brought another graduation. My step-dad, Joe, graduated with his undergraduate degree in Business Administration (or something like that). He has worked so hard on this degree. All of the countless nights that he spent doing homework, and studying finally paid off for him. Also, if you didn’t know Argosy University is where he and my mom met–it’s pretty great place, if you ask me! I also met up with my Beachbody team and met super-trainer Chris Downing. He’s amazing. I’m very excited and blessed to be on this Beachbody team. Health-wise, it’s been a challenging year. I’ve spent most of the year trying to loose some weight that I put on from a medication last summer to manage Rheumatoid Arthritis. Clearly, it hasn’t been very successful. But since I have stopped the medication, I’ve lost 10 lbs. Yay!


Throughout November, I continued to get back onto the fitness journey wagon and I am very excited about returning to my skinny jeans in the next couple of months. November was full of Thanksgiving—and not just because of the food. I found myself extremely grateful to be surrounded by friends and family that put up with my bad attitude that lasted most of the year, and humbled to know that I can still save all the children from world hunger (thank you new job!). I also saw the second installment of the Fantastic Beasts series with my family. It was a great movie, although I still love Harry, Ron, and Hermione more.


December was fantastic! I saw the lights at Temple Square with some friends, started getting back into dating, and saw my two best friends Katie and Jessica again. December has been full of challenges that have come with my new job (still love my job though!), and wonderful memories with friends and family. I was able to attend the annual Brand family Christmas party, and catch up with so many people that I love so dearly.

Overall, 2018 was full of ups, and downs. It was full of so many unexpected challenges and opportunities that stretched me and helped me grow into a better person. I’m so grateful for the challenges that I faced this year because I learned that despite whatever my circumstance may be I still have a say in my own happiness (only took me 26 years to figure that one out . . .). I’m excited to see what 2019 will bring, and hope that it will be full of light, love, and laughter. Peace out, 2018!

XO Sam

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