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I'm a little late, but happy New Year! Everyone usually recaps their year before the start of the new one, but I'm a little rebellious. Kidding. I'm actually just incredibly lazy and fall asleep by 10 on weekdays. Regardless, I wanted to recap 2016 and put down in writing what I want to achieve in 2017. 

Wearing: Rag & Bone Jeans | Veda Leather Jacket | Y-3 Honja Sneakers | Quay Sunglasses | Fendi 2Jours Bag

Wearing: Rag & Bone Jeans | Veda Leather Jacket | Y-3 Honja Sneakers | Quay Sunglasses | Fendi 2Jours Bag

2016 was a rough year for me. I don't talk about my problems in detail on social media (or to too many people, really) and nothing major happened in my life that made it particularly difficult. Rather, there was an abundance of tiny things that occurred quite frequently that made staying positive incredibly difficult. 

In Chinese culture, we believe that when it's your 本命年 (Ben Ming Nian – your Zodiac year), it's actually unlucky. I know, that sounds completely backwards to Western culture where when it's your something, it should mean you have all the luck in the world. If you notice in all of my pictures this past year, I've had a red string around my wrist and from a certain month on, I've had a string of reddish beads with gold around my neck. These are both ways to ward off bad luck – in the same realm of belief of the mati in Greek culture or the hamsa.

So, all my commuting issues, arguments, and general daily struggles, I've blamed on my 本命年 – I know, that sounds completely and utterly insane. But even for the non-supersitious in Chinese families (like my father,) the red string is encouraged to be worn throughout your 本命年. And as much as I don't want to believe in these things, I stumbled upon a "find out what the year has in store for your Chinese Zodiac year" book right before the Lunar New Year last year; and one of the things that stood out to me was that the last six months of my year were supposed to be exponentially better than the first six months. Well... that was accurate for the most part. 

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So looking past 2016 and all the bad & negative, I want to focus on moving forward from all the bad juju. Unfortunately, because Nicholas and I are 11 years apart... well, 2017's Lunar Year is his 本命年. Staying positive on my end will really help us get through this year of wedding planning (at least, I think it will!)

As far as 2017 goes, I have really incredible things to look forward to this year. The biggest thing being our big day in November. Our wedding is coming together smoothly and I couldn't ask for a better team of people to be on our side helping get #HappilyEverArvanitis together. 

For me, myself and I, I really want to focus on a couple things this year:

  • Focusing and giving this blog and my personal brand more attention. I need to stop using the excuse of "not having time" because as much as this blog is small, I feel like it's mighty. I love writing and even if there are only a couple hundred people reading, it's more than I could ask for.
  • On that note, giving myself more "me" time. I know it doesn't seem like I don't give myself any time to do what I love considering my entire feed is basically pictures of myself (haha!) But in 2017, I want to give myself more time to meditate, write, work out, or just do things I enjoy doing. I think self-love is SO important and if you're not 100%, you can't give to others. 
  • Being more present. This sounds INSANE considering that I write a blog AND also manage social media strategy and communities in the real world for two very real brands. But in the mornings now, I don't reach for my phone first thing and I try to stay off the phone before I go to sleep. I've read that it's important to give yourself time in the mornings – not those emails, Facebook posts and cat videos that can wait until later.
  • Not losing focus of what our wedding is really about. I think during wedding planning, we can all get lost in the floral, the dress, the suits, the wedding party, and the opinions of everyone else. I've definitely had times where I've lost sight of what is most important: the two of us. Luckily, I have some great people that ground me and remind me often. 
  • Staying positive. As difficult as this may be sometimes, especially in today's world, I really believe in the power of positive thinking and love. It's important to give love and show it as often as possible, not just to your inner circle but to everyone. You get back what you put out. 
risa xu soho fur vest outfit y-3 studded high top honja

If you had a great 2016, then I hope you have an even more eventful, love-filled, joyous 2017. If you had a 2016 like mine, turn your back on the bad juju and I wish you a better 2017, whatever your definition of that may be.

If you're still reading this, thank you. This became much longer than I intended.

Thank you for sticking along with me during 2016 and I'm looking forward to sharing more of my Disney adventures, wedding planning and general shenanigans with all of you this year.

OOTD, PersonalRisa Xuootd