Friday, December 30, 2016

The stories we all talked about in 2016

How does one even begin to describe 2016. The world definitely got shaken up a little, or a lot. Lets take some time to take a walk down (recent) memory lane and recap the events and themes that gripped 2016. Shall we?

Before we begin, I always add that these are the events that stood out to me. I'm an American who consumes primarily American news. I'm sure there are stories you'd add or even remove if this were your list. Let's talk about those in the comments below! Until then, please reflect with me on the biggest stories of 2016. 

My 2016 in a nutshell - Parts 3 and 4

I already covered parts 1 and 2 on the blog. Parts 3 and 4 feel so recent. The second half of 2016 flew! I started my 2nd year of teaching (score)! And boy, everything feels so much easier this time around. I enjoyed the best teacher summer anyone could ask for by taking a road trip across the country and spending tons of time at the lake (score)! Finally, Chris and I spent our first Christmas together with our own tree and everything (score)!

Below is a month by month break down, illustrated by Instagram.


July was my first full month off of school, but it didn't slow down any. We moved from Hyde Park to Streeterville and took a massive road trip across the country.

We started July at our buddy's lake house. What a perfect place to spend 4th of July!

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

Long story short, we embarked on an impromptu road trip after 4th of July weekend. That road trip took us from Chicago to Posey Lake to Ohio to DC to Philadelphia to Hershey to Pittsburg to Ann Arbor back to Chicago. To top it off, we had just moved into our apartment before we left and came home to an unpacked apartment. Phew!

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My 2016 in a nutshell - Parts 1 and 2

What a year! 2016 has been a whirlwind to say the least. Though 2016 wasn't so kind to us politically and culturally, it is still important to reflect on your own personal accomplishments, landmarks, and growth throughout the year. So what happened in the winter and spring of 2016? Well, I finished my first year of teaching (score)! Chris moved to Chicago, and we moved in together (score)! My friendships here blossomed (score)!

Below is a month by month breakdown for the first 6 months of 2016.


I started off the year in the best way possible - with a trip to Disney World! I had never been, and Chris surprised me with a trip for Christmas. Disney World was just as magical (if not more magical) than everyone said it would be. Now, I can't stop thinking about when I can return!

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

A photo posted by Heather Otto (@xoheatherotto) on

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The 5 brands that you should be supporting RIGHT NOW

As I grow older, I find it more important to truly put my money where my mouth (or heart) is and support brands that align with my values. Let's be honest, I love "supporting brands" AKA "shopping," so having the opportunity to purchase something that I truly want and engage with a brand that I support is one of my favorite things. Just the other day, I literally said to Chris - "I love them. I'll give them money any day!" By carefully selecting the brands that we support, we truly can have a measurable impact on the world around us.

So what are the brands that I support? Below are my top 5.

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