So Long 2017! Reader Favorites and Special Memories!

Well guys. This is it. The year is coming to a close (say what?!) and in less than 24 hours we will be kissing 2017 goodbye while kissing someone we love when the ball drops. 2017 was such a crazy year. We traveled, we launched a new website, we lost loved ones … when I say this year was jam packed full of ups and downs, that’s a tremendous understatement.

Best of 2017 The Blissful Elefante

And so, to celebrate the start of 2018 I wanted to take a moment to look back on your favorite posts in 2017 as a reader, and my favorite moments of 2017 as the writer.

Let’s begin, starting with your favorite posts:

1

You watched us build a custom breakfast nook from start to finish. This project was so special to me as a minimalist family because I wanted one central location where homework could be done, meals could be had, and more!

Breakfast Nook Tara Creel

Breakfast Nook Tara Creel

Breakfast Nook Tara Creel

2

After a year of back and forth, failed contracts, misunderstandings, and a lot of time and money spent, I was finally able to launch this new website, The Blissful Elefante. This is a passion project that I put so much of my heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into and your support on the announcement post has been incredible! You got to read about the reason behind the name, my mission statement, and where I plan to go with this website. This is by far my favorite post of the year and I am thrilled that so many of you stopped to read it.

The Blissful Elefante Logo

The Blissful Elefante Writefully Simple

3

My posts regarding minimalism received a lot of traffic this year with the leader being this post about living a minimalist lifestyle with children. My love for an intentional lifestyle actually stemmed from this topic. I once was that mom who had so much shame and guilt due to the amount of time I spent managing a home as opposed to spending time with my family. Once I realized there was a way out of those feelings, I felt pulled to help other mothers experience the freedom that I felt after adopting a minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalism with Children Tara Creel Minimalism with Children Tara Creel

4

As I said before, my posts regarding minimalism really racked up the views, including this one about what I gave up as a minimalist! I love that so many people are interested in the lifestyle and are ready to move towards intention living (aka freedom!) I’ve said it so many times on the blog, but minimalism isn’t about having nothing. It’s about only surrounding yourself with things that bring you some kind of value and these 6 items weren’t providing value in my own life.

What I Gave up for Minimalism Tara Creel What I gave up for Minimalism The Blissful Elefante

5

And finally, second to my Blissful Elefante announcement post, sharing a tour of our minimalist bedroom was a favorite moment of mine. Our bedroom is truly my sanctuary. From the colors, to the materials, to my love of books … I couldn’t ask for a more perfect space. It was important to me that I create a space that appealed to both myself and my husband; something with contrast and masculinity. Since you guys loved this tour so much I’m excited to bring you into other parts of our home!

Minimalist Bedroom Tara Creel Minimalist Bedroom The Blissful Elefante Minimalist Bedroom Decor The Blissful Elefante

Now onto my favorite moments of 2017!

1

We traveled more this year than ever before. Our very first trip was to Houston, Texas for a friend’s wedding. To be perfectly honest with you, of all of the places we have been, Houston is probably my least favorite just in terms of local cuisine, things to do, etc. (hence why there was no post to the blog.) Despite that, it was one of the most intimate trips between my husband and I. We spent a lot of much needed one-on-one time going into a busy year.

Houston Texas Water Wall The Blissful Elefante

2

The next trip we took was to Colorado for my sister in law’s wedding. Contrasting Houston, I quickly became obsessed with Colorado. The activities, the scenery, the food … Colorado is a place I could see us moving to should we desire a change in scenery and pace. We spent most of our days rock climbing. This trip was special because it was the first time the babies participated. I love a vacation where we can relax and luxuriate, but also seek out adventure! This is another trip that doesn’t have an associated blog post – not because there isn’t enough content, but because there’s too much. I have so many beautiful photos to sift through!

Rock Climbing in Colorado The Blissful ElefanteColorado Scenery The Blissful Elefante

3

Back in July we took our third trip as a family to Leon, Nicaragua. My husband was born and raised in Nicaragua and it has quickly become one of my favorite places on the planet. But this time the trip was even more rewarding because I got to bring my mom! As someone with an extreme fear of heights, my mother has never traveled anywhere that required going over a bridge or getting on a plane. We finally convinced her that she deserved to start truly living life and we got her on a plane to Nicaragua. To see someone fall in love with your little slice of Heaven on Earth.. it’s all the more exciting! She loved it so much she’s considering retiring in the country. To add to my glee, I had the opportunity to visit a local organization that provides poverty stricken families a place for their children to receive educational resources, friendship, food, and fun! For some of these children, this is the only meal they eat in a day. We were able to meet the woman in charge and set up communication to begin planning for a project together in the future. I hope 2018 is the year where I am able to be more hands on and share the experience with you!

Leon Nicaragua Cathedral The Blissful Elefante

4

Following our family trip to Nicaragua, my husband and I took an intimate vacation together to Ambergris Caye, Belize. We stayed in a top rated hotel where we were treated like kings and queens, we ate lots of food, swam with sharks, turtles, and sting rays; and snorkeled until our skin pruned up. On this trip we visited a restaurant that is known for people writing all over the tables, stools, and walls with a sharpie marker. This was the first time I “publicly” shared the domain for the new blog… before anyone, anywhere else knew anything about it. It felt like such a release to push my passion project out into the world without all of the pressure of launch date.

Ambergris Caye Belize The Blissful Elefante Grand Caribe Ambergris Caye Belize The Blissful Elefante Ambergris Caye Belize The Blissful Elefante

5

In February I launched my 30 Day Minimalism Challenge! It’s not perfect and I am already itching to change it up and make it more user friendly, but the message remains the same: We’re getting rid of the excess to focus on things that bring us joy! This challenge is another project that I worked really hard on so it felt refreshing to finally put it into my reader’s hands.

 30 Day Minimalism Challenge The Blissful Elefante

5

While there are 20 other things I could share as a 2017 highlight, I’ll leave it with this. After suffering from a multitude of health issues, feeling out of control and not like myself, I had a strong desire for change. I started the process of going blonde! I know this may seem like a little thing to most, but when you feel like your health is completely out of your hands, every little thing that gives you even one ounce of control feels dynamic.

Ice Blonde Hair The Blissful Elefante

Despite issues with my health, 2017 was an amazing year! We traveled to lots of different places, experienced a lot of firsts with our family, and made massive progress with our long term goals. 2018 has a lot to live up to. My hope is that 2018 is the year that I can declare I am healthier than I’ve ever been, allowing me to work harder and bring an insane amount of value to my readers! I’m excited to see what the future as in store for us. Until next time, I hope you have a beautiful finish to the year and I will see you in 2018!

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