5 Lessons I Learned in 2018 and a Fun Recap of the Year!

Are we ready for a fun recap and 5 lessons I learned in 2018?! I sure am! I feel like a robot and every other blogger saying “so much has happened in 2018, there were so many highs and lows”. So instead of just repeating what everyone in the social media world has said about last year, I wanted to share 5 lessons I learned then let the photos do the talking.

ONE // Time heals all wounds. I came full-force into 2018 fresh out of a breakup after my 2 year relationship unexpectedly ended. This was probably one of the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to me. The worst was that the first 6 months were awful and without going into to much detail a bit traumatic. Once summer rolled around, I was finally out of the post breakup blues and felt like my silly and fun self again.

There were a few more low points towards the end of the year but the best thing is that I really feel nothing but gratitude. Looking back I am so grateful for what I learned (like how to not be so passive and voice my opinion, that I love really well, not to sweat the small stuff and boys could not be more different than girls) I’m even more grateful to be out of a relationship that would have possibly made me unhappy in the long run. Really though, if you want to learn about yourself, just date someone, you will realize things about yourself you never ever knew.

Hopefully the next person I seriously date will be the person I’d potentially marry but who knows. Just in case your curious, it’s not looking like that’s anytime soon ha. But I guess you just never know what can happen.

My relationship taught me to really value what I desire and if I have to wait for someone who truly treasures me and see my worth, I’m willing to wait. However long that takes. If I can make it almost 30 years without being married, what’s another few gonna hurt? Gotta look for the positive in the longest wait ever. Am I right?!

TWO // Comparison is truly the thief of everything. I spent way to much time comparing myself to everyone, especially on darn Instagram. There’s so many different fashion bloggers out there – it’s hard not to measure their success, insane travel photos or their endless closets against yours.

Going into 2019, I have already made a vow that I want to be 100% me. That means just being my silly self on Instagram stories, writing more on here being transparent and really figuring out what makes me unique. I want to have an abundant mindset going into the new year knowing there’s enough room for us all and that I can congratulate and bless others even when I don’t see the success I want in the moment.

THREE // I can truly do anything (aka teach middle school). After I went blindly into my first year of teaching with no experience or background in teaching, I came out way stronger on the other side. Anyone remember when I first introduced myself to a student as, “Katie?”. HAHA

The first few months were horrendous and insanely hard, one because it was a huge adjustment and I was dealing with very difficult behavior problems and two because I was also trying to understand the loss of a relationship in probably one of the hardest seasons of my entire life.

No matter who I talked to, everyone told me just to survive but I honestly pushed myself so much, I thrived in every way possible. I’d do it all over again. Now anytime anything hard comes up job site, I honestly have no doubt I cannot accomplish it. “Oh, I don’t have those job skills…eh it can’t be any harder than teaching middle school.” I feel like it’s raised the ceiling on my work ethic and truly gave me the confidence to actually believe that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.

FOUR // Dreams do come true! In June I spend the entire month in Oahu, Hawaii and it legit was my childhood dream come true! For some reason, I have always wanted to go to the North Shore of Oahu and see the Pipeline. Mainly because the waves are insane but really because I wanted to see the crystal blue water every travel magazine raved about my entire life.

There was definitely fear before with lots of questions like, “Will I have to be alone for 30 days? (in paradise of course), “How will I pay for this trip?”, “Where will I stay and am I going to regret this decision?”.

It was truly everything I dreamed of and more. My expectations were high for the trip. I was not disappointed but I was shocked when I arrived on an island only to learn no one had central AC and it was much more rural than I imagined. Besides no AC and super old corroded everything, I was in heaven!

Beach and hiking was my agenda and I regret 0 of it!I’d recommend anyone go on an adventure of a lifetime! For 30 days straight I wore a swimsuit, no make up, ate my way through Hawaii, swam in crystal blue water every day,  lived like a local and had the time of my life.

Except that darn bus…I do not miss 5 hour bus rides around the island ha! You can read more about my Hawaii experience here… I really do need to create a full post dedicated to my thoughts and experiences there!

FIVE // Taking risks and trusting your instinct is worth it but may not work out exactly like you planned. I took so many risks in 2018. God told me to take risks, so I just fully went for it.

I quit my job, paid for a Mastermind, invested in two courses to help my blog growth with business and Pinterest, found a new church home after trying a bunch, put myself out there with my blog, joined a photography team, pitched myself to some brands (a fear I’ve had doing for a longggg time), went to Hawaii for a month and second shot a wedding to name a few.

There was lots of new. The hardest risk was resigning from my job. I 100% trusted my instincts and after taking the necessary tests to stay a teacher and not passing, I decided it was best to resign.

I really with there was something cool I could say here like, the moment my last paycheck stopped, I was offered a super amazing and creative fashion job, or I started my own clothing company and became a millionaire. Yeah…this is the part where taking risks has got me thinking, “it’s really only fun if you gain, not loose”.

With the risk of quitting my job, I lost my comfortable income and now I work the exact same job as a sub (minus lesson planning and grades) and make muchhhh less. I gained lots of freedom, became very humbled, valued what I wanted but with that came tons of stress…you know paying those bills and all with the salary of a part-time working college student.

I kind of feel like I’m still in the middle of the game called Risk. I haven’t lost but I haven’t gained what I hoped either. No matter what I’ve done to get a new job, God has just not opened those doors yet. With all the shut doors, I took the freedom I had with my time to throw myself into my blog and make it work but it’s just not making money yet.

So I guess I’m saying I took a specific risk by quitting my job and it didn’t work like I hoped. The exciting and scary part is that the world is at my fingertips. I can go in a completely new direction and really plan on thinking more out of the box for 2019. All the other risks I took I saw immediate results and I’m hoping to see even bigger fruit of my work in 2019.

Now it’s onto a recap of my year!!! I hope to look back at these in years past and see everything come full circle. I do remember Jan-May being very mundane because I was still teaching and had a super full schedule.


January was the official rebrand of blog and this was a huge success! Changing my name from Katie’s Kronicles to Sunshine Style has given me so much clarity in the direction I want to head with my brand. It was also the month I hit over 100 views on a blog post (not huge #’s by any means but it was a huge win for me!)

Randomly my friend Isaac called me one day to see if I could second shoot a wedding with him since his assistant cancelled very last minute. It was super fun and very much out of my comfort zone.

January really wasn’t that exciting. I spent most of my time doing work for my classroom. I do remember I was was feeling super proud and accomplished that I tacked my first semester of teaching and felt very prepared to take on the rest of the school year.

Other teaching highlights of Jan:

  • Started my second and final semester of teaching Culinary after an amazing month break
  • Bulk planned out my last 5 months of teaching including lesson plans, cooking details, buying all cooking and baking supplies, getting the classroom prepped
  • Had my students deep clean my classroom.
  • Got the gas stoves working in my classroom
  • Signed up and started studying for my general knowledge test (the test I did not pass twice) to stay a teacher.


I spent the majority of Feb studying for my General Knowledge teaching test. During the day I would work, then I’d come home and either workout or eat dinner then study for math and reading until I’d fall asleep. Rinse and repeat until March.

Being a teacher did have it’s perks. The only fun thing I did in Feb was go to Sea World with my teacher friend Julie because we both had free passes!


March was a much more exciting month! I cooked with my students for the first time, went to an Impractical Jokers show with my sister and parents and I was so excited there was only two months left of school.

I also signed up for a Mastermind to get more clarity on my blog, sent out my first newsletter and took my GK test at the end of the month.


By April I was feelin good! School was going great, the kids and I were finally liking each other, I go tot enjoy a week long Spring Break, visited my friend, celebrated my Birthday, and BOOKED MY TRIP TO HAWAII!

My Fav blog post from April: I wore a striped jumpsuit from Old Navy that was one of my best summer purchases.


May was an even more exciting month because it meant I was done with my first year of teaching! My students made emoji pillows for their final exams and they turned out so adorable!

I also had my Hawaii trip the next month, so my mind was mostly preoccupied with planning for it.

For the longest time I had been wanting to do a really fun local military style ropes course and finally got to do it with people from my gym! It was deff a highlight of my year and an answered prayer!

With an already busy month I decided to make it even more busy and visit my friend Erin in St. Pete. I ended up super sick and had to get a shot in my butt for the first time and missed 5 days of work. #whoops

Fav blog posts from May: My First time Wearing a Body Suit with cute J.Crew shorts


One word. HAWAII!!!!!!! The pictures tell all! I feel like I need to pinch myself because those photos don’t even look real! See my Oahu Travel Guide here with sooo many more photos! It was so fun having so many of you follow along on my adventures on Instagram.

This was also the same month I resigned from my teaching job two days before I left for my trip. I was feelin gooooooood!


Got back from Hawaii and then left for a family trip to Georgia a day later. I was still excited for the new possibilities about the future at this point. Hawaii gave me this confidence, boldness and kind of woke up my huge desire for adventure and taking risks. Basically I felt on top of the world, like I could do anything I wanted!


I spent tons of time looking for new jobs once I got back and re-adjusted to normal life after almost 6 full weeks of travel. Deep down I really thought I was going to find a new job right away. Mostly because my teaching paychecks stopped after July and also because I trusted that if I listened to my instincts, something else had to work out.

There were tons of interviews I went on, lots of job applications, phone calls with prospective jobs and lots of praying, trusting and hoping.

Also the month I realized I love traveling. It turns my soul on fire and I love adventures and exploring a place I have no clue about.


Once I realized my paycheck ran out and that no job opportunities were in sight, I had one back up option. To substitute teach. Soooo thankful that my principal told me to sign up just in case. Sept was the first time I stepped into a zillion classrooms as a sub.

This job (not even sure if I can call it that) is what saved by butt and allowed me to not live entirely off my savings. My thoughts towards subbing are love/hate. Love the freedom, hate the inconsistency of it, low pay and the fact that it’s painfully boring. I was really doubting all my decisions at this point.

Something fun that happened was that I shot some lifestlyle photos for Hello Apparel. I hope to do more shoots like this in 2019 because they are so much fun!


Spent lots of time at the beach, started getting super consistent sub jobs, went to two pumpkin patches and tripled my blog page views! Also landed my second brand collaboration with Anchors Aweigh Co. and shot their beautiful scarves that I posted on Instagram.


Spent most of my time subbing and working through the videos from a program I invested in for my blog.

Our Thanksgiving was quiet this year without my older sisters, nieces and nephew so I had the grand I idea to host a gingerbread making contest.

My sister and I made a Amusement Park and my parents made the log cabin which won by a mile. Seriously, thanks for everyone who voted on our contest!!!!


For Christmas my family and I traveled to North Carolina. My sister and my two nieces and nephew just moved there. I had never left town for Christmas so it was super exciting! Another dream of mine came true – I got to see snow for the first time ever! I was over the moon all day and it was sooo much fun!

A week before I left for my trip, I got to attend a fun local blogger meetup. All of these girls are bloggers, influencers, photographers or run their own creative business! This was my first event like this and I hope there’s even more planned for 2019!

I never thought I’d be a sub this long, so even though December was very fun, I put a lot of grunt work into applying for even more jobs on my break and being more aggressive about my approach. Hoping for some big changes in the new year

Thanks so much for following along and I cannot wait to take you along on all my adventures for 2019!

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  • Reply
    January 12, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    I love reading through your lessons from this year! Sounds like it was definitely marked by courage. You’ve done so much and stepped out of your comfort zone. I’m so in awe of all you’ve done and the new experiences you’ve created for yourself!

    • Reply
      Sunshine Style
      January 27, 2019 at 10:33 am

      Caitlin! Thank you tonssss!!! =) You are awesome! Can’t wait to share my story with your readers! =)

  • Reply
    A 2020 Recap and What I'm Grateful For - Sunshine Style
    January 6, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    […] your a new reader, you can check out my 2018 recap here and my 2019 recap here! Both include lessons I learned, reflections and helps you get to know me a […]

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