This year seriously went by so fast. I know people say that every year, but it’s honestly crazy to think about how much happened this year. 2017 had some really high highs and some really low lows, but it definitely made me stronger, better, and more confident in my abilities. I am really looking forward to 2018. Not only is 8 my lucky number, but I can just feel the blessings that God has in store for me this year. I honestly haven’t felt this positive about a new year in a really long time. I’m looking forward to all of the new opportunities, places, people, and lessons that 2018 has for me.
But, before I jump into this new chapter of my life, I would like to share some of my favorite moments from the past year. I know that 2017 was a really difficult time politically and mentally for so many people (including myself) and at times it felt like “wtf if happening in the world” but, that should only make us appreciate the good times even more and keep striving and fighting for a better future. I personally had one of the hardest years of my life, but that also means that I overcame some of my biggest challenges and I grew tremendously as a result. I still have a lot more growing to do, but I will carry a lot these lessons with me for the rest of my life.
Here are all of the highlights of my year. Thank you to every single person who was part of my life in 2017 and I look forward to the memories we’ll make in 2018!
Holiday Travels & Turning 23
Last January was a very busy month for me. I brought in the new year with my friends Kailena and Bianca in Chicago. We had a really great time and it was the first successful New Years I had in a while. After Chicago, I went to New York City with my graduate program. That trip was amazing! I stayed at The New Yorker Hotel, saw three shows on Broadway (including Hamilton), I networked, ate a ton of great food, and saw some incredible art. I also turned 23 in 2017 and accomplished a lot of my goals.
Welcome to New York
After dipping my toes into the big city for my graduate program trip, I ended up getting an internship at NYLON Magazine! It was my first magazine internship and it was at my favorite publication — so basically a dream come true. I ended up commuting between NYC and Syracuse (where I lived for grad school) a couple days every single week. It was exhausting, but worth it!
In February, I received my first ever invite to New York Fashion Week! I attended the Yuna Yang Fall/Winter 2017 show. It was amazing and I got some great street fashion shots as well. Check out this article I wrote about how important it was for me to make it to NYFW.
Building My Network
Not only did I get to develop my skills with all of my friends at Syracuse and get to witness the bts action at NYLON (thank you Sydney Gore and Jenna Igneri), but I also got to meet other amazing journalists who are some of the best at what they do. I spent the day with Robin Givhan, fashion critic for the Washington Post; I had lunch with Raquel Laneri, arts and entertainment reporter for The New York Post; I met Lauren Chan; former plus size model and fashion features editor at Glamour Magazine; I kept in contact with Gerilyn Manago, former social media editor of Allure Magazine; I Skyped with Phillip Picardi, digital editorial director of Teen Vogue; I had the pleasure of working with Tyler McCall, deputy editor at Fashionista; I took a class by Matt Zoller Seitz, editor, critic, and filmmaker; I took a class by Malena Higuera, general manager of Dermablend; I’ve been able to work alongside Jessica Torres, one of my favorite body positive fashion bloggers and fashion producer at Revelist, I’ve learned a ton from my boss Lauren Gordon, senior lifestyle and entertainment editor at CafeMom, and so much more!
In May, I graduated with my master’s degree in arts journalism from the best journalism school in the country! I had an amazing time in Syracuse and I made so many lifelong friends! I’m truly grateful for everything I learned during my year in Syracuse.
Spoleto Festival USA
To finish up my program, we reported on the Spoleto Festival USA for three weeks in Charleston, S.C. I saw a lot of great shows, ate delicious food, and went to the beach with my friends. I also published multiple articles at the Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper, The Post and Courier. It was an incredible way to end grad school.
Moving To The Big Apple
After Syracuse I went straight to NYC! One of my biggest goals was achieved, but it was not easy. I hadn’t secured a job yet, but I knew I had to do it. I was lucky enough to move there with my best friend Kailena and I don’t know what I would do without her on this journey. In only six months I have moved apartments twice and moved rooms three times, I have struggled financially, and I have even questioned by career path a few times. But, I pushed through and I know that I will keep progressing. New York will eat you alive if you let it, but I’m determined to keep pushing and make it work — and I know it will.
I’m A Real Journalist
I got my first full-time paid position right after I moved to NYC (thank God). Since July, I’ve been the lifestyle and entertainment intern for CafeMom. I have a great boss, the sweetest coworkers, and I’ve been able to write some awesome stories. I have also helped produce a lot of video content that has gotten over 6 million views! I also became a paid freelancer for NYLON and Fashionista, two of my favorite publications of all time. I’m so proud of the work I’ve done and I can’t wait to develop more ideas and projects in the new year!
While getting to know the city, I saw so many more incredible art and fashion exhibits and ate at more fantastic restaurants than I ever have in my life. In addition to exploring NYC (including attending CurlFest) and going to Charleston for the first time last year, I also spent a weekend in Boston.
My First Comedy Show
I saw my first comedy show this year and it was such a fun experience. Me, Kailena, and my other good friend Brianna saw Tiffany Haddish at Carolines on Broadway. I LOVED Tiffany in the movie Girl’s Trip and she was just as hilarious doing standup. We got to sit right up front and it was so cool to be right there, a few feet away from her. I really like her and I’m probably going to purchase her book, “The Last Black Unicorn,” very soon.
A New Era For Kayla’s Chaos ❤
Since I’m done with college, I decided to invest more of my free time into my blog. It’s so amazing to have a passion project that keeps my creative juices flowing. I love exploring new ways to develop my content and share little aspects of my life. This year I did a redesign, I grew my blog Instagram account, I’m currently hosting my first giveaway, and I did more collaborations than ever! Thank you so much for your continued support!
Cheers to 2018!