Today marks another year of learning, growing and enjoying my little internet home.
When I first started blogging two years ago, I honestly didn't know what I was doing. I just wrote whatever came to mind and shared it.
Fast forward two years later, and I'm still trying to figure it out. It really is all about the journey, not destination with blogging. All the challenges and highlights motivate me to continue to write and pursue this blogging dream of mine.
Thankfully, you've all been part of the crazy ride!
It was extremely hard to choose, but here are my most memorable moments of 2015:
Won Two Awards:
I started and ended the year with an award. It was the first time being nominated for both honors- and to my surprise, won!
Last January, I attended the Forum 15 blogger conference. I learned different strategies to apply for my content creation and made good connections with other bloggers.
At the end of the conference, the winners of the Sunshine Blog Awards were announced from 9 categories. My blog was chosen as the Best "Other" Blog for 2015. Since my blog is lifestyle and covers various topics such as travel, fashion, wellness and everything in between, I didn't fit into just one category, so "other" was chosen.
I also attended IzeaFest- a 3-day interactive event held at Walt Disney World® Resort, where the world’s top brands and creators get to meet and mingle in a collaborative, fun and open setting.
I learned valuable tips on how to grow my online traffic, build my brand, and make money online. A great conference to attend if you're new to blogging.
Winners were selected by the Izea committee and later announced at the closing party ceremony at Disney.
I've been fortunate enough to have attended quite a few conferences last year but nothing, I repeat NOTHING compares to Hispanicize!
Where to even begin describing this conference. In my own words, I'd say it was a "Once In A Lifetime Experience". In Hispanicize's website, it goes something like this: Hispanicize is the iconic, largest annual event for Latino trendsetters and newsmakers in digital content creation, journalism, marketing, entertainment and tech entrepreneurship.
I promise to do a blog post about it soon. So much to recap and share! But trust me, it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, I'll let you in on my three favorite moments of the event.
Getting a private performance by Chino y Nacho (as well as a kiss), meeting the legend himself, Don Francisco, and getting up close and personal with the love of my life, William Levy!!
If you know me personally, you're already fully aware of my obsession with this man. Who knew my passion of blogging would grant me access to so many talented and inspiring individuals! Can't wait to attend again this year.
2015 was a year filled with many collaborations and partnerships with amazing brands.
During the summer, I was hand-picked by Chipotle Mexican Grill to participate in their new blogger program to spread the word about its food-focused initiatives and promotions in Orlando. Only two bloggers were selected and I was one of them!
As a Chipotle ambassador, I am able to join in select events and promotions in which Chipotle is involved, as well as receive various incentives including free Chipotle food, complimentary group dinners and VIP experiences.
I mean, how cool is that??
Another wonderful opportunity came when Park Avenue Fashion Week selected me as one of their brand ambassadors.
For the first time ever, PAFW implemented the addition of top Orlando influencers to represent the show. Community figures with a strong influence in their city, enthusiasts of the latest fashion trends, and experts in their personal brand standards were chosen.
I was one of the lucky 10 bloggers to take on this prestigious role.
This year marks the 10th Year anniversary for PAFW. I'm excited to see what concept they come up with for the next show.
"Awareness Angel" for Give Kids the World:
I had the privilege of being introduced to Give Kids The World Village about a year ago when I was invited to attend a media lunch with Papa John's Founder, John Schnatter at the village. I saw first hand how this establishment changes so many lives.
Give Kids The World is a non-profit organization that exists to fulfill the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from around the world to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, and to enjoy the magic of Give Kids The World Village.
I am a proud supporter and volunteer of GKTW. As an "awareness angel" I get to help spread exposure and participate in fun activities with other people who share the same mission.
One of those fun activities included baking cookies with the cookie master himself, Wally Amos- known for the worldwide brand, Famous Amos bite size cookies.
If you would like to volunteer at Give Kids the World, please click here.
Attended AIS Gala:
One of the most special moments of 2015 was getting the opportunity to attend the American Institute for Stuttering's Annual Gala. I was invited as their media guest. It was an honor to cover this event on my blog. Especially since AIS is like my second family. As some of you may recall, back in 2014, I attended a 3 week intensive program at AIS in New York.
The greatest lesson I learned during my time there was to not be ashamed of the fact that I am a person who stutters. That same message was conveyed by all the speakers during the gala, including the night's honoree, Ed Sheeran.
Most people don't even know that Ed stuttered as a child. Or that Emily Blunt, the gala's annual mistress of ceremonies, also had the speech impediment in her younger years.
The ballroom was filled with so many successful well known people that never let their stutter hold them back. Attending the AIS Gala was one of the most inspiring and encouraging nights of my life.
Social Media Ambassador:
Even if you don't follow my blog, I think it's safe to say you saw some of my pleas for votes online. I religiously posted every day all over social media about this Germany contest.
When I initially came across the Germany Tourism's Social Media Ambassador posting on Facebook, I thought it was a scam. Get the most votes and win all expense trip to blog, Tweet, and Instagram your way across Germany? Ya, it seemed too good to be true!
Being the super competitive person that I am, (and of course after researching and reading all the rules), I entered! Within 15 minutes, I was sitting comfortably in first place.
My winning position was safely secured until the last week of the competition. It felt like I was playing musical chairs with the other top 3 finalists. We all kept going up and down in rankings. At times I felt defeated but I kept pushing until the end. When I want something, I'm all in, losing is never an option.
Thankfully in the end I won a spot as a social media ambassador for Germany and got to experience such an incredible two weeks roaming around western Germany.
The German National Tourist Office was so impressed with my work thus far, that they offered me to be part of their short list of brand/country ambassadors. Which means, I'll be returning to Germany again this year!!
When I published my first blog post, I had no expectation or idea on where it would take me.
As I reflect on the past two years, I'm still in awe of all the amazing opportunities and special people it has brought to my life.
I look forward to blogging even more in 2016 and sharing all the exciting projects in the works!
Year 3 here I come!