2017 Awesome List

[Disclaimer: Normally I write my blogs for my audience. This one I wrote for me, for my records, but I hope you like it too.]

My friend Manal introduced the idea of an Awesome List to me. This is a list in which you keep track of all the awesome things you do throughout the year. I've been keeping Awesome Lists ever since I learned about them from her.

This year my Awesome List is  l o n g. Despite all the horrible things happening in the world, 2017 was an awesome year for me personally.

It might have been my best.


I started off the year hosting a New Year's Eve party and got to ring in the year surrounded by friends and my parents. That was MUCH better than the way I had started 2016, sitting on my couch watching the ball drop BY MYSELF. My 2016 was horrible.

This is the cake I served at my party. It was very appropriate.

My birthday is January 20th and though I got the worst birthday present ever (see cake), it was awesome to celebrate surrounded by commiserating friends.

The next day I got to attend the Woman's March and was joined by my beautiful friends Stephanie and Kate. That march was AWESOME.

January ended with a ski trip to Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Sadly I only got to spend one day with my darling hostess Marta who I have known for 20 years, since I was her au pair. One day was better than nothing, though, before I was on my own.

Getting to see views like this was awesome:
It was pretty awesome to step into some really good lighting that made me look ten years young and to get this selfie which I love.

It's empowering to be able to take a ski vacation all by yourself in a foreign country and that felt awesome.

After my ski trip, I headed to Venice for a few days.

It was extremely awesome that my former host family let me stay in their vacant palazzo. Who gets to do that?!?!

On my way back from Venice, I got to have a very civilized meal at Heathrow at a place that had both excellent lighting and good food.

Breakfast in Italy, lunch in England, dinner in the States.


Not being depressed on Valentine's day by having my friend Kayla be my date for manicures and chocolates was awesome. Can't get much better than that for two single gals.

I travelled again in February to visit my besties in Massachusetts.

Having my Little Bestie sing on command for me while also letting me post it to Facebook Live is amazingly awesome.


I got to spend more time with my parents, visiting them in Florida which is always an awesome place to get to go to.

My mom was able to capture this great picture of me which I love.

And then, March 15 happened and my whole life changed.

OTTL=One True Tinder Love

And then, well, I wrote a BOOK.


I got to see my parents again on their way back to Maine from Florida.

Having my supportive friends come over for a reading of my book to get their feedback was awesome.

I think the cheese plate I prepared for them deserves to be on my awesome list as well.

As does the meal I served.

At the end of April I attended a writer's conference where I pitched my book to seven agents and had interest from five. I worked SO HARD to prepare for that conference.

(I really like that outfit)

On April 27th I whipped up www.aloneinthebackseat.com and started my blog!


The universe aligned for the Desperation story to happen and my blog took off. Thank you thank you thank you CBG for giving that awful story a happy ending!!

I traveled once again, this time to Maine to do "research" for my book, looking through scores of letters I had written when I was living abroad and had the foresight to photocopy and save.

Once I started my blog, watching blog traffic became an obsession. Seeing the country lit up with people reading my work was pretty awesome.

Meeting my friend Eli deserves to be noted on my Awesome List. He was performing at the metro and I just sat myself right down on the ground and watched the whole show. I left my business card in his tip jar and we've been friends ever since he dm'd me on Twitter of all platforms.

Aside from the fact that he is now Top Tier Bestie, meeting Eli was awesome because it led to more connections and collaborations which were all really exciting. My roommate Luke got to appear in his music video, Nora got to record a song with him and I got to meet more cool people like Kristie (see October below).


On June 1st my boss told me that my contract at Marriott was ending on June 30th and that they couldn't renew it. With all the work that editing my book and working on my blog took, it seemed like this was another alignment of the universe and I decided to take the summer off to pursue my creative endeavors. That was awesome.

For the first time since I moved to DC, I got to have the whole summer to be the boss of myself and I couldn't have been happier about it. However, I don't think I have ever spent a summer working harder than I did this past summer.

My new life as a writer and blogger includes lots of photo shoots. My first one got me so many good pics thanks to the talented photographer Ben Timmins who really helped me get my Instagram going.

In June I also discovered that raspberries grow along the Capitol Crescent trail. Given that I was about to be unemployed, a free supply of all-you-can-eat raspberries was a welcome surprise. One morning at the crack of dawn, Nora and I rode our bikes and filled tupperwares. Doesn't get much more awesome than picking berries in the woods with your dear friend.

Riding bikes with Nora was one of my most awesome activities this past year. I would start off fast and be way ahead of her, feeling like I was so fit and strong and then all of a sudden, she'd breeze right past me, blow me a kiss and I'd never catch up again. God, I miss that girl.

Being unemployed and having a rooftop pool to enjoy during the few times I got up from my computer this summer was pretty awesome.


I spent a week in Maine which started off with my dear friends visiting me from Massachusetts, including my little bestie.

We continued our family tradition of attending our little community 4th of July parade.

I got to take lots of early morning bike rides and capture some beautiful photos with the new camera I bought.

I think if I have to choose a favorite photo of me from 2017, it is this one. I am where I love, doing something I love.

But, I also love this one too. So, I don't know. I got more good pictures of me in 2017 than I have gotten in my whole life combined.

From Maine I headed to my dear friend Manal's wedding in Lebanon, by way of Doha, Qatar. It was so AWESOME to get to see a Middle Eastern country!

First stop, Beirut.

Next stop, Hasbaya. I love this photo of Manal and me on her family's rooftop. She is so beautiful, inside and out.

One of the best parts of my trip was meeting Manal's brother who was SO NICE to me and reminded me about my standards.

And then of course, there was that awesome part about attending a wedding in Lebanon.

You'll be able to read all about my trip in my book!


One of the most awesome things that happened to me this year was being featured on the Grooming Lounge's website.

And there was that second photo shoot I did with Ben in which I pranced around in a sunflower field in my underwear.

Another one of the best things that happened to me was having Luke with his gorgeous face and awesome personality become roommate number 70. I helped Luke become a professional model and Luke helped me become an actual portrait photographer. His first weekend with me we did a photo shoot and those pictures launched his career which he just started in Asia.

Since I didn't have a job, I got to go back to Maine for two more weeks. Here is a rare moment of me on the beach because I barely got up from my computer the whole time I was there.

It's pretty awesome to get to enjoy lunch with your parents on the front porch.

The not awesome thing that happened in my life in August was that my parents sold their house. But, I was very lucky to have those two additional and unexpected weeks there.


My sexy selfie slumber party photo shoot with Kate was definitely pretty awesome. The pictures are great but they don't beat her awesome company.

Nora showing up was the icing on the cake.

Spending a morning walking around Georgetown with Luke taking turns being models and photographers was awesome. I love this picture I got of him.

And I LOVE this one he got of me. 

Then Tony, roomate #71, moved in so I got to live with two 22 year old hotties. It made me really happy that Tony and Luke became good friends with each other. Tony has now become one of my closest friends too!

One of the best things that happened to me in 2017 was getting two job offers on a day I got to spend on a speedboat with Nora and her sister.

My least awesome moment of 2017 was also the same day (as above).  That was the day I had to say goodbye to Nora who was moving back to Jordan.

Worst moment of 2017:

Just looking at that picture makes me cry.

The next day, I was off again, for three weeks in Argentina where I split time between Santa Fe and Buenos Aires.

In Santa Fe I got to spend time with this smoke show, my Argentine host mom from when I lived there twenty years ago.

Getting to spend time with my Argentine besties was awesome.

I also got to meet Leandro who was the unexpected combination of gorgeous AND nice and who actually wanted to hang out with me more than once.


In BA...

I got to shop at my favorite malls in the world...

And I got to have an actual boyfriend, even if it was just for a few days. Meeting someone who enjoyed my company enough that we both teared up when we said goodbye was definitely an awesome thing that happened to me.

One of the most awesome things I got to do in 2017 (and in my whole life) was to fly business class on my way back from Argentina.

Let me tell you: it gives you quite a sense of self satisfaction to fly business class after a three week vacation while having been unemployed for three and a half months. #bossatlife

When I found out I was getting a job that would start on October 16, I changed my return trip to the States so that I could stay in Miami for a few days where I got to take an early morning bike ride and see a gorgeous sunrise...

And took some great photos of the art deco architecture which I love...

And worked on evening out my patriarchal tan lines...
From there I headed to Maine for a few days for another visit with my parents, before heading back to DC and the Real World.

It's pretty awesome when people start to reach out to you to ask you to photograph them. My new friend Kristie is a musician and she is using one of the photos from a photo shoot we did in her album! This was a lot of fun:


Yet again, the universe aligned for me when I started my job because in my orientation I ended up sitting next to and befriending Erin who just happened to be a logo designer. We worked on designing this logo together which gave my book the extra touch it needed and I just love it. Quatrefoils are my favorite shape and I had wanted to incorporate them into my book somehow. Problem solved! Great work Erin!

Another thing that is pretty awesome is when photographers start offering their services to you for free so that they can build their own portfolios and it is even more awesome when they are so nice you immediately add them to your friend collection. I loved this photo shoot with the very talented Josh Buckner.

I got to go to my first Friendsgiving this year. I am usually the one doing the organizing and inviting for all my social activities so it was SO AWESOME to get this invitation.

For Thanksgiving I traveled once again to Maine to spend it with my parents at their new house. It was just the three of us but that is still a lot to be thankful for.

I think this Facebook Live video is one of my best moments of 2017. Welcome to Life at the Lourie's.


I got to do another photo shoot with Josh and I just love this picture he captured of me while we were taking a break.

My last trip of 2017 was back to Massachusetts once again to visit my best friends, here is my Little Little Bestie. 

And, well, I got the proof of my book and am going to publish it in 2018!

My parents will be visiting soon to finish out the year with me and that will wrap up my awesome 2017.

I am so so so grateful to have had such an awesome year.

Here is my 2017 by the numbers:

Times I saw my parents: 8
Times I went to Maine: 5
Countries I went to (including layovers): 6
Continents I was on: 4
Planes I flew on: 28
Days I spent not in DC: 91
People who lived with me: 7
Views on my blog: 110,000+
Messages I received like the one below: countless

Aside from writing my book and starting my blog, I think the thing that makes me the most happy and proud about my 2017 is the amount of time I spent with friends.

Friendships take a lot of time and effort and energy and basically stalking people into hanging out with me, but I think I have succeeded.

How was your 2017? What awesome things did you do? Tell me in the comments!

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  1. you had a very busy year. I am so very glad that I found your blog, and got to experience these things vicariously throughout the year

    1. I sure did. I am so glad you did too! Thank you for all your support!

  2. So the best pick up line ever used on Jen Lourie was “haha, I’d be up for chatting in person if you are. “ I know I am taking that out of context but fun to think about. That dude has some game, I can not wait to read it in the book. Happy New Year hope 2018 is even better.

    1. It wasn't the line, it was the guy. Thank you for all your support this past year!


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