My Highs & Lows of 2017

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I can’t believe Christmas and New Years have come and gone – I’ve mentioned so many times that this is my favorite time of the year, so I’m so sad that it’s over! Nonetheless, it’s been a wonderful nearly two weeks with my family and friends, and I’ll be cherishing those moments for a long time until I’m back in Cleveland!

Something else I can’t get over is that it’s already the third day of January 2018?! I remember last New Year’s like it was yesterday, so this is mind blowing to me. Last year I wrote a post about my goal for 2017 (yes, one goal) and that was achieving genuine happiness throughout all aspects of my life. I mentioned that certain circumstances kind of hindered the year before, and achieving real happiness was something I wanted to really focus on this year. Of course, there were many ups and downs, but I think I made a lot of great progress in 2017! I learned to enjoy doing things by myself, and made a serious effort to eliminate toxic things from my life. I’ve still got a bit of ways to go, but thought I’d fill you in on some of my highs and lows of 2017.


One of my highs of 2017 was growing this little space! 2017 was by far the best year for Oliver’s Twist – as I secured more partnerships from an organic haircare line, a conscious fashion brand in Chicago, to one of the most up-and-coming brands in men’s skincare! I also saw an increase in readership – both on my blog and across my social channels – and think I’ve also virtually met some really amazing people! I’m looking forward to continue growing and seeing where this takes me, and can’t wait for what’s in store for 2018! Be on the lookout for my 2018 goals next week!


I think one of the lows was that homesickness has seriously started to kick in. I’ve been living in Chicago for almost one year and a half (you can check out my one year update here), and at first everything was fine. Oddly enough, I spent the first nine months of the year without ever going home, and it seemed to go by fast. However, when I went home for Labor Day, I realized just how much I miss my family and friends! It’s like that saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” and that rings true every single time I leave home now! Once I graduate from my program, I’ll have a big decision to make about whether to stay in Chicago, or move back to Cleveland. A lot can happen in one year, so we’ll see where 2018 takes me.


Although I’ve missed home a lot lately, I must say that I think I took advantage of all that Chicago has to offer this year! With some great friends beside me – both old and new – we really hit the town and experienced so many different things this year! From tucked away art festivals in Hyde Park, volunteering at a women’s shelter, jumping in Lake Michigan and staying out till 4am, to say this was an eventful year would be an understatement. I love how there’s always something new and exciting to try out here, and it’s extremely difficult to be bored. I’m definitely looking forward to crossing off even more things in 2018!


I think we can all agree that 2017 was a pretty tragic year with so many awful incidents, and hearing horrible news back-to-back really took a toll on me. I’ve stopped reading the news almost completely (which is huge because I’m a news junky), because I realized it was incredibly toxic! I’m a huge believer that what you put into your mind and thoughts can have a severe impact on how you feel. However, I think something “good” that came out of those awful tragedies, was realizing how blessed my family and I are, and to always be grateful for waking up each day and living the life that we live, and it breaks my heart to say this – but so many others have not been as fortunate.

With all of this said, I’m really looking forward to 2018 – both in my personal and professional life – and am particularly excited about the content that I have planned for you guys! I’ve really been trying to focus on more personal/in depth content, and can’t wait to see where it takes this little space. Also, be on the lookout for a reader survey headed your way next week!

Shop the post below:

Sweater: c/o The Mint Julep Boutique // Jeans: GAP (my favorites, I have THREE of the same pair!) // Boots: Nine West (identical) // Bag: Rebecca Minkoff

Photos by Katie Niemiec 

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  1. 1.15.18
    Ellsworth Senior said:

    I must say I was very pleased and excited to read your blog, your confidence and positive attitude will open many doors Lauren, I love your taste and how you dress very classic I can also appreciate African American women going back to their natural hair look you look great Lauren always remember there always ups and downs in life pick up the pieces and move on continue doing what you’re doing watch how blesses you’re an inspiration to many young women keep writing love you dear heart mr. Senior

  2. 1.5.18
    Amy Arnold said:

    I like how you posted both highs and lows to keep it real. Great sweater!!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

    • 1.8.18
      Lauren O. said:

      Thanks so much, Amy – I’ve definitely been trying to incorporate more personal and real things on the blog!

  3. 1.5.18

    Great post. First, you look absolutely beautiful! Such a gorgeous smile & great look! Second, it sounds like a big year. I haven’t been to Chicago yet but it’s on my list. I mostly want to go to eat at all of the amazing vegan restaurants I’ve seen photos from haha. I think it’s so brave that you moved there & I’m sure it’ll work out great whether you decide to stay there or go back to Cleveland. Regarding the news, I’m with you girl. I rarely read it anymore because it’s always too depressing. I make sure to stay in the loop “enough” to not be clueless, but I don’t need to know about every single horrible thing that’s going on in this world! Cheers to a great 2018 babe!

    Kara Aragon

  4. 1.5.18
    Jessica said:

    What a nice read you have right here dear. Really puts things into perspective. Indeed, there can be no highs without lows. And yes, there’s been a lot of bad things happened in 2017. But we can’t be disheartened. Looking back, 2017 taught us a lot of lessons. Despite the tragedies, there is hope. And we have to hold on to that. Fan the flame of hope and continue to march forward.

    Jessica |

    • 1.5.18
      Lauren O. said:

      Thanks so much for this comment, Jess – I couldn’t agree with you more, and has definitely brightened my day! My mom always says that you can’t live in fear, and the best thing to do is to live your life to the fullest. 2017 has certainly been a tragic year, but I agree that we need to continue having hope and marching forward… love and appreciate your perspective!

  5. 1.4.18

    what a gorgeous photo backdrop! super cute outfit, you look beautiful!

    • 1.5.18
      Lauren O. said:

      Thanks a lot, Kelsey – so glad you like it!

  6. 1.3.18
    Deanna said:

    Your Highs and low’s caused me to look back as well and realize that even a difficult year can be a good year in many ways. Your outfit is popping. The sweater is a “must have”. The boots are very chic. Fashion is truly one of your gifts.

    • 1.4.18
      Lauren O. said:

      Thank you very much, Deanna! And I agree – there’s always light in something 🙂 And I love the sweater, too!

  7. 1.3.18
    barristerv said:

    I am so impressed by your personal reflections and insight. It takes courage to express oneself in an open forum. Your post displays a lot of growth over the past year and a half. I am truly enjoying this direction your blog has taken. Of course I do so love your fashion sense. The sweater is much needed in this weather!!!

    • 1.3.18
      Lauren O. said:

      Thank you very much! I’m glad you like the post and I can’t wait for 2018! Yes, the sweater is great for this weather!

  8. 1.3.18
    ester said:

    Simple and pretty! Love these types of looks!

    She Walks Blog

    • 1.3.18
      Lauren O. said:

      Thanks so much, Ester!

Hi, I'm Lauren!

Thanks for stopping by! I'm a 20-something living in Cleveland, Ohio - sharing my love for all the things! If you love fashion, travel, reading, and local finds - then you're in the right place!