Read to the end to view my personal favourite photos from 2017!
Well. The year has come to an end yet again, and I must say, I'm rather relieved. I love the new year, as, to me, it signifies a fresh start, new beginnings, and leaving the past in the past. And I don't know if I've ever felt that to be more true than this New Year.
2017 started out with high hopes, a list of professional goals (which I'm happy to say I nearly completed!!). Professionally, 2017 was a fantastic year! I worked with and collaborated with some fantastic creative people...worked with some fantastic companies, and brands, and continued to write, create, grow, and expand my mind and career. I reached 2 million followers this year on Facebook, and nearly 250K followers on Instagram! I started my membership page, and my Patreon, and thanks to your support, am able to create more content for you to enjoy! I am so thankful for all your continued love and support this year. It means the wold to me. For that I will pop the champagne, and raise a glass to my amazing support system. My fans, followers, family and friends. I would be nothing without all of you!
My 2018 Calendar, (shot by Lanaya Flavelle Photography, and amazing MUAH by Ashley Paints Faces) sold better than any other year! Signed copies totally sold out, but luckily you can order an unsigned copy, which comes with a free digital copy, for only $25! Get your copy HERE
Personally, the year started with the shocking loss of a friend, taken far too soon, in a freak accident. My mom's health took a turn for the worst as well in January. She had us worried, and was in so much discomfort, for apparently, no reason. Thankfully, she is now feeling much better in that regard, although they are still struggling with a firm diagnosis. In February, I got to escape the world for a while on my Honeymoon, with my new Hubby, to Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Miami/South Beach! I was lucky to travel this year, to Arizona (twice!) Vegas (twice as well!) LA, Seattle, Spokane, Salt Spring Island, and a few other little weekend get away's here and there. I travelled both for work and pleasure, but I also however, had to cancel a couple of trips this year, due to circumstances beyond my control. I am however hoping to travel more this year, so hopefully I can make up those cancelled trips!
I also had some health changes this year. My mental health continues to be a daily struggle. It seems the older I get, the more intense it gets. Some anxiety and depression was circumstantial, most, was just my brain being a bully. I finally found a good blend of medications that work well for me and my mood, pared with other forms of healing like counselling, and meditation. A side effect of my new medication, is lowered appetite, and, due to my VERY low appetite, and a large amount of stress, I have lost 50 lbs since the start of the year. I'm feeling OK about the loss of weight, as I feel I still look great, and I feel a little better too! I didn't try to lose weight, but sometimes your body just takes care of things and does whats best. I listen to my body, and what it craves. Since I've been eating less, I've also been way more conscious of what I actually AM eating, so my diet has become far healthier. Just a reminder however, that someone else's body and weight is no ones business, unless they share their concerns with you and ask for your opinion. I got a lot of comments and questions asking me about my weight. Weight loss isn't always a good, or planned thing. You can never tell someones health just by looking at them, or, what is causing a change in weight. Unless someone is asking for opinions or help, its no ones business but their own's, and their Doctors.
I also got glasses this year! I was the ONLY one in my family who didn't have glasses already. I knew eventually I would need them, and hey, I made it 32 years! And I LOVE my glasses! Just another way to accessorise my outfits!
When I wasn't working, I spent A LOT of time at home this year. Due to my mental health struggles, leaving my home that I love so much, and my puppy, well, it just becomes less and less appealing. I'm so thankful to those friends (and photographers for that matter) that came to my place to hang and and/or work! You have no idea how thankful I am for people like you. And thank you to those who have checked in with me when they noticed me slinking away into seclusion. Its so nice to know I have friends who care about me, and you have no idea how much I care about you.
Speaking of friends...there were a lot of changes in friendships this year, My circle is much smaller and very different than it was at the beginning of the year. A lot of my close friends no longer live in Vancouver, so I miss them terribly and think of them daily. Some friendships have faded away or apart, and some toxic relationships were ended. And that's all OK. This is a really personal and sensitive subject for me, as my friends are my family, and, although I likely don't say it enough, they are so important to me and loved by me. As we get older, and our lives get busier, sometimes we outgrow people, or lives drift apart. Or circumstances happen where its harder to get together. Its a sad but true part of life. I always imagine however that true friends are there when you need them, no matter the distance or time its been since you've seen them last. At the start of 2017, there were people in my life, who I thought would be there till the day I die, who now, for a wide variety of reasons, are no longer in my life. I went through a lot this year on a personal level. From being manipulated, lied to and abused by someone I totally trusted, and thought was a friend, to seeing peoples true colours come out when I really need them, or when things got tough. Its funny how fast things can change. People, ideas, circumstances, everything really. There has been so much loss, sadness, heartache, and betrayal this year...for everyone...the whole world! All I know, is that as hard as the hurt this year has been, I have learned some very valuable lessons, and also, in turn, have become much closer to other people. New friendships have formed, and existing, deserving friendships have been fostered, and have grown and blossomed, and I am so thankful for that. I am also thankful for the lessons I've learned, and the clarity and gratitude I now feel and see for those who love me, and I love in return. Ive grown SO much this year. I cannot remember a year in my adult life that I've been through so much personal growth and self discovery. My husband and I both lost friends, and family this year, but in return, we are even more thankful for each other, and other, deserving relationship in our lives. There are just some things that nothing but an internet quote can quite express. ;)
One of the biggest news stories, and movements of 2017, was the #MeToo movement which shone light on the problem which is sexual harassment and assault. Nearly every woman I know, has been effected by such terrible events. It happens in ALL industries, not only the entertainment industry. It effected me personally, as I have been the victim of sexual assault, and harassment, on countless occasions. In fact, I even had to deal with unwanted sexual advances and assault, earlier this year by someone I trusted and thought was a friend. It happens every single day on line, and has happened more times than I care to remember in person. Since this was such huge news, It made me think a lot, and it brought back a lot of buried and suppressed memories for me from years gone by. It also made me realise the truth about certain situations in my life, and basically sent me down a very deep spiral of depression, shame, and guilt. To be honest, I`m still not out of my depression, but I am so grateful to this movement, as it made people finally stop and take notice of this monumental problem. Women and victims are banding together, and abusers are finally being called out and held accountable for their actions. Women are becoming braver and stronger and standing up for themselves. It is time this ended, and I am so glad to be here to witness this change taking place in front of our eyes. Although its been a rough road mentally, Its about damn time this happened!!!! And while were talking about sexual harassment, let me just say, just because I love lingerie, and am a lingerie model, who is in touch with her sexuality, and enjoys taking sexy photos, that doesn`t make me any less deserving of respect and kindness. It does not make it ok to leave rude, aggressive, or sexual comments. These actions will not be tolerated on any platforms by me, and all culprits will be blocked and reported immediately.
In November, the love of my life, my puppy Cash, had to have emergency spinal surgery. He started screaming in pain one night, and when we took him to the ER, were informed that he needed surgery. He had 2 ruptured disks in his spine, and 2 others that were about to rupture. He was already starting to lose movement in his back legs due to pressure on his spinal cord. If he didn't have surgery to release the pressure, he could be permanently paralized. Of course, we agreed. Cost didn't matter. We have pet insurance. And we are SO thankful for that pet insurance, as we got most of the cost of the surgery back...however we still had to pay the bill up front. So I am also so thankful for credit cards, and my parents, who, although were out of town throughout all this, were able to help us financially during this unexpected financial hardship.
I am SO happy to say that after 6 weeks, Cash is doing so much better! He is walking on his own again without assistance! He still has a bit of trouble with his back legs, and may walk with a bit of a wobble from here on out. He still needs some physio and rehabilitation, but considering what he has been through, he has been recovering like a champion! Thank goodness. I don't know what I would do without Cash. He was also trained and registered as my ESA (emotional support animal) this year, so that he can travel with me, to help me with my anxiety. I honestly think I need him more than he needs me. Seeing him in pain, and not being able to help or explain anything, was complete torture and living hell. I am so grateful that he is recovering as well as he is, and that we are so blessed to live somewhere where we have access to that kind of veterinary care. His 6 week check up is tomorrow morning, and were expecting nothing but continued progress for our little monkey. Thank you so much for all the concern and messages about my little guy. We appreciate it and love you all so much.
Normally I love Christmas, but this year, due to everything else, I just wasn't feeling it. Cash was requiring daily rehabilitation, and I couldn`t leave the house, or Cash`s side for more than an hour. We were all so tired, and I was very stressed and depressed. So December this year was spent, mostly at home, with loved ones, taking care of each other, and reflecting on the past year and the year to come. The few days before New Years were spent in Seattle, visiting good friends, shooting some gorgeous new sets with amazing new creative collaborators, and getting excited to say goodbye to 2017, and WELCOME to all the blessings that 2018 is sure to bring. I am hoping for nothing more than continued growing health, and continuing to have an open heart and open mind to love, friendship and life. I will strive to better myself, mentally, physically, as well as spiritually. I will continue to expand my career and endeavours...My husband gifted me some online photography courses for Christmas so that I can learn how to take better photos, not only of my self, but perhaps of other beautiful women and creatures as well! I will guide my heart and intentions with kindness first, and leave judgement for the very last resort. I will continue to try and see the good in everyone, but will also be content with my circle being smaller, if that's what is necessary to keep it loyal and true. I will strive to continue to spread a message of self love, realistic body expectations, kindness, and smashing mental health stigmas. I hope to write more, speak more, and have as many opportunities as possible to spread my message and voice. I want to get RIGHT out of this depressed funk Ive been in lately, and put my energy into bettering myself and the world around me.
2017 had many highs and lows, but it's very safe to say, that I'm pleased to see 2017 go, and to welcome in a fresh year, and a fresh start in 2018. Thank you for following along on my journey, and I wish you all the health, love, and happiness you deserve in 2018. xoxo Ruby.
Here are just some of my personal favourite photos of 2017. Enjoy!