2018: My Year In Review

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Hi Live Your F*ck Yes Lifers!

I can’t believe it’s that time again to sit down and take stock of the year — it feels like just yesterday I was writing my 2017: My Year in Review blog post.

Doing this every year has become such a beautiful tradition. It gives me space to reflect and set intentions for the upcoming year — and my hope is that it inspires you to do the same.

So often we go about our life not taking stock for what we’ve accomplished, especially when we feel like we haven’t made any progress in a year. But I bet that if you rock out this exercise alongside of me and take some time to truly look back on your year, you’ll be surprised of just how much you HAVE accomplished and just how far you’ve come.

2018 was arguably the best year of my life. 

While learning about having the BRCA 1 mutation was a huge thread through it all, the biggest thing was living up to my chosen word of the year — UNAPOLOGETIC.

It allowed me to feel the fear and do it anyways. 

Say YES to opportunities that my gut was pulling me towards even if my head was saying no. 

Share my story and truth with abandon. 

Finally DO the things I’d been holding myself back from doing for years.

Here’s a snapshot of some of those things…



  • My first trip was a 2 week long stint to LA, San Francisco and Hawaii. I was put up in LA for a leadership conference for my business (which in and of itself was a DREAM and an HONOR) and it landed right around my Birthday/mine and Kev’s anniversary so we extended the trip and drove up the coast to San Francisco before I flew to Honolulu for a week with my best friend from high school, Irina. It was the first time in my career that I was able to just take off and go somewhere because of my business.

  • In April, I got to experience my first all expenses paid trip to Punta Cana that I earned through my coaching biz. I got to take Kev as my guest and it was the most luxurious and relaxing and fun 5 days.

  • Next up was my first retreat I held for the gals on my coaching team in Florida — aka the most hilarious, fun and amazing weekend filled with face masks, rained out photoshoots, laugh attacks and margaritas.

  • And then I got to see them again (plus way more of my gals!) in Indy at our annual coach Summit where I had the biggest full circle moment of my life. Can’t say Indy was the most exciting place to visit, but I would go anywhere to spend a long weekend growing as a business owner and person alongside my team.

  • In August, I got to check a major place off of my bucket list: Iceland. We went in celebration of my mom’s 60th and the amount of adventure we experienced was just unparalleled. We went into the inner chamber of a MF volcano. So cool.

  • The rest of the year was filled with mini trips to Canada (a week spent at my cabin was heaven on earth), a stint in NYC and my first time in Texas for an amazing conference.



  • After 2.5 years of rocking my side hustle, I was able to make enough to quit all of my additional part time jobs. And that’s working no more than 5-10 hours a week. It’s amazing what happens when you decide to show up and trust in the compound effect.

  • I launched my Live Your F*ck Yes Life podcast!!! If ya haven’t already, subscribe here.

  • I launched my wellness events & retreats company Empowered and Free. We hosted 3 amazing events and one retreat in the Chicago area this year and have some BIG plans for the next year and I can’t WAIT. This was honestly the biggest surprise of 2018. I had NO intention of creating a company like this. All I wanted to do was hold space for wellness, self care & community in a way that I hadn’t seen in Chicago via a social media movement experiment…and SO many women resonated. Just another beautiful example of following those gut tugs.

  • I had my writing published in a book, The Authentic Woman Series: Identity Rising.

  • I got certified as an emotional eating and mindset coach.



  • I was tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene and had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.

  • Spent 6 months of the year working on the most artistically fulfilling and empowering show I’ve ever been a part of. Haymarket the musical was such a gift in my life — and it was super badass getting to be a part of an original cast recording!

  • I went off the hormonal birth control after 12 years of being on the pill — read more about my decision to do so here!

  • I started working with a therapist after years of resisting it. Best. Decision. Ever.

  • I completed my first 90 day workout program, focused on strength training in new and exciting ways and truly learned what loving and appreciating your body is all about.

  • Celebrated my 10 year high school reunion — WHAT? So crazy.

  • Created and fostered the most incredible support system in Chicago. It’s been a year of nurturing and deepening new & existing relationships like never before.

  • Had a bon voyage to the boobs weekend and photoshoot with my 3 best girlfriends at my cottage and a surprise ta-ta to the tits party the week before my surgery in Chicago!


This year was filled with unexpected magic.

Some things I planned but most? The things that brought the most to my life were FAR from anticipated.

And I truly believe it’s because I allowed space to explore them.

I listened to my intuition, my gut, and I went where I was called to go.

Did I “hit all of my 2018 goals”? Hell no.

That’s not the point. Some of them I showed up for with gusto. Some I’m still working towards and it’s only a matter of time. Some no longer serve my greater vision and purpose. And others I didn’t even know I needed/wanted.

All I know is that I followed my gut to the YES’s.

Because I know it’s my compass more than anything in the world.

Sometimes, it’s the most simple YES’s that transform your life in the most INCREDIBLE ways.

So this year, I hope you say YES. Invest your time, money, heart in things that will allow you to LIVE YOUR FUCK YES LIFE.

And notice how I said YOURS. Not someone ELSE’s version of that. YOURS. YOUR happiness. YOUR dreams. YOUR health.

Follow the gut tugs, my badasses.

It’ll lead you to LIVE YOUR F*CK YES LIFE TOO, ok?

What’s your intention heading into 2019?

Xo Amanda

Top Three Podcasts for Self-Love & General Badass-ery



Cat's out of the bag. I've got a confession to make....  I am a Podcast Junkie. 

I know, I know. I'm late to the podcast train. I'm sure all of you are thinking, seriously Amanda? You're just now understanding the awesomeness that is a podcast? (And if you're not thinking these things, then PREPARE FOR YOUR LIFE TO BE FOREVER CHANGED AFTER READING THIS). Well, in short. Yes. Yes I am just discovering this. And let me tell you, in the past month of being exposed to this art form, my life has changed in incredible ways. 

Now I know you're thinking...but there are so many options out there!!! How in God's name am I going to sift through all of the shit to find the hidden treasure?!!?!?!?! First off, take a deep breath, it's gonna be okay. You've come to the right place. Because chances are, if you're reading this (and have been reading my previous blog posts), you know that I'm all about authenticityself-love and being a general badass. Sound like you too? Then man oh man do I have some podcasts for you. This shit is incredible. So get ready for these to Rock. Your. World.

Here they are folks... Hold onto your hats.


1. The Joy Junkie

Amy E. Smith runs this podcast, with the help of her co-host, Mr. Smith (her down to earth and incredibly goofy hubby). She is a certified life coach and former actor who is unapologetically herself, which is probably why I love listening to her so much. She focuses her podcasts on positive self-talklearning how to love yourself, and how to be authentically YOU. She's sassy. She's confident. She's hilarious. She's REAL. Basically, I'm obsessed with her and I feel like she's speaking directly to me in every single episode. Chances are, you will too.

Who Would Click with This?

Women who aren't afraid to stand up for themselves. Anyone who finds dirty jokes amusing. Women searching to "find their voice". Actors. Anyone looking to live a badass joy-filled life.

Listen To

+How to Stop Talking Shit to Yourself

+ Becoming Badass: 5 Ways to Stand the Fuck Up For Yourself

2. Your Kick-Ass Life with Andrea Owen

Holy shit do I love this lady. Andrea Owen is a 40-something year old mom with two kids who has been through a lot in her life & she isn't afraid to share everything and anything with her listeners. She's honest & she's incredibly passionate about living life without apologizing for who she is. I actually discovered Amy E. Smith of The Joy Junkie by listening to Your Kick-Ass Life because guess what? They're best friends (and they only came into each others lives when they both started living authentically as themselves instead of living a life focused on constantly pleasing others and forming into the "average mold" that society has trained us to fall into). She's an award winning author and just a beautiful spirit who has been through hell and back again. It's so encouraging to hear that no matter where you are in life, living authentically is possible.

Who Would Click with This?

Perfectionists. Moms. Anyone who deals with anxiety. People who love a good laugh. Women who are afraid to live the life they were meant to live. 

Listen To

+How To Be A Badass

+What Perfectionism and a Shit Sandwich Have in Common

+You Are Enough

3. The Lively Show

I don't know how I just discovered Jess Lively but I am so glad that I did. She's this adorable Midwestern girl that is all about living life with valued based intentions & listening to her is an absolute delight. Every Thursday I have a date with her podcast & it has quickly become a weekly staple of mine. She always has such incredible people on her show to interview and I find myself nodding my head along with every episode and screaming "Yes!" to so much of what is being said. I just CLICK with her content and I love how much she mixes things up and appeals to such a diverse network of topics. Check her out - you won't be disappointed.

Who Would Click with This?

Anyone wanting to start a new business/small business owners, Creative people, Couples, Bloggers, Foodies.

Listen To

+Curiosity, Epic Self-Compassion, & Creativity

+How To Eat Intuitively During the Holidays

I hope these bring as much joy to your life as they have brought to mine. I encourage you to really listen and absorb what these women have to say. You'll be amazed at what bringing this form of thought into your life will do to increase the positivity and joy in your day to day life.


You still here...? What're you waiting for? Get your podcast ON!