Year in Review: 2017

I’m a little late, I know. I thought a lot about the content for this post, I thought I’d have this post done early in December, but then life happened and I never got around to it. I thought about just cancelling the entire post all together, but these reflection posts are some of my favorites in the moment and to look back on, so here we are. 2017 was JAM PACKED to say the least. We spent our first year of marriage traveling the world, eating amazing food and growing our life together. These are some of my favorite moments from this year!


We didn’t waste any time growing our little family. The first week of 2017 we adopted 8 week old Walter (White). We both said from the very beginning we didn’t want a male orange cat. Will called the SPCA that snowy morning and asked about the availability of kittens, I heard “orange” and “male” yet five minutes later we were strapping on boots and warming up the car. A few hours later, this little bundle was ours. He’s full of energy, gets into everything, harasses his older sister, but I couldn’t imagine our lives without him.
Year in Review: 2017


We took our 3rd Companion Pass trip and jetted off to San Diego. Assuming it’s always 70 degrees and sunny there we thought it was no problem to go in February. However, there was a freak rain storm that lasted from the minute we touched down until about an hour before we left. I had been to San Diego before and raved about it to Will, so I was a little disappointed he didn’t get to see all that it has to offer, but we did do an extensive amount of eating that you can read all about in this POST.
Year in Review: 2017


When I lived in Charleston for a few months, I volunteered for the Charleston Wine and Food Festival and have since then made it an annual tradition. It’s one of my favorite festivals I’ve ever been to and this year we made it a point to celebrate Melissa’s birthday while we were there! (4th Companion Pass Trip) All you can drink rose for the birthday girl! I also haven’t stopped talking about 167 Raw since I lived there so I couldn’t wait to show this place off.

Year in Review: 2017 Year in Review: 2017


We set out to Arizona for our 5th Companion Pass Trip! This was a really cool trip for us because neither of us had been there before, so it was completely new for both of us. You can read all about it in the linked post, but we spent time in Scottsdale and Sedona and it was some of the coolest scenery I’ve ever seen. We were planning a trip back before we even left. I also traveled to Savanna, GA for one of my close friend’s bachelorette party and let’s just say I need to get back there asap.
Year in Review: 2017 Year in Review: 2017


May was full of a lot of exciting things for the people I love! Our wedding was featured over at Magnolia Rouge! One of my childhood friends tied the knot, I went wedding dress shopping with a few others, one of my best friends celebrated her bridal shower and one of my best friends had her first baby! I also did a lot of research and prep for our upcoming trip!


I’m combining these two months since they were basically consumed with our HONEYMOON! We spent two weeks in TANZANIA AFRICA (and the two weeks before prepping and the two weeks after recovering)!! We spent eight days on safari traveling between three different camps (including the Serengeti) and then ended the trip with five days in the most luxurious lodge in Zanzibar. Words can’t even describe how incredibly amazing this trip was for us. I haven’t even written the blog posts for this trip yet (other than what to pack) because it’s so hard to convey. I promise, they’ll come at some point. If you ever have the opportunity to take this type of trip, I beg of you to please do so. Seeing these animals in their natural habitat is beyond breathtaking.
Year in Review: 2017
Year in Review: 2017 Year in Review: 2017
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Baltimore Magazine announced their Best of Baltimore winners for 2017 and (SOMEHOW) I was announced the winner of “Best Blogger”!!! This was something I never would have expected considering how many amazing bloggers this city has, but I’ve honestly never been so honored. Check out the full list here. We also did something very very adult in August! WE SIGNED TO BUILD OUR VERY FIRST HOME! We had been looking for roughly eighteen months and we never thought we’d go with new construction. We actually passed on this site twice and on a whim we went back to show family what we were looking at and we ended up meeting some of the neighbors and we were hooked. SO we made the decision to sign and while the process has been incredibly overwhelming, it has been amazing to see it all come together.


We took our 6th Companion Pass Trip to Colorado to visit some of our favorite people (and meeting a very special pup named Riley). There was record heat out there, so we spent a majority of time touring breweries, devouring brunch and grilling out – is there any better way?? We also went on a joint bachelor/bachelorette party for some of our close friends to Lake Anna in Virginia. It was our first time there, but it won’t be our last. I went to my very first Expo East and it had a significant impact on me and my food/beauty choices. I’ve since incorporated 5-10 brands into my daily routine that I hadn’t even heard of before that day!


We celebrated our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! We went to St. Michaels – which is where we went for a few days right after the wedding. It was so nice to go back and actually experience it as humans and not zombies. Our cake survived the full 365 days and it was still delicious!Construction on our house started on 10/3! We spent the month of September making a f ton of decisions and in October we were finally able to (sort of) sit back and watch it come together. Watch the progress here and here. The final product should be complete this week and I’ll be adding all sorts of posts about that! I stood by the side of one of my best friend’s as she walked down the aisle to marry her best friend – the whole thing was SO gorgeous – and that donut wall was pure heart eyes! I also turned THIRTY! This always seemed like such a scary birthday to me, but when it finally arrived, I felt more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have.


Our 7th (and final) companion pass trip was to ORLANDO!! We grabbed 8 of our closest friends and jetted off to DISNEY WORLD to celebrate my 30th BIRTHDAY and I couldn’t have dreamt of a better birthday!!! We hit all (and I mean all) the rides and I’ve never laughed so hard.


As usual December was full of holiday prep and time with family. We’ve also spent most of the month packing since we’ll be moving out of our city home in January. We’ve been trying to eat at some of our favorite restaurants as much as possible since we won’t be here as frequently. We got to be a part of a super cool styled shoot featuring wedding decor and puppies!

All in all 2017 has been one for the books. I got the opportunity to work with some pretty awesome brands, even awesomer local vendors, met some super cool people, and ate some really freakin delicious food. Thank you all for the unconditional support through the year. I hope to add value to your life, even if its as tiny as a recommended product or a laugh from a flub on an insta story. Keep telling me what you want to see!

I have a feeling 2018 has a lot in store for The Clayton’s and I can’t wait to see where it takes us!



1 Comment

  1. Georgette
    January 3, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    Ashley, I enjoyed reading your 2017 recap. So glad we were able to attend your beautiful wedding. Moving is no fun, but I am sure you will love your new home. Bill and I wish you and Will a Happy and exciting New Year!
    Love, Aunt Georgette

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