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Recap & reflect

Time for my yearly recap at the end of 2018. I am super grateful for all those highlights that I have summed up here. 2018 was a great year! It’s easy to take things for granted when you’re on a roll. Especially if you ride in the fast lane. Taking moments to reflect is the best way to put things in perspective to appreciate everything. So different from the other years I also include my lesson learned at the end with an honest mirror of not being happy all the time.

1. Engagement

On top of the list, it was of course our engagement in Italy. After 15 years together, Nigel sealed the deal with a classic Tiffany ring of my dreams. I promised the full story in a separate article in 2019.

2. Dolla Dolla Bills gals

At the end of 2018, I moved into an office together with @celmatique and @girlonkicks. A few moments later our team was complete with the addition @teamwayta. @Dolladollabillsgals was born. It’s only one year, but we bonded like true sisters. I got so attached to each of these inspiring ladies. The news is that we are moving office in the first quarter of 2019. We stay together.

3. Team HashtagbyLily

In 2018 it was time to extend the team. I knew I needed support with daily tasks and the execution of projects. I am so lucky to have found amazing interns via Instagram. I started with Saskia, who I shared with Celeste. She was such a super intern that I can’t live without help anymore. Now, I currently even have two amazing interns in the team, Jenny and Echa.

Next to my interns I finally found someone who takes care of my sales, which is one of my weakest spots. She does all the negotiations and aftersales, so I can focus on the content.

With a team like this, I feel like such a girl boss.

4. Travels

Exploring the world has always been my biggest passion. The sensation of seeing, feeling, tasting something new and exciting gives me the biggest joy.

Of course, every trip is special and I really really don’t take it for granted. I am forever grateful that I am able to travel the world. There are so many places and activities on my bucket list, I hope I can continue my journeys for the longest time.   

 Here are the most memorable trips this year:

AUSTRALIA was no doubt the best trip this year. After dreaming about this continent for years I can finally check this from the bucket list. It was everything that I imagined and even more. The reef sleep (will dedicate a full blog post to this experience) was my favorite moment together with waking up in (one of) the oldest rainforests of the world Daintree forrest.

MEXICO was the tropical warmth I needed in-between this year. It wasn’t my first time in Mexico, but it was my first time visiting Valladolid, which was the most authentic Mexican experience I had since it’s still quite an authentic place compared to Playa del Carmen and Tulum. (Read more about this trip here)

NEW YORK and PARIS Fashion Weeks were so much fun together with my fashion gals. I hope I can keep attending these Fashion Weeks in the future. It’s so different than the travels that I usually do, but I love it that I am able to include this part of my passion in my travels every fashion season.  

HONG KONG 2 times! Again, I hope I can call it my home someday because it sure feels like it already. I flew to Hong Kong to surprise my grandma (it was the first Chinese New Year without my beloved grandpa).

The second time in Hong Kong was a pitstop to Australia. It was short and sweet (check it here).

FRANCE, to be exact the France Alps, Serre Chevalier, and Brides Les Bains, this was my very first ski experience. I was on a press trip with the France tourism board, who arranged my first ski lessons and showed us the areas. Another thing checked from my bucket list. Hopefully, I can go on a ski trip with friends and fam one day 🙂

LONDON, invited by River Island to see Beyoncé and Jay’s concert! The show was epic. Feel so blessed to have these crazy cool opportunities with my work.

5. Books

I feel honored that people feature me in magazines and books. This year there were three books (Instaproof, Feed your Wanderlust & Staycation) published where you find a small part of me in it. As you may know, I also have my column in the Asian Newspaper. With the digital era here, I find it very special to have a footprint in the offline world as well. To be able to hold it, I feel so proud.

6. Partners

I am so proud and humbled to be able to work with amazing brands. I am such a loyal ambassador when it comes down to collaborations. It’s something I take very seriously. When I look at all the beautiful brands in my portfolio, you can really say that those brands fits Hashtag by Lily. I always go that extra mile, as most of them I would recommend anyway, it comes from heart. In most cases it’s not only the products or service that I love, it’s also the relationship that I have build with the people behind. We often forget how important those people are who make the brand shine. I want to thank my partners in believing in me, without them I couldn’t do this thing that I can call my dream job.

50% Happy

It feels like each year passes by faster than the other. Which makes these reflecting moments even more important to me. I always try my best to be in the moment and learn something every single day.

It was a year I learned that you don’t always have to be happy all of the time. In fact, it gives you such peace of mind when you accept that 50% of your life is happy and the other half is not. Ever since I listened to that podcast where Brooke Castille explained that 50-50 mentality (Modern Mental Health, here), I felt such a relief, to let go of that pressure.

I know my life and everyone on social media seems to have the perfect life in pictures and videos. Knowing that these are only tiny bits of captured moments that doesn’t say much. Deep down everyone knows this, but we still choose to think that perfect all the time exists. I see the shift is happening, on Instastories for instance, those “perfect instagrammers” are sharing inspiring vulnerable personal stories with the best intentions. I can really appreciate those content and have great respect for that.

I notice that when I show my moments when I am down, I get so much support from my surroundings and community. It’s really really not that I am looking for sympathy, it’s about being real. And I know that most people genuinely feel with me because it’s relatable.   

To name a few more examples that cause me stress and anxiety:
I have my insecurities of relevancy with my job, disappointments from this industry that often promises you the world, but can’t come through at the end, the stress about money as a freelancer, the wedding that is coming. I know lots of ladies are looking forward to this, but me not so much (I hope this will change btw), relationships: who is real and is there for the long term, and other adult’s responsibilities.

Also, I am such a people pleaser, it gives me anxiety all the time to fail someone to a point that it’s too much for me. I have always been that person that thinks waaaay too much, which gives me so many insomnia nights.

So yes, I think I am not happy and insecure let’s say 30-40% of the time and I am very content with that. It seems like a lot of negative points when I do this sum up, especially when I can even write more down.

I do feel guilty when I feel down because I don’t want to be ungrateful for this full life that I am living. There are so many worse-case scenarios in the world. But we can’t help what we’re feeling, can we? It does help to put it in perspective sometimes, to be aware that there are people who have it waaay worse than your worries at the moment.

But still, you know what, it’s okay to have those down moments, EVERYONE has those moments and phases. We are only human.

What helps me the most is that I accepted that it’s part of life and I shouldn’t feel discouraged much when I have to face difficulties on my path. The beautiful thing is that you will experience the highs even higher, it keeps you humbled and grateful. And to go on the spiritual road, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, the good and especially the bad.

2018 was a year I was even more aware of everything around me. It’s a matter of interest and knowledge. I am always eager to learn more. Especially to use my voice to not only spread my passion but also to shine a light on deeper subjects and dare to be vulnerable. Those were the challenges that I wanted to tackle for 2018, something I am planning to do even more in 2019. You will see this back in the topics that I write (i.e. Banana generationThe secret love story) and the selective collaborations that I do (i.e. Action Aid).

In 2019 I want to focus on the right balance of exciting content on all topics that I am passionate about and the stories that I am going to share to inspire on a deeper level. The balance will be the goal. A life goal.

That said, I want to thank all of you to make time to read my posts. Knowing that I don’t take that for granted, as time is the most precious thing in the world. Your support this way means everything. I want to wish you lots of health, luck and happiness. May you follow your heart and make all your dreams come true!! See you in 2019 my loves!!

X Lily


Lily Tjon Hashtagbylily

Chinese Dutchie sharing her love for Fashion, Beauty, Travel, Lifestyle & Culture.