Y’all, I can’t believe that 2017 is almost over. This year flew by. I feel like I say that every year, but for real, where did 2017 go? 2016 (year in review here) seems like an eternity ago.
2017 was a heck of a year.
With all the ups and downs felt around the nation and around the world, and even in my own life, at times, it was easy to see only the negatives. But even through the negatives, 2017 was still a really amazing year, because it showed heart, perseverance and the results of hard work on both micro and macro levels.
2017 was the year that tested everyone in some way. No matter what life or the world threw at us–from natural disasters to job changes and everything in between–we fought back and proved that nothing can tear us down. And that’s pretty rad if you ask me.
But now, so as to not digress any further, it’s time for my annual 2017 year in review post.
Let’s take a look at how my 2017 played out.
At the beginning of the year, I started keeping a “2017 memories” jar on my bookshelf. I wrote down happy memories, accomplishments and good times with good people on little pieces of paper and kept them in the jar. As I went back through some of my favorite moments of 2017, I realized just how great the year was.
A year of soccer
I’ve told the story before of how I didn’t really care about soccer until I moved to Chattanooga and became a CFC supporter. My love of soccer took a turn in 2017. I even made my first CFC road trip to New Orleans to support the Boys in Blue in their league opener. That was a whole different experience and one I’d do again in a heartbeat.
In February, the Scenic City hosted two amazing soccer events: the US Men’s National Team played a friendly against Jamaica, and the CFC played their first-ever MLS match against league newcomers Atlanta United.
Want to hear a fun story? I really despised ATL United when they played in Chattanooga; for a while afterward, I claimed I’d never be an ATL supporter. Then I started watching their matches on TV and enjoyed the way they play. Then I went to a match at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium and I guess that made me an official ATL United supporter. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
Side note, that stadium is a work of art.
Additionally, I went up to Nashville in July to see the Men’s National Team play Jamaica once again, this time in the Gold Cup. More soccer in 2018? I think so.
Food. So much food.
I’ve said many, many times before that Chattanooga is blessed with some really amazing restaurants. From brunch spots to decadent desserts, to the best craft beer and happy hours, you’ll find whatever you’re craving in Chattanooga. Some places that got lots of my time and money this year include: FEED Co. Table & Tavern, Flying Squirrel, Mean Mug Coffeehouse, Easy Bistro, Community Pie, Brewhaus, and so many more.
And it doesn’t stop there. Our food scene got some great new additions this year and I’m excited to keep exploring them. I’m coming for y’all, Red Sauce (again), Southside Pizza and Pizzeria Cortile!
My foodie highlight of 2017 is, by far, Restaurant Week. It’s a whole week dedicated to celebrating Chattanooga’s amazing food scene and the people that make our restaurants as great as they are. I teamed up with my friend William to produce a week-long Restaurant Week Variety Show that highlighted what we saw as Chattanooga’s “best of the best.” That show inadvertently inspired my soon-to-be podcast.
But for real, Restaurant Week was awesome. Thanks to FEED Co., Frothy Monkey, Two Ten Jack, Easy Bistro and Community Pie for having us and letting us film!
Events around Chattanooga
When I wasn’t at my day job or a favorite restaurant, I spent lots of time in 2017 at some of the best events and social must-do’s in the Scenic City.
If you’re a wine aficionado, or interested in learning more about wines and your tastes, I highly recommend checking out the Chattanooga Tasting Club. From weekly tastings to special dinners, club organizer Tim Hinck makes drinking and learning about wine into a whole different experience.
Have you ever spent a whole day eating cornbread? I have, and I did it this spring at the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg. It’s exactly what it sounds like: all the cornbread you could ever imagine. And lots of sweet tea.
I didn’t know that “judge a fried chicken festival” was on my bucket list, but that’s another cool thing I did in 2017. The Mother Clucker Fried Chicken Festival made its first appearance in Chattanooga this spring and I was so happy to be a part of it. You don’t have to ask me twice to taste and judge fried chicken.
One special highlight of 2017 was attending Chattanooga’s annual Wine Over Water festival. It brings nearly 100 wineries from around the nation to the Walnut Street Bridge to share some of their best wines with attendees. But what made Wine Over Water truly special was spending it with my friend Caroline, who I hadn’t seen in nearly 15 years.
I went back to Southern Brewers Festival, the biggest beer festival in the Southeast, with my friends from the Brew Chatt podcast. It was a good time, as always. I even attempted to interview a brewer, and subsequently learned that, at least when it comes to beer, I’m better behind the camera. Check out the video recap here. And of course, I went to the 3rd annual Handcrafted Wishes event at the Hunter Museum and had a lovely time.
Friends and family
2017 wouldn’t have been as amazing as it was without some really awesome people. I’m lucky to have so many wonderful friends that help make my life in Chattanooga so happy.
And of course, standing by my sweet friend Emily’s side as she married the man of her dreams was one of the best moments of 2017. Their wedding was absolutely beautiful and I’m so happy for the two of them.
Other pretty cool stuff
I couldn’t write my 2017 year in review post without mentioning some other really great highlights from the year. I don’t go to concerts super often, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to see Jimmy Eat World when they brought their Integrity Blues tour to Chattanooga. They played most of my favorite songs (what happened to “Sweetness,” guys?!) but of course the highlight was “The Middle.”
2017 was also the year of my TV debut! Back in the fall, I had the chance to go on Let’s Chatt, a morning show on Chattanooga’s News 12 Now station, and talk about Graeter’s pumpkin pie ice cream (watch the segment here). Then a few weeks after that, I went back to News 12 Now and shared my recipe for easy, 3-ingredient pumpkin spice cookies. Give me ice cream and cookies and I’ll talk about those all day long. Thanks to Bree, Chip, Kay and News 12 Now for having me!
This year, I discovered a new interest that I’m taking with me into 2018: podcasting! I’ve got a couple friends who host podcasts, and thanks to them, I got bit by the podcast bug myself. So in 2018, I’m launching one myself. It’s called The Nooga Belle Show and I can’t wait for y’all to hear it!
2017 was full of reasons to be happy and excited. This can only mean that 2018 will be at least just as good.
What were some of your favorite moments, events and memories from 2017? What’s in your 2017 year in review?
I’m excited to link up with Helene In Between for her Best of 2017 collection!