CWS Year In Review 2019

Happy New Year’s Eve, CWS fam! It’s hard to believe that 2019 is coming to a close and not only that… another decade is coming to a close. I don’t know about you but I’m ready to say “hello!” to 2020. 🙂

CWS Year In Review

It’s always a wild ride looking back at all the year had in store. To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to spending time reflecting on 2019 and blogging. I had set out at the start of 2019 with some highly ambitious goals and while I hit some, I missed the mark on others. But, as I have taken the time over the last week to truly look back and appreciate my blogging journey this year, I can confidently say that I’m proud of all I have accomplished in 2019. Since we’re wrapping up another decade, I’ll be including some CWS highlights from the past 5 years, too!


  • 12 Daily Habits To Boost Your Mood
  • How To Reduce Stress When Life Is Busy
  • How To Wear A Maxi Dress When You’re Short
  • 7 Instagram Stories Strategies To Start Using Now
  • Moving Through Life’s Milestones With Ford

12 Daily Habits To Boost Your Mood


  • How To Whitewash A Stone Fireplace – This post is by far the most-read blog post on CWS to date. It’s been a hit on Pinterest and draws in viewers every day.
  • Why Follow/Unfollow Isn’t The Way To Grow – I’m someone who doesn’t mind ruffling some feathers, especially when it comes to authenticity, honesty, and truth. This post definitely was a controversial one in the blogging/social media world but I’m glad to have influence in this debate!
  • 5 Reasons Why Friday Weddings Are Better – Mike and I had a Friday wedding in the summer of 2015 and we were so glad we did.
  • How I Edit My Blog Photos – While I have a slightly different photo editing process now, this was what worked for me for a long time and there are still some helpful tips in this post!
  • Nashville Travel Guide – In July 2018, Mike and I got away to Nashville for a few days on my first ever sponsored trip. My Nashville Travel Guide has gone viral on Pinterest many times over the past year.
  • How To Get More Traffic From Instagram – Linktree isn’t the way to go! If you want more traffic to your blog from IG, create your own IG Links page.
  • 10 Tips For The Morning Of Your Wedding – My wedding-related posts always do extremely well on Pinterest, making this one of my top read wedding posts!
  • Why You Need To Make Self-Care A Priority – While this is one of my oldest and shortest written self-care blog posts, it’s still one of my most read.
  • Why You CAN’T Start A Blog In Just Minutes – It’s a huge misconception that you can start a blog in “just 15 minutes” or “just 1 day” because the reality is, it takes TONS of prep work.
  • Reasons To Make “Me Time” A Priority & Activities To Do Alone – In order to have “me time” you need to make it a priority in your life. Here are tips on how to!

top 9 2019


These are my top 9 best-performing Instagram photos for the year! Some of my personal favorites are here, too. 😉 Can you guess which ones?! Be sure to follow me on Instagram if you aren’t already! @summertelban

Leopard Print Dress


Affiliate marketing is one of the smaller ways that I earn an income through my blog (see further disclosure here). As always, I only recommend the best products and they’re 99% of the time ones I already use and love myself. Here are the top 5 best-selling items recommending by me for the year…


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The Nora Mattress from Wayfair is absolutely incredible and it’s at such a steal of a price. I wrote my review on it at the end of 2017 and still today, it’s the perfect mattress for our guest room. This “out of office” t-shirt is perfect and comes in sizes: Small to 3XL. This Maybelline liquid eyeliner is the perfect drugstore dupe for Tarte’s Sex Kitten Liquid Eyeliner. The open knit coat I’m wearing in the photo above from Chicwish was a huge hit with you all this fall! This Amazon fashion find is affordable, high-quality, and incredible – you all love it! It comes in sizes: Small to XL.

Ford Blogger


While my blogging journey looked different than I thought it would this year, mostly due to moving and my pregnancy (both amazing blessings), I am still so happy with how far I’ve come this year. Sure, I didn’t hit every crazy ambitious goal but I did make a lot of personal progress and I’m feeling great about heading into 2020.

  • My Favorite Partnerships: Pantene and Ford
    • It’s always hard to choose my favorite partnerships because the partnerships I take on are always ones I use and love already. Pantene and Ford have to be my top 2 favorites of 2019 for many different reasons but I loved that for both I was able to have full creative control, which always makes for my content.
    • Pantene Blog Post
    • Ford Blog Post
  • I got into Mediavine: Mediavine is the ad network that I’m with. I decided to take the plunge to join Mediavine to further my blogging income. It’s been one of the best decisions that I’ve made and I’m very proud of what I’m seeing come of it so far.
  • I was interviewed for 2 different podcasts! This was outside of my comfort zone for sure but it was a great way to continue to establish my credibility in blogging.
    • Mariah Magazine interviewed me on the topic of Influencer Marketing and how it can grow your small business. Catch the interview HERE!
    • The Thrive Blogger Podcast had me on to talk about overcoming your fear of self-promotion as a blogger or creative entrepreneur! Catch the episode on Spotify HERE!


If you’re a dedicated reader of CWS and you haven’t taken my reader survey yet, please take 2 minutes to fill it out! 🙂 It is extremely helpful to me. Thank you! 

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I am so glad and grateful to have you in my blogging corner. Your continued support is part of 1. why I’m able to keep on going with blogging and 2. why my passion for blogging is still fervent! I’m looking forward to the next decade of CWS with you by my side. 🙂


The post CWS Year In Review 2019 appeared first on Coffee With Summer.

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Epic Wives Experiment

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Passive Income Secrets

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An expat’s guide to fitting in with New Zealand locals

Let’s be clear; there’s usually nothing easy about picking up your life and moving to a new foreign country and fitting in with New Zealand locals? There’s a lot to learn.

The food is different, and the language is (often) changed, the culture is different. It takes some serious guts to pick up and become an expat, but with a bit of perseverance, it can be one of the most rewarding moves of your life.

When I first decided to move to New Zealand, I stupidly assumed that because it was a westernized country where English was spoken, I’d have no trouble fitting it. But, as it turns out, life and culture in Chicago are vastly different than life on an Island Nation.

There are some things I wish I knew before moving that would have made my transition a little easier. Here are my best tips for fitting in with New Zealand locals

How to move to New Zealand as an American

fitting in with new zealand locals

1. Keep it casual

Kiwis live a relaxed lifestyle from the clothes they wear to how they address their superiors.

Dressing up for Kiwis often means donning their fanciest pair of jandals and their cleanest pair of stubbies. If that sentence doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry, it will eventually. Even in the workplace, the dress is usually reasonably casual. Unless you’re in a bank, you probably won’t see suits and ties.

When addressing superiors and colleagues, Kiwis prefer to use first names and often even nicknames. They like to treat everyone the same and often see their bosses and superiors as friends, doctors too.

fitting in with new zealand locals

2. Keep that work-life balance in check

Kiwis are famous for maintaining an excellent work-life balance.

They believe in putting in some hard hours at work but also respect their free time. Hell, the best coffee spot in town is famous for closing their doors over the Christmas break, the busiest two weeks of the year. Could they be making lots of money over that time? Sure, but is it worth the stress? Nah.

Kiwis know when to draw the line and make sure they have time to relax, and best of all, they don’t feel guilty for it. If you want to fit in with the locals, make sure you take some holiday time and respect others when they’re doing the same.

fitting in with new zealand locals

3. Sarcasm reigns supreme

Keen on fitting in with New Zealand? Learn to speak sarcasm.

If English and Māori share the title for the common language in New Zealand, sarcasm would undoubtedly be the second.

Kiwi humor is often described and dark and utterly dry, but if you can pick up on it, you’ll soon find yourself laughing along. A shortcut to understanding Kiwi humor is to assume the opposite for everything they say immediately.

For example, if someone calls you a winner, you’re most certainly not.

fitting in with new zealand locals

4. Stay humble

A quick way to get an eye roll out of a kiwi is to start talking about your most recent accomplishments. Start yarning on about all the things you’ve done, and you’ll be met with silence or a quick change of subject.

This is because Kiwis embrace the tall poppy syndrome, where people who brag about how great they are are resented and criticized. If you’re going to talk about your success, do so carefully and try to elevate those who helped you reach that success.

10 times I realized I’d gone totally Kiwi

fitting in with new zealand locals

5. Nix the small chat

Love it or hate it, Kiwis are genuine.

They don’t mince words, and if they ask you how you’re going, they genuinely want to know.

A quick way to piss off a Kiwi is to say, “Hey mate, how are ya” and then immediately move onto the next sentence without giving them a chance to answer. It may seem like a common language to you, but to Kiwis, they find it rude and insincere.

If you’re going to ask them questions, they’re going to want to answer. Kiwis don’t mind a bit of awkward silence, so they’d much rather sit in silence then fill the air with a frivolous chat about the weather.

fitting in with new zealand locals

6. But don’t get too personal

Here’s another goodie for fitting in with New Zealand locals  – don’t also get up in their business.

When you’re asking them questions, be sure not to cross the line by asking them super personal questions. Don’t ask them how much money they make, how much their house costs, or who they’re voting for in the next elections.

In my experience, I’ve found that Kiwis generally tend to keep their personal business to themselves and a select few friends, so when integrating into a Kiwi friend group, tread carefully with the deep questions.

fitting in with new zealand locals

7. Adopt the can-do attitude

Kiwis are famous for the #8 wire attitude. The old saying goes that on remote farms, Kiwis would often have long rolls of number 8 wire, which they would use to fix practically any mechanical or structural problem. The wire became synonymous with the ingenuity and resourcefulness of New Zealanders and is a common cultural characteristic still to this day.

Perhaps part of it is because they are an island nation that has historically had to be self-reliant for a long time. If something is broken, New Zealanders will always give it a crack to try and fix it before buying new.

They’ll go to great lengths to solve the issue on their own, and if you’re trying to fit in, you should too. Kiwis wear their old duct-taped puffer jackets with pride here.

fitting in with new zealand locals

8. Respect the environment

Speaking of not buying new, most Kiwis hold the state of the environment near and dear to their hearts.

Perhaps because they live in a literal paradise, when you get to see pure beauty every day and the risks that beauty faces, you appreciate it, maybe it’s because they have a small population. Here it’s easier to enact change on a large scale.

Whatever it is, Kiwis give a hoot about the rivers and mountains and air. If you want to fit in, ditch your single-use plastic. You’ll quickly be ostracized for getting a plastic fork with your takeaway or forgetting your reusable coffee cup. Recycle when you can, but more than anything, if you want to fit in with the Kiwis, start with reducing the amount you consume, to begin with.

What do you think? Any tips for fitting in with New Zealand locals? Share!

fitting in with new zealand locals

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Surprise! I’m moving to Christchurch!

I have some exciting personal news to share with you guys. I’m moving to Christchurch!

More specifically, I’m moving to Lyttelton, Christchurch’s quirky harbor town. And even more specifically, I’m moving out to one of the stunning bays on the Banks Peninsula near Lyttelton.

My current mood is a beautiful combination of giddy excitement that meets unsettled panic. What am I doing? If you asked me a year ago if I would ever move to Christchurch for a guy, I would have laughed so hard!

Not only could I have ever imagined moving to the big smoke, but I could also have never believed I would fall so hard in love that I was willing to open up my very private and reclusive life to share with another person moving to Christchurch.

Just when you think you have life figured out, it flips you on your head!

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

After six years in my beloved Wanaka, I’m about to embark on an entirely new chapter in my life moving to Christchurch. A chapter that I will admit I dreamed of deep down but never thought would actually happen. Love.

No, I’m not pregnant (mom), but I did fall in love with an old friend, Giulio Sturla. Swoon! Vomit!

Our story is a serendipitous one that I can’t wait to tell you in full one day, but for now, I’ll keep it short and straightforward.

moving to christchurch
The first photo I took of Giulio years ago at Roots
moving to christchurch
Eating at Roots for the first time

Giulio is an Italian – Chilean chef who has been living in New Zealand for over a decade and trained at Mugaritz in Spain, one of the best restaurants on the planet. And Giulio is not just any chef, and he was named New Zealand’s best chef last year, as well as running Roots, one of the best restaurants in the country. No big deal, eh? For a girl who loves to eat, I’ve died and gone to heaven!

We’ve been friends for years after he fed me on a trip to Canterbury before it blossomed into something more.

But the best part isn’t that he is a superbly talented chef, creative or that we have so much in common. Giulio is, in fact, the kindest, most patient person I’ve ever met, and he’s my match. He’s my person, my other half. It’s so crazy; I still can’t quite believe it!

After so many failed, wrong relationships, who would have thought you could so easily recognize the right person when they come along? It’s magic!

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

After a lifetime of self-doubt and an inherent belief that my travel lifestyle was incompatible with true love, I gave up on meeting someone. I quietly accepted my fate as a cat lady meets librarian, which I would still happily embrace (just so we’re clear).

At the beginning of 2019, I walked away from a relationship that just wasn’t right, that I clung to for too long because I didn’t think I deserved any better. Resigned, I finally came to terms with the belief that I would rather be alone than with the wrong person, a rather adult realization that surprised even myself.

As a solitary person, I don’t mind being alone, but deep down, I felt a quiet, profound sadness for my lot in life.

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

But we all know that fate loves a good laugh, and before I knew what was happening to me, a blissful, storybook love came out of nowhere and knocked me on my ass! Moving to Christchurch was something I could have never imagined when I first translocated to New Zealand.

All those cliche rom-com phrases describe my relationship with Giulio perfectly, and my deeply cynical frosty heart has softened considerably over this past year.

It’s so funny because everyone has told me that that is how it always happens – you give up on love, and then you find it. Eyeroll.

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

But in some ways, I can really see how I had a hand in manifesting this love too. Since my story with the whales on Stewart Island a year ago, I’ve been forced to confront a lot of deep emotional issues and complex inner stories I’ve told myself.

Through therapy and a lot of life coaching with Kait Rich, I’ve been able to grow and do a lot of work on myself to be able to communicate better and really understand what I want and how to get there.

This hard work has pulled me up from rock bottom (again), and I know for a fact I wouldn’t have been able to have such a beautiful relationship if I hadn’t been able to grow the way I have. And what makes it even more amazing is that in many ways, Giulio has done the same thing.

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

With love comes change.

As the perpetual third wheel to all my friends, no one hates hearing more about love than me, but here we are. As I am beginning this new era of sharing and partnership, as an only child who’s never lived with a partner before or had roommates in 6 years, have any life advice for me because I’m freaking the fuck out over here.

I’m so incredibly excited about this new era of my life to begin, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared too.

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

My go-to situation has always been to be alone. I’ve learned to look after myself, and as a profoundly introverted human, my comfortable place is quiet and lonely. How do I navigate that as I now begin to share my life with someone else?

Our house is large and comes with a puppy (OMG) as well as two beautiful kids (aged 5 and 8), and is a massive change from what I’m used to. Any advice for someone like me stepping into a new role?

How do I continue to be myself and preserve my independent identity but also navigate a partnership in a new place? I don’t even know how to compromise, haha!

moving to christchurch

moving to christchurch

While I’m still keeping close ties to Wanaka (including keeping my magical flat which I rent out to friends and visitors), I’m now starting fresh in Christchurch, where I have approximately two friends. So, who here lives in Canterbury?

And of course, where can I start exploring here?

Have any tips for a newbie like me? Does anyone want to be my friend? Please send any advice or leave a comment for me below. 

moving to christchurch

The post Surprise! I’m moving to Christchurch! appeared first on Young Adventuress.

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Personal Development Bootcamp | Living Full Out

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