Helping You Live a Financially,
Physically, & Professionally Fit Life

2018 Year in Review

December 31, 2018
AUTHOR: Emilie
This post may contain affiliate links; see site footer for more details.
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Oh hayeeeeee. Let me start with the obvious: I failed as a blogger this year. But I’m a-okay with it because I feel my little space here on the web is finally in a place where I’m understanding not only what it is but what I want it to be. It’s like I wanted the sun to rise in the West and no matter how hard I pushed I wasn’t going to make it happen. Now I’m realizing I can let the sun rise in the East and have the things I want. That epiphany has been powerful!

As long time readers will remember, here we are all about the physical, financial, and professional, so let’s recap all of those parts of the year!


  • January: Saw Ryan Hurd, Midland, and Chris Lane in Raleigh; visited Philly to spend time with VFAladies + Phormal; bought my wedding dress in NJ.
  • February: Found out we were moving to Savannah; visited Nashville for PyTN; registered for our wedding; moved to Savannah!
  • March: Explored Savannah; hosted friends for St. Patrick’s; traveled to Santiago, Chile for #DoistRetreat18
  • April: C deployed; visited NJ for my sister’s birthday
  • May: visited NJ for Ashley & Chris’s wedding #legallycamporeale
  • June: MY FIRST REUNIONS AS AN ALUMNA! The most perfect tea party bridal shower; Ranger wives retreat; started new job; turned 25.
  • July: lots of pool time; visited NYC to do my first-ever in-person training for a client project; more pool time
  • August: Bachelorette Party #ByeByeBurke; visited Colorado for Kyrzia and Mike’s Wedding #ParkerLewisCantLose; visited Cape Town, South Africa for #GitLabSummit
  • September: C came home; AMAZING Key West vacation; Military Influence Conference; USAA’s DigiMilEx; FinCon
  • October: Halloween as tourists
  • November: Ran my first-ever half marathon; GOT MARRIED
  • December: Watched Army beat Navy and Houston; Ranger ball; Christmas at Home ❤️

It was an eventful 2018, for sure. Parts of it seemed like a blur. Parts of it seemed to drag on forever (deployment).

One moment I’ll forever… When I picked up C from deployment and my eyes locked with his for the first time in half a year- I felt the electricity in my body. I will hold that feeling in my heart forever (and most importantly to carry me into the next deployment).


This was, by no means, my fittest year. I developed a love-hate relationship and over time it’s turned into a mostly just-hate relationship with my current gym. While some of the coaches are great, they’re not consistent in my classes. I’m about 15 lbs heavier right now than I was this time last year (all gained between February 1 and April 1 of this year; do you gain weight from moving?), but, at least, I’m just as strong.

This was a wash.


Our goal for 2018 was to have all of our debt except for the cow loan (and the mortgage) paid off. We were hoping to have the cow loan down to 10K and to cash-flow our wedding.

Through hard work, diligence, and combat pay, we were debt-free (except the mortgage) on August 1. We cash-flowed the whole wedding, went on an amazing vacation to Key West, and go into 2019 with a well-funded emergency fund.

Huge win.


I started a new job in June at GitLab (👉 We’re hiring). I have never felt so professionally fulfilled. My team is amazing and pushes me way out of my comfort zone all the time (in a good way). I’m doing something I know how to do, with technologies I’m comfortable with, and getting to lead some of the process decisions around how we work.

GitLab sent me to Cape Town, South Africa

Before started at GitLab, I wound down a job with a phenomenal team where I learned a ton and was forced way out of my comfort zone but wasn’t using the technologies I really wanted to use. Some unfortunate circumstances meant I had to look for a new role. It was in the transitionary gap that I picked up a ton of contract work and got to work on some amazing problems (that contract work was also a huge part of how we became debt-free).

In the next year, I feel called to really focus on leveling-up my technical skills. I’m not sure yet what that looks like, but I think it’s a sign that I’m right where I’m supposed to be right now.

Top 5 Blog Posts

Here are my top 5 most-viewed blog posts:

  1. 4 Tips for Saving Money While Moving into your First Apartment
  2. Five Thoughts on Turning 25
  3. My Very First 101 in 1001
  4. 101 in 1001- Six Month Update
  5. Our First Rental Property: A Year In Review

Here are my top 5 favorite blog posts from this year:

  1. Stop Checking Your Phone!
  2. What I Wear When I Work From Home
  3. Progress is not a straight line
  4. Our First Rental Property: A Year In Review
  5. LMBL (Living my Best Life)

Top 5 Books

I read 32 books this year (as many as last year, but short of my goal of 36). They were:

  1. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore
  2. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
  3. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  4. 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam
  5. Get Money by Kristin Wong
  6. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  7. Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff
  8. Black Hearts by Jim Frederick
  9. The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines
  10. This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins
  11. Meet the Frugalwoods by Liz Thames
  12. The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  13. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
  14. Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood
  15. The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
  16. Shop Class as Soulcraft
  17. We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union
  18. Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam
  19. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
  20. Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres
  21. AWOL by Kathy Roth-Douquet
  22. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  23. What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan
  24. The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
  25. Constructing the CrossFit Games by Dave Castro
  26. Storytelling with Data by Cole Knaflic
  27. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
  28. Business Boutique by Christy Wright
  29. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  30. Everyday Millionaire’s by Chris Hogan
  31. It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried
  32. Company of One by Paul Jarvis
  33. (almost done) Atomic Habits by James Clear

The top five that I’d recommend to anyone for any reason (aka not someone looking for a professional development book- or something in particular) are, in order:

  1. Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam
  2. 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam
  3. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
  4. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  5. Company of One by Paul Jarvis


At the end of 2017, I used my PowerSheets from the Cultivate What Matters Shop to set 10 goals for 2018 based around my word of the year, Finish. How did I do?

Read 36 Books without buying ANY.

I read 32 books (and am almost done with my 33rd). I read more pages than I did the previous year, so this is a year-over-year improvement, but I did not hit my goal. ❌

Get into AND sustain the best shape of my life.

See my comments above ❌

Stitch the Baltimore ornament by July.

My original intent here was to have it stitched in time to get it back for Christmas. Well, I didn’t. I did, though, finish it, and I mailed it out to I’m hoping that I might get it back before I take down my tree. Close enough ✅

Budget together to hit our financial goals.

As I mentioned above, we are about a year ahead of where we thought we’d be! This opens tons of doors for us for 2019, as we hope to pay off a nice chunk of the Fayetteville house, max out both of our Roth IRAs, go on our dream honeymoon to French Polynesia, and fund some things we’ve been thinking about. ✅

Date each other more intentionally.

Well, C was deployed for half of the year, and gone training for a month before that, and we moved, so everything before September was a wash. For the last quarter of the year, we were great at this. ✅

Correct legal and business system for the business.

Owning your own business is stressful. About half way through the year, I took a new job (see above) that let me wrap up and close the business. Once I file the final taxes, that’s the end of that. ✅

Invest in ME without spending any more money.

I made some progress, but this goal isn’t a goal. It’s a mindset. ✅

Rebrand all content from Burke Does to She Does Better.

Meh. The Content Audit Project of 2018 was a bit of a wash. I didn’t make as much progress as I’d like, but I got started.


2018 was a. year. I spent a lot of time working. I spent a lot of time doing life on my own. I spent a lot of time loving on my friends and family and cuddling on Bo! It was a great year to be reminded of just how independent I am and how well I can do life on my own but also how wonderful it is to do life with the people I love.

Previous Years in Review

Do you have a comment to make about this post? I'd love to hear from you. Please tweet it @SheDoesBetter or email me!