2016 you crazy, amazing thing. When looking back at everything that has happened within the last 365 days, I have to pinch myself to make sure that I am not dreaming.
In the very end of 2015, Alex and I both fulfilled a dream of ours: We quit our corporate jobs to work independently with all our time and heart on the blog. I’ve always believed in dreams, but when I think about the last year, I honestly have to tell you that I never dared to dream of such an exciting, crazy and adventurous time. At the very moment I’m sitting in the plane on my way to a trip which will hopefully feel like a little holiday. Because even though I’ve been to so many amazing places this year, we always brought a laptop and tons of projects we were working on with us. I lost my heart to Asia during my trip around the world and I decided to come back there after this exciting year I mostly spend in Europe and the US. Even though I feel very tired at the moment, I feel grateful for a year in which I experienced more than could fit in even ten years. 😉
Before wrapping up this beautiful journey which is called 2016, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me each and every day. I’ve been a little camera shy my whole life and I still try to avoid red carpets and big events, but I love sharing my dreams and creating stories I can share with you. Reading your nice words every day gives me so much strength and I thank you for being so positive! I often feel touched by your feedback- It means the world to me!
J A N U A R Y
I started into the new year in one of my favorite places – Thailand. It was a spontaneous but good idea to recharge our batteries before starting into a crazy year. During this trip I made the difficult decision to stop working as an Asos stylist, as I felt like I had to neglect either the Asos or my own account. During our time in Thailand I decided that I just wanted to focus all my energy on the blog, which turned out to be the best decision. Afterwards, for the first time I traveled to Firenze in order to be part of the “Pitty” for Nobis. It was such a fun project as I got to know many other influencers and photographers from all over the world. In January I also had one of the most exciting projects I was working on so far: together with eight influencers from around the world we produced a campaign for Tommy Hilfiger, which was called “Wish you were here“. I headed to Jamaica for only three days, arriving without luggage and no carry-on. It was the very moment I bought my first piece of carry-on and I would never travel without it again!;)
#BFW | BERLIN
#WISHYOUWEREHERE | JAMAICA
F E B R U A R Y
Afterwards I directly headed to Milan to shoot a campaign for Guess with four very different girls from four different markets. It was the first time I worked with Dulceida and Jessica Mercedes, who I luckily bumped into again and again the following months.
After these projects it was time for my second round of international fashion weeks. I was super happy when one of my favorite brands, Tory Burch, had a surprise for me: they had Alex and me fly in to New York and invited us to stay at The Standard Hotel together with the brand – It was an amazing experience and I loved spending so much time with the Tory team and also meeting Tory after the show. New York fashion week was followed by London, Milan and Paris fashion week…
#NYFW | NEW YORK
#LFW | LONDON
#MFW | MILAN
#PFW | PARIS
M A R C H
This little marathon of running from appointments to shows is always the most intense time of the year and, therefore, I was super happy we had scheduled a little getaway to Tulum right afterwards. It was my first time in Mexico and it ended up being one of my favorite places ever. The people, food, beaches, culture… Mexico has so much to offer and as you might remember: it didn’t take me long to return.;)
TULUM &PLAYA DEL CARMEN
A P R I L
The next highlight was a long trip to the US. Firstly, we headed to Dallas for a conference with about 100 bloggers from all over the world! It was super fun, seeing so many girls again. My favorite moment was the all white party during the last night. It was a rainy day but as soon as the German crowd hit the dance floor it became one of the best nights ever. I used to be a hip hop dancer most of my life and also Alex loves to dance. We danced all night and our white clothes became super dirty, but it was totally worth it! 🙂 Straight from Dallas we headed to LA. It was almost time for Coachella and we’ve been invited to produce some pictures for a magazine. As my first and only visit in LA before that had been years ago, it was so much fun to be back! We shared a room with my friend Tamara and afterwards headed to Palm Springs to be close to the festival. It was such a fun road trip, driving through a beautiful scenery! Coachella itself was a dream come true. I had always wanted to go and I felt lucky and blessed to be invited for the first time. The setting of the Coachella was as beautiful as imagined and I met so many old friends and also made some new ones. When we had our last days in LA afterwards, we were filled with adrenaline, feeling super happy about this amazing time in the US.
This energy was highly needed when starting the longest journey ever from LA to Santorini. It was a journey with three stopovers and in between they lost all our luggage and even told me my main piece of luggage left the system for good. When we arrived on Santorini early in the morning super tired and exhausted after the long flight, the sunrise on the island made up for everything. I was in Santorini for Intimissimi and it was a place I had always wanted to visit. During sunrise the sky changes colors form lilac to pick to light pink and it was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. We only had a short stay on Santorini and when it was about time to leave, I felt heartbroken. It was April and the weather was not that nice, still, the beauty of this island fascinated me. Alex had to promise me too many times that we would come back as soon as possible!
M A Y
In the beginning of May I headed to one of my favorite cities, Paris, for Lancôme to celebrate the launch of a new product and to shoot some beauty editorials. Afterwards we had a couple of busy days on Mallorca, shooting a few projects as part of a big blogger trip. It was my first time on Mallorca after quite some time and I loved shooting for Net-A-Porter for the first time with one of my favorite photographers. May was an intense month, as it was the first time that I’d been invited to the film festival in Cannes by Ellie Saab perfumes. When I got the invitation I was overwhelmed and happy – Ellie Saab is on of the most glamorous brands in the world and experiencing the film festival in such good company was unforgettable. We saw a movie together, had a red carpet, an exclusive presentation of the most beautiful haute couture pieces and a few more events around Cannes. Cannes was pretty surreal and I loved that we stayed a little longer at the Cote d’Azur as we had some days of shootings in Nizza and nearby ahead of us. In the end of the month it was time to head back to Greece. Casa Cook opened a truly beautiful boutique hotel on Rhodes and we were invited to visit the hotel. We only had what felt like hours to repack in Germany before we went on our next trip for an amazing project with Stop-Over-Reisen: Alex and I travelled to the Maldives for the first time and experienced four totally different islands and resorts. It was a surreal experience and I felt lucky to be in one of the most beautiful destinations of the world. May was quite a month, I just realize! 😉
J U N E
When you can’t stop dreaming of something… well, as I had lost my heart in Santorini, I was more than happy when it was time to go back! We headed to Santorini to shoot the campaign pictures for my first Essie nail polish collection in these beautiful white surroundings. Also, I shot my favorite project of 2016: I was so happy and honored to be the first German blogger to shoot the Amulette De Cartier project in Santorini. When Cartier reposted one of my pictures on Instagram two nights after that, Alex and I were in an open-air cinema and we both were super happy, proud and filled with joy. It was just the beginning of a wonderful partnership with this amazing brand that has such a strong heritage! From Santorini we directly headed to Vienna, where I had a shooting for Sarenza. The brand launched an international campaign and I was the “team leader” for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I loved the project because I was the one deciding on my favorite blogger friends to work on this project with me and that is always the best! We shot in Paris, Vienna, Zurich and Hamburg and I was always happy to see my squad. Afterwards it was time for Berlin fashion week. I stayed in a cozy apartment for H&M and it was a fun experience, trying new H&M pieces and enjoying the apartment its the H&M interior. My favorite event during this fashion week was the Marina Hoermanseder show and aftershow. It’s so nice to see a German designer with sooo much talent and I loved dressing up in her pinkish, leather items – Feeling like Elle Woods herself.;) It was so much fun with Marina Hoermanseder and it was not the last time we created something together. 🙂
J U L Y
I stared into my favorite month (my birthday month) in Paris. Cartier invited me over to celebrate the new CactusDeCartier presentation which I wouldn’t have missed for the world. Afterwards, Alex and I fulfilled ourselves a dream: we had some amazing projects to shoot and decided to take all the nice things with us and fly to Venice. I spent most of my childhood holidays in Italy and it still is my favorite European country. Arriving in Venice, I was overwhelmed – This place is so rich in terms of culture, people, food, history… I felt like Khaleesi running around in Mareen.;) When we went on a day trip to the colorful island Burano, I totally lost it: I was happy like a child, strolling through every little corner, soaking up all the vivid colors! I loved Italy with all my heart and I knew that I would return to see more of this way too beautiful country. Before continuing my Italy adventures I was invited to join Marina Hoermanseder and Ciroc on Ibiza to celebrate their new campaign. It was a fun trip and we had this melon Instagram picture, which totally surprised us and became the most loved picture we ever had on Instagram. 😉 At the end of the month we wanted to do something special for my birthday and I planned the most spontaneous trip ever! We started in Cinque Terre, travelled to Positano, Rome, Capri, Neapel and Procida and it was the best trip ever!
CACTUS DE CARTIER | PARIS
VENICE & BURANO
A U G U S T
In August we had one of the most intense travel moments. We had a project with KLM in Havana. I was keen on going there, but I also had mixed feelings about the destination. The architecture was beautiful and it was such a photogenic place, but still I really felt the effect of communism and I was surprised by the lack of proper food and the differences in living standards. Havana was also the place where we started working with Net-A-Porter, which was a dream come true. When I quit my corporate job I used to joke that I would only go back working corporate if it was for Net-A-Porter.;) Havana was such a colorful place to shoot some favorite looks for Net-A-Porter and we took some of my favorite pictures ever. Coming back to Europe, I had one of the biggest projects of 2016: shooting an international lingerie campaign for Triumph. It was an exciting and a little overwhelming experience, as I’m normally don’t show a lot of skin and definitely stepped out of my comfort zone! But it helped me to overcome my camera shyness a bit for upcoming shootings.;)
S E P T E M B E R
I started September by joining Escada for their horse race in Germany. I’d never attended a similar event and it was fun taking over their channels for this special day. After that I repacked for the most exciting fashion week season, I’d experienced so far. I flew early to NYC to celebrate the reopening of the 5th Avenue store in NY with Cartier. I could have never imagined that. Artiger throws such fun parties and we ended up dancing in the middle of the night. Also, we were surprised by a concert of Ellie Goulding that we watched from the front row. Overall, NY was just too amazing! I also started working with Chloé and shot some images for the launch of the new Alexa bag. It was one of my favorite moments. When I got the bag and knew that I was part of the campaign, I was I overwhelmed with emotions. NY was followed by some packed days in London, Milan and Paris where I attended some of my favorite shows: Chloé, Fendi, Versace, Max Mara, Topshop, Temperley London… it was an intense time. 😉
ESCADE HORSE RACE | BADEN BADEN
O C T O B E R
How to cure the soul after sleepless weeks!? I talked Alex into spontaneously flying to Marrakesh! We only had 5 nights but it was enough time to completely fall for this place! If we hadn’t agreed on shooting a big Michael Kors project in Germany, I would probably have stayed in Marrakesh forever – such an amazing place which made me want to see more of Morocco sooo badly! When we arrived in Germany, we directly headed from the airport to the Michael Kors shooting. We met some Michael Kors members and shot something Christmassy for Glamour magazine and Fashionette and I was super happy about working with Michael Kors for the first time! I also headed to Paris to shoot a Christmas campaign for Monnier Freres, which was so much fun! The month ended with some autumn days in London, where we had a little meeting marathon and enjoyed this fun city!
N O V E M B E R
We had scheduled so many meetings in LA and finally found a couple of days to start the long journey. Before we headed back to Germany for more projects, we had 5 more nights and I convinced my Alex that it would be a waste to be so close to Mexico without saying hi!;) As I was keen on seeing a little more of the country, we planned a short visit in Valladolid to explore the pink lake, Chichen Itza and Cenote Ik Kil. Afterwards we had three nights in Tulum, which was enough to steal even more of my heart!;) Alex and I headed back to Europe for a presentation in Salzburg and our first shooting for Triumph before starting our last big adventure in November: a trip to Panama with Lufthansa! To be quite honest, I had never considered visiting this country. Thus, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed being there and exploring this diverse place. And I went on my first helicopter flight ever – and I love-love-loved it!
I had the craziest journey when returning from Panama as I was directly heading to Paris for the Victoria’s Secret Show! It was my first time being invited and what shall I say: It was a teenager dream of mine coming true! I had the most amazing time with Ciroc in Paris and I once again realized how much I love this city. Again, when we returned to Germany we barely had time to do our laundry before we headed back to the airport – this time to fly to Dubai! I had never been to Dubai before although I had passed it several times when heading to Asia on an Emirates flight. Visiting Dubai was a very unique experience and the city is so different from any other place I had visited before. When we flew back home, it was already the middle of December and I was in desperate need of staying somewhere cold and Christmassy to get in the Christmas mood after all the sunny destinations we had visited! Therefore we spontaneously decided to go on our Christmas Break to Paris. We stayed at a home away apartment with the most amazing view on the Eiffel Tower, where we tried to catch some breath getting cozy on the couch with Christmas cookies while wrapping up the last projects of the year. You might have realized that it has gotten a bit quite on my Instagram account and here on the blog around Christmas. That is because I always spend the holidays with my family and that time is very special to me and them because ever since me and my sisters have moved away and started working we don’t get to see as much of each other and our parents as we would like – I am very close to my family and as always I used and needed Christmas to recharge my batteries in the loving arms of my family. I hope you did, too! 🙂
To wrap up a year that we mostly spend traveling, we decided that there could be no place better fit to end this amazing year than an airplane. 😉 While I am writing this text, Alex and I are on our way to Sri Lanka high above the clouds heading to our next big adventure – the first of many in 2017!
It took me way longer to write down my highlights of 2016 than I had expected! This year was by far the most exciting one I ever had and I’m so happy about all the new places I have seen and the projects I’ve been working on. But most of all, I am so thankful to all of you! I can’t wait to start a new exciting journey with you – lets make 2017 unforgettable! Lots of love, Leonie
PS: When writing this post I realized how many travel guides I’ve never finalized! All my Italy and Greece travels have never been published (not even my Santorini travel guide!)! Do you want to see more pics and information even though some time has passed by? <3