My Top 12 Photos from 2014

By  |  24 Comments

it was much harder than i anticipated selecting my top 12 photos from 2014.

here’s a weird quirk about me…i really hate classifying things as ‘favorite.’ sure, sometimes i say ‘oh drinking cocktails is my favorite’ or ‘this candle is my favorite’ or ‘clean underwear is my favorite’ but when it comes to pairing down and selecting something, “favorite” stresses me out.

so, for this exact moment in time, here are my top choices from 2014 and in no way do i mean any disrespect to my other photos that weren’t selected (please tell me i’m not the only one who gives inanimate objects intense feelings??).

in chronological order:

1) moving back to portland

portland oregon

for newer readers, my husband and i decided in may 2013 to quit our jobs in portland, move to texas, move in with his parents and start our business. it was crazy and terrifying but also exhilarating in many ways. the day after christmas last year, we packed up and headed out from houston to portland because we missed it so much. that photo was taken on our second night from our living room (free from editing or filters, this is just what our eyes saw) and it was glorious.

2) completing our 50-city tour in chicago

chicago travel bean

one of the reasons we sold all our shit moved to houston was actually because we went on a 50 city tour around north america so we didn’t have a need for a place of our own since we literally lived in hotels for a very solid (and wrinkly) 3 months. we moved back to portland in the midst of this because my in-laws decided to fulfill one of their dreams and live on the beach so they moved to florida!

chicago was our last stop of the tour in february of this year and i snapped an optical illusion photo of ‘the bean.’

3) speaking in toronto, canada

chelsea avery public speaking

this was my first time speaking on an international stage only hours after getting my lost luggage (and deoderant) back! there was a crazy microphone malfunction but i felt very proud of myself for not passing out or running off stage. you can read more about how to not panic on an international stage right here!

(i also did a workshop in china (!) last month but this one gets the photo since it was my first one and people are laughing in it).

4) a holocaust survivor sharing his food

interview with a holocaust survivor snacks

at first i had the picture of me and alter wiener, a holocaust survivor but the above simple gesture still makes me tear up.

as i said in my full blog post “i am not sure why but seeing this tupperware containing pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and a chocolate assortment set out for us was quite emotional to me. here is a man that has gone through so much and could very reasonably be filled with hatred, but instead he has chosen kindness. for someone who almost died from starvation and witnessed many around him suffer this horrible death, it was powerful to have him share his food with us.”

you can read our full interview here (it’s not all sadness, he also said he can’t wait for me to take him to bed…via his book)

5) toby passing away

chelsea avery and toby

the above photo is of my sweet puppy toby, the best beagle ever. my dad got him for my sister and me when i was in 8th grade. i was thankfully home in april for a world record attempt (more details in the next photo) and got to tell him goodbye and give him one last kiss. he passed away later that day.

the amount of sadness i felt was deeper than i expected and also had to be compartmentalized because of the massive event i had to smile and nod for the next day. i am so thankful my husband randomly snapped this photo because to me it captures the love between us.

6) the world record attempt

chelsea and ryan avery attempting record breaking

the planning and orchestrating of attempting a guinness world record pretty much consumed our whole lives from the beginning of the year until april. thank you to everyone who bought a book that day to help support my husband’s attempt for the largest book signing in history! unfortunately it turns out college students would rather spend $15 on beer and not a book but he still wants to try it again!

7) alaskan cruise

alaska travel cruise

if you haven’t been to alaska, please go because it’s spectacular and it will make you feel like you should live atop a mountain and live off the land. i selected the above photo (from my 3,831 taken) because this was after our whale watching adventure and we were taken to a private island for lunch. it was right at this exact spot where i looked out, saw the world and felt connected.

we also touched 200 year old ice and saw glaciers and whales, oh my!

8) getting our puppy, sugar

the new wifestyle dog

she flew 13 hours to get to us from florida! my in-laws originally rescued her from the streets of texas, we planned on taking her once we moved to portland but then our travel schedule got too crazy so she stayed with them. then their other pup started getting jealous of her (because hellllllo! look at those curls and that face) so she came to live with us! she brings such cuteness and happiness to our lives. most importantly…she feeds part of the ‘baby-fever’ my husband has so keep being cute, little sugar (or ‘agave’ if we are amongst portland hipsters).

9) my sister’s wedding

kendal and chelsea avery

isn’t my sister the prettiest bride ever?! her wedding was SO fun and i am still so proud of her for handling much of her wedding being covered in torrential down pour. this was a special week for me not only because my whole family was there to celebrate and we got to play on the beach but something more. it was one of the first times i saw her as truly an independent woman and not just my ‘annoying little sister.’ i will be the first to admit that i was indeed one of those mean older sisters and kendal…i’m very sorry for never letting you drive the barbie jeep and making you carry my viola.

it was amazing to meet her friends, hear their funny stories and see her marry a sweet and kind man. i am glad that i’ve stopped being such an a-hole sister and feel thankful for the relationship my sister and i are building, especially since it involves a lot less yelling and pinching.

10) traveling to malaysia

batu caves golden statue

even though we were at a conference for most of the time in malaysia, we had time to climb the steps to the batu caves (pictured above), have fish suck on our toes and try fruit that smells and tastes like garlic/gasoline/rotting flesh! this was our first time in this part of the world and was amazing to see. there were even monkeys on the steps stealing water bottles from people’s backpacks and food from children.

11) our 5th honeymoon in thailand!

ko phi phi don lost bet

we received sage advice from my grandparents about taking a honeymoon every year and since we were in malaysia, we decided to take a 1.5 hour plane ride to thailand! i super love this photo because my husband was being all cocky while we were playing cards and made a bet that whoever lost had to get their hair braided. guess who lost. heeeeeyo! oh and he held a baby monkey!

12) traveling to china

chelsea and ryan avery china forbidden cityit sort of blows my mind how much travel we were able to do this year after putting these photos together. no, we aren’t millionaires (yet-ha!) and we choose to go without new clothes, fancy gadgets or eating out very much so that we can put our money towards travel. it also helps when you own a business and it’s part of your business expense.

i didn’t write about our experience at the forbidden city because earlier in the day we hiked on the great wall of china and that took my breath away (literally). just know it was incredible and that stone directly behind my head weighs more than 3 tons and was brought there by icing the roads and pulling it along.

there are my top 12 photos from 2014 at this moment in time!


sometimes my husband gets annoyed that i take so many photos so i finally explained to him why i do. it’s because i love capturing a moment that i can later simply look at and have the feelings reappear for me. i love flipping through my files and phone of the places we’ve been, the foods we’ve eaten, the mishaps that have happened and i especially love capturing life as it moves along.

also, i changed up the hashtag a bit to  “12×2014” if you post to instagram or twitter since we had some interest in people posting after today! if you post today, please still use 12x12x12 because look how awesome that looks and be sure to check out the husband’s top 12 photos too!



 Loading InLinkz ...


  1. Rebecca

    December 12, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Holy smokes girl! You did a lot of things in 2014! All those travel photos are so beautiful. I completely agree with you about taking so many photos. There are some random memories I know I’d forget without having a photo of. And I don’t want to forget anything. And I LOVE your advice about a honeymoon every year. I’m going to have to talk my husband in to that!
    Rebecca recently posted…12x12x12 – A Recap Of My Year In Photos

    • chelsea

      December 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      so many random memories indeed! hopefully it’s not too hard to convince your husband to take a romantic getaway each year for a honeymoon (i can assure you thailand is the craziest one we’ve done!) two years ago our honeymoon was a roadtrip!

  2. Pingback: Love Pictures and A Challenge? Join Us for the 12x12x12 • the new wifestyle

  3. Amanda Wood

    December 12, 2014 at 8:52 am

    “clean underwear is my favorite” I’m dying!
    And Mr. Avery’s braids in Thailand!!

    This is so awesome!
    Amanda Wood recently posted…The Golden Vlog: Christmas Edition

    • chelsea

      December 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      haaaa he was like “OMG i cannot believe that’s the photo you’re choosing from thailand!”


      and you have to agree…clean underwear is a favorite 🙂

  4. Holly

    December 12, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Love this Chelsea – Here are my 12

    Wishing you great and powerful intentions for 2015

    • chelsea

      December 12, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      i absolutely LOVE yours, holly!!! what an amazing year you’ve had and i feel pretty lucky to know you and appear only a few photos away from dr. deepak chopra!

      what a powerful thing to set intentions for what photos you want in 2015-keep shining lady!

  5. Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties

    December 12, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I LOVE ALL OF THESE PICTURES! I think my favorite is definitely ryan with his hair braided… so fancy!
    Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties recently posted…How to wash your hair less

    • chelsea

      December 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      haha doesn’t he look dashing, ashley?! it’s one of my favs too 🙂

  6. Paula Howley

    December 12, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I totally spent about TWO hours doing this but it was cool to look back.
    I love the pictures you chose and the food from the holocaust survivor actually choked me up too.
    Of course I’m partial to those clever Canadians laughing at your hilarious jokes too. 🙂
    Paula Howley recently posted…Head Start Public Speaking for Kids-Week 8- Use your VOICE! Vocal variety!

    • chelsea

      December 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      hoooray! so glad you shared that link paula because your photos are fantastic! what a year you have had (and shiiiit $1,000 for a retainer!) thanks for participating, paula it is really powerful to look back and reflect on the year. those canadians sure do know how to have a good time 🙂

  7. Kendra

    December 12, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Love this idea! I can’t imagine how awesome it must be to travel the world with your hunny! Definitely have to add a few of these places to my Bucketlist!

    • chelsea

      December 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      it’s pretty amazing kendra and i feel incredibly fortunate to be able to do so! of course it has it’s challenges and downsides (like paying full rent even when we are gone for 17 days of the year, and my travel anxiety and travel mishaps) but it’s overall grand. i see you linked-up so can’t wait to check out your photos too!!

  8. Melissa Camacho

    December 12, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Oh my goodness! I absolutely LOVE yalls pictures!! What an amazing year you’ve had. I’m so glad we’ve found each other. And yes, cocktails and clean underwater: always a favorite!!
    Melissa Camacho recently posted…I’m High on Believing That You’re In Love with Me

    • chelsea

      December 13, 2014 at 8:16 am

      thanks melissa! i’m glad we found each other too especially because you appreciate cocktails and clean underwear!!! 🙂

  9. Amanda

    December 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Your sister is totally gorgeous! And so are you in that dress – I love that color! Your year looks so awesome, and I love this because since I wasn’t following you until recently, I missed many of these moments from before I started following. I would love to join this challenge! Please keep the linkup open!
    Amanda recently posted…Friday Faves & Random Thoughts

    • chelsea

      December 13, 2014 at 8:17 am

      she really is! my sister did a solid job on her wedding and that minty/sea foam color looked great a beach wedding! yay so glad you’re going to join because i want to hear about the rest of your year too, amanda!
      chelsea recently posted…My First Vlog – Christmas Edition + Special Guest!

  10. Rachel G

    December 12, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    You guys had a big year yourselves! I think the picture of him with his hair braided is just too funny!
    Rachel G recently posted…My Favorite Photos of this Year

  11. Courtney!

    December 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I’m glad you changed the hashtag! I plan on participating if I can ever decide on 12 photos 🙂 I’ll be sure to use both.
    What a great year! I love the New Years and all the fun recaps and best of articles that come out around now!
    Courtney! recently posted…Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2014 Recap

    • chelsea

      December 19, 2014 at 8:40 am

      hoooray so glad you’re going to do it courtney! deciding on the 12 photos is crazy hard! it took me WAY too long but was really fun 🙂 can’t wait to see yours!

  12. Jessica

    December 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Looks like you had a great year, filled with lots of travel! Wish I could have been to all those places in Asia too, but I’m happy having spent a summer living in NYC!

    • chelsea

      December 19, 2014 at 8:42 am

      we really did jessica- it’s start hard for me to believe that i experienced all those things! wow i am always very amazed at people who can live in NYC! the chaos and the magic had to have been amazing 🙂 my best friend just moved back after 3 years there and she said it was incredible!

  13. Pingback: Second Ever Vlog to Kick Off 2015! • the new wifestyle