A Year in Review: Highlights of 2016

Good bye 2016 & hello 2017!

It's crazy to think that a new year has begun and that 2016 is now considered last year.

I wanted to do a year in review post for my personal recollection. I've always been an avid journal writer but in recent years, I found myself writing less and less... So, having a digital documentation of the year feels appropriate and much needed. 2016 was one for the books and was hands down, one of the best years of my life. Here are some of my favorite moments captured for both my personal and professional life :)

Dianuh Patrick Gundersen
Bride and groom

Mr. & Mrs. Gundersen

Getting married was easily the biggest highlight of the year. Patrick and I dated for about two years, then he popped the question in March of 2016. Just four months later, we tied the knot! People were shocked that our engagement was so short but looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way. At the time, I remember freaking out because I wanted to plan for at least 6 months but when a date opened up from our dream venue in July, we had to take it. Everything worked out perfectly and now I tell all my engaged friends that it's totally possible to plan a wedding in 4 months! You can read the full story and see our photos from the big day [here

wedding ring
engagement pic

Put a ring on it!

I know I just wrote about our wedding day, but getting engaged was also a highlight of the year! It was a day filled with some of my favorite people in the world in some of our favorite spots. It was filled with lots of surprises and adventures and obviously, the ending was the best. Each event leading up to it was set up like a scavenger hunt, which he planned with some of our friends and family members. Finally, it led to the Top of the World in Laguna Beach, where we love to hike and there, he got down on one knee and proposed! Everything from the sunset to all the events leading up to it was perfect and my good friend Sunny captured it all. You can read all the cheesy little details on this [post]


Class of 2016

I realized I haven't talked much about this, but I also graduated this year! My whole college career is one long story but I loved my time learning and going through the whole education system. A lot of creatives and artists will argue that you don't need to go to school and although that may be true for some, I'm so glad I did it. More than education, I feel like school thought me valuable life skills like meeting deadlines, showing up and multitasking various projects. It challenged me to push myself and experiment in different fields I otherwise wouldn't have been in and I met some cool people along the way!

holiday gift wrapping

Look Ma, I'm on TV

Switching over to professional highlights, I got to do two televised segments this year and it was such a cool experience! I partnered with Paper Mart and did a DIY segment for The Show and Tell Show. Then, that episode got picked up and CBS asked me to come do a segment for KTLA. Filming day felt surreal and went by in a flash but I'm so grateful for the experience. The episode even went national and got reposted by other major channels like AOL, Yahoo and MSN! Pretty freaking cool.

Tia Mowry
live art

Dream Job #girlboss

2016 was the first full calendar year that I did freelance work as a full-time illustrator. It has pushed me in many ways and I feel like I've grown a lot as a business owner. I've definitely made many mistakes and had some humbling moments but it was through that process that I've also discovered my strengths. I've learned that it's okay to suck at certain tasks and absolutely crush it in other areas. I've also learned that it's okay to say no to things that are just not worth it and to say yes to things that scare you. This year was filled with way more opportunities than I could've imagined, like doing live art for Tia freaking Mowry (the teenager inside me was screaming that day), tackling on a 7 ft calligraphy project, and doing portraits for couples and families all over the world. Each project was such an honor and I can't be more grateful for all my wonderful clients!

More than anything, I've fallen more in love with my job and what I get to do for a living. I'll be doing a post about my yearly goals for 2017 soon so stay tuned for that :)

2016, thank you for the good times and unforgettable memories. I'm ready for you 2017!