The Ahlquist Top 10 of 2017

One of the many things I love about the holidays is celebrating the past year. But what if we wove this practice into our weekly practice? From the significant to the silly. What are you celebrating today?

In the spirit of celebrations, for the last four years, I have created a top 10 list featuring moments, highlights and announcements that made the year memorable. Click on the years to check out those past posts from 201320142015 and 2016

So here is 2017, in no particular order… 

The Ahlquist Top 10 of 2017

10. The Cool Aunt & Uncle

Our family grew by two this year, with the birth of our niece Madeline and nephew Ryken. We had already been loving the role of Aunt and Uncle the last couple years with our niece Satori. But now with three, these little bundles have grown our hearts and our airline miles. My speaking travels even made seeing all the kiddos a few times during the year possible! It was also really special to be with all the rascals over the holidays.

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9. Two-Time Triathlete

I competed in my second international triathlon (.9-mile swim. 24.8-mile bike. 6.2-mile run) and even placed top in my age group! Last year I got the Chicago International Tri under my belt and couldn’t help but set my eyes on a new goal. This time, a race much closer to home called the Hansen Dam Triathlon. I was very lucky to have a handful of family and friends there to cheer me on, including another friend Betsy who completed the sprint tri. 

8. Swimming with the Fishes

Lloyd loves the ocean. Within the first year we moved to Los Angeles, he was heading out into the Pacific Ocean to surf. So having some time off of creating new rap battles, he set his eyes out to go deeper and become certified in scuba diving. For two entire weekends, he completed coursework and diving exercises. Now he can swim with the fishes – while I’ll enjoy a book on the beach or the boat.

That #Scuba lyfe

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7. Back to Back Emmy Nominations

There was another 2nd, as we headed to the Emmy’s for the second year in a row as Epic Rap Battles of History received their second nomination – Outstanding Short Form Variety Series. No matter how many red carpets we walk, they never seem to get easier – they are much more hectic than they seem in the photos! And despite not winning, we had a wonderful time.

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6. The Educational Entrepreneur

While there wasn’t one moment or event to feature in this category, 2017 was the year I finally called what I was doing a business and I an entrepreneur. From growing the podcast (Josie & The Podcast) with a sponsor, offering executive coaching and expanding my speaking and consulting programs, I stopped thinking about a “plan b.” What struck me this year was to go “all in” and build an educational empire (haha well that will take many more years) – that included a team. As a result, I hired a marketing coordinator and podcast editor. With additional support, I’ve been able to double my content creation and even creativity.

5. Epic Studios Release

Imagine a workplace comedy in a music studio — in Canada — add in some EpicLLOYD and over a dozen musical performances and you have Epic Studios. This web series began over four years ago when Lloyd partnered with our good friends, Aaron and Jill Krebs in the writing process. The show completed production in 2016 in Toronto and finally released in Spring 2017 on YouTube. Check out all eight episodes below!

4. LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Education

At the tail-end of 2017, a delightful surprise arrived in my inbox. I found out that I was selected as LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Education – joining a roundup of 10 other professionals in education from professors, presidents, researchers and more. As a cheerleader of the platform for colleges students and young professionals, now I have another reason to give them for being engaged on LinkedIn – they take notice! Connect with me on LinkedIn here!

3. Jurassic 5 Tour

Lloyd hit the road with Jurassic 5, as their opener for a couple shows in June. As a long time fan of J5 music, Lloyd was ecstatic for the opportunity. He got to perform music from his new album Here, some of my favorite songs include Break, Silk, and Goodbye. Touring is definitely in Lloyd’s future, from showcasing his own music to jumping in with other established artists.

2. A Big Birthday

2017 kicked off with a big birthday bash – as we celebrated a milestone for Lloyd. We rented out the Theater for a bit of a hip-hop show and then the next day left for Baja Cabo, Mexico! We were joined by eight other friends to celebrate both Lloyd and our good friend Derek’s birthdays. From jet skis, horseback riding, whale watching and just relaxing by the pool, we had lots of adventures and R&R.

Pardon my absence. I been doing this stuff. #cabo

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1. Kirk & Tim’s Wedding

In April, we headed to Florida to celebrate a very joyous occasion – the wedding of Lloyd’s oldest brother Kirk to our new brother-in-law Tim! Even my parents joined in on the festivities. We loved being part of the wedding, but even more, love being part of their lives.

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What’s Next in 2018?

This year has been transformative, both for rebuilding health, adding family members, as well as growing work ventures. Here is a sneak peek at our next year.

In the early chapters of 2018, I will be wrapping up my first solo book for Higher Education professionals on Digital Leadership and quickly shift to proposing and writing the second book for incoming and current college students. I’m also loving producing the podcast and maybe even starting a second one. I will continue my travels as a digital leadership educator for college students, campus administrators, and faculty – from conference keynotes to campus consultant – this last year I traveled over 85,000+ miles! I will also continue to teach online at Florida State University and serve as a Research Associate for the FSU Leadership Learning Research Center.

Lloyd has “tricked” out his home studio and digs the ability to whip up a new song or project. Apparently, my 2016 Top Ahlquist post got a lot of debate on the internet/ Reddit, as I shared ERB was taking a break. But rap battles continues to jam, including numerous live shows and project possibilities. Lloyd has gotten back to coaching and teaching again at the theater where he is a co-owner, Westside Comedy Theater. Want to find out what Peter was up to with his “free” time?  Check out the latest ERB news below. We are very excited for him and Kristen!!

So here is to another year of highlights. These years seem to go more quickly than the last. The lows came too, but those make these celebrations stand out even more. What are you celebrating in 2017? What is on your radar for 2018? 

From our corner of the world to yours,

Josie & Lloyd 

…and the rest of the Ahlquist Animal House: Izzy, Parker & Dakota


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