This is one of my favorite posts of the entire year to write. I start to look forward to it come December… especially this year. It’s been a challenging year. I’ve tried to stay as upbeat and optimistic as possible, but I’d be lying if I said this year didn’t give me a run for my money. I started off January feeling stressed, cruised through the middle months feeling overwhelmed, and ended with a broken heart. That said, I’m trying to focus on the positives. It’s too easy to let everything that’s negative creep in and take whatever remaining energy I have left. I’m trying to start off this new year with good, positive vibes.
So my favorites for this year?
ONE // Hamilton
While I also saw the play this year (and loved it, duh), this Hamilton is about the little puppy who stole my heart. I was very much on the fence about getting a second dog. I loved Teddy and would be perfectly happy with one dog… but he would get so lonely when left alone in the apartment. I agreed to a second dog and the first few months were trying (oh so trying). I honestly regretted getting him. At one point I was irritated because he had made my life so much harder. (I feel guilty for even typing that out, but it’s the truth.) I wanted to rewind the clock and say NO instead. But I trudged on. I cleaned up the pee and the poop, dropped him off for vet appointments and slowly but surely that dog nestled right into the softest corner of my heart. It wasn’t overnight by any means, but he really did fill a hole I didn’t even know was there.
He’s a handful and has a devilish streak that is as entertaining as it is frustrating. Where Teddy likes to know you’re nearby, Hamilton wants to be as close as possible even if that means he’s completely on top of you. Where Teddy likes to play frisbee and fetch, Hamilton prefers to be carried through the dog park or randomly chase his brother (with zero interest in the actual ball). Where Teddy runs away from the bathtub, Ham literally jumps into it with or without the water. Man, I love those dogs. In some ways, I actually can’t believe I didn’t have him before this year.
TWO // Working Out
I’m putting this on the list even though it’s a hot/cold thing for me. I did some working out the first half of the year but struggled to get into a good rhythm. I know it sounds like an excuse, but when Ham came into the picture, it was really hard for me to add anything else into my life, even if it was an hour long yoga class. At the end of the summer, I finally recommitted to yoga and quickly remembered why I loved it so much. I was going three or four times a week and enjoyed the moderate sweat, the stretches, and even the day-after soreness. I eventually moved to a new gym for more convenient yoga class times. In addition to yoga, I was also trying out different group workout groups and found a great one: an intro to weightlifting class. It’s an hour long and, while the workouts are intense, it flies by because everyone in the group is great. We chat and laugh and push each other. I’m obsessed. Can’t wait to get even stronger next year.
THREE // The Website Design!
GUYS! I finally joined this decade and relaunched my website. It was getting embarrassing. I had tried twice before to switch to WordPress and to launch a completely rebranded look but kept backing out because things just didn’t align. I did it this year though and couldn’t be happier. I did cry the morning it was going live with a twinge of sadness letting go of the old look… and then I never looked back!!!
Everything runs so much smoother on my end, and hopefully you find it better to navigate (and just to plain ole look at!). A huge thank you to Rowan Made and ChloeDigital for making the magic happen. I hate asking for help, and I hate not being able to do things myself, but I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to turn to.
FOUR // Travel
Traveling has been on my list for a couple of years now, and it remains one of my favorite things for 2016. I did scale back a little bit because I got a little burned out, though. It makes the travel that I did do that much more meaningful!
April: Family trip to Boca Grande
May: Solo trip to Chicago
June: Ireland trip of a lifetime, the Hamptons
July: A bunch of Nantucket visits (see below!)
August: Indiana for a wedding, more Nantucket
September: Even more Nantucket
December: Tampa for Christmas
FIVE // Lipstick
This is a little silly, but lipstick has been a fun change this year for me! I started wearing it more regularly and loved the way it looked. So I kept it up. I’ve been trying to wear some kind of color on my lips every day, even if it’s just a tinted balm. In case you’re wondering what some of my favorites are: Neutrogena Sunny Berry Tinted Balm, Bobbi Brown Rose Brown art stick, and Lancome Oui Monsieur.
SIX // Youtube
Not only did I become hooked on watching Youtube, but I also started to love creating video content on my channel. I had to take a break from videos for the month of December for personal reasons, but I am going to be getting back into it in 2017. Still trying to figure out what that looks like though (if you have video requests, let me know!). What I do know is that filming and editing videos filled a creative void I didn’t know I needed to fill. It’s a good kind of challenge for me, and I can’t wait to see that element of my online repertoire continue to grow.
SEVEN // Nantucket
Speaking of Nantucket… it was absolutely one of my favorite things this year. I’ve been before, but this is the year where I seriously fell in love with the little island. I constantly think about my next trip when I’m not there, and I am completely and utterly relaxed while I’m there. It’s such a fun place to visit with friends, and I hope I have plenty more trips in my future. (I already booked a cottage for a week in July when we got our first snow earlier this month haha!)
There’s something special about Nantucket and everyone I know who has visited agrees. Even with seasickness (ugh), I feel like a kid at Christmas on the ferry ride over. When I think about my favorite memories of the year, almost all of them are on Nantucket. We miraculously did a day trip with our family friends (all eight of us!), watched my friends get engaged, and (my very favorite) listened to the Boston Pops play from a boat with one of my best friends and her family.
EIGHT // Friends
Okay, this is another one that makes it onto the list every year and 2016 is no exception. I feel SO incredibly lucky for the friends I have. I’m not kidding; I feel like I hit the lottery in the friend department. It’s not something I will ever take for granted. Between friends from school over the years and friends from blogging, I just love the amazing girls I have in my life. Because this was such a hard year, I had to lean on them a little bit more than usual, and I’m just so grateful for each of them.
NINE // Health
I’m always thankful for my health, but after a major health scare earlier this year I am even more thankful. It’s a super long story, but I ended up in the emergency room one night after having a seizure. It was the most terrified I think I have ever felt. (And it didn’t help that we were hit by a drunk driver on the way to the hospital!) I woke up in the hospital with a handful of nurses staring at me as they got ready to do CPR. I went through all the testing, and everything came back completely normal, thank goodness. It turned out to just be a combination of things: not sleeping enough, not eating on a regular schedule, not drinking enough water that week, being ridiculously stressed out (which was probably the root of why I wasn’t sleeping/eating/drinking normally), etc. It was a perfect storm that could have been much much much worst.
Obviously, the seizure part was not a highlight of my year, but the positive (good vibes people, good vibes!) of the situation was that it made me take a huge step back and reevaluate how I was treating my body. My health is too important to let things slide. I learned the hard way that my body does have a limit, and I have to treat it well.
TEN // Family
Even though I don’t live close to my family, I managed to spend quite a bit of time with them. My family visited me, and I visited them, and we traveled together too. Just as I’m grateful and thankful for my friends, I feel beyond fortunate to have the family that I have. I think not living nearby makes me value and appreciate the time I do have so much more. I don’t take one minute for granted. Every moment is cherished, whether we’re sitting around the table talking, poking fun at someone, or curled up on the couch watching a movie. While it was a tough year, I know that my family is completely healthy and happy and that means more to me than anything else could right now.