At the end of every year, I like to take a moment to reflect on the highlights from the last 365 days. It’s a fun way for me to look back at all the high points of the year, and these are always some of my favorite posts to write.
Since I didn’t have a chance to get this post up before the end of the year, I figured I’d share it with you all today! Here’s a look back at my 16 highlights from 2016. Be prepared: it’s a long one!
16. Spent lots of time with family. In looking back over the year, some of my favorite memories were just the casual weekends spent with my family. From playing in fallen leaves with my sister to spending some quality time with my grandparents to family crab feasts at my mom’s house, I have some truly special memories with the people I love most.
15. Kept up my fitness game with tons of spin classes and boot camps. My love affair with ClassPass (<– affiliate link for $30 off!) continued throughout 2016, and I took oh-so-many wonderful classes. My three favorite classes from the year probably have to be FlyWheel’s spin class, Urban Athletic Club’s Urban Athlete (bootcamp) class, and CorePower Yoga’s Sculpt class (which hasn’t been on ClassPass lately, but I took my fair share of those classes throughout 2016).
Close runners up include Definitions, MADabolic, Biker Barre (their spin class), and Reformation Fitness! Oddly enough, I took hardly any barre classes in 2016, though I was a big fan of barre in 2015. I also didn’t run much in 2016, but I’m ok with that. As long as I have a fitness routine that makes me happy and it’s something I look forward to, I will keep doing what I’m doing! Plus I have some running plans in store for 2017, so stay tuned for updates on that.
14. Started planning my wedding! I’m elaborating a lot more on this in the items below, but every detail of planning my wedding has been so much fun. Whether it’s planning our honeymoon in Thailand or chatting with our photographer (love her) or sending out our save the dates, I am enjoying every moment of this process. The photos below are from our engagement session in Jamaica last year, but we’re using them for a lot of the wedding pieces.
13. Crawled around DC breweries for Fabio’s birthday. For Fabio’s birthday this year, I organized a brewery crawl around DC with a bunch of our friends. It turned out really well, and we had such a fun time exploring new breweries and hanging out with all our friends! I also loved that I asked everyone to wear plaid as our theme. Haha!
12. Visited Aunt CC and Uncle Steve in Otis—one of my favorite places on Earth—and learned to paddle board. Visiting Aunt CC and Uncle Steve at their house in the Berkshires is always one of the highlights of my year. This summer when we went up, Uncle Steve taught us to paddle board, which was (surprisingly) something Fabio and I hadn’t tried before. The whole weekend was a blast, but paddleboarding was probably my favorite part. I just love visiting them!!
11. Stood on my chair and spun my napkin around in the air in an Italian restaurant in NYC with so many of my best friends by my side. Now that’s an interesting one, right? Every year Fabio and I try to visit NYC during the holidays to visit our friends and this year’s trip was especially fun. The highlight for me was our dinner experience at Puglia, where we drank all the wine we wanted for three hours and stood on our chairs waving our napkins around whenever the band played “the napkin song.” This sounds like such a weird thing to do, but I’m telling you it was an absolute blast!!
10. Attended eight beautiful weddings. This was definitely a wedding-heavy year for us, but each one was special and unique in its own way. I had a blast at all of them, and loved getting to celebrate with so many people who mean so much to me. Congrats to all of you!!
…and also, thank goodness for Rent the Runway.
9. Shopped for (and found!) my wedding dress. Eek! This is a memory that makes me giddy just thinking about it. In June, I invited a couple of my friends and family members to join me in shopping for a wedding dress. I really didn’t expect to find one on this trip and thought we’d mostly just be shopping for the fun of it, but low and behold I found my dress! We went out to lunch afterwords to celebrate, and it was just such a fun day with the women who mean so much to me.
8. Spent a weekend touring wedding venues, and had an amazing night in Cambridge, MD, with my mom and stepdad. Thinking back to this weekend always brings a smile to my face. Soon after Fabio and I got engaged, we scheduled visits with a bunch of wedding venues on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and invited some of our family members to come along. We spent the day on Saturday visiting two beautiful wedding venues (see recaps of those here) and then my mom, stepdad, Fabio and I stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast in Cambridge, MD. We wound up going out to dinner at a fun wine and cheese spot, and then bar hopping a bit throughout the cute little town. The evening ended in a bar with live music, and we had such a blast drinking and dancing with my parents. I remember having a bad headache the next day (oy) but it was worth it to have such a fun night. Then on Sunday we visited three more wedding venues, including the one we wound up going with! It was such a fun and memorable weekend.
7. Shopped for bridesmaids dresses, and had an amazing birthday brunch celebration afterword. During the weekend that I planned to celebrate my birthday, I invited my bridesmaids to come into town to try on dresses, and then coordinated a boozy brunch for us all after. We started off our morning at Bella Bridesmaids (highly recommend!), everyone ordered their dresses, and then we spent the rest of the day eating, drinking, and having fun! What a blast!
I also have to mention that my friends Catrina and Britt stayed with me for a few days leading up to this weekend, which was also so much fun. It brought me back to our college days!
6. Met Fabio’s extended family in Colombia, and had them teach me how to salsa dance (among other things). Visiting Colombia earlier this year was such a blast, and I still can’t get over how welcoming Fabio’s extended family was. While we had a really nice time exploring Medellin (touring a coffee farm was really cool, as was seeing Penol & Guatape), the highlight for me was the weekend that we spent in a huge finca (farm house) with all of Fabio’s relatives. While there, we hosted a big party celebrating our engagement and Fabio’s sister and brother-in-law’s one year anniversary. That party was a BLAST and I loved learning to salsa dance with everyone. I wish we could go back and do it all over again!
5. Continuing on with the Colombia theme, I loved visiting the beautiful city of Cartagena with Fabio’s family and our good friends Jojo and Jadd! Cartagena was a beautiful place, and we had a blast going on a boat tour, exploring an old fort, and going out to the bars with our friends to watch a Colombia soccer game. What an amazing experience! There was lots of salsa dancing in Cartagena too, haha!
4. Started a new job. This year I made a big move for my career and switched to a new job with a higher salary, bigger responsibilities, and a fancy new title. I’m still doing what I love – communications and PR for a health-focused nonprofit – but this was a big switch for me and has been challenging and rewarding so far. I know this move was the right thing to do and I am so grateful the opportunity I’ve been given. Now I just have to keep grinding!
3 and 2. Celebrated two amazing engagement parties. Where do I even begin with these? First Aunt CC and Uncle Steve threw us an incredible engagement party in NYC in April, and then my mom and stepdad threw us a second one in July. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for their generosity. Both of these parties were some of the best memories I have – EVER! – and I am so appreciative of my family.
1. Bought a house. Eeeek!! Yep, the biggest highlight for me in 2016 was becoming a homeowner! Fabio and I are so happy (and lucky) to own a 2.5 bedroom, 2 bathroom, town house in the heart of Ballston, just two blocks from the metro. It’s a big responsibility and needs a bit of work, but we’re up to the challenge! Yay!
Phew! What a year, right? Geez, when did I become such an adult?
If nothing else, these posts always remind me what an incredible life I have, and encourage me to spend a few minutes every day being grateful. Thank you to all of you who have been a part of it!!
Question of the day: What was the highlight of your 2016?