New Year, Old Highlights!

Happy New Year! Is it seriously already 2016? I remember NYE 2014 like it was yesterday, and remember how surreal it felt to welcome in the new year, 2015. But once I embraced how fast years were flying by, I opened myself up to opportunities and experiences I would've never thought would be my own.

2015 was my best year yet. I went through inevitable growing pains and learned more about myself and what I want out of life. Well, I didn't learn completely what I want out of life, but I certainly realized what I DIDNT want out of it, and made the effort to change my situation. Ups, downs, laughs, cries, fear, anger, excitement... I experienced it all in a matter of 365 days.

So, without further ado, here are my top moments of 2015 (in no particular order).

1. Family trip to Dallas/I'M GONNA BE AN AUNTIE!

"It's official; we're pregnant. See y'all at Christmas."
My brother sent out this group text to the family just a month after strangely inviting everyone to spend the holidays in Dallas, the city where my brother and his wife met years ago. Her family is from there, and although they've celebrated three years of marriage and are welcoming their first child in May, our families have never actually met. So, on December 27th, we all packed up and flew down to the Lone Star State and rented the most amazing AirBnB that accommodated the entire family, Derrick included.

While only there for three days, they were packed of inappropriate conversations, trips down memory lane, lots of shopping, and an emotional conversation over the dinner table on our final night. We were also celebrating my parents' 20th wedding anniversary, so as we all went around the table and commented on the journey that has been my mom and step-dad's marriage, we all grew emotional, ending our meal in tears. It was a level of closeness I don't think we've ever experienced before, and something I think grows as we grow older. 

What was also super exciting was seeing Chastity's growing baby bump for the first time. She looks so freaking adorable pregnant with my niece (yes, it's a girl!), and as always, I love seeing her and my brother interact. I can't wait until we return in May for her birth and have yet another reason to get both sides of the family together for more fun.

2. Derrick and I's first vacation.

I'm all about building traditions and even bigger on incredible experiences over incredible gifts. (Unless that incredible gift is an incredible experience...haha.) Derrick and I both secretly felt that our relationship wasn't fully solidified until we experienced our first out of country vacation, so instead of exchanging birthday gifts, we bought each other tickets to Cancun and booked the most magical resort we could find. For 6 straight days we laid by the pool, swam in the ocean, and drank more margaritas than our bodies could stand. It was perfect. I impressed Derrick with my Spanish, and he continued to impress me with his ability to spark conversations with anyone who comes his way--and they always end up loving him. It was the perfect couples vacay before my month-long trip to Europe just a week later.

3. Backpacking trip across Europe.

In June, my best friend messaged me with the wild idea to live out our lifelong dream of backpacking across Europe, something I remember putting on our bucket list as children but never thought to act on. In July, I officially accepted the challenge and said farewell to my job. By August, I was out of my NYC apartment and back in Richmond. By September, Tiona and I were saying our goodbyes as Derrick dropped us off at BWI airport. We had one way tickets to Amsterdam, two backpacks, and a bucket list far more ambitious than either of us knew at the time.

Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Venice, Rome, Torino, Paris and back to Amsterdam. A month later, we returned to the states with one backpack (RIP to mine), a bucket list that had more checkmarks than open spaces, and stories that will last a lifetime.

4. FUNemployment.
I've been extremely fortunate to have parents that support me in my quest to find my niche, that one thing I'm passionate about and want to make a lifelong career. What I did in New York, I discovered, wasn't it. It worked for a while and afforded me many luxuries, but as time passed, I knew I needed to switch lanes before I got caught in the 9-5 rat race. I feared developing a life that made it increasingly difficult to walk away from it in pursuit of what I REALLY want to do. So, I left my job and after my travels were done, have been focusing on finding my passion and building a life for myself that I'VE chosen, not one that I'm forced to live. My favorite part? Being able to bond with my family members after years of wishing we were closer in proximity. FUNemployment is this period in my life, and while I'm admittedly terrified of what happens, where I'll end up, and whether or not I'll actually live the life I've always imagined, I believe it stops in 2016. But being funemployed for a good part of 2015 has been pretty awesome.


  1. Each year leads to something greater but looks like your 2015 will be hard to top!! Great pics I feel like I was there for all of it

  2. You looked like you had a wonderful 2015! Wishing you an even better year this year!

  3. Oh wow, looks like you've been having an amazing time! Have an even greater 2016!

  4. That shot of you on top of the mountain in (Cali I'm assuming) amazing!


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