For the last few days everyone’s been bitching and complaining about how terrible 2016 has been, but I’ve gotta be honest with you peeps – 2016 was pretty awesome if you ask me.
Maybe it was a bad year for SOME people. Or maybe they’re just choosing to focus on the bad. But I think that if we all look hard enough, there’s gotta be something positive that came out of this past year.
Learning, growth, discovery…something.
Even if your year was full of nothing but epic failures, then dude- you had some serious learning experiences that will prove to be super valuable moving forward.
So here are some of the highlights of this past year- my 2016 year end review.
2016 was good to us. Joe and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary and we didn’t kill each other! I’m just kidding- we couldn’t be happier. Our cat, Graham, is doing really well too!
We’ve enjoyed being in our new house for a full year even though we’ve got so many projects we still want to get done. Family time has also been really important to us this year. We went on a big trip to Napa and San Fran with my family (which I’ll get to later), spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with them, and then traveled to Panama City Beach the day after Christmas, to spend some time with Joe’s fam. Next up, maybe babies?! 2107 is gunna be exciting FO SHO.
2016 was the most transformative year in my life so far. It was a year of figuring out my passions and then breaking through the BS that kept holding me back, leading to one gigantically scary career change. But damn, all I can say is that I should have done it sooner. I’m now working as a social media manager/copywriter at a company called BlackDog Advertising and I’ve never been so fulfilled during work hours as I am now. I get to be freaking creative. I get to come up with ideas. I get to play. My mind finally has space to do weird things and to wander. To make things happen. And man, I’m telling you…there’s nothing quite as satisfying as that.
I also launched my first book this year. Corporate Survival Guide For Your Twenties.
And while the whole book-publishing thing has been a huge learning process in and of itself, it’s been an incredible journey, one that I’m so thankful for. Seeing other people pick up a product that I created is a really cool feeling. And having them tell me that they actually learned something from it is an even cooler feeling. Because I wrote that book to help young people kick ass at work, and if just one person takes something away from it and becomes a baller at work, then hey – I did what I set out to do.
Because of my book, I had my very first book signing at Books & Books this August which was a very surreal moment for me. I loved that I was able to discuss my book and the reasons for writing it, so if you haven’t had a chance to check out the recording, here it is!
But the highlight of my entire journey as an author occurred a couple of months ago at my alma mater, FIU. The FIU Alumni Association invited me to their What Now? Life After My Degree conference, and asked me to be their Keynote Speaker. WTF were my first thoughts. Me? Keynote Speaker? Guess everyone else is really busy that day. But I delivered my very first keynote address on November 19th and I can’t even tell you guys what an incredible moment that was.
I got to help students who were struggling with all sorts of questions. Things like, “What do I do when I have zero idea what I want to do with my life?” and “Should I stay at a job just because the money is great?” I took a few books to sell that day thinking that I’d sell maybe one or two, but during the 15 minutes following my presentation, all my books were gone and so were my business cards – and finally, I felt like I was doing something right. Public speaking is a scary thing, but the more you keep at it, the easier it becomes, so I hope to have more opportunities this year to share my story with others.
Here’s the full recording in case you want to check it out too.
If I could spend my entire life traveling, I would. But I’ve got these things called responsibilities and stuff, so I can’t just take off whenever I want. I also don’t have infinite amounts of cash, making my desire to travel all the time slightly problematic. But dude, when I do have tons of cash, you won’t be able to find me in the same place for more than a month. #LifeGoals
Here are some of the awesome places we were lucky enough to visit this year!
Epcot Flower & Garden Festival
In April we took a trip to Orlando for Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival. Gosh, it’s pretty.
Joe and I have been to the Food & Wine festival but that one’s always a whole lot more full. During Flower & Garden, the park looks absolutely beautiful, but it’s slightly less crowded meaning that we’re able to eat and drink without waiting hours in line.
Plus, the beautiful gardens make for super pretty pictures.
Vegas, baby! This was my first trip to Vegas and it didn’t disappoint. It was way too hot and dry outside, to the point where I thought I was going to suffocate and die, but the Las Vegas strip was everything I had hoped it would be. Vibrant, eccentric, and full of life. We stayed at the Venetian hotel which was drop dead gorgeous.
While we were there I ate way too much gelato and lost way too much money, but it was worth it. That’s what you do in Vegas.
We ate some delicious food on this trip, but the best had to be our Beef Wellington at Gordon Ramsay’s Steak. OMGGGGG. BEST. DISH. EVER. Joe and I are huge Gordon Ramsay fans, and we watch any show he’s on, so it was a real treat getting to eat at his restaurants. Steak was fancy and worth every penny, but we also visited his Pub & Grill inside Caesar’s Palace and that food was amazing too. Let’s see…what else? We got to see Britney Spears and the fangirl inside of me was dying. SLAY GIRL, SLAY. We also went to see the Michael Jackson Cirque De Solei show which was AMAZING, definitely recommend it. And before we left, we saw Absinthe which was something you HAVE TO SEE if you’re in Vegas. It’s Cirque De Solei on crack with tons of adult humor that’ll have you peeing in your pants the whole time. A great way to end our Vegas trip.
I could have spent two weeks in Napa. But instead, we spent two days.
And in those two days we went to 8 or so wineries, which gives you a pretty good idea of how our trip went. LOL wine and cheese at 11am? Yea, I need to live there.
The scenery in Napa is stunning. The views from some of the wineries we visited were absolutely breathtaking. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be putting together a blog post with our entire Napa itinerary, so stay tuned for that. But if you’re considering a trip to Napa- freaking do it.
After Napa, we drove to San Francisco. Such a pretty place.
I ate tons of food there too, got to finally check out Sugarfina, and took a TON of pictures which again- need to be a whole separate blog post in and of themselves.
We did Muir Woods, spent an afternoon in Saucelito, and even got to see Alcatraz. Who would have known that the views would be so darn pretty from prison.
We also did the 17-mile drive down Pebble Beach and that was SO BEAUTIFUL. Highly recommend it if you’re planning on visiting California.
Our most recent trip was to Key West. We decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary here and we had a really great time. I had been to Key West before, but mostly just to drink, ya feel me?! Turns out, there’s so much more to do besides getting wasted down Duval Street. To get familiar with the island, we took the Old Town Trolley Tour which we loved. We also took the Ghosts & Gravestones ghost tour to learn about the haunted history of Key West which was fun too. But by far the highlight of our trip was visiting the Dry Tortugas. You need to go there, like right now.
Definitely not a bad year in the traveling department. Looking forward to many more adventures in 2017!
BOOKS I’VE READ
I wish I had more time to read. That’s something I’d like to focus on this new year. If I can read just 20 minutes a day, I’ll be a happy camper, so I think I’m gunna try to pencil that in my schedule. Regardless, I did get to read a whole bunch of books this year and these were some of my favorites.
- We Were Liars
- Big Magic
- Daring & Disruptive
- You Are A Badass
- Jab Jab Jab Right Hook: How to tell your story in a noisy social world
- Wellth: How I learned to build a life, not a resume
So yea, all in all, it’s been a great year. Lots of movement, lots of newness, and that my friends, is exactly what I love most about life. Things can change a whole lot in just a year, and that makes things exciting. So while 2016 may have not been your FAVORITE year, I hope you’ll still look back on the past 365 days and find that there was joy somewhere in there. Joy or growth or just the mere act of falling on your face and getting back up again. Let’s do this, 2017! I’m totally ready for whatever kind of craziness you have in store.
Wishing each and every one of you a happy and safe new year! Now tell me- no, wait. Actually, BRAG TO ME. Let me know in the comments what the highlight of 2016 was for you!
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