Now that we’ve wished 2016 goodbye, it’s time to reflect on the year. I already wrote about my favorite active fashion of the year, so now I want to take a step back and share a bit of the personal side of 2016.
At the end of 2015, I wrote about some of my struggles that year and the tremendous changes that took place. By the end of a tumultuous year, I was finally starting to get traction in the right direction. I wrote about my hope that 2016 would be a year that I could finally move forward and leave behind the pain of the previous years.
Now that the year has passed, I can confidently say that yes, that’s exactly what happened. After years of false starts, debilitating stress, and anxiety about an uncertain future, I finally feel like I’m settling into a good place.
That’s not to say that this year has been a cakewalk. There were definitely some challenges, setbacks, and failures. But compared to years past, 2016 was so much more of a net positive than any other recent year. Instead of just trying to keep my head above water, I’ve been more able to pursue growth and tap into my inner power. This year was about settling less and dreaming bigger.
Here’s a look back at some of the memories and moments of 2016.
2016 was a good year for my bucket list. I knocked out a few local hikes that were new to me, and ventured further for some pretty amazing trips.
One of the most enchanting local hikes was a February trek through West Fork Trail in Sedona. The snow and ice made already beautiful scenery even more arresting.
I went to the Grand Canyon four times this year. I hosted several guests this year, so most of those were playing tour guide. But the first visit of the season was for my second rim to river hike, which I wrote about here. After an encouraging second trek, I’m hoping to tackle the full rim-to-rim next season.
One of my goals when I moved out here was to be able to bring close family and friends out for visits. This year, both of my sisters, my mom, and 3 old college friends all came out to AZ. Besides being a great time catching up with some of my favorite people, it was also a great excuse to pay an extra visit to some of my favorite local spots.
We went to Yosemite twice this year. I got bitten by the Yosemite bug hard and I felt like I was going to explode if I didn’t go. In the space of about three weeks, I planned the whole thing and we were on our way. It was every bit as magical as I hoped, and I ended up getting engaged on the trip!
Since we were getting married in California, we had to travel to the state to get our marriage license. The closest county clerk’s office where we could obtain a license was in Riverside county, 6 hours away. We made a mini-getaway out of it and stayed at the Korakia in Palm Springs for a night. It was the most perfect, peaceful escape from the chaos of wedding planning as well as one of the best memories of the year.
Seven months later, we made a second trip to Yosemite for our wedding. I already wrote about our wedding day, so I won’t repeat myself here. But clearly, this day was one for the history books. Out of all the positive growth of the year, moving forward with our relationship was easily the best. Photos: Carl Zoch
One of the great things about having an intimate destination wedding was that we got to spend a lot of time with our guests (i.e., our families). In the days surrounding the wedding, we went on quite a few hikes, shared meals, and socialized. The first couple of mornings, we got up with the sun and took a stroll around Yosemite Falls. We were staying in Yosemite Valley Lodge, right across the street from the falls, which meant we could get a very early start. This early in the morning, we shared the trail with only a handful of other people. The trail is usually jam-packed, making the empty trail extra special and serene.
The day after our wedding, the whole group of us got together to go to Sentinel Dome and Glacier Point. It was really great to get everyone together and enjoy a beautifully clear day in the park. Plus, the worrying about the wedding day was over, which made it that much easier to enjoy the day. By the way, the waterfall above is the same as the one before it, just from about 4000 ft higher!
And then there was New Zealand: the last trip of the year but the most epic! I’m still in the process of writing about this one, but there were special moments every day on this trip. After 15 years of wishing, I finally made it on the trip dreams are made of.
Behind the screen
In the spring, I treated myself to a brand new computer: a tricked out 27″ iMac. I know it may seem silly that getting a new computer would be on the list of the highlights of the year, but it’s not to me! I’ve always loved computers, and this is the first one I’ve ever had that wasn’t a bargain buy. Case in point: I got my first computer in about 2004, when I was gifted a virtually unused, but 5-yr-old machine that was still running Windows ME. As a teenager, I learned to deconstruct the tower so that I could install new RAM, a wireless network receiver, and a new internal hard disk.
So, I’ve come a long way.
It took me a long time to save up for this beauty, but it was worth every penny. I do all my blogging work and photo editing on this machine and its speed and stunning visuals never disappoint me.
This year was the first year I really started making a point to work on photography. Looking back even just this year, I’ve come SUCH a long way. I bought a couple new lenses that changed my photo game and I’ve started learning the settings that work best. Or at least, I’ve learned a lot of settings that don’t work. :) Although their photos don’t make it on the blog too often, my beautiful dogs are always one of my favorite photography subjects. These were some of the inaugural shots I took with my first prime lens.
Once I got my new computer, I started learning to use Lightroom to edit my photos. Editing is at least half the battle when it comes to photos, and I’ve been learning a ton about how to really bring out the best in my photos. Now that I’ve got equipment I’m comfortable with and some knowledge of how to use them, my next challenge is nailing down my signature photo style.
Peony season: the most wonderful time of the year. I’m a huge fan of fresh flowers, and the fluffy, petal-y goodness of peonies is impossible to resist. I got mine from a local farmer for $3/stem. Can you believe it? This May I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy out her whole stand.
Another highlight of my year: ranunculus season. Funny name, serious beauty. Along with peonies, these are my all-time favorite flower. The same farmer who grows my peonies also sells beautiful ranuncs in the springtime for absurdly low prices. Besides my dogs, flowers are another of my favorite photography subjects.
I wrote 153 posts in 2016. Out of those, here are some of the highlights…
My favorite posts for photography:
Our wedding (obviously!)
My favorite posts for writing:
Most popular posts:
Lululemon winter try-ons (January)