Personal Reflection of 2016 - A Year in Pictures

Wow. 2016 was just… wow. What a year. 2016 changed me and made me even happier with who I am today and where I am going. However, to talk about this, I need to start from the beginning.

2015 was an interesting year for me. It came to a close with heartaches and a swift turn in my path I did not expect. Today, I look back and am glad my path changed to take me to where I am today.

I rang in 2016 at EPCOT with Claudia, where there were so many fireworks that the ground shook. After spending the entire day in the park, we were worn out by 12:15 AM and quickly headed to the car. We were prepared for horrible traffic and brought pillows and blankets in case we weren’t going anywhere and could take a nap in the parking lot, but Claudia got us home swiftly and without incident. Bless her.

The craziness of the new year (spending all day on the 30th at Magic Kingdom and the 31st at EPCOT) left me drained. I became ill and barely wanted to move out of my bed. Still, Claudia, Brittany and I went to EPCOT for a character dining experience at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Here, you can eat while meeting the princesses. The three of us Disney-bounded as some of our favorite princesses (Claudia as Rapunzel, Brittany as Belle, and I as Cinderella). Being sick put a damper on the experience but I was still happy I got my butt out of bed to go.

January 9th, Claudia and I headed to Magic Kingdom to complete our “Shake it Off” video. Sadly, Brittany could no longer get into the parks so we finished the video one musketeer short. I remember Claudia telling me that she couldn’t wait for the dang video to be done. Once I started editing it, I agreed with her. (Try listening to “Shake it Off” over and over again and you’ll understand how I felt.)

The day after, Brittany, Claudia and I went to St. Augustine, Florida for a day trip. My one goal every year is to at least go to one place new and I was able to complete it ten days into the year. We saw the Castillo de San Marcos and walked around the cute town.

From January 13th to 17th, my friend Lauren visited me in Florida to celebrate her birthday. We park hopped and hit my favorite attractions, restaurants, and spots of each park so I could say my “see ya real soons”. This was my last hurrah living ten minutes from Walt Disney World and as an annual passholder. January 16th was my last day in Magic Kingdom for a while.

On January 17th, my mom arrived to accompany me on my drive back to New Jersey. We spent the 18th enjoying the Florida weather and it was my last day seeing Claudia and Brittany. My mom and I then drove away from the Sunshine state and, while I looked forward to being home, I did already miss living around the corner from Disney and down the hall from my two best friends.

My mom and I barely arrived in National Harbor, MD at my Dad’s. The beginning of the worst snowstorm of the season began as we were approaching his exit. Four miles turned into over an hour since the road had turned to ice. It was like the northeast was already getting back at me for having such a warm winter in Florida. We quickly went home the next day and then the true part of the storm hit. Over 20 inches of snow! While stuck inside, I painted my room and transformed it from yellow to an off-white with a hint of pink. As I painted, I contemplated running back to Florida.

Classes began on January 25th. I decided with my minor in Public Relations and my one-class-short of my Business Administration degree to attend college full-time again and make my minor in P.R. a major. I continued my previous summer’s internship at the University Communications and Marketing office.

During the semester, I hit the books hard and studied more than ever. Thinking I was finished with school and then going back made me want to finish as soon as possible. (You can read more on my semester here.) I also got to see Amanda, one of my best friends, more since I was back in New Jersey. I saw her through the year and was thankful every time I was able to. One of the hard things about finishing school is coordinating schedules with you friends and the times we were able to are some of my favorite moments through 2016.

As the months passed, my mom and I made quite a few car rides to visit my Dad in National Harbor, which is very close to Washington D.C. My dad is currently working on a project down there and he visits us a few weekends a month and we visit him.

I also was blessed to meet Alyssa through one of my university organizations. Being her mentor has meant the world to me and I am so fortunate to assist her in college and see her succeed. Brianna was also a new addition to my small circle of friends, and she quickly became a YouTube friend with whom I have had so many fun brainstorming and collaboration sessions with.

On April 7th, I decided to go for a change and got my hair balayaged with blonde highlights. I loved it and am glad I did it. There’s something about changing your hair, even slightly, that feels so refreshing.

May 1st, I started my blog at and since bought the domain to drop the wordpress part and change over to blogger. Starting a blog was one of the most rewarding experiences of 2016. On the same day, I reached 400 subscribers on my YouTube channel.

I participated in my first 5K on May 7th, even if I mostly walked it. Standing up to cancer at a Night Nation Run 5K was awesome and I am so glad I did it. Four days later, my final grade for my first degree was published and I officially became one degree smarter. (Hah, get it?)

Over the summer, while still at my internship, I applied to work in a local retail store and was hired. In my free time, I could be found hunting Pokemon on Pokemon Go. While working part-time at each job, I also took two more classes. In these classes is where I met Katie. (She’s been mentioned before but in case you need a refresher, she’s a fellow blogger. Visit her at Synderellax.) Little did I know in our Communication Law and Multimedia classes that we would become such great friends.

June 27th, I had to say goodbye to my first car which was totaled in an accident. I was quite sad to say goodbye to the car that had driven me to my first Disney College Program and on so many adventures.

I purchased my Canon EOS 70D on July 5th and once it arrived I began having a blast taking pictures and videos with it. Throughout the year, it became a necessity for my bag to include my camera. I was so hesitant to buy it at first but now I am so happy I did.

In August, I had jury duty for the first time and was luckily dismissed. The following day, I turned 23 and spent the day hanging with Alyssa before going to dinner with my family. Sadly, Wednesday birthdays can make them quite dull but that’s okay.

Katie and I continued chatting and we realized that we had two classes together in the fall. As the fall semester approached, Claudia reached out to me to see if I wanted to visit for a week in September. The trip was completely planned within two weeks of my arrival date. My final first day of class began September 7th and I was on a plane to Florida September 15th.

Running around Disney World and Universal with Claudia brought me back nine months to how I started 2016. I missed her so much and was bummed Brittany couldn’t make it, but excited to be back in my magical home. Claudia also introduced me to warm Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and I have never been the same.

Now, I am at a real-talk portion of my reflection. After a year of drowning in the feelings of heartbreak, I began opening up to the idea of dating again. I met Steven online on September 22nd and we began chatting quite frequently. I was quite sick at the time, so we did not finally meet in person until October 11th. Since, he has become a major part of my life.

Steven also brought wineries into my world and that opened my eyes to a whole new world of delicious wine. I started 2016 as an Arbor Mist wine drinker (something Steven likes to remind me about haha) and finished it exposed to so many new and amazing wines. I have him to thank for that… and also for starting a NJ Wine Passport with me.

As the rest of the semester flew in front of my eyes, I began working harder with my jobs, class, and my hobbie
s, especially more on my blog. For December, Katie and I dedicated ourselves to completing Blogmas — a month of at least 25 posts, one every single day until Christmas. It was tiring and it was frustrating at times but I am so happy I did it.

December also brought me a job offer—in my field—to start in January. While it is not full-time, I did not expect to find exactly what I wanted and studied right after finishing school.

I spent the last moments of 2016 by Steven’s side, bar-hopping and preparing to watch fireworks over the Potomac. As someone who used to sit at home and ring in the new year by watching the coverage in New York City, I enjoyed watching the fireworks in-person. There is something magical and poetic that I began 2016 by looking up into the sky, watching colors explode, and I finished it the same way as a different yet stronger person.

For some of us, we see 2016 as a curse we couldn’t wait to end. But in the midst of the heartaches, the lows, the highs, the smiles, the tears, and everything in-between, 2016 shaped us into who we are for 2017 and we will spend the new year stronger and more experienced than ever before.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to 2017 with you,

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