2016 in Review

2016 had its up and downs, for the world and for me. This was no doubt one of the more challenging years we have all faced, but in choosing to take each event as a lesson that we learned from,  we can enter 2017 with a spirit of growth, ready to move forward. 2016 brought a major life change for me. My mantra for 2016 was to "say yes" and to practice self care. While those still need to be worked on in the upcoming year, those two goals helped me to start being more conscious about what I ate, had me run my first race (just a 5K, but still!) and had me say yes to travel, friends, and most importantly, a goal I set for myself a long time ago that I never thought I'd achieve, going back to school to get my Ph.D. 2016 was quite the journey, and now that I'm settled in Florida, I'm looking forward to what 2017 has to offer! Here's a little snippet of my 2016.

January started and ended with travel! I headed to Missouri to visit a school and saw friends in St. Louis, then interviewed in Tampa and had an unexpected weekend adventure after getting stranded there during Winter Storm Jonas, visited South Carolina for a day and ended January in Nebraska.
College Friends at 4 Hands Brewery in St. Louis
View from the pier in Clearwater, Florida
February started on a sad note with the loss of my grandfather, but also included time with family, snow, Skype interviews and travels to Ohio for interviewing and visiting old friends.
Philly Ph.D.'s in Ohio
Favorite running stop view from the Art Museum Steps
March included a trip to NC for my brother's CD release show, celebrating my birthday in Philly, Florida and Charlotte, and finally visiting Gainesville and deciding on UF for my graduate school program!
Promoting Highway Rider with the Bestie!
Celebrating 26 with Family
Easter Sunday in N.C.
April saw my best friend Meghan visit Philly, the NCAA tournament and a Mother's Day tea with Grandmom
Philly Day with Meghan
Mother's Day Tea with the Queen (lookin' good at 97!) 
May was wedding month, traveling to North Carolina and New Orleans to celebrate the unions of two wonderful friends, along with some start of summer shenanigans in Philly!
Wedding Ready in N.C.

Beer Gardens and Best Friends

Surviving the heat in New Orleans with a cold Sno ball
June brought summer celebrations, nights on roof deck pools, the Color Run 5K, a bachelorette party and my last week working in a Philadelphia school.
Summer Nights on the roof with pups
Celebrating crossing the finish line for the Color Run 5K

Celebrating our favorite Bachelorette!
July was a big month! We kicked it off with the wedding weekend of my roommate combined with Fourth of July weekend, and filled in the rest of the days with happy hours, beer gardens, beach trips and my last day of work and move from Philly! I ended up the busy month with a trip to Nashville with my sister to visit my brother and take in Music City!
This photo says everything. What a wedding!

Summer Happy Hours are the best Happy Hours
Last Day of Work Lunch with the best ladies
August saw a girls trip to Asheville, a week in Hilton Head, a move to Florida and the start of graduate school, whew!
Sunday afternoons poolside

Grovepark Inn and Spa

Cruisin' Hilton Head
September was a month for settling in. I got used to my new apartment, new classes and new friends. I went to my first Gator football game and visited Florida's natural springs with my old college friend Christie. Oh, and I lived through my first Florida hurricane!
The Swamp
Ginnie Springs
October consisted mostly of graduate school work (midterm season), my second hurricane and also a girls trip to St. Augustine.
Anastasia Island State Park
November was very busy, with a trip to Tampa for the Florida Association of School Psychologist Conference, a trip to Orlando for the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival and then a trip home to N.C. for Thanksgiving (and Gilmore Girls!!)
First Year students at the FASP Conference
Food and Wine Fest Squad Goals
Thanksgiving Crew Selfie
December felt very short, as I headed back to Florida to wrap up graduate school work and celebrated the end of the first semester with my cohort, visited Disney again for the holiday celebrations, saw my friend Christie for the second time since I moved to Florida (!!!) and then headed home fro Christmas, including a visit to Philly and a homebody Christmas with my family.
Christmas in Philly
Christmas in Charlotte

Looking back, while 2016 was trying, it also brought a lot of amazing adventures, new experiences and quality time with family and friends. All I can ask for out of 2017 is a chance for more adventures with the people I love and a chance to continue to grow and follow God's plan!