So long, 2016!

2016 has been a historic year for its many ups and downs….mostly identified for the downs, unfortunately…..For me though, 2016 has been a year of great growth, starting off very rocky (adulthood is hard, y’all) and ending in a place of happiness and aspiration for the coming months. As is my annual end-of-year tradition, here’s a look back at the past 365 (rather 366) days via my New Year’s Resolutions.


1. I’m now paying for my own gym membership (versus mooching off my parents’), so I intend to get my money’s worth.

Guess who’s been training for a half marathon…shocked it’s me, are you?! Come February, I will participate in the Disney Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World. It’ll be 13.1 miles of Disney magic and Rachel praying she’ll survive….

2. I want to always have the “next trip” planned, i.e. have another plane ticket purchased before any upcoming travels.

Oh my goodness, where to even begin. This year I was incredibely fortunate to travel to so many wonderful, unique, mind-blowing places. Exactly one year ago, I rang in 2016 at Walt Disney World with my family. It was one of our best trips ever, and I’m so happy to be back again for 2017’s midnight celebration! 

 In January, Haylie and I braved the cold in pursuit of craft beer and nature by visiting Denver, Colorado. We also went on several wilderness adventures, including my first experience with pure, real snow!
    

Next up was a trip to see one of my favorite people on this planet — Anna, my best friend from studying abroad in Leeds. She showed me around Omaha, Nebraska and convinced me that it is one of the neatest, most underrated cities in America. I kid you not, I loved that place (and, of course, the stellar human being it raised).
   

The very next weekend, Ashley and I flew to El Paso to visit Julie’s new stomping grounds. She took us to her medical school, led us on hikes through the mountains, and stuffed us with delicious Mexican food. Both my heart and my stomach were so full after this fun trip with two of my college roommates.   

In May, I made one of my frequent pilgrimages to NYC and stayed with Alex, where we conquered the classic Coney Island Cyclone and cried with laughter from its vintage thrills. I also made arguably the best decision of my life to buy an obscenely high-priced ticket to Hamilton. It was incredible and something I will remember for the rest of my life.    

I was so fortunate to return to Europe during the summertime with Julie, revisiting Scotland and discovering all that Ireland has to offer, including but not limited to: breathtaking scenery, the friendliest of people, and a rich Celtic heritage that shines through everywhere you look. 

In between all these fantastic adventures, I took several Texas trips with friends and family: floating the Comal River, attending a Texas Rangers game with Jordan, sipping  margaritas on the San Antonio Riverwalk, and spending a girl’s weekend at Chip and Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia Silos.   
     

My last trip of the year (other than the one I’m currently on) was once more to El Paso, this time with all of Spice JAHR. I’m indescribably  grateful for these girls — and many others — for their enduring friendships post-college. We’ve got many more adventures ahead of us together!
 

3. Because I live with Master Chef Liz Fisher, I’m setting out to actually accomplish this cooking resolution that I’ve historically aspired to (and failed at) so many times before.
Adamant to fulfill this resolution once and for all, I signed-up for an official cooking class (along with asking my mom a million questions in the kitchen) and learned how to make several dishes! I continued to be a domestic-goddess-in-training (lol) and took a sewing class! I’m nowhere near June Cleaver (or any fully-functioning adult really), but I made a purse that I’m quite proud of and had a blast in the meantime. This Thanksgiving, I even felt equipped enough to help with meal preparation. BOOM, goal met!

4. I am committing to writing/reading for at least half an hour everyday.
So I didn’t really keep track of this one, but I have read some great books this year AND made vast upgrades to the blog. Baby steps…

5. Being an adult is bizarre in that you actually have money and now get to decide how to spend/save/donate it , so I would like to really understand what I’m doing with my $$$.
Unfortunately, The General (my 10-year old Ford Escape) served his last mission with me and was reassigned to a new battlefield. While I wasn’t exactly excited that my car needed to be replaced, it did force me to truly take control of my financials in order for me to buy a new car! 

6. I will actively strive to make a positive mark on the people and places I encounter day-to-day.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s been a whirlwind year of highs and lows, but I’ve tried to manage the curveballs and embrace the good around me. In the end, I feel I’ve come out grinning on top.

7. Lastly, my mission for 2016 is to NOT BE BORING!
2016 has been anything but boring! I’ve gotten to do so many wonderful things and meet so many amazing people. Some highlights are:

My job at Miller Outdoor Theatre, where I’ve had once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and made countless memories, including a fabulous 4th of July with the Houston Symphony!
 

Exploring Houston and all it has to offer, such as classic movie screenings, new breweries, and pop-up Gilmore Girls coffee shops. (Luckily I have people in my life who are willing to embark on these escapades with me, like my friend, Ryan.)
 

Getting even more involved in my church, specifically the young adult’s ministry (like our ladies book club pictured below) and now the students’ ministry. Building spiritual and social relationships with these awesome people has been so rewarding, especially since I decided it was time to revisit my roots at St. Luke’s and give back by coleading a high school girls’ Bible study. I’ve loved learning alongside these young women and can’t wait to see where God leads us!  

GETTING TO SEE BEYONCÉ and a slew of other great concerts, movies, theater performances, and tv shows (mostly binge-watched with my Mom). 

2016, you’ve been quite a year. I’ve learned a lot of lessons and shared a lot of laughter. I pray 2017 will be marked with love, adventure, and magic…after all, we’ll be carrying Pixie Dust with us into this new year! 

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