January 11, 2016

2015... done and gone. And it was all kinds of good--what I remember. It all feels like a total blur of transition and travel. I'll avoid being utterly and completely cliche and predictable, and spare waxing poetic about how it had its ups and downs. It was another year, lots of growth and adjustment and tears, outnumbered by even more smiles and wonderful experiences and moments worth being so grateful for. Here are some highlights:

January was COLD. Bitterly, disgustingly, numbingly cold. We carried on tradition and kicked off 2015 by spending New Year's with the Smiths, we celebrated Jordan's birthday with dinner and Escape Game, and I clearly and most obviously logged lots of snugs with my Maiz. So lucky to have that fluff nugget in my life.

Month two brought the snow... snow and ice and missed work and canceled campus events. Two words: CABIN FE-VAH. But it also marked a handful of fun (warmer) memories: most notably, my first Local Levo event, my first hot toddy (due to a really glamorous, unshakable winter cough) and my first--but hopefully not last--hands-on encounter with a kangaroo.

I really can't clarify in words how much I loved hanging out with the kangaroos.


PTL, the sun found its way back to Nashville around March. I happily indulged in so much more time outside (especially with my girl), supported my favorite Kentucky girls as their b-ball team danced through the tournament, and finally logged a couple of coffee classes at my favorite coffee shop

April ushered in lots of quality time with my Nashville family... from Easter to hosting my first favorite things party, to a handful of really fantastic happy hours and dinners, to... a seemingly endless bout of eye appointments only to learn what I already knew: it would appear that I have allergies.

If a person can have a favorite month in recent years, May 2015 would have been reeeeally high up there on mine. A fantastic, sunny, sandy week in St. Thomas included scuba diving for the first time, drinking in enough beauty to last a lifetime, nearly stepping on a family of sea urchins, and acquiring the gnarliest sunburn imaginable (double back strap swimsuits and a lack of SPF are not your friend, ladies... I literally still had tan lines in November.)

I had the chance to go home to celebrate a sweet friend's wedding, surrounded by some of my oldest friends. I saw Zac Brown Band put on one of the best shows I've ever seen, and was front row at a fantastic secret show for Lord Huron. I was honored to witness another friend's wedding here in Nashville, celebrate one of my closest Nashville friend's 30th, and bid another friend farewell as she moved to Atlanta. Lots of celebrating! So many hugs and "see you soons."

As my Texas trip technically overlapped into June, that's when I tearfully watched my baby cousin's high school graduation... from the comfort of the bleachers in a high school football field. #texasforever

I also ate my way through Texas, as one is wont to do. I sampled some of Buc-ee's best on my way to visit my two best friends in Houston (who coincidentally live 10 minutes from each other)--and meet both of their baby boys... one still marinating, the other, five months old at the time, and all smiles--and indulged in some much needed family time with my brothers, SILs, the babies and my parents on our annual camping trip.

I got home to Nashville, and naturally made Texas shaped sugar cookies to temper my homesickness. And managed to make it to the farmer's market nearly every weekend, buy a ton of records, and bid another good friend farewell as she departed to Birmingham. Ch-ch-chaaaanges.

It's not really a secret that Independence Day is one of my all-time favorite holidays... so naturally, that equates to cake and embarrassing my dog by putting her in a bikini (and a massive cookout that was just the best kind of summer fun). I eagerly celebrated the birthday of my favorite six-year-old Nashvillian, finally toured the Hermitage, hosted a Skimm birthday party, had a short-term obsession with my newly acquired spiralizer, and kicked off a new year of Junior League.

August was such a whirlwind... a rainy blur of to-do's and more celebrations. Langhorne Slim put on an awesome show, we went all out to celebrate Chelsea's 30th (burlesque show and all!), I indulged in all of the best summer food, and had my last work trip (Jackson, MS!) and Move-In at Vanderbilt as I accepted my new job at the end of July. Crazy bittersweet few weeks.


Fall slowly began emerging, as I packed up my office and transitioned away from higher ed for the first time in five years (but not before working my last Family Weekend!). Ed Sheeran put on a hell of a show, I found my new signature summer drink, kept spoiling Maizie with her weekend scrambled eggs and decided to change up the summer hair a little. Bring it, autumn.

My brother and SIL welcomed their first, baby Brooks, on the first of the month. We jetted to Texas for ACL--a bucket list item that didn't disappoint in the slightest... one of the best weekends of my life (Shakey Graves! Walk the Moon! Ryn Weaver! Father John Misty! Alessia Cara! Sturgill Simpson! ...aaaand Drake was terrible). 

Weekend buttoned up nicely with my beloved breakfast tacos and a smidge of catch-up time with my Waco BFFs (and meeting my snuggly, perfect nephew). I hosted my first (crazy successful!) Baylor Women in Nashville event, worked another (uncharacteristically drama-free) Reunion for Vanderbilt, and hosted my girlfriends for another annual BYOP party. 

Another hectic month. I turned 30!!! ...and had the ultimate party with all of my best, best friends. My Gatsby-themed night was the perfect setting to bid adieu to my roaring 20s :) ...complete with feather boas for the girls, cigars for the guys, bountiful booze and the hangover to match. One of the most fun nights ever--I have some tremendously wonderful people in my life. 

I had my first work trip to DC--so much love for that city. Maizie and I spent spare weekend moments on the greenway and reading on the porch under a blanket. I spent the loveliest Thanksgiving with the Smiths, saw a kick-ass Shakey Graves show with BFFs Alex and Joslyn and took a very impromptu overnight trip to Dallas with college friend Katherine for a particularly terribly and rainy Baylor game (still can't talk about it).

Ahhh, the finale to the year... if December had a hashtag, it'd be #celebrations (cue that SNL skit). Celia treated me to Iliza tics for my birthday, and we laughed until it hurt. I fiiiiiinally became an official Tennessee resident (albeit only because my Texas license expired). I celebrated Christmas with my small group, with work friends, and by volunteering at my church. I saw Dan Auerbach and The Arcs put on an incredible show at the Ryman, celebrated sweet friend Katie's marriage, spent a little bit of time downtown and managed to somehow have enough time to fly home to Texas to love on my sweet family (with Maizie in tow), before heading back to Nashville to take in New Year's Eve with the Smiths... again, tradition. :)

Undoubtedly, a big year. The resounding theme for me was all about gratitude for my tribe, my people, the ones I hold closest. I have a wildly supportive group of people in my life, and they have trudged through this past year with me so loyally, so reliably. It was a pretty transitional series of months for me, and as anxious as I was about turning 30, it really is just a number. I wasted more time than I should've being caught up with silly stresses, moved jobs, moved out of a relationship, moved homes. But I've stubbornly come to learn that any real change within evolves from movement. 

I'm earnestly embracing 2016 and all of its shiny potential as the proverbial dust of 2015 settles a bit... and honestly grateful for 2015, and every hiccup, lesson and laugh that it brought my way. 

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