Goodbye, 2016.

This year has probably been hands down, one of the most busy but challenging years I’ve ever had so far. I’m going to try and recap it the best I can in this post, but I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch of things!

January

I became an officially certified culture facilitator at my company, which has been a huge deal for me. I never thought I would ever do this kind of work (in addition to my actual day job working in IT Governance in Software Testing, if you didn’t know) but it’s been so rewarding and fulfilling. I facilitate the sessions for new hires on the culture at our company and reinforce it for teams who have already gone through the initial sessions. I get to travel too, which is awesome.

February

I was chairwoman for the Think Pink Memphis luncheon and through all the stress and anxiety, we ended up having a great event. My Mom & Dad came down for it and two of my coworkers, Cathy and Donna also attended. Again, it was crazy stressful but I’m so grateful it went really well.

March

I got to travel back home to Pittsburgh for work, which was really great. I obviously stayed at my parents house/childhood home and that’s always an amazing feeling.About a week after that trip, I already had a surprise trip home planned – I surprised my parents (with the help of my Aunts) by coming home to go see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 with them. We’re Greek and so these movies are basically a documentary. 🙂 The surprise went perfect and I was so grateful for it.During that surprise trip home and after discussion with my parents… I decided I wanted to finally put down some roots in Memphis and purchase my first home. By myself. EEEKKK!

April

Edit: I don’t know how I could forget this… I got to go down to Santa Rosa, FL for my friend Donna’s daughter’s Lauren (also my friend!) wedding!!! She married her best friend, and I’m so lucky I got to be a part of that day! This was my first wedding I full on decorated for, and I loved it! Plus, anytime I get to go to the beach I’m happy 🙂

After tons of anxiety, I pulled the trigger and contacted a fellow sorority alumnae who is also a local real estate agent and contacted some banks about mortgages. We only went out for one day looking at houses and we only saw a total of three homes. Because I almost never take a long time to make up my mind about anything, I actually decided on going for the #2 house we saw.

May

As of May 2016 I am officially a homeowner! Days and weeks of negotiations (and ultimately me having to sacrifice a bunch on my end…), inspections and about 17 dead trees later, I bought my first home. My parents came down with some furniture and other things that were passed down to me from my grandparents and they helped me move in.

June

My sister and I had a planned trip to San Francisco for my birthday week (June 13!) and it was pretty awesome. We went to Alcatraz (I went 2 years ago but didn’t have enough time to ride over), walked a TON, biked across the Golden Gate Bridge (never. again.), hiked through the Redwoods at Muir Woods (absolutely would do again) and ate some really great food!

July

After being a fan of Rooster Teeth for almost 4 years, I finally scrounged up the cash and went to Austin, Texas for RTX! If you don’t know, RTX is basically comic con but for fans of Rooster Teeth/video games. I went into the trip never having been to Austin and not knowing the 3 girls I was staying with – to now having a love affair with Austin and having some amazing gal pals. 🙂
At the end of the month… this is when things went very, very bad…

August

In August, I suffered from a venous sinus thrombosis – aka a stroke. If you want to read the whole story, I made a separate post about it.
My entire month was consumed by that, the only other thing that happened was my Dad and sister came down for Labor Day because we already had plans to go to the Memphis Tigers football game. It was so good to see them when I wasn’t lying in a hospital bed.

September

My wonderful Mom stayed with me for a month and a half while I recovered and by this point I was back at work. I still had issues with exhaustion, some body soreness, and double vision. But overall I was on the mend.
At the end of September I flew to New York to do a training session for work and I was lucky enough to add an extra day to my trip and I got an AirBnb and visited NYC for the first time! I went to the 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, Central Park and even got to meet up with my friend Danielle who I met when I went to Austin for RTX! It was only a day trip, but it was such a great opportunity.

October

Halloween was in full swing and my coworker/friend Cathy & I (along with some other coworkers) assembled our annual Haunted House at work. We raised over $1,700 for United Way and had lots of fun scaring everyone in the process.

November

At the beginning of November, I ended up adopting a stray dog! Someone dumped him at the Botanic Gardens and he had no chip and no one had posted searching for him, so I took him in. His name is now Booker DeWoof and he’s a Corgi-German Shepard mix (we think, definitely Corgi though!). He is the sweetest pup ever and loves the cats – jury is still out on if all of them like him, but Hunter has become fast friends with Booker.

I flew to Dallas for another training session for work and booked an extra day before hand and I ended up driving about 2 hours south to Waco, TX. I went to the Magnolia Silos/Market/Bakery, of Fixer Upper fame! No, I didn’t get to meet Chip & Jo (again). But it was so cool there. If you ever have a chance to go, you should!
My parents came down to visit over Thanksgiving and got to meet Booker, which was nice. We decorated my house for the first time and it felt so nice to have MY own house to decorate.

December

Not too much has happened this month, the only major thing is I was able to get Booker certified as an Emotional Assistance Animal and he flew home with me to Pittsburgh for Christmas! We surprised my sister by bringing him home. Christmas was wonderful and it was the first time I was back home since March. The only thing that was different is that they opened a Taco Bell in our town. How exciting, right? Gotta love small town life.

I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention how much of a shit year it was in terms of losing celebrities, the election, terrorists across the globe, mass shootings in the US.. the list goes on. Overall, 2016 was a roller coaster ride and I’m SO excited to go into a new year.  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and your New Year is great! 🙂