2016: A Year in Review

Farewell, 2016!

I don’t know about you, but for some reason this year did not fly by for me. Haha…it actually felt like a very long year. It wasn’t a bad year at all (in fact, I think that 2016 was the happiest year of my life, with one sad dip right in the middle), but it just felt long. Anyone else?

One of the things I’m most excited about (umm…one of the 4 million things…) about getting married is having my own little family and putting out a Christmas update each year! Call me old fashioned, but I love reading through Christmas cards and family updates and hearing about what’s been going on in the lives to those I don’t get to see very often!

So…this is my version of that. Here’s my 2016 in review!


January was a great month. I kicked it off by ringing in the New Year with my (then!) boyfriend in downtown Austin. I enjoyed a few days of Christmas break working through Jennie Allen’s 2016 Dream Guide. I love reflecting and setting goals for the new year!

January was also full of lots of time with Nate. It was a fun month of dating. We did a lot of biking, lots of cooking together, we watched our way through 30 Rock (the entire thing…haha). It was just an easy, fun month!


In February, I played a lot of gigs. When I think of this month, I think of long hours in the orchestra pit, eating dinner in the car while I’m rushing to a performance, and LOTS of email scheduling with students… This was all part of my plan to pay off my student loans in a year, so I’m really glad now that I packed so much work into a short time!

I also celebrated my two-year dating anniversary with this handsome. We went to Qui, a fantastic restaurant that was sadly closed last year due to less-than-ideal circumstances. But the dinner date was great! Ha.


In March I went to NYC with two of my college gal pals for a girls weekend getaway and had the best time! It was my first visit to New York, and I loved eating bagels, seeing the famous sky scrapers, walking through Central Park, visiting the MoMa, and visiting Milk Bar. Yum.

In March I also tried Stitch Fix. My roomie and were both using it at the same time, trying on outfits for each other and deciding what to keep and what to return! (I ended up keeping all 5 of my items…).

It’s funny, but the reason that I tried Stitch Fix is because I REALLY DON’T LIKE SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES. Well, at least I didn’t. Then I tried on some cute clothes, and I discovered a few things about myself:

– I really enjoy having cute clothes. (Ha. Shocker, right?)

– I need a strategy for shopping

– I can’t shop when I’m hungry or tired

– I can’t shop when the store is crowded (like on weekends)

– I need to start with the difficult things (like jeans/swim suits/work clothes) and then move to fun things (like jewelry, handbags, and shoes)

– I actually really like shopping now!

Ha. So, I haven’t used Stitch Fix since March, but that’s just because I’ve discovered that I actually don’t mind shopping as much as I used to. I guess I was just approaching it wrong.


In April, we celebrated Nate’s birthday with brunch at Central Standard and a day of bopping around Austin, going to our favorite movie theater and a couple of breweries. This is my very favorite way to spend the weekend these days!

I also played a lot of orchestra gigs. April is a busy month for orchestras…they follow the school year, so summer break is also “off season” for orchestras, so April/May are full of concerts.


May was full of family time! It brought TWO graduations in my family: one sister got her doctorate, and another got her masters! (I have some smarty-pants in the family). I went up to Denton, TX (about an hour north of Dallas) to celebrate for one, and explored the Denton farmer’s market, town square, and cute little shops with her. And for the other one, I drove out to Abilene, TX (about 2 hours west of Dallas) to celebrate the younger sister’s accomplishment!

I also drove up to Dallas to see Ragtime at Dallas Summer Musicals…anyone seen it? My parents are so cute and gave my sisters and me tickets to DSM for Christmas. (I think it was just their way to get us in town more often -*wink*). We celebrated another sisters birthday, did another graduation party, went out for drinks and concerts….it was a whole time. I love my family so much.


June kicked off with a weekend in LA to celebrate a friend’s wedding. I fell in love with the city! Every day was full of hiking, beach time, eating at cute restaurants, and catching up with college friends. #bliss



Nate and I flew to San Francisco to explore for a long weekend. We both LOVED the city (even though I was cold literally the whole time..) and can’t wait to go back! Oh, and this little thing happened…..

Nate proposed on the 4th of July!!! Eeeeks! And then right after we got back from San Francisco, I took off again to Seattle to visit my aunt. It was such a special time, spending some one-on-one time with her, drinking coffee and craft beer, running by the lake, listening to classical music in the park, and exploring the market.

I flew straight from there to McCall, ID, to play a week-long music festival in the mountains. Four concerts in one week was a lot, but I managed to fit in a couple hikes in the gorgeous scenery! Who knew Idaho was so beautiful??


I was in full-on wedding planning mode in August! It was nice to get the big stuff out of the way (date, venue, caterer, dress, photographer, save the dates…), but oh my gosh…my email inbox was a bottomless pit in August!

Halfway through the month, my family escaped the Texas heat and drove to Rosemary Beach, Florida, for a family getaway. We’re BIG fans of the summer olympics, so we centered this trip around the swimming/gymnastics events so we could go to the beach during the day, then come back and watch olympics at night!

Sadly, on the very last day of this trip, we got a phone call that my grandmother, who had been battling dementia for 7 years, was quickly fading away. My mom caught the next flight back to Dallas and just barely missed saying goodbye. My grandma passed away at age 89. Mary Fran one of the the sweetest ladies I’ve ever known. She made my childhood magical. She lived in Washington State, and I grew up in Dallas, but she was a constant part of my life through phone calls, trips down to Texas, birthday presents, packages mailed down on Christmas and Valentines and Easter and every other holiday, flying down to see us for our dance recitals and orchestra concerts and swim meets….she was such a special lady in my life.


This event, which is the only shadow on 2016 for me, ended up shaping the remainder of the year, and eventually, will shape the remainder of my life. I don’t have much experience with the death of those I’m really close to, so saying goodbye to Mary Fran was the biggest reminder I’ve ever had to hold your family close. Since August, I’ve been much more appreciative of my family and tried to savor every phone call, dinner date, or just random day-in-the-life with my family. I know that some day, I’ll look back on those little, seemingly “boring” moments as some of the happiest of my life.


September was great. I kicked off the month playing a concert with Austin Symphony, and I started my fourth year of teaching orchestra.

After traveling during the summer, it was nice to be back in Austin in September! I did some of my favorite things, like daily trips to Dolce Neve – I kid you not! The BEST gelato in Austin!


…weekend brunch with my man. Finally trying Salt and Time was a highlight!

…and trail running. September is still brutally hot in Austin, so I had to go early in the morning to avoid the wicked heat.


We had our engagement photos taken at Craft Pride, where we first met nearly three years ago. Clearly, we had zero fun taking pictures…

And then later in the month, I completed my goal of paying off my student loans from my masters. WOOHOO!! I did it in 11 months by saying yes to (literally) every single gig that came my way and teaching more students than I ever have before. As much as I’d like to say that every fiber of my being was happy to say goodbye to those loans, I’ve got to be honest: I really enjoyed the process of working toward that goal. My mom is the exact same way…when I told her I had the goal of paying them off in a year, she told me “that sounds like fun!” (One of my sisters is reading this and rolling her eyes right now..)

Nate and I celebrated with a date night at Emmer & Rye!


We flew to Ohio for a week of exploring. I got to see my finance’s alma mater, his birth town, and his law school.

And we went to a Bengals game! It was my first NFL game….and they lost. Boohoo. At least I had a cute date next to me 😉

I also really enjoyed getting to meet more of Nate’s extended family at Thanksgiving. I’m marrying into an AWESOME family. I can’t wait to see them all again at our wedding next year! 🙂


All kinds of coziness! I had a couple weeks off of teaching, so I thoroughly enjoyed all of the Christmas music, cozy mornings in bed, and cups of tea! In December, I finished reading 100 books in a year, a goal that I decided to do to re-inspire myself to read more for fun!

I celebrated Christmas with Nate in Austin a little earlier in the month, then drove to Dallas to spend the actual holiday with my family. Nate and I have never spent Christmas day together, and I’m so excited for our first married Christmas together in 2017.

You’d better believe there’s going to be a Christmas card next year!!

Phew. That’s 2016. What a rich year! 2017 miiiight be even fuller. I’ve got some big things coming up. I’m so excited to soak it all in and savor each moment. Sending you lots of love as you reflect on this past year…I know that every year can’t be a “high,” and sometimes life throws us curve balls. Wishing you acceptance, joy, and peace in whatever walk of life you might be in right now.


Happy New Year, everyone! Hope your weekend is full of lots of fun and friends and toasts and happiness. Talk to you soon!



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