2015 Year-In Review


2015 was sort of a strange year for me. In some ways, it was probably one of the most defining years of my life thus far. There were certainly plenty of major life moments to make it memorable! But despite the good times —and there were plenty—it all ended feeling rather bittersweet.  As we head into 2016, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on this past year and share a few of my goals for the next.

And by the way—if you’re looking for my Best in Beauty 2015, despair not! I’m currently working on a draft, and it should be up in the next day or two! Better late than never, right? (I guess some things will never change…)


Who says you have to save the best for last? 2015 started on a high note. A really high note! After 5+ years, my boyfriend, Dave, proposed! (It’s a little strange to think that nearly a year has passed since then!) He took me to a fancy brunch, and then popped the questions while the two of us watched my favorite movie (Finding Nemo) in my apartment. It was pretty special, and definitely my favorite moment of 2015.


After such an eventful start to the year, February was pretty quiet. Dave and I began apartment hunting, and I spent a lot of quality time with my family back in Wisconsin. Nothing super exciting, but not everything can be a 10, right?


March was a bittersweet month. A few days before my 24th birthday, my grandpa passed away from lung cancer. He and I were particularly close, so his death hit me hard. But as with most tough times in my life, I was reminded of just how wonderful my friends and family are. They kept me busy and distracted with belated birthday celebrations and girls’ nights in all month long.


After 5 ½ years together, Dave and I finally moved in together! My mom flew out to Washington, DC to help us with the move. Our first apartment is nothing fancy—it’s in an older building without the fanciest amenities, but I feel we’ve done a good job of turning it into something that feels like home.


May was another (relatively) quiet month. We spent most of it trying to get settled in our new place. I also enjoyed a visit from one of my best friends from home and my younger cousin, who flew out to visit me. They both graciously endured a chaotic, not-quite-unpacked apartment, and I got to play tourist and show them around town. Later in the month, I watched Dave’s youngest sister graduate, and we wished her well as she began another chapter of her life across the country.


In the second half of the year, a switch flipped and everything got busy. I mean really, really busy. Early in the month, a photographer friend of mine took engagement photos for Dave and I. It was sort of strange being on the other side of the camera, but I’m happy to have some nice photos of the two of us. Later on, two of our good friends got married, and so the month was filled with preparations and parties before we took a weekend road trip to Connecticut to watch them tie the knot! Everything was so lovely, and it made Dave and I even more excited for our wedding!


July is always one of my favorite months—my family always has a reunion at my grandpa’s property in Marshfield, Wisconsin. While it was sad not having my grandfather around this year, the knowledge that Dave and I would be getting married there the following year. Dave won “biggest fish” at the family fishing contest, and we both ate our weight in s’mores! At work, I got the exciting news that I received my first promotion. It was really nice to be recognized for all of the work that I put in.


In August, things finally settled down enough for Dave and I to host an apartment warming party with all of our friends. I also went on my first-ever work trip to Pensacola, Florida, and I got to swim in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time! Also, Washington, DC comes alive in the summer and this was the month where I tried to take advantage. Dave and I went to Yards Park to hear a 90’s cover band, and we even made it to a couple of Washington Nationals games! We also made the mistake of trying to hike the Billy Goat Trail on one of the hottest days of the summer, and I nearly died. No bueno.


September is always a busy month for me at work, and so I didn’t get the opportunity for a lot of “fun stuff.” I also started studying for the GRE, so I became a bit of a hermit with regards to my friends. Nothing terribly exciting to report here…


Sometimes, I feel like the holiday season begins in October. This month, Dave and I celebrated our 6th anniversary, as well as his birthday. As the weather began to cool down, we spent as much time possible outdoors—apple picking, the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and camping with a friend of ours at Shenandoah National Park. It was jam-packed full with all sorts of fun things, and flew by way too quickly.


This month, we continued spending a lot of our time outdoors, and kicked off November with a “Wine in the Woods” camping trip with some friends. We rented a treehouse in Western Maryland, and drove around to a couple of different wineries, a cidery and a meadery! Later, Dave and I flew to Wisconsin to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. He got a taste of the weird way we do things in my house—my mom is Japanese and my dad is Italian, so there’s teriyaki and lasagna alongside the stuffing and mashed potatoes.


I must have dreamt December, because I swear it was over *like that.* In the beginning of the month, I was busy applying to graduate programs, but before I knew it, I was headed down to Florida to celebrate Christmas with Dave’s family. It was my first Christmas away from home, but they made me feel so welcome! I know it’s not all about gifts, but everything his family gave me was so thoughtful and made me feel so loved! It can obviously never be the same as Christmas with your own parents, but it was definitely a close second. I’m looking forward to starting new traditions with my new family! And finally, we rang in the new year with a group of our closest friends at our apartment in DC.

I can’t say I’m sad to see 2015 go—it certainly came its ups and its downs.  But I’m excited that everything 2016 has in store for me! This year, I’ll be getting married (what?!) and heading off to new adventures in graduate school (**fingers crossed**). I’m terribly at keeping New Year’s resolutions, so for 2016 I tried to keep it simple. I’m trying to journal a few nights a week, just to get all of my thoughts down on paper. I don’t think that it’s reasonable to strive for “happiness,” so instead I’m striving for “wholeness.” (More on that in future posts.)

As for this blog, expect to see some changes. I’m hoping to swap some of the beauty and makeup posts for some more personal and lifestyle pieces as well. In fact, I’m seriously contemplating ditching monthly favorites in lieu of quarterly or seasonal favorites. I want to be sure that I’m sharing products I truly love, and not just sharing them for the sake of writing another post. Expect me to share all of my adventures in and out of DC, starting with my trip to Seattle next week! But have no fear—the beauty posts aren’t going anywhere. (‘Cause let’s face it. I just love makeup too much!) It will just be interspersed with a bit more Jackie.

There’s a lot happening in 2016, and I can’t wait to keep sharing it all with you on Tea and Sea!