Looking Back on 2016

If you know me in real life, then you know how I feel about my birthday and the end of the year. I usually don't want it happen. But the funny thing is – as much as I sometimes wish that I was 23 instead of 33, I can't deny that the further I get into my 30s, the more sure of myself I become. But more importantly, the more initiative I take when it comes to doing the things I want to do. Which is why that for all the things I struggled with in 2016, it was still an incredible year to me.

At the beginning of the year, I got this panicked feeling of being stuck. It's what prompted me to text my travel buddy about needing to go out of the country and us booking a trip to Dublin only a few weeks later. Next, I told my best friend we needed to go to Disney World (this got bumped to next month but it's happening!) and plan more outings in general. I did a summer bucket list and completed most of the items on it. I was the Maid of Honor for my other BFF. I planned weekend getaways and other trips. I was that friend who wanted to check out museums, shows and concerts and texting people to join me. But at the same time, I still focused on myself and loved those Friday nights when I was in bed by 8pm with a good book or on the couch Netflix'ing a new show. I just tried to seize opportunities when they arose and did what made me happy.

But it wasn't a perfect year and I don't want to pretend that it was either. There's a lot I don't share online (or in general) because it's personal or uncomfortable for me to do so. But if I'm going to reflect on 2016, I want to share both sides of it. So at the end of last year, my grandmother – who lived with me since I was a baby and was like a second mother to me – passed away. She was 97 years old and lived a full, amazing life. But I miss her. It's been bittersweet experiencing holidays without her for the first time and I just think about her a lot. Then back in April, my mother's cancer came back more advanced. It was such a shock because we thought that chapter of our lives was over. Luckily she's in remission again (thank God!) but I was scared out of my mind for the first couple of months. It's been really tough but I'm so grateful it all turned out okay.

As corny as this is about to sound, I think it was things I struggled with the most that made me chase all the good that came out of this past year. Of course I had my moments of wallowing (and crying) but I can honestly say I'm walking away from 2016 with wonderful memories. And that's how I want to end this post - remembering that.

Here are my highlights from 2016:
+ Road trip to Boston with Alexa
+ Seeing Smart People (I was in the same room as Joshua Jackson!), Waitress and An American in Paris
+ Attending "An Evening with the Cast & Co-Creator of Orphan Black" and fangirling over Tatiana Maslany
+ Going to LA to visit my cousin and spend time with my beautiful niece and nephew. Plus Harry Potter World!
+ Photography sessions with my cousins (see here and here)
+ 3 ballets (Firebird, Le Corsaire, The Golden Cockerel) with Alexa that left me in awe of Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera
+ Jana Kramer, Florence + the Machine and James Bay concerts
+ Ice cream and indie bookstore adventures
+ Dublin, Ireland with Jackie
Cape Cod weekend with Alexa and Kelly
+ Visiting the Museum of Ice Cream, MoMA, Society of Illustrators and New Museum of Contemporary Art
+ Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and going to Queens Night Market with Carina
+ My younger cousin getting engaged! (I helped him pick out the ring!)
+ Mary Ann's wedding, plus bridal shower and bachelorette
+ Becoming a book fairy for Books on the Subway

Now I can officially say goodbye to 2016! And 2017? I'm ready for you! 

Thank you for reading my blog and hope you all have a Happy New Year!


  1. Oh Rachel, I'm so sorry<3 I can completely relate on the mom front- mine is in the same situation and we've spent every night in the hospital since last Tuesday after she just had an operation. It's truly inspiring to see how much you've done despite everything you've been going through, especially to me because I tend to do the opposite and shut out all social activities because I'm worried about what could happen. I've made a 2017 resolution to go out more and participate in more events that I really want to do and know I will enjoy because 2016 was such a shut in year for me. I'm so happy to hear that your mom is in remission and I will definitely keep her in my prayers<3 Here's to a much better 2017!!!

  2. It's truly inspiring to me to see how much you embrace the adventure of life, even with all the challenges that have also been in your way. I'm so honored to be your friend, and look forward to many, many, many more adventures to come <3 (P.S. I'm still majorly happy that your mom is in remission, and she, and your family, are always in my prayers.)


with love,