Holy grateful! 2016 was certainly a year for the books. I had so much to celebrate. I can’t remember a year that was filled with as much happiness as 2016 was, and I’m so incredibly thankful for that. The experiences I’ve had, the adventures I’ve been on, the relationships I’ve formed… It’s all been amazing, and I’m thankful to have such a good year to look back on.
In January I was crawling out of the shambles that 2015 was in. I met some awesome people around Christmastime, and in January, I started hanging out with them more. Mardi Gras is one of my favorite holidays, so I threw a Mardi Gras party at my house, and it was more amazing than I could have imagined. It was the beginning of something amazing.
This month I spent a lot of time doing random things with new friends, including ice-skating, rollerskating and trivia nights.
March was of my favorite months because I traveled to Nashville to meet two of my blog besties that quickly became IRL besties. Nina and Erica are some of the most beautiful humans I know, and meeting them in person was like reuniting with old friends. You can read about the trip here, here and here.
I also took a mini road trip with my sister to go see one of my college friends get married! It was such a beautiful ceremony, and it was extra special because I got to reunite with some of my friends from OSL.
In April, I partnered with my local tourist bureau to film a video for National Travel and Tourism Week. It was so awesome to have the support of so many of my friends and co-workers.
Speaking of co-workers, this month I also won a brand award from Homewood Suites. I received the social media award for having the best social media sites in the brand. It was such a great feeling, and my bosses (who were out of state and accepted the award on my behalf) surprised me with a bouquet of flowers the next day.
Being friends with people in the military also means a lot of good-byes. In April, I bye to my friend, Zach, and a few others who got stationed in a new area. We threw a huge Hawaiian-themed party with a bouncy water slide, of course.
May was one of my favorite months this year because I saw so much live music. I got to see Luke Bryan in concert with my friend, Naomi, and of course, he was amazing. The next day, I left for Gulf Shores, Alabama to go to Hangout Music Festival. I saw so many of my favorite artists and fell in love with some new favorites.
This month, a few friends and I planned a speed dating event, and it was such a fun event! We had several people show up, and I met some awesome people that I still talk to today.
I also moved in with two friends, Alyssa and Jessica. I was so grateful to have so many people help me with the move. I had no idea how much stuff I had!
This was one of the hardest months for me because I lost my beloved Molly. Since she passed, I’ve found myself crying a bit every once in awhile when I think about her. It was such a hard loss, but I know that if she was still here, I wouldn’t have embraced the opportunity I have with Carnival. In a way, I know she gave this gift to me. I’m also thankful for my friends who got me condolence cards the next day. Seriously, they’re amazing.
Many days in July are special to me because a lot of it was spent in the water. I had many boat days on my friend, Andy’s, boat. I spent a lot of time in the pool, my favorite day being when I celebrated my friends, Rachael’s and Shirley’s, birthdays. That night ended with a hot air balloon festival and a country concert.
July is also the month I went on my first date with Joe. I tried to tell him that we would be spending six months apart, but he was stubborn and persistent, and I’m grateful because we’re still happy, albeit several thousand miles apart.
Later in the month, a few girlfriends and I took a road trip to Hot Springs in Arkansas. We got “healed” in the hot springs pools and ate some delicious food.
I also helped throw a surprise bridal shower for my roommate, Jessica, one of the most beautiful and kind humans I know. It was an extra incredible day because the new Harry Potter book came out, and after the shower, a few of us went to the lake.
August was full of good news and spontaneity! On a whim, I decided to apply for a job with Carnival Cruise Lines, and with two quick interviews and a mini panic session before receiving an email, I found out I got the job! I flipped out and tears may or may not have been shed.
I also a took a couple road trips this month. I started August in Fort Walton Beach with my family where I got to meet a few people from my mom’s side of the family. While I was away, my friend, Naomi, left on her next adventure to Guam. Missing that girl everyday.
I also took a road trip to Dallas for my friend, Sarah’s, bachelorette party weekend, and I saw a free Maddie & Tae and Joe Nichols concert with my friend, Rachael.
This was a bittersweet month for me because even though I had a lot of fun with some of my favorite people, I had to temporarily say good-bye to them as well. Many of my friends were deployed, and I said bye in the best way I knew how – by throwing a party to celebrate all of the holidays they wouldn’t be spending at home.
I also stood by one of my oldest friends as she married the man of her dreams. Between the bridal shower, bachelorette weekend, rehearsal and the actual ceremony, it was amazing to be able to be a part of this occasion with her.
I played tourist at home in September. I went to a place in Shreveport called Chimp Haven because I won a contest on Twitter and received free tickets. At Chimp Haven, they take care of rescued chimps. I also went to the Highland Jazz and Blues Festival for the first time since I’ve been living there.
Writing this post has made me realize how much live music I got to see this year. In October, my friend, Rachael, got us free tickets to see the I Love the 90’s concert. We got to see artists like All-4-One, Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice and more! It was an absolute blast!
I also visited my alma mater for the first time in too long and went tailgating for the Red Out game at Louisiana Tech!
October was the month that my adventure with Carnival began! I made some amazing friends that have become like family. I checked off another country on my travel list – the Bahamas! I celebrated Halloween with two different costumes, too much candy and even more wine. This month was full of bittersweet good-byes, and I’m already missing so many people from back home. Being away has definitely made me grateful for snail mail and social media.
November was when I started finally getting in the swing of things with my job with Carnival. I started feeling much more comfortable with everything, including making my way around our ports of call. I went to the beach A LOT. I laughed a lot, cried a little and started counting my many blessings. I got to eat Thanksgiving dinner with my Carnival family, wine included. I also had a lovely Thanksgiving lunch in Jacksonville with a few of them as well.
December on the ship was so awesome because there were so many things to celebrate, including my birthday! I turned 27, and my friends onboard didn’t hesitate to make sure I felt special.
Christmas onboard was also really great. We exchanged Secret Santa gifts, did a white elephant gift exchange and also played a Christmas-themed game of Family Feud. In the mess, they prepared a special Christmas dinner for us, again wine included.
2016 was so amazing, but in my heart I know that 2017 will be an even better year. We’re just a few days in, and I’m already loving it. I hope when y’all look back on your year, you smile and remember some of the great moments you had.