I was hesitant to write this post because in my head 2016 was kind of a tough year. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a try and look back at moments month by month. I discovered that 2016 was actually full of great things! It once again proves that your experience depends on your attitude, and while I did have some really emotionally difficult times this past year, I can honestly say that I made them seem worse than they should have been. Too much anxiety, too much self-doubt and negativity. It is painful to admit and it’s not all black and white but it is up to us how to live our lives and what to choose to focus on. For this post I chose to review the best memories and meaningful moments from 2016. It’s going to be a very long post.
Me, my husband and our son went to visit my family in Russia for the holidays and it was such a great trip. This was the first time everyone (except my mom) met my son and it was so special! Also, snowy winter is strangely probably my favorite time to visit Russia so I was really happy to be there. I got to see most of my friends as well, and one of the best parts of it all now that we vlogged throughout our whole trip and I have all these wonderful memories on video that I can re-watch many times (which I already have done throughout the year:) Here is one my favorite Vlogs from the trip, you can check them all on my channel YouTube.
The flight back to the US was one of the scariest of my life, I don’t know if there was actually something wrong with the plane or not, but it seemed that all electricity and computers shut down for good 10 minutes and I really thought we might die because the plane got lost somewhere over the North Pole. I am so so happy and incredibly grateful that we got home safely!
I remember February being pretty overwhelming. As a true “Yes Woman” aggravated by the New Years resolutions I took on too much stuff: took the advanced blogging class, worked on editing vlogs from our trip to Russia, had to gather the docs for my permanent residence renewal, interviewed for a friend’s blog on International Marriage, signed up for the art exhibition project as an artist, worked on planning Alaric’s first birthday party… All of that plus a full time job. Needless to say, by the middle of March when all of this was over I was totally burnt out.
This was probably one of the important lessons of the year: it’s okay to say no to things sometimes. On the other hand though, all of these things that I’ve done in February have actually come to a successful fruition and made some of the best moments of the year, so go figure how to balance.
March was awesome! We celebrated Alaric’s first birthday! It’s amazing how fast time flies. The art exhibition project I mentioned above (Viva La Muxer) went great, I had such a wonderful experience putting my work out there and even gave a TV interview which was the opposite of what I said on the way there. Literally I was like I hope I don’t have to say anything and then when I was asked to give an interview, I was like: “Sure!”. I went to the Natural Products Expo West show again, my favorite trade show of the year. I attempted running for 1 mile every day, which was fun for like 5 days. I love everything about running except running itself, haha, but maybe I’ll try again this year. March was a pretty active month in terms of blogging too, lots of good times and pictures.
Thank goodness for photos, journals and Instagram for keeping my memories, I don’t think I would have remembered it all without help. In the beginning of April I went to Ellie Goulding’s concert which was super cool! It was my first time in Staples center and it’s so huuuuge! It must be surreal to be that person on the stage and it made me think how crazy that she is just a human, she does all the regular things all of us do and there she is on the stage in front of thousands of people and it’s just her life.
One of the biggest highlights of April and the year in general is that I finally started working out consistently! That never happened before but I got really into it thanks to the Bikini Body Guide program on Sweat with Kayla app. Photos say we spent a lot of time hitting nearby parks and the beach with Alaric, which is always fun. I really love Spring in LA.
May was pretty eventful. We squeezed two little trips into it: Minneapolis and Palm Springs. I love changing the scenery even for just a few days, it’s so mind-blowing how different you can spend the time. Three days of couch, laundry and errands or 3 days exploring a new place. Love traveling! We also did some local exploring and went to the Getty Center which was really fun.
This year’s Mother’s Day was really sweet too. I felt so happy to dress up and take some photos under a blooming Jacaranda tree nearby our home. I remember my first Mother’s Day last year was really different. I was at home bawling because Alaric was a newborn crying from tummy pain and I was home alone feeling so sorry for myself still high on hormones. Glad it was different this year.
June was kind of hard for me. There were many rhetorical questions about life, place to live, work place, etc. that had me kind of uneasy for a while. One the bright side, I finally announced to my Facebook friends that I want to do more photography and look for the “guinea pigs” aka models for my portfolio. I got pretty good turnout and had 6 portrait shoots thanks to that which was pretty cool! Also, couple of baby highlights were that Alaric started walking and we finally started sleeping through the night!
In July I had a chance to have some me time as my boys took the trip to visit family in North Dakota for a week. It was nice! I did all the things I don’t normally have time to do anymore. I took yoga classes at my favorite studio, slept in on the weekend, met up with co-workers for after work sunset hike and happy hour, did another photoshoot and got to interview a Michelin Star chef!
Following the anxiety I developed in June, in August I had a mini breakdown and decided that I have to do something about it. I started including some mindful practices into my life such as meditation, journaling, more reading and it really did help me feel better.
Early in the month I had my birthday and as a gift from my husband got the tickets to go to San Francisco for the weekend by myself. I met a girl in my blogging class earlier in the year who invited me to visit and I thought this would be perfect timing. This trip was so much fun! I cannot even tell you enough. I didn’t get to make the post about it yet but I got so many photos, it’s definitely coming soon!
September was hot as always. On the weekends we spent a lot of time at the parks and at the beach. Ever since the LA Metro Line was extended to Santa Monica, going to be beach became so much easier! No traffic or parking trouble, can easily have a drink by the beach, it was so fun! We also went to LACMA and it was a really fun day. The highlight of the month was mine and Alaric’s trip to Russia! It was my mom’s big birthday and I decided to give her a surprise and just show up at home on her birthday. Her reaction was priceless! It was a really nice week at home with the family. Traveling alone with a toddler was totally doable, here I shared some tips on how to prepare for the trip.
In October we did two of my favorite things of the season – Pumpkin Patch and a trip to Big Bear. I love Fall season so much now! I finally went back to reading by listening to the Audiobooks because it just works for me so much better these days. If it’s wasn’t for the Audiobooks, I would have only read one book this year. Instead I read 5 in the last 4 months of 2016. Favorite book of the year is Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.
This is one of my favorite months in general because that’s when the holidays season starts. In November we still went to the ocean, it was sunny and warm.
One of the highlights was AirBnb Open, we got free tickets from my friend who was visiting. We took the train to DTLA and had a really fun evening out. The event was family friendly which was awesome! We walked around the venue, there were some really cool installations, we watched Maroon 5 perform and while in downtown had an early Thanksgiving dinner at Clifton’s Cafeteria, one of the oldest restaurants in LA. Alaric loved exploring it, inside it is styled as a giant forest.
We celebrated Thanksgiving from the 3rd try, on the day itself I was lazy and didn’t cook traditional Thanksgiving dinner but on the weekend we made a feast. So thankful for my family and friends!
December went by super fast and I was in the holiday mood for the most of it. This year we didn’t get a real Christmas tree like we usually do because we got a free fake one and it seemed excessive to spend money on a real one. It was little and cute, perfect size for Alaric:)
In December we had an ugly Christmas sweater party at work which was fun, I hosted Friendsmas at my place and it was also very lovely. Knowing that the holidays is the most difficult time for healthy eating, starting December 1 I decided to do no sugar-no alcohol challenge, I consciously decided not to eliminate it 100% because I don’t think it would be sustainable but I decreased my consumption of both by 90% and it felt good and effective. I am continuing with this arrangement into 2017. I went a really nice hike with work Fit Club and we also had a fun Murder Mystery dinner.
Last two weeks of December are a blur because I got sick. It was the worst cold since I was a kid that eventually turned into sinus infection. I was pretty much home in bed the whole time all through Christmas and New Year’s weekend. Despite that we still had a really nice cozy holidays staying home in LA, watched Home Alone on projector, made some mulled wine, read some Harry Potter, in some way that time was actually pretty relaxing.
I have finally recovered from my cold and I feel so incredibly grateful for that! This was the first New Year’s Eve when I decided to go to be before midnight because that was the right thing to do for my body. I woke up at 11:58 to make a wish and went back to sleep and I am really happy about my decision.
Now that 2016 is over, I can say that I am grateful for all the amazing experiences and memorable moments I had last year. Maybe it wasn’t as eventful as some of my previous years, there were still many moments where I felt really happy. There were also some really tough moments but looking back I still feel grateful for them too. They gave me perspective and motivation to change things for the better! I didn’t have any breakthroughs, however slowly but steadily I learn what makes me happy, what doesn’t, what I am good at and what not so much and it’s quite an accomplishment on its own. I am excited to continue exploring myself and this wonderful life.
Happy 2017 and I am excited to take on my resolutions, goals and wishes!
Other posts from 2016:
*Instagram Collages are made with Monthly Collage.