Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 - Wow, What a Year

First off - holy cow have the last four months flown by. But here I am, and here's what I have to say! 2016, WOW, what a year you were. I've been incredibly busy - I think the proof is in the fact that my last (published) post was in August. Eek! So, because of that, this post is going to serve as a brief catch-up and a reflection on the year! Let's take a quick look back at the first part of the year, and then play a bit of catch up.

January
I really don't have too much to say about the month of January. I had doubled up my course load, in addition to working full-time and blogging consistently, so every moment of my time was occupied. Because of all this, our travels were quite limited - as in, there were none. Additionally, my free time was pretty restricted, so January was not too exciting of a month at all.

one of the beautiful sunrises captured while in Mexico!
February
The new year definitely started off with a bang! In February, Nick and I spent a week in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, doing so many fabulous activities. Nick's favorite by far was spearfishing with Spearfishing Today - he loved it enough that we are going back to Mexico this coming February, and he will be going out again! In addition to spending terrific time in Mexico, at the end of the month I moved from Des Moines back to Minneapolis. I only had one semester left in my MBA (as long as I took a triple course load!) and wanted to wrap up my MBA and focus on beginning my career at home. The decision to move back home couldn't have come at a better time, either!

rooftop bar in Bangkok!
March
What a month March was. It started with the transition of moving to Minneapolis. On top of this, I was extremely sick - think several trips to the emergency room - which was totally not pleasant. A week after moving back up, Nick accepted a new job (pretty much his dream job!), and put in his notice with his old job. Because he wasn't required to work out his two weeks notice, we booked a two-week trip to Thailand! After our honeymoon in Thailand, when we realized it was our favorite country in the world, we knew we would be back every chance we got. This was a golden opportunity, at an almost ideal time (tripling my course load for my MBA and being on vacation was a bit of a challenge to manage!), and gave Nick the opportunity to get some pretty amazing custom suits made.

April
April was pretty much spent playing catch-up. Nick was in NYC for the first two weeks training for his new job, so I was home solo. It was truly great, because it allowed me to finally catch up on schoolwork. With a triple course load, and wanting to maintain my 4.0 GPA, I was swamped! The highlight of April for me was playing in - and winning - my hockey team's end of year tournament. Pretty big deal around here now!

May
I completed all of my coursework in May, and found out that I had maintained my perfect GPA and would be graduating Summa Cum Laude! That was a very exciting day, and celebrations were definitely had. At the end of May, we swung out to Las Vegas to celebrate a good friend's engagement!

at Jay Cooke State Park in Minnesota

June
The month of June started out fabulously with a trip to Miami. Now, I always love warm weather, so that was truly the highlight of the trip to Miami. Beyond that, I was not sold - I know some people love Miami, but for me the city just doesn't quite cut it. The week after returning from Miami, I went to Northern Minnesota for a much-needed girls trip with my mom, two aunts, and cousin. It was truly terrific! Unfortunately, June ended out on quite a sour note personally - but let's not dwell on that! The final great thing that happened in June was having our offer accepted on our beautiful home!

enjoying our Staycation at the Sheraton Bloomington
July
Most of my free time in July was spent packing, cleaning, and organizing for our impending move. The highlight of the month was most certainly our staycation in Minneapolis. It was just what we needed! Additionally, I accepted a job offer in July and would be starting in the middle of August. Because of that, I really used my time in July to soak up every moment of summer and free time that I could.

our beautiful new home!!
August
August was by far our busiest month of the year. The highlight?! Nick and I closed on our brand new house! We had been house hunting for awhile, and towards the end of June found this beautiful new construction home and fell in love. After putting in our offer, it was accepted and we closed in the middle of August. Thus, August was quite busy with packing, moving, unpacking, and even hosting our housewarming party. Oh, and I also need to mention - Nick and I were also a part of DIY Network's "Buy it Right" - check us out on TV! On top of all that, I started my new job right in the middle of the month, and have since then been a full-time worker bee with that 8-5 life!

September
September started off with Labor Day weekend, which happened at the perfect time for me. A long weekend away from work was just what I needed to catch up - and even get ahead. The rest of September was spent attending Vikings games, going to my friend's bachelorette party in Wisconsin, and being in another friend's wedding. I am definitely at the stage of life where many of my friends are starting to get married - so exciting! 

October 
The month of October absolutely flew by. We celebrated Oktoberfest and attended a couple of housewarming parties, and then at the end of the month I was the matron of honor in my friend's wedding. Her wedding was at an absolutely stunning vineyard in southeastern Minnesota - definitely not what I would have expected! After her wedding, I made the trek to Duluth to participate in another hockey tournament. Like our spring tournament, we won and were champions yet again!  

the Christmas markets in Frankfurt
November
The highlight of November was definitely the end of the month, when Nick and I popped overseas to Frankfurt for a few days. Nick played for Frankfurt in 2009-2010, and we were invited back for their 25th year anniversary celebration. It worked perfectly for us to attend over Thanksgiving weekend, so we made great use of the long weekend! One of the highlights was most certainly drinking gl├╝hwein (see my recipe here!) and attending the German Christmas markets. In addition, we rented a car for the day and drove to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, as well as to Bastogne, Belgium. In Luxembourg we just strolled around the city and checked out the Christmas markets, and in Bastogne we visited the Battle of the Bulge (WWII) museum and learned a bit more about the history of the area. Overall, it was a fantastic trip!

We hosted both a Christmas party and Christmas in our new home!

December
December was a bit of a laid-back month, which was much appreciated! The month started off strong with Nick and I hosting our first-annual Christmas party, followed by a quick weekend jaunt to Denver, Colorado. I'll be honest - Denver was a little bit underwhelming to us, and reminded me a ton of Minneapolis. While the city was certainly nice, I'm not sure if I will ever feel the need to go back to Denver - especially considering how similar it felt to being right at home in Minneapolis! Christmas came and went, with Nick and I celebrating at home with his parents. It was so nice to have a few extra days off work and relax at home. Not only was it relaxing, but I also had time to type out this post - and all before ringing in the New Year in just a few days!

Wow, what a year it has been! Just one year ago, I was living in Iowa, working full time, and taking classes. Now, I'm an MBA graduate, working full time, and living in my dream home! This past year I was able to travel to so many different (and unexpected!) places - Mexico, Thailand, Germany, Miami, Denver, Las Vegas, and all throughout the Midwest. I can't lie - this year has been both the best, and the worst, year of my life. I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store!!

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