22793928609_50a33fcab9_o 2015 has been the most life-changing year for me so far, and what a roller-coaster it was. I learnt a lot about myself - weaknesses and strengths, family, friends, love, compassion and forgiveness. Most importantly, I found Christ this year, and everyday I am overwhelmed by His love for us and the strength I find in His grace. I still have endless questions about religion, faith, how the two are compatible with science and so forth, but my relationship with Him took a significant turn. I focused more on the feeling and less on logic (which is part of the premise of faith), and on this journey I have found more joy and peace. :)

Following through with one of my resolutions for 2016, I decided to reflect on 2015 by answering a few questions that encapsulate some highlights of my year.

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~ Biggest Accomplishment of 2015

At the start of 2015, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety. I was terrified about moving to Seattle, letting go of the norm and starting a new life there. I had a few personal reasons for feeling this way, but fortunately they didn't completely replace the underline excitement I also felt about working, meeting new people and adjusting to a new lifestyle. When I look back on how nervous I was a year ago in comparison to where I am now, it feels like a miracle. I met the most amazing people, got to work with brilliant minds and tried out new experiences. I'm quite proud of myself for being able to get through the hard times, and I'm glad Seattle's starting to feel like home.

~ Best Memory of 2015

This is a hard one! There were a couple of them that I have to list since I can't pick just one:  "Spring break" in March with my sisters and best friend, a weekend getaway to Walla Walla and Leavenworth, my younger sister graduating in June, being beach bums with family in Chicago (August), a reunion with some of my best friends from college in Miami (September), attending Grace Hopper was very inspiring (October), exploring Orcas Island with some loved ones (November) and Christmas with family in December! I'm sure I'm forgetting a few, but those staple events come to mind. 

 

~ Biggest Obstacle of 2015

Dealing with self doubt and not having enough confidence in myself. I became acquainted with the concept of the Impostor Syndrome, and knowing what the problem was made it easier to maneuver finding solutions and prevent getting overwhelmed by these feelings.

 

~ Regrets of 2015

No regrets. I'm a big believer in everything happening for a reason. We live and learn. :)

 

~ Most Memorable Phrase of 2015

"I know when that hotline blings, that could only mean one thing." Kidding!

This is another hard one as I did a lot more reading this year and came across a good number of memorable phrases/quotes. One I'd say that I sort of always went back to is - "Being true to yourself is one of the best forms of self-care you can display. Being authentic means respecting yourself. The more you respect yourself, the more you demand that respect from others." Learning to respect myself by giving myself more love and care was a big theme for me this year for so many reasons, and a bigger idea than I originally thought. It wasn't until I took a deeper dive into self awareness and discovery that I realized that I was at the time incapable of saying "No" and I cared more about how everyone else was feeling and not enough about by well being.   ~ Lessons learned from 2015

I learnt that there is a lot within me than I can ever begin to imagine, especially when I put my mind to achieving a task and this makes me excited about what the future holds.

I learnt about being present, letting go of the past and not being too anxious about the future. I'm still working on this part, but I did make progress.

I learnt that it is easier to love than to hate.

It's better to accept things that you cannot change.

I learnt that I have an immense love for creativity and I'm grateful for the opportunities I have to do be able to let out that part of me.

I learnt I'm not perfect, and I can't expect perfection from anyone. It's okay to have flaws, it's what makes us human.

I learnt to treasure people and experiences that leave me full.

Without too much waffle, lastly I learnt that the community you surround yourself with could either build you or break you. I was blessed with the most outstanding support system this year, from family, to friends that turned into family, and without them I wouldn't be where I am today.

 

~ Favorite Mainstream/Non Mainstream Bloggers in 2015

I fell in love with so many blogs this year, where do I start! I'd have to say my favorite mainstream blogger this year was the lovely Samantha Maria. I love LOVE her style, her attention to detail and I've been following her for years now!  

For non-mainstream bloggers, Dara from Love, Darbie was such an inspiration for me this year, especially after getting to reconnect her in person. She's so down-to-earth, creative, thoughtful and just a lovely person in general. Plus, her content is very refreshing and honest. If you don't already follow her, I suggest you do! 

 

~ Top Beauty Products of 2015

Olivine's Amongst the Wave Eau de Parfum, which I'm currently giving away, check out post here!

Origin's Smoothing Ginger Body Scrub 

Taupe Lipstick by MAC

Johnson's Baby Powder (The Truth!)

Almost all Voluspa candles.

 

~ Goals for 2016

My main goal next year is to be the best version of myself in relation to my health, finances, career and blog. To give my 100% in this regard, without the pressure of comparison to any other. I know this is a little widespread but it's really what the detailed goals I've set sum up to - creating a better version of myself and leveraging my talents more.

I also plan on making more memories with loved ones and capturing them as I do so. I've come to learn that life is extremely short, and time extremely fast. I can't afford to let these moments pass me by. 

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23135798046_d4c45d136f_o                          Coat - H & M | Skirt - Asos | Top - Forever 21 | Tights - Express | Shoes - Payless

This morning, I came across this post my brother shared on Facebook written by Paulo Coehlo, author of The Alchemist, and it really resonated with me. I hope you find it as helpful (it's a little long so bear with me).

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On closing 2015

"One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened.

You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister. Everyone is finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at standstill.

Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home.

Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them.

Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood.

Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous that not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment".

Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because it no longer fits your life.

Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust.

Stop being who you were, and change into who you are."

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So here's to more learning, discovery, hard work, travel, play, inspiration, prayer, dance, and good vibes in 2016!!! Thank you so much for all your support this year, I really am grateful. Xx

Happy New Year! 

-Onivie