One of the best things about having a blog is the fact that it becomes a visual diary of your life. Regardless if the post is focused on beauty, fashion, travel, etc - I can remember almost every single one and where I was at in my life during that time. This past year marked one of great change - both good and bad. After spending 15 years in NYC, I finally felt it was time to move on and begin a new chapter. Stan and I made the decision to move closer to my parents and ultimately we decided on building a home together with them. We left in early March while I was still recovering from my second spine surgery, and moved in with my parents while we waited for the home to be built. I had been blogging at night and on weekends while working a full-time job the past 4 years, but with my health challenges and the move to a new state, I decided to take the risk and go full-time with my blog. Little did I know how apropos the timing was as I would soon discover a few months later that my father was terminally ill. Before this, Stan and I embarked on one of the most memorable trips of our lives - a month long road trip throughout the southeast portion of the United States. We visited every city that was on our wish list and went with only a slight idea of an agenda in each place. It was exciting waking up every day wandering a new city, and most of the recommendations along the way ended up coming from readers. I would receive emails, comments and snapchats from many of you and it was nice to see each city from a local's perspective. When we arrived back, life threw us a huge curve ball as a month later my father was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It was out of the blue and not expected in the slightest. With only a few months left before we would be moving to a new state and a new home so we could all begin a new life together, we were faced with the reality that my father may not make it that long. I quickly realized how grateful I was to have taken the risk to go full time with my blog because I was able to make my own schedule, thus allowing me not to miss a single moment with my dad. I was there for doctor's appointments, medical procedures and sadly many devastating emergencies that resulted in hospital stays and ER visits. In the 2 short months of his illness, our lives were turned upside down. When my father made the decision to leave the hospital and spend his remaining days at home, I was there for it all. My mother was his sole caretaker, and Stan and I did whatever we could daily to help her and make his final days comfortable. Even when my father took his last breath, I was holding his hand and telling him how much I loved him. Two weeks later, we moved into our newly built home with just the three of us - my mom, Stan and myself (and Elmo).
These past few months have been filled with so many mixed emotions, but I know that life comes with ups and downs. I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions, rather I prefer to make short term and long term goals based on what is going on in my life at the time. And I rarely look to an entire year hoping that it will be "better than the last". Because the truth is - there will be good days and bad days, good months and bad months throughout every year. It brings me comfort to look at time without boundaries and more as a constant. I can always begin again, start over, do better, rethink things regardless if it is January 1st or any random day of the year. I do love making vision boards which is something I plan on doing shortly, but I don't like to tie it to the notion of a "new year". I like to use it as a time to appreciate my growth and achievements, and dream about what new possibilities could come about in the future. That future could be 1 year, 5 years or 10+ years away.
While 2016 will forever be etched in my memory because so many defining moments occurred during those 365 days, I accept that it represents the ebbs and flows of life. I'm grateful every day though for the time I had with my dad, the ability to be there when it counted, my new life now with Stan and my mom, and the ability to do what I love every single day. Having this blog has been one of the most rewarding, therapeutic and joyful things in my life because it allows me to be creative, connect with people and most importantly - the freedom to make decisions based on what I want to do. Thank you for coming back each day and supporting my little space on the internet. It truly means the world to me.
Happy New Year!