Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: B E G I N N I N G S

Each year I try to find a word that is reflective of what I've done, what I've learnt and how the past twelve months has made me feel. Last year my word was "Experience". I had moved down to Melbourne unaccompanied, met an amazing guy, got engaged, spent Christmas in Germany, jumped out of a plane and skipped around Australia on my Wanderyear plan. Now this year, still one with so many amazing experiences, took a different shape, and whilst I have so many feelings in my head, they all seem to draw on new "Beginnings".

The year started off with me in Rome, at an adorable little apartment in Via Veneto, a stones throw from the Colosseum and parklands. I was on the other side of the world from my fiancé and was in bed by 1am, after having watched my neighbours set off celebratory fireworks just outside my window. I may have been a little home sick that night but Rome soon reminded me of why I love the city so much. Cute waiters, ancient ruins, beautiful art galleries, remarkable fountains, bustling market places and vespas on every side street. It was the perfect place to kick start the new year. I'm already setting my sights on when I'll be back.

In March I married the love of my life in an intimate morning ceremony at the Cascade Brewery in Hobart. When I say intimate, it truly was, we literally only had seven guests! Whilst we may have toyed around with the idea of eloping, it just wouldn't have been the same without my beautiful family there. The day was perfect in so many ways from the love and joy that was felt from all who joined us for our very special day, to the brunch reception and bar musicians that played us love songs so we could dance well into the afternoon. This was the beginning of something truly special. The beginning of my new family, and the beginning of the rest of my life as a wife. We spent the following week honeymooning in Tasmania and just getting lost in each other's eyes over and over again.

In April I hosted my first Easter Sunday brunch at home. Before this year I had spent every easter, without fail, with my parents. It was sort of weird not to have a big family lunch, but it was also nice to do something new and fresh. One of my dear friends was visiting for the long weekend so I put together a little feast in our sunroom, complete with homemade Paleo chocolates and waffles. In fact, April was the month that This Guy and I attempted the Paleo diet, and quickly decided whilst it may work for some, it doesn't work for us.

The year brought with it multiple visits from family and friends, which I welcomed with open arms. This Guy and I also made our way around the country with my family for some events like my Nanna's 70th birthday in Adelaide, the 100th Anzac Day Dawn Service in Canberra and a Winter's Eve celebration in Brisbane. We didn't stop there though, as newly weds we relished in getting away from daily distractions and exploring new places. This year I explored each state and territory of Australia at least once, most of which I was glad to have This Guy by my side. One of my favourite trips was the Grampians in July, where we stayed in a beautiful little shack surrounded by trees, birds and cattle. It was so secluded, so private, so romantic. I also thoroughly enjoyed Byron Bay in September with my friend Zachary, where we brunched, strolled and soaked in the relaxing atmosphere.

August was probably the most travel filled month of the year. This Guy turned the big 30 in August so for his birthday we jet setted off to the Northern Territory, a place neither of us had been to before. On his birthday we rode quad bikes on one of the oldest cattle stations in Australia. We spent two weeks exploring the territories charms, from Uluru to Marlu Marlu and Kings Canyon. Kings Canyon was absolutely beautiful. I left part of my soul in the desert, and I'll be back for it again. Only a couple of days after returning from the desert we were off to the woods, for an awesome glamping experience at Woodend. We spent the weekend chasing waterfalls and making friends with lovely townsfolk.

As you have probably noticed I have really gotten into hiking this year. Mountains and Canyons the nation over are making my list as I strive for the best vantage point for breathtaking national park views, and to catch my breath. My mum bought me a pair of trusty hiking boots for my birthday in August and they have been a must pack item for our adventures both in Victoria and afar. I'm wearing them in these gorgeous photos by Katrina Lee Boultwood, an amazing photographer I was introduced to at the start of the year and have had the privilege to work with on multiple projects throughout the year.

When I wasn't travelling, working or shooting some of the most incredible projects to take on the Fashion's Sweethart name, I was studying. This year, I returned to the books to study a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with Griffith University, and with four units knocked over already I'm definitely taking it in my stride. I surprised myself with a couple of distinctions and a high distinction as well.

At work, I was promoted in June to take on a role with more focus on employee engagement and industrial relations. I'm enjoying being able to learn at work, as I feel that we should never stop learning. No one knows everything after all. Over the next year my focus at work is going to be on progressing to the next level, and kicking more goals with the people management space. My general attitude toward management is a positive one, and I love working with people to solve problems and seek out new opportunities for wins.

In the blogosphere, things were pretty translucent. I shared more about my personal beliefs and desires. I share my home with you all, and I shared my thoughts on wedding planning too. No surprises here, our wedding was the most viewed blog posting all year. It was also the most magical day of my life, and every day as a wife has been more cherished than the last. Being married is amazing! Especially when it is to the most gentle, sincere, honest, imperfectly beautiful man I've ever met.

As for tackling my New Year's resolution, I did pretty well as only buying from Australian businesses. I definitely cemented my loyalty to some of my favourite Australian brands. Next year I don't have just one resolution, I have plenty. I am going to set my sights on ticking off more things on my Bucketlist. I'm sure in the coming months more and more will be added to this never ending list, but there will be many crossed off too as I embrace new adventures, challenges and places.

I'm looking forward to attending the weddings of some of my beautiful friends, going on more adventures with This Guy and kicking more goals with study and my career. Come Twenty Sixteen! I'm ready for you.

Photography - Katrina Lee Boultwood
Makeup - Kristy Wild
Dress - Spell Designs
Boots - RMK