2011: A Year in Review

For those who know me, 2011 was a bit of a rough year. It was marked by the loss of my great uncle, grandfather and grandmother. While I definitely miss them, there were plenty of happy moments last year as well. Below is a list of some of my favorite memories in no particular order.

1. Falling in love. In May 2011, I went on my first date with my boyfriend to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. No, neither of us lives in Steelers Country (yuck!), but it was a mutually convenient meeting place at the time. In a word, it was perfect!

2. Family vacation in Jamaica. Okay, so technically we were there for my cousin’s wedding. But we were able to enjoy a tropical vacation together as well. We danced the night away, went zip-lining and had tons of fun. Yea, mon!

3. Snorkeling with sea turtles in St. Thomas with my mom. I’ve had the privilege of snorkeling in some amazing places (Hawaii, Cozumel, Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, just to name a few), but none compare to the awesomeness I experienced in St. Thomas. It was hard not to gasp underwater at the sight of sea turtles swimming along their merry way. There’s just something about sea turtles that is both captivating and majestic.

4. U2 concert with my sister. As a self-proclaimed concert junkie, I’ve attended my fair share of concerts (six in 2011), but perhaps the most fun I had last year was singing “Beautiful Day” at the top of my lungs with Bono and crew inside a sold-out show at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Simply amazing.

5. My 24th birthday. My birthday had the potential to be pretty somber this year because my grandmother passed away the week before. But thanks to some very special family members, friends, coworkers and a wonderful boyfriend, it was the best birthday ever! Even better? There was a plethora of cupcakes. So yummy!

6. Sangria with my girls. It’s very rare that all six of my college roommates are able to get together. So, four out of six ain’t bad. We talked and laughed for hours over a delicious array of tapas and the best sangria this side of the Atlantic.

7. Freelance writing. Last year, I took my first jab at freelance writing, thanks to a colleague, who encouraged me to write for HeartandSoul.com, a health and lifestyle magazine for Black women. After that, I shared my 20-Something Story with Life2PointOh.com, a website for 20-something women conquering the quarter-life crisis. It felt so great to write about topics that are interesting to me and could possibly help others.

8. My first hot air balloon ride. Need I say more? Thanks to an assignment for Harford magazine, I was able to cross this once-in-a-lifetime experience off of my bucket list. Even if you’re afraid of heights, I encourage you to try this for yourself. The views are incomparable. I wrote the story, but words really can’t do it justice.

9. Labor Day Slumber Party. It doesn’t take much to make me and my friends happy. So when our friend came to visit from Chicago, we had a multi-day slumber party complete with dancing, board games, coloring books, movies and…headband making.

10. Getting in the groove. One of my new year’s resolutions/goals for 2011 was to dance more often. As a cheerleader and hi-hop dance instructor in college, I hadn’t danced much since graduating. But I quickly changed that with a variety of classes ranging from pole dancing to belly dancing and just about everything in between…and it felt great!

So, here’s to you, 2012. Show me what you’ve got. To paraphrase the Black Eyed Peas, I’ve got a feeling (woohoo!) that this year’s gonna be a good year. That this year’s gonna be a good, good year.

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