Looking Back

rachelandjames 0521What a year it’s been! Without a doubt, 2014 has been my favorite year yet, thanks, of course, to the fact that I got to marry my handsome husband in April. The time that we got to spend celebrating with family and friends throughout our engagement season and during the wedding itself was completely irreplaceable. We’ve gotten to settle into our life together, explore new places, host friends at our home for loads of dinners, barbecues, and parties, snuggle with our fur baby, and plan exciting things for the future.

Looking back on 2014 has been a wonderfully reflective practice for me because we were blessed with so many adventures and amazing time with family and friends. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Starting a monthly Girls Night In tradition, thanks to Korena’s ingenuity and incredible hostessing abilities.
  2. Spending a weekend in Atlanta with our sister- and brother-in-law, enjoying time together and planning our wedding ceremony, which Brian did a brilliant job of officiating.
  3. Buying a juicer – a silly little thing that has truly changed my lifestyle as well as James’s – and whipping up tons of delicious creations, especially this spicy green variety.
  4. Slowly but surely adding special decorative (and functional) pieces to our home. My favorites: our bar cart & Yes affirmation banner, our bedside sconces, our dining table, our bookshelf-turned-china cabinet (inspiration found here), these quirky planters, our guest bedding, and my office lamp.
  5. Picking out our wedding bands with our jeweler in Arkansas. This was a moment in the wedding planning process that made our impending nuptials feel so very real.
  6. Traveling to Wheaton more than a few times for wedding dress fittings, family dance parties, and even a little rest and relaxation. One of the best things about the wedding planning season was getting to spend so much time with Mom, Dad, and Andrew.
  7. Celebrating my bachelorette weekend with my bridesmaids and best gals, many of whom traveled from all over the country to spend time with me. Pampering ourselves at the ESPA at the Joule Hotel was an absolute treat, and the dance party that followed at my house later that evening was one for the books.
  8. Our wedding weekend festivities. Having all of our loved ones and best friends in one place (at my favorite hotel, to be specific) at one time was totally surreal and beautiful, and it was truly a time that I’ll never forget. (I remember feeling particularly emotional when this photo was taken.)
  9. April 13th, 2014 – our wedding day! I still remember every little detail from our special day, and I could go on and on about all of my favorite parts and details…maybe I will on our one year anniversary. Spending our wedding night at the Hotel Saint Cecilia was so, so special, too.
  10. Honeymooning in Belize – what a gorgeous country. I can’t wait to go back someday!
  11. Starting this blog – three cheers to Coffee & Tacos!
  12. Settling into our life as roommates, one of my favorite parts about being married to James. I love living with him – and with Callie, of course! I feel so blessed by our sweet little family of three.
  13. Taking a calligraphy class. I love learning new things (especially if chicken & waffles are involved).
  14. Reveling in our wedding photos as well as our wedding video. We are blessed by incredibly talented friends who captured our special day so perfectly.
  15. Visiting Erin in Boulder with Karli and Becca. It was so fun to see our friend thriving in her new city, and there are few things better than Colorado in the summertime.
  16. Having Mom & Dad visit us in Dallas for a weekend. I loved having them stay at our home, explore our new neighborhood, and try out some of our favorite new haunts.
  17. Seeing Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers and Katy Perry in concert. (Puh-lease click on that link for the Katy Perry concert – our seats were so incredible that you have to see the view for yourself!) Though both artists are completely different from one another, each of the shows were equally mind-blowing.
  18. Hosting a garage sale and raising $5,300 to benefit Touch A Life! (Though I learned I am extremely terrible at hosting garage sales – five minutes in and I’m mixing margaritas and organizing fashion shows, yikes.)
  19. Celebrating five whole years of living in Dallas. My, how time has flown and how things have changed!
  20. Spending so many lovely weekends at the ranch, including last week for the Brown family Christmas festivities.
  21. Cooking (and categorizing + filing!) so many delicious recipes (some better than others, of course). If I had to choose a few favorites, they would be this pie, these enchiladas, this soup, and this salad.
  22. Visiting Andrew in Los Angeles with Mom, Dad, and James. There is nothing better than spending a weekend on the Best Coast with my family (dining in a greenhouse is a close second).
  23. Spending five days in Nashville for work and play, and eating at one of my new favorite restaurants in the country. Becca was the very best tour guide!
  24. Having our wedding featured on Style Me Pretty and being selected as a featured couple for Southern Newlywed’s blog! Our tacos-themed photo shoot was one of my most favorite memories from the year – what could be better than spending an evening noshing on tacos, drinking margaritas, laughing with my husband, and having it all documented by our extremely talented friend? Nothing.
  25. Traveling to San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, and Big Sur with Mom and Andrew. A full recap is yet to come but I can say that, without a doubt, after our honeymoon, this was absolutely my favorite travel adventure of the year. (Check out three of my favorite photos from the trip here, here, and here.)
  26. Reveling in the Thanksgiving holiday at home in Wheaton, making sure to squeeze in plenty of playtime with Andrew and Erin.
  27. Celebrating my 29th birthday with margaritas, puppy snuggles, and a delicious steak dinner with James.
  28. Speaking of James, throwing him a surprise 30th birthday party that will go down in history as one of the best parties ever!
  29. Taking a wonderfully restorative trip to Austin with James and Callie to celebrate Christmas, our birthdays, and life in general. It was so nostalgic being back in Austin – the last time we had been there was for our wedding! But we created so many wonderful new traditions and made so many new memories, so I can’t wait to go back. It was perfect (just like this picture – #icant).

This year was such an amazing one, and I feel so blessed by all that we’ve been given. Aside from broken bones and cancelled Ghana trips, there are few things that I want to leave behind in 2014 – there are so many memories that I’d like to relive over and over again! That being said, I love the fresh start associated with a new year, and I know that so much goodness is in store in 2015. Thanks for following along as I document it all here on the blog. Happy New Year!

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