Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Favorite 15 in 2015

W O W, I cannot believe that 2015 is really coming to an end. It seems like just yesterday I was drinking champagne and ringing in the new year with two of my closest friends, dreading all of the 2014's I was sure to write on too many papers. And here we are, at the end of yet another year. A GREAT year, if I do say so myself. It started off a little bit rocky - having just gotten out of a long-term relationship, feeling extreme anxiety over returning to work - but I think 2015 ended up being one of my favorite years yet. And one of my favorite things about writing a blog has to be the ability to look back on my posts throughout the year. And looking back on posts from previous years. Does reminiscing on my nearly two-month stay in Barcelona ever really get old?

No, it doesn't. So, I decided to do something a little bit different to wrap up this year, by compiling a list of my 15 favorite posts of 2015. Does that make me a little self-centered? Maybe. But I had a little too much fun reading through my writing, and I know I'll love having all of them in one place.

  • This one touches on the pros and cons of social media, and how social media tends to only tell half the story. This one is a post that I couldn't even proofread for fear I would lose my confidence to hit "publish," but it's one of my favorites to reread today.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
  • It's no secret that I love fitness and healthy eating. But what is a secret is that I occasionally take it too far. While I by no means have an eating disorder, I also have to frequently remind myself that I am so much more than my body and my fitness level.
Being ruled by food is not part of that great story
Why I Run
  • It's also no secret that I love to run, but there are so many benefits to running that go further than just staying in shape.

Six Months, Six Lessons
  • This one was a fun one to write. I wrote this in my sixth month of working (as if I had all of the answers). But it's really cool for me to see where I was when I started - independent to a fault, afraid of failing, and a million other things - and to see how far I've come. And how far I still have to go.

Conquering Fears
  • I love this post. Because never did I ever think I would spend an hour under water. The thought of scuba diving absolutely terrified me, but with the help of a dear friend and some really dynamite instructors, I conquered a forever fear. And I can't wait for my next dive.

The Blog
  • Survey Sunday is probably the most consistent part of my blogging week, but even that falls down the wayside sometimes. But I love that weekly feature, and I loved sitting back and reflecting on how much this blog means to me, and how much this blog has grown - not only as a page on the World Wide Web, but how much it has grown me.

At First, But Now
  • What a shift in perspective and attitude. I'll be 100% honest - last fall, I hated my job. Okay, hated might be too strong of a word, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that I would pray for traffic on the Westpark Tollway in the morning (and those of you who know me well, know that I hate sitting in traffic). And I'm not sure it was the actual job that I felt uneasy about, rather, the thought of working at all. My whole life I'd been a student, in complete control of my success. And I was good at what I did. Suddenly, I was thrown into a whole new role. And there was a learning curve, and I didn't quite know how to handle it. But now, I'm grateful, and I no longer pray for traffic. I thank God for a job that brings me joy, happiness, and endless entertainment.

The Perfect Break, Part Two
  • Breaking in the GoPro with this post - days two and three in San Francisco with the best friends a girl could ask for. It was a long-long weekend for this worn-down teacher, who desperately needed a break after the pressure of the STAAR test. And it was a great-great weekend full of sunshine, ice cream, wine, bikes, and sunsets on the beach.

Bellaire Diaries
  • I think this one has to be my most favorite post of all. I had way too much fun writing about my first year of teaching. I thought the Bellaire gods were against me when my classroom was taken away from me, but I'm so glad it was. I continue to be thankful that I've got the best job in the world, and I certainly enjoy adding to the #BellaireDiaries tale. You just never know when your classroom is going to be 90 degrees and rising.

New York City: My Experience
  • Though it was not my first trip to the Big Apple, it was my first real trip to this incredible, one-of-a-kind city. I traveled solo, and loved every minute of it. The food, the tourist attractions, the walkability level. Though I could never call this city home, I would go back and visit in a heartbeat. I LOVEd it.

Sorry, I Can't; I Have Volleyball
  • Volleyball has forever been, and will forever be, my favorite sport. I have such fond memories from my time spent on the volleyball court, and I am quickly making even fonder memories as a coach. However, the volleyball hole is real. During volleyball season, I frequently find myself saying no. Either because I actually have a volleyball conflict, or because I don't have a volleyball conflict, but I just need one night to myself. Though most of the time it's because of volleyball. But I've learned that it's okay to say no every once in a while.

Monday Motivation: School Edition
  • This one came as a result of a failed Things I'm Loving Friday post (yeah, it's been a while, hasn't it?), and on the first day of school, no less. Actually, I hadn't reread this one until compiling this post, and I'm really glad I did. What a sweet reminder to carry into this new year. There are going to be hard days - I'm going to fail, I'm going to make mistakes, and I'm going to embarrass myself. And that's okay. Because there are going to be even more better days. And that's what makes getting out of bed at such an ungodly hour worth it.

This I Believe
  • This one kind of goes along with vulnerability. I absolutely love hearing other people's stories. I love learning what makes them who they are, what defining moments that person has had, and just what makes each person tick. So I love this essay that we assign to our students as the first essay of the year. It doesn't do much in the way of expository, but I love learning a little bit about my students. And as a model, I wrote my own, and I shared it with them. It wasn't easy for me, but as it turns out, they love learning about their teacher just as much as their teacher loves learning about them.

  • Thanksgiving is my hands-down favorite holiday, and I love any excuse I get to write down what it is I am thankful for. I should do it more often than I do, but Thanksgiving always gives me the opportunity to slow down, reflect, and just be thankful. I've got a little something up my sleeve in the form of a New Year's Resolution, but we'll get to that one in a couple of days.
Thankful for roommate reunions
Love Life List
  • This one is my most recent favorite post, but I think I am going to make it a monthly feature here on fitness & fro-yo. It was an easy and refreshing list to write - I simply numbered my paper (or my Word document) 1 to 25, and wrote down 25 things that I love about life right now. Big and small, there are lots of things to love about this one life we've been given.
Two loves: Mack and my horns
Well, that was a fun post to compile. Look for a typical New Year's Resolutions post to come in the next day or two, but until then, I'm off to cross the next thing off my list. Adios!

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