2015 Favorites

These posts are always something I look forward to writing at the end of the year. It seems like every year gets a little bit better than the last. 2015 was so good though, I’m not quite sure how 2016 could possibly top it!
This is all to say that 2015 has been a fantastic year. I go to bed every night grateful and loved and happy. There have been bad days, naturally, but the smiles outweigh the tears 100 to 1.
Here are some of the things that made this year the best (in no particular order):

ONE // Yoga
After meeting a yoga instructor on a trip, I was really inspired to give it a try. I’ve tried before but never really could make it stick. This year, I made it a priority to push my fear aside and join a yoga studio. I was hooked after the first class. I started going to the beginner classes as often as I could and within a few months started taking more challenging ones. Working from home can be super lonely at times and I really looked forward to each class. My body even began to crave the movement.
Unfortunately, my move in August threw my yoga schedule out of whack. I loved the studio I went to in NYC so much and have been shopping around to find something comparable here in Connecticut. I’m recommitting myself to getting into a regular pattern of going and think I found the perfect studio nearby.

TWO // Travel
Wow. This was an incredible year for me and my suitcase! So many amazing trips with incredible people. I’m not a natural born traveler, but I do love making memories, experiencing new things, and visiting interesting places. Alaska was hands down the best trip I’ve ever taken and would recommend the trip to absolutely everyone. There really wasn’t a trip I didn’t like. Although I’ve determined that scuba diving is most definitely not my thing, I’m really proud of myself for giving it a go and completing the certification. (I never posted this video here, but there’s some proof that I actually went scuba diving, ha.)
THREE // Connecticut
This was the biggest part of the year for sure. I knew when I resigned my lease in NYC last year that it was going to be my last year in the city. Garrett moved in with me and we knew we would be moving somewhere together… but we didn’t know where! It’s a double edged sword to be able to live anywhere… it felt like we had too many options to choose from. After almost buying a house in Rhode Island, we kind of just decided Connecticut made the most sense. I was really nervous about leaving NYC. Even though I was over it and it made me feel really stressed out all the time, I didn’t know if I’d like anywhere else any better. Connecticut, at least, is only a short train ride away. 
The decision was the BEST one we could have made. I immediately felt at home and am so thankful we ended up here. It’s not as exciting on a day to day and I think that’s why I love it so much. I can go into the city for the meetings and events, and then step back into a quieter, calmer life for the the rest of the time. Not only do I feel healthier living out of the city, I feel just so much happier and relaxed.
PS The post about moving was the #1 post of the year. Over 40,000 of you read it that day!

Even though I moved in August and wasn’t feeling the whole “living in NYC” thing for a while, I still had some incredible experiences in the city over the past year. I couldn’t possibly tally them all up, but I think going to the Tony Awards after party was hands down the best of all. We had THE BEST TIME. It was definitely one of the best moments of the year and was easily the most “New York” moment ever. Black tie, the Plaza, celebrities everywhere. Couldn’t ask for a better night!
FIVE // My Subaru
One of the huge reasons that was tempting me to move out the city was that I really missed having a car. I had a Zipcar subscription and would rent cars for weekend travel, but I missed being able to run errands and just fill the car up with groceries. Since I went to school in DC, I didn’t have a car throughout college. In fact, I hadn’t really driven that much since graduating high school! I missed the freedom.
I wasn’t sure what kind of car I wanted to get– there were so many options out there. Car shopping is fun but also a lot of work. Originally, I tried buying my old car from high school back from my dad… but he refused. (Everyone in my family loves the old 4Runner!) I eventually decided on getting a Subaru Forester. I. Love. My. Car. I bought it by myself (obviously financially), but actually did the negotiating myself too. I did a lot of research and was pretty impressed with my car buying skills– I ended up getting a great price for the brand new car.
I’ve gotten a couple of emails about why the Subaru and here was some of my thought process: 1. I’ve never driven in snow before and I’m a fairly anxious driver. The Forester is all-wheel drive and has incredible safety ratings. 2. I wanted a car that would last a long time. I plan on driving this thing for as long as possible… but the Subaru also has a great resale value just in case. 3. Because I knew I’d be driving this car for years and years, I wanted a car that would also make sense with kids. It’s kind of crazy to think that I will (hopefully) have kids while I still own the car (of course much further down the road, pun intended). 4. It’s not the flashiest car in the garage, but it’s not rooted in technology so it won’t be outdated as fast. It’s pretty standard inside, which I prefer.

Anyway, having a car has really changed my everyday life for the better. It’s been the most striking, and welcome, change from moving out to Connecticut. I’ve already put quite a few miles on the car and I couldn’t be happier!

SIX // Friends
This was such a great year for friends. I swear, I’ve lucked out in the friend department. I’m thankful for the long distance friendships that I have; that we are all willing to travel to visit each other and that we all prioritize keeping in touch. I’m so thankful that I’ve had friends move closer, especially my friend from college who moved to NY after getting her masters abroad at Oxford. And, this year was particularly great because I reconnected with one of my childhood best friends after years of not talking.
I do not take friendships for granted and I really do consider myself the luckiest girl with the ones I have!

SEVEN // Skiing
One of the biggest surprises, to me and my friends and family, has been how much I enjoy skiing. I’m not particularly athletic by any means, but I finally got the hang of skiing and I love it! Although I’m never going to be a competitive skier and I don’t have a desire to try super difficult trails (at least now), skiing is just really fun. It may be one of the first times when I can put aside my competitiveness and perfectionism and just go with the flow. After skiing a lot early in the year, I have been counting down the days to go again. Again, while I am not great, I finally got the hang of it and was really feeling more and more comfortable every day we went skiing. 
EIGHT // The Kitchen
Ironically, I put cooking on my list for last year. But I think it’s this year that I really fell in love with cooking. Since moving into an apartment with an actual kitchen (versus the hallway in my NYC apartment), I have been cooking up a storm. I actually look forward to cooking dinner every night.
I’ve posted about it before, but Plated has really helped me. The service not only makes my life a lot easier (no grocery shopping, no wasted food, pre-meal plan), it has allowed me to really grow my confidence in the kitchen. I’ve cooked so many things I didn’t know I could cook and I’ve picked up skills over time. The fact that I prefer to cook now over going out or ordering food is a huge win.
NINE // Books
I hope reading continues to be one of my favorite things for the rest of my life. Some of the books I especially loved this year:

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TEN // Blogging

There are years when I love blogging more and when I love it less. It’s always a little bit of an internal battle for me, honestly. I love blogging, I really do and at the end of the day that’s what keeps me going. If I didn’t love it, I don’t think I could put up with all the little things I don’t love. Because blogging can be lonely, it can be competitive, it can be repetitive, it can be overwhelming. Every year one or two new challenges comes up: when it seems like everyone at school hates me for me, figuring out how to keep it up while also working full time, figuring out how to find meaning and purpose for doing it, coming to terms with living a somewhat “public” life, learning how it can be a full time job. Seriously, every year there’s a new test to see just how much I love it. It’s been a learning process for sure.

Last year was my first full year of blogging full time and I think I burnt myself out a little bit. I was so afraid of “failing” (not even sure what that would mean) that I threw myself into it so hard.

This year was completely different because I consciously decided to make an effort for it to be different. Since the beginning, the blog and The College Prepster filled every minute of “free” time I had. If I wasn’t in school, or doing homework, or at crew practice, or racing in a regatta, I was doing something related to my blog. Then when I graduated and got a full time job, I still made sure I was also fully dedicating myself to my blog at night and on weekends. Over time, this made me feel like my blog was my life. Because that’s the way I designed it. When I started blogging full time, I didn’t know what to do with that free space, so I filled it with more… blogging. Everything felt personal. Everything felt like high stakes. I felt consumed by it all and it started to wear on me. I decided this year that blogging would be my job and not my life.

It sounds a little sterile, but I don’t mean it in that way. I absolutely love what I do and I’m so grateful for every experience, every comment, every amazing reader I get the chance to meet. But at the end of the day, I have a life outside of the blog, outside of Instagram, and outside of Snapchat. I have figured out how to distinctively carve out when I’m working and when I’m not. I even take the weekends almost completely off now– this was huge for me.

PS Here are my favorites from: 20092010201120122013, and 2014.

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Wishing you a happy new year, Carly! You've had a pretty full year and I think it's great that you choose to share about it. I've learned a lot reading your blog and I'm looking forward to more of your content moving forward.

It's true that blogging can be lonely. I believe (almost) every blogger comes to several points in our blogging careers where we stop to think if there really is any point to what we do. But as long as there is a reader or two who benefits from it, I say that's every reason to carry on. 🙂

Tori A.

What a wonderful year you've had. College Prep has and continues to be one of my favorite blogs, and I cannot wait to see where you will take it in 2016. Happy New Year!

Tori A. from Prep For A Day

Kelly Crusenberry

I love reading your end of year posts, as someone who's been reading since the very first post I've also loved seeing the blog grow. This year I think was definitely your year and you can tell that you have made the blog your job, not your life. I'm so proud of you for creating that balance, the margin you needed. I can't wait to see what 2016 brings for you!


I love reading your blog! We are the same age, and it's nice that it evolves with my similar changes in life too! Happy New Year!

little miss sunshine

I just wanted to leave a little thank you for another great year of material and blogging! I started following you consistently since last September and since then have gone back and read even your archived posts (embarrassing, maybe, haha!). What's so special about you is that I feel infinitely better if I'm having a rough day after reading your post. Like you I had a very rough freshman year in college and I'm now getting more adjusted in my sophomore year but I feel like for every low in my year, there are hundreds of your posts that talk exactly about what I'm stressing about and make me feel better. Thank you for being one of my biggest role models for the past year and I hope you have a wonderful NYE and an even better 2016!

Deb Cohen

What a wonderful year! As a newer blogger I can relate to throwing yourself into it a bit too much at the beginning. I'm glad you obtained some balance in 2015!