2015 in Review

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Twenty-Sixteen. HOW, pray tell, can it possibly be time for a new year? And yet it is, and I'm past thankful for the chance to reset the calendar, and past worried that I achieved little in the last twelve months. I seldom realize that I do have a perfectionist streak until I stand at the back-end of the old year and realize I accomplished basically nothing on my “to-do list.” Somehow, my urge to be everything I imagine I could be, given enough time, reckons what I didn't do in relation to what I did do, and likes to gloss over everything I accomplished, saying, “You had twelve months, sweetheart. Twelve months.” A real reason why I've never liked setting New Years resolutions, even if we call them “goals” and talk in nice terms of “things we'll attempt to do.” In an effort to combat that yearly panic, I am putting forth my yearly list of Things I Did. There's time enough in 2016 for making new lists to ignore.


Attended a New Year's Charity ball
Finished up three months of wedding craziness by styling up-dos for an extensive bridal party
Visited a friend and her young family in Greensboro, NC. Ate my own caramel apple for the first time ever. Had amazing milkshakes. Bought a tulle skirt.
Health issues with my grandmother took up most of the month, including a two-week hospital stay which meant my mother drove two hours round-trip almost daily to visit her. Her cancer diagnosis meant a worrisome new reality for all of us.
Sold the timber on our land and saw my beautiful woods turned into a hack-job, buzz-cut affair like a pimply teenager shorn by the US Marines
Worked and worked some more


Celebrated the first year anniversary of my debut independent novel
Received word that an “essay” of mine entered in a contest had accidentally won notice in an international magazine. Also received a check.
Real-life friend and author Meghan Gorecki traveled from Pennsylvania to meet me.
Hosted third annual Singles' Valentine's Day bash
Was snowed in weekly in a freak series of snowstorms uncommon to this portion of Virginia
Worked and worked some more


Debated trying to win an historic inn in an essay contest, decided against it because I know nothing about wine-cellaring or inn-keeping
Finished editing The Fox Went Out and published it on my writing blog, The Inkpen Authoress
Conducted much online research for a setting for my second mystery novel. Got bogged down. Progress in novel stopped
Worked and worked some more, getting up to four and five-day work weeks


Celebrated Easter with a surprise visit to my best friend near Atlanta, Georgia. Ate Georgetown Cupcakes for the first time. Wore my magenta trench-coat and spent a day at the Georgia State Capitol. Guarded the inner office door of the Rules Chairman of the Senate because all his interns were out. Was escorted onto the Senate floor for the last few moments of session. Stood behind Senator John F. Kennedy whose wife or daughter or someone passed me some paper to tear. Saw my first real-life Hermes location. Began to watch The West Wing in earnest.
My Cinderella retelling and its sisters in the Five Glass Slippers collection were released in an Italian translation
Began fund-raising in earnest for our trip to Romania, which included organizing, painting for, and hosting an art-auction
Had my worst day of work ever immediately followed by my best day of work ever.
Worked and worked and worked even more


Princess Charlotte of Great Britain was born. That's not my news, but it's news I loved
Attended a baby-shower for my yet-to-be-born niece
Visited Romania, a trip whose highlights included return visits to Bran Castle and Peles Castle, but also included an unforgettable adventure on the Transfagarusan and a visit to Bucharesti, plus shaorma not once but TWICE. Had my first run-in with an honest-to-goodness charming Irishman and ate lots of gelato and apple strudel + a cheese that tasted like pickled elephant smell and was slightly addictive.
Spent the night under an airport bench in Moscow.
Worked and worked some more (when I was not traveling or jet-lagged)
Secretly began plans for launching Lipstick & Gelato


Traveled to NoVa (Northern Virginia) and continued my #chaiquest. Visited Harpers Ferry
Took several beach trips
Counseled at iGovern East on the Patrick Henry College campus. Got my first ride in a Jeep. Tried lavender soda. Joined a girl-band boy-band spoof. Posed as a White House Press Secretary. Visited the Holocaust Museum. Scrubbed a big marble floor on my hands and knees.
Experienced “Cinderella” multiple times because the loveliness couldn't be covered in one viewing
Celebrated the first anniversary of the Five Glass Slippers debut
Worked and worked some more


Attended the COOLEST home fireworks display I'll ever see.
Organized and threw a baby shower for my brother and sister-in-law + made my first ombre cake
Roadtripped to and attended the WIT Alive conference in Indianapolis and subsequently met fashion blogger Ashley Pokone of Bramblewood Fashion
Turned twenty-three
Enjoyed our bumper-crop of boysenberries
Dressed up like a cow for Chick-fil-A's Cow Appreciation Day
Worked and worked some more


Launched Lipstick & Gelato on August 11th
Made homemade croissants for the first time
Celebrated my birthday belatedly with a picnic in Colonial Williamsburg
Visited the Chrysler Museum of Art and fell in love with a few particular paintings
Attended a swanky water-side wedding totally solo/survived a shredded tire
Invented York S'mores
Was surprised by a portrait of myself from artist Kendra Yoakum
My first niece, Ellie Rose Heffington, was born and I spent several weekend in Northern Virginia
Threw a “schnitzel” party. A good friend brought homemade chocolate gelato. It was great.
Worked and worked some more


Bought/was blessed with my “new” car which I named Dover
Drove to 8 hours to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to surprise author Meghan Gorecki during her post-surgery recovery. Ate cheesecake. Got her hooked on White Collar.
Drove to NoVa to surprise our friend, Jill, and spend a day in DC where I experienced the joy that is Le Diplomate
Attended our county fair where I was able to get cheesecake frozen on a stick and dipped in chocolate
Tried my hand at crepe cake
Began work on my retelling of “The Sleeping Beauty”
Acted as bridesmaid in a childhood friend's wedding + styled the hair of seven bridesmaids besides my own
Worked and worked some more


Tried to participate in Inktober, got halfway through and gave it up for lack of time
Styled wedding flowers with my aunt for a friend's wedding and triumphed exceedingly
Did my first “persuasive journalism” on this blog by reviewing tea for Queen's Pantry
Developed two tea-infused recipes for the Queen's Pantry blog
Began artwork for an online holiday-market craft sale
Attended political costume party. Did my costume change in the Barnes & Noble bathroom. Ended up at Waffle House after the party with quite a few stories to my credit, including being told my non-committal costume was a Jackie Kennedy affair.
Tried “repeat art” for the first (and so far ONLY) time
Had a plein air painting session paired with the best soft pretzel I think I've ever had
Bought my first pair of leopard-print shoes
Worked and worked some more


Bought my first leopard-print blouse
Organized and pulled off a surprise birthday lunch for my mother's fiftieth birthday
Took a day trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Ate Crozet Pizza. Saw six bears.
Finished my retelling of “The Sleeping Beauty”
Celebrated the first anniversary of my second indie novel
Multiple bombings around the world affected me quite a lot emotionally and left me unready for Mockingjay Pt. 2
Helped Mama pull off a surprise sixteenth birthday picnic on the beach for my sister, Anna
Attended a world-premiere concert of a composer's music put on by the choir my sisters participate in
Painted china for the first time to relatively great success
Helped host Thanksgiving for 33 people
Black Friday shopped and celebrated my older brother's birthday + first wedding anniversary
Ordered a new laptop (hurray!)
Worked and worked some more


Found the perfect Christmas dress
Visited my friend and fellow Cinderella-retelling author, Clara Thompson in Louisiana. Missed my flight out of Atlanta because of a visit with my best friend that necessitated leaving security. Got to Louisiana safely. Experienced Cafe du Mond and New Orleans for the first time. Finally saw Newsies. I fangirled a couple posts back if you want more details of everything we did that trip.
Met and interviewed Hannah of Hannah Everly Designs
Attended several Christmas parties
Was home a grand total of Not Much
Got my new laptop
Drank coffee
Mailed packages
Spent a fortune in gas
Worked an awful lot
Celebrated Christmas
Wrote this post

Ahhhhhhhhh. That feels good. So I did do a lot. Things not mentioned on this list that wove through the whole year are my grandmother's ongoing (but praise-filled) journey through her sickness, the saga of the end of our goat-herd, general family stress of which there has seemed to be a lot, friend-counseling/life-doing of which there has been a lot, many many books read, movies seen, lessons planned, letters written, roadtrips taken, coffee drunk. I stand on the end of 2015 like the flag of Virginia, with my heel on its head and think, “Well, gee. No wonder I've got tense shoulders.” It was a good year, but not an easy year. A blessed year but a year requiring a notable lot of “adulting.” It was a year that I hope to look back on in the future as a year that shaped me in many good and needful ways.

May 2016 be equally full of adventure and noticeably less full of what-the-hecks.

All My Love,



  1. WOW, you did a ton this year! You should be proud of yourself for managing to get all that cool stuff + writing + work to fit in! I loved reading about it, by the way :)

  2. I am so impressed with what you managed to do in a year, you inspired me to do more this year. Happy New Year!

  3. Love this recap, Rache. <3 Your 2015 was full and special and you DID things. WROTE things. WENT places. <3

  4. Wow--you accomplished a LOT. Congratulations!! I'll be praying that you have a wonderful 2016!