Hello Twenty Fifteen -- Let's Have a New Year Chat

Well helloooooo there urbanistas! The holidays called for a mid season blog hiatus, but PBU has been ringing the line also, like "Girls, where you been!?" The holiday finale always creeps up a little too quickly and the excitement inevitably fades when the rush is over, so alas, let's get back to it.

Reunited with Dri..Merry Christmas from PBU! (What a night this was) 

I celebrated Christmas through New Year's back at home in Maryland/DC for the first time in 9 months, and enjoyed every second! I wouldn't have wanted anything more than that time to spend with my family -- my parents, my grandma who came in town for a few days, my sweet and rambunctious little cousins -- and near and dear friends (some who I haven't seen in nearly a year or more). I had so much fun. Much of my week was spent throughout the Northwest DC area when I wasn't at home, and my I soaked it up like an LA chick at a tanning salon. After being gone for a little while, I missed my city like crazy,  realizing that no matter where my wanderlust takes me, my heart will never forget its first love. 

5-Year High School Reunion I got to attend while home! Some of my favorite Mustangs <3 @Dirty Martini/DC 

5-Year High School Reunion I got to attend while home! Some of my favorite Mustangs <3 @Dirty Martini/DC 

Rooftops x Sunsets = the way to my heart. Admired this New Year's Eve sunset on my last night in DC.

Now, I've returned to LA from the much enjoyed trip home, and I have so much to share kicking off 2015 with all of you gals (and guys!). 

I always love when the new year circles around, not necessarily because I seek starting over or setting resolutions, but it's that particular season where, like many others, I can reflect and enjoy all the highlights, lessons, and wonderful memories made throughout the year. I really enjoy living life; I feel incredibly blessed and humbled that year after year, despite lowlights and bad days and lots of stressful moments, I'm able to thrive on all the happy times. Life isn't even close to perfect, it never has been, but I'm so thankful to find comfort in a family who loves and appreciates each other, friends who I cherish beyond words, travel experiences that could last a lifetime, and a journey that is constantly evolving. 

I'm also especially grateful for a pretty decent memory. Memories are my greatest possessions. I find myself reminiscing allllll the time, particularly within my own thoughts and especially with Dri. We are both so big on cherishing priceless times, recounting days that are sometimes so fun/bizarre/off-the-hook that we have to ask each other if it was actually real life. 

I can't lie, nostalgia takes over every once in a while. I'll think things like "man I wish I could relive that..." Those never ending, shenanigan-packed nights with friends where miraculously no one got hurt. Those freshman and sophomore year college weekends you can barely remember (yeah yeah, with people you can't forget). The days you met special people who you knew right away would be a part of my life for years to come. The holiday trips, the study abroads, the spring break vacations... to Miami, to Thailand, to Vegas, to Spain. The thoroughly blissful minutes and hours that you sometimes appreciate more after the fact, that collectively keep you going. 

I'll have melancholy moments where it kind of sucks that as times takes me further away from those days and nights, I'll remember less details...less of those great times will stick with me. I lament the fact that I can't relive or remember it all, but I cherish having faith that, God willing, there's many more chapters of life to live, with opportunities to create all new memories to fill the pages with. Let the good times roll, baby!

2014 was a hugely different year for me.

A couple of downsides, to get them out of the way first -- I can't say I've had as many of those specific, "I'm gonna remember this for years" moments as I've had in past years, and I did not travel internationally once for the first time in over a decade. I'll also always miss my people like crazy when I'm away.

On the flip side, speaking on how big a year it was in terms of personal GROWTH!?  It's been incredible. I'm proud of having the courage to move away from home base, a move I knew I wanted to make shortly after college. I've learned tremendously about independence, holding a higher level of responsibility, long distance relationships, maintaining friendships, and becoming comfortable with discomfort.

I've gained clarity on what I want from life, and it has been SO valuable in shaping my short term goals and vision. Baby steps leading to that vision have been building/customizing two websites that I'm very proud of. One being instrumental in my budding entrepreneurial journey, the other being this blog! I have wanted to get back into blogging since 2011 (I actually did, and fell off rapidly... Before that it was only the throwback Xanga life with the occasional Facebook note), but it wasn't until Adrienne and I made our respective relocations, discussing the idea together, that really pushed me to believe in myself as a blogger. I love that we created this together, that this platform is another way for us to interact and remain connected even through our distance (as if we don't text/talk all the time anyway, ha), and it's been instrumental in connecting us with intelligent brown bloggers who have such progressive, positive outlooks on life. 

This growth and expansion has done wonders for my self-confidence, optimism, and self-belief. I feel accomplished, but NOT complacent. I also know I haven't yet really done sh*t. There's a certain art to life, a proverb that recites: "Keep it pushin'." We cherish the achievements and euphoric times, but we strive for more. We mourn losses and shortcomings, but we shouldn't dwell on them. Upwards and onwards.

The mountain ahead of me continues to grow as I think of all the things I desire to accomplish. It's daunting, it's exciting, it's scary, it's thrilling, it's all of the above and more. I've gotta stay focused, keep climbing, and never lose this lust for life.

I'm not a "20xx is my year!!!" every year type person, and my resolutions tend to be nonexistent. However, I'm on a brand new path in life and I'm a lot more clear on what I'm aiming for. This year, planting the seed is my #1 mission.

I'm consciously committing to raising the bar for myself at least 6 notches. "Keep the turn up on full!" - the text my dad sent a few months back stays with me. I've replaced the party life turn up that I was about from ages 16-21 with a more go-getter-centered mindset, and accompanying actions. I will never stop having fun or making time for thrills and shenanigans (what's life without em!?), but right now I mainly want to put in the research and work I need to make a difference and be f*cking bomb in these streets the world.

Ahhh...2015 you've arrived! So what's next?

My lovely co-blogger Adrienne has a few international trips on deck and I already can't wait for her stories (Barcelona and Paris this month to kick it off... Two cities I adore!!). I've got a trip to the French Polynesian islands (Bora Bora and Tahiti I cannot wait for you) to redeem later in the year, and I'm also tentatively planning for my big move abroad by the end of the year. And, we also have a lot more perspectives and destinations to share through our guest features and contributors -- we encourage you to get in touch to share yours as well! We love learning your stories (do you enjoy reading them too?).

All I can say is, I am looking forward a wonderful year. *Takes deep breath* I'm. So. Ready.

What is one specific thing you are setting in action in 2015?

Switching gears a bit, what would you all like to see on on PBU? More of something, less of another? Any big or small suggestions, we welcome them all.

Love you guys. Thank you for sticking with us, sharing, commenting, emailing, subscribing, or simply just reading so far!  Wishing a happy, happy new year to you. 

New Year's Eve reunion with my best girlfrans -- along with the bro Marky P! (With Dri there in spirit) @ The Beacon Hotel/DC

New Year's Eve reunion with my best girlfrans -- along with the bro Marky P! (With Dri there in spirit) @ The Beacon Hotel/DC

Kris x Rainna x Claire -- High School was the best with these two by my side (We went by the 'Purple Diamonds' LOL) 

Janelle x Dri x NYE in ATL

Janelle x Dri x NYE in ATL

Portia x Dri x NYE in ATL 

Dri x Janelle x Clicquot x NYE Atlanta

Kris x Marie x Why didn't I think of the selfie stick!?

Kris x Marie x Why didn't I think of the selfie stick!?

Posing on random items...it's just what the Purple Diamonds do.

My bf Erin x Me x My HS friend/physics partner Justin 

My bf Erin x Me x My HS friend/physics partner Justin 

Kristen Noelle

I consider myself a softly eccentric urbanista. I’m quiet by nature, and I’ve generally always had a mellow laid-back vibe. However, when it comes to my preferences for fun, my style, and my overall thought process, I get a bit more eccentric. I like stepping out of the box of normalcy -- but without forcing anything. I’m a thrill junkie and I live for things that get my adrenaline pumping, such as riding on top of party buses in New York City and hanging off of skyscrapers in Vegas. I spring for bold hues, colorful prints and patterns, and a relaxed look that gives effortless-chic. I like exploring new places and capturing exciting sites. I’m a creative, with a million different ideas running through my mind each day. Whether I’m designing waistbeads, imagining up new clothing concepts, envisioning my next business venture, or planning my next adventure abroad, I’m always thinking of how I can create something great. Being raised in the suburbs but not far from the city and constantly traveling, I developed a love for the best of worlds. The calm and the crazy. The easy-going and the always-buzzing. The soft and the eccentric.