2015 was, quite possibly, my best year yet. 

From moving out of my family's home for the first time (at twenty-eight!), moving to another city, to photographing nine incredible weddings and a whole bunch of photoshoots, taking some of my favorite self-portraits yet, to living together with my love and us getting the best, smartest and most cuddly cat in the world — it was incredible! 

2015 was the year of independence, for me. I realized that I can have my own apartment! That I can do things and aspire for achievements that I had always thought were beyond my grasp. It was a year of incredible growth — with a lot of FOMO in the mix, especially in connection to my family, with whom I'd been until now — but it was a year for feeling loved, cherished and wanted. Most of my relationships in Porto improved with my growth and became sweetened by distance, and the fact that we don't constantly have to travel back and forth finally allowed M and I to enjoy the little things of life together, the small and mundane and beautiful things that everyday life is made of. I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

2015 was also the year of friendship. Of making new ones, of cementing old ones, either online or off. We had friends come to visit (a new thing for me, and one I absolutely LOVE), such as Rosa and our Swedish friends Mia and Leo, and some of my peeps from Porto. I realized that I love having people over, and that we definitely need to do it more. And that we need to visit more friends, like we did with M's EVS crowd in Santa Maria da Feira and Amarante.

Of course, there were low points as well: hopeless times when I thought my life wouldn't move forward, before the move was a real thing; the fear that I wouldn't be able to do the things I had dreamed of; missing my family whenever something reminds me of them (which is a lot of the time); the loneliness of working at home while your partner is out at work all day (Alice, the cat, pretty much saved me on that one), struggles with body image and other issues — and yet, they all seem like tiny, minor things when I think about them. They feel like challenges, small hurdles put in my way to make me become stronger. (okay, I can't always have this positive outlook on it, but it's the 31st of December and I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy)

I must say, a lot of my year's smooth sailing happened due to the help I have from my — and Melanie's — unbelievable families. They didn't criticize me (or us), they supported me and helped out with the responsibilities that I used to have in Porto, they gave me warm hugs to go back to when I visit and included M in everything, from dinners to parties, to crazy family things. We are incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. The same goes for our German family, who are some of the sweetest, kindest people I know. 

And now, another thank you note:  to my couples, the ones who put their trust in me throughout this year, who allowed me to either portray their families or their incredible wedding days — thank you. You made me feel welcome, accomplished, included and most of all, loved. This year was even better for me, because you were in it.

Another thank you note goes to my incredible team: Joana, Lila and Melanie — you girls make working feel like fun times, and I'm so glad that I can count on you and have your back whenever you need me to, as you do mine. You guys are amazing.  

I have a five word set of wishes for 2016 (aside from asking that it is at least as good as 2015). I ask for love — work — health — family — travels. It's not a lot to ask for, is it? :)

Happy 2016, my friends! May it be the best one yet! And take a look at my favorite wedding photos from 2015 (a personal post is in the making, but it was waaaaaay too big for today!)