Happy 2014, friends.

I spent my New Years Eve in New York City with a great friend. I needed to get out of Philly. I wanted to be surrounded by strangers. I felt excited to be amongst so many people. The energy was electrifying. Everywhere I looked, people were so happy and filled with love. I experienced lots of kindness in New York. I’m glad I decided to spend my night there.

While I was walking down the street arm in arm with my company, I caught the eye of a beautiful man sitting at a bar. We held eye contact for the entire length of the building, smiles slowly creeping across our faces. Neither of us broke contact, holding our gaze, taking each other in. And just as I got to the end of the window where I wouldn’t be able to see him any longer, he mouthed to me, “Happy New Year” and smiled a gorgeous grin. I love moments like these. I love feeling connected to people I don’t know, to people I’ll never see again.

Last year I started a tradition where I wrote down things that happened throughout the year on slips of paper and stored them in a jar. Tonight, I lit a candle and dumped them all out on my bed. I read each slip, a smile playing across my lips as I read some, tears springing to my eyes as I read others. I had an overall sense that this past year was a good one. There were so many little moments that I would’ve forgotten about had I not written them down. I highly suggest trying this. It was a nice way to recap the year. My favorite one: “trusting my gut. being brave. taking risks for love.”

I have so many hopes for you and me, friends. May this year ahead be the best one you’ve ever had. May it be filled with love, lots of laughter and peace. May you experience more light than darkness, and when darkness inevitably comes, I hope you feel surrounded and supported by the people who care about you. Remember to take struggle and heartache in stride and know that it is leading you somewhere great, even if the very idea feels impossible. There are lessons to be learned in everything, if we’ll accept and trust them. Most importantly, I hope you don’t forget that you are loved.

I want to leave you with the song I listened to on repeat from NYC to Philly. This music moves me so. So much love and warm hugs to each of you.