2016 Look Back

Well…That was…something. 2016. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? It was bad. So. Many. People. Died. Terrorist attacks in Orlando, Germany, France, Syria. Rampant sexism and xenophobia in the U.S. Watching my Sher-o Hillary Clinton losing an election to an unqualified, liar making dangerous promises on a whim to throngs of screaming crowds. Inciting violence and hate at rallies. Neo-nazi celebration and a KKK parade in the street. It hurts. My mom just opened the champagne that had been sitting in our fridge, that we had imagined sharing together to celebrate our first Women president. I so wanted that moment with my mom, a women who has spent her entire adult life dedicated to social justice and the advancement of women’s rights. I still, really, do not understand. But this year was about more than the election and some good things did happen. So here are some of the highlights of my personal life in 2016:

I Spent New Years Eve MakingVisionn Boards

Say what you want, I LOVE vision boards. They are fun, inspiring, and a great way to get clear about your priorities and goals. Even more than that, I love to make vision boards with other people. Collective dreaming is the best dreaming. My focus words were intention and attention. I hit a bunch of the goals I set out for, but not all of them. All good.

Temple Stay

Staying in a Buddhist Temple overnight, nestled in the mountains in Korea with a Canadian friend I had met during my year, her Korean boyfriend and one of my best friends from college who came to visit was one of the highlights of my year. Educational, spiritual, exciting and unique. I am so glad I got to do it.



Going to Japan with 2 girlfriends from Korea and getting to visit one of my best friends from Alaska was so special. I FINALLY got to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, even though everything was in Japanese I thought it was more fun that what. More charachter to the experience. I also got to go to Kyoto and Nara. The trip was so short and there is a lot more of Japan to see.

An Impromptu Weekend Trip to Taipei

I bought my ticket Wednesday and flew out on Saturday morning. I love spontaneous travel and Taipei proved to be a mix of almost every Asian country I had been to. I felt a little CHina, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Korea all mixed together with its own unique flavor. The people were so nice and the dumplings gave Shanghai a run for its money…speaking of…


How High? Shanghai!

I loved Shanghai so much. Maybe it was the experience I had or the girls I was with but it was so much fun. From the top story of one of the tallest buildings in the world, with Vegas-priced cocktails to a tarp tent on the street corner with gas station beers, we rocked it. A weekend of giggles, DUMPLINGS, funny travel moments and long ached for Western brunch. I could totally see myself living in Shanghai.

I Ran My First Marathon


I really enjoyed the training. Getting up early on Saturday mornings gave me some purpose, stillness and a goal to reach for. The goal was big and scared me just enough to make me feel a little more alive. I cherish that time I spent along the riverbanks, listening to podcasts, audiobooks, and music reflected on the year and the progress I had made. The race itself was beautiful, fun, challenging and my family was INCREDIBLY supportive. Thanks mom and dad!!!


An all day champagne festival, with sundresses and all my mom’s side of the family. Right on the ocean. Such a happy day. Such a bad hangover.


I should have listed this first. But my nephew, Murphy Lipka was born the day I landed at home from Korea. He is perfect and I love him. I can’t wait to watch him grow up.


There were definitely some challenges. Between living in a country with a seemingly impenetrable language barrier, and returning to my parent’s basement I dealt with a fair amount of loneliness. I also was away from my family for my brother’s engagement and wedding which was hard. I made some friends and lost some friends. Again, I left I life I had built leaving behind friends and little kiddos I got attached to. I went on a LOT of bad internet dates but applaud myself for getting out there and trying.

I am still looking for a Leah-shaped hole in the world that I can fill right up although now with less desperation and more calmness. I want a place to call home, a meaningful job that I can support myself with that allows room to grow, that allows for adventures and some peace of mind. Although 2016 held more than its fair share of navel-gazing I also started to turn outward more and pay more attention to world events. I am proud to call myself a feminist, I am motivated to fight for social justice, and I really want to make an impact through empowering women. I will find a way.

Coming up in 2017: Last year my guiding words were intention and attention. This year my mantra is going to be AIM HIGHER. I, like everyone else have self-limiting beliefs, this year I want to try and break past them. I want to be more purposeful, more impactful, less navel-gazey and I would love to find a home. I am going to the Women’s March on Washington and I will continue to educate myself about feminism and Women’s issues.

Upwards and Onwards, friends. Happy 2017!

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