2016 Review

2016 was an awesome year for me personally.  I felt ashamed to say that it was a great year for me when there was so much sadness and disappointment in the world especially with the current political climate.  However!  This year rocked for me.  Some of the highlights were getting married to my best friend, touring Europe with him on our honeymoon, creating a conference talk on unconscious bias and giving it multiple times, and my awesome Ghostbusters cosplay!

By the numbers:

  • Visited 20 different places
  • Talked at 5 conferences (Asynchrony Internal Conference, Strangeloop, Agile Gravy, NSBE Fall Regional Conference, AlterConf NYC)
  • Saw 5 musicals (Newsies, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Fun Home, Finding Neverland, Chicago)
  • Went to 4 different sports games (2 Cardinals, 1 Blues, 1 St. Louis Football Club)
  • Killed 3 pet fish
  • Camped 2 times.  Ran into Karly in the airport unexpectedly 2 times.
  • Married 1 person (Mark Katerberg)


-Started off the year being super, super sick.  I went though multiple rounds of steroids and antibiotics in order to get better.  I was so sad that I couldn’t stay up to see the New Years!
-The thing that I was most excited in wedding planning was being able to go cake tasting!  Unfortunately for me, I had no sense of taste!  I had this inkling that I liked the strawberry cake though.  We ended up getting red velvet and strawberry cakes for the wedding.
-Mark got me roses that led from the garage up the stairs to our apartment on Neem Day aka the day I left my parents house.
-The first snow of the season happened in January!  It’s a Katerberg tradition to eat ice cream for dinner on that day.
-We had a crazy awesome board game night with around a dozen people. I dominated in Bananagrams.  At the end of the night, no one wanted to play with me anymore.
-I made a surprise trip to Charleston to visit Snow and Cait!  It was absolutely lovely.  They showed me around Charleston and I had a lot of great food.
-Asynchrony holiday party was Star Wars themed.  I, of course, decided to wear a Star Trek dress to it.
-Mark sent me a rude potato at work.  I didn’t know who it was but I had an inkling that it was him.
-We went to the Fox to see Newsies!
-I got a yearly journal as a present and I found enough matching pens to have one for each month


-I went to Chicago to pick up my bridesmaids dresses and hang out with the now sister-in-law Bethany.  We got to eat at my favorite restaurant Sabri Nehari.
-I surprised Mark with a trip to the Tiger Sanctuary for Valentine’s Day.  We stayed at the tiger sanctuary in a room where you could hear the tigers growl.  It ended up snowing that weekend, and we almost got snowed in!  Luckily, some awesome people helped shove our car up the hill as the tigers stared us down.
-I was wanting to have a paint night where people would feel chill enough to try painting without feeling pressure.  It went very well!  Everyone seemed to paint something they loved except me, ha.
-Mark got me a bicycle for Valentine’s Day!  I still haven’t learned how to ride it though…
-We sent out our wedding invitations sometime at the end of January/beginning of February.  It was a lot of work getting it addressed all prettily, but it was super fun to send one to the Obamas.  They sent us a card.  🙂
-February was surprisingly warm so we had a picnic outside.
-My monthly craft nights ended in me having a full set of perler bead coasters with all of the Firefly characters.
-Mark, Amanda, Justin, and I went to the work Blues game.  It was a lot of fun!
-My bridal shower was at the very end of February!  So many people came, and it was super fun!  Thanks Mackenzie for hosting it.


-We got our marriage license at the beginning of the month!  Mark insisted that we take a selfie with the fake bouquet in the office.
-And then the wedding festivities started soon thereafter.  Nayani, our officiant, flew in from Toronto and helped the entire time with keeping us calm and collected.  Craig got us a bottle of Madeira from 1860.  We started the wedding celebrations off with it.  The boys had Mark’s bachelor party in St. Louis.
-The wedding rehearsal was on a Thursday, and I was excited that all of my favorite people were able to make it.
-March 12 – Mark and I got married!  It was a crazy day!  It was raining during our photos and I had a meltdown when I was rather wet and tripped and hurt my ankle.  Snow saved my day by redoing my hair and makeup and touching up everyone else.  We had an awesome bridal party in general and incredible vendors who made everything go smoothly.  Other than the original trip up, everything was awesome!  I couldn’t have asked for a better day.
-Everyone got a ticket to go to the City Museum and hang out the day after the wedding.  I was exhausted and not sure that my legs would work anymore, but Ian and Snow somehow kept me sane and level-headed as they had all weekend long.  I have no idea what we would have done without them!
-I commissioned Mark a Star Trek painting of his favorite ship for his birthday.
-Mark got a fish tank, and we became pet owners as we got three beta fish.  They didn’t survive the year.  🙁
-Mark had a laser tag birthday party and a black forest cake just like last year.


-My team had an outing to play demo ball.  I surprisingly thought it was very fun.
-I had surgery to remove a lump, and it went very well as they found it to be not cancer.  A lot of people were amazing in their support and sent me presents.  Karly brought me mango ice cream, and it reminded me of the importance of friends just doing something to help without being asked.  It made me want to be a better person and try to proactively do nice things for people.
-There were many festivities around work for the Cardinals opening day.
-We got shelves for all of our board games.  It’s a little overfull now… but it’s much nicer than it was before.
-Linsey, Ashley, Michelle, and I dressed up to go to Rocky Horror Picture Show!  It was my first time!  We went to a piano bar before and had a lovely evening in general.
-Karly and I taught many a Hands Up United class on a variety of subjects.
-Charles came to visit and we went to a Second City show and had liquid nitrogen ice cream.
-Mark and I went to our first Cardinals game of the season
-I took a sushi making class with a couple of friends (Megs and Michelle) from work!  I have since forgotten everything I learned.
-There was another paint night with a different set of people.  I worked on Mark’s birthday card which was very, very late.


-Most of May revolved around our honeymoon! Before that though, I joined the Rising Leaders for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation in St. Louis.
-Mark and I went to New York first to visit Ian and see his PhD defense.  I just know that he crumbled a lot of papers to show us lames what he was talking about in his research.
-We then went to Paris for five days.  While in Paris, Elijah came to visit us.  We went to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, the Louvre, the Arc de Triumphe, and many other places.  Every day, we’d have so many French pastries.  I loved our food tour of Paris.  I’m hungry just thinking about it.
-We spent two days in Brussels after that.  Both of us went mad with chocolate as we visited over a dozen chocolate shops.  We also had Belgian chocolates, frites, and some really amazing eclairs.
-We spent five days after that in Holland.  We stayed in Amsterdam, but we took a couple of bus tours to see the windmills and the Delft factory.
-We flew to Iceland after that.  We rented a car and visited the Golden Circle as well as many other waterfalls and the black sand beaches.
-Our last stop was a night in Toronto where we visited Nayani!  We went to a Harry Potter themed bar which was amazing.


-June started off with a camping trip with Karly! She organized everything, and gave me an awesome packing list to make me feel more comfortable with the whole thing because it was my first time camping!  The first picture is of our awesome spread of food.
-Linda, the QA on my team, brought in a bunch of crowns to signify that I was the self-proclaimed “deploy queen”
-Mark’s siblings and him surprised his parents with a trip to Chicago to see Sound of Music as a family.  We arrived late Friday night and slept on two couches upstairs in his sister’s place so his parent’s wouldn’t find out until the morning!  It was a lot of fun to hang out.
-We hosted a pajama party to watch Con Man.  We had brunch and way too much candy, and we all hung out and watched the entire season of Con Man.
-I went to an awesome Star Wars themed birthday party for an awesome little kid!  She had an incredible BB8 cake.
-I finally finished Mark’s birthday card.  Every year, I paint him a Magic themed birthday card.  The theme has been cards with Lotus in the title.
-Mark got me a pair of sapphire earrings!  And then he presented me with a Kate Spade bag a couple days later.  I definitely felt very loved.
-We went to the Botanical Gardens with friends, and I remember thinking that night had the perfect weather.


-We went camping for the Fourth of July with Bethany and AJ.  It rained the entire time!  We went to Mark Twain State Park, and we visited the museum there.  We ended our camping trip a bit early, but we decided on our way back that we wouldn’t watch any TV and we’d try to unplug since we were supposed to be camping.  That turned into a decision to stop watching tv for an entire month.  Mark put our tv in the closet, and it’s still in there (we took it out once to watch Gilmore Girls).
-I gave my Battling Unconscious Bias talk at the Asynchrony Internal Conference.  It went really well!  The room was super full of people, and I got a lot of really great feedback.  People seemed to really like it and learn a lot from it.  So many people talked to me about the talk afterwards, and some of them inspired me to submit the talk to other conferences.  I drew my own cupcakes and doughnuts for the slides, and 11pm before the talk, I decided to make myself a cupcake skirt.  I keep forgetting to write a longer blogpost of how the talk went.
-Mark and I went to Michigan for his cousin Tom’s wedding.  Their wedding was gorgeous.  We split a room with Bethany and AJ, and we brought cheese from Amsterdam to share.  We had a late night Buffalo Wild Wings trip which was one of the highlights of the trip for me.
-Mark was funemployed for most of July and August, and he visited me for lunch a couple of times.
-Our friend Ben had a prohibition-era murder mystery party for his birthday!  Mark was very excited to need to buy a hat, bowtie, and suspenders for his character.  Neither of us were the murderers.
-Mark and Rob tricked me into going rock climbing for the first time.  I was terrified to climb down but I climbed up two different routes.  There was definitely a part where I was stuck at the top, and three different people climbed up and showed me how to let go and go down the wall, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
-I hosted a skirt-making party!  We all met up at Jo-ann’s and bought some fabric and then made circle skirts!!  It was a crazy success.
-Cait and Snow visited while they were driving across country to move.
-Mark and I hosted an awesome Harry Potter party for the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  I went a little overboard with the snacks.  You can’t see that we also made Butterbeer, we had a chocolate frog photo booth, and we were dressed in our house robes with tons of homemade wands for everyone.


-Bethany and AJ visited out of the blue!
-Mark, Rob, John, Karly, Alex, and I went to GenCon in Indianapolis together.  On the first day, I dressed up in my Harry Potter robes and we decided that my Patronus would be a cupcake.  On the second day, I got debut my Ghostbusters cosplay based on the new Ghostbusters movie that came out.
-Mark and I had a fancy dress up date.
-I switched teams and got to visit a nuclear power plant as a result of being on my new team.  The new team was doing Swift development which I was really excited to dive into.
-Mark and I went to Colorado to visit Cait and Snow!  We had an awesome weekend there for my birthday.  Most of this month’s pictures are from our visit.  We hiked and climbed up mountains.  Mark didn’t complain when I got myself a mini cake for my birthday breakfast.
-The last picture in the month is from the release party for my previous team.  We were originally supposed to release in January and we had at least a dozen release dates in between.  I’m glad it finally happened!
-Mark got me a nail stamping kit for my birthday so I tried my hand at nail stamping.  I didn’t include the photo of it because it was pretty awful but I’m really good at it now.
-We went to a St. Louis Football Club game.  It was surprisingly fun considering I spent the first ten minutes rooting for the wrong team.


-September was a *crazy* month.  I started the month off right with a picnic with Mark with my new wicker picnic basket.
-Amanda and I went to the Japanese Festival at the Botanical Gardens.
-Mark and I went to another Cardinals game!
-I got Hilary a cake from the place where I got my wedding cake for her birthday bowling party
-Mark, Karly, and I went to the Beyonce concert!!!  It was phenomenal.  She’s an amazing performer.
-Ashley, Mark, and I got season tickets to the Fox Theater.  We started the season off by seeing A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.
-I gave my worst workshop at CoderGirl on Intro to Swift.  I then gave that workshop again at the Strangeloop conference, and it was much, much better.  I like to think it’s because I wore my Swift dress.  We had some old friends and some new friends over for brunch after Strangeloop.  There was a crazy incident before that where a watermelon literally exploded on my kitchen counter.
-Mark’s parents and Bethany came to visit!  We made them dinner from our expertise after making Blue Apron dinners.
-I made a very patriotic trifle for the first of the presidential debates.
-I had cupcake-themed nails for my Battling Unconscious Bias talk at the Agile Gravy conference.  The room was super full for this conference, and people seemed to respond positively to this talk.  I got a job offer from it, which is bizarre, and so many people have told other people to meet me as a result of this talk.
-Extra bullet point to say that September had me doing three talks in three weeks.  I think I stopped blogging then because I was so overwhelmed.


-The first week of October was crazy busy as I got ready for the Women Techmakers Launch party as the lead of the group.  I had the launch at TechArtista and way more people than expected showed up!
-While I was prepping for that, I was also preparing for Amanda’s Doctor Who themed bridal shower.  I made Tardis invitations, and my friend Amy was in town visiting for a zine fest and she made Dalek and Tardis shortbread cookies. The bridal shower was super fun.
-I got a scholarship to go to the Grace Hopper conference again in Houston!  I used my fancy nail stamping techniques to have circuit board nails!  I tweeted about it, and it was a crazy surprise when they talked about my tweet in the closing keynote for the conference.
-My friend Anya was also at the conference and we got to hang out the entire time.  Google hosted some awesome parties, and I got to create an emoji that then got printed on a latte.  I also got to sit in a driverless Google car.  I had a lot of fun visiting old friends and making new friends.
-Mark flew to Houston and visited NASA, and then we drove to Austin so he could meet my grandparents and other family members.
-We ended the month by hosting a Halloween party where I dressed as a raccoon.


-I taught a two-day Software Carpentry workshop at the National Society of Black Engineer’s Fall Regional Conference in Atlanta!  My class was awesome and so excited about learning to code and making a difference in the world.  While I was there, I got to visit Cam^2.  I also go to visit the World of Coke where I bought far too much Coke merchandise.
-My friends hosted a Hamilton party where I got to bust out my Ren Faire dress and pretend like it fit in the Hamilton era.  We belted out Hamilton songs like no one’s business.
-On Election Day, I wore my pantsuit in honor of Hilary Clinton.  I was crushed at the election results.  It still feels like my heart was split open to be honest.  I’ve never had so many conversations about not being white or being a woman than I have had after the election.
-The day after the election, I was on the Greater Than Code podcast.
-I made baklava!  So much baklava.  It was amazing!  We took it to our Thanksgiving with the Hainline family.
-Cait and Snow visited for Thanksgiving, and we had our Thanksgiving dinner on Friday with Rob, Rob’s dad, and John.  It was the first Thanksgiving dinner that I made on my own, and I made two chickens instead of a turkey.  I think it went well overall!
-Cait, Snow, Mark, Hilary, and I went to see Fun Home at the Fox.  I laughed so hard I cried.
-We pulled out our tv to watch Gilmore Girls!  I couldn’t sleep after that ending.   I talked to so many people I had lost touch with after the end of Gilmore Girls.  It was truly amazing except for that stupid musical in the middle of it.
-Cait, Snow, Mark, and I all made bears at Build-A-Bear.  I made a stuffed Nemo.  We went to the Garden Glow at the Botanical Gardens, and it was my first light show.  It was gorgeous.
-I was on a team for two weeks and then I got switched to a different Swift team that needed more help. It was kind of a weird month for being on different teams but I am so grateful for those two weeks on that one team.  The guys on that team were so welcoming and awesome.  I even convinced them to take a fun selfie in the meditation room at work.  My new team which is also my current team is working with Asynchrony’s parent company WWT.  It’s been fun so far because the WWT team was the same team that Mark had worked on when he used to work there.


-I got super cute raccoon pajamas, and Mark was not impressed.
-I learned that people use licorice as straws to drink soda.  I still have not tried this.
-Mark, Ashley, and I saw Finding Neverland at the Fox Theater
-I went to New York with Ashley for a weekend.  I gave my Unconscious Bias talk at AlterConf which was in the Microsoft building in Time Square.
-Ashley and I explored New York after the conference was over.  We had New York pizza, New York cheesecake, and New York style bagels.  We went to Rockefeller Center to see the huge Christmas tree and then we went to Broadway to watch Chicago.  The next day, we walked around Battery Park, accidentally walked to the Trump building where we saw iPad selfie sticks, and ended our day exploring an awesome used book store and shopping in SoHo.  We also got cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery and Georgetown Cupcake (which was probably one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had).
-We got a huge group of friends together and saw Rogue One in theaters.  I think I bought tickets for two rows in the back of the theater.
-For my December baking spree, I made over a hundred chocolate-covered pretzels and brought them to work to share with everyone.
-This year, the first snow happened in December, and we had our ice cream for dinner as per Katerberg tradition.
-Mark decided that we could only spend $3.50 on each other’s Christmas presents.  I painted Mark two Magic cards.
-We went to San Francisco for Christmas break.  Mark and I visited my SF friends, and then the rest of his family arrived in San Francisco.  We saw the tree in Union Square and Mark angled us in front of the tree so that you could catch a little bit of the Neiman Marcus sign in it, too.  We drove to Bodega Bay/Dillon Beach, and stayed in a large beach house for the rest of break.  Mark and I were in charge of dinner the first night, and Mark had a great chance to use his free Chipotle catering for 20.  I got to see the stars at night, sit in the trunk of the van with a Mark-arm seatbelt, and partake in the Katerberg Christmas traditions.  Mark’s mom knitted us all booties, and we’re very grateful because our wood floors are super cold at home.
-On the way back, I ran into Karly at the airport for the second time this month.  Ashley and I had run into her in New Jersey when we were flying back to St. Louis, and this time Mark and I ran into her at the San Francisco airport.  Small world!
-Mark and I dressed up nicely for a New Year’s party to end the year!

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