And don't forget to make a wish. 

The other night, on one of these last evenings of the year 2015, I was walking along the streets of a little Eastern European city. People were rushing somewhere, so was I. I was on the way to the very last fashion event of the year - a presentation of a charming collection created in collaboration between Red Salt label, ruled by Latvian designer Indra Salcevica, and lace-fabric store Lace to Love. This time I was feeling more special. Was it due to the fact my hair flow was just the way  I wanted. Or was it due to the fact I added red lipstick to my make-up of the evening. I don't know. I was walking along the streets covered with thin layer of, probably, last snow of 2015 and decorated with lots of festive lights. And suddenly I felt it this...

...the feeling I was truly lacking these last two years. The feeling of own self. And now, looking back at this whole year, looking through these images I realize that 2015 was all about the search of what I lost along the way some time ago. My very own self. And a sense of the moment. Pictures have this interesting feature of telling it all without saying a word. I am super glad for undertaking a serious direction on my good old Practical Queen AP blog (that's going to turn 5 years in April!) this year as it helped me to realize how can I apply a big amount of knowledge I collected while at Istituto Marangoni. In general terms, the year of 2015 for Practical Queen AP was about broadening the content boarders and creation of almost 260 stories, both visual and written ones.

More broadly speaking, this year marked with a number of interesting, also educational projects we made with Baltic designers. Primarily, the list consists of Latvian names, but as long as we have pulled quite a big project with Lithuanian brand siLversands, it should be fair enough to team creatives up into a powerful group of Baltic designers. Yes, siLversands was one of those brands who we, both me and you, had to discover throughout the past six months. Minimalistic-ly artistic approach of LIENE LINKE, simplicity with a twist translated by means of leather bags by KUMMA, capsule collections of Ava Garden's sarafans and footwear with its own character by SAZ - these are purely fresh fashion names that invaded Latvian fashion in 2015. Yet, the two names of Atelier Kristīne and RECYCLED.LV are quite widely known to Latvian inhabitants, but I hasten to suggest to some of you they might have come as a little discovery.

Apart from Baltic names, this year also marked with several foreign partnerships, little but still quite big in a sense. You surely do remember an essential attribute of my fashion intellectual, right? Yes, the Firmoo glasses that I still keep wearing literally all the time. It just brings the feeling of the added value to my inner geek, you know. Then came an outstanding experience with DealSale app. Am still overwhelmed by beauty finds that turned my make-up routine into a pleasant adventure I'm looking forward to every morning and night. I can't ignore the last two-chapter'ed project we created together with REBUS concept store while in Moscow. So many new fashion names from France, Korea, UK and more, and all in one place. Plus, REBUS team selected me as one of their favorite inspirational personalities for the UP/PERSON project. You can check our little interview/talk HERE.

An important place in 2015 was overtaken by FARFETCH, one of the leading online retailers worldwide, with whom we teamed up and hosted a few good competitions. I hope you all enjoyed the latest one, the festive giveaway with a huge shopping spree prize. Am highly honored to have this company on track and be able to bring together something new. And I can't be even more happy to slightly open the door into a New Year and share with you my excitement over the fact we are about to kick a partnership with another big online retail player. Can't wait to tell you more about it, but let's leave it a special festive secret for now. Fingers crossed, as always!

Travels have been quite a big source of inspiration. Inspiration that later on turned into unforgettable visual moments and colorful written stories. The brightest one? It's impossible to stress out only one. To me every single 'Trip o Latvia' chapter is memorable, be it beloved Jelgava or windy Liepāja or any other place. Lots of hidden Latvian gems are yet to be discovered in the future. I can't wait already for weather to get much warmer to hit the road of big Eastern European discoveries. And Moscow trip. It was long awaited and well spent. This city is to be explored more and I sincerely hope a new chance to meet the Third Rome is coming in 2016, many new chances... Because we don't believe in tears, right Moscow?

The year of 2015 was highly rich on behind the scenes experiences. The two main ones include the Habitus contest for emerging designers, where a friend of mine, Katerina Zhigulich, was representing her university with tender collection 'Frost in Spring' decorated with lots of hand embroidery, and the newest exhibition 'Invitation to the Centenary Ball' delivered by Alexandre Vassiliev. I've always been thrilled by fashion industry's kitchen and all processes that usually stay away from the public, and I've always wanted to experience it myself. Thankfully, such chances happened to come my way. And if the Habitus experience left me puzzled with the question what type of modern fashion is being nurtured here, in Latvia, the time spent among exclusive vintage pieces from Vassiliev's collection made me realize the actual scale of the contribution the fashion historian is making.

Among all said above there is one thing I consider to have the biggest impact on me this year. Yes, the writing side of mine. You know the ability of just letting it all out, I mean thoughts, ideas, opinions, is such a true happiness. Thoughts keep popping in my mind all the time. I can literally spend days writing stories. Obviously there are these days when I don't feel like writing, when the flow of thoughts is somewhere far far away. But I can't imagine my life without writing anymore. Of course understanding I'm good at it didn't come to me on one beautiful, sunny morning. It came with time, when completely different people started pointing it out. Readers, friends, acquaintances... but the most confidence came after I heard encouraging words from industry's professionals, like fashion historian Alexandre Vassiliev and fashion designer Dima Neu. Sincerely, those words are unforgettable.

My concentration on writing also brought me to something totally new, exciting and big. It brought me to a position of a columnist of an emerging international project WV MAGAZINE. To me it's a sort of a challenge to finally reveal more, open up about topics I am not that brave to talk about here. Simply because of different directions of the two digital areas. You know I can never say 'No' to an opportunity when it's really thrilling and when I believe in it with all my heart. Well, that's probably the answer to the question what's so special about the WV MAGAZINE. The team and the idea. 

And, finally, here comes the most unexpected moment of 2015. I named it, well, people named it 'Back to studies'. Yes, in one of my latest stories I shared this experience am currently undertaking with ART ME education center. Funny how I realized I missed this study routine exactly when I came across the application form for the 'International Fashion Business' program back in early November. Haven't yet finished the course, but am already filled with new stuff from head to toes, seriously. And am actually cherishing this idea of undertaking some more studies in 2016. Any plans already? Yes, I do have a couple. Let's leave it in my head for now.

Well, I guess that's it. Looks like 2015 was a really diverse year filled with a lot of unforgettable moments, uplifting turns and serious lessons. Am now scrolling once again through the selection of images I did support this big story with and you know I feel like smiling, jumping and dancing. It was a productive year that brought me back to my own self. I don't know what 2016 prepared for all of us. But I hope it's going to be rich on big, serious challenges that will help each and every of us discover that hidden potential to change the world. At the end of the day, that's what we are doing -  bringing changes to each others lives and the world. I know I don't say it that often, but I want to thank all of you for coming here, reading written stories, looking through visual ones, leaving heartwarming comments and spreading the love. For joining the adventure. More is yet to come in 2016! Happy New Year and may all your wildest dreams come true! See you on the other side, fire monkeys...

Photo Courtesy: Practical Queen AP