2014: Year In Review

I love a good Year In Review! Don’t believe me? See Also: 2013 and 2012 and even some meme style 2008 and 2007 reviews. (Guess I got lazy in 2009-11 HA!)

While it is very easy to come to the end of the year and think about all those resolutions that you many not have stuck to, I think it’s more fun to look back and reflect on all of the awesomeness the year brought.

2014 was a tough year for me, but there were moments that were completely fist-bump-worthy. So let’s talk about those…mmmkay?

*****
January started off with the Nom Nom Paleo book release party down in San Francisco. Michelle and Henry sure do know how to throw a great party. The details and the extra touches were so on point! Not to mention that the cookbook itself was GORGEOUS!

best book launch

We had such a fun time with everyone we hung out with, but man does time fly! I can’t believe it’s already been a year. YEESH!

Best excuse

I also talked in detail about my updated skincare routine (a lot of which I still use) and we started watching Veronica Mars in hopes that it would replace the gaping hole that Dawson’s Creek had left after watching the final episode. (Spoiler Alert: it did not. Garrett LOVED VMars, I thought it was good, but not addicting.)

best skin

Then it was on to February, and the most notable thing here was that I became the kind of person who writes Valentine’s cards to their spouse FROM THE DOG. (WHUT?)

what have i become

But let’s be real…Garrett didn’t mind. That dog has his heart like nothing else! <3

best human pillow

In March I discovered what would become my most favorite breakfast this year:

best breakfast

The lazy woman’s version of Fed and Fit’s Breakfast Salad. YUM! I must have had this a million times this year and it’s still THE BOMB! Sadly, I would give up the coffee part a few months later, but the salad is for sure here to stay.

The weather in April was unseasonably warm and dry and while the State of California would be reasonably worried about a drought, I couldn’t help but enjoy the blue skies all spring long.

skyline

In May we took a huge step in pet ownership (helicopter dog parent alert!) and took Buster to be professionally groomed. We had been sort of nervous previously to just drop him off with a stranger and a pair of clippers, but after he came home looking so ding-dang cute, we kept it up all year long.

fluffernutter

Speaking of grooming, I may have also outed my lip product addiction in May.

addiction admission

It’s the first step, y’all. It’s the first step. :)

All those things were great, but let’s be honest. The thing that will forever be etched in my mind about May of 2014:

Best actual moment

I’m forever in debt to my cousin Gina for capturing this whole thing going down. Man, it almost brings tears to my eyes seeing this. I’m so happy to have these shots forever.

June was a whirlwind of travel, which unfortunately meant I was glued to my phone. The upside was this amazing gem of a discovery on Instagram:
Insta Discovery

I must say “Oh, Tuna!” out loud at least once a week. Don’t judge.

July meant it was time for my mom and I to take our first road trip together!

thelma

I can not underscore enough how special that was. Just two crazy ladies and the open road. Man we had a killer weekend.

sunset beach bunnies

In August we spent a ton of time with friends, which was so great! We hit up a Roaring 20s themed party which required a costume and both Garrett and I ordered super cheapy things off Amazon two days before the event. Saved by Amazon Prime, once again! :)

50 cent flapper

We also welcomed a new appliance to our kitchen
kitchen companion

The feeling of smugness that comes with drinking a giant glass of vegetables came free with purchase. :)

In September we came to terms with the fact that Garrett and I just don’t do very well with selfies.
selfies

Thank god we are all but REQUIRED to hire a professional for the wedding.

Speaking of weddings, we went to 3 weddings in October. WHAT??? I know. At one of the weddings the Best Man busted out this amazing prom photo from 15 years ago because all of the boys in this photo were in attendance. All us ladies had a SERIOUS laugh!

best man visual

Such a gem.

November was full of lots of lovely family moments, but it was also filled with potty humor after I bought this for our bathroom:

cheeky bathroom decor

And I guess that’s probably as good of a place as any to end this year in review. :)

I don’t want to sugar coat it — I will be happy to see this year go. In between all of this good stuff there were so many crazy uphill battles. But the important part, at the end of the year, is to look back and see all of those battles fading off into the distance while these joyous moments are staring right at me in full color.

See ya around, 2014.

On to whatever is next.

Readers: How Do You Do It?

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I mentioned recently that I really struggled to read this year. My ratio of books checked out from the library to books actually read is EMBARRASSING. In 2015 I want to get back to it, but I feel a little out of practice — you know what I mean?

I was hoping if you are a reader (and I am using that term very broadely to describe all people who read books for pleasure — there are no “number of books read” pre-requisites or anything) that you would do me a solid and answer the following questions just for fun:

1. When do you do the most reading? (Mornings, evenings, weekends only, etc)

2. Do you have reading goals or do you just fly by the seat of your pants?

3. Where is your favorite place to get book recommendations?

4. Are you a library person or do you buy most of your books?

5. Do you use an eReader/Kindle?

6. How many books, on average, do you read every year?

7. Any other helpful advice, I’m all ears!

*****

You are not being graded on this I promise, I’m just curious how you all are getting it done. :) Thanks, friends!

2014 Goals — How’d I do?

2014 Goals

So I set some goals this year, but I was much less aggressive about them than I’ve been in years past. I wasn’t sure if I would even work toward them given that I was feeling so exhausted at the beginning of this year.

Luckily I did work toward them! And while I didn’t come close to finishing everything, I did make some pretty good progress, so I always think it’s fun to look back and reflect.

******

Read 40 books (15 of which you already own, please.)

So…reading was one of my biggest challenges this year. I read THREE books this year. I mean typing that out just blows my mind! That feels weird right now and it felt weird as it was happening. You know how sometimes you get to the end of the year and you’re like “Huh, I didn’t even realize I didn’t do that thing I wanted to do?” Well this was NOT like that at all. I struggled with this goal all year long and missed reading with a fiery passion. So much so I bought myself an e-reader for Christmas! Hopefully that will kickstart 2015?

Keep A Quote Blog
I did actually do that on my tumblr while I was reading, but you can guess that the success of this is directly related to that book-reading goal that I epically failed, so…

More lunch dates with friends
While I didn’t do this as much as I would like (let’s be real, I’d like to be a “lady who lunches” multiple times per week) I do feel like I did make a concerted effort to lunch with people I wanted to see as often as possible. This will carry into 2015 because nurturing my relationships feels more important than ever to me right now.

Paint my nails more
This goal? I totally nailed it. See what I did there.  :)
New Nail Polish OBSESSION (Julep Flora.) it's a weird pinky purple and I ❤️ it!

Take Buster on more walks
Boys are jogging the track // Girls are running the bleacher stairs.

My walks with Buster kept me sane this year, and actually I will say this year I fell in love with walking. It always seemed to me to be such a waste of time to just…WALK. I don’t know. I’m a high intensity person, walking just never appealed to me. But I have enjoyed being outside, with my feet on the ground, doing a nice thing for my beloved pooch, with nothing but the sidewalk and my thoughts (Ok, and podcasts!) to keep me company. So glad I made an effort to do this.

Take a trip with my mom

My lunch date is cute! #MomsRule

My mom and I took our first EVER IN LIFE girls trip, just the two of us back in July. To celebrate her 60th birthday we headed down to the Central Coast for for days of sun and lounging and hot springs and shopping and OHMYGOD WE ARE DOING IT AGAIN THIS YEAR, WE MUST!

Find a TV series to watch with Garrett to replace the void that finishing Dawson’s Creek has left (WEEP!)

We began two series’ this year that came highly recommended: Veronica Mars and Gilmore Girls. We enjoyed starting both. Neither are finished. Unfortunately there is just no replacing the void of Dawson, I guess.

Get regular about meditation
Nah. And frankly I’m sick of hearing about it on the internet so whether I do or don’t succeed in this endeavor, I’m probably done talking about it. :)

BUY MORE THINGS!
Here’s what I initially said about this goal:

This probably sounds weird, and I’ll get into it more in another post, but in the past few years I have really culled many areas of my life down to the bare necessities in an attempt to weed out crap I don’t need. It’s been liberating and awesome. So now that I have a better idea of the “things” that are meaningful and that I enjoy using (necessities AND creature comforts), I want to make sure I find the Holy Grail versions. In short, this requires buying things.

A few sampling of the list:

*****Find the perfect pair of high end aviators
Nope.

*****Replace bedroom and living room rugs
Nope. Home decor feels so overwhelming to me. But THIS IS THE YEAR I SWEAR.

*****Buy a bed frame. Because you aren’t in college and haven’t been for almost 10 years.
HAHAHA NOPE.

*****Buy a new refrigerator
Nope.

****So basically I bought nothing I set out to buy, but I do feel like I upgraded a lot of other areas of my life, so whatever. I bought some things. Mostly skin care products, electronics, lip products and workout clothes. I guess that pretty accurately sums up my priorities. LOL *****

Redecorate the guest bathroom
I did this! I did this! Although it mostly consisted of buying matching towels/shower curtain, and hanging some cheeky art. And yes, if you are wondering – I did buy this and hang it:
Considering buying this at Target to hang up in my bathroom. This is why I am not an interior designer.

Find a non-cheesy, non-trite way to display photos in our home
I displayed more photos in our house, but not that many more. Mostly because we didn’t take that many. Although with a wedding forthcoming I feel like we are about to have WAY more photos around, so maybe I’ll add that to this year’s list again.

Get better at buffering
This idea spoke to me in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS at the beginning of the year.

Honestly I kept it in mind a lot. I’m going to cross it off because I did “get better.” But honestly I’m still at like a B-.

Host a family get together
Nope. But I attended quite a few.

Less Coffee // More Herbal Tea
Well I would call this one checked off in bold sharpie as I no longer drink coffee at all. And OHMYGAWD it is still so sad. But also so much better!

Send a god damn Christmas Card
Yeah, buddy! Finally!

Brighten up my workout attire
Because this really resonated with me.
Untitled
Check and check! And I just keep trying new, brighter things. #babysteps #jellybean

Explore some different clothing brands
I totally stepped out of my comfort zone this year and bought lots of new brands to me. I don’t know that I really felt like I dressed any better or worse this year but it was fun to find some new stuff.

*****

Good stuff, 2014. Good stuff.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Card Assembly Line
I sent out Christmas cards a few weeks ago from Garrett and I (SCORE! FINALLY!) and at the last minute I decided to include a link to this website because I thought for friends and family far away it might be fun to be check in once in a while to see how our little family is doing outside of a once a year greeting card.

It seemed like a good idea at the time but then I was making my list of people to give them to I kept coming across a weird subsection of people that I just didn’t feel like advertising this space too: “My boss? Yeaaaaah, hmmm…probably not.”  Not that I say anything crazy offensive here, but you know what I mean, right? RIGHT. Anyway, eventually they all got out the door and I didn’t really think another thing of it.

But then I realized that for a few days the leading story on this site was about my ER trip and I wanted to send out a mass email that said: FAMILY AND FRIENDS I DON’T NORMALLY TALK ABOUT MY OVARIES HERE! SWEARSIES! But instead I mostly just patted myself on the back again for having the forethought not to send that particular card to my boss. :)

I can’t believe tomorrow is Christmas!As such, I’m going to utter the most repeated phrase of the last few weeks: Where the heck has this year gone? 2014 and I had a complicated relationship. There were so, so many highs! But sometimes when the highs get higher, the lows feel lower, you know? Complex seems like the best word to use as I look back in reflection.

The next couple of days are going to fly by in a whirlwind of friends and family and I plan to take time to just savor those interactions and marinate a little bit about what I want 2015 to look like. The last two years have been a real challenge for me, and I feel confident and excited about what’s to come.

I’ve spent the last 6 months of this year a little bit quieter than usual here because I have allowed the noise in my head and in my life to dominate. I have had some wonderfully enlightening experiences this year. I have had some great success. I have failed spectacularly — epically, even. Overall, I have learned some good lessons.

There is so much good stuff on the horizon I can’t help but feel energized and excited to see it unfold. For those of you who have stuck around here during this tough couple of years: Thank you. You have given me perspective, support, advice, and most importantly your comments and encouragement have made me laugh hysterically and feel like the world is just the tiniest bit smaller and less overwhelming.

Happiest of holidays to you and your families. I hope I can return the favor in 2015!

xo,

Holly, Garrett + Buster

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PS – Before the end of the year I’m going to try and do some annual recapping and then I will DEFINITELY be posting some goals for 2015. I’ve been a little lax about them the last couple of years and I miss it – so if you are into that sort of thing: it’s coming!

So Let’s Talk About Fun Things, eh?

So that last post was kind of a downer — week from hell, YUCK! But November didn’t end with all doom and gloom I promise, it was just that one week. Once I got to my mom’s, was on vacation from work, and spent some time with family things started looking right up! Me and Mom

Hanging with my mom for a few days while Garrett was out of town meant a lot of relaxing, a lot of giggling, A LOT of online shopping (Black Friday — OOF! But as you might know, my mom is a professional shopping enabler) and a lot of terrible tv watching.

We both really love indulging in bad reality tv and doing it together? EVEN BETTER!  :) The time I spent out at her house made me officially addicted to Kim of Queens. OMG, do you watch this? It’s so bad it’s good and it may be my new obsession!

Fall

We didn’t spend ALL our time inside watching terrible reality tv though, I promise. We took Buster on lots of walks and really enjoyed all of the fall foliage. I know it’s cliche, but honestly this totally *is* the most wonderful time of year – especially here in California.

Fall Dog Walkin!

It’s brisk outside, you definitely want to have on a jacket or perhaps a scarf, but it is still really pleasant to be outside. My mom lives around a golf course and lots of people were outside and there was relaxing energy out there.  I really really enjoyed myself, and of course so did Buster.

Happy Thanksgiving from my little snuggle pup!

(He gets to sleep in a King Sized bed at Grandma’s and boy does he take up every possible inch!)

We spent Thanksgiving with my aunt and uncle and although it was small (and I definitely missed my grandma) we had a really delicious meal: Turkey, my uncle’s famous stuffing (OMG, I dream about it all year long), sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts with bacon, and this year we made this heavily pinned autumn chopped salad.

I was in charge of the greenery.

Seriously: GO MAKE THAT SALAD.

For Thanksgiving we skipped the bacon (WHAT?) since we were having bacon in our brussels sprouts and it was amazing! Last night I made it for Garrett because it was so dang good and he had missed it at Thanksgiving. I skipped the bacon again because this time I served with sliced pork belly on top. It was like a 20 minute meal and so incredibly BOMB! I really enjoy the pork belly from Trader Joe’s. It’s affordable, convenient (and most importantly) HELLA DELISH. :)

Anyway, good stuff happened and I felt like it was worth sharing. What did your Thanksgiving menu look like?

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

To Do 1

Well I did mostly ok on my Nablopomo-esque blogging until about mid month. I hit our anniversary on November 17th and then that was about it.

Our anniversary fell on the Monday of what I would basically call Hell Week. (How celebratory! HA) It happened the week before Thanksgiving, and boy am I grateful for that anniversary and the tasty shrimp dinner we had (recipe coming soon!) because it was nice to have that mellow night together because come Tuesday the week went downhill real quick.

Brief Recap:

Tuesday of Hell Week: Both Garrett and I had Big! Important! Work! Things! that were going to be happening on Wednesday morning so Tuesday was sort of a wash of preparation, and nervously encouraging each other from opposite ends of the couch. Garrett had an interview the following day for a big promotion and I had a 10 minute presentation that was a culminating project for a year long Leadership Development program that I was selected to participate in at work.

Both important things.

Both happening on the same day.

AT THE EXACT SAME TIME.

Oh man, it was so poorly timed it was almost kind of funny. ALMOST.

Also: that Tuesday we had a little snafu finalizing our contract for our wedding venue. We had expected to have a full bar and the contract read beer and wine only and for a second it was almost a deal breaker. NOT STRESSFUL AT ALL. YEESH!

In the end we ended up pleading our case (I think the fact that we are old people who work in insurance and finance helped. Yes, we’d like to throw a party with scotch, but NO, we don’t plan to be serving shots at the bar) so it all worked out.

It was an inopportune night for all of that to go down, let me tell ya! But in the end, we have a wedding venue! (I’ve been hunting online for photographers who have shot at this location and this was a fun one if you want to get an idea of where we’re getting hitched.)

flower farm wedding

Wednesday of Hell Week: I was up at 3:30am because: HEY-O ANXIETY. I’m not a good sleeper when I’m nervous, so I thought hey, why not design a Christmas Card and check something off that has been on your list of annual goals FOR-LIKE-EVER, and actually send some them out this year. (CHECK!)

It seemed like a reasonable thing to do at the time. :)

Garrett slept in a little longer (he is actually a hibernating bear when he is anxious which makes me so, so jealous!) and as we got ready in the morning it was like you could cut the anxiety tension with a knife. Both of us just kept looking at each other like “Hey” :::shallow breathing:::  “You’re going to do great”  :::weak, half smile::: It was so sad and funny. I think we really realized how much we count on each other for moral support during tough times because we were both nervous nellies and could hardly muster the energy to support each other when usually one of us is doing cheerleader style pep talks. It was a weird morning.

But in the end, my speech? Went off without a hitch. And Garrett’s interview?  Well HE GOT THE JOB. Woooo Hooo (But we didn’t know that until 10 days later.) Wednesday night neither of us wanted to cook so we grabbed some takeout and came home to spend some quality time with the pooch since you can imagine we weren’t as cuddly as usual with all that stuff going on. Oh, and also — Garrett had to pack.

Yep, the following day Garrett was hopping on a plane to go see his parents in New Mexico for TEN DAYS.  After such a crazy week it felt like craptacular timing! We were just about to have time to exhale and pay attention to each other, but instead…

Thursday of Hell Week: We woke up at 3:45am because Garrett’s flight out left at an ungodly hour. It worked out just fine though because I had to be at work early that day because among other things I had meetings every hour on the hour and needed to play catch up before being completely occupied and “on” all day. When I got home Thursday night I was so exhausted and all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with Garrett and catch a movie but our house was super quiet and empty which felt weird and un-relaxing.

Whats That Noise_edited-2

What’s That Noise? Is it my dad?

And Buster was a raging lunatic dog (missing Garrett, of course, which always makes him a little on edge.) Also, on Thursday night I was sitting on the couch when I heard a random popping noise coming from my abdominal area. It was out of nowhere and sort of painful and I MEAN REALLY? I was too tired to deal with it so I went to bed.

Friday of Hell Week: My plan was to work a half day because I was going to get some errands done Friday afternoon. As you can imagine I was not at all productive during the week with so much work and life shiz going on, so I was planning to annihilate my ever growing To Do List after a few Friday meetings. Of course when I woke up Friday morning that mystery abdominal pain had gotten worse. It wasn’t excruciating or anything so I figured I’d just make myself a little coffee and deal with it in the afternoon.

Ah yes, coffee. Did I mention I started full on drinking glorious, glorious caffeinated coffee Wednesday morning. All I can say is that I wouldn’t have gotten through Friday without it. It was like superhero juice. I went back to caffeine free living by Saturday, but holy hell I miss it. It’s like Day and Night. :(

Anyway, so Friday — I hit up my meetings and the pain was getting worse so I called the Advice Nurse and talked through my problems and she was like “Oh hey, Mystery Abdominal Pain, yeah you need to head over to the Emergency Room like ASAP” and by late afternoon when Garrett texted me “TGIF are you totally ready to enjoy your Friday night of the craziest week ever?”  I just texted back this picture with the caption “Change of Plans.”

ER Face

Cliffs Notes on the ER: Ruptured Ovarian Cyst.

WONDERFUL. (I’m still questioning that diagnoses, but that’s a whole other story.) So instead of spending my Friday night having a glass of wine with my honey, I was sock-less in a cold ER asking questions like “You’re going to put that Ultra Sound wand WHERE?”

Yeaaaaaaaaah, not ideal.

 

*****

So, all of that to say: That was the week I didn’t “make time” to blog, and while I wish I would have popped in to say hello I’m pretty sure anything I wrote from that week would have been 1000+ words that equated to WTF? On Saturday, still feeling super craptastic, I packed up my comfy clothes and my pup and headed out to my mom’s house to pretty much pull a Back Home Baller type situation until Thanksgiving.

I was bummed because I missed out on some plans that I had made, but honestly, after that crazy week – a little parental TLC was just what the doctor ordered.

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