2014: The Year That Was…

I realize we are officially one week into 2015, but I never actually shared a review of 2014. I think that was mostly due to the fact that I wasn’t wholly impressed with 2014. Yes, lots of great things happened (like my new job!), but I didn’t feel like I had moved forward a lot. I realize now that’s simply untrue. I just didn’t move at the pace I wanted, which made me eager to start 2015 and my 2015 goals (as you already know!).

But, I should never wish away time. So here’s a very quick look back at 2014.

WordPress had this to say about my 2014. Looks like everyone was super keen to learn about my Grumpy Cat painted pumpkin. In fairness, it was pretty rad.

Wordpress 2014 Review

WordPress 2014 Review

I did knock a lot of my 2014 goals, such as:

  • Completing year 2 of The Happiness Project
  • Improving my career (yay!)
  • Repairing my right knee…again
  • Traveling to 3 international destinations!
  • And knocking out the remaining items on my DC bucket list

But there were also a few things that either didn’t happen or just fell short:

  • Running that elusive 10-miler
  • Saying yes to everything (because I learned that saying NO, is just as important)
  • And I only made it to 17 books, not the full 25 I had hoped.

Truthfully, I’m not disappointed at all. Mainly because I’m still actively working on being a better version of myself. I’ll always have goals in motion. Plus, I did manage to read some really amazing books – both for my book club, but also for myself and my career. Here’s a little visual display from Goodreads.

Read in 2014

Read in 2014

If you get a chance to pick up a spare book, here are my top 3 of 2014:

3. Walkable City
2. The Night Circus OR What Alice Forgot
1. Who Moved My Cheese?

Ok, so that’s technically 4, but you know what…it’s my blog :) Anyways, I’m really excited to keep on reading. Mostly because I’m really driven this year to read industry books as well as fiction/non-fiction. My work has a great little library going and I’m currently working my way through an entire stack. Plus, I’m always creepin’ Cranky’s Goodreads; so if you have any must-read suggestions, leave me a comment!

There were definitely times this past year where I was just over it. 100%, without a doubt, done. And I just couldn’t wait to move past where I was. In fact, I was giddy with excitement for 2015, but I saw this the other week as everyone made their resolutions to make 2015 better than the last and when I read it – I felt thankful. Truly, for where I’m at. I’ll get to where I’m going, one day. Happy 2015!

2014 in a nutshell

2014 in a nutshell

Apartment: 2015 Check-in

It’s been about 3 months since we last had a look at the state of my apartment. We’re in a similar holding pattern as last time: saving money, waiting to find items that won’t break the bank, etc. I did add a few new pieces (to be revealed later in this post), but I guess what I really wanted to share was the panoramic pictures I just took.

I don’t know why I haven’t done it before, but this really gives you a sense of my space. I’m still in love with it as always. It feels clean (as opposed to cluttered) and I feel like it really does reflect who I am with all my trinkets from my travels.

First up, the bedroom and half of the living room. This is the side you’ve probably seen the most of in previous posts. To capture this view, I was standing in front of the bar/kitchen counter, which also leads into my work space. You may need to click to enlarge.

Apartment Pano #1

Apartment Pano #1

Looking at my list from last time, nothing really new has been added here. I think it’s safe to say curtains probably aren’t happening and I just haven’t really been actively looking for small rugs to add.

Bedroom

  • Buy white duvet cover
  • Buy 4 standard, white pillow cases
  • Add 2 decorative pillows
  • Add decorative mirror or framed graphic over bed
  • Add small rugs next to bed (maybe)
  • Add picture frame shelving next to windowΒ 
  • Add soft curtains (idea nixed)

Here’s where we left off in the living room and this is definitely one of the areas where I’ve made a decent amount of progress, particularly with my gallery wall. It’s still not complete which is why it hasn’t been crossed out. I’m also on the fence of buying a storage ottoman as I have the basket that sits next to my couch, but I’ve left it there for now. If anything, I’d rather have a small side table (I’ve added and updated the list below). I’ve also officially added a bar car to my wish list, but that definitely won’t happen for another month or so!

Living room

  • Buy couch/loveseat
  • Add slipper chair if room
  • Add graphic rug
  • Add something on back wall over couch
  • Frame out TV on long dresser and add picture wall (in progress)
  • Add lighting (just updated lamp shade on existing lamp instead!)
  • Add small storage ottoman OR small side table
  • Add fun bar cart – NEW item added
Apartment Pano #2

Apartment Pano #2

Again, click to enlarge. This angle was captured standing in the entry area in front of my door. For a close up of that gallery wall, see below. Lamp shade was updated in my last round of updates and the long mirror has been there for several months, but since then I’ve added the following:

  • A new planted pot (1 of many I’ve added throughout the past few months)
  • 3 framed postcards from San Francisco
  • An antique tin (far top right) I just bought in Charleston
  • Framed my artwork from Vietnam (long center piece in the middle)
  • 3 funky little illustrated pieces I found in Boston in October
Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall

As for my work space, there haven’t really been any updates other than me organizing it a bit. I technically made one update by making it functional for work and crafts by adding the white cabinet on the far wall, but that’s proven more handy for storage than for crafting. Since my new job, I don’t really need to work here anymore, but I do strive to keep it organized. Here’s how the space looks now:

Work space

  • Update desk
  • Update work area to be functional for both work and crafts
  • Update desk chair
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Work Space – Jan 2015

Other minor updates include the metal magazine rack I found in the dumpster at my apartment building (resourceful!) and I had another piece of art framed from Vietnam (floating red piece). I’d say I’ll likely buy an updated chair before I make any changes to the desk. While it doesn’t match the white shelves, the wood coloring isn’t far off from my other furniture.

And last up, the entry. This didn’t need much updating, but I did add a coat rack and a mirror. The mirror was harder to find than you’d think, maybe just because I didn’t want something huge and didn’t want to pay a fortune. I found this mirror at Kirklands and got it for less than $20 on a Black Friday Sale – WIN!

The other decorations there are from the Young House Love Target collection. (RIP YHL blog) Love my little octopus key holder and my DIY coat rack with geometrical knobs. I painted it the same color as my bookshelves.

Entry Way

Entry Way

Entry

  • Add graphics, small mirrors, etc to wall at entry
Mirror & Coat Rack - up close

Mirror & Coat Rack – up close

And that’s all I have for you! As I find a few more things to add to my space, you know I’ll be sure to take a picture and share with you at some point!

I’m just really proud to call it my own :) Ah, the simple joys of being an adult!

Weekend Review: Christmas 2014

I know I’m a little late on this one, but I wanted to share my Christmas adventures with everyone. Long story short, we decided to do a mini-getaway with the family. While I’d been to Charleston – who am I to say no to fun and travel?

My sister, her kids, and my mom went for the entire week, but I went down Christmas Eve and stayed through the weekend. My sister is notorious for planning every possible second of every day, so I got to see lots of fun things!

On our first day, we visited Magnolia Plantation. I carried Gabe around like he was mine. My ovaries were shouting, GIMME GIMME! But also – isn’t he adorable?

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Auntie M & Gabe

Magnolia Plantation is basically a old Civil War Plantation that has been converted into gardens and a tourist mecca. In fairness, it is beautiful. Below – parts of the garden and the plantation house.

Famed white bridge over the lake/swamp

Famed white bridge over the lake/swamp

Magnolia Plantation House

Magnolia Plantation House

The second day I was there, we spent the day walking around Charleston and finding fun items at the markets. My mom loved those sweet grass baskets. I found an awesome vintage tin for my gallery wall in my apartment. But here’s a cute pic of my 2 nephews:

From L to R: Gabe, Auntie M, and Matthew

From L to R: Gabe, Auntie M, and Matthew

On my last day there, we went to a tea plantation and then to the Angel Oak Tree. The tea plantation was clearly my idea, I picked up their peach infused loose leaf tea :)

Tea Plantation

Tea Plantation

And then we stopped in at the Angel Oak Tree which wasn’t very far away. It is estimated to be about 400 years old and it’s actually 4 trees that have grown together.

Angel Oak Tree

Angel Oak Tree

I desperately wanted to climb it, but you can’t even sit on it. That’s me fake leaning, by the way!

10420312_10100466689956563_2274814011342764258_n

M & the Angel Oak

 

All in all – it was a great Christmas break. The kids tried my patience (and truth be told, so did my sister), but it was great to be with family. The older I get, the more important I realize how much I crave time with my family and these special moments together.

Happy New Year!

Just wanted to say Happy New Year from myself and Anaconda.

photo 1(10)

We kept it pretty low key last night. I think I actually really like (and appreciate) a chill New Year’s Eve. I opened a nice bottle of wine and treated myself. Anaconda was super supportive and insisted I have a few glasses to ring in 2015!

photo 2(10)

A cat that can support my life choices…now that’s a cat I can love!

Happy 2015 blog peeps – I’m looking forward to everything the new year has in store for me (and Anaconda)!

Choose joy.

2015 Goals: Anaconda, the kitteh

It is with a smile on my face (and a cat in my lap) that I excitedly tell you that I’ve crossed off a big goal already on my 2015 list. Just 2 weeks ago, I adopted a kitteh from the Animal Welfare League in Alexandria. I randomly went one day to just “look around” and as it happened, I fell in love. It was pretty much love at first sight, but I’d be lying to you if I said the whole process was a piece of cake.

There was a lot of frustration on my part from previously visiting a dedicated cat shelter and then told I wasn’t a suitable kitteh parent because I wouldn’t be home 24/7. All nonsense and I was offended; if anything, I’m an over qualified kitteh keeper. So it was with a heavy heart that I left one kitteh behind, but little did I know that it would open the door for Anaconda to come into my life.

Kisses with Anaconda

Kisses with Anaconda

Now, I know what you’re thinking…Anaconda? Well, it just so happens that my kitteh is a lover of 90’s music just like her mama. More importantly, she loves the butt scratches. Her name just kind of happened and I actually really love it. I wanted a name that was slightly awkward, to the point that you couldn’t help but laugh or smile when anyone asked. So there you have it; plus, it helps that she’s a little bit awkward herself.

Awkward Anaconda

Awkward Anaconda

Sometimes I wonder how I ever waited this long to adopt a kitteh. I know for a long time I wanted a pup, but with my busy schedule and serious lack of a yard – it just didn’t seem fair. I did kind of struggle with the “cat lady” persona, given that I’m 30 and single…but I’ve had more smiles in the last 2 weeks than I can even count. Her ability to cuddle makes me forget how lonely the world can feel sometimes.

photo 3(7)

Cuddle monster

But enough of that, how could I not love someone who already loves me so unconditionally?

Kitteh Love

Kitteh Love

Sometimes I think she must be so grateful to be out of that shelter, but I really just think 2 lost souls finally found each other. Together in cuddle harmony. I’ve always known the love of an animal is an amazing feeling, so I’m glad little Miss Anaconda has already wormed her way into my heart.

I love everything from her purr-meow to the way I wake up to find her sitting on my bladder in the middle of the night. When it comes to this kitteh, I definitely chose joy!

She is indeed, purrrrrr-fect.

 

ps. in related news, I’m really happy to let you guys know that I have also successfully removed the couple of negative people I had in my life. I fulfilled the last of my obligations and have cut communication. It honestly felt like there had been a weight lifted off my shoulders. I really love that 2015 is off to a good start and it’s still 2014 :)

Weekend Review: 90’s jammin’

It was a long weekend and while I could stop to tell you about my non-traditional Thanksgiving, I’ll just skip right ahead to the good stuff. Saturday night!

On Saturday, my good gal pal Sandra and I went to see a 90’s cover band called White Ford Bronco. It’s exactly as awesome as it sounds. Everything from Bush to the Cranberries to even some Backstreet Boys – nothing was off limits. It’s been nearly 6 years since I last saw them (randomly at a New Year’s Eve party), but I was jazzed when I saw they were playing a local bar, instead of a semi-larger venue.

I didn’t really have intentions to dress the part, but as soon as I got started I couldn’t stop. Of course, this is all an updated version of 90’s garb because no way in hell was I cool enough to pull off this style in the actual 90’s. Also, I was a little bit too young for fishnets.

It just so happened that I even had a Paul Frank bag that I’d snagged at a resale shop in Glasgow a couple years back for a festival. Fun, right?

Paul Frank in the hizzous!

Paul Frank in the hizzous!

You’ll notice I’m not smiling in my selfie – going for the grunge, my life is so hard as a teenager look. But I was totally smiling after a few drinks and awesome songs at the bar.

photo 3(6)One guy even randomly called us Daria and Jane. I totally took that as a compliment! Maybe that can be next year’s Halloween costume – brown Daria & Jane. Ha!

This is a crap picture, but here’s one of the band too:

photo 2(8)

White Ford Bronco @ Clarendon Grill

And I even made it home without any rips in my fishnets – not sure if that does the 90’s proud or not?

Sunday was for sleeping in and watching movies, but I did get up to one fun activity that will help cross off a goal for 2015. I visited King Street Cats and put in an application for a kitteh!

I don’t want to reveal my little furry friend yet, so here’s a ridiculously cute picture I took of a cat snoozing in a basket high up on a shelf. You could only see his paw and 1 ear. The cute was strong with this one.

MOWR!

MOWR!

Fingers crossed I’ll have a new furry friend before 2015 is here. :)

Weekend Review: Beer, beer, and more beer

Ok, so it’s Friday and I’m only now finding time to tell you about last weekend. My bad.

Anyways – here we go. Last Saturday, I organized a brewery tour for my work peeps. We were meant to go on a wine tour, but not everyone bought their ticket in time…so, the alternative was beer. We started at Bluejacket which is down at Navy Yard. We started with some early morning tasters, food, and then a tour (which went a little longer than any of us anticipated).

photo 1(7)

The whole team (minus 1) at the start of the tour.

The tour was really great and informative. If you’re a hardcore beer lover, get to Bluejacket and take the tour. If you just like to drink beer, then get to Bluejacket and skip the tour. After we finished up there, we headed to our next destination, Chocolate City Brewery. And like any good transit loving people, we hopped in a Lyft (not an Uber, because of all the recent controversy). We even won fun sunnies from the driver, he was awesome!

photo 1(5)

Sweet Lyft sunnies

Going from Bluejacket to Chocolate City was a complete 180. We went from high-end beer works, to something that resembled a garage. However, the building was cool looking…

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Chocolate City Brewery

And there was some awesome street art nearby that we all took advantage of. This is officially, my favorite work photo evar!

photo 2(7)

We’ll call this one “Movement”

Things got a little blurry after Chocolate City. We went to Atlas Brew Works and then ended up out on H Street for quite awhile. There was some epic jukeboxing happening as well as some serious Donkey Kong competition. In the end, there were 3 left standing and I’m honestly surprised we looked this good. ps. That’s totes my boss on the left, how awesome is she??

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Last Women Standing!

Sunday was very much a day of rest and recovery, but not before I had some ME time and got my hair did. It’s been awhile since I’ve had color put in and while I wasn’t really interested in going back to blue or purple, I did think it would be fun to get a little honey/ombre going. Here’s me on Tuesday, with a little curl. The cut is still the same and the rest of my hair is still start, just the long side is now blonde/honey. I’ll be sure to let you know if blondes have more fun.

photo 4(3)

Do blondes have more fun?

And last but not least from this week, was Mesha’s surprise birthday party. It wasn’t technically the weekend, but who cares, it was fun. I’ve known Mesha for about 5 years now and we first met when we played gaelic football. We were carpool buddies and pretty much always lost. Since her birthday is always around Thanksgiving, she’s never had a real birthday party. So her awesome wife, Sam, planned one for her and she was genuinely surprised as there were about 15-20 people there! The funny part is that Mesha thought she was coming out to meet me just to hang. Sam told her I was having ‘man troubles’ (never far from the truth) and just needed some quality friend time. She joked when she got there that she almost came out in sweatpants! Ha!

Happy Birthday, Mesha!

Happy Birthday, Mesha!

Mesha doesn’t like cake, so she got a “beer cake” instead. Pretty sweet, right?

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Mesha’s beer cake

So yeah, that was my weekend. The days after Tuesday have sort of been a blur of emotions. Some happy, some meh, some lonely, some missing family. I didn’t really have a proper Thanksgiving as I decided to stay and just make a little extra cash on the side with pet sitting, but part of me wishes I had gone home. Though I know if I went home, I would have wished I had stayed. Anyways, that’s a story for another time; but, I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with your loved ones. Now, on to Christmas!

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