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year in review

The Year in Review

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Fourteen years ago, I found this questionnaire, and I’ve been filling it out every December since. See? 201620152014, 20132012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003. Three years ago, I decided I was going to add a few new questions every year from now on. I’m not really doing that anymore. But the ones I added are still marked with an *asterisk

2017 was BUSY. The coworking space, Fathom Coffee, and our technology consulting company are all growing. We have about 70 coworking members, a bigger roaster on order, and some really amazing IT clients who consider us a part of their teams. We’ve accomplished a lot over the last year, and have some even more exciting things up our sleeves for 2018.

Anyway, here’s my year in review.

What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before? Served on a non-profit board, played golf, .

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I think so. I never posted my resolutions on my blog this year, but I did jot them all down on some post-it notes. I’ll take a look tomorrow and see how I did. I have a feeling I knocked a bunch of them out.

Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes. Tina had a daughter, Essie, on December 21.

Did anyone close to you die? No.

What countries did you visit? A little bit of this one — got six or seven new stamps in my National Park Passport this year! Lake Mead NRA, Death Valley NP, Joshua Tree NP, Santa Monica Mountains NRA, Shenandoah NP, and Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge.

What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017? A vehicle with a functioning defroster.

What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory? Honestly, this year has been a whirlwind. Been racking my brain, and I can’t come up with one.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Probably just making it though the entire year without having to go find a job and work for someone else again. 🙂

What was your biggest failure? Failing to recognize when people were taking advantage of my generosity and continuing to help those people at my own expense. Also failing to make it to NJ over the summer because my car is an idiot.

Did you suffer illness or injury? I got sick in late January with a nasty cold that left me with a lingering cough until April. In May, I tripped while I was running, and banged up my knee pretty badly — it wasn’t back to normal until September!

What was the best thing you bought? This sofa and swivel chair from West Elm to decorate my new house!

Whose behavior merited celebration? My brother’s for making some really tricky decisions, landing a sweet new job, and moving to Northern Virginia, without spending too much time worrying, sulking, or generally wasting time.

Where did most of your money go? Payroll, coffee beans, furniture, rent (business and personal).

What did you get really, really, really excited about? Moving into a sweet new house.

What song will always remind you of 2017? Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man.  My brother says listen to this song while watching this video, and tell him it doesn’t look like they’re dancing to it.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? About the same.
Thinner or fatter? About the same.
Richer or poorer? Probably richer. I don’t have a lot of accessible cash, but I’ve got it all invested in businesses that are growing, so I’m going with richer.

What do you wish you’d done more of? Traveling.

What do you wish you’d done less of? Giving things away for free.

How will you be spending Christmas? I headed up to New Jersey for Christmas, as usual. I traveled with a coffee grinder and brewing kit, and a whole bunch of Fathom Coffee to brew and give away as gifts. It was a record-breaking 12 hours from the time I left VB until I got to my parents’ house because I took a scenic detour to the Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge and I stopped at the Nordstrom in Delaware to do some last-minute shopping on my way up. On Christmas Eve, we did lunch at my grandparents’ house with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. I spent about three hours making coffee there. After that, we swung by my Uncle Bobby and Aunt Gail’s house, where they surprised me with a delicious flounder francese and gluten-free pasta! Then I made my fourth annual late-night Christmas Eve drop-in at Regina’s before I went home to open pajamas and go to bed. Oh wait, before I went to bed, I wrapped my parents’ Christmas gifts in the basement. I did manage to work in giving each of them an empty box wrapped in Star Wars paper. Each said (on the inside of the box), “Want to go see Star Wars later?” 🙂 On Christmas morning, I opened gifts with my parents while we talked to my brother in Japan on Facebook Messenger Video. (Fancy.) We had a quiet dinner with my grandparents, and then we went to the movies. Tuesday morning, I had an early breakfast with Kristy, then went back to her house to see Frank and the kids. In lieu of my normal day-after-Christmas shopping, I visited a chilly warehouse full of mid-century furniture I can’t afford, and then I picked up Regina for a coffee adventure to South Plainfield! We visited Royal Coffee New York to pick up 268 pounds of Kenyan and Ethiopian beans for me to bring back to VB. We were treated to a pretty detailed tour of the entire facility, so that was pretty awesome. On the way home, Kerri called me out of the blue — she was in NJ to see her grandmother — and we were able to squeeze in a quick meeting for coffee before I met up with my mom and Ryan for dinner at Taka in Asbury Park. On Wednesday morning, I met up with Ed, Jane and Aidan for breakfast, which was fun and delicious. I love that with my New Jersey friends, we never waste a bunch of time talking about what we did that year — we just pick up old conversations right where we left off even if we haven’t spoken in months or years. My mom and I did a little shopping on Wednesday afternoon. Then Linda and Jimmy arrived, and we went out for Italian food with them and my Aunt Debbie. I left first thing Thursday morning to come home with my coffee delivery. 🙂 That was the longest answer to this question ever.

Did you fall in love in 2017? No.

Who were your best friends? In alphabetical order: Amie, Jeff, John, Stephen, Vince.

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others? I helped a whole lot of people start and grow businesses.

What was your favorite TV program? The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Stranger Things

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nah. Hate’s a strong word.

What was the best book you read? Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner (Thanks for swapping books with me, Sheena!)

What was your greatest musical discovery? Beta Love by Ra Ra Riot.

*What was your favorite meal? The day we moved into the new house, I discovered we had this really cool griddle on our stove. The next morning — even though we didn’t even have anywhere to sit yet — I invited friends over for breakfast, and we all had pancakes, eggs, bacon, coffee, and mimosas around the counter. We’ve been eating pancakes at least once a week ever since.

What did you want and get? A dishwasher at 1701.

What did you want and not get? A quick late-summer/early-autumn weekend trip within driving distance.

What was your favorite film of this year? The Last Jedi.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 36. Drank coffee we roasted from Maui that is the most amazing thing on the planet. Went to lunch outside at Rudee’s. Celebrated at 1701 with a cake. Went to dinner at Jessy’s Taqueria.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not owning a cat.

What kept you sane? Coffee, ToDoist, Xero, Evernote, good music, YouTube videos about minimalism, moving into a new house and getting rid of a bunch of stuff.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I have no idea.

What political issue stirred you the most? Still sticking with my 2015 answer: Donald Trump is ridiculous. Also, National Parks.

*What mystery from 2017 was never solved? Who is Oceanfront9?

Who did you miss? Grandma Tillie, Courtney, my brother after he moved away, my parents because I didn’t really get to see them much this year.

Who was the best new person you met this year? Drew Monroe at Prosper Insurance.

*Did you start any new traditions this year? We celebrated 1701’s first birthday with lunch and a cake! And hopefully it becomes a tradition going to the Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Foundation’s Grand Auction because that event was pretty incredible.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017: Don’t run in shoes that are a half size too big. And pick up your feet.

Quote that sums up your year: “So how’s your Salesforce?”

The Year in Review

By | year in review | 2 Comments

Thirteen years ago, I found this questionnaire, and I’ve been filling it out every December since. See? 20152014, 20132012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003. Two years ago, I decided I was going to add a few new questions every year from now on. I’m not really doing that anymore. But the ones I added are still marked with an *asterisk.

This post is going to sound a little redundant. My business partner and I opened a coworking space this year. Thinking about it, working on it, and working in it take up a majority of my time at the moment, and it’s definitely the thing I’m the most excited about and proud of right now. So I’m basically going to talk about it over and over and over again in this post. 🙂

Overall, 2016 was pretty amazing. The first half was full of epic vacations. The second was full of business successes. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Anyway, here’s my year in review.

What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before? Rode a jet ski, snorkeled with a turtle, drove on the opposite side of the road, leased a commercial building.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I only had one real resolution, and I kept it. I will probably go back to my normal list for next year.

Did anyone close to you give birth? No.

Did anyone close to you die? No.

What countries did you visit? A little bit of this one plus the USVI and BVI.

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? The perfect project/task management system for a team. I’ve tested so many, but I’m still looking for the right one.

What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory? June 8th – We signed the lease on 1701 Baltic Avenue and opened a coworking space.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Turning off an old quoting system at the company where I used to work (without anything going drastically wrong, anyone crying or complaining about it, and hardly anyone in a high-level position outside of the department changing systems even realizing we had switched). Making this sweet video of my trip to Florida with my mom. Opening a coworking space in Virginia Beach, filling it up with furniture and members, and creating a real community where people have begun collaborating on projects and working together.

What was your biggest failure? I’m so far from being a failure right now that I’m not even going to justify this with an answer this year. 🙂

Did you suffer illness or injury? I got a mosquito bite in St. John that hung around on my shoulder for so long that I actually gave it a name. Ursula. Other than that, the closest thing to an injury was probably the huge red welt that popped up on my arm after I got a flu shot in October…and took a few weeks to go away.

What was the best thing you bought? This waterproof camera housing for my iPhone that enabled me to take some really amazing photos on my two vacations earlier in the year.

Whose behavior merited celebration? Anyone who had anything to do with getting 1701 up and running: Ray for helping us find the building. Joel for telling us to go for it. Peter for becoming our first member. 39 other people for becoming members after that. John, Bob, Susan, Monique, Jordan, Tommy, Willie, Sam, Alexis, Michelle, Courtney, Laurie, Lindsay, Louis, Mike, my parents, Mary, Alex, Shawn, Tommy, Fred, and anyone else who painted, built furniture, carted debris out of here, delivered us pizzas, manned the front desk, promoted us, gave people tours who walked in off the street, accepted UPS packages, hung art on the walls, posted about us online, prepped for an event, sold coffee, and/or helped us in pretty much any and every way possible to get this place up and running. Kelsey for painting this incredible mural on our wall. My parents for loaning me a few dollars here and there when I needed it. And Jeff for being the best business partner I could have found in this world.

Where did most of your money go? Into my businesses, mostly 1701.

What did you get really, really, really excited about? This sea turtle (and opening a coworking space).

What song will always remind you of 2016? Native Tongue by Quinn XCII. My cousin played it for me the day she moved in for the summer, and I’ve had it on repeat on and off ever since.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Happier.
Thinner or fatter? About the same.
Richer or poorer? I can’t really tell. I have less cash, but I invested it all in my businesses, so we’ll see.

What do you wish you’d done more of? Trusting my first impressions of people.

What do you wish you’d done less of? Crying about my old job, trying to please my old team, giving people I didn’t trust right off the bat the benefit of the doubt.

How will you be spending Christmas? I headed up to New Jersey for Christmas, as usual. I baked gluten-free cookies with my mom. My brother’s ship came back Christmas Eve, so we watched some footage of that live on Facebook. I spent Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house with my parents, aunts, uncles and not-so-little cousins. I stopped at Kristy’s, then Regina’s after that. Regina gave me the Oregon Trail card game as a gift, and we played it. It’s for 2-6 players, but the goal is to get to the end with at least one person in your wagon still alive, so we played with four imaginary players: Steve (our friend who couldn’t make Christmas Eve this year), Tater (Regina’s dog), Porkchop (Regina’s other dog), and Colby (Regina’s bird). We won. On Christmas morning, I opened gifts with my parents, and we went to my Uncle Cricket and Aunt Angel’s house for dinner. I spent Monday shopping with my mom, and then catching up with Ed, Jane, Ren, Robin, Aidan and Jennilee! On Tuesday morning, I met one of the owners of Cowerks in Asbury Park and then had lunch with my mom, Ryan, and his mom before headed back.

Did you fall in love in 2016? No.

How many one-night stands? I said last year I was deleting this. So deleted.

Who were your best friends? John, Regina, Kristy, Jeff, Courtney, Courtney, Tina, Michelle.

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others? I’ve been trying to do things that are meaningful to others every day — help them with websites, Salesforce, building businesses, and making them coffee. I love making people coffee. 🙂

What was your favorite TV program? Good Girls Revolt, Mozart in the Jungle.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Yup.

What was the best book you read? Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age by Kurt W. Beyer.

What was your greatest musical discovery? Sonos.

*What was your favorite meal? Courtney moved in with me for the summer, and there was this one night we went to Beach Movie Bistro. I have no idea which movie we saw, but we ordered an impressive amount of items off the menu. We ate enough for eight people, and it was amazing.

What did you want and get? A new mattress.

What did you want and not get? A dishwasher for 1701/Fathom Coffee.

What was your favorite film of this year? Moana.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 35. I had brunch with a few friends at Metropolitan Oyster Exchange, and then went shopping with Cassie. Later I had dinner with John. And the following weekend, we celebrated again at the Jimmy Buffett concert with my parents, Amie, and Byron.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I can’t really think of any a single thing. This year was pretty satisfying.

What kept you sane? Coffee, Evernote, Smartsheet, good music, Salesforce, smart people, ToDoist, sunshine, running, Xero. (Or maybe Xero made me feel insane. I’m not sure.)

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I have no idea.

What political issue stirred you the most? Sticking with my 2015 answer: Donald Trump is ridiculous.

*What mystery from 2016 was never solved? Will people get towed if they park in the lot behind our building?

Who did you miss? Grandma Tillie, Mele, my brother while he was on deployment, and Jessie.

Who was the best new person you met this year? I met so many interesting and amazing people this year. I really can’t name just one.

*Did you start any new traditions this year? Yes. Small Business Saturday Pop-Up Marketplace at 1701 in the ViBe Creative District!

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016: Do what you want to do, not just what you can do.

Quote that sums up your year: “The best way for us to get something done in 20 minutes is to start working on it 20 minutes before it needs to be done.” ~Myself

Final Resolution Update of 2015

By | resolutions, year in review | 3 Comments

Fail at updating my blog. Fail at updating resolutions. But I think I did knock a few more out since June.

Twelve months down, zero left. That makes a year.

Work & Professional Development
PMP Certification – FAILEDPMP application submitted, January 23. Approved, January 29. (Now I just have to take the test.)
ITIL Certification – FAILED 
Force.com Developer Certification – ACCOMPLISHEDThey changed this certification this year, I got a Salesforce App Builder certification instead, November 20. I also got a Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant certification, November 10.
Security+ Certification – FAILED
Have everyone on my team get a Salesforce certification – ALMOSTTwo people on my team have certifications. Two do not.
Attend Dreamforce – ACCOMPLISHEDAttended Dreamforce, September 15-18. It was amazing.
Find a better system to manage projects – ACCOMPLISHED – TaskRay installed in Salesforce org, April 2. 
Have someone in my company create a real quote for actual products in our Salesforce org and send it to a customer (as in, launch “Phase 2” of our Salesforce project) – ACCOMPLISHEDDone. Finally. October 23.
Present something at a conference – FAILED
Start a Salesforce user group (either locally or one for my company’s suppliers) – Started a group on the Salesforce website, February 28. Started a one on Meetup (well Jeff did, but I helped invite people to join), November 15.
Apply to grad school – FAILED

Improve Social Life
Host a dinner party – FAILED
Host a brunch – ACCOMPLISHED – Hosted a brunch, July 4.
Host a poker night – ACCOMPLISHEDPlayed poker at John’s house after the Kentucky Derby, May 2.
Host a wine tasting – FAILED
Host at least three visitors in my guest room – ACCOMPLISHEDStephen in town, March 21-26 and April 3. Kerri and Leah, May 22-25. Regina, July 23-27. Christina and Jon, July 31-August 2. Courtney, August 7-8. Mom, August 26-28. Aunt Debbie and Lee, September 5-7. Dad, October 9-11. 
Host a crab party – ACCOMPLISHEDHosted a crab party, July 25.
Make some actual NYE plans – ACCOMPLISHEDHaving a NYE party @ John’s later, December 31.
Go to more events and less bars – ACCOMPLISHED
Watch less TV – ACCOMPLISHED
Invite people out that I don’t normally spend time with – ACCOMPLISHED
Make more friends who are girls – ALMOSTI’m working on it. I’m also accepting that maybe I just always have and always will get along better with guys.
Play poker in real life with human beings (as opposed to on my phone with other people’s avatars) — ACCOMPLISHED –  Joined a poker league, February 6! Now I can play poker with real human beings once every three weeks. 🙂

For My Well-Being
Complete this 30-day yoga challenge – ALMOSTI did about half of it before I got sick in February and then never started it up again.
Mentor a child through The Up Center – FAILED
Volunteer for something – ACCOMPLISHED – I volunteered my time making this website for my friend Casey’s non-profit over the summer and in the fall.
Feel confident about my appearance in a swimsuit by February 10 – Pretty much accomplished. I bought a bunch of one-pieces and tankinis, and I ended up wearing my bikinis anyway. Then I got so sick, I lost like six pounds, so that counts, right?
Have a vegetarian week – FAILED
Run in a race – FAILED
Try a juice diet – FAILED
Post a series of gluten-free recipes – FAILED
Get contacts or prescription sunglasses – FAILED
Figure out why my eyes are so red and puffy and sensitive all the time/fix it – FAILEDI figured out why, but every doctor just says that it’s a chronic condition that will come and go, and there’s not much to be done. 🙁
Ride my bike at sunrise as many times as possible when it’s warm enough – FAILED
Cut my hair or stop using it as an excuse not to exercise (as in, “It takes so long to blow dry…”) – ACCOMPLISHEDI stopped using it as an excuse and I had Tori cut a lot more layers in it, so it takes less time to dry anyway.
Write a really nice post about Mele when I’m ready – FAILED

Travel
Visit Aunt Kim & Uncle Franky in Pennsylvania – FAILED
Spend a whole week in New Jersey – ACCOMPLISHED
Visit Nicole in Texas – FAILED
Visit my brother in Jacksonville and take a road trip down the coast of Florida to Key West – FAILED
Taste wine at some vineyards – FAILED
See Mayan ruins – ACCOMPLISHED – Saw the Tulum Ruins, February 15.
Put feet in Mediterranean Sea – ACCOMPLISHEDPut feet in Mediterranean Sea, April 14.
Take photos of a lighthouse- ACCOMPLISHEDTook photos of two lighthouses the night we went out on a dolphin cruise in Virginia Beach, August 2.
Shop at the Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse Sale – FAILED
Go back to Hawaii – FAILED
Go back to Las Vegas – FAILED
Go on at least three cool weekend trips – FAILEDFour trips to NJ do not count.

New Things to Do
Take pictures of pelicans with my telephoto lens – ACCOMPLISHEDTook photos over the summer from Chris and Terri’s boat.
Learn how to use new sewing machine – FAILED
Sew myself a dress – FAILED
Learn to play the ukulele (at least one song) – FAILED
Shoot a gun – FAILED
Roast my own coffee – ALMOSTHelped someone else roast coffee one lovely afternoon in October.
Create a book of my Instagram photos and send it to my grandparents – ACCOMPLISHEDGave them a book of Virginia Beach photos for Christmas, December 24.
Find a creative way to keep area around coffee grinder clean – ACCOMPLISHED I’m not sure this is creative, but I wipe off the counter once per day with a paper towel or my hand.
Paint something cool with watercolors – ACCOMPLISHEDIt wasn’t with watercolors, but I did paint a mermaid at The Mermaid Factory with my mom, August 27.
Make some kind of homemade liqueur (maybe this one?) – ALMOSTI got halfway through the recipe. The mason jar is still sitting on my counter. I was supposed to finish it back in May or June or something.
Take a dance class – FAILED

Stuff I’ve Been Putting Off
Go through pictures from Hawaii/write a post about trip – ALMOSTI went through some pictures and made John a photo book from Hawaii (and one from Barcelona) for Christmas, but I didn’t write a post.
Back up all data and sell old computer – ALMOST – I backed up the data, but I didn’t sell the computer.
Get vintage Lilly Pulitzer dress hemmed/altered in time for Tulum trip – ACCOMPLISHEDTechnically accomplished because I had this dress altered, and I picked it up February 8. But the lady kind of messed it up, so now I need to take it back.
Finish barstools – ACCOMPLISHEDBarstools complete, January 1.
Post a “how to” about editing photos on an iPhone – FAILED
Find a way to display some of my Instagram photos in my house – FAILED
Frame all of my new Cassidy prints and the pelican print I bought last year – ACCOMPLISHED
Start a new business – ACCOMPLISHED
Post in this blog more – FAILED

The Usual
Go horseback riding – FAILED
Go ice skating – FAILED
Go surfing – FAILED
Attend a few good concerts – ACCOMPLISHEDHullabahoos @ The Sandler Center, January 9. Reel Big Fish/Less Than Jake @ The Norva, January 31. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness @ 17th Street Stage, May 30. Zac Brown Band @ Farm Bureau Live, June 5. Idina Menzel @ Chrysler Hall, August 26. Reel Big Fish and The Pietasters @ 24th Street Park, September 5. The Killers and The Foo Fighters @ Dreamforce, September 17. Streetlight Manifesto @ The Norva, October 23. The Legwarmers @ The Norva, November 31.
See a few good plays – ACCOMPLISHEDSalome @ Harrison Opera House, February 3. Legally Blonde, The Musical @ The Sandler Center, April 18. Orpheus in the Underworld @ Harrison Opera House, September 27. The Little Mermaid @ The Sandler Center, October 3. Catch Me If You Can @ ODU University Theater, October 24. La Boheme @ Harrison Opera House, November 10. A Christmas Carol @ The Sandler Center, December 5. The Nutcracker @ The Sandler Center, December 18.
Read at least 10 good books – ACCOMPLISHED – Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett, The Mystery of the Crimson Ghost by Phyllis A. Whitney (you can purchase this classic gem for $.01 on Amazon…), And One For All by Theresa Nelson (end phase of reading favorite books from age 13), The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank, True Believer by Nicholas Sparks, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee, Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott, Murder in Mount Holly by Paul Theroux, Maroon Rising by John H. Cunningham, Foundation by Isaac Asimov. (I kind of lost track because I borrowed a lot of books from Amazon, so this probably isn’t a complete list.)
Make a new resolution every month: FAILED
January: Stop fiddling with my resolutions in Evernote, and put them on my blog where they belong – Posted, January 18.
February: (Nicole said this counts, so I’m posting it.) Pay off my car – Paid off, February 21.
March: Plan trip to Spain, and grow more trees than Jeff – FAIL. Never planned trip to Spain. Just did a bunch of stuff when we got there. Growing more trees than Jeff was a pretty stupid resolution.
April: Fail.
May: Fail.
June: Uh…I don’t even know. I’ll be happy if I write another blog post before July.

Totals: 32 ACCOMPLISHED, 7 ALMOST, 36 FAILED. Pretty consistent with most years, and setting goals you may not be able to accomplish is important. 🙂

Happy new year!

The Year in Review

By | year in review | 2 Comments

Twelve years ago, I found this questionnaire, and I’ve been filling it out every December since. See? 2014, 20132012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003. Last year, I decided I’m going to add a few new questions every year from now on. Last year, I added a few more questions, and those are still marked with an *asterisk. This year, I had a hard enough time filling this out, so I didn’t add any more.

There’s something I should add as a preface to this year in review: I didn’t really have a great year. I mean…I had a successful year, but it wasn’t really that great. I know, I know. You follow me on Instagram, and my pictures are colorful. The beach is pretty, and I have lots of brightly colored outfits. But my year got off to a rough start. My cat died. A good friend person who never deserved to be my friend in the first place turned her back on me and never told me why, which made me really, really sad for awhile. I got food poisoning in Mexico and was sick for a month. I got behind on things and overwhelmed at work, and basically sacrificed my entire personal life for months on end to get a project done. I got frustrated with myself…a lot. I didn’t sleep many nights because I was stressed out and anxious. I got depressed. I felt lonely. I lost interest in a lot of things I used to love for a little while. I apologized to everyone over and over for no good reason, just because I felt out of place in my own life a lot of the time.

I’m not perfect. My life isn’t perfect. I’m really successful at what I do. I’m really smart. But I’m not always happy, and I know that I don’t always have control over that. Unfortunately, every medication I’ve ever taken for anxiety has made me gain lots of weight, so this time (like many others), I’m choosing to just wait it out and see what happens. What I do know is that I’ve been through this before. And usually right around the time it gets this bad, it starts to get better. So I’m looking forward to that.

Anyway, here’s my year in review.

What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? Visited Europe, made friends with a spider, played in a poker league.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? As usual, I kept lots, but not all. I’m working on my 2015 list — it’ll be my 13th straight year posting resolutions on this blog.

Did anyone close to you give birth? No.

Did anyone close to you die? Yes. My cat, Mele, died on January 12. 🙁

What countries did you visit? Mexico and Spain.

What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? A co-working space in Virginia Beach that serves delicious coffee and speedy wi-fi.

What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory? July 1st — started a business.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Launching a quoting system in Salesforce, passing my Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant and App Builder certification exams, making some websites, growing Roma tomato plants that are still (sort of) alive and almost eight feet tall.

What was your biggest failure? Spending a whole bunch of time feeling anxious and depressed and like a big failure, even though I’ve been pretty successful at everything I’ve done. Eating wheat and gluten even though I know for a fact they make me feel bad.

Did you suffer illness or injury? I got food poisoning in Mexico in February, and I was sick for a month. And my ankles have been bothering me on and off since April — I should probably get that checked out.

What was the best thing you bought? These Ferragamo Vara pumps I’ve been wanting for almost 10 years.

Whose behavior merited celebration? Pretty much anyone who had to deal with me during a moment of panic, anxiety, or complete and utter lack of confidence this year. I don’t have a huge network of friends, but the few I have have been pretty amazing to me this year by accepting me even in my crazy moments, and I’m really grateful for that. Also, a few smart people on my team at work who I was able to count on this year to do some pretty amazing things and solve some pretty complicated problems.

Where did most of your money go? Rent, 401(k), investments, HSA, savings accounts, lunch.

What did you get really, really, really excited about? Friends and family coming to visit me over the summer. Antoni Gaudí once I got to Barcelona. BB-8.

What song will always remind you of 2015? Cheerleader by Omi. It seems like this came on every five minutes over the summer. It’s catchy, and it does make me smile when I’m in a crappy mood.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Sadder
Thinner or fatter? About the same
Richer or poorer? Richer

What do you wish you’d done more of? Running, reading for fun, taking photos, relaxing.

What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying about what other people think, apologizing for nothing.

How will you be spending Christmas? I headed up to New Jersey for Christmas, as usual. I spent Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house with my parents, aunts, uncles and not-so-little cousins. ALL of us were there for the first time in a long time. My mom made a gluten-free version of my chocolate peppermint cake, which was delicious. I stopped at Regina’s after that and caught up with her and her parents and and old friend of ours from high school and his boyfriend. On Christmas morning, I opened gifts with my parents and my brother, and we had my grandparents over for dinner. My dad made gluten-free cheese dumplings for the escarole soup! Then we went to see Star Wars (it was my third time). On Saturday night, we went to my dad’s cousin’s house for dinner to catch up with his side of the family. I spent a few more days in NJ shopping with my mom, catching up with Kristy and Sadie over breakfast in Asbury, and watching the other six Star Wars movies with my brother and my dad. 🙂

Did you fall in love in 2015? No.

How many one-night stands? None. I should just delete this question. I’m probably never going to have a one-night stand.

Who were your best friends? John, Kristy, Regina, Jeff, Michelle, Tina.

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others? I worked a lot, and I’m assuming that was meaningful to people. I hosted a few visitors over the summer, and they all seemed to have a lovely time. I showed some people how to use the Photoshop and Evernote apps on their phones — people really seemed to like that. I helped a lot of people with their technology and Salesforcey things both in and out of the office.

What was your favorite TV program? The Man in the High Castle, Jane the Virgin, Big Brother.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Kind of, a little.

What was the best book you read? Foundation by Isaac Asimov.

What was your greatest musical discovery? The Tallest Man on Earth

*What was your favorite meal? It’s a toss-up between my birthday dinner at Toto in Barcelona (April 10) and dinner at 5A5 Steak Lounge (September 18).

What did you want and get? A palm tree.

What did you want and not get? To stay on the third floor at work.

What was your favorite film of this year? Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I went to see it three times. I might go see it once more.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 34. I was in Barcelona with John. We had coffee. We strolled around the Gothic Quarter. We had lunch at this colorful market. We had dinner at Toto. We had drinks at Boca Chica.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If more people said “thank you” to me for all my hard work…the way they did all the time last year.

What kept you sane? Coffee, Evernote, beach days, boat rides, summer visitors, a few smart people, poker, gin & tonics, podcasts, playing solitaire on my phone.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Do my favorite podcasters count? Alex Blumberg, Jeremy Ross, John De Santiago, and Gillian Madill.

What political issue stirred you the most? Donald Trump is ridiculous.

*What mystery from 2015 was never solved? What the hell happened to this Brooks Brothers tunic? Where did it go?

Who did you miss? Grandma Tillie, Mele, and Jessie.

Who was the best new person you met this year? This John.

*Did you start any new traditions this year? I don’t think so.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015: I should really stop underestimating myself.

Quote that sums up your year: “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” ~Yoda

The Year in Review

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Eleven years ago, I found this questionnaire, and I’ve been filling it out every December since. See? 20132012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003. This might be getting a little outdated though, so I’ve decided I’m going to add a few new questions every year from now on. I’ll mark those with an *asterisk. 🙂  Also, my very good friend Nicole has turned this annual year in review questionnaire into a really cool link-up! So go visit her blog to read hers and link yours up if you’d like!

What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? Went to Hawaii, became a godmother, hired a team, made eggnog.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? As usual, I kept lots, but not all. I’m working on my 2015 list — it’ll be my 12th straight year posting resolutions on this blog.

Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, Kristy gave birth to Clayton, May 14.

Did anyone close to you die? No.

What countries did you visit? Just a little bit of this one — Hawaii, California, Michigan, Disney World, NJ, NYC.

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? Fancy new year’s eve plans? I don’t know. I honestly can’t think if anything.

What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory? July 26th – my brother’s wedding.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Launching Salesforce, passing my Salesforce Administrator and Advanced Administrator certification exams, receiving two individual ADS values awards and the 2014 Values Champion award at work. Surfing in Waikiki — one of the most amazing things I think I’ve ever done. And maybe the intricately accurate Anna costume I hand-crafted for Halloween with paint, duct tape, a needle and thread, and no sewing machine.

What was your biggest failure? Spending a little too much money.

Did you suffer illness or injury? I think I got sick in February and had a cough for a few weeks, but other than that, not really. Oh, and my stupid eyelids are always red and sensitive for some reason these days, which makes it nearly impossible to wear mascara, which is driving me f-ing crazy.

What was the best thing you bought? Either this Lilly Pulitzer Dark ‘n Stormy shift dress or this 14K gold Maui hook pendant I bought myself in Hawaii.

Whose behavior merited celebration? My bosses’, my team’s and mine for having a pretty epic year at work. John’s for buying a beautiful new house. Diesel’s for always rolling over when I tell him to. And Yulia Lipnitskaya’s for this brilliant and inspiring Olympic figure skating program in Sochi.

Where did most of your money go? Rent, Lilly Pulitzer, Hawaii, coffee, gifts, 401(k), HSA, savings accounts, lunch.

What did you get really, really, really excited about? Hawaii, Chatter.

What song will always remind you of 2014? You and Me by Dave Matthews Band. It snapped me out of a bad mood six months ago, and I listened to it whenever I felt stressed out for  several months after that.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Happier
Thinner or fatter? Fatter
Richer or poorer? Richer

What do you wish you’d done more of? Running, writing, singing in the car.

What do you wish you’d done less of? Trusting consultants, repeating myself, sitting in a chair.

How will you be spending Christmas? I headed up to New Jersey for Christmas, as usual. I spent Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house with my parents, aunts, uncles and not-so-little cousins. I stopped at Kristy’s on my way home to hang out with her and the kids, and give them their presents. On Christmas morning, I opened gifts with my parents, and we pretty much just relaxed all day until we went to my dad’s cousin’s house for coffee, dessert and games at the dining room table. I spent a few more days in NJ studying for my Salesforce Advanced Administrator certification exam, shopping with my mom, and seeing a broadway show in the city. I had breakfast with Kristy. I went to Pete & Elda’s with my dad. And I stopped to visit Regina on my way home, which resulted in my accidentally backing into an illogically placed telephone pole before I got back on the road. 🙂

Did you fall in love in 2014? Yes. With pelicans.

How many one-night stands? None.

Who were your best friends? John, Heather, Kristy, Tina, and Kate. Jeff and Michelle were my best friends at work. Nicole was my best blog friend. =)

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others? After we went live with Salesforce at work, I made myself available pretty much 24 hours a day for the next two or three months to make sure everyone who needed help had someone to ask. I was a groomsman (a groomsmaid?) in my brother’s wedding. I offered up my guest room to anyone who wanted to take a vacation to Virginia Beach (and Courtney took me up on it)! I hired two guys to be on my new Salesforce team, and I try really hard to be an organized, supportive, inspiring manager that encourages them to learn new things and take ownership of cool projects.

What was your favorite TV program? Downton Abbey, Vampire Diaries, Jane the Virgin, Big Brother.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No.

What was the best book you read? Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.

What was your greatest musical audio discovery? Serial.

*What was your favorite meal? It’s a toss-up between the Darband Special at Darband 5th Avenue Grill in San Diego (April 21) and the Samoan at Kona Café in Disney’s Polynesian Resort in Orlando (October 4).

What did you want and get? An office.

What did you want and not get? Canfora sandals.

What was your favorite film of this year? Frozen. I know it came out last year, but I didn’t see it until this year. I think I watched it more than 40 times.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 33. I went to work. We had a Q1 rally in the afternoon. (I think I received my first values award of the year? For Drive? Or maybe Commitment? I’ll have to double check that.) After work, a bunch of my friends and co-workers met up for happy hour at Cheeseburger in Paradise. John and Jeremy and I had dinner at the bar there after everyone else left. When those two had to go home, I ended up talking to my brother on the phone for awhile and taking myself out for a delicious beer at Back Bay Brewing Co., which had just opened. That weekend, my parents came down. We went to see Bruce Springsteen, and the helped me spruce up my patio for spring. A few days after that, a few of the coolest girls I know took me out to a belated birthday dinner, which was absolutely delicious and fun. 🙂

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Launching Phase 2 of our Salesforce project at work — quoting.

What kept you sane? Evernote, Lilly Pulitzer, my Outlook calendar, long walks on the beach, bourbon, wine, podcasts, Instagram.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I’m not sure I even had any time to fancy celebrities and public figures because I can’t even think of any.

What political issue stirred you the most? Those crazy ISIS people.

*What mystery from 2014 was never solved? Seriously, what the hell happened to that plane?

Who did you miss? Grandma Tillie, my parents, my brother, Kristy, Tara, Tina (because she’s been exceptionally), and Jessie.

Who was the best new person you met this year? My Instagram friend, Kate.

*Did you start any new traditions this year? John and I both hosted and attended a few brunch get-togethers. Hopefully we can keep those going in 2015 because they’ve been really fun.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014: Actions speak louder than words.

Quote that sums up your year: “I had a dream I designed a print for Lilly Pulitzer. It was covered in pelicans and elephants, and it was called ‘It Takes One to Nose One’.”