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year in review

Final Resolution Update of 2015

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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’.”

The Year in Review

By year in review 3 Comments

Ten years ago, I found this questionnaire, and I’ve been filling it out every December since. See? 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003. It seems I’ve even begun inspiring some others to fill it out because my friend Nicole managed to host an entire link-up full of bloggers answering this exact questionnaire. =)

What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? Worked in an IT department, lived alone, tasted Wagyu beef.

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 2014 list — it’ll be my 11th straight year posting resolutions on this blog.

Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, Nicole gave birth to Kamden.

Did anyone close to you die? My Uncle Sal passed away in April, and my friend Jessie passed away in September. So many days, I’ve wished I could meet her for a drink to catch up. It still makes me sad that I can’t anymore.

What countries did you visit? Just a little bit of this one — NJ, Tennessee, DC, California, Florida. Oh, and that spur-of-the-moment little detour I took one day through Delaware — that was a nice day.

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? A tropical vacation.

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory? January 3rd — the day I gave up gluten on a whim to get rid of a lifelong headache. It worked and then some. I’ve been (mostly) gluten-free ever since.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? A headache-free existence, a new career path, and this blog’s 10 year anniversary.

What was your biggest failure? Gaining enough weight that I had to buy some bigger pants.

Did you suffer illness or injury? I took a nasty spill off my bike one rainy night over the summer, and I got so banged up, I looked like someone beat the crap out of me with a golf club. Other than that, not really — a total 180 from last year.

What was the best thing you bought? Margaritaville DM100 Frozen Concoction Maker.

Whose behavior merited celebration? My brother’s for graduating from CTT school in Pensacola and making it through his first six-month deployment on USS The Sullivans (DDG-68).

Where did most of your money go? Rent, Lilly Pulitzer, vet bills, wine, leasing a horse, 401(k), HSA, savings accounts.

What did you get really, really, really excited about? My new job in February.

What song will always remind you of 2013? Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show. Or Darius Rucker if you like that version better. Me? I’m partial to this take on it by two guys in a parked car.

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.

What do you wish you’d done less of? Cleaning cat vomit off the floor.

How will you be spending Christmas? Christmas was sort of an anomaly this year. My parents wanted to be in Jacksonville to attend my brother’s ship’s homecoming when he returned from deployment on December 23rd. I had the option of going to Florida them, staying in VB with John and his family, or heading up to NJ by myself. I chose NJ by myself for two reasons: (1) I don’t have many opportunities to see all of my aunts, uncles and little cousins other than Christmas, and (2) spending Christmas alone is something people seem to dread, so I figured why not give it a try on my own terms. My favorite Christmas presents so far this year include an amazing new project at work, a summer road trip day in December, the perfect soundtrack for my trip(s), cozy new pajamas, an evening with my cousins, a beautiful view of sparkling lights on Christmas, a Fitbit, and a plane ticket to Florida. Here’s the story (in the second longest run-on paragraph I’ve probably ever written). My Christmas started before I even left work on December 20th, when we signed a contract to implement Salesforce.com at my company. It’s something we’d been working towards all year, and getting it finalized on my last official work day of 2013 was a pretty amazing way to kick off my Christmas vacation. My parents stopped over in VB on the 21st, and we had dinner before we parted ways in opposite directions. Then on the 22nd, I packed up the car and headed north to NJ for my first ever (for all intents and purposes) Christmas alone. It was a record-breaking warm day on the mid-Atlantic coast, and I drove all the way to NJ with the windows down, the sunroof open, and all my oldest and newest favorite songs to keep me company. I stopped once for a medium decaf with cream and sugar at Dunkin’ Donuts and once to stock up on giant bottles of tax-free spirits at the Costco liquor store in Delaware. I met Stacey for a late lunch/early dinner in Hamilton before I made my way to my parents’ house, where I was delighted to find the Christmas tree all lit up just for me. I settled in with my laptop and a glass of Kirkland bourbon and called it a night. On Monday, I fed my pet turtle, got some work done and did a little last-minute shopping (mostly for myself). I had dinner with Leah at some random tavern in Old Bridge and then repeated that thing with the bourbon and the laptop. On Christmas Eve, I wrapped some presents, whipped up my new favorite gluten-free slacker appetizer, packed up the car, and embarked on my Christmas Eve tour of New Jersey. First stop: Shop-Rite for a box of gluten-free pasta. Second stop: my grandparents’ house for the annual Bassani family Christmas Eve get-together. We were down three, but up two, and we managed to have a fabulous time drinking wine, stuffing our faces and opening presents. Third stop: Kristy’s house. Then before the night was over, I made an unexpected fourth stop at Regina’s mom’s house, where I had so much fun drinking coffee and reminiscing with her and her parents and Steve. I also met her girlfriend Laura, who was very cool. I watched them all open presents and was awestruck by the relationship between her dog and her bird. I made it back to my parents’ house by 2 am, opened my annual box of Christmas Eve pajamas (flannel, covered in multi-colored mustaches!), and went to sleep. On Christmas morning, I woke up, made myself a coffee, and sat by the tree awaiting my family’s call via FaceTime. I opened a few gifts with my Macbook Air parents and my brother, including the few five items I purchased and wrapped for myself. This resulted in a whole bunch of “What? Where did that come from? Marty, did you get her that?” from my mom while I tried ridiculously hard not to bust out laughing. It’s a pity I find myself so entertaining. I had also brought all of my unopened Christmas cards I received in the mail up and placed them under the tree for me to open on Christmas Day. Anyway, then I made myself a pork roll, egg and cheese and a bloody Mary. I wished a bunch of friends Merry Christmas, bundled up, and drove up the Parkway to my Aunt Debbie’s house. I forgot my box of gluten-free pasta, but remembered a bottle of Montepulciano, which paired perfectly with her homemade manicotti and meatballs. I caught up with my cousin Christina, visited with Rosie and her fat cat, and made conversation with my aunt’s friends. I left kind of early for fear of waiting too long and being taken out by a drunk driver during the hour-long ride home. Thanks to a serendipitous wrong turn, Waze made me take the Turnpike home, and just as I was wishing I had seem some better twinkly Christmas lights this year, the NYC skyline came into view. The Empire State Building was lit up all red and green, and maybe it was me, but it looked like lots of other buildings were lit up different colors, too. As the skyline disappeared over my left shoulder, I came down the overpass near the airport, and there was nothing but glittering lights on all sides — cars on the highway, cranes at the port, trains on the track, runway lights at the airport, and planes queued up to land for miles. Funny, even the Linden Cogeneration Plant looks eerily beautiful on an ice cold Christmas night, I think. Or maybe the music playing in my car just made it seem that way. =) Thursday I got a little more work done. I went shopping, but I came to the realization that I didn’t need or want anything at all. I took myself out to dinner, and I packed up my stuff to leave the next morning. On Friday, I rolled on back home to VB. The best thing about driving alone on a bright, chilly day like Friday was that I could open the sunroof, crack the rear passenger window, crank up the heat and not have to listen to anyone complain that their head was cold, but their arms were hot. Driving with fresh air flowing (even haphazardly) through the car is just better. I timed my drive over the CBBT perfectly (as usual) and got home just after sunset. John came over to trade Christmas gifts (I got a Fitbit and a new pair of noice-cancelling headphones) and take me out to dinner at Gringo’s (mmm…holiday margarita). I spent Saturday running errands, taking Diesel on a little jaunt through the woods with J, unpacking and repacking. On Sunday, I flew down here to Florida to spend a few days with my parents and my brother in a huge 3br condo on the beach in Palm Coast. Last night, we went to dinner with Stephen’s fiancé and her parents (cheers to meeting new family and random Italian restaurants offering gluten-free pasta these days), and I discovered a new favorite wine. Tonight, I think the plan is hor d’oeurves with the Fords and NYE in Daytona. Tomorrow, we do our family Christmas — and that, my friends, is why the answer to this question is just so damn long. =)

Did you fall in love in 2013? Yes, I kind of fell back in love with myself, my job, and my life.

How many one-night stands? None.

Who were your best friends? John, Tina, Vince, Kristy, and Stacey. 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? I opened two 529 college savings plans for my best friend’s kids. They’re not old enough yet to understand how meaningful that is, but I think in the long run, it will be.

What was your favorite TV program? Downton Abbey, Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Walking Dead, Survivor, Hart of Dixie, The Carrie Diaries.

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

What was the best book you read? Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com, Inc.

What was your greatest musical discovery? The Avett Brothers. The universe has been trying to get me to listen to this band all year. In January, they came up in conversation several times during our girls’ trip to Nashville. A friend with great taste in music said they were her favorite band, and I swore I’d give them a listen. I later found a crumpled up concert poster of theirs on the street and sent her an artsy Instagram photo of it. I can’t find it now, but it was a pretty cool shot. Anyway, I returned home, created an Avett Brothers Pandora station, fell in love with one song, and then never listened to it again. Over the summer, another girlfriend invited me to see them play in Portsmouth, and I declined for whatever reason — probably because I didn’t know any of their music. Finally, right before I left for NJ last week, another friend of mine dumped about six albums’ worth of their songs in to a Dropbox folder for me. I’m sure you can guess what happened next. I can’t. stop. listening to them. I’m an idiot. =)

What did you want and get? Salesforce.com @ work.

What did you want and not get? A trip to Vegas.

What was your favorite film of this year? It’s a toss-up between The Great Gatsby and the comic book movies. The Wolverine, Iron Man 3, Thor, Man of Steel — they were all good.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I went to work on my birthday. We had a town hall meeting @ the warehouse, followed by lots and lots of pizza. I indulged in one slice and a soda, since I hadn’t had either one of those things in several months. I remember they were delicious. Later, my friends surprised me by throwing together a little painting party @ Bean There. We snacked on light hors d’oeurves, drank champagne, and painted pictures of crabs (except for Heather — she painted a VT sailboat). Afterwards, we went to 11th Street Taphouse for a lovely late dinner and a few drinks on the patio. I turned 32.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Having my own parallax scroll website.

What kept you sane? Evernote, Dropbox, my Outlook calendar, beach days, bike rides, Waze, gin & tonic, Radio Margaritaville (via TuneIn Radio).

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Blair, Sarah, Emily, Jennifer, Cara. (What can I say? I like bloggers better than movie stars.)

What political issue stirred you the most? Government shutdown, Affordable Care Act.

Who did you miss? Grandma Tillie, my parents, my brother, Kristy, Tara, Heather (while she was gone), Tina (because she’s usually busy), and Jessie.

Who was the best new person you met this year? To be honest, I didn’t meet that many new people this year outside of work, so I’m going to have to go with Zaid, our Salesforce.com account executive. He makes me laugh. Also, my brother’s fiancé, Courtney. I just met her last night, and I can’t wait to get to know her better. Oh! And Leah. Kerri’s cousin Leah. She’s the coolest person I met all year, for sure.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013: Good things come to those who keep the ball rolling. Patience is a virtue. Experiences are more important than things.

Quote that sums up your year: “Can we just invent a sport?”

The Year in Review

By year in review 7 Comments

Nine years ago, I found this questionnaire, and I’ve been filling it out every December since. See? 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003. Looks like I’ve even begun inspiring some others to fill it out because my friend Nicole posted hers this morning, and my cousin Grace posted one, too. =)

What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before? Flew first class.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? As usual, I kept most, but not all. And of course I’m working on my 2013 list — it’ll be my 10th straight year posting resolutions on this blog.

Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, Kristy gave birth to Taryn, April 21.

Did anyone close to you die? No.

What countries did you visit? Just a little bit of this one — NJ, Florida, Nevada, California.

What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? Hardwood floors.

What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory? October 29. The day Hurricane Sandy destroyed the Jersey Shore.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Starting a business on the very same day I no longer owned my condo. (Yes, I did that on purpose.)

What was your biggest failure? Eating so much Domino’s pizza with my roommate that they sent us a personalized coupon for a $6.99 large 2-topping pizza and two chocolate lava cakes.

Did you suffer illness or injury? For the last six months of this year, I was plagued by a series of non-threatening, long-lasting, annoying medical conditions. I had the shingles at least once. I think I may have started to get it twice more, but I caught it early, and it wasn’t too bad. I also had vertigo — probably from flying with fluid in my ear — for about a week and a half in November. Shingles and vertigo paired with some stress at work triggered a lot of health-related anxiety over the last few months, too.

What was the best thing you bought? It’s a toss-up between Beach Cruiser #2, my portrait lens, my fisheye lens, and my Saint James Garde Côte II striped shirt (which is basically the most amazing shirt of all time).

Whose behavior merited celebration? Nicole’s. For the second year in a row, she went on a mission trip to Haiti, where she got her hands dirty helping with reconstruction in areas that were affected by the 2010 earthquake. I’m not very religious, so I’m not active with a church, and I’ve never been presented with an opportunity to do something like this. I think I’m going to make it a goal of mine to do something like this next year, though.

Where did most of your money go? Medical bills, vacations, rent.

What did you get really, really, really excited about? I read this article over the summer, and I got really, really, really excited about developing some new early morning habits. I started getting up at sunrise every morning and riding my bike down to the beach. It was the best few weeks of my year. Unfortunately, it didn’t last as long as it should have. It’ll be one of my 2013 resolutions to get back in the habit. I also got really, really, really excited about Jimmy Buffett — even more than usual. That explains why I stayed at his hotel, played in his casino, and saw him in concert not once, but twice this year.

What song will always remind you of 2012? I’ve Got Sand In My Shoes – The Drifters

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? Writing.

What do you wish you’d done less of? Complaining.

How will you be spending Christmas? I kicked off my Christmas “break” at TreadQuarters. I thought there was something wrong my with my car, so I brought it in after work. The guys there joked that they’d give me a discount on the repair if I’d bring them back a bottle of Jack Daniels. J picked me up, and we had dinner at Cobalt. TreadQuarters let me know my car was just fine, and I was so happy, I ran into the ABC store to pick them up a bottle of Jack. I also splurged on a $60 bottle of Scotch for my liquor collection. After we picked up my car, J and I exchanged gifts — he gave me an iPad Mini! I gave him a Le Creuset iron skillet and tickets to see American Idiot at the Chrysler Hall. On Saturday morning, I finished packing and drove to NJ. I was out of the car for less than 20 minutes before my brother rushed in the door, blurting out that he left his phone on the train. We called it, and a guy in Elizabeth said he’d picked it up. Since I’d promised to pick up J’s new desk at Ikea while I was home, we piled back in the car and drove up the turnpike to pick up the phone and the desk. I spent Sunday relaxing with my family, watching Gossip Girl from the beginning on my iPad, and baking cookies with my mom. On Christmas Eve, we all dressed in coordinating outfits for a family photo before heading down to my grandparents’ house for our annual get-together. Most of my cousins were there, and we had a lovely time sipping eggnog, eating pasta, opening presents and celebrating Christmas, my grandmother’s 85th birthday, and my cousin’s college graduation all at once. It’s my mom’s tradition to give my brother an I one box to open on Christmas Eve, which is always pajamas. This year, I woke up Christmas morning in these Munki Munki Ivory Passports Flannel Pajamas (love!). I received so many lovely gifts — a monogrammed Thirty-One utility tote, a Swell Caroline bracelet, a pretty polka dot top, and an edgy set of six champagne glasses that each say “Cheers” in a different language. I also got a Lilly Pulitzer pineapple wristlet from my brother and an AMAZING Tory Burch bag from my mom and dad. I’m so lucky. =) We had my grandparents over for Christmas dinner, and then I spent the evening catching up with my old friend Regina (and her puppy!) that night. Wednesday morning, I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Toast with my BFF, and then spent the rest of the day shopping/exchanging some sizes with my mom and brother. Wednesday night, we had a little family get-together with my dad’s side of the family. It was great to catch up with some of my cousins on that side of the family because I don’t see them nearly as much as the rest of my family. (Although, I do a decent job keeping in touch with Christina and Grace online.) =) I packed up my stuff and headed back down to VB on Thursday morning. All in all, it was a very nice and pretty relaxing holiday. (Oh, except I thought I was getting shingles again, so that was amazing…)

Did you fall in love in 2012? Um, yes. With this bag. That is all.

How many one-night stands? None. Unless you count the one night stand I received for Christmas last year and assembled this year. It matches the other night stand I’ve had for years. =)

Who were your best friends? John, Tina, Vince, Kristy, and Tara. Dave and Michelle were my best friends at work. Nicole was my best blog friend. =)

What thing did you do that was meaningful to others? Well, judging by how many people have clicked on my blog by searching for something related to having shingles on their faces, I think writing that post must have helped someone. I was the day-of wedding planner for my friend Tina’s wedding, and I think she and her family were very appreciative of everything I did that day. I also did the best I could to tweet important info to those who needed it during Hurricane Sandy and the week after. Being with power and familiar with the Jersey Shore area, I kept searching hashtags to find people looking for open gas stations, restaurants, etc. and then using Facebook and various news sites to find the info they needed and tweet it to them. I also made a few cash donations and collected some household goods and cleaning supplies to help the victims of the hurricane.

What was your favorite TV program? Gossip Girl, Walking Dead, Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Hate is a strong word, but I’ve developed some ill feelings towards more than one person I work with.

What was the best book you read? Sparkle by Cara Alwill Leyba — I’m seriously contemplating inquiring about Cara’s lifestyle coaching in 2013. =)

What was your greatest musical discovery? To be honest, I didn’t have a great musical discovery in 2012. The rest of the world discovered fun., but I already knew about them. (I saw them open for Jack’s Mannequin a few years ago, and loved them. So ahead of my time.)

What did you want and get? An iPhone, a second bike, a few camera lenses, and my own business.

What did you want and not get? A raise, promotion or some kind of excessive recognition at work.

What was your favorite film of this year? It’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite movie, but the first one that came to mind was Moonrise Kingdom. I watched it on J’s iPad during my flight to San Francisco, and I really enjoyed the subtlety and quirkiness of the film.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was 31, and my birthday kind of fell in between a few bachelorette parties and other goings-on. I didn’t do anything crazy — splurged on a new Lilly Pulitzer top and wore it out to dinner out with friends at Il Giardino. It was a low-key, but lovely birthday. =)

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not getting the f-ing shingles. I don’t know if you can tell yet, but it kind of sent the second half of my year into a tailspin of anxiety about my health.

What kept you sane? Early morning bike rides (pre-shingles), anti-viral medications (post-shingles). =)

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Blair, Sarah, Taylor, Jennifer, Cara. (What can I say? I like bloggers better than movie stars.)

What political issue stirred you the most? The election, the economy, taxes, the fiscal cliff.

Who did you miss? Grandma Tillie, my family, Kristy and Tara (after she moved away).

Who was the best new person you met this year? My co-worker Dave. He’s hilarious, and definitely kept my sane during some crazy/hectic times this year.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012: Celebrate the little things in excess, but take the opposite approach when it comes to stress.

Quote that sums up your year: “I’ll have a glass of champagne with an orange slice.”