New Year’s Sum-uppance, Vol. 3

Every year, I like to do this thing I call the New Year’s Sum-uppance. It’s basically a self-assessment, so I can look back each year and be like, “ahh yes, that’s what I liked/was doing with myself at that time.” Part of the whole “this blog is kind of a diary” theory.

Here’s where things stand going into 2012:

Age: 24 (yeesh…)

Location: New York

Status: Married!

Occupation: Social Media Specialist (AKA, Professional Facebooker)

Favorite food: I think I’m going to take a leap this year and say seafood pad thai. Because that never DOESN’T sound good.

Favorite color: Gold, grey, and basically any jewel tone.

Music I like right now: Adele, Snow Patrol, Augustana, but mostly anything that I haven’t heard on the radio 8,000 times.

TV shows I watch: I really don’t want that much TV, but I kind of got into the trashy stuff this year. I mean, I’m still into Modern Family and 30 Rock, but I rely on Bravo and MTV’s “I used to be fat” to get me through the tough times.

Book I’m reading: I’ve been working my way through Dracula for a while (it’s suprisingly unsettling), mostly because without my daily commute on the train I don’t have as much time to read. I have a few things in the queu on my Kindle, though, so hopefully I’ll be moving on soon.

Favorite magazine: Self, Women’s Health, GQ, and of course, Glamour.

Goals for next year: Figure out what I really want to do with my life, build up the blog into more of a business, travel, find a way to get a puppy. Obviously. (Side note: One of my goals last year was lose 15 pounds. Suck it, self, because I lost 30. …this now ends me telling myself to “suck it.”)

Overall opinion of my life: Good. Ha.

But seriously, there are things in my life that are SO good. Marriage, friends, the fact that we live in a great apartment and have supportive jobs and aren’t threatened by scary diseases or natural disasters or war. There are things that I want to improve on, of course.

Susan once said something to the effect of that I’ll never be completely satisfied because I always want things to be better and want better things. (It was something like that, but that was the gist.)

Which is probably true. But I’m hoping to work on that. So I guess my main goal for the year is to find more contentment in things. Well, first to figure out exactly what I want, and then to actually be content if/when I get it.

If you’re reading this, leave a comment with the number one thing you want to improve on/change this year. I’m not talking resolutions, because those are like setting yourself up to fail. I mean something big, something small, something really specific that will stick in the back of your mind. Can’t wait to read them!

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On the dangers of Pinterest

me: creepiest thing you’ve ever seen?

Ann: AHAHA
WTF?!?!
why are they baking that baby??

me: baby shower cake? I assume?
emphasis on ASSUME

Ann: maybe a “we like to cook babies” party?
is that a thing?

me: God save us if it is

Top 10 Posts of 2011

Every year I post my Top Ten Posts of the Year. I do this mostly because it’s kind of interesting to see what you all like to read, or what just seems to spark your interest.

As you know, this year I made the leap into self-hosting, which unfortunately, meant losing all my old stats. So this year I’m going to pull the top ten from the old stats, since most of the year’s figures are on the old blog anyway.

What I’m saying is, it might not be EXACTLY accurate this year, but it will be pretty close.

So, without any further ado, THE TOP TEN POSTS OF 2011.

10. How to quit your job I really like this post. I think it’s one of those times I was able to put into words exactly what I was feeling at the time. And plus, it was the post that brought my blog soul mate Stacey and I together. So you can’t argue with that.

9. Can’t sleep; won’t sleep This is the second post to make the list two years in a row. Wanna know why? A lot of people image search “sleeping person drooling” or “embarrassing sleeping man”. I can’t tell you why, but I guess I’m grateful all the same.

8. Dear blog troll… Ok, I’ll be the first to admit I let my irritation get the best of me on this one. In the future, I’ll just be sticking to my “be nice or you’re not allowed to play” rule in terms of which comments are allowed to stay. Seriously, guys.

7. How not to rent an apartment on Craigslist I’m really happy to see this was a popular post. Because you know what I lot of people suck at? Renting apartments on Craigslist. Learn, people. Learn.

6. Hey there, sweet potato It’s entirely possible this post was so popular because people like Mad Men. Or sweet potatoes. I’m fine with either option being true.

5. That time I was a model This post was really fun to write. Plus, my hair still looked really good when I wrote it. Win-win.

4. The breakdown and building up of me I think we can officially identify this as the scariest thing I’ve ever published. For those of you who have never worked in the industry, journalists aren’t supposed to talk about hating their jobs. If they do, it’s supposed to be with a cavalier, joking tone about how it just means we’re so much stronger than everyone else. Which might be true. But it also might mean we’re just unkind to ourselves. I’m still undecided, but this was one of the only posts I’ve ever gotten texts from people I haven’t spoken to in years about. So you be the judge.

3. Repeat. And again. I’m really hoping this story was popular because you all know bad story tellers and not because you all think I’m a bad story teller. Oh well, I guess either way, you’re reading.

2. Check me out! I’m so humbled by everyone’s support over this. As anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight can attest, it is scary as hell to discuss out loud. Everyone was so nice and I feel truly blessed to have so many people on my side. And if anyone was inspired by my story, well, that’s just icing on the cake. (Because yes, I still endorse cake. Read my story, people!)

1. Narwhals. Seriously. I don’t know about you, but I find it mildly hilarious that this wins year after year. But I have sad news. Because all of the search engine traffic for this post goes to the original on the old blog, my self-hosted blog gets zero benefit from it’s popularity. Guess now I’ll just have to get page views on the merit of my writing…gulp.

So there you have it.

I feel like I don’t say this enough, but I really appreciate all of you who read this blog. We topped out over 80,000 total views this year. That’s insane. Mostly because there’s no way my dad is responsible for that kind of figure, and lord knows I don’t have that many friends, so there must be people out there who I don’t even know who read this. And I just think you’re all pretty amazing for that.

So thank you. Thank you to my sponsors. Thank you to the people who subscribe. The people who like the blog on Facebook. Who follow me on Twitter. And a huge thank-you to anyone who ever tells their friends about something they read on here. That’s pretty much the greatest gift you can give me.

Ok, enough mushy stuff. I’ll be posting once more tomorrow, and then you won’t hear from me until the new year! The hubs and I made an impromtu decision to spend the weekend in Boston, and I have zero intention of writing anything while I’m there. But don’t worry, you know I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.

Why did you get married?

I’ve been doing a bit a guest posting lately, but I have to admit, this is my favorite one I’ve done so far.

Liz of the blog Happy Sighs (incidentally, she’s also one of my new sponsors!) has been working on an on-going project on the subject of Why We Wed. Here’s the philosophy behind it, in Liz’s words:

Why did you get married?

I think it’s a question we once-wedding-bloggers discuss often enough, and many of us probably think the answer is obvious. Because I’m in love. (sometimes with an added DUH.) But, recently a group of us really talked about it. Why did we get married instead of simply continuing to date, co-exist, even live together? What does “marriage” mean to each of us? It’s interesting to discuss. It’s illuminating about what the word “marriage” means for each of us. And hell, it gives us an excuse to look back at our awesome wedding photos. (win, win, WIN)

I debated writing in. I mean, I have a lot of thoughts on marriage (ask my friends), but some of what I had to say isn’t always accepted by the general public. In the end, though, I felt that I owed it to my marriage to put it into words. So here it is, my public love letter to my husband and to marriage.

Check it out on Happy Sighs here.

{Lime Green Photography}

Party Notes

This is a pretty slow week for just about everybody. Let’s face it, we’re all just trying to soak up as much vacation time as possible. Or, if you’re me, you’re just living for the upcoming Monday off work.

So I probably won’t be throwing too many deep posts at you. (Or really, too many posts. Girl needs a break from blogging.)

For today, I’m just going to share a couple pictures from the cocktail party. Enjoy!

First, the decor. (Plus, isn’t my cousin cute?)(Also, I think this is the only picture ever taken that really shows how big our dining room is. I mean, it’s not a dining hall or anything, but it’s pretty big for the apartment.) As I mentioned, the theme of the party was pretty much sparkly stuff and candles.  I know, it’s a really catchy theme. Rolls of the tongue.

But the point is, it’s pretty and makes for a pretty festive atmosphere. It’s actually hard to capture in pictures, but just trust me that things were glowy and pretty. (Say pretty again.)

My apartment actually looks its best in dim lighting. In dim lighting, it feels cozy and warm, and you can’t see the perpetual film of dust on the dark furniture (seriously, it spawns) or the dingy yellowish-white color of the walls. Which is why I will probably only ever host evening parties.

So anyway, I hung sparkly tinsel and distributed copious candles.

Action shot my cousin captured of me lighting candles on the shelves.

Next, the food. Everyone was commissioned with bringing the ingredients for their favorite drink (or just an exciting drink to share) and some kind of food, whether it be dessert or an appetizer. Here’s what I put out before guests arrived.

It was basically my goal to make throwing the party as un-stressful as possible, so I took it easy on snacks and just worked on the presentation. Gourmet brownies (an end-of-the-year gift from my boss) cut into small pieces, a veggies and dips display (presentation inspired by this), and an Oreo layer cake (inspired by this).

Side note: If you ever want to go all out with one of those Oreo cakes, you will seriously need at least ten packages. My cake was four, and it was only two tiers high with about 3 layers of cookies per tier. Just sayin’.

Plus, my drink of choice was a champagne punch (1 bottle champagne + 2-ish cups orange juice + 3-ish cups ginger ale…add ice), which I probably should have made more of because it went pretty fast. Live and learn. Fortunately, there were plenty of other options to keep everyone satisfied.

Of course, the true tone of the party is set by the guests. Specifically, what they wear. Fortunately, my friends are always down for an excuse to swank it up, and they didn’t disappoint:

That isn’t everyone, but there were a few latecomers who didn’t make the group photos. (They looked nice too!) It was pretty fun to look around the room and see all the sparkles.

So there you have it! The night was spent snacking, drinking, chatting, and showing our wedding video. (It was requested…I swear.)

Thank you to my lovely cousins for their photography skills (and fancy camera having-ness). It was SO nice seeing you!

I think this is a good photo of us. (Ha.)

Til next year, you stay classy, folks.

Last-minute Lucy

I am my mother’s daughter. An almost embarrassing amount. But instead of inheriting my mother’s good qualities, I think I’ve only managed to garner her quirks. Seasonal allergies year-round. Awkward feet. And bizarre compulsion to overhaul my house hours before company arrives.

Here’s a quick story from my childhood. (You want a minute to grab some popcorn? No? Ok, moving on…) My grandmother had given my mom fabric for curtains. I don’t really know why. Apparently my mom asked for it or my grandmother had just given them to her. It doesn’t really matter. The point is, my grandmother gave my mom the fabric.

Months went by, and our guest room remained curtain-less. MONTHS. To the tune of almost a year.

Then, one day, grandma and grandpa were coming to visit. The NIGHT before, my mom was slaving over her sewing machine, because she would be damned if grandma knew she had put it off that long.

(There’s a very good chance I’m telling this story incorrectly…I was like, nine when it happened. And I didn’t care that much about decor at the time. The but the gist is correct. I’m sure my mother will leave a comment clarifying, so be sure to check back.)

Another example? My mother once painted an entire room at 3 a.m. the night (morning?) before guests were supposed to arrive. (Actually, I think the guests were grandpa and grandma again…)

But come on. PAINTED. A. ROOM. Do you know what goes into painting? Drop cloths have to be laid down. Things have to be carefully outlined in tape, and then the tape has to be removed. And this room had fairly high ceilings, meaning a ladder was involved. AT THREE IN THE MORNING.

It sounds crazy, right? Well, watch your tongue, because I’m apparently the same way.

So you know how I had been on this mission to get my apartment properly decorated before my cousins arrived? (I’m not calling it “re-decorated” because this is the first time the decor is fully thought out.)

Well, my cousins were due to arrive at midnight on Thursday. My plan had been to finish all the decor in the dining room Wednesday night (all I had to do was hang some pictures on that blank wall). But when I went to hang one of my giant pictures, the hooks on the back broke and the whole thing came crashing down, breaking one corner of the frame.

Cue my second decor-induced temper tantrum.

I swear, I’m not a giant baby. I just hate when things don’t do their jobs. It’s just like when people don’t do their jobs. Except no matter how much you yell at a picture frame incapable of hanging on a wall, it never says it’s sorry. Blerg.

Which meant I had exactly 24 hours to solve my problem. And I had to work on Thursday. Which meant…you guessed it…a lunch-hour run to HomeGoods.

So I came home with a French print I wasn’t sure I liked and a mirror I liked but wasn’t sure would work on the wall. Spoiler alert: I ended up not using either of these items.

In the end, I gave up on getting things perfect before my cousins arrived. My saner-than-I-am husband finally sat me down and convinced me it was ok that things were not perfect and that I could run out Friday morning to the craft store and buy a new frame for the original poster I wanted to hang. Things would still be ready for the party.

Basically, I needed to relax. Guess what I’m really not good at.

The point is, in the end I did what he said. I’m returning the French print, but keeping the mirror to later be incorporated into…I don’t know, somewhere. Maybe our bedroom. I just like it. The posters were hung on the wall (with a much more supportive wire that the craft store lady assured me would hold the weight). And when everyone finally arrived for the party, the apartment was as close to perfect as I could have gotten it, even if everything had gone according to plan.

So what lessons do we learn here?

1. Don’t put things off. Please, please, please, don’t put things off…self. But remember, I’m fighting my genetics on that one.

2. Stop freaking out. Again, this is a battle against my very DNA.

3. No one really cares as much as I do. My cousins do not care if only one frame is hanging on the wall when they arrive. My guests would not have cared if the whole wall was blank. Only I care. I know this. It is not enough to make me chill out.

So spill: What’s the project you put off until the last minute and ended up driving yourself bonkers over? A final paper? Buying a present for an event? Hanging gigantic frames on your dining room wall? I need to hear ’em so I feel like less of a freak.

Ramblings after 2:00 a.m.

I’m going to tell you about the party. And my long weekend in general. I am. I just am not going to do it in this post.

Because you deserve more than me just telling you. You deserve me showing you. And how will I do that? With the photos on my cousin’s camera. That is not in my possession. And which she still has not sent me. (No pressure…Morgan.)

Besides, I have something much more pressing to share: I can’t sleep. For the first time in over two years.

If this were a movie, this would be the moment where someone spits out his coffee and yells something to the effect of, “STOP THE PRESSES.”

That is, if this were a really, really lame movie.

But the fact remains, it’s 1:50 a.m. and I am wide awake. It’s actually more surprising that I so rarely find myself lying awake at night considering that for the first two years of my life, I almost never slept. I’m not exaggerating. Ask my mother.

But for pretty much my whole adult life, I didn’t have too much trouble. Sure, there were the nights I stayed up hours reading whatever new book I had discovered (I’m a nerd, blah blah blah…), but for the most part, I loved sleep.

Seriously. I rival house cats in my ability to fall asleep in just about any circumstance.

Case in point: I once fell sound asleep about two minutes into the Michael Jackson movie. Which I was watching with my soon-to-be mother-in-law. On her couch. In the middle of the day.

Those are skillz, people.

I’m also one of those people who (rather obnoxiously) cannot sit still for more than five minutes. Well, I can sit still. But only if I’m watching something really interesting on TV. Or at a computer. Where I can, ya know, entertain myself by blogging or something. All that non-stop activity can tire a girl out.

Despite all this evidence for why I should be able to be sleepy at a moment’s notice, here I am. Wide awake. Now at 1:53 a.m.

It’s partly because I’ve got a lot on my mind. It’s partly because I took a 3-hour nap at 2:00 this afternoon. (Don’t judge.) But whatever the reason, here we are. (Or rather, I am. Unless you’re up too. Which is neat. Unless you’re just on the west coast, in which case it just means you’re a functioning member of society. Congrats.)

As you’ve probably deduced, you super sleuth you, there is zero point to this post. Except that I’ve suddenly got time to kill and am hoping that some stream-of-consciousness blogging will be just the ticket to send me back to sleepy-time land. (My SECOND favorite of all the lands.)

Hmm…what else to ramble on about…ooh! I can show you a picture of my new hair. You’ve been DYING to see it right? (Right? …guys?) Whatevs, you’re going to see it anyway. Check it:

This picture is actually a two-fer because you’re ALSO getting to see what I look like when I can’t sleep. AND getting a sneak peek of my famed grandpa glasses! I know, it’s almost like a second Christmas. (Or a ninth day of Hanukkah. I don’t judge.)

So anyway. Yup. That’s ma hair. Enjoy. And lookee there. We’re passed the 2 a.m. mark. Brilliant.

Anyone have a few “how to fall asleep fast” tips to pass on? Or at least anything better to think about when I can’t fall asleep fast?