My 2014 In Review

This was quite a year. It was filled with a lot of firsts. We had vacations, guests come and visit, concerts, parties, and more. I’d say 2014 was one for the books. I’m grateful for being able to blog through most of it and sharing it with you. But I must say I’m looking forward to making 2015 even better! Here is a glance at the incredible year David and I have had! FotorCreated13 January: The year started with plenty of snow storms. At the time, we were at our old apartment and I believe there were  several days that we ended up snowed in. Although I’m not complaining because there is something very cozy (and a bit apocolyptic) about being snowed in! Other January adventures? David crashed his car :/ On that snow that I just stated that we “love”… FotorCreated February: Friends came and visited and we started to really feel at home in our new-ish home. It was a great feeling. We also picked up a new hobby of finding open houses on weekends and going to pretend we were in the market for a new home. There is never a dull moment with David. Plus our first Valentines Day together! David surprised me with dinner, chocolate, flowers, balloons, I’m talkin’ the works! Now the pressure is on for next year ;)FotorCreated2 March: In March my whole family went to see Flogging Molly, courtesy of my sister and brother-in-law for Christmas! We are Irish through and through so you can imagine we got very into this concert. Looking back at these pictures is making me miss my long hair!FotorCreated3 April: This year I had a big reunion with my household from college. #Stella. It was pure bliss seeing all my best friends and girls I haven’t seen since graduation. I wish I could have a reunion every year. We also spent Easter at the hospital this year to be with my aunt who had been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. As of now?!? She’s cancer free! God is good. FotorCreated4 May: My sister, mom and I ran in our first (official) 5k. And let me just say… it felt good. It was an Ovarian Cancer run for my aunt and I have to say it was much more emotional than I thought it’d be. Even injuring my foot was well worth it. I also got to start up on my very first garden this year on our little balcony. It was simple and small but it did the job. We had fresh basil for pesto and tomatos for sauces in no time. I may or may not have killed off some peppers by accident…FotorCreated5 June: What happens in June?!? We celebrate my birthday of course! And I was really gettin’ into this whole getting healthy thing. Weights became my game. Let’s just say it was a love/hate relationship.FotorCreated6 July:  This was definitly one of our busier months of the year! To celebrate David’s birthday and the 4th of July, we went up to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes in Northern Michigan. Apparently climbing the dunes was a much bigger feat than we had expected. But we did it and were proud of it… Although that may be the only time we climb them… We ALSO made another annual trip up to Mackinac Island with the fam! This year was a weirder year for us and had a hint of the drama but it was still well worth the vacation time.FotorCreated7 August: My mom taught me how to make jam! Good ole’ fashion strawberry jam. AND I went to camp for the first time in my life! Well… I went as a counselor but who can complain when your horseback riding, swimming and crafting for a whole week in beautiful northern Michigan? Not this girl.FotorCreated8 September: Fall is here. And ya know what that means?!? Cider Mills. We went to a fair amount and sampled plenty of doughnuts and cider. Oh… and we made a big decision. To move or not to move when the lease is up. Well you probably already know. We started looking for a new place to call Home Pt. 2!FotorCreated9 October: This is almost always one of my favorite months. But for different reasons then when I was a kid. This year we celebrated our One Year Anniversary! Plus we made the BIG (and hectic) MOVE! We left our first home as a couple and headed into our current town home. I’d rather wait a while before we move again. Not exactly a fun experience. Oh, and I got promoted at work! And of course we did some Halloween-y type things…FotorCreated10 November: Another busy month for us! We visited friends, ran in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, just started to get settled into our new home, AND I got my wisdom teeth out. This month I was thankful for General Anesthetics. FotorCreated11 December: This December was a little crazy, a little hectic, but a lot enjoyable. I even finished my 25th book of the year! Getting closer to my 50 books in a year goal! Also this month David and I went to see Wicked at the Detroit Opera House, we visited an NFL exhibit and got to see a REAL Lombardi trophy (see our reflection below, we just don’t take normal pictures), went to see a Houston Texans game in Indianaplois (the Texans lost though, still a sore subject with David;) and we spent some quality time together.  It has been the perfect way to end 2014.   FotorCreated12   There is a lot I will miss about 2014. But I really don’t like living in the past which is why I’m hoping 2015 will be it’s own kind of wonderful. I made goals this year and I crushed goals this year. I made meories and I captured memories. 2015 has a lot to live up to, although it’s at an unfair advantage because 2014 was a lot of David and my firsts. BUT all the more reason to make 2015 just as good, if not better than the last. Here we go! Happy New Year, friends! See you next year!

A “Silent” Sort of Christmas

Rasie your hand if you are shocked and scandaled that Christmas has come and gone so quickly.

Yes, I for one am. I’ll be perfectly honest. It was more of a stressful Christmas-prep compared to last years “breezing on by”. I planned too late, I shopped too late, I baked too late… Basically I was running late on a lot of things this year. But it seems whenever I’m feeling “rundown and listless” (2 points for you if you can name that TV show), God finds a way to make me feel like He’s got my back through it all.

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I was at the end of my patience come December 20. I had been praying and praying all Advent to feel prepared and joyously awaiting the coming of Christ, but I was anything but joyous. I was moody and irritated. Everything that could possibly irritate me, seemed was coming my way, full speed with no end in sight. The idea of feeling “Christmas-y” was a sad joke. I was a Scrooge and there awas no getting around it. My Christmas decorations seemed to be staring at me…mocking me for not being as excited as everyone else out there.

Then one day. A prayer of mine was answered. It was a little one. But nonetheless it was important to me. After that I started relaxing a bit more. The more I relaxed the more I realized how silly I had been. I was equating Christmas with getting all these things done, and experiencing the feeling of Christmas. Well anyone looking from the outside in could have told me that’s a sure way to fail.

I finally put into motion the idea of “let go and let God”. I started looking more at the Holy Family and their journey, and ya know what I realized?! St. Joseph is a silent man. I mean literally silent in the gospels. In the entirety of the Bible, we never “hear” him speak. He’s reflective of everything going on around him and I couldn’t help but wonder why the heck we can’t be like that?! He has Advent down like no one I’ve ever seen.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was spot on when he said silence “is so lacking in this world which is often too noisy, which is not favorable to recollection and listening to the voice of God…In this time of preparation for Christmas, let us cultivate interior recollection so as to receive and keep Jesus in our lives.

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So no, I didn’t get all of my Christmas baking done and my house was a mess up until two days after Christmas. But at that point I didn’t really care. I got done what I needed to get done, physically and spiritually.

And while my life is hardly ever quiet when it comes to noise, I was finally able to experience some spiritual silence. And because of that, I was able to enjoy my Christmas much more. And ya know what? The Scrooge in me seemed to disipate more and more. I finally got that Christmas-y feeling, but this year it meant a lot more.

The 12 Days of Gift Guides: For the Fashionista

I’d like to meet the person who is able to get their Christmas shopping done without buying a little somethin’-somethin’ for themselves. They are true heros this season and deserve all of their magical Christmas wishes to come true.

For the rest of us, there is the list below.

Fashionista

1. Black Pumps  |  2. Tweed Draped Jacket  |  3. Nickle & Suede Earrings  |  4. Exposed Rock Necklace

5. Aztec Cuff  |  6. Shooting Stars Necklace  |  7. Red Wrap Dress  |  8. Aztec Leggings

9. Orange Clutch  |  10. Pink Infinity Scarf

Although it may be last minute for Christmas, these items can last you far into the winter. There is always a close friend that we don’t see until a few weeks after Christmas so these are great go-tos.

The Nickle & Suede earrings are perfect for moms or women who are on the run a lot. They are light weight and come in all these great leather patterns. And let’s be honest… you can never have too many scarves or bags.

Happy shopping :)

The 12 Days of Gift Guides: For the Decorator

Calling all decorators and HGTV enthusiasts out there! This one is for you!

Decorator

1. Picture Frame  |  2. Boxwood Wreath  |  3. IKEA Rug  |  4. Sunflower Painting  |  5. Starry Night Wall Decor

6. Retro Side Table  |  7. Frank Lloyd Wright Clock  |  8. Mercury Glass Lamp  |  9. Floral Throw Pillow

10. Plaid Throw

That pillow, though. Get on my couch.

That’s all folks. This girl has some wrapping to do ;) Let me know what you think and happy shopping!

The 12 Days of Gift Guides: For the Hipster

We all know one. Or we are one. Today… we bequeath the Gift Guide to the hipster. For the items they can say they knew were cool before everybody else.

But I’m not gonna lie… some of these are pretty cool. When I got my new job I seriously considered getting the computer mug. But then I realized I’m too #basic for that. Get me a beanie and that shark Christmas sweater and maybe I’ll reconsider…

Hip

1. DIY Viddy Camera  |  2. Cold Bruer Drip Coffee Maker  |  3. Botanicals Coloring Book  |  4. Hipster Owl Print

5. 1920’s Phone  |  6. Computer Mug  |  7. Selfie Album  |  8. Wall Scrabble  |  9. Record Player

10. Shark Ugly Christmas Sweater

Yes, that is actually a selfie album. For the times you just want to look at yourself and a mirror is just not good enough… But don’t just take them with a normal camera. That’s so last year. MAKE your own carmera from cardboard with the Viddy Camera! I’m not going to lie.., that’s pretty cool that technology has come so far that it’s an option to make a camera from cardboard.

Check out last year’s Gift Guide for the Hipster!

But that coloring book? I’ve been looking for a coloring book that had some cool shapes or pictures in it and this one just may be it! Snag me some Crayolas and I’m in for a good night.

With a glass of wine of course.

In my computer mug.    Of course.

The 12 Days of Gift Guides: For the Movie Buff

As a kid, you could often find my family and I conversing almost entirley in movie quotes.  Little did I know that this was not the norm when I eventually grew up and no one knew the lines I was yelling from “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. Should I be embarrased by this social faux pas? Not at all. In fact, I’m rather proud of it.

And I’m hoping… if you are anything like me, you have at least one or two people on your holiday list that are the same way as me. Maybe not in movie quotes, but perhaps they are a film student in the making or maybe they love quirky collectibles OR maybe they are the professional-movie-watchers-and-popcorn-eaters-on-a-Friday- night kinda person. Aren’t we all that person sometimes?

Well these items are for those people. The fellow movie lovers out there. Hopefully you’ll find something new and a little out there. I mean, who doesn’t want to sport “Fargo” written across their chest all season?!

Movie

1. Awesome Mix Vol 1 from Gaurdians of the Galaxy  |  2. Fargo Sweater  |  3. The Big Lebowski TIME Mirror

4. Muppets Alphabet Print  |  5. “What I Love About Movies” Book  |  6. The Science of Interstellar

7. TCM Classic Movie Trivia  |  8. Science Fiction Star Chart  |  9. Popcorn Maker

10. Movie Slate Board

 All these items make me want to build a big theatre in my home someday. Ahhh dreams. Speaking of dreams, I had a dream about Interstellar the other night. I haven’t seen it but I read an article that the science in it was pretty spot on. So even if you’re a science nut, number 6 just may be for YOU!

And I think I need to become more well versed in my old movies because that TCM trivia game would be so fun. But I should probably finish the ever growing list of old movies I need to watch. And that’s where the popcorn will come in handy;)

Check out last year’s Gift Guide for the Movie Buff! There are still a lot of items I love on that one.

I hope you or someone on your list could go for one or more of these items. But even if they don’t…