The Year in Review: 2013

It's just about the last day of December which means it's once again time to reflect on the year, what we learned, what we did and what we'd like to learn and do in the coming year.

Side note: Remember when we all thought our computers were going to shut down 13 years ago? That's weird. I was in fifth grade.

I discovered that I actually held a lot of my...weirdness (I don't like that word but can't think of anything else) back from Brandon before we got married. The good news is he's also pretty silly and joins in on my random dance breaks. The better news is I love him even more.

I learned that "being an adult" is completely a fake-it-till-you-make-it situation after college. Brandon and I are not fully settled adults, even if we are married. Heck, we barely got Christmas gifts wrapped in time for the Christmas Eve service! We haven't purchased groceries in like three weeks. Not because we don't have the money, but because we just don't feel like it. It's hilarious and ridiculous...and fun.

Along the same vein, I realized once again that no matter how hard you try to keep your crap together (or your apartment organized) and be a grown up, there's always a chance you'll end up getting someone else's Christmas cards, or will be too late to go ice skating on the anniversary of your enagement or whatever. Life happens to us no matter if we're 16 and forgot to memorize our lines/choreography, 21 and forgot to take some Advil before bed or 24 and forgot that online Christmas shopping should be done early.

I started this year off at the peak of a mountain. I loved school, loved my internship, had the closest group of friends I think I've ever had, got engaged and had big plans for life after Loma. You know how movies depict your senior year of high school? That's what my life felt like. Then graduation happened and I moved away from San Diego and that friend group that felt more like family. I slowly came down from the peak. Then I couldn't find a job and honestly did not enjoy the work I did get. And I descended from that peak some more. Then I got a great job offer and got married and had a wonderful wedding day and honeymoon. And I thought Ok. The bottom was back there, it's only up from here. But I'm still waiting to climb back up. I've waited 3 months. I want to love my work. I crave a tight group of friends. I want to be out of this valley that I seem to find myself in. My hope is that 2014 will surprise me with clarity, direction and opportunities to share my life with the people I care for.

Also, I have to say this: the outpouring of love, support, well wishes and generosity on the part of my friends and family (not just limited to the close friends) never ceases to overwhelm me. I could cry right now just thinking about how nice people have been to me and Brandon this year. Brandon and I are a one vehicle family right now, which means I rely on our families to get home from work on days when Brandon works past 5. I am not the kind of girl to ask for help. I refused to ask to move closer to the board in third grade (before I had glasses and couldn't see) because...I don't know why. I like being independent. I don't like being a bother or hassle. And my initial reaction to asking for help is to think oh boy, here we go. I'm going to impose. Which is totally stupid because I have no qualms with helping others. I can't tell you why I don't trust others to help me. Just know that when you respond Of course! or Absolutely! or Duh, you touch my heart. I marvel at your generosity and you embody the love of Christ to me. So thank you. (CRYING AVERTED!)

Whoa, there. It got a little real, didn't it? Let's bring it back. Here are some of my 2013's highlights in photos.
The joy that was our weekly family dinner in Goodwin.
A random photo of Barbara's book and coffee.
Afternoons spent at the intern station.
Easter in San Diego.

Celebrating my sister's 21st in San Diego.
Sunsets at dinner. I miss these still.
Graduating with my best friend and getting photobombed by my other best friends.
San Francisco exploring with James and Jenny.
My favorite snapchat I've ever sent. Oh the things I do for church.
Letting my campers know it's 100% okay to be silly no matter your age.
Karaoke Thursdays with old friends.
My wedding day morning. Not too much has changed, if you ask me.
Corn maze in October.
My rendition of Taylor Swift for Halloweekend/me and Holly's Brithday weekend in SB. 
An outtake of what should have been our Christmas card, but just wasn't meant to be this year.
Happy New Year, everyone!

♥ A


12 Things

This post is 100% inspired by my cousin Rachel's blog. She does this thing she calls her 22/23/24 Things. Essentially, she picks a number of things (equal to the age she's turning) that she wants to accomplish by her next birthday. I think it's pretty cool and given that I find myself lacking direction without assigned reading or papers or studying to do once I get home from work, I think now is the best time to accomplish things I didn't have time to accomplish during my undergrad career. However, I can't think of 24 things I'd like to do, so I'm starting small. 12 things. I per month until I turn 25. Ack. That number seems so weird. I'm still 22 in my brain.

1. Perfect the tiramisu cupcake.
I've made them three times, but each time was in a different state of mind with time constraints. My goal is to perfect the recipe and the whipped topping and my whole process for making each cupcake the perfect cupcake.
2. Read 6 books.
I started JK's Casual Vacancy and found it too thick to read when already sleepy, so I'm shelfing it for now. I'm reading Perks of Being a Wallflower and it's perfect for my mindset right now. I just need to get back into reading thicker material. Tina Fey's Bossypants and Nora Ephron's I Remember Nothing, while new favorites, are extremely easy reads and feel more like reading a blog than a book.
3. Explore a part of San Francisco I've spent little time in.
I have my favorite spots in one of my favorite cities ever, but I'd like to go past my childhood experiences and make some cool new memories. This is also an excellent excuse to go to SF. I feel like it's been ages since I've set foot in the city.
4. Finish organizing/uploading my Project 365
I quit uploading in August. I had about two months of the project left to upload but I got busy? I have no idea where my motivation went. Also, I know the 365 days have passed and that I took a photo everyday until about November, but I also erased a bunch of photos from when I first plugged my iphone into my computer. I'm not Apple literate. It happens.
5. Practice French everyday for a month.
I've got this excellent app on my phone called Duolingo. It's basically a free mini Rosetta Stone. I was really consistent about practicing when I first downloaded it but I've fallen off my wagon a bit. Time to get back on. The lessons take like five minutes so there's no excuse for not practicing.
6. Make coffee art.
Coffee was a way of life for me and my buds in San Diego. And finding a cafe that had latte art was such a treat for us, I figure I should make like Annie from the Parent Trap and take a whack at it. Was that reference too obscure? My bad.
7. Bake a cake/cupcakes from scratch.
I'm really into cake. And by that I mean boxed cake. I think it's delicious. But since I'm semi-honing in on my baking skills, this should probably happen sooner than later. Also, I'm pretty intrigued by the pre-boxed cake process of cake making. It strikes me as nostalgic and authentic, but that might just be my hipster showing.
8. Watch 10 classic movies I've never seen before.
These are my confessions, just when I thought I said all I could say, I sit back and realize that it isn't okay that I've never seen Fight Club or Casanova or Sleepless in Seattle or Superstar or Scarface or Schindler's List. I'll stop there. Just know you were supposed to be singing that to the tune of Usher's Confessions Part II the whole time.
9. Complete 5 of my pins on my Learn/Make/Do board on Pinterest.
I refuse to continue to sit around pinning crafts and never completing them. So I'll go to Michael's, get some frickin' modge podge or whatever it's called and start crafting all the things! I'm picking five because I'm being realistic. Let's face it, I barely make time to put my clothes away after doing laundry (when I finally wait long enough that I have no choice but to do laundry).
10. Hand letter something. Turn that something into art.
I believe I've mentioned that I liked changing my handwriting as a kid. I thought it was fun. I dabbled in what I'm loosely calling graphic design as a teenager. Anyway, hand lettering is totally in right now, but anyone who's seen how I write names on envelopes or lyrics/quotes on the backs of paper as a time killer knows that I've got my own set of decorative letters. I want to expand on this, practice my calligraphy-looking letters, learn serif letters...I'm getting font nerdy. Sorry. Anyway, I love word art so why not make something Brandon and I can lug around and display in our home forever and ever?
11. Volunteer at Coastal Cleanup Day
I heard about CCD in my Marine Bio class back at Solano. I had a debate tournament the same weekend as the cleanup so I never made it. I've just seemed to miss it every year. Having interned at the wonderful I Love A Clean San Diego, I think cleanups are super fun and important. I'm also kind of obsessive about proper recycling because of it. Like I won't hesitate to reach for a plastic bottle that's been tossed into the garbage instead of the recycle bin RIGHT NEXT TO IT. C'mon people...
12. Decorate me and Brandon's apartment.
Okay. Another confession. Don't worry, you don't need to sing this one. I have done close to nothing to decorate my apartment. We have all of our essentials and even picked up a few pillows with gift cards, but it all still feels a little thrown together. I mean, my dorms felt more decorated than what my apartment feels like now. I've been here three months and have yet to hang a photo. I feel vaguely guilty/like a failure for not having my apartment all cute the way I want it to be. Other people waste no time making their homes look like they've lived there forever. Who knows how long we'll stay in the apartment we're currently in, but I can at least start thrifting and collecting things to make our apartment more of a home.

Alright, there they are. My twelve things to accomplish while I'm 24. I've gotta say this feels rather ambitious. At the very least it will give me something to blog about.

Oh, and if any of you are particularly interested in joining me in completing any of these things, let me know. We can make a day of it, listen to Lorde's album (one of my new favorite things) on repeat and take lots of photos. Yes? Okay.

♥ A