2016 Book Recap

This is just for personal record-keeping. These are the 74 books I read in 2016. Divided by category.

In 2016, I read 74 books: 9 nonfiction (6 memoir), 10 YA, 24 Misc. Fiction (12 romance), 11 erotica, 18 re-reads, and 2 books I didn’t finish.

In 2015, I read 71 books: 11 Nonfiction (5 memoir), 22 YA, 23 Misc. fiction books, 9 erotica, 2 re-reads, and 4 books I didn’t finish.

Nonfiction:

  1. Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon (biography)
  2. Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola (memoir)
  3. The Real Thing: Lessons on Love…From a Wedding Reporter by Ellen McCarthy (memoir)
  4. I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert (memoir)
  5. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (memoir)
  6. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (memoir)
  7. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (memoir)
  8. Rising Strong by Brene Brown (psych)
  9. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (psych)

Young Adult:

  1. Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
  2. Finding Audrey by Sophia Kinsella
  3. Upstaged by Patricia McCowan
  4. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  5. The Crown (Selection #5) by Kiera Cass
  6. The Heir (Selection #4) by Kiera Cass
  7. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
  8. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
  9. The Heiresses by Sara Shepard
  10. Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas

Miscellaneous Fiction (includes chick lit/romance):

  1. The Whip by Karen Kondazian
  2. Longbourn by Jo Baker
  3. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick
  5. Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
  6. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
  7. The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes
  8. Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
  9. Self Help by Lori Moore (essays)
  10. Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes (essays)
  11. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J.Ryan Stradal
  12. Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  13. Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (romance)
  14. Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley #2) by Alice Clayton (romance)
  15. Nuts (Hudson Valley #2) by Alice Clayton (romance)
  16. Happy Ever After (Bride Quartet #4) by Nora Roberts (romance)
  17. Savor the Moment (Bride Quartet #3) by Nora Roberts (romance)
  18. Bed of Roses (Bride Quartet #2) by Nora Roberts (romance)
  19. Vision in White (Bride Quartet #1) by Nora Roberts (romance)
  20. Untamed by Diana Palmer (romance)
  21. Merciless by Diana Palmer (romance)
  22. Wyoming Strong by Diana Palmer (romance)
  23. Love, Come to Me by Lisa Kleypas (romance)
  24. Accidentally Yours by Susan Mallery (romance)

Erotica:

  1. Grey by E.L. James
  2. Michief and the Masters (Masters of Shadowlands #12)
  3. Protecting his Own (MoS #11) by Cherise Sinclair
  4. Perfectly Paired (Topped #3) by Lexi Blake
  5. Submission is not enough (Masters and Mercenaries #12) by Lexi Blake
  6. Dominance Never Dies (Masters and Mercenaries #11) by Lexi Blake
  7. From Sanctum with Love (Masters and Mercenaries #10) by Lexi Blake
  8. You Only Love Twice (Masters and Mercenaries #8) by Lexi Blake
  9. The Men with Golden Cuffs (Masters and Mercenaries #2) by Lexi Blake
  10. Ruthless (Lawless #1) by Lexi Blake
  11. Her Highland Master by Anya Summers

Didn’t Finish:

  1. Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
  2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Rereads:

  1. Servicing the Target (Masters of Shadowlands #10)
  2. 1001 Dark Nights: Show Me, Baby (MoS #9) by Cherise Sinclair
  3. If Only (MoS #8) by Cherise Sinclair
  4. This is who I am (MoS #7) by Cherise Sinclair
  5. To Command and to Collar (MoS #6) by Cherise Sinclair
  6. Make me, Sir (MoS #5) by Cherise Sinclair
  7. Lean on Me (MoS #4) by Cherise Sinclair
  8. Breaking Free (MoS #3) by Cherise Sinclair
  9. Dark Citadel (MoS #2) by Cherise Sinclair
  10. Club Shadowlands (MoS #1) by Cherise Sinclair
  11. The Dom’s Dungeon by Cherise Sinclair
  12. Mr. Cavendish, I presume by Julia Quinn
  13. Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn
  14. A Night Like This by Julia Quinn
  15. Fat Cat by Robin Brande
  16. Amelia by Diana Palmer
  17. Heartbreaker by Diana Palmer
  18. Hurt Me So Good by Joely Sue Burkhart

2016 Resolution Update (Part 1)

The italicized answer was last year’s response.

What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

2016: I got married, I drove the Pacific Coast Highway and visited Big Sur, Napa, Carmel by the Sea, and San Francisco, I had an MRI, I played some new board games (Smash Up, Sentinels of the Multiverse, Red Flags), I cooked a bunch of new recipes, I opened an American Express credit card, I got my first joint savings account, I bought a used car, and I went to Puerto Rico.

2015: I got engaged, I went to Animal Kingdom in Disney, I played a bunch of new board games and cooked a bunch of new recipes, I saw Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I saw the botanical conservatory, and I moved in with my boyfriend.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

2016: Like last year, I read more than my goal of books and I kept up game nights and my RSS feed, but I sucked at blogging. I didn’t meet my financial goals, in part due to overspending and in part due to unanticipated medical and car expenses (hurting my knee was a big financial whammy). Fitness was not a success on the whole, although I did successfully complete a Whole30 month. I also successfully did a month-long spending fast.

2015: As per usual, I kept some and not others. I read as many books as I wanted and kept up with game nights and my RSS feed, but I didn’t keep up with blogging or my gratitude journal. I met my financial goals, and I saved passwords electronically. I totally let my fitness slip. I’ll make more next year, though.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

2016: A different cousin gave birth to a baby in December, and one of my college roommate’s had a baby girl in November.

2015: My cousin gave birth to a baby girl in October.

Did anyone close to you die?

2016: Nope.

2015: Nope.

What was your favorite TV program?

2016: Suits, Game of Thrones, The Fosters, Life in Pieces, This is Us, Designated Survivor, Law and Order: SVU.

2015: Quantico, iZombie, Limitless, Shark Tank, The Fosters, Suits, Game of Thrones, Brooklyn Nine Nine.

What countries did you visit?

2016: Same as last year – stayed domestic.

2015: Just the good ole US of A.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

2016: Shopping.

2015: Eating out and eating poor food choices.

What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

2016: November 6th, the day I got married.

2015: November 7th, the day I got engaged.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

2016: Sadly, yes – I tore my ACL and lateral/medial meniscus’ in a trampoline incident. ACL reconstruction and meniscal repairs knee surgery scheduled for January 13th (Waited until after wedding/honeymoon/holidays).

2015: Nothing beyond the norm.

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

2016: More self-discipline. I want to be able to tell myself (and others) no when I want something but know it isn’t a great choice (think eating out, expensive entertainment, staying awake too late, too much ice cream).

2015: Dedication to fitness, and proactive communication with friends/family.

What was the best thing you bought?

2016: A used red 2008 prius, a new duvet cover (that amazingly brightens our bedroom), travel experiences.

2015: All of the owl things…furniture for my place with my now fiance.

Where did most of your money go?

2016: Cars (issues with my car, husband’s car dying but needing to be paid off, buying a new-to-us car together), physical therapy and dr appointments for my knee injury, my wedding and honeymoon, being a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding (hair, travel, bachelorette party, etc.), eating out, bills, savings.

2015: Bills and travel.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

2016: Getting promoted, saving more money than I put away last year.

2015: Getting a perfect rating at my job another time, saving more than 5K.

What was your biggest failure?

2016: I didn’t do some things I wished I did – like get in better shape, for example – but I don’t know that I “failed” at anything in particular. I feel like this past year was full of learning and ups and downs, but nothing that was a black and white negative/failure. Guess I’m getting more #woo with my age.

2015: Gaining back all the weight I’d lost plus some.

What did you get really, really excited about?

2016: My husband (ee!) – our wedding and honeymoon, the wedding of a good friend, vacation weekends, reading good books, cooking, personal finance.

2015: My dude – our new place, our wedding; several good friends’ engagements; and vacations.

What song will always remind you of 2016?

2016: They bring me to you by Josh Radin (my first dance song with my hubby).

2015: …I honestly don’t know.

*for next questions, last year in parentheses*
Compared to this time last year, are you…
…happier or sadder?  About the same (happier)

…just older or also wiser? Both. (Both)

…thinner or fatter? About the same (fatter)

…richer or poorer?  Richer, for all the same reasons as last year. (Richer; car and credit cards paid off, more in savings and retirement, making more money.)

What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercising my knee at home, blogging or other journalling. (Work out more.)

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? The same as always – preppy casual/fashionably comfortable. (same response from 2015)

Whose behavior merited celebration?  For their behavior insomuch as it applied to me – my husband for his amazing support, my dad and mother-in-law’s financial assistance with the wedding, my friends who helped make our wedding fabulous despite my stress. For behavior that benefited them in large ways – my sister, who had weight loss surgery and has drastically improved her quality of life, and one of my friends who has taken her parents into her home permanently to help them financially and healthwise. (My fiance)

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I don’t know that I was “appalled” per se, but I did struggle with my father yet again. This year he sold our house and I never got to go back or say goodbye to the memories there with my mom, and he also got engaged. (My father, for not communicating well or putting my sister and I first during tough times.)

How will you be spending Christmas? In the midwest with my immediate family. (same response)

Did you fall in love in 2016? More in love :). (Yes)

How many one night stands? 0. (0).

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not injuring my knee, and being able to kick butt at exercise instead of trying to recuperate. (Working out more)

How will you be spending New Years? At a friend’s house. (With my aunt and uncle and cousin, fiance, and some friends at my house.)

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No. Hate is a strong word. (same response as last year)

What was the best book you read?  I don’t have one best book this year. I really like “The Girl on the Train,” “Finding Audrey,” and two romantic-erotica series (Masters of Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair and Masters and Mercenaries by Lexi Blake). (The Martian by Andy Weir.)

What was your greatest musical discovery? I don’t really know of one. (same response as last year)

What did you get and not want? I don’t recall getting anything I didn’t want…maybe more owl things? We have too many as-is. (Umm holidays with my dad’s girlfriend?)

What did you want and not get? A certain set of glasses for the kitchen, new sheets, a meat thermometer (I’m a sexy lady), and a cartier locking love bracelet (a girl can dream, right?). (Towel warmer, wake up light, dna profile. )

What did you want and get? Promoted, married, closer to some extended family, a wake-up light. (Engaged, closer to a few friends, new place to call home, cheesemaking kit :).)

What was your favorite film this year? Eddie the Eagle, Me Before You, Bad Moms…and I honestly only saw like 3 other movies the whole year. There were a TON I wanted to see but didn’t, though. (The Martian, Spy, Trainwreck.)

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Turned 28, had an italian potluck party at my house. (Turned 27, went to Medieval Times with a bunch of friends.)

What kept you sane? My goals and vision for my future (stress during the wedding – thinking about married life with my husband kept me sane, etc.), and my husband and closest friends. (My fiance, closest friends, roommates while we lived together. )

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Paul Rudd, of course, and Chris Pratt. (No one? I don’t dwell on celebrities much.)

Whom did you miss? My mom. (My family, most of all my mom.)

Who was the best new person you met? I really liked one of my friend’s other bridesmaids and some of our neighbors we recently met. (Um…my current team at work, including two new people I like a lot?)

What political issue stirred you the most? The election. ‘Nuff said. (Gay marriage passing, planned parenthood being threatened.)

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016. A plan is only as good as your ability to adjust and implement it. (You get what you give in terms of relationships.)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. No clue. (I have absolutely no fucking idea.)

February 2016 Recap

Frugality: This month, I really wanted to buy some new clothes for the gym/work and some books, but I held off on both. I ended up buying a new pillow, one book that I had preordered months ago, and colorful pens for work for a total of $24.99 (under my $25 budget!). I went over and under in some of my individual budget categories, but ended the month under budget. I was able to tuck away a little extra into savings from a delayed work award, too, which is nice. We kept date night costs down by having breakfast/lunch out instead of dinner during an activity, and by only having a fancy dessert date for our anniversary instead of an extravagant dinner. I also made a homemade gift for valentine’s day instead of buying something, which helped with costs and was equally appreciated by my dude. On the technical side, I canceled a credit card with a high annual fee that I wasn’t reaping rewards from, and opened a high-reward cash back card. I also opened a high interest online savings account (going from .01% to 1% interest – yay!). So far, this area of life is staying on track! My lovely fiance also totally redid my budget tracking spreadsheet into this fancy tool that makes life so so so much easier.

Fitness: I went to the gym at least 5 times. Fiance and I figured out some house rules to motivate one another to go to the gym more regularly, and so far, it seems to be working. Tracking calories didn’t really happen – I started off doing it, but we haven’t kept it up. March will be a reset and attempt 2 at it. I have been keeping better track of my activity in general with my apple watch, and that’s been helpful. I’ve been walking a lot more throughout the day, which is an easy way to burn some extra calories and get more active. On the whole, could have done better, but did better than the previous month, so progress was made.

Friends: I saw all my local bridesmaids this month, too, which is a good trend to continue :). We had dinner with a couple we’d like to continue getting to know better, and it went well, which was good. (Making friends as an adult can get awkward.) I had the first virtual book club with some friends from college and it went really, really well, and I really enjoyed it. It was great to have a way to interact beyond a simple phone call – plus we read/discussed a good book! I had a ctach up dinner with some grad school peeps and we scheduled another one for March. I saw one of my old roommates for a TV night and caught up with her, and it was nice to relive my pre-dude nights. We booked flights for a trip to the midwest in May, which helps on the family front. I also planned a spa day with my future mother in law, and I’m hoping that can help us bond a bit more. I didn’t send mail to people as I’d intended, but I’ve collected addresses (wedding planning for the win) that will make it easier to do so moving forward. Despite falling short on that, I feel like I did well on fostering friendships this month.

January 2016 Recap

 

I thought it’d be a good idea to check in on my goals each month this year, just to see how things are going and how I’m doing.

Frugality: I successfully completed my tame version of no-spend January. I spent less than anticipated on our trip to NYC. We didn’t go out to eat at all on our own dime, although we were treated to two dinners from our respective family members that were in town for a quick visit. I turned down plans that involved food, but I was able to make plans with folks that were free. I had a baking day with a friend, and some people over for dinner at various times. We went on a free date to a Macy’s registry event, where I won some salad tongs. I didn’t buy any fun things or clothing. Other than groceries, I used amazon points to replace my broken cell phone case, and I got flowers and candy-making supplies for our wedding at the grocery store. I did have some unexpected expenses – I had to have my tires rotated, I owed some money when I filed my taxes, and my car registration (done every 2 years) was up. I’d budgeted for some of these, but didn’t realize they’d occur so early in the year.

Fitness: I joined the gym at work, and went twice. I’d have gone more, but we had a bunch of snow days where I didn’t go to the office. It’s also promotion application season, and that took over a bit. I need to be better on prioritizing gym time. My sister has been going to a gym near her and using MFP, which is motivating, and the fiance joined a gym with me and has been going. Hopefully all the good juju will help me out. I did reactivate my MFP profile, and as of Feb 1, we’re going to be tracking calories for everything. The plan is to just track and not limit lifestyle in February, then move into the actual calorie counting in March. We thought going extreme on frugality and on calorie counting all at once would be too much.

Friends: I finally had a facetime date with a college friend back in the midwest, and made plans for her and her beau to visit in March. I initiated and scheduled a virtual book club with my college friends that are scattered across the midwest, which I’m excited for. I also finally finished asking all my peeps to be bridesmaids. We caught up with a friend who moved to Philly while we were in town there, and I’ve been able to see all of my local bridesmaids in the month of January. I also did a coffee and magazine date at barnes and noble (coffee on a gift card, so still free!) with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, and made plans for a February dinner with grad school folks. I’ve been texting regularly with my sister, and my aunts have been coordinating helping with a wedding shower. I also called my aunt in the midwest to plan a visit for May. All in all, good work this month in keeping connections strong. In February, I’m going to try to send mail to people, just for funsies.

Books of 2015

This is just for personal record-keeping. These are the 68 books I read in 2015. Divided by category.

In 2015, I read 71 books: 11 Nonfiction (5 memoir), 22 YA, 23 Misc. fiction books, 9 erotica, 2 re-reads, and 4 books I didn’t finish.

In 2014, I read 63 books: 16 Nonfiction books (5 [7?] memoirs), 19 YA books, 13 Misc. fiction books, 8 Erotica, 4 Re-Reads, and 5 books I didn’t finish.

Nonfiction:

  1. I Feel Bad About my Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron (memoir)
  2. Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (memoir)
  3. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (memoir)
  4. The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of them Now by Meg Jay (psych)
  5. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (food)
  6. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (psych)
  7. Yes Chef by Marcus Samuelson (memoir)
  8. 30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Know by the Time She’s 30 by Pamela Redmond Satran (self-help)
  9. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (psych)
  10. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (psych)
  11. Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling (memoir)

Young Adult

  1. Roomies by Sara Zarr
  2. Some Boys by Patty Blount
  3. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  4. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
  5. The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen
  6. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  7. Durable Goods by Kate Nash
  8. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
  9. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
  10. Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger
  11. The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
  12. Split by Swati Avasthi
  13. In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
  14. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  15. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
  16. The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
  17. Lionness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
  18. The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
  19. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Nivan
  20. Arcana by Jessica Leake
  21. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
  22. Bliss by Shay Mitchell

Miscellaneous Fiction (includes chick lit/romance)

  1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (romance)
  2. Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty (fiction)
  3. Flat Out Love by Jessica Park (chick lit)
  4. The Secrets of Sir Kenworthy by Julia Quinn (romance)
  5. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (fiction)
  6. Gone for Good by Harlan Coben (mystery)
  7. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (fiction)
  8. Hedge Fund Wives by Tatiana Boncompagni (chick lit)
  9. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (romance)
  10. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (chick lit)
  11. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (chick lit)
  12. Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill (fiction)
  13. The Traveling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones (chick lit)
  14. Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (chick lit)
  15. Good Enough to Eat by Stacey Ballis (chick lit)
  16. The Analyst by John Katzenbach (mystery)
  17. The Martian by Andy Weir (fiction)
  18. Last Call by Alice Clayton (chick lit)
  19. Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin (chick lit)
  20. Delicious by Ruth Reichl (chick lit)
  21. The Royal We by Heath Cocks (romance)
  22. Dietland by Sarai Walker
  23. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Erotica

  1. Bared to You by Sylvia Day
  2. Reflected in You by Sylvia Day
  3. 1001 Dark Nights: Adored (Masters and Mercenaries #8.5) by Lexi Blake
  4. Luscious by Lexi Blake (Topped #1)
  5. Just One Taste by Lexi Blake (Topped #2)
  6. The Dom Who Loved Me by Lexi Blake (Masters and Mercenaries #1)
  7. Her Master’s Secret Service by Lexi Blake (Masters and Mercenaries #4)
  8. Love and Let Die by Lexi Blake (Masters and Mercenaries #5)
  9. A View to a Thrill by Lexi Blake (Masters and Mercenaries #7)

Didn’t Finish:

  1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  2. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  3. The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater
  4. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Rereads:

  1. 1001 Dark Nights: Show Me, Baby by Cherise Sinclair
  2. An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

2015 Year in Review – Resolution Update

I wanted a theme of self-assurance, and to improve my confidence. I don’t really think I got there, honestly. I am stronger than I was a year ago, but I’m not exactly more confident or self assured. Or I am, but I’m more emotional? Hard to figure out, honestly.

I wanted to do a bunch of things that freak my out, and I did cook some of the recipes, but I didn’t check out universalist services or a movie alone, I didn’t keep up with my fitness, I never found a therapist I really liked and ended up canceling on that. I think I’m better on asking for help, but am not great about caring less about other people.

Goals:

Updated 9/8/15

  • save $5000
  • get at least 2/3 “exceptional”s at work at my 18 (End of May) (got 3/3 in May) and 24 month (End of November) reviews
  • cook coq au vin (the last using my french oven) (1/2/15)
  • cook pancakes (1/4/15 and 1/24/15), bread (1/18 and 1/20/15), scones (1/12/15)
  • store all online passwords somewhere
  • attend a universalist service
  • see a therapist (at least once, maybe regularly) (first visit 1/14/15)
  • go to dr apts – eye dr (1/16/15), obgyn & regular physician (set for 5/15/15), dentist for fillings and for check up (set for 4/10/15)
  • go to a spin class and a pound class
  • see a movie alone
  • finish Couch to 5K
  • run the Parkway Classic 5K (too late to register – missed this one)

General list of  ‘do more’ things for 2015:

  • Keep up with current events and politics (read a newspaper every week, or The Week/Economist, or check CNN/Google news each day)
  • See more movies in theaters
    • Into the Woods (1/4/15), Annie (1/3/15), Wild (1/2/15), 50 Shades of Grey (2/20/15), the Duff (3/6/15), the Avengers 2 (4/30/15), Pitch Perfect 2(5/15/15), Tomorrowland (6/5/15), Spy (6/11/15), Inside Out (6/21/15), Ant Man (7/19/15), Trainwreck (7/20/15), Man From Uncle (8/15/15), The Intern (9/25/15), The Martian (10/2/15), Goosebumps (10/23/15), The Good Dinosaur (11/25/15), Star Wars (12/25/15)
  • Blog/Journal (try to do some 30 day exercises, or 100 days of 100 words; food blogging once a month, gratitude practice made public)
  • Give back to community/charity
  • Use my stand-up desk for 1hr each day (at least)

Things I’d like to continue from 2014:

  • Book Club(s) – foodie and kink-friendly ones
  • Game Nights
  • Gratitude Practice – weekly, focus on one thing in detail and how it impacted me not just a list of happy things, keep public; if do list, can keep private
  • RSS reader
  • Goodreads – read 52 books
  • MyFitnessPal – tracking calories and community of fitness-minded folks
  • Strength training – with a trainer or my own weights
  • Cooking at home/trying new recipes – 1 new recipe a month, blog about it with photos
    • Coq au Vin, Pancakes, Masaman Curry, Kik Alicha, Cranberry Oat Scones, Hibernian Brown Bread, Regular Yeast Bread, French Macarons (vanilla w/ nutella and pistachio w/ vanilla frosting), Steamed Cod, Spicy Tuna Cakes, Banana Chocolate Chip Whole Wheat Pancakes, Slow Cooker Tikka Masala, Cashew Chicken, Fluffernutter bars, Korean Beef, Salsa Verde Casserole, Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole, Grilled Rice Balls, Stuffed Peppers – Italian, Bang Bang Asian Glaze Shrimp, German Chocolate Chip Cookies, Funfetti Blondies, Funfetti Pound Cake, Cake Batter Three-Ingredient Cookies, Orange Dreamsicle Bites, Sesame honey chicken, apple pie oatmeal, jerk chicken tacos with pineapple salsa, ginger lemon sandwich cookies, sicilian rice ball casserole, teriyaki meatballs, butternut squash stuffed shells, pumpkin pancakes
  • 100 days of happiness on instagram – repeat it

Local things I’d like to do:

  • Attend an event at an Embassy
  • Do a Mansion on O St event or activity
  • Go to stand-up open mic night at Arlington Drafthouse
  • Visit the Crime Museum (They closed)
  • Visit the Botanical Gardens
  • See a military band concert
  • Check out a roller derby event
  • Visit Williamsburg

2015 Year in Review – Part 1

This is the first of what will likely be many posts reflecting on the past year and pondering the upcoming one. The italicized answer was last year’s response.

What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? 

2015: I got engaged, I went to Animal Kingdom in Disney, I played a bunch of new board games and cooked a bunch of new recipes, I saw Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I saw the botanical conservatory, and I moved in with my boyfriend.

2014: I went to Mexico (Riviera Maya) including to Chichen Itza, I cooked a bunch of new recipes, I went to many new restaurants, I introduced a boyfriend to my family and met his family, I gave a eulogy and went to a funeral, I tried new workout classes (piloxing, kickboxing, hip hop cardio, among others), I lifted heavy weights (deadlifts, yo), paid off my car, and got a deep tissue massage.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 

As per usual, I kept some and not others. I read as many books as I wanted and kept up with game nights and my RSS feed, but I didn’t keep up with blogging or my gratitude journal. I met my financial goals, and I saved passwords electronically. I totally let my fitness slip. I’ll make more next year, though.

I kept some of them. It took me half the year to get around to it, but I did end up focusing on health in the latter part of the year. I kept up with goodreads, game nights, my gratitude journal, and RSS feeds over the year. I’m also much better off financially. I didn’t write another short story, I didn’t save up as much as I wanted to, and I didn’t keep track of passwords or write letters to folks.

Did anyone close to you give birth? 

My cousin gave birth to a baby girl in October.

I don’t think so, at least not anyone in my immediate friend or family circle.

Did anyone close to you die? 

Nope.

Yes, my mom. It was unexpected and the grief still takes my breath away, even though it’s been 4.5 months.

What was your favorite TV program? 

Quantico, iZombie, Limitless, Shark Tank, The Fosters, Suits, Game of Thrones, Brooklyn Nine Nine.

Suits, Once Upon a Time, Shark Tank, Grey’s Anatomy, Game of Thrones.

What countries did you visit? 

Just the good ole US of A.

Mexico.

What do you wish you’d done less of? 

Eating out and eating poor food choices.

I wish I’d kept my feelings to myself less, at least in terms of my needs or being upfront about what people could do to help me when my mom passed.

What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

November 7th, the day I got engaged.

July 31, the day my mom died, February 16, the day of my first date with my dude, and September 18th, when we first said I love you.

Did you suffer illness or injury? 

Last year and this year: Nothing beyond the norm.

What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? 

Dedication to fitness, and proactive communication with friends/family.

Confidence…been working on that, am much better than I was a few months back, but still have a way to go to be as fearless as I’d like.

What was the best thing you bought? 

All of the owl things…furniture for my place with my now fiance.

My vacation to Mexico 🙂, my car (finished paying it off!), personal training sessions.

Where did most of your money go? 

The new place (furniture and furnishings), travel and restaurants, gifts for friends and family for holidays/birthdays/weddings, and bills.

Bills (to put myself in a better financial position), and like last year, experiences – travel, restaurants, fitness.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

Getting a perfect rating at my job another time, saving more than 5K.

Getting a perfect rating at my job, the report from my last job making the New York Times, losing 30lbs.

What was your biggest failure? 

Gaining back all the weight I’d lost plus some.

Calling my mom and being home more before she went septic (and the rest of the downfall) in June…not necessarily a failure, but a regret, which is similar. Otherwise…there haven’t been any huge noticeable failures, which makes me happy. If I’m looking for something, I’d end up back with the whole “wishing I vocalized my needs” more within friendship relationships. I wasn’t great at telling people when I needed them to be there for me (felt like if I had to tell them, didn’t count or was imposing).

What did you get really, really excited about? 

My dude – our new place, our wedding; several good friends’ engagements; and vacations.

My dude, my vacation, fitness and cooking.

What song will always remind you of 2015? 

…I honestly don’t know.

Stay with Me by Sam Smith, Say Something by A Great Big World, Happier by Pharrell.


Compared to this time last year, are you…
…happier or sadder?  happier (sadder)

…just older or also wiser? Both. (Both)

…thinner or fatter? Fatter (Thinner, by 30lbs 🙂 )

…richer or poorer?  Richer, for all the same reasons as last year. (Richer; car and credit cards paid off, more in savings and retirement, making more money.) 


What do you wish you’d done more of? Work out more. (Connect with friends and family far away.)

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015? The same as always – preppy casual/fashionably comfortable. (same response from 2014)

Whose behavior merited celebration?  My fiance. (My boyfriend and best friend, who were absolutely amazing in the midst of the horror of losing my mom.) 

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? My father, for not communicating well or putting my sister and I first during tough times. (My father, in not realizing that his actions have impacts. Some of my friends, in not making time or prioritizing friendships when I needed them most.) 

How will you be spending Christmas? In the midwest with my immediate family. (same response)

Did you fall in love in 2014? More in love :). (Yes)

How many one night stands? 0. (0).

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Working out more. (My mom not dying? Taking control of my fitness earlier in the year, maybe.)

How will you be spending New Years? With my aunt and uncle and cousin, fiance, and some friends at my house. (with my boyfriend and likely with some friends at a house party.)

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No. Hate is a strong word. (same response as last year)

What was the best book you read? The Martian by Andy Weir. (The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.)

What was your greatest musical discovery? I don’t really know of one. (same response as last year)

What did you get and not want? Umm holidays with my dad’s girlfriend? (A lot of candy from various people.)

What did you want and not get?  Towel warmer, wake up light, dna profile. (I can’t think of anything.) 

What did you want and get? Engaged, closer to a few friends, new place to call home, cheesemaking kit :). (Close friends at my new job, boyfriend, various material goods.)

What was your favorite film this year? The Martian, Spy, Trainwreck. (Guardians of the Galaxy, Hunger Games, and I can’t remember seeing that many others. As for old movies, Pitch Perfect and Frozen.)

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Turned 27, went to Medieval Times with a bunch of friends. (Turned 26, I went to dinner with a good group of friends downtown, and then went to a bar and went dancing.)

What kept you sane? My fiance, closest friends, roommates while we lived together. (While I had her in my life, my mom. The rest of the time, my boyfriend, my roommates, my closest friends, and focusing on fitness.)

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? No one? I don’t dwell on celebrities much. (same response as this year)

Whom did you miss? My family, most of all my mom. (same response as this year)

Who was the best new person you met? Um…my current team at work, including two new people I like a lot? (My boyfriend, two new friends at work, and the couple that hosts my book club.) 

What political issue stirred you the most? Gay marriage passing, planned parenthood being threatened. (I’ve been really removed from politics this year…couldn’t tell you.) 

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015. You get what you give in terms of relationships. (Just because you have to ask for something, doesn’t mean the something isn’t worth having or will fulfill you any less. Money isn’t as important as time. Don’t underestimate the place people have in your life.)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. I have absolutely no fucking idea. (same response as this year)