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In late March, I had a work conference in DC, so I flew up a day early to hang with my good friend Linsi. This was the first time I had traveled without my big camera in a long time. So all the pics from this trip are from my phone. Most of them aren’t too shabby.

I was in DC exactly this same time last year and all the cherry blossoms had gotten washed away by a huge rain storm. This year, it had been so cold that they weren’t out. Damn you cherry blossoms.

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We started by getting a reflexology foot massage and having tea.

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Afterward, we grabbed a cheese sampler, nachos for dinner and a wine flight. Delicious. We also stopped at Trader Joe’s afterward. It’s a tradition or something.

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The next morning as I headed out to the conference hotel, there was snow on the ground!

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My colleague/friend Daniella and I headed out checked into the hotel then headed out to Georgetown for the afternoon to take pictures then to eat Ethiopian food (YUM!) and spent the rest of the conference, trying to figure out where to eat.

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We stayed near DuPont Circle, which was a great location and had some interesting sights.

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After the conference ended, Daniella and I parted ways again, and I went back to Linsi’s. We went to a local brewery and spent a good part of the night there. Then I had to head back to Texas the next day.

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I really wish I had unlimited money and time, or at least lived closer to Linsi. We always have such a great time together! Until next time DC!

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As always, a few days late, but better late than never. Here are my 2010 and 2011 recaps if you care to check them out.

In 2012 Taylor and I :

Paid off his car early (the VW Jetta). Then, just a couple of weeks later, had a huge issue, where we brought the car in to the dealership to check out a problem with the door lock. They said it would be several hundred dollars to repair the lock, and we said, no thanks. Then later that same afternoon they called claiming that there was gasoline in the diesel engine (um, there’s no way in hell!!) and it would require major repairs (to the tune of at least $8,000 dollars, and you better contact your insurance company to get them involved.) After many talks with insurance and the car dealership and about 6 weeks of the car being in the shop, we paid our insurance deductible, turned in our rental car and traded that sucker in. So we also…

Bought a new car. A 2012 Toyota Camry SE.

Celebrated my 31st birthday, our 3rd anniversary, and Taylor’s 29th birthday.

We also did a lot of mentally preparing and budget planning for buying a house in 2013.  EEK!!

Taylor’s sister had a baby, so this year we became Aunt Andrea and Uncle Taylor! Here’s our sweet nephew from just a few days ago. He’s about 4.5 months old here.

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And I:

I didn’t cook as much as I’d like to throughout the year. This year was the first time I in my 31 years that I didn’t go to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, so I cooked my First Solo Thanksgiving Meal for my in-laws. And for the first time ever, I also didn’t see my parents on Christmas day, so I cooked a ham dinner on Christmas. I didn’t take any pictures.

Visited

  • Las Vegas (March)
  • Washington DC/Arlington, VA(April)
  • St. Louis (July)
  • New Orleans (August & October)
  • New York City (September)
  • Dallas (October)

Read

I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas in 2011 and I also joined Goodreads and set a goal of 30 books for the 2012 year. I didn’t make 30, but I did read 24 books, so not too shabby.

I enjoyed everything I finished, some more than others. I started Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, The Art of Fielding, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but didn’t finish. The only one I legitimately quit because I simply could not get into it was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. My favorite books were the John Green books (in order of my personal preference) The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, and An Abundance of Katherines.

Here are all the books I read.

  1. The Hunger Games
  2. Mockingjay
  3. Catching Fire
  4. Divergent
  5. Paper Towns
  6. Girl Over the Edge
  7. Wife By Wednesday
  8. Water for Elephants
  9. Looking for Alaska
  10. Thirteen Reasons Why
  11. The Fault in Our Stars
  12. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  13. Juliet, Naked
  14. Fifty Shades of Grey
  15. Fifty Shades Darker
  16. Pretty Little Liars
  17. Flawless
  18. Perfect
  19. Unbelievable
  20. The Book Thief
  21. Gone Girl
  22. Flight
  23. An Abundance of Katherines
  24. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I am too lazy to link those books to another site and/or list their authors, but if you’re interested in knowing more about something and can’t find it, let me know and I can point you in the right direction.

Watched

  • True Blood (Season 4)
  • The Tudors (Seasons 3 & 4)
  • Dexter (Season 6)
  • And plenty more miscellaneous episodes of Sister Wives, Family Guy, South Park, The New Girl, and Tosh.0

Listened to/Discovered MusicA few of these albums aren’t new, some are especially played out, but I loved them this year anyway. Saw Two Door Cinema Club at House of Blues in Houston in October.

  • Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon
  • Fun – Some Nights
  • Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal
  • The Lumineers – The Lumineers
  • Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
  • The Black Keys – El Camino
  • Keane – Strangeland
  • O.A.R. – Rain or Shine

Did nice things – As a sort of informal resolution, I tried to do more  nice things this year. I kept track for myself, but don’t care to post the tally here. In general, I sent cards and care packages to friends and family who needed it, and I also did nice things for people I didn’t know. I really enjoyed it and I hope to continue this year.

How was your 2012?

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This is FINALLY my last post about Italy.

On the last few days of our Italian adventure, we hung with Cherrye and Peppe’s friends and suddenly it was just like they were our friends too. We went out for pizza to their favorite pizza place.

Then went to a bar for limoncello and gelato.

One night, we learned how to make homemade limoncello. Remember this lemon tree?

Cherrye was all prepared by pre-soaking the lemon rinds, so it would be ready for us to drink.

Here’s an action shot of us pouring and straining.

Peppe taught us how to make risotto then we st down to enjoy 1 Euro wine. Later, some of Cherrye and Peppe’s friends joined us for limoncello before we had to start packing up.

The next morning we hit the road and said goodbye to Cherrye, Peppe, and Max,  thanking them for being such wonderful hosts and friends.

And with that, we said arrivederci to Italy.

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Scarf Swap

The really cool Jess at JustExpressive, hosts a scarf swap each year in honor of her birthday. I didn’t meet her until last year at the Blathering and then since she lives near-ish to my parents, we got together brunch around Thanksgiving, and ended up chatting for 4 hours. She’s pretty great!

The gist of the scarf swap is that you are assigned a swap partner, and you buy each other something you think the other person would like. My swap partner was Kristabella. I’ve never met her in real life, but we’ve gotten to know each other online over the past few years. If 2012 isn’t the year we meet up, I guess it’s not meant to be.

She and I discussed our scarf preferences and went our separate directions to buy. Here’s what I chose for her. Something she could wear in cold-ish winters, but also fashionably.
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And a few days after I sent that scarf off to her, I found a package at my door. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be so crazy if we bought each other the same scarf!” Then I thought realistically, “Overstock.com has lots of scarves, so just because the package looks similar, doesn’t mean it’s the same.”

But y’all! Look what I got!

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We picked the SAME SCARF! I got her the one that’s more purple, and she got me the one that’s more red! And we both love them!

I’m really excited about this because I really liked the scarf I picked for her, and strongly considered buying one for myself. Now I don’t have to!

How crazy is that!!!

(If you like the scarf enough to get one for yourself, it’s called the Cotton Bina Scarf in the Worldstock section of Overstock.com. Kristin and I even helped support education in Nepal with our scarf swap purchases.)

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I didn’t think I was going to write one of these, but then I finally looked back to see what I wrote last year, and thought I’d do it again. I kind of like having a little summary all in one place. Here’s 2010 if you’re interested.

This year Taylor and I :

Moved into a new apartment, and survived.
Celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary.

Visited

  • New Orleans (March)
  • New York (May)

And I:

Completed a 2nd Warrior Dash, without barfing

Celebrated

  • New Year’s Day in New York City
  • My 30th birthday

Cooked – Not as much as I would have liked. Learned how to cook risotto.

Visited

  • Italy (July)
  • Austin (October)

Read

  • Room

Harry Potter Series

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow

Started but couldn’t finish

  • The Pioneer Woman, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels
  • Chelsea Handler, Chelsea, Chelsea Bang Bang

Watched

  • True Blood (Seasons 3)
  • Lots of How I Met Your Mother &  Big Bang Theory
  • Tosh.0
  • The New Girl
  • Lots of Intervention, Addicted and Obsessed

Listened to/Discovered MusicAgain, not all new stuff, but I love all the same.

  • Matt & Kim – Cameras
  • Eric Hutchinson – Sounds Like This
  • Freelance Whales – Weathervanes
  • Discovery – Discovery LP
  • Ke$ha – Animal
  • Grouplove – Never Trust a Happy Song
  • Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
  • O.A.R. – King

And talking about 2011 wouldn’t be complete with a special new category.

Developed Friendships

  • I became closer to friends I already had while planning our trip and traveling to Italy together.
  • I also met new friends at the Blathering. Some of them I think will be friends for a very long time.

Can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store!

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A few weeks ago -R- and I were chatting when the conversation turned to best friend jewelry. She said she didn’t remember ever having any. I knew I had, so I dug through my jewelry box, and lo and behold.

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Having both halves could mean I didn’t have anyone to give the other half to, but judging on the state of the “Friends” half, maybe I had two best friends!

I also have half a “FRIENDS FOREVER” necklace. When I was in high school, my German pen pal and her family had a layover in Houston when they were on vacation, so we met up at the airport. This was back before the mega security, so we could go to one of the restaurants in their terminal. We exchanged a few gifts with each other, and so maybe wherever she is now, she’s still got the other half.

I also exchanged my fair share of friendship bracelets, but I couldn’t find any in  my jewelry box.

Anyone else still have some of these childhood artifacts? Were you more a bracelet or necklace best friend?

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My friends Cherrye and Peppe had a baby last year in December. And a lot of people think this little guy is the cutest baby ever. I think he’s pretty cute too.

I was lucky enough to get to meet him when he was only about 6 weeks old. And then again when I was in Italy during the summer – he was an awesome 6 month old. Cherrye came to town around August, so I got to see him at 8 months too.

And most recently, baby Max celebrated his 1 year birthday in the USA! I was lucky enough to be able to attend his party (and take almost 200 pictures…oops!).

Here is the proud mama, papa and baby boy!

This Dr. Seuss party was so cool. Cherrye planned everything down to the last detail. (Including that balloon wreath on the door!)

Guests enjoyed Roast Beast and Ham I Am sandwiches, Green Eggs, and many other Seussical dishes.

Everyone in attendance wrote happy wishes for the birthday boy inside the book. Party favors were travel chalkboards that all the kids loved!

Of course, the birthday boy had his very own birthday hat. Doesn’t he look so handsome?! (We’ll take bets on both how long it took to put the hat on AND how long it stayed on. Ready, go!)

The birthday boy really loved opening presents.

And attempting to eat the paper.

And at the end asking for more.

He had his own cake.

But, he’s very good at sharing.

And he’s very good at looking cute, even with frosting and cake all over his face.

He’s also VERY good at finishing everything on his plate. Almost.

I am very lucky to be friends with Cherrye and Peppe. And of course the birthday boy.

Happy 1st birthday Max!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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