If you had asked me a few weeks ago if I accomplished a lot this year, I would have said no. Thank goodness for the blog or I wouldn’t have remembered half of what I completed. Overall I would say that 2011 was a ramp up year. It wasn’t out of this world great, it wasn’t bad in the least. It felt like a year of growth, one in which I got back on track. I still have a long way to go, but I’m okay with that, because I’m back to enjoying the journey.
There were a few things I remember happening before the blog started, the best were:
- My company finally started raises again after a 4 year break. I received both a raise and a compensation increase based on additional work I took on in 2010. Along with some money I got back from buying the house, I finally achieved a level of financial security that I had never know. I’m not my any means rich, but I have an emergency fund which has been such a relief. Prior to buying the house, there were times when I had to check my credit card balances to see if I could afford groceries. Things were tight.
- I scored $62 roundtrip tickets from San Diego to Boston and visited 6 states for the first time. We hit Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island. My favorite: Boston…hands down! I never did a formal recap from the trip, but you can see some pictures on my Flickr feed here, or here. (Still updating both of those sets)
- I celebrated my one year anniversary of buying my first home, and celebrated by 29th birthday.
In July I started this little blog and welcomed you to my journey in finally taking action to start living a life I loved. That first month was a little rough as I tried to figure out my blog voice. I recapped my first trip to Boston and shared how I scored a Roundtrip ticket from San Diego to Boston for only $62. I bought my first BBQ, hosted the first BBQ in my new home, and purchased my first grown up bed frame in the past 5 years. Later in the month I chopped off 20 inches of hair and donated it to Locks of Love, shared how I’m tackling my debt, and how I save money couponing at Target. I also painted the brass hardware in my bedroom bronze, permanently relieving the brass headache that I had for over a year.
I went a little MIA at the start of August, but picked back up with the reveal of my French Door Makeover. I showed you my style of art by creating a custom art inspiration board for the dining room, and shared how I store all the art supplies. I tried my hand at my first Pinterest inspired project by creating a paint chip keychain and closed out the month by sharing the Pottery Barn Bar Knock Off that my dad helped me build. The PB bar knock off was my first feature and I welcomed a bunch of new visitors.
September was a big month for the blog and the first month where I dove head first into this crazy world, loving every minute of it along the way. I started the month by sharing my Powder Room Reveal, creating a fun Twine Dispenser, and repurposed two framed peg boards into bulletin boards. I also shared the training plan for running my first 10K. Later in the month I removed a sticker from my washing machine, which was much more work than I every thought; and started the fireplace remodel by painting the fire place screen (3 cheers for no more brass!). I made a trip out to (my now favorite) local vintage shop and after seeing so many of my childhood toys, quietly mourned the loss of my youth. My parents and I had a blast making our first trip Apple Picking at a local orchard and plan on going back next year. Near the end of the month I shared how to make Homemade Mod Podge, a very cool Mason Jar Match holder, and how I was planting grass on concrete in my backyard.
September also marked the return of my love for cooking and I shared some great recipes: 5 Ingredient Fish Tacos, Roasted Parmesan Tomatoes, Polenta Gratin with Mushrooms & Fontina, Dark Chocolate No Bake Cookies, and Baked Ziti Marsala.
I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween but I tried to embrace it a bit this year with some holiday inspired crafts like the Mummy Pumpkin and the Glitter Skull. I showed you my finished Laundry Room, and turned those apples we picked in September into delicious Crockpot Apple Butter. I attempted to bring some organization into my life, took steps to break my nail biting habit, and finally hit my stride with 10K training. I also shared how I finished the backyard grass planters and installed sprinklers! I tried my hand at making homemade White Cheddar Pesto Pizza, Pumpkin Spiced Almond Butter, and freezable Sausage & Egg Muffins. I finally found Fall and welcomed Autumn with open arms with a visit to the biggest Pumpkin Patch I’ve ever seen.
During the month I also found a way to slip proof a kitchen rug, use Candy Corn as a vase filler, turned a hurricane into a kitchen utensil holder, built a front door sign post and painted a cute Halloween sign to hang from the new post.
It was a crazy productive month!
November brought one of my favorite projects so far, the Thermostat Chalkboard Frame! I shared my finished Spare Bathroom, spent time shopping with my Mom, and started dancing again. I launched a Tumblr site, crushed the 10K, and shared my love for an old fashioned Thank You note. I made progress on the fireplace remodel by removing the old tile, installed a kitchen ledge, and created a fall inspired yarn sign for the front door post.
Thanksgiving was lot of fun and my Mom and I continued out yearly tradition on Black Friday. I also got to spend time with my best friend and watch a beautiful sunset in San Diego. At the end of the month, with your help we raised $140 dollars for Toys for Tots during the Penny Campaign (which will be back again next year). Thank You!
Whoa, December was busy and most of the month was dedicated to the 18 DIY Holiday Ornament Project. In between ornaments, I participated in a Blogger Cookie Swap, created an easy JOY holiday yarn sign, and finished the moulding in the dining room. There was incredible progress on the fireplace mantle which allowed me to hang stocking for the first time in this house. Later in the month I guest posted a fun holiday craft over at Dear Creatives, and hosted Christmas dinner at my house, including some amazing Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee. I also hurt my back on Christmas Eve, shared a personal epiphany, and prepared to welcome the new year.
It’s been a good year and I can’t wait to ring in 2012 tonight. I’m looking forward to all the great things I have planned for the next 12 months!