In the past year, I’ve spent a lot of time dwelling on the subjects of creativity, marriage, feminism and hospitality. Important things to me, and much of what gives me purpose, passion and energy. The way these subjects mix and grow and subside and build again in my life is an ongoing discovery – and I’m positive that’s a good thing – much like the way the waves crash over each other onto the shore. Sometimes rapidly and loudly, and then steady again.
And since it’s my 29th birthday, I’m sharing 29 things that I want to remember about the past year:
- John Legend. OK, so this happened just before my last birthday but I spent the past year celebrating that I finally saw him live in concert. It was at the Copley Symphony Hall in San Diego and I’m still swooning.
- Group vacations with friends are the best. No offense to family vacations (which my family does extremely well), but friend vacations are my jam. I’m so grateful for that trip – four couples and a six-week-old baby at the beach. Let’s go back. Can’t wait to do it again!
- That brunch with our friends. It was our first stop of the trip and the perfect way to kick off the week together.
- Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. Still the best book I read this year for many reasons. I’m so grateful for the way Sarah Bessey writes about her love for Jesus and mutuality in marriage, and how she’s given me personally a language to connect with and share. Hers is the sort of writing that stirs in me a great desire to dig deeper and love bigger simply because I am loved and saved and free.
- We attended a Sarah Bessey talk at a Writer’s Symposium in San Diego and it confirmed to me that the woman is who she says she is, on paper and in person. Love that, and hope for more opportunities to hear her speak.
- Pure Barre. I’ve now been going regularly for about a year and a half, and I’ve basically grown out of my entire wardrobe of pants, skirts and jeans. It’s a good thing, though expensive, because I’m strong, fit and happy.
- I finally watched all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I used to watch the show when it was on TV weekly, but stopped paying attention at some point before Logan waltzed into the scene. So basically, I fell in love with Logan (“You jump, I jump, Jack.”) and won’t spoil the end for those who need to catch up before the revival debuts this fall. Hurry up!
- Podcasts. It started with Elise Gets Crafty and Sorta Awesome, and I just can’t get enough. When I’m cooking, painting, or just want to listen to something with more substance than what’s on TV, I let my podcast playlist roll. I laugh loudly and cry from the gut sometimes, I refer to different talks in my everyday conversations, and it’s so good.
- Darling Magazine. I subscribe and look forward to its arrival each quarter because it is an important and stunning publication. The articles are thoughtful and relevant, the photography is beautiful and oh my gosh, not retouched!
- My IF:Table group celebrated one year of conversation at the table in May. The group has grown a little in numbers but largely in connection. We’re starting to go through a few of life’s milestones together – engagement, pregnancy, job promotions – and I give praise for each represented.
- That sister’s weekend in October was a special event that we won’t soon forget. I think we all sort of realized that as we get older and our lives grow roots apart from one other, time carved out to come together is essential.
- We’ve found our local watering hole with the best tacos in town. It’s the closest taste to Southern California’s epic Mexican fast food scene, and we’re so grateful for it. Since November, we’ve been going at least every 14 days if not once a week for happy hour and atmosphere. No shame here.
- I’m feeling more at home here. We’re about to mark four years in this city, and the past 12 months are worth remembering. Perhaps because we’ve been in the same house for a few years, I’m settled in at my day job, and we’ve had “second annual” parties. I’m sure that starting the IF:Table women’s group had much to do with it along with our ongoing couples’ gathering. Community has surely helped me find my place here.
- That New Years Day Brunch is worth remembering and repeating. Mark your calendars, friends.
- My first USA soccer game in LA. I’ve been to many Galaxy games, but this was my first time seeing the national team in person.
- That day trip to see USA soccer is also marked by brunch at Bottega Louie before the match. Best decision, for sure. If you’ve not made it to this sweet Los Angeles landmark, I assure you it is even better than the blog and social media posts can lead you to believe. Start with the beignets.
- I’m fading from Facebook and deleted the app from my phone months ago. Recently, I downloaded the Groups app (I think it was Hollywood Housewife who mentioned it) so I can easily keep up with wedding party groups while avoiding the general news feed. For me, this is a social media win.
- Paperless Post is my preference for online invitations. I was never a fan of Evite templates, so I really like PP’s huge array of design options, plus it’s a great platform for managing RSVPs. I have used it for business and personal events with much success (and compliments from guests!) and highly recommend it.
- Moonlight Beach in Encinitas is my favorite.
- My oldest nephew got his first cell phone and he and my husband sent each other burping videos.
- Catering. Or as I feel more comfortable saying out loud: making snacks for friends’ parties. Taking on the task of feeding people so that the host can focus on other things and rely on me to make something good makes me happy. Order up!
- I finally made pate choux and found it so easy. First, I made cream puffs, and then I made football eclairs for a last-minute Super Bowl 50 party.
- The Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50!
- That time I was in a photo shoot and though I planned to apply mascara either at a stoplight or once I arrived to the location, I failed to put it in my purse. Besides that, it was absolutely the most awkward moment of the year. I write articles, edit copy and help with layouts or photos; my name goes on a byline; my face does not appear in print. Still embarrassed.
- Also, somewhere in the past year, I got comfortable behind the camera. Part of my job is taking photos (mostly candid) and I won’t deny the tiny thrill I get when my boss chooses one of my shots for an ad or publication.
- My Godson turned 8 and among the birthday haul, he got his first stick of deodorant.
- I finally got to throw one of my sisters a bridal shower! I’ve hosted several parties and showers for friends in the past, but getting to do it for my sister is a different sort of special. I’ve got another one coming up later this summer and again, it’s a privilege and an honor to host for my sister.
- Tanning lotion. This is one of those products I gave up once I started green-ifying my beauty regimen, and in a panic before an event that required bare legs in the dead of winter, I picked up a sample of the St. Tropez Gradual Tan Classic Everyday lotion and it totally worked. Since then I’ve tried the Chocolate Sun lotions and plan to use this organic solution before upcoming weddings.
- Sean thanked me for not making our house look like the home decor aisle at Target. I thanked him for accepting and forgiving (basically not caring about) the freeze on the incomplete styling of our home, because I’ve changed my mind and want start over. Maybe before I’m 30.
Read my 28 food memories post here.
*Note: This post is not sponsored. All thoughts and suggestions are my own.