Tag Archives: year in review

End-of-year meme: 2010, a year of win!

Starting out the year in Las Vegas. Maybe I'll get to the real Paris in 2011!

I’ve been writing this meme since I met Rob and “borrowed” it from his site. It’s one of my favorite parts of the year, although every time I fill it out, I vow to keep better records of the next year – it’s so hard to remember the early months! I hope you enjoy the look back on 2010, and I’d love for you to fill it out on your own site. If you do, be sure to let me know or link back so I can check out your thoughts!

01. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

*Published a book.

*Became a full-time freelance writer.

*Welcomed my niece into the world!

*Celebrated my 10-year high school reunion.

*Went on a business trip.

*Attended a bachelorette party in Las Vegas.

*Danced with Backstreet Boys impersonators.

*Drank (and enjoyed) wine.

*Attended a Jewish wedding.

It seems like there was something else . . .

*Oh, yeah … I got married!

02. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more?

I’ve been known to make incredibly intimidating lists of resolutions that are virtually impossible to keep. In recent years, I’ve pared down the list to just a few accomplishments to which I devote myself throughout the year. Having my first book published was a huge part of that. I did also plan to have my first national magazine clip published, but I’m still working on that. On to 2011!

03. Did anyone close to you give birth?

2010 was certainly a baby boom! My brother, Adam, and his wife, Danielle, welcomed the beautiful Brileigh Ann on November 8. My best friend Jamie and her wonderful husband, Andy, welcomed the gorgeous Lucy Gregory in July, and Jessica and Travis welcomed the incredibly handsome Carter Grant in August. Dear friends of the family, Marie and B.J., welcomed their second son in September. If I overlooked anyone, my sincere apologies!

04. Did anyone close to you die?

Fortunately, this was a year of no funerals. Can’t they all be like that? To those who did experience loss this year, please accept my condolences.

05. What countries did you visit?

U S of A, baby! Although, let’s be honest … Chicago is like a different country. A country that should be called AWESOME.

06. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

*A published clip in a national magazine.

*An iPad.

*A feasible and interesting idea for a second book.

*An out-of-country vacation. What you know about a cruise??

*A passport.

07. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

November 6, the day I married my best friend. Our wedding was beautiful, meaningful and simply perfect. So many people approached us after the event and told us that the venue, the decorations, the ceremony/reception – everything felt like “us.” And that’s the best compliment ever. I will remember our wedding for the rest of my life and am so excited to see what the coming years bring!

Honorable mention: March 30, 2010: My first book, “Moon Kansas City,” was officially published! My wonderful stepmom and several friends planned a party at one of my favorite Kansas City eateries, Happy Gillis, and we had a blast.

08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Surviving! Between several close friends and family members giving birth, to the book, to planning my 10-year high school reunion, to THE WEDDING, to growing my freelance business, it’s been an incredibly challenging, sometimes stressful, yet always exciting year. I’ve said many times that I don’t know how 2011 can live up to the wonderful madness, but I’m excited to see what’s in store!

09. What was your biggest failure?

Probably personal finances. I’m not the world’s greatest saver, and that trend continued throughout 2010. The hubby and I have formulated a plan for the next year, however, so I feel confident that this failure will be transformed into an achievement by the end of next year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Several minor kitchen injuries – it’s the high price of my ongoing culinary education, I suppose!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I’d say my wedding dress, but that was actually thanks to my amazing mom! One of the things that immediately comes to mind is the gifts that we bought and Rob made to say thank you to our families for all they did to help with the wedding. Rob created four large watercolor paintings of a picture of the two of us, and he matted and framed them. They turned out beautifully, and it meant a lot to us to be able to give them an original gift that showed the depth of our appreciation.

Oh, and Backstreet Boys tickets. Duh.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Monkey and Korma continue to be a wonderfully furry support system – best cats ever! This is a hard question to answer because so many friends and family stepped up throughout the year to celebrate so many wonderful things — the book party, wedding showers, the wedding. A special thanks to my matron of honor, Jamie Young, who juggled a large number of duties during the latter part of her pregnancy (and right after giving birth). She also attended a Backstreet Boys concert with me while almost 8.5 months pregnant – that qualifies her for rockstar status!

Also, Jason Preu served as the officiant for our wedding, and it was truly an honor to have such a wonderful friend stand with us to unite us in marriage. Thank you, Reverend P!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Mayor Mark Funkhouser, you depress me on a daily basis. Also, Conde Nast’s decision to kill “Gourmet” magazine was incredibly dumb. The brand is currently being revived, but without Ruth Reichl? It’s a shadow of its former self.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Rent.

Bills.

Wedding.

Books/magazines.

Clothes/accessories.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The wedding, the book, my niece, baby Young, the direction of my career, writing.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

“You’re All I Need To Get By” by Marvin Gaye. Kind of obvious, since it was the song that Rob and I first danced to at our wedding. But it’s a beautiful song with an even lovelier message, and I can’t think of more perfect lyrics to symbolize our relationship and what we mean to each other.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder?

Happier.

ii. thinner or fatter?

The same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Working out, cooking, knitting, querying, networking, saving.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Procrastinating, crying, ignoring my laundry.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

With my husband, our cats, good food and any others lucky to have us in their company πŸ˜‰

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?

On November 6, I fell in love with my husband, and he’s as wonderful as I could have imagined.

23. How many one-night stands?

None.

24. What was your favourite TV program?

Mad Men, Friday Night Lights and, as always, Veronica Mars.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I try not to hate, but there are a couple of people with whom I’ve severed ties due to extreme disappointments that occurred around the wedding. C’est la vie.

26. What was the best book you read?

“The Magicians” by Lev Grossman. This was an unexpected jewel in my personal library, and I’m so unbelievably excited for the sequel. I describe this as “Harry Potter” for adults, and it’s an enchanting and haunting read.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The merger of New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys is a day for which I’ve waited for DECADES. I also deepened my love for The Bird and the Bee, thanks to their album of Hall & Oates remakes. I now view music with a heightened sense of appreciation after choosing songs for the wedding. I will never listen to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” by The Beach Boys, “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne, “The Blower’s Daughter” by Damian Rice, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis and “What Is Life” by George Harrison in the same way again!

28. What did you want and get?

A kick-ass wedding, a published book, more freelance work and tall boots.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?

NOT “Sex and the City 2” – what an obscene disappointment.

I enjoyed the heck out of “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.” Such ingenious filming techniques and casting. I also discovered, through multiple viewings, that one of my new all-time favorites is “Juno.” I know, I know – it didn’t come out this year. Whatever.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

28. This was a tough year – my birthday completely snuck up on me, and since my best friend had recently given birth, I had to pick an activity that was family-friendly. The solution? Bowling! Rob, David and I continued the celebration in Westport with a couple of drinks at one80. Low-key yet enjoyable!

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

It’s hard to top this year, but a couple more freelance jobs — and a national clip — would have been the icing on an incredibly delicious cake.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Mostly the same – I stick to basics and get crazy with accessories. I did fully embrace a new color palette this year, namely grey and shades of purple. I’ve also jumped on the skinny jeans bandwagon and FINALLY found an adorable jacket and tall boots. Oh, yeah … and I own jeggings, too. They kinda rule.

34. What kept you sane?

Rob.

Monkey and Korma.

Sex and the City re-runs.

Good friends and family.

Retail therapy.

Blogging.

A new love of wine.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Jon Hamm, better known as Mad Men’s Don Draper. Rowr.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

The state of Kansas City: earnings tax, development, incentives, crime, school, (lack of) public transportation. I’m carefully tracking the mayoral election and hope that 2011 brings some positive changes for the city.

37. Who did you miss?

Grandpa, family and friends outside the area.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Timothy Dahl. I’ve actually worked for him and the blog he founded, Charles & Hudson, since 2007, but we met for the first time this year during a media trip to Indianapolis. He’s an amazing entrepreneur and has given me so many opportunities for which I’m thankful. We’re on an exciting journey with the site, and I know the early part of 2011 is going to be BIG!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

A LOT can happen in a year. I went from being laid off to being self-employed, a rollercoaster of a journey that continues every day. The few negative events of the year were balanced by the pure joy of the wedding, which was incredible in itself — after being engaged for two years, it finally happened! I continue to learn that you must put out into the world what you expect to receive. Sure, it’s expected to have moments of sadness, anger, even depression. Yet continuing to live your life with an optimistic view, and be grateful for what you have, will result in a happy, fulfilled experience no matter what happens. And another thing? Don’t wait for a sad or traumatic event to express your love for your friends and family. Hug them, thank them, tell them how you feel – you don’t need a reason or an occasion. In fact, I think those sorts of sentiments mean more when they’re unexpected and not tied to any significant event.

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The year in review: 2009

Well hello there! How was your Thanksgiving? Sick of leftovers yet? I’m not!

I’m back from a long holiday weekend with a favorite year-end tradition: the year in review meme. I borrowed the idea a couple of years ago from my talented fiance, and it’s become my most anticipated blogging tradition. Without further ado, I present 2009 in review. And if you decide to post your own version, let me know so I can stop by and check it out!

01. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

Wrote a book

Visited Hilton Head, S.C. and Omaha, Neb.

Joined a book club

Several medical procedures: vision exam (including pupil dilation), MRI, spinal tap

Lived in a loft

Conquered my soda addiction

Learned the purl stitch (knitting)

Made genuine, authentic, Julia Child-inspired French onion soup

02. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more?

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions last year except to stay on track with my writing career and better myself physically, emotionally and financially. More freelance clients and the near completion of my book have helped solidify my status as a writer, and I’m excited about further growth in 2010.

03. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Cherryh and David Butler are about to welcome Lincoln into the world, and Kinsey and her husband, Jeff, welcomed the beautiful Maren in late October.

04. Did anyone close to you die?

In terms of loss, 2009 was one of the more difficult in memory. On April 13, 2009, the incredibly brave and strong Greg Young succumbed to Hodgkins lymphoma. Greg’s brother, Andy, and sister-in-law, Jamie, are two close friends, and it was unimaginably difficult to watch the Young family and Greg’s friends attempt to absorb this gaping loss. Yet they’ve tirelessly worked to continue to raise money and awareness for leukemia and lymphoma research, and I consider the chance to help them in that campaign to be a precious gift.

Also this year, we said goodbye to my grandma, Rose Ryan, after a too-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Although she had been robbed of her memory for more than a decade, I thought of her often and hoped that somewhere, deep inside, she found some measure of comfort that allowed her to survive the debilitating disease. Her funeral was difficult and emotional, but I hope that she is finally at peace in her heaven, an exact replica of her beloved Red Lodge, Montana.

Rob’s family lost Lorene Schamberger, his grandma on his dad’s side. My greatest regret is that I did not spend much time with this amazing woman who welcomed me not only into the family, but into her home when we visited western Kansas. Her rapid passing was devastating to her family and friends, and I miss her Christmas letter that detailed family events and milestones.

05. What countries did you visit?

USA. Can’t wait to answer this next year!

06. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

A new last name.

A published book.

Significant savings.

More shelving and storage space, including a kitchen island.

A story published in a national magazine.

07. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

February 12, 2009, was the day I received notification that my book proposal had been accepted and I would be sent a contract to write a local travel guide set to be published in spring 2010.

08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Securing the book deal and finishing the book. Toward the end of the manuscript completion, my stepmom asked me if I’d do it again knowing all the work and dedication that goes into a project of that size. My answer? In a second. It’s been my dream to be a published author, and to be able to also intertwine my love of Kansas City is an incredible opportunity.

09. What was your biggest failure?

No failures, just room for growth. I’m still a horrible procrastinator, but I’m working on it. Slowly. Realllly slowly.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had quite a health scare in August 2009 when I was diagnosed with β€œpseudotumor cerebri,” a condition in which tumor-like symptoms cause excess cerebral fluid to press on the brain, resulting in optic nerve swelling and, in my case, horrendous headaches. Left untreated, the condition causes blindness, so I was lucky to be diagnosed early and am responding well to medication and other treatment that is expected to cure the disease. Having to undergo testing including an MRI and spinal tap to rule out a spinal fluid infection and brain tumor were beyond frightening, but the experience put a lot of things in perspective and I was again reminded that I’m surrounded by amazing family and friends who will be by my side in good and bad.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Our loft (even though it’s rented) and my iPhone. I can’t live without it!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

The aforementioned family and friends, who made several difficult moments this last year exponentially easier to process. I’d be remiss, however, not to give a special shout-out to the always amazing Rob, who was not only by my side during the year’s more serious moments but was also a motivating force during my largely increased workload. There’s not much I could accomplish without him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Humanity in general makes me weep. Crime, hatred, ignorance, intoleranceβ€”what a better world we’ve have without these plagues.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Rent.
Books + magazines.

Food.

Cosmetics.

Craft supplies (namely yarn, knitting needles and class fees.)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Writing a book and gaining some new freelance clients that have helped push my writing in a new direction. Also, in late October, it hit me that wedding planning is now a priority, and I’m so excited to plan a heartfelt, memorable ceremony and reception with my husband-to-be.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

Ohhhh lord. I hate this question. β€œFireflies” by Owl City immediately comes to mind, because it’s one of my favorites, as is β€œRelator” by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson. I was also thrilled that the Backstreet Boys released another studio album, and although I loved the first single, my favorite on the CD is β€œUndone” (track 11).

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder?

Happier.

ii. thinner or fatter?

Slightly thinner.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Exercising. Knitting. Volunteering. Saving money.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Grieving.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

With lots of family and good food. What better way to spend it?

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

I fall a little more in love with Rob every day.

22. How many one-night stands?

None.

23. What was your favourite TV program?

Mad Men, Biggest Loser, Intervention, Hoarders, Check Please! Kansas City

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I have some changed opinions of people, but I try not to hate. I am, however, a champion grudge-holder.

26. What was the best book you read?

SERIOUSLY? Just one book? Sheesh.

β€œIn The Woods” by Tana French was superb. I’ve recommended that and her follow-up, β€œThe Likeness,” to several people. The mix of suspense, carefully thought-out characterization and fast-moving plot make for an absorbing read. I look forward to her future works.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I rediscovered a love of Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Doobie Brothers and broadened my musical spectrum to include Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson and Regina Spektor.

28. What did you want and get?

Want: A book deal.
Get: A book deal.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?

I wish I could say β€œHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” but I was sorely disappointed. So instead, I’ll opt for β€œWhere The Wild Things Are.”

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

27. Had dinner with Rob and his mom, Dee, and stepdad, Roger. My birthday party was a low-key gathering at Firefly, as I had just started treatment for the pseudotumor cerebri and couldn’t get too crazy.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More weight loss. It’s an uphill battle I’ve experienced for years, but I’ve made progress toward the end of the year that’s proved to be incredibly motivating.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Classic with trendy accents.

33. What kept you sane?

Rob.

The cats.

Cocktails.

Shopping trips with Dana.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Jon Hamm. Rowr.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

Local politics in Kansas City. Several wrong-headed moves have resulted in a personal loss of faith in the system, and I hope 2010 brings a new perspective and some civic improvement.

36. Who did you miss?

Grandma Ryan, parents, brother + sister-in-law, Naina, Len, Nikki

37. Who was the best new person you met?

Ashley Marsh. She is bubbly, talented and exudes an incredible warmth that puts you immediately at ease. I’ve loved working with her and having her as a neighbor, gym buddy and newest book club member!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

So much of life is spent dwelling over petty issues, disagreements and concerns, yet when those sorts of irritations disappear, you’re left with what’s important: family, friends and the individual impact you’ve had on the world. None of us are guaranteed a certain amount of time on Earth, so what matters is fully living in each moment and taking the time every day to dwell on what’s really important. Things can change in an instant, and it’s so much more rewarding to look back on a life of accomplishments rather than a life filled with the bitterness of regret.