I thought about doing a reflective, sentimental year-in-review, but then I said, “ahh, forget it!” and decided to just highlight my favorite things of the past year. (I’m leaving the sentimentality to the last paragraph!) This is going to be a hodgepodge of real life and pop culture and just about everything else, but these are the things that made 2013 fun for me:
- Favorite new discovery – Seattle. I got to go to this beautiful city four times in the first six months of the year, and I’m so in love with everything about it now. The bay, the dreary weather, the annoying seagulls – I love it all. It felt like home to me, and I’ve been so sad that I haven’t been able to go back. I don’t know what 2014 holds, but I’m hoping that it somehow involves returning to Seattle. (Hopefully permanently.)
- Favorite restaurant – Hands down, this goes to Blueacre Seafood at 7th and Olive in Seattle. I experienced a lot of new places in Seattle but Blueacre is the only one I insisted on eating at during every trip, often more than once. Their salmon and crab cakes are the best I’ve had anywhere. Love the atmosphere and the great staff – an all around delicious place that I recommend to everyone I know who is heading to Seattle.
- Favorite movie – Man of Steel. Ohhhhhhh sweet niblets, Man of Steeeeeeeeel. Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El is the single best casting ever in the history of movie casting. *stops writing to fan self* He was unknown to me prior to this but goodness, he also wins for my Favorite actor of the year, as well. Just watching him in any scene in the film makes my heart rate pick up and my breathing go all wonky. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever swooned over a man’s teeth. Teeth, ya hear me? Teeth!
- Favorite book – Earlier this year, I would have said that my favorite book was Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. I was absolutely gaga over this heart-wrenching book. I gifted it to several people just because I wanted them to read it and feel the same pain and love that I felt while reading it. And then the sequel came out, as did yet another part of her Hoover’s Slammed series, and my love waned. Hopeless is incredible and beautiful, as was Slammed, but Hoover spends so much time rehashing the same stories from different POVs in subsequent books that the original ends up losing most of its magic. As a result, my favorite book of the year is Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for A Farm of One’s Own by Jenna Woginrich. I connected with this book on a very emotional level because I, too, want the life that Jenna works so hard to attain. Her memoir shows that homesteading, while seemingly simplistic from the outside view, is anything but. She shows the struggle and the loss and the heartbreak of it all, but she makes it happen, and that’s the inspiration I need in my life.
- Favorite song – My top most-played song, according to iTunes this year, is “Let it Hurt” by Rascal Flatts. The song inspires a lot of feelings in me from a writing perspective, and every single time I listen to it, my head fills with angsty scenes that I haven’t yet had a chance to write down. Second-most played was Craig Campbell’s “Outta My Head” (the guitar work on this song is the best!)
- Favorite show – Once Upon a Time. I only recently started watching this show, so I had to marathon all of season 1 and the first part of season 2. And despite the fact that the family tree is ridiculous and everyone is related, the acting is wonderful and I get sucked in to each episode. And can I just say CAPTAIN SWAN!!! (In an addendum to this bullet point, since I originally wrote it, I’ve started watching Arrow. That might become my new favorite of the year.)
- Favorite new toy – I thought about this and thought about this, staring at all the new technological gadgets I’ve gotten this year (Kindle Paperwhite, Galaxy Note 3, Microsoft Surface 2), and then I remembered something very obvious: MY MUSTANG!!! The 2005 Ford Mustang I bought in July and sunk a lot of money into in order to restore her to her former glory is my favorite new toy. She’s beautiful and I love her.
- Favorite store – I discovered Lush during my first trip to Seattle. I immediately fell in love. And once I returned home, I discovered that we had a Lush store here in Indianapolis, as well. Needless to say, my bank account balance would probably be higher if it weren’t for this most wonderful store. My husband is even addicted to their bath bombs! I love the fact that, even before you walk inside, your senses are assaulted by all the wonderful smells and colors.
- Favorite concert – I didn’t get to go to many due to my work schedule, but I had a blast at the New Kids on the Block concert with my sister. The best concert, though, was Steve Martin with Steep Canyon Rangers. Thanks to my dad’s love of the Grand Ole Opry and, specifically, Ricky Skaggs, I’ve grown up with a love of bluegrass. Steve is an accomplished banjo player, and he mixed his witty humor, making it a beautiful, toe-tapping, side-splitting evening. Even though I bought one of the very last tickets at the last minute and was up in the highest of seats, it was incredible. (Also, there’s no such thing as a bad seat at The Murat!)
I’m sure there are other things, but these things popped out the most as I sat working on this entry over the past few days.
As I look back at 2013 I can say that it was, honestly, a tough year. Lots of family strife, lots of anxiety, lots of unrest, so many unknowns. When 2013 ends in one hour and sixteen minutes, I will wish it farewell and look toward a better 2014. I’m not making any resolutions this year because they are meant to be forgotten by the end of the first month of the new year anyway. What I am going to do is hold on to my newly-acquired hope. It’s still a tenuous, fragile thing, but it’s all I have right now. Hope is a fertile garden where life and opportunities and faith and love springs anew, and right now, my toes are buried in the dirt while I wait.
Happy New Year to anyone that actually reads this blog. I wish you a safe and healthy 2014!