A Year in Review

Instead of posting my normal Year in Review list I’ve decided to be a bit more long-winded. Humor me, okay?

This past year was almost like a reset for me. In the best sense of the word.

I moved to Austin in late October of 2011 and adjusted to married life – which I LOVE, but I never realized uprooting and acclimating to a new city would take so long.

I had gotten in a funk when we first moved here. I was adjusting (poorly) to working from home and was resentful for a few months that I had been “forced” to move to Longhorn Country.

Living in Adam’s old bachelor pad apartment didn’t help. I’ve told many friends that it felt like a hotel and not a home, I never felt settled. Luckily, we were able to buy our first house and that is what I consider the catalyst to my “reset”.

Once we got settled in our house, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. I could either learn to love this new awesome city I was living in (minus the university just down the road) or be a curmudgeon.I had never been a curmudgeon before – in fact I was usually the exact opposite – so why did I let myself get to that place now?

I learned it took more effort to be unhappy and find negativity in situations and it wasn’t necessarily the most healthy way to go about my day. I was FINALLY married to the love of my life, but I was punishing him because I was being a curmudgeon.

I started doing little things to brighten my day – things I used to love to do. I planted flowers around our yard. I learned to make homemade tortillas. I re-joined Jazzercise. I joined a stitching/fiber arts/knitting group. I hosted parties. I watched the Oscars.

Slowly, I began to feel like my old self and I was happy. Why had I let myself get that dark place when I’m having so much more fun now?

Adam, bless his heart, was amazing. He was patient for this entire year letting me find my place in Austin and our life together. He never became exasperated with my negativity and would force me on occasion to get outside or meet him for lunch. He was truly my saving grace.

This year helped me prioritize my life and my interests. I learned to drop the baggage of unhappiness and find the sun everyday. I learned a smile is the best way to change my attitude and I thank God everyday that I have a husband who can make me belly laugh for hours.

I can be awesome, everyday, and I owe that to myself and to those around me.

Don’t Worry. Be Happy!

There are constants in life that everyone, in one way or another, can say make them happy. Family. Significant Other. Friends. Co-Workers. Home. Those are the normal day to day things that always make me happy, but what about the not-so-normal things? The things that you take for granted or further explain why you are the way you are? Here’s 10 things that make me happy:

It connects me with the world, specifically friends and family, on a daily basis. Shopping alone and need advice about whether to buy something? Send a text to a friend. Miss your long-distance boyfriend? Call him. Visiting home where your parents have disabled the Internet? Thank God for the connectivity. In short, my iPhone keeps me sane and keeps me happy.

Sara Lee Pound Cake
Growing up, I remember occasionally finding this delicious food in my parents’ freezer and feeling like I had hit the jackpot. Something about the slices of moist, buttery goodness, straight from the freezer gives me comfort. And don’t even get me started on scraping the foil pan once all the cake is gone… It’s a rare treat, but one I’m happy to indulge in once or twice a year.

Sweet Tea
I’m a southern girl through and through. What’s more southern that a tall glass of Sweet Tea? Nothing. Now, if only I had a porch swing…

The Cuddler
My dad is like any other dad, his gifts are always practical. I’ve received financial self-help/guidance books, eye glass cleaning kits, and illustrated stock market guides over my 26 years, but the gift that I love the most from him is this fleece blanket. It’s pre-Snuggie construction, providing a pocket for your feet, is long enough for 6’2″ me to stretch out on the couch and STILL be covered shoulder to feet in its warmth.

I never imagined I’d become one of those people that would NEED exercise or miss it when they couldn’t attend. But in the last year, I have and it’s all because of Jazzercise. It’s provided me with stress relief, laughter, and, above all, strength.

Needlepoint connects me to my past, reminds me of childhood weekends spent watching The Sound of Music at Ottie’s house while she made needlepoint stockings for new grandchildren. It calms me, clears my head, and gives me control for a brief moment in time. Simply put, it centers me.

My Apron
It hangs prominently in my kitchen and as soon as I put it on I feel like an Anthropologie wearing Julia Child. It’s been worn through countless batches of Crack Cookies, Peanut Butter Oreo Pie, and Creme de Menthe Brownies. Through Bruschetta, Chili, and Israeli Spice Chicken. And sometimes, I forget I’m in my apartment in Central Arkansas and pretend I have my own show on Food Network.

Wait, I probably shouldn’t have said that last part. Forget I ever told you.

6524 songs. That’s my collection. Each song put there for a reason, even if the reason escapes me when the song plays for the first time in several years. Music makes me smile, distracts me when I’m working on busy graduate school work, and gives me a beat to which I can bop my head.

Not that I would EVER bop my head.

My DVR is one of the only things, human or otherwise, I have been able to count on consistently. When I turn it on I know it will answer and won’t ignore me, no matter the time of day. It is always available to me, even in the worst of times. It is programmed to know what I want and desire, and knowing those wants and desires are only a click away makes me happy.

They give me a glimpse into my past, support that spark of recollection I have about a certain experience. They tell MY story. Knowing that story is available to me whenever I feel nostalgic makes me so incredibly happy.