Before the first month of the new year slips on by as it tends to do, I wanted to squeeze in a quick December Lookback post from 2019! These posts have been a really fun way for me to reflect back on my months and really pause to give thanks for all of the fun things I’ve done, cool places I’ve gone, and delicious food I’ve eaten! I hope you’ve been enjoying them and look forward to more in 2020!
DECEMBER IN REVIEW
This month I read Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love). This is sort of a self-help guide for the Creative Individual. Since I’m in the midst of a couple of projects myself, I found this one to be really inspiring. Gilbert really stresses the idea that we all need some sort of outlet from our daily grind — something that makes us feel alive. I agree with that notion whole-heartedly…what is a life without passion, after all??
The second novel I read this month was another by Jonathan Tropper, titled One Last Thing Before I Go. It’s about a man who is divorced from his wife and semi-estranged from his teenage daughter (who suddenly drops the news on him that she is pregnant), when he finds out that he is going to die in a matter of weeks if he doesn’t undergo a specific surgery. He spends the next couple of weeks re-connecting with both women in his life and learns a little more about himself along the way. This might sound like a complete downer, but again, Tropper writes with a sense of hilarity. I read this book cover to cover on my flight from California to Pennsylvania….I couldn’t; put it down.
My neighbor, Lauren, and I watched Where’d You Go Bernadette, starring Cate Blanchett since we had both read the novel last year. While it wouldn’t be a movie to win any awards, it was heartwarming and funny and didn’t stray too far from the novel. It also has me wanting to visit Antarctica ASAP 😉
^^I didn’t make this stained glass piece of Marty, but it was given to me as a Christmas gift this year and I just love it!^^
I mentioned in November’s Lookback that I was working on weaving a little bunny stuffed animal for my niece … it turned out great! I gave it to her for Christmas and seeing her walking around holding it just warmed my heart. I think it turned out super cute and I’m looking forward to making more for friends’ future babies! I also finished up my last weaving commission of 2019. In 2019 I completed 17 weavings, 14 of which were custom made-to-order. Not too bad for a little side hobby, I think!
I found these little poof balls at the dollar store and had the idea of stringing them together with a needle and thread to make a garland for our tree … I love how it turned out!
This month we made the following three recipes from TheModernProper: taco soup for Taco Tuesday, this chili that we freaking love but this time with hot dogs to make chili cheese dogs, and this easy dumpling soup which I’m already planning on making again because it’s one of those convenient and delicious Trader Joes meals!
I try to get Marty down to the dog beach at least once a month because it’s one of his favorite places to be … this month I was lucky enough to get a morning off of work, so just he and I headed down for a morning beach run and coffee afterwards. It was literally one of the best days and I was in desperate need of some time like that after such a crazy hectic month at work. I’m so thankful for this little bully of mine who makes me slow down and appreciate the simple stuff.
Celebrating / Loving / Feeling:
We celebrated our neighbor’s birthday this month with an epic sushi meal and some drinks at our favorite local dive bar … only to discover that they were closing down in the following weeks for good! Needless to say, we went out with a bang 😉 It’s sad to see our little local dive close alongside some of our other favorite family-run businesses in the area, but that’s how life goes. As sad as it is to see things go, it’s equally exciting to see what comes in. The main street we live off of has changed so much even in the last five years that I’ve been here … it’s hard to believe what is used to look like sometimes!
And obviously we celebrated Christmas this month! I feel like our neighborhood really put on a show this year with the lights. I think LA residents tend to go extra hard at Christmas to make up for the lack of snow, and I’m not complaining. I love how pretty this time of year is, and I love that the Christmas lights are up to brighten up our long, dark evenings! Last year we bought our first real Christmas tree, and this year I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do it again. I had that thing turned on whenever I could, and one of my favorite ways to wake up in the morning was to turn the tree on and read by it until the sun came up. Marty is a big fan, too 😉
I spent the holiday break back on the east coast in Pennsylvania for a full eight days and two travel days. It was so nice to spend time with family and to completely and totally relax — I haven’t stayed back east for that long in a long time! Over my time there I enjoyed playing corn hole with the fam out back on an unseasonably warm Christmas Day, hiking two new trails (one of which was 11 miles!) with my brother, Jim, drinking coffee at my favorite coffee shop in town and beer at my favorite brewery, trying a new brewery in town (!), and hanging out at home in my mom’s little art studio learning lots of new projects. It was freaking great. I really treasured getting to spend a day with my niece who’s just a year a half old! And I loved sharing meals (and wine!) with my parents. I never once felt like I was rushing around, it was peaceful and soul-filling. (Is this what retirement feels like!?) I was also able to sneak in a couple of days in Pittsburgh with my mom and dad to see our relatives and attend the Annual Family Christmas Party! I will definitely look back on my winter week in Pennsylvania with a big smile and a full heart.
As great as the second half of December was, the first half was utterly exhausting. Between Christmas shopping and working long hours and weekends, I was feeling pretty burnt out and ready for the fresh start of a new year. On my first day back in LA — and the last day of 2019 — our little family of three woke up and spent the morning at the beach, watching the waves roll in and surfers ride out. It was exactly what I needed to close out another year of thanks and to welcome in a new one. Happy New Year, friends!