Wait, it's 2017? Already? HOW?! This past year has flown by. Do you remember being little when the length of a year felt like an eternity? I remember the feeling of Christmastime lasting for a couple of months, now I'm lucky if I'm in that spirit for a week. It's definitely something I miss the most about being a child, that warm Christmas feeling that swallowed you up. I remember making a Christmas countdown with my childhood best friend and I swear that countdown never went fast enough. Every year I try to commit to enjoying the season rather than speeding through it, but it never happens. Maybe next year. ;)
Saying "2016" out loud sends a lot of people into a rage or it sends them running in fear. It was a scary year, there were a lot of deaths, a lot of destruction, elections all over the world were big 'ol shit show, but I was one of the lucky ones who had a good year.
My 2016 highlights:
1. I got married! Luke and I had a super small backyard wedding at my Aunt Michelle's house on June 11th. We invited the people closest to us and kept it as small as possible. I don't even think we spent more than a couple of hundred dollars on the wedding (dress and cake included). I don't like being the center of attention (hello, anxiety) and having a big fancy wedding was never something I dreamed about. None of that cliche "my childhood dream wedding" business over here. If it weren't for the guilt of not giving my mom the chance to have a wedding for her ONLY child, we wouldn't have done anything at all.
2. I traveled to the UK twice and discovered my new favorite city, Edinburgh. The first time we went we traveled up and down England and Scotland. We visited London, Nottingham, Bath, the Cotswolds, Lacock, Sheffield, Edinburgh, parts of the Highlands, Luss, and Glasgow. It was a Christmas gift to my mom (and to us) and it was one of the most amazing and exhausting trips of my life. That trip cost probably around $10k but it was worth every penny. Luke and I planned a second trip to Scotland for our honeymoon, we went in September. We booked a lovely Airbnb in the Old Town of Edinburgh right on The Royal Mile and spent a little over a week there. We took a couple of day trips to the Highlands again and we even visited Loch Ness! One of our day trips took us across the border of Scotland/England, and we visited Alnwick Castle that was used for a lot of the Harry Potter films. Edinburgh will always be my favorite though, I'm constantly trying to talk Luke into booking another trip there (ps: I think we'll end up going again this year). We've even talked about moving there one day - if MM (Luke's company) ever opens a UK office, we're already signed up to go.
3. We met up with a lot of friends! We always see Luke's best friend Atwood, but we got to meet his girlfriend Ruby last year. She's super sweet and she's from Canada, so we got the opportunity to take a road trip to Montreal for a weekend. Not only did I meet Luke on Tumblr back in 2009, but I also met a lot of other great people who I still consider friends today. In England we met up with our friend George (Twikki) for the second time, and we got to see one of my best friends, Naomi, and her boyfriend Ollie and their little son Eric. Naomi and I have been close friends since we were 14/15 and I've visited her three times now. When we were in Scotland we met up with our friend Pete and his girlfriend Ayden of Little Blog of Horrors. On our second Scotland trip we met up with Lauren in Stirling, another old Tumblr friend. I see the faces of these people on social media nearly every day so it didn't feel like our first time meeting a lot of them, it was lovely! I'm hoping to see some of them again this year.
4. I discovered my love for genealogy while researching my family history through Ancestry.com. I've helped solve a couple of family mysteries for people and even been in contact with previously unknown family members! These people have helped me through some ancestry road blocks and I'm so grateful for them. Through Ancestry I discovered the Find-A-Grave and World Archives Project volunteering programs which I am now a proud member of.
5. Luke got promoted this year! He has so much passion for what he does, I really admire it. He started working for a company called MM.Lafleur in 2015, it's a professional women's clothing company in NYC. Luke is an engineer for their website, and he LOVES his job. I never pass up the opportunity to brag about him, I'm just so proud I can't help it! There wasn't really schooling for what he does, and since we've been together he has taught himself almost everything with the help of some of his friends and coworkers and has been working his way up professionally. I won't let anyone take credit for his achievements, they are ALL his own.
6. I hit 10,000 Etsy sales this year and my little business turned five! 10,000 sales in five years sounds like it's not much, but the first three or so years of having my business I had only made it to 1,000 sales. Two years on and I've passed 10,000, not counting duplicate items that Etsy doesn't count towards the total or items sold at craft fairs. I think the total might be up to at least 40,000 items I've made. That's INSANE for one person! My little hands are weary but busy, and that's all I could ever ask for.
I get a bit bored while I'm working, making things you already know how to make or have made hundreds of times before can get a bit dull. To keep me busy I spend a lot of quality time with Netflix, and binge watching TV shows is my favorite thing to do during my work day.
Some shows I've completed this year:
- Making A Murderer
- Gilmore Girls - LOVE, Luke is also obsessed.
- Penny Dreadful
- Scream (MTV's version)
- Shameless - This show is insane but I love it.
- The Carrie Diaries - Not normally my thing, but I oddly enjoyed this.
- Black Mirror
- The Crown
- Medici: Masters of Florence - A good chunk of the Game of Thrones cast is in this, amazing show if you love historical stuff.
- The OA - AMAZING, go watch it. 20x better than Stranger Things.
- The Last Kingdom - Luke and I just finished this together, we're going to finish watching Vikings next.
- Versailles - Another historical drama favorite, I'm bringing this one to Luke next. I'm his show tester and only bring him the best ones.
We've also seen a good amount of movies this year. Some of my favorites were The Hateful Eight, The Revenant, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, The Girl On The Train, and Fantastic Beasts. I love Eddie Redmayne so damn much. What were some TV shows or movies you enjoyed last year?
1. Glencoe, Scotland // 2. My new rings from Luke // 3. Alnwick Castle, England // 4. Apples we picked // 5. Last selfie of 2016!
Overall, I had a pretty wonderful 2016. I don't expect anything from 2017, I don't have any set goals but I do have some things I'd like to do/get done this year. I hope everyone reading has a lovely year. <3
A Weekend In Maryland & Anxiety
One of my favorite weekend adventures is to head down to Maryland where Luke's from for a visit. He grew up in the Bel Air area of Harford County and it's the cutest little place. It has that small town, cozy feel to it that you read about in books. I love spending time there. This past weekend we decided to make the hour and a half trip down to visit his best friend, Atwood, and his girlfriend, Ruby, who was visiting from Canada.
Luke and I have made a new habit of listening to podcasts, and we've invested the past 2 to 3 weeks into listening to season 1 of Serial and Undisclosed after being addicted to the Making a Murderer Netflix series. It makes the trip to Maryland go so much faster, and it's particularly interesting because Serial and Undisclosed share the story of Hae Min Lee, a Baltimore teen that was murdered in 1999, and her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, who was charged with her murder. It's been weird listening to these podcasts because I know the areas they've mentioned through Luke, and being in the towns where these events took place just feels strange (and spooky). If you haven't listened to Serial or Undisclosed, I cannot recommend them enough, especially if you liked Making a Murderer. After the end of Serial, I was sure of my opinion of Adnan's guilt/innocence, but now that I'm halfway through Undisclosed, I really don't know what to think anymore. If you've listened to the podcasts, I'd love to know your thoughts on the case! Sorry I went a bit off track there, but this is something that has definitely taken over my mind these past few weeks.
When we go to Maryland we usually spend the night at Atwood's house, but we decided to book a hotel this time around. After we got settled in, we drove to Atwood's house to meet Ruby for the first time! She's very sweet, and I had such a great time with them this weekend. We got lunch Saturday afternoon before heading over to Baltimore to explore. I've only been there a couple of times and it was my first time visiting Fell's Point, a cute little waterfront neighborhood established in the mid-1700's, complete with cobblestone streets! We got a drink at the Cat's Eye Pub on Thames Street and then headed over to The Sound Garden, which was voted second place for best record store by Rolling Stone. We decided to try our luck at the casino down the street, and I ended up winning $10! HUGE for me since I usually lose everything. After a while in the casino, we left and stopped over at Potbelly, my favorite sandwich shop on the way back to Bel Air.
Sunday we had a nice lie in before checking out of our hotel and heading to get breakfast. At 11am on a Sunday, I knew our odds for finding a place that wasn't too busy were slim. We parked and walked to a couple of different brunch spots which both had long waits, and my anxiety started to kick in. I don't do well in crowds. At all. My mind shuts off and my anxiety quickly takes over, and I automatically search for the quickest exit. Whenever I'm with other people in a situation like this, I feel insanely guilty because I know I'm inconveniencing them. I'm the type of girl who will go miles out of her way to make sure she's not inconveniencing anyone, but I just can't help it when it comes to my anxiety. I'm thankful for Luke because he's very understanding at times like these, and he'll go out of his way to get me out of the situation. This is something that has gotten worse over the past couple of years, but I'm working hard on finding techniques that will calm me down in situations like this. I have a big year ahead of me (getting married, traveling) so it's important that I take control of my anxiety instead of letting it take over my life. Atwood and Ruby were kind and understanding, they could probably see the terror on my face, so we ended up stopping at an empty local pub to get food before heading over to Havre de Grace.
A trip to Havre de Grace wouldn't be complete without visiting Seneca Cannery Antiques, the building is absolutely beautiful and they have something for everyone! With over 50 vendors, I could spend hours in there just looking at every little thing. Some favorite things that I've come across have been old black and white photos, wooden ladders, and vintage fabric. Another must see in Havre de Grace is Glyph, a cute little stationary store with some of the best cards I've ever seen. The staff is so kind and welcoming, and all of their products are to die for. We always have a great time shopping there. Luke, Atwood, and Ruby all bought some goodies and then Luke and I set off back to New Jersey. It was a great weekend, and I know we'll be back again soon!
* All photos aside from the first two were taken in Glyph!
I'm sorry this post was a bit ramble-y, I'm going to try and make a habit of blogging more often! I hope you all are having a wonderful week. :)