The Most Wonderful Blog Post of the Year

I tell ya – I look forward to this New Year’s Questionnaire almost as much as I look forward to New Year’s Eve.

I believe this is my fourth year and counting (might be fifth) and it’s going to be a heck of a time finding photos to accompany this post – considering that I’m almost officially two years behind in photo editing. That doesn’t mean I haven’t skipped ahead and snuck behind and cut corners and taken shortcuts, and somehow still edited and published photos when I wanted to, but that means there’s still a hidden bulk out there. There’s so many photos unedited and unseen. Maybe it will be a New Year’s goal to get some of those out there. I’d like to do things wholly and completely – and madly in love too.

I always welcome the new year. I’m definitely the type to cry on Christmas Night because “it’s all over.. all of it..” but the over factor is simply not true. After Christmas, we have our closest friends over as house guests. Then the kids dip their feet back into the pool of school and routine, and I do too, only to all get pulled away BACK into vacation mode only two weeks later. We’re going to Florida in mid-January so can we really complain about the impending end of holiday vacation and the -9 degree nights? I suppose we could, but not for too long. The renovations are nearly done, the flights and hotels are booked, the pineapple juice didn’t expire 7 years ago (long story), and the house guests are here, so without further ado..

Grab the questions to post yours! It makes you look at the end differently. And sure as heckfire welcome a new beginning:

1 – What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

Guys, I MET Tim Curry. Not only that, but I looked him in the eye and said everything he had meant to me, and how much I wished for his own joy. It was MAGIC. I also attempted to work three jobs during the busy season, and I suppose it was more than an attempt. I saved more money than I had ever thought possible, I achieved blog page views that used to only be the stuff of dreams, and I learned how to diffuse arguments and tension with Cassidy in healthier ways. There were many wins.

2 – Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I think I always do to some extent. I don’t know that I ever make grand resolutions but I make small to large goals. This was the year I wanted to get super serious about blogging. Late 2016 and early 2017 were a bit of a dead zone and it freaked me out. Everything changed around March. I became more than a blogger – I became an Influencer. I worked to the bone to find success and I believe I did, but it’s hard to tell myself that. See, I work and work, then get a break and worry about not working. Totally nutty, me. In terms of exercise, eating better, and drinking more water, they’re works-in-progress.

3 – Did anyone close to you give birth?

My sister-in-law had the adorable Joey in September, and that’s three kids for my brother’s family now. My older sister gave birth in late November, and here’s Emersyn Jane waving at you:

4 – Did anyone close to you die?

Not to make light of it, but Tom Petty’s death really crushed me. And my 5th grade teacher passed away late this year. I have written about her quite a bit in my blog, and I wrote about it here. I have dreams about her as if she hasn’t gone.

5 – What countries did you visit?

Same answer as every year. One day, I’ll have an answer for this. 2017 was not the year.

6 – What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

Better balance. Like when I’m busy, I’m too busy, but when I’m not busy, I don’t enjoy it. I just worry I’ll never be busy again. So I’d like to have less catastrophizing, if possible. And I’d like to gain back all my feels. Sometimes I can’t stop – writing, crying, feeling, loving. Other times it gets stopped up like a dam. I spent the later part of 2017 not feeling all my feels. That’s uncool. I want to feel my feels. I want to dream my dreams. I’d love to have some patience too!

7 – What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory?

mm.. I like November 25th. That’s when my niece was born.

8 – What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Oh man. I already jumped the gun! I stayed sane(ish). My page views have been awesome since March, and I have saved a ton of money. I met Tim Curry!! I’ll say that every year I say that my biggest achievement has been riding a roller coaster, but in truth, it didn’t happen until 2017. I know this because once I rode two roller coasters at Disney, I realized that they felt different than all of the kiddie fair roller coasters I’d ridden. Mainly because they actually felt like something at all.

A little terrifying and a lot exhilarating. Cheers to fighting phobias!

9 – What was your biggest failure?

Clearly, balance and patience were high up there. I was a nervous mess for some of the year. Obviously that’s going to happen and that’s ok. It’s pretty much embedded in my DNA. It’s likely that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself from it. I let go of my second born, to kindergarten, but I didn’t sail through it like I thought I would. It still freaks me out a lot.

10 – Did you suffer illness or injury?

I didn’t. Unless you count mental illness, but I’m going to give it a hard pass.

11 – What was the best thing you bought?

HELP. I bought help. Virtual Assistance. Virtual Assistants. I needed people to do the work I didn’t want to do and I finally realized it was pretty darn cool to pay people to make you feel pretty great and more relaxed about your work!

I still take my own photos and write my own words, FYI.

12 – Whose behavior merited celebration?

What an odd question. The answer is all of us – fighting for our rights to party. But no, all of us looking to make the world a better place for people – and not one riddled with difficulties and obstacles. You know who you are, morons.

13 – Where did most of your money go?

Into my business, into Disney World, and mostly – into this house! Note: it’s not done. It won’t be done until later in January but we’re using the new bathroom and sleeping in the new bedroom. It feels great but isn’t home yet. We’re getting the floors done and that can’t happen unless we’re out of the house because we’re doing it on two floors. Once that’s done, we can move the bed and decorate and just have a grand old time! So right now, it’s pretty empty but it’s big and gorgeous. The “mannequin” will be Iron Man in our bedroom, but Scarlet calls him Todd. He’s fun to wake up to, don’t you think?

14 – What did you get really, really, really excited about?

We saw two moose in October! I’m pretty darn excited about most things. Breakfast. Popcorn. A good movie. Alone time. A bath. Affection. So when you factor in travel and home renovations and life dreams and Tim Curry, I’m all up in arms!

15 – What song will always remind you of 2017?

There are a few and I won’t overthink it. Only two actually came out in 2017!

16 – Compared to this time last year, are you:

Happier or sadder? A little of both, really. More love and more loss.
Thinner or fatter? I started the year a bit fatter (cute and huggable, really) but I’m ending it thinner.
Richer or poorer? 100% richer, despite just dumping more money than I thought possible into this house.

17 – What do you wish you’d done more of?

RELAX. Like, for real. For Gosh sake, do I even know how?

18 – What do you wish you’d done less of?

WORKING. Yelling. Seething.

19 – Did you fall in love in 2017?

Of course!

20 – How many one-night stands?

I’m still at a solid zero. There was one incident in the early 2000’s but I don’t think it qualifies.

21 – Who were your best friends?

I use that term heavily – like I’m holding a precious gem on my tongue. I have a lot of best friends. I’m not a one best friend type of girl but I think I’m pretty lucky to have the kids, husband, mom, sisters, pets, and friends I have.

John Barrowman is my friend too, didn’t you know?

22 – What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?

I think the smaller scale stuff is what carries the weight. I used to think I had to be everything to everyone, but now I think if I can change one person’s day or life, that’s the stuff. So I hope it was in giving more of myself to others.

23 – What were your favorite TV programs?

Curb Your Enthusiasm, Stranger Things, Westworld, Doctor Who, This is Us, Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Good Doctor, Life in Pieces, Superstore (!! really freaking funny), and I started watching Grey’s Anatomy which is entertaining.

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

I suppose I do! They’re political people, though, and not in-person people.

25 – What was the best book you read in 2017?

I’m currently reading “Take Me With You” and it’s a slow read but oh so divine. I also loved “Big Little Lies.”

26 – What was your greatest musical discovery?

More Sia. More Bruce Hornsby. More Tom Petty. And the wonders of the Hamilton soundtrack.

27 – What did you want and get?

Quite honestly, work, money, and love.

28 – What did you want but did NOT get?

Our house renovations to end in 2017! More moose.

29 – What was your favorite film of this year?

I honestly don’t know but I went on a work trip to see Bad Moms 2 with my friend Danielle, and it was hilarious.

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

I turned 37 and I was just so happy to be older than 36 – the last age my father was. The birthday was on the quieter side. Every now and then I ask for and get big, but that was 30 and 35. So maybe 40 will be something epic.

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

My gosh, is this thing still going on? I’m fading out here! I think politically, it could have been better. There were some victories for sure but it was a weird year full of uncertainties and tragic artists’ deaths and weird weather.

32 – What kept you sane?

The thought and fact that there are many people out there operating on or near my frequency.

33 – Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Even hearing Tim Curry’s voice makes my heart a-flutter! I have to admit that when I see Lin-Manual Miranda on TV, I sit up and take notice. A lot!

34 – What political issue stirred you the most?

How could anyone even choose anymore? Women’s rights. Race. Homophobia and transphobia. A million other things.

35 – Who did you miss?

I miss all of them, always. It’s like a dull roar in my ears.

36 – Who was the best new person you met this year?

I think it’s obvious that it was Tim Curry!

37 – Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

To get to know (more) about what I want and to pay attention to what makes me happy, or doesn’t. When you get to know this more, it becomes easier to ask for help and to ask for what you want. And it becomes easier to let go.

38 – Quote Song lyric that sums up your year:

“Baby, I’m a house on fire
And I want to keep burning
I wanna keep burning”

Tell me something about YOU! Answer one of these questions or tell me your New Year’s plans.

5 Ways to Beat The Chill This Winter

With predicted record-breaking lows this week and next in New England, and no end in sight, we're focusing more than ever on how to beat the chill this winter! Get prepared to get snuggly and get into your #ClimateRight with our 5 tips! #ad

As I write this post, it’s 1 degree outside. 1. The loneliest number!

We’re going to Florida in two weeks, but before that, we seem to have predicted record-breaking lows, with no chance of a reprieve in the next ten days or so. It’s white and icy outside – with no signs of thaw or slush. We’re all bundled inside with our house guests and the only reason they aren’t shocked by our New England freeze is because they live in Chicago and they’re used to this kind of weather! In fact, they were the ones to teach me about ClimateRight by Cuddl Duds at Walmart when we went to Walmart to get boots and supplies for our New Year’s Eve weekend. I picked up some base layers!

With predicted record-breaking lows this week and next in New England, and no end in sight, we're focusing more than ever on how to beat the chill this winter! Get prepared to get snuggly and get into your #ClimateRight with our 5 tips! #ad

And here are our 5 ways to beat the chill this winter!

1 – Prep your home. Close curtains, shades or blinds at night to keep cold out. During the day, let the warming sunlight in! And keep any unused rooms closed to prevent cold air from circulating through the house. Keep garage doors closed.

2 – Increase your core temperature by staying active. Put on music and get moving! Make sure you check up on your loved ones and any neighbors who might be extra vulnerable in cold weather. Bring pets inside! Our chickens stay in their coop.

3 – This is the time to make good use of your heaters and fireplaces. You’ve hopefully been saving for this! Keep safe by keeping anything flammable away from the heat sources. And don’t forget the power of extra blankets and good snuggles!

Also.. flannel sheets!

4 – Find unique ways to keep warm. Maybe you don’t have a bathtub? Head to a sauna or hot tub place. Join a Hot Yoga or Bikram class. Remember to think warm, or even hot. It’s good for your soul, and good for your body too to feel that heat.

5 – Discover the wonders of ClimateRight at Walmart. Not only will you look spectacular, but you’ll be both comfortable and confident all winter long. Personally I use them for daily use and winter activities. They’re quite versatile.

With predicted record-breaking lows this week and next in New England, and no end in sight, we're focusing more than ever on how to beat the chill this winter! Get prepared to get snuggly and get into your #ClimateRight with our 5 tips! #ad

ClimateRight at Walmart rocks! I’m so glad our friends pointed them out to me. They offer the perfect layering and sleepwear separates for warmth and comfort, and an affordable price. They’re fabricated with the latest performance innovations while being and staying super-soft and cozy. Beat that chill at a great deal because they’re exclusively available at Walmart. I chose both a shirt and leggings. I LOVE how they feel. And I found them near the Intimates section at Walmart.

With predicted record-breaking lows this week and next in New England, and no end in sight, we're focusing more than ever on how to beat the chill this winter! Get prepared to get snuggly and get into your #ClimateRight with our 5 tips! #ad

My warm baselayer collection is perfect for layering or wearing as long underwear. The stretch fleece provides the ultimate in warmth and comfort so I make sure to buy a long sleeve top and leggings. The sporty design and moisture-wicking fabric combine to keep me warm, dry, and comfortable. They have a close-to-the-body fit and there’s comfort in movement. I love that it retains shape through multiple laundry sessions. There are so many ways to love your ClimateRight at Walmart.

With predicted record-breaking lows this week and next in New England, and no end in sight, we're focusing more than ever on how to beat the chill this winter! Get prepared to get snuggly and get into your #ClimateRight with our 5 tips! #ad

I love them as a base layer for my photo shoots during the day, or for walking Athena outside. I wear them to play in the snow or even ice skate. And they’re great for all of the festive outdoor activities we have all winter long.

Shop the full assortment of ClimateRight at Walmart of layering pieces and sleepwear now on Walmart.com where you can enjoy free in-store pickup or 2-day free shipping with a qualifying $35 purchase. There’s so much to love here.

What do you do to beat the chill in winter?