05 January 2015

2014 in Review

A Japanese Lantern by Oda Krohg, 1886

Happy New Year! 2015 has arrived, and with it another year of blogging. I've always enjoyed those end-of-year review posts that bloggers do and have often wanted to answer the questions myself, and now I have the venue to do so. I chose 25 questions from the version of this I see most often on people's blogs, and plan to answer the same questions each year.

What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?

I completed a formal exercise plan, succeeded in a personal writing challenge, started an Etsy shop, and attempted (and completed close enough by my book) Blogmas.

What places did you visit?

I didn't end up traveling in 2014 as much as I thought I might, but I did make a couple of outings in the summer to local tourist destinations Ocean City, Historic Smithville, the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, and Cape May. I also had a few doctor's appointments that brought me to Philadelphia and its suburbs, plus some school exams that I had to complete at a community college about an hour from where I live.

What dates from 2013 will remain etched in your memory, and why?

April 2nd: My 24th birthday and the lovely celebration I had with my family.

November 29th: Opened my Etsy shop.

December 12th: Made my first sale on Etsy!

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

In the summer I set myself a personal creative writing challenge, the first time I've ever done so. I don't think I've ever talked about my creative writing endeavors online, since they're deeply personal to me, but I'm quite proud to have successfully completed that challenge and look forward to trying more challenges to boost my creativity and productivity this year.

What was your biggest failure?

Well, I fell short of my Blogmas challenge by two days and one post. If that's my biggest failure of the year, I'm doing pretty well I suppose!

What did you get really excited about?

I've wanted to open an Etsy shop for quite a while, so I was really excited this spring when I had an idea for a product range and style that I thought was finally right. I loved developing my items, planning what to add when I expand, and coming up with packaging ideas over the summer, and it was a thrill to officially open shop Thanksgiving weekend.

Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

I don't think that I'm either happier or sadder, but perhaps more restless. 2009 to 2012 was quite a turbulent three-year period for me as I tried to find the right way to continue my education and to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Things became more settled in 2013 and I began to have more clarity, but since 2014 began I've felt the pull to move forward in bigger ways, so I think 2015 might be the year that I do so.

What do you wish you'd done more of?

My personal and professional pursuits were pretty well-balanced in 2014, but since my creative writing project went so well I wish I'd done more writing in the first half of the year!

What do you wish you'd done less of?

Worrying! Some degree of anxiety has accompanied the restlessness I mentioned a couple of questions above, and I spent far too much time being afraid or upset about little things that don't matter in 2014. I am determined to worry less and live more in 2015.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had a painful and lingering sore throat in June, which was not a pleasant way to start the summer!

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

Peace of mind.

What was the best thing you bought?

I didn't buy much of significance in 2014, and the majority of my favorite new things were gifts. I did treat myself to a pretty lightweight scarf from Old Navy that coordinates with the navy blue trench coat I wear everywhere in spring and autumn, so I'll go with that for this answer.

Where did most of your money go?

Even though I spent most of the year studying for and taking CLEP exams instead of in regular classes, my biggest expenses were still for school via my student loan payments.

What was your favorite TV program?

My mother and I watched Series 1 of Mr Selfridge on Amazon Prime Video in February and I was immediately hooked, so we watched Series 2 live as it aired in the spring. It's been tough waiting so much longer for Series 3, but I'm hoping that it'll be worth it.

This year's guilty pleasure honorable mention goes to Jane the Virgin on the CW. The title and the premise are completely ridiculous, so I'm not sure why I decided to tune in from the pilot, which I've only done once before with Ugly Betty. But the show is hilariously self-aware while also unafraid to be sweet and sentimental at times, and I suppose I shouldn't be surprised since the head writer worked on my favorite show of all time, Gilmore Girls.

What was the best book you read?

I'm going to cheat again this year and pick my top three from different categories. My favorite children's book of the year was Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, my favorite young adult book was The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope, and my favorite adult book was Miss Buncle Married by D. E. Stevenson. Very close runners-up for the first and last categories are Freddy Goes to Florida by Walter R. Brooks and Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart.

What was your favorite film of this year?

I didn't watch a single theatrical-release movie for the first time in 2014, so I can't really answer this question! I did intend to watch Frozen at some point, but the DVD was released in March and it didn't seem like a good movie for spring, summer, or fall. Perhaps I'll watch it this month!

What music did you get excited about?

I'm always a little behind when it comes to new music, so I only just got into The Lumineers this year. I heard a couple of their songs on the radio and loved them--I'm a big fan of folk rock in general--so when I got a $10 Amazon gift card for Associates program referrals this summer, I treated myself to their album.

What song will always remind you of 2014?

Despite having yet to see Frozen, I've watched all of the musical sequences on YouTube multiple times, so I'll go with the culturally ubiquitous "Let it Go."

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

My warm-weather fashion has remained pretty consistent, with my staple sundresses, sandals, and cardigans. In 2013 I made a concerted effort to develop looks for cool and cold weather that I loved just as much as my summer wardrobe, but some of the things I tried I wound up not liking over time. Over the past year I put together some looks for spring and fall that finally felt like me, using pretty floral-printed tops with lots of vintage-style details. I'm still struggling with winter looks, so I'm hoping that I'll hit upon the right combination of warmth and style in 2015.

What did you want and get?

I wanted nice spring weather, and despite the much-hyped "Polar Vortex" business of the winter we had at least one warm day every weekend from early March through April, when the weather where I live is often cold and rainy. I made sure to take a walk on every one of those warm days, fulfilling my resolution from 2013's year in review post to get outside more!

What did you want and not get?

Like last year, I was really hoping for a creative renaissance for Community, one of my favorite shows currently on air. I had mixed feelings about Season 5 but I'm once again hopeful for the miraculous Season 6, since the show's creator has been talking about a return to the look and feel of Season 1.

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

I actually wrote a whole blog post all about my 24th birthday celebration, for which I had a small, vintage-themed party for my family. The decorations and treats turned out very well, and the activities were really fun--I think it was one of my favorite birthdays ever!

How did you spend Christmas?

On Christmas Eve my family had our traditional viewing of The Muppet Christmas Carol, and we returned to our old habit of getting up early on Christmas morning to open gifts, which I like best. As I mentioned last year we celebrate Christmas until Candlemas on February 2nd, so we're still in the midst of our festivities. Since we got our tree rather late this year and had it freshly-cut we should even be able to leave all of our decorations up through the end of January!

What one thing would have made your year more satisfying?

I'm not sure, actually. In 2014 I tried making more outings in my area for fun, which was what I thought would have rounded off 2013, but in the end I didn't find these trips very satisfying. Perhaps what I was really craving was exploration, so I might try visiting more places that are farther afield in 2015.

Did you make 2014 New Year's Resolutions, did you keep them, and will you make more for 2015?

My goals for both 2013 and 2014 were to take better care of my health, to accomplish more in my professional and creative endeavors, and to try new things. All of these areas are still priorities for me this and I'm continuing to make progress, so I'll stick with what's working for 2015 and will hopefully leave more of what's not working in the past.

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