Sunday, December 31, 2017

What are your favorite memories of 2017?

It would be strange if I didn't start off this post with some sort of explanation of where I've been for the past seven months. I didn't really mean to stop blogging. Life just happened and I got busy and I don't think I was mentally in the right place to share everything with the world.

I still wrote—I can't help doing that—but most of my writing was selfish. That is, I wrote for myself, for my own peace of mind, and as a way to process everything that was happening. It's been a busy year. I've moved four times (including moving into my tiny house), switched jobs twice, written and published another book, paid off more than $16,000 in debt, and visited fourteen states. All of that was awesome. When I look back on it now, I feel so blessed and grateful and proud of the progress I've made.

Life is good. And busy. And I haven't been blogging about it. Sorry about that. To be honest, I can't promise that I'm going to start posting again with any degree of regularity. But I wanted to write something today because it seemed like a good time to look back and recap some memories of 2017. Plus I'm home sick from church today so I've got some extra time on my hands and I'm feeling sentimental. It's the perfect combination for blogging. Hopefully this post will catch you all up a bit on what I've been doing because today I'm going to talk about a few of my favorite things.

Favorite book I read this year: War and Peace 

This will most likely also be my favorite book of 2018 because I'm only about a third of the way through. Actually, at the rate I'm going, it could even become my favorite book of 2019. But it's great. It's been awhile since I read a classic and I've missed them. I've also never actually finished one of these big Russian tomes, so I'm sure I'll feel super accomplished when I do.

Favorite podcast: The Dave Ramsey Show

Ten years from now, if I remember nothing else about 2017, I'll remember that it's the year I finally started budgeting and stuck to it. I'm such a nerd about my budget. I love it so much. It's ridiculous. But it's also amazing because it allows me to stay on track with my financial goals and still feel like I'm allowed to spend money on the things that matter to me. One of the highlights of the year was attending a recording of the show in Nashville and meeting Dave.

Favorite city I visited: New Orleans

Hands down the best food I ate this year was in the French Quarter. That place was so cool to walk around in, and I loved the music and the people and just the whole vibe.

Plus we saw alligators. And they were awesome.

Favorite Youtube channel: Knorpp and South

I know I've talked about these guys before, but I seriously love them. In case I haven't raved about them to you personally, they are a full-time traveling LDS family of eleven. They adopted five of their kids from China, and now they're traveling the world together, unschooling, and youtubing, and being amazing. What a dream life they have! And how awesome is it that they take all their viewers along for the ride! Love it!

Favorite thing about living in a tiny house: Everything

But really, I think I'd have to say that it's having a place to myself that is so reflective of my personality. Also, the fact that it's super easy to clean. And also how I'm constantly reminded that I can accomplish hard things and create a life that is unique and beautiful. And the views outside my windows. And how much natural light I get. And how I'm surrounded by all the things I love. Wait, I think I already said that. Okay, I'm officially rambling.

Favorite thing I bought this year: my bike

I don't have a picture of it, but my new bike is a pink beach cruiser, similar to the one I owned a couple of years ago. It lives at my parents' house because for one thing, they have a garage, and for another, they live in a flat neighborhood, which is a lot more beach cruiser friendly than where I live in my tiny house.

Favorite temple trip this year: Nashville!

I went with my cousins on the last night of my three-week trip to the East Coast and the South. It was really special to be there with them, and it was also just a nice time to reflect on all the cool places I'd been and on my goals for the future.

Honorable mention in this category goes to the gorgeous new Gilbert, AZ temple, where I attended the wedding of a good friend in February.

Favorite game I played: Up and Down the River

Oh, man. The best game night of the year was definitely the last night of girls' camp when all of the rappelling staff played cards in the lodge. We were so exhausted, but none of us wanted to go to bed because we'd had so much fun getting to know each other throughout the week and we finally had time to just goof off.

Favorite beach trip: Outer Banks, NC

I think this picture speaks for itself.

Honorable mentions to Corona del Mar and Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz. They're family favorites, so they're oldies but goodies, for sure.

And if we include lakes, then Lake Tahoe because these colors are just so pretty.

Favorite TV show of 2017: Fixer Upper

I LOVE Chip and Jo. Who doesn't, right? Their houses are beautiful and they are just awesome people who I admire and want to be more like. Honorable mention in this category goes to Parks & Rec, which I finally watched on Netflix. Ron Swanson is the best. End of discussion.

Favorite hiking spot: Las Trampas

I don't know why I like this place so much more than all of the other amazing regional parks in the area, but it's just a great place to feel like you're in the middle of nowhere and that you love the world and the world loves you back.

Favorite ramble of the year: This is a three-way tie between the walk I took in Washington, DC one evening; the time I spent wandering through the historic district in Savannah; and a walk around St. Petersburg, Florida with one of my best friends.

All in all, it's been a year of going on awesome adventures, working hard, learning a lot, trying new things, spending time with cool people, and reaching good goals. I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store, and I hope you all have a fun and happy New Year's Eve!