Tuesday, January 7, 2014

13 Favorites from '13

I love documenting things: making lists, writing, art journaling, scrap booking, making collages, and putting things together that give me a way to look back at not only things I did, but things I've enjoyed too. I loved reading my friend Amanda's post from her blog My Shoestring Life about her 13 favorite things in the year '13! Her blog is adorable! She inspired me to write this post. I had a blast writing it! Thanks, Amanda!

Here are 13 of my favorite things from 2013!!

1. My Favorite Movie

I used to watch a lot more movies than I do now. I am slowly getting back into them. I haven't been to the movie theater in I don't know how long, so I don't see a lot of new movies. Since my dad passed away, I just can't sit still for that amount of time in one place without getting up and moving. I don't know what it is. I can't explain it. One movie I did enjoy, surprisingly, was Now You See Me. I was presently surprised and drawn into this movie! And I love Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo, and Morgan Freeman! Here's the trailer:

2. My Favorite Book

I have been reading a lot of different books lately: adult, teen, and young adult. Here is one of my favorites from each category:

Lisa Ling and her sister, Laura, wrote this book from both of their perspectives while 1) Laura is detained by North Korean officials on trespassing charges after working on a story about North Korean defectors and 2) Lisa is in the states working day and night trying to get her sister out. This is an amazing story of faith and strength detailing Laura's account of North Korean detainment and her trial there. It is also a story of two sisters and their incredible bond. I couldn't put this book down.

I like Jay Asher's writing. I read 13 Reasons Why and I saw this book next to it on the shelf at the library. The story was incredibly interesting. I read it in one day :) The book is set in 1996, before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media outlets. One of the main characters, Emma, just got an America Online CD-ROM in the mail and decides to try it out. When she and her friend log on, they see themselves on Facebook 15 years in the future. Every time they log on, their lives on Facebook change. What they do in their current lives affects how their futures change. It's so funny to read this and see how the characters try to figure out what Facebook is. I thought this was such a cool concept for a book. Really enjoyed it!

This book is AMAZING! Melody is an eleven-year-old girl who is the smartest kid in her whole school, but no one knows it. Her parents believe in her, but the kids at school, her teachers, the principals, and her doctors don't think she's capable of learning. She can't talk, write, or walk. Melody is stuck in her own mind. She has trouble sharing her thoughts with her family and those she needs to, until she discovers something that may help her to communicate with the world around her. Once she discovers this new form of communication, her life does not become a walk in the park. She still faces many challenges.

3. My Favorite Song

I love this song! I used it last year as an "end of year send off" with my students reminding them that I believe them and they can do anything! I showed it to them complete with rockstar sunglasses, choreography, and dancing!! Super fun! Whenever it comes on the radio, I blast it loudly! And the kids' love her video :)

4. My Favorite Antiquing/Thrifting Find

I found Ben antiquing, and I love him! I think my dad would have too! He's awesome!

5. My Favorite Memory

This summer was one of the most fun times I've had in a long time. My whole family (my mom, me, Bjorn, Rachael, Sean, Ashley, and Luke) went to Florida for a vacation together. Since Ashley moved out to Utah, we haven't gotten to see her that much over the past three years. She recently moved closer to home, so that will be better! But this summer vacation to Florida was so much fun! The last time my sisters and my mom and I got to spend quality time together was an impromptu trip to Chicago in May 2008 on the one year anniversary of my dad's passing. Here is a video I like to look at all of us having fun in Disney World. It makes me smile!!

and this one...

6. My Favorite Beauty Product

I have seriously been loving my Kat Von D Spellbinding Eyeshadow Book! It is so fun! I have been creating some great looks with it. I think Rachie has started to wish she had one too :)


Here are some looks that I created with the palette:

7. My Favorite Outfit

This is one of my favorite outfits. I had not worn this dress in such a long time because my OCD told me it looked baggy and frumpy. I don't know what I was thinking! I love this dress! Winning this necklace from Abigail and the Noonday Collection giveaway also helped inspire me to give it another try! It's beautiful and brightens my day! I love it with my cat shoes and button earrings too!

If you haven't checked out Noonday Collection, you should on Abigail's website! They have some amazing jewelry and accessories and things for the home all supporting an amazing cause!

8. My Favorite Home-cooked Meal

One of the simplest things that we made all summer were different kind of homemade burgers and fresh tomato salad with buttermilk dressing. The "something special" about our burgers is that we made bourbon onions to go on top. So good! You just slice or dice up a vidalia onion and brown them in a little butter and olive oil. Just before they're done, pour in 1/3 a cup of bourbon and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Be careful with this part! Take it off the heat when you pour in the alcohol. Once you place it back on the heat, there will be a flame. The alcohol will burn off. Cook until the bourbon is cooked away and onions are brown and caramelized. They are so good!

9. My Favorite Restaurant

I have a favorite restaurant and a favorite bar! Here they are...

My favorite restaurant right now is Brew River Gastro Pub

I have really been wanting some of their poutine and pickles! I haven't been in awhile! I think I'll need to make a trip!

I also love Japp's! Bjorn took me there for our own birthday celebration for me. The drinks are divine and the atmosphere is so relaxed and fun! I loved it!

I had a Cottage Cocktail, and Bjorn had a Commonwealth. They were delish! Then I tried a Pink Lady. It tasted kind of like an egg cream, but with gin. Yum! The Cottage Cocktail was my favorite!

10. My Favorite Quote

There's a new Asian buffet down the street from where Bjorn and I live, and I recently got a fortune in my fortune cookie (if you can call it that), maybe more of a "words to live by" kind of thing, that meant a lot to me. When my dad was first diagnosed with his brain tumor, I had a lot of hope. Even though they told us he had 6 weeks to live, I had hope. We put him in a new trail study of a new drug, treated the tumor aggressively, and stayed positive. Day after day, week after week, and month after month, my dad's health deteriorated, and I slowly started losing hope. Here is what my fortune said:

"Hope is the most precious treasure to a person."

I am always one to look on the bright side of things, but this experience drained it all out of me. I remember the moment that I felt all my hope was gone. We stopped at my mother-in-law's house to pick something up. She asked me how I was doing. I told her that my dad was doing really bad and I didn't think he was going to make it. She hugged me and told me she loved me. In that moment, I felt like all my hope had drained from my body. I knew how sick my dad was, and I knew that he was most likely not going to make it through his illness. But just a shred of hope in the darkest times can make you feel so invincible, you know?

Well, it's been a hard struggle for me to get back to my happy-go-lucky self. I don't know if I ever will be exactly that person, but I wanted to be that hopeful, glass is half-full person again. I feel like I'm back there, or at least almost. Today I laughed out loud at the grocery store thinking of something my husband had said earlier today. I haven't done that in awhile.

I agree with my fortune cookie in the sense that hope is what has always gotten me through tough times: things will always get better. Life goes on. Life does go on in different ways. My new hope is that I still see my dad in my every day life in the little things: the bunnies in my back yard, "Dancing in the Moonlight" playing at the grocery store, him hugging me in my dreams, talking to him some days in my mind (I'm not crazy! I know he hears me.), and the million other little ways I know he's here. And there's always the hope that I will get to hug him again one day. I think my hope may be coming back into my life.

11. My Favorite Picture

I have four..it's so hard to pick one!!!

I  love this picture! On the plane back from Florida, we were all so ready to go home after a long layover, we slept on the plane! We overcame our flying anxiety and made it home! Yay, us!

 Me and Rachie, picture Mandy Paige Photography

In Naples, FL, pictures courtesy Kimberly Joy Photography

12. My Favorite New Tradition (Haha!)

New tradition: on my birthday (New Year's Eve), my sissy usually does anything I ask of her...last year we went to Michael's (she hates crafts). This year we went thrifting (she hates that too!). And I even asked her if she'd give me a sister birthday kiss, since it was my birthday, after all. Rachael is not a hugger or an overly affectionate person, so this was big stuff for her! She gave me a big birthday kiss on the cheek! I think this will start a new birthday tradition for me! Next year I'm going to ask for a kiss on the cheek and a hug! 

13. My Proudest Moment

I'm finally starting to feel more like myself: I started my blog and I'm starting to feel happier each day! I feel like I'm starting to feel like my normal self again and enjoying life :)

Have you had any favorite things from 2013?

Love and happiness <3 Holly 

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