This year in review post will be my eighth recap post on this blog! I’ve had this blog for at least eight years! I gave a general break down of 2015 in my Thanksgiving post but here you will find my traditional recap month by month. 2015 contained the beginning of my treasured relationship with Sugarface, one of my biggest life’s accomplishments, and an ugly lay-off that made me question whether I even want a conventional job anymore.
I rang in the new year hosting a party with my roommate. Sugarface was my date and midnight kiss and almost a week later he became my boyfriend. What a great year 2015 forever will be. I had no idea in January where we would go, but now as I’m writing this, I can say our relationship has been the best thing that has happened to me this year.
In February, I hosted a brunch for Valentine’s Day and loved how the decorations turned out. My best friend Kimmy, the keeper of all my memories, came up to visit me in Austin for the first time in a few years. She met Sugarface when I took her to see the local graffiti park. I treated the two of us to a play about dating for her birthday. Also in February, I had a cameo on a food show on Bravo, judged a cake contest, and Sugarface made me a pop-up card that I now keep on my nightstand and read every so often. There were many Mad Men marathons and our first wedding together.
One of my biggest accomplishments happened in March. For many years I dreamed of treating my parents to an all expense paid trip. I’ve tracked my saving on this blog for years and waited impatiently for my parents to finally retire. Within the year of them retiring I took them on a trip! In all my fantasies, I never dreamed Vegas but my mom wanted to experience Vegas after seeing it in the movies. So to Vegas we went! It was the first flight my dad has taken since flying to Houston after escaping Vietnam as a refugee. It was the my mom’s first flight since she took me to Vietnam in high school. I didn’t think Vegas itself was all that great but my parents still talk about it and now instead of being bored with Vegas, I’ll forever be endeared to her. Besides, it was there I shot my favorite light trail photo.
Sugarface and I spent a weekend housesitting for his friends and it was my first glimpse at what it’s like to spend full consecutive days from waking up to falling asleep with him. We spent the whole weekend either in bed and watching Lonesome Dove marathon style or out eating Asian food till our stomachs hurt. Neither of us lived North where some of the best Asian foods in Austin are, so the housesitting was geographically convenient for these binges.
Kimmy came down again for work and we had dinner with Treavor. After dinner, we laid in Kim’s pretty canopy hotel bed and talked about men and shared secrets from our pasts. We then walked along a iconic street in Austin and talked a closed restaurant into selling us dessert. I can’t remember if it was a cookie or a brownie but I do remember feeling struck by how beautiful my life felt.
I took Sugarface to Houston for a wedding of my sweet friend. Funnily, I met Sugarface the same way I met her but their time at the lab I worked at didn’t overlap so they didn’t know each other. During this weekend, he met my parents for the first time. After dim sum with the parents, we shared a snow cone while walking a street festival with my friends.
May might have been my funnest month this year. I went on my annual trip with Ashley and Nicole. We were sad my roommate couldn’t join us. The four of us try to take a trip once a year so we can have some actual real life face time. We went to Utah and hiked Zion National Park. It made me committed to come back and visit Bryce National Park. Almost immediately after getting back from Utah, Sugarface and I drove a new and fancy Cadillac loaner to New Orleans. It was the first time I’ve visited since a few months before Katrina. I met his siblings who live there and relished their childhood stories they shared.
As I was reviewing my monthly posts to write this recap, I saw that in my May recap I wrote about how happy I was and how that scared me. Less than two weeks after I wrote that post about May, I was laid off and subsequently suffered my hardest thing of 2015. As I write this, I know how insecure and anxious being laid off made me. It really affected me mentally and in many ways I think I will continue to be affected. The day after the company layoffs, I met up with my coworker who was also laid off at a coffee shop. We met every weekday for a few weeks and searched for jobs together. I think we were both shell-shocked and used each other as reasons to get out of bed the first few weeks.
During the third week of June, I tried to meet Sugarface in his home state by flying. I ended up being stranded in Dallas after waiting 5 hours for my connecting flight. While I was waiting for the ultimately canceled flight, I conversed with a fellow flyer named Kevin. When the flight was canceled we split a car and drove into Arkansas together. We talked another five hours in the car and that remains the longest conversation I’ve ever had, at ten hours. In Arkansas, I met Sugarface’s loving and funny parents and enjoyed the most scenic boat rides on a beautiful lake. We were barefoot the entire time and I had no cell phone or internet service. Normally that would make me anxious but it gave me a beautiful and idyllic reprieve from job rejection notifications!
We drove back to Arkansas for Fourth of July and had another fantastic weekend there. Sugarface’s hometown has become one of my favorite places to visit. We spent another weekend barefoot on the lake, eating his mom’s gourmet cooking. It was my birth month and for the first time in many years, I didn’t feel like planning a dinner for myself. In years past I worried about finding the perfect venue that would suit varying budgets and tastes and with job hunting and my anxiety, I decided to take it easy this year and not plan anything. For my birthday, my sweet friend Stephanie took me out on the lake and I had my first paddle board experience. On the day of, Sugarface made me breakfast and treated me to dinner at my favorite restaurant. My family and friends made me feel especially loved.
I almost forgot! I went to Chicago where I ate very well and saw Taylor Swift.
We were in Dallas for a wedding (I lost count of how many weddings we attended this year!) the weekend of Sugarface’s birthday and since we were almost halfway to Arkansas, we drove to his parents’ home to pick up his dog and so he can spend his birthday with his family. We had enough time to eat dinner with them and go on a peaceful boat ride in the middle of the night. I felt lucky and so awestruck by the bounty of stars that night.
September was mostly about moving. My lease was ending and Sugarface planned on living together once our leases ended. Funny fact, last year around this time we almost became roommates but I told him I couldn’t live with him because I found him too attractive. Ha! We went apartment hunting with one of my best friends who is a new real estate agent and fell in love with the first apartment we saw. Three weeks later we moved in. Moving while unemployed was so stressful. I felt like I was hemorrhaging money. The night before my movers came, I spent one last night at Sugarface’s apartment sleeping on the floor in his living room. It felt so right to be moving in with him, the financial worries subsided.
I also worked on managing my anxiety.
The month of impeccable make up! I was in a wedding of a high school friend. The fun thing about going to weddings of high school friends is getting flashbacks of them as awkward teenagers. Except in this case I don’t think my radiant friend ever went through an awkward puberty stage! She hired a make up artist to do our make up and I never seen myself that pretty before! (Usually make up artists make me look like a ridiculous geisha.) Then came Halloween and my old coworker and now dear friend Jeremiah did my makeup and I was so impressed that this was his second time ever doing makeup! He did the same kind of makeup for himself days before doing mine.
In October I also went to my first Argentine asado. It was a perfect day.
In November, I Feel Better Podcast went live, I accepted a part-time job that also provides health-insurance and committed to freelancing and attempting to monetize my food blog to complement the part-time-not-enough income. The longer I was unemployed the more uncomfortable I started to be with the conventional nine to five. This is a weird place for me because before being laid-off, I didn’t want to ever consider life without the “stable” nine-five job.
For the holidays, Sugarface and I worked out that we’ll do Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with his. So I took him to Houston and we spent a couple of days eating my mom’s food and chitchatting with my parents and brother. Kimmy and I tried to show him cool spots in Houston but all our chosen spots were closed with exception of that Before I Die wall.
And here we are in December. I went to Houston the weekend before Christmas to see my parents and friends. I released balloons for the ninth consecutive year with Kimmy and then I met Santa for the first time ever ever. I gifted my mom a coloring book and we spent one morning coloring.
Sugarface’s family came for Christmas and it was so much fun hosting them. They included me in their holiday traditions and I felt so touched by their acceptance. His mother spent hours in the kitchen on Christmas day. I’m not a pancake person. I take one or two bites and then I’m usually done. Sugarface’s mom officially converted me with her blueberry pancakes. We spent the day watching movies, opening gifts, and then eating an amazing dinner she cooked. Sugarface’s mom blows me away with her talent in the kitchen. We spent the remaining days being in each other’s company, eating, and watching more movies. They left and I found myself missing them almost immediately and am happy to be seeing them for New Years!
Today we’re driving to Arkansas for a New Year’s Eve wedding that Sugarface is in. It’ll be my fourth visit to Arkansas this year with him.
This was basically a verbose way of telling you 2015 was pretty swell.