2011 Year in Review

2011 has been a pretty mellow year for us, with no huge changes.  We've stayed in the same house, and although my job changed slightly, almost everything remained constant for us this year.  We had some wonderful weekend getaways for fun and for weddings, we enjoyed a week in Michigan with CAhusband's family over the summer, and we enjoyed a lot of quiet time at home with our pups.

Here are some of my favorites from 2011...

Favorite Song of 2011: It just has to be Rolling in the Deep by Adele.  I admit this song is as played out as can be, but it is truly a wonderful song that I will always love. 

Favorite Movies of 2011: It's a tie between The Help, Crazy Stupid Love, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2.  I enjoyed them all for different reasons, and will watch them each again and again.

Favorite TV Show of 2011: Parenthood  and Homeland were definitely my all around favorites this year.  I couldn't get enough of either of them, but could easily name 5 (or 10) more shows that I never miss.

Best Summer Project of 2011: This might not seem like a project, but watching the entire series of Friday Night Lights was by far one of my favorite things of the year.  I loved this show! 

Favorite Reality Show of 2011: I'm still big into all of my Bravo shows, but The Bachelor sucked me in this year like it never has before.

Biggest Accomplishment of 2011: The fact that I started exercising regularly again this year was huge for me.  I joined the gym in February and have been going to spin, using the elliptical, and lifting weights regularly ever since.  I'm so proud of myself for actually sticking with it, because I feel so much better. 
Favorite Getaway of 2011: All of our getaways were wonderful this year!  Our DC trip to visit Charlie and VABelle for the 4th of July was perfect.  We always love time with them and it was wonderful to see their new house.  We also had an amazing and relaxing week in Glen Arbor, MI with CAhusband's family this year and a fun trip to Louisville, KY for my sister's wedding in September. 

Favorite Book of 2011: I loved so many of the books I read this year, but Bossypants by Tina Fey was definitely by favorite! 

Saddest Moment of 2011: My parents moving to Virginia was definitely the hardest for me.  I know it's for the best for them, and that we will likely end up closer to them someday, but I miss them a lot.
Best Purchase of 2011: This was the year I finally made the switch to an iPhone, and I'll never look back.  I honestly don't know how I survived without it. Our iPad2 comes in a very close second though, I can't get enough of that thing!


Favorite Weekly Pastime of 2011:  One of the highlights of each week is the Friday happy hour I have with my co-workers.  I truly love the people I work with, and our Friday afternoon happy hour at the wine bar is the perfect way to start each weekend.

Favorite Beauty Purchase of 2011: I bought the Naked eyeshadow palette in June, and haven't worn any other eyeshadow since.  It's wonderful! I also love my Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face wash.  I highly recommend both of these products.

Most Popular Blog Post of 2011: My Erin Condren Life Planner review was by far my most read blog post of the year.  My Life Planner also has to be one of my favorite things of the year.  I know you've heard it all already, but it's the best planner ever.

Biggest Time Suck of 2011: Twitter or Pinterest.... it's a tie!  I wasted an embarrassing amount of time on both this year.

Favorite New Recipe of 2011:  These yummy lemon cookies I found on Pinterest are heavenly! 

Favorite Moment of 2011: Our anniversary dinner in Laguna Beach was ideal.  We has such a wonderful night together and shared the most delicious meal.  It was just an all around perfect night together. 

So there you have it, some of my favorites from 2011! 

I hope you have a wonderful New Year's Eve!  We plan to lay low and enjoy a yummy dinner at home with lots of champagne and some games. 

Happy New Year, I'll see you back here in 2012!

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My 2011 Book List

I had it in my head that my goal was to read 30 books this year, and was so disappointed that I'd missed it.  Luckily, I just looked back on my 2011 goals, and I actually only wanted to read 25!  This may seem trivial to you, but this is one goal that I really wanted to make and I was going to be so disappointed that I missed it. 

This year I caught up on a lot of James Patterson books that I'd been behind on.  None of them were really all that special, but I just can't give them up.  They're perfect beach reads if you like a mystery you can easily finish in a weekend.  If you read Patterson, I think you'll enjoy them, otherwise I don't really recommend them.  Other than that I read a lot of wonderful books that I would highly suggest you read. Overall I managed to read 27 books this year. 

Here they are (not necessarily in order):

My Top 5 of 2011:

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest: I finally finished this series in 2011, and I'm so glad I stuck with it.  Although the first book was kind of hard to get through, I loved the second one, and the last one was absolutely wonderful.  I know this series isn't for everyone, but it you can make it through the first half of Dragon Tattoo, you won't be sorry you stuck with it.

Bossypants: One night I was reading this book in bed and got to laughing so hard that I was crying. I literally could not stop laughing, and CAhusband thought I'd really lost it.  I highly recommend this quick and hysterical read!

Catching Fire and Mockingjay: I don't know why I put off finishing this series, I guess I just didn't want it to end.  If you haven't read the Hunger Games series yet, I suggest you do in 2012!

Divergent: This was my very last book of 2011.  If you loved Hunger Games you will love this book.  I couldn't put it down and read it in 2 days. 

Honorable Mentions:
These are all wonderful reads that I'd recommend to anyone!

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Look Again by Lisa Scottoline
Save Me by Lisa Scottoline
House Rules by Jodi Picoult
Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner

Now, I want you to let me know what your favorites were this year.  I'm already assembling my list for 2012, and would love to hear what I'm missing out on. 

Here's my 2010 list in case you're interested.
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Our Christmas Recap

We had a wonderful 4-day Christmas weekend together here in the desert.  I think that CAhusband and I were both a little nervous that Christmas wouldn't be quite as special this year since we weren't going to be with any of our family, but we still managed to have a wonderful time. 

Our holiday weekend started off on Friday when we headed to Manhattan Beach.  We had some friends that were having an engagement party in Palos Verdes, so we decided to make a night of it.  We had a great time at their party celebrating their engagement and meeting their family and friends.

The only pic of CAhusband and I at the party is this one I borrowed from my friend, but I wore this emerald green pleated dress from ASOS for their party. 

Christmas Eve morning we enjoyed brunch by the beach and walked around the town. It was the perfect little getaway that helped make our first Christmas alone a little more special.

On Christmas Eve we went to the early family service at church, then stopped by some friends for a glass of wine before coming home to a yummy dinner of filet and twice baked potatoes. 

Although I will always miss having a white Christmas, one of my favorite Christmas moments was watching CAhusband outside by the pool and firepit, enjoying some eggnog, and playing with the dogs.  I really think I could get used to 70 degrees at Christmas with moments like that. 

We then finished the night watching The Santa Clause 3 and had a little photo shoot with the dogs by the Christmas tree.

Christmas Day was wonderful and relaxing.  Although it was hard not seeing family, it was kind of amazing to stay in our PJ's all day without worrying about leaving the house.  We both received some wonderful gifts, and CAhusband definitely spoiled me this year!

Please excuse the scary Christmas morning pics sans make-up!

CAhusband used my blog wishlist for my first 2 gifts, then managed to really surprise me with a Kindle Fire!  We'd discussed the I might want to get one since he's going to take the iPad with him for work now that he's traveling a lot, but I never imagined there would be one waiting for me under the tree. I was so pleasantly surprised, and love that we're no longer fighting over our tablet.

We then played with CAhusband's new Keurig, and enjoyed a breakfast of egg casserole, cinnamon rolls, and mimosas!  We then finished off our lazy Christmas Day by watching Christmas Vacation and The Help.

Our long Christmas weekend was then complete with a relaxing Monday at home with the dogs.  We were pretty lazy all day (again) and then had a great little date night seeing Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol with dinner at Tommy Bahamas.  We both really enjoyed the movie, and it was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend together. 

Lastly I leave you with some pictures of our tree from this year, which I forgot to share until now!

Every year we fill in our tree a little more, which I love.  Next year I hope to add some more bows and new ribbon, but overall, I think it's a pretty perfect tree.

I ordered our 2011 Family Ornament from Coton Colors.  It is personalized with all of our names (us + dogs) and the year.  I love how it turned out... too cute!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

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