Guys, we made it. It's the final week of 2015. Can you believe it? When I sat down to write this list of resolutions in January it felt like I had an eon to complete them.
Before I give my final updates, I want to say thank you. Thank you for following along on this adventure. Your support and encouragement has been the fuel that powered my resolve to tackle each and every one of these. An extra special thank you to everyone who volunteered to join me and help cross specific items off the list.
Without further ado, here we go. The 2015 New Year's Resolution Year-End Report!
1. Find a new job
Status: Complete. This month marks 12 months in my new job. During the first six months I would have told you it felt like things were moving in slow motion, but now, looking back on a full year, it feels like it flew!
The best part of my new gig is my co-workers. They are the warmest, kindest, most welcoming bunch you'll ever meet. In September they surprised me on my birthday with an ice cream sundae bar.
In November we did a team outing to the Zombie Panic Room. I was very skeptical, but it was actually hilarious.
We closed out 2015 with the agency's annual tradition called Holiday Week, where all 115 employees gather at the San Francisco HQ for a week of team bonding, professional development and of course, the holiday party. Below are two snaps from the party:
And one more from the party's photo booth:
On January 5, 2016 I will celebrate my one year anniversary. Crazy!
2. Spend more time with family and friends
Status: Complete. Of all the resolutions I made for this year, this one was the most important to me. At my old job I didn't have time for anything other than work. I really missed out and I felt profoundly sad.
This year I've been able to be around for so many milestones and celebrations. In the eight month checkup I shared with you several photos from our family trip to Israel this summer. The whole family was reunited again in September for Rosh Hashana. This year we celebrated in New York City. During that weekend I was able to squeeze in a visit with my camp friends. We've all known each other since we were twelve. It feels pretty special that we're still such a big part of each other's lives.
This fall I was able to spend more time with my cousins who live out in Framingham. People always say the girls and I look like sisters. What do you think?
In November I flew to Florida to spend Thanksgiving with mom's whole side of the family. Here are my sister and I in the backseat of my parents' car, ready to roll to my cousin's house for the big meal.
Though I spent the first seven nights of Hanukkah in San Francisco, I made it back for the eighth and final night. I hosted my cousins and a few friends for candle lighting and latkes. Here are all the cousins (with a few Hanukkah props):
Each year for Hanukkah a friend of mine uses her super fancy camera to take flip book-like photos of all of us at the Hanukkah party. This is my favorite one of the bunch:
This month I've been able to bounce from house to house and enjoy several holiday parties. This shot is with two of my closest college friends (one moonlighting as Mrs. Claus).
This next photo was snapped at a party with co-workers from my first PR agency job. We all met in 2008 and I have remained close even though only two of us still work together.
I will end this year with a trip to the Bahamas with two of my girlfriends. I take off on New Year's!
3. Adopt a dog
Status: Complete. Of course one of the biggest changes in 2015 was welcoming Scout into my life. We had a bit of a rough start - the food he was eating was making him sick, he's had recurring hot spots and had to wear a cone many times, the doggy care said he was too stressed out around all the bigs dog to board with them overnight - the list goes on and on.
Despite the challenges, he has brought me immeasurable joy. When his tail starts wagging when I come into a room or he hears my voice, I melt into a puddle of goo.
When he snuggles into me on the couch I will do anything I can to freeze time and maintain that position (no bathroom breaks when your dog is being adorable!).
Thanks to Scout I'm much more active. I've also gotten to know so many of my neighbors and their pooches. Best of all, I've formed a circle of dog mamas who I can count on for advice, tips and to talk me off the ledge when the vet tells me Scout will have to wear the cone again. Ladies, you know who you are - thank you!
Here are two more of my favorites, just because:
And in case you missed it, here's our adoption story.
4. Redesign the blog
Status: Complete. After seven months of planning, on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 the new Pop.Bop.Shop. debuted. I almost cried. I had been wanting to redesign the site for years and it took one very devoted web designer to make it happen.
You can read up on all the new feautres here.
Thank you to everyone who has explored the site and shared your feedback. There is nothing better than hearing that you're enjoying the new look and feel. We're still working out some kinks on the back end, but I'm excited to continue enhancing the site in 2016.
If this list was printed in hard copy, I'd put a giant Sharpie check mark over this bad boy.
5. Celebrate the blog's next birthday in style
Status: Nearly complete. Each year I am faced with the same time crunch when it comes to marking the blog's birthday. The date is January 4th, which is dangerously close to the holidays. To truly get a jump on planning, I should be reaching out to people in November. I never do.
This year I had a particular giveaway in mind for the blog's 7th birthday and it may still happen. I have an email into the PR person and I'm hoping it comes to fruition. If not, I have a solid back up plan, which will still be excellent.
I am considering this one a success.
6. Plan a trip to Portland, Maine
Status: Epic fail. Despite having an entire year and 52 weekends to choose from, I never got around to planning my Portland weekend. I know, I know.
When I was sharing this fail with a friend last week she said, "Can you carry over 2015 resolutions into 2016?" In the case of the Portland trip, I absolutely will. I will get there next year no matter what!
7. Enroll in a cooking class at BCAE
Status: Fail #2. I am super embarassed to say that I never made it to the BCAE for a cooking class. I don't even have an excuse. Though the BCAE is located in a neighborhood that isn't ever in my natural path, it is just a short 20 minute drive.
8. Experience a farm dinner
Status: Complete - twice! In the eight month checkup I shared with you that I attended not one, but two farm dinners this summer. The first at the Herb Lyceum in Groton, MA and the second at Smolak Farms in North Andover, MA. This was such a fun way to have a New England adventure and celebrate all the local produce that grows here in Massachusetts.
Here are a few of my favorite photos from the two dinners:
9. Donate my hair
Status: Complete. Over Labor Day weekend I finally did it, the big chop! Though I had donated my hair twice before and thought I was emotinally prepared, I was an absolute disaster. As soon as the stylist turned me around and I saw my new look, I was in shock. Horror. Disbelief. What had I just done?
As a reminder, here I am outside the salon before the appointment:
And here I am standing in the very same spot after the cut:
I went out to dinner with a friend afterward and I felt so badly for her because the entire time all I did was keep touching my hair, hoping if I stroked it enough it would all regenerate. Immediately.
I felt a bit more optimistic when I went to DryBar three weeks later. After my blowout I felt super glam and like there was hope for me and my hair after all.
I'm still not in love with the cut, but thankfully, hair grows back.
10. Organize my jewels
Status: Complete. After starting the new job, organizing my baubles was the very next thing I crossed off my list. I have been in organizational heaven for nearly 10 months! Here's a reminder of how I cleaned up my sparkly mess:
11. Throw my best Oscar party yet
Status: Complete. If you remember from the four month checkup, I did indeed throw an Oscar party, but it was not my best one yet. Mother Nature decided to dump another heaping batch of snow on Boston and several of my friends we're able to make the party.
Given the Oscar disappointment, I decided to pour all my energy into my Emmy Awards party in September. It was my chance at redemption!
The Emmy party included a photo booth, some new serving pieces and a festive centerpiece starring rubber ducks.
With the Golden Globes only two weeks away, I am already in full on planning mode. Look for that party recap on Tuesday, January 12th!
12. Take the Taza Chocolate Factory tour
Status: Complete. In July I went on the factory tour and it was excellent.
If you've been thinking about doing this, definitely make the time to visit and have the full experience. The tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable and the free samples at the end are unlimited!
13. Visit Aeronaut Brewery
Status: Just completed! 6 days ago. Ever the procrastinator, I saved Aeornaut for the last 14 days of the year. A friend, who lives near the brewery in Somerville, offered to go with me and the date we set was for Tuesday, December 22nd.
The space at Aeronaut is very cool. It's a huge warehouse, decorated almost like a backyard BBQ. There are picnic tables beneath strings of lights. All that's missing is grass and the smell of a camp fire.
My favorite decor element is the beach chairs suspsended from the ceiling. They remind me of the movie "Up."
Aeronaut makes great use of the height of their walls by hanging planters from long strings of twine.
In case you get the itch to tickle the ivories, they have an intergalactic piano.
While I was focused on the art and furniture, most people who visit are focused on the beer. Duh.
Aeronaut's list of custom brews hangs over the bar with a brief descriptions of each concoction.
We decided to order one flight ($10 dollars) and one glass of the barley wine. The flight came with four beers: The Eye of Sauvin, A Session with Dr. Nandu, Imperial Galaxyc Cirrocumulus and Cocoa Sutra.
Each beer sits on top of a labeled coaster so you know which beer is which. My favorite of the four was A Session with Dr. Nandu which was described as, "Refreshing, passionfruit notes of Mosaic hops."
If you find a beer you really love, you can take it home in a branded growler.
The night we went it was trivia night. Aeronaut has independently run trivia, which means anyone can sign up to lead it. On that night, the person scheduled to run it bailed, so one of the co-owners scrambled to write questions and lead it. Unforunately the categories were pretty lame and we left after round three.
We named our team Miss Colombia (after the recent Miss Universe blunder), which got quite a few chuckles from the crowd.
I am glad I finally made it to Aeronaut after all this time. If you're into craft beer, their renditions are very unique. Also, if you decide to go for a trivia night, they offer $1 dollar slices of pizza.
14. Sample the Bloody Mary Bar at Barcelona Wine Bar
Status: Complete. You may remember from the very first installment of this series that I found out about Barcelona Wine Bar's Bloody Mary bar on a friend's Instagram feed. As soon as I learned of its existence, I had to go.
I wound up going to the Bloody Mary bar as part of my birthday celebration this year (more on that in a minute).
The set up was quite impressive with multiple Bloody mixes and garnishes galore.
Shockingly, the brunch food outshined the DIY Bloodys. You can read about every delicious morsel in my full recap of the meal.
15. Embrace my birthday again
Status: Complete. In 2014, when I turned 30, I wanted to crawl under my bed and hide. I can't explain it, but I just wasn't ready to accept that I'd reached that age. As such, I resisted every attempt by family and friends to celebrate my 30th.
This year, I was feeling like my usual self again. The birthday celebrations started with a trip to Truro on Cape Cod with my college besties. My family has vacationed in Truro for over 20 years, so being able to go back there for this occasion and share that place with my girls was really special.
On my actual birthday (a Tuesday) my co-workers surprised me with an ice cream sundae bar (photo in the blurb under resoltion #1) and a friend treated me to dinner at one of my favorites, Alden & Harlow in Harvard Square.
That Thursday I went with two friends to see Ben Rector in concert at the House of Blues.
Then on Sunday I headed to the Bloody Mary bar at Barcelona Wine Bar with a group of my favorite gals.
Embrace my birthday again? Mission Accomplished.
Now for the year-end, final tally!
13 resolutions complete
#1 Find a new job
#2 Spend more time with family and friends
#3 Adopt a dog
#4 Redesign the blog
#5 Celebrate the blog's next birthday in style (comin' at ya on January 4, 2016)
#8 Experience a farm dinner
#9 Donate my hair
#10 Organize my jewels
#11 Throw my best Oscar party party
#12 Take the Taza Chocolate Factory tour
#13 Visit Aeronaut Brewery
#14 Sample the Bloody Mar bar at Barcelona Wine Bar
#15 Embrace my birthday again
2 resolutions left on the table
#6 Plan a trip to Portland, Maine
#7 Enroll in a cooking class at BCAE
13 out of 15? I'll take it!
Thank you again to everyone who followed along as I tackled these resolutions, offered encouragement and raised a hand to join me for these adventures.
If you're wondering if I plan to share a list of resolutions for 2016, I sure do. Watch for next year's list in the first two weeks of January.
*Top image courtesy of Posh and Prep.