Happiest of New Year wishes to you!!!
Hello, my lovely friends. I hope each of you is having a much happier and healthier start to 2015 than I am today! I started mine very sick and spent the majority of the last 48 hours in my bed. Boo hiss. That said - I can't complain. I'm lucky to be off from work, so I don't have to worry too much about being anywhere or doing anything for a few more days. 2014 was a very good year. No year is perfect, and my year had plenty of ups and downs... but all in all, I had a pretty fantastic year. I predicted in my last new year post that 2014 would bring a lot of change in my life... and it did. But 2015 is already primed to bring even more change, and I can't wait! But before I dive straight into the new year, I figured it would be good to review the last twelve months.
Ordinarily, I break the year down month by month, but this post would simply be too long if I decided to do that. Instead, I thought I would highlight some key events and milestones. I know I've been terrible about giving attention to this blog... maybe 2015 will be the year that Blogger Becks is back! Guess we'll see... Anyway, let's begin!
While many, many, many people visited in 2013, only one long distance friend came to visit in 2014 - my BFF. If you follow my blog, you'll remember she was last out here visiting during a work trip in August 2013. We had so much fun on that visit, I was excited she was willing to come back for a Dodger game in 2014. We packed a lot in to her short four days here, introducing her to friends both locally and down in Los Angeles, eating our way through Southern California (sushi, italian, and Bottega Louie - oh my!), and enjoying a lazy day in Santa Barbara. I was supposed to end my year with her in Denver, but had to cancel my flight at the last minute due to illness - don't worry... I'll make it up to you in 2015!
AG and I became friends at a mutual friend's wedding in 2013. We've been pretty inseparable ever since! She was my constant event companion throughout the year, and I can't wait to tackle more adventures with her in 2015. Some of our adventures in 2014 included her birthday tour of LA, many trips to Bottega Louie and Cat & Fiddle Pub, a Dodgers game with the BFF, Hollywood hopping, MANY celebrity encounters, film location stalking, museum visits to the Grammy Museum, FIDM, and LACMA, a cruise, trying to discover the city's best latte, Halloween stalking, and the lighting of the trees on Christmas Tree Lane. I'm sure there are many more events I'm forgetting to mention, but we had a blast!
In June, my company sent me to a business conference in Montréal, QC, Canada to both take an exam and attend some board meetings for our professional industry association (of which I was the president in 2013/14). What a fantastic treat to go to Montréal! And as a bonus - I got to visit with my longtime friend Caroline while I was there! You can read a bit about my visit in this blog post - I still need to write a post about the beautiful churches. Give me time. Sigh.
For a girl that loves theme parks, I don't nearly go as often as I could... but 2014 gave me the opportunity to do a bit more of that. One of the teams I support invited me to do a team building activity at Universal Studios Hollywood in early 2014, where we competed against colleagues to make films depicted famous scenes from various movies. It was a blast! Over the summer, my colleagues were invited to go to Disneyland for a different team building experience. It was so fun watching my coworkers and friends act like kids at the happiest place on earth. A cancelled flight serendipitously led to another adventure in Disneyland in December when I met up with one of my best friends in Anaheim as she was visiting for the holiday from New Mexico. So much fun! I'm a lucky girl :)
Fall brought another visit to our west coast industry association conference, only this time it was held in Vegas. Now anyone that was around me knows this was something I was NOT looking forward to. It was being held on my birthday, and the last thing I wanted to do was spend my birthday working. But... we ended up having a blast! I played golf with several good friends, met a wonderful couple from England who were on their honeymoon, had the BEST view of the Bellagio fountains from my suite (see top right), and spent my birthday with my good friend enjoying a dinner at Serendipity and a Britney Spears concert the next day! This will teach me to not be such a sour puss - I need to be more grateful for things in 2015. For real.
November brought me on my first cruise ever - AG and I joined friends from work to cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada, Mexico! It was a very short cruise, but a vacation I desperately needed. I hadn't been that unplugged from life and work in a very long time. It was lovely! If you haven't done a cruise, I highly recommend it. This little three day cruise was the perfect way to see if you have the sea legs to handle a longer cruise in the future. I can't wait to go on another one!
I packed so much in 2014, I can't even begin to cover everything. My sweet friend EB allowed me to tag along with her to so many fun events this year, including a special winemakers dinner by Madorom and a tour of both Getty museums - the Getty Center and the Getty Villa. I also got to squeeze in a trip to Albuquerque to visit some of my best friends from college - the visit was short and sweet, but I enjoyed it just the same. (I also used the time to do some film stalking of one of my favorite TV shows - Breaking Bad! You can read about it here, here, and here.) Lastly, I also got to meet a bunch of really cool girls thanks to a little show called The Mindy Project. These girls have been great friends and confidants over the year, and I really appreciate them!
Alas, I couldn't make a year end appreciation post without thanking my family. We have had a very rough year full of a lot of loss and trials that some would find unsurmountable. The strength of my siblings and my parents will never cease to impress me, and I pray every day that they have the strength to overcome the challenges that lie in front of them. I love them to pieces, and wish them the best of every happiness this life has to give. I miss them terribly, and hope that they'll visit me in California in 2015.
There were a couple of things not pictured that I really wanted to brag about for a minute... and since this is my blog, I'll do just that. As I mentioned before, 2014 was primed to be a year of great change... and while I always leave statements like that fairly vague, I thought I should clarify what a few of those changes actually were. The biggest change was not so much a change as an accomplishment. I paid off my near $50K in student loan debt in September of this year. I paid it 100% on my own, with no government, employer, or family support. I am SO proud of that feat! I also passed my certification exam for my profession, making me one of only 5,000 people in the country to have earned this designation. And the changes I can't mention? Well, let's say that something has changed that has allowed me to grow (and will continue to allow me to grow) as a person from here on out. I'm free to do things now that I haven't done in a long time, and I don't remember when I last felt this good (aside from this stupid flu I'm currently fighting - blech). The Becks many of you knew in college is slowly coming back, and I can't wait for more people to get to know her (instead of the overworked, overstressed post-college Becks that many of you have regrettably tolerated for so long). So, onward and upward as we head into 2015! May it be my and your best year yet!
Until next time...