2010 was a pretty good year for me! It was probably one of the more eventful years in recent memory, and not in a bad way. If I can continue the trend of good things happening then 2011 should be excellent! Consider this a very belated holiday letter detailing my year. :)
Two Mexican Vacations
The last post I made in this blog was about my trip to Cancun in February. Originally, I wanted to write the post so that others out there that are as anal retentive as myself when it comes to researching vacations would be able to find the blog and have another bit of input regarding the resort, location, etc. But I also wanted it to serve as a mini-travel diary for myself. It's not loaded with detail or chock full of pictures to make it a true travelouge but it serves the purpose. Maybe for future trips I'll try to do a better job of that. I may have a trip to Costa Rica coming up in July! More on that later.
In addition to my Cancun trip February, I took a trip to Playa del Carmen in June! As much as I loved my trip to Cancun, the Playa trip blew it out of the water. I was there for a wedding and the resort was beautiful! We stayed at The Royal Playa del Carmen and had a blast. Check the view from our room!
I won't go into a full review of the vacation here since it's been several months, but overall we had a wonderful time. Well, except for when I tore my shoulder riding a dolphin...or something...not really sure how it happened. I just know I couldn't lift my arm. After a house call from a wonderful Mexican doctor http://www.playadoctor.com/, Dr. Bernardo Diaz, two anti-inflammatory shots in the ass, and some muscle relaxants I was free to enjoy what was left of my last full day in Playa.
Thankfully I had good friends there to help me all of the things that aren't so easy with one arm like putting my hair in a pony tail or hauling my shit through customs. :) Oh, and if you're wandering down 5th Ave with a sling and looking pathetic you'll get a lot of offers for cheap drugs.
And yes, I managed not one but TWO Mexican vacations without a sunburn. I'm a sunscreen ninja.
At some point you just get bored with the decor you've picked for your house. I think I did pretty well by not changing my mind and preferences sooner than 6 years after I bought the house! My mini-makeover for my house involved new colors for the kitchen, livingroom, and stairway which I hired out since I'm not gonna rent scaffolding just so I can paint the walls to go with my 20ft ceilings in my dining room and I'm afraid I'll die painting stairs. Also, my time is valuable! I knew it'd take me forever to paint over the red walls in my kitchen and to do a good job in the other areas so I hired it out. I'm loving the new colors and the house has a completely different feel to it. Much cozier and suited to my personality.
Of course, one change leads to another and I decided to tackle my bedroom and master bathroom. I had painted a stripe around my master bathroom and that was a huge mistake. Covering that thing up was a nightmare. A slightly raised edge is still visible where I gave up sanding it down, but oh well. It's now kind of ocean themed in terms of the colors. No starfish shower curtains or anything. :) My bedroom is HUGE and I have never been totally satisfied with the decorating I had done. I quickly grew out of it (unlike the other areas of the house), but I never wanted to paint that room again. It took me a while to decide what I wanted to do with it but once I had it, I went for it. I wanted to do a gray, green, and white theme. Very clean and modern. Relaxing. My sanctuary. I started by removing the head/footboards from my bed and getting rid of the attached mirror on my large dresser. I eventually want to replace my bedroom furniture but I'm not ready for that yet. Removing the parts with embellishment like head/footboard and mirror made a HUGE difference in the room. Then I painted it a magical color called Forde Abbey by Ralph Lauren (but mixed into Behr paint), got some white Ikea shelving, put up floor to ceiling curtains, and am working on a white padded headboard to tie it all together. I'm *really* loving it and am so glad I did it. Walking into my bedroom I feel myself sigh with contentment now, rather than grumble at the terrible wall color choice I had before. Once I get the headboard done I'll post a before and after photo because I'm super pleased with it. Stay tuned on that one! And, as expected, now I want to freshed up my 2nd bathroom and my second bedroom/cat room. You know, like get a bed for the guest room. Figure out where else I could put the cat box. Those kinds of things. :) All in good time!
I've found that now that I have a new look to all of my primary spaces in my house I'm keeping them clean and organized better. I want to keep them as awesome as they are now and not detract from them with clutter. I'm really happy with this unexpected side effect of painting some rooms!
I finally did it. After years of wanting to straighten my teeth I finally broke down and got braces. I'd always talked myself out of it for one reason or another. Whether it was that I was afraid of being the "26 year old single girl with braces" or the financial outlay, I avoided it. Well, at age 31, I finally did it. And you know what? It's not so bad! Don't get me wrong, it's not pleasant. But I've already seen results and I'm SO pleased! Only 2 months in and the changes are startling! I only have the top ones in right now so that my bite could adjust before putting the bottoms on, but those will go on in a couple of weeks. Not looking forward to the pain, but I'm eager to see results! The reaction from people has been great. I had no reason to worry at all about how people would see me. And the cost isn't terrible. The orthodontist splits the cost out over the duration of your braces with no interest. Definitely manageable and worth every cent! I'll have them for approximately two years and the time should fly by. If you're on the fence about doing it yourself just pull the trigger. You'll be so glad you did!
I've been a huge fan of yoga since I started practicing it about 9 years ago. But, I often let life win the battle for my time and my yoga practice sufered. I've always known that I'm a giver. I want to make sure others are happy and taken care of and I'd often put everyone else before myself. I'm taking steps toward having a better balance in that area and making sure I'm taken care of, too. I made it a point this year to focus on me. To do what I needed to do to feel good. To that end I made sure that I fit yoga into my schedule 4-6 times a week. And by fitting it in, I really mean scheduling *around* yoga. Vary rarely to I allow my need to make others happy overpower my need to go to yoga. I figure I can show up an hour later to a gathering and we'll all be happier for it. Anyway, back to yoga! Increasing my yoga practice to the level that I have has done wonders for me. My body has become leaner and stronger. I haven't really lost weight, but I've been shrinking. I've been losing fat pounds and gaining muscle pounds and my pants size shrinks as a result. I have hit a bit of a plateau on the shrinking now, which I'll address in an upcoming 2011 goals post. Not only has it been good for my body, but it's good for my mind. I notice a difference in my tolerance for bullshit and patience in general when I don't get my yoga fix. Yoga keeps me calm and sane. You should all be glad I do yoga. :) Not only have I upped my practice but I was very involved with starting the West Des Moines Yoga on the Lawn as a western partner to the Des Moines Yoga in the Park. It went well for its first year and I hope it continues! Also, I attended the Iowa City Yoga Festival in November and it was wonderful. A weekend of yoga, friends, and self-care. I learned a lot and am so excited for next year!
All of the work I've been doing on myself over the last year has resulted in a happier, more content me. As a result, my multi-year dry spell in the relationship world has ended! I've now got a wonderful guy named Tony that puts up with me. :) We've been together almost five months now and things are great! He's from Costa Rica originally and we're planning on taking a trip there in July! I'm excited! I'm hoping to share the fun of that trip in future blog posts! I need to find a nice non-retreat yoga studio in the San Pedro, San Jose area so I can get my yoga on while I'm there. All part of the planning! Tony ordered me a Lonely Planet guide to Costa Rica to help plan...how thoughtful is he?:)
Hope you've all had as great of a year as I've had!