2013 Overview

I do a year overview every year and this year is no exception. (See last year.) I feel like I'm doing it a bit early this year, but I'm just following along with the 31 Days… :)
January - I started out the year with a a bit of shopping at Anthropologie (here, and here) BuyTrends, and ASOScooking from the Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking, and obsessing a bit over Sue Bryce. Overall, it was a pretty boring month, but, as I'm sure you can tell, I had a wide variety of awesome inspirational influences available to me. There is nothing quite as wonderful as roaming about in a beautiful dress, eating delicious food, and enjoying pep talks from an amazing photographer. (You might just have to take my word for it!)  

February - February got a bit more exciting. Justin and I hosted our first dinner party (if you don't count family), and babysat a 3 year old for a week all the while dealing with frustrating car problems and a computer hard-drive and back-up drive failure. On the upside, we bought some awesome silverware to be used with our china when we have guests over! Yay! And I spent a LOT of time watching CreativeLive Photoshop week. (I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to obsess over something that has the potential to make you better at a task, do you?) 

March - We stayed pretty busy in March preparing for guests that were coming to stay with us in May for a wedding. Trips were made to Ikea, Home Depot, Anthropologie, Bloomingdales, Ocho, and my parent's house in preparation. Our one year anniversary fell on a Sunday this year and rather than celebrating like any normal couple, we babysat for some awesome kids. One of my favorite things to do that month was putting together a cookbook of cupcake recipes I wanted to try! That has definitely been an inspiration as we figure out what desserts to conquer for birthdays and the holidays!

April - April came much sooner than expected this year; all of a sudden it was time to pull Julia Child's cookbook out and attempt some delicious bread and treats for Easter, one of which could not have been created without the help of a friend who obtained a French translation for me.We started preparing for summer by purchasing some amazing tomato plants from Costco that lasted us all the way into October! (Can you believe that?) Then Klout provided us with the opportunity to get a large Van Gogh print for free to be displayed in our living room from Zazzle! (How awesome is that!) We continued preparing for our guests by buying more furniture for our living room and some carpet from Dalton, GA. All in all, it was a busy month that went by super fast.
May - It was almost time for our very first overnight guest to arrive and we still had a lot to get done when May began (see here, here, and here). Of course, the week the family was suppose to arrive it was decided that we would also be hosting our very first party! (Ack!) One of the worst (and best) moments though was when I bought a new camera in preparation for a wedding I thought I would be shooting. It definitely kicked our finances back, but I feel it has only benefited my photography development in the long run. Plus, the JoTotes bag I bought!! – LOVE!! 

 (iphoto quit working on me, so importing instagram pictures became a pain.) 
June - With our overnight guests (and all that came with it) no longer an issue, Justin and I were able to focus on spending time with people we hadn't seen in a while including my grandparents. I got to experience Zach Sobiech's Clouds for the first time and enjoy the inspirational message that came along with it all before… I washed my cell phone. (Washing my cell phone might be one of my proudest moments in this lifetime!) Justin and I also started taking dance lessons and preparing for TWO trips that would happen in July (here and here). 

July - Our first trip was the week of July 4th when we went to Charleston, SC for a few days with my parents. While we were gone, our alarm inside our house went off and the cops were called cutting our trip a bit shorter than anticipated. Luckily nothing was taken! Before we knew it though, it was time to head off to New York (and Boston) for the week with Justin's parents! I got to meet Justin's dad's side of the family for the first time in the upwards of 8 years I've known him, so that was exciting (and a bit nerve-wrecking). To end the amazing trip-filled month, I celebrated my birthday with some of my favorite people at my favorite restaurant and spent a day exploring downtown Atlanta and the aquarium. The month truly could not have ended on a better note. 

August - With August signalling the end of summer, it was time to start preparing for returning to my "winter job" and Justin no longer got to enjoy his "half-day Fridays". :( Since our whirlwind of July trips were past us, we decided to start thinking about our first trip overseas that would be coming up in 2014. We wanted to get some new credit cards, an ipad, apply for GOES, and obtain our passports. I hosted my first giveaway on the blog! YAY! And we ended the month by celebrating oh so many birthdays! Ahh! You have no idea! :) It was definitely a busy, expensive month that we were glad to put behind us when September came. 

September - In September, I participated in my first blog challenge which was really a lot of fun and gave me a chance to think about my writing style rather than just figuring out what I was going to write about. Plus, it gave me the chance to meet lots of others who were also participating in the challenge! I don't remember doing a whole lot in September, but I do remember toward the end of the month venturing off to Chattanooga, TN to spend a day taking pictures and exploring. While we did have a great deal of fun doing that, I think it only served to make us want to return for a longer period of time and do even more. (If you give a mouse a cookie…

October - I really focused on my photography in October beginning with spending some time using Dan Margulis' methods. I followed that up with watching Jack Davis on CreativeLive as he showed his viewers how to use ACR. But in order to have more photos to edit, Justin and I really needed to get out of the house and explore the beautiful fall weather in Chattanooga, once again. One trip in September just wasn't enough! So we went back and got to see the awesome Booker T. during the fabulous Rvr Rox show. The trip and experience was really a lot of fun, but it definitely gave me my fill of Chattanooga for a while. The nice bit about the trip was that we achieved gold status with IHG and enough points for some free nights (which we quickly took advantage of!). Before the month ended, we went to shoot some hot air balloons at the crack of dawn in the freezing morning air. I had a lot of opportunities to photograph during October, and I am so very grateful I did. It was fun and something I will look back on with fondness… always. 

November  - After the conclusion of October Daily, me and a few of the other participants contributed prizes to my first ever group giveaway! Plus, I didn't stop there: I also hosted my first large scale giveaway with prizes going to 16 winners! When I wasn't blogging, I was practicing my newfound editing skills… and going to Asheville, NC to practice my shooting (and shopping) skills at the Biltmore Estate. One of the most exciting things I did was to purchase plane tickets for our trip overseas as we planned out our visit to France, Germany, and Italy. I ended the month by being grateful for all of the wonderful things that have happened this year and the people who have made it fantastic. :) 

December - While this month is only half over, I am definitely looking forward to the later half the most with Christmas and New Years only two weeks away! (Can you believe that?!) I started the month off shopping, as all the best months should start (except when you are trying to save money!!), sending out giveaway wins using cute Christmas stamps, and then I began the 31 day challenges that have included a lot of lists thus far. I've shared with you my favorite Christmas songs (even going so far as to tear one apart), my favorite Christmas movies, my favorite pictures from this year***, and now… my yearly overview. :)

Phew! After 4 "vacations", lots of shopping, lots of picture taking and editing, and a ton of giveaways, I think I can officially say that 2013 has definitely been a good, albeit busy year. I am very much looking forward to 2014 as I am certain it will be even better!

So what are your highlights from this year? Did you do anything particularly exciting? Is there anything from 2013 that you will be sad to let go of as we move into the new year? Are there any changes you are hoping to include in your new year of plans?

** Check out 31 Days of December Blogging prompts here!
*** Can I edit my favorite pictures of the year?! I've changed my mind! :)

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