And just like that, 2022 is Check, Done!

And just like that (as Carrie Bradshaw would say), 2022 is check, done. And once again, I wonder, how did another year go by so fast? At the beginning of every new year I like to sit down with my happiness journal and reflect upon the year before (and bore y’all with a blog post about my year).

Every year I feel like not much happened and so much happened all at once. As Gretchen Rubin says, the days are long but the years are short. It’s so true.

But also, I sometimes marvel at how much I actually did do in a year. This year we went to our family lake house in Michigan. I did my best to make the most of business travel. I went to concerts again. I gathered with loved ones at two family weddings. As I read my happiness journal I’ll read an entry from April or May and think to myself, that was last spring? It feels like that just happened a few weeks ago. So maybe the years do go by a bit more slowly than it can feel. Which is definitely a good thing.

My stepdad died on July 5th. That was a rough transition, I know, but how do you transition to something like that? Losing him was a rough transition. We are still transitioning. My dad gone just two-and-a-half years ago and my step-dad gone six months ago – it can feel like too much. Too, too much.

And that is why I continue to keep my happiness journal – to remind myself of the little moments that do make me happy when it gets to be too much. Or when one day blurs into the next. Or when I’m really, really happy and want to hold onto that memory.

Like every year, there are things entered into my journal repeatedly – a greatest hits, if you will – daily dog walks, listening to good music, time spent with friends, hugging the people I love, pizza ordered after a busy work day, the enjoyment of good food and wine. You could look at this two ways – my life is pretty mundane and I do the same things over and over again. Or, I’m so lucky to live this life where I get to do the things that make me happy over and over again. If you know me even a little bit, you know which way I lean.

And so, here are some of my favorite happy memories from 2022.

January 3 – Chandler went on the night time dog walk with me before he went home to San Diego. I loved getting that last bit of one on one time with him. The night was cold and crisp and it made my heart so happy.

January 25 – The RV is set up at Rincon for Amanda and the sunset was beautiful and when I was hugging Amanda and went to release she pulled me tighter. I love her hugs so much. Being with Mom, Bill, Tracie, Amanda, Richard, and Amanda’s friend Summer at the beach in January is just amazing.

Sunset at Rincon

February 3 – Some days are so, just, boring and normal. What made me happy? I don’t know. My dog walk. Leftovers for dinner.A quick call from Chandler. A good show on Hulu. The blessings of an ordinary day.

February 20 – We had breakfast at Mom and Bill’s – waffles, bacon, eggs, and fruit. So delicious. (And I let myself have an extra half-waffle. So good!) We need to cherish these times we spend with them and I do!

February 24 – Dave said to me, “No matter how bad a day I’m having, you can still make me laugh.”

March 6 – At dinner, which was delicious, by the way – hamburgers on brioche buns and oven-baked fries, I called Dave a man-baby and he made T-Rex arms and said, “I can’t reach. I’m a baby,” and Marley and I laughed so hard. Laughter + good food = happiness.

March 17 – Rita and I went to see Jon Pardi and he was so good and we were right up front and the energy from the concert was amazing. Nothing makes me happier.

Jon Pardi

March 24 – On my walk today I saw a woman walking with her baby in a front carrier and she stopped at a flowering bush so they could enjoy the flowers. It brought me such happiness and nostalgia of showing my babies the wonders of this beautiful world.

March 26 – Writers’ Group. Small tonight – Julie, Shauna, Kim, and me. But so great. Julie is fucking killing it and it makes me so happy for her. You go, my friend. You go!

April 3 – I was kind to myself and instead of working (on a Sunday) I took Geordie for a long walk. The weather was perfect and there were spring flowers everywhere. What a wonderful, beautiful place to live. 

Flowers from a neighborhood walk

April 29 – That feeling – that rush – of being back at Stagecoach. Stepping into the pit just as Jordan Davis hit the stage – there is nothing like it!

Back in the pit at Stagecoach

May 15 – We brought Mexican food to my mom’s for her birthday and Marley gave her the most heartfelt card and it makes me so happy that my kids express their feelings so eloquently.

May 30 – All four of us went to drop Chandler off at LAX for his internship in Austria. We ate lunch at the LAX In-n-Out and watched the planes land. I love when the four of us are together. I am so excited for Chandler’s adventure.

June 4 – I went on a hike with Rita at the Victory trailhead and we got lost and came out at the Las Virgenes trailhead. It was equal parts mortifying and hilarious. Dave rescued us. We had breakfast burritos at a cafe by the trailhead and it ended up being awesome.

Getting lost in the trails

June 21 – My baby girl is 22 today. I remember my 22nd birthday – We had a pool party at my mom’s and I wore my pink dress from Mexico and drank Coronas. It just goes too fast.

July 16 – Therese brought dinner to my mom’s and it was nice to be with family and I am so happy there are so many people who love my mom.

July 22 – The minute Matt Ramsey started singing my heart exploded with joy. Back in the pit at an Old Dominion concert – my heart is happy and full.

Brad Tursi and Matt Ramsey of Old Dominion doing what they do best.

August 13 – We’re back in Michigan. It’s cool but the lake is beautiful. I’m glad to be here with my mom in her Michigan home.

August 19 – OH. MY. GAWD. Old Dominion did a pop up show and we made it in! What are the odds that they’d be in Michigan when I am?! Seeing them in a tiny club was AMAZING!

August 23 – I feel sad that I have not been keeping up with this journal at the lake. But my happy moments have been floating, morning walks, drives on country roads, and just spending time in this beautiful place.

Scenes from our workation in White Lake, Michigan

August 28 – I met a cousin of Bill’s today and she said, “I know who you are. I read your book and I loved it!” It makes me so happy that Laney brought a moment of joy to someone’s life. I also spent time with Bill’s Uncle Mike and he is such a lovely man.

September 12 – Chandler called from Berlin and at one point in the call we were all in the kitchen on speaker joking about some trendy club in Berlin and it was so great. It felt like we were all together at our happy best.

September 21 – Chandler called from Italy and it always makes me so happy to hear his voice. Plus, Marley and I sat for a few minutes in the kitchen and chatted before she went to school. Having adult children is such a blessing and a delight.

October 1 – Birthday dinner with Rhiannon. My sister is turning 40 and it makes me so happy to be with her.

My beautiful baby sister Rhiannon turns 40!

October 8 – Ashlea and David’s wedding was so lovely. I loved their vows and feld so honored to witness them.

My cousin Ashlea and her husband David

November 5 – I got to hang out with Pat and Jennifer in NYC and it was so FUN! What a gorgeous day. The weather was perfect and people were everywhere outside enjoying it. It was a perfect New York day.

November 20 – Chris and Dena got married and it made me so happy to share their day and be with my family.

My brother Christopher and his beautiful bride Dena

November 24 – Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for my family and for this life that I have in my little suburban shangri-la. I think my happy moment was our big breakfast together before the Thanksgiving feast.

November 27 – My heart is full of love and happiness – we had a playgroup mom’s reunion and ten of us were there. It was so wonderful to catch up with these amazing women. I am so blessed to know them and have experienced early motherhood with them. I don’t know how I would have gotten through those early mothering years without them.

Playgroup Reunion – these ladies are so amazing!

December 16 – We went to Arlyne’s for charcuterie and had such a great time. I almost didn’t go – why? Too busy, too many calories, blah, blah, blah. I’m so glad we did. We really had so much fun. It felt grown-up and sophisticated and just wonderful to be with friends.

December 24 – Cheese fondue with the family. The four of us in the kitchen. Good wine. My favorite people. Christmas joy.

I know. That was long. I’m a terrible editor. And believe it or not, I chopped what I wanted to use in half. (You’re welcome!) If you’re still reading this, thank you for sticking with me. I do so love looking back on my year (even the hard ones) and thank you for your indulgence. Wishing you some time for reflection on 2022 and a 2023 full of happy moments both big and small.

Save the Date (and Beyond) with Minted

Dave and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in March. It doesn’t seem possible that the cute guy I had a crush on during a college internship has been stealing my covers on a nightly basis for the past two decades.

wedding photo
Can you tell how faded this photo is after facing a window in our living room for the past (almost) 20 years?

 

Weddings are so different now than they were when we got married.

Bridesmaid dresses don’t have to match anymore. Or look so bridesmaidey. (Thank god!)

The number of attendants can be lopsided. (Oh how I wish I’d had my five best girlfriends stand up with me instead of only two because Dave only wanted two groomsmen. But you know, back in the 90’s people didn’t do things like that.)

And the invitations? Ugh.

Okay my invitations were actually lovely, so maybe ugh is too strong a word. Perhaps I should say, “Yawn.”

I remember sitting in the back of the party store with my mom looking at book after book of plain white and plain ivory invitations. I think I finally just picked one before my eyes started to cross. And so I could get the heck out of that party store.

Wedding invitations are so much more interesting now. They can be classical or whimsical or cultural and can reflect your personality so much more than plain ivory cardstock. And you can order them from the comfort of your own home while you and your fiancé are snuggled together in your matching jammies on the couch, with your tablet resting comfortably on your laps.

And all the rage now are the Save the Date cards like the ones below from minted.com.

Fireflies-save-the-date-invitation
Love these whimsical cards – so cute!

 

Destination-Wedding-Save-the-date
Making your guests travel to witness your nuptials? These “destination” save-the-date cards are adorable.

 

Simple-Modern-save-the-date-invitation
For the bride that likes to keep things simple.

 

Save-the-date-photo-card
Beautiful!

 

And of course just as fun and beautiful and unique as the Save-the-Date cards are the wedding invitations themselves…

That destination wedding you’re planning? How about sending a guidebook invitation. It’s practical and adorable at the same time.

Mini-book-wedding-invitation
Love this keepsake invitation!

Mini-book-wedding-invitation-open
Adorable + Practical = Awesome Guidebook Wedding Invitation

 

Or maybe you want something modern with classic roots.

Simple-wedding-invitation
Modern meets Classic

 

Or perhaps you like something kind of trendy like this cute chalkboard design. 

Chalkboard-wedding-invitation
I chose a fancy scalloped edge – but there are eight shapes, including your basic hard-edged rectangle to choose from.

 

And of course all of the invitations come with fun options for the back of the invitations.

Chalkboard-wedding-invitation-back
So fun many choices!

 

Or if you’re a stickler for tradition and like boring white classic wedding invitations, they have those too. If I’m honest, I’ll admit I do kind of sway this way. But I tend to like things that are kind of plain and simple. Luckily Minted even has cards for people like me.

Classical-Wedding-invitation
For those of you who like things old school.

 

Disclosure: I was given a credit by Minted.com to facilitate this review, but the opinions of the awesomeness of Minted are expressed are 100% my own. (I can probably be bought off for a trip around the world or lots and lots of cash – but free stationery – not so much. But you don’t have to trust me – you have eyes – you can obviously see for yourself that Minted’s designs are beautiful and fun.)

Dave and I won’t be renewing our vows for our 20th anniversary (not our style), so I’ll be shopping for one of the many other ultra-cool things on Minted’s site, like maybe some business cards

minted-business-card
See? I like it Simple!

 

or Happy New Year cards (since I let the ball drop on Christmas cards this year).

Happy New Year Card
From my Family to Yours, Wishing You Peace, Happiness and Love in the New Year!

 

But whatever I decide to order the good news is I can do it while wearing my jammies from the comfort of my couch. And not crammed in the back of some party store.