Thursday, December 10, 2015

2015: A year in review

Man, it's been a hot minute since I last blogged. My last post was pretty personal and depressing, and unfortunately, not much has changed in 7 months on the body front. I stopped working out with my personal trainer once I realized I had a sizable bounty on my head (read: I owe a shiiiiit ton in taxes to the IRS, something I didn't realize until September of this year).

After trying about a dozen things this year that didn't work, I played around with eating about 1,200 calories a day, which worked for the two weeks I stuck with it, and then I found myself binging on Talenti gelato and holiday treats, which negated all of the strictness.

I've barely lost a pound this year. I was even UP 2 lbs for the year when I weighed myself two months ago, and that was my rock bottom moment. I'm trying to get closer to 150 by year-end, and then hopefully I'll be in the 140s by next December. Last I checked, I was 156.2, which isn't pretty, but closer to 150 than 160. I just need to get a grip and somehow develop a healthier relationship with food. Easier said than done. It's just so damn hard! I just self sabotage HARD. All of my 2-a-day and single day efforts are completely washed out by a few poor decisions in the kitchen.

All that aside, I debated writing a post for a while because I felt conflicted about it. Blogging felt like a really self-indulgent and self-centered thing to do, given all of the tragedies and unthinkable things that have gone on this year. I had no words that could give any real meaning or say enough about what happened. It just didn't feel right, so instead, I chose to stay silent.

My heart ached for Paris on November 13, even more than it did this January after the Charlie Hebdo attacks. My French family was thankfully fine, but two cousins had friends who died at the Bataclan. I can't imagine what the people of France went through and are going through every morning when the sun comes up until the sun goes down. Paris holds such a special place in my heart and it was my home for six months, and is sort of always a second home for me, thanks to having such wonderful family and friends who call it home and welcome me to theirs with open arms.

Every day is a blessing, and when such horrors occur, you really have to take a moment and be thankful for everything that you have. Everything else (my weight, my bank account balance, my marital status...) is just secondary.

All that aside, I'd say that 2015 for me personally had its good moments, its very bad moments, and some absolutely fantastic parts. Here's a month-by-month recap in pictures and some words:

Started the year off right with a class at BEYOND500!

Started working for City Surf as Studio Manager!

NEW building. NEW spin gig. NEW shorter commute to work!

Had a health scare and to be safe, got a colonoscopy as scheduled. Luckily, nothing was found, so now I can wait 5 years before the next one rather than the shorter 2-3 year cadence I was following before. Phew.

Turned 28 and stellabrated it twice at True Food Kitchen with family + friends.

Spent a week in Paris for FREE, thanks to my dad's generosity and AAdvantage miles, and my aunt's hospitality. I captured nearly every second of the trip on Instagram, and I'm so glad that I did. I discovered Social Print Studio and printed out a pretty fabulous coffee table book of some of the best snaps of the trip.

My French cousin got engaged, so we'll be headed back to France in July 2016!

Started working out with my favorite City Surf trainer 2x/week.

Went back to BEYOND500 and was so thrilled to see my blog post about '500 framed in the bathroom!

Weekend trip to Phoenix to see my best friend Stephanie! Got to experience a spin class at the Madison Improvement Club that truly was a party on a bike (but a little too loud with our ears ringing afterward for a good hour!) and a super fun charity event, "The Original Taste," on the Scottsdale Waterfront, thanks to her father-in-law.

The next weekend, Stephanie and her husband Mike were coming to Dallas and were planning on staying the night on Friday at my apartment before taking a few hour drive to a wedding in Tatum, TX. Unfortunately, our plans to see each other were foiled by a near-tornado. They also nearly missed their rescheduled plane the next morning! I got to see them for a few hours on Sunday and took them to Taco Diner in Uptown and on a fun drive to see the highlights of where I work, live, and hang out. Hoping to see them again in Dallas or Phoenix very soon!

Went to Atlanta with my sister, Easter weekend, to visit my grandma, aunt, and uncle, and she and I had some fabulous Mexican food at Alma Cocina.

Went to Austin for my friend Kim(& Jim)'s wedding on 5/2, and got to experience City Surf Austin and downtown/UT on a fun solo afternoon walk.

Subbed a City Surf Circuits class or two - or three - or four!

Went to my bestcoworker friend's wedding at the Mansion on Turtle Creek on 5/30!

Finally freed up my schedule and relinquished my Saturday and Sunday RPM teaching duties.

With so much extra time, I watched ALL of Entourage for the first time, start to finish, on HBO Now, and enjoyed a solo movie outing to see the Entourage movie at a quaint theater in Dallas, not far from my apartment. I <3 E!

I ran really freaking fast from my apartment to City Surf. Thank you, Fitbit!

Got featured in StudioHop's blog, which was pretty damn cool!

Having more free time in my schedule allowed me to consider doing something a bit crazy and impulsive: adopting a 4-(to 6?)-year-old Chihuahua from Dallas Pets Alive. I was really down in July and feeling aimless, restless, and downright depressed, and at home on a mental health day, I googled dogs for adoption in Dallas, and came across DPA.

The first Chihuahua I researched and inquired about was already taken, but then I discovered Chico II, and absolutely fell in LOVE. After they approved my adoption application on a Tuesday, I had a phone interview with Chico II's foster mom on a Thursday night, and then after I passed that, she came over with him for an hour-long home visit on Sunday. It took him the full hour to get comfortable and warm up to me, but I was sold! The next Wednesday, he was mine! My parents came over and we had a welcome home party for PRINCE Stella! He is the single greatest impulse buy I've ever made.

Attended a super fun bachelorette weekend for my former coworker best friend, complete with a tour of Uptown Dallas on the BuzzBike (with a few hop-ons, including two British cuties! I chatted them up about Daniel Craig and Radcliffe in my best British accent), fun out and about in Dallas, and a delicious and indulgent dinner of pizza, champagne, and scandalous cookies before heading out on the town. And a weekend stay at the Omni was pretty fabulous! So thankful for my best friend Madeline who stayed at my apartment to take care of newly acquired Prince. I didn't want to board him or have him stay elsewhere since he was so brand new to me and my place. We survived our short time apart!

FINALLY purchased a ceiling fan for my living room for the apartment I've lived in since September 2013! That addition, plus making a switch to a free evenings energy plan, has cut my bill by more than 50%. #budget And I also finally completed my apartment decor, thanks to some sales on and Z Gallerie.

For whatever reason, I decided to start researching taxes and figured out quickly that having three non-taxed income jobs was a biiiiig problem. I'm an IDIOT when it comes to math, numbers, and real life, and was not putting aside the 40% per paycheck that I apparently was supposed to in order to pay back Uncle Sam. And, when you have non-taxed income, you're supposed to pre-pay every quarter, the same year that you make that money. So in September, I had already missed the April 15 and September 15 dates, and had to quickly call in the big guns, aka, my father, to help me figure out what the fuck to do. Luckily, bank of Dad sent a check to the IRS, which was probably better than my proposed "I.O.U, KTHX BAI -CStel" letter that I wanted to write those fux. My EOY bonus check is going 100% to my parents --> the IRS. Here's to having a better understanding of FINANCES, BUDGETS, and the IRS in 2016...

Spent a day/evening in NYC with my mom and we hit up the standards: Forty Carrots at Bloomingdale's for outofthisworld frozen yogurt, and met my (elusive) sister for a delicious dinner (drinks, bruschetta, dinner, dessert) at The Grange in Harlem.

View from our hotel room!

Saw my cousin get married at a beautiful venue in Connecticut and enjoyed some family time with my aunt and uncle and cousins in CT.

Saw SPECTRE with my best friend Madeline, the only person I'll see Bond movies with, and we head to the top few rows of a crazy stadium seating theater in Plano! The best view in the house. D Craig wore the HELL out of every suit and I loved it. It's not quite Skyfall greatness, but it was still an A++ in my book!

Ran a 6K (you read that right), and made good time! I've run 5K distances a few times with the help of my Fitbit app encouraging me along the way, and when SIX:02 approached City Surf with free registration, I decided to go for it. It was such a fun run and there were moments when I thought I just couldn't go any further, but my bangin' playlist helped me to the finish line. According to my Fitbit, my average pace was 9'11", which ain't bad for a non-runner. I may go crazy next year and try and pursue other runs for longer distances. I'm not sure if a half marathon is in my near or distant future, but a 10K isn't totally out of the question.

That's ME heading to the finish line, accidentally captured by Loubies and Lulu!

Got my ass in gear and purchased a bundle of classes at BEYOND500. I've been going 2-3 times a week for the past month and can't get enough. I asked Santa for more classes for the new year. If you haven't tried it yet, you gotta.

We screwed up and forgot to reserve our traditional Thanksgiving brunch at the Intercontinental, something we realized one weekend before Thanksgiving. Luckily, after many calls and internet searches, I found Front Room Tavern at The Lumen, and we had a delicious brunch. I enjoyed smoked salmon, ham/whipped sweet potatoes/crispy Brussels Sprouts, and Pumpkin Cheesecake, and it was all perfectly portioned.

Bought WAYYYYY too many things on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. My favorite purchases are my upgraded Fitbit, the Surge, and my new Nike Flyknit sneakers. So comfortable but they're taking some getting used to on the CURVE at BEYOND500. I think I run faster in my other Nikes, but I'll give these some time. They're like being barefoot so they make moves on the Pilates chair a lot easier, especially the "mountain climbers" on the chair and reverse lunges.

Discovered a fabulous French crepe place at Sylvan Thirty called Whisk. It's Frenchie-approved. My dad said that they were the best crepes he's ever had, and he's from France!

Tomorrow, I'm going to NYC with Party Stella for a repeat of our adventure last year! I'm now a Virgin America cardholder and had enough points to get myself a free trip to NYC, and they had a crazy deal on flights this summer so I snagged the reservation for my mom while she was on vacation in France with my dad. She's also now a Starwood member, so the two of us were able to scrap our points together to cover three nights at our favorite Westin hotel. New York is just so magical in December, and I can't wait for Forty Carrots, Sarabeth's, and all of the lights. I'm also going to have dinner and dessert with my sister tomorrow night. She's one busy resident but I'm thankful she's setting some time aside to see me.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2016. I may not be lighter than I started, but I'm full of love and a lot less stressed, thanks to Prince.