The weekend is wrapping up. As an avid Thanksgiving enthusiast, this has become my favorite period of the year, as I playfully reminded my boyfriend, “We don’t have PTO for Halloween”. Other bloggers tend to agree, spouting off reasons why Thanksgiving is better than Christmas. In addition, the savory tastes of decadent holiday foods gives me something to look forward to. AND, our anniversary falls in November. After a moment of solitude following the food coma and nap after dinner, I’ve come to realize how much I’m grateful for. Tis the season to brag and boast of my fortunate blessings.

Traveled to my uncle’s modern geothermal home
He’s also paid by TVA as a supporter and proponent of solar energy.
Jealous of his very own water supply

First, I’m appreciative of the opportunities for growth. Had I not stumbled across The Happiness Project at Barnes and Noble last year, I would have never begun blogging in the first place. Gretchen Rubin’s assignments aligned with my desire for self-improvement, and this year has certainly changed me. Between moving out with Keegan, taking part in a wedding, reconnecting with old friends and arranging plans for graduate school next year, 2013 has left a noticeable difference in many areas of life. I’ve traveled to new states, eaten much better and somehow wound up very interested in gemstones and crystals and hooping.

Bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding
Rented a car and drove myself to the outskirts of Denver. Truly one of the best days of the year.
The view of Boulder at Chautaqua Park
Hanging out in San Marcos with my best friend!
My favorite area of Texas, the San Antonio River Walk.
Best meal of the year, Valentine’s Day Dinner for my love: Roasted Lamb, homemade hummus, veggie tray, homemade tzatziki sauce served with fresh tabbouleh and fruit to dip in homemade fondue.
First time hooping in the studio
The beginnings of my crystal/mineral collection

Our anniversary put things in perspective. You never know the outcomes of newly budding relationships, so I’m happy with where we wound up. This union stemmed from a close bond between friends, and it’s nice we remain lighthearted as we were before dating. I appreciate a man with such a strong work ethic, a man driven to succeed so we may have a better future together. As I had mentioned in a post earlier this month, November revolved around keeping a contended heart. Our anniversary set the tone for just that, as we indulged in wine before dinner, exchanged gifts and reminded each other just how much we have enjoyed our time together so far. Keegan knows me all too well. I can’t wait to show off my nifty Anne Taintor socks in public, plus the Christmas decor was much appreciated, along with the chocolates and funny fridge magnets.

Celebrating our anniversary at Gersthaus
Two years never looked so good 🙂
He spoils me

Bracing for grad school has become a tedious process, yet I’m relieved to know the next phase of my education will begin soon. I’m grateful for a particular coworker who introduced me to the program I became accepted for. I’m eager to learn more about mental health counseling, and hopefully soon my degree will pave the way for a career in private practice.

On an unrelated note, I’m also fortunate to have branched into unfamiliar realms of the crafting world. Once again, I give due credit to the Happiness Project for motivating me to reach milestones in my crafting abilities. 2013 marks the year of new and unique projects. First we kicked off with window re-purposing ventures. Then Nichole’s wedding plans became reality as we decorated wine bottles, set centerpieces, created our very own faux floral bouquets and constructed Boutonnieres from scratch. I revitalized a pitiful looking wreath purchased from Goodwill a few weeks ago, plus my man lover and I had a blast assembling and beautifying our first tree together. And last, but not least, we have an ornament decorating social for the undertaking in December.

Wine bottles for the wedding, these became a tedious process to complete
Burlap flower bouquets
Wedding present to the bride and groom: A re-purposed window dressed in rustic chicken wire, vintage fabric prints, wheat and photos commemorating their relationship. The tape was removed before the gift was handed over.
Purchased this wreath for $5….
And gave the poor thing a makeover!
Our first tree 🙂
Black Friday Splurge: A New, Bea-u-ti-ful Ottoman
Now I have a space to store arts n crafts!

Does it sound like I’m rambling? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. If you take something away from this post, it would be to count your blessings. I’m not dedicated enough to post what I’m grateful for everyday on Facebook, especially when my daily journal suffices, but I’m willing to blog of my gratefulness, because it’s a 4 day weekend, and I love to write more than just a one sentence status update. 2013 has treated me well. And for that, I am grateful. I read a quote earlier worth considering and meditating on before bed: Right now is the oldest you’ve been and the youngest you will ever be. Keep this in mind the next time you’re considering what to do with this very present moment. And remember, the more you live with an attitude of gratitude, the more likely you are to reap what you sow. 🙂

The Happiness Project for December dictates readers to live by every piece of advice Rubin’s offered throughout the year. She coins this month’s theme “Boot Camp Perfect” in which I’ve widdled down the list to glossed over resolutions that were challenging and ignored at times: waking up earlier, meditating on koans and not avoid nagging tasks will be the main three I focus on this month.  Otherwise, the remainder of this month I’ll review products and moments from 2013 that left an impact on my spirit.

PS keep scrolling to find pictures of the new recipes I tried this month. I had mentioned wanting to try 8 new desserts in 4 weeks. So far, I have tackled 7 and making white chocolate raspberry scones this afternoon.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Creamy Sweet Potato Tarts topped with Candied Pecans and Bacon Crumbles
Peanut Butter Crepes topped with Sauteed Strawberry Glaze and Greek Yogurt
The beginnings of Peppermint Cupcakes
Eggnog Cheesecake
Cherry Zucchini Bread
Apple Crisp