For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, And next year’s words await another voice.  And to make an end is to make a beginning. ~T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

Already on day two of 2010… Since I planned to post this yesterday, I’ve already begun the year a little behind….  whoops.  Anyway, the only way I could see fit to properly begin a new year is with a wrap-up from the last 365 days… an out with the old and in with the new tribute of sorts… so… here it is,  9 of my top 9 Most Favorite-est Things from 2009! 

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Number 1.       Favorite Places Visited

9 best places visited in 2009 

1.      Akumal, MX
2.      Muyil Ruins – Quintana Roo, MX
3.      Coba Ruins – Quintana Roo, MX
4.      Tulum Ruins Beach
5.      San Francisco Supermercado – Tulum, MX
6.      The Joshua Forest Scenic Byway -Mojave Desert – NV and AZ
7.       Grand Canyon – West Rim – AZ
8.      Main Street Station Casino – Downtown LV
9.      The Bund – Shanghai, Asia 

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Number 2.       Favorite Restaurants/Food/drinks

1.        The Creamery Restaurant and Inn, Downsville, WI – anything and everything on the menu, for reals.
2.       Azia, Minneapolis, MN – Witches Brew Mojito.  Bubbly blackberry goodness!
3.       Akita, Woodbury, MN – All-you-can-eat Sushi for $25.  Yup, you heard me, Nope, that’s not a typo…
4.       Porter and Frye, Minneapolis, MN – The Starlight cocktail.  Absinthe and Ginger are truly a mix from heaven
5.       Mon Ami Gabi, Las Vegas, NV – Steak Frites.  To die for.  And even better when eaten on the balcony overlooking the Bellagio Fountains.  Go… Do…!
6.       La Lunita – Akumal, MX – Dinner by flashlight on the ocean, can’t get much better
7.       Lucy’s Kitchen – Akumal, MX – The best shrimp tacos anywhere and homemade coconut ice cream to boot
8.      RJ’s Meats, Hudson, WI – Black and Blue Brats.  Ohmigod, I’m not kidding, drive to Hudson right now and buy their entire stock.  They’re THAT good.
9.       Savories, Stillwater, MN – Breakfast Quiche of the week.  Even if you don’t like quiche, you’ll like their quiche.  yum! 

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Number 3.       Favorite Bloopers

9 favorite photo bloopers of 2009 

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Number 4.       Good Reads – books, blogs, websites

1.      The Sookie Stackhouse Series – Book.  True Blood inspiration.  9 books and counting about your typical vampire/human mystery/adventure/romance.
2.      The Lettered Cottage – Blog.  A day in the life of a couple renovating their vintage home in ‘rustic shabby beach chic’ with no prior experience.  LOVE.
3.      Jasmine Star – Blog.   A fabulous OC wedding photographer whose not afraid to put it all out there.  An inspiration to ANYONE with a dream.
4.      The Pioneer Woman – Blog.  There’s nothing this woman can’t do!  She’s fabulous, she cooks, she decorates, and she documents with amazing photos.
5.      The Twilight Series – Book.  4 books about your typical teenager/vampire love connection paired with lots and lots of angst….
6.      Young House Love – Blog.  A day in the life of a couple renovating their mid-century home in ‘affordable chic’.  The transformation is amazing!
7.      Grooveshark – Website.   Free music listening radio/search site.  It’s like Pandora, but different, though just as awesome.
8.      Life In the Fun Lane – Blog.  She’s like the Canadian Rachel Ashwell, and named her daughter Wren.  Nuff said.
9.      Postcards From Yo Momma – Website.  “A repository of modern day maternal correspondence” and a guaranteed good laugh! 

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Number 5.       Random Thoughts

1.      I don’t like Las Vegas, but I’ll go back anytime for the steak at Mona Mi Gabi in Paris and a microbrew during happy hour at Main Street Station.
2.      The 1st year of my very own business was successful!  THANK YOU!
3.      Seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time was more beautiful than I ever imagined.  I highly recommend as 1 of 100 things to do before you die.
4.      I may – just may – have entirely too much stuff
5.      I live 7 blocks from the river – I need a boat.
6.      I’m going to need a bigger house for said boat and stuff.
7.      I love that my brother moved within 7 minutes from me this year.  I like him and I’m glad he’s around. :)
8.      My cat, Leya, hates having her picture taken – she just won’t hold still.  Wicket, on the other hand, is a camera hog.
9.      When I win the lottery, I’m going to buy a house on the ocean in Mexico, and you’re all invited to visit. 

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Number 6.       Most Favorite Random Shots

top random fine art photos, flower, highway, beach, fruit, locks, grass 

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Number 7.       Most Favorite Stuff

1.       HOME Egyptian Solutions Mattress Pad – Target.  Shameless plug, but ask anyone that has it.  Best… Mattress… Pad… EVER.  You’re welcome.
2.       My grandmother’s art easel.  my grammy, my inspiration and hero, attended art school way back in the 1930′s.  She took a bus to the Mpls Institute of Arts every day when most women were home taking care of their husband and children.  To have a symbol of her determination, independence and creativity means the world to me and I will cherish it till the day I die.
3.       Sirius Satellite Radio- because I can listen to fabulously obscure indie rock and my hubby can get football, anywhere… anytime…
4.      Minnesota Public Radio Sustaining Member Status – because I don’t mind paying for good music, and they deserve it. Because they’re awesome. :)
5.       SYNC – I can talk and drive hands free, I can tell my car to play ‘Tiffany’ when I want to hear it and a lovely voice gives me directions when I don’t know where to go…. how did I live for so long without this completely unnecessary and ridiculous luxury??
6.      Merona Shawl Collar Sweatshirt – Target.  The  unofficial casual Friday shirt of choice for women everywhere.  It’s a dressy sweatshirt – you can’t get any more stylish/comfortable/awesome than that!!
7.      Set of 2 vintage velvet occasional chairs – Craigslist – can’t WAIT to crank these babies out for a future photo shoot!
8.     My husband’s grandparent’s antique credenza – it sat in the same spot in their house for 50+ years, it’s perfectly weathered and is just the coolest piece of furniture we own.
9.      28 f/1.8 lens – *drool* and highly recommended to anyone with a crop sensor camera body.  Or a full sensor, for that matter. 

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Number 8.       Songs I Couldn’t Stop Listening To

1.      You Got the Love -  The XX/Florence and the Machine
2.      Supermassive Black Hole – Muse
3.      Zero – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
4.      Velvet – The Big Pink
5.      Daniel – Bat for Lashes
6.      Sleepyhead – Passion Pit
7.      Kids – MGMT
8.      Sugarfoot – Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears
9.      Heavy Cross – Gossip 

and about 85 more…. if I dwell much longer, this list will change 12 more times…. as it already has.  :) 

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Number 9.       9 of 100 of My Favorite Photos

stuffed swanbaby photography session, minneapolis, mnkids photography session, hudson, wihigh school senior photos, wisconsinhigh school senior photos, stillwater, mn 

high school senior photos, stillwater, mn 

engagement photography, minneapolis, mnengagement photography, minneapolis, mnwedding photos - stillwater, mn

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I realized today on my drive home that not only does the end of this year mark the end of the first decade of the 21st century, but it also marks the end of the era called my 20′s.  WOW.  Holy!  Geez that flew by…  It’s hard to believe that 10 years have gone by since I was in college  and the song, ‘We Like To Party’ by The Venga Boys was playing at every club in Cancun… :)  As a Tribute to my 20′s, below is a little reflection on where I’ve been – of course it’s the summarized version, didn’t want to bore you with the nitty gritty details…..

10 years ago this year:

I was a 19/20 year old waitress at a supper club in WI making 2.33/hr (+tips) while studying Fashion Design and Art in college with every intention to move to Cali and become the next Oscar winning costume Designer.  I was single, fit (though of course I didn’t think so), naturally blonde, living with 5 fabulous girls (who all loved to shop as much as I did) in an old house with pink wallpaper and bad plumbing, and was 6 months away from meeting the man I was going to marry.  I partied like it was 1999 (cuz it was), drank bad beer in dirty college house basements, went to Mexico for Spring Break, watched Friends on TV every Thursday and listened to music like The Dave Matthews Band, The Venga Boys, Dido, Moby, The Dixie Chicks, 3 Doors Down, Ani DiFranco, Len…
I spent New Years Eve at a house party in a converted Church, and waited for the ball to drop in NYC to make sure the end of the world wasn’t minutes away with Y2K.

7 years ago this year:

I was a 22/23 year old waitress at a semi-upscale restaurant/bar in MN making 6.00/hr (+tips) – serious upgrade.  I had a college degree under my belt,  was living with my parents and slowly realizing that a degree doesn’t instantly equal a dream job in Cali.  I was super duper skinny and loving it (even IF it was as a result of jaw surgery and not being able to eat for a month), a highlighted salon-blonde and I traveled most weekends to see my BF and BFF’s back at college.  I had reacquainted myself with the perks of Minneapolis life, drank ‘sophisticated’ dark beer in ‘sophisticated’ bar establishments, was still watching Friends on TV and my musical taste was morphing to the beats of Norah Jones,  Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Dirty Vegas, Queens of the Stone Age, The Donnas, Pearl Jam, AudioSlave…
I spent NYE in WI at the bar my boyfriend managed, sick as a dog, but determined to make it passed midnight.  Soooo not recommended.

5 years ago this year:

I was a 25 year old career girl, working for the man at my first ‘real job’ and shopping weekly at Byerly’s to prove I made it big time.  I had just moved into the Product Design and Development department, finally a little closer to something that pertained to my hard-earned degree.  I had just begun to vaguely understand the effects desk jobs and eating out every day have on on a person’s midsection and became a highlighted box-blonde due to living with my BF and 2 cats in an overpriced 1 bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Minneapolis/St. Paul.  I was enjoying the perks of career life – appreciating good beer and wine and martinis while attending ‘Happy Hour’ and traveling for work and for fun!   I couldn’t stop watching The OC and Las Vegas on TV, and listened to and went to see music acts like Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, The Killers, Damien Rice, Outkast, Franz Ferdinand, Black Eyed Peas…
We had every intention to hit the town in Minneapolis on NYE – went out for a ‘fancy’ dinner at Red Lobster, got slapped with a 2 hour wait, decided waiting was lame and ended up driving to WI anyhow… such is life.

2 years ago this year:

I was a 27/28 year old career girl, still working for the man, but with a few promotions under my belt and well on my way to paying off all my accumulated credit card debt from college (I made 2.33/hour, was a FASHION major for gosh sakes…!) and expensive grocery stores (they had carpet, pretty music, and fancy cheese).  My boyfriend and I “finally” got engaged and spent most of the year planning a total DIY/budget wedding to include only 250 of our closest friends and family.   I upgraded to highlighted salon-blonde (for the wedding of course), and began to finally understand that EXERCISE is the answer!!  (who knew?)  We were in our first year of our very first home – vintage, with ‘character’, and started to find out what that actually entails.  Two years ago we began to understand that being homeowners, planning a wedding, and paying off college debt meant Happy Hour and weekend nights were spent enjoying beer and wine and dinner in the comfort of our own home while watching Heroes and Grey’s Anatomy and listening to the likes of Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Death Cab For Cutie, Patty Griffin, G. Love, The Fratellis, Iron and Wine, Atmosphere, M.I.A, The Cure, Wolfmother….  man I love The Current!
I had the flu NYE two years ago, we had friends over to our place for our first at home NYE party, and I got the stinkin’ flu.

And this year:

I turned 30… augghh!  I know, I know, it’s not that old, but it truly takes some time to get used to.  Maybe by the time I’m 31, omigod… I’m almost 31… holy.
I took the leap in starting my little photo business; have been pleased as punch with my first year and can’t wait to see where it takes me next year.  The hubs and I have begun to take advantage of the perks years of working for the man can bring – VACATION!!   I’m back to my roots, sort of…  I chopped and donated my golden locks and have since been a box-auburn-ish gal – a far cry from the Cali blonde highlights – but that’ll do me just fine.  For now.  I turned off the TV and began reading again (Some may say I have an unhealthy addiction to vampires, but I say they’re just jealous…)  and have been listening to the likes of Jack Johnson, Aesop Rock, The XX, Florence and the Machine, MGMT, Muse, The Black Keys,  Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Dawes, Vampire Weekend, Shiny Toy Guns, The Flaming Lips, Alexi Murdoch… and oh man do I highly recommend each and every one.
This NYE…???

It’s been an amazing ride and I’m ecstatic to see where the next 10 take me.
I can only hope that this site, or something similar will still be around for me to reflect again before we close out on 2019.

Happy New Year!

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