Monday, January 4, 2016

A Look Back on 2015 and Ringing in the New Year

We ended 2015 in our Dallas apartment--Chris was asleep on the couch and Copper was asleep on the floor. Thankfully, Chris woke up at midnight to give me a kiss so I didn't have to kiss the dog! ;)

This past year certainly had its ups and downs. I got promoted to Copywriter in April and was feeling on top of the world. Then I was laid off in June. I was terribly sick (the sickest I think I've been in a long time, and on the verge of going to the ER several times), and worried about what I would do about health insurance, money, etc. Chris and I talked about just going to the courthouse (several times) to get married so we could both get on insurance through his work, but that turned out to be too expensive. I was angry that I was so close to my wedding and was unemployed. I was angry that I had to consider getting married early just to get health insurance. How romantic. I was angry that my doctor couldn't seem to figure out why I was so sick and eventually just told me to go to the ER (which I could no longer afford).

I was angry about a lot of things. And stressed about a lot of things in 2015 (unemployment and a wedding will do that). Yoga helped. I think my mom and I started going to yoga together in February. Yoga has taught me a lot in the past year. It has taught me how to breathe properly and keep breathing (which has helped my asthma). It has helped me let go of stress and anger (at least for the hour I'm on the mat) and it has helped me focus on my mental and physical health.

Thankfully, I was only unemployed for a couple weeks before I found a job as a teller. Not my dream job, but it showed me what it can be like to work in a happy work environment, which everyone deserves. After working over a year in an extremely toxic and unhappy work environment, this was a much-needed and refreshing change. I wasn't doing what I really wanted to be doing, and I wasn't making much money, but I loved everyone I worked with at the bank. For the first time in a long time, I had coworkers that I didn't mind spending time with outside of work. I enjoyed hearing about their personal lives and telling them about mine. I'm so happy I had the opportunity to work there for the short time that I did. I met some wonderful people and made some wonderful friends.

Just a few of my wonderful coworkers and the wedding gift they gave me! 

2015 was filled with lots of wedding planning and activities: showers, bachelorette party, cneterpiece-making. Planning the wedding itself was stressful and not super fun. But I got to spend that time with family and friends which made it a little less sucky. And in the end, we had a beautiful day and a beautiful wedding, and afterward we went on an incredible, week-long, stress-free honeymoon. That was probably the best week of my life so far, and for sure the best in 2015.

Well this night turned into a hot mess, but it was fun! :)
We got married! And we totally nailed recreating this Pinterest picture! ;)
Best week ever. Best views ever. Best company ever. <3
We got to relax for a while once all the thank-you cards were sent, but not for long because by December we were packing up our house to move to Dallas. We've been here for three weeks now and it's been a little crazy and stressful with the holidays. Now that the holidays are over, I'm hoping we can start getting into a normal routine (and start cooking dinner at home more nights a week than we eat out!).

We are not good at taking family selfies. 
Chris's parents came down to celebrate his birthday with us and drove my car down which we had left in St. Louis. The drive down took them a little longer because of the flooding, but they made it and we had a great time while they were here. We went out to dinner with them once they got here to a place called Village Burger Bar. Chris and I had been wanting to try it and we ended up really enjoying it. They had turkey burgers (yay for me!) and truffle fries, both of which were delicious. Aside from when I tried to squeeze a lime into my water and it squirted everywhere (including at/on Chris's parents), I'd say it was a good time.

For Chris's birthday (New Year's Eve), we attempted to get breakfast at Einstein's Bagels, but they were out of bagels! I thought it was crazy that a bagel place ran out of bagels during breakfast time. So we went and got breakfast tacos instead, which we had also been wanting to try. I didn't really have a "breakfast taco"...I had a chicken taco with no traces of anything breakfast on it (i.e. eggs, cheese, potatoes, etc.), but it was delicious.

After breakfast we came back to our apartment so Chris could open his birthday present from his parents: a Cardinals hoodie and a Cardinals quarter-zip pullover. Our next stop was bowling. We went to this cool bowling alley a few miles away called Bowlounge. It was kind of retro and they had a ton of craft beer. I tried a beer called Blood & Honey and felt like a total badass.

Bowling for Chris's birthday! He's much better than me. :(
I was doing okay during our first game and had been in first place up until the end when Chris and his dad both pulled in front of me leaving me in third place. After that, I pretty much sucked. I think Chris's dad won the first game and Chris won the second. We tried to play a third game, but our balls kept getting stuck in the ball return and although they offered to move us to a different lane, we decided to move on to our next stop: Twin Peaks.

Apparently Twin Peaks is generally just a restaurant similar to Tilted Kilt or Hooters. But the location we went to in Dallas is where it originated, and the owner likes smoking cigars, so that one location has a cigar lounge. Naturally, we went there for Chris to smoke a birthday cigar and to get some food. The food was decent and Chris enjoyed his cigar, so I'm sure we'll end up back there again soon.

We didn't "kick back", but we enjoyed it! 
A little later in the evening we went to dinner at 18th & Vine, a barbecue restaurant near our house (another that was on our list of places to try). Unfortunately, we all wanted fries with our BBQ and they were out. But it forced us to try other things--I got mashed potatoes, Chris got beans, his dad had some sort of mushrooms. We got fried okra as an appetizer and it was delicious. The service and our main courses weren't that great though (especially not for the prices). I liked my chicken well enough (and it was one of the cheapest things on the menu), but I think I was the only one who enjoyed my food.

We left dinner a little disappointed and headed home. We watched one of the bowl games on TV until we took Chris's parents back to their hotel around 10. Chris fell asleep on the couch, Copper fell asleep on the floor, and I watched all the NYE festivities on TV by myself. We went to bed shortly after midnight and even though I was exhausted from such a busy day, I barely slept. I've had quite a few sleepless nights since we got to Dallas. I'm not sure what I need to do to sleep better. I've tried ear plugs (because our bedroom window is above the parking lot so it's noisy and there are constant air planes overhead), but those were uncomfortable and didn't really work. I think I may try a sleep mask next and maybe some sort of music or white noise and see if that helps. I'm also going to try to read and have a cup of hot tea every night before bed and see if that helps as well (that's part of my new year's resolutions which I'll do a separate post on later).

On New Year's Day, we went to the Original Pancake House for breakfast. I was so excited about this because Chris and I used to go to the one in St. Louis and it was amazing. They had a large selection of gluten-free options and the food was always delicious. We were pretty shocked by how different this location was. Their menu in general was much smaller, but they only had one option for gluten free pancakes. I decided to go with regular pancakes instead, but when we got our food, they were burned and not at all fluffy and beautiful and delicious like the ones at the St. Louis location. The portions in general were much smaller than the St. Louis one as well and we had terrible service. I was so disappointed by the experience. There are other area locations, so we might try a different one just to give it one more shot, but if it's as bad as this one was, then we will only go when we're in St. Louis.

After breakfast we hit the road to drive up to Oklahoma to go to the Choctaw Casino. It was an hour and a half drive to get there, but since we couldn't continue our New Year's Day tradition of going to Fast Eddie's, we had to at least go to a casino. It was the biggest casino I've ever been to, and it actually has two casinos in it. Chris and I won $250! He was pretty bummed we didn't win enough to buy a new TV (which I don't think we need), but I'm sure we'll find some other fun ways to spend it. Going to the casino made for a pretty long day because of the drive, but I think we all had a good time. We hung out at the apartment for a while before heading back out to get a late dinner at Tacos y Mas, which is pretty much our favorite taco place.

Chris's parents flew back to St. Louis this morning. It was so nice to have them here for Chris's birthday (and even nicer of them to drive my car down for us) and we're already talking about future trips :)

I hope you all had a fun and safe New Year's. Thank you to everyone who helped me survive 2015, but especially Chris. He has hugged me while I cried about money and insurance, took care of me when I was sick, and managed to make me smile and laugh through my tears. I don't know what I'd do without him. Here's to another wonderful year!

<3 <3 <3

Family picture courtesy of Chris's mom!