2018: The Year of Bliss

This was the year of new beginnings, bittersweet endings and lots of learning.

How is it already the end of 2018? Time seriously flies as I get older. I can’t believe that I’m approaching one year in my apartment! I’m looking forward to the new year because I think there will be some BIG things in store. But before I leave 2018 in the dust, I thought I’d look back in gratitude at all the good that happened this past year. It was certainly a year of ups and downs for me, but I am going to remember it as the year of bliss because it led me to some amazing experiences and opportunities to learn and grow.

JANUARY

To be honest, January was hard. I cried most of the month and was in a bout of serious depression. My family was out of town and I spent a lot of time sleeping in my parent’s bed alone at their house when I wasn’t at work. I felt really alone. Still, I decided to make the best of things and used this month as time to search Craigslist and casually check out studio apartments in San Francisco. I wasn’t sure how serious I was about finding a place… until I found it. Even though January was a hard month, it was a good month too because it led me to my sweet studio apartment!

The first photo I ever took of my apartment when I first visited! I had no idea it would actually become mine. I seriously love this view.

The first photo I ever took of my apartment when I first visited! I had no idea it would actually become mine. I seriously love this view.

FEBRUARY

February consisted mainly of two things: moving into my place and travel, with a trip to Knoxville for work and Austin for play within the same week! Once my trips were over, I nested and really tried to get my space in order. During this month, my church hosted a social media fast for 3 weeks that I participated in. It was an amazing time of reflection and growth for me! I spent a lot of cozy mornings with my bible at my breakfast nook. My favorite part about this space is that I live next to a church and you can see the beautiful rose window from my kitchen! It is the most comforting view and I really enjoy my quiet moments there.

Mornings with coffee and my Bible became a regular thing in February!

Mornings with coffee and my Bible became a regular thing in February!

MARCH

In March, my dear friend Molly and I took a Saturday day trip to Point Reyes, a national seashore just 45 min from Marin where we both grew up. We had the most amazing day touring with a local conservationist, who gave us VIP access to a ton of different trails and even got us in the lighthouse before the rest of the public had access! He was a wealth of knowledge about the flora & fauna of Point Reyes. We ended the afternoon with lunch in their cute downtown area. I loved this day so much that I even framed the photo I took below and it’s now above my bed. The most spectacular rainclouds came through while we were hiking down to the lighthouse and I snapped a ton of pics. It was one of the most beautiful and dramatic things I’ve ever seen!

If you haven’t been, you need to go to Point Reyes! Make sure to check out the lighthouse (it’s quite the hike, so be prepared for steps on steps on steps!) If you need a nice place to lunch at, I suggest Osteria Stellina! Their grilled cheese is incredible.

If you haven’t been, you need to go to Point Reyes! Make sure to check out the lighthouse (it’s quite the hike, so be prepared for steps on steps on steps!) If you need a nice place to lunch at, I suggest Osteria Stellina! Their grilled cheese is incredible.

APRIL

In April, I visited Miami for the first time for Molly’s bachelorette party. I LOVED Miami! I can’t wait to go back for my best friend Steph’s bachelorette next year (and I’m already planning that trip, eek!!) There’s something so fun about the art deco vibe and the culture of the city. Plus, I love that it’s on a coast. The beach was so incredible, and so was the food and nightlife. I am not a Florida person by any means — but Miami felt like another world to me!

I had to snap a pic of the uber chic neon glow of this sign at Sweet Liberty — seriously one of the most fun bars in Miami! The DJ was on point and we danced the night away to our faves from the early 2000s. I relived a lot of high school dances that night!

I had to snap a pic of the uber chic neon glow of this sign at Sweet Liberty — seriously one of the most fun bars in Miami! The DJ was on point and we danced the night away to our faves from the early 2000s. I relived a lot of high school dances that night!

MAY

In May, my mom and I took our annual girls’ trip to New York City. If you didn’t already know, I’m a huge Broadway buff and musical theater nerd. I grew up singing and it’s still my favorite thing to do! We stayed with family friends in their cute Upper East Side apartment, and enjoyed really good food, a little shopping and lots of show tunes.

My favorite line from the musical Waitress is “A dream needs believing to taste like the real thing.” Sitting in the front row of Waitress sure did taste like the real thing! We saw four shows over the course of our long weekend: Carousel (which is in my top 5 faves, and this revival did NOT disappoint!), Hello Dolly! (featuring our forever love Bernadette Peters), Waitress (my fave of the weekend thanks to a phenomenal Katherine McPhee as Jenna!) and Hamilton, which was really good (I knew it would be!) but not my favorite.

I took a picture in front of each sign of all four musicals we saw in NYC during that long weekend! Waitress was my fave!

I took a picture in front of each sign of all four musicals we saw in NYC during that long weekend! Waitress was my fave!

JUNE

June flew by! I didn’t travel anywhere far, but I did jet up to Wine Country for Molly’s wedding weekend! It was seriously the hottest weekend ever… but that didn’t stop us from having fun! The wedding was gorgeous and I loved seeing Chateau St. Jean (her venue) for the first time.

The gorgeous view at Chateau St. Jean.

The gorgeous view at Chateau St. Jean.

JULY

In July, I had a hankering to go somewhere… so I landed on Seattle! I took a solo trip toward the end of the month, and planned out a rough itinerary around the several friends I have in the Seattle area. I will blog about my Seattle trip soon with a Seattle Weekend Guide, because I have so much to share! It was a total dream. I could see myself living there, actually (I say that because I was there in perfect weather, but haven’t ever seen it when it is rainy and gloomy!) Regardless, I know I’ll be back soon!

Cafe Flora was one of my favorite brunch spots in Seattle! I had the most amazing avocado toast… still dreaming about that day!

Cafe Flora was one of my favorite brunch spots in Seattle! I had the most amazing avocado toast… still dreaming about that day!

AUGUST

My birthday month (hello, Leo!) was filled with fun. It started out on a high note with a Drake & Cake themed birthday barre workout class at my favorite studio, Pop Physique. I hosted a private party for 20 of my close friends (including my mom, who rocked the workout). We had such a fun time getting sweaty to the all Drake playlist that I had requested… and then enjoyed champagne and cake after, of course :)

Sweaty workout = sweet reward at my Pop Physique “Drake & Cake” themed birthday party!

Sweaty workout = sweet reward at my Pop Physique “Drake & Cake” themed birthday party!

SEPTEMBER

Work travel took me to New Orleans for over a week, which was exhausting but rewarding. I decided to stay a few days after our event was over to spend time with my best friend, Steph, who just moved to the Big Easy earlier this year! We had a great time palling around NOLA together, and even stopped by this swinging pedicure place for pedis and girl time. Thanks for hosting me, Steph! Can’t wait to come back for your wedding!

Swinging Pedicures in New Orleans

OCTOBER

You already know from my Palm Springs blog post that this trip was the hilight of my October (and maybe of my year)! Palm Springs was just what the doctor ordered… literally. I have been dealing with really awful stomach problems since March, and things kept getting worse in October. I finally gave in and confessed it all to my doctor, who told me to stop stressing so much (hard to do when you are me!) AND go on a low fodmap diet (also hard to do because I am obsessed with half the foods on the no-no list). So, I booked a trip to Palm Springs with my mom (hello, relaxation!) and made sure to research food options that would work for us. The trip was a dream… and my stomach actually started to feel better! You can read more about our girls’ getaway weekend here.

My cute momma in front of “That Pink Door.” Isn’t she so cute? We took a drive around the neighborhood and oooh-ed and ahhh-ed at all of the gorgeous architecture and pops of color! I decided I’d probably go for a green door, and she thinks she’d go with an orange one.

My cute momma in front of “That Pink Door.” Isn’t she so cute? We took a drive around the neighborhood and oooh-ed and ahhh-ed at all of the gorgeous architecture and pops of color! I decided I’d probably go for a green door, and she thinks she’d go with an orange one.

NOVEMBER

November flew by! I enjoyed Thanksgiving at home with my family (always a treat!) but the hilight for me was spending a day putting together my friend Johanna’s nursery for her new baby, Emma. I’m so happy with the way it turned out! You can read more about my design process here.

Grey and White Girl's Nursery Design

DECEMBER

My favorite month is December! This one was full of holiday cheer. My apartment was decked out and cheery with a six foot tall tree (last year my tree was three feet so it was definitely an upgrade). From the GLIDE church holiday jingle, where I got to see India Arie LIVE (!!) to dinner at my favorite swanky SF spot, The Wayfare Tavern, this was a month celebrating the people and things I love most in life. I am very, very grateful.

My parent’s gorgeous Christmas tree and nativity set up. My favorite ornaments include the vacuum cleaner and alien spaceship (don’t ask… or you can!)

My parent’s gorgeous Christmas tree and nativity set up. My favorite ornaments include the vacuum cleaner and alien spaceship (don’t ask… or you can!)

Wishing you and yours another year of bliss in 2019!

lifeLauren Haden1 Comment