I was looking back through the last 12 months of my calendar yesterday morning, and was astounded. It’s strange seeing things that happened in February or March and feeling like it was just a month or two ago! In other words: y’all, this year really flew. It seems like a lot of us are happy to see the end of 2016, and I’m in the same boat albeit with mixed feelings. In life, there’s always good with the bad and I truly believe that the rough times are all part of the journey. So even as I look ahead, there’s something to be said for looking back, too.
Have you been reflecting on your 2016? Here are some of my highlights from the year, including a few anecdotes I don’t think I’ve shared with you:
We spent New Year’s weekend up in Napa with two good college friends. This was actually one of my favorite weekend trips of the year! I’m still talking about the Bloody Mary I had at Mustards on New Year’s morning — they used heirloom tomato juice and it was incredible. If you’re ever there for brunch, try it. On January 1, we posted up by the outdoor fireplace at Bottega for probably 3 to 4 hours in the afternoon, throwing logs on the fire when needed, ordering cocktails, and catching up. What a fun time! Also in Jan 2016: I started taking French lessons at a local school, and 1000% couldn’t hack it. It’s on my list to re-attempt this next year.
FROM THE BLOG: My 2016 goals. Hmm.
February passed in an easy haze — at least, according to my sparse looking calendar! Based on the books, I was working out a lot at Barry’s Bootcamp, busy with client meetings, and discovered a new salon here in SF via my friend Kate (I’ve been going to Spoke & Weal, for all you locals).
I took a trip to visit my grandmother in Houston, and we had a great time looking for antiques, shopping, and of course, eating (fave from the trip: State of Grace). I finished up designing the new studio website and blog, and met up with my friend Natalie to take photographs for the site (in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m still sneaking those pics on Instagram as recently as October.
FROM THE BLOG: Discovering the joys of squalane.
May was slow. Remember this post? Towards the middle of this month was when I really started to feel very unwell. But, one super memorable meal from this month was at the local Thai spot Kin Khao. It’s one of my fave Thai places in SF (Farmhouse Kitchen is the other one, FYI). We also made it out to the Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the deYoung before it ended.
Ugh, June. Let’s just fast forward through June, can we? Ok, I espoused “good with the bad,” so we’ll take good with the bad. On June 1, I was on a business call when my mom called. I knew right away it was bad news. When I called her back, she told me to come home as soon as I could, to say goodbye to her partner who had been sick with cancer for some time. I went home that weekend, then was back a few weeks later for memorial services. In between all that, I really wasn’t feeling great and mostly wanted to crawl up in bed and go to sleep. But, towards the end of the month, Joe got a new job, which had been a long journey for him. So like I said, good with the bad.
I think with all the change and stress, July was very much a transitional month for me. This was when I went and saw that psychic medium I told you guys about, and it affected me in a lot of very positive ways (not only for the rest of the year, but maybe for the rest of my life?). I was feeling the itch to clean out everything in my life, and this is when I embarked on that total office decor overhaul — which remains one of my fave personal projects of the year. We went to Bellota for the first time this month, and it quickly became one of my fave restaurants in SF.
FROM THE BLOG: I chatted about all my life and work essentials; dipped my toe into an outfit post (this sweater is still on repeat), and launched VMS Digest (Psst — a new one is coming your way tomorrow).
My birthday is at the beginning of the month, and Joe took me horseback riding as my present. I really love horseback riding and had been trying to get him to come with me for YEARS, and was so excited to finally go. We rode up near Olema, in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, and it was gorgeous! Later in the month, Joe’s parents came to town and stayed down in Half Moon Bay, so we went and spent the weekend with them there. I can never believe how lucky we are to live so close to such gorgeous coastline. 2017 goal: riding horses out to the beach in Pt. Reyes (it’s a 6 hour haul…eek!).
In early September, I went up to Lake Tahoe with college friends (the same ones from our New Year’s weekend, in fact). My buddy’s dad has a boat, and we spent the weekend puttering around the lake and generally having a super fun time. The best was the the last night of the trip, on Sunday (the day before Labor Day). We took the boat to dinner, and all brought tons of extra layers with us. After dinner, we went back out onto the lake, and it was like glass — just completely still, no wind, absolutely beautiful. The sun was setting behind the mountains, and we were all bundled up in about 4 layers of sweaters each. We motored over to the north part of the lake, and drank a bottle of Champagne as the sun went down.
Then, Garwoods (a local restaurant and kind of an institution on the north shore) began their annual Labor Day fireworks show — so we watched the show while ON the lake, drinking Champs. It was a pretty magical evening to say the least. In fact, it kind of wins the month. Other highlights include driving down to Santa Cruz to visit Natalie and meet her new baby girl, Talie, having a totally weird night at the Flume concert with girlfriends, a fun dinner to say goodbye to Julia before she moved to Charleston, and also reconnecting over lunch with Emily, the founder of The Stylist LA…who happens to have been one of my residents at USC when I was an RA (fun fact!). We also snuck a Saturday Napa trip into the mix, too. Looking back, I guess you could say I was feeling a bit better this month, and was ready to socialize.
In October, I went back up to Lake Tahoe with my book club girls! Talk about a restorative weekend. One thing I’ll always remember about this weekend is crowding around a laptop when reports dropped about Donald Trump’s Access Hollywood video thing. We ended up having a lot of really interesting discussions about politics, family, and life, and it was just a refreshing weekend all around (complete with gorgeous mountain hike). The very next weekend, all my former NY girls came out to SF, and we had a non-stop weekend up in Napa! Even with the rainy weather, well, let’s just say we made the most of it and there are stories. Late in the month, Joe and I took off for Kauai for an overdue week long vacation.
I think November passed by in a haze because of the election and everything after it. But, we did go up to Napa for an overnight stay the weekend before Thanksgiving, for our annual wine pickup weekend. We also checked out the small winery Failla, in the north part of the valley, which I highly recommend. Thanksgiving was simple and low key; Joe and I mostly putzed around the house in pajamas, ate way too much, and watched a lot of movies.
This past month will forever be known as the first year I ever hosted the holidays! My family left yesterday and we all had such a good time together in San Francisco. The early part of the month was spent preparing for their visit and trying to wrap up client work (hence my relative radio silence around these parts). As we slide into 2017, I’m excited to turn my focus to some new projects at work (a client service program that’s currently in beta; working on finally launching our theme shop after years and years of discussion), and generally getting stoked for what 2017 will bring to the table.
Other missives from the year:
Trend I just couldn’t get behind:
Off the shoulder anything. I mean, don’t me wrong, I think the look is totally adorable, but after much experimentation, every off the shoulder top I tried (and oh, how I tried) was the most annoying top ever. You literally cannot move without the top popping up every two seconds. Let’s move on to something else in 2017, mmkay?
Trend I hope is here to stay:
Minimalism, especially in terms of buying less and sticking to a smaller palette.
Best clothing purchase of the year:
This is tough since purchases vary so much given the season. I saved up and purchased a beautiful wool coat earlier in the fall and am obsessed with it. I can tell it’s the kind of purchase I’ll have for years and years. I also tried Rag & Bone jeans for the first time this year, and am a huge fan of their fit and stretch. I’ve found myself preferring their jeans over J. Brand or any others. Also, all my M. Gemi Felize loafers — they’re total accessory workhorses for me. M. Gemi’s semi-annual sale should be launching any day now…
Favorite app purchase of the year:
Ok, it’s not technically an app, but paying for a subscription to the New York Times has been a great thing. Also, subscribing to the Planoly app. Not an app, but in the vein of subscription services, the Champagne club from K&L has been so fun! I talked about it in my holiday shop, near the bottom here.
Favorite book I read:
When in French, and I also really liked Curtis Sittenfeld’s take on Pride and Prejudice with Eligible. I also re-read Where’d You Go Bernadette, and it continues to be a favorite, laugh-out-loud funny novel.
Favorite trip I took:
Either the New Year’s weekend, or the Labor Day Tahoe weekend. Kauai was really good too (obvs!).
Fave personal project:
All the work I did to get the studio decorated! It’s still a work in progress, but I am happy I took so much time and put so much thought into it. I’m really happy with where I work.
Galloping horses through the forests in Pt. Reyes, with views of the beach. Probably my biggest smile of the year. You just feel so free!
There was a period there where it just felt like I couldn’t catch a break. I’m looking forward to more even-keeled times (hopefully!) in 2017. Always onward and upwards.
What were your highs and lows this year? Anything you’re looking forward to in 2017? Whether you feel like sharing or not, thank you SO much for following along on the adventure with me this year!!
PS – Stay tuned…I’m going to pop back in tomorrow with my final VMS Digest of the year! I’ve been saving up a lot of links, so you’ll have plenty of reading material this coming holiday weekend!