Serendipitous timing right here - the lovely Fran tagged me in her post of favorite things of 2012, and I coincidentally had no outfit photos to post today, so that kind of worked out perfectly, no? Just so I don't bore you with only my words, please first enjoy this photo - hopefully it will inspire us all to remember that warmer times are ahead.
Onto the real business.
Favorite Makeup: this is a tough one since I used to be kind of a makeup junkie... Not that I ever wore tons of crazy stuff, but I was really into trying out new brands and products, whereas now I'm really more into having one really great product for something and/or using the things I have until I actually finish them. I don't think this is a 2012-specific discovery, but I really love Tarte's Amazonian Clay blush line. I have a few colors, but I think Blissful is probably my year-round favorite because it's pinky enough to work on my lighter skin tone in the winter, but peachy enough to stand out against a slight (fake) tan in the summer, and it always looks glowy and fresh. I'm a serious fiend for Nars blushes too; it's so hard to pick one favorite color, but Douceur and Mata Hari are two faves - Douceur is a more beige shade, but it's perfectly subtle and still gorgeous for when you're playing up your eyes, and Mata Hari is more of a flushed berry color that's not overly dark on lighter skin tones. Clearly I'm kind of a blush hound... A few other things I use almost daily are Lancome eyeliner in black coffee (doesn't smudge, perfect natural color, and this eyeliner is like 1.5x longer than any other eyeliner), Cover Girl LashBlast Volume mascara (I've used this for years and it's perfect - I occasionally sub in a Lancome mascara if I have one, but I always have a tube of this. Always.), Nars Sheer Glow foundation (sheer and gorgeous), and this Clarins concealer/illuminator (which I use as an undereye concealer - so nice because it's not heavy and isn't cakey but actually does something to hide my horrible circles). Hmm... now I kind of want to do a full post on my favorite makeup and beauty products...
Favorite Book: I was seriously so excited to read this year because it was the first full year that I didn't have any school to contend with. I read a ton and loved it. A few favorites are definitely The Hunger Games (the whole trilogy! I seriously got so into it... it's my claim to fame at work), and I also really liked Gone Girl. I also finally read the behemoth I borrowed from my sister 4 years ago (aka before law school), The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb and it was really, really good too.
Favorite Song/Album: Definitely Florence + the Machine. I know Ceremonials was a 2011 release, but I didn't get really, really into it until last year. I saw them at Lollapalooza and they were amazing, and I've continued to be obsessed with everything she/they do. I also got really into Alabama Shakes toward the end of the year, and I'm super excited to see what they come out with next.
Favorite Movie: I really liked The Hunger Games (obviously), Cabin in the Woods (I know, random, but it was kind of genius), The Dark Knight Rises, Argo, and Les Mis. So... basically everything? Except Twilight, I kind of thought that was awful. Sorry fans, I really wanted to like it, but... I just didn't.
One thing you're grateful for: Aside from family/friends/etc., honestly I am really grateful to have my time back. Law school was a huge, huge drain on me, not just intellectually and financially, but emotionally too. I literally felt like I never had a minute to myself, and by the end of 3 years, it was driving me crazy. And then I had to take the Bar, which was one of the worst experiences of my life. Once I was past all of that, I was finally able to take back some of my own life to do things I wanted to do, and it was amazing because it had really been a long time. I started this blog, hung out with a lot of new and old friends, saw movies, read books, slept, took baths, went running, went on a few trips, took a photography class, and just started a class at Second City. It's been really nice to remember that I have interests and hobbies and passions in life, and that I finally have some time to enjoy/pursue them. It's a luxury that I'm definitely taking advantage of while I can!
Greatest Challenge: Probably sticking to our budget to pay down our debt. Between both of our jobs,we probably could have purchased a house by now, but we decided to aggressively pay our debt down and live as cheaply as possible (clothing purchases notwithstanding...). It was 100% the right decision, but feeling like we're behind for our age group is tough, not to mention not fully being able to enjoy the fact that we're both working full-time, grown up jobs for the first time ever. We're still renting an apartment, we share a car, spend at least a few Saturdays every month wrestling with the budget spreadsheets, bring our lunches to work every day, and skip a fair amount of social events with friends that don't have the same financial concerns so that we can put that money towards paying down our debt. Last year it was really hard because the goal date was still so far away and it seemed like we were never getting any closer. But we stuck to it, and it's already been easier this year because the finish is in sight and we're 100% on track to finish before our wedding anniversary in May, which was our huge goal - I know it will all be worth it as soon as we get there, but the path was definitely a tough one.
What are you looking forward to in 2013: Man, everything! I feel like this year is going to be so great for so many reasons, including: (1) like I said above, we'll be credit card debt-free by May, which is going to be amazing; (2) we'll be able to actually save for a house and hopefully buy something the following year, so this will be our last year of renting a shitty apartment; (3) the new season of Arrested Development will be coming out in May, which makes me so excited that I can't even put it into words; (4) I'll be able to continue appreciating and enjoying DINK status and spend my free time however I want for the time being, which brings me to; (5) Travel! We already have plans to visit Germany (and possibly Ireland) later this fall (hopefully during Oktoberfest), we're going to the Dominican Republic for a friend's wedding in April, and hopefully we'll be able to do a few more shorter trips in there as well.
I'm all hyped up for 2013 now, how about you? What are you excited for this year, and what did you love/hate about last year?