2013 in review

2013? That is so 12 hours ago.

After last night’s festivities, I did the unthinkable. I slept until noon! Crazy, because I am a creature of the sun, rising early even on the weekends.

I thought I’d do a quick review of 2013. I’m a sucker for lists after all. So here are a few of my highlights from the past year.

7069The best book I read this year was The World According to Garp. It happens to also be the first book I read in 2013. It was first published in 1978 and is, in my opinion, an American classic.

This is an amazing account of a fictional writer’s life. I won’t go into too much detail, but whether you’re a writer or not, this is a beautifully crafted story. Well-written and easy to read, I just loved it.

Honorable mentions on my 2013 reading list include Maggie O’Farrell’s Instructions for a Heatwave (pub. 2013) and Hal Higdon’s Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide (pub. 2000).

Early on in 2013 I started a new job as a writer and researcher covering the resource and energy sectors in Australia, Africa and the Indo-Pacific. I have learned so much about industries essential to the Australian economy, and met some great people.

This past year I also finally got my Australian permanent residency. It’s a long process and Matt and I are so happy it’s settled at last.

Me and Mom at the finish

Me and Mom at the finish

As for experiences, the definite highlight for this year was running my first marathon. I won’t go into detail since I’ve already written about it in the past, but working toward and achieving that goal was incredibly fulfilling. To then share the race with my mother was a dream come true. I’m planning to run my second at some point in 2014.

Perhaps the best thing about this year has been my reunion with knitting. It’s been nearly a decade since I first learned, and it’s been wonderful picking it back up and immersing myself in the hobby. I’ve learned heaps and developed my skills at an exponential rate.

Overall 2013 was a great one. It’s also ended with a bang. My childhood friend Lauren has been spending our Christmas holiday with us over the last two weeks. I’ll gather up the best photos of her trip and summarize it in another post. It’s been amazing having her here.

I look forward to the year ahead. Most exciting is my upcoming marriage to the love of my life. Since we first met in 2009, it’s been a whirlwind and I can’t believe I’ll have been in his country 4 years this July. It’s gone by in a blur, and I’m so lucky to be with him.

Here’s to a fantastic 2014, Happy New Year everyone!

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2014 and looking ahead

I just got back from a morning jog. The house is quiet, I’m the only one awake. I’ve opened the shades and windows and can hear my busy elderly neighbors hard at work to keep their dry Australian lawns alive and thriving.

This day has every promise of being a beautiful Perth summer one, and Lauren (my visiting friend from America) and I have morning beach plans.

On my run, my mind seemed to fixate on the idea of goal formation. As mentioned many times previously, I am a goal-oriented person. Ideas buzzed as I jogged along, and I contemplated what I want for 2014.

New Years is right around the corner, and I have already picked a resolution. In 2014, I want to complain less. Simply put, if I can’t say something nice, I’ll keep my thoughts to myself.

Image courtesy of weheartit

Image courtesy of weheartit

Though this will be a bit of a challenge, it isn’t enough. My mind just wants more. I want my personal 2014 to be about balancing the things I love. So my ultimate 2014 theme is: Read, Write, Sweat, Knit, everyday. It goes without saying that I want to make plenty of time for friends and loved ones, but as far as how I spend my “me” time, I want to make an effort to cover all of these things.

Lately I’ve been letting my writing and exercise slide a bit in favor of reading and knitting. I’ve still been exercising, but not as consistently, and it’s making me restless. Writing, well, that’s taken a definite backseat.

So whether it’s just a journal entry every night, a post-dinner walk with Matt, a quick chapter on my lunch break, or a couple of rows before bed, I plan to, in ways both great and small, make time for all the things I love everyday. A lofty goal yes, but I have a good feeling about 2014. What are your 2014 themes and resolutions?

knits by emma gets a photoshoot

Two of my very good friends were kind enough to help me out with a quick photoshoot for knits by emma last weekend. We had heaps of fun frolicking around in the back garden. Summer in Perth is exceptionally bright, even at 6pm, but we still were able to get a few good shots.

So here’s a quick glance at what you all can expect to see from me in 2014. The girls and I had such a great time with this, and I really believe the photos capture the essence of my products. I like fun and functional and of course beautiful cables!

Two of the colors I have available have not been photographed in the current shoot, but I plan to remedy that shortly. My accessories are designed by me and have been hand-knit from 100% Australian merino machine-washable yarn. Many of the products photographed have been machine-washed already and tested for durability and color retention.

Next on my list is to obtain sewn-on labels with brand name and care instructions. I’m in discussions right now with a supplier on Etsy.

Omg, they’re having a FIRE…sale

Okay it’s not exactly a fire sale, but I couldn’t resist.

One of my favorite designers, Tiny Owl Knits, is offering 25% off until December 1st on all knitting patterns. Everything out of the collection is whimsical and fun. The only thing I’ve worked on so far from TOK is the Beekeeper’s quilt, which I’ll admit has slowed since I’ve been busy knitting other things.

Stephanie has such great imagination, I definitely recommend checking out her patterns. I can personally attest that the pdfs are beautiful and everything is very well laid out and explained. She has excellent attention to detail and honestly her pattern pages look like works of art in themselves. I’ve already bought the Woodland Hoodlet pattern for myself and I intend to pick up quite a few more before the end of the sale!

In other news, I was up late the other night finishing a Christmas present for my lovely friend Claire. She leaves for America in about a week, and didn’t have an awesome beanie to keep her warm. I don’t mind posting this early, since I’m giving it to her now anyway.

Pup Tent

Pup Tent

It’s made from an excellent free pattern called Pup Tent which can be found HERE. It was the perfect hat for my mood, with an interesting alternative cable technique and was easy to follow straight from the chart. Very straightforward and simple.

Claire picked out the teal color herself, so I know she’ll love it. I was worried the pattern wouldn’t show up, since it’s a little dark, but it turned out amazing. It’s a slightly slouchy hat, which I may block into being slouchier depending on what style Claire would like.

Other than that my Rocky Coast cardigan is about half a skein away from complete, which I’m waiting on from my LYS. I’m also over halfway done with what I’m calling my Raspeberry Beret (cue Prince music). Photos of finished items to come!

Dreamin’ big: Turning vices into cash

Recently I’ve been back in touch with an old friend from college. She’s been through quite a few changes in the past couple of years, so it’s been really great to hear about some of her experiences since we shared a home-stay in our Spain study abroad program as naive 20 year-olds.

One thing she has encouraged me to do is to, essentially, not put off to tomorrow what I can do today. I have several “long term” goals on the back burner, and they all have one thing blocking the way: money (or more accurately, lack thereof).

It seems that everything I want to accomplish is financially out of reach. Matt and I are saving for a house and wedding, and everything else seems to be best left for a later date, as we are already in crazy saving mode.

Even so, I took her advice, I set a timeline, and I’ve got my bank account automatically entering a bit of funds into my personal savings from every paycheck. What, you ask, is this lofty goal of mine? Well, to go back to school of course. Yoga school, in fact.

Becoming a yoga instructor has been a quiet dream of mine for the past year or so. Or more accurately since I sprained my ankle at the beginning of 2012 and felt a strong desire to get out of contact sports and into something more self-fulfilling in the long term.

Unfortunately, doing my ankle put off another life goal which I instead was able to accomplish this year – running my first marathon. Now that I’ve achieved such a significant milestone in my (what I hope will be) lifelong running career, I can settle back into a steady running routine and focus on other ambitions.

I’ve been doing my research trying to figure out which studio will best fit my needs. I don’t want to do an intensive (these are offered both in Bali and throughout Australia), because I want to give myself a chance to work out how to better fit yoga into my daily (rather than once a week) life over a longer period of time. I also want to treat it like a real postgrad program (much like how I will soon be treating much of my knitting and crafting like a real job), and set aside plenty of time to study in between classes and sessions.

Either way, study isn’t cheap. I am pretty good about setting my sights on something and patiently saving up. I find myself a bit judgmental of people who flash the cash and make huge impulsive purchases. I prefer to take my time and continually affirm it’s something I really want.

Yesterday evening Matt helped me set up Autoload on my Smartrider card, so my bus trips to and from work will now be about 30 cents cheaper, saving me roughly $3/week. It’s not much, but every little bit helps, especially when I spend over $20/week in public transport alone.

I’ve also opted to forgo my weekday morning coffee (anywhere from $4.50-$5.00/day, no joke) to save an extra $25/week toward my yoga training.

Today is day two of drinking the free instant coffee (bleck) from the office kitchen. It’s not ideal, but it gives me the hit I need without the daily expense. I know I’ll eventually get used to it, and that’s how I’m turning a vice into cash! What could you stand to give up if it means achieving your dreams?