31 December 2014

The Redheaded Stepchild 2014 Year in Review

Last year, I lamented that 2013 seemed like a “filler” year – one in which no single life-changing event occurred, where my productivity had to be measured in the accumulation of smaller projects. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, just different from years past.

Well, I can now safely say that 2013 must’ve pushed all those big events back into 2014, because this was a huge year for hitting some marks. There were some major items checked off my goals list – some with our home, some with my job, and of course, some with our family itself. Let’s review!

After years of talking about it, I finally painted our apartment. It took several months with an expanding belly, but I’m glad every day that I did!

Painting the nursery
Painting the master bedroom
Painting the foyer
Painting the office
Painting the living room
The complete painted apartment tour

Walls aren’t the only thing I painted this year. They might be smaller projects, but they’re pretty satisfying as well. The curtains are probably my favorite!

Painting and papering the china cabinet
Painting the office shelves
Painting the little desk (again)
Stencil-painted curtains

And I DIY’d some things without paint, too. Once again, I showed a serious love for throw pillows over the past year. Never enough throw pillows!

DIY faux watercolor art
DIY bed-to-throw pillows
DIY no-sew wrapped pillow covers
DIY faux wood trash can
DIY aquarium stand skirt
DIY fabric-covered files
DIY shoe storage ottoman
DIY no-sew envelope pillow covers
DIY marble serving tray

And some additions were made with my wallet instead of DIY skills... though those wardrobes are about to get a DIY treatment. Just you wait!

The foyer rug hunt
The IKEA wardrobe project
Sunburst mirrors, new and old
The newest coffee table

However, in retrospect, it’s easy to see that most of my home improvement energy this year was directed towards purging and organizing. We had to clear out space for a tiny new roommate, after all!

Quick spring cleaning
The purge, spring 2014
The great basement cleanout
Tackling the two-year-old piles
DVD storage organization
Bathroom cabinet organization
Pantry organization
Craft drawer organization
Paint drawer organization
Sheet music organization + storage
The new card and gift wrap station
Sewing supplies organization

The freezer and pantry are now stocked with easy-to-prepare foods for Mr. P and me, since tiny new roommate’s dinner often takes precedence over our own. But I did spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen earlier this year! I was apparently all about breakfast foods, and I’ll make no bones about it: the maple oat scones were my clear favorite. But my habit of using up old bananas still featured very prominently!

Morning glory baked oatmeal
Nutella swirl banana muffins
Spiced banana bread
Peanut butter-glazed banana doughnuts
Funky monkey baked oatmeal
Maple oat scones
Raisin focaccia
Bacon maple doughnuts

But I experimented with some new lunch and dinner menu items, as well.

Chicken tortilla soup
Spicy barbecue bacon burgers
Grilled lemon herb pork chops
Burrito bowls
Easy Thai peanut noodles
Cheesy chicken and rice enchiladas
JtB’s ultimate club sandwich
Broccoli and cheese baked potatoes

And tried a remarkable number of new desserts.

Mr. P’s chocolate hazelnut toffee cake
Cinnamon toffee chocolate chip cookies
Blueberry lemon pie bars
Salted caramel cheesecake pie
Iced sugar cookies
Chocolate chip layer cake with nutella and strawberries
Strawberry coconut ice cream
Caramel apple cookie cups
Nutella cheesecake

We had adventures outside our apartment this year, too! I traveled all over and outside the states this year, sometimes with Mr. P, sometimes with Baby P as an obligatory +1.

A North Carolina Christmas
Conference in Ventura, California
Holiday at Discovery Park
Sarah’s Switzerland adventures (click through for more cities and the big wedding!)
Conference in Madison, Wisconsin
Conference in Lecce, Italy
Mr. P and I take Naples and Pompeii
A night in Rome with Mr. P

Much of that travel was for work, as you can see. And I have to admit, this was a banner year, career-wise. I try to keep work talk off the blog for various reasons, but in addition to starting a big grant earlier this year, I also got two publications out, one of which was a first author paper in a big-deal journal. It was a TON of work that I didn’t specifically discuss here, but I am nonetheless pretty dang proud of those accomplishments.

The carrot and the stick
Electron microscopy for pregnant ladies
First paper acceptance (the second was yet to come!)

Honestly, I’m even more proud that I could get all that work done while taking on yet another biology project – one that also went quite well with a pretty awesome end result.

Our next big project
The no-longer-hypothetical Baby P FAQ
The state of the belly
Things no one told me about pregnancy
Presenting the newest member of Team P

And just as this blog is a project about projects, Baby P was a project unto himself that launched even more projects.

Crib notes
DIY no-sew adjustable crib skirt
DIY starry calder mobile
Scrapbooking Baby P ephemera
DIY faux capiz shell chandy (take two)
Blackout curtain liner installation
Baby’s first party
Baby P’s nursery tour

I’m sure that’ll continue right on into 2015... and for years beyond!

So that was my year! I’d say it was a pretty darn good one, for home, for work, for family. And I’m beyond thrilled that you took the time to follow along here, for all the projects big and small! It seems that in 2014, a lot of writers and readers just burned out on the concept of blogging... but I am grateful that I can still be here, doing my non-monetized rambling thing, and you are still here to read it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You guys are the best.

Hope you guys had a year worth remembering, dear readers! And let’s all work on making 2015 just as productive, exciting, and super fun.


Janice said...

What a wonderful 2014 Team P had! Wishing you all an equally exciting, productive, healthy and happy 2015!

Tina said...

You continue to inspire me to do better... Looking forward to 2015! :-) Happy New Year with loads of Love!