Obligatory End of Year Post Part 2 (edited and reposted to include all months after December)

*Note: I edited this post and added all months after December into one post because doing it in multiple posts was clogging up the front page and I didn’t like it. It’s pretty long and may be boring to most so sorry in advance!*

Well in an all time new record for myself, I finished my Christmas shopping at 10am this morning. I actually had a lot of time last night to get things done but ended up too tired to finish. Fortunately, there were less people out early this morning than late last night so I was able to breeze in and out of shops and finish quickly. I’m really relieved to be finished, and planning a much deserved nap after this post. An added bonus: all of the holiday scented AirWick Plug-Ins are on sale at Target so my house smells like freshly baked cookies and apple pie (it really is the little things in life sometimes).

Since I didn’t get too much shopping done last night, I made the most of the time by putting together my end-of-year recap photo thingies. It was pretty hard to choose nine photos per month, but it was fun (well, mostly) going back over the years major events. That said, I am going to continue working backwards and recap some more. A warning: as I am writing these I am finding them to be super dull and boring but this is my blog afterall, so I’ll leave it and you can read at your own risk of being bored to death. I may also end up doing a few months at a time over several posts because of time restrictions.

November

November

November was pretty tame. After the hectic month of October with my shows, etc, it was nice to finally kind of slow down a little and do normal boring stuff for a while. I got some really amazing vintage glasses (top left) at the Franklin Flea, found some confusing beads on broad street, made IHOP look decent in a photo (that day I thought I ordered two crepes but actually ordered myself eight, oops!), ate A LOT of Pho with Phil and his roommate Mary, had an entire two week run where I cooked a lot and ate healthier (This was destroyed by Thanksgiving, see bottom right corner for awesome centerpiece), spent a lot of quality time with my nephew Brayden and my brand new niece Evie, and last but not least got this awesome shot of the alley cats behind Phil’s house sleeping in a flower pot. I called myself the Anne Geddes of cats for a day.

October

October

October was super exciting! Mainly because I finally got to perform in my very first Circus/Aerials shows! I spent 13 long weeks preparing for the student soiree, and it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done (mentally even more than physically, I have super bad social anxiety so this was a huge step for me!), but I pulled it off and am really proud of myself and my fellow castmates. It was a really interesting/fun show (see castmate Amy in the center and me during my Banana Phone solo in the center right). To celebrate being finished with my shows, I took Phil on a surprise date to Grounds for Sculpture. I was hoping he hadn’t been there before but he had, fortunately there is a Seward Johnson exhibition up so we both got to see things we hadn’t before. We took a lot of great photos there and I got some really amazing portraits. Phil was a wonderful photo subject while he was around (Bottom right). It’s my youngest sister Lauren’s first semester at college up at Millersville so I took a trip up to visit her and Phil was kind enough to loan me his DSLR for the trip. I didn’t really know what I was doing with it but got some great shots (Top and bottom center). I also spent more quality time with Brayden and Evie and got some cool photos of my mom’s neighborhood with the DSLR (bottom left).

September 

September

September was probably one of the best months of the year. My niece Evelyn was born (no photos of her here because I wasn’t able to get any until she was a few weeks old unfortunately) and we couldn’t be more excited to have her. Melissa’s baby shower was just in time, just a few weeks before the birth! A sad part of September was my sending the top left mug from the ever awesome AdamJk to an ex and him receiving it just after we broke up (don’t order gifts in advance, folks), womp womp. Fortunately, I got the positivity sticker from Adam in the mail around the same time. I spent a lot of time making art and working on my currently on hiatus Emotiblob project at a new favorite coffee spot Bodhi, and hanging out with my nephew Brayden. In the center right photo he has figured out that the dogs will come near him if he feeds them. It was super hilarious to watch and one of my favorite memories of him. The most awesome part of September was meeting Phil. We met on an online dating website and to be honest I had him pegged as a player type but went out with him anyway. He turned out to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. It wasn’t until we started going on dates that I realized I had been really starved for intellectual discussion, and he provided tons of it. He is also funny as hell and just overall really great to be around. He offers a lot of calm and positive advice, and this is a time when I sorely needed it. Anyone who knows me knows I am mildly obsessed with my fitbit and walk as often as possible, so I was pleased to find out one of his favorite past-times is wandering around the city. We got into a routine of going on 5 or more mile walks and talking, which really helped in getting to know one another. The bottom left photo was taken on our second date and I loved that he was such a good sport about modeling for me. All this is a bummer to talk about now that we’ve split but it’s relevant so I’ll leave it here.

August

August

August is my birthday month, which means it’s supposed to be the best month I guess but that wasn’t the case this year. Either way, this year was a big deal because I turned 30. I’ve been having a lot of anxiety about this for about two years now because life is nothing like I imagined it would be at this age. I’ve just decided to make an entire entry about this later, so I’ll just say that for now. I had a 30th birthday party at a local bar (see awesome wrapped piece of pizza my dear friend Shaun brought me! The best!). I was surprised by who showed up and who didn’t. If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that true friends are few and far between and you should choose the people you surround yourself with carefully because many people aren’t reliable (and I am also not a reliable friend to some of those in my life, unfortunately). Another fun aspect of August was my discovery of my love for Acro, and subsequently Acroyoga. I had tried a Chinese Acrobatics class a few years ago but it was primarily tumbling and unfortunately tumbling makes me nauseated not only in the moment but for hours afterwards so I didn’t go back again. Luckily, we learned some easy acro for the soiree performance and I found out that minus tumbling I really love it, and am not so bad! I went to an “Acrojam” in a park with a friend, and then started taking an Acroyoga class at Kaya Aerial Yoga. Like aerials, it’s a really great workout but it’s so fun you hardly realize you’re working out. I am still a n00b but hope to keep practicing and get better at this. August was a creative month as well, I started the Emotiblob project and really liked being able to track emotions over time with art. Hopefully the project will reboot soon, now that I’ve thought of some ways to make it more varied and interesting. Spent a lot of time with family this month (see a very pregnant Melissa and my mom mimicking me and pretending to “Do circus” aka walk a tight rope-for the record this is one thing I have not tried yet), we took a trip to Dutch Wonderland (bottom left) with my nephew- it was wild because I went there so much as a child and hadn’t been back in at least a decade. It’s exactly the same and was really fun to relive childhood memories and watch Brayden make his own. Lastly, August was awesome because there were flowers EVERYWHERE. Flowers are one of my favorite things and never fail to make me happy, so it was great being able to walk around the city and be surrounded by them.

July

July

July started with my youngest sister Lauren’s 18th birthday. It is so weird and crazy that she is officially an adult. Not to mention scary. Looking back at that time in my life there were so many big changes going on and I didn’t have a lot of guidance, so I try to advise her as best I can and help her to learn from my mistakes-but understand that she won’t always do that. Made an effort to spend quality time with friends when I could, my former roommate and dear friend Shaun (top right) and I set up weekly Monday lunch dates but unfortunately lost track of them after a few weeks. Why does this always seem to happen? Something to work on for 2015. I spent some time down in DC with someone I had been quasi-dating for a few months. It was kept private for a variety of reasons but it was really great while it lasted. Center left and center-center was unfortunately one of our last weekends together but it was really great regardless. That pool day was one of the most relaxing of the entire summer. Lauren and I BBQ’d with dad (center right) and then FINALLY got to meet our new second cousin Isla! She is really adorable and we are amped to have her around. The absolute best day of July was when my good friend Greg and I went to Lancaster to take photos. More importantly, I also took the trip to visit a friend’s gravesite. She committed suicide 11 years ago and I had searched for the location of her grave for several years before the internet caught up with the times and I was able to find it. Coincidentally, I found her twin sister who I had also spent years searching for the same weekend I visited the grave, and I was extremely lucky because my friend was moving to Texas in four days and I got to see her before she went. Once we finished at the cemetery, Greg and I set off in search of some good farm shots for sunset, I love living in the city but often find myself envying other’s landscape and rural photos, so I asked Greg to take a trip to get some. I had hoped to get some farm photos but didn’t expect the outcome we got at all. Greg and I got some farmhouse and field photos and then stumbled upon a field of cows, we unfortunately scared them and they ran to the far end of the field so we got back in the car and stopped at another cow field. We were wiser this time and Greg approached them slowly so as not to scare them, these cows were different, though. The second field of cows were REALLY curious about us and at first one brave cow approached and as the others realized we weren’t there to bother them the whole crew came over to see us. We got some really amazing up close and personal photos with them, and then sat back and just relaxed in the grass enjoying the peace and quiet and watching the sunset. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life and it’s something I try to focus on when I am having bad days. It also sparked me to become vegetarian for a few months (I stopped but would like to go back to it, more on that eventually I am sure). Overall, it was a great day in the midst of a really good mid-summer month.

June

June

June was highlighted by my sister’s high school graduation, my nephew’s christening, and spending time with one of my favorite people, Summer, before she moved to Chicago for a few months. I met Summer via instagram at my very first instameet. At first she was a little overwhelming and high energy, but her positivity is infectious and she’s funny as hell so she quickly became one of my favorite Philly friends. June marked the end of my bilingual drawing class (I failed miserably at remembering my Spanish), and it was sad to be done but I did a portrait of Brayden that i am really proud of. I struggle with faces and have heard baby faces are some of the hardest to draw so I think this (bottom center obviously) is pretty decent for a first try. I went to DC for my second Creative Mornings talk and was really inspired by Philippa Hughes of The Pink Line Project‘s talk (the theme was “Minimal” – you can see video of the talk here). I also got to spend time with that DC guy and we had one of the best weekends of the summer, taking a really beautiful ferry ride (to the wrong location initially because I was trying to make it a surprise and got the wrong tickets OOPS!), exploring National Harbor and wandering around Old Town Alexandria (my first visit but his old stomping grounds). I worked on the center painting while there after being inspired by Philippa’s talk. Bottom right shows one of the most bizarre happenings of the summer, I stumbled upon this turtle just moseying down my street in South Philly while walking to work one day. No idea how it got there but I assumed it was someone’s pet and they were letting it take a stroll. I never got to the bottom of it. The last photo shows a really cool vintage book and some vintage hotel key tags I got from my new obsession Hoof and Antler. I’ve since gotten these tags for a handful of friends and am really into them.

May

May

In May I made the good decision to start the One Line a Day journal. This is one of the best purchases I’ve made. It’s really neat because you can see what you’ve done on the same day over five years, and even better, it inspired me to start journaling more extensively every day. At first it was nice jotting down little notes but then I got so frustarted with the lack of space that I would sum up my days in this book and then write more detailed entries in my moleskin. I have written every day since May and have found that it not only helps alleviate stress but that I’ve also become a lot more introspective as the months went on. (Top left) I got a free trial from a friend for Blue Apron, a service that delivers you ingredients and recipes for three meals a week. I really liked the service but found that between Aerials classes, art classes (see my cool armadillo pen drawing above), and work I wasn’t finding enough time to make the meals and the food was going bad. I did get to make this really amazing salmon dish before canceling my subscription, though. Spent a nice mother’s day with mom and got one of my all time favorite photos of Brayden (center left and right), went on a photo walk with the infamous Austin of the #PhillyHomePortrait series, dog sat my “Favorite sister” Holly, and went to NYC for Instagram’s World Wide Instameet 10. The shoes on the bottom left were purchased as I left for NYC and that’s what they looked like after a wild 30 miles walking around NYC (one of my favorite ways to get my fitbit steps). The bottom center photo was also taken at the instameet (all photos from the meetup can be seen under the instagram tag #thatNYCmeet).

April

April

In April we celebrated my college best friend’s (top left) 30th birthday, and at the same time her engagement! It seems like every single person is getting engaged on their 30th birthdays lately. I went up to NYC to see my friend Kipp (top center) and do some photowalking (entire middle row). The center left photo is my favorite because it reminds me of my mom, who always reminds me to be nice to others. Unfortunately, when I got home from NYC that weekend Mao had completely shredded his tail. he has a weird anxiety issue that caused him to bite his tail and attack it as if it were another cat. Luckily they were able to help him, but it required the amputation of his tail. It was really sad to see him so hurt but he’s adjusted well and seems ok now. Another stellar sunrise, and getting boozy at my cousin Melissa’s baby shower (bottom right).

March

March

For March – some hilariously inappropriate Philly street art, I became totally obsessed with Siggi’s coconut yogurt, and I taught myself a little stop-motion animation for one of instagram’s weekend hashtag projects (it’s super hard and I have not attempted again!). I got a sad friend some flowers and surprised him by leaving them at his door, tricked my mom’s dog into going near Brayden, and celebrated my sister Rachel’s birthday by going to Painting with A Twist. The best part of March was yet another trip to NYC, this time to see one of my longest best friend’s, Sarah. Sarah and I met as teenagers (~14-15 years old) because we were both bloggers back at a time when blogging was not as big of a thing as it is today. We were friends online for years before meeting IRL in college and we don’t see one another often but it’s always a blast when we do (see entire center row).

February 

February

February marked the end of my 3D Mixed Media Sculpture class, but not before my awesome teacher taught me how to use my dremel. I really loved the class and am bummed to be finished but excited to see where the skills I learned take me in 2015. Valentine’s Day was less of a bummer this year because I got to go to NYC (I spent a lot of time there in the beginning of this year) and see Monster Trucks with Kipp. We also discovered and fell in love with this awesome brunch spot on the Upper East Side called Eastwood. They have a really amazing and shockingly cheap brunch and Kipp and I have gone every time I have visited her in NYC (top and bottom center). I also got to try my first donut from Dough and became immediately obsessed. The Passion Fruit is my favorite, but they’re all delicious. I’ve been really lucky in the last year to become friends with my circus teacher (and hero/inspiration/etc) Kendra. I have looked up to her ever since I began at PSCA and so becoming her friend (And later being invited by her to perform in her soiree show!) is really awesome. I got to go assist her and keep her company at a gig and it just inspired me to keep practicing more and more. As always, a photo of my main man Brayden.

January

January

Finally! Man writing this has been pretty exhausting. Flashback to one year ago: my first photo of the year was obviously CHEESE. I am mildly obsessed with cheese so this seemed appropriate. We celebrated my dad’s birthday (with many many candles) and then I drove in the snow for the first (and last) time to go to a diner in the middle of the night with my friend Moogle (Mike) because we are both weirdo night owls. I went to my second ever instameet and met some new friends, this led to one of the highlights of my year: Getting to explore the Divine Lorraine! I have driven past this building for the last ten years and have always been curious about it. I’ve seen photos from other Philly UrbExers (Urban Explorers) who have gotten into the building and have always wanted to check it out but was too afraid to go alone. Someone at the meetup knew how to get in so a group of us went over to explore and take photos at sunset. It was one of my coolest Philly experiences, and we were really lucky because just after our visit the owner tightened security and made it much harder to get in. From what I understand they are now finally renovating the building, but who knows when it will be done. I did some further urban exploring with my friend Vin I met at the instameet at the Budd Factory. We saw some pretty cool graffiti (center left) and took a lot of neat photos (more can be seen on my website). I made the Metal landscape in the center right at my 3D mixed media sculpture class and really dig it. I learned a lot of cool new techniques there and pop rivets are one of the easiest but coolest things I learned about. The bottom left photo is a cool sculpture I saw at PAFA while visiting to check out the KAWS exhibit. I am bummed that I never heard of PAFA sooner but am glad I know of it now!

So that sums up 2014. I didn’t mention every photo, and realize I also wasn’t consistent in wording but whatever. All in all it was an eventful year. Not the best, not the worst. Hoping for more productivity and posts in 2015, and of course more adventures.

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About tamarahala

Tamara is currently living in Pennsylvania working as a Scheduling Coordinator/Payroll Supervisor with Live Nation Entertainment. Looking for fun short-term opportunities during the off season from November to March.

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