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1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

Co-chaired the United Way fundraising campaign, co-wrote an appellate brief.  Both of those experiences were un-fun!

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t think I made resolutions for 2017. I don’t have any planned for 2018.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A few friends had babies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Michelle’s husband, Dave, passed away.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just the US — Chicago a few times, Yellowstone National Park, Las Vegas.

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
Less anxiety regarding nearly every aspect of my life.

7. What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
2/12/17 was the date Dave passed away.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I lost about 30 pounds since Christmas of 2016.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Many newbie mistakes at work, I’m sure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My menstrual migraines are really getting out of hand. TMI?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I’m not sure. I don’t think I made any big purchases in 2017.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My momma – who is also my boss. I’m grateful for her patience, understanding, and perspective – especially when I had to take a sabbatical in order to co-chair the United Way campaign.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Any and all politicians.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Festival Foods, Target, and SADIE!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
All of my trips that I have planned.  My mom and I are going to see it all!  We’ve both known too many people who have died too soon — and it has given us a wake-up call.  Life is short, travel now, see it all, enjoy each day because you never know.

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2017?
Anything from HAIM’s “Something to Tell You” or Taylor Swift’s “Reputation”

17. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder?: Happier
ii. thinner or fatter?: Much thinner
iii. richer or poorer?: Same

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercise. Story of life, right?! Though I’ve been walking a lot. I need to do more strength training.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worry. But I’m a worrier. It’s in my DNA.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my parents in Oshkosh.

21. What was your favorite TV program?
I ditched cable in 2017, so I don’t watch much TV anymore.  I thought “The Keepers” on Netflix was phenomenal though.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
It’s a waste of energy to hate people.

23. What was the best book you read?
See earlier post about the books I read!

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
My love affair with HAIM continues.

25. What did you want and get?
To lose weight. Done and done.

26. What did you want and not get?
World peace. LOL.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?
Coco. It was so beautiful!

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 33 and was in Oshkosh — it was ECLIPSE DAY! Memorable for sure.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Ha. For our UWay campaign to have been less of a dumpster fire.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
Talbots. All the Talbots. Because Talbots = the lady lawyer uniform.

31. What kept you sane?
My mom.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Not sure. I don’t really pay attention to that stuff anymore. I’m officially getting “old”

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
There are too many to list. TOO. MANY.

34. Who did you miss?
All of my friends who live far away.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
Too many to name. The silver lining of the UWay dumpster fire was getting to meet so many wonderful people. Oshkosh is an awesome place to live and work.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017:
Ask two million questions before you commit to doing anything major.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
*shrugs* I don’t know.

In no particular order, here are my Books of 2017!

  1. American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse // I LOVED THIS BOOK. True story about a series of recent arsons in rural Virginia.
  2. When You Find Out the World is Against You: And Other Funny Memories About Awful Moments by Kelly Oxford // Eh. It had its funny moments, but I liked her previous book better.
  3. What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen by Kate Fagan // This is a must-read for all young people… well, for everyone, really. Maddy was a college student at Penn and star on their track team until she died by suicide by jumping off the roof of a parking garage.
  4. Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini // If you know me, you know that I’m fascinated by the cult that is Scientology. So I really enjoyed this book.
  5. The Strip: Las Vegas and the Architecture of the American Dream by Stefan Al // Super interesting book about the history and architecture of Las Vegas.
  6. The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee // Ooooo, science, I love you so hard. This book is a monster, but a worthy read.
  7. Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America by Amy Ettinger // I hated this book, which is puzzling considering how much I love ice cream. The author was pretentious and made fun of Wisconsin — not cool. I didn’t even finish the book.
  8. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel // Absolutely fascinating read. And further proof that life is one big gray area.
  9. Sometimes Amazing Things Happen: Heartbreak and Hope on the Bellevue Hospital Psychiatric Prison Ward by Elizabeth Ford // Good stuff here. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry.
  10. Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt // I have always been, and will always be, pro-choice — and this book did a deep dive into the subject of abortion in America.
  11. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg // If you’re struggling with something right now, give this a read. Or if you know someone who is struggling with something, read this book.
  12. Nordicana: 100 Icons of Nordic Cool & Scandi Style by Cassell // Super cute! Now… when does the next plane to Norway or Sweden leave?!
  13. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit // Ah, a well-timed read when SO MANY MEN are doing SO MANY shitty things.
  14. The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking // I’d like to move to Denmark immediately, please.
  15. Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved My Life by Caleb Wilde // Just an okay read.
  16. Are You Anybody?: A Memoir by Jeffrey Tambor // Made me laugh out loud many times. Loved it.
  17. A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like by Ashley Graham // Ashley (or her ghostwriter) will never be one of the great American writers, but I love her and the confidence she’s given those of us with a few extra pounds.

How is 2017 almost over? HOW?! November has come and gone — and we have one more month left in the year. Here are the pics.

The neon exhibition at the Neville was really great.

I, of course, was fully decorated for Christmas by the first weekend in November. I am one of THOSE people.

Empty Bowls was a delicious fundraiser.

I deeply love and appreciate the fact that Winnebago is still using old school letterboards. And to balance out the sadness of thinking about WMHI… SADIE!

Cherry shortbreads are back!

Sadie loves her people. Especially Grandpa Denny.

Fun at the Oshkosh holiday parade!

If you haven’t, go visit the Paine and see it decked out for Christmas. It’s a beauty!

Michelle and I turkey trotted!

Thanksgiving. Preparing a big meal is never easy and always tiring — and I love my Denny so much for always making the holidays so wonderful.

More Sadie because I can never have too much Sadie.

Love my momma.

Blue skies and Christmas decorations.

My annual trip up to Green Bay for the Christmas lights!  Brought Michelle along this year — this holiday season will be painful for her, but we’re trying to find some distractions.


My mom and I took a long weekend trip to Las Vegas.  Because I can’t drink like I used to and because I was there with my mother, this was a very un-Vegas trip; but we had a great time!  We stayed at the Cosmopolitan, which I LOVE, and our room had the best view ever.  You’ll see about 20 photos of the view below because I could not stop taking pics.  My mom and I could have spent our entire trip sitting out on the balcony just watching the crazy Vegas world go by.

We visited the famous Las Vegas sign, which now holds memorials to those lost in the recent shooting.  It was gut-wrenching to see the photos of all of those beautiful people whose lives were lost.  Life is short and wildly unpredictable — make every day count because we all have less time than we think.

After visiting the memorial and paying our respects, we drove out into the desert to see Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation. Basically, it’s a bunch of stacked rocks painted with wild neon colors.  It was so striking and fun to see. We went early and there were only a few other people there, which was great.

We then drove to Death Valley National Park. Let me just say: I never need to visit Death Valley again. It’s beautiful in a very eerie, desolate way. But it’s a long trip there and back.  We should have gone to Zion National Park instead; lesson learned for next time!

On our way back, we needed a little rejuvenation and had time to kill… so… we stopped at Vegas TARGET! Yes. Target. It was awesome. From there, we drove to the Neon Museum for a nighttime tour.  I’ve visited this museum twice before and taken daylight tours — so it was fun to see everything light up at night.  I’m obsessed with neon signs and Vegas hotel/casino history.

We got back to the hotel and CRASHED. Well, I inhaled a Chipotle burrito and then crashed. It was a long day.  The next morning, I went to Eggslut for breakfast (so damn good), then mom and I went to see a cacti botanical garden (see, I told you this was a very un-Vegas trip). The rest of day 2 was pretty chill; I napped, we went to Starbucks, walked over to the Bellagio, had an early dinner.

Our nighttime activity was seeing Britney Spears’ show. I LOVED IT. Mom hated it. Britney was so popular when I was in high school, so her show had the nostalgia factor for me.  And glittery costumes and dancing and lip-synching and hot shirtless men.  Campy fun!

The next morning we headed to the airport and few home.  It was a short trip, but we packed A LOT into it! Thanks to my mom for joining me — and being a good sport with everything I wanted to do. <3 you.

The Chandelier, one of the bars in our hotel.
The Cosmo also had a Momofuku Milk Bar – YESSSSS!
Seven Magic Mountains
Artists’ Palette — my favorite spot in the park.
So salty.
Zabriskie Point
Our planet is wild.
A Hunter S. Thompson mural as seen on our way up the Strip to the Neon Museum.
Bright lights, big city.
My favorite sign in the museum.  The old Moulin Rouge sign, rearranged to spell out “in love.”
This place has come a longggg way. I first visited back in 2011 — and they didn’t even have a bathroom for visitors.  You had to walk down the block to a gas station.
My middle name.
The lobby structure from La Concha is now used as the museum’s lobby. Super cool!
The next morning we went to see the cacti botanical garden – which was at the Ethel M chocolate factory. Love. It.
I loved Eggslut so much.
The photo on the left is the Starbucks in our hotel.  If you stood at a perfect spot (which they mark on the floor), the art would line up as a perfect circle.  On the right is my favorite Chihuly piece ever at the Bellagio.
All flowers! How cool, right?
Watching the world go by.
It’s Britney, bitch.
I’m a slave 4 u.
The lobby of the Cosmopolitan. I would stay there again in a heartbeat. Best parking garage ever, too!
Rise and shine, off to the airport.
Love my momma.

Sorry that this post is a few days late! October was a busy month. A visit to Wausau, a million United Way events, China Lights in Milwaukee, a trip to Las Vegas, fall fun, and HALLOWEEN! I wish October could last all year, I really do.

PS: I’ll be back tomorrow with a separate post about my visit to Las Vegas.

Sadie turned 1 on the 6th. I gave her the greatest gift of all: her first taste of cheese.
Workin’ the Brat Barn with the United Way crew.
I got umbrellas in my eyes.
Fall cuteness.
China Lights in Milwaukee was so, so, so awesome!
If you want the place to yourself, visit on a cold, rainy weeknight. :)
Sadie girl.
I visited my elementary school alma mater and cried a little. Those were the best of school days.
Also attended Take Back the Night and cried a little. One of the things I’m most grateful for in my life is having a stable home life – and as a result, an incredible amount of power in my adulthood. Not all women are so lucky.
That card is my favorite thing ever — ME in cartoon form! Also, having to write an appellate brief is HORRID.
More Sadie girl!
I take a million photos because I always want to remember the little things — like having breakfast on a random Thursday with my dad.
Halloween weekendddd!
Costume construction — and Sadie helping us to carve pumpkins!
October was a fun month.  Onto November!