The Best of 2011 Recap: Erica

I probably won’t look back on 2011 as a terrible year because I slept through most of it.
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It was a year of ill health and feeling tired, but thankfully there were lots of high points too, and I’m walking out of the mist…ready to kick some butt in 2012.

Here are a few favorites that I must share.

Fashion/Beauty Finds

Avalon Organics Lotion in Rosemary smells incredible, feels light on the skin and contains only natural ingredients.  Your skin will thank you and your husband will remark that you smell good, which is a win-win.  Other scents are available, as well.

Food Finds

Bolthouse Farm’s Green Goodness antioxidant drink.  It probably contains too much sugar, but also has a lot of good green food in it.  It’s easy to drink a glass of this healthy stuff when I don’t have time to chop and make everything from scratch.  And yes, it tastes much better than it looks.  More like apple-kiwi than wheat grass-broccoli.

Tech & Gadgets Finds

When I went and picked up an iPhone 4, it was like meeting an old friend — an old friend who gives me directions almost every day, reminds me of everything in my life and keeps my kids entertained when we’re stuck in traffic.

Favorite things that embarrass me and horrify my family

Car dancing.  When my 4-year-old tells me to stop…I guess that’s a sign that I’m not as awesome-beats as I imagine, all skinny white arms flailing around in my bumpin’ Subaru Forrester.

Favorite from 2011

Song:“Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People is pretty much this year’s get-energized anthem.  Even kids like it.

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Album:21 by Adele.  It doesn’t matter how many times “Rolling in the Deep” comes on the radio.  This soulful crooner cannot be overplayed.  Adele’s lyrics and voice belie her youth.

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TV Show: I am completely disappointed that United States of Tara (Showtime) got cancelled.  Toni Collette won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe in ’09 for her performance of the title character, who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, and could have won more.  Diablo Cody also did a bang-up job of creating/writing this show.  Watch the 3 seasons via Netflix.

My favorite continuing show is Downton Abbey (Masterpiece PBS).  If you like British period dramas, you MUST watch this series.  Catch up with Season 1 during your New Year’s break and be ready when Season 2 begins on January 8.  Maggie Smith brings her perfectly delivered biting humour, and the plot tensions between the nobility and the servants is spot-on.  The costumes are also gorg.

Watch Downton Abbey I Wonder Preview on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.

Movie:The Muppets was the most heart-warmingly nostalgic, and BridesMaids was bawdy and hilarious.  Watch the former with your kids and the latter with your girlfriends (or your Today’s Mama staff, all snuggled together in PJ’s during a work retreat. Woot!)

“It’s coming out of me like lava!” -Megan

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Book:The Help by Kathryn Stockett made headlines as a hit movie last summer, but the book is even more moving (aren’t they always). Also,  At Home by Bill Bryson is the most informative glimpse into the history of our home life that I’ve ever read.  Bryson’s easy storytelling style makes his copious research feel like a novel, and will add layers of understanding to any 18th or 19th-century British literature.  You’ll also be SO THANKFUL to live today.  We’re very clean people, today.

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This year in social networking…

Favorite Facebook status update (my own):

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Most regrettable Facebook status update (my own):

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Note: Andrea is still recovering and working on rehab, but she’s doing a remarkable job and will return home later this winter to continue her life as a loving mom/wife/daughter/sister/friend.

Blogging in 2011…

What great blogs did you discover this year?

Go Fug Yourself is well-written and witty, offering all sorts of little gems about what’s hot now.

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Who are your favorite bloggers, year after year?

After reading lots of mom, family, decorating, and food blogs, it’s kind of nice to read a blog with some edge and unapologetic warped humor.  The Bloggess delivers every time.

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This sticker is from The Bloggess's Zazzle store.

Favorite post of 2011 (my own):

It was really fun to create a Bucket List.  I am still obsessed with my teacup pig idea.

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Favorite photo of 2011 (my own):

This isn’t really my favorite photo from 2011, but it may never find a place in a blog post and it’s funny.  This is an orangutan shading himself with a box at the Cincinnati Zoo.  What a smart ape.  I wish I’d thought to take a hat with me that day.

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Real life…

What did you kick to the curb this year?

My gallbladder.

Who did you realize you are particularly grateful for?

My husband.  He’s a complete rockstar husband and dad, taking over the house and kids as soon as he got home from work on the days when I felt like crud.  And there were a lot of those.

Who’s awesome?  I am!

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What was your big moment of 2011?

Realizing that I want to start my own blog, and seeing a vision for it at evo’11.

What did you do this year that you’re really proud of?

I painted my front door yellow.  In a mostly beige neighborhood, my front door makes me happy every time I drive home.

What word sums up 2011 for you?

Foggy.

What would you have done differently in 2011?

I would’ve seen a naturalpathic doctor sooner.

Best getaway of 2011.

We took a MUCH-needed family vacation to Hilton Head, South Caroline in August.  It was perfect.  But this was the only picture of all 4 of us, taken about 2 minutes before we started the 12-hour drive home.

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What did your kids teach you this year?

They taught me to hit pause for nuggying and foochies (these are our family words for snuggling and kisses).

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What did your mom teach you this year?

She taught me that her kids and grandkids are her babies and priorities, forever.

What are you looking forward to most in 2012?

I’m looking forward to being my old self.  Which isn’t to say anything about being old or predictable, but is about being a healthy and energetic wife, mama and friend to those I love.

What is your #1 goal for 2012?

While visions of a blog and a living room paint job dance in my head, I most look forward to planting a garden with my kids and [hopefully] taking a trip to Maine with my family.  If you’ve never been there, it is fantastic in July and August (especially at blueberry festival time)!

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