Tomorow, at the stroke of midnight, as the ball drops surrounded by some very cold and very hungry people in Times Square, everyone starts fresh.  We have a new year and a new chance to be the best versions of ourselves.  Obviously we have this chance every day.  But this symbolic stroke of midnight gives us the time to reflect on the year past and look forward to the year ahead.  I always like to close out the year with a look back at all of the wonderful and sometimes not so wonderful events that have happened before storing them happily in my memory as I embark on new challenges and new adventures.

2012 By the Numbers:

Number of races: 11

5-k’s: 4

10-k’s: 1

10 miler’s: 1

Half Marathons:3

Marathons: 1

Number of age group awards: 4

Number of miles covered: No clue.  My goal is to track my mileage this year (maybe I’ll actually post on dailymile!).  On my Garmin alone I ran 802 miles which obviously doesn’t include treadmill miles/miles run sans Garmin.

Number of states visited: 5 (Arizona, Michigan, Colorado, Texas, Illinois).

Number of road trips: 4

Number of awesome blogger friends I got to meet: 3 (Whitney, Laura, and Jac).

Number of movies seen in the theater: 1.  Sad to admit that I paid full price for Magic Mike.

Number of times cried during the Olympics: 2.  Both were because of Miss Gaby Douglas.  Such a wonderful role model for little girls.

Number of cancelled highly anticipated concerts: 1. Fun. (The band,  not the situation).

Number of Instagram photos: 78

Number of times I hiked up a mountain: 2

Number of Super Bowl wins by the New York Football Giants:1.  Gotta live that up since it won’t be repeated in 2013.

Number of years in wedded bliss: 3

Number of presidential elections (and nasty political ad seasons) survived:1

Number of successful freestyle swimming strokes: 5. We’re going for 6 this upcoming year!

Number of Times I heard Call Me Maybe: 100,000,000,000.

Number of books read: 9

Number of colds successfully fought off: 1

Number of colds unsuccessfully fought off: 2

Number of art museums visited: 2

Number of train rides: 1

Number of boat rides: 2

Number of gingerbread houses made: 1

Number of walks along the beach: 1

Number of weddings attended: 3

Number of funerals attended: 2

Number of new babies met: 2

Number of times I got to sit behind gold medalist Sanya Richards Ross after watching her run: 1

Number of times we won Albuquerque’s Great Bus Race: 1

Number of races I got to run with members of my family: 5

Number of times Giuseppe has hijacked my photos/blog posts/facebook statuses: at least 200

Number of times of woken up grateful for my wonderful husband, puppy, family, friends, health, and life: 366


Right after crossing the finish line.

410862_353651311356345_100001344376631_863822_1344531164_oIMG_0061IMG_3454IMG_4035OIMG_4604 - CopyIMG_4651IMG_0235


IMG_0328IMG_0411 - CopyIMG_4909 - CopyIMG_0320IMG_5633***********************************************

While the world had a pretty eventful year, we had a pretty quiet year here in Casa de Lavender.  While Aaron did change positions at work slightly altering his work schedule, our daily life is pretty much the same as it was one year ago.  This turned out to be ideal for reaching athletic goals.  With little drama to deal with, I was able to focus and train hard over the summer.  The Chicago Marathon is easily the highlight of my year.  Not only because it brought us to Chicago which is a magnificent city, but also because crossing that finish line gave me more confidence in myself than anything else ever has.

When I look back at 2012, the marathon will be the event that stands out most in my life. And possibly Call Me Maybe.  Because that song was everywhere.


From our family to yours, we wish you a fun New Year’s Eve and a wonderful 2013! I’m so happy to have shared a bit of my life with you in 2012!

The Bucket List That Didn’t Get Crossed Off

Way back last December, inspired by other bloggers, I decided to nix the idea of New Year’s Resolutions and instead create a 2012 bucket list of experiences I wanted to have before the year was up.

If you don’t follow through with resolutions, you have failed. Failure is sad. If you don’t follow through with bucket list items, nothing happens.

Nothing especially happens when you don’t get very many of your BL items in the “DONE” category like me.

I did do some things.  Just not as many as I would have wanted.

I’ve decided to keep this sucker running.  I’m working on my 2013 list with 25 new items to be revealed tomorrow.  The rollover from 2012 will stay on there with the hopes that I’ll eventually cross those items off the list.  And as the years progress, I’m sure I’ll establish a pretty decent list of “gotta do before I die which hopefully won’t happen for 100 years” items.

My actual level of BL completion is below, listed item by sad un-crossed off item.

Items categorized as UNSUCCESSFUL didn’t happen or even come close to happening.  Items listed as ATTEMPTED were at least approached with cheerful effort.  SUCCESSFUL items (the few and far between) were ones that I was able to cross off the list.

How Amy Fared on the 2012 Bucket List

1) Get Passport stamp #4: UNSUCCESSFUL.  Though the possibility is MUCH higher in 2013 thanks to some college graduating sisters and their graduation present vacations.  I’m hoping we get invited (hint, hint, Daddy).

2) Pay off credit card debt: UNSUCCESSFUL: I don’t want to talk about this.  At all.  However, still thankful that my credit card debt load is tiny compared to the average American.

3) Ride in a hot air balloon: UNSUCCESSFUL. Shit’s expensive. And I’m kind of scared to go with the cheapest company because I don’t want to die.

4) Run a full marathon: SUCCESSFUL!!! Definitely a lifetime bucket list item.  AND I think I get bonus points for the BQ.  That was also a HUGE bucket list item that I didn’t bother adding to the 2012 list because I didn’t think it would happen for many many years.


5) Run a race every month: ATTEMPTED.  I ran 10 road races and 1 virtual race, so I missed it by 1. I think doing the smaller ones helped me get better at racing, plus I snagged some age group awards, but the more longer races I do, the less excited I am about paying $10 per mile in a 5-k with no medal and a sad cotton t-shirt.  Sorry.


6) Compete in a triathlon: UNSUCCESSFUL.  But I think I’m more prepared mentally to take on this challenge in 2013.

7) Learn to swim: ATTEMPTED.  I think I’m closer than I was this time last year.

8) Read my way through Newsweek’s Top 100 Books of all time:  UNSUCCESSFUL. I knew this would take more than 1 year.  I’ve read some books that I hadn’t heard of that I ended up  loving. But I’ve also been stuck on the 180 pager The Souls of Black Folk since August. I read 7 books this year (on the list anyway…I think there were 2 that I’ve picked up that weren’t on the list) which is better than the 1 I read in 2011.

9) Go on a White Water Rafting weekend expedition: UNSUCCESSFUL.  I’m starting to rethink this one.  I was pretty bored after a couple of hours of kayaking down the river in September. Could I really spend 4 days cold and wet with sore shoulders followed by sleeping on the ground for 4 nights?

10) Start dressing my age:  ATTEMPTED. I think some progress has been made. I tried to avoid stores where the majority of salespeople are in high school and I haven’t worn flip flops since it got cold out. I did however walk around Chicago dressed like this, so whateves. Although, maybe wearing black stretchy pants IS dressing my age. Sigh.

IMG_5155 - Copy

11) Visit a new state: SUCCESSFULGot to experience Illinois in all of it’s finest! And by finest, I mean Chicago.

12) Send a birthday card in the mail to people on their birthdays. SUCCESSFUL. I did this at least twice.

13) Learn how to use my camera and take awe-inspiring photos: ATTEMPTED. I started looking up tutorials on Pinterest.  I’m still not Ansel Adams, but I least I know how to change shutter speed, ISO, and aperture, even if I have no idea what any of them mean. I did get a bokeh photo in of the Christmas tree!


14) Relearn French: UNSUCCESSFUL. Although I’m listening to the French Cafe station on Pandora right now, so maybe I’m picking up a little bit? However, one of the potential graduation trips might require that I learn, at the very least, how to say, “I’ll take another glass of wine!” in order to get around (“plus de vin, s’il vous plaît!”).

15) Go horseback riding on the beach: SUCCESSFUL. It was fun.

IMG_4590 - Copy

16) Write a novel: ATTEMPTED: I totally started one! I am 5 pages in.  At least I have the idea and the characters and the general plot line.  Now that the gingerbread house is done, I’ll have more time to devote.

17) Buy a new car: SUCCESSFULAnd I’m in love.  Aside from the fact that I spend twice as much money on gas. 

18) Do a massive house cleaning and reorganization: ATTEMPTED: I think this will happen pretty soon into the new year.  I’ve cleaned out a few closets and drawers.

19) Take the GRE: UNSUCCESSFUL.  I do want a masters degree, but at this point, I don’t know if it would be incredibly helpful or financially responsible.  And I still kinda don’t know what I’m doing with my life.

20) Go to a live music festival. UNSUCCESSFUL. I think this will require choosing one and planning a year in advance.  But with all of these potential vacations and Boston which is quickly shaping up to be as expensive as an all-inclusive week in the Caribbean, I don’t know if this is the perfect year for it.

21) Choose an NFL Team to cheer for: SUCCESSFUL. Though, now I’m questioning my decision.  How can a team go from winning the Super Bowl to scoring once in two weeks???

22) Win something (anything) in a radio contest: UNSUCCESSFUL.  I seriously tried though.  I even put in for a pair of Uggs last week.  I hate Uggs.

23) Invest in a piece of artwork: UNSUCCESSFUL.  Though I have decided that I want an abstract painting with warm colors.  So now I can be on the lookout!

24) Finish a Tough Mudder: UNSUCCESSFUL, mostly because it didn’t happen in Albuquerque like we thought it was going to, however it is scheduled for my birthday in 2013.  I’m rethinking this one because thanks to blog land and some detailed recaps, I’m not sure that I would have the best time.  I mean, cool that you are tough enough to do it, but it sounds mostly miserable. And I could think of better ways to spend a birthday.

25) Figure out what in the world I’m doing with my life and take steps to get there: UNSUCCESSFUL: but 2013 WILL be my year.  I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I still feel like I’m just in a holding area until my life really starts.  Considering I’m about 1/3 of the way through life already (if I’m lucky), I want to at least feel like I’m on the right path.

So, over the course of the year, I successfully completed 7 out of 25 bucket list items.  Here’s hoping that more items get conquered in 2013!

Are you creating a bucket list for 2013? 

The 2012 Bucket List

I’ve heard so many people say they don’t make New Year’s Resolutions because they never keep them.  I always make them(look like a supermodel, become Martha Stewart, etc.), but very rarely do I actually accomplish what I set out to do.

So I was inspired when I stumbled upon Lesley Carter’s Blog Indulge Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences and her 2012 “Bucket List.”  Of course she does way cool stuff like swim with dolphins and sky dive and her 2011  adventures are way more than I will probably do in a lifetime, but I loved her idea of creating a bucket list. By definition, you can’t fail at a bucket list like you can fail as resolutions.  Plus, it doesn’t have to be realistic or in any way attainable. I think this is a much more positive way to enter into the new year, so I decided to create my own.


Amy’s 2012 Bucket List of Adventures (and Other Stuff)

1) Get Passport stamp #4 (Ideally, either a tropical beach vacation or Paris at Christmastime, but heck I’ll take Mexico)

2) Pay off credit card debt (I got so close this year, but then we went to San Francisco.  I’m really not in very much debt at all, but I’d rather spend interest payments on something else).

3) Ride in a hot air balloon (You would think since I live in the Hot Air Balloon Capital of the World that I would have already done this).

4) Run a full marathon (planning on The Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October).

5) Run a race every month.

6) Compete in a triathlon (this will be tricky since I don’t know how to swim and I haven’t been on a bike aside from a tandem in 15 years).

7) Learn to swim.

8) Read my way through Newsweek’s Top 100 Books of all time (the list and my progress is here on my new sub page).

9) Go on a White Water Rafting expedition (I’ve been rafting once, but I would like to do one of those weekend excursions)

10) Start dressing my age (I should probably retire the flip flip/hoodie/jeans/ponytail outfit sometime soon and accept that American Eagle isn’t marketing to my demographic).

11) Visit a new state.

12) Send a birthday card in the mail to people on their birthdays.

13) Learn how to use my camera and take awe-inspiring photos.

14) Relearn French (once upon a time I spoke well enough to not have to take it in college).

15) Go horseback riding on the beach.

16) Write a novel.

17) Buy a new car (hopefully BEFORE the Taurus self-destructs ).

18) Do a massive house cleaning and reorganization.

19) Take the GRE.

20) Go to a live music festival (Coachella? Blues and Brews? Austin City Lights?).

21) Choose an NFL Team to cheer for and learn everything about them (then go to one of their games).

22) Win something (anything) in a radio contest.

23) Invest in a piece of artwork from a stuffy gallery in Santa Fe.

24) Finish a Tough Mudder (pretty much the most insane looking physical contest…you have to navigate yourself though all sorts of military obstacles and things that can electrocute you)

25) Figure out what in the world I’m doing with my life and take steps to get there.

I wish you much love and happiness in 2012.  Whether you have resolutions, bucket list items, or nothing at all, I hope the upcoming year is everything you hope for!


For as long as I can remember, I’ve done a formal, written out year in review.  I remember doing this as early as 7. I was a weird child.

Sometimes my review listed accomplishments (age 8: learned to ride a bike).  Sometimes I would list which singers I thought had the best voice (age 11: Celine Dion).  Sometimes I just apologized to people for being antisocial (age 22: quarter life crisis). 

2011 was a pretty crazy year in the world.  So many extreme and destructive natural disasters happened all over, many in places where those types of things don’t happen. Here in New Mexico we saw record-breaking cold, the a huge wildfire, and earthquakes.

Three of the world’s most controversial leaders were killed.  Governments were overthrown.  Economies crashed.  Thousands of people sold their belongings, convinced that the world was going to end. 

In the celebrity world, Charlie Sheen went nuts, Kim K ended her marriage after 72 days, Ashton cheated on his super gorgeous wife with a bimbo looking blonde, and LiLo was in jail? Out of jail? Who knows anymore.

My life was much less dramatic.  Still at the same job, still married to the same person, still living in the same city.  But looking back, I think I had a pretty great year, did some pretty fun things, and realized that anything I accomplish or don’t accomplish is a direct result of my actions.  I’m not so sure I ever really believed that before.

So…here it is….2011 according to Amy


*Rang in the New Year at a secluded cabin somewhere near Las Vegas (NM…not NV). Aside from the pipes freezing, it was a lovely start to 2011.

*Watched CNN as Egypt started a grassroots revolution.  No multi-billion dollar war, just the will of the people to do something about their basic human rights. 


* Endured one of the coldest few days in New Mexico history.  Made me wonder why I wasn’t living in Chicago if we had worse weather than them.

* As a result of this cold weather, resolved with 4 other couples to go to Jamaica.

* Got the worst fever I’ve ever had accompanied by a sinus infection that made food taste terrible for several days…lost weight due to this!

* In trooper style, got dressed up and had a lovely Valentine’s Day dinner despite being sicker than a dog.


* Started this here blog.  So far, it has been a really fun way to write and connect with peeps from all over the place.

* Woke up to the news of a terrible earthquake in Japan, and watched in horror as a giant tsunami took out entire villages in seconds.  The picture of the tsunami hitting San Francisco is haunting.


* Kissed my dreams goodbye as I watched  Prince William marry my BFF Kate at 3 a.m. 

* After 3 years, FINALLY lost every last pound of the 15 I gained when I started my first big girl job and first started dating Aaron (and thought I could eat as much as him).  


* Watched completely engrossed as Harold Camping and the end of the world people waited for the world to end…I admit….I took a deep sigh of relief at 6:00 pm MST when it didn’t.

* Went to JAMAICA! Enjoyed a week of fun, lounging on the beach, drinking tropical drinks, and hanging out with friends.  Overcame my intense fear of snorkeling.


* Giuseppe.  Our lives have been forever changed.  Yes, I know I talk about him like he is my child.  Sometimes I really think he is.

* Signed up for my first half marathon.  I was scared.


* House trained Giuseppe.  HUGE accomplishment for 2011.

* Professionally, organized a large veteran Job Fair.  Proudest moment as an event coordinator and probably the most I’ve worked in 1 week ever.

* Mourned the death of my favorite modern day musician, Amy Winehouse.

* Watched in sadness as Casey Anthony was found not guilty.  While I think the jury came up with the right verdict based on the evidence, I find it hard to believe that she didn’t do it.

* Finally saw a production of La Boheme.  Puccini is my musical soul mate.


* Watched as the overhyped Hurricane Irene caused lots of damage but not as much as predicted.


* Turned 27, and still haven’t accepted it. Sometimes I feel unaccomplished (both the facebook dude and the new dictator in North Korea are my age), sometimes I just feel plain old (people born in the 90’s can now buy liquor????).

* Helped Casa Rodena winery harvest grapes for wine.  If the 2011 Serenade tastes bad…it isn’t my fault.

* Went to a Broncos game and a Rockies game.

* Went to Denver’s Oktoberfest (one of the top 10 in the country) and ate brats and pretzels.


* Continued my time honored tradition of going to the Balloon Fiesta at the crack of dawn.

* Ran my first (and best) Half Marathon at the Duke City Half.  An obsession was born.


* Spent a few days in San Francisco and remembered why I love that city SO MUCH.

* Took my first actual walk down Lombard Street.

* Ran my second (and worst) half marathon at the U.S. Half.  Immediately signed up for Rock and Roll Arizona to make up for it.

* Celebrated our 2 Year Anniversary by eating at a fancy restaurant that requires a password for entry. (Still crazy about the guy too by the way).


* Finished the gingerbread house project for the first time since 2007.

* Got a fancy camera that I don’t yet know how to use.

* Did lots of Christmasy things.

So now that that’s done, time to stop reflecting on the past and look forward to the future!

Tomorrow I will post my 2012 Bucket List.

I hope your 2011 was full of fun experiences, lessons learned, and proud accomplishments!