2012 in Review
Happy 2013! I hope you all are having a wonderful New Year so far.  Thankfully I’ve always liked the number 13 (I used to work on the 13th floor and love sitting in row 13 on planes), so I think this could be a very Lucky 13 indeed :-)
As you kick off a new year… you might want to consider entering not 1 but TWO great giveaways I have going on right now that will help you start off the new year healthfully & happily:
  • Happy Herbivore Abroad Giveaway – Win a copy of Happy Herbivore’s newest cookbook full of oil-free, plant-based recipes that are globally inspired & simple to prepare.  This contest is open to anyone in the US or Canada.
  • Chef Earl’s To Go Giveaway – Win 4-packs of Chef Earl’s Chunky Guacamole, Spicy Giardinera Hummus, and Mild Salsa for real-food snacking on the go!  Sorry, this giveaway is only open to individuals living in the following Midwestern States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, or Wisconsin.

Lately, I’ve been really enjoying reading many of the 2012-Recap posts in the blogosphere (especially JL Goes Vegan’s post, which sounds to me like the best year ever!) and so I decided to do a 2012 recap post of my own.  In looking back, I realized that 2012 was a pretty fantastic year.  Fingers crossed that 2013 will be equally amazing!
In 2012…
I experienced Asia – Okay, so New Year’s Eve was the last night of my Asia trip, but it still counts for 2012, right?
I started a new job – Still with the same company, but I switched departments!  I still don’t feel like an expert at my current job, but it’s hard to believe that a year ago I had no idea how to do what I do every day now.
I began packing my lunches… and breakfasts! – In 2011, every weekday I ordered an omelet from the office cafeteria for breakfast and ate lunch out (or on a hectic day, I’d grab a grilled cheese from the cafeteria).  After trying and failing over the years, I never thought I’d ever get into the hang of packing my own meals.  But after trying out Happy Herbivore’s plantbased meal plans last January, I became a convert and Sunday food-prep days became my norm.  Nowadays (yes, that’s really just one word), I make my own meal plans but still on occasion purchase a new Happy Herbivore plan when I need some fresh inspiration.
I new I was hooked on my home-made meals one weekend this summer when I returned home from vacation at 9pm on Sunday and still made my meals for the entire week (though I kept it simple with Overnight Oats and Tofurkey Sandwiches).
The best part of my new routine is that I finally was able to cut out my omelet-a-day habit and was able to graduate from 50% Vegan to 90% Vegan.  Compared to before, I’m also eating a lot less junk, saving money, and my meals are much more satisfying since I bulk them up with so many veggies.
Fitbit came into my life – After seeing it on Laura’s blog, I decided I really really wanted a Fitbit.  After I didn’t receive one for Christmas 2011, I took matters into my own hands and treated myself to one in January.  My Fitbit and I soon became inseparable and I wear it Every. Single. Day – with the exception of the few days I left the house in a hurry and accidentally left it at home, which really bummed me out.  
My Fitbit has definitely been eye-opening to me. It taught me how little I actually walk on an average day.  It shocked me when I discovered that on days I worked from home, I rarely get 1,000 steps before 5pm.  It motivated me by showing me how my activity compares to my friend’s (If you have a Fitbit, I’d love to link-up with you!).  And when my Fitbit broke over the summer, the company replaced it free of charge without any hassle!
I traveled to Ireland – Mike and I went to Ireland to attend a fairy-tale wedding for one of his closest friend’s.  Although our trip was short, I found Ireland to be such a beautiful, relaxing, and delicious place to visit.  I can’t wait to go again someday!
I had quality time with my Family – Although they live on the opposite side of the country from me, I was lucky enough to see my family on several occasions – and several locations!  I made a few trips home to Fort Lauderdale, met my family at our cabin on Lake Ontario, plus my parents, sister & niece also made it out to Chicago for visits!
I had a delicious time in New York City – One of my best friends is a New Yorker and I was long overdue for a visit.  She’s also a vegetarian so we made it our mission to have as much delicious vegetarian food as possible! Our foodie journey took us all around Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Jersey City.
Mike & I moved to the burbs – After 7 years living on the North Side of Chicago, I was really nervous to move out to Oak Park, a suburb on the West-Side of the city.  I still miss my old haunts, but Mike and I are really enjoying life in Oak Park and still make it into the city most weekends.
I reached 1,000 twitter followers – And I still can’t believe it.  I am so grateful for every single one of you that chooses to let my tweets pop up in your twitter feed.  I even made a real-life friend from Twitter and have enjoyed dinner, brunch, and soon a cooking class with my friend Cindy.
I attended not one, but TWO Veg-Fests!  VeggieFest in Naperville was held outside on one of the most beautiful, sunny weekends of the year.  Mike and I were both so inspired by Caroline Marie Dupont’s lecture & cooking demo and I’ve been trying to incorporate even more plants into my diet ever since.  Later, Mike and I had So. Much. Fun. at VeganMania in the city.  We enjoyed delicious food, met Foodie-Celebrities, and even made two wonderful new friends (Laura and Darren – you both are so awesome!).  In fact, VeganMania was so amazing, I had to write two recap posts about it.
 I fell in love with Pilates Apparatus Training – In my life, I’ve spent a fortune on physical therapy and chiropractic care for neck and knee discomfort.  I’ve also always been incredibly curious about the crazy looking Pilates Apparatus machines.  It turns out that not only is Pilates Apparatus Training incredibly fun, it’s also exactly what I needed – It’s known to be very effective for stretching out tight muscles, strengthening the core, and fixing muscle imbalances.  Plus, I feel so refreshed and energized after each session.  While I’d done mat Pilates before, I’d never used any of the machines until my friend Amy took me to her studio when I visited her in New York this summer.  Soon after I returned home, I signed up for an 8-week group reformer class at my local gym, and I just signed up for another session that starts this week!
I had a very Happy Holiday season  This year’s Thanskgiving was my first ever ThanksVegan.  While I’ve been skipping the turkey for the past 12 years, this year a table full of omnivorous guests did the same, which was such a cool experience for me.  Christmas dinner, while not Vegan, was wonderful for a different reason – rather than having to choose between spending the holidays with Mike’s parents (who live in the Chicago area) or my parents (who live in Florida), we were lucky enough to have them all at the same table at my parent’s house in Florida.
And, In 2013…
So far 2013 has been pretty great too!  Mike and I rang in the New Year at a small get together at our friend’s home.  It was a sleepover party and I made Vegan Whole Wheat Chocolate-Chip Banana Pancakes for everyone the next morning.
To continue our momentum of a fantastic new year, I’m participating in two challenges that will take care of my body both inside and out:
  • Best Body Bootcamp – This is an 8-week virtual boot-camp led by trainer extraordinaire Tina Reale.  I’m pretty nervous because I’ve heard some of the workouts leave even the most fit individuals sore, but the program offers so much motivation & support (and prizes!) that I’m willing to push myself.
  • GoodBelly Drink’s 12 Day Challenge – GoodBelly set me up with a 12 day supply of their Probiotic juices and shots.  I’ve seen these at the store before but never realized they were completely Vegan until Good Belly contacted me.  Even better, Mike agreed to join me for this challenge!  So far we’re both on day 4 so we haven’t been using it long enough to experience all the benefits yet, but they sure are tasty.

And last but not least, yes, I do have a New Year’s Resolution this year.  It was actually Mike’s idea and we’re doing it together:  We’re going to try to keep our apartment cleaner (and I can just picture my Mom and Sister smirking as they read this).  I feel so much more calm and relaxed in a clean environment.  And it will be nice to not have to do a month’s worth of cleaning in a day when company is coming over.  To try and keep ourselves on track, we made a weekly cleaning schedule we’re going to do our best to stick to.  Wish us luck!

I’d love to hear from you!

What were some of your favorite moments of 2012?

Did you make a resolution?