I feel like 2017 was the slowest and fastest year of my life.
In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t a bad year but it also wasn’t the year I had hoped for. Health issues popped up in April that turned me into a hermit who barely left the house for 9 months unless I absolutely had to. And, it meant a bunch of tests and waiting and more tests and more waiting and then seeing specialists and more tests and more waiting and then… a solution. And then more waiting until the solution could be implemented.
I had minor surgery earlier this month which will hopefully resolve everything but… there’s still more waiting. One more batch of test results and then letting my body adjust to a treatment plan (which I’m told could take up to six months) and then, if all is well with that last batch of tests, hopefully, knock on wood, fingers crossed, I can get back to living life! I feel nervous even saying that, like maybe I’ll jinx it. Silly maybe, but I tend to be a bit (a lot) superstitious about these things!
But despite not feeling awesome a lot of the time, doing a little too much emotional eating (and adding the extra padding that usually accompanies that) and having to put a lot of things on hold while dramatically scaling back my travel, I actually quite enjoyed 2017!
That sounds weird I bet but there was a silver lining!
I had no choice but to create a better work life balance. And, because I couldn’t be particularly physically active until late in the year (other than walking Sam) and I got really sick of being moody, mopey and miserable pretty quick (as did everyone around me), that meant figuring out something to do!
So I doodled, I painted, I meditated, read books, knitted, listened to podcasts, did jigsaw and Sudoku puzzles, puttered in my garden and became mildly obsessed with Ancestry.com and my family tree. All without guilt!
And on that note, I thought I would share with you some of my favourite things from 2017 – the small things that really cheered me up when I was feeling most blue. (there’s some affiliate links in here – that means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I get a small commission – it doesn’t alter the price you pay in any way)
My Word Of the Year: Colour
I am so so so happy I chose colour as my word of the year. I’ll write more about thatt later but I loved it so much that I’m making it my personal mantra. Colour everywhere. Bright, vibrant bold colour. It just makes life better. It makes the world better. And it’s a ridiculously small thing that anyone can incorporate into their daily life. I didn’t buy a lot of stuff but everything I did buy was colourful – right down to my underwear! And all my artwork was full of colour. It makes me so happy to produce colourful art.
One of my favourite new colour discoveries this year was Good Homes India’s Facebook page. That’s right – Good Homes Magazine has an India edition. It’s in English, the FB page is in English and the articles are a riot of design with colour. Not North American boring neutrals with the odd pop of colour. I’m talking COLOUR. Beautiful bold design. I love it when their posts pop up in my feed!
My Anaya bag (pictured above) was one of my favourite purchases of the year. It was a splurge but it’s beautifully made and so colourful. All their bags are one of a kind too so if you’re like me and want to be a special unique flower they’re worth checking out. I expect this bag to be with me for a very long time!
My Favourite Book
Reading was my absolute favourite pastime growing up and all the way until I went back to school in 2005 and then school work, working for myself and the internet all put a serious dent in my reading habit. In 2016 I was shocked to realize that I’d read a whopping TWO books during the course of the year.
I was so determined that was going to change in 2017 that I reactivated my GoodReads account, joined their 2017 Reading Challenge and committed to reading 20 books. With two weeks left in 2017 I had knocked off 17 and wasn’t sure I’d make it but… I did it! And I reignited my love of reading in the process.
My favourite book of 2017 was The Snowman by Jo Nesbø. Nesbø was a new author to me. My friend Heather over at Heather in Heels had sent me a big box of books during the summer, unwittingly cheering me up immensely, and then when we met up in Ottawa at FBC2017 in October, she handed me The Snowman. I started it on the plane home and was hooked instantly. It was a tremendous thriller. The first two thirds was psychologically thrilling – at some points late at night I had to put it down and watch Friends on Netflix to be able to sleep! The last third was still thrilling but in an action packed way. I’ll definitely be reading more of Nesbø’s books in 2018. (PS, if you love colour check out Heather’s IG account for her artwork – @heathertravisart. It will make you happy)
My Favourite Piece of Tech Gear
A big part of my reading revival was due in part first, to my iPhone 7 Plus. The kindle app was fabulous on the new, bigger screen and suddenly I was able to read wherever I went (it was hopeless on my iPhone 5). I loved it so much that I seriously started to consider whether or not to get an actual Kindle.
After a lot of deliberation I bought myself an early birthday present on Amazon Prime day – a Kindle Paperwhite, a super cute Kindle case to help fulfill my 2017 word of the year, (COLOUR) and a subscription to Kindle Unlimited. Hands down my Kindle is one of my favourite things. I take it everywhere and I read so much more because of it. I still prefer reading a paperback but, I sure love taking a weight off of my shoulder carrying a big book with me wherever I go!
My Favourite Podcast
I’m going to update my Favourite Podcast list in January because it has changed a lot lately. But my favourite podcast this year has been The Creative Penn, all about the indie world of publishing. And I also picked up the first few books in Joanna Penn’s Arcane series, which I thoroughly enjoyed (the first in the series is a bit weak but they get better with every successive book!)
My Favourite Art Supply
This is going to sound so dumb but my favourite art supply this year was… The Sharpie! The good old Sharpie in a huge array of colours. While they don’t work well everywhere – you definitely have to use the right paper – when they do work they lay down beautiful, solid colour. They’re not great for shading – I still prefer my Pitt Markers and Copics for that. But for a few of the things I worked on this year (particularly my wall calendar!) my Sharpies were wonderful!
My Favourite App
My favourite app is actually… a game. Haha. Not being out and about much, I played a lot of games on my iPhone when I just wanted to escape feeling miserable. My favourite is Design Home and it lets you design rooms in different homes. You can “buy” furniture and accessories with the money you “earn” from each room you design. You can also borrow items from any Facebook friends you have using the App. The community votes on the designs and you can win more furniture and accessories to add to your design arsenal if your design gets a minimum 4 star rating out of 5. It’s fun and a great way to waste time on transit!
Favourite Knitting Project
The Step It Up scarf (pattern link) that I knitted up from a Caron Cake – the project pattern was on the yarn wrapper and I love it. I’ve worn this scarf a LOT since finishing it up in October. You can get Caron Cakes yarn at Michaels and it’s pretty reasonably priced and knits nicely (you need long needles for this project though!)
Favourite Food I Ate
The Panko crusted fish and chips from Wild Side Grill in Tofino. Best fish n chips I’ve ever had. The panko crust takes it to a whole other level and this place makes the best fries I’ve ever had. Their pulled pork poutine was also amazing but, you’re never gonna get truly squeaky curds in BC like you can in Quebec. But their fries were so perfect for poutine, keeping their crispiness even when doused in hot gravy! (Want something else delicious? Go next door to their neighbour Tacofino and get a Tuna Taco and a Diablo cookie).
So there you have it – a few of my favourite things from 2017!
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