Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year in Review - 2015

So, I've been trying to write this post for about 3 months now. I started it mid-November, but didn't feel ready to post it. Then the beginning of December I edited and added a bit, but I wanted to add some pictures or something before posting, and then I forgot about it. Today, however, I said to myself, "Enough is enough! The people want an update, for crying out loud!" Which is totally not even true, nobody cares, but that's entirely beside the point. ;)

Originally, I was just writing a sort of update-on-the-last-few-months kind of post, but since it's very literally the end of the year, I've decided to go ahead and do the whole year-in-review for you.

So let's see... This time last year, I was enjoying the time off after finishing up the Pastry course, and was starting to put feelers out for a job (with not much luck because a lot of places were closed for the holidays). The year then proceeded as follows:

January: I started having a bit more luck with my job search, and by the end of January/beginning of February I had started working 2 days a week at the Bistro Kapzak as Pastry Chef. My best friend Paige and I started a writing challenge, which only last a few weeks, but was quite fun! I also made my nephew Alexander's 12th birthday cake - a Minecraft grass block with Steve and other blocks on top. I wasn't too impressed with the results, but he seemed to like it.

February: Near the end of the month, I also started working 3 days a week replacing the cook for Meals on Wheels in Lennoxville. It was only supposed to be for a few weeks, maybe a couple months, but there were some complications. My cousin's little girl, Sofia, turned two, and I had the pleasure of making her Mickey & Minnie Mouse decorated cookies! My friend Mandy and I decided to have an international culinary experience, so we made our own Indian food, which was mostly a success.

March: Not a whole lot of excitement happened. My friend Kelly and I tried making maple candy treats for her aunt to sell at her sugar shack. We had some successes and some failures, but it was a fun excuse to get together. :)

April: This was a very busy month for me. Still working the 2 jobs, I also had five cake orders! A smash cake and several dozen cupcakes for a first birthday; another Minecraft grass block cake; a regular buttercream cake for a 90th birthday; a Minnie Mouse birthday cake with buttercream transfer; and then a John Deere tractor cake for my nephew David's 10th birthday!

May: My poor Loretta the Jetta had some pretty serious issues between the end of April to mid-May. I had to replace brakes and a few other things, and then had to replace the motor. It was a really sad time for me. Also in May I had the lovely privilege of making a small "topper" cake and 60 cupcakes for a carnival themed wedding, as well as the bride & groom topper (polymer clay). It was a lot of fun, being my first wedding and all!

June: The month of adventures and dreams! Paige and I started planning an adventure for next December. I started PostCrossing! My brother and I went to La Ronde in Montreal for the first time ever, on Saint-Jean-Baptist. June was also my mom's 65th birthday, and my sister and I secretly collected birthday cards and wishes from her friends near and far to present to her on her birthday! I also wrote a post about the thirty things I'd like to do/see/accomplish before my 30th birthday!

July: Still working both jobs. Again, not a terribly exciting month, but we had a Christmas-in-July potluck supper at the Brookbury Hall, which was a lot of fun.

August: I celebrated my 28th birthday by going to see the Foresta Lumina in Coaticook with my family - so much fun!! I also made a first anniversary cake for some friends, a My Little Pony birthday cake (with handmade Rainbow Dash topper), and a birthday cake for my sister and I. We submitted entries to the local fair and my "best decorated cupcakes" (Minnie Mouse theme) won first place! I also placed first for my collection of six agricultural photographs taken around the area, which I was super happy about. We visited the Saint-Benoit-du-Lac Abbey, as well, something I've been wanting to do for a while! We bought yummy cheese and chocolate. :)

September: After the Meals on Wheels cook came back near the end of August, I filled in a bit here and there, and then mid-September took on the position of "Service Agent" in the Community Aid office (organization offering services to seniors, such as Meals on Wheels), still working 2 afternoons a week at the bistro. I also did a cake for a wedding at the bistro - three tiers of lemon cake with blueberry filling and Swiss buttercream frosting. My first real tiered wedding cake (which had to be transported, as well), and I was very pleased with the results. We also went on the dinner cruise in Magog (Rebecca & gang as well) to celebrate the end of Mom's chemo & radiation treatments! That was a lot of fun.

October: Let's see... there was Thanksgiving, of course. With the cruise in Magog, we got free passes for the gondola at Mount Orford, so we went Thanksgiving weekend to see the foliage - very nice, but quite cold! Middle of the month I abruptly lost my job at the bistro (long story). We had a Halloween party at the Brookbury Hall and had a pretty good turnout! But, we barely had any trick-or-treaters at home, which was kind of disappointing.

November: Things got kind of crazy busy at the office, the month was a blur! Somewhere in there, I attended the graduation ceremony for the Pastry program. The evening was nice, but kind of drawn out. It was fun to see my classmates, and a few of us went out to Caffuccino later, which was really nice.

December: So busy! Helping prepare for the Sawyerville Christmas Ladies' Meeting, with about 130 ladies attending. Then the Community Aid Christmas Party for clients and volunteers, which brought in around 150 people. Plus the general craziness and busy-ness leading up to Christmas. Speaking of which...

Christmas: I had all my gifts bought by November, but I kept picking up more little things to add to them, because I just love giving gifts, and I kept finding great stuff or coming up with new great ideas! I'm usually pretty good at gift-giving, and everyone seemed to be pleased with their gifts this year, so I think I've still got it. I didn't end up having time to make Christmas ornaments for my nephews this year (so, two next year?), but aside from that, I was most excited about the handmade gifts I gave, which weren't many this year, but they turned out really well. I put together a gift basket of homemade treats (caramel corn, candied nuts, peppermint marshmallows, salted-caramel hot chocolate mix, sour lemon drops, and peppermint bark) for my sister and brother-in-law, and I have to say, it looked pretty awesome! (And the treats are pretty tasty, too ;) ) And then I did a Sharpie plate & mug set for my friend Mandy and her kids, that say "cookies/milk for Santa," and are personalized with the kids' names. I had them done up in cello-wrap with cookies and treats on the plate. Definitely one of the funnest gifts I've ever made, and one of the best reactions. :)

I was really pleased with the gifts I received this year as well! From my parents, I got some nice warm winter socks, a book I wanted (Winter by Marissa Meyer), Inside Out on DVD, and some other little goodies. My best friend sent me some really awesome coordinating jewelry from Ardene's that is totally my style. My sister (and her family) scored big with the super awesome VW bus crocheted bag she had made for me by a friend of hers - so cool! And my brother gave me some gift cards for Dollarama and Tim Hortons, my favourite hand cream, and a whole bunch of postcards! Other years I've sometimes felt a bit disappointed - like others didn't put the same thought and effort into it as I did - but this year I feel like the gifts I received showed a good sense of the things I like. It makes me feel good knowing that the people I love know me well enough to give me things I truly like.

For the past few years, we (parents, brother, and I) have been doing stockings by picking names, so everyone has to fill a stocking, instead of giving a gift to that person. This year, Mom wanted to try doing "twelve days of Christmas," so instead of filling one stocking to open on Christmas morning, we each have twelve small wrapped gifts to open for the twelve days following Christmas (still picking names to know who we were giving to). It's kind of fun and different! I like trying new things sometimes, but I also like traditions, so I kind of missed my stocking. :)

Oh, I also got myself a new phone for Christmas - a little "from me, to me" gift! ;) It's a Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime, and it's pretty cool. I also now have Instagram (amjb1999). I have yet to decide if I'll follow the masses to join Twitter or not. But anyway, one more thing to cross off the Thirty Before Thirty list! :)

Well, I think that about sums up 2015. It has been mostly a good year for me. I had a lot of good experiences professionally; I'm ending the year with a steady almost-full-time job, even if it's not in the field I want at the moment; my car is falling apart, but still runs and gets me where I need to go (most of the time); I'm "meeting" lots of new people and having fun with my snail-mailing adventures; and I've got a few good friends to keep in touch with and hang out with on occasion. There's always room for improvement, but life is pretty ok right now. :) The only "resolutions" I have for the new year are to do some purging (literally and figuratively), and continue to aim for organization and simplicity. One of these days I'll get there!

Here's hoping that in 2016 life only gets better. Wishing you all a new year full of love and good health. :)


  1. Alors j'espère que tes vœux se réalises pour 2016 comme tu l'as souhaité en 2015!
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