I love taking time off between Christmas and the New Year. I always stretch it an extra week because I also celebrate my birthday on the 5th. It’s nice to be back, but even nicer to have some time off.

How I brought in the New Year

My time away was amazing. I had a lovely Christmas celebration with my family. I even got to wear a new sweater I knit.

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Sistahs. @beth_wuhrl

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After Christmas wore off, besides catching up on a lot of sleep, it was pretty mundane and absolutely lovely having nothing really to do. It gave me a lot of time to become obsessed with working on my family tree on Ancestry. Anyone who has ever worked on tracing their family roots knows what a rabbit hole that can be.

For New Year’s my husband and I have a tradition of staying home and cooking. After all the traveling we do for the holidays we enjoy our tradition of not having to go anywhere.

I knit a sweater that might be too big

I finished the body of another sweater that now I fear is too big. I am contemplating unraveling it and either starting it over or knitting something else with the yarn. The reviews on how it looks has been mixed, making it even harder to decide what to do. What do you think?

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I still have to knit the sleeves, but the body is done. It came out a bit bigger than planned and I got worried it might look like a bad oversized sweater and not a good one. What do you think? This has been, so far, the most technically advanced sweater I have ever knit. It may look easy, but the multiple short rows, splitting the body for armholes and then rejoining, the vent and center decreases offered plenty of challenges, especially as a lefty knitter who knits backwards. On to the sleeves. The sweater is the Camber sweater from @purlsoho and the yarn is called Acadia from @thefibrecompany that I bought at @woolynbklyn #knitting #knit #knittersofinstagram #knittingpattern #knitsweater #lefthandknitter #knitbyalefty #knitaddict

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I took a surprise road trip to…Trenton?

The most laughable part of my time off was this surprise trip I took to Trenton NJ, the state capitol. You can read the caption of my photo below. Trust me, nobody goes to Trenton N.J. unless they have to.

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This post is called Bureaucracy in Motion as I am on a train headed to Trenton NJ, NJ’s state capitol. Why you ask? Well…this is a doozy. My mom just became eligible for my dad’s social security and she can collect it until her own SS kicks in at 70. Problem is, my grandmother’s last name (my dad’s mom) is spelled differently on my dad’s death certificate as it is spelled on my parents’ marriage license. Because of this one letter typo, she now has to get my grandmother’s birth certificate. Seeing that my mom is not blood related to my long deceased grandma, I have to go with my mom to NJ’s state capitol to get it because I am related to my grandmother by blood. I am meeting my mom in Trenton and will have to go through the rigamarole of first getting my dad’s birth certificate, by presenting my own identifying materials, and then using my dad’s birth certificate I will be able to get my grandmother’s. All this so my mom can prove my dad was her husband. The literal absurdity of this is beyond words. Thank God for knitting that I never legally changed my last name or else it would have thrown another step into today’s process. #bureaucracy #knitting #jesustakethewheel #newjersey #areyoukiddingme #njtransit #trenton

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I turned 45

The day after my road trip to the most inconvenient and ugly state capitol, it was my birthday. I turned 45. Thankfully, this year there wasn’t a major Nor’Easter like the last one, but after 45 years of celebrating my birthday five days into the new year, I have become accustomed to it being pretty bleak. This is why I call my birthdate the “dried up Christmas trees on the curb” of birthdays.

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Being born today is the “dried up Christmas tree on the curb” of birthdays. Everyone has a celebration hangover, it’s grey, cold and dingy outside and my birthday always sneaks up on me because I get distracted by the holidays. Even the flower of January sucks. Who has ever consciously chosen a carnation as their favorite flower? Carnations are cheap filler flowers! All that said, I strangely still love my birthday. I get to start a new year with a fresh age, and despite the holidays being over, I get to stretch the celebratory feeling a week longer. To all my early January birthday friends, you get it, you know exactly what it is like to be born this time of year. Here’s to 45! #birthday #januarybirthday #45

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I celebrated at one of my favorite restaurants

Frank and I went to one of my favorite restaurants, Russ & Daughter’s Cafe to celebrate. I hadn’t been since my last birthday when we trekked there in the snow and I had been craving their smoked whitefish chowder soup. If you love Jewish comfort food and want to visit a place that literally looks like a scene from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, run don’t walk.

I sent a letter to myself

This is kind of cool. At my Unitarian Universalist church, First Unitarian, we did this cool thing. The topic of the sermon was risk and our minister, Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons, encouraged us all to write letters to ourselves with our goals for the 2019. We were all given paper and envelopes and a few minutes to write. After handing them back we were told that they would be mailed to us at then end of the year. It was a fun exercise and will be cool to read later this year and see what I accomplished.

Reflecting on 2018

I also took some time to reflect on 2018 which was a challenging yet rewarding year. My business took a serious dip in 2018, my blog traffic was slower than usual and, I think because of the state of fashion retail, I noticed a dip in my client business. I went through a few hard scrabble months, moments of absolute apathy and was grateful for savings. However, that said, I don’t feel like it was a failure of a year, and as 2019 began I didn’t find myself wanting to throw 2018 on the trash heap. Despite the challenges, some very cool things happened too.

First, I traveled a lot more, professionally and personally. I got to go to Amazon in Seattle to speak. This was a momentous moment in my career, to have a company such as this ask me for my wisdom as a stylist. I went to Vegas twice to speak to retailers, and will be going there again next month. I also had a few other small opportunities to speak to retailers and retail associations on the topic of styling and business growth. This has been a new and exciting turn of events in my career that is just getting started.

I also started a closed Facebook Group for fans of my blog that brings me nothing more than joy. It was a business move not based in making money or to grow my business, but, really, to give a safe and supportive space for those who follow me to commune. In just a few months the group blossomed to nearly 1,000 of the loveliest and most supportive women I have ever met.

I worked on myself as a person. 2018 was the year I took a hard look at how I was living my life and I learned that meaningful and significant changes happen when you work at the micro level, not the macro.

I also got to connect more strongly with the people in my life who matter. This meant seeing some family I hadn’t seen in over 20 years, working to understand and better communicate with people I see regularly and having opportunities to see people I value in my life more often.

The one constant that continues to be a blessing is my marriage to my 11 year marriage husband Frank. I often question just about everything but never my marriage. This year he took a new job in his field that he absolutely loves and is scheduled for growth and advancement in 2019.

All that happened and didn’t happen in 2018 made me realize that how we judge good and bad isn’t always based on how much money we made or how much actual visible growth happened. After all, a tree does a lot of growing before we even see it come to the surface. If anything, 2018 taught me it is that as long as you are putting attention towards what you value it can’t be anything but a good year.

As we start 2019, I hope you all had a wonderful 2018, however it went and I look forward to spending time with you in 2019!