2014 Recap: Part 2 – Travel, Reading, and More

Wow! I did not plan to write that last post. You know, the one about escaping abuse. I wanted to be totally light-hearted and do the normal “what I did in 2014.” But I guess the plan was bigger than me. I had to expose my true experience in order to move on and gain freedom. I’ve held it in for so long that the time to let it out had finally come. It was probably long overdue, but I finally let it out in prayer last night, and today, I’m feeling empowered…Feeling like I can FINALLY move on and take my life back. Thank you, God, for empowerment.

With that said, I can move on to the lighter side of 2014, letting you know of the many amazing things that happened last year…

TRAVEL – Jetsetting…where did I go?


France. Strasbourg 2 times. By the way…it doesn’t pay to have very limited language

River in Strasboug
River in Strasbourg

abilities in a foreign country. Parle vous Ingle? #justsaying

NYC. 2 times – It’s fun when it’s for pleasure, but walking to your meeting…hmmm that was an experience. I’m pretty sure that’s for the 20 somethings. This girl’s patience level has gone down drastically since 2000, the last year of my 20s.

NYC Street Vendor
NYC Street Vendor

Washington, DC. Yep. Still a great city. Walking to my meeting wasn’t so bad here.

You know the best part of business travel, though? FREE FOOD!

Not so cool…Expense reporting, keeping up with receipts, getting lost, and delays. Oh…and did I mention not knowing the language. Yep. I’m saying it again. Je ne par pas Francais.


Vegas. Click the link. Watch the video.

Grand CanyonClick the link. Watch the video.

Paris. Well, this happened over the weekend while I was in Strasbourg. Stops included

Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and shopping. FYI…there was nothing special about shopping in Paris. I did get an amazingly cute jacket from a souvenir shop, though.

And some random city in Michigan that I’m pretty sure is heaven’s waiting room (as a friend once described a restaurant)


Crocheting. When the weather cools down, it means it’s time to pull out the needle. I

A scarf I completed for myself.
A scarf I completed for myself.

completed a scarf for myself. There were 5 scarves as Christmas presents this year. I’m working on a blanket that I’ve been working on for about 2 years and I have at least 1 more scarf to go. How’s that for the 12 days of Christmas.

Home Decor. Who said you couldn’t reuse Bath and Body Works candle jars? Can someone say 2-fer. Just melt the excess wax out of the bottom, remove the wax and the wicks, wash, and reuse.

Speaking of clear containers, add twine, a hot glue gun, and vases from the dollar store and you’ll find the perfect combo for cute vases. Pinterest came in handy again.


Books that I either completed, started, or continued reading or listening to in 2014 include:


Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Yes, it’s worth the hype. I even think there are a fair amount of mild mannered men who could benefit from reading this book.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On. If you work in the field of social media, this is a good read/listen.

Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn’t, and Why. If you’re a chronic overachieving workaholic wondering why you haven’t gotten that promotion, you may be too good at your job. This and other thoughts re: career advancement are hidden in this book. I was originally against this book. Glad I got over myself.


Play it Away: A Workaholics Cure for Anxiety. I recommend this for anyone who suffers from anxiety issues

How to Get a Date Worth Keeping. Recommended by a friend, this book is great.  Some people have ridiculously high standards. Some people are stuck up. Some are more ready for rejection than acceptance. This book lets you know why you say no before you even give a person a chance…thus, limiting your potential. It’s not about being dumb, but it could quite be about getting over hurt, fantasies, or even just bad dating habits. Whatever it is, this book will make you think a lot. And if you aren’t willing to take a good look in the proverbial – or literal – mirror, you can skip right past this read. But then, I’m inclined to say you also have to stop asking “why not me.”


Spanish and French…I’ve bought resources for both, but the best way to learn the language is to actually be immersed in the culture. I’m thinking about trying Rosetta Stone this year for Spanish. And frankly (pun not intended), I may need to learn French so I can simply get around (eyes roll…if you only know the number of times I got lost in France – but I also learned to read French quickly…and I was only there a week. So, when I speak about immersion, I’m speaking from personal experience. Sortie means “exit” in French.)


Hair. We can deem 2014 the year of Gina’s infamous weave. I didn’t go out to get

Said weave
Said weave and I obviously have fallen victim to duck lips.

a weave for beauty reasons, and when I realized what a year with weave was going to be like…well, let’s say I’ve almost freaked out more than once. But I took one for the team…the team of hair stands that is. I had sever breakage. So I decided to get professional help by who I will now call an AMAZING hair stylist. She’s been taking care of my hair and the growth is phenomenal. Not only did the breakage grow back, my entire head of hair is fuller. (Curly girls, I know this makes all of us cringe a bit, BUT hey…I have healthy locks and my stylist will be taking care of it. So long to 4 hour wash, condition, treat, and blow dry sessions followed by straightening the next day.)

Makeup. I’ve actually cut back on makeup this year. I still quite enjoy makeup and getting all pretty and such, but I work from home…A LOT. So there’s not a need to put on makeup often. (My boss may beg to differ during our weekly video chat. Crap…I beg to differ. But the call is only an hour and I literally get out of the bed only minutes before the call, so no makeup it is.)

Skincare. My skin has freaked out this year; primarly due to the fact that I get pimples as well as ingrown hairs and I pick at my face entirely too often. So…no my scarring isn’t from extreme acne. It’s from extreme Gina P – picking that is. I’ve tried many things but am not 100% satisfied with my skin, but hey, such is life. Oh well. I’m still cute.


I need not harp on the busyness of my work life. Just know the rush started January 2014 and well, I’ll let you know when it wraps up. The good news: I was able to hire an intern and onboard an agency as well as act as project and people manager (eyes roll). The bad news…I had a ton of work because I was also a doer while my boss was on maternity leave from January – September. While it has been a ton of work, I’ve been recognized as a very valuable employee. BUT…I HAVE TO WORK ON MY ATTITUDE AND SHORT TEMPER. This will not be my achilles heel. Hence the book I’m currently reading, Secrets to Winning at Office Politics: How to Achieve Your Goals and Increase Your Influence at Work.

Oh…and how did I forget the miracle of the year. I was in a horrible car accident that I survived.


Looking back, this was a very eventful year. I guess one can pack a ton of things into 365 days. Now here’s to a great 2015.

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