2013 was not a great year in my little corner of the world. Sure, there were some definite highlights; most notably, we added three new feline family members, bringing the total number of fur babies in our home to a whopping five. My fiance and I have both promised that we’re done now. No more cats, five is plenty.
I introduced you all to Sylvia the polydactyl kitten in June, who has been such a rambunctious joy to have in our lives, even if she does insist on licking my eyelids to wake me up every morning.
A couple months ago we took in two kittens that a stray cat had given birth to under our shed in the summer. When the weather got really cold, my fiance couldn’t bear to see them outside anymore, and when their mama cat left them and hadn’t come back in weeks, we brought them in. I named them Sid and Nancy, which I think is appropriate.
Even with the very wonderful addition of three new feline family members and all, 2013 threw a number of challenges our way. Our finances this year took a drastic downturn and have become more unstable now than in any recent year, in large part because of Google’s algorithm change and the impact it had here. In May, a truck crashed into our house, resulting in over $20,000 of damage (thank goodness for awesome insurance.)
This was followed by my beloved laptop undergoing major surgery and getting a fan and hard drive replacement.
During the week or so it was down, I and every living person around me found out just how much of a computer addict I really am.
But let’s focus on some of the good things that 2013 brought with it. Quite a few cool and interesting things happened here that I think could use some revisiting.
First order of business — the new year, of course! The beginning of a new year is a time of deep reflection and motivation for most, and health and fitness are at the top of the resolution list.
If you are embarking on 2014 with hopes of coming out the other end healthier and more confident, check out this recipe for a super simple detox tea using Apple Cider Heinz Vinegar.
I discovered the magical, edible goodness that is brown butter. I thought I loved cookies before this discovery, but I knew nothing. Brown butter makes everything better. Try these brown butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
Speaking of delicious foods, this year I made an effort to make as many things from scratch as I could. All of the baking I did, pizzas (thanks to my fiance’s goal of setting out to make the best homemade pizza around), sauces… I tried to use as many basic ingredients as I could. My motivation was only fueled more when I had the privilege of reading Jennifer Perillo’s cookbook/memoir, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie’s Kitchen.
This book was such an immense and pleasant surprise. I was expecting a straight-forward cookbook and instead felt like me and Jennifer Perillo were buddies, talking about life and love and love of homemade cooking. Is that cliche? Probably, but I don’t care. It was a damn good book that I cannot recommend to food lovers enough.
Who knew you could eat healthy and on the cheap while traveling? A couple months ago Kristina let us in on the best trick (possibly ever) to save on food costs while traveling, and all you need a slow cooker. Definitely a must-read if you plan on doing any traveling, ever, for as long as slow cookers are still in existence.
2013 also brought some awesome, girl power stories I never get sick of hearing about. First, there’s Kathryn DiMaria, a 14-year-old girl with a huge passion for engineering who has been planning for her sixteenth birthday since she was 12 — by purchasing a 1986 Pontiac Fiero (for $450 of her own babysitting money) and rebuilding it from the ground up.
We also met GoldieBlox, pretty much our absolute favorite toy company for girls. GoldieBlox believes girls deserve more than aisle after aisle of nothing but pink toys, and set out to do something about it. After running a successful Kickstarter campaign, Goldieblox is home to a line of engineering toys for girls that make building and problem solving fun and accessible.
International Women’s Day was particularly awesome in 2013 because we were given the opportunity to give away one of LELO’s luxury vibrators — the beautiful Soraya. That giveaway gave us a very meaningful look into the lives of some of our readers who shared stories about phenomenal women in the world who have directly impacted their lives in a positive way. The stories were very touching and yet another reminder that the power of women is immense and wonderful.
On the local front, a town not far from my own began hosting monthly block parties. The Jessup Art Loop in Northeastern, Pennsylvania reminded me that the surrounding communities of where I was born, raised, and live within driving distance of still have a lot to offer.
After Google’s most drastic algorithm change to-date, the blogging world went all sorts of mad, and I quickly became inundated with “link removal requests.” Smarmy internet businesses who had spammed Woman Tribune were now emailing me asking (or more like demanding) that I take time out of my day to remove their links. It turns out that I get mean when my work is threatened by unethical internet business people who expect me to hop-to to clean up their messes.
A new weekly feature on Woman Tribune was created this past summer. Every Monday morning (for the most part) I have been posting about bands you may have not heard of before for Monday Morning Tunes. As someone who is constantly looking for new music to fuel my appetite for new, interesting, and exciting sounds; and a penchant for sharing all of the new music I routinely find, this was the perfect feature for Woman Tribune, and for my sanity.