Tag: Year in Review

2015: My Year in Review

Hi friends! 2015 was a long, interesting year that had a lot of great moments.  As is my tradition here on the blog I thought I would go over some of the personal highlights.

To begin with it started off with a very enjoyable visit from my friend and former mission companion Julia Graves.  We had a blast catching up and ringing in the New Year together.

happy new year happy new year2Then in March I went to NYC for a RHAP Survivor event, met some great people and spent several days with my sister touristing around the Big Apple!

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In April I was called to go to Georgia for work and took a very productive work trip and stretched it to an excuse to see Atlanta and all it offers! Yay for solo traveling!

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Right around that time I got my 50oth subscriber on my youtube channel.  I now have nearly 700 so if you haven’t subscribed check it out! https://www.youtube.com/user/smilingldsgirl

500subs2And I posted my 1000th post on this blog!

1000-postsIn the summer started my new open water season which was a real thrill because I had my season truncated in 2014.

First there was Great Salt Lake

gsl1Then I did Bear Lake for the first time

bear lakeAnd then in August I completed my 10th open water swim race at Deer Creek.  This time I got to do it with my Dad, which was really special.

deer creek1 deer creek5Next up I finished my review of all the Pixar films and shorts which was an amazing experience.  Check out those reviews http://54disneyreviews.com/pixar-reviews/I also got the treat of 2 Pixar films this year!

inside out5good dinosaur famiyI did a series on my youtube channel I’m immensely proud of called Did the Right Film Win?  Where I looked at the animated Oscars and decided if the right film won.  Through this and other projects I really improved my channel and gained new skills in editing and using Adobe Premiere effectively (a colossal task I assure you!)

In the Fall I had the treat of seeing Idina Menzel in concert and she was fabulous.  My friend Heidi went with me and we had a such a great time.


In November I was able to go to California and visit my nieces which meant a lot to me.  I don’t get to see them very much as they live in Portland and it meant a lot to me to hang out and get all the hugs I could!  I don’t have a picture of me with my niece Olive but here is me and Sparrow.

nieces sparrow

I also completed Nanowrimo for the 4th time in November!  I didn’t think I could do it but I pulled it off somehow.

migraine with ice nanowrimo winner

In December the highlight was seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens with my brother, roommate and Aunt Kate.  It was one of the most fun entertainment experiences of my life and the film did not disappoint.

rachel leiaI also loved doing podcast style videos with my friends Abby and Jeremy where discussed all 7 Star Wars films and then a review/response video with my brother Sam. If you are looking for something to listen to on a commute or something I think you will really enjoy them. Our last one was just recorded yesterday and we had a blast!

Then the final highlight of the year was having my sister and the rest of my nieces come for a visit.  What a treat to be able to see all 5 nieces in under 2 months time.  I miss them so much now they are gone back to DC.  (The one girl in the red is not my niece but the others are)

nieces lloydsI also had a great time at a new book club.  Thanks to Suey’s Books and company for being so welcoming.  It’s helped me read more and expand out of my comfort zone.  I’ve really tried to do that this year seeing films like Max Max: Fury Road or The Visit that I might not normally see.   The movie pass really made a difference to me in the number of films I can see and I recommend it for anyone that goes to 3 or more movies a month.

It’s funny as I sat down to write this piece I was thinking 2015 was a bit of a boring year but look at all the cool stuff I did! It was a great year!

For 2016 I hope to keep improving in everything in my life.  I hope to improve in my job.  I hope to improve in my relationships.  I hope to improve on my channel and both blogs. I hope to come up with new and exciting projects that people will like but more importantly I will like doing.  I hope to improve in my callings and in my daily devotions to God.  I hope to be more thoughtful and find ways to serve more than in 2015.

Either way I look forward to sharing it with all of you.  Thank you for all your support and for paying any attention to my content this year.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

2014 Year in Review

2014 was honestly one of the best years of my life.  Yep, it’s true.  It really has been a great one and it feels so long I’m kind of left wondering what even happened at the beginning of the year?

Well, the highlight of those early months was Christmas 2013 I decided to focus my energy on making my youtube channel as great as it could be.  I made a background and got off the webcam and learned how to edit.  (Poor few who suffered through my previous videos thank you!).

2015 my channel should get even better and I am so excited.  I’ve learned so much, made new friends and had a blast.  If you aren’t subscribed please do.  It really helps me out and I think you will enjoy either the box or movie reviews I post. https://www.youtube.com/user/smilingldsgirl

channel art3When I started to work on my channel I thought I was just doing it as a hobby but all that I learned proved to be extremely helpful in a surprise opportunity that came around March.  My Dad told me about a job opportunity he had heard about at Kobayashi which is the company that bought Grabber where I used to work.  It was in the marketing department, particularly digital content.

It was a part time job but anxious for a chance to break out of accounting I jumped at the chance and applied.  It’s one of those tender mercies because if I hadn’t decided to work on my channel months before I wouldn’t have had a chance of getting that job.  But after about a month and a half of applications, interviews and waiting I got the job! It was so exciting!

It was one of the best days of my life when I started the new job and it has been a great experience ever since.  I’m grateful for all those years in accounting but to be able to do something new and creative, putting all my social media and blogging experience to use,  is really a dream come true.  Plus, still get to work from home and telecommute.  I am so blessed.

rachelAnd yes, the dream job really is a dream!

In March we had the 40th book celebration for my book club.  It’s kind of sad now because I’ve taken a bit of a break .  With an injury it became too much wrangling people and planning everything, but I’m sure eventually I’ll feel inspired to start it up again.  Regardless, it was a fun party to throw.

My friends from book club.  Love these girls
My friends from book club. Love these girls
book fabric from scizzors etsy store.
book fabric from scizzors etsy store.

Before I started the new job I had the chance to travel and took a risk to visit an old friend from high school Kim Durkin I hadn’t seen in 15 years.  We had kept in touch through facebook and I was a little nervous we wouldn’t have much in common but we had a wonderful time together.  She was an amazing host and I loved going to the beach every day.  It was gorgeous and I really had the time of my life.  Plus, I was in between jobs so it was the first vacation in years where I didn’t think about work at all and just enjoyed myself.

beach12beach18  beach8Just after Tampa I was able to swim in the Great Salt Lake Marathon Swim 1 mile race and despite cramping at the start I got a great time, nearly 20 minutes faster than the previous year.

DSCF5638 DSCF5630In July I got the chance to visit my folks in California and had  a good time seeing my nieces.

bowling2 bowling1

Unfortunately the trip would end by a slip in the shower and a torn MCL that would dominate the rest of the year.  I’m still going to physical therapy for the darn injury.

knee2My injury meant that I couldn’t swim at my usual Deer Creek race, which I was feeling pretty depressed about.  Well, in an attempt to turn a negative into a positive I decided to watch the entire Disney canon something I’ve always wanted to do.  It took me from August to November but I started a new blog and had a blast watching all the Disney films.

blogI had so much fun with it and enjoyed conversing with other movie lovers that I kept up the blog even when the project was ever and did Scrooge Month in December where I reviewed 30 different versions of Christmas Carol.  If you haven’t looked at the reviews please do and add your comments.  I am very proud of the quality of the writing and I learned a lot from each review I did.  Plus, I had so much fun watching all these movies.  (2014 was also a great movie at the theaters too).


I worked more movie reviews into my channel and started a whole series called the ABC’s of my blu-ray collection.  It hasn’t gotten a ton of hits but I’ve enjoyed making the videos which is what matters.  I just posted the letter’s I and J.

I also continued my box reviews and set up a facebook page to promote the channel and have giveaways.  If you aren’t a follower to both please check them out.

Got to https://www.facebook.com/smilingldsgirlreviews for the facebook page.


I had the chance to do a collaboration with the Lawn Gnome which was really fun on our Top Forgotten Animated Films.

I’m just really proud of myself for taking a sucky situation and finding the positives.  I took on a whole new adventure and had a great time when it was very painful and difficult. I hope that is something I will have in my pocket for the future when life gets tough.  Thank you to anyone who read any of my reviews or watched any of my videos.  It means so much to me and really helped me get through a sad and painful experience.

The Fall flew by.  Two of my best friends moved this year, which was very hard for me.  I miss both Emily and Tania so much.

emily and I

Tania and me.
Tania and me.

In November I spent the month working on my Nanowrimo novel which I finished!   Winner!

1508173_10152619833772239_8048249337604887857_nThe elections also made me very happy in November!  Wahoo!


The rest of the fall was about work and trying to help my knee to heal.  I watched a lot of  movies, blogged a lot, made a lot of videos and spent a lot of time with friends and family.  It was a very happy time if frustrating with the injury.

old firends So with a new job, blog and channel I couldn’t have asked for better for 2014.  Yes I wish I hadn’t been injured but I wouldn’t have been inspired to write and try something new, so it all worked out.  I’m grateful for my life and the good people I have cheering me on and worrying about me.  I am so blessed by the Lord.

christmas cardMost importantly I’ve felt Jesus guide me all year and help me to forgive others and remain positive even when in pain.  He is the source of all happiness in my life and I know He loves me and is aware of my needs.


May 2015 be as great as 2014 for you and me and everyone! Sure love ya all!


Good Bad and 2011

So the end of 2011 has come and that means my traditional year in review.  I thought it might be fun to do something different this year by going through each month and citing one good and one bad memory I’ll take with me.  When I say bad I mean more challenging or difficult.  So here goes…

Good 🙂 Bad 😦
January Watched Sherlock on BBC and loved it Fell Down a Flight of Stairs/ Turn 30
February Make great strides in PCOS treatment Receover From Fall
March Work Success Difficult Victoza Response
April Royal Wedding Diabetes Diagnosis (then diagnosis lessened)
May Mom in Town Strabismus Surgery
June Surfing in Hawaii Exercise Pains and Struggles
July Family Reunion Difficult Preparations for Open Water Swims
August Deer Creek Swim Bad Date
September DC Visit Sore Throats
October Slam the Dam Fibromyalgia Diagnosis
November Thanksgiving at My Parents Tonsilitis
December Christmas Activities and Traditions Start of Poler (also great blessing)

Let’s hope for a 2012 with few struggles and tons of joy! Of course, we often find the greatest joy in overcoming the struggles…Still, a little breather might be nice!  Either way I am sure it will be full of growth and discovery.

It starts off with a bang.  In January I have to change my wards into the mid-singles ward.  It will be a lot of change which I am not a fan of but it will be a great opportunity to meet new people and get out of my comfort zone.  I also look forward to 3 open water swims this summer but will probably not get a big trip (have to spend money on trainers rather than plane tickets!).