8 reasons 2013 was kind of awesome.

This might go down as the year that Buzzfeed became part of my daily repertoire. (Really, how did we get through the workday before “22 Lies Disney Told About Hair” posts?) So, it felt fitting that I would do an oddly numbered, gif-accented list in order to commemorate the year that was – one that started off a little bit rough, but seems to be going out on a high note – or at least one in which I’m (knocking on wood) employed.

So, in no particular order, the eight reasons 2013 was kind of awesome.

1. My little brother got married

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There were two reasons that being unemployed and living at home weren’t so bad. The second is coming a little later, but the first was being home for the lead-up to my brother’s wedding. It was so nice to just be around for these things – the dress fittings, the shower, etc. – and not have to travel to and duck out early from everything. It made me think a little harder about staying in Pittsburgh… someday.

2. The day I started my job

By April, I was dying for a job. I was desperate, and at that point, I might have taken anything. So believe me when I say that today, in December, I am so thankful that the first job I was offered and the one I eventually took has made me so happy. It’s made for some tough times, but some of the most fulfilling work I’ve ever been able to do – and standing at an empty golf course at the end of a successful tournament was one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt.

I’m never really sure if everything happens for a reason, but maybe I lost my job in order to have #1 and #2. I’m ok with that.

3. The year of Justin Timberlake

Let’s review the year of JT, shall we?

First, there was the announcement that there would be new music, and I was all:

And then he performed on the Grammys, and while I didn’t loooove Suit & Tie, it was finally Justin singing again – IN A TUX – and I was all:

And then he was a part of the greatest thing SNL has done since, well, Dick in a Box:

And then he went out on tour with Jay Z, and I got to see it (for free!!), and it was the most amazing concert experience I’ll ever have:

And then…. THEN… THE NSYNC REUNION. I don’t care that it was short. I don’t care that half of them were out of breath and a little out of shape. It was NSYNC. Together again. And it was beautiful.

And then I got to see him live for a second time in three months! And life was good.

And now he’s in a movie I genuinely want to see for the first time since The Social Network.

So, all in all, a good year for JT fangirls like myself.

4. My boys in black and gold

The other good thing about being unemployed and moving home for six months was being in Pittsburgh for the entirety of a Penguins regular season – something I hadn’t been able to do since 2003-04. Granted, it was a lockout-shortened season, but it was an entire season nonetheless. From the opening game against the hated Flyers in January, a game I watched with my brother in a bar that was about to burst from excitement when the game finally started, to the closing game against #1 hockey boyfriend Jordan Staal and his new team, I got to just be at home and watch. There was no worrying about going to the bar, no digging up shitty internet feeds, no shelling out money for the Center Ice package. I could just watch, cheering myself up after many, many long, hard days of job searching and rejection after rejection. The season ended in an absolutely heartbreaking fashion, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of amazing moments to experience along the way:

  • The winning streak and #undefEATON
  • Orpik scoring a series winning goal
  • Waking up at 6am to “holy shit we got Iginla?!”
  • The 20 seconds Brenden Morrow was on my team
  • Witnessing a comeback victory against the Bruins the day I found out I didn’t get a job I really wanted in Boston
  • Taking over the Verizon Center on Super Bowl Sunday
  • Spotting the Flyers a three goal lead before storming back

5. Pretending I’m in college again

I had the privilege of serving on my class’s ten year reunion committee. First of all, ten years? It’s still unbelievable to me. But the entire experience was incredible, from reconnecting with my classmates on the committee, running our social media, and finally rolling into Meadville, PA, with $20 in my pocket and knowing that would be more than enough to drink all weekend. Yeah, there was that super awkward moment when I was almost touching my ex and yet didn’t say a word to him, but that was a minor inconvenience compared to all of the fun I had that weekend. Yes, there was cheap beer and dancing to Ignition like it was 2003… but there was also talking to professors who still remembered I once attempted to try out for American Idol, touring the incredible new Comm Arts building (no rewinding VHS tapes in these A/V classes!), meeting alumni that had graduated 20, 30, even 40 years before I did, and just spending two days at a place that left me with nothing but the fondest memories.

6. Learning how to make tiramisu from an Italian Top Chef

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My good friend Lindsay visited last month, and miraculously, it just happened to coincide with an appearance by our favorite Top Chef, Fabio Viviani. We have been obsessed with Fabio for years. Ob. sessed. And with good reason. He is hilarious, he’s Italian, and he makes pasta. What’s not to love about that?

So we hightailed it over to Bloomingdale’s, stalked the housewares section, and basically became best friends with Fabio. Then he made us Nutella cookies, served us espresso, and then personally taught me how to make tiramisu.

This is all only a slight exaggeration. Look, there’s video proof!

7. Heisenberg and Jesse Pinkman

I don’t need to tell you, you’ve been here before. But when I look back at 2013, I will definitely remember the four weeks in which I furiously tore through 62 hours of brilliant, terrifying, sometimes depressing, sometimes hilarious television and finally, totally fell in love with Aaron Paul.

It was basically the year of binge watching… though Veronica Mars took quite a bit more time, and I am still stuck somewhere in the middle of Game of Thrones.

8. All of you

I’ve managed to inhabit this little corner of the internet for over two years now, and a big reason I keep this up is because of you dear readers – those who I know, those who I don’t, those who I’ve bonded with across the miles over divorce or New Girl or Jeremy Renner. I’ve grown with you over those past two years, and while I know I still have miles to go, knowing that I can rant on here and that someone is out there listening means more than you can imagine. I hope to make it to a third year, and I have some fun already planned for 2014… including another bracket that I am very excited about.

Happy Holidays, from the very bottom of my heart. Now I’m off to enjoy some mulled wine under the Christmas tree with Sid.

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