Goodbye, hello, thank you.

Tick tock, tick tock.

Do you hear that? It’s 2012, winding down. I woke up this morning and realized there are only a couple of days left in the year!

I confess: I’ll be a little sad to see 2012 go! We had some amazingly good times together, 2012 and me. But the train keeps on a-rollin’, and I have high hopes that 2013 will impress me- starting with a last-minute trip to the Rose Bowl on the first day of the year (eeeeee!).

One of my unexpected joys this year has been writing this blog. When I started The Usual Bliss back in April, I didn’t have any clue. I just started pecking away at my computer, sharing photos, and spilling my guts. I’ve made friends, been inspired, and rekindled a love for writing that I’d all but forgotten. Thank you, dear readers, for helping make a little hobby into something so meaningful to me!

Today, there was a notification in my inbox that I’d been nominated for a blog award, one of a handful that have come my way lately. I’m so grateful to these bloggers for their nominations!

Dolacotidiana AND Life is Funny for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.


Adventures of a Dog Mom for the Kreativ Blogger Award.


Painted by the Sun for the Blog of the Year Award.


How awesome! As always, it means so much to be recognized and appreciated by fellow bloggers. It encourages me to continue to write and improve my efforts with The Usual Bliss. Thank you!

Each award is accompanied by the request to display it, and share it with other deserving bloggers (below). I’m also asked to give up tidbits of info about myself.  So, as requested, some random facts about me

I like honey in my tea and a shake of cinnamon in my coffee. But I’ll choose coffee over tea every time.

I totally suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. It usually hits in late January or early February. Mexico trip, anyone?


I got my first perm (Annie-style) in preschool (it was cute) and my last one as a freshman in college (it was a mistake).


In four short days, I’ll be 40 minus 2. And I still have zero babies. Both are unfathomable.

I’m scared to try a hot yoga class. I’ll be the one that passes out onto someone else.

I went to five proms. The majority of my dresses were teal.

I love facial serums. I have no idea if they work or not, but I keep buying them. Ooooh! I also love a lip serum that my good friend Nancy sells- that one definitely works!


Some people have a shoe fetish. Mine is a new dress. I have 116 dresses hanging in my closet at this moment. I think it’s time for a closet purge– if only to make room for some new ones.


I wear earrings every single day, without fail, but very rarely wear necklaces. I can’t figure out how to do them both together, and without earrings, I feel unfinished.


I love false eyelashes but cannot for the LIFE of me apply mascara. After 24 years of wearing it, I end up with my top eyelid coated with smudges and mistakes every single time. HOT.

I have a thing for seahorses. And have you ever seen a BABY seahorse? I die!


It took me, like, 3 days to read Neil Young’s autobiography and nearly three months to read Julia Child’s bio. Phew!


Thanks to this, I have added baby boar piglets to my must-have list for my fantasy future farm life. (Also included: baby goats and a chicken coop.)

While I truly love nesting into a home with my hubby, I have always enjoyed living alone. Everyone should do it at some point in life- one learns a lot.

I love to cook- and hate eating leftovers. But I think I’m onto something with the Shepherd’s Pie trendmore on that soon!

And now, a few WordPress blogs I enjoy. Please let me know what I should be reading- remember, I’m on a quest for inspiration!

The Way to his Heart– Delish food that is also approachable and not intimidating!

Passport to Bliss– Travel doesn’t mean happy- fill your passport with HAPPINESS. Brilliant.

Vagabond Baker– She lives in a camper van (dreamy) and bakes INSANELY yummy-looking things!

Lazy Hippie Mama– I’m lazy. I’ve got hippie tendencies. And I’m a (doggie) mama. BFFs.

The Best Life– She gave birth in four minutes and participates in Champagne Thursdays. Love.

Take a peek at these blogs and be inspired. They’ll make you laugh, get moving, be more aware, try something new, and create something in the kitchen. (To the nominees, do what you will with the award- I just wanted to recognize you as inspirational to me.)

I’ve got a good-lookin’ hubby in the kitchen tonight, making something tasty for supper. I’ve got an un-puppy at my feet, giving my slippers some time off. I’ve got a long list of things to be thankful for as I prepare to bid adieu to 2012. That thought warms my soul… even though it’s 17 degrees outside.

How about you? What are you most thankful for this year? 


  1. Hi Amber! Thanks so much for the shout out! Your blog ranks right up there as one of my faves – thank YOU for the inspiration too! 🙂
    You should totally try hot yoga! I was so worried I’d pass out, but it was quite relaxing, and it helped ease the pain in my joints.
    Oh & speaking of unfathomable, the “stork” keeps passing by my house continuously…I think he’s getting my address mixed up with someone else…stupid stork!!! lol! I’m going to try & rope him down in 2013!!! 🙂
    Have a wonderful New Year Amber!

  2. For the LOVE OF PERM! Loved the year-end round up, and what a year you’ve had! Excited to check out your blog favorites (MUST read about this magical mama who gave birth in 4 minutes)

  3. Love your blog, Amber. Sea horses are pretty cute! (Hot mama alert on the surf shot.). On babies? I had my first at 35, my fourth at 40, my best friend’s wife had hers at 42. No worries! Enjoy the newlywed time; it is super important to happy and effective parenting.

    Cheers! Can’t wait to see what you’ll bring for 2013. 🙂

    1. I was watching baby humpbacks jump in the sea in that photo! Amazing!
      I think you’ve talked me off the ledge regarding babies before, Shannon. I appreciate the reassurance. Sometimes that number just seems SO BIG. THANK YOU for thoughtful words. 🙂

  4. Congrats on the awards!

    As for the hot yoga… passing out would be way better than making it through the class only to walk outside and throw up in their landscaping… true story… and stupid me I tried it again the following week with the same result… I haven’t been back since.

  5. Congratulations on your awards, Amber! Your blog is cozy, honest, and absolutely charming – more awards are certainly on their way to you in 2013. As for the hot yoga: I am just-about-certified as a yoga instructor, and have learned arguments about pros and cons from both sides. But, as a Minnesota girl who lives through long winters (as I know you can relate to), sometimes a girl just needs to feel WARM. 🙂 Cheers to more fabulous blogging!

  6. Amber, great wrap-up and congrats on all the awards! A truly fantastic end to a fantastic year. Have a great time at the Rose Bowl (I’ve lived about an hour away my whole life and have never made it to the game or the parade) and a very Happy New Year!

    1. That was my second time at the Rose Bowl- both times AFTER I moved away. I think that’s one of those things you don’t really do as a local unless your team is playing! I hope you had a great week, too!

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