last night on vacation

A few days ago I wrote about those year-end lists that show up on pretty much every website during the last month of every year. And I confessed that I didn’t write a best-of list last year, because 2012 didn’t have anything best about it.

This year, thankfully, has been much better! Still, if I’m being transparent, I have to admit that significant parts of this year have been difficult – and the past couple weeks in particular have been pretty terrible. I’m choosing to look at the many positives anyway and be thankful for a year with plenty of bests.

Obviously the best parts of my 2013 were about my family – Mark, Annalyn and the new baby. I also made a big job change and started working from home – something that’s taken some adjusting to but has been an enormous blessing. And to top it all off, I finally met my goal of writing a book proposal.

Today, though, I’ve put together a few lists of some of my favorite just-for-fun parts of 2013. Here goes!

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Favorite New Recipes of 2013:

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Favorite Books Read in 2013:

  • 7 by Jen Hatmaker – It felt life-changing at the time, and it’s certainly stuck with me for the past year. Even if it was simply closet-changing (because it inspired me to give away tons of clothes), though, this one changed me for the better.
  • A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman – This book was so good I savored it and still haven’t read the last chapter (because then it will be over!). I suspect every time I re-read this book – and I will – I’ll take away even more inspiration and challenge.
  • A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson – I laughed, I cried, I passed it on to several family members. If you haven’t read this one, do it now.
  • Submerged by Dani Pettrey – I loved this start of a new series about a family in Alaska. It’s reminiscent of the O’Malley series by Dee Henderson – which in the world of Christian fiction is high praise from me!
  • The Gallagher Girls series & The Heist Society series by Ally Carter – Yes, two fluffy YA series – and I loved them! The Heist Society is like a junior version of Oceans 11, and The Gallagher Girls is like Alias, the prep school version. And both feature strong girls on fun adventures.
  • The Girl of Fire & Thorns by Rae Carson – I don’t remember why I picked up this book in the first place, but I really enjoyed the whole series. That surprised me, because while I like a lot of young adult fantasy books, I don’t normally love the historical kind (which this was). But I did. A lot!

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Favorite Movies of 2013:

  • Jack Reacher – I know Tom Cruise is crazy town, but he does play a certain kind of character well. And this tough guy military cop (based on books I haven’t read) is that kind of character. I’m already looking forward to the next one in the series.
  • Argo – History plus spies plus Ben Affleck. Yep, it was a winner in my house!
  • Iron Man 3 – I read that some people didn’t like this one, but I loved this angsty, post-Avengers Iron Man. Have you heard – will there be a fourth movie? I hope so!
  • Red 2 – Yep. I like old spies. I mean, I like young spies, so why wouldn’t I love old ones?! Also, how does Helen Mirren get her hair to look so great??
  • Catching Fire – Look. These movies stress me out just as much as the books did. But they’re also just as GOOD – even if the general consensus seems to be Peeta All the Way after this last one. (You know, the one with the horrible cliffhanger?! Yes, that one.)

(Yes, we watch a lot of action movies around here!)

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Favorite TV Shows in 2013:

(In no particular order. Honest!)

  • Suits – This USA show is intense and maybe a teensy bit melodramatic. And it seems like it’d be boring, you know – a show about rich, scheming corporate lawyers. But is is really not.
  • So You Think You Can Dance – I somehow missed the entire season in 2012, but that just made watching every single episode of 2013 all the better. OH, how I’d missed Nigel, Cat and the incredible dancers!
  • Arrow – Yes, it is a semi-superhero show. On the CW. With the guy famous only for abs. But it really IS good! (Well, it was WAY better in the spring, but I’m still watching it for now.)
  • Parks & Recreation – Funny. Sweet. And my favorite ever.
  • New Girl/The Mindy Project – I’ve told you Tuesday nights of comedy are my favorite night of TV. These two shows are why – and I’m counting them as one because I can’t pick one. They’re equal in my mind!

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Favorite New Blogs to Read:

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Top 2013 Posts from Giving Up on Perfect:

What were the best parts of YOUR 2013? Tell us in the comments!

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