2011 was a really big year for me in just about every way. It's also the first full year that I've had a blog, enabling me to look back at milestones noted in blog posts and reflect on a year that has felt a decade long. I'm 31 now and have reached a bit of a turning point, in that school is over and the future is a little more open-ended than it has been in the past. Thank you all for sharing this incredible year with me. Here are some moments I won't soon forget:

1. My thesis presentation

My mom flew to Vancouver to attend my final presentation with Jeff. I was so nervous beforehand that I thought I might throw up if I ate lunch. Despite my doubts, I lived through it, presented in record time (thanks to my mentor for pointing out how quickly I talk when nervous), and was just, well...done. Finished. Numb for about two weeks afterwards. What just happened? I had finished the toughest thing I'd ever taken on: a master's degree in landscape architecture. Finished it. Weird. Still not over how awesome it feels to be out of school with that degree under my belt.

2. Graduation

One of the happiest days of my school career. Sure, it was fun to wear a hooded master's gown, but it was way more fun to share this accomplishment with all of my classmates, who I will love forever. I could not have asked to go through the landscape architecture program with better people. In my opinion, we were an amazing class with 100% wonderful, supportive people. When you felt shitty, someone made you feel better. When you didn't want to work, someone would go for coffee with you. When you felt like you needed to have a blast of sugar, someone would give you a ball hole. Without my classmates I would never have survived this program. I love the photos of all of us from graduation day! I hope we all still get a little bit of a high thinking of that sunny, amazing day!

3. My stagette in Calgary/Banff

Shortly after graduation I flew home to Calgary for my stagette. Heather organized it all for me, making sure that as many of my good friends who could be there were there. Carrah even studied in our hotel room for a while, since taking a weekend off from med school was not an easy thing to do. My sister Jenn showed up a few hours later than the rest of us, but seriously owned the club we went to that night, ruining the photos of at least four other stagette and stag parties with her hilarious antics. And Heather carefully placed the pizza in our hotel room's fridge before we all went to bed that night, ensuring that we'd have a healthy breakfast in the morning. So. Much. Fun.

4. A new job

my morning commute
Even before I went home to Calgary for a party weekend I started a new job as a junior landscape designer in a local landscape architecture firm. The biggest adjustment has been getting used to full-time work again...it's been a while, to say the least. But I really like my new job. I learn something every day, work with great people, and have told myself that I will try very hard to never make the same mistake twice. Mistakes, you see, are a given in my chosen profession, and the learning that comes from them is invaluable. I figure it I don't mess up in the same way twice, I'm learning and moving forward. And getting a paycheque again? That's just awesome.

5. Our wedding

I can't possibly sum up all of my thoughts and feelings about our wedding in this post. All I can say is that the day was everything we wanted it to be and the first four months of marriage (which makes it ten years and four months of being together) has been great. I really believe that Jeff and I did everything we could to plan the best event for our family and friends that we could possibly pull off and that the rest of the awesomeness (most of it, that is) came from our guests showing up to share the love and have a good time. Watching everyone meet each other (after hearing so much about one another from us, I'm sure), make new friends, do ridiculously hilarious shit by the end of the night, and generally have a fun time celebrating with us made this the best day ever. I knew right away that it was a once in a lifetime kind of day and found myself saying more than once, "I wish I could get married every day!" As my good friend Jill R. said, that's a good sign. Best day ever. Thank you, friends!!!

Sarah and Jeff's Wedding Video from Sarah on Vimeo.

6. Montreal/Vermont trip

To celebrate our new found freedom from planning a wedding, Jeff and I took a little vacation to Montreal. We were so long overdue in our visit! It had been nine years since we last visited Camilla! We are bad friends! Seeing what Camilla, Marigold, and Jesse get up to in their Montreal lives was so much fun. I loved riding Bixis and eating amazing food. I loved reconnecting with some Calgary people that I hadn't seen in a while (Karen!). And our short side trip to Vermont was super fun and fulfilled my dream of visiting that part of the continent at the height of autumn. We are definitely looking forward to our next Quebec visit!

7. Beating our old landlord in court

I thought about whether to include this one or not, because it's not the most fun story, but it did end up being a highlight of 2011. This time last year Jeff and I were having the worst day ever. We were wrapping up our move to our new apartment (already our old apartment...see #8) and dealing with a very unreasonable, crazy landlord. Long story short, she attempted to illegally keep our entire deposit (a full month's rent in a very expensive city) and it took eleven months for us to pry our cash from her greedy little bank account, using every legal avenue available to us. But in the end, we got it all back and then some. Thanks to everyone who listened to us freak out and complain about this over the year. We won!

8. Our new abode

Yes, we moved twice in the last year, but this time I think we'll stay put for a while. Jeff and I have a place that is nearly double the size of our last little turn of the century nun dormitory apartment. Yes, it is as suburban as we've ever lived (read: ever want to live) but we've got everything close that we need, have lots of natural light, and a remote controlled fireplace that Lola and I love very much. Furthermore, there is no satyr living above us, clomping around at 2AM. We sleep very soundly and the extra fifteen minutes on my commute is worth it.

9. Sadie Designs

photo by ryan mathieson

I couldn't end this list without talking a bit about Sadie. This was my second full year of making jewelry and blogging. The growth that I experienced as a craftsperson and that my little business experienced is very exciting. I have so many great things planned for the New Year and my 2011 customers and supporters made it all possible. More scarves, amazing new stones, and some big changes are in the works. Stay tuned and thank you!

10. Lola

Going into our fifth year with this fifty pound bundle of crazy. No better dog in the world. For real.

11. Alberta holidays

Jeff and I found ourselves wrapping up this crazy year in the company of good friends again. A hectic but fun vacation to our adopted hometown kinda brought it all together. We had some time with my family, met up with our very best friends in the world, and gave everyone one last 2011 hug. We even made up some more 2011 dirty jokes! We know we'll see you all again in 2012! Hot pumps!

This was New Year's Day on Burnaby Mountain last year. Wishing you all the very best in 2012. Thanks for reading!


  1. What a fantastically busy year! Congratulations, and I hope you have a great 2012 :)

  2. Wow, what a beautiful and eventful year for you. :) Here's to more love & accomplishments in 2012!

  3. Great photos and stories! The cinnamon bun from out East has me drooling!

  4. Sarah, your wedding dress is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Thank you for sharing 2011 with us, I'm positive you'll continue to inspire throughout 2012.
    Toni x

  5. Congrats on graduation, job, wedding etc. I love Montreal and always looking for recommendations- what were your food faves- thanks.

  6. ElleSee: Crazy busy for sure! Looking forward to some 2012 down time.

    Claire: Thank you! All the best to you in 2012, too!

    Emma: Thanks! Those cinnamon buns were ah-mazing! They had grapefruit zest in them, I think.

    Toni: Thank you so much. I knew that was the right dress the moment I saw it. :)

    Simplycyn: Thank you. Magpie (a pizza place) was by far my favourite. Sooooo good. But, of course, we also ate a little poutine. :)


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