2014 has come and gone now, which means it’s time for another Year In Review! 2014 was a milestone year for me, and a year of transformation. I moved to Texas, started a new job at a great company, met a great girl, met a ton of awesome friends, experienced a ton of new things, and got in the best shape of my life. I have to say, out of all the years I’ve seen, 2014 is definitely at the top of the list so far. This year was packed full of events. Each month was so full that I had a hard time organizing it all. I did my best:
January was a month of a lot of big decisions. I left my job at JB Systems and did a lot of interviews for new jobs. I left my home in Wisconsin and made the big leap down south to Dallas, Texas (drove there in my 2000 Jetta). I nailed my dream job at rewardStyle.
I started working for rewardStyle officially on February 3rd. I moved into my new home at Bella Casita apartments in Las Colinas, Irving, Texas. About two weeks after starting at my new job, my old Jetta, somehow sensing that its work was complete decided to break down. Instead of sinking another $600 into fixing the car, I went out and got my first new car ever. I got what I love: a 2014 candy white VW Jetta.
My sister, Mackenzie visited Dallas for her birthday! I also started filling up my apartment slowly with more furniture. Looking at the picture below, I was thinking my apartment was really starting to shape up at the time – but it looks so bare compared to now! There wasn’t even a table or a TV stand. Just a couch and a TV on the floor to call the living room. My best friend since middle school, Bryan also visited Dallas. We rented bikes and went on bike rides, checked out bars, went on a reddit pub crawl, and went to a bunch of Texas restaurants. I also started going to the gym on a daily basis and got serious about getting into shape.
April was a huge month for me. I met an amazing girl at the beginning of the month, who I later started dating: Jenny Park. We met on Tinder, and after our first date we were hooked. I went back to Wisconsin for the first time since the big move for Easter, just for the weekend. When I came back we had our huge annual conference hosted by my office: rsTheCon. It was a two day event, and a lot of fun. I brought Jenny with for the after party on Saturday evening.
I went on my first Texas road trip! I believe this was the weekend directly following the conference. It was sort of a spontaneous trip because work gave us Friday off as a reward for hard work at the conference. Wow, looking back, I really packed a lot of things into one week. The Austin road trip was amazing — I had so much fun and I really wanna go back. There’s still a long list of to-do items that we didn’t get to.
Jenny helped renovate the apartment. We got a table, new lighting, mirrors, a rug, plants, a TV wall mount, and a few other things. My place was finally starting to come together.
I bought a pair of running shoes and started running three miles a day, five days a week. This is when I really started taking fitness seriously and started to get in much better shape.
Dog-sat Nala for Taylor. We had our own little doggie for about a month and a half.
Oh, and I turned 25! That’s a big milestone in itself. I had a great day at work, came home after a half day (summer hour Fridays at the office), and saw that Jenny had decorated the entire apartment with streamers and had a cake in the fridge. She was trying to keep the cake a surprise, but she didn’t really do a good job. She said we were going to go see the new X-Men movie, but instead surprised me with a surprise dinner party at Tilman’s Roadhouse and invited a bunch of my coworkers. Definitely the best 25th birthday I’ve ever had.
June was essentially a month of partying. We didn’t really get much accomplished and had a ton of fun doing it. We went to a pool party at Club Sisu. We stayed out all night and slept all day (sometimes not at all). Taylor moved in, kinda. He crashed on our couch for a while, and more and more of his things started showing up around the apartment haha. He did find a place, though! We also dog-sat for Kody and Kelsey, so we had both Scout and Nala at the same time at one point this month.
Jenny also started working at Origin Kitchen and I discovered the magic of brunch. Texas does brunch seriously. Seriously well. #doses and #mimosas
Finally got my Texas driver’s license (after five visits to the DMV), which made me officially a Texan. I got a huge raise at work and we went to Winstar to celebrate. We went to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens and saw the Japanese zen garden and a ton of koi fish. Jenny got her hair dyed to all the colors of the rainbow. We went and saw The Neighbourhood in concert at South Side Ballroom and pulled an all nighter at Eden the same night. Definitely my favorite concert so far. My office had a boat party to celebrate its 3 year anniversary.
Mom and Dad visited Dallas! I took off half a week of work and we definitely filled up the days with a lot of Texan things, but there’s still a big list left for the next time they visit. They came at a beautiful time of the year, it was super warm and sunny the entire time.
My fitness efforts finally started showing visible results. It was nice to see that my work was paying off, but I also started something new this month: the keto diet. I’ve been doing this ever since September (still today) and with amazing results. The keto diet is essentially a low carb diet, and it worked wonders for me.
Jenny got a bit creative when she was cutting my hair and decided to make the sides short. Thus, my long curly hairstyle died forever. New hair, new Drew!
We went to Mad Decent Block Party, a huge outdoor summer music festival for electronic music lovers.
We went to the Oddball Comedy Tour and saw Louis CK, my favorite comedian!
We went to our first ever Texas State Fair! I got to go for free because it was part of a work event: rS takes over the state fair.
Dad visited Dallas again, this time driving all the way down in one go. He brought a bunch of my stuff down from Wisconsin and I had to figure out what to do with it all. We went to the State Fair together, this time at night.
Jenny and I went with Jose and Eddie to see Adventure Club at South Side. This was also an awesome show, definitely on par with The Neighbourhood.
Jenny carved pumpkins for the first time! She carved Pusheen the cat and I carved Finn the human.
We started frequenting Taylor’s new bar, Round-Up on Saturday afternoons after Jenny got off work.
Grandma visited Dallas! Unfortunately, she picked the worst weekend to visit because it was uncharacteristically cold the entire time she was here. We did get to go see the Dallas Arboretum and the tallest standing indoor Christmas tree in the US, though.
Jenny, Bryan, and I went to Los Angeles to visit Larry Chan! He moved to LA a few years ago to work at Space X. We spent most of our time on the beach, but we also got a nice tour of Space X.
Gas fell under $2 a gallon in Dallas. Lowest I’ve seen so far is $1.79 – never thought I’d see that again. Crazy!
We had a Friendsgiving Extravaganza at our place where Jenny cooked a feast fit for 12, but for actually 4.
And finally we come to the end of an amazing year. Jenny started a new job at Eureka Burger Bar, I hit my goal weight, I bought a pull-up bar for even more at-home fitness, and we had my office hipster themed holiday party. I went back to Wisconsin for a week and got to see family and catch up with a ton of old friends (still didn’t get to see everyone I tried to, though!) Wisconsin’s spaced out land and hilly landscape was a stark contrast to Dallas’ flat land and urban architecture. It definitely felt strange to be back after not even a full year away.
I created a special album that showcases my 2014. Click the link below to view it.
Here’s to a great 2015!