Frames From The Year: 2012

Two words: thank goodness. Today is an incredibly emotional day for me. It’s the end of what was a very arduous year for my family and I. I would be lying if I told you that I haven’t been looking forward to this day since the early months of 2012. I knew early on (as my New Year’s Eve celebration foreshadowed) that 2012 would be a challenging year, but I had no idea just how much strain it would put on me and my loved ones. Today, instead of reflecting on the hardships and tragedies faced by everyone (nationwide!) this year, I want to shed light on all the amazing events that went down in the past twelve months. After all, the year wasn’t all dark and gloomy!


{January: I started a new career at a place that I considered to be my dream job at the time. Armed with a brand new professional wardrobe, I was ready to conquer the world! I spent four weeks in training where I met great people from all around the country, and many of us still talk to this day. I also spent time with my wonderful kitty and “enjoyed” winter.}


{February: Probably the most uneventful month of the entire year. The only honorable mentions would be my room transformation with the addition of a huge bed and my now-beloved bookshelf. I also started using a Kindle and slowly (key word being slowly) fell in love with it.}


{March: I ran my first race of the year, the Shamrock Shuffle! There were both good and bad consequences as my love for running returned but with it came shin splits and runner’s knee. This was also the month one of my close friends became another year older, and we celebrated with a Hawaiian-themed party. The final shoutout goes to the awesomely warm weather that came about this month…shorts and a tank? I’ll take it!}


{April: One of my best friends turned 24 years old and we celebrated at a Mediterranean restaurant with fancy drinks. Russian Pasha (our Orthodox Easter) also fell on a weekend in April this year, and festive eggs were a necessity. More oddly warm weather occurred in April, and my family and I made sure to take full advantage of it!}


{May: It all began with the purchase of a new car! This month was also filled with a lot of family and friend time. My mom and dad both celebrated their birthdays with plenty of food, flowers, and outdoor adventures. We also celebrated Mother’s Day out in Chi city over a scrumptious lunch outdoors. My husband-and-wife friends/couple both graduated in May as well, so celebrations surrounding that milestone also took place. The month ended with a trip to Michigan for Memorial Day weekend…one of my favorite trips of the entire year!}


{June: Another eventful month! It started with The Color Run with a group of co-workers, where we ran along Lake Michigan at our own pace and made sure to take plenty of colorful photos together. The following weekend two of my co-workers and I made our way to Vegas, and the trip turned out to be one of the wildest and most fun events I’ve experienced in a while! Later in the month my family and I celebrated Father’s Day with a delicious barbecue in our backyard. The month concluded with a reconciliation of my best friend and I after a major fight – we reunited on her birthday and rekindled our decade-long friendship over two birthday shots.}


{July: This was the month I ran my very first half marathon! It was painful but I made it through and got my medal at the end. The 4th of July was also another celebratory event this month, although my sister and I simply spent it together watching the Kardashians all night and eating fresh summer fruit. One of my old high school friend turned 23 this month, and we celebrated with a night out on the town with our old high school crew! The month concluded with plenty of Olympic-watching…I was obsessed!}


{August: The most memorable and touching month of the entire year. Three key events stand out in my mind: my birthday, my sister’s birthday, and our trip to Russia! You can check out all the recaps from our Russian adventures here: 1, 2, 3, 4. August was an incredibly special month – I never felt more blessed and grateful for my family than I did in the span of four weeks. August was also incredibly special because one of my best friends announced that she is pregnant with a baby girl and is due in March!}


{September: The month of running races! I ran three races this month: I Run Chicago 8K, Run For Blood 5K with my sister, and the Rosehill Cemetery Crypt 5K in which I received a medal for placing first in my age division. I also finally bought Pinkie, my beautiful new iPhone 5…our relationship is still going strong and grows daily. Speaking of relationships, my parents celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary on the 13th! The month ended with a farewell party for my engineering soulmate who is now officially living in Texas.}


{October: Ahh Fall finally paid us a visit! My mom and I made sure to take full advantage of the beautiful color palette and we spent an entire day hiking at Starved Rock. This was the month my pumpkin obsession came back at full force (no complaints though) and I started baking non-stop. I also hosted my very first giveaway on this blog and did something spontaneous that subtly changed my life – I purchased tickets to NYC! The month ended with a Halloween-themed 5K race where I dressed as a pink Superwoman and PRed.}


{November: A month I would consider life-changing all because of a spontaneous and short trip to the city that never sleeps – New York City! But let’s back up to the start of the month – my mom, sister, and I made our way out to Michigan for the second time this year. Although Fall was near its end-point, we still enjoyed the beautiful outdoors. Mid-November marked my second-to-last race of the year: Chicago’s Perfect 10K, which went very well! The following weekend my mom and I flew out to the Big Apple for two nights where we spent all weekend exploring the gorgeous city and eating delicious food. One week later we all got together as a family for a delicious (and healthy!) Thanksgiving feast. In the baking department, my major accomplishment was the Recovering Runner’s Rice Crispy Treats recipe, which I’m still obsessed with to this day.}


{December: And here we are now, the last month of the year. This past month has been fantastic. It all started with the conclusion of this year’s running season – the Santa Hustle 5K was my last race of the year. Although I can literally count on one hand the number of times I ran this past month, I don’t feel too guilty about my little break from running. I’ve been more social this month than I’ve been all year and I’m loving every second of it! I went to my first blogger book club early this month, where I finally got to put faces to all the wonderful Chicago blogs I read daily. I also set up our Christmas tree, which is an accomplishment in itself. I made sure to make plenty of time for my old friends and we had a few wild nights out together. Last weekend my family and I celebrated a low-key Christmas that featured a Russian-esque breakfast followed by a trip to the movie theatre. My friend (the pregnant one) had a much more eventful Christmas…she got engaged! The final noteworthy mention is my new hair color…I’m loving the dark brown with reddish tints!}

See? The year wasn’t all that bad now that I took the time to pick out all the happy events! It’s always easy to concentrate on the negatives in our lives and overlook all the happy moments throughout the days/months/years. This post has definitely helped put things in perspective for me, especially considering how much disappointment I initially felt when looking back at 2012. Every year will have its share of good and bad happenings, we just need to find a way to find our balance.

With that said, I suspect that 2013 is going to be incredible. I refuse to get my hopes up and my expectations high, but I can’t help but have a good feeling lingering in my heart.

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! Let’s ring out the old year with a bang and ring in the new year with happiness, love and hopefulness. See you next year!

♥ Irina


  1. December 31, 2012 / 7:57 am

    It’s nice to see your recap. I’m not exactly sure when I started following you (I know quite a while ago) but I do recognize a good portion of these photos. As I’ve always told you girl, you could seriously be a super model you are absolutely stunning.

    • January 5, 2013 / 8:21 pm

      Aw thanks so much girl! I feel like I really lost my self-confidence this year, so a compliment like that definitely puts a huge smile on my face 🙂 You are quite a gorgeous gal yourself 😉

  2. December 31, 2012 / 9:04 am

    I agree with Hollie. I love seeing all of your experiences this year. I think it shows the importance of documenting all things in life. You are right that there will be good and bad in the year 2013. The important thing is to realize we are blessed and that everything happens for a reason. No matter what 2013 will be a year to remember

    • January 5, 2013 / 8:34 pm

      Absolutely – there is no such thing as a perfect year. Each day/week/month will come with its share of challenges, but as long as you learn to tread the water and ride it out, all will be well! I feel like this year has taught me a lot and turned me into a more resilient person. Cheers to 2013!

  3. December 31, 2012 / 10:35 am

    I loved this recap! I hope you have a wonderful New Years Eve and that 2013 is better to you than 2012!

    • January 5, 2013 / 8:35 pm

      Thanks! Cheers to 2013!!!

  4. December 31, 2012 / 11:45 am

    um I love this! You have done so much this past year and really jumped at new experiences. that is something I hope I can do.

    • January 5, 2013 / 8:38 pm

      You should make it one of your goals to try out more spontaneous things! It’s tough and nerve-wrecking but the feeling of pride and excitement afterwards makes it all worth it.

  5. December 31, 2012 / 2:34 pm

    Wow, you had such a lot going on in life! It’s great to see how – while 2012 proved to be challenging for you – you can still see all the positives of the past year.

    I hope you have a splendid New Year’s Eve and that 2013 holds a lot of marvelousness for you!

    • January 5, 2013 / 8:41 pm

      It was touch, but putting together this post helped me pick-point out all the wonderful events in 2012 that I overlooked while whining and complaining about all the negatives in the past year. A great change of perspective!

  6. December 31, 2012 / 3:59 pm

    I love the fact that despite a tough year, you were able to see the good. That’s what is important!!! Cheers to 2013!

    • January 5, 2013 / 8:42 pm

      Putting together this post helped point out the positives from 2012! Happy New Year!

  7. January 1, 2013 / 1:37 am

    I absolutely loved this recap and all of the cute pics 🙂

    • January 5, 2013 / 8:43 pm

      Thank you! I had fun putting it all together 🙂

  8. January 1, 2013 / 10:51 am

    I love this recap and am glad you have a positive attitude towards 2013 :)!

    • January 5, 2013 / 8:44 pm

      Thanks! I can’t even tell you how excited I am for this new year. While no year can be absolutely perfect, I feel much more prepared to take on the challenges that 2013 will bring!

  9. January 1, 2013 / 4:34 pm

    YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL. Although 2012 was challenging at times, it still looks like you had a wonderful year. I know 2013 is going to be even better!

    • January 5, 2013 / 8:45 pm

      Aw thank you so much girl! 2013 WILL be amazing…I can’t wait 🙂

  10. January 1, 2013 / 7:35 pm

    I love all of these recaps of 2012. It’s always so amazing to look back at everything that happened and all that you learned and experienced. 2013 is going to be a great year for you – I can FEEL it! HAPPY 2013 and I hope you had a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration to ring in what is going to be a wonderful year!!!!!

    • January 5, 2013 / 8:47 pm

      2012 was tough because it was the year of growth thanks to all those challenges. Cheers to 2012…hopefully it will bring good things our way!

  11. January 1, 2013 / 9:46 pm

    Love your photos. 2013 is going to be a hell of a year!

    • January 5, 2013 / 8:48 pm

      Thanks, I certainly hope so! Hopefully there will be many more running dates as well 🙂 As soon as I start breathing again…damn flu…