7 In Lifestyle

Happy New Year – 2015 in Review

Happy new year

Happy New Year!

I hope the onset of 2016 finds you happy, healthy and relaxed ready for all this new year has to give! Now I don’t know about you, but 2015 for me was insane intense, delivering almost everything. There were highs and lows, laughs and tears, success and failures, and a lot of wedding planning to boot. I’m happy to say that I dealt with most of it with a big smile and guttural laugh, even if on the inside I was a nervous wreck (at times).


My Biggest Achievements

I co-authored a book

I always dreamed of being a published author, and 2015 saw this dream partially achieved when my story was included as a chapter in this beautiful, inspirational book. In fact, I think I’m still pinching myself in disbelief.

Heart to Heart: The Path to Wellness

Grab your copy of The Path to Wellness here – it’s the perfect read to kick off the new year!

The only problem now is that I need to get serious about writing my book in its entirety!

I quit my part-time job to work for myself full-time

This was both a blessing and a curse, as for a time I was working almost 7 days a week, days and nights, juggling a part-time project management gig for the government and multiple clients. Talk about exhausted from juggling way too many balls! And as things went slightly pear-shaped in the project management gig, I finally decided the time was right and jumped ship on to my very own jet boat. I’m really glad I made this decision when I did because business only got busier from September through to December (thus the jet boat reference) whereby it looked like I would need to hire someone or sub-contract! Luckily and unfortunately a few of my contracts have now ended with the close of the year, so I start the new year with a clean slate and a state of wonder over which direction 2016 will whisk me in and what opportunities it will deliver. This is both exciting and terrifying.

What was your biggest achievement for 2015 (and it doesn’t matter if it’s small, as often the smallest thing can be a big achievement!)?

My most challenging moments

I almost lost my companion of 13 1/2 years

When I whisked my dog Kahlua to the vet in November as she hadn’t eaten for days and was continuously vomiting, I suspected it would be bad but I didn’t expect her decline to be so rapid. Within the space of a few hours she was jaundiced, suffering from liver and kidney failure and given days to live if that.

I’m not naive. I know that at the age of 13 1/2 the time will soon come, but it was still a major shock to the system being faced with that decision. But I couldn’t do it and I had to believe she could pull through, that she would fight, and that she would live. And so I hit Dr Google hard, researched as much as I could, started playing around with recipes, buying baby food to syringe feed her, and just lying next to her with my hand on her body to show her I was there. I’m not religious, but I also prayed. As she started eating bits and pieces I found myself on certain days cooking 6 different meals just to see if I could get her to eat anything. It didn’t look good, and as I’d catch D looking at me, I knew he was pleading with me for mine and Kahluas sake to give up, to let her go peacefully, but I refused to as I saw signs of improvement here and there.

I almost lost my companion of 13 1/2 years

And here we have it, 2 January and Kailua and I just got back from our regular 25 minute walk through the neighbourhood (not in this photo – this photo was taken during visiting time at the vet’s in November). She’s also about to heartily plough into a big bowl of chicken mince, veggies and rice noodles.

Strangely enough, she seems healthier than before the liver and kidney failure, with a new spring in her step, hardly any signs of arthritis, a curiosity to explore, and an appetite for life, long walks, play-time and food. Her blood work is also a lot better. Of course, the vet still gives her a few months but we’ll see how we go as you really never know! And that’s why I call her our Christmas miracle in more than one way. To really have to fight for something you love, to be all encompassed with emotion, to feel raw and lost, and then to realise you have another chance, my heart has been taught a very big lesson and it has also opened up…

My cousin, one year my junior, passed away suddenly

Due to get married late October, Vanessa passed away suddenly in August after a tumultuous life which finally looked like it was turning around. I wrote about it here, a post where I bared my sadness but also shared my memories of the beauty in having reconnected with her again in the last two years.

What was your hardest moment of 2015? Guess what, you got through it and made it to 2016! Keep fighting – you can do it!

Biggest Lesson

Ugh. That’s how I feel about lessons. When do we stop learning them! But then again, that’s the purpose of life right. To live and learn and to fight another day.

Book publishing is not for the faint hearted

For me, the biggest lesson learned in 2015 followed the book publishing deal. You see, being published is one thing but trying to sell your book, dealing with book distribution companies, facing the fact that not all of your friends and family will be interested. WOAH – eye opener! Fortunately I now feel like the blinkers are off and I kinda know what to look out for next time, have more of an idea about what I will do next time, and know what I hate (the flogging a dead horse marketing merry-go-round SUCKS. If you need some honest, no holes barred tips feel free to contact me!

Happiest Moments

This is going to sound terrible but I can’t name one BUT that’s because generally, even with some really sad or shitty experiences, I was generally happy for most of the year AND because there’s been a lot of happy moments. Wedding planning has generally made me happy, receiving the dress – happy, booking the venue – stoked, celebrating Christmas with family – fun times, hanging with old friends I hadn’t seen it what felt like forever – awesome, changing my first shitty nappy (my god-daughter) – surprisingly joyful / traumatic, getting my first tattoo which is very symbolic – not as painful as expected and very satisfying (also possibly addictive…).

My Tattoo

I summed up my attitude in Chasing Happiness, where I recommend living life embracing moments of idiocy, laughing loudly, and smiling.

What was your happiest moment?

How about you? How was 2015 for you and what do you have in store for 2016?

I have no idea what 2016 will bring, aside from finally getting hitched to D on the 15th of January, quickly followed by my sister’s wedding in February (us Ripper girls!). The rest, well, I’ll be tackling it all as it comes (okay…there’s a few more things planned but you will just need to watch this space for that!).


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  • Penelope James
    January 4, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Janine, Very happy for you with your upcoming wedding. Glad that Dennis has recovered from that terrible head wound. From personal experience, working for yourself is much more fulfilling, more satisfying, more trying economically as income fluctuates, and sometimes a lot more work, but at least all the glory is yours. As for book publishing, get your own book out! Last year was a bummer for me. Almost died on the eve of book publication of Getting Rid of Ian so it still hasn’t come out. I’m not fully recovered or doing much. My brother in law died and left a mess. I should have two more books coming out but nothing doing. Don’t have the energy to do much. This year will be better. Always the optimist.

    • Janine Ripper
      January 4, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      Hey Penelope, is there anything I can do to help you virtually (pro bono)?

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    January 5, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Fantastic attitude, Janine. Wishing you and Dennis many happy beginnings in 2016. ♥

  • Mackenzie Glanville
    January 5, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Your wedding is so close now, just so exciting! Those engagement photos were beautiful, I loved that Kahlua was in them it was the perfect touch! When I finally get around to doing some more editing on my book I will need advice. I have gotten carried away working on my 2nd novel and been neglecting the first one lol. Wishing you a fab 2016!

  • Marie
    January 12, 2016 at 6:04 am

    What a banner year for you! With another one (being a married woman) in the next. You should be proud of yourself Janine! And yes, marketing sucks so bad!!!!

  • Maureen Pilkington
    January 14, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    I have loved finding you via Yummy mummy and loved reading your some of your posts.
    I have a question
    Is there any way I could ask you a few questions and also for some advice about starting my own blog?
    Congratulations on your up coming wedding
    Yours sincerely
    Maureen Pilkington

    • Janine Ripper
      January 21, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Hey Maureen, Firstly sorry for the belated response. I took some time off to get married. Thanks for the compliment – glad you found me! No problem about advice – feel free to email me at janine@janineripper.com. Happy to help!

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