Before we even jump into this post, I have to point something out. Since I started this blog in August 2012, I’ve tried hard to post consistently but never really managed it… until this year. In 2015, despite not posting nearly as often as I wanted, I still managed to make at least one post each month. That’s such a huge improvement over previous years! In 2016, I’d like to post even more. I’m making it a goal. I’m going to accomplish that goal via time management and dedication, skills I’ve been slowly regaining and would like to continue to work on. Hell yeah!
In light of the fact that I’ve become a Much Better Blogger this year, I’ve decided to make a post highlighting some of the best things about 2015, as well as some things I’m looking forward to in the new year.
2015: Books & Comics
As usual, in January I set the lofty goal on my GoodReads account of reading 100 books. As usual, I didn’t meet that goal. In fact, I didn’t come anywhere close. Admitting defeat, I dropped my goal down to 35 books in November and as of today (Dec. 6), I’m still one book behind schedule. The worst part of that is that this year, I barely read any novels. Most of the books listed on my goal chart are actually graphic novels and comics. It’s not that these shouldn’t count as “real books” — it’s just that it feels a little like cheating, to me, to count anything less than 400 pages of solid text toward my goal. Oops? But I have loved getting more involved in comic books this year and I’ve found some really amazing ongoing series that I can’t get enough of, as well as completed ones that I wish were way, way longer. However, I wish I had balanced my reading time more to delve deeper into comics while also reading more novels and non-fiction books.
The biggest highlight of my reads this year was the first three books of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle series. I’ve actually re-read the first book already and have re-read certain portions of the second book multiple times. I encourage anyone who hasn’t checked out this series to get on it, stat, especially since the fourth and final book is slated to come out in April. A quick summary of the series:
All her life, Blue Sargent has been told that her kiss will lead to her true love’s death. Thus, she’s implemented a strict No Kissing Policy (although she doesn’t believe in true love, she doesn’t want to take risks). When she falls into friendship with four boys who attend the local private school, her resolve is tested as she ends up assisting with a years-long quest to find a centuries-dead Welsh king and discovers a lot more along the way.
I will most likely post a Year In Review Mix before New Year’s, but I must admit I didn’t listen to a ton of new music in 2015. I was so focused on changing major elements of my life that I relied on old favorites to get me through, from Paramore to Jack’s Mannequin to Brand New. That being said, I did play Nicki Minaj and Beyonce’s “Feelin Myself” on repeat until I got sick of the song and I was really into Drake’s If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late when AR would play it in my car before I sold it last spring. I’ve also been listening to The Front Bottoms’ latest, Back On Top, repeatedly since it came out (and especially since I saw them live — twice — at the end of November). My top five new releases in 2015 are:
- The Front Bottoms, Back On Top
- Frank Turner, Positive Songs for Negative People
- Drake, If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late
- Motion City Soundtrack, Panic Stations
- Little Mix, Get Weird
I’ll also admit I’m really, really pumped about the return of Adele and really, really sad about the impending hiatus of One Direction. But you know who I really missed on the music scene in 2015? Frank Ocean. Where are you? When will you release new music? Here’s hoping for a new album in 2016 (and maybe something from Zayn Malik, too).
This year, I was all about watching Netflix Original Series and binge-watching Food Network shows, as well as the one season of “The Great British Bake Off” that Netflix offers. My list of TV Shows To Watch is constantly growing; I never seem to actually shorten the list because I never have the time to sit down and watch TV (oh, how I wish there were more hours in the day!), but three series I watched this year in their entirety and loved were “Daredevil”, “Jessica Jones”, and “Sense8”. The former two are, obviously, part of the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe but feature characters that don’t fit into the overall silver screen arc that Marvel has going. “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” are nittier and grittier than other parts of the MCU, taking place in New York City and featuring vigilante, marginalized heroes.
In “Daredevil”, Matt Murdock, blinded during childhood in an accident and later orphaned, champions the law at his day job as a lawyer and goes undercover as Daredevil at night to avenge innocent victims of heinous crimes. The series is crime-based and focuses on mob activity, mostly, while also delving into the personal relationships Matt has with the people around him. It’s a well-wrought, well-paced show that’s difficult to walk away from. I’ve actually re-watched most of the first season of this series, which is something I haven’t done in a very long time.
In “Jessica Jones”, the title character attempts to navigate life as a private investigator and super-strong superhero who suffers from PTSD after being mind-controlled and repeatedly raped by her ex-boyfriend. The series showcases her relationship with her best friend and features Jessica trying to exact revenge on the man who controlled (and continues to control) so much of her life for so many years. It’s much faster-moving than “Daredevil” and features more female characters, which gives it a bit of an edge in my opinion.
In 2016, Netflix is slated to release more series in the MCU, including “Iron Fist”, “Luke Cage”, and “Defenders”.
“Sense8” is a science fiction series with a strong, visible LGBT presence that tells the story of eight people who are telepathically connected from all over the world. I watched almost this entire series in one day. The show has a very heavy concept and is very emotionally charged, but it’s also packed with action and incredibly smart. It’s impossible not to root for everyone in the main cast of characters, even when they do horrible things (usually in the name of self-defense or defense of others). I fully intend to re-watch this series in 2016, especially since it’s been picked up for a second season (!).
2015: Life Changes
I’ve talked a lot about the major life changes I’ve made in 2015. Since January, I’ve gone vegan, adopted cats with AR, sold my car, moved into a new apartment, changed jobs, become a cyclist, cut all my hair off, gotten a new piercing, gotten a new tattoo, gotten promoted, started paying off my debt, and started dealing with some of my personal issues. I’ve also gotten a lot more invested in cooking and baking, dedicated more time to blogging and writing (hello!), and slowly but surely started to learn what contentedness feels like. I love my job and I am so grateful for my home and my family and I’m doing things that I want to do, when I want to do them. I think I’ve lived a more authentic life in 2015 than ever before, which has been such a wild journey. I am genuinely excited to see what the future holds; I’m in such a better place now than I was 12 months ago. I hope that next December, I can say the same thing. (Onward and upward, right?)
To end this post on a good note (because that’s absolutely how it should end!)… Remember those tiny kittens we brought home in February? They’ll be a year old on Christmas day. Below are some recent photos of them (Tommen on the left, Jojen on the right). They’ve gotten so big. It’s really been a wild, wild year.