It’s that time again for a massive goals update complete with:

  • 2018 goals revisited
  • Autumn goals revisited
  • 2019 goals
  • Winter goals

Here are how my last year’s New Year’s goals went:

  • Travel to three new countries: In 2018, I went to two new countries (Norway and South Africa) and also re-visited Spain and Luxembourg, so I’d say I’m pretty happy with the way this turned out.
  • Travel to three new U.K. destinations: I visited Cardiff, Kew Botanical Gardens, the Scottish Highlands and Seven Sisters and passed through Portsmouth and Reading. Again, I’m pretty happy with the way this turned out.
  • Attend one football game, one hockey game and one musical: Although I did not make it to a football game, I don’t regret not going as it never really grew on me. I did see a hockey game (Cardiff Devils) and musical (The Lion King).
  • Visit home:My U.K. visa expired so I was home in time for Christmas where I am currently stationed trying to figure out my next move.
  • Get a pet:Did not happen, but I don’t mind. I will keep the idea of a pet on the backburner when I look (hopefully) for my first place this year.

I have also set goals for my last few months of my time in the U.K., here’s how it went:

  • Work 40 hours a week: More or less.
  • Travel to one new U.K. city: Cardiff, Wales.
  • See a musical: The Lion King.
  • Travel to one new country: Didn’t happen.
  • Read two books a month: Did happen! More or less… I read 25 books last year so that averaged it out.
  • Complete a new T.V. series: I watched Dancing Queen and Travels with my Father, I especially enjoyed the latter.
  • Apply for five jobs a week (until mid-November): I applied for all the jobs I can manage, but the universe wasn’t on my side.
  • Blog for 5-10 hours a week: I was definitely in the lower end of this range.
  • Watch more films: I watched more films in the last few months than I have all year. Some of my favorites were Crazy Rich Asians and Arrival.

Here are my big goals for 2019:

  • Start my career: By the end of 2019, my biggest goal is to be in a job I like in my field (conservation biology). I really hope that’s not too much to ask for…
  • Get a car: Being away for so long, I truly forgot how impossible it is to live in a lot of places in the U.S. without a car. This bit will probably be done in the next week or two!
  • Visit three new countries: My brother and I are still in the throes of planning a trip to Southeast Asia and while I hope to travel to as many countries as possible then, that might not be realistic. If we cut that trip short, I hope to visit Mexico as I live so close but have never been.
  • Visit one new U.S. state: I have only been to a handful of states in the U.S. and with friends scattered all around the country, there’s no excuse. I will likely visit my friend Lisa in Salt Lake City or my family in Montana.
  • Visit three new southwest sights: There is so much beautiful and unique nature in the southwest U.S., I hope to explore some more of it.
  • Read 35 books: I have been really enjoying reading these last few months and hope to read 10 more books this year than I did last.
  • Get in shape with exercise and better eating habits: Since I’ve been home, I’ve been a juggernaut. I’m not used to having so much food around. That combine with my lack of exercise this year has put my health in jeopardy. I know this is everyone’s goal, but I don’t want to lose a certain amount of weight or anything like that, I just want to create more mindful eating habits, an exercise routine and feel better on the inside.

Here are some smaller winter goals I will use as stepping stones to meet my big goals:

  • Find a job, even if it’s just part-time
  • Apply for 10 career jobs a week
  • Try the MeetUp app to make new friends
  • Visit one new U.S./ southwest state/ site
  • Watch more classic films
  • Read three books a month

I will update my winter goals in March sometime, stay tuned!

Photo by Zain Saleem.

What are your biggest goals of 2019?

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2018 has been a massive year, with most of it centered around finishing my Master’s degree and living in the U.K. But, like everyone, this last year has had its ups and downs…

High point: my favorite thing that happened in 2018 was probably my trip with my university course to South Africa and seeing my favorite band (Billy Talent) live for the first time.

Low point: I had a whale of a time with my anxiety and depression during the weeks leading up to my dissertation deadline and ever since trying to find my place in this world as a non-student. It was also a big bummer not being able to stay in the U.K.

Entertainment favorites:

Year In Books || Year In Films and Television Shows || Year In Travel

Year In YouTube || Year in Music

January: got let go from my pub job, started my cleaning and care giving job. Favorite post: Veganuary: The Problem with P.E.T.A. Most popular post: Study Abroad: Autumn vs. Spring Semester

February: started my third semester of my Master’s degree, saw Architects, Marmozets and Trixie Mattel live, quiz my cleaning job, so much snow. Favorite post: 10 Blogging ‘Oh No-Nos’ (second most popular post of the year) Most popular post: The Evolution of Human Sexuality

March: saw BenDeLaCreme live, went to VegFest. Favorite post: Meet My Dog: Bailey Most popular post: Six Months in the United Kingdom (third most popular post of the year)

April: visited South Africa (based out of Durban and Cape Town) with my university course for two weeks, turned 23. Favorite post: 23 Things I’ve Done in 23 Years Most popular post: South Africa Marine Field Course: Sodwana Bay

May: my brothers Kyle and Ryan visited the U.K. for ten days. Favorite post: 30 Before 30 Most popular post: 15 Unpopular Opinions (also most popular post of the year)

June: my dad visited for a few days, visited Kew Gardens, saw Foo Fighters live, saw Billy Talent live in Luxembourg, I got a car. Favorite post: Billy Talent in Luxembourg City Most popular post: Mid-June Favorite Blog Posts

July: my friend Lisa visited for a week from Salt Lake City. Favorite post: Music Monday: Smallest and Largest Gigs Most popular post: Mid-July Favorite Blog Posts

August: submitted my bitch of a Master’s dissertation and got a 2:1!), surprised my boyfriend in Madrid, visited Norway with my family. Favorite and most popular post: Bergen, Norway: A Family Affair

September: saw Arcane Roots and Enter Shikari live. Favorite and most popular post: One Year in the United Kingdom

October: got another tattoo, visited Cardiff. Favorite post: Cardiff, Wales: Pucking Hell Most popular post: Mid-October Favorite Blog Posts (seriously, guys?)

November: attended Lewes Bonfire Night, saw Creeper live, saw The Lion King on West End. Favorite post: GoodReads Clean-Up Most popular post: Lewes Bonfire Night: What the Fawkes?

December: saw Alyssa Edwards and Enter Shikari live, my friend Sam visited, visited Diego’s friend in Reading, moved back to Arizona (for now), celebrated Christmas with my family. Favorite post: Things I Will (And Won’t) Miss About the U.K. Most popular post: Year In Travel

2017 In Review

Happy New Year! What were your 2018 highlights?

Photo by Dan Whale.

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As it’s the last day of the year, I’ll be playing a big game of catch-up today cranking out a few blog posts about my year. For my final Year In installment, I will be reviewing my favorite musical discoveries (may not necessarily be released this year) since I made this post last (October 2017, so a year and a bit).

Here are my top album finds of the year more or less in order:

Meloncholia Hyms by Arcane Roots: I listened to this shortly after it came out in late 2017 and immediately fell in love. I saw them live twice since then and much to my dismay they broke up recently, but I look forward to whatever the members do next. Top tracks: Matter, Indigo, Half the World

Eternity, In Your Arms by Creeper: This is a band, again, I heard a lot of my Twitter friends talk about and they grew on me really quickly. I saw them at their “last show” in November, but we’ll see if that holds true. Top tracks: Black Rain, Suzanne, Down Below

The ’59 Sound by the Gaslight Anthem: I haven’t properly listened to them until my friend Lisa said she would visit me for their 10 year anniversary show of The ’59 Sound and that album is pretty much all I listened to for three months leading up to the show. Also, I bought the CD at the oldest record shop in the world, immortalizing this album in my heart forever. Top tracks: Old White Lincoln, Film Noir, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Rue by Hellions: I have seen some of my Twitter friends rave about them and I would to go as far as to say the approval they get is underrated. They are an incredible bands who I think (hope) have a very big future in front of them. Top tracks: Odyssey, The Lotus, X (Mwah), Get Up!

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Alright, Still by Lily Allen: My friend Lisa likes her a lot and man, why did I wait this long? This album started modern feminism.Top tracks: Smile, Not Big, Friend of Mine

Trouble Will Find Me by The National: My friend Alex gave me loads of great music recommendations this year, but this was my favorite. Top tracks: I Should Live in Salt, Sea of Love, Graceless, Pink Rabbits

Made of Bricks by Kate Nash: My coworker used to play a lot of Kate Nash at the pub and I couldn’t get enough. Top tracks: Foundations, We Get On, Merry Happy

It Never Goes Out by The Hotelier: My good friend Tom has raved about this band, but his music taste ranges from “what the hell?” to “this is the best band in the world”… thankfully, this is closer to the latter. Top tracks: Lonely Hearts Club, An Ode to the Nite Ratz Club, Still-Water Spectacle

Dreamhouse by Tides of Man: This year is a milestone for finally discovering Tilian Pearson and his amazing voice. I will certainly check out his other bands in 2019. Top tracks: Chemical Fires, Not My Love 2, Home

Honorable mentions: Everybody Down by Kate Tempest, Prequelle by Ghost, Here’s to the Fatigue by Press to MECO, Dispose by The Plot in You, Be The Cowboy by Mitski, TA13OO by Denzel Curry, Losers/Lovers by Orchards

And, of course, there was the coveted Spotify year wrap-up…

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I spend time listening to a lot different things, so songs on my top 100 playlist made it if I listened to them more than half a dozen times. With that, I’ll share my top 50 songs…

What music did you enjoy this year?

Photo by Natalie Perea.

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What a way to end the year.

To close out my time in the U.K., I spent a lot of time with my friends and Diego. I met up with my friend Tom for drinks and dinner in London and my friend Sam visited Brighton from Leicester. Sam and I went ice skating, walking around Brighton including the Lanes and pier. We also visited Seven Sisters, we he captured some amazing picture with his film camera.

I also got to go to a few shows: I saw Drag Race icon Alyssa Edwards in Brighton and Enter Shikari in Portsmouth. The Alyssa show was short but great, she is so funny and just like she is on her shows. The Enter Shikari show was really fun as well! My friends Tom and Islay came down from London and I offered to house them and in return, they surprised me by paying for my ticket. I had a really great time seeing my favorite British band in their home country for the last time in what will probably be a while.

I also drove Diego and I to Reading for his friend Andreas’s birthday celebration. We had a nice time at dinner and hanging out with Andreas’s family. It was great to finally meet Diego’s long-time friend.

Then, in the days leading up to my move back to the U.S., I had to sort my house (donated clothes and houseware), car (sold it for a bit of cash) and pack my bags. Then on December 19th, I flew back to the U.S.

Since I’ve been back, I have just been relaxing, seeing friends and family and shopping.

December In Review 2017 || December In Review 2016

What I’m watching: American Circumcision, Dumplin’, The Holiday, The American Meme, Silver Linings Playbook, Dancing Queen (season 1), Arrival, Magic Mike, Jack Whitehall: At Large, Ready Player One

What I’m reading: Sweet Home by Carys Bray, Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

Photo by Annie Spratt.

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I realize I’m years late to the party, but I got properly into YouTube this year (in the last six months or so, actually).

With that, I’d like to share a few of my favorite YouTube channels, series and videos.

PEOPLE

Cody Ko and Noel Miller (commentary/ comedy): Because you can’t have one without the other. They were one of the first people I got into on YouTube, particularly their “That’s Cringe” videos. I really hope to see them on tour next year. Favorite videos: Love Island game series, Steamy Tweets (1 & 2), That’s Cringe: Girl Defined (1 & 2), That’s Cringe: Jake Paul Teacher Diss… it’s so hard to pick only a few!

Kurtis Connor (commentary/ comedy): My friend from the great white North. He’s so funny! My favorite thing about him is the way he laughs at his own jokes. Favorite videos: The country girls of Tik Tok, Roasting my subscribers

Slazo (commentary/ comedy): He posts so much and I watch most everything he posts. I especially love his Reddit sub safari and DIWHY videos. Favorite videos: How to be an “Alpha male”, Spoiled billionaire’s son makes an awful videos, r/IHadAStroke

UNHhhh (comedy series): My all time favorite drag queens Trixie and Katya talk about… whatever they want… because it’s their show (and not yours). It’s fun to see the natural banter between the two and crude, yet amusing editing.

Honorable mentions: Danny Gonzalez, JaackMaateImAllexxAsk a MorticianJessica Kellgren-FozardTiffany Ferg, Molly Burke, Brad Mondo, Mr. Atheist

VIDEO PLAYLISTS

I also enjoyed a lot of SNL videos and Impractical Jokers bits. I put together two playlists of my favorite videos of each fr your viewing pleasure below… (apologies for the Impractical Jokers playlist, a lot of the video have been stricken for copyright or put on private)

Best of SNL

Best of Impractical Jokers

15 RANDOM LIKED VIDEOS

I have a bit under 200 liked videos, so here’s a sample of some of the stuff I enjoyed this year!

  1. 70 People Imitate What Cats and Dogs Sound Like in 70 Countries
  2. Movies Everyone  Should See At Least Once In Their Life
  3. 10 Dumbest Minimalist Mistakes
  4. Movie Accent Expert Breaks Down 32 Actors’ Accents
  5. Ready Player One – What’s The Difference? [between the book and film]
  6. Best and worst Lush products
  7. One Man Shares a Memory From Every Country in the World
  8. 10 Questions to NOT ask a blind person
  9. Hairdresser reacts to emo/ scene tutorials
  10. How to swear like a Spaniard
  11. 10 Spanish words that don’t exist in English
  12. Roasting fans pt. 1 & Roasting fans pt. 2
  13. The world’s strangest time zones
  14. Helen Keller #DisabilityHistoryMonth
  15. Top 10 frontwomen in hard rock and heavy metal

Photo by whereslugo.

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