Happy New Year!
I love January. It always feels so fresh and shiny and new. Did you notice the changes around here? I’ve got a new blog design up and running, and I’m thrilled with the results. There are still a few bugs to work out and tweaks to make, but it feels great to have a fresh design for a new year.
2015 was a huge year of personal growth for me. I spent a significant part of my free time rekindling some of my lost creativity. I embarked on The Artist’s Way, began writing morning pages, and made huge decisions about this blog and how I want to proceed with it. During this process, I learned tons about myself and the passions that drive me. But it wasn’t all internal. 2015 was also an exciting year filled with new challenges and incredible experiences.
My word of the year for 2015 was “adventure,” and it certainly was a year filled with exciting new adventures!
- Getting my scuba diving certification. I’ve yet to to dive anywhere outside of Southern California (something I’d like to change very soon!), and I still find the entire experience highly nerve-wracking, but I also kind of totally love it. I had my first few experiences on dive boats this year and even got seasick for the first time (the one diving-related experience I’d prefer not to repeat).
- A family reunion ski trip to Breckenridge. I went skiing and snowshoeing for the first time in my life and loved both experiences. Plus, I enjoyed exploring Breckenridge — namely eating nearly every day at my new favorite restaurant: Park & Main. I hadn’t seen much of my extended family in years, so it was wonderful to get to spend time with them again.
- Visiting Kauai, Hawaii for the first time. Eric and I planned a successful last-minute trip that worked out perfectly! During our week-long visit, I attended my first Hawaiian luau, tried my hand at surfing for the first time in my life, took some day trips by road, by foot, and even by kayak, and enjoyed a smorgasbord of delicious food and tropical drinks.
- Learning to ride a motorcycle. I didn’t write about this experience here on the blog (I wasn’t allowed to take any photos), but I enjoyed learning how to ride a motorcycle in a safe environment. As fun as it was, I don’t think I’d ever feel safe driving one out on the streets of Los Angeles.
- A collection of exciting day and weekend trips. These included Santa Barbara for our anniversary and a few trips to Catalina and Santa Cruz islands for diving!
2015 Goals in Review
- Let go of fear. You know what? I have. It’s amazing how just making the decision to stop being scared of things all the time can change your outlook on everything in your life. I always used to ask myself “what if?” so often that my fears often stopped me from doing the things I wanted to do. But this year, I’ve jumped into trying new things without worrying about them first, and it has paid off in a big way.
- Get a job. Thankfully, I did! I started working as a visual effects assistant editor on Supergirl in August. But even though I was unemployed for a good chunk of the year, I think I used my free time to the fullest.
- Travel. To Breckenridge and Kauai, not to mention a few trips within California.
- 52 Weeks Project. My first failed goal. I don’t even think I even started this project! I do, however, believe I was successful at taking more photos this year, primarily by becoming more active on Instagram.
- Instagram Daily. This goal went well for the first few months of the year, mainly because I spread out the photos from Breckenridge and my scuba diving training. Once I ran out of those, I started to slow down a little with posting, but I’m still happy with how active I remained on Instagram throughout the year.
- Personal Projects. We haven’t yet filmed any of our short films, but we have done more work to put our plans into action. 2016 will see more personal projects coming to fruition. I’ve also got a few other personal projects I’d like to roll out, most likely during the second half of the year.
- Keep Blogging. I would say I’ve done well with this goal. Though I cut back on my schedule, I’ve kept it pretty consistent throughout the year. Go me!
My Favorite Posts from 2015
Learning to Ski in Breckenridge — I love this post – it was my first of the year that I felt happy with, in terms of the writing. I’ve made a lot of progress with my writing style over the year, trying new things and expanding the way I tell stories, and I think I was trying something very different here than what I’d done before. I feel like I’ve improved since then, but looking back at this post now, I see significant changes starting to take place.
Learning to Scuba Dive — This is another one that I’m proud of. This post reflects on my feelings about learning to dive — it’s an experience unlike any other. It makes me happy just to go back and reread it.
An Adventure on the Truth Dive Boat — As anxious as diving makes me, I do seem to enjoy writing about it. Here’s another of my dive experiences this year.
A Photographer’s Dream: The Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail — These are some of the best photos I took all year. And it’s no wonder — they were taken at the most beautiful place I’ve been in a long time.
The Best-Ever Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes — I’m proud of how these photos turned out. I could eat these cupcakes every day if they wouldn’t make me fat.
Most Popular Posts from 2015
Into the Pint Glass: Amber Ales — This was one of my early Into the Pint Glass entries, which picked up a lot of hits on StumbleUpon and became my most popular post to date! I’m still not sure why this one got so much traction. A few of my other entries were popular, but never this popular. Ah, the mysteries of blogging.
My Dad’s Photography — The popularity of this one particularly eludes me. I suppose people like old black and white film photos? My dad did take some fantastic photos, though. If only my own photography posts could get this many views!
Two Peaceful Nights at the Kauai Beach Resort — The resort was nice enough to link to my blog post a couple of times from their Facebook page and their Twitter, giving me a nice little traffic boost.
2015 Word of the Year — My post about last year’s word of the year: “adventure.” This post started gaining more traction towards the end of the year, and I like to think that it’s inspiring people to be more adventurous in 2016!
Patio Burgers & Beer — Patio Burgers & Beer is an adorable little spot in Eagle Rock serving up exactly what the name suggests: delicious burgers and cold draft beer. It’s simple and scrumptious — so I can understand the popularity of this post. I’m sure the stunning turquoise walls help draw people in, too!
2015 By the Numbers
Books Read: 20 (ten more than 2014) | 7,767 pages
Movies Watched: 71 (ten fewer than 2014)
Time Spent Underwater: 2 hours & 54 minutes
Time Spent in Air: 15 hours & 4 minutes
Blog Posts: 99 (four more than 2014)
Unique Blog Visitors: 5,637 (4,652 more than 2014)
Total Page Views: 15,494 (9,372 more than 2014)
Total Comments: 271 (150 more than 2014)
Bloglovin’ Subscribers: 70 (36 more than 2014)
Instagram Photos: 275 (133 more than 2014)
Instagram Followers: 779 (676 more than 2014)
Total Number of Tweets: 2,054 (60 more than 2014)
Twitter Followers: 765 (392 more than 2014)
Total Number of Pins: 4,519 (310 more than 2014)
Pinboards: 108 (43 fewer than 2014)
Pinterest Followers: 311 (37 more than 2014)
It’s been an awesome year for my blog! I more than doubled my page views, comments, and followers, and the number of visitors to my blog increased by almost 500%. You guys are too awesome, and I’m so grateful to each and every one of you that visits my little corner of the internet.
Most Popular Instagram Photos of 2015
366 Days Photo Project. It might seem crazy, but I’m going to try to post a new photo every day of 2016. I’ll be posting both on Instagram and Flickr, as well as posting weekly updates here so that you can follow along with my photo-a-day adventure! I’m already off to a great start.
Travel to Europe. I’m still planning to travel this year, and this time, it’s my goal to head back to Europe. My sister-in-law is graduating from Cambridge this summer, so I’m using this as the anchor for our trip and then planning around it.
Focus on creativity. I feel like I allow distractions to stop me from many of the creative endeavors I’ve wanted to pursue recently, so I’m going to try to set aside more time for creativity this year. The photo-a-day project will be one attempt to be more creative, but I’d also like to try setting aside time to draw or paint for a few hours each week.
Keep Blogging. This will admittedly be a little difficult during the first half of the year — my work schedule is going to be extremely busy — but I love the progress I’ve made in this space and I want to continue!
And with that, bring on 2016!