December 31, 2017

Looking Back on 2017

Looking Back on 2017 |

Around this time a year ago, I was getting back to reality after a two week adventure in Europe. Oh how I wish I could say the same about this year.

2017 was, for lack of a better word, a complete whirlwind.

I visited new places, worked hard at current job, got another job(!), said goodbye to old friends, said hello to new friends, spent more time with my family, listened to great music, watched life-changing films, became more dependent on Jesus, etc.

I think a lot of people didn’t have a particularly great year, and to an extent, I feel them. A lot of sucky stuff happened this year, but call me an optimist, I choose to see the glass half full. Just like last year, I’ll be recapping some things I learned, my ‘favorites’ lists, and new goals for the next year (in addition to looking back on the goals I set for last year!).

Looking Back on 2017 |


  • Support more artists/small businesses. I’m actually off to a good start here! I can wholeheartedly say that supporting small businesses and artisans was a priority for me. Pop-ups and markets were my weekends and I was able to befriend local artists/creatives whose work I truly love! I also purchased artwork straight from an artist and am looking to start my gallery wall.
  • Complete at least one of my concepts for a shoot. This one got away from me. I’m sure that if I put in the time and effort to make my concepts happen, it would have happened. Honestly, I’m glad I dropped the ball because I want to be able to hone my eye and skill a bit more first.
  • Give gifts for no reason at all. Check! Even if they were for my sister. Also, gifts don’t have to be material goods. Paying for a friend’s meal or covering a movie ticket are ways to give.
  • Start blogging about fashion. Kinda? I opened my favorites shop page, but I hope one day I’ll feel confident enough to finally start doing a couple outfit posts.
  • Research more about topics like fair trade and ecological issues. I am not the most knowledgable about either of these. But I do have an appreciation for things that are made sustainably.
  • Redefine my skincare. Something I definitely focused on this year and, I’d like to say, I succeeded! I even tried a Glossier serum that I mentioned last year, and it literally saved my skin! It’s not flawless (yet, I hope!) but I’m learning more and more about what works and what doesn’t.
  • Form better habits. I did hold up to this every now and then. I have waves of diligence, like staying consistent with devotions or making my bed every morning. But hey, I’m human! I drop the ball and it starts again in a vicious cycle. I’ll keep at it next year!
  • Find a new hobby. I haven’t touched my embroidery things in a long time, like a 365 days long time. Even though I had done it before, I’m starting to take videos as storytelling more seriously (more on that later!). Maybe that can count as my new hobby?


  • Friendships each have their seasons. Some seasons end and others don’t, but like nature, each season serves its purpose for growth.
  • Don’t worry more about capturing memories than making them. Be present.
  • You’ll never regret spending time with your family.
  • Honestly, read my 19 Things I Learned Before Turning 20 post and that about sums it up.


You’ll probably notice that my books of 2017 list is absent, and that’s because I spent all of 2017 trying to get through one book (still The Girls). Adding ‘read more’ to my goals for next year. You can also listen to my top songs of the year here.


  • Landmark by Hippo Campus // Also, their EP warm glow.
  • Crack-Up by Fleet Foxes // A beautiful return after six years of silence.
  • The Search For Everything by John Mayer // Despite my reluctance to listen due to his slowly moving into country music, this album is pretty damn good.
  • Abandoned Mansion by Dr. Dog (2016) // I only know a couple of songs off of the album, but those songs have been my most played throughout the year. It deserved an honorable mention.
  • Melodrama by Lorde // I could write for DAYS about how meaningful this album was for me this year, (and maybe one day I will), but I was pleasantly surprised at how amazing this album was, despite being a sophomore album.
  • Semper Femina by Laura Marling // Again, only know a couple of songs, but “Nothing, Not Nearly” kinda sums up my year.
  • Now That The Light Is Fading by Maggie Rogers // After seeing her perform all of these songs at OSL, I wholeheartedly believe she is one of the most talented songwriters of the next gen.
  • True Sadness by The Avett Brothers (2016) // One of my mother’s favorite bands, I fell in love with this album after watching their making-of documentary (see below).
  • Home of the Strange by Young the Giant (2016) // A fan of theirs for as long as I can remember having a not-basic taste in music, I finally saw them live at OSL.
  • What Now by Sylvan Esso // TBH, I only know two songs but I’m so excited to listen to more.
  • Yours, Conditionally by Tennis // Actually, Tennis has become one of my top bands for the year, but I’ll just mention this album to put them on the list.
  • Harry Styles by Harry Styles // Pleasantly surprising show of talent from the former boy band’s new solo album.
  • Something To Tell You by HAIM // They are back and better than ever! The coolest girls on the music scene, and I truly believe they are going to be one of the iconic bands of our time.


  • Serial // My go-to recommendation for anyone wanting to get into podcasts. Listen to season one and you’ll be hooked!
  • S-Town // Produced by the same people from Serial, this podcast is one of the wildest things I’ve ever heard.
  • Dear Sugars // I’m only a few episodes in, but it’s an advice-column-turned-podcast and I love hearing the different kinds of people who are looking for comfort and advice.
  • Kind World // These episodes are much shorter than the rest here, but in a world where bad news seems to be everywhere, this podcast shines a light on the good things in this world.
  • Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert // From the woman who wrote Eat, Pray, Love, she coaches struggling creatives each week with advice and encouragement.
  • Modern Love // Celebrities, poets, and writers read essays from the Modern Love section of The New York Times.
  • Stuff You Should Know // If you want to learn something new everyday, these guys are fun and have a wide range of topics that they have covered in the past.
  • Switched On Pop // A recommendation from a friend, this podcast analyzes why modern pop songs are so catchy. Great for any music theory enthusiast.
  • The Pitch // Another friend rec, this is like Shark Tank but in podcast form. Probably my current favorite.

TV Shows

  • Veep (HBO)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
  • Big Little Lies (HBO)
  • Friends From College (Netflix)
  • The Good Place (NBC)


  • La La Land
  • Baby Driver
  • Ladybird (I’ll probably write a whole post on this movie!)
  • May It Last: A Portrait of The Avett Brothers
  • The Lego Batman Movie
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
  • Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
  • Mommy Dead and Dearest
  • It
  • Rushmore
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  • The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Cultivate community. This is something I’ve thought a lot about over the past couple months: using this space to its fullest potential. I had been thinking about why I started writing and posting on my own space, and the core values remain true. To share the things I am passionate about: the things that I would frantically text my mom about, the places I would drag my friends, the music I would send to my closest companions, the photos of my life that I would want to preserve (at least online). And then I started to dig deeper about how I wanted to share about the people I was inspired by. So, I’m started a new series on the blog called Friend Crush. Hopefully, I’ll post at least one installment before the year is over (LOL!). I want this to be something that encourages new connections and shows how powerful an online community can really be!

Press play. I’ve always known this, but there is something special about videos/vlogs/films that can capture a memory. Photos can sometimes (admittedly) be superficial, but even as a photographer, videos can bring back more of the memory. The sounds, the movements, I love preserving those memories in the form of a film. A goal of mine for the year is to “vlog”, but not in the typical daily or weekly form. At the end of every month, I’m going to release a “vlog” about all of the stuff that I did during that month. I have some ideas about how I want to go about it, but it’s all in the works. I want to push myself in capturing candid moments, not reenactments, and have little capsules for each month of this year. I’ll probably release them on my (barren) Youtube channel.

Budget better. Part of my new job means filing my own taxes and keeping track of my own expenses (yikes!). This is probably the most nerve-racking part of the job for me. It’s a whole new step of adulting! I want need to get my act together. Any and all tips for freelance money management are so welcome!

Looking Back on 2017 |

(P.S. Hi! Thank you as you’ve made it to the end! Just letting you know, to keep a look out for my 2017 recap VIDEO on my channel! Okay, resume regularly scheduled programming, and have a Happy New Year!)

Photos by Sierra Joy.

Such a nice read, I love what you said about forming better habits. Reminds me of the quote “Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.” Wishing you all the best in your 2018 goals dear. And by the way, you look so pretty with that gold top!

Jessica |