2016 recap + 2017 goals

Posted on January 01, 2017 under Life

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Hello, everyone. It looks like we’ve come to the end of another year. I won’t lie: 2016 was a rough one for me. Four people I know died, three of them family members, including my beloved grandfather. And although I know my decision to defer grad school for a year was practical and prudent, I’ve missed being in school since I finished up my undergrad in April.

But I suppose 2016 wasn’t all bad. I graduated university, for one thing. I also finally got my G1, which is the first step towards being a fully-licensed driver in Ontario. I had some great times with friends and family and I have been doing well at work. Still, I won’t be sad to say goodbye to 2016. This was a rough one, and there are some cool things on the horizon for me in 2017.

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But first, I must tell you how I did with my 2016 goals, in order to humiliate myself publicly!

  • Continue to interact with more bloggers and make blog friends: I really kicked this up a notch in the last quarter of the year and enjoyed it a lot. Overall I didn’t do a great job of shedding my lurker tendencies, but I’m hoping I can continue on with this momentum in 2017.
  • Post at least once a week: There were a few months where I barely posted at all, but I did post 52 times in 2016, so… I guess I did it if we’re just going by averages? I’d like to be a little more consistent in 2017. Luckily my work schedule, which was hectic until September, has settled down and I have more a regular routine, which will really help when it comes to posting regularly.
  • Diversify content: I did okay with this, I think. I started posting about books here, with occasional life updates. I like the content balance I have pretty well, so I’ll probably continue on with the “primarily a beauty blog, but more than incidentally about other subjects” thing.
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  • Quality over quantity: I think I did a good job of this, overall. I bought some cheap shit, but I really cut down on what was coming into my possession. In 2016 I bought several things that were at the upper limit of my (small) budget, but I probably spent far less overall because I hardly ever succumbed to impulse buying habits. I am becoming more attuned to what I genuinely like and will get a lot of use out of, with minor slip-ups here and there, so I’d say this goal was a success. (Perfection doesn’t seem like an entirely reasonable goal!)
  • Get into and start grad school: I did get into grad school. I did not start. I still consider this a success, though. Actually, I’m really proud of myself for making the prudent but displeasing decision to defer for a year to save up for it. I really wanted to be in Scotland by now, but it was absolutely the right thing for me to do. And hey, there’s something to be said for getting into the only graduate programme you applied to three days after submitting your application!
  • Read 25 books, 75% by marginalized people: I hit my book target with 29 read in 2016. By around May I’d decided that trying to quantify diversity was silly. But, for the record, I only read 5 books by white men that were not required for school. I did naturally gravitate towards books written by women. This coming year I’d like to mindfully focus on adding more diversity in terms of non-white and LGBTQ voices. It’s very easy for me to read many books by women, but most of them ended up being white and straight and that’s not necessarily a trend I’m thrilled with! I won’t quantify it, though I’d be thrilled to read more marginalized voices than white men (and probably will). I’m also going to focus on (some) of the classics. My alternative high school skipped over a lot of the usual suspects in favour of Canadian and postcolonial lit, and I didn’t read many novels in university. I’m really quite anti-canon in a theoretical way, but in a practical sense it helps to speak a common language with others. So I guess this year I’m going both canon and deliberately anti-canon!
  • Learn to wake up earlier: Shift work, including working until midnight, rendered this goal pretty difficult. It’s something I still want to work on, but it’s off the table for now until I have a more regular schedule.

Not a rousing success, but my goals rarely are. Yet I’m still setting some for 2017!

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Blog at least five times a month

This time I want to make sure I’m actually blogging consistently, so if I have a month where I post less than five times I’ll fail this goal automatically.

Read 50 books

In 2012 I read 100 books and in the four years since then I have read a total of 87 books. 100 books is too ambitious this coming year for two reasons. First, I tend to read longer and denser books now than I did in 2012. (I read a lot of YA dystopian back then!) Second, I will start grad school in September, which I imagine will eat into both my free time and my desire to read for fun. 50 books is still a stretch goal, but one that I think is doable. I haven’t added a diversity quota, as outlined above. I’m pretty confident that I’ll manage to read widely without it.

Be tidier

I’m not naturally a tidy person. I’ll just blame it on being a Gemini, because that’s easier than admitting it’s a personal failing. In recent years I have become better at not letting my living space descend into utter chaos, but I’m still not as neat as I’d like to be. I’m going to start using the two-minute rule, because my biggest issue is not putting things back where they go immediately. (It genuinely did not occur to me that I could put away that day’s clothes as soon as they came off until I was 20.)

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Declutter

I will be moving to Scotland in September, by air. (I mean, obviously.) I’ll probably fly Icelandair because they have very generous baggage policies, but, still: my worldly possessions in my new home will be limited to what I can fit within two checked bags and two carry-ons. So I will need to whittle down my possessions considerably. The last time I lived in Scotland, for the 2014-2015 school year, I left quite a lot of my clothes behind. This time, anything that I don’t pack is getting donated. If it’s not good enough to accompany me overseas for at least a year, it’s not important. This doesn’t go for all my possessions: I’m going to be keeping my books, as they are dear to me, but not transporting them overseas at this point. That said, I will still be getting rid of a lot of stuff, because I don’t want to have a massive pile of things to leave in Canada. (It’ll probably be mostly the books.)

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Be mindful about new purchases

I’m not going to go on a no-buy because that’s unrealistic for me, but I’m going to try to continue with my shift towards mindful purchasing. I was pretty good at this in 2016, but I did make some impulse buys and, unsurprisingly, regretted most of them! So this year for clothes and makeup I really want to focus on upgrading what I already have and not on adding too much that’s truly new. I’m not going to institute a strict “one in, one out” policy, but I’ll be trying to go more that route than “one in, one in, one in…” I’ll also be keeping track of all my makeup purchases this year because I’ve never done that and truly have no idea how much I spend on makeup on a yearly basis!

These pictures are all from my Instagram, and and are in chronological order. As you can see, my year was not the most exciting, but I managed to squeeze out a few nice photos.

Happy 2017, everyone!

I’m back…

Posted on August 06, 2016 under Life

In mid-July I said I hoped not to go a long stretch without a new post again, but here we are nineteen days after my last post. My three-year-old laptop finally died after barely chugging along for the past half year, and for boring reasons I wasn’t able to replace it until today. I am now a Mac owner, which so far is pretty sweet except for the pain I felt at dropping $1600 on a computer. (I did get the education discount and a free pair of Beats wireless headphones, so I guess that sweetens the deal a bit.)

Anyway, this is just a note in case anybody noticed my absence. It’s a bit of a copout post, but I hope to get back into the swing of things now that I’m not relying exclusively on my phone and iPad for internet access. Hope everyone is doing well – I’m currently going through over 200 blog posts in my feed reader to catch up with everything.

See you soon with a real post!

I’m a graduate!

Posted on June 10, 2016 under Life

Technically my degree was granted on May 26, according to online records, but it somehow didn’t feel official until I crossed the stage on Tuesday. I can now officially say that after four years of hard work, I am the proud owner of a BA in Cultural Studies from one of Canada’s top universities. (Normally I’m really not one to brag about my school, but I guess this is the right occasion to say, hey, I did something cool.)

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Somehow this is not exciting as actually receiving a piece of paper.

My uncle works as the editor of my university’s official newspaper, and he was on the job photographing the convocation ceremonies all week. This means that I have some really nice, high quality photos that he took! All in a day’s work, right? Anyway, here is a small picture dump:

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I knew I was going to regret wearing these shoes and yet I wore them anyway. I have a degree and yet apparently no common sense! By the end of the morning when I had to return my robe and hood to the bookstore I was practically hobbling along. Shoes are from Forever 21 last year and I love them dearly for their borderline ugliness. Not so much for the comfort factor.

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When I decided to do my hair like this I wasn’t expecting it to work so well with the mortarboard! I wore my hair like this to work the other day and got so many compliments and questions (mainly “Is that your real hair?”), but it’s actually really easy to do. I just did a deep part and dutch braided each side all the way around the back, braided the remainder of my hair down to the end, and pinned it to the back of my head. Simple if you can braid decently, and great for short hair.

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The whole ceremony was filmed and my dad made a little edit of it with the best parts. (You know, the 15 seconds total out of 2 hours that I’m visible.) This was my favourite part! (I was waving at my mom and uncle, who were sitting right next to the camera.)

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I refused to wear the mortarboard in most of my posed photos because it’s ugly and it hid my hair. But these photos make me look more like a graduate, I suppose.

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As for my actual dress, I didn’t manage to get a single decent photo of it, but here it is peeking out from under my robe. I knew when I began to search for a graduation dress that I wanted something cobalt – not only because it’s my favourite colour of all time but because my high school graduation dress and prom dress were both that colour. I finally found this one from Lulus and was very happy with it!

My dad’s side is very formally educated (lots of law degrees and a PhD), but on my mom’s side I’m the first of my generation to get a degree. Out of my maternal blood relatives, I’m only the second ever – one of my uncles has a BA, and that’s it. So this is a pretty big deal, and I was so lucky to have one of my uncles attend to the ceremony (with the other there to take pictures). Most of my mom’s side also came out for a lovely dinner to celebrate. (And so did my former roommate, who might be reading this and who is amazing!) I truly feel so lucky to have had such supportive family and friends throughout my degree – in this last year especially I don’t know what I would have done without my parents, grandparents, uncles, and friends – especially my roommate, who was such great company over the course of a year that was intense and stressful, for reasons academic and personal.

As I’ve noted here before, I absolutely love school and fully intend to continue on with it. I did mentioned awhile back that I’ve opted to defer grad school for a year mainly for financial reasons. I’m a bit sad about it as I genuinely love school and was so excited to go back to Scotland, but I’m going to enjoy having a year to focus on other things – I haven’t had more than a few months off since 1998, and I want to make the most of it.