1 Year of Blogging

One year ago this month, I wrote my first blog post. It's been a wild ride since then.

I've actually had this blog domain for a long time - and by that I mean a few years. And I wrote on this blog domain before but the posts were kind of a hot mess so I either privated them or deleted them. But I officially began blogging CONSISTENTLY, and with content that I actually like (and sometimes have a love/hate relationship with) this time last year.


My writing style has evolved TREMEDOUSLY in one year. It's a little crazy. I don't know what I was thinking with all that center alignment... not to mention a link break after pretty much every sentence. But basically, I figured out my personal writing flow and how I like blog posts to look. I think before, near the beginning of this blogging debut, I was really trying hard to emulate certain popular bloggers with large audiences, and a brand, and a platform. 

Uh, hello, that is not me. So it took a learning curve, but I've more or less got it figured out now. Just don't scroll back to May...

I thought it'd be fun to take a look back at my most popular and my personal favorite blog posts of the past 365 days. 

MOST POPULAR: 

How To Get Out of a Major Funk - an illness had left me bedridden, unmotivated, and uninspired. I use fun gifs to give steps on how to reinvigorate yourself. This is my most popular post! 

5 No-Brainer Ways To Have a Prettier & Happier Week - it seems like we're all trying to get our shit together, huh? These are five ways, one for each day of the week, to bring a small jolt of happiness into your life. 

The Ultimate Autumn Bucket List - don't we all just love bucket list posts??

How to Hold Onto That Summer Feeling - staying summery and battling seasonal affective disorder are two topics I tackle in this motivational to do (or NOT to do) list. 

MY PERSONAL FAVORITES: 

Why Am I Still Lonely? - finding personal autonomy within my relationship is something I struggle with.

We're All Just Faking It (Adulting, that is) - does anyone really buy toilet paper before it runs out EVERY TIME??

That Time I Cried in a Bank of America - or how to handle disappointment immaturely... 

The Two Types of College Seniors - as told by a college graduate survivor. 

One Year Since Costa Rica - I really just want you to look at pictures of me on a beach since it's literally snowing right now. 

Happy Hour Gone Wrong - what happens when drinks are buy 1 get 1 FREE and you don't really drink all that often anymore. 

And so many more. How much do you love trolling back through your blog archives and reading your own POV from the past? Am I the only one?? I love cringing at my attempted puns just as much as I love smiling teary-eyed reading myself talk about taking risks. 

If you could narrow it down, what is your favorite blog post from this past year? 

The ULTIMATE Winter Bucket List

I don't really believe in being bored. For any given season there are literally thousands of things you can do to get festive, get in the spirit, or entertain yourself! I write these little bucket lists, not just for other people, but as a reminder to myself that there are a ton of fun things I can do to appreciate whatever season I'm in. For years I have hated winter (hey, thanks SAD), but there are still so many fun things to do this season. Especially in the spirit of CHRISTMAS. So here are some ideas of what to do, eat, drink, listen to, watch, and make this winter season. :)


TO DO:
  • do a polar plunge
  • mush with sled dogs (there's a Groupon for this near me!)
  • attend a Santa Con
  • go to a tree lighting ceremony
  • go ice skating outdoors
  • go sledding with whatever you can slide on (trashbags work great on packed snow)
  • invest in some good snow boots
  • plan a getaway for March, right when you're getting super fed up with the snow/cold
  • go snow shoe-ing
  • have a cozy movie/game night in with friends
  • catch snowflakes on your tongue


TO EAT/DRINK:
  • unlimited Christmas cookies
  • gingergread houses
  • eggnog
  • Bailey's in your hot chocolate
  • Starbucks delicious selections (my fav is peppermint mocha)
  • snowcream
  • Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea
  • candy canes
  • comfort food (broccoli & cheddar soup, anyone?)


TO WATCH/LISTEN TO:
  • the Rockette's Christmas Spectacular
  • a Nutcracker ballet
  • both versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Ariana Grande's super sassy Christmas album
  • all of the Yuletide classics on Pandora radio stations
  • my absolute favorite seasonal movie, A Christmas Story
  • Cirque Du Soleil's holiday show
  • the 25 days of Christmas on Freeform
  • the first (or second, or third) snowfall
  • the entire Harry Potter movie franchise
  • an audiobook you've been wanting to get around to 


TO MAKE:
  • paper snowflakes
  • 100 Christmas cookies
  • hot chocolate for traffic cops and crossing guards
  • new ornaments for your tree
  • a personalized Christmas playlist
  • hot chocolate dipping spoons
  • a DIY holiday manicure
  • a snowman!
  • a fire in the fireplace
  • a road map of your 2017 plans

I'll definitely be doing as many of these ideas as I can fit into my Christmas season and my winter. Let me know if you have any cool ones that I haven't thought of! 

P.S. if you missed it, I also did a pretty cool ultimate bucket list for autumn. Check it! 

The Friday Five

First Friday of December, and Christmas season has officially begun. 

I am so excited. I have so many plans for December, as you know if you read my frantic and uncharacteristic December plans post. I am fully prepared to dive headfirst into the Christmas season with a holiday manicure later today, a visit to a house that looks like Christmas threw up all over it 24/7 365 days a year, decorating, making a gingerbread house, and picking out our Christmas tree. I have typed Christmas FIVE TIMES since beginning this blog post.

So that's where we're at.

Here are five things that brought me joy, intrigued me, made me think, etc this past week!


1SE (1 Second Everyday) app
This app is a movement that I had no idea about until I decided I wanted to try taking more videos in the upcoming year and making more compilation videos about cool places I go. I started searching around for video apps and lo and behold, this is the OG. It's the cutest thing I've ever seen. You take 1 second long snippets from videos you can either take from the app or import from your camera roll and the app compiles them into a montage that would put Hallmark to shame. I was able to make a decently long video from clips I'd take between 2015 up until now and.... it was touching, hilarious, and SO CUTE. So a new goal for 2017 is to take a video every day so I can have an awesome 365 second long video at the end of the year.

Starbucks Peppermint Mocha
I just can't help it, I'm basic around the holidays. And that's fine. The Starbucks Peppermint Mocha stomps all over the Dunkin Donuts one, can we all agree? I'll gladly shell out the extra 2 bucks for that creaminess and real, genuine peppermint flavor (but only twice a month because I'm still on that tight budget).

Roadtrippers website
I have this pipedream of roadtripping down to Georgia in the early spring, seeing Atlanta and Savannah, and then flying home. Then I looked at prices of rental cars and that about went down the tubes. But this website is so cool! You can put in your starting and ending points and it will literally show you EVERY INTERESTING STOPPING POINT along the way. You want weird roadside attractions? National parks? A road trip entirely based on waterfall locations? Check! I'll be planning out several more doable roadtrips around New England, but a girls gotta dream, you know?

Reminiscing on past vacations
Planning out my travels for 2017 is the most exciting thing I've been doing... but also super stressful. Like for example, Norway might actually be too expensive in August. And we may want to fly one way into a country, take trains to a couple of places, and fly home from another country. And finding the cheapest way to do that is HARD, especially so far out. I've been daydreaming about my past vacations a lot, specifically Costa Rica (pictured above). I don't know how we survived because I barely planned that trip, lmao. I decided we were going in late February and we left in April. I feel like I can't quite have that mindset when trying to see several countries in Europe...

My workouts (and the Steady app)
My workout routine has been AWESOME (still thanks to a previous Friday favorite, Whitney Simmons. I love her, please go check her out on Youtube). I've been breaking them up into categories: Back & Biceps, Chest & Triceps, Shoulders, Legs, Abs, HIIT, Full Body Circuits, and LISS. Sometimes I'll do two on one day, sometimes I'll do just one. To keep track of it all so that I'm evenly working out my body, I searched high and low for a not-so-complex habit tracker app and the only one I could find that was nice and basic was Steady. It isn't perfect but it works for what I need it to!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. 

All The December Things

Another month, GONE.

I did a pretty good job in November of living my mantras. I was spontaneous, I continued writing in this blog for numero uno (me, obviously, ahah), I did not contribute to Thanksgiving dinner but then again I was banned from the kitchen by crazy female relatives, I did start texting my long distance friends more, I didn't do Yoga but I downloaded some Yoga apps and meditated so... success! Onto the next month (and the last... wtf)


December is the last month I have to get it together for 2016. How am I supposed to fit all of this into 31 short days??!?! I feel like a mad woman. I've drafted several calendars for the month of December already, trying to figure out if I can see a light show, bake several dozen batches of cookies, finish Christmas shopping, and run a 5k... all in one day.

Help. Send help. 

The end of a year has never felt so frantic and short for me. Yes, I want to squeeze it ALL IN. Can I? I dunno. I have four weekends to try and do what feels like seven million different things.

So because this month is so wild and crazy I've literally settled on breaking it down into weeks 1 through 4. I wish this was a happy happy crunchy granola goals post like I've been doing, but we JUST DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THAT THIS MONTH. '

Week 1 (12/1-12/4)

  • get my festive manicure on Friday afternoon 
  • visit The Christmas House Friday night (a house that's been featured on Christmas Wars and shows like that) 
  • decorate EVERYTHING
  • finish buying Christmas presents (cuz it's pay day tomorrow, heyyy!) 
  • go to my dance studio's holiday performance Saturday evening
  • go to L's friends' Friendsgiving Saturday evening (if time permits)
  • get a Christmas tree Sunday afternoon 
  • work on grad school applications


Week 2 (12/5-12/11)

  • use my free facial gift certificate before it expires on the 11th
  • go to a festival of lights on Friday evening
  • have a wine night with coworker friends on Friday evening (not sure if I can do both ^^, lolz)
  • go to Santa Con in Boston on Saturday 
  • have my friend give me a tour of her campus in Cambridge on Sunday
  • work on grad school applications


Week 3 (12/12-12/18)

  • bake Christmas cookies... at some point
  • see the Cirque Du Soleil Holiday Show with my dance studio Saturday night
  • go to NYC for a day trip and walk around in awe and wonder on Sunday
  • work on grad school applications 


Week 4 (12/19-12/31)

  • celebrate my birthday in true 24 year old fashion... with tequila shots and cheese quesadillas on Monday night into Tuesday
  • get a massage on Tuesday, my actual day of birth
  • wrap up the Christmas presents! 
  • have a wonderful Christmas with my fam, then with L's fam in Massachusetts
  • do SOMETHING AWESOME for NYE (I'm begging you, any ideas? I still don't know!
  • APPLY TO GRAD SCHOOL. 


I apologize that this was likely the most hectic and stressful goals post you've ever read.
I'm laughing maniacly just looking at it :')

I feel frantic and like I need to pour some Bailey's into my coffee asap, so excuse me while I go try and make a thousand paper snowflakes while online shopping while listening to Yuletide carols while watching Elf while scheduling my facial.

xoxo

I'm Not Defined By...

I think people beat themselves up too much.
It's a comparison trap that we live in, with social media making everyone's lives seem so much better than they actually are. And it makes everyone... EVERYONE feel inadequate. I think. Even the people whose Instagram lives look so great. They're probably thinking to themselves, "wow, my whole feed is a curated lie.. but THIS PERSON, this person's IG life looks great so they definitely have it together. wow, gotta take a few more staged pictures now".

I think this is why I like Snapchat so much more than Instagram. I think I just needed to write this post as a reminder to myself that the worst things about myself don't define me in any way. They're things I live with, cope with, and deal with... but they do not make up the awesome, friendly, outgoing, introspective, unique person that is Danielle.


I'm not defined by... my debt. I go through spurts of time when my debt feels like the heaviest boulder that I'm trying to squeeze out from under. I have a ton of student loan debt, credit card debt, and car loan debt (which will thankfully go away when I sell my car back cuz I won't need that in Boston!). And I'm welcoming even more debt into my life in my pursuit of my Master's degree! But, deep breath Danielle. Debt does not define you. It's something you live with, not something you're living for. Life needs to go on and there's a way to be responsible about paying off your debt without letting it control your life. Life is short.

I'm not defined by... my education level. Many many of my friends have gone back to grad school before me. My younger friends are finishing up grad school right now, if they went right after undergrad. What have I been doing? Sometimes I look back at the past three years and wonder what I have to show for myself. But I have to remind myself that everyone's journey happens that way for a reason. I needed this time to grow and truly FIGURE OUT why I even wanted to go back to school, and what for. If I had gone back any sooner, I'd be in the wrong state of mind, in the wrong grad program. I gotta believe that.

I'm not defined by... the number of stamps in my passport. Friends who studied abroad, whose parents brought them on countless trips, who can afford to vacation in the Keys on a random week in November - hey, I'm jealous of you. And sometimes it feels like a competition when it comes to people my age and how much we've traveled. We all want the bragging rights that we've experienced so much, tasted other cultures, and really have *seen the world*. But it isn't a contest. Travel is deeply personal and individual. I'll get to the places I want to go, but until then, where I've been doesn't define my value.

I'm not defined by... my failed relationships. Maybe the hardest one for me to accept, because so much of who I am now unfortunately stems from who I became in my previous relationship, and who I turned into afterwards. The most depressed and sad I've ever been in my entire life... and then a few months later, a wild party animal just trying to forget her sadness. But everything I did up until that point was to distract myself from missing this person so much. Life has to go on and it has to go on because I want to create my life however I choose, without anyone else's influence.