I turned 23 on Monday and wrote about my 22 favourite memories from the past year. Today I wanted to share 22 of the things I loved this year. The memories of all the little everyday things you love fade so quickly, but I know somewhere down the road I’ll be fascinated to know what kinds of things I was obsessed with when I was 22. Below, a list of things that made this year so awesome for me.
Ps. Since photobooth strips are completely timeless, they didn’t “make the list”. But really, they always make the list for me.
the iPad Mini. I was lucky enough to be gifted my iPad by my father as a graduation gift and it has really been a constant in my life ever since. This year held a lot of travelling, and my iPad was awesome for reading books and magazines, navigating new cities, booking hostel rooms and more.
Bullet Journalling. This one came late in the game for my 22nd year, but I have a feeling it’ll stay with me in some variation for years to come. This system is so intuitive and smart, but keeps me organized and in control of all my information. Totally awesome.
Yoga. If last year was the year of running, this year was the year of yoga. After getting home from my trip through Europe, I fell back in love with yoga and started practicing every day. My practice got me through some tough times in the fall (sounds strange, but it’s true) and I loved seeing myself get stronger and improve. I can now do things with my body I never thought I’d be able to, and that’s an awesome feeling.
Coconut deodorant. I started making my own deodorant this year, which I know is a bit surprising! But I had such bad results with natural, aluminum-free deodorants that I had nothing to lose when I tried this recipe. Happily, it’s all natural, cheap, and very effective.
LL Bean Quickload Travel Pack. I love this bag so much. My trusty backpack has come with me through 3 months of backpacking, trips to visit friends, and it was the carryon I took on my flight to Korea. It’s maximum carry-on allowance size, durable, hinges open like a suitcase, is light as a feather and has stayed looking brand new this entire time.
Lavender. I fell in love with the smell of lavender this year. I find it so invigorating and lovely. I have a hand cream my grandmother bought me at Marks and Spencer in Wales (which I never want to run out of!) and a body wash that I love to smell when I’m in the shower. I’m planning to add more lavender to my life wherever I can – maybe a candle?
The Defining Decade & Adulting. This was my first year out of university, in the “real world”, and both these books were such great reads and resources for me. Adulting is lighter and easier to read – it’s in list format with very intelligent tips for everything from ending a relationship to properly washing your clothes, as well as some key attitudes that one needs in adulthood. I thought it was very well written and very helpful. The Defining Decade is about making the most of your twenties, and I am so very glad I read it – I’m still quoting it and spreading its ideas in conversation almost 4 months later. It was a great reminder to me to live intentionally, make conscious decisions, and to not be complacent. I think it’s a must-read.
35mm f1.8. I bought this lens for my trip to Europe, and it’s the only lens I brought with me both on that trip and for my year in Korea. It’s so versatile and has such a good focal length (on my crop sensor camera, about 50mm) so it’s perfect for shooting literally everything – landscapes, portraits, etc. I rarely took it off my camera after I bought it.
Guinea Pigging Green. This one might go without saying, but I launched the GPG podcast this year with my friend Laura and it quickly became one of my favourite things to work on. It’s so much fun, and it’s been so great to get positive feedback from listeners and to be able to reach out to so many interesting people.
Ulmon travel apps. These are the greatest apps for travellers in big cities. They allow you to navigate offline (yes, you read that right!) and get recommendations and reviews for different tourist attractions and restaurants in the city. These were priceless when I was in Europe, trying to navigate big cities like Rome and Barcelona. I was so excited to see they have one for Tokyo, as I’m going in a few weeks.
BBQ Tofu Tacos. I must have eaten these 100 times this year.
OverDrive. Another of my favourite apps this year. This one allows you to log onto your local library’s ebook database and download library books and audiobooks from wherever you are, for free! While away on my trip I constantly downloaded books from both my Ontario and Montreal libraries.
Abundance (buddha) bowls. This was definitely the year of the bowls. I made buddha bowls constantly (and got my whole family hooked on them), and then when I got back from my trip I discovered abundance bowls from My New Roots! It’s the perfect recipe, I’ve made it so many times since. I can’t wait for her to post her Springtime abundance bowl.
Street markets. I spent a lot of time wandering through street markets this year – it very quickly became my favourite activity to do while travelling. You get to see local people, eat local food, and really soak up some of the spirit of a place. Some favourites were the giant La Boqueria in Barcelona with hundreds of brightly-coloured delicious fresh juices, the antiques show behind a church in Lisbon, and of course the gorgeous Noordermarkt in beautiful Amsterdam.
Scandal. I fell for this show this year. It’s so bad but it’s also so good! I can’t stop watching it, no matter how excessively dramatic it gets. I love Kerry Washington!
Fresh & The Hogtown Vegan. Laura and I happily frequented these two amazing restaurants a lot this year. They have such delicious vegan food, some of which I’m really craving today! Both are located in Toronto.
Oh She Glows. I’ve known about Angela’s blog for a few years but this was the first year I made any of her recipes. I have since become obsessed with her because each of her recipes comes out beautifully and are always so delicious. Some favourites that I made more than once this year: banana bread muffin tops and cauliflower fettucine alfredo.
The beach & the ocean. I spent an amazing amount of time near and in the water this year, in many different places in the world. I loved swimming in San Sebastian, walking the chilly, seashell-strewn beach in Vancouver, and dipping my feet in the cold water here in Busan. And now I live near the water. I don’t think this will ever stop being one of my favourite things.
Gelato. It really was the year of the gelato! Lots of favourite gelato moments this year, many of them outside of the small local shop in my hometown with my family, others from little shops all over Europe. I’ll try to spare you excessive exclamations over how incredibly delicious they all were (SO DELICIOUS!).
You Are My Wild & Olivia Rae James. You Are My Wild was a photo project in 2013 where several great photographers took weekly photos of their children. It was always inspiring and beautiful, I’m disappointed I haven’t found something similar for 2014 yet! And I’ve been following Olivia for a few years now, but this was the year she really wowed me and the rest of the world. She takes such gorgeous photos and she inspires me so much in both her life and her work.
Cherry blossoms. I only really experienced the cherry blossoms in my last month of being 22, but they’ve really lit up my life the past couple weeks. They’re so beautiful and really give life such a special touch. How lucky am I to be experiencing cherry blossom season in one of the best places for them, Korea?!
“I want to feel my life while I’m in it” -Meryl Streep I love this quote so much, and I’ve really tried to keep it (or some variation of it) in the forefront of my mind this year. I’ve learned that appreciating and acknowledging the good moments while they’re happening is really what happiness is. I’ve tried to just be with moments instead of always trying to control or document them. I’ve also tried to notice happiness and joy and beauty as they’re happening, instead of recognizing them later when I think back on my experiences. This is a practice, and it’s not easy, but it has been very worthwhile.
As always, reminiscing on the past year always makes me feel so grateful and content. It really was a fabulous year for me. I have a feeling that 23 will be just as great.
You can read my 21 favourite things from last year here.