So 2015 is over (scary, I know) and to get mentally prepared for what 2016 has in store for me I decided to take a look back. So this is me peering back at the year as a whole and spending time thinking about how it treated me. Overall, my official opinion is 2015 was an amazing year. In fact, it was one of the best years I have had in a pretty long time. I traveled to places I had never been, I met some amazing new people, got to reconnect and see the smiling faces of friends that moved away. I was able to experience some of the best music, beer and scenery the world has to offer. I also made the decision to go back to school and pursue a career in a field I’m not only curious about, but really want to make an impact in.
The year wasn’t perfect, I was laid off, and very recently got into an accident that left me with a concussion and looming insurance drama. But here’s the thing...I was no longer happy at that job anyway, it was really bumming me out, if I’m being perfectly honest. And that accident? It could have easily been so much worse. I’m happy to be alive and sitting here and reflecting on a year that wasn’t picture perfect, but changed my life completely. Thank you 2015, for being kind to me. To show my appreciation, I have put together a list of some of my favorite moments we spent together.
As you may or may not know about me, I’m a big nerd for craft beer. Not the nerdiest, and I try not to be a snobby jerk about it, but it’s definitely a hobby. This year I spent a lot of time exploring that interest. I visited breweries, beer bars and beer shops I only dreamed of visiting since my enthusiasm for tasty hoppy beverages began.
Breweries I visited for the first time this year:
Crux Fermentation Project
Maine Beer Company
Night Shift Brewing
Oxbow Blending and Bottling
Craft beer bars I visited for the first time this year:
Three Penny Taproom
Beer moment of the year:
Meeting Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso of Evil Twin and his estranged brother, Mikkel Borg Bjergso of Mikkeller within a month’s time. In January I met Jeppe at Jester King in Austin when he was there for the release of his collaboration beer with JK called “World’s Worst Twin.” Then in February during San Francisco Beer Week, I had the pleasure of meeting Mikel at his bar. Mikkeller was doing a special event and release of their collaboration beer with AleSmith “Beer Geek Speedway.” Each brother was especially friendly and kind. Some of the sweetest and most humble experts of their craft that I have ever come across. It was a great pleasure to get to meet them, shake hands and have a chat about the beers that I enjoy so much.
Don’t know the scoop behind Jeppe and Mikel? Their story is really interesting. Read more about in this great article from the New York Times.
Beer projects I worked on:
I lent my talent and passion to some really neat beer-related projects in 2015. I worked hard to help bring Houston Beer Week to life along with a team of very passionate beer nerds - Brian I., Nathan, Teri, Leanna, Tim S., Tim P., Laura, Brent, Jeremy, Mary-Kay, Brian C.,and a handful of others.
I also helped out with designing Houston’s best new beer news website Houston Beer Guide created by two of my favorite chill dude-friends Josh and Jeff.
There’s a line from Father John Misty’s 2015 release I Love You, Honeybear in which Joshua Tillman expresses his affection for his wife and all her pretentious and silly rambling. “She says like literally music is the air she breathes” he teases. When I hear him sing about her, I think it’s something I would say. I know it doesn’t make any sense, and I probably wouldn’t say “like literally” because I really try not to use that word incorrectly. But yes, I feel like music is what keeps me going. I wake up with craving for it, fall asleep to it’s lullaby, and listen to focus and work. In 2015 I was lucky enough to see a lot of artists perform live. Some I had seen before, some I hadn’t. Some blew me away and some weren’t quite the magic I was expecting. Either way, I’m very happy I was able to make music such a big part of my life this year.
Bands I saw this year:
13th Floor Elevators
Ben Browning (Cut Copy)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
The Black Angels
Thee Oh Sees
This Will Destroy You
Toro Y Moi (x2)
You can read live coverage of a few of these bands here and around my site as well. I had a great time at every single one of these shows. I’ve said it before, but it’s really true...the stage is my altar and I look to worship at it as often as I can.
I want to thank Jon and my other writer and photographer friends at Bearded Gentlemen Music for being so passionate and willing to contribute their intelligent and thoughtful work to a great site.
This year I was lucky enough to travel quite a bit. To places I love and some I had never been to. I had a great time exploring, sometimes on my own, sometimes with good friends, and sometimes with new ones.
Here are some of my favorite travel moments:
Watching the sunset at San Francisco Bay Bridge, I found a secluded spot and on that quiet Sunday evening, I felt the beautiful colors of yellow, orange and purple in the sky were glowing just for me
Sharing a kiss while staring up at the stars in the dark Oregon sky at Smith Rock. He held me close, kept me warm and together we pointed out shooting stars to each other well into the night
Going out on a boat on Shilsole Bay in Seattle and seeing a group of sea lions hanging out on a buoy
Experiencing temperatures less than 10 degrees for the first time in my life and feeling like I was inside of a snow globe in Vermont
Sitting nestled in the middle of Mount Hood National Forest at Timothy Lake. The lake was so expansive and breathtaking. Mt. Hood snow-capped in the background. I could have stayed there forever
Walking around Harvard while it was snowing one Friday evening. Writing my name in the snow on the campus grounds and seeing the warm yellow light glowing across the freshly fallen snow-covered yard
One of the best parts about traveling alone is the new people you meet. I met quite a few great new people during my travels in 2015 but here are my two favorite.
While on my trip in San Francisco I made two really amazing new friends. At Mikkeller I instantly clicked with a silver-haired, gentle hipster dude named Nazer. Nazer was fun, easy to talk to and had taken the entire week off to enjoy San Francisco Beer Week -my kind of person! We quickly became friends, exchanged numbers and went from not knowing the other person existed to spending an entire day together. We drove to Russian River in Santa Rosa at an ungodly hour, waiting in line for a few more, checked out Lagunitas beer haven in the afternoon and then finally caught a show at the Great American Musical Hall. Nazer is not only one of the highlights of my SF trip, but of my entire year. He is a talented composer who is cool, thoughtful and genuine. I was very lucky to have met him and I am so happy we are friends.
While also on my trip to San Francisco, I made another great friend named Tyler hanging out at Rare Barrel in Berkeley. Tyler and I talked about music, beer and traveling for a few hours before we exchanged info and parted ways. Me back to San Francisco and him hitchhiking to his next location. Tyler was on adventure to Mexico and in the coming weeks he would keep me posted on where he was and how close he was to reaching his destination. I met up with Tyler again later in 2015, he came up from Mexico to Houston and we vacationed in Austin together for a weekend. Tyler is a sweet and tender human. He is kind and funny, has great taste in music and an appreciation for the simple things in life. My favorite moment together this year is when we swore not to speak to each other in anything but Spanish all the way to Austin. For a white guy and a girl who doesn’t speak it so often anymore - I think we did great!
I miss both Nazer and Tyler, but I know in my heart I will see them again someday. We’ll hangout, have great beers and enjoy each others’ company like no time has passed.
Sometimes you don't have to travel to meet people from other places. In 2015 I also met four really wonderful humans from Norway, during their internship here in Houston as part of a program led by Innovation Norway and in partnership with Rice University. They taught me a lot and I like to think I did the same. Thank you Bayram, Kiki, KJ and Marthe for being some of the best interns I could have hoped for - I look forward to the day I can see you again when I visit Norway.
FAMILY + FRIENDS
Lastly, this year I am grateful to have people in my life who love me and support me. Without them, life would be a mistake. I'm thankful for all of them, but here are the people who made the biggest influence on me in 2015.
Still teaching me what it is be a strong and powerful woman, while also being loving and kind. I can’t thank her enough for everything she has done for me.
My best friend and provider of sanity, good advice and the best birthday presents. When I talk to Chris I feel like I’m home.
Smart, funny and thoughtful. Christian makes me realize what it is to love and embrace who you are, for whatever you are and not care what the heck anyone thinks about it.
Helped me overcome one of my greatest fears with patience, empathy and intellect. She changed my life in the biggest way, and I'm not entirely sure she understands the magnitude of her impact. I can never repay her, but I can thank her from the bottom of my heart.
And to all my other friends and family -- thank you for your friendship and love, I’m grateful to know you.
So that’s it. Thank you 2015 for an incredible year. I look forward to 2016 being just as good, if not better. Here’s to working hard, making your dreams come true, building a better life for ourselves and others we share this planet with and not taking ourselves too seriously in the process.