2015 in Review

Holy wow, 2015 has been quite the year. I wasn’t super excited about it when it started because I tend to not be quite as huge of a fan of the even years – and while 2015 might seem like an odd year, it was my 26th year of living, which is an even year. It turned out better than expected though. I was able to spend time with so many friends, have some awesome travels, ingest some pretty wonderful media, and hit a few milestones along the way.

I always like to look at the year in review to see everything I’ve accomplished, see if there are any unexpected patterns, see if things went according to plan, and try to figure out if there’s an obvious (or not-so-obvious path going forward). So for now I’m going to focus on 2015, which I am hoping will lead to a good plan for 2016.

I went into 2015 with sporadic goals, of which I completed almost none. I didn’t create one digital scrapbook page per week (although I did start), I completely forgot it was a goal to attend First Friday masses, I didn’t read Harry Potter, I didn’t finish the book I started writing (although I did write two others), I didn’t go to a drive-in movie (still haven’t been), bake a pie, or make a sauce. From the list I did manage to send birthday cards to everyone I love (+200 postcards were sent this year), traveled, cleaned my front closet, sent packages to friends in February, hosted a beer and cheese party, and recorded another Christmas song. I would call that a 50/50 win? Unclear. This year I probably won’t be making nearly as specific goals.

This year’s word was experience. I tried to keep this in mind and to be open to new things. I definitely took a few steps back to look at things from the bigger picture, which is good. All in all, I would call that a win. I’ve got an idea in mind for this year, but I need to think it through a little better. I would also like to write it down somewhere I will see it every day.

But in terms of 2015. Here’s a little bit about how it went –

2015-12-25 one down, one up


I’ve officially been dating the same boy (officially and/or unofficially) for over two years. That’s an all-time record for me. I even still like him. Not only that, but I’ve even stopped calling him the boy and started calling him Ben. I’ve definitely learned a lot along the way though. A lot about myself, a lot about him, and a lot about what it means to be in a relationship. We spent Easter and Fourth of July together, and who knows, maybe next year it will be more. As I mentioned in my Blog Posts I Haven’t Written post, there’s probably a post coming about relationships soon. I just need to sort out my thoughts.

There have been a few group gatherings this year that have kept me sane. My sister and the neighbors I grew up next to have been getting together during major holidays to catch up on life. Two different sets of RA ladies and I have been hanging out every few months. I started planning RA Alumni Meet-ups. And a few engineering friends and I get together every few weeks to have dinner together (hashtag wepretendtobecooks). Without these people I’m pretty sure I would have gone crazy by this point. Now I just need to figure out how to factor in more time with my best friends from middle school and high school because man, do I miss them.

2015-08-14 one down, one up


My Philadelphia go-tos this year were Tea-Do, Pamcakes, and Good Karma. I’ve learned that I really love breweries and at the end of a long day a good beer and a pretzel with cheese is all I need to relax. I also discovered that quadruple Belgian beers are the answer to everything in life thanks to Dock Street Brewery and Avery Brewing Company. Now I just need to learn what quadruple Belgian means.

2015-03-19 One Down, One Up

Media & Music

I managed to watch all of Gilmore Girls, How I Met Your Mother, and Saved By the Bell this year. I started watching Parenthood and Switched at Birth. And I’ve never actually stopped watching Girl Meets World, Melissa & Joey, Jessie, Good Luck Charlie, or Phineas and Ferb. My favorite podcasts this year have been Being Boss, Breakfast for Dinner, Elise Gets Crafty, Happier, The Fizzle Show, The Lively Show, and Smart Passive Income. I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The 4 Hour Work Week, Essentialism, and The Pursuit of Happiness. I was able to see Carrie Manolakos, The Wind and the Wave, and Saints of Valory in concert. I also saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Memphis. Next year I think I’d like to add more fiction reading back into my repertoire, young adult section here I come. I’d also really love to attend a few more concerts, hopefully I can make that happen.

Chrystina Noel Europe Travel Tips in Paris 02


I spent time for work in Philadelphia, Jersey City, and Colorado – I even got to make a trip to Houston. I went to Austin, TX for TXSC15; Ocean City, MD for a birthday party; Vermont for a wedding; Portland to visit a friend from college; Nashville to visit my best friend from high school; Atlanta for a first birthday party; and Louisiana for a wedding. Ben and I even made it to Europe for two weeks to visit Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg, Paris, and Barcelona. What a trip.

Event Photography - 1st Birthday 01


I learned how to use my new lens, a 16-35mm, but am missing my 50mm just a little bit. I did another summer challenge this year and tried my hand at event photography. While it’s not my favorite, I definitely got better at it. I even completed two couples’ photoshoots and started a Facebook Photography Page. Who knows, maybe photography will make its way into my 2016 plan.

First Time Golfing 03

Trying New Things

I went golfing for the first time. I got my first blow out. I started watching Firefly and the Star Wars series – not only that, but I liked them both a lot. I’m hoping to incorporate more science fiction into my life in the future (in addition to Disney sitcoms). I spent the first part of the year doing belly dancing and cardio pop dance classes, but all of that was shot when I went to Europe. I found that I really liked having a friend to go with. I’m wondering if that’s something I can work out for 2016, only I never know which state I’m going to be in. I also went to my first Renaissance fair.

2015-07-24 one down, one up

Blogging & Social Media World

I got the chance to meet and hang out with so many bloggers this year. Part of that is from starting PHLBloggers and part of that is from attending TXSC15. If you’ve ever considered starting a blog the community alone makes it worth it. PHLBloggers successfully had one event per month all year. I stepped up my Instagram Game on my trip to Europe, which was awesome. I wrote 52 one down, one up posts which have been a great chance for me to reflect on the week. I went to Wordcamp, a WordPress conference, and was completely overwhelmed. My blog was featured on CBS Philly. I wrote two e-books, one for sale on How to Stay in Touch and one free one about themed parties. I sold some greeting cards, I sold some calendars, but neither one really took off. I’m excited to see what idea I come up with next. And last, but definitely not least, I hosted my first in-real-life blogging event, which went pretty gosh darn well if I do say so myself.

2015-01-27 Things I Learned About Cats 02

Milestones & Big Deals

I survived living with a cat that I eventually grew to love. Tory and I made Disney Channel Original Movie Valentines that were featured on Buzz Feed and our HSM ones got over +10k views. The Philadelphia Freedom Chorus won 4th Place in Region 19 and best small chorus. I gave up going to church for Lent and was able to learn a lot during that timeframe. Pi Day was the biggest deal ever this year because it was 3-14-15 9:26:53, twice. I went to 7 weddings, from potlucks to backyard bashes to resort rent-outs, and I had a blast at every one. I built a computer, although that was the bane of my existence for far too long. I went to Vetri for dinner (which counts as a milestone because the cost is $150 a head, without alcohol). Pop turned 90 this year. I even passed my Project Management Professional last week just in time for the New Year.

And that’s it. There’s definitely some hints up there about what I think 2016 is going to bring – more science fiction, more young adult novels, a few more concerts, and a whole heck of a lot of love.

I turn 27 tomorrow, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m pretty pumped. 27 sounds way better than 26 if you ask me. Let’s see what this odd year brings. I’m sure it’ll be something great.

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  • Aubrey

    Yesss, reading more fiction. Here’s a list of books I think you’d like to get you started (all YA but 1):

    Attachments (adult, but adorable)
    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
    First & Then
    Anything by Sarah Dessen (I think you probably read her as a teen. Remember that Mandy Moore movie How to Deal? It was based on one of her books.)
    Eleanor and Park
    Anna and the French Kiss

    • Perfect. I was going to call to ask for suggestions 🙂

  • Relationships are so hard to keep going these days. I tend to get bored easily. Thankfully I’ve been hanging in there with my boyfriend as well. I’ve only done some local traveling this past year. Def trying to branch out this year. Paris? only one can dream! Great post and love that cute kitty! You’re slowly transforming into a cat lover!! Sooner or later you’ll have two! lol

    Great post and awesome recap!

    • I also usually tend to get bored easily, so I absolutely understand that sentence. That was actually my roommate’s cat. I missed her when she left, but I was very glad to have a clean kitchen back in my life. Maybe Paris will make it on your list soon 🙂

  • Sounds like you had a great year to me. I’m with you on reading more. Definitely something I want to do this year. Also, to check out some of the shows you listed . I love Parenthood but only made it to season 3.

    • How the heck do you stop after season 3? I’m moderately a television addict though, especially for things on Netflix, no self control 🙂

  • What an epic year! Happy belated birthday Chrystina. I’m so glad we’ve connected in 2015 and look forward to learning with you in 2016. Netflix streaming is my downfall too – but I’m usually decluttering while I’m watching so I feel productive! Parenthood was great – keep watching!

    • Thank you, thank you! I’m excited for 2016 as well. Just started Season 6. It’s the beginning of the end. All the emotions.

  • Happy belated birthday! Looking forward to what you new year brings!

    • Me too 🙂 – hopefully a trip to Philadelphia for you and a trip up to the Springs for me and Ben.