213 of 2013

So last year, I decided to look back on the year that was, by summing up 212 facts. I’ve decided to do the same thing this year. But since it’s a year later, I changed the number to 213. Let’s look back at 2013!

  1. 2013 was the year I graduated for my Research Master’s in Language & Communication.
  2. In addition to an MA in English and Education I can now refer to myself as MPhil (Master of Philosophy) in Communication Sciences.
  3. It was also the year where I started blogging less due to being too busy juggling a 32 hour job and writing my thesis earlier this year.
  4. Instead of blogging every day, I now blog every other day.
  5. I like this schedule, but I would like to blog daily again some time.
  6. One nice development in my blog is that I have been added to press lists and that companies have started to approach me to set up link swaps or write articles about their products.
  7. Unfortunately nothing has really popped up that I liked or caught my interest.
  8. Stats wise I generated fewer views than last year, but of course I also blogged less.
  9. I even put in a blog hiatus for almost 6 weeks in July for some well deserved rest.
  10. Overall my blog generated roughly 200 unique views a day.
  11. The busiest month was January when I still blogged daily.
  12. The most popular blog of the year was posted on August 20th on the new Catrice & Essence make up.
  13. The top 3 in posts are rounded off by my post on H&M work out clothes from January and the YSL lipstick in Tropical Pink which I bought in March.
  14. My best viewed post is still a post from 2012: a collective shopping haul.
  15. The top 3 search engine terms are: Pros & cons of being a teacher, Floating in Dreams, Cosmetics.
  16. I only went to a handful of concerts.
  17. These included Muse, Braids, Johnny Flynn and Volcano Choir.
  18. And music festivals Pukkelpop, Rock Werchter and Song Bird Festival.
  19. The first two are summer festivals, the other one was an indoor festival with nothing but singer-songwriters.
  20. I was simply too busy to go anywhere and nothing good was on in the first half of the year.
  21. The year ended on a bad note: for the past 4 months I have been feeling very unlike myself because I lack energy to do the things I love to do.
  22. Right now I’m trying to turn the tide and am hopeful that 2014 will give me new opportunities to explore myself, my life and how I live it and use these insights to make different and better choices.
  23. Medically, my hayfever lessened (yay!), but I gained wheat intolerance and confirmed asthma in return (boo!).
  24. I still get hayfever like symptoms, but no longer as a reaction to trees.
  25. It’s something else now, but they don’t know what. I still have to get a blood test done to get that checked out.
  26. Asthma is a bummer because now I know why working out can be such a feat sometimes.
  27. 2014 will focus on coming up with a work out schedule that keeps me fit and healthy but is not as strenuous for my lungs.
  28. The wheat intolerance made me embark on a journey for finding foods that I can eat.
  29. I blogged about it extensively and you can find those posts under the cooking category.
  30. Come fall time I decided to cut my sugar intake dramatically.
  31. I succeeded quite well and now even hate a tablespoon of honey in my morning yoghurt.
  32. I still have a major sweet tooth though and the past few, stressful months haven’t made it easy to stick to a sensible diet.
  33. Changing my diet to exclude gluten, wheat and most sugars and cow milk products has been the right decision as far as I can tell.
  34. I feel less bloated, have fewer problems with my intestines and feel energetic and fit despite my being lackluster and having no energy to work out.
  35. Work seems to be a major player in my energy levels.
  36. I’m good as long as I am at work, but before and after it I’m a complete train wreck.
  37. All I want to do is sleep and curl up on the couch with movies and tea.
  38. After Christmas break I will work 50% for a few months to see how that goes.
  39. I just need to get my energy levels back so I can do things other than work and actually enjoy life with the people I love.
  40. To see if it’s just stress that is causing me to feel like this I have a doctor’s appointment in a few days to get checked out.
  41. I think 2013 may have been my busiest year yet.
  42. Dealing with engaging studies, a demanding job and trying to have a personal life, while spending time in the kitchen to prepare special meals, writing regular blog posts AND keeping up a regular work out schedule was challenging.
  43. One of my new challenges in 2014 will be to play the guitar.
  44. I wrote my thesis on how Facebook can be used to support students in their higher education course.
  45. In January I got a nasty throat infection, in the middle of exam weeks which caused me to get behind majorly.
  46. It took working through entire weekends for 3 weeks straight to get back on track and get it all done.
  47. I saw an exhibition on 1950s fashion in The Hague in January.
  48. I taught a class on Sociolinguistics. My favorite subject!
  49. In April I went on a study trip with some colleagues and about 70 students to the UK.
  50. While I was there I visited my friend Alison in Birmingham.
  51. She came to visit me over summer and we went to Amsterdam, The Hague, the beach and stayed in Leiden.
  52. Summer was hot and sweltering and I spent quite a few days drinking ice cold water while reading magazines in the park.
  53. 2013 was a good year for friendships: I re-established my bond with my best friend and gained a few new friends as well.
  54. In February I locked myself into the University Library in Leiden for a few days to write a paper for my studies.
  55. It would be the last paper, apart from my thesis.
  56. In February my uncle got married and my cousin taught me how to dance Gangnam style. (Having younger cousins rocks!)
  57. Over summer break I watched nearly 40 movies.
  58. I watched an average of 3 movies a day.
  59. My favorite movies I saw in that time were Shawshank Redemption and Silver Linings Playbook.
  60. Other movies I saw are Lincoln and Wolverine.
  61. In January I joined a group of young people at work to get together and meet other younger employees.
  62. I even made it into the board of our committee, but unfortunately, due to lack of time, I wasn’t able to continue.
  63. In the first half of the year I had few social gatherings, again because I was so busy.
  64. Live music still makes me incredibly happy.
  65. I already have a few concerts lined up for 2014: Bastille, Backstreet Boys (oh yes!) and Justin Timberlake.
  66. In April I was bombarded by weird phone calls from so called ‘Microsoft’ employees who said my computer was in danger.
  67. I ended up going to the police to report the phone number and the procedure they proposed I’d follow.
  68. For the first time I went to the Beautygloss party, hosted by Dutch blogger Marsha.
  69. It was fun and I got quite a few good deals, but I’m not sure I’d go again.
  70. I wrote the draft of my thesis in exactly 3 days during May break.
  71. I spent Queen’s day scouring the market and having coffee and cheesecake with friends.
  72. Like last year, I held a ‘listening party’ with 3 friends of mine.
  73. The idea is that everyone selects 5 songs they love, give a bit of an explanation why they love the song so much or why they think others should hear it and then everyone listens to the songs.
  74. It’s not only fun, but you also get to know each other better.
  75. My friend held another vintage party in June.
  76. This time it was 1950s themed and of course I went all out with hair, make up and my outfit.
  77. I now know for sure that I was born in the wrong decade clothing wise: the 40s and 50s style clothes are so much more flattering on my body type than more current styles.
  78. I celebrated my 29th birthday as Ben Howard was singing his songs at Rock Werchter.
  79. Over summer I went to see my doctor to alleviate some chronic backpain I’ve been dealing with for years.
  80. He sent me to a therapist and the main reason (besides stress) for my back pain is the fact that I’m short.
  81. At 5″1, I cannot sit on most chairs or reach things in most stores.
  82. I found out that if I sit properly my pain will lessen.
  83. So I’ve been trying to focus on that.
  84. At work I succeeded by lowering my desk and using the separate keyboard rather than my laptop.
  85. At home I’ve decided to spend more time on my couch rather than behind my computer when I’m home.
  86. Rather than a nice and slow start of the school year in August, I was sucked right back in.
  87. In September I worked my 32 hour job in 3 rather than 4 days due to scheduling.
  88. After 2.5 weeks it all became a bit much and I called in sick.
  89. It lasted until fall break, which gave me a well-deserved breather.
  90. During fall break I went to London.
  91. My parents gifted me a voucher to book a trip for my graduation.
  92. I used that to book the trip.
  93. I went to London for 4 days and fell in love with that city all over again.
  94. Highlights were the Harry Potter tour with London Walks…
  95. Highgate Cemetery West…
  96. The backstage tour at the Royal Ballet…
  97. But the cherry on top was definitely seeing the Royal Ballet dance Romeo and Juliet!
  98. I swear: I still dream of that beautiful theater and the dancing.
  99. When dance class started back up I went with not one, but two classes.
  100. One of my old dance teachers returned and I knew his class would be good.
  101. Good but demanding: I had never had that much muscle ache after a dance class when I first took his class in September.
  102. The dance classes I now take are Jazz/ Musical and Lyrical Jazz.
  103. Dancing still makes my world go round.
  104. Like live music, it’s what makes me intensely happy.
  105. Music wise I had little time to sort through lists of MP3s.
  106. I still have close to 1000 songs to sort through and haven’t sorted through my indieplaylists since August.
  107. What I have been doing is buying CDs.
  108. I bought a huge stack when I was in London as well as consistently throughout the year from my local record store.
  109. My local record store is on my street and I walk past it on my way home from the supermarket.
  110. I check the place every week to see if they have anything new and interesting.
  111. My last buys: Bastille – All This Bad Blood & The Boxer Rebellion – Promises.
  112. Because despite the fact that I couldn’t go to many concerts, plenty of good music was released.
  113. In the end, I still got my music fix, but in a different way than usual.
  114. Dresses became my latest obsession in the fashion department.
  115. I find Asos the best place for dress shopping, because they carry so many styles and brands.
  116. Around spring/ summer I also became obsessed with skirts.
  117. Shoe wise I went mostly with practical and sturdy.
  118. Blogwise I didn’t post many fashion posts because to take those type of pictures you need good lighting.
  119. One blog goal for 2014 is to feature more fashion related posts on here.
  120. And then I mean something other than shoplogs.
  121. I want to show you how things look on, how I wear things and tell you about little tips and tricks I’ve come up with over the years.
  122. One idea I’m playing around with is to film one or two outfits and feature a monthly round up in video form.
  123. 2013 is the first time I fell in love, hard. With no result unfortunately.
  124. Other than knowing more about myself and how good it feels to finally fall in love again of course.
  125. Make up wise, 2013 became the year of THE RED LIP.
  126. I wore red lipstick non-stop.
  127. As a result, I have acquired quite a red lipstick collection.
  128. And you guessed right: my red lipstick collection will be coming to you soon after the new year has started. So keep your eyes peeled.
  129. I said earlier on that 2013 ended on a bad note, but a hopeful one too.
  130. I am currently busy exploring my passions and myself.
  131. This is exciting and scary at the same time.
  132. I’m learning things about myself that I took for granted or that I didn’t know at all.
  133. Right now, I’m a bit in limbo: I know that what my life is like right now, isn’t necessarily what I want, but I’m not sure yet what I want either.
  134. Whether I’ll ever know what I want, is something I don’t even know.
  135. And you know what? I like that.
  136. Some say: life is what you make of it.
  137. So I’m curious to see what my new insights will do with me and how that will affect my life.
  138. All I know right now is that I have some choices to make in the next few months.
  139. That I am in a transitional stage of my life should come as no surprise to you.
  140. There is a reason for my incessant need to declutter my living space and embark on Project Room Change.
  141. I think that decluttering my living space is a good metaphor for what I really want and need: decluttering my life.
  142. Decluttering my living space has been going quite well.
  143. Almost 30 trash bags have been thrown out with useless stuff.
  144. I am currently selling some of my furniture off via Facebook Groups and Marktplaats.
  145. Instead of selling them, I decided to give away the books I wanted to get rid of.
  146. Giving away those books is one of the best things I did in years.
  147. It’s a joy to see the people that get my books be happy with things I consider junk.
  148. And I am happy that they are happy. Make sense?
  149. I even met someone who I used to hang out with years ago when I was a student but lost track of.
  150. After all that clearing out, I rewarded myself with a trip to IKEA to buy new furniture.
  151. It’s amazing to see how much space I’ve created by getting rid of so much stuff.
  152. My room now not only looks bigger, it FEELS bigger.
  153. The main reason for this is that I’ve created more floor space and got rid of a bookcase that divided my room into sections.
  154. I also took down useless decorations such as posters and flags.
  155. It’s a bit too empty for my taste now, but I bought some picture frames and I will be hanging some of my favorite vacation pictures on my walls.
  156. All the things that were in and on top of 3 separate bookcases, one smaller wooden chest, a number of cardboard boxes and standing on top of another bookcase, are now all nicely packed away in one large bookcase and 3 small sets of office drawers.
  157. I also made sure that as little as possible can be just lying about.
  158. I replaced my coffee table with two smaller tables that open up and have storage space inside.
  159. These now hold things like pyjamas, blankets and other things that would just be lying about otherwise.
  160. One thing I started doing again this year is donate blood.
  161. I’ve been a blood donor since I was 20.
  162. I hadn’t had a chance to do it due to being so busy and my allergies.
  163. Right now I’ve gone back to giving blood every 3 – 4 months.
  164. I celebrated my graduation twice. ๐Ÿ™‚
  165. I didn’t celebrate my birthday though as I was too busy rocking out to Blur and Rammstein. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  166. I didn’t even miss celebrating my birthday. I quite liked it actually.
  167. The only one who missed celebrating my birthday was my mom haha.
  168. Next year I’ll turn 30 (yep!).
  169. It will be the last time I’ll celebrate my birthday.
  170. One thing I’ve decided to do in 2014 is to not pay as much attention to social necessities such as birthdays and certain holidays.
  171. Especially when they clash with busy times at work (like my birthday) it’s just not a good idea to wriggle myself into every possible yoga position to go and see people.
  172. If people want to see me, we can also meet at a different time.
  173. In November I caught a nasty flu.
  174. I went and got my flu shot just a few weeks earlier.
  175. Too bad I caught a different flu than the one they vaccinated me for.
  176. I discovered a few new TV series.
  177. White Collar, Boardwalk Empire and Ripper Street.
  178. I watched the first two seasons of Boardwalk Empire while I was down with said flu.
  179. I am currently watching White Collar, Ripper Street and Elementary as they are churning out new episodes on a weekly basis.
  180. One movie I still want to see is Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
  181. This year, I got a bit of girl crush on Jennifer Lawrence.
  182. Mainly because of Silver Linings Playbook though. I just love that movie.
  183. Just before Christmas my 14-year-old cousin came over and stayed the night.
  184. It was her first time going cross country all by herself.
  185. It was a lovely girly time.
  186. She is as obsessed as me with fashion, shoes, make up and nails.
  187. So that went quite well and it was fun.
  188. On January 1st the BBC series Sherlock will start its 3rd season.
  189. To say I’m excited is an understatement.
  190. In September I found out that I will be occupying my current living space for the next few years.
  191. On my salary I cannot afford a different place.
  192. And I make too much money to get a cheaper place.
  193. I am literally stuck in between.
  194. Hence project room change.
  195. I want to prevent my living space to become so cramped and cluttered that you cannot move around anymore.
  196. Luckily I have good organizational skills, which I could put to good use.
  197. The article that I was supposed to write together with my professor never happened.
  198. I did edit another article by him and another PhD student, but I never received word as to whether my contributions made the cut.
  199. It would have been nice to end my university career with a publication.
  200. However, as with many things in the past year, life simply got in the way.
  201. A good thing that happened is that my thesis was accepted for a conference in Alaska in May 2014.
  202. This means that I am allowed to go to Alaska to present my research to fellow researchers and higher education professionals.
  203. The only thing I still need to do is draw up a budget for work and then they might pay all or part of my trip.
  204. When I’m visiting Alaska, I would like to also go across the border to Vancouver to visit family.
  205. My mom has cousins who live in Canada whom I don’t know very well, but it would be fun to see them and to see a part of Canada that I’m not likely to see otherwise.
  206. As I am writing this up I realize how much I’ve put my life on hold to do my job and finish my studies.
  207. I had little time for me, for fun things and for my friends and family.
  208. I was hoping it would all change once my studies had finished, but unfortunately it didn’t.
  209. In fact, it only got worse.
  210. Despite using my 5 week summer vacation to chill and recuperate from months of pushing through and finishing up my thesis, I derailed within 2.5 weeks of the start of the school year.
  211. That things have to change is clear.
  212. And I’m going to use 2014 to make that change.
  213. I am curious to see what the new year will bring. What about you?

What was your 2013 like?

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