goodbye 2015, hello 2016

I think that all of us can look back on 2015 and recognize that there were good times and there were bad times.  It might take an optimist to realize that the bad things taught us lessons that make the good times even sweeter.  In some ways I’m glad that 2015 is behind us, but in a lot of ways it was a really amazing year.  January was depressing and I found my heart anchored by an anguish that only time can heal.  Luckily I was surrounded by family, and would soon find a work environment that would build me up and help me discover myself again.

Of all of the things that happened in 2015, here is a survey of some of my takeaway:

Something positive that happened: It might not be so much something that happened, but more something that I did and somewhere that I went.  When I traveled to Oregon in June.  One of my high school best friends got married and I got to spend the weekend catching up with some amazing people.  They reminded me of who I am and re-grounded me.  I feel like I will always call Portland home, and I know that is partly because of the people who are there.

A personal highlight: I got to do so many amazing things in 2015.  My personal highlights were in the mountains.  I loved driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in June, but I think my true highlight was when we hiked to the top of Max Patch—a scenic outlook of the Appalachian Trail—to watch the sun rise.  If you don’t know what a mountaintop experience is, maybe you should brave the early morning hours to watch the sun and fog rise over the peaks and valleys of your closest mountain range.  It cures all types of ills and inspires something deep inside of you.

Blogging highlights: My blog is not about numbers.  I love you guys, your comments, and your involvement.  But honestly, the day that my blog stops making me happy (and starts making me unhappy) is the day that I’ll stop.  I get so excited every weekend because of the blog posts that will come out during the week.  My highlights are you guys, and more than anything, your support during a really difficult period of my life.

Relationship highlights: My coworkers.  Finding a work family like I have is a once in a lifetime kind of deal.  Everyone is passionate and driven.  They all own their own businesses, so their mentality about work is different.  They practice gratitude and positivity.  I can’t tell you how much I laugh with them.  How much I love and appreciate them.  How much my office and coworkers are everything I needed in 2015.  Getting to know me can be a slow process because I’m a private person who opens up in microscopic increments.  I appreciate everyone for sticking with me and loving me anyways.  And more than anyone I appreciate my family for every tiny and large thing that they have done for me.  There aren’t enough words.

But enough about the past.  What about the future?  What about 2016?

Things that I want to do and am looking forward to: I bought a tent so I want to go camping.  I want to spend more time with my coworkers outside of work.  And I am looking forward to exploring more of where I live.

What about that personal life?: I have two things on my agenda right now.  I just joined the worship band at my church and will start up with them in February.  It’s been a while since I’ve been on stage, and their format is different from what I’m used to, but I’m excited to welcome music back into my life on a more serious level.  I am also planning on moving out of my sister’s house in the near future so keep me in your prayers!

Where in the world will you go?: I want to camp at least once this year, and find another place to go hiking that isn’t five hours away.  I would love to go to a cavern, and can’t wait to go back to the mountains.  One of these days I would love to go skiing again, but I’m not sure that will happen in 2016.  One or two mini road trips are essential.  I might also go back west for another wedding.

What do you want to accomplish professionally?: I am very interested in making photography a part of my professional life.  I want to invest in my education and be more open to doing portrait sessions.

What about your blog?: I have big ideas but am small on time.  I would love to start doing guest posts and invite others to post on my blog.  I want to be more intentional with you guys and with other creators and writers.  I want to find and create a truly defined “Why” for my blog.  But I don’t want to do any of these things at the expense of losing my Love for this blog.

We can’t see into the future and don’t know what the fruits of our lives will be.  We see our past through the jaded lens of nostalgia and look at the greener grass on the other side.  Things are not always better somewhere else.  Sometimes we are exactly where we are supposed to be.  Nothing is permanent, so embrace what makes you happy, work on what doesn’t, and realize that this too shall pass—the good and the bad.  You are valuable, you are loved, and you are worth it.  Let’s have a great 2016, friends.

Until next time,

Jamie

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goodbye 2015, hello 2016

my top 5 movies of 2015

Hi friends! I thought I would start doing something a little different. I used to do “top 5 movies” videos on YouTube, and brought the idea to my blog for Halloween. I’m big into movies. My BA in media communications was mostly focused in film. What would you guys think if I started recommending some of my favorites?
Let me know if there are any categories and genres you want me to cover. We’ll start out with my five favorite films from 2015.

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Coming in at number five…
Everest

Based on a true story and starring big names like Jason Clarke, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, and Jake Gyllenhaal, Everest is the story of a group of climbers who get caught in a snow storm while climbing the famous mountain. It is an adventure beyond words that I saw in IMAX. Unfortunately the film did not earn any Oscar nominations, but I felt that it was very well done. From cinematography and sound, to characters and acting, it was a nail biting and intriguing story. I didn’t know much about climbing Everest before seeing the film and I liked getting to see so much of the process and the history of climbing the mountain.

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Number four…
Jurassic World

You might be surprised that a film from my favorite franchise only made number four on my list. If you’ve been reading my blog for long enough, you know that Jurassic Park is my favorite movie of all time. When the long-awaited fourth film was announced I lost my mind. Getting to see a new Jurassic movie was an extra special experience.
If you haven’t seen the originals, you might want to (at least the first one) before seeing Jurassic World. Otherwise the nostalgia and some back story will be missing for you. The film, in a sense, ignores the second and third movies, which took place on a completely different island. The park on Isla Nublar has been rebuilt and is the modern adaptation of everything John Hammond envisioned. The attractions and “assets” are all genetically modified, and the park guests arrive in droves. The surprisingly weak female lead, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), might run the entire park in her heels and stark white ensemble, but the real scene stealer is Owen (Chris Pratt), who is great with a gun, the Raptors, and sarcastic jokes. Claire’s nephews have come to the park at the perfect time–right in time for the new asset to escape captivity and cause some serious harm to the park and its guests. Owen and Claire must rescue the boys and contain the asset before too many lives are lost.

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Number three…
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Episode seven. We have been waiting years for this moment, my fellow nerds. Thank you for the characters and the amazing story, George Lucas, but I am glad that he stepped aside and allowed Disney to have complete control of this amazing addition to the Star Wars world.
While I understand not every fan is on board with The Force Awakens, complaining about things like the story feeling like a remake, I don’t share all of your concerns. I loved it. I love that there is a strong female lead who so far is not a Mary Sue. I love the humor, the characters, and the introduction to what will be our new Star Wars. Let’s all remember that the filmmakers had a hard task. They brought old characters into a new world, just like they brought new characters into an old world. They had to do both in order to appeal to an already established audience with high expectations. I think that they did a pretty good job, and I’m excited to see what they do next with their now already established characters.
I know people who went to see Episode VII without having seen any of the previous Star Wars films. They all liked it, but were confused about some things. I would personally recommend that you at least watch episodes four, five, and six (the originals released in the 70s and 80s) before seeing the newest installment.
I’m not going to say much about the plot line, because I personally hate spoilers. It is three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire and a new evil has risen in the galaxy–The First Order. Is the Resistance is the only thing standing in their way?

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Number two…
Mad Max: Fury Road

I had zero desire to see this movie when it first came out. I don’t like crazy apocalyptic movies about awful people doing awful things to other humans. Somehow, late one weekend evening, I found myself going to the movies with my sister to see Mad Max because she just loved it.
Surprise, surprise, so did I.
This George Miller film starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron is not your average film. The sand is a distinct orange color. The societies are weird and have sex slaves and War Boys. Max finds himself captured by a group of people and must find a way to free himself. He soon finds out that he isn’t the only one seeking freedom.
The editing is unique and Noticeable (which as an editor I absolutely adore because normally editing is not something that should be Noticeable). The sound mixing, sound editing, sound everything is to die for. And the surprisingly little amount of dialogue does nothing but build up the characters. I love weird movies that are well made. It is a feast for the eyes and the ears, if not for the soul. I really don’t want human beings to turn out like this in the apocalypse–let’s be honest.

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My number one from 2015…
The Martian

The book and the film are both immediate favorites of mine. Based on the book by Andy Weir, Ridley Scott has done it again. Mark Watney (Matt Damon), an astronaut botanist finds himself unexpectedly stranded on Mars after a freak storm causes his crew to abort their mission. With no means of communication, he can’t tell his crew or NASA that he survived what should have killed him. He has very few supplies and must somehow figure out a way to survive using only his ingenuity and incredibly good attitude.
The film pulled seven Oscar nominations this year, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Visual Effects. Honestly, what gets me more than anything on a film is the sound. I adore the sound in The Martian. Despite what a horrifying experience this man went through (obviously it’s fiction, but you would hardly know that with how well done it is), I really want to be an astronaut when I grow up now.
If you only choose one of these five films to see, I would recommend this one.

I’m really impressed with the films of 2015, but equally excited to see what 2016 has to offer. Some films that didn’t make the list are “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “American Sniper,” “Kingsman,” and “Cinderella.” What was your favorite film from 2015?

Until next time,

Jamie

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2015 randoms and favorites

Let’s remember all of the adventures from 2015–the big ones and the small ones. Some of us (like me) started new jobs, new lives in new places, and met a lot of really wonderful people. I spent my first year in North Carolina getting to know the places around me, and realizing that there is still a lot more to explore and learn. The east coast, and the south, is very different from what I’m used to. My coworkers make fun of the way I say things and the way I eat (or don’t eat) certain foods. Small things are different, like no license plates on the front of the cars. Big things are different, like having four seasons. I have seen the Atlantic Ocean and the Appalachian Mountains. I am constantly battling the humidity and my hair. And I am unexpectedly but excitedly very happy here.

Favorites of 2015:
Artists // Hunter Hayes and Shawn Mendes
Songs // “Flashlight” by Hunter Hayes, “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, and “Limitless” (Acoustic) by Colton Dixon.
Album // Divergent soundtrack
Books // “Eragon” by Christopher Paolini and “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed
Movie // The Martian
TV show // Supernatural
Quote // “How wild it was, to let it be.” -Cheryl Strayed
Tweet // You shouldn’t kiss anyone on January first because it’s only the first date.

Ice Storm 2015 a march weekend the empty lake the empty lake exploring the lake at easter-days 1 and 2 exploring the lake at easter-days 1 and 2 exploring the lake at easter-days 1 and 2 exploring the lake at easter || days 3 and 4 hiking raven rock state park ink, part the second March Randoms Be Amazing stormy skies a may weekend parents-introduction the pool the parents in north carolina, part 1 Asheville 2015 my first time on the blue ridge parkway jamie's travels // to portland portland and powell's // home day 2 july randoms and favorites august randoms and favorites explore more // custom art september randoms and favorites september randoms and favorites halloween 2015 October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I October in the Smoky Mountains: Part I october in the smoky mountains part II october in the smoky mountains part III october in the smoky mountains part III thanksgiving with the family november randoms and favorites a dickens holiday meet lola christmas 2015 christmas 2015

Until next time,

Jamie

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