23 Things I Fell In Love With This Year

It’s my birthweek, and unfortunately that means that I am another year older. I think I will just stop having birthdays now. It’s my 23rd rotation around the sun and I thought it would be cool to reflect on some of my favorite things from the last year.

  1. Roaster Jack coffee: after I graduated from Northern Michigan University in April, I moved back home for the summer and started working at the Blue Caribou Cafe (now Ursa Major Bistro). We get all of our coffee from this local Traverse City company…and let’s just say, the El Salvador blend is my jam. And their website and graphics are beautiful too.
  2. Serving tables: I have worked in the food service industry for over nine years and basically held every position you can imagine at a restaurant other than being a line cook. Working primarily as a cashier and host over the years, I’ve served a few tables here and there when needed, but it wasn’t until this summer that I actually was a server. It was so much fun, challenging, and the tips are great!
  3. The Fraternity & Sorority Life Podcast:  I am a little podcast obsessed and approximately half of the things I fell in love with this year are podcasts…help. Knowing that I was about to embark on a new journey working with Greek Life, I started listening to this podcast over the summer for some intro professional development. I quickly learned that the global fraternal community is super awesome.
  4. We Believe You: This book is written by Annie Clark and Andrea L. Pino. It is a collection of sexual assault survivor stories told by the survivors themselves. The premise of this book is that 1 in 4 college women and 1 in 6 college men will be sexually assaulted while on campus. As a future Student Affairs professional, I want to serve as a resource for all of my students, and it starts by listening to them and always always always believing them.
  5. Up North Michigan: This company sells apparel and other Michigan themed gear. I met the woman who founded the company, when she came in to order coffee from me at Ursa Major Bistro. The rest is history. I will always be a fan of this company and a supporter of local goods.
  6. My Chevy Impala: If you were to ask me what kind of car I would be driving when I dumped my truck, I would never have told you a grandpa car…but when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade…or something like that. It’s no Subaru Outback or Jeep Wrangler, and it’s definitely not as adventurous as I’d like my car to be, but I have a car that was available when I needed it, affordable, and reliable.
  7. Campus Podcast: Campus tells the real stories of college students’ experiences on campus. It’s real. It’s raw. It’s amazing story telling. Check it out here.
  8. Goodreads: I am a huge reader and I am always on the look out for new awesome reads. Good thing there is an app for that. This amazing site lets you connect with friends, share what you’re reading, and find the latest good reads. Try it, and connect with me!
  9. Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Upon moving to South Dakota, and realizing there is barely any water here, I went searching for a place that would bring me that connection to water and natural beauty. I found it at Falls Park. The only thing that would make it better is if it wasn’t so packed with people all the time.
  10. Lara Bars: My first experience with a Lara Bar was at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. I was backpacking for two weeks and surviving off of trail food. One of those food items was this horrible tasting, healthy alternative to a granola bar. I stayed away from them until after college. I was obsessed with Clif Bars, but after a summer on Orientation staff and surviving solely on Clif Bars, bananas, and coffee, I needed something new. A few of my SFL coworkers love Lara Bars and I gave one a shot. Now, I will never go back. If you haven’t tried the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor, stop reading and go grab one quick.
  11. Yankton Meridian Bridge: I love running and hiking and being near the water. The pedestrian bridge in Yankton connects the cities trail system to the trails just across the Nebraska border and I am madly in love with the view.
  12. Badlands National Park: I am a lover of the National Park Service and the Badlands may be one of my favorites. I spent a weekend there with my best friend Monica and I will never let those memories fade. It was by far one of the most magical places I have ever been.
  13. The I Ching: This is a book similar to a daily devotional. It is meant as a way of seeking spiritual guidance in times of change and is loosely based on Taoist principles but is meant for anyone of any religion, faith, or spirituality. Monica and I have been using this book randomly throughout our friendship, and I finally purchased a copy of the book for myself. I now consult the I Ching as a way of grounding myself and staying spiritually focused.
  14. NASPA: NASPA is one of the largest professional student affairs organizations and I was lucky enough to attend a regional conference hosted by them in St. Louis, Missouri this November. Needless to say, I’ve found a professional organization that I will stick with for the time that I am working in student affairs.
  15. Garmin ForeRunner: I have never been a watch wearer. But, I wanted a GPS watch since I have no concept of distance when I run in South Dakota, because I am still so unfamiliar with my surroundings. I got this watch for Christmas, and I now think that I am a watch person…
  16. Fernson Brewing Company: I love Michigan craft beer and moving to South Dakota, where there is an untapped market for craft beer, I struggled not having a million breweries right down the street. Good thing Sioux Falls is only an hour away and the craft beer scene is slowly trickling into this state. Fernson was my first craft beer from South Dakota and is still my favorite. If you haven’t tried their IPA, I highly suggest you do.
  17. The Lumineers: I have been loving on the Lumineers since their first album came out in 2013. I anxiously awaited their next album for the next three years. On this day (April 8) last year, Cleopatra was released and it was the best birthday gift I could have received (thanks Lumineers). I have been crushing hard on them since and I was lucky enough to go see them live in Omaha in January. Whenever one of their songs comes on now, I go paralyzed and think I am back at their concert.
  18. Gilmore Girls: Growing up, I didn’t really watch a ton of TV. I still don’t. But with the invention of Netflix, I have slowly started to watch more TV shows and movies. The Gilmore Girls revival was released this winter, and I decided I would jump on the bandwagon and see what the buzz was all about. I thought that I would hate the show. I was wrong. I fell in love with the wit of Lorelei, and the charm or Rory. I loved the constant pop culture references, and if you thought that I talked loud and fast…think again. The Gilmore girls have mastered the art of fast-talking.
  19. Gilmore Guys Podcast: If you love Gilmore Girls, then you will love Gilmore Guys. This podcast is hosted by two of the most hilarious guys I have ever listened to. They watch every episode of Gilmore Girls and then discuss, analyze, and rate each episode on the air for all of our entertainment. If this intrigues you, check it out here.
  20. Sinclairity: Sinclair is a student affairs professional that I have been connected with on Twitter for awhile now because I loved his positivity and the way in which he always encouraged the SA community online. He writes a weekly email and sends it out each Monday. It is the perfect dose of happiness, authenticity, challenge, and inspiration to cure a case of the Mondays. If you want to subscribe to this email, you can do so here.
  21. The Skimm: I try to be up to date with current events and happenings, but I hate the news because it seems to be riddled with negativity and hate. The Skimm delivers daily news to your inbox and its written in a fun, comedic way that anyone can understand and have a laugh at. Subscribe here.
  22. Good Folks Coffee Company: This local craft coffee company is located in Louisville, Kentucky and I am dying to visit someday. My good friend, Leslie owns the coffeehouse in Vermillion (you’ll be hearing a lot more about The Bean in an upcoming blog post) and she is friends with the good folks over at Good Folks and sells their product at her shop. Their Fast Track blend is Heaven in a cup. Seriously, stop by The Bean and have a cup, or get some here.
  23. Living Like Mike: #LiveLikeMike is a lifestyle and a brand given to the community impacted by the tragic loss of Mike Purdy. Mike lived a life of simplicity, beauty, and charisma. He loved everyone and everything. He was in touch with his natural surroundings and the environment around him. He was an artist, a musician, a creative, a wanderer, and a free spirit. The world lost an amazing body this year, but his spirit lives on in each of us that loved him, and since his passing, I have drastically altered my way of living and my mindset on life. I focus on the important things and learn to let go of what is not mine to carry. I’m trying to see the world through Mike’s eyes, and in doing so I have learned to love life a little more too. If you’d like to learn more about Mike, follow Monica’s blog where she shares their story and other really cool things!

My 22nd year on Earth was a wild and fun one, and it brought a lot of new things to my life. It’s crazy to think about where I was this time last year (other than jamming out to The Lumineers new album, obviously) and reflecting on the growth and change that has occurred since then.

If you’re looking to add some spice to your life, feel free to check out something from my list above, and if you ever make it to South Dakota, don’t waste your time at Mount Rushmore, check out Sioux Falls, Yankton, and the Badlands instead.

Cheers to 23 years!

-Joel

 

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