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Personal Essays

Looking Back at 2015

December 31, 2015

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It’s been a big year. Before I headed into 2016 I wanted to take a second to look back and reflect on everything that happened in 2015.

Blog

MelHattie.com became MelHadTea.com, moved from Squarespace and relaunched with a whole new design on a self-hosted WordPress site, and I started a Facebook page.

Books

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I set off in April with the goal to read 41 books during the remaining nine months of the year. I ended up coming in at 20, or about one book every two weeks.

I underestimated was how much reading I was going to have in my Masters degree (which I didn’t count on the list) and how much time I’d have to read during our massive road trip (why read when you can climb a mountain or go on a once-in-a-lifetime outdoors adventure?).

That being said, I’m still proud of everything I managed to read and I’m going into 2016 again with the goal of reading one book every week.

Some of my 2015 favourites:

Tea

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I had the chance to sit down in a Russian tea room, I wrote about how to make great matcha, Halifax got its very own tea festival and I reviewed some great tea from Canadian tea vendors. I fell in love with Taiwanese oolong at the Lan Su Chinese Gardens in Portland and sampled teas throughout San Francisco’s Chinatown. I drank tea at the oldest tea house in Canada during the tea house challenge.

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I also completed my third tea sommelier course with the Tea Association of Canada. I’m excited to write about tea sommelier training and tea history to come in 2016!

Travel

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With my Masters starting in September I stayed put for the second half of 2016, but in March I hit up Boston to go to the Women in Travel Summit where I met lots of amazing travel women. Then I was off to Milwaukee to attend Bloghouse and then did a huge road trip across Canada for the month of August. I travelled to World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon and then decided on a whim to rent a car and drive down to San Francisco for a week.

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Right now I’m in Goose Bay, Labrador in the Canadian north, where there are skidoos and dogsleds to ride. Dry air that sucks that moisture out of you and the smell of wood fires to put you to sleep after you come in from the cold.

Photography

I ditched my heavy Nikon D800 DSLR kit and bought a Fuji X-T1, shot again for Lawn Summer Nights, a cystic fibrosis fundraiser in Halifax and wrote my first photography how to.

My best moments of the year on Instagram, using BestNine. Our surprise mountain engagement took the top spot! Following close behind are two shots from the day we took the tea house challenge, when I visited the beautiful Milwaukee art museum during Bloghouse, when we stumbled upon a sunflower field in North Dakota, and this ‘Just Start’ wallpaper with the Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise as seen from the trail behind the lake.

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Writing

I had the chance to be on the radio a lot this fall thanks to my university. Learning how to put together short stories for the ear, write for the ear and also live hosting and interviewing was a treat. I also got to interview a lot of really interesting people for The Radio Room on CKDU 88.1FM.

Here’s the last piece I put on air before the holidays:

Life

I left my job at a law firm and started a Masters Degree in Journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax and got engaged. Between leaving jobs, going back to university and doing all that traveling, plus freelance work on the side, it made for a busy year. This year I’m going to work on carving out more space in the day to write. This will likely be accomplished by trying to wake up a half hour earlier at 6am instead of 6:30am.

What’s Next?

I recently went to a 2016 focus workshop with a bunch of female entrepreneurs. We each picked a word to focus on for 2016. I wrote completion. I started spinning a lot of great plates this year and my goal for 2016 is to work on keeping them in the air and bringing them to the finish line.

What’s on your horizon for 2016?

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