Favorite Albums of 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hi, hello. It has been a hot minute since I've been around here. 
I don't really have an excuse or a reason for my prolonged absence from my own blog - school work, my capstone, writer's block, not really caring, no one really reading - and I don't really feel that I need to explain myself, but I do want to come back. I hadn't really had any ideas for posts until just about 20 minutes ago, sitting on my bed watching the ten thousand "best beauty products of 2016" videos that had popped up in my Youtube subscription box. I was thinking about how boring and repetitive those videos have gotten, especially considering the fact that most of them include the same products, and wondering what content creators could do to make them more interesting when I had the thought of making my own. Bored of makeup lists, though, I thought about the things that really narrated my 2016 and landed, instead, on music. 
Music, obviously, has defined my entire life for as long as I can remember. I can't make it, but I love it with my entire being. I started off my writing career wanting to be a music writer, and most of the passion and excitement in my life extends, in some way, from my love for music and the people who make it. The music I listen to defines my life, so I thought it would be worthwhile to look back at 2016 through my favorite albums. Thus, what follows is a list of my favorite albums of 2016, and how they've fit into my life. 
I've chosen to list albums that were released in 2016, rather than just compile a list of my most listened to of 2016, because that one would be much too long. Honestly, almost all my favorite bands released albums in 2015 (see: Sounds Good Feels Good, Future Hearts, Life's Not Out to Get You, 25, etc), so I spent most of the year listening to music from the year before. This hopefully means that I have a lot to look forward to musically in 2017. Until then, though, here are my top 4 favorite albums from 2016, with a song of choice for each one. Happy listening, and happy 2017.

Home is Where You Don't Need an Adapter Plug

Friday, June 24, 2016

Hi from New York! I've officially been home from Scotland for just about a month now, so I thought it would be a good time to wrap up my thoughts on Scotland. There are a trillion things for me to say about my time in Scotland, and there are posts still in the works about my travels and my final, wonderful week in Scotland with my best friend, but I thought I'd wrap it up for now with a list of things I'll miss about my time in Edinburgh. 

I took this on my last day in Edinburgh. View of the castle from Princes Street.

April Favorites

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hiya! So, I've been wanting - and attempting - to make a favorites post since February, but I just haven't been able to until now. Monthly favorites are some of my favorite posts to read and videos to watch from the bloggers and vloggers I follow, so I decided it's about time I sit down and make my own.

April was a particularly unique month for me because I was traveling for the majority weeks of it, which is more than I've ever travelled before in my life. On March 31, I left Edinburgh for Paris - from there, I went to Lisbon, Madrid, briefly back to Edinburgh, and then up to the Isle of Skye. Less than a week later I left Edinburgh for Brighton, then Cardiff, then Swansea, and finally Cheshire. Oh, and there was a quick day-trip to Glasgow somewhere in there as well. I returned to Edinburgh for good on April 27th - just shy of a month after I left. 

I'm not going to lie about it - all that traveling honestly drove me a little crazy and took a toll on my sanity. As I'm very much a homebody, I spent quite a bit of this past month feeling overwhelmed and out of place. This was frustrating because I knew how lucky I was to be seeing such incredible places - but I just couldn't get my emotions to agree with my brain. The latter half of the month was better than the first because I was in hotels, not hostels, and with my dad and brother, who I trust to travel with. Doubtless, though, I saw so many incredibly beautiful places this past month and learned so many new things. In addition, all that packing and unpacking (and only having a tiny bag to carry everything in) taught me a lot about what products I really, actually use every day - making April the perfect time for me to start compiling monthly favorites. So, without further ado, let's get into it!

A Few Changes

Friday, April 29, 2016

Hi! A little change has happened around here today - my url has gone from gwenalmighty (which, if no one caught it, was totally a shameless rip off of the One Direction song Girl Almighty) to my shiny new gweninbetween. Here's why:

tbh if only my life was half as exciting as this show

life's a tangled web (of cellphone calls and hashtag, 'i don't know's)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Travel posts are turning out to be much more intimidating and harder to complete than I had anticipated. While I work on them, I thought I'd put together a quick post about the 5 Seconds of Summer concert I went to last night in Glasgow. 

Sort of Review: Dream A Little Dream

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

While I slowly but surely work on two long posts about my recent travels (my St. Patrick's Day trip to Ireland and my spring break to France, Portugal, and Spain) I thought I would drop by quickly to talk about a book I finished on my flight back to Scotland.

my spring break looked a lot like this

I've made a previous post about Giovanna Fletcher, in which I talked about how she basically lives my dream life and inspires me, daily, to work on being what I want. I also admitted in that post that, while Giovanna inspires me and is quite successful, I don't always love her writing. My opinion on her writing is, of course, totally irrelevant, but I thought I'd share my feelings anyway because her books always get me thinking.

A Sunday by the Sea

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Yesterday  Aaron sent me a message that said "how much work do you have to do tomorrow?" and I knew right away that I was had. I do have a lot to do today, especially before we leave for Ireland, but Aaron sent me two photos of North Berwick and all my willpower left without a second thought.

Think Pink

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Untitled #439

Untitled #439 by gwenalmighty featuring pink toss pillows

This is just a little inspiration/aesthetics set, because I've been so absolutely in love with anything and everything pink lately. The dutsy rose pink color has become one of my absolute favorites for accessories, especially interior design and makeup wise. I've yet to make it to actually wearing the color pink, so we'll have to wait around and see for that.

I'm trying to reinspire myself re: fashion right now, because I've been in such a rut lately. I feel like I hate everything in my closet and want to start all over, but obviously I don't have the money for that. I'm getting back into Polyvore (or at least trying to) and looking for new fashion bloggers and instagrammers to check out for inspiration. Hopefully I'll get back on my fashion feet and feel excited about getting dressed again soon.

Homestay Weekend

Monday, February 29, 2016

I didn't actually stay in this castle (Lowther Castle) but we can pretend
One of the tenets of my study abroad program is the mandatory homestay weekend that all students must take part in.  During a homestay weekend, students are sent off to live with a family for the weekend, which will hopefully give some insight into what real life - not student life - is like in the UK. This past weekend was mine.

What I Did This Week

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Snow falling on Drummond Street on Feb 13, the day before my family arrived. Snow's not uncommon here, but it rarely ever sticks because it's not quite cold enough. 

This week was probably one of the best I've had since I came to Edinburgh, due to a few different things. Firstly, and probably most importantly, my family came to visit this week! My brother's high school (read: my old high school) had the week off for February break, which just happened to coincide with the University of Edinburgh's Innovative Learning Week (for some students, it's a week to present projects, for me it was a week off). So, my parents and brother flew out and arrived on Valentine's Day to hang out and explore Edinburgh with me. 

It seems as though my family brought that blinding winter sunshine that is so typical to New York with them, because we had incredible weather all week. This hasn't happened to me at all in Edinburgh yet - although there have been a decent number of sunny, rain free days, I hadn't yet experienced this many in a row. My family visiting, the great weather, and the lack of school definitely contributed to my improved mood this week. 

Write It Out

Not an exciting travel post, and no pretty pictures of Edinburgh today. Instead, I'm talking about calendars! Because that's really exciting!

agenda: Ban.do (sold out)

One of the biggest things that stressed me out when I first arrived in Edinburgh was the thought of being here until May. There was something about the blank space of 140 days between January first and May twenty-first that really, really freaked me out. I knew in the back of my mind that pretty soon school would start and that would help fill in some of the time, but it still scared me. It felt like forever. It still feels like a pretty long time.

On February first I was really excited. I had made it an entire month in Edinburgh, despite telling myself over and over on day three that I was going home, that I wouldn't have to stay. I'd been desperate to go home, I'd told myself that I would be going home, I'd cried and wished I would wake up at home, but I had made it an entire month. But then I realized, or remembered, that I'm here for four months. And while I had made it through the first one, I still had three more to go. I wasn't even halfway there yet.

Scotland So Far

Monday, January 25, 2016

Edinburgh as seen from the inside of the castle
I've been in Scotland for just over 3 weeks now,  which is a pretty crazy thought, because it honestly feels like I've been here for a few months. I'm not quite sure it feels real yet, though - May seems like a very long ways away, and the fact that I'll be staying here until then is really daunting, so I try not to think about it. 

I spent a long time thinking about what I wanted to write in my very first post from Scotland, and how I wanted to say it. This trip honestly didn't start out the way I had hoped it would - namely, it started with a whole lot of tears and wondering what I had gotten myself into. I have since settled down a bit, though I want to record everything as honestly as possible. 

I think the value in recording how I'm experiencing Edinburgh honestly is twofold. One: it will help me to remember it correctly in the future, which is important, and Two: if someone else who I know is not loving or, in the future does not love, their study abroad experience, I hope that knowing that someone they know struggled as well will be helpful! There's a lot of pressure, I think, to love every single second of studying abroad. Everyone tells you that it's going to be the best time of your life, that you're going to miss it more than anything when you come home. I guess I think it's really important to acknowledge that not every second abroad is going to be absolutely incredible, and that sometimes it takes a while for you to feel okay in a new place. That being said, what follows is a mostly honest account of my first few weeks of being in Edinburgh + a bunch of really cool photos I took! If you don't feel like reading everything, I still encourage skimming through the photos! This is a really beautiful place (especially when the sun is out).