Due to blogging every week on a Sunday, it seems only right to use the final one of the year, which also happens to be the very last day of the year, to look back and reflect on some the things I did in 2017 – 17 things in fact. The last 12 months have been a whole lot of something. From surviving another year of university, to surviving merging into other lanes at high speeds in built up areas, to surviving ridiculous plebiscites, real life work experience, and the fact that I witnessed the one and only queen Adele perform live and lived to tell the tale, 2017 was definitely memorable. I’ll refrain from spoiling anymore points, because they’re all explained below! If you enjoy this post, please give it a “like” so I know, and let’s jump into the last blog post for 2017!
1. Visited a sunflower field.
In January I visited a sunflower field for the day and it was beautiful. Some were on the way out while most were in their prime. It was just so crazy to see these tall yellow flowers going on for miles. Here’s your girl amongst it all in the most appropriate outfit.
2. Got featured on the WordPress Discover page and welcomed huge influx of followers to my blog.
February gave us Valentine’s Day, and to celebrate the occasion I did a little trio of blog posts, from rounding up my Valentine’s Day beauty picks, to baking some V-Day brownies, to creating a movie guide to binge on the day if you’re going to be Netflixing without the chill. My Valentine’s Day Brownies was seen by WordPress Discover and they featured my blog post across all their platforms to celebrate Valentine’s Day! I didn’t even know WordPress Discover was a thing, and I never anticipated for a baking blog post of mine to be the one that gets me noticed. I’m so grateful for being featured and seeing my work displayed everywhere on WordPress was amazing!
Due to the exposure, my blog boomed in followers! I went from having around 270 before I was featured in February, to now 2,469! Followers aren’t everything, but it’s definitely a wonderful feeling knowing all your hard work is being seen and enjoyed by more people. If you’re a follower of mine and you’re reading this, thank you for your support throughout 2017!
3. Saw Adele live in concert.
In March I saw Adele perform live in concert and it was phenomenal. It’s exactly what you’d expect it to be like and more. Her voice is one of a kind and is incredible to hear in person. Plus, her 360 degree venue was amazing. Even though I was there with 60,000 others, it felt so intimate but also so grand. I’m not sure if she’ll tour again anytime soon, so I’m so grateful I was able to get tickets and go see her with my family!
4. Met one of my blogging/life idols, Margaret Zhang.
In March I attended the ELLE x H&M #LadyLike Night with one of my best friends Natalie and heard an amazing panel of creative females discuss careers, success, fashion, personal style and what it means to be ‘ladylike’ in 2017. The definite highlight of the night, however, was getting the chance to meet one of my idols in terms of blogging but also just general life – Margaret Zhang. This was the caption I wrote for when I posted this photo on my Facebook.
I started getting creative with my Instagram way back in 2013 after seeing the beauty that was Margaret Zhang’s flatlays on her account – which she appropriately hashtagged #ZhangFlat. Fast forward to last night where I got to meet the inspiring, determined and genuine woman herself at the ELLE Australia x H&M #LadyLike Night. She was incredibly interesting to listen to on the panel, and afterwards was so down to earth to talk to. I got to hug her, tell her how amazing I think she is and ask her what advice she’d give to bloggers like myself. She even stopped me to tell me “you have the most amazing eyes by the way, they’re just so bright.” I died. I was also the last person to get to have a conversation with her, as everyone else was told they could only get photos due to time limits. I’m still not over this, and I don’t think I ever will be!
5. Visited Mackay.
In April I went to Mackay to spend Easter with my sister! She lives in Mackay as she’s a journalist and it was so nice to have her take us to all her favourite spots in the region, from the incredible beaches, amazing waterfalls, and even the delicious cafes and food spots (shoutout to Pinnacle Pies!)
6. Got a tweet featured on the Eurovision screen.
One night I was at my Nonna’s for dinner and afterwards we turned on the TV and saw Eurovision was on. I hopped on Twitter to see what the masses were saying about Italy’s performance with a man dressed as a gorilla (#justEurovisionthings), and naturally started tweeting my own thoughts. Moments later my brother goes, “Jess is that you on TV?” And it was! I can’t believe my tweet “Iceland is giving us a slick high pony and a cape and I’m here for it #SBSEurovision” was broadcast to everyone watching in Australia.
7. Wrote a feature article all about the rise of polarising male beauty gurus and got in featured in the campus section of the Brisbane Times.
For my Feature Writing subject, heaps of students were forcing themselves to write about things like charity or terrorism in the hopes of getting a better mark. But nothing was grabbing my attention. Part of me thought it would be ‘silly’ to talk about how popular beauty gurus are getting, but after talking to my tutor, easily brainstorming a huge list of ideas of who to talk to, and already having a bunch of knowledge on the subject, it was a done deal! I had so much fun writing about something I was so passionate about, and you can definitely see that reflected in the article. My tutor and faculty co-ordinator thought it was good enough to be passed on to the Brisbane Times, and it was published online in their Campus section where they showcase student work! You can read the article in my online portfolio here.
8. Interviewed one of my favourite drag queens, Vanity Faire, for a university news article.
I was so nervous starting my International Journalism subject, and just like with the Feature Writing subject above, so many people were discussing terrorism, Trump and other horrifying international affairs thinking that’s all they could cover. Nothing was peaking my interest and I was more interested in talking about my passions instead. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I adore RuPaul’s Drag Race and the entire drag queen culture. When I realised I was more interested in writing about how RuPaul announced a second DragCon drag queen convention to be held in the same year and for the first time ever in New York City, I pitched it to my tutor who said “sure, I’m excited for the photos.” I knew I wanted to talk to Vanity Faire, creator and co-owner of Sydney wig brand Wigs by Vanity (RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 finalist Courtney Act is the other owner #queen). I emailed their company and totally expected their assistant to get back to me. But lo and behold, Vanity relied to me, with amazing, lengthy and colourful answers to my questions! It was such an amazing interaction that I needed during all the stress of university. This experience and the feature article above taught me that your passions aren’t trivial — they’re actually important! You can read the article here.
9. Got a High Distinction.
Guess who was terrified of that International Journalism subject, then wrote an article about drag queens, then got her first High Distinction for said subject? Me! I’m someone who always gets Distinctions. I work super hard and it’s so relieving to see it pay off. What’s always just out of my reach though is a High Distinction. I don’t stress myself out over getting them because they’re so freaking hard, and since I’ve always done university full time, if I put too much time, effort and focus on just one subject, another might slip away from me. At the start of the year I made it a goal to get one HD, and in Semester 1 of that year, I did! I was so proud of myself and the little 7 at the end of it all was very satisfying.
10. Gained work experience in a real life newsroom.
In June I spend a week in the news section of The Courier Mail and it was a great experience! I got to see what a real print newsroom was like, attend press conferences, sit in court and watch it all unfold, and even got to help write a story and get a byline. It was great experience for my praxis towards the end of the year, because while some students were worried at the thought of attending press conferences and what not, I had already done some.
11. Survived my Radio and Television journalism praxis.
Speaking of praxis, I survived it! Even though I had a slice of experience, I was still terrified of the whole thing. But I made it through, got a Distinction at the end of it all, and realised it was the most interesting, worthwhile, hands on, realistic part of my degree so far and I’m so grateful for the experience. I took one photo over the two weeks and it was this one — me dressed in a hard hat, high vis vest and a Zara blouse that’s too nice to wear on a construction site, all so I could stand in the blazing sun and ask the Brisbane major Graham Quirk questions in a press conference. This facial expression is such a mood.
12. Finished my second year of university.
After all that and lots more, I finally finished my second year of university! It goes to ridiculously fast and I can’t believe next year will be my final year, and if all goes well, I’ll be graduating.
13. Surpassed half way driving mark.
Throughout the year I drove heaps in an automatic car, with my parents, with an instructor, on the real roads with other drivers, in built up areas, merged on a freeway, and almost mastered how to drive a manual. In Australia you have to have 100 hours of practise, and in 2017 I surpassed the half way mark! I’m really proud of myself, and my goal of getting my license next year doesn’t seem so impossible anymore.
14. Voted Yes in the marriage equality plebiscite.
I made the best of a bad situation and drew a big fat tick in the Yes box on the marriage equality plebiscite survey sheet and contributed to the millions of yes votes that ultimately pressured the government into finally, finally granting same sex couples the right to marry. It was long overdue, it was stressful, dehumanising, expensive, time consuming and pointless as it could have just been passed in parliament in a day, but I’m so glad it’s a reality now. I’m so glad Australia has caught up with the 21st century, and I hope the rest of the world can too.
15. Saw Bianca Del Rio live.
In November I saw one of my favourite drag queens live on stage with one of my best friends Prue and she was hilarious, shocking and fantastic. Bianca is an insult comic, and nothing was off limits. She’s exactly how you would expect her to be but so much bigger, better, and insanely more outrageous. If you’re a fan of her, definitely see her live!
16. Almost won the trivia grand final.
My work friends love trivia and get together to do it every Tuesday. I went along a bunch of times and had a blast, even though I’m not overflowing with general knowledge. During the grand final though, things went to another level. The top 5 teams get into the final round, and we placed 7th, so we just missed the cut. The wildcard team entry still had to be decided though. The host gave someone in a audience a bunch of cards and got them to pick out a number. Our whole table was shouting 7 just for the hell of it, and then lo and behold, 7 gets pulled out and we’re into the final round. We screamed, we hugged, we jumped up as if we had just won the $500 grand prize. The final round was multiple choice and we made it through two or three questions before ultimately getting one wrong and being booted. Honestly, it was one of the most lively, wild, entertaining nights of 2017 and even just thinking about how we almost Steven Bradbury’d the entire trivia season gets my heart rate going.
17. Spontaneously applied for, got accepted into and booked an overseas study tour.
Over the passed few months I’ve been busy getting ready to go overseas for an entire month! I’ll be studying media and communication in the fashion industry at the European Institute of Design in Florence for three weeks with one of my best friends Natalie, and we’re so freaking excited! We’re also spending a couple days in Paris then London. The planning for this trip all happened so fast, and applying for it was definitely the most spontaneous thing I’ve done all year!
So that’s 17 things I did in 2017! I tried to make this list unique to just things that happened in 2017, but creating and publishing another 12 months of blog posts I’m super proud of is definitely number 18. This is one of my favourite posts I’ve done all year, and it’s been so lovely to spend some time looking back on everything that has happened.
Thank you for another wonderful year of blogging! I’ll be back in 2018, but until then, have a very happy new year!
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All the love,