I’ve always had a fondness for planners and for journaling. I’ve done both on and off ever since I can remember, and when the bullet journal system came into my life, I was immediately hooked: I liked the versatility of the system and the ability to combine both.
I moved to New York after I graduated college in 2016, and began to explore the wonderful things the city had to offer. At the same time, I was getting more into bullet journaling and was really inspired by the plethora of doodle challenges that different people hosted on Instagram – but I wanted something more personal, so I came up with my monthly calendar doodles. It combined my love of doodling and my love of journaling, so it seemed like the perfect option for me. I’m happy to say that it’s one of the things I’ve managed to stay consistent with, and it’s quite fun to flip through my journals and see all of the little memories all together in one place.
Since I now have a full year of doodle memories, I thought it might be fun to see them all together in a long blog post, as well as select a favorite day and memory per month. I hope you enjoy looking at the doodles and reminiscing on memories with me, and maybe feel inspired to start something similar of your own!
The day of the Trump inauguration held a lot of bitterness for me – I am a Canadian woman of color living in the States on a work visa , and Trump represents everything that I am against. I think the spirits of everyone I know was low that day – January 20th – and I still worry daily about my own immigration status as well as the daily assault on people in situations much worse than mine.
January 21st is my favorite memory of that month because it was the day of the Women’s March. It was the first protest I had ever been to, and it was an incredibly inspiring experience. Surrounded by friends and strangers alike, I felt so supported and overwhelmed with hope that we could maybe make it out in the end – bruised, hurt, but alive.
I had a lot of great memories in this month, but the best one was hands down when I got to see Hamilton: An American Musical. I bought tickets with my friend Julie after graduation in 2016, and had almost forgotten (and remembered) that I had blown 200 dollars on tickets multiple times since then. The day finally came, my friends flew from San Francisco to visit me, and I got to see an incredible theater performance of an incredible show with people I love right beside me.
My dad and I had talked about going to a Michelin star restaurant for years, and on this day we finally did it. He paid – and I’m so thankful that he did, because it was not cheap at all – and I had a really great experience eating very gourmet food. I ended up art journaling about it later, and you can see the drawing here.
My little sister, who is the cutest human in the whole world (I am not biased at all) visited me with our mom in the city. We went to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and marveled at the beauty of the blooming cherry blossoms and I bugged her into giving me 30 hugs. She hugs with her entire body, so I got a small child throwing herself at me multiple times throughout that day and the next. It was great.
May was not really a great month for me (see May 30) but one of the standouts that I remember was when I tried out the HTC Vive. I was working on a project for my full-time job at McKinsey, and we had literally moved our desks to their office space for more efficient prototyping and testing; it was a lot of long nights and waiting for videos to render.
The McKinsey space we were in had a Vive, so after hours, two of my coworkers and I tried it out. It was great fun and I now have footage of my coworkers and myself looking like idiots and attempting to ski in virtual reality. If the product weren’t so expensive I would seriously consider buying myself one.
I guess this is kind of cheating, but my favorite memory of June was definitely my birthday. I turned 22 right after a heartbreak, and I wasn’t feeling my best – but my friends completely spoiled me and reminded me how loved I truly am. I began crying happy tears instead of sad that day and I began healing. I honestly have the best friends in the world.
I went to San Francisco for Fourth of July and spent quality time with two of my best friends. Julie and Stephen were crucial in my surviving my MIT experience – they gave me a couch to crash on, a space to unwind, and multitudes of reminders that they were there for me when I needed them most – and I love them both to death. I’m always sad that we don’t get to see each other that much now that we live across the country from each other, so spending time with them and successfully Escaping The Room for my first time with them (even though we were complete idiots for the first part of the game) was really fun and good for my heart.
Meeting new people has always been pretty stressful for me since I’m a fairly socially anxious person. On this day, I met my boyfriend’s family for the first time – and not just his parents, but a large amount of his extended family as well. I dragged my boyfriend back to my place in the morning so I could make an apple pie to bring to the potluck, and his family was incredibly lovely and welcoming. They liked my pie and gave me a lot of compliments, which was really nice! I was given an “A++” rating by one of his aunts.
Also, his cousin’s children are small adorable tiny humans and I really want them to love me.
We went to MakerFaire that weekend, and I met a BB-8 droid while wearing a BB-8 dress that I had made. The creator of the BB-8 let me pick up the BB-8. I am obsessed with BB-8. I love robots, especially adorable robots. It was a highlight of my life.
My boyfriend and I spent the weekend with his parents, and on that day we went to this incredible sculpture garden called Grounds for Sculpture. It was really cool to see giant 3-dimensional renditions of artwork that I had loved throughout my life, and incredible to experience with my boyfriend. Also, giant kudos to his parents for being very willing to take extremely gross and cheesy photos for us.
My boyfriend and I took a week long vacation during Thanksgiving, so choosing a memory from November was particularly difficult. I ended up picking this day because one of the major highlights of the trip was an incredible Florentine steak that we shared when we first arrived in Florence. It was the only meal that we really splurged on, and it was completely worth it. We ended up getting what we called “meat high” – incredibly delirious and happy from the food we had indulged on.
I had a lot of really amazing memories from the last month, and they’re all especially fresh right now. I went to the Galapagos for Christmas vacation with my family, and that was definitely an incredible experience – I will be posting a blog post about it soon!
However, I think my favorite memory of December was when I opened my Etsy shop. It was something I had thought about and wanted for a long time – I claimed the shop name a few years ago – but was always too timid to try. I had a post on Instagram that I shared on Facebook and Reddit that garnered a lot of popularity, and finally I thought, why not? After a few hours work of converting a drawing into a PDF file, I had something to list!
There’s only one listing right now, but it’s something I am committed to working on for the foreseeable future. I have a lot of ideas for what to add as downloadable products, and I’m really excited about what it can become!
2017 was a year full of highs and lows, and there are definitely more memories in each month that are very precious to me, but these are the ones I’ve chosen to share with you today. I think it’s fun to see how my doodle style has improved throughout the months, and I’m excited to have another series of calendar doodles to look back on for 2018!