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When I considered writing an end of the year retrospective, my face scrunched up in disgust as I reflected on 2015. Not my favorite year by a longshot. So much of it felt like a continuous struggle – like I’m in the middle of a significant lesson which I’ve tired of learning. Part of that may be the depression talking. It’s been one of the roughest years for me in a long while on that front and I know how much it can cloud and distort a person’s view of situations. A year is a fairly arbitrary measure of time and in the space of those bookends much transpired – good, bad and adjectives in between. There are layers to this life thing.

Instead of dwelling on the year’s lows and looking at the year simplistically, I opted to capture the essence of each month – a reflection of what was going during that period in time – including the books I read, TV shows I binged, trips I took and posts I wrote that resonated with people. It turns out that 2015 wasn’t as “garbage” as I initially thought.

2015: Year in Review


Highs: Woke up in Prague after a fun New Years Eve. • Designed and ordered my first box of business cards as a writer and blogger. • Was excited to be followed by Taye Diggs on Twitter until I found out he follows practically everyone.

2015, like every other year, had it's highs and lows. It's important not to let the lows overshadow the highs. | Read more from "2015 in Review: I Could Have Used More Laughs and Fewer Tears..." on The Girl Next Door is Black
Just hanging out in Prague on New Year’s Day 2015 | Sculpture: In Utero by David Černý

Lows: Driving 90 miles north to UC Davis’ Veterinary School to see if my beloved, 13-year old cat has cancer (inconclusive, tests are $$$$)
Binge-watched: Frasier (all seasons – there are 11!), The Originals (s1)
Read: The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year ☆☆☆☆☆
Traveled: Prague • Warsaw
Wrote: GoodBye Weave; Hello Curls! (Most viewed post in January and in all of 2015)


Highs: Littlest sister visited from Texas!
Lows: Littlest sister went back home.

2015, like every other year, had it's ups and downs. However, it's important not to let the year's lows overshadow the highs. | Read more from "2015 Year in Review: I Could Have Used More Laughs and Fewer Tears, but It Actually Wasn't That Terrible" on The Girl Next Door is Black
Showed my sister one of San Francisco’s favorite ways of spending a sunny afternoon – at Dolores Park: picnicking, drinking, smoking, “smoking”, laughing, celebrating, etc. We ate the best strawberries that day. I scored three baskets of plump berries for $5 from a street vendor in The Mission. I almost felt like I got away with something.

Binge-watched: Frasier cont’d • Arrow (s1-3 )
Read: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple ☆☆☆☆
Wrote: Essential Blogging Resource Guide (one of the top 3 “pinned” posts in 2015)


Highs: A photographer friend profiled me on his site • Heard Talib Kweli speak on race and hip-hop at The Commonwealth Club • A friend sent me surprise flowers for my birthday. I love surprises like that!
Lows: Not being able to fly to Texas to celebrate my (Texas) mom’s milestone birthday
Binge-watched: Arrow cont’d • House of Cards (s1-3)
Read: Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America by Eugene Robinson ☆☆☆☆
Wrote: No, I’m Not a Mommy (most comments of the year)

My dad actually recommended this book to me and mailed me his copy. I’m glad he did because I found it enlightening. I highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about Black Americans of today – the media only gives attention to a small segment – and the socioeconomic factors which underlie our progress and pitfalls in the US.


Highs: Being invited as a guest on a radio show. I thought my nerves were going to get the best of me, but I did it and I didn’t make myself look like a fool! • Caught up with a good friend from L.A. who was passing through San Francisco for a blip. We laughed so hard; it was just what I needed.
Lows: The Uprising in Baltimore, Maryland after the death of Freddie Gray – specifically the way many mainstream media outlets distorted events, as well as how excessive policing goaded and further traumatized people already in emotional distress.
Binge-watched: Marvel’s Daredevil • Bones (s5-9)
Wrote: 5 Myths About Black Americans That Need to Disappear (4th most popular post of the year)


Highs: My friend’s super fun bachelorette weekend in Palms Springs • Attended my first blog conference (Bloggy Boot Camp in Temecula – Nia Peeples was there!) • Reunited with my Europe travel buddy for a weekend
Binge-watched: Bones cont’d
Traveled: Palm Springs • Temecula / San Diego
Wrote: Not Your Grandparents’ Brand of Racism

2015, like every other year, had it's ups and downs. However, it's important not to let the year's lows overshadow the highs. | Read more from "2015 Year in Review: I Could Have Used More Laughs and Fewer Tears, but It Actually Wasn't That Terrible" on The Girl Next Door is Black
In Palm Springs I had a carefree weekend


Highs: Watched two friends who seem made for each other get married • Saw an excellent and poignant one-woman show at The Marsh called Black Virgins Are Not for Hipsters • Danced to tracks spun by Ryan Hemsworth at 1015 Folsom • Saw Kim Kardashian talk about the sexual objectification of women in the media (yes, really) at The Commonwealth Club (While I’ve never been her biggest fan, I have to admit she gives a charming interview and is likely smarter than she’s given credit for). My friend J and I are now technically in an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians since the cameras were there with Kim and panned over the audience.

A friend sent me an email out of the blue saying “write a book please” – it meant a lot. • Bree Newsome climbed a flagpole and took down the anachronistic Confederate Flag waving in front of South Carolina’s capitol building!
Lows: A delusional white supremacist befriended and then murdered 9 black parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina church. Being in the office – where I was one of very few black employees – feeling alone in mourning the lives lost, because no one else seemed care about what had happened – at least not to the degree I did.
Binge-watched: Orange is the New Black (s2-3)
Read: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ☆☆☆☆
Wrote: Don’t Call Me “Girl”


Highs: First BlogHer conference •  Spent time with my (New York) mom and my grandparents • Took in another one woman show, this time by Anna Deavere Smith called Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education at Berkeley Rep – disquieting commentary on the US educational system and the “school-to-prison” pipeline. • picked up my post What Emotions Am I Allowed to Have as a Black Woman for syndication!

BlogHer 2015 is hands down the best conference I’ve ever attended. Among many highlights: I learned  more than I probably am even aware; shared an inspiring moment of solidarity led by the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement; met one of the bloggers I admire, Awesomely Luvvie (and acted like a fool incapable of forming proper sentences); listened with great interest as the talented film director Ava DuVernay imparted words of wisdom; and engaged in refreshingly honest discussion on sexual harassment, intersectional feminism, and domestic violence helmed by three formidable women behind a few of the most powerful “hashtag activism” movements on Twitter in recent years.

I also met some wonderful new people, and to wrap it all up we celebrated with a party where Boyz II Men performed, Nick Cannon DJed, we “whip and nae nae”d, and dined on all the McDonald’s we could eat!

Lows: My friend died from cancer  • In a case of police abuse that hit frighteningly close to home, a 28-year old black woman named Sandra Bland was found dead in her jail cell under extremely suspicious circumstances – after a questionable arrest. This just weeks after the murders in Charleston. Again, working in the office – trying to get through the day coherently and without breaking into tears – seemed like a form of self-flagellation.
Binge-watched: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt • Veep
Read: The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman ☆☆☆☆
Traveled: New York
Wrote: What Emotions Am I Allowed to Have as a Black Woman? (3rd most popular post of the year)


Highs: Reunited with my friends/favorite ex-coworkers to celebrate the life of our friend E- who died in July • Caught up other good friends in Los Angeles for Mexican food • Went to a San Francisco Giants game with a friend in town from L.A. • Surprised and honored to be included in Quirky, Brown Love’s 200 Amazing Black Bloggers (among great company).
Lows: The reason for the reunion • Took an unscheduled break from blogging to recharge

2015, like every other year, had it's ups and downs. However, it's important not to let the year's lows overshadow the highs. | Read more from "2015 Year in Review: I Could Have Used More Laughs and Fewer Tears, but It Actually Wasn't That Terrible" on The Girl Next Door is Black
My friend E’s brother is on the far right; along with E, the rest of us worked at the same company for several years and became good friends. We dined in Koreatown in honor of some of E’s favorite things – good food, good drink and lots of meat.

Read: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins ☆☆☆☆☆ • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates ☆☆☆☆☆ • The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae ☆☆☆☆
Traveled: Los Angeles
Wrote: White Supremacy: I Don’t Know How Much More of It I Can Handle


Highs: Visited my Vegas grandmother, got her signed up for seniors’ internet classes at her local library, helped her secure her membership at the ‘Y’ where she now enjoys taking chair yoga, and took her shopping because as I told her, just because you’re working out doesn’t mean you should dress any ol’ way and she was going to be a “fly granny.” 79 and still going strong. Get it granny! • Second youngest sister visited from Texas! • Danced my butt off at the Oakland Music Festival with said sister. • Invited onto The Unconventional Woman Podcast as a guest.
Lows: Had a mammogram to check out a lump (everything’s fine). • Second youngest sister returned home.
Binge-watched: Sliders (re-watched series) • Power
Traveled: Las Vegas
Wrote: San Francisco, I Think I’m Over You

2015, like every other year, had it's ups and downs. However, it's important not to let the year's lows overshadow the highs. | Read more from "2015 Year in Review: I Could Have Used More Laughs and Fewer Tears, but It Actually Wasn't That Terrible" on The Girl Next Door is Black
Sister selfie at The Palace of Fine Arts


Highs: Saw the hilarious duo, Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu, from one of my favorite podcasts Another Round at Popup Magazine’s inventive evening of live storytelling • Took Mattieologie’s Full Time Formula webinar on making real income as a blogger that got me all fired up • Caught up with two former co-workers • For Harriet published my piece Growing Up “Keisha” in a World of Ashleys and Joshes! • Did an urban hike on Halloween with the Outdoor Afro Club and my friend K (black people like the outdoors too!).
Binge-watched: Person of Interest (s1-4) • Charmed (re-watched from the beginning)
Wrote: Growing Up “Keisha” in a World of Ashleys and Joshes


Highs: With my second youngest sister, I spent my first Thanksgiving in over 20 years with my (New York) mom and her side of the family. Met a bunch of new-to-me and new-to-this-earth cousins. • Saw a live taping of The View and softened toward Raven; DJ Tanner was there!; left with a $100 gift card to Lulu’s and an Alessia Cara CD (the musical guest on the show).
Lows: A job I wanted that would have allowed me to work remotely didn’t pan out
Binge-watched Chicago Fire (whole series) • The Fosters (s3) • Being Mary Jane (whole series)
Read: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ☆☆☆☆☆ • Syrup: A Novel by Max Barry ☆☆☆☆☆
Traveled: New York
Wrote: Quit Talking about the Lack of Diversity and Do Something

2015, like every other year, had it's ups and downs. However, it's important not to let the year's lows overshadow the highs. | Read more from "2015 Year in Review: I Could Have Used More Laughs and Fewer Tears, but It Actually Wasn't That Terrible" on The Girl Next Door is Black
My sister and I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan for the first time

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Highs: Hung out with a high school classmate I haven’t seen since we graduated almost 20 years ago • Traveled to my 5th continent – Asia • Came in 2nd in my fantasy football league (I started playing again; I’m a hypocrite.) • Checked out a cat café in Oakland. So cute.
Binge-watched: Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce • Casual 
Read: The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs ☆☆☆☆☆
Traveled: Ho Chi Minh City, all over Cambodia, Bangkok, Shanghai

2015, like every other year, had it's ups and downs. However, it's important not to let the year's lows overshadow the highs. | Read more from "2015 Year in Review: I Could Have Used More Laughs and Fewer Tears, but It Actually Wasn't That Terrible" on The Girl Next Door is Black
Oh, I also tried fried tarantula in Cambodia (just a leg). It was…crunchy.

Once I put it all down, it’s clear that I have a lot to be grateful for this year. It’s far too easy to focus on what you don’t have, haven’t accomplished, who’s not with you, or how much money you didn’t make. It’s important not to let the year’s lows overshadow its’ memorable highlights.

I am healthy, I have a safe place to live, I don’t have to search for food, my family is safe and generally healthy, I have friends and people who love me. So take that depression!

With all that said, 2016 I hope you are planning to bring it.

2015, like every other year, had it's ups and downs. However, it's important not to let the year's lows overshadow the highs. | Read more from "2015 Year in Review: I Could Have Used More Laughs and Fewer Tears, but It Actually Wasn't That Terrible" on The Girl Next Door is Black
According to Spotify I pretty much listened to Drake this year with breaks for Kanye and A$AP Rocky.

How did you feel about 2015? What were your highs and lows? What did you watch/listen to/read/create? Travel anywhere interesting?

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  • jboelhower
    January 14, 2016

    Thank you for sharing. I enjoy your honesty and depth of your post. I have been sitting here contemplating on how to express the beauty and the pain of living in a world that seems to lean too much toward the pain. How important it is to have a voice, how important anyone’s voice can be. As a blogger, at times it doesn’t seem like anyone “hears” what you write. But they do. I wish you a 2016 that has more beauty than pain, and keep making the world a better place with your voice.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      January 18, 2016

      Thank you for such a supportive comment, Joel! Brought a smile to my face. 🙂

      • jboelhower
        January 19, 2016

        You are welcome. Never forget how powerful words are to make this a better world. Keep sharing.

  • Dean
    January 12, 2016

    There was a lot of good here, but I know one gray day can consume the good ones. It was hard to reflect back on 2015 without seeing the ugly. There was too much hate, anger, and fierce hostility.
    I cried so many tears.
    I smiled.
    I made new friends.
    I loved.
    I moved.
    I read your blog!
    I feel in love with the kindness & genius!

    It’s funny, I found myself reading this post and thinking I remember that! I’m sorry I’ve been MIA lately.
    I was proud of you for speaking your mind and standing behind your beliefs in your interview with *that* man. He made my blood boil!!
    I hope you always speak your mind. I hope the world gathers more knowledge and love.
    Cheers to a better year, m’friend!!

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      January 13, 2016

      It’s funny that you say you’ve been MIA. I’ve been meaning to tell you that last year you were my top commenter! So, I want to thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your imprint with such wonderful words.

      I enjoy reading your blog too and I like how uplifted I feel after reading your posts.

      I’m glad we got to know each other this year, and perhaps one day our paths will converge such that we are physically in the same city. 🙂

      Here’s to a better 2016 indeed, one with far less of the hate, anger and hostility you referenced!

      • Dean
        January 22, 2016

        You serious, Clark?!?!? I was your top commenter!!! :::Happy dance:::
        I should probably brag about it on Twitter 😀
        Anyway, enough of my goofball antics…
        I would love if our paths would cross one day! Hey!- I am on the left coast now 😉

  • @slowpaddler
    January 4, 2016

    @grlnxtdoorisblk ur welcome!looks like an amazing year-u gotta ton of stuff accomplished. Love how you organized it2

  • susielindau
    January 3, 2016

    All in all, it looks like a mighty fine year!
    I love your idea of keeping track throughout the year. It will be interesting to see how i2016 comes out! Too bad we can’t binge-watch our own lives and then take a different path. Ha!

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      January 6, 2016

      Your comment reminds me of the Choose Your Own Adventure series I read as a kid. Oh how often I’ve wished that I could see how the other stories would end depending on my choices. Too bad we can’t binge-watch, indeed!

  • JoulesDellinger
    January 3, 2016

    Loved your recap and I’m so glad I was able to meet you at BlogHer. As you experience a year and go through it’s highs and lows, it seems like they take forever… but when you look back at it, it often seems like it passed so quickly. =)

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      January 5, 2016

      Hi, Joules! You are definitely part of my BlogHer15 memories! Do you think you’ll go to this year’s conference? I’m debating (even though this year it’s in the same state as me!).

      What’s that saying? The days are long, but the years are short? That was definitely 2015 for me!

      Happy New Year!

      • JoulesDellinger
        January 5, 2016

        I’m actually waiting to find out if I get approval from my work to go again this year. I’ve been really lucky that they’ve sent me for the last four years of BlogHer and I’d love to experience it this year again. =)

  • April
    January 3, 2016

    What a great year! Who knew Taye Diggs followed everyone on twitter lol!

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      January 5, 2016

      Lol, it was such a letdown when I came across a thread of bloggers all talking about how Taye Diggs had followed them on Twitter. Turns out it was part of some larger strategy of his or something. He was even asked about it on one of the morning talk shows!

  • Vashelle (@ShellysCabaret)
    January 3, 2016

    I love the format of your recap, Keisha! I’m sorry to hear that it was less than a stellar year for you. I truly know what it’s like to have a crummy year, and even a succession of them, so here’s to a fresh start. I hope 2016 is a better time for you, our society and anything else that puts your heart and mind at ease.

    Can’t wait to follow your next journey!

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      January 6, 2016

      Thanks, Shelly. What would life be without ups and downs, right? *raises glass of something potent* Cheers to a better 2016 all around!

  • Amy
    January 2, 2016


  • Pierced Wonderings
    January 2, 2016

    What a great way to think about the year! I think I’m going to have to steal this…although my travel section will be a bit light 😉 And in order to make it work, I think I’m going to have to work on it month by month (I’m a bit scattered….if I don’t write things down, they vanish into the recesses of my mind, replaced by silly things like what to make for dinner).

    I once heard that we remember the bad things as worse than they were and the good things as better – I’m OK with that idea in theory, but I also know that I have a tendency towards the negativity (my husband will confirm this. Him getting me through the Royals last two runs in the World Series are testament to that), which means that it is in the interest of my mental health and the peace of those around me to focus on the positive. I work on gratitude every day to remind me that bad moments in a day don’t mean a bad day or a bad week or a bad month or a bad life.

    As a white woman, I cannot even begin to comprehend the ways in which our country’s racism has impacted you. I have a background in Adult Education, and one of the major areas that my studies touched on was power, privilege and race – the role that adult education had to play in the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. I went in not really understanding – I grew up poor…a “hillbilly” -, but hearing my classmates stories, listening to them talk about how it impacted them and how their experiences were different from mine, made me realize that I had nothing to compare and that there was still a great deal of work to be done. Those conversations feel like a lifetime away, and now I teach special education in a self-contained classroom for students with emotional/behavioral disorders…the majority of whom are black males. We’ve spent a lot of time this year talking about voice, agency, power, privilege. Often, I feel like I’m in the dark, leading them to god knows where, but I also feel like someone has to provide the space for them to be heard. I’m fortunate that one of the behavior facilitators in my classroom is black and grew up in the Delta during the height of the Civil Rights era. He leads many of the discussions that I don’t know how to, bringing a perspective that I can’t begin to understand. None of what we are teaching is in our curriculum, but no one cares enough about us to check on it anyway so I go where we are lead, for better or worse.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      January 3, 2016

      This format definitely forced me to think about the year in more detail and as a sum of it’s parts rather than one big suck. Negative experiences can take up so much space in our minds. I wish sometimes that the moments of joy didn’t feel so fleeting.

      Your teaching work sounds intriguing. It seems too often these days that kids with behavioral struggles are punished rather than treated with patience and compassion. They’re still kids and still learning!

      I also feel like someone has to provide the space for them to be heard.

      That’s incredibly important – for all of us – few things make people feel worse/isolated than thinking their thoughts and contributions don’t matter – that no one cares.

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment, Jennifer! 🙂 Happy 2016!

  • Zahrah
    January 2, 2016

    I think one of your May highs is very sweet and… I’ve binge watched Frasier numerous times! Love that show!

  • BritishMumUSA
    January 2, 2016

    Wow wow wow…. What a year, and isn’t it funny how once you put it allndown…. you really had a rocking year. Here’s to another, here is to me reading and commenting more…

    Happy New year mate xoxoxo

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      January 2, 2016

      I know. I’m glad I did this post in the end; really helped me to put the year in perspective.

      As far as commenting more – I meant to tell you, you were one of my top 3 commenters last year! So, thanks for that. Happy New Year, Ray! Look forward to reading more of your whimsical posts. 🙂

  • Jennifer
    January 2, 2016

    I really enjoyed reading this post. You’ve had some amazing experiences in 2015. Hope 2016 is even bigger and better!

  • K. Renae P.
    January 1, 2016

    Ha! I had the same Taye Diggs experience.

    2015 was literally one of the best and worst years of my life. I accomplished some important things at work, won a prestigious award from my city’s and sister city’s chamber of commerce, blog did well, the two nonprofits (Boys and Girls Club & Community Theatre) I support had awesome years after a few sucky ones, and my family & friends had a lot of great events/milestones happen. On the other hand, there were a lot of deaths in 2015. A lot. While I rocked it at work, the amount of work was massive due to special circumstances. I went through a period of no blogging or social media because I was busy from the time I woke up until the time I went to sleep. 2015 was amazing and hectic and exciting and terrible.

    I really enjoyed your year in review.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      January 3, 2016

      Taye Diggs had so many bloggers thinking they were special for a minute. :p

      A Chamber of Commerce award sounds pretty damn cool; congrats! Glad to hear about the non-profits too. I’m all about philanthropy.

      It’s always sad to lose someone (or multiple someones as in your case). I hope that those who’ve moved on are in better places – truly, not just in the cliche way. Someplace where souls are kinder to each other.

      Thanks for your comment and I wish you a fantastic 2016 with more ups than downs!

  • tunisiajolyn84
    January 1, 2016

    I just discovered your site through April’s meet and greet thread. And I already love it. I am going to have to do some catching up because there were a lot of articles that piqued my interest. I really like how you broke everything down month by month and discovered the many blessings for last year. For me, 2015 was a year of shifts. I guess every year, it is that but I felt the shifts more between peace, love, light and sadness, depression and loneliness. A perfect example of this is when I shared a photo that I found on buzzfeed pretty much stating that anxiety can consume every thought but there is so much more to a person than anxiety. Anxiety is just a small percentage of who we are and that really resonated with me so I shared it on Facebook and I mentioned that I suffer general anxiety disorder and encouraged anyone with mental illness to realize they are so much more than their illness. So I felt a shift from really bad anxiety to really good energy and that’s been my year throughout in many ways. I binged on Being Mary Jane, I listened to so many great albums that I can’t even list them all but two that come to mind right now is Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable and I am currently reading Dr. Wayne Dyer’s last book. I’m almost done and I started it in 2015 so it still counts. lol Okay well that’s my two cents…well more like twenty cents… geez this is a long comment. Anyway, happy new year and I clicked on all the links! 🙂

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      January 2, 2016

      Hello, Tunisia! Glad to have you here!

      I mentioned that I suffer general anxiety disorder and encouraged anyone with mental illness to realize they are so much more than their illness

      Well put. Thank you for sharing about your year. Looks like one of reflection and growth.

      I listened to that Kendrick album a lot last year too, especially “Alright”, it was like an anthem.

      I enjoyed your long comment. It’s full of goodness and made me smile. Happy New Year!

      • tunisiajolyn84
        January 3, 2016

        Hey. Thanks. I’m glad to be here and thanks for reading my long ass comment and enjoying it. lol And yes Alright can definitely be a great anthem.

  • Noodle
    January 1, 2016

    We apologize for being so bad at commenting this last year.
    Doing better and visiting more is on our resolution list…
    Have a wonderful New Year!

    Noodle and crew