My 10 Bests of 2015

Happy New Year, y’all.

2015 was…well, 2015 was awesome. I landed a new job at a local magazine, took some stellar vacations, and casually graduated Adult Space Academy.

Just to name a few highlights.

As the year comes to a close, I give you my personal “bests of 2015.” I hope you’ll be inspired. What are your bests?

Best book 


“I wanted the gift of forgetting. Boozy love songs and brokenhearted ballads know the torture of remembering. If drinking don’t kill me, her memory will, George Jones sang, and I got it. The blackouts were horrible. It was hideous to let those nights slide into a crack in the ground. But even scarier was to take responsibility for the mess I’d made. Even scarier was to remember your own life.”

Over the last few months, I’ve been on a memoir kick and this tale of a journalist trying to find herself at the bottom of bottles stood out like a sparkly gem. Hepola details her battle with alcoholism in such a compelling and humorous way that I hung on every word and couldn’t let go. Tiny rays of wisdom shot off each page. For anyone that has struggled with their inner demons, you’ll find Hepola’s writing a powerful force.

Best piece of journalism

After Newtown shooting, mourning parents enter into the lonely quiet

“It sometimes felt to Mark in these moments like his grief was still deepening, like the worst was yet to come. After the gunfire, the funerals, the NRA protests and the congressional debates, they were finally coming into the lonely quiet. They were coming to the truth of what Newtown would become.”

This article, written in June 2013, was something I stumbled upon during one of my many trips down the Internet rabbit hole this year. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Eli Saslow with The Washington Post interviewed a family that lost a son in the Sandy Hook shootings. The story is devastating, heartbreaking, almost too difficult to read. But it is a testament to what happens when journalism gets it right. It’s the kind of reporting we need more of, the kind that tells the story that comes long after the story, revealing how lives carry on even when general media coverage has dissipated. By the end of the article, I felt like I was sitting right there with this family in their lonely quiet. I was hurting for these strangers, picturing them in their living room surrounded by condolence letters, an unshakable emptiness sinking in their hearts. It reminded me why I’m a journalist: The power of connection. I advise everyone to read this article in its entirety.

Best TV series


I found this gem of a series on Amazon Prime. It’s based on a book by the same name and portrays an alternate history in 1962 where the Allies have lost World War II and Japan and Germany have taken over the U.S. The cinematography is breathtaking and the storyline quite intriguing too. Science fiction meets historical drama. Luckily, it’s been renewed for a second season.

Best Happy Hour

Five Point Public House Oyster Bar

(That time my dinner was served in a muffin tin)

As a young professional, it is my duty to find the best happy hours in Birmingham. Yes, it really is. And I have discovered the best one right down the street from my office in Five Points. Here you’ll find tasty cocktails, wine, and beer at extremely reasonably Happy Hour prices along with delicious bites to eat for cheap such as fried oyster sushi and cheese curds.

Read the B-Metro review here.

Best Meal I Ate


As a Turpen, choosing your favorite meal is like your choosing your favorite child.  However, this year’s winner was Pork Shank paired with a gin cocktail at Pinewood Social in Nashville. My brother moved to the city in August so, of course, my family visited and took a full blown restaurant tour. This place was very trendy with a bowling alley & bocce ball court, lounge seating, and a food/drink menu rivaling an encyclopedia.

Best Meal I Cooked

Toasted Ravioli with Roasted Brussel Sprouts


This year, I’ve actually stepped out into the scary land that exists beyond the microwave and tried my hand at cooking. Perhaps, the most fun to make was this St. Louis-inspired Toasted Ravioli recipe paired with roasted Brussel Sprouts (all bout dat balsamic vinegar.) Domestic goddess, party of one.

Get the recipe here.

Best Song

 “Goodbye” by Who is Fancy 

My 2015 unapologetic jam. My anthem of inner confidence.

Also this girl’s  acoustic covers. I now actually enjoy “Hotling Bling.”

Best Trip


From riding bikes with good friends through moss-covered Savannah to cheering on the Tide from Chicago with my cousin, to wandering the streets of Nashville with my family, I’ve had some memorable adventures in 2015. However, the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis was one for the books. Nothing like letting Hozier, with his man bun and soulful voice, ease me into bliss as the sun sets over the river.

Best Blog Find

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I stumbled across this blog after I heard a coworker mention it. Joanna’s site is everything I inspire to be in the realm of blogging. From delicious recipes to legit life advice to humorous Interweb finds, this gal nails it. I look forward to her weekly newsletter popping up in my inbox. Favorite entries include What’s The Most Beautiful Thing You’ve Ever Read? and How To Be Comfortable on an Airplane.

Best Thing I Did Period

image1 (1).jpeg
Mad photo cred: Cameron Carnes

Yep, that’s me in a space suit repairing a satellite inside the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Cheers to 2016 and the adventures it brings.


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