February 2016 Recap

*I’m going to try something new on the blog in 2016– a monthly recap of my travels, highs, lows, and the best things I saw/read on the internet this month*

Alas, the shortest month of the year has come and gone, with an extra 29th day attached onto the end (hope you had a nice birthday, Jill!). February was… February. The weather was on and off, but overall okay for February. Work was busy, but not too overwhelming. I went to the UK twice– once to London and once to the north (first a stop in Oxford, then Edinburgh, Sunderland, and more) to visit friends from last year. Finally, I’ve started to get (somewhat) more serious about thinking about what I am going to do come fall– but I’m nowhere near making a decision.

Destinations Traveled:

  • United Kingdom: London, Oxford, Sunderland, Durham, Edinburgh, Alnwick, and York.
  • France: Rouen, Lille

My roommate and I have been taking advantage of various Eurostar promotions (78€ roundtrip tickets from Lille-London– a steal!) We’ve visited twice so far, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. This time, we were lucky to be welcomed by my friend Sharon and her partner James, who live in North London. Over the course of three days, we hit Camden Town, Borough Market, Harrods, Hyde Park, and Westminster. We took a free Harry Potter walking tour, saw Wicked on the West End (£29 student tickets!), indulged in our fair share of Indian food, and got to see all of our amazing friends. Each time I go to London I fall more and more in love with the city; I have an extensive network of friends and it’s definitely a place I could see myself living in the (near) future.

After a week back at work, I turned around and went right back, this time via ferry to spend a couple days with my friend Tom in the north of England. On our way, we got to stop in Oxford to see our friend Andrew. We spent the next three days during Durham, New Castle, Edinburgh, Sunderland, and the beautiful countryside. It was so great to travel to a new part of the UK as well as reconnect with old friends.

  • France: Rouen

On my way back to Lille from the UK, I got to spend the afternoon in the city center of Rouen. I had been there once, ten years ago, and I remembered more than I thought I would. Rouen is charming and makes for a great place to spend an afternoon. Highlights include the incredible architecture as well as admiring the cross where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake.


Lille Tourism:

  • I had a friend (Kelly!) come visit at the end of the February vacation, and in order to take advantage of the rare sunny day, we did something I had never done before: climb the belfry! I’ve written about the existence of belfries in the north before, and it was cool to finally climb my hometown’s. Lille is an extremely flat city, and although it’s not the most charming of towns from above, I still got some pretty cool shots.



Book Challenge:

I managed to finish two books and two categories this month for the Pop Sugar 2016 Reading Challenge.

  • This is How You Lose Her by Junot Días (Category: National Book Award Winner) — okay, it was a finalist, but whatever.Original_cover_of_This_is_How_You_Lose_Her

This novel tells the story of Yunior and the stories of his many female loves– most of whom he’s cheated on. What compelled me most about this book was the end of the story; you really feel for Yunior as he suffers from depression, sadness, and loneliness, even though it brought it upon himself by treating the vast majority of his girlfriends like shit. Perhaps that’s what truly makes Diaz’s writing so special. Definitely a must-read!



  • Tomboy by Liz Prince (Category: Graphic Novel)


I found this recommendation via other blogs. I’m not too into graphic novels, but this one pulled me in. Liz’s memoir tells the story of her “tomboy” life growing up while she avoided traditional gender conformity. Throughout the book, I thought she was going to eventually come out as transgender or genderqueer, but in fact, she is and always has identified as cisgender (a person who was assigned female at birth who also identifies as female). Liz has just always preferred to express herself in a more traditionally masculine way. Life was hard for Liz growing up and I found myself identifying with her in more ways than one. Overall, I recommend!


TV Shows:

  • Fuller House

I got sucked into Fuller House because I was a Full House fan growing up. But overall, meh. Sequels are never as good as the originals; I think the problem was trying to take the 1990’s humor and integrate it into the 2010’s. On some levels I did identify (ie: trying to use “on fleek” in the correct context) but I think that may be due to the fact that I haven’t been living in the United States since 2013.

  • The Walking Dead

Despite not like horror movies or gore or graphic novels, I’m a HUGE The Walking Dead fan. Can I just say, What an INCREDIBLE mid-season premier episode. Definitely, without a doubt, one of the best in the history of the series. It just gets better and better, in my opinion!

  • Sex and the City

I recently watched all six seasons from start to finish on US Amazon Prime. Literally one of the funniest. most feminist shows of all time; some of the humor will never get old.

The Best Stuff I’ve Read/Watched/Seen This Month:

  • John Oliver Breaks Down State Abortion Laws

  • John Oliver: Make Donald Drumpf Again

  • Lady Gaga’s Oscar Performance of “Til it Happens to You”

How was your February?



2 thoughts on “February 2016 Recap

  1. Dana, I’ve loved reading your blog since I stumbled across your TAPIF tips in a google search last summer. You’ve made me add so many cities and things to my travel “to-do” list! This post made me want to go to London so badly – and definitely try the Harry Potter tour if I ever make it there.

    1. Oh, thank you so much Nikki! Ah, I love London so much, I know you would too! Good luck on your TAPIF endeavors and with your final semester! Xx

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