As many of you have already read, 2023 was a whirlwind of a year. I don’t think it was the BEST year, but it was a mid year. Not too bad, not too good; it was just in the middle. Android Central’s Jerry Hildenbrand put it perfectly: everyone needs an average year every once in a while, and I can’t complain.
But with that, there were a few moments this year that truly made me think about how lucky I am to live the life I do. I hope you enjoy my top 10 of 2023.
Becoming EIC of Android Central
I think it goes without saying that the biggest and most important highlight of my year, and probably my career, was when I was asked to become Android Central’s editor-in-chief. And honestly, it still feels surreal saying that.
As my mother likes to say, when it rains, it pours (not always a bad thing!). It all happened really quickly, the transition from me being a managing editor to EIC. Up until that day, the only thing that I was really good at was knowing what good content was. I didn’t know anything about the business side of a publication. But, with the right guidance from so many EICs at Future (our parent company), my boss, and other really important people, I figured it out.
But I think what really made my job incredibly easy was my staff. Every single one of them stepped up to a level that went above and beyond my expectations. I am eternally grateful for every single writer and freelancer who believed in me and went along with the direction and vision I have for Android Central.
Give me one second while I take a moment to thank them: Nick Sutrich, Jerry Hildenbrand, Michael Hicks, Namerah Saud Fatmi, Patrick Farmer, Harish Jonnalagadda, Andrew Myrick, Jay Bonggolto, Vishnu Sarangapurkar, Nickolas Diaz, Brady Snyder, Sam Dunsinger, Ted Kritsonis, Christine Persaud, Chris Wedel, Nick Ransbottom, Rajat Sharma, Sam Contreras, Tshaka Armstrong, and Anthony Nash.
Finally, I wouldn’t be the EIC I am today if it wasn’t for Derrek Lee, my managing editor. We’re like two peas in a pod, and Derrek never once said “No” to what I wanted to achieve for Android Central. I’ve learned a lot from him, especially thinking deeply about the Android space and industry, and he’s been by my side since day one. Watching him become one of the best managing editors has been a pleasure.
Thank you for trusting me, team.
Jiggy turned 1
If you follow me on social media, then you will know who Jiggy is. He’s our most special, sweet labradoodle, who we got in 2022. I’ve never had a pet in my life, and naturally, the initial experience was very overwhelming for my husband and me. We brought a beautiful living creature into our home, and while we were very prepared, we had no idea some of the things we would experience. Having a puppy can be scary and sometimes incredibly stressful. But what mostly outweighs all of these feelings is the immense love and joy that comes with having a pet that truly unconditionally loves you.
My absolute favorite time with him is every morning. Everything is still quiet, and people haven’t fully woken up yet. I get to spend alone time with him, and his sweet nature has helped me become a far more patient person.
Every butt wiggle, puppy jump, noises he makes, growls, zoomies, and warm cuddles after a long day…it all makes life so much better. Jiggy turned one on September 4, 2023; we are so blessed and grateful to have him in our lives. We love you, Jig!
If there’s one company that I actually can’t stop thinking about, it’s Motorola. It’s never been a brand I talk about often, nor is it a brand I think to tell people about. But the glow-up that Motorola had this year is like no other.
I will never forget, towards the end of 2022, AC’s Nick Sutrich and Derrek Lee both spoke very negatively about Motorola’s haphazard phone launches and how lackluster its products were. We went to the extent of calling out the company for its confusing launches in comparison to its peers.
Every time I spoke about Motorola in 2022, I would facepalm. The company really missed the mark.
However, things completely took a 180 this year. The company’s improved software promise, offering longer-term OS upgrades, and launching some of the best midrange phones you can get in North America are just a few of its achievements. I was particularly impressed with the launch of the Razr Plus this year.
Maybe they read our work, or maybe they don’t, but it’s nice to see Motorola grow and become such a fun company to watch. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for you next year.
Going to Korea
I’ve traveled a decent amount in my career, and this year, Samsung invited me to join them at Samsung Unpacked 2023 (foldable edition) in South Korea.
I’ll be honest: I could have watched the whole show from the comfort of my living room while I streamed it on my TV. But there’s something about going to another country, meeting people in your industry, and actually learning about another culture.
I met some really fun people on the trip and got to meet Windows Central’s EIC, Daniel Rubino, which was my first time meeting someone from Future. It was exceptionally funny because we ended up both being on the same flight to Korea, and that made everything so much fun.
Thank you for the experience, Samsung!!!
Tears of the Kingdom & Hogwarts Legacy
I’m not a massive gamer, and when I do game, I’m incredibly picky. So you can only imagine my excitement when Zelda Tears of the Kingdom and Hogwarts Legacy launched.
During the pandemic, I picked up Zelda Breath of the Wild and fell in love. It was a game that taught me a lot about endurance, perseverance, and exploring without a reason. It also taught me about going with the flow and enjoying the sometimes slow pace of a massive gaming world. When I beat it, I played it again, and again, and again. When TOTK came out, I took the Friday off to play – something I’d never done before. The game brings a lot of joy to my heart and, I’m sure, to so many other people.
I specifically want to mention Hogwarts Legacy as well. My husband and his best friend helped build my PC in 2023, and I’ll be honest, it was a very daunting experience for me, knowing that I now have a PC that will open the world of PC gaming. Playing Hogwarts Legacy has a special place in my heart because not only was it the first PC game I played, but it was connected to the magical world of Harry Potter. The game brought back a lot of childhood memories – from reading the books, pretending I was a witch, and watching the movies. So many moments in the game were exciting, and to experience it in an open-world style was really beautiful.
It almost made me feel like I was really going to school at Hogwarts.
My culinary journey
If I wasn’t a journalist, I know that I would have become a professional chef. I love cooking so much. It calms me down, makes me feel creative, and I love feeding people. This year was no exception. I learned many different things, bought my first Le Creuset, grew my knife collection, and cooked many good meals.
In the summer, I also hosted my first coursed meal event. I planned out a menu, prepped the week before, and had everything ready the day of. It turned out incredibly successful, and more importantly, I have to thank my sous chef: my lovely husband.
Here’s to 2024 having so many more opportunities for cooking.
Becoming a financial steward
This past year was a very big learning experience for me, specifically in my personal life. I am 34 years old, and I’m not going to sit here and say I am a financial steward. I’ve struggled a lot with becoming financially literate. But this year, one of my goals was to be financially smart and understand why saving is so important.
I can proudly say that while I am not perfect, I am finally getting it, and it feels so good (cries a little).
Entering my cozy era
I am incredibly fast-paced and a go-getter. I have grand dreams and lots of things I want to accomplish, and I will do everything I can to get there.
Unfortunately, that type of personality can sometimes forget to stay present. One thing I really wanted to achieve this year was entering my cozy era. Every moment that I do NOT think about my goals, I want to be slow. I want to live a slow life, I want to listen to calming music, and I want to be still.
I discovered REALLY good music and, for my birthday, built my first Lego set. I read a lot, and in the summer, I took time to sit outside and soak up the sun.
Living a slow life when I’m not fast-paced has helped balance my mind and my soul. It has helped me to focus more, think clearly, stay present, and observe the things around me more. I encourage you to practice staying still.
Entering my slow, cozy era also helped me with other parts of my personal life. I grew spiritually, became more in-tune with my higher self, learned to stay calm, and really understood the question: “What is my purpose in this life?”
I know that if there’s one thing my purpose is, it is to help people. I can’t wait to learn more about myself next year.
A staple voice on CBC
I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was eight years old, and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am that I get to do what I love every single day.
More importantly, I’ve wanted to be on TV my entire life. It just so happens that a few years ago, I got to go on TV and radio in Canada a lot. However, this past year, I got to work more closely with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and became a staple voice talking about the tech industry on radio and TV.
Being a leading voice in the tech space has been an invaluable experience for me because I am able to break things down to listeners in an easy and digestible way. As a journalist, this has been my biggest goal. Sometimes, technology can be confusing to understand, but having a platform like the CBC to elaborate and talk about tech in depth has been fulfilling.
Reading 40 books/”Migrations”
I have to save the best for last. I READ 42 BOOKS THIS YEAR! I am a HUGE reader because I love to escape my reality and jump into different worlds. Going back to my cozy life, reading has helped ground me and stay relaxed.
While I do read a lot, I have never read 42 books in one year. Typing this makes me so proud because I never thought I could achieve it.
Trying to narrow down which book is my favorite of the year was slightly hard but not difficult. It’s a book called “Migrations” by Charlotte McConaghy.
The book is chilling and atmospheric and has a very deep meaning about life, grief, and Mother Nature. I read it in November, but it is one book that I have not stopped thinking about, and I don’t think I will stop thinking about it for a long time.
Coming in second was “A Fig For All The Devils” by C.S. Fritz. This book would have been number one, except I just can’t stop thinking about Migrations! That said, C.S. Fritz did something really interesting and added a QR code to the book so you could listen to a curated playlist while reading the book…now that is GENIUS. I wish all authors did this!