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2023 in Review

Not going to lie, this was a challenging year. There were certainly some high points, but also quite a fair bit of stress and change and uncertainty running throughout. It’s the year my husband and I finally got COVID—but it’s also the year I get to call him my husband! Let’s go to the highlight reel.


My husband and I grinning at each other in front of art deco metalwork. I’m wearing a classic western wedding dress in white, and he has on a burgundy suit.

Rahul and I with our parents in traditional Indian wedding garb, in front of a wall full of flowers. I am wearing a bright red lehenga dress. Rahul is wearing a cream-colored suit called a sherwani. Rahul and I both have garlands of pink and yellow flowers around our necks.

Rahul and I got married twice, on two continents! Once for extended family in the United States, and then again for the extended family in India. We were blown away by how many of our friends (and my family members) were able to fly across the world to celebrate with us again. Dance parties across the globe.

6 months later, we went to Italy for our honeymoon and had a wonderful time evening out 20k steps a day with carbs and amaro.

Smaller experiences that brought me joy this year:

  • Monthly book club with a group of friends
  • Visiting family
  • Cabin weekends
  • Live outdoor music (even though I’m pretty sure I got COVID from an outdoor music fest)
  • My first pen show, the inaugural PNW Pen Show in PDX!
  • Parallel play, particularly finding crafty groups in Seattle to share time with
  • Having friends over for a double-spooky-movie feature around Halloween, and for drinks and candle lighting at Diwali
  • Doing a lot of writing and drawing in my journal; I feel really happy with how cute it is, and I think it will be fun to look back on in the future.
A cluster of white blossoms on a tree, with magenta stamen. A red hammock strung between strong trunks, against a green backdrop of leafy trees. A tree by the street with super-saturated red and orange leaves.
Pear blossoms on our tree in spring, hammock reading at a cabin in the summer, and vibrant color in the fall


With my collaborators at Netlify, I shipped:


  • Continuous Discovery Habits was my favorite product read this year!
  • Quite a bit about data analysis, statistics, and SQL. I know enough to be dangerous and to have way too much fun.
  • A few months’ on Duolingo worth of Italian. I switched back to Spanish when I got home from Italy, but abandoned the app a couple months later (again). It bothers me to have engagement-hacking change my behaviors. So I’m back on Wanikani, learning kanji again; their spaced repetition system is so much gentler. I also learned about the “comprehensible input” style of language learning, which I might try for Spanish (there is a well-known site called Dreaming Spanish).


Left sketchbook page: a quilt like grid of abstract shapes in blue and teal, include some shapes like waves. Right page: a teapot with a tiger’s yum face. The spout and handle have a tiger pattern. Underneath are shapes in orange, yellow, and charcoal.
  • In Q1: a journal cover, bookmarks for my bridal party, and finalizing a scarf for my husband
  • A couple small pen pouches
  • A product resources website
  • A zippered marker pouch
  • A small tapestry weaving
  • Lots of “digital gardening” on my existing sites
  • Finished my Stillman & Birn Epsilon A5-ish sketchbook

Favorite Media


Sooooo I read ~76~ 80 books this year, which officially makes this my biggest reading year ever. 📚 My previous “personal best” was 72 books. What probably heavily attributed to this year’s volume (heh) was 1) the Seattle Public Library Summer Book Bingo, 2) readathons, and 3) my friends’ monthly book club.

Favorite books of the year here! “VenCo” by Cherie Dimaline was absolutely my favorite read of the year: a perfect witchy book.


As you can quickly surmise from my 2023 top songs on Tidal, I pretty much just listened to the boygenius record over and over again.


38 movies watched. I wasn’t blown away by anything this year, really. Got spoiled last year with “Everything Everywhere All at Once”. A few favorites in the 4–5 star range:

🥂 Cheers to 2024

What a beautiful, base-4-number of a year. I hope life treats us all well in the days to come.


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  • Reply from Tyler Sticka on

    @melanie What a lovely wrap-up! Great photos, love the journal illustrations, and your wedding celebrations look amazing! Thanks for sharing!