5 Things I’m Most Looking forward to in 2016


I am going to beat everyone else to this by writing it with two full months before 2016 even starts. 2015 was a fun year that featured a new house, new friends, and probably the best year of concerts I’ve ever attended. TOP 5 CONCERTS OF 2015

  1. Taylor Swift
  2. Eric Church and Kenny Chesney
  3. Tallest Man on Earth
  4. ZZ Top
  5. Kip Moore and Michael Ray

I have a new niece, traveled to a few new cities (Hello, Nashville!) and even turned 30 once or twice. I also got to have some fun with a few old standards, like enjoy the sunshine for the Memorial Tournament and Dublin Irish Festival (where Kelly and our friends got videotaped for the city and felt like celebrities for a day. VIDEO HERE), and saw my other blog, Sports Monte, take off (relative term).


And on top of all that, I still think these next two months will bring even more excitement, as we still have a Christmas trip to Orlando planned and my Wall of Foam list to complete at our favorite restaurant, Local Roots.

But let us look ahead, just for a moment, shall we? As much fun as 2015 has been and continues to be, here are five things I am most looking forward to next year.


1.) Travel – My wife and I have decided that 2015 was the year of the concerts, and 2016 will be the year of travel. We have saved (52 Week Money Challenge – check it out HERE), planned, and have two big trips lined up. The first one is for my wife’s mom’s 60th birthday. We are going to the Cayman Islands, which will be my second time leaving the country for non-work related travel. I’m looking forward to beachin’ it, renting a scooter, and hopefully finding a cliff to jump into the water (against my wife’s advice. Sorry, babe!). The second place we’re going is to Ireland. You might remember my “Take me to Ireland or Lose me Forever” post. This will be my third time leaving the country for non-work related travel… <– jokes. Ireland is a place I’ve always wanted to go and I am thrilled at the thought of having a Guinness in Dublin and meeting the locals there.

Death_to_stock_photography_Vibrant (9 of 10)

2.) Finding my Place in Fantasy Sports World – So technically Sports Monte started in 2013 (December). But in 10 months, it’s really become something I am proud of and, while it can be stressful to do every week, proves to myself that this is something I love to do and am good at. I have bigger goals for SM than where it’s at now, and I hope 2016 gets me closer to achieving those goals. Sports Monte has help land me a job at one of the best fantasy football sites in the world, and I love the fact that I am getting to write about something that I love. This is kind of a broad thing to look forward to, but I feel like 2015 was the beginning of something for me, and 2016 will help define a path for both SM and myself.


3.) Spartan Race AROO! Just kidding. I don’t even like the “O-H” “I-O” thing that Buckeye fans are supposed to love, so I doubt I’ll be that guy at the Spartan race bro’ing out and yelling. What are we, a bunch of heathens or something? But don’t let my lack of vocal enthusiasm fool you, I’m excited! I’ve begun training this year by doing what I call “playground workouts.” Playground workouts are when I find a playground that is empty, and make up a circuit workout around monkey bar pull ups, box jumps, pushups, running around a field, etc. I’ve even taken one of the garden bricks from our flower bed (25 lbs.) and have tried using that in my circuits. I think I am going to start small in the spring and do a Sprint distance Spartan Race, but might get into it and go all out the next year! Only downside is that I might have to start Crossfit to train and then I’ll be one of “those guys.”


4.) Focusing on the things that make me happy – I think one thing I’ve preached this year has been to do the things that make you happy — it’s kind of the rule that I use when I make a tough decision. Obviously sleeping in and eating more pizza than I should would make me happy in the short term, but that’s taking what I mean a little too literally. Now that I’m 30 and old, I stopped caring what it might look like running around a field carrying a 25 pound brick. It makes me happy and I’m going to do it. I am going to continue with this attitude and I bet it opens a few more doors this year like it did in 2015. And hey, if I give someone else a good story to tell their friend, all the better.


5.) The Unknown – I’ll leave you, the reader, with a little bit of a cliffhanger because, in truth, I don’t know what all 2016 will bring. But what I can say is that I’m excited for whatever that unknown might be!


The Best Country Mix Tape Would Include…


Every now and then you just have to write something fun and meaningless and ungrammarable that makes you happy just because it is what it is. Similarly, sometimes I like country music and if you’re lucky enough to be near my house when I mow the back yard, you’ll catch me singing along to some A Thousand Horses Pandora channel (possibly in a cut off tee shirt, depending on how many workouts I got in that week). Growing up, I never really liked country music and I based my music preference on whatever pitchfork.com reviewed about an 8.0 rating (it is how I found out about Tallest Man on Earth, which I do love still). Anyway, country music makes me happy when the sun is out.

So, if I could go back in time and make a mix tape of country music songs to have in my ear while I mowed, it would look like this:

1.) Smoke – A Thousand Horses

  • Country songs have to be one part clever, one part sincere, and one part about drinking in order to really be good. This one checks all the boxes. The band is cool too because they’re one part Counting Crows, one part Skynard, and one part Stillwater (Almost Famous anyone?).

2.) Dirt – Florida-Georgia Line

  • I throw up a little every time I think about the band, but the song is undeniable. Again, cleverly written lyrics about dirt. This song is like the Simpsons — it explains your whole life and you just kind of feel better after you listen to it. And it’s catchy, so it has that going for it, which is nice.

3.) Dust – Eli Young Band

  • Smoke, Dirt, then Dust. What country songs lack in clever titles they make up for with catchy melody’s. This one isn’t as cleverly written as the first two, but sometimes you need a break from pondering life’s meanings and just need a good jam to drive it home.

4.) Somethin Bout a Truck – Kip Moore

  • Basically, I met Kip Moore at a concert and I’m pretty sure if you asked him we’d be best friends. This song kind of helped my wife and I bond over country music, so it makes me all warm and fuzzy and anytime I hear it, I want to call her and tell her about it.

5.) Buy Me a Boat – Chris Janson

  • This one isn’t a “clever make you reflect on things” kind of song, but it’s a “clever that you can rhyme ‘truck to pull it’ with ‘silver bullets.'” Also, I like the idea of singing this and someone walking by the front yards and hearing me sing a stupid song about winning the lotto and buying a boat.

6.) Even if it Breaks your Heart – Eli Young Band

  • Eli Young Band MO – make catchy music that is easy to understand and fun to sing. I like this song because it’s catchy and fun to sing. BOOM!

7.) Carolina – Eric Church

  • Gotta have some Church. This one is probably my fav for not being the “song of the moment,” but rather one that I’ve always liked and will always like. Could have gone “Springsteen” here too…

8.) Merry Go Round – Kacey Musgraves

  • I may or may not have a celebrity crush on Kacey Musgraves, but beyond that I think she’s original and love her song writing, which I think she has a hand in writing all her songs. This song put her on the map, and it’s another one of those super-clever, wish I’da thought of that lyrical songs.

9.) Hey Pretty Girl – Kip Moore

  • Wife walked down the aisle to a country song. Instrumental version so not to offend grandma, but it’s a special song. Plus, you know, best friends with Kip so…

10.) Tennessee Whiskey – A Thousand Horses

  • Took me a minute to come up with a tenth, and I like round numbers. This one might be a little more of a “song of the moment” kind of thing, but I like the band and it’s a little rock while still being pretty country. And when all else fails, clever, alcohol, sincere…