Secret Stage Top Fives: The Best of 2015

We're almost a week into 2016, but the there's still something about 2015 that we can't quite shake. Hell, we've all spent the last few days turning fives into sixes when writing the date, have we not? Like any year, 2015 was sure to have its ups and downs, and we wouldn't be us if we didn't poll our top 5 things from last year!

Allison

5. New Car - "I bought my first car from a dealership. So now I have grown up bills and have car and insurance payments every month which is kind of cool in a I'm independent and responsible kind of way. But bills sucks. It was super excited but also made me super nervous. It's a cute little yellow fiat named lemon drop."

4. Winning Things at Work - "I won concert tickets for doing the best in our Boss is Gone contest. I've also been working really hard to make it on the list for a big company trip to Colorado and I did it!"

3. Solid Vacation Time - "I've had the chance to go on real vacations multiple times this year. I haven't been able to do that in a few years so it was really awesome. I went to Florida with Jordan twice. Learned how to surf (kind of) while we were there. And then we went to Petosky with his fam for a few days over the summer. Spent some quality time with everyone. It's so beautiful up there and I hope there's more trips there this year."

2. Tattoo Extravaganza - "There's not really one specific event that I'm excited about. This year I have gotten tattooed a lot, almost have my leg completely finished. I had a part of my arm done, and all of my toes. It's probably not too exciting for everyone else, but I feel super good about it. And I'm excited for all of the work I'm going to get done in 2016."

1. New Apartment That's BOMB - "I got my first apartment in December of 2014 and it wasn't too bad. I had a lot of good times there and it was definitely a huge step in my life. But this year, Dan, Jordan, and I, got a really sweet apartment with red cabinets and a cool balcony. It's super cozy and actually feels like a home. I'm really happy with it and it's nice to have a place where we can all hang out and play games, watch tv with the fam, make art, or podcast. I felt like we weren't really able to do that at our other place, so it's super great."

Chris

5. Beer Tour 2015 – “This was definitely an awesome summer getaway. I love new beer and new experiences, and this was definitely a tradition I want to keep in the future.”

4. Going to England – “In 2014, an ensemble I am in began fundraising to take a trip to England. It was a long shot because we were relying virtually solely on crowd-funding for an expensive trip (30 people, plane tickets there and back, plus housing, travel while we were there, and everything else we had packed into the week). We all pitched in (money, time, and effort) and worked really hard to get our message out there and ended up getting the funds needed to go. I spent a week in England with some of my best friends. It was definitely a trip I will never forget.”

3. Celebrating 6 Years with my Girlfriend – “As cliché as it is, she is my best friend, and I couldn’t be happier being with her. We met in high school and have been together since and I look forward to what the future holds.”

2. Graduating from College – “Music school is different from a lot of degrees. Most of the classes are 1-2 credits with a bunch of 0 credit courses, so you have 10-12 courses per semester, most of which meet 2-3 times per week. Add to that private lessons, 2-3 hours of practicing per day, performances for the 5 ensembles you’re in, general education requirements, summer courses, and a social life, things get busy quickly. I finished my degree with student teaching and had a wonderful experience. I’m proud of my accomplishments and all of the friends and memories I’ve made and look forward to where I can take this.”

1. Beginning my Career in a Field I Love – “I love teaching, I love music. Being able to teach music for a living is a dream come true for me, and I couldn’t be more excited looking forward.”

Dan

5. Sushi - "This year, I branched out of my comfort zone a bit. I rarely try new foods, as I'm super picky, but I tried sushi this year. I was a tad inebriated, but I think it's what I needed to give it a shot. I have since had it on a couple occasions, and look forward to making it a permanent occasion treat."

4. People I've Met - "I have met lots of very cool new people in 2015. I worked at a new mall for me, and returned to a couple of my past worked malls leading to new friends. But also, being better acquainted with friends such as Zach, ultimately leading to my involvement with this sites content."

3. Moving - "I am so glad that I move from Saginaw. I wish the circumstances were different, but that place was really getting to me, and I wasn't happy there. It lead to me moving in with one of my best friends, and all around being closer to most of my older friends. Not to mention, leading to meeting my girlfriend, and again being apart of the Secret Stage team."

2. Secret Stage - "This is a project we all want to become a career. I couldn't be more thankful, and stoked to be apart of this. We have fun doing it, I get to grow bonds with these people, and I really like working toward the end game goals we have set. We have made some headway as a team, but I think this next year is going to be big for us, so I'm excited to have this on my list next year too, but with even more to say."

1. Kara - "As mentioned, I met my girlfriend this year. I really couldn't be more excited about that. She is the biggest positive of the year for me. I know she will be in this list next year too. I haven't met someone like her before, and I'm just excited whenever I get to spend time with her. I know her and I have lots of plans for the future, and I look forward to sharing all those things with you as they come together."

Hales

HM. Secret Stage - "In 2015, we launched Secret Stage. It's been an eye opening experience learning how to make content on a regular basis, but one of the most fun things I do now!"

5. Fitness - "I really buckled down this year on finding a happier, healthier me. After on and off spurts at the gym, I finally reigned in my eating habits and picked up running so that I could run my first 5k. Overall I lost 15 pounds and while I'm happy about that, I look forward to finishing what I started in the new year."

4. Firsts - "An explanation may be required here. 2015 was HUGE for me when it came to 'My first time doing ____". I shot a gun, dyed my hair, ran that 5k as explained, built a PC, started a podcast, and so much more. I hope to continue this trend in 2016."

3. Star Wars - "This was truly the year of Star Wars. With the release of The Force Awakens, it reignited a fire in fans everywhere. I know I wasn't alone in re-watching the films, starting on Clone Wars and playing a handful of games all centered around the franchise. As it's my favorite film series, I couldn't be happier about that."

2. Concerts - "Going to shows is hands down my favorite past time and 2015 held some of the best shows I've seen in my entire life. System Of A Down, Foo Fighters, Rock on the Range and many more made for a great year of gigs!"

1. Strengthening Relationships - "My number one is super sappy, but fuck it. I've spent every year since I moved away from home trying to find new friends and (almost) every one let me down. 2015 was the year for cutting those people out and letting only the best people through. It made a monumental change to every aspect of my life and I'm extremely grateful for the friendships I have now. I also spent more time getting to know my family in ways I never thought possible after 23 years. It's a wonderful feeling!"

Jordan

HM. Luck - "I realized I didn't get any tickets for traffic or vehicle violations in 2015 so hey that's pretty cool."

5. Friends/Family - "I surrounded myself with people who bring out the best in me, and that made 2015 probably one of my better years."

4. Relationship - "This whole last year I was also in a much healthier relationship, and that's put me in a much better place. Thanks Allison!"

3. My Staff - "In 2015 I had a lot of movement within my management team and sales associates in general, and because of all of that, and their hard work, we are going to have an amazing 2016. I'm lucky to have those guys and see them develop into future leaders."

2. Secret Stage - "I'm super thankful for Secret Stage and finally having an outletfor my passion for video gaming and I couldn't be happier that it's with my closest friends. It's something Zach and I had talked about wanting to do, and I'm happy to be a part of it."

1. New Place - "This year I moved into the apartment that I share with Allison and Dan. Our last place was a shithole that we shared with people who liked to steal our things. Now we have a cozy place in a nicer area."

Nick

5. Building my Computer - "This might not seem like a big deal, but I had been wanting to do it for a while. And with my laptop starting to show its age there was no better time. I'm still customizing it, but even as it sits I am very happy with it."

4. New Star Wars Movie - "I'm not the biggest star wars fan, but I'm glad I was around when it came out. It is like being a little part of history."

3. Fallout 4 Coming Out - "What can I say that I haven't said in the podcasts? I have sunk so much time into the game with no regrets."

2. Graduation From College - "This doesn't really need much explication. Even though it took a year longer than planned, I did it."

1. Getting a Job - "Most people might think graduating college would be a more important event then landing a good job, and I would normally agree, but this is really my dream job, and I got it straight out of school. I couldn't have asked for a better situation to be in."

Keenan

5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens -  "I was looking forward to this movie all year! With the continuation of one of my favorite movies this has to be on my list!" 

4. Pop Figures -  "I started collecting these a couples months back and I really enjoy them. Be it finding ones that I love or finding ones to hold onto.   You get to meet a lot of people through Facebook pages and forums."

3. Getting a PS4 - " Honestly I gave people so much crap for playing a Playstation, now it's my favorite of the two powerhouse gaming systems. The system runs so smooth and the different variation of games are awesome!" 

2. Visiting Home for Thanksgiving - " Visiting family and friends for the holiday was one of the best highlights of my year! Being so far away from home is really hard. Being around people that truly care about you is one of the best feelings in the world."

1. Being Healthy - "  This has to be my top highlight of 2015. I stopped eating junk food and started being conscious about my body. Losing 36lbs is just the start, but I have never felt better about my life. Having energy and thinking about my health in the future is now very important to me."