in recent years

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totally top three: march 2018

Reggie & the Full Effect, 41 – James Dewees is a super talented, super nice dude who makes so much music sometimes it’s hard to keep up with him. Reggie & the Full Effect is my favorite of his efforts and the albums just keep getting better. If you’ve never listened to one, you’re in for kind of a trip: he moves through a variety of genres and styles and it’s just really fun and eclectic. Tracks to Check: “Broke Down” & “Heartbreak” & “You’ve Got Secrets”

🖤

Hanes Ecosmart fleece hoodies – If you’re in the market for a good, non-heavyweight hoodie for this dreary spring most of the US is having, I can’t recommend this one enough. They’re just nice, well-made, affordable solid color pullover hoodies that come in a nice selection of colors, hold up to washing, and are just really way more comfortable than most hoodies I’ve ever owned. (Bonus: If you’re already on Amazon buying a hoodie, you should also buy one of these kind of weird hoodie tunics which are the softest damn things on earth and come in a HUGE size range. I bought all three colors and can’t stop wearing them.)

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Everything Sucks gave me an entire Saturday of nostalgia and music I love and friendship and smart, goofy teenagers being queer and dramatic and funny and creative and loyal and fun. Crystal is the same graduating class as the freshmen on the show and I was just three years behind so it was especially surreal watching, like, my contemporaries and knowing that I would shortly be in high school, being quietly queer and slowly making a group of friends I loved with the same kind of dweeby ferocity and it’s just really refreshing to watch a story about a fairly diverse group of teenagers where everyone mostly has an okay time!


And three to look forward to…


      

totally top three: february 2018

It is extremely hard to not love an album that starts with an homage to/sample of Baz Lurman’s Romeo + Juliet soundtrack and thankfully the rest of Dead!’s The Golden Age of Not Even Trying doesn’t disappoint. This is a hell of an album with some great guitar work and really… unexpected? vocals. Also! A great album for people who are missing My Chemical Romance. Tracks to Check: “Enough Enough Enough” & “Off White Paint” & “Any Port”

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Crystal and I sat on the couch on the first Saturday of February and watched all 10 episodes of Big Mouth and laughed hysterically and also kept going, “Hmmm kids maybe shouldn’t watch this, but man, kids should really watch this.” It’s funny and gross and really, aggressively true to some of the idiotically stupid feelings you have to experience at that age. Super fun and funny.

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Not to be dramatic, but I’m pretty sure Don Broco is my new favorite band? Technology is GOOD. Really, really end-to-end excellent. There is a sort of sonic magic happening that I don’t have the musical knowledge to articulate, but it’s… incredibly special and somehow reminiscent of a lot of things I’ve loved before (They remind me a lot of CKY: my favorite band from late 2003-2007) and also not exactly like anything I’ve ever heard before. It fucking rules. Also, I wouldn’t have found them without Rock Sound’s very delightful Guess the Band YouTube series. Tracks to Check: “T-Shirt Song” & “Come Out to LA” & “Blood in the Water”


And one three to look forward to…


      

totally top three: january 2018

It’s a new year and I am making a point of talking about the things I like, loudly, as much as possible, because macroscopically things are kind of terrible and will probably continue to be for like, a long while, so I’m embracing that good microscopic shit until someone pries it from my cold dead hands.

We finally finished the second season of Stranger Things in January and despite my foot-dragging re: actually watching it, I really did end up loving it. I stand by my assertion that it’s OKAY FOR THINGS TO END and also that it probably should have been an anthology series, BUT I was really happy the entire time we were watching it and I also cried a whole bunch, so whatever, I will follow these children into the DEPTHS OF HELL probably.

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On my first day back from work after the holidays, I spent my afternoon constructing a YouTube playlist of the 1996 KROQ New Music Revolution CD because a beautiful, kind person added the tracklist to the internet. This was like, one of the most formative music collections of my youth and it was SO FREAKING FUN to listen to it again and remember what it was like to be 10-11 and just absolutely LOSING it over new music. If you’ve got any nostalgia for mid-90s altrock, give it a look/listen. The best of the best is this Menswear video I hadn’t actually seen before where there is truly too much going on with too good of a song for me to have survived as a youth.

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Fall Out Boy, Mania – I’m not going to talk about this that much since I know it’s going to be on my list at the end of the year, but this album is so good and such a complete, satisfying whole (If you’re listening to it digitally, the songs are out of order!! Here’s a Spotify playlist in the correct order.) and I haven’t loved a Fall Out Boy album this much since Folie a Deux came out (It’s their best album. I will fight you.) and I love it so much that we bought tickets to see them in Boise, Idaho (THE WORST STATE!!) and Salt Lake City even though tickets were like $600 and we’ll have to drive 32 hours/2200 miles to do it. Love will do that to you. Or something.


And one to look forward to…


totally top five 2k17: stuff & things

We’ve made it all the way! And like, on time! I’m so amped about actually finishing something I wanted to do that I could spit.

So as always, to say goodbye to the year, here’s my Totally Top Five Stuff & Things for 2017!

I can’t remember where I even heard about the Sonos speakers for the first time, but I had bought and returned like, three Bluetooth speakers early in 2017 because the sound on all of the (HIGHLY RATED) speakers was genuinely atrocious. We have a Bose Soundlink Mini II in our bedroom that we love, but now that we have a house with a relatively open concept, I wanted to be able to flood the entire space with sound and boy, does the Sonos Play:1 do pretty much exactly what I want. (So much so that I ordered another one for our kitchen and am about to order a third to add to the front sunroom-y area of our living room. Thankfully we don’t have neighbors on that side of our house…) It links directly to the internet and your music services/libraries and though the app can be finicky, controlling the whole system is easy and fairly intuitive. Also setup is EXTREMELY easy and the sound is awesome.

My perfume hoarding continued in 2017 and I ended up with three new scents that I L-O-V-E.

Elizabeth & James Nirvana Bourbon – This is really sexy and warm and spicy and smoky and wearing it makes me feel cool in a chic, punky, obnoxious kind of way, like I should be smoking a cigarette and glaring at people outside a gross club while an opening band I don’t really like is finishing their set. I haven’t been impressed with any of the other Elizabeth & James scents, so I am continually surprised by how much I really love this one.

Ralph Lauren Woman – Woman is very floral and very pretty and maybe a little matronly, but in a pleasant way. It reminds me of Ralph Lauren Romance, but grown-up and a little less complicated. (Romance was the first expensive perfume I ever wore! My mom bought it for me while we were school shopping for my first year of high school. Awww.) Wearing this makes me feel a little put-together and a little more successful than I actually am.

Chanel Coromandel – Buying this perfume was an EVENT, let me tell you. I had a sample I RATIONED because the Exclusifs de Chanel are BANANAS expensive and I wasn’t sure I’d ever talk myself into buying one. But then my sample ran out. And I literally opened the Chanel website constantly to stare longingly at the perfume until Crystal was finally like, ORDER THE DAMN PERFUME. And I did. And I LOVE IT still. It’s a very Adult perfume and it just smells super good and not like anything else I’ve ever worn. It makes me feel way more chic and stylish than I will ever be, like I maybe own a really expensive winter coat. Also, never forget that Coco Chanel was a Nazi and that the company is now owned by a Jewish family.

Probably the best thing I’ve done for myself this year is journaling. I don’t think the journaling is actually all that good/impressive/helpful, but it has taught me that I actually am capable of building a good daily habit, something that once seemed absolutely out of the realm of reality for me.

Most days my journaling, which I do in this is just a list of things I did with maybe a thought or two about how I felt. It’s boring and I’m not sure that I’ll even care much about revisiting it as I pass by in the coming years, but sitting down each night no matter how tired and cranky and ready for bed I am and just jotting those things down has really taught me that I can force myself to do things that I don’t necessarily enjoy doing, but want to do.

I also do this daily journal thing and this couple Q&A with Crystal every night because I guess I need to record my every thought somewhere other than Twitter.

Also, in an attempt to deal with my various mental health and emotional issues, I even started just journaling sometimes when I have bad feelings! Or good feelings! Or when I need to just talk something out with myself. And it is helping me so, so much, I can’t believe it. (I like the large, lined Moleskine for this, since it fits nicely in my bag but still gives me a good amount of page to cover.) And if you also have problems with managing your feelings (or maybe you just want to talk to yourself on paper!) I cannot recommend trying it out.

My skincare obsession actually increased in 2017, so much so that I think I bought and used more skincare than I did make-up, which is WILD.

Dior Crème Abricot Fortifying Cream For Nails – This is SUCH a snooty and unnecessary thing to spend money on probably, but it also makes me feel like a beautiful, luxurious widow who maybe poisoned her wealthy husband and is now finally free to spend her time as she wishes every time I slather it on before bed. I use this on my elbows and my hands, focusing heavily on my nails and cuticles, and it takes the TINIEST amount. It has a weird sticky texture and it takes a little while to sink in all the way, but once it does, your skin and nails look and feel amazing. And it’s cut down on how many hangnails I get!

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm – I change my mind about lip balms more frequently than I change my clothes, to be honest, so you should probably expect to have a new one on this list every single year, but for most of 2017 I was aggressively loyal to this one and since I’m still using it exclusively, feel pretty good about it. This is a thick lip balm (It kind of feels like rubbing a stiff glue stick on your mouth…) but it isn’t gloppy or shiny or sticky, just nice and smooth and matte and long-lasting. Also, I like it so much that when I lost one, I immediately went and bought a new one instead of using the other balm I had in my bag.

Ren V-Cense Revitalising Night Cream – This is probably the most expensive moisturizer I’ve ever used (I didn’t realize HOW expensive until right now because I’ve only ever bought it during the 20% off sale, MY GOD THAT IS EXPENSIVE.) but I’ve become kind of aggressively dependent on it because no matter what else I do face-wise, if I just wash my face and slap this stuff on at night I wake up with soft, perfectly-moisturized skin that looks refreshed and more even than it did before I went to sleep. This stuff is straight-up MAGIC.

Crystal bought me the 10.5″ iPad Pro early in 2017 because I liked using her larger one, but found the strain on my left hand to be almost unbearable after only about 20 minutes with it (And like, what is the use of an iPad if I can’t hold it while I use it?) and it’s been great, especially since we spend a lot of time travelling. I didn’t think I’d ever really be an iPad person, but I love Procreate for lettering and making graphics and Penultimate, which I sometimes even use to journal!


Honorable Mentions

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Prismatic Amethyst | Bitmoji | Nars Powermatte Lip Pigment


Previously

2K12 | 2K13 | 2K14 | 2K15 | 2K16

totally top five 2k17: watching

I absolutely watched… nothing this year? Because, as previously lamented, our movie theater is absolute garbage and I also just have not had the ~energy for most TV and movies, aside from Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Speechless, which I’ve talked about before, but are still two of my very favorites.

ANYWAY, I did enjoy a lot of what I watched, so here’s my Totally Top Five for 2017!

5. YOUTUBE! – Since my media consumption energy tanked, I have fallen to YouTube a lot for entertainment, often because the media itself is shorter, but also because it’s just way easier to watch someone talking through a make-up tutorial than it is to watch something where you are (or are trying to be) invested in the characters.

I watch a LOT of people talking about make-up and some vloggers and stuff, but there are only two channels I watch every time a new video posts and that’s The Tim Tracker and VlogAfterCollege. Tim & Jenn Tracker post vlogs around the Orlando theme parks (and their home and other local doings) and are just very charming and soothing to watch. Ryen Lung is also extremely charming and I find his extremely routine vlogs (I’d say life, but what can you know, you know?) extremely relaxing and charming. Also his dog Gatsby is the best.

(Both of these channels do some good/bad food labeling and some diet talk, but in like, the same offhand way you have to hear about it in your office, but heads up if that’s a thing that bothers you. I certainly don’t love it, but it is i-n-e-s-c-a-p-a-b-l-e on Youtube. So much food shame, so much apologizing for just, like, eating food like a human person. Diet culture is a nightmare!!)

4. Thor: Ragnarok – Extremely funny, extremely charming, extremely visually rad, extremely fun in a way that I feel like comic book movies forget we want. We are all extremely lucky to be alive on Earth at the same time as Taika Waititi. This movie was an absolute gift.

3. Good Kids – This was a fun, charming (uhhh, clearly I like being charmed), fun, kind of old school teen sex comedy with some really nice unexpected stuff that made it pretty delightful. Nicholas Braun was great, but it’s also a really nice cast as a whole, including the adults.

2. Glow – Crystal and I watched all of Glow in about a week and only because we forced ourselves to space the episodes out because we didn’t want it to be over. Everyone is great and it’s one of the only times I’ve ever watched a show with unlikable characters and didn’t resent it or stop watching (I want characters to be likable! Sue me!!) and eventually, with a combination of exposure and character growth, came around to liking them. It’s funny and moving and fun and extremely, intensely nostalgic if you are at all a child of the 80s.

1. Spider-Man: Homecoming – Like pretty much everyone else who saw Captain America: Civil War I was extremely charmed (ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!) by Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and was extremely looking forward to seeing the standalone movie and it extremely did not disappoint! I thought the action in this was really fun, but also just teenagers being teenagers with the added complication of superhero-dom and also good, subtle villainy, and super great secondary characters. Good time all around!


Honorable Mentions

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom | Rogue One: A Star Wars Story | Deidra and Laney Rob a Train | Better Things


Previously

2K12 | 2K13 | 2K14 | 2K15 | 2K16