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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

totally top five 2k17: reading

2017 was an awful year for me in terms of reading, so much so that I actually decided to halve my Goodreads challenge for this year so that I wouldn’t feel quite so disappointed in myself over something, uh, fairly trivial. (I haven’t completed a challenge since 2015! I’m a disgrace!) But I did like a lot of what I read and here are my Totally Top Five for 2017!

5. Finding Audrey, Sophie Kinsella – This was my only audiobook of the year and it was a joy. A sweet story with a great reader and a nice rendering of the struggles of teenagerdom, but a version where there are institutions and people in a place to provide care for your mental health with little stigma. I had some issues with the story (there’s some med-shaming and too much emphasis placed on a romantic partner in the recovery process) but I enjoyed my time with these characters.

4. Trouble Makes a Comeback, Stephanie Tromly – This is the sequel to Trouble Is a Friend of Mine which was my favorite book of 2016 and though it wasn’t quite as good as the first, it was just as much fun. I love these characters and the way that they talk to each other and the dubious capers in which they get embroiled and I cannot wait to read the next one.

3. Say What You Will, Cammie McGovern – I absolutely loved the characters in this book and was so grateful to see disabled teenagers with full narrative voices living their lives and having a romance! I also really appreciated that the depiction of mental health and disability were more complex and uglier than the sort of soundbite version you often see in media, especially because it was largely devoid of pity AND inspiration porn. I also just really love a story where two people are kind of tossed together and you get to see how they fit into each other’s lives and this is an awesome version of that.

2. The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy, Kate Hattemer – This was an absolute joy to read, funny and charming with engaging, vibrant characters who I wanted to spend lots and lots of time with. I loved the friendship in this and the dialogue and the way that characters interacted with each other. Also, I think this book genuinely has one of the weirdest, goofiest, and most unexpected Chekhov’s Gun situations in the history of, like, human language and I am better for having read it.

1. All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders – I have a habit of buying books based on the absolute shortest blurbs or, in this case, pretty much just based on their covers and then forgetting everything I know about them before I read them. Sometimes that’s a bad thing, sometimes good, but in the case of All the Birds in the Sky it was a complete windfall because I absolutely never would have bought or read it if I’d know what it was about and I would have missed out on my absolute favorite book of 2017.

It’s weird and funny and charming and unexpected and the characters are engaging and well-developed and they grow and evolve and I am not going to tell you a single thing about it because I can’t do it justice. If you haven’t read it yet, do.


Honorable Mentions

Courtney Milan, Trade Me | Kasie West, By Your Side | Diane Adams & Claire Keane, Love Is


Previously

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

totally top five 2k17: listening

I listened to so much more music in 2017 than I have in kind of a long time! Mostly because I’ve been at my job long enough now that I know I can get away with listening to music at a much higher volume than I would have previously imagined, but also because I started paying attention when Spotify recommends things to me because it turns out that The Algorithm actually understands me sometimes.

Below, in no particular order, are my Totally! Top! Five! for both albums and jamz. Yeah, that’s right, I listened to WHOLE ALBUMS this year!! 2017 might have been a shitshow in an increasingly vast number of ways, but at least we had some pop culture to cling to, yeah? Yeah.

Childish Gambino, “Awaken, My Love” is gooooorgeous and cool and old-school and reminds me of my childhood while also sounding insanely new. I was amped for this as soon as it was announced and even after an entire year with it, it does not disappoint. Standout tracks: “Me and Your Mama,” “Redbone,” and “California.”

Lady Gaga, “The Cure” – This song hit me in a real weird place and made me cry a lot in the first few weeks I was listening to it, but it was good, cathartic crying and, uh, it eventually tapered off so I could just listen to this and do a kind of weird interpretive dance and yell while being intensely over-invested in it.

A Tribe Called Red, We Are the Halluci Nation is soooooooo sooooooo good. I haven’t been disappointed with an album from A Tribe Called Red yet, but this one is particularly powerful and also manages to also be packed with jamz. If you don’t already know A Tribe Called Red, you are EXTREMELY missing out. Standout tracks: “R.E.D.,” “Sila,” and “The Muse.”

Matt & Kim, “Let’s Run Away” – I have absolutely no idea how I first heard this song this year, but I am super glad I did. This is such a jam, so fun, so aurally pleasing, so rich with kind of weird vocal and lyrical and musical elements, and obscenely good for playing loud in the car with the windows down.

Moors, Moors is an EP from 2014 that I somehow stumbled upon this year and could nooooooooot stop listening to. I know Lakeith Stanfield is pretty busy being a super talented and handsome actor and stuff right now, but I could use like 100 more songs from Moors, like any time. Standout tracks: “Gas,” “Fire,” and “Smoke.” Also, the rest of it.

Charlie Puth, “Attention” – This was my first real “Spotify says I should listen to this–OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS” experience and even though that was in APRIL, I am still not sick of this song. This is fun and dance-y and hits all those perfect pop notes you need to have a great summer jam. Also, the bass line is killllllllerrrrrrrrrr.

Harry Styles, Harry Styles is the album I would have least expected to see on this list prior to hearing its lead single because, I mean… The one with the hair from the boy band? Really? Really really? But yeah, really really because this album is great and I could probably listen to that lead single 10 times in a row without getting sick of it. Standout tracks: “Sign of the Times,” “Carolina,” and “Woman.”

Fall Out Boy, “Young and Menace” – This was my number one most listened song this year according to Spotify and I’m absolutely not going to argue because I listened to it a lot, I think so much so that I blame it for me falling into a very intense (and seemingly unending) 2008 nostalgia loop for the last couple months of the year. Also, if you aren’t immediately charmed by an “Oops!… I Did It Again” reference, what are you doing with your life?

Khalid, American Teen is unbelievably good and also infuriating because this talented-ass bitch is only NINETEEN!! Thankfully the album is so good that it actually keeps me from spending the entire time thinking about how I’m one foot in the grave without having accomplished jack shit. Standout tracks: “Young, Dumb & Broke,” “Another Sad Love Song,” and “Winter.”

Kesha, “Praying” – Speaking of crying… I heard this for the first time while I was waiting in the car while Crystal ran in and grabbed us coffees and I just fully started sobbing as soon as the song started and was so overwhelmed with feelings by the time Crystal came back, I just sort of waved at the car stereo and hiccupped between my weird snotty cries. I am extremely glad Kesha is back.


Honorable Mentions

Eric Prydz, “Call On Me” | J Balvin & Willy William, “Mi Gente” | Local Natives, “I Saw You Close Your Eyes” | Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee, “Despacito feat. Justin Bieber (Remix)” | Selena Gomez, “Bad Liar”


Previously

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

totally top five: holiday romcoms

Crystal and I have spent like, the last three holiday seasons, watching a whole bunch of those made-for-tv(ish) holiday romantic comedy/dramedy movies available on various streaming services because the holidays are a time for ignoring your problems and watching laughably bad movies made on shoestring budgets, so here are five of my favorites in no particular order!





The Spirit of Christmas mostly gets points because it has, by far, the best looking male lead in a sea of mediocre white guys. Also, he’s a ghost and kind of rude and stand-offish in a way that’s both infuriating and kind of hot. Jen Lilley is also enjoyable, even if her character is a little too tv Christmas movie trope-y for my extremely refined tastes. Their chemistry is good and the movement from antagonistic to romantic is extremely enjoyable. Also, this is the only movie on this list that I paid actual money to watch and I didn’t even feel ripped off!

A Snow Globe Christmas is great because they took Alicia Witt and let her be kind of caustic and then paired her with a cheerful, patient (and handsome!) Donald Faison and then actually let them kind of play and push at each other instead of just making them walk a standard romcom line. This one is kind of a weird ride though, let me tell you. And it’s one of the first that had an ending I couldn’t exactly predict!

Naughty & Nice or Christmas Mix (How much do I love that so many of these movies have multiple names? SO MUCH.) is one we put off watching for a long time because we’d been avoiding all the Haylie Duff movies (I have an aversion.) but had to finally give in because we were running out of other options. She is actually very charming here and Tilky Jones is probably the second handsomest mediocre white dude I’ve seen in these movies. Also, he used to be in a boy band. This one’s got good chemistry which helps tolerating the unnecessary complications of the third act easier. Also Marsha Brady’s a badass, mountain-y mom in this, which was a delightful surprise.

Married by Christmas or The Engagement Clause is our most recent watch and possibly my very favorite? Jes Macallan is great; pretty and pretty normal and super funny, especially while playing drunk, and Coby Ryan McLaughlin is handsome and extremely charming even while being a dick. This one was mildly frustrating because the lead is blamed for things she shouldn’t be, but it makes up for it by actually featuring a gay character (!! I still absolutely cannot believe Hallmark isn’t churning out at least one gay/lesbian version of these movies every year. Honestly. What a waste.) and also being intentionally funnier and missing the typical unnecessarily complicated third act! Also, shout out to the world’s ugliest wedding dress.

A Holiday Engagement has an okay-ish dude the the very charming Bonnie Somerville who is way better served by this script than she ever was on Friends and Jordan Bridges is pretty good-looking. (I know where my priorities are, thank you.) I loooooooooooove a good fake relationship story and this one is very dumb and very cute. The real winner in this though is the kooky family element and all of the Christmas-y fun that develops from it. Also, Shelley Long is a DELIGHT.


Honorable Mentions

How Sarah Got Her Wings | Window Wonderland | Christmas Crush or Holiday High School Reunion


If you need even more recommendations for holiday viewing this season, I also have a Totally Top 5: Christmas Movies edition. 🎄🎅🏿