Hi everyone! I’m getting this in juuust under the wire, but this is just a random post with a little list of my favorite things of the year. I’m so happy you’ve chosen to read my blog for another year, thank you for your support! Let me know which of the below are your favorites, too, in the comments!
Some of my favorites from this past year:
I never shared this mani because the sun wouldn’t come out and I couldn’t get good enough pictures of the holo in my lightbox, but Orly’s Mirrorball is amazing! It’s an opaque silver holographic glitter that actually has a linear holo flare as well as the holo of each little piece of glitter. Kind of hard to describe, see what I mean in the photo below (but know that it’s way better in the sunlight!):
I also loooooved Essie’s Bikini So Teeny; I know it’s an older polish but I only got it this year, and while the formula isn’t great, that soft periwinkle is to die for! I used it a few times this past year, and it’s definitely one of my go-tos when I don’t know what to do to my nails. I’m not usually an Essie fan, but this color really is beautiful.
ILNP’s UltraFlakies – So, so, so gorgeous! I’m not 100% sure ILNP was the very first brand to come out with these new kind of flakies – the opaque, metallic kind, instead of the sheer ones that had been prevalent like Essie’s Shine of the Times – but I do remember every other indie brand quickly following suit, because these flakies are sooooo beautiful! They’re opaque, so you can layer them over any color to instantly transform your mani (those sheer flakies only looked good over dark colors, which made them pop), plus they’re incredibly easy to maneuver on the nail. I just love them so much! I’ve got some swatches/manis with them here, here, and here if you want to take a look at my favorites. ILNP is also well-known for their holos, but I think their UltraChromes (in both regular polish and flakie form) are where they really shine.
Potion Polish – This is a new indie brand, but I’m already super in love with them. I saw swatches on Very Emily, and was immediately captivated by the colors. I managed to score a few on sale during Black Friday, and I’ll have a mani with some of them up soon!
UnReal – I would never have given this show a chance (or really, probably even heard about it) if I hadn’t read a favorable review on one of my favorites sites, Pajiba. I’ve been reading that site for years, and I love it because there’s been a lot of times the reviewers have raved about a show or TV show I would never give a second look to, making me give it a shot and ending up loving it. I don’t watch The Bachelor, but I think its cliches and “rules” are common knowledge to anyone who watches even a little bit of TV, and I freaking loooooved this sharp look at that type of reality show. I’ve always liked Shirt Appleby for some reason, even though I’ve barely seen her in anything, and she was freaking amazing in UnReal, but my favorite by far was Constance Zimmer’s Quinn, the ruthlessly conniving executive producer of the show, and Breeda Wool’s Faith, the sweet and goofy country bumpkin contestant with a secret. It did almost veer a little too into soap opera-y at times, but it’s such a great juicy yet dark show to watch in the summer when everything is traditionally fluffy fare.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Honestly, this one took me a few episodes to really get into. I never hated it, but it didn’t grip me from the very beginning; but after three or four episodes I was in love. I’m so glad Netflix picked it up – NBC would have definitely cancelled it after like, two episodes, and we never would’ve gotten to see this amazing show! Admittedly, this is such a weird concept for a comedy – a woman recently freed from a cult in an underground bunker tries to adapt to life in New York City – but this show is awesome. In the past I thought Ellie Kemper was annoying – I’d only seen her in a few episodes of The Office playing a super cutesy character – but she’s really great in Kimmy, and I was so excited to see Tituss Burgess on the show, too, since his D’Fwan character on 30 Rock was one of my favorites. It’s not a perfect show – there’s a supremely unfunny C-plot with Kimmy’s too dumb to live stepfather and bratty teenage half-sister, and the Native American stuff made me a little uncomfortable – but it’s given me some of my favorite quotes and anything that gets Carol Kane and Jane Krakowski on my TV is A-okay by me.
Jessica Jones – Jessica is basically Veronica Mars with Buffy Summers’ strength and just a dash of both of those iconic characters’ trademark quips. This show excels at my favorite world-building conceit: it’s the same as our world, but with one or two tweaks – here, it’s that some people have superhero abilities like flying and super strength. It keeps the show grounded and way more interesting to me than any of the other superhero fare that’s been around the past decade or two, the skintight, bright costumes and over-the-top villains with terrible plans for world domination (or something). In Jessica Jones, we get believable relationships, realistic situations, and a villain who is actually terrifying (and who the show wastes no time in calling out as a rapist, for once). It’s a bit dark and gritty, but definitely isn’t the darkest show I’ve ever seen, although I definitely can’t watch more than an ep or two in a row. Everything about it is so great, though, do yourself a favor and check it out if you haven’t yet!
The Real Housewives – Living with my sister for two years finally broke me down and I’ve watched more reality TV this past year than in my whole life prior. I started watching The Real Housewives of New York, a favorite of my sister’s, from the beginning on Hulu during the dead time of early January, and to my surprise I was super into it. Then my sister and I both started to watch RHOAtlanta and I loved that one just as much (Pheadra, please be my bff). However, I started RHOBeverly Hills a few weeks ago and could barely make it through season three – so boringgggg.
Kacey Musgraves – I am not a country music fan, but Kacey Musgraves might be my gateway drug. My sister loves country, and while we were driving together, I heard “Silver Lining” and my ears perked up. After “Merry-Go-Round” and “It Is What It Is,” I was in love, and had the first album memorized just in time for her second, Pageant Material, which I have basically been playing on repeat ever since. I actually got to see her for my birthday in September, and she was amazing.
“Bitch Sesh” – Just in time for my RHOBH binge on Hulu, Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider began a podcast that I found because they streamed the first few eps on How Did This Get Made’s station. I’ve loved Casey Wilson since the late Happy Endings, and the podcast she and Danielle do together is positively delightful – these chicks and their guest of the day gently poke fun at the Housewives, their usually awful husbands, and their often-terrible choices, and it’s such a fun, frothy confection of a podcast that’s perfectly timed for my 30-40 min commute to and from work.
“How Did This Get Made” – This is another train I’m way too late jumping on, but this show is great. First of all, I’m obsessed with Jason Mantzoukas, so I already knew going in I’d love him on this show, but I didn’t know that June Diane Raphael was on the show, as well, with her husband Paul Scheer. Basically, this is a podcast where these three funny people and their guest of the week discuss/laugh about/make fun of/marvel at how some shitty movie got made. My favorite eps include “Reindeer Games,” “Crank,” “Burlesque,” and “Safe Haven.”
Movies: I actually saw way more movies this year than I remember the year before. I mostly went because I’m lucky to have two cheap theaters near me in LA (Los Felix 3 and the Vista, which is my favorite and is kinda like a mini Chinese Theater, right down to the cement handprints outside) so in the summer my sister and I would go see shitty or “meh” movies like San Andreas and Cinderella because it was too hot to do anything else, but I did have a few favorites.
Mad Max: Fury Road – Best movie of the year, 100%. Although it’s got Max’s name in the title, this movie belongs to its female characters – Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is the actual best, and while initially the cadre of models who play the wives made me roll my eyes, I loved that they actually had personalities and had a hand in their escape. Also, this movie is just plain up and down the best action movie ever – when I saw it opening weekend, the entire theater was totally transfixed and gasping with awe the whole time because there were so many awesome, crazy moments.
The Final Girls – This movie had a lot of actors i really liked in it (Alia Shawkat, Nina Dobrev, Adam Devine) and a fun premise: a group of teens get sucked into an ’80s slasher flick. It wasn’t the greatest movie of all time, but it was super enjoyable – I liked it a lot, after I was sure I’d be disappointed because of lukewarm reviews and the fact that the lead was Taissa Farmiga, who I am not a fan of. It’s got a lot of jokes about the cliches of ’80s horror movies plus was anchored by a surprisingly affecting story about the main character and her mom. The Final Girls was in and out of the theater in a blink, but definitely check it out if you love slasher movies (although TFG itself is not scary at all).
Crimson Peak – This is not a ghost story, as the main character, Edith Cushing (played by [name) tells the audience via her would-be publisher. This movie had a series marketing problem – it tried to make the film look like a horror story, when in fact it’s a dark, lush gothic romance with a touch of Rebecca. I don’t want to give anything away (although the big reveal is pretty clearly telegraphed by the movie itself), but if any of these words appeal to you – gothic romance, costume porn, black humor – you will love this movie.
Here’s to another year of new media to love, pop culture to devour, and nail polish to acquire! I hope you have a happy and safe new year, and I’ll be back with a new post in a few days. See you then – A x