Even though 2017 was a raging garbage fire in many ways, there were some incredible things that made it better. I consumed so many films, albums, books, and shows, and found a number of super awesome products/people. The end of the year is the perfect time to show off all the things I loved, so I want to share some of those items with you today! Yes, I should probably wait until the year is actually over, but seeing as I don't plan on reading anything else and most of my favorite artists have dropped their albums, I think I'm pretty safe. Plus, that's what the edit button is for right?
(I separated everything into categories in case you're looking for something specific.)
- Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee - I anticipated this book way before the year started, and even though I read it in February (well before its June release) I still think about it all the time. This book resonated with me so deeply because I felt incredibly understood and seen. The main character is a YouTuber who identifies as heteroromantic asexual, and I think that is the closest I will come to seeing myself represented in a book. Plus, Kathryn is a total sweetheart and I wish her all the best!!
- Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare - Although Tash is the book of my soul, this book caused me the most feelings while reading it. (I had to lay on the floor a few times because I was so overcome with emotions.) I have been reading Cassandra Clare books since about 2013, and even though it's been almost 5 years since then, I am still totally in love with her characters, her world, and her sense of humor.
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor - Another anticipated read of mine, this book was the first book released by Laini since her fantastic Daughter of Smoke and Bone series concluded. I fell in love with the world, the concept, and most importantly, the title character Lazlo Strange. I love this book because it has everything that Laini Taylor is known for, and above all, it has super rich writing and it instantly transports you to another life.
- Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire - In partnership with Tash, this book is another book of my soul. When I read it at the beginning of January I immediately texted my best friend saying that if I ever could successfully write a fantasy book that mirrors my soul, this book would be it. This one also has an asexual main character, but it is reminiscent of Narnia or Alice in Wonderland and I could not get enough of the world. I also read and enjoyed the other two books in this series, but non of them focused on the ace MC quite like this one.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - Obviously this book is on my list because it blazed through the industry this year. I read it because I wanted to truly experience the BLM movement, but it moved me so much more than that. It showed me a culture I could never fully understand, and it definitely made me cry. I have told multiple people to read this book, and every single one of those people have raved to me about how important it is and how thankful they were that I forced them to read it. It should be read once by every single person in America, and reread by every white person in America.
- The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli - Talking about soul books, this one is the last book I read this year that truly embodied who I am as a person. While the MC isn't asexual, she is fat and that is a part of my identity that I don't read enough about. I related a great deal to the main character, and I absolutely fell in love with Becky's writing style. Although Simon Vs. is a great read, I read this book first and it will probably always be my favorite of Becky's. It's so important to be seen, and we need more books to do that for more people.
- Thor: Ragnarok - It's no secret that I fell in love with Marvel films this year...and by year I mean in December 2017...Rangarok remains my favorite movie of this year (I saw it twice in theaters) because it's a work of art both comedically and visually. I'm obsessed with Taika Waititi's directing and I love the main actors of this film. Thor is my favorite Marvel character, and I still think about this movie all the time. It's the funniest film I've seen in ages!
- Alien: Covenant - I saw this film in theaters with my dad because he is obsessed with this film series. I had fallen in love with Prometheus when I watched it in high school, and getting a sequel now felt somewhat nostalgic. I enjoyed this so much more than Prometheus, and even more than the other Alien films I marathoned this summer. I'm still pissed at that ending, but I loved how creepy this film was.
- Hidden Figures - This was the first film I saw in theaters this year, and I definitely cried when I saw it. It's moving, it's inspiring, but it also serves as a reminder that America needs to do better at recognizing and supporting the minorities in our nation. The black ladies who led this film were each fantastic, and I loved every second of this beautiful movie!
- Kiki's Delivery Service - Even though Kiki's didn't release this year (try like 20 years ago maybe?) I watched it one day when I was feeling particularly down. I remember seeing the trailer for it when I was growing up but I never watched it because I was always convinced that only weird people watched Japanese movies. (When I figured this out I was heartbroken that anyone would let me think that, and I have long-since changed) This film is probably the film that most represented me this year just because it does deal with losing yourself and losing your spark. Kiki's journey is relatable even though I'm not a witch, and it gave me so much hope on the day that I watched it.
- Wonder Woman - I did not see this in theaters and I did not prioritize it like I should have. I never thought I was a superhero person, and I still don't to be honest, but this film is so inspiring and beautiful and female driven that I couldn't help but adore it. Even a few minutes into the film I was tearing up because it moved me so much. Also, Chris Pine. Oh, and the script! The script was both moving and hilarious and I laughed so hard during this move!
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Although Wonder Woman has NOTHING on Guardians. I saw both films in this series this year, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the first one, the second one was even better. The humor is still the highlight of these films, but I love the core themes about family and friendship. The film's end really moved me. Also can we talk about the fact that Peter Quill gets a Zune?
- reputation by Taylor Swift - I waited for this album since 2014 (not even kidding) and now that I've had it for a month or so, I can safely say that it's incredible. It may not be as relatable to me as other albums, but it's beautiful just because it comes from the heart of one of my favorite people ever. I'm such a proud fan!
- Gone Now by Bleachers - I'm going to be completely honest here - reputation may be at the top of my list, but in actuality I think this one is my favorite album of this year. (I know! I said it!) Mainly that's because this one is much more relatable to this time of my life. Bleachers and Jack Antonoff have gotten me through some tough times, and I am so thankful I got the chance to see them live this year. I will never be able to thank Jack for all he's done for me, but I am so incredibly grateful to have this album. It's definitely one of my favorites of all time.
- Mon Bleu by Jacque Jordan - Okay, so this is my good friend's album, but it's still one of the best ones I've heard all year. This is my go-to roadtrip CD because it's really soothing jazz and it makes me feel safe in some weird way. I don't even usually like jazz, but Jacque is such an incredible writer and singer and I seriously want to recommend this to everyone. "Something Like Grace" is breathtaking.
- Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 - This doesn't even really count as an album, but I'm putting it on here because I've listened to it more than I can count, and I have never related to a musical more. Not in the "I cheated on my fiancé and almost ran away with a guy who's actually married" kind of way but in the "I'm super depressed and I'm ready to wake up now" kind of way. Dave Malloy is a musical GENIUS and I will always say that this album deserved a Grammy nom.
- After Laughter by Paramore - I've actually been waiting for this album since 2013, and it's another super relatable album. I got this album right after I started having more depressed feelings, and it gave me so much hope and freedom. Additionally, I got to see Paramore live this year in a 500 person venue and it was one of the greatest nights of my life.
- Melodrama by Lorde - This is the third of the holy trinity of albums released this year (rep, Gone Now, Melo). I can officially say I'm obsessed with Lorde, and this album was the soundtrack to my late summer. Although I've never dealt with a break-up, I found these songs heartbreaking and even somewhat relatable in some ways. Lorde has such a beautiful mind, and I'm so excited to see what she does in the future.
- Stranger Things - It took me way too long to see this series, but I marathoned it in a matter of like 4 days and now it is one of my all time favorite shows. It has the right amount of suspense and jumpy moments and humor and world-building and I'm obsessed. Plus the characters are all incredible and adorable and I just want them to live happy lives. Is it time for Season 3 yet?
- Once Upon a Time (S 1-4) - I've had people nagging me to watch this show for like 4 years and I finally settled in to watch it with my roommate. Even though it's incredibly cheesy and the graphics are literally the worst thing I've seen since they tried to digitally impose The Rock in the Mummy Returns, this show holds a little piece of my heart. Mainly because they cast the most beautiful people ever, but also because it's such a humorous little show. It's super heartwarming too. (But mainly I watch because of Captain Hook, if I'm being honest.)
- Jessica Jones - I binged this show when I finished watching all the Marvel movies, and it did not disappoint! This show is one of the most intense pieces of television I've ever watched, and I'm obsessed with it. I love Jessica's character, but I also loved the plot! It does an excellent job showing how victims deal with trauma and abuse, and I definitely hated Kilgrave - he is a phenomenal villain even though I can't stand him. So excited for season 2!
- The Good Place - After I finished binging Jessica, I needed something light and funny to watch and so I decided to give in to this show. It instantly became another one of my favorites. I love the plot twist in season 1, and I really like the characters as they begin to develop. It's such a quirky show, but it's also hilarious and it really makes you think about how you live life on earth.
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - CEGF killed it this season! Season 2 was a little slow for me, but now they've changed up the story line to focus more on mental health and it is incredible. This show is so much more than a stupid musical comedy, and I'm so thrilled to see where they're going in the future. Rachel Bloom is amazing, and I love her so much.
- NYX make-up - If you know me, you'll know that I am obsessed with lipstick. I started wearing it last year and now I have like at least 20 different shades (I know - it's a problem). My favorite brand of lip is NYX, and this year I actually branched out and started using other NYX products. I'm currently using their Total Control Drop foundation (which is strange but also works really well with my skin) + their liquid eyeliner (which is FAB). Basically NYX is amazing and it's my favorite thing about Target.
- Native Union charger - Last Christmas I got a really long Native Union charger and it mysteriously broke a few months ago. I replaced it because I realized I cannot live without one. These charging cables are covered in a fabric material and they're like 10ft long. They also have a knotted ball so you can put weight somewhere to keep your cord in place. It's honestly life-changing and I will never not own one.
- VSCO Presets - At the beginning of the year I finally invested in buying some Lightroom VSCO presets because I loved how they looked on other people's photos. I still use them for every shoot I do, and I cannot recommend them enough. I'm looking to get another pack of presets soon because they are worth every penny!
- Lucy Moon - This girl is everything I aspire to be on so many levels. She's so sweet and talented, and I absolutely love how aesthetically pleasing her life is. Somehow she comes across as professional and comfy and classy all at once. I started watching her videos this year and right now she's a real inspiration for me as I readjust my life.
- Conan Gray - I started watching Conan in April, right when I had a week of sickness and a month of depressive episodes. I found him out of the blue and ever since I've been obsessed with him. He makes the most nostalgic content even though I've never met him and I haven't been to most of the places he has in his vlogs. He's aesthetically pleasing, sweet, kind, funny, and I feel like we're kindred spirits. Whenever I feel sad I turn on his videos and I feel a little more peaceful.
- Krist & Yu - Similar to Conan & Lucy, I found Krist's videos this year and she gives me so much inspiration for life. She makes great video content, she's amazing at decorating, and her life advice is so on point all the time. It's strange because she's a little younger than me, but she feels so much older.
- Instax Camera - I splurged on a Polaroid (Fujifilm whatever) camera this year because Conan has one and I've always wanted one. I have taken mostly photos of me and the people I spend time with, but I'm hoping to use it even more next year. There's something so sentimental about instant film, and it really makes me cherish those images more than my digital ones. Plus it's super great for aesthetic purposes, obviously.
- f/1.4 lens - Another splurge was purchasing a new camera & lens. The camera is incredible, but I honestly am obsessed with the 1.4 lens I got. It really makes my portraits and videos pop, and I'm still in love with it. Probably always will be, honestly.