2019: Goals Wrap-Up + Autumn Favorites

I haven’t posted in a while! I never got around to posting my end of the year wrap-up in December or even my favorites post for Autumn (I’m just going to sneak them into this post.) I’ve been busy with a few changes happening in my life! It’s all good things, but definitely time consuming.

Let’s give a quick rundown of 2019. This past year has been what I like to call a transition year. At the end of 2018, the small family business I had started with my mother was tabled for the foreseeable future, as she wanted to get into real estate (which she has done now and is doing great!) but that left me with only doing freelance graphic design and little else. I had bills to pay and since I hadn’t been freelancing full time, I needed to take a job this past summer at my grandmother’s restaurant. One that I hadn’t worked at in years. It felt like a huge step backward in my life. I’ve had three major bouts of depression in my life and the months of February-April 2019 were one of them — though not nearly as severe as the other two. But there all the same.

But that spring, I’d started to realize that design was, though I do like it and I’m relatively good at it, it wasn’t my passion. Actually, this isn’t news. I’ve always wanted to be a novelist (among other things) but always, always a writer since I was twelve. That’s always come first. Design is more of a job I have for now. It’s always been my plan to go to school for design and then work on my novels and eventually transition once my books were published (if that were to ever happen.) And because I’d been learning about linguistics, it quickly became apparent that literature and language is what I’m passionate about. It always has been. Even when I didn’t know it.

So, as I said in a previous post, my plan is to go back to school to get a bachelor’s degree in literature and linguistics. I’m very specifically interested in translation and philology. (I’d always thought that someday I would go back to get a BA, in design or something else, I just didn’t know when and I had no real plans.) So after all of what had happened, I’ve set my sights on actually doing it. I’m applying as a transfer in the next few weeks to several schools that I’ve been looking at. I’m going to have to move fairly far (none of the colleges near me has linguistics programs) and find a remote job (in design, lol) that will be flexible enough for my schedule. It’s all very exciting and very nerve-wracking. But mostly exciting.

And because of all this, my goals that I’d decided earlier on no longer felt right. I still accomplished some! But for the most part, I was just going through the motions for most of this year.

Anyway, here’s how I did on my goals for the year of 2019:

Design

I’ve been doing some freelance work (though very little, and almost none in the last 6 months of 2019) but because my focus for the year shifted and I had to get a job in the summer, I really sort of just let that slide right by. I mean, I’m still available to do freelance work, I just haven’t been trying to get any new clients. My plan to open an online shop for stuff that I design, specifically stationery, has once again come and gone. I set this goal nearly every year, and though this part of design still appeals to me, I’m not sure how much time I’ll be able to invest in it. It’s actually still something I’d like to do, just not now. Maybe in the future once things have settled down a bit (ha ha.) Doing a personal design project every week went really well for the first few months until I completely stopped. It was nice to add some things to my portfolio, but after a while, I was bored with it. And again, my mind-set shifted for the whole year after we shut down the business.

  • freelance work
  • plan to open online shop
  • 1 personal design project a week (52) – 20/52 completed. yikes lol

Reading

LOL this one is truly hilarious because I haven’t read this little since 2013! I only read 18 books. And a good portion of them were short and/or graphic novels. I just wasn’t in it this year. I didn’t even complete the Reading Rush and I only set out to read 5 instead of the usual 7. So I definitely didn’t read more often and I DEFINITELY didn’t complete any series/trilogies. Even MORE hilarious, is that I didn’t even finish ONE series or trilogy. I started a NEW trilogy and then DIDN’T start the last book and now it’s just floating out there, waiting for me to finish yet another series. That’s the OPPOSITE of why I’d set that goal!!!

  • read 52 books
  • complete trilogies/series
  • read more often
  • Reading Rush (formerly BookTube-A-Thon) (I mean, I participated, so I’m giving myself this one. LOL)

Books Read in 2019:

  • Vengeful by VE Schwab – ★★★★☆
  • The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket – ★★★★☆
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson – ★★★★★
  • The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson – ★★★★★
  • The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket – ★★★★☆
  • White Cat by Holly Black – ★★★☆☆
  • The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket – ★★★★☆
  • Red Glove by Holly Black – ★★★☆☆
  • Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K Vaughan – ★★★★☆
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf – ★★★★★
  • The Circle by Dave Eggers – ★★★★☆
  • Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince by VE Schwab – ★★★★☆
  • The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab – ★★★★☆
  • East of West, Vol. 4 by Jonathan Hickman – ★★★★☆
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 10 by Robert Kirkman – ★★★★☆
  • The Magician King by Lev Grossman – ★★★★☆
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – ★★★★★

Writing

I didn’t finish the draft from NaNoWriMo 2018 and I FAILED MISERABLY at NaNoWriMo 2019. I did outline the new fantasy series, for the most part. That’s it. Never even worked on any of the other projects either. I just….it was a ROUGH YEAR okay? hahahaha

  • finish NaNoWriMo ’18 draft
  • NaNoWriMo ’19 (giving myself this one, too, because I FAILED but I PARTICIPATED so I DID IT.)
  • outline fantasy series
  • Thoughtless draft 2

Film

I didn’t watch 30 films. BUT, I went to see FOUR new films in the theater!! (Booksmart, Midsommar, Frozen II, and Little Women). That’s HUGE for me. I’ve posted before that I hardly ever see any at the theater. One year, I didn’t even see a single one. But I did it four times! I love going to the movies! I need to do it more! I did NOT, however, write and shoot a short film. I sort of wrote some pages. I sort of shot some footage. But then it just never came together. And I didn’t even write anything else. Not even a PAGE of the screenplay I wanted to write. I planned it! Just never happened. My whole mind just shifted this year.

  • watch 30 films
  • write/shoot short film
  • write feature-length film

Illustration

I’m actually fairly proud of this one. I completed Inktober! I did 31 days of illustrations and I love how most of them came out. I didn’t do 2 days a month, though, but toward the end of this year I was asked to illustrate a local drug prevention book for 1st and 2nd graders, so that’s fun! I’ve been working on that, so by the end of the year I had been doing quite a lot of it so it probably equaled about as much as I would have done if I had done it a few times a month. So I’m giving it to myself. lol

  • sketching and illustrating 2 days a month
  • Inktober

Health & Fitness

I honestly think that I accomplished walking everyday. I mean, sometimes I couldn’t — raining, traveling, etc. — but for the most part, I walked every day. And I hit 10,000 steps for probably 75% of the days of 2019. That’s so good!!! I didn’t expect to do that well. I did NOT, however, workout three times a week. That died early on and I only got back to it in the later months of the year. I also still have not mastered the art of waking up early. I’m trying, though. Probably a struggle I’ll have forever. I’m just a night owl. It’s in my DNA. 23andMe told me so. I also didn’t drink only 2 sodas a week. I definitely drank more than that, but I didn’t drink any soda in April and I almost completely switched to Diet Coke for the rest of the year (and having only a few a week) and now I’ve completely switched to drinking either sparkling water or Zevia, which is delicious (well, the Ginger Root Beer, Ginger Ale, and Lemon Lime) and only drinking (diet) soda when I eat out (which is rare).

  • walk everyday
  • workout 3x a week
  • go to bed/wake up earlier
  • 2 sodas a week

Other

I didn’t technically accomplish any of these, but I tried. I was enjoying my “intake day” of art a week, but I soon fell into a spiral of depression that left me basically doing that EVERY day and then, again, my life kind of changed a bit so I stopped doing that. But it was helpful at the beginning of the year to go into consumption mode and fill up the creative well. It’s an important part of being a creative person and I still think it’s something I need to remember to do. I didn’t grow my social media following in any way which is completely fine with me. It was a goal in order to achieve other goals and, guess what, my life goals have kind of shifted to something that suits me better and something I want more. So that kind of didn’t work out how I wanted it anyway. All is good there. I was meant to post more regularly here on my blog but I just, quite simply, stopped having the time. It became an after thought. My “Further Learning” series took a backseat as well as I was figuring out what I wanted for my life. But it was a necessary time to figure out, so it was worth it.

  • 1 intake day a week
  • grow social media
  • post regularly on blog
  • further learning – 12 posts

All in all, I think I did all right considering the incredibly difficult life things that occurred!!!

Autumn Favorites

Books:

Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo’s first adult novel is so good and so perfectly tailored just for me. A dark, academic, magic-filled, murder mystery set at Yale? Is Leigh Bardugo inside my brain? How does she know that this is specifically a perfect novel for me? She’s magic. Ninth House is too.

The Magician King – I read the second book in the Magician’s trilogy this fall and loved it just as much — okay, not quite as much — as the first. I don’t think any book will top ever top the first for me. And not because it’s particularly good — I mean, it is but. The first just resonated with me at a certain time of my life and I specifically relate very closely to Quentin Coldwater. So. I just really loved the first book a lot. But The Magician King is just as an incredible journey as the first, although I didn’t like the finale quite as much in this one. The way in which they just…find everything so easily and it just stumbles together didn’t quite work for me. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone if you haven’t read it. Anyway, I’m still in love with this trilogy and can’t wait to read the last book. There are few books or series that I am compelled to reread (in fact, I’ve never reread anything other than the first half of Eragon by Christopher Paolini when I was in the the eighth grade) but I definitely plan on rereading this trilogy by Lev Grossman. Again, just as it is with Ninth House, these books seem very specifically for me, and I love that.

Films:

Frozen II – I have very few things to say about Frozen II except for the fact that it’s incredible and far better than the first one and “Into the Unknown” is a million times better than “Let it Go” and I stand by that with my entire heart and soul. I’m an Elsa stan for life, okay?

Little Women – Hi! I’ve been excited for Little Women since I heard about Greta Gerwig (my favorite writer/director/actress of all time) making it. And the cast? Only Meryl Streep (the greatest actress of all time IN MY OPINION), Emma Watson (one of my favorites), Florence Pugh (literally the greatest actress of this new generation she’s so incredible I can’t breathe, her performances in Lady Macbeth and in Midsommar and in this were unfathomably good, I’ve literally been waiting for her to blow up since 2016), Saoirse Ronan (my favorite young actress since I saw her in one of my favorite films, Atonement), Timothee Chalamet (my current favorite actor), and Louis Garrel (my favorite French actor since I was thirteen). THAT’S ALL. I WASN’T EXCITED AT ALL. And to top it all off, this film was perfect. It was so beautiful and I cried so much and laughed and felt warm the entire time watching it. Greta killed it. She MURDERED IT. Saoirse is always so good but the real bright spot was Florence Pugh’s performance as Amy. Her range of playing both a 12 year old girl and a 20 year old woman is astounding, and she plays her with such humor that even when you hate Amy, you love her. This film was the perfect cherry on top of 2019.

Music:

“Northern Lights” by Death Cab for Cutie – Once in a while, I’ll hear a new(ish) song from a band that I previously listened to quite heavily but fell out of sync with — I don’t dislike their music now or anything, they just aren’t on my radar. But I heard Northern Lights and fell back in love with them.

dodie – Both her recent singles “Boys Like You” and “Guiltless” are such good songs. Her voice is so light and beautiful and every song I’ve listened to of hers, I’m just like, “Yes. Good. Another.” Love it.

“Freaking Out the Neighborhood” by Mac DeMarco – Thanks to Nicole Rafiee on YouTube, I’ve been listening to some Mac DeMarco and his song “Freaking Out the Neighborhood” became my favorite song of 2019. I couldn’t stop listening to it for the last five months of the year. I just couldn’t stop. It made it on to every weekly/monthly playlist. It’s so good.

Phoebe Bridgers – Phoebe’s album Stranger in the Alps is just one of the most beautiful albums I’ve ever heard. Favorites tracks on it are: “Funeral,” “Motion Sickness,” and “Smoke Signals.” Also am I the only one who mentally mixes up the names Phoebe Bridgers and Phoebe Waller Bridge? lol

Moonshine by Caravan Palace – This song is so fun and upbeat and I really like the sound of it. It’s one of my new favorite songs of all time. I typically listen to darker, depressing music but occasionally a bop will sneak its way into my favorites and this one did.

Television:

Stumptown – Full disclosure, I haven’t watched more than the first two episodes of this show. I’ve been recording the rest on my DVR because I just had Too! Many! Shows! last fall to keep track of. But of what I saw was really great! Cobie Smulders is great in it and I’m excited to continue to watch her carry such a fun, but dark drama like Stumptown.

And here, a general review of the year 2019/the past decade that I posted on Instagram stories:

All right! That’s it! A complete recap of my 2019 and the last post about my favorites of the year.

Winter Favorites: 2019

Spring is here! It’s still fairly cold and there’s still a lot of snow because I live in The North, but technically, it’s here!! I’ve been doing “favorites” posts on this blog for a few years now and usually struggle to remember things that, in the moment, I would mentally say to myself, “Oooh, this is a cool thing! I should share this in my next favorites post!” and then it would vanish from my brain. I’d sit to write the post and be like, “Um…did I read anything this month?” But not anymore! Now that I’m doing these favorites posts by season instead of monthly, I have a beautiful new spread for each quarter in my Bullet Journal and there’s a whole section to write down my favorites instead of trying to remember them. So I have them all! All in one spot!

Anyway, here are my very organized and all-remembered favorites from this past winter:

Books:

  • Truly Devious and The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson
    Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite writers. Everything that I’ve read of hers is smart and hilarious, and for real, she does murder mystery/boarding school stories so. well. I read her Shades of London series (still waiting for the last book; please, please, please) and just started her more recent series starting with Truly Devious and its sequel, The Vanishing Stair. Both are similar (murder with a connection to something historic, a boarding school, YA, female protag) accept Shades of London is set in England and has ghosts. To be honest, I think I loved Truly Devious even more than the first book in the Shades of London series, The Name of the Star—and I really loved that book. Truly Devious is so good that I literally couldn’t put it down (I read this book in two days, which is so rare for me) and I quickly read the second book, too. I’m dying to get to the third, but it doesn’t come out for a year!
  • Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
    Victoria (V.E.) Scwab is my favorite author of all time. Her books are beautifully crafted and inspire me to be a better writer every time I finish something of hers. They’re just so good. Vengeful is the sequel to her adult debut, Vicious, about two college friends who discover the secret to gaining superpowers and they both become villains…and heroes, in their own minds. It’s so good and was a perfect sequel to the first book.

Films:

  • The Royal Tenenbaums
    I know that I’m ridiculous late in modern classic films, I get it, but I haven’t seen much of any Wes Anderson films in my life. Which is crazy, because Wes Anderson films are, now that I’ve seen them, very much My Jam. I’d seen Rushmore many years ago when in high school and Moonrise Kingdom during that Academy Awards year (I used to watch all the nominees before/after the ceremony but haven’t been able to for a few years) and liked both. But I hadn’t taken the time to watch anything else by Anderson until this passed year. The Royal Tenenbaums is, um, one of my new favorite movies. I watched it six times in January. I get it now. I get it. I’ll watch more Wes Anderson, okay?
  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona
    I watched this film at a great time for me to watch it: when I was very depressed about not being able to move to Spain for 8 months. Well, it made me more depressed because oh my god, I just want to be there. But also, it made me feel, almost like I’d gone? Not really. But it helped a bit. Anyway, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a great film but it’s made even better by the performance of Penelope Cruz. I mean, she obviously won an Oscar for it, but now I fully understand why.
  • Inside Out
    I was born in the early 90s, so I’m a Pixar kid through-and-through, but I neglected to see Inside Out until recently. It made me cry. A lot. Not as much as Up (like, just thinking about Up for more than ten seconds makes me sob) but still a lot. It’s a sweet, funny classic Pixar film but with probably my favorite concept of any of them. Emotions have emotions!? It’s so good!
  • Call Me By Your Name
    Listen, I read this book at the end of 2017 and loved it. It’s a beautiful story about two young men (one seventeen, the other twenty four) beginning a summer romance in Northern Italy. It’s a great story that explores the teenager’s sexuality—there’s an entire scene, the “peach scene” if you’ve heard of it, that works so well to describe his bisexual feelings for his girlfriend and the man he’s attracted to. Though this doesn’t translate perfectly on film, it’s important in the book. Most of all, I just love the film because of the scenery (and Timothee Chalamet’s incredible performance) because Northern Italy is so beautiful and it happens to be set near where my family is from, and I’m desperate to visit there live there.
  • Design for Living
    I’ve been working on watching more classic films, and just more films in general, but specifically from the 30s to the 60s at the moment. I’ve seen a few prior to starting this (some of my favorites are Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Charade, How to Steal A Million, and Singin’ in the Rain) but really want to see as many classics as possible. So, I started with Design for Living (I’ve been recording sooo many on my DVR that play on Turner Classic Movies channel) from 1933. It’s a pre-Code film (the Hays Code is what they came up with that enforced what was and wasn’t allowed in a film) so it is quite risque! It’s a comedy about…well, a throuple. They mention sex, directly calling it “sex” and the female lead angrily says “fucking” (not in a sexual context) which, to my knowledge, is the first time the f-word was ever in a film! It wasn’t on screen again until the late 60s/early 70s. But other than the SCANDAL of it all, it’s funny and the leads are great, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Also, A THROUPLE. IN 1933.

Music:

  • Aurora
    If Hozier and Florence Welch are King and Queen of opposing fae courts, Aurora is their teenage, runaway love child. Her voice is incredible, and I’ve talked about her before, but her new album Infections of a Different Kind (Step I) is so good. Especially the songs, Forgotten Love and Gentle Earthquakes, my current favorites.
  • “Lead, SD” – Manchester Orchestra
    I discovered Manchester Orchestra on iTunes while looking for new music and really dug their song Lead, SD. It’s a bit more of a thrasher than the other songs (like The Gold and The Maze) that I like from their album A Black Mile to the Surface, which is the only album I know of them. Anyway, the song is great.
  • “Monster” and “She” – dodie
    These two songs by dodie are SO GOOD. Her new EP just came out and I love it. She is a beautifully written song that I felt real hard and Monster is a bop. Both great. That’s some good shit right there.
  • Orla Gartland
    I heard of Orla Gartland because she plays guitar for dodie and boy oh boy, her music is top notch. I Go Crazy and Why Am I Like This? are so good. I’ve listened to them a lot and relate to Why Am I Like This? a whole lot. Like a lot a lot. Plus Orla is just so cool. she reminds me of a young Jodie Foster if young Jodie Foster had been in a band.
  • “The Joke” – Brandi Carlile
    This song made me cry the first time I heard it, which is always a good sign of a great song. It’s powerful. I’ve loved Brandi Carlile since The Story, way back in the mid-00s. But I hadn’t heard much of her music since then and kind of forgot about her. Well, she’s just been nominated for a million Grammy awards now, hasn’t she? I don’t think I’ll forget about her ever again.
  • “still feel.” – halfalive
    This song my jammmm. I don’t know where Half Alive came from but I’m glad their here now. The music video for this song is beyond good. The song is beyond good. I’ve been listening to it on repeat. I’ll be sad for the day that I’ll become sick of it from playing it too much.
  • “You’re Somebody Else” – Flora Cash
    I heard this duo sing this song live on a talk show and I loved it, then I heard the TWO different versions (acoustic and original), and I loved it even more. It’s a really nice, mellow and beautifully-sung song.
  • “Give A Little”- Maggie Rogers
    I saw this song and Maggie Rogers’ new album on so many people’s Instagram Stories that I eventually had to give in and listen. It’s a bop. I love it and can’t stop listening.
  • “Moderation” – Florence + the Machine
    Y’all should know I love Florence + the Machine and I was thrilled to see a new single come out. Moderation isn’t really my favorite Florence song but it’s still a great one and I’ll always appreciate new Florence songs to add to my collection like a dragon hoarding gold.

Television:

  • The Alienist
    To be COMPLETELY honest, I’ve only watched the first episode and just haven’t found the time to binge the rest. Also, this show came out in the winter of 2018, I think in January? Anyway, I’d recorded them all on my DVR and just recently decided to give it a watch. The first episode is real good, though it’s hella dark–I mean litereally, I watched it in the day and STRUGGLED to see what was happening. I had to close the curtains and squint. But it’s also dark, dark. But well-acted and intriguing, which I’m always here for.
  • Deadly Class
    Full disclosure, I’ve only watched the first few episodes of this show, too. But I think I like it! I think. I’m still not sure. I don’t know what this show wants to be but I like the premise of a school teaching teens to be assassins and so I’m hoping it will get better as time goes on. Should I really include it as a “favorite”? Not really. But it’s my blog and I can do what I want.
  • Miracle Workers
    I really like this show a lot. I can’t help but compare it to the similar, and so far still superior show, The Good Place, but Miracle Workers is funny, and stupid, and aesthetically cool–like, the wardrobe and set design is killin’ it on this show. It doesn’t have the smarts or heart (yet) of The Good Place, but I still really enjoy watching it because the premise of Miracle Workers is still unique enough, and funny enough, for me to continue to watch on a weekly basis (something I don’t know I would’ve done with The Good Place’s first season, as I binged it all in one go.)

Other:

  • Package Free Shop
    I’ve been following a more “zero waste” life style in the last year or two, trying to reduce my plastic use in as many aspects of my life as possible–like using reusable bags when shopping, using less plastic wrap, buying less products that come in non-recyclable or difficult to recycle (in my area) plastic, using reusable bamboo cutlery and stainless steel straws instead of one-use plastic, using a bamboo toothbrush, making my own deodorant (it’s very easy), and using shampoo bars and bar soap instead of shampoo and body wash in plastic bottles. Package Free Shop (co-started by one of the first people I discovered online that is “zero waste,” Lauren Singer) is an amazing shop (physically in NYC, globally online) that sells package free and plastic free goods like some of the things I listed above (I just recently purchased a shampoo bar, bamboo toothbrush, and stainless steel straws). It’s a great online shop for a lot of the items I wouldn’t be able to buy anywhere else because of where I live (the middle of nowhere.)
  • Mary Shelley Shirt
    So, this one is mostly telling you about the shirt I designed again. I wanted a shirt that said Mary Shelley is My Homegirl with an illustration of her, a parody of the Mary is My Homegirl with the Virgin Mary. I was upset it didn’t exist anywhere, because I thought it was hilarious, and then I remembered that I could literally just make one for myself. So I did! And I left it up on Redbubble, where I’ll be ordering one for myself, to see if anyone else liked it. (No one has bought it yet, lol). Anyway, I love the shirt and I can’t wait to wear it.

And those were winter favorites of 2019!

2018: Winter Favorites

From January through March, I’ve been enjoying some incredible books, films, music, shows, and more. Here are some of my favorites:

Books:

  • Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson
    The story of the third-eldest Kennedy child, Rosemary, is heartbreaking. If you don’t already know—it’s history, so there’s no “spoilers” here—she was intellectually disabled and struggled progressing passed a certain age in school. She frequently suffered from “fits” both of anger, frustration, and sometimes seizures. The family—or I should say, the father of the Kennedys, Joe Sr.—had her lobotomized at the age of 23. I don’t normally read non-fiction but I’m endlessly fascinated by the Kennedy family and couldn’t resist. Rosemary—and the thousands like her who suffered with similar issues and underwent the horrific procedure—deserved so much better.
  • Rooms by Lauren Oliver
    I bought Rooms because of the cover, I will admit. It’s incredible. And although I was initially intrigued when I first read the back cover, by the time I started reading it, I’d forgotten what it was about except for the fact that ghosts were involved. I wasn’t expecting to like the book as much as I did. It’s brilliantly written, expertly paced, and bounces between such interesting, unexpected perspectives that I was blown away by. It didn’t take me long to read—and as a slow reader, that’s a high compliment. The more I read, the more I didn’t want to put it down.
  • Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
    Again, I bought this book because of the cover more than the book. I’d picked it up while on vacation at a tiny little bookshop in a tiny little town. The idea of a young girl being told that the world and everyone around her was gone, dead, and that only her and her father were left only to discover that it had been a lie was such a great premise. This book is incredibly written and tough to read because you know that, somewhere out there, it’s happened to a young girl for real.
  • Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman
    I’ve recently been getting into comics/graphic novels. But superheroes haven’t really been on my radar—my favorites are The Walking Dead, Saga, and East of West—even though I love superheroes, and you’d think that I would’ve loved them as a kid. But I was more into the television shows/films about them rather than comics. I was given an e-book of Marvel 1602 for free with a purchase—I had my choice of any Marvel comic, and this one, written by Neil Gaiman and set in the Elizabethan era was a no-brainer. I wasn’t expecting to love it and I didn’t even know what it was about until I started reading. Imagine the Marvel heroes—the X-Men, Spider Man, the Fantastic Four, etc.—being born too soon. It’s great and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequels.

Films:

  • Lady Macbeth
    I’ve been excited to see this film for almost an entire year after I watched the trailer—which I enjoyed almost as much as a I did the film itself, maybe more—and I bought it on DVD as soon as I could. It’s such a visually appealing film that anything else about it didn’t matter. Every shot looked impeccable, every frame like a painting. Florence Pugh delivers such an incredible performance. It’s dark, it’s brilliant. I loved every minute of it, even the parts I was horrified by.
  • Lady Bird
    Yeah, yeah—I get it. You know this is a great film. It was nominated for several Oscars. I just have to gush about it because writer/director Greta Gerwig is one of my favorites, one of my idols. She’s amazing and Frances Ha, which she starred in and co-wrote is one of my favorite films of all time. Saoirse Ronan is another favorite that gives one of my favorite performances of all time; same for Laurie Metcalf. This movie is a favorite for life. It’s nearly perfect.
  • Get Out
    I don’t think I’ve ever watched a thriller film that is quite as unique as this—not even as a horror film, just as a film in general. It’s brilliant. Jordan Peele deserved every accolade for it. The performances were great—like Daniel Kaluuya is top notch, Betty Gabriel gave one of the most memorable supporting performances ever and she should have been nominated for something, and Allison Williams killed it.
  • The Skeleton Twins
    I love Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. I never expected to see them in such a dramatic film, especially one as dark as this, and be so incredible. It does, of course, have very funny moments, but ultimately it’s a dark story about two suicidal twins coming together again after ten years of not speaking. It’s really great.

Music:

  • ‘Til It’s Over by Anderson Paak
    I’ve been obsessed with the iHome commercial directed by Spike Jonze and starring FKA Twigs with this song in it. It’s the coolest commercial I’ve ever seen and the song is amazing.
  • Simply the Best by Noah Reid (from Schitt’s Creek)
    This cover of Tina Turner’s song by one of the characters on the show Schitt’s Creek is so so so good. The moment in the episode is so good. I just love it.
  • Make Me Feel by Janelle Monae
    This song is my jam. It is my morning routine song. It is my afternoon pick-me-up. It is the moon, the sun, the stars. Janelle Monae is perfection. The video is bomb. I love it.
  • More by Photocomfort
    A long time ago, I found a band called Photocomfort and downloaded their free EP on Bandcamp. Those songs were super inspirational for me for a long time but I never could find any more about the band and sort of forgot about them—other than listening to the songs I’d already had—and recently, I found them again. The song More is such a different sound from their first EP but I love it.
  • Mystery of Love and Death with Dignity by Sufjan Stevens
    Thanks to Call Me By Your Name and Busy Philipps’ Instagram, I’m in love with Sufjan Stevens and I love these songs in particular. So soothing and beautiful and gentle. Absolutely in love.
  • Mockingbirds by Grant Lee Buffalo
    If you’re a Gilmore Girls fan like I, you’ve heard the town troubadour, played by the lead singer of the band. He plays this song during the Firelight Festival in one of my favorite scenes of the first season.
  • Sober by Lorde
    I’ve been listening to a lot of Lorde lately, her new album Melodrama (okay, not so new, but I’m late, as always) is fantastic. Sober is my favorite song on it.
  • Every Other Freckle by alt-j
    I had alt-j’s album This Is All Yours on my iTunes wishlist after it was recommended to for a long time without ever listening. I’m glad I eventually did. This song in particular is my favorite. It’s awesome.
  • Losing All Sense by Grizzly Bear
    The song is great and I especially love the lyrics here:

“Could I ask of you not to cut into me
Dividing all of my body for me
I was left here to go through all the pieces
Nothing more to spare.”

Television:

  • The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
    This show is not perfect. I would’ve changed a million things about it—telling the story in reverse order was unnecessary; if you’re going to have Gianni Versace in the title, it should probably include him more in the story or at least just call it something else if they didn’t want Andrew Cunanan’s name glorified—but ultimately, it’s really great. Darren Criss is such an incredible actor and I think they told an incredible, if not flawed, story.
  • Queer Eye
    The reboot of Queer Eye is incredible and I cried every episode and I love the new crew and I just want more. There are so many touching moments, hilarious moments, important moments. It’s just such a great show.
  • The Good Place
    Let me tell you, I slept on this show like you wouldn’t believe. I was like “Oh that looks funny” then never checked it out. Never bothered. And then I heard just how good it was, so I decided to give it a shot. I’m almost glad that I never watched from the beginning, because binging it through both seasons was necessary. I almost wish I would’ve waited for the third to already be out because this! show! does! not! mess! around! It’s funny, it’s brilliant, it goes in directions that I never EVER would have thought. It’s wild. It’s fun. I love it.
  • Schitt’s Creek
    I casually watched this show for the first three seasons, seeing one or two episodes but never fully committing for no reason other than forgetting it was on. But now I’ve fully invested myself and have watched all of season four every night it airs. I can’t get enough of this show. It’s got such a subtle comedic timing and pacing that isn’t like other comedies. One of the best.
  • The End of the F***ing World
    This Netflix show is wild. It’s dark and messed up and funny. It’s a weird little show about two messed up teenagers who runaway from home. I loved it and I hope this isn’t just the mini-series it’s been planned to be. I’d love more of it.

Other:

  • Skillshare
    I was given a code to get two months of Skillshare classes for 99 cents. It was well worth the dollar. There are so many classes available for any kind of topic you could want. I’ve done some illustration and design classes, even a few that helped with my getting started with freelancing. It’s a great resource, though I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with it once my two months are up. It’s a bit pricier than I would want to commit to. But it’s something I’ll definitely think about.
  • Diet Coke Feisty Cherry
    Y’all, I’ve been trying to cut down on sugar and I know Diet Coke has terrible things in it and I shouldn’t drink it. I used to hate Diet Coke and only drank regular Coke. I’m a big fan. But when I heard about the new Diet Cokes with new flavors, I was sold. There are four flavors and they are: Twisted Mango (not bad, my second favorite), Ginger Lime (tasted like regular Diet Coke to me, maybe a bit of something extra, but for the most part it was just fine), and Zesty Blood Orange (which is the worst and it tastes like orange Emergen-C). The best one is Feisty Cherry and I’ve been drinking it a lot. It has the sweet cherry flavor of Cherry Coke with a bite of peppery goodness in the after-taste. It’s quite nice.
  • Adam Rippon & the entire 2018 Winter Olympics
    I love the Olympics. Every Olympics since I was a kid, my mom and I would watch everything we could. I especially love the Summer Olympics, but this year, I got really into the Winter Olympics. Figure skating, curling, skiing, speed skating! It was such a fun time and honestly, the best thing to come out of it is Adam Rippon has emerged into the spotlight as America’s gay sweetheart and he’s the best. He’s hilarious and every interview with him is gold.

It’s been a long, cold, depressing winter and I’m ready for spring! I’m glad I had these favorites of mine to get me through. It’s snowing right now, in April, but I’m hoping for some sun soon. I need it.

✌🏼