2016 was quite a year. There are a lot of people out there who absolutely couldn’t wait for the year to be over, to start fresh, to start better in 2017. And I get that. But I’m also a silverlinings kind of gal, and to be honest, a lot of amazing things happened for me in 2016. Yes, there were awful, horrendous, nightmarish events that have branded 2016 a truly shitty year. But there are always bad things happening in the world, and I chose not to get hung up on them. So I’m here to reflect on some of my favorite things from 2016, whether they be things I did, obtained, or experienced.
In no particular order, here are my 2016 favorites:
- Travel: I went all over the place this year, in fact I rang in 2016 abroad and it was incredible. From the very first moment of 2016, I was out and about, going as far as my limited student finances would take me. I spent the first moments of the year in Rotterdam with one of my favorite new friends, Judith, and then jetted off to Paris for a week (read about my European adventures here). Not only did I spend the first week of the year in Paris, seeing incredible art and history and architecture and the bridge from Inception, but I also turned 21 in Paris! After returning home to the US at the end of last January, I thought for sure that it would be many years and many student loan payments later that I would finally be able to return to Europe. I thought wrong!
Last spring I received an incredibly generous grant from the Classics Department at my college to go to Greece and work on an archaeological excavation! Dreams really do come true! I thought that solo travel across Europe was the best thing I had done...until I got to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams of becoming an archaeologist for six weeks this past summer. It was dirty, I ached in muscles I didn’t know existed, and it was so hot that I actually got heat stroke (only once though!), but it was the best thing I had done in my entire life. And I have 2016 to thank for that.
- Glossier: It’s been a year of continued commitment to skincare for me, and one of my favorite new brands is Glossier. This brand has quickly become a favorite of mine for several reasons. The first reason being that it just works. It works. It’s as simple as that. I love their products, they are reasonably priced, and I feel like everything I’ve put on my face makes it healthier and happier. My skin has been perennially clear this year, which I love love love. It’s so exciting to be able to get up and get ready every morning without having to worry about or fuss over my skin, but to know that with a few products I’ll be able to put my best face forward (literally). And yes, I know that pun was pretty bad, let’s leave it shall we?
Aside from the fact that these products just work, the company is fantastic. The customer service is stellar. Whenever I’ve reached out to the company, they always make me feel like a person, rather than just a faceless invoice number. The aesthetics are so sleek, simple, and elegant. And the company was founded by women, and employs a high number of women, which is a win for feminism (and on top of that these are women who have worked in the beauty industry for years and understand what works). This company is fantastic and you should all visit their site right now!
- Korean Skincare: In the realm of skincare, I’ve also jumped into the world of Korean skincare this year, and I don’t regret it at all. Some of my favorite places to grab essentials are MemeBox.com and SokoGlam.com. Check them out! They’re really fun sites to explore and you never know what unexpected ingredient could drastically improve your skin!
- Hamilton: I know I’m late to the game on this one, but the musical came out and made it big while I was in jolly old England last fall, so I didn’t really get into it until a few months ago. The soundtrack is incredible though. I love how incredibly clever and smart this whole musical is. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius. Also who doesn’t love a gritty Founding Father and a musical history of the Revolutionary War? Anyways, my favorite songs are definitely “My Shot”, “The Schuyler Sisters”, “Helpless”, “Satisfied”, and “The Room Where It Happens”. Also, I love that Phillipa Soo is half Asian! #Representation!
- Moana: Also in the realm of #representation, I loved the Disney movie Moana, which came out this Thanksgiving. Even though I am Filipina and not *actually* Pacific Islander, this was the closest representation I’ve gotten from a Disney character. While I adore Mulan and all her badassery, she never really seemed ~like me~ in the way that Moana does. I cried in the theatre when I went to see it with my mom. It’s really true that you don’t know how badly you missed representation until you have it.
- Etsy: I’m constantly window shopping on Etsy. I bought ⅔ of my Christmas presents on Etsy this year. I have about $200 worth of merchandise sitting in my Etsy cart right now. I have an Etsy addiction.
Look for a future post about my own personal Etsy favorites, from the best vintage shops to the best handmade jewelry and more!
- Girls song: I heard this song, "FLiP" by GIRL on an episode of Girls last spring, and I’ve been lowkey obsessed with it ever since. I hate that it’s not on Spotify, so I listen to it on YouTube. It’s got a fun beat, badass lady musicians, and a quirky colorful music video. What a quality song.
- Bob Ross: Need I say more? I noticed his shows on Netflix this year, and it’s been uphill ever since. Not only is his voice soothing, and his painting process absolutely hypnotic, but his sweet little “bob-isms” also cheer me up when I’m stressed and down. He’s the best.
-La La Land: This movie was absolute technicolor eye candy. It was dreamy, and gorgeous, and glittery, and I came away from the theater feeling so fluffy and shiny. It was one of the most beautiful and sentimental movies I’ve seen in a long time! The bright colors, the lovely music and sets, and all the throw backs to Golden Era Hollywood movie musicals was so utterly satisfying for me. I would (and am going to) see it again and again.
- Junot Diaz: I’ve read a couple of Diaz’s books this year, and they have all been beautiful and humorously wrought, mind blowing, and plain old fun. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was a journey that involved constantly looking up obscure references, and a beautifully poignant story of a family. It’s one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year.
- The Last Five Years: So I first watched this movie at the beginning of the summer, and I love it. Not only am I constantly singing the songs in the shower or while doing dishes (because obviously I’m a Disney princess and sing to myself while doing housework), but I also watch it every few weeks. I’m a sucker for a sad, and quietly tragic love story. And I’m a sucker for a musical. Luckily for me, this movie has both. I also love both Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick, and even though Jeremy Jordan’s character epicly sucks in this movie, Anna Kendrick tips the scale the other way by being utterly charming in every single scene she appears in.
- This Blog: I’ve talked about starting a blog for years. And 2016 saw that pipe dream become a reality. I’ve always been a somewhat shy person who has a lot to say. Even though this blog as it stands right now is somewhat narrowly focused on my own personal fashion, I enjoy having a platform to send my thoughts out into the universe, a place to project my voice. It’s very satisfying. And thank you to everyone who reads this blog, I appreciate you putting up with my rambling, random thoughts!
Look for a post about my New Year’s Resolutions soon (I know, it’s so late), and as always, leave a comment or question below! I want to hear from you all friends!