2017: The Year in TV

2017 saw such a huge stack of fantastic TV programming that I almost forgot how the majority of shows available to watch or stream is trash! I truly didn’t have enough time to watch even half of the many, many shows that were highly rated and appealing even to me. But here are my favorites of those that I ended up bingeing and could not stop talking about:

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Big Little Lies

This HBO miniseries won a bunch of well-deserved Emmys. Having read one of Liane Moriarty’s books before (and finding the plot aggravatingly dry and the writing egregious), I normally would’ve had zero interest in this show. But there’s definitely been a pattern, in which every book that Reese Witherspoon touches as a producer becomes 20 times better on screen. So I gave Big Little Lies a try and was immediately enthralled. Stellar, star-studded cast. Gorgeous shots of the California coast setting. The plot, consisting of the characters’ retelling of the events leading up to a death at their children’s school, juxtaposes intense drama with lighthearted moments, thrilling mystery with surprisingly funny language from precocious children. Quite possibly the best soundtrack of any show this year. I ended up loving everything about this.

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American Vandal

This Netflix mockumentary had me laughing so uncontrollably in the first ten minutes that my roommate felt the need to pull out his phone to capture the moment on Snapchat… In American Vandal, which satirizes true crime documentaries such as Serial and Making a Murderer, a high schooler sets out to investigate a major school prank and uncover whether or not an expelled teen was the true culprit. It’s difficult to describe what could be so funny about a four-hour d*ck joke, but the setup is so clever and the young actors are so deadpan with their “punchlines”, it’s impressive.

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Stranger Things, season 2

This Netflix show probably needs no explanation, as I’m sure anyone who’s reading this has heard of it, if not seen it. In short, the first season finds a group of 80’s kids both battling and befriending supernatural creatures from another dimension in order to rescue their friend, and the second season is a continuation of the same storyline. I am not normally drawn to sci-fi, but there is something about the combination of nostalgia and the epic saga of friends and family coming together from different walks of life in order to save an innocent that is just so heartwarming to me, even while a monster devours an entire human in two seconds flat. I also think Winona Ryder is a brilliant actress, and she has come a long way from Beetlejuice, to Little Women, to getting caught shoplifting, and finally to the present.

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Search Party, season 2

This dark comedy on TBS is so hilarious, I ended up watching all of season one and catching up to the middle of season two in under a week. Starring the girl who plays Maeby Fünke on Arrested Development, this series follows a group of friends living in New York City in their mid-20s, as they attempt to solve the missing persons case of a former classmate. There is no way to describe Search Party without using the term “millennial”, as this show is arguably the MOST millennial. But I think everyone, regardless of age, maturity, or technology usage, can relate in some way. Endless cultural references and, for better or worse, reflections on society in general. Self-absorbed like Girls, but still self-aware like The Office. The supporting cast’s dialogue and mannerisms made me laugh out loud during every episode.

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Godless

This Netflix miniseries was originally meant to be a feature film, and watching it certainly felt like watching some of my favorite Westerns, such as High NoonThe Searchers, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The story follows an 1880’s New Mexico town almost completely made up of women (most of the town’s men had died in a mining accident), as they negotiate with mining companies and prepare to defend themselves against a dangerous outlaw and his murderous gang. There is also a subplot in which one of the women, an outsider, strikes up a relationship with the mysterious, Shane-like desperado who had shown up at her doorstep one night, giving her no choice but to shoot him. Independent women, stunning shots of the mountainous desert, horses in every scene. So much to love about this show. Sidenote: I’ve read about the controversy over the show being billed as feminist, but not living up to the label. I’d seen hardly any ads for this before watching, so I didn’t have any expectations at the time, though I was happy to see female characters taking responsibility for themselves and protecting each other. Now that I’ve seen the show and read the opinions, which are valid, I would still consider this a win for feminism because it is ultimately a step forward, and equality will realistically be achieved via several small steps, rather than one giant leap.

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2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Every year I have no plans to shop on Thanksgiving weekend, but I guess it’s inevitable. Some deals are just too good to pass up! Here are some material items that have piqued my interest in the last few hours, for myself or others. I realize that Cyber Monday has technically ended, but these deals will most likely stay awhile or at least come back around Christmas.

goods_404921_sub3I’ve been searching for a shorter down coat that won’t break the bank, and this JW Anderson for Uniqlo light down jacket fits the bill. It’s reversible–solid color on one side, tartan on the other–and I can’t decide which way I’d wear it more! 50% off and free shipping at the time of writing.

anf_192827_03_model1Still a big fan of Abercrombie sweaters, and I especially love the look of this one. Trendy, but not over-the-top. I still get compliments when I wear the A&F sweaters I bought last year. The entire site is 50% off with free shipping.

STEVEMADDEN-STEVEN_RAZZI_BURGUNDY-VELVETMule loafers are incredibly popular this year, and this Steve Madden pair appears sensible, yet luxurious. Very versatile. Entire site is 35% off with free shipping.

61ikAJnULvL._SL1000_I got the Amazon Echo Dot for my dad because he already has a nice sound system, but was interested in adding voice control. You could do the same if your friends or family members are in similar situations. 40% off.

H3481_WX0973_m.jpegAutomatically drawn to this top because it’s plaid, but that bow in the back… Game changer. Also, shoutout to this tartan shirt, the first version of which I bought exactly six years ago and J.Crew still sells and sells out of every year since. Entire site is 40% off with free shipping.

SE0017_NNY_BACK.jpgEverything on the Draper James website is insanely charming, but seriously, just look at these mittens! Adorable by nature, but then taken to the next level. Also eyeing these delightful loafers, a collaboration with Jack Rogers. Entire site is 25% off with free shipping.

P21722-PRODUCT_01--IMG_416--788172342Really into chic ponchos, since wearing my sister’s for a day in Mexico City. This reversible plaid version can be dressed up or down. Entire Tuckernuck site starts at 20% off with free shipping.

391331_600_ss_01.jpegPerfectly festive heels for holiday parties. I truly can’t resist little bows, and their placement on the back is slightly more unique than on the toe. These pumps are already marked down, and the whole site is 25% off on top of that.

71873.jpgThis Drunk Elephant exfoliating face mask has excellent ratings all over the internet. Not technically a Black Friday deal, but 15% off if you subscribe. (You can cancel anytime.)

5031400_663.jpegThis Kate Spade sleep shirt is so cute, I would definitely wear it in public over leggings (which I occasionally do with pajama tops anyway). Entire site is 30% off or an extra 40% off sale items.

 

 

February 2017 Playlist

A few years ago, I came across this playlist, laughed at every song, and decided I was extremely inspired by it. I usually create a playlist for Valentine’s Day this time of year, but since the holiday is over and the majority of music is love-related anyway, how about some anti-love tunes? Here are 20 random, fun, scary, confusing, hilarious songs “guaranteed to ruin the mood”. Listen below of on my Spotify page. For songs that are actually related to this holiday, check out previous February playlists here and here.

 

Valentine Fancies

Due to the commercialization of Valentine’s Day, it’s become one of my favorite holidays over the years. Greeting cards, heart motifs, the color pink, candy, and other sweets all come together on this festive day, so naturally I can’t get enough. In honor of this beloved occasion, here are a few last-minute fancies to browse for a special someone (or yourself!).

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The maroon color, velvet material, and sweetheart cut of this Kimchi Blue dress make it perfect for Valentine’s Day. Can be dressed up or down, depending on shoes and jewelry. Velvet is extremely trendy this winter, but I predict that its window for popularity is very narrow, so wear it while you can!

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Is there anything better than cute, cozy socks in the winter? I am loving this J. Crew pair, with its reindeer print and wool blend. Fun and functional!

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You can expect to see more Urban Outfitters on this blog because I recently moved near one and they always seem to have great dresses on sale, including this Kimchi Blue number. Semi-sheer with a slip lining and adjustable cutout back. The ruffle-trim sleeves and floral pattern also make this a nice option for V-Day.

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Candles make excellent gifts for any occasion, especially when they’re made by Henri Bendel, the ultimate gift shop. Burns evenly, and the “Cashmere” fragrance has a hint of sweetness without overpowering the senses.

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Nothing says “I love you” like a gift that’ll help smash the patriarchy. Every woman and man should read this essay, We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, based on her famous Tedx Talk of the same name. It impeccably defines and illustrates feminism and gender issues in a way that is approachable, relatable, humorous, realistic, thought-provoking, and with brilliant prose. Only takes 30 minutes to read, but the impact is lasting. My copy has been on constant loan since I finished it.

Friday Fancies

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The Silence + Noise dress I wore on New Year’s Eve reminds me of “the little black dress”, but pink. It’s the same idea in shape and simplicity, but the color and glossiness make it stand out among a sea of LBDs at parties, bars, etc. Easy to dress up or down. Unfortunately, this is the best photo I have of the dress, and it’s currently stained from champagne.img_2555This probably needs no explanation. I collected pins throughout most of my childhood, so I was especially thrilled to see them make a comeback in the mainstream this past year. For a quick way to brighten up an outfit or for a great conversation starter, just stick one of these onto a shirt, lapel, or purse.
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I received this Yu-Be body lotion, which has been making its way around the blogosphere, from a dear friend for my birthday, and it’s precisely what the doctor ordered to maintain smooth skin during the winter. Part medicinal, part luxurious. The lotion, which is medicated, smells a little like Vick’s VapoRub at first, but the scent goes away after a few minutes.

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I got the best Secret Santa gift last month! This wooden Diamond Head ukulele has a surprisingly bright sound and warm tone for its price. It’s certainly not a toy instrument, and it’s perfect for beginners. I would recommend changing the strings, though, as those that arrive with the uke tend to go out of tune quickly. If you’ve never played an instrument before and are interested in learning, I think the ukulele is one of the easiest. Memorizing only a few chords allows you to play tons of songs.
img_2643I subscribed to Book of the Month on Black Friday weekend, and I couldn’t be happier with it. Basically, each month you pick from five carefully chosen books to have one shipped to you. The choices are always brand new and often exclusively available before the official release. You also have the option of adding previous months’ choices to your box for a major discount. All of the books I’ve seen on the site seem to be quality choices, and I noticed that every “buzz-worthy” book of the past year was made available at some point.