How was your Christmas, my lovelies? I hope you had a fab time surrounded by those that make you happiest, and I hope that Santa was super-good to you as well. As we charge towards the end of 2014, I want to do a wee round up of some of my favorite stuff from this past year. Are you ready? Here we go!
1) The LG G3 Phone
I got the Samsung Galaxy 5 when it was released amidst a flurry of hype and hope in April…and I bloody hated it. Completely. Totally. Hated. It. So, I wasn’t terribly bummed when I tripped and dropped it in August, breaking the screen – with no insurance replacement available. I did some maneuvering and worked my way into a new phone – this time, I let the sales guy talk me into the G3, and I’m pretty glad I did. I kind of LOVE this phone – the camera is awesome, the Bluetooth sound quality is really good, and it’s overall pretty damn decent. I use my phone for EVERYTHING, so I tend to be very hard on them…but this one is holding up remarkably well so far. I’m optimistic, friends!
2) The new show “Girl Meets World” (the theme song, in particular)
I am SO happy that my child can watch this show, that she can revel in the offspring of Cory and Topanga and that she gets to partake in a character with the name of Farkle. Love. ❤️ (PS: Bonus points for the Christmas episode – Shawn and Cory were reunited!!!)
3) The Instagram Stream of Beth Stern, Howard’s Very Lovely Wife
My Wee One and I are obsessed with the lovely Beth and her foster kittens – we love their names, the kitten room, their adventures…the whole nine yards. Love. The big love story of the year has been Yoda, a fluffy white cat that they took in; he was abused, sick, in terrible shape, and suffering from a heart condition. The Sterns nursed him back to health, and they gave him a purpose – he raises their foster kittens, giving them baths, caring for them, and showers them with love. It’s just gorgeous to watch via Instagram – Beth wrote a children’s book ‘Yoda: The Story of a Cat and His Kittens’ which my Wee One got for Chistmas. It’s a sweet book, and raises money for the North Shore Animal League, so a very worthy cause. Yoda is straight-up the most adorable cat ever…and Beth’s Intagram is guaranteed to make your heart feel as fuzzy as Yoda’s tummy.
4) Andy Cohen and his book “The Andy Cohen Diaries”
I knew who Andy Cohen was because I watch “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” (don’t judge me), but I’ve never seen his show and I knew zero about him. Then I heard an interview with Andy on Howard Stern, and got really interested in him and decided to give the book a read…I friggin’ loved it!! LOVED IT!!! Andy is my spirit animal and has the life that I want!! No lie!! I think he’s got a hell of a gig, his work is varied and so bloody interesting it’s not even funny…and his social life is the stuff of my dreams. For. Real. And don’t even get me started on his dog Wacha. Love. ❤️ (***Note: I watch “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” for a very stupid and selfish reason – while these people are much thinner, richer, and more beautiful than I will ever be…the majority of them are DUMB, and very, very ugly on the inside, which brings me unspeakable joy and makes me feel better about myself in a really shallow, superficial way. I’m horrible. I know. Sorry.)
5) Trader Joe’s
I continue to be madly in love with every single thing from Trader Joe’s…the food, the wine, the cleaning products, the everything. Madly. In. Love. It’s ridiculous. The Wee One and I make trips there all the time to stock up on bags of teeny apples (that she worships), bottles of wine (that I worship), and all sorts of goodies. They have magical chocolate, an assortment of appetizers that’ll change your damn life, and don’t even get me started on the cheese. I could live in the cheese cooler there forever and die one happy (though constipated) girl. If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, go and check out the affordable goodies – you won’t be disappointed!
This Icelandic Christmas cake would make the list of my favorite things every single year for the entirety of my life, no exaggeration….I love it THAT much. It’s made of layers of sugar cookie-type rounds, with a slightly sweet prune filling (which sounds gross to people, but SO isn’t – trust me on this one). It also contains the tears of angels, and every good memory of my childhood. Vinatarta was a staple in my largely Icelandic community growing up, and to me, it’s not Christmas without one. Luckily, I got one sent to me from home (yaaaaa!!!!!), and I’ve been eating that bad boy like it was my bloody job (which it should be – I am damn good at it!!). I love vinatarta, and all the beautiful memories that each bite conjures up. Now, if I could just master the art of making the brilliant Icleandic pancakes called ponnokukur, we’d be set!
7) Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb Perfume
I got a bottle of this perfume for Christmas this year, and I had forgotten how much I loved it. I had it a few years ago, and thought it was gorgeous…and I am even more in love with it now than I was before. Beautiful!!! ❤️❤️❤️
8) The Documentary ‘REM by MTV ‘
This 2014 documentary, made by MTV, spans the amazing career of music greats REM, a band that’s often overlooked…but really ought not be. They made a lot of great music, including the soundtrack of my life for about ten years, and watching this program took me right back to the late ’80s – late ’90s…and how I longed for it again. The fashion (those bloody baby doll dresses call to me every single night in my dreams, I want them so badly), the hair (although, let’s be real – my hair today is still pretty bloody big, so….perhaps I’m still doing ’80s/’90s hair. But, like I always say, ‘the higher the hair, the closer to God!’), the deep lipstick colors….I bloody love it all. The documentary featured extensive interviews, footage of shows, everything….it was fantastic. You really ought to check it out!
9) What I’ve Been Reading
Reading is always awesome, but this has been a great year for books – I’ve read a bunch of awesome ones! A real highlight was the Neil Patrick Harris ‘Choose Your Own Autobiography’ – such a great read, and a seriously clever concept. Written in the style of those choose your own adventure books from your childhood, the book was such good fun, with more than a dose of cheek and great stories. I loved it! I love him and think he is the very best example of what a person should be – such a gentleman, and so much talent! Amy Poehler’s book ‘Yes, Please!’ is great, too…a really good story of the long build to success, and not having your big break happen over night. I also left Amy’s book with a really strong sense of the importance of believing in yourself – she always knew that she was doing precisely what she was meant to be doing, and she never deviated from that, even when success seemed about a million miles away. I friggin’ LOVE that self-belief, don’t you? I need some of that. Apparently I’m getting old or something, because the bulk of my reading this year was non-fiction: autobiography, biography, that sort of thing. I have ‘The Goldfinch’ ready to go on my Kindle, but haven’t got to it yet….I will. After that, I’ve got nothing lined up to read, so….I’m always looking for great book recommendations – fiction and non, so if you’ve got some great reads to share, send ‘em my way!!!
10) What I’ve Seen At The Movies
I’ve enjoyed some great movies this year – probably because I completely changed up my approach to movie going. I’ve pretty much stopped going to see big budget movies at regular theaters (unless they are based on books I liked – like ‘Gone Girl’ or feature actors that I absolutely adore), and I’ve stuck with going to see smaller movies at the Bijou Theatre here in San Antonio – and I could not be happier with my choice. I’ve seen GREAT movies, there’s no cell service down in the theaters (so nobody bugs me – yaa!!), they serve me wine while I watch the movies (always a good idea), and the place is never crowded. Win win WIN, friends!! I saw ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ there and loved it with every ounce of my being (I just watched it again this week – loved it again), ‘Boyhood’ (a friggin’ filmmaking revelation if ever there was), ‘Birdman’ (so so SO good), and ‘The Theory of Everything’ (Eddie Redmayne’s performance was breathtaking)…I would go there every week if my schedule would allow, I love that place – and the experience it offers – that much. It’s just so bloody pleasant and civilized – something that I find is becoming increasingly rare these days. I’m sure that makes me sound snotty, and forgive me if it does, but it’s true. I was in Starbucks today waiting for my coffee order (Tall Skinny Peppermint Mocha) when two kids started a fistfight in front of me – they weren’t rough housing, they were fighting, while their stupid parent was oblivious. I forgot that I wasn’t at work, put on my educator voice and barked, “Oy!!! What are you doing? Stop it! Now!!” They froze, moved apart, muttered, “Yes, ma’am”, and shuffled back to their parents. Now, while I was pleased that I hadn’t lost my touch in the week away from work, why should I need to sharpen my skills in a coffee shop on a pair of hooligans in training while their parent is stood right there? Uncivilized. I just don’t get it. Sorry…that was a rather long aside. Anyway – if you aren’t checking out the smaller movie scene, do yourself a favor and give them a look. You won’t be disappointed – and if you see me at the Bijou, be sure to wave.
So….this was just a sampling of the things I loved about this year – this list could have easily been about 1479 items long, no joke. Not a day has gone by that I’ve not seen a bunch of things to love, I’ve tasted amazing food, consumed insanely delicious drinks, heard gorgeous music, smelled beautiful smells….there’s just a lot of beauty around us, folks. The magic is found in taking the time to look around and notice it. Thank you for taking the time to stop by Pretty Things and share some great moments with me – I treasure and value every second we spend together. I’m looking forward to a brand new, shiny sparkly year full of great things for us to love. Happy New Year, my lovelies!!!