It’s that time of year, isn’t it? Time to read about favorites! Each year I see a bunch of these in my Feedly (RIP Google Reader) and thought I’d join in the fun with putting together a list of some of my own personal favorites in 2014. These are completely random categories I thought up off the top of my head as I put together this post! We’ll see what changes in 2015 :)
Favorite Book: 11/22/63
I’ve said a few times I prefer REAL books, but I have to admit, my Paperwhite got a good workout this year. My favorite time to get in a ton of quality reading is on vacation. I usually read 2-3 books, but it took me almost an entire week to finish 11/22/63. This was such an amazing novel, and a really fascinating concept. It’s one that I’ll certainly re-read eventually, since the first time I read a book I tend to speed through it anxiously to get to the end! I’d like to savor it a bit more on my next read. This was also my first Stephen King novel, if you can believe it. I don’t like horror movies, but I kept hearing about this book, so I finally picked it up!
Favorite Photography Purchase: 135mm f/2
MOST of this list has to do with non-photography items, but this lens had to be on the list. When attending Cliff Mautner’s Photography Bootcamp course, I learned a lot more about utilizing longer lenses and lens compression to create a different look. My 50mm f/1.2 used to be on my camera a good 80% of the time, but I found I really prefer the 135 after using it most of this year.
Favorite New Thing That Is Changing My Life: Breville One Touch Tea Maker
Um…I am not sure this will be a repeat category, but I have to talk about the Breville One Touch Tea Maker. I am a tea addict, and over the course of a day I might drink 4-5 different varieties. Something that’s always been a bit of a pain, for me, is the tea making process. First you boil the water – but depending on the tea, maybe not a full boil. Then you steep – but depending on the tea, not too long, because it could get bitter. Then, of course, there’s waiting for it to cool down before you burn off your tongue! I have been looking at the Tea Maker longingly for years, and my AMAZING husband bought it for my birthday. In the words of Chazz Michael Michaels, “I could not love a human baby more.” It actually heats up the water to the precise temperature depending on the tea variety, steeps for the correct amount of time, and I can even program it to start brewing at a certain time in the morning! Anyway, I’ve probably bored everyone reading this, but yes, I LOVE THIS THING! :)
Favorite Movie: Boyhood. I watched this on a long flight. It was filmed over the course of 12 years with the same actors, which is an unbelievable feat. It didn’t break the mold when it came to the plot, but it was literally the story of a boy growing up. It was both sweet and sad, and I love, love, LOVED it.
Favorite Beauty Product(s): I am proud (but my wallet is maybe not so proud) Beauty Insider member, and stocked up on my favorites during Sephora’s friends and family sale. I really couldn’t narrow this down to just one thing. My favorite long-lasting lip product is the Bite Matte Creme Lip Crayon. While it definitely comes off, it is so pigmented the color stays well. It is also not drying, which is somewhat of a miracle in the beauty world! I also just LOVE the Fresh lip glosses. My two favorite colors are here, Tulip and Coral. So pretty and nice color payoff for the fact that they’re actually glosses. Last but certainly not least is Batiste Dry Shampoo. I have tried AT LEAST a half dozen different brands, and this is the only spray that actually feels dry – never sticky and doesn’t weigh my hair down.
Favorite Song: Turn Down For What. Literally the first song that came into my head, that’s just how I roll! ;) Do yourself a favor and check out the video if you’ve never seen it.
Favorite Websites: These two kiiiiiinda go hand in hand. If you think about it. Fitness Blender and Serious Eats. I work out at home and I love the variety I get with Fitness Blender’s workouts. I purchased one of their 8 week programs (which was pretty darn cheap, well worth the money), which really helped me to better structure the order of my workouts. And Serious Eats is a fantastic food blog! While I follow a ton of food blogs, theirs is my favorite, due to The Food Lab, which has helped me be a better cook. Do yourself a favorite and make this Pan Pizza stat. Drool.
Favorite Vacation: Hmmmm…THIS IS TOUGH! We went to the Le Blanc resort in Cancun, which exceeded the experience of any other resort we’ve been to, and NOLA, which exceeded all of my culinary and musical expectations. I guess I would say NOLA…by a hair. Simply because it was a totally new experience and we didn’t have one disappointing meal while we were there!
Favorite Thing That Is New To Me But Everyone Else Already Knows About: Podcasts
I am contrarian in nature, and often resist new things. I listen to the Kevin and Bean podcast sometimes when I’m on the road, but this year I REALLY got into more podcasts. Serial, of course, was the first podcast I actually downloaded on its release date, but I also enjoyed This American Life, Stuff You Missed In History Class, How Stuff Works, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and My Brother My Brother and Me. And yes, that’s my poor beat up iPod…nano? I don’t even remember what version this one was called. The screen is cracked, but hey, it’s still kicking and I won’t replace it until it dies!
Favorite Personal Photograph: Frenchmen Street, New Orleans
Actually the more I think about it, New Orleans was my favorite trip quite decidedly, and Frenchmen Street was the main reason why. The love of music can be felt in New Orleans, and in no other place is that more evident than Frenchmen Street. My husband and I saw tons of amazing live music here, and this group was just riffing it in the street for who knows how long. Just looking at this photo brings this moment back to me in crisp focus, recalling the beautiful music and the happiness I felt watching these musicians play, standing next to the one I love the most. Isn’t that what a good photo should do?