Bite size reviews of my favorite things.
While I have enjoyed doing year in review posts in the past (see them all here for a look at my personal growth), this year I wanted to do something a bit different. I'm a sucker for "best of" lists, be it the best drugstore concealers or end of year book round-ups, this formula just works for me. While the ambitious side of me wanted to do a dedicated post for each of these categories, I didn't want to milk the round-up content too much. Instead, you have a master list of most of my favorites from the year. I excluded books to keep the post at a somewhat more manageable length, but you can look forward to lots of book reviews in the coming year.
Please let me know if you have a round-up post that I can peruse by leaving a link in the comments!
Everlane Boxy Striped Tee: The cost-per-wear on this Everlane tee that I got with credit is already ridiculously low. I have always admired the Petite Bateau version, but when Everlane sent me a $40 credit I knew exactly what my closet needed.
Vintage Levi’s jacket: My oversized denim jacket is the perfect all season staple. It goes perfectly with skinny jeans, dresses and just about anything else. I love that it is so big because it feels more grungy than cowgirl.
Secondhand Barbour jacket: Rain can kiss my ass. I finally found my perfect Barbour jacket and coordinating hood on eBay. I have never owned a true rain jacket, but I think this should do the trick. We'll see how it holds up to East Tennessee monsoon season, also known as winter.
Black Topshop Jamie jeans: These petite black jeans hit my ankles perfectly and actually fit my waist. I relied on this pair from Urban Outfitters for a long time, but the waist stretches a bit funny on me. I like tucking things in to high-waisted pants so I needed to upgrade. These are perfect.
Black Modern Point loafers: My favorite shoes even after Doug chewed them. I took Everlane's advice and ordered half a size up. They are slightly roomy; but with such a sharp point this is preferred to avoid blisters. These are so much less dainty than ballet flats as a go-to black flat.
Black Brandy Melville dress: I'm not a dress girl and I still like this one. I've worn it to everything from banquets to the beach. Plus, it is made in Italy. It is great for girls in the petite range as I'm right on the cusp. I do NOT recommend it for taller ladies as it will barely cover your rear.
Sephora Lip Liner To Go in Classic Red + Cream Lip Stain in Always Red: My perfect combination for shockingly red lips. I love to wear them together or separately for a long lasting matte lip. I like that it is brighter and a bit richer than just a pencil.
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: I got this on a whim because I ran out of YSL Touche Éclat. I didn't feel like dropping nearly $50 with tax, so I tried the sample of NARS. It is true to its promise of being very creamy. I use this daily for under eye concealer. I'm fair with neutral to warm undertones and got the Vanilla travel size.
Ole Henrickson Empower Featherweight Moisturizer: I purchased this after getting advice from a saleswoman at my local Sephora. I walked in desperate for moisturizer since I'm outside a fair amount, even in winter. My skin ranges from normal to dry and this was perfect. It works as a day and nighttime moisturizer, but I recently switched to something with SPF (the only bad part of this one is the lack thereof).
Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil: For my shoulder length hair, I use this and sea salt spray. Other than a dry shampoo here and there, that does the trick. This works great as a general frizz tamer or a heat protector. I use four to five drops on wet ends and only two on dry hair.
NYX Wonder Pencil + Lip Primer: I have one mostly empty bag for my daily make up. I have an entirely separate, overflowing pouch for all of my lip products. Lipstick is essentially the only make up that I consider experimental in my routine. That being said, several cream stains or matte products in funky colors need a little help. I line my lips with the NYX Wonder Pencil then add primer on top. This traps the lipstick within the lines I create and definitely makes a noticeable difference on how long the product lasts.
Travel Thermos: I cannot rave about this thing enough. I found it randomly near the check out while Wes and I were grabbing some snacks. It is a bit costly, but it is no standard travel mug. I got coffee at 2 in the afternoon that was still hot and delicious at 7 later than evening, meaning that this Thermos really lives up to its promise of keeping things warm for 5 hours. While it does keep things cold as well, the metal affects the taste slightly on beverages like beer.
Aeropress: This is a late addition as I just got this for Christmas from Wes. However, this has changed my coffee drinking forever. I have preferred my coffee black for about six months. I don't necessarily love bitter tastes, but I hated any sweeteners. The Aeropress absolutely lives up to the hype and delivers the most robust and least bitter coffee I have ever tasted. It is also extremely simple to use- so much so that it can be used while camping.
Kindle: After moving my stash of books that I kept at my Aunt Wendy's house into my new little room after the summer was over, I knew something had to give. I got a library card. Then, surprising my paper loving self, I got a Kindle. I got the most pared down version as I don't need it for anything else but reading. The Knox County Library also has a eBook lending program, so I hope to drastically reduce both cost and clutter.
Shinola journal: Ok, we all love Moleskines. That will never change. But if you want something with a beautiful color palette and pages that really deliver, this Shinola journal is an excellent option. I use the pink version as my bullet journal. Despite the fact that I carry it everywhere, the light color hasn't shown much wear at all. And the real kicker is that it is made in America.
Scrivener: If you are a writer of any kind, I think you will love Scrivener. It is ideal for categorizing pieces, adding research, compiling long projects and just about anything else that requires stringing sentences together comprehensively. In fact, I used it to put together this list. It takes some getting used to, so I highly recommend going through the accompanying tutorial document.
My most played album: "And the War Came," Shakey Graves: This album might have come out in 2014, but it was still my top pick in 2015. I got to see Shakey for the second time live at Bonnaroo, so I spent a lot of time before and after the show listening to these tracks. I don't mean to be all "I knew him when..." but things have certainly come a long way since the show I caught in 2013.
Most magical concert experience: Florence and the Machine: I have an undying love for Florence Welch. We have the same birthday, so I'll take that as a sign that we are soul sisters. Beyond that, her music and style is unparalleled. Seeing her live just reminded the audience that she was doing exactly what she was put on the earth to do- be an angel and goddess of music.
Shows caught locally:
The Oh Hello’s: I found a track from the Oh Hello's free on Amazon about four years ago. Their music is rich and anthemic, with beautiful themes and natural imagery throughout. It was a treat to see them live and stomp and clap along with their huge band.
Sturgill Simpson: He is the country music lover's modern answer. I caught a Sturgill show with my dad early this year. There is a real difference between pop country and what this guy does, but I dig it immensely. This show was an incredible blend of true country and psychedelic rock that makes his sound so unique.
Songs I had stuck in my head all the damn time: "Sedona," Houndmouth; "Stolen Dance," Milky Chance; "If It Takes a Lifetime," Jason Isbell
ongs I couldn’t stop listening to: "Every Day," ASAP Rocky; "Radical," It Looks Sad
Folly Beach, SC: For my first and likely last spring break trip, I went to Folly Beach with 11 other Maryville College students. It was low-key since it wasn't a typical college spring break destination. Even though I basically got dumped over the phone while I was on this trip, it still didn't put too much of a damper on things In fact, I will always cherish the opportunity to get closer to my college friends in a beautiful house on the beach.
Bonnaroo!: My experience as a volunteer at Bonnaroo actually changed my life. I pushed my body through some pretty insane things while managing to work shifts. The music was incredible, naturally. I learned about making friends with strangers. But most of all, it was a safe haven of positivity that felt like home.
Chimney Tops: We saw that Chimney Tops was a four mile round trip hike and thought, "Why not?" That attitude is pretty common around the Smokies. However, we were in for both a treat and a surprise. This trail is essentially straight up and down. At the end, you can opt to climb up about 50 feet of rock face to see the best view. It was terrifying in my clunky boots, but boy am I happy I did it.
Boone, NC: I don't have pictures in this post of my adventures in Boone because there are full posts from the trips (Boone and Bass Lake, Up from Boone: Valle Crucis, Blue Ridge Parkway and Linville Falls). One of my best friends from college grew up in Boone and now Alysse, my best friend since childhood, lives there. It was a treat to get to see this perfectly charming mountain town a few different times.
Snowshoe, WV: I took a mini-vacation with Ari to this ski resort town in the off-season. We were there as spectators for the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships (what a mouthful). Our first night, we stayed in a two bedroom condo with five college mountain bikers, all of whom were male. There are quite a few pictures that aren't quite as suited for this blog, as you may imagine. I loved getting to know more about the mountain biking community and seeing Wes race his last collegiate race (and come in 4th overall for his combined events).
Jekyll Island, GA: Christmas was a risk for me this year. Instead of spending it with family as tradition dictates, Wes and I hit the road and visited one of my favorite places in the world. We biked on the beach, cooked awesome food, saw Doug enjoy chasing birds by the ocean and marveled at the live oaks. I always call my trips to coastal Georgia a pilgrimage and there's a reason. It soothes my spirit and gives me enough good energy until the next little vacation. Even though we ended up having to get slacklines to hold a broken bike rack on the way home, I'm so happy we went. I don't think I'll ever want a "normal" Christmas again.