(Or: Well that was interesting…)
A few weeks ago, I was at a company event that included a Reptilia booth that I was assigned to help with. I surprised myself by absolutely loving it, especially an adorable tarantula named Fluffy, who gives high fives and lets you pet her belly.
When my boss came by, he deemed Fluffy “disgusting”. One of the Reptilia employees asked him to try not to say that things are “disgusting”, but rather that they’re “interesting”.
With that in mind, I’ll say that 2016 has been an… “interesting” year, particularly with regards to politics (ugh) and celebrities (RIP). I’m hoping that things improve in 2017.
All this might seem like an odd note to open a post about the Best of 2016, but I didn’t want to jump right in without acknowledging that, yes, there have been some really shitty things this year (I’m looking you square in your orange face, PEOTUS).
Anyway, here are some things that I found really helpful or enjoyable this year. If 2017 is anything like 2016, we might all need some help getting through.
(Note: I was not paid to write about any of these products, nor was I provided any of them for free. They’re things that I legitimately love and wanted to share with you.)
I feel like an idiot even typing this, because obviously you know that Beyoncé released an album this year, and even if it’s not your thing, you very likely know that loads of people are obsessed with Lemonade.
Unsurprisingly, I’m one of those people. I played the album on repeat for days. I watched the visual album and dissected it with friends. I read all the think pieces I could get my hands on.
But I still wasn’t fully prepared for just how amazing her Formation Tour was. It was the best concert I have ever seen, and frankly I think it’s probably the best one I will ever see. The energy that she brought through hours of a grueling show… I was awestruck.
For me, though, the best part was hearing her sing Survivor (a song from her Destiny’s Child days). Not only was it my jam in high school (I totally just dated myself), but it’s held a special place in recent years by helping me get pumped up on days when just leaving the house felt overwhelming and scary.
Natural Light Alarm Clock
I’m so in love with this thing. Although I still loathe actually getting out of bed in the morning (it’s so warm and cozy, and there’s an adorable cat there just begging me to cuddle a little longer!), this alarm clock has made the waking up part a lot easier.
Instead of jolting me awake like a typical alarm clock, this wakes me gently using a combination of light and sound. The light part is especially great in the winter, when I have to wake up before the sun rises. While I don’t think any alarm clock will ever totally cure my hatred of getting out of bed in the morning (bed is awesome), this one has made the whole process 100x less terrible.
The First Monday in May
Embarrassing admission: I cried during this movie. Nothing sad happened, really, but the gowns were just so spectacular that they brought tears to my eyes. Even if you’re not a fan of fashion, this one’s totally worth it to see Anna Wintour being a total boss.
Oh, and it’s currently on Netflix Canada!
Yes, this is not new information. I’ve already documented my love for Bullet Journaling, but my best of list would not be complete without this system. Nothing has made a bigger change in my productivity or organization. Plus, I’ve found that I have a lot more headspace for creative problem-solving now that all the boring stuff like appointments and to-do lists are captured in one easy-to-use place.
I hate going to the dentist. They poke and prod in your mouth and lecture you about flossing (I mean, fair enough, gum health is probably important, but I also have really important things to do, like rewatch episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm). However, I really love that smooth, clean feeling that your teeth have after a trip to the dentist.
Thankfully, I’m now able to get that feeling twice a day at home using this electric toothbrush. Of course I still have to go to the dentist every six months, but now they compliment me on what a great job I’ve been doing “flossing”. Little do they know, zero floss has entered the vicinity of my mouth in almost a year; just this awesome toothbrush.
Speaking of dentists, I extra-hated my old dentist. She was really rough and actually questioned my mental health diagnosis (I didn’t just randomly bring it up; she was grilling me about why I was on Prozac). I’d like to say that I lodged a complaint, but instead I took the cowardly route and cancelled my next appointment over email.
Anyway, I was in the market for a new dentist when I noticed an ad on Instagram for something called Opencare. Impulse buyer that I am, I immediately clicked on it and signed up. I’m so glad I did! My new dentist is absolutely fantastic. He’s gentle and respectful, his office is super high-tech, and all of his employees are extremely friendly.
The service itself is really easy to use. You just click on the type of service provider you need (dentist, optometrist, counselor, etc), and then specify your location and the days/times of day you’re typically available.
(I know, I sound like marketing copy. I’m sorry!)
Brain on Fire
Not only is this the best book I read this year, it’s probably the best book I’ve ever read.
It’s the compelling (true!) story of a journalist, Susan Cahalan, who lost a month of her memory to a rare autoimmune disorder. The book is the result of the research she did after the fact to figure out exactly what had happened to her during this lost month in the hospital.
(It was also adapted into a movie that I enjoyed, but I seem to be the only one.)
Chihuly Exhibit at the ROM
I’m just realizing now that almost all of the entertainment-type things on my best-of list have made me cry, sometimes in sadness, but often because I was awestruck. The Chihuly exhibit (which is still open until Jan 8!) falls squarely into that second category. His blown glass installations are absolutely breathtaking, particularly his Persian ceiling, under which the ROM has provided a place for you to lay down and take in the view.