This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.
I don’t know about you, but I
- am no longer feeling 22*, and
- spent New Year’s Day warming up canned soup and periodically sticking a thermometer in my partner’s mouth and checking and re-checking the maximum daily dosage of Tylenol.
(I also got to watch BBC Sherlock‘s “The Six Thatchers”** and an episode and a half of Jessica Jones (thanks, Netflix free trials!) in bed while my partner slept, which was nice.)
(I also also helped clean up after the cat spilled a glass of water onto the bed, floor, and nightstand, and then I cleaned out her litter box (#samfirst), because Stockholm Syndrome***.)
*I have not felt 22 since I was 22 and spent my lunch breaks sitting on park benches crying about how much I hated my job and my weekends drinking about some guy who wouldn’t text me back and repeating to myself, “This is the way my cookie crumbled, and I’m trying to make it something I’m proud of again,” and, coincidentally, when “22” (Taylor Swift™ No copyright infringement intended. Property of TAS LLC management 2013©) was released.
**LORD HELP US ALL TJLC WILL BECOME REALITY AND THEY WILL MAKE TELEVISION HISTORY AND MY SOUL WILL FINALLY BE FREE FROM JOHNLOCK HELL
***Buy One Direction’s “Stockholm Syndrome” on iTunes!!!
The rest of my first week of January consisted of reading Sherlock theories, getting ghosted by Muni trains for an entire hour on my first day back at work, having my heart broken by both Noah and Jude in I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (I’m not done yet, but already I am crushed with the weight of my emotions), buying an early Valentine’s Day card for my bae, catching up on Talk Direction, watching s’more Jessica Jones, listening to Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” on repeat, and watching Sherlock‘s “The Lying Detective” and then screaming about it.
But before I attempt to look ahead to the rest of this year, I’d like to pause and mention things I liked in 2016, as inspired by Cara:
The iPhone 6s. I’m not even sure this is a great phone, but it’s such a dramatic upgrade from my iPhone 4 that I can’t hear you over the sound of actually being on the latest versions of apps.
Growing succulents. For the first time in my life, I’ve successfully kept a non-cactus plant alive for more than a few weeks. I’m even propagating my succulents at my partner’s apartment (he gets better sunlight), and they are so dang cute and tiny.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. I picked up my copy at SFPL’s Big Book Sale because this guy in one of my freshman seminars said it was his favorite book, and his sheer enthusiasm left an impression on me that lasted, like, six years. This book broke my heart in a million small ways and about six enormous ones. It is funny, poignant, swashbuckling, and epic. It is gorgeous. It is now my #1 favorite book of ever, so there’s that. If you haven’t read this, please do yourself a favor and DO.
Waiting by Ha Jin. I picked up this book at SFPL’s Big Book Sale because one of my high school Chinese teachers recommended it, and honestly??? I straight-up hated this book and both main characters for almost the ENTIRE book, but the emotional payoff of the ending was 1) SO FUCKING CHINESE and 2) so worth it. Absolutely recommend.
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. I loved this book, but 1) it was my first Neal Stephenson book, so I had nothing to compare it to (I’ve heard many people say they couldn’t finish this book, but they really liked Snow Crash), and 2) I actually enjoyed Stephenson’s “this writer really likes to hear himself talk” style of writing (unlike when I tried to start reading Infinite Jest and stopped after a few pages out of total boredom). I picked this up at the SFPL Big Book Sale at the recommendation of Augustine, a friend I made at my coding bootcamp a couple years ago. Maybe not for everyone considering it’s 918 pages long, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, not because it was very good (it read like mediocre fanfiction), but for sending me into a Harry Potter death spiral, what with Ron and Hermione together in every version of the universe, and Draco Malfoy being LONELY, and Harry having to literally witness his parents’ deaths… what the fuck. Anyway, Albus & Scorpius 4ever, amirite lads?
Yuri!!! on Ice, an anime about competitive male figure skating, centered around the relationship between Katsuki Yuri, a Japanese figure skater, and Viktor Nikiforov, his Russian coach. I found out about this show through Tumblr (of course), and lemme tell you, it is SO PURE. It handles Yuri’s performance anxiety and general lack of self confidence with respect and realism! (I too have felt so overwhelmed that I’ve given up and tried to sleep the feelings away!) And the progression of Viktor and Yuri’s relationship truly cleansed my soul – it was like coming out of the water and drying off in the warm sun (or coming off the ice rink and soaking in a hot spring!!!). The choreography and animation of the skating routines are beautiful, and the show’s depiction of competitive ice skating is accessible to the casual viewer while being completely realistic. Honestly, Yuri!!! On Ice might be the best thing to have come out of 2016.
The Girl on the Train, the movie. (I haven’t read the book.) It gave me serious Gone Girl vibes, but it was like 4000 times more satisfying, because everyone got what they deserved, and also men are the worst.
Spotify, which I’d only used occasionally until this past year. I used to listen to KPop on repeat on iTunes during work, but now I jump around on Spotify’s web player when people are taking their phone calls too loudly in the office. It’s rad.
These songs, all of which are pop and almost certainly things you’ve already listened to:
Bob’s Burgers, which I’m watching with my boyfriend. It’s funny, weird, and a little dark while being ultimately optimistic – all things I love in a television show.
Deadpool, which made me laugh out loud in the theater within the first 30 seconds. Definitely one of my favorite Marvel movies ever, and Ryan Reynolds was actually… really hot, so… yes.
Goodreads Deals, which is a fucking blessing in the form of a daily email that alerts you about special pricing for Kindle books that you might be interested in based on your Goodreads profile. I read a lot more on my phone than on paper these days (which is both surprising and unsurprising to me, because I love books but it’s also way easier to hold your phone when you’re standing on Muni than to hold a paperback), and Goodreads Deals has already introduced me to a handful of wonderful books for usually less than $3 each. I have zero intention of unsubscribing in the foreseeable future.
Plant Nanny, an app that helps you drink more water and the #1 reason why my skin has been so much clearer this past year. In the app, you grow a cute little virtual plant that you can only water when you yourself drink water, and if you go too many days without drinking an adequate amount of water, your plant shrivels up and dies an adorable, guilt-inducing death. (I actually heard about Plant Nanny through Coffee with Chrachel, which I heard about through Talk Direction.)
CLIO Kill Black waterproof liquid eyeliner. I’ve marveled at my friend Jess’s mastery of liquid eyeliner and perfectly flicked cat-eyes since I first watched her do her eyeliner in a compact mirror while we sat at a food court table at the mall back in like 2012, and I’ve always struggled with the angle of cat-eye wings, but CLIO’s Kill Black liner made it so, SO much easier to achieve her look. The brush is both stiff and supple, with a fine tip that makes it easy to draw a good line, the pigmentation is superbly dark, and the finish has a slight sheen that I really love the look of. (And if you want to buy it through SokoGlam, shoot me an email so I can get $10 and you can get 20% off.)
Sleeping masks/packs, which have proven way, way more beneficial for my skin than sheet masks. Sheet masks are fun and relaxing, but they don’t actually do that much for me. Sleeping masks, on the other hand, help so much with hydration. I thought sleeping masks were really thick and goopy and didn’t understand how people didn’t just smear it all over their pillowcases until I tried a sample of the A’Pieu Good Night Water Sleeping Mask. It was lightweight and actually dried down on my skin after a few minutes like any other lotion or cream, and when I woke up, I was glowing. Since then, I’ve also purchased the SKIN CERAMIC Donkey Milk Yogurt Sleeping Pack, which has a really weird consistency (like melty mozzarella ice cream) but solid results, and the Innisfree Jeju Sparkling Mineral Night Spa Mask, which smells super refreshing, is lightweight, and leaves my skin calm when I wake up.
CosRx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol, which I’ve been using as a spot treatment. It’s helped a lot with my hormonal acne, bringing things to a head/to the surface more quickly, and sometimes actually preventing breakouts in the first place. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I recommend giving this a try if you’ve never tried any actives or chemical exfoliants – this one’s pretty gentle. (My only gripes are that it smells like stinky tofu, and the pump dispenser just kind of shoots it forward instead of into your hand, but you get used to it.)
SUM:37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick, as my solid cleanser when I travel. This contains coconut oil and it foams, so it’s technically both an oil cleanser and a foaming cleanser, but I use it as just a foaming cleanser. It works well and doesn’t leave my skin feeling stripped, but it made my boyfriend break out (probably from the coconut oil), so, as with everything, patch test.
ColourPop liquid lipsticks, especially their metallics. I own and love Man Eater (metallic rose gold that reads almost bronze on me; perfect for that bionic woman look (no, seriously, this is shockingly wearable)) and Mugshot (metallic cranberry red that leans pink; fantastic for slightly unconventional holiday looks), but the Ultra Satin Lip in TooLips is also gorgeous. It’s a “deepened plum brown” that reads nearly black on me, but in a slightly pigmented way that’s more flattering than pure black. These wear well when eating/drinking, reapply well, and are $6. SIX FREAKING DOLLARS. Eat that, Kylie.
Black cotton period underwear. I don’t know how I spent this much of my menstruating life without dedicated period underwear, but I finally bought 5 pairs of black cotton hipsters from Gap (on sale, so they were $5.40 each) and they have VASTLY increased my quality of life by giving me one less thing to worry about staining when I’m on my period, AND they offer enough booty coverage that I can wear them when I’m using my Lunette menstrual cup with a pantyliner or wearing an ultralong super absorbent overnight pad with wings.
Maxing out my retirement accounts. I maxed out my Roth IRA with Betterment early in the year, and in Q2 of 2016, my company started offering a 401k plan with both traditional and Roth options. I don’t get a match, but I’m still excited for my first 401k ever! I opted to split my 401k contributions between traditional and Roth, and I finished maxing out in Q4. (Please note: I have the privilege of working at a relatively high-paying job while still living at home. I did not manage to do this through extreme frugality.)
Opening a savings account with Ally. That sweet 1% interest on my emergency fund tho. Way better than whatever hundredths of a percent I was getting.
The Chase Freedom card. That sweet 1% cash back (and rotating 5% cash back categories) tho. A fantastic perk for someone like me who uses credit cards like cash.
Ebates, because I do a shit-ton of my shopping online, and it’s so easy to earn cash back if you use the Google Chrome extension to remind you if you’re on an Ebates-eligible website. I’ve earned $292.04 in cash back since 2013, so it’s been super useful for me, especially around the holidays. (If you’re not already signed up, you can use my referral link so I can get $25, and you can get $10. (I swear to you ALL of that $292.04 was from my own consumerism, not referral bonuses.))
Having shower sex during my period. In 2015, I had two very painful UTIs from having sex while on my period, which I was told was “normal” and “won’t be considered a problem unless you have more than three in a year.” It didn’t matter if I showered before and after, avoided using my Lunette menstrual cup, chugged water so I could pee waterfalls afterward, or took a billion cranberry pills. (I did all of those things religiously, and I still got the 2nd UTI.) After cautious experimentation, I realized that it was fine to have sex near the end of my period, when my flow was much lighter (which leads me to think that something about the presence of lots of blood makes me more likely to get a UTI). In any case, I ended up having shower sex (#samfirst) while I was on my period, and it was glorious. First of all, my fertility cycle is pretty predictable and also on the long side, which means that I don’t have to worry about pregnancy for the first few days of my period, at the very least, which makes for a very happy partner with a very happy penis. Second, when you’re on your period, penetration is way, waaay easier, which means I don’t have to worry about lube or more than, like, 10 minutes of foreplay. Third, there’s no mess!!! My partner and I used to lay down an old comforter for period sex, and it ended up covered in all sorts of stains and frankly disturbing handprints. He enjoys period sex, so he didn’t and doesn’t care about the mess, but it’s certainly more convenient when you’re not leaving bloody evidence everywhere. And finally (and most importantly), I don’t get UTIs from period sex anymore. Win, win, win, and WIN.
Excedrin, even though it makes me feel anxious and panicky after I take it. (It’s probably the caffeine.) Sometimes you just have to kick that migraine’s ass, even if it means being very nervous for no reason for a while.
Running on a treadmill. I used to hate running. I still kind of do, but now I love-hate it. Running outdoors isn’t really an option for me (I don’t feel safe running outdoors in the early morning or in the evening, which are the only times I can run), but running indoors while listening to Talk Direction at a fixed pace is actually pleasant, and the post-run euphoria is Real, guys. It feels so good. (The pacing was actually my biggest problem – I have to run a lot more slowly than I thought, but now I can actually run an entire mile without feeling like Death Is Come, so I consider that a huge win.)
And, last but in fact GREATEST, being blessed by this Corgi sploot:
I’m under that blanket. I fell asleep on the living room floor, and Butters came by and splooted behind my butt.
Hella blessed, hella thankful.