2020 sucked, but some good stuff came out of it! Being limited to staying in the house most of the year really turned my focus towards the things that could keep me entertained and sustained while sheltered in one place.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – This book was so good that I read it in a day! It was so good that I read it again a month later in October. I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I was done and honestly, I want to read it again now. It’s so beautifully written and the climax is insane! I highly, highly recommend. Without giving too much away, it’s creepy, suspenseful, a little mysterious… that’s a terrible description, but trust me, it’s good. Two other books I really enjoyed last year were Circe by Madeline Miller and Piranesi by Susanna Clarke.
Chrissy Teigen’s meatloaf – I never really cared for meatloaf as a kid. I didn’t like the texture and I would rather not use ketchup in food beyond dipping fries in. A couple of years ago for Christas, hubby got me the Chrissy Teigen Cravings cookbook and on a whim we decided to try out her meatloaf recipe. It adds spicy Italian sausage and we substituted the diy sauce topping for Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce and y’all… it was so amazing we made it the following week and then a couple weeks later for Thanksgiving. It instantly became one of our “family recipes.” honestly, we’ve yet to try a recipe from the first “Cravings” that we didn’t enjoy, but this was for sure the best of the few we’ve tried.
Uniqlo Airism Mask – Masks without a doubt were the most worn accessory of 2020 and I definitely dug in deep. I probably have 30 masks in various designs and materials and I am not planning on slowing down the mask-drobe any time soon. One of my favorite masks is the Uniqlo Airsim set in light grey. Beyond masks, Uniqlo probably makes up most of my wardrobe – they have incredible quality clothing for really decent prices. Their Airism line is made of a fabric that wicks sweat and keeps you cool and is also apparently anti-microbial. They married that tech with face masks and it is a beautiful thing! They’re triple layered (with a built in filter layer), stay cool, and are comfortable for 8 hour wear. A pack of three is $14.90, but honestly, it’s so worth it. The only downside is that if I wear foundation, the mask pretty much gets dyed brown, but that’s something I haven’t really been able to solve with any of my masks.
Dior Tribales earrings – I was having a rough October work-wise and after getting through a particularly trying project, I decided it was time treated myself. I’d been looking at this particular pair of Tribales earrings for a couple of years and hit “buy” on my lunch break. They were pricey. The most I’ve spent on any one item of jewelry, but it was beyond worth it. They’re delicate, but a little bit edgy at the same time. They give me that chain connecting from the piercing on the top of the ear to the earlobe vibe without actually getting another piercing. More than anything, they’ve created a bit of a monster and I want more fun designer jewelry.
Khruangbin – For a good part of the year, we had a friend from Florida staying with us. Every time he visits, he leaves us with a new musical obsession and this time it was Khruangbin. Thai for “airplane,” Khruangbin is like if funk, soul, and psychedelic, music had a baby. It’s so chill and honestly they’re one of those artists that I feel like anyone can enjoy, no matter what they typically go for. I am really enjoying the recent collaboration they did with Leon Bridges, Texas Sun. “C-Side” is going to be my song of the summer this year! Shout out to John for introducing me to the only artist whose play time rivaled Gorillaz in my Spotify year in review.
Animal Crossing – I was super late to the Animal Crossing fan club. I got New Leaf in 2015, but it didn’t really take long for that to be the only game I played for a long time. We got a Switch the year they first came out and I didn’t really ever visit my town in New Leaf anymore… but let me tell you, when they announced New Horizons I was beyond hyped! I had countdowns, I caught every Nintendo Direct, I suffered the heartbreak of the game being pushed back. Alla-that! I jumped on preordering the game and the themed switch and was so excited when I traded my OG switch for the beautiful Animal Crossing one on my birthday of last year. Of course, that’s about the time the pandemic really got serious and New Horizons was crucial in getting me through being at home for weeks at a time when my work schedule switched to one week on, one week off. I haven’t played as much in the last couple of months, but I have the cutest villagers and am not the least bit ashamed of the the hundreds of hours I put into the game in the first few months I had it.
The Mandalorian – Is anyone surprised? This season of The Mandalorian was incredible! I’m talking each episode was better than the last, solidly being the one thing that got us through the end of the year, the one thing that all Star Wars fans could agree was one of, if not THE best piece of Star Wars media. Bringing back (true stans knew he was alive) and reconfirming (did we really ever doubt?) the sheer bad ass-ery of Boba Fett. The season finale was pure adrenaline, edge of your seat, ugly cry worthy. It was everything. Even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan, I will forever tell anyone who will listen that they need to watch The Mandalorian. It was that good.
Harmony Sofa and Ottoman – I talked about this combo a little bit in my living room makeover (check it out if you hadn’t already) and really, I could go on forever! Hanging out in the living room and just chilling on the couch has become my absolute favorite past time. Before we settled on the 82″ sofa, I was thinking we would need the full sectional version west elm offers, but we turned our sofa into a mini sectional by putting the standard 44″ ottoman right up against the couch on one side. It’s small enough to fit our space, but it offers so much lounging surface. We’ve been talking about getting a comfy chair for the room where Misha and I have our desks set up and I am super tempted to go with the Harmony Chair and a Half because the couch has been so comfortable. I do have some concerns in the back of my mind about how the fabric is going to hold up over time, but time will tell with that. So far though, I am head over heels in love with the couch and if you can catch one of west elm’s sales, I absolutely say grab one!
Nespresso Vertuoplus with frother – My friend Brooklyn introduced me to the Nespresso machine last year and after finding one on sale during William-Sonoma’s Memorial Day sale, I have not looked back. We’d been using my parents’ old Keurig, but the coffee was not good and the pods are so wasteful, so I always assumed the Nespresso experience was the same and I was so wrong. The brewing mechanism adds a fluffy layer of crema and it adds a depth to the coffee that is unmatched by any other similar machine I’ve tried. Nespresso also has a recycling program for their pods which are made of aluminum, not plastic like K-cups. I even found a refillable pod that we can put whatever coffee we want in it. Unfortunately, it was an Amazon purchase, but I found an alternative here that looks more like the actual Nespresso brand pods than the one I purchased.
Fellow Stagg EKG Pour-Over Kettle – I don’t even remember where I saw this kettle for the first time, but I immediately knew I needed it. Misha surprised me with one for Christmas and even though we’ve only had it for a couple of weeks, we have used it almost daily. We mostly make tea with it, but we will do the occasional pour over coffee – the real purpose for a kettle with a spout that is shaped the way this one is. It’s nice because you can set the temperature of the water to the precise degree that’s ideal for whatever drink you’re making and it will hold that temperature for an hour if you want to come back for a second cup (or to top up that cup that got cold because you forgot about it)!
Even though I would consider myself a home body, we definitely spent more time at home last year than we ever have before, so it was nice to discover things that carried us through the year. Comfort and function truly reigned supreme and to be honest, I’m not mad about it. What got you through 2020? I would love to discover some new favorites going into 2021!