Grace here, freshly in Lexington. The weather’s gray and the days are long — we’re in the middle of rush, since I’m in Greek life here — but I’m newly settled into an apartment and finally have an hour to myself in the morning. I’m taking a break from compiling my best books of 2018 and instead focusing on those non-book aspects that have contributed to my year. This is one of my favorite posts to write (and I apparently skipped it last year) but I’m excited to summarize some of my recent obsessions.
According to Spotify, my top genre was dance music, which fits with both my obsession with dancing and this year’s goal of running a half marathon. Aside from that, some scattered folk and a disproportionate amount of classical tunes snuck onto my top songs of 2018. Then there are plenty of songs I associated with pleasant memories that I’d listen to on repeat. For the sake of novelty, I’m going to exclude songs that have appeared in previous years. Here are some of my favorites.
Moon River // Frank Ocean
Shotgun — Acoustic Version // George Ezra
Always Been You // Quinn XCII
Colour Me — Acoustic // Juke Ross
Too Fast // Sonder
Cocaine Jesus // Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Only // RY X
More Than You Know // Axwell /\ Ingrosso
The Way We Move // Langhorne Slim, The Law
Magic in the Hamptons (ft. Lil Yachty) // Social House, Lil Yachty
Just Fine // Mary J. Blige
Slow Dance Slow // The Weather Machine
Youngblood // 5 Seconds of Summer
Make Me Proud // Drake, Nicki Minaj
Headlights // Nico & Vinz
First Class // Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Face to Face // Mat Kearney
Lowdown, Lay It On // Hazlett
Take Me There // Trip Lee, Jimmy Needham
oui // Jeremih
Go Back // HEDEGAARD, Hayley Warner
Annie — Live // Johnnyswim
Alps // Novo Amor, Ed Tullett
Body // Loud Luxury
Gamble for a Rose // King Charles
Drew Barrymore // Bryce Vine
Smoke // Luke Levenson, Abbey Smith
Bound 2 // Kanye West
Your Side of the Bed // Loote
Wasting Water // Connor Zwetsch
Gold // Jeremy Loops
Smoke Away My Sins — O R I O N Remix // Noah, O R I O N
Bruises // Lewis Capaldi
31 / 10 // RKCB, Dave Gibson
Passenger // Noah Kahan
Sometimes I Rhyme Slow // Nice & Smooth
Shadow & Light // Martin Luke Brown
Traveller // Chris Stapleton
Woman in White // Current Swell
Power Trip // J. Cole, Miguel
Bless Me // 6LACK
Just You & I — Acoustic // Tom Walker* (my #1 listened)
Sober II (Melodrama) // Lorde
Deep Dark Valley // Jon Bryant
Like Vineyards // Little India
No Choir // Florence + the Machine
Space for Two // Mr. Probz
Solid Wall of Sound // A Tribe Called Quest
Cold Showers // Chelsea Cutler
Push (ft. Tunde Olanarian) // Flint Eastwood, Tunde Olanarian
I tend to form extremely strong connections with songs that play during pinnacle moments, so there’s a little cluster of songs that take me back. Paper Planes, for crossing the Baltimore finish line. Drew Barrymore, for my favorite day of the fall. Moon River and Body for spring term.
I’m not a huge TV person in general (mostly because I forget and err towards a book instead) but I’ve been more into it this year, partly because it’s just a nice way to hang out with people without being high-impact. Really, the only TV show I feel particularly attached to is Sherlock, which I watch when I’m sick — but I’m reluctant to finish it, so I haven’t yet.
I’ve watched a little of Bodyguard on my own, a lot of Riverdale with my townhouse, a lot of stand up comics with Rexx. (Personal favorites: John Mulaney and Iliza Shlesinger.)
For movies, I enjoyed Dumplin’ and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. The first was comparable to the book, but I think the book won. The latter was significantly better than the book (in my opinion) because I didn’t think the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before book was particularly memorable, but the movie was tender. I just watched the Black Mirror movie special, which was a little mind-blowing.
I only saw two movies in theaters: Black Panther and Mamma Mia II, both of which I liked.
Mostly, I’ve just darted around Netflix in a you-pick-no-you-pick fashion with my friends and roommates and all, but haven’t been obsessed with anything. It’s been a good screen year though.
I haven’t followed too many new blogs this year, but have a lot of new accounts on Instagram that I’ve wholeheartedly adored. For context, I read Brain Pickings, Aeon, and the Modern Love column pretty regularly.
1. Lauren Saylor, @afabulousfete
A Fabulous Fête is run by a spectacularly talented calligrapher and stylist, Lauren Saylor. She’s based in California, has an affinity for the color pink, and always has a dozen gorgeous projects going on. I would love to have a fraction of her talent. Plus, her feed is always pleasant because of champagne, flowers, and creative graphics that always fit your needs.
2. Jill Lansky, @theaugustdiaries
I don’t really follow fashion blogs, but Lansky’s is the exception. Although it’s a little out of my price range, her moody coloring and sophisticated style are remarkable. Plus, she’s Canada-based, and I treasure my time in Toronto. I love watching her videos and perusing her feed.
3. EJ Mellow, @ejmellow
EJ Mellow has clear, colorful, and pretty bookish and writing-related photos. While her style is pretty straightforward, she has a knack for composition and her feed always looks put-together.
4. Aftyn Shah, @riseandwander
I took a printmaking class this semester and absolutely loved it, plus I’m always weak for anything woodsy. Shah’s prints are stunning and I respect so much about her lifestyle. I adore her account so much that I did a presentation on it at school. Outdoorsy, grounded, and always inspiring.
Pure joy. As a firm believer in the little things, The Happy Lists keeps me going.
6. The Paris Review, @parisreview
As word people, y’all will appreciate the fragments of interviews and poems that this literary magazine consistently pushes out.
7. Karla Mendez, @kmmendez
Although our book tastes are different, Karla’s work is extraordinary — her pencil shading blows my mind a little bit. Her minimalist style and her endless creativity keep me coming back.
8. Thalia Ho, @thaliaho
I never knew that a food blog could be so atmospheric, but Thalia Ho’s photos have an air of melancholy to them, highlighting textures and details of her pastry creations in gorgeous ways.
I tried to pick a solid assortment of aesthetics, so I hope y’all enjoy these accounts! Send them some love.
These are the little things that don’t quite fit into a category, but that have been some of my (sometimes short-lived) obsessions of 2018. The best of the hobbies, food, fashions.
1. Fairy hair — strands of gold like tinsel that you put in your hair like extensions.
2. the Appalachian Trail — last winter, and also during spring term, I finally got more comfortable hiking around the area. I’d done a pre-orientation trip, but hadn’t spent much time outside on my own.
3. Running — One of my big goals for the year was to run a half marathon (which I did, albeit more slowly than I wanted) but I’ve lost steam a little after finishing. Hoping I pick this back up again in 2019.
4. Butcher paper — Having a roll constantly in my room has been the best, so I can just brainstorm whenever I want. I’m a visual thinker usually, and so I’ll just pin up scraps of thoughts everywhere.
5. Instruments — I’ve always been big on instruments (I grew up playing piano and the drumset), and at school this year, I’ve been taking music lessons and dabbling in other ones. I took violin for four weeks and I’m about to take guitar for ten.
6. My front porch — This will be a little different because I moved from a townhouse to an apartment but I LOVED sitting and doing work outside on my daybed. At our place in Canada, we have daybeds and I definitely wanted to recreate that little peace in Lex.
7. Flavored coffee — I’ve done the whole30 diet a handful of times (two times for real and one or two false starts) and so I’ve gotten into flavored coffee as opposed to sweetened coffee. I strongly associate caramel coffee with being in Athens over the summer, or my December whole30.
8. Pajamas — in previous years, I’ve just thrown on a massive t-shirt, but this year I’ve gotten more addicted to the feeling of having real, cozy pajamas.
9. Post-run coconut water.
10. Funky earrings — feathers, wild colors, you name it.
11. That one gif of the teletubbie falling — I used it all the time at the beginning of the year when I was tired.
12. Rich Girls & Po’ Boys — it’s a nail color that’s a vivid blue, and it is perfect. Makes me so happy to just surround myself with color.
I feel like there are way more. Usually, in my journals, I keep a running list of current obsessions or trends. Like in October, I have written down that I gave up on looking like a person in the Third Year Village and so I remembered the sound of my slipper boots clomping on the sidewalk. Or that after Reading Days, we came back and everyone’s outdoor flowers were dead because we’d gone days without watering them — but nobody ever really replaced them. Also, there were smashed pumpkins everywhere from October to December.
I have a lot of favorite moments from the year. All in all, 2018 was actually a pretty good year. There were some lows in the early winter, and a lot of boredom over the summer, but there were a lot of moments that I loved that made it worth it.
I’m bad about not sharing personal photos on my Instagram — y’all mostly just get books — but I do have some favorite ones. I’m just way more comfortable with taking pictures of books and objects rather than myself!
Sunsets with my Q1 roommates, hikes with Allie and the Outing Club, time with Hannah and Rexx (especially in Canada), my half marathon, spring term. So many more.