So, we’ve all felt it. We’ve all seen the memes. 2016 was just…the worst in many ways. But to try and focus on more pleasant things instead of dwelling on all the garbage, I thought I’d list off some of my favorite things in 2016. These are not the obvious things that made me happy, such as family, friends, the fact that we finally bought a car that fits our family, etc. These are the less heavy, more fun things that took my mind off of feeling dragged through the mud.
- Westworld. If you still haven’t seen it I suggest you get on it ASAP since spoilers abound after the amazing 10-episode arc that was season 1. Borrow someone’s HBO go password if you must.
- Game of Thrones. While the beloved show wasn’t starting out this year, it was for me, as I finally decided that I could handle all the gore and plowed through all 6 seasons this summer. It was the best/worst 2 months EVER. Plus season six was just…I wish I was watching it right now.
- Luke Cage. I am a massive fan of the MCU and the Marvel Netflix run has been possibly even better. Daredevil remains my favorite series of the three that have been released so far but Jessica Jones and now Luke Cage are not far behind. Luke Cage was also relevant in a really beautiful and very violent way.
- The Path. This Hulu original series about a family living in a religious movement is brilliant, and the performances are outstanding. Aaron Paul is showing how he is so much more than Jesse Pinkman and I’m loving it.
- The Crown. We just finished the first season the other night and I was really impressed with how much the show stuck to the facts of the early Reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The performances are wonderful and it’s lovely seeing Matt Smith play a completely different character than the one I know him most for (The Eleventh Doctor).
- Captain America: Civil War. I had high expectations for this movie since, as mentioned earlier, I am a huge fan of what the MCU is churning out, but I was totally blown away by this movie. It reminded me very much of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in that it was part political/espionage movie, part superhero movie, and things were very personal for Steve Rogers. The action scenes (hello, airport scene) were awesome and it took itself seriously while maintaining the levity we’re used to with Marvel.
- Doctor Strange. I may as well go into the other MCU movie we got this year, which was a really fun movie and a kind of breath of fresh air since it does not directly deal with the Avengers. While I love Avengers-themed movies, introducing a new-to-some superhero was really refreshing and the action and effects were amazing. Also. Cumberbatch.
- Rogue One. I mean…I mean. As a die-hard Star Wars fan I was excited but apprehensive about this movie simply because it fits into the timeline in a new way, which can be scary. But the new characters were so much fun, Felicity Jones gave us a new female badass in the canon, and it filled in some pieces to support episode IV. Plus the digital cameos and easter eggs were pretty rad. T15s are obsolete! I mean, that’s so fun!!
- Finding Dory. I took my kiddos to see it when it came out, and I was honestly expecting it to be meh. I like Finding Nemo but a sequel seemed really unnecessary and despite loving Ellen’s work as Dory I was not expecting much. Boy was I pleasantly surprised. This movie was so cute, had so much heart, and was legitimately funny to the point where I was telling my husband about scenes when we got home.
- The Shallows. I was psyched when this came out on DVD because I didn’t get to see it in the theatre. I am a huge shark/shark movie fan and I loved the concept of a woman being stuck on a rock during low tide while a great white swims around her. The trailer was so chilling that I was freaked out sitting on my couch. The movie itself was great. It was shot in some scenes like a surfing promotional video which juxtaposed nicely with the horror when the shark shows up. Blake Lively was awesome as Nancy, the surfer who has to fight for her life. It has a really modest run time as well which makes the story compact and never arduous or dragging on.
- Honorable mentions: Star Trek Beyond, Deadpool, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
- Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed. I love this book SO MUCH that I contemplated buying every woman in my life a copy until I realized how much that would cost me. It is truly a must-read though.
- Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. Get ready to cry. That’s all I can say about this brave memoir.
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I loooove a good thriller and this one is really gripping. I haven’t had a chance to see the movie yet but the book was really difficult to put down.
- I thought it was just me (But it isn’t) by Brene Brown. For anyone dealing with shame. I need to re-read this every few months.
- Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. For anyone who cares about inclusion and feminism. She’s a great writer and makes you think about things in a new way.
- Ingrid Nilsen-Beauty, fashion, feminism, humanism. She’s a very introspective and wise young woman who has a lot to say.
- Estee Lalonde-Beauty, lifestyle, and a total carefree attitude that is really addictive. She genuinely doesn’t seem to gaf what people think about her, which is refreshing.
- Claire Marshall-A total badass beauty and fashion vlogger who is my age and is a total cat lady. I love her.
- Niomi Smart-Vegan cookbook author, beauty, fitness, health, and is a general delight to watch. Her accent is also lovely.
- Hello October-Beauty, fashion, and while she tends to like higher end products, she has a very down to earth feel.
Podcasts: Read my post on my top 5 podcasts to see which ones I chose!
*Keep in mind these are things that I was able to consume in 2016 but there are so many more things that I never got a chance to see, hear, or read!