When I first got the idea to relaunch my blog, I knew I was going to write about my favorite things at the end of each month and year. And boy, what a year it turned out to be. 2016 was rocky from start to finish, but there were many people who got me through it, along with things that made the year just a tad less stressful.
THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP BY MARIE KONDO
In 2016, I focused on simplifying my life and buying only things that I truly need. For the most part, it went pretty well. However, I didn't take into account the unworn clothes, overflowing bookshelves, and mountains of other bits and bobs strategically stuffed into my closet. Enter the KonMari system, which emphasizes getting rid of items that no longer spark joy. So, was it life-changing? Did I lose 10 pounds or reconnect with a former lover just like some of Kondo’s clients did? Not exactly – but it sure felt refreshing after ruthlessly purging on belongings that I didn’t even know I had.
THE BULLET JOURNAL
You know what was life-changing? The bullet journal system. All the best productivity and tracking apps in the world could not stop me from using the closest scrap of paper for notes instead. Needless to say, those lists and memos created rather unsightly piles on my desk and bulletin board. So when I learned about Ryder Carroll’s bullet journal system towards the end of 2015, I gave in. After more research than I’d like to admit, bought a decent quality notebook to get started.
It wasn’t until the beginning of 2016 that I really got invested in shaping it into a system that works best for me, and it’s been evolving ever since. That’s the beauty of the bullet journal. At the bare minimum, it helps sort and keep track of tasks, events, and notes in an organized and timely manner. With a little extra effort, however, it becomes a flexible planning and tracking system that you can easily customize to fit your personal and professional needs. I can go on and on about the bullet journal, but for the sake of keeping an already long post short, I’ll save it for another time.
Nothing tricks you into believing that you’ve got your shit together like a solid morning routine. My mornings aren’t complete without perusing through the usual news sites and blogs while sipping on jasmine green tea. One blog that stood out to me last year was Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. Topics include implementing healthy habits, eliminating debt, meditation, and other areas of self-improvement and growth. While I may not agree with or relate to every post, I found Babauta's advice to be both sensible and insightful.
Make fun of bath bombs and over-enthusiastic employees all you want – it doesn’t change the fact that LUSH carries excellent skin care products. I’ve been a fan of their fresh face masks for many years, so I decided to branch out and try their other products. Were they any good, you ask? Well, lemme just say that I'm glad I have the Mask of Magnaminty to help clean my face because I can't stop touching it now. I know it's terrible for your skin, but I can’t help myself sometimes because it’s as soft and smooth as a baby’s bum.
My go-to products throughout 2016:
Love Lettuce: a scrubby exfoliating mask with skin-balancing lavender oil
Mask of Magnaminty: a cleansing and pore-minimizing mask that kinda burns…but in a good way
Imperialis: a calming and balancing moisturizer for most skin types
Tea Tree Water: a soothing toner that leaves skin feeling incredibly refreshed
Let the Good Times Roll: a gentle exfoliating cleanser that smells so good, you’d want to eat it (please don't – an employee told me, from her experience, that it tastes awful)
While these worked well for me and my normal skin, they may or may not be as effective for you. Definitely ask an associate to help you pick out the products that work best for your skin type and needs.
KIMI NO NA WA
2016 was the year I got back into watching anime, thanks to my brother and a few friends. Although there were plenty of great titles that came out last year, the Japanese animation that blew me away and tugged at the heartstrings was none other than Makoto Shinkai’s Kimi no Na Wa or Your Name. Without giving too much away, the story revolves around a small-town girl living in the countryside and a city boy in Tokyo who episodically switch bodies with one another. Through brilliant storytelling and stunning animation, the film beautifully captures how these two characters impact each other’s lives. Is it on your watch list, yet? Here's some good news – Kimi no Na Wa is set for a theatrical release in the United States and other parts of the world early this year!
Rather than listing a bunch of stationery and art supplies (there will be plenty of opportunities for that throughout the year), I wanted to focus on the five things that made a huge difference for me in 2016 and will probably continue to do so in 2017. Maybe they’ll grab a spot or two in your favorites this year, too!