This post is a little late, but I decided to put together a list of my favourite things from 2014! I love putting together lists in general, and putting together a list of the best things over the last year is a fun way to re-visit the year!
House and Home
Jonathan Adler Whale Pitcher (Shopbop.com, sold out): A completely impulse purchase during Shopbop's 25% off F&F sale, but I am so happy I got it. It's mostly decorative, as I never have enough people over to actually need to use a pitcher for anything, but it also works as a flower vase (and it looks like my whale is projectile vomiting flowers)
Cat Toilet Brush Holder (Urban Outfitters, sold out): I saw this on sale for $10 on Urbanoutfitters.com this fall and had to have it. I am so happy looking at it whenever I go to the bathroom, and can't believe I lived my whole life with a non-cat-shaped toilet brush holder.
LLBean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheet Set in Evergreen (LLBean.com, sold out): I can't believe DH and I lived our entire lives without flannel sheets. These are so fricking unbelievably soft and cozy, I never want to get out of bed. I also hate sleeping in hotels now, because I miss these sheets so much. I will be sad when winter is over and we have to switch back to our summer sheets, but am so glad my life is complete now. Regarding the quality of the sheets themselves, they look a little "broken in" after a wash and dry, and the inside of my dryer is a little green now, but I don't care.
Iris Translucent Photo Cases: I read about these on a home organizing site and bought a whole bunch on Amazon. I love them for organizing small things like pens, stationary, and even foreign currency :) The snap mechanism isn't superb, but the plastic itself is very good quality. Only gripe is that they came with really hard to remove barcode labels on them!
KonMari Method (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo): You might have heard a bit about this book by now. Marie Kondo is a Japanese sensation, and her book really changed how I look at my belongings. The main takeaway is to only keep things that "spark joy" in your life, and realize when an item has fulfilled its role for you, so you can let it go and out of your life! If you're interested in downsizing your possessions, and as a side-effect, reducing clutter in your life, this is a great $10 read.
Persistent Favourites from 2012-2013 (Not pictured): Evercare Large Surface Adhesive roller, Piggledee lunchbag, Epson LW-400 Label Maker,
Togiharu Nickel Damascus Nakiri: I bought quite a few Japanese knives this year, and absolutely LOVE this Nakiri (vegetable knife). It is a pleasure to use, and stays sharp for a long time after I get it sharpened. Love love love!
The BoardSMITH Butcher Block Carolina Slab in Walnut: This was a huge splurge for me, and actually went up in price the week after I ordered it. It took over a month to arrive, but I think it is gorgeous. It's incredibly heavy (21 lbs), and I'm having a bit of a hard time keeping it from absorbing onion/garlic smells, but I think it's so enjoyable to chop on! I don't cut any raw meat on it.
Edlund Stainless Steel Tongs: These are really nice, high quality tongs. I liked them so much, I bought a second pair. They have a nice matte finish, and the edges of the tong part are not sharp. No rusting either! I run them through the dishwasher usually.
Anthropologie Dancing Elephants Apron (Sold Out): I've been very restrained when it came to ordering aprons from Anthropologie this year. I managed to only buy one, and it was thsi one with an adorable elephant print!
Persistent Favourites from 2012-2013 (Not pictured): Zojirushi rice cooker, OXO Fish Spatula, Vitamix 6300, Kitchenaid pasta rollers, Sil-pin rolling pin,
Apparel and Accessories
Demylee Izabella Skirt: I ordered this midi skirt blind from Jcrew and I'm so glad I did. It looks extremely flattering on (makes my waist look ultra tiny!) and I hope it will be a staple in my closet for years to come!
Club Monaco Cecilia Lace Seersucker Shorts: Probably the only shorts I've ever purchased and liked.
Jcrew Grid Dot Swimsuit (Sold Out): I had a hard time shopping for a new swimsuit, but was actually very pleased with this pattern from Jcrew. I purchased the rash guard, french top, and bikini bottom. The rashguard did a great job protecting my upper body while snorkeling on my honeymoon.
Yumi London Anchor Print Chambray Shirt Dress (sold out): I ordered this blind from an Hautelook sale. It's a little long in the torso on me, but I still love it because of all the cute details.
Morn Creations Typical Owl Ladies Backpack in Light Grey Wool Flannel: I saw this bag in Taipei on our honeymoon and regretted not buying it so much, I messaged the manufacturer in Hong Kong on Facebook and ordered it directly (for a better price too)! I am sooooo glad I got this bag. It is really well made and adorable. I think it was about $120 USD including shipping.
Warby Parker Clara Heirloom Gold with Copper Fade sunglasses: My first sunglasses that I love! I got them without a prescription, and I love that they have nose pads so they actually stay on my face. They might not be the most flattering shape for my face, but I really like them :)
Kate Spade Sedgewick Rainboots: I went on a madwoman hunt for rainboots this year, and finally found a pair that I like! These Kate Spade rainboots are pretty expensive (though I did see them go for 25% off during the fall F&F sales), and the "gold" piping along the bottom actually looks really cheap in person, but I love that they look slim and feel light and comfortable. I'm also happy that the ankle opening is fairly narrow, as my ankles are pretty skinny!
Mulberry Small Del Rey in Glossy Black Goat (Sold out online, but still available in other colours): I received this bag as my Christmas present from DH, but we shopped for it together. This is my second Mulberry bag (my first was from 2012 and made it to my favourites list that year too), and we bought it during Mulberry's pre-Christmas sale for 40% off. It's still an expensive bag, but the sale price makes it easier to swallow for me!
Mulberry Bow ID Purse Black Classic Nappa: I've been on the hunt for a small wallet for a long time, and I saw this style at Mulberry during their sale last year, but the one on sale was sold out, and the one that was not was over $500, so I passed on it. When I got the sale link this year, I was sad to see that this style wasn't anywhere on the website anymore, so I thought it had been discontinued. I was happy to find out at the B&M store that they still had this style in-stock, and it was on sale (although not 40% off). It was a less expensive leather than the $500 version from the year before, but I still snapped it up! So glad! It has 5 card slots, 1 ID slow, a bill compartment, and a tiny zip on the back for a few coins, which is perfect for me.
Mikimoto Akoya Cultured Pearl Clover Earrings in White Gold: I got these earrings for my wedding day, and have worn them many times since them. I just love them! The sales person who helped us at the store kept saying that they "show well", which I take was his way of saying they look nice even though they aren't the most expensive earrings they have!
Peanuts Tote bag: This is another freebie I got from a Japanese magazine. It's a small canvas tote bag with a nice lining. I think it's super cute and I'm not even a huge Peanuts fan to begin with!
Persistent Favourites from 2012-2013 (Not pictured): Club Monaco Ophelia Printed Silk Shirt in Escargot pattern, Anthropologie Laplace tee, Daughters of the Liberation Rain-Dotted Anorak, Mulberry Bryn in Oak Natural
Last Tango in Halifax: This BBC series is now one of my favourite shows - I love every single episode and every character. In a nutshell, it is about the relationship between Celia and Alan, two widowed 70-somethings who used to like each other in their childhood, but ultimately went on separate paths through life. The series follows both of their families, and the writing and acting are so good. I totally adore the northern UK accents as well.
Les Revenants: This French supernatural series is another incredible show. It is incredibly eerie and has an amazing music score. Apparently A&E has ordered an English-language adaptation, which is ridiculous to me. This show is already perfect.
(my collage is a bit misleading, these screenshots are from two different scenes!)
Hemlock Grove (Season 2): I'm probably the only person who actually liked this show on Netflix... but I think Season 2 improved on almost every aspect of Season 1. The overall writing and acting is not amazing, but I love Bill Skarsgard in it. The bromance between his character, Roman, and Peter is also just fantastic. My guilty pleasure of the year!
Mind of a Chef (Season 2): Season 1 was on my favourites list last year, and this second season featuring two chefs (Sean Brock and April Bloomfield) is just as good as the first. If you consider yourself a foodie, you must watch this series. I look forward to catching Season 3 on Netflix when it shows up!
Wives & Daughters: I went on a bit of a BBC Period Drama bender this year, and this is one of my favourite miniseries of the lot. Based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel of the same name, it's a fairly light-hearted story about Molly, the daughter of a country doctor, and her father's marriage to the most irritating step-mother, and a not-so-bad step-sister. Also, of course, it involves a love triangle! A really enjoyable watch; I was quite sad when I finished the last episode!
North & South: This 2004 BBC Period Drama is another adaptation of an Elizabeth Gaskell novel, and is much darker and more emotional story than Wives & Daughters. The main love interest, Mr Thornton (played by Richard Armitage) is so smouldering... getting steamier every episode. I originally tried watching this a couple years ago, but decided to give it another try after watching Wives & Daughters. The romance story in this, while a little concerning to me, is still amazing.
Peaky Blinders: Cillian Murphy is pretty fantastic in this series, which is highly stylized and very modern feeling. It is essentially a family gangster drama set in Birmingham, shortly after WW1. Season 2 is much better than Season 1, in my opinion.
Persistent Favourites from 2012-2013 (Not pictured): Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Orange is the New Black,
Anime and Manga
Tsuritama: I don't really know how to describe this anime. It's about high school friendship, fishing, aliens, and anxiety disorders. It is so strange. I quite liked the art style, and the music is very catchy. I watched it while needle felting the wedding favours, and really enjoyed the series.
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun: Hands down my favourite anime and manga discovery of the year. The manga is a 4 panel comedy about a high school girl, Sakura, who confesses her love to Nozaki-kun who turns out to be a shoujo manga artist. He enlists Sakura, as well as other students from their school, to help him develop his manga storylines and characters. The manga has me dying with laughter, and the anime adaptation incredibly is able to improve on the gags. Here's an example of one of the manga gags, and a few screenshots from the anime.
Real Clothes: Perhaps my second favourite manga discovery of the year, Real Clothes is about a plain-ish department store employee who gets transfered from the mattress department to the women's fashion department. She learns the trade and falls in love with fashion. I'll be really sad when the scanlations are finished.
Kokou no Hito: This is probably the most engaging and tense manga I've read. Both the plot and story telling style are at a higher level than many of the mangas I read for fun. This felt more like reading a novel to me. It's about a troubled and lonely young man who learns to love rock climbing, and later mountain climbing. He has issues trusting team members and prefers to climb alone, despite it being extremely dangerous. The story is based on a real life mountain climber, but I believe liberties were taken for the sake of the story. I binge read this over 2 or 3 nights. Really an incredible piece of work that I still think about from time to time. There is some mature content in this manga, and some parts can be disturbing!
Love So Life: On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, this shoujo manga is super light and feel-good. It's about an orphaned high school girl who babysits twin toddlers for a local (single) news anchor (the toddlers are his older brother's kids). The underlying romance between the main characters is a little squicky (due to the age difference), but nothing as actually happened so far. The twins are so cute in this manga though - this manga is worth reading for their cute expressions alone!
Piano no Mori: This is a fairly old manga, so the art style looks a bit dated. The story is about the son of a prostitute who is a piano prodigy. It's very different from "Your Lie in April" (which seems to be really popular). I'm not really sure why this draws me in so much, but I'm always eager to read the next chapter when it becomes available.
Ashita no Ousama: The art style in this manga also looks a bit older, but I loved the story. It's about a young girl who discovers a love of theatre - except her gift is directing, not acting. There's a romance angle (of course), but it takes mostly a backseat to her development as a director. I really enjoyed this one and was sad that it was completed!
Persistent Favourites from 2012-2013 (Not pictured): Yowamushi Pedal
Mancinni's Coal Oven Pizza: This is our local pizza place. I love it so hard. In the summer, we went once a week :D
Mango Shaved Ice: I had this a ton in Taiwan on our honeymoon. So good, I miss it!
Anago: Sea water eel sushi! I've had this quite a few times this past year, and I think it's incredibly delicious (way better than unagi, imo!)
Xiao Long Bao / Soup Dumplings: Of course, we ate a ton of these in Taiwan. So yummy.
Persistent Favourites from 2012-2013 (Not pictured): poutine, Alphonso mangoes, Pomi tomatoes
FileBrowser: We have a NAS (network attached storage), and this app lets me access it, which is pretty handy for transfer photos to and from my iPhone. I think it cost me $5 when I bought it, and it's worth every penny!
Instagram: I finally joined instagram and love it so much. I just wish you could swipe to view pictures instead of scrolling... and that you could edit posts after the fact (for typos).
Todoist: I use this app and the web interface to track my work projects. Even the free version is very good. If you have a lot of project based work, check it out!
Parcel: A simple, clean package tracking app. It costs $2/year for more than 3 packages tracked at a time, I think. It's got a clean and simple interface, as well as a web interface. If you get a lot of packages, this is a nice app to keep an eye on everything!
Pepperplate: I'm surprised this isn't on a prior favourites list! I use this to keep track of my favourite recipes and recipes I want to try. It has a great web interface as well. Overall very cool and handy app that gets a lot of use around here, especially during the holiday baking season!
Persistent Favourites from 2012-2013 (Not pictured): Netflix, MangaStorm, Songza, Wunderlist, Anylist, Crunchyroll
Fujifilm X-T1: I switched to a mirrorless camera system this year, and there's been no looking back! This camera body came out this year, and is such a pleasure to shoot with. We bought a bunch of lenses for it during the two rebate periods this year, but still ended up spending a lot. However, after having to use my old Nikon D90 setup to take this picture of the camera itself, I realized how many features I've grown to love on the Fujifilm!
Wedding Day: Kind of cliche, but I did get married in 2014 and it was a wonderful day. The 18 months of planning leading up to it were awful, awful, awful, but the week itself was wonderful!
Needlefelting: My crafting-obsession of 2014 was definitely needle felting. I decided to make my wedding favours and cake topper myself; although by the end of 40+ little needle felted toys, I haven't wanted to pick up the felting needles since!
Maldives Cocoa Island: The final leg of our honeymoon was in the Maldives at Cocoa Island by COMO. It was incredible. I can't write too much about it because it makes me depressed to think how far away I am right now, but here's a picture to show you how damn happy I was there.
Diving: DH talked me into getting our PADI Open Water Diver certification last year so we could go diving in the Maldives. I was scared shitless before the first training in a pool because I am a pretty poor swimmer, but now I love it so much and can't wait to go again. I've had multiple dreams where I'm diving now, and I'm always a bit sad when I wake up! Here's a picture of all the dive sites available near our resort in the Maldives -- we only got to go to three of them because we completed our training there!
Persistent Favourites from 2012-2013 (Not pictured): Eye-fi card, Stereo Receiver, Acuvue Trueye contacts
I had a great 2014 and am a little sad to see it go. But here's to hopefully an equally good 2015!