I’m so late to play this favorites game, but better late than never! Here are my favorite things of 2016!
Podcast: Smart Podcast Trashy Books
Book: Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
I love me a good historic romance novel, but it can be frustrating to never experience a heroine who looks like me. But then I discovered Beverly Jenkins, and my world changed. Forbidden somehow manages to balance being high action and episodic and be filled with so much tension (I liked it so much I reviewed it right after I read it). And like all Jenkins novels and unlike many historic romances, you get a bit of academia in there as well. And that cover.
YouTube Channel: My Green Closet
Verena Erin’s YouTube Channel has changed my life. After watching the documentary The True Cost, I dove into serious research on how to go about buying “ethical fashion” and found My Green Closet. Verena Erin is so knowledgable, relatable, and a big proponent of the “do good” versus “do no harm” theory. She covers capsule wardrobes, thrifting, fair trade, recycling, upcycling, repairing, natural dyeing, you name it. She has also recently created a shopping guide on her website.
TV Show: Maryland Farm and Harvest
It’s so dorky, but I just love this show. I have learned so much about the farming process and am really growing to appreciate where my food comes from and how it gets there. You even get little history lessons about certain areas, which is pretty fun.
Cosmetic: Pacifica Dream Big Mascara
As someone with short, sparse lashes, this mascara is a dream. The wand’s default is for lengthening, but when you twist the top, it squishes smaller like an accordion and is for thickening. I find any excuse to demonstrate it to people every change I get.
Hair Product: Shea Moisture Monoi Oil
This oil is brilliant. My hair has never felt softer. I use it in conjunction with a cream based leave in before blow drying as well as after flat ironing. It also smells amazing. The only thing about it is that it does harden the same way coconut oil does, but I just take it in the shower with me so that it melts a little bit before I have to apply it to my hair when I get out.
Skin Care: Precious Skin Elixirs Sea Pearl Exfoliating Clay
If you have seen my instagram stories, you already know my love affair with this product. After using it, my acne and acne scars almost vanish. I use it at least once a month, but when I am in a show, I use it at the end of a show week to refresh my skin after all that heavy stage make-up. The full sized bottle is pretty pricey, but I buy the sample size from petit vour and can get a good 5-6 masks out of it, which is not bad for once a week usage.
Deodorant: Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant
Deodorant gets its own category separate from skin care because finding a natural one to work for one’s personal body chemistry is a pain in the tush. For years I searched for the perfect deodorant, and I finally did it. It lasts. It does not irritate my skin, it smells lovely, it comes in a stick form, and the packaging is biodegradable. *drops mic*
Self Care Product: Barefoot Yoga Hybrid Eco Mat
I had been using my Five Below mat for a few years and figured since I was getting more serious on yoga I could justify treating myself to a better quality mat. I couldn’t afford one that was made from the most sustainable materials like rubber or jute, so I went with this guy because it was at least still biodegradable (and it was on sale). I love that it is 1/6th of an inch as opposed to the standard 1/8th of an inch because my knees are pretty sensitive.
Small Business: Full Heat Soulutions
Full Heart Soulutions is a holistic store is close to me and contains many Fair Trade, handmade, local goods from clothes to jewelry to lotions to candles. They also host art galleries and share the building with a natural and cruelty-free (not sure about vegan though) waxing studio. And the employees are just delightful.
Lately hiking and walking various trails have just been my favorite things to do. I even made a real thing out of it for my past birthday. It’s a great way to catch up with friends or, at least in my area, learn some local history, all for free. It also brings me back to my Girl Scout years.
Califia Farms Almond Milk
I didn’t want to like this super expensive milk, but with all the hype, I caved. And it really is the best I’ve ever had. My sole grievance is that it only comes in plastic packaging.
Reusable Product: KeepCup
Not much to say about this guy. It’s cute, it’s portable, and everyone seems to love it when I bring it into a coffee shop.
And there you have it! What were your favorites of 2016?