Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Laura's Favorite Things 2015

Last year, I put together a collection of my favorite things as a year-end round up/belated gift guide. I'm trying to get this one out before 2016, and maybe it will give you some ideas for how to spend your gift cards from the holidays.

Jane the Virgin
Jane the Virgin is fantastic. The premise - Jane is accidentally artificially inseminated during what she expected to be a pap smear - is solid, but the characters are what make the show irresistible. Even the most over-the-top, such as telenovela star Rogelio De La Vega, are grounded in believable emotions and motivations. The writers manage to balance character growth against telenovela-style dramatics (drug lords! kidnapping! mistaken identities! long lost parents! murder!). Even the narrator adds to the show's charms. Jane the Virgin has me considering trying to learn Spanish this year. I highly recommend it.



Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
Ferris's novel charts the decline of a Chicago advertising agency during the recession. The story follows the mundane and bizarre aspects of working in an office. The story is told in the first person plural, capturing the collective identity of a company. (Instead of a usual book page, Hachette has a detailed interactive website dedicated to the book. Definitely worth checking out once you've read it!)

I also clearly have a thing for gold metallic cards.
waste not paper
It seems like every set of note cards that I love this year has been made by waste not paper, an environmentally-friendly company based in Chicago. The designs are bright and clean, and the cards are reasonably priced. As someone who loves sending cards, these are now my go-to brand. I've found them in most card shops around Chicago and Ann Arbor.

Noosa Yoghurt
They had me at strawberry rhubarb. This yogurt is more of a splurge, but is incredibly creamy and flavorful. Whenever it's on sale, I grab the coconut and strawberry rhubarb flavors as a treat, and then look forward to my lunch all morning (if the container even makes it past breakfast at my desk).

Om on the Range Yoga
Okay, so one of my goals for 2016 is to go to yoga more than once per calendar year, so take this as you will. I went with a friend to this studio in Ravenswood and tried hot yoga for the first time and loved it. Going back on my own was great as well, and I felt comfortable despite my limited experience. The teachers were excellent, as were the candlelight sessions at the end of the week. This was one of my favorite things, even though I never got in a good habit of attending classes regularly.

The Toast
I started reading Nicole Cliffe's link roundups on the train in the mornings and got hooked on the site. The Toast covers a range of topics, from serious to hilarious. I find myself emailing friends articles almost daily. The Toast is less of a "thing" for a gift guide and more a recommendation that you should be reading it. 

John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme
JFSP is a sketch show on BBC Radio 4. Yes, radio. Each half-hour episode cleverly uses its format to make unexpected and very British jokes. The cast is about to record the fifth series, and I can't wait. It's made my walk to work in the morning much more entertaining.

What were some of your favorite things from the past year?

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