Best movies of 2016 to watch this awards season

manchester-by-the-sea-new-poster

Let the pre-Oscars prep begin! It’s my favorite time of year…the Golden Globes were this Sunday and the Academy Awards return the end of February.

It was looking to be a dismal year in film,  but Hollywood finally came through in the last few months. Here are my top picks from 2016 that I’ll be cheering on on this awards season!

Best movies of the year

I can’t reiterate enough how much Manchester by the Sea blew me away and stuck with me for a long time. Be prepared to be “crushingly sad” but impressed with the intricate, subtle performances and story line. If Casey Affleck doesn’t win Best Actor…

  1. Manchester by the Sea
  2. Hell or High Water
  3. La La Land
  4. Hello My Name is Doris
  5. Arrival

Honorary mentions go to these surprisingly solid, enjoyable movies with strong casts:

What’s are your favorite movies from 2016?

best-2016-movies

Save

Save

Reading lists, rejoice, for the best books of 2016

finding-tiffanys-best-books-of-the-year-nightstand

It seems like everyone is either looking back or looking ahead right now, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate my favorite books and movies from the last year. I highly recommend adding all of the following to your 2017 or winter reading list.

I owe all my favorite reads this year to one thing – the library. It’s like this novel (ha) concept where books are completely free!

But seriously, I can’t believe I waited so long to stop buying every single book and revisit my childhood love of the library. Now I get ebooks right on my Nook and audiobooks through the Overdrive phone app, then buy my favorites for a more permanent addition to my collection.

Best books of the year:

finding-tiffanys-best-books-of-the-year

  1. Trouble is a Friend of Mine, and Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly – Veronica Mars meets Where’d You Go Bernadette. Enough said.
  2. Legend series by Marie Lu – Everything you loved about Divergent story and the Hunger Games characters, but so SO much better. NOTE: Read the ebook versions. The print version has an incredibly annoying font treatment to differentiate the point of views.
  3. Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith – JK Rowling returns with the world-building detail of Harry Potter + the sarcastic investigating of Sherlock Holmes + the will-they-won’t-they of Suits’ Donna and Harvey. Worth the long read.
  4. The Duff by Kody Keplinger – After reading and then promptly rereading, I thought “I wish someone would make a movie of this While I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, too, it bears absolutely no resemblance to the book.
  5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – I tried to figure out the mystery and talked-about twist the whole time and was still completely surprised. Haunting.

Honorary mentions go to these light yet poignant “beach reads” about worthwhile complicated relationships:

Stay tuned for my “Best of” movies edition next week!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Hello, it’s your immune system

wellness tricks

Earlier this year, my immune system forced a confrontation. Since being forced to slow down and make time for things like, oh, eating, I hopped right online and pulled the trigger on some items waiting around in my shopping cart…for a year. You may not have Shingles (because you’re not, like, 27 going on 60), but these three things are all-around useful for getting and staying healthy.

Garlic. Raw garlic has natural antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, so I put about 5 cloves in quinoa. My husband loved me right about then. Maybe more than when I made him put hydrocortisone on my shingles, though – HA! Word of caution: it is possible (although difficult) to overdose on garlic. Really. I accidentally made myself sick after an overenthusiastic garlic binge during my first inflammation experience. I don’t know if that tidbit is laughably sad, helpful or both?

On to Vitamin D. Definitely do your research on this one. When I did, I found out that some supplements use D2 or ergocalciferol, which can be toxic in large amounts and even apparently alter your body tissues. What you want for immune system support is D3 or cholecalciferol. Deliciously Organic goes into all of the details, so check it out! I bought this liquid Vitamin D3 supplement, because it’s potent (only one drop a day vs. 3-5) and doesn’t contain any unnatural or allergy-inducing additives like so many other brands.

Ashwagandha. Where to start? The flavor might not be all that (let’s just say the name means “the smell of a horse” for a reason), but the benefits are many. People swear by this Ayurvedic herb for reducing stress. It also helps regulate your blood sugar and immune system, provides antioxidants and is an anti-inflammatory. So far, I simply put one drop in my pressed juices…I hear the powder version could taste good in water or your choice of milk/alternative, too.

What was the best part of your day?

Intentional Conversation Finding Tiffanys Blog

“How are you?”

“Good. Busy. How are you?”

It’s an obligatory cycle.

But how often are we really “good” when we say that? How often is “busy” even an accurate reflection of our lives? Does posing the question, usually as we walk past someone, really communicate interest or value? Do we really want to know or give a real answer in the first place?

I find myself both frustrated and conditioned for this automatic exchange, these catchall phrases that don’t seem to add depth to our conversations and relationships…with others or ourselves.

Which is why I loved this blog post by Be More With Less:

Let’s stop telling each other how busy we are. That conversation isn’t helping us connect, or become less busy. Talking about busyness makes me feel busy, even when I’m not. Instead of “how are you?” I am going to ask people, “What was the best part of your day?” or “Who or what made you smile today?” or “What will you remember about this week?”

I can’t wait to add these questions to my daily life. To make time to really listen to the answers. To assume someone wants to hear mine.

Check out Courtney’s full post here for more good stuff about pushing back on busyness and living intentionally.

My definitive guide to movies from 2014

obvious child and disappearance of eleanor rigby

Another year of movies has come and gone. My husband refers to the Oscars as my Super Bowl, and I can only take that as a compliment as I clap and toast winners with champagne alone from my couch. I might even maybe tear up a little for some winners. This behavior is in no way related to my champagne consumption, of course.

Aside from loving any time we celebrate people who do what they do well, the movie business is hard and nuanced work. And since after the Oscars comes conversations about what should have won and what people should see or not see, I’ve decided to list all my most notable movies of the year. If you didn’t like them, then you’re wrong. Just kidding.

Mostly.

I’ve also thrown in my least favorite movies (garnering strong reactions like, “This was a complete waste of time,” and “Do we have to finish this?”),  great movies I saw in 2014 from previous years, and ones still on my watch list. You might notice a few key players this year aren’t listed…mostly this means I’m glad I saw them, but I wouldn’t re-watch and just wasn’t blown away.

Best:

whiplash-poster

  1. Whiplash
  2. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
  3. Birdman
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. Obvious Child
  6. Bad Words
  7. Palo Alto
  8. They Came Together
  9. Edge of Tomorrow

 Worst:

joe-movie-poster

  1. Joe
  2. Out of the Furnace
  3. This is Where I Leave You
  4. Non-Stop

Prior Year Goodness:

Frances Ha_Poster

  1. Frances Ha
  2. Beginners
  3. Your Sister’s Sister

Still On My List:

rudderless_xlg

  • Rudderless
  • Still Alice
  • Cake
  • Girl on a Bicycle
  • About Alex
  • Ida

Do you agree, disagree or have other recommendations? I’d love to hear them!

Currently listening: Little May

Little May - Band

When it comes to music, I’m one of those ‘I like it so I listen to it non-stop’ people. And for the past month or so, Little May’s EP has been on back-to-back rotation. At first I was like, This is a great subtle soundtrack for an introspective January!  Then when Texas decided it was a good time to throw in some 65 degree days (people are literally drinking frozen margaritas on outdoor patios), I thought, What great sunny-breezy-perfect-day music!

Their song ‘Hide’ sucked me in, but my current favorite is ‘Bones.’

Ring in the new season

nordstrom august fall 2014 catalog
photo: Nordstrom

September in Texas is hardly sweater weather, but I can’t help noticing the increasingly not-so-subtle shift on Pinterest from sundresses and bright-colored patterns to a rich fall palette of cozy sweaters and boots.

One look that is getting big for fall and has been growing on me in a big way is rings. I’ve never been one much for rings even before my nickel allergy diagnosis, but my wedding & engagement rings were a catalyst to reconsider. Like the effect of fresh nail polish, they make everything my hands do that much more fun, pretty and I’m pretty sure, poised (one can only hope). And bonus, they last much longer.

I’d like to reserve my left hand for wedding rings only, but my right hand deserves some fun, too….right? So an hour at Forever21 and a few bruised knuckles later, I am the proud owner of a few cuff and upper finger rings. If you have any questions about ring styles and sizes, my experience trying on every single ring Forever21 carries can probably help you out.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? My super crafty sister had a great idea. She bought two sizes of the same ring and wore them at different parts of the same finger. It was a perfect replica of the stacked ring / finger cuff look!

Some ring stacking inspiration:

Photo: Etsy / DurangoDreamDesigns
Photo: Etsy / DurangoDreamDesigns
Photo: Catbird / Moda & Estilo
Photo: Catbird / Moda & Estilo

And my all-time favorite:

Photo: Marie Claire
Photo: Marie Claire

A little book review or two

A few weeks ago I attended a Social Media Club of Dallas meeting in which a local content marketing expert Jerod Morris encouraged the audience to get out there and watch TV marathons, blog, and read. Generate ideas, get the creative juices flowing and be inspired. I took this to heart and made significant efforts to read more, this includes the design blogs I love so much, fashion bloggers to idolize, advertising and marketing articles and trying to keep up with day to day news and events (oh, I also treat myself to many a TV marathon on Netflix..for ya know, research purposes…). As a result, an amazing thing happened!

For us book nerds, there are few things greater than finding a story that you simply can’t put down. The kind that you read at traffic stops and make you consider canceling on happy hour for an even happier hour at home in bed turning the pages. They keep you up late and are quite time consuming, but you love them.

Well, I was fortunate enough to have two of those back to back. IT’S A MIRACLE.

karrlitd

The first was Lit, a memoir by Mary Karr. The story line follows her starting as a post high school grad drifter to her struggles with alcoholism to her marriage to her first child and how she got (and continues to get) through all of it. The story line itself was great and took an unexpected turn into her struggles with faith (unexpected because I didn’t read what the book was about before I read it) and how it eventually pulls her out of a darkness. Mary Karr wields words like nobody’s business. A poet at heart, her sentences grab you. They are so powerful, so beautiful. My mom had recommended the book to me, and I would often call her and read a line and just be so taken back by its power. Okay, so that’s Lit. Read it.

crown_121412_gonegirl_banner

The next is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. A book recommended to me by a friend. She was so determined to get me to read it, she immediately mailed me her copy straight from NYC once she finished. Like Lit, I didn’t read what the book was about before I started. OH MY GOD. Sooo good!! There’s very little I can say about the book without giving anything away. But let’s just say the twists and turns are incredible and that this was definitely one I read at stoplights. It’s basically about a wife that goes missing and her husband is left to face the police and the public… that’s about all I can say. That was a super vague review, but just know that you’ll love it.

Now I am on to Looking for Alaska by John Green (yes, author of The Fault in Our Stars). A brief summary:

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

I started it just the other day and am loving it so far! What to read next though…

Funny is an understatement

I really tried.

Today’s Blog Everyday in July prompt has to do with funny things on Pinterest. But everyone’s pinning humor must have been at an all time low around 6:30 p.m. on a Friday, because after fifteen whole minutes, all I could find to crack a smile at was this:

friends still joey adams apple
Photo from Katelyn Annyce

However, this is a perfect opportunity to share my latest read, and the most hilarious, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.

lets-pretend-this-never-happened-cover

It’s been years since I’ve laughed so hard I cried, so the fact that I’ve cried from laughing during this book more than once is really a testament to The Bloggess. The book dedication sets the stage quite nicely:

let's pretend this never happened dedication - buzzfeed
Photo from Buzzfeed

Thanks to this book’s combination of completely absurd and inappropriate situations + descriptive story-telling, I’ve literally had to stop reading because I hurt from laughing so hard.

I highly recommend you read it this summer, or how about right now? I’d love to know what you think!

 

Allieology

You’re so punny

I loooove to laugh. And it’s pretty easy to make me do so. Give me a good (or bad) pun or a corny joke and I’ll be laughing in tears in under 30 seconds. I take ROFL to the next level. In fact, there is video of me trying my very best to read a dumb joke and not being able get through it. I mean they’re just so clever. You can also follow @omgthatspunny for daily doses of chuckles.

Enjoy and TGIF! These next few weekends will  be busy busy, so this weekend I’m looking forward to a weekend of relaxation and SLEEP. Lots and lots of sleep (I hope).

FT-DadJokes1 FT-Animal4 FT-Animal3 FT-Animal2 FT-Animal1 FT-DadJokes2

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO THIS TO SOMEONE!
I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO THIS TO SOMEONE!

Allieology