2017 FAVORITES: Non-Beauty

by - January 11, 2018

I spend a LOT of time talking about my favorite beauty products on this blog, but I spend significantly less time talking about my favorite things in other categories. When I sat down and started thing about what to list in my favorite non-beauty related stuff of the year, I ultimately decided to keep it light with mostly easy going favorite things. That said, the last thing in this list is probably my favorite thing about 2017 and I hope you'll bear with me as I go into a little bit of detail on how I feel about it, as it's something I've been wanting to write for a while. Or, if you're interested in keeping it light, you can just stop at the fun pop culture and snacks stuff!

Keep reading to see what I loved this year that I didn't put on my face or my nails!


I have to admit... I have trouble keeping up with new movies that have been released. In 2018, I'm absolutely determined to actually go through with my annual desire to watch all of the movies nominated for Best Picture Oscars, but that's one goal I have literally never achieved thus far. In 2017, though, my favorite movies were all pretty different from each other, but as I write this I realize that they all appeal to something above and beyond simple entertainment for me personally.

Wonder Woman, for me, definitely stood out as my favorite fun movie - because I felt like it had a good balance of story, execution, and a powerful woman message that didn't knock you over the head. The things that were ridiculous to Diana are often things that are ridiculous to me, and I loved that she was capable, principled, and determined to her goal. I don't necessarily agree that this was a "feminist" film, but I think that the way it was presented and the characteristics that we're told to value in Diana make it a film that I think a lot of feminists will appreciate. 

Get Out was a movie that, for me, was just absolutely incredible in the way that it was executed. Again, there was a balance between story, execution, and a deeper examination of racial issues that weren't used like a blunt object. It made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, on edge, and scared in that way that had me clenching my fists and pulling back from yelling the title of the movie at the screen, but without using outright violence or gore. Amazing storytelling from Jordan Peele and I highly recommend.

Finally, a documentary that I saw this year that really impressed me was Losing Our Religion, which looks at members of the clergy who lose their faith and begin to identify as athiests. It was an interesting exploration of themes of faith, community, and the consequences of something that I personally hadn't ever really considered before. I feel like it was presented in a way that wasn't necessarily anti-religion, but did really highlight the way that people whose community is really based in their church are treated when their belief system no longer matches those people. It was fascinating and well put together.


TV is a bit of a strange category for me. Like so many people in my generation, I don't actually subscribe to cable and tend to use streaming services and box sets to binge watch TV shows rather than watching every week like we all used to.

Big Little Lies was a TV show that I wasn't really sure what to expect from - and one that completely blew me away. I was really impressed this past weekend when it was so highly awarded at the Golden Globes, because I truly feel that it was deserved. The stories of shame and the ways that we hide some of the darker, more complicated parts of our lives from people really struck a chord with me. I really thought that the intricacy of the plot, the performances of all of the actors, and the overall theme were brilliantly woven together to create something really special.

I have to admit... I only got into Game Of Thrones in the past year - and, like everyone else it seems, I definitely got really into it. I had watched the first season back when it initially aired, but I tend to have trouble keep up with shows when I have to wait between seasons so I never picked back up with it. I don't even really have to say anything about this show, do I? It's just so damn good and I'm dying to see how it ends. 

Finally, on the far side of SUPER WEIRD, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency took me by surprise this year - and I'm super excited to tear into Season 2 and get back into the weirdness of it. This show is absolutely unlike anything I've ever seen before, both in the story itself and also in how it's told. I don't think I had any idea what I was in for when I started watching it - but me and my Netflix account got really close as I hammered through the first season in a couple of days. Make no mistake, this show is straight up weird... but it's also just so damn good.


2017 was definitely the year of podcasts for me. I think it's because I had a really strange thing this past year where I genuinely didn't like music. I can't really explain it, but there were huge stretches of time when I didn't want to listen to music at all and I had to find something else to fill the silence on my drives to work and when getting ready in the morning. Enter podcasts!

The ...These Are Their Stories Law & Order Podcast is one that I tried out on a whim, having been a long-time, somewhat-reluctant fan of the L&O franchises. The thing that I love about this podcast is that the husband and wife team accompanied by weekly guests do a really good job of dissecting the ridiculousness of the show, especially in the later seasons, but also seem to genuinely be fans. The tone of it, for me, is what really sells it. I also really like that they delve into the ripped-from-the-headlines true crime stories that inspire the show, many of which I had no idea about prior to listening to the podcast. If you're a Law & Order fan, this could definitely be something that you'd be into. 

I have to say... I'm a pretty big fan of Chris D'Elia's stand up, but the utter ridiculous, stream of consciousness style of his Congratulations Podcast is my favorite way to listen to him. Generally it's pretty silly and I often find myself laughing out loud when he does things like spend 10 minutes talking about a pair of pants that he bought, but then he'll make cultural observations that are framed in a way that's comedic but are also insightful in a way that makes me thing. Honestly, he's just funny and I'm a big fan of his podcast - and definitely can't wait to see him live for the first time next month when he comes here to Winnipeg! 

Finally, and I realize that I'm fudging the non-beauty thing a little bit by including this, is the Emma Guns Podcast. I actually discovered this because I was looking for more of Caroline Hirons talking about skin care and discovered this great podcast filled with people who have strong, well informed opinions and knowledge about skin care and beauty in general and I was hooked. I really like Emma's voice and her way of talking with people about beauty and I find that this is a really enjoyable source of information that I personally really appreciate.

Because I absolutely love an honorable mention, I also really love true crime postcasts like Casefile and Canadian True Crime, as well as the now-seemingly-defunct trivia podcast Good Job Brain.


I went back and forth on whether to include this... but then I decided that I am obsessed enough with these that I thought they deserved a mention. I think it's important to make healthy choices... but that's with the caveat that I believe the occasional indulgent choice is also healthy, if not for your body necessarily than definitely for your mind. This isn't necessarily evidence based, so please forgive me, but I do think that occasionally indulging in something that doesn't pack much by way or nutrition but is delicious is a good thing - everything in moderation. /healthy choices disclaimer.

Holiday hot drinks are definitely taking the crown here - which could be due to the fact that the holidays just passed or just because the holidays are the most delicious time of the year. The most surprising drink for me this year was the Starbucks Chestnut Praline Chai Latte, which literally tastes like you're eating a cookie. Not even joking, my response when I first tried this was to say out loud to my best friend, "This is 100% a cookie." And a really, really delicious one. I've got my fingers crossed that this will be on the Starbucks holiday menu next year... but for now you might still be able to find it at locations that haven't yet run out of Chestnut Praline syrup - and it's worth a try if you can still get it. Seriously. 100% a cookie!

Next is actually my favorite holiday drink that bookended 2017 for me - DAVIDsTEA Santa's Secret Eggnog Lattes. I actually tried this first time in store when they were serving egg nog lattes around the holidays. The girl working there suggested I try it with Santa's Secret, so I did and I fell in love. This most recent holiday season, I've gone through about 150g of Santa's Secret loose tea making them at home and the amount of egg nog I consumed was the bulk of my holiday indulgence. This is just sweet, delicious, and has all of the smells and tastes that make me think of Christmas. Mmmm. Is it next Christmas yet?

Finally, not on the holiday list is the Kettle Brand Korean BBQ Potato Chips, which I discovered over the summer and have indulged in a few times since then - and currently have an enticing bag of in my pantry. I've been really into Korean food this year, which you'll see below, and to me these chips really capture for me the flavours of a mixture of bulgogi and a hint of kimchi, and I'm in love with them. They have great depth of flavour and a manageable amount of spice, which is where I like my Korean food to live personally.


I like to cook, I really do, but I admittedly don't end up finding a lot of recipes that I end up making more than once or twice. It was in thinking about this that I decided to include my favorite recipes of the year. Unfortunately, I don't currently have links to 2 out of the 3 favorites, but if you're interested in seeing posts about these specific recipes I'd be more than happy to feature them in upcoming posts, so let me know in the comments if that's something you'd be interested in seeing here on the blog! One nice thing about all of these recipes is that I think they're really easily adaptable for vegetarian or vegan diets, because it's quite easy to leave out the meat and put them together without animal based ingredients.

Like I said above, I've been really into Korean food lately and one of my favorite recipes to make when I want something packed fool of healthy vegetables that's really going to fill me up, I love to make Bibimbap, which is a Korean mixed rice dish. This is actually the one dish on this list that I have the recipe for, so if you want to try it out, I give high marks to this one from My Korean Kitchen. I personally like to make this with marinated, thinly sliced beef, but I've made it with shrimp and it's really delicious that way as well. Another nice thing about this recipe is that it's easy to make it to your taste, because you can basically throw in any veggies that you like and mix them with the sauce for your perfect meal. Mmm. 

Next is actually one of my most cooked recipes because it's my boyfriend's favorite and he really loves that I make a huge pot and he has lots of leftovers for lunches. We grew cabbage in our garden this summer, so we had A LOT of it to use up, so I made a heck of a lot of Cabbage Roll Soup in 2017. I actually tried to find the original recipe that I got online for this dish, but I couldn't manage to find it. The one I use utilizes paprika and dill weed and is really delicious and flavourful without being too heavy. I really like to have cabbage in my diet because it's really, really nutritious, and this soup is just packed with it.

Finally, a recipe that I actually got from a friend of mine, who taught me how to make it 100% from scratch, is Thai Panang Curry. I generally like to make this with seafood, using either shrimp or a firm white fish, and I pack it full of veggies. The nice thing, for me, is that if you make the paste yourself you can really control the heat level and make it to your taste, but no matter how much spice is in it, it has a lot of flavour and feels like a really rich comfort food because of the coconut milk base.


2017 started with the Women's Marches all over the world and wrapped up with the height of the #MeToo movement that finally saw the scope and normalization of sexual harassment and assault that most women live with illuminated in a way that was difficult to brush off. Women are standing up, standing together, and calling for equal treatment and respect. I can proudly say that I've identified as a feminist for my entire adult life and I'm constantly trying to learn more about the experiences of women whose race, socioeconomic class, and gender and sexual identities present circumstances that I've never experienced before as a straight, white woman. I feel like the conversation is changing, the voices of feminism are becoming more diverse, and the complexities of what it will take to see true equality in our society are starting to be more acknowledged. And it makes me feel proud. 

I feel proud of myself, for consistently challenging the voices of people in my own life who are dismissive or insist that inequality doesn't exist. I feel proud of the survivors of rape and sexual assault in my own life, who have moved forward and been able to move forward with their lives and tell their stories. I feel proud of women that I don't even know for their bravery and perseverance in ensuring that their voices are heard, their stories are listened to, and that the fight and healing that they've had to face personally serves a greater good. And I feel hopeful. I think 2017 started out with fear as a misogynist whose casual admission of committing and getting away with sexual assault somehow didn't disqualify him from taking the highest office in the most powerful country in the world was sworn in. But as the year progressed, we saw more and more women standing up and sharing their truth in hopes of effecting real change. 

I want to see, in my lifetime, a significant change. I want to be able to live in a world where gender, race, sexual identity, gender identity, and socioeconomic class doesn't dictate who a person gets to be in the world, where there's no glass ceiling and where safety and respect are things that are just a given. With more and more individuals and communities speaking out now, demanding change, I really hope that we see that real change that we've been waiting for. 

By far my favorite thing about 2017 is seeing the volume turned up on the experiences of women as more and more people share and more and more people are forced to listen and learn, myself included. 

And so ends my 2017 Favorites... Now it's time to get to the business of 2018!

Thank you so much for reading all of my 2017 favorites posts and I hope that you'll all stick around for what's coming in the next year!

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