As 2017 closes out, I’ve been grasping at memories from this whirlwind of a year. So much has happened in so many places with so many people that it’s been challenging to properly recall, but what’s for sure is that this year has been full of new discoveries. Below are some of my favorites, from beauty to apparel to places to media and more— there’s a bit of something for everyone down there.

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(Clockwise from left): Colourpop Super Shock Highlighter in Flexitarian, Colourpop No Filter Concealer in Light Neutral 15 and Light 20, Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk, Bite Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Molasses

Starting with beauty products, I’ve been frequently using many older products throughout the past year, especially while I was abroad. In addition to these, though, I’ve been using some new things more and more, including Colourpop’s No Filter Concealers. Fair warning, these do oxidize a few shades darker, as others have said, so I use a combination of Light Neutral 15 and Light 20 when I feel the need for some coverage beyond my bare face. For occasions that call for even more flawless coverage, I’ve been loving Too Faced’s Peach Perfect Matte Foundation for an even, non-drying matte complexion. Other face products I’ve been using nonstop are Glossier’s Cloud Paint in Dusk for a natural, rosy flush and Colourpop’s Super Shock Highlighter in Flexitarian for that iridescent glow. In terms of lip products, I have and use and love so many, but Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Molasses is easily my most used of the year. It’s the perfect nude for my skin tone – a rosy brown that looks lighter on the lips than in the tube – and the perfect formula, rich and creamy, not to mention that it smells incredible. Bite’s products have thus far never failed to impress me, and I’ll continue to obsess over the few that I have. I’ve also been loving many eyeshadows this year, but I’m planning a whole separate post for that!

I’ve also ventured out into some skin products since returning to the brutal winter of Boston. My skincare favorites for 2017 aren’t pictured, but they’re all equally incredible— Benton’s Aloe BHA Toner, which I’ve been using for nearly two years, is both hydrating and calming, perfect for my dry-prone skin. I’ve also noticed after getting older that my skin isn’t quite as quick to recover anymore, so Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion has been great at taking rapid care of any spots that arise. Finally, in the process of readjusting to the numbing, dry winds of New England winter, I decided to test out Cerave’s Moisturizing Cream, which has been great for keeping both my face and body happy and hydrated.

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Moving onto clothing, my all-time favorite purchase of 2017 is the Glamorous Petite Wrap Front Spotted Dress, which I got off ASOS’s website. I was looking for a dress with a microdot print like this for many months and held off on many purchases because they weren’t exactly what I pictured in my mind. This dress checks all the boxes— it fits perfectly, is cut at just the right spot, has lovely long sleeves, and is black rather than navy. Not that there’s anything wrong with navy, but the dream dress I had in my head for so long was black, and this fulfilled all my wishes. It’s sure to get many more wears in the future. As for tops, I’ve worn my Uniqlo ribbed mocknecks in burgundy and forest green so often that they’re currently in the wash and not in the picture. They’re warm, comfortable, true to size, tuck beautifully into jeans or skirts, and a serious wardrobe staple.

If you know me, you’ll know I’m wearing jeans most days, and although I love all the pairs I own, my 2017 favorite is the Levi’s Wedgie Jeans, a pair with a lovely straight cut, frayed hem, and the eponymous wedgie. The “wedgie” on these jeans helps to lift and shape, and I’ve never worn anything like them, though I suggest sizing down for the right fit. Their classic button fly also helps to keep everything in where it needs to be. In terms of outerwear (my favorite clothing category!), my most worn item this year is definitely my Zara bomber jacket, which I’ve worn pretty much all year. It’s absolutely perfect in fit and function, and I really appreciate the zip close pockets. Zara has really come through with their outerwear for me this year, since I’ve also been wearing their aviator jacket to death these last few months. It’s cozy and warm and just large enough to be a statement. You can see how I wore it on Christmas Eve here!

Lastly, my most worn shoes of 2017 have got to be my trusty ASOS Attribute Booties (out of stock, similar here), which are real leather and have a nice clackety small block heel (I really enjoy when my shoes make that clackety sound while walking). They really do go with everything, and I wore them through the summer all the way into the winter, and I’ll wear them until they give out.

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I don’t think this shirt is currently being sold, but Sasha does have other great merch which can be found online. I promise, everything she designs is interesting and tasteful and bold.

My favorite tee (pictured above) of this year has to be Sasha Velour’s exclusive merch, which I purchased with twin flame at Rupaul’s Drag Con 2017 in New York this summer. It’s graphic and eye-catching. I’m a huge fan of both Sasha and her merchandise.

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A few miscellaneous items before we move on to less material things— I picked up bullet journaling while in Singapore and haven’t stopped since. Bullet journaling is an incredible way to keep track of things in your life and monitor ongoing changes. I’ve always been a person who likes to track things and make lists and keep tabs on everything, and I’ve finally found a way to do all of that, creatively, in a single notebook. It’s absolutely contributed to both my healthier state of mind and more effective time management. I use mine to stay on top of tasks and responsibilities, note thoughts and ideas, and record memories and reflections. Some of the tools I like using are the Leuchtturm1917 dotted notebook (though I’ve used lined notebooks in the past and those work nearly as well) and pens from Muji and Tombow. Stay tuned, I might make an entire post about my bullet journaling habits.

I’ve also been trying to drink more water, and the Camelbak Eddy 1 Liter bottle has been fantastic for making marked improvements. I have the one in the color Limeade and it’s absolutely massive, though I can often sit and sip water while working and finish a liter without even noticing. The nozzle is genius; I have nothing else to say. In the drinks lane, I’ve also really been liking a cup of Twinings English Breakfast every morning with a bit of honey and soymilk. Coffee does things to me, so I try to stay away, and besides, tea is a bit more of a comforting ritual, I think. Putting on the kettle after getting up and sipping tea while watching or reading something is a really nice way to start the day.

Claire Foy and Matt Smith for Netflix’s The Crown. Isn’t Foy just breathtaking?

Over the past year, I’ve consumed a lot of media. I’ve especially started listening to more and more podcasts, and my favorites of 2017 include Two Dope Queens with Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson, a live comedy show, My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, a true crime podcast with incredible hosts, and This Podcast is Satire with Olivie Blake and Sally Avery, an advice show whose hosts feel like older sisters who have great chemistry and many opinions. I’ve also been watching a good amount of television (less shows than I used to, but of higher quality, I think), including The Crown (I found the pilot hard to get through but then devoured the following episodes), Community (my go-to feel-good chill rewatch show), Black Mirror (gripping satirical dramas), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (hilarious, unique comedy), and The Mindy Project (which, despite its ups and downs, held my heart with its series finale). I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so much of the media I’ve consumed this year has been female-driven or led. 2017 exposed a great deal of the world and left many people feeling pretty vulnerable, myself included. However, in the usual push and pull of humanity, I think that the events of the past year have opened opportunities for voices to rise up, to be heard, to protest the crushing, greedy hands that try to take away instead of give. It’s been really important for me this year as a woman to hear and watch the voices of other women and to explore the idea of our dissonance becoming unison.

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The largest, most incredible meal at Duckfat in Portland, Maine

This year, I’ve also traveled more than I ever have before, and it’s added fuel to my travel flame. After living abroad in Singapore and visiting Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, England, Providence, New York, and Portland, I’m always in the midst of planning new trips and researching great new spots to explore. If all goes well, traveling and of course discovering amazing food will continue to be a huge part of my new year, and I hope to share these experiences with the people I love. I’ve included some of my favorite spots to visit and to eat in some of the places I’ve been in 2017.

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The view from Mount Batur in Bali, Indonesia. I hope to be back!

Churchill War Rooms – London, England
Exmoor National Park – Porlock, England
Whitney Museum of American Art – New York, NY
Casco Bay Lines Mailboat Run – Portland, ME
Franklin Park Zoo – Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts – Boston, MA
Boston Opera House – Boston, MA
Mount Batur – Bali, Indonesia
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary – Phuket, Thailand
Eagle Rock – Boulder Creek, CA

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The most mindblowing, inventive, delicious lobster roll from Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine. Can you tell yet that we had a lot of good food in Portland?

Eventide Oyster Co. – Portland, ME
Duckfat – Portland, ME
Bayside American Cafe – Portland, ME
Carmelina’s – Boston, MA
Kaju Tofu House – Boston, MA
Gyro City – Boston, MA
India Quality – Boston, MA
The Pastaria & Market – Los Gatos, CA
Nakhon Kitchen – Singapore
Little Vietnam – Singapore

Despite its many sobering moments, there’s no denying that 2017 was good to me. I learned and felt and became more than I’d ever expected, and these closing months particularly have had important realizations and jolly conversations, and I’m ending my year with a heart so full, I can hardly stand it. I can only hope that the new year continues to be filled with laughter and love. Thank you to all those who have read this far, who have read at all, and who will continue to follow my journey through Cocoon. I cannot fully describe how grateful and excited I am for what is to come.

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