The Thrill of It All by Sam Smith
It wasn’t until Sam Smith made his comeback with his latest album that I realized how much I missed his voice during his 3-year hiatus. I don’t need to tell y’all about his amazing, effortless vocals, but I will say this album is so beautifully composed and incredibly soulful. It’s great to put on if you’re in your feelings and just need to cry a little bit. If you haven’t heard it by now, first of all, where have you been? Second of all, give it a listen ASAP.
I’ve been wanting to see Kehlani live in concert for a while now, but didn’t get the chance to during her SweetSexySavage tour earlier this year. I was ready to drive out to LA to see her on her Tsunami Christmas tour this month, but luckily she added a show in my hometown of San Diego, which happened to be her first show ever in the city. It was such an incredible show; not only is she crazy talented, but she radiates such a positive energy that you can’t help but smile and be happy in her presence. I had to include her as a monthly favorite, but she’s an overall LIFE favorite.
I watched this Disney/Pixar film over Thanksgiving weekend and it has to be one of my favorite movies of the year. I won’t say too much about it, as I wrote a whole review about why I love this movie so much, but I will say this is a great movie to watch with family no matter your age or cultural background.
Hallmark Channel Christmas movies
Hallmark has had a constant loop of their original Christmas movies on since Thanksgiving and they were the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit through the month of December. Sure, they’re corny and predictable, and they’re not very diverse either, but they’re great feel-good movies that provide an alternative to watching The Grinch and Elf for the hundredth time (nothing wrong with that, though!).
Food & Drink
I recently visited Seattle for the first time (check out photos from my trip here) and of course I had to stop by the famous Pike Place Market. One of the top recommended spots there is MarketSpice and after trying out their tea, I know why. I was hesitant to buy their signature Cinnamon-Orange tea because I already had some Orange & Spice tea from another brand, but MarketSpice’s has such a unique, naturally sweet flavor that stands out from any tea I own. I should’ve bought more boxes while I had the chance, but I’ll definitely be placing an order on Amazon once I run out.
I love warm scents (YSL’s Black Opium is my all-time favorite), but I typically don’t wear them during the day because I prefer them as nighttime scents. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb is the perfect balance between day and night: it has key notes of jasmine and orange blossom that make it light and floral, but there are also notes of vanilla and praline that add some warmth. It’s one of the best selling fragrances on Sephora, so I highly recommend stopping by your local store to smell it for yourself.
I bought tons of Christmas gift for friends and family from Society6 — blankets, mugs, pouches, art prints, notebooks. Everyone loved their gifts because they were unique and unlike anything else they received. Their products are great quality and they ship pretty soon after orders are placed. If you’re looking for a gift for someone’s birthday or just because, I highly recommend checking out this site.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
A month or so ago, a friend of mine shared a post on Facebook that listed free online courses from a variety of institutions. I had never heard of MOOCs before and was so excited about the concept of free, accessible education, I ended up enrolling in about 6. Needless to say, I put way too much on my plate and had to un-enroll from a few courses. But as a college grad who’s taking a year off before continuing on to grad school, MOOCs are a great way to continue learning in my spare time. I’m about to finish a course on Justice, Mercy, and Mass Incarceration through Vanderbilt, which I highly recommend if you’re interested in learning more about the prison industrial complex and its consequences on our society, and I already have a list of courses lined up for the new year. If you want build your skillset or just learn something new in your free time, definitely check out MOOCs.