I watched a lot of television this year. Like, a lot. Like, probably way way more than I have ever watched in my entire life before. I have a tendency to watch tv when I’m in bad or weird emotional places or when my anxiety is really bad or basically all the time. I like tv better than movies partially because it just keeps going. I love the moviegoing experience and I think it can be one of the most genuinely fun and satisfying experiences of human life, but because we live in a place that’s two hours from a decent theater but have an awesome television, tv won out hardcore this year.
My rules from last year still apply and, like last year, these aren’t all new shows. What can I say, I love having a complete story to mainline and talk incessantly about. Or at least one that I know won’t get cancelled in the middle of its first season.*
5. The Carrie Diaries [amazon | netflix | hulu | the cw]
I hated Sex and the City. Like, a lot. I don’t like the narrow view of acceptable womanhood it offers or the way it handles queerness. I’m not a particularly fashionable person and I am too flat-footed to wear heels unless I’m just sitting down the entire time. I wasn’t at all interested in New York when it was airing and I thought the sex was boring and gratuitous. I’ve seen both movies in theaters — and enjoyed them enough, I’ve relaxed a lot as I’ve gotten older, to be honest — but it’s just never been a thing for me. I am not Sex and the City‘s target audience. Because of all this history with the canon, I didn’t think The Carrie Diaries would be for me either, but I was so, so wrong.
It’s true that I’m still not in their demo — I’m old! And uncool! — but the stories offered up by Carrie Bradshaw’s early years appeal to me on a lot of levels. I twitter about the show a lot because it’s a show that makes me feel good. It makes me remember what it was like to be young and learning and innately, simultaneously frightened and excited by everything at the same time. Honestly, that’s still how I feel most of the time, so maybe that’s why I like it so much. Young Carrie Bradshaw is a good person and even as she struggles to find her way and makes mistakes, she learns and grows and owns up to them. She’s smart and charismatic and gentle and naive in a way that’s never presented as mocking or cruel. I sometimes find it kind of impossible to understand how she grows up into the woman she does.
The people that surround her only make the show better. Walt and Mouse and Larissa and Maggie and Sebastian and West and, well, basically everyone. Season two also brought us the introduction of Samantha Jones who is great. Lindsey Gort’s got Kim Cattrall’s mannerisms and character and spunk down pat, even down to the inflections of her speech. I mean, it’s kind of unbelievable how good she is at embodying a character who has such a big history — well, future — already.
The thing I love most about The Carrie Diaries aside from all of the wonderful friendships and relationships that develop and change with each episode is that all of these characters are good people, not just Carrie. They care about each other, they support each other, and they don’t hurt each other intentionally. It’s maybe the one thing I ever liked about Sex and the City, that those women loved each other and put each other first because of it and you can see where that comes from in these early incarnations. Wonderful, really. Plus it’s got a bomb as hell soundtrack.
4. Brooklyn Nine-Nine [amazon | hulu | fox]
I wasn’t going to watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I wasn’t going to give Fox the opportunity to burn me with another mid-first season cancellation and I wasn’t even all that interested in it anyway. I’m not big on Andy Samberg and even though I love Andre Braugher, I thought his character would be the flat straight-man and he’d be wasted on it. But then people I like and trust kept talking about it on Twitter and I had kind of run out of anything else to watch — I’d just finished watching through all of Raising Hope and had kind of burned out on The X-Files — and all the eps were on Hulu and, well, I’m super glad it had already been picked up for a full season before I got hooked.
When you look at the elements of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on their own, it doesn’t seem like it’s really going to be anything interesting. Cop sitcom, hard-nosed straight-man captain, and a cast of varying levels of goofy, but somehow when it’s all put together it really, really works. I particularly love the friendship between hard-as-hell Diaz and overachieving Santiago and how Diaz basically had to point out that they’re friends and don’t have to be antagonistic or competitive. Braugher’s Captain is so, so much funnier than I expected. He plays his lines so straight and so emotionlessly that it sometimes veers into this weird, but great surreality that I love and then, you know, sometimes he throws himself into Peralta’s goofiness unexpectedly and it’s so pitch-perfect it just kills. Andy Samberg isn’t nearly as obnoxious as the pilot might suggest and Terry Crews is, well, he’s Terry Crews so he’s obviously amazing. My only complaint is that I think Chelsea Peretti is being wasted on an annoying, one-note character, but you can’t have everything and the show kind of needs her? It’s a foil-ish thing. Maybe.
This is also a cast of characters that care about each other — found families! — and try to be good people. Plus it’s funny, sometimes painfully so.
3. My Mad Fat Diary [e4]
First of all, I have to apologize because if you’re not in the UK, you can’t access this show. I would link you to the shady site where I watched it way back in February, but it was a site so shady that it was removed from the internet.
My Mad Fat Diary is absolutely the show that I wish had been on tv when I was a teenager. A smart, funny, engaging, honest show about a fat girl who is experiencing the real pains and issues that real young, fat women experience? It is, at times, so painful that I had to pause and put my head down on my desk and cry. This show understands what it is to be young and fat and scared and convinced of your worthlessness and those are hard, hard things to experience and particularly re-experience. But it’s also really life-affirming and positive at its heart. Rae’s life is hard and she is in a really hard place, but she is also surrounded by people who love her — even when they’re bad at it — who give her the support and the space to really figure shit out. She makes a lot of mistakes and there are times when it seems almost impossible for her to rebound from them, but she does and it’s wonderful.
Sharon Rooney is incredible, glittering amongst an equally stellar cast. I particularly love Ian Hart as Rae’s therapist who is dealing with his own strifes in the midst of Rae’s pain. Their connection and relationship is just super refreshing to see on television. The other kids in Rae’s group are also phenomenal. Well-drawn and complex characters of their own who often surprise and delight in unexpected ways. Also a killer soundtrack.
I won’t encourage or condone anything illegal, but you’re smart, capable people and if you can find this one, I promise it’ll be worth the effort. But maybe not incarceration.
2. The West Wing [amazon | netflix]
Aaron Sorkin is kind of a dick. You probably all know that, I mean, the whole internet knows it. He’s very, very bad at writing more than one type of woman. He often mines the same material from one show to the next and every episode of television he’s ever written drips with self-righteous smugness. That said, he writes shows that are compelling and engaging and enjoyable. I hate him for it.
I have sort of a weird Sorkin history. I watched Sports Night a long time ago, in 2005 or so? I watched Studio 60 when it aired on tv (It’s still in my top five favorite shows of all time and I think about it daily) and I liked The Newsroom from the jump as well. For whatever reason, I just never watched The West Wing. I didn’t really watch TV when it originally started airing — and I was 14, not exactly prime viewership for it — and when it popped up on Netflix I sort of shrugged and thought, “I’ll get there eventually.” Well, this year, I got there and I am so, so glad that I did. I started the show on August 7 and finished on September 17th and the only reason I didn’t watch it faster was because I tried to force myself to slow down because I didn’t want it to end.
There are too many good things to tell you about with The West Wing and there’s a good chance you’ve already watched it and know all of them, but what an incredibly satisfying and emotionally devastating experience. Nothing has ever made me cry harder than the season two finale of Veronica Mars — I literally sobbed so loudly that my mother came into my room from the other side of the house to make sure I was okay — but there are at least three episodes of The West Wing that came awfully close to dethroning it.
The characters are rich and interesting and complex — even the women, though it often feels that is the work of the incredible cast instead of their creator — and though the plots can sometimes be obvious, the character interactions and relationships make it all work. These people are coworkers and friends and family and watching those relationships grow is so, so special. I am particularly fond of the development of the relationship between Charlie and President Bartlet and how valuable it is to each of them. I also love the depth of friendship between Leo McGarry and President Bartlet and sometimes I just think about The Napkin and just get choked up. Also, I wish I was CJ Cregg. Or her best friend.
Watching The West Wing was like watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I know that doesn’t sound like a likely statement, but it really is. The delight of watching those two shows for the first time is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced media-wise and it’s something I’d pretty much give anything to get to do again. You can rewatch and you can love enthusiastically, but you can never have that unforgettable first-time again.
1. Breaking Bad [amazon | netflix]
I watched the first four and a half seasons of Breaking Bad in 124 hours. I watched the last half of the fifth season of Breaking Bad as it aired in marathon in the eight hours leading up to the premiere of the series finale. I watched all of Breaking Bad in 132 hours. No one should have that many emotions in that short of a period of time. I mean, really. I talked about watching all of Breaking Bad in 132 hours so much that someone drew me a crying Jesse Pinkman Emmy for my efforts.
Anyway, I could talk all day about how I didn’t want to watch Breaking Bad, but how I ended up deciding to do it because 1. I didn’t want to be spoiled in case I ever did decide to watch it and there was not going to be a chance in hell of avoiding spoilers, and 2. because I love a big television event. The Friends finale took place during my first year of college and I ditched classes and came home for the weekend to watch it with my parents. I’ve watched the finales of a bunch of shows just because they were Events and I knew it’d be fun and exciting on Twitter and stuff. I could talk for weeks about how much I loved it and what an incredibly well-done masterpiece of television it is and how satisfying it was and how I cried and cried (which is like, you know, one of my very favorite things about experiencing media) and how it was so worth 132 hours of agony to get to experience it with what felt like the rest of the world.
But you already watched it, didn’t you? And you know exactly how phenomenal it is. And you’ve probably read one million people talking about how good it is one million times over and you’re probably just like, “Yeah, yeah, we know, it’s great.” And I am truly happy to just be part of the chorus on this one. Thanks, Breaking Bad. It was a trip.
Previously: 2K12 | JAMZ | MOVIES | ALBUMS
*: RIP Ben & Kate. I’ll mourn you forever.
It’s time to talk about more music! Albums! And, like last year, I’m not, y’know, the ~hippest person when it comes to music, so this is just what I really loved and listened to. Truthiness before coolness.
||5. Miley Cyrus, Bangerz
Bangerz is a great pop album and hasn’t even started to wear out its welcome yet. It is straight-up loaded with danceable, singable, jammable jamz and I will 100% go to the mat defending it and Miley. I can’t excuse her appropriative behavior or the implied racism of it — no one should — but she’s young and learning and I will straight-up murder you if you talk about her “fall from grace” or whatever people are claiming this week. This album is so, so great and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Notable Jamz: “Love Money Party”, “#GETITRIGHT”, & “FU”
||4. Bastille, Bad Blood
Bad Blood is so, so good. It’s big and sweeping and tender and, like, magical. I listened to it on repeat for like, a month and a half straight and never got tired or bored. It’s an album that had great standalone tracks, but is most pleasurable when you hear the whole thing in order. I can’t remember the last time I felt that way about an album. It’s also got this great sort of orchestral, storytelling thing going on that I love, where I can imagine a whole bunch of people with large, important instruments backing up the band? I don’t know, the drumming just screams timpani.
Notable Jamz: “Bad Blood”, “Things We Lost in the Fire”, & “Icarus”
||3.Major Lazer, Free the Universe
We’ve all been jamming to Major Lazer for like, four years now, right? The first time my BFF heard Major Lazer, she was in my car and I had put it on a playlist specifically for her and she stopped dead in the middle of dancing and was like, “Who is this?” and for the first time ever in my life, I was cool. For about thirty seconds.
Anyway, Free the Universe is super solid. It doesn’t have quite as many standalone killers as Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do but it is still totally loaded with jamz. Let’s be real, any year that Major Lazer puts an album out is probably a year that it’s going to end up on my best of list.
Notable Jamz: “Jessica”, “Bubble Butt”, & “Jet Blue Jet”
||2. Rita Ora, Ora
Ora is g-l-o-r-i-o-u-s. There isn’t a single song on the album I don’t love, it works as a whole and as individual jamz. There are so many great danceable hits that I wish I was 13 and had a full-length mirror to perform in front of. I cannot even begin to count the number of times I’ve broken down crying to “Hello, Hi, Goodbye”. It’s just a phenomenally fun album. I only wish it were 100 songs longer.
Notable Jamz: “Young, Single, & Sexy”, Shine Ya Light”, “Hello, Hi, Goodbye”
1. Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady
I can’t talk about The Electric Lady or Janelle Monáe without just flipping out and losing my shit because I love her so much. I don’t think I’ve ever loved a musician with the veracity and respect awe with which I love and adore and worship Janelle Monáe. One of the most well-spoken, articulate, and smartest women I’ve ever heard speak and so, so incredibly talented I can’t process it. Goddess.
Uh, anyway, The Electric Lady is phenomenal. I l-o-v-e concept albums universally and I love music that tells a story and this album just does it all so well and looks and sounds cool as hell while it’s doing it. And as part of her larger concept? Killer. There are songs both aching and danceable and her voice just floors me. I can’t even explain the torrent of emotions I feel during “Primetime” or how many times I’ve turned into a sobbing mess listening to it. Basically every time I’ve heard it. This album is a gift
Notable Jamz: “Q.U.E.E.N.”, “Dance Apocalyptic”, “We Were Rock & Roll”, “Ghetto Woman”, & “Primetime”
Previously: 2K12 | JAMZ | MOVIES
It’s time to talk about movies! And, like last year, I’m just going to let my heart do the talking because, I mean, what am I going to do otherwise? Sit here and break down everything I saw using the basics I gleaned from two college film classes? B-O-R-I-N-G. So here’s what I loved at* the movies this year.
|5. Iron Man 3
To be frank, I didn’t have high hopes for Iron Man 3. I love-love the first one and The Avengers was glorious, but Iron Man 2 was weak as hell and I couldn’t help but worry a reasonable amount. Iron Man’s not really my dude — I’m an X-Men girl to be quite honest, though I throw down for Black Widow and Hawkeye — but he’s got so much potential and knowing going in that they were pulling Extremis out was both exciting and nerve-wracking. So much potential for failure! Especially with a historically racist caricature of a villain making an appearance. It all turned out great though. I thought The Mandarin was particularly well-handled — especially because I love nothing more than to see fanboys cry about inaccuracy — and the Extremis was, well, it wasn’t great but it was good enough.
None of that really mattered in the end though because this movie had Pepper Potts. Pepper Potts being awesome and strong and vulnerable and human and kicking so much ass. Pepper Potts being a strong female character without being a Strong Female Character. Pepper Potts saving the day and the hero and herself. Pepper Potts being everything. We need more Pepper Potts-es. We need more characters on her level.
ParaNorman is smart, sweet, funny, and gorgeous. It’s got a ton of heart, strong characters, an openly gay character, zombies, super strong dialogue, depth, and an unexpected ending. It has things to say about being who you are even when it’s hard, family, friendship, and the importance of listening to other people and respecting their feelings. The animation is extraordinary and cool and though similar to the stop-motion that’s come before it, unlike anything you’ve really seen before. It’s not afraid to be kind of gross and it deals openly with death in a way that feels really important. It’s got a great setting, unbelievable set pieces, and the cutest little post-credits tag. It’s seriously wonderful.
We didn’t get to watch ParaNorman in theaters and I am still so bummed about it. What a wonderful story and experience. Unforgettable, really.
Watching The Heat in theaters was one of the best movie experiences we’ve had since we’ve been in North Dakota. Okay, wait, actually it was one of the worst because it was packed and a horrible monster woman sat next to Crystal and did her best to ruin the movie for her, but other than that is was genuinely delightful. There’s something really transcendent about being in a theater full of people watching a comedy and sharing that bright, long-winded communal laughter. It feels magical. And it’s particularly nice when it’s a movie fronted by two women that doesn’t make you feel bad for being a woman or fat or kind of a human disaster. Let me hug you, Paul Feig and Katie Dippold. Repeatedly. Please.
Melissa McCarthy is a gift and I feel like this was such a great showcase for her. Her timing is impeccable and her physicality is BANANAS. Sandra Bullock is great too, so good at being the straight-man and hitting the exact right tone at the exact right moment. And they’re both so good at reserved but tender emoting! Give me 100 more movies with them together.
|2. For a Good Time, Call…
The award for most punctuation in a movie title goes to… Just kidding. Well, no, I mean, that’s a lot of punctuation, but that’s not a real award. I guess I could make one, but it’s after midnight and I’m too tired to craft safely. Anyway, what For a Good Time, Call… really wins an award for is friendship. And laughter. And joy. And dogs named Zelda.
I had heard a little about this one on the internet and had mentioned it vaguely to Crystal, but I hadn’t felt any particular urge to run out and watch it, despite my intense and lasting love for Ari Graynor, but Crystal is super good at magically knowing exactly what I need when I need it and brought this home from the Redbox one weekend. What a gift!
It’s just a great, great story with really sweet, human characters who make mistakes and do their best to atone for them and are just generally trying to live their lives in a way that feels right to them. The development of Katie and Lauren’s friendship is so good and true and genuine that by the end you feel sort of agonized and sad that you haven’t lived the movie yourself. It’s hilariously funny and tender and kind and never makes you cringe with secondhand embarrassment, even when you’re sure that’s exactly what’s going to happen. It always knows exactly how long to hold the beat for a laugh and the emotional stuff never feels trite or simple. This one is not to be missed. Seriously.
|1. Pacific Rim
I really loved Pacific Rim and I loved it even more than I expected to. I love these characters — all of them — and their flaws and scars and unrelenting drive to fight back against a seemingly insurmountable force. The Earth opens up and births a bunch of enormous — brain-shatteringly huge — Godzilla-ass monsters from space and these people lose the people they love to these monsters, lose their world to them, and instead of curling up in a ball and praying for a quick death, they fight. They fight and they fight and they fight until they no longer have the blood to drive them. It’s seriously glorious. Had we been in California, I think I’d have easily topped my record for in-theater viewings+ effortlessly.
The movie’s funny and fast and tongue-in-cheek without ever falling on the eye-roll-y side of campy. It’s huge, like, way huge on a scale that is hard to really get your head around — though Del Toro does a phenomenal job of creating scale for the universe — and it’s flirtation and sexy without ever being exploitative. It’s romantic without ever being explicitly so! Watching a movie where there is clearly love of all kinds between the male-female leads where it doesn’t end on a kiss? Straight-up revolutionary. No joke. It’s got great secondary and tertiary characters, unbelievable set design, and great pacing. Seriously, there is never a moment where it needs to move faster or slower, never an extraneous second. I could’ve watched 100 more hours of it, to be frank.
Dude, there are 250 foot tall robots punching even bigger lizard monsters in the face. Do you really, honestly need more than that? Of course not, but you get it all anyway.
Previously: 2K12 | JAMZ
*: Because we moved to the middle of nowhere and the only decent — and boy am I using that pretty loosely there — theater is two hours away these aren’t all strictly things we saw at the movies or that even came out this year. They are all, however, things I watched for the first time in 2013. So there’s that.
+: I saw The Avengers eight times. It was a thing.
The end of 2013 is upon us and just like last year I’ve decided to round-up some of my favorite pop culture experiences into Totally Top 5 lists for your perusal. Again, like last year, I’ve let my iTunes play counts do the talking and started with my top five jamz for the year. Here we go!
||5. Fall Out Boy, “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)”
This song is a jam. It’s all energetic yelling and Patrick Stump’s wailing and it’s so, so good for screaming out your car windows when it’s, y’know, warm enough to have them rolled down. I always really like Fall Out Boy’s wordplay and this one’s got a couple of great bits. So good.
||4. M.I.A., “Bad Girls”
The ultimate song for a car full of girls who are excited to be alive. I can’t even count the number of times someone pulled up next to me at a stop light and rolled up their window because I was blaring this so loud and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not a badass, but this lets me fake it pretty god damn well.
||3.Icona Pop, “I Love It”
Like everyone else on Earth this year, I could not avoid this song and, like the large majority of those same people, I embraced the hell out of it. This song is fun, it’s feel-good, and even if it’s overstayed its welcome a little, it was still one hell of a jam.
||2. Katy Perry, “Roar”
Katy Perry’s done and said some dumb stuff — though I think that is just part of the territory of being successful, mistakes are made — but it hasn’t slowed down the juggernaut that is her pop reign. This song is glorious and if you haven’t cried like at least twice while listening to it then I just don’t understand what you’re doing. I love this song so much that I’ve had dream arguments where I went to the mat defending it. That’s a jam.
||1. Selena Gomez, “Come & Get It”
When this came out in spring, I was utterly powerless against it and just left it on repeat for days at a time. I really kind of love her — appropriation issues aside, sigh — and this is just such a jam. Great beat, great chorus, and the perfect length for a pop hit. Jam and a half.
So, I recently got kind of hooked on watching YouTube videos of, like, make-up how-to people and I guess, like, lifestyle vloggers? And by hooked I mean I watched like four or five which is an outstanding number for someone who normally won’t watch a video longer than thirty seconds, especially when you take into account that a lot of these clock in the 12-15 minutes range. My tv has a built in YouTube app that recommends things to me, I’m powerless against its inscrutable algorithm.
Anyway, these color-coordinated, put-together, spotless-apartment-living, spend-more-on-make-up-in-a-month-than-I-have-in-five-years ladies kept mentioning Bath and Body Works candles. And I guess it sort of stuck in my head and then Crystal and I had to go to Minot so she could see her dentist and there’s a Bath and Body Works in the mall there and then the next thing I know I was coming home with eight candles? I think I was drunk. Or maybe lightheaded from sniffing every single candle in the store. Repeatedly.
I like candles! They’re great. I don’t buy a ton, but we do have a mix of real and battery candles scattered around our place. They look pretty cool and all and Crystal is really into this thing where we have a little row of them in mason jars in a windowsill. And we buy the occasional scented candle — I just sent Crystal on a mission to buy one while she was at Walmart the other day in fact — but I’m not, like, crazy about candles. So, you know, I didn’t expect to come home with eight of them.
In our vegetable wax and lead-free wick induced haze, we bought:
Lemon Mint Leaf — Freshly cut lemon balm and spearmint leaves give a refreshing lift to a blend of vetiver and citrus — My girlfriend chose this one because it is eerily close to the basil-lime dish soap we use and love. Haven’t burned it yet, but has a good cold (what I learned on the internet is called) throw. The sales associate said it’s one of the most popular candles in their store. It’s too spring-y to burn now, but come March I think it’s going to be our go-to.
Sweater Weather — Cuddle up with an aromatic blend of eucalyptus, juniper berry, and fresh sage that celebrates the arrival of sweater weather — This is amazing. I smelled this one pretty much as soon as I set foot in the store and came back to it over and over again. We knew we wanted a big fall candle and it came down between this one and Leaves because despite having very different descriptions, they smell incredibly similar, but Sweater Weather just had something that Leaves was missing. I’ll definitely be buying Leaves eventually though.
Harvest Coffee — Relax with this rich, robust blend of roasted coffee beans topped off by creamy vanilla foam — I don’t like coffee at all unless it’s masked with a bucket of milk, sugar, and whipped cream, but I love the smell of it. This one gives off a great smell when it’s unlit, but once it gets warm it is way, way too sweet and caramel-y. I’m not really a sweet candle person (I learned in the Bath and Body Works yesterday) but if you are and you like coffee, you’ll probably love this one.
Bergamot Woods — An aromatic woodsy blend, highlighted by bright bergamot, fresh lavender, and deep green cypress — I love this one, love love love it. Like, can’t stop opening it and sniffing it and worrying about “wasting” it. It’s what fragrance people probably classify as a masculine scent and those are scents to which I am frequently drawn. I see it pop up alongside reviews of Flannel pretty often, but I did not like Flannel at all, so clearly this scent thing is weird and subjective. This has a good burn smell and a good, lingering throw.
Marshmallow Fireside — A sweet-toasty end to a snowy, fun-filled day — toasted marshmallows and sumptuous vanilla cream blend with the comforting aroma of rich smoldering woods — This was Crystal’s pick and I fought her on it in a lazy and unengaged way because I just thought it was way, way too sweet and was being obstinate about it, but now I can’t stop sniffing it. It’s got a nice sweet note that isn’t too cloying and there is that woodsy undertone that I think I was just missing in the store. Looking forward to burning this post-Halloween.*
Sparkling Icicles — As sparkling as the ice at the local skating pond, this fragrance features a citrus bouquet, bergamot, and a touch of holiday moss — Another one I love love love and another fairly masculine scent. I actually picked this one because it smells like the pine forest/river rafting section of Soarin’ Over California at Disney California Adventure and I plan to burn it and listen to the soundtrack and cry a lot. Just kidding. Kind of. Nice and woodsy.
Fresh Balsam — The invigorating aroma of evergreen woods on a clear, fall morning features crisp eucalyptus, fir needles, and cedarwood musk notes — Forget what the official descriptions says about fall, this is straight up Christmas, balsam is the smell of Christmas, and this one hits it just right. Not too woodsy, not too green, and it doesn’t smell like those little green Christmas tree car air fresheners.
Winter — A season full of fun in the snow is captured in notes of pine needles, clementine and winter woods — This one has some of the same initial scent as Sparkling Icicles, but it’s much less masculinely woodsy and much more cinnamon bark and pine. It’s more foody than floral, but not super sweet or sugary. I initially liked Snow Day better, but the more I smelled it, the sweeter it got, so Winter won out.
The big candles are $20. I still can’t get over that because it just seems absurd to me. I looked them up on the internet beforehand and I was like, “No, no way. $20 for a candle?! Who am I, Howard Hughes? I’m not lighting up the Spruce Goose over here!” And then I walked into the store and smelled them and just sort of stumbled from rack to rack, saying, “No, no, these are ridiculous. Twenty dollars!” until my arms were full and Crystal had to check us out and pull me bodily from the premises. To be fair, the little ones were 3 for $12 (3 for $10 online, but their shipping seems outrageous to me.) and that’s not terrible.
My official review is basically this: these things smell pretty great and there was an awesome variety of scents and even if I can’t get over their price — $20 dollars! — they’re pretty much worth it, especially if you’re not burning them all day, every day. Each is strongly scented but not in that chemical, headachy way and two of the three I’ve burned thus far have had an incredible range, smell great after being extinguished, and linger in a super pleasant, not overwhelming way. (And the third just isn’t my favorite personally, a ton of people probably love the crap out of it.) Plus, the labels peel off so easy, like, window-cling easy and if you care about that, you know exactly what a big deal that is.
Just give in and buy some already so we can, like, high-five about it or something. Jeez.
*: I think you should be aware at this point that I’ve been reading the official descriptions of these in Dana Carvey’s Church Lady voice. Important.