Best of 2013!

My internet access is atrocious at the moment, so I am glad I was able to squeeze this in last minute. I'm definitely not going out for New Year's Eve like last year and tonight would be spend quietly at home with mum and a nice bottle of champagne (dad is in Canada with the sisters). On to the list:

BEST PURCHASE OF 2013: Everlane Zip Backpack in Military (no longer for sale)

If using only most frequently used and the satisfaction-per-use as the two criteria to select the best purchase of 2013, the backpack would be the one. I had a really nice Filson Messenger a while ago however in the end, nothing is as easy, convenient and light (!) as the good old fashioned backpack. I've used this particular one so often that I had forgotten I bought it only earlier this year.

Runner-ups: UNIQLO Navy Peacoat, White Chucks, Bluer Denim Jeans

BEST FICTION BOOK OF 2013: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

The fiction and non-fiction books I have picked are out of the ones I have read AND finished for 2013, not necessarily the year they were released. This year I am disappointed at how little I have read outside the what is dictated on the syllabus. Alas. I've started plenty (i.e. Patrick Melrose novels and The Reason I Jump) but don't think it's valid to list them here until I have finished otherwise.

(Close) Runner up: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

BEST NON-FICTION BOOK OF 2013: This Town by Mark Leibovich / The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

I know it's kind of cheating to list the two side by side, but together they equally made the most impact on me in separate ways. Since I spent the summer interning in D.C., naturally I become more interested in learning about the place I was about to spent two and half months in. I was made aware of the book via The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, who interviewed Leibovich, a former journalist for the Post and the Times. The book is a damn good exposé on the rather shadowy deals by the city's (and by extension the country's) elite, which is enlightening as I worked in a one of chief institutions that housed several key players described in the book.

I've been gravitating towards more self-help-y books (cheesy and embarrassing I know) since I'm at arguably one of the biggest crossroads in my life at this point, what with being 20 and a soon-to-be college graduate. With our twenties being the most hyped up decade to "explore" and "find yourself" I don't want to squander it and would like to spend it in the most meaningful and rewarding way possible. If anyone has any career advice to share, I would like to know.

Runner-up: What I Wish I Knew When I was Twenty, by Tina Seelig 

BEST MAGAZINE OF 2013: Cherry Bombe, issue 1 and 2

The magazine has the freshest take on the foodie genre of magazines yet. While I enjoy the more traditional (wholesome, slow food) publications, like Gather, Cereal and Lucky Peach, something inside of me wanted MORE. Cherry Bombe delivered it with a surprising feminist spin, again something I greatly appreciate given just how male-dominated the food industry is at the top. 

BEST TV DRAMA/MINI-SERIES OF 2013: Breaking Bad Season 5B 

It's a very easy win for them, even if you think it's something of a cop-out to give them this for their final season. The second half of season 5 is not complete without faults, however given the scope of the story and the amount of loose ends they have to tie up in a satisfactory way, it was no easy feat. I look forward to seeing what Vince Gilligan (my new Joss Whedon), Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul will do in their future projects. 

BEST MOVIE OF 2013: Mud (2013) 

I always love a well done coming-of-age story more than anything. I don't want to overhype it, but MUD IS P-E-R-F-E-C-T. From watching the trailers you would think it's some thriller-mystery, however in reality it is about a boy learning about love. I don't think I have done it justice AT ALL, and please please please make time to see it. 

On a side note, I am seriously impressed with Matthew McConaughey and his choices in film roles lately. Who knew he had this in him??? 

BEST ALBUM OF 2013: Beyoncé, Beyoncé

Another easy cop-out you say, but those 14 songs are still on constant replay since its release. On that note, I must say Beyoncé almost singlehandedly ruined my finals with her 17 videos. I managed in the end. The lyrics aren't all that thoughtful nor particularly intelligent, save for the Feminist excerpt in the middle of ***Flawless of Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche.

Beyonce woke up like this and IS FLAWLESS.

BEST SUMMER EXPERIENCE OF 2013: Bastille Day Festival at the Hillwood Estates 

I've never really had a chance to celebrate to celebrate Bastille Day (July 14), as I am neither a French citizen nor was I ever in France during that time period. However searching for special things to do in general for the summer, a colleague suggested going to Hillwood. The day's festivities were thoughtfully planned out, expertly executed and the place was decorated beautifully. The Hillwood Estates are fine enough to visit on their own, but the fact they were celebrating Bastille Day really was the cherry on top of my experience there.

Runner-up: Sailing the Potomac

BEST NEW BLOG FIND OF 2013: Uniformly Dressed

I am so glad to find Kristina, who is not really a new blogger per se but definitely a new blogger find for me. At a time when many are exiting (either permanently or temporarily, myself included) fashion/style blogging,  I truly admire those who have persisted and forged new grounds for themselves. 

BEST NEW TUMBLR FIND OF 2013: I Don't Want Realism (

You know someone's good when you find yourself wanting to repost essentially their entire blog and like all of their photos on Instagram. 

BEST YOUTUBE CHANNEL: Smithsonian / New York Times / Vogue 

What these three, pretty disparate on the surface, channels have in common is their ability to create short, beautifully shot, informative videos. There is more variety in terms of topics for Smithsonian and NYTimes to be sure, but Vogue makes up for it with all the eye candy.

BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA OF 2013: New Yorker's Instagram

By inviting people of various backgrounds both professional and amateur to update their Instagram feed, they have essentially created a new platform for serious photo-journalism. The New Yorker is able to contextualize the bigger more abstract headlines through small snippets of the quotidienne. This smart way of using social media is a complete breath of fresh air.

2013 was such a great fulfilling year marking the end of my teens, and I hope 2014 will be even better. Happy New Year! 


  1. Very nice round-up! I haven't read "the Defining Decade" but I've seen the author's TED talk about "why 30 isn't the new 20" and how important the choices we make in our 20s are. It was so enlightening - even though in France we don't say that our 20s is a decade "that doesn't count" so it felt a bit weird to present it that way - I can imagine the book was a fantastic read. I've heard so much about Breaking Bad, now that the series is over maybe I should watch it... 2013 seems to have been a great year for you, congrats!

  2. Joy! I'm honored. Happy New Year! Keep photographing; I love the slices-of-HK I'm seeing on your Instagram right now.

    And I need to catch up on Queen Bey's Visual album or whatever it is; I hear she is all the sexy. I need some of that energy in 2014!

  3. Happy new year! Hope you had a good one and that you're having a good time in Hong Kong right now :)

  4. Happy New Year! Looks like you had a great 2013 and hope you're having a fun time in HK :)