Best of

My 2013 in Concerts

Hello again! I know, I don't blog for months and now TWO in two days?!?! And there'll be another tomorrow. Craziness!

As those who follow me on Twitter or Facebook know, I got to a lot of concerts. A lot. While I didn't match the 40 I went to last year, I did manage 28 this year which isn't too shabby!

  1. Ra Ra Riot
  2. Keane
  3. Dale Earnhart Jr Jr
  4. The Shins
  5. Marina and the Diamonds
  6. Frankmusic
  7. Sir Paul McCartney (Brooklyn)
  8. New Kids on the Block (with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees)
  10. Bronze Radio Return
  11. Belle & Sebastian
  12. Sir Paul (Milwaukee)
  13. fun. with Tegan and Sara
  14. Bon Jovi
  15. Jake Clemons
  16. Vampire Weekend
  18. The xx
  19. The Naked and the Famous
  20. Two Door Cinema Club with St. Lucia
  21. Ghost Beach and Betty Who
  22. Franz Ferdinand
  23. Capital Cities and Fitz and the Tantrums
  24. Ed Sheeran with Snow Patrol
  25. Matt Nathanson
  26. The Limousines
  27. Ingrid Michaelson
  28. The 1975 with Haerts

BEST CONCERT: No contest, Sir Paul McCartney. He's a legend. He plays for nearly THREE HOURS and, you know, he was a Beatle. Do I really need to explain this? I even flew to Milwaukee to see him because he announced his New York date later and there was no way I was going to miss him. And next time he tours I might do the same. He's PAUL McCARTNEY!!!


BEST NEW BAND: When I saw CHVRCHES the first time, they just had an EP out, but I was obsessed with their song "Recover." Then their album came out and it might be my favorite of the year. The second time was even more amazing, and I'm seeing them again in May. My favorite new band (closely tied with Walk Off the Earth whom I'm seeing next year as well)!

BEST NEW TRADITION: Ingrid Michaelson's Holiday Hop. My concert bestie Chris and I saw Ingrid Michaelson's Holiday Hop last year and it was so much fun, we went again this year. Ingrid and her band open the show dressed up as older people and do funny versions of Christmas carols, then she had another opener, then they come out and do a full concert. It was one of the concerts I was looking forward to the most and can't wait to go back again next year (plus, Ingrid has a new album out so I'll probably see her twice next year).

MOST TOUCHING MOMENT: Besides the ENTIRE Sir Paul concert, I have to say I was really moved when I saw Ed Sheeran play his first night at Madison Square Garden. I always love seeing people when they play the Garden the first time because it's such an iconic moment in their career. Ed got really choked  up when he got on stage for the first time. Nothing like seeing someone's dream come true!

There are so many more moments from this past year, but I've got to get ready to for New Year's Eve (and I've got one more book to finish reading so I'll be reading for tomorrow's post!!).

Hope you all have a fabulous night this evening and that 2014 will be the most magical (and musical) year yet!

XOXO, Elizabeth

Best of 2012!

Happy holidays everybody! Since "best of" lists are so popular this time of year, I've decided to do my own! So here are a few things this year that made me laugh, cry, sing....

BEST MOVIE (AND ONE YOU PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF): The Intouchables I read about this French film in Entertainment Weekly and then stumbled upon it at my local movie theater. I'm so glad I did. This is one of the most life-affirming movies I've ever seen. I can't recommend it highly enough. I thought it was going to be sad, as it's about a quadriplegic and the young man from the projects he hires to take care of him. But it wasn't. I smiled so much while watching this movie. Seriously, add it to your Netflix queue, you can thank me later. (Here's the trailer, but I'm glad I didn't see it before I watched the movie as one of the funniest bits is in it). Honorable mentions: Argo, Les Miserables, The Avengers, Pitch Perfect, Moonrise Kingdom, The Queen of Versailles

BEST NEW TV DRAMA: Homeland Yes, Homeland technically debuted last year. But I didn't see it until the first season came out on DVD. I was hooked right away (and later wasn't surprised to find out the people behind 24 are responsible for this show). I was so worried about spoilers for season 2 that I spent two days at my sister's house watching the entire season on demand. The acting is superb, the twists and turns are going to eventually give me an ulcer. But it's totally worth it. Bring on season 3! Honorable new drama mention: Nashville and fav drama series Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

BEST NEW TV COMEDY: Happy Endings Yep, Happy Endings is in its third season, but I didn't start watching it until this year. I watched the first two seasons and caught up on the third season within three months. I love this ensemble show and adore the characters. My personal favorites are Max and Penny (they're ah-maaazing). Other favorite comedy shows: Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, New Girl, Modern Family, Cougartown (Yes, it really is a great show with a horrible name)

BEST ALBUM: Of Monsters and Men, My Head is an Animal Also one of my favorite concerts of the year. It's so hard to pick just one album, but this was the one that I listened to the most. And while I bought it because of their hit "Little Talks," I adore every song. It will be an album I'll be writing to for years to come. Other favorites: The Avett Brothers, The Carpenter; Ed Sheeran, +; fun., Some Nights; Imagine Dragons, Night Visions; The Lumineers; Mumford & Sons, Babel; The Shins, Port of Morrow; The Hunger Games soundtrack; St. Lucia EP; Taylor Swift, Red

BEST SONG: Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together I love this song. When I first heard it, I bought it immediately and then a week later when I synched my iPhone it already had 75 plays. I would seriously have it on repeat as I walked to the gym. We've all been there and I always love a good break-up song. Plus, this is so much fun to do karaoke to. It seriously is the best. Like ever.

Since I went to 40(!!!) concerts this year, I've done a separate post on concerts. And I'm going to pass on naming a favorite book as I did blog about every book I read this year (Check out my 2012 Reading Challenge). Since so many books were written by friends (brag on me!), it would be really hard to pick one book. So basically, I'm being a wimp. 

So those were my favorites - what did you love in 2012?

XO, Elizabeth

Best of 2011

What a year! I have to admit, 2011 didn't start out that great for me, but boy did it certainly end up being a good one. This was also a fab year for music and movies. I had a very hard time coming up with my year-end list of favorites, so in a few instances I listed a couple favs, because why not! Having too many good things to choose from is an awesome problem.

FAVORITE MOVIE: The Muppets! I don't think I've ever had a grin on my face the entire time I watched a movie. The Muppets were my childhood. I had a Miss Piggy doll, one of those magnetic books, even a Muppet cookbook! I was so excited for this movie and it did not disappoint! I even brought my Beaker doll to the movie theater. Yep, I brought a doll. This how I roll. The movie had heart, laughter, joy, and the greatest cameo of all time. I couldn't find a photo of said cameo, but this photo will give you a big hint:

I still giggle thinking about Dave's cameo and pretty much the entire movie. I will forever be grateful to Jason Segel for not only bringing the Muppets back for my generation to enjoy, but for introducing Beaker and Co. to a new crop of Muppetheads. 

FAVORITE MOVIE FROM A SERIES: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 I had to include this movie as well because it was absolutely brilliant from start to finish. I cried four times watching the final movie in a series that I have extremely fond memories of. I think it's safe to say that, without question, the cast of this series is the best cast ever assembled. Period. We've watched these actors grow up before our eyes and they've done us proud. I think this EW cover sums it up best.

OTHER AMAZING MOVIES: Crazy, Stupid Love; 50/50; The Beginners; War Horse

FAVORITE NEW TV SHOW: New Girl - I got to see a screening of the pilot this summer. Within the first 30 seconds I turned to my friend and said, "I LOVE THIS SHOW." That's how long it took me to fall for Zooey Deschanel's quirky Jess. I've been looking forward to each new episode and they haven't disappointed. It has some of my favorite lines of a TV show, ever. Just a little sample:

FAVORITE TV SHOW YOU MIGHT NOT BE WATCHING: Parks & Recreation - I'll admit it, I didn't really love this show during its first season. And I think a lot of people gave up on it, but they shouldn't. The ensemble cast is hilarious, lead by a brilliant Amy Poehler. The additions of Rob Lowe and Adam Scott (who is yummerz) last season has made the show even better. And there are days I just want to run up to Ron Swanson and give him a kiss on the cheek, which he would NOT like at all. If you aren't watching this show, watch it. NOW.

FAVORITE BROADWAY SHOW: Book of Mormon - I got to see this in previews before the reviews and Tony Awards. It was hysterical. I spent most of the second half either laughing or covering my mouth in horror/shock. I've seen a lot of Broadway shows this year, Wicked should probably tie for my favorite (can't believe it took me so long to see), and, of course, I got to see Kiefer Sutherland in That Champtionship Season, which was a nice talking point when I met  him

FAVORITE CD: I'm doing a three-way tie on this one because I can. Adele's 21, Florence + the Machine's Ceremonials and K. Clark's Stronger. Three amazing women, three amazing albums. Fav songs would be: Adele - Set Fire to the Rain, Florence - Shake it Out, and Kelly - Stronger. Other fav albums of the year: The Black Keys, El Camino; Death Cab for Cutie, Codes & Keys; Foo Fighters, Wasting Light; Foster the People, Torches; Blind Pilot, We are the Tide; Oh Land, self-titled; Bon Iver, self-titled; Marketa Irglova, Anar. 

FAVORITE CONCERT: This one was easy (and shouldn't come as a surprise): Sir Paul. If this wasn't a Sir Paul year, the honor would definitely belong to Foo Fighters who put on an absolutely spectacular show at Madison Square Garden just a few weeks ago. 

I honestly couldn't come up with a favorite book. I read a lot of wonderful books, but to be honest, many are by friends so I feel like I might offend someone if I choose a favorite. So at least for this year, I'm not going to include a favorite book. BUT! I am going to do something special for the books I'll read in 2012, so stay tuned for that.

What were some of your favs of the year?

To a wonderful 2012 filled with lots of good books, music, movies, and memories! XO, Elizabeth

Best of 2010

Happy 2011!  In honor of the New Year, I thought I’d reflect on my personal favorites of last year (which is SO 2010 of me).

FAVORITE YA BOOK: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.  Catching Fire was my favorite book of 2009 so this really should come to no surprise, especially to people who read it.  It’s very hard to talk about this book without giving anything away and there were many twists and turns.  All I can say was that as a member of Team Peeta, I was a nervous wreck for most of the book.  And I burst into tears at the end (all I’ll say for those who read it was it was the word “real” that caused me to break down).  I’ve known Suzanne for years (yep, I’m a total namedropper!) and couldn’t be happier for her success.  Good things really do happen to good people.  Not to mention extremely talented people!

FAVORITE ADULT BOOK (SERIOUS): Room by Emma Donoghue.  This book has received a lot of year end accolades and rightfully so.  The story of a five-year-old boy who has lived his life in a single room with his mother is simply amazing.  I can’t say much about the book without giving anything away, but I will say that it isn’t as sad as you would think.  What stuck with me the most is Donoghue’s ability to channel the innocence of a five-year-old and what we, as adults, take for granted.

FAVORITE ADULT BOOK (FUN): The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen.  I first heard about this book from one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Weiner, on Twitter.  Then I had the privilege to meet Sarah at the Gaithersburg Book Festival where we were both presenting.  The Opposite of Me is about two fraternal twin sisters who have very little in common – both in looks and personality.  When Lindsey (“the smart one”) gets fired from her NYC advertising job, she moves back home to Maryland where her sister Alex (“the pretty one”) is getting ready to marry an extremely wealthy man.   I don’t want to say too much (can you tell I hate spoilers?), but if you think you know where this book is going, believe me, you don’t.  I read this book while on vacation and several times I turned to my friend and said, “I can’t believe XYZ just happened!”  It even started to downpour while we were sitting by the pool, but I stayed under my umbrella and kept reading.  Before the book was over, I knew I found a new author to add to my “favorites” list.  While extremely entertaining, this book also made me think about identity and other’s perception of you.  Can’t recommend this enough!

FAVORITE CD: The Suburbs, Arcade Fire.  A great year for music, but this album is tops for me.  I’ve been a fan of Arcade Fire for years and was looking forward to this album all year.  I’m so happy it didn’t disappoint.  They are also an amazing live band.  It’s really hard for me to pick my favorite track, so I’ll give you several: “The Suburbs,” “Ready to Start,” “Empty Room,” “City With No Children,” “Suburban War,” “Month of May,” “We Used to Wait.”  Runner-up for favorite CD of the year: Tired Pony’s The Place We Ran From.

FAVORITE TV SHOW – COMEDY: Modern Family. I was late to the Modern Family bandwagon.  I had friends (and Entertainment Weekly which is my entertainment Bible) keep telling me to watch it.  So I went online and watched the first few episodes and was hooked.  This season it has gotten even better.  There is not a single character on the show that isn’t hysterical.  If I HAD to choose my favorites, it would be Mitchell and Cameron.  It’s the only show where I consistently laugh out loud.  As much as I love Glee, Modern Family totally deserved their Emmy this year.  Honorable Mention: Community (and I can’t wait for Parks and Recreation to return in January!)

FAVORITE TV SHOW – DRAMA: The Walking Dead.  At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to watch the show, but it is AMC and Mad Men is made of awesome.  After the first episode I was hooked.  I still can’t believe the first season was only six episodes – they created such well-drawn characters that you already felt invested in their safety after knowing them for a few minutes.  I can’t wait for the second season…I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

FAVORITE MOVIE:  The Social Network.  I can’t remember the last time the end titles came up for a movie and I was disappointed it was over.  That was exactly what happened when I was watching The Social Network.  It was smart, funny, compelling and the actors were at the top of their game.  I’ll totally admit to coming home and Googling all of people the movie is based on.  And you’ll never look at Facebook the same way again.  Honorable Mention: Toy Story 3 (totally bawled at the end, Pixar can do no wrong in my eyes)

FAVORITE CONCERT:  Prince.  I saw Prince several years ago and it was one of the greatest concerts I’ve ever seen (Sir Paul McCartney is my absolute favorite concert of all time).  While Price didn’t play as long or as many classic songs this time, he is simply one of the greatest showman of all time.  He can sing, dance, play guitar and writes some of the most infectious pop songs ever written.  When the organ cane on and I heard “Dearly beloved…” I grabbed my friend and totally freaked out.  Honorable Mentions: Florence + the Machine and Tired Pony

What were your favorites of 2010? (Please note, I’m trying to open the comments back up, but I used to get a ton of spam, so I’m going to have to approve all the comments – please be patient!). UPDATE: I had to shut down the comments again because I kept getting spam - I'm having it worked on so I can have them up again soon.

Looking forward to lots of amazing books, music, movies and TV in 2011! XO, Elizabeth