2017 A Year in Review according to my Spotify account: The Rad, Rocking, Retro, and the Ridiculous amount of KPop

Well friends, it's been a while, and as always I have come down with festival season depression syndrome and am wondering to myself - What the hell did I achieve in 2017?

But for real - I've traveled a bit more, stepped out of my comfort zone a couple of times to jump into new career roles, I've met new people, I've started realizing the type of person I want to be (it's never too late) and I can say without a doubt that I am going into 2018 ready to make some big changes, while having a shit ton of fun in the process.

Back to the matter at hand though.  This morning my FSD kicked in, I fired up Spotify ready to thrash some Dropkick Murphys and crack open a cold one (YES, DO NOT JUDGE ME) when I saw Your Top Songs 2017...  so get ready to reminisce my top picks of 2017 with me.  

The Rad.

Quite a few contenders here: Charli XCX, Marina & The Diamonds, Macklemore, M.I.A, G-Eazy, The Neighbourhood, and Twenty One Pilots.  Without a doubt there is one song that was played waaaaay too much for it to be overlooked though ... Bring Me The Horizon's Follow You.  It probably helped that the MV was full apocalyptic glory.

The Rock.

I listen to alot of music from a variety of genres that I lump into my definition of "Rock" type music.  Don't bitch when one of the following artists is technically defined as post-punk neo-romanticism or something.  IDC.  IDC!!!  

The usual suspects are here:  The Bravery, Pearl Jam, Black Veil Brides, Andy Black, The Tea Party, Interpol, My Chemical Romance and Muse.  But who cares about those suckers?!?!  This actually surprised me, but topping out my played Rock songs for 2017 is AFI's No Resurrection.  (I'm starting to see a pattern of older songs here guys).

The Retro.

Nuff said.

The Ridiculous Amount of Kpop

Not gonna even try to lie.  Pretty much 75% of my Top 2017 Songs are definitely the Asian Pop variety, the majority of which fall under the Kpop umbrella.  My shame. Ha ha.  Who am I kidding?  Who can resist those sick beats and dance moves???

This year I've pretty much stuck to my usual biases; EXO, Big Bang, 2NE1, but I've also thrown in a couple of crazy - Orange Caramel's Catallena for instance.  This year though, after the realization that 2NE1 weren't coming back any time soon (so betrayed) I moved on to BLACKPINK.  Their song, BOOMBAYAH satisfied my needs for sick choreography, great beats, gratuitous use of CAPS LOCK, and the opportunity to yell MR WORLDWIDE at inappropriate moments.  (You'll get it if you've seen it).

Bonus:  You will never be able to unsee/unhear after this...

So You've Decided to Become A Vinyl Loving Hipster

A while back I fell down one of those rabbit holes life puts in your path that you manage to fall down when you are vaguely disinterested in your everyday life.  I developed a "hobby".  Well maybe not so much a hobby, but a very focused interest in collecting actual physical copies of music albums again.  And of course, being the generational war zone that I am, I settled on reliving my childhood through record ownership.

I tell myself this every day.

I tell myself this every day.

To be honest, I didn't really give it much thought - I just went into JB Hifi (gasp) one day and picked up a cheap entry level turntable (double gasp) and a couple of albums and started playing.  

Welcome to the douche snobbery club...

Now let's be honest about turntables should we?  Despite several comments either side of the fence when it comes to what constitutes an entry level turntable, I did start out with what I would term a "toy" type player.  I actually liked the look of the thing in its little suitcase being all retro, but it was basically an Australian branded Crosley player.  Not the best quality but, heck I thought it did the job.

Well I was so fucking wrong.  It took my third record to figure that out... quickly.  Because Queens of the Stoneage (those sonafabitches) released Like Clockwork as 45 rpm.  Damn that cheap cute player really could not handle that, and the distortion was just terrible.  So when I went back to play the other two records I owned at the time, I could not help but notice just how bad they sounded now to my polluted ears.

This image sums up nicely how QOTSA managed to mangle my perception of hearing.

This image sums up nicely how QOTSA managed to mangle my perception of hearing.

So I was kind of put off after that, because no matter where I went online there were a number of audiophiles obviously bashing the likes of Crosley, but also citing "If you're serious about vinyl you at least need ..." and the dollars kept piling up.  I didn't want to spend so much on a system I couldn't afford the albums themselves.  I hunted for the holy grail - a second hand setup from the 70s-80s, but believe it or not, the ones I found were priced higher than some higher spec new ones.  

I took a breath, and stepped back from my affair with vinyl for a number of months and searched for a solution.  The closest I could come to an "affordable" turntable with good reviews was one from Pro-Ject, and luckily a local hifi shop had several of their models in stock for me to compare.  I ended up with the Pro-Ject Essential II for just under $400 AUD on a Christmas promo, and while I still don't have epic speakers, I can already hear the difference in quality.  It's comforting to know that I haven't spent too much, even though it's way more than a toy player.

Collect all the things!

Safe to say, once the cost of your initial setup is out of the way, vinyl collecting can either be an expensive obsession or a relaxing lifestyle hobby.  At first, I was obsessed with trawling through the vinyl sections at music stores, but after a couple of months and a few hundred dollars I became more focused and select about my purchases.  It sounds like epic douche-baggery to say, but I started to curate a collection for myself based on memories, experiences, and people I have in my life.  

It's true you know.

It's true you know.

Nearly every album I have acquired in the last 5 months has a story as to why it's in my collection.  Of course I don't go around telling these stories - I'd sound like a hipster nut job, but I can kind of get why the guy from High Fidelity looked at sorting his collection autobiographically.

At the time of writing this, my collection is very small, only 31 albums.  Still that hasn't stopped me from downloading the Discogs app and keeping track of what I have for on the go wishlist making.  

I don't own Blonde on Blonde...

I don't own Blonde on Blonde...

F-Yeah, it's Diet! Fresh Creamy Mushroom Soup

Hey again!  So my quest for delicious, healthy meals continues (as does my new fitness & eating plan) and I thought I'd share my most recent foray into freaking yummy food.  

This time around, I was really hanging out for a hearty and creamy mushroom soup.  There are a ton of recipes online that are low cal, but I settled on adapting one I found here at skinnytaste.com

The recipe is pretty straight forward, but I had seen other recipes where wine was included (and I love me some wine), or where flour was left out, or it was only partially blended... you get the picture.  So I took a few of my favourite ideas from each and came up with the below adaption!

#badlighting God Damn You Kitchen!

#badlighting God Damn You Kitchen!

Creamy Mushroom Soup - Yields 5 servings (1 1/2 cup) at 87 cal/serve

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium soup/stock pot. Saute one small white onion (finely diced) until clear.  Add 1 chopped clove of garlic and continue to saute for 1-2 mins, being careful not to burn the onion.  Dice one large stalk of celery and add to the pot, crumble in two sodium reduced vegetable stock cubes (I used Massel brand), and add 1/3 cup of white wine.  Stir to combine then add 3 cups of water.  Bring to the boil and stir until the stock has dissolved.  Add 450-500g chopped mushrooms (I used 100g white button and 350g portobello as that is what I had on hand). Lower heat, cover and simmer for 10 mins stirring occassionally.  Add one can of cannellini beans (drained) and continue to simmer for another 10 mins.   Remove from heat and use a stick blender in the pot to make smooth and creamy, season to taste with a little cracked pepper.

Voila! You're done!  My Warr was ready to cook some chicken to add to his serving but after a quick taste he just garnished with some parmesan and served with crusty bread.  

This soup is surprisingly satisfying, and you could cut even more calories by dropping the olive oil for a olive oil spray.  

Bottom of the Bottle & Bin Bound: Rest of Autumn

*Edit: This post was scheduled to be posted yesterday (2 July) but something went wrong.  Anyway, here it is...

I can't believe we're nearly at the halfway point of the year again - seriously where is time even going #oldladyproblems.  The only good thing about the endless march of time is that just like that I'm getting ready to place my WINTER haul order.  Thankfully, most of my Autumn products are still going strong, in fact I'm planning a post to talk about some of my favourites from that haul.  There could be a new HG contender in there, just sayin'.

So anyway, onto the stuffs.

LANEIGE TIME FREEZE EYE SERUM:  

Officially my first Laneige brand product, I was expecting big things from this cult brand.  In usual fashion, the packaging and branding is on point, however I wasn't that blown away by the performance of this serum.  I did find however, that when layered with other eye products it worked a bit better.  Not a rebuy.

BANILA CO. PRIME PRIMER (CLASSIC):  

A silicone based primer that works to even out imperfections and supply a base to your foundation/BB/CC.  I actually didn't mind this primer, although I'm usually pretty iffy about these silicon-y ones.  This also comes in a Matte version which I would be interested in trying out.  I couldn't use this on a daily basis however, it seemed to make me more prone to breakouts - even with my epic skincare regime.

HOLIKA HOLIKA BIRDS NEST GOLD LEAF CREAM:

I have talked about this product previously in a first impressions post way back  but not alot since.  I actually took quite a bit of time away from this product over the warmer Summer months as it was just too rich for my oil-prone skin.  Once Autumn rolled around I started cranking back into it as my go to night cream.  I really like this stuff.  The balm like texture melts wonderfully into the skin, and although it remains a little sticky by the next morning I found myself waking up to glowing soft skin without fail.  I also found it seemed to assist with healing any breakouts I had.  That said, it's very pricey for a night cream, and if I'm going to spend that much, I may as well finally get some hanbang action going on.

VELLA NECK TIGHT CREAM:

This is one of those products I had stored away for the longest time and only finally got around to using.  Basically it's a thick cream for use on your neck and decolletage.  It's OK, nothing special.

My two BIN BOUND products are Elizavecca's Milky Piggy Bubble Clay Mask which I reviewed in this post and I have struggled to really like this mask.  I just don't find it that enjoyable to use and to be frankly honest, it does shit all for my skin.  

The other one going the way of the dragon, is Skin Therapy's Bee Venom Protective Moisturiser (ONLY SPF !!! WTF) which I picked up in Coles.  I've really wanted to try some bee venom type products to see if they do help with plumping fine lines.  Well, this one doesn't.

Coming Soon: A round up of some samples I've tried recently!