Saying that this year was a shits show is maybe the only thing more obvious than saying the sky is blue (especially living in Sweden when these days the sky is grey). However, that’s not to say it was all bad right? We managed to make it to the end and even found some unity over everything from shared disappointment at how poorly the world leaders were handling a global pandemic to pure bemusement over the ridiculous world that was Tiger King. Even in darkness, here’s what brought me light.
Read about my 2020 experience here! Uncensored and honest: 20-F**KING-20
1. Multicoloured Lightbulb from IKEA
Now material possessions might seem trivial and only a temporary relief, but hot damn! You might not have expected the light in 2020 to be so literal, but I’m in love with this lightbulb. Both with the option to adjust the colour and brightness, the mood could easily be set so I could be dwell in my sadness with a cool blue or revel in a moment of inspiration with a bright pink, I even adjusted the settings to suit the current show I was binging. Best of all, the magnetic remote attached nicely to my bedside table so once I was settled in my bed for the evening, I didn’t even have to get up to turn off the light! The universal hassle solved by a magnetic remote!
More practically, I’m not a huge fan of bright, ceiling lights and the sun has begun setting at 3:30 in the afternoon. Lighting is a must and when it comes in an assortment of colours, it’s a match made in heaven. I really cannot recommend this lightbulb enough. Brighten up your life, literally!
Exercise is annoying. I know, ground-breaking! This year, however, I’ve noticed how essential is can be for my mental health and not just physical. I despise the gym, I’m too insecure and self-critical for that, but Zumba? Join a group of enthusiastic middle aged ladies dancing to latin jams after a busy day at work? Sign me up! I’ve been doing Zumba for about 5 years and the instructors just get more and more vibrant and energetic.
My first Zumba class wasn’t amazing, but now I’m obsessed. The reason being, the first class I attended I was trying too hard to nail the moves and mirror the teacher perfectly rather than moving generally in the right directions and doing the actions enough that I was increasing my heart rate. My first Zumba instructor left me with an important idea to take to all classes, “a mistake is just freestyle”. Get into the habit of being free and doing your best rather than being perfect. It’s not a dance class that you will be graded on, it’s supposed to get you moving. More important, the songs move so quickly that you won’t be wrong for long, everyone else is making mistakes, with practice you’ll begin to remember the routines, and most importantly, no one cares if you move right instead of left or spin instead of side step. Honestly, all of the Zumba classes I have attended have always been filled with kind hearted, enthusiastic and fun spirited people!
3. The Vietnamese Takeout Next to my Share-House
A crushing mental state and exhaustion thanks to the panoramic paired with my pre-existing inability to cook encouraged me to open my wallet more often than I care to admit. One week, I felt like I had single handedly kept the restaurant in business. The restaurant was two houses down from where I was living and boasted the best scents in the neighbourhood. After a few times of trying the ‘safe’ dishes, I grew a hankering for soup and tried Pho for the first time. Now I’m addicted. I got excited the other day when I saw they were opening a Vietnamese restaurant in a more convenient area. Do yourself a favour, try Pho!
4. Synthetic Hair Pieces
Ever since I had the galls to cut my own hair, but I’ve done nothing by destroy the integrity of my dry, brittle locks. My coping mechanism is ruining my hair. Luckily it was mostly DIY hair cuts, and most recently bangs, but I’ve had my fair share of relaxers, hair dyes, hair dye removals (basically pure bleach) which all leads to the constant struggle of patiently tending to dead hair and investing in curly girl products.
As someone who also favours shorter hair, any quick fix to add length is a win. I’ve struggled with hair extensions, whether is was colour matching or correct application but there are luckily simpler ways to achieve length and a fresh new look. Hair ponytails! I’ve seen them before at dollar store equivalent and the quality matches the price. 2020 set me up with INH Hair and Rapunzel of Sweden and while the hair is still synthetic, the variety of styles makes for ample potential and the quality is quite impressive. Kink, texture, colour, length, curl pattern, the list goes on! Update your look without frying your hair! These pieces also helped me to step outside of my comfort zone and face my insecurities with a fresh weave.
My life has improved tenfold since K-POP came into my life. Both as someone who’s obsessed with boy bands and girl groups, loves choreographed routines and high energy music, K-POP feels like it was meant for me. I really have so much to say about K-POP but here are the cliff notes (can’t use all my ideas at once so expect more on this later). Can’t leave the house but want to move? Learn a routine! Need to get psyched? Nothing is as optimistic or loud or bright as Idol by BTS or Fancy by Twice. Want fashion inspiration? Imagine being a stylist coordinating similar looks for 9 members, you will find all the inspiration you need. Becoming a fan is super easy as these groups create content up the wahzoo and their devoted fan bases host channels exclusively for edits and compilations of their idol’s best and funniest moments. It’s never been easier to feel like a celebrity is your best friend when they guest star on variety shows, shoot their own reality shows and pitch their own YouTube shows. Want to get started in K-POP? BTS are taking over the world, Twice are guaranteed to make you smile and with 23 members in NCT, the odds are you’ll have to find someone to keep you wanting more. Even if that’s not your style, it’s hard not to watch in awe at the pure talent some of these idols posses in producing their own music only to sing or rap while dancing tirelessly without missing a note for 3 minutes every time they perform.