2016 Pop Culture Year in Review

2016 pop culture picks
If I’m completely honest, 2016 was the year of Hamilton for me. I loved the experiences I had with other music, theater, and film, but all things Lin-Manuel Miranda were highlighted my year. I’d like to note that I’m not just bandwagoning, because I wrote about Hamilton in my 2015 Pop Culture Year in Review post, and was preaching the gospel of Ham long before most people had heard of it.

But this post isn’t supposed to just be about my #1 love of the year, it’s about all the things that kept me entertained in 2016. So here goes!

Favorite New Albums of 2016:
Hamilton Mixtape
Ben Folds and yMusic – So There
Fitz and the Tantrums – Fitz and the Tantrums
Lindsey Stirling – Brave Enough
Ingrid Michaelson – It Doesn’t Have to Make Sense
Dotan – 7 Layers
Regina Spektor – Remember Us to Life
Tom Chaplin – The Wave

Favorite Movies Seen in 2016:
La La Land
Rogue One
Southside with You
Star Trek Beyond
Bad Moms

Favorite TV Shows of 2016:
Modern Family
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
House of Cards
How to Get Away with Murder
Silicon Valley

Favorite Podcasts of 2016:
The Hamilcast
The Room Where It’s Happening
Gilmore Guys
Reply All
How I Built This
The Sporkful
Stuff Mom Never Told You
Planet Money
Death, Sex and Money

Concerts and Live Performances Attended in 2016:
Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theater, London
Guys and Dolls at the Phoenix Theater, London
In the Heights at King’s Cross Theater, London
Matilda at Fisher Theater
Muse at Joe Louis Arena
Ben Folds feat. yMusic at The Fillmore Detroit
Anything Goes at Royal Oak High School
Annie at Warren Civic Theater
Honk! at Stagecrafters

Favorite YouTube Videos Released in 2015:
Michelle Obama Carpool Karaoke
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Justin Timberlake
Adele Carpool Karaoke
Wait for It” – Musicality (Hamilton Cover)
Homeward Bound” – BYU Vocal Point ft. All-American Boys Chorus
History Has Its Eyes On You/Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” – Hamilton Cast at the 70th Annual Tony Awards
Thought Bubbles” – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
It Was a Sh*t Show” – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
The Math of Love Triangles” – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Love Kernels” – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Previous Years:

Pop Culture Year in Review 2015

2015 pop culture year in review
Honestly, if I could only choose one pop culture phenomenon to highlight from the year 2015, it would be Hamilton. How could you not love a historically-accurate hip-hop musical about the young, scrappy, and hungry life of United States founding father, and architect of the U.S treasury, Alexander Hamilton?

2015 pop cultureCabinet battles, duels, love triangles, betrayal, and the catchiest tunes this side of 42nd street. Seriously, it is so good. I have listened to the soundtrack more in the last month than any other album in years. If you haven’t listened to it yet, it’s my greatest suggestion that you download it, memorize it, love it, pin Hamilton photos on Pinterest, watch #Ham4Ham videos on YouTube, and make up silly Hamilton memes with me.

But in the spirit of tradition, this post highlights my favorite movies, music, videos, performances, and podcasts of 2015 in my annual pop culture year in review.

Favorite New Albums of 2015:
Muse – Drones
Elle King – Love Stuff
Imagine Dragons – Smoke + Mirrors
Deathcab for Cutie – Kintsugi
Brandon Flowers – The Desired Effect
Hamilton – Original Cast Recording

Favorite Movies Seen in 2015:
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Inside Out
Love & Mercy
The Danish Girl
The Intern

Favorite TV Shows of 2015:
The Good Wife
Modern Family
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
The Big Bang Theory
Masters of Sex
House of Cards
Mad Men

Favorite Podcasts of 2015:
Death, Sex and Money
Gilmore Guys
Reply All
Surprisingly Awesome
Mystery Show
Planet Money

Concerts and Live Performances Attended in 2015:
Newsies at Detroit Opera House
Paul McCartney at Joe Louis Arena
City and Colour at The Fillmore Detroit
Crazy for You at Royal Oak High School
Bye Bye Birdie at Warren Civic Theater

Favorite YouTube Videos Released in 2015:
Love Has No Labels | Diversity & Inclusion | Ad Council
Baby’s First Bacon
Star Wars Cast Sings “Stayin’ Alive”
#Ham4Ham Jimmy Fallon “You’ll Be Back”
Mean Tweets – President Obama Edition
Wheel of Freestyle with Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lip Sync Battle with Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart and Jimmy Fallon

Previous Years:

2014 Pop Culture Year in Review

pop culture year in review

2014 was a fantastic year for entertainment! I laughed, I cried, I cringed in disbelief, and I tweeted out commentary as I indulged in these movies, concerts, and shows. This was an interesting year for me, because for the first time in over a decade, blogging wasn’t one of my primary sources of entertainment. I attended fewer blogging events and conferences, and spent more time with my family. And surprisingly, I haven’t missed blogging as much as I expected. I haven’t written a post since May, but to follow up with tradition, I had to make a post for all the things that kept me entertained this year.

2014 pop culture picksFavorite New Albums of 2014:
Ingrid Michaelson – Lights Out
Into the Woods Movie Soundtrack
Neon Trees – Pop Psychology
Coldplay – Ghost Stories
The Fault in our Stars Soundtrack
Jason Mraz – Yes!
Weird Al Yankovic – Mandatory Fun
Imogen Heap – Sparks
Maroon Five – V
U2 – Songs of Innocence
OK Go – Hungry Ghosts

Favorite TV Shows of 2014:
New Girl
Mad Men
Masters of Sex
The Mindy Project
Orange is the New Black
House of Cards
Pretty Little Liars
Switched at Birth
Gilmore Girls (full Netflix rewatch with Rosie – TV highlight of the year)

Favorite Podcasts of 2014
Gilmore Guys
Planet Money
Mormon Stories
The Cultural Hall

Favorite Movies Seen in 2014:
The Lego Movie
Into the Woods
Guardians of the Galaxy
Dumb and Dumber To

Concerts and Performances Attended:
Ingrid Michaelson, Royal Oak Music Theater
Barenaked Ladies, Caesars Windsor
Turandot, Detroit Opera House
The Piano Guys, Fox Theater Detroit
Pearl Jam, Joe Louis Arena Detroit

Favorite YouTube Videos:
Carl Poppa – Bad Lip Reading
Shake it Off – 1988 Aerobic Championship – Taylor Swift
Celebrities Read Mean Tweets – Jimmy Fallon
Flirting Academy – Studio C
Gilmore Girls Season 1 – Pop Culture Reference Supercut – Gilmore Guys
Wheel of Musical Impressions with Adam Levine – Jimmy Kimmel

Pop Culture Year in Review: Top Picks Of 2012

best movies music tv of 2012

favorite movies music tv 2012

At the end of (almost) every year, I do a recap of my favorite things in pop culture for the ending year. Because I’m a “culture chick”, my picks revolve around movies, music, and television, it’s a fun time to look over the stuff that most influenced my pop culture addiction for the last 365 days. Here are my 2012 picks.

Favorite Songs of 2012

  • “Disconnected” – Keane
  • “Take a Walk” – Passion Pit
  • “Madness” – Muse
  • “Somebody That I Used to Know” – Gotye
  • “It’s Time” – Imagine Dragons
  • “Too Close” – Alex Clare
  • “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers
  • “Everybody Talks” – Neon Trees
  • “Lights” – Ellie Goulding
  • “Silenced By The Night” – Keane
  • “Glad You Came” – The Wanted
  • “Stereo Hearts” – Gym Class Heroes/Adam Levine
  • “Tongue Tied” – Grouplove
  • “Not Over You” – Gavin DeGraw

breaking bad 2012 castFavorite Television Shows of 2012

  • Breaking Bad
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Mad Men
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Community
  • The New Girl
  • Gossip Girl
  • Weeds

Favorite movies of 2012

  • Les Miserables
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • The Hunger Games
  • Skyfall
  • Wreck-It Ralph
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Brave
  • The Inbetweeners
  • Ted

dumb ways to dieFavorite YouTube videos of 2012

Wicked at Apollo Victoria LondonFavorite Live Performances Attended in 2012

  • Wicked at London’s Apollo Victoria Theater
  • Les Miserables at the Utah Shakespearean Festival
  • Keane in Salt Lake City
  • Stones in His Pockets at the Utah Shakespearean Festival
  • Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Murray City Amphitheater
  • Miscellaneous bands playing at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England
  • Fictionist at Provo Rooftop Concert Series

2010 Year in Review

Sometimes I joke that I’ve been to Hell and back this year. Technically, I went to Hell in 2008. This year just FELT like hell. Despite all the blessing and opportunities I experienced in 2y010, ringing in the new year last night meant cursing “good riddance to 2010.” Here are the highlights…the good, the bad, and the ugly.


Spent the month doing 3x week physical therapy appointments to rehabilitate my back injury. Dealt with our awful moving company until they finally delivered our truck full of items after holding it hostage for a month. Gained a surge of blog followers by writing about Jake the Pilot on The Bachelor. Took an impromptu trip to Panama City, Florida and stayed two nights in the free crew hotel with Taylor. Bought a second car to avoid early morning airport dropoffs. Suffered through 4 abscessed teeth requiring root canals. Had my hip dislocated by my physical therapist, thereby rendering me partially immobile for the next five months.


Celebrated my 30th birthday surrounded by friends and family. Came down with a nasty case of bronchitis the next day, spending the evening in the ER. Spent the next two weeks recovering on various drugs. Went to my first SLC Tweetup. Our house got burglarized by neighborhood boys, but left enough evidence for us to figure out who did it. Continued physical therapy with a reputable clinic, and realized the extent of the injury caused by the bad therapist. Had two MRI’s, which found Tarlov Cysts on my lumbar spine. Started immersing myself in the Salt Lake City social media scene.


Fell asleep with my laptop on my bed and got a third degree burn on my hand. Waited in line 7 hours to audition for NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Rosie auditioned for her first play. Gave up on 3x weekly physical therapy visits and referred to a neurosurgeon for ongoing back/hip/nerve damage issues. The neurosurgeon said the damage was more musculoskelatal than neurological, and referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. Because I wasn’t able to get in with the orthopod until May, I started seeing a chiropractor. Renewed my motivation on my studies for my medical coding certification. Roadtripped to Vegas with Heather to see the John Mayer concert at Mandalay Bay, and scored free front-row VIP concert tickets to see Donny and Marie. Began blogging more openly about my struggles with depression.


Spent Easter weekend in Dallas with my friends Janet and Jonathan. Attended the Muse concert. Wrote the most difficult blog post of my life about my self image. Taylor FINALLY graduated with his bachelor degree from Utah Valley University. Enjoyed a week in southern California with family and witnessed the baptism of my three siblings in law.


Attended Bloggy Boot Camp in Phoenix. My aunt Linda married Bill, a wonderful man she met online. Consulted with the orthopedic surgeon, who confirmed a severe labral tear in my hip girdle, and suggested that I start cortisone injections in my hip. Within a week, I was able to walk for more than 10 minutes without severe pain. Attended Casual Blogger Conference. Started Weight Watchers.


Studied to the point of mental exhaustion. Worked a part time internship with a small internet company. Enjoyed the Imogen Heap concert. Took a quick roadtrip down to California. Attended the Evolution of Women in Social Media Conference. Marveled that I had been living in Utah again for a year.


Buckled down on studies, turned into a social hermit, and made unbelievable progress on my medical coding course. Struggled with loneliness at my husband’s frequent absence from me. Roadtripped with close friends to Las Vegas to see the Keane concert at House of Blues. Rosie performed in Spanish Fork’s production of The Music Man.


Volunteered and attended BlogHer in New York City. Struggled with the most severe depressive episode I’ve ever experienced. Spent a weekend in Park City with my parents and siblings. Recommitted myself to taking care of my mental and physical health. Rosie started 4th grade.


Rosie celebrated her 10th birthday. Our family took a vacation to Ketchikan, Alaska to visit Taylor’s sister Andrea and her husband Dustin. Wrote more about the blackness of my depression.


Studied like a maniac. Celebrated my 6 year anniversary with Taylor. Had the worst non-revving experience imaginable trying to fly standby to/from California over UEA weekend. Our second car died, putting me back on 4am airport driving duty. Wrote a blog post about my weight loss struggles and society’s perceptions of obesity. Dressed up as an annoying mommy blogger for Halloween.


Interviewed for a great job that I heard about on Twitter. Attended Bloggy Boot Camp in St. George. My first nephew was born on 11/11. Supported MoVember. Wrote a silly blog post on iPhone Autocorrect that gave me a #1 search result in Google. Started working out 4x per week.


Struggled with chronic insomnia and hypersomnia. Got my craft on and made lots of homemade gifts for Christmas. Spent a week in California with friends and family. Received offer for my job AT my family’s Christmas party. Began working full-time on December 20th. Battled the worst snow in recent memory. Won 3rd place at my office‘s Ugly Sweater Contest. Enjoyed the last day of 2010 ringing in the new year with Taylor.

Here's to a Happier 2011!