My Favorite Things in 2014

This was a busier than usual holiday season with all the kids and spouses (and a new fiance!) home.  So I’m just now taking a few moments to ponder some favorite things from 2014.  Perhaps you too are finding this Friday more about retrospection than resolutions.  If so, you might also be thinking about some of your favorite things in 2014. With the help of Goodreads, Spotify and my Calendar 5 app here are my top three 2014 things in a range of design and entertainment categories.

Best International Design Things

This was a year of extraordinary travel for me. It’s hard to pick just three highlights, so I fudged a little here.

Macchu Pichu and other wonders of the Andes  - Peru

Swiss Open-Air Museum – Ballenberg, Switzerland

Porsche Museum + Weissenhof Estate – Stuttgart, Germany

Best Domestic Design Things

Matisse: The Cut-Outs (particularly the “Swimming Pool” dining room installation) – MoMA, NYC

Surf Craft – MinGei Museum, San Diego, CA

San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2014

Best Books

Goodreads tells me that I read or listened to 26 books last year.  Looking over the list I could tell you a few things l liked–and some things I didn’t–about every one of them.  But here are the three books published in 2014 that will stay me.

Frog Music - Emma Donoghue

Levels of Life – Julian Barnes

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

Best  Cookbooks

Looking back, I primarily cooked from old favorite cookbooks and blogs. However, three new welcome additions include:

Barefoot Contessa: Make It Ahead - Ina Garten

My Paris Kitchen - David Leibovitz

Plenty - Yotam Ottolenghi

Best Movies

Travel and our mid-year move cut down some of our first run movie watching this year, but three films I expect to recall include:

Beyond the Lights



Best TV

So little time to watch TV, really, though this is the year I figured out what all the buzz about Scandal and The Americans was about. Otherwise, I sat still long enough to watch these new shows/seasons:


Hell on Wheels: Season 4

Jane the Virgin

Best Theater

We saw a number of terrific plays last year including a hilarious/creepy/touching community theater production of Side-Show starring one of M.J.’s work colleagues. Here’s the best of the rest.

The House That Will Not Stand – Berkeley Rep

Tribes – Berkeley Rep

Pygmalion – Cal Shakes

Best Music

According to Spotify’s Year in Music feature, a third of what I listened to last year was folk-pop and I mostly listened to it on Tuesday.  Go figure.  Right now I’m writing this post to a new playlist of unknowns that Spotify has produced for me based on my 2014 history.  Lots of folksy pop tunes—pleasant, not-too-demanding stuff to evoke a mood while I think about other things.  Here are three artists and songs that stood out from the lyrical hushed emotions that were apparently the soundtrack of my 2014:

Mary Lambert – Jessie’s Girl

Noah Gundersen – Poor Man’s Son

James Vincent Morrow – Cavalier

Best Live Music (including Musical Theater)

Though I heard lots of good performances in my church community we didn’t attend too many other concerts or musicals (with the exception of the VERY BAD Idina Menzel vehicle “If/Then” on Broadway) this year.  These three were terrific, nevertheless:

Glen Hansard – Fox Theater, Oakland

Into the Woods – San Francisco Playhouse

The California Revels “An American Journey” – Scottish Rites Theater, Oakland


Looking forward to discovering some new favorite things with you in 2015.


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  1. Posted January 2, 2015 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the recommendations!

    • kathryn
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome!

  2. Michelle
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Haven’t we talked this year? I’m just listening to Station Eleven and can’t believe I didn’t find this earlier. What we need to speak about — Noah. It looked so horrific, I stayed away.And I agree with you about the open air museum. As with all things Switzerland, not enough time.

    • kathryn
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Noah was a big surprise to me. I’m not a big Russell Crowe or Jennifer Connelly fan and they were both terrific in it. Surprisingly literal and yet inventive. Check it out! And I’m so glad you found Station Eleven on your own. Sister Book Club soon?!

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Kathryn Pritchett

writes about Things Elemental — where we find shelter, why we connect, what sustains us and how we strut our stuff.