Top 14 of 2014

The year is coming to an end, so instead of our usual monthly round-up we thought we’d give you a little list of our favorite things from the past year. From the serious to the silly, these are a few of the things that made our 2014!

wrold-cup, usa, tannen-maury, new-york-daily-news
TANNEN MAURY/EPA, Via New York Daily News

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL: First things first: we are sports fans. You can’t grow up in Louisville, KY, and not enjoy a bit of sporting competition (and by a bit we mean bitter rivalries that rip families, and blogging partners, apart). So of course we were not immune to FIFA World Cup fever. Everyone loves a little patriotism now and then, and even if soccer will never be as big here in the USA as it is everywhere else, for a few glorious weeks we did our best to learn our offsides from our onsides and our corner kicks from our PKs. The month of football left us with pride in our sporting hearts, a longing for the 2016 Olympics, and a renewed love for the beautiful game.

nothing-much-to-do, hypable
© Lane Francis Worrall, Via Hypable

FLAMANGOES UNITE: We love web series. We are millennials, after all, so most of our entertainment is consumed via the Internet. Some of our favorites this year include PBS Digital’s The Art Assignment and Shipwrecked Comedy’s Kissing in the Rain (Dear Internet, Please put Mary Kate Wiles in all of the things. K thanks bye.), and of course we are suckers for the newly minted “Vlog Adaptations of Classics” genre that combines two of our favorite forms of media. The highlight of this past year was Kiwi gem Nothing Much to Do, a vlogseries adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. In it creators the Candle Wasters give both Beatrice and Benedick vlogs through which to vent their mutual hatred/confusion/ohshitisthislove, and hilarity ensues. Have you burned through it already? Not to worry: The team already has a sequel in the works for next year, this time tackling Love’s Labour’s Lost!

Via ET Online
Via ET Online

STARBUCKS LOVERS: 2014 was a great year for music. From the Secret Sisters and Lake Street Dive to Ingrid Michaelson and Watsky, oodles of our favorites released new albums this year that had us jamming, grooving, and dancing around in our underwear. But hands down the number one album that provided the soundtrack to our year is the one named for the year of our birth: Taylor Swift’s “1989.” We are lifelong fans of T. Sweezy, and we were hesitant about her foray away from her country roots into the pop landscape (not normally Z&S’s favorite milieu). But as soon as the first drum beats of “Shake It Off” hit our ear drums, we were hooked. Our motto has always been that there are very few ills in this world that can’t be cured with a good kitchen dance party, and “Style,” “Blank Space,” and more have helped us shake off all of the past year’s cover letters, romantic frustrations, and shrinking bank balances. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate y’all. We’re just gonna shake.

veronica-mars, movie, kristen-bell
© Warner Brothers

MARSHMALLOW POWER: Once in a blue moon, a miracle happens. A loved one who left your life far too soon, ripped from your grasp before your story was complete, comes back to you, no worse for wear, full of nostalgia and inside jokes and bursting with new adventures. And so it came to pass, on March 14, that Veronica Mars returned to our lives. Fandoms are powerful stuff, y’all, and through the power of Kickstarter we the fans of Veronica, Logan, Wallace, Mac, and the gang brought back our favorite tiny blonde one in all her sassy glory. Since then, there have been books, there have been spin-offs, and we can’t wait to see what other gems of genius Rob Thomas (writer, not musician) has in store. Honorable Mentions: Camp Takota (#trinity) and The Fault in Our Stars, for taking a beautiful and heart-breaking book and not ruining it with Hollywood.

beautiful, broadway
© Joan Marcus

SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL: Though it technically opened in 2013, Beautiful, the amazing show chronicling the life and songwriting career of Carole King, has been the soundtrack to our days and our inspiration in tough times throughout 2014. Carole, despite her personal hardships, used her awesome lady talents to make her mark on the music industry forever. She gets us through any and all situations by reminding us to “get up every morning with a smile on your face, and show the world all the love in your heart.”  Honorable Mentions: Violet (Because Sutton Foster on a Southern road trip singing the infectious score of Jeanine Tesori? Yes please.) / Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London (Scout’s favorite musical plus Scout’s favorite leading man, with bonus Catherine Tate. OUR SOULS FOR A CAST ALBUM!) / Fly By Night at Playwrights Horizons (The sweetest, most beautiful show Zelda has seen in a while, which despite its tragic ending made the world seem a little brighter. Again, where is our cast recording?!)

there-gose-the-neighborhood, against-the-grain, craft-beer
© Robby Davis, via Dribble

CILANTRO AND PROMISES: Allow us to introduce There Gose The Neighborhood: A collaboration beer by Louisville brewery Against the Grain and Chicago-based Aviary and Fountainhead that we tried on a whim one afternoon at our local craft bar. With notes of red pepper and lime, it tastes of cilantro and promises, and would pair excellently with tacos from our favorite Brooklyn joint and a summer breeze.

serial, podcast, new-yorker
Via the New Yorker

MAIL…KIMP: On January 13, 1999, Hae Min Lee, a senior at Baltimore’s Woodlawn High School, disappeared. A month later, her body was discovered in a city park. She had been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. Fifteen years later, “This American Life”’s Sarah Koenig decided to tell their story, week by week, investigating and reporting along the way. And Zelda (along with scores of other people) became obsessed. Our only complaint about Serial? Twelve episodes was not enough. Honorable Mention: The kooky British duo Men In Blazers were Scout’s go-to comedic commentators during the aforementioned World Cup, and they continue to share their love of “Sockah!,” Guinness, and America (fuck yeah!) on their weekly podcast.

nerdist, youtube, trinity, grace-helbig, hannah-hart, mamrie-hart
Via Nerdist

#NOFILTER: We the writers of Zelda & Scout believe in a Holy Trinity, forged in the pixels of YouTube, and responsible for so much of our happiness. This year, Hannah Hart, Grace Helbig, and Mamrie Hart did us one better, translating the brilliance of their YouTube channels onto the written page. My Drunk Kitchen, Hannah’s cookbook slash general life guide, and Grace’s Guide, the never-judgy road map to pretending to be a grown-up that we didn’t know we needed, quickly shot straight to the top of our wish lists. And we cannot wait for the cocktails and confessionals to come in Mamrie’s You Deserve A Drink (out in 147 days, but who’s counting). Honorable Mention: Yes Please, because Amy Poehler. We need no other reason.

twin-peaks, laura-palmer, 25-years
Via the Verge

DAMN FINE NEWS: A couple of years ago, Scout’s friend Camden pulled her into the deep Lynchian hole that is “Twin Peaks.” To say that Scout loves “Twin Peaks” would not be accurate: It is not a show that you love, but that somehow becomes a part of who you are, so much so that you will sit through “Fire Walk With Me,” for fun. Thanks to Showtime and original show creators Mark Frost and David Lynch, the show will return for a nine-episode arc in 2016, honoring the series finale lines: “I’ll see you again in 25 years.

gilmore-girls
Via Dancers & Dreamers

OY WITH THE POODLES ALREADY: The world gave us a great gift this year. “Gilmore Girls,” our favorite show in the history of ever, joined the ranks of Netflix. Even though we already own all 7 seasons on DVD, and have it ripped onto our computers, the ability to watch Lorelai and Rory full-size on our TV screens made everything better. As an added bonus, the resurgence of attention on this under-appreciated series suddenly made new fans out of so many of our friends, allowing us to yell “No, it’s National Baptism Day. Tie your tubes, idiot!” or proclaim “I’m attracted to pie. That doesn’t mean I feel the need to date pie,” and not be met with blank stares. And with “Friends” joining the streaming world come January 1st, we’ll basically have no reason to leave our couches ever again.

malala-yousafzai, antonio-olmos
© Antonio Olmos, Via Parade

GIRL POWER: There was a lot to be unhappy about this year. It seemed like every day brought more stories of shootings and plane crashes, epidemics and beheadings (and being in the newspaper biz, Zelda was intimately acquainted with them all). But then there was Malala Yousafzai, whose passion and bravery inspires awe in all of us (and leaves Jon Stewart speechless). She is the definition of girl power, and her Nobel Peace Prize is well-deserved, making her the only accomplished 17-year old who doesn’t make us resentful and insecure about our own lives.

brooklyn-museum, swoon, submerged-motherlands
Via Brooklyn Museum

A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN (MUSEUM): Maybe Scout is a bit biased, as she is employed by the venue that hosted street artist Swoon’s climate change-inspired installation “Submerged Motherlands,” but even after having spent four days a week answering visitor questions about the show, this immersive environment built around a sixty-foot textile tree never ceased to amaze her. Zelda, who is completely unbiased in the matter, was also in awe of the jaw-dropping scale and intimate detail of this portrait of a ravaged, fantastical city and its people, so we think we can officially qualify this one as a win.

the-100
© The CW

WHATEVER THE HELL WE WANT: We watch a lot of television here at Z&S — our mutual love of “Gilmore Girls” is one of the cornerstones of our friendship — but every year we discover a few things that stand out more than others. We binge-watched the second season of “Orange is the New Blackwith the best of them, and Scout fell hard for the gritty and cinematic “Peaky Blinders.” We wept when the adorable “A to Z,” and with it Cristin Millioti and Ben Feldman, threatened to be booted from our small screens. But our top choice for TV this year came to Scout on a whim of a Netflix recommendation, and now she’s obsessed (and recently sucked Zelda in with her). Mentioned in our November round up, “The 100 is a sci-fi show set ninety-seven years after a nuclear apocalypse which forced the human race to relocate to space. Unable to live much longer in their rapidly deteriorating space station, the leaders send 100 juvenile delinquents to the ground to find out if the earth is habitable. The fast-paced show is filled with complex, morally grey characters and explores some intense themes. It’s addictive and it must be saved (Vanity Fair agrees). Everyone go watch it now.

bourbon, mint-juleps, zelda-and-scout, jennifer-harlan, jen-harlan

YOU’RE THE TOP: This year has been a wild, topsy-turvy adventure, and one of the brightest spots in the whole mess has been all of y’all. This blog started as a conversation between two friends over bourbon and barbecue, and the way it has grown and changed since then has been a delight. We’ve had so much fun along the way, and we hope you have too. Here’s to many more adventures — Southern, New York, and otherwise — in 2015!

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