2014 has been an interesting year in the Brakebill household our biggest high and low probably came around the same time with Lauren’s graduation and our miscarriage. Those events have been rippling through our year as we plan for our future and cope with the loss of an expected child. It’s been another beautiful, fun, hard, and humbling year. I’d like to share some of the things I’ve liked this year. In the spirit of my newsletter, a “thing” can be just about anything.

Things I’ve liked

Proraso Shave Soap

I’m a new convert to this stuff but I already love it. I’ve been doing most of my shaving this year with a safety razor and some soap I bought on Etsy. I could never get a good lather with it. This stuff lathers fantastically and feels great.

Merlin Mann

Back to Work and Roderick on the Line are two of my favorite podcasts of the year. Merlin (and John and Dan) are equal parts helpful, hilarious, and... real humans. I love finding people with absurdly different yet awesome view points and experiences from me.

Coconut Oil

This stuff has so many great uses. My wife frequently uses it as cooking oil. You can add it to your coffee. You can use it as a pre shave oil. I’m sure if you search the internet you’ll find more interesting and uncomfortable uses.

Pen and Paper

I’ve become a bit of a Bullet Journal convert this year. I don’t write down as much as I should and I’m still trying to reach a happy medium between paper tasks and keeping track long term in Things.

Threes and Monument Valley

Two best games of the year by far. Monument Valley is short but it’s just an incredible experience that made me say “whoa” many times. Threes is infinitely playable. I think I’ve played it every single day since it came out.

The Martian

My favorite book of the year by far. One of those ones you read in a day or two because it’s just that good. Can’t wait for the movie.


I’ve raved about them before. They’ve had a rough year as they made some major technical changes and the transition hasn’t been particularly smooth. But even with these issue, the product is still the best thing out there. I wouldn’t be able to manage our budget without it. And their customer support is second to none, which is hard to find in a bank.

J.D. Bentley

One of my favorite writers I’ve found this year. His writing is so thoughtful, concise, and easy to read. If I didn’t contain myself, I would end up sharing every single post he makes.

Trippel Beers

I’ve long been a fan of New Belgium’s Trippel, but I’ve found that as a style the dubbel and trippel are my favorites. High alcohol content. Thick and wheaty. Not super hoppy. Everything I want in a beer.

Tomasino’s Pizza

This is our local pizza joint and it’s quickly become one of my favorites. We still order frequently from Papa John’s, but Tomasino’s pizza is fantastic and it’s topped only by their garlic cheesy knots.

Feed Wrangler / Pod Wrangler

Two products I use on a daily basis for consuming RSS feeds and podcasts. If you are big on these things, the $19 per year is a steal.


One of my most visited websites. Lauren and I are frequently talking about owning/building/renovating a home in the near future and Houzz is filled with education and inspiration. I’m just not someone who can accept “cookie cutter”, so I need more. Maybe not more. Probably less. But a less that is high quality. Houzz is an awesome way to find that.

Elizabeth Evelyn Kirby

Whenever I talk about her I just refer to her as local milk. Her blog and instagram have been fantastic to follow. Beautiful homes and sights. Tasty recipes. And a style that is just... comforting and attractive. And she’s a fellow Tennessean.

Later today or this weekend I’m going to share the podcasts/blogs I’m following heading into the new year. And I’m also going to talk about the shit I want to do or do better this year. Happy New Year y’all.