creativity takes courage

Top 10 Amazing re/discoveries of 2016

Everyone enjoys a list of things from time to time.

I know you’ve spend some time reading pointless lists of random things on Buzzfeed. We all have done it before.

During 2016 I decided to compile a list of amazing discoveries or rediscoveries. These are movies and shows I watched, tools I used for my web design work, singers I enjoyed listening and YouTube channels I subscribed.

So, without any further ado, here is the list:

10. Invision

I discovered Invision in 2015 actually, but last year I truly started to explore and use most of the features of this amazing prototyping tool. In my humble opinion, this is the perfect platform to create designs (UI and UX) for projects (websites, mobile apps, web apps, you name it). It is super easy to use and it has a great balance between a smart user interface design and powerful resources, such as: importing and syncing files, inspiration boards, real-time collaboration, project management systems (integrated with JIRA and Basecamp) and user testing.

Right now I’m fascinated with a new project the company is developing, called Inspect, which tries to bridge the gaps between design and development. Click here to watch a video and read more about it. I believe this has the potential to be another game changer.

9. Serendipity (Movie)

Combine the beauty of Kate Beckinsale with the funny and witty John Cusack and surround them with a crazy love story. This is the simple and yet amazing formula of Serendipity.

In 2015 I discovered there’s nothing like a woman to shake up your world and change everything you thought you knew, and the movie shows exactly how that works. Faith and destiny are the main subjects of this movie, sprinkled with great drops of humor and beautiful scenes of New York and San Francisco. I highly recommend watching it (it is available on Netflix in the US).

8. Single by 30 (YouTube Red show)

There are two reasons why this is a great finding for 2016. First, this is the only YouTube Red original show that I was able to watch and truly enjoy. Second, it is done by Wong Fu Productions, a great creative group from San Diego who started on YouTube and has been developing amazing content, including another awesome movie called Everything Before Us.

Single by 30 tells the story of Peter and Joanna, two high school friends that make an innocent agreement when they are young — If they are single by the time they turn 30, they agreed to get married. Years later, they find one another once again and are confronted with their pact and current lives. It is a great take on modern relationships and the tricky feelings that come with love and friendship.

You do need a YouTube subscription to watch it, but you can start the free trial and binge watch the current season 1 episodes.

7. Kina Grannis

Of course, I discovered Kina Grannis by watching Single by 30, which in a way is sad, because I just wish I knew her way before. Kina has been posting YouTube videos for almost a decade now. She is a great singer (she sings in the show as well, obviously) and is just a beautiful soul.

She publishes original songs and also covers on her YouTube channel. One song I really like is called Too Soon. I don’t know what it is, but listening to her sweet and soothing voice just brings me peace and comfort. Listen to her, you’ll see what I mean.

6. School of Life

Imagine if there was a life manual. We all want one from time to time, right? So, this is THE one. “The School of Life is a place to step back and think intelligently about central emotional concerns”. They develop amazing content: books, articles, videos, games, workshops and more to teach us about relevant and significant issues we face on our daily lives.

However, I want to focus on their YouTube channel. The videos, mostly narrated by philosopher and co-founder Alain de Botton, talk about a number of topics: education, work, sex, love, emotions and more. It also highlights several important philosophers and thinkers (from Socrates to Lacan), and also brings up current issues and situations, such as globalization, politics and how technology affects our lives. It is fascinating and you’ll definitely learn something.

5. Divi by Elegant Themes

This is a major rediscovery for 2016. The Divi theme is basically a WordPress builder that allows anyone to build amazing websites, with a very easy to use interface. I’ve used Divi in the past, but now it is in a completely different level.

In 2016, Elegant Themes introduced version 3.0, bringing full front-end and live content editing. Their modular interface is fast, super reliable and fully customizable. Divi helped me build several websites last year and I intend to continue to use it and learn more about it.

The company also maintains one of best documentation sites I have ever seen, with podcasts and video tutorials to help you find your way. Elegant Themes seems committed to continue development for this great platform and I’m excited to see what they will bring in the future.

4. 500 Days of Summer (Movie)

I could easily write a full post just about this movie alone. 500 Days of Summer… Oh my god, what a movie!

I watched this movie on a plane, on my way to Panama. It was the perfect way to spend the three hour flight. So much so, that I watched it again on the way back.

As the movie states right in the beginning, “this is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story”. It is a beautiful story of unrequited love, done in a way that I have never seen in my life.

The movie uses a counter that goes back and forth during 500 days and we discover the story of this weird couple played by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The movie has incredible montages and a wonderful soundtrack. The visual effects and storytelling techniques are just super impressive. If you haven’t seen it yet add it to the top of your list right now. If you have seen it, watch it again.

3. Sia

The best music rediscovery of the year. Period.

Seriously, I lost count of how many times I listened to her songs last year. It has been on repeat for months on my playlists. I can clearly remember listening to Chandelier back in 2014 in a car with a friend in San Diego. I didn’t give much attention then, but the sound stayed in my brain.

Last year, after watching a funny impersonation done by Celine Dion on Jimmy Fallon, I decided to revisit Sia’s music. What can I say? I haven’t left her world since. I have gone back in time and watched/listened to most of her performances in Australia and my strongest recommendation is to listen to this full album: Some People Have Real Problems. You’ll thank me later.

2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

We are almost there! Right before the year was over we received a gift from JK Rowling. The story of New Scamander, his trip to America and a new port of entry into the Wizarding World. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the first of five movies telling this incredible new journey, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

The movie allowed fans to obsess once again with the magical world we know and love, but now it is expanding our knowledge and opening the doors for the story of Dumbledore and Grindelwald. I’m so excited about these movies I can’t even express it into words. Again, I’ll have to talk more about this and Harry Potter with other posts in the future, otherwise this list will never end.

1. Horace and Pete

Do you wanna have a complete new experience in your life? Just start watching Horace and Pete. Don’t ask me questions, don’t look for a trailer or just some bits of the first episode. Go, download and watch the first episode, and then download the rest.

Horace and Pete is a new show created, written, and directed by Louis C.K along with an amazing cast of outstanding actors such as Alan Alda, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco and Jessica Lange. The story happens in a bar, called Horace and Petes’ that has been around for 100 years.

The show touches on a plethora of topics such as: politics, mental health, abortion, racism, sexism, religion, love, the Internet, vulnerability, parenting, death, gender issues, alcoholism and more. It’s beautiful, comical and tragic at the same time.

Louie really produced something marvelous here and I highly recommend watching it in the way he intended. Just start and see how you feel.

That’s all folks! I hope you enjoyed it and discovered something new!