My Recommendations from 2018

2018 is officially behind us. With today being the first day of 2019, many are attempting to make this year better than the last. I don’t know anyone who woke up this morning saying, “Gee, last year was simply too good. I need this year to be worse.”

With that in mind, I thought I’d do my part to help make your 2019 better. Here are five things I used/watched/discovered last year that I recommend you’ll incorporate into your new year.

NOTE: These are in no particular order.

PODCAST – Mad About Movies

If you like movies, you’ll like this podcast. If you love movies, then you’ll absolutely love this podcast. Three hosts – Kent, Richard, and Brian — release a podcast weekly. They spend the first half of the podcast talking about movies news & rumors. They spend the second half of the podcast talking about a specific movie that was recently released. These guys live in the midwest. They are in their early 30’s. They also love sports. And they definitely don’t take themselves too seriously.

Hmmm… I wonder why I like this podcast so much.

As an added perk, they have a VIP club — which I joined over the summer — that allows me access to bonus episodes and other nerdy things. They also helped inspire this particular blog post as they do a similar feature regularly.

GADGET – Ninja Coffee Bar

I received a Ninja Coffee Bar for Christmas, just as 2017 had concluded. And it was a complete game changer for 2018. In addition to making great regular coffee — in various sizes — it also allows you to make lattes and other special drinks. I thought about doing a demo for this post, but Sofia Vergara has already done several of those.

The irony with this Christmas gift is that my wife — who gave me the present — now uses it just as much as me. And it’s completely changed her life too. If you’re a coffee fiend, this is a must-have in my opinion.

APP – My Fitness Pal

There’s a common misperception that My Fitness Pal is a weightloss app. So when I told people I started using it in 2018, I often received “WTF?” looks. Yes, the app can help you lose weight by counting calories. But it does SO much more.

In my case, I was looking to change my body composition. For years, I had tried gaining muscle mass with little success. Turns out I was never eating nearly enough protein. My Fitness Pal tracks protein, carbs, fats, calories, and more! After filling out a short survey on Day 1, it gave me daily goals for each category. After years of stagnant muscle growth, I gained 10 pounds of muscle in just 90 days.

STREAMING SERVICE – Philo

2018 was the first FULL year I was without a cable/satellite provider. I was still looking for a full-time replacement. I tried Sling, Hulu, DirectTV NOW,and Playstation Vue. All of them had their perks, but none really satisfied us until we discovered something I had literally never heard of before… Philo.

Philo is a relatively new streaming service with a very unique business model. No broadcast networks (which is fine because I get those via antenna.) And no sports channels (which is fine because I got burnt out on sports TV.) The result is a bundle of channels for an extremely low price of just $16 per month.

With Philo, I can watch Food Network, HGTV, History, Discovery, and AMC. My wife can watch her Lifetime and Hallmark. And my son can watch his cartoons. Overall there are 43 channels. They also have a legitimately great user interface and DVR feature.

TELEVISION (3 Shows)

Master of None Poster

a) Master of None (Netflix)
Although no new episodes were released in 2018, I discovered this show earlier this year. And it quickly became one of my favorites. Aziz Ansari’s genius was on full display throughout the 20 episodes. In many ways, this show reminded me of Seinfeld in that one episode had absolutely nothing to do with another. And in some ways, I found it to be even better. The jury is still out on whether a 3rd season will happen or not. I sure do hope so…

Although no new episodes were released in 2018, I discovered this show earlier this year. And it quickly became one of my favorites. Aziz Ansari’s genius was on full display throughout the 20 episodes. In many ways, this show reminded me of Seinfeld in that one episode had absolutely nothing to do with another. And in some ways, I found it to be even better. The jury is still out on whether a 3rd season will happen or not. I sure do hope so…

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Poster

b) The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselĀ (AmazonĀ Prime)
I had this on my cue for a LONG time before I finally gave it a shot, and boy am I glad that I did. Rachel Brosnahan is fabulous as the title character and extremely deserving of all the accolades she’s received. Set in the late 1950’s, I am absolutely enthralled by this period in American history. It’s fascinating. It’s funny. And it’s a true delight.



The Good Place Poster

c) The Good Place (NBC)
Another comedy, yes, I know. And I’m cheating a little here because I’ve been watching The Good Place ever since it first aired in 2016. But it’s still going strong, and I’m still surprised most people don’t know about it. Kristen Bell & Ted Danson are the best 1-2 punch in all of TV. And the supporting cast is also fantastic.

One point I’d like to make about The Good Place… I must applaud them for keeping each season to just 13 episodes. In my opinion, many network shows try to force 22 episodes per season, creating watered-down content. Let’s hope more shows follow this new lead.

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