Lenny Letter's Best Stuff of 2015

The Lennys pick out all their favorite things from this year.

The best part about the end of the year, other than the holiday break, and the positive vibes that come with a new year, when everything seems possible, is making lists about the BEST things that the year brought. Here's the official "Best of 2015" from the whole Lenny crew. See you next year!

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Dianca London, Assistant

Best Book: The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, Jessica Hopper
Jessica Hopper's debut collection is more than a primer, it's the cornerstone of a new canon of music journalism that's refreshingly devoid of misogyny and patriarchal pitfalls. Hopper's collection is basically the Holy Bible for music lovers, especially for those of us with a passion for feminism, emo, and thought-provoking pop criticism.

Best Music: Sexwitch
Sexwitch, the recent collaboration between Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan and prog rockers TOY, is a perfect mix psych and '70s rock nostalgia. Released back in August, the outfit's self titled debut stays true to its namesake with memorably trippy cuts like "Ha Howa Ha Howa" and "Helelyos." Aside from being really fun, their album is just another reminder of why Khan is the raddest.

Best Etsy Shop: Eradura
I am addicted to Etsy. I'm mostly a compulsive window shopper, but when I do commit to clicking "add to cart," it's usually from this shop. Featuring hand dyed handkerchiefs, banners, and hand embroidered patches of rabbits, skulls, and moths, Eradura's offerings are the perfect impulse buy or midweek pick-me-up.

Doreen St.Félix, Editor-at-Large

Best Twitter Account: @Nurserycrimes
When my friend Sarah and I text in the early mornings, we tend to send each other tweets in lieu of actual communication. @Nurserycrimes (I mean, you can tell the content is fire based on the @ alone) is one of our favorite timelines to vibe on. Here's a perfect one.

Best Vamp Tool: Nars Train Bleu
You know that upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio movie where he traipses through the arctic wilderness on the mission of a life time? That was me, looking for a tube of this lip color. It was sold out everywhere Fellow brown girls: meet your vamp.

Best Indulgence: The Baths!
I grew up spending a lot of time in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, a predominantly Russian-American neighborhood, so I'd always walked past bathhouses but was too nervous to go in. I started going to one in lower Manhattan this fall and its changed, my hair, skin, and life. Nothing like a 140 degree room to purge your body of all sorts of impurities, from dirt to stress. Find the local no-nonsense bathhouse in your city and get lifted.

Best Music: Erykah Badu's mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone
My brilliant friend Rawiya wrote a brief exegesis on the mixtape, a conceptual music offering built around the anxiety and wonder of the smartphone age. Humorous, sexy, witty—this perfect musical trip summarizes 2015 while prophesying about the year to come.

Best Podcast: Another Round.
Heben and Tracy are going to rule the world. If you don't know, now you know.

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Laia Garcia, Associate Editor

Best New Discovery (To Me): Yoga
I started doing yoga after a break-up when I was not necessarily in the best state of mind. After a few months of punishing my body with an hour and a half sessions of sweltering hot Bikram yoga, I decided the punishment was enough and gave regular yoga a chance even though it had never been in my list of "things to try," and I always thought I would never get caught dead doing it. Well, guess what, either I'm dead or I grew up because honestly I love it and when I don't get to class I actually feel the difference. Whatever, I'm a hippie now and I'm ok with it.

Best Song Lyric: "'Cause I'm only a man/ I do what I can" Grimes, "Kill v. Maim"
Grimes' new record Art Angels is magnificent, and "Kill v. Maim" is a perfect song to listen to during pretty much any event in your life. I'm singing this bit in my head often, especially when there's a man doing something stupid on the news (all the time).

Snacks: Tate's Cookies
Tate's Cookies are the most perfect cookies in the world and I am so mad I have lived on this earth for 31 years and have just now discovered them. They are crispy, not chewy, and just the right amount of sweet. My love for their "Chipless Wonders" (I guess a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips?) made my boyfriend call me a NERD but he's not wrong and I don't care.

Best Party Decor Idea: Bowls of Cigarettes
Everyone lost their shit when the Post reported that Mary-Kate Olsen's wedding to Olivier Sarkozy had been a "smoky affair," with literal bowls of cigarettes at every table. I quit smoking three years ago (it's bad for you!), but I can't think of anything that's more of a giant middle finger to all rules of decorum and etiquette and I just can't help but love it. Now if I could only see a picture of that damn wedding dress.

Jessica Grose, Editor in Chief

Best Grown-up Book: Ghettoside, by Jill Leovy.
An amazing journalistic account of police work, systemic racism, and violence in Los Angeles.

Best Kids Book: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, Dan Santat
About an imaginary moppet named Beekle and his quest to find his person, a little girl named Alice.

Best Dress: Oversized Jersey Dress, COS
I love a fancy muumuu.

Best Snack: Asher's Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels.

Best Necklace: Lizzi Fortunato's Red Double-Take Necklace.
I keep meaning to splurge on it but haven't yet.

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Ericka Naegle, Lenny at Large

Best Beverage: La Croix Sparkling Water in Pamplemousse (grapefruit).
Thankfully it has no sugar or artificial ingredients, because we go through cases of this stuff in the office. Oh, and it's great for cocktails too! Like when you're making a Negroni punch and you "forget" to buy the Prosecco in the recipe because you don't want to spend the $ $ $.

Best Album: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, Courtney Barnett
This album is on a lot of year-end lists - I'm no renegade. But I've had a year of ups and downs and through it all, I've always found my way to this album and its simple, evocative lyrics and 90s grunge musicality. Here I find joy, humor, solace, sadness, surliness, absurdity - but most of all the feeling that I'm not in this alone.

Best Place to Visit: Tokyo, Japan
I've had the good fortune to visit Tokyo this year. It's a city full of surprises and discoveries. And while it can get expensive, there is no shortage of amazing and affordable food (Google "Ramen Street") or sites to visit (the Meiji shrine enchanted me). Try a purikura photo booth and buy some super trendy pom pom earrings and be a Japanese teen for a day.

Best Thing to Cook: Mussels!
I love to cook but fear most meat and fish. This year I discovered mussels, which are sustainable, healthy, pretty cheap, and impossible to mess up. There are tons of recipes online, but essentially you cook some stuff in a big pot (tomatoes, garlic, herbs, etc., plus a liquid like white wine, broth or coconut milk), add the mussels and cook for a few more minutes. When they pop open, they're done! Enjoy your mussels, dunk some bread in the broth, feel fancy and accomplished.

Ben Cooley, CEO

Best (Audio)Book: Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
My favorite way to read anything longer than a newsletter is to listen to it on my phone. And my favorite thing to listen to is writers reading their own personal memoirs. My favorite this year was Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The urgency and truth in his voice is mesmerizing. As a man, as a dad, as a White-American there was a lot there for me to deal with.

Best Recipe: Marinated Buffalo Mozarella and Tomato, Ottolenghi
My favorite go to recipe for the year is an old one from Ottolenghi. It is so easy to make and everyone thinks you're a genius when you whip it up in 7 minutes. Better when tomatoes are in season but still worth trying. Replace the fennel seeds with fennel pollen to really blow minds.

Best New Thing: The Sharing Economy
I've spent most of this year between my home in LA and my office in Bklyn. I hate hotels and have stayed in practically a dozen different Airbnb's all around Manhattan and Brooklyn. It's been awesome. But for all their hype, Uber and Airbnb hosts and drivers aren't really sharing anything, they're just short term renters. Homeexchange.com on the other hand is the real thing. I've had several families stay at my place (and take care of my cat) totally for free this year and it's been an amazingly positive experience. That's the sharing economy.

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Jenni Konner

Best Podcast: You Must Remember This
This year I went mad for YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS. It's all tales of old Hollywood as lulled to you by the dulcet tones of Katrina Longworth. I listened to about 50 of these over the course of two months commuting around Los Angeles and it put me in a very Raymond Chandler state of mind.

Best App: Poetry
I think I was too cynical in my younger years to truly be able to love poetry purely. Not so now. You "spin" the App and host of poems comes up. Some audio, some visual. Always surprising. It beats the crap out the daily inspirational bullshit on Insta (though i kinda like that too).

Best Human: Zoe Kazan
We had the great fortune to work with Zoe Kazan this year on a pilot we made and we all fell in love with her. She is a truly gifted actor (but we knew that) and a gorgeous writer and a deeply smart and special magical person in the world.

Lena Dunham

Best TV: I went crazy for Difficult People, Project Greenlight and Scream Queens. While very different tonally, they all explore the prickly underside of human nature with comic flair and precision and pull no punches about exploding gender, race and sexuality.

Best Books: I went crazy for emerging female novelists this year, plunging into Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont, Animals by Emma Jane Unworth, and The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein. And while I can't call my friend Miranda July emerging, she is a brilliant lady who wrote a brilliant debut novel, The First Bad Man.

Best Music: Thank you Adele, The Weeknd, Dej Loaf and Charlift for filling my year with sensual grooves

Best Random Things: In 2015 I became obsessed with squeeze-y packets of apple sauce for babies (amazing snack because babies have impeccable taste), Bio-K probiotic shots because my stomach is in knots, lady Uber drivers, and custom suits by Brooklyn's Bindle & Keep (just ordered a hot pink one! Double breasted!)

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