If you didn’t already think time was a social construct, the last six months have probably changed your mind. The movie you said you watched last weekend? That was two months ago. And the tweet you thought you saw last week? It was posted today. Since we’re all online literally all day and have nothing better to do than run a new meme into the ground hours after it’s created, new trends come and go faster than ever before. While the banana bread and sourdough baking phase is probably seared so permanently into your memory that you’ll be telling your grandkids about it when they ask about 2020, there are probably a few trends and moments that have already been erased.
The Carrot Challenge
Approximately two days into quarantine, everyone was apparently already so bored that they resorted to an Instagram challenge where they tagged their friends to draw a carrot on their story. It is truly remarkable to look back at this moment in time and realize how naïve we were that we could have possibly thought that was the worst it was going to get.
This feels like something from an entirely different time, back when there was still hope (aka mid March). Thanks to one of the first TikTok trends to pop up in quarantine, people everywhere were using the 20 minutes that they’d usually spend commuting to the office to whisk coffee into a froth. Given that I haven’t heard anything about this in a few months, it seems like people have now realized that time is better spent sleeping in.
this quarantine is really testing the limits of what photos make the cut for a throwback post on instagram
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) May 8, 2020
Another long-forgotten trend is the “Until Tomorrow” era, a time when you couldn’t open Instagram without seeing a feed full of embarrassing photos, bad selfies, and baby pictures (that would be taken down the next day to avoid total humiliation). Personally I think taking your photo down is a weak move, since true Instagram baddies have had embarrassing photos up since 2010 and never took them down no matter how bad (and over-filtered) they were.
“First Photo” Challenge
As I’m sure all the other single people quarantining alone would agree, this challenge felt like a personal attack. Seriously, couples posting their first pics together? Like, did I ask for every other Insta story to remind me that I’ll be riding out a pandemic alone and getting dressed up for FaceTime dates for the foreseeable future?
Remember that week (or was it a month? Who knows) where you got a notification every five minutes that someone was going live on Instagram? Including the girls from high school “running their own businesses” showing you how to use their essential oils? My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who accidentally joined someone’s live where there were only two other people watching. Leaving one of those is almost as uncomfortable as the split second of eye-contact you make with your boss every time you exit a Zoom meeting.
“See 10, do 10?” Yeah, I’m good thanks. I haven’t done a push-up since I was forced to for the fitness test in elementary school, and I won’t be picking those back up because someone tagged me in an Instagram story.
The memory of Tiger King feels like a fever dream. Like, we were really so desperate for entertainment at that point that we just ate that sh*t up and said “NEXT, PLEASE.” It’s kind of incredible that we got desensitized to the absurdity of every single event that happened in that series so quickly. But given how f*cked up everything has become since then, it was good preparation for coping with the rest of the year.
Zoom Happy Hours
if you're still scheduling 14 zoom happy hours every weekend you can chill, we all just want to sleep
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) April 24, 2020
Realizing that having a Zoom happy hour every night of the week does not make up for real-life interaction was a breakthrough that took longer than it should have. Playing drinking games at home is fun when you have somewhere to go afterward, not when you’ll just be sitting in your childhood bedroom, totally wasted, after you shut your laptop.
The “One New Thing A Day” Phase
I’ve been thinking a lot about the people who started quarantine by saying “I’ll be making one new cocktail a day!” or “Every day I’m going to make one new piece of art!” Where’d they go? Last I heard from them it was day 14 I think. Are they okay?
Instagram challenges and TikTok trends will come and go, but you know what will never go out of style? Wearing a f*cking mask.
Images: Mollie Sivaram / Unsplash; bigkidproblems / Instagram; betchesluvthis / Twitter
Another year, another bout of really f*cking stupid food trends on the horizon. Lest we forget the year that cauliflower took over the world in the form of rice, pizza, mashed potatoes, and any other carb that brought us joy. Do you remember when we convinced ourselves that milkshakes with towers of desserts balanced precariously on the rim were a good idea? How about that horrible year that everyone was “eating for the Insta”? How about we eat to like, maintain consciousness? Call me old-fashioned, guys. But much as 2020 has managed to fit a dumpster fire of a year in only 9 days, some of the food trends coming our way aren’t going to be that great, either. But others I can’t wait for. You win some, you lose some. After perusing what experts across the internet have to say about it, here are the top 2020 food trends we expect to see f*cking everywhere this year. God save us all.
1. Mocktails And “Soft” Alcohol
Apparently, 2020 will see the rise of mocktails as less something to make fun of and more something that your bestie orders at the bar without trying to be funny or ironic. I guess the good news is that your pregnant friend can still feel like she’s having fun, which means she has one less excuse to bail on girls’ night. The bad news is, from my experience, those bougie juices are gonna run you close to the price of a cocktail anyway. According to Today, “Non-alcoholic bars are popping up all across the country and zero-proof concoctions with delicious juice and tea blends may become just as popular as a glass of wine when it comes to unwinding after work.” Hmm. I’m not sure if a hibiscus kombucha tea-tail will be able to take the edge off a day of meetings and marathon conference calls quite like a gin and tonic, but here’s to trying.
2. Nashville Hot Chicken
I have to hand it to the South: when it comes to comfort food, they know what the f*ck is up. It looks like Nashville Hot Chicken, a southern staple, is going mainstream in 2020, giving me the excuse I didn’t need to eat fried chicken every day from now on. For a dish that was literally born out of rage and spite, the addition of this hot chicken to the KFC menu last year predicts big things for 2020. Fried chicken coated in either pepper oil or crusted with spices then dunked in more hot sauce sounds like a phenomenal way for me to blow out all my hangovers this year.
3. Harissa Everything
Remember the year of Sriracha? It was on pizza, in your pasta, in desserts, and played a starring role in one of my nightmares that I’m still working through in therapy. This year, expect the same fervor around harissa, a spice paste originally hailing from Africa. Named a food trend by TIME in 2015, harissa actually died off a bit between then and now, but is expected to make a comeback. Uber Eats is reporting that orders for dishes containing the spice paste have been on a sharp upturn, so stay tuned for this condiment to end up in nearly everything this year.
4. Zero-Waste Food
Suck it, boomers. Although most of our parents’ generation was all about styrofoam and like, destroying the planet, millennials are clearly here to save the day with zero-waste food taking a firm grip in our collective food culture in 2o20. According to Insider, “Composting and avoiding purchasing foods with excess or wasteful packaging are all ways that home cooks and restaurant chefs will be incorporating the zero-waste trend into the kitchen in 2020.” I’m personally curious how this is going to affect my addiction to GrubHub, PostMates, and Uber Eats, all of which require restaurants to have a lot of to-go packaging (some of which is less green than others).
5. Veganism And Plant-Based Meat
Good news: Vegans will have even more of a reason to share their lifestyle choices with you in 2020, thanks to the huge push toward alternative, lab-grown, and plant-based “meats”. If you can get a fast food behemoth like Burger King to sell a burger made of plants (and a lot of unpronounceable ingredients), you’re well on the way to getting “regular” Americans (see: rednecks) to try something other than deep-fried cow. Spoiler alert: I’m betting there will be a HUGE pushback once people realize the amount of chemicals that are used to make plant-based meats.
6. Healthy Comfort Foods
You know what I want? HEALTHY mac and cheese. Good-for-me fried chicken. Pizza that boosts my energy and gives me clear skin. That sentence started out sarcastic, but now it doesn’t sound so horrible. Apparently, 2020 will see the emergence of comfort foods created to be, like, better for us. That means that the decadent, cheesy, greasy goodness you normally associate with self-soothing, sweatpants, and binge-watch sessions could be getting makeovers with vegan meats, alternative butters, and sauces created from (gag) squash and veggies. These are truly the end times.
If you enjoy desserts and colors that just barely occur in nature, boy, is this the trend for you! If you aren’t familiar, ube is a purple yam used mainly in Filipino cooking and desserts. And with
stay at home moms regular people searching the interwebs more than ever for Filipino desserts (see: those tired of the usual Oreo cheesecakes for Jan’s monthly neighborhood get-together), expect to see this weird sh*t everywhere by summer.
8. Alternative Butters And Spreads
According to Whole Foods, the evil empire that allows me to spend my entire paycheck while patting myself on the back for what a great localvore I am: “Think seed butters beyond tahini—like watermelon seed butter—and seasonal products like pumpkin butter year-round. Nut butters beyond cashew, almond, and peanut (hello, macadamia) and even chickpea butters (no, it’s not a new name for hummus).”
Watermelon seed butter? I gotta hand it to some of these
hipsters companies for making use of literal trash and attempting to turn it into something trendy. Hot tip, restaurants: swap that avocado toast for watermelon seed toast and charge $25. Brunch just got a lot bougier. And, probably, grosser. Change my mind!
I’m sure there will be stupider trends than these, and I for one can’t wait to see them takeover our Instagram feeds, one influencer at a time. In the meantime, I’ll be chowing down on hot chicken and watermelon seed spread, waiting for the rest of the world to catch on.
Images: Anna Pelzer, Unsplash; Blake Guidry, Unsplash; Fey Marin, Unsplash; Christoper Williams, Unsplash; Sharon McCutcheon, Unsplash; Megumi Nachev, Unsplash; Giphy (3)
It seems like yesterday that everyone suddenly realized Iceland exists and flew across the world for a weekend getaway, doesn’t it? I actually think I’m the only one of my friends who didn’t book a flight to what looks like, I’m sorry, a miserable time. I’ll keep my freezing cold and aggressively humid conditions in New York, thanks. Clearly, I’m on a different wavelength than literally every other millennial who simultaneously booked this trip. This actually brings up an important question: how do travel destinations become trendy? It’s not like Pangea just split and we are dying to see what that breakup did to the different parts of the world. These places have been around forever, so who decides which ones will become the new hot spots?
Obviously, people in the public eye or anyone with a few thousand Instagram followers can declare something cool and before you can say “tiny sunglasses,” it’s everywhere. Experiences, though, are an entirely different ball game. Are entire countries just doing a rebrand in the hopes of having the next Revolve trip there? The answer is, low-key, yes. It’s all just clever marketing and a little dash of hope. Case in point: I found an article with “top travel trends in 2020” in the title, and I had to click it to get a sense of where all the Bachelor rejects will be Instagramming next year. Some of the predictions only seem viable for the 1%, but dare I say, I hope some actually do find their way down to us mere peasants. *Waves hand in a beckoning motion towards imaginary camera* Let’s go.
After reading that subhead, I assumed this was a “tiny house” situation to which my reaction was “no.” But then I read the subsequent blurb and learned it’s just “Go off grid with just the bare minimum, with the aim of freeing yourself up both mentally and physically and reconnecting with what is around you.” I get taking a little break to enjoy where you are, but the bare minimum? No, thank you. Even though I can barely afford my Spotify Premium account, I’m not about to shell out my hard-earned money to try on minimalism. Isn’t the whole point of staying in a hotel to enjoy luxuries you don’t have in your everyday life? The blurb continues, “Get back to nature and book a stay in a tiny hideout removed from the modern world.” I mean, if the damn PR can’t even dress this up, who can? Is the hotel just Dean Unglert’s van? Asking for a friend.
This word is giving me major Naked and Afraid vibes, and I don’t want to pay to be those things—especially on vacation. I would easily dismiss this as a trend that absolutely no one is doing, except for the “perineum sunning” meme that was all over the internet in early December. In case you missed that, people were advocating for tanning (get this) their buttholes and genitals because, as one woman named Megan put it (of course it was a Megan), doing so “strengthens organs, improves libido, regulates circadian rhythm, boosts mental focus, and increases energy.”
The blurb about the travel trends notes, “Prepare to get your kit off because naked retreats and holidays are on the rise,” citing the opening of London’s first naked restaurant and the fact that “naked yoga retreats are on the hotlist next year” as evidence of this burgeoning fad. And I just have a few questions. Whose hotlist are naked yoga retreats on? How exactly would a naked restaurant pass any sort of health inspection? And what, in god’s name, is a kit, and what does it mean to get it off?
I can already tell I can’t afford this, but here we go. Contrary to what I imagined, luxpeditions aren’t just really expensive hotels, but rather, really expensive experiences. Authentic PR suggests “Book a five night charter yacht trip island hopping!” Yeah, let me just do that! Sorry, am I booking a vacation or auditioning to be the next Below Deck charter guest? Just to see how realistic this was, I sent the article to my best friend’s very rich parents and asked if they’d be interested in any of these trips and her mom wrote back, “Lol. Very funny joke.” So if people like her, people who wear fur coats to the damn drug store, think this is absurd, who is actually going on luxpeditions? More importantly, can you take me with you?
Not that I understand the inner workings of a hipster, but I feel like cruises—no matter what kind—are not hipster by definition. Like, if your natural state of being involves wearing wire-rimmed round glasses (that may or may not have a prescription) and going to bars in Bushwick to drink hard kombucha out of paper or metal straws, I can’t see you being marooned on a boat for days at a time. Not to mention, do hipsters even exist anymore? Haven’t we all moved on to like, VSCO girls and soft girls and the other Gen-Z stereotypes?
So what about the cruise makes it hipster? “There will be Tom Dixon-designed interiors, a tattoo parlor, karaoke studios, an open-air gym, a vinyl record shop curated by Mark Ronson, bars serving craft beer, and all-inclusive restaurants serving vegan Impossible Burgers and CBD cocktails.” First of all, no hipsters know who Tom Dixon is, so you probably just lost a few of them with that opening offer. Secondly, did the creator of hipster cruises just Google “What do hipsters like” and design a giant boat to house it all? All of these features are so aggressively mainstream that even I, a basic bitch, am familiar with them. I can’t imagine the amount of sh*t I’d get if my friends were like “Cool tattoo, where’d you get it?” and I’d be forced to say on a cruise. Right? Are these offerings supposed to be ironic? If so, maybe that will work. Hipsters love irony!
Now, not all of the proposed 2020 travel trends made me raise an eyebrow, and some of them were actually pretty cool. I thought it was only fair that I took a look at the trends I do actually hope become a thing.
Interest piqued! “No longer is it enough just to be a hotel—next year it’s all about experiential stays,” the article says. This means that instead of just having like, a bar and maybe even a rooftop with a couple strategically hung tea lights to take Instagrams at, hotels will lean into providing more well-rounded experiences, like a literary festival, art exhibition, or even an Artist in Residence program. I feel like in theory, this sounds like a good idea, but in practice, I’m still going to feel like an asshole if I spend my entire vacation at my hotel, photo exhibition or no.
Conde Nast Traveler reported, “As the reality of a climate crisis looms, travellers in 2020 and beyond will need to do everything they can to balance the negative impact of their trips with positives.” This can be done by donating money to renewable energy projects; using ethical search engines such as Ecosia Travel, which uses profits to plant trees, to book hotels; and choosing brands that are committed to sustainability. Given that Greta Thunberg was just named TIME‘s Person of the Year, I think naming this a 2020 travel trend is a pretty surefire bet.
I am into this. I imagine a garden hotel to look like the last scene in Moana when she restores the heart of Te Fiti and everything just bursts into bloom. Garden hotels seem like they’d be really popular, since we as a society are now thoroughly unimpressed with flower walls. If your mind just drifted to the ridiculous floral installations in Vegas, think again! These are more lush, natural-looking installations that will make you appreciate nature more than they’ll make you wonder how long it took to make.
Articles like these make me so happy because they make me realize that there are people out here selling these types of things to other people who will actually buy into it. Do these people actually want to take a hipster cruise or were they just lured in by the promise of Tom Dixon’s ability to choose good sofas? Do they regret shelling out an obscene amount of money for these shenanigans or do they feel like they’ve made the wrong choice? So many questions, yet I feel like I’ll never get the answers I need.
Images: Maria Ilves / Unsplash (7); Authentic PR