Tuesday, November 1, 2016

My NaNoWriMo Prep & Planning: 2016

NaNoWriMo is finally upon us, and I am SO. EXCITED.

I've gone all out with my planning this year- planning specific writing times each day, making goals, planning rewards, making playlists, and creating writing triggers. And, since I've been doing so much planning, I figured I'd go ahead and share some of my plans with y'all. I don't know how useful this will be, given that I haven't even started NaNoWriMo yet, let alone won. But, here it is anyway.

I guess the best way to start is by talking a bit about my history with NaNoWriMo and my current project. So, my first year of doing NaNoWriMo was 2 years ago in 2014. That year, I worked on a novel that I've been working on for several years and I got 23,000 words before eventually giving up. I then attempted to do Camp NaNoWriMo in April 2015 and July 2016, working on that same novel, giving up both times after about a week and a half. So essentially, I have been a complete failure at NaNoWriMo every single time I've tried to do it. But this time, I want to be successful. Hence all of the planning. 

This time, I'm going to be working on a completely different story. It's not a new story, but it's one that I haven't touched in several years. I already had a pretty detailed outline written for this story, so I was fortunate enough that I didn't have to do much prep in that area. I do have a full video on the topic so I'll keep this description brief and leave it to video-Kristen to give you the more in-depth details if you're curious. Essentially, this story started out as a Jonas Brothers fanfiction back when I was obsessed with them. Over the years, I've replaced them with a fictional boy band, but the story still totally reads as a very cliche, dramatic Quizilla-esque fanfic. Despite recognizing that I can't really do anything with this story, I love this really ridiculous aspect to it and am really excited about it. Further explanations can be found in the video.


Goals & Rewards

So, I'm going to be basing my daily goals off of the typical NaNoWriMo goals. I'll be trying to write the full 50,000 words, so my daily goal is 1,667 words. I've set up both a planner and a tracker in my bullet journal to keep track of the times I plan to write and my daily/total word count goals. I have a schedule that varies from day-to-day, so I have certain hours specified for writing for each day of the week. For each day, I've scheduled 2 hours of writing time, divided into 1 hour blocks. As you can see in the below picture, there are some times I tried to keep constant, but there are some days when times need to be shifted. I've also added in the possibility of extra writing time, but as long as I focus and reach my hourly goals, I shouldn't need the extra time. In fact, I don't expect to need both full hours every day if I'm really focused. 
On the left are the times I intend to write each day, and on the right is my tracker, where I have daily & overall goals and where I will fill in my actual word count each day.

So now on to the rewards for meeting my goals. I've come up with many different goals to keep myself on track. I have goals/rewards for each hour writing, for reaching my daily goal, and for winning NaNoWriMo. I think these are super helpful to get you through even the days where you don't feel like writing. So I'll lay those out for you as well as why I chose those specific goals.

Overall Goal: Write 50K words & WIN NANOWRIMO!
Reward: PlayStation 4

This is something I've saved for for quite a while, but I'm only up to 2/3 of the price. If I win NaNoWriMo, I'm going to go ahead and splurge for it because I've wanted it for so long. Your reward certainly doesn't have to be so big, but it should be something that will really motivate you to succeed.


Now on to daily and hourly rewards. The big thing for these is that you don't want to choose something that would be overwhelming if you reach your goal every single day. For example, do you really want your daily reward to be Starbucks every day if you have to pay for Starbucks every day? To combat that, I'm using a point system for my hourly and daily goals. Essentially, there will be points attached to each goal that will add up in order for me to "buy" rewards. That way, I reward myself, but I don't have to spend a lot of money on the same things day after day. I don't necessarily know that this will work for everyone, but I think this will be a good method for me. 

Daily Goal: Write 1,667 words
Reward: 5 points

Hourly Goal (for each scheduled writing time): Write 850 words
Reward: 1 point

I made my goal per hour 850 words because that evenly divides my 1667 words between my 2 hour chunks. However, when I do sit down to write for a solid hour, I find that I write somewhere around 1200 words or more, so I have a feeling that it won't take me a full 2 hours each day to get my words, but it will probably give me a chance to get ahead for those days when I inevitably don't feel like writing. 

As far as the points, essentially it's possible for me to earn up to 49 points per week. Honestly, if I get 49 points in one week, I'll give myself a bonus 1 point reward because A- I'd be totally SLAYING NaNoWriMo, and B-50 is such a nice round number. I do have rewards set up at specific point values. For example, buying a new book of my choice is 35 points. So if I meet my daily goal every single day for a week (even excluding hourly goals!), I could purchase a new book if I so desired. But there are also slightly smaller rewards, such as ordering non-fast food takeout for 25 points. 



NaNoWriMo Playlist!



This is the first time I've ever put together a playlist specifically for a project that I'm working on. There have certainly been times when I found myself only listening to certain CDs or artists while writing a story, but I never planned in advance. So, it was incredibly fun to go through my music and compile a list of songs that I feel fit my novel. 

Since I first started this as Jonas Brothers fanfic in jr. high and since it takes place in high school, almost all of the music is stuff that I listened to during that time of my life. Some of it is stuff that specifically fits the tone/plot of my story, while other songs are just there for the mood that they invoke to me-- bringing to mind that specific period of time in my life that I associate with this story. 

Now, before you jump on my case and judge me for some of the music that you find on the playlist (*cough*HannahMontana*cough*), I want to briefly remind you that some of the music on this playlist is not music that I still enjoy and listen to on a daily basis. Very soon, it'll become a staple in my life again because of the mood it invokes, but it's not something I still enjoy. I didn't really want to add some of this music to the playlist but it was way too closely tied to that time in my life and to this specific story for me to not include it.

The playlist is embedded at the beginning of this section for your perusal and listening. I also have a second, smaller playlist. Every song on that playlist comes from this larger playlist, so there's nothing new on there. However, that playlist consists of the 10ish songs that I most closely associate with my story. I'm really excited about these playlists and want to explain exactly why everything was chosen but ya know, spoilers and stuff. And it would take forever to explain all of the 50ish songs on the playlist. But feel free to ask questions and I'll go ahead and link the second, smaller playlist down below this. 




Writing Triggers


Writing triggers are another new thing that I'm going to be trying out this year. I've known for a long time about how certain scents, environments, tastes, etc. can be used as associations for things. For example, if you study for an exam while smelling a certain scent, if you smell that scent again while taking the exam, it can help recall the memories of what you studied. Don't go using this as a way to barely study for an exam and think you're definitely going to do well, but it could be a useful study tool that you can try out and see if it helps with your memory. 

Anyway, my point here is that there are a lot of other things that this can be applied to. For example, if you write at the same place, at the same time every day and light the same candle and drink the same flavor of coffee, it helps to create an entire writing atmosphere and can get you in the mood to write. These type of things are writing triggers-- things that you purposely do while writing to help get you in the mood to write or perhaps even recreate the mood of your novel. Often, these are also things that you only do while writing, so that it forms a habit and association. (I'm not an expert in these psychological matters, but I was a psych minor in my undergrad so hopefully that gives you just the slightest bit of faith in me here). 

Like I said, this is something that's new for me. I typically write kind of wherever I feel like it. Typically, that ends up being my bed. However, for NaNoWriMo, I've decided to try out some writing triggers and see how they work for me. I've decided to do all of my writing at my desk in my room (pictured below). One bad habit that I have is that because I typically do basically everything on my couch or in bed, all of my actual surfaces (dining room table, desk, etc.) have just become places to pile my junk. So I did a total overhaul of my desk and now it's a completely clean area for me to work at. So far, I've sat down for a couple hour-long writing sessions and I've been able to completely focus and get stuff written.


This is also kind of where my playlist comes into play as well. I only listen to this playlist (as well as many of the individual songs) while writing, so that should also help to get me in the mood to write. Also, if I'm especially distracted, I will listen to ASMR videos to get work done, so those also help me to focus on doing work. If you're not familiar with ASMR videos, they are basically just people making sounds for relaxation. Some people think it's weird but I really enjoy them and they help me to focus. I've linked one of my favorites below in case you're curious.



There are a lot of other things that come into play here, like the writing schedule that I showed earlier in the post. Since I already discussed that, I won't get into it too much. I also don't have a specific drink or snack for while writing, simply because I don't like eating while writing, and because I'm using caffeine as more of a reward.. and pretty much all of my drinks are caffeinated. So I guess I'll be drinking some water. Energy drinks will be saved for after writing. 

The other writing trigger that I'm very purposely trying to work into my writing routine is a specific scent for writing. Because of that, I went ahead and got a few candles to try out. I've never been someone who used candles, but I thought it would be a really great time to try them out. I went to Yankee Candle for the first time ever (which was super overwhelming- there are like 150 scents. The sales lady said so). It was really difficult to figure out what I wanted, because I wanted to pick a candle that would fit my story. Since the story is a rather lighthearted story set in the fall, so I wanted to pick a scent that matched both of those things. Something cozy and warm, but sweet. I found 2 there and another at Target that I liked, so I went ahead and got the smallest size of each so that I can try them out and get a larger one once I feel like I can commit to one.
L to R: Autumn Gathering, Cashmere Woods, and Mountain Lodge

So... I think that's about it. I mean, it should be after this giant post. I just really wanted to make sure that I got everything in here, both for myself and for y'all. I'm really excited about NaNoWriMo this year, and I wanted to go all out in order to succeed. Let me know down in the comments what all you did to prepare for NaNoWriMo this year! Did you do lots of outlining and planning, or are you pantsing it this year? Do you have a reward system set up, and if so, what is it? Are there any writing triggers that work for you? Let me know down in the comments! Good luck, everyone! I hope you all have a great NaNoWriMo this year and I hope that you all win!

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The 15 Best & 10 Worst America's Next Top Model Makeovers


Hey, y'all! I'm a long-time America's Next Top Model fan, but in the past couple years, I've fallen off the bandwagon-- not finishing off the few seasons I haven't seen, and not really re-watching episodes either. But, over the past week or so, I've been re-watching some older episodes of ANTM, including several makeover episodes, as those are my favorites. And given my love of lists and rankings, I decided that I wanted to do a blog post listing my favorite and least favorite makeovers in the 22 cycle history of the show.

Before I jump into the lists, I wanted to explain my criteria for choosing which makeovers made each list. As should be obvious, these are very subjective lists. While I typically try to be as objective as possible, I have my likes and dislikes-- and some of those will become evident pretty quickly. It should also be noted that these aren't rankings. The makeovers are listed in cycle order with only a couple exceptions.

When it comes to the "best" makeovers, the end result is not the only important factor-- how big of a change it is also plays a role. What I mean by this is that someone who walks into makeovers looking amazing and walks out of makeovers looking almost exactly the same isn't going to end up on my list. (Prime example being Kim cycle 5-- loved her look but it barely changed)

An important thing to note when dealing with the worst makeovers, however, is that I'm not taking into account "botched" makeovers. Throughout the years, there have been several cases where a girl has gotten a makeover and Tyra had to fix it because it was a disaster. You won't find those on this list, because the look itself wasn't the problem, but rather the execution. There are a couple looks on this list that technically fall under that category, but they were still awful even when they got fixed.

OK, I've rambled long enough-- let's just jump into the lists.

Top 15 Best ANTM Makeovers


Cycle 18 Makeovers

OK, it might be a bit of a cop-out to rank a whole season on the list, but the makeovers this season were seriously on-point and would've taken up a huge chunk of this list. Tyra went out on a limb and went for funky colors and interesting cuts, and it was a bold choice that really paid off for a lot of the models. Below are some of my favorites among the bunch. 

Azmarie

This one technically breaks my rule of the makeovers needing to be a significant change but I really loved her look.

Catherine

Catherine has a very classic, very British look, and the bold hot pink/red hair made her look super edgy.

Laura

As you'll discover rather soon, I'm a sucker for ice blonde makeovers. The red and blue clip-ins were a little overboard with the "America" theme, but I love the overall look.

 Louise

Despite her freakout over cutting and coloring her hair, the shorter hair looked amazing with her bone structure.

Sophie

By taking her slightly more blonde and adding a subtle pink, Sophie got a really cute but high fashion look.

Alisha

Alisha's short hair looked fine, but adding the hair on one side and shaving the other gave her a really cool, edgy look.


The Ice Blondes

Tyra really likes to give girls hair so blonde that it's almost white, and it almost always looks fantastic. Once again, these would've just dominated the list, so I lumped them all together. Laura from cycle 18 was a great example, but there are several more below. 

 Anya- Cycle 10

Taking Anya from brunette to ice blonde with matching brows gave her a really interesting look that worked really well for her.

 Erin- Cycle 13

Erin might be my favorite of the ice blondes. Her pale skin combined with the nearly-white hair gave her a super edgy look.

 Rae- Cycle 13

Rae was the least drastic change but bleaching her eyebrows and going even more blonde made a huge difference.

Amanda- Cycle 3

Amanda's ice blonde looked especially great because it was combined with her light blue eyes.

Laura- Cycle 19

Laura's makeover is different from the others because she's actually fairly tan, which gives the ice blonde a very different look altogether. 


Shandi- Cycle 2

Now, we're moving into the single makeovers. Shandi was really the first stand-out makeover. She was really nerdy and a bit mousy, but dying her hair blonde really made her stand out from the pack and gave her a totally different look.


Naima- Cycle 4

Naima had an interesting look beginning the competition, but her honey-blonde mohawk really complemented her skintone. I went back and forth between this one and Keenyah from the same season, but the more I looked at her hair, the more I realized how much I love this look on her.


Jenah- Cycle 9

TBH, this picture doesn't do the makeover justice. This makeover really took Jenah over the top. She looked a bit pedestrian before, but the long blonde hair really made her look high fashion.


Fatima- Cycle 10

This is the single makeover in the history of ANTM that really stands out to me as the best makeover in the history of the show. Her hair was a total disaster at the beginning of the show, and her makeover looked amazing. It was such a drastic change and it completely changed her look.


Allison- Cycle 12

This is another real standout, memorable makeover. Allison is one of the favorite models through the show's history, and her makeover was the better version of Shandi's. Her hair at the beginning of the show was very basic, and the big blonde curls added to her quirky ethereal look.


Fo- Cycle 12

Fo had a lot of trouble adjusting to her short hair, but I think it's probably the best "chop all the hair off" makeover in the history of the show. It kept her cuteness but gave her a little edge and it worked really well for her face.


Lulu- Cycle 13

Lulu's look was such a drastic change and it made her look super high-fashion. I'm not usually a huge fan of bangs, but they really framed her face well.


Raina- Cycle 14

Raina's lighter hair looked fine, but the dark hair gave her a much edgier look. Combined with her thick eyebrows and her blue eyes, her dark hair helped to create what I believe to be the best picture in Top Model history:


Phil- Cycle 20

We all thought Tyra was crazy for giving Phil a weave, but the long hair really worked on him. That plus the beard really gave him a distinct look that was really current and interesting. 


Nina- Cycle 20

I'm always a fan of Tyra giving a girl red hair, and I think this was the best. The blue eyes, pale skin, bangs, and vivid hair combined to give Nina a really interesting look.


Shei- Cycle 21

This was another makeover where we all questioned Tyra a little bit, but I really like how it ended up turning out. It gave her a really edgy, interesting look.


Hadassah- Cycle 22

Maybe I'm just a sucker for edgy haircuts, but shaving one side of her head took Hadassah from being almost too pretty to being pretty but with an edge.


Lacey- Cycle 22

Like I said earlier, bangs aren't always my favorite, especially heavy bangs. But they framed Lacey's face really well and really highlighted her eyes. Before, she looked pretty pedestrian, but this hair made her really high-fashion.




Top 10 Worst ANTM Makeovers

Ann- Cycle 3

I just don't understand the point of this, let alone when or why this was considered high fashion. Because those two front blonde chunks just look messy. The length is good, but that blonde can't be overlooked.

Michelle- Cycle 4

This is actually this hair at its best. Most of the cycle, her roots were growing in really dark and it honestly just looked really odd on her. This is one of the rare cases where ice blonde definitely did NOT work as it was supposed to.


Saleisha- Cycle 9/ Brittani- Cycle 16

I lumped the two of them together because they were given very similar makeovers. I'll give Tyra credit-- it definitely made them more edgy and both of them won their cycle. But, that doesn't mean the makeover was good. The general consensus is that these makeovers didn't really suit their faces, and I definitely agree. The bangs are overpowering on both of them, and the cut is much too blunt. I definitely agree that they needed to be edged out, but these styles were definitely not the right ones.


Dominique- Cycle 10

This is one where even Tyra realized it was botched. However, even after fixing it, this didn't look good. The short hair really aged Dominique. She was 23, and it made her look (as noted by a photographer) like the mom of one of the girls. The color wasn't great, the way it was styled was aging, and the cut itself was aging. Not. Good.


Stacy Ann- Cycle 10

Like with Saleisha and Brittani, I agree that Stacy Ann needed to be edged out. But this haircut was not the way to do that. Given her strong bone structure, a short cut was probably the way to go, but not this short cut. Maybe a nearly buzzed cut or a buzzed cut combined with long pieces in the front (a la Simone Cycle 14). It just seems like it's either slightly too long or slightly too short, which makes it look odd. 


Brenda- Cycle 14

This makeover is one of the standout worsts for me. As with the past few, I definitely think she needed to be edged out. But this short hair aged her quite a bit. With the long hair, she was deemed "too sexy," but the short hair made her look so much older than she was. On top of that, the cut itself wasn't that great. Like with Stacy Ann, shorter was probably the way to go, but not this cut.


Destiny- Cycle 19

I feel like a broken record. Yes, an edgy cut would work well on her. But not the way they did it. But why is the hair on the left side of her head so long? Just shave the side and leave the bangs. The way they did it in makeovers just didn't look good. It didn't work with her hair texture, and it just didn't work. 

Brittany- Cycle 19

TBH, I kinda liked her original look. Maybe it's the styling but I just really hated this makeover. Like with the others, I think some tweaking would really help it out. The color was off, the cut was off, and the styling was horrid. 


Kari- Cycle 21

And this, my friends, is the worst ice blonde makeover the show has ever done. There were just too many aspects that were slightly off. The shade of blonde wasn't right for her skintone. It was too yellowy and not enough ice. And then combine the bleached brows with her hairline being so far back, it just didn't look good. A few tweaks could've fixed it, but it was a mess as-is.


Denzel- Cycle 21

This is probably the worst idea Tyra has ever come up with for makeovers. She decided that Denzel needed a beard, but he couldn't grow it himself so she gave him a lace-front beard. It looked about as fake as you would expect it to. And the worst part was that no one seemed to realize it looked awful. Denzel thought it looked good, Tyra thought it looked good, but it looked horrible and fake- like someone had glued fur to his face or something. It was really bad.


Ava- Cycle 22

If Denzel's fake beard wasn't the worst makeover idea ever on the show, Ava's is. Tyra literally called this the "fashion mullet" (or something very similar-- mullet was definitely in the name). The sad thing is that if they'd just gotten rid of the "mullet" part of this, it could've been good. But it looked like a mess. No one can ever make mullets look good. It's not possible. Tyra tried really hard with this, but it was horrible. No, no, no. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Project Runway Seasons Ranked- Worst to Best!


Hey, y'all! So, for the past few months, I've been consistently posting my Project Runway Designer Rankings, which you can check out here. And since I've just wrapped that series up, I decided that the best way to bookend that series is to rank the seasons from least favorite to favorite. I have a ton of other Project Runway rankings that I'd like to do, but this one is the major one that I've been wanting to do for a while. This is also really interesting for me, because despite having loose rankings in my mind, I never sat down and actually ranked them until I was preparing for this post.

Just to explain how I ranked these, it's definitely a mix of personal feelings and objective aspects such as the quality of designers and the level of competition in each season. I'm not going to claim that my personal likes and dislikes don't play a part-- they absolutely do, and this is in no way a completely objective ranking. My personal enjoyment of a season and the number of designers that I connected with certainly plays a part in the ranking. But I also feel like I definitely took the objective aspects into account and will certainly argue that the general placement of each season in the list is on par with the objective aspects as well. 

Given that I've already openly discussed everyone's placings in their seasons, there will definitely be moments where I mention/discuss the winner of each season. So, if you'd prefer not to know who won, you might want to skip out on this. That being said, let's just go ahead and jump into this list!


14) Season 6

If you're a hardcore Project Runway fan, this is probably completely unsurprising. For the uninitiated, this was the first season after the move from Bravo to Lifetime and the only season to take place in LA rather than NYC. Not much really worked about this season, and it almost feels like a spin-off rather than a normal season. This was just a really weak cast, not just in personality, but in skill and aesthetic. Almost none of the characters are memorable. The top 3/4 designers are pretty much the only strong designers in the season-- and they're blatantly obvious from very early on. 

On top of this, we had one designer who was such a disaster that he was eliminated despite his team winning the challenge. And, even worse, we had that really weird Johnny controversy that I still don't fully understand. Perhaps this season could be redeemed even a tiny bit by a likable winner, but instead our winner was the contestant nicknamed "Meana Irina" (who unfortunately was probably the strongest designer). Across the board, this was just an incredibly weak season-- few memorable people, few strong designers, few memorable moments, and an unlikable winner. 


13) Season 5

I'll admit that Season 5 being this low could be due to the recency bias-- it's been years since I've watched this season-- but I didn't really like it the first time around either. To me, this season just wasn't that interesting. Many of the people on this season weren't memorable, and most that were memorable were rather unlikable. Like with season 6, I think that we had a strong final 3/4, but that the rest of the designers were pretty mediocre at best. We do get some fun moments with Tim trying to holla at your boy, but did anything else that was vaguely interesting happen this season?

I know that most people have this one ranked quite a bit higher, but I just simply don't like this season that much. I think I'm going to do a re-watch to confirm that I really do want to have it this low, but I really don't think it's necessary. I just really don't like it that much compared to all of the other awesome seasons. It's not quite as low as season 6 because I feel like Season 5 had more strong and more likable designers... but not by a lot. Hence it sitting here.


12) Season 11

Admittedly, as a Project Runway superfan, it's a bit sacrilege to put this anywhere except last or second-to-last. Again, for the uninitiated, season 11 is the blatant outlier because it's Project Runway: Teams. In season 11, the contestants were divided into teams for the majority of the season. They began as 2 large teams, and got shuffled around multiple times before eventually working individually in the endgame. The format just works so completely differently from any other season, and like with season 6, it almost feels like a spin-off show. It's incredibly frustrating to watch people being forced together for multiple weeks in a row. There were also some people this season who seemed to be so outside of what PR usually casts and seemed to be set up for failure from the start. 

Anyway, after that whole spiel, you're probably wondering how this ended up falling higher in my rankings than the other two. Honestly, it's simply more likable designers. Sure, I don't think that there are a ton of super strong designers on this season. I'd say that there are 4ish standouts. However, I really enjoyed a few of the designers. I love Michelle. I love her, I love her aesthetic, and she's definitely my favorite this season. I also really enjoyed Benjamin and Amanda and thought that there were a few more likable people. And despite it being such a different format, the recency of it is a definite advantage. It's definitely a bit more enjoyable to watch the snappier editing and more current aesthetics than to watch seasons 5 or 6 (IMO) so it edged those out just a bit. 


11) Season 14

While I have a definite ranking here, this list has some pretty definite tiers, and this one closes out the bottom tier, which consists of the 4 seasons that are my least favorites/ the ones I think are the worst. We've now reached the highly-contested, most recent season of Project Runway. Tim Gunn has declared this his least favorite season, and I can totally understand. There were definitely people who weren't working up to their full potential and that's just very disappointing. I wasn't very impressed with this season as a whole, TBH. And it's also really hard to know what all to say about it because it is such a recent addition, and therefore it is a little less solidified in my mind. 

I had super high hopes for Swapnil pre-season, and he definitely was rather successful throughout the show but it was disappointing that he wasn't working that hard. Especially after seeing that finale collection. He could've easily won with that finale collection and it's a downright shame that it was just a decoy. It was phenomenal and beautiful. That being said, one bright shining light in this season was Ashley Nell Tipton, the first winner with a strong leaning toward plus-sized designing, which I really appreciated. There were several aesthetics that I really liked this season, but overall I didn't find many of the characters that compelling. And sure, I've only watched it once, but I honestly have trouble coming up with any extremely memorable moments, which is never a good thing. 


10) Season 12

To be quite honest, season 12 is nearly tied with the season just above it. They're at the bottom of this middle-bottom tier of seasons, and I found myself constantly flip-flopping them. The only reason that I chose the other one above this one is that I have some favorites in that season that I like more than people in this season. There were definitely some pretty big moments this season. The Tim Gunn Save being used for the first time was a very touching moment. The Sandro freakout was another one. And then on top of that, just everything about Ken and his drama, especially that fight with Alex Knox. Also, my personal favorite is all of the silliness surrounding Timothy and his oddball designs and his obsession with unicorns. 

Despite this being rather low in my rankings, there's still quite a bit to like about this season. There are a lot of strong designers. There are handful of likable people. If you want drama, there's definitely drama. I think the reason that this falls so low is simply because everything is just not quite as good as other seasons. There are several likable people, but definitely less than in stronger seasons. There's drama, but it's not always fun to watch because of how mean-spirited it could be. There are strong designers, but for every strong designer, there are 2 fairly weak designers. It's just a very watered down version of what Project Runway has the potential to be, and what it has been in the past. 


9) Season 13

Three words describe why, despite being tied with season 12, this one won out. Sean. Kini. Amanda. The end. I think that quality-wise, season 12 might be a better season. If I had to re-watch one of them now, I'd probably watch season 12. BUT. Sean, Kini, and Amanda completely ran the table this season and I loved all 3 of them. They were all so very strong and I loved a lot of the designs that they created throughout the season. And the rainway challenge was outstanding. Of course, given that it's Project Runway, there's drama. Korina creates a lot of drama, especially with Char. But the craziest drama was the drama with Sandhya, the designer from all the way out in left field that no one understood and everyone attacked. 

When talking about season 12, I mentioned that it was basically watered down version of what the show has been in its heyday. And, in general, I think that this might even be more watered down. The designers who transcended that are the reason that it's found itself higher than 12. As stated, I'd be willing to say that objectively, season 12 is better. But Sean, Kini, and Amanda were just so awesome to watch. Even Korina was rather strong. The rest were almost completely forgettable. I liked Alex, Char was alright, Sandhya at least brought some entertainment, and Fade was quirky. If that's the best I have to say about a season's cast, it doesn't bode super well for that season. Fortunately for y'all, this is the completion of the bottom-middle tier of the list. These bottom 6 seasons are leagues below the other 8, in my opinion, so let's not talk about them anymore and let's get into the solid seasons. 


8) Season 1

The season that started it all! I found it really hard to figure out where to place season 1, because it's so incredibly different from the other seasons. While the other seasons' focus was almost solely on the design competition, in season 1 we got several segments in the apartments during the designers' extremely brief downtime. We also got to see a lot more of the drama with the models- Olga hating everything, models not wanting their hair changed, and of course, all of Morgan's crazy drama. The runway was also rather different, because it takes up a sizable percentage of today's episodes, but a minute percentage of season 1's episodes. In fact, half the time, it was difficult to tell who was in the top and who was in the bottom. 

That being said, there are so many standout moments of season 1 that help it stand the test of time. First off, we have the complete insanity that is Wendy Pepper. She was that "I'm here to win, not make friends," person in the most cut-throat, mean-spirited way possible, and it added so much entertainment. And then, there was Vanessa who was just off-the-wall bonkers. But we also had the ever-wonderful Austin Scarlett, who has become a fan-favorite. I could continue explaining why almost every designer on the show made it interesting, but instead I'll just say that the casting on this season was really great. There were so many stand-out characters, and they really made the show. The big dock on this season, for me, is the fashion. Obviously, it's been 12 years since season 1, so a lot of the fashion looks really outdated. That's to be expected. But even then, the designs this season don't stand up to some later seasons, and some of the challenges weren't exactly ones that suited themselves to fashion. For example, the postal worker challenge is questionable at best. Even the best design- which was admittedly good for a postal worker's outfit- wasn't incredibly fashionable. That being said, despite the fashion being dated at this point, the entertainment factor is definitely there.  

7) Season 4

Yes, I'm prepared for the torches and pitchforks for season 4 barely making my top half. You would've been even more upset with me if you'd seen where it was when I originally made this list (aka behind S12). But, since it had been a long time since I'd watched it, I went back and did a re-watch and it moved up my rankings. One of the reasons that it moved up is because of the general vibe to the season. The way that the show is shot, the editing, etc, everything feels like the first few seasons, which for me is extremely nostalgic and very endearing. And it reminds me that I enjoy the way that the first few seasons are put together. And honestly, from #8 (S1) on this list, these are seasons that I genuinely enjoy- the ones that I gravitate toward and want to re-watch. And upon that re-watch, I realized that season 4 definitely belonged among those... but not quite at the top. I debated moving it one spot higher, but I'll explain why I didn't when we get there.

Since this is a fan favorite season, I feel the need to explain why it's not higher on my list, so that's what I'll do. Each season, I tend to find one or two people who are my people. Not only do I enjoy their personality, but I like their aesthetic. And this season... there wasn't really anyone that fit my type of person. Sure, there were personalities that I liked, and sure, there were aesthetics that I enjoyed, but despite several extremely strong designers, none of them came together into the total package. There was one little thing about each of them that I didn't quite love (Christian could be a bit obnoxious, Rami was likable but a little one note, Jillian was sweet but I didn't dig her aesthetic that much, etc.). And quite honestly, I don't agree with the people that hold this season up as a beacon of spectacular fashion. Sure, this is one of the stronger seasons fashion-wise, but I definitely wouldn't argue for it being the strongest. 

And yes, there are a lot of things to like about season 4. You have Elisa's kookiness, Victorya steamrolling team challenges, that amazing avant-garde dress from the Chrises, etc. But for me, this was just a solid season of the show. Definitively a strong season, but not one that I completely fell in love with. The only reason it's this low is because I personally really enjoy the seasons that fell ahead of it on this list. My top 5 is an impenetrable wall of awesomeness, so this would only get 1 spot higher at most. 


6) Season 9

As mentioned in my explanation of season 4, this one slightly edged that one out. I went back and forth between these two, trying to figure out which one I liked more. And what's funny is that argument-wise, this season is the exact opposite of season 4. Season 4's biggest pros are its strong fashion and the fact that it has the vibe of an older season, and its big con (for me) is that I didn't latch on to anyone. With season 9, it definitely doesn't have the advantage of the production of an older season, and has moments where the designing is weaker. But, there are several people among this cast that I do think are strong designers and that I did latch onto. Anthony Ryan is one of my absolute favorite people to be on the show, Viktor isn't far behind, and Josh M brings insane drama. But, while season 4's finale was super strong... season 9's wasn't. Arguably the strongest and most-liked designer of the season, Anthony Ryan, got the auf wiedersehen at #7 in what was (IMO) a very controversial decision. And while the remaining designers were strong for their season, I'm not sure how well many of them would do if placed in a stronger season. 

Anya is also a somewhat polarizing winner. Some people champion her for learning to sew rather quickly and being able to fight her way through the competition to her eventual win. However, other people argue that her skills weren't as strong as they should've been and that her finale collection was a bit one-note. And I kinda agree with both sides. I think it's amazing that Anya was able to do what she did with as little sewing experience as she had, but I feel like she was constantly praised relative to her skill-set rather than objectively on the same level as the other designers. I feel like some of her success can be attributed to less-complicated designs that were executed in an interesting way. And her finale collection winning, IMO, is due to an overall weaker finale. I'll still argue that Viktor's was the best, but drop any of the collections in any other finale, and I don't think any of them would take the prize. That being said, this season is really entertaining to watch, and there were certainly moments of very strong design. The unconventional challenge gave us some really great designs from Anthony Ryan & Olivier. Viktor and Anthony Ryan were rather strong throughout as well. Plus, we got the drama surrounding a designer quitting, and all of the drama that Josh M created on his own. Overall, this is probably a more controversial opinion on my part, but I'm OK with that. 


5) Season 8

As aforementioned, this top 5 is super solid in my mind. I absolutely love season 8. This is one of the most controversial seasons of the show, but that's what makes it so amazing for me. I do have to say that I absolutely despise the finale decision. Tim Gunn has called out the judging on this season, both throughout the season and in the finale. This finale decision is the most highly-contested finale decision in the history of the show, and it was so controversial that Project Runway All-Stars was practically created for Mondo to come back and get the last laugh on Gretchen by winning a lot more money than she got. But aside from that sour spot, there were so many great things about this season. The most prominent is the drama. There was a mean girls clique (really just Gretchen and Ivy) and they spent the entire time they were there just badmouthing everyone. While it was super mean-spirited, it made the show extremely interesting to watch.

The target of most of their rudeness was the poor lil' baby, Michael Costello. They constantly complained about his construction skills and berated him for not being a good designer. It hit a low point when Ivy returned as an assistant and proceeded to accuse Michael of cheating. And part of what made the drama enjoyable is that the underdog got the upper hand in the end. When paired up with Mondo, they didn't get along because Mondo was very wary of Michael with all the drama, but by the end of the challenge, they were besties and it was adorable. Even better, Michael made it significantly farther than Ivy. And, despite just missing out on the finale, Michael has gone on to become one of the most successful designers post-show, regularly designing for major celebrities like Beyonce.

But, of course, there was more than just drama. The fashion this season was really great. Sure, most of the strongest designs came from our eventual top 2, Mondo and Gretchen, but there were some really outstanding looks. There were also several likable people outside of the mean girls. Valerie was a great designer and really likable, as was Andy (now Ari). Peach might not have been the strongest designer, but she was a lovable underdog. Mondo's emotional moment on the runway in the design-a-fabric challenge is still a standout among all of the seasons. There's just a lot to love about this season, and even though there was some mean-spirited stuff going on, the resulting drama makes the show even more entertaining. I think this season is the total package-- great designs, rootable characters, and some really great drama.


4) Season 7

I'm not sure how much of an unpopular opinion this is, but if loving season 7 is wrong, I don't want to be right. I was super torn between this one and the one that got 3rd place, and I even originally had this one in 3rd place. This was the season that I started watching Project Runway. This used to be my favorite season, and it's fallen just a little bit. I think season 7 is criminally underrated. Sure, there are a lot of weaker designers, but the top half of the pack are super strong. There are so many standout designs-- hello, Seth Aaron's mommy & me look & Jay's trashbag couture. There are a ton of really likable designers. Even Janine, someone that I didn't gravitate toward, was an incredibly sympathetic character. And we also had people like Ping who were just totally out of left field oddballs that created drama. On top of all of those, I can't say enough about the top 3 and how much I love them. They were strong designers on top of being really likable. 

There wasn't too much drama this season, which is pretty unusual for a season that winds up this high on my rankings. But the personalities on this season are really what got the season up this far. If you've seen my designer rankings, you'll know that Seth Aaron Henderson is my favorite Project Runway. He's such a strong, immaculate designer. There's a reason that he was the first person to win 2 Project Runway seasons. On top of that, Emilio Sosa was also one of the strongest designers to be on the show. He completely killed the competition... ignoring the washer bikini. And Mila was really strong too! A bit one-note, but still very strong. And you can't forget Anthony, one of the most endearingly hilarious designers to be on the show. Plus, the heartbreak of Maya quitting when she was killing it left and right. There's just so much to love on this season, and I definitely did love it. 


3) Season 10

I. LOVE. SEASON 10. For me, the top 4 are the like... holy grail seasons. I've mentioned that season 8 is kinda a total package for me, but season 10 is a definitive total. package. I would argue that season 10's finale episode is one of the strongest in the history of the show. Even then, there were also a handful of designers who could easily have taken one of those slots in the finale as well. I would definitely argue that this season progressed as it should have. The weak designers were out early, and the strongest designers made it to the end. And drama? Oh, the drama. Designers quitting? Check! Designer that causes total chaos all season? Check! Designer shamelessly berating their model? Check! Nearly identical designers who bicker constantly? Check!

And the fashion this season? Amazing. As alluded to earlier, there were some extremely strong designers this season. I'd argue that any of the top 8 designers could've made it to the finale with little to no argument from me. The only argument would've been that Ven was super rude- and that's nothing to do with his design ability. In the end, I do definitely think that the strongest designers made it to the finale, but put some of the other designers in another season and they'd be a finale shoo-in. I mean, the eventual winner of this season, Dmitry, also handily won his season of All-Stars. Seven of those top 8 designers ended up on All-Stars, and most of them did really well on All-Stars as well. I think it also helps this season that I really loved a lot of the designers' aesthetics- once again, especially the top 4. 

And on top of all of that, there are so many likable people! Christopher Palu gave us some of the best confessionals we've ever seen- a beautiful combination of sarcasm, wit, sass, and humor. Dmitry, our Belarusian ballroom dancer, was also a great personality, giving us great lines like "Ven is one-way monkey" and bringing humor to pretty much every scenario. Fabio was this lovable odd-ball- weird but quirky in the best way possible. Even Gunnar, the constant antagonist to Chris, was fun to watch in the Christian Siriano archetype. And Elena was off-the-wall bonkers, screaming at people and running around like a maniac. And I haven't even mentioned Melissa and Sonjia, who didn't have the hugest personalities, but were both inherently likable. Like I said, this season is just the epitome of the total package for me. The drama is there- and it's enjoyable drama! The personalities are big, bold, and lovable. And the designing is some of the strongest we've seen in the history of the show. 


2) Season 2

If anyone has any qualms with my rankings on this post, it's probably not with season 2's placement, unless you think it should be at #1 (and trust me, I seriously considered it). The first 4 seasons are typically the most-loved seasons, and many people consider season 2 to be their favorite. And there are tons and tons of reasons to love season 2. Once again, total package. This season has some of the most memorable, note-worthy designers to appear on the show, both design-wise and personality-wise. Although the fashion is dated at this point, the fashion was extremely strong for its time. And there are also so. many. memorable moments. Dramatic moments like Andrae's meltdown on the runway, Santino's fight with Nina, and Zulema's infamous walk-off. Endearing moments like the designers attempting to ice skate and Project Runway: The Musical. And, of course, the infamous... "What happened to Andrae?" Santino's impression of Tim Gunn will live in infamy forever, in or out of Red Lobster.

The designers this season were incredibly memorable. Santino Rice is a standout designer from the show, with a bigger personality than any past or future designers combined. Daniel Vosovic was this lovable 20-something fresh out of design school who walked in and mostly demolished everyone else. Chloe didn't have the biggest personality, but she was inherently likable and very strong. Nick was the obvious pro with a great personality. Andrae was... Andrae. Zulema was... Shetangi. And Daniel Franco followed his bliss. The cast was amazing, and led to some awesome designs. Unfortunately, the favorite to win got robbed (IMO) in the finale, but that's a small smudge on one of the craziest, most memorable and well-loved seasons of Project Runway.


1) Season 3

And finally, coming in at first place is season 3. This is definitely high up on most people's favorites list, but I'm not sure if this would be many people's number one season. But, I absolutely love it. There are so many big personalities this season- Vincent's kookiness, Kayne's hyperactivity, Keith's cockiness, Mychael's likableness, Angela's... Angelaness, Jeffrey's aggressiveness, etc. etc. There were just so many characters, and a ton of great designs as well! And even the personalities that weren't as big were really likable. We got some big drama, some great fashion, and a really strong final four. 

Once again, there are also so many great moments this season. This was the first time that a designer was disqualified- Keith was found with design books and left the set, so he was eliminated from the competition. We also got that great drama surrounding Jeffrey and his interactions with Angela's mom and all of the crazy drama surrounding Jeffrey and Angela in general. Even more, we got all the controversy with the claims that Jeffrey cheated in the finale. But despite the drama, we also had some super strong designers. Poor Mychael Knight was a front runner the entire season, only to deliver his disco safari finale collection and get axed at fourth. But despite that flub, the final 4 of season 3 are one of the strongest group of finale designers. Sure, Mychael's collection wasn't great, but in terms of his design ability, he was elite. Even the pseudo-villains this season are only pseudo-villains, as many of them still end up being likable/enjoyable at the end of the day. I just absolutely love this season. I've watched it so many times and each and every time I absolutely love it. The reunion episode this season is one of my absolute favorite episodes of the show. Everything about it is so entertaining and there's a reason that it's one of the most beloved seasons of the show. 


So, that's my list of the Project Runway seasons, ranked from worst to best! Let me know down in the comments which season of Project Runway is your favorite, and what you think of my ranking of these seasons! 


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