Favorites

A bi-monthly series where I figuratively hand out “like” buttons.

July & August Favorites

We are back with another edition of Favorites, where I tell you all the things that I’ve loved over the last two months. You know the drill. Let’s get right into it.

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Podcasts

First up, Workin On It, a podcast put on by Meghan Trainor and her brother Ryan. I love podcasts that make you feel like you’re sitting in a room talking with (or eavesdropping on) some friends and this is one of those podcasts. Plus, it’s based around the concept that we are all works in progress, always “working on” something, and so it’s given me some great advice and encouragement along the way!

I fell in love with Toni Collier and the Still Coloring podcast pretty much instantly. The name comes from the idea that “broken crayons still color”, and so the podcast is all about finding beauty in brokenness. I am consistently encouraged and inspired by the honest, faith based conversations that take place, and the space that Toni creates for her guests.

I have no shame in admitting that I was a diehard Laguna Beach fan back in the day. So when I heard that Kristin and Stephen (if you know, you know) were doing a rewatch podcast, I was all in. Back to the Beach is fun and nostalgic, and also gives a lot of behind the scenes information. I’ve had so much fun rewatching the show and then listening to the recaps episode by episode. It’s hilarious to see the show with my 30 year old eyes, compared to my 14 year old eyes—they see a bit differently.

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Books

I’ve been on a bit of a memoir binge lately. They have been my go-to audiobook that I like to listen to in the mornings while I get ready for work, and in the afternoon on my drive home. I like memoirs in general, but I especially like hearing them read by the author because I feel like it lets you in on their emotions, and you can hear the exact intonation they wrote in.

My number one recommend would be I’m Glad that My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy, which I thought was incredibly well written and so gripping. I also loved Happy People are Annoying by Josh Peck, and No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny.

And if you’re not interested in memoirs, two other favorites from this month would be Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman and One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle.

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Movies

I saw Where the Crawdads Sing in theaters and loved it. I was so excited to see the story brought to life because I was such a big fan of the book, and I thought it was adapted really well. I’d recommend both the book and the movie!

I also liked Purple Hearts on Netflix, which tells the story of a singer/songwriter and a marine, who get married solely for the military benefits, not really taking into account all of the potential consequences. It was sweet, the perfect watch for a movie night at home.  (find it on Netflix)

And finally, it is both easy and hard to recommend Thirteen Lives. It’s easy because it’s an INCREDIBLE story. It follows the rescue of the Thai soccer team that got trapped in a cave in 2018. But it’s hard because, at least for me, it was almost overwhelming to watch. The trauma of being trapped in that cave for WEEKS, and the miraculous nature of the rescue. It was a tense watch. SO good. But tense. I knew what was going to happen and I still felt nauseous for almost the entire thing. (find it on Amazon Prime)

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TV Shows

I’m a big fan of Sally Rooney and I loved Hulu’s adaption of Normal People, so I was very excited to watch their adaption of Conversations with Friends. You definitely have to go in ready for a slower pace, because so much of Sally Rooney’s work is dialogue and complicated human emotions. It’s a quiet show, if that makes sense, but it was a comforting watch. Comforting in the way that it shows how flawed and complicated people are—how no one really has everything figured out and how everyone has a lot going on. I loved it. (find it on Hulu)

I heard about Claim to Fame and was not convinced it would be my style, but it has absolutely sucked me in and I look forward to it every week. The show started with twelve contestants, all of whom are related to someone famous, and the goal is to figure out who each celebrity relative is. There are challenges every week that give clues and then at the end of every episode there is a “guesser” who tries to reveal the identity of one of the other contestants. It’s fun and easy to watch and has had me saying, “oh my gosh WHO DOES SHE LOOK LIKE?” over and over and over. (find it on ABC or Hulu)

The Bear was a show that I didn’t hear anything about until suddenly it was the ONLY thing I was hearing about. It follows a chef who has to leave his prestigious restaurant to take over his brother’s sandwich shop in Chicago. It was unique and stressful and gave a cool look at the inner workings of a kitchen. (find it on Hulu)

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Music

Firstborn by Nicolle Galyon

Bad Together by Rozzi

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Misc

I read an article (that I can no longer find) that ranked the best ice cream sandwiches. It put FatBoy Ice Cream Sandwiches at the top of the list, so I immediately decided this is something that I needed to confirm or deny. I wanted to know what earned this sandwich the top spot, but I also wanted an excuse to try a bunch of ice cream sandwiches. So my mom and I have set out on a quest to find “the best” in our opinion. Though I’ll admit, these are the best so far…


Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.

May & June Favorites

Happy Fourth of July to all of my American friends!

This is one of my favorite holidays of the year, so I thought it was pretty fitting to talk about some other favorites!

Podcasts

I have been on a true crime kick lately, which is out of character for me. I tend to shy away from true crime because I feel like I’m already terrified enough of the world and I don’t need new ideas. BUT I do love me some justice. And I love how the advancements in technology are bringing long awaiting justice to victims and families. So I listen sometimes. And when I do, I usually go hard.

First, The Deck. Produced and hosted by Ashley Flowers (creator of Crime Junkie) this podcast tells the story of a new, unsolved crime each episode. What makes it interesting is that the victims of the crimes have had their picture put on playing cards that are currently circulating through jails and prisons. The hope is that having the faces of these victims shown around in a casual way might spark memories, inspire new information, or even provoke confessions. Check out the episode Bonus: James Foote – 7 of Clubs, Florida to hear how the deck helped solve a longstanding cold case!

Secondly, CounterClock. I mentioned this podcast in a past favorites post, but with a new season out it is once again worth binge listening to. My mom, sister, and I dive hard into this podcast and always like to discuss our opinions after we finish.

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Books

I’ve been working through the Fighting Words devotional as part of a bible study with Proverbs 31 and I LOVE it. If you are looking for an encouraging, easy to understand, powerful devotional, I can’t recommend this book enough.

I don’t think there will ever be a time that I don’t recommend a new Emily Henry book. I discovered her earlier this year and read Beach Reach and People You Meet on Vacation back to back, and then anxiously awaited the release of Book Lovers. Book Lovers follows two sisters, Nora and Libby, as they take a vacation to a small town made famous by a book. Nora, a literary agent and New Yorker through and through, has trouble adjusting to the small town pace until she is reunited with a book editor whom she vehemently disliked after meeting him a few years earlier. The book is sweet and funny and doesn’t shy away from the hard emotions that we all experience. I loved it!

And finally The Gifts of Imperfection. As a perfectionist myself, this was a very convicting read. The book goes through ten guideposts that are aimed to help you do more “wholehearted living.” Some guideposts I felt were particularly relevant to me were, “letting go of what other people think”, “letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth” (which I inspired me to write this post) and “letting go of self doubt and ‘supposed to’.” I think there is something for everyone in this book and it is a great tool to help us unlearn some of the things we’ve been taught (perhaps inadvertently) throughout our lives.

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Movies

One of my goals for 2022 is to see a movie in theaters every single month, and my mom has been helping me do that. In May, we saw Downton Abbey: A New Era and loved it. I have never seen the show (though it is on my very long list to watch) and I still loved it. It is so sweet and funny and I almost went home and started the show from the beginning that night. But alas, it still sits on my to-watch list—however it is much higher up now.

And in June we saw Top Gun: Maverick and Elvis, both of which were fantastic. Top Gun: Maverick is such a fun ride, and is a movie MADE to watch in theaters. My seat rumbled as the planes took off, and there were a few times I was so nervous I literally held on. And Elvis is a wonderful tribute to a true icon. Elvis Presley holds sentimental value in my family, so we bought our tickets as soon as they were available. It is a sad story, but one that highlights how talented Elvis was, and how destined he was for greatness.

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TV Shows

Our Great National Parks is arguably one of the most beautiful shows I’ve ever seen. Similar to Planet Earth, this nature documentary explores the stunning National Parks around the world. I initially thought I might just put this on in the background, but I continually stopped what I was doing—jaw open—to marvel at the gorgeous plant and wildlife. If given a dollar for every time I said, “OH MY GOSH” or “WOW” someone could have started a trust fund. (find it on Netflix)

In a completely unexpected but entirely delightful surprise, my parents got me hooked on Wicked Tuna, a National Geographic show that follows fisherman in Massachusetts. While I initially watched because it was just on, I now have a favorite team, regularly quote some of the show’s signature phrases, and look forward to new episodes every Sunday night. Having grown up fishing with my dad, it is wild to see the kinds of fish these people reel in. I think the biggest fish I’ve ever caught is what they regularly to use for bait. (find it on National Geographic or Disney+)

And finally, The Time Traveler’s Wife. I never saw the movie with Rachel McAdams so I don’t know how the show compares, but it is truly one of the most interesting shows I’ve ever watched. It’s clever and they find a way to make it easy to follow even though the timelines could (and should) be confusing. It follows a woman who falls in love with a man who can, as you might guess, time travel. It’s weird and it’s sweet and it always keeps me guessing. It hasn’t got amazing reviews from the critics but I like it and I hope it gets renewed for a second season. (find it on HBO Max)

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Music

Harry’s House by Harry Styles

Party for One by Devin Cole

Leanna Crawford – EP by Leanna Crawford

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JVN Air Dry Cream

I have forever been and forever will be someone that wants to put little to no effort into my hair and have it dry perfect. This, I realize, is a big ask, but I have been on the hunt for products that might make this a possibility and this is one of the best ones I’ve found. I comb it into damp hair with my fingers and then I just let it be. It’s lightweight, it smells good, and has drastically helped my hair air-dry without frizz. (find it here)

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The Conqueror Challenges

A few months ago I got a text from my friend Nicole asking if I wanted to do a Lord of the Rings Conqueror Challenge with her. I admitted up front that I’d never seen* the films, but would gladly join the challenge anyway! Our mission: walk/bike/run/etc. from the Shire to Mordor. The steps and/or miles we put in each day, count towards our overall total. I was able to connect my FitBit and she connected her Apple Watch, making the transfer of steps and miles automatic at the end of each day.

The Lord of the Rings challenge is broken into five parts: The Shire (145 miles), The Fellowship (98 miles), Mines of Moria (40 miles), Eye of Sauron (95 miles), and Mordor (282 miles). You have to complete them one by one in order to unlock them all, and each time you complete a section, they send you a medal! It’s been a super fun challenge, both individually, and as a team, especially because Nicole lives a few hours away, so it’s been fun to see our individual efforts contribute to the team as a whole. We just finished the Eye of Sauron challenge so we only have Mordor left! Once we finish we will have traveled (either by bike or by foot) 660 miles, which would be the equivalent of walking from Los Angeles, CA to the Oregon border. How cool is that?! (find it here)

Also, if you are interested in this kind of fitness challenge but are not a Lord of the Rings fan, there are TONS of other options available! We are already looking at options for our next challenge!

*Fear not! While going through this challenge I’ve begun watching the movies. They are very good!

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.

March & April Favorites

Spring is in full bloom here at home, which means that all of the birds are happily chirping, the plants are happily glowing a vibrant green, and the flowers are happily blooming in every color you can think of.

Seems like the perfect time to talk about some favorites.

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Podcasts

I have been absolutely binging Terrible, Thanks for Asking. This might be a little bit strange to hear if you a) know the podcast or b) look it up on this recommendation, because many of the episodes are emotional and, at times, devastating. But I am so drawn to the stories and emotions that this podcast inspires, and I just can’t get enough of it. I am addicted to the feelings it draws out of me, if that makes sense. They are creative feelings, they are empathetic feelings, they are feelings that say, hey, you’re alive, and I just love it.

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Books

I have a few recommendations based on what you might be looking for here

If you are looking for a romantic comedy, I’d say The Hating Game. This book was cute, strange (in a good way), funny and easy to read. It starts with: “I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them” and then follows two characters who toe this line—and cross it.

If you are looking for something you cannot put down, I’d say Verity. I’d heard a lot of rumblings about this book and wanted to read it for myself. After starting, it took about five minutes for me to a) need to know everything that was going to happen, and b) need to have someone to discuss every second of the book with—a task I quickly gave to my mom, who said, “omg let me know what happens,” and allowed me to update her on the drama/horror/shock as I went along. The basic plot is that a woman is hired to finish writing a series of books since the author (named Verity) has been in an accident and is unable to continue writing. The woman then moves into Verity’s house (alongside Verity’s husband and son) so that she can immerse herself in Verity’s notes, outlines, etc. and she finds FAR more than she anticipated.

If you are looking for an inspirational read to change your perspective, I’d say The Gift of Forgiveness. This is a collection of stories that highlight forgiveness and the sometimes unbelievable/unbearable circumstances where people have found themselves in need of forgiving. At the beginning of every chapter I said, “no way,” in regards to the possibility/necessity of forgiveness and was continuously blown away by the human capacity to do so.

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Movies

I didn’t hear a lot about Everything, Everywhere, All At Once before it hit theaters, but after it did, all I heard was that it was fantastic. And I agree. It is nearly impossible for me to explain to you what happens. But I can honestly say that you’ve never seen anything like it, and that you will experience seemingly every emotion while watching it. Just watch it. It’s incredible.

Also, Father Stu. If you want a reason why you should look up this movie, here is the opening line on the Wikipedia page dedicated to the subject of this true story: “Stuart Long was an American boxer and Catholic priest.” This was an incredible story, that had humor and heart, and took turns I definitely didn’t anticipate. What an inspiring man and a truly meaningful life.  

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TV Shows

Pam & Tommy follows the beginning (and initial end) of the relationship between Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, and the theft and release of their sex tape. It is honestly devastating to watch, both because of the invasion of privacy, and the way in which Pamela Anderson was treated afterwards by the media and the lawyers that were supposed to be helping her. Both Lily James and Sebastian Stan put on incredible performances and the makeup team should win an award. (find it on Hulu)

The Girl from Plainville is based on the true story from a few years back where a girl was taken to trial for allegedly encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide. It is a heavy subject and is hard to watch at times. But I feel like it addresses an important subject and, at least for me, is a reminder of how precious life is— how precious each individual is—and how much is lost, both for a family and for the world, when someone takes their own life. (find it on Hulu)

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Music

Humble Quest by Maren Morris

Raised by Hailey Whitters

Where We Started by Thomas Rhett

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Two Dots

I’m not really one for playing games on my phone, but Two Dots has sucked me in. I couldn’t tell you how/when I found it, but it is such a simple concept and has been an easy thing to play while I’m decompressing after a long day at work. Plus, it’s free, so we love that. (find it here)

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Alabaster Co Meditations

I have wanted to get into a consistent meditation routine for a while now but have had trouble finding meditations that draw me in and keep me focused. So I was very excited to find these guided Christian meditations on YouTube that are all brief and easy to follow. I like to do them after I finish doing yoga or when I just need to refresh my mind after work. (find them here)


Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.

January & February Favorites

Ahhh, I love a first favorites post of the year.

Come January, I am always in a hurry to find new favorite things. To dive into new books, new music, new movies, and new podcasts. I’m always anxious to find things that expand my mind, make my life a little better and brighter, and, maybe, just the slightest bit easier.

And to be honest, I have been on a roll.

Let’s get right into it.


Podcasts

I got COVID at the beginning of the year and spent a solid week feeling like moving from room to room was the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest. So, I spent a lot of time trying not to move, and I was always on the hunt for things that helped make the time go by. Podcast but Outside was one of my favorite finds. It is a podcast that has both a video and audio version—but honestly you are MISSING OUT if you listen to the audio version—and it made me genuinely laugh out loud. The concept is simple: the two hosts set up on the street and interview whoever might walk by, and the results are consistently interesting and often hilarious. (find it on YouTube or your preferred podcast app)

A little while back I recommended the Tangle newsletter, because it gives you an unbiased look at the news. And while I still stand by the newsletter, I am someone who tends to fall behind on newsletters, so I was very excited to learn that they made a podcast version of it. Each episode is a nice, clean read of the newsletter, and is usually about 20 minutes long. It’s an easy listen and I look forward to every episode. (find it on your preferred podcast app)


Books

I fell in love with both Beach Read and its author, Emily Henry, almost immediately. Beach Read is a refreshing, fun book that made me laugh out loud, and made me feel seen, as its main characters are both writers, and the writing process (and its occasional corresponding misery) is described in detail. I knew I wanted to read People We Meet on Vacation before I was even done with Beach Read and I anxiously await the arrival of her newest book, Book Lovers, in May. Consider this “favorite” both the books and Emily Henry herself.  

The Night the Lights Went Out is WILD. Not only is it a great read—eye opening, shocking, charming and even funny—but it makes you realize how much you have to be grateful for in the day to day. Even on your worst days. I for one have taken advantage (for about 30 years) of how lucky I am to taste things, smell things, to be independent and healthy. Life can throw you a lot of curveballs and the human spirit is resilient enough to (eventually) find wonder in many of them, but this book made me take a deep breath and focus on all that I have, all that I’m able to do, and remember that at any moment that can change.


Movies

First and foremost, you’ve got to watch The Alpinist. This one is in the same vein as Free Solo and The Dawn Wall. I watched it twice in the span of a week, once by myself and once with my mom, because I needed to have someone to talk about it with. I’ll admit, you feel pretty much every emotion, big and small, happy and sad, but you leave feeling so…content. It reminded me that we are all here to live different lives with different purposes, and it’s important that we all find our own and pursue it, even if it might not make sense to everyone else.  (find it on Netflix)

Next up, The Tender Bar. This movie is adapted from the memoir of the same name and it is one of those that makes you think: I want to write a memoir. I want to find all the moments that made my life my life, in all its ups and downs. It had a familiar quality in that it was a reminder that we are all trying our best—trying to figure out what on earth we’re doing. I found myself rooting for the main character in the same way I’d hope other people are rooting for me. (find it on Amazon Prime)

I Want You Back is a romantic comedy that, if I’m honest, I initially watched because it has my girl Gina Rodriguez in it, but it quickly became more than that. It is different and fun, and it made me laugh and smile and aww. It’s a good old fashioned rom-com that I feel like we don’t have nearly enough of anymore. Definitely recommend! (find it on Amazon Prime)


TV Shows

I had been recommended The Man in High Castle a few different times over the years, so when I was in between shows at the end of last year, I decided to finally give it a watch. The premise is that Germany won World War 2, and the United States becomes more or less extinct in the face of the German and Japanese empires. It is pretty much terrifying, but it is a captivating, and surprisingly patriotic watch, as a resistance of Americans fight to get their country back. Strap in though, it’s a wild ride! (find it on Amazon Prime)

One thing that I love about my Netflix algorithm right now is that it is consistently recommending me international shows that I might not have otherwise known about. I recently watched a movie in Spanish, then I saved a Polish movie to My List, and then I watched the Italian born series Baby. I watched it subtitled and really enjoyed it. The show is based on the true story of two Italian high school girls that got involved in the country’s prostitution ring. It was a dramatic and interesting watch! (find it on Netflix)


Music

the debut farewell album by avenue beat

Sidelines by Wild Rivers

Circles by LEON


Cauliflower Tacos

If you are looking for a new dinner recipe to spice up your life, and you want to make something that gives you that feeling of, damn, I am a mf-ing chef, try this Cauliflower Taco recipe. I actively called my friends into the dining room to show off what I made, and I was SO proud of myself. Plus, it was absolutely delicious. (find it here)

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The Art of Noticing Newsletter

And finally, I am a sucker for a good newsletter. I love the weekly pick me ups and the variety that exist if you keep your eye out. I have no idea where I found The Art of Noticing newsletter, but it is one I never miss. It always opens my eyes to something I can notice in the world around me, and it has a fun ongoing series called “Missing Words”, where people point out words that don’t exist but should. For example: “that feeling in the half second between when you’ve stubbed your toe and the pain arrives.” Check it out here, there is both a free version and a paid version. I am currently subscribed to the free version, but I have no doubt it would be worth the subscription!


Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.

September & October Favorites

So apparently it’s November?

What?

And soon it will be Christmas?

WHAT?

Am I alarmed?

A little.

Does this make me any less excited?

No.

Let’s do it!

Podcasts

In my July & August favorites post, I mentioned Lauren Akins’ book, Live in Love, and I was very excited to find out that there was a corresponding podcast! Each episode poses the question, how can you live in love in _______? and covers topics like community, family, adoption and marriage. I have really enjoyed the conversations that take place under each subject and I feel like I learn a lot from every episode.  

If you are looking for a short podcast that will brighten your day (and/or make you cry happy tears) look no further than My Unsung Hero. Each episode runs about six minutes, just long enough for each guest to tell the story of a stranger who changed their life for the better. It is wonderful! I cry almost every time.


Books

For a while there I felt like I was the only person who hadn’t read Educated by Tara Westover, and it only took me a few chapters to realize that this was a mistake. It follows Tara as she grows up in remote Idaho with her parents and siblings (most of whom don’t have a birth certificate, or a definitive birthday), and her eventual fight to receive an education. I was completely gripped, amazed, horrified, and shocked by Tara’s story, and would recommend it everyone!

I was drawn to Thanks for Waiting by Doree Shafrir because like her, I would also consider myself a late bloomer. I liked reading her story and finding parallels in my own, and appreciated her honesty and encouragement to embrace your individual pace and the gifts it gives you along the way.  

Ever since I read Daisy Jones & the Six I have been on a bit of a mission to read all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books. She never fails to engulf you in a story and introduce characters that by the end, you feel like you know personally. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was no exception. It was an incredible story that follows Evelyn Hugo, famed actress who not only gained acclaim from her movies and one of a kind beauty, but her infamous seven marriages. It had all kinds of twists and turns, the last of which made me audibly gasp.


Movies

I meant to include Coda in my last favorites post and I forgot, but I couldn’t let it fall by the wayside without recommending it. Coda is the abbreviation given to a child of deaf adults and as such, the movie follows Ruby, who is the only hearing member of her family, and whose greatest passion is singing. It is a beautiful, heartfelt story and I absolutely loved it.  (find it on AppleTV+)


TV Shows

If I’m being totally honest, I initially watched Clickbait only because Adrian Grenier was in it. What can I say, the marketing worked on me. I was pleasantly surprised however, by premise of the show, which ends up being a crime drama that feeds off of (and is driven by) social media. It kept me guessing until the very end. (find it on Netflix)

When The Morning Show first came out, I was very much in the headspace of, there’s no way I’m getting Apple TV+, I do not need that many streaming services. We won’t talk about how many subscriptions I have now, only that I caved on Apple TV+ and now watch The Morning Show. It follows a morning news program that is rattled when one of its lead anchors is fired in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. It does a good job to show all sides of the story, and brings to light how corrupt the business of television can be. Plus, it has a great cast and is just plain smart. Big recommend! (find it on Apple TV+)


Music

star crossed by Kacey Musgraves

Solar Power by Lorde

Sob Rock by John Mayer


Alaway Eye Drops

In the last five years or so, my body randomly decided to try out allergies—just to see what all the hype was about. The worst of which, is eye allergies. Occasionally I will wake up and want to casually rip my eyeballs from their sockets. But, since this isn’t recommended, I decided to seek out eye drops that might take care of the itch instead. These are by far the best I’ve found! (find them at Target)

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Rare Beauty Foundation Brush

I have been long overdue for a new foundation brush but I have commitment issues with makeup products and essentially refused to stop using the one I had, even though I knew I should. However, in a rare act of makeup spontaneity, I threw my brush in the actual trash can because I knew I wouldn’t pull it back out, and I bought a new one. I like to think it is the brush that is wonderful, because I genuinely love how it applies my foundation, but I also can’t be 100% sure I don’t love it just because it’s not raggedy and old. Still, I recommend this one. (find it at Sephora)

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Shape Tape Concealer

This was another spontaneous add to cart purchase, mostly influenced by my concealer being out of stock for the second or third time in a row, and me getting frustrated and desperate. Lucky for me, this was the best decision ever as this is by far the best concealer I’ve ever used. (find it at Ulta)


Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.

July & August Favorites

Hello and welcome to September!

Can I just say that I am done with the summer heat.

Every day, I look at my sweatshirts longingly, desperate to be reunited.

And although I live in Southern California and I’m well aware that “fall” weather won’t arrive until, like, Thanksgiving, I’m pretending like it’s only a few days away. Please don’t burst this naïve bubble.

Let’s talk about some favorites.

I went on a true binge of new things these last few months and I could easily recommend 10 in every category, but I thought that might be a little bit intense. So I narrowed it down as best I could.

Podcasts

I found Blind Landing while I was in full Olympics mode and listened with absolute shock and horror. It follows a *huge* mistake made at the gymnastics competition during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and if you haven’t heard the story, you should listen.

A friend recommended The Happiness Lab to me and I love it! It dives into the science of happiness and the different ways the mind works both to find happiness and to keep it. I’ve really loved the scientific approach and I feel like I learn something valuable in every episode.

Funnily enough, when I was looking up The Happiness Lab, the most recent episode recommended a sister podcast called A Slight Change of Plans, so I started listening to both. A Slight Change of Plans discusses major changes that can take place in our lives and, while traumatic, frustrating, and/or confusing at the time, can lead us to where we’re meant to go. It’s hosted by cognitive scientist Dr. Maya Shankar who I think adds great commentary to each guest’s story, and can even contextualize why we might make the decisions we make.


Books

In the last year I have become a big fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid, so I was very excited for her to release Malibu Rising. It follows the Riva family, comprised of four closely knit siblings who are gearing up for their annual party in Malibu. The book jumps from present to past, introducing you to each of the siblings and explaining how they became who they are—not to mention why they are all fiercely loyal to one another. It was a great read!

Both my mom and sister recommended Lauren Akins’ (wife to country singer Thomas Rhett) Live in Love and I’m so glad they did. It was a very honest, heartwarming read, and I admired her willingness to share her life. I was never under the impression that being married to a superstar would be easy, but she does well to show how important it is to stay true to yourself and to fight for your dreams alongside those of your partner.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn was another one that gripped me! I got the audiobook on loan from the library and started it a little bit late, but once I was in it, I was in it, and hustled to finish before my 21-day loan ended—which I did, with 45 minutes to spare. The story follows two women whose stories collide in Europe just after the end of World War II. Eve, an English spy in both wars and Charlie, a pregnant college student who is looking for her cousin, join forces, both with their own demons fueling them forward. It was great!


Movies

Bo Burnham has long been one of my favorite comedians. So when he released his newest special INSIDE on Netflix, I was beyond thrilled. And while I expected an honest, educated commentary on 2020, I still got way more than I could have imagined. Definitely a must watch! (find it on Netflix)

The Last Letter from Your Lover is exactly the romantic drama I was in the mood for. Stick me in 1960’s England with a scandalous love affair documented by love letters and I am in. (find it on Netflix)

Warning: Tell Me Who I Am is not for the faint of heart. And by faint of heart, I especially mean parents. This documentary tells the story of a man who wakes up in the hospital after a car accident with no memory of his life except his twin brother. I don’t want to say more because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that it. gets. dark. That said, it is fantastically filmed and edited and is an overall masterpiece.  (find it on Netflix)


TV Shows

We Are the Champions covers all kinds of “championships” around the world, starting with a race in England where people literally fall down a steep heel in pursuit of a wheel of cheese. It is marvelous. (find it on Netflix)

The White Lotus is so many things and I can’t really describe any of them. The bones of the story are that multiple groups of people cross paths at a Hawaiian hotel called The White Lotus and chaos ensues everywhere. It’s one of those shows that you need to talk about with other people because so much happens and you just want someone to confirm you saw the same thing. (find it on HBO Max)

Cruel Summer is a fun teen mystery that leaves you guessing after every episode. It’s set in the aftermath of a kidnapped girl being found and who might be to blame. I texted my cousin after multiple episodes, mostly to say, WHO IS THE GOOD GUY?! and she always replied with a noncommittal shrug because you just never know. (find it on Hulu)

Bake Squad has helped fill the void of my no longer having Food Network (or cable). It’s hosted by the founder of Milk Bar and brings together four master bakers who specialize in chocolate, sugar, flavor and cakes, respectively.  Each episode, a guest presents a party or event they are hosting, and the bakers compete to have their dessert chosen to star at the event. It’s super fun! (find it on Netflix)


Music

The Grapefruit Skies by TEEKS

Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish

Into the Mystery by Needtobreathe


KIND Subscription Box

If you’ll recall from my last favorites post, I mentioned the KIND breakfast bars that I had recently fallen in love with. Well, that love affair has continued, so much so that I discovered that KIND offers a subscription box that you can customize and get delivered monthly, bimonthly, etc., full of yummy snacks! In my 20-piece box I of course added my breakfast bars (blueberry almond and honey oat are my favorite!) but I also like the dark chocolate nut bars and these salted caramel healthy grains bars. I am officially a KIND fan. (find it here)


Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.

May & June Favorites

Hello friends!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

I definitely did. It was full of many of my favorite things: friends, family, ice cream, my mom’s brussel sprouts, bowls and bowls of chips. Plus, I didn’t get sunburned! That’s what they call a win win win win win win.

So on that note, let’s get into some favorites.


Books

Fun fact: I mentioned Normal People (the series) in my 2020 edition of May & June favorites. It had recently come out on Hulu and I’d binge watched and loved it. Today, I’m recommending Normal People (the book) because I listened to the audiobook and was completely unsurprised to discover it is also fantastic. I now have a hard copy of the book and plan on reading it again. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ So it’s really just a big recommend all around.

Goodbye Again by Johnny Sun is a book that I would like to write one day. It is honest and real and finds a way to make you as the reader feel a little bit more understood and a little bit less alone. It is a collection of essays and illustrations, all short and concise, that make it easy to read it at a leisurely pace. I genuinely love it and would recommend it over and over!


TV Shows

I have a been on a good streak of TV shows recently, starting and finishing good ones all in a row! It is rare and it is exciting and so I have a handful of recommendations for you.

If you are looking for something funny, upbeat, and undeniable good, watch Ted Lasso. (And do it quick! Season two comes out at the end of this month!) (find it on Apple TV+)

If you are looking for something suspenseful and a little dark, with a murder that you need to help solve, watch Mare of Easttown. (find it on HBO Max)

If you are looking for something cute, funny, and romantic, watch Starstruck. (find it on Hulu)

If you are looking for something hilarious, unique and sweet, watch Dave. (find it on Hulu)


Movies

I was recommended The Year Earth Changed by one of my best friends and I am so glad I watched it! It is a documentary that covers 2020 from a different perspective than we’ve seen before: that of nature. It shows the effect that lockdown had on plants, animals and the natural world while the human population was locked inside. It’s truly fascinating to watch and encouraging to know that some positive changes came about in 2020—and that there plans in place to carry on those good things.  (find it on Apple TV+)

I stumbled across Broken Hearts Gallery while looking for a cute movie to watch on a weeknight and it was exactly what I hoped it would be. It has a sweet premise, rooted in the idea that we all have a little (or a lot) of heartbreak that, while seemingly isolating, actually links us together—interweaved with a love story that gives you some warm fuzzies. (find it on Hulu)


Music

One Foot in Front of the Other by Griff

Ashlyn by Ashe

Godsend by Riley Clemmons


Kind Breakfast Protein Bars

These are so great for breakfasts on the go, mid-morning snacks, or go-to protein to have in your bag while hiking, at the beach, etc. I have tried almost every flavor and haven’t found one I don’t like!


More to That Newsletter

I have really been trying to fill my inbox with good, happy, and inspirational things that break up the ads and work emails and give me something to look forward to. This newsletter has consistently inspired me and made me look at trivial, seemingly simple subjects from a new, rewarding perspective. I really like it! (find it here)


Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.

March & April Favorites

I’m having one of those days where I want to say, I can’t believe it’s going to be May already. But then I feel like I could also ask, is it only May? But also, what day is it? You know?

It’s been a wild couple of months.

Luckily, I have found some good things to keep me company/keep me sane, whichever way you want to look at it.

Here are my favorites from March & April.


Podcasts

I had heard a lot of rumblings about Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard but never looked it up because I’d burned myself out on interview podcasts. I got tired of hearing people ask the same questions to the same people. Plus interviews during COVID that took place over the phone, giving no one face to face cues, so everyone was interrupting each other, saying, “no, you go ahead” “no, no, you go ahead,” made me want to die. Luckily, this podcast has none of that, and Dax Shepard does a great job at not only asking fun, interesting questions, but he has all kinds of guests from all different walks of life, making every episode different. I will say though, there are a lot of episodes. Like, multiple per week. So unless you listen to every single one right when it comes out, you just have to accept that you’re going to be behind. Which was initially hard for me to cope with. But now I kind of like knowing that I always have a good handful of episodes to choose from.

I also started listening to The Basement Yard, which is now my third or fourth podcast that centers around two guy best friends just chatting away. I don’t know about you, but I feel like there is something magical and hilarious about two guys that are best friends through and through and can talk for hours about absolutely anything, all the while cracking each other up. This podcast has made me laugh so hard my stomach hurt and I have been recommending it like crazy.


Books

I wrote a blog post back in March about how much I loved and appreciated the perspective I got from The Midnight Library, but I think it would be a disservice not to send another round of encouragement to read this book. With all of the solitude we’ve experienced over the last year, giving us far too much time to be with our own thoughts, I have no doubt we’ve all wondered about those what if’s in our life. This was a great reminder that the choices we make, while not always perfect, get us to where we’re meant to go—even if it’s not where we expect.

This book was something brand new for me. I had never heard of blogger and comic artist Allie Brosh before reading Solutions & Other Problems but I’m so glad I have been introduced! She is so funny and creative and this book was a delight to read. She pairs stories with drawings and the combinations are truly hilarious.


TV Shows

Homecoming is a show based on a podcast that I actually recommended all the way back in this favorites post. I have been wanting to watch this show since it came out—which was a cool three years ago—but hey, better late than never. I thought they did a great job at adapting the podcast to a series and I arguably felt more stressed watching than I did listening because I got to add faces to names and thus instantly care about everyone involved. (find it on Amazon Prime)

Next up was Barry. And wow. I have always loved Bill Hader, but this was just fantastic. It is funny and smart and incredibly unique. It follows Barry, a marine turned hitman who accidentally falls in love with acting. It’s wonderful. (find it on HBO Max)

And finally, Upload. This one explores a high-tech future where, after we die, we can be uploaded to an artificial version of heaven. In this afterlife, you are still able to communicate with your friends and family on earth, and more or less go about your (after)life, walking, talking, eating, etc. It was creative and funny and not as dark/sci-fi as it might sound. (find it on Amazon Prime)


Movies

One of my goals for the year was to see all the Academy Award Best Picture nominees and (ideally) be able to accurately pick the winner. Full disclosure, I didn’t watch them all before the Oscars. I just didn’t have time. I did see Nomadland which ended up winning, and don’t get me wrong, it was a great movie, but I was pulling for Sound of Metal. It follows a drummer (and recovering addict) who loses his hearing and goes to a rehab facility for the deaf and hard of hearing to cope. It was easily the best movie I’ve watched all year.

I also saw Promising Young Woman which was fantastic in its own right. It tells the story of a woman who is on a mission to right the wrong that caused her to lose her best friend. It is a very timely film that manages to be both heartbreaking and funny.


Music

Obviously by Lake Street Dive

All In by John Splithoff

Songs to Break Up To by Wild Rivers


Third Love Bras

When I tell you that I would bow down to these bras…

I have been long on the hunt for comfortable bras that are pretty, not $1000, and can actually fit me like a glove. In the past I’ve been frustrated with cups that leave uncomfortable space, or straps that are either too loose or too tight, and I tell you, with no ulterior motive, that these. are. it. I threw every other bra I owned away and I have never been happier. (find them here)


Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.

January & February Favorites

I always miss favorites posts after it’s been a little while. I like having somewhere to put things and say, “HEY, I LIKE THESE,” and I like to picture you checking them out and saying, “HEY, I LIKE THESE TOO.” Because that’s what friendship is.

So let’s be friends.

One thing before we start, thought. If you’re looking for a drinking game, go ahead and take a drink whenever I say a form of “recommend” in this post. Then call 911.

Podcasts

Against all odds, me, the scaredy cat of my family, has started listening to a true crime podcast. I didn’t anticipate it, and to be honest, I don’t know what made me click on Anatomy of Murder in the first place, but I’ve been all up in the archives, listening to an episode every day and looking forward to the next one. The podcast is hosted by a former New York City homicide prosecutor and a former deputy sheriff so you get an insider’s perspective into both the crime and the process of it being solved, which I really like, each crime (at least so far) is solved, which I love.

The Proverbs 31 Ministries podcast is a Christian podcast I just started listening to after having been on the hunt for one for quite a long time. I kept hoping to find one that was kind of like a friendly, inspirational conversation with friends and so far, I think this is just that! The very first episode I heard was “5 Things to Do if You Feel Lonely in Your Life” and it had me wildly jotting down notes—in a good way, so I’m excited to keep listening.

Books

In probably the most unexpected of favorites, I listened to the audiobook of Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights and I could. not. get. enough. He is so funny and so strange and so wonderful to listen to. By the end I couldn’t tell if I was inspired by Matthew or if I had a crush on him—or both. Either way, I’d recommend the book but I’d especially recommend the audiobook.

Next up, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. I absolutely adore this movie on Netflix and after recommending it to my mom, she saw it, loved it and read the book, then recommended the book back to me, making it an all around wonderful, lovable recommendation circle. I recommend both the book and the movie!

TV Shows

I’d had Peaky Blinders on my radar for a while after it was recommended to me by my cousin, but I was never ready to *make the commitment*. Once I started however, I was in! I will say, it was conflicted to like, then love, then borderline feel as if I would commit crimes for a family that is arguably not the “good guys”, but I will make no apologies. The Shelby family is now my family. (find it on Netflix)

The Wilds is another wildcard that I didn’t expect to like as much as I did, and certainly didn’t anticipate to get the have you seen’s over it, where you continuously bring it up in the hopes that there is someone you can talk to about it. But alas, here we are. I am now anxiously awaiting season two with so. many. questions. (find it on Amazon Prime)

Movies

I haven’t heard anyone talking about The Dig and so I’d like to officially say: watch it! It’s a true story based on an incredible archaeological dig that took place right before World War II. Not only is the find amazing, it is so interesting to watch the world prepare for and anticipate war in the context of a story like this. (find it on Netflix)

The Map of Tiny, Perfect Things was another unexpected good one. Having seen Groundhog Day (which this movie pays homage to) I was curious to see what a new take on it would look like, and I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this movie. It reminds you to appreciate the wonderful moments that exist inside each day. I loved it! (find it on Amazon Prime)

Music

Hoax by Kevin Garrett

A Song for Every Moon by Bruno Major

MinimaList

My brain has been a little bit of a chaotic mess lately and I have fallen off using my planner—mostly because I keep forgetting about it—making it hard for me to keep track of all the things I want/have to get done. But this app is a simple, organized tool that lets you make a list of anything and everything that comes to mind, giving you an on the go to-do list that I am loving! (find it here)

Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi

Image Credit to the TheKitchn.com

This recipe was recommended by a friend and my sister and I fell in love with it instantly. It is so easy and so yummy and even though we’ve already made it twice I have no doubt I will be craving it again shortly (find the recipe here.)


Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.

September & October Favorites (2020)

Hey y’all.

If you can believe it, we only have two months left of this crazy year. Here are some of my most recent favorite things to help you power through them.

Podcasts

If you are a music lover and, like me, constantly find yourself asking, “how did they think of that?” this is the podcast for you! Song Exploder breaks down one song each week, talking to the artists and the collaborators about what went into the production of the song, from the very first conversation about an idea, to putting the finishing touches on the final product. It is so fun and interesting and really gives you an appreciation for what goes into the music making process.

A little while back I recommended (and would still recommend) the podcast Beach Too Sandy Water Too Wet, a show that reads and pokes fun at dramatic Yelp reviews, and this new podcast is hosted by one of the hosts from that show. On Human Seeking Human, he reads personal ads from old newspapers, before online dating and dating apps became such a normal part of society. I really like the way he approaches the subject, and how it starts a conversation about the love people are looking for, which looks a little bit different for everyone.

Books

I have said countless times over the last couple years that I miss the feeling of reading The Hunger Games for the first time, as it was a series that really hooked me and had me running to the bookstore each time I finished a book and was ready for the next one. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think about Suzanne Collins’ prequel A Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, because I wasn’t sure what the story would be like without all the characters I had come to know and love. But it only took a chapter or two for me to be drawn back into the universe and hang on to the edge of my seat. For fellow Hunger Games fans, this book begins just before the start of the 10th Hunger Games and follows President Snow as a teenager. It gives such a great backstory as to why the Hunger Games become what they do 65 years later (when the original series takes place) and why the story unfolds the way that it does.

On a very different note, I had come across Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun multiple times but never read it, mostly because the misplaced “b’s” deeply upset me. But I can honestly say it is worth all the hype. It is a very sweet, inspirational book that can be as fun and cute for kids as it can be deep and meaningful for adults.

TV Shows

I would never in a million years go back to middle school, even if I had the chance, but I will make a single exception for Pen15. It follows Anna and Maya, best friends who are entering 7th grade in the year 2000, and having personally started middle school in 2001, this show is a scary accurate depiction of all those emotions, movies, music, and trends that defined those fateful years. I have never watched a show that made me feel more awkward, more uncomfortable and more understood all at the same time.  I laughed, I cried, I hid behind my hands. It is wonderful.

Movies

First off, if you are someone that is a) addicted to your phone and/or b) wants to find a way to stop looking at your phone so much, watch The Social Dilemma, which is sure to give you a wake up call and borderline frighten you—but in a good way. After watching, I turned off most of the notifications on my phone and was surprised by how much less I looked at my phone simply because I didn’t have any alerts or little red numbers demanding that I did.  

The Peanut Butter Falcon is easily one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It is so sweet and unique and well made. It follows Zak, a boy with down syndrome, who runs away from his assisted living facility in an attempt to attend a wresting school he heard about on TV. Do yourself a favor and just watch it. It is fantastic.

Music

If I were to describe these picks in recipe form, I would say they have a big helping of groovy, a cup of soul and a dash of sad. My ideal musical meal, to be honest.

State of the Heart by Patrick Droney

Wild Wild Woman by Your Smith

Out of Body by Needtobreathe

Sad Hunk by Bahamas

Hyaluronic Toner

My skin and I have been on somewhat rocky terms the last couple months due to me trying to branch out in the skincare product world and my skin simply saying, “no.” So buying this was really a risk, but it ended up paying off. It’s a very moisturizing toner and leaves my skin feeling very soft and healthy, so hopefully she (as in my skin) will give me a bit of a break. (find it here)

AirPods

I was very strongly against AirPods for a long time, solely because I am someone who likes clothes, shoes, etc. to feel secure while I’m wearing them, thus headphones with no cords seemed completely out of my comfortability range. However, after seeing my sister get a pair and then noticing how often I get tangled up in the wires of my headphones, especially while trying to listen to music at my desk, I gave in and impulse bought a pair at Target. I am now two weeks into this purchase and I can honestly say: I get it. They are great. Plus I low-key feel like an FBI agent which is a great addition to my daydreams. (find them here, they are still on sale at Target!)

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.