Favorites

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

September/October 2018 Favorites

So it’s a little sad actually, because I finished this post over a week ago and was set to post it the Monday before what would have been Game 6 of the World Series. I was feeling optimistic and clever and I even wrote a cute intro that talked about how relieved I was to take a break from screaming at the television to tell you about some of my favorite things. But then the Dodgers lost and I was heartbroken and I wrote this blog instead.

Now it’s been a week since baseball ended and I’m still bummed and slightly disoriented and already counting down the days until it’s back. In the meantime here is a list of some of my favorite things from the last couple months:

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Dirty John Podcast

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I’m about a year behind listening to this podcast, but I can finally say that I have listened, I have gasped, I have had heated discussions with my sister in our living room, and I completely understand why everyone made such a big deal about this podcast last year. For those of you who haven’t heard it: LISTEN! It is such a crazy, frustrating and mind blowing true story that you simply have to hear it to believe it. (find it here)

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Computer Glasses

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On the nerdier side of things: these glasses! As someone who spends eight hours—at work, plus a few more each night while writing/blogging at home—a day behind a computer, I was starting to get constant headaches from looking at the screen. So, I did some research and came across these glasses that are supposed to cut out the blue light from the computer screen and prevent those headaches. I’ve been wearing them for a few weeks now and I’m happy to report they are helping! I have far fewer headaches and wholeheartedly believe they were worth the (totally inexpensive) investment. (find them here)

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Movies

 

Since the Dodgers were in the playoffs for most of October, most of my evenings were spent on the couch screaming at the television. Thus, I didn’t have a lot of time to put aside to go to the movies. That being said however, these two managed to both steal me away and put a smile (and/or tears) on my face. A Star is Born is one of the biggest showcases of Lady Gaga’s talent you will ever see and I highly recommend it for that exact reason. The story, music and acting by other players—including Bradley Cooper who gives an amazing performance—is as good as everyone says it is, but Lady Gaga is just beyond. On the completely other end of the scale, Crazy Rich Asians delivers one of the most heartwarming romcoms I’ve seen in a long time. I laughed, I cried, I AWW-ed, and I was ecstatic to learn there is an upcoming sequel because it means I get to spend more time in that wonderful world with that wonderful cast.

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A Million Little Things

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This fall TV season made me mad because it presented a bunch of promising shows that I was interested in watching, even though I definitely don’t have time to watch them. I usually like to pick one or two to try out and then eventually drop one (or both), but my DVR is currently taping about six new shows, almost all of which I am behind on. The exception being A Million Little Things. At first I was skeptical about this show because I thought it was trying to be the new This is Us and I didn’t feel like I had the emotional capacity to watch both. But, I have been pleasantly surprised by its unique storyline and characters. It is without a doubt my favorite new show on TV right now.

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Books

 

I have been practically overdosing on books lately, so choosing only a few favorites was incredibly hard, but these are the ones that really got me.

I listened to Wildflower on audiobook and essentially fell in love with Drew Barrymore in the process. Not only did I love her stories, but listening to her tell them and actually hear how much they meant to her made the book all the more enjoyable. (find it here)

After listening to Wildflower, I immediately started looking up memoirs by other people I admire that I could also listen to on audiobook, which led me to Bryan Cranston’s book, Life in Parts. It was a book I always thought sounded like it would be good but never knew if I’d get around to it, but I’m so glad I did. Cranston has lived such an interesting life and worked so many unique jobs and I loved hearing stories about all of them. One story in particular even inspired this blog post I wrote a few weeks ago. Thanks for that one, Bryan! (find it here)

And last but certainly not least: Girl, Wash Your Face. I practically inhaled this book, reading it every chance I could get just so I could absorb more of the inspirational advice it’s dripping with. It felt like one of those books I was meant to read, you know? The kind I might bring up some time down the road, noting it as an important book that I read and reread and then pursued my dreams like crazy. (find it here)

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Music

Similar to books, I’ve been making a point to listen to all kinds of music lately and I’ve been so excited with what I’ve found. These are a few of my favorite, with iTunes’ adjectives as always.

Swimming by Mac Miller: “He’s riding ultra funky baselines…and an altogether jazzy and danceable set.”

Desperate Man by Eric Church: “Church’s life-affirming relief over successful emergency surgery to remove a deadly blood clot can be heart in the joyous survivor’s boogie of “Hangin’ Around,” the opposites-attract waltz “Heart Like a Wheel,” and the Sympathy for the Devil”-nudging title track.

Expectations by Magic: So there’s no review on iTunes for this one, but if I were to award it descriptive adjectives I would say funky and smooth and close your eyes and bob your head kind of groovy.

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

 

July/August 2018 Favorites

I feel like I’ve fallen in love with a million things since my last favorites post, so it’s hard to choose only a handful to share with you rather than write a five-page, thesis driven report on everything you should be checking out.

In lieu of that however, I’ve tried to narrow it down to some of my tippity top favorites—which is a thing, right?

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The Mortified Podcast

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This is a continuation of the “Mortified” series of both books and live events where people share their embarrassing childhood journals.  Each week, the podcast takes on a theme and stories that fit into that theme are shared. For example, this past week’s episode was called “International Affairs” which featured stories about experiences overseas. No matter which episode you watch or listen to, or which format you find them on, they are guaranteed to make you laugh and/or cringe and more than anything relate. (find it here)

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M-W Word of the Day

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While I like to consider myself as someone with a relatively high vocabulary, I’m always anxious to improve. The way I see it, the more words I know, the more easily I’ll be able to convey exactly what I’m trying to say. So, every day, as part of my morning routine, I check my email and read the word of the day, its definition and its usage in a sentence. Is this a little nerdy? Yes, and I love it.  (find it here)

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Movies

Eighth Grade

As far as I’m concerned, absolutely everyone should see this movie. It is so honest and beautiful and hilarious and sad. It’s about a time in all of our lives that was so awkward and important, and it offers a rare look back to see how far we’ve come since then. (find it here)

Three Identical Strangers

This movie had a pretty limited release which is absolutely heartbreaking because it is one of the most mind-blowing things I’ve ever seen. And while I’d like to tell you all about it, it is truly one of those films that you have to watch without any prior information. So please, do yourself a favor and don’t do any research on this film other than how you can get your eyes on it as soon as possible! (find it here)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

This movie is absolutely adorable. It’s the romcom we’ve all needed for a long time. I watched it one night when I was feeling a little down and it gave me so many warm fuzzies,  I watched it again the very next night without even an ounce of shame. (find it on Netflix)

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TV

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Before watching last year’s award show circuit and seeing Jessica Biel nominated left and right for her performance on this show, I hadn’t really heard anything about it. Needless to say, the minute it was released on Netflix, I went into full blown FOMO mode and made myself sit down and watch the first season. Being the scaredy cat that I have always been, I only watched one or two episodes at a time because I was so nervous about what was going to happen, but when I got close to the end I gave into the binge and let me tell you, it was worth it! I haven’t got a chance to watch any of the second season yet, but it’s definitely on my list! (find it Netflix)

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Red Oaks

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Taking the hardest of left turns, I bring you Red Oaks, a show I found completely by accident on Amazon Prime. It follows a cast of characters that work at a tennis club in the 80’s. One thing that particularly drew me to this show was Craig Roberts, who I loved in The Fundamentals of Caring. While set in a completely different pair of shoes, you again find yourself rooting for him, which is kind of the theme of the show in my opinion. Over the course of the three seasons, there’s never really any cliffhangers or monumental events that make you gasp, but you still find yourself gripped to the characters who are easily tangible and relatable people who you just want to succeed and be happy. (find it on Amazon Prime)

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Making It

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This show is honestly my dream come true. A DIY competition show—which alone would’ve stolen my heart—that is hosted by Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler!! It is the greatest gift my DVR could have ever been given. (find it on Hulu, or Tuesdays at 10 p.m. PST on NBC)

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Books

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This was released as a movie in March, but I waited to read the book first and I was so glad I did. Not only do you get a lot more detail, but in many ways (in my opinion) you get a better story.  While I enjoyed both adaptations, the movie and the book are drastically different in terms of minor plot points. I feel like the movie focuses more on video game references while the book’s major focus is the 80’s generation as a whole. (find it here)

Strange Fire by Tommy Wallach

In a recent conversation with my sister I made a comment that I thought Tommy Wallach might be my favorite author, which made me wonder why he hadn’t released any new books lately. This sent me on a Google hunt which informed me that not only had he released this book last October, but that it was the first in a trilogy, the second of which is coming out this November. Cue the happy dancing. This book was much more sci-fi than his first two (both of which you should read, by the way, they are: We All Looked Up and Thanks for the Trouble) but the characters were just as rich and the story was equally gripping. I can’t wait for book #2! (find it here)

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Seeing as it won a Pulitzer Prize and all, I realize it wouldn’t be new information for me to say, “hey, this is a great book!” But I never read this book in school and really only did so now because it’s on the list of Time’s Best 100 Books that I’m working my way through, and I’m SO glad I did! I listened to the audiobook read by Sissy Spacek and she was fantastic. Highly recommend! (find it here)

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Music

As always, here’s a few iTunes adjectives to peak your interest

Don’t Smile at Me by Billie Eilish: “nudges things along nicely with its minimalist beats and lifting-yet-sinister lyricism.”

Greetings from the Neon Frontier by The Wild Feathers: “full of wistful highway anthems built on breezy three part harmonies.”

Sweetner by Ariana Grande: “a gorgeous pastel album about love, happiness, strength and womanhood.”

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

 

May/June 2018 Favorites

Hello and welcome to another favorites post, where I hand out real life “like” buttons to things I’ve fallen in love with over the last couple months.

Let’s jump right in.

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Ear Hustle & S-Town

After catching up with almost all the podcasts I listen to regularly, I did some research to find some new ones. Among the many articles I read, these two podcasts were constantly among the top recommended, and after listening to them, I can understand why!

Ear Hustle is all about San Quentin state prison. It goes through different stories and struggles associated with people inside. I was pretty much hooked from the first episode and binged the entire series until I was caught up.

S-Town is about a mysterious man named John B McLemore, who sends an email to a journalist at This American Life, the company responsible for the widely popular Serial podcast, requesting he look into a murder that was swept under the rug in his hometown in Alabama. This journalist is then immersed into the very strange and secretive life of John B McLemore, and ultimately discovers that no murder ever took place. My sister and I binged the entire podcast during our drive to and from the mountains over Memorial Day weekend, and were left completely baffled. (find Ear Hustle here, and S-Town here)

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Love

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I’ll admit, I’m not all that great at keeping up with/finishing must watch shows, both on TV and on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. As a result, I tend to try and watch them all at once, and then never finish any. However, there are some that particularly hook me, causing me to sit down and watch them in their entirety without cheating on them with another show. Love is one of those exceptions. It is such a funny, relatable, different show that I’ve been spending a lot of quality time with lately. And since it’s third (and final) season only just came out in March, I like to think I’m not too out of the loop on this one. (find it on Netflix)

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James Bay & Shawn Mendes

In the music department, I have these two gentlemen to recommend to you. They are both ridiculously talented, and recently released albums that I’ve been listening to on repeat. And since I can never quite do the description justice, here’s how iTunes describes them:

Shawn Mendes by Shawn Mendes: “an adventurous voyage of texture and tempo”

Electric Light by James Bay: “a questing set of songs that crosses into simmering funk pop, taut alt-pop, and folky electro R&B”

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I would not even be slightly exaggerating if I said that I told everybody I know about this book. Okay, well not everyone I know, but mostly certainly everyone I came into contact with while I was reading it. It just blew my mind! The story follows a woman who, after getting in a nasty car accident, wakes up to find that her brain has completely lost contact with the left side of her body. She can’t move her left arm or left leg, she can’t see anything to the left of her center line of vision. As far as her brain is concerned, left doesn’t exist. I mean, just try not to constantly talk about it. (find it here)

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Pores No More

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I am honestly shocked that in back to back favorites posts I have a beauty product to recommend to you, but here I am. I got this guy from Ulta a little while back, and as I do with almost every new makeup product I buy, I put in my bag and never used it because I was afraid my skin would rebel/catch on fire/etc. Luckily, when I finally worked up the courage to try this bad boy, I absolutely loved it! It didn’t irritate my skin, it helped with my oily complexion and it served as a great base for my makeup. Consider me a lifelong fan! (find it here)

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White Chocolate Dipped Animal Crackers

A few weeks back my family and I drove up to spend Memorial Day weekend in the mountains. While we were there, we stopped by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. My mom and my sister were eyeing the candied apples, but not being a fan of them myself, I perused the outskirts of the store, trying to find something that suited my fancy. Enter these bad boys, stage right. They might be one of the greatest treats I have ever tried, one which I’ll never be able to deny should I find myself in the vicinity of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. (Unfortunately they don’t list these on the website, so in order to find/try them, you’ll have to go into a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store. BUMMER.)

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Imperfect Produceblack_logo

After seeing this constantly advertised across my social media platforms, I finally decided to look this company up and see what it’s all about. For those of you also wondering: much like the company name suggests, this company sends you produce that is imperfect, or in other words, isn’t pretty enough to be sold in stores. So, they sell it to you at a discounted rate. You have a few different options regarding both box size (I do the smallest box), and shipment frequency (I do every other week), and on the weekend before your box is delivered, you can log in and customize it, adding or removing fruits and veggies you want/don’t want in your box. For example, I usually leave my box the way they have it, only removing produce I know I don’t like/won’t use like lettuce or cilantro. (Note: if you want to try it, you can click here. Full disclosure: this is a referral link from my account, but if you sign up with it, we both get a credit of $10! It’s a win win!)

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The Skimm

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And finally, I bring you The Skimm. I’m not even sure where/how I found out about this, but I’m very glad I did! It’s a roundup of the day’s top news stories that gets sent to your email every weekday morning. After signing up at the beginning of May, it’s quickly become part of my morning routine. Once I get to work, I read through my email from The Skimm, clicking on any links that I want further information on, and then I officially start my day, feeling well informed on what’s happening in the world. (find it here)

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

March/April 2018 Favorites

It’s beginning to feel a lot like…spring? Summer? Winter again? Honestly I have no idea with the highs and lows going on in Southern California right now. Last week my thermometer read both 49 and 96. This is why we Californians have trust issues, and why we never acclimate to anything. Anyways, let’s jump right into the favorites, shall we?

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Getting Curious w/ Jonathan Van Ness

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As if watching Queer Eye on Netflix wasn’t enough to make me fall in love with Jonathan Van Ness & Co. his podcast is equally as wonderful. Not only does it feature his trademark charm and sass, it covers genuinely interesting topics that I love hearing about and am quite honestly very curious about. For example, one episode talked all about bees. And while I’ve never considered myself to be much of a bee enthusiast, after listening I found myself completely fascinated by them and totally equipped to inform others of ways they can help save the dwindling population. (find it here)

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Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle

I’ve never considered myself any sort of expert in the makeup/beauty world, but a couple months ago I signed up for Birchbox to add some new products in my life and have been loving it so far! In my first box, I received this detangling spray that you put in your hair before brushing when you get out of the show and WOW. It completely detangled my hair, it made it smell good, and it left it super smooth. I just recently ran out so I will definitely be ordering the full size version! (find it here)

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Quinoa Fried Rice

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As you may have read in my cooking series, Strain then Stir, I’ve been making a conscious effort to better my cooking skills over the last year. In doing so, I’ve forced myself to branch out and try things I’ve long convinced myself I don’t like, one example being quinoa. I have always assumed I wouldn’t like the texture of quinoa and would always hold a grudge against it because, well, it’s just not rice. But then I found this recipe and everything changed. Not only is it easy, but it’s absolutely delicious and healthy and OH MY GOSH I’M A COOK. (find recipe here) (image credit: Gimme Some Oven blog)

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Caramel Cookie Fix

Speaking of delicious. I picked up a pint of this ice cream at Target while my sister and I were stress packing for Stagecoach last month and WOW. Just wow. I’m still proud of myself for not eating the entire pint in one sitting even though 1) I definitely could have and 2) it’s lower in calories thus lower in guilt. If you are in the market for a new ice cream flavor, this is the winner.

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You’re Not that Great

I’m not going to lie, I initially only bought this book because it popped up in the sale section of the Kindle store. That being said however, since I finished it I’ve been recommending it to everyone and would gladly go back in time and pay full price for it. It’s such a new take on self-help books, essentially asking you to embrace all the reasons you suck. And as much as that sounds insulting, it’s actually strangely inspirational. I laughed through the entire book and could not recommend it more. (find it here)

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The Office

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After years of receiving the “what do you mean you HAVEN’T see The Office” looks, I decided it was about time I joined society, and let me tell you, I’M SO GLAD I DID! I totally get it now. Every look I’ve received in the past is totally validated because yes, my life was worse before I started watching this show and continues to get better as I make my way though it. (I’m currently on Season 5!) So thank you, judgy people, really, truly, thank you. (find it on Netflix)

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Sons of Anarchy

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On a completely different end of the Netflix spectrum, I’ve also gotten into Sons of Anarchy, making my brain a very chaotic place. Not to mention my heart is now torn between two incredibly different men in Jim Halpert and Jax Teller. I think if there is a human out there that is a combination of the two he might be my soulmate. So if you find him, let me know. (find it on Netflix)

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A Quiet Place

If you are among the few that have heard all the hype about this movie but haven’t seen it, let me be the one to tell you that you need to go see it. I have never been a fan of horror movies, nor have I ever seen one in theaters, but the talk around this movie (and my new love for John Krasinski) convinced me to face my fears and I’m so glad I did! This movie is so fantastic and different than anything I’ve seen before. I felt every emotion on the spectrum and would easily say it is the best movie I’ve seen all year. Go see it! In theaters if you can. It adds to the whole experience.

 

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

January/February 2018 Favorites

It has been a minute since I did my last favorites post! 126 minutes to be exact. That is, if we count “minutes” as days. A lot has happened since October and as such, a lot of new favorites have been made! So, in the interest of saving time, let’s dive right into these new favorites so you can start making them some of your new favorites.


 

Apps

While I wouldn’t consider myself someone who is glued to her phone, in the last few months I’ve found a few things that make it a little more addicting.

 

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Plant Nanny

It wouldn’t be the slightest exaggeration when I say that I tell almost everyone I come into contact with about this app. Honestly, the people at Plant Nanny should be sponsoring me at this point. But I can’t help it! This app is so adorable! Similar in nature to other apps that help you drink more water, this app steps it up by using your water drinking efforts grow digital plants. When you drink water, the plant grows and eventually moves into the “garden” to live out the remainder of its life in sunny glory. When you don’t drink enough water however, the plant DIES. I’m talking x’s over the eyes, withered in its pot type of death, and let me tell you, it is AWFUL. The threat of death however, is far outweighed by the adorable plants you can grow. I mean, look at my little collection. This is the nicest garden I will ever have. (Find it here)

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If you haven’t heard of this one, I apologize in advanced for introducing it to you. HQ is a live trivia game that runs twice a day at 12pm and 6pm (PST). Each game consists of 12 multiple choice questions and if you get through all 12 questions, you win the prize money, or split it with the other winners. On weekdays the prize is about $2,500, while on weekends it tends to be higher. Yesterday, in honor of the Oscars, the prize was $50,000! If you do end up winning, feel free to send me some money in thanks. (Find it here)

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Do you remember the computer game Spider Solitaire? Yeah, well, this app is the exact same thing, and has become somewhat of a point of contention between my sister and I. We’re constantly competing to see who can win a game in the least amount of moves—which is currently me, by the way, with 108—and can spend a good amount of time procrastinating side by side in the chairs in our living room. It’s a good time waster as well as—at least I like to tell myself—a good brain exerciser. Plus, I’m a fan of any app that can make my sister yell “YOU’RE A MONSTER” from the upstairs bedroom. (Find it here)

 


 

MoviePass

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I know this might sound dramatic, but THIS IS THE GREATEST INVENTION OF ALL TIME. As someone who loves seeing movies in theaters but can’t really afford to do so on a regular basis, discovering this was a true gold mine. MoviePass lets you see as many movies as you want (the only rule being you can only see one per day) for a monthly payment of only $10. (There is actually a promotion going on right now for $7.95/month!) Once you sign up, they mail you a card that is connected to your account and then whenever you want to see a movie, you drive to a participating theater, check in to the movie you want to see using the app, and then swipe your MoviePass card and get a ticket. With the prices of movie tickets being what they are these days, as long as you see one movie per month, you save money. I’ve seen three movies so far—I,Tonya, Call Me By Your Name and Maze Runner: The Death Cure (all of which I’d recommend)—and each time the process was a smooth as can be. (Find it here)

 


 

The Dollop Podcast

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If you are in the market for a new podcast, may I suggest that you add this to the top of your list immediately. Not only is it hilarious, but it’s unique and oftentimes extremely educational. Hosted by comedians Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds, each episode consists of Dave finding a relatively unknown story in American history and then telling it to Gareth, who has absolutely no idea what the story is about or how it ends. Throughout the telling of the story, both Dave and Gareth give commentary on it, the result of which has left me laughing out loud during my morning commute on more than one occasion. (Find it here)

 


 

Roman Holiday

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One of my goals last year was to watch every movie that has won the Academy Award for Best Picture. In the process of doing so, I shamelessly fell in love with Gregory Peck, who starred in Gentleman’s Agreement as well as Audrey Hepburn who—well, DUH. After completing my goal, I sought out both of their filmographies which led me to Roman Holiday. Before you say anything, I KNOW I’m way behind the times on this one, but that was kind of the whole point of watching the Best Pictures in the first place. So if you happen to be someone who, like me, is looking to be with the times, or if you’re someone just looking for a feel good, classic film with a handsome man and an iconic lady, this is your movie. (Find it here)

 


 

Godless

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In perhaps the starkest contrast of genres, I recently watched the Netflix western miniseries, Godless. And since I can’t give a better summary than IMDB, this is how they describe it: Frank Griffin, an outlaw terrorizing the 1880s American West, hunts down Roy Goode, his partner turned enemy. Roy hides out at a ranch as Frank’s chase leads him to La Belle, New Mexico – a town mysteriously made up almost entirely of women.  The funny thing is, that’s only the skeleton of the show. There are so many good characters and intersecting storylines that hook you. I finished the series in two days, but spent a good handful more thinking about it afterwards. (Find it here)


 

BoomChickaPop

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I’ve heard about this popcorn for a while now, but never had the chance to try it until I recently developed an addiction to kettle corn. To make matters worse/better, upon finding this brand at Target, I discovered it has a bunch of different flavors! So far I’ve only tried the purple (Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn) and green (Light Kettle Corn) but I can almost guarantee I’ll be making my rounds. I’ll report back with the best flavor! (Find it here)


 

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

September/October 2017 Favorites

I always have trouble knowing exactly how to start these blog posts because I feel like the meat of the post is in the favorites, you know? So if I spend all this time in the intro trying to get you excited for the favorites, I’m just wasting your time because every single extra word I type with my unpainted fingernailed fingertips is one extra word you have to read before you can get to the part of this post that actually matters. So really, the introduction is just rude. Because a part of you feels like you should read it, just in case you miss something wildly important, but then the other part of you just wants to skip it and read on, because clearly nothing important is going to be said in this intro, is it? But the curiosity still lingers, so you read the whole thing, and then you get to the end and realize you totally could have skipped it.

Sorry.


 

Insanely Chill w/ Cody Ko Podcast

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Unlike some of the other podcasts I’ve recommended in previous favorites posts, this one doesn’t necessarily have a specific theme. Cody Ko started on Vine and then shifted over to YouTube and in the last year made his way into the world of podcasting. Insanely Chill is essentially a space where he just talks about whatever is on his mind. I like it because each episode is like one long conversation with a friend, except that friend is doing all the talking, but somehow it’s okay because that friend is pretty funny and clearly needs to vent about a few things. So you listen, and even though you don’t get a single word in edgewise, you enjoy yourself and then sign yourself up to have these conversations once a week.  (Find it here)


 

The Hollars

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Have you ever watched a movie and had it be exactly what you needed to watch in that moment of your life? Well in the middle of September, while my best friend and I were on vacation in Denver, we turned on The Hollars in our hotel room after a long day of exploring and it could not have been a more perfect choice. It is John Krasinski’s directorial debut and it makes me hope with all my heart he has more projects in the works. It makes you feel all the feels and I can’t recommend it enough. (Find it here)


 

Gaga: Five Foot Two

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I’ve always been a Lady Gaga fan, but after watching her Netflix documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, that respect and admiration tripled. It follows her journey to record her fifth studio album, Joanne, her struggles with fibromyalgia, and her performance at the 2016 Super Bowl Halftime show. My favorite line from the documentary is said in regards to Lady Gaga’s newfound maturity as an artist, but I think can relate to everyone: “I’m a woman struggling now,” she says, “rather than a girl.” (Find it on Netflix)

 


download

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells

Throughout this entire book I was torn between wanting to binge it and needing to put it down. Written by Jeannette Wells, it is the story of her unorthodox (to say the least) upbringing. It is a hard story, but an important one. It’s a good reminder of how many different lives are being lived around you. (Find it here)

 

 

How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky9780147515995

Watsky is one of those people who I’ve seen around but never really known a lot about. Thankfully I picked up How to Ruin Everything at a bookstore in Colorado, thus introducing me to the world of Watsky. The bio on his website describes him as “a rapper, writer and performer from San Francisco now living in Los Angeles. A versatile lyricist who switches between silly and serious, technically complex and simply heartfelt,” which I think is a completely accurate description of his book as well. How to Ruin Everything had me laughing out loud, contemplating life and underlining phrases I hope I’m clever enough to emulate in my future writing. I’d recommend looking into all of his projects, including this book. (Find it here)

 

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The Sun & Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

I read Rupi’s first book, Milk and Honey, last year and was instantly hooked and The Sun & Her Flowers continues with that addicting, must read quality. So, if you’re in the market for some poetry, I’d recommend Rupi one thousand times over. She is one of those people who can find words to express emotions, leaving you feeling like there is someone out there in the world who gets it, you know?  (Find it here)

 

 


 

Music

I’ve have been absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of good music the last two months have brought. It seems like every week there has been a new song or album that I am playing on repeat.

My music library has been looking like this:

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(the hamburgers, of course, being high quality musack)

I could recommend so much, but here are a few of my favorites:

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Kesha, Rainbow

For the most part I’m hit and miss with Kesha’s music, but this album got me! It’s such a good combination of mature and silly and it does a great job at showcasing how talented she’s always been behind all the glitter. (Find it here)

 

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Jessie Ware, Glasshouse

A few years ago I was obsessed with Jessie Ware’s album, Tough Love, so when I saw she had a new album coming out I was pumped and immediately preordered it. It did not disappoint. (Find it here)

 

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JP Cooper, Raised Under Grey Skies

I was first introduced to JP Cooper when he was featured on The Shed Sessions, a series on the Jacksgap Youtube channel. Since then I’ve checked in with him over the years, and was excited to see him release his first full length album. It’s absolutely beautiful. (Find it here)

 

268x0wDemi Lovato, Tell Me You Love Me

I’ve been waiting patiently for an album of Demi’s to perfectly showcase her voice and DAMN, if this doesn’t do it. I’ve been playing this album on repeat, loud, so I can pretend I’m hitting all the notes she does. (Find it here)

 

download (4)Hoodie Allen, The Hype

Similar to Watsky, Hoodie Allen is someone that I’ve always heard about but never really dove into. That being said, I decided to shuffle his Spotify station while I was on a run one day and immediately came home and snatched up some music, including his brand new album, The Hype(Find it here)

 


 

Pecans

If you’ll recall from my last favorites post, I introduced my new obsession with Honey Vanilla Bourbon Pecans. Well let me tell you, these past two months, I have dove head first into the world of pecans. I’m serious. For the longest time I just assumed I didn’t like them and then I actually tried them this year and spoiler alert: pecans are freaking delicious. Everywhere I go I try pecan flavored things because I feel like I’ve wasted so much time eating non-pecan flavored things. Among everything I’ve tried while out and about, these are two of my favorite pecan flavored products I’ve found in the grocery store.

I’m in so deep guys. If things carry on this way, come 6 months from now I’m going to be that person on social media using tags like #justpecanthings or #allpecansallday. Pray for me.


 

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

July/August 2017 Favorites

Well friends, we have reached—by school standards—the end of summer. Those of you who are still in school have begun to begrudgingly wake up to an alarm again, and those who are out of school are now sitting nervously in traffic behind those who slept past that alarm and are charging down the streets like a crazy person.

To all parties involved, I apologize.

As a token of my dearest sympathies, I offer you this new edition of favorites. Hopefully you will find things to love among the things that I love so that we can all focus on things we love rather than the things we hate—like the end of summer.

Let us begin!


 

If I Were You Podcast

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For those of you familiar with CollegeHumor.com, this podcast is run by popular comedy duo Jake and Amir. Each episode they read questions sent in by fans via email and answer them by giving advice on what they would do if they were you. Questions range anywhere from relationships to starting college to crappy bosses to crazy roommates. This podcast always cracks me up, making me look like an absolute crazy person while I’m running, but I like to think of it as my core workout for the day. (Find it here)


 

Kayla Itsines’ Cookbook

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As some of you may have seen, this month I started a bi-monthly cooking series where I hope to spend as much time learning how to cook as I do avoiding burning my house down or poisoning my family. You can check out the first post here, it’s all about workout guru Kayla Itsines’ new cookbook, The 28-Day Bikini Body Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Guide. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how easy and delicious the recipes are, and have already shuffled them into the my (very limited) memory bank of things I can make on the fly, which is saying something, because usually that space is filled with old ‘NSYNC lyrics and directions to a friend’s house that I haven’t visited since elementary school. (Find it here)


 

Honey Vanilla Bourbon Pecans

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I don’t care who you are—unless you’re my sister or someone with a similarly dangerous allergy to pecans—you need to try these pecans. They are so good. So good. I bought them on a whim at the grocery store figuring they would be a healthy(ish) snack, but once I tried them, I didn’t really care if they were healthy or not. They were that good. Throw them in a bowl with some grapes and you’ve got yourself a hall of fame worthy snack. (I’ve only found these at Ralph’s but I would check every grocery store around you to try these guys, again, they’re that good.)


 

The Hard Cuts by Needtobreathe & Something to Tell You by HAIM

As you know, I have no idea how to give commentary on music besides, “it’s good!” so, as always, let’s turn this one over to the abundant adjectivers over on iTunes:

The Hard Cuts by Needtobreathe: “musical chicken soup for the soul” (Find it here)

Something to Tell You by HAIM: “all sweet melodies, catchy rock and pop hooks, and gonna-work-it-out feels.”  (Find it here)


 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck & Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy

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As if the bright orange book jacket wasn’t enough to catch my attention, the title of Mark Manson’s book made it all but impossible not to buy. I mean, how do you not buy a book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Tell me how you walk by that book! Actually, don’t tell me, because if I did than I wouldn’t have read it, which would be a tragedy, because I LOVED this book. It was such a unique take on a self-help book, mostly because it demanded action rather than positive thoughts towards action. To explain the title, it teaches you to give a f*ck about the right things and to stop giving a f*ck about the wrong things.  (Find it here)

 

51GVRV55InL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Speaking of worth the read, if you’re a Dodger fan, Sandy Koufax fan, or just a baseball fan in general, I highly recommend Jane Leavy’s biography Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy. It is jam packed—and I mean JAM. PACKED.—with all things baseball, pop culture, and racial relations of 1950s-1960s baseball and has them intertwined in the telling of Sandy Koufax’s 1965 perfect game. I for one was absolutely sucked in by the story and found myself walking away with a much deeper knowledge of baseball, and a big fat crush on Sandy Koufax. (Find it here)

 

 


 

@JunkBanter

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Honestly, this account made me so furious that I HAD to follow it. Why did it make me furious, you ask? BECAUSE I DIDN’T THINK OF THIS. It’s an account based solely around talking about snacks. Classic snacks, new snacks, limited edition snacks. It’s all snacks, all the time, and I just don’t think I’ll ever get over not starting this conversation. However, since the important thing is that this conversation exists in the first place, I highly recommend you go check them out. They are constantly filling me in with crucial snack-toids, such as the upcoming release of 7 new Halo Top ice cream flavors, which is a company I mentioned a few favorites ago, thus making any new releases a TOP PRIORITY. (Find it here)


 

Charity Miles

Charity-Mile

This app was recommended to me by my cousin, who is well versed in my mission to run 1000 miles this year. The way he saw it, I was going to be putting in the miles regardless, so why not do some extra good in the process? And I couldn’t agree more! This app is super straightforward and easy to use and has a ton of different charities you can run (or walk) for. All you have to do is choose a charity (which you can change anytime you want) and then get moving! The miles you put in will be converted into donations from sponsors of the app, making your hard work payoff again and again. (Find it here)


 

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

May/June 2017 Favorites

Everybodddayyyy

(Yeahhhh)

Rock your bodayyyy

(Yeahhh)

Everyboddayyy

Rock your bodayy right

Favorites are back ALRIGHT

So yeah, I saw the Backstreet Boys in Vegas this month, and yeah, it’s still on my mind, because yeah, it was INCREDIBLE. If there was a slot in the favorites for “favorite concert I saw that made me feel 13 again,” the BSB would definitely have nabbed that spot. Actually, let’s go ahead and make that a slot just this once. Consider yourselves “favorited” boys!

Now, on to the rest of the favorites:

Modern Love Podcast

modern love podcastSince the quest to run 1000 miles rages on, I’m always looking for new listening material, and these past two months I’ve been loving the podcast-ed version of The New York Times column “Modern Love.” Each episode contains a previously published story, read aloud by a wide variety of personalities (one of my favorites was Titus Burgess from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and accented with sound effects and music, to really bring the words to life. I consistently find myself captivated by the stories, and look forward to the new episode each week. (Find it here.)


 

Think Thin Protein Bars

Flavors_TT_protein

Another side effect of running is being hungry ALL. THE. TIME. Honestly, I feel like an adolescent boy, minus the growth spurts and incredible metabolism. That being said, I’ve been on the lookout for healthy(ish) snacks that can tide me over between meals so I don’t eat my way through my entire budget. Enter these protein bars, which seem to do the trick in satisfying my hunger, without providing the lasting guilt or tasting like total garbage. So far, I’ve tried the Brownie Crunch, Cinnamon Bun White Chocolate, and Cupcake Batter flavors and I’ve liked them all!

 


 

Stitch Fix

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Call me a sucker if you want, but Stitch Fix has been FLOODING my Facebook feed for months now with ads for their cute clothes, and after putting up a steady resistance, I finally caved. I clicked the link that had been shouting at me to “try now!” and I went through the comprehensive “style quiz” and I gave them all my info, then I waited pretty (im)patiently for my first box to arrive. I’m not going to lie to you, it was pretty exciting when it did. Unlike the sporadic string of Amazon packages that usually grace my porch, this was a mystery box of goodness! You see, the way it works is once you go through the “style quiz”, a stylist reviews your answers and then sends you 5 handpicked items they think you’ll like. You then try them on/do a quick fashion show, etc, and decide what you want to keep and what you want to return. For the things you want to return, they send you a prepaid envelope, so all you have to do is slide the clothes/accessories in, seal it and send it back. From my first box, I kept two shirts, one of which I never would have tried on in a store and one that looks like it could have been made especially for me. (Find it here)


 

Harry Styles by Harry Styles & Evolve by Imagine Dragons

Both of these albums have had me feeling all the feels and frequently texting my sister “YES, ALL THE YES” at various times of the day. They are very different in sound but both more than worth the listen.

Let’s turn it over to iTune for bimonthly dose of adjectives:

Harry Styles by Harry Styles: “magisterial Bowie-meets-Elton calling card,” “swampy bass and carnal choruses” (Find it here)

Evolve by Imagine Dragons: “the band trades is signature angst for light rhythmic textures and fluid vocals about rebuilding.” (Find it here)

Yup, EXACTLY what I was thinking.


 

Brain on Fire by Susannah Calahan & This is Really Happening by Erin Chack

download (3)Again, these two choices have vastly different vibes about them, but they are both phenomenal. I borrowed Brain on Fire from a friend and was addicted by about page 4. It’s a memoir written by a 20 something year old woman who, while living a perfectly normal, healthy life, finds herself slipping into complete psychosis for no understandable reason. I read the entire thing in one day and have recommended it to almost every human I’ve spoken to since. (Find it here)

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This is Really Happening is a collection of essays written by Buzzfeed writer, Erin Chack, who I hadn’t heard of until I saw her book announcement on Twitter. Needless to say, I fell in love with her instantly after that and put the book in my Amazon cart that afternoon. This is Really Happening is a super easy read that made me laugh and cry and want to get a book of my own on the market. So, fingers crossed you’ll find me emulated a book birth in the future. (Find it here)

 


 

Kendall Jenner Ab Workout

Who even am I, right? I know. But I can’t help it! Ever since I saw the workout in this Cosmo article online, I’ve made it a part of my gym routine. Full disclosure: It’s hard as hell. BUT doing it has made me feel much stronger, and I’m pretty sure I have, like, 1 1/2 abs now, so, watch out world!

kendall-exercises-01-3-1490901682


 

This Terrible Morning

thisterrible

Oh, yes. This is a self plug and I’m not sorry about it. I recently announced a fun side project called “This Terrible Morning” which hopes to be a collaborative blog all about how terribly ridiculous mornings have a tendency to be. Fun fact: it officially launched TODAY! So make sure you go check out the first post. It’s a piece by me, written about the morning that gave me the idea for This Terrible Morning in the first place. Also, if you have a terrible morning you’d like to share in story/picture/poem/song/any form, please do! I’d love for you to join in on all the terrible fun. (Find it here)


 

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

March/April 2017 Favorites

It’s that time again folks! And since it’s that time, let’s not waste any more! Let’s just cut straight to the goods.

Here are a few of my favorite things from March & April:

 

The Serial Podcast

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Part of my ongoing quest to run 1000 miles this year includes finding new and exciting things to listen to so I can stay motivated to keep running. And while I’m usually a strictly music type of person, this podcast HOOKED me. It investigates the 1999 murder of a girl in Baltimore and oh. my. gosh. good luck not thinking about it every second of the day. It came out about 3 years ago, so it’s possible I’m the last person to find it, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s damn good. (Find it here)


 

This is A Book by Demetri Martin & How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh

I found Demetri Martin’s debut book while browsing through an actual, physical bookstore (because yes, they still exist and are still wonderful). And while his name alone would have sold me on the buy as he’s one of my favorite comedians, the title signed, sealed and delivered the sale with no questions asked. This is a Book made me laugh out loud and gave me all kinds of inspiration for comedic writing. (Find it here)

Speaking of inspiration, can we talk about Lilly Singh’s How to be a Bawse?! Never have I ever highlighted, underlined and post-it noted a book so much. If you’re someone looking to level up in any department of your life, I highly recommend this book. It gives you all the feels, especially the ones that make you feel like you can Kool-Aid man your way through any obstacle standing in your way. (Find it here)

koolaid


 

Moana & Beauty & the Beast

I know I’m late to the Moana-is-absolutely-amazing party, but…better late than never, right? I got here eventually! And now that I’m here, I never want to leave! There are just so many good things to say about this movie (some of which I already said here) and I just can’t wait to watch it again, to be honest. (Find it here)

Same goes for Beauty & the Beast. That was one party I wasn’t late for. I saw it the weekend it came out and instantly fell in love with it. Emma Watson is incredible and the entire production is just beautiful. It left me with that “I wanna do something that amazing!” feeling in my stomach and goosebumps all down my arms. (Find it here)


 

÷ by Ed Sheeran & The Breaker by Little Big Town

I’ve had both of these albums on repeat for the last two months. And while I could describe them myself, I’m again going to turn it over to the lovely people at iTunes because they drop adjectives in reviews like I do parmesan cheese on pasta. Also, you gotta love a review that leaves you wondering what it even means.

÷ by Ed Sheeran: “a ruthlessly melodic run through a staggering array of styles” (Find it here)

The Breaker by Little Big Town: “the four piece’s most urbane, widescreen record [that] refuses to relinquish their down home charm.” (Find it here)


 

Spotify

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Piggy backing off those albums, I also subscribed to Spotify this month, which has proven to be worth the $8. Initially, my biggest draw to subscribe was finally getting to hear Chance the Rapper’s Grammy winning album, Coloring Book (which is great by the way), but I have also been pleasantly surprised with the wide variety of curated playlists available. A few of my favorites include: Lighten Up, Man! for when I’m at work, Totally Stress Free for when I’m writing, and Songs to Sing in the Shower for when I’m just in the mood to dance. (Find it here)


 

Halo Top Ice Cream

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I actually saw this ice cream on an Instagram ad and made a mental note to try it if I ever found it in a store. It boasts a high protein, low sugar ice cream that is only about 300 calories per pint. And while I know this suggests it probably tastes like milky garbage, it actually doesn’t! I’ve tried the birthday cake and cookie dough flavors and they are both really good. (Especially the cookie dough!) So if you’re in the market for a new dessert, give it a try. (Find it here)


 

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

January/February 2017 Favorites

Do wappa do wappa do wappa do wappa

DUN

DUNDUNDUN

DUNDUNDUN

DUNDUNDUNNNNN

Wait, wait, wait, pause.

Okay, I thought I would be kind of epic if I started off this Favorites post with an Eye of the Tiger type vibe, but I can see now that it looks more like a post-wisdom teeth slur/stroke hybrid type of situation.

Apologies.

But hey, now that you know the intention behind the introductory gibberish, you can totally start this post over and get the full effect of the do wappa’s…

No? Well okay then, let’s just get started, here are a few of my favorite things from January and February:

 

Running!

running

Go ahead, roll your eyes. I deserve and accept the gesture. I mean, who wants to hear about someone that loves running, right? Running sucks! Except, well, I don’t think it does…at least not anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing it consistently for over two months now so my body no longer feels like it’s going to spontaneously combust (as it has done every other time I’ve ever decided to “become a runner”) or maybe it’s because one of my goals for 2017 is to run 1000 miles, so I feel like in a way I have to love it. Regardless, I’ve recently discovered that I do. Oops.


 

Nerd Wax

Speaking of running, have you ever noticed how completely annoying it is to run with glasses/sunglasses? There you are trying to get in the zone and there your glasses are, bouncing around your face like a drunk guy at a nightclub, causing you to break your focus and, depending on whether the glasses are prescription, sending you in and out of ranging levels of blindness. Enter Nerd Wax, stage right. Put a little on the bridge of your nose and your glasses will hang on tighter than a drunk guy at a nightclub, but unlike him, you’ll definitely want to take Nerd Wax home. (Find it here)


 

Books

When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading, (or running, or eating, or sleeping or asking my brother to clarify popular teenage slang terms or looking up new quesadilla recipes) but mostly reading, and so more often than not, when a favorites post comes around, I have multiple books that I’ve recently enjoyed, making the selection of just one, HARD. So, I’m just going to start recommending two. It’s a safe median, I think. It lets me give you a little variety without writing you a book…about books. So yeah, two. And I’ll do the same for movies and music. Onward!

Here are this months’ recommendations:

Nicola Yoon is quickly becoming one of my favorite new writers. I read her first book Everything, Everything (which is now a motion picture!) and loved it with my whole heart, and The Sun is Also a Star was no different. She just knows how to make your heart swell, and she tends to do so without your permission. (Find it here)

Anna Kendrick is arguably one of my favorite HBINM’s (Human Beings I’ve Never Met) (pronounced, hib-i-nims) and I was so excited to finally get to read her debut book, Scrappy Little Nobody. Long story short: I LOVED it. Throughout the process of reading it I was the physical embodiment of a LOL and I would highly recommend it. (Find it here)

 

 


 

La La Land & The Submarine Kid

As an artist, La La Land was an absolute dream to watch. As a lover of movies, La La Land was an absolute dream to watch. As a human being, La La Land was an absolute dream to watch. Honestly, there’s not much else I can say. (Find it here)

On a completely different token, The Submarine Kid is a story about a soldier suffering from PTSD. It’s told in an incredibly unique way, while still remaining honest, and is extremely well done, well acted and well, just go watch it! (You can find it on Netflix.)


 

James Arthur & Lauren Alaina

One of my favorite things about iTunes is the expressive language used by the reviewers to describe albums. Those people bring out alllll the adjectives, let me tell you. So I would feel rather unworthy trying to describe anything about these two albums. That being said, let me just leave with you with the names and a few words iTunes uses to describe them:

Back from the Edge by James Arthur: “energetically soulful”, “lusty neo-R&B”, & “gospel-tinged behemoth” (Find it here)

Road Less Traveled by Lauren Alaina: Hmm…the adjective guy keeps it brief here with simply: “crossover gold”, but it should also be noted that an iTunes user rated it as “the best thing that has ever happened”, so there’s that. (Find it here)


 

Cinnamon Bun Oreos

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I mean, this shouldn’t be that surprising, as this cookie was essentially my muse this month. But seeing as it’s still an incredible cookie that I have yet to go a full week without consuming, I thought it deserved another round of recognition. (Find it here)


 

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.