Favorites

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

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.

July & August Favorites (2020)

Hello and welcome back to another edition of favorites!

I have officially given up on creative introductions.

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Podcasts

TheNextRightThing1

I haven’t been in a huge podcast mood these past couple months, so not only am I behind on most of the shows that I already listen to, I haven’t been actively hunting for new ones either. That being said however, I did come across The Next Right Thing, which is a short, faith based podcast that, like the song in Frozen 2 (even though this podcast pre-dates the movie) encourages you to take one positive step forward. Almost all of the episode are less than 15 minutes, giving you a little burst of inspiration each week. Highly recommend!

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Books

What I’ve been lacking in podcast motivation, I’ve definitely made up for in good books. First off, This is Going to Hurt, written by (now) TV writer Adam Kay. It chronicles his 6 years as a doctor and is full of hilarious, terrifying, and heart wrenching stories. As soon as I started it I recommended it to my mom so we could laugh and cringe our way through it together and we both loved it!

Next, A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost. This is truly one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. I already loved Colin Jost from Saturday Night Live, but his wit and sense of humor shine in this memoir, and it was exactly what I needed during this crazy year. I listened to the audiobook which was fantastic, but if you are able, I’d recommend reading the eBook/physical copy, as there are tons of hilarious stories that have accompanying photographs I wish I could have seen.

And finally, Black Widow by Leslie Gray Streeter. The full title of the book is Black Widow: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like Journey in the Title, which is long, but accurate. After suddenly losing her husband to a heart attack, the author documents the next year of her life, somehow finding humor that can make you laugh out loud. As a writer, I greatly admired her ability to turn to writing during such a hard time, and then to have the courage to share it, it was a very inspiring, heartbreaking and heartwarming read.

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TV Shows

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I don’t know how many times my brother recommended Community before I finally started watching it, but I’d like to formally apologize for waiting so long. It is so funny, so smart, so clever, and it never fails to make me laugh. I’m genuinely bummed I didn’t watch this show when it was on the air, but I’m so glad I’m watching it now! (find it on Netflix)

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Movies

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I have been trading movie recommendations with a friend of mine and Enemy came up a couple weeks ago and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. What is it about, you might ask? I can’t tell you. Because 1) it’s really, truly, a you need to see it to believe it type of movie and 2) I’m still not really sure. I will say though, I found this article really helpful in the aftermath. (find it on Amazon)

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Music

Taylor_Swift_-_Folklore

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that the main album that stole my heart over these last couple months is folklore by Taylor Swift. It was such a great surprise and a welcome comfort in this crazy times. I have fully embraced its rainy day attitude, even on the hottest of days in Southern California.

Alongside that, I have also had a handful of songs I’ve been playing on repeat, some summery, some sad, some comforting. A little bit of everything:

  • MadHappySad by BabyJake
  • Pretty Please by Dua Lipa
  • Catching Feelings by Drax Project & SIX60
  • Famous For (I Believe) by Tauren Wells & Jenn Johnson
  • Hurting by Kygo & Rhys Lewis
  • Closer by POWERS
  • Rager teenager! by Troye Sivan
  • Passerby by Patrick Droney
  • Waste of a Lime by Ingrid Andress
  • Fighting for Me by Riley Clemmons

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These Amazon Shelves

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I am a collector of vintage cameras, and I have long been looking for a way to properly display them and so I was very excited to find these frames on Amazon. They are affordable, easy to hang, and sturdy enough that I could set up my cameras without fear. I would also recommend some Museum Putty, which I used to stick the cameras to the shelves (and the wall) since California seems to be a little earthquake happy at the moment. (find them here)

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Face Mask Applicators

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I had heard rumblings about these guys around social media, but wasn’t sure if they were really worth the money. But upon finding a cheap two pack on Amazon, I pulled the trigger and can honestly say they are WORTH IT. They save product, help you apply masks more evenly, and make you feel like you are painting a masterpiece on your face, which is delightful. (find them here)

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See my previous favorites post here.

May & June Favorites (2020)

Hello friends! We are back with another addition of favorites, and we’ve got some good stuff!

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Podcasts

It has been a dark time without sports, and I have particularly missed baseball, but Off Air with Joe & Orel has helped fill the void. If you are a Dodger fan who has both missed the boys in blue and is excited they are finally coming back this week, this is the podcast for you!

Also, a big goal of mine for this year has been to get to know myself and find a better foundation in my values, beliefs, opinions, etc. To do that, I have made an effort to better educate myself on the different stories, perspectives and opinions of others. Over the last couple months, there has been a surge of resources, both in the news, on social media, and among friends and family and 1619 was definitely a standout. It is a well made, very thought provoking podcast that follows the start of slavery after the first ship carrying African slaves landed in Virginia in the year 1619.

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Books

While I don’t always have the patience for suspenseful books (because I just want to know what happens NOW) The Woman in the Window was worth the read and especially worth the wait. It follows Anna, a psychologist who is currently unemployed and living alone due to a mysterious onset of agoraphobia. I listened to the audiobook  and I definitely had a few moments where I stopped dead in my tracks and gasped out loud.

Speaking of reasons to gasp, I am now listening to a book about dead bodies. Stiff is a book I started a while back and LOVED but never got the chance to finish. It is a very scientific read, but also finds a way to be quite funny as you learn about the lives (?) and history of cadavers, as well as the decomposition process as a whole. I will admit, it is not a book for everyone, but I think it’s absolutely fascinating.

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TV Shows

Depending on what you’re in the mood for, I’d first and foremost recommend Dark, which is a sci-fi show on Netflix that I’d love to explain and summarize for you but it is one of those shows that you just have to watch to understand. I was hooked after one episode and was constantly sending my brother (who recommended it to me) texts loaded with caps lock and explanation points as I watched the story unfold. Note: it is in German, but you can choose to watch it with subtitles or dubbed in English. Personally, I preferred the subtitles because I liked being able to hear the actors’ real voices. (You can find it on Netflix.)

Next, Normal People. Based on the book by Sally Rooney, this show follows the story of Connell and Marianne, who fall in love in high school, but have a lot of growing up to do  before they can find truly find their way to each other. It is beautiful and sad and a little frustrating at times, but so so good. Plus, I love any show that takes me to Ireland. (You can find it on Hulu.)

On the lighthearted, funny, and undeniably witty side: Never Have I Ever. I was pretty much sold on this show the minute I saw Mindy Kaling’s name on it, and it did not disappoint. The episodes are short and charming and often made me laugh out loud, I look forward to (and hope for!) another season. (You can find it on Netflix.)

And finally, my biggest commitment of the last couple months: The Last Kingdom. This was another recommendation by my brother, who has slowly become my Netflix guru. I was unsure at first if I could get into a show about Vikings in the middle ages, but by season three I was calling my brother, complaining that one of the characters didn’t even get to “die a warrior’s death.” So. It’s safe to say, I got into it. (You can find it on Netflix.)

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Music

I have mostly been in the mood for some slow, calming music these last couple months, but I have also had bursts of wanting to dance around to some fun, summery goodness. That being said, these are some albums that have given me both.

Lady Like by Ingrid Andress

Go Somewhere by John Splithoff

Patrick Droney by Patrick Droney

Golden Hour by Kygo

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Aveda Shampoo

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I have long been at war with my hair and I had reached a point where I thought it was as good/clean/healthy/etc. as it was going to get, but this shampoo from Aveda has changed the game for me! It popped up as a recommendation for me after looking for shampoos that can help with the ever fun combination of a dry scalp and oily roots and it has truly made all the difference! Pro tip: wash your hair twice.  (You can find it here.)

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The Daily Page Planner

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If you are someone who 1) loves being organized and 2) often has trouble staying organized, this planner is for you. It was recommended to me by someone I follow on Instagram and it is truly a treat. It helps you track your goals for the day, your water intake, your meal planning, and pretty much anything else you just want to write down and get out of your head. I like to sit down each morning and do it as I eat my breakfast, and even if I don’t get to check every box throughout the day, it is a great resource to better organize the jumbled mess that is my mind. (You can find it here.)

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Tangle Newsletter

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This is perhaps one of my favorites of my favorites because it is something that I have been looking for for a very long time. I have subscribed and then unsubscribed to a number of e-newsletters, constantly discouraged by the one sided nature of the content or overwhelmed by my lack of understanding of the content. While I want to stay informed and aware of where I stand on important issues, I find it hard to form a valid opinion when someone is essentially telling me that if I don’t agree with every aspect of their opinion I am a terrible person. Thus, I bring you Tangle, a bipartisan newsletter that gives a good roundup of important facts and figures, and then focuses in on one important issue each day and breaks down the opposing arguments.  I am currently subscribed to the free newsletter, which sends you an email every Monday-Thursday, but there is more content available with a paid subscription.  (You can find it here.)

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

See my previous favorites post here.

March & April Favorites (2020)

Hello there! We are back with another edition of favorites.

I’ll warn you ahead of time, we are ALL OVER the map this month, but I feel like that makes sense.

I’ve been in the mood for a little bit of everything (read: ANYTHING) and so I’ve found a little bit of everything.

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Podcasts

Just like last episode, I’m kicking us off with a dark one. The Dating Game Killer is the true story of serial killer Rodney Alcala, who is currently on death row, and actually made an appearance on the The Dating Game in the 70’s. It is a wild ride.

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum: Everyday Decisions with Jo Firestone. I mentioned a specific episode of this podcast in this post, but I would highly recommend this podcast as a whole. In each episode, comedian Jo Firestone talks to one of her friends, asking them to recount what they did the previous day, from the moment they woke up to the moment they went to sleep. Not only is it fun to hear how people spend their days—because hello, I am nosy—but I also just love the simplistic conversation starter that can ultimately tell you a lot about the person you’re talking to.

And finally, in a spectrum all its own: Dolly Parton’s America. My sister is a big Dolly Parton fan, so when I found this one I was primarily excited to show it to her. But after listening to the first episode, I was hooked. It is such a fun listen that gives you a good look into an icon—highly recommend!

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Books

When looking for a new book, sometimes I’ll know exactly what I’m looking for and other times I don’t have a clue. On one of the latter days, I came across Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic by Michael McCreary, which was the “recommendation of the month” by the library and I’m so glad it was! This book is so funny, and full of great information, making it a great resource for both atypical and neurotypical people.

Next, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto. I have long been on the hunt for a “favorite author” and this book by Mitch Albom pretty much sealed the deal for me. Not only is it an amazing, rich, beautifully written novel typical of Albom (see The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Tuesdays with Morrie, etc.), it is honestly one of the best books I have ever read. It follows the life of Francisco “Frankie” Presto, a prestigious musician whose life—chaotic and difficult as it was—was also full of goodness, wonder, and most of all, purpose.

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TV Shows

I was very very late to the party in watching Schitt’s Creek, but I’m just glad I’m finally here. The show follows The Roses, an extremely wealthy family who, after losing almost everything, move to a small town called “Schitt’s Creek”, which John Rose, the father of the family, had previously purchased as a joke.  This show is so funny and such a highlight to my day whenever I turn it on. (Find it on Netflix.)

Next up, Hunters! This one is definitely heavy, as it is set in the 70’s, 30 years after the Holocaust, and follows a group of Nazi hunters seeking justice for those lost. It is SO. GOOD. Very dark, at times very gory, but very good. The moment I finished season one (which, OH MY GOSH) I immediately started my impatient wait for season two.  (Find it on Amazon Prime)

Did someone say, John Krasinski? Hopefully, because that man is crushing this quarantine thing. But in other awesome things he is a part of: Jack Ryan. This is another show I was behind on, but I quickly caught up. (Find it on Amazon Prime)

And finally, Outer Banks. It is rare that you find that a show that you cannot stop watching and actively look forward to finishing your trivial responsibilities (like work, showering, etc.) so you can watch it again, but this was one of those shows for me. I just had to know what was going to happen. And while it’s hard to describe without giving anything away, one of the best descriptions I’ve heard is that it is what you would get if The OC and The Goonies had a baby. So, if that love child catches your attention, I’d give it a go. (Find it on Netflix.)

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Movies

I saw Emma in theaters (bless) with my best friend, on a Friday night at the beginning of March, which honestly seems like A LIFETIME ago. Nonetheless, I loved this movie and was delighted to learn that the book it is based on was also the inspiration for the 1995 classic Clueless.

A few weeks ago, my family sat down together for a movie night and watched last year’s Academy Award nominated Knives Out. It is the ultimate whodunnit movie that is smart, fun, and honestly kept me guessing the whole way through. It’s one of those that will be especially fun to watch a second time through to see where they dropped all the hints.

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Music

In the music world, I have been shuffling through all kinds of playlists and albums, but these are a few that I keep going back to:

The Dream by Hailey Whitters

kelsea by Kelsea Ballerini

Heartbreak Weather by Niall Horan

We Were Thunder by Lilla Vargen

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Thin Fitbit Wristband

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At the beginning of this month, my Fitbit band got a rip in it, sending me on a frantic search for a new one so I could continue to track my lack of steps. I found these on Amazon, and really like the way they look and feel. Not only are they great quality, but I personally feel like they are a better fit for my wrist than the traditional thick band.  Plus, these come in a four pack, so you have have backups and/or options if you like to change up your look. (find them here)

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This Arm Workout

For the most part, my quarantine exercise routine has consisted of yoga, Dance Church and neighborhood walks, which it has been great, but I have also been on the lookout for something new. Enter this arm workout. It may be short, it may involve no equipment, but man does it BURN.

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Sweet Tea & Bourbon

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I made it a goal of mine a year ago to try every drink on this list of “Most Iconic Drinks in Every State”, and since we’ve had a little extra time, my sister and I have been working our way through it one by one. Among those we’ve tried so far, the Sweet Tea & Bourbon from South Carolina is definitely our favorite. It is made with one-part bourbon, four parts sweet tea, and then (if you are interested) mint and lemon for garnish. It is so delicious and refreshing, perfect for these hot days. (photo credit: Sugar & Charm, check out this post of theirs that also gives you a recipe for homemade sweet tea!)

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

See my previous favorites post here.

January & February Favorites (2020)

Hey y’all, it’s that time again!

I’ve had my hunting eyes extra open for the past few months because I’ve been really feeling the need to find more new in my life, you know?

Here’s what I’ve found:

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Podcasts

Kicking us off with a dark one, I found Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein on the podcast charts and was equal parts curious and horrified, so I gave it a listen. It is a very well made show, and even though the subject matter is awful and skin crawling, I can’t stop listening and I look forward to a new episode each week.

One of my good friends turned me on to Pretty Big Deal with Ashley Graham and I’m so thankful that she did. (Thanks, Sam!) I didn’t know a lot about Ashley Graham before listening, but I’ve more or less fallen in love with her and most of her guests. Not only are the interviews fun, interesting, and inspiring, but they are all well under an hour which honestly sealed the deal for me.

And finally, Straight Up with Trent Shelton! I first heard about Trent Shelton through Rachel Hollis’ podcast, Rise. He is a very positive and inspirational guy so when he announced he was releasing a podcast of his own I knew I had to listen. The first episode alone was enough to get me hooked—especially when I found myself feverishly scribbling down notes on the advice he was giving. Highly recommend!

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Books

Reading has taken somewhat of a backseat in my life lately, as I’ve been too distracted to actually finish a book, making it hard to find a “favorite” or two. But in the month or so I was finally able to find a couple that I both loved and wanted to finish. The first is Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan. It is a memoir that follows the author (self-described as a shy introvert or “shintrovert”) as she goes on a year long quest to say “yes” to things that scare her but also have the potential to challenge and encourage her to grow. As an introvert myself, I related hard, and I laughed through the whole thing. (I also wrote this curse word filled blog post about it.)

On the sadder side of things, Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano. This book follows the journey of 12 year old Edward, who is the sole survivor of a plane crash that kills 191 people, including his parents and 15 year old brother. A review of the book written by author J. Courtney Sullivan stated that the book “will break your heart and put it back together again” and I can honestly say that is exactly what it did.

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TV Shows

If you have been hearing any or all of the hype surrounding Cheer, know that it is for good reason and it is MORE than worth the watch. Having exactly zero experience in cheerleading other than watching Bring it On many times, I was unsure of whether the subject matter would catch my attention as much as it had everyone else’s. But over the six episode season, the conversations between me, my cousins and my sister grew so passionate that one might assume our souls had been dedicated to cheerleading at birth. Not only is it a fascinating and exciting sport, but the team the documentary follows is undeniably loveable, making the journey of the season both wonderful and incredibly stressful.

Speaking of wonderful, stressful and…murder. You. I didn’t jump on the train for this one until just before the premiere of season two, but let’s just say I quickly caught up. It is a very conflicting show, in that the bad guy is put in the shoes of what should be the protagonist, making his bad choices and horrifying actions confusing. But this confusion is actually what makes the show so good. You’re rooting for the guy, but you’re also hoping he gets what’s coming to him. I personally liked season two even better than season one, and it was just renewed for a season three so there is more to come! Can’t wait!

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Music

I have perhaps done the most newness hunting in music. After receiving my Spotify Wrapped for 2019, I was anxious to dive in and start my 2020 journey. Thus, diving I have done. Here are some of my favorite finds:

Rare by Selena Gomez

Ocean by Lady Antebellum

Blood Harmony by FINNEAS

Léon by Léon

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Downtime

In mid-January I decided to make an effort to stop looking at my phone before bed, both to fall asleep faster and sleep better. To help with that, I turned on the Downtime feature on my iPhone that allows you to lock your apps at the time of your choosing. You can customize which apps won’t lock (i.e. the phone & text apps in case of emergency) and how long you want to keep them locked. For me, every day at 10:20 p.m., all but a few apps (including phone, messages, notes, weather, and camera) lock, meaning all access (unless I physically choose to unlock it) and notifications from all other apps are unavailable until the next morning at 7:20 a.m. It sounds intense when I spell it out, but it has honestly been WONDERFUL.

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Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm

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For a long time my go-to makeup remover was First Aid Beauty’s Coconut Micellar Makeup Melter, but I was very sad to find out that it was recently discontinued. In my search to find a new staple, I came across Clinique’s Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, which came very highly reviewed, and even better, was trusted to do its job without causing acne prone skin to break out. I have been using it for a month now and can confirm it both works and is safe for sensitive skin! It is also very affordable and lasts a long time. (find it here)

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Powerbeats 3

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I don’t think there was any real doubt that these bad boys would live up to their hype. But when I got them for Christmas I did find myself the slightest bit nervous that I wouldn’t like them as much as my tried and true iPhone headphones. But having used these for both cardio and strength training, I can confidently say that they stay in place and give you great sound quality. Love them! (find them 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.

September & October Favorites (2019)

I am probably definitely biased, but I found some good stuff over the last two months. Which might explain why they flew by so fast and we are suddenly in the November! (?!)

Here’s hoping the next two months are just as exciting, though a little slower, because CHRISTMAS.

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Podcasts

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I have only seen The Office all the way through one time (so far), but I can imagine that if you are a diehard fan this podcast will truly be something special for you. Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey are rewatching the series from the beginning and sharing behind the scene facts and secrets from each episode. It’s super fun to listen to and there have only been a couple of episodes so far, so it’s easy to catch up!

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Books

These books couldn’t be more different if they tried, but they both easily top my list for the last two months. Where the Crawdads Sing is a fiction book that follows two different timelines. One describes the life of a girl named Kya who lives on her own in a house on a marsh in North Carolina, and the other investigates a murder in the same town. As the book progresses the timelines slowly weave together and I was hooked the whole time. Beautiful on the Outside is a memoir written by Olympic medalist Adam Rippon. It chronicles his incredible journey to the Olympic stage and is honestly one of the funniest books I have ever read.

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TV Shows

I don’t consider myself someone who watches a lot of TV, but when I was trying to figure out a favorite or two for the month, I realized I’d watched so many good things over the last two months! If you’re looking for a comedy, I recommend Fleabag and The Politician. If you’re looking for love (in many forms), I recommend Four Weddings and a Funeral and Modern Love. If you’re looking crime/suspense, I recommend Mindhunter.

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Music

I have also found a bunch of new music over the last few months, namely new artists (to me) that I have been listening to on repeat. Some of my favorites include: Free Yourself Up by Lake Street Dive, Stranger in the Alps by Phoebe Bridgers, Cheap Queen by King Princess, and Sing to Me Instead by Ben Platt.

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This Leg/Butt Workout

Remember when I recommended that arm and back workout? Well, over the last two months I’ve also worked this workout into my routine that focuses on your legs and butt and HELLO, I. AM. SORE. But that’s a good thing. I think.

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Dark Chocolate Oreos

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This last one technically shouldn’t be on this list because I tried them in November. But I feel like it would be more disrespectful not to tell you about these immediately than to abide by a rule that absolutely no one is enforcing. They are just so chocolatey and delicious. Definitely one of the best new Oreo flavors in a while.

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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.