advice

For My Fellow Worms

While going through some of the old documents on my computer, I came across this little story. I think it was my hope that one day it would become a children’s book, but that never transpired, and now it’s just been sitting in folder oblivion for a few years, so I thought I would share it here.

I think we can all relate to Wally in one way or another heavy-black-heart_2764

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Wally the worm woke up with the squirm and wiggled his way down the road

He passed the tall flowers and birds taking showers, to find his friend Marvin the toad.

“Oh Marvin,” said Wally, “What a glum day this is.

I’d hoped that last night, the stars heard my wish.

I wanted to wake up a big hungry bear,

or maybe a lion with long fluffy hair.

Perhaps a green crocodile with big shiny teeth,

or even a monkey that climbs trees with his feet.

But this morning I found I was still just me,

I guess a little brown worm is all I’ve ever be.”

 

“What’s wrong with that?” said Marvin with a “RIBBIT.”

Wally sighed and said, “You just don’t get it.

Toads like you can catch flies on their tongue,

and hop high between lily pads for just a bit of fun.

But all I’ll ever do is wiggle and squirm,

digging in the dirt, just a tiny little worm.”

 

Then Marvin and Wally went down to the river,

to see their friend Sammy, a bushy tailed beaver.

“Good Morning!” said Sammy with a big toothy smile.

“Hello!” said Marvin, “Haven’t seen you in a while.”

“I’ve been working so hard on my dam made of wood,

it’s almost finished now, do you think it looks good?”

With one look at the dam, Wally said “Wow.

I wish I could do that, but I don’t know how.

Maybe tonight I’ll wish to be a beaver too,

so I can build something beautiful, and do things like you.”

Sammy smiled, but then shook her head,

“Don’t wish to be me, be you instead!”

 

Wally sighed and Marvin said, “RIBBIT”.

“Oh Sammy,” said Wally, “You just don’t get it.

Beavers like you can build things brand new,

and birds in the trees sing beautiful tunes.  

Peacocks have feathers prettier than gold,

and tigers have stripes and a roar oh so bold.  

You all have something that makes me say ‘wow’

and all I can do is squirm on the ground.  

Maybe tonight I’ll wish I was a giraffe standing tall,

or an ocean blue whale, the biggest beast of them all.

And then tomorrow I’ll wake up something better than me,

so you’ll finally say ‘wow’ when it’s me that you see.”

 

Then Wally and Marvin wished Sammy farewell

and walked down the road ‘til they saw an anthill. 

Next to it they saw a long line of ants,

marching and carrying heavy packs on their backs.

Led by Sgt. Pepper, carrying a load thrice her size,

Marvin and Wally watched the ants in surprise.

They marched and they marched and Wally said, “Wow.

So small and so strong, but I wonder, how?

If I were an ant, I too could be strong.

I could be part of their team and march all night long.

No one would see me as just a lousy worm,

but a hard-working insect, with respect that I’d earned.”

 

Suddenly Marvin and Wally heard a voice from up high,

and a tall beautiful sunflower looked down with brown eyes.

“Oh Wally,” said the flower, “Don’t you know what you are?”

“Yes,” Wally answered, “A tiny worm, nothing more.”

 

The sunflower sighed and Marvin said, “RIBBIT”

“Oh Wally,” she said, “You just don’t get it.

You watch us flowers grow tall in the spring,

and you see our colors blossom as the birds in trees sing.

It’s because of you this forest is so green and lush.

Without little worms like you, we’d be nothing but mush.

When you dig in the dirt, it helps our seeds grow,

you make the dirt healthy for us, didn’t you know?

We all have a “wow” and they don’t look the same,

but they all have an important place and a name.

So don’t wish on stars for sharp teeth or long hair.

Don’t hope for long legs or the strength of a bear.

Everyone has a wow that is theirs alone,

so please take the time to appreciate your own.

 

Wally was speechless and Marvin said, “RIBBIT”,

then Wally squirmed and said, “Now I get it.

It doesn’t matter the size or shape I am,

it doesn’t matter I can’t hop high or build a dam.

I have my own wow in my tiny little me,

and that is all I’ll ever need to be.

So when the stars come out and the sun goes home,

I’ll be grateful for the wows I have of my own.

I’ll go to sleep with a yawn, a wiggle, and a squirm,

hoping tomorrow I wake up me, a perfect little worm.”

A Nostalgic Lesson on Failure

It took my sister and I all of two days after Disney+ came out to give in and subscribe.

For some people, the draw was the backlog of Marvel movies and shows like The Mandalorian, for us it was easy access to Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.

Because let’s face it, when it comes to movies made for television (and sweet sweet nostalgia) Disney Channel Original Movies are master class. The stories are simple (and at times ridiculous) but they are wholesome and weirdly empowering and full of iconic one-liners that I will quote until my dying day.

Aside from DCOM’s, Disney+ (who, regardless of how this blog may seem, is not sponsoring me) has also given us access to a variety of other Disney movies, most of which I’d completely forgotten exist.

Take Ice Princess, for example. It stars Michelle Trachtenberg (a.k.a Harriet the Spy), who plays a brainiac that takes up ice skating for a physics project, and ends up eventually pursuing it as a career, all while falling in love with a Zamboni driver named Teddy. This predictable yet undeniably adorable film is what brings me here today.

I’m a firm believer that inspiration can come from anywhere, and I’m not too proud to admit that I found it while watching this movie with my sister at 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

About halfway through the movie, as Casey Carlyle (Michelle Trachtenberg) starts to take ice skating seriously (the decision of which creates backlash from almost everyone around her, most prominently her mom) she confronts controversial ex-skater Tina Harwood (played by Kim Cattrall) and asks her to be her coach. When Tina bluntly states that she doesn’t think Casey has what it takes, Casey replies, “If I fail, I fail, but it will be because I wasn’t good enough, not because I didn’t have the guts.”

This line struck a chord in me, and I immediately wrote it down.

As hard as it is to admit, we are not destined to succeed in everything we do, and we are not always going to be the best, even when we give it absolutely everything we have. But sometimes it’s not about being the best, it’s not about winning, it’s not even about getting exactly what you want. It’s about knowing you did everything you could, gave everything you had, and didn’t let your fears hold you back. It’s about having the guts to try, and when things don’t work out, to try again, maybe in a different way, or maybe on a completely different path.

I know I’ve both put off and completely given up pursuing certain projects or passions solely because I was scared I would fail. But at the end of the day, failing is never going to be the worst thing you can do, and it is never going to hurt more than never knowing what you could do.

So today I’d just like to encourage you to go for it. To try and then to try again. Your win is out there, and it’s waiting for you on the other side of fear. So give it your all, and see where it takes you.

My 2019 Rec Roundup (List-cember #5)

Nothing has ever qualified me to tell you what the best books, movies, music, etc., of the year are, but that has never stopped me from giving you what I believe to be a highly educated opinion.

I mean, who needs all the fancy words and validating credentials when I can just tell you, hey, this didn’t suck and I think you should check it out. 

So that’s what I’m here to do today.

Here are all of my top recommendations from 2019, just in case you’re looking for something good to kickoff your 2020.

Books

  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Historical Fiction)
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Fiction)
  • For One More Day by Mitch Albom (Fiction)
  • Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis (Self Help)
  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Mystery/Thriller)
  • Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Historical Fiction)
  • My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (Mystery/Thriller)
  • Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens (Fiction)
  • Beautiful on the Outside by Adam Rippon (Memoir)
  • Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness (Memoir)

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Podcasts

  • ESPN 30 for 30
  • Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet
  • Dr. Death
  • Duolingo Spanish Podcast
  • The Trypod
  • The Clearing
  • My Dad Wrote a Porno
  • The Dropout
  • How I Built This
  • Homecoming

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Movies

  • Free Solo
  • The Dawn Wall
  • Booksmart
  • Unicorn Store
  • Someone Great
  • Frozen 2
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

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TV Shows

  • Fleabag (Amazon Prime)
  • Single Parents (ABC)
  • The Politician (Netflix)
  • The Act (Hulu)
  • Killing Eve (AMC)
  • Modern Love (Amazon Prime)
  • Dead to Me (Netflix)
  • Euphoria (HBO)
  • Four Weddings & a Funeral (Hulu)
  • When They See Us (Netflix)

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Music

  • Heard it in a Past Life by Maggie Rogers
  • GIRL by Maren Morris
  • When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go by Billie Eilish
  • Daylight by Grace Potter
  • Lover by Taylor Swift
  • Cheap Queen by King Princess
  • The Highwomen by The Highwomen
  • Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent by Lewis Capaldi
  • Free Yourself Up by Lake Street Dive
  • Happiness Begins by Jonas Brothers

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Misc

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Hippeas:  THESE. ARE. SO. GOOD. I truly cannot stress this enough. Their one and only flaw is that they come in relatively small bags UNLESS you want to brave Costco for the monster bags. I personally am not always in the mood to brave Costco, which is why I found…

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…White Cheddar Cheetos Puffs! These are the perfect sister snack to Hippeas and are also delicious. Who knew I had such a thing for white cheddar this year?

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Duolingo: I downloaded this app to learn Spanish and have genuinely loved using it! They are always adding new challenges and new ways to learn and I look forward to going on each day.

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Birkenstocks: I waited a long time and listened to a lot of hype about these before I finally pulled the trigger but I am so glad I did. Believe everything you hear. These are wonderful and I will miss wearing them in the winter months. (find this pair here)

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Old Navy Leggings: I am constantly on the hunt for good leggings that aren’t one million dollars, which according to most retailers, is a big ask. But I bought a pair of leggings from Old Navy early in the year and loved them so much that I bought 4 more pairs. They are so comfortable and just the right amount of thick, AND, most importantly, they have side pockets, which is the real game changer. (find this pair here)


Check out more List-cember posts here. 

A Passive Aggressive List of All the Bad Driving Habits We Should Leave in 2019 (List-cember #4)

We are nearing the end of a decade.

Thus, when the ball drops this New Years Eve, that feeling of potential and newness will undoubtedly be a little magnified. We might be inspired to try new things, make big changes, and find exciting ways to kickstart 2020.

In that spirit, I thought I would mention something we should leave in 2019. It’s something that I think has scarred this decade (and many before it), and something I believe we can only benefit from eradicating, both from our year, our decade, and ultimately, our world.

I am of course referring to bad driving.

I personally do a lot of driving, so it could be argued that I’m hyper-sensitive/completely fed up/a borderline road rage-aholic, but I also think there are things that simply need to stop.

Maybe you’ll agree with me, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll feel personally attacked, I don’t know. Regardless, let us all take a deep, cleansing breath and DO BETTER.

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1) When changing lanes or making a turn, turn on your damn blinkers.

2) When you’ve completed said turn or lane change, turn OFF your damn blinkers.

3) Also, in regards to said turn—JUST TURN. You can do it. Just crank that wheel and step on that gas. Go!

4) Stop texting and driving. Seriously. It’s dumb, you’re not “better” at it than other people, and there is absolutely nothing important enough to put every single driver, including yourself, at risk.

5) When the light turns green, GO. As in NOW.

6) ESPECIALLY on green arrows. If you are the first car in a line of cars waiting to turn on a green arrow, the moment that light turns green I need you to drive as if the car behind you is on fire.

7) Stop at stop signs. This one seems pretty obvious but, you know, APPARENTLY IT’S NOT.

8) Merge like a gentleman. I get it. Merging sucks. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk. Just wait your turn, take your turn, and then we can all move on.

9) Drive faster. I understand there is a speed limit. I respect the speed limit. I don’t always obey it, but I respect it. You should too. And by that I mean, at least drive the speed limit. I’ve got things to do, I’m sure you’ve got things to do, so why not drive faster than the powerwalking senior who just passed us?

10) Drive slower. I get it, time is money and traffic is awful. But weaving in and out, speeding down the shoulder or a bike lane, or just driving 30 or 40 miles an hour over the speed limit does not make you cool, or in any way make me feel like you are more important than me. Again, just respect the speed limit, and maybe the lives of your fellow drivers (and peds!)

11) Do not slam on your breaks unless it is absolutely necessary. Examples of things that are not absolutely necessary: being nosy about an accident on the side of the road, realizing you just passed a cop, seeing a billboard, trying to wake up your friend in the passenger’s seat, dropping a french fry.

12) Get over for service vehicles. When an ambulance, firetruck or police car has their sirens on, pull over. As in alllll the way over.

13) Park in between the lines. They are not suggestions, they are requirements, y’all.

14) Turn your lights on. The sun is down, you are now a ghost death machine, take a second and turn your lights on, please.

15) This might be specific to Southern California drivers, but rain is NOT a sign of the apocalypse. So while caution is recommended, a complete and total forfeit of all driving abilities is not.

16) Don’t litter. Or, written another way, stop throwing shit out the window of your car.

17) Say thank you. A wave, a nod, a grateful burst of eye contact is all I ask. Something that says, “hey, I noticed you were a decent human who let me make the driving maneuver I was hoping to make, may we both live out the rest of our day peacefully!”

18) Approach the limit line. Hey, it’s me, behind you. This light is never going to change unless you pull forward and activate the sensor. So please, for the love of everything, pull up.

19) Speaking of pulling up, if you are making a left hand turn, PULL OUT INTO THE INTERSECTION. DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT WAIT BEHIND THE LINE UNTIL THE LIGHT TURNS RED AND THEN TURN, LEAVING THE REST OF US STUCK AT THE LIGHT.

20) Speaking of speaking of pulling up, when parallel parking, PULL. THE. HELL. UP. There is no reason for there to be half a car length in front and/or behind you. Pull up close to that car and leave room for, I don’t know, EVERYONE ELSE, who might want to park on this street.

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Wow. That felt good.

I think I just added a year or two to my life (and saved money on therapy) by getting that off my chest.


 

Check out more List-cember posts here.

Say it & Keep it

It’s not always easy to say what’s on your mind.

Personally, I thrive at having entire conversations in my head. I can work things out, make plans for later, overthink something from 10 years ago, and make myself laugh—sometimes accidentally out loud.

There are times however, when I’ll be with a person or group of people, and I’ll find myself walking away from a conversation or situation where I wish I would have said something. Maybe it was a compliment I wanted to give, a joke I wanted tell, a story I wished I had the courage to share, or simply a hello, how are you?  But for whatever reason, it just sits there on the end of my tongue and doesn’t budge.

So, I’ve been trying to do better.

The way I see it, if you have good intentions, and especially good jokes, you should do your best to share them with other people. You should share you with other people. Even though sometimes it’s scary, and sometimes your friend just went to the bathroom and left you at this table with a bunch of random people you don’t know and you wish you could hide under your chair until they get back.

I’m not saying you have to make awkward, miserable small talk, or say things you don’t mean, but if you find a compliment forming or a relatable story coming to mind, go for it.

Say it.

Make your mark on a conversation, or on that stranger whose ______ you really like.

Say what you’re thinking, even if it’s just hello. You never know what kind of internal dialogue someone else is having, and you never know how much you can put their mind at ease. Maybe you can make them laugh or tell them something they’ve never heard before or simply make them feel noticed. Maybe you can inspire them to try something new or be inspired yourself. Maybe you’ll make a new friend who might feel just as uncomfortable as you are in a certain situation, and who might even offer you contraband snacks. You never know.

On the opposite side of this whole situation, it’s also not always easy to receive compliments.

Personally, I thrive at deflecting, rejecting and passing them along so I don’t have to bear the weight for even a second. Compliments make me uncomfortable, and sometimes overwhelmed. My toes curl up inside my shoes and I usually change the subject as fast as I can.

But again, I’m trying to do better.

For as uncomfortable as compliments might be in the moment, they’re not going to hurt in the long run. Like on those days when you feel like a troll who doesn’t dare leave the house looking like such a disaster, or when you feel rejected or sad or alone. It’s times like these when we could use a compliment or two, some motivation and encouragement that we are more than we are making ourselves out to be, and deserve more than we’ve led ourselves to believe.

So, when someone tells you look nice, or when they compliment a project you’re working on or a blog you posted or a meal you made, keep it. When someone thanks you for being a good friend or for a good gift or for a great day, keep it. Keep those compliments and tuck them away for later. For when you need them most.

Say the good things and keep the good things. You deserve them, someone else might need them, and sometimes there might be snacks. It’s a win win win as far as I’m concerned.

September/October Favorites

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.

Leaning into FEAR

I was going through my notebook the other day and I found a quote I wrote down a while back. I mentioned it in this post almost a year ago, but it hit me hard when I saw it again and I wanted to share it.

It is from The School of Greatness podcast, episode 721.

“FEAR can be:

Fear Everything And Run,

or Face Everything And Rise.”

I’ve always been a bit of a fearer. I’m afraid of, well, most things, and I have found it very easy over the course of my life to run from those which are particularly scary.

It’s easy to run. Fun too. Running keeps you safe. It carries you away from all that can hurt you, thus ensuring that you can’t be hurt. But running is also quite tiring. It’s exhausting, really. And it gets old. Especially if you’re running in circles.

I don’t know where you are in your life, today or this week or in general, and I don’t know what kind of FEAR you are leaning into. But I want to encourage you, and me, the group of us together really, to stop running. And I don’t mean that solely in the sense that we should stop avoiding hard things or fearing good and vulnerable things. I just think we could all benefit from receiving the permission to stop moving.

We don’t always have to be doing something or achieving something or reaching and reaching and reaching. I think those things are important, and I think setting goals and working towards them is one of the most rewarding things you can do. But it’s not the only thing.

We are still important if we are sitting still. We still hold value if we aren’t setting new records and reaching new heights. We matter, no matter what.

I remember when I first heard this quote I took it as motivation to keep moving up. To rise. To be bigger and better. But I think I underestimated how far you can move forward simply by standing still. For to rise is not simply to ascend, it is also to acknowledge the steps that helped you do so. It is to face the things, good and bad, that have formed you into the person you are, and to accept them as part of your story.

I am who I am because of my story, and you are you because of yours. So let’s appreciate those stories for all that they are, and rise.

How to Pack for a Weekend Getaway

Since the holidays are coming up, there’s a good chance you might (hopefully) get to plan a weekend getaway. Are you wondering what you should pack for said weekend getaway? Well, you came to the right place.

As a well-experienced packer, I have made an easy to follow guide for how to achieve packing success. Just set those worries aside, take a few notes, and soon you will be on your way!

Note: these guidelines do not apply to outdoor camping, as outdoor camping should probably require you packing your entire home because you are in the wilderness and there is danger and animals and rain and also that overall damp feeling that you never get rid of, so really just pack everything or don’t camp, preferably the latter because who doesn’t love a roof?

Step 1: Bring up your need to pack for your vacation approximately six times in the week leading up to your departure, but don’t actually start packing until the night before you leave.

Step 2: Envision yourself walking in slow motion, in perfectly put together outfits, for the entirety of the vacation.

Step 3: Forget everything you envisioned and stare teary eyed at your closet, criticizing yourself for ever buying a single thing you see before you.

Step 4: Pack your favorite shirt, the one you bring on every vacation, first, then tell yourself you should branch out and take the shirt out of your suitcase.

Step 5: Repeat step 4 up to seven times.

Step 6: Remind yourself that you’re only going to be gone for two days, then pack nine shirts, three pairs of pants, those shorts you’ve never liked but always thought you should try, 17 pairs of underwear, 7 pairs of socks, 1 pair of thick socks in case a blizzard rolls in, those shoes you’ve been meaning to replace, two bathing suits, pajamas, and a raincoat—regardless of the weather forecast.

Step 8: Imagine yourself having the desire to workout and pack workout clothes.

Step 9: Laugh, knowing there’s no way in hell you’re going to workout.

Step 10: Pack another workout shirt.

Step 11: Invent at least 5 different turns the weekend could take that might provoke the need to bring shoe options, and then pack accordingly.

Step 12: Look up the weather forecast for where you’re going and regret everything you packed.

Step 13: Step away from your closet and move into the bathroom to gather your toiletries.

Step 14: Pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash and makeup—even though you know you’re going to need most of it tomorrow morning before you leave.

Step 15: Pack a book, then picture yourself reading the entire book in one day and decide to pack three more.

Step 16: Pack your phone charger, then unpack it before bed to charge your phone, and then forget it all together.

Step 17: Zip up your suitcase and decide you are finished so you can go to bed because it’s almost definitely 1:00 a.m. at this point.

Step 18: Lie awake for about an hour wondering if you should pack more socks or if maybe you should bring a flashlight or goggles or an earthquake kit.

Step 19: Wake up to brush your teeth and realize you’ve already packed your toothbrush.

Step 20: Become frustrated while picking an outfit to wear because you packed everything you like, regret everything for a solid half hour, and then throw your hands in the air, zip up your suitcase and roll it out the door.

July/August Favorites

A lot has changed since we were last here! For one thing, I’m 29 now. And while I can’t list this age as a “favorite” quite yet, I do have a good feeling about it.

Speaking of good feelings, I found a bunch of things over the last couple months that gave me all the good feelings.

Wow. What a transition, am I right? Told you 29 looks good on me.

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Podcasts

I was first introduced to the Try Guys when they were part of Buzzfeed, and I’ve loved their brand ever since. At their core, they are a group of friends who simply try stuff and make you want to do the same. You can check out their videos here, but I’d also recommend their podcast, The Trypod, which is an easy, lighthearted listen. It makes you feel like you’re sitting around in your living room talking to your friends.

The Clearing is a posthumous account of the life of Edward Wayne Edwards, a serial killer and all-around terrible human whose daughter put the pieces of his crimes together and brought at least a few of his victims and their families justice. The narrator has a very monotone voice, but I think it adds to the nature of the subject. I was hooked and frustrated the entire time.

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Books

After reading a loving Rachel Hollis’ first book, Girl, Wash Your Face, I was over the moon for her second one and preordered it. But then, life caught up with me and that poor book sat on my bedside table for months before I finally opened it. Once I did however, I was IN. It’s a great book for anyone looking for some fire under their feet and it gives great advice for how you can go about making your dreams a reality.

In another example of poor planning + a chaotic schedule, I received the The Silent Patient audiobook from the library and waited too long to start it. By the time I did, my loan was ending and I was freaking out trying to finish it and when I didn’t make it, I had to wait three miserable weeks until it was available again. It follows Alicia Berenson, a woman convicted of murdering her husband and then refusing to speak in any capacity, and Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist who is determined to figure out why. It takes a lot of twists and turns and I especially recommend the audiobook because the reader was great!

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TV Shows

I realize that I am WAY behind the times on this one, so I probably don’t have to do much of an introduction on what Dexter is, but I am glad I finally made the time to start it. I am officially hooked and if you need me I’ll be sitting in a state of conflict over being worried about and emotionally attached to a serial killer.

Stranger Things is another one that doesn’t need much of an introduction. I had been patiently waiting for the third season and when it finally arrived I watched it so fast I have been considering rewatching it because I think I blacked out. In a good way.

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Music

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If I’m being honest, A LOT of music has been put on the back burner since Taylor Swift released Lover in August. It is SO GOOD, y’all. So while I’d obviously recommend that first, there is a bunch of other great music that I found over the last two months.

For albums, I’d recommend Tori Kelly’s Inspired by True Events, and Machine Gun Kelly’s Hotel Diablo. They could not be more different (aside from them both having Kelly in their name) and it’s almost comical to recommend them side by side, but such is my brain. It has a lot of different moods and these two do it for me.

Then, in continuing a new tradition of recommending individual songs, here are 10 that I think you should check out:

1) I Don’t Want Your Money by Ed Sheeran (featuring H.E.R.)

2) Painkiller by Ruel

3) Put it to Bed by JHART

4) All For Us by Labrinth & Zendaya

5) What Could’ve Been by Gone West

6) Tell When it’s Over by Shery Crow & Chris Stapleton

7) Someday Soon by Wilder Woods

8) Love is Love by Grace Potter

9) Rooting for You by Alessia Cara

10) Crowded Table by The Highwomen

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This Arm/Back Workout

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I have been getting into weight training over the last couple months and so I’ve been doing research on different sequences that can work out specific parts of my body. I found this one on Pinterest and it’s been great at working out my arms and back. It makes me feel strong and, unless I’m seeing things, I actually might look stronger too. Take care with these guns, y’all.

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Low Cow Ice Cream Bars

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And last but DEFINITELY not least, these! It’s hard to be completely in love with ice cream AND want to eat healthy. So it’s safe to say that when I found these, which are low in sugar, high in protein and absolutely delicious I gave them priority status on my grocery list. My favorite flavor is the Salted Caramel, but they also offer Fudge and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

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And that just about does it for July & August!

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.

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Also, don’t forget to check out the fundraiser I’m doing in the month of September to benefit Childhood Cancer.  Anything helps! heavy-black-heart_2764

Don’t Suffer

A fun fact about me is that I’m cold—all the time.

I have two sweaters on my office chair at work and I almost never leave the house without some sort of extra layer, even in the dead of summer. My friends and family have (mostly) come to accept this—they only mock me half of the time now—and some even go out of their way to let me know when we (meaning only me) should bring a jacket to wherever we’re going.

If I were a teenager, I might try to spin this whole thing as a cute quirk. A way to get the boy to lend me his jacket because I’m just so cold teeheehee. But alas, I’m not 16, and I don’t even think it’s cute. I would love to confidently walk out the front door without wondering if I will catch hypothermia at the movies or grapple over what I should say to convince everyone to sit outside even though it’s hot and we might sweat all of our makeup off.

This past weekend a big group of my family got together at a house on the beach and the moment we pulled in I felt the ocean breeze shiver down my spine.

Shit. I thought. We just got here and I’m already cold.

I paced around a bit, trying to get my blood flowing so I didn’t have to look completely pathetic, but after a few minutes I leaned into my mom and said, “I really think I have to put my sweater on already.”

My mom nodded, nonjudgmental, then put her hand on my arm and said, “Like my yoga teacher says, ‘Don’t suffer.’”

At first I just smiled, thanking her for the words and for not, you know, pointing and laughing at me like I assume everyone should. But as I pulled on my jacket and then walked back around to the kitchen to lean back into the conversation I’d left, the real meaning of the words sunk in deep.

Don’t suffer.

It’s really simple on the surface, isn’t it? But let it sink in for a second.

Don’t suffer.

In the context of yoga, it reminds you not to stay in a pose that causes too much pain.

When you apply it to every day life—like whether or not I should be ashamed to put a sweater on at a family reunion—it acts a reminder to just let yourself be. Maybe that means saying no to party you don’t want to go to, or putting down a book you don’t have any interest in finishing, or taking a nap instead of going to the gym today, or whatever it may be.

Don’t suffer. Especially with the little things. Give yourself the freedom to be comfortable and it will give you the opportunity to thrive.

Needless to say I put the jacket it on, instantly felt better, and wouldn’t you know it, I had an amazing afternoon.