july and august favorites

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.

.

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.

.

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!

.

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.

.

Music

Taylor_Swift_-_Lover

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

.

This Arm/Back Workout

d97d4a5ce054163bcf37c2a1ae61f78f

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.

.

Low Cow Ice Cream Bars

ice cream

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.

.

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.

.

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

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?

.

The Mortified Podcast

avatars-000129189817-c27y6b-t500x500

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)

.

M-W Word of the Day

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 7.30.43 AM

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)

.

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)

.

TV

The Sinner71HSFu3M7zL._RI_

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)

.

Red Oaks

A1bchCANwlL._RI_

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)

.

Making It

Making It - Season 1

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)

.

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)

.

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.”

.

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

tumblr_static_jathumbsmaller

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

517J5DfYYqL._AC_SX354_SY510_QL65_

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

0001111087199

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

51o5EmJtnBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

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

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 8.03.43 PM

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.

July/August 2016 Favorites

So remember that blog I posted a couple months ago about a few of my favorite things for the entire first half of 2016, the title of which—2016 Favorites (So Far)—suggested that I might post a “part 2” at the end of 2016? Well I’m finding that impossible.

You see, posting that blog seems to have opened up some sort of sharing door (sharing window?) (sharing sun roof?) that my body refuses to shut and I constantly find myself wanting to talk about how great things are! Which, seeing how easy it would be to discuss how much things suck, I feel as though doing the latter is a far better use of my time. Thus, behold a second—and let’s be honest, nowhere near the last—edition of Favorites.

 

Cooking!

I know, I’m as surprised as you are. But after months of buying random ingredient-ish things from the grocery store and being consistently disappointed they didn’t conjugate in the pantry to form a heart healthy, hip friendly and Heaven flavored meal, I decided it was time to change my methods. So last month, after my sister and I got back from our vacation in Ireland and were looking for a way to shift our diet away from beer and café pastries, we started scouring cookbooks and Pinterest for relatively easy-to-make and cheap-to-buy-for recipes and made grocery lists.

Yes. Actual lists. Like adults with their shit together type of lists. It was magical.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes that I followed. All of which were delicious and none of which required a degree in Culinary Latin to decipher the instructions or a black belt in Kitchen Jiu Jitsu to put together.

(All images property of the brilliant recipe creators themselves)

   kielbasa-hash     Sweet-Potato-Crust-Pizza     Pulled_Pork_Quesadillas_mobile

1e5ae3bc-0565-4a6f-bc2d-5991fe66f3c8--8797718178_cec467ca3c_z      5971984226_3ff48ee056


 

The Fundamentals of Caring

CkTp0u8WgAA_TUV

I had heard very little about this movie before watching it, not reviews from the critics, not gif filled articles on the Internet, nothing. All I knew was that it was on the front page of Netflix and starred a few people I admired (Paul Rudd & Selena Gomez). That being said, I absolutely LOVED this movie with my whole heart. It made me feel all the feels. All of them. And after it was over I immediately wanted to watch it again, which I did. There’s really not much else I can say except stop whatever you are doing, no matter how time sensitive or crucial to the survival of mankind and watch this movie because it’s great. (Find it here)


 

Stranger Things

Staying on the topic of Netflix for a minute, I give you Stranger Things, the object of my obsession for the last few weeks. There is no way for me to describe to you what this show is about, as the plot is so twisted and incredible that attempting to do so would ruin it. So just take my word on this and watch it because it BLEW. MY. MIND. (Find it here)

Also, for any of you that have already seen it, I give you this meme:

Cprk-JPWcAAR63U

#ElevenWillAlwaysBeMyWomanCrushWednesday


 

Bitmojis

Meet Kimoji, the bitmoji version of me:

IMG_7507

She laughs,

IMG_7503

She cries,

IMG_7504

She surfs,

IMG_7505

She poses for the cover of People magazine.

IMG_7506

She does it all. Including most of the talking in my text message conversations. Earlier this month, my entire family made a ‘moji and since then we rarely have a discussion without one of them making an appearance. It’s glorious. You have no idea how much time we’re saving by using our Bitmojis to express emotions that would have otherwise required minutes of thumbwork. Honestly I would go on record to say that Bitmojis are probably saving us from carpal tunnel. (Find the app here)


 

The Olympics

I mean, how could they not be? They are arguably (though whoever wants to actually argue with me will undoubtedly lose) the greatest thing you could ever watch on television and on August 5th they finally arrived! It could never be overstated how much my family and I love the Olympics, and if you need any proof, refer to our DVR that is probably about as tired as a toddler without a nap. We spent an insane amount of hours absorbing every minute of every sport we could feast our eyes on, and expended buckets of energy screaming at the competing athletes, even though we were well aware they couldn’t hear us. And while I’m incredibly bummed they are already over, it’s important to focus on the positives…ONLY 526 DAYS UNTIL THE 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS!

Alright that’s it from me (for now). Have anything you’ve been loving lately? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See the previous favorites post here.