party for one devin cole

May & June Favorites

Happy Fourth of July to all of my American friends!

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

Podcasts

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

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

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

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Books

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

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

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

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Movies

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

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

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TV Shows

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

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

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

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Music

Harry’s House by Harry Styles

Party for One by Devin Cole

Leanna Crawford – EP by Leanna Crawford

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JVN Air Dry Cream

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

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The Conqueror Challenges

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

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

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

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

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

See my previous favorites post here.