My Favorites of 2020

I wanted to end the year with something FUN. I noticed that a lot of my favorite internet follows have been curating lists of their favorite things of 2020 and since I LOVE “favorite things” I decided I needed to make my own list! I’ll be honest, a lot of these things might have been featured in my Friday Favorites posts over the year. I’m not going back to look. Instead I went through most of my purchases this past year and took note of everything I used and loved and wanted to share. I’m also including my favorite books and tv shows of the year too. Head’s up, this is going to be a long post!

Favorite Fiction Books
I read 138 books this year and 115 of them were fiction. I love the joy and escapism that comes with diving into a great book. Lighter romance (as in, not the erotica type) is my favorite and my list shows that the haters to lovers trope is clearly my favorite. I read a lot of light love stories this year, desperate for the happily ever after. I actually read less YA than usual (37), but five of them still made my top list (and one middle grade, a genre I almost never read (4 this year, if you were wondering)).

Favorite Nonfiction Books
I know I say this all the time, but I am such a slow nonfiction reader. I love the idea of nonfiction, but when it comes to doling out how I spend my time, I’m almost always going to choose to jump back into whatever fiction book I have going. But this year I really tried to take time in the early mornings and late evenings to read a little bit of nonfiction here and there. I still didn’t get through nearly as many as I would have liked (I have hundreds of unread nonfiction on my shelves just waiting for me), but I gave almost every one I finished a very high rating. If it can hold my attention enough to get to the end, it’s a good book!

Candles
I’ve always loved candles, but they were typically reserved for October-December when I really wanted that extra boost of seasonal cheer. This year, however…I kind of lost my mind searching for new ones to fit my every mood. It became a bit of an obsession trying to pick out the perfect scents for each area of the house that I spend time in and then making sure before I light that particular candle I’ll be in that spot long enough to truly enjoy it. It’s basically nonstop babysitting, properly taking care of candles. But I’m addicted to it. And in a year where I basically never left the house, I found immense joy in them – the ambiance of a flickering light, but also the power of scent to change a mood.

  • P.F. Candle Co. Smoky Cinnamon Special
    I had this candle lit during October in my reading area and I was addicted to it. It had such a strong and intoxicating scent. I purchased a second one, but it was December by then and it didn’t feel quite right, so I’m saving it for next fall. It’s not even currently for sale anymore, so it must always be a seasonal release.
  • Ranger Station Leather + Pine
    While I don’t particularly think this smells like leather or pine, it has an incredibly fresh winter morning scent to it that I adore. It really fills a room too. I loved it! As an added bonus, the glasses are designed to be cleaned out at the end and used for whiskey (or whatever).
  • Apotheke Charcoal
    This is not marketed as a Christmas candle, but actually has a really wonderful smell reminiscent of the holiday season. I also love the black wax – it’s a nice change from the mostly glass jar white wax candles I typically burn.
  • Frostbeard Bookstore
    This wasn’t a new discovery in 2020, but it might be my all time favorite candle. I love the scent, so, so much. I always burn it at my desk when I plan on writing for a long time.
  • Novelly Yours Joshua Templeman
    This isn’t a new scent for me either, but it’s also one of my all time favorites. I originally bought it for the novelty because Joshua Templeman is the leading man in The Hating Game, one of my favorite books. But I ADORE the candle and keep going back to purchase another every time I finish one.
  • The Burlap Bag Baked Bread
    Again, not a new scent this year, but I love it. It genuinely smells like a fresh yeasty loaf of bread. I’ve never smelled another candle even the tiniest bit similar. I like to burn this one in my bedroom at naptime!
  • Forget Me Not Candle Co. Midnight Bonfire
    Bonfire type scents are one of my favorites because they’re great in summer and they feel equally as fitting in winter. This is a new one I picked up and I love it! Shepard thinks it smells like bacon. It really has a distinct smoked scent, but I love that smell!
  • 7th Street Salvage Picket Fence
    I almost forgot this one because I haven’t burned it since early summer. It’s only sold seasonally, but I ADORED it. It was such a wonderful scent for the season. I’ve liked all the candles I’ve gotten from this company and particularly enjoy their unique jars with recycled wood tops.
  • DW Home Sugar Cookie
    Okay, so this was a candle I bought last year but didn’t have time to light. I brought it out this Christmas for the family room and was amazed at how strong of a delectable vanilla scented throw it had. I usually get DW Home candles from HomeGoods or Marshall’s, so be on the lookout next year for this scent to come back! They usually have it in fun Christmassy styles.

Nail Polish
I’ve never been a nail polish person – and definitely not on my fingernails. I’ve only had a manicure once in my life before my wedding and I hated the experience. But this year I just needed something different and special that I could do for myself. Painting my nails seemed like a good and inexpensive thing to delve into. And boy, did I! Like most things in my life I found extreme joy in coordinating my nail colors with the seasons (I also only burn seasonal scented candles and use seasonal mugs and drink seasonally flavored drinks now). And now that I actually take care of myself, giving myself mini manicures every few days, I love looking at my nails! It’s a tiny thing, but it brings me great joy.

Blankets
When you’re home all the time you start to really appreciate all the little comforts that make your space more welcoming and warm. Especially through the long and cold Wisconsin winters! My favorite touches to any room are switching out blankets and pillows with every season or holiday. Basically any excuse to always pick up a new throw or pillow that catches my eye! I’ve gotten a couple new blankets in the last month or so that I’m totally in love with.

  • Dreamothis Sherpa Weighted Blanket
    I believe I shared this in my last Friday Favorites post a few weeks ago, but it was out of stock at that time. It’s back – for now! Only in this teal color, but I happen to think it’s the prettiest of the ones they had originally. I first got one in a purplish pink color that I use on my reading chair. But I loved it so much I got another for my bedroom for nap time. Then each of the boys got one for Christmas. Then I ordered one for my goddaughter. I LOVE them. They’re so warm and cozy, but not as suffocatingly heavy or slippery as other weighted blankets I’ve tried in the past.
  • Pottery Barn Throws – All of them, any of them
    So I was listening to a podcast about a month ago where they were talking about some of their favorite gift ideas and they spent quite a while discussing the benefits of gifting people with Pottery Barn throw blankets. Apparently they are recognized as being really high quality throws. I started obsessing about this possibility, especially as it was starting to get really cold in the house and we don’t really have any good “winter” blankets. I also really hate how unwelcoming our family room seems and decided the reason this is is because I don’t decorate it with piles of cozy blankets and pillows the way that I do the living room, where I spend the most time. So I bought myself two – one is plaid knit on one side and faux fur on the other (it was on clearance, no longer available), and the other is the Cozy Pom Pom Throw. I adore them both. So do all the pets. And the boys. And it REALLY makes me like the way the family room looks and feels so much more. There’s another one that I was looking at over and over and over again and is on a huge one day sale today, but I’m trying to restrain myself. I also LOVE the look of this one, but doesn’t look very practical for sharing with hairy animals. Similarly, the edging on this one is gorgeous! From my somewhat limited experience, I really do think these are pretty great!

Skin and Body and Hair
Since I didn’t have much else to do, I decided this would be the year I’d finally start taking care of my skin. It started early in the pandemic when I took a selfie of myself and was horrified by the big wrinkle I had between my eyebrows. I’ve since been religiously applying night cream and doing masks every week to try and keep on top my wrinkles before they become so obvious everywhere! I’m definitely no skincare expert, but these are some products I started using this year and really have enjoyed.

  • Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum
    My sister-in-law gave this to me last Christmas and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, but it seemed expensive, so I kept it around. Then I started using it this summer – just slathering some on before my moisturizer in the morning. I’m still not even quite sure what it is or what it’s for, but I’m convinced it helps! I’m not sure if I’ll repurchase when I run out, but my skin has enjoyed it this year!
  • Olay Regenerist Retional24
    This is what I chose as my night cream. There are just so many options out there, it’s overwhelming. But this one seemed to work great and didn’t make me break out the way other creams have in the past (and the reason I never used them long term before).
  • Soap & Glory Heel Genius
    This was the only foot product I’ve ever used (I’ve tried them all) that actually fixed the skin on my feet. Well, this and starting to use a foot grater, which is possibly my favorite thing of all time.
  • Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Body Buttercream
    I’m not big on lotion, but I picked this up during a sale and actually really like it! The smell is quite nice too.
  • Versed Back-Up Plan Acne Control Body Mist
    Here’s a fun one for you – and possibly TMI (lol). But when I started biking so much this summer I found myself breaking out on my chest quite a bit. I happened to see this at Target and decided to try it out. And shockingly, it worked super well. It’ll last forever too and is so easy to spray all around your back or front.
  • Bliss Mint Chip Mania Facial Mask
    I really like face masks that you smear all over your face (as opposed to sheet masks, where I question how much they actually help anything, plus are always freezing cold and slimy). Earlier this year Target had a big sale on all Bliss masks, so I got a couple different ones and this is definitely my favorite. It legit looks like putting mint chocolate chip ice cream or frosting on your face, but it smells so good and seems to really improve my skin.
  • Aveda Cherry Almond Leave in Conditioner
    I haven’t done much of anything with my hair this year – nobody sees me! But because of the lack of attention – and haircuts – it was getting very hard to keep combable by the middle of summer. So I gave this a shot, massaging some into my hair right out of the shower. It worked really well. Now that it’s been another long chunk of time since the one pandemic haircut I got, I think it’s time to pull this back out again. Tangles are the worst!

Jewelry
I LOVE jewelry, but I haven’t had much reason to wear it this year. It felt a little silly loading up on jewelry when nobody ever saw me. But I did try to pull myself together a couple times a week and it was always fun to remember how much I love so many pieces in my collection. I didn’t add many new things this year, but I have two recommendations!

  • Made by Mary Moonstone Necklace
    I’ve hated gold jewelry all my life – until this year. I suddenly kind of love it. I don’t like MIXING metals (other than my white gold wedding rings), but I really like the way gold jewelry looks better with a lot of my more jewel colored tops. Anyway, this moonstone necklace is my favorite gold necklace. I love it so much. It’s the perfect size, length, and has such a pretty chain. They also have a couple other colors. I got the orange one for my best friend for Christmas. My sister-in-law introduced me to Made by Mary – she loves their rings. I’ve picked up a few rings for myself in the last few years and have been highly impressed with everything I’ve gotten. With some Christmas money from Greg’s grandparents, I ordered myself this necklace (with seven blooms for the seven people and animals I’ve spend so very much time with this year!). It shipped yesterday and I’m SO excited for it to arrive.
  • RQP Studio I Trust in the Lord Unicorn Wax Seal Necklace
    Greg gave me this for Christmas and I love it SO MUCH. I’ve been wearing it every day. I’ve purchased a couple other wax seal necklaces from this company over the years and have always really liked them (though I always get a heavier chain from amazon that doesn’t feel so breakable). But this one is my favorite. It’s just so ME.

Clothes
I’m not sure that I have specific clothing items from this year that stand out as my absolute favorites, but I do have two SOURCES of clothing that I bought almost exclusively from this year. It’s tough finding plus size clothing that are both flattering and cute, but these two places continue to come through for me.

  • Stitch Fix
    I highly recommend giving Stitch Fix a try. It’s been the main place I’ve gotten clothes for the last five or six years. The more fixes you get – especially if you stick with the same stylist – the better curated the selection. My stylist knows me so well and always sends me the greatest things. My favorite way to shop these days, though, is the actual Shop collection with ever changing options of things that will interest me. I love it. Many of the items are definitely more expensive than your regular department store prices (much of my sewing money goes to buying myself clothes!), but if you have a hard time finding clothes like me, it is SO worth it. I’ve been very, very happy with them.
  • Fabletics
    This is my new favorite place to buy leggings. There are SO many styles (and tons of options in plus sizes), they seem to have a lot of great sales and deals – at least around the holidays, and they fit so well! I’ve gotten a handful of pairs in the last few months and I genuinely love them. The tops? Not really for me – I’m not going to be walking around in a sports bra or crop top anytime soon. (Though they look really cute if you can pull it off!) But the leggings are amazing. I especially like the styles with side pockets!

Other Wearables
Here are a couple other things that I’ve gotten a lot of use out of this year!

  • Crocs
    Yes, I know. Not stylish at all. But…nobody sees me. My feet are the worst. I wanted something I could put on very quickly when I had to take Annie out and all the better if it could get dirty and cleaned up quickly. I got some regular bright green crocs in spring and wore them all summer. Then I ended up getting furry lined ones to use as house shoes this winter and I honestly think they’re fixing my plantar fasciitis. When I wear these shoes all day I almost have no pain at the end of the night. I can’t remember the last time my feet have felt this pain free. Four years ago, maybe?
  • Ililily Face Masks
    I tried so many different styles of face masks at the start of the pandemic and this style is by and far my favorite. I only have two of them that I switch back and forth wearing (remember I only go to one store once a week, so I don’t have a HUGE need for a ton of masks).
  • Baleaf Thermal Helmet Liner
    This has been a lifesaver in keeping me out biking through fall and into winter. It looks ridiculous – like a swim cap. But it’s mostly covered by your helmet and actually really will keep your head and ears warm. I wouldn’t bike in these freezing temperatures without it.

TV Shows
Okay, I watched a lot of tv this year. A LOT. I won’t recap any of them because this post is already getting crazy long, but here are the ones that stood out to me as being really worth watching!

  • Robbie
  • Succession
  • A Million Little Things
  • PEN15
  • Manifest
  • Outer Banks
  • Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
  • The Resident
  • The Good Doctor
  • The Rain
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Sneaky Pete

Random Quarantine Purchases
We bought a lot of bigger ticket items this year in lieu of going on vacations and to try and improve our lives since we were all home all the time. I’d say almost all of those purchases were worthwhile, except perhaps the trampoline, which was the most expensive and the least used. The novelty of trampoline jumping wears off when you have one in your yard. Especially when you break your arm on it and then never want to go on it again… But everything else was great. Here are some of my favorites!

  • Bear Hybrid Mattress
    Greg and I had been using the same pillow top mattress since we got married and it was so lumpy. I’m always in pain (thanks, fibromyalgia) so we finally decided to get a new mattress. After weeks of research, this is what I picked. I’m very happy with it!
  • Hoover Pet Max Vacuum
    We’d also been using the same $50 vacuum cleaner since we moved into our Columbus apartment nine years ago. It was time for an upgrade and it was AMAZING what a difference it made. We do have hardwood floors in our whole house, but the area rugs get so dirty from the pets and kids, so it’s nice to have a more heavy duty cleaning method!
  • Frigidaire Retro Mini Fridge
    Earlier this year I converted my “writing desk” – that was basically just a dumping ground for random things – into a big drink making area. It was pretty much the best thing I’ve ever done with a small space in my home. But I really wanted the area to be complete with a small fridge where I could store my creamers. Which sounds kind of ridiculous, but we were also having a ton of problems fitting everything into our regular fridge now that we were all eating a lot more food at home and going out to grocery stores a lot less often so I was always trying to be stocked up. This fridge was the perfect solution. Now we keep all our extra drinks in it and it’s freed up tons of space in the main refrigerator.
  • Char-Broil Grill
    I’ve been wanting a new grill for years and with everything that happened this year, we decided it was time to finally get a new one. I did SO much research (I feel like I did an entire month of nonstop research on all this new stuff, most of which was purchased in May!) and then ended up just getting the same one my brother has and recommended. No complaints!
  • Priority Turi Bike
    I think I did more bike research than any other after a couple of months of daily biking on my old beach cruiser and desperately wanting something better. The biggest issue was that nobody had bikes in stock anywhere to even try out, so I had to base such a huge decision only on what I could read about it. I finally took a gamble on this Turi bike from a very small Brooklyn based bike company and then had to wait four months for it to arrive. But I LOVE IT. I haven’t had a ton of opportunity to ride it yet because – snow and ice. But I can’t wait to get back to my daily sunrise rides on my new wheels in spring!

Random Food Purchases
I bought so much food online this year! I used to depend on going to a variety of grocery stores – it’s one of my favorite things to do – to find unique new things. But that was not really a safe or responsible option this year, so I just ordered a lot of random things to try out.

  • Luxardo Cherries
    This is a luxury purchase for sure. Not to be shared with your children – they won’t appreciate it. They’re meant to be put in cocktails where you’d only have one or two at a time. I used them as an ice cream topper. And they are incredible.
  • Dorothy’s Comeback Cow Cheese
    This was a middle of the night facebook ad purchase. And it is hand’s down the best brie I have ever had in my life. I’ve bought it multiple times in the last six months and have gifted it to many. I also saw it at the Sun Prairie Pick ‘n Save once, so you might be able to find it locally as well.
  • Bushwick Kitchen Bees Knees Salted Honey
    If you want something AMAZING to accompany your cheese, get this honey! I’ve been eating it all week on a cave aged gouda. The combination is absolute perfection. But it would also be fantastic on brie!
  • Don Chilio Chile Crisp – Jalapenos
    So this is a totally random purchase that I am completely addicted to. I first bought the habanero variety and they are SO spicy. The only thing I’ve used them for is stirring into queso and I only use the tiniest amount. I loved the idea, though, so I asked for the jalapeno ones and got them for St. Nick’s Day. I ate the whole jar in a week and am almost done with the second jar I ordered for myself. On their own they’re kind of a weird thing. But I’ve mostly been eating them on toast that’s covered in cream cheese. Just spread some jalapenos on top, make sure you get some of the oil from the bottom of the container because that’s what’s actually spicy, and then add a bit of flaky sea salt. It’s amazing. My second jar didn’t have much oil in it, so I added some because it’s the best part.

Coffee and Tea
Let’s end with my favorite collection of beloved things – everything new I’ve gotten for my tea and coffee area!! I love it all. It brings me so much joy. I use that area multiple times a day. I bond with the boys over each day’s new drinks. I’ve experimented with every random coffee recipe I’ve seen online. It’s just so much fun!

  • Gator Pour Over
    This continues to be my favorite method for making coffee. I’ve tried them all, seriously. I think pour over tastes the best, has the easiest clean up, and is basically fool proof. BUT it’s not conducive to serving more than one person at a time, so I only use it when I’m making coffee just for myself. Which in normal life would be all the time, but in pandemic life is only a few days a week.
  • Cosori Electric Gooseneck Kettle
    Okay, this isn’t new this year – my mom gave it to me for my birthday last year. But I use it like 3-5 times a day. It’s incredible. This is how I heat the water for my pour over coffee, but it’s also how I heat the water for all the tea I drink. It only takes a minute or two to heat to the perfect temp.
  • OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
    I got this from my in-law’s for my birthday this year and it’s so great! I was just using a cheap grinder before that constantly made huge messes. This one is SO much better. I only use freshly ground beans for my coffee so I love having the freedom to pick what type of grind I want and only the exact amount I need for that brewing method so my coffee tastes the absolute freshest. This is another thing I did a TON of research on and this grinder is at the top of so many charts as being the best grinder out there (without paying an arm and a leg).
  • OXO Brew 8 Cup Coffee Maker
    I bought this with my birthday money. I did a lot of research, but mainly bought it because it was new, had amazing reviews, and matches the grinder that it’s sitting next to on my table! I really wanted the ability to brew a larger quantity of coffee at once since the boys like to drink it with me (and I’ll hopefully eventually be able to resume my friend coffee mornings!), but I also wanted it to still TASTE GOOD. Comparable to my pour over. And this is the best I’ve found.
  • Nespresso VertuoPlus
    You might be wondering why I need a Nespresso when I already have a pour over and a drip brewer (and a Moka pot and a cheap but very annoying espresso maker and multiple french presses). But…I like having a fast option. Especially for espresso. Which isn’t my favorite type of coffee, but I do really love using it for iced drinks in summer. I got this on major sale earlier this year and I actually really love it. It’s so much fun watching all the froth appear at the top of the mug! Despite my extensive mug collection, I always use a glass mug with the Nespresso because I love seeing the colored stripes of coffee and cream. ūüôā And yes, it tastes worlds better than Keurig k-cup coffee – which is how I started my coffee journey a few years ago.
  • Nespresso Aeroccino
    So this came free with my Nespresso. I wouldn’t have bought it on my own because I had two other milk frothers already (I thought I had lost my first one, so I bought another, and now I have three). But this is the one I use right now. I LOVE being able to froth my creamer or milk before adding it to my coffee. I also love that it heats it up so the whole drink stays hot a lot longer. I used to use a cheap hand frother which works well too – it just doesn’t heat it up.
  • Bayka Floating Shelves
    This has nothing to do with coffee itself, but they are the shelves I picked out to hang on the walls above my coffee area. It’s where I keep my tea and syrups and sugars. And they look really, really nice. I love them.
  • Spinning Tea Storage
    I used to store all my tea in a drawer. It was such a mess that it really stopped me from actually wanting to make tea. But now I store it in one of these where it’s so easy to find what I’m looking for and looks cute to boot! Mine is black to match my aesthetic, but I can’t find that one anymore.
  • Farmhouse Tabletop Mug Rack Tray
    I love this thing. I purchased it from Antique Farmhouse, which is a deal site with curated things that are only for sale for a couple of days – but do eventually come back. I’m so happy I found this when I did because it’s my favorite way to display my top six seasonal mugs. And I use the tray portion to hold all my nespresso pods. It looks great, is very functional, and matches my coffee area perfectly.
  • Brandywine Coffee Roasters
    This is hands down my favorite coffee roaster. I almost exclusively use their beans because they are SO GOOD. It doesn’t even matter what roast you pick, I guarantee it’s going to taste amazing. I love the uniquely designed bags and I especially love that they’re constantly releasing new blends. I’m stocked up for awhile because I bought a 12 Days of Christmas variety pack from them, but I’ve got my eye on this 2021 roast!
  • Bixby Vanilla Creme Brulee Coffee
    I gave up artificially flavored pre-ground coffee awhile ago, but when I saw this creme brulee whole bean option I just had to give it a shot. And it’s amazing!
  • Twinings Buttermint Herbal Tea
    I’ll drink pretty much any tea that isn’t black (lol), but have heavily leaned on minty flavors this year. This buttermint tea with a hint of vanilla is my all time favorite. I really do buy it in six packs from amazon so I always have it on hand. I also recently saw it at Woodman’s, if you need a local option.
  • Oatly Barista Edition Oat Milk
    I’ve been trying to stay away from regular creamers (like Coffee Mate or International Delight) now that I drink a lot more coffee than I used to. I do still use more pure ingredients only creamers (like Chobani), but I wanted to try something with more nutritional value. My friend recommend this one and after checking multiple stores with no luck I ended up buying it online since they are shelf stable until opened. I’m so glad I did because I really love it! I don’t alway use this, but it’s perfect for a latte. I froth it (it froths SO well) with a bit of flavored syrup and it tastes fantastic.
  • J.T. Cooper Flavored Syrups
    I’m such a sucker for great packaging and design and these grabbed me the second I saw them. They’re really great if you want to make coffee shop drinks that would typically use syrup. My favorite is actually a sample size I got of the Grenadine. I mixed it with a sample of the single origin chocolate and combined with a rich coffee and frothed oat milk it made the most delicious cherry mocha! Cherry mochas definitely feel like a February seasonal drink, so I’m going to have to order a large bottle of it soon!

Well, congratulations if you made it to the end of this insanely long list of all my favorite things of 2020! I was feeling bad that I never got around to making gift guides this year – I had so much fun doing it last year! But this kind of doubles as a gift guide for your future use! Or if you just want some ideas of tried and true items that might brighten your day – or your life. Thanks for checking it out!

Friday Favorites #2

A whole week has flown by since my last Friday post without a single update. Life has been TOO CRAZY this fall. Right when I think I have a handle on my life, something comes up again and I’m flailing around once more. I’m hoping to claim a little bit of down time this weekend to catch up on my end of the month posts, as well as actually RELAX. But I’m not very good at that, so we’ll see.

Anyway! It’s been such a busy week that I haven’t discovered many NEW favorite things, but I’ll share with you what I’ve got!

EAT

  • For my dessert contribution, I made this Pecan Pie Cheesecake for Thanksgiving. I made it a few years ago and remember calling it the best cheesecake I’ve ever had. And at one point in my life I wanted to open a cheesecake restaurant, so I’ve eaten a lot of cheesecake! But cheesecake is usually something you only make for bigger fancy gatherings, so I haven’t made it since then. I looked back at my notes and saw that the first time I halved the entire recipe and baked it into a pie pan instead of a springform pan. This year I did the whole shebang and it was still delicious! I even forgot to add the heavy cream and I don’t think it made a difference. The only thing I wish I had done differently was actually follow the stovetop instructions for the pie layer. I think I cooked it a tad too long, making that layer extra gooey and very hard to cut and bite. But the combination of salty/sweet/creamy/crunchy is really great!
  • This summer I ordered a bunch of new hot sauces to try and 708 7 Pot Citrus by BigFat’s has definitely been my favorite. It took me awhile to come around to the citrus spicy flavor combination in so many hot sauces (I’m not a fan of citrus in any form), but now I can’t get enough of it. I think that kind of hot sauce is perfect for something loaded with cheese. My favorite form of comfort food I use it in is a bowl of (brown) rice with chihuahua cheese and chips. I’ve been eating this for months (especially once I ran out of one of my favorites – Dirty Dick’s Hot Sauce), but I seem to be eating it at almost every non-Thanksgivingy meal this week because it’s so dang tasty. I also really like it with beef tacos. For chicken tacos I prefer a more straight heat.

WATCH

  • So I literally just came home from seeing A¬†Beautiful¬†Day¬†in¬†the¬†Neighborhood¬†with my in-laws. It was so good! There are so many theater movies I’d love to see right now, but this is the one I was invited to, so I went! It did feel kind of slow…quiet, I suppose. Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate movies like that when we’re so used to action and comedy and nonstop drama. But I really enjoyed it. Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys were both excellent in it!
  • I’ve been watching A Million Little Things from the beginning and I definitely liked the first and second seasons. But this third season? Now that we’re finally past all the John’s death related plot points, it’s SO good. It’s moved up to one of my most anticipated weekly watches. This week the mid-season finale aired and it was absolute perfection.

I can’t think of anything else that struck me as being extra special this week – and we’re about to go watch the local Christmas parade, so I’ll end this now. Enjoy!

Friday Favorites #1

I’ve been learning a lot about the importance of an email list. I’ve started paying attention to the weekly and monthly newsletters that I most enjoy reading and they all have one thing in common – they’re lists of recommendations and favorite things. So with no real originality, I’ve decided to do my own version of the same thing because it makes me so happy to share the things I’m most excited about, especially when they’re new and unique. The exception – for now – is that this will appear as a new weekly blog post installment that’ll pop up on Fridays. I don’t have an email list yet, and quite honestly I don’t have the time at the moment to figure out how to make one. So in the meantime, I can’t let all these awesome favorite things be wasted, so I’m starting today with where I’m at! These might be short, they might be long, but I’ll try to stick to things that have really brought me a lot of joy in just the past seven days.

EAT

  • I am obsessed with THIS GRANOLA RECIPE. I’ve tried many granola recipes in the past few years, most of which had a peanut butter base and some chocolate thrown in to make it all a lot more dessert-like. But I needed something simpler for Caden’s birthday party a few months ago to top granola and fruit and gave this a shot. I LOVE it. Brown butter maple granola by Two Peas & Their Pod. It’s delish.
  • Trader Joe’s Uncured Black Forest Bacon. About six months ago Costco sold a three pack of thick sliced brown sugar bacon that was AMAZING. And like basically everything I fall in love with at Costco, I never found it there again. I’ve been on the hunt for something of similar taste and I finally found it at Trader Joe’s this week. I picked it up because the coloring was unique – it’s very brown. It must have some sort of sugar rubbed into it or something. But seriously, it is legit good. The only downside is that I believe it was around $6 and there are only 7 slices in the package. I’m not sharing it.
  • This week at Costco I picked up a giant wedge of Beemster Classic Aged Gouda. Gouda is one of my favorite types of cheese and I love nutty aged ones the most. My previous favorite has been Trader Joe’s 1000 Day Gouda, but this one is also REALLY tasty. The cashier confirmed it was a new item she’d never seen before, so chances are it won’t be around for long.

LISTEN

  • If you need any kind of encouragement that you are OKAY and you are ON THE RIGHT PATH, listen to this incredible spoken word album by Arielle Estoria. She was at the Hope*Writers conference I attended and blew me away. I listened to Symphony¬†of¬†a¬†Lioness while I was at my sewing machine and it was truly so powerful. I highly, highly recommend it.

WATCH

  • Is anyone else watching Succession?! Greg and I ran out of things to watch together, so we started this up after I kept hearing Knox and Jamie rave about it on The¬†Popcast.¬†And they were right – it is SO GOOD. I can’t believe how intense the show can be when barely anything is actually happening. It’s great acting.

SHOP

  • TJMaxx, Marshall’s, and HomeGoods. I feel like I shouldn’t even let people in on this secret of mine because it’s where I find allll my greatest gift ideas and treasures. These stores are AMAZING if you’re willing to go to them often and visit different locations. I’ve always loved them, but my obsession has really gone up a level or two in the last few months. I finally had to make some gift sets for Heartstring Annie to justify buying some more great things. My absolute favorite thing to hunt around for is mugs. I’ve been finding so many great Christmas ones lately that I finally gave in and switched out my fall mugs this morning. They bring me so much joy!

DRINK

  • Counter Culture Coffee. I recently spent DAYS going through Food¬†and¬†Wine’s¬†extensively researched list of best coffee in every state. I created an amazon list of every single coffee I’d like to try from all of those roasters. (The LIST stops me from wanting to immediately buy them all for fear that I’ll forget and miss out on something amazing. Mind games, guys. Always.) Counter Culture Coffee was on the list and low and behold, they were the featured local coffee at all the grocery stores I stopped at on my trip to North Carolina. I purchased and brought back the Hologram and Big Trouble blends and have been drinking them this week. They’re creamy and delightful!
  • August Uncommon Tea’s Big Easy Blend – sweet green tea with lemongrass, pineapple, and barley. I’m trying to drink multiple mugs of green tea every day to help detoxify my liver. I NEED a big variety, though. I get bored so easily. I ordered a bunch of sample size packs from August Uncommon and so far this has been my favorite. Maybe my favorite of all the green teas I’ve tried so far. It honestly just tastes like pineapple, which is delicious in my book!
  • Speaking of green tea, I also just found out that Harney and Sons makes their famous hot cinnamon tea in a GREEN variety! Their black hot cinnamon tea used to be the only kind of tea I’d ever drink. And recently, Greg has become obsessed with it, drinking it all the time. The boys love it too. When he ran out a few weeks ago I was THRILLED to see that it also comes in a green variety for me! And honestly, I can’t even taste the difference between the two. It tastes just as good as the black – and it’s better for you. (It ALSO comes in herbal!)

I think that’s it for my first installment of Friday Favorites! See you back next Friday for more great finds!

A Solo Trip to North Carolina

Late last night I arrived back home after six wonderful days in North Carolina. I was apprehensive about this trip from the beginning – was it too self indulgent to go on a second major solo vacation this year, after my trip to Book Bonanza in Dallas in August, plus also having already been on two major family/couple vacations earlier in the year to Florida and Colorado? Was it selfish to insist on doing another thing that only benefited me and made life a lot trickier for everyone else in my family? And in the most recent months, was it worth risking my wavering mental health to go to a conference that could very well just end up making me feel worse about myself by not spending more time on this thing I supposedly love so much? Between just LIFE stuff, being so behind on Heartstring Annie, and now all the uncertainty with my liver and needing to completely upheave my entire lifestyle…the CONFERENCE aspect of this trip felt overwhelming. But I couldn’t exactly back out of it at that point, so I decided to trust that I made the right decision way back last spring when I told Greg that I needed to make this investment in myself. And honestly? I think this might have been one of the best things I have ever done for myself and I don’t regret a minute of it.

I’d like to write more about what I learned at the conference after I’ve had a few more days to collect my thoughts and process all of the encouragement and new ideas I was given. Tonight I’ll just tell you a little bit about the trip itself!

I had a pretty early flight on Thursday morning – but out of Madison! I never fly out of Madison! So the boys slept over at Grandma’s and Greg dropped me off at the airport bright and early. Well, technically it was still dark, so not bright. And the roads to Madison were sheer ice after yet another snowstorm the day before. WHY is it snowing so much and already so cold in early November?! Anyway, I made my way to Charlotte without any issues until I picked my rental “car” that was supposed to be in the same class/size as the cars I own and am used to driving. I was instead given a Jeep Compass. Which I guess compared to other vehicles, is really not THAT big. But it was a whole lot bigger than what I’m used to driving. Plus, MY car is 17 years old. I am so not used to driving newer vehicles with all their bells and whistles. It was a pretty stressful start, especially because I could not for the life of me figure out how to connect the GPS from my phone to the vehicle, or find any kind of navigation system on the vehicle alone. Trying to drive a huge vehicle in heavy traffic while also holding my oversized phone in one hand in a city I’ve never been to before – it was rough. My phone wasn’t even verbally giving me any of the directions and at one point when getting on a highway it fell under the seat! Fun times, you guys.

Alas, I made it to my first destination! Superica – the restaurant owned by the author of Tex Mex, my all time favorite cookbook that came out earlier this year. I realized after eating there that I should have asked how they pronounce the name of the place. All this time I’ve been calling it in my head “super-ICA,” and realized later it’s probably supposed to be more like “soup-erica”, like “America.” It just seems like I should maybe know how to properly pronounce the name of the restaurant I was most excited about eating at! Anyway, the place was huge and really fun! They gave me a ton of chips with two salsas – the smoky verde was delicious. (I believe the recipe is in the cookbook!) I ordered a combo from the lunch menu of chicken tortilla soup and chicken suiza enchilada. Oh, and the seasonal aqua fresca – pineapple/banana/mango/ginger. It was a ton of food! But very delicious.

I had a long list of unique shops and areas that I wanted to hit up on the trip. But after the stress of just getting from the airport to the first restaurant, I knew very quickly I didn’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself. So I looked up the one place that sounded most intriguing – a gift store called Paper Skyscraper – and realized it was only a few blocks away, so I put more money in the meter and booked it over there. The store was so amazing! One of the best gift shops I’ve ever been to. I purchased a rainbow heart mug (based off of a graffiti mural of the same thing that I didn’t find out about until days later and was SO ANNOYED to learn was actually just on the other side of the block from Superica!), a really cute Christmas mug, and a Christmas in Carolina candle. All of which were added to the very large box of things I bought on the trip and shipped back home to myself and will hopefully arrive in one piece!! I probably could have stayed for hours in that store, but I didn’t give myself a ton of time (ran out of change! forgot how slow I walk!) and needed to get back.

My next stop was my hotel where I was thankfully able to check in an hour early and take a short nap. I had planned on getting a quick dinner or coffee before the conference started at six, but chose the extra time to rest instead. Then I headed out to register and find my seat at the conference! The whole thing took place at a large church and there were 450 attendees, though it honestly didn’t feel like that many. We jumped right in with a short performance by Arielle Estoria and then our first session on the six writing stages Hope*Writers has come up with. It was a great start to my learning!

Afterward I was pretty keyed up – and hungry – so I found a Cava. I love Cava so much. I get it every time I go to DC. I wish they’d come to the midwest! I just get a pita with harissa, chicken, diced cucumber, and lemon dill tahini, but it’s just so dang good. I haven’t been able to replicate it at home with the same quality. It was a great treat after the long day. I also stopped at a grocery store before driving back to the hotel in the pitch black pouring rain (that was fun). I LOVE hitting up grocery stores when I visit new areas of the country. Normally I’m on the lookout for unique flavors of chips and cool snacks, though now I’m mostly interested in local products and coffee.

Friday was a full conference day. It was a bit overwhelming, but so awesome.

At the lunch break I went to a place called Emmet’s Social Table, one of the founder’s favorite restaurants. It was cute, but I was hit with my new constant predicament of what can I eat? All this liver stuff I have going on right now is very confusing. I have a general idea of what I should be avoiding, but I’m not so clear on what exact substitutions I should be making. Normally eating out is my favorite part of every vacation, but was really just a huge source of stress this time around. My meals were sporadic and not the most enjoyable. I figured at this lunch I could have a “splurge meal” and immediately regretted the decision. It was my first time (okay, so I did have a pita the night before) in weeks eating white bread and potatoes and fried items. It was all good, but also just made me feel like crap. And made me really, really wish I liked salads. I was trying to make BETTER choices at every place I went, but choosing the BEST options was never really on the table for me (yet). It’s too depressing.

The afternoon portion of the conference was really great as well, but I was so tired and just overloaded with information by the end. There was an optional/encouraged night out at The Nester’s barn with food trucks and a bonfire and fellowship with other hope writers. But it was also a 45 minute drive each way, in the country, in the dark. I wasn’t comfortable yet with my Jeep, was not super interested in having more awkward conversations with strangers no matter how nice they might be, and just needed to rest my brain for a bit. So I didn’t go to that part and really don’t have any regrets. Before going back to the hotel, though, I stopped at a place called Viva Chicken and had a Peruvian Tacu Bowl. The photo is before I loaded it up with an amazing spicy sauce. It was very tasty. (But I shouldn’t have been eating the rice.)

Three food photos in a row! That’s really all I took pictures of on the trip… Saturday morning I was back at the conference for the final day. I went to a place called Sabor Latin Street Grill for lunch and had two chicken authentic tacos with chips and a bunch of salsas from their salsa bar. It was my cheapest and simplest meal, but it was really delicious.

I forgot to mention that on Friday night I made the leap and JOINED Hope*Writers. The conference was open to anyone, but the majority of attendees were actually already hope writers. I am proud to say I am now one too! I’ll have opportunities to learn every week with fresh teachings, plus access to all the archives. I can also connect in smaller hope circles with other members to spur each other on and achieve our goals together. I haven’t had a chance to do much besides just sign up yet, but it’s one of my top priorities in the next few weeks. Another investment in myself that I hope will also be the right decision.

The conference ended around three and then I booked it out of there because I had to get to my next hotel in Wrightsville Beach, almost four hours away. I was really hoping to get there by sunset – just to drive in the light and also see the beach before it got dark. Unfortunately, the sun sets really early! I didn’t make it. And then I was very confused by my hotel and couldn’t figure out how to get to the beach. And I was irritated by all the bored valet drivers that kept watching me whenever I went in and out of the building. The parking lot was also quite confusing and I didn’t want to leave again worried I wouldn’t have a spot when I got back, even though I also really wanted some dinner after only having that one meal the entire day. (Breakfasts – too much work!) I spent a ridiculously long amount of time trying to figure out how and where I could order food, but nothing was really sounding good. Well, real problem – everything was loaded with carbs and/or fried. So I decided to just go out and walk, despite how dark and terrifying it was, until I finally came across a tiny ice cream shop and decided to just have a chocolate peanut butter malt for dinner and call it a day. I was kind of a wreck by that point. Despite being on this trip by myself and technically having a lot of time in the evenings, I only got about five hours of sleep each night I was there, no naps other than the first day, and so much stressful time driving. Plus the mental exertion of learning so many new things! I was just at my breaking point by Saturday night.

Sunday was my one totally free and open day. I took my time getting ready in the morning and then finally found the beach! I got my workout in, squatting in the sand for an hour picking up the prettiest shell fragments. It was really fun! The weather was about as perfect as it could be too. Fallish temperatures (45-65) and lots of sunlight. All the natives kept apologizing for the cold weather when they found out I wasn’t from around there. I just laughed every time.

I wanted to spend my day finding cool shopping areas – it felt more feasible than in the busier Charlotte areas. I ended up parking in Wilmington and walking all around the downtown area. There were a couple of buildings that had multiple shops inside of them, which was fun. I finally found my first local coffee shop – after four days! I didn’t really like it, but felt obligated to drink it. I believe the only thing I bought in that area of town was another North Carolina scented candle. I smelled every single one of the shop’s about one hundred scents and liked the very last one the most. Again – hope it gets back to me in one piece tomorrow!

My boring lunch at Front Street Grill before rushing back to my car right when my time ran out. I mostly just ate the chicken salad plain and the bowl of fruit. That was a depressing meal when the rest of the menu items that I would have picked out at any other occasion before my liver stuff came up, sounded SO much more delicious.

I spent the next portion of my day hitting up my favorites – TJMaxx, Marshall’s, and HomeGoods. You better believe I find those branches of stores in every single city I visit on every vacation I ever take! You never know what you’re going to find! It’s such a treasure hunt! I don’t even feel dumb about it (I did last year in Minnesota when I probably visited at least 20 versions of the same store because literally every single city has all three of the branches). They’re my favorite place to dig around and I’m not going to apologize for it anymore. I also went to a bookstore and another grocery store. I finished my night having dinner at a place called Flamin’ Amy’s Burritos. It was a rush menu decision at the counter so I picked a Jerk Chicken burrito and didn’t take a picture because how boring is a picture of a burrito? I don’t even like burritos. I don’t like flour tortillas. So it was another disappointment. I just ate the filling with some chips. I was pretty fed up with eating in general at this point. I did have some snacks with me, but no matter how good those snacks seem when packing for a trip, they fall VERY flat when it’s the only thing you’re filling yourself up with.

I stayed up really late back at the hotel on Sunday night. I shouldn’t have, but I was still having a hard time shutting my brain down and needed to force myself to just chill out. I also set my alarm so I wouldn’t miss the sunrise on the beach – since I had missed both sunsets. I actually got to the beach about an hour before it officially rose and took about a million photos, but cell phones just don’t really do it justice. I was the only one on the entire span of beach that I could see, and it was a really beneficial time for me. I wish I had an outdoor space like that around home where I could watch a sunrise or sunset. I’m generally not a beach person because I hate being hot and in the sun. But at this time of year, it was incredible.

After making one more stop at Marshall’s and a local fresh/healthy foods only grocery store, I began my long trip back to Charlotte. I wasn’t in the mood to keep hunting around for new things to do, so I chose a large antique mall near the airport and spent about two hours just wandering around. During that time I was getting texts about every five minutes saying my flight was delayed another half hour. My flight was already later than I would have liked, so this wasn’t helping! By the time I left the antique mall, however, it was suddenly back on time! I didn’t know airlines could go back and forth like that. But it was a relief!

I wanted to get some food before I got to the airport – it was already 3:30 at that point and I hadn’t eaten at all. So I picked something close by – a Caribbean restaurant with a ton of great google reviews. I ordered the jerk chicken. Let me just ask – does that look like chicken to you?? The third piece in the background was definitely a leg. But the two pieces in front? The shape of them – those were bones. What kind of CHICKEN has bones like that?! There was also a goat curry on the menu, and I think they maybe gave me that. Which kind of makes me want to cry. Sorry, I do NOT want to eat a sweet cute goat. There was hardly any meat on any of the pieces – it was just skin and bones. The SAUCE was delicious. But it was a pretty disappointing meal.

The rest of my night was very uneventful! I got to the airport about four hours before my flight because I was so tired and needed to just be done. I spent most of that time walking around every terminal because I was so tired and didn’t know how else to stay awake. I got a Starbucks coffee and it gave me a stomachache. I read a whole (short) book. And then we finally took off, flew across country with no issues, and landed to fresh snow and ice and 7 degree temperatures. Oh, Wisconsin.

And that was my trip! I feel like I should go back and re-title this post to “All the food I couldn’t eat in North Carolina.” Sorry about that. I know nobody likes to hear about food restrictions and limitations. It’s just so high on my mind right now, with my liver biopsy happening TOMORROW. For that reason alone, it was not a good time to go on a trip. But I’m so glad I went and I really had the most fantastic time. I will write more about the depth of things I learned (and not just what I ate and where I shopped!) at another time!

What I Watched September and October 2019

I was going to write up my November goals tonight, but I’m pretty sure the whole post would just be a bunch of doom and gloom. This has been a HARD week. I’ve basically been a nonstop emotional wreck. So maybe taking a little time to finally go over some of the tv shows and movies I’ve been watching lately will prove to be a good distraction!

TV¬†–¬†Alone

Bachelor in Paradise

I believe this season had way too much annoying drama. I know that while those people are living secluded away on a hot Mexican beach, everything feels so much more intense than if it were happening in regular life. But watching some contestants “fall in love” with a different person in every episode – it feels so ridiculous! I couldn’t stand all the Blake drama, all the Caelynn drama, all the Clay and Nicole. I thought there was also way too much Demi and Kristian. Basically the only happy thing that came from this season is that I now know all about Derek’s podcast, The¬†Betchelor, (thanks, John Paul Jones) which is actually a really fun listen if you watch any Bachelor Nation shows. I can’t believe Derek hasn’t been snatched up – he seems like the greatest guy to ever come from that show.

Queer Eye

I’ve been watching this in spurts. It’s such a good show! But I also have so much emotional wreckage going on in my own life right now, I just can’t turn on another show that’s guaranteed to make me cry – even if they’re only happy tears. I just love it so much, though. I have just two more episodes go to before hitting up the newest season in Japan.

Younger

I’m struggling to remember how this season ended – it must have been early September which currently feels like a lifetime ago. I do remember thinking this was the last season, but then it didn’t actually end. Do we think Liza and Josh will end up together after all?? I was always Team Charles, mostly for logistical and sensible reasons, but he’s gotten so weird and awkward since they became a couple. My loyalties have switched back to Josh now that he has his own baby, eliminating the only obstacle that was keeping him and Liza apart.

In the Dark

I picked this random netflix show for a good watch while working binge. And I actually really liked it! My favorite part was Felix and how immeshed he became in Murphy and Jess’ tiny friend circle. I was NOT happy with the Dean twist. Not AT ALL.

The Good Doctor

Hooray! My favorite shows are back! I still love this one. I like how the show is exploring more side stories around the other characters instead of focusing entirely on Shaun. Claire has certainly been a surprise. I was a bit shocked at how she handled her mom’s death. But when she spread the ashes while singing? Wowzers, cue the tears.

The Resident

MY FAVORITE. Oh my goodness, you guys. The Halloween episode mostly about AJ and Mina?! I want those two to be together probably more than almost any other tv characters in any show I’ve ever watched. Why do they have some amazing chemistry?! I was so excited that the writers brought them closer, but it felt like just enough of a tease and now that they both agreed to wait a few years, nothing more is really going to happen for a couple more seasons. That was going to be all we’d get. I really, really hope not. But it feels likely.

Modern Family

I never really have anything to say about this. I still don’t. Why do I still watch it?? It’s the last season. I have to see it through. It’s okay.

Single Parents

I couldn’t care less about Douglas and Poppy and Miggy. Please show me ALL the Will and Angie. Despite the appearance of Adam Brody and knowing they’re married in real life and maybe they’re destined to also be back together on the show, Will and Angie just have the BEST friendship but could really be something more chemistry. I love them together.

The Politician

Another surprise netflix binge that I watched in two days. It was such a whirlwind of crazy plotlines that I wasn’t even sure what to make of the whole thing. I liked it! I really like Ben Platt now. But I thought Zoey Deutch and her baby voice and childish personality was SOOOO annoying. Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance was really fantastic. I liked the random times Ben Platt started singing. But really, there was just so much going on and then the three year time jump with whole new storylines in the final episodes? It was crazy. Maybe a little too ambitious. But I’m excited to see where it will go.

The Chef Show

Yay, another season! Though I don’t think this one was as interesting. Jon Favreau seemed more stilted, maybe. Or most of the chefs he cooked with weren’t that interesting or dynamic. But Roy’s food always looked AMAZING. If I ever get back to LA I definitely need to figure out where I can eat things he’s created. I love the show for all its inspiration, but I really do wish they’d publish their recipes at some point. A cookbook would be perfect!

A Million Little Things

I really like that the show is finally moving past all the John stuff. I’m not sure he’s even made a single flashback appearance yet this season. I’m happy that Eddie and Catherine appear like they just might make it work, despite the secret baby. I think it’s SO STUPID that Delilah is denying Eddie the public opportunity to claim his child, even though literally everyone except the other kids know it belongs to him. This will surely blow up in her face at some point. I do think Maggie is a bit annoying. For being a therapist, she sure is a mess herself. Or maybe it’s just that awful pink wig with her dark eyebrows that distract me so much I can’t stand watching her. I really like all the men, though. Rome is the best.

God Friended Me

This season feels sillier to me. Cara’s acting suddenly seems kind of awful. Or maybe she really doesn’t get along with Miles in real life? I don’t know what’s going on, but it just feels very inauthentic. I genuinely loved the episode where Joy found her daughter, though. It was played out so perfectly. More tears.

Bless This Mess

This is okay. I liked it more before I realized how Rio talks to Mike in the exact same way every single time she says anything. There are some funny parts. But some of it is just so dumb.

Four Weddings and a Funeral

I liked this! I admit the first few episodes felt like a really corny netflix Christmas movie. I wasn’t sure how the season would play out. But I ended up feeling such affection for all of the characters and everything they were going through. I was so delighted with the happy ending for all that I thought for sure the show was over after a single season. I’m not sure where they’re going to go from here! But I’m here for it.

TV¬†–¬†Together

Barry

Season two, not as great as season one. It was so violent. Not as funny. Less likeable characters. That’s really all I remember about it.

Fleabag

Can we sit in silence for a minute to appreciate HOW FLIPPIN GOOD this tv show was?? Everyone keeps saying to just skip season one, but I can’t imagine going into season two without the emotional backstory of all the characters. I absolutely adored the entire thing. But obviously the addition of Hot Priest in season two – it was INCREDIBLE. I never, ever would have said Moriarty was hot/appealing/swoon-worthy in Sherlock, but give him some amazing hands off sexual chemistry with Fleabag and now I will never go back. Wow. It was so, so, so good.

The Affair

Ugh, this show is so depressing! Everyone is so depressed all the time. Yes, it’s a good show with great acting, but still. Bring in some joy! Why in the world do we keep going back to future Joanie? Who cares?! Why are we spending so much time with Whitney, the most annoying person ever? I guess there is definitely some well timed comic relief around all the Noah/Sasha drama, but still. I can’t really handle watching this too often.

The Boys

I’m not sure how many episodes we watched of this. Maybe two, possibly three. I didn’t like it. I had heard such good things, but I guess I just want to see super heroes being GOOD, not being awful and terrible people. I assume maybe there’s some redemption down the line, but I had zero interest in sticking with it.

Strange Angel

What a bizarre show. I think I liked it? I wanted to watch it because I was OBSESSED with Rupert Friend on Homeland. I thought he was rather delightful at the beginning of Strange Angel when he came off as being really eccentric. But then he got boring. It’s weird to me how this show is about figuring out how to launch a rocket yet also about the occult? It’s weird, but also fascinatingly entertaining. We’ve only watched the first season so far. Greg needed a break from watching such long episodes every night.

Superstore

The longer this show airs the more the characters annoy me. It’s definitely really funny at times, but it’s no longer one of my favorites.

Movies

Falling Inn Love

I actually really enjoyed this sweet little netflix movie. It was warm and happy. And who doesn’t want to watch a rundown inn turn into a beautiful little excursion in the New Zealand countryside?

Longshot

I’m never quite sure how a Seth Rogen film is going to go. I’m not a fan of crude and stupid humor. But I actually really liked this one. It was genuinely laugh out loud funny.

The¬†Ted¬†Bundy¬†Netflix¬†Movie¬†(I don’t¬†know¬†what¬†it’s¬†called)

I love Zac Efron. And this was disturbingly creepy. He really comes across as such a great guy. I can understand why they didn’t show any graphic scenes of what he actually did, so we get the same impression that most of the people had of him. But also….it was weird not to.

The Sun is Also a Star

I finally got around to watching this. I read the book and liked it awhile ago. I didn’t want to watch the movie because I was bothered by the casting. The actors looked SO much older than high school students. It really, really bothered me. Overall it was a good adaptation, but didn’t thrill me.

Booksmart

I’m not sure what I was expecting this movie to be, but it wasn’t the movie I saw (lol). I liked it. It was funny. It wasn’t as amazing as I had heard.

Tall Girl

Ugh, what a dumb movie. How can netflix make such good things and also such horrible things?

Rocketman

I saw this in the theater, but watched it again with Greg. I still love it! Or rather, I still love Taron Egerton singing. ūüôā

Downton Abbey

This was a sweet and nostalgic revisiting of a favorite.

El Camino

Fantastic acting! I’m so glad Jesse got a happy ending. He deserved it.

Vice

I love me some Christian Bale, no matter what he ends up looking like in his extreme roles. This movie made me feel really stupid, though. I pay almost no attention to politics and didn’t realize any of this was really going on.

I’m always on the lookout for new bingey shows, so let me know if you have any suggestions!!

What I Watched August 2019

It hasn’t felt like the most interesting month for tv. My list is relatively short this month because I haven’t been working/watching as much as usual.

TV¬†–¬†Alone

Sex Education

I actually rather enjoyed this somewhat odd show. Though I think I mentioned it in last month’s post too – it’s a little alarming to me how normalized sex is in high school on tv. I hope that’s not how it really is.

Queer Eye

WHY did it take me so long to start this?? It is maybe one of the best tv shows of all time. So many happy cuddly feelings. I love it so much. The first season almost killed me, though. I binged most of it in one day and cried during every episode. The fab five just seem so genuinely kind and happy and are just having the best time of their lives helping other people find the joy in their own best lives. I had to start slowing down on watching, however, because the emotional hangover from each episode was REAL. I love it, but one or two a day is about my limit now.

The Bachelorette

Did this really end in August?? I wrote it down, so it must have. I’m pretty unimpressed with how everything ended after such a ridiculous drama filled season. All that angst and Hannah ends up alone. Also, WHY did she pick Jed over Tyler or Peter? It makes zero sense.

Jane the Virgin

Finally finished. I like how it concluded. I still wish they had never brought Michael back, but I guess they resolved that little thread too with his newfound life with Charlie.

Bachelor in Paradise

I keep thinking I don’t care about this show and then I get sucked back in. A few thoughts. Demi has such a totally different personality than what she showed on Colton’s season. I don’t understand why so much of the season had to be devoted to her gender fluidity and support, when she essentially acted exactly like Jed – but so much worse because she was still in a relationship when she went to paradise! But he gets attacked for it and she gets applauded. I just felt so bad for Derek who seems like a genuinely really great guy. Also, what terrible editing on Blake. I was cheering for him HARD on Becca’s season last year. He seemed like such a great guy and now he’s such a player?? It’s a little disturbing. John Paul Jones. Ugh. I mean, I get that he’s maybe entertaining. But he’s also just so gross! He’s always burping and throwing up and laughing hysterically over nothing. I don’t like him. I’m also very sick of Caeylynn. And we are not getting nearly enough Wells, who is seriously the cutest of all bachelor related people ever. But I started following him on instagram and am getting my fill over there. Such a cutie. And engaged to Sarah Hyland?!

The Other Two

I had two episodes to finish up and really liked it. This turned out to be an unexpectedly warm hearted show. I liked it a lot.

TV¬†–¬†Together

Veronica Mars

I wasn’t that impressed with this reboot season. I just don’t really like Veronica. Did she always have such a rigid and sarcastic personality? She seemed to think she was so much better than everyone and I kind of hated her for it. But still, did she deserve that ending??? Maybe that means if another season comes along someday she can get hot and heavy with Leo like she did in that dream. ūüôā Max Greenfield for the win!

Barry

We’ve watched about one and a half seasons now. I really liked it at first because it was so funny watching Barry try to fit in with normal people. I’m not that into it anymore. I just don’t particularly like any of the supporting characters and Barry’s personality is now also pretty rigid. I guess I prefer softness in my favorite tv characters?

Fleabag

I loved this! Well, again, I really liked the first few episodes the most. What a bizarre show! It’s definitely funniest when she’s looking into the camera and making telling faces. I’m not sure how much I like the serious undercurrent of grief. We’ve only watched the first season so far, but definitely one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in awhile.

Movies

Searching

Okay, so I appreciated the unique way this movie was filmed. But that doesn’t mean I actually wanted to watch the entire length of the movie in that format through their laptop. It was kind of weird. But an interesting movie. I’m glad it had a happy ending.

Five Feet Apart

I’ve been putting this movie off forever because I knew how it ends. Except, I can’t exactly remember, but I think it ended a little bit differently in the book. At any rate, I also had to wait to watch it when I was prepared for something that was obviously going to be sad. I wasn’t a fan of the Cole Sprouse casting choice, but he surprised me. I can really only see him as Jughead and he did come off with those same vibes at the start of the movie. But he impressed me as it went on. I liked it.

What I Watched July 2019

We’re in the dregs of summer when nothing good is on tv anymore. And considering I really need good tv to keep myself motivated to keep sewing every day, it’s been a struggle! There have been a few good things shows here and there, but nothing that exciting. I can’t even say that I’m super excited for fall tv to start because the majority of my favorite shows just ended or are ending soon! Hopefully there will be some great fresh new options.

TV –¬†Alone

Big Little Lies

The second season was so good! Meryl Streep was fantastic in her role of Mary Louise. I never expect to be wowed by an older actress, but she really played this character so perfectly. I thoroughly enjoyed the second season as much as the first.

The Bachelorette

Ugh. LUKE. Get off my screen! Seriously, this season has been so messed up. The finale is tomorrow and Tuesday, so I guess I should really wait to recap this when it’s over. I’m not sure who I want her to end up with. They haven’t previewed any of the guys getting on one knee, so maybe she ends up with nobody. I think I’m rooting for Tyler, but Peter also seems like a very sweet and genuinely good guy. If she picked one and the other ended up as the next bachelor I think I’d want her to be with Peter because I’d love to see a lot more of Tyler!! I don’t think Peter could pull off being a bachelor. Jed either.

Carpool Karaoke

I thought this show was going to be so great because I love the segments James Corden occasionally does on his show. But the actual Apple TV series feels so scripted and fake, that it’s not that fun to watch. I’ve enjoyed the episodes with celebrities I love, but had zero interest in the people I didn’t know.

Dead to Me

I binged this in two days while working. I liked it! There was nothing shockingly incredible about it, but I liked the characters and the story and that very little of the show was devoted to the grieving children! No offense to my own kids, but I really prefer to watch shows that don’t give too much attention to the kids.

iZombie

I cannot wait for this to end. I really don’t even know what’s going on half the time. Though it seems like just maybe they’re going to end with a cure for the zombies and everyone goes back to being human?! I really, really hope that’s the case!

Jane the Virgin

Okay, so this season is growing on me. It’s always been a nice show, just kind of ridiculous being based off of the craziness of telenovelas. I’m sure they will give everyone a happily ever after they deserve.

Younger

I am SO not feeling this show anymore. Liza and Charles are so awkward! Why is Josh still always around? Is he really her true love?? I mean, I like Josh a lot, and they solved his wanting kids problem by giving him a kid and a baby mama who doesn’t want to be with him as anything other than a co-parent. So maybe they’re setting them up to find their true love after all? I don’t even know what I want anymore.

Sugar Rush

After what felt like a three year gap, they just released a second season! I only watched one episode of it so far, but it was fun as always! I love baking shows. Especially ones like that where people try to do their best. Not absolutely stupid ones like Nailed It where people are rewarded for doing horrible.

Sex Education

I just started this yesterday, but got three episodes in. I’m not sure my take on it yet. It’s okay. I’m a little alarmed at how sexual teenagers are always portrayed in high school on tv. Is that what real life is like?! Has real life become like that because tv always makes it seem like that’s the norm? I really hope not.

TV¬†–¬†Together

You’re¬†the¬†Worst

This is literally the only show Greg and I watched together this entire month. We just finished the final two episodes last night. It’s a show I really liked as a whole, with characters I despised. Honestly, I hated Gretchen. I’m not sure there was any point in any season where I liked her. She was truly the worst character to watch in the final season. I loved seeing how much Jimmy changed by the end. Edgar was such a great supportive character. Lindsay…I hated her, but also like watching her. I LOVED Paul and Vernon. And I could have definitely done without Becca. I’m very happy with how it ended.

Movies

Eddie the Eagle

I’m still riding the wave of my Taron Egerton obsession after seeing Rocketman last month. I wanted to see this film he did a few years ago with Hugh Jackman. It was good. Inspirational. No singing, to my dismay (lol).

Spiderman: Far From Home

This was great! I really enjoyed it. Well, I liked it all except for how low energy and blah Zendaya was. Everything else about it was awesome. It was fun to have another movie we could go see as a family.

Murder Mystery

I started getting desperate for things to watch and had to start resorting to lame Netflix options. This was not great. I really hate movies where long married couples spend the entire time arguing with each other. Real life is enough about that, I don’t need to see it on the screen.

Secret Obsession

I watched this last week and had to just look it up to remind myself what in the world it even was. To be fair, this was probably the best Netflix movie I’ve seen in awhile, just because it had some suspense. I watched it because I really liked that main actor from Under¬†the¬†Dome. It felt like it should have been a book instead of a movie, but it wasn’t awful.

Swiped

THIS movie is awful. Definitely do not waste your time. It was so, so bad. As much as I like all this new Noah Centineo on Netflix, I do not like seeing him as the skeevy bad boy. He’s so much sweeter in the other movies they made with him!

Please tell me of any new or old tv shows you can recommend! I’m getting desperate!

What I Watched June 2019

It’s the last day of June and I have four blog posts to write today! Yikes! So much for spreading everything out this week. Busy, busy days. It didn’t feel like I watched as much as usual this month, but I guess the list is still pretty lengthy.

TV¬†–¬†Alone

iZombie

I’m so over this show. I think it’s the last season? I hope so anyway. I really miss the days when nobody knew Liv was a zombie and every week was just a procedural episode with her taking on the personality of whatever brain she needed to eat to solve the case. Now that it’s so political with zombies vs humans in the closed off Seattle, I really couldn’t care less.

A.P. Bio

I was devastated to hear this was cancelled! It may have never gotten much buzz, but I thought it was such an entertaining sitcom. I loved that classroom of nerdy misfits. I’m glad it at least was given a pretty great ending!

Dirty John

Ick. So I watched this because I listened to the podcast. Both based off of the true story. I do have to say that the tv show was really fantastically done. I thought Connie Britton did such a great job portraying Deborah. But John? SO CREEPY. Just thinking about the few days I binged this makes my skin crawl. They did a good job with it. I’m just so glad it was a single season and over.

The Bachelorette

Oh my goodness, Luke, GET OUT OF HERE. How can they devote so many episodes in a row to him?! This past week wasn’t quite as bad, but I still don’t understand why Hannah keeps him around when he’s so clearly the rotten egg of the bunch. I’m assuming it’s a producer decision because (Bachelor Nation experts) Knox and Jamie say the bachelor or bachelorette is only allowed to choose four to keep every week and producers get to make the rest of the choices. I’d say that Tyler is my top choice right now. He’s so cute and sweet and stays out of the drama. I really like Peter too because he’s just plain adorable. And I like Jed because he seems like a genuinely good guy. I really liked Garrett after the naked bungee jumping date and how he didn’t make any lewd comments or anything about the naked stuff. Which, by the way, I LOVE how Tyler defended Hannah’s honor to Luke by saying that he was happy she was able to have an experience that was important to her. All the heart eyes for Tyler. I liked how Garrett handled it, but I did not like how obnoxious he continues to be with Luke. Just get up and walk away and stay out of it.

Life in Pieces

This is turning into a Modern Family role in my life. I still enjoy it, but it lost some of its endearment to me. Though I think this was also unexpectedly cancelled and I only have two episodes left to watch.

Bless This Mess

This is an appropriate to show to watch while doing something else. I know it’ll never be a favorite, but I have enjoyed it!

The Chef Show

Shepard and I found this on netflix the other day and have watched a handful of episodes. It’s not exactly kid friendly in terms of language content, but he loves to watch the cooking aspects. I’ve always really enjoyed Jon Favreau, so I like seeing him in this totally random cooking show he put together.

Jane the Virgin

Not much to say about this. It’s okay. It’s almost over for good.

Younger

Is it just me, or did Liza and Charles suddenly become super awkward now that they’re together?? And is it also just me, or does it feel like they’re shooting the show with less camera filters or something and all the actresses seem so old and tired and wrinkled? I’m really hoping this season gets better than the first few episodes. I feel like Josh is still being dangled as an option, which is annoying. I was always Team Charles (though I love Josh! I just think he deserves better than Liza), but I don’t like them now that they’re an official couple. It feels so weird.

TV –¬†Together

Umbrella Academy

I went from pretty meh to totally loving this show. The characters were all so unlikeable at the beginning. But I adore how they banded together at the end. I’m also so very happy that Klaus got his act together and became a much more interesting character once he stopped being doped up all the time. I’m excited there will be a second season.

You’re¬†the¬†Worst

This is pretty much what we watch every single day. I really love it. And they really are THE WORST. But the show is so good at throwing in punches of vulnerability and goodness, so you’ll never actually give up on the characters. I really like how they portrayed Gretchen’s depression in the second season. And I’m enjoying Edgar’s PTSD issues in season three. Jimmy is always highly entertaining. And I really like Paul. It’s a good show. I still can’t believe it was on for so long and I never once heard of it.

Good Omens

I was so excited about this show. I adore David Tennant and Michael Sheen. Together, it felt like such a fabulous pairing. And then we started watching and it was just SO not my thing. We made it through three episodes. I couldn’t stand watching the three others. So disappointed. I mean, I think it’s a very nicely put together show. But it’s not for me.

Derry Girls

We finally watched season two. So good! Everyone is so hilarious, I just love it. I really loved the finale when James was finally shown some love!

MOVIES

Always Be My Maybe

I’m not sure I can count this when I didn’t finish it. I think I got to the final 25 minutes and I just could not watch any more. To be fair, I watched this on my own when I felt like I SHOULD take advantage of having the tv to myself, but I also had a really amazing book waiting for me, so I was very distracted wanting to keep reading when I thought I should be watching. The movie was okay. So many people raved about it online, but it fell pretty flat for me.

Rocketman

Oh man. I am in love with Taron Egerton after seeing this. I didn’t even know who he was beforehand. He just did such an awesome, amazing, beautiful job portraying Elton John in his younger years. Those eyes! That jaw! His voice! Just to compare it to Bohemian¬†Rhapsody since the movies are similar, I liked this one SO much more. Though it might mostly be because Taron Egerton is a lot hotter than Rami Malek (lol). I highly recommend it!

Yesterday

We just watched this a few days ago and both really enjoyed it. How can a movie filled with Beatles songs not be good?! I liked the main actor and his singing was nice. It was also a breath of fresh air to watch/see a music story that does not center around them doing drugs, having endless roadie sex, and basically ruining their lives. This had none of that, which made it so much more fun to watch. It was really good!

What I Watched May 2019

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet this month! Spoilers included because that’s pretty much the only reason I write these quick recaps. ūüôā

TV –¬†ALONE

The Resident

I’m kind of disappointed in how this season ended. It was a cliffhanger for sure – did Nic’s dad or sister die after surgery? But it was so not the type of cliffhanger I was expecting that I didn’t even realize until later that it was the finale. I desperately wanted something more to happen between AJ and Mina – my favorite not quite a couple, but still a couple. They can continue to slow burn their way together, but I wish we were getting a tiny bit more.

Modern Family

I hate writing about this show every month. I have nothing to say about it. Everyone is so annoying.

Jane the Virgin

WHY did they have to bring back Michael from the dead, only to have Jane divorce him and send him away?! I have no real attachment to Raphael, and it bums me out that now Jane is just back to being alone. I think this is the final season, right?? I think it’s come to a natural end that I am more than ready for.

Good Girls

I like this show more and more! I loved the forbidden chemistry between Beth and Christopher, though it definitely is over now. I also love Annie’s FBI boyfriend. Such a cutie!

Single Parents

I wasn’t aware I was watching the finale of this show either. Maybe I’m just clueless? I was so excited about the small hint of romantic feelings between Angie and Will that was then smashed to pieces. Though I have to admit I’m very excited about the possibility of Adam Brody joining the cast, especially as he’s Leighton Meester’s real life husband. I’m anxious to see where it goes.

A.P. Bio

Why is this show on so sporadically?! I feel like it only appears in my feed about once a month. I’m much happier watching shows I can binge. Or, you know, watch at their regular once a week intervals. I stop caring when there’s so much space between each episode.

Life in Pieces

Same with this. It just came back on, but I don’t think it’s been on two weeks in a row. I loved it so much when I first started watching it and I find myself just not really caring anymore.

The Good Fight

Ah, this show is so great. So smart. I really loved this third season. Mostly because of the Michael Sheen addition.

Whiskey Cavelier

So long, Whiskey. It was somewhat enjoyable while it lasted. I stopped liking it when they brought on Scott Foley’s real life wife as the romantic interest of another character. It felt very weird to me.

iZombie

I’m so over this show. It was one of my favorites for awhile. Now with all the zombies vs humans and the closed off Seattle where they all live together…I just don’t like it. It was so much more fun when Liv was portraying different people each episode and Clive was none the wiser.

Sneaky Pete

It came back! I binged the third season in like two days. I love it. So much. So, so much. I hope it comes back, even though it seems to be a full year in between seasons. I am basically in love with Giovanni Ribisi in this. So much nuance to his character. LOVE.

The Bachelorette

Okay, I was seriously dreading watching this. I only watch it so I can get more out of the (paid for) Popcast Patreon recap episodes each week. I could not stand Hannah on Colton’s Bachelor season. I thought she was the worst pick ABC could have possibly made to star in her own Bachelorette season. BUT – she has surprised me, greatly. I kind of think she’s pretty dang awesome now. And I love the cast of guys. So many standouts! I think I’m going to get way too emotionally invested by the time some of my favorites are sent home. Right now I’m rooting for Jed or Peter. Is Peter not the most adorably sweet faced man ever?! I also think Tyler and Mike are fun.

Dirty John

I ran out of shows to watch this week and decided to start this one up. I loved the podcast and was curious to see how they televised the same true story. I have to say that the voices of all the characters are even more annoying than they were in real life. But I’m intrigued. I’m surprised by how much ground has been covered only three episodes in. I think Connie Britton is fantastic in it.

TV¬†–¬†TOGETHER

Killing Eve

We watched all of the second season this month. I liked it! It was a bit bizarre. I mean, it’s been bizarre from the get go. Villanelle is just such a fascinating psychopath to watch. Eve’s infatuation with her is harder to understand, though I guess I’m infatuated by her too. I also didn’t care much for Nico in the first season, but found him quite attractive in this one! I’m curious to see if (spoiler) Eve is really dead. She can’t be, right?

The Umbrella Academy

I just don’t know what to make of this show. I thought it was so corny and dumb when we started it. We watched it every night on our Colorado vacation and then took a break until this week when we picked it up again. I’m kind of highly invested, but also don’t really have a clue what’s going on. I love the characters and also don’t really care about them? And the unexplained monkey and robot mom? It’s just so bizarre. Maybe the expectation is that you should read the comic books before you ever even think about watching the show. Which I of course did not do.

You’re¬†the¬†Worst

These people really are the worst. And yet I love them. I’m not sure how it took me five full seasons before I knew this show existed, but it’s proved to be a fun and hilarious addition to our tv nights in between the more serious shows. I LOVE Jimmy. I have mixed feelings on everyone else.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Meh. Same old, same old.

Superstore

Ditto.

MOVIES

The New Romantic

This was a really weird and off-putting movie. I was grossed out by it. I think Netflix is trying way too hard to just churn out movies with no real interest in great content anymore.

The Hustle

I thought this was okay. I wanted it to be hilarious, but found myself just so sad watching Rebel Wilson cast once again as the fat and clumsy girl next to someone tall, beautiful, elegant, poised. I wish she could just be A PERSON. The movie itself was fun, but not particularly funny. It made for a nice night out by myself, though.

What I Watched AND Listened To April 2019

I guess this is no longer worth reiterating, but I watched A LOT of tv this month. I wonder how much I would actually watch if I weren’t watching while I sewed. Probably none, other than the one show a night I watch with Greg. It’s kind of awesome being able to binge watch so many things while I work, but I realize it’s also probably slowly rotting my brain. This past week I’ve mostly been listening to podcasts AND music. It’s been a nice change of pace!

TV¬†–¬†Alone

Shameless

I finished out the current season, though I’m not entirely convinced I actually watched the last episode. I thought I maybe just saw the preview for the last episode and thought I watched it?? It’s a mystery that will probably never be solved. Shameless continues to draw me into its crazy mess, but frustrates me to no end how every character just continues to destroy their lives. I think there’s just one more season planned and I really, really, really hope most of the kids can find some redemption.

Jane the Virgin

Oh, Michael. Sweet Michael. So much more interesting and exciting than Raphael. Did they always plan to bring him back?! I can’t believe how long they went trying to get Jane and Raph back together only to have Michael appear back in their lives. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t introduce him back if he wasn’t meant to end up with Jane. It’s just such a sad and depressing love triangle to watch week after week. I want everyone to be happy.

God Friended Me

This came to a nice close. I’m not sure if it’s been renewed for next season, but I certainly enjoyed this dose of positive tv every week.

The Resident

WHY are they messing with Conrad and Nic?! Are AJ and Mina going to have some sort of bonding moment in the season finale tomorrow?! I love this show with all my heart. I think I cry during every episode. So, so good.

Whiskey Cavalier

This has been an interesting thing to pick up. The only thing I’ve ever seen Scott Foley in was Scandal and I loved him in it. So sexy! It’s definitely been hard to wrap my head around seeing him in a similar agent type role, but as a super sensitive/happy/friendly guy. I basically watch this show for him. The rest of the cast is pretty meh to me right now.

Modern Family

Same as always. It’s okay. It’s there.

Good Girls

I’m enjoying the twists and turns of the second season. It’s definitely not one of my favorite shows, but I enjoy it.

The Good Cop

Basically I’ll watch every show with the word “good” in the title. I just picked this randomly on netflix to watch one day and ended up binging it this week. I liked it! I’m fascinated by Josh Groban as his nerdy perfectionist character. I couldn’t care less about Tony Danza and all that drama, though.

The Good Fight

I’m glad this is back! I am LOVING Michael Sheen as part of the ongoing cast for awhile. He’s just so insane! It makes me really happy. I’m not too sure about the rest of the show and it’s extremely politically focused agenda. I always watch it and feel like I might be hunted down for watching it. I’m kind of amazed it’s on regular cable like that.

Life in Pieces

This was off the air so long (or at least it felt like it) that I wasn’t even sure it was still on. But it’s back!

A.P. Bio

I love this one too. So ridiculous, but also surprisingly funny!

TV- Together

Santa Clarita Diet

So I admit this show’s premise is pretty outlandish, but I’ve always really enjoyed it. I feel like it has a lot of physical comedy, which is kind of rare. You just really need to be watching everyone’s facial expressions (especially Joel’s) to really get the most out of it. Unfortunately, I just heard it was cancelled, so we’ll never get any kind of closure. I’m really happy with how the third season ended between Abby and Eric, though.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

It’s finally over! WHEW. I really hated it by the end. I guess I can understand how the whole point was for Rebecca to grow and find contentment from her own inner strength and health. But…I just totally stopped caring.

Superstore

I feel like this is really falling flat lately. There are definitely funny moments, but as a whole I’m just not that interested anymore. Maybe because so much of the show is about Amy and I just don’t like her very much. I don’t like Jonah that much either. That makes it hard to enjoy as a whole.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Same as Superstore. It’s okay. All the characters are pretty annoying.

Killing Eve

It’s back! So excited! I’m so glad Villanelle is still alive. What a total psychopath! She is so incredibly entertaining, though. I really like this one.

You’re¬†the¬†Worst

So we’re only two episodes into this five season series that I’ve literally never heard of it before. But it’s kind of hysterical. Again, mostly because of the hilarious facial expressions. It’s pretty crass, but I think we’ll probably stick with it because it was surprisingly funny.

Movies

Blockers

We picked this movie at random one weekend when we were out of current tv shows to watch. I thought it would be really stupid, the way most comedies are these days. But I might have laughed harder than I’ve ever laughed before. Don’t get me wrong, it WAS stupid. But it was also SO DANG FUNNY. I was on the floor choking because I was laughing so hard.

Shazam

I liked this! I wanted to see it just because I’ve loved Zachary Levi since Chuck. I really liked the band of foster kids and how they fought together to be a family. I was not so impressed by all the genuinely scary monsters and long scenes in a stone dungeon type place. But it was sweet and funny and I really enjoyed it.

The Perfect Date

Netflix is really milking Noah Centineo for all he’s worth! Of the three movies I’ve seen him in now, I liked this one the least. I don’t regret watching it (while multitasking), but it wasn’t that great.

Avengers: End Game

We saw this yesterday and I thought it was great! No spoilers, I just wish that some of the characters had a lot more screen time than they did. But it was a very worthy conclusion to all of the Marvel movies thus far.

Someone Great

I watched this today and honestly thought it was pretty dumb. I didn’t understand the point of it. It was just SAD. If you have such an amazing relationship, why would you give it up so easily? I thought the female friendship aspect was so exaggerated with a ridiculous amount of swearing. I definitely do not recommend wasting your time on this movie.

Podcasts

It’s been awhile since I’ve recommended any new podcasts because I just keep listening to the same handful again and again. But I’ve finally been in the mood to venture out a little bit and have a couple to suggest if you’re looking for something new!

David¬†Tennant¬†Does¬†a¬†Podcast¬†With…

This podcast is a delight! I’ve always liked David Tennant, at least since Broadchurch,¬†which is one of the first things I remember seeing him in. This podcast makes me realize what an amazing person he actually is. Each episode is an interview with a fellow actor or actress that he’s worked with. They just sit and have a conversation. So far I’ve only listened to episodes with people I actually know – Olivia Colman, Krysten Ritter, Jennifer Garner, James Corden, and Michael Sheen. But because David has a working relationship with them, their conversations are full of ease and excitement. He mostly sticks to career related topics to respect their personal privacies, but it’s still very interesting.

Blackout

I’ve only listened to two episodes of this fictional suspense podcast, but I think it’s going to be amazing. The dramatic quality to the entire thing is fantastic. I love Rami Malek as the main character and all the mysterious plot twists. It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to a fictional podcast, so I’m excited to continue on with it.

And the usuals, in case this is the first podcast post you’re reading of mine and want my tried and true!

  • The Popcast (DO IT!)
  • Popcast Friend of the Show (Patreon – I pay for this and it is SO worth your money)
  • Penpals (I love it so much!)
  • Spilled Milk
  • Front Porch with the Fitzes
  • Happier with Gretchen Rubin
  • 10 Things to Tell You
  • The Lazy Genius
  • Lazy Sisters (Patreon – I pay for this)

Music

Music?! What?! So I’m not hugely into music. I like it, I listen to things on occasion. But I’ve never been super into any bands or been that deeply committed to finding new bands. But I’ve recently found myself OBSESSED with The Jonas Brothers. I never, ever listened to them when they were a band before. I only listen to Christian radio, and most of the time that’s the only music I’m really exposed to. But I follow Priyanka Chopra on instagram, which led me to some interest in Nick Jonas, which led to their new releases of “Sucker” and “Cool.” I have listened to both songs probably a thousand times by now. I’m kind of obsessed. I can’t wait for the full album to release in June! I’ve also been listening to a little Josh Groban, due to his influence on me in The¬†Good¬†Cop. I really like this newest song “River.”

Well, that’s about it! Normally I’d go back and add photos for all of these, but because we have a guest staying in Caden’s room tonight, Caden is on the chair next to me trying to fall asleep so I need to finish up and get off my computer. I’d love to hear your recommendations for any of these things!