Happy August! I am very excited to share what I am loving for this month. I have come across some real gems for your education and entertainment. Let’s get right to it.
Up First by NPR – Now more than ever, it is important for us to stay current on what is happening in our nation and around the world. If you’re like me, you find the news cycle exhausting and often bias. However, NPR is notorious for providing great content and their new week day podcast, Up First, tells you everything you need to know in under fifteen minutes.
Elevate – Elevate uses games to increase your knowledge and skills in writing, reading, listening, math, and speaking. I never got into computer games or game apps, but I have been searching for one that is fun and educational. Elevate tracks your progress and allows you to “level up” from beginner to advanced to expert. As you progress, you are able to unlock new games. For someone who has been out of college for seven years, it’s great to strengthen lesser used skills while developing new ones along the way.
The Standups – At the end of a crazy day, I love to relax with a glass of wine and a good laugh. However, one can only rewatch The Office and Parks and Recreation so many times. Netflix recently released a series of stand up specials with six comedians. I am not exaggerating when I say I had to spit out an ill timed mouthful of water (thankfully it wasn’t wine!). Each special is about half an hour, so it packs a lot of entertainment in a small amount of time.
The Little Book of Hygge – After months of seeing this book all across social media, I finally picked up a copy for myself while on a Target run. As I have previously mentioned, I have a love for European culture and their relaxed ways of living, so this book was right up my alley. Hygge (pronounced Hooga) is all about cozy living. The Danish culture really embraces comfort, good food, and good friends. It is believed their strong social connections and attraction to candles and all things cozy helps to contribute to their consistently high overall happiness as a country. As fall and winter approach, I recommend you check out the book. or at least give this podcast episode by Shannon Ables a quick listen.
Funny story. When I began typing out this post, I called it June Favorites. I officially have no concept of time. Babies will do that to you! Though I do suppose I no longer have a baby, but a budding toddler. Clint turned one last month and is so full of personality and spunk. Thus, this is the first time I’ve sat down at my actual computer, not my iPad or iPhone, in about a month. That being said, I have founds some new addictions in the mean times.
Unhappy Hour with Matt Bellassai – You may recall Matt Bellassai from his Wine About It fame. His Buzzfeed series featured him downing some cheap wine and discussing the things, and people, we all know we hate. Brilliantly, Matt has transformed this art into a very enjoyable podcast. Yes, he is only on week two, but I did some embarrassingly loud laughing while out walking the dog and babe.
Despacito ft Daddy Yankee – Louis Fonsi – I don’t listen to the radio very often, I love to relax with my podcasts while out running errands, so I am possibly the last person in my age group to be aware of this hit. It’s the perfect summer pick me up. Listen to it on repeat for some added sexiness to your day.
The Great British Baking Show – Think of this like Chopped, only far more charming. Bakers face off against one another in three challenges each week before one is eliminated. It’s so addicting, peaceful, educational, and so full of British wit it will make you want to pick up and move across the pond.
Taken at the Flood – Though I failed to hit my goal of one book per month during the month of June, I was able to finish this Hercule Poirot classic this month. Though my favorite character was not introduced until nearly halfway through the book, Hercule was able to make up for lost time. Not a full blown classic, but enjoyable and very interesting at the final moments!
Happy reading! xx
Happy, technically still, April! Clint has started to crawl this month. While this is fantastic and exciting, it also means I’ve sat down for about five minutes each day. Ahh, the joys of motherhood. Nevertheless, here is what I am loving at the moment!
Pod Save America – The current political landscape is very exhausting. Pod Save America from Crooked Media offers insight and opinions from people who have been there. My favorite at the moment is the Katie Couric interview. Their episodes come out weekly. Another interesting podcast is Pod Save the World, I highly recommend their Syrian Civil War episode.
The Mick – Any and all fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will recognize the lead in this show as the wonderful Kaitlin Olson. Kaitlin plays a woman who is thrust into raising her, very wealthy, estranged sisters’ three children. It’s equal parts hilarious, progressive, and heart warming.
Cinnamon Almond Milk Macchiato – I can’t do a lot of dairy in my diet. Plus, I’m a bit of the mindset that excess milk isn’t meant for human consumption. I make all my smoothies with almond milk and was thinking Starbucks would likely never get on the almond milk bandwagon due to the rise in nut allergies. Luckily, they proved me wrong. I am a huge fan of the Carmel Macchiato and this version tastes like a warm cinnamon cookie. I have yet to have it iced, though I am sure it would be delicious as well.
The Monogram Murders – I am obsessed with Agatha Christie, particularly, her Hercule Poirot series. I am making my way through all of those books from the beginning, but I came across The Monogram Murders at the library one day and decided to skip ahead. This was released a couple of years ago and is authored by Sophie Hannah in the spirit of Agatha Christie. It takes a little longer to get into, but the story is good and I am all for extending Poirot as long as possible.
Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon – As the last cold days of winter/spring fade away, I will be transitioning away from my red wines to whites and the occasional rosé. That said. Bogle has really great wines for the under ten dollar price point. You can pick up a bottle at Trader Joe’s or most grocery stores!
Drink up! xx
March has been very eventful around here. Clint isn’t crawling yet, but he is mobile enough to get himself into precarious situations. We’ve been getting out more and have been doing some major podcast catch up while we run our errands. Enter my first recommendation for the month:
S’laughter – Murder + Laughter = S’laughter. If you like your weekly true crime with a British accent, give this podcast a listen.
Causebox – Subscription boxes are crazy popular at the moment. They vary from monthly to quarterly and you can get them for yourself or your pet. Causebox has started a movement of giving back. They include products that are handcrafted by small businesses or that give opportunities to those who are underprivileged and need it the most. I am currently awaiting my Spring Box and could not be more stoked.
K&K Sea Salt Texture Spray – I recently went for a “mom bob” look. I have lost A LOT of hair post pregnancy and needed to try to even out the damage. My stylist was amazing and gave me a tutorial on how to best style my new hair and sea salt spray was a top rec. Essentially, I use volumizing mousse, sea salt spray, blow dry, curl, and use a texturizing wax. It sounds complex, but takes about ten, fifteen minutes tops. This sea salt spray smells amazing and you can spray and scrunch for a refresher throughout the day as well.
Schitt’s Creek – This is actually a Canadian sitcom that many have assumed it a Netflix original. Eugene Levy stars as a now broke multi-millionaire who, as a joke, previously bought his son the town of Schitt’s Creek. They now must live in two motel rooms in a community that is the polar opposite of their own. I made my way through both seasons in about 48 hours. Hilarious.
Happy Spring! xx
Happy Galentine’s Day, all! On this day of lady friend celebration, allow me to share some recommendations as a gift. Here’s what I am all about this month:
The Dollop – When I want to learn something, but have a huge side helping of humor, I turn to The Dollop podcast. It is an American History podcast and I absolutely love the improv riffing between Dave and Gareth. Often, I find comedy podcasts too be “too much”, but these guys strike the perfect balance.
Silversheep Jewelry SSDGM Ring – Secret true crime enthusiast? Boldy proud Muderino? This ring is for you. “Stay sexy and don’t get murdered!” is one of the primary taglines from my beloved My Favorite Murder Podcast. Not only is this ring cute, a portion of the sales go to End the Backlog, which helps fund the backlog of rape kits. A very worthy cause! Each ring differs from the next and is handmade. I ordered the brass one and absolutely love it!
The Golden Girls – As of today, the Girl’s are available to stream on Hulu! I have the first five seasons on dvd, but I will be watching alllll of them again from the beginning. Not only are the the ultimate girl group goals, they were progressive and sassy as can be.
Jalapeno Turkey Burgers – I am aiming to try one new recipe a month. Last month, it was these delicious turkey burgers. You can do them paleo by omitting the bun or doing a lettuce wrap. I opted to serve them on pretzel buns and it was delicious. Also, pile the guac on top for your healthy fats!
Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon – I am all about a red wine lately, I think the colder weather is to blame. Most of Cupcake’s wines are rather good, and the price is right on point. You can get a bottle for about $10 and it will not let you down!
Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic // Entire Madame Chic set // What Jackie Taught Us // Bringing Up Bebe // Choosing the Simply Luxurious Life
Ever since living abroad, I have developed an interest in books that really inspire me to live a higher quality life. Not in the usual “self development/self help” way, though I do love a good self improvement book! But this genre lets the reader aspire to a higher quality of life without the cheap tricks so many books feed into.
So why is this a Parisian inspired reading list? There is something mysterious and enchanting about the French lifestyle. Whether this association is legitimate, or exists only in our mind, we do love to romanticize the French. The Madame Chic series is based on a real French woman, named “Madame Chic” for privacy reasons. The author, Jennifer Scott, relays a number of lessons she learned and how a few short months in Paris kickstarted a life long quest for a better way of being. From their diet secrets (a la French Women Don’t Get Fat) to their parenting skills, we love to look to the French culture for inspiration.
Jackie Kennedy Onassis is certainly our very own royalty. She was truly the woman behind the man. Jackie was well educated, stylish, perfectly proper, yet never seemed aloof or cold. She embodies a fantastic balance of strength and grace. This book on her is a fantastic read, providing a glimpse into her very private life.
Whether you are reading for pleasure or trying to achieve a personal reading goal (I, for one, want to read one new book a month). I highly recommend adding these to your collection. Though I have and love my Kindle, true classics are great to have in the physical form as I find myself marking the pages with post its for easy inspirational reference.
Happy reading! xx
This month I have tried to make my focus on less tv, or Netflix, and more Podcasts and audiobooks. While I was mostly successful, read on for what series I plowed through in three days. I have, however, made good on my goal to work out and meditate more. Both have been crucial to giving me enough energy to deal with a saucy seven month old each day! Here’s what has been helping me along the way:
Martinis & Murder – This true crime podcast come from two individuals who have worked on my ultimate guilty pleasure, Snapped. They are three episodes in and are topping the New and Noteworthy section on iTunes. It’s very banter-y, but enjoyable. Be sure to search “Martinis & Murder” with the ampersand to locate it quickly.
Meditation Studio – One of my goals this month was to work on meditating more regularly. My days are filled with a babbling baby and high energy dog, so when I am able to chill for five minutes at a time, this app makes relaxing a lot easier. They have guided meditations and you can choose one based on time, topic, or instructor. In an ideal morning, I workout, do some stretching, and line up a ten minute or less meditation as long as the little one is still napping.
Sherlock – As I mentioned, I was very committed to staying away from getting hooked on another series. However, my Anglophile soul got hooked on Sherlock. Hard. Sherlock is a modern twist on the classic Sherlock Holmes, set in current day London you somehow feel far more intelligent as you watch Benedict Cumberbatch figure out his cases. The first three seasons are available on Netflix.
Rabbit Wine/Champagne Sealer – I tend not to buy champagne. I don’t drink more than one glass in a sitting (usually) and the rest just goes to waste. The wine corkers I had left the champs with a half flat soda feel by day two. This Rabbit sealer is amazing. you screw the top while holding the silver portion and it keeps the bubbles going strong for three days. It also keeps your wine fresh a little longer.
Open some champagne, queue up you favorite podcasts, and list your to dos for February.
Sword and Scale – Another true crime podcast I have become obsessed with? Shocking! Though Sword and Scale just ended their third season and is on a break until January, the archives are full of fascinating episodes.
This Is Us & American Housewife – My two new favorite shows couldn’t be any more different. This Is Us is thought provoking, feel good, and world changing. To even begin to describe the premise of the show would ruin a big surprise and plot twist. I admittedly cry at almost every episodes. The writers of this show better clean house at all awards shows in the near future. It’s that good.
American Housewife is just politically incorrect enough to be fantastic. AH follows a plus size mom of three kids with a well meaning and supportive husband. She has to navigate her way through the social hierarchy of a status hungry, and debatably always hungry, suburban oasis. Great to help you lighten up from all that true crime podcast binge listening.
Show I’ve Been Netflix-ing
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – Think Samantha from SATC meets Hercule Poirot, set in the 1920’s in Melbourne. Smart, yet salacious, this lady detective deals with past and present injustices in an always entertaining way. Great for a binge watch, or treat yourself to an episode an evening to avoid going through the three seasons so quickly.
Trader Joe’s Tusk ‘N Red – My corkscrew betrayed me a few weeks ago. I am awaiting my new one as a Christmas gift and in the mean time, I had to find a great wine with a screw off cap. My favorite rosé’s from Trader Joe’s have screw tops, but it’s winter after all I love a good red at the end of a long week! I bought this on a whim and it’s a great red blend. Let it breathe a little before drinking and you’ll be downing a couple of glasses in one sitting!
Katharine Hepburn’s brownies – extremely gooey, easy to make, and delicious. If you like really rich brownies, these will be your new favorite.
Let the holiday season commence. Thanksgiving is just over a week away. How insane. Going through the holidays this year will have a whole new meaning as it is our first with a baby. While he will be too small to remember it, I intend to make memories all the same. My mind isn’t quite in a holiday state yet, as is reflected in my favorites this month. I am still all about my cold brew and Netflix, not quite ready to give in to a more festive routine. Enjoy!
Stuff Mom Never Told You – When I’m not binge listening to true crime or my guilty pleasures, I like to learn a little something. SMNTY, pronounced “sminty”, covers a number of todays hottest female related topics such as gender stereotypes, feminism, and whether men are just more inclined to be geniuses (spoiler: no). They have new episodes once or twice a week, and their archives are full of gems as well.
Spiced Sweet Cream Cold Brew – This weather has been unseasonably warm, so I am not ready to slip into my regular order of a Gingerbread Latte. If you’re an iced coffee or cold brew fan, this one is for you. I love my hot coffee straight up, no cream or sugar, but this is a perfectly sweet cold option.
The Crown – Kate Middleton really brought the monarchy back to the public eye, but Queen Elizabeth is such a badass in her own right. This drama is based on the Windsor House, particularly Queen Elizabeth. The series is so well cast, you feel yourself drawn in right away. I have been obsessed with England since we went for a visit two years ago and this helps me feel a little more connected to my Anglophile soul.
Wireless Wipes – When Clint goes down to nap, I try to spend five to ten minutes doing a quick clean up of the house. Putting his toys away, wiping down the kitchen counters, or sanitizing our electronics. You can get these wipes on Amazon, I use them twice a week on average on everything from phones to my laptop to the baby monitor. One wipe typically cleans everything and things dry quickly so you can use them right away.
What series are you currently loving? Netflix or otherwise? Fill me in below!
HAPPY FALL! I am stoked for this time of year. Though I have yet to down my first hipster Pumpkin Spice Latte (anyone else over this pumpkin spice everything craze?) I have been enjoying the outdoors with long leisurely walks each day. I hope a few of my favorites can help you enjoy October at a more relaxing speed as well.
The Bitch Bible – Host Jackie Schimmel isn’t looking to take anything too seriously. And that is exactly the attitude I need in my life right now as I face down a baby in the middle of a sleep regression phase. Her honest conversations are refreshing and not overly rehearsed. Major language disclaimer, but worth a listen if that doesn’t offend you.
Hi Maintenance by Essie – Fall is usually about dark colors, but I am all about this neutral and light pink. I use three coats to get the perfect opaque, but not overly so vibe.
Trader Joe’s Mint Melange Tea – I love to sip on something warm this time of year. TJ’s mint melange tea is just minty enough with out being too pepperminty or overwhelmingly refreshing. It’s comforting and is the perfect way to relax before bed in the evening, or to enjoy while savoring a quiet moment.
Coconut Oil – Baby skin is sensitive. You want to preserve that freshness, but often the more you put on, the more you can risk irritation. Every night Clint gets a little baby massage with organic coconut oil. Then his cozy pajamas help it soak in his skin while he sleeps. Not only does he smell amazing, but it helps Clint stay soft and smooth.
Way to Unwind
Moon X Pinot Noir – Yup. Another Trader Joe’s fave of mine. This gem is $6.99 a bottle, plus I find it far superior to most $15+ reds. It’s crazy smooth, providing a welcome transition from a summer rose to the delicious reds of winter. Pour it in your fanciest wine glass and throw back a couple of glasses.
Texture – Alright, my faves are running a bit long this month, but I had to throw this one in too. I have a couple of must have magazine subscriptions – Real Simple, Food & Wine – but outside of that I can usually take it or leave it due to the sheer volume and price of newsstand magazines. Enter Texture. You can peruse a variety of topics from business to fashion to my guilty pleasure: gossip mags. The current issues and a number of back issues are accessible, which is awesome when you’re on a binge reading kick. Before you sign up, do a google search to check if there are any current promos. For example, I just got three months for ten dollars. Awe. Some.
Stay cozy!!! xx.