August Favorites

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.

Podcast

Up First

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.

App

Elevate

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.

Netflix Binge

The Standups

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.

Book

The Little Book of Hygge

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.

 

Advertisements

July Favorites

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.

Podcast

Unhappy Hour

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.

Music

Despacito

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.

Netflix Binge

The Great British Baking Show

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.

Book

Taken at the Flood

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

 

 

April Favorites

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!

Podcast 

Pod Save America

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.

 

Show

The Mick

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.

Drink

Cinnamon Almondmilk Macchiato

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.

Read

The Monogram Murders

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.

Wine

Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon

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 Favorites

March Favorites

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:

Podcast

Slaughter Podcast

S’laughter – Murder + Laughter = S’laughter. If you like your weekly true crime with a British accent, give this podcast a listen.

Splurge

Causebox

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.

Hair Item

kk-sea-salt-hair-spray

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.

Netflix Show

Schitts Creek

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

 

 

February Favorites

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:

Podcast

the-dollop

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.

Jewelry

ssdgm

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!

Bingeworthy Show

the-golden-girls

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.

Recipe

jalapeno-turkey-burgers

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!

Wine

cupcake-cabernet-sauvingnon

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!

Enjoy! xx

January Favorites

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:

Podcast

martinis-murder

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.

 

iPhone App

meditation-studio

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.

Netflix Binge

sherlock

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.

Household Item

rabbit-winechampagne-sealer

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.

December Favorites

december-favorites

 

Podcast

sword-and-scale

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.

TV Show(s)

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-fishers-murder-mysteries

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.

Wine

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!

Recipe

Katharine Hepburn’s brownies – extremely gooey, easy to make, and delicious. If you like really rich brownies, these will be your new favorite.

 

Small Acts of Education

You know the meme about how the internet lets us have the knowledge of the world at our finger tips, yet we use it to look at cat videos? Well it’s true. As a society we have unprecedented access to documentaries, history videos, articles, and newspapers, yet we very rarely engage in this activity. We instead choose to use our online hours scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or, my guilty pleasure, the humor section of Pinterest. There’s nothing wrong with using technology as relaxation, but I encourage you to branch out in your weekly scrolling to learn a thing or two.

small-acts-of-education
Image Source

Coursera.org is an amazing resource. I stumbled across the site while we were living abroad and I wanted to ensure my weekdays were spent productively while everyone was at work. You can enroll in college courses, taught by actual professors, and learn through weekly videos and quizzes. You choose any topic of your liking and complete the course within the given time frame. As a history enthusiast, I take as many history courses as I can. I am currently enrolled in a class about the Constitution and Supreme Court cases and find it very enjoyable.

YouTube can be used for good and evil. One of my favorite things to do is to search for videos on topics that pique my interest at the moment. Just be aware of the video source! Obviously anyone can post anything they like. There are a number of old History Channel style documentaries out there, my favorite channel for quick and interesting lessons is Crash Course. I am making my way through the U.S. History playlist.

Read for pleasure. Read for knowledge. I will reread Harry Potter for decades to come, but I am aware that does little to expand my knowledge of society. Previously, I could make my way through a book a week. I have always loved reading, however my pace has slowed recently. Currently I finish a book a month, and I try to balance the topic. If I read a lighthearted book one month, I shift to a mystery, then a history book or two. My best literary purchase was No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It is a book about FDR, Eleanor, and their presidential and personal history. Though over six hundred pages long, I was fascinate from beginning to end. I bought the book on a whim from the clearance section of a Barnes and Noble. Go to book stores or scour online vendors, Half.com has great items too. Read things you agree with, read things that challenge your views, and don’t be afraid to choose something you originally wouldn’t have given a second glance. That’s where a lot of the gems are hidden.

Engage in civil debates. This one can be tricky, as a number of topics make people very heated very quickly. Shying away from controversial topics often only breathes more life into them, as does going into a conversation ready for a verbal battle. Listen. Process. Respond. The hope is both parties come away with something new to ponder.

Podcasts. Each month I try to include my favorite podcast, some are for fun, but most are inspiring and educational. True crime listening is still where my heart lies, but you can learn quite a lot from those as well. Look up what piques your interest in each episode of your chosen show.

Lastly, research constantly. Whether you are simply looking up a new word or delving into economic policy, don’t hesitate to question what you hear. Wanting to learn more keeps your brain working in new ways and, hey, it can make for more entertaining dinner conversation as well.

Read up!

October Favorites

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.

Podcast 

the-bitch-bible

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.

Nail Polish

essie

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.

Drink

mint-melange-tea

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.

Baby Item

coconut-oil

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

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.

Reading Material

texture

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.

A Guide to the Best Crime Podcasts

I got super into listening to podcasts in late 2014 when we moved abroad. It was an easy way to pass the time and I found hearing the English language to be rather soothing at that point. We were living in Germany and a German speaker I was not. Anyway, I found a great variety of podcasts to listen to: history, self improvement, documentary (hello Serial!), but I was left wanting when it came to my favorite genre of all time. The topic of true crime. Podcasts hadn’t quite blown up to what they are today, though they were increasing in popularity by the day. I was able to find some true crime shows, but they didn’t have the quality or content I was craving.

Thankfully, that void has been filled.

Not all podcasts are for everyone, that is also – and possibly, especially – true with such a sensitive topic as murder. Clint and I spend a few hours each week catching up on my podcast queue. I will be in big trouble when he becomes more aware and starts talking, I don’t want his first word to be “murder”. Until then, I will enjoy my guilty pleasures and I hope this guide helps in choosing which station will speak to your soul.

the-last-podcast-on-the-left
If you want your murder stories told to you by the drunk frat guys next door, you will enjoy The Last Podcast on the Left. This one is not for the easily offended, but it is crazy entertaining and in many cases, the guys really do their research.

lore

If you’re into folklore and ghost stories, check out Lore. The host of this podcast is perfect for the genre. His voice captures the creepiness and weight of each topic. Some topics are merely stories, some are murders or crimes from the past told in a different light.

My Favorite Murder

If you’re listening for the story telling and aren’t too fact obsessed, you’ll like My Favorite Murder. If you read my August Favorites post, you have already heard of this one. MFM is my hands down favorite. I have made my way through all of their archived episodes an anxiously await the new ones each week.

criminal

If you like to examine crime from a number of angles, and not just murder, head over to Criminal. Criminal puts society in a different light. You end up empathizing with certain subjects, or rooting for the guy on the inside. Very cool.

true-crime-garage

If you’re into something a little bit creepier than all of the above, I recommend True Crime Garage. From the audio clips they play to the intense individuals they profile, this one might be the creepiest to listen to while home alone.

someone-knows-something

If you’re into a super in depth analysis of one particular crime, tune into Someone Knows Something. SKS reminds me of the Netflix series, Making a Murderer. There are interviews, perspectives from people who have been there, and fantastic storytelling that allows you to really envision each scene. This is the most recent one I’ve stumbled upon – and binge listened to – this month.

Happy listening!