Well, well, well. If it isn’t somehow already another Wednesday — the last in April, no less. If you’ve been here at all the last few weeks you know I’ve been drowning in the river of chaos. And while I’m not completely out of the woods yet (are we outta the woods?) I do see light at the end of the tunnel. How many nature metaphors can I use in one post?
- Canva: Yes, part of my job now is to research and test awesome apps. But I’ve been in love with Canva for quite a while and couldn’t believe I hadn’t mentioned it here yet. Beyond easy and fun templates for social media, you can also design your own invitations, presentations, flyers, and business cards. I still prefer to do so on the app, but the website is also pretty stellar.
- Giphy: Another great way to express yourself? With gifs. Yes, I switched to the proper “jif” pronunciation but then I judged myself so hard I switched back. If you use Slack or work in tech you’ve probably already discovered all of the magical /giphy combos to behold. It’s endlessly fun (and distracting), so please Giphy responsibly.
- GoT Final Season: Well it wouldn’t be right if I failed to cover arguably the biggest pop culture moment of the year. With just four episodes left, “Game of Thrones” is giving us all the feels and all the reasons to watch. every. second. I spiraled reading a few fan theories and am decidedly done — my heart can’t take anymore. #DanyForever
- “Jenny of Oldstones” – Florence + The Machine: SPOILERS SUPPOSEDLY.
So I haven’t spiraled into reading these theories, because I just love the song and don’t need to have it ruined. This original tune was in Sunday’s episode and sung by Daniel Portman (AKA Podrick Payne). His voice is beautiful! Then the end credits rolled and I was haunted by Florence + The Machine’s version. Seriously, chills. #NerdAlert
It’s nothing short of a miracle for me to post this before midnight on my coast. A comedy of errors and issues got me here, but I’m keeping my promises:
- Phantom of the Opera: I’d never had the pleasure of seeing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning show until this past weekend. $40 rush tickets were certainly motivating, but I was in awe of the spectacular special effects, costuming, set design and, of course, talented cast. It’s a must-see before it leaves SF on the 30th.
- “The Heart Is a Shifting Sea” – Elizabeth Flock: After my last breakup, a good friend recommended I read this true tale of three couples in Mumbai, India. The relationships are complex and fascinating, with cultural and religious considerations, countless characters, and the root of love growing in various ways.
- “Mindhunter”: I’m not the last person on earth to binge this Netflix series, but I might be close. After the umpteenth friend urged me to watch, I finally got hooked on this look at the early days of FBI investigators interviewing serial killers — such early days they called them “sequence killers.” It’s chilling, gripping and fascinating all at once.
- Copy Me That: While I’m no Top Chef myself, I do enjoy browsing other’s recipes for quick and easy, yet flavorful meals. My sister-in-law introduced me to this handy app, which combs through the (lovely, but lengthy) personal novels and gets right to the ingredients. It can even create shopping lists from the stored recipes and find new ones based on the ingredients you’re getting. BAM!
My cold is still lingering and SF’s notoriously chilly summers aren’t helping. Here’s what’s trying to break through and clear up my mental Fog-ust.
- “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again”: My bestie here does not go to the movies. Seriously, she hadn’t been to a movie theater in five years. So when she suggested we see this sequel to the 2008 classic, I jumped at the chance. The costumes are fun, the songs are infectious and you won’t be able to watch it without humming along.
- Libby: I severely underestimated how life-changing it is to have a library card again. And with Libby, a new app from Overdrive, I can skip the Kindle app altogether and read right from my phone or iPad on a sleek and easy-to-use interface. #NerdToTheMax
- “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”: Thanks fall film previews, I was tempted to dig into Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series. My new buddy Libby made it impossible to resist, and I subsequently devoured the first in the trilogy in three nights. At this rate, I’ll be ready for “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” long before its debut in November.
- “When I Kissed the Teacher” – ABBA: This is one ABBA song I didn’t know by heart, but Lily James’s performance in MM2 makes it hard to forget. Who wouldn’t have wanted their college graduation ceremony to go like this? I only wish this lyric video was used in the film itself.
I acknowledge time flying by nearly every week here, but I just have to say, I was asked about my plans for the fall today and nearly had a full-blown meltdown. I understand June is creeping around the corner but THE FALL? Please, don’t make me think that far. I can barely plan my next hour.
- Overdrive: An added benefit to voraciously reading Refinery 29’s Monday Diaries is that I often learn about apps and services to make life easier. It’s how I heard of this app, and “obsessed” is an understatement. Simply log in with your library card and gain instant access to thousands of options. It’s my first actual foray into e-reading, but I’m beyond excited to dig into more books than ever before.
- MealPal: While I’d heard of MealPal while living in NYC, I hadn’t researched or revisited it since moving here. Then I read yet another R29 MD and, well, now I’m its newest member who’s enjoying $6 lunches (instead of $20 salads). Want a promo code? Sign up here.
- Half-Price Mondays: Memorial Day was the perfect backdrop to join some girlfriends from Tampa at the A’s/Rays game. And wouldn’t you know it? The Treehouse — a beautiful, shiny stadium spot with a full bar and games — offers half-price drinks on Mondays. No mustache required, and it almost made a 13-inning game painless.
- “This Is America” – Childish Gambino: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely already heard and watched this. Breaking news reporting over here, I know. But I haven’t covered it yet with WOs AND Cardi B brought it top of mind with her *shocking* discovery that Donald Glover and Childish Gambino are the same person. Pssst … the video is NSFW, in case you haven’t heard.
It was recently brought to attention that all of the links I painstakingly include each week are not easily visible from mobile devices. While I’m working on a long-term solution to customize my mobile design, just know I often include links to articles and products I reference, particularly in the image credits. Phew!
- “The Glass Castle”: A good (bbhead!) friend of mine recommended this novel and let me borrow it a while back, but I’d done her a disservice and only just started it last Friday while myself and 90,000 other San Franciscans were without power. Even after power was restored, I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a heart-wrenching memoir of a woman’s rough childhood and upbringing, and certainly put things in perspective for me. Bonus: It’s been made into a movie, to be released this year.
- Crossword App from NYT: Monday would have been my maternal grandpa’s 87th birthday. Among other things, the New York Times crossword was always a favorite of his — and my mom’s. The crossword app is free, even for non-subscribers, and there are themed puzzle packs for purchase if you’re a super #wordnerd like me. I have a feeling Pop would have stuck to the ol’ ink and paper, but I love feeling connected to him all the same.
- José Eber Curling Wand: I never got into the Harry Potter life, so I didn’t believe in magic wands until I met this one. It transforms my unruly hair into glorious beach waves, in no time at all. I’m particularly clumsy, so I have burned myself a few times (yes, even while wearing the included glove). But pain is beauty, right? And, I’m 20 days accident-free… although I probably just jinxed that.
- “Sign of the Times” – Harry Styles: Before you get all Judgy McJudgerson on me, you must know I didn’t realize this was Harry Styles until I saw him on last week’s SNL. I’d heard it enough to fall for the addictive crescendo and soulful sound, but I hadn’t placed the voice. So, despite him being the reason 1D broke up and a million hearts broke with it, I can’t get enough of this one.
Are y’all ready for this? You read that right, I’ve gone back to my southern roots for this week’s obsessions. Git along, little dogies.
- Bible App: Easter was 60 days ago, and I know this because that’s the day I committed to a 60-day New Testament reading plan with my Bible app. I love that I get my spiritual fill in 10–15 minutes a day, and you can make fun images out of verses you enjoy.
- Nashville: What do you do when you’re feeling sorry for yourself after neglecting to make Memorial Day plans? Tack yourself onto a girls’ trip to Nashville and book your flight six days in advance. Crazy, but true. Can’t wait to kick up my boots with some of my fave gal pals, even if the ABC show was canceled mercilessly.
- Trick Dog: This bar has an obnoxious menu, and I admittedly wasn’t crazy-impressed during my first visit in February. But a friend and I stumbled upon it last weekend, and I absolutely enjoyed our experience. The steak tartare, “manimal” fries and Loch Ness “Monster” are all must-tries.
- Chewbacca Mom’s Carpool: I’m sure you’ve seen the Chewbacca Mom video, which is officially the most-watched Facebook Live post ever. Candace’s laugh is contagious, and her simple mantra to enjoy the simple things is exactly what we all need to heed. Enjoy her follow-up video, courtesy of cult hit “Carpool Karaoke.”
It could be my packed personal and professional lives or the fact that I’m just coming out of a Benadryl fog, but hump day came way too quickly this week. Here’s hoping the next few hundred words are somewhat coherent 😉
- Dita Von Teese: The queen of burlesque brought her “Strip, Strip Hooray!” show to SF this week, and I had the pleasure of going last night. From jewel-encrusted lingerie to breathtaking choreography and a hilarious emcee, it did not disappoint. My only note would be to get balcony seats next time, for the best view of a spectacular show.
- Baseball’s Back: I’m a little late to the game (ha!) on this one, but I’m pumped for the return of America’s pastime. Bonus: We have a teambuilding outing at tomorrow’s game, and I can’t wait to be back in the bleachers of AT&T Park. Disclaimer: I’m still — first and foremost — a Yankees fan. But I have local pride and will support the Giants so long as they’re not in the World Series against the Yanks… because then it’s a win-win-win anyway.
- Calm: I have a confession, you guys: I have a hard time relaxing. I know, I know — you’re shocked. This meditation app has helped me over the past month or so to focus for 10–20 minutes a day on just being. Meditation wasn’t really my thing, but I’m sufficiently hooked and enjoying the practice of letting things go.
- “Let It Go” – James Bay: (Speaking of) Not to be confused with the impossible-to-escape Frozen soundtrack, this song simply touches my heart and is a clear, calming reminder of love lost. I’m a little biased since I’m seeing him in concert Friday night, but I think you’ll like this one… maybe even more than “Hold Back the River.”
Have you heard? According to endless social posts, Florida is flooded and California is thirsty. Oh, and New York is suffocating. Gotta love August in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
- Tab: How many times have you been out to eat with friends and struggled to split the bill? This handy app solves the pain point by allowing you to upload a photo of your receipt, split checks quickly and even calculate each person’s tip!
- essie Lilacism: Fun fact: I have about six essie polishes in pale purple, but I promise you that this one is the best. No matter the season, my mani is always complimented when rocking this shade.
- Trello: I’m going to totally geek out on you guys and gush about this collaborative organization tool. We use it at work to corral ideas and concepts together, but it could be used for brides, event planning, groceries … you name it!
- “Cheerleader” – OMI: I really, really, really didn’t want to like this song. But after a week of ear sabotage from Florida radio stations — including my Spotify mix — I can’t resist it any longer.
We’re just a few weeks away from Halloween, which means I will inevitably over-commit and obsessively plan a costume. Before I completely blow a gasket, let’s enjoy these little guys:
- Venmo: This app is a total lifesaver for quick and easy money transfers, like an even better PayPal! Split the dinner bill, pay up for tickets — anything you need, it’s done in a flash.
- Dogs Impersonating Biden: The Internet Gods have smiled upon us to bring a collection of pairings that’s even sillier than it sounds: VP Joe Biden and his canine counterparts. You read that right. Check it out before you judge the hell out of me.
- Cal Academy Nightlife: The Cal Academy of Science hosts a Nightlife series on Thursdays, and last week’s Sharktoberfest was a fab intro to it. Live music, 20+ local breweries, shark trivia and more — for just $12 entry!
- “Girls Chase Boys” – Ingrid Michaelson: I love me some Ingrid, and she loves to love us back. Her gooey inspiration for the song? “No matter who or how we love, we are all the same. … We all chase each other and in the end we are all chasing after the same thing: love.”