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’m fighting off a nasty summer cold this week, so here’s what’s helping my get by:
- “Meaty”: This collection of essays from Samantha Irby was originally published in 2013 and recently updated with a reprint. A thoughtful friend and her bf gifted me a new copy for my bday, and I speed-read it in two sittings. It’s that good. From lazy-girl recipes to a loooot of information about GI issues, it’s not for the faint of heart. Which is exactly why I loved it.
- Cacio e Pepe: What’s arguably the simplest pasta dish has become a weekly staple for me. When my energy is gone, this satisfying combo of pasta, cheese and garlic (duh) can’t be beat. It’s an especially gratifying comfort food when you don’t have to hover over the stove for long. Add some garlic toast and you’ve got the perfect meal. Mangia!
- Breathe App: Don’t get me wrong — I still love my Daily Calm from the Calm app, but this is another way to get zen. Answer a few quick questions about how you’re feeling in the moment, and the app will recommend breathing exercises and plans for you to try. It’s weirdly satisfying and has lately helped me get to sleep faster. Win-win.
- “Delicate” – Taylor Swift: Is it possible for Taylor Swift to release a song that isn’t an earworm? I think not. This one has been rolling around in my brain for weeks and I can’t seem to shake it off. Yeah, I went there. I’m not even mad about it; I just had to warn you before I put it in your head now, too.
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.
I’m sure there are worse ways to start off your week than being unceremoniously dumped, but I’m struggling to think of any right now. Better sooner than later, I know. But woof. What a week it’s been — and it’s only Wednesday.
- “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”: Caitlin Doughty’s memoir served as the backdrop for this month’s Book Club pick. It’s a dark, oddly humorous and fairly emotional look at the funeral industry and the way society acknowledges death (or doesn’t). I’m intrigued to hear what my fellow clubbers thought, but I gave it an enthusiastic four stars myself.
- Support BELWOP: One of the most selfless, giving people I know is planning a mission trip to Kenya with her church. You can read more about it on Lydia’s GoFundMe page, but I hope you’ll consider giving to a spirit so bright and selfless. Any donation counts toward helping her help others.
- Bran Flakes Visits: Another of my favorite humans on the planet is coming to visit tomorrow, and her timing couldn’t be more perfect. From working on the same creative team and exploring Panama and Costa Rica, plus volunteering on a leadership board and even designing this very WO template, Brandi and I have shared some of my most treasured experiences — and I’m sure there are more to come this weekend.
- “Let’s Generalize about Men” – “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”: There are some real gems out there when it comes to breakup songs, but this one is absolutely my favorite right now. If you’re not familiar with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” songs, they’re often self-aware and a parody of ridiculous proportions. Disclaimer aside, I think anyone would enjoy this totally tubular jam.
The past two weeks were a whirlwind between four flights, four cities and 5,000+ miles. To say I’m tired is an understatement, but it’s a first-world problem I’m grateful to have. Here’s what else I’m thankful for:
- “The Emperor’s Children”: A friend loaned me this 2007 bestseller recently, assuring me I’d enjoy the New York backdrop. She hit the nail on the head, as I quickly pieced together the story’s undercurrent and dreamed of fonder times in NYC. While it was slow to start (for me), I’d still recommend it to anyone in search of an emotionally charged novel.
- “Little Fires Everywhere”: Can you tell I’ve been on planes a lot lately? I devoured this new bestseller in two sittings, and only a little bit because it’s on tonight’s Book Club agenda. The characters are deeply flawed and perfectly human; the analogies are consistent; and the storylines are fascinating. I can’t wait to see what my girls thought of it, too.
- “Riverdale”: Not to worry; I’m not all books and brains over here. It took me forever to get on board with this sinister take of the classic comic books I so adored. But now that I’ve started, I’ve had a hard time stopping. The soundtrack, costuming and cinematography are just a few of the reasons I think you’ll enjoy it too.
- “Wolves” – Selena Gomez f. Marshmello: I wish I had a better reason for surfacing this song besides the fact that I like it. While I still get Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato confused, there’s no mistaking how much fun this bumping, sultry sound is. It’s perfect for a poolside playlist or weekend workout. And yes, all that alliteration was necessary to prove a point 😉
I’m running on empty today, after being emotionally drained and awoken multiple times last night by what I thought was an alert in a dream. It wasn’t until 6am that I realized the alert was happening in real life, and it wasn’t until I was on a chair, smoke detector in hand, that I discovered it was coming from my beloved Jambox.
I must not have turned it off after its last use, so I had a woman’s voice tell me every 10 minutes or so to recharge the battery. Hint: This is not an ideal way to wake up.
All that to say, I’m ready to recharge myself and my Jambox.
- Before the Fall: I’ve been on a book binge lately, devouring the shelves of stories I bought months ago but hadn’t committed to reading. This novel details the events of a (fictional) horrific private plane crash from multiple perspectives, as we try to piece together what happened and why there are just two survivors. It left me breathless most of the way, but I was a bit disappointed in the final chapters. Still, I’d recommend the read — just not while you’re in-flight.
- Heavenly, Tahoe: I spent last weekend in Tahoe for a good friend’s 30th birthday celebration, marking my first adventure there in the winter (and with a bed)! We had our fill of snow games during the day, plus cozy cabin fun at night. Our backyard was a winter wonderland, making it hard to leave, so I’ll just need to find 15 other people to rent the house out with me again soon. Should be as easy as a Floridian sledding down a snowy hill, right?
- Basecamp Fitness: It’s only natural to try the countless fitness facilities SF has to offer. A friend brought us in for a free trial and we picked Plyo, AKA “the toughest class ever,” according to the girl next to me, who’s worked out there for a year. The schtick is simple: You do a minute on a resistance bike, a minute doing something else, then back to the bike and so on. You’re “done” in 35 minutes, although they encourage you to stay for the optional 10-minute abs session after. I’m sure I’ll be back soon to see how other classes compare.
- Pagan Idol: It’s the Tahoe birthday girl’s actual birthday, so we’re set to escape even further tonight — to a magical, tropical bar downtown. The tiki hut is reserved, the drinks will be flowing and I’m practicing my “luau” for the occasion. Added bonus: The excitement of tonight’s festivities are about the only thing getting me through today. And, the promise of a warm space away from the cold, rainy outdoors is even better!