Sometimes the simplest things in life can truly bring the greatest pleasures. I got back to my simple roots this week and, I gotta say, it really helped me get through some shit.
- GoT Finale: Wouuuld we call this simple? No. But finally knowing how our beloved Starks and the rest of the Westeros crew fared brings such closure to the chaos. Didn’t love it, wouldn’t rate it 10/10, but does any finale ever really nail it? Thanks for the memories, GoT. And now our watch has ended.
- Olive Garden: I don’t know if there’s another restaurant that reminds me of home as much as the OG. My grandpa (Pop) was a daily visitor and everyone knows those breadsticks can inspire family feuds like no other. I had my first-ever Tour of Italy and will be visiting again soon.
- Lolli & Pops: Next to the only OG in town is a massive mall, containing this SF treasure. We were actual kids in a candy store as my friend gasped “Pineapple! Gummy sharks!” etc. etc. The massive candy bark and cookie-dough bites are worth the visit alone.
- “Candy” – Mandy Moore: Well, duh. But I also killed some time the other day watching “Center Stage” and was reminded of this perennial pop hit’s place in history. Doesn’t get sweeter than that. Love always, Mandy.
This week our little Witty family finds itself in San Diego (insert Anchorman joke here). It’s been fun so far seeing my nieces light up with excitement over everything from the donut shop to the hotel room sliding glass door. It’s not been the best to see them freak out over sharing and pushing elevator buttons buuuut you win some, you lose some.
- The Donut Bar: Don’t let the simple name fool you. This sweet shop offers fun, festive donuts and a ton of drinks on tap (including rich chocolate milk). It also happens to be a block from our hotel, making it almost impossible to resist. Somehow, we’ve only managed to go twice so far 😉 And, compared to SF prices, they’re a good deal for the size of the sweets.
- The Taco Stand: I won’t give San Diego points for naming creativity, but maybe their businesses just benefit from Google search terms. Right next to The Donut Bar is this fan favorite of locals and visitors alike. I tried the nopal (cactus), fried fish, and shrimp varieties, and 2/3 were truly perfect. We’re heading to the La Jolla location for sunset on Friday, so I’ll be sure to report back about round two.
- Muppet Babies: One of the benefits of being around kiddos is learning about all the stuff they watch. I had no idea this classic cartoon was redone for Disney and featuring an all-new (to me) character, a penguin named Summer. Fozzie still has awful jokes; Kermie is still helpless without my fave, Miss Piggy; and Animal is still my younger niece’s spirit… animal. Gonzo rounds out the crew for ridiculous adventures and antics.
- Disneyland: A second benefit of kid time is seeing the
worlder, land, through their eyes. Even though they’re already experts at Walt Disney World, they got to experience a whole new (to them) park and distinguish differences between the two. From the classic It’s a Small World and Thunder Mountain Railroad to the Star Wars area, infinity and beyond, they had an absolute blast.
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 😉
And just like that, it’s No-freaking-vember. I understand yesterday was Oct. 31, so naturally, today is November, but HOW? I feel like a new mom when I say the days are long, but the years are short. Before we know it, we’ll be saying “sayonara” to the garbage dumpster of 2017 and embracing the newness of 2018 for all of about two hours. Woo-hoo!
- Join the Movember Movement: My friend Nate is back at it again, raising money and awareness for men’s health in his fifth consecutive Movember campaign. He’s already more than halfway to goal — and it’s only Nov. 1 — but you can still support and get a super-sweet pic if you donate $50+. And, with VISA checkout, donations are matched (up to $25, so split ‘em up if you want extra points)! It takes seconds but can save so many lives.
- “Stranger Things”: Uh, duh. I couldn’t dress as Barb yesterday and not be totally hooked on this Netflix original. I binged all of season 1 over the weekend in preparation for my role (and a friend’s themed party!), but I have yet to dive into season 2 so NO SPOILERS. From what I’ve watched you’ll be just fine if you can get through the spookiness of S1:E1. Plus, these kids are so talented — and hilarious!
- “The Good Place”: After bingeing on a creepy show, I obviously needed a mental break. So I binged the first season and was pleasantly surprised. Again, NO SPOILERS on season 2 so far! Kristen Bell and Ted Danson are devilishly funny; and I highly recommend it, as one of the freshest comedies I’ve seen in years. Even the Rotten Tomatoes critics and reviewers give it an 86-90% approval rating!
- “I Put a Spell on You” – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins: There are plenty of haunting Halloween classics I could write about, but this one’s been in my head lately so it takes the cake. Notice, I’m not even touting the version from “Hocus Pocus” — personal growth again? Screamin’ Jay sure knows how to grab your attention and make you want to groove. What’s your go-to Halloween song? We can still talk about it, despite so many attempts to make Christmas happen, like, today ::eye roll::
I can’t contain my excitement for what this week holds, so without any delay:
- WO is 300!: That’s right, this post marks THREE HUNDRED weeks of obsessions! Aside from shouting “This is Sparta!,” I could use some celebration suggestions. And I owe you lovely readers a mountain of gratitude — there were plenty of Wednesdays I wanted to abandon this blog and hide from the world, but you’ve kept me going week after week. 300 thanks to each of you for sticking with me all this time!
- Bumble and bumble. Hair Color Stick: As the lucky recipient of two parents with early-gray genes, I dye my hair regularly to cover my roots. It’s an expensive hobby, but one I prioritize over most others. My stylist introduced me to this little crayon of wonder, and it’s been a lifesaver for those final weeks between appointments. You don’t need a lot — just a few dabs can do the trick to revive your tresses and your cashflow.
- “The Great British Bake Off”: I’d seen countless memes and lists of why GBBO was worth watching, but hadn’t committed until recently. Netflix has three seasons available, and I was positively hooked. Unlike most (American) competition shows, the contestants have a genuine love and respect for each other. That’s not to say there’s a shortage of drama, though. Presenters Mel and Sue, and judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood — those names! — keep it interesting and worth watching down to the last morsel.
- “The Toy Box”: My friend April informed me a while back about a show coming soon with the “Apparently” kid, and just shared this trailer with me. Hosted by lovable lad from “Modern Family,” Eric Stonestreet, juvenile judges put toy ideas to the test and the results are hilarious. It’s like “Shark Tank” with kids, but I think we’ll like this panel a lot more than Mr. Wonderful and Mark Cuban.
You know what I’ve found to be the best way to deal with post-election depression? A sample of the steps I’ve taken since last Tuesday:
- Delete my Facebook app — I can’t deactivate because of too many organizations that use it religiously for events, but this has been a HUGE help.
- Pour myself some wine — even if I only have red wine on hand and made fish for dinner. I think Jesus would understand.
- Throw myself into volunteer opportunities — because it always feels good to give back.
- Surround myself with people who make me laugh — and make me think in a constructive way.
With that said, let’s get to it!
- AIDS Memorial Grove: I had the pleasure of volunteering here on Sunday, and what a powerful day it was. We heard numerous stories, talked about the ongoing fight for AIDS education and prevention, and we helped set the stage for a candlelight ceremony on November 30. Doesn’t get much better than that.
- Tonga Room: I met up with my sorority alumnae group recently at this iconic SF establishment. The tiki vibe is easy to poke fun at, but it truly has some of the tastiest cocktails and most entertaining live performances. I recommend a front-row table, if you can snag one, to enjoy the show without an obstructed view.
- My IMDb Debut: A college friend and his brother will soon open their grilled-cheese storefront, and lucky ol’ me attended their tasting and taping for an upcoming Food Network show. All nerves aside, I delighted in the creative creations and inventive flavors. Naturally, I should create my IMDb page sooner than later 😉
- “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”: I recently discovered I have a Netflix app through Comcast, which almost justifies the $$$ monthly price tag. Almost. And yes, I’ve been too stubborn to buy a damn Chromecast, Apple TV or Roku. I’m also late to this game, but the eternally optimistic Kimmy Schmidt makes for a binge-worthy show with an infectious earworm of a theme song. Dammit!
Do you remember, as kids, how your siblings or friends would annoy you and you’d plug your ears and shout repeatedly, “I’m not listening!” That’s kind of the approach I’m taking over the next week or so. Also, BuzzFeed’s Election Survival Guide. Also, wine.
I swear, it has only a smidge to do with my desire for both teams to lose in Game 7 of the World Series tonight. #BitterPartyOfOne
- “This Is Us”: You hear me say it often, because it’s true: I didn’t need another show to fall in love with, but goshdangit, I couldn’t resist when so many people in my networks were raving about it. You can still catch up on demand, and despite the apparent love/hate for Mandy Moore as an actress, I think you’ll enjoy. It’s funny, sad, thought-provoking and so much more.
- Decision 2016: If you haven’t already voted — like me, because there are 42 propositions between SF and California — then you know full well it’s crunch time! I rarely get political in public, but I think this someecard sums it up perfectly. No debate needed, since everyone (even Ken Bone, I imagine) is sticking to their choice. Just make sure you do it!
- #NoDAPL: If you haven’t been following the Dakota Access Pipeline conversation, then you may have just started noticing it with this week’s viral check-ins. Aside from raising awareness, you can stand with Standing Rock using one of these ideas. From PayPal to donation drives, there are plenty of options for you to help out.
- “Diggy” – Spencer Ludwig: Got the song from the Target Vibes campaigns stuck in your head endlessly? You’re not alone. Although I have no idea why a woman is on a treadmill in platform heels, I’m otherwise enthralled with this earworm’s incentive to get up and dance. If ever there was a song to emulate “vibes,” this is it. Check out the extended commercial below, or click the image credits for Ludwig’s full song.
If you’ve read Wittyburg since the very beginning, you know I used to have a lot more to say beyond these Weekly Obsessions. And I love these WOs — more than I ever expected I would. But I lost my way three years ago, when my dad died and I had trouble finding inspiration beyond weekly posts. Hell, I had trouble getting out of bed.
All that to say, I’m so appreciative of those who’ve stuck with me, checking in each week. I absolutely hope to bring you more varied content soon … and I want you to hold me to it this time!
This week’s obsessions are focused on my dad, as we honored his angelversary yesterday. 3 years doesn’t feel like long in the grand scheme of things, but a thousand days without hearing his voice have truly taken a toll. Combine that with an ER trip for my older niece — she’ll be OK, thank God — and yesterday sure was a doozy.
- “M*A*S*H”: There is no other show to evoke memories of my dad than this. He watched reruns religiously, we bought him the boxed sets of DVDs over the years, and I can’t hear the theme song without immediately thinking of him. Even now, if I’m mindlessly flipping through channels, I’ll land on a rerun to follow Hawkeye and crew.
- Boy Scouts of America: My dad donated countless hours to various organizations, but the BSA held a particularly special place in his heart. From helping Brother’s troop to eventually becoming Scoutmaster, dedicating summers and weekends to Camp La-No-Che in Central Florida, and selling popcorn like no other, Mr. Rick lived its mission to the fullest — scout’s honor.
- Brother’s Birthday: I’m such a selfless little sister, aren’t I? Dad wouldn’t be who he was without his first-born, who turns 33 on Friday. Despite spending our tumultuous childhoods tormenting each other, Brother has since become one of my best friends, closest confidants and biggest supporters. 143, Bud.
- “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” – Creedence Clearwater Revival: CCR is so quintessential Slick Rick, without a doubt. Among the songs we chose to play for his services, this one lifts me to another place, puts a smile on our faces, and reminds us of all the good times we had with him.
- “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call”: I can’t remember a movie that had me laughing for nearly the entire time, but this reboot has four fantastic leading ladies, a bunch of throwback references and some awesome eye candy. That’s what I call a winning combo.
- A Visit Back East: It’s only been six months since I was last in Florida, but so much has changed in that time and I can’t wait to get there this weekend. If I spend the entire time squishing my niece’s cheeks and watching “Zootopia” with my other niece, then I think I’ll be just fine.
- “The Night Of”: I did not need another show to watch. Really, I didn’t. But a co-worker and another friend each told me how much I needed to see this one, and I caved. I’m glad I did… the premiere left me breathless from start to finish, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this miniseries unfolds.
- “This Is What You Came For” – Calvin Harris f. Rihanna: I honestly could not care less about the drama surrounding Taylor’s songwriting contributions (or not) to this song. And I really, really didn’t want to like it, because, Rihanna. But damn, it’s an earworm. And despite my distaste for most EDM, this one really gets me pumped.
Most of my family is celebrating my cousin Kathleen’s wedding on a five-day cruise to the Bahamas. And while I wouldn’t mind lounging in Nassau, I’m getting over a nasty head cold and would have been awful company anyway. Sure, Amanda. Just keep telling yourself that…
- “The Family”: I was reluctant to add yet another show to my must-see list, but this series, so far, breaks all my rules. And I love it. The premise? “A community is rattled when a politician’s son, who was presumed murdered years ago, returns home.” (IMDb) And that’s just the beginning. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one!
- Spring Has Sprung: Shout out to Daylight Saving Time (now that I’ve adjusted) and the beautiful weather we’ve had lately, because I’m really feeling this springtime thing. We’re still getting a few pockets of rain here and there, but fog retreated and sunshine returned … at least for a little bit.
- Foodnited States: Who says you shouldn’t play with your food? This series of fantastic food photographs celebrates a pun for each of our great 50 states. I’m obviously partial to Flo-radicchio and Kale-ifornia, but there are some other really clever creations. Dig in 🙂
- “Gone” – Parlour Tricks: My boyfriend and I saw Electric Six this weekend, and while I enjoyed their set (again!), the highlight for me was the opening act, Parlour Tricks. These three songstresses and three dudes on instruments brought fun, energy and excitement to the stage. My fave is “Gone,” but all their stuff is equally infectious.