Smartless Podcast: I'm such a true crime podcast enthusiast that I hadn't even entertained the idea of trying out something in a different genre until recently. After a friend pretty much guaranteed I'd love Smartless, a podcast with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett, I skeptically gave it a listen on my way home after lunch. It was then, in the privacy of my own car, that I nearly snorted my iced tea through my nose because I was laughing so hard. As someone who adored Arrested Development, I'm still not sure how it took me this long to embrace a show run by two of its stars, especially when they bring on guests like Julia Louis Dreyfus, Ryan Reynolds, Tina Fey, Amy Sedaris, and Zach Galifianakis.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: I'm not what you'd call a YA fan. In fact, I've really only read the most ubiquitous of the bunch (Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games) so the fact that I enjoyed this book as much as I did really says something. It's a three-part series that feels like Game of Thrones meets The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter, but with a slight romantic spin, so it really hits all the marks. There's also a TV series I'm saving myself for once I've finished the two remaining books in the trilogy, which I intend to listen to since my best friend (to whom I recommended the book) claims it's the "best narrator, ever." So there you have it.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert: I haven’t taken on a 500-pager in a while, but I’m so glad I tried this one! City of Girls was almost a 10/10, and for those of you who love historical fiction (think The Heart's Invisible Furies or The Nightingale), this is a must-read. City of Girls is a World War II era novel about a young woman living in New York and her coming-of-age story. I found it captivating the whole way through, and barely put it down for the entire 500-page run.
Daily Harvest: This summer I completely lost my desire to cook. I’ve been so busy lately and truly have felt like I have no time (or mental energy? Or willpower?) to figure out how to eat healthy day after day, so I decided to give Daily Harvest a shot. My freezer may be a little more packed now than I typically like, but the 4-5 minutes it takes to heat up a Harvest Bowl on the stovetop honestly feels like a beautiful miracle. I do like some of the bowls a lot more than others (Brussels Sprouts + Tahini and Red Lentil + Cumin are my favorites so far), but Daily Harvest has fundamentally changed the way I do lunch.
Never Have I Ever: This Netflix series had all the elements I look for in a TV show: lovable characters you care about, just enough drama to keep you hooked (but not so much that I’m anxious as I watch), and smart, quippy, fast-paced dialogue. Which all meant my expectations were extremely high, and somehow, the show managed to exceed them. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan steals the show as Devi Vishwakumar, a high school outcast who’s trying to find her way at school while simultaneously coping with the trauma of her father’s death. I powered through both seasons recently, finishing them quicker than I’ve watched anything in years, fluctuating between team Paxton and team Ben with each episode (honestly, still debating it, and if you are too, I encourage you to slide into my DMs). It’s not surprising that it came from the brilliant mind of Mindy Kaling, and if you’re in the mood for something extremely bingeable, I cannot recommend it enough.
Molby The Label gingham dresses: I don’t remember who I first spotted a Molby The Label on, but to her I say: THANK YOU. These high-quality dresses are made-to-order, and I didn't even mind the three-week lead time because I loved being able to support an independent, British, slow-fashion brand. I had the toughest time narrowing down my order, but opted for two: one that makes more sense in the fall winter (see above!) and another made in popsicle-colors (lime green and lavender) that I've worn multiple times this summer.
Chill Tips Reusable Press-On Nails in Wavy Baby: I'm not sure why it's taken me 25 years of life to discover press-on nails but it's safe to say that I'm hooked now. I don't really like to spend on manicures unless it's a special occasion and my DIY manicure skills aren't all too impressive. When I discovered Chill Tips I was instantly drawn to all their fun prints. One pack has 26 nails which is plenty for a few manicures, considering that all the nails are reusable. Application and shaping was almost too easy. I have had a few nails come off (definitely due to me and my extra hot showers) but it takes literally 30 seconds to reapply. Now, I'm just trying to decide what my next set is going to be.
BjornQorn: One a recent trip, the hotel I stayed at had a very well curated snack bar - and I immediately picked up the BjornQorn. I'm not sure what compelled me to try it (a state of hangry-ness probably?) but I'm so glad I did. I had no previous experience with nutritional yeast so I went in with with very hesitant expectations. After my first bite, I could not get enough. If you like cheese popcorn then this will be right up your alley. It has just the right amount of flavor without the heaviness I sometimes get from buttery or cheese popcorn. I spent the rest of that trip trying to find the nearest supplier to me and have since placed my own order of BjornQorn.
Nyx Retractable Eye Liner in White: This one might sound a little weird, but hear me out. I recently heard about a makeup trend where you apply a light amount of white eyeliner along your waterline to brighten your eyes and give the illusion that they’re bigger. I’m always interested in trying out new beauty hacks (especially when I’m bored!) and this is one that I attempted, which left me surprisingly impressed with the outcome. I applied my eye makeup like normal, with the addition of the white liner, and saw a subtle, yet exciting difference. It might even be a hack I continue to try out on nights out when I’m feelin’ fancy!
Canon Sure Shot 90uII: Film photography lovers, this is for you. About a year ago a friend of mine showed me her point and shoot camera, which is basically a super user-friendly, simplified film camera. At that moment I knew I needed to invest in my own. I studied photography in college and took two types of film classes, which I absolutely loved – especially the dark room process. The hardest part for me was figuring out and memorizing the correct settings in order to guarantee a picture perfect shot. Most of the time I was able to salvage my overexposed photos in the dark room, but overall, I realized that the manual camera settings weren’t exactly a walk in the park for me. As someone who loves and appreciates a vintage looking film photo, but struggles with the process to get there, the point and shoot film camera has been perfect for me. It’s about as easy as snapping a photo on a disposable camera, but you get to keep this one (while simply replacing the roll of film when need be!). I bought mine for a whopping $25 last year and have been using it ever since. I’ve been shooting with it more than usual this month, capturing fun and candid moments with my friends that I’m planning on keeping in a photo album. Nothing quite compares to feeling like a giddy child on Christmas morning as I walk out of Walgreens with my developed photos.