I’ve always wanted to do a favorites post, so I thought why not? It will be fun to share with you some of the things I’ve found myself loving lately. This list comprises items I purchased in April along with past favorites that were in heavy rotation during the past month. Enjoy!
Alexis and I have MoviePass, so we see a lot of movies. If you haven’t heard of it by now, it is the subscription service that has been making headlines recently for its questionable business model in which users pay $9.99 per month to see unlimited* movies. We’ve been seeing two or three movies per month, and I like the app because you can view your history and look back on exactly which movies you saw. When I checked the movies we saw in April (A Quiet Place, Isle of Dogs, and Avengers: Infinity War), though all were good, there was no doubt in my mind as to the clear winner.
*Sometimes. See recent exceptions that also made headlines.
Isle of Dogs was refreshingly good. It was one of those rare movies where, when it was over, I didn’t want it to end. It’s no surprise that it was a Wes Anderson screenplay. The story was original and unconventional, the characters charming without being cliché. For being dogs, the main characters were surprisingly well-developed and relatable. The animation style was beautiful, combining stop-motion with traditional Japanese cartoons for news and broadcasts. There were the hallmark signs of an Anderson film—the double takes, lengthy explanations for humorous effect, and a quirky story that revolves around a broken family—and yet it was entirely new, too. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you check it out.
I grew up listening to classic rock with my dad, but around high school is when I truly fell in love with Led Zeppelin on my own. Listening to the songs now call to mind that sweet golden time between Summer and Fall, when the late afternoon sun sets the leaves ablaze in shades of deepest red and goldenrod yellow. Led Zeppelin IV is a masterpiece the entire way through. With melodies that range from hopeful and yearning to melancholic and bittersweet, this album embodies everything I love about Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant’s vocals go from soft, sweet croons to primordial wails, and the combination of Page’s guitar and Bonham’s drums intertwine to build and crash like great waves over the shores of each song.
Reading Lord of the Rings has had me listening to Led Zeppelin IV again on repeat. I only recently learned of all the Tolkien references in their songs, but even without delving into those depths of understanding, I recognized the lyrical ballads, epic tales of a hero’s wandering journey, battles won and lost in days of old. When you read the books closely and then listen to the songs, certain phrases jump out at you. Ring wraiths ride in black from “The Battle of Evermore,” and the obvious “Misty Mountain Hop.” There is an elaborate fan theory that “Stairway to Heaven” is about Aragorn and Arwen which is fascinating and rings true. Music has such deep, rich histories and thematic references to explore if you are ever interested.
I first read Alexandre Dumas’ the Count of Monte Cristo in high school French class, but because the book was in French (obviously) and my understanding of the language was very limited, I struggled to grasp the details and thus failed to fully appreciate the story. Alexis convinced me to give it another try, this time in English, and I am glad he did. The story is harrowing, one of treachery and treason, and it follows one man’s quest to seek redemption and obtain revenge against those who have betrayed him.
The Count of Monte Cristo is the original Shawshank Redemption, but the story only begins there. Much like with any good classic, the plot can be divided into roughly three parts. The first concerns our protagonist Edmond Dantes’ wrongful imprisonment at the hands of his assumed friends. The second tells of his ultimate escape and acquisition of wealth. The third involves his plan to exact revenge upon those responsible for his imprisonment and ultimately to obtain justice. Mercy and forgiveness stand out among the other themes mentioned here.
This is truly a work of historical fiction, with the story taking place in the early 1800s just before Napoleon’s return to power after exile. The settings of France, Italy and the Mediterranean come to life on the page with the inclusion of French language and accurately detailed descriptions. I am looking forward to reading the last half in May.
Do these count as food? Okay, yes, I am embarrassed to admit that I bought these over-hyped, overpriced gummi bear vitamins. In fact, you can purchase the exact same thing (100% biotin combined with a multi-vitamin) for a third of the price from any local drugstore. However, ahem, I forgot to take my biotin and multi-vitamin every day, because they smell like fish food and upset my stomach. SugarBearHair gummies smell and taste delicious, and they are gentle on the stomach. They’re even vegan! Taking two each morning has already become an ingrained habit; I never forget, even without a reminder. What’s more is, I have noticed my hair grows faster now and looks shinier! I swear to you that I am not sponsored, nor am I trying to make my big break as an Instagram influencer. I just genuinely love these little blue bears.
I snatched up the Long Cozy Robe from Victoria’s Secret (regular $69.50) on sale for $41.70, and I have worn it every day since. I have no regrets, although the sleeves fall a bit short for my long gangling arms. Wearing this robe is like being wrapped in your favorite blanket; the softest, warmest blanket you could ever imagine. The sherpa lined hood makes it even fluffier, and not only do you look like a sexy Mrs. Claus wearing it, but there are pockets! A rarity in women’s clothing.
Ah, yes, the Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Classics. These glasses have a story behind them, which I will get into shortly. Let me just wax poetic for a moment on the classic design and history of what some may see simply as a pair of sunglasses. These iconic shades have been donned by everyone from original cool guy and film star James Dean to legendary rock musician John Lennon. The design has remained largely unchanged since its debut in 1952.
Now at one point in time, I was of the mind that paying anything more than $10 for what essentially amounts to a piece of plastic with coated lenses was wasteful. Especially when one considers the number of pairs I have owned that took a permanent swim in the ocean. Then, I bought my first pair of Ray-Bans and that all changed.
I remember it clearly. It was the first purchase I could ever recall in my life (this harkens back to my terrible shopping habits, yeesh) where I had actually saved up the money beforehand to buy them in cash. Then about a year later, Alexis and I embarked on our journey to become debt free. I took to eBay to sell off many of my belongings including my beloved Ray-Bans, because really, who actually needs $150 sunglasses? In the years since, however, I have bought three cheapy replica pairs from Target, one of which broke, two of which I lost. Now that we’re debt free, I decided to reinvest in a nice pair.
Fate brought this nail polish into my life. Go ahead and laugh, but it’s true. I had been eyeing this rich, creamy blue-violet for more than a year when my husband came home from the grocery store with it in tow. Now, I limit myself to owning a few bottles of nail polish per year, specifically because I only like the consistency and coverage of Essie and OPI brands, both of which cost $9-$11 per bottle. And anyway, there is only so much nail polish one can wear before the bottle dries out. Because of this, as a general rule I stick to colors I wear constantly. I had tasked Alexis with replacing my bottle of Russian Roulette (a classic cherry red) on a recent grocery trip, and when he reported back that they were sold out of my particular shade, I asked him to surprise me. Something blue, something purple, I suggested. He came home with No More Film by Essie, and the rest is history. I’m wearing it on my nails as I type this, and I can confirm that this will be my go-to color from now on.
What do you think about the items I shared? Let me know your thoughts, and if you have any favorites to share, in the comments below!