May Favorites

Wow, can you believe it’s June already? I can’t! The month of May went by so incredibly fast; it was as if I blinked and it was over already. I’m sure June is going to be the same because there are so many fun events and opportunities coming up: my sister(in-law)’s bridal shower, bachelorette party, my birthday, a girls weekend trip to Traverse City. I am ready for it! But for now, let’s take a look back at the month of May.

This is going to be an interesting post, because I veered off the path of my usual consumption to focus more on creating—bringing art, music, and literature to the forefront of life.

I
Movie

deadpool 2

We technically only saw one movie in theater in the month of May, and that was Deadpool 2, so this kind of feels like cheating. I enjoy Deadpool for its diversion from the typical superhero movie; in fact, the series openly makes fun of those movies, and I love Deadpool all the more for it. You have to be able to laugh at yourself if you’re going to make it through this life, and anyone who takes themselves or their work too seriously is frankly no fun to be around. This character was made for Ryan Reynolds; he plays it so well, and I was even more impressed upon learning that he was behind the fantastic social media advertising campaign leading up to the film (can you tell that I work in marketing? LOL). The snarky humor and excessively graphic violence also greatly appeal to me. People often express surprise upon learning this about me, but despite my sugary sweet exterior and soft-spoken nature, I take great enjoyment from some fairly dark themes. For instance, as a 12-year-old girl, you could more often than not find me reading Stephen King novels or the collective works of Edgar Allan Poe. Pulp Fiction remains one of my all-time favorite movies to this day, along with the Devil’s Rejects (which, by the way, has the best cinematic use of the song “Freebird” ever).

II
Music

deja entendu

Released in 2003, Brand New’s Deja Entendu is easily one of my favorite albums of all time, right up there with the likes of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and the Beatles. There are few artists whose albums I can say that about, yet this is one of them. I judge albums by a number of factors, including cover art, the title itself, whether or not I like each song individually, as well as how well the songs flow together in order of track listing. Deja Entendu hits all the marks. The title is French for “already heard,” which I love. It speaks to the fact that so much of popular music sounds the same. Jesse Lacey, the frontrunner of the band, explained that the title is intended as a commentary on the notion that, regardless of what you do as a musician, someone out there will say your work is derivative of another’s. It is the nature of music, art, and yes, even writing. Far from being a cheap imitation of another though, this album delves deep and far exceeds my expectations for this genre. The album takes a beautifully somber tone, with songs heavy on lyricism, crashing cymbals, and driving guitar rhythms that carry you throughout its entirety from one song to the next. Lacey’s breathy voice builds to screaming choruses filled with chanting that add to the haunting sound. “Play Crack the Sky” is a favorite track that explores the concept of love, drawing the metaphor between the end of a relationship and a shipwreck. Also, it took me far longer than it should have to realize that “Sic Transit Gloria… Glory Fades” is about a sexual assault.

III
Book

breakfast with buddha.jpg

Whimsical, lighthearted and yet spiritually probing, this book is an easy read (or in my case, reread). I first read Breakfast with Buddha shortly after my mom passed away at the recommendation of a friend, and it was just as enjoyable and, dare I say, heartwarming the second time around. There are times when I grow exasperated with the narrator and protagonist of the book, and the story feels quite in a contrived at points (I mean it is, after all, fiction), but overall it is worth a read. I especially like how it makes religion accessible, and gently introduces you to some of the benefits of yoga and meditation. The book also places heavy emphasis on the importance of finding a sense of balance in life. The story follows skeptic Otto Ringling, an editor of food books, on a road trip from his posh life in New York back to his rural hometown in North Dakota to settle his parents’ estate after their abrupt and untimely deaths in a car crash. Accompanying him on his journey is supposed to be his flaky self-proclaimed psychic of a sister, but instead, she persuades him to take her guru, the spiritual master Volya Rinpoche. Rinpoche is somewhat of a monk who doesn’t prescribe to any one religious sect. He is fiercely intelligent, witty and comical, with a gentle forcefulness in the way of educating others. Otto has lived a comfortably upper middle class lifestyle that has permitted him to enjoy some of life’s finer pleasures, but he has a nagging sense that he is missing something; there is a question in the back of his mind about life’s greater purpose and what it all means. During the trip, Rinpoche breaks down Otto’s guard slowly until at last he relents and has a spiritual awakening of sorts. As someone who is both fascinated by various religious traditions and spiritual practices, yet also quite skeptical (and whom frequently questions the meaning of life), this book greatly appeals to me across many levels. It is hard to explain, but there is a certain spiritual emptiness one feels after losing a parent. It really makes you question whether our souls exist beyond our body or if there is an afterlife, and this novel does a nice job of capturing that feeling.

IV
Food

mint

Last month, my favorite “food” was gummi vitamins, and this month it is a beverage. I’m not very good at this category, am I? Which is strange, because I love to eat. In future, I will share a favorite recipe or restaurant for this category. Be on the lookout for those! Until then, enjoy my favorite not-technically-food pick from May. Mint tea has been an obsession lately. Served iced or hot, with jasmine or green tea flavors or on its own, though always lightly sweetened with sugar. Iced it is the perfect refreshing drink for a scalding summer afternoon, and warm it is a delightfully relaxing drink to soothe you to sleep before bedtime. The best part is, you can quickly make it fresh from your own garden (or potted plant in a shady apartment window). Take 10-15 mint leaves, steep in boiling water for 3-5 minutes or until desired strength, add sweetener, and you’re done! You have yourself a cup of delicious tea.

V
Clothes

nordstrom moonlight pajamas

There is something so luxurious about a matching pajama set. I admit did not purchase a single item of clothing in the month of May, for which I am very proud. If it sounds ridiculous that I can’t go a month without buying an item of clothing, trust me, I know that it is. I do feel the need to justify myself here, though; I am one of those people who, rather than buy everything at once, picks up an item here or there throughout the year. Anyway, I digress. My favorite clothing item in May has to be the Nordstrom Lingerie Moonlight Pajamas. I wear these to sleep every. Single. Night. Warm enough for the winter, yet light and cool enough for the summer, these pajamas boast a classic design with contrast piping that adds a sophisticated touch. Many reviewers complained of the extra-long sleeves and pant legs, yet these are what make the Moonlight Pajamas a perfect fit for me; my long limbs render most clothing too short, reaching only to my ankles or wrists. After near daily use with regular washes for the better part of eight months, these pajamas still look brand new. Do yourself a favor and get them.

VI
Accessory

michael kors jet set large saffiano

Let’s be honest here. If you know me, then you know that purses are my weakness. I have stuck to owning three for the past few years ever since downsizing my wardrobe and my life while paying off debt. This year I added a fourth: the Michael Kors Jet Set Large Saffiano Leather Crossbody (regular $148, purchased on sale for $88). Every year I buy myself a birthday present, and this year was no exception, though I technically bought it two months early. Oops. I am a fan of the crossbody style—in fact, three of the four purses I own are crossbodies—for its ease of use: It’s hands-free and lightweight. I am not a person who likes to carry a lot of stuff with me. All I need are my cards and cash, cell phone, and sunglasses; the ability to fit my Kindle is an added bonus. This purse actually has room for much more than I currently keep in it, and the lightly colored lining makes it easy to find what you’re looking for when digging through the contents of your purse for your keys (or lipgloss, or pen). The bright red bag adds a fun pop of color to my otherwise neutral wardrobe. I find that wearing a lot of black and gray is not so drab and dull when you carry a red bag every day.  If you’re in the market for a crossbody, I highly recommend this one.

VII
Beauty

That’s right – nothing! I have been absolutely loving going bare faced lately. It feels so nice to let my skin breathe, to not worry about smearing makeup every time I touch my face, eat, or drink something. Also, have you ever noticed how dull and tired your skin looks after wearing makeup? Even proper removal before bed is not enough. Frankly, I don’t buy the non-comedogenic myth; makeup clogs your pores. My skin has been radiant and dewy lately, and I’m out the door in ten minutes now just like my husband. I’ve always envied men for their ability to get ready with a simple swipe of a comb and perhaps a few splashes of cologne. It’s hard to believe I ever used to spend more than an hour doing my hair and makeup each day.

What were some of your favorite things in the month of May? I’d love to hear about the music, movies, and more that you’ve been loving lately.

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