Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, is it finally acceptable to listen exclusively to Christmas music for the rest of the year?! Not even asking for a friend on this one. I’m directing this question in a contemptuous way toward all the judgmental Grinches out there. You know, the ones who look down on us joyful spirits who happily agree that November 1 is a plenty-appropriate date to begin listening to “Last Christmas” on repeat.
So what of it?! Are we holly-jolly folk a little more tolerable now that it’s after Turkey Day?!?!?
Woah, who knew I felt so strongly about this topic. *reaches to turn the volume up a little on John Legend’s A Legendary Christmas album . . . takes a deep, restorative breath . . . continues typing*
Anywho, here we are. Another “Latest” post where I corral my most recent goings-on in one handy place so y’all can gain some insight into my life (but mostly so I can look back a year from now and oooo and ahhh at what exactly I was up to). From what I’m reading to what I’m drinking to where I’m planning on traveling next — it’s all accounted for here.
So crank up those holiday jingles and let’s boogie!
Way back in January, I set out with a best gal pal of mine to read at least one book per month over the year, totaling (you guessed it) 12 books in 2018. And while I started off strong averaging a book and a half every 30 days, I admit I fell off the wagon around the time of my move back in May. It wasn’t that I necessarily stopped reading cold turkey. I just found myself reaching more for the TV remote than the latest read sitting on my nightstand. Not a proud time for me.
The last few months, however, I’ve tried my best to get back onto that proverbial “wagon” I fell off of, returning to a routine of reading instead of watching or scrolling before bed. And because of that, I’ll proudly claim that I’m on track to complete 12 books before the end of the year!
Aside from reading that top-secret book I hinted at in the last “Latest” post, I also finished I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by the late-and-great Michelle McNamara. While it was a highly disturbing and engaging read (to say the very, very least), it was a lot less scarring than expected. That likely has a little (or a lot) to do with the fact that I live in a secured apartment building and up off of the ground level, and not in a single-story house on a corner lot, similar to the ones the Golden State Killer typically targeted. Either way, highly recommend for anyone who has even a slight interest in true crime (which, let’s be honest, is all of us).
I’m currently smack in the middle of Crazy Rich Asians and I freaking love it. I went the unusual route this time around of seeing the movie (twice, might I add — it’s incredible) before reading the book, and though doing so can often ruin the book, it luckily hasn’t proven to be true! The movie is sooo different than the book (at least from what I’ve read this far), and I’ve consistently been fully engrossed in every word I read. The author, Kevin Kwan, is hilarious and sarcastic and has succeeded with flying colors in creating an over-the-top world that anyone would want to witness (or be fully immersed in, tbh). Another book I highly recommend, even if you’ve already seen the movie! Plus, there are two more books in the series after Crazy Rich Asians, and I have a slight inkling the movie versions will be quick to follow. In the meantime, where can I find myself a Nick Young to call my own?!
Next on my list: Nine Perfect Strangers, Let the Great World Spin, China Rich Girlfriend, and Where’d You Go Bernadette?
Watching + Listening
Does anyone else get riddled with superficial anxiety once those articles come out that list all the things leaving and coming to our most-loved streaming services the following month? I’m not sure why, but when they arrive I immediately embark on a sudden, panic-induced race against the clock to watch allllll the movies, even the ones I’ve already seen a handful of times . . . as though I’ll never have the chance to view them again. Ha.
I’ve recently been caught up in this familiar watch-before-it’s-gone-forever whirlwind, watching Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl for the umpteenth time (pretty sure I even have this one on DVD in my media console) and Moana for at least the third time, as well as treating myself to the amazingness that is Trolls. Seriously, if you’ve never seen Trolls, you must. It’s adorable and full of all the best things. Justin Timberlake? Check. Anna Kendrick? Check. A charming kid-approved storyline? Check-a-roo. A killer soundtrack with some amazing covers of classics you’ve long-since forgotten? Double check. You’re welcome for your new Friday night plans.
Other than movies, I’ve got a gaggle of fun-loving Hulu shows queued up on my recently watched list including Superstore, Bob’s Burgers, and Splitting Up Together. I typically have these on while doing mindless tasks like folding laundry or making and eating dinner.
And while I have you here . . . if you’re in the mood for a smile, do yourself a favor and watch this Ted Talk.
Eating + Drinking
Not gonna lie, I haven’t been doing so great on the healthy eating front. Being in the throes of the holidays hasn’t been helping much, either. I returned last week from Thanksgiving not really feeling my best, so decided to turn things around a bit before I head back to California again and gorge on Christmas sweets and rich New Years fare.
I’m eating low-carb and cutting out alcohol (#sad), and though it’s only been a week of eating healthier, I’ve already been feeling much better. Y’all know how much I hate the grocery store and cooking, but I’ve created some easy-peasy dishes that are totally affordable, manageable, and, more importantly, keep me full. Here are my foolproof meal-prep recipes for lunch and dinner from this past week!
Mediterranean-inspired lunch (good for 4 meals):
- Two/three chicken breasts (depending on size) prepped in a crockpot with low-sodium chicken broth, salt, and pepper — I cooked them on low for 8 hours and shredded them after
- 1 full-sized cucumber and 2 Roma tomatoes cubed with chopped scallions, tossed with balsamic vinegar
- Serve it up — Add a heaping scoop of the marinated veggies into a bowl, add some shredded crockpot chicken, and top it with lentils and feta cheese *kisses mouth with closed fingers like an Italian chef*
Stuffed bell peppers | Taco edition (good for 4 meals):
- Chop 1/4 of an onion and cook with ground turkey . . . add taco seasoning after the meat is cooked through
- Stir in a can of corn, a can of black beans, and sliced cherry tomatoes
- Cut off the top of a green bell pepper and stuff the insides with that mouth-watering taco mix you just made
- Place the stuffed bell pepper in an oven-safe pan and cook it for 15-20 mins at 385 degrees in your oven
- Serve it up — Sprinkle that shiz with a ton of shredded cheese and some Chalula and ENJOY
Other than these meals, I’ve been eating oatmeal with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a spoonful of peanut butter for breakfast and snacking light with baby carrots and hummus, sliced apples, and Skinny Pop popcorn. Dessert for me looks like a few Dove dark chocolates or a cup of hot cocoa!
Boy oh boy these last few weeks have been a doozy. I have some sensitive topics that I’ll definitely be writing a longer post on a little later, but to hit on them quickly . . . some crazy things went down at work that completely threw off my mental well-being and drastically changed my day to day, and right before that, a guy I’d been dating decided to up and move to Florida. Cool.
All things considered, it wouldn’t be totally truthful to say I hadn’t been in a bit of a funk before all this went down. These things just amplified what I was already feeling, which was disheartened. But more on that later.
In light of this and in a bid to get out of this so-called “funk,” I’ve focused a LOT on my mental health the past couple of weeks by exercising a bit of self-care, if you will:
- I’m spending a lot more time outside (if the weather permits), walking around local state parks, farmers markets, etc. Breathing in the fresh air and spending some time alone can really do a lot for your mood, ya know? If you don’t, try it out.
- Christmas makes me happy (as it does for a lot of people who celebrate it), so I unabashedly decked out my fricken’ halls in twinkling lights and garland and festive trimmings that make me smile when I get home from a long day at work.
- I try to work out Monday-Thursday, even if it’s only for a quick 20 minutes. I’ve found that when I stop going to the gym or getting in some type of exercise during the day, I’m wayyyy more restless at night and don’t sleep well. And if I don’t get a full eight hours of sleep, I’m a grouch the next day.
- I’m getting into the groove of a consistent nightly routine that includes spending time on actually making my dinner (not just heating something up quickly or ordering in), coloring in my adult coloring book (it’s pug themed and I love it) while watching either a movie or a TV show mentioned above, and then tucking in for the night with my latest read. I am also trying to physically stay out of my bed until after 8 PM (honestly guys, this has been a struggle for me with the time change) and doing my best to fall asleep before 10.
These few focuses of mine have truly boosted my mentality, and it’s only been a couple weeks. I can’t wait to see how things continue to improve. What are some daily self-care practices you set time aside for?
Since my last “Latest” post in mid-October, fall really revealed herself nicely here in Nashville. I even spent a full Sunday driving around looking at all the vibrant foliage (as a transplant from single-season San Diego, I couldn’t resist). But that autumnal beauty lasted all of two weeks, and most of the leaves have since dropped and left the tree branches bare but kinda enchanting (take a peep below):
Also since the last post, I’ve had a handful of visitors in town — from six girls on Halloween to my college roommate a couple weekends ago. During both visits, we spent the weekend exploring and eating + drinking our way through Nashville and neighboring Franklin:
Just last week I took a short trip home to California for Thanksgiving where I got to spend some much-needed time with friends and family (and the beach). My parents host Thanksgiving dinner each year with both sides of the fam, so we typically have around 25-30 people in our house. It’s a looong day but is also one full of so much love and gratitude!
Once I got back from my time out west, I spent the remainder of the weekend decorating a bit for Christmas (as mentioned above). It’s not anything cray cray but it makes me so happy! Check. It. Out.
On the Calendar
Aside from Christmas and New Years spent back home in San Diego, I don’t have much on the calendar. It’s the first time in a while that there’s been a whole lot of nothing to do, and I gotta admit, I’m really looking forward to the downtime I have until I leave again for the holidays.
Until next time!