After lighter workloads in March and April, I wrote a lot in May. I don't have any links to share this month because the articles aren't out yet (and most will be magazines you'd only see if you lived in a specific city), but it felt good to have multiple assignments come my way and be able to produce them efficiently.
Every few months I submit two or three pitches to one of the magazines for which I write. The time has come for me to do so again, but I find myself struggling to come up with topics that are appropriate for the times. (I often write about large and popular museums, festivals, events, and venues, the kind that draw crowds and make social distancing impossible, so these articles don't make as much sense right now.) Thus far, my only idea is an article about museums that offer online experiences and virtual tours anyone could "visit" and experience from the safety of their own homes. My question for you, kind readers: do you have any suggestions for me? I'd love to submit a few appropriate and sensitive topics for my editors to mull over and for me to eventually delve deeply into. (Email me at email@example.com if anything comes to mind, and thanks in advance!)
Last month I mentioned that I was reading - but hadn't finished - Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline. It took me three weeks to read the first 150 pages because I just couldn't get into the story; the perspective changed every few pages and I found it difficult to follow which of the many characters was telling the story at any given time. But on (or about) page 150, the "main event" took place and from that point on I read at breakneck speed, finishing the last 250 pages in three days.
I also cruised through Who Do You Love, which felt much more like a "summer read". This book was my last from the library (from the stack we picked up on the second day of spring break) to finish, and I made it to the last page just in time for its extended June 1st due date. I'm not ready to enter the library just yet, so for now I'm grateful I have a few borrowed and owned books waiting for me on my nightstand and for a recent Usborne books party that allowed me to stock up on books for both kids.
I got caught up in my list of old(ish) movies to watch with Hallie, and forgot to mention last month that she and I watched - and LOVED - the award-winning biographical drama Hidden Figures. I'd go so far as to call it the best movie I've seen in years. Adult, child...if you haven't yet seen Hidden Figures, add it to your list!
Hallie and I were also THIRLLED to discover that with Disney + comes the National Geographic channel. For the last month we've watched at least one documentary-esque program every Friday afternoon. Thus far our favorites were about the Titanic, Amelia Earhart, and elephants, but we've also enjoyed the veterinarian rescue programs and we're looking forward to learning more about the Grand Canyon next week!
After we finished the current season of "our" show, Manifest, Will and I needed a new show for the two of us to watch together during Hallie's evening dance classes. After trying and quickly nixing a couple of options (don't let your 13-year-old watch Jack Ryan 😳), we came across The Mentalist. We were hooked on this crime drama 20 minutes into the first episode, and we're already a few episodes into season 2.
Our whole family watched the animated "urban fantasy adventure" (I didn't know that was an official category of movie) Onward. The kids and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and Tom stayed awake for almost the entire hour and 42 minutes!
On my own, I started watching Amy Schumer Learns to Cook. I love her, no matter what she's doing.
Last but not least, and update on our movie list!
Red = watched in April
Green = watched in May
Black = yet to watch
- The Wedding Singer
- Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit
- 13 Going on 30
- A League of Their Own
- Miss Congeniality
- Legally Blonde
- Pitch Perfect
- 50 First Dates
- Now and Then
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
- Miss Congeniality 2
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off
- 17 Again
- The Prince and Me
- Pitch Perfect 2
- Pitch Perfect 3
- Bring It On
- The Princess Bride
- Big Daddy
- Mean Girls
- A Cinderella Story
- Sweet Home Alabama
- Uptown Girls
- The Wedding Date
- 27 Dresses
- Fever Pitch
- The Wedding Planner
- Save the Last Dance
- Mean Girls
- Ever After
- The Prince and Me 2
- Ice Princess
- While You Were Sleeping
- Life Size
- The Princess Bride
- Mamma Mia
- Never Been Kissed
- Father of the Bride
- Father of the Bride 2
- Runaway Bride
- My Best Friend's Wedding
- The Holiday
- Bend it Like Beckham
- My Big Fat Greek Wedding
- The Cutting Edge
- That Thing You Do
I listen to music most often in my car, and now that I spend less time in said vehicle, I find I also spend less time listening to music.
The exception is listening to some of my favorite musicians perform live concerts - or even just singing in their kitchens - courtesy of social media. In particular, I have loved the Indigo Girls' live concerts to raise money for different charities (check them out on Facebook on Thursdays at 7pm CST), Jessica Vosk's (and others') performance of the Into the Woods opening, and both From Now On and Seasons of Love by The Welsh of the West End.
For Hallie's birthday I bought her a subscription to Annie's Creative Girls Club, through which she receives two craft kits - along with all materials and instructions - every month. The art projects are age-appropriate, in that she can do them with minimal adult supervision, and turn out nicely enough that they can actually be displayed proudly. I don't know how long we'll continue the subscription, but it's been a WONDERFUL treat during quarantine and we'll certainly keep it coming throughout the summer months.
My second shout out goes to another small business with Annie in its name: Annie's Snack Boxes. If you live in/around BCS, I highly recommend placing an order in honor of a special day. (You could order in honor of a regular day, but these boxes - while delicious and fun - aren't huge and aren't cheap.) She only takes a few orders a week and lines them up in advance, so plan ahead on this one!
The day after J. Crew - once one of my favorite stores - filed for bankruptcy, I popped over to its website and ended up buying a few things from the factory arm of its company as a sign of solidarity. Here were my favorites!
- Girls short-sleeved pocket t-shirt dress - I bought this for Hallie in both hathaway stripe blue and even stripe pink
- Girls flutter-sleeve peplum tee in stripe
- Boys long-sleeved flex thompson shirt - I bought this for Will (he wanted a shirt to go under a gray blazer) in lago windowpane pink
- Scalloped cami top - I picked this up for me in the (discontinued) leopard print, but I love the solid colors as well
I haven't purchased yet, because they're too pricey and I have nowhere to wear them, but these three dresses from Boden (Sienna jersey maxi dress in rich emerald, Gracie knit dress in multi stripe, Maddie dress in ivory/brand spot) are calling my name.
We tried lots of good - and a few not quite as good - recipes this month!
- First and foremost, this Peanut Butter Layer Cake. I made only the cake from this recipe (not the frosting or the ganache), I divided the batter into two layers instead of three (I only have to round cake pans), and I cut both sugars down to a 1/2 c. It was AMAZING.
- To top the above-mentioned cake, I made this Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting. Because I wanted to make sure I had enough to frost my cake, I increased the amounts of butter and peanut butter to 1/2 c. each but left everything else the same. It too was perfection.
- I intended to make this Baked Salmon with Mustard-Dill Sauce, but when I didn't get dill in my grocery order, I decided to use the recipe as a starting point and make my own sauce. I used 1/2 c. sour cream and 1/2 c. plain nonfat yogurt instead of 1 c. sour cream, 3 T. dried minced onion instead of finely chopped onion, and in place of the dill, I used a T. each of rosemary, thyme, parsley, and basil. And y'all, it was SO delicious.
- This Ravioli w/ Tomatoes and Asparagus was also a huge hit. I followed the recipe exactly, though I had to used dried instead of fresh basil and parsley because I didn't get either in my grocery order. I will definitely be making this recipe again this summer!
- This Cowboy Pasta Salad took quite a while to make - lots of ingredients in both the salad and the dressing - but it went over well with everyone. I used ground turkey because that's what I had on hand (and I skipped the beef bouillon), used canned corn instead of corn straight from the cob (again, that's what I had), and I served the cheese on the side because #cheesehaters live in my house.
Feeling Good About
This category was a tough one for me this month. I know there are good and beautiful things happening out there - that good and beautiful people are changing the world for the better in both big and small ways - but when I read about them they have less of an impact on me than they did a week, a month, a year ago. So instead of sharing individual story links, I'm just sharing links to a couple of websites I visit regularly and follow on social media. You may have already heard of both, but if you haven't, I hope Tanks Good News and Some Good News bring you a small bit of joy during these otherwise challenging times.
Be well, friends.