Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Monthly Medley: June 2024



I read two books during our two weeks in Nashville. If I'd thought I could finish two books in two weeks (I actually finished two books in one week, as I didn't start reading until around day seven), I'd have brought a third - I was bookless and sad our last two nights.

First, The Walk, by Richard Paul Evans. I cruised through this novel at warp speed, partly because of how the story it written - it engages from page one and flows smoothly - and partly because of how the book is laid out, with single quotes separating relatively short chapters. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I was disappointed to learn (quite a ways in) that it was the first in a series of FIVE and as a result, I only made it one fifth of the way to the story's resolution when I reached the final page.

Second, The Eden Test, by Adam Sternbergh. I think I dove into this one more quickly than I otherwise would have, given that I had just finished The Walk (and wasn't thrilled about discovering I had to read four more books to wrap up the protagonist's journey) and that I had a little more free time than I usually do. I could predict a few of the twists and turns in this thriller about a husband and wife who decide on an unconventional approach to saving their marriage, but there were definitely a couple that caught me off guard. Definitely a solid summer beach read if you like suspenseful mysteries! 


Hallie and I saw If, starring Ryan Reynolds as the "keeper" of Imaginary Friends, in the theater while in Nashville. If I could only choose one word to describe this movie, it would be "darling," but if I could use a few more adjectives, I'd add charming, delightful, and sentimental. Hallie and I both enjoyed it, and for the first time ever, she cried more during a movie than me.

Once home, I watched all soccer, all the time. The Euro Cup and Copa America tournaments have been taking place this month, so we've had soccer games on almost every afternoon and evening. Anyone else excited for all Olympics, all the time?

Listening To

It's been ages since I'd even thought about the podcast Serial, but I've circled back around to it for season four: a deep dive into the history and evolution of Guantanamo Bay as well as "what it's like to be caught inside an improvised justice system." As usual, Sarah Koenig and her team do an excellent job of interviewing guests and contributors and then putting together these interviews and their research in an engaging and educational way.


I'm still on my Unfollow Friday kick, but I'm adding a few sports teams and individual athletes ahead of the Olympics. I pay close attention to men's soccer (@USMNT), women's soccer (@USWNT), swimmer Katie Ledecky, gymnast Simone Biles, and the main Olympics pages: The Olympic Games (@olympics) and NBC Olympics & Paralympics (@nbcolympics). 

Side note: "olympics" is one of those words that doesn't look real after you type if a few times. 😂


I stumbled upon this ELF powder foundation at TJ Maxx, and given that we were heading into summer (when I don't wear as much make up - especially liquid foundation - but when I generally need a powder to help combat sweat-driven shininess), I decided to give it a try. I set the bar pretty low, but I ended up liking it a lot - it definitely has a place in my make up drawer and travel bag now!

One of the coffee shops I visited in Nashville served me my coffee in a glass like this:

I don't know why, but it elevated my iced latte with almond milk to the point that I think I should be drinking my afternoon cold brew (I drink black hot coffee in the morning, and cold brew with french vanilla nutpod creamer in the afternoon) from something similar. This set on Amazon seems like what I'm looking for, but before I purchase, I thought I'd ask if anyone had a recommendation for the best place - online or in person - to purchase these. Additionally, while this coffee shop had regular straws, it seems like a lot of people prefer to use glass straws with these glasses...do I want to do this? Someone enlighten me.


While pounding the (insanely hilly) pavement in Nashville, my athletic shoes died. And by died, I mean they were absolutely fine - comfortable and supportive - until all of a sudden they weren't, and just as suddenly my feet went from absolutely fine to aching and swollen. I didn't want to buy a new pair of shoes but knew I had to do something, so Hallie and I popped over to the outlet mall where I chose something off of the Nike clearance rack. One walk in and my feet felt better, and by the end of my second walk in the new shoes, my feet were as good as new they can be considering I'm 45 and have a hereditary predisposition to foot problems.

I could only find the shoes I chose on sites like ebay (likely because they came from the clearance rack), but they're Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38. They run true to size and have great footbed support if you're like me and have old, achy, grumpy feet.


I made these Crispy Air Fryer Pork Chops and ALL FOUR Ferri declared them delicious! I didn't have cornflakes on hand so I omitted them from the breading mixture and didn't miss them at all.

Hallie's on a summer baking kick, and so far since arriving home from Nashville she's made cheesecake cupcakes and chocolate chip muffins, and she has bookmarked at least another 25 recipes she plans to try between now and our next trip. It's kind of nice to have someone else "slaving away in the kitchen"...

While in Nashville, Hallie and I discovered two new Trader Joe wins and I rediscovered one of my favorite treats from many years ago. 

New to us - so naturally sweet and delicious!

New to us - Hallie's current favorite food.

An old favorite - I've been dreaming about these since I
finished this box...time for a trip to our closest Trader Joe's!

Smiling About

This category is officially renamed as of this month.

Happy summer, friends!

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