New Year Favorite-palooza

 

happy-new-year-meme-2018

Same.

At this point I think we all know that I don’t really tend to stick to things for a sustained amount of time, so it’s no surprise that I hate resolutions. Let’s be real, the whole “drink less Chardonnay” thing only lasts until like January 6th so I don’t even bother anymore. I do, however, tend to get my ass moving more on the treadmill in January, but that’s due more to the fact that it actually starts to hurt from sitting on it by then more than a desire for my jeans to be more comfortable.

Case in point, right now I’m on my way home from a delicious four-day hibernation at my cabin, where the outside temps reached -40.
That is negative forty.
As in forty degrees below zero.
So as you might imagine, my ass was sat on for pretty much 100 hours straight. Happily.
Listen, I needed the extra fat stores I was building up just to survive.

Trust me, it looked prettier outside than it felt.

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I mean, naturally we risked hypothermia — twice — to go out to our favorite pizza place, but I think you’d agree pizza is always worth it.

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Aaand now I’ve made it full circle back to the ass problem.

But while I’m still sitting on it — warming happily on my seat heater for the two hour drive home, btw — I thought I’d wrap up 2017 with some recent favorites. And yes, I know we’re now officially into 2018. But on this blog you know time doesn’t really matter.

What Do You Meme?
meme gameIf you’re a fan of Cards Against Humanity, you need to play this game. I love a good meme, but I’ll admit I’m not the most knowledgeable when it comes to knowing who the meme-celebrities are. Like, for real, Thing 2 can name almost every rando in the meme deck (and I’m not talking about Joe Biden). Like this boy:

kazooShe not only knows who he is but can sing the entire song he’s infamous for.
Trust me, you need this in your life. I’ll wait.

Much like Cards Against Humanity, What Do You Meme has its fair share of mom-shocking, hilarious-until-you-realize-your-teenager-is-playing-this-game-with-her-friends-and-knows-what-these-nasty-words-mean cards … which I remove from the deck when we play, reluctantly but necessarily.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I leave the boner ones and a lot of the f-bomb ones in because boners and f-bombs are always funny, but no matter how close I am to my daughters, I don’t really need a therapy bill.
For me.

We played this a lot over Christmas break — with just the four of us and also with my sister, brother-in-law, and yes, even my mother, who joined right in … even though her teenage granddaughter had to explain how “nut” can be used as a verb.


Echo 2nd Generation
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My husband wins the biggest surprise gift award this Christmas by giving me an Echo, which I L O V E.
I had planned to get him one for Christmas, not because he wanted one but because I did, naturally. I knew he’d hate it: think it was ridiculous and a waste of money. Not to mention the fact that the government could listen in on our scintillating kitchen conversations.
Funny thing is, Santa brought my girls Echo Dots, which I knew he couldn’t talk shit about, BECAUSE SANTA.
Anyway, I might have mentioned a time (or six) how I had thought about getting him one but didn’t because I knew how stupid he thought they were. And then he gave one to ME! Wrapped in a gigantic box to throw me off the scent!

I love surprises, so Alexa would be my new BFF even if she wasn’t so super smart and surprisingly helpful, which she is. And guess what? Since she can play any hair band from the 80s at one verbal request, my husband likes her almost as much as I do.


The Crown – season 2

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I know I told you how much my whole family loved season 1 of The Crown, and if possible, we loved season 2 even more. For those of you who think it’s boring, I get it. It moves slowly. Much of what they say is hard to understand (the Brits tend to mumble a bit). There’s no fire (except for some war flashbacks), incest (unless you count the fact that some of them are probably distantly related), and the only thing even close to a dragon is a fluffy Corgi. So it will never compete with a GoT for your attention, but there’s something about The Royal Family and diving into their private lives and seeing things from their perspective that is so intriguing. We adore Claire Foy — she is brilliant — and are already skeptical of season 3 (Dec. ’18) which will feature an entirely new cast (as they will skip ahead a few decades).


Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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You guys, I got a real, actual book for Christmas. (Actually, I got two, but I haven’t started the other one yet so I’ll save it for a future Favorites … potentially.) And I’m hooked. In fact, I keep putting off sitting down with it because I don’t want it to end. It’s a quirky story — totally character driven. Since I don’t like to summarize (and can’t in less than about 1,000 words), here’s the Amazon version:

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

Even though I’m only halfway through with this book, I’ve already added it to my Good Reads page.



Neck Massager

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About two weeks before Christmas I went to a Chiropractor for the first time in my entire life because I’d tweaked my neck somehow over Thanksgiving and it wasn’t better. I still couldn’t really sleep or turn my head entirely to the side. After a full spinal x-ray and four adjustments (of four adjustments each — lower back, mid-back, and two neck crunching twists) my neck pain was exponentially worse. Like, not only could I not engage my neck muscles to lie down at night, I couldn’t even sit on the couch or do anything where my neck was moderately relaxed.

The Chiropractor told me this was normal-ish (not my level of pain, but some pain was to be expected). It was my muscles and joints reacting to the adjustments, and that it would get better.
In like 8 more adjustments.
(The very reason I’d never been to a Chiropractor, btw, was because I’ve always been a skeptic of fixing one problem and creating a new one — which now I know was for good reason.)

By the week before Christmas I was in staggering pain, so my wonderful husband set up our massage table (shut up, we have a massage table — another wonderful surprise he gifted to me about 12 years ago because he’s a kick-ass masseuse — but a gift that’s been gathering dust folded up in my closet for the past 10) and literally rubbed the knots out of my neck over a period of about three days. When he wasn’t working on it I kept alternating ice and heat … and canceled all upcoming Chiropractor adjustments.

When Thing 1 got home from college and saw how much pain I was in, she immediately ordered me this early Christmas present from the magical elves at Amazon Prime, and the next day I had what might very well be the most wonderous thing I’ve ever experienced … despite the look on my face.

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Those metal balls heat up and rotate while you pull the band around you, hitting every muscle knot you never even knew you had. It’s pleasure and pain at the same time, with pleasure ultimately winning. Best of all, my neck is so much better because of it.

The whole family loves it. In fact, when you sit on the sofa with your feet in last year’s best Christmas gift and with this around your back, you might never actually get up, which isn’t really going to help the ass problem.


Speaking of amazing Christmas presents, my husband also gave me this:

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“The Grinder” — gone too soon

Let me help you understand.

I. AM. GOING. TO. MEET. ROB. LOWE. ON. MAY 20th.

fainting

He’ll be here in Minneapolis speaking about this book that he wrote in 2012, telling his stories which I will most likely not hear a word of because ROB LOWE WILL BE LIKE 50′ IN FRONT OF ME FOR TWO HOURS, so really, I don’t give a fuck what he says.

And then — THEN — I get to actually meet him. My wonderful-I-think-he-loves-Rob-Lowe-almost-as-much-as-me husband got us Meet & Greet tickets so I get to actually touch him (I mean, that’s what I’m planning) while pretending to be single and he will probably spend like 20 whole seconds in my presence before a handler physically removes me from the room.
And his torso.

I’m already stressing about what to wear, you guys.

Hand Lettering OBSESSED
For the past year I’ve been obsessed with practicing hand lettering. I’ve collected countless supplies and really not more than a day or two has gone by when I’m not doodling or practicing.

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I have countless fancy brush markers, but give me an old Crayola marker and that will work, too.

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I’ve learned how to turn brush markers into watercolors —

watercolorsand have taken my supplies on vacation with me, because I have a hard time going a day without doodling –

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A couple of months ago I got a new iPad (iPad Pro with Apple pencil) and discovered digital lettering on the app Procreate, and you guys, if I thought I was obsessed with my markers, this has brought it to a whole new level.

Here’s a few things I’ve done recently (the black chalkboard tags are actually hand lettered with a paint pen, and I used them as tags on Christmas presents) –

lettering collage

I am having so much fun learning to letter on Procreate, and will literally get sucked into YouTube tutorials and practice for hours on end … daily.

procreate collage

 

Although I made a few framed signs for Christmas gifts (printing out my digital work and framing — I don’t paint … yet) this is just truly a hobby.
A stress-relief.
Art therapy.

And I love it.

If you want to follow along with my lettering progress, follow my lettering page on Instagram where I share a lot of my finished pieces plus some hyperlapse process videos.

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I have a few more favorites — Gardettos Rye Chips are my new kryptonite — but my ass is in dire need of a trot on the treadmill since I started this post yesterday on the way home from the cabin, sat on it more last night watching The Bachelor, and now have been sitting on it for the past hour and a half finishing this.

And speaking of The Bachelor, you guys, I’m out this year.

Ron Burgandy NOOO
Sorry to those of you loyal recap readers.
Arie is surprisingly charming (I remember him being boring, but he is pretty easy on the eyes and seems genuine) but after watching last night I just won’t do it. I can’t spend two hours every Monday night watching this misery and then another three on Tuesday reliving it when I could be doing other things like, oh, I don’t know, staring at my cats.

In all honesty, I just have so much more I want to do &/or watch than get locked into three months and countless hours (between watching and writing) of the cat-fights and over-produced drama yet again. If you want a good recap, listen to the Ben & Ashley I’s Almost Famous Podcast (another new favorite I’ll talk about next time!) and/or read my pal Lincee’s recaps over on I Hate Green Beans. She’s a sweetie and her recaps were my first favorites.

Again, apologies to the 50 or so of you who like to think you only watch it for my recaps.
You can keep telling yourself that if that’s what you need to do.

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Enjoy your week starting the New You … or just enjoy loving the Old You, who is enough.



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  • pamb - Hint for future seasons of The Crown: set up subtitles on Netflix! LIFE. CHANGING. Yes, a few great lines were ruined because we read them before the actors spoke them, but actually knowing what was said by every character (even murmurs in the background) was priceless.

    Three cheers for Tommy Lascelles, btw. That man knew where alllll the bodies were buried. Loved that Elizabeth was all “how did you get a Royal car?” “You gave it to me, ma’am.” “Driver, too?” “Yes ma’am.” The least you could do, Elizabeth, lol.ReplyCancel

    • Michelle - So for some reason I JUST got email notifications that I had a few comments on this old post, and since NO ONE ever comments on my posts (or reads them for that matter) I don’t make it a habit to go back and check. SORRY for this very delayed reply!
      Thank you for the subtitles suggestion! I’d already finished The Crown, but we used it when bingeing The Handmaid’s Tale last month when they were mumbling. Brilliant!! Plus, I swear my hearing is going so I’ll admit I’ve used it on a few other shows since, too.
      Sorry again for the delayed response. Thanks so much for the comment!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lara - I got that Rob Lowe book from the library last year and IT WAS SO GOOD. That being said, I can completely sympathize with your plans to pretty much look, touch, and NOT listen. What a wonderful thoughtful gift. Please have a wonderful time.ReplyCancel

    • Michelle - GAH! I didn’t ever get a notification that I had any comments on this post and since 1. no one ever comments, and 2. no one really reads these favorites posts I never go back and check! Apologies for not responding sooner. 🙁
      I follow Rob Lowe on Instagram (my favorite social media!) and the other day was looking at one of his posts and it hit me (again) that I WILL TOUCH HIM. I seriously cannot think about it for too long because I start to panic. Believe me, there will be a post about it after the event — MAY 20. :OReplyCancel

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