Everything is growing right now, including us, and I love to see it. There might be a few growing pains that come with it, but when we push through those, we are met with such reward on the other side. Praying for a taste of those rewards, in your life and in mine.
Here are a few things I met with on my walk this month.
- “Timeless” by James Blake. Makes me feel like I’m in wonderland.
- “Memorized” by Mat Kearney featuring RAC. It’s on the playlist at our cafe. Dance party every time it comes on.
- “Clarity” “I Ain’t Done” and “None of My Business” by Andy Mineo. I’ve been slow to digest his most recent work, but it is solid. The lyrics, the beats– two thumbs up. I listen to rap the most when I need a confidence boost or to let out some energy, and Andy is one of my favorites for that.
- “Love Came Down” by Brian Johnson. One of my piano practice pieces. So special.
- “Dragons” by Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors ft. The Lone Bellows. Soft Johnny Cash vibes. “Stop spending all your money on forgiveness of sins.”
- Scott Mulvahill’s version of “Homeless” featuring Alanna Boudreau. I listen to Scott’s album all the time; it’s one of those that you find more and more layers to love as you sit with it.
- “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” by Jeff Buckley. I discovered it because Madison Cunningham beautifully covered it, and wow– the soul and emotion in this thunderously gentle ballad is completely entrancing. I can’t stop listening.
- “Supply and Demand” by Wilder Woods. Bear Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE is putting out a solo project, and if this song he’s released from it is any indication… it’s going to be way too good. My jaw dropped and I screeched in the parking lot the first listen.
If you want these songs all together in one playlist, I made it! I use it all year, so scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- Avengers: Endgame. This film was everything and more. I’ve never sobbed so many times at a movie — happy, sad, and bittersweet; never cared this much for so many characters, for so long; rarely been so pleased and so satisfied with every twist and turn a story takes. I left the theater with few words, just warmth. And a lot of gratitude to everyone who put so much passion into delivering something so special. There is nothing like it.
- Continued watching The Guardian. What a ride. One I’m not going to go on again, but still, love you, Simon Baker.
- Napoleon Dynamite. I hadn’t seen the full thing, and the little bit I had seen was in middle school, so my mom and I spent our holiday afternoon on it. It’s dumb, but in a way that makes you chuckle at it and feel like you didn’t waste your time. So many great quotes. “Knock it off, Napoleon! Just make yourself a dang quesa-dilluh!”
- Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition. For the lolz. And oh boy are there lolz.
- “Chris Rice on Walking Away from The Spotlight — And His Sneak Return” on Billboard. He has taught me so much over the years through what he’s shared, and reading his approach to sharing now is another layer of inspiration for this fellow gentle creative. He always gets my big thank you.
- I’m currently reading a few books, albeit at a slow pace; you can keep up with me on Goodreads if you want “play-by-play” updates.
Also Worth Mentioning
- Lucy Boynton’s Met Gala look. The fairy queen I dream of being. I also loved Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Chan, and Zendaya.
- The Huji Cam app. I took a Huji a day this month, and it reminded me how much I like taking pictures. Huji brings a bit of almost reckless freedom to it, because the photos aren’t going to come out perfectly; they’ll have little quirks, and you expect it, so you just enjoy what they end up being. That’s a sweet thing to cultivate an appreciation for.
- The AllTrails app. I downloaded it because my mom and I wanted to find a specific trail for our long-weekend hike, and I spent the rest of the week writing reviews of every hike I can remember going on. You can see what’s near you, read reviews, check the conditions, get directions, make lists of hikes you want to try… so fun!
What fed you this month?
So many changes this month. They’re good changes, but they’ve still kind of knocked me off balance. Here are a few things that steadied me a little and brought me some joy.
- “God Only Knows” by For King and Country. I don’t know what about this song encourages me so much, but I’m often brought to tears by it. When I feel like I’m walking through life alone, being reminded that I am seen and fully understood and loved by the Lord lets me take a deep breath.
- “Build My Life” by Pat Barrett. Sang way too loudly and passionately in the car. Beautiful words carried by a beautiful, heartfelt tune.
- “Be Still and Know” by Steven Curtis Chapman ft. Caleb Chapman. The original was calming and comforting to me growing up, and this newer recording featuring his son has the same warmth with its own touch.
- “2:20” by Colony House. [Speaking of Caleb Chapman,] These guys are my absolute favorites and I saw them live this month, which reminded me how good this song is. “How am I supposed to keep on standing tall, when everything around me falls apart? I walk the narrow, I walk the line right through the door, I walk the tightrope, but I’m just like I was before.”
- “Stars” by Switchfoot. I saw them live, too, and they knock it out of the park every single time (this was my fifth, I think?). They’re legends, with so many good words and insane rock-n-roll sensibilities.
- “Call My Name” by Kirsten Collins. Her range always kind of blows me back. Such a talented woman. Both the sound and the lyrics of this song are unusually infectious; it gets stuck in my head every time I listen. “You got me laughing at our side jokes; when we talk I never feel alone.”
- “Radio Girl” by Taylor Mathews. I had randomly saved one of his songs to my Spotify and didn’t even remember doing so, but I rediscovered it and, dang, this album is great! Twenty-thirteen-era, singer-songwriter pop is a beloved genre for me and he nestles into it so well. This song in particular makes me want to dance every time. And it’s been on repeat, so a lot of dancing is happening.
- “Caroline” by Briston Maroney. A reminder that 1) all good things in life take a little time, and 2) sweet ballads can also have guitar solos and it works. “Change is hard, but it’s gonna take you far. Pick up your guitar and tell me why it’s so frustrating.”
- “Wallpaper” by Spencer Sutherland. Spencer is my guilty pleasure music. Such a talented vocalist with amazing sensibilities. “Yeah I had a bad dream about you last night, but I didn’t lose sleep, no, I slept a full night; you were passive and aggressive all at the same time, and you wonder why I’m red in the eyes.”
- Kwassa’s “fka kyko” ep. He cannot put out a less than stellar song, it’s impossible. The low notes during the bridge in “woozy”? The drop in “better”? The consistent positive vibes? And of course the songs we already know and dance to on the reg? Love him forever.
- “Fighting for The Wrong Side” by Scott Mulvahill. I’m always listening to Scott and this has always been my favorite song of his, but I’ve reached a point of processing things in my own life where I get it now. I feel what he’s saying, because it’s what I’m saying, too. He found the words and he offers them as a “me, too.” Thanks, Scott.
If you want a Spotify playlist of all of this music, I have it! I use it all year, so scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. Did I expect to break down sobbing at the end? No. Did I break down sobbing at the end? Holy cow, yes. Such a beautiful, heartwarming, bittersweetly satisfying ending to a well-written, fun, unique trilogy of films.
- I also watched How to Train Your Dragon 2 a week later because I realized I’d forgotten most of it. Also good.
- Zachary Levi’s appearance on Good Mythical Morning. Three of my favorite dudes just making me laugh for fourteen minutes.
- Continued watching The Guardian with my mom. It has gotten better; we’re almost done with season two. Most episode endings are not satisfying and they rarely revisit an arc, so from a writing standpoint I have some issues with it, but it’s engaging enough to keep me. And while most of the characters frustrate me, I also have soft spots for a lot of them. Except Lulu and Jake, we hate Lulu and Jake.
- Castle in The Sky. Obsessed with the artwork and the sweet relationship between the two main characters. I also love stories/designs that mix ancient civilizations and architecture with major technological advancement, and this scratches that itch.
- Think, Learn, Succeed by Dr. Caroline Leaf. Dr. Leaf is brilliant and shares some life changing concepts in this book. She has called it more of a textbook than anything else, and I think that’s the best way to approach it: take your time, study, make notes, and apply as you go. I’ve used her 21 Day Brain Detox in the past and can attest to the power behind what she shares, as a lot of the concepts behind that program are outlined in this book. Looking forward to seeing more results from the additional concepts as I work on implementing and understanding them. My issue with her books is consistently that she struggles to balance neuroscience jargon with layman’s terms; she either expects you to follow her complex explanations, or she simplifies so much that you can’t see a concept in what she’s saying. She’s a bit better about this in her verbal materials than in her writing, so I’d recommend watching the book club videos on her YouTube channel and/or tuning in to related episodes of her podcast in addition to reading the book.
Also Worth Mentioning
- The Churchome app. I was skeptical about an app that wants to serve as a virtual church community, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by it and the things it does– and doesn’t do. It doesn’t seek to be a replacement for the local church, rather it’s a resource and a way to connect with the global church. I especially like the “Pray” section where people can share prayer requests (anonymously, if they wish) and indicate that they’ve prayed for the requests of others. And the groups are a great idea and the “Daily Sparks” encouraging words are simple and sweet reminders.
- Italian sodas. I was never that into them, but now I work at a café and I’m waking up to how refreshing fizzy water with a little fruity flavor can be.
- Embossing. I embossed the cover on my journal after being inspired by Jenny Journals, and I love how it turned out. My mom already had an embosser she let me use, and I got my powders from Hobby Lobby (the pearlescent pink) and ButtonUpFindings (the metallic set– three for a dollar!).
What fed you this month?
Spring is so good for my soul. I never think the dark and the cold affects me too much, but then spring starts peeking out its head and my spirit immediately lifts. It also seems like my life starts showing growth when the earth does; winter was for waiting, and now spring is bringing proof that I was waiting for something. It still gets cold. But it gets brighter, too.
Here are a few things that accompanied me into the sunlight.
- “Sucker” by the Jonas Brothers. I can’t believe they’re back, and with such a jam! They were the one boy band I listened to growing up and I still think their old stuff is fantastic; it looks like they’ll only continue to be great together.
- “Broke” by Samm Henshaw. I am never disappointed with a Dave Barnes song recommendation. The groove, his voice, the danceability? Yes.
- “In The Waiting (Reimagined)” by Kina Grannis. This is my favorite song from Kina’s most recent album and I love this slightly more upbeat version of it, too.
- “Hurt Me” by Lapsley. I’ve known this song for a few years and always loved the sound, but the lyrics just recently hit me, and now it all feels so empowering. “I’m counting down the seconds that we have, I can see the end in sight at last, so if you’re gonna hurt me, why don’t you hurt me a little bit more?”
- “Elevate” by DJ Khalil ft. Denzel Curry, YBN Cordae, Swavay, and Trevor Rich. Because the Into The Spider-Verse soundtrack is too good.
- “Change on The Rise” by Avi Kaplan. Grand, resounding, almost jaw-dropping. His vocals continually blow me away and I love the style he’s nestled into.
- “Can’t Replace You” by Joseph Tilley. The bro makes jams and that’s that.
- “Stupid Deep” by Jon Bellion. This song is unmatched. The lyrics and the production genuinely blow my mind. And the video is stunning, too, wow.
- “Shake My Head” by Ivory Layne. I love the version she just did with Jon McLaughlin for his Dueling Pianos series, but any version of it is empowering and pumps me up.
If you want all of this music in a playlist, I’ve already got it on Spotify! I use it for the whole year so scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- Various John Mulaney interviews. He’s been around for a long time but only recently has he shown up on my radar. I think he’s hilarious, yet with a genuine air, too. He also carries the vibe of someone from the 1950s and it’s so cute!
- Captain Marvel. I’ve seen it twice, both times with many tears. It’s a Marvel movie and I love pretty much all of them, but one thing that stood out to strongly to me in this one was that Carol’s most celebrated superpower was her refusal to stay knocked down; her other powers were just an addition to that. There’s a wonderful amount of lady power in this movie, and it’s front and center but not defensive. So many fun characters, too. Yeah, just go see it.
- DrawingWiffWaffle‘s videos. Her art style is so fun and unique, and she experiments with different things all the time so it’s fun to explore that with her. She also has a super sweet and laid-back personality, I just enjoy every video she puts out. And she posts so often, holy cow!
- Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. It came out on dvd so you know we had to watch it again. I love it so much. Miles and Peter are both absolutely precious.
- Continued watching The Good Doctor. That season finale was so expectedly satisfying!
Also Worth Mentioning
- The new posters for Avengers: Endgame. I would never get a tattoo (needles? commitment?), but after they released these I was asking friends, “What do you think is a good placement for the Avengers ‘A’?”
- New sunglasses. They make me feel almost too good.
- The newly introduced paninis at my favorite café. Delicious. I’ve tried all but one of them but just give it a few weeks. I’m an employee there now, so I can call it research, right?
What fed you this month?
What even was this month? January seems to take an eternity, then February takes about two seconds. At any rate, I enjoyed all two seconds of it. A lot of growth happened, and kind of unexpectedly. If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve heard me mention how time is a tough love friend but really does do the trick. I was saying that and believing it, but now I’m seeing it to be true. The growth and the healing are sinking in, and the only thing that really brought the change? Time. Give yourself some time, okay? You have been given the time you need. Rest in that, and let it happen.
Here are a few things I enjoyed with some of my time this month.
- “Feelings” by Lennon Stella. Her ep was one of my absolute favorites to come out last year and I still listen to it frequently. This song in particular felt so relevant to me this month. But definitely listen to the whole ep, front to back. The way she writes makes me feel both understood and empowered.
- “The Donor Blues” by Shakey Graves. Such a good songwriter. “I sing sweet songs with the throat that belongs to her; she wears my heart and I wear her words.”
- “Boyfriend” by Big Time Rush ft. Snoop Dogg. A classic that I still kind of can’t believe exists. Stuck in my head forever.
- “Captured” by Isla Vista Worship. Good vibes, good words.
- “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Gokey. I’ve known this song for a while, but sometimes the lyrics hit you at the right time, you know? “Let the shadows fall away, step into the light of day. Yesterday’s a closing door, you don’t live there anymore. Say goodbye to where you’ve been, and tell your heart to beat again.”
- “Dirt” by Kimberly Knighton. I found her when she posted a Scott Mulvahill cover on Instagram. Her voice is beautiful and warm, and this original song of hers is so heartfelt. It somehow reminds me of the ZOEgirl ballads I listened to growing up.
- “I Forgot You” by Phangs. One of the most hope-bringing, empowering songs I’ve heard.
- “Stay Young” by Maisie Peters. The chorus is incredible and so, so catchy! I think we’re gonna hear a lot of good stuff from her.
- “NONE Of This Has Been About You” by Spencer Sutherland. The lyrics were a weird form of closure for me; I knew someone who would have said those words if they’d known how to, and it was just nice to hear someone else express it and to know it’s a real feeling/thought process. Not to mention the chorus is impossible to not scream along with.
If you want all of this music in one place, I have a playlist! I’ll be using it all year so scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- George of The Jungle. It’s been cracking me up since I was little and I don’t think it will ever stop.
- Andy Serkis Breaks Down His Motion Capture Performances. Andy is one of my favorite actors. His work changed the industry, and hearing him speak passionately yet humbly about it is a joy.
- The Grinch (2018). I know I’m a bit late, but my family didn’t see it while it was in theaters so we recently drank hot chocolate and watched it on dvd. I think the story fits well in the shorter format we’re used to, but they added some cute and sweet elements to this retelling so I didn’t feel it was a waste of time.
- This video that had my brother and I laughing to the point of my throat hurting. “–stUCK ON A SIM’S HAND– wHILE dRIVNG a CAR”
- Rosanna Pansino following a Bob Ross tutorial with frosting. Insane.
- Emily Wilson’s video about how to respond to ghosting. I started physically applauding during this video because everything she says is so right on.
- Matthew Hussey explaining the right mindset for grief after a break up. There are three snippets from his speeches in this video and they’re all good, but the last one is huge and I wish I’d heard that wording earlier in my life.
- Rosanna Pansino and Mike Lamond’s “Pancake Art Challenge.” I’m a sucker for pancake art videos. And these two are such a cute couple, I enjoy every video they put out together.
- Continued watching The Good Doctor, Worst Cooks in America, and The Guardian.
Also Worth Mentioning
- My local record store. I popped in to get an album for my mom because it wouldn’t have shipped in time for her birthday, and I could have spent a lot of time there. To quote the older woman in front of me in line: “We’ll come back to this hippie place sometime.” And to quote the other older woman with her: “You fit right in, you’re not fooling anyone, Joann.”
- Flo. Is it weird to shout out my period-tracking app? I just really enjoying knowing all I can about what my body is doing and this app is fantastic, not just for making sure I’m regular but also for understanding any hormonal symptoms I experience. I’ve been learning so much!
- My Infinity Gauntlet pin from Caped Justice Jewelry. If you’re in the market for nerdy enamel pins, this shop has a ton (plus other fun pieces) and the quality is excellent. I got mine for my work lanyard at the movie theater; it sparks little conversations quite often.
What fed you this month?
I am so grateful to be living in a new year! We definitely have many fresh starts throughout every year, but I don’t think the start of a new year is an arbitrary thing; I think being able to organize what happens in and around us with a timeline can be an empowering and healing practice. I innately remember specific dates for almost anything, so being able to live in a new January 24th and say to myself, “Last year on this day, I was unsure of how much I wanted what was in front of me. This year, I am sure of and nervous but excited about what I know I’m walking toward”– that’s huge. Here’s to more of those moments in 2019.
We’ve already gotten to enjoy so many great things this year; here are a few of my favorites.
- “One Thing” by Post Animal. I listened to their album front to back when it came out last spring, but somehow I’d forgotten about this stunner of a psychedelic track. Emotion-laced and nostalgic. I love it.
- “Let It Happen” by Switchfoot. This track from their latest album reminds me of old school Switchfoot (and also of the Goo Goo Dolls a little bit?), and I’m blown back by it. Lyrically it hits deep, and the rock anthem they created to carry it is such a great vessel. “Tomorrow knows what tomorrow knows; you can’t make it get here sooner.” I’m still digesting the album as a whole.
- “Indefensible” by Scott Mulvahill. His whole album, actually. I mentioned it a few months ago but he is just so talented at what he does and I just keep listening (and getting a teeeeny little crush).
- Scott Mulvahill and Stephen Day’s YouTube cover of “How Sweet It Is.” Obsessed.
- “In My Place” by Coldplay. After I watched their “Live in São Paulo” performance, this song was stuck in my head steadily for over a week. I tend to forget about it, but it’s such a gem of theirs.
- “May I Have This Dance” by Francis and The Lights ft. Chance The Rapper. Francis is one of my biggest musical inspirations at this stage of my life and this song will never stop being just incredible to me. The succinct lyrics, the gorgeously passionate feeling in it, Chance’s guest verses… ugh, so good. Francis is a master of intricate simplicity.
- “Young” by Parachute. I listened to them quite a bit in high school so they always kind of bring me back, in a positive way. Loving this new one from them.
- James Blake’s “Assume Form” album. Such brilliant songwriting, both lyrically and production-wise. He’s always been a unique voice and I’ve appreciated him for it, but this is another level; definitely my favorite thing he’s done. My favorites from it are the title track, “Can’t Believe The Way We Flow” and “I’ll Come Too.”
- Ripp + Rice’s “Songs We Wrote on Tuesdays” album. Chris Rice is a foundational artist for me. I grew up listening to him, being comforted and stretched by his work, and inadvertently learning about songwriting from him. He hasn’t released new music since I was in middle school, so when I found out he was releasing a project with Andrew Ripp, I was thrilled. And when it came out, I found myself almost in tears upon hearing him again. He is just home to me; his sincerity– in his writing, in his voice, and even in the instrumentation– continues to astound, embrace, and inspire me. Thank you for coming back, Chris. I missed you. The album alternates his and Andrew’s songs. Obviously I love Chris’, and my favorites are “This Ain’t No Love Song” “Nothin’ Like This” and “Gorgeous” and “See You There.” From Andrew my favorites are “Let It Burn” and “Frontlines.”
- “Blind” by PRETTYMUCH. These boys know how to make a jam. Still stuck in my head.
If you want all of this music in one place, I have a Spotify playlist! I’ll be using it for all of 2019. Pumped to see the shape it takes!
- Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Such an enjoyable experience! The animation style is so unique and appealing (there are some awesome action shots that manage to be gorgeous somehow, too), the characters are diverse and interesting and fun to follow, the story is engaging, and I walked away just laughing at what a good time I had with it. I was happy with how they celebrated so many facets of Spider-Man’s world. Definitely go see it on the big screen if you can! [The epilepsy warnings are real.]
- Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams. I finally got to watch the Coldplay documentary! It was different from what I expected, but I loved what it turned out to be even more than I would have loved what I thought it was going to be. Following the journey of artists I’ve admired for a long time; seeing how they approached things from the beginning, and how it has evolved yet hasn’t quite changed; hearing about how they’ve managed to stay together for over twenty years even through disagreements and low points; discovering how true their team-mentality is and that they all are completely invested in what they’re saying to the world… I’m inspired and a little amazed.
- Andy Serkis Breaks Down His Most Iconic Roles. He’s one of my favorite actors of all time; he’s genuinely played so many iconic roles, and because of performance capture technology and his mastery of it most people don’t even know it’s him. He’s humble about it, while also being passionate. What a man.
- Ralph Breaks The Internet. I thought it was going to be cheesy and quickly date itself because of how rapidly internet culture moves from one thing to another, but it was actually a sweet story with legitimately funny jokes and fun adventures. I don’t think it will be outdated for a good while.
- Mary Poppins Returns. Triumphant. Emily Blunt made me cry the second she came on screen, her voice is lovely, Lin-Manuel Miranda is a delight, it’s so colorful… yes.
- Aquaman. I had low expectations, but it was surprisingly a really enjoyable film! The casting is great, the modern but fantasy-driven story is engaging, the water settings are pretty, and when it’s cheesy it’s on purpose. It’s in the running for the best DC film for me. I got a t-shirt the other day.
- DrawingWiffWaffles creating her Spidersona. I’ve loved exploring #Spidersona on Twitter, and watching someone go through the process of designing theirs was really fun. Lately I’ve been getting into art channels on YouTube and letting them push me to just make stuff again. Cheyenne Barton (we all know I love her) recently did a sketchbook tour, and FurryLittlePeach is one of my favorites for stylistic creativity.
- Worst Cooks in America. So dumb but makes me laugh so much!
- Continued watching The Good Doctor and tearing up every week.
- This article on why “We Can’t Keep Treating Anxiety from Complex Trauma The Same Way We Treat Generalized Anxiety.” I wasn’t aware that I’d experienced trauma until I was in my twenties, and I haven’t let myself take that very seriously until last year. I do have GAD, but exploring how that’s connected to trauma for me has been frightening and interesting work. This article points out a few things I’ve struggled to articulate, such as why grounding and mindfulness techniques aren’t always a good idea. It reminded me to be less harsh with myself.
Also Worth Mentioning
- My sketchbook. I like having a purse-sized sketchbook I can take with me so I can brainstorm, practice, or squeeze in a little creative time whenever I have the impulse to. However, the one I’ve had for the last few years was advertised as mixed media but did not take to watercolors, which is my favorite medium and what I often use to color in my sketches. I recently found this one for super cheap, and so far I am so pleased with it! It takes watercolor very well, and it also lets me erase over and over again without rubbing off a layer of the paper. I colored in all my Inktober sketches recently, which was a blast to do.
- The All About It podcast. A sweet, intelligent, witty couple just chatting about things for an hour? Yes, please. It makes cleaning my house way more enjoyable.
- Banana bread. Easy to make, amazing to have with peanut butter for breakfast. I made two loaves within a week.
What fed you this month?
The month is over already and I am weirdly overwhelmed by how little it felt like I did in it; I actually did so much, at both of my jobs and with my loved ones. In the new year, I want to focus on not giving in to my newly discovered workaholic tendencies as much as I have been. I want to rest and to be diligent about remembering who I am and how simple things actually are.
That being said, I barely had time to enjoy art or media this month, but here’s what I made the time for:
- My Christmas playlist. All the time, pretty much exclusively. I used to be one of those “no Christmas music before or after December” people, but now I might keep listening just to have a little extra cheer during the winter; we’ll see.
- “Love Has No Limits” by Fleurie. Dreamy and lovely (as to be expected from her), with a sweeping quality.
I’ve been keeping a playlist of my monthly music favorites all year, and it’s officially complete! I have it on Spotify and on YouTube if you want to listen in on the soundtrack to my 2018.
- The Avengers: Endgame trailer. The amount of noises that came out of me when I first saw this is embarrassing but I’m not trying to hide it: I am so pumped for this movie.
- Mission Impossible: Fallout. Possibly one of the best movies I’ve seen? It’s so cool and so pretty and the characters are so lovable.
- My favorite Christmas movies. Jingle All The Way makes up half of my daily vocabulary, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town is 100% magic, and Eloise at Christmastime is an adorable little love story I also quote fairly often.
- Countless Hallmark Christmas movies.
- Venom. Weird, but also a funny and interesting take on a comic book movie. My family laughed at how much we enjoyed it. [a lot of language]
- “Lin-Manuel Miranda Answers The Web’s Most Searched Questions.” Hilarious and sweet, and convinced me I can accept the fact that I’m a Slytherin.
Literally nothing. My goal for the year was 25 books and obviously I did great: I read 7. My goal for the new year is going to be 10 (cue my mom’s laughter).
What fed you this month? This year? What would you recommend to me?
I’m not sure what to say about this month; it has hosted so much, both inside and outside of my brain, that I kind of just want to take naps all the time (though I never actually do it). I’m exhausted. I want to make December a month of being kinder to myself and setting aside time to rest and to enjoy things a bit more.
Here’s some of the art and media that entered the rush with me in November.
- “Fighting for The Wrong Side” and “Himalayas” by Scott Mulvahill. Multiple artists I admire recommended him when his album came out, and I finally got around to listening. I didn’t know he was a bass player, but he really lets that talent shine, giving his songs a homey, almost old-timey feel while still being current. And what a voice, both in singing and in writing.
- “Confidence” by CASS. She is hands down my queen of the indie Christian music scene, with her modern R&B flair and her succinct songwriting; I love pretty much everything she puts out. This song is an empowering slow-jam.
- Jon McLaughlin’s “Angst and Grace” album. There were a few jaw-drops and screeches upon my first listen-through. I love “Lost” “The Way She Is” “New Day” “Sweet Maria” and “Speechless.” He is wonderful, as always, this time throwing in a bit of a jazz flair.
- “Moonwalking” by Kwassa. Formerly KYKO, he still has not put out a song I don’t absolutely love. Such cheerful vibes and so well-crafted; you can tell he puts a ton of work into what he does. This song has been on repeat for me since he released it.
- “Good Life” by The Young Escape. A feel-good jam I dance to in the car.
- Lennon Stella’s “Love, me” ep. So well done. Her voice is unique and soul-filled, and this ep from front to back tells a story I was so grateful she vocalized. This is one of the biggest things music is for. [A little profanity in one song.]
- “Water Fountain” by Alec Benjamin. Alec has been blowing up lately (I discovered him when John Mayer praised him on Instagram), and the main reason is his songwriting abilities. His mixtape is titled “Narrated for You” because it truly is him telling stories, with visual descriptions and simple dialogue. I also think his gentle voice and the way he pronounces his words adds a bit of a conversational, “listen in” quality. “Water Fountain” is hands down my favorite song of his; I recommend the version on YouTube over the “official” one on the mixtape just because the production is a bit different.
- “Wild Love” by Cashmere Cat featuring The Weeknd and Francis & The Lights. I’m here for Francis, and boy does he show up! The list of faces I make during this song is endless.
- My Christmas playlist. I’m in the process of revamping it a little bit, but I still love what I’ve got on it right now– classics, reimaginings, newer originals, and a few VeggieTales songs for good measure.
Want all of this music in one place? I have a playlist! It’s on Spotify and on YouTube; I use it all year, so scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. I loved this movie in high school, but when I saw it while randomly browsing this month I expected it to not be as good as I remembered. Plot twist: I still think it’s great. The story is unique, not too fantastical but just enough to be fun and interesting, and the action and cinematography are still quality. There’s also a nice sprinkling of genuinely funny jokes, too.
- The Money Pit. Hilarious and my mom had never seen it before so we had to watch it. The bathtub scene, guys.
- Smallfoot. Made me emotional multiple times for some reason? A cute all-ages movie with a fun concept. Also, the music is great?!
- The Guardian. My mom and I are huge fans of The Mentalist, so when we found out Simon Baker had been in a different series earlier in his career, we were eager to try it out. So far? I like the character he plays, but honestly the episodes as a whole tend to bring me down. The subject matter (cases coming into Child Protective Services) is naturally more somber, but I think the way its handled creates a general vibe that messes with me; I might not see it through to the end.
- Ant-Man and The Wasp. My brother and I noticed a lot of “that wouldn’t work” flaws this time, but it’s still so funny and clever that we didn’t really care.
- Like twenty Hallmark Christmas movies.
- Continued watching The Good Doctor. Update: I’m starting to not hate Lea?
- Between Heaven and The Real World: My Story by Steven Curtis Chapman. Audible laughter and heavy tears in response to his stories. I grew up listening to Steven and have referred to him as my “music dad” for most of my life, so getting to read about what has gone on in his life that served as the backdrop for his music was so special for me. And his perspective on grief was impactful, too– living in the tension of honest and hopeful.
I’m on Goodreads if you want to follow my reading progress as it happens.
What fed you this month?