Normally, I count down to the end of winter because nothing seems to happen during it. But this month was full of events and experiences, both externally and internally. I’m learning a lot and taking steps forward that I’ve been afraid to take; it’s scary, yes, but it’s honestly beyond time I braved a greater extent of life. Here’s some of the art and media I’ve been taking with me.
- “Clear Picture” by Montell Fish ft. CASS. I love when a song is a jam and full of uplifting truth at the same time. These two artists are some of my favorites in the indie Christian music scene right now, so I was excited to see they’d collaborated.
- “Counting Sheep” by Shakey Graves. Happy to be hearing new things from him! This song is dreamy yet gritty and I love that he’s mastered that marriage.
- “So Good to Me” by Cory Asbury. Something helpful and encouraging for me to play on repeat as I learn more about God’s goodness.
- Johnny Cash’s version of “You Are My Sunshine.” For the cheesiest reasons. Although most of it is definitely a sad song, the guitar and the calm air are lovely.
- “Good Now” and “I Forgot You” by Phangs. His new ep “Happy Season” came out this month and these two songs are my favorites from it (though the whole album’s concept is such a sweet one). Both are so lyrically on point for me; the first is wonderfully happy, the second wildly empowering in the most emotional way. And he injects such a good vibe into it all.
- “Dance Forever” by Allstar Weekend. A no-shame high school jam I rediscover every once in a while.
- The Hunts’ “Darlin’ Oh Darlin'” album. Tears came to my eyes after the first few notes, and I danced and smiled before I even knew what was happening. Listening to this album is like taking a retreat to the mountains and being filled with the assurance that everything will be okay. I am awed by it. I tried but I genuinely couldn’t pick favorites from it.
- “Ralphie” by Post Animal. They announced a new album and tour for this year, and this single that came out with the announcement is a fun hint of what’s to come. We can always count on them to take us back to the 1970s. Not that I was there to begin with but still.
- “Butterflies” by Kacey Musgraves. Such a joyful and heartfelt song about unexpected love.
- “Slide” by Chris Howland ft. Joey Jewish. Another lyrically solid jam.
- “Kings and Queens” by Mat Kearney. This is his latest release from his upcoming album and I’m a bit obsessed with it at the moment; I got to see him play it in concert this month and he was wonderful. He’s still on tour (with Andrew Belle, whom I also love and was able to chat with!) if you want to check out if he’s coming to your city!
- Cimorelli’s cover of “Now or Never.” Palpably passionate and makes me want to scream along.
If you want all of this music in one place, I have a playlist! It’s on Spotify and YouTube; I use it for the whole year, so scroll to the bottom to find the newest additions.
- Worst Cooks in America. Ridiculous and probably over 80% staged but I crack up every week.
- The Mentalist. We finished the final season this month, and I already miss spending my weekday evenings with the characters! I have to admit, the mid-season bombshell that was dropped in season six wasn’t what I expected and felt like a bit of a let down for a while, but I grew to accept it and see it was somewhat realistic, as even Jane had been surprised. And I love where the series went from there and getting to fall for some wonderful new characters. I’m glad I spent the time I did in this series.
- Bullet journaling videos. If you’ve been keeping up with me the past few months, you’ll know that I love peeking into others’ journals and seeing their creative ways of formatting and decorating everything. This month I enjoyed Kristan Makl’s 2017 flip-through and Sarah Swan’s video on how she collages her spreads (I am obsessed with her style), among others.
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Inspiring, but not in a superficial way. I hear people talk about it like it’s a movie that says, “Go travel the world!” But I see it as a movie that encourages us to be who we are and do what we long to do despite the setbacks we face. Walter is a wildly relatable, tangible character and it’s special to see him learn that lesson.
- Zozaleenie. I’ve only opted to get notifications from two of my YouTube subscriptions ever; Zoe is one of them. I cannot get enough of her content. She’s hilarious and so creatively artistic and I don’t know how she balances those things so well in her projects but I am into it.
- Kids Baking Championship. I literally refer to it as “my kids.” Like, “Ooh, my kids are on tonight!” Maybe I have a problem? But they’re all so sweet and talented, and even though it’s a competition they’re always encouraging each other in their projects. We need to get on this level, adult world!
I’m reading five books right now but I haven’t completed any of them yet because I’m trying to take care of my brain and be gentle with myself. In the meantime, I’m on Goodreads if you’d like to keep up with what I’m reading (and see my full reviews once they exist).
What fed you this month?
This tweet pretty much sums it up:
What a wild year. I’m walking into 2018 hopeful about seeing the redemption and rest that will come from all that happened in 2017. That being said, this year also held a lot of good and brought many joys. I’ve been sharing some of the art and media that pointed me to that good every month, and I hope these posts have been bringing some good into your life, too. Here’s the last one of the year.
- My Christmas playlist. Like, almost exclusively. I don’t want to encourage you to listen to Christmas music outside the proper season, but you could save the playlist for next year, right? It’s on YouTube and Spotify. You do you. I trust you…
- “WAYD” by Rusty Clanton. There’s something so sweet and nostalgic yet mature in it. I had it on repeat all day the first time I heard it.
- “Windows Down” by Big Time Rush. Because my brother posted a photo of them as a joke but it reminded me they had some jams.
- Post Animal. I’m obsessed with their 70s-inspired psychedelic rock vibe, how they take something classic yet make it uniquely their own. I’ve been listening to their entire catalogue over and over.
- “Talk:Listen” by Zealyn. So beautiful and moody. I had a sudden burst of memory from a few years ago when she was on American Idol, so I decided to see what she was up to and was so pleased to find such lovely things.
If you want all this music (aside from the Christmas stuff) in one place, I have a playlist! I’ve been compiling it all year with my monthly favorites, and I love how it’s turned out. You can find it on both YouTube and Spotify.
- Actors on Actors interviews from Variety. I love getting to eavesdrop on such unique and intelligent conversations. Recent favorites include Jeff Bridges and Matthew McConaughey, Gal Gadot and Kumail Nanjiani, Millie Bobby Brown and Evan Rachel Wood, and Hugh Jackman and Willem Dafoe; they all have great connections and obvious reverence for one another, and it’s just so nice to see, even if some of the topics go over my non-industry head.
- The Little Princess. Shirley Temple is eternally lovely and this classic, wonderful story still shines.
- Stowaway. Another Shirley Temple film I watched while visiting my grandma.
- Many, many Hallmark Christmas movies. I don’t even care that the plot is always the same, I can appreciate movies that do not at all remind me of real life and let me escape into a cheesy love story for a little while.
- My favorite Christmas movies. Jingle All The Way makes up half of my daily vocabulary, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town is just so cozy for me, and Eloise at Christmastime is one of my favorite Christmas love stories.
- Joe Keery interviews. I just love him; I feel like we’d be good friends. Favorites include this one in which he and Gaten Matarazzo give advice to strangers, this one in which he just has an interesting conversation (I haven’t watched Stranger Things because I’m a baby but he makes things fun regardless), this one in which he makes a talk show appearance and shares some funny stories, and this one in which he plays Dungeons and Dragons between questions.
- Good Mythical Morning with Jack Black as a guest. They played a game I need to figure out how to play with my friends, and they also remixed Christmas songs. But I’m pretty sure these three guys together would be absolutely hilarious doing anything.
- Castle in The Sky. I saw the first little bit of this movie when I was in grade school, but I didn’t get to finish it. My mom knew I’d always wondered how it ended so she found it for me for Christmas! We watched it together along with my brother and enjoyed the fun, interesting, fantasy-laced story.
- Thor: Ragnarok. Such a blast to watch! I love Marvel movies period, but it’s nice to see one not take itself too seriously and still be engaging and cool.
- I continued watching The Good Doctor, Designated Survivor (both currently on winter breaks), and The Mentalist (I’m on season six and it’s gotten real).
- Messenger by Lois Lowry. Not my favorite installment of The Giver series; it was just a bit messy and didn’t explain things well enough for me. However–
- Son, also by Lois Lowry, was so good. Claire is a loveable, strong character in every circumstance she winds up in and I was always rooting for her. It was interesting to see familiar territory through her unique perspective, as well as explore some new things. Not only did the book give explanations and closure I needed from the series, it was also just a good story.
I’m on Goodreads if you want to see full reviews from me and keep up with my reading progress.
What fed you this month? This year?
What. A. Month. What a year, actually. I’ve spent a lot of it in accidental isolation, so this next month (and the upcoming year) for me are going to be about ending that. Part of the isolation has meant the companionship of art and media to help me feel somewhat connected and awake. But I’m learning that having a plethora of information and ideas around me all the time isn’t always a good thing, so I’ve been reducing my intake a bit. Here are some of the things that felt worthwhile.
- “To Have You Around” by Zach Winters. Almost like a daydream. I’ve been singing it under my breath a lot.
- “Better Than I Used to Be” by Mat Kearney ft. AFSHeeN. Mat has been one of my favorite artists for a long time, and he is still consistently good. His new single is a fun pop anthem with his own unique flair. I’m hoping to see him on his upcoming tour next year!
- Jon McLaughlin’s “Promising Promises” album. A classic for me. I forget how absolutely in love I am with it; it makes me physically smile and tear up. So, so good. He’s just a master at what he does. My favorite songs from it might be “Promising Promises” “You Never Know” and “If Only I.” But seriously, listen to them all, please. I’ve been listening to so much of his music lately. He just released a Christmas ep, by the way, and it’s wonderful!
- “Show Me (Like It’s My Birthday)” by Christian Collins. If you’ve been keeping up with me for a while, you know how much I adore Chris. He’s recently resolved to put out more of his music, and not only am I proud of him, but I’m also pretty happy to hear new things from him. This is a jam.
- “Easy Love” and “Paris in The Rain” by Lauv. I love his fresh sound and his youthful yet knowing voice. You can tell he puts a lot of thought into every element of his music; both of these songs are fun to listen to, but they go deeper, too. “Easy Love” in particular has made me think a lot, about the tendency we have to sell ourselves short and deny ourselves good things because they seem too easy to be real.
- Kevin “K.O.” Olusola’s cover of “Sign of The Times.” One of the best uses of a loop pedal I’ve witnessed; gorgeous and a jam at the same time. Plus, his voice is killer and he’s simply talented in general.
- Jillian Edwards’ “Daydream” album. She’s a songwriting inspiration to me. Nearly everything she creates is like a warm and comforting lullaby, but with more complexity and finesse. Her voice just feels so kind. Some of my favorites from this album include “Apologies” and “Daydream.”
- I just pulled my Christmas playlist out of storage! I try to update it on both YouTube and Spotify throughout December.
If you want all of this music (minus the Christmas stuff) in one place, I have a playlist for that, too! It’s on YouTube and on Spotify; scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- Interstellar. I went into it thinking it was just another drama set in space, but I was so wrong. This film is incredible. The actors are top notch, the twists are unexpected and emotion-stirring, and it’s such an original, interesting story. I loved it.
- La La Land. It’s just so lovely, and easy to nestle into on a melancholy day.
- “Breaking Thor with Chris Hemsworth” on The Tonight Show. Stupid but made me laugh when I needed to laugh.
- Rhett and Link’s “Cockroach Cuddling Challenge.” I cried laughing.
- The Snow Queen, a Russian animated film from 1957. I happened upon it somehow, and it is just gorgeous. I can’t get over the backgrounds and the all the details in the artwork; the character design of the Snow Queen especially is beautiful and intimidating. It’s a magical escape to take with a unique story for an hour. There’s a 1995 English re-release in which the voice actress does an incredible job bringing the Snow Queen such power and grandeur, but the original is also available with English subtitles and I much prefer its soundtrack (and the dialogue isn’t as cheesy).
- Benny and Joon. Unexpectedly adorable. The characters are fun and interesting and I rooted for them. Its portrayal of mental illness isn’t groundbreaking, but it also isn’t romanticized or too exaggerated. [Disclaimer for those of you like me who’d want to know ahead of time: there’s one scene where you know things are getting a little spicy, but you don’t witness it happen.]
- The Giver. I wanted to see the film version after reading the book (and after becoming a fan of Brenton Thwaites). I’d heard mostly disappointed reviews, but I personally really enjoyed it. The changes they made didn’t change the core of the story. I teared up during the montages of memories, reminded that living with both joy and pain is far better than living with neither. And, of course, I thought Brenton was a wonderful Jonas.
- Arrival. I feel like I need to watch it a second time to better grasp it, but at the same time I love that my first reaction when the credits began rolling was to put my hands to my temples and repeatedly whisper, “What…” The twist was so unexpected. I love when sci-fi stories are eerie and use fantastical elements elegantly, instead of just screeching, “LOOK! ALIENS!” I loved these aliens! Because they were mysterious characters lurking in shadow, but they truly were characters and contributed so much. And Amy Adams did a stellar job in her role and for sure deserved an Oscar nomination for it.
- The first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War. Tears of joy came to my eyes. I am so, so excited about this film. We’ve been enjoying movies in this universe for ten years now, and to see it culminate in something like this is mind-blowing and just makes me feel so profoundly happy.
- Continuing to watch The Mentalist (on season five right now), The Good Doctor (it’s beginning to capture my heart), and Designated Survivor (mixed feelings but overall I’m enjoying it).
- The Giver by Lois Lowry. I was drawn to it because of the super interesting premise, and while it wasn’t fast-paced like I expected, I still enjoyed it and its cozy yet apprehensive tone; I like it more and more the longer I linger on it. Making seemingly common discoveries along with Jonas brought a renewed sense of wonder and appreciation.
- Gathering Blue, also by Lois Lowry. I love the way Lowry writes unspoken questions into her stories. While this book doesn’t have direct connection to its companion The Giver (that I know of so far, at least; I’ve just started the third book), there’s still the presence of a society that is accepted by those living in it but is also unsettling and highly controlled. The questions a story of societies like this bring up are huge and important. Yet I also like that Lowry doesn’t necessarily provide answers in her stories. Instead, she provides moments of waking up to the presence of the questions, and optimism for the future. And she uses loveable, humble characters to be the vessels of that optimism as we follow them in their journeys of waking up and becoming determined to make things better.
- “Secrets of The Marvel Universe” with Vanity Fair. I’m just such a fan of Marvel and the films they’ve been putting out the past ten years (as you well know by now), so getting to hear from the people behind it and see the new photoshoot was fun and interesting.
- I’m on Goodreads if you want to see full book reviews from me and follow along as I read.
What fed you this month?
I am always channeling Anne Shirley, but it’s especially apparent when I obsess over the natural beauty of October all month long. Inwardly, this month has been weird, but also good; I’m ready to enter into a new one with a fresh mindset. Here’s a peek at some of the art and media that kept me company as I grew.
- “The Sky is a Neighborhood” by Foo Fighters. This is going to be a classic someday. What a solid, meaningful rock ballad.
- “Diving” by Bridgit Mendler ft. RKCB. Everything about it feels so dreamy and unreal, yet it’s vulnerable, too. I’m obsessed. The music video is also cool and ethereal.
- Nick Voelker’s “Ghost Friendly” album. I so enjoy his unique acoustic-driven style and charming voice, and he pairs it with some sincere and poetic songwriting. I think every song on the album is worthwhile and good; my favorites might be “Distance” (so beautiful) “The Afterglow” “Momentum” and “Temporary.”
- Emily Hearn’s “Paris, or Wherever We Are” ep. I celebrate female artists who have rich voices, poetic lyrics, and cozy melodies. Representation is important; when we see people like us doing things we wish we could do, we start to believe we can do them. Emily is one of those inspirations for me. This is ep is lovely and tells a story between the lines.
- “Do You..” by CASS. Her passionate and modern style pairs well with her non-cliché faith-based songwriting, which isn’t something I feel a lot of CCM artists have pulled off lately; I really enjoy what I’ve heard from her.
- Will Champlin’s cover of “Angel Dream.” Gentle, emotional, and lovely laced with his wonderfully raspy voice.
- “Hericane” by LANY. I feel like I mention a song from this album every month, but I’m okay with that. “I love you still, I always will, but you’re the one in the wrong…”
If you want all of this music in one place, I have a playlist! It’s on YouTube and on Spotify; scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. I didn’t have expectations for it, since this is the fifth film in the franchise and we didn’t honestly need the fourth, but I ended up really enjoying it! The new characters are loveable and that ending was so satisfying. Also, I’m not unconvinced that Brenton Thwaites wasn’t created in a lab to play Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley’s offspring. Speaking of which…
- I’ve watched quite a few Brenton Thwaites interviews. Because after seeing him in Pirates I thought this young man had a bright future in film and I wanted to see what he was doing next. It turns out he’s not a child, he’s 28 and has a child. And he’s been acting for years and has already done a bunch of big projects both in the US and Australia; I’ve just been oblivious. Anyway, I really enjoyed this interview with him. He seems intelligent and free-spirited and fun.
- Designated Survivor. I’m not as invested this season as I was last season, but there’s enough to keep me watching for now.
- The Good Doctor. Although I stopped following his career when he landed Bates Motel (much too creepy for me), I’ve always thought Freddie Highmore was a fantastic actor. I like seeing him take on this new role of a young surgeon with autism; so far he’s nailing it! Not every episode is great writing-wise, though. And sometimes the surgery footage is too much for me.
- The Mentalist. Just started season five, and it’s getting real.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming. Because it came out on dvd and I own it and I’m so happy about it.
- Kati Morton’s video on handling flashbacks. Kati is a licensed therapist and her videos on mental health/self care are such a helpful resource.
- This Andrew Garfield interview. I get proud little sisters feelings for him often, even when he’s a goof.
- War for The Planet of The Apes. A stunning end to a stunning trilogy. My family unanimously loved it. Caesar is such a cool character and his story holds so much.
- The Sixth Sense. My brother introduced me to it this Halloween. Compelling, entertaining, and surprising. I’m not at all a fan of scary movies but this was more eerie than scary; I really enjoyed it.
- The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness. I went into it not knowing if I’d like them– and I fell in love with them. They begin with a boy named Todd who lives in a town of all men, where everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in endless streams of Noise. He’s been told their history, about a virus that killed all the women and gave all the men their Noise, but when he finds a pocket of silence (and the source of it) out in the woods, he starts learning maybe he wasn’t told the truth, and seeing how dangerous the truth might be. These are so gripping, thematically valuable, and special. I wrote in-depth reviews on my Goodreads for each book– The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and The Answer, and Monsters of Men— if you’re interested. I so recommend these books. There are also three short stories that go with the series and are meant to be “half-books,” and they’re interesting, too, though not necessary to understanding the trilogy.
- “Rumors of the Real” by Sarah Bessey. “Someday we may stand before Jesus like I stood before Van Gogh’s paintings in that gallery. We will be overwhelmed with beautiful reality, tears falling down our face, all arguments and timelines and histories and opinions and theologies cast down to roll away to the corners because their insufficiency to fully see and understand and touch the clarity of God.”
- “The Reverse Side of Hospitality” by Addie Zierman. Vulnerable and lovely insight about being on the receiving end when you’re used to being the giver. “I can invite others into the spaciousness of my own heart. I can receive the gift of a place to stay.”
- “There’s Blessing in the Longing” by Glenna Marshall. A friendly, knowing voice to sit with you in the ache for a few minutes.
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Engaging, witty, sweet, heartbreaking, and important.
- I also gave up on two books this month, because I finally realized I am not obligated to keep reading something I’m not enjoying or learning from.
What fed you this month?
Autumn is my favorite season. But, if I’m honest, I’m having a hard time welcoming it this year. Maybe because letting things die away scares me. My reminder to myself, and to you if you need it: spring comes, too. We are never left with simply a pile of dead things. Life is always just under the surface.
Here is some of the art and media I took with me this month.
- “Tenerife Sea” by Ed Sheeran. I had a dream with an Ed Sheeran song in it, then woke up and came across a video of him performing this song live, so it felt like a sign. The song ended up being just the thing I needed.
- “Malibu” by Miley Cyrus. Just a beautiful song, carrying beautiful thoughts about being surprised by love.
- “How Did You Find Me?” by Good Old War. They released a new ep this month and it is lovely; this is my favorite new song from it (my over-all favorite is “Part of Me,” the single they released earlier in the summer). Their style is comforting, somehow balancing whimsy and melancholy.
- “Grow” by Conan Gray. His voice is cozy and sweet, and this song is filled with nostalgic vibes and sentiments. A gem.
- “Old Clothes” by Ethan C. Davis. An uplifting jam. I can’t get enough of it.
- “Mockingbird” by Chase Coy. In high school, I would listen to this at the end of summer every year; I’ve ended up carrying on that tradition. I like having songs that help walk me into seasonal transitions.
- “Billion Years” by Trip Lee ft. Taylor Hill. Makes dance and weep, genuinely. “Don’t dwell on the past unless it’s Golgotha…”
- Pen Pals’ “I Disappear” ep. I’ve been looking forward to new music from this incredible duo for a while, and I am thrilled that this is finally out in the world and in my ears. Their songwriting instincts are so right on, and their style is folksy and dreamy. My favorite from it is “Before I Was Yours,” but it’s all worthwhile.
- “Poor Aurora/Sleeping Beauty” from the Sleeping Beauty soundtrack. It became a lullaby for me during this often anxiety-ridden month; helps me re-center.
- “Super Far” by LANY. Infectious.
- “Midnight Flight” by Canyon City. Comforting, joyous vibes; bittersweet lyrics. I love it.
- “Broke” by Lecrae. Simply a jam. I’m still getting acquainted with the rest of his new album, but maybe next month I’ll have an update on how I feel about it.
- “Flowers” by James Spaite. Poetry with a homey, warm sound.
If you want all of this music in one place, I have a playlist! It’s on YouTube and on Spotify. The newest additions will be at the bottom.
- Lately I’ve been obsessed with watching videos of actors (and sometimes directors and writers) talking together about their craft and the industry. So many intelligent, interesting conversations are available for us to sit in on and soak up. I really enjoyed episodes from Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” series and The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Roundtable” series featuring some of my current favorites.
- Brad & Hailey Devine. I know I’ve mentioned them before, but I’m simply in love with their travel videos. They take such gorgeous footage, and they also insert little moments and quips that crack me up. I so enjoy watching them, they seem like such a lovely family. They also run a blog that’s like a travel diary and features their photography.
- Sleeping Beauty. Watching this gorgeous film and swooning over the artwork and music is a routine hobby of mine.
- Cheyenne Barton‘s bullet journal videos. I’ve mentioned her before, too, but nearly every month she puts out another plan-with-me and it’s a lovely self care break for me. Her journal spreads are gorgeous and her chats are cozy.
- The Tourist. It’s hard for me to pin down what genre this film is. Action? Romance? Comedy? Spy movie? Whatever it is, it’s a fun and relatively light-hearted story I enjoyed on a movie night with friends.
- The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2. I love these so much. “Please don’t crush my soy nuts.”
- Wonder Woman. The soundtrack gave me major Spy Kids vibes but other than that I think she’s super cool and the story was interesting.
- Lots of episodes of The Mentalist. I don’t know why it’s the one show I watch, but it is. Currently on season four.
- “Done With God? The (Brutally) Honest Psalms Series: #1” by Ann Voskamp. Helped me let out a long-held breath.
- This interview with Tom Holland. I just adore him.
- Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke. I liked this series.The setting and the idea are both just so interesting that I’m willing to stick around for all 700-ish pages per book to spend some time with them. It has the cozy feel of fantasy stories, but it is definitely original. That being said, I wish I liked the characters more and I wish the plot wasn’t so complicated that it hinges on happenstances we’re simply asked to accept. More thoughts on my Goodreads.
- “Faithfulness, Fame, and The Gift of Obscurity” on Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing podcast. I don’t have section for podcasts since I hardly ever listen to any, but this one was soul-speaking. I have to share it. You can also read the transcript if that’s your preference! I am wildly fearful when I have to make any decision, and her advice is so helpful.
What fed you this month?
I’ve been able to go on a few adventures this month, both with my feet and my spirit. Here are some of the things in the art and media world I found a long the way.
- Kina Grannis’ cover of “The Middle.” I took it with me in my heart, without meaning to, on my first plane trip. It was a hug all day long.
- “I Think I’m in Love?” and “Times Goes By” by Phangs. I’ve loved Phangs since I first discovered him at the beginning of the year, and I’m so happy his first album is now out! These two songs are my favorites from it; meaningful and fun to listen to.
- “Fineshrine” by Purity Ring. An especially brilliant gem from Colony House’s Summer Jams playlist. Psychedelic and modern and emotional, like it came from a fairy land.
- “Good Girls” by LANY. Kind of a guilty pleasure song for me. “Nothing is better than what we felt together at home…”
- Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed’s “Magic & Bird” album. The basketball references go over my head but I don’t even care; they manage to pack a lot of good ideas in with the fun. Every track is honestly a jam. My favorites (apart from the singles) might be “Say Less” “Break Bread (ft. Beam)” and “Team (ft. Beam).” I got to hear some of it live when I saw Andy in concert this month!
- “I Like Me Better” by Lauv. An adorable, infectious summer anthem, one to put on repeat and dance to.
- Civil Twilight’s acoustic version of “Dancing With Myself.” Just lovely. I want to lie on the floor in my bedroom after sunset and listen to it over and over.
- “Everything Has Its Place” by Young Mister. Beautiful and introspective.
- “Open Your Eyes” by Alter Bridge. Okay: I have no clue how I found this. Did someone tweet it? Did I hear it in the background of something? Did Jesus omnipotently put it in my “watch later” list? Who knows. But I’m sold regardless; this is the soul-moving kind of rock I grew up loving.
- “I Disappear” by Pen Pals. Their music has meant so much to me, and I am thrilled that they’re releasing new things. This first single is already a home.
- “We Find Love” by Daniel Caesar. A lovely slow-jam with a classic, polished feel.
- “I’ll Find You” by Lecrae ft. Tori Kelly. An encouraging anthem I needed.
- St. Woods’ cover of “The One That I Want.” Talk about transforming a song and making it your own! I didn’t even recognize it. So, so good.
- “Darkness” by Josh Schott. Moody, unique, infectious.
- Andrew Belle’s “Dive Deep” album. I’ve been looking forward to this for so long, it’s been four years since Andrew released an album, and I can now say– this was so worth the wait. I am completely enchanted with it, and it’s masterful, emotional substance. It captures a piece of the fear and glory that come with learning to be vulnerable. I genuinely love every song; I tried to pick favorites and I just can’t. I urge you to give it a listen.
- “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)” from The Hamilton Mixtape. Makes so many good points.
If you want all of this music in one place, I have a playlist! You can find it on YouTube and on Spotify. Simply scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- The Money Pit. I love Tom Hanks and this oldie of his is super funny and cute.
- Star Trek Beyond. Not normally a Star Trek fan, but this was a cool film.
- Timeline. My aunt recommended it; I watched it at her house during my visit. A fun adventure with a little sci-fi, a little history, and a good amount Gerard Butler.
- This video from “I’m With the Banned,” a campaign by Spotify. Inviting musicians from the countries on the travel ban and musicians from the US to collaborate in Canada was a great idea, and displays the humanity in a situation that should not be this complicated. We are all the same. We belong to one another.
- Rise of The Planet of The Apes and Dawn of The Planet of The Apes. I did not expect to like these as much as I did. Compelling, well-written, and thought-provoking. Andy Serkis is a powerhouse. Can’t wait to see the third film!
- This wonderful episode of Tell My Story. This series can either be fun or frustrating (I guess anything focused on assumptions and connection can be), but these two are hands down my favorite pairing we’ve seen. They’re respectful of one another, they’re honest, they’re fun, and their chemistry is so visible. I was embarrassingly giddy.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming. Yes, I did go see it again. And yes, I still love it so much, in so many ways. Shout out to Rachel for inviting me!
- Riz Ahmed on The Tonight Show. Because he’s intelligent and hilarious and I could listen to him tell stories all day.
- Speaking of Riz Ahmed, I also listened to this speech he gave about the difference between diversity and representation, and our need for both; so interesting and informative, not to mention well-spoken. [It was a speech given to British politicians so a bit of it may not apply to everyone, but still a worthwhile listen.]
- Stuart Little. I forgot how badly I want Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie to adopt me into their adorable New York City household.
- “Don’t Be a Sucker,” a short educational film produced by the US military department in the 1940s about detecting fascism. The title is a little silly, but the content is so right on and uncomfortably relevant. I encourage you to watch at least the first five minutes. “You see, they knew that they were not strong enough to conquer a unified country, so they split Germany into small groups. They used prejudice as a practical weapon to cripple the nation.”
- “Jimmy Fallon Addresses the Events in Charlottesville.” Important, straightforward, and well put.
- Sleepless in Seattle. Another Tom Hanks one. Crazy but cute.
- Inception. I never get tired of it; the symbolism stuns me more every time.
What fed you this month?
We’re two-thirds into summer now, and I’ve consistently run into beautiful, fun, soul-feeding things that I would absolutely love to share with you. I’ve been taking a break from my regular writing (last month it was unintentional, this month it was on purpose because self care is real), so thank you for sticking around and enjoying some good art with me in the meantime.
- “13” by LANY. I have a few friends who listen to them so I tried out their new album, and this was the song that hit me in the right spot. Their sound is fresh while also being synth-infused and nostalgic, I really like it, but most of the time I was a bit torn lyrics-wise.
- “Lovely Child” by Ghost Friendly. I’ve loved Nick’s voice since the Two Worlds days, and it’s wonderful to see him continue to make music; he’s always been fantastic and he only gets better.
- “Cobalt” by Jessica Frech ft. Sarin.Us. Such a lovely, happy vibe to this! I’ve listened to it over and over.
- “Fleeting Moments” by Nick Primuth. Came on while I was listening to my comfort playlist on a night I couldn’t sleep; it was a hug.
- “Honey and Milk” by Andrew Belle. He’s one of my favorite songwriters, both lyrically and in the feelings he manages to capture in his sound. This new song stole my breath; there is something so special about it. Seriously can’t wait for his upcoming album.
- “Goodbye” by Echosmith. I’ve enjoyed their work in the past and their new single is definitely up to par. I love how they mix gentle acoustic guitar with fun modern pop. “When you finally find yourself, tell him I said goodbye…”
- “Stay Happy” by Broken Social Scene. It feels like I’m at a concert every time I listen to this. Passionate and fun with a bit of a 70s vibe.
- “Wall” by James Droll. Moody in the best sense, laced with his smooth voice and thick with a kind of resolute emotion. “And my tears won’t fall for you, like I did…”
- “Beth” by Kina Grannis. Stunning in every possible way. I am obsessed with this lullaby-like ballad.
- “Judo” by Magic & Bird (Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed’s new project). What. A. Jam.
- Relient K’s “Forget and Not Slow Down” album. It is always an essential summertime album for me. The vibe is fun and energetic, but lyrically it is so bittersweet, and I love how well that contradiction works. My favorite song from it is “Over It,” but I love all of them; one of the best things about this album is the story to be found in listening to it front to back.
- “One More Light” by Linkin Park. In memory of frontman Chester Bennington.
- “Moonlight” by Grace VanderWaal. This girl’s voice paired with her candor in songwriting… it’s a magic spell that makes you feel what she’s feeling. I love everything she puts out.
- “Part of Me” by Good Old War. Their music is so often a home for me. “There’s always a place for you here in my wild heart…”
- “Looking Too Closely” by Fink. Reminds me of thoughtful summer evenings. Beautiful and sweeping and something I needed.
If you want all of this music in one place, I have a playlist! It’s on YouTube and Spotify; scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming. I told Twitter all about how deeply I love this movie. I am so, so happy with it. Spider-Man is my favorite, and this film does it right.
- Iron Man. I hadn’t seen this film since around the time it came out, so I wanted a refresher. I really enjoyed it, and knowing what all the Marvel movies since have grown into made it extra special to see the first piece of the puzzle.
- “Rogue One Stars Answer the Web’s Most Searched Questions.” Every single one of Riz Ahmed’s answers kills me, and Diego Luna is precious.
- Spider-Man 2. I glean something from every viewing of every Spider-Man movie. This time, Peter’s struggle to choose between what he wanted and what the world needed from him spoke loudly, as did his words that solidified his choice: “There are bigger things happening here than me and you.”
- “You Are Not Your Sexuality,” a talk by Sam Allberry. Not everyone is going to like this, but I promise: it is so empowering. So many things we associate with our identity (whether it be our sexuality, our addictions, our hobbies/talents/occupations, anything) have no real say in who we are. You are not defined by anything apart from His love for you. Period.
- Johanna Clough’s art journal flip through. I love seeing inside these things! She also has a series where you can watch her process as she makes individual pages in her journal, and I so enjoy it.
- Collateral Beauty. A few friends came over and watched it with me after I raved about it; I love this film so much. Love’s second speech sticks with me.
- Various interviews with the Spider-Man cast, such as: this one with Tom Holland that is just super fun; this one with Tom and Zendaya hosted by an adorable child; this one with Tom and Jacob Batalon that cracks me up (and also gives me big sister feelings, haha!); this one with Tom in which he admits “I am a walking meme”; this one with Tom in which someone finally gets him to sing; this one with Jacob in a comic book store that made me want to go comic shopping…
- The Amazing Spider-Man, both the first and the second film. I wanted to rewatch them after all the recent Spider-Man hype. While they are probably the least Spider-Man-like of the different movies we have to choose from, I can still enjoy them if I don’t think too hard about it. I still want to cry with Peter at the end; Andrew Garfield is a solid actor, despite the writing.
- “How Emotional Abuse From My Childhood Makes It Hard to ‘Take Up Space’ Now” by Juliette Virzi. Relatable and articulated so well.
- A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. Enjoyable and thought-provoking, though I’m not sure how much I actually agree with the main thesis. I wrote a full review on Goodreads if you’re interested in that.
- “That Time I Said, ‘Yes,’ When I Really Meant ‘No'” by Rebecca Reynolds. The circumstances that brought this piece about are messy, but I just love the way the author captured what confusion through our convictions is like and shared what she’s found to be true there. So aptly worded. “I didn’t wonder if there were exceptions to the rules because I wanted to defy God. I didn’t waver because I wanted to be a relativist. I wavered because I was overwhelmed watching someone I loved suffer at close range.”
What fed you this month?