This last month of May had me away from home for two different weekends, working a weird shift for a week while someone was on vacation, and taking advantage of new career opportunities. But in the hustle and bustle of it all, I really tried to focus on self-care this month … I’ve started running (just a little bit!) again, I’m trying to sign myself up for more yoga classes, and I’m putting a focus on spending more time outside on the weekdays when sometimes that’s hard to do! Lately, I’ve just had so much going on, and I’m trying to remember that it’s okay to say no to things and take care of yourself or do the things you really want to do sometimes instead.
THE MONTH OF MAY, IN REVIEW:
A coworker of mine lended me an easy read this month, called Martin, by Nic Stone. It’s a short novel about a teenaged African American boy, named Justyce, who gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, loses his best friend in the midst of it all, and repeatedly asks himself, “What would MLK do in this situation?” It’s a really great read on race and, I think, really relevant in today’s society. You can pick this one up and read it in two days.
I’m looking for someone to pass this novel on to! Something I love to do with books that I own is jot my name and city down in the cover and pass it along to the next person where they’ll do the same … it’s fun to get a book and see all of the places that it’s been before you!
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile on Netflix is about the life and crimes of the serial killer, Ted Bundy (played by Zac Efron) as told through the eyes of his then-girlfriend. If you’re more interested in the actual murders, I would recommend watching The Ted Bundy Tapes on Netflix, directed by the same director. This dramatized movie, however, focuses more on how the public viewed Bundy — handsome and charming. It almost wants you, the viewer, to like him; or at least understand why the public was so fascinated by him. Either way, it was entertaining and a less-gruesome way to get involved in the Ted Bundy Mania going on right now!
Wine Country on Netflix follows a group of six 40-something-aged friends who throw together a week in Napa Valley to celebrate one of their 50th birthdays. The cast consists mostly of SNL stars like Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph, and while I wouldn’t give this film five stars, I also didn’t want to turn it off in the middle of it. It was entertaining, and ultimately is making fun of the ritzy-ness that is Wine Country, and the sometimes dramatic friendships between women. Sometimes you just wanna have a girls night in with a class of wine and a bowl of popcorn, and this movie was great for that kind of night.
Laur and I also went to the theatre this month to see Book Smart, starring Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein. This is a coming-of-age, Indie film about two girls graduating at the top of their high school class, who decide that they need to have one wild night out with the rest of their grade before their graduation ceremony. It is hilarious. I feel like all of the actors that they chose are on that cusp of becoming really really huge. I loved it. It’s fast-paced and fresh and will make you laugh! It is rated R, so be aware of who you’re taking to see this film!
This month I had the challenge of creating two college pennant weavings that I’ve never attempted before: Notre Dame and a Texas Longhorn. The Longhorn, especially, made me nervous, but once I sat down and drew things out, the bigger picture became smaller. I really felt like these pieces have given me a newfound bit of confidence that I can create anything that I set my mind to!
While I was back East for a few days, my mom taught me how sew a zipper! Something I never quite knew how to do, but it changes everything! And you know what? It’s not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. So this month I did my first zipper project: a new bed cover for Marty, using a denim fabric. I love that I can simply slip it off and throw it into the wash and it comes out like brand new!
I revisited an old recipe from one of my brother’s friends: Baked Mac n Cheese, for a little get together that our neighbors were having. Josh was smoking a bunch of meat and ribs, so Mac n Cheese felt like the perfect side dish. This specific recipe makes a full 9×12 dish + an 8×8 dish … and all of it was eaten! That’s a success in my book.
Al picked out two great recipes this month…a Chili Chickpea & Veggie Grain Bowl and Vegan Street Tacos (although ours had cheese so not totally vegan), both from the Fit Men Cooks blog. I especially loved the street tacos once we added a little bit of hot sauce to them. These would be great for a small get together, as you can have everything diced up and in bowls and people can make their own tacos … I love using the really small tortillas … and it’s a great meat-free option to your weeknights!
We celebrated Cinco de Mayo with some friends this year in a less-traditional sense … meaning instead of Margaritas, we had lots and lots of beer! We met up in Downtown LA at two difference breweries: The Arts District Brewery and Angel City Brewery, both of which have great outdoor seating options and are a walkable distance from one another. It was a gorgeous afternoon, so being outside while drinking beer with friends, was all we really wanted! It felt like the perfect kickoff to the month and summertime.
I had a week this month where I was working a weird 3pm – 1am shift while Al was off the same week between gigs … we took advantage of our mornings together by going to some of our favorite local spots.
We took Marty to a new (to us) off-leash dog area in El Segundo. It’s a great 2-3 mile “hike” that has a fun little forest area as well as a huge sand dune that dogs just love. Everyone we’ve met there — human and dog — has been so friendly. It’s a great way for us to exercise Marty and ourselves without having to worry about off-leash laws.
We also treated our little man to a morning at Huntington Dog Beach where we ran up and down the beach probably a dozen times. It’s a little less crowded on the weekdays, so it was fun to take advantage of being able to go then. We stopped at a new coffee shop down there afterwards: 602 Coffee House, which is very dog-friendly and delicious! Try one of their bagel sandwiches.
And then we used one of our mornings together to walk to our local coffee shop, Pursue Coffee and Tea, which is just a mile away from us. I can’t stress enough how good their beverages are … they put a lot of time into every single drink that they make.
This month I definitely earned some airline miles, with a trip back to PA to surprise my mom for Mother’s Day (!!) and a trip to Durham, North Carolina, to celebrate a friend from college.
My brothers, dad, and I schemed together to surprise my mom for Mother’s Day at our favorite brewery in Hershey: Troegs. She was shocked…it was one of the greatest things ever. And although it rained most of the time I was back in PA, I didn’t mind one bit. I got to spend so much time with my brother, my mom, and my dad, playing lots of cards, drinking lots of coffee and beer, sewing, painting at Wildwood, bowling, and doing a little bit of downtown exploring. I think we also broke the record for Longest Uno Game Ever Played … hahaha!
My PA trip turned out to be a bonus trip with a night spent in Philly. My friends Laur and Mat just moved there and were so incredibly kind enough to be my rides to and from the airport and Harrisburg! It was great getting to see their new place, their pups, and their new neighborhood of Manayunk! Some of our other friends even popped into town for the evening so that we could all get some quality time together. I felt so loved that everyone changed up their weekday routine to spend some time with me. All the feels for my girlfriends !!
Some girlfriends and I spent a weekend in Durham, NC (my first time!) to celebrate our friend Val, who is newly engaged, a new(ish) dog mom, and a new homeowner!…and new to Durham! We thought it would be a good idea to come to her this year and check out her new neighborhood and life! We had a great time checking out the little downtown area as well as some of Duke’s campus and gardens … everything was so green! But overall, it was just great getting to spend some time with old friends. It never matters where exactly you are, but just that you’re there together. Thank you for having us, Val!
Al has got me on a Dead & Co. kick this month. And the new Lizzo album has been playing through my car speakers nonstop when I’m out and about!
This month we celebrated Memorial Day with a visit from our San Diego friends, Zach and Alicia! This was their first time visiting LA, but I wanted to keep them in the Southbay this time … so we went on a nice mid-morning hike in Palos Verdes, checked out Fiesta Hermosa, and had some rooftop Mexican food and drinks for dinner at sunset! I think we walked a total of 11 miles that day and we were exhausted afterwards! I couldn’t be happier that they’re living so close to us now!
And of course we celebrated Mothers Day while back in PA. We not only celebrated our wonderful mother, but also my sister-in-law’s first official Mother’s Day! It was my first time seeing my mom and dad as grandparents and it made my heart feel so full. Sometimes it’s just nice visiting family during a non-huge-holiday, because you really just get to do normal life with them again, which is always the things that I miss most with living so far away.
And that sums up my month of May! Please keep our little family in your thoughts as we’re currently undergoing some medical emergencies with our bully Marty.