What I’ve Watched For Every Mood I’ve Had In Quarantine

Wow guys! Are we all so sick of quarantine? I know I am. BUT – I feel moderately optimistic. It’s basically summertime, things are slowly opening back up (which I’m nervous about but also cautiously excited for), work has kept me nice and busy, and I’d just rather focus on the good and fun parts of it all.

We all know quarantine has had its ups and downs. I’ve had real low moments of intense loneliness while I miss my friends and family, and sadness while I feel like all the things that make life fun (read: bars, restaurants, concerts, parks, travel) are temporarily on hold. I’ve also had moments where I’ve felt pretty happy with how I’ve been able to spend my time. Through it all, I’ve kept up a consistent stream of entertainment (look, don’t lie, we’re all watching more TV right now and I live alone so I need it more than others.) So I thought it would be fun to share all the things I’ve been watching, based on the moods I’ve been in during this quarantine!

Note – this doesn’t include the movies I’ve been watching as part of my movie review series on Instagram.  

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When I was ready to laugh my ass off:

For all the times I was in a great mood and wanted to keep the party going, I usually put on one of these options for a guaranteed crack-up.

Schitts Creek – The Rose family’s riches-to-rags journey is that of comedic GOLD. I can never decide what’s funnier, David’s physical humor or Moira’s pronunciation of “baby” (read: bey-bey.) The number of times I laugh out loud at this show is astonishing, and I will literally never be able to “fold in” any ingredient in a recipe ever again without saying “FOLD. IN. THE. CHEESE, DAVID!”

Brooklyn Nine Nine – I’ve got to be honest, I was never a huge Andy Samberg fan. I thought he was good on SNL but never gave him much thought. But so many people recommended this show to me, knowing my love for Parks & Recreation and The Office, so I tried it and quickly got hooked. It’s great. Andy is very funny, but the real comedic gem is the character Captain Holt who delivers some of the funniest & unexpected one-liners I’ve ever heard.

Chris D’Elia’s No Pain – Do I need to explain further? He’s hysterical! I watched the comedy special he dropped on Netflix, then immediately watched all the others ones he’s done and then moved on to re-watching all of John Mulaney’s comedy specials. They’re just so good.

 

When online dating wasn’t quenching my thirst for romance:

When quarantine first started I was highly amused with what was going on with my dating apps (you can read about it here) but as time went on I got really bored. I missed all the things that happen when you meet & fall for someone IRL, so I filled the void by watching it happen on screen.

Outlander Ohhh boy. This show. The things it’s done to me. Wow. I knew nothing about Outlander except that it kept showing up on my “recommended for you” list on Netflix. So one night at about 9 p.m, I was like “I’ll try it out and watch one episode.” 12 hours later I had pulled an all nighter and watched almost the entire first season because IT WAS SO GOOD I COULDN’T TEAR MY EYES AWAY. It has everything I could ever hope for: The 1700’s (my favorite time period to learn about), foreign scenery and accents (hi, Scotland is a dream), danger and strategy, really hot Scottish men in kilts, and a truly legendary romance. Unsure if I’ll ever be able to fall in love ever again because I highly doubt anyone will ever measure up to Jamie Fraser.

Jane the Virgin – A lot of people think this show is cheesy and ridiculous. And honestly? It is. But that’s kind of the point! It’s meant to mimic and even mock cheesy, preposterous, almost nauseatingly romantic telanovelas. I like it because it has lovable & relatable characters, dramatic love triangles, and this element of magical realism that makes it feel like you’re watching a romantic daydream come to life onscreen.

 

When I missed being with my friends:

Sometimes I just really missed the feeling of being surrounded by buddies…

New Girl – I swear, this is the only show that has ever made me wish I had roommates. Can you imagine how entertaining it would be to live with Schmidt, Nick, Jess, and Winston? There’s always some weird, hilarious thing going on and you’d be right in the center of it. For someone who lives alone, that sometimes sounds really fun.

The Bold Type – I love the #girlpower in this show, and I love watching the friendship between the three main characters because it’s pretty reflective of the honest, silly, supportive, no-bullshit friendships I have with my own girlfriends.

How I Met Your Mother – Ahhh, a classic. I’ve revisited this show so often over the years that I feel like these characters are old friends of mine.

 

When I needed an excuse to ugly cry:

Modern Love – Each episode tells a different story of love, both romantic and not. It does this amazing job of showing you how love is complicated, beautiful, wonderful, and terrible all at once. Every story is so moving that I find myself weeping by the end of each episode.

Someone Great – This movie really gets me right in the feels, I’ve watched it several times when I just need to emote. The main character breaks up with her boyfriend of 9 years after deciding to move across the country for a job (#relatable, lol) and enlists her two best friends to join her for a day of adventure in New York while she starts to deal with her heartbreak. This movie came out around the same time I went through my very similar breakup and I remember being so taken aback at how accurate it all felt. It so truthfully depicts falling in love, staying in a relationship you’ve outgrown, experiencing a heart-wrenching breakup, and beginning to move on. Even if you can’t immediately identify with any of those things, it has this way of really getting you there mentally. I found myself crying for the past version of myself going through all of that. I also found myself crying out of gratitude for all the incredible friendships I have that get me through whatever heartbreak I’m dealing with, which is also something this movie perfectly exemplifies.

Alright! That’s it! Back to re-watching Outlander. What are you all watching during quarantine?

Summer To-Do List

Happy Friday, everyone! Whew, it’s been a week. I’m so looking forward to the weekend and getting a little recharge in. It’s going to be a fun one with a girls night with my best friend, some easy baking projects, a trip to a new “croissanterie” opening, and preparing for my vacation to Wisconsin next week. I felt inspired by all the activity to put together a list of things I hope to do before the summer comes to an end. Enjoy!

Spend every opportunity by the pool.

This might come as a surprise, but the pool is my favorite form of water to play in/lounge at during the summer months. I have a lot of positive childhood memories of our neighborhood pool during the summer! My apartment building has it’s very own beautiful pool, and I figure it would be stupid not to take advantage of it (if you follow me on instagram, you know I already have been!)

Grill for almost every meal (or almost every dinner).

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Sorry, but it’s scientifically proven that grilled vegetables are better tasting. Also, kebabs are more fun to eat. And burgers. And brat wurst. Oooh, and don’t even get me started on grilling fruit to add to vanilla ice cream!

Go to an outdoor concert.

I bought tickets to see Thomas Rhett with my bff in early August at one of the outdoor venues here in Raleigh, and I’m so excited! I like country music (whatever, haters), but I love it in the summer, outside, with a cold drink in hand!

Visit the lake.

Ahhh, yes. The second best form of water! Going to my summer cabin with my family is always a highlight of the season. There are so many things I look forward to, waterskiing, swimming in the lake, reading on the hammock, biking in the woods, etc. I can’t wait!

Celebrate the Fourth of July.

My family goes all out with a visit to the local parade, a cookout, a bocce ball tournament, and fireworks. It’s the best!

Go to a baseball game at the Durham Bulls.

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I went last night with some friends and thought the park was so cute. It’s no MLB stadium, but it has a lot of good dining options, it’s well maintained, and in an area of Durham I’d love to explore a little more of!

Drink iced coffee on the balcony. 

A real no brainer. Ever since I finished my balcony, I’ve wanted to spend every opportunity out there. I start almost every day off of work with a leisurely coffee out there and it’s the very best!

Make homemade ice cream

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I’m thinking these 90 degree days call for really fun and refreshing ice cream flavors like cantaloupe or key lime pie. Yes?

Have a Harry Potter marathon.

Sure, this might be a to-do list item for every season for me. But the summer is when the new books would be released, it was usually when the movies were released, and it’s the season that holds J.K Rowling’s and Harry’s birthdays (I make it a point to celebrate, as you can see!) It’s time to re-read a book (or sevenand have a movie marathon, maybe on a rainy day?!

Go to a drive-in movie theater (and picnic in the car!)

There’s one in Raleigh I’ve wanted to check out for forever, here! Such a nostalgic activity, it would be fun to pack sandwiches, a cheese board and some wine, and load up on pillows and blankets in the trunk of an SUV!

Read at least 10 new books.

One of my favorite parts of summer is how much reading I get done! Sharp Objects just arrived in my kindle app, and I have loans out for seven other titles that I’m really excited for (I’ll be sharing a summer book review soon!) 

Visit a new spot to eat, drink, or play in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill every week

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I love this city (and it’s neighbors) so much. It seems like every week there is so much to do, something new is popping up or opening, fun events are all over the place! I love using my Offline membership to explore this town, and I want to make more of an effort to do so on a regular basis.

Go on a walk and listen to a really great podcast, at least weekly. 

I mentioned my love for both of these here! Lately the podcasts I’ve been enjoying are Armchair Expert, Asking for a Friend, The Daily, Coffeebreak Italian (see below!), Binge Mode, and The Goal Digger.

Work on learning a new language. 

Recently, I was completely inspired by a coworker who I watched seamlessly transition into speaking fluent Spanish to a client of ours. It was gorgeous and so cool. Mark can do this too, and I’ll admit I’m pretty jealous. I’ve started trying to learn a bit of Italian, since it’s closely related to Spanish (which I’ve studied for years) and because I really want to start planning a European vacation soon. Which brings me to…

Take a spontaneous weekend trip somewhere. 

I’ve had a bit of a travel bug lately, I kind of just want to pack up and fly to Europe and spend the next year there. Since I can’t do that, I figured maybe a semi-impromptu trip to a more adjacent destination might be a good compromise. There are a ton of good destinations in North Carolina alone.

 

 

 

7 Self-Care Tasks I’m Making More Time For Lately

It’s the month of looove, you guys! Hopefully you’re feelin’ the v-day vibes but also what a good month to start making self love a priority.

In this society that glorifies being busy all the time (I’m sooo guilty of this) I think there’s a huge problem of people over-exerting themselves, pushing themselves to the limit, going going going without taking stock and assessing if they’re doing enough to keep themselves healthy and happy. In a sense, we’re all pouring ourselves out without taking enough opportunities to refill our own cups!

So here are some ways I’ve been practicing self care and filling my cup back up. Some are trendy af (#wellness lol), but the reasons behind them really aren’t. Maybe it will inspire you to make your own lil’ self care routine!?

1. Using Vitamins/Supplements

At the beginning of the new year, I finally acted on a promise I had been making myself for a while now: I started taking vitamins. Specifically, I wanted some help managing my stress and energy levels. Stabilizing these feels like my life’s greatest challenge, and I know they drastically affect my overall wellbeing. I started using the company Care/of, and after taking a simple quiz about my lifestyle + needs, was recommended rhodiola and ashwagandha. I also started taking melatonin supplements at night, so I can get to sleep sooner and sleep more soundly.

Some of you might think putting this on the list is a stretch. It’s hardly a luxurious or even groundbreaking self care task. But having better sleep and more regulated stress is the foundation of my self care regimen, and this is such an easy way to achieve that. Plus, when I drink my morning warm lemon water and take my vitamins I get the same feeling as I do when I have a matching bra & underwear set on. Ladies, I know you know what I’m talkin’ about. It’s like my inner monologue suddenly turns to “I am a goddess among mortals and I have my whole life blissfully together and I am officially a true grown up.” That’s a thought worthy of chasing!

If you’re thinking of giving this one a try, I couldn’t recommend Care/of more. It’s so convenient and I really trust the vitamins I’m ingesting. Plus, taking the quiz is fun!

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2. Reading (w/ Blue Light Filtering Glasses!)

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I like myself a lot more when I spend my time reading, instead of just vegging out in front of a television. Not only does it make me feel more confident to be well read, but getting wrapped up in a new, interesting story and actually using my imagination (something grown ups don’t get to do enough!) is a nice release from the everyday mundane. Furthermore, I’m a big fan of the self-improvement genre and I enjoy reading books on professional development, how to be happier, how to be a better partner, etc. So when I read more, I’m often actively improving myself and learning new methods on seeking happiness & balance.

Most of the time I read before bed, which is a lot healthier than watching TV or scrolling through Instagram (my two worst nighttime habits). Since I mostly read on my iPad’s kindle app, I also invested in some blue light filtering glasses to protect my vision and to help prevent my mind from being constantly stimulated into “awake” mode.  I’ve linked mine here!

3. Practicing Yoga

This is definitely one of the trendier tasks on my list, but there’s a reason it’s so popular! Yoga is amazing. Countless studies exist that describe all the benefits of yoga. I love that I get a great, full body toning workout in while I work to quiet my mind. I feel so confident and zen walking out of a good hot yoga class. I’ve been taking yoga on/off for years, but it was only after I went from taking weekly classes in L.A to moving to Raleigh and not taking any for a while that I realized how valuable it was for my mental and physical health.

4. Drinking More Tea

I love coffee. I will never not love coffee. But, I also realize that coffee miiight be contributing to my anxiety. While I’m not willing to give up the stuff for good, I am willing to supplement with tea more often than I have been, for a more gentle caffeine boost. Plus, I like that different teas have health benefits that coffee doesn’t always have. I’m loving matcha, earl grey, or lemon tea in the morning and chamomile at night. I just shared the recipe for this hibiscus latte a few days ago, and it’s definitely not something you want to miss!

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5. Walking

In Ayervedic medicine, it’s said that walking is a tri-doshic exercise. This means that no matter what, it’s an exercise that can balance your body, mind, and soul without much detrimental physical strain. I find I’m so much happier when I get at least 30 minutes of fresh air and vitamin D in. It’s an opportunity to slow down, clear my head, move my body, and enjoy my surroundings. Lately I’ve loved walking to my weekly microbiology lab. I especially like to pair this activity with the next item on my list…

6. Listening to Podcasts

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For me, listening to podcasts has similar benefits to reading books except there’s more flexibility (you can multi-task!) and less commitment (hour long podcasts vs. chapter books). I listen to a pretty wide variety of podcasts: ones that tell stories, ones that provide the news in a more digestible way, ones that give business advice, ones that are truly ridiculous and only provide comic relief. My favorite by far, though, is Dax Shepherd’s Armchair Expert. It’s like being a fly on the wall in a therapy session between two incredibly interesting & funny people. Dax is so evolved, introspective, honest, and prompts such informative discussions. I’ve learned so much about the variety of perspective & the human experience, and I’ve learned even more about myself along the way. Plus, I laugh the entirety of every episode. Can you even ask for anything else?

7. Taking Myself Out For an “Unplugged” Date

This one is the hardest for me because it gets me completely outside of my comfort zone. Lately, I’ve been making more of an effort to take myself out to coffee, lunch, or dinner at one of the many spots around Raleigh that I’ve had on my “must do” list since moving here. Here’s the kicker, though: Instead of spending the whole time on my phone or finding some other type of distraction (for fear of looking aimless and strange to others) I completely unplug. I sit with my thoughts, people watch, sometimes chat with strangers (only if they seem interested), and write down thoughts/ideas/plans. It’s really challenging, but usually I come out of it having met someone new, having dumped all the thoughts swirling around my head, and having had a great meal at a fun new spot.

 

And that’s it for me! It’s fun to talk about this kind of stuff here. How are you filling your own cup? Leave a comment!

xoxo