Last year, it seemed like the general consensus was that January felt like it took two months to finally come to an end when in reality it was (somehow) only 31 days. Not so much this time around. 2019’s debut month flew right on by! At least for me . . .
Even so, I managed to pack in quite a bit. Keep reading for a not-so-quick update on all that I’ve been up to — from what I’m reading to what I’m eating, it’s accounted for here.
Nearly two months have passed since my last “Latest” post, back when I was in the thick of the spectacle that is Crazy Rich Asians. I’ve since finished it and can say with certainty that I love both the book and the movie adaptation equally, even though they are verrrry different from one another. Whether or not you’ve seen the well-recieved film, I definitely recommend picking up the book!
After about three separate failed attempts, I closed out 2018 by finally getting through Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple. The reason for my unsuccessful efforts was not due to poor writing or lack of intrigue, but simply because life just wouldn’t allow me to sit still and read the year the book was released (way back in 2012, yikes). Lucky for me (and everyone else), Where’d You Go Bernadette? was adapted into a movie starring Cate Blanchett, and its recently released trailer was just the push I needed to give reading it another go. And I’m so glad I did! If you’re unfamiliar with the premise, the book revolves around the mysterious disappearance of mother, wife, and notorious architect Bernadette Fox just before she’s set to embark on an Antarctic excursion with her brilliant daughter Bee and her Microsoft-smart husband Elgin. It’s full of moments both juicy and infuriating, as well as others that are wholesome and heart-tugging. I honestly can’t wait for the movie, set to come out in March!
I’m currently just over halfway into Nine Perfect Strangers, the second release for Australian author Liane Moriarty since her wildly successful Big Little Lies. While I’m not at liberty to give my full and honest opinion just yet, I have to say I’m just a little disappointed . . . partly due to the fact that it’s a slow burn. Like, the pace is reeeeally slow, especially when compared to the instant draw of Big Little Lies. I’ve been reading Nine Perfect Strangers since about a week into January, and it’s taken me this long to get to where I am. However, this past weekend I forced myself to hunker down on my balcony and get some reading done since it was so nice outside (lol that 45 and sunny is considered “so nice” to me now), and thankfully things have gotten a bit more interesting (read: things are getting shady AF and I’m here for it). I’ll be sure to report back with my final thoughts once I finish it.
Next on the list to read: China Rich Girlfriend, Let the Great World Spin
Watching + Listening
A direct result of me not being interested enough in what I’m reading is me picking up the remote control more and more and binging hours of Netflix and Hulu — sad, but true. I tend to stick to Netflix to get my docu-series fix, which is just what I got with Tidying Up, Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, and Fyre Fraud — all well-done Netflix originals that I would recommend to anyone! Beware of the Ted Bundy Tapes though . . . serious ~chills~ from that one. For those who love quality culinary series like Chef’s Table, I also can’t get enough of The Final Table. It’s a competitive cooking show where a selection of the world’s most celebrated chefs vie for a spot at the “final table” alongside other award-winning and renowned individuals in their field.
Where I frequent Netflix for shows and movies with more serious tones, I turn to Hulu when I’m in the mood for something a bit more lighthearted or nostalgic. Case in point: Hulu recently added the Twilight Saga to their service, and I spent last weekend holed up re-watching these angsty teen vampire movies . . . all five of them. Not something I’m entirely proud of lol.
Away from the streaming services, my friend Nick and I are completely engrossed with CW’s new show Roswell: New Mexico. A forbidden love story between an alien and a human, plus a mysterious and deadly car accident that rocks the city?! What more could you ask for? It’s just the kind of guilty-pleasure, over-the-top teen drama everyone loves but hates to admit they do. If that wasn’t enough to convince you to give it a go, the cast includes some recognizable CW veterans like Tyler Blackburn from Pretty Little Liars and Michael Trevino from Vampire Diaries, as well as some new faces that are just as easy to look at (seriously though, is it just me or does the CW cast only models in their shows?).
As far as listening . . . it’s no secret amongst my friends and peers that I’m a serious junkie for true crime podcasts. What started as a simple love of My Favorite Murder has grown feverishly to include pretty much any and every podcast having to do with murder or folklore. I seriously can’t get enough of them, especially when they’re really well done. Broken Harts was recommended to me by a coworker last week, and within two days I was all caught up with this new investigative show. I then promptly turned and recommended it to everyone else I know. It’s so. good. It revolves around the heart-breaking and infuriating case of the Hart family — the same family that was discovered dead last year at the bottom of a cliff in Northern California from a car wreck that is thought to have been intentional. I’m hooked and know you will be too.
Next on my list of shows and movies to watch: Roma, The Good Place, You, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, A Million Little Things
Next on my list of podcasts to listen to: Cold, Oprah’s Supersoul
I’ll be honest . . . I was not expecting winter in Tennessee to be this, well, wintery. I’d instead conjured up in my mind a season that was nice and mild since, after all, we’re considered to be in the south. Much to my surprise, it actually snowed this week — unexpected but entirely magical!
Since returning back to Nash from what I now know are modestly chilly temps in Southern California, I’ve quickly had to adapt to genuinely cold weather. And that means a lot of my time has been spent indoors. In a bid not to go stir crazy on the weekends by being holed up in my little studio, I’ve been seeking out different things to get me out of the apartment but still remain warm and toasty indoors. The Tennessee State Museum is one of these things. It was recently reopened after extensive renovations and it is incredibly well done. It showcases the rich and surprisingly complex history of Tennessee, from prehistoric times to current day, and includes interactive exhibits and amazing artifacts. I spent well over three hours in there one Saturday and still was somehow unsuccessful in exploring everything that they had to offer. I will definitely be going back!
On days I don’t have it in me to leave the apartment, I’ve been staying entertained by trying my hand at water coloring and hand lettering, as well as spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen. I’m at the tail-end of Whole30 (praise be), so being creative in the kitchen has been a fun challenge. I’ve also been taking a lot of bubble baths . . . half in the name of self-care, half to stay warm!
When the frigid weather breaks and us Nashvillians are able to spend time outside, I do my best to take advantage of it by going on as many runs as I can and finding new trails to hike. This past weekend I made my way to Percy Warner Park and went on a three-hour hike/walk that peaked (literally and figuratively) with this amazing view:
Next on my list to do: Candle pouring at The Candle Bar, mini road trip to Gatlinburg
Eating + Drinking
As I mentioned above, I’m just about finished with Whole30 . . . I’ll be dedicating an entire post to it in the near future, where I’ll explain whether or not it worked for me and my candid thoughts on the entire experience. With this program, you’re supposed to eliminate dairy, processed sugar, and gluten (and much more, too) from your diet, and can’t drink any alcohol (boy do I miss my wine). Because of that, I was unable to explore Nashville’s food scene this past month without feeling overwhelmed and pressured to cave into cravings, so I avoided it altogether. I figured in place of an update here, I’d go ahead and share a couple of my favorite Whole30-approved (yet delicious for any meal) recipes!
- Healthy Barbecue Chicken Pizza (I substituted regular BBQ sauce with Whole30-approved BBQ sauce)
- Banana Almond Chia Pudding
- Chicken Basil Meatballs with roasted garlic over a bed of zucchini noodles
These were so good, so filling, and will definitely have a permanent place in my recipe repertoire!
While I was back home in California and then in the throes of Whole30, a number of restaurants caught my eye and I can’t wait to try them out in the next couple of months. Included are Liberty Common, Bakersfield Nashville, and Whiskey Kitchen.
Quick Hits/On the Calendar
Here’s a quick photo diary of all that I’ve been up to the last couple of months, featuring both time spent in California and in Tenneesee:
I’m curious, what are some of the things you’ve been up to? Any good books, movies, shows that you think I’d enjoy? Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to?
Share your thoughts below!