Last “little things” loves of 2019! (December Favorites!)

Here we are at my final “favorite little things” post of 2019! Somehow, I found a lot to include on December’s list. Let’s jump right into the goods, eh?

 

1). Knives Out

 

 

I love going to the movies on my birthday. This year, I chose Knives Out, and it was a fabulous good time. A classic “whodunit” murder mystery, this film exemplifies outstanding film-making on every level. Daniel Craig with a Southern gentleman accent was a bit disconcerting at first, but it was a part of the fun! Daniel Craig, right? I hadn’t been aware of his gift for comedic timing, either. The entire cast was excellent, but I was particularly impressed with Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas. Highly recommend this one.

 

2). Reprisal (Hulu Original Series)

 

 

Hulu’s Reprisal left us immediately counting the days until S2 drops next year. This was one of those series that started with a slow burn, then fully spread and intensified until we were thoroughly captivated by the end. Reprisal is easily one of my favorite series of 2019.

 

3). The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (S3) (Amazon Prime Original Series)

 

 

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel continues to be marvelous. I’m endlessly impressed with this entire production, and Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein are superb! Also, for me, as far as period pieces go, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel spectacularly fills the void left by Mad Men. Looking forward to S4!

 

4). You (S2) (Netflix Original Series)

 

 

I’m not sure where to begin with Netflix’ You, so let me just sum it up with my appreciation of how the writers took Joe’s shenanegans to another level in Season 2… and how the twist at the end is one of the most brilliant twists I’ve seen in a series. Like Reprisal, Callaghan and I were kind of “eh” at the start, but by episode 4, we were ALL IN. One aspect I particularly enjoyed this time was the added depth given to Joe’s complex psyche. Season 2 is deeper, crazier, more surprising, and just as outstanding as Season 1. You is a rare series in that I actually enjoyed its second season even more than its first.

 

5). Miyoko’s Un-Lox Your Dreams Vegan Cream Cheese. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Miyoko’s Un-Lox Your Dreams Vegan Cream Cheese

 

INGREDIENTS: Organic Cashews, Filtered Water, Organic Coconut Cream, Sea Salt, Organic Seaweed, Vegetable Juice For Color, Spices, Cultures.

December started out as I was beginning to eat solid foods again. I felt that I had a lot of catching up to do, and I definitely had several pounds to re-gain after November’s post-oral-surgery menu. This may have biased me when I went to taste Miyoko’s “Un-Lox” vegan cream cheese flavor, but I’m pretty sure that I’d like it just as much under normal circumstances. I haven’t tried a Miyoko’s product that I didn’t like, after all.

 

6). World Cuisine Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas (Sea Salt). (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

World Cuisine Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas (Sea Salt)

 

INGREDIENTS: Organic Chickpeas, Organic Expeller Pressed Canola and/or Organic Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Organic Rosemary Extract, Ascorbic Acid.

I’m still not biting into anything hard with my front teeth, but I started tossing crunchy snacks into my mouth again around the third week of December. The savory such food I went for was roasted, salted chickpeas. The first few bags I devoured were these from Saffron Road, and then Callaghan went ahead and got me a huge bag of whatever the brand is they have at Costco. Salted crunchy chickpeas are all the same, and they’re all delicious! They’re crunchy, but they’re not hard, corn-nut-level crunchy. I’ve been mixing these chickpeas with raw almonds for my afternoon nosh.

 

7). Trader Joe’s Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Trader Joe’s Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce

 

INGREDIENTS: Coconut milk, water, green curry paste (shallot, lemon grass, garlic, green chili, galangal, water, salt, coriander seed, Thai lime peel, ginger, turmeric, white pepper, cumin, citric acid), cane sugar, rice bran oil, modified cornstarch, basil leaf, green chili, salt.

Trader Joe’s satisfied my recent cravings for curry with its prepared green curry simmering sauce. A typical fast, processed lunch I enjoyed in December consisted of Trader Joe’s frozen rice medley (red rice, brown rice, and barley, I think) with this sauce mixed into it. It was like a quick and dirty Thai risotto. I must’ve curried myself out for the time-being, though, because I haven’t been wanting it lately! I loved it and loved it and loved it, and now I’m done. No doubt I’ll cycle back around to it at some point, though.

 

8). NYX Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil (True Beige Buff). (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

NYX Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil

 

This tinted moisturizer became my new ride-or-die foundation the second I tried it from the tester at Ulta. I wear the shade True Buff Beige, and it’s a perfect match. A little goes a long way when you apply it with your fingers! I use a pea-size dab on each side of my face, and that’s it. I don’t know what else to say about it, really. It just works for my skin, and it’s lovely and it feels amazing and it’s vegan and affordable and available in every drugstore, and, well, I’m going to cry if NYX ever discontinues it. That is all.

 

9). The Body Shop Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask

 

I said that I wasn’t going to go crazy on The Body Shop’s website this past Black Friday season, and I didn’t. I only purchased a few items, and I got them at astonishing prices. It had to be one of my proudest retail moments when I ordered $41.00 worth of stuff from The Body Shop and checked out at only $11.60! I had $19.50 worth of promotions, including a $5.00 coupon found by the Honey app, and I also used my birthday month $10.00 voucher. I love that my birthday month is also Black Friday/seasonal scent month! The Body Shop’s seasonal scents are my favorites, as you’ll see in the entry below.

Oh, but first, this mask, you guys. From the first time I used The Body Shop’s Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask, I knew that it was what my skin had been needing. It’d been months since I’d done a daytime mask of any kind. I’m so glad that I tried this one. Another new favorite-favorite, for sure.

 

10). The Body Shop Juicy Pear seasonal scent (body butter). (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

The Body Shop Juicy Pear (2019 seasonal scent) (body butter)

 

Juicy Pear is one of those seasonal/limited edition scents from The Body Shop that I wish would stick around, it’s so good. It doesn’t really smell like pears to me. It just smells divine. If only they’d keep it and make a spray fragrance of it….

 

11). Crystal Mineral Deodorant Roll-On (Vanilla Jasmine). (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Crystal Mineral Deodorant Roll-On – Vanilla Jasmine

 

I ran out of deodorant and decided to try this Crystal roll-on. The Schmidts deodorant worked well for me, so I was surprised that this one worked even better. In fact, it works better than most non-natural deodorants I’ve used! The scent I chose is vanilla jasmine, but it smells herbal and crisp and kind of masculine to me, which I like in a deodorant.

 

12). Jason Powersmile Anti-Cavity and Whitening Gel. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

JASON Powersmile®
Anti-Cavity & Whitening Gel
Powerful Peppermint

 

Again, necessity gave me an excuse to try something new. I’m happy with everything this toothpaste has to offer, but my favorite thing has to be its sharp peppermint flavor. My teeth and mouth feel super clean and fresh after brushing with it, and again, a little goes a long way! A small dab on the toothbrush is enough.

 

So… that is IT for 2019! I hope your New Year is off to a wicked good start.

 

 

No tricks, all treats. (November Favorites!)

In this “monthly favorites” post, I’m doing something different in including a few recipes. I figured, why not? I believe it was last month that I started posting food ingredients, so this is just an extension of that. If I discover good recipes, then I should share them with you, after all. Good recipes are definitely “little things” that qualify for the “favorites” list.

November was fairly low-key. We saw one good film that we loved, one good streaming series that we enjoyed (and that we’re still watching), one bad series that we also enjoyed, and the new Jack Reacher novel came out at the end of October (which I’m still reading, as I got a late start), and I discovered awesome foodstuffs even before I could eat “for real” again toward the end of the month.

Let’s go!

 

1). Ford v Ferrari

 

 

Fabulous, entertaining flick. Matt Damon and Christian Bale have great chemistry, and if I ever doubted that either of them could act, I’m not doubting it now!

 

2). Sneaky Pete (Amazon Prime Original Series)

 

 

After passing over this Netflix Original Series for years, we finally landed on it and decided to try it. We’re almost at the end of Season 1, and we’re into it! Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) is one of the crime thriller series’ co-creators, and he’s featured in it, as well. It’s interesting to see him in a role other than Walter White. I’m always a little thrown during his scenes. Aside: It’s funny how an actor becomes a character so thoroughly that they’re always that character, no matter how talented they are. In my mind, Jeff Bridges will always be The Dude. Bryan Cranston will always be Walter White.

Anyway, we’re enjoying Sneaky Pete. You might like it, too.

 

3). The Mist (Netflix)

 

 

Here’s the series that apparently everyone in the world hated except for us. I’ve read nothing even remotely positive about this badly rated series, but we really enjoyed it! Granted, I haven’t read the novel, nor have I seen the film version of the story, so I had no basis of comparison… yet there were many others new to The Mist who gave this production a thumbs-down. At any rate, we got into the story and had ourselves a good time watching the series on Netflix.

 

4). Blue Moon (new Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child)

 

“Blue Moon” by Lee Child (Jack Reacher novel, 2019)

 

I’ve only just started reading Lee Child’s new Jack Reacher novel, but I liked it from its opening pages. I would love to get inside Lee Child’s mind to see where/how he comes up with his plot ideas. How many different sorts of adventures can one character have? Reacher lands in the middle of some shit going down every single year. I like some of the stories more than others, but I’m always impressed. REACHER FAN FOR LIFE OVER HERE.

 

5). Vega Protein Nutrition Shakes. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Vega Protein Nutrition Shakes

 

These ready-made protein shakes saved me in the month following my surgery! I’d usually mix up my own, but drinking two of these a day, it was just easier to grab them from the fridge. I like both the chocolate and the vanilla, but the chocolate is my favorite!

Ingredients and nutrients in a nutshell and quoted directly from Vega’s site (“sic” all the way through):

  • 20 grams protein: each bottle has 20 grams plant-based protein from a multisource blend of pea protein, hemp protein, and pumpkin seed protein
  • Veggies & greens: with ingredients including spinach powder, kale powder, carrot juice powder, and organic spirulina
  • 25% DV of at least 11 vitamins and minerals
  • 3-4 grams fiber: Vanilla flavor has 3 grams fiber, or 12% DV, while Chocolate flavor has 4 grams fiber, or 16% DV. The fiber in both flavors comes primarily from flaxseed
  • 1 gram Omega-3 ALA: You’ll get essential fatty acids from flaxseed

 

6). Imagine Organic Miso Broth. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Imagine Organic Miso Broth

 

INGREDIENTS: Filtered Water, Organic Yellow and Red Miso Paste (Organic Whole Soybeans, Organic Rice, Sea Salt, Koji Starter [Aspergillus Oryzae]), Organic Flavors, Organic Onion Powder, Natural Flavors, Organic Evaporated Cane Syrup, Organic Potato Starch, Yeast Extract, Organic Ginger Juice, Organic Expeller Pressed Canola Oil and/or Organic Safflower Oil and/or Organic Sunflower Oil.

This miso broth was another life-saver, the warm and savory to Vega’s cold and sweet. I love adding silken tofu to this broth. Did you know that you can eat silken tofu without chewing it? Neither did I.

 

7). Mandarin oranges.

 

Mandarins

 

Once I could eat again, I found that mandarins are great for when you can’t bite into fruit and you want to add to your selection of bite-size options. I’ve been cutting up strawberries and tossing them into a bowl with red grapes and mandarin slices to make a little bite-size fruit bowl for dessert, and it’s wonderful!

 

8). One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Oat Vanilla Chia Granola. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Oat Vanilla Chia Granola

 

INGREDIENTS: Sprouted gluten-free organic oats, organic cane sugar, sprouted organic brown rice, organic sunflower oil, organic flax seeds, sprouted organic sunflower seeds, organic chia seeds, organic vanilla, unrefined salt, tocopherols (Vitamin E).

This granola! Is so! Delicious! Enough said.

 

9). Impossible Pumpkin Pie (recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie). (Vegan)

 

Impossible Pumpkin Pie, aka Crustless Pumpkin Pie (recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie)

 

WHAT I PUT INTO THIS PIE: Pumpkin puree, plain unsweetened soy milk, flaxseed meal, agave syrup, whole wheat flour, canola oil, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt, baking powder

(For the exact ingredients list, see Katie’s recipe)

The whole concept of Thanksgiving is still somewhat foreign to my French husband. He never liked pumpkin pie, and he typically dislikes pumpkin anything (pumpkin is very New World and pretty much doesn’t figure in French cuisine), but he loved this pie that I made for Thanksgiving this year! I loved it, too. I made another one this morning and took the pic you see above.

This dessert is called “Impossible” because it’s a crustless pie. The flour you mix in with the other ingredients gives it a structure while it maintains the classic pumpkin pie texture. (You can see in the pic how it kind of forms its own “crust.”) I got verification of its awesomeness when one of my exacting Thanksgiving guests – a pumpkin pie purist, mind you – remarked that “it tastes just like pumpkin pie.” I suspect that if it doesn’t taste “healthy” to him, it won’t taste “healthy” to anyone.

You can use whatever sweetener you want, and Chocolate Covered Katie gives options to make the pie gluten-free and/or fat-free, so there’s a version of this simple and easy recipe for everyone. And I do mean it’s easy: you mix everything together by hand and pour it into the pie pan without having to deal with a pastry, and it’s in the oven for less than 30 minutes. Clean-up is easy, too. You need this recipe in your life if you like pumpkin pie.

 

10). Single Serving Chocolate Chip Cookie Baked Oatmeal (recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie). (Vegan)

 

Single Serving Chocolate Chip Cookie Baked Oatmeal, aka Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal for One (recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie)

 

WHAT I PUT INTO THESE OATMEAL SQUARES: Rolled oats, plain unsweetened coconut milk yogurt, plain unsweetened soy milk, agave syrup, peanut butter, salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, mini chocolate chips [ETA: I use Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips… they’re vegan.]

(For the exact ingredients list, see Katie’s recipe)

I wanted to eat oatmeal. I was not in the mood for oatmeal. I was tired of mushy food. I had a feeling that Chocolate Covered Katie’s The Healthy Dessert Blog would hold the answer, and it did. Put 1/2 cup of oats into a bowl, she said, and mix in these other things, and throw the whole shebang into the oven, and there you go – oatmeal that isn’t oatmeal.

Like the pie, this baked oatmeal is so simple and so good. The most difficult part is having to break it to Callaghan that the oatmeal isn’t for sharing. It’s one serving, the same serving I’d have were I to make it the traditional way. It looks like a lot because I make it in a loaf pan and cut it up into squares, but it’s really not a lot. In fact, it’s not enough.

I did tell him that I’d make him his own pan, though. No guilt!

Also, I think that Chocolate Covered Katie is my new spirit animal.

The End.

p.s. December’s already grand, because I started the month by going back to the gym!! I did my first Body Pump workout in a month yesterday.

 

 

Warm days, chilly nights, good horror. (October Favorites!)

October’s short horror posts left little room for daily-life or other content here, so all that kind of thing will pick up again henceforth. First, a look back at the little things I enjoyed in the tenth month of the year!

I bring to you a few films, a streaming T.V. series, some food items, skin care, and make-up. As usual, the food items are vegan (plant-based), and the skin care and cosmetic items are vegan (no animal ingredients) and cruelty-free (not tested on animals). I’ve also got a song/music video for you this time!

All of the viewables on this list are horrific in their unique and unexpected ways, might I add. Altogether, they amplified everything I love about October. It was a good “favorites” month, for sure.

Without further ado!

 

1). Joker

 

 

 

It’s always satisfying when a movie I’m anticipating exceeds my expectations. Joker accomplished this in brutally raw fashion. Joaquin Phoenix acted the hell out of this character, a comic book villain who didn’t seem like one, at all, because the film didn’t come across as a comic book film. Joker is a very real, very human story… a story about the making of a monster.

 

2). Parasite (Gisaengchung)

 

 

Parasite was brought to life by Bong Joon Ho, the genius behind Okja (Netflix); like Okja, Parasite is a masterpiece. It’s also scarce. If you can find this Korean film in a theater within your reach, I’d 100% approve of your decision to chase it down. Be prepared for a dramedy that gets pretty dark!

 

3). Suspiria (Amazon Prime Video)

 

 

Suspiria had been on my “to watch” list for months, so when it came to my attention that it was available on Amazon Prime Video, I wasted no time. Incidentally, this horror remake features Tilda Swinton, who was also in Okja, the brilliant film created by the guy who did Parasite (above). I’m convinced that Tilda Swinton’s otherworldly talent makes Suspiria creepier than it would be been without her, but the story’s creep-factor is solid.

 

4). Creepshow (Shudder Original Series)

 

 

I believe I’ve already raved about this Shudder Original Series somewhere in a past post. Creepshow is horror I’d characterize as good fun. Highly recommend!

 

5). Marilyn Manson’s cover of “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” (and official video)

 

 

Thick in this current cycle of my Marilyn Manson obsession, Manson went and dropped a cover of my favorite folk song, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” I popped the video into this post so that you may appreciate the man’s cutting and creeptastic artistic vision, as well. Manson growls out the song’s darkness in glorious Manson form – he digs his own grave and buries himself alive – though the song is plenty dark on its own. (Johnny Cash’s chilling version is still my favorite. Manson’s is a close second.)

Allow me to take this minute to whine about missing Marilyn Manson’s show when he played here on Sunday night. YES – Marilyn Manson performed at the Van Buren downtown two nights ago, and where was I? NOT THERE, that’s where. Not only that, but he performed “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” which he’d dropped in conjunction with his tour. I’m dying. Anyway.

 

6). Mighty Manna Bread (Carrot Raisin). (Vegan)

 

Mighty Manna Bread in Carrot Raisin

 

INGREDIENTS: Sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic carrots, organic raisins.

(I’ve decided to start including the ingredients of my food favorites, so you can see what you’d be putting into your body were you to eat these things.)

I’ve tried several varieties of Mighty Manna’s delicious, dense, sticky-sweet breads, but this carrot raisin one is my favorite so far. I love it for breakfast! I cut the bread into thick slabs and bake a couple of them in the toaster oven until the outside edges are slightly crisp, and then I slather them with organic almond butter.

I’m incorporating more gluten into my diet these days, but I’m choosing sprouted grains as much as possible. So far, so good.

 

7). Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread. (Vegan)

 

Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread

 

INGREDIENTS: Organic Sprouted Wheat, Filtered Water, Organic Sprouted Barley, Organic Sprouted Millet, Organic Malted Barley, Organic Sprouted Lentils, Organic Sprouted Soybeans, Organic Sprouted Spelt, Fresh Yeast, Organic Wheat Gluten, Sea Salt.

I’ve cycled back around to Ezekiel bread with its yummy, wholesome sprouted grains. It’s a classic, and I’ll always love it!

 

8). Kitehill Almond Milk Cream Cheese (plain). (Vegan)

 

Kitehill Almond Milk Cream Cheese (plain)

 

 

INGREDIENTS: Almond Milk (Water, Almonds), Salt, Enzyme, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Lactic Acid, Cultures.

This almond milk cream cheese is so light and creamy!! I’ve enjoyed Kitehill’s vegan cream cheese in the past, but I don’t remember it being like this (though it was also amazing).

 

9). Nourish Organic Lightweight Moisturizing Face Lotion. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Nourish Organic Lightweight Moisturizing Face Lotion

 

Between this product and the cosmetic item below, you’ll see what I mean when I say that I generally spend more money on skin care than I do on make-up. I love Nourish Organic’s products, so I wasn’t surprised to find that I love this face lotion.

 

10). e.l.f. 16HR Camo Concealer. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

e.l.f. 16HR Camo Concealer

 

I had to blink the first time I put this on and looked in the mirror; I could not believe what I was seeing. This liquid concealer seemed to effortlessly erase the dark circles under my eyes. e.l.f. continues to astound me… it’s sorcery, what they do. I’ve used pricey concealers by Urban Decay, Tarte, and NARS, and they were all good, but e.l.f.’s humble little $6.00 concealer is my holy grail of concealers. It’s PURE MAGIC.

On that note, I’ll close out this list… it’s a good and appropriate note for October.

 

 

Newsflash: It’s October 1st. (September Favorites!)

All I can say about this list is that it means OCTOBER has arrived. It’s already been very Octoberish! September lives on in my continuing love for the items on this list, but OCTOBER, okay.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

 

1). Savage X Fenty Show (Amazon Prime)

 

 

I put Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty (lingerie by Rihanna) Show at the top of this list because it’s the best thing I saw in September, and one of the best things I’ve seen all year, and maybe even one of the best things I’ve seen ever. Here’s my opinion in the wake of our watching this superb and mesmerizing production: Victoria’s Secret should just go ahead and file for bankruptcy, because what are they doing, exactly? I’ve yawned while watching their lingerie fashion show. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from Rihanna’s lingerie fashion show. We’re all in it… you, me, everyone. Rihanna wants you to know that her lingerie is designed for YOU, but even if you don’t wear lingerie, you won’t want to miss this magnificent show. Amazon Prime, guys. Go see the Savage X Fenty Show if you haven’t already. (RUN, don’t walk!)

 

 

2). Marianne (Netflix)

 

 

Here is where September got very Octoberish. We just recently started watching French horror series Marianne on Netflix; we’re only on the third episode, but we’re not sitting around waiting for the series to get scary. We were good and thoroughly horrified one minute into episode one, and that is no exaggeration. October’s off to a great start.

 

3). Black Spot (Zone Blanche) S2 (Netflix)

 

 

Also in September, we discovered that season two of this excellent French thriller series is available on Netflix, and we found that its story’s paranormal aspect has been heightened. Octoberish!

 

4). Luna Bar in Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Luna Bar Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter

 

I made a couple of fabulous candy bar energy/protein bar discoveries in September, both from Luna Bar: their Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter flavor, and their Chocolate Peppermint Stick flavor (below). Love these!

 

5). Luna Bar in Chocolate Peppermint Stick. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Luna Bar Chocolate Peppermint Stick

 

6). ThinkThin Original Sprouted Grains Oatmeal. (Vegan)

 

ThinkThin Original Sprouted Grains Oatmeal

 

Having cycled back into an oatmeal phase, I’ve been enjoying ThinkThin’s Original Sprouted Grains Oatmeal. It’s yummy and wholesome and 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber and what more could you want in oatmeal? It’s great with a spoonful of peanut butter, too.

 

7). Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Sauce.

 

Trader Joe’s Jalapeno Sauce

 

My assessment of this sauce is that it’s basically a thin wasabi based on Jalapeño rather than on horseradish. A dab on the finger suggests more heat than flavor, but added to nachos, it’s great flavor!

 

8). Birch Benders Plant Protein Pancake and Waffle Mix. (Vegan)

 

Birch Benders Plant Protein Pancake and Waffle Mix

 

YUM.

I love browsing supermarket aisles and discovering convenient foods (aka fast food you prepare at home) of solid nutritional value. Birch Benders Plant Protein Pancake and Waffle mix gives you 10 grams of protein per serving… and who eats just one serving? These just-add-water pancakes are delicious.

 

9). Snak Club Spicy Party Snack Mix. (Vegan)

 

Snak Club Spicy Party Snack Mix

 

This was my latest road trip junk food discovery. This stuff should be called “Spicy Party Crack Mix.” That is all.

 

 

 

 

With love from one season to the next. (August Favorites!)

Check out, if you will, my favorite little things from August! I’ve got a movie, two streaming series, one facial product, and a whole lot of food.

We’ve discovered Russian-language series, and now I want to watch every single one available. The two equally excellent projects mentioned here both feature Estonian actor Kirill Käro. You would be correct in guessing that Kirill Käro is my current favorite actor. Let’s start with a film from South Korea, though!

 

1).  Train to Busan (Original title: Busanhaeng)  – from South Korea

 

 

Someone has gone and created a brilliant film melding family drama with the zombie apocalypse. Train to Busan is great for when you can’t decide whether you want to see a drama, a thriller, or a horror movie. It’s currently on Netflix.

From the protagonist’s standpoint: When you’re bored with your routine and think it would be nice, for once, to have a day filled with family drama, high-speed thrills, and a zombie apocalypse.

[Sidenote: this film has revived my interest in preparing for the zombie apocalypse. I’ve already gotten that endeavor underway.]

 

2).  Better Than Us (Original title: Luchshe, chem lyudi) (Netflix) – from Russia

 

 

 

When you get adopted by a robot who happens to have been made in China, shenanegans will ensue. (Kirill Käro is on the right.)

I must put in that we couldn’t help but continually marvel at the way actress Paulina Andreeva portrayed a robot. The person who trained Paulina Andreeva knew what they were doing, and Paulina Andreeva is hella talented.

 

3).  The Sniffer (Original title: Nyukhach) (Netflix) – from Ukraine

 

 

We’re only four episodes into The Sniffer. I’ve seen enough, though, to know that you’re daft if you don’t insure your nose and its superhuman power of being able to smell in such detail that you can make hefty coin as a freelance detective. This series is a dramedy with an often hilariously bumbling duo, one half being Kirill Käro’s character. (I won’t say his name anymore in this post, I promise.)

 

4). Nature’s Path Organic Sunrise Crunchy Cinnamon Cereal. (Vegan and gluten-free.)

 

Nature’s Path Organic Sunrise Crunchy Cinnamon Cereal

 

As pumpkin-spice everything takes over the States, I indulge my love for one of those spices by sprinkling extra cinnamon onto this delicious, crunchy cinnamon cereal. My current passion for this flavor may be related to my eagerness to plow into Halloween season (aka fall), but I can see enjoying this cereal year-round.

 

5). GoMacro Macrobar Sunny Uplift Cherries + Berries. (Vegan and gluten-free.)

 

GoMacro Macrobar Sunny Uplift Cherries + Berries

 

August was one of those months that left me hooked on a particular food. I cannot get enough of these Cherries + Berries GoMacro bars. I’ve liked all of the GoMacro bars I’ve tried, but these? I love cherries! These bars are sweet and tart and chewy and wonderful, and they vaguely remind me of Pop Tarts.

 

6). 365 Cape Cod Trail Mix. (Vegan and gluten-free.)

 

365 Cape Cod Trail Mix

 

Here’s another simple one: cashews, almonds, and dried cranberries in a mix that’s altogether similar in flavor to the Cherries + Berries GoMacro bars. I’m enjoying this flavor combination of sweet and tart in a wholesome food. It tastes of both summer and fall to me. I love the transition of summer to fall.

 

7). Food For Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas. (Vegan and gluten-free.)

 

Food For Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas

 

These tortillas make for some seriously yummy black bean tacos, and they contain only four ingredients: organic sprouted corn, filtered water, sea salt, and lime. They’re delicious. They will make you wonder why you’d put any other ingredient into a corn tortilla.

 

8). Follow Your Heart Gluten-Free Oat Bread. (Vegan and gluten-free.)

 

Follow Your Heart Gluten-Free Oat Bread

 

I’ve also been enjoying this oat bread by Follow Your Heart. I pretty much only eat toasted bread when I’m at home, though, so I can’t tell you how this bread comes across when un-toasted. I should’ve thought to try it out for you! After all, texture is everything when we’re talking about gluten-free baked goods. Really good toast, though.

 

9). Food For Life Gluten-Free Brown Rice English Muffins. (Vegan and gluten-free.)

 

Food For Life Gluten-Free Brown Rice English Muffins

 

These English muffins are super dense. They’re like hockey pucks, and it would probably hurt to get hit with one. They’ve become my staple breakfast on Body Pump mornings! I split two of them apart and toast them and spread Earth Balance on two halves and peanut butter and jam on the other two halves, and they’re good. It takes a while to eat them, they’re so heavy! Awesome energy for a pre-workout meal!

 

10). Acure Brightening Facial Scrub. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

Acure brightening facial scrub

 

I cannot describe to you the luxury of this exfoliating facial scrub. With its base of sea kelp and “French green clay,” it’s a green so dark, it’s almost black. A little goes a long way. The formula is thick and rough, as in large-grain grainy, so I proceed with a very light touch with added water throughout use. I massage it in circles from my forehead all the way down my neck. The luxurious part is the feeling on my skin as I rinse it off. It’s unlike anything I’ve tried! I use this scrub every night following my Earth Science Creamy Fruit Oil Cleanser (a favorite from July). I love the combination of these two products. It’s like a spa in my shower every night.

 

The End. I can’t wait to get back here with my September Favorites, because that would mean the start of Short Horror Movie October! I know that you can’t wait, either. Heheh.

Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

Radiance! (July Favorites.)

I’ve found that pictures and links speak quite effectively on their own when I present my list of favorite “little things” from the previous month, so that’s what I bring to you on this first day of August: a quick and dirty list of favorites for July with little in the way of text. As always, take my favs as recommendations if you’re so inclined, and with the idea that what works for me may not work for you, whether it’s entertainment, food, or products.

Enjoy, and Happy Friday Eve!

 

1). The Art of Self-Defense (film)

 

 

When your bad day at work becomes a bad night after work, and the realization that your whole life follows this script prompts you to take action.

 

2). Midsommar (film)

 

 

When your relationship is fragile and your co-dependency leads you to take a summer trip overseas. (Take note: horror)

 

3). The Lion King (film)

 

 

When you’re a talking animal whose life plays out like a Shakespearean tragedy, except not everyone dies at the end. (Take note: not a cartoon)

 

4). La Casa De Papel Part 3 (Money Heist S3) (Netflix series)

 

 

When the capture of a beloved family member gives you an excuse to ride your dormant adrenaline waves, and those waves turn into a tsunami.

 

5). Fleabag (Amazon Prime Original series)

 

 

When you’re a sex addict struggling with grief. (Take note: this comedy series is outstanding and hilarious, but it’s NOT “family-friendly.”)

 

6). Eating Evolved Primal Chocolate Signature Dark (72% Cacao). (Organic, vegan, paleo, and soy-free.)

 

Eating Evolved Primal Chocolate Signature Dark

 

A taste of dark chocolate was in order, so I thought I’d go for something new. It’d been so long since I’ve had chocolate that there was a lot of “new” to explore! I ventured to try this dark chocolate bar because it’s sweetened with organic coconut sugar, and sugar was a concern. I’d say that this is the least bitter and crumbly of the 72% + dark chocolate bars I’ve tried in my life. I highly recommend it if you’re wanting a healthier dark chocolate that’s creamy and not overly bitter.

 

7). e.l.f. Jelly Pop Face & Eye Gloss in Icy Pop. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

e.l.f. Jelly Pop Face and Eye Gloss in Icy Pop

 

When e.l.f. cosmetics offered free shipping for a period of time in July, I felt I should order something in addition to the lip product I wanted to try. I looked at their newly released products, and this face and eye gloss caught my attention. I’m actually surprised by how much I like it and its glowing effect! On days I don’t wear make-up, I take just a dab the size of a pinhead and tap it lightly onto my cheekbones and eyelids. I don’t wear it to the gym, so I can’t say how well it’d hold up through a work-out, but it lasts all day when I’m just home or out and about running errands.

 

8). e.l.f. Radiant Gel Lip Stain in Dewy Nude. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

e.l.f. Radiant Gel Lip Stain in Dewy Nude

 

This is the e.l.f. lip product I wanted to try, and I’m happy to say that it works for me. It’s a simple lip stain that does what I want it to do: it adds just a hint of lip color, it wears well, and it doesn’t make my lips feel dry. I put my regular lip balm over it, and I can’t even tell that I’m wearing a lip stain.

 

9). Pacifica Mineral SPF 50 Body Butter Pineapple Flower. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

Pacifica Mineral SPF 50 Body Butter Pineapple Flower

 

I’m always on the look-out for a body lotion with a strong SPF that doesn’t feel and/or smell unpleasant. This one by Pacifica is a game-changer!

 

10). Schmidt’s Bergamot + Lime Natural Deodorant. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

Schmidt’s Bergamot and Lime Natural Deodorant

 

I’ve also found it challenging to find effective vegan and cruelty-free deodorants. For me, Schmidt’s deodorant works better than standard ones. It doesn’t behave or feel like regular aluminum deodorants in how it applies, though; it took some getting used to. I press it firmly into my armpit and hold it for a good ten-Mississippi count, and then it’s soft enough to apply. Other qualities that may be down-sides: it’s a little grainy in texture, and it’s white (not invisible), so it will leave marks on your dark clothes if you’re not careful. But it really works! That’s a big enough up-side for me.

And that’s it for July!

(La Fin)

 

 

Super into it all. (June Favorites!)

I’m back with another Monthly Favorites post, because, well, another month’s gone by. You who enjoy these posts didn’t have to wait long if June went as quickly for you as it did for me! Let’s get right into it, shall we? We’ve got some streaming television series (all originals on their platforms), we’ve got some food, and we’ve got some products.

Here’s what I loved in June (and still love):

 

1). The Handmaid’s Tale, S3 (Hulu)

 

The Handmaid’s Tale, S3

 

When enough is enough.

 

2). After Life (Netflix)

 

 

When you’re not happy, no one is happy… but you manage to be hilarious while bringing everyone down.

 

3). Absentia (Amazon Prime Original)

 

 

When the cops and the feds can’t get it together, and the only person who can is everyone’s main suspect.

 

4). Good Omens (Amazon Prime Original)

 

 

When you had ONE JOB, but realized that you should’ve re-taken Armageddon 101, which you apparently failed.

 

5). Sinto Gourmet Spicy Red Kimchi.

 

Sinto Gourmet Spicy Red Kimchi

 

One of my go-to meals: brown rice, nori (seaweed), and kimchi. I’m simple like that. I’m not too picky about my kimchi, but this one is exceptional in its balance of flavors.

 

6). Hakuna Banana Strawberry Frozen Dessert.

 

Hakuna Banana Strawberry Frozen Dessert

 

Do not approach this dessert thinking it’s like dairy or plant-based ice creams, because it’s not… its mouthfeel is too different. Just think of it as a frozen dessert, and you’re good. This stuff is delicious, devoid of added sugar, and delightfully almost-chewy in its thick texture. I’m loving it this summer!

 

7). Cherries.

 

Cherry season 2019!

 

But of course my favorite fruit made June’s “Favorites” list.

 

8). Snak Club Protein Power Snack Mix.

 

Snak Club Protein Power Snack Mix

 

This is one of those snacks that I’ll gorge myself on without a thought. It behooves me to measure it out in some way! I picked this up at the V.A. in Palo Alto, and I’m still eating it… I discovered that the Phoenix V.A. store carries it, too. I haven’t looked for it in civilian stores because I’m over at the hospital enough that I can just get it there. If I didn’t have it at hand, I’d order it, for sure.

 

9). Earth Science Creamy Fruit Oil Cleanser A-D-E. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

Earth Science Creamy Fruit Oil Cleanser A-D-E

 

I’d been using my beloved Alba Botanica Hawaiian Pineapple Enzyme gel cleanser for three/four years now, so when I ran out this last time, I decided it’d be good to switch things up. The skin adapts to products! I browsed the shelves at Sprout’s and decided on this cleanser. I’m liking it so far. It’s lightly scented. It feels nice. (Also, it’s a couple bucks cheaper than the Alba Botanica one.)

 

10). Derma-E Anti-Aging Regenerative Day Cream. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

Derma E Anti-Aging Regenerative Day Cream

 

I started using this day cream late in June, so it’s too soon to report on its regenerative powers. It’s already on this list because I loved it immediately for its texture. This product manages to be creamy and rich without feeling heavy or greasy. I love the way it feels! It’s going to remain a favorite regardless of the “results” I see or don’t see.

 

And there you have it, my friends. I hope you had a lovely first month of summer, as well.