And they all fall down. (November favorites!)

Let’s just jump right into this list of enjoyable little things I discovered in November!

 

1). Jacket weather.

 

Winter has come.

Winter has come.

 

Okay, I didn’t discover this, but it happened, and I love it. Jacket weather has arrived! (My hair isn’t this light; this pic shows an illusion of the aggressive lighting in the optometrist’s room in which I was sitting yesterday afternoon. My hair looks red under light, anyway, but this pic is beyond.) It doesn’t matter what the calendar says… if it’s cold enough to wear a jacket – in the 60’s – it’s winter.

 

2). Night School (novel by Lee Child)

 

Lee Child's 2016 Reacher release!

Lee Child’s 2016 Reacher release!

 

It’s here, and I finally got my hands on it! I’m about half-way through, and I’m hooked, as usual. I’ll probably devote a post to this new Reacher novel of Lee Child’s.

 

3). Nerve (film)

 

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We were looking for a fluffy cinematic escapade for mindless entertainment one day, and we happened upon Nerve. We chose it because of Emma Roberts and the fact of having seen the trailer and remembering how we thought we discerned a unique premise for a sci-fi thriller… and that’s exactly what we got. And we were entertained. Success!

 

4). The Affair S3 (T.V. series)

 

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This season of The Affair is strikingly dark compared to the last two seasons, which were also dark, if that gives you any idea about this stunning series. Season 3 takes you down into an abyss, a drop that’s immediately evident as that eerie song of Fiona Apple’s in the opening credits now harmonizes with beautiful and morbid images of the characters sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

 

 

The Affair just gets better and better. The story seems straightforward enough as it begins in the first season, but by the time you’ve watched the first two/three episodes of the third season, you have no idea, really, what you’ve gotten into.

 

5). Acure night cream.

 

Acure night cream

Acure night cream

 

I think this cream may have appeared in a list from last year. It’s making a reappearance, as I’ve started using it again, and I still think it’s great. I’ve tried some very good night creams this year; my favorite is still Yes to Blueberries, but I’m enjoying using this one by Acure at the moment.

 

6). Amy’s organic lentil vegetable soup (light in sodium).

 

Amy's organic lentil vegetable (light in sodium) soup

Amy’s organic lentil vegetable (light in sodium) soup

 

I eat a lot of soup these days. I love homemade soup, but more often than not, I grab whatever can of soup we have on hand. It’s always Amy’s. This lentil vegetable one is my favorite. It’s “light in sodium,” but not to worry… it’s nothing a few twists of the salt grinder can’t fix! I load it up with pink Himalayan salt and figure I’ll deal with the repercussions of excess sodium consumption later. I’ve got to have some vices, right? At least one? And as far as processed foods go, Amy’s soups really aren’t that bad.

 

7). Clif Kid Organic Z bar (iced oatmeal cookie) with peanut butter.

 

Clif Kid Organic Z Bar (iced oatmeal cookie) with peanut butter topping

Clif Kid Organic Z Bar (iced oatmeal cookie) with peanut butter topping

 

This bar appeared on last month’s list. Its taste reminds me of Fig Newtons, which I love. But now I top it with peanut butter for some added protein, and the aftertaste takes it from Fig Newton to pure oatmeal cookie. I’m so glad I tried this!

 

8). Scivation Xtend BCAAs in strawberry kiwi.

 

Scivation Xtend BCAAs (strawberry-kiwi)

Scivation Xtend BCAAs (strawberry-kiwi)

 

When deciding on BCAAs to supplement my weight-training workouts and muscle recovery, my only concern was finding a good one that’s vegan. I’d never taken BCAAs before, so I dove into some research and came up with Scivation Xtend. I got the strawberry kiwi. The flavor is good, and it works well in getting me through a Body Pump session and recovering faster afterward. SCORE.

 

9). Sumo wrestling.

 

Grand Sumo Tournament 2016

Grand Sumo Tournament 2016

 

Sitting in front of the T.V. with Dad when we were in California for Thanksgiving, I got to revisit those favorite childhood moments of watching combat sports with him… only this time, instead of boxing, it was sumo wrestling! It never occurred to me to actually sit and watch sumo. Callaghan and I were instantly drawn in; we were surprised at how much we enjoyed it. I’m still pondering the mystery of how a match that can be over in 5 seconds can be so exciting to watch. The 15-day tournament ended on the 27th (It was the November Grand Sumo Tournament, or Kyushu Basho, in Fukuoka, Japan). We watched the last two nights here at home, on YouTube. The next tournament will be in January.

 

10). New tattoo.

 

Three swallows in flight

Three swallows in flight

 

Fresh out of the studio, freshly wrapped in plastic.

Fresh out of the studio, freshly wrapped in plastic.

 

I finally got my bird tattoos! I’ve been wanting swallows, and I love the way they turned out.

That’s it for November, and that’s almost it for 2016!

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What I’m Digging Right Now – March Favorites

Update: Ronnie James has been home since Sunday night! This week we’re helping him to recover from his surgery here at home, and we’re waiting for lab results to come back. We should know everything by Friday, so I’ll post a detailed update then, for anyone who’s interested!

Somehow, March dragged. March aspired to be the Texas of this (albeit still very young) year… it feels like we drove and drove, and it seemed to never end. Some of it was amazing. Some of it was depressing. Much of it was great fun, and a lot of it was eye-opening, too.

It’s interesting how March going on forever makes the year, itself, seem long, and to be honest, I have to say that time creeping along like this bewilders me a little. Our sense of time is supposed to accelerate the older we get, a phenomenon I was experiencing normally up until this year. It’s interesting how circumstances in our lives can alter this perception.

Now that we’ve finally arrived at April, it’s time to look back at that long month and pick out a few “little things” that stood out. I never go deep in these lists and talk about the people who bless our lives and make the world a better place for being in it. These lists are for talking about mostly superficial things, the cheap thrills, so to speak!

And the winners are… starting with food…

1). Blackberries from Target.

These blackberries. THESE.

These blackberries. THESE.

This is a weird one, I know. For whatever reason, the blackberries at the Target near us (Tempe Marketplace on Rio Salado) are the best. No other blackberries compare, and I don’t even want to know why. I’ll just enjoy them while we can!

2). Justin’s classic all-natural peanut butter.

Justin's classic all-natural peanut butter

Justin’s classic all-natural peanut butter

Callaghan brought this home for me one day, and I’m loving it. I’ve been a huge fan of Justin’s dark chocolate peanut-butter cups for a couple of years, but I’d never tried other Justin’s products before now!

3). Snyder’s of Hanover peanut butter pretzel sandwiches.

Snyder's of Hanover peanut butter pretzel sandwiches.

Snyder’s of Hanover peanut butter pretzel sandwiches.

You know how it is. Sometimes, you just have to run downstairs in the middle of the afternoon and get yourself something kind of dirty to munch on from the corner store. These peanut butter pretzel sandwiches were my processed food guilty pleasure in March. There’re not entirely terrible for you, either, as it turns out! I mean, they’re not as junky as junk food can be. If you appreciate peanut butter as much as I do, you might need these in your life.

Moving on to non-edible things…

4). Acure Night Cream.

Acure Night Cream

Acure Night Cream

I got this cream when I’d used up my old one, as I’d planned. It’s the night-time counterpart to the Acure day cream I’ve been using with respect to my New Year’s resolution to stop buying personal care products and cosmetics tested on animals. This is a good, hydrating night cream, and other than its strong herbal scent, which I don’t care for, I like it a lot. It has a nourishing feel to it, and my skin feels dewy (for lack of a better word) in the morning. However, because of that strong fragrance, I don’t think my search for the perfect, affordable cruelty-free night cream is over… my next one will be from another brand. I like this one enough to return to it if future selections don’t perform as well, and obviously I like it enough to include it here as a monthly favorite, but at the same time, I’ll be happy to find one that equals it without the clinging, almost medicinal herbal scent!

5). L’Université Nice Sophia Antipolis hat and mug.

Mug and hat from my friend in Nice who works at L’Université Nice Sophia Antipolis.

Mug and hat from my friend in Nice who works at L’Université Nice Sophia Antipolis.

When we went to France, a friend surprised me with a mug and a hat from the University in Nice where she works. Merci, Matita! L’Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, represent! I love stuff like this. I thought it would be fun to send her the same from Arizona State University. Now there’s an honorary Sun Devil working à l’UNS.

6). Body Combat in France.

thatasianlookingchick.com-lesmillsbodycombatFRANCE

And thanks to our friend Chantal, there was that Body Combat class in Cannes we got to do while we were down south! I have to rave about it again, because I enjoyed it so much, and it’s at the top of my March favorites list. That was our only workout in about 10 days, and we didn’t waste it. We went full-on beast mode, as usual… or, to steal a phrase from our friend Sarah, beast à la mode!

7). Bag – K by Kookai (black satchel).

I don’t know what I like better, this bag or the story behind it. In the weeks before we went to France, Callaghan became obsessed with the idea that thieves in Paris were going to sneak up behind me with scissors and cut the strap of the bag I was using at the time. “You need to get a little backpack with a strong strap,” he insisted.

I had no idea where this notion came from. I’d been in Paris five times before, and all that ever happened to me was an ill-attempted “dropped jewelry” scam. (That one where someone comes up with a bracelet or something else shiny, quickly drops it in front of you when she thinks you’re not looking, and makes a big deal picking it up and bringing it to you to ask if it’s yours while her partner hustles up to rip you off during the “distraction.” The two who tried it on me weren’t good at it. They were laughable. I’d give their performance a 4 on a scale of 1-10. Needless to say, it didn’t work.)

But Callaghan thought that my cross-body bag strap would get cut, so I found a small backpack-style bag with a zipper that ran down the length of the straps so you could use it either single-strapped or doubled. I thought the quality was good. It was from Marshall’s. I think it was a Steve Madden, or something like that. Anyway, long story short, the whole bag fell apart three days after we got to France. I mean, the zipper broke and the straps came apart from the bag itself, so, being a backpack, it was rendered unwearable.

I trotted around the French Riviera with the bag in my arms, like a baby, then switched to the only other thing I had: a large and awkward purple and pink vinyl Kenzo perfume bag that one of Callaghan’s relatives in Paris had given us to transport the bottle of champagne she was sending down south with us to Callaghan’s Dad. It was annoying and uncomfortable. I wanted to avoid getting a new bag, but once we got back to Paris, I gave up on that idea and went looking for one.

Luckily, we were staying in Montmartre, where you can walk to any place you might need. Case in point: Callaghan and I were dreading going to the f*cking Champs-Élysées* just because I needed a bag, but lo! There was a La Halle aux chaussures et maroquinerie down the street from our hotel, and I didn’t have to look further. There were five bags I really liked, and it was hard to choose! I decided on this:

K by Kookai bag

K by Kookai bag

It’s just an unstructured satchel-type style with a long strap option, which I don’t use, but somehow, I like the bag a lot. Actually, I think it’s the red lining that I really like… and it was totally affordable. WIN.

*We like to jokingly call it “the f*cking Champs-Élysées,” but honestly? I wish they could move L’Arc de Triomphe out of there and set it somewhere less commercial and insane.

So after that long story, I’ll let the images speak for themselves in the rest of this post!

8). House of Cards, season three (T.V. series)

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Oh, the lies… the plays… the dares! Now we wait a year to see what happens next.

9). The Following, season three (T.V. series)

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WAIT – who’s doing the following, and who’s being followed? I love how you never know who’s who in this series. This season of The Following grabbed us by the throat in a way that last season didn’t, and we enjoyed last season! It’s always great when a good series gets even better, and it’s probably a good thing that the return of Hannibal was pushed back to June, or it’d be serial killer overload in our entertainment schedule up in here.

10). “Rico” (Episode 8 of Better Call Saul)

Scene from "Rico," episode 8 (Better Call Saul)

Scene from “Rico,” episode 8 (Better Call Saul)

Have you ever watched the credits roll after an hour and said to yourself, “Self, that right there was a really good episode of television?” That was “Rico” for me, though honestly, this first season of Better Call Saul has been getting increasingly more compelling and impressive. I find myself dazzled by the unexpected depth and complexity of the protagonist, and by the development of his character, as well. Then there’s the writing of these episodes. Superb!

Those were my picks for March. Now let’s get on with April!