What I’m Digging Right Now – September Favorites

I can tell it’s October. The shorter days, cooler mornings, proliferating Spirit Halloween stores (not to mention the Halloween decor and things in all of the stores), and the pumpkin spice explosion everywhere we look gives it away. I love October. I’m not sure if September seemed so long this year because I’ve been impatient for October, or if September just really kind of blew. I’m thinking it was the latter. However, September wasn’t without its list-worthy Little Things, and I’m happy to share them with you!

 

1). Empire (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Empire

 

We discovered Empire (created by the brilliant Lee Daniels) just a couple of weeks ago. Once we started, we couldn’t stop, and we didn’t stop until we were current, right up to Season 2, episode 2. Magnetizing.

First of all, Empire is Shakespeare from the very start. There was a funny moment when I turned to Callaghan to say, “This is King Lear!!” And right then, one of the sons actually said, “What is this, King Lear?” (Unsurprisingly, that son is one of my favorite characters.)

There’s no aspect of this series that isn’t rendered with spectacular quality and flair. Every detail is exquisite… every song could be a hit, and every rehearsal could be an award-winning video in its own right. The acting performances! The writing! The direction! The costumes! THE MUSIC. We’re Hooked with a capital “H.” (And that last episode! Lucious’ new song! That ending! Okay, I’ll stop.)

 

2). Modern Family S7 (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-ModernFamily_S7

 

All month we were eager for the return of our favorite comedy, and since September went on forever, the wait seemed terribly long. But Modern Family is finally back, and its unique humor is more on point than ever!

 

3). Make Me (novel by Lee Child)

 

Lee Child's 20th Reacher novel

Lee Child’s 20th Reacher novel

 

Obviously, this book was a favorite. Reacher re-appears in a small town, and he’s more bad-ass than ever. Make Me is actually one of my top-five favorite Reacher books.

Speaking of Reacher, can we talk about pancakes?

 

4). Arrowhead Mills Organic Buckwheat Pancake & Waffle Mix.

 

Arrowhead Mills Organic Buckwheat Pancake & Waffle Mix

Arrowhead Mills Organic Buckwheat Pancake & Waffle Mix

 

THIS.

This is your perfect, wholesome, five easy-to-read-ingredient pancake and waffle mix. The pancakes it makes are delicious, and that’s using egg replacer and almond milk to make them vegan. I took this pic last Sunday, when we ate them with Field Roast smoked apple sage vegan sausage, everything dripping in melty Earth Balance and pure maple syrup. The combination is sublime.

 

5). Raspberry Emergen-C.

 

Raspberry Emergen-C

Raspberry Emergen-C

 

Somewhere in early September, I mixed a packet of raspberry Emergen-C into a glass of cold water, and the resulting fizzy pink beverage was so refreshing, it became a daily afternoon treat. It wasn’t like I was an Emergen-C virgin or anything, but it just really hit the spot in that moment, and it continued to hit the spot every day throughout that long month. It’s wonderfully energizing, and even though I take my normal supplement combo every morning, who doesn’t like an extra 1,000 mg punch of vitamin C?

 

6). Pink Lady apples.

 

Pink Lady apples (this is a Cripps Pink)

Pink Lady apples (this is a Cripps Pink)

 

So sweet. So tasty. So crisp. It needs nothing! We’re still eating fresh pineapple like it’s nobody’s business, but with these apples, the first flavors of Fall have arrived.

 

7). New reading glasses.

 

New reading glasses

New reading glasses

 

I think I figured out why my old pair of reading glasses became ineffective: I cleaned the lenses exclusively with pre-moistened lens wipes. I’d been thinking that I just needed to take the strength up a notch, but these are the same strength as my old ones, and when I tried them on, I couldn’t believe how much better they worked! I guess reading glasses aren’t meant to last forever, anyway. Also, it may be a case of “all reading glasses aren’t made alike.” I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. I have these now, and they’ve made a huge difference in my life!

Also, I only clean these glasses with soap and water. No more pre-moistened lens wipes.

 

8). e.l.f. Essential Volumizing & Defining Mascara.

 

e.l.f. Essential Volumizing & Defining Mascara

e.l.f. Essential Volumizing & Defining Mascara

 

I ran out of mascara, went back to the e.l.f. section at Target, decided to try this new (revised?) Essential formula, and a new favorite mascara was discovered. Two bucks, guys. Two. $2.00. That’s it. Stuff like this helps to balance out my more expensive cruelty-free products a lot.

 

9). The Body Shop Honey & Oat 3-in-1 Scrub Mask.

 

The Body Shop Honey & Oat 3-in-1 Scrub Mask

The Body Shop Honey & Oat 3-in-1 Scrub Mask

 

Okay, so speaking of more expensive, this isn’t the cheapest facial mask around. I processed a twinge of doubt while standing at the cash register, because honey & oat? Wasn’t this a ridiculous thing to purchase for such a price ($18.00) when I could probably mix up something similar in my own kitchen?

But I bought it, feeling appropriately reckless and guilty. And then I used it. And now I’m borderline obsessed, and to be honest, I’m kind of kicking myself for having gotten sucked in, because I’m going to want to re-purchase it when it’s gone, and I really don’t have room in my budget for luxuries like this right now. I can’t even explain this mask! It defies explanation. The entire experience and after-effect of it is fantabulous.

(See? That $2.00 mascara helps. Thank you for making awesome, dirt-cheap make-up, e.l.f.!)

 

10). It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Serum.

 

It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Serum

It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Serum

 

Due to the uncharacteristic and relentless streak of humidity we experienced all month, my hair was more impossible than usual (if there can be such a thing as “more impossible”) in September. It would have looked even more unruly if it wasn’t for this product by It’s a 10. I had a coupon for it, so I thought I’d try it; it’s cruelty-free, and it doesn’t have the overwhelming-fragrance feature that turns me off of most hair products. This is just a nice, mild serum that works okay for me. I’m glad for it.

That’s it! Happy Friday, All. =)

I finished “Make Me” by Lee Child. (This is not a review.)

Lee Child’s latest Reacher novel, Make Me, delivered. The story is tight and the tension is high, and Reacher is his usual, taciturn self. Reacher “said nothing” about 20 times. I kept track of all the “nothing” that he said. It was deafening.

If last year’s Reacher novel left me disappointed at all, Make Me more than made up for it. Reacher gets off a train and the story takes off, engaging instantly with intrigue (heightened by the knowledge that very little is extraneous – a perk of being a seasoned Reacher reader, though you absolutely don’t need to have read previous Reacher novels in order to enjoy this one), but I particularly loved this story with its details that correlate to details in my reality. It’s always fun when personally relatable aspects leap out at you from a novel.

There’s the female agent being Asian-American (which I am), and the tertiary character, a journalist, being a science editor with a background in molecular biology (I’d worked as a science editor in bioinformatics and molecular biology in the past), and the moniker ‘Callaghan’, “which at least was Irish.” (Hello, Callaghan! I’d written a blog post about how my French husband’s nickname is an Irish name.)

So here’s Reacher hanging out with this Asian-looking chick, and they find themselves, at one point, right here in Phoenix, where familiar places and things are mentioned. (Sky Harbor International Airport. Maricopa County sheriffs. Scottsdale. The “baking desert heat.”)

All of this coated the bad-assery with an icing of familiarity that added amusement to a reading experience that was already supremely enjoyable. But even without those details, there’s nothing like an excellent, well-developed, well-paced thriller/mystery to facilitate a much-needed escape.

If I ever find myself having coffee with Lee Child, I’m going to thank him for this one, especially.

 

Lee Child's 20th Reacher novel

Lee Child’s 20th Reacher novel

 

Make Me gives us classic Reacher, yet it deviates from the Reacher formula in a surprising way, at the very end. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

The problem with Reacher is a classic one, too… you can only hang out with him for the time it takes to finish the book. Then you have to wait a year for him to come back. I remind myself to be grateful that he comes back at all… surely Reacher will retire one day, and that will be the end. Meanwhile, the countdown is on for Reacher’s return.

The New Reacher is Nigh.

Today is September 4. This means that we’re T minus four days from the tentatively scheduled release of Lee Child’s new Jack Reacher novel, Make Me.

You regulars here know how I feel about Reacher.

Last summer, I so eagerly counted down the days until 2014’s new Reacher novel appeared in stores that its release seemed almost anti-climactic, though admittedly this may have been related to the fact that we were frantically preparing to move. We moved almost immediately after I picked up Personal. It was the end of August, and I had very little time for reading in the month of September, as unpacking consumed the entire month. (We’ve been in our house for a year now? What?!)

Non-stop domestic activity kept me from such tantalizing pursuits as pulpy reading, but even when I did find time to open the book, moving-fatigue dulled the experience. I remember reading two pages at a time before passing out late at night, and that was only once or twice a week, if that. I was tired, busy, distracted. I finished Personal with little enthusiasm, and I may have mentioned to Callaghan that the story seemed somewhat… reduced to its formula. I liked Personal, sure, but it just didn’t thrill me. Again, I’m not sure it wouldn’t have been different had life been routine and uneventful at the time.

This year, though? The cells in the part of my brain responsible for escapism have been salivating since I read the synopsis for the 20th Jack Reacher novel. Methinks that Make Me will be a super intense ride, and life circumstances right now are ripe for it!

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-LeeChildMakeMe

 

In honor of Reacher’s return, I present the reappearance of Callaghan’s drawing of Reacher (this is becoming an annual tradition):

 

Callaghan's drawing of Jack Reacher, as described in the novels.

Callaghan’s drawing of Jack Reacher, as described in the novels.

 

So let’s raise our glasses, fellow Reacher fans, because may we all remember that blond, blue-eyed, NOT-handsome, NOT-glib, super tough, tall and inhumanly strong BADASS Reacher would toast us with a whole pot of coffee. We’d say, Tchin! with respect to his French mother… but Reacher would say nothing.