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.

 

 

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A little saint, mostly sinner. (May Favorites!)

For those of you who enjoy these “favorites” posts and for anyone else curious, scroll down to see what I loved watching, eating, and putting on my face in May!

 

1). The Curse of La Llorona (film)

 

 

Because horror always completes a month. Incidentally, I’m counting down the days to Short Horror October! I’ve already discovered a great one that I’ve stashed away just for that series.

 

2). John Wick 3: Parabellum (film)

 

 

Because who needs a plot when you have Keanu Reeves kicking ass in exquisitely choreographed fight scenes? I will say that the story-line makes sense if you’ve seen the first two John Wick films. If nothing else, you can just sit back and enjoy the splendor. The sets are eye-candy in and of themselves.

 

3). Chambers (Netflix Original Series)

 

 

Key words and phrases for this intriguing Netflix thriller/horror series: Native American representation in characters and their actors; Navajo; Diné (Navajo) language; Navajo rez; Arizona!

 

4).  Dead to Me (Netflix Original Series)

 

 

Because there aren’t enough well-written drama series that you can watch in conveniently packaged 30-minute episodes. This one has a darkly funny edge and a talented duo of main actors… Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini both kill it (pun not intended). Cardellini also plays the lead in The Curse of La Llorona; it was wonderful to witness her range between these great performances.

 

5).  Love, Death & Robots (Netflix) (NSFW)

 

 

Even more rare! Here we’ve got a brilliant animated series with episodes that run from six minutes to 20 minutes, most of them just around 15 minutes long. We tore through Love, Death & Robots. It’s hard to keep the binge at bay when the episodes are this short! Each episode stands alone as a story. This series is like an animated Black Mirror in tiny installments.

We loved every one of these little stories. If I had to recommend just one, though, I think it’d be Beyond the Aquila Rift. Or maybe Sonnie’s Edge. Or The Witness. Or Fish Night. Or….

 

6). Killing Eve (Hulu)

 

 

May I just say that Jodie Comer plays the most impressive psychopath I’ve ever seen on screen?

 

7). May 2019 Grand Sumo Tournament (Natsu Basho) (Grand Sumo Highlights)

 

 

Because Sumo is my favorite sport. This time, my favorite badass Sumo warrior came back healthy enough to earn back the Ozeki rank he’d lost in the March tournament! Congratulations, Tochinoshin! The pride of the country of Georgia is back!!

 

Tochinoshin

 

(Pic taken from Tochinoshin’s instagram)

 

8). SkinnyPop Sea Salt Popcorn Mini Cakes.

 

Skinny Pop Popcorn Mini Cakes – Sea Salt

 

These mini popcorn cakes are wonderful little vehicles for salt. They know their place in this world.

 

9). e.l.f. Sculpting Silk Eyeshadow in Berry Please. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

e.l.f. Sculpting Silk Eyeshadow in Berry Please

 

I went looking for an eyeshadow trio holding these very shades. The quality of e.l.f.’s eyeshadows gets better and better, though it’s always been good! The shadows in this mini palette blend beautifully, and the colors are gorgeous. Vegan, cruelty-free, and only $4.00.

 

10). e.l.f. Liquid Matte Lipstick in Vampy Violet. (Vegan and cruelty-free.)

 

e.l.f. Liquid Matte Lipstick in Vampy Violet

 

A purple so dark, it almost looks black. My heart!! This liquid lipstick doesn’t feel drying, and its staying-power is excellent. Lip balm works well to fill out the color at the end of the day, or after eating something oily. The color lasts even with lip balm over it! Vegan, cruelty-free, and $5.00.

 

That’s it for May! Happy Friday Eve, my friends.

 

 

April Favorites, of sorts. (ft. zombies et al)

To those of you who look forward to my “monthly favorites” lists, I must apologize again this year. I have no list for April. This isn’t to say that there were no “little things” to be enjoyed last month, because there were… mostly simple things, which often feel the most satisfying, anyway. Dried apples and fresh strawberries. Spring cactus blooms and perfect Arizona in-between weather. I discovered an exceptional hairstylist at the Supercuts down the street. Body Combat at my alternate gym seems promising in terms of consistency. Mundane little things like this make a big difference in the day-to-day, I find.

On the writing front, I’m crafting a plan for my second novel. It’s been too long since my last writing update, I know! I’ve been writing poetry all this time between novels. Poetry explains the world to me, and these days, there’s a lot of explaining to be done. Let us not speak of the explanation-resistant world here. This is a place for serious stuff, like witches and zombies.

If nothing else, April was a month of enjoyable horror entertainment. We went looking for it on Netflix and found ourselves catching up: we had the second season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and the second and third seasons of Santa Clarita Diet. I delighted in the revelation that the former got darker, and the latter got funnier.

On the cinema side, we went to see Us, which left us adequately spooked and contemplative. Us exemplifies psychological horror done well. I love a film that makes you say, “Now that I know what I know, I want to see this movie again.” But I haven’t re-watched it yet, because the next movie I went to see was Pet Sematary. My thoughts on the re-make? I enjoyed it, but I prefer the original. I still get cold prickles recalling the image of Zelda dying in that bed in 1989, whereas Zelda in 2019’s re-make didn’t terrify me at all. Also, 1989 zombie cat creeped me out more effectively than 2019 zombie cat. See? I’m a simple and low-budget horror fan, happily freaking out before simple and low-budget horror flicks.

At any rate, I suppose April could be summed up with witches, the dark lord, zombies, and all other species of the undead.

May is looking good. It’s an odd-numbered month, which means it’s a Grand Sumo Highlights month!

I love this sumo slogan:

 

[art by sumofish]

On that note, Happy Friday Eve, all.

 

 

 

It was all too cool. (March Favorites!)

I’m back with a “monthly favorites” post, and this time it’s an actual 10-item list and also on the first blog day of the new month – just like old times! I’ve got more food on the list than anything else, along with a couple of products, one random item, and only one entertainment mention. We didn’t get to the theater at all (not to worry – Us is at the top of our list for when we do), and we watched less T.V. than usual. We caught the March Grand Sumo Highlights, but you already know how much I love Sumo. We watched a fluffy streaming series that kept us entertained, but I didn’t feel compelled to include it here.

Without further ado, here’s what I’ve been watching, eating, and using:

 

1). Hanna (Amazon Prime Original)

 

 

I hesitated to include this series because it just dropped, and we’ve only seen the first two episodes. It might’ve been better to put it on my April list, but I’m already so impressed that I wanted to share it now as a recommendation. Hanna is based on the 2011 film, and it brings together one of my favorite T.V. duos: Linden (Mireille Enos) and Holder (Joel Kinnaman) from The Killing.

 

2). Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Facial Wipes.

 

Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Facial Wipes

 

I ran out of facial wipes for makeup-removal, and I saw these and almost didn’t get them… they’re not the cheapest. I was looking for my usual Yes to Coconut facial wipes when my eye caught on the word “coconut” on this package. Of course, I got them. Of course, I love them. They’re refreshing and wonderful with my makeup removing products, and they don’t feel oily at all.

 

3). W3LLPEOPLE Bio Extreme Lip Gloss (Berry).

 

W3LLPEOPLE Bio Extreme Lip Gloss in Berry

 

Target’s added more vegan/cruelty-free cosmetic lines to their stock! They’re killing it. I picked up this W3LLPEOPLE lip gloss in Berry, and now it’s my new favorite lip product. I love the feel of its formula, its herbal scent, the staying power of the color, and the color, itself.

 

4). Taylor Farms Sweet Kale Chopped Kit.

 

Taylor Farms Sweet Kale Chopped Kit

 

There’s not much to say about this salad mix except I’M HOOKED. It is chopped salad perfection. I’ve been eating this for lunch every day, removing the cranberries from the seed packet and using my own dressing (olive oil and balsamic vinegar for this one) rather than the one included.

 

5). Dried apples.

 

Dried apples

 

Dried apples: a new favorite snack that’s easy to eat while writing. No mess! They’re tart and light and lightly sweet, and the chew is satisfying and not clingy to the teeth.

 

6). Japanese sweet potatoes.

 

steamed Japanese sweet potatoes

 

Here’s another new favorite snack: these tiny sweet potatoes. I steam a whole bag all at once and keep them in the refrigerator. They’re easy to grab and eat, and they’re also mess-free since they’re cooked in water with no oil. So good!

 

7). Vega Sport Protein Bar (Crunchy Peanut Butter).

 

Vega Sport Protein Bar in Crunchy Peanut Butter

 

Vega Sport’s peanut butter crunch bar is my new favorite way to get in some post-workout protein if I can’t get home right away to make a protein shake.

 

8). Munk Pack Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookie.

 

Munk Pack Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookie

 

Clearly, I’m eating more sugar these days; I was impressed with the nutrition panel on these protein cookies, so I thought I’d try them. Lenny and Larry’s, move over. Munk Pack’s protein cookies’ nutrition panel looks better, and from what I recall of L & L’s, I like these better, too. I cut them in half and store them in the freezer in individual snack bags, so I only eat half at a time (half = one serving). They’re awesome frozen! I also love the double chocolate ones. I currently have both in the freezer.

 

9). C-Weed Snack Seaweed Crunch with Almonds.

 

C-Weed Snack Seaweed Crunch with Almonds

 

MORE SNACKS. Mom sent two bags of these seaweed snacks from Hawaii. I love seaweed in all forms. I also love almonds. This one was going to make my list without question… I mean, it was going to have to try really hard to not make the list. It’s not just not-horrible, it’s really good. If you like seaweed, you’ll want to try these!

 

10). Bat birthday card.

You guys, this was a totally random and anti-minimalism purchase. I was looking for a card for a specific person/occasion – not a birthday – and my eye snagged on this one. Bats! I read the outside, read the inside, and felt an uplifting of mirth such that there was no way my depression-challenged ass wasn’t going to bring it home. I love the art, as I said, but the card had me at the incorrect comma, weird/wrong syntax, and the awesome WTF-ness of the punchline. This card with its goofy message and birthday-hat-wearing-bats sits on my dresser and makes me giggle every day. Best four bucks spent in the month of March.

 

[studio ink another side of hallmark – art by brace]

goofy birthday bats by brace

 

The artist signed as just “Brace.” Thank you, Brace!

The End… of March.

 

 

What there was to see can now be seen. (February Favorites!)

For being the shortest month of the year, February 2019 seemed long and drawn-out. Some awesomeness came out of February, for sure! On the 10th, I added a Sunday cardio class to my workout week, so I’m finally back to five workouts per week: three days of weights, two days of cardio. The last time I was in this place was when I started Body Pump and I was still going to Monday night kickboxing. That was over two years ago! I’m determined to let nothing get in the way of this modality split. If I have to miss a class, I have to find a way to make it up. Yesterday, I found out that I’ll be out of town for a week in June, but I’ll be staying in a place with gym equipment. No excuses.

What else? Looking at my planner’s February month view, I see that I went to many appointments, most of them at the V.A. hospital, and also I went to the dentist and to the optometrist. I had no social agenda items in February at all! I met with 0 of my friends. It was a long and busy month, but it was productive and not at all unpleasant.

Oh! If you read my last post, then you know that Geronimo (our Sonoran desert tortoise) emerged from hibernation on February 28th. That automatically makes February awesome.

Onto the wonderful Little Things, then…

Three Netflix offerings we watched that I enjoyed (in the order that we watched them):

1). Velvet Buzzsaw

 

 

2). Russian Doll

 

 

3). Doctor Foster

 

 

A cosmetic item that I’m finding to be lovely:

4). Pacifica Super Powder Supernatural Eyeshadow Trio (Stone Cold Fox).

 

Pacifica Super Powder Supernatural Eyeshadow Trio in Stone Cold Fox

 

And one random little thing:

5). New glasses. New prescription, new specs. I don’t have a new-glasses selfie (yet), but I can post a pic from the company’s website and link you to the frames. They’re Prodesign Denmark Model 4729 from the Danish Heritage Collection. I got them in Tortoise… of course! They’re light and comfortable, and they weren’t on the pricier side. That’s always a plus.

 

 

 

That about does it, I would say! I hope you all enjoyed an overall good February.

 

 

Just a little something. (January Favorites!)

I sat down to work on my January Favorites post, then realized that I don’t have enough to form an actual list. Sudden events opened a black hole that swallowed the entire month. All good things, though! January vanished in a good way, but by the end of it, I’d noted nothing for this list. January was Big Things, not Little Things.

I can tell you that we loved the Netflix series You and Hemlock Grove. The former was unique (to us) in that we hadn’t seen a thriller series of the stalker-as-protagonist variety before. The latter is a horror series we couldn’t believe we hadn’t seen yet.

 

 

 

I can also tell you that we enjoyed 15 days of Grand Sumo Highlights… the first tournament of 2019.

 

(Grand Sumo opening ceremony)

 

I developed deep feelings for The Body Shop’s Vanilla Marshmallow Shower Gel (vegan and cruelty-free) and Amy’s Tofu Scramble Breakfast Wrap (vegan and gluten-free).

 

The Body Shop Vanilla Marshmallow Shower Gel

 

Amy’s Tofu Scramble Breakfast Wrap

 

(I have these wraps for lunch, though. Not for breakfast.)

What else? That would be it for this first Monthly Favorites post of 2019. It’s like January 2019, itself: short and sweet!

Happy Friday Eve, all.

 

 

Much ado about the usual, but different… (December Favorites!)

We’re here today because, as usual, I’m compelled to share with you some of the past month’s riches. It’s all quite predictable. A movie. Some streaming series. Foods I’ve been eating with great enjoyment all month. A couple of products I’ll definitely re-purchase.

This month, though, I’m going to start with a person. Maybe I’ll make a habit of this!

1). Favorite Body Pump Bitcher and Moaner: RON.

 

 

This is Ron. Ron does not wish to be photographed in the wild. Ron’s favorite thing to do in Body Pump is bitch and moan. Ron has an answer for everything. When the instructor says “shoulder rolls,” Ron says “CINNAMON ROLLS.” When the instructor says “you can increase your weights,” Ron says “okay, I’ll decrease my weights.” When the instructor says “moving on to the lunge track!” Ron says “You mean the shoulder track. We already did lunges.” Ron loves lunges the MOST! Body Pump instructors everywhere: if Ron turns up in your class (you’ll know it’s him because he’ll be the one bitching and moaning about lunges before class even starts), make sure to do seven tracks of lunges.

(Thank you, Ron. LOL.)

 

2). The Possession of Hannah Grace

 

 

This film in a few words: spooky, dark, claustrophobic, fantastic. Horror fans, you’ll want to see this one. It’s not the demon-possession flick you’re used to seeing. That’s all I’m going to say.

 

3). The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (Netflix)

 

 

We sprang for this series on a whim, and we’re so glad that we did! As Aunt Zelda would say, “HAIL SATAN.”

 

4). The Kominsky Method (Netflix)

 

 

I also recommend this smart series about a pair of longtime friends and Hollywood legends of yore. We found The Kominsky Method to be surprisingly fresh and delightful considering it features a couple of crotchety oldsters. Highly recommend!

 

5). Dumplin’ (Netflix Original Movie)

 

 

Again in a few words: powerful, moving, funny, sharp. We loved this Netflix film, and it’s not of a genre we usually prefer. The film is sorely underrated, in my humble opinion. I found Dumplin’ to be pretty much perfect, and I would see it again. I recommend that you see it, too!

 

6). Tinkyáda Pasta Joy Brown Rice Pasta (spaghetti style). (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Tinkyada Pasta Joy Brown Rice Pasta (spaghetti)

 

I swear you’d never suspect that this pasta is gluten-free! You must try it to believe it. It’s amazing.

 

7). Victoria Vegan Alfredo Red Pepper Sauce. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Victoria Vegan Alfredo Red Pepper Sauce

 

We tried every pasta sauce in Victoria Vegan’s line, and this alfredo red pepper version was our favorite. To be honest, all of the sauces started out well and then disappointed with their slightly bitter aftertastes, but any bitterness at the end of this one melded perfectly with the sauce, itself. Victoria Vegan’s alfredo red pepper sauce is delicious.

 

8). Miyoko’s Organic European Style Cultured Vegan Butter. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Miyoko’s Organic European Style Cultured Vegan Butter

 

Earth Balance will always be a staple, but now we have another buttery spread favorite in Miyoko’s Organic European Style Cultured Vegan Butter. It’s so good!

 

9). Vega Protein Snack Bar (Coconut Almond). (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Vega Protein Snack Bar (coconut almond)

 

Another month, another protein bar, I know. I can’t walk by a vegan protein bar without picking it up. I’ve found a lot of “favorites” in recent months, and I’m still noshing on them all… but this one. This one, guys, is my MOST favorite favorite. I’m borderline obsessed with this bar. I tried a few other flavors in this line, and I found them to be as disgusting as this one is superb. Vega is like that, in general, I’ve noticed. I either hate their products or really, really love them.

 

10). Alba Botanica Hawaiian Body Oil Deep Moisturizing Kukui Nut. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Body Oil – Deep Moisturizing Kukui Nut

 

Yet another product from Alba Botanica’s Hawaiian line that I adore! My ride-or-die cleansers are still Alba Botanica’s Hawaiian facial cleanser, facial scrub, and plumeria shampoo, and now I’m hooked on their body oil, too. I smooth this on at night, in the shower before I dry off. It’s moisturizing, light, and not the slightest bit greasy.

 

11). The Body Shop Blueberry Body Butter. (Cruelty-free)

 

The Body Shop Blueberry Body Butter

 

This body butter arrived as a free gift with my Black Friday purchases. I’m glad that this was the “surprise” scent they threw in, because I wouldn’t have tried it otherwise! This body butter smells divine. I’ve tried several other body butters from The Body Shop before, and they all smelled delicious, but this one. I’m already almost halfway through the large pot, and it’s only been a month. If The Body Shop expands their blueberry scent into a full product line, I’ll be all in.

 

La fin! Happy Friday Eve, everyone!