Something Special

A weekly round up of everything I came across this week that was something to enjoy.

Some Things to Enjoy | HAIM – Want You Back

If the weather hasn’t convinced you, surely the fireworks and festivals this week for Fourth of July heralded summer is in full swing! I appreciate the AC, sweet tea, the juicy peaches, warm watermelons, salads fresh picked from our garden, and songs of crickets and frogs I hear in the woods surrounding the farm at night.

Aah, summer. I love you so much, I even accept the frizz in my moppy hair this time of year. So much so I even accept picking the fleas of Edie as a daily ritual.

Here are some things that inspire and uplift me this week.

want you back

Something I’m Listening to….HAIM – Want You Back

Haim’s single from their new album, Want You Back has been out for two months, now, and it’s on heavy Spotify rotation. Well, alongside songs from Moana and Cigarettes After Sex — it’s been a rough summer of edits and motivation to finish that has waned to nonexistent…. My musical tastes this summer represent the chaos that is my writing frustrations and anxiety on overload.

Cue in some salvation and better-than-a-pineapple-whip delight… HAIM’s new album, Something to Tell You, released yesterday. Definitely, most definitely, check it out! I’m no musician or critic, and won’t pretend to be, but I like it — hello — their harmonies.

The video is LA eye candy, too.

Something I’m Reading…. Darling Magazine

I stopped subscriptions to print magazines when I moved from Phoenix. A newly adopted nomadic lifestyle is not conducive to monthly mailings. Fortunately for me, Darling Magazine maintains a robust online platform. This is a particularly refreshing read for some internal reflection on what labels or definitions you are picking up from external influences and pressures.

Something I’m Loving…. 

Fellow stationary groupies, raise your hands! Currently loving on the locally sourced stationary and excellently curated art, home, and apparels in Lawrence, Kansas. The best town in the heartland.

On an unrelated topic, have you contacted your senator to express your views on the AHCA bill? If you’re unsure how to act to effectively communicate with your senator, Our Revolution has a great page of resources.

Want you back

What is inspiring you this summer? XO, Jennifer

want you back
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Some Things to Enjoy | The Hamilton Mixtape: Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)

I know I’ve been quite off the radar and absent. I’m sorry! It seems every time I turn to the news there is more news that drags me down. I’m already in a tender spot of sad feelings with my dissertation frustrations so I find that I get easily overwhelmed with the state of our administration. This week, in particular, has my head spinning. So it’s good for me to consciously see what’s good. And there’s so much good!

I’m back in Alabama and will spend probably a majority of what remains of summer down here. It’s quiet, on the farm, and aside from morning garden duties, I have minimal distractions. My current focus on finishing the final edits and revisions (again, and again) are my big priority. The next one is – to find a job. That is an interesting experiment in frustration and reflection. In time….

Nashville the Gulch

Here are some things that inspire and uplift me this week.

Whatever you are looking ahead to with your long weekend and heading into next week, make it beautiful!

Something I’m Listening to…. Lin-Manuel Miranda – The Hamilton Mixtape: Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)

Unless you’ve been underneath a rock or exclusively watch Fox & Friends, you might have seen the #HAM4ALL challenge. Borrowing inspiration from the ALS ice bucket challenge, Miranda is asking participants to upload a video of them singing a selection from Hamilton to social media and make a donation to the Immigrants: We Get the Job Done Coalition, then nominate two friends to do the same.

Hello – challenge accepted! And I have terrible stage fright, and cannot carry a tune, whatsoever (I’m so bad).

I hope you participate, too. It’s fantastic cause and electric campaign.

Something I’m Reading…. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

I started a reread of this book last summer then accidentally packed it up and put in storage before finishing. When I was going through some more items to “prune” and get rid of during a yard sale at my folks’ house at the beginning of the month I found it again, dogeared right where I left off. You may remember the delightful movie with Kathy Bates charming us as the mousy middle aged self conscious housewife and Jessica Tandy as Ninny, a quirky resident in a senior assisted living home who inspires Bates’s Evelyn to come into her own.

If you had any enjoyment in the movie, consider visiting your local library and making the book a summer read. It follows three story patterns: present day (1980’s) with Evelyn and Ninny; the fictional newsletter, “The Weems Weekly;” and Ninny’s childhood memories in 1920’s Whistle Stop, Alabama in which the beloved character Idgie will charm you as she did the bees.

If you loved the movie, as I did, I believe you will embrace the novel. There are  themes beautifully and tenderly written in the book that were not translated into the film, particularly the nuance pertaining to Idgie and Ruth’s relationship.

Fried Green Tomatoes

And then you can watch the film again, too! I promise you, before I leave Alabama again, I’ll share with you my recipe for fried green tomatoes. They are truly heavenly and worth the cheat day, and I’m loving having such close access thanks to the abundant garden harvest this summer on the farm.

Something I’m Loving…. 

I drove through Nashville last weekend on my way back to Alabama. Now, Music City… THAT is a fun town! I was quite short on time as I was making the drive from Kansas to Birmingham in a day – a long day. A break in my drive was scheduled so I could spend some time in the Gulch. Don’t be fooled, she’s 100% devil! Oh, Edie….

Nashville the Gulch -

I love planners. For 2017 I had a pretty “millenial pink” planner from Bando, despite not being a millenial – I’m technically not a Gen X, either, having been born in the weird transition years from 1977-1983 that is considered a microgeneration neither fitting in either set. Dawson’s Creek for the win (too young for 21 Jump Street, too old for One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl).

For 2018, I have a jump on my planner, already. I selected this pretty planner from Kate Spade – solely because I love the cover image. If you’re into zodiacs, this is the perfect pick for you.

And, hi, um, can you believe tomorrow is July?! Where has 2017 gone?!

The Gulch in Nashville Mural What Lifts You Up
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Somewhere on the cusp of Tuesday night and Wednesday morning after the longest 15 hour drive of my life, including a hellacious thunderstorm bordered by tornadoes to the south of where I was driving, Edie and I rolled up to the driveway of my folks’ house in the Swedish Meatball. Three weeks into a six – seven week road trip was cut short by my sobering realization I could not maintain the focus I needed on my final round of edits of my dissertation for my committee to approve and allow me to move on to my defense.

As much as I hate having to miss my niece’s first dance recital and one on one time with my best friend, most definitely not something to enjoy, this was a hard, but right, decision to make. I’ll look forward to getting to Connecticut later in the summer, and then maybe the water will even be warm enough for a swim! Amidst some disappointments, there’s still plenty I found this week to be beautiful.

Something to Enjoy

Something I’m Listening to…. Chris Cornell – Sunshower

Thursday’s news absolutely gutted me. As were many others rocked by the revelation of Chris Cornell’s unfortunate and untimely death. I feel like all of my idols are being taken away. I listened to this song – as is a frequent repeat on my playlists. If you’re at all feeling what I am, you’ve likely been hitting the Spotify Audioslave, Soundgarden, and his solo playlists all day. Er, weekend? He’s gone, but I can tribute the heck out of his art.

Something I’m Reading…. Modern Love

My obsession with the New York Times’s Modern Love podcast grew into reading the weekly column on the website. I wait, every week, for the indicator on my podcast app to inform me of the next episode. And I wait, every week, for the NYT site to update the newest digital draft to read. Two Modern Loves in any given week. And, when I’m planning a road trip, I’ll hold off on the podcast so I can binge listen to the stories. 

Something I’m Loving…. 

Feminista Jones‘s Twitter, in particular, her cheeky call out and “to piss a man off today” challenge. I feel hopeful more women are speaking up and calling out behaviors and ideologies that need to change. 

something to enjoy

Whatever you are looking ahead to with the rest of your weekend and heading into next week, make it beautiful! As for me, I’m enjoying the empty house while my folks are exploring the northeastern sea shore and riding out four straight days of thunderstorms and tornado watches. Welcome to Spring time in Kansas! There’s no place like “home.”

XO,

Jennifer

something to enjoy something to enjoy

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I haven’t hit the something to enjoy sequence in a while. Quite a while! To say I’m distracted is a most obvious observation.

While I would rather be in Oaxaca than anywhere else at this time, I have been contending with rather significant challenges and frustrations with this final dissertation process. The short: it’s written. The good: it’s written. Yay! The bad and the ugly: my chair and I don’t see eye to eye on the result so I’m  – still writing.

Which means I haven’t been to Spanish classes in a month. So, in other words, my language only improves by the few instances I force myself out of my house and peel away from the computer to interact with locals. I’m most familiar with the ladies in the mercado. I’m hiding from the yoga instructor who, to his credit, tried to lead the class in English for me but that just didn’t go great.

I transitioned into my new community with as much awkwardness as a baby deer on new legs. But don’t let my whining betray how happy I am here! I believe I made the right choice to leave the U.S. when I did.

Without any doubt, I made the right choice selecting Oaxaca. The city is as charming and beautiful as the sweet nothings courting Oaxacanos whisper in my ears. The climate is as delicious as nearly every meal I’ve eaten here. Seriously… the food lives up to, and in my opinion, surpasses its reputation!

Few places are as electric, vibrant, and creatively energetic and inspiring as Oaxaca. I’m actually heartbroken I have only six more days in the city – it feels like I just arrived here – before I head to the coast. From what I have been told, I’m about to experience another sumptuous feast for all of my senses!

Something I’m Listening to…. Stardust – Music Sounds Better with You

This one is fun, for sure. It’s a throwback and is a tiny tribute to a friend of mine, here, in Oaxaca. To protect the innocent I will not name him, but refer to him as Cutie Chilango (he’s from Mexico City). Cutie Chilango, or CC, for short, was one of my first friends in the city. he loves this song, so I learned earlier in the week.

Earlier this week, underfed and dehydrated, I had a couple of mezcals and because that liquor is so strong, I went full The Weeknd a la not being able to feel my face. We ordered some more, him believing I was drinking within my limit as a grown woman should be able to do…. The short story is my emotions erupted into a panic attack resulting in a “scene.” Like, I’ve personally witnessed rabid bobcats behave better….

This week was the anniversary of my dad’s death. I thought I was doing ok with the anniversary. This year made for five years. I wasn’t doing as well as I thought.

Oaxaca is actually a small town once you enter the social scene. As in I heard from people who weren’t even in the bar that night about my little show. CC wasn’t quite as lucky and his friends, and boss, were witnesses. I’ll spare you all of the details that poor CC had to endure. Rabid bobcats have been known to behave better.

Man of the year goes to my friend who stayed with me and nursed me through the crazy emotions, even after I threw up on him, and took me to a breakfast of mineral water, coffee, and a lot of fruit to get something in my system to endure a proper hangover.

And is willing to laugh about it – at me, I’m sure – and not let me hide and wither under the rock beneath which I wanted to put myself. Artisenal mezcal is a beautiful liquor, friends. Especially cuixe and tabola… at least these are the two I like the most. Artisenal mezcal can also pack a 52% alcohol volume punch. Which means….

Be very smart when drinking mezcal.

For women who like to travel alone this is especially important: be very smart about your surroundings when drinking alcohol in any foreign city. I was lucky because I was with someone who respects and protected me in what could have been a very dangerous situation if the character of my companion was not so strong as his.

Something I’m Reading…. The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems by Natalia Toledo

The Black Flower and Other Zapotec Poems Something to Enjoy Round Up

When most people think of indigenous cultures of Mexico, Aztec and Mayan are the ones that primarily come to mind. In Oaxaca, Zapotec culture runs deep, wide, and is still lived. I found this book inside Amate Books, located on the Alcala about one block south of Santo Domingo Plaza.

Half of the book is a translation from Zapotec to Spanish and the other half translates the same Zapotec poems to English. The poems are beautiful.

My heart’s sky hold you as the night does her stars.

Something Pretty for My Self Care….

I can only accurately say this week wasn’t really great about my self care. I wouldn’t have drunk more mezcal than my limit can tolerate if I was. Right? Drinking to the point of, and beyond, drunkenness (public intoxication nonetheless) is not caring for the self.

But, something I find a lot of comfort in is the sharing and support among the female blogging community. I don’t consider myself a travel blogger but I belong to several networks and communities because it’s good for me to have someone to help me normalize my current nomadic lifestyle. One of my friends, Cory, has a beautiful blog that is a great escape from the 9-5 drums. In this post, I share a small tidbit about why I travel in the manner I do. She also has some vignettes from other “travelettes.” Read some if you’re needing an extra push to make your 2017 travel plans.

Whatever you are looking ahead to with the rest of your weekend and heading into next week, make it beautiful!

XO,

Jennifer

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Happy Thanksgiving! Something to Enjoy | Cranes in the Sky

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because the very purpose, to me, is about giving thanks and fellowship with your family, friends, and community. Around food! I may have had two – significantly sized – pieces of red velvet cake… with cream cheese frosting so stacked I am certain if I were only a centimeter tall I would need snowshoes to get across the width of that cake. This is my first post since arriving in Alabama. I’m so happy to be here, but so exhausted. But oh so happy. It’s been forever and some days since I shared my thoughts and what I found to be something to enjoy, 2,246 some miles, later.

Something I’m Listening to…. Cranes in the Sky by Solange Knowles

Holy cow, it’s been out for several weeks now but have you heard her new album? Wow, wow, wow. So much in love! The song, itself, is frigging amazing – I don’t have the words – but you must see the visuals in her video to accompany the single. The artistic direction for all of the visual accompaniment to her latest album practically blows my mind.

 According to her Instagram, Cranes in the Sky was a project eight years in the making. Seriously, stop and run this through twice. Once to watch this full beauty unfold, and then again with eyes closed to help you develop all those delicious feels.

Something I’m Reading…. You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

 

Irreverent, funny, and in my face. I picked this up, on a whim, when Edie and I were in Carmel last month. “When Edie and I…” I could consider getting a life. But I’d need to finish my dissertation to do that. Her chapters are fast reads and perfectly sized to consume in quick gulps. Yes, this is “self help,” but I promise you’ll be having too much of a great time to care. PROMISE!

Something Pretty for My Self Care…. Ok, several things this week

  1. Thanksgiving, of course! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For me, the occassion is an opportunity to come together with family, friends, and share our love, joy, fellowship, and collectively be thankful. I am particularly contemplative of my gratitude. Oh, and hello, the food! My doctor didn’t call me out for gaining (now over) 22 pounds this year for nothing! I had two – not small – slices of legit, homemade, not oily, not scary red, red velvet cake. I dared my pancreas to not send me into pre-diabetes (which I should not laugh at because several older generation family members developed Type 2 in their lifetimes – knowing family medical history can be a wet blanket at times).
  2. My road trip came to an end but I had several “firsts” that I can’t wait to share with you! Running barefoot and nearly chilled as a popsicle through the sand dunes of White Sands with Edie, Carlsbad Caverns, traversing the entirety of Texas, camping under the super moon, glamping in Marfa. Glamping! Oh, and letting Edie the Beast loose in NOLA, teeth and all. Soon, I promise. I have a long list of posts to create and share with you. But, first, I MUST finish these final pages of my draft. Codes are not my friends.

Something New…. Strangers – a podcast by Lea Thau

I’ve been about as obsessed with some podcasts for a while with a similar dependency that some women have to The Bachelor and any of the Real Housewives. But, right before I left Phoenix I discovered Strangers. I downloaded the entire series and binge-listened to Strangers episodes throughout the majority of my road trip East. GAAAAA it’s SO GOOD!

Your turn…. How about you? What is something you particularly enjoyed this week? What is something you have planned for the rest of your holiday weekend? Comment below and let us know! 

Happy thanksgiving! Something to Enjoy

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