This is a really weird blog post for me to write. I have 122 blog posts in my drafts folder (seriously) and yet today, when I sat down to write, I just really wanted to write about Shawn Mendes (seriously).
Listen, I love writing articles like last week’s You Are Enough, but they take a lot of time and, quite frankly, are also pretty emotionally draining. I also like writing articles like Where to Find Wisteria in London which are ridiculously boring to a lot of you (check out how many comments are on there vs. a post like this) but I do think it’s important to write useful posts once in a while and not just waffle on about myself, which, if you read through this blog, is clearly my most beloved subject (*and I wonder why I’m single*).
That being said… nope. Today is for wafflin’. And I’ve been reading so many good books and watching so many good shows and listening to so many good songs lately that I felt like writing about them. Please note that a few of these links are affiliate links, but not all… mainly because I have no idea how to become an affiliate of anything but Amazon, and only Amazon USA (I always joke that I’m a really bad blogger but guys, for real, I suck).
So without further ado, here are some things I love this month of March, 2018.
I wasn’t lying when I said I wanted to write about Shawn Mendes. Look, this is a surprise to you and me both. I don’t think I could have named one Shawn Mendes song before last week – for the uninitiated, he is a 19-year-old pop singer from Canada – but I heard this song on the radio while I was driving and was like, um… I kinda like this. Then I went home and did my nightly ritual of looking up audition tapes from various singing shows on YouTube (don’t judge, that’s legitimately the only thing I use YouTube for) and lo and behold, this audio was recommended to me.
It’s a damn good pop song, and I listen to it when I’m making breakfast (other recent pop favourites on this breakfast-making list include Kesha and Demi Lovato). I don’t know about you, but in the past few years of my life, namely in my thirties, there was just this switch of not giving a flying fuck what I liked or pretended to like anymore. I used to only listen to music that I thought would make me smarter, or make me appear smarter, perhaps; the same with movies and books. Pop music? Please. I didn’t listen to that, or I didn’t admit to listening to that (weirdly, listening to pop music from any era other than my own was permissible in my mind). There is actually a photo of me from when I was seventeen years old wearing a Sonic Youth t-shirt and smashing a Britney Spears CD. I know. I was ~so kewl~.
Thankfully, I am not that close-minded anymore. A good song is a good song, and pop music is popular for a reason. I don’t think I’ll be buying tickets to a Shawn Mendes concert anytime soon, but I will keep playing this song while I boil eggs every morning. It’s about his struggle with anxiety, which I think makes it even more relatable and commendable.
I’ve been a fan of Jessie Reyez for a while now – Figures was recommended to me on Spotify – and I do love supporting Canadian artists. I watched an hour or so of the Junos the other night (the biggest award night in Canadian music) and thankfully caught this performance by Reyez and Daniel Caesar and… oh man. Goosebumps. I just went from being a fan of hers to a superfan – she’s amazing. And her OUTFIT.
Also… did anyone else just develop a huge crush on Daniel Caesar after this video?! I’d also like to say that, watching the Junos reminds me of just how much I love Canada/Canadians. Everyone was so humble and cute and talented and badass and… wait. CANADA is not on this list… or is it?
Other songs I can’t stop listening to right now:
Life’s a Bell by Langhorne Slim
Earthquake by This Is The Kit
Bastards by Kesha
You’ve Got Me Running in Circles by Sonny Cleveland
Sexy Weekend by Scoundrels
Yama Yama by Yamasuki
Cherry by J.J. Cale
I’d Rather Be A Cowboy by John Denver
All the Stars by Kendrick Lamar and SZA
and finally… my favourite song of all time:
You Can Pack Your Suitcase by Fats Domino, which I obviously love because a) Fats Domino b) suitcase… This Battered Suitcase… you got me and c) I told an ex-boyfriend who kept texting me that this is my favourite song recently and he was like, “Oh yeah, cool, I’m going to listen to it” and I realllllllly hope he listens to those lyrics, hah.
Netflix’s Wild Wild Country – not to be confused with the critical flop Wild Wild West of 1999 starring Will Smith, Kevin Kline, and Selma Hayek (so much potential) – is a docu-series on Netflix that was recently released. If you have never heard of the Rajneeshee community that moved to Oregon in the 1980s… oh man. I don’t really want to spoil it for you. I don’t want to be insensitive and call it a cult, but if it looks like a cult, swims like a cult, and quacks like a cult… well, you know.
I was aware of the Rajneeshees and of the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his secretary, Ma Anand Sheela, because I have seen every single episode of Forensic Files (twice) and they were once featured on it. With that background, and knowing what went down in Oregon in the 80s, I knew this docu-series was going to be BONKERS. Produced by the Duplass brothers (I have had a crush on Mark Duplass since I started watching the series The League years ago… which is odd, because he so often plays very un-crushable characters… let’s not read into my attraction then, shall we) this series is edited so well and totally keeps you hooked. The music is also stellar. There are so many moments when my jaw actually dropped.
If you like true crime and investigative journalism, you’ll love Wild Wild Country.
I’m not much of a football fan – or fan of any sport, really – but there is something about sports movies and shows that I love. The thing is, this docu-series – also found on Netflix – is about so much more than football. Last Chance U is an in-depth and often utterly heartbreaking look at the lives of young men trying to make it in football. It examines race, class, and faith in Southern USA; set in Mississippi, many of these young men have fought against the odds to succeed, and some of their stories are devastating. It made me highly uncomfortable at times – you won’t be a fan of the head coach, let me tell you – but you want so badly for these athletes to do well, and I found myself totally wrapped up in their stories. Trust me, even if you don’t care about football at all, you will still enjoy this series.
Yep. I am recommending Jumanji. Hear me out.
As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I watch a ton of movies. I tend to watch a movie or its equivalent a day (so… two episodes *cough* three *cough* of a show, or a solid two hours of singing auditions on YouTube) because I’m single, live alone, and work from home. C’mon now. I have a lot of time on my hands sometimes. In the last year, my favourite movies were Get Out, Girls Trip, Wonder Woman, Lady Bird, Black Panther, I, Tonya, Mudbound, The Florida Project, and The Big Sick. I wanted very badly to love Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist, The Beguiled, and Logan Lucky, but I just liked them instead. I haven’t seen Dunkirk or mother! but I have a feeling I will pull muscles in my eyeballs from rolling them so hard at the latter. I think I’m the only person on the planet who didn’t like The Shape of Water. But all of that being said… I believed so strongly that I would despise Jumanji because I so love the original… and it turned out to be absolutely delightful.
I should have known. I am a huge fan of Dwayne Johnson, a huge fan of Kevin Hart, and an even bigger fan of them together. I watched this movie by myself and actually laughed out loud. I know that sounds weird but for real, how often do you laugh out loud when you’re alone? Like rewind the movie to watch it again and laugh out loud again?
I read a really interesting chapter in a book I’m about to recommend *ahem* that talked about mass culture, and how often it is looked down upon or not thought about as critically as avant-garde culture, AKA stuff that is super deep and serious, guys. In this chapter, written by Anne Helen Petersen, she writes, “The rigor, complexity, and alienation that attend the avant-garde ensure that only a certain sort of person, with a certain set of class privileges, will like it – which effectively reinforces its exclusivity and importance.” The chapter also goes on to explain the rise of the midcult: “anything that makes you feel like you’re doing something smart, but you’re still pretty comfortable or unchallenged doing it.” She cites NPR, Time Magazine, and Game of Thrones.
This is especially notable in literature; we see it all the time, with “chick lit” or books that are sold in airports and supermarkets being branded as trash, even though those are the books that millions of people are reading and enjoying.
I am babbling on about this because, again, I feel like I’ve been so hard on myself my whole life about enjoying mass culture. [See: me smashing a Britney Spears CD] Like, if it wasn’t a documentary about the gulags of Belarus, I should be ashamed for admitting I liked it, or something. I have no idea who instilled this snobbery in me – perhaps it was the fact that, for a few formative years in my teens, I idolised a bunch of white male authors like Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Jonathan Franzen, and Philip Roth – but I am so happy I don’t feel this way anymore. If I enjoy it, I enjoy it. Who cares if the only awards it wins is a Razzie? Please make no note of the fact that this blog gets its name from a Jack Kerouac quote, OK?
Anyway, I loved Jumanji. There. I said it publicly.
Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen is incredible. I LOVE THIS BOOK. I am a huge fan of Petersen; she writes amazing essays for Buzzfeed, and I highly recommend a deep dive of what she’s written for the site about gender, race, and politics. I discovered her work through my absolute favourite blog, Lainey Gossip – I love this blog because it covers celebrity gossip, which I do enjoy, but dissects exactly why certain celebrity gossip is reported in the way that it is, or why certain celebrities are loved or hated. It promotes and celebrates diversity in celebrity culture, which is something I believe we need more of.
Anyway, this book. THIS BOOK! Please buy this book immediately. As the blurb says: “You know the type: the woman who won’t shut up, who flaunts it, who’s too brazen, too opinionated – too much. Sometimes, she’s the life of the party; others, she’s the focus of gossip. She’s the unruly woman, and she’s one of the most provocative, powerful forms of womanhood today.”
Each chapter focuses on a woman who is “too much” – Serena Williams is “too strong”, for example, or Madonna is “too old” (Petersen isn’t actually saying these things, for the record – she’s highlighting what society says about these women). Even if you don’t necessarily like the women she’s talking about – I’m not a huge fan of Kim Kardashian, for example – she makes such excellent points about how we view these women and why they are so often vilified or gossiped about.
I actually got into a huge debate with a young, privileged, upper-class white woman about feminism a few weeks ago because I recommended this book to her (her argument in a nutshell? “The fight for women’s rights isn’t needed anymore. I have never been harassed in my life, and I’ve gotten every job I’ve ever applied for. This whole #metoo movement has gone too far. Like, get over it already.” You know, the old it’s never happened to me so it doesn’t exist thing that I still can’t believe some people are so close-minded to believe when it comes to gender issues, race issues, and class issues). Anyway, in honour of unruly women around the world, please buy this book. You’ll love it.
All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft
All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft by Geraldine DeRuiter is just a fantastically funny and heartwarming book, end of. I’m actually not even finished it because I am trying to savour it chapter by chapter, although I could easily spend the rest of the night NOT watching the latest auditions from American Idol on YouTube and consume the entire thing instead. It’s that good.
You may know Geraldine from her blog The Everywhereist, which is, to me, one of the best blogs out there, travel or otherwise. I mean, read this. Or THIS. I’m only six chapters in and I know with certainty this will be one of my favourite books of the year. Geraldine has the ability to write an entire chapter about going through airport security and make it one of the best things you’ve read all month.
Clothes and Makeup
This section is going to be jumbled because a) I’m tired b) I’ve already written 2300 words about Dwayne Johnson, Shawn Mendes, and Kim Kardashian (what is happening) and c) I have one more episode of Wild Wild Country to watch and I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.
If you know me well, you know that I like to have themes to describe things in my life. So, for example, my house’s theme is anthropology professor originally from New Mexico who just recently got back from travelling the world and has a slight whisky problem… oh and it’s 1957. So basically, my house is full of mid-century modern furniture, a bar cart with all my favourite malts, a bunch of paintings from Mexico, Colombia, and Botswana, and some southwestern patterns thrown in there, too.
Similarly, my clothing style has lately had one of two themes: mobster’s wife – so think belted leather skirts, lots of gold jewellery, and bold lipstick – or slightly wealthy older lady who is thrice-divorced and really likes to collect art and drink highballs – so think long, loose caftans and kimonos, big chunky jewellery, and yeah, bold lipstick.
Keeping that in mind, I am obsessed with this caftan. I have it in burgundy and am now considering buying it in every single colour. I am spending two weeks in the Caribbean for my birthday in May and I feel like I should probably buy it in at least blue and red as well… right? Right?!
Also, now is the time to confess another obsession: Fenty. Fenty is Rihanna’s makeup line and oh my good WORD it is such good makeup. If you watch my Instagram stories, you’re probably like, “You always wear the exact same brown lipstick and cat eye,” but let me tell you, I am obsessed with everything Rihanna has created. I own fourteen of her lipsticks and glosses (yes, fourteen, I’m not lying about my obsession), an eyeshadow palate, foundation, and four highlighters. I honestly don’t even wear some of it out of the house. I just like to put on sparkly turquoise eyeshadow and watch auditions on YouTube while wearing a caftan, OK? We’ve all got our thing.
And yes, I even bought the blue and green lipsticks; I wore them in Vegas and felt FANTASTIC. How could you not feel fantastic when you are wearing lipsticks called S1ngle, Clapback, Spanked, Ma’Damn, Midnight Wasabi, Griselda, or, my personal favourite, Shawty?!
If you’re looking for a red lipstick that WILL NOT MOVE (seriously, I ate TWO MEALS while wearing this stuff and it didn’t budge), try her Stunna lip paint. It’s quite bold, and you should definitely line your lips before you put it on – it’s easier to paint within the lines, and all that – but this stuff is indestructible (yet comes off easily with makeup remover).
I would like to point out that when I was about fifteen years old I was obsessed with buying every single shade of Covergirl eyeshadow, regardless of whether or not it looked good on me, so if anyone would like know if I’ve changed in twenty years, the answer is clearly NO.
Finally, since many of you ask me about the jewellery I wear in my Instagram stories, I’d like to direct you to my best friend Rikki’s jewellery line called Souvenir Handmade. I wear one of her pieces nearly every single day, and if you check out her Instagram, you can see her spring collection is AMAZING. You can get a lot of it on Etsy, but if you’re in Winnipeg in the next few weeks she’ll be selling her stuff at various craft markets in the city.
Phew. OK. I think that’s it for now. I am so in love with so many other things right now but Wild Wild Country is calling me. Will I keep this series going? Who knows. As long as I love reading, watching TV, and wearing blue lipstick, I’ll certainly try.
Oh, and bake these brownies. They’re the best.
What are you loving these days?