NOTE: If you have not watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel yet, stop what you’re doing. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go immediately to Amazon Prime and watch it! This show…THIS SHOW! It is GORGEOUS and HILARIOUS and TOUCHING. It’s well-written and well-acted and, oh!, so well-costumed. It’s DELIGHTFUL.
(It’s an hour-long comedy-drama about a 50s housewife whose husband leaves her and who starts a career in stand-up comedy. It’s NOT family-friendly, thanks to some grown-up language throughout and one scene with nudity in the first episode [played for laughs, not for…anything else].)
I rang in the new year a couple hours early, in a room full of friends and kids and noisemakers and board games. The drive home felt even longer than usual, and we all slept late the next day. Though it was the Holy Grail of New Years Days, starting on a Monday like it did, it was a quiet day at my house with laundry and puzzles and naps and French fries.
My entire month of January has been a real slow start to 2018. I didn’t pull my new Fitbit out of its box until January was well under way. I just finished writing out some goals last week. And the dry erase calendar in my kitchen said “December” until about 7 hours ago.
Perhaps you can relate?
I’ve had conversations with multiple friends about how difficult the month of January can be. Whether it’s the post-holiday let-down, the weight of new year expectations, the cold weather and long, dark hours, or the latest virus going around, this time of year can feel heavy and hard. The good news? January — like winter, figurative or otherwise — doesn’t last forever.
Today I finally updated my kitchen calendar, and I pulled out my prayer journal (the one that was supposed to start last January, then this January, and hey, better late than never). I rolled my eyes at the tasks not crossed out and moved them to my February list. And I thanked God for fresh starts, new mercies, and months that finally come to an end.
And for comfort food in the form of interesting books, funny movies, and charming shows.
Clearly, guys, this means that graphic up there is tongue in cheek. It really IS fantastic that February started today! Now, I hope you’ll share what books and movies and shows and music have been keeping you warm during the dark days of winter.
Here’s what I’ve been into:
What I’m Reading:
- Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin: Essentially a fictional version of what might have really happened in a case like Monica Lewinski’s, this book tells the story of a young intern who has an affair with a politician from the viewpoint of her mother, her daughter, the politician’s wife, and finally, the intern herself. Well-written, compassionate and fascinating, this book was just as good as I’d heard.
- Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: This YA novel is about a girl who writes an incredibly successful web comic. Anonymously. And then she meets a boy who loves her comic but doesn’t know she’s the creator. I’ve read lots of books about geek girls and teens who are socially awkward in some way or another, but this one was different. I don’t know much about web comics, but this was a great look at what it’s like to be an artist in a family of non-artists. And it was a more in-depth picture of a teenager who is dramatically different from her peers and all the ways that’s wonderful and all the ways that’s difficult. I loved this book!
- Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone: Like many YA novels, this one is about two damaged teens who, despite their differences, make a connection. Then they find out their personal traumas might be related. Dramatics and angst ensue. This one might not have been as unique as Eliza, but I really enjoyed it anyway.
- Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes: OH MY GOSH, this book was SO INSPIRING. I shouldn’t have been surprised that the writer of Grey’s is a fantastic writer. You might not think I had much in common with Shonda, but based on this book, WE ARE THE SAME. Well, in a lot of ways. But I’m guessing that I’m not the only reader who identified with parts of her story. I’m pretty sure her writing is just that compelling. And her struggles are things that many of us have faced. I literally laughed out loud, cried actual tears, and pumped my fist and shouted, “yes!” over and over as I read this one. It was really good.
I’m reading The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert right now. It’s basically like a Hallmark movie in book form, so obviously I love it. Although, my recent holiday binging of TV movies does mean I’ve just about had my fill of these types of stories. So while I am enjoying the book, it’s a slower read than it might have been four months ago.
What I’m Watching:
- One Day at a Time, season two (Netflix): This show is warm and charming, and it makes me laugh and cry every time I watch it. It’s a reboot of the show from the 70s, but this time around it’s a Cuban-American family. It’s a half-hour family sitcom and a total throwback to the half-hour family sitcoms of decades past — but in a completely delightful way. I loved the first season last year and was so excited for the second season to drop last week. I’m trying to savor, not binge, this year’s episodes. But it’s hard. Because I love it.
- Miranda, seasons 1-4, (Hulu): If you like quirky, British, awkward, ridiculous, HILARIOUS shows, this might be for you. I laugh hysterically at every episode, and I was thrilled to find it again on Hulu. (I watched it on Amazon a couple years ago and then couldn’t find it streaming anywhere for the longest time.)
- Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King (Netflix): This comedy special is FANTASTIC. Although to call it simply a “comedy special” is only half the story. Hasan shares stories from his childhood and a lot of insight about racism. It’s incredibly moving but also seriously funny. I laughed, I cried, I turned down the volume (because HELLO language). I highly recommend this one!
- The Mayor (Hulu): This has been cancelled, but you can watch the remaining episodes on Hulu. Which I’m doing because I thought it was a great little show. Not the best sitcom, not my favorite sitcom. But darn it, I liked it!
- Great News (Hulu): This hasn’t been cancelled but it also hasn’t been renewed. And it doesn’t look likely. But it’s still totally worth a watch. Produced by Tina Fey, this workplace comedy follows a plucky single gal working in the news. Yep, a little Mary Tyler Moore meets this century. The ensemble cast is funny and ridiculous but also largely likeable. The will they-won’t they isn’t obnoxious. And Tina Fey herself shows up in a few episodes in this last season, so that’s fun, too. I hope it comes back, but if it doesn’t, I’m glad I watched it while it was on.
I’ve also seen a few movies in the theater recently. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was adolescent boy funny – and I laughed through the entire movie. Honestly, it was funny enough I’ll probably watch it again whenever it hits streaming or cable. Pitch Perfect 3 was also ridiculous, and it also made me laugh a lot. It also made me cry, which is just as nuts as it sounds. I explain in this post.
What I’m Listening to:
Podcasts. I’m mostly listening to podcasts. I mean, sure, I’m listening to music, too. But mainly podcasts. I’ve been having a hard time staying awake and alert when I drive — and I drive a lot. So listening to my podcast friends helps. It also helps that all of these shows are either super funny or super helpful and informational. Or about pop culture, which we all know is my favorite.
Do you listen to podcasts? What’s your favorite?
What I’m Looking Forward to:
- Seeing Black Panther, the next Marvel movie (in theaters February 16)
- Reading The Sacred Enneagram by Chris Heuertz
- Watching Good Girls, a new show on NBC (premieres February 26)
- Seeing Joel McHale on my TV again on Netflix’s The Joel McHale Show (premieres February 18)
- Reading Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana White (available February 27) and Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (available February 6)
- More dance lessons and basketball practices — and staying sane with some meal planning (hey! miracles can happen!)
- Finding a missing CD to the library’s audio version of Harry Potter, book one (fingers crossed it’s under one of the seats of the car…)
I’d love to hear about your January. Share what you’ve been into in the comments!
This post is linked up with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into. And this post includes affiliate links. So thank you for supporting this site!