Summer in the American South has been HOT and very rainy this year! Wow June you delivered on some fantastic, beautiful, awe-inspiring Summer storms. One thunderstorm had such intense wind that a gigantic tree on our street fell over (I think it was rotten).
I have loved watching storms roll in and agitate the trees in our yard. Did you know that watching a tree can lower your blood pressure? (cool, huh). Speaking of lately, we are still obsessed with the specifics of nature and botany over here! Some trees we have discovered recently on walks nearby:
And plants/trees: this is a different variety of magnolia with smaller "pinecones":) I have loved learning alongside my kids. I'm still using the free "Picture This" app, BUT hit me up if you have a good one to recommend! :) I can't wait to start drawing them, as I have heard it improves attention span and helps you to remember the names.
And onto what I'm into.... Summer is such a great time for media. The days are longer and I feel so much more in the mood to be entertained especially with this scorcher we're currently experiencing. Hopefully that means at least a few people in the world are still reading blogs (right now!).
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
This may have been my favorite book this month, maybe my favorite book in some time. The writing was like a mouth-wateringly delicious meal of black Southern comfort food, with pain, sadness, and brokenness thrown in. I would not read this if you do not want to feel the strain and heartache that is the Black American experience. But if you want a gorgeous look at marriage, life, and race, then READ IT.
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano
I will always have good associations with this book, because I finished it the same night Stephen and I went out for Thai food. I had a huge Thai tea with dinner, so I was wide awake to finish the last fourth of the book. I should have been eating and drinking Sicilian food like pizza and granitas (Almond granitas!!!!!)
The Ensemble by Aja Gabel
To be honest, I liked so many things about this book more than I enjoyed the experience of reading it. I enjoyed the musical vocabulary and jargon, rooted in her real experiences of playing competitive cello. There is a good podcast episode with an interview with the author. Worth checking out. I found the writing very beautiful and the mood very San Francisco. I might not read anything else by this author though because it felt slow and stilted at times.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
This was a fast-paced YA romance about a Korean boy and Jamaican American girl who fall in love one day, when the issue of immigration threatens to tear them apart. Very of-the-moment, very cheesy and YA-ish, and a simplistic almost childish style, but with a lot of heart. A sweet look at a contemporary romance with modern themes thrown in for good measure.
You can see my goodreads challenge here (and please don't ask me why Ariel's Birthday Surprise is included in my books. Because I couldn't figure out how to delete it. 😂)
Portlandia (some episodes are good and worth watching) There is a new season and I admit Fred Armisen is one of my favorite comedians living today. Just be careful of the "overboard" episodes (unmentionable much). haha
The Greatest Showman I think this movie is underrated by critics. My family has seen it numerous times and not only that, my daughters are obsessed with the soundtrack. I love Michelle Williams in this movie- she has a beautiful voice and she can dance. Neither of which I would have known if I hadn't seen this movie.
Chef's Table This is my favorite show on Netflix. I devour every episode, wishing I could taste the things I see on the screen. It is so artful... watch all the way to the end of the season; the last episode is innovative, intense, inspiring, incredible. Episodes in Sicily* and Indonesia were favorites.
Part Unknown with Anthony Bourdain I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of Bourdain when he died. I enjoyed watching some of this series... I think I watched about half of the episodes of the first season. (I'm not sure if there are more seasons off the top of my head). I loved the episode on Canada (although the food they eat is INTENSE), and the one on the Congo was FASCINATING. Bourdain was a passionate, interesting person with a gift for storytelling and understanding history and politics and making them accessible. He lended an ear and in turn was able to really hear the issues of countries, especially those "not on the map" culturally speaking.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Again, I devoured the new season of this show. I love it so much. I just wish there were more episodes. As I said on Twitter, just think about how cool Tituss Andromedas is and make a show about that. I love him.
Fountains of Carrots
The Catholic Momcast
Art of Simple
Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey
How I Built This NPR
My June Tunes Playlist! :)
My Goodreads Reading Challenge (Come be a friend!)
Linda Holmes' piece on Anthony Bourdain @ Monkey See
Ben Folds is writing a book!
Great Summer Reading @ Catholic Mom
I am also deeply saddened and troubled by the news coming out of Annapolis. Stephen and I lived there for 6 years, and I started my first blog there. I was a writer in Annapolis, so I am very heartbroken to think about writers in Annapolis getting murdered. To all of my friends in that community-- I am praying for you right now. 😢😞
linking up with Leigh