Favorites: July 2020

Sunday, July 26, 2020 / 11:30 AM

Another month – come and gone. July weather isn't my favorite in Southern California, but I guess the weird upside to just being in my apartment all day is that it's temperature-controlled. 

I have been enjoying walks outside in my neighborhood though, and the occasional coffee dates at the park and bread starter delivery trips over to Burbank. I'm trying to find little moments of joy wherever I can...and this month's "favorites" list is chock-full of them!

1. folklore (Taylor Swift)

I can't even describe the gasp I let out when I woke up to see this announcement. After being used to drawn-out Easter egg hunts and long promo cycles filled with slightly-disappointing singles, to see that Taylor would be dropping a surprise album with less than 24 hours notice was a breath of much-needed fresh air during this quarantine season. 

No need to guess how I feel about the album, seeing as it tops my list this month: I love it. I love that there isn't a stand-out single bop and then it's weaved together like a thoughtfully-crafted anthology. I love the way the tracks move into each other, and how it feels to lay on my back and stare at the ceiling while listening through my headphones. I've been having so much anxiety lately, and this brought me back down to earth for a bit. 

I think what I appreciate the most about folklore is that it takes Taylor's strength as a writer and storyteller and blows it up 200%. Her quietest songs have always been some of her strongest ones, and now we have a full album showcasing that.

Favorite tracks (at the moment): "the 1," "my tears ricochet," "august," "peace."

My skin has been kind of a mess this year. Winter was particularly harsh, and I found myself not drinking enough water. And by the time the dry patches were starting to clear up, quarantine began and for some reason, it made my skin even drier than usual. 

I've been trying a combination of a few things, including the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser I mentioned a couple months ago, but on an impulse buy at Target, I picked up the Milky Mist to give it a try. I'd heard so many good things about it from acquaintances and from an influencer or two online – and what do you know? It's been a game-changer. I'm still using the Glossier cleanser in the morning and at night, but now throughout the day, I'm spraying some of the Milky Mist on and it's completely cleared up those dry patches that were so persistent the last few months! 

3. The Baby-Sitters Club (Netflix)

I've always been a fan of The Baby-Sitters Club – the books and the 1995 film. When I heard it was being rebooted for Netflix, I was a little skeptical because I wasn't sure what kinds of stories they wanted to tell through this group... but I'm so happy they did it. I can't recommend this adaptation enough. 

It's a smart show that tackles important issues without talking down to the audience it wants to reach. It's moving and funny and silly, all at once, and it makes me wish I had this version of the franchise back when I was growing up. You can read my interview with Momona Tamada, who plays Claudia Kishi, and more of my thoughts in this feature/review for Mochi Magazine.

Kristen gifted this to me, which was very exciting because every trip I'd taken to Target this month, it had been sold out. But I wanted to try it because I've enjoyed Winky Lux products in the past, and I had heard good things about it too. I also love talking about lip care, so of course I was on board to give this balm a try. It smells amazing, goes on softly without feeling too abrasive or sticky, and leaves a pleasant aftertaste. Really, all the things I want in a lip balm.

More to watch:
  • Glow (Netflix) – I can't believe I've never seen this show before, but God...I'm obsessed. And while I took some issues with the third season, all I want now is more of this ensemble. Also, Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin are incredible together and that hospital scene in season 2 where they're fighting is a masterclass in acting. Also also, I am convinced that "Freaky Tuesday" is the funniest episode of television available on Netflix right now.
  • "Don't Rain on My Parade" cover by Naya Rivera (Glee) – Naya Rivera's sudden passing is heartbreaking. I had so loved her portrayal of Santana on Glee, and I always thought she was one of the most talented vocalists in the show. This is one of my favorite performances because of how dedicated she is to making it her own. It's a true show-stopper. There really was no one like her.

More to listen to:
  • The Empty Bowl – It's a meditative podcast about cereal. Are you really surprised I've been loving it?
  • My Baby-Sitters Club Spotify playlist
  • Armchair Expert: Joel McHale – I'm a sporadic listener of Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast, so I didn't know he had interviewed Joel McHale back in 2018. But silence has been driving me crazy in my apartment lately, so I've been scrolling through podcast archives to find things to listen to and came across this interview. I bonded with friends in college over The Soup on Friday nights and I've always loved Joel in Community, and I'm always down for the laughsWhat I've always appreciated about podcasts is the opportunity to engage in longer conversations that can be deeper than your 2-4 minute couch interview on late night television. Dax and Joel are friends, so their rapport is fairly established when this episode begins, but that doesn't stop them from holding back on going deep. One of their conversation topics is about their shared dyslexia, and hearing both of them discuss it so frankly was insightful and a nice change of pace from the way that dyslexia can sometimes be dismissed. 
  • Bring It All Back – Alamin and I restarted our podcast! We launched Bring It All Back in 2017 to talk about reboots, revivals, and reunions, but by 2018, I had to pull back because there was too much on my plate (both personally and professionally). But now we're back, and I'm excited to see how quarantine is going to keep us on our toes with all the shows and franchises to discuss.

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