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We’re certainly catapulting through this year; I can’t believe that summer is almost here! After several busy months, May has felt refreshingly slow-paced. We’ve fully settled into our new normal, and while I don’t know if I’ll ever stop referring to California as home, I’m adjusting well to life in Texas. Here’s a look at some of what has been filling my days in recent weeks.

Lately May 2016

Reading Lately. . .

After working my way through a few mediocre books, my reading life seems to have taken a turn for the better. I just finished The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and it was one of my favorite books I’ve read all year!

This week I started The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective as my monthly book for my 2016 Reading Challenge. (It’s my pick for “a book on an intriguing subject”.) It’s long and pretty technical, so I have a feeling I’ll be reading this one for a while.

Inspired by this list of “life changing books to read with your mom”, my Mom and I are starting a sort of mother/daughter book club. Our first book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I’ve really been wanting to read this book, so I’m glad my mom picked it.

For the first time in recent memory I’ve been doing more physical reading than audiobooks, but I’m far from abandoning audiobooks altogether. I’m currently listening to The Westing Game, a book I have been meaning to read for a while. With many characters to keep track of, it’s not ideal for the audio format, but it’s still an enjoyable listen. As usual, I’ll be sharing full reviews of all my recent reads in an upcoming Quick Lit post.

Reading May 2016

Latest TV Binges. . .

This week we started watching Baby Daddy; we’re only a few episodes in, but so far it’s cute and very funny, so I think we’ve officially settled on our next binge watch. Earlier this much we caught up on the latest seasons of two other shows:

Girl Meets World, Season 2: I was pretty excited to dive into season 2 of this fun series, and I enjoyed this season even more than the first. The characters continue to be adorable, and the storylines are sweet and positive. As with the original series, Girl Meets World isn’t afraid to tackle some deeper topics like bullying, parental abandonment, and faith; these heavier episodes balance out the lightheartedness of the show. My only complaint with this season is that some interesting story arcs were introduced and then left unresolved; I read that the episodes were filmed out of order, which explains (but doesn’t excuse) the choppy timeline issues. My Rating: 4 stars.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 2: If I had one word to describe this (oddly popular) Netflix show, it would be “weird.” I wasn’t enthralled with Season 1 and this season wasn’t much better. There are a number of funny lines, and I really like several of the primary characters (Tina Fey is a very bright spot in the latter half of the season) but the show’s erratic style and over-the-top quirkiness kept me from really enjoying it, and I don’t feel the need to watch any future seasons. My Rating: 2.5 stars.

TV Shows May 2016

Movies (Courtesy of Netflix). . .

Charlie makes it tough impossible for us to find the two uninterrupted hours required to make it through a whole movie, so Luke and I finally accepted that if we want to watch any movies in the next few years we will just have to watch them in increments. When we were between shows, we watched three different movies, each over the course of a few nights.

Grease Live!:  I adore musicals, and I’ve loved this stage show (NOT the movie) since my own appearance (as Frenchy!) in my high school’s production. I had so much fun reliving my musical days with this updated version! I was incredibly impressed with everything about this adaptation, from the amazing musical and dance performances to the costuming and production quality. The casting was all totally on point, and I enjoyed the merging of elements from the film and stage versions as well as brand new additions. What a enjoyable show! My Rating: 5 stars.

Good Will Hunting: I’m not quite sure how I’ve missed seeing this movie over the years, but I was definitely overdue.

What I Loved: 1) The humanity—there are some incredibly powerful feelings in this film, and their rawness stirred up quite a bit of emotion in me as I watched. 2) The acting—truly stellar performances from some of my favorite actors. 3) The costumes—I enjoyed laughing at the terrible 90s fashion. 4) The dialogue—there were so many poetic monologues, I found myself wanting to jot down lines midway through! 5) The ending—it was perfect.

What I Didn’t: 1) The style—from the camera work to the pacing, this film is very artsy, and not in a way I enjoyed. 2) The language—holy cow, there are a lot of f-bombs in this movie; I found the vulgarity very distracting.

Ultimately the good outweighed the bad. I understand why Good Will Hunting is beloved by many and am glad we finally got around to seeing it ourselves. My Rating: 4 stars.

Walter Before Mickey:  This biopic follows the early years of Walt Disney, tracing his career from 1919-1928. I learned a lot about Disney’s character and origins, but found the film surprisingly dry for a movie based on such an intriguing man. This was obviously a very low budget film and the acting and dialogue were weak, distracting from the story itself. My Rating: 3 stars.

Movies May 2016

Favorite Weekly Indulgence. . .

Mondays at Menchie’s: Moving to a new state has meant having to find a new favorite frozen yogurt spot. (Sadly, our closest Golden Spoon is in Arizona.) Our default choice has been Menchie’s, which has a location within walking distance of our house. We quickly discovered that the prices on this pay-by-the-ounce fro-yo can really add up, but our local Menchie’s has a Monday deal where you can fill your cup for $5. We’re now there every Monday, and we’re not shy about filling our cups to the brim. This weekly treat actually has us looking forward to Mondays!

His and Hers frozen yogurt. I'll let you guess which one is mine.
His and Hers frozen yogurt. I’ll let you guess which one is mine.

Organizational Tool I’m Loving. . .

Holiday Gift Wrap Organizer: Our old haphazard method of storing gift wrap had been a thorn in my (O.C.D.) side for years, so when we moved I vowed to add some semblance of order to our collection of wrapping paper, gift bags, and bows. I ended up tossing much of what we had, but for the rest I purchased this holiday gift organizer. Now our wrapping is all consolidated to a single box that sits in our hall closet. This quite possibly was the best $30 I’ve ever spent on my personal self-care.

Gift Wrap Organizer

Making Me Smile. . .

Throwback Photos: I love receiving mail, and my mom is the best at sending it. When I was in college she would send cards and small gifts, even though my university was in the same  county and I usually came home on weekends. Now I’m further away and my mom is still brightening my trips to the mailbox, this time with photos (the printed kind!) from my childhood. It’s fun to relive those memories, which have even more meaning now that I have a child of my own.

Throwback Photos

Highlights of the Month. . .

Zilker Botanical Gardens: I’ve fallen in love with downtown Austin, and though we don’t make it into town as much as I would like, our trips into the city have resulted in my favorite moments since our move. The city has such a great vibe, and there’s so much to do and see. Earlier this month we explored Zilker Botanical Gardens, which was stunning! I could have spent all day soaking in the natural beauty, and I can’t wait to go back for another visit.

Zilker Botanical Gardens

My Second Mother’s Day: It was hard to spend Mother’s Day away from our moms and grandmothers, but also kind of fun to be the one being celebrated this year. We went to church, had lunch at Wahoo’s, drove around in the rain (while Charlie slept peacefully in the back of the car!) and just enjoyed our time together as a family. Luke and Charlie rounded out the perfect day with an amazing gift: a heart necklace with Charlie’s name on one side and a map of Newport Beach on the other; at the center of the map is a diamond located at the site of the hospital where he was born. I could not have asked for a more thoughtful way to commemorate my entry into motherhood.

Mother's Day

I hope that your May is proving to be as enjoyable as mine! What are some things that have been making you smile this month? And head on over to Leigh Kramer’s site to see what others are into this month!

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