My bestie from junior high and I were chatting recently when I realized that we often use what author Amanda Montell calls a thought-stopping cliche. “Life’s just hard,” we agreed. That phrase alone seemed to bring a calming excuse for our dilemma of aging, parenting, health concerns, and whatever else we were grappling with at the time.
And though I am NOT promoting toxic positivity, I found myself thinking, “Maybe this isn’t as hard as I think.” Perhaps it’s the time of year for me as I enjoy the long, summer days, in-season fruits, and extra time with family, but I was tempted to focus more closely instead of widely as I pondered the thought of ease over hardship.
When I look at the big picture, especially in light of worldwide happenings, things tend to overwhelm me. I want to hide out and binge on my recent Netflix find or stuff headphones in my ears and listen to hours-long podcasts. But when I look closely, and honestly…I tend to find solutions. Perhaps, the big picture is only affected by the little scenes that make up the whole.
But before I get too philosophical, I want to introduce you to the newest segment of my monthly blog. Hopefully, it can help us all focus on bringing a little more ease to a life that has its ups and downs!
Since I referenced her book above, the first thing I will mention is the book Cultish By Amanda Montell. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommended getting yourself a copy! I think it’s a must-have for people to begin to understand a bit more about how we got where we are in society!
Cultish is a fairly light-hearted approach to a pretty serious thing–fanaticism. If you’re curious about how people, from cult-leaders to social media influencers, use language to bend our minds into believing what they say to the point where we’re buying what they’re selling, then get. this. book.
If you’re looking for a good pairing, these two go hand-in-hand! Do you like to binge on an author’s work, or always go looking for more when you’ve found a creator you love? Me too.
Amanda and her friend, comedian Isa Medina, take the culty work further in their podcast, Sounds Like A Cult. This is not your true crime, dark and seedy take-a-break-from kind of podcast. It’s a fun look at the way we are influenced by words and people.
Sure, some of the groups are sinister like NXIVM and Jonestown, but they even take a look at the “cult of Trader Joe’s“ and how America's college campus Greek life is a little bit like cult life. It’s a great listen if you’re wanting to explore the cult in culture!
P.S. If you’re sensitive to swears, this one isn’t for you.
Sometimes there’s a partnership when I recommend products where I get a discount or free trial, and when that’s the case, I’ll always let you know. That’s not what happened with this month’s recommendation, and for the record, I’ll never ever share something I don’t truly feel excited about! What’s cool is I often get the chance to share discounts with you on products I love.
Even though there’s no discount code, they run sales and promotions often! This is my favorite website for affordable eyewear. I don’t know about you, but my eyes have drastically changed over the past few years, and my contacts don’t always do the trick. I love going to my yearly appointment knowing I can get multiple glasses online for less than what a designer pair would cost me in office!
Check out eyebuydirect.com and let me know how your next pair looks!
Do you follow Morgan Harpor Nichols yet? Her art is whispy and enchanting, but her words are like a balm. My favorite place to find her is on Pinterest where I can build a board of all things happy, but you can find her on any major platform.
I want to share one of my favorite summertime snacks! You can make it anytime of year, but I love to eat this with tomatoes and fresh veggies, so it’s always tastiest during the summer!
It’s a recipe I learned from my mother-in-law whom we unfortunately lost to Covid-19 nearly a year ago. It’s still hard to take in that she’s not around, but I’m so grateful I learned from her what I did while I could. She was an amazing cook, and her love lives on through our family’s favorite foods!
Cauliflower Garlic Spread
One whole cauliflower
1/2 cup–2/3 cup (to taste) mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp white vinegar
3-4 cloves (to taste) fresh, raw garlic
Wash and remove core from cauliflower, chopping it into chunks and placing it into medium saucepan. Immerse fully in wafter. Boil until cauliflower is soft. Strain well, pushing as much of the water out of the bowl as possible. Place dry cauliflower pieces into mixing bowl (or food processor for a finer, creamier spread). Press garlic cloves into the bowl. Add all other ingredients. Mix or blend. Refrigerate until well chilled. Serve with fresh veggies, crackers, or bread.
My favorite was when my mother-in-law would scoop out tiny bits of the inside of cherry tomatoes and stuff them with this spread for a yummy, bitesized treat! By the way, she made her mayo from scratch, and it makes this that much tastier! Find out how to make your own here.
I hope you enjoy these favorites of mine this month. I’ll be switching up categories as I go along, truly connecting you to what I‘m enjoying in various areas of my life. If there’s a category you want me to add, let me know!
I love hearing from you, so be sure to share your thoughts, especially if you give any of these a try!