Life

Three bits of sunshine

Class starts!

For most of last year, I was part of a writing group that met at our local senior center. I love being in a school/classroom setting and my fellow writers were so encouraging and talented, so it really filled my cup. But last fall, I decided to take a break and what a mistake that was! My class starts again today and I can’t wait to see what everyone has been up to and read their incredible short stories and prompts.

Technology!

While the internet can sometimes be the worst (hello, trolls), it can also allow us to connect with loved ones far away in ways we couldn’t otherwise. This week a good friend received some really bad news and I felt so powerless and wanted to do something nice. If the physical distance wasn’t so great, I would have whipped up a good old fashioned Midwestern casserole to drop off. That wasn’t an option, so instead I was able to have some food and other items delivered to their door. I used Prime Now, but Like Neighbors or a similar service are all great ways to help out if you find yourself in the same situation.

New vacuum!

After debating whether to get a new vacuum for way too long and then which one, I finally bought one! I chose to go with a Dyson that was on sale, and I’m glad that I did. It does a very good cleaning the floors and the couch. It was horrifying and fascinating to vacuum a few rugs that were recently cleaned with our old model and see how much yucky stuff came up! Ew. I think this will work wonderfully for every day cleaning jobs (I tend to vacuum about every other day because I have long hair plus two very furry puppies), but we’ll still keep our ‘ol reliable plug in vacuum for big jobs, like when we baking soda the couch and rugs every once in a while.

Tips for the best binge watching experience + 11 shows you need to watch

This coming Friday marks the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. If you're young and hip, that means more socially acceptable time for cocktails — yay for youthfulness! — but for the rest of us, that just means extra darkness. It’s a nice contrast from the typical gray days of the PNW this time of year if you ask me. 👋 If you don’t have holiday party plans this weekend, here are my best tips for binge watching your way through 48 hours.

The setting

I much prefer binge watching on a couch to chair or a bed. Our is this one from Crate & Barrel, which is pretty large and can comfortably fit three to four dogs and a sprawled out human.

Dog sitting my parents’ dogs plus our two four legged friends

Dog sitting my parents’ dogs plus our two four legged friends

We have new-ish vertical blinds since the dogs destroyed our old ones (shown in the pic above) while trying to terrify our kind, neighborhood mailman. It gets so dark and cozy in our living room now that we don’t have gaping, dog head sized holes in the corners! I like to turn on the electric fireplace and cuddle under a blanket.

You’re the Worst. No, not you. It’s the name of the show I’m watching.

You’re the Worst. No, not you. It’s the name of the show I’m watching.

Necessities

Here are a few must-haves for optimizing your binge watching experience.

Best pajamas ever for binge watching TV

Soft, comfy, and classy looking enough to fool you into thinking you’re not a slob after hour four of Billions.

Buy
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Luxurious and the perfect weight. Available in Costco for about half the price if you can find it in store.

Buy

Accessories

A few add ons to upgrade your experience.

Accessories+for+binge+watching

Sometimes you binge a show that your spouse is more into than you are (love you boo), and a puzzle is your saving grace. Sci-fi shows be damned!

Buy
Accessories+for+binge+watching

Puppy cuddles! Barks & Thor are not currently for sale (unless they break the new blinds — I kid!). If you don’t have a pup, it might be time to get one!

Snacks

It’s v. v. very important to keep your energy up, especially if you’re watching a thriller.

Snacks for binge watching TV

This is my current go-to bev. Most days, it’s a mocktail, but occasionally I like to add a splash of tequila (stop judging me, Charlene).

Put ice in your glass, fill up one third of the way with pomegranate juice, top with Italian soda (Trader Joe’s lemon is my favorite), squeeze a wedge of lime, and then a splash of tequila if you’re feeling feisty. Enjoy!

Snacks for binge watching TV

I like to make a snacky plate for watching TV. A little cheese, some crackers, a few nuts, olives, and something sweet is a perfect combo. The goat cheese selection at Trader Joe’s is my favorite and you can’t lose if you pick up some dolma while you’re there.

Other fantastic options: pita and hummus, chips and salsa, apples and peanut butter

Shows

Here are my favorite binge-worthy shows. Some are current with recent or upcoming seasons. Some are oldies but goodies.

What to watch on Prime Video

Hilarious, endearing, and occasionally naughty. We’re saving season 2 for our next road trip.

WATCH HERE

Delightful even if slightly predictable, I was sad when this three part series concluded.

WATCH HERE

This fast paced and thrilling show will make you have very confusing feelings about Jim Halpert.

WATCH HERE

What to watch on Netflix

I’m typically not a fan of sci-fi, but I can watch this show puzzle free.

WATCH HERE

Hilarious and absolutely absurd. I worry in my most dramatic moments that I’m Moira.

WATCH HERE

Super weird! Can’t wait for season 2, which was filmed in my public library (RIP).

WATCH HERE

Shows on Hulu

Holy geeze oh petes! Addicting, super freaky, and a little mentally draining. Take a Golden Girls break after each episode.

WATCH HERE

Supe supe super inappropriate, so if you’re reading this Mamaw: please stick to Parenthood.

WATCH HERE

I had a teensy bit of an emotional breakdown when this series ended (sorry, hubby). Worth a watch or a rewatch.

WATCH HERE

Shows on Premium Channels

I dislike all of the main characters of this show, but I can’t walk away. We have cheap access to Showtime thanks to this student deal through Spotify, but for everyone else here’s a free week trial.

I am only mildly embarrassed to admit that I watched 90% of this show one Sunday. Here’s a free week trial to HBO. I will happily pay for a (short-term) subscription when season 2 comes out.

Four things I can't stop thinking about

Too many women are dying in childbirth

This post terrifies me as someone who hopes to give birth someday. US maternal mortality rates are much higher than those in the developed world, especially for black women. California is the seeming exception to the rule, leading the way to healthier outcomes for women with a 55% reduction in maternal deaths due to protocols adopted in 2006.

This book has everything. Self reflection. Deeper understanding. The answer to the questions you didn’t know you know you wanted to ask.

In all seriousness, I read this book last weekend and found it to be incredibly helpful and worth a mention in case there are any fellow Obligers reading this.

Check it out from your local library and let me know what you think. I’ve already requested a few of her other books.

My favorite pajamas of all time

They are so soft and comfy. I have worn them at least once weekly for almost a year and a half and they’re still holding up. I like to wear them with a tank underneath. (Not an announcement. I just like the length for layering)

Pro tip: buy PJs in a color that complements your skin tone. For someone pale like me, jewel tones work. Mine are in purple, which doesn’t seem to be available at the moment so go with solid green instead.

You bet your boot(ie)s

I have spent two years searching the internet and shoe stores far and wide for a pair of comfortable, cute, affordable, and waterproof-ish (because Oregon) booties. If you have a pair that you’d like to nominate, please leave a link in the comments!