Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: recommendations

Add It To My List: Escapist edition

Remember last week when I ranted about needing to protect my sanity because of the chronic shit 45 puts this country through? I figured that maybe some of you guys are going through something similar and so, for this month’s edition of Add It To My List, I’m giving you my recommendations for when the news is too much and you need an escape. 

Podcasts

Seriously. Listen to these even if you’re not a podcast junkie.

  1. Homecoming. I might have mentioned this before (in fact, I’ve probably mentioned all of these before) but this one is fucking spectacular. It’s got a celebrity cast (no joke. Catherine Keener and David Schwimmer and Amy Sedaris and more), the writing is incredible and, for season 2, there’s even a book to go along with each of the 6 episodes. It’s a dual escape!
  2. Conversations with People Who Hate Me. Hosted by Dylan Marron, these are the civil conversations we need to be having with people who disagree with us. There’s only 4 episodes so far so you’re not too far behind. 
  3. All the Books! Need more books in your life? Want to know all about new releases? Then you need this podcast. Liberty and Rebecca are book enthusiasts to the zillionth degree and they’re entertaining as hell. Also, Liberty has a spinoff podcast called All the Backlist! that’s about older books. It’s a good one, too. 
  4. Alice Isn’t Dead. Listen before it’s a book and a TV show! Seriously. It’s weird and crazy and surreal and satire and hard to follow sometimes but it’s quite excellent. 

I’ve left off all my true crime podcasts (there’s a lot. A LOT) because maybe you’re not in a good place to listen to murder and stuff like that but if you want some recommendations for that genre, let me know 

Instagram

Who doesn’t like to look at pictures? These accounts provide some of my favorites.

  1. Happy Tails Resort. It’s a boarding facility in Norfolk and they have a pool and watching all the dogs swim is basically the highlight of my days
  2. Introvert Doodles. Marzi is smart and funny and she really really gets me and the introvert life (even if I am more of an ambivert). I want her coloring book!
  3.  Quincy. He’s a dog. A Bichon, specifically, and he used to be insanely popular when Vine was a thing. Now I follow them on IG. You should, too.
  4. Katie Ryan. Well, it’s more for her kid (Ava) but the kid is fucking hilarious. Please, please watch some of the videos. This kid is a like a next-generation Kate McKinnon, I swear. 

I also follow lots of publishing houses and authors so let me know if you’d like some of those. It’s how I learn about many of the books I read. 

TV Shows 

Going with some old friends this time around. 

  1. Roseanne. My favorite sitcom of all-time and I can watch every episode forever and ever. 
  2. The Golden Girls. If you don’t love them, you have no soul.
  3. The Wonder Years. Fundamental viewing for this 80s kid
  4. That 70s Show. It’s so stupidly funny but I can’t not laugh all the time. 

Songs

This was the most difficult to narrow down because of the playlists that Erin and I have but I tried to pick songs that have never been represented and aren’t exclusively from the hard rock category. 

  1. The Anthem by Good Charlotte
  2. Cry Tough by Poison
  3. Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard
  4. Ain’t It Heavy by Melissa Etheridge

What would you add to my list? 

Linking up with Lauren and Bre

My introvert activism

With 45’s presidency in full effect, we’ve reached a level of activism in this country (and around the world) that I’ve never seen in my almost 40 years. If you’re like me, you want to get involved any and every way you can except there’s one problem. You are a raging, textbook introvert. Crowds intimidate you. Confrontation, particularly on Facebook, is difficult. Calling people on the phone is nerve-wracking and while good for an introvert in theory, is almost as difficult as confrontation. 

Basically, if you’re an introvert with a people aversion (like me), typical activism is not your cup of tea. But, fortunately, there are still things you can do to support your cause or #resist. I’ve talked a little bit about this before but here’s what else I’ve been doing:

  1. Voting with my money. I don’t have a ton of disposable income right now (thanks, Disney World. #cheermomproblems) but I do set aside some to contribute where I can like the ACLU or Planned Parenthood. I also frequent stores, businesses, and other places that align with my beliefs and don’t support hatred and discrimination. 
  2. Social media. While I don’t engage in discussions on FB, I will share posts on Twitter or support other activists on their social media platforms. For instance, a friend of mine is a concert producer (like big time. Runs the shows from behind the scenes) and she frequently uses the hashtag #damselinsuccess on IG. There’s also an IG account where they share what they’re working on and highlight other women (similar to Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls). Following them, commenting, letting them know I support what they’re doing is sometimes the encouragement activists need to keep going. 
  3. Wear my label. I know this is mental health thing but it works here, too. Steph is really good at showing her feminist wear, and sharing others who make various products, so you can check out her site for ideas. But a simple, easy way to let people know where you stand is by wearing it. On your shirt, on your wrist, on your car. It’s subtle, maybe it’s passive aggressive, but that’s just fine by me. 
  4. Write letters. Or postcards. Calling is not my scene. I’ve never been a big phone person. I’m great face-to-face or in writing but the phone makes me weird and nervous. So you can imagine how hard it is for me to pick up the phone and call my representatives’ offices. EVEN THOUGH I know their job is listen to me, write it down, and move on, and they’re not judging me (seriously. My husband worked for Senator Carper and it was literally his job to answer the phone, write down constituent complains, pass them along, and then stop caring about it), it’s still difficult. So letters it is. 
  5. Buy or make things. I’m not crafty at all but if I was, I’d be making signs for my friends who do attend protests or making jewelry to sell or whatever other creative, artsy thing I could do. I could write a book like my friend Sheila and her friends did (and all the proceeds from the book go to Planned Parenthood) but let’s be honest, I’d write it and then not promote it. So instead, I’ll buy the things and share the things made by people braver and craftier than I. 

I’m sure as time goes on, I’ll find other ways to make my voice heard but for now, this will have to do. 

Other introverts, tell me what you’ve been doing? Anything working really well for you or anything working not at all?

 

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Add it to my list: Book stuff

Like I told you guys last month, I’m not a big recommender. I enjoy getting recommendations but really struggle with giving them. So this linkup, hosted by Lauren and Bre, really pushes me to think hard about what I think is worthy to recommend knowing that what I like isn’t always for everyone.

But you know what is for everyone? BOOKS. 

Books are for everyone. Because books are awesome. And in what’s probably my worst kept secret, I love books. Which means that, today, I’m going to recommend some bookish things in no particular order and in absolutely no categorical groupings (which, incidentally, is how my at-home library is organized. I won’t bother with a picture because I don’t want my organized friends to freak out):

  • Book Riot. Follow them on all the social media, read their blogs, listen to their podcasts. They’re my go-to source for all bookish news and it’s my dream job to work for them. 
  • Flipster. Free library app for magazines. You can’t get all the magazines but you can get a lot and there’s a ton of variety.
  • Litsy. A hybrid of Instagram and Goodreads, and it’s exclusively devoted to bookish things so if you find yourself scrolling through IG just for book pictures or reviews, get on Litsy stat. I use it to keep track of my book reviews for Show Us Your Books and not much else but it’s a great community of book nerds if that’s your jam.
  • NetGalley. THE source for ARCs. They’re free, they’re eBooks, and the only thing you need to do is review the book somewhere. You won’t always get all the books you request but you will get most of them (HELP!: I’m currently stalking Amy Stewart’s, Julie Murphy’s, and Celeste Ng’s new books so if you see them there, please let me know).
  • BookOut. If you like tracking your reading stats, this is perfect for you. You set a timer and it’ll track how long you read and you can fill in the amount of pages and which books you’ve read and all that stuff. It’s a paid app but there’s a trial version. Confession: I loved this one but deleted it because I kept forgetting to start my reading sessions and it’s hard to go back and fill in what you’ve done. 
  • Instagram accounts. Reading Quirks, Book of the Month, Books on the Subway, Harvard Book Store, and Liberty Hardy (from Book Riot. She also posts lots of cat picturs). I also recommend following the accounts of some of your favorite authors and publishing houses. I do, it’s fun to look at, and I learn about a ton of books that way. 
  • Finding your local indie bookstore. And using it. Look, I love Amazon as much as the next person and I definitely use it to it’s (almost) full capacity

I’m not going to recommend any specific books or authors because it’s personal and confusing and I struggle big time with picking my favorites or ones that I think you must read but if you’re interested, here’s a few summary posts I’ve written:

Okay, so those last two aren’t necessarily recommendations but maybe you’ll like them anyway.

I’m 100% confident this is not at all a comprehensive list of bookish things I recommend so maybe I’ll dig a few more things out and do a part 2 in the coming months. But it’s what I’ve got for now. 

So, tell me. What are some of your favorite bookish things that I absolutely must see/use/read? 

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Linking up for Add It To My List

 

Add It to My List

Okay, so this linkup is supposed to all of our favorites and things we recommend to our friends in real life. I’m struggling HARD with these rules because I’m not a recommender. I like what I like and assume other people do, too, and unless someone asks, I don’t offer opinions on what they should watch or use or listen to or whatever. I’m all for receiving recommendations, and I have no trouble asking for them, but giving them? Not so much. 

But because I love Lauren (and I’m assuming I’d love Bre, too, if we knew each other but we don’t yet) I dug deep and came up with a list of my favorites (no books are on the list. I KNOW. But everyone is so different that it’s hard for me to give blanket recommendations for books) in a variety of categories and in no particular order (there are no affiliate links. These are just products I love). 

I also want to make a note about cruelty free stuff. I try hard–REALLY HARD–to purchase cruelty free products. Some of the brands at one point did not test on animals and I think now they might but not in the U.S. and I’m so damn confused. I’m all for finding substitutes if they’re available and affordable and if you know of any, please share them. 

Makeup and stuff

  1. Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara. Pricey but worth every damn penny. See also: Too Faced palettes.
  2. Biolage Colorlast shampoo and conditioner. I love my hair and I love the way these products treat my hair so it’s an expense I don’t mind.
  3. OGX Coconut Miracle Oil body lotion.  Smells amazing and you can get it Walgreen’s. Mid-range price.
  4. NYX Butter Gloss. Pretty much the only lip gloss that’s not sticky, that lasts forever, and is crazy affordable. See also: NYX eye liner.
  5. Wet and Wild Under the Sheets makeup remover wipes. My daughter uses these to take off her competition makeup and they are beasts. They remove most of the glitter without a problem, they don’t dissolve or shred, and you can find them anywhere. 
  6. e.l.f. brushes. Cheap, sturdy, excellent.

Food and drink

  1. Starbucks iced unsweetened green tea. I do not like their coffee but I will drink this like nobody’s business.
  2. This recipe for grain free chocolate chip cookies. You can take my flour but you can’t take my cookies.
  3. This recipe for grain free chicken and cashews. So delicious I never order this dish from a restaurant anymore.
  4. Reese’s peanut butter cups. They are my most favoritest ever and if someone ever surprsied me these with these and an iced Starbucks green tea, I would love them forever. 
  5. Ranch chicken tacos. A nice twist on tacos and they take about 9 minutes to make. You mix the taco seasoning and ranch dressing with the cooked chicken and slop into a shell and top with cheddar cheese. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can bake it in the oven for about 5 minutes so the shell doesn’t fall apart. 
  6. A crockpot. Nothing makes me feel like I have my life together more than when I put dinner in the crockpot. 

Everything else

  1. Amazon Smile. A simple way to donate money to charity with stuff I buy anyway.
  2. Josh and His Critters on IG. Tina is the woman behind the account and it’s based on her rescue group which she started a few years ago after rescuing a puppy with the cleft palate. She now rescues the worst of the worst, medically, on death row in various CA shelters and posts all the updates on the dogs (and various other creatures) she’s saved. What she does is amazing and I wish I could donate all the time
  3. Baddiewinkle on IG. Please, if you know what’s good for you, follow this woman if you don’t already. She is my absolute #lifegoals
  4. True Crime Garage, All the Books, Crimetown, and Homecoming for the podcasts. 
  5. Sneaky Pete, Bosch, Goliath on Amazon. Kimmy Schmidt, Bloodline, House of Cards, OITNB, Stranger Things on Netflix. Better Call Saul, American Crime, Billions, John Oliver, Silicon Valley on all the other TV. Too many documentaries to list. 
  6. These two songs if you’re someone who is inspired and reassured by music:

Needing recommendations

Help on the following, please:

  1. Non-UV gel nail polish. This chipping shit is out of control
  2. Non-true crime or food documentaries. It’s making me not want to ever eat or leave my house again.
  3. Kindle or Kindle paperwhite. My iPad is dying and I’m not sure how much more I can coax it to work. 

So that’s it for this month. I think this is supposed to be a monthly thing but I am so damn boring I don’t see much changing but maybe next month I’ll do a whole one devoted to reading. What do you guys think? Would that be helpful?

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Linking up with Lauren and Bre

Blogs you should read instead of mine, part 2

There’s no weekly recap this week since I’m still on vacation but I was actually proactive and got this little space here set up ahead of time but I thought it’d be a good idea to point you to some other great blogs to read. I did a part 1 back in September so you should take a look at those, too. 

Life According to Steph–for whatever reason, she wasn’t on the first list but how could I leave off someone I’ve known off and on for 20 years AND who’s my co-host for all things bookish? I know most of you already know Steph and her awesomeness but if you don’t, visit her now. 

Femme Frugality–I can’t say enough nice things about Brynne. Also her blog is wonderful for frugal living tips and she has a great series on her Around the World in 80 Books reading challenge. 

A Mindful Migration–Tanya is new to me but I feel like I’ve known her forever. She writes about mindful living and her struggles with self-confidence and self-esteem (I relate all too well) and has some wonderful insight and DIY tips and cat pictures. 

Budget and the Beach–another Tonya, another awesome blog. This Tonya is also my roommate at FinCon. She writes about all kinds of finance related stuff from transitioning to being a freelancer to full-time worker to health and fitness on a budget to general lifestyle subjects. PLUS she makes killer videos. Visit her and her Budget and the Beach TV, too. 

I Pick Up Pennies–what I love about Abby’s blog is that she’s so open about her struggles with depression and infertility along with her financial ups and downs. It’s rare to find a blogger like that, so willing to share so much of her life with her readers and in a way that’s fun and engaging to read. 

I plan to do a part 3 in June when I’m in Phoenix so there’ll be more recommendations coming at you then. In the meantime, let me know:

What are some of your favorite blogs I should be reading?

 

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