Five Things I Loved in July

“If the first of July be rainy weather,
It will rain, more of less, for four weeks together.”
–  John Ray,  English Proverbs 

Well hello there, ducklings. Another month has passed and with another month in 2019 comes another list of things that made good things better and bad things a bit more bearable. Once again I’ve cobbled together a nice batch of things for you to read, listen to, do, and wear on your face–I do it out of love! Tell me your favorite things from the month in the comments, and please don’t stint on book recommendations!

 

Mint App

I’ve had a Mint account for years, with which I dabbled and used to half heartedly attempt a couple of budget ideas. But it’s only been in the last few months that I’ve really started using budgeting apps and tools to track our money in new ways. I’ve always been pretty good at tracking my spending in isolation, but getting a birds eye view of all of your financial instruments, credit/debit cards, and debt is something I’d recommend to anyone. This is not sponsored in any way (lol, can you imagine?) but Mint’s dashboard is incredibly intuitive and easy to navigate–I recommend it to anyone looking to track their financial movements in a regular way. It has its glitches and can sometimes take some time to show specific transactions, but it seems pretty secure overall and the privacy mechanisms seem sound.

 

How To Fail, With Elizabeth Day

This podcast first came on my radar thanks to a coworker and I’ve inhaled most of the back catalog in greedy gulps. The premise is simple, author and journalist Day interviews guests on the failures of their lives, how they coped with it, and what they learned from it. The “failures” detailed truly span the spectrum and include simple misunderstandings, unforced errors, poor choices, significant misjudgements, honest mistakes, or youthful ignorance. It’s a wonderfully personal and well conducted interview podcast with conversations with people that manage to be incredible self aware and insightful, without coming across as self-indulgent or egotistical. I’m very eager to read the host’s book of the same title now! If you’re looking for something new to listen to, 10 out of 10 C.s recommend!

 

Museums Mixed with Web Comics: The British Museum and Lore Olympus 

Possibly inspired by taking in the (brilliant) exhibition on manga at the British Museum, I’ve been dipping my toes into the wild world of graphic novels and longer serial cartoons of late. The wonderful things about well constructed educational and cultural heritage exhibitions is that you come away not just with new information but hopefully new skills. The best parts of that exhibit were the elements that taught a newbie like me how to read manga, how the narratives were constructed, and what the wide variety of coded gestures or expressions or ways of rendering characters was meant to convey. My sister (who lives in Japan) is aflutter with recommendations for me! In the meantime, if you’re thinking about trying out a more serialized form of animated story telling, I’ve been enjoying this web cartoon which is a re-imagining and deconstruction of the mythological Kidnapping of Persephone. Updated for the modern era in some ways, but paying hilarious homage to the source materials (especially Hesiod), there’s a lot of the storytelling style and visual cues that I understand better for having gone to that exhibit.

 

This month we dealt with a record-breaking heatwave, plus the normal fluctuations of the Great British Summer and my skin responded by Freaking. Out. Even typing this I’m still trying to clear up an outbreak of eczema on my face which is making me feel super attractive… The worst of this was that the skin around my mouth has been affected and rather than my normal lipsticks I’ve been reaching for balms and other soothing items to try and keep the irritation to a minimum. But once I got things back to normal, I still kept the lip products fairly light and my most worn item this month has been the Bite Beauty French Press lip gloss in the shade Dirty Chai. I’m not much of a gloss girl but this is the perfect “your lips but better” shade on me, and lends the perfect amount of tint and shine without becoming sticky and unmanageable. Bite continues to make my favorite lip products on the market, whilst also continuing to not ship to the UK. Probably a good thing for my wallet, but devastating for my heart. Thank goodness for friends like X. who are willing to act as my dealer!

 

John Mulaney Comedy Specials

I’m woefully behind on my reading this month, but I’ve been enjoying a lot of Netflix in general and comedy specials specifically. I watched John Mulaney’s two most recent specials, The Comeback Kid and Kid Gorgeous, back to back and laughed myself silly. Both he and Iliza Shlesinger have been comedians that have resonated lately, not least of all because we’re in the same age bracket. This worries me a bit. I’ve noticed that there are eras to comedy and once you identify with one you tend to get locked in for a while and those comedians are the “voice of your generation,” or whatever. This has led to some troubles of late–see also, the entirety of the Me Too movement. That being said, self-aware and self-deprecating millennials honestly do speak for me so I should probably just go with the flow. If you haven’t watched them yet, do take in Mulaney’s shows. He’s wry and charming, and if you cant enjoy a good laugh in the height of summer–especially when it comes to extended metaphors of hippos and horses, look it up–then I can’t help you.

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