Welcome to the first edition of The Monthly Missive.
It’s a monthly blog feature that’s based on one of the most-read portions of my newsletter: a brief catch-up of what’s going on in my life, along with what I’m reading, listening to, watching, making, and enjoying lately. It feels sort of like blogs used to feel, which I love. The intention is there to add a Q&A at the end of next month’s edition, so drop any questions you have in the comments below.
We’re well into May at the time this is being published. The part of me that’s a recovering perfectionist was whisper-yelling to just write this for May since April is so far gone.
But you know what? April was too good to be left out.
It was full but good.
I spent time with family, Mr. C, Sean, and close friends. Traveled to new beautiful places, made new friends, got to continue work that I love doing, and am still enjoying what’s a lengthy and cool springtime here in the southeast. Gardening has taken a backseat this year and season, leaving room to lean in with routine, connection, and action in other areas of life – though I did stick a cherry tomato plant from one of my favorite local farms on the front porch with some marigolds. If it does well out there, we’ll probably turn the front yard into a garden one day, since everything else is a shaded forest.
- Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
- Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
- Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin
I also talked through the reviews of these on my Instagram Story, which you can view here.
- I listened to this podcast episode about Dopamine and how it relates to procrastination and motivation while traveling and found it unnecessarily long-winded, yet interesting.
- A great intersection between guided meditations and doing it in complete silence is a curated meditation playlist. I’ve reintegrated this one a few times lately in my own practice.
- I recently rediscovered this Vance Joy album from 2014 while getting some yard work done (I’ve been doing a lot – Sean’s current nickname for me is “LivingWells Landscaping”).
- Sean watched Shadow and Bone on Netflix, which was great. I of course wish I had read the books first, but might still pick them up one day.
- I started watching the TV adaptation of Kindred on Hulu. It’s good, and quite chilling like the book. If you haven’t read the book I highly recommend it – it’s a gripping sci-fi read by Octavia Butler.
- I love making a big pot of white beans from Rancho Gordo (not sponsored or affiliated, they just have great beans) and then turning some of them into an on-the-fly recipe of white bean chili with green chilis, roasted corn, rice, and whatever else makes sense from the pantry or fridge. If I have extra beans I’ve been loving them as an easy Mediterranean-inspired bean salad with artichokes, kalamata olives, cucumber, pepperoncini, and Greek dressing.
- This Apricot Cherry Grain Free Granola – it’s perfect as part of a parfait with whipped cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, a drizzle of date syrup, and some Razzleberry Chia Jam.
- This Cherry Mandarin Smoothie Bowl
- Drizzly weather and cozy days of writing surrounded by candles. Anyone who’s visited my home knows that I always have candles lit – my favorites are Elder & Co., but I also have a stocked cabinet of tapers and tealights for everyday use.
- My friends – the older I get, the more I realize that relationships are *the most* important thing in life, period. This podcast on Intimacy in Friendships and Making Friends As An Adult is on my to-listen list.
- Afternoon trail runs in a warm breeze, with these wide toe-box friendly zero drop trail running shoes from Altra.
- I had the pleasure of visiting and photographing several different sites for Hipcamp (use the code MARYBETHW for $10 off your first stay). Here are the ones that stood out: