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friday finds ~ volume 15.
something a little different this friday before i leave you for the holidays. a few of my favorite ideas to make this time off feel more meaningful.
it’s that time of year when i take some time off from the blog, try really hard to stay off the internet (wish me luck) and refresh the creative side of my brain, spending time with friends, family, and my dear mutt frances. honestly, adopting her early last year after poor lucy passed away unexpectedly was the best thing — and one of the few things that kept me sane. it’s been such a busy, bustling year and one that seemed to fly by, regardless of covid-catching, breaking bones, and everything else the universe decided to throw my (and your) way. whoa, nelly, already. i will be posting a few ‘best of’ free to all posts while i take time to recharge, so you’ll find those in your inbox, as always. i can’t thank everyone enough for your paid subscriptions. this far, they’ve enabled me to stay afloat here in blogger land, and i have to say, i love it here on substack. i’ve found a whole new sense of freedom without ads and sponsored posts, so it’s truly you, the readers, i have to thank for that. it’s very moving to me to know that you’re here because you want to be and are willing to support my endeavors. i look forward to brainstorming over the next couple of weeks to bring you even more unique content in the new year — including a new chat feature and possibly podcasts (eep — that makes me nervous, but i’m going to try it!). happiest of holidays to one and all. i hope you all enjoy some much-deserved downtime!
much, much love to all of you. xo, v.
first off — i made you some christmas music to download from spotify. so hop on over there and download the playlist, or have a listen here (just press play below) while you read the rest of this week’s friday finds — the holiday addition. i hope it puts a smile on your face and a tap in your toes.
i really hope you get some time to relax and if you’re a reader like me, you get in some time with interesting books and magazines — like holiday for instance. i order current issues through amazon if you can’t find it at your local bookstore or magazine stand. i thought i’d share a few of the year’s favorite reads for me — a few books that really made an impact on me. first up: greenwood by michael christie — a can’t-put-down generational saga that charts a family’s rise and fall with an environmental twist. in the same vein, i really loved the overstory by richard powers, a work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning tribute to the natural world. brilliant book. a couple of others i highly recommend: the splendid and the vile: a saga of churchill, family, and defiance during the blitz by erik larson (all his books are simply wonderful); and crossroads by jonathan franzen (soon to be a trilogy). you can see all of my personal favorite books here on good reads.
up next a few of my favorite things to watch. i just watched amsterdam and while it had a few slow moments, i found myself very moved, and i laughed out loud. based on a true story, i found it to be quite a timely watch — a crime epic about three close friends who find themselves at the center of one of the most shocking secret plots in american history. another favorite, of course, is white lotus (both seasons, but i loved season two extra hard!) — watch carefully for all the clues in this quirky whodunnit. i also loved licorice pizza. having grown up in this era in los angeles it totally spoke to me. belfast is quite brilliant, too, and i loved the last movie stars, ethan hawke’s documentary series about paul newman and joanne Woodward.
i’m one of those people that have a hard time really relaxing, so i have to have a few ongoing projects, so i don’t sit there twiddling my thumbs trying to decide what to do with my free time. i know — it’s just weird. besides reading, watching telly, and going for long beach walks with frances. i’ve been learning french, for instance, on duolingo, which is so gratifying. they make it fun to learn a language (there are over 40 distinct languages on the app), and i’ve been doing it consistently every day for 20 minutes for over a year now and really learning. another thing i do online is the new york times crossword puzzle — it’s good for your mind! and lastly, last february, i took a course in transcendental meditation, and i can’t say enough good things about how much it has helped my restlessness, calmed me down, literally dropped my blood pressure, and another very important thing — it’s made a big impact on my patience with other people and myself. i take a whole lot of things much more in stride now, and i’m very grateful for that. the fees for the course are on a sliding scale, so you pay only what you can afford, and once your course is over you have access to your instructor, the online seminars, and special events for life. tm is pretty freaking cool, and i highly recommend you check it out, but really any kind of meditation is so helpful in this wacky world. so that’s it for now! i’ll see you over the next couple of weeks with some ‘best of’ posts. happy, peaceful holidays!