I hope everyone had a happy 4th of July! I don't know about you but this "short" holiday week felt extremely long. June feels forever away and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't question it if someone told me that we were already at the end of July. Luckily we're much closer to June than August. Here are the things I was loving in June.
LIFTED by Holly Rilinger
If you've been reading my blog since the beginning (thanks Mom), you've definitely seen the name Holly Rilinger. Holly is one of my favorite NYC trainers and more than that, one of my favorite people. I used to say that the best gift would be a bottle of Holly. Although I haven't yet found a way to bottle her up, I (or anyone else) can now give her in book form! Bearing the same name as her signature workout class, LIFTED is a four-week comprehensive program, which gives you a fitness plan, recipes, and all the goodness your spirit needs via guided meditations and positive thinking and goal-setting exercises, all sprinkled with Holly's signature "joy factor." There's something really special about watching people you care about achieve awesome things; to see Holly go through this process was so wonderful. I was also floored when my copy arrived and I saw my own name listed in the Acknowledgements. To be thanked by someone who I respect, admire, and look to for inspiration left me speechless. For anyone in NYC, if you ever want to take one of Holly's classes, let me know and we'll be sweat buddies!
I was spoiled by how much great theater I got to see in June. First up was Julius Caesar, yes that one, at Shakespeare in the Park. For what it's worth, I don't understand why this caused such a stir. Caesar dies, that's how the story goes and has gone for hundreds of years. The play didn't advocate for violence but, as Julius Caesar has always done, posits that violence and coups are not the answer. Politics aside, I love Shakespeare in the Park and we lucked out with a spectacular night, not too hot, not too cold, and no rain. Sitting at the Delacorte, is magical. It feels like you've left New York, though I'm never sure where it feels like I've traveled to. Bonus: Checked an item off my summer bucket list!
A week later I saw War Paint. The show has gotten mixed reviews and while I agree that some of the songs were unnecessary and made the show drag, overall, I really enjoyed it. Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole are, obviously and rightly so, legends. To see the two of them on stage together is itself worth it. Still, I found the story quite compelling. Perhaps it's because I'm a woman and we're living in crazy times, but what could be more important than the story of two female, immigrants who revolutionized an industry and built empires which bore their own names at a time in which society firmly believed that a woman's "place" was in the home? There was also a lot of pink, which apparently was Elizabeth Arden's signature color, who knew? I always associate EA with red because of the red door. #alwayslearning
I closed out the month with Hello Dolly. "Holy cabooses!" (To quote my new favorite saying from the show.) I loved every second, even intermission (probably because Fran Drescher was behind me and I snagged a shot of her taking a selfie and said hello and she was lovely). I am a sucker for old-school musicals. Give me elaborate costumes. Give me painted backdrops. Give me ensembles and big dance numbers. Yes, Bette Midler was fabulous, but so was the entire cast; I'd argue that the ensemble nearly steals the show. I know ticket prices are through the roof but if you can get there, go!
"Cara" Coke Bottle
Once upon a time (3 years ago) I found my name on a Coke bottle. It was glorious and sadly, has never happened since. However, this past month I found my sister's name! Now the two labels live together on my refrigerator. It's the little things.
A few months ago, I was asked to contribute to food review site, BEYONDDISH. At the time, I had a lot on my plate (pun intended) and asked if I could revisit later. Well later became now and I am pleased to say that I am now officially a contributor! I only have one review up at the moment (another is pending), but I promise that more are coming! A big thank you to Ken, the mastermind behind BEYONDDISH, for extending the invitation and being so welcoming.
The Handmaid's Tale
All May long I kept hearing about the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale, which is of course based on Margaret Atwood's eponymous novel. Curious to know what the fuss was about and one who prefers reading the book before the movie if I can, on my last trip to Barnes & Nobel, I picked up a copy. Dystopian and yet eerily familiar, the similarities between the novel and the current state of affairs, gave me chills. How did Atwood know?! While I enjoyed the novel, it also wasn't a struggle to put it down each night as my eyes began to close. Finishing this book helped me get closer to checking off an item on my summer bucket list. (In case you're wondering, I've just finished Franny & Zoey so now have just two more novels to go to complete "Finish my most recent book haul," go me!)
What were YOUR June favorites?