1. Real Simple Magazine. My life is an absolute mess, but once a month I receive my copy of Real Simple in the mail, and for the few hours it takes me to read it (slowly, cover to cover), I convince myself that this will not always be the case. Someday, I will be Mistress of My Domain. All closets will be organized, all shelving will be scattered with natural baskets and colorful bins filled with well-organized photos, notes, and cards. I'll know how to pick out quality sheets, luggage, and coats at various price points. I will know 101 clever ways to use pipe cleaners and ice cube trays, some of them together. I'll just say it: Real Simple is my porn.
2. Freaks and Geeks. Everyone knows Judd Apatow now, because of The 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, but I knew Judd Apatow when. This show only made it through one season on NBC, where it started off on Mondays (against Ally McBeal and Monday Night Football) and ended up on Saturdays. (Do they even air shows on Saturday night?) Hard to believe it only ran one season. This show chronicles the Weirs, Lindsay and Sam, and their friends through high school in 1980. Trust me, this is not just another coming-of-age show. Rent, borrow, buy or steal (okay, don't steal) a copy, so you can see some or all of the following:
- Bill dressed up as a woman for Halloween.
- Millie pounding out “Jesus Is Just Alright with Me” on the Weir family piano.
- Mr. Rosso, the guidance counselor, serenading Lindsay and Daniel with Alice Cooper's “Eighteen.”
Probably that list means nothing to you, but just trust me. It's funny and warm and so, so true--the best possible combination.
3. Dzing! Still Available! Hooray! Even if only in the 100ml size! You can spray and spray and spray this perfume and never get enough of its sawdust-y loveliness.
4. Motown. I've blogged about my love of Motown before. So many talented artists (who were shamefully cheated), so many wonderful songs. I am particularly fond of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The Supremes and early Stevie Wonder. Oh, and Marvin Gaye, of course, especially his duets with Tammi Terrell. My love for Motown segues right into my passion for 1970s soul. Earth, Wind, and Fire, anyone?
5. Flannery O'Connor, The Complete Short Stories. While I knew, in a scholarly sense, O'Connor's mastery of the short story, her terrific skill in painting vivid scenes and bringing her characters to life, I did not realize until I moved to Georgia how true her writing is. Now, you might be thinking, how hard can it be to write stories about the place where you grew up? Well, give it a try. Do your best to capture even the smallest part of your life on the page in a way that will convey any meaning at all to someone who was not there. And then consider not capturing a small moment, but painting the reader a picture of an entire slice of Southern culture...The people in her stories exist here, even today. It's bone-chilling.
*images from (in order): realsimple.com, retroweb.com, Luckyscent, motown.com, and Amazon.com