orange and yellow LA lilies

5 things that got me through September

Pretty dramatic headline, right? Truth is, I’ve been feeling a bit Eeyore about everything lately. No idea why. I mean, it’s a mystery! As part of my attempt to practice gratitude each day, I’m counting my blessings in whatever shape I can find them, whether it’s the big stuff (my health) or the silly stuff (things I consume to brighten my week). You guessed it – this list is mostly the silly stuff.

  1. Being able to concentrate – and escape! – again.

Succulent plant and a copy of Exciting Times bookOr should I say, distract myself? I know I’m not alone but I’ve found it impossible to concentrate on anything longer than an Instagram Story over the last 4 months. It took me a whole month to read Slash’s autobiography. Watching a two hour movie? I mean…I had to watch Foxcatcher spread across three (3!) nights. I’ve always been a pop culture fiend so this was particularly annoying, especially when now, of all times, I could really use a distraction. Well, in the last couple of weeks I’ve finally been able to switch off from reality and get back to consuming culture again. Things I’ve watched and enjoyed: Booksmart, The Lighthouse, V for Vendetta, Darling (a 1965 Julie Christie movie about a depressed model). After inhaling Eve’s Hollywood (for the third time), I finally devoured Exciting Times. I’m currently reading Chelsea Girls by Eileen Myles (shout-out to messy personal lives). God, how I missed reading in bed. Next up: The Liars’ Club.

  1. A bed desk.

Laptop desk in bedEven though I’m opposed to working from my bed 80% of the time, sometimes you just have to go with it (yes, I’m talking about when I’m completely fatigued by period pain). I saw a bed desk on Danielle Prescod’s Instagram Stories (if you don’t follow Danielle, you should) and immediately knew I should get one, at least just to fool myself that I’m still being professional while banging out emails in a reclined position.

I bought this cheap and cheerful laptop/bed desk on eBay and it was about €14 without postage. It’s a pretty lightweight MDF version with all-important cup holder for my morning green smoothie – but it’s not a leap to say it’s changed my WFH life. If you’re stuck for space and can’t get a real desk or if you do most of your remote work from your bed anyway, get one of these!

(BTW you can find more of my WFH tips in this post.)

  1. Gangster Goddess Broad-cast (you’ll find the first series under “Made Women” on your podcast app)

Have I mentioned that The Sopranos is my favourite TV show? Oh, only about 50 times. I’ve been waiting for a great podcast about the show and this one is easily the best Sopranos podcast. By a mile. Presented by Drea de Matteo (yes, of Adriana and Chris-tafuh fame) and her good friend Chris Kushner, the show is less a scene-by-scene rewatch and more a wide-ranging chat about the hosts’ lives and issues that crop up in each episode. Insider anecdotes and special guests (Juliette Lewis! Michael Imperioli! Lorraine Bracco!!!) aside, my favourite thing about this podcast is the genuine warmth and humour Drea and Chris share. I binged on this podcast – and pretty much only this podcast – through September and now I want to be BFFs with Drea and Chris.

Honourable podcast mention: Yesterday I started listening to the Even the Rich podcast series about the Paul Getty kidnapping and o far I’m hooked. Recommended if you love despicable rich people!

  1. Kuumba Made Egyptian musk oil, bought from the Holistic Shop

Bottle of Egyptian Musk oil fragranceIn her memoir What Remains Carole Radziwill mentions that Carolyn Bessette Kennedy – possibly my biggest style icon – wore Egyptian musk oil. It also popped up on one of my favourite Cat Marnell posts on XOJane (RIP) about CBK’s favourite beauty products. There are hundreds of imitations online, so the formulation you get can run from Head shop sweet to a woody, unisex scent. (FWIW Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s Egyptian musk oil of choice was apparently the Abdul Kareem brand you can still get on Amazon.) My favourite is easily this Kuumba Made brand. I can’t describe the scent – it’s sexy and subtle and makes me want to see where the night will take me. I can’t believe I wasted so much money on perfume over the years – buy this stuff instead.

  1. Relinquishing control!

Yep, I kept the big one ‘til last! The biggest thing that’s helped with my covid-fatigue and general pandemic-related anxiety is just giving up any notion that I can control anything. I’ve accepted that everything, except my own behaviour, is out of my control. This sounds easy but if you’ve got anxiety, trust me it is not. There’s so much we still don’t know about the coronavirus. What I do know is that personal responsibility for following the proven guidelines for prevention is the only thing any of us can do right now to play our part. End of pep talk!

Lastly…this month I discovered how good coconut oil is on toast and it’s pretty much all I’ve been living on.  Try it!

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