Mental vs. physical rest

 Alternative title: Dear brain, you’re way too much of a chatterbug. Take a break!
To-do list: Love them, hate them? Does anybody agree that, as beneficial as they are, these [endless] lists have their downsides, too? Checking items off is as satisfying as seeing time running away is anxiety-inducing.  Whenever I stumble across articles stressing the need to make time for self-care and slow down I feel they’re not applicable for me but people juggling many different responsibilites aside from just working and household duties.

What I’ve started to wonder, though, is if there might be a difference between mental and physical rest. Because even in the moments when I sit down – like now – I often don’t feel relaxed, instead finding my mind racing and worrying about all the to-dos I’ve yet to check off. It’s getting to a point where I procrastinate because I don’t know what to do first, time ticking along and me not even enjoying what I’m procrastinating with. This isn’t me asking for pity. Just the thoughts on my brain right now as I’m wrapping up the old week, gearing up for the one ahead. Maybe one of you can relate, maybe it’s just my weird, weird complicated brain. Moving on …

Let’s take a look at what I did do in the past week of life as inspired by Meg. Overthinking brains be quieted.

[I didn’t take any pictures  so will be reusing old ones #sorry]

Week in review

In the past seven days I …

Worked on the same schedule as usual. Things have been very busy lately which is good because I have a steady stream of work coming in and bad because it means staying longer and getting home later. Mostly good, though.

Posted just once. This is frustrating as I did in fact have a post pretty much finished and ready to go live by Tuesday but then things got awry and my mind was elsewhere. I know vague-blogging isn’t cool but I figure all of us have topics they’re not talking about online. Just a heads-up on my continued absence from blogging and commenting. I never made the conscious decision to step back from more regular posting yet it is what happened over the past  [many] months and I’m going to make an effort to change it. Here’s to better weeks ahead! You’ll at least get a new round-up of good good links on Sunday and maybe another post. Knock on wood!

Dropped my mum off at a station a 45-minute drive away right after work on Friday and managed the way back without one of the four radar cameras snapping an unfortunate picture of me. Possibly driving the people in cars behind me a little nuts when I slowed down way before the actual cameras a few times, though. Yes, I’m that annoying overly cautious driver.
Had afternoon tea/coffeewith my parents who invited me over to join them upon returning from a weekend getaway. We had a great conversation that ended on a not so amazing note thanks to [my] parents’ ability to pick up on things that you’d rather not chat about. It still was really nice to sit together.

Said no to a time intense request that just was none of my business. I felt bad afterwards but it didn’t seem to really bother the person asking.
Baked another nut Striezel, this time braving the scary yeast myself. It fortunately worked out quite well, especially the kneeding being more fun than I’d assumed. Unfortunately, it didn’t look as good as the previous one so I’m still debating on whether I like the pictures or not. Blogger confession: Taking pictures is my least favourite part of recipe creating. Why do some delicious foods look so … wrong in pictures?
Did further ‘gluten-free in Germany’ research aka product spotting for my colleague. This was as she told me a) how expensive her first gluten-free grocery run had been [I knew there were cheaper options, only had to check back] and b) that she hated grocery shopping. I wouldn’t have liked her to miss out on foods she used to eat as well as pay much more than necessary so I paid more attention to the gluten-free selection at stores whenever I was running errands.Turns out it was just this week Aldi released a few gluten-free cookie options. Helping my colleague out is just another act of selfish unselfishness: finally getting to use the gluten-free living knowledge aquired through blog reading that I formerly had no use for. Win-win.
Looked up and translated a few mug cake recipes for another colleague after she mentioned she liked cake but never got to bake any since her apartment is oven-less. Mug cakes – popular in the blog world but another thing not widely known over here. Searching for suitable recipes wasn’t a big deal aside from the fact I had to ensure no ‘weird’ ingredients were required. Because coconut flour and various nut butters or alternative sweeters don’t happen to have their place in non-blogger households – who would have guessed ;)? Really, though, us health nuts do have to admit that we use a lot of ‘unusual’ foods.
As is the case every week it’s once again getting late as I’m finishing this post here and wishing you a
Happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today:  My morning reading time. Tea time with my parents and a walk outside.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21

Pinterest: MissPolkadot21

Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!
What was the last amazing book you read and couldn’t put down?

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Reflections + recent happenings

If I was giving in to my nagging inner critic paying its usual Sunday afternoon/evening visit to my brain I’d now settle into a reflection of my shortcomings in the week just ending. Yet – today is different. Granted, this is my fourth attempt at writing this intro so much to my dismay I did allow negative thoughts to flow out on paper/a blog draft page. What keeps me from going with it is the book I finished earlier today. A book that- and as exaggerated as it might sound – profoundly changed me. The way I see the world and life. Honestly, if people in this day and age call bread or pancake recipes life-changing I might as well say this about a book, no?
As is the nature of the  human brain I’m sure the self-critical voices won’t just disappear. Hence why I need to constantly remind myself of the messages this book planted into my head and why I’m definitely going to write a review of it. Not today, though, as it’s not the Book in Review but a Week in Review. Plus, my mind is still taking time to process and sort through the many thoughts and feelings evoked by the story.

Onto the positives and the point of Meg’s Week in Review: giving ourselves credit for what did go well in the past week. One overarching theme of it seemed to be – and I may or may not am choosing this with the current situation in the US in mind – one of female power. Read: my dad was on vacation allowing for some more one-on-one time with my mum and my male boss had a full week of working from home which meant the office was ladies’ business, too. This all made for a [as much as busy days allow it] relaxed atmosphere.  Sorry, guys ;).

Week in review

In the past seven days I …

Worked. Not a full five days thanks to a weird mix of stomach cramps [outside the regular cycle if you know what I mean] and sudden sickness throwing me off and making work impossible after not even an hour in the office on Wednesday. I stayed longer on and put an extra effort in to catch up on all the paperwork on Thursday which calmed my mind about the missed day.

Napped for a solid 1 1/2 hours on said sick day. I originally hoped to just lie down without actually closing my eyes and return to work but my body thought differently. I did feel the refreshing effects of the nap, though, so clearly needed it.

Birthday flowers

(Birthday flowers I forgot to show you in my previous week in review)

Had a great conversation with my boss and colleagues. We don’t get to sit together and chat like this on the regular so it was a wonderful opportunity to connect and talk about everything. Our male boss was on vacation this past week which allowed for some lady talk, too.

Cooked lunch for my mum and me on Saturday. This was something I’d been meaning to do for ages already and we finally found a time and day working for both of us. It turned out to be everything I’d hoped for and more. The food was delicious and the conversation meaningful. We had Semmelknödel – a traditional German kind of dumplings made from bread rolls, fried onion, parsley and a few other ingredients; egg-free in my version – with oriental-spiced Sauerkraut. It’s one of my favourite dishes yet due to its slightly more involved preparation not a regular one on the menu. The terrible lighting in the picture does the delciousness of the Knödel and Kraut no justice. That’s what we get for delaying lunch until 6.30 on the weekend …

Semmelknödel and Sauerkraut - vegan

Started and finished the book mentioned in the intro. The review might not come up until the following week or so because it stirred up so many thoughts in my mind.

Bundled up and took a longer walk with my mum on Sunday afternoon. Much needed as I was in a slightly Sunday blues once again and also needed to at least get some of the questions and thoughts about the book I’d just finished out. Walk with mum + deep conversations = one of the most blissful activities in my life.

Prepared another batch of peanut butter as the previous was gone surprisingly fast. I don’t know how that might have happened 😉 …

Peanut butter_homemade

Posted twice: a week in review with some thoughts on happiness and yesterday’s good good links.

Spontaneously went to the cinema on Friday night. Okay, not entirely spontaneous as I’d originally planned to go with a friend in anyway. Yet she’s dealing with a lot in life lately and asked me if we could postpone our movie night again. Fingers crossed she’ll be able to make it this week. Either way, my mum had plans of seeing La La Land and I decided to tag along though it hadn’t been on my list of movies to watch. Verdict: sweet. I was a huge fan of all the dresses – just my kind of clothes -, the music and dancing. So if you considered adding it to your cinema list: go for it!

… and there we are on Sunday night – okay, Monday once you read this – again. Time for me to call it a nght soon but not before I wish you a …

Happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today:  The walk with my mum.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21

Pinterest: MissPolkadot21

Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!

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Better than before.

Oh hi there, Monday!

As odd as it might sound I’m not that unhappy to see that apparently most resented day of the week on the calendar today. Why? Because yesterday’s overall music choice wasn’t my jam.  Read: we’re talking about a case of the Sunday blues here. It hit me particularly hard again this week and threw me into a little funk. Which in itself is positive in that it actually makes me look forward to the week ahead even more. Not just because my birthday’s coming up which means a reunion with my sister and P though that obviously helps. Onwards and upwards from here on.

While I might not be entirely satisfied with my past week in terms of accomplishments – am I ever really? – I know I could have done worse. And embarrassingly have in previous ones. Trying to find a recurrent theme in the past days [or actually January in its entity so far] three words got stuck in my mind: better than before. Before as in: the past year, the past month, past week, Not in all areas of life but some I have been making subtle changes for the better. There’s still plenty of room for improvement but – following up on what I said in the previous week in review – I now know I’m able to make changes I previously hadn’t. Which increases my hopes of accomplishing more in the future.

After that introduction let’s take a look at the past week of life as inspired by Meg.

[I didn’t take any pictures  so will be reusing old ones #sorry]

Week in review

In the past seven days I …

Worked five days – not quite the same game as usual, though.  With one of my colleagues currently out of the office for a while and the other colleague subbing in for her getting sick I suddenly had to switch to the reception desk. Being an introvert this was a true challenge the first day or two. Welcoming clients, answering their requests, operating the phone as well as trying to make a dent into my regular paperwork proved to be tricky. Overwhelming.  But also by far more rewarding than any previous week at work. Loking back I’m thankful for the chance I got. A chance for some self – growth. In fact, I’m almost sad my colleague will be back this week [though glad she’s feeling better], me switching back into my regular position. Not something I thought I’d ever say.

Published two blog posts: one Week in review with some thoughts on trusting our future selves as well as a roundup of good good links.

Waiting in line behind an elderly man with a full cart he very slowly unloaded on the conveyor belt at the store I felt anger, waiting behind him to pay for a mere two items. Rather than let my anger build up I took a deep breath and then helped him unload his cart. Releasing stress rather than letting negative emotions build up [I’m sure we’ve all been in that situation before]

Bought my mum baked goods a few times when she had to stay at work longer than usual and dropped them off at her office.

Baked more granola for one of my colleagues. I’ve played around with the recipe lately, changing up the nuts and also the way of preparation, aiming for a more clustery granola. Dare I say it’s even better now?

healthy buckwheat-granola

Picked my mum up in town one night when she was – once again – staying late at work and didn’t have the car. We usually all get to work by bike but haven’t recently because a) it’s flipping cold and b) snow and ice.

Cleaned the apartment.

Washed a load of laundry and got rid of a few tights that didn’t fit anymore. Which obviously means I may or may not have to invest in new ones.

Meal prepped for the upcoming week on the weekend plus breakfast for the next day every night.

Shared the treats I mentioned in my previous week in review with my colleagues. I know I said I was going to share the recipe but with my laptop swallowing some of the better pictures and Picmonkey continuously crashing it didn’t happen. They’re still coming, though. Keep your fingers crossed for less fussy technology this week.

Birthday flowers

Read for around an hour right after returning from work every weekday and in the mornings on the weekend. It’s a nice little habit to nourish my brain and disconnect from technology I’ve been rereading old issues of the magazine I’m subscribed to  [note: by magazine we#re not talking trashy celebrity ones but this right here ]. Because I still haven’t been able to decide on new books to read. Our local library doesn’t have a huge choice of newer books so I’d have to order ones which makes the decision ten times harder. Not like I was good at decisions to begin with …

Signed up for Georgie’s self-care challenge. It’s just starng so this is advance praise but I’ll recommend it already in anyway as I like the idea behind it so much.

Seeing as this is getting very wordy again I’ll close off here and would be happy to hear about your week instead. Ups, downs – everything.

Happiness-inducing today:  My morning reading time. Calming and blissful.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21

Pinterest: MissPolkadot21

Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!
What was the last amazing book you read and couldn’t put down?

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Week in review: The Clean[ing] and Fast Edition

Alternative title: the post I promised Meg to write weeks ago already but never got around to because a) Monday’s aren’t a good posting time for me, b) I keep forgetting what I did throughout the week [I know …] and c) I often have a hard time recognizing what I do as accomplishments. Though our list-making and all around fabulous host is right:

Week in review

Without further ado here’s my list: I …

Participated in the Bloggers Gonna Blog Instagram challenge every day of the week. Finally upping my Instagram activity and connecting with new people – win-win! Though I did miss blogging a little a lot. But I’m thankful for what was possible in this week of changes and worries so no further complaints.

Almost finished the book I started last week. I have a loose goal on the number of books I want to read this year as I used to be a huge book worm but somehow haven’t lived up to my reputation in past years. Non-screen reading time is highly beneficial for mind and soul so it’s an endeavor worth tackling.

Book_reading

Did a semi-thorough cleaning spree of my pantry. Semi-thorough because I didn’t have to heart to discard a few items but the overall look is still more organized. I need to leave room for improvement the next times I tackle this, right?

Cleaned my fridge. It took way less time than half a year ago still. Doing it regularly is worth the effort because it makes you overthink your spending habits [= buying less] and fridge organization.

Cleaned the fridge at my parents’ office. Can you tell it was the week of cleaning?

Shoveled snow for two hours on Monday. Okay, so actually one and a half but I took a break to warm up inside in between. Hello, sore arms.

Winter_snow_sun

  • Started a new job that is the main reason I wasn’t as active in the blog world as I’d planned to – and also the only reason I’m mentioning it here. Hoping I won’t sound like a negative Nancy: congratulations are not necessary. It’s neither a job in my field nor one I’m particularly fond of.But helping a relative out at his office as well as having a job to begin with is what matters here. I’ll still keep searching for a more exciting gig
  • Speaking of spending habits: my grocery bills for the week ended up being the lowest they’ve been in – I think – months. This is a huge feat for me as I tend to stop by the shops for just two or three items almost every day which adds up by the end of the week. Here’s to continuing the lucky strike!
  • On the topic of lucky strikes and reminiscing Christmas: I beat my parents in a game of Yathzee. With an all-time highscore of 304 points at that.

Kniffel

  • I made these vegan Snickers bars for my sister and her husband. While not into New Year’s goals, my sister randomly told me she intended to eat less sweets. Being the good sister I am 😉 I obviously needed to come to her rescue – and preparing any kind of treat is never really altruistic, no? Also, this gave me the final push I needed to …
  • Set up my Vitamix again. Only took me … many months. Awful for a blogger, right? My excuses were that a) it uses a lot of energy, b) I’m more often than not too lazy to clean it [don’t pretend I was the only one] and c) I didn’t have enough counter space to set it up permanently. It was mostly for the last reason but I…
  • Cleaned up my spice arrangement at that moving it to a cupboard and – viola! – counter space freed up. Celebrating the Vitamix’ reappearance in my life I made coconut butter.

Coconut butter

  • And date caramel [twice]. They don’t call dates nature’s candy for nothing and I have high hopes of creating a new recipe with it this week. It’s been too long.
  • I ate the remainders of said date caramel straight from the blender.

And that sums up my first Week In Review. A week that started slow and then flew by fast hence the title [the cleaning part should be self-explanatory ;)]. Have a good start to your week!

Happiness-inducing today: Many kind messages – via Instagram, mail and messenger – arriving throughout the day as well as a short chat with an old aquaintance who stopped by for a visit.

 

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!

When was the last time you cleaned your fridge? No shame if it’s been some time because it’s only become a regular task for me in past months.

Have you tried date caramel before? I’m tempted to steal a spoonful [or two … or three] from the fridge in a second.

 

 

The Hip[ster] Survey

Do you ever write that one post you’re feeling passionately about, are anxious to share because you can’t wait to hear others’ opion – and then you run out of time? Here’s the deal: I started working on said post Sunday night, then thought I’d be able to finish it one of the past days because it felt almost complete. Only the a) work and b) perfectionism stepped in. Long story short: surveys save the day so I hope Amanda won’t mind me spilling my thoughts the mustache way. The post is going to come next week so stay tuned.

Thinking-Out-Loud

When I told my sister about this survey – read: when I told her the name of it – she rolled her eyes* and replied “what a hipster name”. We don’t agree on everything but one thing is for sure: this survey’s pretty hip around the blog world lately and I couldn’t not jump on board.Even if I’m the last one [typical]. Nobody in specific tagged me and everybody who tagged everybody like Irina.

mustache-1024x1024

*I don’t actually know if she did because you can’t tell when only talking on the phone but I’m about 99 % sure.

Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

Wow,  this is going to be embarrassing but luckily only if you understand German 😉 .

1. Mausi
2. Westi [cutesy form of ‘sister’ and what my sister and I call each other]
3. Schnecke
4. Puddingschwein [thanks for nothing, Charlotte]

Four jobs I’ve had [not including my current one]:

  1. Secretary
  2. Private teacher for younger students.
  3. Sandwich Artist at Subway.  Fancy name for a job.
  4. Babysitter

Subway uniform

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  1. Mad Hot Ballroom [a documentary that I urge you to watch!!!]
  2. Harry Potter [my sister and I collected all DVDs]
  3. Love Actually [a must every December]
  4. How to steal a million  [Audrey Hepburn is one of my idols]

Four books I’d recommend: [too many so I’ll randomly pick four]

  1. The Rosie Project
  2. The Sisters.
  3. The Glass Castle.
  4. Intuitive Eating. It’s a blog world favourite for a reason. I actually got this pre-blogging from a friend who found it majorly helpful in her own recovery.

Admittedly, the accompanying doziness doesn't make a bed a good place to study. But it IS seriously comfy.

 

Four places I’ve been:

1. Great Britain
2. Dublin, Ireland
3. France – multiple times, in different areas and during different seasons.
4. Malaga, Spain

Four places I’d rather be right now:

1. At my parents’ place to spend quality time with the family. Living too far away for a short weekend visit sucks.
2. Somewhere warm – negative temperatues are not cool,  Germany.
3. In the US where I’m hoping to travel in the not too distant future.
4. Given I’ll likely be at work when you’re reading this: in bed. See #2, too.

Reading in bed

Four things I don’t eat:

1. Meat [for obvious reasons]
2. Fish [ditto]
3. Mustard. Just no. It’s nasty.
4. Ketchup. Don’t hate me. Aside from salsa I can’t think of any condiment I like.

Four of my favorite foods:

1. Apples. One a day keeps the doctor away – what does that mean for an average of five then??
2. Chocolate.  I’m a picky eater in this point,  though.  Dark and unfilled is an almost safe bet in case you wanted to mail me some 😉 .
3. Nut butter: white almond butter reigns surpreme but I’ve been on a serious peanut kick lately, too – crunchy + salted to be precise. Maybe because it pairs so well with chocolate?
4. Legumes. It’s an addiction that slowly built up after I switched to a vegetarian diet. Goes to show our bodies are smart in letting us know where to find the necessary nutrients.

[4.2. Oats. They can’t go unmentioned.]

Nut butter

Four TV shows that I watch:
Woops. .. none, actually.  But I’ll list those that I used to watch and probably will again now it’s getting colder outside.

1. Gossip Girl. Intrigues, good-looking guys and the life of the rich and famous – what more could a girl desire [in a Show]?
2. New Girl
3. Gilmore Girls – wow,  I  apparently watched a lot of Girl -y shows. But there’s nothing wrong with that for a girl,  I figure.

4. ??

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:

  1.  Christmas! Because it means finally being reunited with my family. I miss them like crazy.
  2. Cookie baking with Christmas music playing every weekend in December. <- necessity.
  3. Hopefully getting to catch up with old friends while I’m at my parents.
  4. Continuing to grow my blog.

Christmas Collage

Four things I’m always saying:

  1. Hiiiii.
  2. [This year:] Is it really  [insert month] yet???
  3. Wait … is it actually this late already?
  4. Yeeees. [sometimes stressed the ‘duh, I know’ annoyed kind of way, sometimes the approving].

 

Happiness-inducing today: Arranging what will hopefully turn out to be an interesting interview.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Pick at least one of the categories above and share your four answers …

and if you haven’t filled out the survey yet: Do it and post the link, too!

The Sometimes – Always – Never Edition

Just a warning in advance: my mind has been all over the place lately and not in the cute scatterbrained way, either. Or maybe more like: simultaneously wishing time passed faster and wishing I could turn it back. Confusing much?! Today luckily is the right time and place for thinking out loud about whatever so I’ll share some random tidbits that would have appeared in past Thursday posts if they hadn’t been put on the back burner by some more serious thoughts I had. Luckily, Amanda is inviting any kind of thoughts – and today’s are randomness at its best.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. Sometimes I forget how hard to understand humor can be when you’re not a native speaker. Just one example from yesterday: We all agree fruit flies are a plague, right? Because the situation has gotten almost unbearable in our kitchen I jokingly told my roommate we’d have to stop eating produce all the way if we wanted to get rid of the little beasts. She’s originally from Ecuador and while her German is pretty good she didn’t catch my drift and had a completely serious face when replying that, well, it really wasn’t possible. I promise I didn’t laugh – it’s cute.

2. Never will I do everything the same way everybody else does. In this case, though, I feel my makeshift-steaming basket was a pretty good idea. Because a) my kitchen is crowded enough already and b) I’m cheap. I need to save money where I can to keep up my supply of almond butter.

steaming_broccoli

3. Just like I will always try to eat produce on its last legs unless it’s not edible anymore. And apparently I’m not alone there when it comes to broccoli… Or any produce. Campaigns like this one make me happy.

Not always but still a repeat offender in my Thursday posts is the mention of train travels. Last Tuesday happened to be one of those days again. And while I honestly would have enjoyed many other activities more I’ll admit I liked the forced unplugging. Because no, there was no option of charging my phone this time. Having one is still the lucky exception over here. Cautiously looked at my phone very sparingly only and can proudly say the battery was almost 70 per cent charged by the time I got home. I was just a smidgen proud of myself ;).

5. The time I didn’t spend looking at my phone gave me the chance to immerse myself into one of the books from the library. I recently saw the number of books I’m currently hoarding having at home. I will never stop laughing at myself there. Unless I spent every minute  of the next weeks with my nose hidden behind a book I wouldn’t be able to finish all of them before they’re due.

Random_end of July 018[for the non-Germans: this is the first book of the Dark Witch trilogy]

Sorry to any Nora Roberts fans out there but to say it with Shania Twain – does anybody remember that song?!: That don’t impress me much.* I still read a fair chunk of the book because I had no other option at hand. Somehow I’d expected it to be a regular love story but it there was too much of a fantasy character to it. I also didn’t find the story to make sense at times so this is a thumbs down from me.

* just like wrong grammar doesn’t impress me much

6. Sometimes I have a trend of picking up books that don’t lure me in from the library – lately being one oft those times. Can’t Chris Cleave please publish a new novel STAT?!

7. Whether you’re in a funk, bored or in need of ways to procrastinate the answer will always be: BuzzFeed. Apparently, this is where I’m supposed to spend a year abroad.

Well, I’ll keep it in mind as a closer second option because you already know my plans.

8. … and whichever mood you’re in: Disney has the right sound for that.

It feels odd posting this potpourri of randomness after the past weeks’ posts. But as – stealing this term from a blend – it’s a brain fudge day over here it was the best thing to do. Sometimes you’ve just got to trust there will always be an idea floating around so the Thinking out loud party never ends.

Happy Thursday!

Happiness inducing today: Planning a game night with my neighbours.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

 Tell me a sometimes – always – never from your life!

Have you read any good books lately? I’m not into crime or science fiction but after I’ve recently only found good more serious non-fiction I wouldn’t mind a fun but not too dumb summer read so share your recommendations!

Which of the Disney songs do you [need to] listen to right now?