1. Jenny Owen Youngs – “Hot in Herre”
I first heard Jenny Owen Youngs’s cover of Nelly’s iconic (is it though?) “Hot in Herre” as part of Shmitten Kitten’s Mix of the Month Club. It’s a song that strikes you as funny the first time you hear it and then slowly grows on you. The subtle subversion of what Youngs is doing takes some time to sink in, but once it does, you won’t be able to get enough of it. I play this song on the way to work almost every day, and it never fails to put a smile on my face.
2. Stay With Me by Paul Griffin
Although the two are very different, 15-year-olds Cece and Mack end up falling in love. As the two grow closer, they plan for a future together. Then tragedy strikes, and the two are forced apart. Both must deal with the fallout of their actions and reconcile themselves to the fact that they will have to live without one another.
This book was released at the beginning of September. It made the rounds on the YALSA book discussion email lists and earned a star review in Kirkus (which is kind of like my Bible). To say that this book is notable doesn’t do it service: this is a powerful, emotionally resonant novel. The characters and story have stayed with me long since I turned the final page. Recommended for fans of contemporary YA, but also recommended for fans of gritty, emotionally resonant stories in general.
3. Gardein’s Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n
(This is not a product placement, you guys. I’m not being paid in any way for talking about this product on my blog.)
Even though I’m kind of a fake vegetarian at this point (I’ll eat a burger if it’s good enough, and I’ve been known to sneak a piece of chicken off of someone else’s plate), I still don’t cook meat at my apartment. I’ve never cooked meat in my life and the idea of handling the raw stuff freaks me out. However, this particular brand of Chick’n is one of the best I’ve found–and I love making it with veggies and noodles.
4. Suburgatory on ABC
Suburgatory is a half-hour sitcom that premiered on ABC this fall. It’s about a father (Jeremy Sisto) who decides to move his teenage daughter (Jane Levy) from the city (Manhattan) to suburbia after he finds a package of (unopened) condoms in her room. The two are not prepared for what they find in suburbia: a bunch of blonde, tan people who drink sugar-free Redbull like their lives depend on it. As the two struggle to fit in and find happiness, shenanigans ensue.
Well-written, exceedingly well-cast, and very smart, Suburgatory surprised me. It wasn’t one of the shows that was even on my radar until I read several really positive reviews of it. Sisto (one of the most underrated actors working today, in my opinion) and Levy have a lovely, affectionate chemistry that sells the father-daughter storyline. Cheryl Hines kills it as one of their perfect, freaky neighbors. It’s a quiet kind of funny, and I love it.
5. Halloween (and the requisite ridiculousness)
It’s no secret that October is my favorite month of the year (I love the weather and pumpkins and candy and scary movies). Halloween is arguably my favorite holiday (I do really love Passover, too, but Halloween is more accessible), and the month of October seems to hum with the promise of a crazy holiday full of costumes and candy. I feel like every year, potential Halloween costumes get crazier and more ridiculous. Today I found a costume for a sexy watermelon. This is a costume that actually exists.
Whatever you decide to go as, you have to admit that it’s fun to think about and fun to see what other people come up with. I don’t know what I’m going as yet–there’s been much discussion amongst my friends–but I do know that it will be awesome.