I aspire to be Oprah-level influential. Note, I'm not saying Oprah-level famous or Oprah-level overexposed; I just want the influence. And for one reason only: the Favorite Things. Since 2002, Oprah has released an annual list of items she loves, and people...really care? From Nelly's line of Apple Bottom jeans, key lime pie, and a panini press*, audiences everywhere have been infatuated with one woman's interests for over a decade. And frankly, I'm jealous. My dream in life is to shout into the void "I like Life cereal and Harry Styles's debut album!" and be met with applause. But sadly, I don't see myself attaining that unique 80:20 mix of fame and presumptuousness during my lifetime. As a consolation prize though, I do have a totally self-serving blog, so here's an Oprah-esque List of Things I've Been Enjoying That I Want to Tell You About.**
I don't know if it's because we're in that lull before the songs of the summer hit airwaves or if I'm just in a musical rut, but I've gotten very into podcasts. Dax's is far and away my favorite, because I'm a total sucker for meta conversations about the human condition, aspirations, and interesting backstories. Dax has such a charming and interesting demeanor that makes his guests feel immediately comfortable; he's smart without pandering and consoling without being preachy. His guests are primarily celebrities, the majority of whom are also his close friends, but while listening, it just feels like two regular people sharing stories. Each episode is also 2 hours or so, which is great for passing the time if you're like me and enjoy listening during work or while doing mundane chores. I especially recommend his episodes with Kristen Bell and Lauren Graham, but honestly they're all good. Just listen to them all, okay?
Okay, full disclosure: I don't fully know what this stuff does. The reviews all talk about how the water has been specially enhanced with magnets or something, and that niche group of diehard hippies who are also diehard Amazon shoppers can't stop raving about how it clears their auras or whatever. I do know at the very least that it's moisturizing and I spray it on myself about 12,000 times a day. I used to use a different rosewater spray, but was totally swayed by a Twitter thread I read about how harmful the brand that makes it actually is. Call me too easily influenced by strangers' opinions on social media, but I do actually think this one is better. It's a little bit cheaper and noticeably soothes my skin when it feels tight or if I accidentally get a little too much sun (it is summer, after all). For $8 and some change, I say give it a try and see if anything happens. At the very least you'll feel super glamorous spritzing rosewater on your face morning and night.
3) My plants!
Good news, I'm a plant mom now. Randomly, house plants have become very trendy among millennials, including myself. I guess we ate enough avocado toasts that we figured might as well introduce greenery into our homes as well as on our carbs. The appeal for me personally is having home decor that not only brightens up my space and makes me happy, but also makes me feel a weird sense of pride and responsibility. When I was repotting my Chinese evergreen yesterday because it grew out of its starter 8" pot, I felt genuine achievement and ownership; I might not have a lot of money in my savings account but I've kept a plant alive for almost a year! Don't worry, I'm not about to turn this into a thinkpiece or some bizarre metaphor. I'm just saying my plants are really cute and I strangely enjoy researching new pruning methods and texting my grandma to ask her advice on the best potting soil to use. It makes me feel grown up.
Okay, what if I told you the album I can't stop listening to is country-folk, written and performed by a drag queen? I promise I'm not unhinged; I think the word the kids are using today is "woke." Trixie Mattel–née Brian Firkus–is an American drag queen raised in the Wisconsin woods that went on to compete on RuPaul's Drag Race. If you've had the fortune of talking to me for longer than 10 minutes, you will know that Drag Race is my favorite show and Trixie is my favorite alumna. I could write an entire post about how I fell in love with drag culture (and let's be honest, I probably will), but for now I'll keep it brief: I just love how drag takes traditional entertainment and makes it new again. One Stone is at its core folk Americana music, with banjos and honest lyrics about love and longing, but the fact that its sung by a living Barbie doll makes it novel and interesting. If you're on the fence, I will say that when you're listening it doesn't feel like you're listening to anything even remotely similar to RuPaul's famous "Supermodel (You Better Work)", if that's not what you're into. Lyrics like "Loving you from the red side of the moon/Loving her was heavier than a leaded red balloon/Someday is a story, and it's the one I'm sticking to" transcend gender and reality television. Play it for your conservative uncle who loves John Cougar and see what he says.
5) Speed round/Misc.
When I started this post (and reader, I'll be honest: I started it a while ago; this post has lived in my drafts for an embarrassing amount of time) I was fully intending on having a long, interesting list. Maybe that's why only Oprah can do what Oprah does. It's surprisingly hard to come up with multiple things that are cool enough to talk about on the internet, much less mention at all. None of these things really need much elaboration, but I thought I'd give a shoutout to them, because they're also just great in my book:
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Birkenstocks, the doughnuts at the Harris Teeter bakery, some of Nick Jonas's music, an iced americano (no room) from Starbucks, Kacey Musgraves's new album, the L'Oreal lumi liquid foundation, poké bowls, John Mulaney's newest Netflix special, my own Twitter.
*Yes, these are all real items once featured on the coveted list.
**Needs a better title; I know. It's a work in progress.