It’s that time. Time for new things that Ashleyne likes. Now that the holidays are gone, we could all use some good stuff to help us recover and get through the winter months.
Due to my sleep restrictions over the past few months, I’ve had time to take up new hobbies, read lots of books, watch an unreasonable amount of TV, and stare out the window like I’m getting paid for it. The good news is that this extra time (which, thankfully, is dwindling as my sleep improves) allows me to find only the best things in the world, and share them with you. You can thank me however you wish, but Starbucks gift cards and winter-y candles are always a nice surprise.
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King. This is the first in a series of books chronicling the exploits of one Mary Russell, and starts with young Mary, a teenager during the first World War, encountering the now middle-aged Sherlock Holmes, and becoming his apprentice. It’s well-written, slightly faster paced than Sir Doyle’s originals, and presents a new, female perspective on the great detective’s life. It’s been out for years, long enough for there to be 19 more (!) but I’m finally jumping on the bandwagon. So if you’re 20+ years behind, like me, come along on the adventure!
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I haven’t even finished this book yet, and I can already recommend it as a must-read. It’s an open letter from a father to his teenage son about living in a black body in America. You can get through it in under three hours, which I know because I’ve been listening to the audio version (read by the author) but you might need to take time after each paragraph to digest and process. If I had a bookclub, I’d insist we discuss this book. So if you want to discuss it after you read it, you know where to find me.
Movies and TV:
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Streaming on Amazon Prime, this show won two Golden Globes for its first season, and I can’t say I disagree. To tell you much about it spoils the story, so I’ll simply tell you that it’s a period piece about a Jewish housewife who finds herself in the stand-up comedy business. It’s smart, funny, emotional, and stars a strong woman. Plus, Tony Shalhoub returns as close to his role in Monk as he probably ever will. What’s not to love?
Miss Sloane. Speaking of strong women, did anyone else completely miss this movie’s debut in 2016? I stumbled upon it on IMDb during one of my frequent research whirlpool experiences, and then watched it three times in a week. Also on Amazon Prime, this political thriller explores the life of a D.C. lobbyist in the midst of the gun-control battle. Brace yourself, the first 20 minutes of this movie move fast. I’d actually poured myself a glass of whiskey to enjoy while starting the movie, but about two minutes in, decided not to drink it because I needed all my wits to follow the fast-talking protagonist. Also, for those of you who like this sort of thing, the cinematography is fantastic.
Bonus- MoviePass: KB gave me a fantastic gift this year, which I hadn’t even heard of, so I thought I’d tell you about it in case you’re looking for a gift for your favorite movie-lover. MoviePass is a subscription service that allows you to go to up to one movie a day. Yes, you read that right. You can go to the theater EVERY DAY. If you want to. Which, of course, I do. It’s a great time to be alive.
Cinnamon Rolls: January is just plain awful. Can we all acknowledge that? Unless you live in Eastern Europe, there’s really nothing great happening between now and my birthday in March. So if you, like me, need to reward yourself with random happiness to get through the winter, check out this recipe for cinnamon rolls. WARNING: This recipe is excruciatingly detailed. If you know me, you know that I feel about recipes like Gollum feels about cooking fish. Why would I do all these things to my food? I just want to eat! If you start telling me eggs need to be room temperature before I can crack them, I start cracking them on your face. However, this recipe is worth making, at least once. I actually had to be heavily supervised in order to ensure I didn’t skip anything or accidentally put in three pounds of butter instead of three ounces, but they turned out delicious.
Book Lovers’ Candles: I bought a couple of these as Christmas presents, and ended up keeping the one scented like “Christmas at the Burrow” because I couldn’t bear to part with it. I’ve burned it for a lot of hours, and it still smells like cookies, cinnamon, vanilla, and magic. Check out Frostbeard Studio for the rest of their scents, including “Through the Wardrobe” and “The Shire.” Your nose won’t regret it.