Friday, September 25, 2020

5 Things That Cheer Me Up Right Now


I don't know about you, but I really did NOT think we would still be in full pandemic mode this fall. 

Or rather, I thought we'd be bracing up to the possibility of a second wave, not still dealing with the first. But here we are heading into flu season while never having really got a handle on the pandemic. In fact, a third of the country firmly believes it's all made up. LOL. Because... 

That part of the conspiracy remains vague. I mean, to be a serious PLOT you've got to have a concrete goal. There has to be a pragmatic outcome. Like World Domination. Like a zillion billion dollars ransom. I mean THOSE ARE THE RULES OF EVILDOING. 

But I digress. The fact is, you can get used to anything, and I'm getting used to this. We all are. 

And lest you think it's all doom and gloom at Chez Lanyon, nothing of the kind! Luckily, the SO and I are extremely compatible thanks to a mutual love of murder and mystery. We literally never run out of anything to blab about whether it's the latest episode of Dateline, something I'm writing, something he's writing, or a debate over the merits of the Perry Mason books (uh yeah, they're not TV tie-ins, as I was entertained to see someone insisting in an online discussion) versus the original movies (recommended if you love old movies!) versus the TV series and the TV series reboot (I love William Katt! Whatever happened to William Katt!) versus the latest and weakest incarnation on HBO (but oh my God excellent acting and how beautifully filmed it was!). I have the dogs and the garden and my cocktail shaker--and let me tell you, I am becoming one hell of a mixologist. 

In fact, let me share my latest invention. It's called The Tipsy Mermaid. It's very sweet but carries an unexpected punch, just like a real mermaid. *cough* IF there was such a thing as mermaids.

1 oz cake vodka

1 oz Chambord

1 oz blue Curacao

1 oz cranberry-blackberry juice 

 (Also I now have TWO alternate recipes for Raspberry Lemon Drops, but I'll save those for another day.)

And I have my writing. Sort of. I mean, it's shaky, it's still more theoretical than practical, but I am working and I am making very slow progress. 

In fact, yesterday I outlined a short story called 44.1644° NORTH. It's going to be in the second short story collection (although if you're in Patreon, you'll be getting it for free) due out in January. I'm currently working on Bell, Book and Scandal, and yes, I do actually plan to have that one out for Halloween. Blessed be.

So yeah, I'm feeling more optimistic, more in control again, and here are five of the things I find most comforting right now.

1 - YouTube Beauty Bloggers. OH, I KNOW. BELIEVE ME, I KNOW. But there is something really soothing about watching people who know what they're doing, apply eyeshadow. All those paint boxes and tubes of color! Gorgeous color. How can you NOT enjoy all that color? Make up is transformative. Self care is healthy. YMMV but to each their own and I do own a LOT of eyeshadow.

Last week one of my favorite beauty bloggers did what I found to be a really interesting bit on urgency, and how so much of the pressure we feel is self-inflicted. I thought I would share it. And also holy moly can this woman do things with eyeshadow!

2 - Coffee Table books. I don't think those of us in the States are going to be traveling much until 2022. Just my opinion. So I'm reminding myself of everything out there, past and present and imaginary through the application of art and coffee table travel books. In particular I'm loving Slim Aarons right now. If you don't know Aarons, he documented a world that never really existed for most people, but yet that somehow continues to shape our own concept of class, elegance, and how the other half should live. 

3 - Gardening. It's officially autumn, so it's time to start closing up shop for the winter, but my garden has been a huge source of comfort this summer. There's just something really centering about sunlight and damp earth and the smell of flowers and the hum of bees. A garden teaches patience like nothing else.

4 - Coloring books. Yes! Coloring books. When all this madness started, I was playing a lot of Candy Crush and so forth, and I felt like that just had to stop. That was just too...numb. So I moved over to coloring books, which it turns out I have tons of (also lots of wonderful pencils and crayons--largely unused) and it's been really relaxing to listen to the news or listen to the SO rant about the news while I color in my coloring books. ;-) I'm not very good, but I can stay within the lines, and maybe in the end, that's all that really matters. 

5 - Goldbelly. A dear friend sent me a gift certificate to Goldbelly a while back--and then another friend sent me the most delicious pies--and eventually I figured out that Goldbelly was a way to sample legendary and fantastic foods from across the country from the comfort of your own quarantine cell pretty much whenever you wanted. Wow. 

So that's it. Those are my tips for staying sane during Phase 2 of Our Pandemic. What about you? Do you have any good tips? How are you coping these days?  


  1. David and I were just waxing poetic about Goldbelly the other day. It is a place of total amazement! I don't have time to focus on the pandemic right now, I'm too busy obsessing about my job. It's still the same stress, different focus.

  2. Lots of very good advice! I'm cutting back on checking the news feeds because how many times can you get enraged by despicable behavior and lies propped up by enablers and know full well nothing will be done?(VOTE!) We are also indulging in old "Perry Mason" episodes in which he can fix ANYTHING. And I've been coloring for years to ease stress. I usually color during Alabama football games but lately I find lots of nervous anxiety to ease! It really does help! Agreed on the beauty bloggers - amazing!

  3. I picked up working on Diamond Dotz 3D diamond painting and Pixelhobby mosaics.Been doing coloring for decades, also do embroidery or needlepoint work.

  4. 1) I like beauty youtubers too. Ones I've been enjoying (mostly for their personalities, tbh): Geek Out of Water, Michelle Wang (Luxe) and GlitzyFritzy.

    2) The Golden Ratio daily snaps: It's the daily shenanigans of 5 golden retrievers who live in Key West Florida and their humans. And the humans have a podcast too:

    3) Scented wax melts. There's a whole world of indie, handmade scented wax to make your home smell nice. And since we're stuck inside more than ever, I've been shopping up a storm. I like spa, water and woodsy scents. Look for Hayden Rowe, L3 Waxy Wonders, or RoseGirls Wax if you're interested.

    4) Foodwise, I was SUPER happy to find out that Portos Cuban Bakery was doing some mail order business now. Their potato balls are legendary. I only wish they'd add some of their other bakery items and their chicken croquettes.

    5) Tvwise, I Love Schitt's Creek. I know it just won a bunch of awards, but it's got this perfect sense of humor that I enjoy so I've been savoring it, since once it's over, it's over. I can't do normal sitcoms (Big Bang Theory pissed me off so much.) and this is perfect. I also started watching The Great. Need to finish that, but it's was pretty funny too. Kind of a Historical Dramedy?

  5. Ooh, I have to try this cocktail *_*
    I also spend a lot of time enjoying my food but the homemade kind. I always thought I was a poor cook and I disliked it but it turns out I love cooking and I do it well. So I'm having fun creating new recipies (like my Vietnamese chicken burgers that made me so proud - as long as I stay away from the scale :P)
    I read a lot (and devour funny authors like Charlie Cochet because nowadays fun is highly needed). I'm addicted to the GREAT SF series "Raised by wolves".
    As to beauty bloggers, do you know Bailey Sarian? She does wonderful make up while telling a true crime story (with her own snarky comments and emotions) that can be modern or in the past. She's great. Here's the link to one of her videos: