I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
April 15, 2022
I’ve been planning for what seems like forever to write a weekly post containing some of my favorite new finds — Each time I read/watch/wear/use/cook/listen to something wonderful, I want to share it with as many of you as possible. Knowing me, this may end up becoming a weekly post or a monthly one, possibly a quarterly post, or maybe it will never happen again. Who can say for sure? Let’s just see what happens.
I really, really enjoyed reading The Paper Palace and I’m sure it will be one of my favorite books of the year. It’s the story of a happily married wife and mom named Elle who, in a moment of passion, ends up sleeping with her lifelong best friend, Jonas. (This happens at the very start of the book – It’s not a spoiler.) The book follows her thoughts through the ensuing days as she reviews the events of her life and relationship with Jonas and decides what to do next.
This plot easily could have descended into endless navel-gazing, but Miranda Cowley Heller is such a talented and descriptive writer that she turned even the most mundane scenes into wordscapes that made me feel like I was right there with Elle, seeing and hearing and tasting and smelling everything right along with her. That Heller could create this reader experience without making her book overly wordy was a true testament to her skill. And because I felt like I was living Elle’s life right alongside her, I was able to read her story without judging — Instead, I felt almost like a sympathetic best friend, listening to all that had happened and trying to understand where she was coming from.
I also loved that although Elle is 50 in this book, there were zero references to her hating or feeling embarrassed by her aging body and zero depictions of her as frumpy or middle aged. She was simply a woman with a complicated history who was confident, sensual, sexual, and confused about the fork in the road that had suddenly been presented to her. I felt like this depiction of a 50-year-old woman was so much closer to how many of us feel in mid-life — I’m not so many years away from 50 myself, but I don’t identify with most fictional depictions of 50-year-olds. I feel mostly the same as I did 10 years ago, and I’m certainly not ready to be relegated by the authors I read to a boring, sexless existence filled with gardening and crossword puzzles. So thank you, Miranda Cowley Heller, for giving us a character who feels true to our own real identities.
I recommend this book to those seeking out fantastic writing and to women in their 40s and beyond in particular, who will really appreciate the character of Elle and the fact that her age does not define her decision-making or self-confidence in any way whatsoever. I had actually never thought about the fact that the typecasting of middle-aged women in literature is problematic until I read this book.
One quote I loved:
‘Does letting go mean losing everything you have, or does it mean gaining everything you never had?’
Are you looking for something to fill the gaping hole left by Ted Lasso, season one? (I’m not even getting into the utter disappointment that was season 2.) Somebody, Somewhere will fill that gap. I blew through this utterly charming, funny, sweet, wonderful series on HBOMax in a matter of days and was only sorry there weren’t more episodes to watch. And I’m far from alone — This series has a 100% five-star rating on Rotten Tomatoes!
The synopsis: Somebody Somewhere follows Sam, a true Kansan on the surface who, beneath it all, struggles to fit the hometown mold. As Sam grapples with loss and acceptance, singing is her saving grace and leads her on a journey to discover herself and a community of outsiders who don’t fit in but don’t give up, showing that finding your people, and finding your voice, is possible. Anywhere. Somewhere.
The cast is fantastic, the writing is fantastic, the whole thing is fantastic and will leave you feeling hopeful and good by the end of the season. I don’t like most comedies (I think I have a weird sense of humor), but this is one I enthusiastically recommend, especially if you need some positivity in your life — and who doesn’t? If you don’t have HBOMax, you can watch the first episode for free here and see if you’re interested.
I only just started listening to this band and I’m obsessed. Big Thief is an indie rock/folk band out of Brooklyn, New York, with four members who all graduated from Berklee College of Music. Their music is crazy good and interesting and experimental-yet-deeply-listenable and I just love it. It satisfies the yearning for another album like Lucinda Williams’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, and then some. Start with their song ‘Not’ and go from there. Some more of my Big Thief favorites: ‘Mary,’ ‘Change,’ ‘Paul,’ ‘Simulation Swarm,’ and ‘Shark Smile.’
Y’all. This $20 set of bluetooth headphones nestled inside a sleep mask has CHANGED MY LIFE. I bought these sleep headphones based on a recommendation I read somewhere online and loved it so much I bought two more for both my teens. They love them too, and all of us use ours almost every night. Once fully charged, these headphones last nearly two full nights before needing to be charged again. The headband is really comfortable and the sound is great for the price. I also use it as a sleep mask in the mornings when my room gets pretty bright.
To fall asleep now, I listen to YouTube sleep videos. I have a whole ‘Sleep Library’ of various types of white noise, sleep hypnosis videos, and sleep music — I’ll have to share some of those picks in another Friday post.
My last pair of headphones lasted about 6 months before the charge wasn’t so great, but at this price, I’m happy to replace them every six months, anyway. I can’t recommend these enough, either for yourself or as a gift.
Now that warmer weather is here, it’s time to talk about my bento box! I originally bought these boxes for my daughter’s lunches, but last summer I began packing my own favorite snacks in them and keeping one ready to go in the refrigerator at all times. It has been a LIFESAVER, for so many reasons. Now, I always have a quick, healthy snack or light lunch ready to go whenever I need it. I find myself eating less, because the compartments aren’t huge in the bento box, but it’s enough to leave me feeling satisfied. Most surprisingly, I discovered that I often ended up needing a lunch on the go — Ordinarily, I would have probably stopped at a drive through, but since I always had a bento box in the fridge, I would just throw that in my bag along with a freezer bag and have a healthy lunch to bring with me to an event or on a road trip.
To keep things interesting, I try to change up my ingredients quite a bit. I keep everything low carb/whole food/Paleo. Some of my favorite things for the box: salami, cheese, sandwich wraps made with low-carb tortillas, cherries, hummus and baby carrots, pesto with grain-free tortilla chips, boiled eggs, edamame, Parmesan crisps, and smoked salmon. The choices are endless!
I love the brand of bento boxes I bought (they’re by Pixi Creations), but Amazon hasn’t had them in stock in months. This bento box is a comparable option, but I haven’t personally tried it.
I’m a sucker for great quotes. Here’s one of my favorites:
Got a recommendation for me? Contact me. I’d love to hear it.
This post contains a few Amazon affiliate links, which means I get enough money to buy a few cups of coffee each year if you buy the item I linked to. 😂