One of the best little joys in life is discovering something that puts a smile on my face, lifts my day, and makes me want to gush about it to whoever will listen. There’s something so powerful about a little, seemingly unimportant thing making a big difference to your everyday, it simply needs to be shared.
I also love recommending these things I love to people, and in return, I love hearing their recommendations. So I’m going to start sharing my Favorites of the Month at the end of every month, in hopes that you can discover something new to brighten your days. It also gives me an excuse to doodle happy things. 🙂
These lists will include everything from art supplies to restaurants to memorable moments – anything that tickles my fancy and has me grinning from ear to ear!
So without further ado, here are my June favorites:
1. Weekend Morning Coffee Walks
My boyfriend and I started taking morning walks – not every weekend, but every now and then. We would stop by our favorite cafe that is a couple blocks away to buy a coffee (for him) and tea (for me), and occasionally, if we didn’t have breakfast yet, we would also add a slice of banana nut bread or almond croissant to-go. Then, we would go for a peaceful stroll that will take us to the river and back to our home. It has been a beautiful way to start the day, with a fresh breeze in our faces and contemplative conversation.
On a recent vacation to Universal Studios in Hollywood, my sisters and I came upon Nectar Bath Treats in CityWalk. Of course it would catch our eyes – all their bath products are shaped into colorful desserts that make you think twice about whether or not you can eat them! We got a sample of their body scrub, and it made my skin so smooth, I bought the Citrus Detox Scrub and the Fruit Smoothie Scrub. They are amazing, vegan and preservative-free, and feels wonderful!
A $70 bag is not my style, but ever since my go-to backpack got stolen, I’ve been on the lookout for a new one that met all my needs (I was very particular about what I wanted!). When my Universal Studios trip came up, I knew I didn’t want to lug around a shoulder bag all day, so I splurged on this backpack for myself. And I am so happy I did! It looks adorable, and it was so handy to use during my vacation. I specifically wanted this because the straps are light and not padded, which were perfect during a hot, sweaty vacation. It even fits my 26 oz water bottle!
The Art Stew 52 is an incredible creative community filled with a variety of artists that offers a prompt every week to inspire your creativity. In the monthly podcast, Brandon Hayman interviews different Art Stewards (people who are part of the Art Stew 52 community), and they are such joys to listen to. Soothing and inspiring, they make me feel like I’m sipping steaming mugs of tea by the fireplace even though I’m really editing photos for my day job.
Other than doing Blogilates workouts, I am not much of a YouTuber. But when two inspiring and talented Creatives (Carla Corte and Rhea Amyett) tell me – around the same time! – to check out Frannerd, I am intrigued. Let me tell you, I have been bingeing a lot of Frannerd videos ever since. Whenever I am tired, I’ll quickly turn on a 10-minute video to fuel up with motivation. The videos are about her life as an illustrator, and I love the ones that show an inside look at her creative processes and studio. Fran is also super real and entertaining, so she’s a real treat to watch!
While reading 101 Top Tips for Fantasy Painters, author Kevin Crossley kept mentioning that he would use a blue Col-Erase pencil for his sketches. I didn’t know what it was, but his sketches looked SO AWESOME. I especially loved how he would use the pencil and then paint similar tones over it, so that it all blended together.
Just as I was about to push “buy now” on a 24-piece Col-Erase set, Rhea of the Art Stew sent me a red one (because I’m an Art Stew 52 Patron), and I have been using it nonstop! It’s a color pencil that you can erase, and it’s super smooth and doesn’t rub as much as graphite – which means, no smudged hands! They have been adding a nice touch of color to my doodles. I ended up buying the 24-piece set anyway, because I love the red one so much and want to try different colors.
7. Szechuan Bamboo Shoots & Dried Bean Curd
Seriously, this is how much I like this dish, I had to put it on this favorites list! It’s such a simple dish with bamboo, dried tofu, garlic, and Szechuan chilies and spices, but it’s two of my favorite things in one dish. I order it every single time I get take-out from the Szechuan restaurant near my home, I’m sure their nickname for me is “Dried Bean Curd.”
My 100 Day Project has been very, very good to me. I am almost halfway through now, but what I love about it is that it has really inspired me to get back into drawing. It motivates me to keep up with drawing daily, and I am learning new techniques while I am at it.
9. Ravenclaw Robe
Don’t judge me. Yes, I totally splurged (I must be feeling very YOLO this month) on a Ravenclaw robe from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you don’t know, I am a Ravenclaw (sorted into this Hogwarts house by Pottermore), and I have some serious House Pride.
I had my heart set on this robe a few years back when I first went to the theme park in Florida. After a lot of back and forth in my head, I gave in because I rarely spend on myself and knew if not now, then when? I only wear it around the house right now (yes, really, I do) when it gets a little cold, but boy, do I feel magical!