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October was rough. Between an increasingly infuriating political news cycle, minor health issues, and the difficult decision to switch JB to fully remote learning the rest of 2020, there was a lot going on. It’s no wonder, then, that in looking at what brought me joy this month, I noticed a trend; Everything I listed is something that “junior high me” would have also loved. Hey, sometimes you’ve got to stick with comfort entertainment!

Here are some of the things that made me feel more like me – teenager or thirtysomething – this month!

Julie and the Phantoms: Netflix has been killing it this year with fabulous family-friendly TV series: Alexa and Katie, The Baby-Sitters Club, Ashley Garcia, and now Julie and the Phantoms. This latest show is about a girl who finds herself in a pop-rock band with three ghosts, as she continues to grieve the loss of her mother. I know it sounds ridiculous, and parts of it truly are. But it is also such a sweet and funny story. The show’s executive producer is Kenny Ortega – known for movies including High School Musical and Hocus Pocus. If that isn’t exciting enough for you, Cheyenne Jackson plays the villain. Admit it, you are adding it to your Netflix list now!

Truly Devious book series: Lately, I’ve been adding more YA fiction to my reading. I thought it would be a reprieve from the heaviness of 2020, but honestly that isn’t always the case. One exception is the Truly Devious trilogy. Somehow, this murder mystery series completely captured my attention for a weekend (you know, when I wasn’t caring for my kid). I could not stop reading, staying up all night to finish. The series follows a girl named Stevie (no, not the co-owner of Rosebud Motel) who attends a creepy private school in Vermont. She’s joined by the most diverse group of friends I’ve ever encountered in a book – I especially loved the representation of disabled and LGBTQ+ teens in the story. Seriously, buy all three books, because you’ll want the next one ready to grab as soon as you finish the previous one. (Warning: there’s a character in the books who is a very VERY thinly veiled amalgamation of several politicians currently in the news as election day approaches, so you may want to wait until after Tuesday to start reading.)

Arts and Crafts: I’ll be honest – there are only so many construction paper and glue stick preschool projects I can take! Inevitably the kid and the dog end up trying to eat the paper, or the glue, or both. So I’ve been spending some of my self-care time doing my own craft projects: Hand-lettering, home décor projects, floral design, and more.

When I started getting back into crafting, I honestly had no idea where to shop or what to buy or how to get the best deals. Here are a few of my favorite brands and retailers right now:

  • Crayola: Crayola is pretty much synonymous with childhood for many of us, so imagine by absolute glee when I learned they have art supplies, online tutorials and craft kits especially for adults! I really love the Take Note line, especially the gel pens and felt-tip markers. And I have several of the Signature craft kits on my Christmas list!
  • Tombow: Tombow products are my favorite for practicing my hand-lettering. Right now my favorite items are the Fudenosuke and Dual-Ended brush pens. They are easy to use, especially as a lefty, and don’t smear or break nearly as easily as other brands sometimes do. The best part? Tombow offers free shipping on all purchases!
  • S&S Worldwide: Last year I was introduced to this brand, which carries everything from classroom furniture to therapy toys to, yes, craft supplies. JB and I used their blank paintable products to make Christmas gifts last year, I was impressed by the quality. I just learned they also carry floral design items, which I intend to stock up on for some upcoming projects I’m working on!
  • Michaels: Seriously, is there anything better than aimlessly browsing the aisles of a craft store? I haven’t been doing much in-store browsing anywhere lately, so I love that I can buy online and pickup at my local Michaels store. I relied entirely on Michaels for the supplies for a fall wreath I recently made, and for the adorable washi tape JB and I used to decorate pumpkins.

There’s something so fulfilling about creating something beautiful that I can take pride in. I find myself in a zone where anxiety and depression momentarily fades, and all I need to focus on is right in front of me.

Do you have something that has put you “in the zone” lately amid all the 2020 crazy? Let me know in the comments!

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