What's Making Me Happy This Week/Five Things Friday

I've been wanting to do this kind of post for quite a while, but I never seemed to get around to it. I've seen other bloggers use this sort of trope and of course it's a central section every week on my favorite podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour. It just seems like a nice way to talk about some things that have been making my life better lately and that you might be able to enjoy, too.

1. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler - I started this novel a few weeks ago and I very well know I could have *burned* through it, but I made a conscious choice after the first few chapters to read it slowly, in small portions, in order to savor it. Then this week I stopped reading it altogether so I could save the rest of it for my trip to the beach this weekend. This is a lush, sharp, funny, insanely evocative story about a young woman's time working at a prestigious New York City restaurant and it's so much better than I would have imagined from that description. 

2. Grain Salads - It's getting to be pretty hot in my third-floor attic apartment so I rarely want to cook by the time I get home at the end of the day, so I've taken to making a giant batch of grain salad at the beginning of the week and then just eating that all week. This week was farro with snow peas, radish, cucumber, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, scallion, microgreens, feta, olive oil, and lemon juice, but you can throw pretty much anything in there. 

3. This Anti-Perspirant Trick - Thanks, Amy Schumer. 

4. case/lang/veirs - This new album from the indie-folk supergroup made up of Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs has been on repeat for me all week. I have new favorites every time I listen, but I think my enduring favorite is the opening track, "Atomic Number," which was also the first single I heard off the album months ago. It's one of the most collaborative songs on the album, mixing in all three voices pretty equally (although it still seems very much like a Laura Veirs song to me, with all that evocative and quasi-mystical natural imagery and those string parts). The lyrics are very simple but very enigmatic and I'm still thinking about them. I may have more to write about this song/album in the future. 

5. Vacations and Vacation Planning - Over the past week, I unexpectedly managed to convince my mom and my sister to go on a very ambitious vacation with me this fall, so I've been spending a LOT of time making grand plans for that this week. I am a total sucker for excessive planning and research. When it actually comes to being in a place and taking it all in, I do like to wander and be spontaneous, but I only feel comfortable doing that if I've completely over-prepared in the run-up to the event. The two things are very connected. Anyway, look for more details about that coming later. In the meantime, I'm headed down to the Cape this weekend for the first part of my annual pilgrimage, so I'm psyched for a few days of beach!

What's been making you happy lately? Share the joy, friends! And have a lovely weekend!