What’s Making Me Happy: June and July 2018

Ah, summertime in Massachusetts. Some days it’s hot, humid, and a bit thunderstormy. Other days it’s milder and absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately it’s also been dry, and the lawns are starting to turn that worrisome “drought” shade of light brown. Hopefully we’ll get some soaking rains soon.

Other than that, I really can’t complain about June and July. That’s not to say that life was perfect (I’m recovering from another bout of writer’s doubt… but that’s a story for another day). But there was a lot to be happy, excited, or grateful over the past two months – enough that I had some trouble narrowing it down to three highlights per month! So let’s kick things off with…

What Made Me Happy in June

The Lobster Roll Sunset Cruise

As part of a combined Father’s Day and birthday celebration for my dad, my family and I went on a Lobster Roll Sunset Cruise during one of my June visits to Cape Cod. This dinner-and-party boat sails out of Sesuit Harbor and into Cape Cod Bay so patrons can enjoy the picturesque views of the coastline and the summer sunset as well as food prepared in the boat’s state-of-the-art galley kitchen. (Hence its name, since lobster rolls are on the menu!) Most of that day had actually been overcast, so we were worried we wouldn’t see the sun during the cruise. But as you can see in the photo above, the sky cleared off just in time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The Sandwich Glass Museum

There’s always plenty to do on Cape Cod, regardless of the weather. So when rain forced me and my parents to postpone a day trip to Chatham, we went to the Sandwich Glass Museum instead. This museum features multiple exhibits and a short documentary that pay tribute to the town of Sandwich’s role in the U.S. glass industry during the 1800s, as well as thousands – yes, THOUSANDS – of lamps, decorations, jewelry, and other items from the Sandwich Glass Company’s history and from contemporary artists. And the highlight of our trip? A live glassblowing demonstration! We watched as a local glassblower used the museum’s brick furnace and several tools to twist, turn, and manipulate molten glass into a decorative conch shell. It was a fascinating – even magical – process to witness first-hand.

Ludovico Einaudi’s Divenire

I fell in love with Ludovico Einaudi’s music last fall thanks to the MusicChoice Soundscapes TV channel. And after hemming and hawing for months about which of his albums to get first, I finally decided on his 2006 album Divenire. And, well,… ❤

For anyone who’s not familiar with Einaudi, he’s an Italian pianist and composer who began his career with traditional chamber and orchestral compositions before transitioning to film soundtracks and solo albums. Divenire is one of his solo works. Some songs are just Einaudi on his piano; others bring in an orchestra and/or subtle synthesizers and percussion. So it’s not an over-the-top classical album, but rather one that artfully balances symphonics and minimalism. Not to mention every song on Divenire is gorgeous. The title track, “Oltremare,” “Ritornare,” “Andare,”… but “Primavera” (see the YouTube clip above) is far and away my favorite.

What Made Me Happy in July

Fightmaster Yoga’s YouTube Channel

Unfortunately the studio where my yoga instructor was teaching closed in June. So while she looks for a new place for her evening classes, I’ve continued my yoga practice with Fightmaster Yoga on YouTube. Led by certified yoga instructor Leslie Fightmaster, these free “classes” range from total-body workouts to concentrations on specific muscle groups and/or types of yoga. So if you want to try yoga or have struggled with maintaining a consistent practice, start with any of Fightmaster’s 30-Day Challenges, with classes ranging from 15 to 30 minutes. And if you’re more experienced or want a longer class, Fightmaster has plenty of intermediate or 45- to 60-minute videos.

Why do I follow Fightmaster Yoga out of the countless yoga teachers who are on YouTube? Well, Leslie’s classes are a lot like my “real-life” teacher’s. She covers both the spiritual and physical aspects of yoga and narrates in an encouraging and gently enthusiastic manner. And since she’s online, she doesn’t turn on the heat! (FYI: I can’t stand hot yoga.) It’s difficult to switch yoga teachers once you find your ideal instruction style. So I appreciate what Leslie is doing and am grateful to have her channel as a back-up during my teacher’s “hiatus.”

Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp

After the punch in the gut that was Avengers: Infinity War, there was no way I was going to miss the next couple Marvel films leading up to next year’s fourth Avengers movie. So I knew what my plans would be for Ant-Man and the Wasp’s opening weekend. The only hiccup? I hadn’t actually watched Ant-Man yet. (*gasps*) Thank goodness that OnDemand exists. So I watched both Ant-Man films within a couple days of each other. Yay!

If I had to choose, Ant-Man and the Wasp is my favorite of the two. The first Ant-Man film is good, especially with the heist plot and the hysterical back-and-forth shrinking and enlarging. (Seriously, we need more giant ants and Thomas the Train Engines!) But AMatW brings everything to a higher level. It gives Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp top billing with Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man (and deservedly so). It gives us a sympathetic antagonist with Ghost (she and Black Panther’s Killmonger are now among my favorite MCU “villains”). Best of all, it’s even funnier than the first film. (Giant Helly Kitty Pez dispensers! Driveable Matchbox-size cars! Dysfunctional Ant-Man suits! OH MY!)

Btw, does anyone else think the mid-credits scene is going to be super-important for Avengers 4? 😉

Jolie Tea Company’s White Rose Tea

Photo courtesy of Jolie Tea Company

Hands down my favorite tea that I purchased from the Jolie Tea Company during my trip to Salem, MA in May. This fragrant yet delicate blend contains white tea leaves, rose petals, and chrysanthemum blossoms for an elegant, delightful cup. And if you give it a quick sniff, it really does smell like roses (not too strongly, though). It’s my top choice right now if I’m home in the afternoons and evenings (white tea is low in caffeine) or if I want something light and refreshing to offset the hot, humid weather.

What has made you happy recently? Have you gone anywhere interesting or exciting lately? Seen any good movies? Listened to new music that you’d recommend? Also, if you’re a Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, who would you say is your favorite villain(s) / antagonist(s) in the franchise?

25 thoughts on “What’s Making Me Happy: June and July 2018

  1. This feels like quite a calm and relaxing list of things. 🙂 That piano music sounds lovely – the video didn’t play for me unfortunately, but I’ll hunt it out on YouTube. 🙂 Honestly the thing that’s made me happiest this month is the few cool days after the heatwave broke. The storms last Friday night were wonderful. (And that’s not something I would usually say!) I also went to London for the first time and oh my was it amazing. I went into the British Library and found some wonderful book stores..I am already looking forward to going back 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • With the exception of the Ant-Man movies, XD But yes, June and July were relaxing, for the most part.

      That’s too bad that the Primavera video didn’t play for you. There are other videos on YouTube featuring that song, though, so hopefully you’ll find something that works for you. “Night” is another of my favorites by Einaudi; that song comes from his newest album “Elements.”

      That’s so great that you enjoyed your trip to London! And I know what you mean about storms and rain. It’s been unmercifully humid here the past several days. But it’s raining here now, so hopefully tomorrow will feel less muggy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve found another video of Primavera and it is beautiful. I think I’m about to have an obsession. 😀

        Unfortunately, the heat is back here. 😦 Hoping for it go away again. Hope it’s not too bad where you are.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s an obsession-worthy song, isn’t it? 😀

        Eh… not really. Our high temps today were somewhere between 90 and 95 deg F (32 to 35 deg C), and with the humidity it felt like 100 deg F (38 deg C). So it was a brutal day. :S

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this article. That glass museum is glorious… I hope the warm weather is not too steamy and humid, which can be very draining. We have coire instead of grass – but I know that a couple of rainy days will green it all up, again. In the meantime, I hope the writing gets back on track during August, Sara:))

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Sarah… you have no idea how hot and humid it’s been here this week. (*begins panting*) I’m visiting my parents this weekend on the Cape, and there’s no relief here at the coast, either. Only when you go inside where it’s air conditioned… and it’s not forecasted to let up anytime soon. :/

      Yes, the glass museum was fascinating. But the glassblowing demo was definitely my favorite part. As for the writing… I think it wasn’t writer’s doubt that I was experiencing, but something else. I’ll be sharing something about that in the near future.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes… we’re all wilting like day-old lettuce in temperatures in the 80s – and you have to remember that we are only set up for drizzle in this country…
        I recall seeing glass blowing in Murano in Venice and thought it was amazing – especially the process where they add the copper filings which is a ‘thing’ they only do there. I await to hear about your writing experiences in due course, Sara. In the meantime, have a lovely weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It sounds like you’ve had a wonderful last two months! Glassblowing and cruise?! So cool! And this yoga channel looks awesome! I’m definitely going to look into it since I want to get into yoga more. And yes so happy you saw the Ant-Man movies! I love them. ^ ^



    • Thanks, Tori. 🙂 June and July were good months, for the most part.

      Well, they call themselves the Lobster Roll Cruise, but it’s not on a cruise ship. If you visit the website, you’ll see photos of the boat. It’s not a big boat, by any means, and the ride itself was maybe 2 1/2 hours long. But I would never complain about watching the sun set while out on the water. 🙂

      Definitely check out Fightmaster Yoga if you’re looking to try some yoga. She has a number of videos that are targeted for beginners (usually with the words “for beginners” in the title). So any of those would be a good place to start.

      Yay to Ant-Man! 🙂 I don’t remember you mentioning Ant-Man and the Wasp in your last Monthly Summary post, so I wasn’t sure if you had seen it….?


  4. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: My Bookish Best Friends – Unputdownable Books

  5. This is a good list of things 🙂 I know I’m late to the comment party – but I just had to agree with you about “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” I feel like it hasn’t gotten enough praise – good characters, fun plot, and solid acting, plus strong female characters who were their own people. Loved it ❤ Also, I'm glad your June and July were good !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I even read some reviews of Ant-Man & The Wasp that said it was an “inconsequential” addition to the MCU. And my response was, “Did you NOT see that secret scene?!?!” It’s a better – and more important – movie than a lot of people realize, I think.

      Btw, I know I’ve already said this before, but it’s good to see you back in the blogosphere, Beck. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww – thanks for being happy to see me back ❤ That actually means a lot to me
        And on Ant-Man & the Wasp (*shaking head in disgust right now*) – I think one of the things people/reviews like that miss is that the Ant-Man movies do an excellent job of making you care about the characters even if you've seen every superhero movie from the past 10 years. Their "small scale" also often makes the peril seem more believable. AAAAND – there's the small fact that all of Hank Pym's tech becomes/is very important to the Avengers – so their not unimportant at all 😛 But hey – I know a lot of people might disagree, and that's fine 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s been very hot here too, though thankfully it wasn’t in the high 90s much.
    I’m glad you had an enjoyable summer and did fun things. That cruise sounds wonderful! I’d like to visit that glass museum too. I first saw glass-making when we were in Venice, and it truly is magical to watch. I’d love to see it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Five Ways In Which Writing and Yoga Are Similar | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

  8. In case you’re having a worse day (can you with – if I recall correctly – Iceland trip being so close?), I’m here to remind you of all the pleasant memories. 🙂
    (And I’ll shamelessly admit that the sunset photo got the most of my attention. 😉 )
    I’m surprised you liked Ant-Man and the Wasp more than the first one. To me the story was unbalanced, the characters not utilized, and the plots somewhat lousily woven together. It had great ideas for the special effects (and the story – Ghost was an interesting choice for a villain), but the rest seemed rushed and not so well thought over. And, in the end, Paul Rudd seemed to be just a comic relief in his own movie, and the Wasp fails to fill the MC spot (my opinion only, but compared to Black Widow or Scarlet Witch or even agent Maria Hill, the Wasp is nothing special, and more annoying than admirable).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.