Friday Five: What I'm Reading, Watching, Listening To, and Eating

1. How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Loved, loved, loved this book. Though it's billed as "The British version of Tina Fey's Bossypants," as much as I loved Fey's book, I think this one has a bit more substance. Moran has a lot of interesting things to say about feminism, and I found myself nodding my head a lot while reading her words. I highly recommend this book.

2. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Everyone can use a little more happiness in their life, right? This book follow's author Gretchen Rubin's yearlong project to cultivate more happiness in her life. The book is divided into the months of the year, and in each month she tests out different theories/activities thought to increase happiness. It was an engaging read, and I'm definitely going to try out some of her tips. Rubin also blogs about the project, and on her website you can find out more about the nitty gritty details of her project and the necessary steps to take to start your own personal Happiness Project.

3. Bill Cunningham New York

A while back I went on a documentary-bender via Netflix, and Bill Cunningham New York was among my favorites. This documentary follows fashion photographer Cunningham as he takes his famous "On the Street" fashion shots which appear in the eponymous column in the Sunday New York Times. He also shoots photographs for the society column, biking from one gala to another. Cunningham is quite a character and rather spry for 80+ years old -- he has lived a fascinating life and doesn't appear to have any plans to slow down. Two thumbs up for this film, for sure!

4. This American Life
I love TAL. It's definitely one of my favorite podcasts, and I've been a loyal listener since my grad school days. Back when I worked in the office, one of the highlights of Monday mornings was downloading the latest episode and listening to it while starting off my week. Now I listen to it on Monday mornings while walking the dog. While in Nepal, once darkness hit at night, D and I would share my iPod headphones and listen to episodes of the show.

The topics are always engaging and often poignant, and I have teared up (and let's face it, cried) more times than I can count while listening to the show. If you're looking for something new to listen to, or need something to pass the time while roadtripping over the Thanksgiving holiday, I highly recommend downloading an episode or two. I bought the iPhone app, which includes all of the episodes from the archives, and I think it's well worth the $2.99 cost.

5. Treats from New Zealand
My good friend Dan just returned from an epic two-week vacation in New Zealand, and before he left I asked him to bring me back a chocolate bar. (I traveled to New Zealand with my friend Jen back in 2004 and have a lot of fond chocolate-eating memories.) Dan more than delivered -- and I was quite shocked to find an entire boxful of chocolate at my doorstep this week. So far D and I have broken into the three jumbo Whittaker's bars -- and they are all delicious. I think my favorite is the Coconut Block, with the Hokey Pokey bar not too far behind. I'm looking forward to making my way through the rest of the treats, though I must remind myself "Everything in moderation!" Thanks, Dan -- you definitely made my week!