A little while ago, I'd devoted into the act of writing good, meaningful pieces. But among critical long form articles and personal essays as candidate for a future memoir, I also miss the act of blogging just for the fun of it. Part of constructing this blog as a memorabilia of who I am also includes sharing with everyone (or no one in particular) about what I love.

There's something almost intimate about it  – when you want to really know someone, ask them what they love. Whether or not we realise it, the things we read, watch, or listen to, all become fragments that form us as a whole. For someone else, catching a glimpse of that is giving them the chance, momentarily, to look right through you. Right past your status, or your attributes – e.g. your occupation, skills, and studies.

Three hobbies of mine happen to be reading, watching, and listening. I like to think that it's essential to feed yourself with multi-sensory stimuli on a daily basis – but maybe that's just me. So written below is my "Loved Lately" list, comprised of titles I've been loving in these three areas.

To read: Michelle Obama's Becoming
There have been plenty of hype surrounding this book. It can be quite plentiful, but turns out, it's well-deserved. The minute Mrs. Obama announced that she was releasing a book, I was immensely excited. There are many reasons I love her – she's educated, she's a woman of colour, and not to mention her character. She carried the role of First Lady with such grace, eloquence, and poise, that honestly, she left very big shoes I don't know if the White House could ever again fill.

Her memoir, Becoming, carries her character and eloquence perfectly, and reasons I love it extend beyond my fondness for the Obamas. With such elegant diction and, mind you, impeccable writing, it's a book which pages you can easily glide through. I don't know if she wrote this herself or if there were a team of writers and editors forming this with her, but if there weren't, I wouldn't even be surprised. Last March, my mom started reading it too, so it's been established that she and I are currently reading the same book. I pick it up every night before I go to bed and each time, it continues to inspire me. It tells her story beautifully, heartwarmingly, and I'd gift the book to every woman if I could.

To watch: One Day at a Time
Coming from a big family, I've always kind of been a sucker for family-themed sitcoms. Previously, I've enjoyed a few episodes of Gilmore Girls because I found the mother-daughter dynamic relatable, and my last long-running obsession was Modern Family, before coming to a halt once I reached season 8. When I saw from a friend's feed about Netflix's remake of One Day at a Time, I thought hey, I trust her taste, so I decided to give it a try. And once again, my trust proves correct. (You have amazing taste, Chiara.)

One Day at a Time was a sitcom originally aired in the late 70s. A few years ago, Netflix decided to do a remake with some new, unfamiliar faces in the cast, other than Rita Moreno playing a fabulous abuelita. The comedy-drama is about the life of a Cuban-American family; Penelope Alvarez, a single mother, nurse, and Army veteran, and her two kids. Elena, the daughter, is a high-achieving student with brown hair, glasses, and defines herself as a proud social justice warrior. She reminds me of Modern Family's Alex Dunphy. It's safe to say I like shows where I find characters that resemble me in many ways. Elena's brother, Alex, is a boy stepping into life as a teenager. They all live with their abuelita, or grandmother, and navigates through life in one endearing episode after another.

Endearing is a word I'd use to describe a lot of aspects on this show. How old-fashioned it feels, for a Netflix series, but also how each episode successfully tackles pressing issues in society. Elena discovers her identity, Penelope is a Latina woman in the workforce, and Alex faces a modern world as a teenager with a Cuban heritage. But the show raises these conversations without becoming the least bit depressing. On the contrary, you leave at the end of every episode feeling like you just got a very warm hug. It's humorous, charming, and touches upon such important matters, while also delving deep into emotions, family bonds, and what makes us all human.

To listen: The Moth
On days where I find myself paralysed in bed with no energy to pick up a book or stare at a screen, I turn on podcasts to keep myself company. One I've been so delighted about discovering lately is called The Moth. Similar to WBUR's Kind World or Endless Thread, The Moth features various stories from people of various backgrounds. I was surprised to find that the stories have no running theme, but that's also what makes it wonderful – the stories have no running theme. They range from 2 to 8 minutes long, with topics ranging from falling in love, a funny short story, death of a pet, to even divorce.

An impressive thing about The Moth, other than the fact that the stories are all true, is that each episode is spoken and performed live in front of an audience. So these people – these amazing, brave, and gifted storytellers – are speaking of their stories out loud on stage, and that is a large part of the magic of this podcast. You hear the performer's voice faintly echoing off the ceilings. You hear the audience's pure reactions. You hear the performers' accents, or slight stutters, or nervous laughs, or hesitations. An unexpected pleasure – hearing stories being told by an ordinary person – but the podcast turns it into an immersive, enlightening experience.

I'm in love with the art of storytelling, and have been for as long as I can remember. This makes me love the many different forms of it too – books, films, theatre, spoken word poetry, and in this case, it is none of those things. The Moth is so special in that there is no addition to it. No music, no theatrics, just a performance stripped down to the very core: a story being told. They are not dancing, or singing, just speaking, in the way you'd share a story with a friend. That's the beauty of stories, I guess. Many find their own ways to be enchanting, in whatever form.


I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week. 
If you need me, I'll be online, sharing with you a new passion project, 
or in my bedroom, laughing at old sitcom jokes while sipping a cup of tea.

Stay warm!