1. John Mayer – Maybe you only remember him as that goober from 2001 with the silly pop song or the douche from 2010 with the dumb interviews and succession of celebrity girlfriends. But honestly, have you ever heard this guy’s guitar playing? It’s fucking incredible. I had enjoyed his bluesy style pop for the past several years after being converted to a casual fan by his album Continuum. Then my wife got me tickets to see him live for my birthday. Friends, I cannot even find words to say how amazing his music is and how his astounding guitar playing was a near-spiritual musical experience for me. All I know is that I began crying when he began playing. 3 songs later I got myself under control only to randomly feel tears streaming down my face throughout the entire 3 hour, 25 song show. For weeks, he is all I’ve had playing and I implore you to at least give his live album a once through listen to experience the beauty of his bluesy pop with plenty of blues guitar solos.
2. Mad Men reruns. I watched this whole series when it came out and loved and hated and couldn’t get enough of it. A few weeks ago, I put one episode on to keep me company during dinner when my wife had a work function and promptly got slurped right back into the Mad Men world. Before I realized what was happening, I couldn’t wait to get in a few episodes every night after work and before bed. This show is just so damn good. And excuse me for being so fragile, but it’s wonderful to watch a show set in an urban setting and not entrenched in a historic world devoted to war and violence. And, my god, are the men’s clothes on this show incredible, or what?
3. Plain seltzer water. First, to be clear, I am NOT referring to hard seltzer. I’m not talking about club soda. I’m not hating on hard seltzer or club soda. But I’m talking about that most basic of bubbly water – plain, unadulterated, fizzy seltzer water. I’ve been trying to limit my alcohol intake during the week, but there is just something lovely about coming home and having something “special” to drink while cooking dinner. I’m not buying anything fancy – I’m grabbing basic grocery store brand seltzer. I’ve come to love the pop of the can, and fizz of the bubbles into my favorite glass, and the joy of drinking something just a little special every night when I get home from the office. It might be the mildest, but most enjoyable way of “treating yo’self” I’ve discovered yet this summer.
4. Crate and Barrel Hatch glasses. The wife bought me a hatch rocks glass a few years back and it was the glass I grabbed every time I poured my favorite sipping rum. One bad night a few months back, I tripped on my way to the couch, dropped the glass and watched it (and the last of my favorite rum) crash to the floor. My relaxation that night shattered along with my favorite glass. The next morning, my wife ordered me a replacement and bought a companion highball hatch glass to go with it. Now, that, folks, is love. I can feel that love every time I fill my new favorite glass with ice and pour my favorite rum to the perfect 2 (ok maybe closer to 3) finger pour.
5. Sauvignon Blanc. I am WAAAAAAYYYYYY late to the wine game. I’m 36 and I drank my first real glass of wine this month. Let me explain. I had some wine when I was … about 23 maybe. I got instant heartburn from that fine selection from the budget shelf. And I wrote off wine for nearly 15 years. Partly this was because I fell deep into the rabbithole of craft beer. I loved everything about it. And then I found out I should avoid gluten and my romance with craft beer was suddenly ripped away. I tried hard cider as a replacement and, forgive me, but there is no hard cider in the world that tastes like a strong IPA. So began my new journey with alcohol. As the saying goes, “When the alcohol goddess of the universe shuts a door, she opens a hatch to the wine cellar” . . . or something like that. In any case, I have new worlds to explore, alcoholically speaking. And I’ve just found the entrance to the rabbithole of wine. Hot summer days and very cold, crisp, and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc is a very promising pairing.