May 2019 Favorites

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Favorite Things12 Comments

May was a good month.  That’s a simple, but true way to say it.  I’ve loved the cool spring weather in Minnesota.  I enjoyed being out on walks in the mornings and sitting on the porch in the evenings.  And, while it’s been stressful at times, I have been loving work.  I am working on all sorts of new things…things that make me uncomfortable in a good way because they are vulnerable and pushing me into spaces where I’ve been scared to go.  But, I’ve been working diligently, pushing and praying through any fears that rear and any anxieties that taunt me.  And it feels good.

I am launching one of my newest projects to my newsletter subscribers tomorrow (Friday, June 7), so if your curiosity is piqued, make sure you’re subscribed and you’ll hear all about it tomorrow.  You can subscribe HERE (and get the Personal Retreat Guide for Creative Entrepreneurs.)

Anyway, here are some of my favorites from May…

Nest Watch

If you follow my Instagram Stories, you know I was watching this nest of house finches on the wreath hanging on my front door.  Well, two finch babies hatched and the other three eggs (two finches and one cowbird) didn’t make it.  I’m not sure what happened to them, but they just disappeared.

I watched the babies grow up and then leave the nest.  It was such a fun process and Jeff and I had regular conversations about the babies and how they were doing.  We were glad to take it down, though, and use the front door again.  The nice thing is that house finches were friendly and relatively tidy.  I just had to wipe down the front door right where the nest was, but it was otherwise clean and they never dive-bombed us.  I would welcome them to share my porch again.

Jones Design Company on Instagram

Do you follow Emily on Instagram?  She has painted watercolors for a while but decided to commit to daily painting this year and I have just loved following her journey and growth.  If you’ve enjoyed my oil painting journey, I think you’d enjoy following her.  You can follow her HERE.


I read this book through the month of May and finally finished it while traveling home from Florida.  It is such a good book!  As someone who is a multi-passionate multi-tasker, I can be all over the place.  I’m incredibly productive at my best and scattered and overwhelmed at my worst.  While I bristled at some of this book when it made me feel like I needed to focus on one thing and one thing only, I relaxed and embraced it (most of it) when I realized that the key was focusing on one thing at a time.  Focus on the priority and what’s essential.

Panama City Beach Trip

I loved the weekend I spent with Shaunna at Panama City.  Having my toes in the sand and the surf, working on projects, and just having some girl time was good for my heart.

I’ve had a great time working on some new projects with her, too.

(I was trying to get a good screenshot of both of is during one of our Instagram live chats, but it was an exercise in futility.)

Evening Sketches

Now that the delightful weather has settled on Minnesota, I have been sitting outside on the porch in the evenings.  Sebastian lays in the grass, the boys play with the neighborhood kids, and Jeff reads a book or works on organizing the garage.  I sketch and listen to music, taking breaks to chat with neighbors and observe the dog-walkers.  I’ve been working on sketching from life and also working through a book, Beginning Drawing Atelier by Juliette Aristides (the sketches below are studies from that book).

I have thoroughly enjoyed this time, watching the sunset and staying out until the streetlights turn on.

THIS is the playlist I listen to when I’m sketching, but it’s ever in flux as I find new songs I like or drop off ones that need a break.  I call the list “standards” as it’s mostly Sinatra, Bublé, Ella, Nora Jones, and music of that flavor.


Every May, I eagerly stalk the produce section of the grocery store, waiting for cherries to make an appearance.  When I spotted them at the store a few weeks ago, I could contain myself and exclaimed, “They’re here!”  I rushed to the display.  My reaction was apparently so entertaining that two employees stocking the produce section came over, encouraged me to taste-test, and helped me pick out the best bag.  I have been plowing through cherries every since.

War & Peace

I’ve shared this series as a favorite before, but I just rewatched it in May, so I decided to share it again.  It is a beautiful period miniseries and one of my favorites.  If you haven’t seen it, yet, you should!  It’s available to watch on Amazon Prime (I think you have to subscribe to a channel) or you can buy it on iTunes.

If you need more period miniseries to watch, HERE is a list of my favorites.

I also tripped across the 1940’s era movie Their Finest on Hulu and I loved it.  I enjoyed following the creative process of propaganda/screenwriters on the British homefront, but I also loved the characters, costumes, and poignant moments.  The only bummer, and I’ll share this for my more conservative followers, is that this would’ve been a PG movie, but it ended up being rated R for a few completely unnecessary swear words and one brief bit of nudity.

That aside, the movie was wonderful.  It’s made me want a functioning antique typewriter, too…

I hope you had a wonderful May, too.  What were some of your favorite things?

PS – I also just listed some of my original oil paintings for sale.  You can bid on the landscapes HERE and the still life paintings(including the cherry blossoms) HERE.



May 2019 Favorites

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12 Comments on “May 2019 Favorites”

  1. I love your monthly favorites lists mostly because they’re so diverse. Since learning of your love of cherries many years ago, I cannot see them in a grocery store and not think of you. Ha! Growing up we had a black cherry tree in our backyard and we clambered up those sturdy boughs to claim as much fruit as we could. We also had a Queen Anne cherry tree and my grandparents would preserve the yellow-blush colored cherries in a simple syrup. On scorching days we’d settle around my grandparents’ table while Grammy served us bowls of those chilled cherries in light syrup. Mmmm… so refreshing and a much-treasured memory. Enjoy Marian!

  2. May I ask where you find inspiration for your landscapes? Do you work from your own photos or what? Just curious, they often look like Minnesota or PA. I’m very impressed with your remarkable progress in oils!

  3. Your bird photos are wonderful! I wonder why the 3 eggs are so different as if from 3 birds? Or did someone put then in the nest? When the baby birds hatch, the parents discard the egg shells..
    The small landscape oil paintings are very good, I also like big skies.

  4. Hi Marian, if you haven’t seen it, try the movie, “A Little Chaos”….
    it’s with Kate Winslet /plays an artist/Landscape Gardener, hired by the King’s Gardener ( who is the leading man / Matthias Schoenaerts) not sure of spelling) also, Alan Rickman is the King…the setting is in France, VERSAILLES, she is subjected to the King’s court, etc,) but I loved seeing at the beginning, her home/where she drew, etc, …(are just a small part, but favourites to me, being an artist may just love watching that alone) ( you can skip over the raw stuff, there’s a bit of it..but overall I love watching the backgrounds/flowers/candles costumes…so interesting a set.
    Also, “The Count of Monte Christo” with Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, and Richard Harris….realllyyyy good. love story/classic. with lots of interesting twists 🙂
    I ordered these both on Amazon. I did see “A little Chaos” first on Netflix but it’s no longer on there.

    1. p.s. Thanks for your list of period stuff/I add to my list of things to see in the future to look forward to!!..
      and your paintings and drawings, just so very beautifully done, pure natural talent!

  5. Oh my! This has been one of my favorite posts! I ended up following the link to the book “Essentialism “ and reading the entire preview which was quite long. We could call this a lesson learned too late! I would encourage you to incorporate these principles into your very busy life. I did not purchase the book because I think that, being retired, it would not be an essential thing for me to spend my time on at this late date. LoL! But I spent so many years literally doing it all. I spread myself so thin and the outcome was being very overweight. I never had time to exercise, I soothed my frustrations with food and now at 66 years old, I’m having health issues. But I have learned to live in the “now”. My new motto is “do it now”. We can never know how many tomorrows we have.

    As I read on I was surprised at your music choices. They are mine too! Both my husband and I love the “standards” and it’s good to see someone so young appreciating this music. We also enjoy watching British tv. I will be sure to look up a few of your recommendations.

    Your paintings are just lovely. So peaceful and serene. I know you have a lot of followers and admirers alike and I am one of them. I count you as one of my favorites and not just for May! Keep up your good work.

    1. Ack, I know! We were having technical problems, so I am sorry about that. There will be a blog post about it on Monday!

  6. I had the privilege of hearing Greg McKeown speak at a conference. He is pretty persuasive and a fantastic speaker! Also love the recommendations for the period dramas, they are my fave!

    First of all, thank you for sharing yours which have become some shared favorites of mine.

    Castaways (on ABC) / Farmer’s Markets / Belvoir Lemonade (at Magnolia Mkt and Aldi!) / Disney’s LIVE Aladdin / Peonies blooming / summer salads with homemade dressings / being at the Lake with family / Nespresso coffee

  8. I like your all post. You have done really good work. Thank you for the information you provide, it helped me a lot. I hope to have many more entries or so from you.

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