Favorite Fiction & Non-Fiction of 2020 + a new way of reading I’ve discovered I enjoy

Here are some of my favorite reads of 2020!
Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. This year I was lucky enough to have the time to read 35 books/audiobooks. Note: I use the term “reading” and “books” in this post to also include “listening” and “audiobooks.” This year, I used Scribd,* the Libby App & Seattle Public Library, bought a few, and got gifted some as presents and via my local Buy Nothing group.

Details on all the books can be found on my Goodreads page.

My 2020 Top 5 Favorite Fiction Books:

(Honorable Mentions go to The Hate U Give, The Nickel Boys, and Kindred.)

My 2020 Top 5 Favorite Non-Fiction Books:

(Breath, Burnout and Upward Spiral are all books I draw from in my upcoming “Worry Less & Manage Stress” Program. Honorable mentions go to The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel K. van der Kolk and Between the World and Me By Ta-Nehisi Coates)

Find these books and everything I have read on my goodreads page at goodreads.com/keridwyn.

Continue reading

Santagories! Free Holiday-themed Scattergories-inspired game to play via Zoom this year

Happy Holidays! Scattergories via Zoom has been a fun way to connect with family and friends during the Pandemic. In prep for a Christmas when my fam will be celebrating in our own homes on December 24th & 25th I made this “Santagories” holiday version of the beloved game. I hope you enjoy it – simply share the screen on a zoom call with your family, chosen family, or friends.

ROUND 2:

Update 12/21: The third round!

RULES AND INSTRUCTIONS

Share your screen on zoom, everyone uses their own paper and pencil.

The official rules of Scattergories can be found here.

While they suggest a 3 minute timer, my family has found 4 minutes to be more comfortable and relaxed.

If you don’t have a Scattergories letter dice, you can use the random letter generator on Swellfargo (this is the site we use for most Scattergories games we play, thank you Swellfargo for creating so many lists!)

Enjoy playing those reindeer games, everyone! Sending you love, Keridwyn

P.S. I originally published this post two two rounds, asking for YOUR ideas for the third! Thanks to Amy, Brandon, and Suzie and her gaming buddies for your suggestions to help me fill out the last 12 prompts and for helping spread holiday cheer!

I may not be the most famous reindeer of all, but I do love those reindeer games.

Learn more about me via my links at linktr.ee/keridwyn

Gift idea: Virtual Escape Room will have them laughing and connecting

So you’re looking to support a small, local PNW entertainment business and also gift someone the gift of a unique, funny experience? Let me introduce you to Mad Genius! They are based in Portland, Oregon and create vibrant online virtual escape room experiences!


Their current escape room “The Truth about Edith” is “an hour-long, cooperative, timed adventure sprinkled with interactive theater and a good dose of humor! This game is an eccentric mix of a video game, an escape room, and a great who-done-it story.” The team at Mad Genius call their experience “unique, hilarious, and charming, nothing like you’ve seen before.” 
The game plays 4 people (they can all be in the same house or each on their own screen). Gift certificates are available now.

You may know that my husband, Brandon, is an avid escape room participant and puzzler. He’s attended over 50 in-person and online escape rooms and he has a great eye and understanding for what makes a great escape room or puzzle room experience. “The Truth about Edith” is one of his Top 5 Online Escape Room Experiences and is his top pick for family-friendly escape room experiences.

Brandon writes describes this escape room as “a fun, funny, family-friendly, feline-forward experience with a variety of puzzle types.”

Two of Brandons escape room team members are also friends of mine, so I asked them for their reviews.

Amy writes “I loved how each of the four players had a distinct role in solving certain puzzles – it promotes individual participation as well as teamwork, which is not always an easy combination to achieve.”

Paul writes “Very fun! For 60 minutes I forgot about 2020.”

That’s some pretty great reviews, friends.

Gift certificates available now. Buy this experience for a loved one…or yourself!

Weekly Roundup: approachable neuroscience, chickpea smash, scattergories, good shows, and more (9/12/2020)

Hey there, it’s been a bit. Turns out some hobbies are harder during this stage of pandemic. You finding that too? Oof.

Let’s jump in. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

My friend and colleague Lori Hammond recently introduced me to Stanford professor and neuroscientist Andrew Huberman. I’m now going down a youtube rabbit hole, finding videos from podcasts he’s appeared on this summer. He makes neuroscience approachable and is right up my alley, in connection to my work as a Hypnotherapist. He posts on Instagram at instagram.com/hubermanlab (you can view IG posts online even if you don’t sign up for instagram). For more from him, search his name on your podcast app and of course youtube.

Andrew Huberman, (approachable and charismatic Neuroscientist and Standford Professor)

I would love Andrew to be a guest on Brene Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us (my favorite podcast right now).

Unlocking Us is recently back with more episodes, as is another podcast favorite, the funny and interesting pod By the Book with hosts Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer. Funny enough, pre-pandemic they planned this season to have many home-self-help books. AND they just released an episode on one of my favorite books, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (follow her on FB and IG). Everyone in the United States should read this book.

Ijeoma Oluo, bestselling author and rad thought leader

I’m in the middle of reading Kindred (a book written in the 1970s about a black woman who travels back in time to the 1800s during slavery in the United States). It’s good, powerful, interesting writing. You can listen to the audiobook on Scribd, which is like netflix for audiobooks/ebooks/sheet music – use my link HERE to get 2 months free. You can cancel before your trial is up if you don’t love it and you won’t be charged but I personally LOVE this app and use it a bunch. When you get 2 months free, I get a month free, and that makes me really giddy, so thanks!

I’ve also enjoyed the YA books/audiobooks from Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give and On the Come Up. Highly recommended. Check out links to all the books I’ve read this year so far, here. I love Goodreads and following friends on there is a great way to find new-to-you books to love. My most recent online bookclubs were for the books The Power and Circe and I recommend both of those books (though if your nervous system is on overload right now, you may want to skip The Power for now.)

Another thing that’s brought me joy lately, that I think you might like knowing about is: chickpea toast. Out of avocados? Open a can of garbanzo beans, rinse them, add a splash of water, some mayo and mustard, za’atar spice and a dash of salt. You can mix up some chopped bell pepper or add tomato or arugula on top, and put it on toast. Done! My favorite snack.

Some movies I’ve enjoyed lately include:

Eurovision (super goofy, I’m not always a fan of comedies like this but I imagined my dear friend with an infectious laugh next to me and thoroughly enjoyed it)

Moana (rewatch – one of Disney’s best movies ever)

The King of Staten Island (not sure if I would have watched this if I hadn’t heard Judd Apatow’s interview on Unlocking Us, glad I did. It’s heavy but carthartic and also has good laughs)

The King of Staten Island

Hamilton (of course)

Shows I’ve enjoyed lately:

(besides Youtube podcast videos featuring Andrew Huberman)

Love on the Spectrum (I’d love to hear what you thought of this if you are on the autism spectrum or are close with someone who is)

Padma Lakshmi Taste the Nation

There are a few shows I recommend if you are ok with humor that goes way past the line (not for the easily offended or younger watchers). If that interests you, message me on FB or my contact form and I’ll fill you in. 🙂

To find where a show or movie is streaming, visit the terrific website or app, Just Watch. Cool cool cool. Thanks to the folks who created this, you make my life easier.

Oh, and a great website in case you’re curious if a show or movie is appropriate for a younger watcher or a squeamish or easily offended watcher: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/

Games:

I’ve enjoyed revisiting Scattergories recently. Great for the whole family or a group of friends and works well via zoom (Send a text of the list you’re using to everyone before you start the timer. If you don’t have a letter dice you can use a site like random.org with the numbers 1 to 26. Or just pick a letter. FYI, the original game’s dice doesn’t include the letters Q, U, V, X, Y, and Z.

So, friend, reader, what have you been reading, watching, playing, listening to, making (simple recipes only, please), supporting?

Sending you love and wishing you moments of ease.

Love, Keridwyn

Me, enjoying a sunscreen-and-shade sunny Seattle day…before the smoke

Seattle Pockets is back! Weekly round-up: Netflix Parties, Sarahs, Scribd, and a Seattleite I’m inspired by

Half-way through July! I’m finding ways to keep myself active, learning, and content during this stage of the pandemic. I had a bit of a pause on the blog but I’m back now!

Today, I share some ways I’ve been spending my down time, in case you want to join me:


Yoga: you gotta start somewhere

After decades of declaring I wanted to “get into yoga,” the time is finally here. Thanks to the “Yoga & Movement Encouragement Group” I started on Facebook, I can finally say I have a personal yoga practice. I’ve been enjoying Sarah Beth Yoga on Youtube (she’s got a nice list of Beginner yoga videos that are just 10-15 minutes, which is right for me at this time). 

I did 21 days in a row then thought I would go to 2-3 days a week and increase the time I spent on my mat on those days. Well, unfortunately that plan didn’t work out: I ended up doing ZERO yoga for nine days in a row. So, now I am back to the mat with a “daily yoga routine.” Even in just nine days without yoga after 21 days with yoga, I noticed my body was a bit more achy and tight, so I’m excited to be back to the mat. This time around, I’m using the mindset of “I do yoga every day” rather than counting days.

Arm Workout: 5 minutes a day

My pal Samantha Lamb, who is part of my movement encouragement group, shared the daily arm workout program she liked . . . now I’m hooked! I’m already noticing a difference. While I’m not a fan of the title of the course (and guessing the site named it, not the teacher, as Sarah Rector has zero body-shaming in her program), the DailyOm 14 day arm challenge offers arm workouts using small weights at just 5 minutes a day. I did the 14 days and the restarted the program and plan on continuing this for the days to come. Being just 5 minutes a day makes it easy to do it and get through it.

What I’ve been watching

Thank you to the creators of Netflix Party! I’ve enjoyed watching shows with friends while staying home and staying safe during the pandemic (connecting via the chat feature while we watch the show together). Some of the shows I’ve enjoyed watching via NP include

  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat – travel to Italy, Japan, Mexico, and California with the charming and approachable chef and author Samin Nosrat.
  • Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker “The inspiring story of trailblazing African American entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker who built a haircare empire that made her America’s first female self-made millionaire.” – IMDB
  • Hollywood Not for the faint of heart. A wild ride with delightful casting.
  • Dead To Me (Season 2) Dark, twisty, funny.
  • When They See Us Intense and based on a true story. This mini-series was recommended to me by multiple antiracist mvoies/shows to watch lists.

Other shows I’m watching or recently have watched that I recommend include:

  • Dear White People (the series) “At a predominantly white Ivy League college, a group of black students navigate various forms of racial and other types of discrimination.” – IMBD
  • Hannah Gadsby: Douglas (if you haven’t seen Hannah Gadsby: Nanette yet, watch that first). One of the best solo performers of our time, maybe ever.
  • The Morning Show. Great casting. An inside look at a morning tv show, centering around #MeToo plot lines.
  • Upload Goofy sci-fi with a fun concept. “A man is able to choose his own afterlife after his untimely death by having his consciousness uploaded into a virtual world.” -IMBD
  • Palm Springs It’s not often I laugh out loud at movies and shows but this comedy is so good!
Um, who has a pool I can socially distance hang in soon? I’ll bring my own floaties!

Curling up with some good books

I discovered Scribd this year (basically the “netflix” of books/audiobooks/magazines/sheetmusic). I’m hooked! They normally just give 2 weeks for free but if you sign up with my link you get TWO MONTHS free (and if you’re on a budget you can cancel before your two months runs out and you won’t be charged). I love being able to read and listen to my hearts content, rather than subscription plans that allow just one audiobook a month or charge you if you want more. Sign up with my link here: https://www.scribd.com/g/8gjtsr (You get two months free of Scribd and I get one month free!)

I just finished The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (WOW so good!) on Scribd and am now enjoying Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. My mom (Seattle Pockets blogger Jeanne Deller) and dad recently listened to The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia and The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (narrated by national treasure Tom Hanks). They recommend both of these books.

Seattleite I’m inspired by

Journalist Omari Salisbury has been doing an incredible job covering the protests in Seattle, including the experiences at CHOP. His livestreams and replays are an excellent source of news of what is truly happening in Seattle. Check out his links, here.

I’ll be back to blog again soon. Sending love to you, reader! Drop me a line or send me a message if you have suggestions of (safe) entertainment in the coming weeks and months. More about me: linktr.ee/keridwyn – Keridwyn

“What should I watch next?” Keridwyn’s TV show recommendations

Looking for a new-to-you show or movie to stream?

Here’s a list of shows I have enjoyed.  I update this occasionally.

Updated 10/28/2020

To find out where each show or movie is streaming and to read a synopsis, search the title on justwatch.com – a very handy website.

If you are easily offended, please read up before watching shows, as not all of these are appropriate for kids or easily-offended adults.  I use commonsensemedia.com  to see if a show is going to be too violent/gory for me. This is a good source for folks who want to keep it PG/PG13.
HERE WE GO…TV SHOWS AND MOVIES I RECOMMEND
I LOVED:
Hannah Gadsby – Nanette (stand up show / one person show but deals with heavy subjects also funny and incredible) and Douglas. (Watch Nanette first)
The Good Place (Give it a few episodes)
Neal Brennan – 3 mics  (stand up show/one person show but deals with depression. Excellent)
Fleabag (not for the easily offended)
Orphan Black (especially the first season)
Funny:
Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (people break into song and dance – so fun.)
Upload (a cute guy gets uploaded to the afterlife)
The Kominski Method
Mike Birbiglia – The New One (stand up – his other stand up is good too)
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Grace & Frankie
I’m Sorry (not for the easily offended – I love her)
The comedy central yotube channel is also great and they offer some full standup specials at cc.com
Dry bar standup on YouTube
Onward (Pixar – on Disney+)
Muppet Moments (very short clips – on disney+ and youtube)
Middleditch and Schwartz (really unique improv show with 2 dudes)
Dead to Me
Community
Garfunkle and Oates (youtube videos)
Flo and Joan (similar to Flight of the Concords comedy music but their own unique style and songs)
Eurovision (movie – super goofy. I’m not usually a fan of this type of comedy but this one got me)
Sweet:
Kindness Diaries
Great British Bake Off
Making It (crafting competition show)
Glee
Queer Eye
Zoey’s Infinite Playlist (dance numbers – yay!)
Some Good News (youtube) – was more relevant in early pandemic days
Tidying Up with Marie Kondo
Love on the Spectrum
Padma Lakshmi Taste the Nation (Tour the United States with Padma as she experiences food culture of different immigrant groups)
Salt Fat Acid Heat (the host is so delightful – I wish there were more than 4 episodes but every one is a delicious treat.)
Sing On (singing competition without annoying judges – they are based on accuracy of hitting notes like the original singer)
Historical/Historical Fiction:
The Crown
Downton Abbey
Self Made
Hollywood (not super accurate, but a fun watch)
Drama:
This is Us
Law and Order SVU
Black Mirror (not for the easily offended)
Broadchurch
Criminal U.K. – each episode exists on their own
When They See Us (based on The Exonerated Five – formerly known as the Central Park Five)
Grey’s Anatomy
Mindhunter (FBI in the 1970s studying serial killers)
The Handmaid’s Tale
Unbelievable (trigger warning, detectives trying to find a serial rapist. Really well done show though, I was glad I watched it)
Dramedy
This Way Up
Russian Doll
Orange is the New Black
Jenny Slate : Stage Fright
Hollywood
Casual
Catastrophe
Master of None
Living with Yourself
Action / Suspense/Intense – I usually can’t do violence and gore but the quality of these shows made it worth it for me:
The Boys (gory but I love the characters and plot)
Sherlock
Killing Eve (not for the easily offended)
Hunters (Takes place in 1977 of people hunting Nazis living in disguise in America)
Watchmen
Orphan Black
Movies:
(movies I’ve seen from March 2020 on that I recommend)
The King of Staten Island
Palm Springs (I laughed a bunch)
Moana (pretty sure this is my favorite Disney movie)
The Lovebirds (movie – funny/goofy/cute movie with silly action movie plot line)
Hamilton
Eurovision (super goofy but made me laugh)
Bill & Ted Face the Music (does justice to the first movie vibe – light and goofy if you liked the first one)
Have been out for a while but I enjoyed when I watched them:
Rome
Parenthood
Six Feet Under
The Sopranos
Deadwood
West World (season 1 and 3)
United States of Tara (Toni Collette as a mom with DID/multiple personalities and Brie Larson plays her daughter)
Mad Men
The One I Love (movie – a sort of a Black Mirror-lite story)
BONUS! Podcasts I like:
Unlocking Us (Brene Brown)
Sawbones
By the Book
The Hilarious World of Depression
Good Job Brain (they don’t release new episodes but their old ones are fun – trivia show)
NPR Life Kit
Based on what you see here, let me know if there are shows you recommend I check out!
*personal taste subject to change as time goes on
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Photo by Wang John, used with permission

Virtual entertainment for you this week

“In solidarity, we distance,” my friend Angelica Kushi shared in her Facebook Live video today. While we’re physically distancing, this is an opportunity for us to socially connect  – online.  We’re staying in (unless we are one of the heroes working a front line job to keep the community alive). We’re keeping ourselves 6 feet or more away from others in the necessary times we do go out. We’re discovering new ways to experience life from indoors. We are voicing and naming our feelings, mitigating our stress and anxiety, and finding the “bright spots” where we can.

It is imperative for our wellbeing, for our own self-care and for our ability to show up for others, that we do things to relax and recharge when we can. Reach out to others and offer support. Be a helper. And prioritize your own self-care too. Take time to breathe deep throughout the day. And find ways to play, explore, and experience delight. Your brain needs you to keep these healthy, play-seeking, gratitude-seeking neuropathways going now more than ever.

I wanted to share a few free virtual events and experiences with you today:

Ebooks and Audiobooks from the Library

Got a library card? Download the Libby app and sign up with your card – you’ll be able to check out ebooks and audiobooks for free. If you need help with the technology, reach out to a friend to walk you through it over the phone (or message me if you don’t have someone to turn to and I’ll pair you with a helper).

See what the Sea Otters are up to

The Seattle Aquarium offers webcams of the Sea Otters and Harbor Seals!

CJ Casson Sea otter at Seattle Aquarium

We Heart “The Stranger” 

The Stranger has collected an awesome list of virtual events for us – check out their full list. This page shares virtual events for tonight/Friday/Saturday/Sunday and ongoing dates. You’ll want to subscribe to get future updates from them.

Free Hypnosis Session

Join me Sunday as I host a free hypnosis session online “Mindful Hands: keep your hands comfortably away from your face.” If you can’t make it Sunday, you’ll be able to watch the replay. Join my free Reframe Your Brain Facebook group here for details. (If you aren’t on FB and want access to this recording, drop me a message at keridwyn.com/contact)

Dance it out 

Dance Church is offering their next fab-energy dance workout event on March 22 at 10am. Free (donations welcome). Live stream will be here. Learn more about Dance Church here. (I’m going to be in an online class at that time but hope to make the next one – not sure what the dates are yet.) If you attend, I want to hear about it!

Reach out to others

Reach out to friends and even acquaintances that may need more connection. Think about which friends who are “distancing in solidarity” and living solo (or with a roommate situation that is tricky for them). Consider what folks of older ages you know and see how they’re doing (maybe ask if they need any support with learning how to video chat or other tech needs you can walk them through on the phone).  Seeing each other’s faces gives us more feelings of connection than just texts or even phone calls. This is the time to connect, as we distance in solidarity.

Angelica Kushi’s Online Yoga Class

My lovely friend Angelica (who I quoted at the top of this post) is hosting a yoga class ($9 suggested or pay what you can) on 3/20 and 3/23 at 9am Pacific Time on Zoom. She’s also offering great rates if you prefer a one-on-one session with her. Details here.

Staying In: share your favorite books, shows, podcasts, games, and more

By Keridwyn Deller

As we protect ourselves and our community,  the next few Seattle Pockets blog posts will focus on a “Staying In” theme.

Got a favorite show, movie, book, game, podcast, craft project, local artist, a local restaurant or shop that offers delivery, fun idea for connecting with friends virtually, or other “Staying In” experience you want to be featured on Seattle Pockets?

Share your ideas or short reviews with me by either:

I’m also looking for a few guest bloggers – if you want to write short review (a paragraph or a few sentences), let me know. I’m going to be creating a few round-ups with suggestions from fellow Seattleites. I’ve got a lot of ideas for this and would love you to share yours as well!

I look forward to hearing from you!

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Two giveaways, help the koalas, network for free, and the musings of a Seattle bus driver (Weekly Pocket Roundup)

By Keridwyn Deller

Welcome to another Weekly Pocket Roundup,  a potpourri of events, experiences, giveaways, things to do while staying in, and other quality content.

YES, it’s time for another movie ticket giveaway! Keep reading to discover how you can easily enter to win two tickets to see a movie at Pacific Place this February.

Speaking of giveaways – how about a Burlesque giveaway?!

Some of the very best comedic burlesque performers are coming to The Triple Door this February (13-16, to be exact) for J’ADORE! A Burlesque Valentine! Re-imagined every year, this is a delightful way to your valentine’s day weekend. I’ve taken dates and friends to this show over the years…get your pals together and go! They are hosting a giveaway right now (you can enter on their Facebook post and Instagram post). P.S. Cherdonna is in the show!

Auction items for Australia:

An awesome woman named Jill Gallagher is hosting auctions on Facebook to raise money for Australian organizations Red Cross and Wires to help with the devastation from the fires. Thanks to my pal Rachel Miller for sharing this group with me. You can check it out and bid on what you want here.  P.S. I love online auctions for good causes!

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Shows I’ve been enjoying lately:

I hear “The Good Place” has it’s series finale episode happening soon. If you haven’t checked this comedy out yet, start with season 1 episode 1 and give it a couple episodes. It’s delightful and clever. I also enjoyed the weirdness that is “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch.” Not all of the numbers were my cup of tea but those that were are worthy of a rewatch. Thanks for being weird, John. P.S. JustWatch is a site/app that makes it easy to discover where the shows and movies you want to see are currently streaming.

A blog from a Seattle bus driver:

Shout out to Seattle bus driver Eric who not only gets us around town safely but also shares his stories on his blog Transit Transient and Other Stories. Check out his blog and enjoy a unique perspective of the city and the people on the bus.  Thanks for submitting my blog via my contact form, Eric and for the care you give our community through your work. P.S. I’m so grateful for my Metro bus route that gets me from home to my office!

Free networking event:

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is hosting a free event on February 18, 2020: Level Up Your Networking Game. Details here. In their own words: “Join us at the next Elevate NW Series for a “Networkshop”, led by Alan Alabastro, photographer and networking expert. He’ll go over the basic dos and don’ts in making new business connections and offer advice on how to follow up afterward. Plus, you’ll have a chance to try out these tips in real-time, as you hone your skills with other attendees.” P.S. I’ll be at a Hypnotherapy conference in Vegas – but you should go!

Ready to enter to win two movie tickets to see The Photograph at Pacific Place in downtown Seattle?

I’m giving away three pairs of tickets to see The Photograph at AMC Pacific Place at 7pm on February 12, 2020.  Enter via the form here (plus you can get bonus entries on my Facebook post). Three winners will win a pair of tickets each!

About the film:

When famed photographer Christina Eames unexpectedly dies, she leaves her estranged daughter Mae Morton (Issa Rae) hurt, angry and full of questions. When a photograph tucked away in a safe-deposit box is found, Mae finds herself on a journey delving into her mother’s early life and ignites a powerful, unexpected romance with a rising-star journalist, Michael Block (LaKeith Stanfield).

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmicB3J1emw

P.S. The seats at AMC Pacific Place are adjustable and so comfortable!

Photograph_contest_

Got something for me to consider for a future Seattle Pockets post or round up? Contact me here. I’d love to hear from you in the comments or via my contact form about what you’d like me to cover in the future or giveaway, whether it’s your own business, event, or product, or simply something you’re a fan of.