BBC: ‘Goodnight Nobody’.

Heeyyyoooo! It’s Friday, and it has been a helluva week for many reasons, and you know what? I have to be at work before 9 am tomorrow, so damn. But is it weird that it doesn’t really take away the shine of today STILL being Friday? Cause I’m still pretty happy about it.

Anyway, I’m pretty amped about the latest read in Blanche’s Book Club: “Goodnight Nobody” by Jennifer Weiner. This is the third book of Weiner’s that I’ve read and it’s just as good as the other two – she’s got it!

This book was given to me as a gift, and I was waiting for the perfect time to read it. Here’s the description of the story from Amazon.com: In this “delightfully funny suburban-housewife mystery” (Newsday), New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner tells the story of young mother’s move to a postcard-perfect Connecticut town and the secrets she uncovers there.

For Kate Klein, a semi-accidental mother of three, suburbia’s been full of unpleasant surprises. Her once-loving husband is hardly ever home. The super mommies on the playground routinely snub her. Her days are spent carpooling and enduring endless games of Candy Land, and at night, most of her orgasms are of the do-it-yourself variety.

When a fellow mother is murdered, the unsolved mystery quickly becomes one of the most exciting things to ever happen in Upchurch, Connecticut. Despite the local police chief’s warning that crime-fighting is a job best left to the professionals, Kate launches an unofficial investigation—from 8:45 to 11:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, when her kids are in nursery school.

As Kate is drawn deeper into the murdered woman’s past, she discovers the secrets and lies behind Upchurch’s placid picket-fence façade—and the choices and compromises all modern women make as they navigate between independence and obligation, small towns and big cities, being a mother and having a life of one’s own.

Engrossing, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny, Goodnight Nobody is another unputdownable, timely tale; an insightful mystery with a great heart and a narrator you’ll never forget.

…That’s right, it’s a murder mystery! Only… in the form of a RomCom. It’s actually not like anything I’ve read before, and perhaps that’s why I enjoyed it so much. I will say, the murder happens within the first five pages, so there’s no real need to get “into” this book – it happens right away, which I love. I’d definitely recommend this if you’re into marshmallow fiction, and/or lighthearted mysteries.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries” by Andy Cohen.

This is one of those weekends that feels like it’s already planned for me between a work event and a video shoot for my upcoming dance performance… I may just be sleeping and attempting to binge-watch season three of “Orange is the New Black”. We’ll see – but you’re more than welcome to follow me on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 to see if I find myself up to anything interesting.

Cheers!

‘So Cosmo’: Big New Future.

Cosmopolitan's fitness contributor, Evan Betts.

Cosmopolitan’s fitness contributor, Evan Betts.

Howdy! So… I totally tuned into “So Cosmo” late because I forgot to record it, was not willing to wait until it aired again at midnight, and was clearly REALLY busy eating quinoa to even check my life. So, I missed the first 15 minutes. Apologies.

When I tuned in, Evan is now officially hired and he attends his first staff meeting with Joanna – there is still talk about her leaving, but I’m assuming she didn’t walk out that same day as she had said she would in the previous episode.

Evan invites Diondra to lunch, but she declines even though she knows it would probably be innocent. She is determined to set the boundaries on this relationship (we’ll see about that).

Evan later strikes up a meeting with Danielle, who is the editor of the fitness department. They are going over the workout he is thinking of for the issue, and Diondra sees this through the window and is getting pretty jealous. So naturally, she busts in to see what’s happening. Lord.

Later, Tiffany throws a decent fit over clear hangers. The rack must have clear hangers. Not black ones. Okay?

Meanwhile, the head Beauty Editor, Leah, is really worried about the new editor coming in. She has worked with other magazines before when this has happened, and every time, the editor has cleaned house and brought in an entirely new staff.

So, apparently Joanna did announce who the new editor would be, and the team is seeing her -Michelle – while they are out at fashion week. Awkward!

Leah finally meets with Joanna to talk about her concerns. Joanna basically tells her to just stop worrying about it, do the best she can and stop crying.

But all the while, Fashion Week goes off swimmingly, and things are all pretty good in Cosmo world. In the previews for the next episode, it’s more drama between Evan and Diondra, making me think that THIS is going to be the main storyline for the season. Ugh.

But hey, who’s watching with me next week?!

Izzy’s HHHEERRREEE!!

Isabella, "Izzy", a finalist on "Project Runwau Junior", season 2.

Isabella, “Izzy”, a finalist on “Project Runwau Junior”, season 2.

Eeeekkk! I’m so excited to share my interview with Izzy, a finalist on “Project Runway Junior”, season 2, on the blog today! As you may recall, this is my first time watching a season of “Project Runway Junior”, although I have watched “Project Runway” since season one (you can read the full story here).

The appeal for the “junior” track is 1. contestants are 16, and already talented AF, and 2. they aren’t tainted by the fashion world, or frankly, any world quite yet – they’re innocent and their designs reflect 100% originality. It’s fantastic!

Izzy, as she’s called on the show, is nothing short of that – she even blew up a Japanese trend by wearing a sprout on her head during the season premier (you can buy your own here). She’s fun, incredibly creative, and now she’s going into the season finale (part one airs tomorrow night on Lifetime). Here’s my interview with Izzy!

Are you still in school and/or living in Mount Pleasant, Michigan?

Yes, I’m a junior in high school.

When did you start designing and sewing? 

I learned how to sew when I was 10, and then I started designing when I was 12.

How did you start?

So there’s this thing in my town called Dream Key Design Academy, which is an after-school sewing place, I took after-school lessons there, and they were like ‘Oh wow, she has potential’, so they really took me under their wing and I started taking private classes there. I took classes there for four years and that’s where I learned how to sew and pretty much learned everything for designing.

It seems like the contestants on ‘Project Runway Junior’ have an innocence about them. Do you all notice that in yourselves? 

Yeah, we definitely notice it. It feels really good to be alive as a ‘Project Runway Junior’ contestant. I don’t know what to say but people always tell us that. This one time in the studio, we were filming, and whenever we film, either our mom or our dad is there, and Zac Posen was there that day, and he talked to our parents. He went up to our parents and was like, ‘I’m just so proud of your guys’ kids, they’re doing such great jobs, coming up with their own design styles, don’t let them look at fashion magazines or anything so they can really develop their own styles and change the fashion industry.’ That was really sweet to hear.

The look that sent Izzy to the finale of "Project Runway Junior". Follow Izzy on Instagram @Izzyshanghai

The look that sent Izzy to the finale of “Project Runway Junior”. Follow Izzy on Instagram @Izzyshanghai

How did you find out about ‘Project Runway Junior”?

I was at my aunt’s house over winter break and we were just chillin’, watching ‘Project Runway’ ’cause that’s what we love to do and it was ‘Project Runway Junior’ and I was just like ‘Omigosh, I can do this, I’m so much better than them!’ And we watched episode two, and I was like, ‘Okay, what the heck, these guys are really good!’ So then I looked up the application online, it was a super-sketchy website, so I filled out the application, and then I had to send in a 3-minute video, so we did that and then I got a call back. They wanted to do an interview over the phone and that was like the best day of my life, honestly. And then a few weeks later, they emailed me and said ‘Congrats you’re a semi-finalist’, and we flew out to New York for the semi-final audition, and about a month later I found out I made it onto the show.

What was the most difficult part of being on the show?

Definitely coming up with new designs, because, something that people don’t realize is you will 100% sure get designer’s block. It happens to everyone because it’s just the same repetition of doing your work in the work room, and you don’t really get time outside of the studio – as kids we got a lot more time than the adults because we had to follow child labor laws, we can only work for 9 hours a day – but just feeling uninspired, and losing your sense of design, but it will come back to you and it really forces you to push yourself out of your box. That was a really hard part but also the part that I’m really thankful for.

How has being on the show changed you as a designer?

It changed me so much. I want to push myself more, be more innovative. It’s taught me to always have fun with your designs and be true to who you are and to never be afraid to try something new or push the boundaries. Just because something has been done this way for the past 20 years doesn’t mean a 15-year-old designer can’t change it. You can always push the boundaries.

In the season premier, it seemed like everyone was so excited to see Tim Gunn. Was he everything you hoped for?

Absolutely! Tim Gunn is honestly the most amazing person, I know I almost cried, because that’s when I realized this was real. He’s the nicest person you’ve ever worked with on TV, he is so sweet, and he just cares about everyone so much. People say that he always remembers everyone’s names; the way he is in front of camera is the way he is all the time. He was trying to help everyone as much as he possibly can. It’s really cool because a school in my town has a fashion design program and they have their end-of-the-year fashion show and Tim Gunn is actually coming to guest judge, so it’s really cool that I’ll get to see him again.

What inspires you?

Current events… honestly everything. ‘Project Runway’ taught me you can get inspiration from every single thing.

What are you working on right now?

I have a website – IzzySprout.com – and I’m trying to whip out some really cool designs for that at the moment. It’s really sad because I haven’t gotten a lot of time to sew since the show because I have a job as a lifeguard at a water park. I just made a bunch of really cool bomber jackets, because my mom had all of this fabric she was never going to use, so I’m trying to incorporate those textiles (Chinese embroidery) into different pieces of clothing. I’m making an Ursula costume for my school’s musical.

Is it weird being back at school?

My friends are really into the show. I go to a really small school, it’s a private catholic school, so there’s only 35 people in my whole grade, so we’re all super close. They all kind of make fun of me about it, but they don’t treat me any different than they did before. People in my town are being awesome and super supportive. I’m just ready to be in college, because I had such a taste of freedom and being independent on ‘Runway’, because I was in charge of my fate. Now I’m back at school and everyone is in charge of me, so I’m ready to be a free bird again.

Where are you looking to go to college?

I’m looking to go to Parsons or FIT, and they’re both design schools in New York City.

So, what about the water park?

The water park is so funny. I don’t really even need to work there because I don’t do anything or buy anything, so I don’t need money. I’m also super busy, so I don’t even know why I work there. I was about to quit after about a month and a half because it made me sick; chlorine will poison you if you’re in there too long. But my best friend and another friend just got a job there, so I’m staying. It’s really fun and quirky. This is going to sound strange but you know how teenagers have that job where they’re like ‘Oh, that was so horrible’, or they have antics from it? That’s my current job right now. Also, I’m never going to go to a water park again because I’ve seen people throw up in the river and they don’t shut it down. It’s disgusting.

I saw on your blog that you went to a women’s march last month. I know you want to make fearless, feminine pieces; where does fashion meet politics?

I’m so #Feminism! That’s so interesting, and so sweet of you to ask that question. I have so much responsibility as a young 16-year-old to answer that question, and no one has ever asked me. I definitely think the fashion industry is taking a fantastic stance on it. The CFDA – Council of Fashion Designers of America – did this whole ‘stand with Planned Parenthood’ campaign and I was so incredibly proud of them for making such a strong move. Obviously, we’re all fashion designers, we’re liberal, and we want equality for all. Do you, express yourself, unity for all! It’s such a fantastic community to be a part of and to be a member of such a diverse, creative, and accepting community – I am very proud of that.

I think fashion is so cool because – sometimes there’s that controversy about showing more skin – what should a strong, independent woman do? Is she conservative or should she put herself out there? Once you delve into the fashion stuff, it’s about whatever you want, because that’s what is right. Don’t let someone else influence your decision. If you feel that way, you are right.

Watch Part One of the “Project Runway Junior” finale on Lifetime, tomorrow at 8pm EST/7pm CST. 

Obligatory Valentine’s Day post.

These are the right kind of candy hearts.

These are the right kind of candy hearts.

It’s Taco Tuesday!!! …And also Valentine’s Day. Honestly, I kept forgetting that Valentine’s Day was coming around this year, which is one reason why I didn’t partake in my semi-tradition of making and mailing Valentine cards. I’ve been pretty busy with my new job, working out seven times a week, and watching lots of TV, per usual.

When I saw it on the calendar as I was planning my blog posts, I pondered for about two weeks on whether I should write something about this holiday or not. Why? Because I’ve written about it for the last ten years – why stop now?

Last year, I wrote about “How History Screwed Singletons“, but I also concluded that although I didn’t have a romantic partner, there were things – material things that I loved – so I also wrote about that. Want to know a little secret? Last year, I was totally, completely heart-broken.

In 2015, I wrote “Even Singletons Have Love“, because not all love has to come from a significant other (which is totally true). In 2014, I wrote “A History of Valentines” looking back at all the ways I’ve spent the holiday (really sad), and I also wrote a “Survival Guide: Single on Valentine’s Day“, because I know there have been some years I really just wanted to be in a black hole for 24 hours.

I’ve written a lot about the relationships of my past, and how my February 14ths ended up because of them – there have been years of complete content, some years have seen love, and others have seen me on my own living room floor, crying, and overeating chocolate cupcakes.

In 2013, though, it was a champion year in terms of Valentine’s Day, when I purchased a $6 heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy’s and enjoyed it, by myself, with a bottle of wine. You can read all about my philosophy that year in “The Heart [Pizza] of Matters“.

So, this year, I can truly say, I don’t even care. I have finally reached the pinnacle of my existence and am fresh out of fucks when it comes to men, dating, sex, and Valentine’s Day. I do believe this is actually what I’ve always wanted: to not be sad, not be wearing black, not be pretending to be happy and going out anyway, not be celebrating my singleness with wine and takeout… but instead to just be how I am every other single day.

Now could I go for a box of chocolate truffles or a heart-shaped pizza? Yes, because I’m on a hardcore diet and would eat juuuust about anything right now. But instead I will probably eat leftover vegan tacos I made this weekend (seriously delish, recipe here), and drink a sparkling water because YOLO.

On Saturday, I went to my local library for an event I’d marked on my calendar: A Romance Reader’s Social. I didn’t even link the fact that this was probably timed as a celebration of Valentine’s Day, until I arrived and saw all of the red and pink decor.

Nevertheless, I waited in line amongst retired women whom, I imaged to be of the sort that sat in well-worn recliners and read stacks of romance novels week after week.

Attendees were treated to cupcakes and heart-shaped cookies, several craft stations, and tables full of books and their authors available to sign copies. There was also an author’s panel where they discussed writing routines and answered questions from the audience.

I was alone, as I often am, and for possibly one of the first times, I didn’t feel awkward about it. I jumped into the crafts, and made a Valentine card using patterned washi tape, and I also colored a page from an adult coloring book that was of a scene from a romance novel – a hunky dude embracing his lady – and his shirt is ripped off. It’s pretty awesome, and it’s currently hanging on my fridge (you can get your own coloring book here, you know, for your next ladies’ night).

I don’t have a map of how I got to this point, but if I had to guess, it’d be the perfect balance of sleeping with men who don’t care about me, and as a result, learning to take charge of my life via a rewarding career and awesome hobbies. And, well, listening to lots of Drake.

 

Why I’m not cutting my cable.

Nope, not getting rid of these gems.

Nope, not getting rid of these gems.

“Cutting cable” became a thing in 2011, but reached an all-time high last year. That all-time high being 6 percent, according to a Magid survey. Why only 6 percent? Because cable is fucking awesome.

I actually know a lot of people who’ve cut their cable and I’m always so shocked to hear it, because for me, that would be like getting rid of my entire apartment. Everyone I know that has cut their cable has swapped it for things to help them still watch shows – they’ve increased their internet speed, invested in Apple TV or a Chromecast.

And before I go any further, I’ll say that if you’re a cable cutter – good for you. Seriously. I haven’t cut my cable, and I’m not going to, for many reasons that I’ll explain here.

  1. I watch a lot of TV. Remember when you were a kid and people would say that watching TV would rot your brain? Heh, whatever. I have always loved watching TV, and I’m pretty sure I’m currently at the height of this love affair. There are so many good shows on that make me happy, and at the end of the day, if I want to just turn on “The Daily Show”, then by God I will! Plus, I’m an aspiring TV writer and critic, so I do consider watching TV to be about 20% research for a possible (very unlikely) future job, or maybe just something to dream about. That’s the power of television, folks.
  2. Cable is convenient. All I have to do to watch TV is turn it on. I don’t have to hook up all these extra gadgets or use an app or wait a week (or even a day) to watch the things I want to see. Right now, I have 300+ channels, two DVRs, and full-access HBO. And the price is $50 more than what I was paying for basic cable without a DVR. I do use an app so I can record things right from my phone in case I forgot to set it at home, but other than that, I keep things simple. I have no clue how to use all of these other boxes and modems and apps, and maybe if I had a handyman, I’d use them.
  3. I use internet for internet things. I use my internet for my blog, to reserve library books, and to check Twitter and my email. I don’t use it to stream TV shows or movies – and because of that, my internet is pretty cheap. If I cut cable and used apps, I’d have to up my internet, and then you start getting into what’s actually worth the investment?
  4. There’s things you can’t get from apps, plugins, subscriptions, etc. Often times, you can’t watch live events like the Super Bowl or the Grammy’s when you don’t have cable. You have to wait until the next day, or perhaps just not watch at all. Although most cable networks, like ABC or NBC, have apps for their shows, some don’t – many shows like those on Bravo or E!, aren’t accessible outside of cable… and I fucking LOVE Bravo.
  5. Everyone spends their money on different things. I think cutting cable is a great idea if you’re looking to put your money toward something else – travel, family, a house, fine dining – whatever you fancy. For me, I love pop culture. Watching TV is my way to keep up with what’s happening, and in some sense, see a world I may not otherwise see. I figure as long as I still keep up with my job, my side hustle, reading my 1 book a week, and hitting the dance studio, TV isn’t taking over my life. But everyone spends their money and time on different things, and for me, TV is a very small investment into my happiness. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

So, there! I’m keeping my cable for as long as I love it. Are you a cable cutter? I’d love to hear what benefits you’ve gotten from getting rid of the stuff: more money for travel or more time for tackling something you’ve always wanted to. Let’s hear it!

BBC: ‘The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl’.

Hello! Happy Weekend Eve! You guys… I took a new fitness class on Wednesday night, which kicked my ass so hard I thought I was going to puke… and despite being so sore yesterday, I still went to two dance classes last night. So today I basically want to die.

But, hey everything is always okay on a Friday, right? Anyway, I finished reading another book for the book club, one that I was just SO excited to read: “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” by Issa Rae. Here’s the description from Amazon:

In this universally accessible New York Times bestseller named for her wildly popular web series, Issa Rae—“a singular voice with the verve and vivacity of uncorked champagne” (Kirkus Reviews)—waxes humorously on what it’s like to be unabashedly awkward in a world that regards introverts as hapless misfits and black as cool.

I’m awkward—and black. Someone once told me those were the two worst things anyone could be. That someone was right. Where do I start?

Being an introvert (as well as “funny,” according to the Los Angeles Times) in a world that glorifies cool isn’t easy. But when Issa Rae, the creator of the Shorty Award-winning hit seriesThe Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, is that introvert—whether she’s navigating love, the workplace, friendships, or “rapping”—it sure is entertaining. Now, in this New York Timesbestselling debut collection written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cybersexing in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain, from navigating the perils of eating out alone and public displays of affection to learning to accept yourself—natural hair and all.

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is a book no one—awkward or cool, black, white, or other—will want to miss.

I’ve basically had a girl crush on Miss Rae since the debut of her HBO series “Insecure” last fall. Little did I know that the chick was not only the lead actress in the show, but also the lead writer of it, having based the whole series on her successful YouTube show.

But her collection of stories was published before anything happened with HBO, so it’s definitely a different side of Issa. There are some pretty funny bits in there – particularly about how she was Catfishing people online before it was a thing, and well before she could drive.

There are several stories about her childhood, her family, and in general, her observations of black culture – despite the fact that she’s never wanted to be a voice on the “black experience”.

The story that stuck out to me the most was a simple one about her being robbed – nearly all of her film and computer equipment was stolen, including lots of work she’d already accomplished for film school. It took lots of time for her to get back on her feet (it was thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment), and that’s essentially how she came up with the idea for her YouTube series – she just wanted to share the story of her life, and how awkward she felt at all times.

This is why I love Issa so much – she’s cool as hell, but thinks she so awkward or insecure. When, in reality, we basically all feel that way (right??). It’s the great equalizer… well, minus Olivia Palermo. Pretty sure she’s never felt awkward or insecure in her whole life.

If you’re a fan of Issa, or comedians, this would be a good book to check out. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for literary critics.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Goodnight Nobody” by Jennifer Weiner. Feel free to read along with me next week by giving me a shout on social media @OrangeJulius7 – I’d love to hear from you!

This weekend, I’m looking forward to tackling a few dance rehearsals (I’m performing on stage at the end of the month), and hitting up a romance reading event at a nearby library. I am also totally planning to watch the Grammy red carpet, but not the actual Grammy’s, given that no one good is performing. Yeah I said it, Bey.

Anyway – I’ll catch you all on the flipside!

So Cosmo: ‘Fun Fearless Females’.

The editorial staff at 'Cosmopolitan'.

The editorial staff at ‘Cosmopolitan’.

It’s been a minute since I was THIS excited for a TV show to start, and yet not only do we have a season of “So Cosmo” to look forward to, but also the last season of “Girls” premiers this weekend, and “Big Little Lies” isn’t too far behind.

But anyway, let’s get right on into this premier of “So Cosmo”!

We are greeted by the lovely accent of Cosmo’s Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles. She explains to us minion that Cosmo is the top-selling magazine, #1 on SnapChat, the first to all the fashion shows, blah, blah, I mean, what about Vogue? Anyone?

Joanna is walking into the office and it’s very “Devil Wears Prada” as the walls are all glass, and her assistant is waiting for her with a copy of all the papers and ready to fetch coffee. Oh dear.

The editorial meeting is next where they pitch the HARD-HITTING news of manicures that are inspired by cocktails!

Later, Joanna meets with the Chief of Staff to talk about a “big announcement” that will be made to the staff and she’s unsure how everyone is going to take it.

And then we shoot back to one week earlier (I hate it when TV shows do this). There’s already some shade between Diondra (Branding) and Steve (Booking). Steve is confused as to what Diondra’s job is – although she’s verrrry close to Joana. Shade, y’all.

Most of the staff is gearing up to shoot an “edgy” cover featuring Ruby Rose. Tiffany, senior fashion editor, is your typical #BossLady. She knows her shit and she’s got it together – all the way down to the organization of the fashion closet.

The team is looking for a new fitness contributor, so basically everyone gets to work out with the final two hot dudes to pick the winner. AWESOME.

Meanwhile, one of the potential fitness contributors, Evan, texts Diondra asking her to dinner. Uh, what? She goes!!! Sooo… it’s cute, they talk, but he makes it look like he doesn’t date much (yeah, right), and he chose her for this date because he’s ready. LIAR.

But when it comes time to decide who to hire for the fitness contributor position, the entire team wants Evan, while Diondra LIES and says she wants the other guy. Really, she just doesn’t want to have the hots for a coworker.

Have no fear though, because Joanna swooped right in like a well-defined Instagram brow, and called Diondra right on her shit. BLOOP. So, Diondra hires Evan and tells herself that her job comes first, and she can’t be distracted by pretty boys.

At the end of the episode, we’ve reached that “big announcement” Joanna wanted to make to the staff. And she says that after four years, she is leaving Cosmo. That she will be vacating her office that afternoon.

Needless to say, the staff is freaking out. Editor changes often mean STAFF changes. However, when they show the preview for the remainder of the season, Joanna is still in the episodes, and so is the staff, so we’ll see.

That doesn’t mean it didn’t take everything I freaking had not to Google it! Anyway, I’m really looking forward to the rest of this show, and I hope you’ll watch it with me!

Podcasts I’ve been listening to, Part VII.

For Christmas, I asked for an actual pair of headphones, as those awful earbuds were really starting to hurt my ears since I was listening to podcasts 8 hours a day! I got my headphones, and even though I have my own office at my new job, listening to podcasts has become a little bit of an out for me – a way for me to listen to fun or interesting things while I’m working on political things. And so, I’ve got another batch of podcast recommendations for you, if you’re looking…

NPR's "Making Oprah" is divine.

NPR’s “Making Oprah” is divine.

Making Oprah – I kept seeing this one on the top charts, and finally decided to dive in. I have never been a huge fan of Oprah; I think she’s cheesy, and quite full of herself, if you want to know the truth. But this podcast made me understand just how important Oprah was to daytime television, and to the overall conversation in our culture. Here’s the scoop:

The inside story of a TV revolution. In this new WBEZ podcast, Oprah Winfrey tells the behind-the-scenes story of her iconic TV talk show, along with producers, staffers, TV executives, and ratings rival Phil Donahue. The three-part series chronicles the show’s scrappy roots in Chicago, its rise to daytime dominance, and the powerful sway Winfrey came to have in American life.

Yes, you saw that: “Three-part series”…I listened to it in about a day. But, there are several bonus episodes to prolong the goodness. Listen to the episodes here.

For the true crime lovers.

For the true crime lovers.

In the Dark – This is for my true crime lovers! No matter how much scary movies freak me out, I think I’ll always be a fan of crime mysteries. I hear about this podcast on another one, and it was one of those end-of-the-year roundup things. I made note of it and started listening last week, so I’m only a few episodes in. Here’s what it’s about:

Child abductions are rare crimes. And they’re typically solved. For 27 years, the investigation into the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota yielded no answers. In the most comprehensive reporting on this case, APM Reports and reporter Madeleine Baran reveal how law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger, led to the nation’s sex-offender registries and raise questions about crime-solving effectiveness and accountability. 

When I was a kid, I was so afraid of robbers and getting kidnapped. And THIS was the case that scared us all – whether we knew it or not. It put laws in place that are still followed today. Now, I will say that some of the content in this podcast is difficult to hear. After all, an innocent child was the victim. However, hearing about the investigation is the part I really like – why, and how, did they miss so much? You can listen to episodes here.

What's better than two girls nerding out?

What’s better than two girls nerding out?

Nerdette – I’m pretty sure I came across this podcast by searching for “Issa Rae” (sorry, I’m obsessed). There was a great episode where the hosts interviewed her, but then I started searching through other episodes and got to listening. While the show has great sound quality, and the co-hostesses are really good – the show is about lots of different things, which I enjoy. The “Nerdettes” are particularly known for their recaps of “Game of Thrones”, I haven’t listened to those episodes since I don’t watch the show. Here’s the overall gist of the show:

A safe space for nerding out about all the things you’re watching, reading, listening to and encountering in real life. Hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen talk to people about their obsessions: from science to science fiction, great lady nerds of history to Beyoncé. Because what the world needs now is not another superhero, but for the glasses-clad alter ego to make you a podcast.

You can listen to episodes here.

These guys live more with less.

These guys live more with less.

The Minimalists – I’m honestly not sure how I came across this podcast, but I do know it’s ALWAYS on the top of the charts. I started listening to it around Christmas and have really learned a lot about the minimalist lifestyle, and have even started a “donate” pile in my apartment as I sort each corner of my place.

The hosts, Josh and Ryan, have really spread the word on minimalism, as they have a documentary on Netflix, two published books, and are always on “tour” hosting events around the globe. You can listen to episodes here.

What podcasts are you listening to? Any I should add to my list? I am always looking for more things to listen to, so let me know!

Things I’ve tried on Pinterest.

It’s been around a month since I resurrected my Pinterest account. I started back on this social channel for several reasons: 1. because I’m really trying to tighten up my diet and I wanted a place to keep track of all the cool recipes I come across and want to try (outside of my several binders on my pantry shelf), 2. I always have ideas swirling around for the blog or for crafts I want to make, and Pinterest helps me organize them.

In the last month, I’ve tried only a small portion of the recipes I’ve saved. I have purchased items to make a few essential oil roll-ons, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten with anything other than food. But the food items I’ve tried have really excited me, as I started with the Veggie Brown Rice Sushi from the Minimalist Baker, which was easy and so freaking YUMMY.

Orange Chicken – This recipe was part of an article listing out easy ways to use your crockpot. It listed this orange chicken recipe that was four ingredients, and looked totally yummy. How healthy was it? It probably wouldn’t be approved by any nutritionists, but I paired it with steamed rice, edamame, and steamed Asian veggies to help even things out. It was so good, and very easy.

Cherry Almond Granola – I’m not a huge granola lover, but when I find a good one that’s decently healthy, I love eating it with yogurt. This one looked easy to make, and actually pretty healthy. So I whipped it right up on Saturday night (aren’t I so cool) while listening to podcasts. I ate some the next morning with almond milk and it was yummy. I also bought some plain greek yogurt that I might eat it with. To boot, making this granola made my house smell awesome.

Cinnamon Sugar Protein Donuts – I got a donut pan for Christmas and I cannot get enough recipes to make all kinds of donuts. I had success with regular, powdered-sugar donuts, so I tried my hand at “Protein” donuts… and not only was this a massive fail, as in, it didn’t really bake or look like a donut, but it just tasted like shit. Yuck. If you’ve had a successful try with protein donuts, let me know!

Vegan Buddah Bowl – From what I understand, a Buddah Bowl is anything that you can just eat a giant helping of so your belly resembles a Buddah’s. I’m trying to avoid that altogether, but what I love about food this healthy is that you can eat a good portion and not feel guilty. I whipped up all of the ingredients for this bowl on Sunday and am eating them for dinner this week – it’s full of new flavors for me and is filling and so yummy.

BBQ Chicken Chopped SaladThis pin was advertised as a copycat from a salad at California Pizza Kitchen, and I used to live within a block of a CPK, so I totally get the obsession (hello, mango margaritaaass). I made 7 lunch-sized versions of these salads and have been packing them in my lunchbox and they are very filling and tasty.

Weight Watchers Cookies – This came up on my feed as a suggestion, and I’m always down to make something that’s going to taste decadent but not make me feel guilty. These seemed a little too good to be true – as the recipe contained two tubs of Cool Whip – but I made them and the batter was amazing… but they were just flat and rubbery-like. No thanks. #FAIL

What are some things you’ve tried on Pinterest that worked, or hey, even ones that didn’t. I’m always looking for new ideas!

Creating a self-care plan.

It's time to take care of ourselves, first.

It’s time to take care of ourselves, first.

The term “self-care” has been swirling around the interwebs since at least the end of 2015, which makes me a little late to the game, per-usual. The truth is, I never really gave it much thought until recently – and for good reason.

I know I’ve been alluding to “tough times” lately, and I’ll explain. If it isn’t blatantly obvious, I’m a democrat in every single way. I try not to make this a political space, and I won’t go too deep here, but yeah, shit has been pretty rough these days.

When things happen, as in things that are reported in the news, I debate to myself whether or not I should say something on this blog. Some readers say this blog IS their news, so I don’t want someone to miss out on anything big. Do I do a little, “Uh, hey, Trump has fuuuucked things up again, TODAY” – memo?

Let me back up a little. I have always loved watching the news, keeping up with things, and in general, just being informed. And I know the 24-hour news circuit has haunted our world since the Jon Benet case, but I really didn’t feel the effects until last week.

You see, I work in a political field, and I do digital communications, i.e. I monitor Twitter, a lot. So, I’ve seen alllllll the Trump Tweets many times over. At the end of the work day, I was starting to feel really heavy, like my shoes were filled with cement.

To combat this, I have been watching “The Daily Show” every single night. I need someone to make light of this, of anything, something to make me laugh and tell me that I’m not going to blow up while I sleep.

But the night that Trump fired Sally Yates, “The Daily Show” didn’t touch on it, because obviously it’s taped during the day, and the Trump administration is so entirely insane, that even in just two hours, the world can be completely flipped, border patrol and protestors with handmade signs, included. How the hell does this happen?

I decided right then and there that I’ve got to do something to take care of myself. Because I see things going on, and I’m trying to make the change during my 9-5, and although I want to jump into my car and protest the shit out of pretty much every damn thing coming out of that White House, I must take care of myself first.

And so, I need a self-care plan. For many, part of their self-care plan is to stay off social media, or to only stay on for certain chunks of time. I don’t have that option when it comes to my job. Luckily, there are other things I can do to avoid going insane.

Here are some ideas I came up with:

  • At-home manis and pedis
  • Intentionally schedule “me” time
  • Clean out the closet and donate the unwanted items to a place that does good things
  • Spend less time with the phone/iPad/computer, etc.
  • Take a cooking class
  • Take more walks – even if it’s just around the neighborhood
  • Attend a local high school sporting event
  • Take an online class (I’ve still go to learn screenwriting this year)
  • Get crafty/artsy (hello, Pinterest)
  • Listen to this song more often:

When I was looking up ideas for self care, turns out, I actually do a lot of these things already: write a blog, spend time with a pet, cook, dance, sleep in on the weekends, write letters…

I’d love to know what you’re doing for your self-care plan – perhaps reading this blog is part of it, which is another reason why politics are generally not invited here. So let’s hear what you’re doing for self-care; or ideas you have for those of us who need it.

BBC: ‘Today Will Be Different’.

Hellooo! With my new job, I’m actually allowed to take a lunch hour (imagine that!) and since I get off work at 5 instead of 5:30, I’ve had so much more time to read for the book club! It’s really the small things in life, isn’t it?

The latest read for the book club is one I had on my Fall Reading List, and I actually got it for Christmas! Ever since Maria Semple blew me away with her debut novel, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” I couldn’t wait to read something else by her.

That’s why I couldn’t wait for the release of “Today Will Be Different“, although when I went to look up reviews for the book, I saw she indeed had released another book without my knowing – so that shows how on top of things I am.

PS. If you want to check out the book it’s called, “This One is Mine” and here’s the description: “Violet Parry is living the quintessential life of luxury in the Hollywood Hills with David, her rock-and-roll manager husband, and her darling toddler, Dot. She has the perfect life–except that she’s deeply unhappy. David expects the world of Violet but gives little of himself in return. When she meets Teddy, a roguish small-time bass player, Violet comes alive, and soon she’s risking everything for the chance to find herself again. Also in the picture are David’s hilariously high-strung sister, Sally, on the prowl for a successful husband, and Jeremy, the ESPN sportscaster savant who falls into her trap. For all their recklessness, Violet and Sally will discover that David and Jeremy have a few surprises of their own. THIS ONE IS MINE is a compassionate and wickedly funny satire about our need for more–and the often disastrous choices we make in the name of happiness.”

So anyway, back to “Today Will Be Different”, here’s the description from Amazon, “Eleanor knows she’s a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won’t swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action-life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother’s company. It’s also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office-but not Eleanor-that he’s on vacation. Just when it seems like things can’t go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret.

TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT is a hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.”

One thing I’ll say right off the bat is that Maria Semple certainly has a knack for making her characters interesting, and at times, very funny in a way I haven’t seen before.

Buuut “Today Will Be Different” is… well, different. Sure, there are some parts where I was literally LOL-ing. But there are other parts of this book that are pretty serious – serious in a way I didn’t expect. I found a book review from The New York Times that explains this perfectly – that Semple won us all over with “Bernadette”, and then got serious in “Today”.

But delivering laughs does not turn out to be her primary purpose as a novelist. Her new book, “Today Will Be Different,” can be outrageously funny. But it cuts closer to the bone than “Bernadette” did, and its main character’s problems feel more real. This time Ms. Semple delivers less satire and more soul.

Eleanor’s son, Timby, is certainly the winning character in this book, and I think you’ll like following him around on this adventure of a day. If you’re looking for something different – in terms of structure and plot twists, this is the book for you.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” by Issa Rae (!).

And one more thing before I go for the weekend, have you guys seen the commercial for the Apple Airbuds? I always see it on Comedy Central when I’m watching “The Daily Show” and I absolutely love it (even though I’m entirely against Bluetooth earbuds).

Anyway, have a great weekend everyone! I’m looking forward to staying offline and trying to relax… cheers!

All hail, the Queen of Bounce.

Bow down to the Queen Diva, Big Freedia.

Bow down to the Queen Diva, Big Freedia.

I spent a decent portion of last weekend in bed watching back-to-back episodes of “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce” on FUSE.

As if I don’t already have enough shows on TV I like to watch, I find great joy in seeing what else is on that I can possibly latch onto. About a month ago, I saw this series was on and starting recording all of the episodes.

I let them pile up and then started from the beginning on Saturday – it was the perfect excuse to turn my head away from the protests and political craziness for a bit.

The thing is, I’d heard of Big Freedia, and have done some dancing to her songs at the studio, but really didn’t know much else. That changed, and I’m hooked. Here’s the trailer for season 1:

There’s at least five seasons, if not six, so there’s a good binge-session waiting for you. Anyway, who the heck is Big Freedia, the Queen Diva, YOU already know!!!! Okay, I’m sorry, I really do just love her positive energy!

Big Freedia is from New Orleans, where Bounce music originated, and has been popular since the 90s. Although many other artists have dabbled in Bounce before moving on, Freedia has been credited with taking it out of NOLA, and throughout the world.

Bounce music is difficult to describe – you’d know it if you heard it – but it’s music to twerk to, clap to, shake ya rump to – that’s the best part about it, it’s a genre of music that’s meant to be positive, meant for everyone to just cut loose without judgment.

Freedia started performing Bounce with drag queen and Bounce legend Katy Red in the late 90s. Hurricane Katrina sent Freedia to Texas, but when the city recovered from the storm, Freedia was performing several times a week, and became very well-known.

The television show catches Freedia just as things are really kicking up in her career. She’s about to embark on her first international tour, and is trying to figure out how to affordably become mainstream and go global.

Of course, the focus is on Freedia, but Katy Red is also in the show a lot, along with Freedia’s managers, dancers, producers, and family.

What I really love about the show is how it really shows this homegrown artist – a person who was born and raised in New Orleans, performing music known mainly in New Orleans; a person who has designed her own outfits and hair and styling for performances… and watch as they attempt to make it big.

The managers have one opinion, Freedia has another. But which decision will be the best for the career? For the tour? For the music?

It’s bittersweet to see because Freedia is just so awesome and humble and has this unique view of the world; but it hasn’t gotten her global (until now, of course).

Freedia started appearing nationally – in the New York Times and on HBO, in 2009, and is very well known for her performances at SXSW and her collaborations with RuPaul. She has set the Guiness World Record for twerking, and serves as the opening voice for Beyonce’s “Formation” Tour.

I’m only two seasons in, but I’m excited I still have plenty to watch, and plenty to learn. I don’t think I can quite convey how awesome the energy is – whether it’s in the music, the dance, or just the way Freedia talks (you’ve got to love a deep New Orleans accent, okey beh-beh) – it is just what I needed in these dark times.

So… if you need me, I’ll be twerking. YOU ALREADY KNOOOOOW.

What’s cooking.

In these last few weeks, I’ve been having a lot of fun cooking at home. Don’t get me wrong, I usually cook my own meals, but of course, as everything, it goes in waves. Sometimes I’m really excited to cook and I look up recipes, sometimes I just get chicken and veggies and eat it until I can’t anymore, and other times, well I skip the grocery altogether and order Green Chef for weeks on end.

Right now, I’m really trying to eat healthier meals at home, and instead of eating out, I am attempting to make more fun meals at home that I look forward to eating. I’m on a mission to feel better, look better, all by eating better, and of course, dancing my butt off.

So, I’ll share some recipes I’ve been living off of lately, most of them are from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, “Cravings“, and one is from “What’s Gaby Cooking” – one of my favorite food bloggers as of late.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

When I got my first apartment as a single woman in Baton Rouge, I lived within blocks of a P.F. Chang’s. I ordered takeout probably once a week, and I usually got their chicken lettuce wraps. I also gained weight, because even though they looked healthy, they were NOT.

So you can imagine my delight when I saw a very similar-looking recipe in Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook. I made them, and packed them in my lunch right alongside coconut rice (recipe below) and it was to DIE for.

INGREDIENTS

  • Sauce
    3 Tbsp. Thai sweet chili sauce
    3 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
    3 Tbsp. light soy sauce
    2 Tbsp. Sriracha
    2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
    1 tsp. sesame oil
    1½ Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
    2 Tbsp. minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
    1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • Filling
    1 lb. ground chicken
    3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
    8 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens kept separate
    1 Tbsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
    1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
    ½ pound white mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned, and finely chopped
    ½ cup finely diced canned water chestnuts
    1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
    2 heads butter lettuce, leaves separated

DIRECTIONS

    1. Make the sauce: In a bowl, combine the chili sauce, hoisin, soy sauce, Sriracha, vegetable oil, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, and ginger.
    2. In a bowl, mix 2 Tbsp. of the sauce into the ground chicken.
    3. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When shimmering-hot, add the chicken and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.
    4. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to the skillet, then add the scallion whites, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
    5. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they release their liquid, 3 to 4 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, then add the water chestnuts, bell pepper, and the rest of the sauce and cook, stirring, until cooked through and the liquid has reduced and thickened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the scallion greens.
    6. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set out with the lettuce leaves.

Sweet and Salty Coconut Rice

…I mean the name pretty much says it all, but this shit is so good, and shockingly pretty guilt-free. I made the first batch of this for the chicken lettuce wraps, and then and second batch to go with a recipe I found on Pinterest (I’ll talk more on this next week). I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of this rice – yum!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

DIRECTIONS 

  1. In a dry saucepan, toast the coconut flakes for a few minutes until they brown.
  2. Place toasted coconut to the side.
  3. Add full can of coconut milk, 1 can full of water, sugar, rice and salt to saucepan.
  4. Stir and bring to low boil.
  5. Cover and cook just like you would any other rice. Once done, fluff and add toasted coconut to the top. Serve!

Sweet Chili and Mustard-Glazed Salmon Fillets

It’s been a long time since I’ve treated myself to homemade salmon; it’s always kind of expensive, but it’s really healthy and filling. Since I have been doing so well not eating out, I decided to put my extra dollars toward the good stuff, and it was well-worth it. I’ve been eating it for dinner this week with brown rice and broccoli and am loving it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 (6 ounces ) skin-on center cut salmon fillets
  • Salt and pepper for taste
  • 2/3 cup of Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tbs sambal oelek (I couldn’t find this in my usual grocery store, so I skipped it)
  • 2 tbs large grain mustard

DIRECTIONS

  1. Position rack 4-6 inches from the heating element and preheat the broiler.
  2. Season salmon all over with salt and pepper.  In a small bowl stir together the Thai sweet chili sauce, sambal oelek, and mustard.
  3. Pour the mixture into a large cast-iron skillet. Set skillet over medium-high heat until the mixture boils.
  4. Lay the salmon skin side up, in the sauce. Cook the salmon until it turns pale pink about 2 minutes, then move the skillet to the oven and broil until the skin gets crispy about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of water to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring and scraping until the sauce thickens. Pour the sauce from the skillet onto the salmon. Serve immediately.
Healthy loaded sweet potatoes from 'What's Gaby Cooking'.

Healthy loaded sweet potatoes from ‘What’s Gaby Cooking’.

Healthy Loaded [Southwestern] Sweet Potatoes

As I mentioned earlier, Gaby, from “What’s Gaby Cooking?” is one of my favorite food bloggers. One thing I really love about her is that she hosts weekly Snapisodes on her SnapChat @WhatsGabyCookin and she presents a yummy recipe step-by-step.

She is also completely available to ask questions! I’ve sent her countless cooking questions via SnapChat, and she always helps me out. I try to pay her back by sending her snaps of all of her recipes I’m making!

Anyway, she made this recipe on a Snapisode a few weeks ago, and it looked so easy and yummy, I added it to my list of things to try. Here’s what you’ll need:

INGREDIENTS

    • 4 California Sweetpotatoes
    • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
    • 1 cup frozen charred corn (I used canned ‘Mexicorn’)
    • 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1/3 cup salsa (any variety will work)
    • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
    • 3 tablespoons chopped chives (I used red onion)
    • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Optional Garnishes:
  • Finely chopped red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Chives
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Using a knife or a fork, carefully poke holes all over the sweet potatoes. Place the California sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet and transfer to the heated oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes until fork tender.
  3. Remove the California sweetpotatoes from the oven and slice them open. Scoop out a bit of the inside to make room for the stuffing.
  4. Season the interior with salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. In a medium bow, combine the corn, black beans, cheese, salsa, chives and cilantro and toss to combine.
  6. Using a spoon, stuff each sweetpotato with equal parts of the mixture until overflowing. Add extra cheese on top if desired.
  7. Transfer the stuffed sweetpotatoes back into the oven and let bake for another 10 minutes to melt the cheese.
  8. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and sprinkle with optional garnishes. Serve immediately.

See? So easy! And you can pretty much put anything you want on it. I kept it meatless, but you could add shredded chicken or taco meat… whatever! I’m no expert on kids, but I think this would be a good way to get them to eat veggies. I made five of these potatoes and have been packing one to eat for lunch each day, along with 1/2 an avocado that I mash on top. It’s divine!

Are we… (gulp)… ‘Millennials’?

Always with the iPad.

Always with the iPad.

Man, Millennials get ssuuuuch a bad rap, but really, why? Several month’s ago, I started listening to the podcast “Millennial“, and I found myself really being able to relate to the concepts being talked about. Although I’ve never identified myself as a Millennial, I started to wonder, wait… am I one?

Oddly enough, there’s no exact date range to classify as a Millennial or not – many research groups and news outlets have different dates. The term “Millennial” was coined in 1987 by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe.

The term didn’t quiet stick, and this generation was often referred to as Gen X, Gen Y, or the Echo Generation, or even the Me Generation, or the Peter Pan Generation. “Millennials” has become a more popular term for this group of people as of late.

Generally speaking, a Millennial is someone born in the early 80s – the mid-90s. Technically, I fall into that category, as I was born in 85. Instead of age, Millennials have been categorized by their traits, their work habits, their political views, and the way they consume… well, everything.

On the negative side, Millennials are said to be lazy, narcissistic, and job-hoppers. On the other hand, they have been described as open, liberal, fans of equal rights for minorities and LGBT, self-expressive, and upbeat.

While Millennials have been pegged as job-hoppers and made fun of for their desires to find purpose in their work and make a positive impact, research shows that Generation X and Baby Boomers want that, too! Millennials still have goals to master work-life balance, become senior leaders, and become experts in their field.

Politically, Millennials are the biggest group of independent voters than any other generation. Typically, they support bigger government, they are split on abortion, but very passionate about allowing immigrants into the United States.

In general, Millennials are known as trendsetters and influencers, so business want to know exactly what they want so they can create just THAT. The one thing that’s really got marketing experts a buzz is that Millennials see right through advertising. They are more likely to buy a car than a house, they read extensive reviews before making a purchase, and they value authentic companies.

So, are you a Millennial? I took this Buzzfeed quiz and it says I’m 80% Millennial – because I will probably never own a house, never have a family of my own, the internet is essential to my daily life, and I before recorded TV binges over live television. Cheers!

On the Pew Research quiz, I got a 78 – how’s that for consistency? Consider how often you watch TV, use social media, your political views, how you were raised, what you’re looking for in a career, and how you view different societies of the world. I’d love to know if you consider yourself to be a Millennial.

I’m honestly not really into labels, but if you want to call me a Millennial, sure, go ahead. I certainly hold many of the traits and characteristics of a Millennial. Now that I’ve done a little bit of research, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

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‘Mariah’s World’: We Belong Together.

THe last curtain call.

The last curtain call.

I am feeling so refreshed after a nice long-feeling weekend, although I did spend a lot of time on Twitter when I probably shouldn’t have.

But, at last! We’ve reached it to the finale of “Mariah’s World”, a day I never thought would come, as it has been a long, fake journey that we’ve followed Mariah on, and here, 8 hours of edited footage later, we know nothing more than what we did before about her: she’s a diva, has a worthless staff, and she split from James Packer.

So, let’s get to the episode! It’s a few days before the last stop on the tour, and the team is trying to find ways for Tanaka to earn his keep since he’s still on tour, but cannot dance. So, he’s serving as a co-creative director, which I’m sure makes the actual creative director really thrilled.

Mariah takes her kids on safari, in full on stripper heels because she doesn’t “own flats”.

Before the last show, Mariah starts thinking about what she’s going to do next – she says she wants to spend more time with her children and get back into the studio to create. The last show goes flawlessly, and at the end of it, the staff is pretty emotional.

Tanaka mentions something to Anthony (the creative director) about “co-creating” with him, and Anthony sort of rolls his eyes and looks the other way. When Tanaka asks Stella about it, Stella confirms that they haven’t told Anthony about it. Oh, awesome.

Later, Stella shows up at Mariah’s house, saying there are three options for dates for the wedding, but Mariah isn’t available on any of them. It is my understanding that these dates are coming from the prenuptial agreement? I have no idea how any of that works, but it creates this awkward scene where Mariah and Stella are just sort of staring at each other and there’s no mention of James, or calling him, and Stella is all, “Well the universe has plot twists”…

Like I hope I haven’t watched this damn show for two months to be told the break up was caused by THE UNIVERSE.

A few days later, Mariah heads into the studio to do some writing and recording. And then the team heads to Mishka’s birthday party. She’s Stella’s daughter, who is 12, and serves as Mariah’s social media manager. I cannot and will not get over this.

Please note, the party is very similar to any of the ones you saw years ago on MTV’s “My Sweet Sixteen”.

Mariah and Tanaka head out for a walk and end up in this little gazebo thing, and they’re practicing a dance life (uh, isn’t he still injured, or is this a scene they shot later and filled in?). They are sort of slow dancing, and he’s telling her she looks beautiful… and then he’s like, “Are you really going to marry this guy?”

He tells her he just wants her to be happy, and she says some sort of weird rambling thing about how she doesn’t really know what that means, and maybe happiness is different for everyone.

Later, there’s a team meeting where Anthony finds out he’s got a co-creator. And, he’s pissed. But he’s a professional and agrees, the show must go on.

Mariah has a later performance (they don’t say how much later) in Hawaii, and she spends a little time in the studio beforehand. She sings a song she’s just written and it’s about not getting the love you deserve. Stella overhears the song and also notices Mariah left her engagement ring in the booth… mmhmm.

They have a short talk about how Mariah just “can’t do this”, but they don’t reveal any details.

The show in Hawaii goes perfectly, and Tanaka is back on the stage, recovered from his injury.

At the end of the episode, Mariah is on the beach at sunset, and here comes Tanaka, all tan and shirtless, and they kiss on the beach… it can’t be real.

And that’s the end!

I don’t know how much you, the readers, enjoy these TV recaps, but I have hopes of being a TV show reviewer someday, so I’ve got to keep practicing. The next show I’ll be recapping is also on E! (swear they’re not paying me), called “So Cosmo”.

This reality show followers ACTUAL staff members at “Cosmopolitan” magazine, including the Editor-in-Chief, and shows us what it’s like to work there. E! has been showing a “Meet the Cast” extended preview of the show for a few weeks, and it looks pretty entertaining, to say the least. Here’s the official trailer:

Uhh, talk about THIS IS THE BEST IDEA FOR A TELEVISION SHOW, EVER. I would d-i-e to work at “Cosmopolitan”, and this is probably the closest chance I’ll get. “So Cosmo” premiers next Wednesday on E! at 7pm CST.