Category Archives: Light Pulp

Watching: ‘Jurassic World’.

Scene from ‘Jurassic World’.

I know I’m like two years late to the game here (per usual), but I finally watched “Jurassic World“! I don’t know WHY I waited so long – I love “Jurassic Park“, and one of my college roommates is IN the movie! I do admit that sometimes I have to be in the mood to watch a movie – especially at home.

But this weekend, I actually watched several movies at home. This is what happens when you all of the sudden have loads of time on your hands. Here’s the official description of “Jurassic World” from IMBd:

A new theme park, built on the original site of Jurassic Park, creates a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur, which escapes containment and goes on a killing spree.

I’ll admit, it was pretty cool to see a “working park” – not unlike a public zoo, but plus real dinosaurs and open areas/rides where park-goers could interact with the dinos. Would I go to a place like that? Uh, hell no! Of course, there’s a little bit of a romance between Chris Pratt and his co-star female lead, Bryce Dallas Howard.

I won’t give away any spoilers, but the end of the movie definitely leaves room for more. Naturally, the sequel comes out June 18, “Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom”.

Also watching: ‘The Intern’.

I loved ‘The Intern’.

Yep, I also watched “The Intern“, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro! You guys – I LOVED this movie! I’m not a big fan of Hathaway, but I still really enjoyed it. And yes, I realize I’m two years late on this movie, too.

Here’s the scoop from IMBd: 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.

I’m not a fan of start-up culture, and I definitely cackled at Jules riding a BIKE through the office, but whatever. Really, the business didn’t have much to do with the movie, aside from the juxtaposition of a young company hiring a senior citizen.

Either way, it was funny, and light-hearted. Not to mention, I loved the cameos from Adam Devine.

I still have a few other random movies on my DVR to watch, but what movies are you guys watching? I’m always down for recommendations!

BBC: ‘Hungry Heart’.

Hey, hey! It’s been a bit of a rocky week at the office (ugh, I hate saying that), and I’ve taken a lot of enjoyment in having a good book to turn to during my lunch hour and between dance classes. The latest read in Blanche’s Book Club is “Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing” by Jennifer Weiner.

Here’s the book’s description from Amazon.com: Jennifer Weiner is many things: a bestselling author, a Twitter phenomenon, and an “unlikely feminist enforcer” (The New Yorker). She’s also a mom, a daughter, and a sister, a clumsy yogini, and a reality-TV devotee. In this “unflinching look at her own experiences” (Entertainment Weekly), Jennifer fashions tales of modern-day womanhood as uproariously funny and moving as the best of Nora Ephron and Tina Fey.

No subject is off-limits in these intimate and honest essays: sex, weight, envy, money, her mother’s coming out of the closet, her estranged father’s death. From lonely adolescence to hearing her six-year-old daughter say the F word—fat—for the first time, Jen dives into the heart of female experience, with the wit and candor that have endeared her to readers all over the world.

I was really excited to get this book from the library (I was on a waiting list for a month or so), because I have read a few of Weiner’s books and have really enjoyed them! I always love hearing the story behind the stories; how/where other writers get their inspiration; and how much of the fiction writing comes from a true place.

In this book, Weiner talks a lot about how she was raised, and it is telling about her fiction writing (particularly the relationship she has with her father). She is also very open about her own relationships (two marriages), her children, and how she came to be a popular, published writer. I really like how she addresses the categorization women’s fiction has received over the years, because it’s something I’ve noticed myself. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • “It took time before I could take all that pain and use it; transform all that loneliness and isolation and shame into stories.”
  • “Maybe I was lucky after all. Maybe the damaged ones, the broken ones, the outcasts and the outsiders end up survivors, and successful, with empathy as their superpower, an extra-sensitivity to other people’s pain, and the ability to spin their own sorrow into something useful.”
  • “I would tell myself that I wasn’t lonely, and wouldn’t even think of the shame that was underneath the loneliness and how I felt like a failure and a fraud.”

Weiner also admitted to being an obsessive Tweeter – especially when it comes to episodes of “The Bachelor”.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. If you’re a fan of Weiner’s books, I would definitely recommend this book to you!

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “The Sun is Also a Star” by Nicola Yoon. You should read it with us! I hope you all have a fantastic weekend – stay cool, and I’ll see you here on Monday!

Listening: ‘American Teen’ by Khalid.

LOVING this album!

In early June, I was flipping stations on Sirius XM, and came across a song called “Location” by Khalid. I immediately liked the beat, so I kept it on, and I was blown away. I wrote down the song title in my phone so I could look for it on iTunes later.

Well, later turned out to be on my flight back from Indiana, and I listed to this track on repeat for longer than I’d like to admit. I love it! Even after I bought the rest of the album, this track remains to be one of my favorites.

I don’t wanna fall in love off of subtweets so
Let’s get personal
I got a lot of cool spots that we can go
Tell me what’s the move and I got you
I’m only acting like this ’cause I like you

-“Location” by Khalid

I quickly purchased another track (“Keep Me”), and after listening to it for hours, I bought the rest of the “American Teen” album, which serves as Khalid’s debut. And yes, he’s a teenager (19), singing words that are well beyond his years.

I’m a little late to the game here – the album was released at the beginning of March this year, and it’s getting rave reviews (rightfully so). I haven’t felt this way about an album in awhile – and by “this way”, I mean, I listen to it constantly.

I like listening to albums the way they were intended: in the order of the tracks on the album, before I start mixing things up. And this one, I listen to in my office, my car, I listen in my kitchen when I’m cooking dinner, and I listened all through the Dallas airport. It’s incredible.

Some of my favorite tracks, aside from “Location” are “Shot Down”, “Keep Me”, “American Teen”, and “Another Sad Love Song”.

I must be honest, I have a lot of pride
But I’m broken inside
I guess this sounds like another sad love song
I can’t get over how it all went wrong
But, I let the words come together
Then, maybe I’ll feel better

-“Another Sad Love Song” by Khalid

MTV named Khalid their Artist to Watch for the month of July, and they’ve been playing video clips of him, including an acoustic performance of a popular track, “Young Dumb & Broke” (watch it here). And here’s some of what the New York Times had to say about the album:

That’s an almost universal teen conundrum, something Khalid acknowledges throughout this song with constant use of “we” and “our” (“We don’t always say what we mean,” “This is our year”). He’s sketching a generational mood, and drives the point home when at the end of the song, the digital shimmer falls away and, backed by only an acoustic guitar, a group of young men — high school friends from back in El Paso — bark-sing Khalid’s chorus. It’s a campfire singalong, a signifier of tactile humanity for a singer who knows how technology both redeems and corrupts.

“American Teen” is a promising amalgam of bedroom art-soul and 1980s new-wave pop maximalism, and a union of lonely-boy mirror gazing with a sense of larger cultural purpose. It most vividly recalls the promise embedded in the soundtracks of John Hughes films — that an outsider’s story might in fact be the thing that can unify and move millions.

Some of the songs have an upbeat undertone to them, but overall it’s a pretty chill album. I hope you guys will check it out – if not, I’d love to know what you’re listening to right now!

The Bitter Lemon’s Summer TV Guide!

It’s gonna be a good summer.

I sort of hate myself for promoting sitting inside all summer and catching up on TV, but it’s been a solid 106 degrees here in Austin, and even the coolest pool isn’t going to get me outside for much longer than i have to be. So, yeah, I’m watching TV this summer – especially the junky stuff – and I’m not ashamed! Who’s with me?!

“Insecure”, season 2 (HBO) – Comedy

I was completely blown away by season one of “Insecure”, and have been fangirling over lead actress and writer, Issa Rae, ever since. Here’s the scoop from HBO.com:

Modern-day black women are usually portrayed as strong, confident and “flawless.” But Issa and Molly are definitely not “killing it.” These best friends must deal with their own real-life flaws as they attempt to navigate different worlds and cope with an endless series of uncomfortable everyday experiences.

Created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, the comedy series Insecure explores the black female experience. Rae stars as Issa and Yvonne Orji stars as Molly. Over the course of the season, Issa attempts to figure out what she wants out of life and how to take control of it, while fumbling her way through this journey. Molly, a corporate attorney who appears to have everything together professionally, struggles inside as she looks for external ways to fix her life.

Meanwhile, Issa’s boyfriend, Lawrence (Jay Ellis), who has fallen victim to complacency, works to get his own act together. Frieda (Lisa Joyce), Issa’s overeager white co-worker, whose enthusiasm is both annoying and endearing, is at the crux of Issa’s racial frustrations at work.

I. AM. SO. EXCITED. Plus! With a new season of “Insecure” comes a new batch of the “Insecuritea” after show podcast – yes!

Premiers Sunday, July 23 @ 10:30 pm EST.

“A Night With My Ex” (Bravo) – Reality

Basically, this show had me with the title. I mean, there’s not an ex I would want to spend a night with, so you’ve already got me curious. Here’s the scoop from TVguide.com:

The 10-episode season follows 11 former couples who agree to spend one night alone in an apartment together — no producers, only cameras rigged to catch their every move. Seeing each other for the first time since their breakup will bring up unexpected reactions in the exes, including shocking confessions, crazy fights, intense hook-ups and some wild twists we thought only existed in Shondaland. There are even marriage proposals and a pregnancy reveal!

And unlike in the real world, the exes have nowhere to hide once they enter the one-bedroom apartment. Whatever goes down, the former couple will be forced to deal with their unresolved issues without any interruptions, distractions or, of course, any privacy.

Tuesdays @ 10 pm EST.

“I Hart Food” (Food Network) – American Food 

I’m pretty excited for this show after seeing Hannah Hart on her YouTube show, “My Drunk Kitchen”. Now she’s got her own series! Here’s the description from the Food Network Blog:

Hannah Hart has over five-million followers on social media, a killer sense of humor, a passion for food and this summer, she’s taking a flavor-filled journey to some of the country’s favorite regional food spots in the new Food Network series I Hart Food. In the six-episode series, food enthusiast Hannah follows her appetite to discover incredible local dishes and awesome conversations. From investigating Santa Fe’s fiery fixation with green and red chilies to catching New England lobsters with her bare hands in Portland, Maine, Hannah’s food adventures explore every angle of these local specialties and the stories behind them.

Premiers Monday, August 14 @ 10 pm EST.

“Phelps vs. Shark” (Discovery) – Competition

Yep, you read that correctly. Swimmer Michael Phelps is racing a great white shark to kick off “Shark Week”, and I cannot help but watch. They’re pegging it as “The battle for ocean supremacy”, because obviously that’s a thing. I was picturing it as a literal race in the ocean, but then I realized how stupid a thought that was, given that a shark doesn’t know how to race. Right? Whatever. I’m still watching it.

Airs Sunday, July 23 @ 8 pm EST.

“Shahs of Sunset”, season 6 (Bravo) – Reality

This has got to be one of my favorite Bravo shows and I’m so happy it’s back! Asa is pregnant, which means MJ is throwing her all KINDS of shade. Mike is living single, while GG is supposedly healed, and Reza is happily married. It’s sure to be a solid season with this group!

Sundays @ 8 pm EST.

“Million Dollar Matchmaker”, season 2 (WETV) – Dating 

You may remember matchmaker Patti Stanger from her 8 seasons on Bravo as the “Millionaire Matchmaker”. She moved to WETV, but is still serving up the same fierce attitude, along with brilliant matchmaking. Here’s the scoop from Deadline.com:

The series, featuring matchmaker Patti Stanger as she helps her toughest clients find true love, reached 12.4 million total viewers in its first season. In season two, Stanger takes over the west wing of the exclusive Luxe Hotel in Los Angeles. Each week, two of her hardest-to-match clients will check in for a week-long stay, hoping to leave with the love of their life.

“Patti’s no-nonsense approach to love and dating struck a chord with WE tv viewers, and we can’t wait to have her back on Friday nights in an all-new location with new millionaires, using her brand of tough love to help her clients find true love,” said Marc Juris, president of WE tv. “In the world of love and relationships, there simply is no equal to Patti Stanger, and we are thrilled to have her as part of the WE tv family.”

Premiers Friday, August 4 @ 10 pm EST.

“Flipping Out”, season 10 (Bravo) – Reality

I hate to love Jeff Lewis, but come on! Plus, let’s face facts, Zoila is my favorite person on this show. I can’t believe we’re going into season 10, which means I’ve spent 1/3 of my life watching this show… Here’s the description from BravoTV.com:

Yes, things are just as cray cray for Jeff Lewis and his Flipping Out crew when the series returns this August. Life looks a little different for the designer on Season 10. In addition to making homes beautiful and some employee drama, he’s about to become a father — and impending parenthood is way more stressful than he and partner, Gage Edward, could ever have imagined.

Premiers Thursday, August 17 @ 9 pm EST.

“Life of Kylie” (E!) – Reality 

I stopped watching “The Kardashians” two years ago – not for any moral reasons, I was just sort of over it – but I cannot turn away from this new little branch of show. I know. I’m terrible. Here’s the gist of it, from Deadline.com:

The eight-episode half-hour show will follow Jenner as she navigates her life as entrepreneur, fashion designer, author, social media star and CEO/founder of Kylie Cosmetics. The show also will document her personal life, including spending time with her close friend Jordyn Woods.

Premiers Sunday, August 6 @ 9 pm EST.

“Siesta Key” (MTV) – Reality, Drama

If “Scripted drama” were a thing, I’d call this that, because it’s been advertised as a show for people who liked “The Hills”. I did not like “The Hills”…I fucking LOVED “The Hills”. So, “Siesta Key” has big shoes to fill, okay!? Here’s the scoop from Variety.com:

“Siesta Key” follows a group of seven longtime friends in the Sarasota, Fla., area as they graduate from high school and through their reunion back home in the summer following freshman year in college. This time around, the storytelling in “Key” aims to dive deeper into the emotional lives of the key players rather than the frothier approach of past MTV serials. “Key” and other shows on MTV’s summer slate are laser-focused on reflecting the way teens and twentysomethings live today. That means the cameras capture how much of those lives play out on social media.

Premiers Monday, July 31 @ 10 pm EST.

‘Southern Charm’: Reunion, part II.

The conclusion of the ‘Southern Charm’ reunion.

Hey y’all! We picked right back up where we left off last week, with Kathryn being absolutely insane but backing off after Thomas was shaking with rage and threatening to take her down via court + judge.

Jennifer is too kind and still says she would be friends with Kathryn, even after all the crap they’ve been through.

They have Jennifer leave and bring out Whitney. Andy says a lot of the viewers enjoyed seeing Thomas embrace his role as a father and Thomas says he is moving to a kid-friendly neighborhood.

Andy brought up a question from the audience about the incident earlier in the season where Shep accused Landon of bragging about hanging out with billionaires. Landon said it was a situation (between the billionaires) where she felt sexually threatened.

Oddly, Kathryn and Landon call a truce – and they say it’s genuine. Kathryn believes Thomas used Landon as a weapon against Kathryn. And then they admit they went to a wedding together, but not “together”, just that weekend. OMGGGGGG.

Then, Chelsea comes on! She talks about what happened between her and Shep, and she says she wishes she would see more of “sober” Shep. They also go over the moment where Shep supposedly grabbed Chelsea… and Austen’s face is priceless (eyes rolled back into his damn head).

A viewer asks a question about Landon flirting with Austen in Key West, and Landon plays her usual line, “Oh, that’s just my personality!” And Kathryn jumps right in with, “Here we go again, when you ‘didn’t’ do anything wrong…” Landon is like oh, this is just pointing to your insecurities, and Chelsea is all, “Oh honey I sure as hell ain’t insecure” BWAHAHAHA.

Then they start talking about the boys’ night where Austen confronts Shep, and the guys agree Shep acts like he’s entitled. But before we know it, they’re all accusing each other of being drunk assholes. Naturally.

Andy says he can’t help but notice the FIRE between Kathryn and Thomas; and they admit there will probably always be something between them. Andy asks if there’s ever any chance of them getting back together, and they basically say no… but who knows!

That’s basically the end, but they DO talk about Shep’s new show, “Relation Shep” (which would explain his Instagram handle). They show a preview for it, and it’s sort of like “The Bachelor”, only with Shep. Eh… I dunno…

Oh hell, we all know I’m going to watch it! What did y’all think of this reunion? I liked part one better, but I just love this show all around!

BBC: ‘Ready Player One’.

I have been reading SO much lately, and the book we’re talking about today is seriously so good! I have to say that the week before I picked up this book, I spent an afternoon scouring the library shelves for a book that would give me an escape.

Sure, I’ve been reading books this year that are good, but nothing that really pulls me so much that I can’t put it down, or can’t WAIT to pick it back up. And then I got the text that “Ready Player One” was waiting for me to pick up.

When I checked it out at the library, the librarian kindly informed me that the author, Ernest Cline, actually lives in Austin, and that they were turning the book into a movie. Uh, cool! Here’s the book’s official description from Amazon.com:

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines–puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win–and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book. I’m not really into futuristic-type things, and although I do love a good session of video games, I don’t know much about them, especially newer ones.

But color me wrong, because this book was freaking AWESOME! It was so visual, which I love, and had enough action to keep things rolling. Don’t know video games? Totally doesn’t matter. There are even loads of 80’s references in there (including “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”), which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Some of my favorite lines from the book are:

  • “It was the dawn of new era, one where most of the human race now spent all of their free time inside a video game.”
  • “But I fell forward instead of down, and the stars seemed to fall with me.”
  • “We’re going to have the world’s top five gunters together in one chat room. Who’s gonna sit that out?”
  • “I would abandon the real world altogether until I found the egg.”
  • “Like any classic video game, the Hunt had simply reached a new, more difficult level.”

If you’re following me on Twitter (@OrangeJulius7), you may have seen some of these lines, as I love to live Tweet my reading. As I was doing so, a podcast reached out to me because yes, it’s a podcast about “Ready Player One”! It’s called Get to the Good Part, and although I haven’t listened to it yet, I’m pretty sure they’re reading and discussing the book, chapter by chapter.

As for the movie, all I know so far (according to IMDb) is that it’s coming out next year, is being directed by Steven Spielberg, and TJ Miller is in it. Can’t wait!

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Hungry Heart” by Jennifer Weiner.

It’s supposed to rain all weekend in Austin, so I’m looking forward to hunkering down inside and getting some quality cooking and reading done. I hope y’all have a good one!

‘The Big Sick’.

Great movie!

Saturday night I hit up my favorite movie spot – the Alamo Drafthouse (swear they do not endorse me) – to see “The Big Sick”! I’ve been waiting for this one ever since I saw the trailer, as it promised to be a real-life romantic comedy, complete with cultural relations and well, a big illness.

I know it doesn’t sound like a funny movie, but it definitely was! Here’s an official-ish description of “The Big Sick” I found on Google: Kumail is a Pakistani comic who meets an American graduate student named Emily at one of his stand-up shows. As their relationship blossoms, he soon becomes worried about what his traditional Muslim parents will think of her. When Emily suddenly comes down with an illness that leaves her in a coma, Kumail finds himself developing a bond with her deeply concerned mother and father.

I know a lot of people love Kumail Nanjiani (who plays himself) from “Silicon Valley” – a show I attempted to watch but it was way too much like my old job that it was depressing and I wasn’t going to force it. Seeing this movie was my first real taste of Kumail and I absolutely loved his sense of humor.

I also didn’t expect to love the parts of the movie where he’s spending time with Emily’s parents (don’t worry, no spoilers here), but I did! It was funny and seemed really real and heartfelt.

Naturally, I loved the details of this movie – Kumail’s side-gig as an Uber driver, the “stress-eating” scene, and perhaps most of all, the abundance of air mattresses and the secrets shared atop them.

If you follow me on Instagram (@OrangeJulius7), you probably saw my post from Saturday night mentioning that seeing this movie gave me ALL the feels! I recently went through a little bit of a heartbreak (I am still gathering all of my thoughts on this, but you can plan on seeing something here next week) and am also experiencing the end of a long friendship.

Talk about ROUGH. So, seeing a movie about friendship, family, love, and big sickness – probably wasn’t my best move ever, but hey, it was still a good movie.

I’m definitely recommending this movie to anyone and everyone. Don’t care who you are – you need to see this movie. You’ll laugh, you might cry, and if you’re lucky enough to see it at a Drafthouse, you’ll eat really well, too, because they made an ENTIRE menu of authentic food to go with it! I had the kebab and an ice cold Blood and Honey and it was delish.

So yeah, now you’ve got weekend plans.

Birthday goodies!

Happy birthday girl.

That’s right, I celebrated a birthday earlier this month. While I don’t like to make a big scene about my birthday, I was really excited to be surrounded by cakes, balloons, and I even got sung to, twice! Lucky, lucky girl right here.

I usually spend my birthday with reflection heavy on the brain, but this year, I lounged by the pool and sipped on a peach + wine slushee (get the recipe here). And honestly, I got some pretty cool gifts! I know, I know, that’s not what birthdays are about, but I thought I’d share some of my favorites in case you’re looking to shop for someone on your list.

Laura Geller Summer Goddess Collection – I have gotten a few Laura Geller samples in my monthly Birchbox and continue to be impressed with the quality of this makeup. So, I was pretty amped to get this four-piece collection of full-size products! It comes with Spackle Tinted Make-Up Primer in Champagne (sheer soft gold), Baked Body Frosting Face & Body Glow in Tahitian Glow (mélange of swirled tan, cream and pearly pink), Dramalash Maximum Volumizing Mascara in Black, and Fifty Kisses Lip Locking Liquid Color in Beige Bite (rich nude).

So far, I’ve used the bronzer and the lip color – both I love. The bronzer is the perfect mix of color and highlighter, and even helps to cover redness. The lip color is good for every day, and stays on ALL day with a matte finish. I love it! You can purchase this collection at Ulta.

Q&A a Day 5-Year Journal – This was such a surprise gift, and kind of just what I needed without really knowing it! I’ve always had trouble keeping up with a diary, or a journal, but I’ve read so much recently about the benefits of doing so. This journal is good for five years, and provides a simple question for you to answer each day. This means you can keep a record of your years, but with less of a hassle – I love it! I started writing in it a week ago, and I’m excited to keep it going and then look back at my entries. You can get this journal on Amazon.

Rhinestone Trinket Box – Earlier this year, I met my mom and best friend in Vegas. For my birthday, my mom surprised me with a small, sparkly trinket box in the shape of a fortune cookie, which she bought in Vegas (this isn’t the exact one, but it’s really close). It’s gold, which goes with pretty much everything I own, not to mention that I love keeping my fortunes – especially if they have my lucky numbers on them.

Girl and Dragon Malbec – As a wine lover, any occasion for gifts brings an opportunity for wine. I will always drink wine, and if you’re ever in questions as to what to get me, it’s wine. I will never get enough and I’m always look to taste something new. So, I was pumped when I got a bottle of Girl and Dragon Malbec, which had a cool label (because of course), and later, I found out they’ve won loads of awards. I drank it with homemade vegetarian lo mein and it was scrumptious. You can purchase a bottle on their website.

“The Year of Voting Dangerously” by Maureen Dowd – I don’t often ask for books or buy books because I borrow so many from the library. But this book in particular, has been on my list, and isn’t available at the library. Here’s the description from AmazonTrapped between two candidates with the highest recorded unfavorables, Americans are plunged into The Year of Voting Dangerously. In this perilous and shocking campaign season, The New York Times columnist traces the psychologies and pathologies in one of the nastiest and most significant battles of the sexes ever. Dowd has covered Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton since the ’90s. She was with the real estate mogul when he shyly approached his first Presidential rope line in 1999, and she won a Pulitzer prize that same year for her penetrating columns on the Clinton impeachment follies. Like her bestsellers, Bushworld and Are Men Necessary?, THE YEAR OF VOTING DANGEROUSLY will feature Dowd’s trademark cocktail of wry humor and acerbic analysis in dispatches from the political madhouse. If America is on the escalator to hell, then THE YEAR OF VOTING DANGEROUSLY is the perfect guide for this surreal, insane ride. …And now I can officially add it to my reading list!

Miss Spa facial masks – Much like wine, face masks are another thing I can’t get enough of. If you’re ever wondering what I’m up to, the chances are very likely that I’m sitting in my bed, watching trashy TV, with some sort of clay, sheet, or bee venom mask on my face in hopes I’ll wakeup with radiant skin. Don’t stop believin’! When I was gifted a STACK of Miss Spa facial masks of different varieties, I was excited to add them to my stash. You can get them on Amazon.

Perhaps these awesome gifts I got can serve up some ideas for someone in your life, or heck, maybe you just need to treat yoself. Cheers!

‘Southern Charm’: Reunion (part 1).

‘Southern Charm’ reunion, part 1.

You guys… or should I say y’all? I have been looking forward to the “Southern Charm” reunion since the season started – because the reunions are the best part, right? Right from the jump, Bravo gave us a few clips that just look insane, but of course I’m sure they will be spread over two, if not three parts of a reunion.

The first few moments of the reunion are, of course, introductions, and we confirm that Cameron is pregnant – which I already saw in actual news, but still. We also find out that Craig has PASSED the bar exam! What?!

They started to scratch the surface on Craig and Naomi before the first break, and Shep basically said, “Well if your significant other can’t call you out, who can?”

After the break, Naomi is on the couch! She expanded upon being complicit with Craig’s lies last season. She said she didn’t regret showing the world that they fight, and also didn’t regret apologizing to Craig.

This rolled over into Kathryn and Thomas’ relationship, and a quick back-and-forth between Landon and Kathryn. And at about this time, I realize Whitney either isn’t on the couch or he just hasn’t said shit yet.

Austen was on the hot seat next and admitted he’s no longer working in the beer business. He also talked about his story about his sister and said that fans of the show were very comforting him when he told it.

They also talked about his relationship with Chelsea (she’s also not on the couch), and this rolled over into talking about Shep’s alcohol issues. He said when he lived downtown, he would have 60 people over at his house each night by 3 am, and around 20 people at the house at 6am. Uh, seriously??

Kathryn is up next, starting with her checking into rehab shortly after last season’s reunion. Andy asked Landon why she said Kathryn went to rehab to “find her next victim” (LOLz), and Landon said there were pics posted on Instagram of Kathryn with a guy in Malibu with a Maserati. Ha!

She then says that the rehab was from weed, not cocaine and alcohol, like all the reports said. Weird. Sadly, though, she said she doesn’t have a very big support system.

And then Landon starts crying (dear God).

And THEN Kathryn says Jennifer lied under oath… COMMERCIAL.

Jennifer is on the couch upon return (!), and has a positive update on her son. Then Andy starts in on what happened last reunion, with that damn handkerchief. When Andy asked about Jennifer’s testimony, she pipes up, “I’m not under your gag order”. YAS GIRL. YAS!!!!!

Kathryn then continues to say actually there are questions about Jennifer’s baby daddy. W T actual F????

This builds and tumbles into a conversation about how one night, and YEAR ago, Thomas slept on Jennifer’s couch after a night of partying. Kathryn says no, he was in her bed, and shit blowwwwwws up – saying, “If you keep on, the judge knows everything…”

He is shaking and basically says, I signed an order to keep the truth quiet, but if you keep on, I promise you, it will not be pretty.

DAMN.

And then the episode is over, and we have to wait until part II next week! Arrgggghhh!

Ice cold: A chilly coffee comparison.

Gimmee that BUZZ.

What’s more fitting on a Monday than a look at ALL of the iced coffee and cold brew I’ve been guzzling these past few months? Let me set the record straight though, before I get any further: I drink hot, black coffee every morning. Around three mugs of the stuff.

And I’m not looking to give it up any time soon. But, I started looking into cold coffee drinks (particularly ones that are low-calorie) to give me a boost in the afternoons – but only on days when I’m taking dance in the evenings. I already have enough trouble sleeping.

So, thus began my hunt for the perfect afternoon coffee cocktail, and might I add, I live in a pretty perfect place for this experiment? Besides Seattle, ok. So, here goes (in no particular order):

Starbucks Doubleshot Light Espresso Drink – Years ago, I started a personal boycott of Starbucks because they support Monsanto financially. At the time, I had books, mugs, a GOLD Starbucks card, and I tossed all of it. Since then, I think I’ve had two Starbucks drinks and then I bought a pack of these Light Doubleshots. Unfortunately for me, they are low-calorie (70 cals for 1 can, which is half the usual stuff) and they only have 5 grams of sugar. Plus… they’re delicious! Damn you Starbucks for your well-priced caffeine (it’s about $5 for a 4-pack), and shame on me for being non-stop basic.

Starbucks Doubleshot Protein Coffee – Please see above comments regarding Starbucks. I saw a commercial for the Protein Coffee and couldn’t wait to try it – I mean, how perfect! One can of this has 20 grams of protein, but it IS a bigger can (which means more sugar). I’ve tried the vanilla and the caramel flavors, and like the vanilla better, but it is definitely sweet.

Picnik Butter Coffee (Cappucino) – Picnik is a paleo restaurant in Austin, particularly known for their butter coffee. Butter coffee is made with grass-fed butter and MCT oil, which works to help the body burn fat, and release caffeine sloooowly for a longer buzz. Yes! While I could technically get butter coffee anytime, Picnik bottled the stuff and you can buy it locally or online. The cappucino flavor was probably one of my favorites out of this ENTIRE list.

Blue Bottle New Orleans Iced Coffee – Despite NOT having a location in NOLA, Blue Bottle makes chicory style iced coffee, and serves it up in tiny little milk cartons you can buy at Whole Foods. And I kind of freaked out when I saw it. So I got some, and it was quite delish.

Chameleon Cold Brew Organic Vanilla Coffee – This stuff is $3 for a single-serve bottle, buuut I’m going to say it’s worth it, especially if you really love good coffee. It’s quality stuff and there’s no added sugar, but it’s packed with flavor. If you’re not aware, cold brew is actually brewed with warm water instead of hot, which results in a beverage that’s actually higher in caffeine and has less acidity. That’s why everyone loves it so much!

High Brew (various flavors) – This is ready to drink cold brew right in a can, and aide from the Starbucks’ Doubleshots, this is the next-best affordable coffee at the grocery. Because of this, I’ve tried pretty much every flavor on the shelf: Creamy cappucino + protein (this is my favorite), Mexican vanilla, salted caramel, and black + bold (only 20 calories). All of these are fantastic!

Hey Day Vanilla Cold Brew Coffee – Another cold brew coffee, which is a little more expensive, but also comes in a bigger can. I’ve only tried the vanilla, but it was very yummy!

…What coffees are you guys drinking this summer? Although I’ve clearly picked a few favorites, I’m not afraid to venture out and keep this taste-test going! Cheers to your afternoon, office-appropriate buzz!

BBC: “On Turpentine Lane’.

Congrats – you made it! I feel like I always go into a short week thinking it’s going to be so awesome, but then it ends up being more difficult than a regular week. I don’t know about you, but between getting things back to “normal” after time off, paired with a weird work week and basically NO regular programming on TV, this week was rough!

I don’t know why, but after my trip to Indiana, I was seriously on the struggle bus, until possibly yesterday. I drank everything, ate everything, and barely slept – I can’t believe I stayed up until at least 3 am everyyyyy night on vacation! It’s no wonder I slept for 12 hours a night once I returned.

I went to dance a few times this week, and although it kicked my butt, I definitely think it has helped my brain and body get back on track. I’ll admit, it also encouraged me to walk the rest of my birthday cake right on out to the dumpster. Only clean eating for this girl!

Anyway, it’s another Friday, which means another book to review! I actually saw this one on a Pinterest list and thought it sounded interesting. I ended up seeing it on the audio shelf at the library and listened to it during my road trip to Baton Rouge.

What book? It’s “On Turpentine Lane” by Elinor Lipman. Here’s the book’s description from Amazon.com:

At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her claustro-suburban hometown, where she writes institutional thank-you notes for her alma mater. It’s a peaceful life, really, and surely with her recent purchase of a sweet bungalow on Turpentine Lane her life is finally on track. Never mind that her fiancé is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, too busy to return her texts (but not too busy to post photos of himself with a different woman in every state). And never mind her witless boss, or a mother who lives too close, or a philandering father who thinks he’s Chagall. 

When she finds some mysterious artifacts in the attic of her new home, she wonders whether anything in her life is as it seems. What good fortune, then, that Faith has found a friend in affable, collegial Nick Franconi, officemate par excellence . . . 

Elinor Lipman may well have invented the screwball romantic comedy for our era, and here she is at her sharpest and best. On Turpentine Lane is funny, poignant, and a little bit outrageous. 

I’ll admit, the part about her troubled dating life had me hooked when I picked up this book. But once I got into reading it, her fiance became VERY annoying, very quickly. There is nothing at stake if the reader doesn’t have sympathy for its main character… and I definitely don’t have sympathy for someone who puts up with this dude’s shenanigans.
However, there’s a B plot working its way through the book that’s creepy as hell, and keeps this book rolling until the end. Don’t worry, no spoilers! But, if you’re into lite-mysteries, I’d say this one is worth checking out.
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is, “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline (yeah, get REALLY excited for this one).
I hope you all have a great weekend – I honestly don’t have too much planned aside from taking a dance class, probably doing some reading, and watching my way through my DVR… shameless, chill weekend! See you right back here on Monday!

‘Southern Charm’: Ain’t No Thang Like a Chicken Wing.

The ‘Southern Charm’ season finale!

Helloooo! I know I’m nearly a WEEK late on my “Southern Charm” recap – I did watch it last Monday night while I was in Indiana, and missed being able to write about it immediately after. But it’s finally here!

You may recall at the end of the previous episode, Landon’s behavior toward Kathryn pretty much shocks the group and that’s where things were left off. The whole scene triggered something in Thomas, and now he’s convinced Landon was just into social climbing, and he’s completely turned off. Relationship = over.

This means that whole beginning scene in the season was a DAMN waste! Argh, Bravo!

On the other hand, there’s Chelsea and Austen. After Austen stood up for Chelsea with the whole Shep shebang, there’s clearly a question in the air about where they stand. Even though Chelsea says she doesn’t want a relationship, they stayed in the same room in Key West, took morning swims together, and seem to be getting along awfully nicelyyyy…

The entire question really comes to a head in one of the final scenes of the season – where Shep has another lady on his lap. Boy is Chelsea FUMING! She confronts him afterward, saying he made her look like a fool, and he’s all, “Well you’re the one who said you didn’t want a relationship.”

So she eats her words and they are officially together. Aw!

Meanwhile, Craig and Naomi are still on the rocks. They have yet another pretty rocky conversation, and it almost looks as if they’re going to break up… but they don’t. However, I am really curious to see where they are at once the reunion airs.

In the end, there were two things that stuck out in this episode: 1. The group spends an entire evening riding around Key West on mopeds, which sounds like no big deal, but it looks hilarious.

Dani faints at a bar and half of the group panics and calls 911, while the other half are out on the town and they speed off to the hospital on their mopeds. It was funny, trust me.

The other thing was that things between Kathryn and Thomas start to get so good… that she tells him she feels the urge to kiss him, so they kiss! By the time the final party rolls around, the entire city knows about it and just CANNOT deal.

Naturally, when the episode ends – we’re left not knowing where they stand. So much reunion fodder!

BBC: ‘The Night We Said Yes’.

Hellooooo – I’m back! I apologize for being gone this week – I was on a little vacation and didn’t have my life together enough to schedule posts or really even *think* about the blog. But I haven’t forgotten you!

While I have a ton of things on my mind to discuss, I’ll have to save it because we’re REAL behind on the book club updates! The latest read from Blanche’s Book Club is “The Night We Said Yes” by Lauren Gibaldi. Here’s the official book description from Amazon.com:

What happens when Matt and Ella reunite one year after their breakup? Are second chances really possible?

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over her ex-boyfriend and graduate high school—simple as that. But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player—was never part of that plan. And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

But then Matt leaves town, breaking Ella’s heart. And when he shows up a year later—wanting to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

I love reading YA novels in the summer! This one had an interesting layout in that one chapter would take place in the now, while the next chapter would be from the past. The entire book also takes place in a single night – particularly, the night they decided to say yes.

That’s right, they said yes to everything someone suggested, provided it wasn’t too outrageous. This story reminded me of a night over the summer I had in high school, and it was really fun. This book brought me back in the best way. Plus, it was a breeze to read and sometimes you just need that.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “On Turpentine Lane” by Elinor Lipman.

I know we’re coming up on a holiday weekend – but I definitely have to work on Monday, so there’s that. I’m celebrating my 32nd birthday this weekend, even though I feel like I’ve been 32 for possibly two years already.

I’ll plan on posting Monday, skipping Tuesday, and then we’ll be back to normal around here. After all, I still have to fill you in on the season finale of “Southern Charm” (which, yes, I’ve already watched) and my trip to Indiana!

Have a safe and fun weekend!

‘Southern Charm’: A Tribe Called Key West.

Kathryn is… NOT… stirring up trouble?

Hey, hey! I feel like the episodes of “Southern Charm” just keep getting better and better, and after seeing the previews for this week’s episode, I was reallllly looking forward to things completely blowing up in Key West for Cameron’s birthday.

So, here we go!

At the opening of the episode, Craig has enlisted his cat Gizmo to help him make baby clothes for Cameron’s birthday, after the psychic told her she was going to have a child within the year.

At Chelsea’s house, Shep comes over – again- uninvited. He apologizes for basically attacking her in the bar, and making her feel cheap. He tries to explain that he acts withdrawn because he likes her, which is obviously ridiculous.

Later, Kathryn comes over to Cameron’s house to talk about the upcoming trip. Cameron admits she sees this trip as a “last hurrah” because she is considering having a child. After a quick heart-to-heart, Kathryn tells Cameron about the trip we’d all heard about on the last reunion – when Thomas took Landon on the 3-day trip he’d planned for Kathryn.

Hmm!

At Craig’s, Naomi admits she doesn’t really want to go on the trip because of how bad of a place she’s in with Craig. She even says if they both go on the trip, she might not be with him when they get back.

Landon is questioning whether or not she should go, because of Kathryn. Lord. Thomas is encouraging her to go, basically saying, she’s my baby-mama and she’s not going anywhere, so get used to it.

Later, Austen and Chelsea are heading over to Austen’s parents’ house for dinner (awwww). But after she met with Shep, she’s acting like things are cool with Shep and that things didn’t exaaaactly happen the way she mentioned.

And basically mid-conversation, they pull up to the family home, and have to plaster on some smiles before going inside for dinner. Naturally, Chelsea is winning the parents over, which has Austen fretting since now he doesn’t know where they stand.

The gang heads to Key West – even Kathryn, along with Naomi AND Craig, and Chelsea and Austen get separate rooms. Shit.

Finally, it’s the scene they keep playing on the previews where it’s Landon against Chelsea and Cameron – as they defend Kathryn and question Landon about the trip she took with Thomas. She still denies that anything happened, says she had her “own wing” of the house, and that Kathryn made the whole thing up.

Please, girl.

At dinner, Landon is sure to sit very far away from Thomas, and Kathryn orders a margarita, which I find strange considering she is in drug recovery??

Oddly though, everyone is getting along great, and Kathryn even apologizes to Whitney and he returns the favor. At Whitney’s suggestion, Landon tells Kathryn she wants to move on from the past and just let it go. W O W.

It’s actually so good, that it’s shady. Landon is hugging her and being all, “As women we’re all each other has…” and even Thomas is left questioning her motives. He suggests her apology to Kathryn was self-serving, in order to advance her agenda.

…And next week is the SEASON FINALE.

BBC: ‘Head for the Edge, Keep Walking’.

Happy Friday! It has been a busy week on my end, and I’m sort of in a race to the finish – the finish being my flight to Indianapolis a week from today. Before then, I’ve got a lot on my plate and I feel like I’m running on some serious adrenaline, but hey, it’s all good!

I still had some time to read this week, and finished my book sale find ($1) “Head for the Edge, Keep Walking” by Kate Tough. Here’s the description from Amazon.com:

Jill Beech’s nine-year relationship is over. She covers the sadness with madness, going dancing with her off-beat friends and attempting a series of hilariously bad internet dates. Then life is flipped on its head again by some shocking news. Adrift in her mid-thirties, no-one does lost quite like Jill. Wry, witty, resilient but bewildered, she is left asking, what does it take to stay sane in this life? And why does it look easier for everyone else? While her friends are preoccupied with pregnancy, Jill looks elsewhere for meaning. Will she find happiness with a kitten called Cyril? A job she can finally believe in? Or a charming ex-snowboard champion who wants to settle down? Events force Jill to head for the edge—will she fall headlong or turn things around and keep walking?

When I read the back of the book, I felt like “Omigosh, this sounds exactly like me” – minus that whole 9-year relationship thing. But when I read the book, her problems weren’t exactly as the book jacket described.

Yes, she was trying to find her life again, trying to find little bits of joy in her job, and see some sort of meaning in the endless cycle of going out each night. But she was also faced with some semi-serious health issues, on top of attempting to date and find love.

It was a good read – just a little bit different than I expected, and I’ll admit, I often don’t understand British humor.

The next book I’ll be reading is “The Night We Said Yes” by Lauren Gibaldi.

I hope you all have a great weekend – I’ll be doing some baking tonight, so if you want to see it you can catch it on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7. Tomorrow, I’m road-tripping it to Louisiana, and I’ve got a Dispatch album in my console, along with an audio book!

See y’all on Monday!