Review: ‘The Search for Everything’.

John Mayer’s latest album, “The Search for Everything”.

I’m so excited for today – a new semester of my Blog Class kicks off at UT – plus, we’re halfway through the week! I know I was pret-ty skeptical of John Mayer’s latest album a few months ago, when we were only given a measly four songs per month.

But, now that it’s been released in its entirety (I actually got a free copy with the purchase of a concert ticket), and I’ve had a chance to listen to it – in my car and in my earbuds – and have heard a few songs from it live, I think I’ve got a grasp on my opinions.

From the jump, in general: I like it. Is it my favorite album? Nope. But there are definitely some gems that cannot (and will not) be ignored in the entirely of Mayer’s career. Here’s my take.

Best song: In the Blood 

If you’re looking for one of those typical John Mayer songs that’s got genius lyrics and is going to cleverly teach you some life lessons, THIS is the one.

Although we’ve been told from Mayer before that he’s aware of his ways (you know what I’m talking about), this song really seems to drive it home, while also discussing his family life – which he’s alluded to in a few previous songs.

“In the Blood” has been released to country radio stations as his next single.

How much of my father am I destined to become?
Will I dim the lights inside me just to satisfy someone?
Will I let this woman kill me, or do away with jealous love?
Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?

I can feel the love I want, I can feel the love I need
But it’s never gonna come the way I am
Could I change it if I wanted, can I rise above the flood?
Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?

I still really like “Love on the Weekend”, and it will probably remain to be a favorite of mine – I’ve had too many long distance relationships and understand what he’s singing about all TOO well.

There’s two upbeat tracks that are really fun: “Still Feel Like Your Man” (which Mayer admitted was about Katy Perry), and “Moving On and Getting Over”, which I had the pleasure of hearing live. It was fantastic. Many critics said this album was Mayer’s “return to pop”, but I disagree, and I think these two tracks are fair proof that he’s still going his own way.

And finally, there’s “Rosie”, which reminds me of early 90’s Lenny Kravtiz – loungey blues with desperate love lyrics. It’s catchy as hell, and makes for a good ear worm.

Yes, there’s a few other tracks stuffed in… and they may as well go forgotten. I’m not even going to pretend like a song titled “Emoji of a Wave” is worth my shit. Not even for John Mayer.

It’s no “Battle Studies”, but I definitely feel like we got a lot of hype for this one that was perhaps unwarranted. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll hold me over, but I can’t help but wonder if Mayer is suffering from a little bit of writer’s block.

In albums’ passed, we’ve gone on a journey with him over heartbreak (admittedly the ones we saw play out in the tabloids), his life as a famous person (before moving West), his family, and his struggle with getting older.

But is his journey over? His life is quiet now, and although that’s good for him, it sometimes isn’t good for the art. Been there, done that.

We were spoiled with the release of “Born and Raised” and then right afterward (#blessed) with “Paradise Valley”. It miiight be awhile before we hear from Mayer again, despite his claims that he’s got a vault of songs that were meant for “The Search for Everything”.

Guess we’ll see…

‘Southern Charm’: Craig of All Trades, Master of None.

I cannot get enough of this show!

Yay for Monday night TV! When the episode starts, Cameron is heading to a witch’s house…no seriously. She admits she was into white magic as a kid and has remained interested, so she picks out and purchases a voodoo doll to keep evil spirits away.

But let’s face facts, we are here for the drama between Shep and Austen, which I now realize I’ve been spelling his name wrong all along. Apologies.

So, the boys are playing basketball, and basically Chelsea comes up in conversation. Austen admits he’s seeing her, and Shep tries to play it cool but says Austen should have “let him know.” Austen is all, so I have to check in? No.

Meanwhile, Whitney and T-Rav meet for drinks and T-Rav admits that he can’t attract the right women because of his baggage with his baby mama. Well, well, well…

Later, Katherine calls Jennifer to see if she wants to get lunch. Basically she wants to rip her because she thinks her and Thomas got together.

Katherine is cold from the start, and Jennifer asks for clarity. Katherine is still pissed that Thomas passed her a handkerchief at the damn show reunion! Jennifer reminds her that she gave birth to a baby that very well could have died.

Pas Jennifer is sitting there, telling Katherine about her child’s brain surgery, crying… Kat is an ice COLD bitch.

At Craig’s house, he’s amped because he bought a sewing machine, and it arrived. Seriously what the hell? When he calls Naomi to share the news, she’s less than thrilled. I wonder why!?

Later, he’s legitimately sewing a tiny shirt…using the pedal barefoot.

At T-Rav’s, he pours himself a little cocktail, and calls Landon to ask her out to dinner. She has plans so she suggests lunch… Which Thomas says is the friend zone. He agrees on the phone but hangs up and throws it…ha!

Then, Shep takes himself to the doctor for a checkup, and the doc suggests not drinking for a week…. Uhhh… We will see how that goes.

Later, Craig cooks dinner for Naomi, and while eating it, he tells her that he’s looking to buy a rental property buy the end of the week and he also signed papers for his clothing line. LOLZ.

Naturally, Naomi is visibly pissed and tried to spell it out for him, that he can’t do all of these things at once if he ever hopes to pass the bar exam.

He then tells her that she’s acting dumb. Oohshitttt. The episode basically ends there but from the looks of next week’s episode, the fight isn’t over. Yowza!

Life after vacation.

Le sigh.

Hey yo! I’m starting this week off with an apology – I know I only blogged twice last week, which was not planned. Vacation kicked my ass!

I got back to Austin Monday night around 9:30, and by the time I got home, showered, got myself ready for bed, and watched “Southern Charm”, it was after midnight. When I arrived at work on Tuesday, there was all sorts of unnecessary drama that I did not need.

By the time things were starting to feel back to usual around the office – I even got things organized there, and started catching up on all of my podcasts again – the power went out and completely jacked up our internet, leaving us to work from home for a day and a half. Ugh!

It took me much longer to get back to my “normal” life than I thought. And I wondered… is this vacation after 30? I’ve always heard people complain about jet lag and adjusting back to regular life after vacation, but never really experienced it. Whew, not until now!

But, I did take a few dance classes last week, and then used my weekend to help get myself back in order.

After all of the junk (but very delicious) food and drink I had on vacation, I was excited to clean out my fridge and hit the grocery with a list of fresh produce. I am happy to report that my fridge is now full of Naked Juices, fruit, raw veggies, boiled eggs, and soda water. I’ll be living off that until I feel skinny again.

I spent a majority of my Saturday volunteering for the Austin Film Festival – an event that’s become very special to me. There was an opportunity to earn some hours by passing out fliers for their kids’ Summer Camp… I ended up walking 12,000 steps going door-to-door, and even ran from a couple of roosters on my route! It did nothing for my vacation fatigue, but it was an interesting way to spend a Saturday.

I also finished reading a book – so look for that review right here, on Friday for Blanche’s Book Club.

I did a few chores around the house, and have, at the very least, prepped my laundry for a trip to the laundromat tomorrow. And finally, I got word that my Blog Class at UT was confirmed for this semester, and it starts on Wednesday night! I’m so excited to be back teaching, and am looking forward to meeting a new group of students. Teaching is such a thrill for me and I’m excited to share my love of blogging to a new set of students.

So, I’m hitting the ground running this week – I’m back at work, back to dancing, blogging, teaching, and eating healthy (I even made veggie “sushi”) for awhile – at least until my next vacation, which is planned for the end of June. Summer is here, y’all, and I love me some summer adventures!

Isn’t it true, that when you take a vacation, you just want to keep taking them? I feel like whenever I go on vacation, I try to think of ways I can adjust my current life so that I can take more vacations and/or travel to more places. Then I just simply WISH that my life was a vacation, but I suppose it wouldn’t be as special if that were the case… or would it? I’m willing to be the guinea pig.

And so, I’m back – and I’m finally feeling refreshed. I’ve got some fun stuff planned for the blog this week (“Southern Charm” recap, a John Mayer review, Blanche’s Book Club, etc.), so I hope you’ll stick around. It’s good to be BACK!

Vegas recap.

Howdy! I’m still very much in recovery mode after a fun-filled trip to Las Vegas over a long weekend. I am tired, and completely off-schedule given the time difference, and in general I feel like I need to do a juice cleanse and/or eat a bunch of acai bowls until I feel clean again.

But of course, life doesn’t stop, work is nuts, my apartment is in shambles, and my calendar is full. Whew!

However, I was so excited to take a look at ALL the pictures I took (it’s a lot, just look at my Instagram @OrangeJulius7), and definitely wanted to post my favorites here – in no particular order.

I landed in Vegas late Thursday night, checked into the Palms, and promptly made myself a drink and hit the slots – losing $20 nearly immediately.

On Friday, it was a little chilly outside so we skipped on the pool and ventured to The Strip to partake in street drinking, gambling, sight-seeing (particularly the fountain at the Bellagio), and overeating at Wahlburgers.

Friday night was the Backstreet Boys concert at the Axis near/in Planet Hollywood, which was difficult AF to find. But, the hunt for the venue was worth it, because BSB pretty much made all of my boy band dreams come true. They played ALL of their hits, danced a lot (they even did the same dance from some of their music videos), and even wore glittery suit jackets for a few songs – and I about lost it. It was fantastic!

After the concert, I was on a mission to find two “secret” gems in Vegas – the Moet champagne vending machine and the unmarked pizza spot. We found them both, met a few cool people along the way, and saw some great views of the city. And, that pizza was some of the best I’ve ever had.

View from the Palms pool + lounge.

On Saturday, we hit the Palms pool (which was laced with security), shelled out the cash for a giant Palms Punch (nearly $50 for a souvenir cup filled with rum and champagne), and relaxed until it was time to get ready for the John Mayer concert. We even enjoyed a yummy dinner outdoors along the strip, before screaming our faces off at Mayer’s last show before meeting up with Dead & Co.

He mixed things up, singing several songs from “Room for Squares”, and of course, several from “The Search for Everything” – but I think he shocked everyone when he brought out the John Mayer Trio for a few songs.

After the concert, we noticed the roller coaster at New York, New York was eerily close to the T-Mobile arena, so we rode that… which was pretty terrifying, and thankfully was a drunk decision.

On Sunday, we had another day of adventure, hitting Linq for the delicious, huge plates at Hash House a-go-go (I got the Indiana pork tenderloin). Then, we checked out the Linq promenade for the Sprinkles cupcake ATM (I got the chocolate marshmallow), and to check out the High Roller.

Then we caught a ride to Fremont Street – Vegas’ original strip – where there are lights covering the street, live music, and several old casinos (some even spit quarters). To close the night we headed back to the strip for a nice dinner at Hexx – a bottle of wine, impressive charcuterie, shrimp pasta, and a sunset view of the Bellagio.

On Monday morning, we headed out for one last adventure: the Neon Museum. Neon signs are a signature of Las Vegas and have been since it was born, but many casinos change their names or simply lease their signs, so many of these signs end up in a “Boneyard”, which is what we got to tour. It was dozens upon dozens of neon bones, complete with a tour guide who told us all sorts of great history, and we even talked about the history of fonts and how neon is made. It was fantastic!

I flew home to Austin Monday afternoon, and although I felt my body was ready to get back to my usual life, I was sad to leave. That was my second time in Vegas, and both times I’ve just had SO much fun. I always feel like I need to make massive life changes once a vacation is over. I sure was sad driving the country roads home – with no neon or flashing lights to guide me.

But, who knows what’s in store for me over the next few months! I know I’m going to try and keep things exciting. I hope you enjoy my pictures 🙂

‘Southern Charm’: Shepwrecked. 

Chelsea is at the center of the Shepwreck.

Shew! I made it back from a fantastic trip to Las Vegas – I’m writing this from my bed at 11pm, having just gotten home and showered.

Naturally, one of the first things I’m doing upon arrival is watching tonight’s (last night’s if you’re reading this on Tuesday) episode of “Southern Charm”.

Polo match. Austin picks up Chelsea. He asks her if there’s anything going on between her and Shep. She says they made out but he’s an idiot (huh?).

At the match, everyone thinks it’s a little awkward seeing Austin and Chelsea on a date. Agreed.

T-Rav’s kids are there and Craig gets offended when he doesn’t give the children proper attention. Craig then proceeds to tell everyone that he’s leaving because Thomas “ignores his kids”.

The next day, Shep is realizing his 37th birthday is in a few days. He asks Whitney if Chelsea was at the polo match. Whitney confirms that Shep indeed has competition.

Meanwhile, Austin has already made drink plans with Chelsea and he’s telling a friend maybe he did break Bro Code. The friend says no, that Shep isn’t the guy that’s likely to care. Yikes.

On the date, Austin and Chelsea are having some pretty serious conversation – from having kids to one-night stands. She seems to be getting pretty drunk, and Austin suggests they go back to his place. The scene cuts before she answers, but it shows Shep calling her the next morning asking if they can meet up soon – she agrees.

Shep also called Landon to invite her to his birthday party… So that should be interesting.

Later, Naomi and Cameron go to get their nails done and Naomi confesses that she feels like it’s her fault Craig hasn’t taken the bar exam because she has created a safe space at home where he doesn’t have to talk about difficult things, such as why he hasn’t taken the exam yet. Cameron thinks Naomi will leave soon if Craig doesn’t get his act together.

Shep visit Chelsea at her work – a hair salon – and she cuts his hair. He asks her about Austin, and although she’s coy about it, Shep can tell something is up between them.

For his birthday, the gang joins a bunch of Shep’s friends on a boat that Whitney dubs the “SS Tart” – which literally made me laugh out loud.

Cameron grills Chelsea about her feelings for Shep vs. Austin – and she says she felt more emotion when she kissed Austin. She says she can’t get over how much of a player Shep is. Fair enough.

Cameron tells Shep what the deal is and he says he knows Chelsea’s hesitation is because of his reputation as the “town bicycle” – LOLZ. Although he denies his status, he proceeds to flirt with every girl on the boat except Chelsea. So, looks like she was right.

Meanwhile, Whitney and T-Rav are talking about Landon, and T-Rav admits he likes her body. They call Landon over and she says, yes she is attracted to Thomas, because they like a lot of the same things, but it’s all of the baby mama drama that turns her off.

But perhaps from that little snippet in the first episode, she will get over it and they will date. Only time will tell!

BBC: ’13 Reasons Why’.

Eeeek! I am so, so excited to share my latest read from Blanche’s Book Club with you! I know this plot is a popular subject (or at least it seems to be in my world), so let’s get to it.

The book is “13 Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. I had this book on my reserve list for at least two months at the library, and just got it about a week ago. The odd thing is, as soon as I picked it up, I started hearing lots of people talk about it – at the dance studio, on the radio – because it’s also a series on Netflix.

Anyway, here’s the scoop from Amazon.com:

You can’t stop the future. 
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
               
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Sounds a little creepy, right? I’ll admit, it was a little eery to read, but I whipped right through it. I’ll be honest, when the reasons for Hannah’s suicide start cropping up – I was a little skeptical – really? I know, it sounds terrible. But, I also remember high school was like, and it ain’t easy. And as the book progressed, her reasons grew darker – and it was sadly relatable.

One thing that was really interesting is the way this book is set up. It moves quickly, tape-by-tape, and although you almost don’t want to know what Hannah is going to say next, you DO at the same time.

At the end of the book, the author included a Q&A where he talks a lot about the inspiration for the book, and he said he got the idea for the cassette tapes after visiting a museum and visiting an exhibit that had an audio component (complete with headphones). He said that although cassettes are dated, he didn’t want to include technology/social media because it was too fast-paced and we wouldn’t necessarily be able to live in the past.

Fascinating, right?! It really works in this story. I am DEFINITELY recommending this book to anyone and everyone – I loved it, and I hope you do, too.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Morgan Mastson. Read it with us!

As you read this, I’m already in Vegas, so I hope you’re having an equally wild, fun, and free weekend – catch you later!

The history of Las Vegas.

Viva Las Vegas!

Tonight, I’m hopping on a flight to Las Vegas, ready to spend most of my dollars on drinks and slot machines, wear some of my tackiest clothes (a cactus bodysuit is packed), and eat sinfully delicious food until my stomach hurts.

It will be my second time in Vegas, a place I’ve come to associate with good times. But how did Vegas, as we know it, come to be? I looked up a little info.

Las Vegas was incorporated in 1911, and its first claim to fame was its railroads. At the time, gambling was illegal, that is until 1931 when casinos began to takeover Fremont Street (the city’s only paved road), joined by showgirls.

In just 10 years, “The Strip” was born, and served as a second home to casinos and huge, glittery signs running off hydropower. By 1966, small casinos turned into massive ones that took their design cues from escapes around the globe – Paris, Rome, Egypt, and New York.

I remember years ago, before I’d ever been to Vegas, a family member went for a work conference. Upon his return he said he didn’t like it – “It’s just excess in every single way.”

And that’s exactly why I love it! Want a casino? How about one that’s 171,000 square feet, like at the MGM? It’s the biggest casino in the world.

During my last trip to Vegas, we stayed at the MGM hotel & casino, not knowing how historically huge it is, and I was stunned every time I went downstairs. You could actually never leave if you wanted to – or you COULD leave and step outside to see the lights, huge fountains, ceiling-high strands of crystals, a near-replica of the Eiffel Tower – it’s all so much to take it, but it’s a treat for the senses!

This time, we’re staying at the The Palms and I’m just SO excited! The Palms is owned by a very famous Vegas family, the Maloofs – which may sound familiar to you if you’ve watched “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”, as Adrienne Maloof is one of the heirs to the throne.

The Palms was, at one time, home to the only Playboy club in the world. It has since closed, but it was quite iconic with crystal chandeliers, magazine covers throughout, and Roberto Cavallie bunny costumes.

The Palms is also home to a few famous suites, including the Hardwood Suite, which runs a cold $25,000 per night. Here’s the scoop from CNN Money: You don’t have to be a professional basketball player to enjoy the hardwood suite at the Palms, although if you are, then this is the room for you. In addition to the half basketball court, electronic scoreboard and extra-long beds, there’s also a locker room that can be stocked upon request with basketball jerseys and or cheerleading outfits — heck, you can even get your own cheerleaders if that’s what you want. As a general rule, most special requests will be gladly filled by the hotel staff. The two-story suite, which has a full bar as well as plenty of room for a DJ booth, is as well suited to partying as it is to playing games; in fact Russell Simmons and Paris Hilton have both hosted lavish affairs here.

If you’re a fan of MTV’s “Real World”, you may remember the cast of “Real World Las Vegas” resided at the Palms, and their suite still stands as the “Real World Suite”, minus all the cameras. It’s 3,000 square feet and even houses the original “confessional” room if that’s what you’re into ($10,000 per night).

…So, there’s that. I’m ready. It’s been a minute since I’ve had a vacation and I’m looking forward to a long weekend of glitter and adventure!

John Mayer’s perfect setlist.

Hello, love.

Well, I’m heading to Vegas on Thursday and aside from seeing the Backstreet Boys, the excitement of the Strip, the relaxation of the Palms’ pool (and bar), I’m also seeing my soulmate, John Mayer.

I’ve loved John Mayer since the first time I saw him live, when I was 16. If you do the math, that was almost 16 years ago – a very long time to be in love. But, like most relationships, we’ve had our ups and downs…

Almost exactly five years ago, I made plans to cross an item off my bucket list: Go to a city I’ve never been to and see a concert.

That city was Las Vegas, and that concert was John Mayer. I bought the tickets, lined up to meet a friend there, and we were SO excited. But about six weeks before our trip, John Mayer cancelled his tour because he had to have surgery on his vocal chords, and would be on rest.

Needless to say, I was crushed. But, my friend and I still decided to go to Vegas, and we still had a lot of fun. It would be another long while before John Mayer went on tour. And when he did, I saw him three times, in three separate states. I’d seen his tour so many times that year, I’d nearly memorized his set list, and could often tell by his guitar choice or chord tuning, what he was about to play.

But that was, like, three years ago – and now the guy is finally back on tour. I’ll be honest, I’m not so sure about this album, “The Search for Everything“. Yes, there’s some songs I like, but it’s no “Paradise Valley” – I absolutely love that album.

When he released “Love on the Weekend“, he promised he was going on tour, and he also said it would be everything we’d ever dreamed of. Whoa, whoa, whoa – big promises! It’s really okay, John, you don’t have to put on a nationwide tour just to finally profess your love for me.

Kidding aside, I got to thinking about what a perfect John Mayer concert would look like. After seeing him at least a dozen times over the years, I’ve heard him play some of my favorites. But what if there was a concert full of them?

I’ve refrained from looking up the setlist for this tour, but I’ve put together my own – what would be the perfect John Mayer concert setlist for me? This was tough, but here it is:

Why Georgia

If I Ever Get Around to Living

Moving On And Getting Over

Waitin’ On The Day

Split Screen Sadness

Born And Raised

Love On The Weekend

Clarity

On The Way Home

Tracing

In Repair

Dear Marie

Stop This Train

*Encore*

In Your Atmosphere

Wildfire

…What do you think? We will see how his concert compares… I have absolutely NO idea what to expect! I’ll definitely let you know… (you could also follow me on SnapChat and see for yourself @OrangeJulius7).

 

‘Southern Charm’: Step and Release.

Geez, I love this show.

I started last night by watching part three of the “Vanderpump Rules” reunion, so that was juicy, and then settled in for another episode of “Southern Charm”.

It kicks off with Cameron hitting the gym, saying she’s taking charge of her health after living off “gas station food”, which makes me even more jealous of her. Chelsea joins the training session and says Shep stayed over, but they didn’t have sex. Not buying it.

Later, Craig and Landon meet for lunch where he says he’s helping Naomi put on a charity event, but shocker – he has no clue what he’s doing and hasn’t done much. Craig and Landon bond over how much they both hate Shep.

Meanwhile, Naomi is at Shep’s to pick up a donation and apparently have a glass of wine… hmm…

Later, Catherine shows up to meet with a modeling agent. While her pictures from the past are quite stunning, her agent gives her a reality check: she’s older, and well, doesn’t present as well in person. She suggests perhaps modeling with her children for family shoots – but because of her past, her visitations must be supervised. So, we’ll see.

Then, Landon heads over to T-Rav’s house for a cocktail, and he tells her he wants her help putting on a polo match for charity. He says he also wanted to reach out since he hadn’t in awhile. She seems really excited about both of these things, and we alllll know the relationship wheels are turning.

T-Rav, Austen (Austin?), and Shep head out for a guys’ night, which doesn’t happen without a little Landon bashing. They move on to a separate bar and proceed to have shot after shot, and Shep runs off with a random chick, who then actually turns him down for T-Rav! What!?

Despite his little efforts, Craig pulls off his part of the charity event and Naomi is happy, for now – I’ll still be shocked if they stay together this entire season. At the event, Landon is telling her friend that she doesn’t think her boyfriend has a “real job” because he sent her a picture of a fish he caught. Umm, ok? What’s your job, Landon?

Also at the event, Chelsea and Austen get to talking…flirting heavily, and he says they should go to the polo match together. She agrees, and gives him her number. Uh, WHAT?

Then, of course the episode is over and in the previews for next week, it looks like things get REAL awkward after they have their date.

Well, I’ll be there to watch it all go down and will report back!

Saying goodbye to ‘Girls’.

Saying goodbye to one of my favorite shows!

While most of America was gorging on honey ham and chocolate bunnies, I was waiting for the series finale of HBO’s “Girls”. Don’t worry, I whipped up stuffed shells with butternut squash sauce and some crescent rolls for the occasion.

I know “Girls” took a lot of shit – for making millenials look bad; for highlighting self-absorbed characters; for a lack of diversity; and well, often because of Lena Dunham. But I really, really liked this show.

Let’s be clear: it is/was not “Sex and the City”. Instead, it was the story of a group of friends living in New York city, post-college. It involved shitty boyfriends (and husbands), crap jobs, Brooklyn apartments, and the underlying sting of figuring out how to navigate life.

Before the final episode aired, I was a little nervous! But the episode flew by and it was a little surreal. Basically, it was a look into life after Hannah gives birth – 5 months later.

Soo… she actually named her baby Grover, which I was surprised by, and Marnie moved in with her to help with the baby. Naturally, they’re getting on each other’s nerves, and Marney is still navigating how to properly be single.

I was sad to see that the only characters in this episode were Hannah, Marnie, and Hannah’s mom. We were left with the same questions we started with this season: What would happen with Shosh? Did she actually get married? Would Desi ever get clean? What about Hannah’s dad? And Adam – he’s going to stay with HER?

The end just didn’t seem to fit for me, and I know I’m not alone because Twitter.

Everyone was saying last week’s episode was the real finale, which was probably true. All of the ladies found themselves at Shosh’s engagement party, and basically decided they weren’t meant to be in a room together.

Nonetheless Hannah and Jessa ended up dancing the night away, judgment-free.

Regardless, the finale tied a bow on the six seasons we’ve come to love. Hannah grew up and is somehow raising a child without the help of a man. Her mom has found peace, and Marnie, well, she’s learning to find her own way.

No, it’s not an ending that answers our questions, but truthfully, this season was for the books. I’m sad to see this show go – the reason I got HBO in the first place – but I know it was time.

Farewell, “Girls”!

BBC: ‘My Year With Eleanor’.

Hellooooo! I know it’s technically a holiday, so perhaps you’re reading this from the comfort of your bed? Or the beach? Here’s to hoping!

I’m at the office today, but we have spent a majority of the week packing, since the movers are coming tomorrow to put all of our work things in a new building. I checked out the place yesterday, and it’s nice, but very corporate. I’ll report there on Monday, so we’ll see how that goes.

I am really excited to talk about the last book I read: “My Year With Eleanor” by Noelle Hancock.

This book has been on my reading list for quite awhile, and I went to several bookstores looking for it. My mom eventually ordered it from a far away Half-Price Books, and I’ve just been waiting for the exact right time to read it. I knew it was going to be inspiring, and well, I’m in need of some inspiration! Here’s the scoop from Amazon.com:

In the tradition of My Year of Living Biblically and Eat Pray Love comes My Year with Eleanor, Noelle Hancock’s hilarious tale of her decision to heed the advice of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and do one thing a day that scares her in the year before her 30th birthday. Fans of Sloane Crosley and Chelsea Handler will absolutely adore Hancock’s charming and outrageous chronicle of her courageous endeavor and delight in her poignant and inspiring personal growth.

While I’m not a huge fan of the loads of Eleanor Roosevelt quotes out there, I can definitely appreciate a person willing to step out on a ledge for an entire year.

When you think about it, doing something every day that scares you seems like a really terrible task – despite all the growth, of course. But, Noelle Hancock mixes it up and does some really terrifying things (gets in a shark cage, flies a fighter jet, and goes skydiving), and she does some things that are less scary, but leave room for embarrassment (sings karaoke, does stand up comedy, and visits her ex boyfriends).

Naturally, she saves one giant task for last, and I won’t spoil it.

I know there’s lots of books out there like this, and while I haven’t read “Eat, Pray, Love”, I’ve heard it’s pretentious, and that’s exactly what I loved about Noelle’s story. It was honest, and although she shared all of the cool things she learned from her journey, she was also willing to show the dark side – think: sleeping pills, snotsicles, and an empty checking account.

I’m definitely, 100% recommending this book to anyone who feels like they’re in a rut, or perhaps feel like they haven’t lived their full potential yet. Who knows, maybe this book will inspire your “Year of Fear”!

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is… drumroll… “13 Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. Read along with us by simply commenting here on the blog, or following me on social media @OrangeJulius7.

And so, it’s Easter weekend! I am not religious, but I treated myself to a Marshmallow Milky Way (YAS), and I’m pretty sure I’m going to make this Sunday a Funday, complete with eggs and mimosas… because, Easter.

Have a fun on, y’all!

An update on my fatigue, II.

Nighty, night.

It’s been an entire month since I told you guys about my trouble with fatigue, and I am happy to report that things are a little better.

After a week of drinking banana tea, I wanted to try a natural sleeping pill. Making the tea every night was a long process, but the sleep that followed was nice.

I started on the sleeping pill, and for the first few nights things were nice. I have taken this pill before, and have even taken it regularly. It is mostly melatonin, so it helps me relax and fall asleep easily.

I know other people who have taken this same pill and have said it provides a solid night’s sleep. But what I quickly came to learn was that it doesn’t really stand a chance against my life.

To say I’m stressed is an understatement. I am full of worry, scared of the dark, I sleep with the TV on, and my cat wakes me up at least three times a night. The pill doesn’t combat that. Sure, I get a good sleep on the pill if I turn off all the lights and electronics an hour before bed, rub on some lavender, and lock the cat outside. But all of that would probably help my case without the pill.

Let’s just say that if I was a tad bit more unhinged, I’d just do coke (instead of coffee and exercise), and I’d inject a little propofol before bed.

But, I’m not there yet. Despite the weak pill, I was making it. Until I wasn’t. I arrived at work last Monday completely dragging ass, and by 3pm, I could barely hold my head up. I cancelled my dance classes for the night, and gave in to my fatigue.

I went directly home from the office and got into bed. I watched TV for hours and was asleep before 9:30. It took me a few days to recover, but I did remember that I’d forgotten to take my allergy medicine on the weekend and wondered if my body was fighting off mold or pollen.

Either way, I went in search of a new sleeping pill amongst the aisles in HEB. I was happy to see there were almost 10 different ones to choose from, and after lots of label-comparing, I chose another all-natural one. It’s called MidNite and it’s also made of melatonin, but I believe it is a higher dose, and also contains natural herbs to help relax the body.

I have taken this one for two nights, and have had really great sleeps – very similar to the banana tea snoozes.

In other good news, I became eligible for health benefits at my job this week, so I signed up for insurance. As soon as the paperwork is processed, I’ll be able to start making the rounds to my doctors and will possibly have some medical answers.

I am still eating a clean diet, exercising several times a week, and yes, I’m still under a decent amount of stress. However, I will say that usually in stressful times, I skip on sleep. But I know I can’t afford to now, so at the very least, I am trying to listen to my body and give it the rest it needs.

Next week, I am moving into a new office building and I’m hoping the fresh, cheery space will help me even more – but I have already taken note that my personal office has no windows, so I will have to make it a habit to walk outside at least once during the day.

Don’t worry, I’ll be reporting back! For now… I’m hitting the sheets.

 

‘Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery’.

Ugh, couldn’t help it.

See? I told you I miiiight have a lot of TV posts this week – promise this will be the last one (until next week’s recap of “Southern Charm”). But, when I saw the previews for Investigation Discovery’s “Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery”, I could not look away.

I don’t like admitting that I LOVE true crime, because really I’m scared of basically everything. But, I get hooked on these sagas, and I know it sounds crazy because there are real people involved.

However, when this case hit the news, I know I wasn’t the only one that just couldn’t look away. I guiltily admit that I watched every minute of “Nancy Grace”, every chance I could get. Bad, I know.

What what it about the Anthony case that had Americans hooked? I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, of course it was the little girl, Caylee. She was so cute, and who would want her killed?

Secondly, it was the obvious (I mean BLATANT) evidence built up against Casey… there was no way she’d be a free woman. Or would she?

So yes, for the past three nights, I’ve sat a little too close to my TV and watched this creepy case unfold before my eyes yet again, and again, I’m shocked. Here’s a blow by blow of the 3-part documentary.

“Lies, Betrayal, and Murder”

Episode one kicks off with a 911 call Cindy Anthony (Casey’s mom) makes to Florida police, saying her daughter has stolen their car, and should be arrested. When police arrive, they quickly find out that Casey’s daughter, Caylee, has been missing for 31 days.

That’s right, 31 days, and Casey hasn’t told anyone because she was afraid. She simply tells police she dropped Caylee off with her nanny, Zanny, and hasn’t seen her since.

Casey takes police to Zanny’s apartment, where police discover she has been lying. Not only is Zanny’s apartment empty, but according to the leasing office, no one has lived in that apartment for 6 months, and no one in the complex goes by that name.

Casey tells police she works at Universal Studios, which also turns out to be false – she even pretends to go to work every day… but she has no job.

Meanwhile, police uncover yet another 911 tape from Cindy Anthony, where she is frantically saying that her daughter’s car smells like a “dead body”. Police recover the vehicle, and find a stained trunk with the stench of body decomposition. They send a piece of the trunk liner, along with two hairs, to the lab for testing.

The results are enough to arrest Casey for murder… and then, thanks to Florida law, we were blessed with those jailhouse tapes. Remember those? Of George and Cindy Anthony visiting their daughter, where she shows no signs of being worried about WHERE Caylee could be? Hmm…

“A Shallow Grave”

Without a body, it would be impossible to prove Casey murdered Caylee. So, it was considered a huge break in the case when an electrical worker came across a small human skull in the woods near the Anthony’s home.

It was Caylee’s, and there was a plastic garbage bag, a laundry bag, and duct tape, also recovered at the scene.

While there was no remaining tissue on the skull or bones, the laundry bag was matched to a bag at the Anthony home, and the duct tape contacted DNA evidence, and would serve as proof that the child was murdered, and did not die from an accidental drowning, as was suggested.

And then… the TRIAL. America was shocked when Casey’s attorney, Jose Baez, opened his defense stating that Caylee drowned in the Anthony pool, that George Anthony actually buried her, and that he had sexually abused his daughter.

“Ten Hours, Forty Minutes”

There was a ton of scientific evidence presented to the jury – including chemical proof that chloroform was used – and it was time for Jose Baez to present his side.

From his perspective, there was no body in the trunk. Instead, it was just old pizza boxes sitting in the sun’s heat. Basically, Baez takes all of the facts from the prosecution, and turns them into alternative facts before that was even a thing.

You probably already know this, but the jury finds Casey Anthony not guilty on all murder charges. She is charged on 4 counts of neglect, but since she had already been in jail for more than three years, she serves 10 more days, and is then a free woman.

The remainder of the documentary talks about what happened after – how she had to file bankruptcy after being sued from so many people, and that she was caught running naked from Jose Baez’s office, and later admitted to paying him with blow jobs instead of cash.

Yikes.

There was a little bit of new information offered, including an interview with George Anthony, where he says what he thinks happened – basically that Casey did kill Caylee, and that he is no longer on speaking terms with his daughter. He is still married to Cindy, who still claims that Caylee drowned in the family pool.

There are only two people who know the truth… and we may never really know.

‘Southern Charm’: Roamin’ Holiday.

They all look so Southern in their whites.

Nothing makes me happier than a fresh episode of “Southern Charm” – especially after part2 of the “Vanderpump Rules” reunion.

Episode two of “Southern Charm” begins with Whitney at T-Rav’s, for a visit. Sadly, Whitney admits that he’s single – and apparently ready to mingle. T-Rav says he wants to see Whitney out every night “closing on-site”, meaning hooking up with chicks in public bathrooms. Oh laawwd.

Katherine goes over to Dani’s house, and she admits to not passing the drug test (the initial drug test we heard about at the end of last season). She also talks briefly about her time in rehab, and says her and Thomas are not speaking.

Katherine says she’s passed her most-recent drug test, which means she may be eligible for joint custody of her children.

Meanwhile, Cameron is heading to Jennifer’s house. Jennifer was pregnant at the end of last season, with a child that was likely to have birth defects. The baby is four weeks old, and has already had brain surgery.

Jennifer says many people in the “group” have reached out to wish her well, but not Katherine.

At Landon’s house, she is having a meeting with her “staff”… huh? Turns out, she is still working on her travel lifestyle magazine. They are hosting a soft launch to show everyone what she’s been working on.

Shep meets up with Craig at the batting cages, where we learn that apparently it was Craig’s original dream to play in the major leagues. What?? Shep then confronts Craig about not graduating from school, and where the application for the bar exam went.

Craig wants to know why Shep is so obsessed with him – obviously, he says, it’s because he’s old and single and just unhappy in his own life. Yeeessshhhh.

Cameron meets up with Chelsea, and I guess she’s got a little crush on Shep… but we all know how that is going to turn out.

Whitney, Austin, and Shep go to lunch, and Shep admits that he thinks Chelsea is beautiful. Whitney notes that Thomas has admitted to “trying” with Landon, but that was the end of the conversation.

At Craig and Naomi’s, he explains the incident with Shep to her, and although she takes his side, she seems pretty annoyed that she’s been working toward getting her Master’s degree, while she’s not really sure what he does all day (hint: he talks to the cat).

It’s the day of Landon’s soft launch party, and I’m already annoyed with her. She’s all, “It feels good to show people I have a job”…umm no you don’t?

Whitney arrives at the party with his date, Daisy… and she’s a lil wild. Then Craig confronts Cameron about everything Shep said.

There’s only a small part of this gathering dedicated to Landon’s website, and in all honesty, it looks pretty basic. But give everyone free cocktails, and sure, they’re going to love every pixel of it.

Shep pulls Landon aside and tells her that some people in the tech industry had a negative experience with her recently – that she made comments about how she only hangs out with billionaires. She denies it and basically tells him to go fuck himself, and he suggests to simply kill with kindness.

Well, she gets even more pissy and is ready to shut the party D O W N.

Later, Shep takes Chelsea on a date for some real fancy cocktails. Cameron joins them to see how things go. Shep explains to the ladies what happened with Landon and the tech investors. And the episode is overrrrrr.

In the preview for next week, it looks like the date with Shep and Chelsea is a success, but may go downhill fast. And then Craig has a meltdown over a charity event.

Cheers, y’all!

Season Review: ‘Big Little Lies’.

I finally watched HBO’s ‘Big Little Lies’.

Well, I F-IIIII-nally watched HBO’s limited series, “Big Little Lies” this weekend! I was in such a hurry to read the book (check out my review, here) before the series came out, and then week after week, I simply recorded it and just now got around to watching it.

After the finale, everyone was talking about it so much, I felt like I had to stay on alert to avoid the spoilers. However, after reading the book – there really weren’t any spoilers, as it was almost exactly like the book (in a good way!).

Here’s the scoop from HBO.com: In the tranquil seaside town of Monterey, California, nothing is quite as it seems. Doting moms, successful husbands, adorable children, beautiful homes: What lies will be told to keep their perfect worlds from unraveling?

Told through the eyes of three mothers – Madeline, Celeste and Jane – Big Little Lies paints a picture of a town fueled by rumors and divided into the haves and have-nots, exposing the conflicts, secrets and betrayals that compromise relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and friends and neighbors.

Based on the New York Times number-one bestseller of the same name by Liane Moriarty, this seven-part limited series is a subversive, darkly comedic drama that weaves a tale of murder and mischief as it explores society’s myth of perfection and the contradictions that exist beneath our idealized façade of marriage, sex, parenting and friendship.

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, for which he received an editing Oscar nomination; Wild; Demolition), Big Little Lies is written for television and created by David E. Kelley (seven-time Emmy winner for Picket Fences, LA Law, The Practice and Ally McBeal; Goliath).

The stellar cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoë Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, James Tupper, Jeffrey Nordling, Santiago Cabrera, P.J. Byrne and Virginia Kull.

Executive produced by Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, David E. Kelley, Bruna Papandrea (Gone Girl; Wild; the Oscar nominee Milk), Per Saari (Rabbit Hole, The Family Fang, Monte Carlo), Jean-Marc Vallée, Nathan Ross (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild, Demolition) and Gregg Fienberg (four-time Emmy-nominee; HBO’s True Blood and Deadwood), and produced by Barbara A. Hall (Ray, Milk) and Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies is a Pacific Standard/Blossom Films/David E. Kelley Productions production for HBO Films.

…First thing’s first, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley SHINE in this series! I would watch the two of them for days.

The other thing I’ll note is that, while the book had some scenes including domestic violence, seeing it in the series is very difficult – wow. I enjoyed seeing the book come to life, but it’s not something I’d ever watch again because of these tough scenes.

The cool thing about the series – much like the book – is that it offers you a taste of the ending right at the beginning, so you’re sort of aware of what’s to come.

What’s surprising to me about the book and the series is that, minus the murder, this is a story that I’d bet many, many people can relate to; but it hasn’t really been told.

I enjoyed it, but I’m also really glad I waited until I had all of the episodes recorded so I could watch them all at once.

This weekend, I also got my butt in gear – sort of – and cleaned out my car (I vacuumed it and even washed the floor mats), did my laundry, cooked, cleaned my apartment, read, went to the library, and in-general, just tried to get my life in order pre-vacation.

But, I hope today is treating you well! Don’t be shocked if the blog is full of TV talk this week; my DVR is full and I’ve got lots to say about it.