I leave for Marfa, Texas early tomorrow morning – my bags are packed, my rental car is ready for pickup, and I’m reflecting on why I wanted to make this unique trip in the first place.
I heard about Marfa for the first time on an episode of “Courtney Loves Dallas” (on Bravo), when her friends join her for a road trip across Texas to see Prada Marfa. I honestly can’t remember if they did much else, but she later went on to make a Marfa t-shirt for her blog followers, and continues to shoot promotional items for her blog within Marfa:
I thought the Prada Marfa was cool enough to see one day, and when I moved to Austin almost 3 years ago (!), I knew I had to visit one day.
Truthfully, I’ve always enjoyed camping experiences. As a kid, my babysitter had a pop-up camper and I thought it was such an adventure. I loved walking around the campground to see how other people set up their temporary homes – with lights and patches of plastic grass.
I also loved it when the local mall had their camper and RV show – I loved looking through all of them, and thought they all looked so fancy.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted an adventure in some sort of desert (or deserted) environment. I have long romanticized life out west – perhaps that’s why I love Texas so much. The cacti, tumbleweeds, dust clouds, and horses have always appealed to me.
Like my dad, I’ve got a bit of a fascination with small towns – how people inhabit them and never leave; how they create lives off-the-grid; and how it all contributes to some semblance of meaning for us city folk.
Like anyone about to hit the road, I’m looking for clarity, a bit of a challenge, and a new perspective. I have always believed that in order to create, we must constantly work our creative muscles; always looking for new things to discover and digest.
But of course, I’m looking to unplug a bit, too. Work has been incredibly stressful, and lately, the weekends just aren’t enough time for me to recharge. I also randomly picked this weekend to travel, and as the days have crept closer, I see I’ll be well west on Father’s Day – I’m really thankful that I won’t be able to see anymore online chatter about the holiday I’m missing this year.
Grief has been so hard on my heart, my mind, my body, and my social life. I know one weekend won’t solve it for me, but I hope that with each adventure I take on my own, I grow stronger and more confident in the daily challenges I face.
I’m really looking forward to actual quiet, the quiet I’ve only experienced in the Tennessee mountains at night. That same darkness, too – it brings rest.
And of course, I’m hoping to have fun, meet people, share stories, eat local food, and take pictures; spend some time in a hammock with a book, or sit outside with my journal.
Whatever happens out there, I look forward to telling you all about it.
Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.
Hello! I know I’ve sort of been keeping the blog strictly to book and music reviews lately – I am just not quite ready to blog about things much deeper, yet. I am also very happy to have had some time to read said books and listen to some new (new to me, anyway) music that I can share with you if you’re looking for recommendations. I promise the day will come when there will be more of a variety of things here, like there once was!
But, let’s get into it! I actually didn’t “read” this latest book, but rather, I listened to it during a road trip about a week ago. It still counts, right? I think I’d been putting off reading this book, because it’s the last of the Andy Cohen books – I’ve now read them all!
So yes, the latest read from Blanche’s Book Club is “Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture” by Andy Cohen. Here’s the description from Amazon:
The man behind the Real Housewives writes about his lifelong love affair with pop culture that brought him from the suburbs of St. Louis to his own television show
From a young age, Andy Cohen knew one thing: He loved television. Not in the way that most kids do, but in an irrepressible, all-consuming, I-want-to-climb-inside-the-tube kind of way. And climb inside he did. Now presiding over Bravo’s reality TV empire, he started out as an overly talkative pop culture obsessive, devoted to Charlie’s Angels and All My Children and to his mother, who received daily letters from Andy at summer camp, usually reminding her to tape the soaps. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe that everyone didn’t know that Andy was gay; still, he remained in the closet until college. Finally out, he embarked on making a career out of his passion for television.
The journey begins with Andy interviewing his all-time idol Susan Lucci for his college newspaper and ends with him in a job where he has a hand in creating today’s celebrity icons. In the witty, no-holds-barred style of his show Watch What Happens Live, Andy tells tales of absurd mishaps during his ten years at CBS News, hilarious encounters with the heroes and heroines of his youth, and the real stories behind The Real Housewives. Dishy, funny, and full of heart, the New York Times bestseller, Most Talkative, provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the world of television, from a fan who grew up watching the screen and is now inside it, both making shows and hosting his own.
…And in case you’re wondering, the audio version is read by the author, which is fantastic! I cannot explain just how much I love Andy Cohen, and I’ve enjoyed reading all three of his books, and loved being able to see him live with Anderson Cooper.
I have always admired Andy because of his humble beginnings – he grew up like most of us did, and he climbed the ranks old school, and made it big in his 40s. In “Most Talkative”, he explains how TV shaped his life (preach it) and it’s easy to see how his obsession with daytime soaps paved the way for one of his most successful endeavors: The Real Housewives franchise.
The book is also filled with laugh-out-loud moments, from pranks he played on his family to his all-too-real run-ins with celebrities. He even shares his coming out story.
I’m recommending this book to Andy Cohen fans, of course, but also to reality TV fans, and aspiring journalists everywhere.
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Ramona Blue” by Julie Murphy.
Can I just say that Monday nights are pretty awesome – I’ve got two of my favorite dance classes to take, and then I come home to some great TV, plus there’s that whole feeling that at least Monday is over. Right??
I was extra excited to see last night’s episode after last week’s craziness with Craig and Naomi. So, let’s get into it. At the top of the episode, Shep’s doctor calls and tells him the results of his labs. Turns out he has an elevated enzyme in his live and needs to cut back on the drinking, and will be tested again in two to three months.
At another house, Cameron is waiting on Craig (typical). She’s showing him some investment properties so he can fulfill one of his many dreams! Turns out, he’s pretty picky about what he wants in a rental home, and Cameron asks him if Naomi is supportive of this financial decision. He says he can’t continue to do things JUST for her, or else he’ll come to resent her.
Meanwhile, Patricia is at the pool with Chauncey and Whitney stops by and tells her about the conversation he had with Thomas about dating. Patricia suggests Landon as a possible match for Thomas, and of course, she decides she should host a casual dinner party and she can seat Thomas next to Landon (how Charleston of her).
Then, Chelsea and Austen go on another date – beer tasting (perfection). They get to talking about Shep and Austen tells Chelsea that Shep was a little disappointed that he was the last to know about the two of them talking. However, Austen assures Chelsea that he’s squashed it and he has no questions about it, and he does not feel like he violated Bro Code.
Remember last week, when Cameron had the witch doll made for Shep? Well, she takes him out to dinner: a table for Cameron, Shep… and Mama Estelle (Cam’s doll). She explains to Shep that she had a doll made for him because she was going to cast a love spell on him but she’d since changed her mind. So, she gave him the doll and said he could use it when he met someone worth falling in love with.
Later, Patricia’s is putting the final touches on her dinner party, and she says, “With these kids, I can just go to Costco and buy all the liquor.” Seriously? I would PAY to see Patricia in a Costco. The dinner party goes fine, but it doesn’t seem like any crazy sparks are flying. However, Thomas sniffs out that it’s a setup pretty early in the evening.
Meanwhile, Craig is on the sewing machine, embroidering tiny images of his cat, Gizmo, onto pillowcases. Naomi is not impressed by this at all, and when Craig casually mentions that he put an offer in on a house, she’s not really interested in that, either.
Later, Shep joins Kathryn for his first ever yoga class, as he continues his journey to detox. He’s struggling pretty hard throughout the class, but afterward tells Kathryn that he’s trying to see what it’s like not to drink every night. There’s a few clips of Shep at home, taking vitamins, and making a fruit smoothie in a Vitamix. He then calls his mom and says, “I just made a smoothie!” …It’s probably one of the cutest TV moments, ever.
Speaking of parents, Austen has dinner with his parents, and they are REALLY fired up about him starting a business. They don’t see his work as a beer salesman as anything serious; they want him to settle down, get married, and have a 9-5, and they really want him to make a business plan to show them he’s getting serious. Whoa.
And finally, the gang heads to Jennifer’s sip and see, where Thomas and Landon are flirting pretty heavily, and Naomi and Craig continue their fighting in front of everyone. Basically, she’s calling him out on his bullshit and he sees it as her not being loyal…which doesn’t really make sense.
But at the end of the episode, it doesn’t look like things between them are getting cleared up anytime soon, because she leaves the party without him. Bloop, bloop! Guess we’ll find out next week!
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!
Whoop – it’s Friiidaaaaay! I’m excited for the weekend because my dance studio is hosting it’s semi-annual showcase on Sunday and I’m really looking forward to the performance, and seeing all of my other friends rock their dances, too.
Each weekend I’ve been spending some quality time reading, and I hope to get a few hours in this weekend, too, because I’m just loving all of the books flying off my reserve list at the library lately. So, let’s talk about Blanche’s Book Club’s latest read: “Superficial: More Adventures From the Andy Cohen Diaries” by Andy Cohen. Here’s the scoop from Amazon.com:
The megapopular host of Watch What Happens: Live and executive producer of The Real Housewives franchise is back, better than ever, and telling stories that will keep his publicist up at night.
Since the publication of his last book, Andy has toured the country with his sidekick Anderson Cooper, hit the radio waves with his own Sirius station, Radio Andy, appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher despite his mother’s conviction he was not intellectually prepared, hosted NBC’s Primetime New Year’s Eve special, guest edited Entertainment Weekly, starred in Bravo’s Then & Now with Andy Cohen, offended celebrities with his ongoing case of foot-in-mouth disease, and welcomed home Teresa “Namaste” Giudice, from a brief stint in jail. Hopping from the Hamptons to the Manhattan dating world, the dog park to the red carpet, Cardinals superfan and mama’s boy Andy Cohen, with Wacha in tow, is the kind of star that fans are dying to be friends with. This book gives them that chance.
If The Andy Cohen Diaries was deemed “the literary equivalent of a Fresca and tequila” by Jimmy Fallon, Superficial is a double: dishier, juicier, and friskier. In this account of his escapades―personal, professional, and behind-the-scenes―Andy tells us not only what goes down, but exactly what he thinks of it.
So, basically after writing “The Andy Cohen Diaries”, Andy said he just kept writing about his life, daily, and pitched it to his publisher, even though they said they didn’t want it. But of course, they published it and that’s how this book came to be.
On the one hand, if you’re an Andy Cohen fan, or really just a fan of pop culture in general, this book is punctuated by a lot of events you already know about – Joan Rivers’ funeral, Sarah Jessica Parker’s look for the Met Ball, and the outcome of the World Series.
But of course, Andy gives us a look into the parts of his life that we wouldn’t otherwise know: the extensive renovation of his New York City apartment, the start of his relationship with #BrazilianAndySamberg, how his XM radio channel was born, the idea for touring the country with Anderson Cooper, and his summer adventures following The Grateful Dead with John Mayer.
Per usual, there were a few scenes in the book that had me laughing out loud – a la, Andy making the hugest deal ever out of Sean Avery and his “overbuttered” pancakes.
This book was a little slow to start for me, but I soon was hooked. However, I will admit that I love Andy. I’m not sure this book would translate to the non-fans, but check it out – especially if you love Bravo!
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is, “Truly Madly Guilty” by Liane Moriarty. I think this one was on my reserve list for at least three months – until now!
Aside from dancing all weekend, I’ll be doing lots of cooking/meal prep. Follow me on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 to see what’s on my stove. Have a great weekend y’all!
It’s true… I am obsessed with the show “Summer House”, and I just want to BE them. It’s very “Hills’-like to me, and I cannot get enough. Here’s the description of the show from Bravo.com:
Affluent New Yorkers have been fleeing to the Hamptons for generations to get the ultimate luxurious experience, but Montauk, a breezy beach town on the easternmost point of Long Island, has become the summer playground for young professionals who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. “Summer House” brings together a group of nine friends who work hard making their money and building their résumés during the week, but on the weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day, they share a summer house to let loose in a big way that speaks to their exclusive, high-end lifestyle.
For years, this group of friends has summered in Montauk with a variety of people, but this year they’ve put together the perfect group to share a rental for an epic summer filled with drama, boozy brunches, beachfront thrills, rosé parties, charity galas, bonfires, and jaw-dropping hookups. This close-knit group includes Kyle Cooke, the life of the party who must decide whether it’s time to grow up or to remain the quintessential bachelor; Ashley and Lauren Wirkus, fun-loving identical twins who have reached a crossroads in life; group newcomer Carl Radke, a flirtatious ex-model who has caught Lauren’s eye; longtime friends Everett Weston, an ex-Army Iraq war veteran, and Lindsay Hubbard, the ultimate alpha female, who throw everyone for a loop with their newfound love; Cristina Gibson, Lindsay’s roommate, a freelance reporter who grapples with her friendships; Stephen McGee, the wild card of the bunch who isn’t afraid to speak his mind; and Jaclyn Shuman, a flirty, newly single girl-next-door type who is looking to be distracted from a broken heart.
The show focuses on these incredible weekends in Montauk – the house is huge, beautiful, and has all of the amenities for a great party: pool, beach access, hot tub, bar, and lots of room to crash. This group of friends (and probably most New Yorkers) live for the weekends, leaving early on Friday to get to the house and sometimes not leaving until Monday morning to head back to the city.
Of course I’m super jealous of anyone who has a summer house, a weekend house, a winter cabin – whatever – that is the life. Secondly, of course everyone that lives in this house is pretty hot and successful. This leads to hookups (and drama) within the house, but I’m still jealous!
On the one hand, I feel so grateful that my single life has lead to a life of very little drama and no heartbreak. But seeing all the fun at “Summer House”… makes me want to jump right into the pool with Karl and say oh well, I’ll deal with the consequences later, amirite??!
There probably aren’t many episodes of “Summer House” left, but I hope this show gets a second season; because between this and “Below Deck” – I’ve pretty much got my bucket list set.