Blog Archives

No really, who’s my soulmate?

“Did I pass you on the sidewalk?”

Hola, readers! Ugh, it has been a weird/crazy week over here, so I apologize for not posting yesterday. In time, I’ll explain it all, of course.

But, something has been on my mind. You may have noticed that when I posted about what happened with my last crush/male-interest, etc., a fellow blogger posted her advice. Here it is, in case you didn’t see it:

Are you willing to give this a try? Right before you go to bed each night, think of the perfect person you would like to meet in detail, down to what you are both wearing, what you are doing, etc- like you are watching yourself in a movie.

More than once, the entire experience has come true in almost the same detail that I had imagined; made the hair on my arms stand up straight and reminds me every day to keep looking forward.

This advice comes from Linda over at A Moxie Girl, and she’s actually someone I’ve worked with in the blogging world. She has some pretty amazing stories about the truth in the power of visualization, so I definitely want to take her advice.

But one thing her comment made me realize, is that I sort of have no idea who I’m hoping to meet. Who is going to fulfill my needs? My desires?

When I was in high school, I made a list of all the things I (thought I) was looking for in a guy. I don’t have the list now, but I remember some things were superficial, i.e. “looks good in a baseball hat”, and some things were personality-based, such as “keeps up with the news”.

It was a pretty long list, and I really have no idea why I made it. I also thought I was only going to sleep with one person EVER, and be married by the time I was 25, so we can just chalk it all up to high-school ignorant-bliss brain.

Later, an English teacher mentioned during a lesson that you can list out everything you want in life, or your career, or in a partner, and you’ll probably end up with the exact opposite. I wondered if what she said was true.

There are times I’ve dated men that fit my original, high school list (I really am a sucker for a guy in a hat), but of course I never wrote down things like “cheats on me”, “is abusive”, or “won’t meet my parents”, and I’ve landed myself in all of those situations.

So, what the heck is it that I want? I know that I need someone who is honest, comfortable (not complacent) in their skin, kind, and a little selfless. I want someone who takes care of themselves, who’s interested in a healthy lifestyle, but won’t judge me when I eat French fries. I want someone who values what they have; someone who is hardworking, but knows how to kickback, too. I hate admitting this, but I want someone who appreciates nice things, whether its a rare scotch or a fine dining experience.

Looks? I am not really sure. Yes, I see men I find attractive all the time – but they don’t all look the same. And I suppose THIS is what I need to work on when it comes to my “nightly visualizations”. Don’t worry, I’ll think on it and get back to you.

What about you guys? Ever visualized HARD and had it actually happen? I’d love to hear about it!

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!

My pilgrimage to perfume.

Finding the perfect perfume.

For many years, I’ve gotten one of those Sephora perfume samplers for Christmas. I believe they’re available all year now, but for awhile, they were only available during the holidays. If you’ve never seen them, it’s basically a collection of perfume samples from their top 10-12 best sellers of the year. You get to try them all out, and then there’s a coupon tucked inside for a FREE 1-ounce bottle of your favorite one.

It’s seriously an awesome gift! Each year, I take this gift very seriously. I read all of the perfume descriptions, and I try them multiple times before I make my final decision. I know this seems really silly, but I definitely think of perfume as a complete luxury item. It’s not something we need, and it’s expensive. So, I want to get the right one.

Sometimes it takes me six months to make my decision and finally get to Sephora for my free bottle. Having said that, I definitely shattered my hand-selected bottle of Michael Kors’ Very Hollywood during my move to Texas two years ago. It fell off a shelf while I was packing, and despite its thick bottle (which was very pretty), it shattered and it was total heartbreak in slow motion. Ugh. It smelled wonderful.

Anyway, the sampler I got for Christmas in 2015 had some great scents in it, but I ruled my favorite pretty quickly: Burberry’s My Burberry. It has that masculine, wood smell that I love, but with a floral twist.

I went to Sephora… and they were out. Yes, I could have picked another perfume, or I could have purchased a different sized bottle and gotten money off for the 1-ounce freebie, but no. I waited.

I went back a few months later. Still out.

“If it’s on the sampler coupon, then we’re like, always out of it,” the saleswoman told me.

Uh, okay well that makes about zero sense. Still, I waited. I looked for other Sephora locations (you can’t use the coupon online). And waited.

And finally, I randomly stopped by that same Sephora Friday after work. Upon walking up to the shelf, I didn’t see it. But then, in the back, a 1-ounce box. What?!

I picked it up, looked around, and smiled (like a psycho). I walked briskly to the counter: IS THIS THE RIGHT ONE?! I tried to ask calmly, but I just thought it was too good to be true!

“Yep, it’s the one!” she said.

O M G.

I was even more delighted when I got home to open the box – the bottle is so pretty and even has a tortoise-shell cap!

To add a little more sparkle to this situation, she scanned my Beauty Insider card and saw I had a free birthday gift: I chose the Tarte set with the Matte Lip Paint in “Birthday Suit” (already used it and it’s the perfect nude) and the Clay 12-hour blush in “Pink Nude” (haven’t tried it just yet).

So, yeah – how perfect! This is my Monday motivation for you to persevere – even when it comes to perfume (ha)!

I still have my sampler set from LAST Christmas to tackle, but that’s a whole ‘nother adventure.

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!

The other side of heartbreak.

Keep away the lonelies.

I promised I’d fill you in on my love life as of late, and well, I’m a woman of my word. And yeah, I’m going to somehow try and explain this as honestly as possible, without going off the deep end. Here goes.

I’ve known this guy for 16+ years (ugh, I’m so old), and over the years we’ve developed one of those friendships I’d see in a romcom and be completely jealous of. We have SO much stuff in common, from politics and television to food and writing.

There’s been spots in our friendship where we’ve talked and texted every day, and there’s been times we haven’t talked for months. For years, even though I was romantically interested in him, I never wanted to force it – I liked him in a way where I felt like I wanted him to do what made him happy, even if that meant not being with me.

But these last few months felt different. Our talks were different. His gestures were different. He was very kind, and I’ll be honest here: I was feeling very vulnerable. Almost scared shitless.

He lives states away, and I needed to know where this was headed. Was he planning on staying where he is currently, or was he open to moving? Is he the type of guy looking to get married and have a family (I mean we are 32)?

These are questions I’ve never really had, and they are DEFINITELY questions I’ve never felt comfortable asking. I was in 100% new territory here, and quite nervous.

When I went to visit him though, my fantasy was not quite what I’d dreamt (imagine that, because this always happens to me). On the surface, he said some things that were sweet – that he felt vulnerable, too, that he didn’t like going a single day without talking to me, and that he ultimately wanted me to be happy – these are things no man has EVER said to me before… and well, frankly, I wonder if I’ll ever hear them again.

But despite the kind words, there were… actions… that happened that didn’t back up these words. Actions that made me wonder if he even liked me at all – ever. I felt a little tricked, and I felt like a fool (per usual). And to top it off, he wasn’t open to moving.

On the one hand, yes, I got answers. They certainly weren’t the ones I wished for, but I got them. I really hoped to keep our friendship, but we haven’t really talked since – granted, I haven’t reached out either, because I’m just not really sure how, or if I should, or if it’s worth it.

There’s a part of me that feels really proud of myself for seeing red flags and knowing that I want better for myself; that I cannot settle at this point, and there’s something in my blood that’s telling me I need to continue my adventure as a single woman.

It’s a weird feeling because – as silly as it sounds – I kind of thought this was it! He was so different than the men of my past; there was so much actual connection, and very little talk of sex and that was refreshing to me. But it still wasn’t right in the way I need it to be.

I don’t have any hard feelings, but I’ll say that being on this side of heartbreak – a place where there was no betrayal or lies (as far as I know) – it was just simply a misalignment – it really isn’t that much easier. Okay, so I’m not dragging ass, eating ice cream from the carton, but… There is still a lot of loneliness. I went from talking to someone every day to hardly even looking at my phone.

I all of the sudden have tons of extra time (which explains why I read two whole books last week).

And I know this is just another something I will get over – I’ve done it many times. These experiences, although painful, are important as I continue to figure out who is going to be the right one for me. In the meantime, though, I make pretty awesome company for myself. And I’ve been on my own for so long, I’ll admit I’m getting verrrryyy used to it – not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but it’s happening!

That’s where I’m at now, and I’m just trying to keep things moving. I’m also thinking about the future. I got a good reminder that I don’t really have anything holding me down, and things are wide open for my. It’s a very freeing feeling, and I know that’s something a lot of people can’t say.

Cheers to what’s coming next, even if I don’t know what!

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!

Green Chef is BACK (A giveaway)!

That’s right, I took a little break from ordering weekly boxes of Green Chef, but it’s baaaaack and I want to share it with you! But, details on that in a bit.

You see, when I moved to Texas almost two years ago, I ventured to the oh-so-popular H.E.B. But what I found is a lot of people who don’t have a grocery list, so they are left wandering aimlessly through the aisles and even forming LINES at the milk fridge.

My anxiety just couldn’t handle it, so I signed up for a meal delivery kit: Green Chef. I picked this one in particular because it’s the only one that’s truly organic, and I’m not a fan of eating pesticides. Since then, I pretty much ate my Green Chef meals until I felt ready, and even a little excited, to get out to the grocery again.

If you’re not familiar, many meal delivery kits such as Green Chef, send fresh ingredients right to your doorstep. My Green Chef plan sends enough of the good stuff to make at least six meals (two meals per included recipe) – but often, it’s enough food for extra meals, depending on how hungry you are.

Originally, I chose the “Carnivore” plan, which included all sorts of different meat and fish. However, I recently switched (you can switch at any time) to the vegetarian plan, as I have moved to a more plant-based diet.

I skip the meals that include tofu or tempeh (I’m just not a fan), but have had some delicious meals along the way. And this is why I’m so excited to share a free week of organic meals with FOUR of you!

There really is no fee, and no obligation to continue the service, just accept your free box, and then cancel the service if you don’t want to continue. If you decide to keep the service, remember, you can skip weeks at no charge – I skip all the time, and it’s really no problem.

So, if you want to win a free box of organic food, simply follow me on Instagram @OrangeJulius7 and fill out the quick form below. If you win, you’ll receive an email with your Green Chef code.

Easy enough, right?

If you have any questions about the service in general, feel free to comment on the blog – I’ve used it long enough I should be able to handle it 🙂 Happy contesting!