Advertisements

Blog Archives

Watching: ’13 Reasons Why’.

I just finished watching season one of “13 Reasons Why”.

Please note, the following content may contain emotional triggers.

Early last year, I read Jay Asher’s popular YA novel, “13 Reasons Why” – you can read my full review here – around the same time it debuted as a TV series on Netflix. I heard about how controversial it was, how difficult it was to watch.

But I read the book in just two days.

“13 Reasons Why” – the book and the series – is a story told from the perspective of Hannah, a high school student who killed herself. Before she ended her life, she recorded the 13 reasons why on a series of cassette tapes, and left instructions on how it should be delivered.

She intended for everyone who hurt her understand what they did and how it negatively affected her life. In the book and the series, we are “hearing” the tapes through Clay Jensen – a character that knew, liked, and worked with Hannah.

This is pretty much where the similarities between the book and the series stop. I completely understand that they had to adapt the story for TV, but it was really so, so different from the book.

No spoilers – but the book really doesn’t go into the details of Hannah’s parents or family life. It also doesn’t really get into the details of Hannah’s “friends” nor does it discuss their reaction to the tapes.

In the book, we simply get Clay’s reaction, and not much else (which makes for a perfectly complete story).

I’ll admit, the series was difficult to watch at times. The story is heartbreaking, and sadly, I know it’s not far from how many teenagers currently experience high school. I cannot explain how many times I’ve thanked the universe for not inventing smartphones and/or social media before I graduated from high school. I would have been miserable.

The one thing I disagreed with in the series is that… they don’t depict Hannah as having mental problems. I cannot sit here and say that everyone who commits suicide was mentally ill, but I also don’t think it’s something we can just say, well if we would have been nicer to that person, they would still be here today.

Again, maybe I’m wrong on this, but I would hate to think that people would watch the series and think a single date or encounter might end someone’s life.

The end of the series definitely left more to be desired, which doesn’t make sense for the book. But, there’s already a season two and I’ve got a few ideas what it will entail. However, I do think you have to be in the right head space to watch it. I binged it, and definitely needed to get outside and do something positive before going to bed.

Whether you watch the series or not, I know that no matter what – high school is tough. Teenagers go through a lot, especially today, and it’s not a bad lesson to learn that we should all treat each other a little better.

Advertisements

Wake up, San Francisco: ‘Fuller House’ season 2.

Kimmy's shoes tho...

Kimmy’s shoes tho…

My best friend Sheena has brought us the real meaning of Christmas in another review of “Fuller House”, this time for its second season. Check out her review of season one, here. And let us know what you thought of season two! 

Earlier this year when I sat down to watch Fuller House season one I was all high on nostalgia and crap. I thought that had worn off since I really wasn’t looking forward to watching season two. It seemed like season one had covered all of the bases. We saw the whole family again, were reaffirmed that the Olsen twins hate us all, and relived some of the best Full House moments. What more could Netflix do? Well, let me tell you, they did more with season two.

The first episode had me a little worried because it seemed like we were diving right into the Fuller House story line, forgetting the reason we were all watching in the first place: Full House. Season one ended with a cliff hanger surrounding DJ’s love life. She had to choose whether she wanted to date her old high school flame, Steve, or the hot newcomer, Matt.

After spending the summer focusing on herself, she finally made a decision. Sorry, no spoilers here! We were also thrown right back into the tumultuous relationship that is Kimmy and Fernando, one that I personally could do without in this series. Stephanie stayed true to form and is still single, edgy, and a little bit slutty. This season we also got to know Kimmy’s younger brother, Jimmy, who I definitely do not remember from the original series, but I don’t hate looking at him.

Thankfully as the season went on family members started to reappear and we finally got to hear about Joey’s wife and kids. I was worried that his old girlfriend, Roxy, had ruined him forever. Netflix even went so far as to pull out some memories I had long forgotten about.  Remember after season one when I told you I thought Gia was still a bad influence on Stephanie? Well, there may or may not be a Gia appearance during a reunion of the girls’ band, Girl Talk, in season two. Even that big boobed, boyfriend stealing, frenemy of DJ’s, Kathy Santoni (Editor’s Note: Whhattt Kathy Santoni is back!?!), came back into the picture.  DJ also had a little run in with her ex-boyfriends, Viper and Nelson, at her and Kimmy’s 20 year high school reunion.

Of course the kids on the show were still as cute as ever, the jokes got even cheesier, and the one-liners more prominent than before. But, I have learned my lesson and I will never again doubt Netflix and their ability to surprise me.  If Fuller House gets renewed for a third season, I’ll watch it the day it comes out and pretend I didn’t watch the first half of season two while mumbling under my breath that they should have stopped after season one.

BBC: ‘Orange is the New Black’.

It should come as NO surprise that I haven’t watched “Orange is the New Black” yet, because 1. I am always behind on the cool stuff, and 2. I don’t have Netflix. And yes, I know it’s cheap – it’s not even about that, so spare me.

I really wanted to read the book before I watched any of the series, because it’s a true story, and the series is based on the book. So, this has been on my list for awhile, and I’m so happy it’s finally a part of the Book Club!

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison” was written by Piper Kerman and published in 2010. Here’s the book’s description from Amazon.com:

With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.

ke_all-new_associate_300x250For starters, I’ll say I was shocked for what Kerman was jailed for. I know it’s not necessarily “normal” for people to stumble upon friendships with drug dealers, but she seemed fairly innocent in the entire ordeal. Once she gets to prison, some of the things her fellow inmates are locked up for was also a shock to me – I know it’s a minimum security prison, so the crimes are non-violent, but still. I had no idea people went to jail for eBay fraud, and I had to Google “Check Kiting” as I’d never heard of it.

Since the book was written by Kerman, she skates over just how privileged she is. She talks about how she has money on the outside and she has people that care for her, but it’s much more than that. Who, out there, could honestly go to jail for 15 months and have a job waiting for them? Her friends even set up a website for her while she was in the slammer to get mail while inside. She also had visitors every single weekend – her fiance sometimes leaving work early or even flying from New York to Chicago to see her for a few hours. Like daaamn girl.

Other than that, though, I really enjoyed – I’ll nearly say I loved – reading this book. I read it in just two days; I was hooked! Of course, the subject matter is interesting; a look inside a world most of us have never seen.

But it’s also about the characters – the women she meets in Danbury; their stories, the work they do, their families, and what they have to look forward to (if anything) once they get out. I loved all of the detail Kerman put into this book and wondered if she wrote these stories while in prison.

Her talk about all of the little things that got her through the day – yoga class, learning how to make “prison cheesecake”, getting mail, and finally being able to purchase a radio so she could listen to the local college station. My favorite scene of the entire book was when an inmate treats her to a rootbeer float from the commissary when her account money hadn’t cleared yet. It was so simple and sweet; I just loved it.

Despite the heavy topic of the book, things remained fairly sunny, and that’s probably because Kerman knew she was getting out, she had a job, and she had family and a fiance waiting for her return. I’m sure if we read something from someone with a much harsher sentence, the tone would have been different.

I’m really excited to watch the series now, and see how the show treats these characters and how they take on the issue of time. There’s at least four seasons of the show (right?), and Kerman is only in for 13 months of her sentence. We’ll see! I was at the library over the weekend and season one was checked out, so I might have to add it to my list of reserves.

If you’ve read the book, I’d love to know what you think about it and how it compares to the Netflix series. The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “The Nest” by Cynthia D. Sweeney. We’d love for you to read it with us, just find us on social media @OrangeJulius7.

Have a fantastic, safe, and fun weekend everyone! I’ll see you right back here on Monday, and hey, it’ll almost be Thanksgiving time!

Happy Election Day!

Happy Election Day! Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about the candidates or who you should vote for today. I know all of us have heard enough of that already, and many of us are just ready for it to be over. But no matter how annoying the campaign trail can be, nothing beats election day and the news coverage that follows it.

I know I love watching TV at pretty much any given moment, but I REALLY cannot wait to get home tonight and plop myself in front of the tube with a cocktail. I love seeing the prediction maps and calculating the “what if” electoral votes.

So, I’ve got a few things on my agenda for this 2016 Election Day. Of course, the top priority is to VOTE. I cannot say it enough: please do not let today pass without making your voice heard. Sure, it’s a bit of a pain in the ass, but it’s our priviledge to be able to vote – take it!

I voted early this year, for the first time ever! This was also my first time voting in Texas. I’ve voted previously in Louisiana, and have always voted on Election Day – I love the excitement of it. But it was still exciting this year, and I didn’t have to wait in line.

So, onto the other fun stuff! I’ve been catching up on “House of Cards” this past week, and finally watched seasons three and four. Below are my recaps.

‘House of Cards’ Seasons 3 Recap, Review

I got “House of Cards” season three for Christmas last year and started watching it right away. I got about halfway through it and realized, I was bored. It just wasn’t as riveting as the previous seasons.  So, I stopped watching it. But, a few months ago, I discovered the library had season four, so I put my name on the list to reserve it, and got to watching season three again (I started from the beginning, just in case).

FU 2016!

FU 2016!

Luckily, season three was a little better once I restarted it – I don’t think I was fully invested when I started it the last time, and if you’ve watched this show, you know you’ve got to pay attention to every little detail. Here’s the scoop from the DVD case:

In Season 3 of “House of Cards”, President Underwood fights to secure his legacy. Claire wants more than being the first lady. The biggest threat they face is contending with each other. This Emmy®-winning original thriller series stars Golden Globe® winner Kevin Spacey as ruthless and cunning Francis Underwood, who will stop at nothing to conquer the halls of power in Washington D.C. His secret weapon: his gorgeous, ambitious and equally conniving wife Claire (Golden Globe® winner Robin Wright).

Fair warning, there are spoliers ahead. I won’t be offended if you skip along – but you should watch this show!

At the start of the season Frank Underwood has secured his spot as President of the United States, and he’s already doing what he can to keep up appearances.

Poor Doug is in recovery, and Remy (hottness) is filling in as Chief of Staff in Doug’s absence. Claire has set her goal to be the Ambassador to the UN. Meanwhile, Doug enlists help to find Rachel’s whereabouts, and also breaks his sobriety.

Frank is set on his “America Works” program, which takes a huge amount of funding from FEMA and puts it into the job market, to create opportunities to employ more people. Naturally, this does not go over well at first, and takes several tactics to get it to pass.

While Claire does not get the nomination for Ambassador, she plans to override it. When U.S. gay activist is captured in Moscow. Claire and Frank fly to negotiate and see if they can help him get released. They agree on a statement the activist can say, which includes an apology, and he will be released. He refuses to say it, and Claire stays with him in his cell overnight, and he hangs himself while she sleeps.

This is probably one of the more important moments in the season, because Claire starts to detatch herself from Frank and his campaign. When she returns to the US, she speaks openly about her frustration with the Russian government, and blames them for the activist’s death.

Meanwhile, Doug has recovered and feels a bit left out from Frank and the team. He does some dirty work and provides Frank’s opposing candidate some dirt to throw on the Underwoods. When it works, he goes back to the White House and takes his job back. He also succeeds in finding Rachel, and sadly, he kills her.

As the campaign for Frank’s reelection contines, Claire joins Frank on the campaign trail… until she doesn’t. It’s clear she’s unhappy in their marriage, and a writer for Frank brings the point home when he writes that the only reason these two ended up together is because they wanted to succeed politically.

At the end of the season, Claire tells Frank she wants to separate.

On to season four! Here’s the scoop from the DVD case: They’ve always been a great team. But now in Season Four of “House of Cards”, Frank (Golden Globe TM Kevin Spacey) and Claire (Golden Globe TM winner Robin Wright) become even greater adversaries as their marriage stumbles and their ambitions are at odds.

I was on a list at the library for at least a month before I was able to check out season four, which was just last week. At this point, I’m halfway through and plan on finishing it this weekend. So far, it’s taken some veeerryy interesting twists and I’m certain it will end on a cliffhanger.

Nate Silver & FiveThirtyEight Election Forecast

Working as an SEO Analyst for the last year and change, my job is pretty much data, numbers, and statistics. So, yes, I know about Nate Silver – a statistician and a writer who currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of ESPN’s “FiveThirtyEight”.

Silver is known for his ability to predict the performance and careers of Major League Baseball Players, can foresee the outcomes of many a sport competition, and has predicted several of the last presidential elections based on state-by-state analysis.

Cool, huh? Silver has authored several books, his most well-known being “The Signal and the Noise“. He is also a part of three podcasts, “What’s the Point” covering the data age, “Hot Takedown” on sports numbers, and “Elections” covering the 2016 election.

In the 2012 presidential election, Silver predicted the winner of all 50 states. So, let’s see what he’s thinking will happen today (as of 10:26 am CST on Monday) – you can get live updates here. At the time of this writing, Silver is predicting that while the popular vote is quite even, Clinton will gain the electoral vote, giving her the presidency.

Nate Silver's predicted election map.

Nate Silver’s predicted election map.

All of the states I’ve lived in – Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana – are clearly Trump states, whereas Silver has predicted Clinton will win states on the west coast and in the northeast. Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina are a toss-up (however, Silver is predicting Trump takes Florida).

On Monday morning, Silver told “Good Morning America” that Clinton is favored 2-1 to win the presidency, despite Trump being the likely winner of Florida and North Carolina. We will just have to see, won’t we?

Festive Cocktails & Snacks

Yum!

Yum!

If you’re anything like me, you’re going to need a satisying snack to make it through hours of election coverage tonight.

I will never be the person who waits to get the result on Wednesday morning – I need to know ASAP, and I need to see the road to getting there, state by state.

So, I saw this recipe from Tablespoon for a festive red, white, and blue snack mix, and think it’s the perfect balance of sweet and salty – kind of like this entire election!

For this recipe, you will need 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine, 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce, 3/4 a teaspoon of seasoned salt, 1/4 a teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/4 a teaspoon of onion powder, 4 1/2 cups of Corn Chex™ cereal, 2 cups of pretzels, 2 cups of mini marshmallows, 1 cup of red and blue chocolate candies, 1 pound of white almond bark, and red and blue gel food coloring.

In large microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in cereal and pretzels until coated. Microwave uncovered on High 4 to 5 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Stir in mini marshmallows and chocolate candies, and toss to combine.

USA Sangria!

USA Sangria!

Divide the prepared Chex Mix™ into three even portions, and spread each portion in an even layer on a foil-lined plate or baking tray. Heat the almond bark in the microwave or in a double boiler until melted. Divide the almond bark into three equal servings. Color one serving with red gel food coloring. Color the second serving with blue gel food coloring. Then leave the third serving plain (white).

Drizzle each portion of Chex Mix™ with one color of chocolate. Then let cool for at least 15 minutes, or until the chocolate returns to room temperature. When it’s ready, toss together the three colors of Chex Mix™ until combined, and serve. Pretty easy! 

For my patriotic cocktail, I’m giving you my own recipe for white sangria! Simply mix a bottle of your favorite white wine with a cup of sugar, along with a can of lime seltzer water.

Pile in the fresh cut fruit – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries will give this a red and blue twist. Feel free to add in your favorite berry vodka – I’m not a fan, so I prefer to skip that step. Serve chilled or over ice. Cheers!

Dealing with the Outcome

I know it might sounds silly, but it can be really upsetting when your candidate loses. I’ve had my candidate win, and I’ve had one lose. It’s emotional, as we are essentially pulling for the things we are passionate about, and we spend time choosing the one that’s going to make the country the one we want to live in.

Yesterday, USA Today released a 12-step plan to overcoming this type of loss. Step 1 is, of course, to scream. By step 2 though, it’s time to accept the outcome (not necessarily to like it). Step 3 is probably my favorite: take action. Just because your candidate lost, doesn’t mean you can’t help make a difference that you want to – look for opportunities to spread the word or to volunteer for the passion you’ve got.

Steps 4, 5, and 6, involve seeing the signs to know when you’re getting worked up over a specific conversation, creating an exit plan to get yourself out of the conversation, and to limit your exposure to possible conflicts in this arena, such as Facebook.

Step 7 – try to broaden your horizons and see the other side. Step 8 – build a support system of people who let you vent but refill you with positivity. Step 9: meditate. Step 10 – be thankful, even if it’s just for nice weather.

By step 11 you should get some perspective. Watch a movie or a TV show that lifts your spirits and helps you to understand that life will go on, and thins will be okay. And step 12: be a model of good behavior. No one wants to be the sore loser, right? Show others how to handle loss in a manner of grace.

…So, there you have it! I’m sure I’ll be Tweeting up a storm tonight, so feel free to join me @OrangeJulius7! Happy Election Day, everyone!

You Got it, Dude: The ‘Fuller House’ review.

Netflix has signed "Fuller House" for season 2.

Netflix has signed “Fuller House” for season 2.

My great friend Sheena agreed to write a review of “Fuller House” for The Bitter Lemon in trade for SnapChats of me singing the theme song. So, I present to you, a complete review of “Fuller House”:

I know I can’t be the only one that rushed home Friday evening (read: left work early) to binge watch all 13 episodes of “Fuller House” that were released on Netflix earlier that day. Prior to watching I had read several reviews by critics and they were not good, at all. Like many of my fellow 80’s babies, I didn’t let it get me down or spoil the sequel-series to one of my all-time favorite shows.  To sum up the first season in a few words, it did not disappoint.

The first episode was completely nostalgic, satisfying, and kind of painful to watch; everyone (but the Olsen twins, who got thrown some serious shade in episode 1) was there, even The Rippers and Comet’s grandchildren.  We heard all of the famous catch phrases, old stories, a performance from Jesse and The Rippers of “Forever” and Danny took it home with “Wild Thing” – it was the reunion of all reunions all crammed into about 10 minutes.

By episode 2 the circus subsided to make way for the start of the new story line and we were quickly brought up to date on what happened in the main characters lives these last 20 years. I’ll say this much, it seems like Stephanie never stopped hanging out with that bad influence middle school friend, Gia. Now in her mid-thirties, she’s single and childless, wears leather and sequin during the day (Editor’s note: Judgey Wudgey was a bear…), and is a world famous DJ that goes by the name “DJ Tanner” – this is my favorite running joke of the new show. Of the 3 girls, her character is sarcastic and witty and is, by far, my favorite.

Kimmy, who owns her own party planning business, hasn’t changed in 20 years and still provides the more obvious humor; while DJ Fuller (get it?), the veterinarian, is now a widowed, level-headed soccer mom.  The 4 kids on the show aren’t lacking in personality either; the oldest boy, Jackson, is a rule breaking delinquent (in Full House terms), Max is hilarious and charismatic, baby Tommy is too little to talk but still provides some good laughs, and Ramona Gibbler is a sassy bilingual mean girl.

The show is still pretty cheesy (but wasn’t that why we all loved it?) and the lessons being learned don’t seem to dominate the episodes as much as comedy now does, thank God. They are taking the time to slowly introduce new characters, which I appreciate mostly because those characters are hot dudes, but the familiarity of the old “Full House” still reigns true with at least one of the old characters (aside from the 3 girls) appearing in each episode.

DJ’s high school boyfriend, Steve, is a recurring guest on the show and Stephanie’s old friend Harry, who she calls her husband because of their childhood wedding ceremony, even makes a guest appearance along with the likes of a few celebrities.  Along with new characters, they are also introducing new catch phrases and on-going jokes even more ridiculous than the originals.

If you were a true fan of Full House and can get past the fact that Carly Rae Jepson sings the theme song on the opening credits, you’ll likely find the show enjoyable. Netflix has already signed on to season 2, so Fuller House isn’t going away anytime soon!

Prada’s Candy & the ‘Fuller House’ drinking game!

A sweet-smelling perfume by Prada.

A sweet-smelling perfume by Prada.

It’s FRI-DAAAAAY! If you’ve been here all week, I really hope you’ve enjoyed the blog’s fun little twist. I really had a blast writing these posts and I’m so excited for all of the fun, HONEST content that’s coming your way.

But enough business talk, and let’s get to the real shit: it’s the freakin’ weekend and this one is a biggie! I’m performing for the first time (in a really long time) with my dance studio for their semi-annual “Love Hangover” showcase.

I am performing at The North Door in downtown Austin, at 8pm. It’s 18+, and there’ll be drinks and yummy food, so come out! It’ll really be a blast. I’ve been practicing now for 6 weeks, and I’m ready to shake it!

And then there’s the long-awaited Netflix release of Fuller House, which happened today! But more on this later. Let me get to the Fresh Friday scent profile of the week: Candy by Prada. As described by Sephora:

Prada CANDY is instantly seductive—pure pleasure wrapped in impulsive charm. In an explosion of shocking pink and gold, Prada CANDY takes us on a walk on the wild side, showing us a new facet of Prada femininity where more is more and excess is everything. Magnified by white musks, noble benzoin comes together with a modern caramel accord to give the fragrance a truly unique signature. 

Notes: Caramel, Musk, Vanilla, Benzoin. 
Style: Carefree. Sophisticated. Sensual.

This scent really does smell sweet, in a good way. It’s unique and I’ve really enjoyed wearing it for the past week. It’s in the running to be my favorite, but we’ll see… I honestly just keep thinking about Mandy Moore when I wear it.

…But why is she like, so pissed off in her room? And that Sony discman… but speaking of the 90’s: Full House! Full House ran from 1987-1995 and was the totally un-realistic sitcom about a widower and his three daughters, and he gets help from his friends and family, who somehow all live under the same roof.

So, Netflix announced a few months ago they were going to air “Fuller House”, the story of one of the daughters from Full House, DJ, now a widow, and she moves back to the old house and gets help from her family and friends to raise her three kids. Aw, how sweeeeeet.

Most of the original cast is back, including Uncle Jesse, Aunt Becky, and even Kimmie Gibbler. Michelle is missing, but the preview proved that she’s not forgotten.

It looks decent, right? Well, let’s amp things up a bit with a DRINKING GAME!

fullhouserow

Drink every time:

  • There’s a Full-House-ism including, but not limited to: Cut it Out, Tanneritos, Have Mercy, How Rude, You Got it Dude, etc.
  • Someone learns a lesson/hugs it out
  • Jodi Sweetin, “Stephanie” looks old
  • Someone alludes to “Michelle”
  • Nikki & Alex look cute (sorry, had to)
  • Steve steals food
  • You find yourself singing the remixed theme song

I FULLY expect to get snaps @OrangeJulius7 from you all while this is happening! Other than that, y’all have a great weekend!

Pic of the Week.

Let the obsession begin.

Let the obsession begin.

When my mom was in town a few weeks ago, she treated me to one of my favorite things: TV on DVD. We went to FYE and I ended up with another season of the Mary Tyler Moore show (love it), another season of The Hills (obsessed), and the first season of House of Cards.

I had yet to dabble into the cult series.

I started watching the first couple of episodes right away, but I did what I usually do when I “watch” TV — I didn’t actually watch it. Instead, I blogged, started a craft project, and cleaned my kitchen. Rarely do I ever actually sit and watch something on TV.

But, lately I’ve had a few free hours on my hands, so I asked my house guest (see last week’s post) if he wanted to watch — actually watch — it with me. He did, so we’ve started season one and after two episodes, we’re HOOKED.

I hope FYE has season two in the next day, ’cause I’ll be there.

I don’t want to spoil the season for myself, so don’t worry about any giveaways, but House of Cards is a Netflix series that debuted in February 2013. It follows Frank Underwood (played by the awesome Kevin Spacey), a democrat from South Carolina, who is the House Majority Whip.

From the start, he gets looked over for the Secretary of State position he was eyeing, and he’s determined to do everything in his power to seek revenge on those who crossed him.

Uh, sounds like the recipe for a PERFECT TV show!

I even heard President Obama watches it, so score another one for the big guys. What shows are you binge watching?