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Season Review: ‘Big Little Lies’.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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‘Mariah’s World’: The show must go on.

Another episode of 'Mariah's World'.

Another episode of ‘Mariah’s World’.

Hello! Thank you so much to everyone who wished me luck and sent me well wishes yesterday – it was very sweet and I really appreciate it.

I’ve got the recap of Sunday night’s episode of “Mariah’s World” for you – a day late – but hey, today may seem like a Monday for those of you that had yesterday off work.

So, the tour is still on, and Tanaka is still hanging around despite the fact that he’s injured and not doing the one job he was hired for: dancing. Instead, he’s wearing a lamb costume.

Meanwhile, another dancer gets injured – because that is how FIRE the show is (it really does look intense, but cool). With another dancer down and a show in two days, Mariah is worried about the lift, and wants to simplify the choreography.

On the plane, Mariah is playing with Tanaka’s hair… and Stella wants to jump out of the place because it feels so awkward. Later, Stella tells Mariah that Tanaka MUST have a crush on her, and Mariah is acting so clueless.

The creative director is not down to simplify the show, so he’s called in some new dancers to help fill in just in time for the big show in Paris.

In other news, remember how Mariah Carey’s social media manager is 12? No, she’s really 12, it’s Stella’s daughter. Like that is a job people my age would KILL for. Forget the money, just the experience itself would be baaaad-assss; and a 12 year old posts a picture of Mariah’s ass in just hosiery, and she gets a little slap on the wrist.

Huh? Child, please.

And then Mariah has her last fitting with her wedding dress, along with her daughter in her little gown. Awkwaaaaard. Obviously this is the closest window I have into Mariah’s life, but I totally didn’t realize she was this far in to the wedding planning before they called it off.

James Packer makes a shocking appearance (although it’s very short), and Tanaka is finally starting to remember, ohhhh yeah, there’s another guy in this picture.

Right before the show, Mariah and her staff learn of the news that Prince has died. Mariah is very upset, as Prince was not only a big inspiration for her career, but also a very close friend.

However, the show does go on, and even with the new dancers – everything looks great (and they’re wearing these awesome hoodies that are completely covered in blue sequins). She has a moment of silence to honor Prince, and then sings “Hero”, and it is quite lovely.

Post-show, Mariah is hosting a vodka launch (her own vodka, and the label is pink). James is there, and he’s all over Mariah… and Tanaka is in the corner, pouting. He’s so sad, in fact, that he slinks off into the elevator alone, as elegant as anyone on crutches can do.

Tanaka is on the roof talking to one of the other dancers, and he confesses that he likes Mariah, and that seeing her with James is bursting his bubble.

In the preview for next week’s episode, Tanaka gets weed and Mariah is all flirty again… oh, boy.

On another note, is anyone watching “The Bachelor”? Don’t worry, no spoilers, but I just want to mention that The Backstreet Boys were on last night’s episode, and AJ and Nick (Carter), looked fine as all hell. Still.

BBC: “Still Life”.

Happy Friday the 13th – Mwahahahaha! It’s my last day at my current job, and on Monday I’ll be skipping to someplace new, and of course, I’ll be sharing the next leg of my journey with you.

But today, I want to talk about Blanche’s Book Club’s latest read, “Still Life” by Louise Penny. I heard lots about this book from a podcast (“What Should I Read Next?”) that I listen to each week. The host of the show recommended this book to fans of Robert Galbraith’s (AKA J.K. Rowling) Cormoran Strike series – which I love.

The Louise Penny series – which by the way, I don’t think it’s an actual series as in, I don’t think you have to read them in order (or do you?), but either way, I know you could just pick up any one of the books and read them without having read the ones before it or continuing to read the ones after it.

However, I did start with book one of the group, because I do plan on reading several of them – there are 12 in total, plus a new book that’s coming out in August. Here’s the description for “Still Life” from Amazon.com:

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

Still Life introduces not only an engaging series hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces–and this series–with integrity and quiet courage, but also a winning and talented new writer of traditional mysteries in the person of Louise Penny.

You can find all of the Chief Inspector Gamache series books here, and this is the order they were published in, just in case you want to tackle them in order: “Still Life”, “A Fatal Grace”, “The Cruelest Month”, “A Rule Against Murder”, “The Brutal Telling”, “Bury Your Dead”, “A Trick of the Light”, “The Beautiful Mystery”, “How the Light Gets In”, “The Long Way Home”, The Nature of the Beast”, and “A Great Reckoning” (the new book coming out in August).

All of the books take place in Three Pines, a small village in Canada. The author, Louise Penny, lives in a small Canadian village, too, so perhaps she took a lot of inspiration from her own life. If you decide to get into the books, there are lots of discussion boards and even recipes inspired by the books posted on the website!

I will admit “Still Life” was a little slow during the first two chapters, but quickly picked up and was a joy to read. I definitely see how fans of the Cormoran Strike series would also enjoy this group of books.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Scrappy Little Nobody” by Anna Kendrick. I’m so excited to read this book!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend – if you’ve got a three-day weekend then I’m super jealous! I’m going to be cooking some more recipes from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, taking my second pilates class of the week (making it my 7th workout class this week), giving myself a mani and pedi as I prep for my new job, and in general just getting my life together! If you’re following me on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7, I’m certain you’ll see it all go down.

See you here on Monday!

Hand-Picked: The good ‘ole days…

Hello out there! I’m on vacation this week – that’s right, a REAL vacation without my computer, and complete with my toes in the sand, frozen mojitos, and the company of some of my best friends. However, there’s no way I’d leave my favorite readers hanging!

I’m really excited to share a special series with you this week, “Hand-Picked”, because it’s exactly that: hand-picked memories in the form of photos (actual ones that were developed), notes, ticket-stubs, and other random findings I’ve kept over the course of my life thus far.

These are mementos I store in decorative boxes on shelves in my coat closet, and at times, I pull them down and spend hours looking through them, and remembering some of the best times in my life. What’s below are real, original things from my life, my home, and they have not been edited. They are not presented in any particular order, as I’m not that organized. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do, and perhaps you’ll start to travel down your own memorable past.

So young!

So young!

This picture is from the summer between my graduation from high school and me leaving Indiana for Baton Rouge. It was 2003, as you can clearly see from my Tiffany’s heart pendant necklace. This was my boyfriend at the time, and if I’ve ever had to say there was one that got away, I’d venture to say it was him.

I’ve written many a blog post about him; he was smart, athletic, and a family-man, and damn, doesn’t he look cute? He still lives in Indiana, and his married with children. I haven’t spoken to him since 2003 (I saw him that winter, but we didn’t speak), but I sure hope he’s doing well. It was the best summer of my life.

Handwritten thoughts.

Handwritten thoughts.

In 2008, I’d just graduated from college. I’d be lying if I told you I remembered EXACTLY what this handwritten piece of awesomeness is, but I do know that my friend at the time, Mollye, had set me up on a date with a guy, it didn’t work out, and then she dated him, and we got into a pretty big fight. So, it’s probably about that.

Abercrombie life.

Abercrombie life.

For a few years in college, I worked at Abercrombie & Fitch. At the time, of course I hated it, but in all honesty, I met some awesome people there, and we had a lot of fun. We also got to wear overpriced flip-flops to work, and use a Polaroid camera for whatever we wanted – and clearly, we took great pride in our denim walls. Nothing turns me on more than a pair of distressed denim. No, seriously.

I'm so lame.

I’m so lame.

I dated this guy, Austin, in college, and as you can see, he was graduating (and moved from Baton Rouge to Dallas). I was practicing what I wanted to write in his card, and I’m not sure HOW I started calling him “Prada”, but I did and I got him a pair of Prada sunglasses for graduation. We sort of tried the long-distance thing for a little bit, but obviously that didn’t work out for several reasons. He is now married with children, and as far as I know, he still lives in Dallas.

A rather embarrassing tradition...

A rather embarrassing tradition…

I’m not sure how this got started, but whenever I went out and got drunk, I would attempt to write “20 Things I Did Tonight” – probably so I could recall them the next day, or 10 years later, like I am right now. I have stacks of papers like these, and some of them even have wristbands and random bumper stickers attached – you know it’s a good night when there’s physical evidence. This list is… interesting, and I am not sure what “Blue Hurricane” is, but it sounds disgusting!

High school graduation.

High school graduation.

This is a card a classmate wrote to me for our high school graduation. I thought it was so sweet, and written on such professional cardstock, that I kept it. He is still kind, successful, and probably still writes sweet things on thick paper for the people in his life.

Nothing says love like a mixed CD.

Nothing says love like a mixed CD.

The man I loved was moving to New Orleans, and it was ultimately the road to our demise – minus the fact that he was a lying, cheating, asshole. But, I made him a mixed CD anyway, and I think I made a copy for myself because it was so good. I mean who can resist a little David Gray?

Seriously... it's funny now, right?

Seriously… it’s funny now, right?

Yes, you read correctly, my dorm room was infested with termites, as kindly informed to me via this note, from my new roommate, Michelle. It was my freshman year, and I’d just moved in with Michelle, and I came home from studying one night and found this taped to our door. The story was pretty traumatic for Michelle, and LSU actually didn’t have a dorm room for us, so we stayed in a hotel for a few days, which was pretty nice if you ask me…

 

The top secret notebook!

The top secret notebook!

In 8th grade, I kept notebooks with my girlfriends (lots of girls did this) – instead of writing and folding notes back and forth we sent a notebook back and forth. This was in 1998, and I really like how it says on the front “Do not open or ELSE!!” I’ve read the contents of this notebooks and am actually quite surprised that Leslie was my friend – the letters I write to her are pretty lame, and I’m often complaining about homework (imagine that) and attempting to write in French (we shared French class). Also, 90% of the notes are written in highlighter, or sparkly gel ink – God love the 90s!

I hope you enjoyed day one of “Hand-Picked”! Please come back tomorrow for an entirely new batch of memories – the good, the bad, and… the old!

‘Famously Single’: Love is in the air…

L is for the way you look at me...

L is for the way you look at me…

Episode six! I am pretty sure THIS is the episode we’ve all been waiting for – I type this post as I’m watching each episode, but the previews for this episode showed the scene in the kitchen with Aubrey and Pauly where she’s asking him if he’s falling love with her. Bloop!

The episode kicks off with Brandi still pissed at Callum from the group talk – when he agreed to go on a second date with someone he met during one of the challenges. If there’s any silver lining to this event, it’s that it brought the girls closer together.

Aubrey and the other girls come to Brandi’s aid, and offer her “anything” – which translates to ears to listen with and buddies to drink with (sounds good to me!).

Aubrey admits in a camera 1-to-1 that watching what’s happening between Brandi and Callum makes her worried about what could happen between her and Pauly. Good point.

Brandi confronts Callum one more time, and he backs up a little on his decision for the second date, claiming that he thought he HAD to take the date (um, bullshit). But, he does apologize, and they agree it’s all good, but you can tell Brandi is still not fully onboard.

Next, Callum has a one-on-one with Dr. Darcy regarding the Brandi situation. She asks him for his perspective on what happened, and he does admit to flipping the script on Brandi to make her feel like it was her fault.

Dr. Darcy does remind Callum that the situation is weird since they are already living together, things are probably going to escalate faster than they would in “real” life. However, Darcy reminds him how defensive and reactionary he is – which remains his greatest challenge when it comes to relationships.

Willis and Jess seem to be getting along swimmingly, and it is beginning to look like something could happen there.

Dr. Darcy has a one-on-one with Jess, and Jess admits to being a loner; that she has to force herself to socialize with others (been there). Jess explains that she grew up in a large family and has never lived with a boyfriend because she has anxiety about not being alone.

Jess traces these issues back to a giant fear of abandonment – that if she’s not connected to anyone then no one can leave her. Whoa. She talks about losing her father to Lupus when she was just 8 years old, and that her mom basically checked out and hasn’t been the same ever since.

Darcy explains that every relationship is a crapshoot – there is no guarantee that it will work, so you may as well just take the risk, if you’re looking for real intimacy. Wow, wow, wow – this shit hits home!

The group is outside talking and they ask Will when he’s going to take Jess on a date – meanwhile, Somaya admits to having a crush on Jessica, too!

Somaya is bisexual, and she says that in a relationship with a man, then she won’t be the one to persue it, but with a woman, she will…hmmm… this should get interesting!

Aubrey tells Pauly they should get married – go to Vegas and get married. Laaawwd. Aubrey starts talking with the guys about when is a good time to have sex with someone, too – the vote is mixed.

Later, the housemates go on dates with the people they met in the previous challenge, minus Aubrey and Brandi, who go out with Pauly and Callum, respectively. It should also be noted that Somaya and Jessica weren’t interested in their options for a second date, so they went out together.

While Jess and Somaya are out, Jess asks her if she thinks Will would be a good match for her. Somaya says no, and then admits to liking her…and shockingly, Jessica says immediately she was attracted to her.

Meanwhile… Willis’ date is nowhere to be found, so he’s sitting in a booth taking selfies, Ha!

Then there’s Jess and Somaya, who are all of the sudden in luurrrve, and Jess suggests they order shots and then kiss. It’s a pretty steamy kiss, and they hold hands as they leave the bar to head home.

Eventually, Willis’ date shows up (45 minutes late), and apologizes, and things seem to move pretty smoothly afterward.

When Somaya and Jess get back to the house, no one else is there, so naturally they have a bubble bath together, however they jump out before everyone gets home.

The double date with Aubrey, Brandi, Pauly, and Callum goes great… until Callum has a few drinks and starts getting pissed off again, and Brandi goes home in tears.

Then, the kitchen scene happens between Pauly and Aubrey, and when he didn’t admit to loving her, she claims he’s playing games. Pauly continuously claims he never said that, and the episode ends. GAAAHHH! Till next week…

‘Famously Single’: Hey, jealousy.

Brandi & Callum sittin' in a tree...

Brandi & Callum sittin’ in a tree…

We are already FIVE episodes into “Famously Single” and I feel like there’s all sorts of emotions flying around – and you know what that means: DRAMA. So, let’s get this started!

Right off the bat, the roommates continue to be frustrated with Josh because he’s focusing on only physical aspects of the women he’s about to meet. Dr. Darcy explains that Josh is very obsessed with perfection, including physical appearance.

Brandi and Callum are on an official date – and they are holding hands on the ride there. They both love to cook, so Callum sets up a date for them to cook something with a chef. Cute!

Right when they’re getting into the cooking, Callum accidentally calls Brandi Aubrey – Whoopsie!

Meanwhile, back at the house… Aubrey asks Pauly if she can “pen” her name on him…and even though he says no repeatedly, she did it anyway, and it’s super annoying. I am really not understanding why I ever thought she was cool.

The cooking date seems to be going successfully – the meal looks delicious and they talk about being “free flowing” with their relationship; but that they do want to date exclusively during this process.

Josh is meeting up with the chick he went on a date with in the last episode, when he had the earpiece in. Right away, he tells her he was impressed with her on their last date, but that he did have an earpiece in during it.

She didn’t seem to mind his little secret, and they get on with their date at the batting cages (yikes). She takes it pretty well though, and she is able to joke around about some of the weird things he said on their last date. They really seem to get along, and I am hoping they go on more dates.

However, he tells Brandi he’ll probably see her (his date Dianna) again after the season is done taping, which pisses Brandi off. “He’s having girls thrown at him and he’s saying no because they’re not good enough,” Brandi says in her confessional. Yikes!

Dr. Darcy pulls the house together for a talk about looks vs. personality. Josh says he is into more than just looks, but the housemates aren’t buying it.

Many of the women in the house agree they’re into personality more than looks, while the guys agree looks are very important – but they know looks fade over time. Aubrey calls bullshit (and I have to agree).

Because most of the house said personality is more important than looks, Darcy tells them all they are going to have a mixer at the house, but all of the housemates will be blindfolded (these blindfolds allow the person to see shapes, but no details).

Aside from the initial hilarity of the entire house being blind – knocking drinks over and not being able to shake hands – the concept seems to get the point across.

And then there’s Aubrey, in the corner, saying she doesn’t want to participate, because she just wants to be with Pauly. Anyone shocked? No? Okay, moving on.

Josh, being the lil jerk, cheats, and asks the woman he’s talking to to describe herself. I’m rolling my eyes over here…

The guys actually seem to be doing really well with it, and they are having some fun conversations. Some of the guys have even figured out how to blindy hug their dates!

Pauly seems to really like his date, so I’m curious how this is going to fly with Aubrey.

The girls all hated the activity, while the guys were laughing and admitted they didn’t want to hang out with the girls in the house because they would bring the mood down (aw, snap!).

Pauly admits he has chemistry with Aubrey, but he wants to participate in the dates and learn while he’s having this experience.

Dr. Darcy has a one-on-one with Willis and she asks him about his experience in the house so far. He tells her that the coupled up guys in the house still want to experience the dates, but they’re afraid to branch out because of the women.

She asks him about his dating past and he tells her he’s been cheated on, and that even in those situations he’s stayed with the person. She talks to him about standards and being truthful with his intentions and feelings while he’s in relationships.

At the end of the episode, Darcy pulls the house together again and they talk about their blind dates. The deal is, if someone agrees to go on another date with a person, they get to see a picture of them.

Willis says yes, and his date is super cute! It’s Pauly’s turn, and he says he would rather go on a date with Aubrey. WAMP, WAMP. Next is Callum, and he picks his blind date over Brandi. She’s super cute and smart, and I feel for Brandi, because you can tell she’s sitting there trying to be happy for him. Awkward.

Josh is next, and he says he actually liked the same chick as Callum, so then Callum backs out and says, hey Josh you can have her, I’ll take Brandi!

Brandi seems obviously pissed, so it’s back to Josh, and he picks another girl he was talking to – who is cute and seems really sweet. He blushes and agrees to another date with her. Aw!

Meanwhile, Callum literally shakes his finger at Brandi, and she says “Oh, I’m no one’s back up plan” – FUCK yes girl! Callum blows up and says this is just part of the process. Dudes, I swear.

After the group, he is kind of chasing her through the house asking her why she’s mad; she explains how it appeared that she was the backup plan, and he accuses her of thinking he’s a scumbag. He does the whole manipulative thing of “that’s your bad, not mad” blah, blah, blah…

All of the other girls are listening in and they take Brandi’s side, that he’s a shithead. He finishes the convo by saying “If you don’t believe me, that’ your bad”.

Pssshhhhh, boy bye.

Next week? Looks like some steam for Somaya and a decent fight between Pauly and Aubrey. See y’all there!

Overdose: Paging ‘Nurse Jackie’.

"Life is full of little pricks."

“Life is full of little pricks.”

Over the long-weekend, one of the things I’d promised to myself was some quality time in front of the TV. I know that probably sounds like a giant waste of time, but I’m a TV-junkie, and I have a stack of DVDs that I bought months ago during a massive sale at FYE, and have yet to open most of them.

One of those was season one of Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie“. I know I’m about seven years late to the game on this one, but it’s been on my watchlist for several years – I don’t have Showtime (I picked HBO, instead), so I was constantly on the hunt for a bargain DVD of the first season. And I finally got it for $5.

My first experience with Showtime was “Dexter“, which I loved, and later saw a few episodes of “Californication” (though not enough to comment on it). Both of these shows featured characters that normally, we’d probably hate, but they also posessed qualities that made us root for them – that’s what most writers dream of.

 I’d heard similar things about “Nurse Jackie” – a nurse who is addicted to drugs. Count me in! Here’s the description from the back of the DVD:

“Three-time Primetime Emmy winner Edie Falco is “outstanding (TIME Magazine) as Jackie Peyton, a nurse trying to survive the chaotic grind of saving lives in a hectic New York City hospital. Sharp-tongued and quick-witted, Jackie’s a woman of substance who knows how to handle it all. With a white lie here, a bent rule there, and a steady dose of pain relievers for her chronic back pain, Jackie does whatever it takes to get the job done. See why critics call NURSE JACKIE “wildly entertaining (TV GUIDE Magazine) and “a habit well worth acquiring (THE WASHINGTON POST) in these bitingly funny episodes from the first season of the groundbreaking series.”

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t hooked from the start of episode one – sure, Jackie is a great nurse, and between patients, she’s in the bathroom snorting crushed percocets (sometimes vicodin). She regularly hooks up with one of the doctors that provides her pain killers, and she’s not afraid to speak her mind. But where’s the evil twist?

And in the last 30 seconds of the epsiode, Jackie arrives at home to two, cute little daughters, and a handsome husband who’s cooked dinner. NOW we’re talking!

As the episodes progress, it’s apparent that Jackie works hard to keep her lives separate – removing her wedding ring before entering the hospital, hiding her crushed pills inside empty packets of artifical sweetener, only eating lunch with coworkers, and using separate cell phones for the men in her life.

The other battle seems to be a moral one: that nurses are supposed to be healers, and saints. With her patients, I’d say Jackie has no problem reaching that status, but her demons are constantly at her heels.

Fair warning: there are spoilers ahead! So… things start to go downhill for Jackie when her sidekick Zoe catches her having sex with Eddie. Several episodes later, Eddie sees Jackie in her husband’s bar, hugging Kevin, and their daughters sitting at the bar.

Up until this point, Eddie didn’t KNOW Jackie was married, or had any children. Honestly, the season could have ended with that scene: Eddie standing outside the bar, looking through the window seeing Jackie’s other life.

But, in the episodes following, Eddie gets in deep, actually going to the bar while Kevin is working. There’s a picture of him and Jackie behind the bar, allowing Eddie the opportunity to inquire. Eddie gets the details, and even admits to Kevin that he’s seeing someone, “but she’s married, with two kids…”

He doesn’t blow Jackie’s cover, but he later arrives at the hospital, drunk as shit, and whispers to Jackie that he saw Kevin at the bar. And that pretty much wraps the season.

My only complaint? That the episodes were only 30 minutes long.

And yes, I will be searching for season two at a bargain price!

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Ever since I left the city, you got a reputation for yourself now.

Bottoms up!

Bottoms up!

The following was written based on memories (and I’ve had drinks since then). Names have been changed to protect the author. Catch up on part one here

In college, I kept in touch with Eric. I had a tendency of drunk dialing him after late nights at Fred’s bar, and he would answer, also drunk. At times, he’d pass the phone to his roommate (who I also imagined to be attractive), and we would drunkenly talk until Eric returned on the line.

Not soon after, the evil Mark Zuckerberg introduced the world to his college-exclusive social network, Facebook. It was then I got to see what everyone in high school had been up to, and what they were currently doing; no matter how real or fake it was.

At one point or another, Eric and I were talking a lot – whether it was by cell phone or AOL Instant Messenger – we were going to pick up right where we left off. I was graduating that December, and I was planning to fly home to Indiana for the holidays just a few days later.

Eric offered to pick me up from the airport and bring me to his apartment for the night. I agreed. I hadn’t seen him maybe but once since high school – we had some catching up to do.

My plane landed in Indy, and as I walked toward the baggage claim, I saw so many people running toward someone waiting, there were hugs and kisses, and I was just there, alone. But as I rode down the escalator, there was Eric. He was wearing a black pea coat, and he looked just as handsome as I remembered.

I smiled, picked up my pace, and gave him a giant hug. Once we got to his apartment, we took shots of Jagermeister, and went upstairs to his room. It didn’t take long for things to fall into place. We’d hooked up many times before, though not had sex, but I was ready to DO this.

Naked, on top of him, it was looking like it was about to happen. But, then, it just didn’t. We fell asleep, and a few hours later, he woke me up by way of putting his #%*! between my $&/?. Up to that point, it was one of the most intense sexual experiences I’d had. But we still didn’t do the deed.

The next morning, he drove me to my mom’s house in Greenwood. We said our goodbyes, and that was the last time I saw him for several years.

After the holidays, I went back to Louisiana, where I moved into my first apartment. I really did like Eric – he was a teacher and a basketball coach – he had this sense of small town stability that was sexy to me. I don’t necessarily know how we clicked, but we did. He was sweet, and he always made me feel attractive.

But clearly, distance wasn’t on our side, and we both sort of agreed that it just probably wasn’t our time. I had no hard feelings. I was bartending, and doing freelance writing jobs while I looked for a 9-5 job. Eventually, I started dating someone, and quickly fell in love. Eric was off my radar.

Thanks to Facebook, I could see that Eric was in a relationship, too, and per usual, it looked pretty serious. He was dating someone from home, she was his sister’s friend, which was kind of weird in an after-school-sitcom sort of way. I didn’t know her, but had heard of her though mutual friends.

Regardless, it wasn’t my business. Although I thought of him randomly over the years, I tried not to pay too much attention when he eventually got engaged, married, and moved states away with his wife. From what I could tell, most of my classmates were falling into a similar pattern – because that is what you do when you get older; you get married, get a house, and start a family.

Years passed, and I didn’t talk to Eric. I still had no hard feelings toward him, but it was clear our paths were done crossing.

Until they did, last summer.

I blame SnapChat, because this is how we reconnected. I snapped a selfie as I was heading into work. I had been let go of my 7-year salaried job, and was back to job hunting while working 60 hours a week of retail to make ends meet.

“You look great!” he replied to the snap.

It was random, but okay.

I replied back with another selfie that read, “Thanks!”

He sent back a selfie saying, “You’re welcome!”

In the quick time the snapped selfie was alive, I analyzed what I could. He appeared to be in casual clothes, it was at night, and he was on a couch or in a recliner of some sort. He still looked as handsome as ever.

But… where was his wife? Taking a selfie is kind of obvious, so surely she wasn’t sitting there snapping selfies in front of her, right?

I tried not to think too much of it, and went to sleep.

Over the next few weeks, we communicated via SnapChat off and on; nothing serious. But one night, I had a dream with him in it. He was running toward me, wearing a white medical jacket, and once he ran up to me, he asked me if I was going to watch “the big game”. I remember thinking, no, probably not, but I told him I would. He said something else I can’t remember, smiled, and ran off.

I told him about it the next day on SnapChat. He replied via text, “We could just text,” he said. Truthfully, I didn’t even know we still had each other’s numbers.

We texted some, but the more we talked, the more I was wondering about his wife. Where was she during all of this?

Admittedly, I’ve had some experiences with married men in my past. I’m not proud of them, and it’s not something I’m aiming to continue to do, as it never ends well, and of course, it’s just not right and it’s not who I want to be.

So, I asked one of my girlfriends from 7th grade about it.

I explained that Eric had been texting me, but what about his wife?

“There haven’t been any pictures of them together on Facebook in a while,” she said. “I don’t think they are together.”

What?

I figured Eric would tell me if he felt it was necessary. And he did. However, that story is his and not mine to tell. I’ll just say that I felt terrible for him.

His divorce was pending paperwork, and he’d moved back to our hometown, as he’d gotten a job in the same place we’d first crossed paths – that gigantic school.

I couldn’t believe it! Things were oddly coming full circle; I was sad for his divorce, but I was happy for his new job opportunity. He’s one of those people that was made to be a leader, plus he looked really great in a suit.

We talked for months, mostly by text, but sometimes on the phone. It was mostly just friendly chatter, but it certainly was nice to talk to someone at the end of the day. He was open with me about the pain of his divorce, and I was struggling to find a full-time job.

But eventually, I did get a job, and he talked me through my move to Texas, and texted me good luck on my first day at my new job.

During my first two weeks in Texas, my apartment wasn’t ready, so I was living in an Extended Stay off I-35. I was living out of a suitcase, eating frozen dinners, and watching homemade marathons of Gossip Girl from the hotel bed. One night, Eric Facetimed me.

He had a creative project at work he needed help with. I was happy to help, although he later said his coworkers didn’t go for my ideas.

One night, I was driving home from work and I called him. He answered, on speaker phone.

“I’m in the car with Aaron,” he said.

Aaron went to high school with us.

“I’m about to drop him off in Taylorsville,” he said. “Can I call you back then?”

“Yeah, of course,” I said.

When he called me back, I had to ask the obvious.

“Was Aaron like, uh, why is Holly Phillips calling you right now?” I asked.

“Yeah, I told him I we were talking,” he said, nonchalantly.

I supposed we were talking, but I didn’t think he thought of it that way. I was used to crushing on guys that wanted very little to do with me.

“What did he say?” I asked.

“He said it was great, because we’ve always had something,” he said.

He had a point.

It was October, and I wanted to make it a point to get to Indiana sometime soon to see Eric. I wanted to see if there really still was something there between us.

For a few weeks, we got to talking every day. We talked on the phone a lot, and sometimes had Facetime dates on Friday nights; we would have drinks while on the phone, and it nearly felt like we were really in the same room.

Toward the end of the month, he was acting distant |red flag|. He’d been talking about how he was just “so busy” at work planning and preparing for a fundraising lock-in at the school. If there’s one way to piss me off, it’s to tell me you’re too busy.

I’ve always been someone juggling several things at once, in fact, if I don’t have enough things on my plate, then I don’t know what to do with myself. I am of the school of thought that telling someone you’re too busy for them is just a copout way of blowing them off.

So, I took the hint he was tossing my way, and we stopped talking. I was upset, naturally I assumed he was seeing someone else, and I wrote about it in my weekly column (in Dig magazine, on stands in Baton Rouge, Louisiana).

From my perspective, he was attempting to blow me off by continually telling me how busy he was. I told him I could “take a hint.” So, I put my phone on silent and tried my damnedest to remove him from my brain (read: I went shopping).

But here’s the thing. This guy is really nice. He’s successful, attractive, loves kids and animals, and he even calls me sometimes — really, it’s overwhelming how all-around hot he is.

He offered up an invitation to a pity party in the form of, “I was up all night, got up early on a Saturday to work, and my ankles are swollen, so I guess you can be mad at that.” |red flag|

Great way #2 to piss me off: feel sorry for yourself and pull me down with you. But, after a few weeks of not talking, I fell for it, and called him.

My crush and I were in a little bit of a stand-off after I tried to explain myself to him. I wanted an apology and he wasn’t going to give it. There were tumbleweeds and rusted spurs, until I called him and we agreed it was a miscommunication.

But if I’m being totally honest, I can’t shake it. I feel like whatever fire was between us, has fizzled, because I did the ultimate thing you’re not supposed to do — I acted crazy. I’m no longer that fantastical pony with glittery hair (#goals). I’m just another crazy one, flailing her arms for attention.

My best friend was coming to visit me for Thanksgiving. The night before her arrival, I was frantically cleaning my apartment, when my cat discovered a mouse in the bathroom.

The mouse was clearly after me, so I ran as fast as I could, screaming bloody murder, to reach the highest point in the apartment: the back of my couch.

I called Eric, and as soon as he answered, I screamed, “THERE’S A MOUSE IN MY APARTMENT!!!”

“What? Go get traps, I’m at the bowling alley, I’ll call you later,” he said.

I did as I was told, and by the time I got home to set the traps, he walked me through it on the phone. It sounds silly, I know, but the guy had completely turned my world around. Do you ever notice that? How one person can make even the worst things seem okay.

I was really starting to love getting his texts each night before I fell asleep that said, “Goodnight babe” and he always had an equally sweet text in the morning. We were texting all day, every day, and would Facetime almost every night.

But, I hadn’t forgotten the fact that he was fresh off a tough divorce. Was he just replacing the feelings he had for his ex with me? Were we two miserable sacks just looking for company? I expressed my concerns to him, adding the fact that as many times as we’d tried to make this work before, it hadn’t. There had to be some sort of reason it never worked for us; would I be his rebound again?

“Not this time,” he said. “Just let me be good to you.”

Please return tomorrow for part three of this five-part series, complete with red flag alerts and Drake lyrics. 

You used to call me on my cell phone…

Zaharako's soda fountain in Columbus, Indiana.

Zaharako’s soda fountain in Columbus, Indiana.

The following was written based on memories (and I’ve had drinks since then). Names have been changed to protect the author.

I grew up in Columbus, Indiana. If I had to guess, Columbus is a lot like any other suburban town in middle America: it’s mostly white, pretty safe, fashion trends come late, and teenagers are itching to leave.

At least, that’s how I felt. I remember visiting the middle school for my district – it wasn’t the same school any of my 6th grade classmates were going to, and at orientation, the place appeared gigantic. How would I be able to make it to any of my classes on time? I wondered.

But my 7th grade year, getting to my classes on time was the least of my worries. I knew no one, classes were difficult, and I felt like everyone was instantly popular, except me (I was still wearing Limited Too, while everyone else was in Abercrombie).

In an effort to make friends, I tried out for the school’s dance team, The Spirettes. I had no real dance experience aside from a single jazz class I took at a local gym. However, I felt like my audition was decent enough, dance-wise. But I’m fairly certain I didn’t smile. I didn’t make the team, and I was devastated.

However, things started looking up toward the end of 7th grade. I was making friends – some of whom are still my friends today. When 8th grade came around, I was much more prepared. I also tried out for The Spirettes again, and after slathering Vaseline on my teeth and glittering my face – I made it! Oddly enough, I don’t remember performing a single time; though I do remember after-school practices (our coach was a Colts cheerleader and I thought she was so cool).

As the year came to a close, all of the 8th graders were gearing up for high school – most of us were simply migrating to the giant brick building across the street.

Going into high school was really intimidating. Middle school was cliquey, but damn, high school was bitchy. There were so many groups of students who’d grown up together in different schools, and now we were all in the same sea. It was a nightmare. But I had my few friends I’d known since 6th grade (dare I say it? This was pre- #Squad) and I was generally content.

Of course, I always wished I was more popular – I used to imagine what it was like to be “in” and I figured their lives were so easy and fun. But, don’t worry, I’ve watched enough teen angst flicks and rom-coms to know that’s not true (Enter: Drive Me Crazy).

I joined the school dance team, The Pepsteppers (and no, I’m not sure what’s up with the cutesy names), in 9th grade and I was obsessed with it. I truly loved dancing, and even though I was always nervous as shit before performing at halftime of the boys’ basketball games, I enjoyed it.

I was also on the school newspaper staff – because of course I was – and was learning to express myself in all kinds of new ways. This was probably what set the stage for my life to come; in good ways and bad.

I recall having crushes on boys from a young age, and it probably comes as no surprise that even then, I chased after what I wanted, never learning when it ended terribly.

I’ll be honest, I don’t remember the first time I met Eric. I’d say it probably had something to do with the fact that he was on the basketball team and I danced at halftime. I met a lot of basketball players that way.

Our practice areas were near each other and we did have some of the same classes. And boy, he was cute. He was tall, fit, and had this curly blond hair that was cut short and kept neat.

He was always off-limits – a total serial monogamist, even at 15. He was sweet, funny, and good at basketball: the high school recipe for success.

As months passed, we talked more. Our friends were friends, so we crossed paths outside of school. We became friends easily – he had an amazing sense of humor and a contagious laugh. It was no wonder he was always in a serious relationship. In fact, that is probably another factor that made him even more desirable.

Late night when you need my love…

Of course, there were a few times he was single, or as I’d like to say, between girlfriends. In those weeks (I can’t imagine he’d be single for a month’s time), we would flirt. Hard.

Thinking back, it was probably pretty innocent flirting, but in high school – shit was a big deal. At first, it was on MSN Messenger, because cell phones were still really new, plus MSN was WHERE IT WAS AT, at the end of the day.

Picture it: dial-up internet connection, immediately trying to sign in to MSN, watching those two little icons swirling around each other, and then your contacts list populating, hoping your crush would be online – but you wouldn’t dare talk to him, at least not first, but you’d sit there, perhaps not talking to anyone, debating, should you say “hey”?

It was a nightly battle. But I’d trade a decent piece of jewelry to go back and read some of those conversations I had via MSN.

My close girlfriends knew how much I liked Eric. They were there when I was trying to craft the perfect message to send to him, or when we got digital cameras, what picture should I send him?

And then, before I knew it, he’d already jumped in a serious relationship |red flag| with someone new. Someone that wasn’t me.

Have you seen or read “Paper Towns”? It’s the story of a high school senior, Quentin, who’s kind of a nerd and unpopular, but he lives next door to the coolest girl ever, Margo Roth Spiegelman. They have one fluke night together – driving around their town (very much like Columbus) causing debauchery before dancing near the top of a high-rise.

Quentin loved every bit of Margo – her choice of nail polish, her random sense of style, and even her ability to disappear, wrecking havoc on those she left behind. But Quentin loved Margo the way he imagined her, and as we all eventually learn, nothing is how you imagine it.

I felt the same way about Eric. Only in this story, I’m Quentin, and he’s Margo.

My friends and I found an odd joy in driving through town, whether on a mission for Taco Bell (fuel for late-night video game sessions) or simply just to drive (okay, and an excuse to blare Justin Timberlake’s “Justified” album, you know that shit was fire).

Admittedly, we’d always wonder what other students did that we didn’t know about. At 16, when I had my first boyfriend, I found out: they hung out in finished basements while their moms baked cookies above them. We weren’t missing out.

I’m not sure how it happened, but Eric and I found ourselves single at the same time. His recent breakup was all over school. But, he was quick to ask me on a date for the following weekend.

I joined him and his friend for lunch at Eric’s house – this was nothing new; he lived near school and for us, it meant a quick, free lunch.

“So, what are you going to do about Ashley?” his friend asked him.

“I figure I can just go on a date with someone else…” he said |red flag|.

“Sure, you could do that,” his friend said.

“I asked Holly,” he said, pointing at me. I shrugged.

I don’t know how, but I remember exactly what I was wearing that day: a white scoop neck tee (probably from Express), and this tight, turquoise skirt that had Hawaiian flowers on it. I know it was from Delia’s. I thought I was Britney Spears.

I feel like what I’m about to say makes it appear that I’m placing blame, but it’s also a vital factor if you’re interested in understanding my head space then, and now. As I stood in Eric’s parents’ kitchen, it had been less than a year since my parent’s divorced and my dad moved away. He was also about to get married.

My dad was easily the iron fist, and it was at about this point in my life, when I probably could have used someone to stand at the front door, arms crossed, foot tapping, when boys came to pick me up. Because they did, and I was not rejecting any form of male attention.

So, that weekend, Eric picked me up, and we played Putt-Putt. I think we may have had dinner, too, but I can’t recall. I just remember being certain I was going to kick his ass at Putt-Putt, because my dad and I played a lot when I was a kid. But, Eric won (I think by a lot), even though you’re supposed to let the girl win, right? He was competitive, but he was nice about it.

He drove me home, walked me to my front step, and he kissed me. I had to stand on my tip-toes, but it was an insanely sparkly kiss. I’d dreamt of it, and it was finally happening.

But within the next week, Ashley, Eric’s ex, came back around, and he called me on my purple cordless phone, to tell me that even though he had fun with me, he loved Ashley. Total devastation. But, I understood.

When he and Ashley broke up for the second time, for good, I ended up back at his parents’ house. Only this time, it was late, and we crept into the basement. With the lights off, we made out, and there was lots of over-the-clothes friction happening. It was steamy, in an awkward, high school way.

But without fail, Eric started dating someone new, someone who wasn’t me, just like always. And I was jealous.

They dated for, what seemed like, forever, and before I knew it, our senior year summer was over, and I was packing my car to move to Louisiana.

Please return tomorrow for part two of this five-part series, complete with red flag alerts and Drake lyrics.