For Christmas, I asked for an actual pair of headphones, as those awful earbuds were really starting to hurt my ears since I was listening to podcasts 8 hours a day! I got my headphones, and even though I have my own office at my new job, listening to podcasts has become a little bit of an out for me – a way for me to listen to fun or interesting things while I’m working on political things. And so, I’ve got another batch of podcast recommendations for you, if you’re looking…
Making Oprah – I kept seeing this one on the top charts, and finally decided to dive in. I have never been a huge fan of Oprah; I think she’s cheesy, and quite full of herself, if you want to know the truth. But this podcast made me understand just how important Oprah was to daytime television, and to the overall conversation in our culture. Here’s the scoop:
The inside story of a TV revolution. In this new WBEZ podcast, Oprah Winfrey tells the behind-the-scenes story of her iconic TV talk show, along with producers, staffers, TV executives, and ratings rival Phil Donahue. The three-part series chronicles the show’s scrappy roots in Chicago, its rise to daytime dominance, and the powerful sway Winfrey came to have in American life.
Yes, you saw that: “Three-part series”…I listened to it in about a day. But, there are several bonus episodes to prolong the goodness. Listen to the episodes here.
In the Dark – This is for my true crime lovers! No matter how much scary movies freak me out, I think I’ll always be a fan of crime mysteries. I hear about this podcast on another one, and it was one of those end-of-the-year roundup things. I made note of it and started listening last week, so I’m only a few episodes in. Here’s what it’s about:
Child abductions are rare crimes. And they’re typically solved. For 27 years, the investigation into the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota yielded no answers. In the most comprehensive reporting on this case, APM Reports and reporter Madeleine Baran reveal how law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger, led to the nation’s sex-offender registries and raise questions about crime-solving effectiveness and accountability.
When I was a kid, I was so afraid of robbers and getting kidnapped. And THIS was the case that scared us all – whether we knew it or not. It put laws in place that are still followed today. Now, I will say that some of the content in this podcast is difficult to hear. After all, an innocent child was the victim. However, hearing about the investigation is the part I really like – why, and how, did they miss so much? You can listen to episodes here.
Nerdette – I’m pretty sure I came across this podcast by searching for “Issa Rae” (sorry, I’m obsessed). There was a great episode where the hosts interviewed her, but then I started searching through other episodes and got to listening. While the show has great sound quality, and the co-hostesses are really good – the show is about lots of different things, which I enjoy. The “Nerdettes” are particularly known for their recaps of “Game of Thrones”, I haven’t listened to those episodes since I don’t watch the show. Here’s the overall gist of the show:
A safe space for nerding out about all the things you’re watching, reading, listening to and encountering in real life. Hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen talk to people about their obsessions: from science to science fiction, great lady nerds of history to Beyoncé. Because what the world needs now is not another superhero, but for the glasses-clad alter ego to make you a podcast.
The Minimalists – I’m honestly not sure how I came across this podcast, but I do know it’s ALWAYS on the top of the charts. I started listening to it around Christmas and have really learned a lot about the minimalist lifestyle, and have even started a “donate” pile in my apartment as I sort each corner of my place.
The hosts, Josh and Ryan, have really spread the word on minimalism, as they have a documentary on Netflix, two published books, and are always on “tour” hosting events around the globe. You can listen to episodes here.
What podcasts are you listening to? Any I should add to my list? I am always looking for more things to listen to, so let me know!
The term “self-care” has been swirling around the interwebs since at least the end of 2015, which makes me a little late to the game, per-usual. The truth is, I never really gave it much thought until recently – and for good reason.
I know I’ve been alluding to “tough times” lately, and I’ll explain. If it isn’t blatantly obvious, I’m a democrat in every single way. I try not to make this a political space, and I won’t go too deep here, but yeah, shit has been pretty rough these days.
When things happen, as in things that are reported in the news, I debate to myself whether or not I should say something on this blog. Some readers say this blog IS their news, so I don’t want someone to miss out on anything big. Do I do a little, “Uh, hey, Trump has fuuuucked things up again, TODAY” – memo?
Let me back up a little. I have always loved watching the news, keeping up with things, and in general, just being informed. And I know the 24-hour news circuit has haunted our world since the Jon Benet case, but I really didn’t feel the effects until last week.
You see, I work in a political field, and I do digital communications, i.e. I monitor Twitter, a lot. So, I’ve seen alllllll the Trump Tweets many times over. At the end of the work day, I was starting to feel really heavy, like my shoes were filled with cement.
To combat this, I have been watching “The Daily Show” every single night. I need someone to make light of this, of anything, something to make me laugh and tell me that I’m not going to blow up while I sleep.
But the night that Trump fired Sally Yates, “The Daily Show” didn’t touch on it, because obviously it’s taped during the day, and the Trump administration is so entirely insane, that even in just two hours, the world can be completely flipped, border patrol and protestors with handmade signs, included. How the hell does this happen?
I decided right then and there that I’ve got to do something to take care of myself. Because I see things going on, and I’m trying to make the change during my 9-5, and although I want to jump into my car and protest the shit out of pretty much every damn thing coming out of that White House, I must take care of myself first.
And so, I need a self-care plan. For many, part of their self-care plan is to stay off social media, or to only stay on for certain chunks of time. I don’t have that option when it comes to my job. Luckily, there are other things I can do to avoid going insane.
Here are some ideas I came up with:
- At-home manis and pedis
- Intentionally schedule “me” time
- Clean out the closet and donate the unwanted items to a place that does good things
- Spend less time with the phone/iPad/computer, etc.
- Take a cooking class
- Take more walks – even if it’s just around the neighborhood
- Attend a local high school sporting event
- Take an online class (I’ve still go to learn screenwriting this year)
- Get crafty/artsy (hello, Pinterest)
- Listen to this song more often:
When I was looking up ideas for self care, turns out, I actually do a lot of these things already: write a blog, spend time with a pet, cook, dance, sleep in on the weekends, write letters…
I’d love to know what you’re doing for your self-care plan – perhaps reading this blog is part of it, which is another reason why politics are generally not invited here. So let’s hear what you’re doing for self-care; or ideas you have for those of us who need it.
Okay, John Mayer fans! Tomorrow is the day we get to hear some new stuff, finally! While I don’t really have the inside scoop (as much as I wish I did), we can discuss what we know so far.
1. The title of the album is called “The Search for Everything”, which John said in a Facebook Live feed that the title basically explains his life.
2. The album will obviously feature the single we’ve heard, “Love on the Weekend”, which I love – but John said, also on Facebook Live, that the song does not represent the entire album. Guess we’ll see.
3. The album was among some greats on The Rolling Stone’s list of the 63 most-anticipated albums of 2017. However, the release date isn’t mentioned there, because…
4. John Mayer is releasing his album in 4-song increments, monthly. WHICH IS THE WORST IDEA EVER.
Let’s just discuss this a little more.
Now, I know artists have released their music in increments before. Kanye West did it with his G.O.O.D. Fridays, where fans were rewarded with a free download as long as they kept visiting his new website, and Justin Bieber did it with his “Journals” album, releasing one song each Monday in a “Music Monday” campaign.
When Kanye did it, it was genius because no one had ever done it before; when Justin did it, it was pretty fun.
But, seriously John Mayer? The first reason this sucks is because the initial 4-song drop we get includes the single we’ve already purchased, “Love on the Weekend“, so we’re actually only getting three new songs this month. Here are the tracks we’ll see tomorrow:
- Moving On And Getting Over
- Love On The Weekend
- You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me
The second reason this sucks is because am I honestly supposed to listen to a 4-song loop for a month and then download another 4 songs? Let me make this clear: I love me some John Mayer, but I’m not going to be putting it in my calendar every month to “Download the next 4 John Mayer songs!!”
Here’s my other question: how many songs are there in total? According to Mayer’s Instagram account, “The album will be released four songs at a time. Every month. There were too many songs to ever get out the door at once.”
There’s several issues with this statement. I hate to be that person, but it’s the digital age, right? So what does it even mean that there’s “too many songs”? Like is it 25? 40? Because anything 20 and under is a pretty standard album length.
This just makes me wonder, what’s the real story? Like are the songs not done? Because if they’re not, don’t tell us there’s an album coming. If they ARE done, well hand ’em over, ’cause frankly, John Mayer, you’ve put the fans through too much! Just hand us the SONGS!
Am I the only person pissed about this? Le sign… I know there are bigger problems. I’m just greedy and want all the songs – besides, I’ll be in the car road-tripping for a minimum of 10 hours this weekend and I could really use some new tunes (more than four, BTW).
At the very least, I have a feeling these are going to be some GOOD songs… I mean, what we’ve heard so far is fantastic. Here’s to “The Search for Everything”!
Hellllooo! How was your weekend? Mine was… eventful in an unexpected way. I spent a majority of my Saturday running errands – mostly for Christmas presents – which was hectic, and to top things off, it was cold and rainy. I came home around 6, got things put away, and settled into bed to watch “Orange is the New Black”. I was about 5 minutes in when Blanche comes running into my room, chasing a mouse.
Yep, a real mouse. With a tail.
Longtime readers may recall this exact thing happened to me last holiday season – you can read about that incident right here.
Last year, after screaming bloody murder and finding refuge standing on the back of my couch, I coaxed myself into my car, drove to the nearest Walgreens, and bought all the traps they had. I set them that night, and then locked myself, and the cat, into my bedroom, in hopes the traps would solve the issue.
I never saw the mouse, or any mouse, again until Saturday night, when one ran through my bedroom, heading toward my Christmas tree, which is in the living room. I said nothing, grabbed my keys, went to Walgreens, set the traps, and locked us back into the bedroom.
Apparently, we’ve got a new holiday tradition. Holly, Blanche, and the Christmas Mouse. Look for it in Barnes & Noble, nationwide November 2017.
Despite being terrified the mouse was going to jump out at me, much like the squirrel in “Christmas Vacation”, I spent Sunday cleaning, wrapping gifts, and watching Christmas movies.
And of course, I was counting down the hours until the premier of “Mariah’s World”! Sooooo who else watched it? Let’s get into this recap.
The show started off with what I assume was a preview of what’s to come on this 8-part “event”… and in this 3-minute series of clips, I had no freaking clue what was happening. There were so many different people, lots of arguing, and lots of audio from “Fantasy” on repeat.
Right off the bat, we’re taken to Italy, where Mariah is vacationing on her yacht, which is across the water from her then-fiance’s yacht. I noticed immediately how vocal Mariah is about material things. It’s not enough that she’s on a lavish yacht, wearing diamonds, as she’s about to jump in the ocean, but she has to say it outloud that she’s wearing a dress and diamonds and is about to jump into the ocean.
I don’t know why this surprises me, but it certainly does, and it’s kind of annoying. She acts like she’s new money, when sure, she came from nothing, but that was many, many years ago (not a knock to her age, but rather a nod to how long she’s dominated the industry).
The residency in Las Vegas has just wrapped, and for some reason, Mariah’s assistant Stella, is scheduling a 27-stop European tour, that’s going to start in just two weeks – around the same time as her wedding.
So there’s lots of scrambling, lots of yelling on the phone, even a bridal fitting (super awkward), and eventually, Stella hires a person named Molly, who seems to have no experience as an assitant, yet she’s going to work on this European tour.
Seriously, HOW DOES THIS SHIT HAPPEN?
But nonetheless, that’s not the high point of the episode. Instead, it’s the first side of Bryan Tanaka – one of Mariah’s dancers, but also her now boyfriend.
Bask in the shady palm trees, my friends.
Like, let’s lay this out, because in the show, she’s PLANNING a wedding with James Packer. But during these dance rehearsals, she is ALL about some Tanaka.
Here’s my other odd observation. Why are the dance rehearsals held in her home? Better yet, why doesn’t she have a rehearsal space in her home? She’s literally practicing beside a pool table, and then when they go to rehearsal, there’s no real equipment – she’s using a water bottle as a mic, and they’ve set up gymnastic mats and plywood as a makeshift staircase.
Did anyone get the memo that it’s a Mariah CAREY reheasal?? That just seems odd to me. She doesn’t strike me as the kind of person to cut corners, but shit.
By the end of the episode, Mariah has pushed back the wedding, strictly in the name of the tour, and she’s a whopping 3-hours late to rehearsal.
This… should be an interesting 8 weeks, folks.
I know I say this every Friday, but seriously, this time I mean it: I’m SO glad I’ve made it to Friday! Between my blog class, the film festival, prepping for the dance showcase next weekend, and general business at the office, it has been a CRAZY month that has not allowed much time for rest. Whew!
Although I do have a few things to accomplish this weekend (hair cut and color, scheduling a spray tan, dance rehearsal, and general errands), I am planning on setting aside some quality chunks of time to lay in bed – and watch some “House of Cards” and catch up on some HBO goodies.
But anyway, we’re here to talk about books! I am so excited to share with you the latest read from Blanche’s Book Club, because it’s by funny guy Aziz Ansari, his book, “Modern Romance“. I had this book on reserve at the library for several weeks and I was ecstatic when I got the text saying it was ready for pickup. Here’s the scoop:
At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?
Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”
But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.
For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.
In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.
I know it’s long, but I wanted you to have all the details. This book is pretty genius in that it combines Ansari’s humorous tone, with actual facts and experiences. And while reading the book doesn’t change the current dating landscape for us singletons, it does explain WHY we go through what we do, and more importantly, that we’re not alone in this.
While I loved reading this whole book, there were two takeaways I found really interesting. The first was the research done about how dating was before technology came along. The book provides charts and graphs to show just how many people dated and married those within their neighborhood – and most people did.
Why? Well, because marriage was seen as a way out. People, especially women, weren’t moving out of their parents’ homes just because – they moved out once they were married. And, many times, women weren’t pursuing educations or careers – so it was marriage and then creating a family.
Once people started going to school and focusing on their careers, marriage started happening later and later in life, and it placed people further apart, physically, which is why less people marry within their hometowns.
Interesting takeaway two: Straightwhiteboystexting.org
Thank you, Aziz, for sharing this with me, as I didn’t know it existed prior. And it is a gift from the universe, in the same way that @Textsfromyourex on Instagram is. It is glorious.
Straight White Boys Texting is a submission-based website that captures and publishes the agony that is being a woman having to deal with dudes in today’s dating world. We get gems like:
…And there’s many more where that came from on the site.
Modern romance at its finest! You’ve got to read this book if you’re dating today, or if you’ve been dating within the last ten years. It’ll all start to make a little more sense (and keep us all inside for eternity).
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial” by Rabia Chaudry. We’d love for you to read it with us! Simply start reading and reach out for discussion at your leisure – after all, it’s the non-committal book club.
Have a fantastic weekend everyone!
I was sporting my #CatLady trucker hat (for sale in the merch store) last month, and a guy asked me if I really was a “cat lady”. Yes, I said. “Well, how many cats do you have?” he asked, half disgusted, half intrigued. “Just one,” I said. “It’s a lifestyle.”
It was then I realized that I’ve never really explained my personal campaign to celebrate cat ladies, everywhere. Let me spill my story.
Let’s start with where this all came from. So, here’s the Wikipedia definition of a cat lady:
A cat lady is a single woman who dotes upon her pet cat or cats. The term is usually considered pejorative, though it is sometimes embraced. A cat lady may also be an animal hoarder who keeps large numbers of cats without having the ability to properly house or care for them. They may be ignorant about their situation.
So, there’s that. In general, to call someone a “cat lady” is an insult. Why? Well, way, way back – there were Egyptian goddesses who had cats, and even religious symbols who had cats, but eventually cats came to be synonymous will the devil. So…yeah.
And then came the movie “Clockwork Orange”… *rolls eyes* – the movie that all pretentious English majors obsess over. This is when the more modern-day crazy cat lady appeared in pop culture. And then, Eleanor Abernathy was born as a character on “The Simpsons” – and she is a true cat hoarder.
When you think about it, the cat lady stereotype goes beyond just a single woman with a lot of cats. She’s often insane, out-of-sorts, and generally dirty. She’s cranky, and no one wants to be around her. How terrible, right?
And so, I’ve embraced this stereotype in the opposite way via my merchandise, and the use of #CatLady. Being a #CatLady has nothing to do with the number of animals you own, or cats, at all. It’s about celebrating who you are and not being ashamed of any aspect of your being.
A true #CatLady is confident in herself, in her life, and she’s more interested in doing what she wants than worrying about what others think, or following societal norms. Maybe she is married, maybe not. Maybe she has kids, maybe not. A #CatLady has no age, no holds, and basically gives zero fucks. #CatLady – celebrate it!
Because when you think about it, this whole “Crazy cat lady” stereotype is just another way to degrade single women. It’s an easy way to dismiss emotions, a simple way to label someone we don’t know, and a socially acceptable way to insult someone that isn’t “typical” in terms of American culture.
And I’m over it. There’s no male equivalent, because single males are accepted and rewarded in our culture. As women, there’s so much expected of us, and at times, we give so much just to be treated equal from others, and we still aren’t satisfied.
So, I’m sticking with my #CatLady ways – yes, I do have a cat, and yes I am single, and I live alone. Am I crazy? No. Am I a spinster? No. Do people piss me off? Sometimes. But I have a successful career, great friends, know how to laugh, and I’ve got a few kitchen skills up my apron. So, yeah, I’m a #CatLady – for life.
A few weeks ago, I was telling a guy friend about a semi-talking-dating-ish thing that was happening to me, and that I just wasn’t feeling it, but I wasn’t sure why other than just sheer mental exhaustion due to the fact that it’s constantly a game of hot and cold with the guy in question.
“Yeah,” my friend said. “He missed the boat.”
Is that a thing? I suppose it’s just another factor of timing, and if you don’t strike when the iron is hot, then that’s just the way the chips fall (let’s just make this post full of cliches, shall we). But, typically the term “Missed the boat” refers to the fact that it’s OVER, completely. Dead.
So, then I got to thinking, wait… have I missed the boat?
Typically, missing the boat is associated with age – people have that number in their heads of when things are supposed to happen. I definitely thought I was going to be married by 25. That was six whole years ago, and I can’t even fathom the thought of going on a date, period.
If you’ve been ’round these parts for a minute, you’ve probably noticed that the tone of this blog has made a clear shift from dating and guy drama to food, book reviews, and lots of TV. That shift in content is due to a major shift in my life: I’m no longer interested in finding a partner, as I’m much more interested in enriching my life in other ways; filling it with the things I love, i.e. cooking and baking, reading piles of books on my patio, watching hours of TV as I study up on screenwriting, and exploring the city I’ve spent the past year in – Austin!
The guy friend I mentioned above, said something to me about my “shift” in attitude: “You’ve changed,” he said.
And yes, he knew me years before, when I was desperate for a man’s attention, nearly always had a boyfriend or at least a person of interest, and probably had very little of an original personality. I wanted so badly to be in a serious relationship that would lead to marriage, and a family. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, I did nothing for myself, and instead, I did a lot of desperate things in hopes of finding true love.
In return, I spent a lot of time crying. My dating history is full of complete failures that left me trying to find myself, and figure out why these things happened to me. After years of weekly therapy, I found answers: I had no self-confidence, and no self-worth, and because of this, I attracted men that wanted to take advantage of me. And they did; in the form of verbal and sexual abuse, and manipulation.
Years have passed since I’ve been in a relationship, and sure, there are times I’ve felt I’m ready to date someone, and then times I’m okay being single. I’ve met guys who seem cool; they seem different from those of my past, but it ends up being the same scenario in a different costume, and that’s just not the game I’m willing to play anymore – I know I deserve more.
A few months ago, a guy I really liked when I lived in Baton Rouge sent me a few messages on SnapChat. He’s very handsome, and always has a way of making me laugh. We chatted some, and I found out he’s finishing law school in Boston before moving back to Austin, where he’s originally from. Wow, I thought, timing sure is everything – maybe there’s something here.
He was planning a trip to the city in just a few weeks, and wanted to see me. I envisioned us going to a baseball game or hitting up one of the many delicious BBQ joints Austin has to offer. But he told me he had other plans, which involved coming to my apartment and something physical happening between us.
“Are you planning on breaking in?” I asked him. “Because I never invited you to my apartment.”
When I made it clear I had no intentions, or even desires to sleep with him, he stopped talking to me, and even came to town without so much as a “hello”.
Sure, I was frustrated, and even a little offended that all he wanted was sex from me – I know there have been many times where that’s all I am to a man. But this time, like many times over the past three years, I was able to spot it before anything happened, and before I got as hurt I would if I let him into my apartment, my body, or my life.
I don’t think every guy is like that (at least I hope not); but I’m not going to be dating until I find someone who truly is interested in me; my life, my stacks of books, my cat lady tendencies, and my crockpot creations. Sure, maybe it’ll be a little rusty, but I’m worth the wait.
And for the sake of myself, and anyone out there who’s feeling like they’ve “missed the boat” on dating or on dreams or whatever it may be, I’m gonna go ahead and say that’s bullshit. There’s no proper age when love happens for everyone. We all have different stories, and if we’re sticking with the boat metaphors, we can’t all hit the deck at once.
One of my favorite advice columnists, Polly from NY Mag’s “The Cut”, had the same views when a reader wrote in asking if she’d missed the boat on dating at 36 years old, despite having a very full life (read the entire article here). Here’s her (partial) response:
But don’t give up hope. Why wouldn’t you feel optimistic? You’re already pretty happy. You’re going to rock this out and have the life you want no matter what. So be your dangerously girly self, without apology. Be her forever and everywhere. Shout to the sky, “I AM GIRLY. I LOVE KIDS. I LOVE BUILDING FIRES. I LOVE BAKING CAKES. I HAVE FEELINGS. I AM NOT COOL. I WILL NEVER BE COOL. I AM MADE OF MAGIC.”
You haven’t missed the boat. There are boats everywhere. Maybe you’ll like one of them and maybe you won’t. I think you will. But in the meantime, savor this moment. Be exactly who you are, and savor it. Even true love doesn’t come close to feeling as good as that.
Me, personally? I’m holding out for the captain’s suite, the surf ‘n turf formal dinner, and the sun deck with coconuts for cups. Until then, I’ll be on the beach writing boat puns and singing Drake songs to Blanche, like Controlllaaaaaaa. Controlla.
At approximately 10:21 am today, the fall season will officially be upon us. So, you can all stop saying it’s too early for pumpkin-spice everything, and Halloween decor. Because it’s not, fall is HERE! In my house, the arrival of fall signifies a fresh start, and it also means turning off the AC and dragging out the crockpot. Who doesn’t love that? Here’s a few more things I’m looking forward to this season:
The food. As much as I love the light and fresh flavors of summer, there’s something to be said about the savory flavors of fall – just think about all of the colors that will be at the farmer’s market! There are certain recipes I cook up each fall, including turkey and bean chili, pumpkin mac n’ cheese, sweet potato soup, and hearty Mexican dishes fit for a football game (last year, I made enchiladas for the first time and fell in love). I also love making apple cider – right in the crockpot – as it smells delicious and tastes amazing.
The entertainment. Of course, I love fall television, and fall reading. But there’s also fall sports – football is back, and hockey season is upon us! Yes! There’s also some fantastic movies coming our way. Me, personally? I’m looking forward to the film adaptation of “The Girl on the Train”, along with four Hallmark Movies to be released during the month of October. And who doesn’t get a little excited for the Macy’s Day Parade come Thanksgiving??
The fashion. Even though it’s been a whopping 112 degrees in Austin this summer, my office has been around 60, so I’m well-past the stage of wearing scarves and flannel. But now I can do it without looking like an asshole. Flannel, boots and booties, scarves, jackets, faux fur, vests, and beanies, I’m on it.
The indoors. Okay, so maybe a little bit of outdoors, too. Afterall, now that it’s finally not hot as hell outside, a good hike would be nice, and I have yet to see the bats in Austin this year before it’s too late. But I also don’t mind the thought of closing the sliding glass door, lighting a few pumpkin candles, and cozying up on the couch and getting in some much-needed relaxing, while wearing my favorite slippers.
The holidays. Yes, I know the fall season is not officially the holiday season, but there’s Halloween (which I basically hate), and then we’re rolling right into Thanksgiving, Christmas, and so forth. This means time off from work, a reason to host parties and decorate the house, and you know, all the yummy food and drinks. Cheers!
What are you looking forward to this fall?
Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for the week’s final installment of “Hand-Picked” – it probably won’t be the last time ever for it, because, well I only went through maybe 1/4 of all the little mementos I have stuffed in boxes in my tiny apartments. But nonetheless, I do hope you’ve enjoyed all of my memories this week! I’ll be back to my regular posting next week, and this gave me a few days to unwind (very much needed) and think about the next direction for the blog.
Okay, first picture (above) is a few pieces I kept from Baton Rouge’s first Fashion Week, hosted by the one, the only Ryan Auld! Ryan was a contestant on Project Runway, and while he didn’t win during the standard season, he was later a contestant on Project Runway All Stars, where he completely knocked the socks off everyone and WON!
One cool thing about Ryan is that he’s from Louisiana! I actually met him while he was still in college, studying fashion at LSU. He was winning fashion competitions then, which is how I met him, because I wrote a story on him, and he got to study in Paris due to his winnings. I later ran into him again – as we unknowingly lived in the same apartment complex. He told me then that big things were happening for him, but he couldn’t tell me what. It was Project Runway.
The other cool thing about Ryan is that he is a two-time cancer survivor. Plus, he makes amazing clothes, and now he has a store in San Antonio. I have had a great time following his career, and cannot wait to see all the cool things he does in the future.
There are many cool perks to being a bartender, and one of them was the annual Christmas party. This particular party was always dressy, and included bottomless drinks, of course. That particular year, I loved the dress I bought – white and black color-blocked satin, with leopard-print heels. I even got my makeup done; and had asked my date by rewriting the words to “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” and leaving it in a Santa hat outside his apartment. We had a blast!
This is about 1/4 of the tickets I’ve got from John Mayer concerts – this is the downfall of digital tickets; that there’s nothing cool to show for it unless you print it. But, as John Mayer would say, we’ll remember it by seeing it with our own eyes.
In 2012, a few attorneys I respected started a team for Race for the Cure. This was prior to my sheer hatred of anything benefitting the Komen Foundation, but giant, pink margaritas were at the finish line, so I was in. My best friend had come to Baton Rouge to visit, and we did the race together. I’d never done anything like that, and it was fun!
Many years ago, I was party of a Mardi Gras Krewe for a short period of time. One of the cool things they did each year was a Murder Mystery Christmas party – I’ve never gone to one of those, but I’d always wanted to after that Murder Mystery weekend episode of “Saved By The Bell” – no, seriously. My character was Sandy, and I was a lifeguard. I wore a whistle, and lots of bronzer, and was carrying sunscreen. I was NOT the murderer.
When I was in college, The New York Times hosted a writing contest for college students, which asked contestants to write about an aspect of their college experience. I entered, and although I did not win, my piece was featured on The New York Times website, which was a very proud moment for me. I have entered many-a-writing contest, and probably will continue to do so (I’m actually working on another entry this weekend), and they are always an interesting challenge.
My best friend’s sister gave me this note – and I thought it was too sweet not to post! And yes, she IS a good friend and sister!
Cheers to the weekend, guys! I’ll see you right back here on Monday!
Whew! I’m so sorry I’m just getting around to posting this, and it’s almost Friday, when a new post will be up, but yesterday was a crazy day and I barely even made it home before midnight. So, yes, I know this picture above is hardly legible.
But, when I found this note, it’s the whole reason I thought about doing this series in the first place. It’s a letter from a guy I went to high school with, Evan, and I had a crush on him for what seems like FOREVER! I’m actually just now sort of getting over him, which probably seems crazy, but hey.
So I found this note in my filing cabinet; it was handwritten by him, but it has no date on it. I’m pretty sure it’s from college, but I’m not 100% sure. Anyway, it says that he hopes all is well with my boyfriend (so I was obviously dating someone at the time), and that if my boyfriend isn’t treating me right, to let him know.
He also says, “Thanks for taking this shirt” – so I was obviously bringing a shirt to someone? I also don’t know why I don’t remember this better! I blame it on the alcohol.
This is another one of my “notebooks” I kept with a friend, obviously in 1999, which was the latter-half of my 8th grade year. I do love the glitter on the cover, but I don’t understand Ben Affleck.
After I started my class, “Blogging for Beginners” at LSU, I was asked by many different groups to speak on blogging best practices. It has become one of my favorite things – teaching and speaking to others about my passion for blogging – and now my course is offered at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as online.
When I was in college, one of my best friends and her husband moved to San Diego. I’d never been, but flew there for Thanksgiving and we had a BLAST! For starters, San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. We also went to Balboa Park, ate a delicious dinner (complete with caramel apple martinis), and even got to see “The Grinch” as a play. In Balboa Park, they do not play when it comes to this annual production – they turned the entire theatre area into Whoville, and it even snowed inside the theatre! I bought a little Grinch doll while I was there, and place it inside my Christmas tree each year. It is one of my favorite memories.
Yep, I still have my od iPod (the original) and my Blackberry. My iPod definitely doesn’t even turn on anymore, and it was loaded with 10K songs that were lost on a computer during a hurricane. I was able to listen to it for a little while afterward, but it was eventually just too old. If anyone knows how to get it to work again, I’d owe you FOR LIFE.
Ah, I will be an advocate for Blackberries until I die. I only recently switched to an iPhone (within the last two years), when it became necessary to have apps and be able to blog better from my phone. But my heart is still with the Blackberry, and I’m not ashamed!
I’ll have the final batch of “Hand-Picked” goodies for you, right here, tomorrow!
They say that summer is a state of mind, and if you want to, it can be summer all year long. I suppose that’s why beach towns and tropical islands seem to have a different way of life – things seem a little more laid back.
I certainly loved summer as a kid; and through my teens – summer meant freedom and fun. Early mornings were for fishing or making it to the lake for a good spot to layout. Nights were for country drives and cool swims.
This was my first summer in Texas, and I can say with experience, that it was mighty hot. My fantasy of laying out at the pool each weekend quickly melted when the temperature was an easy 106, with a heat index of 112. No, thanks.
And truthfully, it was anything but easy. Work was busier than ever – here I thought these were going to be the lazy days, and it was more work than I’ve ever experienced. I also worked a lot on the weekends, paying literally thousands of dollars to the government, in the form of tax money and money for registration and all my Texas paperwork.
It’s all nearing an end, very soon, and I’m not sad about it. I can easily say I’m ready for a cool breeze; ready to shut off my AC.
Sure, summer is fun, but I easily love fall. I know many of us will be spending this weekend saying goodbye to summer, and I’ve got a few thoughts in mind over it.
I can say I unfortunately spent a majority of these warmer months upset over a guy, and working on my self-confidence. But I had a few things happen over the last few weeks that are moving things along quite a big faster.
It started with a dream I had about the guy in question. We were together in person, just talking. I asked him why he never responded to the message I sent him, and he told me that at first, he wanted to write me back. But, then he just realized that he hated me.
And while no one wants to be hated, and I have no basis of this being true, I know he won’t talk to me again, and the dream gave me this great sense of closure. There is nothing left for us.
So, last Friday night I was watching “Million Dollar Matchmaker” and Patti’s guest was Ashley (known for her endless tears on “Bachelor in Paradise). Ashley was still hung up on a guy from the show; a guy who put her in the friend zone and barely talked to her.
Patti explained to her that the worry over this friend zone guy was taking up room for the real Mr. Right. “You’re crying over some guy that won’t even talk to you!” Patti said to her, and I felt like she was talking to me. It is so true, and all I needed to hear – weird, I know. But, we can’t worry about those that don’t like us; only the ones that do.
So for me, saying farewell to summer is also about letting go of that guy, and all the guilt and frustration that came with him. Fall is coming; I’m going to enjoy this last official weekend of summer – even though it will no doubt be hot in Austin for at least another month or so.
How will I celebrate? For starters, I’m whipping up some “Adult Popsicles” – technically, I’m making them for a beach trip next weekend, but I’ll have to at least taste them, right? In one of my email newsletters, Fresche Squeezed, I talked about making upscale jello shots, but I keep seeing frozen cocktails turned into popsicles, so why not? I found this article from Huffington Post that links to 20 boozy popsicle recipes, including peach sangria and a dark and stormy! Yum!
I’m going to make the Costa Rican Watermelon Mojito popsicles – which seem so easy; a simple blend of fresh watermelon, lemon juice, simple syrup, white rum, and fresh spearmint leaves. You can use a standard popsicle mold, or make these pops portable with these zip-top heavy-duty bags (just like the Freeze Pops you remember as a kid, only with BOOZE).
What else will I do this weekend? If it’s sunny, but bearable, I’ll hit the pool with a book – and don’t worry, Blanche’s Book Club will still be in full swing come fall. There is also a free day of yoga not too far from my apartment, so maybe I will get my butt out of bed and check that out!
Lately, I’ve been slightly obsessed with food blogger Gaby, from “What’s Gaby Cooking?” – I stumbled upon her on SnapChat, and she does a weekly “Snapisode” where she shows you how to cook something fabulous. Last Friday, she made a peach and tomato panzanella with burrata, and she was saying how peaches and nectarines are going out of season, so she wanted to use them up from the farmer’s market.
This salad she made looked DELISH, and very easy! A panzanella is an Italian summer salad, usually made with tomatoes, day-old bread, and a simple vinaigrette; everything else is pretty much up to you! Gaby used peaches and nectarines (she said any stone fruit is good), heirloom and cherry tomatoes, burrata from Trader Joes, plus orange champagne vinaigrette (also from TJ’s), chunks of bread (go for a really sturdy bread), olive oil and basil leaves.
Simply toss the cubed bread in olive oil and toast it, wedge the fruit and tomatoes (halve any baby tomatoes), tear the basil leaves and the burrata, and simply plate it! It looks so good and I bet it tastes just like summer – it is just the excuse I need to go to one of these fantastic Austin farmer’s markets!
Who knows what else I’ll get into, but I’m down to have this one last weekend of summer, and then make the switch to fall; something new.
A few months ago, I was invited to be a +1 at a fall wedding. I quickly said yes, as it was a guy I really liked, and I also realized that I’ve never been asked to be a serious +1. Sure, I’ve gone with girlfriends and guy friends, but never as a real date.
Given that was wedding is in the fall, and in Indiana, I quickly started looking up ideas on what to wear. Sure, it would be chilly out, but not quite cold enough to constitute tights, so I needed something chic (the bride is super gorgeous and sure to have quality taste) and of course, sexy.
The guy and I have since stopped talking, so I have no need for these looks anymore. However, some of them were so adorable, I had to share. If you’re going to a fall wedding in the coming months, maybe you can snag one of these looks and tell me how it goes!
Of course, the look you choose depends a lot on the time of day of the wedding – day or night wedding – and the location, an outdoor look will be different than an indoor one. But I’m all about finding a fabulous coat!
So, I saw a lot of these looks (above) with the flowy, tule skirts and a more fitted top. I know these are more fun and whimsical than sexy, but I love them! I especially love the gray and taupe on the far left; I would never dare to wear white to a wedding, but if you know the bride well enough, I saw do YOU.
Given that I will find any excuse to wear sequins or sparkles, this look (left) was my top choice. I am definitely a fan of choosing what you want to show vs. what to keep hidden, and this look balances that perfectly – shows off the legs, accentuates curves, but hides the arms.
I probably would have gone for more of a beige shoe, to keep the focus on the dress. Here’s a cute gold dress I found, that has back detail and shows off the arm – if you’re into that (I’m self-conscious about my upper arm). I also found a cute black dress that is long-sleeved, but just has sequin detailing, instead of solid sequins.
Too afraid to go all out with the sequins? Understandable. You could still wear a sparkly pencil skirt, or any skirt, and then pair it with a simple, plain top, and/or a jacket that will tone things down a bit. Here’s a longer pencil skirt that comes in silver or dark green sequins, and I also found a floor-length gold sparkly skirt that would be SUPER chic!
I stumbled across these next two looks (right), which are both more structure, but look incredibly cool, and I think you could wear either one at a day or a night wedding, depending on how you did hair and accessories.
Given that we’re all voting for Hillary this November, why not give a nod to her pantsuit look with this chic little number? The pants hit the floor, so simple shoes would work, and I love the way the hair is styled in this picture. You could also go for a colored blazer if it’s an outdoor wedding.
The dress? I really just love the blazer-like neckline and sleeves, and the gold belt. It looks really put together, minus the massive bag she has. Always go for the clutch – the giant bag looks more like an office look, and weddings are not for work.
So, there you have it – some fall wedding looks for guests. Maybe I’ll still get a sequined dress for myself and hop on over to a martini bar with a friend. It’s been a minute since I’ve been to a wedding – it seems as though everyone is already married. But, I’m a fan of weddings, mainly because there’s cake and champagne involved. So, cheers to fall weddings!
I was having lunch with a few coworkers last week (read: we were gathered around a rotting picnic table eating from our packed lunches), and we got to talking about how difficult it is to make friends as an adult, particularly once you’ve graduated from college.
My coworkers explained they did have people they called; people they liked to meet up for drinks with, but it was almost impossible to get anyone to agree to nail down a plan – everyone seems to be in search of the Bigger, Better Deal. The BBD.
As I attend more and more dance classes, I meet more people that would make great company. And I’ve thought to myself, “Okay, once I get out of my spending freeze, I should invite that person to brunch,” and then I think, well screw the spending freeze, I could still invite that person over for a pool day or to have wine at my apartment, right? But how do you even approach someone in a way that isn’t completely awkward?
An article in the Wall Street Journal, “The Science of Making Friends” says we are constantly shedding friendships, and the older we get, the less time we feel we have for friendships. The article also suggests to treat new friendships like dating; with intention, but also with caution. Interesting.
One idea I liked from the articles was to be a friend when someone needs one. Perhaps an acquaintance is going through a difficult time; bring them a coffee or simply tell them you’re there if they need someone to talk to. I think these small gestures can go a long way.
An article from Bustle, “7 Ways to Make New Friends as an Adult” suggests using MeetUp – a large networking group that allows people in the same city to create their own “MeetUps” or join one someone else has created. Sounds cool, though there is a monthly fee. Meh. There’s also a similar site for women called “Girlfriend Circles” that looks kind of cool.
Another suggestion was to volunteer. This idea makes me excited, because I DID sign up to volunteer at the Austin Film Festival this year! I primarily signed up because I heard it’s a great way to meet people in the industry… and since I’m working on a script, I’ve got to start somewhere. But now that the event is getting closer, there are events (the first one is Friday) left and right, and I’m excited to start meeting some of the other volunteers. Sure, we’re not saving the world, but at least we have two things in common: film and Austin.
The good thing I discovered in reading all of these articles is that a lot of people feel the way I feel – making friendships past 25 is a challenge, just as anything else can be. And when looking for new friends, it feels really vulnerable putting yourself out there, but it’s comforting to know that scientifically, we can bond with just about anyone.
So, go ahead, and put yourself out there. Invite someone to do something! I know I am going to try… what’s the worst that could happen?
Don’t answer that.
I’ve been thinking a lot about disappointment lately. I mean, do you ever get to that point where you’re just not even feeling mad, more just let down?
Disappointment can come from anywhere. Speaking from experience, I’d say recently I felt disappointment when I couldn’t make it to Indianapolis to see the Dave Matthews concert; or when a guy I liked admitted he was only interested in hooking up; or when I discovered a TYPO in my cover letter, or when a wedding date stopped talking to me; or when the last person I slept with actually UNLIKED every single picture of mine on Instagram, as if he wished the memories would disappear.
I mean… come on.
Disappoint happens when your expectations exceed reality. And that is not a good feeling. The best way I can really describe it, is that scene in “500 Days of Summer”…
These are all moments where I just felt like throwing my hands up and doing a lil, “Whatever”. So, how can we handle disappointment in any remotely positive way? Well, I found some great advice on the Tiny Buddha website:
For starters, you’ve got to let yourself feel the emotions. I’ve had so many conversations with friends where they want to do everything they can in order to make the bad feelings go away; and trust me, I’ve been there. But sometimes, you’ve got to just feel all the feels in order to get it out of the way.
Once you give yourself some time to let it all out, it will be easier to look at the situation with more clarity, and you’ll be able to gain some perspective on it. But know that this will ONLY happen if you give yourself that time.
Next, you’ve got to remind yourself who you really are. Don’t let this disappointment take over your personality, or your life. This will help you cope with situations that don’t align with who you are.
And finally, find acceptance. Know that disappointment is a part of life, and you will experience ups as well as downs. And sometimes… guys are just assholes.
But seriously, I was reading another article that said to start by keeping your expectations in check, because then you won’t be as let down. And I get that – how many times have we heard that if we go in with no expectations, then we won’t have anything to lose. But sometimes it’s just too easy to get excited!
And as always, it’s important to learn from your defeats. Maybe the person disappointing you has made it a pattern and it’s something that needs to be resolved further. Or perhaps its a personal issue. Whatever it is, if we continue to learn from our ups and downs, maybe we’ll experience less of the “downs” in the future.
But can we talk about something that has NOT been disappointing lately? Drake lyrics. I mean, I was really loving me some “Hotline Bling,” and I also love “One Dance”, but how about some “Too Good”? I am loving this song!
Years go by too fast, I can’t keep track. How long did we last? I feel bad for asking; it can’t end like this. We gotta take time with this…