Howdy! I had every intention of posting yesterday, but life took over – okay, more like work took over, and I was up until the wee hours this morning finishing things, and packing for my trip to Indiana tomorrow.
I planned this trip months ago, so I could participate in my second “Take Steps for Crohn’s”, which I am still looking forward to, but the trip has also transformed into something else.
It may come as no surprise that I have some pretty strong feelings for a guy in Indiana. It’s not someone new, in fact, he’s been a part of my life for years – but we’ve really been on a roller coaster.
Without going too much into it, I will say that we’ve managed to be there for each other through some very tough times, especially as of late. I’ve had a tiny crush on him since I was 15, and have been fairly honest about my feelings over the years – him, too, even though he hasn’t always felt the same way.
Recently, he quietly admitted he had feelings, too – something I never, ever thought I’d hear him say. And that’s just it: it’s the first time I’ve liked someone so much, I’d accept it if he didn’t like me. I’d rather have his friendship than nothing, and I want him to be happy, even if it’s not with me.
Strong words, I know.
And that’s the other part of this entire thing: I’m in uncharted territory. I’ve never liked someone who was quite so nice to me; never been able to actually talk to someone on the phone (especially about nerdy stuff, like politics and food); never had any sort of relationship that didn’t involve around sex, talking about sex, or planning for sex. It’s refreshing.
But, it’s also scary AF. What exactly is going on here? I can’t answer that right now. And I don’t know if I’ll be able to answer it after this trip, either.
Because if you’ve been here before, you and I both know how this ends (read this, this, this, this, and this, and this, for examples). I’ve done this. Of course, this is someone different – biologically, and in many different ways. But it has ended poorly for me before. I’m bracing myself to get on that plane next week with a broken heart, and no need for a phone.
A long time ago, I concluded I like Indiana boys because they are familiar, and because, well, I live 19 hours away and don’t really have to subject myself to the intimacy that would happen in a real, face-to-face relationship.
But what if the distance was eliminated? I always say I have stayed in the South to benefit my career. I’ve banked on the story I’ve told myself that I will always be single. But what if I put something, or someone, else first this time? What would my life be like?
There is a huge part of me that already knows the answer. My life would probably be filled with a lot more love, and a little less stress. I might actually get the thing I’ve always wanted: love. A partner.
All of that just scares me. I don’t know if I’m ready, but on the other hand, how can I NOT be ready?
I don’t want to bank everything on this trip, but I am hoping it will show me a little taste of what my story could have been; what it could be, if I choose that path, instead of the one I’m on now.
PS. The blog will be sparse next week as I’ll be vacationing and mind-questing 🙂 Promise I’ll be back.
That’s right, I’ve been trying SO many different kinds of sunless tanners and bronzers ever since I got home from Vegas. I’ll be honest, I have always loved laying out in the sun. Even in high school, I’d lay out in my backyard (no pool present), complete with Sun-In in my hair (which looked really terrible) just to get that summer glow.
I’m not going to sit here and act like I’ve all of the sudden become super sun-conscious… Maybe a little but my recent obsession with a sunless glow is more about getting a good, even color (with no tan lines), and about time – it takes soooooo long to get a nice color and even though it’s fun to relax by the pool, sometimes there’s other things I’d rather be doing.
I used two sunless tanners during the winter months around the time I had dance performances, one was a gradual self-tanning lotion with added bronzer, which I liked but didn’t find I got much color from it, and I also used a foam – this gave great color but had a very strong tanning smell, and was hard not to get streaks, even using a tanning mitt.
So, the ones I’ve listed below are what I’ve used recently – some are self-tanners, some are just bronzers (the color washes off), and some have added firming because… cellulite.
Tan Towel – I’ve used this product before, but it had been awhile (I actually got a sample in my Birchbox a year ago), until I saw a pack of five in a clearance bin for $4!
If you’ve never used these, they are basically like a Wet Nap, but obviously have self-tanning agents.
The cool thing about these is there’s no need for a tanning mitt, and one towel is enough for face and your entire body. There is a slight scent, but it’s light and pleasant.
The tanner applies clear (which means you have to remember where you’ve already applied), but the color begins to appear with just a few hours. The color has always been streak-free for me, and looks natural. These are a win & especially great for travel.
NKD SKN Gradual Glow – I’ve seen this product on Birchbox.com and at Ulta, but was able to get a sample size on clearance (are you noticing a trend here?).
My first attraction to this product was that it’s organic, and even at full-price, it’s affordable.
Once I started using it, I realized it’s got quality ingredients – including aloe vera and vitamins – it makes for a really nice moisturizer and my skin felt healthy after using it just a few times. You can use this product on your face and body which is a bonus.
The color goes on clear (it’s a white lotion), and has little-to-no scent. I will say I didn’t notice a huge color difference when I used this, and I got about three applications from the sample.
On one hand, this is good because you don’t have to worry as much about messing up. On the other hand, it’s not good if you’re looking for deep color overnight. Perhaps continual use of this product would get richer after several back-to-back application.
However, this same brand has other sunless products, including tinted tanner and mousse, so those may be worth trying.
Jergen’s Natural Glow – After I used up my clearance rack finds, I needed to keep up my tan, so I picked this one up during my weekly grocery run.
It was $8 for a pretty big bottle, and it says it helps to firm skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite (I’m always looking for these types of things).
I got the “Medium to Tan” color in hopes of getting dark (or I guess as dark as you can get with sunless tanner). The scent is very light and pleasant.
The directions on the bottle suggest using this instead of a daily body lotion, because it is a gradual sunless tan. I haven’t been using it every day, but I put it on at least four times a week.
After two weeks, I can say I look pretty tan! The consistency of this lotion is pretty thick, which makes me feel like I’m doing wonders for my skin. I use this all over, and have tried it with and without a tanning mitt (doesn’t make much of a difference either way). A few times I got a little much around my ankles and toes, but a quick scrub and it was evened out.
Miracle Body Transformer Tinted Beauty Balm – I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I have always been insecure about my legs. Below the knee never tans well, so it looks weird with tan thighs (large ones, I should add) and white shins and feet.
As a makeup junkie, I have always dreamed of basically “foundation” for my entire body so I could just look glowy and hide all of my weird skin issues. So you can image how difficult it was for me not to jump up and down in TJ-Maxx when I saw this product on the clearance shelf (I know)! This “Beauty Balm” has so much going on, you just have to see the official product description:
A high performance treatment body enhancer with SPF20. Transform the appearance of arms, legs and decollate – you’ll see a difference instantly. Skin looks smoother, feels firmer, and is totally flawless. Powerful moisture magnets such as jojoba oil, soy amino and hyaluronic acids relieve dry skin keeping it hydrated and radiant. Marine extracts optimize skin rejuvenation for smoother, suppler, more radiant looking skin. MIRACLE SKIN TRANSFORMER SPF20 BODY contains the M3 Complex; designed to improve the look and feel of skin – all over: Hydrate – Dry, rough skin on legs, arms, and decollate feels incredibly softer, smoother and hydrated. Enhance – Leaves skin looking younger, brighter and totally luminous.
That’s right – it’s a bronzer/illuminator (it does have a shimmer), with an SPF, moisturizer, AND a firming lotion! The only thing that would make this product better is a sunless tanning agent. However, this is nice to slap on over your sunless tanner for an instant glow. And when you shower, it comes off.
The particular color I got was pretty dark, so I mixed it with some regular body lotion to thin it out a little. I was worried the color would rub off on my clothes, so I only wear it on my arms or legs when they’re going to be “out”, i.e. with a tank top or a skirt. I really love the way it makes my skin look!
Hide & Glow Sleek – I have been a huge fan of Bliss Spa products, especially their “Fat Girl Slim” line, where this product can be found.
I’ll admit, I bought this product thinking it was a sunless tanner, but upon reading the directions before I sprayed it on, I found it’s a bronzer/illuminator, but it also offers firming qualities.
Nonetheless, I sprayed it on my legs before wearing a skirt to work one day and I loved it. It’s very light in texture, not sticky, and offers a subtle glow.
I think this would be great for travel or even for an event wear you just need a quick hit of bronze (because I do!).
It’s a little pricy, but it’s a product you can’t really screw up, plus it is clinically proven to firm skin! The scent is very light, as is the shimmer. There are two color options, so you may really be able to get some rich glow from it.
I’d love to know what sunless tanning products you’ve tried and loved (or hated)! Bring it on, summer!
You guys!! We are on the cusp of one of my favorite times of year – summer! In Texas, the later months of summer are waaaay too hot to enjoy much of anything, so this beginning part sure is something to celebrate.
Before my Vegas vacation, I know I talked a lot about my efforts to eat right, exercise more, and drink less. And I did! Honestly, I still felt a little pudgy in my bikini, but… 31. I ate and drank pretty much everything in sight on vacation and then got back on my healthy eating once I returned.
Ever since, I’ve been feeling better and am starting to see a little bit of a difference in my figure, but being healthy and feeling good is my top priority. It’s still a constant struggle, though, to find recipes and things to cook at home that make me excited to eat healthy.
I have been eating 1 hard-boiled egg, an oatmeal English muffin (it has double the protein), and half a bottle of Naked juice for breakfast for the last three weeks and I’m still not sick of it. In week’s past, I’ve made vegan chili, veggie rolls, sausage and grits, and Hawaiian chicken sewers, among other things for lunches and dinners.
But I wanted to find some festive, special things to cook this weekend to deter me from eating out (I am still letting myself have a cheat meal at the Drafthouse to see “Baywatch”). So, I am really excited to share with you these two recipes I found on Pinterest. Here goes:
I was really excited when I saw this recipe – it was in a collection of recipes that all involved a foil packet. I have been craving some Louisiana food, and this is a really easy way for me to fulfill my wishes while still staying healthy. I think I’m going to eat this as-is, but it would also been good served with brown rice, or other veggies such as asparagus or okra (yum!).
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
2 ears corn, each cut crosswise into 4 pieces
1 pound baby red potatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons cajun seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Preheat a gas or charcoal grill over high heat.
- Cut four sheets of foil, about 12-inches long. Divide shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes into 4 equal portions and add to the center of each foil in a single layer.
- Fold up all 4 sides of each foil packet. Add olive oil, cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste; gently toss to combine. Fold the sides of the foil over the shrimp, covering completely and sealing the packets closed.
- Place foil packets on the grill and cook until just cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.*
- Served immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
Note: This can also be baked for 15-17 minutes at 425 degrees F.
I really love a good burger, especially in the summer. While a regular burger is perfectly fine, I have been making a conscious effort to eat less meat and focus on plant-based foods. I’m hoping this recipe turns out great – I’m planning to add a little cheddar to my burger, and serve it with sweet potato fries and maybe some watermelon!
1 flax egg (1 TBSP ground flax + 3 TBSP water) or 1 egg
1 cup mashed black beans [refried black beans work too!]
1 cup pureed butternut squash
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced celery
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1 TBSP olive oil [or butter]
3/4 tsp salt-free Italian seasoning blend [like mrs. dash]
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley [or fresh if you have it!]
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats [not instant]
Optional toppings: 4 burger buns (I used a bakery poppy seed onion bun – amazing!), 4 slices of pepper jack cheese, romaine lettuce, fresh baby spinach, mayo (store-bought or homemade) mixed with sriracha chili sauce
- Whisk together 1 TBSP ground flax with 3 TBSP water and pop it in the fridge to set.
- Next mash black beans in a large bowl and set aside.
- Add your butternut squash to the beans and set aside.
- Next saute onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil until tender and near-translucent, adding the minced garlic towards the end to prevent burning.
- Season the veggies with your Italian seasoning blend, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and parsley and stir to coat.
- Add the freshly sauteed veggies to your beans and squash and stir in your oats.
- Remove your flax egg from the fridge and add it to the bowl.
- Stir to fully incorporate and roll mixture into four balls.
- For optimal burger shape, cup each ball in your hands and squeeze tightly, rotating as you gently, but firmly, press it into a disc.
- Giggles aside, pop your burgers onto a plate, cover with foil or cling wrap and refrigerate as you prep your buns [or lettuce wraps!] and toppings. This will give them a little while to set. You can even leave them overnight and cook them up the following day.
- Pour a tablespoon or two of oil in a skillet and heat to medium-high, so the burgers sizzle when you add them to the pan!
- Cook for a few minutes on each side until you’re left with a golden crust. and a warm center. Repeat for each burger, or cook two at once if you have a big enough pan!
- Slather your buns with sriracha mayo, pile them high with lettuce, spinach, pepper jack and top each with a yummy butternut burger.
That’s what I’ll be cooking up on this gloomy, rainy weekend – I’d love to know what recipes you’re looking forward to this weekend, or this summer!
Hello, hello! My sincere apologies for not posting this on Friday – I had some internet issues on Thursday night, and was simply too tired to stay up and resolve them. But alas! I finished reading another book last week and wanted to share it with you.
Blanche’s Book Club’s latest read is “Why We Broke Up” by Daniel Handler. Here’s the description from Amazon.com: I’m telling you why we broke up, Ed. I’m writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened. Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.
…Sounds like the leftover from many of the relationships I’ve had!
I got this book from the library and what I noticed off the bat was that it weighed a TON. It wasn’t that big of a book, but upon further inspection I saw that it was printed on thick, glossy paper and was filled with colorful illustrations of the items inside the box. After reading it, I can’t help but wonder if the weight of the book was also supposed to resemble the weight of the box from Min.
This book is very different. The voice is very raw and honest, and although there are stories upon stories about this relationship, the reader is still given lots of room to imagine the course of this couple. Sure, it’s a little dramatic, but Min and Ed are teenagers, and nothing hurts quite like your first broken heart.
While most of the things inside the box represented milestones in their relationship, some of the tokens were proof that we all assign meaning to even the smallest of things – especially if there were very few of them. I can recall not wanting to go to Blockbuster after my first relationship because we would go there to rent movies… us and the entire world! It’s funny how much we invest in the physical parts of a relationship, possibly when there’s not much to feast on emotionally.
The way this book is written – one really long letter to Ed – is different and a bit artsy. If that’s you, I say GO for this one! It was fun and refreshing.
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Bittersweet” by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. We hope you’ll read it along with us!
I hope you all had a great weekend – I went to dance, lounged at the pool with a book and some wine, did some shopping, and did a little cooking. It was fantastic! I’ve got a busy week ahead between work and travel, and I’ve got my Steps for Crohn’s on Saturday. It should be a good one – but I’m ready for a brand new episode of “Southern Charm” tonight, which I’ll be recapping right here tomorrow. Hope to see you then!
The summer between my junior and senior year in high school, I went to Chicago with my best friend and our moms. We got makeovers, went shopping, visited the front door of the house featured in Real World, season 11, Chicago (which aired in 2002, and was taped during the September 11 attacks), and we also saw John Mayer, with Guster as the opening act.
It was not the first time I’d seen him perform live, but it was my first (of I think a dozen) concert with him as the headliner. He was not very popular at the time, and the convert was in sort of an open parking lot area. It was the first I’d ever heard his song, “Comfortable” [above] – and it is a moment I will never forget.
I went to Los Angeles, California, for the first time the summer before I graduated from college. I went by myself, stayed at a hotel downtown, and it was the longest flight I’d ever been on. LA is a city of dreamt of since I was in 5th grade, and I have always wanted to live there. I’d gotten a contact through a story I wrote for my journalism course, a guy who owned a public relations company for independent artists. I told him I was heading to LA for a few days to check it out, if he wanted to meet.
He agreed, and I met him and his wife at The Knitting Factory in West Hollywood to see one of the bands he promoted. I took the metro from my hotel to West Hollywood, and saw Mann’s Chinese Theatre. I was in awe.
Thinking back on it, it was a pretty daring thing for me to do all of the by myself, and perhaps not smart to meet someone I didn’t really know. But, it all worked out, and it was a memorable trip. I did the Hollywood walk, and took the Hollywood Homes tour. It was everything I’d hoped it would be!
About four years ago, it seemed like pretty much everyone I knew was getting married. I was in a few weddings, and attended many others – all fun. But there was one weekend that I literally went to one wedding on a Friday night, got up early the next morning, and flew to Florida for a bachelorette weekend. I’d missed night one of the festivities, but the ladies had rented a very Real World-esque loft (complete with colored lights in the shower) and we spent the days on the beach, and the nights out. It was a complete blast!
Ah, wedding season. Looking back on it, it was pretty fun, although expensive. But I think now, pretty much everyone I know is married. We should just drink and eat cake anyway, right?
Again, you can tell it’s 2003 because of my Tiffany’s… and my terrible haircut. Ha! Truthfully, my 18th birthday (and the summer surrounding it), was a little rough. But, my best friend lit the candles and sang me Happy Birthday a little after midnight, and all was good. And by the way, the cake was German chocolate… my favorite.
I remember a very popular senior told me during my junior year that wearing a big, fluffy dress was “not the senior thing to do”. She wore a mermaid dress, and well, I wore a big, fluffy one. But I loved it, and even though I had to ask my date, and I think we didn’t really get along, I had a blast stomping around Circle Centre mall in this thing. After wearing it to prom, and later to a sorority formal, I took lots of pictures of it, and donated it to the Cinderella Project, which allows girls to choose from donated gowns, and alter them if they choose. While I love it the way it is, I think it would look cool shorter in the front, and long in the back. I will never know the fate of the dress, but we sure had some good times.
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.
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…
I’ll say this right now, I am not a big fan of just going to the library, getting lost among the stacks, and stumbling upon books I want to read. For years, I have kept a reading list of books I want to read – and it’s only gotten more intense over the last 6 months as I listen to podcasts and hear people talk about books they’ve read.
I keep my running list, and each time I go to the library (which is usually once each week), I look to see what books are in. And for the first time a few weeks ago, they didn’t have any of the books on my list. I hate to leave empty-handed, so I started roaming the aisles.
And somehow, I stumbled upon the BBC’s latest read, “Paris, He Said” by Christine Sneed. I was drawn in by the watercolors on the spine, and then I read the back:
“Jayne Marks is questioning the choices she has made in the years since college and is struggling to pay her bills in Manhattan when she is given the opportunity to move to Paris with her wealthy lover and benefactor, Laurent Moller, who owns and operates two art galleries, one in New York, the other in Paris. He offers her the time and financial support she needs to begin her career as a painter and also challenges her to see who and what she will become if she meets her artistic potential.
Laurent, however, seems to have other women in his life and Jayne, too, has an ex-boyfriend, much closer to her own age, whom she still has feelings for. Bringing Paris gloriously to life,Paris, He Said is a novel about desire, beauty, and its appreciation, and of finding yourself presented with the things you believe you’ve always wanted, only to wonder where true happiness lies.”
I mean who doesn’t want a wealthy man to promise them a life in Paris? Yes, please! This book opens up a world to the arts, as Jayne is a painter, and Laurent owns the art galleries, where he wants Jayne to display her work.
So, she gets to paint during the day, and spend any spare time exploring Paris. But soon enough, she catches on to Laurent’s lifestyle – with other women, and although she doesn’t seem too bothered by it, I found it difficult to relate to Jayne, because that would really piss me off.
It makes you wonder, though, to what extend of bullshit would you put up with to essentially live your dreams? On one hand, I feel like I’d do a lot to live expense-free, and write all day, while exploring a cool city. But would I be able to lay in bed next to a man that was off with other women? No. No, no.
And for that, I can’t say this book was a favorite. However, Sneed is also the author of another book, “Little Known Facts“, which has really great reviews. Here’s the description:
“The people who orbit around Renn Ivins, an actor of Harrison Ford–like stature―his girlfriends, his children, his ex-wives, those on the periphery―long to experience the glow of his flame. Anna and Will are Renn’s grown children, struggling to be authentic versions of themselves in a world where they are seen as less-important extensions of their father. They are both drawn to and repelled by the man who overshadows every part of them.
Most of us can imagine the perks of celebrity, but Little Known Facts offers a clear-eyed story of its effects―the fallout of fame and fortune on family members and others who can neither fully embrace nor ignore the superstar in their midst. With Little Known Facts, Christine Sneed emerges as one of the most insightful chroniclers of our celebrity-obsessed age, telling a story of influence and affluence, of forging identity and happiness and a moral compass; the question being, if we could have anything on earth, would we choose correctly?”
I think I’ll add it to my list, although I don’t know if the library carries it – which will most likely send me into a tailspin.
And just to note, I actually reserved my first book on Sunday. I didn’t want to start reserving things, because I feel like I’m taking them away from other people that want to read the book. But there is this ONE book that’s been on my list and it’s always checked out. Not anymore!
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery” by Robert Kolker. Want to read it with us? We’d love to have you! Share your thoughts on the book with us via the blog comments, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on Twitter & SnapChat @OrangeJulius7.
That’s right, Blanche’s Book Club is rolling right on with the summer reads! Over the weekend, I finished reading “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty. And where do I begin with this one? It was SO good!
From Amazon.com (and also the back of the book), “Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…”
The interesting part about the way this book is written, is that the reader meets Alice as she’s coming to on that gym floor, having forgotten 10 years of her life. So, the reader is discovering Alice at the same time Alice is. It’s a very interesting take!
There is a reader’s guide in the back of the book, so I really looking forward to utilizing that to guide this blog post. But when I looked at all of the questions – I didn’t really like them. So, screw that. But there are a few things I’d like to discuss.
One thing I took note of in this book was the sense of time. The entire book (about 450 pages in length) takes place over the course of about a week. And within that week, we learn about Alice’s forgotten 10 years, along with the stories of her friends, neighbors, and families. It’s a lot of information, all at once, but it’s delicately placed and easy to take in.
When Alice comes to, she doesn’t recognize ANYTHING about her life. She doesn’t understand why she’d be at the gym, or why her gym bag is packed with beautiful clothes, or why she is so thin, or HOW she possibly has three children.
I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately; mostly how it seems to slip by when you don’t want it to, but when you’re sitting at work waiting for 5:30 to come, it moves so slow. This book got me thinking a lot about the person I’ve become over the course of the years… so much so, that I’m sure I’ll touch on this more in a post later this week.
But in short, I’ll say that I think it’s really easy to wake up one morning – any morning – and wonder how your life came to be the way it is; whether those were good decisions or bad, or moves that were totally out of your control. Is it how we thought we’d end up? Or totally different?
I looked up reviews for the book once I finished reading, just to see what other readers were saying, and the reviews were very mixed. Many people didn’t like Alice, or some liked her younger self instead of her older self. Interesting thoughts. Lots of people found self-reflection in this book, and although I can’t relate to most of the topics discussed – marriage, divorce, motherhood, infertility – I thought a lot about myself and my friends (over the years).
Two things I will say is that my favorite character was Tom, Alice’s son. His quotes often made me laugh out loud, and I felt Moriarty truly captured the different personalities of children in Alice’s kids. I will also say that I wish we got to learn more about Gina – Alice’s best friend – more throughout the book, instead of just in the very end.
“What Alice Forgot” is slated for film, with Jennifer Anniston supposedly in talks to play Alice – which I think would be perfect!
Since this was my first book of Moriarty’s (I have already purchased two others), I wanted to look up a little info on her. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she started off in the corporate world as a marketing manager, then moved to be a freelance writer, and of course, now she’s a New York Times Bestseller! Inspiring!
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins. Want to read it with us? We’d love to have you! Share your thoughts on the book with us via the comments, email (email@example.com) or on Twitter & SnapChat @OrangeJulius7.
Whew! It’s sucky because it’s kind of like a Monday, but it’s a little less painful knowing it’s Tuesday, and in just four short days, I’ll be running out of the office a la Kevin McCallister on Christmas Eve yet again. I hope you all had a fabulous weekend – I know I did!
I pretty much did everything on my list; I got started a little early and hit up a taco truck Thursday night. I got two beef tacos, complete with pico and fresh lime, along with some nacho chips. I walked a few blocks home and scarfed them down with a few glasses of Chenin Blanc + Voigner by Pine Ridge.
Friday, I left work and hit the wine shop and found a bottle of Rose that looked delicious (Mulderbosch 2015 – perfect for red wine lovers). Then, I went home and made bacon-burgers with tomato jam and slaw. YUM!
On Saturday, I enjoyed a leisurely morning with coffee (of course), did a few hours of freelance work, and enjoyed a nap. I also cleared out a few hours of TV from my DVR, including “The People’s Couch”, “The Voice”, “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills” and “Real World: Go Big or Go Home”.
Then, I drove to Round Rock to see my first Express baseball game – versus the Reno Aces. For starters, the stadium is really nice. I had a third row seat, which meant, I was really close and could see the players nice and well, just in case any of them were cute.
A few innings in, and I’ll be honest, I was starting to miss the excitement of the Texas Stars games. But then they called up Patrick Cantwell, catcher for the Express, to the plate. His walk out song was “PYT” by Michael Jackson (which is one of my favorite songs), and his number is 3 (my lucky number). Hmm… I flipped to his page in the program. From New York.
Perfect! He is sooooo freaking cute, I thought (pay no mind to the fact that he’s only 26). And then he cracked the bat, scoring the first homer for the Express. They ended up winning 5-4.
I wasn’t really hungry during the game, but I had been thinking about a hot dog all day. So, I swung by Sonic on my way home and got a coney dog and one of those Turtle Pecan blasts – holy shit, those are good!
On Sunday, I had a decent amount of freelance work to get done, so I got up and tackled it for about 4 hours while I watched the Indy 500 in its entirety. I also gave myself a pedicure, and then headed to the Drafthouse to see “Neighbors 2”, where I enjoyed a “Blood & Honey” on draft and another cheeseburger. I told you I was going to eat this weekend!
The movie was pretty funny; very similar to the first one, of course. Zac Efron looked fan-fucking-tastic – nearly too buff, but I’d still take him, no questions asked. I finished up my night with a few glasses of wine in bed and a little TV.
On Monday, I slept in, and stayed in bed as late as possible, out of sheer principle that it was Monday, and I wasn’t at my desk. Glory to God in the highest!
I had my coffee, and I finally ventured onto my patio to get a few things done. I planted the remaining seeds I’d boughten weeks ago – filling two pots with soil for wild flowers, two more pots with soil for cat grass (this is a regular thing I do for Blanche), and filling a final pot with soil for a packet of seeds I got online – tulips! I swept my patio and got things looking clean.
That’s when I realized that it was totally supposed to rain all day Monday and it was sunny, and hot as hell. So, I packed my new beach bag and headed to the pool for THE FIRST TIME. I was surprised to see that there were only a few people there, so I lounged with my book (“What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty) and my white wine spritzer (yeah, I said it) for around 3 hours. It was fantastic!
I got home, got cleaned up, and cooked some chicken, had some wine, and watched “JAWS” – which is the first time I’ve watched it in awhile and it’s definitely interesting seeing it as an adult.
What were you up to this weekend?
At precisely 5:30pm today, the long weekend begins and I cannot tell you just how excited I am! This is my first REAL Memorial Day Weekend, as previous jobs I’ve had for the last 8 years did not grant us Monday off. So… I have been thinking about this weekend for a very long time.
And, I also want to mention that it’s important to remember the reason we have the day off – to remember and be grateful for those who lost their lives fighting for our freedom. I cannot image the bravery our soldiers have each and every day they go to work – I couldn’t do it.
So, what’s on my agenda this weekend? I don’t have a set time for most of these things, and some of it depends on the weather (it’s supposed to rain all three days in Austin), so who knows how much I’ll actually get done. But here are my ideas:
Food – Of course I’m planning to get my summer eat-on this weekend! I am definitely on the hunt for a taco truck, as I’ve been slacking when it comes to my local eating adventures. I also have ingredients for a bomb-ass burger, and there’s a watermelon in my fridge that I’m ready to carve. And I will also be hunting for a good bottle of rose, following my own advice from the guide to rose.
Movies – If it rains, I’m hitting up the Alamo Draft House to see “Neighbors 2”, where I’ll be able to see the hot Zac Efron, while mowing down a hot dog and fries. It’s a win-win for this unofficial kick-off of summer. I also set my DVR to record “JAWS”, because what is more festive than watching an old movie about a giant shark that haunts a beach town?
Shop – There’s going to be some good sales out there, and I’m ready to tackle them. I am on the lookout for some cute, white skinny jeans, so this may be another good rainy-day activity, if needed. I am also looking for a good outdoor chair for my patio. I might have to lose myself in IKEA.
Relax – I am really hoping to hit the pool this weekend, but between the shitty weather and my complex’s habit of never opening the pool, I am kind of accepting the fact that this will not happen. However, either way, I want to spend some time getting some rest and relaxation. I’m reading a great book (see: Blanche’s Book Club), my DVR is full of good TV (not to mention season 1 of “The West Wing on DVD”), and my bed is super comfy.
Sports – There’s a Round Rock Express baseball game every day this weekend, and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate America than a good old fashioned ball game, complete with a chili dog and a beer. Haayyyy batta batta batta, sah-wiinng battaaah. See you there!
Tourism – I bought a ticket to take a ferry tour of downtown Austin. It’s good for any weekend this summer, but if the weather permits, I’ll go for a ride.
What are you up to this weekend? I’ll truly be taking time off and skipping the blog on Monday, but I’ll be right back at it come Tuesday. Until then, feel free to stalk me on Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 – Have a great weekend everyone!
So… we are oonllllyyyyy a daaaaayyyy awaaayyyyy from the official kickoff of summer: Memorial Day weekend! I’m sure summer means lots of different things for you, but one thing it means for me is refreshing cocktails, and that includes a delicious bottle of cold Rosé.
The sad thing is, I think Rosé gets a bad rap, and I’m here to set the record straight: the stuff is tasty. So, let’s hop to it!
What the heck is Rosé?
A Rosé gets its pink hue because it only holds some of the red grape skins – obviously not enough to make it a red wine. It’s the oldest type of wine, because it’s often made using the most traditional method (skin contact). Although popular Rosés are pink in color, this varietal can range in color from very pale to deeper orange. Of course, it also ranges in flavor and textures, just like any other wine – it can be sparkling, bone dry, all the way to very sweet, line a white zinfandel.
How do I order/buy the right Rosé?
Think of Rosé as a type of wine, and not necessarily from a certain region, because it’s not. Just like you can get red or white from pretty much anywhere, the story’s the same for Rosé.
When ordering, region won’t particularly be an issue, since it’s produced in many corners of the world, however if you’re looking for a dry version, look for European grapes such as Grenache, Sangiovese, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault, and Pinot Noir.
Now, I don’t want to knock the white zinfandel, because I’m not a wine snob. But, it’s not a wine I like, and it’s mass produced and very sweet. If you don’t like sweet, you can ask about the dryness of the wine you might order.
The more dry it is, the less sweet. Those European grapes are going to offer the dryness, whereas Rosé produced in other areas of the world will be more sweet.
One of the most important things to pay attention to when buying or ordering a Rosé is the year – Rosé doesn’t get better with age, so the newer the better. Don’t drink anything older than two years.
What are some delicious Rosés to try?
The great thing is, just like other types of wines, you can get a delicious bottle of Rosé for under $20. Score!
Domaine St. Aix ”Aix” Rosé, $17
A bright, pale pink wine, this rosé has a crisp acidity to it that makes it a great match for pairing with light salads and Asian food.
Bieler Pere Et Fils Rosé, $13
A blend of syrah, grenache, and cabernet, this elegant rosé is marked by strawberry and watermelon flavors.
Club W’s “Summer Water”, $18
A deliciously light and airy Rosé made from pinot noir, this is the perfect sipping wine for summer afternoons.
Charles and Charles Rosé, $14
This Syrah-based rose presents loads of fresh picked strawberry essence and herbal spice on the nose. Elegance, ambiance, and packaged with some serious bottle appeal, the 2015 rose from Charles and Charles delivers exceptional citrus, earthy minerality, sizzling acidity and a dry, crisp, food-friendly finish.
…And there you have it! I don’t see a ton of Rosé options in my local grocery store, but there are a lot of wine shops around. I hope you give Rosé a try if you haven’t, because it really is perfect for summer!
It has been famously said that “Youth is wasted on the young” (it is still argued who said it and exactly how, between Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw). While I’ve heard this quote for years, I’ve never quite understood what it meant until now.
As I write this, I’m sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee, it’s 6:30 am – I have to be at work in two hours, and I just returned from a weekend on Orange Beach (I got in around 9 last night) for Hangout Fest. I’m sticky with aloe from a legit sunburn, and of course, I’m exhausted.
But something has been on my mind since before I even left for the weekend. When I was prepping for the trip, I was at the Dollar Tree to get essential festival items: glow bracelets, glitter, travel packs of Kleenex, etc. I came across a clear “4th of July” aisle that had light up red and blue star necklaces, American flag sunglasses, and a pair of white fairy wings with little red and blue glitter stars on them.
I snapped a picture and sent them to a fellow festival goer, asking her if she wanted a pair for the festival – they were only a dollar, and I thought they were so cute.
She wrote back about an hour later, saying “Pretty sure I’m too old to be wearing fairy wings.”
My shoulders sank. Is that where we’re at now?
In years past, the festival has brought more than just fairy wings to the public – there have been full on bear suits, body glitter from head-to-toe, traditional Indian head-dresses, and many-a-mermaid garb in trade for standard swimsuit cover-ups.
Fairy wings wouldn’t flutter an eyelash on the block for Hangout Fest.
But it wasn’t really about the gauzy wings, it was about the spirit of the whole thing. That’s why I love Hangout Fest above choosing other festivals near its kind.
I enjoy many of the same things at Hangout that I enjoyed as a kid: the beach, cheers from carnival games, indulging in guiltless corn dogs, glow bracelets, body glitter, and meshing colors that wouldn’t be accepted at my day job. Add adult bank accounts and an I.D. to drink, and you’ve pretty much created paradise.
Age, in a place like Hangout, is not issue. Perhaps you have your “Hangout” – whether it’s Disney World or a year ’round Christmas shop, or maybe just a great park on a sunny day.
But if we’re not willing to wear “fairy wings” – whatever those are for you – then what’s really the point of all this? Are we ever too old to just have fun?
On my long drive home yesterday, I thought about things that I’m legitimately too old for – like Children’s Tylenol (and thank God, because that shit is so gross), and living with my parents (although debatable, because there are circumstances where I’d consider this okay)… so, what are we really too old for?
Sure, there are things that change as we age; I can’t skirt a hangover, I usually don’t get to sleep in, and my back pain rivals that of a senior citizen’s.
But will I ever be too old for a trip to the county fair? Will I ever not find joy in eating fresh watermelon on a summer day? Will I ever not feel a little rebellious seeing a midnight movie on a weeknight?
I sure hope not. Not to dwell on fairy wings, but if we can’t stop and have a little fun, have a light-hearted spirit, then why on earth would we work so hard?
I left the Dollar Tree that night without the fairy wings, because I thought that single person would make fun of me. But today? Today I can’t stop thinking about them; and about how important it is to take ourselves a little less serious, and stop judging those around us. It makes us too hard around the edges.
So, I’m going to stop by the store this week and get myself a pair. Maybe I’ll wear them to a parade, some other festival, or maybe I’ll just wear them to the grocery store – because I’m not too old for fun.
I hope I never am.
As many of you know, I’m currently on the road to getting tan… or at least, I’m trying to be. Awhile ago, I tried St. Tropez’s gradual in-shower tan, and that really didn’t do much (get the full scoop here) for me. So, I have still been on the hunt for the perfect sunless tanner.
Two Sundays ago, I went on a little adventure across the street and treated myself to a cup of frozen yogurt (I love the original tart flavor…yum!) with rainbow sprinkles, because I am a child, and I gazed longingly at the flourescent sign for DARQUE TAN, that is right next to the yogurt shop.
I was a long-time tanning bed addict, and quit cold turkey upon my move to Austin in September. Even though I know it’s bad for me, I really quit just to save a few bucks. But here we are, in the early stages of skirt season, and my legs are shockingly white. And it is just not a good look.
After my disappointment with the St. Tropez, I looked online for something else to try and I settled on ModelCo’s Gradual Tan Everyday Body Mousse. It had good reviews on Birchbox’s website, and it was $17 for a decent-sized bottle.
For now, I’m only worried about tanning the lower half of my legs, and my arms and chest, so I figured I could get several applications from the single bottle. I also purchased a tanning mitt for $6 to help with streak-free application, since I’ve never used a tanning foam before.
This foam is meant to be used post-shower; so I have been using it every time I shower. I get out, dry off completely, and then apply the mousse to desired areas. The bottle’s directions say to wait 10 minutes before getting dressed, so that’s what I do. I often stand in front of the fan I have in my bedroom, but it’s more out of sheer boredom than anything.
For the most part, this goes on really well and it has a pleasant scent. I never had any issues with streaking or an uneven look, but it does come off when you sweat. A plus is that the foam is brown so you can see where you’ve applied it.
My only complaint is that I wouldn’t consider this a gradual tan. I felt like it rinsed off every time I showered; which for some people is probably good, but I was hoping for a darker tan. This would definitely be good if you just need a quick tan for an event or a night out.
It was definitely better than the St. Tropez, but not something I’m dying to buy again. I actually bought something else over the weekend (since my apartment’s pool is STILL closed), so I’ll be reporting back on that shortly.