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BBC: ‘Ghosted’.

It’s officially FALL, Y’ALL!

Cue the pumpkin patch pictures (say that 5 times fast), pumpkin spice lattes, flannel and plaid everything… I’ll admit I have always loved fall, but mostly because of the crisp air and, in a way, it’s the start of the holiday season.

Speaking of holidays, today I’m spending the day working on Halloween masks to stock in my Etsy store. I made these masks last year and sold almost 20 of them! I made the mistake of making them to order, which meant I was up until 4 am one Monday morning sewing, gluing, and packing handmade masks to ship.

It was stressful (although lucrative), so this year I’ve decided to make all of the masks at once and once they’re sold out, they’re sold out! I have enough supplies to make about 15 masks, so I’ve got a busy day ahead!

Anyway, Blanche’s Book Club breezed right through another book this week: “Ghosted” by Rosie Walsh – a title from our Summer Reading Guide. Here is the official description from Amazon.com:

Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart.

When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it’s mutual: It’s as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.

Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened–there must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she’s right. There is a reason for Eddie’s disappearance, and it’s the one thing they didn’t share with each other: the truth.

I was really excited to read this book because… let’s face facts: I’ve been “Ghosted” in the dating world many, many times. If you’re not familiar (then, lucky you), being ghosted is when the person you’re talking to just completely falls off the face off the earth. They ignore your attempts to connect, and it’s absolutely maddening!

This book talks about exactly that, but it’s much more, and loads more creepy. I read this book in a single sitting – I just had to know how the mystery would end! I’m recommending this book to anyone who loves a romance-mystery combo.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Blood, Bones, and Butter” by Gabrielle Hamilton. If you follow me on Instagram @OrangeJulius7 – you can see real-time updates on the books I’m reading, and today, updates on my Etsy Halloween masks!

Have a great Sunday!

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BBC: ‘Little Fires Everywhere’.

I’m kind of liking this book review on Sunday thing… I’m taking a break from a DIY project (decorating a jacket) and making some jewelry (you can watch it all on my SnapChat @OrangeJulius7) to tell you about the latest read from Blanche’s Book Club.

It’s “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng. Before I go any further, here is the description from Amazon.com:

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. 

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

…I am all about a book that has all things picture-perfect, but under the surface, they’re not really so perfect. That’s one reason I knew I had to read this book – that, and the fact that it was on every book list for 2017 as the book you HAD to read!

I fell for it, and I’m so glad I did, because it was full of twists and turns, and it kept me coming back – I fully enjoyed this book!

If you go to Celeste Ng’s website, you can download a guide for book clubs! I downloaded the one for “Little Fires Everywhere” and found out that the book is set in the same place Ng grew up: Shaker Heights. The book club kit also includes a 90’s playlist, which includes a song from Alanis Morissette. Amazing!

I’m recommending this book to fiction lovers, especially those who love a little mystery, and/or family-esque drama.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Sometimes I Lie” by Alice Feeney. Also, I know I mentioned it before, but I’ve been doing lots of book discussions on my SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 – so follow me there if you want to talk books (or crafts, jewelry, makeup, cooking…)!

‘Mariah’s World’: Crossing Borders.

Okay, MC.

Okay, MC.

IIIIItttttt’s Monday and I’m not at work, so let’s celebrate that for a good week. It has actually been freezing (literally) here in Austin, so I spent the weekend under my electric blanket, crawling out only to watch what was reported to be the worst hockey game in Texas Stars’ history.

Brrr.

But I still managed to watch last night’s episode of “Mariah’s World”, so let’s get into it…

At the start of the episode,  there’s still a big issue with the fact that the dancers don’t want children on the bus. But, Mariah wants everyone to get along, so she says to just let things happen “organically”.

So… the crew is off to London for another performance on the tour.

The issue this time is that Mariah’s assistant has fired the top hair stylist, and instead, they hired someone within budget, and who causes less drama. But Mariah’s hair doesn’t look as great.

So, that’s an issue.

Her staff is also focused on her “Anniversary” – Because Mariah Carey doesn’t believe in birthdays. Why would she?

But the excitement of her upcoming celebration is plagued by the DRAMA of two things: 1. The tour manager did not inform anyone that there was a time difference in Luxemborg, where Mariah was performing, so they arrived an hour late, and 2. Stella rehires Danielle and accuses her of being the one going to the press about all the drama.

I see the whole time change thing from a few different angles. Of course, I don’t understand how Mariah can have a huge staff around her and no one realizes (or says anything) about the time change. And two, why do people in concert crowds get soooo pissed about that? Have another drink and calm down.

On the Stella and Danielle front, Stella is the one that says Danielle causes drama, but it seems to be the other way around with Stella picking fights and flipping Danielle off for no apparent reason.

Finally, Mariah sits the women down, they talk it out, hug it out, and supposedly everything is just fine (but I’m sure this drama will pick up later).

On the man front, James Packer (Mariah’s then-fiance) is nowhere to be found and pretty much is non-existent at this point. Instead,  Tanaka seems to be her main man, and the staff asks him to jump out of a cake for Mariah’s upcoming anniversary party.

Naturally, this won’t happen until the next episode but this whole fake love cherade is getting old already.

Even on a high of vermicelli noodles and wine, this show is boring AF. Honestly, I think this show is just fake all around, and I think this is just part of the fact that Mariah has never wanted to really let people into her life.

Successful reality shows often let us into the moments we couldn’t imagine otherwise – seeing someone in the hospital, or even just washing their face before bed – those are unscripted moments we can all relate to. So far, “Mariah’s World” is just a dramatic depiction of her life on tour, and not even the cool parts.

We’re only three parts into the 8-part “event” and I’m really hoping something picks up here.

‘Insecure’: Guilty as F**k.

Funny girl Issa Rae.

Funny girl Issa Rae.

Well, I told you guys I was done with HBO’s “Divorce”, and I meant it! But seriously, someone tell me if the show takes a turn for the better.

But, last night I still cozied up for a brand new episode of “Insecure” – I’m going to be really sad when we get to the season finale; I really love this show!

1013506_us_events_countdowntobf2_template_associate_300x250So, this week’s episode is the one happening right after Issa slept with her ex, Daniel. At the beginning of the episode, she is driving home from Daniel’s studio and she can she Lawrence sitting in their living room.

She walks in, and immediately tells him she slept with her ex. And Lawrence slaps her across the face, and I literally shrieked in my living room!

Quickly we realize this is just in Issa’s head, and she’s still sitting in her car, outside her apartment. She goes inside, for real, and plays it off – not saying anything.

Instead, Lawrence shows her that he got a friend to help him get the “Broken pussy” YouTube video removed. Issa starts crying and tells Lawrence how thankful she is and how much she loves him. The next morning, she makes him a big breakfast and says they should finally have a date night – look who’s feeling guilty…

Meanwhile, Molly wakes up on Jared’s couch after her wasted night at her coworker’s engagement party. Jared is still pissed off, even after she apologizes to him and thanks him for letting her sleep on his couch.

When she tries to leave, though, he caves and they end up having sex. Very loud sex. Later, she cooks him dinner at her apartment, where they hook up again. But, as they are eating the meal, they start sharing stories of their dating pasts.

Molly admits to kissing a girl in college and also hooking up with one of her professors. Jared tells her he slept with his first boss who was married, and also says he hooked up with a guy once. This does not go over so smooth with Molly. She wants details, and wonders if he is bisexual.

On their date night, Issa and Lawrence see a movie at the mall, and Lawrence takes her to a jewelry store to look at engagement rings. Issa has flashbacks of her night with Daniel and immediately says they need to go.

At work the next day, Lawrence breaks the good news to Issa that he has a job interview at a tech company. Things, he says, might be finally falling into place for them. And Issa feels like a piece of dirt.

Molly and Issa go out for a drink where Molly says she just can’t shake the fact that Jared was with another guy. She really wishes he wouldn’t have said anything to her about it so she could just keep dating him, but she can’t.

Issa tells Molly she slept with Daniel, but that it won’t happen again. Molly advises her not to tell Lawrence, but instead to just move on.

When Issa gets home, Lawrence is looking in the bathroom mirror, practicing some interview questions. Issa immediately kisses him, and they sleep together.

In the middle of the night, Lawrence gets up to use the bathroom, when he trips over Issa’s bag – and her cellphone comes out. On the screen is a text from Daniel: “So we really not talking?”

END OF EPISODE!

Because of course! My jaw dropped. Because now we have two secrets. Issa has clearly made the decision not to tell Lawrence about Daniel… but will Lawrence bring up the text? Now he has to know something went on between them.

There are only two episodes left, and the previews for next week look insane (think Daniel and Lawrence at the same party for Issa’s work)!!!!! GAH!!

I also watched “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” last night because I’m just so excited that Sheree is back. But I’ll spare you – if you’re watching it, let’s chat. Happy Monday, y’all!

HBO Sundays: ‘Divorce’ & ‘Insecure’.

This should be interesting!

This should be interesting!

Is anyone watching HBO on Sunday nights? Because it’s pretty much the best way to beat the Sunday blues – aside from straight up calling in sick on Monday, of course. Honestly, I had a fantastic weekend, but more on that another day, because I want to recap last night’s episode of “Divorce” and “Insecure”.

First up, “Divorce”.

After last week’s interesting pilot, this week’s episode starts of with Francis locked outside of her own home. Her daughter lets her in and she tries speaking with Robert, but he will only talk to her thru a door – with her on the front porch and him inside the house. Did I mention, there’s snow outside?

She apologizes for her affair, and insists she wants to fix things in their marriage. But her husband isn’t having it, and instead of letting her back inside, he puts a suitcase of her belongings outside. She asks her neighbor if she can use their phone, and they actually have a landline – seriously?!

Meanwhile, Francis’ real estate agent shows her a space for a gallery. Although it hasn’t been revealed what Francis does for work, it’s obvious this gallery would be a stray from that. She’s not sure it’s the right time to make a big purchase, for obvious reasons.

While visiting Nick (her best friend’s husband) at the hospital, Robert arrives and tells the group of ladies, along with Nick who is asleep, that he’s offended that everyone knew Francis was sleeping with Julien. The ladies try to explain they didn’t know details, but the scene is already quite chaotic.

Francis seems to be pretty concerned about what her children will hear from Robert, and what they will think – and it seems he’s already on the path to “make them hate” her, as he promised in the first episode.

At the end of the episode, Robert is searching Julien’s name online – and although it seems simple, the look on his face when he sees Julien’s picture is really sad.

Is anyone else watching this show? I know it got rough reviews after the pilot episode, but I’m enjoying it! I’m invested enough that I want to know if they can really make it work or if they will go their separate ways.

Living room goals...

Living room goals…

“Insecure” premiered last Sunday, and I have every intention of watching it and reporting on it THEN, but I totally got caught up in the debate aftermath, and still had to watch “Divorce” and “Chesapeake Shores”, AND write about it! So, I saved it until this weekend, and was able to watch last week’s and this week’s episode.

This show was highly anticipated, and snagged the Sunday slot right behind “Divorce”, though it has an incredibly different tone. “Insecure” was co-created and produced by its star, Issa Rae, and is the story of Issa (yes, herself), as she is in her late twenties, and struggling to fit in among her peers.

She’s in a committed, 5-year relationship with her live-in boyfriend, and is unsure of where the relationship is headed. She’s got similar questions about her career. Girl, story of my life (minus the boyfriend, of course)!

There are two things I love about this show so far: the importance of words, and the kick ass music.

Issa, who has a circle of black friends and family, places emphasis on her verbiage depending on who she’s catering to at the moment. With her coworkers being primarily white, she stays “aggressively passive” when it comes to street lingo, and performing as the “token black person” at her job.

And the music? It’s west coast hip-hop, and there’s lots of it. Even Issa does some rapping of her own that’s not too shabby.

In episode two, Issa has mended things with her best friend, and she apologizes again for her stint at the open mic night. Issa swears nothing happened with her old high school fling, and she is still unsure what the future holds for her and her boyfriend.

At the nail salon, Issa expresses interest in seeking other options – perhaps a dating app? Her friend shows her Tinder, Hinge, The League… but she says no matter what the app, all the guys want is sex (telllll meeee about it).

Issa relunctantly heads home to “deal with” her relationship… cut to Lawrence (her boyfriend) at the Rite Aid buying birthday supplies… and he sees Issa in the aisle. This does not end well, and she stays at her friend’s house another night.

At work, there’s a pep in Issa’s step as she’s wearing a spiffy suit borrowed from her friend. I don’t want to give it away entirely, but there is a scene with her coworker that’s very much worth watching…seriously. But a presentation she’s been preparing for, pretty much goes to shit at the hands of her office, and you can tell she feels low afterward.

Her friend heads out on a date with a guy she found on a dating app, and although things seem to go well at first, he turns out to be just like every other guy she’s met. Issa finally heads home to Lawrence, and when the episode comes to a close, it seems like things may be on the mend.

Chesapeake Shores: episode 7.

I need one of those cardigans.

I need one of those cardigans.

At the start of the episode, it appears there’s a new guy in town and he doesn’t know what a “Lending Library” is, so there’s that. He’s chatting it up with Abby’s sister, and although doesn’t give his name, he says he cooks at Sally’s (the neighborhood spot).

Back at the house, Connor throws Abby’s phone into the lake. Uhh… while she goes to look for it (not sure why), her daughters stumble across the fairy garden their great grandmother built for them. Pretty cute.

Trace runs into Abby’s dad in town and is pretty pissed about him buying the place Trace wanted. Her dad asks what his plans were for the building, and Trace explains his ideas. Abby’s father then suggests they go into business together. But of course!!

Abby heads to Sally’s to meet with Wes and talk about the investigation – he admits that his girlfriend, now ex-girlfriend, was in on it as well. He says he’s lost his clients, his money, and his apartment – everything but their children. He’s basically begging for her help.

Back at the house, Kevin is still recovering in his makeshift hospital room and his fiancee is still at his helm. Everyone still pretty much hates her, and Kevin tells her he wants to change the wedding plans and get married in Chesapeake Shores – because where else?! Not going to lie, I wish they would break up.

At dinner, great grandma tells the family she’s going home to visit Ireland, and she’s suddenly developed an Irish accent, which is borderline annoying. However, at the end of last week’s episode, she was admiring the ring Trace found at the church weeks before – I definitely think these two things are linked, and I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.

Later, Trace is on the phone with Abby and invites her over… dun, dun, dunnnn.

At the house, Connor takes Kevin for a little drive, and naturally his fiance freaks out. Connor asks him about the wedding, and Kevin says he’s not sure when it’ll happen.

Meanwhile, Jess is on a little date, walking along the beach, and they are hunting for sea glass. The climax of this date is when she finds a red piece… until I realize that she’s totally on a date with the guy from Sally’s, the cook, the one who was chatting up her other sister, who has a CRUSH on him!

Dear God! He’s talking about his dream of working in other restaurants, and she asks him if he’d cook for her… tonight, and what, they can invite her SISTER! Daaaahhhhhh!

Back at Trace’s, he’s emotional, and he tells Abby that he almost killed his bass player. He was driving the two of them, late at night while it was raining, and says he took his eyes off the road for a second, and hit an oncoming car. He said everyone else was fine except his bandmate – that he may never walk again.

Trace is crying at this point… and then it goes to a commercial.

Back at the house, Connor asks Kevin what happened in Afghanistan. Kevin doesn’t say much, but he does say he hit an IED. They are sitting in a treehouse, and on their climb down, they both fall…

At the B&B, David (the date), cooks dinner and gets an awkward introduction to Jess’ sister – like, really awkward.

As great grandma steps out to head to Ireland, she tells Abby goodbye and hands her the ring – she tells Abby it was “meant for her” and she will explain the story later.

Connor races back to the house, apparently okay from the fall, and he’s screaming for help explaining that Kevin can’t move. Ugh.

Seriously, at the end of this episode there’s so much left unsaid! And the previews for next week say there are only two episodes left. WHAT?!

Pic of the Week.

Easy like a Sunday mornin'.

Easy like a Sunday mornin’.

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I am ATTEMPTING to make more time for myself; time to actually relax and/or do the things I love to do. In the last few days, yes, I’ve had to work several 8-9 hour shifts, but I also found plenty of time to do things for myself.

For starters, I spent my Sunday morning on the patio with a stack of magazines and a giant mug of coffee. It was nice and sunny, and very quiet. These were magazines I’d been waiting to read for probably two months.

I sat, I sipped, I read, and I stretched my legs out in hopes of getting some sun. In college, I always saved Sunday to do absolutely nothing. What I really would do is sleep in, make coffee and a giant breakfast (usually French toast), and read the New York Times in bed pretty much all day. It was heaven; and I’m always trying my best to bring Sundays like that back into my life. So, a few hours on the patio felt really nice.

Since I got my record player, I’ve spent more time just listening to music. It’s something I probably haven’t done in years. I got a great surprise in the mail last week — John Mayer’s Continuum on vinyl — and Saturday night, I’m not ashamed to say I poured myself a glass of wine and danced alone in my living room to “Gravity,” before watching “Sex With Brody” for the first time (if you haven’t watched this, you’ve got to!).

In the last year, I’ve accepted the fact that I’m getting older. I don’t look as thin as I once did, I’ve got more wrinkles (deservedly so), and looking decent takes a lot more work (you should see my makeup bag). But, I have always enjoyed doing things that make me feel good about myself, and trying new things that are going to help me feel confident.

For my birthday, I got a ton of new beauty products to try and in return, I think I’m looking super young and fresh (wink)! I got some Radiant Under Eye Treatments (containing diamond and collagen!) that are fantastic. I also got a set of three face masks by Peter Thomas Roth: the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (for congested skin), the Rose Stem Cell gel mask (for anti-aging), and…. drumroll… the 24K Gold Mask (for lift, firmness, and glow)!

The 24K Gold Mask is the only one of the group I haven’t used yet, but keep an eye out on my Instagram (@OrangeJulius7) because it’s going to happen ASAP. Like tonight. This mask is infused with 24K gold, so it’s got a nice metallic look in the jar, and I’m assuming it will look the same on my face. I cannot wait.

And last, but not least, I finally got some time to hit up the tanning bed (told you my wrinkles were well-deserved) and then fit in a boxing class yesterday. I’m sore as hell, but I know it’s good for me, and it’s just another step in making me feel my best!