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BBC: ‘Sweetbitter’.

Whew! Another crazy week is in the books, y’all – and I’m exhausted! I’ve got a semi-busy weekend ahead at the Austin Film Festival, but am looking forward to some quality time on the couch and perhaps a movie. I have a decent stack of books I’ve been wanting to read, so maybe I can make a dent there.

But first, the Book Club’s latest read! It’s “Sweetbitter” by Stephanie Danler, which I heard about on a podcast. It sounded like the book about restaurant life I’ve always wanted – the gritty truth about that lifestyle, while featuring the beautiful side of it: learning about the finer foods and wine. Here is the book’s description from Amazon.com:

Twenty-two, and knowing no one, Tess leaves home to begin her adult life in New York City. Thus begins a year that is both enchanting and punishing, in a low-level job at “the best restaurant in New York City.” Grueling hours and a steep culinary learning curve awaken her to the beauty of oysters, the finest Champagnes, the appellations of Burgundy. At the same time, she opens herself to friendships—and love—set against the backdrop of dive bars and late nights.  As her appetites sharpen—for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging—Tess is drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle that will prove to be her most exhilarating and painful lesson of all. 
 
Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and purely adrenalized world of the restaurant—conversations interrupted, phrases overheard, and suggestions below the surface. Evoking the infinite possibility of being young in New York with heart-stopping accuracy, Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment, and the wisdom that comes from experience, sweet and bitter.

So… as you can see from the description, this book was not what I’d originally planned. It was more about her relationships and sexcapades than it was about food, wine, and life as a waitress in New York City.

I’ll be honest here, this book hit a little too close to home. And because of that, it was difficult for me to get through. I’ve worked as a waitress, and in different forms of food service, and I’ve also worked as a bartender.

This book brought me right back to that world, which can be very dark at times. It’s an industry all its own, and there’s the people you work with who are right in that same world, and there’s the people you meet at the bar/restaurant.

There’s often drugs, heavy drinking, late nights, and early afternoons; there’s shift drinks, and meals from the chef and tip share and shift work. I had some great times in the industry, but I can’t say I would ever go back. So, I’m proud of myself for finishing this one.

It was well-written, there’s no doubt about that, it just wasn’t surrounded with food like I’d hoped – I was looking for another round of “No Reservations”-style writing. But, if the restaurant world, and the relationships that come with it interest you – this is your book!

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “All The Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven. Want to read it with us? Simply message me via social media @OrangeJulius7, comment here on the blog, or shoot me an email at Holly@thebitterlemon.com and let’s chat it up! I love talking books.

In other news, is anyone watching the latest season of “Real World”? I know, I’m like, way too old for this, but I couldn’t help myself. It started Wednesday night and… it. is. so. good. Juicy! I’m telling you, DVR it, save it for the winter months, and when you’re snowed in, turn that shit on. Good stuff.

Okay – have a fantastic weekend everyone! I’ve got another batch of fun stuff lined up for next week, so I’ll see you right back here on Monday!

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Officially addicted: ‘Nurse Jackie’ season 2.

Season two - hells yes.

Season two – hells yes.

It’s official: we have made it to Friday… And, I’m addicted to “Nurse Jackie”.

And how could I not be? At the end of every episode is a cliffhanger! I watched season one in a single day, and season two was no different.

At the end of season one, it’s obvious that Jackie can’t keep on as-is, because her two lives are starting to bleed into one another. But where are things really going to start to crumble?

It seems obvious that at some point, Kevin will find out about the affair, given that Eddie has all but moved in. But at the end of season two (spoiler alert!), Kevin and Dr. Ohara surprise Jackie with an intervention.

A review from Time magazine explains the season in an interesting way: At the outset, the series presented Jackie a dedicated, righteously driven but flawed nurse whose drug use was a reaction to the physical and emotional pressures of her career and home life. Season 2, however, has been dedicated to taking that setup apart, demonstrating how easily that explanation turns into excuse-making and even—as shown by Jackie’s final, sarcastic “Blow me” at the idea of confessing that she’s a drug addict—a kind of monomania. Lix Brixius and Linda Wallem, along with Falco, have done a thorough job of presenting how Jackie uses her pressures as the ultimate answer to any demand that she change, and how—true to form for an addict—she’s mastered the art of combining her lies with enough truth, and even genuine confession, to get by.There are lots of reasons why people probably loved this show – it’s smart, funny, and very different from other medical shows of the past. Why am I loving it? I love the juxtaposition of, well, everything. The music is cheerful and chipper, much like a musical; while Jackie’s actions and body language read stiff and direct.

She’s easy to like despite doing a lot of terrible things; and this is always the type of character that’s most difficult for writers to grip. But Jackie juggles the ultimate balance that all of us face at some point – sure maybe it’s not a percocet addiction or an affair at work, but it’s the angel and devil issue.

Now, I will say I haven’t watched much medical television (I’m much more a crime and mystery fan), but I’m curious about this whole argument among doctors and nurses: are nurses the healers? It’s a theme that’s constantly being brought up in the show, so I’m just curious.

 There is no question that I’ll be watching season three – given that I spent a majority of my Saturday driving around the greater portion of Austin to find a reasonably priced DVD of it (no, I don’t have Netflix, and yes I know it’s cheap). Anyway, I found a copy for $6, so I’ll let you know how that goes.

I also wanted to sincerely apologize for posting this so late – I am currently doctoring up my at-home laptop (which is about 15 years old) and I ran into some serious difficulties when I wanted to post this – I even tried writing it on my phone and posting it from there, but it essentially got deleted, so there’s that.

Don’t worry, next week, the blog will be completely back in full swing will all kinds of goodies! I hope you all have a great weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday!

Oops: Is ‘bro’ offensive?

U mad, bro?

U mad, bro?

Last week, I wrote two different posts mentioning a podcast I’ve been listening to. And in one of the posts, I referred to the hosts as bros.

This term, “bro” was not taken very well by said hosts, who called me out on Twitter, saying it was a “patently ridiculous” way of describing him.

Wait, is “bro” a complete dis? I definitely never thought of the word as something negative; I thought it was just a way to describe someone as a true guy; a typical dude; you know, a bro. Obviously, I like the podcast, or else I wouldn’t spend hours listening to back episodes in order to catch up.

At first, I kind of thought the host was joking with me, but he kept at it, and it was starting to get a little weird. I said I didn’t mean it as an insult, and I definitely didn’t, but he kept on with the badgering. I stopped replying and started Googling – is “bro” an insult?

From Dictionary.com, bro means, “1. short for brother, 2. Brother (used before a first name when referring in writing to a member of a religious order of men), 3. a male friend (often used as a form of address), and 4. a young man, especially one who socializes primarily with his male peers and enjoys lively, unintellectual pursuits.”

Ok, so definition number 4 isn’t so great, but obviously this guy is smart, or else he wouldn’t have his own business, which runs successfully (or so I understand).

In 2013, NPR did a little study on the term “bro” in light of Ryan Lochte’s popularity (JEAH! I love him!). What they found was that a “bro” could be several combinations of jock, dude, stoner, and prep. See, the complex venn-diagram of broism.

JEAH, a venn diagram on bros!

JEAH, a venn diagram on bros!

On one hand, sure, I hate it when people leave mean comments on my blog (I often don’t approve them), or misunderstand what I’m trying to say. As a creative, it’s frustrating, and it’s easy to pop-off via social media and set someone straight.

But on the other hand, it looks bad. All press is good press, right? So maybe I used the wrong word, but he still got two free shout outs for his podcast – again, a podcast I really like. If his business is teaching other men how to succeed at life, is that something he would recommend his clients do, hound people on Twitter?

Doubt it.

So, I didn’t mean to call him a bro in a bad way. But perhaps the truth hurt? Who knows. And I’m sure this blog post won’t clear the air any further.

To me, a word is what you make it; it’s the meaning put behind it. And most of the time, I’m lighthearted. In the end, I still think the podcast is worth listening to; but I learned my lesson about mentioning it.

2 Recent discoveries + your weekend TV watch-list.

Hello, double hotness!

Hello, double hotness!

So, Justin Bieber looks like Zack Morris. Like, how did I not notice this before?? This recent, and quite amazing discovery came last week during a random (and kind of drunk) homemade marathon of “Saved By The Bell”.

For the first time, I thought, “Damn, Zack is kind of HOT!”…and then I was feeling like he certainly looked familiar. Then, holy shit, he looks like Bieber, my ultimate celeb crush (besides the obvious).

Turns out, lots of people think this, as there was already an entire article devoted to the subject: 7 Times Justin Bieber Was Zack Morris.

Hey, they’re both hot, and I’ll take it.

Did you ever watch “Flipping Out” on Bravo? Mark Paul Gosselaar was on one of the episodes, as he was remodeling his home, along with his wife, of course. He’s definitely not as not now, but still looks good.

Speaking of hot guys, I was also watching an episode of “Hollywood Medium” and Tyler (the medium) did a reading for Rob Dyrdek, aaaaaand his WIFE was totally in it. Um, when did he get married? Hell, when did he even ever have a girlfriend??

Like, I was (and still am) floored by this! She’s absolutely gorgeous, and 24, and he’s 41 – which I always assumed he would be 31 forever.

Although I spent a decent amount of time Googling, I couldn’t find out how they met, although they have been dating since 2013. There was a lot of information about their engagement, for which Rob put himself in the Aladdin musical at Disneyland and proposed – because of course he did!

On the episode of “Hollywood Medium”, Tyler told Rob to be expecting a son, and two months later, they announced a baby boy is on the way. Cute, even though I’m a little jealous.

Alright, now for your weekend TV guide, because why not?

Separation Anxiety – (Friday, 10 pm, TBS) Separation Anxiety is a comedic, relationship-based game show featuring a unique twist that isn’t revealed to contestants until after they’ve played the game. If I try to explain it, it won’t make sense, just trust me on this; it’s funny!

The Vanilla Ice Project – (Saturday, 10 pm, DIY Network) Vanilla Ice is back to tackle his toughest Florida flip ever. The pop icon and knock-out home renovator has taken his biggest risk yet, investing in a high-dollar lakefront dump in need of a top-to-bottom transformation. That means ripping rooms to the studs, adding a new pool, a boat dock with a tiki hut and state-of-the-art technology all around. Will his champagne taste end up costing him a profit? Or can he and his crew flip this tacky mess and still come out on top?

Shahs of Sunset – (Sunday, 7pm, Bravo) Fashion designer Asa deals with the stress of a new business and a photo shoot for her rapidly expanding new line, Asa Kaftans. The group plans a camping trip to address GG’s increasingly erratic behavior, and a night at home with Mike and Jessica reveals bigger issues in their marriage.

#RichKids of Beverly Hills – (Sunday, 10pm, E!) Your favorite rich brats are back with a brand new season, and Morgan is finally getting married…or is she? Totally just made up that second part. It’s gonna be juicy; plus, I heard there’s a new cast member.

Me? Aside from relaxing on the couch, tonight I’m taking a Hip-hop Master Class with Dylan Cheek, which I’m SUPER amped about!

Here’s a little info I found on Dylan from Number One Music:

Teen entertainer Dylan Cheek has been dancing and performing since he could walk. As early as six years old, the Atlanta-born prodigy would steal the spotlight at school talent shows, and he’s been known to spontaneously showcase his skills right on the street.

Dylan — or “DP,” as his friends call him — grew up admiring N-Sync, the Backstreet Boys, and Michael Jackson. He also loved hip-hop and discovered break-dancing after watching 80’s hip-hop flicks Breakin’ and Beat Street. He was instantly drawn to the urban dance style and began emulating the slick, “pop-lockin” moves of the b-boys he saw on TV.

It wasn’t long before Dylan’s natural talent was recognized by the professional dance world. In 2005, he attended the PopStarz ATL Hip-Hop Workshop and was chosen by celebrity choreographer Dave Scott to be part of the Junior Dance Company. Dylan then went on to compete in dance battles such as Dance Invasions, where he became a four-time championship winner. He’s also participated in Monsters of Hip-Hop Workshops in Atlanta and throughout the US and has taken home several scholarships and top honors at numerous Freestyle Battle competitions.

I’ll also be watching the Texas Stars play in the Calder Cup playoffs – the game is away, but there’s a watch party at Plucker’s, so wings, beer, and hockey? Yes, please!

Have a fantastic weekend with lots of sleep and wine and good TV y’all… I’ll see you right back here on Monday!

Podcasts: Serial.

BEST. PODCAST. EVER.

BEST. PODCAST. EVER.

So, around a month ago I realized two things: 1. I am not really cut out for an “open office” environment. I get really, really distracted, and the sound of other people typing ignites a rage inside my blood that I cannot explain or deal with.

And 2., In order to block out all the noise (I’m the Grinch: the noise, noise noise!), I decided to stuff earbuds into my head from the moment I get to work until the moment I leave. This means I need 9 hours of things to listen to each day – 45 hours of listening content each week.

I looked into an Audible account, but it was ridiculously expensive. So, I asked YOU guys for cool podcasts I could listen to. And you delivered! Currently, here’s my list:

  • Johnjay & Rich
  • The Jillian Michael’s Show
  • What Should I Read Next?
  • Modern Love
  • Mystery Show (finished)
  • Breakdown
  • The Blog Millionaire (finished)
  • The Agents of Change
  • The Daily Boost
  • Content Warfare
  • On The Page: Screenwriting
  • Curious About Screenwriting
  • Oh Boy!
  • Monocycle
  • Serial (finished)

Obsessed much? I’ll talk more about some of these other podcasts one day, but I really wanted to talk about Serial, because I finished listening to both seasons last week, and my days are pretty empty without it.

So what the heck is Serial? From the website: Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story—a true story—over the course of a season. Each season, we follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. We won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it’s important to listen to the episodes in order.

Currently, there are two seasons. Don’t worry, I’ll warn you if I drop any spoilers.

Season One: The Case Against Adnan Syed

Adnan Syed

Adnan Syed

Here’s what Serial’s website says about season one:

A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

Sarah Koenig sorted through thousands of documents, listened to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talked to everyone she could find who remembered what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee. She discovered that the trial covered up a far more complicated story than the jury – or the public – ever got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence — all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers.

This case is interesting for several reasons, but for me, one of them is the length of time that’s passed. I cannot remember shit, so if I were being asked now about what happened in high school on one certain day, there’s no way I’d be able to recall.

Also, the “evidence” in the case is super shady. Three words here: Cell Phone Data. It was 1999. You do the math. Anyway, that’s all I’m going to say. If you’ve listened to season one already and are hungry for an update, I found one here.

Season Two: The Case Against Bowe Bergdahl

Bowe Bergdahl

Bowe Bergdahl

This is my first time really seeing what Bergdahl looks like. He’s cute, no? If you pay attention to war news, the chances are likely you’ve heard of Prisoner of War, US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. It was very high-profile, even pre-Serial. Here’s what the Serial website says about season two:

In May 2014, a U.S. Special Operations team in a Black Hawk helicopter landed in the hills of Afghanistan. Waiting for them were more than a dozen Taliban fighters and a tall American, who looked pale and out of sorts: Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier, had been a prisoner of the Taliban for nearly five years, and now he was going home.

President Obama announced Bergdahl’s return in the Rose Garden, with the soldier’s parents at his side. Bergdahl’s hometown of Hailey, Idaho, planned a big celebration to welcome him back. But then, within days—within hours of his rescue, in fact—public reaction to his return flipped. People started saying Bergdahl shouldn’t be celebrated. Some of the soldiers from his unit called him a deserter, a traitor. They said he had deliberately walked off their small outpost in eastern Afghanistan and into hostile territory. 

Hailey canceled its celebration. The army launched an investigation. Finally, in March, the military charged Bergdahl with two crimes, one of which carries the possibility of a life sentence. Through all of this, Bergdahl has been quiet. He hasn’t spoken to the press or done any interviews on TV. He’s been like a ghost at the center of a raucous fight.

Now, in Season Two, we get to hear what he has to say.

For this season, Sarah Koenig teams up with filmmaker Mark Boal and Page 1 to find out why one idiosyncratic guy decided to walk away, into Afghanistan, and how the consequences of that decision have spun out wider and wider. It’s a story that has played out in unexpected ways from the start. And it’s a story that’s still going on.

Nightly News Update from March 2015 (no spoilers here):

Lots of people found season two to be boring, but I found it FASCINATING, to say the least. I will admit, because of my politics, I do not listen to as much war-related news as I did years ago. But, hearing a lot of this information firsthand was very, very eye-opening.

I found a recent update on Bowe’s case from January 2016, if you’re game.

So, will there be a season 3 of Serial? YES. Recently, season 3 was announced and is set to drop this spring. Details? Serial’s host, Sarah, has revealed the season 3 topic here.

And that’s a wrap, y’all! It’s Friday, and I hope you have a fantastical weekend that goes by nice and slow. I’ll see you right back here, on Monday!

BBC: the birthday edition!

Ba-da-da-da-da!!!! Today is kitty Blanche’s 3rd birthday, so naturally, Blanche and I are sleeping off our raging hangovers (she’s 21 in cat years now, y’all).

No, actually, I’m at work and Blanche gets to stay at home, living the life of luxury all day. Lucky duck! To celebrate, Blanche got a special helping of soft food for breakfast. I gave her a gift early, because I just couldn’t wait: a bright yellow stool from IKEA so she can sit on it and watch birds all day.

Blanche's lookout point.

Blanche’s lookout point.

If the point hasn’t been made clear, I’m a total, loud and proud #CatLady – even though I only have one cat. Everything about my life pretty much revolves around my cat, and I’m fine with it. The funny thing about the stool is that, for some odd reason, I let Blanche BORROW my desk stool to sit at the window and bird watch.

But it quickly became apparent that I wasn’t getting it back. So, I bought her one for herself and took back my original desk stool. I may or may not decorate hers with colorful paints and or glitter. We’ll see. She also got a “smartycat” from my friend, which is one of those motion toys that’s really going to get the party started.

Being that Blanche’s birthday is today, I’ve been thinking a lot about our short time together so far. The truth is, Blanche has been the wildest kitty I’ve had as of yet. She’s got long, crazy hair, sharp claws (and teeth), and a very sassy attitude. But, this pretty kitty came into my life when I was dating an emotionally abusive alcoholic. She was there for many nights when I cried myself to sleep, and when he tried to break into my apartment.

She’s been with me through unemployment, retail life, late nights, and of course, our move to Austin (and she was silent a majority of the 7-hour drive). Blanche was a shelter kitty and was discovered with her mom and siblings in the attic of a school in Baton Rouge. In a way, we saved each other. That’s a cat that deserves some spoiling, amiright? Probably not, but we’re rolling with it. So, Happy Birthday to my wild-eyed, beautiful kitty, Blanche Devereaux!

Before I forget, if you entered the contest yesterday, you won! Congrats to Samantha and my mom, Anna! You should expect an email from Green Chef (sent yesterday).

So, that brings us to BBC, Blanche’s Book Club! We’ve finished reading book #2 for the club, and it’s a real success with the whopping two members on board (one of them being Blanche). But, it’s not a popularity contest. So, our latest read was “The Lair, The Bitch and the Wardrobe” by Allie Kingsley.

From the back of the book:

If you’re going to step on people on your way to the top, you might as well do it in stilettos . . .

. . . Or so she’s been told. Lucy Butler, former wallflower, lands her dream job working for her idol, world-famous fashion photographer Stefano Lepres. But in a world where getting doused in coffee for not getting the order right is the new normal, she isn’t getting any closer to her ideal of being behind the camera herself. Then a superstar actress generously takes Lucy under her wing and teaches her the ways of the rich and famous—treating her to racks of designer clothes and introducing her to a life of private planes and penthouse suites. Soon Lucy is dating a rock star, attending the hottest Hollywood parties, and dressing the part.

Lost in the luxury, she loses sight of the things that once mattered most. It’s going to take a hard blow from the high life to send Lucy back to the real life she always wanted.

 I know it’s kind of early in the year to say this, but this would be a great pool/beach read. It’s lite, sexy, glamorous, edgy, and in parts, laugh-out-loud funny. I’ll admit, it took me a few chapters before I really got into this book, but after that, I pretty much finished it in one sitting.

It’s got mixed reviews on Good Reads, but has some interesting books linked with it in the whole “Other readers enjoyed…” including “The Big Bang” by Linda Joffe Hull (think: Desperate Housewives), “At Least You’re in Tuscany: A Somewhat Diastrous Quest for the Sweet Life” is Jennifer Criswell (memoir: moving from NYC to Tuscany), and “Lucy Gets Her Life Back” by Stef Ann Holm (single mom, super drama).

While I’m fairly certain this is Kingley’s only book of her own, she’s worked in the fashion industry for many years, and worked with Nikki Hilton to publish her book – pretty cool. Plus, she’s got gorgeous red hair, and who doesn’t love a red head?

The next book BBC will be reading is “The Silkworm” by Robert Galbraith, the second book in the Cormoran Strike Series. If you want to contribute to the discussion, leave a comment, email me at Holly@thebitterlemon.com, Snap me or DM me @OrangeJulius7 or whatever you have to do. Or, you can send me a book title to read, but I’m not making any promises, folks. It’s the non-committal book club you’ve always dreamed of!

And what that, I’m signing off until Monday! Prep yourselves for an amazing week of blogs starting right here, on Monday. Muah!

The sadness of the ‘Scope.

I just joined Periscope - let's party!

I just joined Periscope – let’s party!

Early last week, I randomly decided to join Periscope – the live video social media platform. I didn’t have much of a reason for joining other than I wanted to see what it was all about.

I’ve heard of people (mostly celebrities or well-known personalities) using the ‘scope for an interview-like setting. Why? Well, because there is a chat feature on the live video feed. So, you can not only see a live video of someone that’s across the globe, but you can also chat with them.

So, I signed up using my Twitter handle (@OrangeJulius7) – by the way, Periscope is owned by Twitter. I browsed for a bit: you can literally look at a map of the world and click on live videos that are happening. Sometimes, it’s a single person sitting there talking, and other times it’s a stream of a huge event, such as the Trump rally (which I watched for about 30 seconds).

You can ask the person questions, or chat with other users watching. You can also tap the screen if you like what you see and a little colored heart will appear on the screen, which is also visible to the videographer.

What’s cool about Periscope? It’s live and there are no filters, and there aren’t ads (yet). This is as authentic as it gets when we’re talking social media. I definitely foresee this as the future of the podcast – or perhaps I’m just thinking of The Bitter Lemon! I would love to hold a 20-minute chat about something and have the opportunity to answer live questions and chat with my readers. I’m in if you’re in!

But, there’s always a sad side when it comes to social media, right? When you really get down to it, we all just want to be liked. We post the pretty stuff on Instagram, funny crap on SnapChat, air our dirty laundry on Facebook, and talk shit on Twitter. We just want to fit in and be social, all while not moving and staring into the tiny screen before us, right?

In that aspect, Periscope is no different. Late last Thursday night, I was laying on my couch (three glasses of wine in my stomach) and I decided to log onto Periscope. I fumbled upon a live feed of a gentleman who’d just gotten home from going out. It was his birthday and he clearly was drunk – expectedly so.

He was singing himself “Happy Birthday” and was attempting to hold his phone with one hand and open a plastic container with the other. The container was from a grocery store bakery, and it had two slices of cheesecake in it. Once he got the container open, he proceeded to eat the cheesecake with his hand. No silverware.

“Y’all, it’s my birthday and I’m by myself!” he was nearly laughing at the situation.

“Take a shot!” I chatted to him. He gazed at the near-empty bottle of Patron Silver beside him, and without hesitation, poured himself a shot, which he downed shortly after.

It was a short, sad snippet of how social media is feeding us and starving us all at once. And in one full swoop, it makes me wonder what depths we’ll travel – what will we find ourselves watching next, just to get a thread of connection?

I don’t say this to sound pompous – I’m on all the social networks, and frankly, there’s something appealing about Periscope. Maybe it is the rawness of it. I’m going to stick around on it and just see what the whole thing is about, and don’t be surprised if I host some rants chats on there soon.

DGAS.

DGAS.

Speaking of rants chats, I’ve been thinking a lot about backhanded apologies lately.

Truthfully, someone sent me one via text a few weeks ago, and it’s just been laying eggs under my skin, pissing me off ever since.

Why do people DO that shit? I’ve honestly never understood why some people find it so difficult to offer a sincere apology for something they did.

Is it really that big of a deal, or do they just believe that nothing they did warrants a real apology?

So, let’s look at some backhanded apologies, just for fun:

  • I’m sorry you feel that way.
  • I’m sorry if my actions affected you.
  • I’m sorry you weren’t listening to hear what I said.
  • I’m sorry I look good.
  • I’m sorry you don’t know how to drive.

It’s a simple way of turning the blame from the guilty person onto the innocent, and it’s worded in a way that can sometimes sound sincere, until you really think about it.

Here’s the fact of the matter: if there is a situation, a relationship, a friendship, a future, that is hinging on an apology, it better damn well be a sincere one.

Just say, “I’m sorry.” I’m sorry I hurt you, I’m sorry things happened this way, I’m sorry for treating you like shit.

It’s like dealing with an addition: the first step is admitting the problem. I’m not saying apologize for everything or anything; that gets old and annoying. But, just apologize, sincerely.

And I’ll leave you with that, my friends! It’s been another fantastic week over here; I’ve got a weekend PACKED full of fun stuff and I’ll be right back here on Monday to share it with you! Until then, catch me online @OrangeJulius7

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

A sweet-smelling perfume by Prada.

A sweet-smelling perfume by Prada.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fullhouserow

Drink every time:

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

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

My (material) love life.

Things I love, aside from everything John Mayer.

Things I love, aside from everything John Mayer.

Valentine’s Day is two days away, and I’m single, very single. I don’t even have a crush and I ALWAYS have a crush. I mean, I’ve still got John Mayer, so no worries there. So, what does a single girl LOVE on Valentine’s Day? Let me tell you what:

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser – I treated myself to the “starter kit” when I got a coupon for the Birchbox store. The face wash itself is kind of like Noxema (hello, 90’s!) in texture, but it gets off ALL my makeup. I still can’t get over how awesome this stuff is. So, the other part of this system is the muslin cloth you use to remove the cleanser: it’s gentle, but exfoliating so it really gets things clean. Try Birchbox to get exclusive Liz Earle products!

Origins Active Charcoal mask – I use a mask at every night. I am really trying to up my skincare regimen, and I love trying different things to see what works. My latest purchase is the Active Charcoal Mask from Origins. I get blackheads on my nose, chin, and between my eyebrows, and I use this at least once a week to (hopefully) dry up the suckers.

Green Chef meals – It’s been about two months since I signed up to have organic ingredients delivered right to my doorstep each week. I really love this service more than I expected! The ingredients are always fresh, the recipes are things I’ve never made before, and they are easy to make, but it still feels like I’m cooking. I rarely have to go to the grocery store, so it saves me time, and it even cuts back on my food costs since I’m not loading up my cart with unnecessary purchases. Want to try it? You can get 4 FREE meals using my code! I’d love you know what you think.

Ban.do Drink Sleeve – “Fries Before Guys” is my life motto. I love fries, and fuck it, I’m putting them first in my life, forever. Calories be dammed. The cool thing about Ban.do, is that aside from having all sorts of bad ass goodies, they also have free downloads on their website. So, I promptly downloaded a “Fries Before Guys” phone wallpaper, so I won’t get it twisted. Ever.

Amazon Prime – Who doesn’t love free two-day shipping? It makes me want to buy EVERYTHING on Amazon (and I probably have). But, I also enjoy watching free videos (such as seasons of The Newsroom), streaming music, and getting free Kindle books. It’s a pretty great deal, and another excuse for me to avoid public shopping situations. Are you sensing a trend here? Try Amazon Prime for 30 days, for FREE, and see how awesome it is!

ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm – This crazy, cool lip balm adjusts to your unique pH, enhancing each wearer’s natural lip color to create the perfect, just-for-you hue. It also contains mango seed butter to hydrate and protect lips. Another perk? It boasts a lovely minty scent. I like to keep this in my desk drawer at work, because I know I can slather it on before a meeting, and without a mirror, it looks perfect!

DW Home hand-poured candle in Sun Bleached Denim – “Fresh hints of brushed cotton with bright bergamot, zesty lemon, and herbaceous greens over silver sage leaf, earthy patchouli, and cool woody musk.” Holy hell. I don’t know why this is called “Sun Bleached Denim” because it smells like a fine ass man stepping out of a hot shower, and he can’t find his towel ANYWHERE, and I about fainted when I got a whiff of this thing in T.J. Maxx. Get this candle, like, now. It is everything fantasies are made of.

Dexter reruns – A few weeks ago, I discovered FM is airing old episodes of Dexter, in chronological order. Record series. Get popcorn. Binge. Drool. No second thoughts. Who doesn’t love a sexy Mr. Morgan battling crime in his unique code so we all can sleep at night? Count me in.

Not Soap, Radio Body Wash – Funny name, but seriously awesome! Each scent uses the power of smell to hack away at your problems: from relationships to struggles at the office, just hit the shower with this stuff. I’m currently using “Liquid Freud“, which smells of mango and coconut, and aims at calming. Next? I’m getting “Bathing with Sharks” to boost confidence in the boardroom. The bonus? It’s free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates and is never tested on animals.

SkinnyGirl Popcorn – I have a love/hate relationship with popcorn, but when I saw SkinnyGirl popcorn at the grocery, I wanted to try it. I got the “Sea Salt and Lime” flavor, and it is unique and delish! The box is filled with mini bags, which are good for a low-calorie, delicious snack. I’ve seen ads for the “Rosemary and Olive Oil” flavor, but haven’t seen it in-store yet. I cannot wait to try that one!

…And there you have it; all of my lovely favorites right now, just in time for Heart’s Day. If you’re coupled and have something fantastic planned, hey, I’m happy for you. If you’re single, head up, and pop some bottles (See: my complete guide to bubbly). Me? I’ll be at dance rehearsal for a good chunk of the day. This year, Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating strength, and being okay with my #CatLady life! See y’all right here on Monday! xoxo

Fresh Friday: Sud Magnolia.

Pretty bottle, beautiful scent.

Pretty bottle, beautiful scent.

This week, it occurred to me that I’m only a few weeks away from having lived in Austin for six months! Can you believe it? It has really flown by. But, I can say that I am finally starting to feel like things are falling into place.

I’m learning my way around, finding my groove, and meeting some cool people. My job is still challenging, but I’m getting there, and I’m learning things every day, which is exactly what I wished for. I am excited to see what the next six months have in store.

So, what does the next six months have in store for this blog, and YOU, my dear readers? Well, lots of fun, awesome, new things! I’m starting work on my second online course. Haven’t heard of the first one? Well, in December, I published a complete online course for Beginning Bloggers (details & discount code here), and it’s been a decent success.

I want to keep building courses to support bloggers, online business owners, and fellow social medialites. So, be on the lookout for course #2 in the next few months, which will be focused on blogging best practices.

I also have a goal to write and publish another book – whew, big goal! But, it’s been done before (check out all three of my books here), and I’ve got so much info swirling in my brain for this next one. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted.

And of course, I’ve got all sorts of awesome advice to offer you, adventures to share (there will be some good traveling this year), and as always, stories of love, loss, and finding my way as a Singleton at 30… soon-to-be 31 year old.

I’ve been toying with the idea of offering a monthly newsletter for you guys (by subscription), which would have the same type of content you see on the blog, but exclusive to the newsletter, and probably more secretive, given that I know my boss or guy-of-interest wouldn’t be reading it. It would also contain exclusive deals and offers. That’s a big possibility – if you’ve got ideas or dreams about it, just let me know! I aim to please, folks.

But today, I’m here to offer you a new scent profile, because I’ve been spritzing on Sud Magnolia by Atelier Cologne aallll week! From Sephora.com:

A completely unexpected experience inspired by ingredients from regions where water and sky become one, Sud Magnolia is a floral and fresh fragrance with notes of magnolia from Louisiana, bitter orange from Seville, and atlas cedarwood from Morocco. The sharp tang of citrus blooms into a grand floral celebration. The woody drydown is reminiscent of antebellum elegance and nights of warm abandon.

This warm floral fragrance is exclusive to Sephora. It provides the freshness and elegance of a cologne, but is designed to provide lasting fragrance on the skin.

Notes: Bitter Sevillian Orange, Pomelo from Florida, Blackcurrant, Magnolia from Louisiana, Bulgarian Rose Absolue, Indian Saffron Flower, Atlas Cedarwood from Morocco, Sandalwood, Musk.

Style: Sophisticated. Refined. Romantic.

See? A perfect scent for my Louisiana ladies! It combines the sweet scent of magnolia with warm cedarwood, and the freshness of citrus. Kind of makes you hungry, right? I felt like every time I sprayed it on I could pick up different “angles” of the scent – and that’s why I’m really considering this to be my new favorite scent. It’s so unique!

I’m so ready for the weekend, per usual, and I’m excited to kick off a week-full of fun blogs right before the holiday we’re all dreading (or is it just me?). Don’t worry, it’s all fun and games at TBL. Until Monday, y’all be well.

Fresh Friday: Velvet Orchid

Give it here.

Give it here.

Yeeeeehaawwww – here we are, yet again, on another fine Friday! The good news is you’ve made it through another week… and I have no bad news because it’s FRIDAY.

Between work and dance classes, the weeks seem to fly by pretty fast, but the weekends speed right on as well. This weekend, I’m really looking forward to getting my hair cut and colored, which is the usual routine for me, but I’m thinking about changing it up a little.

Hair envy.

Hair envy.

I’ve been considering a little bit of a shorter look, that captures my natural wave some (see: Khloe Kardashian). If you’re following me on SnapChat, you probably have noticed that I haven’t blow-dried or used any hot tools on my hair in months. I pretty much gave up trying – I like my natural wave, and straightening it is usually a waste of my time.

So, we’ll see. I’m pretty open to trying new things, and I’ve always been able to trust my stylist to give me a cut/color that’s going to flatter my skin and face shape. In other words, my hair future is in her hands.

Speaking of Khloe, has anyone been watching her new show, “Kocktails With Khloe” on FYI? It started last week and although I don’t watch “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”, I was pretty anxious to check it out, given that her first guests were Brandi Glanville and Snoop Dogg.

It has an interesting format: the set is a mockup of her home, and it’s supposed to seem like she’s just having people over, talking and drinking (and playing drinking games), instead of on a stage for a talk show. I don’t know if it will get a second season, but so far I kind of like it.

Aside from just dancing my booty off (give my new favorite song, “Wut” a listen below) this week, I’ve been wearing this week’s scent: Velvet Orchid by Tom Ford. According to Sephora:

Tom Ford Velvet Orchid is an oriental floral that evolves the carnal grandeur and seductive power of the iconic Tom Ford Black Orchid into an uber-feminine fragrance lavished with notes of cool citrus, dramatic petals, suede accord, and vanilla. Rich, spicy, and intensely floral, it evokes a warm exotic garden. The slim and elegant bottle is enhanced with bold vertical texture and the signature brass nameplate.

Notes: Orange Blossom, Hyacinth, Jonquil, Cattleya Leopoldii Orchid, Suede Accord, Vanilla Tincture.
Style: Lavish. Dramatic. Seductive.  

This scent is DEFINITELY feminine. So, if you’re getting sick of me featuring scents on here that have a masculine site, today is finally your day! Between the petals and vanilla, it’s a soft scent, but not so soft you don’t notice it. I’d definitely give this one a whiff the next time you’re in a department store – it’s different (in a good way)!

So, there you have it! Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 to keep up with me this weekend, and I’ll see you right back here on Monday for another fun week! Cheers!

 

Fresh Friday: My Burberry.

Who doesn't love an add with Cara Delevingne in it?

Who doesn’t love an add with Cara Delevingne in it?

It’s FRIDAY! I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather this week, so it’s been a struggle to keep up with work, dance, and well, all the other writing shenanigans I’ve got up my sleeve, but I freaking made it!

Monday night was the first OFFICIAL dance practice for my performance at the end of next month, and our group (the Video Vixens) were informed that we’re dancing to two songs, and one of the songs is a remix of Ludacris’ “Get Low”. Umm, YAS!

Despite feeling like absolute shit, I banged out a pretty good practice and am looking forward to learning another section of the dance next week. This week, I also discovered FM is replaying episodes of Dexter, so why not re-watch them all? Nothing cheers a girl up like seeing her favorite serial killer analyze blood spatter.

I cooked (and ate) all of my meals from Green Chef this week, and I’m looking forward to today’s delivery, which includes ingredients for Greek flatbread. Green Chef clearly knows the way to my heart!

And of course, there’s today’s scent profile: My Burberry! I’ve been wearing it all week; frankly, it’s my favorite kind of research, and I absolutely LOVE this one!

According to Sephora.com:

Inspired by the trench coat and its heritage of British design and craftsmanship, My Burberry captures the fragrance of a London garden after the rain. The scent is a contemporary British grand floral and features a delicate heart of rose woven with an unexpected touch of geranium leaf.

Notes: Sweet Pea, Bergamot, Geranium, Golden Quince, Freesia, Patchouli, Rain-Tipped Damask and Centifolia Roses.
Style: Effortless. Personal. Timeless.

Notice the mix of the masculine (Patchouli and Bergamot) with feminine (Freesia and Roses) – this is my favorite kind of mix, especially when it comes to fashion and style. Leave it to Burberry!

What’s everyone up to this weekend? I’m hoping to get well, while continuing my adventures at the Laundromat. I will probably go on a food truck adventure, and I’m definitely planning on crafting some of my famous homemade Valentine’s Day cards – if you want me to mail you one, PLEASE send me your address to holly@thebitterlemon.com – I already have a decent list going, but I would love to add you to it! Catch all the crafting on my SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 – see you there!

Fresh Friday: Tory Burch.

All the pretties...

All the pretties…

I am SO, SO happy today is Friday! This week at the office was a doozy, and I’d be lying if I haven’t been emotionally drained sorting out my own emotions simultaneously – you ever have weeks like that? I’m really looking forward to a weekend on the couch, only emerging for trips to the nearest food truck.

For Christmas, one of my best friends got me the Sephora Liquid Luxuries Perfume Sampler… it’s a gift she usually gets me, and it’s one I really look forward to every year. Not only do you get to sample 15 wonderful perfumes, it comes with a coupon to get the full size bottle for the perfume of your choice (provided it’s one of the samples).

I take this very, very seriously. I spend almost all year sampling the perfumes and deciding which one is going to be the right choice for the full size bottle – I just picked out my full size perfume from last Christmas, in September! It’s such a great gift and I want it to be perfect! So, yes, I’ve got a slew of new perfumes to present to you.

Starting with… Tory Burch!

According to the Tory Burch website:

The first fragrance from Tory Burch captures classic elements in unexpected ways. Feminine and tomboy. Easy and polished. Floral peony and tuberose blend with crisp citrus notes of grapefruit and neroli — anchored by earthy vetiver. A bright and complex mix in a super-chic glass bottle with a signature fretwork top.

Notes: Neroli, Grapefruit, Cassis, Bergamot, Peony, Tuberose, Jasmine Sambac, Vetiver, Sandalwood

I do like how complex this perfume is, with the combination of floral and wood. I like it a lot. The only thing I’d say is that I haven’t noticed this lasting all day. It’s not a deal breaker for me, because sometimes I like to mix it up if I’m switching from day to evening. But I know that’s a big deal for lots of people.

Maybe if you did the body wash, body lotion, AND the perfume, you’d be smelling of Tory Burch all day long… I’ve always wanted to have a whole set like that, but I just don’t have it together enough yet (#goals).

I hope you guys have a fantastic weekend – follow me on SnapChat (OrangeJulius7) to join me on my couch, and I’ll see you back here next week with posts on homemade dog treats, how you stack up according to the number of sex partners you’ve had, and organic facial products, among other genius gems. Bye y’all!

Fresh Friday: Not A Perfume.

Pretty bottle!

Pretty bottle!

Y’all… it’s FRIDAY!! The exciting thing about THIS Friday is that for most of us, next week is a short week, then we get a looooong weekend. I cannot really explain how happy this makes me.

I’ve felt so stressed this week; stressed over things that are out of my control (isn’t that the worst), and I finally just gave up, pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind as best I could… and bought a pumpkin pie and ate half of it for dinner. No, seriously. Because why not?

I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving SO much, but I’ve got lots to accomplish before Turkey Day arrives — I know many of you are in the same boat.

Today, I’ve got another new perfume for you, but it’s called “Not A Perfume” and it’s made by Juliet Has A Gun. Unique name, huh? It came in my November Birchbox, and at first, I was a little confused by the name.

But, I’ve been wearing it these last few days. According it its description, it’s made out of a single element called Cetalox, which is usually a scent that’s featured in the background of perfumes. It’s completely allergen free and has no other ingredients.

So, what’s Cetalox? To be honest, I couldn’t find a lot of information on WHAT cetalox is, but it’s said to have an amber scent, kind of woody. Which… I love!

I’ll be traveling to see my CASA boys this weekend (and sneaking in a hair appointment from my favorite stylist), so I’ll find some fun things to post on SnapChat (@OrangeJulius7).

Next week, I’ll be posting a few things about Thanksgiving and the holiday season, but I’m taking Thursday and Friday off from blogging. I’ll be entertaining my guest, and I doubt many of you will be on the computer.

Meanwhile, I am still working hard on creating my blog class! It’s taking a little longer than I expected, but only because I’m packing so many learning materials in one class. So far, there are 10 lectures, presentations, video lectures, and quizzes. I promise I’ll keep you posted (and keep your eyes peeled for an exclusive coupon)!

Alright y’all, I’m off to work — have a great weekend!

Fiction Friday: ‘Black & Blue’, Part VI.

Finally, it's game time!

Finally, it’s game time!

The following is an original piece, written by Holly A. Phillips in 2007. It’s a story based on her favorite hockey player, Sean Avery. Read previous sections of this story here, here, here, here, and here (okay, so it’s kind of long). 

Walking usually cleared my mind, but it was still buzzing when I reached the stadium. The lines into the building were the longest I’d seen. It was going to be loud in there. The locker room was noisier than usual, too.

“Black, bro, this is it,” 32 said. “Beat that ass.”

“Planning on it,” I said.

“Dude, you hook up with that chick finally?” 45 asked.

“Oh, c’mon man,” I said. “No, and if I did, now isn’t the time to bring it up.”

“So you did then?” he asked. “I saw some new bitches in your 94 tickets, what’s that about?”

“Seriously man, it’s a big game,” I said. “Pull it together.”

I needed to make my own advice. I couldn’t tell if it was because Kate was coming again or because of the Kings. The stadium was packed. I hadn’t played for a crowd this size in a long time. When I took my place on the ice, front left, the Kings paired me with a new player. Figured.

“Bring it on, Fucker,” he hissed.

I kept my mouth shut. I was the night’s target, as usual. I didn’t need to say anything. Whoever the motherfucker was, he’s been warned about me all week. He could see the bruises on my neck and the leftover black eye on my face. It was going to be a long game. We got the puck first and were gaining on the Kings from the start. One of our rookies roughed up their wingman, sending them both into the box. The Kings always went straight up the middle, so I tried to keep the puck to the side. It was working.

I got my first penalty in the top of the second period. It was minor — persisting in an altercation — but it still cost me two minutes. It was obvious the Kings had been told not to fight with me. Anything I tried to stir up, they ignored. In the box, I studied the game. It was 4-3, Kings. My lip was bleeding. I was waiting for the Kings’ goalie to pull a low blow — he’d done it before. He’d pull his mask off in the middle of the play to start the whole thing over. But we had one more period to tie it up and then win it overtime. I couldn’t get worried now.

My teammates were able to sneak a play behind them and score while I was in the box. We were tied 4-4. I spent the rest of the second period actually playing; moving the puck — but we didn’t score. At half time, I looked for Kate again, but didn’t see her. I knew she had to be there though; we were on good terms this time. In the locker room, coach warned me about penalties in the third period. He said they were probably going to gang up on me, since they hadn’t done much in the first half. He was right.

We lined up before the puck dropped and the banter began.

“Black, you still a badass? Let’s fight,” 24 said. I gritted my mouth guard.

We got the puck after the drop and tried to pass it to the goal from the side. But 12 was blocked — tripped by a stick. But now we had the advantage: Power Play. Only four of their players were on the ice.

“Why don’t you get yourself in the box, Black?” 35 said. I didn’t look at him. I was waiting by their goal, hoping to slap it in at any moment.

“Well, well, look who’s being a badass now,” he said. “Did mommy tell you to ignore the bad boys?”

Damn. These motherfuckers wouldn’t let up. I wanted to swing at him; knock him out like I usually would. But there wasn’t much time left in the period. If we scored, we’d win without having to go into OT.

Two more minutes. I skated to the middle of the rink and found myself back in front of 24.

“Fucker, you’re back?” he said. “Back for more 24…”

“More of what?” I said. “You haven’t done anything. Pussy.”

He did nothing.

I looked behind me to see 12 with the puck again. He was crossing the blue line and there was a clear shot to the goal if he passed it to me. He saw I was open, made the pass, and I skated forward to the goal. The Kings’ goalie wobbled back and forth, ready to block. I went to the side and brought my stick back, ready to shoot. But as I slapped the puck forward, I fell. Someone had pushed me. When I hit the ice, my chin caught me; I big my tongue. I heard the sirens. Goal. I opened my eyes and looked at the clock. 10 seconds. Game over, we won.

We skated past the Kings, and shook their hands, all mumbling the same thing: “Good game.” It wasn’t the way I’d pictured seeing those guys again after skating with them for nearly eight years. But it was work; people got traded and then had to compete against each other. We’d play them again and maybe they’d win. Yeah, right.

I hurried through my locker room routine and went outside to see if Kate was waiting. I searched for her, careful not to talk to anyone else. I had learned my lesson. Through all of the jerseys and foam fingers, I saw her. She was standing in her heels that made her average height, and her hair was down and thick. She was wearing a Rangers’ button.

“Hey there,” I said.

“Hey, congrats,” she said as she hugged me. She smelled good.

“Nice button,” I said. She laughed.

“I’m conforming to the masses.”

“Don’t change too much,” I told her. “I like you like this.”

“You alright?” she asked. “That last fall looked pretty painful.”

“I think I’ll be fine.”

“What now?” she asked.

Home,” I said. “You coming with me?”

“Sure,” she said. “You walking?”

“Of course,” I said. The reporters were just leaving the ice and making their way toward me. “Hurry.”

I took her hand and we walked out of the Garden fast, quick enough to escape the mob. I wasn’t going to deal with it this time. When we got back to the apartment, Kate came inside. We sat on the couch under the Chanel painting. She’d insisted I put ice on my chin; I did it just to appease her. I was drifting in and out of sleep. Soon, my sheets stopped smelling like peppermint. Instead, they smelled like Kate — and I hoped they would for awhile.