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BBC: ‘This is Just My Face’.

Hey there! I did NOT want to get out of bed this morning…ugh. For the past three weeks, I’ve been taking three hours of dance on Thursday nights – a body drop cardio class, beginning hip hop, and broadway jazz. I absolutely love these classes, so it’s pretty easy for me to power through them, but I am sore and TIRED today.

Dear coffee, please halp. Thx.

So anyway, the latest read in Blanche’s Book Club! It’s “This is Just My Face” by Gabourey Sidibe. I heard about it on “The Daily Show” and added it to my library list immediately. Here’s the scoop from Amazon.com:

Gabourey Sidibe—“Gabby” to her legion of fans—skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This Is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.” 
 
Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different, and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true. 

I wouldn’t consider myself a “fan” of Gabby’s necessarily – I’ve got nothing against her – but I also don’t know that much about her (until I read this book, obviously). Still, I was absolutely blown away by chapter 1 – no spoilers here, but she’s got a story about a fashion a-lister that had my jaw on the ground.

Anywho, there were a few awesome quotes I took note of while reading:

  • Feelings aren’t an absence of strength
  • I know that if I had a boyfriend or, even worse, a husband, I’d spend my Friday nights compromising. I don’t really think I want to do that yet.
  • I can be anywhere in the world at any time and it’s really only my business. I like that kind of freedom.

Preeeeeeach!

But yeah, this is an easy read, fairly short, and Gabby definitely has an interesting story about how she came into being an actress and becoming fame-lite. Plus, her humor is spot-on.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. I know, I know, I’m super late to the game on this one, buuuut better late than never.

I have an entire stack of books to get to this weekend, on top of my FINAL prep for the 7th annual Quesoff (which is next weekend), and I’m also going to a special viewing of “Patti Cake$” with a live Q&A from the cast – yippee! Here’s the preview if you haven’t seen it yet:

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Detox Your Dating: Day 4.

Halfway mark!

The detox for day 3 was pretty eye-opening for me, so I’m curious to dive into day 4! This day is all about “Recognizing your cravings for attention”. Oh boy…

Day 4 Challenge: Recognize Your Cravings for Attention

Denise explains that many successful women admit to having some sort of “attachment” to something on the side. This may be something like:

  • Friends with benefits
  • Sex texts with an ex
  • Keeping a box of memories from past relationships
  • Hookup sex/one-night stands
  • Dating someone with no future

…Eh, none of this is really me. I’ve had friends with benefits, that was around four years ago. Other than that, I don’t do these things. Which is good!

Homework: 

  1. Share with the group a time you held onto one of these attachments.
  2. What triggered this?
  3. How did you let it go?

I used to always, always be “talking” to or texting someone, whether it was a Friends with Benefits type of guy, or a straight up No Future Guy! I’d say there were two things that I did to stop it: 1. I moved to a new city and state. This isn’t WHY I did it, but it certainly helped the situation, and 2. I finally went through a breakup that shed some light on what I was doing to myself. By having all of this drama and baggage surrounding me, I was refusing to let myself grow. By putting down my phone and cutting out the losers, I learned a lot about myself and how to fill days without a No Future Guy taking up my time.

…Thinking more on this now, I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this, but I’ve never really had a romantic relationship that was quality. This is why I can never see what I’m “missing” from my single life. No, I haven’t only dated jerks, but the one relationship I can think of that wasn’t awful, still just wasn’t right.

This is why we have three days left to detox.

Detox Your Dating: Day 3.

The Dating Detox continues on!

Still drinking the metaphorical green juice for this Dating Detox from Denise Poteat. I know I’ve said it before, but even though I would not consider myself an active dater – reflecting on my past always does a number on me (this time for the better, I think). So, day 3, let’s get it!

Day 3 Challenge: Clean Your Pantry

Today is all about clearing out the junk you don’t need, ahem, like those 7 types of guys none of us should be dating. These types include, but are not limited to, The Narcissist (controlling, self-esteem thief, makes you question your own sense of intuition and self), Playboys (badass with moves in the bedroom), Players (physical, smooth talker), and Peter Pan (the guy who never really grows up).

Ew. I have dated ALL of these guys. And then Denise tosses out a checklist: “Have you ever dated a guy like this?”…

  • He doesn’t have his ducks in a row financially
  • He’s passive-aggressive, jealous, and needy
  • He runs hot and cold in his feelings toward you
  • He’s highly critical of your behavior and leaves you walking on eggshells
  • He’s broken up with you more than once, so you never know where he stands

Let’s see… yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

I hate myself.

Then she says, “What about the new boyfriend who claims to love you…”

  • He communicates mostly by text message
  • He never wants to listen to your needs
  • He disappears for days at a time
  • He never talks about a future
  • He makes you feel bad about yourself – to the point you think you’re crazy

…YES, YES, YES, YES, YES.

Ugh.

Homework: Look at your past 3-4 relationships and share your biggest weakness.

Because of my ultimate fear of intimacy, I choose the men that are unavailable – whether it be because he has multiple girlfriends, too busy with work/school/friends, is an alcoholic – I always just use those as excuses as to why it’s not working. Aside from just not being there, these men have made me feel crazy, had me questioning my feelings, and sent me into tailspins. Looking back, it’s SO clear that every single guy I’ve dated (even the ones I just have crushes on) are unavailable in some way.

‘Siesta Key’: ‘Kelsey’s New Crew’.

Another installment of ‘Siesta Key’.

Let me just start this by saying I’m writing this after having just gotten home from WINNING “Saved By the Bell” trivia! After years and years of watching the same episodes on repeat, I finally have something to show for it: $1oo in giftcards, fools! Okay, I owe a lot of it to my teammate, but we kicked BUTT.

Anyway, onto “Siesta Key”! The teaser is making it look like Kelsey is going to join the gaggle of whores going after Alex. She’s out to lunch with Chloe and basically shit-talking the gift he got her for their anniversary. Ugh.

Alex Facetimes Madison and apologized for talking so rudely to her at the bonfire. Later, Chloe is out to lunch with her mom and they’re talking about how “great” summer is in Siesta Key? Umm really, cause you literally JUST had surgery for getting your face beat in. It cannot be that great.

Later, some of the group joins Alex on his boat and I can’t help but wonder if it’s the same boat he’s committed all these crimes on. Ew.

Amanda is on the boat, in a thong, and she’s basically all over every guy, because of course. In his defense though, Alex encourages her to squash her beef with Chloe and she says she will (maybe in the season finale).

Later, Alex is “teaching” Kelsey how to drive the boat and you can tell Garrett is jeaaaaalllous.

Next, Madison (I realized I’ve been spelling her name wrong this entire time, it’s Madisson) is prepping for her interview with Alex’s dad’s company. But basically right when she walks in, the guy tells her she really has nothing on her resume compared to the other candidates. Awesome.

Then, Chloe is visiting with a therapist and is telling her about the altercation she had with Amanda. The therapist tells her to consider the role of alcohol in the fight, and how she reacts to situations. Chloe also tells the therapist that her father is aggressive and has been in and out of jail – she has never met him.

Kelsey and Garrett are paddleboarding and she is talking about how much fun she had on the boat the day before – and he’s not really into it. I’ll admit, this scene was a little sad – I felt bad for Garrett. He was like, “Alex has a lot of money and I’m sure he thinks he can just do whatever he wants and date whoever.” Aww… Kelsey reassures him she’s not interested in Alex, but the entire situation is just weird.

Back at Alex’s house, he finds out he’s been waitlisted for law school. So… yeah.

At Juliette’s she’s recovering from having her wisdom teeth removed. She says she’s under the influence of pain killers, yet she seems exactly the same as how we’ve seen her all season. Hm.

Alex and Madisson meet up and talk about their recent failures, and Alex says he is dead-set on wanting to be a lawyer because he likes the water and “that shit costs money”, so he’s going to work his ass off, be a lawyer, retire, and then own a marina.

Umm, ok. I feel like law is a job you actually have to have a passion for and not just want money, but I could be wrong. Two, how is someone BREAKING THE LAW going to get into law school and be successful? Is this a thing?

Juliette finally gets to hang out with Alex again, and they are trying to work out a meeting between Amanda and Chloe.

Juliette agrees to meet up with the two of them to try and mediate. Chloe immediately starts crying and apologizes for her part – basically, her mouth. Amanda apologizes, too, and says she wants to move on from it, but she still has to see it to believe it.

Aaaaand then the fact that Brandon wants Amanda comes up, and shockingly, Chloe is cool with it. Wow. WAY TO GO LADIES!

Butttt then Pauly Paul shows up at the bar during Chloe’s shift and he tells her about Amanda hooking up with Alex. And thisssss goes over poorly.

Next week? It’s another party at Alex’s! Go figure!!!! I’ll see you then…

Detox Your Dating: Day 2.

Rolling right into Day 2!

Who is ready for Day 2 of this Dating Detox Challenge? ME! Well, sort of. Because here’s the thing: I’m not really dating.

I haven’t been on an actual date in two years, and even that is pretty lenient, because that date was a special situation. Needless to say, it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve been on a date. Why? Because honestly, I’m just not sure it’s the thing for me.

I used to think of myself as really good at dating. I’m fun, smart, I can carry on a conversation with most people, I like swapping stories, and in general, I like meeting new people. But as the years passed, I started seeing that the work I put into dating was never worth the result.

So, Day 2 is interesting… Here goes.

DAY 2: WHAT’S YOUR GUT TELLING YOU?

Why are you dating?

I’m not really dating. I’m currently on one dating app and have only talked to two guys in the last month. I’ve noticed that even when I “match” with a guy on the app, the messages are very short and uninteresting, so it just seems like a waste of my time. However, there IS something keeping me from giving up entirely on dating and that’s me thinking about the future.

In general, I like my day-to-day life, even though I spend most of my time by myself. I do have friends – although I am working to make more friends (I moved to a new city almost two years ago). I am close to my mom, but she lives states away. I have spent many holidays alone, and although I’ve tried to do all I can to make this okay, it hasn’t been a pleasant experience.

Ultimately, I want a partner in life. I want someone to share life with at the end of the day. A forever companion for the holidays, for the ups and downs of life.

So you want to share your life with someone so that you can do or feel what?

I do, at times, feel like something is missing in my life. And it’s not Jesus. I wonder what my life would be like as a 50-year old being single, or at 60? 70? What will I do? Will I regret not putting myself out there more? Will I regret not having children?

And once you have that companionship and feeling that someone else cares about you, what will that do for you? What will that change?

I never want to rely on someone else for my happiness, but I do want to support someone (spiritually/emotionally) and have that same support back.

Homework: Share your WHY statement on the Facebook page.

Here’s what I put on Facebook: Day #2 homework: I honestly haven’t been on a date in two years. There have been times in my life that I am actively “out there” – online and going out and getting set up by friends. Why? Ultimately I want someone to share my life with. As a single person, I do spend a majority of my life by myself. Yes, I have friends and family (although a majority of my family is estranged), but I want that partner, that support. Most of the time, I am happy in my life, but sometimes I wonder: is this IT? Am I always going to come home to my cat? Will I regret not having looked more? Not having children? These are the questions that keep me from shutting out dating entirely.

BBC: ‘Some Kind of Happiness’.

Hello, hello! I hope you guys have had a great week – it’s been pretty good on my end. I don’t know about you, but… I’m starting to feel ready for fall. Living in Texas, I’ve got a little while before any sort of chill hits the air, but it rained all night a few nights ago and in the morning it felt soooo nice out!

The feeling disappeared by lunch and we were back to nasty, humid, heat. Of course, I spend most of my days in the office, so it’s whatever – but I find myself longingly staring at my flannel shirts in the closet, and waiting for the day when it’s acceptable to make chili. Le sigh…

But, let’s talk about the activity I’m doing ALL YEAR: reading for Blanche’s Book Club! Great transition, I know. So, this week we’re talking about “Some Kind of Happiness” by Claire Legrand. Here’s the official description from Amazon.com:

Reality and fantasy collide in this “beautiful and reflective tale” (Booklist, starred review) for fans of Counting by 7s and Bridge to Terabithia, about a girl who must save a magical make-believe world in order to save herself.

Things Finley Hart doesn’t want to talk about:
-Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
-Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
-Never having met said grandparents.
-Her blue days—when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)

Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real—and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.

With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.

…I added this book to my reading list after seeing a post about it on Instagram (I get lots of book recommendations from Instagram). The post said it was a YA novel about a girl with a mental illness.

Now, if I hadn’t read that prior, I never really would have thought she had a mental illness. Of course, I don’t do lots of digging into subtext when I read (guilty). It is obvious, however, that she’s going through a pretty tough time and she’s looking for an escape – an escape she’s made up in her mind. Don’t kids do that?

Anyway, this was different than other YA novels I’ve read – it wasn’t lite and fluffy, and definitely wasn’t based around love. However, it was relatable and I enjoyed the fresh take. I’m recommending this book to YA lovers, especially in the fantasy genre.

The next book we’ll be discussing is “This is Just My Face” by Gabourey Sidibe. Feel free to read it with us and join the discussion, right here on the blog or on social media @OrangeJulius7!

This weekend, I’m really trying to be productive – finally going to drop off some bags of clothes to donate in hopes of making my closet look neater! I’m also going to do some cooking, take a dance class, of course do some reading, and I am going to a boat party Saturday night. Should be a fun time! Have a good one, y’all!

Detox Your Dating: Day 1.

Always up for a challenge!

A fellow singleton friend asked me if I wanted to try a free 7-day exercise called “Detox Your Dating Life” put on by Denise Poteat. I immediately agreed – although I do really, really enjoy being single, I’m always up for a challenge.

This 7-day exercise involves lots of self-reflection, and over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing these thoughts with you as I move throughout the program. Yes, I was bad and didn’t do the days right after another. It took me awhile, okay?!

Enjoy!

DAY 1: STEP ON THE SCALE

One of the first steps on this day was to state my limiting beliefs. According to popular belief, you are what you eat, and this saying works in dating, too. If you don’t believe you can go after a certain type of person, then you certainly won’t get him or her.

Who you date is a direct reflection of yourself, Denise said. I immediately cringed at this thought. I have dated some real bad ones. Ugh.

What is your single biggest frustration with dating?

Being vulnerable is my #1 block with dating. I have always dated guys that are really wrong for me (probably really wrong for anyone). I don’t do it on purpose, but I believe I do it because then, when things turn south, I can just blame it on them and not have to accept that it may be because of my baggage and flaws.

I also don’t like the work or the compromise that goes into dating. I have my own schedule that I like, I feel like my life without men is relaxed and comfortable. When I am dating, I feel stressed and on-edge constantly. I don’t want to give up my care-free life for a man.

What belief do you have about why you are single?

Ultimately, I don’t want to open myself up to true intimacy.

Top three reasons that describe your feelings about being single:

  • I don’t feel comfortable approaching men
  • I don’t have the energy to date; it’s too much hassle
  • I don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy

Homework: Review the following statements and share with the private Facebook group the thought you struggle with the most.

  •  Am I better off alone?
  • Do I really need a man to be happy?
  • What if I get into a relationship and lose my independence?

Here’s what I put into the Facebook group:

Am I better off alone? I have wondered this for nearly 10 years (I’m 32). I have mostly only experienced abusive relationships, for which I entered counseling and worked to get to the root of my issues. However, I’ve been single for four years now, and have spent that time relearning who I am, and ultimately what I want out of life. I haven’t ever gotten happiness from a man, and I’ve seen so many women fall into the same manipulative relationship traps I did years ago. I feel weak when I even start to like a man – I associate strength with being single. I feel like, as a single woman, I have this absolute freedom that I don’t have when I’m in a relationship. As embarrassing as this is to admit, there were even times I didn’t want a male waiter at a restaurant. I’m growing, and still learning, but I just can’t picture myself being vulnerable enough to love.

And Denise replied! Here’s what she said: Thank you Holly for being so honest…you really hit on something that I think many women in the group can relate to. You said “I associate strength with being single.” When you have been hurt early in your life…you can stop trusting men and ultimately…your own judgement. I want to help women learn to hear and trust their intuition…to be gentle, but strong with what they require in a relationship with a real man.

Day one = done! Be on the lookout for days two, three, and four next week 🙂 Want to do the challenge? You can sign up here – it’s completely free!

That time I tried Instacart.

App life.

A few weeks ago, my Jeep was in the shop and I was without a rental car (it’s the gift of Jeep that keeps on giving). So, I was taking Lyfts all over the city, but after ride #4, I was trying to figure out ways NOT to take a Lyft.

This included making efforts to bum rides (in exchange for pool use and homemade pizza), using the workout room at my apartment complex instead of going to the dance studio, and trying Instacart.

I posted on Facebook to see if anyone I knew tried it, and sure enough, I got someone who said they loved it, and offered me a coupon for $10 off! I actually have a coupon to share now, too, so use it, y’all.

So, Instacart basically allows you to have your groceries delivered, and you choose where you want the food from, and pick exactly what you want.

I put in my zipcode and was given a list of stores available to me, including Whole Foods, HEB, and Target, among others. Once I picked my store, then I started shopping.

I had my grocery list, so I simply searched for each item and put it into my cart. You get to see the price for the item (and approximate prices for produce) and brand options.

There is also a note that says your Instacart shopper will look for the freshest, best produce available, but you can also leave notes for the shopper, i.e. I buy green bananas so they will stay good until the end of the week.

You can also apply in-store coupons to your purchase, which I was pleasantly surprised by. The only advice I’ll give is that you can’t read the product labels with this program. So, don’t buy anything new! Unless you’re not like me – I read ALL the details on the labels.

Okay, so once you’ve gotten everything you want in your cart, you schedule your delivery. You can have your groceries delivered anywhere from 1-hour, 2-hours, or you can even schedule a day later in the week! This has got to be the coolest feature and it will keep me coming back. I like to get my groceries on Friday right after work; think if I just had them delivered to my apartment by 6pm instead of having to go to the store? YES!

Once I set my delivery time and paid, I got text updates to let me know when my shopper had started shopping. There were two items the store was out of, so she replaced the items and it asked for my approval. There’s also an option to chat with your shopper.

I got a message when she finished shopping, and also got an estimated time of arrival, which was right on the DOT. And because you can tip within the app or through the web browser, there’s not real interaction during “drop-off”. I opened the door and she handed me the bags – that’s it!

All of my grocery items were in fine condition, and I got everything I ordered. I will definitely be using this service again!

‘Siesta Key’: We Need to Talk About Chloe.

And it’s back for episode 2.

We left this shit show last week with Chloe FaceTiming Alex and showing him her face, which had clearly been beaten in.

As I guessed, Amanda kicked her ass for being a lil bitch when it comes to Brandon. And just like that, their friendship is over and I’m sure this cat fight is going to last alllll summer.

Chloe was all, “She hasn’t even, like, texted me to see if I’m OK!!” No shit, she HATES you!!!!

Obviously, this episode is going to focus on 2 things: Chloe’s face getting beat, and Madison v. Juliette. Basically, recap over.

Madison and Kelsey are at lunch and Kelsey says, “I want to see what Florida is all about.” Umm Florida is all about RETIREMENT.

Later, Alex says Madison didn’t know him when he “had all this” *rolls eyes*, which I assume is basically his way of stating that she’s the only decent person/non-gold digger ’round these parts.

Mind you, it’s about this time Juliette gets her hair wet again, and I’m beginning to think she’s confident in this look. No, girl. Just no.

After the break, there’s a fantastic side-by-side of Amanda in a thong at the bikini contest while Brandon watches, and Chloe being wheeled out of the hospital after surgery. Like really, that’s fucked up.

Later, Garrett says he’s trying to think of something to do for him and Kelsey’s 6-month anniversary… but in the last episode Kelsey said they just met on Tindr. What gives MTV? Get a new script editor!

Madison confronts Alex about his promiscuity last summer with Juliette – and he’s all, “Uh, it wasn’t Facebook official!”

Later, Chloe shows her face in public and props to this girl with her two black eyes, sipping on margaritas!

Instead of taking her somewhere nice like he planned, Garrett takes Kelsey to the beach for a picnic… and she’s pretty ungrateful honestly. Shocker. He gave her a jar of 365 hand-written notes… and she gave him a giant bag of pistachios. Not kidding.

He brings non-alcoholic cider and sliced cheese, and Kelsey constantly makes comments about how this would be waaaaayyy different if they were at a restaurant. For someone who moved to Florida to care for her mother, she a biiiiiitch. Yea?

Brandon is hosting the next party, and Chloe doesn’t want to see Amanda. Obviously. Girl, you’re better off sitting at home, alone, watching episodes of “Laguna Beach”. Trust me on this one.

It’s the night of Brandon’s party, and as soon as Juliette shows up, Madison starts guzzling whatever is in her red cup. Meanwhile, Chloe is tucking herself into bed and she totally has one of those touch-lamps from the early 90s.

At the bonfire party, Alex is his usual self -playing Juliette and Madison right in front of each other’s faces. After Alex calls Madison a “Bow down queen”, Kelsey tells her to move on.

Outside of filming, news has surfaced that Alex allegedly shot and killed a hammerhead shark while fishing. Killing marine life in Florida is illegal. Alex posted video of a fisherman lifting a shark partially out of the water, and shooting it, and then later deleted the video from his Instagram feed. The video is currently under investigation as a petition is circulating calling for those involved in last week’s “shark dragging” incident to be arrested.

Obviously, I’ll await the news to see if he’s guilty or not, but I know one thing is for sure: this kid is a privileged asshole.

So, yeah, we’ll see what happens next week…

Watching: ‘Baby Driver’.

How YOU doin’??

Last Tuesday, I went straight from work to the Drafthouse to see “Baby Driver”. I had a free ticket to use, along with a free popcorn, and everyone I knew said this movie was SO good. Honestly, I wasn’t sure it was my style, but I figured I couldn’t really lose with Ansel Elgort as the lead. Amiright?

I got a rootbeer float, my popcorn, and was ready to roll. Being a Tuesday at 5, there weren’t too many people in the theatre. Here’s how IMDb describes “Baby Driver”: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

Here’s a little more in-depth description from Google: Talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. After meeting the woman (Lily James) of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his shady lifestyle and make a clean break. Coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), Baby must face the music as a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.

The young getaway driver is known as “Baby” (Elgort), and he’s ready to get out of the business even though he’s pretty damn good at it (the opening scene will make you want to drive out of the theatre and over curbs and yell “Fuck the po-lice!”… or was that just me?).

But as things go with organized crime, you can’t necessarily put in your two weeks’ notice and be done with it. And thus we have a plot, along with a B plot of Baby falling for a waitress at the local diner – they connect over a love for music and a dream of escapism. I know the feeling. 

While the events of the movie are seriously, deadly at times, the tone is smart, and pretty funny – I laughed a lot, and then felt like a psycho when I was the only one laughing. Kevin Spacey – who plays the organizer of the heists – is just the best.

In general, “Baby Driver” is getting rave reviews – despite recently being sued over one of the songs used in the film. Here’s a snippet from the New York Times’ review:

“Baby Driver” isn’t avant-travestying; it’s a pop pastiche par excellence, crammed with cubistic action; glowering and golly-gee types (played by the seductive likes of Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza González and Lily James); and an encyclopedia of cinematic allusions, all basted in wall-to-wall tuneage. At times, the whole thing spins like a tribute album, a collection of covers of varying quality: diner yaks à la Quentin Tarantino, Godardian splashes of color. When it works, the allusions give you a contact high, like when a friend turns you on to a favorite movie. At other times, Mr. Wright’s pleasure veers into the self-satisfied, and all that love feels smothering, near-bullying, like bro-cinephilia in extremis. 

…Sooo, should you go see it? Yes! Yes all around – I loved this movie. The next flick on my radar? “Ingrid Goes West”. Looking forward to it!

BBC: ‘The Arrangement’.

Hello, hello! I’ve had a pretty good week over here – hope you all can say the same! I DID take three dance classes last night though, so I’m definitely sore today. However, I needed it!

But let’s jump right into the book review, because this one is a GOODIE. Here’s the official description from Amazon for “The Arrangement” by Sarah Dunn:

Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They’ve got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It’s the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school’s “hot lunch,” dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, “chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife’s version of chopping wood.”

When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they’ve made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There’s a part of her, though-the part that worries she’s become too comfortable being invisible-that’s intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she’s known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy-“real life,” or the “experiment?”

I saw this on a Pinterest list (ugh, guilty) and I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant to pick it up. I’m really sensitive to any entertainment/pop culture that doesn’t respect women, or even discusses ideas that would degrade a woman.

But, it says the woman makes the decision to have an open marriage! So, I read it and I’m so glad I did. This book really takes a look at modern relationships, and how they might really turn out.

This was a quick, easy read, and it had just the right bit of sex appeal, while still highlighting some good writing. I’m recommending this book to anyone who loves a good romance novel – with a twist, of course.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Some Kind of Happiness“, a YA novel by Claire Legrand.

I have got an entire weekend of NOTHING planned – although I do need to work on my queso skills. You might recall I entered myself in a queso contest and it’s officially two weeks away and I have done nothing to prepare. Yikes!

Other than that, it might just be me, in bed, watching made-for-Hallmark Channel movies. I am not ashamed! I hope you guys have some fun out there; I’ll be right back here on Monday!

2017 Goals: A progress report, III.

The end of the year isn’t too far away!

I know everyone is saying it: OMG it’s already August?! That’s right, 2017 is flying by! And another shocker, I feel like I’ve come nowhere on my goals. So, I’m revisiting them today to see if I can’t accomplish something or get back on-track, somehow.

GOAL: Start With Kindness. As you can tell by the name of this blog, I’ve spend a chunk of my life feeling sour about things that have happened to me, and choices I’ve made. But in general, I wouldn’t classify myself as bitter – I’m actually pretty kind and very giving.

In the last year, I’ve thought a lot about a kindness campaign started by my favorite radio show hosts, Johnjay & Rich. Their campaign, #LoveUp, encourages everyone to do something kind for someone else – whether big or small, and whether they need it or not. I’ve already started my own #LoveUp acts of kindness, and they’ll definitely be making appearances in 2017. 

PROGRESS: The last time I wrote this progress report, I’d purchased a snack for a fellow dancer after class when he was short on cash. Since then, I’ve purchased Starbucks for a few people in line behind me. It’s the simple things, y’all.

GOAL: Be a Practicing Writer. In my previous job, much of my day was spent writing. Whether or not it was stuff I actually wanted to write was not the issue, but I wrote a ton during those years. I blogged, I wrote freelance articles, I wrote books, poetry… and I really haven’t immersed myself in my craft since.

This year, I used birthday money to buy books on screenwriting, and I volunteered nearly 20 hours of my time toward the Austin Screenwriting Festival, listened to many podcasts on the craft, and have researched courses to take to learn on it – but haven’t actually DUG in there and started typing! So, I’ve got to do it – whether or not its work anyone sees, its time.

PROGRESS: I’ve totally sucked on this for ALL of 2017. The last time I looked at these goals, I was struggling to even write these blog posts. But, I’m happy to report that I am, at the very least, getting my grasp BACK on this blog, and am also working to carve out more time to W R I T E – ’cause that’s what writers do, right?

GOAL: Just Go For It. I spend a lot of time analyzing situations and decisions, trying to figure out if I should do it or how or when or why, and frankly, it’s exhausting!

When I moved to Austin in 2015, I had basically no money, was living in an extended-stay hotel, and I spent my evenings going on “adventures” – where I’d basically just drive to a place that sounded cool and check it out, so at least I’d learn my way around the city and pick places I wanted to visit later. It was simple, fun, and it really helped shaped the way I look at the city. I’m definitely aiming for more adventures in Austin, and elsewhere, in 2017.

PROGRESS: I’m still kicking this one’s ass. I’ve flown to two places already this year, and am about to book trip #3. I’m also trying new things, and doing new things, because JUST DO IT. This is the best advice I’ve given myself this year. Taking on this attitude also encouraged me to JUST get a blood test, JUST get my eyes dilated, just do things – all things because YOLO.

GOAL: Act, Believe, & Receive. I’ve spent the last several years really trying to focus on myself. After years of abuse from various places, I lost myself and I was letting other people create my course. It took therapy, time, and lots of self-reflection for me to even begin to build myself up and allow me to just be me, and I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.

In these last few weeks of 2016, I’ve felt it, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. So, in 2017, I’m going to act more confident, believe in myself, and receive the treatment that I deserve.

PROGRESS: On a recent trip to Indiana, I got smacked in the face with some weird truth from friends and family. Frankly, I haven’t felt the same since. But, it’s all good. It was time I learned a few lessons, and now? I move on with confidence; ask, believe, and receive!

GOAL: Be Intentional. As of yesterday, I started listening to “The Minimalists” podcast, and although I’m just four episodes in, I am hooked and craving for more learning on this lifestyle choice. The Minimalists are particularly two men who left corporate America (and six-figure salaries) to live simply in terms of having less things, but to also live with intention and do everything on purpose – down to drinking one perfect cup of well-made coffee instead of just guzzling another K-cup.

PROGRESS: I’m still packing up clothes and books after cleaning out my apartment, and I’m also taking a look at my GIANT stash of beauty products – using up the remaining ones before I buy new. But, I’m also intentional about small, daily things. I get up early and enjoy a slow morning before work; add a few slices of fresh lime to my soda water before I go sit on the porch. It’s small, but it’s those details that make things a little more special.

GOAL: Live High. Initially, I was thinking of a fantastically mellow Jason Mraz song titled as such, but then I thought of that moment at the Democratic Convention this year when Michelle Obama talked about her approach to bullies: “When they go low, we go high.” Essentially, I want to give myself permission to do things just for me. I do a pretty good job already of having no shame for watching hours of TV each week (hell, each night), but I want to do a better job of encorporating happy and healthy habits into my life, and not apologizing for them.

PROGRESS: I think I’m doing pretty good on this one. I am back to eating healthy (mostly vegan) foods to reward my body for all of the work it does. I do a face mask almost every night and still treat myself to pedicures, which feels especially great when I hang out at the pool! There’s no harm in rewarding yourself for all the work you do!

GOAL: Choose (& Plan for) Your Destiny! This started as kind of a joke between me, and well, myself, because someone told me earlier this year: “Everything that happens to you is because you let it. You choose your destiny.” In the way it was delivered to me, it seemed more of a way to avoid blame, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt it in all areas of my life.

Spent my Saturday working? Well that was obviously the destiny that I chose. No more being a victim; no more going along for the ride. We choose our destinies! 

PROGRESS: I live by this hardcore. This guides my daily course, helps me to avoid toxic friendships and loser dudes. I choose my destiny and I know it’s going to be great because that’s the kind of taste I have!

So, I still have a little work to do before the year is up, but I’m feeling pretty good about the way things are rolling. What about you? Or perhaps you’re already looking ahead to 2018 – I know I’m starting to think about possible goals for next year. I’d love to hear yours!

5 Days of Lyft rides.

Picking up Holly…

I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee. I’ve had it for almost three years, and I’ve quickly learned that I bought a bad one – it has recalls on recalls, extended warranties on damaged parts, and while it’s still under the manufacturer’s warranty, so many people (at least in Austin) have bad Jeeps that the wait to get into the dealership for service (in order to use the warranty) is often a 3+ month wait.

Last year, my “check engine” light was on for months before I was finally able to find a certified dealer that would help me. They fixed a $2,000+ problem for free, and gave me a free rental (all thanks to my warranty) for the couple of days I was without a vehicle.

I was relieved, and happy to be driving a car that actually worked. But it was only about four weeks before the “check engine” light came on again. Which brings me to last Thursday, when I was finally able to get an appointment at a dealership.

When I made my appointment, I made it clear I wanted a rental car, and the man said no problem. But of course, when I showed up, there were no rentals and the shuttle wouldn’t take me to my apartment. Great!

I am really working on not throwing myself a pity party and instead just simply dealing with the problem at hand. Ok, no car. I’ll use Lyft, I thought. Sure, it would be a little pricey, but it might be sort of adventurous and it’ll make for a good blog post!

Hmm… well, here’s what came of that:

Ride no. 1: From Jeep dealership in Georgetown, Texas to Austin, Texas

[9:30 am] My driver is Matt. He’s cheerful, and he tells me he works for Chevrolet, so he’s aware of my car issues. We talk about various recalls and car brands. We both agree Fords are beasts. Matt is from New York and he’s still got an accent. He’s a retired firefighter who started working after 9/11. He tells me they were still pulling bodies out of the rubble in 2006, and the smell of death is something he will never forget. He moved to Texas because his brother works for Dell. He loves it here and is considering taking a road trip from here to South Carolina, and then on to New York.

Ride no. 2: My apartment in North Austin to the Texas Capitol, Downtown

[10:30 am] I was originally assigned a driver named Arlen, but right before he gets to my street, Lyft switches my driver to Heidi. She calls me to figure out where the entrance to my complex is. She finds it quickly. It takes me three tries to get the door of her van shut, just because I can’t remember the last time I shut a van door. She has a mini essential oil diffuser between the front two bucket seats. She’s married, and has a son. She teaches children with autism. On the way, we pick up a young guy at the Greyhound station. He says he’s from Chicago, so I ask him if he took the Greyhound all that way. He says no, but that he’s here for a bachelor party and they got a party boat for Lake Travis.

Ride no. 3: My apartment to the dance studio

[4:00 pm] My driver is Jose and he does not fuck around when it comes to traffic. He drives fast and tells me he used to work for Formula One. He then started working for Jack in the Box, which has sent him all over the place. If he had to guess, he’s lived in 50 cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, and now Austin. He’s married. We see a giant wreck off Mopac and then almost get in one. He apologizes, and I’m really just glad to arrive safe.

Ride no. 4: Dance studio to apartment

[7:30 pm] Samantha picks me up in a van. I shut the door on the first try. She has a desk job where she works 9-7, and then does ride share afterward. Today is her first day using Lyft – she primarily drives for Uber. She says she doesn’t drive too late at night for safety reasons, which I agree. She still makes good money during the day. She absolutely HATES it when the time changes.

Ride no. 5: My apartment to Texas Capitol

[10:00 am] My driver is Jesspal. He can’t find the entrance to my apartment, so he calls me and I ask him if he would prefer I walk to another area. He doesn’t respond, but I can hear someone else in the car helping him figure out where to go. He finds me, and the other passenger proceeds to navigate until we get to his stop. Then Jesspal asks me which way to my stop. Uh, I dunno, dude. We correctly head south, but I get a text saying we are picking someone else up. So, we stop off at the Domain and Jesspal asks if this is where I’d like to be dropped off. “No,” I said. “We are picking up someone else.”

“What?” he asks. He looks at his phone. “It doesn’t say that on here. Null? Is her name Null?” Obviously her name isn’t Null and the app isn’t working. There is, however, a woman standing outside with a rolling suitcase. She holds her phone up to the window. “Jesspal???” she says.

“Are you Null?” he asks. “No,” she says, but I need a ride and it says you’re my driver.” She looks at me in the backseat. “I didn’t know I was sharing a ride.”

“Well did you pick the line?” he asks her. “I don’t know,” she says. “But where is she going?”

I wanted to tell her it was none of her goddamn business. But I quickly said, “The Capitol.”

“Well is that the opposite of where I’m going???” she asked. She was headed to the airport.

“NO,” I said.

“I’m not from here,” she said sharply. “So, I didn’t know.”

It is about this time that two things happened. 1. I wanted to delve into an Issa Rae-worthy rap and tell this bitch to get into 2017 and learn how the app works. It’s a fucking line for a ride share, now why the hell would it put you in a car with a person going the opposite direction as you?? GTF over yourself. And 2. I was D O N E with ride sharing. I wanted my car back; I wanted the convenience to be able to go directly where I needed to go without having to pay $17 and talking to mother fuckers.

We make it to the Capitol and I jump out at a red light with a simple: “Bye thanks.”

Ride no. 6: Texas Capitol to my apartment

[1:00 pm] Ivan, my driver, kindly swoops me up on the side of the road right outside the Capitol. I’d just gotten a call from the dealership saying that even though they’ve had my car for two days, they haven’t had a chance to look at it yet! I mean really, what’s the point of getting an appointment, but it’s fine, I’ll just sit in another fucking van. Ivan is hard-of-hearing, so he says nothing the entire ride, which is fine by me. I say nothing until my stop and give him a wave.

Ride no. 7: My apartment to The North Door, downtown

[8:00 pm] Eugino is jamming to some serious R&B, sexy-time music when he arrives. I’ve already had two glasses of wine, so it’s whatever. He says nothing and it’s clear we’re picking up another passenger. When we arrive at a nearby hotel, he asks where I want to be dropped off at.

Note to Lyft: Fix your goddamn app so the drivers know WTF is going on.

I tell him it’s not my stop. He drives across the street to an apartment complex, where the gate is open and there’s a young woman waiting. She gets in the car and Eugino looks at me like he’s so confused. He looks at the app and puts his hands in the air. He says nothing for the next 18 minutes and drops me off right in front of the bar.

Ride no. 8: The North Door to my apartment

[11:00 pm] Two vodkas later, Ryan picks me up. He’s a ginger with a big beard. He asks how my night is and I tell him I just won a dildo that’s a replica of a porn star’s penis. “Well, let me see it,” he says. I pull it out of my purse (still in the packaging) and give it to him. It’s heavy – solid silicon. “I feel like less of a man,” he says. “Did you know 60% of men are shorter than six inches?” he asks. I tell him no, and laugh. We pull off into a gravel parking lot to pick up another rider. This guy says he got a bunch of Lyft rides for $5 each, and Ryan says that we are his last two rides of the night and are both going near his apartment. We drop off the other guy and Ryan asks why my car is in the shop. I tell him it’s the thermometer. “Thermostat?” he asks. “I don’t know,” I say. He says if the dealership called it a thermometer, I should never take my car there again. I don’t have the energy to tell him that I just want my check engine light to turn off and I don’t care how it happens.

Ride no. 9: My office in north Austin to the Jeep dealership in Georgetown

[3:30 pm] Mohammad was my last Lyft driver (hopefully for awhile), and I think the stars aligned, because he was really nice. He’s lived in Austin for four months after living in Dubai for a few years. He has a degree in engineering, and was offered a green card after his service in Iraq on behalf of the United States. So, here he is. He appreciates that Austin is cooler in temperature than Dubai, however, he said Dubai was all about money and that the people in Austin are much nicer.

Mohammad is married and has two children. His wife takes care of their children, and according to Mohammad, she takes care of EVERYTHING (including him). He says sometimes she is on him to do chores, “like a teacher on my head” while he tries to joke with her. “We cannot be so serious all the time,” he says. Good life advice.

He works Tuesday-Saturday at a hotel downtown. He takes care of the pool three days a week, making sure there’s the right mixture of chlorine and salt. The other two days a week, he works security at the pool, which overlooks the skyline and has a huge bar. When I asked him if he liked his job he said, “Of course!”

When we arrive, he asks if I will give him a review. He needs one year of ride sharing experience to drive for Uber and Ride Austin. I tell him, yes, I will, and I do. I gave him five stars and a $5 tip.

Is foreplay feminist?

Sexual women shouldn’t be ashamed.

A few years ago, I had a date with this guy I really liked. We cooked dinner at his house, and before I knew it, we were upstairs, in his bed, making out. I quickly told him I wasn’t ready to sleep with him since we weren’t monogamous and hadn’t even been talking that long.

He was okay with that, but I noticed he also never tried anything else but kissing. Never even touched me anywhere below the waist. I chalked it up to him being respectful and that was the end of it.

We had a few “incidents” over the years that put us apart, but, as life would have it, our paths crossed again, and there I was, back in that same damn bed. Only this time, I wanted to sleep with him. He was a nice guy, we had a lot in common, and I kind of didn’t care if it went anywhere afterward or not.

But he proceeded to take things from making out to sex. As in making out to going for it, without ANYTHING else in between. No touching, no feeling, no oral, no whispering in my ear, not even kissing on the neck.

Umm… what? No.

“I’m going to need something else,” I told him.

“What?” he asked.

“You know, touch me…” I said.

“Oh,” he said. “Well, I haven’t done THAT since college.”

And he let out a little chuckle.

No wonder you’re single, I thought.

I can’t speak for every woman, and I won’t, but I’ll say that yes, I need more than just thrusting. I need to be touched, I like oral sex, and you know what? I’m not ashamed of it. I’m a sexual person (imagine that, a woman, being sexual)!

I give and take, and I think sex should be equal work and pleasure for all parties involved. I want to be with a man who wants me to get off.

There, I said it.

This incident OFFENDED me, a lot. Possibly more than I have ever been offended.

In a single second, this guy made me feel embarrassed, ashamed, and ugly. I felt like he didn’t want to touch me or show me a good time. And you know what? I have unfortunately been with some guys who were jerks, but they STILL wouldn’t dare sleep with me and not ensure I had a good time.

This small act let me know who this guy is: a selfish one, who has no interest in pleasing women, and has no interest in trying to the point he insulted me while I was naked, in his bed.

The other thing I found weird, was he said he hadn’t done that since college. That was 10 years ago for us. So, all the women he’s been with between then and now just get the three thrusts and done? Also, why decide “Oh, once I graduate college, I am SO done with oral sex and foreplay”? Newsflash: My basic sexual needs didn’t change when I got a degree.

I clamped my legs shut, and rolled over to go to sleep. In the morning, I was still pissed.

“Good morning!” he said.

I said nothing.

He continued talking to me and I continued ignoring him.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“No, I actually think you’re an asshole,” I said.

“What? Why?” he asked.

“Umm probably because you just go around putting your dick in people without doing anything else and you just take what’s good for you,” I said.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “That was selfish of me.”

He went outside, cut a flower, and brought it inside to me.

“That’s nice but it’s not an orgasm,” I said.

I don’t know if it was lack of confidence, lack of caring, pure machoism at its finest, or what, but I cannot.

So, I’d love to know thoughts on this – especially from the guys! I don’t want to get into numbers here, but I’ve been in enough situations to know this isn’t really normal. But when I talked to some of my girlfriends about it, they said yes, they’ve been with lots of guys who don’t care if they (the ladies) enjoy themselves or not.

This is not ok! I don’t care if its feminist or not, I refuse to be with someone who isn’t interested in what I want, and really what I need.

No really, who’s my soulmate?

“Did I pass you on the sidewalk?”

Hola, readers! Ugh, it has been a weird/crazy week over here, so I apologize for not posting yesterday. In time, I’ll explain it all, of course.

But, something has been on my mind. You may have noticed that when I posted about what happened with my last crush/male-interest, etc., a fellow blogger posted her advice. Here it is, in case you didn’t see it:

Are you willing to give this a try? Right before you go to bed each night, think of the perfect person you would like to meet in detail, down to what you are both wearing, what you are doing, etc- like you are watching yourself in a movie.

More than once, the entire experience has come true in almost the same detail that I had imagined; made the hair on my arms stand up straight and reminds me every day to keep looking forward.

This advice comes from Linda over at A Moxie Girl, and she’s actually someone I’ve worked with in the blogging world. She has some pretty amazing stories about the truth in the power of visualization, so I definitely want to take her advice.

But one thing her comment made me realize, is that I sort of have no idea who I’m hoping to meet. Who is going to fulfill my needs? My desires?

When I was in high school, I made a list of all the things I (thought I) was looking for in a guy. I don’t have the list now, but I remember some things were superficial, i.e. “looks good in a baseball hat”, and some things were personality-based, such as “keeps up with the news”.

It was a pretty long list, and I really have no idea why I made it. I also thought I was only going to sleep with one person EVER, and be married by the time I was 25, so we can just chalk it all up to high-school ignorant-bliss brain.

Later, an English teacher mentioned during a lesson that you can list out everything you want in life, or your career, or in a partner, and you’ll probably end up with the exact opposite. I wondered if what she said was true.

There are times I’ve dated men that fit my original, high school list (I really am a sucker for a guy in a hat), but of course I never wrote down things like “cheats on me”, “is abusive”, or “won’t meet my parents”, and I’ve landed myself in all of those situations.

So, what the heck is it that I want? I know that I need someone who is honest, comfortable (not complacent) in their skin, kind, and a little selfless. I want someone who takes care of themselves, who’s interested in a healthy lifestyle, but won’t judge me when I eat French fries. I want someone who values what they have; someone who is hardworking, but knows how to kickback, too. I hate admitting this, but I want someone who appreciates nice things, whether its a rare scotch or a fine dining experience.

Looks? I am not really sure. Yes, I see men I find attractive all the time – but they don’t all look the same. And I suppose THIS is what I need to work on when it comes to my “nightly visualizations”. Don’t worry, I’ll think on it and get back to you.

What about you guys? Ever visualized HARD and had it actually happen? I’d love to hear about it!