Favourite Coffee Shops to Date

Over the years, people have always asked what coffee shops I recommend and though i have a few favourites in every city I’ve lived in, these are always the first places I highly recommend first and foremost.

1. Café Vita in Silverlake, Los Angeles, CA

I love this spot. It’s from Seattle originally so you know the coffee’s good but what really drew me to this spot in silver lake was not only the fact that it was close to both my apartments or that i was on a first name basis with the entire staff, but because it was reliably consistent. They made a damn good latte. And the staff was always friendly. Plus, there was almost always an open table to work at AND it was pet friendly too. Score!

2. The Roasterie in Kansas City, MO

I’ve written about this spot before here but it deserves another mention. The staff is great, the beans are brewed well, and they use fair trade companies as sources. If you’re in the brookside neighbourhood, highly recommend!

3. Metronome Coffee in Tacoma, WA

I went to college in Tacoma at The University of Puget Sound where I was surrounded by wannabe hippies, hipsters, and PNW flannel at its finest. Metronome opened the summer before my senior year and it’s super artsy fartsy but it’s a great place to study, collaborate, and even read.

4. Bow Truss Coffee in Chicago, IL

I am utterly obsessed with this small chain of coffee shops in Chicago. They have strong coffee, great interior decor, and space to sprawl out and do some work. It’s a really fun spot, I frequented the one in Lakeview almost weekly when I spent some time in Chicago. And I couldn’t stop. Until I moved.

And there you have it! The list is always growing and I’m always looking for more recommendations. Especially here in the Dallas area. If you’re a local DFW resident, send them my way! The more local, the btter

The Girl with The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

I’ve been on a kick of buying my favourite female celebrity books lately. And recently, in a purchase from Amazon, I picked up the new book by Amy Schumer. Say what you will about Amy Schumer but she’s flipping hilarious. She says what she thinks with a smart alecness not found in many comedians these days. She’s somebody to look up to both in style, humour, and personality. Plus she’s ridiculously successful and most of her social media feeds are pretty damn relatable. Maybe celebrities really are just like us…..

Whatever. Anyway. This book is a collection of essays from her life, a trend that’s gaining in popularity amongst the rich and famous it seems like, but the great thing is that it wasn’t what I expected. In the best way. I was triggered in some chapters but she presented the material in such a way that I knew what was coming and was able to take a breather when I needed one. And I could not stop laughing in some parts. This book has a wide array of emotions, topics, and depth to it that was a fresh sigh of relief. It wasn’t like other memoirs I’ve read before, except for maybe Amy Poehler’s Yes Please (another fantastic read), and it was lovely.

What I was really surprised by was her sincere dedication to feminism, ending gun violence, and more importantly, making sure her readers and listeners knew that they were more than just what the media was trying to spoon feed us as important. She’s authentically herself in the good, the bad, and the viciously ugly. And she’s a great reminder that it may not get easier but it does get easier.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in a celebrity who isn’t a size 2, is hilarious, and brings a ton to the table. Schumer is a necessary force in today’s tabloid obsession with the vain, vapid, and uber skinny. And she’s a breath of fresh air in the celebrity game.

SO moral of the story? PICK UP THIS BOOK. It’s hilarious, has a few f bombs, reminds us why it’s so important to be knowledgeable, and why sometimes, it’s alright to laugh at the bad parts in life because sometimes, that’s all we can do. But we mustn’t ever give up. Not then, not now, not ever.

Favourite Quote: I know my worth. I embrace my power. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story. I will. I’ll speak and share and fuck and love and I will never apologize for it. I am amazing for you, not because of you. I am not who I sleep with. I am not my weight. I am not my mother. I am myself. And I am all of you. 

2nd favourite quote: Isn’t it sad that wehn a girl says she was sexually assaulted, our first instinct is to think she’s probably lying? Statistics and facts tell us the exact opposite. We demand ‘perfect victims’ who better not have been drinking or hanging out at a party in a short skirt or revealing dress or have ever been known to enjoy sex. 

6/5

‘Let It Go’ by James Bay

This song is pure magic. The singer is almost angelic and I just might have spent $1.29 on it because i needed it. Clearly. I first heard it on the radio and absolutely wept. In a good, uncertain way. But in a good way all the same. It’s a magical song that’s pure bliss with an acoustic guitar.

Plus, the music video is just dark enough that you don’t mind listening to it or watching it in a coffee shop. Because it just feels perfect. Anyway, maybe I’m PMSing a little bit but that’s a sidenote. It’s a perfect song for a rainy day at home, covered in blankets and snuggling up to a loved one. Or the great song that just feels right at your favourite coffee shop. It’s catharsis in a song and you can’t help but sing along, even if you’re terribly off key like I am.

Throughout the song, you can’t help but feel like it’s about a past relatiohsip that’s just run its course. Nobody to blame but love fizzling out. ANd you can tell there’s still quite a bit of love and respect between and for both parties involved. It’s a love song that isn’t one at all. At least not in a cliche sense.

And it got me thinking about what my mother always told me. That matters of the heart are always complicated. It wants what it shouldn’t have and disregard what is right for it. It hardly ever feels like what is depicted in the movies and it hardly ever is perfect. But it can be right for who’s involved. As you can probably tell, my mom taught me a lot about love and how absurdly confusing it can be at times. But once you’ve found it, you can’t stop fighting for it.

It also makes me think about past relationships that were never good for me but I thought I was in love so I stayed longer than I should have. And this song puts perfectly into words how it felt when I finally made the decision to just walk away. It was painful and it was hard but it was worth it in the end.

I feel like that’s what this song is trying to convey. Love is never perfect, it’s often complicated and confusing. But if you fight for it and you walk away when you need or have to, it can be perfect for you.

Favourite lyric: Everything’s that’s broke/Leave it to the breeze/Why don’t you be you/And I’ll be me

Harry Potter & The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

So I’m finally back from my trip to the Golden State and am getting back into the swing of things. It was so lovely being back in the state that means so much to me but it is even nicer being home in my own bed. And I just finished the latest Harry Potter. It’s a doozy.

But, oh, Harry Potter, how I love thee so. I grew up reading these books or having my dad read to my brother and I before bed. We would read a chapter or two a night, unless we demanded more, as a bonding experience and we looked forward to it every night. Often, every time a new book was released, my mom would pre-order two copies, one for us and one for my dad, and we would all attend the midnight premiere at our local Barnes & Nobles. So you can only imagine my excitement when I heard they were releasing an eighth book.

It was a quick read as it’s in play form, meaning you actually get to envision the story as if you’re in the theatre audience in London and watching it unfold right before your very eyes. It’s not my favourite Harry Potter but it is really well written. It takes place when Albus, Harry’s youngest son, goes off to Hogwarts and gets into trouble, as any Potter child naturally would. It follows a series of events that are intense to say the least and we gain a lot of insight into the one known as Voldemort, The One Who Musn’t Be Named, or The Dark Lord. Or whatever you want to call the master of evil in the wizarding world.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child isn’t the book we’ve been waiting for here in the Muggle realm but it is the story we’ve been wanting to know. It gives us insight into how our most beloved characters have matured throughout the years and past their time in Hogwarts. Its a wonderful read and it goes by fast.

4/5

‘Home’ by Blue October

So I’m writing this on a jet plane that’ll land in Vegas and then we’ll join my boyfriend’s parents on a 3 hour drive to Los Angeles. And I could not be more excited to going home to California, even if it’s just for a few days.

We’ll be celebrating his nephew’s first birthday, surrounded by family and friends. It’ll be a grand time. And I’m sitting here 3000 feet in the air in a steel box with wings, listening to one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands. It almost makes me want to cry, in a good way, that I’ll be in my home state. Where I went through so many changes, experienced so many things, and where I grew.

This isn’t to say I don’t love Dallas. It just hasn’t become home yet. Because I haven’t fully made it one yet. Listening to ‘Home’ by Blue October reminds me that home for so many people constitutes a slew of emotions. For me, it’s always the one place that no matter how long it’s been, it still feels comfortable. Like your favourite broken in pair of jeans. And that though you have changed, that place hasn’t. It’s a place you can keep coming back to, still welcoming you with open arms.

And the music video for ‘Home’ is heartwrenchingly beautiful. Watch it here on Youtube. The lead singer has clearly been through some tough times and home was the one place where things always made sense. Check it out, listen to the song, and you’ll fall a little bit more in love.

Favourite lyric: It’s the little things that make a home.

What does home mean for you?

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

I’m sure you’ve heard of this novel, especially if you follow Reese Witherspoon on any form of social media. It follows the tale of a man and a boy who are the only survivors of a plane crash on its way to New York City from Martha’s Vineyard. Everyone, including the boy’s family, died on the plane. And I thought it was going to be like most other mysteries I’ve read where I’m able to guess the ending about half way through. But with Before The Fall, I was kept guessing the whole way through.

It’s a damn good read that’ll keep you up. Noah Hawley does a wonderful job of intertwining the drama of the deceased with the difficulties of surviving something so inexplicably complicated like a plane crash. And after what happened with the Malaysian plane as well as a few other news worthy crashes around the world, this book seems to dive into why it happens. ANd why we’re so fascinated with lone survivors.

The still living protagonists are a middle age painter and a young boy who deal with the aftermath in their own way. One throws himself into work and the other stops talking all together. It’s a powerful read and will make you question a lot of things about the rich and powerful. Especially the power of money and its hold over people.

The stories of the deceased and the living blend wonderfully together. And throughout the novel, you learn that one story is not complete without the other revolving parts. Before the Fall truly demonstrates how connected we are as people and how focused we are on the taboo when we should be focused on the good.

This book will keep you guessing. I can promise you that. And it’s a powerful, intricate read. Borrow this from the library or pick it up from a local, independent book store. It’s absolutely fascinating.

Favourite Quote: Was it possible? Could anyone be Superman if they just put their mind to it? If they were willing to do what it took? Whatever it took? 

The New Britney Spears Album….and Why I Love Her

I love Britney Spears. I’ve loved her music when I was a kid, an awkward teenager, and when I was having mental breakdowns. Honestly, there are no words to justify how much I look up to Godney. Now, before you ask, yes I do know about her meltdown in 2007/2008. And i respect the hell out of her for it.

Mental health is a HUGE debacle in this country and coupled with the fact that she was going through a terrible divorce, she’s ridiculously famous, and trying to come to terms with the fact that she had an undiagnosed illness, she’s a BAMF in my book for dealing with her illness so publicly and explosively. But more importantly? She came back. 

She took a few years off, got her shit together, and came back like nobody i’ve ever seen before. She got ridiculed at the VMAs at the beginning because she gained weight and had already lost some from previous years. Now, she has a show in Vegas, custody of her kids again, and a seemingly healthy life – according to social media at least. She’s fucking thriving. And I love it.

So naturally, when she released her new album ‘Glory’, I had to buy it. True, I waited a couple days because I was too lazy to update the payment info on iTunes but whatever. Even the first song ‘Invitation’ is a gem. Her voice may be slightly nasealy but i can look past that. Britney has always made me want to dance, sing, and believe in larger than life things again. My favourite song just might be either ‘Clumsy’ or ‘Make Me’. They’re just sultry enough to turn you on yet innocent enough to grace the Top 40 charts. Good combination in today’s over saturated entertainment industry

But really, it’s been years since Britney Spears has released an album. SHe’s been shuttling back between Vegas & LA, doing a residency in the former and raising her kids in the latter. She’s a real comeback story if i’ve seen one. And this album lives up to its name. Its absolutely glorious.

Though not the deepest or the most personal of albums, it’s still a decent comeback album that’ll make you want to dance

Favourite lyric: Nobody should have to be alone