‘The Year of Yes’ by Shonda Rimes

Now, if you watch any form of TV – whether it’s Hulu, Netflix, and/or cable – you’ve probs heard of Shonda Rimes. She’s the brains and writer behind fan favourite shows Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and, my personal favourite, How to Get Away with Murder. If you haven’t, you’re probably living under a rock. Because her shows are rich in story telling, diverse backgrounds, and the best/worst cliff hangers you’ve ever witnessed on a show. Holy wow, those cliff hangers. If you watch How to Get Away with Murder, you know cliff hangers. That mid season finale? Oh my god.

Anyway, back to the point. I recently picked up her book The Year of Yes because it came highly recommended by a friend of mine and i love Shonda. I want to be friends with her and know how on Earth she could put my heart through the ringer every week without thinking twice. Whatever, anyway.

This book is lovely. It’s a little slow to start but it picks up. And it’s great insight. It follows her journey into the year of yes, inspired by something her sister said during Thanksgiving in 2013 or 2014. And her goal was to say yes to basically everything for an entire year. SHe couldn’t say no. Now, Im sure this excluded anything that was illegal, vastly immoral, or other caveats I’m not thinking of right now because I ordered Chinese delivery for the first time in forever.

The Year of Yes is filled with great side notes about your favourite shows as well as her journey of saying yes to everything and then some. You learn how she mustered up the courage to speak at the Human Rights Campaign awards show, take on Jimmy Kimmel, and change her own narrative into something motivatingly fantastic. You learn about her insecurities as well as her triumphs and how saying yes for a year turned into a lifelong habit.

This book, at times, is cheesy but you feel as though Rimes is encouraging you along the way, when you haven’t the words to do so yourself. It’s an easy read, perfect if you just finished an intense book or you need something that doesn’t take much brain cells to follow along. It’s funny, darling, and everything I needed right now.

It’s inspired me to do my own year of yes and take on my fears head on. It’s a self help book that doesn’t feel like one at all. ANd if you like Shonda’s shows, just wait until you read her book. It’s wonderful. Pick it up wherever books are sold and you’ll be in for a ride you weren’t expecting.

Favourite quote: No one is meaner than a pack of human beings faced with someone who is different.

Joshua Radin’s album ‘The Fall’

First of all, let me start this by saying I hardly ever buy music anymore unless I have a gift card. I mean, why would I when there’s Spotify and Pandora and I Heart Radio? There’s so many options! 

Anyway, my boyfriend’s aunt recently gave me an iTunes gift card for Christmas and I’m finally getting around to using it. I was going through the iTunes Store trying to figure out what music to get while also using the Shazam app on my phone to remember the songs I loved on the radio. And I realized that one of my favourite artists, Joshua Radin, just came out with a new album! I’m obsessed with his last album, Wax Wings, which I picked up while he was touring with Matt Nathanson a couple years ago. 

Anyway, I listened to some of the songs before purchasing and after hearing the song ‘Song For You’, I knew I needed it, immediately. He’s not currently signed to any record label so he’s totally independent.which in my opinion, is commendable. After growing up in different parts of CA, the entertainment industry is beyond tough and being successful without any standard representation is just impressive.  And I’m in love with his voice. Is that weird? Whatever. 

I think my favourite songs on the album have to  either be  ‘Song For You’ or ‘Diamonds’. They’re so adorable and lovey and wonderful. It makes me remember why falling in love is so special. But the entire album is beautifully acoustic and you need it right away. Download it legally and listen to it on repeat forever. You won’t regret it.

Plus, when he goes on tour again, buy tickets. He’s absolutely hilarious and so incredibly genuine with his stories, music, and personality in general. 

favourite lyrics: made yourself into one of those girls/who makes her own diamonds/bright diamonds and pearls/now you’re shining as you whirl 

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

If you’re on Instagram, or any form of social media for that matter, I’m beyond positive you’ve seen Rupi Kaur’s poetry shared at least once. Her work is brilliant, thought provoking, and heart wrenching. It will be a sucker punch to the gut you’ll regrettably enjoy. And you’ll hand  your heart over to her articulate words to be gutted, to be reborn again.

Her first book of poetry, Milk and Honey, is separated into 4 sections. The sections are about breaking, healing, loving, and hurting. I read this in the day and am fully planning on reading again when I’m hurting, when I’m healing, and when I’m loving. And full disclosure, I’ve had a rough past couple days so I turned to her words to bring me back to the light. 

Kaur’s words are brilliant. Read this in the best days of your life and in the worst. She’ll remind you that you’re worth it all the same. Poetry can and will save lives. Poetry reminds us that we’re worth it, that there’s beauty in every crevice — no matter how dark it is before you get out.

Favourite line: you must enter a relationship/with yourself/before anyone else 

 

 

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

First of all, ever since November, I’ve been trying to bone up on stories, narratives, and the like of people who look different than I do, who have experienced differently, and who have life events that I will never be able to relate to, no matter how hard I try. This is for the simple reason that we look different and we grew up differently. So, me being the inquisitive person that I am, I started reading and I started asking questions.

And I love books that make me think as well as make me laugh. Which is how i stumbled onto the memoir by Trevor Noah that’s entitled Born a Crime. It follows Trevor’s life while growing up in South Africa’s apartheid. For those who aren’t familiar with this judicial law, apartheid is vile. It quite literally and figuratively makes being African American a crime. The definition is “a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race” (thanks google). YOu would think that to be strange, given where South Africa is located, but that being said, South Africa was colonized in the early 1900’s by Great Britain (i believe), and once they became independent, the minority who wasn’t from there and didn’t look like the average countryman were appointed to lead. And apartheid was finally repealed in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

Anyway, Born a Crime dives into several different stories and provides several examples of what the laws specifically stated, what it was really like being born to a Swiss father and to a Black mother, and what being mixed in a country rooted in segregation was really like. It’s a great insight into something that was very real and didn’t end all that long ago. The book and its stories are all told in classic Trevor Noah fashion. You can really hear his humour come through and he’s an incredibly gifted storyteller. It’s no reason why he’s so popular on The Daily Show. 

Pick up this book. It’s informative, a serious heart string puller, and hard to put down at times. Noah intertwines stories with facts and legal documents in a way not found in many other books. At least from what I’ve found. Reading this book put some things in perspective and made me understand at least on a basic level.

Read this book. You’ll learn a lot. You’ll laugh a lot. And you won’t see the end coming in the slightest.

Favoruite quote: you don’t own the thing that you love. 

The Alcove & State Street Coffee

So I found this after my original spot was way too crowded and people apparently had never parked in a parking lot there this morning. I went on Yelp, found one that was close by, and found this one. At first, I thought it was labeled wrong since it looked like some fancy bar you take hipsters to or your first date you want to impress. But I saw people coming out with to go coffees so I decided to take a chance and see if it was actually labeled correctly on Yelp.

And to my surprise, it’s actually both! it’s a fancy wine/beer bar AND a coffee shop. I never understood how people could work in bars efficiently until I came here. The coffee portion is off to the side once you walk in and they’s limited seating. But the chairs are comfy, the wifi is good, and their coffee is strong. What more could you want?

I mean, if your project goes to shit and you feel like it’s respectable to pull a Hemingway, you’re welcome to. I can only comment on their lattes, WHICH ARE SO GOOD. I need to switch up my milk though as per my nutritionist but still. So good. Can’t wait to come back here for date night and see how they do later on in the evenings.

static1.squarespace.jpg

But I think my favourite part of this place is that the baristas are kind, funny, and knowledgeable. I hate going to a place where the people making your drinks are just mean or seem really standoffish. I get it, some days people have off days. But could you at least pretend like you know I’m not trying to make my drink order difficult?

This also seems like this would be the place to get there early as I can imagine with the adult beverages on tap, it could get a little distracting. But their clientele at 10AM on a Saturday morning seem decent enough.

Plus, I’m getting work done! Which is always a great sign of a coffee shop in my opinion. Check it out if you’re ever in Uptown Dallas!

4.5/5 

Pique Tea Crystals

Ok first of all, who can believe it’s 2017 already? Where did time go? And how can we make it stop? I’ve got so many feelings, goals, and the like going on right now. But that just might be the PMS talking, who knows.

Anyway, first blog post of the new year, yay!  Recently, Pique Tea Crystals sent me some samples of their tea. And I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. I received Sencha Green Tea, Jasmine Tea, and their Earl Gray — the latter of which came highly recommended by a friend of a friend.

This morning, I tried the Sencha Green Tea as part of my morning mug that I take to work. And though the taste was there, I think i might have used too much water. They recommended 8oz and my mug is about 12, I believe. But the little satchels the crystals come in are adorable. You simply tear open the satchels, pour the crystals into your mug of choice, and then fill the mug with hot water. Or cold, if you want it iced or something.

The  great thing about Pique is that all their crystals are organic, easy to use, and can be found in a multitude of locations, including Amazon. Plus, they have no added sugars and have a ton of antioxidants right now. It’s instant tea without the grittyness or the weird after taste. And their packaging is absolutely adorable & ingenious. But the greatest part? It’s incredibly affordable.

The next one I think I’m going to try is the Earl Gray. After all, it is my favourite kind of tea. Kindof a giveaway but whatever. I love trying new kinds of tea and exploring differnt brands as well. After trying the other flavours, I definitely think I’ll be purchasing some more from them

If you want to check their stuff out, click here to browse their catalog as well as learn more about all the great things they have to offer.

all opinions are my own 

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware….and seriously 2016 part 2

So shortly after Christmas Day, after we already lost George Michael, we lost both Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and her mother, Debbie Reynolds (Dancing in The Rain). I think that at this point, this year has been horrendous in terms of beloved celebrities with profound impacts on thousands of lives. And to put it simply, 2016, you’re drunk. Go home. We don’t have time for you anymore. And let’s protect our other beloved icons like Betty White, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, etc. For the love of God, our artistic national treasures need to stick around for the remaining 3 days! Am I right or am I right? RIP and let’s pour one out later tonight for them

Anyway, in other news, I just finished The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. And let me tell you, it’s a thriller. I could not put it down and had to read it with the lights on while listening to happy music. It’s intense.

It follows the protagonist, Lo Blacklock, after a horrible home invasion & assault, as she boards a cruise on its maiden voyage in the Nordic region of Europe. First or second night aboard and after a late night, she swears up and down she sees a woman being pushed overboard and there’s blood smeared on the divider between their shared cabin balconies. But the kicker, come to find out, is that nobody was actually staying in that cabin. WTF?

Throughout the novel, it successfully blends future & present, where there are more accidents, too coincidental occurances, and more death aboard. It’s not a brain teaser once you get closer to the end the book of who killed whom, why the Lords should not be allowed access to Viagra, etc. And it’s not necessarily the scariest book I’ve ever read but it is the one that’s kept me up the most.

The kicker for me is that since it is on a cruise ship and somebody does get pushed overboard, that very easily could happen in real life. And I’m fairly certain it has. Ruth Ware does a great job of ending things on a happy note but at the same time, making The Woman in Cabin 10 utterly gut wrenching, mind boggling, and realistically thrilling at the same time. Which is fairly hard to do, if we’re being honest with ourselves here.

Pick this book up and read it with the lights on & your doors locked. It’ll keep you up in the most thrilling way

4/5