The World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein

Okay, first off, I know I don’t look like a Star Wars fan but as I’m sure many can attest, Star Wars is my jam. It’s like Rocky but the nerdy version and less fighting meat racks & running up stairs. Star Wars reminds me of the days and weekends spent with my brother and dad just watching the original trilogy and trying to figure out who shot first. Which was Han — am I right or am I right?

Anyway, I picked this book up on a win because a blog I follow recommended it and I needed a geeky yet fun book to read. I honestly thought that this was a fun read about some nuances to Star Wars trivia that I didn’t know before. But what I didn’t realize is that I’d finish this in 48 hours (because, ya know, sleep and work. adulting stuff) and learn more than I thought I would about religion, philosophy, and political rebellion in terms of pop culture and potentially the world’s largest movie phenomenon.

I almost want to read this book again right now just to absorb all the knowledge dropped on me in 180 pages — it’s a short read with a ton of references to studies, papers, and more that were actually done on the relevance of Star Wars in today’s society and culture. It makes sense if you think about it and if you’ve seen every installment, including the less than stellar trilogy in the early 2000’s.

Anyway, the author, Cass R. Sunstein, is one of the United States’ most cited law professors both stateside and internationally. He’s married to the US ambassador to the UN and has been published more times than I can count on any limb. His main argument is that while Star Wars is a timeless installment in our media files, it also draws a lot of parallels to modern and current affairs.

Take for instance, the Empire v. the Resistance. throughout Amerian history, when has there not been some sort of counter culture or outright rebellion against the government? For Christ sake, we were founded on one when our Four Fathers led a revolution against England on religious freedom and taxation with representation. Sunstein (what a fun last name by the way) dives into how each factor of Star Wars is basically a metaphor for strife, overcoming hardship, and making something out of nothing. He also highlights the potential reasons why a movie like Star Wars was such a hit and became such a classic today. It’s mostly, as with anything, timing and a bit of luck. Plus, in the 70’s, there was Nixon, and from what I’ve heard from first hand accounts and history books — the people needed any form of good they could get.

Additionally, I was shocked to find out that not only George Lucas but also Fox Films, who financed the original trilogy, didn’t even think Star Wars was going to be a success and that it’s a loose remake of the old Flash Gordon series. Star Wars makes you feel good. It makes you realize that there are people with truly good intentions and that there is real evil in the world. We’ve all got both sides in us, it just depends on which side we feed the most and what circumstances we fall into when we need to make the decision the most.

Read this book. You need to. It puts our history into perspective and how we can learn from the past without fear of knowing we’ll repeat the same mistakes again with our own children.

Favourite quote: Because casual chains are so complex, and because so many events are necessary conditions for others, the idea of a butterfly effect is not at all preposterous. If someone’s dog had gotten sick on an important occasion, or if someone else had stayed home….perhaps everything would have been different. World changing butterflies are everywhere; they define our lives. 

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Drugstore Cowboy

So I’m in Deep Ellum because, honestly, I needed time to be surrounded by my fellow hipsters and to have some me time. Deep Ellum in Dallas is the cliché hipster neighbourhood here. It’s grungy, there’s coffee shops everywhere, and bars that probably serve drinks I cannot even pronounce. Plus, everything seems to be fair trade, vegan friendly, and it feels comforting to be in this neighbourhood for some reason. Maybe it’s the concert venues, maybe it’s the constant flow of coffee & donuts, or maybe it’s just the gritty feeling of it mixed with up & coming. It’s probably the gentrification of it that feels familiar of the Bay unfortunately.

But anyway. I saw Drugstore Cowboy when I was getting brunch with a few friends the weekend before next door. I wanted to stop in but after brunch, i couldn’t justify another cup of strong coffee. But I’m definitely glad I stopped in when I did.

I took Sunday morning while my boyfriend went to work to take myself on a date to Deep Ellum and finally check out this super hipster coffee joint out for myself. It looks like it’s almost in an old pharmacy storefront with the reclaimed wood bar and the industrial feel to it. And I’m sure that’s exactly what they’re going for with the name. It perfectly encapsulates Texas with hipster. It’s adorable.

I went for their drip coffee and some water as I’ve had more than my alloted lattes for the week and I’m trying to stick to my diet. But dang, even their drip coffee is strong. It makes me wonder what their espresso drinks are like. Maybe next time I’ll try their lavender or flavoured lattes. Since we all know anything lavender is my jam.

This place is especially cute because it reminds me a little of my old neighbourhood in Chicago. It has open mic nights and an open jam session too. Of course they’re way past my bed time or else I’d check them out. Maybe next weekend I’ll make myself stay up til 10PM to see what local artists are coming up here. I’m thinking date night with the boo?

I’m not sure if I’ll be frequenting this spot for more than a cup of joe and go but the reclaimed wood tables and cozy feel are definitely a hipster paradise. Plus, they sell kombucha — a major selling point for me, not going to lie. And if you decide to imbibe, their alcohol options are from local Dallas or Texas breweries and they have extensive options available. I’m taking a bit off from drinking so I can really focus on finding work that makes me excited (besides this blog of course!) and it’s really nice to see a spot really dedicate their menus to supporting local companies.

Anyway, if you’re in the Dallas area and need a real dose of hipster, check out Drugstore Cowboy. Their coffee is strong, the baristas are cool, and you’ll have some quality people watching — even at 10AM on a Sunday!

Kristin Hannah ‘The Nightingale’

I literally just finished this book and all i have to say is wow. This book is powerful beyond measure, even though it starts off slow. I picked this book up a few months ago because a friend recommended it and I needed more books, naturally, even though my bookshelves are close to overflowing.

This book follows a pair of sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, during WWII. One sister gets incredibly involved in The Resistance, saving over 100 lives from Nazi soldiers and the other is barely trying to stay alive yet saves dozens of Jewish children. This book is a gut wrencher and it will make you feel things. Have a box of tissues ready once you finish, I bawled like a baby. Good thing I could snuggle with my dog afterwards.

This book is enlightening into what it took to just survive during WWII in France when the Germans and the SS took over. It’s a great piece of historical literature that dives into just how heinous the SS and the Nazis really were. I don’t think we can really grasp that level of hatred today if you’re not a minority and it’s mindblowing that somebody, let alone a group of people, can hate that intensely.

The Nightingale seemed apt for these times in America. There is so much hatred, bigotry, and more going on that it’s absolutely despicable. We have people that refuse to denounce some of the biggest hate groups simply to ‘preserve history’ yet it’s clear that the longer these groups are thought to be acceptable, the more damage they can do to those who are considered ‘different’.

This is a tangent I could go on and on about and still feel like i haven’t gotten anywhere. AFter all, who am I to talk? I may be a woman living in America but I’m also Caucasian. I read books like The Nightingale to remind myself of history lessons that should never be forgotten or repeated, ever.

Do yourself a favour and read this book. It starts off slowly — to be honest, I almost stopped reading it in the beginning — but it picks up and man, this book is a whirlwind. Once it gets going, you can’t put it down.

Favourite quote: Getting out of bed was not appealing but neither was starving to death. 

5/5 

Halsey “Bad at Love”

Holy wow, this song hits home. It’s almost like Halsey is trying to take my own relationship history and made it her own. Listen to it here. But anyway, I’m obsessed with this song and can’t stop listening.

The opening lyrics “got a boy back home in Michigan/and it tastes like Jack when I’m kissing him/so I told him that I never really liked his friends/Now he’s gone and he’s calling me a bitch again” basically sums up the first boy I fell in love with. He was no good, sick in more ways than ones, and was a compulsive liar. So naturally 19 year old me thought I could save him, when in reality I couldn’t, and years later, he came crawling back to apologize. Something I still don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully accept or condone.

But the song goes on depicting what I’m assuming has been some of Halsey’s failed relationships and she thinks she’s ‘bad at love’. There’s something to be sad when you’ve had multiple failed relationships where you start wondering if it’s really just them or if maybe you’ve done something to contribute as well. It’s tough, though, opening up to someone new romantically when all you’ve been thru is pain. I mean, she sums it up in the lyrics, “lookin at my history/I’m bad at love”.

This song also made me realize just how lucky I am to be in the relationship that I’m currently in. He knows all my faults, where I struggle, and how to pick me back up while motivating me all the same. And I like to think I know the same about him. It’s really a fantastic feeling to finally feel like I’m actually good at this whole love thing and it’s so refreshing.

Anyway, listen to this song. I’m sure you can relate to at least part of it, if not all of it. It’s a refreshing song to hear because it’s honest, raw, and deep. Something I don’t think the music scene, especially pop, has enough of anymore. Music is popular for a reason and it might as well do some good with the lyrics. But maybe I’m just a lyric fiend and I’m the only one who feels that way.

Brewed+Pressed

Sweet mother of pearl, this place doesn’t belong in Dallas, let along the West Village neighbourhood (which for you non-Dallasites is a blend of uppity ad affordable. It’s weird), but I’m sure glad it does. I’ve been looking for a place like this in Dallas that was a perfect mix of hipster, organic, and local. And I think I’ve found it here in Brewed+Pressed.

Fair warning, walking in, you get the feeling that this place belongs in California (ie either Berkeley or Venice) or New York City. Its fresh, clean, and has organic everything. For Christ’s sake, they make their own pumpkin seed milk in-house. If that doesn’t scream hipster, I don’t know what does. Plus, they’ve got plants almost everywhere, the decor is somewhat Scandinavian or Ikea and they have a wall made of living greens. It’s crazy. But I love it. 

It’s been a rough few days for me here. I lost my job, my dog wants to chew on every piece of clothing I wear, and I’m just tired. But I saw one of my dearest and oldest friends the other day and I don’t know about y’all but this friend in particular always just knows the right thing to say to give me a pep talk. It was great seeing him and his new girlfriend. I am so excited for both of them, it’s ridiculous. Isn’t it funny how just seeing a dear friend puts your spirits back at ease?

Anyway, back to Brewed+Pressed. If you’re in the dallas area and aren’t afraid of a little (or a lot..) hipster coffee joint, come here. You’ll get good coffee, some tonics that are supposedly good for you, and you’ll have some stellar people watching to boot.

Since I have some more time now, what do you guys want to see in the next few weeks?! Sound off in the comments!

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

It always seems like after i read an intense book, the next book I almost always read is one of poetry. Maybe because it was my first love or maybe its because it soothes my soul. Or both. Probably both. Anyway, on to this.

The Princess Saves Herself in This One is beautifully written. You’ve probably seen some of Amanda Lovelace’s work on either TUmblr, Youtube, or a variety of social media. It’s short, sweet, and makes you think. It’s gut wrenching at times and exhilaratingly inspiring in others. I finished it in maybe 3 hours, if that, and I have absolutely zero regrets about it.

If you want a good Sunday afternoon read that will tear on your heart strings, comes with a trigger warning, and will leave you feeling strong & beautiful, then this book is for you. It dives deep and swims wide, so fair warning. But you will not be able to put it down. So you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

5/5 

Pink “What About Us”

There are few artists that I’ve loved throughout the years relentlessly and P!nk is one of them. She’s been the kind of female strength I’ve aspired to for the longest time. And I love her constant openness, vulnerability, and unwavering strength in sharing what it means to be human. Her albums have been influential for me throughout my adolescence and early 20’s. And her new music video for “What About Us” is nothing short of inspirational. You can watch it on YouTube here. 

Before watching the video, the song seems to be about the forgotten and about those who are looking for answers in all the wrong places because they haven’t found them in the right ones yet. But hot damn, the video. It starts with a spoken piece that I’m assuming was on the news and related to one of the ongoing protests swarming our country right now. And the message only hones in on being about the marginalized. The choreography in this video is insane. I might be able to hold some kind of rhythm on the dance floor but nothing quite like this.

This song and video really makes you want to protect the vulnerable, the marginalized, and the forgotten. It makes you actually question “What about us?” and it makes you want to fight at the same time. This is the reason why I love music and I love artists that aren’t afraid to make you question the status quo. P!nk is an artist I truly believe won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. She’s a straight up BAMF and is nothing short of inspirational.

I love this song and will be adding it to a playlist to remind myself that I’m worth it.