Big Little Lies by Liane Moriaty

So I’m almost done with this book and IT’S FANTASTIC. I have yet to see the miniseries on HBO because i wanted to read the book first. And I heard so much hype about this book that i honestly was putting it off because I didn’t want it to let me down. As I’ve often found to be the case with such books that are also made into TV shows. But then again, apparently this mini series was produced by Reese Witherspoon and her production company. Can you really ever go wrong with Elle Woods anyway?

If you’ve been living under a rock the past year or so, Big Little Lies has become a powerhouse book and mini-series. It follows a group of four girlfriends with kids and living in a small town. It covers wealth, greed, sexual assault, abuse, and so much more. It goes deep but it’s also weirdly mysterious and you don’t want to put it down. Real talk, i definitely fell asleep a couple times with the book still open because i was so exhausted and refused to put it down. That might have given my boyfriend some fodder to make fun of me for in the morning….

The book also leads up to a murder but you don’t know who was killed or who did it until literally the last chapter. It’s ridiculous, a total risk, and totally worth the ride. I’m looking at getting a few of LIane’s other books — her writing style is amazing. She’s poignant, hilarious, and sheds light on a lot of real world problems most people shy away from.

Big Little Lies dives into abuse and sexual assault for what they really are. How the survivors often feel incredibly embarassed and even ashamed that they were in that situation. It goes into victim blaming and the shame game as well and provides examples of just how difficult it is to leave an abusive homelife, even if you have small children and are in the process of getting out. It’s difficult, messy, and complicated. And this novel does a fantastic job of creating complex female characters that talk about more than boyfriends and cocktails.

I highly recommend this book. It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat. And the person who ends up getting fed to the fishes (sorry mob life) may not be who you expect.

5/5 

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 

Christmas Day wishes!

In honour of Christmas Day and one of my favourite mornings all year, I’m putting together what I’d rather be doing in PJ’s, comfy leggings, and a sweater when all the crazy of today is over. And I’d rather be binging on holiday movies, peppermint hot cocoa, and over size blankets.

 

 

  1. ‘Elf’- You didn’t think I’d start out with anything else but this great Christmas classic, did you? I can quote this movie about 80% of the way through and I’ve already watched it twice this season. I LOVE IT.
  2. Anything on the hallmark channel or Lifetime that’s a Christmas movie- Be warned, these movies will be terrible and will never be nominated for an Oscar or an Emmy anytime soon. But they will remind you what the season is about and they will give you a straight shot to the feels and the heart strings
  3. A cabin in the woods, preferably covered in just the right amount of snow – I don’t want snowmaggedon here, I just want a white Christmas in a cabin with loved ones. Is that too much to ask for? I want it Pinterest worthy too
  4. And naturally, I want a giant mug of tea while in a rocking chair watching my loved ones battle over the remote, asking why Santa forgot the most important gift, and who gets the turkey bone.

 

While today will inevitably be crazy, and I’ll question somebody’s sanity, I really do love this time of year.

Christmas Eve Cheer

Guys. Guys. IT’S CHRISTMAS EVE. And I am literally writing this while en route to Southern California to visit family & friends. I’m way too excited right now. And way too stressed out about whether or not people will enjoy their gifts or not. But as they say, it’s in Santa’s hands right now and not mine. Plus, I like to think I’m a great gift giver but I’m sure some would disagree. Whatever.

So thought I’d share how I love starting Christmas morning. I’ve never really had a traditional one where you wake up, dash to the tree, and open gifts with the speed of a tazmanian devil on a serious dose of uppers. I’ve always been traveling to family or something. But in recent years, my immediate family and I have been taking it easy and opening one or two gifts prior to the crazy of an extended celebration that afternoon.

But personally? I’m all about a hot cup of caffeine, some Christmas music, and people watching. I love sitting out on the deck, overlooking balboa island, and reminiscing about the year has brought.  I love the holidays. They may cause me serious anxiety on whether I packed the right things or if I forgot a gift at home, but I love the coming together, the inevitable kitchen disasters that’ll make for a story down the road, and the cheer. I love taking a moment Christmas morning just for me so I can reflect, be thankful, and meditate. And I enjoy peppermint on everything. I will eat you under the table in Christmas food and I don’t care in the slightest. After all, my diet starts tomorrow, right?

Anyway, I hope your holidays are filled with love, hoiliday cheer, and everything you wanted on your Christmas list. I hope youre surrounded by family and loved ones. And if you’re working this Christmas season, more power to you.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!

Oakland’s GhostShip Fire

As someone who grew up near Oakland, I found myself sticking up for the city in later years because everyone seemed to say “but the murder rate! All those gangs! You’re a girl, don’t be alone at night!” And while I have never lived in Oakland proper, some dear friends do and I’ve been exposed to some of the greatest people and artists over the years who are putting Oakland on the map for a variety of things, that aren’t dark at all.

So I guess that’s why it hurt my heart to hear about the Ghost Ship fire over the weekend. Luckily, I didn’t know anyone personally who is still missing or perished. But I know full heartedly that I could have. It could have been friends. It might have been me if I decided to not be an old woman or if I was more involved in the community.

But the fact of the matter is that we lost 36 people to that fire Friday night. 36 artists, 36 beautiful human beings, 36 people died because of code violations and inadequate access to safe spaces to celebrate art, community, and a Friday night with friends. Nobody should be lost to something that should have been made safe, up to code, and lack of access.

I’m no scholar on this and I’m still learning. So if anyone directly affected with this tragedy can correct me on wording I’ve used, please let me know in the comments. In the mean time, if you are able, please donate here to help cover medical bills, funeral costs, etc for the victims.

In the mean time, as always, you matter. Your story matters. Your life matters. And I am so glad you are still here.

Election 2016-Talkin’ Bout A Revolution

First of all, let me get this out – USA! USA! USA! Phew, now that’s out of my system, if you’re here in the states like me, hopefully you voted on Tuesday (or before!) for a candidate you thought would best run this country and not into the ground. But now that it’s Saturday, I’ve been trying to figure out the words to say on how I feel about the outcome. My candidate of choice might not have won and I may have several fears, feelings, etc about the outcome but the fact of the matter is that we have a new President-elect that I’m still not sure if he’s fit to lead our great country. So what do I do when I can’t find the words? I start reading. I start singing. And I start listening.

The written word has always been a safe space for me, it’s part of the reason I started in the first place. I wanted to create a space for my recommendations, find more like minded individuals who loved the written word and caffeine as much as I do. So I put on some tea, sat down covered in a blanket, and I tried to put into words on how this election outcome terrifies me. Absolutely frightens me. Because people who are near and dear to my heart as well as those I will never meet are being targeted for things they cannot change. And it’s atrocious that our country is so divided right now.

The songs I’ve been having on repeat right now are ‘Home’ by Blue October, ‘Piece by Piece’ by Kelly Clarkson, and ‘Talkin Bout A Revolution’ by Tracy Chapman. These songs have always made me cry yet always given me the most amount of hope. But the song that feels the most applicable right now? Definitely that last song by Tracy Chapman.

My favourite lyric in that song has to be Don’t you know/Talkin’ ’bout a revolution/It sounds like a whisper. With the protests, the social media conversations and debates, it seems like we just might at the tip of a serious change in this country. The amount of anger, fear, and outright hatred hurts my heart so much. And the amount of violence I’ve seen here where I currently live isn’t the America I know and love. It’s not the country I believe in and it’s not the country I want for my future kids.

So what can I do? What can we do? I’m still learning. I’m picking up novels by authors with experiences that make me feel utterly uncomfortable, I’m supporting businesses that are the most at risk, and I’m watching videos or reading stories about bigotry that are happening right now. And I’m boning up on history. Because it’s like the adage goes, history is doomed to repeat itself. Especially if our memory is short and we don’t learn from our mistakes.

If you were able to vote in this year’s election, listen to people’s fears. Validate them, they’re real experiences that will make you completely uncomfortable. And it’ll be easier to dismiss them as willy-nilly and irrelevant. It will be easier to think that their very real experiences are just some weird part of the liberal agenda. But they’re not. Listen to their experiences. Figure out how you can help, how you yourself can be a better person. And realize that you’re not in the clear because you’re not ‘one of those people’. Let’s make Tracy Chapman proud and remember that revolutions always seem to start with a whisper. Then it becomes a roar.

The Songs That Always Get Me

So, as I’m sure it’s evident by now, I’m almost always on the hunt for new music. I love that first moment when you fall in love with a new band that just seems to get it. It’s a feeling unlike most anything and it’s almost exhilerating to find a new band that you just vibe with, even if there’s no chance that you’ll actually meet the band in person anytime soon. But this post isn’t about any new band that I’ve discovered lately. It’s about the songs and some musicians that always seem to be there, even when I move or change or grow in some way. These are the songs that always seem to be there when I need them, no matter how long it’s been since I’ve listened or the amount of times they’ve been on repeat throughout the years.

My best friend actually recommended I do a post on this because of our shared love of Josh Groban, 90s music, and the like. So here goes!

  1. “The Only One” by Tracy Chapman. Close seconds are “Fast Car” or her album called Telling Stories. But this song, whenever it comes on, I’m always reminded of the people I’ve lost and how I’m always left questioning “Does heaven have enough angels yet?” every single time. This song will make me cry and feel a wide array of emotions every single time.
  2. “Little Things” by One Direction No shame, I love One Direction. Especially if I need to reminisce about boy bands and not feel old for listening to the ones from the 90s. But I think this song was the one that solidified it for me. Because it put into words all the things I’m self conscious about in a relationship and that i really am worthy. Cliche and overdramatic? Possibly. It’s still true though. Plus, the music video is so simply stunning, especially for a boy band
  3. “Piece by Piece” by Kelly Clarkson. I freaking love Kelly Clarkson. There are so many songs of hers that I am in love with. Another favourite that always gets me is “Good Goes the Bye”. These two songs basically are all about how sometimes saying goodbye you care about immensely, albeit difficult, sometimes really is the best thing for your sanity and for your life. And though I can’t relate to her story of a father walking out on her at an early age, I can relate to the sentiment of friends or loved ones walking out for seemingly no reason and the pain that always seems to linger a little longer than desired. But it’s all about picking up the pieces, no matter how long it takes to do so. And once you find someone who restores your faith in love and happiness, it’s a feeling unlike anything else. This song will always make me cry.
  4. “Home” by Blue October. I’ve written about this song before, here, and it felt apt to include it in this post. It’s a stunning song that always reminds me that home isn’t always necessarily a place but a feeling you get. And no matter how much things change or how difficult they may get, home is always where the heart is. It’s always where you can come, broken or in full. Home is where you feel revitalized and like you can take on the world.
  5. “Dumb It Down” by Lupe Fiasco. I’ve always loved hip-hop to get me pumped for a game or for a tournament. But only recently did I start looking for the songs that actually had a message. I was tired of Lil John or the Ying Yang Twins because I look terrible getting low and still can’t shake it like a salt shaker. And like fate would have it, I stumbled upon Lupe Fiasco. This song is probably my favourite because he takes on all my qualms with the rap industry and how ‘dumbing it down’ may make you more money but it won’t help your conscious when you have a platform where you can speak out. And this song does it perfectly while still getting you hyped.

Clearly, there are more songs that dive deep into my soul but these ones top out the list every time. Let me know your thoughts and what your go to songs are!