Flogging Molly and Skinny Lister

So Monday night, I found out that Flogging Molly was playing at the House of Blues Tuesday night. And small secret, seeing them live has always been on my bucket list. Combine that with the main room at the House of Blues? It was basically a necessity that I went. So I asked my boyfriend if he wanted to have an impromptu date night in the middle of the week, listen to some irish punk music, and dance on a work night. Maybe it’s my charm or my level of excitement but he said yes.

So we did dinner and the concert. We were even able to jump the line because we spent money in the restaurant! Fun fact, if you get dinner and it’s above the minimum, you can jump the line at the House of Blues and get in 20 or so minutes early. This allowed us to get to the front of the mosh pit with the best seats in the entire venue. Standing room only but it was worth it


The opening band, Skinny Lister, was a band I’d never heard of before but they were SO much fun. They passed around a huge jug of what I’m assuming was either guiness or distilled whiskey. Luckily it was out before it reached me because the smell was awful. But if you have a chance, SEE THIS BAND. I’m usually not a fan of opening bands but these guys were hilarious, charming, and the most irish ever.

Now to the main event. Flogging Molly and Irish punk reminds me of home. I spent some time growing up in London and we traveled to Ireland frequently because of my dad’s work. So Ireland always just felt like a second home at the time. And Flogging Molly (along with Dropkick Murphys and the like) make me realize just how lucky i was to have grown up there.

Especially with the terrorist attack near London Parliament on Wednesday, it seemed even better timing that I had a taste of home with seeing FLogging Molly live. They were hilarious, the lead singer is probably in his 50s and absolutely killed it. Their enthusiasm was infectious and you could tell they thoroughly enjoyed what they did.

I love concerts where you can tell that the bands, no matter how many shows they’ve played, are still completely in love with what they do. And Flogging Molly was no different. I was pulled into their stories, how avidly they loved Guiness, and how stoked they were to simply be alive.

If you have the chance, go see Flogging Molly live. They’re brilliant. Even more so if Skinny Lister is opening. And hug your loved ones. Terrorism knows no boundaries and it knows not of where you come from.

Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett

If you follow me on social media, especially Instagram, I’ve posted snippets of this book over the past couple weeks of doodles or great passages. And that’s because  I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS BOOK. not only because it combines two of my favourite things — Fight Club and Feminism — but also because it’s such an intricately fun read that goes by quickly, only to be slowed down because you keep wanting to reread passages. Or show your friends the drawings in the pages.

This book basically flips workplace sexism, which is far more common than I think people realize, and b asically creates a secret club for women or female identifying individuals to help fight it in healthy, substantial ways. It’s awesome. And while reading it, you have several “holy shit” moments because we’ve all encountered these kinds of men or even women in the work place. you know the ones — the mansplainers, the manterrupters, and the like who either explain something in mundane detail that either you just said or know extensively and the ones who like to interrupt you every 5 minutes with either something that is completely off track or is trying to take ownership of the conversation. Can I get an Amen to how freakishly annoying that is?

Also, total sidenote, I wish I read this book earlier in my 20s. It’s super relevant – and IMO, a necessary read for any young woman entering a corporate environment for the first time.  At one of my previous jobs, the rampant, underbelly sexism was astounding. For example, I was told by a coworker and my former boss that, in short, I was only hired for the size of my ass as well as how i looked in a dress. Amongst other things that I don’t feel comfortable sharing on the internet. And because moms (hi mom!). I almost filed a lawsuit against the company but before I took a better job, I ended up leaving all the women there gift baskets with notes about what to expect from certain coworkers and what would make them shut up efficiently. And the stuff I encountered wasn’t even the worst examples I could provide. Anyway, that just goes to show how relevant this book is.

But this book is amazing. It’s an easy read that you won’t want to put down. You’ll relate, I’m sure, to at least 85% of it and wish you could start your very own Feminist Fight Club. It’s full of real life examples and great ways to “fight the man” in real life that don’t feel overtly weird or uncomfortable. I think that’s the thing i like the most about this book. Though the subject matter is a little uncomfortable, it makes ways to implement making your voice heard realistic in a total non self help book kind of way.

So long story short? Pick up this book if you’ve ever wondered how to shut down a mansplainer effectively. Pick this book up if you’ve ever needed reassurance that female friendships are in fact the most powerful force. Or even, pick this book if you have no idea what I’m talking about and you want to learn more.

Feminist Fight Club is hilarious, poignant, and relevant to today’s societal influences. It’s an amazing read that’s informative and fantastic. Pick it up wherever books are sold.

Favourite Quote: Even Beyonce had an alter ego-Sasha Fierce-to help her develop into a more confident stage performer….acting confident, even if it’s an act, will not only convince others that you’re competent, it can lead to actual confidence. If you can’t do it for yourself, try doing it for your alter shego — and hype the shit out of her. 

5/5 

‘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.

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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