4.26.2015

Latest NetGalley Reads

Take a look at what I've been reading lately, courtesy of NetGalley.


A Little Life: A Novel by Hanya Yanagihara I finished this book a month ago and still think about it all the time. It's a very long, very heartbreaking story that I was hesitant to start, but I'm so glad I did. It's a beautifully written book, but tough at times because it deals with sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, and self harm. It was also a really great story covering decades of friendship and love of four men who met in college. 


Get in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link I wasn't at all familiar with Kelly Link's work and I don't typically like fictional short stories or fantasy/Sci-Fi stuff in general, but I kept seeing awesome reviews and gave it a shot. Unfortunately I don't feel like I was the right person for this quirky book. I liked the content of the stories, but could not get into the writing style. It was difficult for me to figure out who or what she was talking about most of the time. Bummer.


Unbecoming: A Novel by Rebecca Scherm This story had a lot going on: a love triangle, a heist, the art world, a small town in Tennessee, New York City, Paris, etc. I liked it for the most part. It was slow at times with too much detail about boring antiques restoration, not at all as thrilling as the blurb makes it out to be, and had unsympathetic characters. But I was thoroughly intrigued and read it quickly, really wanting to know what happened next.

I received these books from NetGalley for review purposes.

4.24.2015

So Many Shows, So Little Time

Long gone are the days of the midseason slump. Spring has brought some pretty great television. I'm so excited that Veep, Silicon Valley, Inside Amy Schumer, Louie, and Undateable are back. And I've been watching tons of new shows too. 


I watched all of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt the first weekend it came out. I loved it! It was cheesy, but has funny moments and smart jokes and the characters are endearing. The theme song is still stuck in my head. I think I need to rewatch it.


Bloodline took me longer to watch. I finished all 13 episodes about ten days after it showed up on Netflix. It's dark and slow, but it kept my interest, I love the cast, and I can't wait to see what this crazy family is up to next season. 


I have such a crush on James Corden! The Late Late Show is a mix of a typical American late night talk show and British chat show. All the guests are on the couch at the same time which has made for some hilarious and also really awkward interviews.


Barely Famous is funny! Sara and Erin Foster (daughters of David Foster, step-daughters of Yolanda Foster, ex step-sisters of Brody Jenner) write and star in this fake reality show which brings in tons of celeb guest stars and awkward situations. I hated Sara when she played Jen on 90210, but absolutely love her in this. Self-depreciating humor is my favorite.  


One Big Happy is SUPER cheesy, but I love Elisha Cuthbert and will watch anything she's in. Nick Zano's character is sort of annoying, but he's so nice to look at. I just really hate sitcoms with laugh tracks. I think I'll watch for a few more episodes. It'll probably be cancelled anyway. 


Younger is kinda cute. I tuned in because of Hilary Duff and Debi Mazar. The plot is totally far fetched and it's sometimes annoying how stupid Liza is about modern day technology and current trends. But it's a light, breezy show that I'll probably keep watching.


I love Christina Ricci so much and want to support everything she does, but even her acting chops can't save The Lizzie Borden Chronicles. The production is just fine, but the writing is really terrible. I'm done.


Becki Newton is one of my favorites, so I was excited to see her back on TV in Weird Loners. I also love Zachary Knighton and am glad he's not the same lovable dope as he played on Happy Endings. They are both adorable and you root for them from the first episode. The other two weirdos are growing on me too.


I watch Lip Sync Battle in less than ten minutes. I only want to see the performances, so I fast forward through all crap talking, back story, and commentary. Just show me my favorite celebs fake belting out fun hits!


Grace Helbig can be annoying, but I like her in short doses, so I'm not yet sure if this half hour format is for me. The episodes seem to be getting better, but I don't know how much of that is changing things up or just having better chemistry with the guests. I'm gonna keep watching to see how she does. 

What are you watching this spring?

4.22.2015

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Body Armor. We've all been sick again. In fact, we each had two separate colds in March and mine turned into a sinus infection, as it usually does. I constantly push fluids, and Nolan and I are big water drinkers, but Milo and Jacob aren't. Since I limit juice to once a day, I worry about Milo not getting enough hydration and have allowed Gatorade when he was sick in the past, which I hate doing. Jacob saw guys at the gym drinking Body Armor, which is a sports drink, but made with coconut water and natural flavors, colors, and sweeteners. We picked some up and they are pretty tasty!


Bitch Better Have My Money. I've never been a big fan of Rihanna and only like a handful of singles (Umbrella, Disturbia, S&M, We Found Love, Stay), but I am obsessed with this song! Upon first listen I HATED it and thought it was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard. Then I watched her performance on the iHeartRadio Awards and although it was nothing too spectacular, I loved everything about it and now the song is constantly in my head. I also love it because "bitch better have my money" is something my roommates and I used to say to each other when rent and bills were due. We were a classy, respectful bunch.



Mean Mad Men. This is the best Tumblr of them all. It combines one of my favorite movies and one of my favorite TV shows and it's hilarious. I'm sad that I'm two years late discovering it.






Trader Joe's skincare products. I'm really late to the TJ's beauty product party. I bought All-In-One Facial Cleanser about six months ago based on Steph's recommendation and love it. Last month I picked up A Midsummer Night's Cream for my hands and Coconut Body Butter for everywhere else, which smells AMAZING. The moisturizing cream works well, but smells like paint.


And I'm excited to try the Moisturizing Shave Cream, Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner, and Enrich Face Lotion with SPF 15 that I picked up over the weekend. I love that these products are affordable, natural, and work so well.


Kenalog injection. Most of you know I have a bum trachea and have to get surgery every 3-4 months to dilate it so that I can breathe. When I had the procedure in January, my doctor injected a corticosteroid right into the inflammation to see if it would prevent it from closing up sooner. I cannot believe how well it's worked! Since January I've had a sinus infection and pneumonia, which would normally close my windpipe right up, but I still feel awesome. I'll never be normal because half of my trachea is permanently blocked, but this is about the time I'd have to go in for another procedure and I don't feel anywhere near that. Here's hoping it lasts another 3-6 months! 

What I'm Loving Wednesday

4.20.2015

Garth Brooks In Portland

Since Garth Brooks is doing this lame thing where he only announces one city at a time on his world tour, I grabbed tickets to a Portland show, just in case he doesn't make it to Seattle. Carrie wasn't sure of her plans so she didn't commit until a month after tickets went on sale. Thankfully there were still a few seats left at his 4:00 PM show last Sunday. It felt so weird to go to a concert that early that wasn't an outdoor festival, but I didn't care. I was going to see my beloved Garth again!

Carrie and I made it to Portland around lunch time and our first stop was Voodoo Doughnut. It's an iconic Portland doughnut shop known for unusual toppings and eclectic decor. There are three in Oregon, one in Colorado, and they are expanding to Japan, Taiwan, and Austin, TX soon. It's open 24 hours a day, they only accept cash, and there is ALWAYS a line. I think we were there for about 45 minutes. I just chalk it up to part of the experience now. I ate a classic Voodoo Doll and saved a Lemon Chiffon Cruller for later. I also brought some home for my sister.



Then we grabbed lunch at a food cart, which is another quintessential Portland thing. The 600+ mini restaurants are in stationary carts, rather than trucks, and set up all over the city in pods. Check out this map! Unfortunately most of them are closed on weekends, but we were able to find a few open on Fifth Avenue.  I got a Gyro and Carrie ate Thai food. After lunch we walked up and down Waterfront Park and took in the views of the Willamette River.



On our walk back to my car, we decided to try to find Mill Ends Park, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's smallest park. While waiting to cross at the longest light ever, I looked at my phone to find it's location. Once it was finally time to cross the street, Carrie stopped in the middle and said, "Is this it?!" We had been staring at it for at least five minutes and almost walked right by it! The story is, some guy who worked in a nearby building filled in the hole of an old utility pole with plants and a 24-inch diameter park was born! It was dedicated as an official city park in the '70s. Stay weird, Portland. 


Finally, it was time for our early bird concert. It was a blast! Garth had so much energy, perfectly belted out all the hits (and thankfully only two new songs), and ran around stage like a mad man. His wife, Trisha Yearwood, came out in the middle to duet with him and then sang a few '90s country songs of her own. I remembered every word to every song and had the best time. 









It was exhausting driving three hours there and back in one day, but totally worth it.
I really hope he makes it to Seattle so I can do it all over again!

4.14.2015

What I Read In March

I read some really great books last month. One even deserved a five-star rating, which is rare for me! Take a look.


Funny Girl I love how Nick Hornby writes, but this story was just ok. It was interesting to cover sexism and sexuality in the '60s, but I didn't particularity like any of the characters. They weren't awful, I just didn't connect or really care about them. I felt like there was too much going on, but not enough depth for each topic and character, yet it was way too long. 



The Leisure Seeker  I was not expecting to like this book about an old couple on a cross-country road trip as much as I did. It was simple and sweet, with sad and funny moments and a breeze to get through. I really loved learning a little about Route 66 and thought the ending was beautiful.  


Dirty Rush My college didn't have a Greek system and I wouldn't have joined a sorority anyway, but the topic is always interesting to me. It was fast-paced, predictable, mindless, and not all that shocking to me, but I really liked it and read it in a day. 



The Girl on the Train Although I figured out the ending halfway through and didn't like one single character, I couldn't put it down and really enjoyed the crazy story. It's a great rainy weekend read! 



My Sunshine Away This book was intense, disturbing, and unhappy at times, but I'm glad I read it. I felt like the narrator's growth was very well written, even if he creeped me out once in a while, and I loved the setting and time period. It was a page-turner for sure. 



Rookie Yearbook Two and Three  I know I'm not at all in the right demographic for these books, but I can't help but read them. They sort of remind me of how I felt about Sassy Magazine as a preteen. I love Tavi Gevinson, and the pieces by Mindy Kaling, Judy Blume, Emma Watson, Sofia Coppola, Lorde, Shailene Woodley, and Haim were awesome. 


Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date I started out completely in love with this book and with Katie, because I think everyone can relate to awkward adolescent experiences with boys and because I really loved her sense of humor and tone. But after a while I felt she was trying too hard. 


I Was Here Again, I'm not the target demographic, but I was still expecting to feel something because of her previous book, If I Stay. Nothing clicked for me. The characters were boring, the love story was cliché and wrong, and I don't think this was the way to address mental health and suicide.


A Little Life  Waaaah! I cried a lot when I read this very long, very heartbreaking book. It was tough because it deals with sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, and self harm, but it was also a really good story covering decades of friendship of four men who met in college. I finished it two weeks ago and I'm still thinking about it. 


The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee I needed something fluffy after my last book and this did the trick. I love Sarah and her weird, slow sense of humor, though her memoir wasn't all sunshine and laughs. I love that she talked about the bedwetting and depression she suffered in her teens, her time in NYC as a young adult, and her career highs and lows. 

Life According to Steph