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BLM Book Recommendations – Starter Pack

I’ve been making my way through reading material that furthers my personal education about racial issues – especially since I didn’t get this education in school. There’s a lot of action that can be taken to help further the black lives matter movement, and that starts with educating yourself on how to act and what you can do. I’ll be sharing all the books I read here and being honest with my recommendations; and to start us off, I’m going to go through the first set of books in the order in which I recommend them, which is actually the opposite order in which I read them.

1. So You Wanna Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
If you only read one book this year, MAKE IT THIS ONE. Everything I wanted to read, learn, and explore was in this book. I appreciate so many things about this book – specifically how much intersectionality is highlighted. Ijeoma Oluo is an amazing writer, includes her own experiences, and speaks in a way that is truly eye opening. She gets into the good stuff right away, balances topics beautifully from chapter to chapter, and writes for all readers to walk away with insight. She covers areas such as affirmative action, cultural appropriation, the school-to-prison pipeline, the Martin/Malcom dichotomy, microaggressions, hair, the model-minority myth, anger, accountability, and so much more. I will be spending a lot of time suggesting this book on my social media and to people in my life, and I recommend it to anyone who is ready to have productive conversations about race in this world.

Privilege Check from So You Wanna Talk About Race: Are you white? Are you male? Are you non-disabled? Are you neuro-typical? Are you a documented citizen of the country you live in? Are you cisgender? Are you straight? Did you grow up middle class? Did you grow up in a stable home environment? Are you tall / thin / conventionally attractive?

2. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
This book took a deep dive into how white people (even those who don’t consider themselves racist) are hurting and helping, for which I am grateful. I feel like this book held a mirror up to my white experience, down to even analyzing my experience as a white-presenting Hispanic individual. White people can benefit from reading this book because it points out how we fit into the mix, and then acknowledges how we should and should not react to conversations about race. She asks questions and explores ideas that opened my eyes to things I had not thought of before – to the point where I found some areas in which I needed to hold myself accountable. I’d recommend this read for white people, so we can make sure that we are better allies to people of color – there’s a lot to learn here.

3. Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
While I very much appreciate all the dialogue that Emmanuel put into this book, I would categorize this as more of a “starter” book. The book does a great job of unpacking the basics and explaining things in a way that non-people of color can start to look at the world through a new lens, and there’s a huge reference section of additional reads and resources. However, for myself, a lot of the book was things I very much already knew, although I do appreciate learning some new ways to explain ideas I’ve already digested. I would also give just a small critique that the book was very much written from a straight male perspective; I would have loved more information about what black women specifically deal with, as well as trans and LGBTQ perspectives too. Again, this is packed full of great information and would be an easy read to recommend to your co-worker or relative that is just starting to understand the importance of these topics.

I will be reading so so so many more books, as this is just the beginning. Check back to keep up with all my reads, or reach out on social media for more recommendations.

Thanks for reading!

Books I Read In 2021

My yearly list of books that I read:

1. Jay’s Journal By Anonymous

2. I Was Told There’d Be Cake – Essays by Sloane Crosley

3. Lucy in the Sky by Anonymous

4. Calling Maggie May by Anonymous

5. Breaking Bailey by Anonymous

6. Letting Ana Go by Anonymous

7. The Book Of David by Anonymous

8. Flowers On The Moon By Billy Chapata

9. Healing Her by Sez Kristiansen

10. The Power of Positive Energy by Tanaaz Chubb

11. She Must Be Mad by Charly Cox

12. Sour Honey And Soul Food by Billy Chapata

13. Chameleon Aura by Billy Chapata

14. Under Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

15. Written In The Stars by Alexandra Bellefleur

16. Uncomfortable Conversations by Emmanual Acho

17. Made To Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

18. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

19. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

20. So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Here are links to all the books that I read in 2020 and 2019 as well. 🤓

Thanks for reading!

Yeah, That Didn’t Work Out – The Next Great Podcast 2021

Link to Listen:
https://podcasts.apple.com/th/podcast/yeah-that-didnt-work-out/id1540012994?i=1000543595840

Link to Vote: http://nextgreatpodcast.com

I cannot believe that this is real life!! A few months back, I entered a podcast contest with iHeart Radio and Tongal, where I submitted a one-minute trailer for a podcast idea. I became a semi-finalist and was chosen to make a full pilot episode, and now I am one of 10 finalists whose pilots are live! Everyone is able to vote on their favorite, and the winner will be greenlit to create a full series on their idea!

My podcast focuses on the epic love stories that don’t have a happily ever after – the romantic encounters that seem promising, only to end with a serious crash and burn. It’s called, “Yeah, That Didn’t Work Out”, and it would feature a new guest each episode with an epic love connection… that didn’t work out. These fascinating stories will be completely authentic, will come from real, diverse people, but will draw you in as if someone has written the script. This show will give you the same feeling as when you’re listening to all the disastrous details of your best friend’s last horrible Tinder date. Listeners will feel like they are part of the gang and in on the gossip, and this will build a sense of community.

The pilots are live and voting is opening now (December 1st, 2021) through December 15th, 2021!!!
Listen here: https://podcasts.apple.com/th/podcast/yeah-that-didnt-work-out/id1540012994?i=1000543595840
Vote here: http://nextgreatpodcast.com

I’m still in disbelief that I’ve made it this far, but winning this contest would be a DREAM!

Thanks for listening, voting, and reading.

Head2Toe Soaps Update

So! There’s been quite a lot of updates since I first posted about Head2Toe Soaps almost two years ago!

First update, my business partner and I are now platonic but still very close friends, and our business is still doing very well. It’s something that we still do just for fun, but we have definitely put a small amount of profit aside, although it all ends up going back into the business. We’re enjoying ourselves and having fun along this ride!

Second, we’ve moved from Etsy to our own website: head2toesoaps.com. This allows us to have more creative control over our products, including discounts and special promotions. It also allows more money to stay with us rather than a third party, and our site is also super cute! We keep our inventory up to date on the site at all times, so it’s also a great way to see what we currently have available.

Third, we have done more to reduce our carbon footprint. We changed our packaging from fully wrapped soaps in brown paper with twine to just a small brown strip with a label. This allows not only for less material when packaging, but also allows for our customers who are shopping in person to actually see and be able to smell the soap rather than it being covered by the wrapping.

And last, we are making soap from scratch rather than the melt-and-pour kits that we originally started with. Our ingredients are listed on the label of every single soap, and all of our soap bases are completely and 100% vegan.

We have some staples that you can usually find on our site, including a lush succulent scent with aloe, Himalayan salt bars, lavender and oatmeal, and more. However, we also welcome custom orders which can be placed by sending us a message through our website or contacting us through DM on our Instagram: @head2toesoaps. (Tiktok coming soon!)

head2toesoaps.com

Check out our site and give us a follow to keep up with our ever-growing business.

Thanks for reading!

Help Eugene Find Safety

GO FUND ME – HELP EUGENE FIND SAFETY

Hey everybody, my friend Eugene lives in Ghana and he is one of the nicest, sweetest, cutest people I’ve ever met. Unfortunately, Ghana has introduced one of the harshest anti-LGBTQ+ laws to date, and Eugene’s safety is in danger.

“In regards to the LGBTQIA+ situation in Ghana, Eugene has said -“There’s a lot of ignorance and the discussions around queer people are very very toxic… It’s very hard. You lose your family, you lose everything. Almost no one is out… Constantly in danger… [Danger of] violence, not being hired for jobs… People are wrong. They [LGBTQIA+ Community] just want to be respected in a humane way…” The situation has gotten worse. Ghana’s parliament is set to debate a draft bill which seeks to introduce some of the harshest anti-LGBT laws on the continent. These include prison sentences and so-called “conversion therapy”. Eugene’s recently updated us and said, “There is a terrible anti-gay bill being passed in Ghana which will send anyone who is gay or even suspected to be gay to years in prison. Obviously, this has panicked me for close to three months now and I have been looking to relocate. I’m so tired of this fight to just live a life without fear.” Eugene is planning on relocating to any country where it is legally safe to be LGBTQIA+. “

If you can donate anything to help Eugene reach safety, please click the link below:

GO FUND ME – HELP EUGENE FIND SAFETY

Thank you for reading!

5 Maid of Honor Tips

After a successful bachelorette trip, it was time for the big day itself! As Maid of Honor, most of the heavy lifting gets done through the bridal shower and bachelorette parties – I was lucky enough to have the bride assign co-maids of honor titles: one to me (high school bestie) and one to her bestie from college. So we each took an event, and we absolutely crushed it. However, there’s still tons to do as Maid of Honor the day of the wedding – and even more you can do to help make the day extra special.

For anyone who may need some advice on how to be the best, most amazing, sickest, dopest maid of honor possible, here are 5 tips from my experience that I can pass on:

1. Work on your speech WELL in advance. Don’t leave this for last minute. The speech can be something you can easily knock out of the park with a little time and effort put in. My biggest advice for writing a great speech is to make sure it’s personal to the bride and groom but also something the whole room can enjoy. Keep it light and happy, don’t mention anything that might cause uncomfortability, and don’t make it too much about yourself. Here’s a quick outline that I would recommend following:

Introduce yourself and how you know the bride/groom
Mention how thankful you are to be there
Tell a cute story/make a lighthearted joke
Talk about what you love about the bride
Talk about them as a couple
Wish them well for the future.
Toast & Cheers!

If you use that basic format, add in all the personal details and flare, you’ll knock it out of the park.

2. Make sure bride gets to eat. That includes dessert! This isn’t just to have food in her stomach with all the champagne flowing, but also because she put a lot of time and effort into putting this menu together. Make sure she gets to enjoy it! Keep an eye out during dinner that she has a full plate and ensure she has time to clear as much as possible before the staff comes to take the plates away. Of course the newly married couple is going to cut the cake, but make sure she gets to enjoy a piece. In my case, there was an ice cream bar, but I made sure to ask the bride if she got some ice cream, which led to me blocking the way for her to get some. A simple, “the bride is taking a quick break to get dessert!” is something that most guests eager to talk to the bride can understand, so make sure you speak up for the bride who may be too nice to cut a conversation short!

3. If you can, make some curated playlists. I had a “getting ready” playlist with all the classic wedding-themed songs, mixed in with some of the bride’s favorites. Take requests from other bridesmaids and relatives, and be ready to change the vibe if people need to relax or be more hyped up. If possible, have a playlist ready for the car ride to the venue if it’s separate from where you are getting ready. Make sure it’s something that will get everyone in the mood and keep a big smile on the bride’s face. In my case, the music made me totally lose it and start crying on the way to the venue – which the bride found hilarious.

4. Get the flower girl included. She may not be able to cheers with champagne or reminisce about the bachelorette party, but she’s still a part of the bridal party and is likely very important to the bride. If she is getting ready or rehearsing with you all, try to get to know her. Try not to talk to her like she is a kid, but rather one of the girls. Take pictures and selfies and include her in the “getting ready talk”. And at the reception, pull her onto the dance floor. It’ll make for some really memorable moments to have her more involved.

5. Add some finishing-touches with signs and photobooth things. Let me be clear – this does not mean you should take on huge decorations and spend loads of money and impose on what the bride has put together at her venue. BUT I would recommending grabbing 3 small things if you are able that should cost you less than $5 each. The first is a backdrop or balloons for you and the other bridesmaids to take pictures in front of wherever you are getting ready. The one I got had some streamers hanging with heart shaped balloons and one that said “love”, and it cost about $4.99. The second is a “just married” sign for your after-party. Even if you end up in someone’s hotel suite, this is a cute little thing you can hang in the corner to make the room a little more special. We were at a bar, so I hung it near the entrace with no one’s permission asked. The sign was small and white and only cost $2.50. And the last – if you can – is a “just married” sign that you can sneak somewhere for the bride and groom to find after the reception. I was lucky enough to have access to their hotel suite, but even in their exit limo/car or lobby of where they are staying would still be a cute thing for them to find after the fun is done. I used balloons that spelled out “just married”, and I also included a little card with a note for them. The balloons were $3.00 and the card was probably $7 because it was Papyrus. This isn’t something you have to do, but can help to make the couple feel extra special.

BONUS Tip: Have a creative reception entrance. Talk to your walking partner ahead of time, try to come up with something unique, but plan something that fits you both. Funny props, a super short dance routine, or some sort of drinking stunt can make for a fun arrival to the reception. And don’t forget to have a great time, and break it down on the dance floor!

The pictures from this wedding were so wonderful, so I have to take a moment to splash a few more of them here:

To my beautiful friend who made the most lovely bride, thank you for including me in your special day, as well as so many other important moments of your life. I am so grateful to have been your Maid of Honor, so lucky to be your friend, and I love you oh so very much, forever.

More video footage, including my full speech, can be found here.

💍Thanks for reading!

Diverse Love Story Books

Enough of the standard, predictable, rom-com, overplayed, typical love story. I want queer couples, diverse couples, and stories that break the mold. So, here are 3 books I read that do just that:

1. Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
This has quickly become one of my all time favorite books ever ever ever ever ever. It’s written so beautifully, so poetically and lyrically, which was a lovely after I had just finished some poetry books and was coming back to novels. As a reader, you really get a unique perspective into the characters’ thought paths and experiences. The rhythm of these words was so incredibly special and unusual in the best way. The ups and downs of this story, however big or small, tugged at my heart strings in a way I was not expecting. It also gave me a unique perspective on the anxieties that black people face in this America. The heartbreak that the main character feels after an unjust tragedy strikes yet again is prominent and impactful, and the story is important, significant, and realistic. I’m seriously still obsessed with the way this was written – I’ve never read anything like it and I already can’t wait to read it again. Update: I read it again, and it was still just as wonderful as the first time.

2. Written In The Stars by Alexandra Bellefleur
I will say this – this story is very much a typical romantic comedy. It was predictable, cheesy, and hardly really broke the mold at all. The only way that this differs from every other rom-com ever created – the story is about a lesbian couple. Within 10 pages into the book, I correctly predicted the entire plotlines and ending of the book. However, I still couldn’t stop reading and I had to see for myself. Yes, it all played out the way I was expecting it to – but hey, it was lesbians, so I had to finish the story. I will say that the characters are interesting, and even us queer women deserve to read cheesy romantic comedies that we can relate to and dream about. I would recommend this book to young adults who are looking for that typical silly love story, but queer.

3. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
When I first heard that this was a lesbian subway time-travel love story, I have to admit that I was weary. However, this ended up being super enjoyable and not as predictable as I had imagined. It was written very well, there were connections I was not expecting, and it was queer queer queer queer QUEER. It felt super relatable and familiar… besides the sci-fi aspects of course. It’s all done in a way that I really loved reading, and I appreciated how much diversity and representation that was included. I’d honestly recommend this to anybody who is open to a love story with a small sci-fi twist – and even if you aren’t at first, still consider giving this a try!

If I choose to continue my endeavors with reading love stories, I’d definitely like to keep it diverse.

Thanks for reading!

Love More, Stress Less: Paired

Love More, Stress Less: A happier relationship starts with Paired.

CLICK HERE FOR 20% OFF YOUR PAIRED PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION.

(Your subscription covers you AND your partner!)

Paired’s mission is to make couple relationships happier and healthier. Romantic relationship with our partner is one of the most important parts of our lives, but building and maintaining a happy relationship over time can be challenging. Paired wants to make that easier.

Paired prompts you with fun and useful conversations between you and your partner. Every great relationship is an ongoing conversation. Whether you’re already in a long-term relationship or just starting one, Paired helps to make these conversations fun and useful.

With the daily questions feature you get a fun question to answer every day with your partner. Only by answering the question yourself can you unlock your partner’s answer, and each question comes with a research-based fact of why answering it will help your relationship. Paired has couples quizzes to help identify your relationship strength and growth areas, and each week the quiz is on a different aspect of your relationship.

Features Include:

  • Fun, research-based questions to answer with your partner each day to bring you closer together
  • Couple games and quizzes to test and further your knowledge of your partner
  • Bite-sized tips on various topics written by the world’s top relationship academics and therapists
  • Compare and discuss answers with the help of expert tips and conversation starters
  • New questions, quizzes and games available daily

Paired is written by the world’s top couple therapists and academics that drew on decades of research to help you understand what works and what doesn’t in a relationship. An independent study conducted in March of 2021 found that couples who use Paired for 3 months see a 36% increase in the quality of their relationship. Can an app improve your relationship?

Paired is your guide to improve communication, stay connected, and deepen intimacy as a couple. Suggest Paired to your partner to join the community of people around the world building lasting love with Paired today.

Love More, Stress Less. Paired.

Thanks for reading!

Gina Finio – Formal Bio

I am an outspoken pansexual personality who is a regular on the Ross Mathews’ podcast, known as “Bisexual Gina”, delivering LGBTQ+ content via social media and the Straight Talk with Ross podcast.

I am an authentic, upbeat, realist who is not afraid to speak my mind and overshare details of my life. I’m currently living in Tucson, Arizona but I grew up in the Philadelphia area. I’m friendly and approachable but also intelligent and strategic, and I’ve done the work on myself to be self-aware, confident, and charismatic. I’m magnetic, energetic, personable, and unforgettable.

My experience includes 5+ years in the corporate and human resource world, and various experience in areas such as TV, podcast and video production, event planning and management, social media creation, and more. My professional experience in business, my passion and dedication, and my fresh and unique personality and point of view will ensure my success wherever I am able to get involved.

Instagram: @ginafinio (1.5K followers) • TikTok: @bisexualgina (23.7K followers)
Videos featured on popular Instagram meme accounts, such as:
@best_of_grindr (2.5M followers), @hotmessbian (181K), @lesbianmemearchive (110K),
@i.m.a.pan.duh (40K), @alusofficial (150K), and more

Areas of interest include but are not limited to: TV/movie production, podcast production, social media content creation, collaboration, or management, personal assistant opportunities, reality TV, social event (or drag event) project planning, writing (blog content or otherwise), adult entertainment, LBGTQ+, self-improvement, or relationship focused apps or organizations, human rights work, and other opportunities in the entertainment industry.

Contact: gina.finio@gmail.com

Miami Bachelorette Trip

I recently got to plan a bachelorette party in Miami for one of my closest friends, and even though I had never been to Miami before, I actually feel super proud of the events that I put together! We stayed in Wynwood, spent a ton of time on Miami Beach, and got lots of sun. Despite getting stuck in an awful situation while trying to fly back, I truly had an awesome time.

Itinerary:
THURSDAY: Arrivals, Dinner @ Casa Tua, Karaoke @ 9Beach
FRIDAY: Boat Day! @ Sea Isle Marina, Bars/Club: The Sylvester
SATURDAY: Pool Party Day! @ Strawberry Moon @ The Good Time Hotel & AirBnb Pool
SUNDAY: Checkouts

Party in the city where the heat is on / All night, on the beach till the break of dawn / “Welcome to Miami” / “Bienvenidos a Miami”” – Will Smith

Thanks for reading!

The Power of Positive Energy by Tanaaz Chubb

I’ve mentioned before that for my job, I tasked myself with reading professional development books. Last time I reached out to a friend, but my next professional read was actually recommended by my girlfriend: The Power of Positive Energy by Tanaaz Chubb. Just like last time, I took over 10 pages of notes in a notebook, and turned that into a presentation for my co-workers.

Here’s all the information that was included in my Powerpoint presentation to my teammates on how to harvest your power of positive energy:

Energy: Everything in the universe vibrates at a particular frequency; Thoughts and actions both beam energy into the universe

Energetic Vibration: Low vibration = negative energy; High = positive energy

High vibrations attract positive experiences; You attract the energy you frequent

What energy are you putting out into the universe?: YOUR THOUGHTS INFLUENCE REALITY.

LOW VIBRATIONS •Fear •Anger •Guilt •Self-loathing •Lack of self-worth

HIGH VIBRATIONS •Love •Joy •Abundance •Healing •Purpose

The Energy of Self-Love:

•Focus on YOU – do not compare your journey to others
•Balance caregiving and self-love
•Choose to love yourself NOW, not “when…”
•Reflect on the thoughts of who is around you
•Pay attention to how you speak to yourself

“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” – RuPaul

Discover Your Purpose: It’s NOT a career! Your purpose is to be *you* and influence the world
•Be the best YOU for yourself, your job, family, friends, etc.
•Find your joy and believe in yourself

Exercise: List 100 things that you love doing

Manifesting a Positive Life:
•Let go of things that no longer serve you
•Accept the things that are outside of your control
•Release yourself from the past
•Be present and accept what life brings you
•Accept yourself and practice self-love
•Maintain a positive perspective and mindset
If you feel stuck: stop, slow down, and reflect

Law of Attraction and Intention:
•Your thoughts are energy signals that attract things into your life
•Don’t limit your ability to receive energy
•Remain open to the universe to fully access your intuition

Ways to Release Negative Energy and Raise Your Vibration: •Deep Breathing •Exercise •Meditate •Laughing/Smiling •Get In Nature •Being grateful/thankful •Self-Reflection •Shifting Mindset

Positive Energy = Positive Life

Positive Thoughts -> Positive Words -> Positive Actions

Tips:
•Remember that you are deserving of a positive life
•Set realistic expectations
•Don’t try too hard – just be *you*
•Own your happiness
•Shifting your life takes time

The Power of Your Energy:
•You are the observer of your thoughts
•You have the power to choose which thoughts to believe
•You have the power to choose which thoughts to ignore
•You have the power to change the flow of your thoughts
•The thoughts you give power to shape how you view your world

“Life is not as serious as many of us make it out to be – it is a temporary journey of discovery, learning, growing, and enjoying. If you can step of the seriousness and the confusion and the pain for just a moment, you will see that there is a whole world of opportunities waiting before you.”

The Power of Positive Energy: Everything you need to awaken your soul,  raise your vibration, and manifest an inspired life: Chubb, Tanaaz:  9781507202531: Amazon.com: Books

Thanks for reading!

Poetry Books

I was recommended a poetry book by a close friend, and I quickly fell in love with both the poet as well as poetry books overall. As much as I typically love novels, this was a perfect time for me to slow down and digest some thoughts and wisdom into my soul. I usually read poems individually through different online sites and social media, but there’s something I really like about going through an entire book’s full. I was able to put on some instrumental music and really get into the words written out on all the pages. In the past few months alone, I’ve actually made my way through five different books of poetry (with a few more on my list as well). I truly got so much out of reading these, so I wanted to share my recommendations:

1. Flowers On The Moon by Billy Chapata
This book has lowkey changed my life. The wisdom in this book written in small, digestible formats is one of my favorite things I’ve ever read. It’s relatable on so many levels, and there’s something in it for everyone. I actually bought over 10 copies of this book after finishing it, and have given it as gifts to my sister and my closest friends. I’ll likely buy more again at Christmas time for everyone I’ve missed. I couldn’t recommend this book more, and I actually suggest reading just one or two pages a day rather than the entirety at once.

2. She Must Be Mad by Charly Cox
The author broke this up into four parts: “she must be… in love”, “mad”, “fat” and “an adult”. I enjoyed each section for different reasons, and although all of them were relatable, I found myself going back to “she must be fat”. The content was eerily relatable and bought me through several points of the ongoing journey we have with our bodies. Her writing made me laugh, roll my eyes, and feel sorry for our younger selves. But somehow, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

3. Healing Her by Sez Kristiansen
While this was a quick read, I found this to be very satisfying. The themes of this book focus on women and our experiences with self-healing, awakening, emotional darkness, and self-love. The writing and the imagery felt full of compassion in a very gentle way that quieted my mind. I very much found a sense of peace while reading through this.

4. Sour Honey And Soul Food by Billy Chapata
I was already a fan of his going into this book, and he did not disappoint. One of the reasons I like this particular book of Billy Chapata’s, is that this very much is focused on the beauty and complexities of loving a woman. He writes with such respect, admiration, and gentleness in regards to women and relationships overall. The words are dynamic and beautiful and promote self-love above anything else.

5. Chameleon Aura by Billy Chapata
Again, being a big fan of Billy’s poetry, this book was very on brand with his normal themes of self-love. There was also a big focus on energy and growth. A lot of Billy’s poetry focuses on relationships and his perspectives often reassure me of the healthy relationship that I’m currently in. The way that he writes about women is lyrically beautiful, and I always feel very refreshed after reading through pages of his words.

More to come later in the year.

Thanks for reading!

Ross’ Bubbly Brunch

I was lucky enough to go to the grand post-shutdown re-opening of Ross’ Bubbly Brunch in Palm Springs over Memorial Day Weekend! Hosted at the Wine Lounge, the cast was packed with some incredible performers that did not disappoint. Ross was there himself to host, and I also got to meet Carson Kressley and Fortune Feimster, who both came to support, as well as tons of the “Straight Talk” family. It was truly one of the best days ever, and I hope I can go again – either in Palm Springs, or another city!

Performers included host Morgan McMichaels from Rupaul’s Drag Race, Ongina, Delta Work, Jasmine Masters, and Joey Jay also from Rupaul’s Drag Race, and Palm Springs’ legend Savannah Westbrooke.

To find upcoming dates and brunches, follow @rossbubblybrunch on Instagram or visit www.rossbubblybrunch.com.

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous Series

Go Ask Alice has always been one of my all time favorite books to read, and recently I discovered Jay’s Journal as well. After doing a couple quick google searches, I found that there is a whole series of novels published in the same style.

My best friend and I decided to read the rest of this “Anonymous” series by this publisher, which was five more books in addition to the two above. Each story was super unique from the next, but all were wildly intriguing. We planned to read one per month but ended up finishing all five in just over two months:


1. Lucky In The Sky
While this diary heavily focuses on her drug use, it feels very different from Go Ask Alice. It takes place sometime in the early 2010’s ish, somewhere near Los Angeles – so though this is not very hippy dippy, maybe this would be the more current version of the Go Ask Alice story? The main character is a party girl that gets wrapped up in the lifestyle – which is easy to do when you’re getting paraded around Malibu beach houses. While it ends somewhat abruptly, I very much enjoyed following her journey.

2. Calling Maggie May
This story is full of sadness and loneliness, and is based on that fact that everybody just wants to feel like they fit in somewhere. The lead in this book was very sheltered as a result of her family’s culture, and jumped at the first sign of a life that was not her own. Unfortunately for her, the first chance she has was a life of prostitution, and she gets thrown in almost immediately. I felt bad for her throughout most of the book, because she just wanted to belong to something to badly. She was looking for sisterhood and put her trust in the hands of people she barely knew. It gets more and more bleak, and honestly, ends pretty horribly. That being said, I enjoyed the way she wrote and would still recommend this.

3. Breaking Bailey
The way that this girl wrote, I forgot multiple times that I was reading a diary and not an actual fiction novel. Her story is honestly crazy – she gets shipped off to boarding school, does well in her chemistry classes, and ends up in a group of honor students who make meth on the side. The story takes off right away, and is coupled with a love story as well with one of the other members of the club. At first she is living a dream, until the pressure of keeping up their supply on top of the intense course load (and more) comes crashing down on her. This one is easily one of my favorites and I will definitely be re-reading this again soon.

4. Letting Ana Go
As someone who has struggled with eating disorders, this book was definitely hard to read. Her struggle is so intense and while I thought I’d be able to relate to some of what she was feeling, that was not necessarily the case. My personal experience was clearly different, and I found her struggle to be much more extreme. What was frustrating about this story was that a lot of her negative habits were forced on her by her friend and her friend’s mom, rather than her own decisions. It’s hard to see this story play out, and I found the ending to be somewhat unrealistic (even though this is based on true events).

5. The Book of David
I didn’t think I would like this one, but it turned out to be one of my favorites! The story is based on a “big secret”, which turns out to be that the football team quarterback is gay and in love with the new kid. Because this took place around 2010, I was confused on why this was such a big secret. However, he grew up in Arkansas in a very conservative and religious town, so I have to remember that my high school experience is not always the norm. This became an adorable love story that honestly sounded super similar to the movie Love, Simon. I don’t know if this was the inspiration, but I loved reading this. It’s also noteworthy that this is the only novel that has a somewhat happy ending where the main character does not die and leave the diary behind.

There were more books available by another publisher, so maybe we will eventually make our way through those. Even though these books can get rather dark, they are also easy and quick reads that are often relatable at the core. Honestly these are some of my favorite books and now I can’t stop thinking about all the journals that I have or haven’t kept over the years..

Anyway. Thanks for reading!

California Camping Road Trip

One of the trips that was canceled as a result of the pandemic was my ex’s lifelong dream of camping her way up to the Redwood Forrest. After reading The Legacy of Luna as a kid, Vanessa has wanted to see the Redwood trees for herself ever since. She had tried to plan the trip in 2019, we tried twice to make this happen in 2020, but it wasn’t until this April of 2021 that we were able to make her dream a reality. People probably don’t understand how ex’s can go on a trip together – especially since I’m in a relationship with someone else – but this felt absolutely normal to us and I didn’t want to miss out.

The trip was AMAZING! California is such a beautiful state, and I loved (almost) all of the campgrounds we stayed in. Vanessa actually cried when she saw the huge Redwood trees – multiple times, actually! We’ve got camping down to a routine, and it was great to have so much time off to just explore and enjoy. My favorite part of the entire trip was the 45 minutes we spent on this random beach we found on our drive – about 30 minutes south of where we stayed in the Redwood National Forrest. We got to run around with the dogs, had a ton of laughs, and it was completely serendipitous.

I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful that we were able to safely travel all over the state of California after a year of this pandemic. I’m thankful that I harvest healthy relationships in my life that lead to genuine long-term friendships. I’m thankful that the dogs are great travelers who make the trip extra fun. I’m thankful for the amazing and understanding girlfriend that I got to come home to. And I’m thankful that Vanessa still wanted to include me on this incredible adventure.

Here’s the rough breakdown of our trip followed by my video and some awesome pictures:

Day One: 6.5 hour drive from Tucson to Barton Flats Campground in San Bernardino National Forrest
Day Two: 9 hour drive to Kelsey Creek Campground in Clear Lake State Park
Day Three: 4.5 hour drive to Elk Prairie Campground in Redwood State and National Forrest
Day Four: 4.5 hour drive to Wildcat Campground in Hendy Woods State Park
Day Five: No driving! Another day in Hendy Woods
Day Six: 2 hour drive to Bodega Dunes Campground in Sonoma Coast State Park
Day Seven: 8.5 hour drive to Black Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park
Day Eight: 6.5 hour drive home to Tucson

This was honestly a once in a lifetime kind of trip, and I am so lucky to have gotten to experience this adventure this year.

Thanks for reading!

Shopping Online

The more shopping that I do online, the more success I have with getting everything that I ordered to fit me properly. I have a couple of tips and tricks of the trade, and since shopping online has basically become the norm, I thought I would share. (Just as a disclaimer – I’m not a fashion blogger, I’m not someone who gets paid or promoted to use or wear brands, I’m not an influencer, etc. I’m just a body positive girl who has some super simple tricks to share on how to wear the most of your orders.)

There’s three main tips that I have:

1. When possible, try to shop somewhere consistently. If you already know the brand, you’ll have a better understanding of the materials you’re about to purchase and their durability and wear. There are several shopping apps that even have many brands included in their list of products, so you can still have versatility in your wardrobe. Shopping on the same app/website also allows for you to gain points and get coupons for return business. (Pro Tip: Take pics of yourself in each garment when your clothing arrives for potential extra review/rewards points.)

2. DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIZE. I cannot stress this enough so I am going to say it again. Do not pay attention to the size. Sizing is not universal, even within a brand’s collection. INSTEAD: Pay attention to the measurements. By looking at measurements over sizing, I have a wardrobe that fits me accurately but ranges from size Small to XXXXL. That is not an exaggeration. Also, by paying attention to measurements, you can ensure the item will have the fit that you are looking for. To know your measurements initially, you can either manually measure yourself or look up the measurements of something that you already own and like that you bought online (or can look up). I usually compare items I’m shopping to things I already have ordered – which helps even more if it is from the same site. I know that anything that’s 19 to 28 inches in the shoulder will fit more on the looser side, where as anything smaller is going to be a bit more fitted. Something 23 inches in length is usually longer with my high-waisted pants, where as 19 inches or less is more crop-top length. (And so on…) By knowing my range, I can better ensure I’ll be able to wear everything I order comfortably.

3. Place your order with enough time to ensure you can find a backup if things do not fit. There’s always a chance that you don’t bat 100 with your order, and if you are planning for something specific, you don’t want to put yourself in a bind. If your order is for an event, make sure you plan ahead. (Side note: When things don’t fit, don’t procrastinate on your return process. If you end up with items that can’t be returned, you can always try to resell through apps or second-hand stores, re-gift the items, or donate to charity.)

I recently went to the mall to do some shopping in-person since I have some upcoming trips planned, but the dressing rooms are still not open due to the pandemic. As a result, this makes in-person shopping just as much of a gamble as online shopping. Yes, you can see the garments in your hands. This does help to ensure the material is what you are looking for. But not being able to try things on does not allow you to know how it would truly fit. Personally, since I was not able to compare the items with the measurements, I only had a 50%ish success rate in things that fit perfectly. The other 50% fit *~okay~* and might fit better when I lose a little weight or style it differently. Even still, without the benefit of trying things on, shopping in person or shopping online are close to the same.

Best of luck!

Thanks for reading.

From The Drafts: Movie Reviews Part 2

I’ve been going through my drafts, and this one has been sitting here for over a year. I have links for a list of movies from “last fall” and “this summer“, and I don’t even know what year this is referring to anymore (2019, maybe?). So in an effort to do some (almost) spring cleaning – here’s the reviews that have been sitting in draft mode for too long:

booksmarttBooksmart: A
Random, hilarious, brilliant. Undermarketed, underappreciated, underrated. Fantastic to see an LGBTQ plot line that wasn’t just a coming out story, and awesome to see a women dominated cast. I laughed a lot and was reminded of many Judd Apatow nuances that I enjoyed. It’s currently on Hulu so will be watching over and over.

murderMurder Mystery: A
Cheesy, corny, and hilariously funny if you like that type of humor. The goofiness and campiness of the film kept me laughing the whole time. And who doesn’t love a good murder mystery? Especially if the beautiful Jennifer Aniston is involved. Since it’s on Netflix, I’ll definitely be watching again.

yesterdayYesterday: B
I love the Beatles, so I was watching this movie for the soundtrack. And yeah, it was there, and the movie was decent, but I was definitely expecting more “wow”. It was a pretty mellow movie overall, but was still a cute film. I enjoyed the Beatles references and covers the most, which kinda took a bit to get to. But it was still a good movie, and I would watch it again.

MA 2

Ma: C
If you’ve watched the trailer, then you’ve basically seen the movie. The entire first hour is just setting up the fact that the kids are going to the house to party, and hardly anything scary happens til the second half of the movie. While there was a few good scary parts, it didn’t have a great ending and was overall pretty underwhelming.

There’s five movies left on the list that I didn’t get to watch and review just yet: Rocketman, Men In Black: International, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Good Boys, and Where’d You Go Bernadette. Maybe I’ll get to them eventually, maybe not, who knows.

Thanks for reading.

I Was Told There’d Be Cake – Essays by Sloane Crosley

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a loooong time. I’m not even sure how it ended up in my possession, but it’s been on my “to read” list for quite a while. I was finally able to dive in this month, thinking that a book of essays would be perfect for my schedule right now. I made my way through the book quicker than I expected.

Honestly, I only loved one of the essays in the book, and it was the first one. So it was kind of as if it set the book up to be super charismatic and funny, and then I was a little disappointed by what followed. The other essays that I started to like a little bit didn’t really have a concrete ending, so I’m not even sure if I liked them or if I just wasn’t as bored reading them as I was some of the others. There were several essays that I truly felt were just about nothing.

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I can tell that the author is a great writer, and had I only read the first essay, I’d be obsessed with her. I’m hoping and assuming that others enjoyed making their way through this book a little bit more than I did. (Regardless, you can find this wherever fine books are sold.)

Thanks for reading!

Jay’s Journal by Anonymous

jay 1After re-reading Go Ask Alice,  I got the suggestion to read Jay’s Journal as well. This was published by the same company, and was also a diary turned novel. Just like in Go Ask Alice, the main character indulges in things that ultimately lead to them losing their life. This journal was also found by the parents of a boy named Jay after his unfortunate suicide.

While Go Ask Alice is mainly focused around drugs, Jay’s Journal focuses more on Jay’s obsession with supernatural forces, devil worship, and voodoo. He calls this practice “O”, and it ranges from Ouija boards and tarot cards to the sacrifice of animals and jay 3consumptions of their raw organs and blood. While there is sometimes drug use, the cult mindset is apparent, and Jay is largely sucked in through his relationship and friends. A lot of the book is very dark, touches on depression, and ends kind of wildly.

I can’t help but wonder how much of this was fabricated and how much was truly authentic, especially in his mother’s notes in the end. I also wonder how much of the events recapped were figments of Jay’s imagination versus true memories. Either way, the story was intriguing and a good follow-up if Go Ask Alice leaves you wanting more. I’m sure you can find this wherever fine books are sold.

Thanks for reading!

5 Goals for 2021

Well. Here’s the thing. Did I meet all of my goals for 2020? Honestly? No. Not all of them. However, I’m not going to be hard on myself about that. 2020 was a fuck of a year. I did what I could, and it wasn’t a total loss, but I’m not quite where I expected to be when I set these goals in the beginning of last year. I’m still unsure what to expect for 2021, but I’m hoping a vaccine starts to show us a world returning to normal. I’m proud of the work I’ve done to adjust during this pandemic, so I have high hopes for this new year. Here are my goals for 2021:

1. I’m happy to report that in both 2019 and 2020, I set and achieved – actually surpassed – my goal of reading at least one book per month. I have no problem believing that this will be a goal that I can reach again this year, and I already have a long list of what I’d like to read.

2. My writing goal from last year went so/so, but I’d like to keep this as a priority for going into the next year. My big goal for 2020 was to finish the rough draft of a book.. and I got 1/4 of the way done. I fell off heavily from my blog, but I was ably to rally at the end of the year and back date a bunch of posts. (I’m still working on a few!) I don’t think it’s realistic for me to write one post a week without drawing my attention away from other projects, so I’m making the goal of one blog post per month for 2021. I’m hoping I also spend time writing the book I was working on, a new one, maybe a collection of essays or even poems, etc. I’m going to open my mind up to whatever creative process fuels my motivation.

3. My finances were actually doing better as a result of the pandemic – a combination of canceled trips and stimulus checks resulted in this. However, I did just move into a new house and spent a ton on Christmas presents, so I wouldn’t say it’s in a fantastic spot at this point. I’d definitely like this to be a focus for myself for 2021, although I already know I have many expenses coming up. Budging and not overspending will be key, and hopefully I’m able to at least cut my debt in half.

4. I’m not thrilled about it, but I gained a ton of weight in quarantine. I’m serious when I say a lot – I gained over 30 pounds in two months when I started working from home. I tried to lose some prior to my cousin’s wedding last August, and I got maybe 10 of those 30 pounds off .. but roughly 5 have been gained back. So.. I’m 25 pounds heavier than I want to be, and I would like that to change. I still have tons of clothes in my closet that I haven’t been able to wear since gaining this pandemic weight, and I want feel as good as I did about my body pre-COVID. So.. 25 pounds need to come off.

5. I want to get vaccinated, and I want to be able to travel again! Assuming everything will be safe, I want to go to new places, plan spontaneous trips, explore new cities, and have some genuine adventure.

One of my other goals from last year was to get move involved with activism or human rights, and 2020 didn’t give me much of a choice. I feel very fortunate to have attended BLM protests and vigils, and I’m still doing a lot of education for myself on this area. I’d still like to keep this a main focus in my life. I also wanted to maintain a life where I only allow good energy into my life, and I feel as though I’ve successfully adapted this as a regular practice into my life.

I’m overall very happy with where I am and looking forward to what is in store for me this upcoming 12 months. Cheers to leaving the past where it belongs and keeping a positive and healthy mindset for 2021.

Thanks for reading!

Books I Read In 2020

booksI set a list of goals in the beginning of 2020, and not quite all of them were met due to the unknown circumstances that 2020 brought on. However, I was able to complete my goal regarding reading. I wanted to read at least one book per month, just as I did in 2019, and I again was able to surpass that goal. Here is a list of all the books I made my way through in 2020:

1.  The Shining by Stephen King

2.   Name Drop by Ross Mathews

3. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

4 & 5. GuRu and Workin’ It! by RuPaul

6. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn 

7. Storms Never Last by Joy Elaine McMillan

8. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous 

9. Judge This Cover by Brittany Renner

10. Playground by Jennifer Saginoir

11. Screw Cancer; Becoming Whole by Molly Kochan

12. Bunny Tales by Izabella St. James

13. The Girls Next Door

14. Libra Book

15. When by Daniel H. Pink 

You can find all the books I read in 2019 here. Looking forward to 2021!

Thanks for reading.

2020 Thoughts

Well, 2020 has really been a fuck of a year.. so here’s some thoughts on that.

What’s crazy is that the year actually started out really well. I got to do several fun things in the first couple of months, I was making progress on all of my goals, and I had tons of vacations planned. So when COVID hit, a lot of things changed. I had to cancel trip upon trip – pretty much all of plans that I had for the spring. I started working from home, and what we thought would be two weeks to two months is now going on month number nine.

At first, the trips being canceled was the biggest downside for me. I was actually enjoying working from home and spending time with my girlfriend, and I was thankful for everything I had amidst a really tough time in the world. I was doing different projects and writing and overall had a decent experience the first several months.

After the days started to all blend together, my mental health started to take a toll. Work was slow, and I was home alone for most of the day with just myself and the dogs. My socialization had decreased in this crazy way, and the most interactions I was having regularly was literally on Animal Crossings. I often felt the weight of the walls closing in on me, and I did my best to find distractions and breaks in the day, but it was hard. I then went through a break-up, which was difficult because I thought I was going to lose the person that I was closest to on top of everything else I was battling in my head. I was mostly afraid of being more alone than I already felt. Although there was a lot to work through as we transitioned from relationship to friendship, I’m so thankful that I didn’t lose her during that time.

There was a three or four month period after that where I was on and off active with my depression. It came in waves, and sometimes I let it consume me. It didn’t take long for me to get so sick of being sad all the time, especially in contrast to how happy I was after first moving to Arizona. So basically, I decided to put in the work.

It wasn’t easy at all. There was a lot of work to do. A lot of reflection, internal dialogue, perspective shifting, and inner-demon battling. But I opened up in therapy and was honest about where I was at. I opened up to my best friend and my girlfriend-turned-roommate as best as I could. I focused on things that made me feel like myself. I set goals, and did everything I could to stick to them. I worked on setting up healthy habits in this “new normal” and getting back into a daily routine. I found ways to bring myself joy, and was able to better focus my mindset in a way that serviced me rather than hindered me.

After working on myself and feeling like I was just about back to a good and healthy mental state, I met someone new. I honestly wasn’t sure at that moment if I was ready to jump into something romantic again, feeling like the weight of my break-up and mental health struggle were not that far in my past. However, I remembered something that one of my best friend’s had told me, “Why wait to feel happiness?” This new person made me insanely happy. She’s absolutely amazing, and she is not worth missing out on. We’ve been letting things progress naturally, but I’m so thankful that I was able to put the work in on myself and keep myself open to new love. The way that she makes me feel could not have been more worth it, and I’m so happy to be the best version of myself for her (and me!).

As I go into this new year, I’m actually insanely happy and grateful. I feel so lucky and fortunate for all the friendships and love that I have harvested in my life. I feel surrounded by people who are genuine and authentic and care about me genuinely. I’m proud of myself for having the emotional intelligence to understand how to best care for myself. I’m thankful I was able to put in the work to get to where I am today. And I’m cautiously hopeful for what 2021 could bring me.

Thanks for reading.

When by Daniel H. Pink

As one of my personal goals for my job, I tasked myself with reading a book for my own professional growth. I reached out to my friend who has often given me good professional advice, and she recommended a few different books to me. The one that stuck out to me the most was called When by Daniel H. Pink, and explored the use of our personality types to use timing to our advantage. Since I was often struggling to get lesser-priority projects done, this concept appealed to me. How can I utilize the ebbs and flows of my day to get the most done? I was pleasantly surprised by how useful and informative I found the book’s information. I took over 10 pages of notes in a notebook, and turned this into a presentation for my co-workers.

Here’s all the information that was included in my Powerpoint presentation to my teammates on how to get the most productivity out of your day:

There are 3 typical parts to your day: Peak (highest level of productivity), Trough (break or lull in the day), Rebound (small boost of productivity).

CHRONOTYPE: a personal pattern of circadian rhythms that influences our physiology and psychology

How to figure out your type: Advanced: track your day for 2 weeks to see peak/trough/rebound patterns; Simple: Ask yourself, What time do you go to sleep? What time do you wake up? And what is the mid-point? 12AM – 3 AM: Lark  4AM – 5 AM: Third Birds   6AM – 12PM: Owl

Larks, Owls, and Third Birds: Larks (most active in the morning: PEAK, TROUGH, REBOUND), Owls (most active at night: REBOUND, TROUGH, PEAK), Third Birds (somewhere in the middle).

Finding where you lean can help to make the rebound productivity easier. Essentially, you should figure out your type, understand your tasks, and select the appropriate time to get things done. Do your most important work during your peak and less priority items during your rebound.

Fun Fact: Thomas Edison spent more time in the lab at night rather than during the day.

Inspiration Paradox: when innovation and creativity are greatest when we are not at our best

Coffee Tips: Don’t drink coffee or other forms of caffeine until at least an hour after you’ve been awake, so as to activate natural chemicals in your brain that make you feel awake. Also, for a proper boost, you should drink some coffee right before taking a 10-20 minute nap, and you will wake up feeling rested just as the caffeine kicks in.

Tips for a better morning: 1. Drink a glass of water when you wake up 2. Don’t drink coffee immediately 3. Soak up the morning sun 4. Schedule talk therapy appointments for the morning

RESTORATIVE BREAKS: Breaks help to maintain focus and reactivate our commitment.

Breaks can help to mitigate your trough of the day, can reduce errors, reduce turnover, reduce stress, and improve overall mood. This can often make lunch the most important meal of the day, not breakfast.

Tip: DO NOT EAT LUNCH AT YOUR WORKSPACE: lunchtime is an important recovery setting.

Tips for Breaks: Something is better than nothing (even a quick breaks is good); Moving beats stationary (walk around); Social beats solo (socializing helps to replenish); Outside beats inside (get into nature!); Fully detached beats semi-detached (unplug! stop talking about work!

Best recommendation for a restorative break: consider a short walk outside with a friend during which you discuss non-work related things.

What to do if you don’t have control over your daily schedule: 1. Be aware: take precautions, like prepping the night before an early meeting 2. Work the margins: use downtime to your advantage

Image result for when daniel h pink

I hope this is able to help inspire some productivity! For more information on timing, processes, and more, you can find this book wherever fine books are sold.

Thanks for reading!

Top 5 Schitt’s Creek Moments

My new obsession and current favorite show is Schitt’s Creek, and I’m honestly mad at myself for waiting so long to indulge. My whole family is obsessed with this show – from my parents, to my sister, and even my grams. It’s truly a cultural phenomenon, and I couldn’t recommend more. Here’s a list of my top 5 moments from the entire series (warning: may contain spoilers):

The Wine Scene: After Stevie and David hook up, Stevie has some questions regarding David’s sexuality. This is where the wonderful wine analogy was born! Stevie tells David that she only drinks red wine, and she thought that David also only drank red wine. David then responds, “I do drink red wine, but I also drink white wine. And I’ve been known to sample the occasional rose. And a couple summers back, I tried a merlot that used to be a chardonnay .. I like the wine and not the label, does that make sense?” This is truly a beautiful expression of how open and fluid sexuality can be, and I am incredibly here for it.

A Little Bit Alexis: During her audition for Cabaret, Alexis blesses us with a dance to the theme song from her reality series, A Little Bit Alexis. This is pure genius and absolute hilarity. “I’m a Lamborghini; I’m a Hollywood star; I’m a little bit tipsy when I drive my car. I’m expensive sushi; I’m a huge huge yacht; I’m a little bit single even when I’m not.” It’s brilliant.

Life Is A Cabaret: The entire Cabaret production is just total fun, and this is my favorite episode of the entire series. A lot of good things happen in this episode, but Stevie’s performance of “Maybe This Time” makes me emotional every single time. There’s so much emotion at a time when you have so much love for these characters, and you can’t help but feel what they are feeling along with them. “Maybe this time, it’s gonna happen, maybe this time, maybe this time I’ll win!”

Simply The Best: I don’t think it’s possible to watch this show and not be obsessed with David and Patrick’s relationship. They are absolutely adorable, and their love story was a big win for LGBTQ television. The two scenes that really get to me most revolve around the song “Simply The Best”. Patrick first sings this song to David during the open mic night at Rose Apothecary, and David then does his own performance to the song in order to make things up to Patrick after a fight. Both are completely heartfelt moments where you fall in love as they do.

Precious Love: I believe this is the season 2 finale, and this scene does a great job of bringing the family together in a way that really warms your heart. The entire Rose family congregates at a local barn party, where the kids were not expecting to see their parents. They all smile and dance together as a family to the song “Precious Love”, and it’s an adorable way to end the season.

Honorable mention: There’s a super quick moment in one episode where the Roses attend Roland and Joslyn’s party, where they are offered some weed. Johnny takes a big hit of the joint, and promptly shot guns the smoke to Moira without missing a beat. Moira already knew to lean in for the shot gun, as if this was routine for them, and she calmly and cooly holds the hit in her lungs while they watch Roland struggle with his turn. It’s couple goals, it’s boss bitch energy, and it’s a true moment of pure gold.

You can of course binge this incredible series entirely on Netflix, and I suggest you get started immediately.

Thanks for reading!

Ross Mathews Presents: The Loony Bin

Writing this post is kind of crazy. I’ve been a listener of the Straight Talk with Ross podcast for years now, and I’ve tried to get as involved as I possibly can. Being a huge Ross Mathews fan, the show was always such a fun community for me. Well, now I get to join it officially.

Ross reached out to me asking about my interest in this new idea he has. I don’t listen to Howard Stern, but I guess he has a group of regular call-in characters that he calls “The Wack Pack”, and Ross wants to do something similar. He asked me and four other “super-listeners” if we would like to be a part of what Ross is going to call, “The Loony Bin.”

As a Loony Bin member, I will get to be on the show every week. I’m gonna say that again. I AM GOING TO BE ON THE PODCAST EVERY SINGLE WEEK!!!!!

Since the podcast has been recorded via Zoom due to the pandemic, the five of us “Loons” will be given the link every week and we will dial in with the rest of the hosts. We will have our video/audio on and off throughout the podcast recording, so as to give the effect that we are “in the bin” (aka in or out of certain segments). We’ll be a part of different games and discussions and will also get to ask questions to our guests that come on the program. I am stoked!

This is honestly crazy. It’s one thing to have Ross answer my phone calls or play my voicemails on the podcast, but I never in a million years expected to be invited to be a regular part of the program. I’m so excited to get involved in something that I have loved so much for so long. The Straight Talk community has been an amazing experience to be a part of so far, and I couldn’t be more hype.

So! I’m definitely not going to write a post every single week being on the show, but maybe I’ll do an update after a year or something. I can’t even believe where things are, especially thinking back to how things started. Regardless, I could be more thankful and excited.

Thanks for reading!

Bunny Tales by Izabella St James

As I continue my Playboy deep dive, and I found myself rereading all my Playboy favorites. This was my second time reading Bunny Tales by Izabella St. James, which is basically a manual for all things Playboy circa 90’s and 2000’s. If you want some serious inside info, this is where you should go.

The book starts off with Izabella’s back story, which includes her family escaping communism in Poland. The story is interesting but gets a little long, but it’s somewhat important if you want to get to know and understand Izabella. However, if you’re only interested in Hef and the mansion, then skip the first 2-3 chapters and get straight to the good stuff. (Fun Fact: She actually meets Hef somewhat through “Dr. Feelgood,” the dad from Playground!)

The book spends an entire chapter on all the subjects and their details that you’re dying to know:

  • The mansion layout and details, including the famous grotto
  • Previous girlfriends and the drama behind the rotation of blondes
  • The daily routines of Hef
  • The weekly routines of the girlfriends
  • The girlfriend rules and how they were broken
  • The financials spent on the parade of girlfriends and their luxuries
  • How things went down in the bedroom
  • Events and mansion parties (and the club scene)
  • All the ins and outs of Mr Playboy himself, and more!

She gets real, breaks things down, gives you the details of the drama, and probably covers her ass here and there as well, in all honestly. She definitely makes a point to paint herself in a good light in all situations, though she was not separated whatsoever from the scene and the drama.

As someone who wants to know all the behind-the-scenes of the elaborate world that Mr. Hefner created around himself, this book gave me everything I was looking for. The unique insight is captivating and fascinating, and only just scratches the surface of a multi-decade story. With that being said, I definitely intend to read more.

Thanks for reading!

Quarantine Diaries: Traveling Home Part 2

I’ve already done some traveling during covid, but I had to go back east again for my cousin’s wedding. If I’m gonna fly all the way home, I usually make a whole trip out of it, since I don’t go home super often. After the wedding (which was SO fun), I spent some time with friends down the shore and in Philly, and also spent plenty of time with my family.

Here’s some pics from the trips:

15I mentioned before that I’ve flown both American Airlines and Delta, and that Delta was far superior during times of covid. That statement still stands, as they are still doing their best to social distance the plane and boarding procedures. American Airlines is still operating as normal, which is why I feel much safer flying Delta these days. Not sure that I’ll be flying again until the holidays, but happy to answer any questions on this that anyone might have in order to stay safe.

Thanks for reading!

Screw Cancer; Becoming Whole by Molly Kochan

An amazing human who I know and love named Nikki Boyer sadly lost her nearly lifelong friend Molly to cancer last year. Before she passed, Nikki was able to document her unique and intriguing stories through a podcast called Dying For Sex. The podcast is a 10 episode series that journeys Molly’s sexual escapades as she simultaneously entered a terminal cancer diagnosis. It’s a story that’s nothing like I’ve ever heard, offering an uncharted perspective. In addition to the podcast, Molly also did some writing as her health declined, which Nikki was able to turn into a book about a year after her passing.

Unfortunately, Molly’s story is somewhat dark, and involves a broken family and experiences of sexual abuse. This affected many many aspects of Molly’s life, which she is able to reflect on in a cathartic yet completely truthful way. Once getting her second cancer diagnosis, it’s like she dove headfirst into the insight of her life and decided actively on how she wanted to spend the rest of it. Her strength is admirable – both in her reflections and in her struggles through cancer.

The way that Molly writes is real, raw, and contains incredible clarity. You can see her thought processes laid out on the pages, and her authenticity shines through. It’s a true gift that she was able to find and share her voice, even if in the last chapter of her life.

To read Molly’s story, you can order the book on Amazon or other various vendors. I also highly recommend listening to the podcast as well, Dying For Sex, to hear Molly’s voice.

Thanks for reading.

Playground by Jennifer Saginor

playground2This is one of my absolute all-time favorite books of my entire life! I’ve read this book multiple times, and probably find my way back to it every several years (just like Go Ask Alice).  I’m a HUGE fan of Playboy, and this book was what opened the doors into all of my Hugh Hefner knowledge. Honestly, no one can convince me that this isn’t one of the greatest books that exists – it’s freaking amazing. 

This is the very real story of Jennifer Saginor, whose dad was a very well-known doctor in LA. He img_2482also happened to be best friends with Hugh Hefner, and was known as “Dr. Feel Good”. He spent ample time at the Playboy mansion, and brought his daughters along with him. Jennifer’s life is never the same after her first trip to the mansion, where she sees a playmate screwing John Belushi at just six years old. The infamous playground and the lifestyle that comes with it becomes intoxicating to Jennifer and starts to swallow her whole. From wild parties with A list celebrities, to a secret affair with one of Hef’s girlfriends, to all the drugs anyone could ever want – the journey is quite a crazy ride. 

carrie leighIn a weird way, this book has wildly impacted my life. The book made me fascinated by all the mansion adventures, intrigued by the LA lifestyle, and absolutely obsessed over the true identity of Kendall (My best guess is Carrie Leigh, but even after hours of research, I’m still not 100% sure!) It’s helped me to escape from reality, understand my sexuality, and gave me unique and amazing insight into a legendary empire. I respect and admire Jennifer so much for everything she’s been through, and for being willing to be vulnerable and share her story. I actually recently reached out to her on Instagram as a fan, and got a really nice response!

img_2483playgroundThis a fascinating, interesting, heartbreaking and infatuating story, and I HIGHLY suggest getting your copy wherever fine books are sold. I’m currently going into a full Playboy deep dive, so stay tuned as I make my way through more books as well as the full series of The Girls Next Door

Thanks for reading.

VOTE! (By Mail)

vote 4The election this year is HEAVY – for many reasons. 2020 has been a shit-show of a year, and we have not had the proper administration to handle the state of the world. As a result, voting is more important than ever. The pandemic obviously makes this election problematic, so please make sure you utilize your resources to vote safely.

Today is voting day for Arizona, but I’ve already sent my ballot in by mail. You can visit the @votesaveamerica Instagram for all kinds of voting resources, including information and deadlines for voting by mail.

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You can also request a mail-in ballot and get more information on your state, visit vote.org or usa.gov. To stay informed and to see what’s on your ballot, you can visit ballotpedia.org rockthevote.org, or vote411.org.

Thanks for reading.

Ross Mathews Posted My Del Taco Video

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My virtual love affair with Ross Mathews continues, as one of my videos has been posted onto the Kish Kish Club on Patreon! I got the notification and saw my name, and I almost couldn’t believe it! Ross is shimply the best, and the fact that I get to be so involved with the podcast is truly unbelievable to me. 

On recent episodes, Ross had encouraged the ordering of the “Double Del Cheeseburger” from Del Taco. This has led to quite a saga, as Fagsy did not order the right item the first time and had to go back for a second try. img_1723Since then, lots of Straight Talk fans have been giving the burger a try, including myself! I filmed my adventures in ordering via the drive-thru and my thoughts while eating the burger, and edited it into a 2 minute video. I pulled up an email to Ross Mathews, attached the video, and hit send!

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The burger was actually really good, by the way. I had only had Del Taco once in my life – and that was after hearing about it on Grace And Frankie. We don’t have Del Taco back east, so I was eager to try it when I moved out west. The only Del Taco in Tucson is a little far from where I live, so I only had it one time before this excursion. I ordered a taco and fries, which really blew my mind – since you can’t do that at Taco Bell! Fries and tacos… what a dream. 

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The video is really only available to watch if you are a part of the Kish Kish Club, which costs less that $7 on Patreon. Sorry that I can’t post it here, but I’m just happy that Ross posted it at all! You can hear Ross mention that he posted the video on episode 331 (released on July 31st, titled “Feminine Crunch”) in the last three minutes of the show. 

Thanks for reading!

RuPaul’s Drag Race Emmy Nominations

img_1650img_1651Okay, I know I’ve really been going HARD for RuPaul and Drag Race lately. But guess what? I’m not the only one giving this show some major buzz. Especially considering the show has just been nominated for 13 Emmys!! Last year, they had 14 nominations as well, and in both 2018 and 2019, the show first won big for “Outstanding Competition Program”, and RuPaul won for “Outstanding Host for a Reality Program”. Again, this year had a list of 13 nominations:

RuPaul’s Drag Race:
Outstanding Competition Program
Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Competition Program
Outstanding Directing For A Reality Program
Outstanding Casting For A Reality Program
Outstanding Cinematography For A Reality Program
Outstanding Costumes For Variety, Non Fiction, Or Reality Program
Outstanding Picture Editing For Structured Or Competition Reality Program
Outstanding Contemporary Makeup For A Variety, Non Fiction, Or Reality Program (Non-Prosthetic)
Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Non Fiction Or Reality Program
Outstanding Contemporary Hair Styling For A Variety, Non Fiction, Or Reality Program

RuPaul’s Drag Race: UnTucked:
Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program
Outstanding Picture Editing For An Unstructured Reality Program

Out Of The Clost:
Outstanding Short Form Non Fiction Or Reality Series

Other notable queer nominations include Billy Porter for Outstanding Lead Actor in Pose, Laverne Cox for Outstanding Guest Actress in Orange Is The New Black, and 6 total nominations for Queer Eye!

The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel; Tune into ABC on Sunday, September 20th, 2020 to watch.

Thanks for reading!

Judge This Cover by Brittany Renner

brittanyI was fascinated by Brittany Renner since the first second I ever laid eyes on her, via Instagram of course. I pressed that follow button instantly and let @bundleofbrittany level up my Instagram feed. She has this incredible bad bitch confidence – someone you want to both be and be with at the time time. She published a “tell-all” book in 2018, where she told the stories of seven high-profile men she’s had experiences with. After seeing her constant reposts on her Insta stories of everyone reading her book, I finally caved and decided I needed to see what all the drama was about. 

img_1635Judge This Cover is a compilation of seven stories with seven different men – all whose names have been changed. Now with a bit of digging on the internet, someone on Twitter was able to find the clues that led to who is who. I read the article that listed the real men behind the stories in this book, and HOLY FUCK. Like, we are talking HIGH high profile. She definitely did what she could to hide things – she flipped Tyga to an athlete, and talked about attending a game rather than a performance. And with Drake, she referred to his “team”, which also could have him mistaken for an athlete. But ya know, leave it to Twitter to uncover all the breadcrumbs. 

img_1643Her early life and what she’s been through was really interesting; I could have read an entire book on the stories that were quickly covered during the intro section. I think this project was cathartic for her, but she chose to only focus on the men in her life that hurt her. I’ll admit that it would certainly be harder to be this vulnerable with family, but it definitely would have been an interesting read. 

img_1633The seven chapters with the seven men are really not split up evenly whatsoever. The first man actually takes up the entire first half of the fucking book, so he’s clearly made a big impact on her life. I mean, she did leave school and sports for him, and the whole situation was really wild. (It should really be made into a movie or TV series someday.) The rest of the men were quick stories to flip through, but each one made an impact in its own way. I appreciate her honesty in recounting the events, as she was not afraid to tell things like it is. The way she wrote this overall was really interesting, as it was written to the men. She recounted events and feelings as if she was writing them each their own love letter. She’s speaking directly to them, while the whole world reads. This kind of vulnerability is really powerful and makes such a statement. I was truly intrigued. 

img_1634I enjoyed reading this book much more than I was expecting to. I found that I can relate to her in the fact that her story seems tied up in other people, yet she’s fiercely independent and can completely stand on her own. She is such a captivating human, and the way she loves is unique and passionate. All these stories have clearly affected her life quite a bit, and love makes you do crazy things.

img_1644She’s recently gotten into a new relationship, which looks sweet and promising. However, it’s definitely changed her Instagram just a smidge, and I noticed that she’s archived a lot of her old posts. I still recommend following her anyway, watching her YouTube videos, and definitely grabbing a copy wherever books are sold. After reading the book, I actually posted a pic to my Instagram story, and she reposted me! I’m still really hype about it. 

Thanks for reading!

Ross Mathews Podcast Updates

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I feel like as time goes on, my interactions with Ross Mathews become more and more normal.. but they aren’t at all! It’s still truly crazy and awesome that Ross reads my emails, listens to my voicemails, and now has even had me on the show via zoom! There’s three episodes that I’ve been featured on that I haven’t documented just yet, so here they are:

 

img_1727Episode 322 – Red Underpants, May 16
Apparently, Ross had sent out a tweet that he was asking for questions from listeners, but I had no idea and just sent in a normal lengthy voicemail like I normally do. Ross teased how I didn’t ask a question in the whole voicemail, and asked for random times to play and see whatever I was saying at that moment. This new game starts at one hour, 3 minutes, and 10 seconds (1:03:10).

 

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Episode 323 – I Don’t Wanna, May 22
Okay, so maybe I was a little bummed after hearing the previous episode. You see, I was really hoping to be a guest on the podcast someday! And the new game that Ross played with my voicemail led to jokes of how I couldn’t be a guest because I’d never stop talking. Feeling discouraged, I sent a short voicemail to Ross explaining that the voicemails are just for fun but that I promise I don’t dominate all conversations in my life. I still felt I would be a great guest on the podcast, and I sorta accidentally got my wish! Ross first emailed me back, saying how much he appreciated me and that it was all in good fun. He then played my discouraged voicemail on the podcast, which I will admit was the first time I actually got embarrassed. THEN – he sent me a link to a zoom meeting via email, and invited me to actually come on the show! I quickly clicked in, and was able to talk to the gang for about 10 minutes or so! So in the end, it all worked out. The voicemail is played around minute 10:47, and I come on as a guest around minute 19:48. You can actually watch the video stream via the Kish Kish Club on Patreon for less than $7 a month.

 

img_1728Episode 324 – Mom, June 12
As if there wasn’t enough darkness in the world right now, Ross unfortunately suffered the loss of his mother sometime towards the end of May/early June. There was a break in the podcasts for obvious reasons, and the whole community stood by Ross as he took time to heal. We all sent messages, thoughts, prayers, and all the love we have. I sent in a voicemail with my condolences, along with lots of hearts, comments, and positivity. When they did return to the podcast, Ross dedicated the show to his amazing mother, and spent the show paying tribute to her memory. My voicemail to Ross is played around minute 21:21. R.I.P Gay Mathews. ♡

 

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You can find Straight Talk With Ross wherever you listen to podcasts, or for a direct link to all episodes, CLICK HERE. You can also follow the podcast on Instagram @hellorosspod.

img_1726I’ve talked with Ross about possibly having some sort of segment on the show, something on the Kish Kish Club on Patreon, or another kind of participation and involvement. We definitely don’t have a clear picture of what that looks like just yet, but I’m excited to see what happens moving forward. I really love this group of people and it makes me so happy to be a part of the family.

So, hopefully there’s a lot more to come!

Thanks for reading!

Quarantine Diaries: Traveling Home

So originally, my cousin was supposed to get married at the end of June. My girlfriend and I had planned a nice mini “East Coast tour” centered around the fact that I had to go home anyway for this wedding. Our plans included seeing my hometown as well as the city of Philadelphia, New York City, and the Jersey shore. Unfortunately, COVID had forced my cousin to push back the date of his wedding. What’s more, there was many places we wanted to go that were now not open for business. So, we had to rearrange our plans.

We certainly thought about not going at all, but instead shortened our trip and were still able to see a modified version of our original list. NYC was definitely out, but we did get a very quick driving tour of old city Philly in. We also got to spend some time with my friends in Philly, which included going to Morgan’s Pier and hanging out at my friend’s apartment with a great cheese plate. We also spent time in my hometown and with my family, and went down to Wildwood Crest for the weekend. Vanessa (who grew up in the desert) was obsessed with all the trees, greenery and landscaping, which really cracked my family up. We stopped to, quite literally, smell the flowers, and to take pictures with trees.  The beach was also awesome, of course, and we were able to do some kayaking and paddle boarding while we were down as well. We did a lot, but also did a lot less than we were going to pre-COVID. But truly, we had a great time! It was nice to spend some time at home, of course, but was also nice to plan a vacation centered around my hometown. I really enjoyed it. 

Traveling during COVID was obviously a little daunting and worrisome, but it wasn’t too bad. Here’s what I’ll say – this is a time where the airline you choose really matters. We flew American Airlines, where travel was pretty much business as normal. Our flights were 80% full or higher, with some even being completely full. Masks were required, of course, unless you were eating. The flight attendants gave you a little goodie bag when you got on the plane, and then didn’t really walk up and down the isles except to collect trash at the end. But again, otherwise it was just like any other American flight I’ve been on. I traveled home again about a month later, where I flew Delta. This was an entirely different experience. First off, they were not booking any middle row seats, so the plane was much more spread out. This already really eased a lot of anxiety. On several flights, I even had an entire row to myself. They also boarded the plane from back to front, where as American boarded front to back – which doesn’t make a lot of sense, since you’re forcing everyone to pass each other. The attendants still gave you a goodie bag, as well as wipes. They definitely walked up and down the isles a bit more than on American, but perhaps that was because of how spread out everyone was. After those two experiences, I would definitely recommend to fly Delta during COVID if you are traveling. Now, I’ll be traveling home AGAIN next month, where I’m flying American one direction and Delta the other, so I can give an update then on if this was a one-off experience or if you really should stick to Delta. 

I really didn’t take as many pictures as I could have, but here’s a collection of some of the good ones I found:

 

Thanks for reading! 

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

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Go Ask Alice is one of my most favorite books of all time. It’s a classic, it never gets old, and I could read it again and again. Actually, I have – probably over 8 times at this point. Every couple of years I get reminded of it and come back to it, and it never disappoints.

The book is a true story, and is the very real pages of a girl’s diary from the 70’s. Nothing is fabricated – it’s simply a compilation of the pages she wrote about her life. The girl gets mixed in with drugs, and she writes about the rabbit hole she goes down. She also writes about her endeavors to stay away from drugs, and how her old crown torments her. It’s a wildly interesting ride, and I continuously get back in line again and again. 

My fascination with this book runs deep, and we have quite a history. The go ask alice 2first time I obtained a copy of the book, it was from my hometown library. I wanted to reread the book and forgot to check it out again, and instead just never returned it. I only had to pay them the price of the book, so I essentially bought it from the library for like $10. For whatever reason, I liked that it had the tags and stuff on the spine. It was a special copy for me. Then in college I lent it to this girl, whose idiot brother attempted to return it to their hometown local library. Safe to say I never saw that book again, and I’m definitely still bitter! I purchased a Kindle version years later when I had found my way back to it, and this year purchased a new copy when I found my way back again.

Also, when I was in college, I took a class called “Oral Interpretation”. We basically took pieces of text and had to perform them, thus switching the intended media. For one of the assignments, I took the section of the book in which the girl does LSD for the first time and memorized it for a performance. It was roughly 3 pages stored in my head of her experience of unknowingly doing drugs and the ride she went on. I had such fun, and definitely got an A. 

go ask alice movie

I never realized there was a movie that went along with this book, but it doesn’t do it full justice. The film was made in the 70’s and is only about an hour long. It’s definitely got that 70’s movie quality with the signature bad acting, and kinda felt like an old after-school special. Some lines from her diary entries were read as a sort of voice-over narration for the main character, and some of the lines were exact from the book. The movie overall wasn’t awful, but was very cheesy and definitely low-budget. I did love all the 70’s style clothing and the fact that it featured “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane, which is famously known for referencing the “Alice in Wonderland” metaphor as well. Feed your head.

Honestly, go ask aliceplease please read this book. It’s so crazy and fascinating and interesting and takes you through so many ups and downs. It’s a quick read, and you will get hooked and fall right down the rabbit hole with her. Available wherever fine books are sold! 

Thanks for reading. 

Storms Never Last by Joy Elaine McMillan

IMG-1329I’ve had a long time fascination with the Playboy Enterprises, Hugh Hefner, and the women wrapped up in it all. So going into reading Storms Never Last, I was definitely excited to get a perspective that was from a different time period than I’m used to reading about. However, many things were not exactly what I was expecting.

Since the tagline of the book reads, “Memoirs Of A Playboy Bunny”, I was assuming I was going to read somewhat about the earlier years of Hef (most of the stories in the book took place in the 60’s). However, this woman was not only in Cleveland, Ohio rather than LA, but also never even met Hef a day in her life. After reading that, I honestly almost stopped reading the book. But it was short, and I felt obligated to see it through til the end.

So basically, she worked in the Playboy Club that was located in Cleveland. These clubs were popular in many major cities, and there was a set of rules that came along with working as a Bunny. This was the only part of the book that I really liked or learned anything – when she was describing the rules alongside the job. Their uniforms had to fit certain ways, they had to stand in specific positions, and give branded responses to questions. None of this shocked me, given what I know about how Hef ran things in the mansion.

That being said, the part that involved the Playboy Clubs was very short, as she didn’t even work there for very long. Most of the book was just random attempts at claim to fame. She talked about her husbands (who were all fame-adjacent) and how she attempted to make it big as a model and actress. She had a very strange “little ol’ me” attitude, and honestly didn’t come off as super intelligent. She also spent a long time talking through murders of other women who worked in the clubs, and how she interacted with people who later became known serial killers.

It’s kind of as though this girl thought she was super interesting, or at least desperately wanted to be interesting. So the book is more or less about anything that could even a little bit make her remotely notable. I’m also confused if she had a writer for this or if she just had a nickname, since the author is listed as Joy but the women in the book was named Betty. I wish I had enjoyed the book more so that I was curious enough to figure that out.

I’m pretty sure that this book was given to me as a gift, so it was likely found on Amazon or other places where books are sold. I don’t know that I would recommend this honestly, unless you’ve already read playboy clubbeverything else Playboy that there is to read. If you’d like to dive into the world of Playboy, I recommend reading Playground by Jennifer Saginor or Bunny Tales by Izabella St. James. Honestly, I might just reread them both – they’re amazing books, totally worth your time. (Don’t read Holly Madison’s book… definitely NOT worth your time.)

Thanks for reading.

What Is Your Vote Saying?

What is your vote saying?

If your daughter/sister/mother was sexually assaulted, would you vote their molester/rapist into the white house?

If your race was being heavily discriminated against, would you vote someone into office who contributed to the problem?

If your right to love, marry, and start a family was at risk, would your vote go to someone who does not support your lifestyle?

If your family was being ripped apart, deported unfairly, or kept in detention centers, would you vote for the man trying to eject you and your loved ones?

What makes all these things worth it for you? Money? Taxes? The right to bear arms?

I honestly want to know why anything would take priority for your vote over human rights.

Maybe it’s easy for you to justify, because you aren’t personally affected. But that’s incredibly selfish, and you are voting for hate.

Nothing like the above should be worth your vote when huge groups of people are suffering in so many ways.

Think about what your vote says. If you vote for Trump, here is what you’re saying:

You’re okay with women being sexually harassed. You’re okay with black people being racially profiled and harmed unfairly. You’re okay with LGBTQ+ rights being taken away. You’re okay with Mexicans and other non-white races being deported unjustly. You’re okay with injustice and collusion in your government. You’re okay with bullying and immature name calling representing our country. You’re okay with hate existing in America.

Think about your female, black, queer, trans, and immigrant friends and loved ones. Would they be proud of you?

This isn’t about your political party. It’s simply about human rights and equality.

Please think long and hard about where your vote is going this year. Think about what your vote is truly saying. Think about what side of history you want to be on.

Thanks for reading.

FuckTrump-Alex_Shannon

How Can I Help? By Kayla Danielle #BLM

Honestly, I don’t want to take up too much time here, because my voice is not the one that matters right now. Instead, I want to provide a link to a post by an absolutely beautiful soul with some great resources to support this movement.

Please stop and read the below link and explore the resources that have been provided:

How Can I Help? By Kayla Danielle 

You can find her blog link here: http://kayladanielleblog.com/
and can follow her on Instagram @kayla.greenx.

**Please do not scroll forward until you have clicked and explored the above links.**

 

I promise to continue to do my part to educate myself, show up, speak out, and incite positive change. Here are some pictures from the events I’ve attended:

Black lives matter.

Thanks for reading.

New Tattoos (part three)

Yes, more tattoos! Always more tattoos.

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The first tattoo I actually got back in March, JUST before COVID really hit. It was a Friday the 13th, and we weren’t even sure if parlor’s would be open as a result of the pandemic. Things hadn’t completely hit AZ super hard just yet, so they did operate as normal. I thought maybe there wouldn’t be a big turn out, but a decent amount of people did show up. Anyway, I’ve always visually loved maps, but this tattoo took on even more of a meaning now. The world is just one place, even though people break us down into continents, countries, states, etc. But really, we’re all just people on one planet – no matter where you are on the map. COVID really proved that, affecting the entire world as one. Not that I got this tattoo because of COVID, but the theme just kinda fit.

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The second tattoos is actually a transformation of my original tattoo into a bigger meaning. My first tattoo was for my Pop-Pop who had passed, but I had other relatives who had passed since then. I wanted to find a way to incorporate everyone – living or not – into the tattoo, without having a list of some sort. When I was in college, I took a creative writing class where I wrote a poem about my grandparents. I used tree imagery as the idea of foundation, and the poem was printed for several of my family members. I also made a tree drawing for my Grams where I wrote her and my Pop-Pop’s name in the trunk, their kids’ names in the branches, and the grandkids’ names in the leaves. Since this tree metaphor was reoccurring, I decided to turn the tattoo into an overarching theme of family. The tattoo artist is awesome for working with me, and I love the way it turned out.

So, since one of these tattoos is a reform, I guess this brings my total up to 13! More to come of course, especially since there’s another Friday the 13th this fall.

Thanks for reading!

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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I’ve heard of Gone Girl, but I wasn’t really familiar with Gillian Flynn at all. I saw that HBO had released a show based on her novel Sharp Objects, I decided to give her a try and I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not well-versed in murder mysteries, but I was drawn right in. Gillian Flynn is a great writer, and I plan on reading more of her novels in the future as well.

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Sharp Objects really holds up as a book. She keeps the story moving and keeps you intrigued, while still slowly setting up the story. Some things are a little cliche, like the small town vibe and the thirst of a journalist looking for the next story. But without giving anything away – the ending is fantastic and something I was not expecting.

sharp objects

She show was almost identical to the book, which I very much appreciated. It was amazingly cast, and I was surprised with how much I liked Amy Adams as the main character. The ending of the show kind of ends on a climax, so you don’t get the falling out details that you get in the book, which I think was a mistake. I very much enjoyed seeing the repercussions in the end and how those around them reacted, and I think those who watched the show were robbed of that. However, I truly have no complaints other than that – it’s really well done.

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You can of course find the novel wherever fine books are sold, and the HBO show is still available to stream via HBO Max or other HBO streaming services. If you’re into this genre, I definitely definitely definitely recommend!

Thanks for reading.

Quarantine Diaries: Puzzles

I’ve always been a big fan of puzzles, even long before quarantine started. Luckily my love for 1,000 piece jigsaws had piled up when covid hit, so I had plenty of puzzles to work through. I still have plenty left to put together (though I am definitely taking my time, as there’s no end to this fuckery of a year), but here’s some pictures of my accomplishments: