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!

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:

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More to come as I continue on with my puzzle endeavors.

Thanks for reading!

What To Watch: Wow Presents Plus

wow 1So like I said before, I’ve been diving into all things RuPaul and all things RuPaul’s Drag Race and all things drag in general! So during quarantine, I bought myself a subscription to WOW Presents Plus, where I’ve unlocked an insane amount of drag related things to watch! Obviously you can watch RuPaul’s Drag Race and the affiliated series that other countries are putting out, but there’s also plenty of exclusive content from all your drag favorites. Here’s five shows you could be watching if you had WOW Presents Plus:

wow4Werq The World
This series features 20-ish minute videos that focus on one of your favorite queen from the franchise, while on the Werq The World Tour. New episodes released every tuesday with plenty of backstage footage, co-star insight and anecdotes, and a whole lot of fun!

wow2Fashion Photo Ruview
Raja and Raven, who are two of my all-time favorites, “toot” and “boot” the looks of the queens from each episode as they walk down the runway! I usually watch this weekly on YouTube, but there’s so much more content on WOW Plus than I even knew existed.

wow5The Vivienne Takes On Hollywood
This is actually the mini-series that The Vivienne received as a prize when she got crowned during Rupaul’s Drag Race UK season one. It’s a cute, funny, and lighthearted series that we definitely enjoyed watching.

wow1DragCon Live
Since DragCon was unfortunately unable to be held this year, we were able to tune in to live-stream the event through the app. There’s some random videos and content to page through on there as well, but I’m hoping for another live-stream this fall during when DragCon NYC 2020 was supposed to take place.

wow3How’s Your Head, Hun?
This one is still on my “to-watch” list – cause there really is so much content to get through on the app! I’ll be tuning in soon to watch Michelle Visage do all kinds of things, including interviewing many of our Drag Race contestants and judges.

wow 3These are just a few of so many more original shows. Just to name a few, there’s two (or maybe more?) Trixie and Katya shows, a couple Alyssa Edwards shows, a show called Can Do Queens with Kameron Michaels, and so much more. Download the app from your appstore or visit www.wowpresentsplus.com to signup – I believe it costs $3.99 a wow 2month, or at least it did when I signed up. Hopefully all this drag content will make quarantine a little easier!

Thanks for reading.

What To Watch: RuPaul’s Drag Race Updates

Okay so again, Drag Con was supposed to be last week, so I’ve just been diving into all things Rupaul. I wanted to give some updates to my previous “What To What Series” post regarding everything RuPaul’s Drag Race – as I have discovered new content!

all stars 5RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5: First, you can add All Stars 5 – (2020) to the bottom of the previous list. This summer series has some of the best fan favorites back to compete for the crown, and surprisingly, All Stars did not disappoint! My favorite queen of the season was absolutely 100% without a doubt Jujubee. She is absolutely hilarious and amazing, and we will now always keep the house at a sensible 75 degrees. This season is available on VH1 and the VH1 app.

drag race judgesRuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race: This was a fun mini-series, consisting of only 4 episodes. Different “celebrities” worked with Drag Race legends to compete for an amateur crown. I only knew a couple of the many celebs that came into the workroom, but I really did enjoy this series special. I hope they do something like this again in the future. Also available on VH1.

thiland Drag Race Thailand: If you are down for subtitles, this is actually really fierce. DR Thailand finds a way to make the show completely their own, while still giving us all the things we love out of the competition. There’s two (presumably) famous drag queens that act as co-hosts, with many guest judges who are very involved. It was really fascinating to watch and learn more about a culture that I was not super familiar with. I definitely need to watch a second time, since a lot can be missed when you have to rely so heavily on subtitles. Season 2 is available on WOW Presents Plus, but I’m still trying to figure out how to watch season 1.

canadaCanada’s Drag Race: Again, everything you love about Drag Race with some of its own Canadian charm thrown in. I will say, I definitely thought all the queens would be way way nicer to each other, just because of the stereotype. But these queens got heat, and are bringing their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. Brooke Lynn Heights and Jeffery Bowyer Chapman team up with Stacey McKenzie to make the 3 team judging panel. Weekly episodes are being released currently on WOW Presents Plus.

the switchThe Switch Drag Race: I haven’t watched this one just yet, but this is the Drag Race of Chile! My Spanish is mediocre, but hopefully I can maybe strengthen my abilities by watching these two seasons. I’m really excited to dive into this one as soon as I can, and hopefully have some good feedback. I believe both seasons are on WOW Presents Plus, but it’s honestly kind of hard to tell, because I think they have all the episodes grouped into one season for some reason. More on this soon.

drag uuRupaul’s Drag U: I also neglected to mention Drag U in my previous post, which has 3 seasons of its own in 2010, 2011, and 2012. This was in similar fashion to the Secret Celebrity Drag Race, where fan favorites came back to give makeovers – but to ordinary people. Many were women who didn’t take time for themselves or deserved some kind of pampering. There were many feel good moments to be found here. I’ve only watched the first season by purchasing it on Amazon Prime, so it’s honestly not the easiest to watch. But true fans I’m sure can find a way.

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I’ve read that Drag Race Holland has been confirmed! And I know they were filming season 2 of Drag Race UK, at one point, so hopefully production was able to continue there. There’s also a series being released in August that shows the behind-the-scenes of the Drag Race residency in Vegas – presumably because they may not have been able to film a new season with the pandemic. Honestly, I’ll watch anything drag related that is released – I need all the drag content I can get!!

Thanks for reading!

 

GuRu and Workin’ It! by RuPaul

img_9773When DragCon was canceled, my friend Rachel and I went into a full on depression. It’s literally our favorite weekend of the year, and both LA and NYC were totally out. We were crushed. It was supposed to be this weekend, so in a world without COVID I’d be in LA right now ready to meet the queens. But instead, I’ve just been laying in quarantine, reading RuPaul’s books, and wishing that things were different.

RuPaul is really an intriguing glamazon of a creature, and I’ve been obsessed for a while now. Some of Ru’s ideas/outlooks on life have really stuck with me – two quotes of his in particular. The first is, “We’re all born naked and the rest is drag.” I love this idea that people get up everyday and whatever you choose to put on your body is your “drag.” I think about this sometimes when I’m getting ready, trying to decide what image of myself I want to project to the world. The other quote is, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” I think about this often, especially circling certain events in my life.

So RuPaul has written three books in total, although I only have books two and three in my possession. GuRu is his most recent publication, released in 2018, and Workin’ It! was released in 2010. His first book is called Lettin’ It All Hang Out, but I can’t seem to find a copy of this book that is available for less than like $50. I already made the mistake of spending $60 on RuPaul’s self-made movie entitled Starrbooty, and I’m just not sure that one really worked out for me. So I’m not quite ready to make the investment on his first book – especially since there was a lot of overlap between his second and third books.

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I’m not sure the entire timeline of Ru’s life, but Workin’ It! was definitely written sometime after season 2 of Drag Race, but before Raven was working as her makeup artist. The book is a list of many tips, tricks, routines, and rules to live by – everything from make-up tutorials to img_9775professional advice. Like I said, I love a lot of Ru’s philosophies, including the idea of “gender fuck”. People can get so hung up on putting gender into certain boxes, and this is the idea of saying “fuck that” and pulling the boxes away. Anybody can be glamorous, pronouns can be interchangeable, and your “between-me-down-there” has nothing to do with how you present yourself. Since Ru has seen and done it all, she’s ready to pass on her knowledge to the generations to come. Truthfully, I’m not sure I needed to know all the ins and outs about Ru’s colon cleaning adventures, but it was a good read otherwise.

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GuRu is probably my favorite of the two, and actually makes for a really lovely coffee table book. It’s not so much a novel, but more a collection of Ru’s thoughts, stories, quotes, and pictures. You could really flip to any page in the book and start reading, since most of the pages stand independent from one another. It’s sort of like the most glamorous self-help book you’ll ever read. It’s very very visually appealing, and reminded me of Kim’s Selfie Book with all the pictures – although there’s way more writing. I’d definitely keep this on my coffee table if I was hosting some elegant extravaganza.

You can find these two published works wherever fine books are sold… and good luck finding the first book, but please feel free to point me in the right direction.

Thanks for reading!

Quarantine Diaries: Animal Crossing New Horizons

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Full disclosure: After buying Animal Crossing: New Horizons, this now takes up maybe 50% of my waking hours. When I first got it, it was probably more like 80% or some days even 90%. It’s the best game and I love it so much and if you have a switch, it’s worth it, hunny – get it!!

I played Animal crossings as a kid, but it was on my friend’s gaming system so I only played a little bit here and there. Playing the new version has been amazing – it’s what I remember plus so many cool new features. I’ve had such a blast 4fixing up my town, earning and setting up my house, and collecting all the fruits and flowers. I’ve visited some islands of my friends, and also strangers from Facebook groups and Reddit threads. There’s a lot of things that I learned from doing some google searching, and things that I wish I had found out a lot earlier in playing the game. Here are 10 quick tips that everyone who is playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons should know:

AC81. Shake trees from the front while holding your net! You can find furniture, bells, and tree branches that will fall from the trees when you shake them. However, this puts you at risk of course for a wasps nest to fall and sting you. If you are holding the net and shake the tree from the front, you will turn to face the wasps when the nest falls. You can then use the net to catch the wasp before it stings you and sell it for a decent price at the shop. Shaking your trees daily to catch wasps and collect the items that fall can really pay off!

AC72. Bury the bells you dig up each day, but change the amount first! When you dig up the bells from the glowing spot in the ground and bury them back in the whole, a money tree will grow. However, if you change the amount before burying it in the glowing hole, you can harvest more bells when the money tree blossoms. I usually bury 10,000 bells each day, so the tree will give me a 30,000 harvest in the end. I’m sure you can do even larger amounts if you have the bells in your pocket when you go to plant them. This will only work once per day obviously, as you can only bury the money in the glowing hole in the ground that shows once daily. 

AC63. Don’t break rocks if you don’t have to! If you continue to hit them again and again, you will continue to gain materials that jump out. But if you break it, you only get one. You can break the rock if you are on an island that is not yours, or also if you do not like the location of the rock on your own island. But new rocks will only grow once per day, so do this with caution. Also, make sure to harvest the rock completely before you break it! (I learned this lesson the hard way unfortunately.)

AC44. Visit other islands as much as possible! By using Nook Miles Tickets or visiting the islands and trading with your friends, you can acquire things that cannot me found on your own island. This includes different breeds of flowers, trees, and fruit. Using a Nook Miles Ticket will also allow you to gain extra resources and materials when you run out from your island. 

AC55. Collect fruit from other islands, then bury them to plant a tree! You only need to start with even one piece of fruit from a friend to plant a tree and eventually end up with an orchard. If you use a Nook Miles Ticket and find yourself on an island with foreign fruit, make sure to bring back either the fruit or the entire tree. I have all 6 fruits on my island, which comes in handy often for crafting or re-organizing my island. 

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6. Save your cross-bred flowers! You will have flowers sprout each day when existing and blooming flowers of the same kind are planted close to each other, and you should save anything that is not able to be store bought. Aside from red, yellow and white (and in one case, orange), you cannot buy any other color flowers from the shop. Don’t get rid of any cross-bred flowers too quickly, because it may be difficult to get them back. 

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7. Be careful of building bridges before unlocking terraforming! Once you unlock the Island Designer app and can change up the layout of your island, you may regret some bridges and inclines that were build prior to access to this tool. I’ve had to demolish two bridges since unlocking the app, which both cost 98,000 bells to build. I’m not saying not to build anything, because it can make navigating the island that much easier. But choose carefully to avoid having to demolish things that you worked hard for. 

AC18. Save Nook Miles for Island Designer permits! When you’re ready to use the terraforming feature via the newly unlocked app, you will need to buy permits to add new capabilities. These cost Nook Miles, but will be delivered to your phone immediately. waterscaping and cliffscaping each cost 6,000 Nook Miles, and different path patterns cost 2,000 Nook Miles each. You’ll want to have access to everything as soon as the app is unlocked, so I recommend saving up as much as possible beforehand. 

60971353735__00f7b05e-30ee-4437-a118-142485e5b30b9. Utilize your catalog! If you are lucky enough to have friends that also play Animal Crossings, you can visit each others’ islands to have catalog and trading parties! Trading is self explanatory, but cataloging is a little more intricate. If your friend drops an item that you do not have, you can pick the item up and drop it again to add it to your catalog. Your catalog exists at the Nook kiosk at Resident Services, and shows everything that you’ve ever owned. Because you picked the item up for even a second, it gets added to this catalog. Having catalog parties is a great way to give your friends access to your inventory without giving away all your stuff, and vise versa! After the party, you can buy anything they have that you liked for yourself. Note: You can only purchase 5 catalog items per day, which includes special daily items. 

AC210. Some catalog items are customizable! Many of the DIY items that you can craft are able to be customized, but many of your other items can be customized as well. You should check anything that you come across for custom options, as it may help you to better decorate. Some of these items include the magazine, director’s chair, loom, ironing board/set, and many accent items as well on things like the mugs, corkboards, record box, etc. Double check what you can make your own!

 

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Let me know if you want to come visit my island!!

That’s all for the “Quarantine Diaries” series for now. Don’t forget to check my What To Watch series if you missed it. Another series next month!

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Quarantine Diaries: Food

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What’s on everyone’s minds these days? FOOD!!

I’m no master chef, but I do love cooking and I think I’m decent at it most of the time. I’ve done some new things while in quarantine, so I thought I’d share some of what I’ve made. Here’s some recipes/descriptions of the food I’ve made so far in quarantine:

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1. Rosemary Focaccia Bread: My best friend insisted that I make this dish after she perfected it on her own, and it was well worth it. It didn’t take super long, but I had never worked with yeast before so this was a new trick for me. I still was able to get success in 3 loafs that my girlfriend and I ate dipped in different balsamic vinegars and oil. Here is the recipe link: https://ourbestbites.com/rosemary-focaccia/.

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2. Beef and Brocolli with White Rice: This was given to me by a co-worker after she walked by with it in the office and filled up all of our noses with something delightful. There are a good amount of ingredients to make this, but you can easily double what the recipe calls for to get leftovers and make the effort last. It’s so delicious and hella worth it. Follow the recipe via Tasty here: https://tasty.co/recipe/easy-beef-and-broccoli. I’ve had several other people try this out after I posted it on my Insta story and no one has been disappointed yet. 

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3. Eggplant Sandwiches: No formal recipe here! I used to make this sandwich back when I worked in a pizza shop; it’s basically an eggplant parm sandwich without the tomato sauce. (You are welcome to add that to yours, I’m just not a fan.) First I used the Air Fryer to make breaded eggplant slices, then added the slices and cheese to a roll and popped it in the oven to make it a grinder. I’ve been big into sandwiches a lot during quarantine, so when I run out of eggplant to use, I usually make a BLT. (Except without the T, and add C (Cheese) and A (Avocado)). 

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4. Fried Tofu: My girlfriend, who is vegan, turned me onto this. (For best results, use a tofu press beforehand and use extra firm tofu.) You simply chop up the tofu bite size pieces and cook either using an air fryer or with oil in a skillet. Once mostly crispy, add in a sauce for flavor. We typically use a hot salsa, but a variety of condiments could be used for flavor here! Cook more once sauce has been added until tofu pieces are crispy on all sides. I usually serve with rice and veggies.

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5. Chile Rellenos: This is a long process that my girlfriend taught me, but the payoff is worth it for special occasions. I made this on Easter, and enjoyed the leftovers for three more days after. You first have to sear and blister the peppers to remove the outer layer of skin and remove the seeds from the inside. You then stuff the peppers with cheese and can fasten it back together with toothpicks if needed. You then bread the peppers with flour and prepared whisked egg, and fry. Make sure to remove all the toothpicks once they cool off!

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Bonus Air fryer dessert: Apple Crumbles: This is technically a vegan recipe, since it’s basically just deconstructed apple pie. I cut up apples and toss them in oil before then tossing them in brown sugar, cinnamon, and oats. I then air fry them and enjoy warm. Super simple and quick but incredibly delicious!

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One more in the Quarantine Diaries tomorrow to wrap up the series!

Thanks for reading.

Quarantine Diaries: At-Home Dates

31It’s easy for romance to get lost during the quarantine, especially since most days are probably spent with you and your partner both looking at the TV, computers, or your phones. I’ve found that it’s really important for me to still feel close to my girlfriend during the quarantine, so I’ve made sure that our relationship is a priority for us both. Part of this included me planning a few of what I call “at-home dates”. No, we didn’t leave the house. But I went out of my way to make things special and different during a time of monotony. I’ve only done two dates so far (roughly one per month), and I’d like to continue this and have a few more coming up if I can get creative again. Here’s what we’ve done so far:

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Date 1: So around 3 PM, I told Vanessa to go to her room and I would pick her up for our date at 5 PM. We hadn’t had any real reason to dressed up in a while, so we decided to go a little fancy. I set up a nice little picnic are3a out back with decorations, pillow and lights where we would eat dinner, and cooked while she was sequestered in her room. After I picked her up, we went and had a lovely dinner outside. I made sure that we didn’t use 36our phones and really just took a nice pause to connect. After dinner we had tickets for a show, which was one of the digital drag shows. Raja was performing, and I had set up the computer area to be a fancy at-home theater. We drank some wine while watching the show, and once it was over we changed into our pajamas and continued to get drunk while on the couch watching Drag Race. It was seriously such a fun night from start to finish and was a great way to do something new while still at home. 

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Date 2: This date was definitely not as full-out as the first one, but I still told Vanessa to go to her room for a bit to get dressed up while I cooked. It was a bit more casual this time, so it wasn’t quite as fancy as the first date. I set up a nice space for us to have dinner outside, and we again focused on each other rather than our electronic devices. We also shared a hookah at table after, which I had recently ordered on Amazon so it was fun to use my new toy. We then went inside to watch a movie and snuggle up on the couch together.

We are all trying to stay sane during this weird time – so don’t let your relationship fall by the wayside! Offer to cook a special dinner one night, find new ways to connect, or have full out dates like I did. But either way, make sure to keep love a priority.

More to come in the “Quarantine Diaries” series tomorrow!

Thanks for reading.

Quarantine Diaries: Digital Drag Shows

My biggest disappointment during COVID was the canceling of all my plans – specifically, DragCon. DragCon is legit my favorite time of year, and I’m still not done being sad that we can’t partake this year. So to help cheer me up, next up in the “Quarantine Diaries“, let’s talk DRAG!

There’s been many ways that you can get your fix of drag during this quarantine besides just binging every episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. First of all, there’s been tons of queens going live on Instagram. This includes both queens from the current season, like Jan and Nicki Doll, and some of the classic favorites like Ongina and Jujubee. There’s also been tons of digital shows that were hosted over the past couple and upcoming months from several platforms.

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First there is the Digital Drag Fest via StageIt, where you can find many of your favorite queens from the show and others doing 30 minute shows for roughly $10 each. You can also use the platform to tip the performers, and most of them give virtual meet and greets as a prize to the top tippers. Some of the virtual shows we have seen include:

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JUJUBEE – “Live From Boston”2
ALASKA – “The Quarantine Cabaret”
RAJA – “Socialite Distancing”
SHARON NEEDLES – “Call Me On My Ouija Board”
MANILA LUZON – “At Home With The Luzons”
BENDELA CREME – “Terminally Detained”
ALASKA – “Snatch Game Series: Mae West & Lady Bunny”
SHARON NEEDLES – “Snatch Game Series: Michelle Visage”

Our favorite show so far has been Raja’s, simply because she was the most raw and effortless. Juju also put on a great show, and I laughed a ton during Alaska’s sets. Manila and Dela also had wonderful shows prepared, but my girlfriend and I were slightly disappointed by Sharon’s show. While we love Sharon and her creativity, her songs were a little on the low-energy side and it wasn’t the most engaging. Still, we had a great time at all of the shows and will continue to look for more upcoming events.

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The “Werq The World” tour that the queens typically follow after the seasons of the show air has obviously been postponed for now, so they have taken things virtually. There’s been two shows, and what’s great is that these shows have benefited out-of-work drag queens and local performers. The first show raised over $30,00024 and the second was almost just as much. Both shows were hosted by Lady Bunny and Bianca Del Rio, who were hilarious and certainly delivered the comedy I was expecting. The first event was featured queens such as, Kameron Michaels, Gigi Goode, Miss Vanjie, Yvie Oddly, Plastique Tiara, and more. Each queen either had a live or pre-recorded number to show off for the show.  The second virtual event is the “Battle Royale”, which has queens going head-to-head for an ultimate showdown. Battling queens include Alyssa Edwards vs. Plastic, Vanjie vs. Yvie, Asia O’Hara vs. Brooke Lynn Hytes, and more.

Lastly, since DragCon 2020 had to be canceled for the year, they still are giving a livestream event for “DragCon Live” on YouTube. It definitely won’t be the same, but at least it’s something to have in place for that weekend.

Support the queens, in whatever way you can!!

Thanks for reading!

Quarantine Diaries: At-Home Projects

1So, I’ve been working from home for over a month now. There’s been good days and bad days of course, as I’m sure everyone can relate to. And I’ve been doing lots of lazy activities to occupy my time. Here’s some projects that I’ve gotten into while being stuck at home for so long:

  1. Writing: If you haven’t already read my “What To Watch” series, I included lots of writingquaranTV suggestions and recommendations. Writing on my blog comes here and there when I get inspired, but I’ve also been working on writing my book, which is one of my goals for the year. If I’m being honest, it has often been hard to find inspiration to write most days, and I’ve been having a hard time motivating myself to sit down and write. Hopefully I can start to find the drive to continue my progress in this area.
  2. Sewing: So after watching Dickinson on AppleTV, I got some inspiration to take 12some old segments of notebooks and sew them together Emily Dickinson style. Once it came together, it was basically like a DIY notebook, and also freed up some space img_9853in my store-bought notebooks. I then took my sewing skills to my clothing, and transformed a skirt into a pair of shorts to make a cute matching set with a sweater I have. Next up to sew was blankets. I first took a flag that was given to me as a gift that I had no room for, and sewed it onto an old blanket to make an outside-blanket for my hammocks. My girlfriend then gave me all her old band Tshirts, and I sewed them together into a big Tshirt blanket for her. All I need to finish up that is a blanket that’s the right size to sew it onto, and it’ll be done!
  3. New House Items: Since I was spending more time outside, I got tired of sitting on my phone while watching things on my hammock. So I made some purchases and turned my backyard space into a small outdoor movie theater. We can fit two img_9630hammocks and even some chairs to view a decent image projected onto the side of our wall – and I love it! My girlfriend and I then turned the spare room into a home workout room, since her gym has closed. This includes some yoga mats for me, some resistance and weight training for her, and chalkboard walls to track progress. I also became obsessed with the video game Animal Crossings; New Horizons, so we added a TV to our living room to make it a game room where we can both play at the same time. We also bought a hookah that has been used both inside in the game room and outside next to the outdoor mini movie theater. 

So this is what the first month of quarantine has brought me to so far. My work has no indication of opening offices back up at this time until further notice, so I’m sure there will be more things for me to get into as time goes on.

More to come in the “Quarantine Diaries” Series!

Thanks for reading.

What To Watch: Premium Channel Shows

Well, I made it an entire week working from home. I’m actually kinda enjoying it, except for the part where alllllll my plans keep getting canceled. Plans that we had paid money for and had been looking forward to for months… Yeah, some rescheduled over canceled, but still. If it weren’t for that, I’d really be loving the WFH life.

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Here is the last of this week’s “what to watch” series! Caution: these shows may require a subscription to more than just Netflix and Hulu.

euphoriaEuphoria – HBO
This show got lots of buzz when it first came out, and Zendaya is phenomenal in it. She plays a teenager fresh out of rehab with no intention of staying sober, and comes with quite a cast of colorful and rebellious friends. Grab your sparkle eye make up and dive in (if you have access to HBO of course).

dickinsonDickinson – Apple TV+
This is a creative and modern take on the story of Emily Dickinson, and I love the current music mixed in with the old time decor. Also love that Emily was a lesbian of course (or bi? TBD). Honestly, there’s a free one week trial for Apple TV+, which is more than enough time to watch the entire series, so I highly recommend following that route.

orphan blackOrphan Black – BBC America
Tatiana Maslany was put to WORK for this show – since she plays over 6 different clones. Each clone has her own accent, hairstyle, and attitude. And they need to work together to take down their makers. I think that this can be watched on Amazon Prime Video if you have access.

posePose – FX
I LOVE INDYA MOORE. And I would DIE to go to a ball in the NYC drag scene. This show is a wonderful moment for the trans, queer, and black community; POSE the house down boots! The first season can actually be watched on Netflix and season two should be added in May.

ShamelessShameless – Showtime
True to its name, this show is a Southside Chicago masterpiece. I’ve never been so intrigued by a family in my life (except the Kardashians of course!) I’ve also been told that my celebrity look-a-like is Emmy Rossom, who plays Fiona. Most seasons can actually be watched on Netflix, except for the most recent which is on the Showtime app.

TV2I may or may not do a few more posts of TV or movie recommendations next week, but this wraps it all up for now. Hopefully you have plenty of suggestions to keep you occupied during your social distancing.

Happy quaranTV!

Thanks for reading.

 

What To Watch: Netflix Comedy Specials

netflix specialNext up in my “what to watch” series – something to provide some comedic relief! We definitely could all use a laugh right now, so let’s head to some stand up comedy. I’m partial to female comics if I’m being honest, so most of the stand up that I’ve watched is from female comedians. So first, here is a list of amazing stand up specials from some incredibly talented female comedians (and Pete Davidson) that I have already watched:

Taylor Tomlinson: Quarter-Life Crisis (2020)

Pete Davidson: Alive From New York (2020)

Fortune Feimster: Sweet & Salty (2020)

Leslie Jones: Time Machine (2020)

Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah (2019)

Iliza Shlesinger: Unveiled (2019)

Nikki Glaser: Bangin’ (2019)

Wanda Sykes: Not Normal (2019)

Amy Shumer: Growing (2019)

Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable (2018)

Iliza Sclesinger: Elder Millennial (2018)

Steve Martin & Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget (2018)

Amy Shumer: The Leather Special (2017)

Iliza Shlesinger: Confirmed Kills (2016)

Chelsea Handler: Uganda Be Kidding Me (2014)

micThere is also a series of comedy specials produced by Tiffany Haddish, which features shorter sets from incredible and hilarious comedians. Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready is a 6 episode set, starring Tracey Ashley, Flame Monroe, Aida Rodriguez, Marlo Williams, April Macie, and Chaunte Wayans. If you don’t want to sit down for a whole hour, these smaller and more easily digestible segments may better fill your appetite.

There are hundreds of comedy specials available on Netflix, so there’s plenty that I haven’t watched just yet. So now, here is a list of some specials that I haven’t yet but intend to watch during this time of social distancing:

Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby (2019)

Jenny Slate: Stage Fright (2019)

Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones (2019)

Whitney Cummings: Can I Touch It? (2019)

Katherine Ryan: Glitter Room (2019)

Adam Devine: Best Time Of Our Lives (2019)

Ken Jeong: You Complete Me, Ho (2019)

Ray Romano: Right Here, Around The Corner (2019)

Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias: One Show Fits All (2019)

Sebastian Maniscalo: Stay Hungry (2019)

Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia (2018)

Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh (2018)

Bert Kreischer: Secret Time (2018)

Demetri Martin: The Overthinker (2018)

Jim Jefferies: This Is Me Now (2018)

Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (2018)

Tig Notaro: Happy To Be Here (2018)

Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife (2018)

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous (2018)

Ricky Gervais: Humanity (2018)

Chris Rock: Tambourine (2018)

Fred Armison: Drummers Only (2018)

Kat Williams: Great America (2018)

Dave Chappelle: The Bird Revelation (2017)

Judd Apatow: The Return (2017)

Chris D’Elia: Man On Fire (2017)

Nick Kroll & John Mulaney: Oh, Hello On Broadway (2017)

Sarah Silverman: A Speck Of Dust (2017)

Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive (2017)

Maria Bamford: Old Baby (2017)

Dave Chappelle: Deep In The Heart Of Texas (2017)

Gabriel Iglesias: I’m Sorry For What I Said When I Was Hungry (2016)

Michael Che Matters (2016)

Bo Burnham: Make Happy (2016)

Ali Wong: Baby Cobra (2016)

John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid (2015)

Demetri Martin: Live (At The Time) (2015)

Jen Kirkman: I’m Gonna Die Alone (2015)

Chris D’Elia: Incorrigible (2015)

Chelsea Peretti: One Of The Greats (2014)

netflix stand upThere’s honestly almost 200 comedy specials on Netflix, so there’s many that didn’t make my list! Hopefully these are able to help us to laugh through this insane time.

Keep laughing, everyone!

Thanks for reading.

What To Watch: Netflix Originals

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of my “what to watch” series! How are we all holding up? Staying safe? Staying sane? Are we all going crazy while practicing social distancing, or are we enjoying the solitude? Have you ran out of things to watch and binge yet?!

netflixAssuming that most humans in the world have access to a Netflix account, your options are close to unlimited! There’s so many shows and movies to explore on Netflix, and they have really upped their game in terms of their original series! The amount of content can seem overwhelming, so here are my top 10 Netflix original shows that you should check out:

5 Netflix Original Reality Shows:

queer eyeQueer Eye
You may have been living under a rock if you haven’t at least heard of the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy reboot with the new Fab Five. Now is the time for some feel-good content, so head to watch/rewatch this revolutionary show! You will laugh, you will cry, and you will (attempt to) forget about the current insanity.

next in fashionNext In Fashion
Featuring Tan France from Queer Eye as a host, this reality competition focuses on fashion and design! A group of incredibly talented fashion designers are tasked with creating new looks and fresh concepts each week, with one winner in the end. It’s fun, it’s upbeat, and who doesn’t need more Tan in their life?!

the circleThe Circle
I want to be on this show so bad!! This is a reality competition similar to Big Brother, where contestants vote for who is in power and who goes home each week. The twist? They are all in separate rooms and can only communicate virtually. Some individuals chose to play as themselves, while others use false pictures and choose to play as a catfish. Someone PLEASE cast me for next season!

love is blindLove Is Blind 
This show is everywhere in the media right now, so there’s a good chance you’ve been bombarded with people telling you to watch this. I’m telling you, it’s worth it. The show has Bachelor vibes, but with the twist of dating through “pods”, where the men and women are to make connections and engagements without ever meeting face to face. They then go through a wild ride to their wedding day, where they have the option of saying “I do” or “I don’t”. Did I mention it was a wild ride? It’s a wild ride.

exBack With The Ex
Once you’re done with Love Is Blind, you may be feeling a void. It’s definitely not as good, but Back With The Ex can certainly fill that void for you. (Note: Netflix says this is an original series, Google disagrees, but I’m keeping it on this list anyway.) The title is self-explanatory: ex couples attempt to sort things out; some have not seen each other in 3, 6, or 28 years!! You may believe in love again.. or you may realize that ex’s should stay ex’s for a reason. Either way, please don’t call your ex to be your quarantine bae.

5 Netflix Original Scripted Shows:

oitnbOrange is the New Black
This isn’t a new show or anything, but it’s one of the absolute best ones out there. OITNB is loosely based on the story of Piper Kerman, who was sent to one year in a women’s prison for a 10 year old drug crime. The show then takes off to involve the stories of many other inmates that you will no doubt learn to love. The show gets real, brings up a lot of important conversations, and also will speak right to your heart. Seriously one of the most amazing shows that was ever made.

black mirrorBlack Mirror
OMG this is a CRAZY SHOW! Just like American Horror Story‘s seasons, each episode of Black Mirror is standalone, so you can watch the episodes in any order. Each episode explores an extreme scenario of technology in society. For example, what would happen if everyone’s credit score was based on social media likes? What if you could rewind your memories at will for all to see? What if Amazon’s Alexa was actually a clone of yourself? Safe to say, your mind will be blown more than once.

hill houseHaunting of Hill House
This is legit one of my favorite shows ever! I’m no expert in the genre of horror, but I love a show that can freak me out and stand my hair on end. This family of house flippers find themselves in quite a predicament when their haunted mansion starts to unleash its powers all around them. I’ve watched this more than once and probably will watch more times in the future. 

youYou
There is nothing like this show; the format is so unique and the plot twists are awesome. Penn Badgley does an amazing job of being creepy, alluring, frustrating, and interesting. Is this a love story? Is this a horror/thriller narrative? Take the ride to find out! Also, the actress who plays “Nellie” on Hill House can be seen as new love interest “Love” on season 2. Shit is about to get crazy!

grace and frankieGrace and Frankie
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are timeless treasures that I am obsessed with. In this hilarious series, their husbands leave the women to be gay together, and the two very different gal pals are forced into an unlikely but beautiful friendship. My whole family watches this show, including my Grams who recently was introduced to binge-watching. Also, June Diane Raphael is my spirit animal in this show. (I tweeted that once and June liked the tweet!!)

NMore Netflix content coming tomorrow! Stay safe and stay sane.

Thanks for reading.

What To Watch: Rupaul’s Drag Race

Like I said yesterday, I’ve gotten plenty of binge-time while put on a work from home order. So what else is there to do besides write about my favorite shows? If you’re home and/or in quarantine and looking for more things to fit your television pleasure, check out my “What To Watch” list. Today’s highlight: Rupaul’s Drag Race!

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Rupaul’s Drag Race might be my favorite show of all time. Starting on Logo TV and making it’s way into VH1 and mainstream culture, winning Emmys along the way, this show is iconic. It’s funny and silly but also real and interesting and an amazing representation of culture. I’ve always been a huge fan of drag, and I could honestly watch this show all day long, forever and ever. 

To watch the competitions in order, you can follow the list below. Now I won’t give any spoilers to the winners, but I will list my favorite queen from each season:

Season 1 – (2009) – Favorite Queen: Ongina
Season 2 – (2010) – Favorite Queen: Jujubee
Season 3 – (2011) – Favorite Queen: Raja
Season 4 – (2012) – Favorite Queen: Willam
All Stars 1 – (2012) – My Winner: Raven
Season 5 – (2013) – Favorite Queen: Alaska
Season 6 – (2014) – Favorite Queen: Adore Delano
Season 7 – (2015) – Favorite Queen: Katya
All Stars 2 – (2016) – My Winner: Alaska
Season 8 – (2016) – Favorite Queen: Naomi Smalls
Season 9 – (2017) – Favorite Queen: Farah Moan
All Stars 3 – (2018) – My Winner: Shangela 
Season 10 – (2018) – Favorite Queen:  Miz Cracker
All Stars 4 – (2018-2019) – My Winner: Manila Luzon
Season 11 – (2019) – Favorite Queen: Miss Vanjie
UK Season 1 – (2019) – Favorite Queen: Divina DeCampo
Season 12 – (2020) – Favorite Queen (so far): Jan

season 12Season 12 is currently airing Friday nights on VH1, and only 3 episodes have aired so far. All Stars 5 has already filmed, so I would expect a release possibly for sometime this summer or fall. Additionally, with each episode of Rupaul’s Drag Race comes Rupaul’s Drag Race – Untucked, which features behind the scene moments and drama. “Girl, if you’re not watching Untucked, you’re only getting half the story.” You can also watch Rupaul’s Drag U, which features biological women getting a makeover by Drag Race favorites and alum of the show. 

The first two seasons of Rupaul’s Drag Race are kinda considered the “originals” – where Michelle Visage isn’t even able to be on the judging panel yet! Michelle arrives for season 3, which actually I think is part of the “originals” as well. Seasons 4, 5, and 6 are the strongest in my opinion, and really the staples of the show. Personally, I believe these are the seasons to watch! The first 6 seasons are all available rupaul 2on Hulu, so they are also the easiest to watch. The show really progresses in terms of quality, talent level, aesthetics, and overall format. Season 7 is a little “meh” for me, but Katya is basically the reason to watch it. It also bridges the old seasons to the new seasons (and is necessary before watching All Stars 2). Seasons 8 through 12 are the more mainstream seasons, and while they are still incredible, they are definitely not as good as the first 6. The earlier seasons just have some of the most talented and high quality queens ever, so the competition is so tight. Most of my favorite queens come from the earlier seasons, which is why All Stars 1 & 2 were so exciting for me! However, of all the all star seasons, I really only agree with one of the winners. All Stars kinda plays by its own rules, which is both exciting but risky. The UK season was also one of my favorites as well, with some killer queens and some wonderful accents. And I have to admit – this current season has some TIGHT competition. Come on Season 12, let’s get rupaul!sickening!

With this revolutionary competition, Rupaul has single-handedly launched the mainstream career of over 150 incredible queens, and so many more to come. With so many incredible queens and so much talent, it’s hard to pick your favorite. I came up with my top 10 queens of all time, which I’m telling you was NOT an easy task! Here’s my favorites to watch out for and why:

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#1: Alaska Thunderfuck – Season 5, All Stars 2
There is no one that can match the caliber of Alaska. She is witty, campy, creative, and untouchable. She can deliver comedy, glamour, talent, and isn’t afraid to get down and dirty and really take it there. She started as a determined super fan of the show, and is now one of the most well-known queens from the franchise. I also look to Alaska for all the inside info on her and Willam’s podcast, Race Chaser. Anus-thing is possible!

adore

#2: Adore DelanoSeason 6, All Stars 2 
She’s a libraaaa!! Adore is one of the most loved fan favorites of all time. She so charismatic, charming, hilarious, and spunky. She’s so unique and interesting, I could listen to her talk all day (I do, actually, sometimes on her Insta lives). She was also recently on the MTV show Ex On The Peak, where she seamlessly appears in and out of drag. Party!

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#4: Katya – Season 7, All Stars 2
I fucking love the shit out of this Russian hooker! Katya is adorably inappropriate and one of the most magnetic humans of all time. I would literally watch her do anything and be obsessed with it. Her laugh is infectious (it’s a rash, not a herpes sore!), and her uniqueness is undeniable. Lenin in the streets Dostoyevsky in the sheets!

willam

#3: WillamSeason 4
The OG disqualified queen! Willam is pure industry, having appeared on so many iconic TV shows (such as Sex & the City, Law & Order, CSI, etc.) and movies (Because I Said So, A Star Is Born, etc.). Willam is honest, truthful, and fucking hilarious. The waves that Willam made on her season had never been done before, and she’s not gonna Rupologize for it! I’m obsessed. 

ongina

#5: OnginaSeason 1
ONGINA IS THE CUTEST!!! I don’t always love a bald queen, but I love the original Ru bald queen! Ongina is so sweet, adorable, talented, AND an advocate. She’s simply wonderful, and has been my favorite queen to meet in person to date. And girlfriend can vogue the house down boots! You’ll just have to excuse the season 1 filter, hunty. 

alyssa edwards#6: Alyssa EdwardsSeason 5, All Stars 2
I needa, I needa, I needa, I needa, I need to get up in this Alyssa Edwards gig! *Tongue Pop* Alyssa is probably one of the most well known, most polarizing, and most quoted queens of all time. She is talented in a variety of areas, is vain as hell, and always ready to goof around. I live for her! Alyssa also starred in a Netflix series featuring her dance studio, called Dancing Queen. AAoooowwwwllright!

#7: ShangelaSeason 2, Season 3, All Stars 3shangela
Baby Shangela competed in the early seasons, and I found her endearing and cute. However, a very polished Shangela comes back to compete for All Stars 3, and she BRINGS it! From the House of Edwards, Shangela is high quality entertainment. She also appeared in A Star Is Born and Glee! Halleloo, bitches!

vanjie8: Miss Vanjie (Vanessa Vanjie Matteo)Season 10, Season 11 
Miss Vanjie, Miss Vanjie, Miss… Vanjie! I could listen to this queen talk forever – she is so fucking funny and her interviews on the show are the best commentary I could ask for. Miss Vanjie was such a fan favorite that she was asked back, and I bet we haven’t seen the last of her. She BRINGS it with the performance – queen can DANCE! I would die to see her in person. Yes, Mary!

#9: Gia GunnSeason 6, All Stars 4gia
Low key, Gia is one of the shadiest queens of all time, and I live for it. She’s brutally honest in a way that makes everything she says a catch phrase. Her look is so fishy, that I’m pretty sure she became a real woman! She was another queen that was a pleasure to meet at DragCon. She’s wonderful. Absoluuuutely.

raja10: RajaSeason 3
If you watch America’s Next Top Model, you know Raja as Sutan. But I know her as one of the best queens to ever walk into the Drag Race workroom. Raja is high fashion, elegance, and drag excellence. She’s whimsical, conceptualized, and unclockable. Everything she does is pure genius and brilliance. I live for Raja!

 

ruOMG that was seriously so hard! I mean, like I said there’s SOOO many queens!! And I love so many of them that it’s hard to rank. I could have done a list of over 20 of my favorite queens and include legends like Raven, Jujubee, Detox, Sharon Needles, Latrice Royale… UGH THEY ARE ALL SO GREAT!! I’ve actually gotten to meet many of these incredible humans at DragCon, including Ongina, Willam, Detox, Manila, Gia, Jiggly Caliente, Kennedy Davenport, and Ariel Versace.

The amazing queens are exactly why this show is so extraordinary. Start watching ASAP!

I hope everyone can stay sane during this crazy time! More to watch coming soon.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

What To Watch: American Horror Story

Just like many others I’m sure, my plans are getting all kinds of screwed up due to the current state of the world. The only bright side is that there are millions of shows to binge while in this “work from home until further notice” status that I’m in. There’s a bunch of things that I’m currently watching, and plenty that I might rewatch (including the Kardashians!).

American Horror Story is forever a fan favorite, and I find myself going back again and again. So, for anyone looking to dive into this amazing show, here is my personal ranking of the seasons to watch from best to worst.

ahsQuick note: For anyone who has not watched American Horror Story at all, each season is standalone. The actors may be the same from season to season, but each one is an entirely separate story, so the seasons can be watched in any order. The only season in which does not apply is Apocalypse, which combines the world of Coven and Murder House together. There’s also a very small crossover in Freak Show and Asylym for character “Pepper”, and Lana Winters can be found sprinkled through many seasons.

coven#1: Coven
I could watch this season again and again and again and again and never ever get tired of it. The witch vibe is like nothing else, and this season is packed full of horror. I also feel like this season does the best job of not leaving any plot lines open; everything gets wrapped up in a way that feels complete. Obsessed with this season, for real.

murder house#2: Murder House
This season is fantastic! Just like Coven, this season also does a great job of wrapping up all the plot points in a way that feels satisfying. It’s fascinating, messed up, hair-raising, and brilliant. Another season that I could just watch again and again and again.

asylum#3: Asylum
This season is so fucked up and I am HERE FOR IT. Things for sure get wacky, and it’s definitely not a perfect season. But with electroshock therapy, secret Nazis, and aliens – I couldn’t stop watching. Shit is crazy, and I love it.

cult#4: Cult
This season scared me in a new and different way, because it’s basically completely possible that this could happen in real life. There totally could be some Trump-loving wacko out in the world right now just like this – ready to paint their hair blue and cover their face in Cheetos. I’m honestly getting freaked out just thinking about it…

19984#5: 1984
This is the most recent season of AHS, released just this past fall. I loved the 80’s references, the nod to famous serial killers, and the “summer camp” theme. There was a lot of new cast members, and some iconic ones missing, which was my only disappointment. Also not a perfect season, but will be watching again very soon.

roanoke#6: Roanoke
The first time I watched this season, I was so confused. It was like it was broken up into two parts in a way, which I was not expecting. It was better the second time around when I was prepared for the mid-season switch. Also included in this season is a random appearance of Rupaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3 winner, Trixie Mattel. Gotta love when your favorite shows cross-over like that.

apocalypse#7: Apocalypse
I thought this was gonna be the dopest season yet – I mean, a blend of my two favorite seasons in one?! But honestly, it was just kinda “meh”. It was slow to start, and a lot of it was undone by the end. I wasn’t completely disappointed, but it wasn’t as good as I was expecting. I will say, however, that I was happy with the justice that was found for Queenie in the end.

hotel#8: Hotel
I was hype for this season as well, especially since Lady Gaga was in this cast! But I never really recovered from the spiked dildo rape scene. It pretty much turned me off for the rest of the season, and I never could bring myself to rewatch it. That, and the fact that I couldn’t tell half of the actors apart from each other, made this season really suck for me. I mean, Ryan Murphy must REALLY have a thing for brunette men with blue eyes…

freak show#9: Freak Show
Worst. Season. Ever. Seriously. They basically just kill off every member of the cast for absolutely no reason, and then call it a wrap. The plot is so sloppy, which is such a shame for such a cool theme for a season. It was scary at times, but mostly just disappointing. I wasn’t here for it.

Now I KNOW there are people who are not going to agree with me. “How can you put Hotel so low?!” they’ll say. “Coven wasn’t the best!” they’ll exclaim. “What were you thinking?!” they’ll cry. But one thing is clear – this show is genius and legendary. And if you don’t know yet, you’ll have to watch to find out!

Let me know you’re thoughts! Comment if you agree, disagree, and which seasons are in your top.

All 9 seasons of AHS are currently on Hulu, and the first 8 are on Netflix. New seasons typically air in October on FX.

Stay scared!

Thanks for reading.

5 Entertainers Of The Year

eotyI’ve subscribed to Entertainment Weekly magazine for the last couple of years so that I can stay up to date on new movies, TV, and music. Each year the announce their list of entertainers of the year, which features the most iconic and influential people in the entertainment industry. Here’s my favorites from the very long list of amazing people:

awk1.  Awkwafina
I first got to know Awkwafina on the MTV show Girl Code, where she was one of many hilarious female comics, and it’s been awesome to see her career take off. This rapper turned actress is not someone to sleep on. I believe we are gonna get used to seeing Nora Lum (her real name) more and more on our screens, and I am absolutely here for it!

billie2. Billie Eilish
I love what Billie stands for. Her music is original, different, and unique – and so is she. The statement that she’s made with her clothing is revolutionary, and everybody should be continuing that conversation. She’s so young, and is not going anywhere anytime soon, and I’m very thankful for that.

regina3. Regina King
Regina’s resume is incredibly impressive. She is hardworking and dedicated to her craft, and it really shows. She’s honestly done it all and continues to expand herself to more and more projects. Her voice is heard, wonderfully loud, and relevant. A true idol.

lil nas x4. Lil Nas X
I’m not a fan of country music, but I am in love with Lil Nas X. He is groundbreaking, and I am proud to be a part of the same community. He is one of the most unique people in the entire music industry, and he has created a lane all for himself. He hasn’t stopped since his first chart topper, and he knows how to use social media and meme culture to his advantage. People could learn a few tricks from his playbook, and he is absolutely one to keep an eye on. He’s going to continue to do great things. 

lizzoEntertainer.Cover_5. LIZZO
I stan Lizzo, and I always have. I’ve said it before: LIZZO IS EVERYTHING. She’s truly amazing, grabbing the title not only in the list featured in Entertainment Weekly, but also TIME’s solo Entertainer Of The Year. She is so deserving. Lizzo is the kind of artist that makes you fall in love with music all over again. I look to her music for every mood, every occasion, and everywhere I go. She’s genius, monumental, and exactly what the world needs. Long live Lizzo!

SterlingBrown-FTRHonorable Mention: Sterling K Brown
Don’t sleep on Sterling! He is talented, relevant, and fierce. Don’t let him pass you by.

Thanks for reading!

VOTE! (The Democratic Primaries)

vote 000I’m gonna be pretty honest here: I’ve been really frustrated with politics lately. It’s no secret that I really hate the current state of our country, and if you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you know my distaste for our current president. While I have hope that we can someday get back to a place where the country is not so severely divided, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Unfortunately, I truly don’t have a whole lot of hope for this election, and it’s actually really bumming me out. After the impeachment was acquitted, I really lost a lot of hope in our country ever being anything other than this extreme version of bipartisan. People are just blindly following their party, regardless of anything that is happening in the world. I know how important this election is, and I would love to see literally anybody besides Trump take office. However, my hopes are not high.

Sometimes I sit and think, ‘it probably doesn’t even matter if you vote. Vote, don’t vote, whatever.’ Sometimes my hope for the country goes entirely out the window. Sometimes I feel embarrassed to be an American, and I doubt that the upcoming election will change that. I realize that it might be controversial to say this and to be so unpatriotic, but this is how I am feeling. When I see an American flag these days, I just associate it with prejudice, bigotry, and injustice. I constantly dream about saying “fuck it” and leaving America. If you can find pride in our country, that’s wonderful. But my hopes are low and my spirits are lower.

Character illustration of people with vote iconsThat being said, I’ll still be voting. The Democratic primaries are beginning their elections, and we have to go vote to keep hope alive. The 14 states voting today are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.* I’ll be voting in Arizona on March 17th, along with Florida, Illinois, and Ohio. March holds voting dates on the 10th and 24th as well for roughly 7 other states. 10 more states will be voting in April, 6 in May, and 5 more in June.*

vote 00

To stay informed, see what’s on your ballot, or to find your polling place, you can visit Ballotpedia.org rockthevote.org  , or vote411.org .

Happy voting.
Thanks for reading.
*The 14 states voting today, 
According to the Wall Street Journal

*Other state voting information provided by 
The National Conference of State Legislatures

The Last Black Unicorn & She Ready by Tiffany Haddish

 

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While in between TV shows to binge watch, I decided to open up my Audible app and see what was in my library waiting for me to listen to. I had downloaded both of the titles available by Tiffany Haddish: The Last Black Unicorn and She Ready. I had heard amazing things about her book, and I’m a huge fan of hers overall.

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The Last Black Unicorn is something that everyone should be reading and listening to. Tiffany’s life was ROUGH, and yet she manages to tell her story in a way that made me really laugh. After listening to that, I opened up She Ready – which was noticeably shorter in length than The Last Black Unicorn. I honestly wish I hadn’t downloaded She Ready without more knowledge, because it was really just a stand-up version of a lot of the stories that were showcased in her book. I do love her stand-up, it was just repetitive after listening to her first book. I HIGHLY recommend downloading The Last Black Unicorn, but you can skip She Ready if you do.

Like I said, Timg_9163iffany had a really rough upbringing. I can’t even believe half of the things she’s been through and was able to overcome. Between her mom’s mental illness, her time in foster care, and the amount of men who tried to take advantage of her – she’s dealt with some shit. The most appalling story Tiffany mentioned in the book involves her step-dad and several life insurance policies. My jaw basically dropped to the floor. 

haddishShe was able to get through it all by being not only funny, but also extremely clever. Tiffany is also very willing to make mistakes, figure it out, and then talk about it. She’s one of the realest people that there are in Hollywood. Tiffany is so raw, authentic, honest and absolutely hilarious.

Tiffany Haddish Comedy Special 2019I have so much love for Tiffany because of who she is, her amazing talent, and everything she’s been through. Even past her upbringing, she was able to battle being a female in comedy with so much grace. She did not let people take advantage of her success and abilities and did not pay prices that others may have paid to make it to the top.

hadThe only other book that I had listened to at this point via Audible was Lamar Odom‘s book, which was not read in his own voice. (A coach or something read the text instead). It was honestly a lot better to listen to this in Tiffany’s voice. First off, because she’s hilarious and charismatic. But also because she is connected to the story, because it’s hers. There are times she is scoffing along with the ridiculousness and times she’s audibly holding back tears. It really adds another level of consuming the text when you hear it all straight from the author’s voice.

tiffanyTiffany was actually nominated for a Grammy in the spoken word category for her reading of The Last Black Unicorn – so I promise that it’s worth the hype!

The Last Black Unicorm is available now on audible and wherever fine books are sold. You can also follow Tiffany Haddish on social media @tiffanyhaddish.

Thanks for reading!

Tucson Gem Show 2020

Every year in Tucson, there is a giant gem, mineral, and jewelry convention that takes place for about 3 weeks in February. This year’s gem show just ended, and it was the first time i got to attend. I knew the Tucson Gem Show was a big deal, but I didn’t realize how huge this convention would be. People traveled to Tucson from all over the country, and many events took place all over the city. The events started on January 31st and just ended on Februrary 16th.

I attended a few different expos and spend so much money. The best places to go were in downtown Tucson and included thousands of vendors. The first weekend we went to the Red Lion’s Inn, where the entire place was rented out to vendors and their tents and displays spilled out all over the parking lots. The other place we went was the 22nd street show, which was set up more fairgrounds-style.

I love crystals and stones, so I was super happy to stumble upon some great finds. I got citrine, amethyst, black quartz, and so many more types of crystals. I also got chakra stones, ammoshite fossils, sage and incense, and a ring made of orange Mexican oyster shell. I was most excited to find modavite, because that particular stone makes a common appearance in my favorite podcast. Among many other purchases, I also was excited to find a box made out of crystal to keep jewelry or other items in. I got some gifts for upcoming birthdays and such as well. 

Again, the events happens every year in February all over Tucson. Next year’s show should begin on January 30th, 2021. Here are some of my favorite pics from this year’s show:

Thanks for reading!

Podcast Favorites #7

podcastIf I’m being honest, I haven’t been as invested in podcasts lately as I used to be. I took a break for a smidge when I was going through my Kardashian deep dive, which took quite a while. I’m behind on almost all of the podcasts I listen to, and it will probably take me a bit to catch myself up. But I am starting to get back into my love of podcasts and favorite shows (#1#2#3#4, #5, #6). Here’s some updates and new podcasts on my list:

 

SPOTLIGHT:

downloadDying For Sex: This is the podcast that brought me back to my love of listening. I’m truly inspired and excited by Molly’s experiences. This is a beautiful story that focuses on a woman who was given a terminal cancer diagnosis. She decides to leave an unhappy marriage and start a journey of sexual escapades. The podcast tells her crazy stories as well as the process of accepting her diagnosis and how she dealt with all the emotions as well. It’s a wild ride that I can’t wait to continue as new episodes are released each week.

PATREON:

SSTWR kishtraight Talk with Ross – Kish Kish Club: We all know that I’m Ross Mathews‘ #1 fan and that I’m obsessed with this podcast. So when they recently released a patreon stream with bonus content for less than $7, my membership into the Kish Kish Club was mandatory! Each host of the podcast has their own segment, including Nikki B Life Coach, All The Feels with Cjay, and so much more. There’s also a very good chance that my voicemails make an appearance soon as well. I love having more of STWR -in my life. Also, don’t forget to check out Ross’ new book, Name Drop! REALLY PHENOMENAL WORK.

cbc

Commends By Celebs – Comments from the Couch: This podcast is one that I try to never fall behind on, because I love staying up to date on pop culture by having Emma and Julie break it all down for me. The Kardashian deep dives are of course my absolutely favorite! But I became a patreon of CBC for all the deep dives that are included in the bonus content. Even in addition to the regular episodes that I love, I also get a visual guide through patreon and links to more of the top stories and posts as well. There’s multiple tiers and though I didn’t join the top one, I’ve gotten lots of fun insight into the world and history of celebs. 

NEW PODCASTS:

nickIn Bed with Nick and Megan: I do absolutely adore Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally; they are such a fun couple and I’m always excited to tune into whatever they are up to. While they do add a fun element to this podcast by recording with their guests in their bed, it’s not a whole lot different from other podcasts where celebrities interview other celebrities. It’s pretty standard in that category of celebs interviewing their celeb friends, but again, I do love Nick and Megan so I couldn’t help but subscribe to this one.

cover-image-k0yf970d-dwts__logosDancing With The Stars Official PodcastDancing with the Stars  is one of my favorite shows of all time, so I love having this recap podcast available now! Kym Herjavec (previously Kym Johnson), former professional dancer on DWTS is the host, and she goes behind the scenes with the stars and their pros. We get more interviews, fresh off the floor reactions, and inside information. Kym keep everything light and fun and allows us to connect even more with the contestants. The episodes correspond with the latest season of DWTS, and I hope that this continues with the next season this fall.

OTHER:

odysseyThe Odyssey Storytelling Podcast: I started listening to this podcast after my own storytelling event was featured for the hindsight show. There’s all the recordings of the other shows as well as old stories from their archives. The shows for Odyssey happen the first Thursday of every month, and the recordings are uploaded by the end of the month. In between has the archived stories, which are very quick and short episodes. There’s for sure a variety of great things to explore here.

 

Honestly, there are so many podcasts out in the world these days! I might be at full capacity at this point.

Thanks for reading.

Name Drop by Ross Mathews

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I’m sure you know by now how much I love Ross Mathews – I mean, we’re basically friends at this point! We email, I’m involved in the podcast somewhat, and we’re always interacting on social media. So of course, the second that Ross announced that his new book, Name Drop, was available for pre-order, I immediately reserved my copy.

Name Drop img_5772 is a collection of the “really good celebrities stories” that he “usually only tells at happy hour.” I had to wait about 6 months for the release, but luckily for me, Ross did an exclusive reading at a DragCon panel. He read the first chapter of the book, which was about his incredible interaction with Lady Gaga. It was so awesome to see him do the reading, and it made me super excited to read the whole thing.

img_8916The stories in the book include interactions with big names, such as Rosie O’Donnell, Christina Aguilera, The Spice Girls and sooo much more! He truly did not disappoint – these stories were amazing.  They were short, sweet, but packed full of the gossip you’re looking for. Plus, Ross makes everything fun! So not only is there the collection of stories, but he also includes original cocktails and “ROSSipes” with each chapter.

Here are some of the thoughts I had while reading the book (you may have to read it all for yourself to understand fully what I am talking about):

  • Barbara Walters … what a bitch! Not just off camera – ON CAMERA! This had me HEATED!!!
  • Sherry Shepherd and her wigs!! What a woman – this warmed my heart.
  • Cannot wait to make Twice Baked Cutie Potatoes. YUM.
  • Sarah Colonna!!! I miss the days of her and Josh Wolf’s podcast. Did you know she’s on Shameless??
  • Gotta love the Spice Girls!!
  • A PIZZA OVEN?! A PIZZA OVEN!!!!! HOW DID YOU EVEN TRANSPORT THAT?! WHERE IS THIS PIZZA OVEN TODAY?? I have so many more questions. I can’t let this go.
  • “Hi folks!” – my favorite Celine Dion quote.
  • So how can I use my small friendship with Ross to get on Big Brother
  • Woah. I’ll never look at Mathew Perry and Matt LeBlanc the same. Friends is one of my absolute favorite shows, but damn. What assholes. I even watched the interview and cringed the whole time. I really lost respect there.
  • Long live the Divas. Especially Xtina.
  • Ross, you are absolutely invited to my fantasy celebrity dinner party.

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Seriously, take a minute to google Ross Mathews right now and see how much press coverage this book got – there are tons of articles written about his stories! You are not going to want to miss this!

Ross is also going on tour to 30 cities across the US and Canada! He’s got great shows planned with some stand up, games, and insight into some gossip. I’ll be attending The Phoenix show in March – as a VIP, of course! You can visit HelloRoss.com for tour dates or to grab your copy of his book! You can buy Name Drop really anywhere that books are sold – but the Target versions include an extra bonus chapter (which I have not read yet since I pre-ordered my copy on Amazon).

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I truly smiled from ear to ear while reading this book. It was seriously next level good. I mean, I read a ton of books by celebrities – but this was in a class of its own. If you only read one book this year, make it Name Drop by Ross Mathews.

Thanks for reading!

Head2Toe Soaps

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My girlfriend got a soap making kit for her birthday, and it’s led to a mini business venture for us. The kit came with a goat soap base and some natural exfoliants to add, such as rose buds and chamomile. Vanessa also had several different essential oils to create a variety of fragrances, so our first batch came out really well! We sent some to her family and friends to test, and we quickly learned that people would gladly pay for these soaps. So, we decided to sell the next batch! We added in a new 72b4ddf5-0f01-4327-af3e-5693da9fb099honey soap base as well, which was a big hit. We pretty much sold them all in a matter of days, and we learned to get some marketing and business materials together.

Our most recent batch turned out awesome. We had gotten some new ideas from DIY/craft resources to add in some natural exfoliants that we could find around the house, such as coffee and Himalayan salt. We also added new essential oils that included male and unisex fragrances (because the first batch was pretty feminine overall).

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We now have our original soaps – though we are using a shea butter base moving forward, because this is vegan friendly. The natural exfoliants include rose buds, rose petals, chamomile, marigold, jasmine, and ultra blue lavender. Soothing fragrances include eucalyptus, lavender, rose, tea tree, and lemongrass. I’ve used these myself, and they are awesome. We also have other exfoliants and fragrances to use for future batches (such as peppermint and orange), because we are hoping to create many unique varieties.

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To make sure we were as inclusive as possible, our honey batch was geared towards a more gender neutral audience. Most of the fragrances are unisex, but we also have two male scents included as well. These include cedarwood and frankincense for men, along with sandalwood, patchouli, juniper berry and litsea cubeca that are unisex. The honey base is extremely moisturizing, and we added some Himalayan salt for extra exfoliating.

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We also used the vegan shea butter base to create coffee and cinnamon soap – both of which are natural exfoliants and smell amazing. This is also unisex and full of tons of vitamins that are great for moisturizing skin.

All soaps are handmade, and we are excited to try out new ideas, materials, and methods in the future. Generally, soaps cost $5 each for those local to the Tucson area (or 2 for $8), but we are also able to ship any soap for $10 each (or 2 for $15).img_8728

You can find all our soaps on Instagram @head2toe_soap, where I update the availability daily. You can also buy them directly on Etsy at head2toesoap.etsy.com. Feel free to reach out to Vanessa or myself in any way for more information, questions, or requests.

Thanks for reading!

The Shining by Stephen King

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I know, I know – I’m really late to the game here. But I want to make my way through a few classic novels this year – including Stephen King’s The Shining. Both my girlfriend and my mom are avid Stephen King readers, and I had no experience with his work at all. After watching the new IT movies, I decided to finally start reading The Shining.

200 pages into the book, and I was not super happy. In my opinion, there was way too much set up. It took til almost page 250 until they were left alone in the hotel. Instead of any scary or thrilling events, we heard the same back stories from multiple perspectives and got multiple tours of the hotel. Things got better once I got past the lengthy exposition.

By the time I finished the book – I mean, yeah, it was scary. But I was definitely expecting it to be way scarier. I think it was hyped book in freezerup too much in my head. I remember the Friends episode where Joey puts the book in the freezer when it gets too scary – and I really wanted to have that reaction! So honestly, I was a little disappointed. Even though I had never seen the movie, I knew some references – such as the camera work with the tricycle or the girls who talk in unison. However, these were pretty much missing entirely from the book. Maybe this was a decision to add some scary content to the movie? I was definitely hoping it would be a little scarier to see it all come to life. I also knew the ending to the movie is different than the book, which made me more intrigued and added a level of suspense.

s-l300The movie. Holy 70’s! Very very vintage, and clearly made 30 years ago. I totally think this movie would kill if they were to remake this. I do think that the fact that this is now an older movie made some things less scary and more funny for me (especially the acting). However, Jack Nicholson is creepy all the time, even when he’s not trying to be. Can I also just say that like.. okay, I know this was a different time period. But the casual use of the N word in both the book and the movie made me wildly uncomfortable. Again, I know it was a different time.. doesn’t make me feel any less weird about it.

The book and the movie had a lot of differences actually, especially in the plot. I was disappointed to see such an awkward interaction The-Shining-Dannybetween Danny and Mr. Hallorann in the movie, because in the book they were very friendly. The awkwardness doesn’t really explain why Mr. Hallorann was so hell bent on trying to protect him, but their friendship did. Also, the hedges were completely different – which was one of the scariest parts of the book for me! My biggest disappointment was the casting for Wendy. The actress looked like the real life version of a character from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I’m pretty sure Wendy was blonde in the book, and I don’t know – she just really didn’t look at all what I was picturing. She and Jack made a super odd couple, and I spent more time laughing at her than I was hoping for her escape.

Overall, I’m glad I read and watched this. The story is cool; I can see why this is a classic. Next up, watching the new Doctor Sleep movie.

Thanks for reading.

Guided Journals

img_8935I’ve been using these guided journals for over a year now, that focus on doing one thing every day. I bought the first one for myself; it was actually a Christmas gift for someone else, but I wanted one too, so I bought two. The second was actually a gift that I received when I was moving. The first one is titled Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy, and the second is Do One Thing Every Day That Inspires You. These are from ROBIE LLC books, and I know they were available at Target at one point in time, but I’m sure you can find these and others Amazon as well.

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In 2019, I was really focused on getting to a place where I was truly happy with my life. I had big dreams to go somewhere new, meet new people, and open my heart up to new experiences. I decided on my move to Arizona in the very beginning of 2019, and decided that my goal was purely to get to a place where I was happy. Physically, mentally, emotionally, all of the above. That’s not to say that I was miserable or depressed – I just knew there was more out there for me.

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“Do one thing every day that makes you happy.” It’s not a crazy concept. Focusing on happiness is so important, and I was thankful to have this daily reminder. Not every single day and page in the journal was relevant to me, but I did always have something to be happy about or thankful for.

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Now that I’ve gotten to a place where I am really really happy, I’m focusing this year on my creativity. I have so many goals and aspirations for 2020, and it feels like there’s nothing in my way. I’m diving deep into my writing, getting back into some photography with my new Polaroid, and happy to take on any fun side project. My big focus for the year is to write the manuscript for a book, so I love having this daily reminder to keep myself inspired.

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Some days the journal has me do some writing; some days I get to doodle a little bit. But mostly, the journal keeps me focused. Life can get busy, but I don’t want my creativity to be hindered. Inspiration can come from lots of places – I just have to be willing to find it. And I have no trouble believing that I can complete all of my creative goals this year.

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I definitely recommend having some sort of a daily reminder to push you in the direction you want to go. Maybe it’s a journal of happiness or inspiration, or maybe it’s something different. Whatever works for you, get something daily that reminds you of your goals. Then, don’t be afraid to go after exactly what you want – whatever it is. Life is waiting for you.

Thanks for reading.

Odyssey Storytelling

img_8566Odyssey Storytelling brings together people of all aspects of life to connect through sharing stories. This community showcases monthly events, where several storytellers share their experiences to an audience through story. Each show has a theme, and is held in downtown Tucson at The Sea Of Glass Center for the Arts. I got to participate in the January show as one of the storytellers!

We got to write our own bios, which were all posted online and included in the programs: “Gina Finio is 27 years old and originally from the Philadelphia, PA area. She graduated from a PA university that you’ve probably never heard of and has worked in Human Resources ever since. img_8569She turned her love for cactus into a cross-country move this summer, relocating from Allentown, PA to Tucson. Her dog Ducky is the most important thing in her life and is also her longest lasting relationship. Her hobbies include binge watching or auditioning for reality television, finishing jigsaw puzzles with her girlfriend and then putting it back in the box like a savage, and spending way too much money on crop tops that she will never stop wearing no matter how old she gets. Follow her weird life on social media @ginafinio or read her blog if you feel like it at www.ginafinio.com.” If you’re interested in reading the bios of my fellow storytellers, the picture to the left should show everyone from the show.

The theme of the night was Hindsight: “Stories from the shoulda – coulda – woulda club. They say hindsight is 20/20. If you knew then what you know now . . . how would your life be different? Would you make the same choices or would you take a different path? Are our lives predetermined by fate or do we exercise free will? Or, is it some odd combination of the two?”

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The story that I told was basically my coming out story, which honestly is one that I’m not a big fan of. I didn’t have a bad experience or anything, but if I could go back and do things differently, I certainly would. It’s not about the act of actually coming out, but more the way that I did it. Hindsight has allowed me to recognize this now, which is basically what my story was about. It was also something that I was holding onto in a way that I didn’t like, and by being able to joke about it, I was able to find some closure.

The energy that I felt coming off of the stage was like nothing I’ve ever experienced! It was a lot of highs, and I was truly really proud of myself. People kept coming up to me after the show, saying that they could relate in someway – which was incredible! Whether it was through myself or a family member type of figure – it was crazy to see people feel so connected to my experience. The crowd was amazing, extremely open, diverse, and accepting.

I hope to be able to do another story sometime soon, but I want to make sure it’s something I hold just as close to my heart is this one. I don’t want to tell a story just for the sake of telling it; I want it to be really meaningful. But I DEFINITELY would like to do it again.odyssey

You can listen to all the stories from the Hindsight show via The Odyssey Storytelling Podcast. The recording was released on Friday, January 31st: January 2020: Hindsight. My story begins around minute 47:47. You can also find more information for Odyssey Storytelling and their upcoming events by visiting OdysseyStorytelling.com.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

5 Goals I Have For 2020

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Happy new year and new decade everyone! It’s the roaring twenties and everyone is looking for a fresh start. Sorry to be one of those “resolutions” people, but I believe in checking in with yourself and going after what you want. Last year, I made some goals to relocate myself and find happiness, and I’m happy to report that I did just that. While last year was mainly focused on my happiness, I’m able to focus this year on my inspiration. Here are some goals I’m looking forward to achieving this year:

 

  1. Last year, I made the goal to read one book per month, totaling twelve for the entire year. I’m excited to announce that I surpassed that goal last year, and hope to meet it again this year. I have plenty of books on my ‘to read’ list, including Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Ross Mathew’s new book Name Drop, as well as some classics like The Shining and The Divinci Code.
  2. I want to do more writing this year. I want to keep up with this blog, continuing to write one post per week. However, I’m hoping to complete a manuscript for a book this year. It’s currently in the early early early stages, but at least I’m off to a start.
  3. I’m focusing on positivity this year, and ensuring that I am not wasting any of my time doing anything that I don’t want to do. I know it sounds cliche to say something like “positive vibes only this year” – but I’m not allowing myself to be in situations in which I am uncomfortable or unhappy. I am not going to give my time to anything that does not serve me in some way. I do not want to navigate through negativity, but rather remove it as much as possible. Sorry to be vague, but there’s honestly a lot of layers to this one.
  4. I wish so badly that I could say my finances were in a good place, but I spent a lot of money last year that I haven’t been able to save back. Moving wasn’t cheap, Christmas always puts a dent on my credit cards, and saving takes time. I’m really going to make saving money a priority this year, and I’m hoping that this is no longer a stresser for me this time next year. I have a hard time saying “no” to experiences regardless of the cost, but I can for sure start to make some smarter decisions without jeopardizing what’s important for me.
  5. There’s a ton of things in the world that I wish I could change, and I think it’s time for me to start getting involved. I have no idea exactly what this looks like just yet, but I’m interested in getting myself into human rights in some way. I’m not sure if this is going to be through a volunteer opportunity or how I’m going to move forward in this area, but I still want to make this a priority. There’s so much bad in the world, so I want to figure out how I can help to make it a better place.

 

2020

Each year is a gift! Take the opportunity to reflect with yourself on what you really want out of life. Then head out there and go get it!

Thanks for reading!

Books I Read In 2019

img_7960I made a goal last year to read one book per month for all of 2019. I am extremely happy to announce that I have met that goal – I actually surpassed it!! One of my new year’s resolutions actually was met, and I’m very proud. Here is a list of all the books I made my way through in the past year:

JanuaryMan Up! By Ross Mathews

February It Takes Balls By Josh Wolf

MarchThe Glass Castle By Jeannette Walls

AprilAre You There God? It’s Me, Margaret By Judy Blume

MayA Wrinkle In Time By Madeleine L’Engle

JuneOrange Is The New Black By Piper Kerman

JulyOut Of Orange By Cleary Waters

AugustKaramo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing and Hope by Karamo Brown

SeptemberDiva Rules By Michelle Visage

OctoberRunning With Scissors By Augusten Burroughs

NovemberOver The Top By Jonathan Van Ness

DecemberNaturally Tan by Tan France

Other Books I Read:

Desert Southwest (WildSam Field Guide)

Flipping The Switch By John G Miller

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Darkness To Light by Lamar Odom

Selfish by Kim Kardashian

Antoni In The Kitchen by Antoni Porowski

Queer Eye: Love Yourself. Love Your Life.

bookI have complete and full intentions to achieve this goal again next year, as well as maybe even start to work on doing some more writing of my own. I have so many things on my “to read” list, so I know I’ll be keeping myself busy.

Thanks for reading!

The Complete Queer Eye Book Collection

I’ve done lots of reading this year, which led me into a deep dive into the works of my five favorite guys. You can catch them on Netflix’s Queer Eye: Jonathan Van Ness, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, and Bobby Berk.

My breakdown for the first three books can be found by clicking the links below:

img_79241. Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness

IMG-66542. Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing and Hope by Karamo Brown

img_79733. Naturally Tan by Tan France

img_86264. Antoni has a cookbook rather than a novel, called Antoni In The Kitchen.

There’s an intro in the beginning where we get to learn more about Antoni and where he drew his inspirations for food. He grew up in Montreal with two Polish parents, and experienced a variety of culture growing up. He also mentions Queer Eye of course, which includes a forward from original “food and wine” expert, Ted Allen. I also love that Antoni mentions his sexuality, because he felt insecure about being on a show starring gay men when he is really more on the spectrum of sexuality.

img_8628Though Antoni comes from Polish decent, the book is not overloaded with Polish recipes. It’s actually a lovely cultural mix of Polish, Italian, Middle Eastern, Moroccan, Aussie, American, and so much more. Every recipe is included with a paragraph of Antoni explaining the dish and why he loves it, as well as some anecdotes, tips, and detailed instructions. I also appreciate that every recipe comes with a picture, because I don’t understand recipe books that don’t show you what you’re supposed to be making. This is loaded of pictures of both food and Antoni for you to drool over. Once I make some of these dishes for myself, I’ll be sure to review.

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5. Queer Eye: Love Yourself. Love Your Life  

Bobby is way too busy renovating the houses of America to have the downtime to write a book about himself – I mean seriously, do they let him sleep?? He is, however, credited in the book that brings the Fab Five all together: Queer Eye: Love Yourself. Love Your Life. This book is a whole breakdown of everything Queer Eye (the new Fab Five). The producers of the show talk about their ideas for both the original and the reboot; The word “queer” used to have a negative connotation, and I think we can credit these shows in part for the taking back of that word completely. It’s now an empowering word that I love using to describe myself. Thanks, queens!

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I enjoyed reading about Bobby’s unique upbringing, since he was the one I knew the least about. A lot of the info on the other men I already knew from reading their individual books, so it was nice for me to see Bobby’s backgrounds included. I’ll also say that I’m just not sure about this mustache phase that Antoni was going through here – very Johnny Depp meets James Franco; it’s a whole look.

It’s a great coffee table book, but it’s also completely packed full of content. There’s so much to page through: bios of the guys, deep dives into each of their specialties, and a whole Queer Eye recipe section with dinner menu recommendations. If these guys have already found their way to your heart, this book will make you happy.

 

All books are available on Amazon or other places where books are sold!

Thanks for reading.

New Tattoos (part two)

Well, I’ve gotten some new ink. My tattoo total is up to 12 now, but of course I’m far from done. I absolutely love the tattoos I’ve gotten in the past month or two, so I had to share:

 

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1. Mountains: A while ago, my sister got a tattoo of a simple line in the shape of a wave (similar to those wave rings you’ve probably seen on Instagram). I really liked the look and placement, although the beach and ocean does not mean the same to me as it does for my sister. Instead I took her inspiration and turned it into a mountainscape. I’ve always been drawn to mountains, and it’s part of the reason that I loved Tucson so much. Living in a town where you’re surrounded by beautiful mountains has been amazing, and I hope to always have a good mountain view in my life.

 

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2. That’s Amore: When my sister turned 18, I went with her to a parlor to purchase her first tattoo. We actually got coordinating tatts, where she has a lock and I have the key. When our cousin turned 18 this year, my sister extended the tradition down. Growing up, my cousin and my grams would sing the song “That’s Amore” before my cousin was fully able to read. Instead, Grams drew pictures for the moon, sky, a pizza pie, and then wrote the words “that’s amore”. My cousin, my sister and I all got the lyrics “that’s amore” in my grams’ handwriting, and it turned out absolutely adorable on everyone. Since my sister and cousin are on the east coast and I’m out in AZ, I wasn’t able to get tatted with them, but the sentiment still stands.

 

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3. Rainbow Dots: I’ve wanted something “gay” related for a long time, but I wasn’t ready to get a full on rainbow tattooed on myself. I thought about maybe just “BI” or something else subtle, but couldn’t find anything that I loved. My friend then sent me a tattoo she found on Instagram that had a line of dots in rainbow colors. It was so simple and beautiful, and I also loved the nod to R.O.Y.G.B.I.V. from my art days. This tattoos is so elegant and discrete, yet creative and unique and I absolutely am obsessed with it.

 

As always, more tattoos to come I’m sure!

Thanks for reading.

Naturally Tan by Tan France

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Since I already made my way through the books by Karamo and JVN, I figured I had to dive into Tanny’s book as well: Naturally Tan. Known as the style expert, Tan France has been changing the world via Queer Eye once French tuck and floral shirt at a time. His level of sass and pettiness is undeniable and also warranted and evident in the pages of this book.

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Tan has lived such an interesting life from day one. His family is from Pakistan, he grew up in the UK, but spent time in many different places. He’s an entrepreneur that works hard and makes things happen. He’s been thrown so much in life and yet has always maintained this essence of himself that shines so bright for everyone to see. I also feel that he really opened my eyes to a culture that I had not a lot of knowledge on prior, and I am thankful to know more as a result of Tan.

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First of all, it should not go unnoticed that there is an incredible amount of racism that people who look like Tan are forced to experience. His chapter about 9/11 is short but really powerful. I could never imagine what someone like Tan goes through, and I did not even understand the amount of airport privilege I have. It’s so cruel the way people can judge based on absolutely nothing but lack of knowledge. Americans are simply uneducated about so many cultures, which could be the cause of the racism.

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I absolutely love the relationship between Tan and his husband, Rob. The level of respect and love that exists between them is wonderful. I agree with so much that he says about relationships and marriage, that your normal state should not be “hard”. You should not feel like you need to “get away” from who should be your favorite person. Love should be easy, and sure there are obstacles, but it should enhance your life. My favorite parts of the book involved Tan talking about Rob, and the life they share together is amazing and inspiring. 

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Honestly, Tan is a sassy queen who can hold a grudge and lives for an “I told you so” moment. He really showed the unapologetic version of himself, which honestly kind of confused me. There’s so many kind things shown of him on the show that are gentle and compassionate, but he really sounded bitter in many moments of this book. I’m just surprised that he chose to showcase so much of this side of himself, because I know the softer side is in there.

tanReal quick: Tan, hunny. I really do love you. But your views on hair are wrong. Bangs look good on the right person, red dyed hair is bomb with the right skin tone, and it’s fine to play with the length and texture of your hair. I enjoyed going through your hair journey with you Tanny Bananny, but it’s even more of a reason not to trust your advice. Leave the female hair advice to the females, babe.

naturally tanI really did enjoy Tan’s book and the unique insights it provided. I loved that the book is written with short, anecdotal chapters that are super easy to flip through. Please watch Tan on Queer Eye for all your style needs, and you can also follow him on social media @tanfrance. Naturally Tan can be found wherever the finest of books are sold.

Thanks for reading!

Why I Keep Up With The Kardashians

KUTWK LogoYou might like them. You might love them. You might hate them. Regardless, you know who they are. There’s no denying that every person in America knows the name “Kardashian”. So why are they famous? Well that starts with their father, Robert Kardashian, who was close friends with OJ and Nicole Brown Simpson. Robert’s ex-wife, Kris Jenner, was best friends with Nicole, and all of them were wrapped up in the press after Nicole’s murder in 1994. Robert famously worked on the defense side for OJ, who was on trial for the murder, which caused obvious turmoil with Kris Jenner. (I recommend watching The People vs. OJ Simpson on Netflix to watch that whole mess of a story unfold.) The drama put the family on the map in LA, but not yet the rest of the country. Robert and Kris’ daughter, Kim, then started to get a name for herself in Hollywood as the assistant for Paris Hilton. When her infamous sex tape with then boyfriend and rapper Ray J was released to the public, the iconic Kim K was born.

The Kardashians as a family rose to fame on their reality TV show that we all know, Keeping Up With The Kardashians. The world of reality TV encourages the opening up of your life to the entire world. The Kardashians have always done this, not just for a short k family photoperiod of time, but over the complete last decade and beyond. They have let us in to the ups, the downs, the inside jokes, and everything in between. Because this show has passed the test of time, who they are in terms of ‘reality stars’ has changed so immensely. When we think of reality TV today, we think of Bachelor Nation or someone on a random MTV dating show, but the Kardashians were a part of the originals. We’re talking the days of Paris and Nicole, the Osbourne’s, The Girls Next Door. This is a different level of reality TV, it has immortalized them, and as a result, their level of fame is unmatchable. They are absolute icons and household names, and some of the richest people in America. Fascination has grown with their fame over the years, and part of this is because they are so transparent with their lives. The public gets let into everything that happens to them, and we get invested. We understand the drama because we’ve been there for it all – even the small things feel big to us. We know this family, their personalities, their history, and we feel as though we understand them to the core. Because of this level of transparency, it also opens their lives up to criticism. People think that because we see so much, the public has the right to judge and form an opinion on everything they do and say. It’s one thing to ignore a troll on social media, but security has became a big issue as a result of their dynamics with the public. Flashing material items and fancy locations is what led to the Paris incident with Kim. Not to mention that Kendall’s house has had multiple break-ins, and both she and Kylie have had legitimate stalkers. Some may envy their lavish lifestyles, but there are pros and cons to consider for sure.

baby showerTo anyone who wants to hate on the Kardashians, it’s easy to point at their lives of luxury and say that they don’t contribute to any good in the world. But first, think about how many celebrities that fall under that category but do not get backlash because they do not live their lives as publicly as this family. Again, it’s easy to judge with the level of transparency. However, those who are true fans know that giving back has always been a regular part of their lives. Growing up, Robert Kardashian used to bring the kids to skid row to hand out items like blankets and hygiene products. As Kendall and Kylie grew up and had birthday parties, they would ask that instead of gifts for everyone to bring a donation to various charities throughout the years. Kim has been in the media for her activism, which is honestly not anything new for her. She has always been pro-gun reform, and has been always been outspoken about her stance on gun control. Even in the early episodes of KUWTK, Caitlyn pushed her guns onto her children, wanting them to take shooting lessons. Kim was openly uncomfortable with a gun being around her family and in the house. She also took her daughter, North, to March For Our Lives in D.C. and had a very real conversation with her during their visit about why gun control is necessary. Kanye always donates to causes that Kim is passionate for her birthday/Christmas gifts, which recently has included justice reform. Kim is has been fighting HARD for justice issues, including freeing Alice Johnson from an overly harsh sentence, and we should expect to see so much more of this from Kim as time goes on.

keeping up season oneBeing a superfan of the Kardashians, I started watching the entirety of the franchise, in order, including any and all spin-off shows. Let me just say, it was QUITE a journey. There is such a transition as time goes on and they become the icons they are today. In the early seasons, the show was light and silly, and as a result we got a lot of filler plot lines. It was common to see the siblings getting into K kidsfunny antics and pranks throughout the seasons. As time goes on, their lives get bigger, and we start to see huge events like the Met Gala and launches for their various lines. It’s also noteworthy that so much drama is now incorporated into the show, as their lives are anything but quiet. These things now take up so much KUWTK space, that now when we do get those filler plot lines, it ends up sounding strange or scripted because we’re just so used to the drama. But the silly antics is what they originally built the show on, it’s just developed so much over the years. Even the opening theme song has evolved – from the silly whistle song, to the pop music with the sliced pictures, to the nostalgic music with the flashing montage reel that really just fucks. me. up!

5 K sistersFor anyone who is interested in taking the deep dive into Kardashian universe, here is the list I followed to watch all of not only the Keeping Up episodes, but all the spin off and associated shows as well in order of occurrence:

 

Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season One
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Two
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Three
Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami Season One
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Four
Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami Season Two
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Five
Kourtney & Kim Take New York Season One
Khloe & Lamar Season One
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Six
Kourtney & Kim Take New York Season Two
Khloe & Lamar Season Two
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Seven
Kourtney & Kim Take Miami
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Eight
Kris (Talk show)
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Nine
Kourtney & Khloe Take The Hampton’s
Keeping Up With The Kardashians 
Season Ten
I Am Cait Season One
Dash Dolls
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Eleven
Kocktails With Khloe (Talk show)
I Am Cait Season Two
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Twelve
Rob & Chyna
Revenge Body With Khloe Season One
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Thirteen
Life Of Kyle
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Fourteen
Revenge Body With Khloe Season Two
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Fifteen
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Sixteen
Revenge Body With Khloe Season Three
The Real Blac Chyna
Keeping Up With The Kardashians Season Seventeen

 

So let’s get into each family member a little bit:

Kim

Kim: When Kim Kardashian first rose to fame, she was my least favorite; I constantly rolled my eyes at her. But my appreciation for Kim K has grown immensely over the years. She’s the mediator, the pusher, and the motivator. The family sometimes jokes that Kim is the reason they are all where they are today.. and they aren’t wrong. Kim is so natural in the public eye, and honestly a visual phenomenon. You also cannot deny how hard she works – jkim and kanyeuggling project after project after project. She has ‘broken the internet’ many times, and her relationships have always made headlines. It is notable, however, that Kim is the only Kardashian/Jenner who is currently married to the man that she has children with (sup, Kanye). She also has the most children, with four kids running around, two of which were born via surrogate. I really appreciate Kim for normalizing different ways to make a family, because surrogacy is more common than people may know. Kim’s growing family has never stopped her from success, launching KKW beauty, Skims, and studying for the California Bar exam pretty much all at once. Honestly, Kim is a boss, she is untouchable, and I love her.

KourtKourtney: Kourt is the oldest of the siblings, and the public (and me) has some mixed opinions on her. In the early seasons, she was my favorite because she seemed the most down to earth and authentic. I feel like Kourtney has really changed over the scott and kourtneyyears, and I definitely would no longer describe her that way. She jumps on the trends to be health conscious in a way that seems very phony. Kourtney also has attempted to brand herself as the “mom” (since she was the first one to have kids, 3 in total), but that has really gone out the window in recent years. Her relationship with Scott has been wildly up and down, and his recovery is actually very inspiring. Over the years, it’s easy to fall in love with Scott and fall out of love with Kourtney. Scott is such a character, and has been sort of grandfathered into the family, which I love. Kourtney is also notorious for being the one who cares the least about working, though she does run a lifestyle blog called “Poosh.” I’ve checked it out, but haven’t really found anything useful. Personally, I think Kourtney is still figuring her self out or in the middle of some kind of mid-life crisis.

KhloeKhloe: I’m not gonna lie, Khloe has always been my favorite. She’s gone through quite a transformation in her weight loss journey, but she really took a lot of slack for her look in the early seasons. It’s actually pretty sad the way she was spoken to, and I just hope that her glow up was for her and not her family or the media. She also helps others with weight loss on her show Revenge Body, where they actually get to work with her celebrity trainers. Khloe is the kind of girl that goes the hardest for her man, which makes it even more disappointing when they let her khloe and lamardown. She moved to Dallas for Lamar and Cleveland for Tristan – willing to sacrifice for those she loves and even relocate away from her family. Her struggles with Lamar are pretty heartbreaking, but I still like Lamar way more than I’ll ever like Tristan. Tristan’s betrayal with family friend Jordyn Woods was one of the biggest media frenzies that the Kardashians have experienced, and it was actually the second time there was headline news of Tristan’s infidelity (the first was when Khloe was 9 months pregnant with their child, True). Lamar has publicly acknowledged his mistakes, while Tristan continues to be, well, ridiculous and confusing in life and on social media. I do feel bad for Khloe for what she’s been through, but she’s for sure got the toughest skin in the family. On a positive note, she is usually the most fun, the best time, the funniest and the one that everyone loves the most. 

RobRob: Rob’s story, honestly, is pretty sad. Mostly because he’s clearly suffered from depression for a long time, and it very well could be as a result of the spotlight on him and his family. The level of media attention has proved to be unhealthy for him, as he already had struggles with self-identity, his career ventures, and his self-image. I also believe that losing his dad was the hardest on him in the long run, Rob&Chynaand it’s something he brings up often throughout the seasons of the shows. Rob has had issues with being publicized as he started to gain weight, and it made him isolate himself from both society and his family. There were years where he did not come on the show or even really leave the house – including missing his sister’s wedding (he flew to the location but after the tailoring, he flew back home and did not attend). It’s sadly obvious to see his confidence boost when he is in a relationship, but those relationships have been anything but healthy for him. His relationship with Blac Chyna was quite a wildly interesting roller-coaster that was fascinating to watch, but ultimately has hurt him a lot. He is currently fighting for custody of their daughter, Dream, and accusing Chyna of being unfit to care for her (rumors have surfaced of violence that has occurred in Dream’s presence). Rob was seen recently out with his sisters, so let’s hope that things start to look up for him. I’m rooting for you, Rob!

KrisKris: It’s been said that the devil works hard, but Kris Jenner works harder. Being the matriarch of this family is the identity of Kris, and being the most famous “momager” in the world. There’s always been rumors of Kris setting up some of the drama in the lives of her daughters, but who knows what truth there is to that. I will say, that Kris Jenner is an LA girl who would not accept any other lifestyle than one of luxury. She’s always been out for a big name and a big check, and hey, the girl got hers. Her first marriage to Robert Kardashian had already ended by the time of his illness and passing, and Kris was Balmain : Aftershow Party - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2016remarried to Caitlyn Jenner. There was a lot of drama during Caitlyn’s transition, because Caitlyn really trashed Kris Jenner in her book. The transition really had nothing to do with their marital issues, and I honestly feel they are both much better without each other. Kris is currently dating Corey Gamble, who is actually the same age as Kim. Kris is a powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with, but I also find her annoying and ridiculous a lot of the time.

CaitlynCaitlyn: Caitlyn was known for the longest time as one of the greatest and decorated Olympic athletes of all time. Many people can recall the feeling of watching her win the gold and seeing her picture on Wheaties cereal boxes. However, she is now Brucemost known for her public transition from a man to a woman, even winning awards for her bravery and courage. Watching Caitlyn on early seasons of KUWTK prove to be extremely cringe-worthy. Her transition does not come until the later seasons, though there are definitely some clues along the way. Even still, it’s really strange to listen to the girls make jokes about Kris “owning his balls” and other things in similar regard. There was also a fight about hair during Kim’s wedding, because Kim wanted the ponytail to be cut off completely. It’s interesting to watch it all unravel, but like I said, cringe-worthy. Caitlyn also took the opportunity during the transition to speak negatively about some family members, which has put a divide between her and the rest of the family. Her show, I Am Cait, included many other trans women and was very informative about the experience overall. She was rumored to be dating 23 year old trans woman Sophia Hutchins (Caitlyn is 70), until recently some strange information came out in the media. I guess Sophia is just a live-in pet? I don’t know, it’s all very weird honestly.

KylieKylie: The billionaire. Kylie has always been in the spotlight from an early age, and you basically watch her grow up on KUWTK. She’s the most popular among the younger demographic in a mirrored way to the fascination that surrounded Kim in the beginning of her take-off. Kylie has always been passionate about make-up, and makes her billions through Kylie Cosmetics – most known for the lip kits. It’s noteworthy that she is the only sister that kept her pregnancy a complete a secret from the public, which could have been a decision based oKylie boyfriendsn the young age at which she became a mom. The father of her child is rapper Travis Scott, whom she dated after her long relationship with rapper Tyga (the girl has a type). The status of her and Travis’ relationship is pretty vague right now, though I don’t think they are together. Kylie and Kim joke that Kylie is “coming for Kim’s thrown”, and she recently has passed Kim in terms of social media followers. Kylie also gets some extreme scrutiny from the media as a result of her deep pockets and the lifestyle that comes with it. She’s only 22 years old, so it will be really interesting to see what the rest of her life looks like.

Kendall 1Kendall: Kendall has really made a name for herself in the world of modeling, and if you watch her in the early seasons you can see her passion from the very beginning. She’s absolutely stunning of course, and has Kendal 2the complete look of a model. She’s developed herself into one of the most notable and highest paid models in the industry, and is constantly traveling as a result. I believe she owns a house in LA, but spends most of her time in her apartment in NYC because of the fashion opportunities. She’s the only sibling without children, though I do believe she wants to have a family later in life. Kendall is one of the most sensitive of the sisters, which may also come as a result of growing up in the spotlight. Her dating life has been the least dramatic and arguably the most private, though she also experiences her share of rumors. For some reason, I think Kendall sometimes has a hard time figuring out where she fits into the family, as her fame seems different in some way. 

old k photoLike I said, the show has made a huge evolution over the years. Money has of course played a factor in this, not to mention their level of fame and celebrity. But also just the way their lives have developed has made the show what it is today. The transparency during their pregnancies, Caitlyn’s transition, break ups, betrayals, and all the other aspects of their lives has allowed for the show to continue on and on. And us fans, we get it. Because we were right there with them, and we are going to be there every step moving forward.

selfishOn another note – being a true and devoted Kardashian fan, I had to order Kim K’s selfie book, Selfish. It’s a wonderful coffee table book if you stan for the Kardashian clan and are obsessed with Kim in particular. She’s always been an avid selfier, and collaborated her pics over the years onto the glossy pages. The book is in order chronologically by year, which is fun to see young Kim before her baby hairs were all lasered off. Her family and sisters make cameos in the book along with her friends and other notable celebrities. She writes in her own notes and anecdotes on the pages along side the pictures, which was easily heard in Kim’s voice. The book is cute, it’s fun, and it can be found on Amazon. (I also made my own selfie post from my inspiration when rewatching the show a while back.)  Lamar made media headlines of his own last year when he released his book, Darkness To Light, which I listened to via Audible. I believe that both Khloe and Kris have written books, which I may look into adding to my “to read” list.

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Alright. So if you’re still reading this, then you’re either a fan of the Kardashians also or somehow I’ve managed to change your mind a little bit. Regardless of how you feel about them, you cannot deny that they are powerhouses in the world of celebrity and social media. For so many reasons, they are iconic, they are influencers, and they are legends. And they are not going away any time soon.

season 17You can watch all the episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians on Hulu, and a few of the spin-off shows can be found on Hulu as well – such as Life of Kyle, I am Cait, and Kourtney and Khloe Take the Hamptons. Rob and Chyna can be found on the NBC app, Blac Chyna’s new show, The Real Blac Chyna is hard to find but the first episode is at least on YouTube. Some of the other spin off shows are also available on YouTube or other off-sites such as dailymotion. The newest seasons of KUWTK are on E! and the E! app.  Also, I do HIGHLY recommend listening to the Comments By Celebs podcast, where they do a weekly Kardashian Bonus show and breakdown the newest episodes that are released.

Long live the Kardashians.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

300th Episode of Straight Talk with Ross

img_8071It shouldn’t be a secret that I’m obsessed with Ross Mathews and his podcast and really everything that he ever does. (See previous posts: here, here, here, here, here, and here.) I try to be as involved with the podcast as Ross will allow me to be, so when he asked for people to send things in for the 300th episode, I wrote a little song.

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I’m good with lyrics but not able to compose my own music of course, so I just changed the words to the well known song, Hallelujiah, which has been done by Jeff Buckley, Kate Voegel, and many others. I started by just changing certain words to line up with jokes from the show, and eventually ended up with two versus for the song:

Well I heard there was a jumbo jive,
We all play to feel alive
Cause you don’t really care for editing do ya?
Well it goes like this, the 300th,
Mark’s less than seven but pleads the fifth
While Chardonnay composes on the piano
Butch Ricky, Butch Ricky, Butch Ricky, Butch Ricky

Well JRod hates sauce but Ross needed proof,
Played a game that made him puke
Or maybe it was just from a freaky Fagsy
And CJay gets harassed by Blanch
While Nikki B’s songs are interupted
And it all stems from the first cold chicken finger
Butch Ricky, Butch Ricky, Butch Ricky, Butch Ricky

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I used a karaoke version of the song from YouTube, and just recorded myself singing the new lyrics with the voice memo app on my phone. Emailed it to Ross and then BAM! There is was on the podcast! I love timg_8075hat Ross basically knows me and who I am at this point, and that he is always listening to my voicemails and findings ways to incorporate me into the show. My goal is eventually to make it on as a guest, so fingers crossed!

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To listen to my silly song and hear me sing, find Straight Talk With Ross wherever you listen to podcasts, and go to the episode released on November 21st. It’s Episode 300– The Kiss Kiss Club. My song is played around minute 22:32. Or for the direct link, you can CLICK HERE .

Thanks for reading!

Darkness To Light by Lamar Odom

lamar odomI was right in the middle of my Kardashian deep dive when I heard Khloe talk about the fact that Lamar came out with a book about his life. Sign. Me. Up. Are you kidding?! I was such a huge fan of Khloe and Lamar when they were together, loved their show, and was really rooting for Lamar’s recovery. He was also recently on Dancing With The Stars and you bet your ass I threw a couple of votes his way.

My friend gave me a subscription to Audible as a birthday gift, knowing my love for reading. She thought it would be a cool and new way to listen to img_7963some of the words by my favorite celebs. Lamar’s book was available, read by Chris Palmer, former football coach and former college athletics administrator.

On Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Khloe talks with her best friend, Malika, about Lamar’s book that is being released and the press interviews he was doing to promote it. They show a clip where Lamar expresses remorse for how he “treated that queen” and admitted that apologies were owed. Malika asked Khloe if she would consider reading the book, to which Khloe playfully replied, “yeah, but I kinda already know how it ends.”

lamarLamar has been through a lot in his life, and I only knew about his struggles with addiction in his post NBA career. The book really highlighted for me how corrupt athletic systems can be even at a young level. Many of the young athletes are not even aware of the pay offs and shady dealings that are being done to get them their success, and it’s hard to have trust in who is looking out for the best interest. Not to mention that with professional sports comes money and access to things that can really fuck your life right up. Lamar’s life definitely didn’t start out easy as a result of his family, and it didn’t get any easier when all of those athlete affects starting coming into his life.

Lamar definitely dives into the shadows of his darkness, specifically surrounding his addiction with drugs and sex. He admits to heavy drug use as well as having sex with over 2,000 women in his lifetime. That is not a type – over two thousand women. Many of these sexual encounters were infidelity in his relationships; Lamar has children from his first love, but he also had a relationship with actress Taraj P Hensen – which I did not know. And then there was of course his marriage to Khloe Kardashian, whom he spoke highly of in the book. He actually spoke very respectfully about all the women he was with and may have caused lamar and khloharm to. He didn’t, however, speak so highly of mother-in-law Kris Jenner. Lamar actually accused her of calling the paparazzi for a publicity stunt when he was trying to reconnect with Khloe. There’s also quite a lot of bitterness surrounding how his hospital room was handled during his coma, during which he and Khloe were separated but still legally married. The media was insane, and the Kardashians were trying to keep control of the narrative during this time. I truly believe that Khloe was trying to do what was best for Lamar with the information that she had, even if some mistakes were made. Lamar does show gratefulness, but all has definitely not been forgotten.

Darkness to Light by Lamar OdomThe book get really deep and truthful, as Lamar admitted to his faults, his weaknesses, and his mistakes. There’s a lot of shit that’s been thrown at Lamar in his life, and yet he takes responsibility for the way he reacted. I think it’s so brave of him to share his story and his truth, and it was certainly worth the read. You can find this on Audible like I did, or wherever most books are sold.

Thanks for reading.

Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness

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There has been A LOT of buzz around JVN’s new book! Of course I’ve been a huge fan of Jonathan Van Ness for a very long time, but I love how much media attention he’s been getting in the past year. Jonathan originally was known for his recap show Gay of Thrones, and then earned mainstream attention after becoming a member of Netflix’s Queer Eye‘s Fab Five. The book has made headlines this year because of the secrets that JVN opens up about in the book, and his bravery is insanely admirable.

In one of the episodes of Queer Eye, the Fab Five talk about coming out img_7955of the closet. Jonathan says something along the lines of, “Hello! The sky is blue. The grass is green.” meaning that there really was no “in the closet” for him. He was clearly and obviously flamboyant from a young age, and that left for a good amount of teasing while growing up. The story of his friend from the swim team is one that I’m sure many queer people can relate to: a friend where the lines get blurry and complicated… and then in the end.. awkward. It’s sad that there was so much shame in being gay in these small towns, because it can do a lot of damage.

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I really enjoyed reading about his reflections on past relationships. Speaking in the abstract makes everything so poetic and tragically beautiful. I could feel that when JVN talked about Sergei. They clearly cared so much about each other as humans, even if their demons constantly came between them. Their story hurt my heart, but the love was clear and present the whole journey. Who gave them permission to be so hauntingly gorgeous?!

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It was super exciting to see Jonathan go to Tucson for college! However, his experiences at the U of A were not entirely positive. He was clearly in a dark place at this point in his life, and he was searching for answers in some of the worst places. I appreciate his willingness to be open about his escort experience, which left him vulnerable and broken. I’m sure it was not easy for him to be honest about his behavior during this time, but I appreciated that he shared this in his writing. There are a lot of experiences within the male gay community that is swept under the rug, and JVN was able to bring some to light. During this time of darkness, he was luckily able to reach out to his family for the help he needed, and headed home to “start over”.

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Recovery, self-love, and mental health are things that JVN is always promoting, and it’s clearly as a result of his life experiences. His words on recovery are inspiring, and he is always reminding everyone to love themselves for where they are at. He says, “One thing I have come to notice in my life is that recovery for me has not been linear. It’s more two steps forward, three back, five forward, two back, so I’m always improving but there are setbacks within the improvement.”

I love Jonathan and every single itty bitty baby gorgeous thing he ever does, and I of course loved this book. But truthfully, I think he could have REALLY JVN 4dove into his dark places and gone even deeper. It definitely would take being EXTREMELY vulnerable to do this, as Jonathan as already revealed so so much in this book. Home girl has been through some shit! I just feel like there was so many stories and deep details that we didn’t get to hear, as he barely skimmed the surface of what he’s been through. He explains the the summary of the dark places, but I was so interested in his life of tricks and compulsivity, and so I definitely wanted a little more. Still, I totally know how hard that would be for JVN, who is very much connected to people worldwide with Queer Eye and his social media presence. I still absolutely applaud him for how much he did open up and reveal in the pages.

I love the way Jonathan combats the stigmas around HIV. This is such a significant conversation! Learning about being “undetectable” is so JVN 6incredibly important to educate people on the virus, and even I learned a lot from his writing. I’m so glad that JVN was recognized for this conversation in the media!! This really can help so many people to not only get the help they need, but also feel comfortable to live a full life while managing their diagnosis. It’s so wonderful that modern medicine can allow those who are diagnosed with HIV and AIDS to live a long lives. In the book, Jonathan mentions how his doctor said he would “go on to die of a heart attack or cancer just like everybody else.” – which is of course a morbid joke, but just shows where HIV is JVN 1in terms of a terminal diagnosis. 

 

 

Below are a list of resources provided by JVN in the book. Also, if you are a member of any community that may be high risk for HIV, please ask your doctor about PrEP, or visit the CDC website or What Is PrRP? or for more information.

Planned Parenthood
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
Phoenix House
The Trevor Project
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
Advocates for Youth
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network)
Peer Health Exchange
ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

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He is fierce. He is real. He is raw. He gets into it, hunny! Jonathan gets sups vuln and you need to hear all the spilled tea. Grab your little baby copy wherever the finest of books are sold and come along for the gorgeous ride! Queer Eye is of course always available on Netflix – the Japan episodes were released not too long ago, and I know they were filming in Philly this summer!! JVN 2For all things JVN, you can visit jonathanvanness.com or follow him on social media @JVN.

“In general, if you can’t take me at my raw, heated moment, you don’t deserve me at my composed Emmys glam moment.” – Jonathan Van Ness, re-quoting Marilyn Monroe ♡

Thanks for reading!

VOTE! (The Off-Year)

Vote Nov. 5 - ColorDon’t think that off-year elections are important? Wrong! Every single election is extremely important and is an opportunity to exercise your right. Policy changes start at the local level, and you have to back the individuals who are working for what you believe in. Getting involved in every single election, even off-years, ensures that you have a say in those who are working not just in the White House, but in your state and city as well.

Vote Nov. 5 - ColorDon’t think your vote makes a difference in off-year elections? Wrong! This is the time when voter turnout is typically the lowest, raising the importance of each and every vote. In most major cities, fewer than 15% of the population show up to cast a ballot for mayor – and most are from one demographic. More voter turnout, especially in minority groups and young adults, can drastically change the results of the elections.

Vote Nov. 5 - ColorDon’t know what’s included on a ballet for an off-year election? No problem! There are so many resources that can help you learn what to expect when you go to vote. Ballotpedia.org prompts you to enter your address to see exactly what will be included with each election. You can also use sites such as rockthevote.org and vote411.org to educate yourself on who and what you would like to vote for. You can also use these sites to find your polling place, or other mail-in options as well.

Here in Tucson, I’m excited to be voting on a new FING VOTEmayor and councilmen. We will also be voting on sanctuary city status and pay raises for city officials.

See you at the polls!

Thanks for reading.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

img_7970I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, but I didn’t really dive into things once the 7th book and 8th movie concluded. My girlfriend, however, decided to do a Harry Potter deep dive recently, where she was rereading the books and we would watch the movie after she finished each one. She then started to look into the Fantastic Beast movies and other books and things associated with the Wizarding World. A package came one day with a Harry Potter book I had never seen before: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

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This story takes place right where the 7th book left off – 19 years later, and Harry’s children are going to Hogwarts. Ron and Hermione’s children are attending as well, and they must go through the sorting hat and deal with the regular childhood trauma of trying to fit in. Harry’s son befriends the son of Draco Malfoy, which is obviously problematic. Rumors and discovered magical artifacts lead them into a whirlwind of an adventure.

hpcc!! Disclaimer: this is not a novel. This story was actually developed into a play, and the book is a copy of the script. !! J.K. Rowling worked with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany to create this, and it exists only in script format. It’s relatively easy and quick to read as a result of the way it’s laid out, but it does not have the same feel as reading a true Harry Potter novel.

I have just a little bit of an issue with part of the plot.. it’s just a little bit of a stretch. Harry’s son wants to go back in time to save Cedric Diggory, but his desire to do this and reasoning hpbehind it is extremely random and forced. He’s angry at his father but this just seems like a strange way to act out. Perhaps if he was hoping to impress his father or earn his respect or affection I would understand, but that’s not how it was set it. It just seemed pushed in my opinion, but hey I mean what a win for Cedric!

hppThe plot certainly does not disappoint, and has lots of crazy twists and turns – in true J.K. Rowling fashion. I don’t want to give anything away, but there were definitely things that I did not see coming. It’s quite an adventure where we get to see how the wizarding world unfolded after the Battle of Hogwarts – in more than one reality. I’ve never seen the play, but the script was worth the read in book form. I believe you can find this on Amazon, but I am unsure if it’s available in all book stores, unfortunately.

Thanks for reading!

Movie Reviews Part 1

Well, it took me over a year, but I finally finished all the movies on my list from last fall! Just in case anyone was wondering what I thought, here are my reviews and feedback from each of the films:

bohemian rhap

Bohemian Rhapsody: A+
As a Queen fan, I absolutely loved this movie. Rami Malek makes an amazing Freddie, as we explore his amazing life and talent. The music was exceptional of course, and the Live Aid performance is almost identical to the one from real life. Will watch again and again.

 

night schoolNight School: A
This was a hilarious feel-good movie that I would definitely watch again. It’s lighthearted and easy to watch, yet still relatable on a human level. I so appreciated that the story didn’t end up with Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish getting romantically together. At the one point I thought they might, she rolled her eyes with a “boy, I’m gay”. Yaasss girl!!

 

peppermintPeppermint: A-
I genuinely applaud not only Jennifer Garner for her acting in this film, but mostly her agents for getting her this role. I’m truly impressed, and she killed it. In general, I think Hollywood is shying away from making movies like this now, but this was a great action movie. Bullets flying, car chases, explosions, all layered on top of a good plot line. It was easy to get into this movie and it wasn’t as predictable as I was expecting it to be.

 

searchSearching: B+
The entirety of the movie takes place from the screen of a laptop, where we see the plot unveil through videos, messages, phone calls and more. It actually reminded me of an episode of Modern Family that takes place entirely on an iPad. The story was interesting enough to follow along, but the format of the film was what I liked the most.

 

the nunThe Nun: B
I’m definitely not an expert when it comes to scary movies, but I really enjoyed this one. It helped to see some familiar faces from AHS and Weeds as the main characters, but even without them, the movie overall was pretty good. It had plenty of parts that made me jump, but wasn’t just gruesome for no reason. The creepy factor was high, and it wasn’t overly predictable. But again, I’m definitely not an expert in this area.

 

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A Star Is Born: B-
The movie was wonderful, but was hyped up a little too much by the time I watched it. Everyone told me I was going to cry my eyes out, but I only shed roughly one tear instead. The best part was getting to see two of my favorite queens, Willam and Shangela, on screen in drag. Other than that, I mean yeah.. it was good I guess.

 

Next up, I’ll be making my way through the movies I listed from this summer.

Thanks for reading!

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

RWS2I remember reading this book sometime in high school and it being one of my favorites, and I recently reread it after discovering that a movie had been made based on the memoir. Running With Scissors – both the book by Augusten Burroughs and the movie starring Joseph Cross, Alec Baldwin, Gweneth Paltrow, Evan Rachel Wood and more – is a story worth paying attention to. The book highlights true events from Augusten ‘s childhood, where he was basically given away to his shrink, Dr. Finch, by his mentally unstable mother.

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The ridiculousness of the Finch family is what draws you in: from the Masterbatorium (it’s exactly what you think it is), to eating dog food as a casual snack, to the breastloons (balloons, one on each boob). These characters are incredibly fascinating and over the top. The house is always an absolute mess, there are no rules, and almost every relationship is inappropriate in some way. He writes so open and raw and I hang onto every word in every story. I love his level of extra and dramatics, the need for everything to be over the top and extravagant. I flew through the book even faster than I did the first time.

RWS 4Just watching the trailer for the movie had me already laughing. It seemed, at first glance, to ring very true to the book. When the Dr. was seen running down the hall to knock on everyone’s doors to wake them up, I knew immediately that was in regard to the toilet bowl readings. The RWS 5book is truly one of my favorites, so I was overly eager to see this eccentric cast come to life. The movie stays super true to the book throughout the entire movie, down to a lot of the dialogue between characters. It even shows Augusten dressing the dog up with tin foil – though young Augusten wasn’t the greatest child actor in the world.

RWS 6There was a scene in the book where the mom describes her openness in life by describing a friendship she had with a black girl growing up. In telling this story, she uses the N word to portray the way the world was at the time. I was wondering if this scene would be portrayed in the movie, and since it’s rated R, it sure was included. However, most of the sex scenes were taken out. Augusten describes his first sexual experience with 30+ year old Neil Bookman, and the visuals of walking in on his mother with the minister’s wife. These were largely skipped over on screen.

RWS 7Neil Bookman’s character was kinda exaggerated, I don’t recall him being quite unhinged in the way they created him in the movie. Though he was just as unstable as the rest of them, they really made him wig out on screen – including a dramatic scene where he brings a knife to Finch’s throat, who is lying in bed. That’s all Hollywood I guess. Aside from that, most of the movie was very accurate to the story and highly entertaining as well. 

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The book can be found wherever books are sold, and I highly recommend both the book and the movie. I was unable to find somewhere to watch the movie for free online, though it can be rented from Amazon Prime Video or YouTube for about $5, which is also what it cost me to just go ahead and buy the DVD.

Thanks for reading!

The Sandy Hook Promise

sh3As I’ve been watching different shows via apps on my phone while at my desk, I’ve seen a couple of impactful commercials regarding back to school safety. Because school shootings are such a relevant issue within America, there’s a lot more safety concerns for students than ever before. From elementary schools to college campuses, the fear of active shooters is real.

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The commercials featured different items that children received for back to school needs, while scenes of a school shooting play out in their surroundings. A skateboard is used to break a window to escape, and a young girl in hiding is able to text her mom from her new phone to say “I love you”. This truthfully doesn’t seem overly dramatic of actual events that have and could happen any day in the U.S. One of my coworker’s son’s school was closed last week due to a possible shooting threat. The fear is honestly real. To read 16 facts about gun violence and school shootings provided by the Sandy Hook Promise, click here 

 

The Sandy Hook Promise is a non-profit organization that is working to provide programs and practices that protect children and prevent more less. This is in an effort to honor all the victims of gun violence, as the organization was founded by families affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school that took place on December 14th, 2012. The Sandy Hook Promise is above-the-politics, focusing on the “human side” of the issues by building a movement of schools, families, and community organizations.

sh5They are building a national base, organizing at a community level, developing and delivering mental health and wellness programs, and advocating for state and federal policy. Through initiatives within school districts, students can feel more included, everyone can know the warnings signs, and schools can be more safe overall. For news and information on their efforts, click here or visit their website.

I don’t have kids, and I don’t plan on having kids, but that does not mean that I cannot get involved to help stop school shootings and other events of gun violence. Sandy Hook is working to end mass shootings, and I have signed their petition and promised to share their message as well. #ProtectOurKids

sh1You can find more information on their website at SandyHookPromise.org. Here you can review their plans, know the signs, and learn how to get involved. You can also help to share their message through social media and videos, and you can also sign the petition to take action. Donations can also be made, as every little bit helps make an impact in the real world.

Thanks for reading.

27th Birthday

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My birthday was October 1st, so I am officially 27!It’s really crazy to think about where my life was at even just a year ago. A LOT of things have changed for me – for the better! I’ve been reflecting on how different my life is and all the progress I’ve made to be living the happiest life possible.

Throughout all of my twenties, I definitely had a good sense of who I was. I’ve always been myself. but there was definitely a period of IMG-6240time where I was making some questionable decisions. I was trying to figure some things out for myself in my adult life, and I was exploring what it is that makes me happy. As a result of looking for certain answers, I found myself in several different situations and relationships that were not the healthiest.

This time last year, I had just gotten out of a very unhealthy relationship. I felt as though I had someone else’s world on IMG-6571my shoulders, and I was ten feet under water and drowning fast. I felt responsible for this person, but it was affecting my ability to be happy in so many areas of my life. Even though I was able to end this relationship this time last year, there was still a falling out after, which led to a difficult start to my 26th year. Sometimes, you have to learn that certain things truly belong in the past in order for you to move on and into a healthy head-space. (Support from family and friends definitely helps as well.)

I was also trying, at this time last year, to figure out how to be more open about my sexuality, which was very hindering when I was in a heterosexual relationship. I wanted to live authentically, but I felt held back in so many ways. I have been open IMG-7740with myself about my sexuality as well as those very close to me for many years, but this time last year I was not fully “out” to everyone in my life. I was able to find a way to really date the way I want to during my 26th year, and to create healthy dynamics from the beginning with anyone I spent time with. I was reminded that you can set your own parameters and create a positive space and mindset for yourself in really anything that you do. This journey to openness also included coming out to my family, which truthfully didn’t exactly go the way I really wanted it to in retrospect. But regardless of how I got here, I can now be completely living my truth at this point and not filtering my life for those around me. And that’s huge. 

Looking back at what my life was like over a year ago, I was being held back from all aspects – including my career. I had been considering transferring to a new office across IMG-5795the country since I had started this new job at the age of 25, but the idea originally put a lot of guilt on my shoulders. Once I was out of that relationship, I was able to see more clearly that I wasn’t physically in the place that I wanted to be. Around the new year, just three months into my 26th year, I started to put my plan into place. I talked to my work and my family about the move and by the end of June, I was in my new apartment and new office in Tucson. I really did love the time I spent in Allentown, but I felt that I had already gotten everything there that I needed to. I knew there was so much more out there for me than what I was surrounding myself with. Knowing there were things out there waiting for me, I got my ass out to Arizona.

As I started thinking about getting out of PA, there was so much toxic energy that I realized I would be leaving behind me. It felt good to move on from all the strange cactus picdynamics, situations, and toxicity that I hadn’t even realized was overwhelming me. I was involved in friendships and relationships that were not the healthiest for anyone involved, and the best thing I could do for everyone was leave it all behind and start new. And truthfully, it felt amazing!  There were things I was still holding onto, holding out for, dealing with, holding onto hope for, or even just involved in that weren’t good for me. It wasn’t making me happy in a good way, and it was nice to know I was putting a lot of that behind me with this move and allowing myself to actually grow without confines.

Coming to Arizona, I really felt that I was in a good mindset and free of things that had vanessapreviously held me down. I’m in a relationship now that’s been so amazing and I’ve been really enjoying our time together. I feel confident in what we have as a result of who we are at this point in our lives, and I take Vanessa for who she is and what she gives to me. It’s amazing to be in a healthy relationship where we have mutual respect and love and so much support for each other. It’s also been absolutely wonderful to openly date a woman for the first time. It’s not just something my friends know about – I can post on social media and refer to her as my “girlfriend” and it’s been a really incredible feeling. I feel very free, open, and authentically myself. 

Going into year 27, I feel more who I want to be, and less who I used to be, or who I thought I was supposed to be. I’m realizing that all of my experiences are pieces of my identity, but I have skythe ability to create myself and who I am today.  Even if you’ve been doing something every single day for years, you have the control to say ‘ya know what, that’s going to be who I was and no longer who I am.’ You can say ‘I used to do this, and now I don’t.’  People can change. I used to live in PA, and now I don’t. I used to get involved in unhealthy relationships with men, and now I don’t. I used to hide certain parts of myself, and now I don’t. That’s something I’ve really realized in moving to AZ; starting anew allowed me to have complete control over what I surrounded myself with and how I spend my time. It doesn’t matter who you’ve been, it matters who you are. You can always create your own narrative.

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Being in this new place, I feel so good. I feel more confident in my everyday life, more successful at work, and more comfortable in my relationship than I ever have before. It’s really wild for me to see the progress I made within the past year. Going into year 27, EVERYTHING is different. For so long, I felt like I was trying to get out or get away from something, and I finally feel like now, I can just LIVE.

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Be aware of who you are versus who you’ve been. Reflect on what you have versus what you’ve had. Know what you want versus what you’ve wanted. This helps you to create the best version of yourself possible, right now, today.

“If you don’t like your life, then you should go and change it.” – The Dirty Heads, Vacation

Thanks for reading!

Greece!

My family has always been big vacationers, and we’ve been taking big trips every few years since I was little. From Disney World, to the Grand Canyon, to Italy and Spain, my family really knows how to travel right. We’re used to doing vacations with a big group since my family is huge, but this trip to Greece was just my parents, my sister and me.

IMG-6035Our trip started in Athens, which took us almost a whole day of travel time to get to. We were able to explore the city plaza the first day and have a welcome dinner that included all the classic tourist events. We 
yelled “Opah!”, danced in a circle, and even got to break some plates – bucket list items checked off! The second day was also in Athens, where we got to tour the historical sites of the city. First stop was the site of the first Olympic games, and we also saw the Palace of Zeus.IMG-6070 Acropolis and the Parthenon were absolutely incredible and full of so much history. We did some shopping as well, of course, and had some drinks and snacks in different places around the plaza. To continue our deep dive into the amazing Greek cuisine, we went out to dinner with my mom’s coworker and friend whose family lives in Athens. Greek food is full of meat, pastries and pies, and of course, feta cheese. I truthfully don’t remember the names of over half of what I ate – but it was all SO GOOD.

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Following Athens, we took a ferry to spend a few days in the island of Mykonos. (For anyone who is curious, Lindsey Lohan’s beach club was unfortunately already IMG-6251closed when we were there.) The first day included a walking tour of Mykonos, which is full of small white alleys of shopping and restaurants. Everywhere on the island was absolutely beautiful, and I really couldn’t get over the view of the sea. We had more tour dinners in town, some time by the pool, and A LOT of shopping in town while in Mykonos. One day included a boat tour, where we were able to snorkel in the water and explore the island of Delos as well, which is full of history and the Place of Athena. We also spent a night out in a discoteca, which was a great IMG-6371time. My family had dinner on the water one night, where my sister and I both ordered “fish with a face on a plate.” Mykonos was probably my favorite part of the trip, just because it was so pretty and so much fun. 

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Santorini was even more beautiful and breathtaking than you could ever imagine. We took another quick ferry to get there, and also had to hike ourselves up quite a hill to the hotel. Since the whole island is basically built on the side of a volcano, everything is either up- or down-hill. The shopping was also awesome in Santorini, and the views were just as good if not better. Oia is the famous location of the view from which you can see all the white buildings with the blue dome tops – and it certainly did not disappoint. We went to a couple different locations on a bus tour of Santorini that provided amazing views of what the island IMG-6484has to offer. The sunsets in Santorini were unlike anything I’ve seen before, and none of our pictures do it justice. The colors that were created behind the ocean horizon blended into the mountains were one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen in my life, IMG-8123truly. Our last day in Santorini was a free day that we spent on the black sand beach. The sand comes from the rubble of the volcano, which is the reason for the dark color (it also made for an incredible exfoliate). After so much running around and exploring, it was so nice to have the time to just relax on the beautiful beach and enjoy the island for our last day.

The trip home was rough, if I’m going to be totally honest. We already had a full day of travel planned to get back, and the delays out of the Athens airport definitely did not help. It was, of course, still worth it, and made getting home feel that much better. I had to get myself back to Arizona once we were back in the states as well, where there was an amazing welcome waiting for me.

I am always so grateful and appreciative of the amazing experiences that have been provided to me. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to explore countries and cultures that are different than my own, and to have the ability to travel. I’m so thankful that my family is happy, healthy, and fortunate enough to take trips like this. I hope we are able to plan many more!

Thanks for reading!

 

Diva Rules By Michelle Visage

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I bought this book during Drag Con, where I actually got to meet Michelle! She even signed the book for me, which honestly made it a little more exciting to read. Diva Rules is partly about her life, but also largely a self help book for the misfits and freaks who consider themselves fabulous enough to be a diva. Definitely read this if you are ready to start feeling your oats.

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It’s inspiring to hear the story of a girl from New Jersey with big hair and big dreams, who actually managed to make it big. I especially enjoyed the praise through the words of RuPaul, her best Judy. I always think it’s endearing to hear someone speak fondly of someone they love and admire, and Ru clearly adores Michelle. From both of their perspectives, they had a clear connection from the moment they locked eyes, hunty. From there the chemistry just sparked, igniting a lifelong friendship and legacy. 

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One of my childhood friends was adopted, and it’s made a lasting impact on me. I have plans to get involved in either fostering or adopting in my future, and I’m also partial to those who have some experience on the subject. Michelle was adopted, as was her brother David, by two parents whom she praises immensely. She absolutely adores her parents and appreciates the life they gave her; Michelle’s only disappointment was that she was unable to inherit her mom’s big tits. 

I’m incredibly, overly jealous of the time that Michelle got to spend in New York during the up and comings of VOGUE (!!!), and the legendary children and houses featured in 03acd17c0c4d1e0ab48aaf731026608aParis Is Burning (available on Netflix). I mean, she knew Angie Extravaganza (!!!!!!!!) and was winning trophies for voguing before Madonna even know what it was. I mean, that is ICONIC. If she had written about having a kiki with Venus Extravaganza… omg, the fan girl in me might have actually gone crazy. It was during this time that Michelle got her namesake, Visage. She was entering in categories in the balls with her house, and one of the categories was “face”. Her first nickname was “Cara” – roll the “R” – the Spanish word for “face.” But when bedazzled onto her jackets and hats, people were mistaking it for the name Cara. So instead she went with the French word for “face” – visage. Bam! *Said like Alexis Mateo*

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Michelle is inspiring because she works hard, empowers others, believes in herself, and never gives up. She is loving, kind, full of wisdom and also not afraid to clock you for the wrong hemline. Her end goal is always to make those who shine, shine their brightest, including herself. Follow her Diva rules to do just that.

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I really enjoyed this book, and it’s a quick read for anyone who aspires to live up to their full diva potential (available wherever books are sold, or at her booth at DragCons). I also recommend watching Michelle as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, of course. She is also a current contestant on the British version of Dancing With The Stars (Called Strictly Come Dancing) and was on the British Celebrity Big Brother as well. You may also recognize Michelle from her many many years on the radio, or for her role in the girl groups Seduction and S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. The bitch works hard, okurr!

Tens across the board! Thanks for reading.

NYC DragCon 2019

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My favorite time of year has come… DRAG CON NYC!!! I went last year with one of my best friends, Rachel, and we were eager to get back again this year. We had a blast at DragCon 2018, but now that we knew the lay of the land, we were ready to make out even better than before for 2019.

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Okay first, let’s talk about my wig. I wore a white one last year, that was cheap and just ordered off of Amazon. I really loved it, but it was very obvious that it was a wig. Not that I cared, it was just fun to participate. I did the same thing this year and ordered a new wig online, this time picking a lavender color with bangs. After posting a few things on my Instagram, everyone was complimenting me and asking about “my new hair.” LOL – I had to let several people know that this was a wig. I honestly did not think that it looked super realistic, but I’m still getting comments about this look a month after the fact.

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Anyway, like I said, Rach and I knew what we were doing this year. We got there in time to watch the queens arrivals again on the pink carpet, and then we were quick to jump in some lines. We got to IMG-5735meet SO MANY QUEENS!! It was really incredible. It started with Michelle Visage, from whom I also bought a signed autographed copy of her book, Diva Rules. Kennedy Davenport had a short line at her booth, as did Jiggly Caliente, IMG-5743so we were already making out great just within the first few hours of the day. Soju and Ariel Versace were together in a booth, so we actually got to meet both ofIMG-5771 them at the same time. My favorite queen that I met that day was Willam, who has always been one of my all-time favorites. Willam was releasing his new line of makeup called “CoverBoy”, and was sitting in a giant chair taking selfies with fans. I told her I was a ‘friend of the pod’ (Race Chaser Podcast), and we talked about the shade that she threw on her season. It was unbelievable! RuPaul was right on the main stage for a majority of the day, playing DJ and dancing along to all his favorite songs. It was honestly captivating to just watch him up there, standing less than IMG-5741100 feet from me. Later on in the day, Rachel and I were sitting against a random wall to give our feet a break while we scarfed down some hot dogs from a street vendor. Rachel was right in the middle of sentence when she saw Ru walk around the corner, and she immediately yelled out a quick, “HI RU!!” I snapped my head around just in time to see Ru wave hello directly to Rachel before going into a VIP louge. IT WAS AMAZING.

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To end the day, we went to a panel where Ross Mathews was reading an exclusive exert from his upcoming book, Name Drop. (His current best-selling book, Man Up, can be found anywhere fine books are sold.) I actually made sure that we were first in line, so that we could be front row. One of the staff noticed my eagerness for Ross, and actually gave us some free passes and also moved uIMG-5773s into the reserved section so that I was directly in front of Ross, completely in his eye sight! The panel was great, the exert was hilarious, and I got to talk to Ross to ask a question during the panel. He actually recognized me, and laughed about the fact that I had left him one of my famous voicemails earlier in the day. We took a picture together after the panel was over, and we are now definitely well on our way to becoming best friends. Just wait.

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And so concluded day one. We stayed with my friend Brian, who I’ve been close to since elementary school. He and his boyfriend live in Brooklyn, and the two of them provided us with some high quality NYC fun that night. We went to a Burning Man themed party, and were out til about 5 in the morning. I truly have no idea how I was able to be awake and functional for day two.

We got there the second day just in time to make it to Ivy Oddly’s Odd School – a panel about her fashion during her time on the show. Since she is the reigning queen currently, it was super IMG-5866cool to just be in the same room as her, listening to her iconic laugh. After that, we got right back to the booth lines. We were able to seeIMG-5890 Manila Luzon, who was always one of my favorites even before her time on All-Stars. We also got to meet the lovely Gia Gunn, who is such an influencing trans icon. There were plenty of other queens whose booths we may have been able to make it to, but some of the minimums kinda turned us off. (In order to meet a queen at her booth, you usually have to purchase something from her merchandise. Some required a minimum, so you had to buy at least $30 or so worth of stuff in order to get a picture. Personally, I don’t like the minimum purchase requirement, as it diverts some people from getting to visit some of their favorites.) The bestIMG-5854 queen of day two was the same as my favorite from last year, Ongina. I just love her so much – she’s so funny and adorable and 
super fun to just be around. I so hope to see her on an upcoming season of All-Stars or something, cause she is such a star and totally deserves more fans.

The rest of the day was spent doing some shopping within the vendors between booths and watching a totally awesome pole-dancing competition. We also had IMG-5895some fun playing around with the big photo props. There’s always iconic sayings from the show printed on huge signs with impeccable lighting. We spent so much time running around that we actually IMG-5911stayed all the way to the end of the event, where they started turning lights off and packing up to leave. We definitely got the full use of our tickets this year, between all the amazing queens we got to meet and the panels we got to attend. Not to mention, of course, all the photo opps for my Insta. The day ended with another street vendor hot dog and a long bus ride out of the city.

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DragCon is without a doubt one of my favorite weekends of the entire year, and I look forward to many many more! This tradition for us will not be short lived, and I’m thinking maybe for 2020, we’ll attend Drag Con 2020 LA…?!

Thanks for reading!

The Positive Lexicography

definition-of-word-lexicography-in-dictionary-F0JMNFI remember hearing once that there was a word in another language that describes the feeling you get when you think something is so cute that you get the urge to squeeze it. There isn’t a specific word for this sensation in the English language, and this idea of “untranslatable” words has been explored by Tim Lomas, PhD. These words emphasize feelings that we may have had before, but are unable to describe through the use of the language we know. By introducing the ideas and feelings that other languages have words for, we can further the types of happiness that we are capable of understanding through diction.

From this idea, Dr. Lomas developed an index titled “The Positive Lexicography”, which contains these untranslatable words from many languages around the world that relate to happiness and well-being. Dr. Tim Lomas has also written many books, papers, and published articles on the topic, and many others have continued his studies on their own as well. The lexicography is continuously evolving, and can be found on Dr. Lomas’ website. Here are a few examples*:

“Pretoogies” – Dutch:
referring to the twinkling eyes of someone engaged in benign mischief

“Tarab” – Arabic:
a word for musically induced ecstasy

“Tabanca” – Creole:
the bittersweet feeling of being left by someone you love

“Ohanami” – Japanese:
a word for gathering with others to appreciate flowers

“Fernweh” – German:
describing a longing to travel to distant lands; a kind of homesickness for the unexplored

“Morgenfrisk” – Danish:
describing the satisfaction one gets from a good night’s sleep

“Otium” – Latin:
the joy of being in control of one’s own time

worldA social media campaign was created, called “The Happy Words Project”, which can be found on Dr. Lomas’ facebook page. People are encouraged to contribute to the campaign by adding their own suggestions through recordings and videos, which promotes happy wordshappiness and positivity through new words and ideas. You can follow @DrTimLomas on all social media platforms, participate using the hashtag #HappyWordsProject, or follow @HappyWordsProject on Instagram for illustrated words of the day.

Thanks for reading!

*The Unique Joy Of Learning New Words  
Language Article by Katy Steinmetz,
TIME Magazine, October 1, 2018.

Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing and Hope by Karamo Brown

IMG-6654Being a die-hard fan of both Dancing With The Stars and Queer Eye, I was so excited to hear that Karamo Brown would be a contestant on this upcoming season. You may know him as “Crazy Karamo” from MTV’s The Real World, “culture expert” in the Fab Five of Netflix’s Queer Eye, and now Jenna Johnson’s partner on DWTS. Because I’m somebody who takes a deep dive into everything that I love, I ordered Karamo’s book, and I actually read the entire thing in one sitting. 

karamoWithin the first 10 pages, I could feel Karamo’s charisma, positivity, and enlightenment radiating through the words. The way he writes is so light and refreshing, and his life has proven to be wildly interesting. He is concise, clear, and incredibly wise and reflective. It was empowering to read such amazing things from a member of the LGBTQ community and from someone whom I value and admire so much. 

Screen-Shot-2019-04-02-at-9.47.26-AMI’m inspired by Karamo’s ability to openly admit and own up to his mistakes. I’m wildly impressed by him, and I hope to be able to work on taking accountability for my own actions as a result. Karamo admittedly has a number of things to apologize for, but he does just that with eloquence and grace. I also loved Karamo’s thoughts on the term “letting people in” rather than “coming out” in the LGBTQ+ community. His ideas were something I related to IMMENSELY and appreciated completely:IMG-6655

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I basically cried while reading about his relationship with his fiancé, Ian. Not just because of how adorably in love they are, but also the dynamics and interactions between him and Karamo’s sons. Karamo proposed on Ian’s birthday, just after his son’s Jason and Chris announced that their gift was that they want to call him “Pops”. Family was a clear, present, and fascinating topic for Karamo throughout the book, and Ian completed this part of him. Their relationship is truly beautiful. 

queer-eye-public-domainThere was a lot of push back at first for Karamo on Queer Eye, because he wanted to be the “culture expert” that’s really more of a life coach. The previous culture expert from the original show focused more on arts, museums, plays, etc. in terms of “culture”, but Karamo had a clear goal and intention for what he wanted this role to be. It breaks my heart to hear the negative feedback he first got, as a result of the network not being unified on the vision for his expertise on the show. As a viewer and fan of the series, I feel as though I understood Karamo from the beginning. Even in the very first episode, from which he claims his interactions were largely cut, I could see that Karamo’s impact was present and important. I see you, Karamo! Work, girl!

dwts-karamo-brownI absolutely loved Karamo’s book. It was quick, full of wisdom, and provided me with a new insight into who he is. You can binge watch Queer Eye on Netflix over and over again anytime – and I highly recommend you do so. Of course I also HIGHLY highly recommend Karamo’s book, which can be found wherever books are sold. Also – please vote for him on Dancing With The Stars this season! (Mondays at 8:00 PM on ABC.)

Thanks for reading!

March For Our Lives Peace Plan

My journey with gun reform started with the March on Washington last year, has been continued through March For Our Lives resources and other organizational support as well, and the issue continues to be a prominent problem in America.

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I got a message from March For Our Lives on August 21st, announcing their “Peace Plan for a Safer America”. This plan includes a comprehensive agenda on ending the problems with gun violence in the U.S.

mfol2“Created by survivors, so you don’t have to be one.”

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When I first got the text notification about the peace plan and went to visit the site, it had crashed and went offline. Of course many news outlets had already picked up the story and information for me to immediately find, but I feel that the crash is promising and shows the high level of interest on the topic. Maybe I’m just being optimistic, but most American’s actually do agree on many details of gun reform.

unnamedWaiting for policy changes is a slow moving process, and the organization is focusing on what we can do to help push the agenda to make America safer. While many policymakers are simply offering thoughts and prayers,  the Peace Plan is instead addressing the issue head on, by demanding bold C.H.A.N.G.E.:

Change the standards of gun ownership
Halve the rates of gun deaths in ten years
Accountability for the gun lobby and industry
Name a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention
Generate community-based solutions
Empower the next generation

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The Peace Plan is ambitious, forward thinking, and worth fighting for. The idea is shift power away from the NRA so that all types of gun violence can be addressed: from suicides and accidental shootings to gun violence and shootings driven by hate.

To sign the petition, donate to the cause, or learn more information, visit MarchForOurLives.com or click here for a direct link to the Peace Plan.

Thanks for reading.

Fall TV 2019

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The best part about fall is having all of your favorite TV shows come back on the air! Here’s the list of what I will most definitely be watching this season:

 

Monday, September 9th:
The Kelly Clarkson Show – NBC

Monday, September 16th:
Dancing With The Stars – ABC

Wednesday, September 18th:
American Horror Story: 1984 – FX

Sunday, September 22nd:
71st Emmy Awards – FOX

Monday, September 23rd:
The Voice – NBC

Tuesday, September 24th:
This Is Us – NBC
Empire – FOX
Black-ish – ABC
Mixed-ish – ABC

Wednesday, September 25th:
Modern Family – ABC
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia – FX

Thursday, September 26th:
The Good Place – NBC
A Million Little Things – ABC

Friday, September 27th:
Fresh Off The Boat – ABC

Saturday, September 28th:
Saturday Night Live – NBC

Sunday, September 29th:
Shark Tank – ABC

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Thanks for reading!

 

 

Guns In America

4My stance on gun violence and gun control reform is no secret, and after the shootings this weekend in El Paso and Dayton, I’m deeply saddened. I absolutely do not support our president and the awful things he says. I just don’t think it’s okay that a president can spew such racist remarks, promote hate, and be such a bully to individuals that he should be respecting. It’s not okay that this is the face of our country. Because as a result, people think that way of thinking is alright. And then they go and shoot up places that have a high diversity population, and post their white supremacy manifestos online. What’s happening in our country is upsetting, dis-heartening, and embarrassing, and is also a direct correlation to the racist person that we have in office.

*The above are my opinions. You do not have to agree with them. Regardless of race issues, guns continue to be a prominent and polarizing topic in the U.S. Below are some actual facts about guns in America.*

3Guns in America are growing. The number of civilian owned firearms has grown from 170 million in 1990 to 265 million in 2015. Gun-control legislation can help keep everyone safe, as stricter gun-control laws reduce gun deaths – up to 9 times as less. Focus on the types of weapons available can also help, as the the average number of victims in high-capacity weapon shootings is roughly twice as high as shootings where other firearms were used. 

More guns = more deaths from guns. Not only are the gun violence rates much higher in the U.S. than other countries, but the firearm suicide rate is also much hire. We have 8 times the amount of deaths than Canada, 13 times more than France, 20 times more than Australia and 40 times more than Germany.

More guns = more guns being obtained illegally. 40% of criminals with guns obtain them from a street or illegal source, 37% get them from a family or friend, and 11% from a pawnshop, gun show, or other retailer.

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Opinions from gun owners vs. non-gun owners:

  • 89% of both gun owners and non-gun owners support preventing people with mental illnesses from purchasing guns.
  • 82% of gun owners and 84% of non-gun owners support preventing gun purchasing from people on no-fly or watch lists.
  • 77% of gun owners and 87% of non-gun owners support requiring background checks for private gun sales and at gun shows.
  • 54% of gun owners and 80% of non-gun owners support creating a federal database to track all gun sales.
  • 48% of gun owners and 77% of non-gun owners support banning assault-style weapons.

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This information was published in TIME Magazine on November 5th, 2018, and is still extremely relevant today, almost one year later.

“This is America. Guns in my area.” – Childish Gambino, 2018

6To help support the families of the victims of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, donations can be made to the El Paso Community Foundation, Paso Del Norte Foundation, or the Dayton Foundation. (Click here for more information.)

Thanks for reading.

Source: Guns In America: A TIME and JR Project, TIME Magazine.

Out Of Orange by Cleary Wolters

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If you watched the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, then you are familiar with Alex Vause. If you’ve read Piper Kerman’s book with the same title, then you are familiar with Nora Jansen. The real woman is named Cleary Wolters. After finishing the final season of the series, as well as the real Piper’s book, I decided to round out my obsession by reading Out Of Orange – the memoir of the “real woman behind the glasses.”

Hearing about when she first saw the Netflix commercial – damn. I felt my own heart sink along with her reaction of first hearing the now iconic clicking of the gate. Cleary had no idea that this production was happening. She was still on parole for her crime, unable to legally communicate with Piper, and didn’t know how this would affect her status.

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She then goes back to the beginning of her story and her crimes to show us the full sequence of events. The Netflix show completely leaves out Cleary’s sister, who is an integral part of the story. She is dating the boss, or “God”, as some called him – the one running the drug smuggling operations. That’s how Cleary/Nora/Alex got involved in the first place. The book focuses more on the crime and the details of the drug ring than anything else. The story is long and elaborate, and while I did find a lot of it interesting, I found that it could definitely have been more concise. Regardless, I’m glad that Cleary got a chance to tell her side of the story and set her own narrative.

In the 7th and final season of OITNB, one of the COs shoves a condom full of heroin down Alex’s throat to hide it. Funnily enough, that’s how many of Cleary’s co-workers transported drugs. She details her first trip, where her colleague puts the heroin into the pinky of a rubber glove, ties it and cuts it off, dips it into some yogurt, and swallows it whole. He does this over and over again until he’s consumed it all, each capsule containing enough heroin to kill him immediately if accidentally released inside him before he has a chance to go through digestion. Cleary, however, has the heroin she is moving sewn into a man’s suit. They later adapt to a method where it is sewn directly into the lining of the suitcases. (This was the 90’s, so prior to drug sniffing dogs.)

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Piper is a not as big of a character in most the book as one may think, starting out just as the role of “cat godmother and babysitter” for a while in a platonic way. It did, of course, evolve into something more, but she is still a secondary, maybe even tertiary, character in the drug operations. I think it proves how someone small in your life can have such a big influence. Piper can blame Cleary for getting her mixed into the business that led to her year in prison, but it brought her wild success. And in return, Piper also put Cleary on the map; I would not have read her book or even known her name had it not been for Piper Kerman and Netflix.

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Overall, I’m not sure that Cleary Wolters is one of my favorite authors. The further I got into the book, the more I disliked the way Cleary writes. It’s scattered and sometimes repetitive in a strange way. For example, she’ll describe swallowing a vicodin down with a scoop of her miso soup, followed by the fact that she ordered sushi and miso soup. I almost wondered if she wrote a draft, and then an editor told her to go back and add more detail, and she just did that in random areas. Not to mention, I feel as though the cover and title did not accurately reflect the contents of the book. It’s not until page 234 that she finally sees prison time, and the book is somewhere around 300 or so pages. The story is almost the prologue to Pipers, and I just think that could have been portrayed more. Not to judge a book by its cover or anything. And like I said before, I very much enjoyed hearing her side of the story.

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Honestly, maybe if I was more of a cat person, I would have enjoyed this book a little bit more.

Thanks for reading.

Support LGBTQ Causes

Looking to get more involved in the LGBTQ+ community? Here are many amazing organizations and causes that are always looking for more support:

 

GLSEN-Safe-InclusiveGLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network): The leading national education organization, promoting anti-bullying through campaigns and gay-straight alliances in schools across the nation. Volunteer or donate at glsen.org or 212-727-0135.

hrc-foundationHuman Rights Campaign Foundation: A civil rights advocacy group who focuses largely on LGBTQ rights, marriage equality, and legislation changes that include hate-crimes and anti-discrimination movements. Volunteer or donate at hrc.org or 202-628-4160.

Lambda LegalLambda Legal: A defense and education fund that supports civil rights and provides legal services for the LGBTQ community as well as individuals living with HIV and AIDS.
Attorney’s can join the Cooperating Attorney Network within the organization, and anyone can volunteer or donate at lamdalegal.org or 212-809-8585.

PFLAGPFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays): An organization that promotes the health and wellness of LGBTW people and their loved ones through support groups and scholarship programs. Sign up or donate at pflag.org or 202-467-8180.

 

SageSage: A social group that provides health services, housing, and employement opportunties for LGBTQ senior citizens. Get involved or donate at sageusa.org or 212-741-2247.

 

Stonewall Community FoundationStonewall Community Foundation: A fundraiser to support LGBTQ non-profits and organizations in NYC, which includes scholarship programs that support refugees and asylum seekers. Donate at stonewallfoundation.org or 212-457-1341.

stonewall initiativeStonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative: The official and only charitable giving organization of the Historic Stonewall Inn, promoting tolerance and acceptance in communities across America. Get more information or donate at stonewallinitiative.org or 646-242-8382.

 

Take Back The PromTake Back The Prom: A DoSomthing campaign where thousands of students share stories and sign petitions to demand change from schools who still have discrimination policies. Students can access the Anxiety Line by texting PROM to 38383, or donate at takebacktheprom.com.

The Trevor ProjectThe Trevor Project:  A confidential hotline that provides crisis and suicide-prevention services, as well as resources for parents and educators. Volunteer to be trained to become a lifeline counselor or volunteer, or donate at thetrevorproject.org or 310-271-8845.

 

Now go get involved! Thanks for reading!

5 LGBT Historical Figures You Should Know

Even though Pride Month has officially ended, it’s still important to remember the people who paved the way for us to celebrate. My company’s internal Pride magazine has continued to show focus on the trailblazers that paved the way for the rest of us. So, here are 5 historical LGBTQ figures that you should most definitely know about:

 

harveymilk460Harvey Milk
The first openly gay elected official in the U.S., Harvey Milk was a civil and human rights activist who served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. His work in advocacy for the LGBTQ community was only beginning when he was assassinated less than just one year in office.

Bayard RustinBayard Rustin
A close adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin marched with on Washington as a black and gay man to fight for civil rights. He was one of the most effective influencers of the civil rights movement, and was nicknamed “Mr. March-on-Washington”.

Michael_DillonLaurence Michael Dillon
robertaBorn with the name Laura Maud, Laurence Michael Dillon was the first person to undergo FTM gender reassignment surgery.  He was a British physician, but when his story was revealed to the world, he fled to India and became a Monk. Roberta Cowell is also noteworthy, as she was the first to undergo a surgical MTF transition.

Simon NkoliSimon Nkoli
Experiencing extreme discrimination, Simon Nkoli was a South Africa native that was one of the first Black anti-apartheid activists to publicly identify as gay and HIV-positive. He was diagnosed while in prison for protesting, and eventually died of an AIDS related illness.

herculineHerculine Barbin
Assigned female at birth but later reclassified by law as male, Herculine Barbin was the first person to be labeled as intersex. Herculine eventually changed their name to Abel, and died by suicide at the age of 30 after much medical scrutiny.  (Note: There are no confirmed pictures of Herculine Barbin, so the above picture may not be accurate.)

 

gay   Thanks for reading!

For more information on these amazing people, please visit:  
milkfoundation.org/ ;  
kinginstitute.edu/rustin-bayard ;  
http://library.transgenderzone.com/ ;  
www.sahistory.org.za/tseko-simon-nkoli ;  
Herculine Barbin, By Michel Foucault

Podcast Favorites #6

podcast  The pods don’t stop! Here are even more my favorite podcast suggestions: (#1#2#3#4, #5)

 

420 FRIENDLY:

MJ today daily

Marijuana Today Daily – For any headline that is cannabis related across the U.S., here is your resource. This daily dose of top stories and breaking news along with other relevant information will certainly keep you in the know. Host Shea Gunther celebrates the achievements made in the cannabis industry and leads you to longer online articles as well if you are interested in some of his briefed topics. Under 10 minutes long and released each morning, it’s a good quick listen.

 

Stoner Horoscopes

Stoner Horoscopes – This podcast only comes out monthly, and has a separate page to follow for each separately horoscope (which is nice, so then you don’t have to delete the horoscope episodes that aren’t yours). It’s always a quick and lighthearted listen, wishing you good fortunate and recommending different strains of cannibals to bring you positivity.  It’s definitely a little hippy dippy, but I enjoy it.

 

CELEB PODCASTS:

Chelsea HandlerLife Will Be The Death Of Me with Chelsea Handler – If you are a Chelsea Handler fan, then you know that her new book just came out. Chelsea combines her book tour, lessons learned from her therapist, and her life stories to pull together this podcast. It’s very relevant, liberal, and important information and ideas that should spark a lot of good discussion. I’m a big Chelsea fan, and am spreading her new words to live by: “The world is only getting browner and gayer, and if you don’t hop on board, you’re gonna miss the fucking bus.”

 

Justin Long

Life Is Short with Justin Long – Just like many other celebrity podcasts, Justin Long interviews his colleagues and friends in a free-spirited environment. This podcast often includes his brother as a co-host, and has a very very very catchy theme song. The show isn’t entirely original, and reminds me of other celeb podcasts. However there are a lot of big named celebrities and if you like Justin then it’s still worth listening to.

 

IMPORTANT ISSUES:

Out and Up

Out and Up – I’m going to be honest here. This podcast has a great message and some good content, but it’s a little dry and hard to get through. I’ve often picked it up and put it back down, as not every single guest is a natural given story teller. Even still, these stories are important and should be heard, and as a member of the LGBTQ community, I have intentions to continue to support.

 

 

#tellblackstories

#TellBlackStories – I’m going to continue to support this podcast as well, but here is some more honesty. The words and stories in this podcast are truly awesome, but the audio quality needs a ton of work. Often the different individuals talking are at wildly different volumes, and you either can’t hear one or are deafened when the other starts talking. If you are able to listen, the interviews are so great and highlight different struggles and obstacles that powerful people have overcome. There’s so much left to uncover as well in future episodes, but they need to get the audio worked out.

 

New Pod On The Block

New Pod On The Block – Don’t try to tell me that boy bands are not an important issue to be talked about, because they are! Hosts Josh and Mike are huge boy band fans, and they bring us through all our 90’s favorite things. From liquid dreams, to the best bops and bangers, you will be reliving some of your best memories. 98 Degrees, Backstreet Boys, N*SYNC, Boyz II Men, and so much more – they are all waiting for you.

 

The podcast love is real, so please comment or send me your favorite podcasts!

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

Summer Movies 2019

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Here is a list of movies that were already or are going to ticketbe released this summer that I may or may not try to see. 

*Disclaimer, the last time I set out with a list of new movies to watch, I only watched two out of five of them. I’ll make an effort to finish that list, and I will certainly try to hold myself more to the commitment this time.*

 

booksmartBooksmart – May 24th

maMa – May 31st