Road Trip 2019!

IMG-4397I’ve been planning my big move to the amazing city of Tucson, AZ for quite some time now, and the day has finally arrived!! My amazing friend Rachel, who was also my college roommate, was completely awesome and decided to make the trip with me.

IMG-4468We started out in or around Allentown, Pennsylvania, and separately drove a quick hour to my parents’ house outside of Philly, so that Rachel could drop her car there for after her flight home. To be frank, that was probably the worst part of the entire trip, because it was pouring down rain with thunder and lightening. With my windshield wipers on the fastest speed, I hoped for better weather once we got out of PA.

IMG-4403I got my wish, and the rest of the day was absolutely beautiful. We drove through the tip of Delaware, to the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland, through Richmond Virginia, and eventually made our way to Nashville, Tennessee for our first overnight stop. We stayed at just a cheap motel, but we were able to see some of the “downtown” life, and had dinner with my cousin, who lives in the area.

IMG-4476Day two took us deep into the South, going through the rest of Tennessee and into Arkansas. We stopped for a leisurely lunch in Little Rock, where Rachel was able to find an outdoor cafe that was dog friendly. With locally sourced food, equality signs, and a cashier with dreadlocks, it was totally not what I was envisioning to find in the South! They did take a very long time, but luckily this was our shortest day of driving, so we still made it to our Air BnB in Dallas, Texas before it got dark. The apartment was beautiful, and we were exhausted, so we pretty much watched some Netflix and went straight to sleep.

IMG-4428The last day was the longest, and as we drove through the rest of Texas, I was made aware of what a gigantic state it truly is. It felt like we were never going to make it out, but it was definitely exciting for us to see how close we were to Mexico. Normally we would have had to go through border patrol check points, but they were currently closed because of some political bullshit, so we got lucky and could fly right by without stopping. We cruised through New Mexico and made it to my new state of Arizona while the sun was still up! (The time difference certainly worked in our favor for the entire trip.)

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Rachel stayed the night with me on an air mattress in my new place, but unfortunately had to fly home the next morning for work. This was actually Rachel’s first time on a plane, and here she was flying home all by herself – signs of a true friend!! She also helped me document along the way while my hands were busy at the wheel, so I was able to compile our adventures into one video:

 

So that’s it! I’m here in Tucson, Arizona! I made it – and this is my new home.

Thanks for watching! And thanks for reading.

Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman

orange ishte newYou probably know the Netflix show Orange is the New Black, and you may or may not know that the plot is based on a true story. I wanted the details, which is what led me to Piper Kerman’s memoir, detailing her year in a women’s prison. 

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The first season is the truest to the book, of course with its differences as well, but the nature of how, when, and why Piper went to prison are all true. The beginning of the book tells the story of her crime, when she was in her twenties, and is almost identical to the scene in the show. The blonde wig disguise, the skipping of customs, and the love affair was all true. Even certain lines were the same, such as Piper’s grandmother asking what she did with all the money – to which Piper replied, “Well Grandma, I wasn’t really in it for the money…”

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Much of her arrival to prison paralleled her real experience as well, such as getting the gift of a toothbrush from other white women and having her bed made for her so that they’d pass inspection. A lot of characters also parallel the show. The driver with a New York accent and bright red lipstick is certainly comparable to Lorna Morello, there’s a track star just like Janae, and Spanish mami’s that reminded me of Gloria and Maria. All names were changed for the show of course, and not all crimes in the show match up with those who committed them in real life.

alex cThe biggest difference between the book and the TV show, is that the real Alex Vause was not in the same prison as Piper. In the book, Piper calls the Alex character by the name of Nora Janson, but the real woman is named Cleary Wolters. The two of them did not end up together, and Piper is actually still happily married to Larry. Piper and Alex did cross paths when they ran into each other while being held in Chicago, where they were both called to testify against another man involved in their crime ring. There was a lot of tension during that time, and no romantic interactions. There was, however, a woman there who relentlessly tried to obtain Piper’s birth time and place for her chart.

piper and larryChicago also played a major factor of what was different in the book versus the TV show, as Piper’s release date actually came in real life while she was being held in Chicago for the trial. She was released from there, and had to fly home with Larry to New York. The final season of OTINB will show Piper’s release from prison, and I hope that they throw Piper Chapman the going-away party that Piper Kerman was robbed of.

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If you are an avid fan of the show, the book is a great read. There’s many quick tidbits or opinions that became major story lines in the show, which is really fascinating to see how they used the book as a resource. It’s like they have their regular story line, and they frequently go back to the book whenever they needed inspiration.

Here are some more similarities and differences that I found interesting or noteworthy:

  • Piper’s grandmother really did get sick and pass away while Piper was in prison. Piper did apply for furlough, but it was, of course, never granted.
  • There really was a girl nicknamed Pennsatucky, and she really did get new teeth! However, she had no extreme religious story line, and she and Piper were actually good friends throughout their stay.
  • Danbury becomes Litchfield. Yoga Janet becomes Yoga Jones. And Pop – who runs the kitchen, has a very long sentence, and often gets special treatment – becomes Red.
  • Martha Stewart was sentenced to prison during this time, who would be comparable to the Judy character in the show. However, she did not serve time in the same camp as Piper. Though Danbury was the location requested by Martha so that she could be close to her grandmother, the camp was conveniently and temporarily closed at that time to ensure that Martha would not be taking one of the beds there, which could lead them to media scrutiny.
  • Larry really did write a segment for a newspaper’s ‘modern love’ column. However, it had little to do with Piper’s time in prison. It was actually pretty short and very sweet, and about how much he loved Piper. Piper and Larry’s relationship is still a success to this day, and they reside together in Brooklyn.

piper kPiper was also very reflective as she got to the end of the book, and was able to understand the bigger picture of her crimes. When she was a young girl moving this suitcase of money, she was not thinking of how drugs affect the rest of the country. She reflected on women who were put in terrible situations, and were involved in drug crimes simply because they had no other options. Piper also acknowledged her privilege and how she was given opportunities after leaving prison that other women would not be so lucky to have. She talked about how the U.S. correctional system does not do much “correcting”, and does not set up prisoners to have successful lives when they are released. Piper has gotten involved in prison reform and women’s rights since her release, and I hope that her efforts can better the lives of future women who are incarcerated.

If you are interested in Piper’s cause, you can visit www.piperkerman.com/justice-reform or facebook.com/orangeisthenewblack.

The seventh and final season of Orange Is The New Black will be released on Netflix on Friday, June 26th, 2019.

Thanks for reading!

I FINALLY MET ROSS MATHEWS!

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Okay guys.. it finally happened. After all of my efforts and persistence in the past year since my first time calling in, I have finally MET ROSS MATHEWS FOR REAL!! It was amazing, he was incredible, and it was as wonderful as I could have asked for.

As I was getting everything together for my move, I heard on my favorite podcast, Straight Talk With Ross, that they were going to be recording a live show in NYC. I quickly checked the dates on my calendar, and decided that it was worth squeezing this trip in. My moving truck was coming on that Monday, but there was no way I could miss out on this opportunity. I mean, how often is Ross Mathews in NYC?! I quickly bought two tickets to both shows, figuring I’d find a friend who wanted to tag along with me. I wrote in on social media that I would be in attendance, and CJay announced this on the episode leading up to the live tapings. I was dying!

I’m always writing/calling into the show and interacting with the podcast crew on social media, IMG-4248but I wasn’t sure if any of them actually would recognize my name. I walked into the venue for the live show with my friend Jenna next to me, and the first thing I heard was someone calling my name. I looked around to see JROD walking right towards me! I gave him a big hug, pretty stunned that he was able to recognize me right upon entrance. He told me the first show was about to start and he ran off to get things started. DYING.

Jenna and I quickly got drinks and sat down for the first show. There was a bunch of the normal antics, along with interviews with drag queens Aja and Miz Cracker – who also performed. At some point, Jenna and I needed a drink refill, and I went to the bar to find CJay ordering a drink as well. I introduced myself as “Bisexual Gina” and he immediately hugged me and greeted me enthusiastically, telling me he would find me later. OMGGG YES, STILL DYING.

In between shows, my friend and I were sitting outside with other Straight Talkers who were in line for pictures in the VIP section. We got some food and as we were hanging out, I felt someone’s eyes on me. I look up to see Cjay, with hIMG-4256is arm around ROSS MATHEWS, and POINTING AT ME! I started freaking out as they walked over and I quickly introduced myself to Ross. We talked a little about God knows what, because I basically blacked out during the interaction. He was so calm and awesome, and I was not calm and overly excited. He got pulled away quickly, but told me that he would be talking with me later. STILL DYING, IS THIS REAL?!

During the second show, Ross started calling up some of his STWR favorites up to the stage, and one of those included ME! He said that he IMG-4295had thought that I was going to be nuts, and I told him that I totally am. He talked about how he listens to every single one of my voicemails (I leave him about one per month) and how he plays them for the rest of the podcast crew. He was so quick with his wit, and we were able to banter easily in the funnest way. It was so unbelievable to be onstage with him, answering questions and getting to freak out along with the rest of the crowd. I even got pulled up again later on in the show to read a “good bad joke.” It was honestly more than I ever could have hoped for. I think I actually died here. Dead. 

IMG-4251After the second show, we hung out in the VIP section to get our pictures with the crew. What was honestly amazing was that people wanted to take picture with ME! It was really cool to feel like I had my 15 minutes of fame in some way, and everyone was so incredibly nice. Unfortunately, I had had waaayyy too much to drink and not enough to eat, so I was pretty wasted at this point. After being overly friendly, taking way too many pictures, and repeating myself several times, Jenna and I left to find food with a promise to meet up with some people later for karaoke. 

Even though I thought I was out for the count, I IMG-4296was able to get myself together to make it to karaoke – and I’m sure glad that I did! JRod and other Straight Talkers were there, and I brought Jenna and my other friend along with me. We put on a good show with songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Don’t Stop Me Now” and I had such a blast.

IMG-4279I was really feeling it the next day, and I had a ton of work to do to get my stuff ready for the moving truck, but WOW was it all worth it!! I’ve heard before that you shouldn’t meet your heroes, because you might be disappointed, but Ross was everything I could have asked for and more! I am so incredibly thankful and happy for this experience and I sure hope that I get to interact with Ross again in the future.

To listen to the live recordings of the show, find Straight Talk With Ross wherever you listen to podcasts, and go to the episodes released on June 13th and June 18th. They are episodes 282 (Live From Brooklyn with Miz Cracker & Aja) and episode 283 (Nikki B Bobbin For Big Apples – #2 STWR Live in Brooklyn), and the recap episode is After Glow #4. I come in on the Nikki B Bobbin Episode (283) around minute 14:33. Or for the direct link, you can CLICK HERE .

Thanks for reading!

 

Summer TV 2019

summertv2SUMMER TV IS HEREEEE!!! Now that it’s officially June, there are so many new shows starting up. ESPECIALLY GAME SHOW REVIVALS!!! I am so excited. My friend has recommended the app TV Time to me, where you can track your favorite shows and get notifications when new episodes are being released. Here’s what I’ll be adding to my watch list for summer:

Monday, June 3rd: 
So You Think You Can Dance – FOX

Wednesday, June 5th:
Grown-ish – FreeForm

Sunday, June 9th: 
Celebrity Family Feud – ABC
$100,000 Pyramid – ABC
To Tell The Truth – ABC

Wednesday, June 12th:
Press Your Luck – ABC
Card Sharks – ABC
Match Game – ABC

Sunday, June 16th:
Euphoria – HBO

Monday, June 17th:
Whose Line Is It Anyway? – The CW

Thursday, June 20th:
Family Food Fight – ABC
Spin The Wheel – ABC

Tuesday, June 25th:
Big Brother – CBS

Thursday, July 25th:
Orange Is The New Black – Netflix

Monday, July 20th:
Bachelor In Paradise – ABCtv1

Thanks for reading!

Gun Violence Awareness Facts

As I’ve said before, I subscribe to different outlets for affecting change in various ways in an effort to support the issues that I wear orange 1care about (see – Trans Awareness Week). March For Our Lives is included in this list, as I also attended the rally in Washington in March 2018, and I continue to get news and alerts from the organization. Since June is Gun Violence Awareness month, I received a text update and was prompted to take a quiz on my knowledge of gun violence. Here are the questions and the information that was shared:*

wear orange 2How many people on average die from gun violence every day?
Answer: 100 people per day – that’s loved ones we’re losing every day because of guns. 

wear orange 2How does the U.S. gun homicide rate compare to other high-income countries?
Answer: It’s 25x higher. This is a uniquely American problem which our leaders have failed to address.

wear orange 2What percentage of Americans support universal background checks?
Answer: 97%. Implementing universal background checks is one way to start addressing these issues. 

Please be aware of which politicians are supportive of what you believe in, and who is fighting to keep our country safe. Also, make sure you #WearOrange on June 7th to support Gun Violence Awareness Month.

Thanks for reading.

*Quiz by March For Our Lives. 
For more information and references, 
visit https://marchforourlives.com/.

VOTE! (The Primary)

For many parts of the country, it’s election day! There have been historical highs in the last couple of elections for voter turnout, specifically in younger demographics and minority groups. Women really showed up for the midterm, voting at higher rates than the men! Most voters reported that they had a positive voting experience, and policies have become priority over partisanship.*vote 3Do you know who and what you’re voting for? There are so many great people looking to run and make a change, so it’s important to know where you are going to lend your support. As always, I know it can be a lot to keep up with, so here’s just a super quick reminder on how to make this easy. 

To find information on your polling place and what to expect on your ballot, I recommend visiting vote411.org and clicking on “Your Voting Guide”. You will be prompted to put in your address to see where to vote, as well as other links and resources. I suggest actually going through your ballot, where you will be asked to claim your party in order to get personalized information on candidates and the issues they are addressing. You will see exactly what you should expect to see at your polling place, but with additional facts and statements from the candidates as well. You can also visit other sites such as ballotpedia.org and rockthevote.org to get accurate and unbiased information on the elections.

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Stay informed! Exercise your right. Show support to issues you care about. And most importantly, make a difference. The polls are open until 8PM, so GO VOTE!

Thanks for reading.

*In a year of record midterm turnout, 

women continued to vote at higher rates than men,
 
and there were historic highs in 2019 across
racial 
and ethnic groups, according to Pew Research Center.

5 Reasons to Watch Pete Buttigieg

PeteEverything that I know about Pete Buttigieg so far has made me a fan of his. As we get to know more and more about the candidates participating in the upcoming elections, Pete is someone from whom I am definitely excited to hear. Here are just some reasons why:

 

chasten1. His Husband 
If Pete were to be elected, this would make him the first openly gay president! This would be a huge milestone for the community, and an amazing push forward for our country. Not to mention, Chasten would make an amazing First Gentleman … or whatever they plan on calling it. They are adorable, so are their dogs, and I am here for the representation.

 

unite2. His Platform
In a time when our nation is divided in such an extreme way, Pete is focusing on what we have in common, and running his platform with the focus on uniting the U.S.. There is so much more middle ground than anyone realizes, and Pete intends to use those common areas to attempt to unify the country. Many other candidates are running on the idea of “fighting the fight”, while Pete is looking to make peace again.

 

military3. His Military Experience 
Pete proudly brags that he has more military experience than his running mates, and many previously elected presidents as well. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2009, and was deployed in Afghanistan in 2014. He continued to serve as an intelligence officer until 2017. As a potential future Commander-in-Chief, military experience and leadership is obviously extremely important.

 

political4. His Political Experience
While a lot of people did appreciate that Trump did not come from the typical political background, there are others that argue that this experience is vital to the success of a leader in office. Pete has been involved in politics for the majority of his career, and he is currently the mayor of South Bend, Indiana (and has been since 2012). It doesn’t hurt to mention that he is a Harvard College graduate also.

 

personality5. His Personality and Charm
While he is a responsible, stand up politician, Pete is also not afraid to have a good time. He has shown his personality throughout the beginning of this campaign, including doing a fun sketch with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. He knows how to appeal to multiple audiences, and can be trusted to be authentic in various settings. As a millennial, I’m on board.

 

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I read most of this information from the TIME article that highlighted his campaign, which I definitely recommend checking out. He has also made appearances on other late night TV shows and has had various other press coverage as well. I intend to keep my eye on Pete as he continues to move forward with his political efforts, regardless of where they make take him. You can learn more about Pete by visiting PeteForAmerica.com or following him @pete.buttigieg on Instagram and @PeteButtigieg on Twitter.

“It’s time for a new generation of American leadership.”

Thanks for reading!