Desert Southwest (WildSam Field Guide)

img_3834This little book by WildSam was given to me as a Christmas present, after I expressed interest in relocating to Arizona. Pocket sized and adorable, just like the person who gave it to me, this Desert Southwest Field Guide was just the inspo I needed. That interest turned into a dream, and now a reality, so I’ve finally been able to read through the entire book and dive into the part of the country that I am ready to explore.

The book is a nice recap of information for individual places such as Santa Fe, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, and of course – my future city – Tucson. There are details of each city and state history as well as state facts and famous residents. I was excited by the list of annual festivals and events, as well as travel recommendations and so much more.

img_3832I took some time to dive into the page on Tucson that was published under the “Cities and Towns” section. Since this is going to be my new city, I was filled with excitement reading about the blend of culture and the beautiful foothills to explore. I already can’t wait to see monsoon season, and I am definitely going to try the Mexican/Seafood restaurant recommendation, Penca.

There was also a ton of other cool and interesting information, such as some history of media and films in the desert areas, and a list of outlaws and infamous figures. I enjoyed reading about different landmarks, wildlife and more things that I can explore. The book also included 14 interviews with various local personnel, artists, and writers. Towards the end, there are three short essays that are placed in Santa Fe. One is about the transience of the city, another the journey of exploring on a dangerous hike, and the last mourns the life of a good friend.

For anyone who wants to go exploring, included are several detailed guided road trips img_3833which break down the best routes to travel to the cities that were listed in the book. This gave me some inspiration for where to take some future trips, even if I don’t follow the recommendations exactly. The whole guide is truly an adorable and thoughtful present, very helpful, and got me even more excited to move than I already was. 

“People don’t take trips – trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

Thanks for reading.

https://wildsam.com/desert-southwest

It Takes Balls by Josh Wolf

josh wolf 1You may recognize comedian Josh Wolf from his thirteen years of stand-up, his tours with Larry the Cable Guy and Chelsea Handler, and his TV appearances on My Name Is Earl  and Raising Hope. I discovered Josh through Ross Mathews – they both worked on Chelsea Lately and continued their chemistry on their radio show, He Said, He Said with Josh and Ross. I am now a huge fan of his, an avid listener of his podcasts, and a follower of his comedy. From my first experience with Josh, I found him absolutely hilarious and down josh wolf 2to earth. He certainly knows how to take a joke super far and make you shake your head in disgust, but he also definitely isn’t offensive. He’s a stand up guy, a solid ally, and a great comedian. Josh is from Boston, and often does shows at the Laugh Factory when he is in town. I was able to go to his show last October, where I even got to meet him afterwards and take some pictures. He does an awesome live set, so if you ever get the chance to see him don’t miss out on the fun.

jw 1It Takes Balls; Dating Single Moms and Other Confessions From an Unprepared Single Dad is Josh Wolf’s collection of his own experiences and funny stories. He finds himself, as he is breaking into his comedy career, with 3 kids and questionable help. They made it work, of course, but not without some tales to tell along the way. Josh is hilarious, and I could hear his voice as he recounted the memories. Part of his comedy comes from the fact that he’s just flat out honest, and is able to admit things that other people might be ashamed of. For example, using his kids to get dates, and going so far as to have them call him “uncle”. I was highly amused.

Part of the reason that I like Josh not just as a comedian, but also just as a human, is because I think he’s a really amazing parent. I totally respect his parenting style; he is realistic, yet encouraging and also extremely proud of his kids. This definitely comes through in his book, as he tells stories of coaching his son’s little league team and connecting with his daughter over her first kiss. He may have been unprepared, but it seems like he made out pretty good overall.

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The best part of the book was the stories about taking his buddies to Las Vegas. It starts out with antics to even get the guys on the plane, including involving one of their wives to help out. Cut to everyone taking too much advantage of their solo hotel rooms instead of hitting a night out on the town – which didn’t sit well with Josh of course. He makes up for lost time though, instigating bets and dares and getting the gang into some hilarious trouble. That’s probably the best part about Josh – he’s the kind of person that goes looking for trouble, finds it, and jumps head first into it.

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I highly recommend It Takes Balls; Dating Single Moms and Other Confessions From an Unprepared Single Dad by Josh Wolf, as well as the rest of his content and comedy. You can follow Josh Wolf on social media at @joshwolfcomedy (his Insta stories of “parenting tips” are hilarious) or visit his website comedianjoshwolf.com for more information and show dates (and a link to his YouTube channel, which includes bits from his standup). You can listen to his podcast Fairly Normal wherever you listen to podcasts, which includes audio of his Facebook TV show Controlled Chaos (which you can also, obviously, watch on Facebook TV). You can also listen to his podcast with Freddie Prinze Jr, called The Prinze and The Wolf or you can go back and binge his old radio show with Ross Mathews, Josh and Ross.

Thanks for reading!

Man Up! by Ross Mathews

Ross, honey. Baby. You know how much I love you. You know I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time, right? I totally read your book years ago. Years! I definitely didn’t just get your book for Christmas this year. No way, nooo. I definitely didn’t just finish your book for the first time. No, no, no I told you – years ago!! You see, I simply reread your book. Yeah, see? No big deal! We’re cool; we’re good. Just rereading one of my favorite books by one of my favorite people that I totally totally totally totally read for the first time years and years and years ago. Totally.

man up 3Man Up! Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence by Ross Mathews was perfect for a light read to make you happy. Most people remember Ross as “Ross the Intern” from the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and I absolutely loved hearing how this persona came to be. A lot of Ross’ career was built on creating opportunity and taking the chances that are presented to you. The lucky circumstances that land you in the right place at the right time is what brought Ross Mathews from the mid-west to our big screens. Hearing his voice on the podcast in my ears each week always makes me happy, and now I got some insight into who he is and where he comes from written in his own words.

I geek out over my favorite celebrities, Ross included, and can absolutely relate to that side of himself that he exposes in the book. Even when I called into his podcast, I freaked out like the fan girl that I truly am. I hope that my “contagious enthusiasm” can be paralleled in some way to the way that Ross describes his feelings towards his favorite celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Tiffani Thiessen, and Michelle Kwan.

Ross never gives up and will voice his opinion for what he believes is right, which is one of the best things about him. When he was working in food service, he fought for both the men and women to be allowed to wear visors (despite being asked, “what you wear girl hat for?”). He also used his social media platform once he had a following to get butter nut squash put back on the Koo-Koo-Roo menu, and they even added his name to the dish. Lessons like these are really important to show people that no matter who or where you are, you can absolutely make a difference.

My favorite part of the whole book was when Ross talked about how he came out to his mom. He worked up the courage to disclose the big news, and his mom’s reaction was, “I could have sworn you told me that already.” Priceless. Absolutely priceless.

 

I feel like I can now qualify myself as a “super fan” of Ross’. At the end of the book, Ross even includes a pop quiz, and not to brag, but I scored 100%. Maybe now that I’ve finished his book, I can be considered Ross Mathews’ #1 fan! (Ross, like I said… I read it years ago. Totally.)

Thanks for reading!

The Five Love Languages

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by Gary Chapman

READ THIS BOOK. Take the quiz. And read this book.

This book addresses the fact that different things hold different levels of importance to different people. An act that you consider small may be monumental to your partner. There are so many different ways to communicate, and its important to understand which languages means the most to both you and the person that you love.

5 Love Languages:

Words of Affirmation

Quality Time

Acts of Service

Physical Touch

Giving Gifts

I took the quiz and made Ryan (my boyfriend) take it as well prior to reading the book. Just looking at the five love languages, I could spot mine right away: Words of Affirmation. I mean, I was a Communications major… words are important to me. Still, I took the quiz and was validated in my suspicions. Ryan’s answers were surprising in some ways.

My Responses:                          Ryan’s Responses:

9 Words of Affirmation           8 Quality Time

7 Physical Touch                       8 Words of Affirmation

7 Quality Time                           7 Acts of Service

6 Acts of Service                        4 Physical Touch

1 Receiving Gifts                       3 Receiving Gifts

The book speaks about spouses, but I don’t think this applies only to married people, or even just people in relationships. I think that the way you communicate in love says a lot about who you are and can help you to learn more about yourself and your relationships.

I’ve learned that I am extremely sensitive to words. When Ryan and I are able to communicate well and tell each other all these nice things, I feel good. And on the flip side, if words exchanged are negative, I hold onto them for a long time. Luckily, my need for Words of Affirmation is frequently met through meaningful text messages, small notes, and daily “I love you”s. I still think it’s important for Ryan to recognize that Words of Affirmation is my primary love language for whenever we get into fights or arguments. Knowing that words are important to me means that he can say things like “I’m sorry” and “Everything is fine” a few times and my demeanor will drastically change. I am definitely influenced largely by what is said to me.

Even though Ryan’s top two are tied, I think that Quality Time suits him best. It means a lot to him when we share experiences together or spend time doing things at home. Since Receiving Gifts clearly doesn’t hold a lot of significance to either of us, a lot of my birthday and Christmas presents involved tickets to something. We also enjoy doing small, cheap dates on Friday nights such as dinner and/or the movies. I know that planning and spending time together is something that means a lot to him (and myself as well). On the flip side, he gets upset when we are together but I am not present. There are nights where I will fall asleep early, and the next day he will tell me that I was a zombie. I try not to spend too much time on my phone when we are out or on a date, except for taking a couple pictures for Snapchat.

I would love to dive more into what makes Ryan happy after he reads the book. He doesn’t enjoy reading as much as I do, but has agreed to read sections of the book that I block off for him.

What’s important to remember is that what will make a difference in a relationship is effort. Ross Mathews has a theory about relationships, saying, “You need to meet me 100% at the 50 yard line.” Both parties need to be willing to say, Hey, I care about you and our relationship and doing what I can to make it a good one. I’m lucky to have this, but the author of the book is a marriage counselor and often talks about his theories saving marriages. I definitely think it’s possible to apply his theories to positively influence your relationship (or marriage, or love life or whatever), but only if both parties are willing to put in the effort.

Once the effort is there, a little goes a long way. 

More to come after I block of sections for Ryan and get his feedback. Thanks for reading.