My Latest Summer Reads, Part II

After compiling my summer reading list back in May, I quickly decided to save those four reads for my summer vacation… at the end of this month. Putting faith in my own willpower and patience (which has proved very difficult) to wait and save the likes of “Marriage Vacation” (seriously, I’m dying to find out the contents of page 58!), “The Favorite Sister,” and “Crazy Rich Asians” (obviously before the film comes out ideally) for the moment my four-hour flight finally takes off and departs New York City.

Ugh, it felt like agony waiting (err, well, still does)… And then, I tried to reread some of my older reads on my bookshelf in the interim, but that can prove little fun, especially when you already know how the stories end. And so, I turned to a laundry list of reads from the library and my latest Amazon wish lists to tide me over, adding to my summer reading list as I attempt to save my original picks for vacation time.

“The Dirty Book Club” by Lisi Harrison

What Millennial girl doesn’t remember reading “The Clique” series growing up? I remember that the third book only in the series was on sale at my elementary school book fair, and my mom picked it up for me a few days before my class went. I devoured it in one sitting, and then insisted my mom take me right to the bookstore (RIP, Borders) to go back and get the two previous books and then the fourth one in the lineup. Well I was already four books of the series in and researching when the next one would be out, when my class finally went to the book fair, and literally every girl in my class heeded my suggestion and was ecstatic to get the Clique book #3 that was still on the shelf. Such a book trendsetter, even way back when… And then, I kept reading the entire series. Flash forward to last week at the library, when mid-browse, I came across “The Dirty Book Club” by none other than one of my favorite childhood authors! Flipped to the inside cover, and I was intrigued to open to page one and start reading this one.

In Harrison’s debut adult novel, four complete strangers together inherit a secret dirty book club that initially started in the 1960s when the original members (and lifelong besties) follow through on a long-held pact to move to Europe. As the group of unlikely friends bond over these scandalous bestsellers, each woman (book club members past and present) reveal intimate details of their own life as the book club, letters from original members, and their friendship “help each other find the courage to rewrite their own stories and risk it all for a happy ending,” Amazon summarizes. It may sound cheesy or like a copycat 50 Shades or something, but it’s truly like nothing I’ve ever read before with its wit and surprising plot points, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“The Wedding Date” by Jasmine Guillory

After waiting weeks to scooch up the library’s hold list of 60-plus potential readers, I finally received this contemporary romance novel this weekend. And it lived up to the hype as an adorable modern happily-ever-after love story read.

What happens when protagonist Alexa meets handsome doctor Drew in a hotel elevator that gets stuck? Well, naturally, he invites her to be his wedding plus-one. What initially starts as a simple transaction so he won’t be the groomsman who RSVP’ed for two and then ends up alone soon becomes way more when feelings develop, of course. Adorable in all its romantic glory that makes it an enchanting and delightful summer read.

 

 

“When Life Gives You Lululemons” by Lauren Weisberger

Next up on my nightstand is the latest Devil Wears Prada novel, except it takes place years later with West Coast image consultant Emily (aka Emily Blunt’s character from the Meryl Streep-Anne Hathaway film).

Initially, I planned to put this book on hold at the library, but after seeing the newly released novel had almost 300 holds in front of me, I broke down and Amazon Prime’d a copy to my apartment, which actually arrived the same day a copy of “The Wedding Date” was available for me to pick up. With Guillory’s book finished, it’s now time to move on to what happens when Miranda Priestly’s former assistant turned image consultant Emily’s new opportunity takes her to the Connecticut suburbs for a comeback opportunity for a new client, a former supermodel. And yes, Miranda Priestly will be back, I’m told. And, I’m officially off to page one!

“Limelight” by Amy Poeppel

This book takes place when wife and mother of three Allison decides to pack up her roots and move her family cross-country to Manhattan for the first time. Trading their suburban Texas spacious home, easy-to-get-into schools for the kids and her teaching career for a comparatively small three-bedroom apartment, three school admissions to contend with, her husband’s new and busy law practice, no job prospect for her lined up, and taking care of three kids in the city, Allison worries if moving her family was the right call. When a chance encounter gives Allison the chance to become the personal assistant to a young Hollywood pop star in town to make his Broadway debut, she finds herself balancing motherhood with a glamorous new life, showing her a glimpse of a very different side of Manhattan.

With realistic expectations of Manhattan (haha, totally relatable), Poeppel’s novel brings laughs, witty dialogue and plot points into this delightfully charming read.

“Campaign Widows” by Aimee Agresti

Admittedly, I know nothing about the inner workings of politics, but somehow this novel stuck out to me.

When the newly engaged Cady moves to DC with her  boyfriend-turned-fiance, she’s thrust into the influential world of D.C’s elite wives, a club of significant others who’s spouses are away on the campaign trail. Told in several viewpoints of a “fabulous Georgetown doyenne,” a mommy blogger, a website editor, Cady the news producer, and a First Lady hopeful who isn’t sure she wants to gig, it seems this unlikely group of friends are just what’s needed for these five to survive the campaign and election season and get exactly what it is that they do want. Call me intrigued, and I was, until the very last page.

 

 

“My Oxford Year” by Julia Whelan

Honestly, this one struck me simply by the word “Oxford” and the image of the English city on the cover. What can I say, ever since I studied abroad in London (and visited Oxford), I’ve had severe wanderlust for the UK, which makes me a sucker for any book set in London and England.

This book takes place when American Ella has the chance to pursue a Rhodes Scholarship at the legendary Oxford University. As the Amazon summary reads, “With the promise that she’ll work remotely and return to DC at the end of her Oxford year, she’s free to enjoy her Once in a Lifetime Experience. That is, until a smart-mouthed local who is too quick with his tongue and his car ruins her shirt and her first day.” She soon discovers that smart-mouthed local is the handsome English professor that teaches her first class at Oxford. Soon enough, a connection is developed between the two and with the expiration date of her Visa in sight, she soon is conflicted with “if the dreams she’s always wanted are the same ones she’s now yearning for.” Cute, adorable, and based in England? Seems it was just what I look for in a summer read.

Keep on reading, my lovely followers! ✨

16 of the Best Body Positive Moments on Television to Remind Us to Love Ourselves

Most of us, myself included, have grown up and been able to rattle off a laundry list of all of our insecurities since we were young, those so-called “flaws” that signify how we in no way resemble what we see in media. What’s been great about the current body positivity movement is its awareness to different body types in society, in the media, and in the internet sphere. It has been hugely instrumental with body acceptance and facilitating self-love, and I celebrate that. However, the majority of all the classic TV characters has not really reflected that, where we haven’t seen as many characters that resemble us in reality, scars, stretch marks and all.

Believe me, I get it. To be frank, I’ve always struggled with self-esteem, confidence, and accepting what I look like. It’s always been difficult to feel confident when you turn on media programs and no one that looks like you, or is dealing with similar insecurities, is seen as the protagonist, the hero, the successful one, or the romantic lead. However, quite a few shows of the past and present have begun to knock down those beauty ideals of the past and helped to inspire us by showcasing that everyone is different and every difference is beautiful. Here’s a look at some of the most empowering moments to get you through this summer with total confidence and nothing but love and admiration for what you actually look like, cellulite, zits and all.

1. “The Bold Type”

On the third episode of “The Bold Type’s” season two that aired two weeks ago, the Freeform series conquered body positivity, and not just in a way of acknowledging it briefly, but rather they made it the cover story. (Pun intended.) From Tess Holliday’s cameo as a body positive champion and successful model, the girls embracing their “pimples, stretch marks, and moles” in a naked and un-retouched photoshoot, to Jacqueline schooling the board on why it’s such an important message. One of the most inspiring quotes was Jacqueline saying, “Body positivity is about self-love, self-acceptance. And that is healthy” to the media board member that just didn’t get it. All the motivation you need to live your best, confident lives this summer.

2. “American Housewife”

This is the ultimate summer swimsuit inspo we need this summer. Whether you’re scared of rocking a two-piece or that moment you go from covered up to disrobing as you descend into the water, we can all relate to Katie and daughter Anna Kat’s plight of body and swimsuit insecurities. So, follow Katie’s lead, and let go of that coverup and embrace your best swimsuit life this summer and just enjoy the sun, pool, and oceans, judgemental watchers be damned, because you look awesome in your swimsuit and confidence.

3. “Drop Dead Diva”

The premise of the former Lifetime show was what happens when a deceased model awakes in the wrong body— and into one of an accomplished lawyer, who happens to be a plus-size, drab dresser. We see Deb-as-Jane eventually come to terms with her new body and learning that confidence makes the world of difference. And that’s a message we can all get behind.

4. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

One thing “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” gets right is creating a female protagonist who’s relatable, but still owns herself, even though she has struggled with if she’s pretty enough to get the guy and her body type. Hey, Rebecca, we’ve all been there! The CW show is all about empowering females to be strong and confident for yourself, and that is why it’s so great.

5. “Younger”

Maggie is the best friend we truly deserve. While Liza becomes nervous about how she looks and her appearance, her best friend Maggie steps in with some words of wisdom, “With everything that women have to be paranoid about, we don’t need to be making up more stuff. You look amazing.” Morning mantra right here!

6. “Ugly Betty”

Betty taught us not to let insecurities overpower your dreams and your attitude. It’s that age-old lesson of “don’t judge a book by its cover” because your confidence outweighs any external beauty or so-called imperfections. Besides, if Betty can survive (and thrive) at Mode, then you got this.

7. “That’s So Raven”

Growing up, this was arguably one of the most inspiring moments on television I’d seen, let alone from a Disney entity! Seeing Raven Symone openly speak up about unrealistic body standards and how that makes people feel gave all the young girls (myself included) out there that didn’t fit Hollywood’s ideal of a “perfect body” all of the confidence in ourselves to own who were were. And that moment is something every little girl should have moving forward.

8. “First Dates”

On the popular British reality show, “First Dates,” contestant Eve stunned the world with her power and strength as she removed her wig, covering up her alopecia, for the first time. Her strength empowered viewers as she unapologetically embraced her baldness and went on enjoying the on-camera date and creating a romantic connection, sans-wig. We should all have this level of internal strength to embrace every so-called flaw.

9. “Suite Life of Zach and Cody”

Another time Disney addressed body insecurities, they discussed eating disorders when neither girl really had any issues to begin with, other than letting some outsider into their heads and disrupting their confidence. That was an important lesson as well, don’t let the haters get to you, because you are beautiful (and definitely model-worthy) as you are.

10. “Broad City”

One of the things that Comedy Central series does best is showcasing these girls living their best selves, confident in who they are and owning it. Ilana is unapologetically herself, with plenty of confidence in everything she does. Then, there’s Abbi who’s not as self-assure but who’s worked hard to find her true happiness in her whole life and can own it as well. Something to aspire to.

11. “Gilmore Girls”

While Melissa McCarthy’s Sookie on “Gilmore Girls” was primarily meant as a humorous character, during her first date with Jackson in season one, we see her as vulnerable, worrying if her date will turn out well and if he’ll like her and the way she looks. Best friend Lorelai reassures her pal, and as the evening, and future seasons, later unfold, it’s clear she had little to worry about, because Jackson liked her when she wasn’t trying too hard and was just herself.

12. “The Mindy Project”

If Mindy Lahiri has taught us anything, it’s confidence, confidence, confidence. May we all have Mindy’s level of confidence in every aspect of her (and our) lives, from her bright wardrobe and outspoken personality, she’s truly an inspiring TV role model we could all learn a lesson from.

13. “Empire”

Gabourey Sidibe’s sex scene on “Empire” was one of the first times a plus-size woman of color is seen in a sex scene, proving that it’s not just for skinny, model-pretty people.

14. “Project Runway”

During season 14 of “Project Runway,” Heidi Klum and the panel of judges chose Ashley Nell Tipton as the season’s grand winner. Tipton was notably the first plus-size designer who won the grand prize, and choosing to design for real women and their different body types, as showcased in her final runway show. As the competition series has continued, the rules have evolved where the pool of models regularly reflects a variety of body types. A step in the right direction for the fashion industry.

15. “Glee”

After Mercedes faints from extreme dieting, Quinn is there to support her Glee Club pal and lets her know that she is already beautiful the way she is, no change needed. Quinn tells her how she’s lucky to “always feel at home in her body” because throughout the show Mercedes had plenty of goal-worthy confidence. Even the most confident of us have those days where it seems like we’re not enough, but it’s important to remember that even when we don’t think so, we are, always.

16. “How to Get Away With Murder”

Even without saying much, this scene from “How to Get Away With Murder” still says a lot in an empowering take of Annalise Keating taking off her wig and all her makeup. It’s an inspiring message that you can still be strong, powerful, and beautiful even without your hair done and makeup carefully applied.

Plenty of strong female role models to look up to that proves you are beautiful as you are and it’s high time to embrace who you are, flaws and haters be damned. Because they can’t mess with confidence. ✨

10 of the Best Moments from TVLand’s “Younger” Before You Catch Up on the Season 5 Premiere

I’ve been hooked on TVLand’s “Younger” since Day 1. I mean, Broadway legend (and star of ABC Family’s short-lived “Bunheads” series, RIP) Sutton Foster stars alongside former child star Hilary Duff in a fun comedy brought to life by legendary “Sex and the City” creator Darren Star? What isn’t there to love?

TV Land

And while I’m clearly not part of TVLand’s target demographic (especially at the time of the show’s season 1 premiere), the show’s witty dialogue, showcase of female friendships, and a killer storyline had me hooked from the pilot. (I even loved the book that the series was based on!) Whether you’re #TeamJosh or #TeamCharles, we can all totally agree to being #TeamYounger because it’s relevant, funny, and charming. It’s no wonder the season five premiere, that debuted on June 5, came one day after news of a season 6 renewal and coincided with the actual release of the “Marriage Vacation” book, and fans went crazy. (I mean, OMG that ending! Gobsmacked. What’s going to happen next?!?!) To celebrate the season five debut of our favorite summer series, let’s relive our favorite memories of the past four seasons of the Empirical gang (and friends) before following along with all the antics and adventures of season 5 this summer.

1. Diana’s Breakthrough and Realizing “I Deserve Better”

In Season 4, Diana, after falling for and cohabiting with her boyfriend Richard, she finally realizes how she doesn’t need him and is strong without him. It’s perhaps one of the character’s best shining moments where we see her humanity, vulnerability, and her strength. Where she realizes how much she’s grown and doesn’t need to put up with anyone that manipulates her and that she deserves better. Standing O for Diana (portrayed beautifully here by Miriam Shor). And ending with her staring into the mirror, tying off her gigantic flower necklace. Truly moving and empowering.

2. Maggie Continuing to Be a Badass

Early in Season 4, Josh dates Maggie’s former apprentice “Montana” who then appropriates Maggie’s work for her own gallery show. Naturally, the strong and confident Maggie doesn’t take it well. Hence, her and Liza crashing the art show, switchblade in hand. Bam. And then uses it to pick up a slice of pepperoni as she walks out. Could Maggie (Debi Mazar, accompanied by her own switchblade brought to set for this) be any more of a badass, no-nonsense woman? We could all use a bit a Maggie’s confidence to walk into any room and just own it.

3. Liza Wants Josh to “Have Everything”

Following Maggie’s Switchblade Escapade, we get such a sweet, tender moment between exes Josh (Nico Tortorella) and Liza (Sutton Foster) about why she kissed Charles in the Hamptons and her wanting to be the fun, bookish “Aunt Liza” to Josh’s future kids. While #TeamJosh may have been crushed, it’s a sweet moment of friendship because these two people really did—do— care about each other. It was a nice moment to cap the episode off with.

4. Season 4, Episode 4 “In the Pink”

This episode had some great female friendship moments, such as the four girls sitting on the couch, supporting each other. Another beautiful moment was the fight between Kelsey (Hilary Duff) and Liza (for Liza withholding her secret) concluded with Kelsey understanding how everything her friend did was for her daughter, and that was a sweet empathetic moment for the two friends to become closer. This episode seemed to be the epitome of what the show is really about and focuses on: female friendships. And what a nice sentiment, and one that’s not often seen as the central storyline on TV.

5. Diana and Kelsey Let Loose and Bond at a NYC Bar

I don’t think we’d ever seen these two characters have a social conversation prior to this scene. Diana, who has sort of become this mentor for her assistant Liza, only really had a professional relationship with coworker Kelsey. It was nice of Diana to recognize something she herself went through in Kelsey and then take on the role of mentor to her as well. And I mean, seriously, she’s right: “you can’t be sad or lonely surrounded by a drunken mob of gay men singing show tunes.” I’ve been to Marie’s Crisis, the New York bar they visit, and it’s exactly how they portray it, and it’s another aspect of female friendship and mentorship that makes this show special.

6. Bridging Liza’s Two Worlds… aka Fusing Millennial Culture With Her Real Life

One thing that I think engages Millennials to watch the show is definitely the use of modern cultural slang, terms, and Internet culture. (Some of which I barely even know before the episodes air!) One funny scene is Liza reading an old-school type definition of meme, where Kelsey points out examples (i.e. Salt Bae), and then the “real grown-ups” come up with “analog” versions to compare it to. This concept has been done on the show since the beginning, where in preparation for Liza’s first interview as a “26-year-old,” Maggie asks her to name the members of One Direction and choose her favorite one. A humorous part of the show that never fails to make me laugh.

7. The Importance of Female Friendships and Liza Being There for Kelsey When’s She Down

One of my favorite parts of the show is the focus on strong female friendships, such as this scene at the Millennial Imprint launch, where Liza physically is there to pick Kelsey up off the floor and cut her out of her dress, but also is there emotionally for her friend having a panic attack. It’s one of Liza’s strengths: how much she cares for people, especially her friends. It’s a nice moment to see, aside from the workplace comedy, Millennial slang and inside jokes, and love triangles and romantic interests, the focus on friendship is a nice central theme that keeps me engaging with the show season after season.

8. When Liza Meets Josh… And Her Double Life Is Officially Born

Upon meeting Josh for the first time, you start to see how this divorced mother could actually pass for 26 amongst other 26-year-olds in the city. Not only that, it’s the beginning of a silly gag of Liza doesn’t know this or that Millennial term, here it’s Lena Dunham. It’s a sweet exchange that establishes their chemistry as well as some funny moments adding some comedy to the show. This scene in the pilot, as well of the rest of the episode, had me hooked to keep watching, especially in the witty dialogue the writers create for each episode. Well done.

9. The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship Between Liza and Kelsey

As previously established, the show does well at portraying and focusing on female friendships. Here in early season one, they found a way to show these two friends growing closer without losing a sense of comedy, like retrieving your friend’s stuck feminine “accoutrement.” These two women are comedy gold. Here for friends supporting and helping each other in need, always, no questions asked.

10. “You Pretty Woman’d Me!”

http://www.tvland.com/episodes/wgholb/younger-girl-code-season-1-ep-105

As Liza’s apology to Maggie for ditching her and her art show for her new twentysomething crew, she makes a big Pretty Woman-sized gesture to make up for it: showing up in a limo with roses to Maggie on their Williamsburg fire escapes. I loved this moment of female friendship on the show, especially between Maggie and Liza because it’s probably the one place where Liza is free of all the secrets and lies and Maggie still accepts her. It’s a beautiful friendship, and I love that they found a way to incorporate a moment from one of my favorite rom-coms so seamlessly and effortlessly into the plot.

Cheers to many more humorous, charming, and vulnerable moments in store for season five! And try not to audibly gasp when you get to that scene in the season 5 premiere: speaking from experience on that one. 😳

Breaking Down the Guys Competing for Roses on This Year’s “The Bachelorette”

By now, everyone knows how the end of “The Bachelor” went down: when Arie acted like a complete dirtbag and proposed to Minnesota-based publicist Becca K (albeit not very lovingly at all) and then promptly set up an on-camera break up and refused to leave while she cried, mere weeks later. It was brutal and we, as loyal members of #BachelorNation, flipped on the former racecar driver so fast for the horrible way he treated Becca and her emotions. *eye roll* Well, we moved on and thank goodness ABC decided to “do the damn thing,” aka making Becca the next franchise lead.

Stemming from the “Independent Woman” promo starring Becca holding roses (naturally, obvi), we were so ready to DO THE DAMN THING and watch Becca find a worthy guy. (I mean, I was already sold on four of the suitors she met at the After The Final Rose taping.)

And now, mere weeks away from the premiere of what’s being described as a “kick ass” season, ABC has released the headshots, bios, and the mostly ridiculous careers of Becca’s suitors. What follows next but my natural first impressions and judgements of these guys?? So, let’s do this.

First step, let’s relive my thoughts from ATFR, taken directly from my Twitter page, where she met five of the guys:

I like Lincoln: so sweet.

Ok. First Impression Rose. Done, Lincoln wins.

One look at Chase. Nope. Bad vibes.

Ok this banjo guy [Ryan] is so cute and sweet. My top pick.

Darius is apologizing on behalf of his gender. HAHAHAHAHAHA

Ok. And Blake. Top three with Ryan and Lincoln. Ok, Becca, yea, I think this journey is going to be good.

So already, I was primed to like Lincoln, Ryan and Blake as my top picks. Let’s what the rest of these bios reveal. One: Becca definitely has a type from first glances alone and there’s a lot of hair gel, a lot. Two, the bios, which is a few sentences instead of the usual questionnaire, WHAT. Okay, let’s get over my initial shock that producers actually changed something from the show’s format and dive right into my first impressions.

Age 31, nice normal age of a contestant usually here for the right reasons. Apparently he likes country music, playing with his dog, going to the beach with his boat, and skiing. That’s like the male equivalent of being #basic.

He “considers himself a modern romantic who believes that two people need to be independent in order to truly love each other, so he’s looking for his equal match.” Fair point, I like it. If he can swing dance, I’d like to say, we need proof. How cute would a swing dance date be with Blake and Becca? Not to mention reality TV gold for a show trying to evoke a romantic feeling. Ohhhh yea, he showed up on the horse, I liked him even then!

Nope. This is the smarmy guy we met on ATFR. Didn’t need to open his mouth, didn’t like him. Those feelings still apply for the Florida-based Advertising VP who is big into sports, the outdoors, and adventure. So Becca, please heed my warning (because I’m usually pretty good at spotting the players this show casts), and let him go already.

Seems nice and normal, perhaps a bit too into fitness. So, I’m guessing he’ll be shirtless often at the Mansion? Also, his goal is to follow in his family’s footsteps and retire by 40… So, um, you work until age 40 and then that’s it? You’re done? I just don’t get it…

Does Becca like an athlete? Because a lot of her guys, Christian included, like to boast about their athletic pasts and accomplishments. So, his biggest fear is “spilling something on himself” in front of Becca. DUDE, that would be me 24/7. I’m just saying, if a guy can’t handle me at my clumsiest self, than he doesn’t deserve me at my classiest, most put together self. (Did I do that popular Twitter meme correctly??)

Question, how does he pronounce his name? I’ll be waiting for his limo entrance for an answer. He’s a former Harlem Globetrotter, so I’m guessing he’ll be on a basketball or sports date at some point during his tenure on the show? OMG, he hopes finding love with Becca will be a “lay-up.” I’m rolling my eyes at that super cheesy line.

I WAS RIGHT, sports professional (and football player)! BAM. Sorry, I just like to be right. True gentleman, ok that’s nice.

IS HE A COUNTRY SINGER? TELL ME HE’S A COUNTRY SINGER/SONGWRITER. He’s got that look down pat. Oh, former footballer, and I apologize because now he dedicates his time to charity work and helping kids with CF and spending time with his family and dog. I’m so sorry, Colton. Wow, congrats on that amazing charity work you do. Mazel tov. But, question: so he famously used to date gymnast/Olympian Aly Raisman, whom he asked out via some sports interview thing, so is he here for the right reasons or more fame?? I’m skeptical.

Ooo, fitness coach: strike one. And fitness is his only thing mentioned in his two-sentence bio basically. So, bye.

Darius, who began his journey by apologizing to Becca on behalf of his gender and had the audience in stitches for it, seems like a stand-up guy. He likes to travel, dance and is energetic and fun-loving. The Milwaukee native (So, Midwestern values. Like Becca. And myself, just saying.) has perhaps one of the best lines written: “His most important mission is to live a life of service by giving back to others.” Bam, mic drop. Good guy.

Looks super young. And is another very basic Bachelorette contestant. I don’t think there’s anything else to say. But pretty and young. And hates avocado; so no brunch dates, I guess?

Apparently this fourth-generation electrician has a great sense of humor. I’m afraid I’ll need proof before you may continue on the show.

Sales rep and outdoors guy, that’s about it.

Well, neither he or Becca would have to move if they ended up together. And that’s not exactly a selling point: case in point, Andi Dorfman and Josh. Or Rachel Lindsey and Fred. And we all know how those instances turned out.

Lots of hair gel. A “successful banker with a heart of gold,” oh dear god, that’s cheesy. But he sings Disney songs, so he’s alright in my book because that’s my life and really all I listen to.

And welcome to the weird jobs club, Mr. COLOGNOISSEUR! Which just means he has a lot of cologne. Not his job, just a hobby for the Haitian-born Miami resident. Hey, Jean Blanc, are you going to gift Becca some cologne for your first meeting?? Also, the self-proclaimed bookworm is currently reading Amy Kaufman’s “Bachelor Nation,” book that I also read. LOLOL is this real? Like did he really think, ‘huh, you know what I want to read before I start this *cough cough* journey? The nonfiction book about the behind-the-scenes of this very show? You know the one that production kept trying to dismiss??’

Aww I feel bad, he’s “successful in produce, but unsuccessful in love” and “ripe and ready to be picked” by Becca. Awwww, poor guy. Produce puns, ughhh. But that first part? I feel so bad for him. Aww, sympathy rose from me.

I have a strong feeling this Silicon Valley tech guy won’t make past night one. Just a feeling. But “world-famous” banana bread? I’m afraid, I’ll need some proof John, if you’re going to use that statement. And by that I mean, bake me banana bread to judge.

Wait, is that Robby Hayes?? He looks very slick, anddd there we go, he’s a male model. Red flag alert. Also, he can run a mile in 4.24. For comparison, I would be huffing and puffing, exhausted by the start line while he concludes. So, that could never work out. Just saying.

May I ask what a “social media participant” means? Like a social media user? Yea, that’s like everyone. It’s free, you can say what you want, yea… Or is he prepping of his post-show career as an influencer? He also “dabbles” in male modeling who won’t get his hands dirty because he’s afraid of spiders. K, I’m laughing. Poor guy, doesn’t stand a chance.

That is 100 percent my brother’s hair and now I cannot unsee it. I’m sorry Leo, but I’ll be biased against you all season. I’m sorry, that’s my brother’s hair and I just can’t see past that. I’m sorry. Ok then, moving on, he’s a stuntman, yea that seems about right. That hair took ten years??? LOLOL, that took my brother like a few months. HAHA.

First, THAT ACCENT. As someone who’s lived in London for a bit, I love a British accent, so, sorry guys: Lincoln is already a step ahead. Aww cute, he “would love to have a big family to make his mom proud.” So cute. And he has such a nice smile.

CIRCLING BACK: I retract everything about what I thought about Lincoln. Disappointed in his actions (that would not make his mum proud) and with ABC for casting this man.

Hard pass on the hair, first off. It’s like wannabe Leo (or my brother haha) hair but not quite as good looking. Second, he loves festivals, horse races, and state fairs. Wow. Ok, bye now.

Life of the party? Fun-loving attorney? And a “weekend warrior” enjoys “brunches, barbecues, and the beach?” And alliterations, duh. Yea, I’m saying, PASS.

Rickey with the cute lil bow tie is what else for a Bachelorette contestant? Personal trainer. Course.

IT’S RYAN. Banjo guy!! *swoon* Aka Wells 2.0. And I’m okay with that. The 26-year-old “banjoist” (apparently that’s a thing) is very close with his family (who all plays in a bluegrass band with him, awww cute), plays the ukulele, guitar, and trombone, and is passionate about sailing, and wait for it: “can’t wait to make the Bachelorette his first mate.” Done, Ryan wins. Number one pick, hands down. I choose Ryan, everyone else can go home now.

And another model. Greaaaaaaat. Cool. Yup. Say no more, I’m out.

The California native seems nice and normal, and also really loves Harry Potter. Hope Becca (and her Sister Act 2 fandom) can mesh with Wills and his love of HP.

So get ready for May 28, break out your Bach Brackets and get your Fantasy Leagues ready to do the damn thing. And by that, I mean watch yet another dramatic journey where hopefully the lead falls in love and has about a 40% percent of staying together.

Until next time,

My Summer 2018 Reading List

As you may know, I read a lot, like a lot. But is that necessarily a bad thing? Nope, not in my eyes! And with summer fast approaching and my vacay plans finalized that means it’s time to get my summer reads in order (preferably in time to pack in my carry on before I get on the plane). So, what am I reading this summer?

“A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out” by Sally Franson

This debut novel is describes a brilliant young woman navigating a “tricky twenty-first-century career” and who she wants to be in this “savagely wise debut novel in the tradition of The Devil Wears Prada.” The novel follows protagonist Casey, a book-loving English major now “selling out” and working for a top ad agency, finding it perplexing how quick some clients are willing to compromise their integrity, and then when Casey is faced with a situation (lol I don’t want to spoil too much),  she can “no longer ignore her own nagging doubts about the human cost of success.”

With “observations about everything from feminism, pop culture, and social media,” this novel is the “story of a young woman untangling the contradictions of our era and trying to escape the rat race– by any means necessary.” Summer read, yes please!

“Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan

I have to admit, the trailer of the movie adaptation first peaked my interest. I mean, I always saw it on the bookstore shelves during one of my routine browses. But IDK, nothing really pulled me to the cover and the title to read the back summary or the first few pages over the thousands of other books around it. And then, when I saw the trailer, immediately I was hooked. It seemed like the perfect summer read.

So, in case you’ve ben living under a rock and missed the national bestseller or its movie trailer ads, the book chronicles New Yorker Rachel who agrees to accompany her boyfriend home to Singapore to meet his “traditional” family. But what she doesn’t know? His childhood home is a palace, they will be attending his cousin’s “wedding of the year,” he’s one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors, and his mother isn’t quite sure Rachel is the right one for her son. Dramatic? Juicy? I’m so in.

“The Favorite Sister” by Jessica Knoll

As you may remember a few months ago, I read Knoll’s debut book “Luckiest Girl Alive.” And devoured it. Well, she just released her next novel, and from the Amazon summary alone, I’m hooked. It’s a “blisteringly paced thriller starring two sisters who join the cast of a reality TV series,” where “one won’t make it out alive. So… who did it?” Now, I’m not usually a thriller or mystery-type reader, but I was hooked on her last book and the summary.

So, five “hyper-successful women” agree to appear on a NYC reality series called ‘Goal Diggers,’ where the first season ends unexpectedly ends in murder. Now, that seems a bit like Lifetime’s “UnREAL” a bit (without the dating competition part), and that had me intrigued. The novel “explores the invisible barriers that prevent women from rising up the ranks in today’s America—and offers a scathing take on the oft-lionized bonds of sisterhood, and the relentless pressure to stay young, relevant, and salable.” Added to my Amazon cart ASAP.

“Marriage Vacation” by Pauline Turner Brooks

I’m a HUGE fan of TVLand’s “Younger.” (Like OMG how is season five going to go down???) As fans will certainly remember from season 4, #TeamCharles was briefly disrupted by the arrival (or more like, return) of Charles’ ex-wife who comes back to the city, armed with a new manuscript for Liza’s attention and wanting to put her family back together in their blissful Upper East Side life. Then this spring, the powers that be annoucehed that her popular novel on the show was hitting bookstore shelves IRL! I mean, yes please! Even if only to find out what’s on page 58 for ourselves.

For those non-“Younger” fans, one: go watch the show (it’s all there on Hulu to binge, you’re welcome for tip). And two, here’s a bit about the book. Kate Carmichael has a seemingly perfect life: two adorable daughters, an Upper East Side prewar townhouse, and a devoted husband who runs a successful publishing company in NYC. But when Kate reconnects with her successful friends from school, she sees her life in a different way in the career she didn’t pursue and the dreams she hid away. And so, she flies halfway around the world for what was supposed to only be a few weeks, instead of returning to her family, to clear her head and reconnect with those former dreams. But her adventure “doesn’t go quite as planned.” Intrigued? And not just find out what TV Charles did on page 58. And onto my Amazon preorder list it goes until it’s early June release…

I’m already super pumped to start reading, although my patience is really being tested to not get carried away and start reading now, and waiting until my flight takes off and I’m officially in vacation mode to savor these new reads.

Keep on reading!

44 Thoughts I Had Watching Lifetime’s “Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance”

One thing about myself: I’m– err, is “obsessed” an okay word to use here– okay, fine, obsessed with cheesy Lifetime romance movies, and specifically royalty themed ones at that. I devour them all, with pleasure. Sometimes you just need to kick back and watch a feel-good, happily-ever-after film to calm down and relax, right? Especially in today’s stressful times. So, at the mere announcement that Lifetime would make another made-for-television movie chronicling the courtship and eventually engagement of the Royal Family, needless to say, I was excited. I mean, I loved their Will & Kate love story movie that aired back in time for their 2011 Royal Wedding starring Grey’s Anatomy surgical resident Camilla Luddington as the future Duchess.)

So, in preparation for the Royal Wedding later this week, of course I had to watch Lifetime’s “Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance” in all it’s cheesy goodness. Starring Parisa Fitz-Henley as the former Suits actress (I mean, doppleganger alert!!) and Murray Fraser (although the Scottish actor is not a natural ginger) as the famed prince, it’s definitely all I imagined a royalty-themed Lifetime romance movie to be, with some, err, questionable moments of “um, did that actually happen?” cushioned around cheesy romance movie goodness, and the ultimate scene stealers of Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s adorable onscreen counterparts.

Lifetime

Now, sit back, relax and watch how Harry met Meghan (come on, you knew that pun was coming!) and read on for a random collection of my thoughts and musings from watching your next royal-themed guilty pleasure.

Okay, here we go:

  1. We start with a young “Prince Harry”, post-Diana’s funeral on a safari with his “Pa” and big brother. Um, did that Harry running away, next to a growling lion actually happen? Because, terrifying.
  2. “Diana” and little “Harry” sneaking donuts in the palace, aww.
  3. A young “Meghan Markle” starts her feminist agenda early on, and YOU GO, Young Meghan!
  4. Jump ahead, Markle is Rachel Zane shooting Suits and giving her two-cents on how to make Rachel more empowering; Go, Meghan, Go!
  5. Flip to London (still in 2016), where “Harry” is out partying and clubbing. Err, wasn’t that years before they met and not mere months?? Um, continuity.
  6. Was the only casting requirement for Prince William that his hairline must be receding? Because that’s like the only similarity between the actor and the Duke of Cambridge.
  7. Haha “Charles,” “After the Nazi costume and showing off the family jewels in Las Vegas…” HA HA HA.
  8. What’s with this whole painting Will and Kate’s marriage as stiff?? Like, no, they are happy IRL… Come on, Lifetime. Who’s buying that?
  9. Back to “Meghan” in Suits land, the couple’s mutual friend “Violet” sets the two up. “Is he nice,” Accurate. “Is she hot,” Come on, like Harry actually asked that? In 2016, he wasn’t into the partying/wild side anymore. Eye roll.
  10. Look at “Harry” being 40 minutes late, and “Meghan” isn’t having any of it. Bam.
  11. Is it me or is Murray Fraser a bit more attractive than the actual Prince Harry? Er, sorry not sorry…
  12. This first date is quintessential Lifetime/romance movie. And I love it. Definitely scripted truly to be the “best blind date ever.”
  13. Haha, “Meghan” just oh so casually reading The Crown, as “Harry” (who introduces himself on the phone as Harry… Mountbatten-Windsor when she feigns remembering him lolol) pauses a scene of Suits… Haha well done, writers, well done.
  14. DUDE, THEIR SECOND DATE IS A TRIP TO BOTSWANA TOGETHER. Um, where do I get my own Prince Harry???
  15. BABY “GEORGE” AND “CHARLOTTE.” Best (and cutest) characters!! I mean, so adorable.
  16. That lion metaphor, aww perfectly timed with the film’s Mother’s Day premiere. I see what you did there, writers.
  17. HA HA “Harry” comparing “Meghan’s” story of being biracial to being “a ginger in England” with some truly terrible bad jokes… And are we to believe that Meghan has never heard of the term “ginger??”
  18. Is this super-light, PG-13-type sex scene the one that the Royal Family was worried about? Because, it’s fairly tame as far as sex scenes go and it’s kind of a Lifetime/romance movie staple scene…
  19. “Glass ceilings not glass slippers.” YESSS. Love it.
  20. Everything is so quintessential Lifetime movie, and it’s perfect and cozy and familiar and enjoyable.
  21. Her HAIR stylist could only come up with a frog costume? Like he couldn’t have done something with a mask or glasses and change his recognizable red hair??
  22. “Meghan” meeting “George” and “Charlotte” is the cutest!
  23. Who TF is this “Bella” person? Because, I don’t like her snobby attitude at all.
  24. Oh yes, the statement that confirmed their relationship… Did he write it himself? Did he really threaten to tweet it himself? And did Meghan truly have no clue he did it??
  25. Post media frenzy, where did he find her?? Is she, and her mom, in Toronto? Or in California? Where was the lower third for this scene?
  26. “Because I’m a grown-ass woman living in the modern world.” Preach, girl.
  27. Her mom “Doria” is the best.
  28. HAHA that beanie.
  29. What’s a romantic movie without a running-through-the-airport-to-get-their-love-back scene?? But so romantic and effective.
  30. Flip ahead to “Pippa Middleton’s” wedding. Except she’s wearing a version of her maid of honor dress from Will & Kate’s wedding??
  31. There’s no way Kate actually called it a “no ring, no bring” policy..
  32. The casting for Charles and Camilla isn’t that great…. LOL
  33. This romanticizes their whole relationship, and I’m squealing. I love it. Such a great romantic, guilty pleasure watch.
  34. Also, how was the racist brooch incident, “Meghan” meeting “Charles” and “Camilla” for the first time and discovering “Kate” was expecting little Louis all at the same time at “Pippa’s” wedding???
  35. “You should have been able to be together from the start.” THEN YOU AND “WILLIAM” WOULDN’T HAVE EXISTED, “HARRY.”
  36. Haha “just a royal thing,” how very vague, “Harry…”
  37. Wait, he proposed in Africa? No, where’s the roast chicken in their Kensington Palace cottage??? Granted, it’s still romantic, but no it’s factually inaccurate.
  38. Omg, “Meghan” signing the little girl’s autograph. So cute, adorable.
  39. “Always tell your mom, everything.” Perfect for the Mother’s Day premiere date! And a true statement.
  40. The corgis!!!! Awwwww so cute.
  41. Geez, finally, the roast chicken proposal! Speaking of, what’s her recipe? Always looking for a good dinner recipe. Because I’m very limited on my kitchen skills.
  42. “My grandson, HRH Prince Henry of Wales, will be marrying a divorced, African American lady. Everybody on board?” YES, LOVE THIS “Queen Elizabeth II,” YOU GO GIRL.
  43. LOLOL and watch “Harry” and “Meghan” seamlessly blend into footage of the the actual royal couple at one of their first joint appearances for the ending scene (just like in the William & Kate movie).
  44. So happy. So cute. Awww. Just as you are supposed to feel about a Lifetime and romance movie.

Now, that’ll keep us tied over until we can watch the Royal Wedding livestream and savor over the wedding pictures this weekend.

7 Chic Pieces for a Rainy Day from Hunter x Target

The latest designer collab with Target is rainy-day chic!

Target has been known for its chic designer collabs popping up in stores, from Lilly Pulitzer, Victoria Beckham, and Magnolia’s Chip and Joanna Gaines, to name a few of the sold-out-within-hours collections. Next up, a fashion and accessories collection with famed British rain boots brand, Hunter.

Arriving Saturday, April 14, Hunter x Target is “inspired by family, festival and forces of nature” for a limited-edition collection “built on a philosophy of everyday adventure and a forecast of fun,” the Target site reads. The collaboration includes boots, outerwear, clothing, shoes, accessories and outdoor gear for the whole family.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite fun, casual and cute Hunter x Target picks that will be sure to perk up any rainy day this spring.

1. Hunter for Target Women’s Waterproof Rain Boots

How could you do a Hunter collab without featuring their famous boots? That would be totally impossible! Boots for women, men and kiddos will all be available in different colors, patterns and height (knee and ankle length options). K, adding to my shopping cart now.

2. Hunter for Target Women’s Hooded Trench Coat – Khaki

I love this chic trench coat: perfect to keep your ensemble dry on rainy days without sacrificing style. A fun red stripe adds style and color to this hooded rain jacket. Where do I swipe my credit cart already??

3. Hunter for Target Women’s Side Zip Pencil Skirt – Black

I’m absolutely OBSESSING over this pencil skirt. It looks perfect for work hours as well as for after-hours and weekend days. Must-have list, for sure. And it’s black, so it’ll go with everything. Win-win.

4. Hunter for Target Small Pouch Bag

Available in a variety of hues, this small clutch is absolutely adorable to carry all your necessities for those days when you can’t lug a big tote (see below) around. I’m personally fond of the black and red options.

5. Hunter for Target Outdoor Blanket

Even though I’m not the most outdoorsy person, I find this outdoor printed blanket (in both red and blue patterns) to be absolutely perfect for a summer picnic or curling up with a book under a tree in the park. Sign me up!

6. Hunter for Target Rubber Handle Tote Bag

Walk around town carting all your belongings in this big bright tote that can hold it all. I think this would be absolutely perfect for my family’s vacation up in Idaho this summer, especially when we go up to the lake for a day! It’ll perfectly hold all of our beach belongings, while looking super cute. Or just using while running daily errands. Either works.

7. Hunter for Target Bubble Umbrella

Stay dry with the large and bright umbrella to keep your look in tact when it’s pouring out. It’ll add some much needed cheer on those dreary, rain-filled days! Cute and practical: just what I’m looking for in an umbrella!