Are you ready for a wild ride? Don’t say I didn’t warn you:
- “Girls’ Trip”: It’s no surprise to see a star-studded cast of Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish straight-up slay the female buddy comedy genre. I finally watched this last weekend and laughed, cringed and guffawed the whole way through. I won’t be that girl (Kate Walsh’s character) but seriously, you must see it.
- “The Last Black Unicorn” – Tiffany Haddish: Inspired by Miss Haddish’s performance (and unforgettable SNL episode), I borrowed a copy of her bestselling memoir. Again, I laughed, I cringed, I was gobsmacked. She writes so honestly and from the heart, and you can’t help but read it in her signature style. Do yourself a favor and get a copy ASAP.
- “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” – Michelle McNamara: By now, you’ve likely heard about the infamous Golden State Killer and his capture, thanks to a national DNA database and unrelenting detectives. One such person was Michelle McNamara, who compiled decades of evidence and information to inspire others to theorize and piece clues together. Her book was published posthumously, just a few months before the killer was named. Seriously, this is one you won’t want to miss.
- “Making a Murderer” Returns: Hold onto your hats and get ready for the next season of this binge-worthy true crime series. The gripping, thrilling documentary sheds a harrowing light on the criminal justice system, its faults and failings. I’m setting my calendar now for the season to come back October 19.
It’s nothing short of a miracle for me to post this before midnight on my coast. A comedy of errors and issues got me here, but I’m keeping my promises:
- Phantom of the Opera: I’d never had the pleasure of seeing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning show until this past weekend. $40 rush tickets were certainly motivating, but I was in awe of the spectacular special effects, costuming, set design and, of course, talented cast. It’s a must-see before it leaves SF on the 30th.
- “The Heart Is a Shifting Sea” – Elizabeth Flock: After my last breakup, a good friend recommended I read this true tale of three couples in Mumbai, India. The relationships are complex and fascinating, with cultural and religious considerations, countless characters, and the root of love growing in various ways.
- “Mindhunter”: I’m not the last person on earth to binge this Netflix series, but I might be close. After the umpteenth friend urged me to watch, I finally got hooked on this look at the early days of FBI investigators interviewing serial killers — such early days they called them “sequence killers.” It’s chilling, gripping and fascinating all at once.
- Copy Me That: While I’m no Top Chef myself, I do enjoy browsing other’s recipes for quick and easy, yet flavorful meals. My sister-in-law introduced me to this handy app, which combs through the (lovely, but lengthy) personal novels and gets right to the ingredients. It can even create shopping lists from the stored recipes and find new ones based on the ingredients you’re getting. BAM!
The past two weeks were a whirlwind between four flights, four cities and 5,000+ miles. To say I’m tired is an understatement, but it’s a first-world problem I’m grateful to have. Here’s what else I’m thankful for:
- “The Emperor’s Children”: A friend loaned me this 2007 bestseller recently, assuring me I’d enjoy the New York backdrop. She hit the nail on the head, as I quickly pieced together the story’s undercurrent and dreamed of fonder times in NYC. While it was slow to start (for me), I’d still recommend it to anyone in search of an emotionally charged novel.
- “Little Fires Everywhere”: Can you tell I’ve been on planes a lot lately? I devoured this new bestseller in two sittings, and only a little bit because it’s on tonight’s Book Club agenda. The characters are deeply flawed and perfectly human; the analogies are consistent; and the storylines are fascinating. I can’t wait to see what my girls thought of it, too.
- “Riverdale”: Not to worry; I’m not all books and brains over here. It took me forever to get on board with this sinister take of the classic comic books I so adored. But now that I’ve started, I’ve had a hard time stopping. The soundtrack, costuming and cinematography are just a few of the reasons I think you’ll enjoy it too.
- “Wolves” – Selena Gomez f. Marshmello: I wish I had a better reason for surfacing this song besides the fact that I like it. While I still get Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato confused, there’s no mistaking how much fun this bumping, sultry sound is. It’s perfect for a poolside playlist or weekend workout. And yes, all that alliteration was necessary to prove a point 😉
And just like that, it’s No-freaking-vember. I understand yesterday was Oct. 31, so naturally, today is November, but HOW? I feel like a new mom when I say the days are long, but the years are short. Before we know it, we’ll be saying “sayonara” to the garbage dumpster of 2017 and embracing the newness of 2018 for all of about two hours. Woo-hoo!
- Join the Movember Movement: My friend Nate is back at it again, raising money and awareness for men’s health in his fifth consecutive Movember campaign. He’s already more than halfway to goal — and it’s only Nov. 1 — but you can still support and get a super-sweet pic if you donate $50+. And, with VISA checkout, donations are matched (up to $25, so split ‘em up if you want extra points)! It takes seconds but can save so many lives.
- “Stranger Things”: Uh, duh. I couldn’t dress as Barb yesterday and not be totally hooked on this Netflix original. I binged all of season 1 over the weekend in preparation for my role (and a friend’s themed party!), but I have yet to dive into season 2 so NO SPOILERS. From what I’ve watched you’ll be just fine if you can get through the spookiness of S1:E1. Plus, these kids are so talented — and hilarious!
- “The Good Place”: After bingeing on a creepy show, I obviously needed a mental break. So I binged the first season and was pleasantly surprised. Again, NO SPOILERS on season 2 so far! Kristen Bell and Ted Danson are devilishly funny; and I highly recommend it, as one of the freshest comedies I’ve seen in years. Even the Rotten Tomatoes critics and reviewers give it an 86-90% approval rating!
- “I Put a Spell on You” – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins: There are plenty of haunting Halloween classics I could write about, but this one’s been in my head lately so it takes the cake. Notice, I’m not even touting the version from “Hocus Pocus” — personal growth again? Screamin’ Jay sure knows how to grab your attention and make you want to groove. What’s your go-to Halloween song? We can still talk about it, despite so many attempts to make Christmas happen, like, today ::eye roll::
It’s my favorite holiday — aside from my birthday, which is an actual holiday — but I digress. So, it’s only fitting I share this year’s costumes.
Yes, you read that right. I had both a personal and “professional” costume this year — not profesh like “Look at that boss lady,” but rather joining my team’s idea instead of doing my own thing for once.
I think that’s called personal growth.
A real-life fidget spinner in the wild. I hate the trend but couldn’t ignore it.
Part of my SF team appearing as the “Stranger Things” kids!
However you’re celebrating tonight, have fun and be safe! #Boo!
I can’t contain my excitement for what this week holds, so without any delay:
- WO is 300!: That’s right, this post marks THREE HUNDRED weeks of obsessions! Aside from shouting “This is Sparta!,” I could use some celebration suggestions. And I owe you lovely readers a mountain of gratitude — there were plenty of Wednesdays I wanted to abandon this blog and hide from the world, but you’ve kept me going week after week. 300 thanks to each of you for sticking with me all this time!
- Bumble and bumble. Hair Color Stick: As the lucky recipient of two parents with early-gray genes, I dye my hair regularly to cover my roots. It’s an expensive hobby, but one I prioritize over most others. My stylist introduced me to this little crayon of wonder, and it’s been a lifesaver for those final weeks between appointments. You don’t need a lot — just a few dabs can do the trick to revive your tresses and your cashflow.
- “The Great British Bake Off”: I’d seen countless memes and lists of why GBBO was worth watching, but hadn’t committed until recently. Netflix has three seasons available, and I was positively hooked. Unlike most (American) competition shows, the contestants have a genuine love and respect for each other. That’s not to say there’s a shortage of drama, though. Presenters Mel and Sue, and judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood — those names! — keep it interesting and worth watching down to the last morsel.
- “The Toy Box”: My friend April informed me a while back about a show coming soon with the “Apparently” kid, and just shared this trailer with me. Hosted by lovable lad from “Modern Family,” Eric Stonestreet, juvenile judges put toy ideas to the test and the results are hilarious. It’s like “Shark Tank” with kids, but I think we’ll like this panel a lot more than Mr. Wonderful and Mark Cuban.
You know what I’ve found to be the best way to deal with post-election depression? A sample of the steps I’ve taken since last Tuesday:
- Delete my Facebook app — I can’t deactivate because of too many organizations that use it religiously for events, but this has been a HUGE help.
- Pour myself some wine — even if I only have red wine on hand and made fish for dinner. I think Jesus would understand.
- Throw myself into volunteer opportunities — because it always feels good to give back.
- Surround myself with people who make me laugh — and make me think in a constructive way.
With that said, let’s get to it!
- AIDS Memorial Grove: I had the pleasure of volunteering here on Sunday, and what a powerful day it was. We heard numerous stories, talked about the ongoing fight for AIDS education and prevention, and we helped set the stage for a candlelight ceremony on November 30. Doesn’t get much better than that.
- Tonga Room: I met up with my sorority alumnae group recently at this iconic SF establishment. The tiki vibe is easy to poke fun at, but it truly has some of the tastiest cocktails and most entertaining live performances. I recommend a front-row table, if you can snag one, to enjoy the show without an obstructed view.
- My IMDb Debut: A college friend and his brother will soon open their grilled-cheese storefront, and lucky ol’ me attended their tasting and taping for an upcoming Food Network show. All nerves aside, I delighted in the creative creations and inventive flavors. Naturally, I should create my IMDb page sooner than later 😉
- “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”: I recently discovered I have a Netflix app through Comcast, which almost justifies the $$$ monthly price tag. Almost. And yes, I’ve been too stubborn to buy a damn Chromecast, Apple TV or Roku. I’m also late to this game, but the eternally optimistic Kimmy Schmidt makes for a binge-worthy show with an infectious earworm of a theme song. Dammit!