I Had a Shitty Day and Was Reminded I Am #Blessed

A couple of Fridays ago, I just had one of those days. At my wedding rehearsal, the mother of the groom was, to put it nicely, a bitch to me for no reason. I left Malibu at 5:00 on a Friday night. The Dodgers were playing in the World Series and I was stuck in my car.

It sucked. So I decided to pull off the parking lot that is the 101 on a Friday evening and find a bar with a TV and beer. Islands was the closest thing I could find, and though I mostly try to stay away from chain restaurants, I figured I might as well park it for an hour or two and let traffic die down (haha). I walked into the bar, found a table with a perfect view of the game, and ordered myself a beer. The waitress carded me, which was ridiculously unnecessary. I am 34. I do not look under thirty. And I was dressed for a rehearsal, which means I actually did my hair and make-up and was wearing something other than jeans and a T-shirt. I showed her my license, and she informed me it was expired. I told her I know, I already paid the fee, I just haven’t gotten my new one yet, but here is the paper that says I paid it and it’s renewed. She then told me she couldn’t serve me a beer because it was illegal. First of all, no, it’s not. Second of all, you didn’t need to card me in the first place, you were just trying to suck up. And now, I’m leaving. And also, I would have been the easiest $5 you made all night. And when I left the restaurant, it was 0-0; mere minutes later the Astros scored four runs and won the game. So basically this dumb waitress is the reason we lost the World Series.

But I digress (shocker). All in all, it was a shitty day. I was talked down to, denied my beer, missed my Dodgers, and sat in traffic for two hours. But by the time I got home, I was over it. I drank some wine, watched some crappy TV, and moved on with my life. As I’m writing this post, weeks later, I am totally detached from the events of the evening. In the grand scheme of life, it was all a bunch of petty bull.

And that’s when I realized (or remembered really, not like it’s the first time I’ve figured this out) that I am hashtag blessed. When I was teaching, I had more than one day that ended with me pulled over on the side of the road, hysterically crying to the point where I was unable to drive home. The bitchy parents and administrators I dealt with on a daily basis made the bitchy mother of the groom look like a saint. And how lucky am I that I was able to walk away from that situation? I now have a career I love, one that allows me the freedom to enjoy my son, enjoy flexibility with my time, and enjoy the people I work with. A career that stokes and inspires my creativity instead of crushing it.

So even though I had a shitty day, it was one of few these days. And I didn’t end up huddled in my car sobbing, so it really wasn’t all that bad. It didn’t leave me emotionally scarred, and by the next day (even with MOG continuing to be a bitch) it was over and done with and I was perfectly happy.

So thanks shitty day, for reminding me of all that I have, and how great my shitty days of present are compared to the shitty days of the past. I really am #blessed.

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Target $5 Wine is Delicious AF

Guys, I feel pretty certain that no one was more excited for the release of the Target $5 wine collection than I was. I mean, Target and cheap wine are basically my two favorite things in the world, you know, aside from my husband and kid. But really, it’s basically as if this collection was made for me. Of course, I was a little hesitant to get too excited before tasting these bad boys for myself. I certainly do not have high brow tastes when it comes to wine, but I also drink it enough and have had enough good wine to not be able to stomach two buck chuck anymore. I am delighted to tell you that I have sampled four of the five offerings from the Target wine collection and they were all pretty damn tasty. Here’s the breakdown:

Moscato: This is the only one I haven’t tried because moscato is disgusting.

Pinot Grigio: Brianna and I drank a bottle of this while recording the podcast, and it was yummy. Really light, a little fruity, but not cloyingly sweet. This wine is the perfect wine for summertime drinking. It goes down smooth, and could probably get you into some trouble because it’s so easy to drink.

Chardonnay: This is the only varietal I didn’t love, and that’s probably because I drink a lot of chardonnay and it’s the one varietal where I have expensive taste. I like my chardonnay to be oaky and buttery, and it’s hard to get that without spending a decent amount of moola on your wine. The Target offering certainly isn’t bad, and if you’re a casual chard drinker, you’ll probably really like it. It just wasn’t my fave.

Red Blend: I have to say, this one might be my favorite of the bunch. I am weird with my red wine, and I really only drink it when it’s cool outside (so like rarely), but this blend is light enough that you could drink it all year round. I will definitely be drinking this one all fall and winter.

Cab Sauv: This one was the most surprising because I have had very few (if any) good cabs for cheap. I guess it’s similar to chardonnay in that the best tasting cabs are usually on the higher end of the price point. However, this cab is bomb. It’s not bitter at all, but it still tastes full-bodied and rich. I would bring this to a party, it’s that good. Even though I prefer the red blend, I can definitely see myself drinking this throughout the winter months.

So there you have it. All in all, the Target $5 wine is an amazing deal for some really good tasting wine. I would recommend almost all of these varietals to even the pickiest of wine drinkers. The real beauty of it is you can buy several bottles at once and still not break the bank! Have you tried the $5 wine yet? Which one is your fave?

 

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The Best Books I’ve Read in the Past Three Months

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So I fell super behind with my What I Read monthly posts, so to catch up I’m going to give you the highlights from the past three months. I’ve already reached my yearly reading goal (woohoo!) and I have read a lot of amazing books so far. The past three months included some good ones, here are my favorites:

Glass Sword and King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard: I’m including both of these, though truth be told, I was a little frustrated by King’s Cage (mostly because I thought it was the last book in the series and it is so not). As I mentioned on the podcast a couple of weeks ago, I am really over all these YA books that keep their main couple apart for the entire series. Just let them get together already. This series definitely falls into the trap, but it is so well-written and such a cool concept that I let it go. But I better get some solid couple action in the end!

             

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell: Okay, first of all, the cover of this book is to die for. I’m so glad I didn’t buy the hardcover version because the paperback cover kicks ass. I love Rainbow Rowell, and this book is kind of a spin off of Fangirl, which is amazing. In Fangirl, the main character writes fan fiction, and Carry On is the book that she ends up writing. It’s basically Harry Potter, if Harry and Draco fell in love and there was swearing and cell phones and modern technology. It’s amazing and I loved every second of reading this book.

Ember in the Ashes and Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir: You know a series is good if I read two of the books in the same month. I am really enjoying this series, though I am feeling the same frustration as I did with the Red Queen series (in fact these books inspired my podcast rant). But again, love the concept, love the characters and the writing is beautiful so I’m gonna give it its due.

              

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: This was just a fun book to read, and it was a nice relief from some of the heavier, darker books I’ve been reading lately. This is the kind of book that makes you smile. I connected with the characters, I was interested in their plights, and I love seeing body image issues dealt with in an unassuming way. I breezed through this one, and loved every second.

How about you? Read any good books lately? Let me know what to pick up next!

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Super Cute Bridal Shower Gift

Okay, so full disclosure here: I should have posted this months ago, but I totally forgot until I was recently going through my iPhone pics to clear out some space. I found these and remembered that I never shared this bridal shower basket I put together for my sister back in like April. So yay me for being on top of things!

But I did want to share this idea with you because it’s super cute and such an easy gift to put together, and it’s awesome for any bride who likes coffee and champagne (and if you don’t like those two things, then you are no friend of mine…no offense, just literally all my friends like coffee and champagne).

For the first part of the gift, I bought two champagne glasses which I then decorated with Mr. and Mrs. gold decals that I found on Etsy. You can also find these champagne glasses on Amazon or at many retailers (including Home Goods, whose wedding section is the shit). I picked up a bottle of champagne (prosecco if we’re being specific) and attached a tag that reads “To celebrate married life”. I made the design in Microsoft Word, used a tag punch to cut it out, and attached it with gold washi tape.

The second tag reads “For your first morning as husband and wife” (it rhymes!) and I fashioned it the same way as the prosecco tag and attached it to a bag of coffee.

The highlight of this box is these mugs I found that are perfect for my sister. We’re huge fans of the TV show Friends, and these mugs reference the episode where Phoebe is changing her name after getting married. If you don’t know Friends, the mugs are weird, but if you do, and you love it like my sister does, they’re awesome. You could always do some cute Mr. and Mrs. mugs too if your friends don’t like Friends.

Put all together, this is a super cute little basket perfect for any bride-to-be. It got lots of awwwwws at the shower and it was lots of fun to put together.

Do you have a go to bridal shower gift? Fill me in on your secrets!


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We’re Going to New York!

Guys, I have been in the mood for New York something fierce, and I finally found the perfect opportunity to take a trip: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is coming to Broadway, and I. have. tickets. Hells to the yes!

The whole process for being able to purchase tickets was crazy, and I seem to be one of the few lucky ones who had an easy time with it. A couple of weeks ago I registered for the chance to get an access code. I found out at the beginning of the week that my code would be sent to be on Wednesday morning, and that tickets went on sale at 8:00 am. I woke up at 7:45, logged into my computer, and waited. At 8:00 I entered my access code, selected the date I wanted, and bought my tickets. The show itself is in two parts, so technically you’re buying tickets for two shows. Not only do we have orchestra seats for both shows, the TOTAL for two tickets to both shows and fees was $200 Word. The whole thing took less than five minutes. According to Twitter, this was not the experience for most, so I guess I had some good karma going for me or something.

So our tickets are for July, during our birthday/anniversary week and we are leaving the kid with grandparents and heading to the Big Apple. I haven’t been to New York in a couple of years, and I have been having withdrawals like nobody’s business. But now with a trip on the horizon, I can focus on planning instead of jonesing. My last two trips to NYC have been with students, so I am looking forward to you know, going to a bar. Since I am forcing Matt to go to Harry Potter and Mean Girls (!!!!) I will be accompanying him to at least one jazz bar while we are there too.

Other must dos for me include: Strand Bookstore, a martini at a rooftop bar, and some big ass pizza. What are some other experiences I should check out while in New York? Leave me your best tips!


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Me Too: My Story

In the wake of all of the Harvey Weinstein allegations coming out of Hollywood, women everywhere have been sharing their stories of sexual harassment and assault on social media using the hashtag #metoo. The idea being that if every woman who has suffered from harassment or assault tweets or posts just those two words, we can get at least an idea of how big this problem is. I’m going to be super frank in this post. I’m going to name names, I’m going to give quotes, and I’m going to talk about how the sexual harassment I have faced since the age of twelve has affected me. I’m also going to be totally honest here and say that if you are a woman in America, you have been sexually harassed. It’s impossible not to be. And if you are a woman reading this and thinking that you haven’t, it’s likely because we have been taught to accept the bullshit men give us. And that has got to stop.

But first, my story. The first time I remember being sexually harassed I was twelve. It was during P.E.. One of the popular boys came up to me during class and told me that he and all the other boys would hang out during laps and talk about me because they “liked to watch me run”. It’s safe to say that I was well-developed (for a twelve year old) at that point, and I was one of the few in my group of friends who had boobs. At the time, I didn’t fully grasp the meaning behind his comment, I just knew that it made me feel uncomfortable, self-conscious, and like I had something to apologize for. When I told my friends, one of my more savvy friends explained to me just why the boys liked to get together and stare while we ran around the track. After her explanation, I felt even worse about myself. I honestly don’t remember if I told my mom about the comment and how it made me feel. I definitely didn’t tell my P.E. teacher–a male well-known for ogling his female students–or anyone on campus other than my friends. At the time, I felt like I was the one who had done something wrong, not this boy who had made such an inappropriate comment.

I thought about writing about this incident back after the election when I was so angry that a man like Trump could win the presidency after the things he said. I wasn’t going to name names back then because, though this boy and I are not friends and are in no way connected on social media, I know many of my Facebook friends probably are still connected with him. My instinct was to protect him because in reality, I don’t think he’s a bad person. I think if he read this and knew how much his words still resonated with me–twenty-two years after the fact–he would probably feel bad. But that’s the problem. I’m worried about him feeling bad, when he’s the one who did something wrong. I’m worried about how something like me calling him out could possibly affect him when I am the one who has suffered from his words. And to be fair to him (again), if it hadn’t been him, it would have been someone else. But it doesn’t change the fact that he kicked off a long line of sexual harassment in my life, and maybe even more importantly, he kicked off a long line of me not saying anything, to either the perpetrators or anyone in a position of authority. So Evan Anderson, with all that being said, I need it to be out there in the world that you sexually harassed me when we were twelve. And I have never forgotten that moment and how your words made me feel.

I can’t even tell you how many times I have been sexually harassed since that first instance because it happens all. the. time. For the past twenty-two years, I have been harassed, ogled, leered at, and discriminated against by everyone from teachers and bosses to family members and students. I stopped keeping track of the incidents because there were too many to count. When I was in my early twenties and going out to clubs and bars on a regular basis, the harassment escalated to assault. Nothing ever happened that I would have considered serious at the time–lots of groping and uncomfortable dancing with strangers–but it still happened. I got to the point where I didn’t even want to go out without some of my male friends coming along to make sure it never got any worse.

And again, this is part of the problem. Strange men were grabbing me in a club and I didn’t think there was anything to be upset about. I thought it was par for the course. If you’re going to go dancing with your girlfriends, you’re going to get groped. How fucking ridiculous is that? Just typing that sentence is infuriating. I wanted to put on a cute dress and go out dancing with my friends, so my payment for that experience is to allow strange men to put their hands on me. That is such bullshit. How is this something we allow to happen? How are we okay with teaching girls that this is how the world is? And what will it take to make it stop?

As I debated writing this post over the weekend, I had almost convinced myself to let it go and not put my experience out there. And then at my wedding Saturday, a man 25-30 years older than I am came over to me while I was standing in the corner of the reception space, looked down at my bag which had a lighter sticking out of it, and said, “Is that a gun in your bag or are you just happy to see me?”

I would love to be able to tell you that I read this man the riot act, but I didn’t. I was at work, and a huge part of my job is pretending like nothing is wrong when it absolutely is. So I laughed. The man joked  with me again when I went to release his table to the buffet line. I tuned him out, but it was something along the lines of me showing favoritism to his table because of his “joke”. The next day I was angry not only with this man, but with myself. Why didn’t I say anything? Surely there must be a way to rebuke someone’s blatant harassment with something firm yet polite. And again, why am I so concerned about how I am going to look defending myself when he was in the wrong? (And for those of you who read his comment and think there’s nothing wrong with what he said, let me break it down for you: an older man who I have never met before thought it was okay to come up to me in my place of work and ask if the sight of him made me sexually aroused. If you don’t see the harassment behind that, you are part of the problem.)

I wish I could wrap all this up with some kind of solution to the problem, but the truth is there isn’t an easy one. I am going to make a concerted effort to defend myself in these situations in the future, but I know myself, and it’s going to take a lot of work for me to be able to confront someone when I am uncomfortable. I think the best thing that I can do is to raise my son with the awareness that so many of the men in my generation (and those before them) seem to lack. An awareness of how his words affect others, an awareness of what harassment actually is, and an awareness of what consent means.

If you are a man and you’re reading this and if you are having problems determining how far is too far, and what you should or should not say to a woman, use this trick: Would you be okay with a strange man making the same comment to you at a bar? If the answer is no, back the eff off and shut your mouth.

Thanks for reading my story. I’m sure it’s in no way unique, but it’s mine.

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Down to Fangirl Podcast September Show Notes

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Welcome to the Down to Fangirl podcast show notes! I’m going to try a new format for podcast notes because I suck at getting them done on a weekly basis. That just ain’t gonna happen. So this way there will be 4-5 episodes gathered together with all the links you need to check out our favorite things!

Episode 12, 8/30/17

Reading: I recommended Carry On by Rainbow Rowell while Brianna enjoyed A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen. We also mentioned the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.

Listening to: Brianna is obsessed with the new Bleachers album. I binged the Twilight movie episodes of the Yeah it’s That Bad podcast.

Watching: In order to fully appreciate  YITB, I watched some of the Twilight moves. Brianna is a little more refined and has been watching Halt and Catch Fire.

Episode 13, 9/5/17

Reading: We discussed our September Book Club selection, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, which Brianna enjoyed so much she had already moved on to Pretties. I was in the middle of the Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee but was struggling to finish (and as of writing this still have not finished it).

Listening to: I was (and still am) listening to the Fansplaining podcast.

Watching: Brianna talked about the baseball drama Brockmire while I binged Reign. And we finished up our season long discussion of Game of Thrones.

Episode 14, 9/1/17

Reading: Brianna rounded out the Uglies series with Specials while I breezed through Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. We also announced our October Book Club selection, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.

Listening to: I found a new nerdy podcast called Desi Geek Girls.

Watching: Brianna updated us on Outlander before we both got drunk and watched Zenon Girl of the 21st Century.

Episode 15, 9/18/17

Reading: I loved Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

Listening to: Brianna found a new (to her) podcast called 99% Invisible. I’ve been listening to a lot of Something Rotten to prep for their LA tour.

Watching: We both watched and discussed the 2017 Emmy’s.

Instagramming: This was the first week of our What’s Up Instagram addition. Brianna talked about her favorite @joythebaker while I mentioned the hilarious @overheardla.

Episode 16, 9/28/17

Reading: I mostly enjoyed Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir, though it did lead to a YA romantic tropes rant. Brianna had mixed but mostly good feelings about Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

Listening to: A whole lot of nothing this week!

Watching: I dominated the watching conversation this week, as I finished Reign, started Veep, and went back to an old favorite, Sex and the City. We also discussed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Instagramming: This week I talked about one of my favorite Disney accounts @mindyjoym and Brianna mentioned one of her many dog accounts @roofusandkilo.

Whew. That’s a lot of info for you! Hope you enjoyed this month’s episodes! As always, please download, subscribe and leave us a review!

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