Queer Eye’s enduring popularity makes sense. In a world where gun violence, xenophobia, political turmoil, and social disconnect seem to dominate the public’s conscious, it’s no wonder that a television show based on good intentions, kindness, understanding, and encouragement has a strong foothold in popular culture. The modern reboot of the show’s original and more shallow iteration, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, has far surpassed its predecessor with a more inclusive and wholesome approach. Even the tagline is telling: “More than a makeover”.

Each season focuses on nominated persons, often do-gooders that have neglected themselves, in a variety of American cities. Seasons one and two focus on nominees in Atlanta, Georgia and surrounding towns while seasons three and four are set in and around Kansas City. The selection of the “makeoveree” itself is progressive in that it’s no longer just straight, cisgender men with bad fashion sense. We’ve seen representation in the transgender, disenfranchised, African American, Asian, lesbian, disabled, and other more marginalized communities without the resources to “live their best lives”. Some of them are progressive, and others have never met a gay person before, let alone five at one time.

These life-changing transformations are lead by the “Fab Five” Antoni Porowski (food and wine expert), Tan France (fashion expert), Karama Brown (culture and lifestyle expert, Bobby Berk (design expert), and the unforgettable, over the top Jonathan Van Ness (grooming expert). Tears are often shed, vulnerability is uncovered, and true learning happens. Even the experts themselves will draw from their personal experiences to connect and encourage these people.

At the end of the day, Queer Eye is more than just a fun show to watch. It’s a beacon of hope; people can set their differences aside and open themselves up to positivity, self-confidence, personal responsibility, and change. The way things are in the world right now, I think we need that more than ever and that’s why we’ll continue to see more seasons for a long time.

Watch Queer Eye on Netflix now!

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Recently, I watched the Netflix documentary, “The Family”, about a cult-like “non-organization” of Jesus-zealous men infiltrating global politics. As a quick note before I dive in, I do not classify myself as enthusiastic about politics, nor will I be divulging deeply into my political beliefs, other than to say, I do think secularism is extremely important and should be preserved. Whether I lean left or right is frankly irrelevant; one of the attractions of this group is its bipartisanship.

The first episode covers journalist Jeff Sharlet’s introduction into Ivanwald, essentially a fraternity feeding into The Fellowship, also known as The Family. Life at Ivanwald is “clean”, so to speak; no alcohol, drugs, or sex. Members must keep themselves fit. Above all, they must study and worship Jesus. Not the Bible. Just Jesus.

As the series continues, we learn more about the leadership and organizational structure of The Family, in spite of their claims they aren’t an organization and are certainly not a religion. They simply focus on the mantra, “Jesus Plus Nothing”. Through interviews with current and former members as well as “friends” of the family and journalists, a disturbing ethos emerges. No matter what your brothers do, you are accountable to them first and foremost. Forget your spouse, children, extended family. You are united in your love for Jesus only.

One particularly disturbing example was a scene recounted by Jeff while at Ivanwald where a senior member “teaches” them that it’s not their place to judge, only support. Specifically, he tells them that if one of your brothers rapes three women, you are still beholden to them. Jeff also recalls when one of the brother’s left the group to be with his wife who was sexually assaulted, and the rest of the group looked upon his choice contemptuously and questioned what his wife was doing to get herself in that situation. Upon leaving, this man gave Jeff a bunch of proprietary, highly confidential documents refuting the Fellowship’s claim that it was not an organization and had no members.

The Fellowship originated in Seattle, Washington, having been founded by a Norweigan immigrant named Abraham Vereide engrossed by prayer. After his death in 1969, a man named Doug Coe took on his mantle of leadership and implemented the National Prayer Breakfast, which has been a tradition for every United States presidency, beginning with President Dwight D. Eisenhower. These prayer breakfasts have been duplicated in countries around the world. The concept is that the leaders of the world are the true elite chosen by Jesus. The rest doesn’t matter. Many American politicians have been seduced by the Fellowship’s bipartisan, missionary rhetoric. But the reality is that some of these disciples have been courting the world’s leading despots, dictators, and governments that support horrific practices, such as anti-LGBTQ legislation and genocide.

This black and white iteration of unity is dangerous. It’s not as easy as just loving Jesus. In my opinion, people that embrace this methodology are highly radical and what was interesting to learn is that the Fellowship members and friends exist within both the Democratic and the Republican parties. Furthermore, I can understand why Trump is such an ideal opportunity for the Family in terms of influence. He is the wolf, the “flawed vessel” that’s just as radical as the notion, “Jesus Plus Nothing”.

It’s extremely fascinating and disturbing. I would highly recommend checking it out. Watch the trailer here.

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Dread. By the end of the workday, I was dreading a date planned for later in the evening. My gut knew he was not a good fit for me. I toyed with canceling up until about an hour beforehand. I decided to go forward with it to break my patterns and be more open-minded. Plus, my colleagues were encouraging me to put myself out there.

When I arrived at the meeting place, I was about 10 minutes early. I was apprehensive about being there. When he walked up, I just knew immediately. His voice was almost shrill and in one sentence, I heard approximately five or six “likes”. It went downhill from there. I ended up excusing myself and gave the waitress cash for my unfinished cider beer. I blocked his number and unmatched him, but first sent him a text:

I’m sorry. I’m heading home. It’s not the right fit. I gave the server cash for my cider. Good luck to you.

I booked it out of there. Left my mom a funny voicemail. Texted my friends. Walked home so quickly I have a callous on my heel.

Before I share my deeper thoughts about this experience, I do want to mention that this was a nice person in general. The only derision he deserves is for his lack of tact. He wasn’t being purposely disrespectful. I also am aware that my deal breakers are different than others. For example, if you don’t read, it’s game over. I sensed from his grammar issues when we texted that he wasn’t a reader. This was confirmed in conversation with all the “likes” and “uhs”. I wasn’t loving his assertion that good food and drink aren’t worth the money. But that’s just me.

Overall, I think he has a lot to learn about general dating etiquette and I hope that my insights might be valuable for those dating out there. Or at least it will give you a chuckle!

  • Listen. After a few days of texting, he was already repeating questions to me, which he also did in person. I’m not sure why you can’t remember if I like shots or not, if I have any siblings, or if I cook, but I would suggest making an effort to absorb the information someone shares with you.
  • Be considerate. It’s probably not a great idea to say you dislike people that share the same profession as your date. I get that not all recruiters are fantastic, but I certainly didn’t appreciate being lumped in with them, especially when he never asked before about my career (just if I like shots, ha!).
  • Don’t overshare. Sometimes, we are in transition in life, however, it’s not much of a turn-on to tell your date that you sleep on a couch, don’t cook or clean, and aren’t particularly motivated in your job.
  • Have a hobby. I am a busy, professional woman. On top of a very dynamic career, I write this blog, I read frequently, and I do my research on various topics. I also exercise, see my friends and family, and cultivate my passions. If you’re texting me morning, noon, and night, it leads me to believe you don’t have enough going on.

At the end of the day, my gut was totally right, but I am proud of myself for putting myself out there, not canceling, being honest with this person, and for learning something from it, like people like really like want to know like if I like shots. Like.

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It’s been an intense summer in a few ways, not so much for me directly. I have witnessed a close friend experience the joy of getting married to their partner and soul mate. I’ve also been witness to a close friend working through a major, devastating loss. It’s caused me to be both introspective, but also appreciative of the grace that my friends possess. Both situations were truly life-defining to them.

My empathy for my friends comes from the gratitude stemming from their willingness to share their vulnerability with me, including their great happiness and extreme pain. Having deep friendships is life-affirming because, at the end of the day, I believe that relationships are the legacy we leave behind. My therapist once quoted Maya Angelou to me:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

To me, the biggest gift my friends can give me is their vulnerability and being open to experiencing mine. The opportunity to be authentic is important to me. I love my job as a recruiter, but there is an element of needing to be “on”. Sometimes I just want to be low-key and the not so perky life of the party. Sometimes, I want to talk about myself. They let me and I never feel judged. Also, if I’m not up to hanging out or don’t respond to their outreach right away, I am comforted in knowing that they don’t take it personally.

As I look for romantic connections, I do feel sustained by my friendships. I don’t feel I need to settle for poor quality because I know what quality relationships should feel like. This post is an opportunity to say to my close friends that I appreciate you all so much and I feel very lucky to be a part of your experiences, both happy and sad. Thank you!

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True crime dominates my podcast listening. The Last Podcast on The Left maintains its foothold as #1 in my heart with their well researched (and hysterically conveyed) episodes covering everything from killers, historical tragedies, aliens, cryptids, magic, to paranormal activity. There is, however, a newer podcast to me that’s been in production since 2017. It’s significantly different than LPOTL in terms of both content and delivery, but impactful in ways I didn’t expect. I want to share it with you.

Ear Hustle is prison slang for eavesdropping. Listeners of this podcast essentially are “ear hustling” on the inmates of San Quentin State Prison, which overlooks the San Francisco Bay. The show is co-hosted by a long-time San Quentin volunteer and visual artist, Nigel Poor, and the *SPOILER ALERT* formerly incarcerated Earlonne Woods, who had his sentence commuted by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018 due to his work on the show, signs of reformation, and on recommendations from people like Nigel and Lt. Sam Robinson, San Quentin’s Public Information Officer. (Earlonne was sentenced to 31 years to life in 1999 for attempted robbery).

This podcast is profound, interesting, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. In the past, if I saw a prison-centric program on Netflix, I would just ignore it. Prison life has, thankfully, always been a far away, nebulous concept for me. I was fortunate to be born into an affluent life, where I had access to the resources needed to succeed. Besides, I used to think, “if they’re in prison they deserve to be there and are better off locked away forever”.

That is true. In some cases. Some people should be thrown into a cell for the remainder of their lives and deprived of basic human pleasures due to their heinous crimes. What I’ve learned from listening to Ear Hustle, though, is that some people can and do change for the better. Some make efforts to reform themselves and give back to the community, like Earlonne. I’ve also learned about cases where the punishment seems extreme for the crime.

One of the most poignant and unsettling shows is “Left Behind,” an episode dealing with California’s controversial three-strikes law. It focuses on an inmate named Curtis Roberts, who pleaded guilty to snatching $40 from a liquor store cash register and was sentenced to 50 years to life under three strikes. He’s been in prison 23 years for the nonviolent crime, and had pinned his hopes for parole on Proposition 66, a 2004 ballot measure that would have modified the law to allow early release for nonviolent offenders like him.

Liberatore, P., & Marin Independent Journal. (2017, October 23). San Quentin inmates win raves with ‘Ear Hustle’ podcast about life in prison. Retrieved from https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/23/san-quentin-inmates-win-raves-with-ear-hustle-podcast-about-life-in-prison/

The bottom line is that no matter what their crime and how disproportionate their sentencing, these inmates are still people and it’s very interesting to hear how they do or do not cope so well in the joint. Episode topics include dating inside, “cellies” (cellmates), music, and mail. Other, heavier episode topics include the Shu (solitary confinement), sex trafficking, and death row.

From left to right: Lt. Sam Robinson (San Quentin Public Information Officer), Antwan Williams (Co-Founder of Ear Hustle), Earlonne Woods (Co-Founder and Co-Host of Ear Hustle), and Nigel Poor (Co-Host of Ear Hustle).

You may be surprised that a prison could produce a podcast from inside, but San Quentin State Prison is very progressive. Some inmates spend years trying to get transferred there due to the rehabilitation programs and workshops available to inmates. Still, it is a prison and necessity is truly the mother of invention. Inmates can get very creative with their food, art, activities, and making connections. What seems to tower over all prison life is respect. Respect is everything and from what I’ve gleaned, it seems that violence in prison tends to stem from perceived disrespect.

Ear Hustle has become an important find; I’ve learned a great deal and my perspective has changed. I’m also extraordinarily grateful not to be in prison! After hearing about all of the restrictions and the total lack of control, it’s no wonder that these inmates want to share their experiences. Ear Hustle has a message of hope and that progressive rehabilitation can help some people that perhaps were born into a life of crime, as you will find so many are.

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It’s come to my attention that much like all things in life, dating will not yield results without the application of some effort towards it. I’ve cynically rejoined a few of my ole’ digital haunts, including Bumble, where the female must initiate the first contact. On a beautiful evening after work, I thought I’d log in and make some effort. I matched a few guys that looked vaguely promising. I wanted to think of something a little more exotic than the, “Hey __, how’s it going?”. I felt creative, inspired, shall we say. I thought, “if it weren’t Monday and time to hit the gym, where would I want to be right now”? And voila! A patio having a cocktail with good company.

After asking a few of my matches, “Hey __, if you were on any patio in the city right now, which would you choose?”. I thought it was a fun, unique opener. Well, it generated not a single reply except for this gem:

I’m not that into patios.

Oh, okay. Do you mean the experience of being upon a patio? Or is it that you don’t like the physical logistics of a patio (too square, too sunny, uncomfortable seating, you see your ex)? Maybe it bothers you because the last time you were on a patio, you were at Federales and they kicked you out because you threw an ice tequila shot at someone’s head. I guess I thought perhaps it could have led to a meeting on a patio, or just even starting a conversation. Heck, I would’ve accepted, “Not a big patio guy, but love a dive bar!” Nah. That was all.

I have since been told by a friend’s beau that guys aren’t necessarily enthusiastic about a patio experience in the same way as women are, but he did agree with me that that was not someone to remain matched to. These kinds of interactions continue to baffle me, but at least they’re good fodder for a chuckle!

Also, if you’re a man that likes patios, holler at me!

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Target has changed quite a bit in the last few years, especially when it comes to Women’s Apparel. It used to be your usual suspects: Mossimo (which has taken a big hit due to the founder and namesake’s college bribery scandal), Merona, Xhiliration, etc. But they’ve since launched what I believe to be superior, more contemporary brands for women including A New Day, Who What Wear, Prologue, and Wild Fable. Suddenly, the offerings include dresses, separates, denim, and athleisure that doesn’t look chintzy and match the professional, multi-faceted woman of today.

In the past, Target wasn’t so much a part of my shopping lexicon. For a while, I felt the clothing seemed dated, too mature/conservative, and of lesser quality. With their overhaul, however, it has become a go-to spot. For example, I was recently in need of an outfit for a Sunday wedding. My closet was full of too-formal cocktail dresses, and too-casual maxis. After no success at Nordstrom, Loft, or Anthropologie, I figured I’d give Target a shot. I quickly found a simple neon yellow/green sheath dress and a pair of SUGARFIX by Bauble Bar hot pink tassel earrings and voila, I had an almost entire wedding look for around $50!

Back in May before my New England trip, I made a few purchases at Target including wide-legged linen pants, a cardigan, a sleeveless chambray shirt, and a few simple tank tops. I also found a great maxi dress I wore at my a Communion and some tops for work. Target has taken over my closet! Luckily, they also sell clothing hangers. Which brings me to my next case for Target besides Women’s Apparel…

Home decor! When I first moved into my studio a few years ago, I did a major shop at Target from fake plants to throw pillows. I predominately picked up items from Room Essentials or Threshold, but they’ve since diversified with Joanna Gaines’ rustic Hearth & Hand with Magnolia and a modern collection from Project 62. Truly something for everyone. I am very much looking forward to having more space in the future to decorate further.

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Hello all, you may have noticed the drop in posting. Work has become extremely busy and I’m starting to focus on other projects that are distracting me from the blog. I will likely pick this back up in the future when things calm down. Thank you for reading and all the support!

“The One Thing Jennifer Aniston Won’t Eat”.

“How Hailey and Justin Keep Their Marriage Spicy”.

These are the types of headlines I’ve noticed from Vogue as of late. In spite of this disappointing clickbait fodder, now and then they publish interesting and substantial articles. One that caught my attention recently is “This Is 40—And Pregnant“, written by Eviana Hartman and photographed by Bella Newman. As the title suggests, this article explores examples of mothers in their forties, the implications being that you can still enjoy successful, healthy childbirth later in life than was once supposed. And though it’s not the most common, the incidence of mother’s experiencing first time birth in their forties is increasing rapidly.

I don’t pretend to be an expert or know what’s best for any one person, but I was drawn to this article because as I turn 30 this year, a pivotal birthday for many, I realize I’m not even close to being in a situation where I would feel comfortable or prepared to have and raise children. This is just a fact. I’m not judging myself harshly or suggesting that I’m right or wrong because for me, I would like to share this experience with a partner and I just haven’t found one yet. And it’s a huge relief to me to know that women can have successful first time pregnancies later than the oft-dreaded 35th birthday.

Many common impediments to fertility have nothing to do with a woman’s age; some, such as the widely reported decline in sperm counts, have nothing to do with a woman at all. In truth, the cliff isn’t usually 35, or even necessarily 40; it’s probably closer, on average, to 44 or so, though donor eggs can stretch those numbers further, and everyone is different. In fact, the 40-to-44 and 45-to-49 age brackets are the ones in which U.S. birth rates—despite record lows overall—are rising fastest.

A lot can happen in a year. I have a whole decade to go before age 40, but I’m encouraged by the fact that the door doesn’t close for all women at age 35. As women, we are made to think that that is our deadline, and at this point in my personal development, I can’t conceive of settling for someone that I don’t consider my forever partner because I feel I have no other choice. Outside of my romantic status, I still feel like I’m still learning a ton about myself. Establishing a career, building my finances, prioritizing responsibilities, passions, and people are all areas I’ve improved upon in the last few years. In fact, the idea of having a child in my early twenties is laughable and terrifying, as I still felt very much like a child then.

That’s not to say that a woman must become a mother to become whole, or that a come-from-behind victory in the race against Mother Nature warrants special recognition. But regardless of one’s take on parenthood, when one reaches one’s 40s, or at least when I did, the internal narratives constructed around numerical age—the “shoulds”—start to give way to a vivid presence of mind, a relinquishing of a control that was never there in the first place. Sooner or later, kids or no kids, we will realize that we are no longer young, but that, in turn, may leave us more open to becoming something different.

I like the idea of having a little more flexibility in my biological timelines to become a more full person before having children. I don’t presume to know what will be good or necessary, but I don’t know that I feel capable of offering way more to others, let alone a child, than I was able to in the past. I like knowing that I don’t have to rush as much; that I don’t have to succumb to pressures. Women have more options now and are able to go more at their own pace.

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Hey all! With the changing seasons, comes new products. Also, I’m always open to trying something new, regardless what time of the year it is. I thought I would share with you a few of my “go-to’s” at the moment.

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo | $25 for 5.3 oz or $10 for 1 oz

Dry shampoo is essential, especially during warm weather seasons when you’re out and about and moving more – hello, oily scalp! Amika’s Perk Up Dry Shampoo is the only kind that I’ve tried to date (and I’ve tried a lot) that doesn’t smell like baby powder. Nor does it leave that powdery, chalky residue in your roots that you have to vigorously rub into your scalp because it’s talc-free. I’m not exactly sure how to describe the smell other than that it’s on the floral side and it doesn’t overpower; in fact, I really enjoy it. Also, the packaging is just fantastic and happy. No wonder I was drawn to try a miniature version for the first time. Now I have a large version for home and a mini one for travel and in my every day handbag.

Tarte Brazilliance™ PLUS Self-Tanner & Mitt | $39

While most of the year I am a-okay with my naturally, very fair complexion, as we move into skin-bearing months, I do like to have a little sun kissed color without the dangers that come with baking in a tanning bed (these should be illegal!) or under the Sun. This self-tanning set by Tarte is my annual go-to. The buildable lotion is easy to apply with the soft mitt and only requires 10 minutes to dry (note: you should not shower for 8 hours after application, so best applied at night). I’ve never had an issue with it making my skin look streaky, orangey, or dry, unlike some cheaper self-tanning options. It does have that self-tanner smell but it’s very low key and actually reminds me of summertime in a good way! Plus, this product is vegan, if that’s important to you.

Laura Mercier Silk Crème Oil-Free Photo Edition Foundation | $48

I never thought I’d ditch my trusty Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, but I’ve found something I like better (and it’s $1 cheaper, ha!). This foundation is very creamy as its name suggests and it’s formulated without oil. It provides excellent, buildable coverage (medium to heavy) without giving you that tragic “pancake-y” look that some foundations do. I also find that it doesn’t require as much maintenance or powdering throughout the day. It stays put and it gives a slightly dewy finish without making you look oily (I have combination skin, FYI). Plus, it photographs well! 😉

Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective™ Dark Spot Solution | $52

Jury is still out on this one as I’ve only recently started using it, but this is one of Kiehl’s best selling products, so I have high hopes. Lately, I’ve noticed random dark spots popping up on my face in spite of my rigorous sunscreen use, which has me none too pleased. I’m trying this out as a spot treatment, but you can also use the serum all over your face and décolletage for a general brightening effect. It’s formulated with activated C, white birch extract, and peony extract. It smells great and the consistency of the serum is light, but luxurious. I will keep you guys posted on my results. Note: it should be used at night before applying night cream or moisturizer.

Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour in Mélodieuse | $38

You guys may remember my post about Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year: Living Coral. In doing my shopping “research” on the color, I found this gorgeous shade iterated in Chanel’s Rouge Allure Lipstick and just had to buy it. It certainly does not disappoint! The lipstick is very moisturizing, creamy, and buildable. You can nail this color trend with a simple pop of color on your lips.

That’s it for now! Hope you enjoyed my post; if you have any thoughts or recommendations for me regarding new products you love, let me know in the comments! Have a great weekend!

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