Five Books To Read This Summer

summer readingSummer is here! I have been caught laying on the beach on more than one occasion. And, since squinting at our phones is hard with the sun and all, I thought I’d make a good summer reading list. After all, a good book recommendation is always the best.   As someone who reads pretty frequently, I constantly have five books in circulation, so I thought I would share them with you.

(Don’t judge me:  I read fast, so, having multiple books at a time allows me to dissect a chapter, rather than speed reading through it. I also have a book for different scenarios. For example: I’d rather read an biography before bed instead of a book on social psychology because the biography won’t stimulate my brain into a million different ideas.)

Lately, I have been revisiting some of my favorite classics, such as, “The Great Gatsby” and mixing in poetry and social psychology into the mix.  Here are the five books I’m currently circulating.

 

  1. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office

I actually wrote a post about this book in May, and, I cannot emphasize enough the profound effect it has had on me. It has outlined weaknesses and strengths of mine, and more importantly, it has given me the tools I need to correctly address any situation both personally and professionally. Ladies, please do yourself a favor and get this book.

 

2. 101 Essays that Will Change the Way You Think

I have loved Brianna’s writing since her early Thought Catalog days, and, while she has published a number of books, this book in particular is pure perfection. It’s philosophical, profound, and tailored for any reader. It has helped re-evaluate feelings and has added texture to my life. I carried this book around with me, literally everywhere, for months. I only recently gave it to a friend who I thought needed some of the answers that book holds.

(p.s.- if you’re like me and like hard copies of a book, click here)

 

3. The Wisest One in the Room

My love of social psychology shines through with this suggestion. However, anyone who interacts with others on a daily basis should certainly give this a read. It has even inspired a photography project in regards to the ideology of “naive realism”. As evident with my first two suggestions, I firmly believe in self awareness, but, all of that work isn’t worth anything if you don’t understand those around you.

 

4. How to Murder Your Life

I discovered Cat Marnell and her drug fueled posts when I was 19 years old. I glamorized her life, and, secretly sat in envy that I wasn’t 90lbs and writing about doing angel dust for major publications. Oh, how our teenage brains work.  I know, I know. I have eagerly anticipated this book, and, I was surprised at how candid, fluid, and sobering her words were. It’s like watching a train wreck but it having a beautiful ending.

5. Milk & Honey

While my recent New Paltz graduate coworker will tell you this book is “Tumblr” poetry, I tend to disagree. Yes, the poems are simple, and perhaps when you’re twenty two life requires more complexity. However, as someone at the tail-end of my twenties, I have thoroughly enjoyed and resonated with many of Rupi’s words. Bonus: she has a second book being released in October, and I am eagerly anticipating it.

Since I’m almost done with “How to Murder Your Life” I could use another recommendation. Leave yours in the comments. 

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Blac Chyna is Not a Victim

A week after the infamous morning where Rob Kardashian unleashed his inner Khaleesi on Blac Chyna and I’m still reeling in all of this Kard-chyna drama. (also, trying to coin that nickname)

First and Foremost: There is a victim in all of this and her name is Dream Kardashian. This baby is innocent and deserves better parents, period. They both are shameful and this poor baby is going to suffer the consequences of googling her name one day, and the results are all their fault,

 

 

While most people are blaming Chyna because she is not the “perfect victim” and we live in Trump’s misogynistic America, I disagree with those particular points. She does not deserve to be exploited by a man because she was a stripper. Yes, she has exploited her body before, but, she was in control of her body in those moments. Not a man. And, yes, she is  an opportunist who is trying to rise above the cyclical nature of her socio-economic past, and frankly, her ways aren’t unlike some other famous friends of hers…

 

It’s not a shock to any of us that Blac Chyna saw a major opportunity when she met Rob. Let’s be honest, Rob’s depression, paired with his black t-shirt, sweatpants, and sandals game is not exactly turning all the women on. (Also, please note- I am not commenting on his weight because his weight has nothing to do with overall attraction) 

However, Rob showed an interest in Blac Chyna and she saw a way to further her career. It’s a simple equation, really:

Dating Rob= E! + flat tummy tea promos^2

His reality is an illusion and it was a world Blac was willing to live in for while. Paparazzi, more social media followers, more promos all came when her name became linked with Rob.  Her business endeavors began to gain traction, and, she was being pictured everywhere. She was climbing the celebrity ladder. Unfortunately, a few weeks of unprotected sex (GUYS, WHY?! She’s a known stripper and you know he’s hiring strippers WHY WOULD YOU RISK YOUR BODIES LIKE THAT?!) resulted in a pregnancy, and the rest unfolded on a television series in which they were paid $5 million dollars for.

While most believe she intentionally got pregnant, I happen to think it was a mistake that freaked her out. Yes, on the one hand that baby will forever be taken care of by the Amazonian like clan, but, I don’t think she wanted this “relationship” to get this far. Especially to the point where now they’re tied into legal drama.

She is a victim:  she did share those pictures privately with Rob. She did trust Rob with those pictures. (let’s be honest, ladies and gents- most of us have shared nudies, and it does need a lot of trust). However, she is also the bully in this situation. And, her plan has backfired on her in a big way.

She manipulated Rob, a known maniac depressive with SEVERE self-esteem issues that manifest to larger issues. His storyline has played out season after season of every Kardashian show and spin-off possible. His family and friends have struggled desperately to save Rob, and have only recently established boundaries for him to fix himself.

Unfortunately, Blac did not set up those boundaries. Instead, she sent him nudes, but, then would tell him it was over. She would have sex with him, but, then sent him videos of her with another man. If she really wanted to cut ties with Rob, she would have done so in a clean way. She wouldn’t have taken his money for the surgery, she wouldn’t have obliged when he asked for nudes, and she would have established boundaries sooner. Instead, she played the game with him until it backfired. And, now, the ever so opportunistic Angela is wearing a white suit to court with a powerful lawyer in tow. (while posing for snapchats in the parking garage)

 

Rob was wrong for sharing her nudes, simple as that. But, Blac Chyna was wrong for stringing him along. For toying with his emotions. For not being a real woman and saying “let’s co-parent, and nothing else” sooner. She is wrong for doing an interview before her court hearing. If she truly wanted the restraining order for the right reasons (a.k.a.- so her face isn’t all over the tabloids) she should have approached this quietly. She, being the mentally stable one in this situation, should have stood the higher ground. However, she is using all of this as yet another opportunity. She is trying to turn her loss around, and she’s doing so by attempting to control the narrative.

The real problem here is our insensitive culture to mental health and awareness. Rob Kardashian was wrong, a point that has been outlined numerous times. However, read deeper into his tweets and you’ll see that this mentally unstable person found stability with someone. He created a reality for himself where he finally had a nucleus family of his own. He was able to re-imagine a better life for himself, with Blac and Dream the cornerstones of those images. His heart was shattered, and, unfortunately for him, he is unable to process situations in a rational way. His actions were simply a reaction to being poked and led on for so many months.

Sharing her nudes violates trust and the law.  Men should never be able to have that control over women. It’s prove that we still have a long way to go with gender and social norms.

However, we should never use our sexuality to manipulate someone. We should never succumb to “favor texts” and we should respect ourselves enough  not to take part in sexual context if we’re not 100% committed to that person. (I’m not saying we should be engaged or married to participate in sexual endeavors, either. We should, however, not be “broken up” and still sending them) 

She may not be the perfect victim, however, he’s not the perfect bully either.

 

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It’s Okay to Be Fun

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For the last few weeks at work I have been working on a new cocktail list for the summer/early fall. It might seem easy to do, but, there’s a good amount of research and collaboration that goes into it. How do you make a drink unique? Will your demographic order it? Does it pair well with the food you serve? Are they fun yet sophisticated? 

I found this incredible cocktail book from the New York Times that I use for reference. I love the idea of bringing classic drinks back and this book dates back to the 50’s, so I really have dug through the archives for recipe inspirations.

One of the elements of working in a classic steakhouse that you just can’t avoid is the tradition of it. You have to a Wedge Salad. You have to have a Thick Slab of Bacon. For a while, I sort of hated the tradition of it. I know that sounds awful, but, as someone who is young and dines out a lot, I thrive in those new aged environments… Until recently.

Our restaurant has been around for ten years now. While the town has seen hundreds of restaurants in that time, our sprawling 7,000 square foot restaurant has stood tall. During economic recessions, during disastrous Hurricanes; I mean, through it all, we’ve been there. The tradition of our menu isn’t just fitting into a norm or expectations, it’s being a reliable meal for the people of the town.

As we get older we begin to cherish tradition. I would argue that we strive for it. We create traditions with our friends, our family, our work places, and it begins to be something we all look forward to. Life gets busy, but, having a tradition to fall back on brings us all together again. It’s an escape from our reality.

Traditions might be redundant, but they are FUN! And, that is how I found the inspiration for our cocktail list. It’s a tad bit traditional, with a fun twist. The theme this summer is Mrs. Doubtfire. From “Run by Fruitin’ Sangria”, to “Buzzed is on the way, Dear”, or, my personal favorite “Pudgys Pina Colada”, they’re all new drinks, with a fun name, that blend with the tradition of the restaurant.

Life is serious, and we should always approach life with respect and admiration. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.

 

Cheers to a weekend full of more tradition and fun.

(p.s.- while i truly wanted to expand on this thought, and I might in a later thought, my friends are coming over in 40 minutes, my hair is a mess and I really should have used this time to clean up. HOWEVER, I’m mother effin’ committed to this blog now and I have to post twice a week, so I’m gonna get this done.)

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