The One & Only

Alright, I just finished The One & Only by Emily Giffin, who is one of my absolute favorite authors. I read Something Borrowed and Something Blue long before the movie came out, and fell in love. I recently watched the movie on TV and forgot how much I love it and love the story. I’ve also read all of Giffin’s other books and love them. The writing and the characters are so real and relatable, so I was so excited for a new novel after it seemed like so long since she had released anything. Just a fair warning, there are some minor spoilers in this one.

Image from emilygiffin.com

 

Now, let me preface this by saying I still love Emily Giffin. However, I did not enjoy this book as much as I’ve enjoyed her others. With Something Borrowed and her other novels, I couldn’t put them down. The characters pulled me in and had me rooting for them. In The One & Only, I just didn’t feel that way because I was a little put off by the entire storyline. For those who don’t know, The One & Only is about a girl named Shea Rigsby who was born and raised in a Texas football town (being from Oklahoma, I can totally relate to growing up surrounded by football). Her best friend’s mother has recently passed away, and her best friend’s father is the famous college football coach in said football town. Shea works for the university and has always been very close with the coach and from the very beginning I thought, “It seems like this girl has a crush on her best friend’s dad who just died…ew. That’s weird. Maybe I’m wrong. Moving on…”

I wasn’t wrong. Basically, they fall in love, and of course there are many obstacles along the way for both of them, as there is in any chic-lit novel. Now, I have no problem with a young woman falling for an older man. That’s happened in plenty of books, movies, stories, etc. My long-time boyfriend is six and a half years older than me. I’m not one to judge, especially if this older man is a local celebrity, coaches a sport this girl has loved all her life, and is described as a sexy older man. I can totally roll with that. However, it gets a little weird when said older man happens to be her best friend’s father who just lost his wife of many years, and this older man basically helped raise this young woman because her father ran off and started another family. I liked the other elements of the story (moving on from jobs and relationships that you’re stuck in, dealing with difficult relationship, and NCAA scandals are always interesting to football fans), but I found the relationship between Shea and Coach Carr…icky, for lack of a better word. This man is pretty much described as a father figure to her during the entire book, and then all of a sudden they’re in love? It was too much for me.

All in all, if you’re an Emily Giffin fan, I’d read it. It’s not bad, it’s just a little strange and by no means does it live up to her other books. If you’ve never read an Emily Giffin book and are thinking of checking her out, please do not make this your first choice! I feel like it was highly anticipated and it really fell flat for me. Something Borrowed and Something Blue are both fantastic, and her I also enjoyed her most recent before this one, Where We Belong, and another favorite is Heart of the Matter. Really, this one just falls through the cracks for me and doesn’t compare to her others. I’m glad I read it, but it wasn’t my favorite.

Has anyone else given this a read yet? What do other Emily Giffin fans think? I feel super critical about one of my favorite others, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

Next up: This is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper, soon to be a movie starring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey. Yep, it’s going to be hilarious, so of course I had to check out the book!

Maggie’s book club, part two.

So even though I’ve made sure to get my reading time in as a post-college grad (you know…reading things besides textbooks and a class syllabus), reviewing them on this blog hasn’t been my strongest asset. But because of that, I have not one, but TWO books to review today. Yippee!

Lately, I’ve found books to read on Pinterest, Amazon wish lists or simply wandering Barnes & Noble until I find something that looks interesting. The first book I’m going to talk about, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, is 1 – nothing like it sounds, and 2 – a book I saw on a reading list on Pinterest. I added it to an online wish list and got it for Christmas from my parents. When my mom saw the title, she was utterly confused. But again, it’s not what it sounds like. Remember, I’m in PR, I’m into writing and reading and grammar and that kind of stuff, so physics (or any realm of science for that matter) – not my thing in the slightest. Moving on…

Image from pagepulp.com

I read this so long ago, I actually am not sure why the title has to do with calamity physics. Oops. Regardless, I LOVED this book. It was long and it was written in a strange way, but it was mysterious and dark and creepy and I couldn’t put it down. It’s about a girl named Blue van Meer who moves to a new town and somehow gets in with this group of friends who are (again) very mysterious. They hang out with one of their teachers, Hannah Schneider, and have a sort of club amongst them. Blue doesn’t really get the obsession with Hannah, and even senses something off about her (as does the reader), and I will say the ending is not at all what I expected, but it was still very good. This is a book that starts out, “The day Hannah Schneider died…” or something to that effect. Then you get to know Hannah and this mysterious group of high school students and finally it all unfolds before you.

As for the writing style, Blue’s dad is a professor who reads a ton and has passed that onto Blue. Throughout the entire novel, she’s quoting literature that she’s read. In the reviews on Amazon, there were some who didn’t like that, but I found it fascinating. I am a total bookworm, and certain quotes from books can stick with me for years. Blue applied these quotes to what was happening to her, and I loved it. All in all, it’s a long and somewhat tough read, but I was enveloped in the story, characters, all of it.

Next up is one that probably everyone and their dog had read…besides me, of course. However, the movie is coming out this week and I hate watching movies first if I want to read the book because it ruins the ending and makes the book so much less enjoyable. Drum roll please…

Photo from wikipedia.org

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but if you haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars yet – read it. It’s fabulous. I’m in my early 20s now, and I still skim the young adult/teen section at bookstores. The way I see it, we use these books and stories to teach young adults about the important things in life – the wins, the losses and everything in between. Just because I’m 23 now instead of 18 doesn’t mean I’ve already learned all that. I still love reading real, emotional stories, even if they are about children, like this one. As if you didn’t already know, this book is about a young girl, Hazel, who has cancer. She meets a boy named Augustus Waters in her support group and they fall in love. Although the main characters are so young, they’ve been forced to mature in a way that not everyone else does. They know they have limited time left together, and they take full advantage of it. This is a tragic but beautiful story that I’d recommend for readers of all ages. However, I don’t recommend reading it in your office on your lunch break like I did… you’ll be holding back tears all day.

I also love the quote that keeps being used in one of the movie trailers – “I fell in love with him like you fall asleep…slowly, and then all at once.” I think that is a perfect description of falling in love, and it just gets to me.

I just started Emily Giffin‘s new book (author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue and other wonderful fiction novels), The One and Only, so that will be my next review if I ever get around to it. So far, from what I’ve heard and the little bit I’ve read, it seems to be Friday Night Lights-esque. It takes place in a football town in Texas and that’s about all I know so far. I’ll keep you posted!

 

#WeAreThunder

Yikes. I’m slacking. If I say that every time, does that mean I’m just a slacker? Because I promise I’m not in real life…

Anyhoo, I have read a couple books recently that I’ll post about (loved them both…I know the suspense is killing you), but this post is dedicated to my wonderful Oklahoma City Thunder (yes, the team is mine).

Photo from nydailynews.com

That picture is not only a great photo, but also a pretty good representation of what Thunder fans were going through…oh, these entire first two series of NBA playoffs. I know I lost some confidence when our first round with the Memphis Grizzlies went seven games, but I thought we were sure to come in and kick some Clipper butt. I was wrong… Chris Paul broke his personal record for three-pointers and they beat us by 17 points. All in all, the series was a bit crazy. In Games 4 and 5, each team lost huge leads in the last few minutes of the game. I was at Game 5 in Oklahoma City when we miraculously came out with a win after being down 13 with four minutes to go, and down 7 with 49 seconds to go (and playing like crap the whole time, mind you).

At the end of the game, Russell Westbrook was fouled on a three-point shot. Those free throws put us ahead and won us the game. The picture above shows Kevin Durant with his back to Westbrook…he couldn’t bear to watch. I was also at the game in 2012 when we won the Western Conference title against the San Antonio Spurs, and that was the loudest I’d ever heard the arena…I have to say Tuesday evening was a close second. When Westbrook made those free throws, the crowd erupted. When Serge Ibaka held onto that ball from Chris Paul, the crowd EXPLODED. The entire crowd (those who hadn’t left anyway) remained for a good five minutes cheering and jumping and screaming and crying tears of joy on the inside.

I saw this story on Twitter yesterday and it talks about how Durant wasn’t the only one who missed those free throws… people in the stands and people at home had given up.

And to be honest, I don’t blame them. At that 49-second mark, I texted my boyfriend and said, “Well I think we’re done.” I am a Thunder believer, and we never leave games early. My dad wouldn’t stand for it. But we were playing terribly prior to this last minute, the Clippers were on fire and we were in a three-possession game. But that feeling with 49 seconds to go only made the feeling when the clock hit zero even better.

Introducing: my own personal book club.

I’ve decided I’m going to introduce a new segment to this blog: my love of reading. I’ve loved reading ever since I was a little girl. I want to say that my parents have said I was reading before I even started kindergarten, but I might be a little overzealous on that one. Regardless, one of the best things for me about being done with school is that I can now read for pleasure. Anyone who loves to read can vouch that during school, it’s nearly impossible to find time to read something for your own enjoyment rather than a textbook or study guide.

I’m going to start reviewing books as I read them, so I’ll start with my most recent read: The Dinner, by Herman Koch.

Image from npr.org

I want to say I saw this book in a magazine, maybe Cosmo, and the mysterious synopsis sparked my interest. In short, it’s about two couples, two brothers and their wives to be exact, who meet for dinner (shocking, I know) to discuss something horrible their children have done that has warranted a police investigation and could change their lives forever. I’m a sucker for vague mysteries like this (self-proclaimed SVU addict here), so when I saw it at my local Target, I had to buy.

This is a hard one to review without ruining the ending and what the kids did, but overall, I’d probably give it 3.5/5 stars (my own scale there). It was a good read, but I wasn’t blown away. It was a bit slow at times and there were parts that seemed irrelevant to me. There was lots of buildup to finding out what the children had done, and for me, the outcome lacked the excitement I was hoping for. It’s a very interesting read as far as dysfunctional family relationships go, both between the adult brothers and their children as cousins, as well as in the couples’ respective marriages. It was an easy read and worth my time, so if you have all the time in the world to read whatever you want (as a new graduate should!), I’d say go for it.

Next on my list, which I just started yesterday, is Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl. Funny story regarding the title: I put this on my Amazon wish list for Christmas, and my mom told me when she came across it, she was completely confused. I’m not a science gal, and she thought I was asking for a book about actual calamity physics. While I did take AP Physics in high school (toot toot), I haven’t the slightest idea what calamity physics are or if that is even an actual scientific term. So disclaimer: the book isn’t what it sounds like…at least I hope it’s not!

If you have any book recommendations, please comment and let me know some of your favorites! I really love anything…from Harry Potter to Pretty Little Liars (judge me) to mysteries to classics like To Kill a Mockingbird (perhaps my favorite of all time), so don’t hesitate to suggest anything!

The opinion heard ’round the world.

Photo from college-football.si.com

Phew. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose Facebook and Twitter feeds have been FULL of crap about Duck Dynasty and Phil Robertson this week. I wanted to scream. In case you’ve been living under a rock and/or away from social media, Phil Robertson said in a GQ article that homosexuality was a sin and in a way compared it to bestiality. A&E then suspended him from the show and the family was upset, blah blah blah.

I’ve never even seen a full episode of the show, but I know the family is very religious and conservative, so is anyone surprised the 70-year-old redneck grandfather was against gay marriage? Is this really the opinion that needs to be taken seriously on the subject? In no way do I agree with his comments, but WHO CARES what he has to say in the realm of gay rights? Not me.

I live in Oklahoma, right smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt, so I’m curious as to what Facebook news feeds looked like throughout the country, but mine was full of people who were outraged because A&E suspended Robertson because he was simply exercising his right to free speech. Sigh. No one was arresting him, mistreating him or throwing him in prison because of his comments. He had a right to make the comments; A&E had a right to suspend him because they didn’t agree. The end. No constitutional rights were infringed.

News broke recently that – SHOCKER – A&E has decided to resume the show with the entire family. The same people who were furious about Robertson’s right to free speech being violated are now screaming “I told you so” on Facebook. I have a communications degree so I know I have a different view of this but…people should realize that A&E probably had this planned all along (to a certain degree). The network had to please both sides in some way or another, and I think it was as successful as it could’ve been. By publicly disagreeing with Robertson’s comments and suspending him from the show, the more liberal, pro-equality folks were pleased. Then Robertson is brought back onto the show, so all those in support of his comments rejoiced that his right to free speech was regained and the beloved reality show is back in action. A&E looks socially responsible but doesn’t lose tons of money from canceling one of its most successful shows. Boom. Win win.

What are your thoughts on the situation? Are you a fan of the show? Do you think A&E made the right decision…both times?

Only a few hours remain.

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How am I supposed to get any work done today knowing these Justin Timberlake tickets are just burning a hole in my purse? In honor of the once-in-a-lifetime experience I’m about to have tonight, I made a little Throwback Thursday collage of the beautiful Mr. Timberlake, when we were first introduced to him in his N’Sync days.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 11.35.57 AM

Hopefully, he’ll rock some of those awesome purple shades or a Canadian tuxedo tonight. Hey, if Britney shows up, I’ll definitely shed some tears of joy and remembrance of the old days when Justin and Britney ruled the pop world (they still rule my pop world).

Well, that’s about it for this post. I just wanted to evoke some jealousy by letting everyone know I’ll be seeing JT tonight, as well as some laughter and nostalgia on the great pictures of Justin’s cornrows and denim cowboy hat. If I don’t die of happiness, I’ll let you know how it goes!

What everyone seems to be talking about.

That’s right, I’m jumping on the bandwagon and posting about Miley Cyrus–talking about who seems desperate to be talked about lately. To be honest, I’ve been on that bandwagon for a while. I like Miley Cyrus, and I like her music. It just seems like a sell-out move to make an entire blog post dedicated to her (because I know I have so many loyal readers and this will eventually find its way to Miley, right?).

Moving on. Like I said, I really do like Miley Cyrus. I bought Bangerz the week it was released and bought tickets to her tour just the other day. So although I might be on the bandwagon of talking about Miley, I’m surely not on the bandwagon of hating on her.

It’s funny to look back on when she was criticized for this album cover:

Check out those abs though.

Yes, I own that album. Yes, I love it. Yes, I use it as workout music often. But it’s hilarious to think that everyone thought Miley was so scandalous during her “Can’t Be Tamed” days, when now she seems very tamed back then compared to her “We Can’t Stop” days.

I won’t say I agree with the outrageous things Miley has been criticized for lately. I’m no advocate of drugs; I’ve never touched them and don’t ever plan to. Having said that, I highly respect Miley’s decisions to do whatever the hell she wants and not apologize for it. I read an article on Cosmo.com recently that said Miley’s not apologizing because she’s already apologized way too much. At first glance, I thought, what?, as did many other readers who commented on the story. But after I read the story, I remembered all the scandals Miley has had in the past, even during her Hannah Montana days. From “racy” (fully-clothed) pictures to smoking salvia (whatever that is), Miley has been criticized for a lot during her childhood fame. I can guarantee you she’s not the only pop star or 20-something experimenting with drugs, she’s just one of the few who has been flaunting it so incessantly lately. Now that she’s grown up, I think she’s had it with apologizing for things she’s not sorry for. And shouldn’t we support that? Do we really want another half-assed celebrity apology so obviously written by a publicist? To be honest, nobody would buy it anyway, so what’s point?

Watching her in interviews, Miley is honestly pretty well-spoken and comes off as an intelligent young woman. After watching her documentary on MTV, I realized she actually knows exactly what she’s doing. Her end goal is to get people talking about her and in the end, buy her record. And it’s worked. After the infamous VMA performance, “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” were the top two songs on iTunes. Despite all the criticism, I’d call that success. She knows she looked ridiculous during that performance, but she also knew it’d get people talking, which it did (for weeks and weeks on end). In the end, I think she’s a smart girl and I think that’s something to respect. Whether you agree with her decisions or not, we should agree that being 100 percent who you are and doing what you want to do instead of what your boss wants to do is something that should be seen far more often than it is, in the entertainment industry or otherwise. As a young woman around Miley’s age, I wouldn’t dream of doing the things she’s been doing lately, but more power to her for doing what she wants and not backing down.

What are your thoughts on America’s biggest pop star right now? Love her or hate her? Have you listened to her new music? Let me know your thoughts!

I had to wrap it up with a gorgeous picture, of course.

I’m a little late, but…

Wow.

Every Sunday night, my Facebook and Twitter feeds were FULL of people being excited for Breaking Bad, happy about Breaking Bad, distraught about Breaking Bad… you get the picture. So I decided that with access to my friend’s Netflix, I might as well dive in. The plot of the show isn’t one that I would normally be interested in, but I have been drawn into the addiction. I think it comes from a lot of angles. Mainly the meth-cooking angle, yes, but for the reasons behind it for Walt as well.

The best part is, the series finale was Sunday, so I actually have hope on catching up! When I start shows on Netflix, I often feel like it’s a never-ending race to catch up to live TV. But now, I can take my sweet time.

Oh, and let’s not forget that Walter White used to be Malcolm’s dad on Malcolm in the Middle. Frankie Muniz’s dad. And now he’s in one of the hottest shows to come around in years. So there’s that.

You’re welcome.

Too “chunky” to be a cheerleader?

You probably didn’t read that title thinking it was a headline for CBS Houston Radio today. Oh, but it was. For those living under a rock (or in a city without an NBA team), NBA playoffs are going on right now and I’m proud to say my home team, the Thunder, kicked some Rockets ass on Sunday night. Rather than attack players, coaches or the team’s playing style as any respectable sports writer would do, someone at CBS Houston raised the question we were all dying to know the answer to: Is this girl too chunky to be an NBA cheerleader?

cbs-houston-okc-dancer

Photo courtesy of bustedcoverage.com.

I tweeted a link to the story when I saw it this morning:

It has since been taken down from CBS’ website (as it should have been). All I can find now is a summary on Busted Coverage. Apparently, the story was originally published without a byline, but when I saw the story, there was a byline for someone named Claire, who I would assume is a woman. The fact that this story got by editors and published at all is ridiculous, but the fact that a woman would write this story blows my mind. Besides the fact that this girl is in no way “chunky,” the subject matter is just completely inappropriate. I hate when girls are mean to each other (despite the fact that I LOVE “Mean Girls”…who doesn’t?) and I hate when girls say they just “don’t get along with other girls.” I’m going to steal a line from my girl Chelsea Handler and say if you’re one of those girls, you’re probably a bitch (believe it or not, I cleaned up the language a bit!). We girls have enough bad things said about us on a daily basis, so how about we stick together and stand up for each other? People wonder why girls have such low self-esteem at such a young age. When you’re questioning if a 130-pound (just a guess, in no way is that accurate) athletic girl is overweight, where do you think it comes from?

The fact that this isn’t news either is a whole different story. But what do you guys think? Is this style of journalism and reporting something that needs to change? What do we need to do to give young girls better self-esteem today?

P.S.

I’m gonna be a fan for a second now. Houston, if you had to attack our cheerleaders to attack us as a city or team, obviously you can’t face the fact that we played a hell of a lot better than you Sunday night! Hope to kick your butts again tonight. 🙂 THUNDER UP!

Real World Portland: Hot and Bothered

Oops, I’m a little late on this week’s Real World recap! I had a busy weekend with work and weddings (post about those things coming soon!), so my memory might be a little rusty on this week’s episode, but we’ll get through it. 😉

The episode opened with the roommates out and Jordan being…well, Jordan. Drunk, obnoxious, annoying and getting on everyone’s nerves. I still don’t hate him as much as the roommates seem to (haha), but this week was a prime example of him being obnoxious and annoying (which I’ve heard from high school classmates is just part of his personality). The roommates seem to be on their last nerve with him already, especially the girls. I’m sure the conflicts will just get bigger and more dramatic as the season continues.

Next, the roommates starting job hunting. It seems like every season is different when it comes to employing the cast, and this season, they were given three interviews and it seemed like they got to choose wherever they wanted to work. The choices were what looked to be a bar with a very stranger owner, a frozen yogurt stand and a pizza place. Needless to say, the first option was chosen by…no one. Wah wahhhh (I hope someone understood that sound effect). Anastasia and Jessica ended up choosing the frozen yogurt stand, while Avery, Johnny, Jordan and Marlon chose different areas of the pizza place, which looked like a fun place to work. But wait…that’s only six employed roommates, right? Which brings me to…

Joi. Oh, Joi. How I don’t understand you. For those who might have missed it, Joi was not interested in any of these jobs because she didn’t go to four years of college to work at a frozen yogurt stand. She was making much more than minimum wage at her job(s?) back home and felt like these jobs were beneath her. Sigh. Throughout this part of the episode, all I could think was, really? You were chosen out of how many people to experience this awesome opportunity, and you want to leave because you don’t want to work a minimum wage job? I understand not wanting to graduate from college and go work at a frozen yogurt stand, but what did she expect from MTV and the show? An accounting position? An 8 to 5 job? Would you really want that while being on the Real World? I was completely confused by her reaction to the job interviews, and I’d heard rumors she was the roommate to leave, and all I could think was, is she really leaving because of this? I found her decision to be snobby and just…strange. I’d gladly work a minimum wage job for a few months to spend time with new people in a new city and gain new experiences.

The roommates start their jobs and they all seem to like everything so far. Johnny and Avery decide to have sex in the bathroom on their first day, so that was interesting. How they thought for a second they wouldn’t get caught in a tiny pizza parlor with two bathrooms in plain sight when everyone knew they were sleeping together, I don’t know. haha But in the end, their boss was surprisingly cool about it. And Jordan was not surprisingly annoying about it. While I’m fairly private when it comes to my sex life, therefore this shocked me haha, I still like Avery a lot and I like her with Johnny. I hope the relationship blooms throughout the season!

Nia

Next week, “Hurricane” Nia joins the house. This girl looks like a big pile of drama that was only brought on for ratings. I’m shocked she didn’t make the first cut and is being brought in as a replacement (which could have been scripted/planned, who knows). I don’t think any viewers have a good first impression of her, and I don’t see myself liking her very much. But who knows? I’ve been surprised in the past!

What did you think of this week’s episode? Did Joi make the right decision in leaving? What did you think of Johnny and Avery’s sexcapade in the work bathroom? What are your first impressions of Nia?