Lady Love: 2 Reasons Peggy Olson is the Cat’s Pajamas

Well hello there. We’re off to the races with another Lady Love post because we all need a little motivation during the summer months. Especially when some mornings, the alarm is your arch nemesis. Especially if you walked out of the house wearing two different shoes.

Adulting is tough, y’all.

So for those who have been snoozing beneath a rock or another heavy object, Peggy Olson is one of the main characters (the main character? Ah, now there’s an argument) on AMC’s uber popular show, Mad Men. The show’s about a glamorous advertising agency filled with exciting clients and unstoppable people brimming with business acumen…oh yeah and alcoholism, depression, addiction, infidelity, and egregious, never-ending sexism toward women each time they try and, you know, use their brains. Peggy Olson goes from a meek lil’ secretary to a BAMF copy editor with her own money, her own office, and her own set of lucrative clients…in the 1960s…when women were basically seen as shiny, skirted baby making housemaids without the capability of having ideas.

Wherever Peggy goes, the tunes of Destiny’s Child plays faintly in the background.

So because inspiration is good and showing some lady love is better, here are 2 reasons why copying my girl Pegs is a good idea.

She has Confidence

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Peggy knows what she’s worth. She understands her value and her talent and she doesn’t shy away or demur from her successes. This wasn’t really the case in the beginning of the show, but soon after taking a job as a secretary it becomes evident that Peggy has a good case of the believesinherself.

Even though we live in a time where women are kicking butt and taking names, I think it’s so easy to fall silent when someone asks “Who wrote this?” or “Who made this happen?” It’s so easy to strive for being liked.  Make no mistake, this happens with men, too, but it happens way more with ze lay-deez. As a lay-dee, I would know. Though being a total toolbag is not something for which I advocate, I think being likable will only get you so far.

Gasp.

This is such a difficult concept for a born again, recovering people pleaser, but the older I get the more I realize this.  Being liked is nice, it’s comfortable, and sometimes, it’s necessary. Heck, everyone wants to be liked! From childhood we are taught to make friends and play nice, but the kind of like-driven striving I’m vying against is the kind that comes at a price.  Because y’all, there’s a big difference between being liked and being respected. I think we owe it to the world to be kind and selfless; however, when we sell our souls and our futures at the altar of people pleasing (maybe a little dramatic?), the next thing you know you’ve forgotten who you are and what you’re worth in the process.  For example, you may be a super capable employee, but out of fear of standing out or showing off, you hide, you put your head down, you keep your mouth shut.

This is no bueno.

Peggy is a fabulous illustration of this because there are many times over the course of the show when her coworkers, friends, and family don’t really like her. Her family thinks she’s too wild, her coworkers think she’s too ambitious, her friends think she’s too busy, but when copy needs to be written you can bet they call Peggy. Peggy understands her worth; by season 7 she walks into her office with purpose and swagger. It’s her confidence that allows her to be seen, and then, respected…and then RICH. (muahahaha)

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She’s Willing to Change

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The Peggy from episode 1 of Mad Men is most definitely not the confident, talented Peggy at the end of the show.  Yes, the culture around Peggy shifts and moves, but Peggy changes, too. Her wide eyes grow harder, more astute, and through her experiences with Don Draper, Joan, Pete Campbell (what a twisted, perfect friendship) Sterling Cooper (then Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, then SCDP Cutler Gleason & Chaough, then SCDP and Partners…whew) she grows. Over the course of the show it’s evident that Peggy is a good person and that stays true, but she definitely transforms; there’s a very obvious arc to her character.

Peggy is open to change. She’s willing to see when she’s wrong, when she isn’t giving herself enough credit, when she trusts too much (or not enough) and she learns from it and adapts. Let’s not forget Peggy was the one who both (briefly!) doted on Don as his secretary and later became his rock, saving him with tough love and empathy on numerous occasions.  If she wasn’t willing to change, to see both Don and herself through a new lens, their relationship wouldn’t be what it was at the end of the show.

The show itself is obsessed with change. Changing identities, changing marriages, changing jobs, changing fashion (I die for the 70s fashion), and I think Peggy’s strength comes from that change. NPR agrees with me on this!

The show’s main fascination, of course, is change: whether it’s possible, what it does to people, and who pays the price for it. Holmes, NPR

In Mad Men, if you don’t change, you get left behind. We see this with Betty (poor, poor Betty) and Rodger, at times. Seeing Peggy successfully navigate life’s many shifts and shift with them is liberating. She chameleons her way to the top,and it’s awesome.  I mean the cigarette smoking, dirty painting wheeling, late for work Peggy that saunters into her new job is not the same little mouse that squeaked into Don’s office in episode one.

It’s kind of nice knowing I’m not expected to be exactly the same person for the rest of my life, because, you know, the shoe incident of 2015 was pretty embarrassing.

Photo Cred

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Why I Read YA (and you should too)

A girl walks into a bookstore and asks the clerk where she can find the newest YAL (Young Adult Literature).

Guy at the counter eyes her slowly up, then down.

Girl becomes instantly aware that she hasn’t showered for 2 days.

Guy at the book store sighs, rolls his eyes, then nods his head vaguely in an almost direction and pointedly picks up his Kafka book. Guy wordlessly continues reading.

Girl feels a blush crawling up her face then suddenly the blush changes into something else.  It becomes irritation. Then tight-lipped rage.

I was an English major, you know. Girl spits.  And Kafka’s so. freaking. dour.  

Girl leaves the bookstore and adds it to yet another place she’s going to have to avoid for the next few years.

This story about my friend perfectly illustrates the underlying disdain many avid readers (or even nonreaders) have toward YAL. In many cases, it’s a gut reaction, an instinct.  A similar reaction happens when people say they’re reading “Chic Lit,” which I have an entirely different issue with because the last time I checked there was no “Bro Lit” or “Dude Lit”–it’s just assumed to be literature.

Don’t go down that rabbit hole today, Alice.

The title Young Adult Literature is a misnomer. Yes, the books are about Young Adult experiences, but calling the works YAL assumes that only YAs are privy to reading them. This is simply not the case.

As a (kind of) grown up, I read YA because it’s a powerful reminder. It reminds me of things my job, my money, my experiences, my “adult” anxieties have eroded. I’m reminded of core truths about humanity and diversity, and, in standard YA fashion, I’m reminded of the intense passion (sometimes known as angst) I’m capable of experiencing. Yes, as a teen that passion was directed at things like pimples or Jr. High dances or Buckle jeans, but it’s funny how quickly we forget just how capable we are of feeling things. All the things.

I love it when The Washington Post agrees with me:

To simply give up on […] young adult literature as hopeless categories of fiction, fit only for the weak-minded or young and incapable of improvement, is to embrace a kind of  snobbery and rigidity about what is worthy and what is not. (Rosenberg)

Preach.

Believe me, I get it.  Many see books like Twilight or Divergent or The Hunger Games as wholly representative of the genre. Even though some of these books aren’t necessarily bad (yes, I’ve read them all), I think we shortchange the diversity present in YAL by believing YA authors are only capable of dystopian vampire romances.

If you enjoy the three books mentioned above, GREAT! I can recommend lots of otherworldly YA books that will knock your socks off. If you loathe them and find them shallow, No Problemo, there are YA books so deep and introspective, even the literati of the group won’t be able to resist them. That’s the beauty of YA, you can wade in the kiddy pool or dive head first into the deep end.

If you really give YAL a chance, you’ll find yourself immersed in a totally new, insanely unique library of books just waiting to be dusted off and devoured.

And that’s what we’re all looking for anyway, right? I good book that speaks to us.

Also, J.K. Rowling. *drops the mic and walks away*

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie is just the best. He makes you feel equal parts and elated and uncomfortable which is kind of a rush.  This book is no different. Absolutely True Diary is about Arnold Spirit Jr. (aka Junior), a Spokane Indian who lives on a reservation with his family and friends. When he is given an opportunity to go off the reservation and begin attending classes at a rich, all white school (where “the only other Indian is the mascot”), he must make a huge decision–stay on the broken reservation or leave and endure being called a traitor by basically everyone he knows.

Alexie unappolegetically tackles Native American stereotypes through shoving them in your face, allowing them to come to fruition, then forcing you to see past the problems and into their origin. The book is poignant, heartbreaking, hilarious, raw, and (as expected from the mind of a 14-year old boy) kind of filthy.  It’s no wonder it’s #1 of the top 10 books challenged according to the ALA. It’s been banned and burned and blasted by conservative moms and dads, so if you love drama and pictures (yep, its filled with Junior’s drawings…his funny, awful drawings) then try it the heck out already.

Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson

I’ve recommended this book to a few friends and when they return the book to me and I ask if they liked it, invariably, their eyes become wide as they slowly shake their heads.

This isn’t a good book. It’s not a fun read. It’s incredibly difficult. Ironically, after reading Speak, it’s tough to articulate how it’s changed you, but it always creates an impact. The book is told from the perspective of Melinda, an outcast in her high school, disliked by her classmates for calling the cops on an end of the year party the previous summer.  Slowly, subtly she isolates herself from everyone and basically becomes a mute. The book lulls you as a reader, and you long to know why Melinda, who is obviously depressed, refuses to speak up or speak at all.  Her art class is the one reprieve from her depression, which you find out, originates from an upperclassman raping her. It’s a heartbreaking, honest work that shines a light on a dark reality that many people face and underscores a truth everyone needs to understand–things aren’t always what they seem.

Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell

Gotta include a book with a ginger, people. It’s like in the handbook of earthtoginger blogging. Also, gotta write an earthtoginger handbook…

If you haven’t heard of Rainbow Rowell, then you’re welcome, because homegirl is amazing. She does a fabulous job of yanking on your heartstrings and tugging you back into the nostalgic, horrible, wonderful time in all of our lives–the time of young love (le sigh). In Eleanor & Park, Eleanor is a big-boned redhead who comes from a poor, broken home. She rides the bus and tries to avoid people since her clothes are kind of crazy, and her hair is straight up nuts. Park is a shy, half-Korean boy who loves music and comic books. The two meet and bond over rad 80s tunes (yes, this book is set in the hairspray-and-leggings-loving 80s, and yes, it’s wonderful) and share walkman listening sessions on their bus rides to school

Children, a walkman is a device from long ago. It played music from a thing called a tape which had tiny ribbons that you absolutely could not pull from their coil lest your older cousin discovered your sin and chased you down as you ran from him in terror.

The two find out that, despite their love for each other, sometimes a screwed up family, insecurities, and life get in the way and muck things up.  As Goodreads puts it, E and P are “smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.”

Oomph. My heart.

What are your favorite YA books? Why?

If you hate YAL, por qué

Image Sources:

Image 1: Alexie

Image 2: Anderson

Image 3: Rowell

If This, Then That or Your Ultimate Guide for What Show to Watch (Netflix Edition)

Well hi there, I hope you enjoyed your Memorial Day Weekend, and (for the non-vegetarians out there) ate your weight in meat.

Hamburgers for dazzze.

One thing about me that you may have ascertained from reading the blog thus far is I harbor a deep, longing love for the telly. Television, though slowly killing my brain, has been a great companion to me over the years. I find myself becoming really (unhealithly) tied to TV characters so much so that I remember ugly crying in middle school when I watched the last episode of the Wonder Years.

“B-b-b-ut I need more!!!” I recall wailing.

Yeah, totally normal reaction.

Since I’m an enabler and misery loves company, I’m going to recommend shows like other shows you’ve most likely binged on via Netflix. That way, the heartache once the final episode is watched can be soothed, not by a box of Hot N’ Spicy Cheez-Its, but by more TV.

If you’ve already watched the recommended show, then these options can be switched. I’m a genius like that.

If you like Scandal

Handled.

Handled.

If you’re like the thousands of people who bring a notepad and pen to the couch and furiously write down Olivia Pope’s incredible outfits only to realize that they and she are out of your league—oh is that just me?—then you know Ms. Pope’s insane “handling” of all the things is tough to resist. Scandal’s fast paced D.C. politics, the cliff hanger after cliff hanger after laptop screaming cliff hanger, and, yes, the lip-quivering relationship between Fitz and Olivia all combine to form one of the most addictive show on Netflix. Olivia Pope is a boss lady with a capital B.  I absolutely love how she manages to get more done in an hour than I do in a productive month. I compare my relationship with Scandal to my relationship with Uggs. For a while I snootily thought they were nice, just not for me, but then after sliding my feet into the oh so soft, luxurious sheep skin booties, the next thing I knew I was walking out of a gas station with Cheeto puffs and Uggs ala Britney, and refusing to take them off even though, you know, I had a job.

Stretched that analogy pretty thin.

Point being, Scandal is a great show, and if you want more delicious Scandal-esq drama…

Watch House of Cards

In my humble opinion, House of Cards is the best show out there right now. Watching Frank Underwood’s twisted, grueling rise to power despite his adversaries, despite things like the law or common decency, is surprisingly gratifying and a little terrifying. The similarities between Scandal and HOC’s cut-throat setting of Washington D.C. are undeniable. People are slimy, politics are shifty, and everyone gets. theirs. yafeel?

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Ruthless pragmatism.

Although some believe HOC goes a bit down after the first season, I see it more as the first season is so insanely good and different from any other show out there, that it’s nearly impossible to trump. Watching the creators of HOC try to top the drama cornucopia that is season one, is pretty fun, though.

Also, I would love to see Claire Underwood (Frank’s fashionably icy wife) and Olivia Pope have a stand off of wills because both of those women are so cunning, so powerful, so intelligent, and so very fabulous that I feel like I’d turn to stone just watching the two of them in the same room. Similar to Scandal, the plot of HOC takes you down a winding labyrinth.  HOC is definitely darker, most likely because it doesn’t have the lively motown score that Scandal playfully employs. If you in any way feel intrigued by the human condition and how far people are willing to go to get what they want, then tune into HOC and thank me later.

If you like New Girl...

anigif_enhanced-buzz-23971-1375453571-5Who’s that girl? It’s your best friend who you’re obsessed with, Jess. New Girl is a show that I can come back to again and again. I find myself laughing at the roommates’ nutty lives with the same satisfaction I did the first time I watched it.  What makes New Girl great, is the characters.  Zoe Deschanel’s portrayal of Jess is so easy breezy, you feel like it’s gotta be life imitating art imitating life. Seeing Jess interact with people so very different from herself is sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes shocking, but always hilarious.

The show is about roommates trying (and usually failing) to survive as adults, a concept that I can totally get behind. Jess is the smart, wacky voice of reason when it seems the rest of her roommates will crumble without her telling them not to plunger the sink or to stop being so grumpy about every.stinking.thing (Nick). It’s the characters that hold the, sometimes overzealous plot, together.  Winston is the scapegoat friend who isn’t funny and then suddenly is the most hilarious character on the show. Schmidt is the curly haired nerotic after my own heart who loves pop culture, ze lay-deez, and himself, above all.  Nick is a hopeless doof that you can’t help but root for even as he bumbles through life and love without money, health insurance, or common sense. If there’s a warm space in your heart for New Girl then…

Watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Y’all I finished Kimmy Schmidt in a day. It was a Saturday. I think. Anyway, the show is tough to stop watching for a similar reason to New Girl–the characters.

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My main man, Titus.

Yes, the plot is pretty genius–Kimmy lived a good chunk of her life in an Indiana bunker after a charismatic preacher tells her and three other women that the world has ended. The series opens after Kimmy leaves the bunker and tries to make her way in the most difficult place for an adjusting “mole woman,” New York City. Even though I love the plot, I love the plucky, unflappable, determined characterization of Kimmy Schmidt more. Seeing her adjust to the information age after having been given the wrong information for the last 15 years is heartbreakingly hilarious.

You can’t talk about Kimmy Schmidt without mentioning Titus Andromedon, a striving star in the making who is one part crazy, one part self-centered, and an entire helping of divalicious. Titus is Kimmy’s roommate, and the trouble they find while trying to survive the big city life is addictive.  Music videos get made and self-actualization almost happens. Oh and Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline Voorhies is everything, especially if you liked 30 Rock, especially if you know any self-centered rich middle aged women going through a midlife crisis.

Now get to watching, loves!

What are your favorite Netflix shows on which to binge shamelessly?

Part 2 coming attacha soon…

Phot Cred:

Image 1: http://www.hammerandgem.com/get-look-olivia-pope-scandal/

Image 2: http://www.salon.com/2013/03/12/why_is_francis_underwood_a_democrat/

Image 3: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/the-27-most-relatable-jessica-day-quotes#.rjYDRgAQV

Image 4: http://www.tvinsider.com/article/1139/unbreakable-kimmy-schmidt-titus-burgess/

Lady Love: 3 Life Lessons Leslie Knope Taught Me

What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring loudly at me.– Leslie Knope

Hello flossy readers, this post is going to be one of many dedicated to life lessons learned from some of my favorite TV ladies.

I don’t know about you but growing up some of my best memories happened right in front of the “boob tube” as my mom (awkwardly, painfully) called it. Yes, I was raised in the country and learned to make mud pies with the best of them—don’t ask—but I would be lying if I said while growing up I didn’t get into more than a couple (hundred) arguments with my parents about more “TV Time.”

There was just something so wonderful about coming home from school, making a mixing bowl full of cereal, and lying on the couch to the lullaby of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air or All That, my lips mouthing the theme songs like a drugged drone.

I love the idea of using some of the wonderful women of TV as my spirit animals, guiding me through the throes of life.  So naturally, the first “Lady Love” post is dedicated to the unflappable, irreplaceable Leslie Knope.

Life Lesson 1: Never, ever, ever give up.

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Anyone who watches Parks and Rec, knows what makes Leslie Knope so unique is her unstoppable approach to life. Homegirl doesn’t give up. Ever. Even when people laugh at her, slander her, ignore her, make fun of her, or try to end her career (maybe all in a single day), she just sprays a bit more whipped cream on her waffles and keeps chugging along. How many of us can say we approach life like that? I mean, if my internet connection goes bad for five minutes I almost have a bag sucking panic attack and vow to give up on life forever.

Yes, she gets called a bulldozer and says outlandish things like “I took your idea and made it better” in normal conversation, but her intentions are always pure. She refuses to give up on her career goals no matter how many times she fails. She never gives up on her town of Pawnee even though at one point they created a We Hate Leslie Knope float for a town parade.

She keeps going, doggedly looking for a way to spin her situation positively. Back home we call that grit.

Yes it’s fiction. Yes it’s hilarious. But it’s also totally relevant. There are times in life that require us to get effing tough. I bet you can think of at least one time in the past year where you were forced outside of your comfort zone and into a situation that made you want to hide under your desk or bed or covers (basically any entity that fake hides us). Looking to Leslie Knope really helps me during times that require I buck up and keep going. I see that small, smiling face that refuses to crack and feel myself growing a little taller and a little more sturdy.  If that doesn’t work, I take a different note from her book and pump up the Sarah McLachlan and do some air punches.

Life Lesson 2: Support others…hard.

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Leslie Knope knows her way around a complement. Her best friend, Ann, is often overwhelmed at the intense love Leslie shows her on a daily basis. I think we sometimes get a little (understandably) nervous when people come right out and say they think we’re great or beautiful or possess a lithe, elfin body (yep, Leslie) but it’s so endearing watching Leslie Knope love everyone so hard. I mean the woman invented Galentines day, a day dedicated to showering women with love and respect.

This Life Lesson is one at which I both have succeeded greatly and failed miserably.  I’m pretty open with my affection (thanks mom and dad) and have been known to hug strangers at inappropriate times. But I’m also extremely competitive. Playing basketball my entire life caused be the best, be the best, be the best or the even healthier WIN, WIN, WIN to become my unintentional mantras. Even to this day I’ll find myself on the elliptical at the gym (real intense, ya’ll) and the person next to me will be clipping right along, minding their own business, when, before I know it I’m dedicating my mind, body, and soul to beating them, ending them. Pray tell, how does one win at ellipticalling?!?

It’s a problem.

However, seeing Leslie Knope shower her friends, coworkers, and even enemies with compliments, love, and some pretty insane gifts (handmade scrapbooks anyone?) sets a great example for me. I want to be like that. I want people to know that I really appreciate them and admire their work. I want to open my mouth, and before I can think, a heartfelt compliment just kind of falls out. Even if it makes the other person uncomfortable. Even if it makes me uncomfortable. It’s a work in progress, but I’m willing to take the leap if it means I won’t be banned from (another) gym.

Life Lesson 3: Be yourself. Your weird, weird self.

Sounds cheesy, but y’all, sometimes the simplest sounding lessons are the hardest to execute. It’s straight up hard to avoid diving right in with the status quo splashed across our phones and computers. It’s hard being comfortable with yourself especially if yourself is kind of lame.

…or confused or boring or bad at math or awkward or a lover of needle point or someone who just doesn’t get green smoothies, avocados on toast, and HIIT workouts. Authenticity is Leslie Knope’s bag, and watching her barrel through life with a smile on her face and a little crazy in her eyes is totally refreshing.

She loves Madeleine Albright and waffles and her best friend and whipped cream and Pawnee, Indianna and she doesn’t falter or apologize one iota.  I think we need a little more of that authenticity. I think I need a little more of that authenticity. The times in my life when I’ve shown up, really shown up without an ounce of armor, are the times I look back on with the most pride.

Leslie Knope is so stinking unique and she’s fabulous for it. There isn’t another person like her, and you know what, there isn’t another person like you! So what if you can’t really do long division or home decor, you do you, and the world will be better for it.

What are life lessons your favorite TV peeps have taught you? Are you a crazy Leslie Knope fan like I am? 

Citing Dem Sources:

Image 01:www.glamour.com

Image 02: http://www.balancingjane.com/2015/02/the-plight-of-abd-illustrated-with.html

Image 03: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/05/leslie-knope.html

4 Self-Help Books that Don’t Suck or 4 Self-Help Books You Won’t Be Embarrassed to Rate on Goodreads

The deep readers out there might be ready to disown me for making my first book post about something other than Lit-Rich-AH. Though I love a good, dense book that I can analyze the shiz out of (bye bye credibility), I feel like this post might be one that attracts a wider variety of people (yep talking to you “nonreaders”) because, let’s face it, we all need help.

I’ll be the first to say that I don’t have it all together, folks. I just don’t. I maintain that no one really does. If someone tells you they do, well, they’re lying with a capital L. Things get crazy and people get crazy, and that’s A-OK. Sometimes we find ourselves crying for absolutely no reason or diving head first into a package of Double Stuff Oreos or online shopping for Disney Channel original movies so we can just go back. Sometimes we do this because it’s a Tuesday, and sometimes we do it to numb, numb, numb.

All of these are hypothetical and relate to me in no way, of course.

So for those who could use some good ol’ fashion self improvement but feel the impulse to gag or roll their eyes at the thought of being seen on the subway or plane with a You’ve Got This! 30 Ways to Make Everything in your life THE BEST!!!!! (not a real book…?), this post is for you.

1.) Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Brene Brown

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

So Brene Brown is my spirit animal, my guru, my fairy godmother, my sister from another mister.daringgreatly_final525-resized-600 She beautifully captures what every single person experiences in their lives and tries so very hard to hide–shame.

Shame, the little gremlin inside of us that tells us we aren’t good enough. Shame, the voice that tells us to just hide inside ourselves and pretend that everything is peaches and cream. Shame, the thing that separates us, makes us judge others, and basically screws everything up in a royal fashion.

This book hit me at the perfect time in my life, which basically means a time when I was in what Anne Shirley calls the “depths of despair.” I was lost, I was confused, and most of all, I was wading in a deep murky pool of slimy shame. Yuck. In Daring Greatly, Brown writes that the only way out of shame is diving head first into vulnerability. Crazy, right? She emphases the importance of vulnerability in a culture obsessed with whitewashing perfection onto everyone and everything. As a research professor who has spent a good chunk of her life studying vulnerability, courage, and shame, Brown provides an in depth look at the psychological pressures and outcomes of living with shame and avoiding vulnerability.

As a recovering perfectionist, you can imagine how deeply I needed this book and how often I revisit it. I love how she emphasizes the importance of being vulnerable and open no matter how scared, broken, jaded, or skeptical we are. It’s a book for anyone who needs to hear “you’re fine and worthy exactly where you are.”

So, yeah, basically all of us.

2.) The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, Michael A. Singer

“Billions of things are going on in this world. You can think about it all you want, but life is still going to keep on happenUntetheredSoulMech-#1.indding.”

If this book sounds hippy dippy, it’s because it’s kind of hippy dippy, but in the best way possible. The cover does have a stallion galloping across a sandy beach, presumably “untethered”, but don’t let it fool you. The book is deep. Real deep. So deep that I found myself rubbing my temples whispering “Who am I? Who am I?” again and again.

Singer discusses a thought more enticing than bottomless chips and salsa–the possibility of living free from fear, anxiety, and all those other unnecessary little demons that fill our brains and make us bonkers. He talks about the importance of understanding the “inner you” and how that “you” is divine and capable of transcending anything this life has in store. He talks about meditation and mindfulness (two things I sloppily incorporate into my life) and discusses the importance letting go. Whew, what a thought, right? His book is one I go back to when I start noticing my feelers grip tight around negativity and past mistakes. Every page is filled with wisdom and each time I read it I leave feeling a little lighter, a little more centered, and a little more inclined to don my Urban Outfitters’ flower crown.

3.) The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou, Maya Angelou

“I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”

Yes, okay I get it. I get it. This is a collection of poems which is not technically in the same genre (or more accurately, the same galaxy) as a self-help book. However, the blog is mine all mine so I’m going to include it. Also, Maya Angelou should be injected into life as much as possible, so you’re welcome. For thos9780679428954_p0_v1_s260x420e who hear the word poetry and buckle, or worse, think I just don’t get it, consider this the kiddy pool of poetry. Not because Angelou’s poems aren’t deep and life-changing (they are), but because they are so damn accessible. Her poetry is like cheap therapy. Cheap, good therapy. This collection is nice and thick with her words of wisdom and deals with everything from loneliness to death to joy. If you doubt this applies to you, humor me and read “Still I Rise,” “Phenomenal Woman,” and “Refusal,” and then come talk to me. The Complete Collected Poems is filled with fabulous poems that speak to ingrained human needs and shows how connected, yet still undeniably unique, we all are.

4.) The Happiness Advantage:The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, Shawn Achor

“Focusing on the good isn’t just about overcoming our inner grump to see the glass half full. It’s about opening our minds to the ideas and opportunities that will help us be more productive, effective, and successful at work and in life.”

Shawn Achor’s book is a great touchstone text for those who want to grow in their careers, and in turn, their lives. Yeah, so everyone.  The writer/positive psychologist (yep that’s a thing) is known best for lecturing at a little place called Harvard. He happiness-advantagetook it a step further and became involved in Harvard’s most famous class called Positive Psychology aka the”Happiness Course.”

Even more impressive to me, though, is the fact Achor was a featured guest on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday (and everybody said Amen).

The book disproves the notion that the harder you work, the more successful you’ll become. Or more popularly, once you’ve “arrived” then you’ll (finally) enjoy true happiness. The Happiness Advantage Cher-slapped me in the face and yelled SNAP OUT OF IT!! Achor and years of psychological studies wholeheartedly disagree with the belief that success births happiness. According to Achor “Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.” Not only does the book explore the importance of maintaining a positive outlook, but it also gives tangible examples of ways we can all experience more happiness on a daily basis (hint: gratitude is a BIG DEAL). And you know what’s fab.com? According to Achor, happiness begets success begets happiness begets success. That’s a trend I don’t mind wearing out.

What’s your favorite self-help book? Have you read any of these recommendations? If so what are your thoughts?

greetings earthlings

Every time I start feeling sexy I trip. -Lena Dunham

So, I’m really jazzed you’re here. For those who can’t quite connect the dots, I’m Katy, I’m a twentysomething, I’m a redhead, and I’m a writer. Characters in books are some of my favorite friends (looking at you Elinor Dashwood) and life as a ginger is actually quite interesting. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Story time because that’s how you connect with readers. When my brown eyed, brown haired, tanned goddess of a mother birthed me and held me in her arms for the first time after hours of labor, the first thing she said was, “Oh my gosh she’s ugly!” #gingerprobs

Can you blame my beauty queen mom? I had a great personality.

Can you blame my beauty queen mom? I had a great personality.

She was expecting a mini brown eyed, brown haired, tanned goddess, but instead got a  squalling, pale redheaded little creature.  I guess I don’t really blame her. Luckily my hair has changed into a more auburn shade and my skin, still pale, is now covered in freckles, and that’s…endearing, right? Oh, and I only squall when I run out of coffee or get lost, which actually happens a lot…

So what the eff is this blog about anyway? Well a long, long time ago after the ugly incident but before the internet, back in the olden days with paper and pens and Full House, a little girl named Katy decided she wanted to become a writer. She would doodle on yellow pads and dream up stories about basketball playing fairies and then write until her hands were covered with ink.

Today, I don’t write as much as I type, and I don’t dream up basketball playing fairies as much as rehash my thoughts on books I’ve read, pop culture I’ve obsessed over, places I’ve visited, politics I’ve supported, and shows I’ve devoured, but the little girl is still in there, and the urge to write, to create, is still very much alive.

I’ve recently joined the grown-up, 9 to 5 camp (As a writer! Woo Woo! But still, the office life struggle is real, y’all) so in order to retain an ounce of my classic zaniness I plan to use this as an outlet, a place where books and towns are recommended, US Weekly is analyzed (Who wore it better you ask? Who is Gwen Stefani forever and always, Alex, for 5 million) and dreams are discussed, changed, and then wholeheartedly defended.

Me and my main squeeze, Colby

Me and my main squeeze, Colby

It’s a place where I will speak very seriously and passionately about shows I’m watching and authors I’m loving. A place where gingers are loved and appreciated and called ugly in jest. (HAHA right?!?!) So sit back, grab a cup of strong coffee and enjoy my first post.

Which is oddly, over now (???), so I guess you can just drink your coffee and scroll through your Twitter or something.