Cheers, Witches! My Favorite Booze for Fall

Friday, October 27, 2017

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When I turned 30, I accepted the fact that I only liked shitty beer: PBR, Coors, the occasional Yuengling... I was determined not to spend adulthood feeling ashamed of my lack of beer sophistication.

And then I learned about hops.

I know, I know, where had I been? More specifically, I learned what hops tasted like - & that not all beers were hoppy. Once I was able to make that identification, a whole new world - a world of beer! - opened up to me. Since then, I've come to love kolshes, saisons, & hefeweisens, especially, & I don't mind a lager or a witbier; I also know to stay far away from IPAs, pale ales, & stouts. Now that I know what I like & don't like... well, let's just say I haven't ordered a Miller Lite for awhile.

I love just about everything about autumn, but now I can add another to the list: Fall booze is the best booze. I love the flavors of cinnamon, yam, maple, pumpkin, & other cozy smells-like-a-candle notes that tend to show up in autumn beers.

Yet Another Pumpkin Beer (Sibling Revelry)

I love the name of this one, as though the brewery is well aware that we're all rolling our eyes at pumpkin-flavored items by now. And yet... while I don't usually like pumpkin beer, I love this one. It tastes much lighter than standard pumpkin beers, not as thick or syrupy, although it's finished with local maple syrup from a farm in Mantua, OH. It has the body of a summer beer with the taste of an an autumn one - the best of both worlds!

Bourbon (Watershed Distillery) with local apple cider

I love bourbon but have never been an on-the-rocks kinda gal. In fact, I can't figure out what I like to mix with my bourbon. At a bar, I can always identity a bourbon-based cocktail I'll like, but at home, I don't have the patience to put together a fancy mixed drink. Enter Watershed Distillery, a Columbus-based distributor whose bourbon tastes smooth & silky, with a hint of vanilla & caramel. Mix it with local apple cider from Ohio apple farms, & I've found my new favorite kick-back-&-take-a-breath drink of the season.

Yammy Yammy Sweet Potato Ale (Platform Beer Co.)

Nothing about the descriptor "vegetable beer" sounds tasty, but this sweet potato ale is a light, tasty, & creative twist on the standard pumpkin beers everyone's downing this time of year. It's not too heavy (are you sensing a theme in the kinds of beer I like?), made with roasted sweet potatoes & a spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, & clove. Unfortunately, more than one gives me some serious acid reflux, but the one I drink is always the best beer of the evening. 

Spiced Pumpkin Mead (Western Reserve Meadery)

By now, I've told you about how much I love this local meadery, which recently won a Best of Cleveland award. Last month, I attended the tapping of their autumn mead flavor, spiced pumpkin, (which was being served with a dessert pairing from Sweet Costo, a local baker specializing in booze-based dessert bites. Yummm!) It's the perfect drink to settle in with on a brisk fall night while watching Game of Thrones reruns.

Waffle Sauce Maple Pecan Imperial Brown Ale (Rusty Rail Brewing)

This is the only drink on the list not made here in Ohio, but it's made in the boonies of Pennsylvania, which almost counts, right? I know the term "waffle sauce" makes it sound like it ought to be the sweetest beer ever consumed, but somehow it's not. It is sweet, but not in a sickly, sticky way, which makes it a great dessert beer or only-drink-of-the-night beer if you're looking for something cozy alongside a meal. I've never had it for brunch, but I'd like to. Bloody Mary who?

Have you tried any of these? What's your favorite drink to sip when temperatures drop? 

Disclaimer: The kind folks at Watershed Distillery gifted me a complimentary bottle of bourbon & two whiskey glasses for taste-testing & review. As always, all opinions are my own. 
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What Do You Do When You Can't Do Anything Right?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

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I'm having one of those weeks where I feel like I just can't get anything right.

Do you ever have days - or weeks, or months - like that?

I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that it's a little bit of everything: work, wedding, diet, home. All I want, quite honestly, is to crawl under the covers & mope & feel sorry for myself for a little bit, but I've got so much to do in the next few weeks that that's not feasible. Instead, I've got to slog through it & hopefully rebuild my confidence a little bit in the process so that I don't get stuck in a rut.

Here's how I tend to do it - but I'm open to suggestions & additions, so hit me with your best pick-me-up tips!

1. Power through my to-do list.

The more organized I am, the better I feel, so when I'm feeling down, one of the best things I can do for myself is to feel very in-control of as much as possible. Even if that means working after hours or staying up late to get everything done, well, it feels worth it when I don't feel stressed about how much I have to do - which usually only serves to make me feel worse about myself.

2. Indulge in some self-care.

I know everyone Gen X & older seems to roll their eyes at this phrase (after a particular incident, I no longer mention it at work), but I believe self-care is important - & it's not all spa days & eat-the-donut, either. At its base level, self-care is about taking care of yourself, & so, during times when I'm feeling down, I try to do things that will make me feel better, both about myself & generally, from getting enough sleep to getting all my work done to reading a good book to, yes, the occasional home facial.

3. Be kind to others. 

When I feel like all I ever get is negative feedback, I try to provide positive feedback to others & hope that some of it rubs off on me. Maybe that just means saying thank you to someone who holds the door for me, or shooting off a quick, "You did a great job on this!" email to a coworker, or giving a small compliment to a stranger. The nicer I am to others, the nicer I can be to myself.

4. Vent to someone who gets it.

I really try not to complain to much, & when I do, I spread it out among friends so no one ever hears too much negativity from me. When I'm having a rough day or difficult moment, I think for a little bit about who might understand how I'm feeling & why, or even just the one who can surely pick me up with a funny story of gif. I'm grateful to have friends who will talk me through it or even just let me send a wall of angry text before we move on to happier topics. Word-vomit is incredibly cathertic.

5. Look to the future.

Just today, my Twitter friend Nneka shared some wisdom: "This day did not start off well. But thankfully, as my spiritual advisor always says, at any point you can start your day over." This tweet felt like a freaking revelation: Just because it's been a bad day/week doesn't mean it has to remain a bad day/week. Keeping my focus on moving forward toward the positive - whenever that comes - always helps me to remember that I won't always feel the way I do right this moment.

What do you do when you're feeling down on yourself? Got any tips for me? 
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"Me, Too": A Movement to Bring Sexual Assault to Light

Saturday, October 21, 2017

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It took me a long time to say, "Me, too." 

Wait, let me back up. The "Me, too" movement overwhelmed Facebook feeds this week, spurred by widespread allegations of director Harvey Weinstein's sexual assaults on many of the women with whom he has worked. On Sunday evening, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, "If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me too." as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem."

And yet, as I watched other women's "Me, too" posts go live - as I read, with dread in my stomach and devastation in my heart, of all the terrible thngs that have happened to them - I still didn't post my own.

Why? Because I am not comfortable discussing my own stories of sexual assault, and I don't want to feel pressured into doing so. For all the stories that I, as a writer, tell in real life and on the Internet, there are some that just don't feel right, yet, to speak aloud.

And that's OK. I don't have to; you don't have to. No one has to.

Keep reading on

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7 Tips from a Social Media Strategist (That's Me!) for Strengthening Your Online Presence

Friday, October 20, 2017

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I love when people think that writing is my full-time job, but alas, it isn't. I work a 9-to-5 (OK, more like a 10-to-6) at a nonprofit organization, where I'm responsible for writing & editing, yes, but also for lots & lots of social media management. My background is in journalism, but social media was just gaining traction during my college years, & as a communications major, I fell into it naturally. You could say social media & I have grown up together - or at least grown together. We've both come a long way! 

I've done a little bit of social media consulting on the side, but mostly I just like to engage in on-the-fly conversations with friends & small business owners who have one-off questions or just want quick tips for building their social media presence. I know, I know, don't give away your expertise for free - but I like it.

Here are the seven most common quick tips I like to share with folks who are struggling to get a grasp on their social media presence. Please consider forwarding it to someone you know who's having a hard time Internetting!

1. Make time. 

Especially if it doesn't come naturally to you, set aside a little time each day - on your clock or calendar! - to devote to social media scheduling, engagement, etc.

2. Use scheduling tools. 

No one wants to spend all damn day online, social media professionals included (& perhaps especially!) I love Hootsuite, Sprout Social, & Facebook's native engagement tool for setting it & forgetting it while remaining consistent in posting.

3. Engage with others! 

If a tree falls in the forest & no one is there to hear it... same with social media. Retweet, share, praise, ask questions, etc. Your social media voice shouldn't exist in a vacuum.

4. Vary your content from platform to platform.

Switch it up, rather than cross-posting the same thing over & over on all of them (& for goodness sake, don't set up auto-crossposting!). These platforms are different for a reason, & different presentations work best for each of them. You'll see the most engagement & have the most success if your messaging is tailored for the medium.

5. Post different kinds of content.

Sometimes, post a teaser link, other times a photo or a branded graphic, or a retweet-with-comment, or a direct share, or a video, or a Spotifty playlist, etc. See what works best for your audience & which kinds of posts give you the greatest levels of engagements.

6. Google is your BFF. 

Have a social media question? Someone has definitely already answered it online. Stick with reliable sources, a la Mashable, Hubspot, & other industry professionals.

7. Ask a pro. 

Still not sure you're doing it right or want direct feedback? Hire a professional to help you sort out your social media presence & get on the right track. Lots of folks with full-time marketing/writing gigs do social media consulting on the side (like me, or Brittany from According to Brittany), so you should be able to find someone at a reasonable price, whatever your range.

Have a question for me - or a tip for others? Leave it in the comments, & let's talk social media! 
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Mother/Daughter Vacation: How We Make It Work

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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In the 1980's, the tourism marketing folks on Hilton Head Island, S.C., set its sights on encouraging Ohioans, in particular, to visit the island. They literally referred to it as "the Ohio Strategy," & it worked: Generations of Ohioans now call Hilton Head their summer home, flocking to the island every summer to bike, golf, & enjoy the ocean.

My family is one of them. I was a year old when my grandparents first rented a house on the beach... & decided they wanted to come back every year for forever. The next year, they bought a timeshare in Shipyard Plantation, one of the island's many gated communities, in a neighborhood called Port O'Call, just a few blocks from a private beach on the Atlantic. 

I have such fond memories of my family's time together in Hilton Head. Our rental home - the same one every year, for the most part - feels like a second home to me, even though it's filled with other families the rest of the year. It's comfortable & familiar, with memories at every turn - not just in the house but at the beach, in the restaurants & shops we frequent, & even at the airport.

These days, my mom owns the family timeshare, & each September, she spends a week at the house we've been visiting for 30 years. This year, she invited me & her friend Gloria along for the trip.

There was a time when I couldn't have dreamed of going on a one-on-one vacation with my mom, much less enjoying it, but at this point in, I really cherish the time together. Here are three of my hard-and-fast rules for making a mother/daughter trip work.
  1. Spend time apart. Too much togetherness can drive anyone nuts - especially mothers & daughters. To make sure this doesn't happen to you, schedule some of your own plans (or lack of plans) separate from one another - even if you're just reading books in different rooms of the beach house. A related tip...
  2. Don't force your schedule on one another. Everyone likes to vacation a little differently. My mom likes to wake up early to go on long bike rides; I like to sleep in & do some writing at a coffee shop. Every day of vacation, each of us did exactly those things, then met up at the beach for a few hours in the sun together. When we're not resentful about having to adopt one another's schedules & preferences during our own vacations, we get along a lot better.
  3. Make a few solid plans together. Aside from our afternoon beach time, my mom & Gloria & I also made dinner plans for every night of the trip. On my last night there (they were in town longer than I was), Gloria stayed home with leftovers & a mystery novel while my mom & I had tacos together on an outdoor patio. Having some penciled-in plans kept us from spending too much time apart, & after days of doing our own thing, I think we all really looked forward to our evenings together.
I know not everyone is as close with their parents as I am with mine, but I'd love to hear how your family vacations pan out. Have you ever been on vacation with just your mom (or dad)? How did it go?
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A Year of Wonderful Weddings

Monday, October 16, 2017

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I've been to a lot of weddings during the past few years - & 2017 has been no exception. In fact, I think this year, I attended more weddings than in any other year past. In addition to planning for our own big day, Mike & I have attended five weddings this year, just wrapping up the final event last weekend!

Now that we're done attending weddings for the year, what strikes me is how different each of them was - & just how well each event represented the personalities & lifestyles of the couples they celebrated. As Mike & I try to plan a wedding that, we hope, does the same for us, it feels deeply comforting to realize that each of these weddings, different as they were, were all phenomenally representative of the couples behind them - & certainly ours will be, too. There's no right way to have a wedding - & so there's no wrong way to have a wedding, either.

Not sure exactly what I mean? Here's a look at each of the weddings we attended this year.

In April, we flew to New Orleans to celebrate Jill, a former coworker from my D.C. days, & Michael, a urologist who knows every word to "Back That Ass Up." Their wedding was held at a beautiful old theater near the French quarter, & the band led a festive first line through the lobby before cocktail hour, where, fittingly, the specialty cocktail was a French 75. In other words: It was a very upscale, classy event... that ended with "Back That Ass Up."

The party ran well after midnight, & when it ended, the groom literally cut his new wife out of her silk gown so she could put on more comfortable clothes & meet up with a hard-partying contingent of wedding guests at a nearby bar. (Mike & I didn't make it to that part of the evening; we ate late-night falafel with friends before retiring to our hotel.)

In April, we traveled to D.C. to celebrate my friends Allison & Ryder, who held their slightly unconventional ceremony & reception at an art gallery in the trendy Shaw neighborhood.

Their Reform Jewish wedding ceremony was short & sweet & personal, performed by a local rabbi beneath a chuppah (wedding canopy) held over the couple by four friends. They had no wedding party, no program, & no wedding cake, but they did have Greyhound cocktails (an ode to their adopted greyhound, Cole) & a table overflowing with tiny, gourmet desserts that each represented some aspect of the couple's life together.

The farm-to-table meal was served family-style, the very hip DJ mostly played songs we didn't know, & the wedding toasts all referenced the couple's many quirky interests, including bread-baking, ice cream-making, & saving the world.

We didn't attend a single wedding over the summer, but our events calendar started up again with a (joyful) vengeance as soon as fall arrived, beginning with Callie & Trevor's reception at the groom's parents' gorgeous summer house in Geneva, OH, right on Lake Erie.

Their private ceremony took place the day before, so we just attended the party, where the food was a buffet of both American & Italian foods & the bride soon changed into a tank top & shorts so she could better get her groove on. The weather was perfect for an outdoor reception that went late into the night, but there was no professional photographer, just the groom's sister with a fancy camera, & a bunch of us snapping iPhone photos of an incredible North Coast sunset.

We stayed overnight in cabins in the Geneva State Park, & those of us who weren't too hungover got brunch in the morning at a hilariously named diner called Best Friends Restaurant.

The second weekend in October, we headed back to D.C. - this time with my mom - to see my cousin Patrick's marry his longtime girlfriend, Claire. 

Their wedding was a classic, traditional affair with a simple elegance, starting with an Irish Catholic mass held at the stunning Dahlgren Chapel on the beautiful campus of Georgetown University; the reception was at Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Bethesda, MD, in an historic mansion owned by the Audubon Naturalist Society. The bride & her attendants wore crowns of roses, the dinner was a gourmet tenderloin topped with crab, & the pomegranate/vodka specialty cocktails got me a liiiittle bit tipsy - & yet it was my mom who hit the dance floor the hardest.

(On a personal note, I feel very good about how I looked at this wedding, except for the part where I immediately became incredibly sweaty & had to leave my hair up for the remainder of the evening.)

Last weekend was our final wedding of the year (as guests, that is) & it was pretty nearby, considering some of the year's other wedding locales. We drove an hour south to Canton, OH, for Mike's former roommate Trevor's wedding to Natalie, whose family is Romanian. (Yes, we have two friends names Trevor.)

Their traditional Romanian Catholic Byzantine ceremony including a beautiful crowning ceremony & a great deal of chanting; their cocktail hour in Romanian Village included Romanian spirits & lots of cigar-smoking; & their reception in the church's social hall included a traditional Romanian meal (those cabbage rolls, though!) & a live band playing very modern music. 

Speaking of music: To start off the reception, the groom performed "More Than Words" for his new bride - & the event continued until almost 1:00am.

Next up: our own wedding, taking place November 11th here in Cleveland. As I put together this blog post, I couldn't help but wonder what I'd write about our wedding if it weren't my own. How would I describe it? 

We're in the home stretch now - 26 days to go! - & I can't wait to share the day with you here when it's all said & done. 
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13 of My Favorite Things to Do in the Fall

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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Like so many basic bitches, I claim autumn as my favorite season of the year. Unfortunately, it also seems to be the shortest & rainiest season of the year, which means I've got to make the best of it while it's here. Planning our upcoming wedding has kept me from living it up the way I'd like to, but I'm still trying to get in all my fall faves. 

1. Decorate for Halloween.

I've always hung an item or two in the windows, maybe set a spooky candlebra or fake pumpkin on the kitchen table. But this year, we live in an actual house with an actual yard (uh, sort of) & windows that face a busy street. I've already hung a few decorations, & I plan to spend part of tomorrow, which I have off work, putting up some additional dollar-store decor. I hope my upstairs neighbors like Halloween...

2. Visit Szalay's Sweet Corn Farm & Market.

I haven't been this year, but I have to hit up Szalay's in Peninsula, OH. This local market is only open during the autumn months, selling locally grown corn, squash, apples, & other produce, along with local products like jam, pickled vegetables, & dessert mixes. On weekends, their outdoor cafe sells sweet corn & hot dogs to the tune of live music - with a haunted corn maze across the street!

3. Buy cozy sweaters.

When I unpacked my fall & winter wardrobe this year, I realized that it was woefully short on big, comfy sweaters. Enter the likes of Old Navy, Target, & H&M, whose low prices & classic styles are right up my fashion alley. I scored a bunch of great fall finds from all of them, including this rust-colored tunic from Target's A New Day line.

4. Carve a pumpkin.

I haven't done this in ages, but I'd like to try to revisit this favorite fall tradition now that we live in a house that has a front porch? Who doesn't love gutting a goopy pumpkin & carving a silly face into it to display for passersby?

5. Enjoy some autumn beverages.

Cinnamon apple cider. Cinnamon lattes. Pumpkin mead. Oh, yes, I said pumpkin mead. I just picked up a bottle of Western Reserve Meadery's newest brew, & damn, is it delicious - & so perfectly autumnal. I don't typically love pumpkin flavors, but this one is legit.

6. Nest. 

When the temperatures drop, I like to hunker down & make my home feel as clean & cozy as possible. Colder weather means more time indoors, & if I'm going to be shut in, I'm going to enjoy the space where I'm stuck. I just got a new comforter & a beautiful Peruvian blanket, among others, & I've got some serious fall cleaning to get to.

7. Find a perfect costume.

I used to love quirky, punny Halloween costumes, but in the last couple of years, Mike & I have taken to dressing as our favorite Harry Potter characters. This year will be no exception! We haven't started yet, but isn't half the fun of it scrambling to get it right at the very last minute?! Stay tuned for pics.

8. Celebrate Halloween.

One of my favorite events of the year is our friends Stevie & Andrew's killer Halloween bash. They go all-out with the spooky decor & holiday-themed foods, & tons of our favorite people are in attendance. I always wanted to host an annual Halloween party, but it's even better to have befriended someone else who takes the reins.

9. Pass out candy.

Can you tell that I like Halloween? Unfortunately, because I've lived in apartments for so long, I haven't gotten to enjoy a Beggars' Night in ages. I'm told that our new locale does indeed get some trick-or-treaters, so I'm already thinking about what candy to give out & what costume I'll wear when I do it.

10. Admire the scenery.

I feel so fortunate to live in Northeast Ohio, where city life & country living are equidistant. Yes, downtown is two miles away - but we're also very close to the Cleveland Metroparks & even a few state parks. Ohio is absolutely gorgeous in the fall, & leaf-peeping is one of my favorite autumn activities.

11. Enjoy Friendsgiving.

Mike's friends have long been celebrating Friendsgiving, a boozy Thanksgiving dinner party with about 35 friends. Last year, it was hosted at our friend Rick's apartment - where we now live! I don't yet know who's hosting this year's event, but wherever it is, it's sure to be one of my favorite parties of the year. Bring on all the baked mac & cheese, please.

12. Catch up on fall TV.

I blogged about this last month, but it's true: Each year, I eagerly anticipate the return of fall TV! I'm so glad to see new episodes of some of my favorite shows, including Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU, & more.

13. Get married.

OK, that's just this fall - but as of today, we're just one month away from the big day! From here on out, my new favorite autumn activity will be celebrating my wedding anniversary.

Tell me: What are your favorite fall activities?
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6 Small Goals for October

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

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Oh, hi, it's October.

Following in the footsteps of a few bloggers I love, like Valery Brennan & Nicole of Writes Like a Girl, I'm testing out a new regular post: "small goals" for each month. This is just as much to keep myself accountable as to give you a peek into my life & what I'm working on. Each month, I'll share how I did on my previous month's goals & what I'm aiming to accomplish in the coming month.

Of course, I'm just starting out, so I don't have any September goals to review. Instead, let's jump right into what I'm hoping for in October - almost all of which are wedding-related, given that we're now a month out! I promise the wedding chatter is almost over...
  1. Finish all major wedding prep: Come November, we'll plenty of last-minute tasks like seating &... seating? But I want to have everything else done by then so we're not scrambling to get all our prep work done in the first week & a half of November, right before the wedding.
  2. Eat as healthfully as possible: I just had a dress fitting, & I seem to be doing all right on that front, but I know I'll be most comfortable on my wedding day if I don't gain any extra weight between now & then - & I'll be even more comfortable if I can manage to lose a little, even if it's just bloating/water weight. I tend to want to snack & eat terribly when I'm stressed, so this will be an extra challenge during an inherently stressful month.
  3. Whiten my teeth: I ordered a whitening kit from Smile Direct, but I've yet to create impressions to send back so that I can get my personalized molds. I really want to make this happen before the wedding so my poor photographer doesn't have to spend hours & hours Photoshopping my currently coffee-stained teeth.
  4. Turn in my Cleveland Magazine assignment: As I mentioned in September's book review post, I'm working on a small freelance bit for the local magazine where I interned 10 years ago. I'm very excited about it & hope that if I do well on it, they'll approach me again in the future with similar assignments. My deadline is October 6th, so this one is coming up quickly.
  5. Pull back on weekday plans: We'll be out of town at other people's wedding during the first two weekends in November, which doesn't leave a ton of free time for wedding-related stuff. As much as I love October, I need to acknowledge that I don't have the time or the energy to do anything right now except wedding prep, which means no extraneous plans. The one exception is that I want to...
  6. Hang out with my "little sister" twice: I'm 11 months into volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland. My little sister N & I have had some trouble getting a hangout on the schedule lately, such that we didn't get together at all in September. I'd like to make up for it with two outings this month, pre-wedding stress be damned. 
So tell me: Any suggestions for meeting my goals? What are your small goals (or large ones!) for this month? 
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What I Read in September

Monday, October 2, 2017

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September was a chill month, book-wise, but I really enjoyed the four books I read. Looking at the list below, I feel like it's actually a hilarious assembly of books, all completely different from one another: a book on Jewish weddings, a famous author's first try at the crime genre, the memoir of a reality TV star, & a beautiful novel about family & race.

Hey, I'm a woman of varied tastes.

I also hit my Goodreads goal of reading 60 books in 2017! You may recall that I read 101 books last year, which definitely will not be the case this time around - but I figure that 60+ books is still pretty good, right? My new goal to round out the year is 70. Onward!

The New Jewish Wedding by Anita Diamant

My friend Michael, who just happens to be the rabbi officiating at our wedding next month (!), sent us this book as a must-read before we started planning a Jewish wedding. It took me awhile to finish it but, man, what a great book. If you're considering a wedding that contains any Jewish elements, this is the perfect how-to guide for figuring out your options & melding tradition with modernity. ★★★★

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. JK Rowling)

How did I not realize that JK Rowling had another entire series? A crime series, no less?! I started reading the first book in the series literally as soon as I found out. It centers around the fantastically named Cormoran Strike, a British PI who's looking into the supposed suicide of starlet Lula Landry. It's slowly paced, with little to no climax, but I love a good character-driven drama, so it was right up my alley, if a bit long for my preferences. ★★★★☆

I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain by Courtney Robertson

I went on vacation & intended to read What Happened by Hillary Clinton... & instead I read this memoir written by a former Bachelor contestant. Back in 2012, I watched Season 7 of the show &, along with the rest of the world, pretty much haaaated the woman who won & then authored this book a few years after calling off her engagement to Bachelor Ben Flajnik. This didn't make me like her, necessarily, but it was a fascinating look at the show's behind-the-scenes happenings & how being on a reality TV show can drive contestants to act, well, pretty crazy. An easy & entertaining read, especially if you're a Bachelor/ette fan. ★★★☆

Everybody's Son by Thrity Umrigar

I read this one for Cleveland Magazine, whose entertainment editor asked me to write a couple reviews for their holiday issue - & what an incredible book it is! Anton, a biracial 9-year-old, is taken away from his drug-addicted mother & fostered by a well-to-do white family who later adopt him. He subsequently grows up in the footsteps of his famous father & grandfather, both respected politicians - but what happens when he finds out more about his mother & his past? Stay tuned for my review in the magazine, but suffice it to say that I'm so glad I read this one. One of the best books of the year for me. ★★★★★

Comment to tell me what you're reading, then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch & see what I've read in months past.

My "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but if you do, it will help me buy more books.
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