So The Bachelor Started And I Don’t Care

Y’all. I am really trying to get into this season of The Bachelor. But I. just. can’t. Ugh. It’s so frustrating. I don’t really like any of the girls that much and I don’t even know why. I don’t feel like I know any of them. None of them seem to be getting a particularly favorable edit, and the ones that are just seem Oof. I sound mean. Maybe I am. But really I think this could just be on the part of the way it’s being produced. I think the Hannah-heavy episodes in the beginning has kind of tainted this, in a way. It has made me question Peter’s readiness- not that literally every single person who has ever been on the show shouldn’t have their readiness questioned..because they should. It feels too fresh. He so clearly wants to find love, and I hope he does, but I am just not as invested as I normally am. I don’t know- something feels off.

I’m still hopeful that it will eventually pick up and reminding myself that this is how most people feel at the beginning of the season because it’s kind of just wading through the nonsense before the love part comes in. For now, I’d like to try to joyfully watch these women fight about champagne, cry about not getting enough time, and remind America what the definition of “bully” actually is. Similarly, I look forward to watching Peter be completely bewildered at the absurdity of this process as he tries to find his wife. Best of luck, pal! (And if you strike out, call me. I’m not interested in using you for fame.)

What do y’all think about the start of this season? Am I alone in my opinion or just being overly critical? Maybe *gasp* I prefer the Bachelorette?! Who knows.

2019 TV/Movie Wrap Up

Since I go through all of the books I read each year, I thought it might be fun to dissect all of the tv and movies I watched, too. When I’m not reading, this is definitely what I’m doing, so I thought it was fitting. Let me know in the comments if you’ve seen & loved any of these, too!

Best Reality TV I watched in 2019:

  • The Amazing Race Season 31: My first season ever watching (I know- I’m behind by like…30) and I absolutely loved it! I love the travel aspect of it and the challenges and that it was not a super social game or reliant on too much manipulation.
  • The Bachelorette Season 15: I mean…the drama this season was unmatched and Hannah really stepped into her own. Then she won Dancing with the Stars, Tyler C dated Gigi Hadid, and the entire Luke saga is great television in retrospect. I think Hannah gave girls around the world permission to make mistakes, get their heart broken, but stand their ground and know their worth at the end of the day.
  • Vanderpump Rules Season 7: I’m just obsessed with this show and these people. The drama never stops. This season we saw Jax & Brittany get engaged, TomTom open, a girls trip to Solvang, a group trip to Mexico, an epic winter birthday for Ariana & Stassi, a ton of fighting (most sparked from love and concern, in my opinion), and the epic ultimatum that led to the firing of James Kennedy.
  • Queer Eye Season 4: Y’all…I have been SLEEPING on this show! This is the first season I watched and I am in love with it. It’s truly amazing. I, like everyone else, friggin’ LOVE the Fab 5. I love their style, I love that they are changing lives, and I love that they are teaching the world to love themselves, love others, be confident, and pursue dreams.

Best TV I watched in 2019:

  • The Newsroom: I could watch this 100 million times. It’s incredibly relevant almost 8 years later, which shows how little things have changed. The characters are incredible, the writing is phenomenal, and the message is important.
  • Shrill: Aidy Bryant is a true delight and brings Lindy West’s work to life in an amazing way. Shrill itself is an amazing collection, and the series did not disappoint. A must-watch for anyone who feels marginalized despite having privilege.
  • Patriot Act: I have the biggest crush on Hasan Minhaj and I think everything he does is hilarious, but it’s also been a really great way for me to talk with my Dad about important topics because it’s based in both humor and fact. I’m just really grateful this show exists.
  • The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Seasons 1 & 2: This show is AMAZING. The magic and evil and friendship and love all meshed together was done very well, and I also enjoyed that it brought in many aspects of the bible to enhance the storylines and characters.
  • Dead to Me: I loved this! There was a twist at the end of every episode and it was funny and serious all at the same time. Plus, though the situation was kind of outrageous, the struggles the women were dealing with (infertility, raising kids alone) were real and relatable.
  • Chernobyl: Okay. I did not know about this. This series was RIVETING. I learned so much. I was so invested in the people. I cried. I was blown away. And it was real (okay I know some of it was dramatized to make it easier to understand, but FOR THE MOST PART- real).
  • On My Block: Great show. I loved the characters and honestly I was very invested in their happiness. Kids dealing with adult issues, trust, and loyalty in the only way kids know how. Plus- I thought they nailed the way kids react to things and how overwhelming their feelings can be.
  • Schitts Creek: AH! I have slept on this, too! It’s so friggin’ funny. The characters are amazing, the writing is amazing, and the acting is amazing. I cannot say enough good things about this show. I love it so much and I can’t believe it took me this long to even know about it!
  • Modern Love: This is an 8 episode series that is honestly incredible. The episodes were short but packed with emotion and the story-telling was delightful. It showcased all different kinds of love and stories and ways people connect. The cast was stellar (including Tina Fey, Anne Hathaway, Dev Patel, John Gallagher Jr., and more) and the concept was heartwarming.
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 1: Hilarious, feminist, and perfectly cast. A must-watch for basically everyone.

Best Movies I Watched in 2019: I think it’s pretty clear from this list that I am obsessed with Rom Coms.

  • If Beale Street Could Talk (2018): based on James Baldwin’s novel, absolutely heartbreaking, but truly incredible. The acting and the writing were all amazing.
  • The Holiday (2006): A sweet story of two couples falling in love. I don’t know why it took me so long to see this.
  • The Story of Us (1999): I loved it so much. A unique take on a romance movie, but it definitely delivered all the feelings.
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018, Netflix): I adored this movie and I cannot wait for the next one to come out.
  • Someone Great (2019, Netflix): Such a great movie about healing from heartbreak, even though you thought he was the one.
  • The Perfect Date (2019, Netflix): Maybe I’m just in love with Noah Centineo? Either way, a cute little romantic comedy.
  • Always Be My Maybe (2019, Netflix): The theme of this list is definitely that I like it when people fall in love, and this movie certainly delivered on that.
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017): Great movie! Funny, action-packed, and a great story! I loved the added video game elements and the actors were all incredible.

All TV Watched in 2019:

  • You (4 stars)
  • The Newsroom (5 stars)
  • Homecoming (4 stars)
  • Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 1 (5 stars)
  • Friends From College (5 stars)
  • Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes (4 stars)
  • Celebrity Big Brother Season 2 (2 stars)
  • Lucifer Season 1-3 (4 stars)
  • Dating Around (5 stars)
  • True Detective (4 stars)
  • A Million Little Things (4 stars)
  • Leaving Neverland (5 stars)
  • The Bachelor Season 23: Colton (4 stars)
  • Patriot Act Season 2 (5 stars)
  • Shrill (5 stars)
  • Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club (2 stars)
  • Amy Schumer’s Growing (4 stars)
  • Downton Abbey (5 stars)
  • The Final Table (4 stars)
  • Workin’ Moms Season 1 (5 stars)
  • The Umbrella Academy (4 stars)
  • Kevin Hart’s Irresponsible (5 stars)
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina parts 1&2 (5 stars)
  • Dead to Me (5 stars)
  • Lucifer Season 4 (5 stars)
  • Survivor Season 38: Edge of Extinction (4 stars)
  • Veep Season 1 (5 stars)
  • The Order (3 stars)
  • Greys Anatomy Season 15 (4 stars)
  • Game of Thrones Season 8 (3 stars)
  • Vanderpump Rules Season 7 (5 stars)
  • Whiskey Cavalier (5 stars)
  • Bless This Mess Season 1 (3 stars)
  • Chernobyl (5 stars)
  • New Girl Season 7 (5 stars)
  • On My Block (5 stars)
  • Parks and Rec Season 7 (5 stars)
  • Outlander Season 1 & 2 (5 stars)
  • The Amazing Race Season 31 (5 stars)
  • Patriot Act Season 3 (5 stars)
  • Big Little Lies Season 2 (5 stars)
  • The Bachelorette Season 15: Hannah (5 stars)
  • Love Island USA Season 1 (4 stars)
  • 13 Reasons Why Season 3 (3 stars)
  • Patriot Act Season 4 (5 stars)
  • Bachelor in Paradise Season 6 (3 stars)
  • Big Brother Season 21 (5 stars)
  • Queer Eye Season 4 (5 stars)
  • Schitts Creek Seasons 1-5 (5 stars)
  • Modern Love (5 stars)
  • Looking for Alaska (4 stars)
  • Very Cavallari Season 1&2 (5 stars)
  • Survivor Season 39: Island of the Idols (5 stars)
  • Love After Lockup Season 1 (5 stars)
  • Vice Principals Season 1 (5 stars)
  • Street Food (4 stars)

All Movies Watched in 2019:

  • If Beale Street Could Talk (5 stars)
  • Mona Lisa Smile (5 stars)
  • The Holiday (5 stars)
  • My Best Friends Wedding (4 stars)
  • The Fifth Element (4 stars)
  • Newsies (5 stars)
  • The Story of Us (5 stars)
  • Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (5 stars)
  • Suffragette (5 stars)
  • The Birdcage (5 stars)
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (5 stars)
  • Never Been Kissed (3 stars)
  • Someone Great (5 stars)
  • Vice (4 stars)
  • Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit (4 stars)
  • Life of Brian (5 stars)
  • A Suitable Girl (5 stars)
  • Sleepless in Seattle (4 stars)
  • Eighth Grade (5 stars)
  • Wine Country (5 stars)
  • Abducted in Plain Sight (4 stars)
  • I Am Elizabeth Smart (5 stars)
  • The Virgin Suicides (5 stars)
  • Central Park 5 (5 stars)
  • The Perfect Date (5 stars)
  • Always Be My Maybe (5 stars)
  • Set It Up (5 stars)
  • The Kissing Booth (2 stars)
  • Crazy Rich Asians (5 stars)
  • Murder Mystery (4 stars)
  • Spiderman: Far From Home (5 stars)
  • The Lion King live action (5 stars)
  • Otherhood (5 stars)
  • Jumanji (5 stars)

Books of 2019

I read way more books in 2019 than I did in 2018, and I think some of that might be because of Audible and my new gym habit (I listen to books at the gym instead of music- makes me feel doubly productive I think). This year I made it my mission to read all of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s books, which you can read about in my post “All of Adichie,” and I started a Book of the Month club subscription- something I was always skeptical of but now really love.

My Favorite Books of 2019:

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur (2019)


I wrote about this in my “Book of the Month Club- September” post, but I will reiterate here that it was an incredible story made only more incredible in that it was based in reality.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001)

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I read this on a suggestion of a colleague who thought I was reading too many serious books and not enough fun ones, and I was not disappointed. This is my second Neil Gaiman book and I loved it. His characters are intense and his worlds are detailed and his stories are captivating. Loved it.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi (2017):

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I read a lot of YA books so that I can better recommend them to my students, and this one packed quite the punch. It was emotional and magical and timely. Love, loyalty, friendship, and family all played a role, and it all came together with a difficult immigration story as well.

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2003)

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I wrote about this in my “All of Adichie” post, so all that I’ll say is that it was intense and sad and truly amazing.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006)

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I also wrote about this in my “All of Adichie” post, but I’ll add that this is the book that prompted me to read Chinua Achebe’s memoir There Was A Country, and also had me researching the Biafran War and Nigeria’s history.

Shrill (2016) & The Witches Are Coming (2019) by Lindy West

Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 4.54.10 PMScreen Shot 2019-12-29 at 4.53.47 PM

West is an incredible writer. She is funny, smart, and her story-telling skills keep even the most unfortunate conversations lively. The Hulu series based on Shrill is an absolute delight.

Yoga Mind by Suzan Colon (2018)

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I wrote about this in my “Yoga Mind Journey” post, and I’ll say it again: this book definitely prompted some changes in my life. I cleaned out my closet, I started rethinking what it means to “steal” and started adding in some things to my life that simply make me happy.

All of the Books I read in 2019:

  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2006 (5 stars)
  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi, 2017 (5 stars)
  • Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson, 2013 (5 stars)
  • No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay, 2014 (5 stars)
  • There Was A Country by Chinua Achebe, 2012 (3 stars)
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman, 2001 (5 stars)
  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena, 2016 (4 stars)
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, 2017 (5 stars)
  • The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2009 (5 stars)
  • Yoga Mind by Suzan Colon, 2018 (5 stars)
  • Shrill by Lindy West, 2016 (5 stars)
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, 2012 (4 stars)
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama, 2018 (5 stars)
  • Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2017 (5 stars)
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2014 (5 stars)
  • Life Will Be The Death of Me by Chelsea Handler, 2019 (5 stars)
  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2003 (4 stars)
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, 2003 (4 stars)
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, 2018 (5 stars)
  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, 2008 (4 stars)
  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, 2018 (3 stars)
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass, 2012 (5 stars)
  • The Elite by Kiera Cass, 2013 (3 stars)
  • The One by Kiera Cass, 2014 (3 stars)
  • Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, 2014 (5 stars)
  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, 2014 (5 stars)
  • P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han, 2015 (5 stars)
  • Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur, 2019 (5 stars)
  • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, 2005 (3 stars)
  • Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore, 2019 (4 stars)
  • You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness & Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero, 2013 (5 stars)
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, 2019 (4 stars)
  • The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West, 2019 (5 stars)
  • The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2019 (5 stars)
  • Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope by Karamo Brown & Jancee Dunn, 2019 (5 stars)

The Circle on Netflix

Oh my GOODNESS. I am OBSESSED with this show. It is so funny watching them all interact with each other on the chat while also having their real reactions with just the camera. I really wasn’t sure how a reality game where they never meet would work, but I really do love it. My favorite part is that they all think they are playing each other and influencing each other’s decisions, but in reality no one is playing anyone since they’re all doing it to everyone! Some of them are genuinely, unapologetically themselves, which is also hilarious. I’m so glad this show exists.

First 8 People:

Chris: 30; Dallas, TX; Freelance Artist/Graphic Designer/Hood Spiritualist Hustler. I wasn’t sure what to think at first because he said he has “godfidence” but also is a “real-ass bitch,” but as soon as he started interacting with everyone I totally loved him. He’s funny and good at conversing with everyone. He makes everyone feel comfortable and people want to be his friend in real life…and so do I.

Joey: 25; Rochester, NY; Bartender. I meannnn this guy is straight outta a Jersey Shore casting call. He walks around yelling “Yeah Buddy!” and calls himself a Momma’s boy while also wearing a chain and (sometimes) sunglasses indoors. He’s cocky and TERRIBLE at flirting…which makes him hilarious. Such a dude, but I love it and I love him and I am so happy he’s on TV.

Alana: 25; Texas; Lingerie & Swimsuit Model. So..I’m a little confused because she claimed in the beginning that she didn’t want to tell anyone she was a model because people would judge her and she wanted them to get to know her goofy side, but then writes in her profile that she’s a model…? Not a great strategy.

Seaburn: 29; Boston, MA; Caseworker who works with people who have disabilities. He is playing as his girlfriend Rebecca (26) because she’s pretty and he claims to know how to be a perfect woman. He’s honestly doing pretty well, except he couldn’t figure out Chris was gay LOL.

Shubham: 23; California; Virtual Reality Designer. I friggin’ love this kid and so does everyone else. He’s absolutely adorable, hates social media and thinks it’s the modern-day bubonic plague, but quickly gets sucked into the addictive world of popularity and likes and ratings. He tries to make connections with people and genuinely cares about them. Everyone finds him to be cute in like a sweet younger brother way and his relationship with “bro-y Joey” is hilarious. Plus every calls him Shooby which I love.

Samantha (Sammie): 24; Miami, FL; Behavior Technician who works with kids with Autism. This girl keeps it real and is awesome. She’s nice to everyone, but doesn’t shy away if someone is coming for her. Def one of my favorites.

Antonio: 24; Barcelona; Pro Basketball Player in Spain, Portugal, & France. Alright…this guy intrigued me at first because he repeatedly said he wasn’t a douchebag, but he quickly proved that he actually is kind of a douchebag? He is one of my favorites to watch because he thinks he’s playing a bunch of different people and getting them all on his side (particularly Karyn-Mercedeze) when in reality they all see through him. I just love how he is always like “I got them right where I want them,” but in the other room the person is like laughing at how they’re playing him. 

Karyn: 37; Bronx, NY. Playing as Mercedeze to prove that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover because she looks like a thug from New York, but is actually a lover and a cuddler. She’s hoping that playing as Mercedeze will allow everyone to give her a chance because she looks more approachable. Unlike Seaburn-Rebecca who knows his girlfriend, Karyn just found Mercedeze’s pictures online and that’s how she decided to be her.

Episode 1:

After the first rating session, where most of the people are disappointed that Karyn-Mercedeze first picture is filtered, Chris breaks the ice in the group chat and gives a good impression. Alana immediately gets on Sammie’s radar because she seems to be all about appearances, but Sammie puts herself on everyone else’s radars by being the only girl to say she pees in the shower during the “Agree or Disagree” game. Joey flirts with Alana and is hilariously bad at it…made only more funny because he’s not wearing a shirt during the entire exchange. I love this guy. He’s so funny.

The first set of ratings are in, and this the order:

  1. Sammie
  2. Antonio
  3. Alana
  4. Joey
  5. Chris
  6. Seaburn-Rebecca
  7. Karyn-Mercedeze
  8. Shubham

Shubham is pretty upset because it confirms his opinions about himself in terms of first impressions, and Antonio is upset because he wanted to be in the middle of the pack. Antonio and Sammie meet to determine one person who will be blocked. They decide to have each other’s back and ultimately choose Alana because she seems fake.

Episode 2:

The next episode begins with Alana confronting Sammie and some other relationships deepening (Sammie & Chris, Joey & Shubham, and Seaburn-Rebecca & Shubham). The aftermath of the blocking leads to a bit of fighting (Antonio & Joey because Joey had a crush on Alana and Karyn-Mercedeze and Sammie because Antonio told K-M that Sammie was torn between her and Alana).

The newest addition taking Alana’s place is Miranda (Randi): 26; South Lake Tahoe, CA. I feel bad for this girl. She doesn’t seem to have any roots and calls herself a lone wolf and also says that she falls in love too easily, which tells me she’s probably been burned a few times. She gets to creep on them during their “party” to decide who she wants to chat with individually.

The party is hilarious. I do not understand why they all get dressed up if no one is going to see them. Shubham is literally wearing a suit. They get to post a new picture, and most of them chose to show a deeper side. Karyn-Mercedeze posted one without a filter, which the others liked; Joey posted one with his parents to show his Italian family values; Chris shows off his makeup side; and Sammie posted a scandalous picture in a bathing suit (which quickly prompted more bad flirting from Joey LOL I continue to love him). They play Never Have I Ever and Karyn-Mercedeze reveals that she’s bi-curious and Shubham doesn’t get it which is ADORABLE and HILARIOUS. This prompts Randi to want to chat with her after the party, where things get VERY flirty in episode 3.

Episode 3:

In the following episode, Randi makes Antonio look hilarious because he calls himself a chef, but doesn’t know what a poached egg is. They flirt. Then she attempts to flirt with Sammie & Rebecca, but it puts her on Sammie’s radar and Sammie doesn’t trust her because she’s wishy-washy, though Randi thinks everything is going great. This girl has no clue what’s happening. Chris and Joey have a hilariously adorable conversation and I continue to love both of them. Rebecca and Shubham deepen their connection and I feel bad that Shubham is getting catfished because I love the kid.

They play a game, which leaves Rebecca getting some love from everyone, Antonio being called a catfish, and Randi unsuccessfully flirting with Sammie by calling her a catfish and hurting her feelings. Shubham publicly defends Joey’s genuineness, but doesn’t defend Sammie and feels bad about it, which leads to them forming a connection in an individual chat. Honestly, Shubham’s sincerity will take him far, in my opinion, because everyone seems to love him, feel unthreatened by him, and think he’s adorable.

The next set of ratings come in and are as follows:

  1. Chris & Shubham
  2. Seaburn-Rebecca
  3. Karyn-Mercedeze
  4. Joey & Sammie
  5. Antonio

Episode 4:

In the next episode, Chris & Shubham need to choose someone to be blocked, but before they chat Chris cries a little about his mom, which is sweet. They ultimately decide on Antonio which I enjoyed because he annoyed me, and he chose to go see Karyn-Mercedeze (which is a little sketchy considering she was the one he flirted with the most and he has a girlfriend of 3 years…) and realizes that she is a catfish. Karyn explains her reasoning and he gets it. They hug it out, but clearly he’s upset since he kinda calls her out in the video by saying things are not what they seem, though he doesn’t reveal who he spoke to (He probably can’t? I’m surprised he could even say that, but I’m new to this show). In the aftermath of that, Shubham & Joey try to reel Chris in to be their third so they can stick together, but Chris gives a noncommittal response. Meanwhile, Randi reaches out to Sammie and figures out she was a jerk and Karyn-Mercedeze does a good job convincing Sammie that Antonio didn’t visit her. Plus, Randi tells her foster care story to Joey, which immediately wins him over. I feel bad because she’s being so genuine, but I don’t think this is the right game for her. She gets so excited over everything Joey says and I don’t know how great she is at communicating with everyone.

They have a ridiculous cake competition which would be really dumb if not for JOEY BECAUSE HE IS AMAZING. I really like him. He’s so funny. Maybe it’s just my love of Jersey Shore and that kind of nonsense, but I just love the guy. The result of the competition is that Randi gets to upload a video, which kind of backfires because Seaburn-Rebecca & Shubham immediately get suspicious about whether or not her pictures line up. Karyn-Mercedeze continues her defense plan with Chris, who she convinces that Antonio did not visit her. I really thought Chris would see through that, but he didn’t. Then Karyn-Mercedeze plants the seed that Joey might be a catfish.

The episode ends with another new player: Alex: 32; Los Angeles, CA; Unemployed/Artist. I love that he calls himself a Former Cheese Monger and describes himself as lumpy. He will be playing as Adam, which is a strategy I don’t think will work for him. He thinks that because Adam is hot and he is smart, there is no way he can’t win..but I’m not convinced.

Overall, I am addicted to this show and literally watched all four episodes on New Year’s Day and now I am going to be DYING until Wednesday as I wait for the next four episodes. Good thing The Bachelor is also starting! Did you watch this show? Have you seen the original? Let me know in the comments!

20 for 2020

Here goes year #3 of making a New Years list. I haven’t yet managed to complete everything on my list, but I like making it and checking in on it throughout the year regardless. Some of these are repeats that I either have or haven’t accomplished in the past, but either way they’re all things I want to do, so hopefully I can manage at least half of them!

Things I can check off once:

  1. Travel somewhere by myself
  2. Make a gynecologist appointment
  3. Go to a pro sports game
  4. Travel to a new place
  5. Go on a hike
  6. Run in a race
  7. Read 35 books
  8. Try Nigerian Food
  9. Go to a new brewery or winery
  10. See a play

Monthly Checklist:

  1. Instagram food post twice a month on kassinthekitchen
  2. Eat vegan once a month
  3. Blog twice a month
  4. One self-care day a month

Weekly Checklist:

  1. Exercise at least three times a week
  2. Use reusable bags when shopping
  3. Yoga/Meditation at least once a week

Daily Checklist:

  1. Establish a nighttime routine: face, teeth, kitchen, pack gym bag, fill water, pick out clothes
  2. Drink at least 75 ounces of water
  3. Practice Spanish on Duolingo


Do you have any goals for 2020? Let me know in the comments!

Survivor 39: Island of the Idols Finale

This truly was a wild season. At the start of the season, I mentioned how excited I was at the diversity of the cast, particularly in contrast to Big Brother from this summer, which featured a bunch of athletic white people voting out basically everyone else. Although this season of Survivor weathered more controversies than any other, I thought they handled them better, though still with much to be desired. However- the sincerity in CBS’ attempt to grow and learn from this season cannot be understated, particularly in this new “call-out culture” which leaves most networks feeling defensive. The cultural conversations that this season sparked are pivotal, particularly for the Survivor fan base, which started in 2000 and has not really lost many people along the way. That means people who have been watching for 20 years span a variety of generations and opinions, so simply starting these discussions is actually a big deal, whether they appear to generate change or not.

Starting the season with a vote against Ronnie was the first sign that this season would not be ruled by athleticism, but relationships. Based on this, I believe that Missy, Aaron, Chelsea, and Dean really had no chance. I know Dean came in second, but that is more of a function of the other two trying to win. They were more athletic than they were outgoing, and while Missy had a decent attempt at a strategy, she just happened to read one person wrong (Karishma) and that was that for her game. Around midseason (after Jack, Kellee, & Jamal were voted out) I was starting to worry that this would become a Big Brother repeat, but then the back to back vote-outs of Aaron, Missy, and Elizabeth restored my joy in the show. The entire situation with Kellee and Dan, and the resulting complications between Janet and the other women was just horrible. So, when the decent people started getting voted off and then it looked like Janet was in the hot seat, too, I was like, nope that’s it. This game is over. Luckily we had Lauren and Tommy steering the ship the whole time, and they didn’t let that happen. It definitely could have been editing, but it seemed like they stayed out of the entire situation altogether. I’m not saying it’s a good thing to be a bystander because victims need support and I believe that staying neutral is choosing a side (the side of the oppressor), but that also doesn’t mean sharing your opinion on something you know nothing about. Education and listening to others are our best way forward as a country, and it appears that Tommy & Lauren showcased this during their time on the show in reaction to difficult conversations.

I thought Tommy and Lauren truly played excellent games socially. Outside of their tribal wins, the two of them won 1 time, and Tommy had a partner (Janet) for his win. Ultimately, the only way for either of them to win was to take Noura & Dean, and Tommy just happened to get a little further inside Noura’s head than Lauren. I thought that his manipulation of the fire-making competition was brilliant. Giving Dean better advice and sending Noura to rattle Lauren’s composure is, in my opinion, a big part of why he should have won. The other part being that everyone felt that they were safer with him, and that he would be the one to give him an opportunity to win in the end.

This was my initial opinion of him after watching episode one:

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I am rarely this spot-on about a person after so little time, which is likely a testament to production because otherwise he’d be a seemingly unexpected winner. In a season with this many real-world issues, it’s impressive that they were still able to showcase his strategy and convince the Survivor audience that he deserved to win. Overall, I was happy with this season of Survivor because despite it’s many complications the conversations started and changes made to the show may not solve the problems in our country, but have hopefully shed more light into them. Additionally, a deserving person won and the world was introduced to Janet & Elaine, who are lovely people. However- next season is going to be epic and I cannot wait.

What did you think of this season? Let me know in the comments!

19 for 2019: A Year in Review

I spent another year participating in the Happier podcast’s New Year’s ritual of creating a “19 for 2019” list. I actually managed to do 31, and the things I did not get to are pretty unfortunate because I easily could have managed it, so I’m re-adding it to my next list. I actually really liked this list and think I did a good job keeping up with it for the most part. 2019 was honestly not an easy year for me. There was a great deal of transition personally and professionally, but I really want to look back on the year with positivity and look forward to 2020 with hope. I even managed to cross something off my bucket list that I didn’t even put on my 19 for 2019 because I talked about it for so long but never did it: paddle-boarding. All in all, I’m blessed to be where I am and I’m glad that 2019 was such a rocky road because I hope it’s bringing me to where I’m meant to be.

Here are my results:

  1. Switch to a local dentist: Well- I didn’t switch to a local dentist, but I switched to a new one and I’ve been going regularly, which has to count for something.
  2. Make a gynecologist appointment: I did not actually do this, BUT I went to a dermatologist and went to a new thyroid doctor, so that’s progress.
  3. Go to a pro sports game: I went to a Phillies game, an Eagles pre-season game, a Union game, and a few Flyers games!
  4. Travel to a new place: I went to Nashville, Discovery Cove & Disney, Ginnie Springs, & Westkill, NY.
  5. Go on a hike: I made plans to, but did not.
  6. Run in a race: Again- I made plans to, but did not.
  7. Clean out old clothes from closet: This is the absolute best thing I did this year!
  8. Read 23 books: I have blown this one out of the water and read 32 books!
  9. Volunteer: Technically, I volunteered a lot at school. I think I need to take this off my list or make it more specific if I do it again.
  10. Plan something cool for my 25th birthday: This did not happen the way I thought it would, but I went to Wildwood with my family & we went to a brewery & paddle-boarding!
  11. Eat vegan once a month: I didn’t do this, but I really want to.
  12. Blog once a month: I actually did great with this! Most of the time I was able to blog once a week, and I even restarted my cooking Instagram account, which is very exciting for me!
  13. One self-care day a month: I honestly did not even attempt to do this.
  14. Use reusable bags when shopping: Was I perfect? No. Did I do it a lot? Yes. Do I plan on getting better at it? Also yes.
  15. Do shopping at a farmer’s market from May-Nov: I did not go even once.
  16. Budget: I definitely tracked all of my money and whether or not that prevented me from buying things I don’t know, but what I do know is that I’ve been able to put some money into my savings account while also paying higher rent, utilities, car insurance, and starting to buy my car.
  17. Reduce tea bag use: I started the year very very strong with this, but recently have fallen off. I definitely plan to get back into it, though!
  18. Take vitamins daily: I’ve actually been very consistent with this!
  19. Clean the kitchen every night: I love that I have been able to do this and keep up with it because having a clean kitchen makes everything better.

Now I just need to spend some time brainstorming what my 20 for 2020 will be! Did you meet your goals for 2019? Let me know in the comments!