JANUARY IN BOOKS

I started the new year off with a bit of reading and wanted to share the three books I’ve finished this month with you! I’ve been using the app GoodReads to keep track of the books I’m reading and want to read. It’s a great way to keep track of my wishlist of books that I never stop adding to!

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There There by Tommy Orange

★★★★★

My brother gave me this book for Christmas and I started reading it the next day. The book consists of multiple stories that all intertwine. Each individual story is visceral, heartbreaking, and relentless. It had me feeling a pit in my stomach, of a reality I knew existing but not so intimately. It’s a truly important book to read and reveals how broken we still are.

The book felt like a voice I needed to listen to, screaming with urgency and anger. A voice that can’t wrap their head around their own identity because it was taken away. I highly recommend.

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Motherhood by Sheila Heti

Ok, I have to be honest about this one. It did nothing for me! I’m so worried that I read it the wrong way or took my expectations too seriously, ruining the book. If you’ve read it, I’d LOVE to know your thoughts because I’m feeling pretty guilty about the one star rating I’m giving it.

Diving right in to my feelings toward Motherhood, I’ll start with the feeling of self-indulgence? I went in hoping for a book that would make me think a bit differently about the decision to be a mother, but I didn’t feel like the book was even about that. The more I read, the more I felt that the author was talking herself in and out of wanting to be in her relationship, which felt really toxic to me. A thought would start with “maybe I do want to have a baby with him” and a paragraph later, she would said “Maybe I don’t want to be with him at all?” It felt like an internal dialogue that she was trying to relate to motherhood, when in reality it was a diary about a relationship that (to me) seemed unhealthy. It reminded me of previous toxic relationships and made me feel really uneasy.

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Educated by Tara Westover

★★★★★

Once I picked this book up, I couldn’t put it down until it was finished. I had to remind myself at times that this book is a memoir, not fiction. The author grew up in a way I couldn’t relate to at all — in the middle of nowhere Utah with family that did not believe in schooling, medicine, and really anything that felt a step outside of their home on the side of the mountain. It started off sounding magical; living in nature, making herbal tinctures, and learning from the world around you… but it was due to delusion, not knowledge. I was fascinated by how her and a few of her siblings were able to step outside of the bubble they knew and create a life for themselves (without even an elementary education).

The most impressive parts of the book were hard to read, about abusive relationships that start before you know what that even means… It felt like I was watching someone learn how to move through life with these scars and learn about herself through them. It was heartbreaking and real. I know this is a book I’ll be reading again in the future.

What are you reading so far this year?

FIVE FILMS

I've watched a lot of great films this year so far and I'd love to share some current favorites with you! I'd love to hear what your current favorites are and/or if you've seen any of the below:

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WORKING GIRL (1988) - trailer

This film really stood out to me when I watched it last month. Working Girl was the first of a series put on by a friend of ours called Working Girls: America's Career Women on Screen (you can watch the trailer for that series, here). If you haven't seen the movie (go watch it!), it's a story about a hardworking women named Tess (Melanie Griffith) who is trying to work her way up the career ladder, only to keep running in to pesky barriers (one example is a sleazy Kevin Spacey, which is surprisingly timely). She's offered one last shot at a job working for Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver), but that comes with its own complications. You'll follow along her journey of career growth, which takes some fun twists and turns. 

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THE SQUARE (2017) - trailer 

If you've seen Force Majeure, you know that Ruben Östlund is incredible at creating worlds where you feel like you're living through someone else's existential crisis. The Square will have you feeling uncomfortable in ways you probably won't be expecting, but not necessarily in a bad way. It's beautifully shot and the way he taps into the senses is extraordinary. This film in particular is about a highly respective museum curator (Claes Bang) who appears perfectly put together, but slowly unravels to show that keeping up with the ideals he curates for the museum isn't that easy when it comes to a busy life. The below scene with Elizabeth Moss was a personal favorite. 

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THE FLORIDA PROJECT (2017) - trailer

This movie was SO REAL. I was blown away. In it, you follow 6-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince as she grows up in a budget motel with her young mom. You mostly see her out with her friends, wreaking havoc around the area. The motel manager, Bobby (Willem Dafoe), is trying his best to make the motel a nice place for tourists, while simultaneously doing more than is expected of him and allowing guests to live there. He has a soft spot for the kids and you'll LOVE him in this film. In the end, it will open your eyes to a situation where right around the corner from Disney World, there are kids that are unable to make that lifestyle a reality. 

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ALL THESE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS (2017) - trailer

About five minutes into this movie, Mark paused it and told me "Just a reminder, this is a documentary." I'm so glad he did because it plays like a narrative! It's unlike anything I've ever seen before. The reason it feels this way is partly because the director (Michal Marczak) is close with the two main subjects in the film, so it feels extremely intimate. You follow the lives of Michal and Krzysztof, two young friends that seems to be part of an endless party. You see them fall in love and fall apart. It's one of the most beautiful things I've watched in a long time. 

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NORMA RAE (1979) - trailer

This film was  also part of the series Working Girls: America's Career Women on Screen. It's about a strong-willed woman named Norma Rae, who takes risks to make the workplace a safer place to be. After multiple examples of poor treatment in the textile factory where she works with both her mother and father, Norma Rae joins a movement to unionize her factory. You'll see some of the struggles it takes to organize a labor union in the film, which is truly eye-opening. We listened to a Q&A with two labor workers in Los Angeles after the screening, which showed us that these conditions still exist today. 

GOODWIN

You can now find my three signature fragrances over at Goodwin, a shop run by an inspiring Nashville-based creative, Elise Joseph. Her shop is beautifully curated, with classic pieces that are eye-catching and minimal. These are items that are timeless and will be loved for years to come. There's truly something for everyone, so make sure to take a look! 

I'm honored to be along side so many talented makers in such a beautiful shop. From their descriptions, which fragrance would you choose?

Fragrance 01  | cedarwood, vetiver, vanilla and black pepper

Fragrance 02 | sandalwood, rose, palo santo, lemon and sage

Fragrance 03 | vetiver, myrrh, sage and lavender

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All photos by Goodwin

All photos by Goodwin

SAY WHEN

I'm so excited to share the first short video I've ever shot and edited! From ideating and creating a moodboard, filming and editing, this was a lot of fun to work on. Thanks to those that helped make this happen below:

Mark Harrison - for teaching me all things editing

Rachel Silkowski - for sharing your wonderful wine with us and for being the perfect wine model

Lisa Garcia - for being an expert wine swirler and stylist for this shoot

Now I'm itching for the next video project. If you want to collaborate, let me know!