Marvel gets it wrong. Perhaps they should have picked up the old Norse Mythology stories before developing the movies. It was because of the Thor comic books that this book exists. Neil Gaiman loved Thor. He loved the comic books and the Norse stories. The books that told the old stories started to disappear, so Gaiman decided to preserve the tales as best as he could and release “Norse Mythology.” In these stories, you’ll find similarities to the Rick Riordan “Magnus Chase” demi-god books. You will even find how wrong Marvel’s Thor Ragnarok was. [Spoiler: In the movie, Hela is Thor and Loki’s older sister. In the mythology, she is Hel, daughter of Loki.] If you want to expand your knowledge of human history, you must read this book. These stories are the old stories of the Northern gods.
Due to be released on January 2, 2018. Imagine on your 18th birthday you can make one wish and it will come true. What would you wish for? That is the question Eldon is faced with as he approaches his wish day. He has no idea what he wants to wish for. His mother wants him to wish for money, so they are not stuck struggling anymore. His sister’s medical bills are breaking them. Maybe he should wish for his sister to be ok, and not comatose. But then again, if he were to do that, the medical community would ask questions. Then the town of Madison’s little secret would be revealed. As Eldon questions what to wish for, he notices something…everyone who made a wish already are unhappy. Their wish did not bring them happiness. He wants everyone to be happy, but what could he possibly wish for that will bring everyone in Madison happiness? You’ll never guess what his wish will be…
[Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.]
As America became the new land people throughout the world immigrated to over the last few centuries, they brought their gods with them. Now, the gods of yesterday (Norse, Egyptian, etc.) battle against the gods of today (the internet, television, etc.) for survival. Shadow is thrown in the middle of this war and he has no idea why the gods have taken an interest in him. Wednesday (Odin) hires him as his driver as they seek out the gods of old to join in the war against the new gods or risk becoming extinct. What no one knows is that there’s a two person con going on. Who are the con men in this story? That is the question. For those who’ve seen the Starz series, this book will give you a sneak peek into next season and what you can look forward to. Excellent story and a great way to learn about the gods of old from all around the world. I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. Also, watch the Starz series if you haven’t yet. Great show![Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on any of the links, I may receive a commission from the sale. That commission goes to help fund this site.]
For those who know me, they know I have a rather large collection of designer handbags. From Céline to Fendi to Valentino and Prada, I have them all. To be honest, I’ve been collecting these designer handbags for over a decade now.
What people do not know is that I rarely pay full price for my bags. I purchase them in some of the most unlikeliest of places. Today, I am going to share with you how I curated my collection.
I do not remember how I came across Fashionphile, but they are responsible for my Hermes, Celine, Valentino, Prada and Balenciaga purchases. In just a few pictures, I’m going to explain how it was possible. As of this writing, this is their current inventory.
For Gucci, here are a few of their bags and pricing.
Not bad, right?
How about Céline?
One of the reasons why I like to use Fashionphile is not only because of these incredible prices for pre-owned merchandise, but also their guarantee that these designer handbags are authentic. You take a gamble with places like Ebay, Tradesy, etc. when it comes to authenticity. Because, you need to know how to spot the real from the fake. You almost need to be an expert these days. With Fashionphile, they take the guesswork out of it and guarantee the authenticity.
Tips before you buy: 1. Check the “Condition” tab. It will give you a clear understanding of the bag’s real condition. The better the condition of the bag, the higher the price. If you can live with the condition stated, go ahead and buy it. 2. If you find something you love, but can’t buy it now, consider the Layaway option.
My best kept secret: They have a LAST CALL! Some of my amazing finds come from their LAST CALL section. Also hit up their outlet, which is hosted on Ebay. I snagged a Fendi pochette on there for $235.
Other places to peruse…if you want to buy a newer bag, but don’t want the price, try Overstock.com. I picked up my favorite Fendi tote bag for $1000. $600 off of the original price. [Warning: They have been known to get a crop of counterfeit bags every now and again. When they discover this, they will reach out to the customer and give them the option of returning it for a full refund…even if you used it.]
Yoox is another go-to spot for all things designer. Check out their sale section.
How about you? What are some of your designer handbag collecting secrets?
[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through that link, this site may receive a commission from the sale. That commission helps to maintain this site and to buy treats for Matthew Lucifer. Thanks for reading and helping this site to grow. We love having you here.]
From the author of Salvage the Bones comes another great American novel set in the rural south of the Gulf Coast of Mississippi where young Jojo lives with his grandparents and baby sister. His white father (Michael) is locked up in the state penitentiary. His mother (Leonie), a drug addict and sometimes mother, is absent from their lives most of the time. This leaves Pop with the duty of teaching Jojo how to become a man, while they take care of Mam, who is dying from cancer. When news comes that it is time for Michael to be released from prison, Leonie decides to take the kids with her, along with a friend, to pick him up. This proves to be a thoughtless decision, because she does not have a mothering bone in her body. This road proves to be a horrible mistake for both Leonie and the children. In the spirit of those deep seeded southern stories of the supernatural and spirits of the dead walking the earth, we find that this family has a special gift. This gift will bond mother and daughter, brother and sister during some of the most challenging times in their lives.
We live in a time where there are very few well written novels entering the market. Jesmyn Ward is one of the most exceptional writers of our modern time. For book collectors, her works should be added to your library. She was added to mine. This book is one of the most important books to read in 2017.
October is a change of seasons for me. It symbolizes summer is indeed over and autumn is finally here. The warmer clothes replace the summer ones. Pumpkins are everywhere and the leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground.
October is a bit of fresh air, a time that marks the beginning of the feast before the famine. We reach for everything sweet before we fill our bellies with turkey. Holiday parties grace our December calendars before the New Year begins and we start our latest diet.
October is the sign of witches, werewolves and goblins coming out to trick or treat. This is the time when the supernatural comes out to scare us and Hollywood takes the front stage.
Each year, I try to come up with a list of the scariest movies we should watch as we count down the days to Halloween. This year, I decided to approach this list a little differently. My task is to teach you a little bit about the classics of horror films by giving you a few suggestions on how you can expand your film education.
Let us begin this journey with Alfred Hitchcock. I began this year’s scary movie binge by focusing on Alfred Hitchcock’s work. He has directed over 70 films. Known as the “Master of Suspense,” he did not always direct scary films.
Back in 1928, he released a silent comedic romance called “The Farmer’s Wife.” It is a story about a farmer that decides to remarry after his daughter marries and leaves the farm. This tale is a complete comedy of errors as he goes from one woman to the next, before realizing the perfect wife was right under his nose the entire time.
Nothing suspenseful or scary about it.
Mr. Hitchcock did not begin his career with suspenseful classics until later. Suspense back then did not mean scary movies. They were usually mystery films. It wasn’t until later when Psycho came into being that suspense turned into terror.
Psycho changed cinema forever. It “opened the floodgates” for screen violence. [How Psycho Changed Cinema] It is the first horror film, as well as the first slasher film in cinema history.
Many horror films that follow pay tribute to Psycho. From the cinematography aspect of shooting in a “first person” perspective, rather than as a detached neutral observer, John Carpenter shot Halloween in that first person format where you can only see what the director wants you to see. He also chose Janet Leigh’s daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, to star in the leading role.
From the musical aspect, the shrieking violins during the shower scene made the crowd jump out of their seats. Stephen Spielberg used music as a way to scare his audience in Jaws like Hitchcock did in Psycho.
As a result of Psycho, Hitchcock changed cinema forever. He followed Psycho with The Birds, another film that still scares people each time they look to the skies and see a swarm of birds.
The Fuck With Your Head Thriller
While Hitchcock changed the course of cinema, one film gave way to putting fear into our minds: the psychological thriller.
The Silence of the Lambs was the first of its kind in that it gave birth to a new way to scare people…by getting into your head and letting the fear take hold of you. There were no jumping out of your seat moments. They planted a seed of terror in your mind and let it grow.
Unlike most horror films, this film contained a few elements that made this movie unique.
When Jodie Foster read “The Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris, she knew instantly this movie had to be brought to the screen. She made a few calls and her project was underway. Because, you see, when Jodie Foster calls about making a film, you not only take the call, you make the movie. That Oscar gives her a lot of clout in Hollywood.
The reason why Foster wanted to bring this film to the screen was because there has never been a female heroine that saves the day. In thrillers and suspense movies, men are always the heroes going in to save the damsel in distress. What if, for once, it was a woman that came in to save the damsel in distress?
That is why she wanted to make this movie.
Jonathan Demme directed the film (he died of cancer this past April). His vision created a brilliant masterpiece that will forever be heralded as one of the best movies of our time. Because of his genius, The Silence of the Lambs went down in history as becoming the first thriller to ever win an Academy Award. And yes, as they were filming this movie, they had that feeling all along the way that this film was going to win.
To add to the level of scary and creepy, a little bizarre and unknown fact is that Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster were never in the same room together. Foster said she was petrified and scared of Hopkins. He kind of creeped her out, so she never allowed herself to be in the same room with him.
What a surprise it was to find out that Hopkins said the exact same thing about her (as to why he never wanted to be in the same room as her).
Of course, you are thinking, “But when she interviews him…they are in the same room.” Technically, no. There was always a wall separating the two of them.
The Silence of the Lambs won for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards. It is the first and only scary movie to win an Oscar.
A most noteworthy characteristic between Psycho and the character Hannibal Lecter is how the audience becomes sympathetic with the devil. Understanding the character creates a unique love and fandom, similar to what you see with Dexter. You are not sure why you like this evil person, you just do. There is a conflict that goes on inside of you. You know you are supposed to hate the bad guy, but you are strangely drawn to him and love him.
Ghosts are a scary subject matter. Movies like The Uninvited (1944) gave way to the concept of the haunted house. Back then, ghosts, monsters, and the supernatural scared people, unlike today where it takes a lot of blood and gore (and lots of violence) to scare people.
In 1999, a 29 year old Indian immigrant created a film that would turn the cinematic world upside down. M. Night Shyamalan released The Sixth Sense. What made this movie so unique was not just the plot twist, but the fact that there was a story within a story that you don’t realize is there until the last few minutes of the film.
Shyamalan changed the way we saw supernatural films. His script for The Sixth Sense is #50 in The Writers Guild’s 101 Greatest Screenplays ever written.
While Shyamalan has gone on to create other incredible stories, none quite compare to his breakout movie.
Over the last hundred years, there are many stories that were created that truly scared people. What scared people in the 1920s is very different from what scares people today. From Mary Shelley penning “Frankenstein” to Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” Hollywood has taken these stories of classic monsters and put them up on the silver screen.
Before Tom Cruise and Brendan Fraser starred in The Mummy, Boris Karloff was the original Mummy. Filmed in 1932, Universal Studios released its third installment of Universal Monsters with one of its scariest monsters to date. Karloff’s role in monster films made him one of the scariest actors in Hollywood.
Prior to The Mummy, Universal released Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931). Karloff also played Frankenstein, the film that propelled him to stardom. With 205 movies to his credit, this man spent almost 40 years scaring the pants off theatergoers.
Like Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, Jr (The Wolf Man) were typecast because of their breakout roles in the monsters universe. They spent the rest of their careers making horror films.
This year’s version of The Mummy is the start of The Dark Universe movies…a resurgence of the famous Universal Monsters. All of these films are remakes of the originals, films that everyone should see before watching the new ones.
Watch the original Universal Monsters films before they are released as The Dark Universe: The Mummy, Bride of Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, Frankenstein, Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.
The Films that Scared Them
Finally, I want to end with a couple of filmmakers that listed the films that scared them. You will be surprised at their list. Some of the movies, you just might be shaking your head in agreement.
Here are the movies Martin Scorsese said scared him: The Haunting, The Isle of the Dead, The Uninvited, The Entity, Dead of Night, The Changeling, The Shining, The Exorcist, Night of the Demon, The Innocents, and Psycho.
[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase a product through any of the links above, I may receive a commission as a result. Those commissions go to help fund this site and buy treats for Matthew Lucifer.]
Due to be released on October 3, 2017. Asha is the Iskari – bringer of death to dragons. As daughter of the dragon king, she hunts down dragons and tries to extinguish the old stories, the poisonous tales that killed her mother. As a child, Asha told the stories to dragons until her mother died. The first dragon wanted her all to himself, but when she said she would not continue the stories, he hunted her down and burned her. The commandant found her and brought her home. As a reward for saving his daughter, the king promised that when she came of age, he could have her hand in marriage. As Asha approaches her 18th birthday, her father allows her a way out of the wedding. Bring him the head of the first dragon, and she is free. As she begins the hunt, the old gods begin to visit her in her dreams and set her upon a mission that will reveal the truth about everything that happened to her, the dragons and the kingdoms around her.
An incredible tale of courage that challenges you to question everything you’ve ever been told. Sometimes the real enemy can be the person you trust the most.
[Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a commission.]
I was growing tired of reading about everyone’s problems. It got to the point where book after book I reviewed were about people with very deep issues. I needed a break from these real life stories, so I went through my stack of October releases and pulled out a very special book from the pile, “Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow” by Jessica Townsend.
I flipped to the first page where the publisher wrote a special note about this publication. In the letter to the reader, she pens that when she received this title, it was right after the election. Everywhere she went, she could not escape the political conversations that took over our popular culture. Frankly, she was exhausted of it.
This book hit her desk and something magical happened. It provided her with a world to which she could escape to. “And what a delicious escape it was,” she said.
After reading her words, I hoped it would provide me with that same escape as I turned the pages of Townsend’s book. She wasn’t lying.
First of all, I cannot wait until the next book. I hate that I ever had to put this story down or that this story came to an end.
I keep this book out on my console table. Every single time I look at the cover, I think of how this was such a wonderful story. I remember how it made me feel…wonderful.
Out of all of the amazing books I read this year, this book quickly went to the top as my favorite read of the year. It is #1 on my list this year, and I read a lot this year. This tale marks #49 for me in 2017. [You can see all of the books I read this year in the PW book club.]
Throughout the book, I tried to guess the ending. I thought maybe I had everything figured out until the last 30 pages. In the end, I discovered I really had no idea what was so special about Morrigan Crow.
Most noteworthy, Townsend kept that secret until the end. As a result of the way she ended the book, I went a little crazy when I realized there is currently no second book.
I felt like I needed that next book, just like I needed all seven books of Harry Potter just to see how it would all end. All throughout the book I wondered if Morrigan was really a cursed child. Is she the girl that everyone told her she was? Or is there something special about her? What is her knack?
This story will make you despise each time you have to put the book down because the world is still revolving. You will cringe each time you have to step out of Nevermoor and back into our universe. As a result of turning that last page, you will feel a slight madness, because the most marvelous story in our world has momentarily come to an end.
You will feel sad and feel a slight withdrawal. Hence, you will need to go cold turkey from one of the best highs you’ve ever had. This is probably something only bibliophiles go through each time they must walk away from an incredible story.
Do you understand now why this book became my favorite read of the year? I felt all of those emotions.
I was in a space where I felt safe from other people’s problems. Nor did I have to hear about the apocalypse day in and day out. I could live in Nevermoor with Morrigan and Jupiter North like an illegal alien hiding away in a magical hotel with a ginormous cat that can talk, a vampire dwarf (or was it dwarf vampire?), an opera singer, and an adventurer. I could run around with Morrigan and her dragon riding friend as they prepared for their trials.
To have it all come to a crashing end…I need more.
Seems like the main problem for me right now is that the book is not released yet. It comes out on Halloween (or Hallowmas) 2017. That means I have to wait for any follow up book for God knows how long. So now I must continue my search for the next great read until Townsend’s next book. I think for 2017, it will be very hard to match Nevermoor.
Nevermoor is similar to Harry Potter in many ways. First of all, this is not a story about witchcraft. Magic? Yes, but rather in a special magical place we, as children, wish to escape to when the world becomes difficult.
When you feel alone and like no one cares about you or loves you, this book allows you to see the world through a different microscope. Rather than believing you have no one who believes in you, you find the exact opposite. There are people across this universe who are reaching out to you to let you know that you are not alone. They are there trying to help us.
When we are trying to discover who we are in the grand scheme of things, sometimes it is not our talents (or knacks) we should be so focused upon. Maybe we should be focused on our gifts and becoming the person we know we are inside.
That is the whole purpose of books like Harry Potter and Nevermoor. They teach us that we are never alone, no matter how scary things get.
This book is set to be released on October 31, 2017. Pre-order it immediately. You will not regret diving into this book.
[Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the links, I may receive a commission.]
Due to be released on Halloween 2017 (or shall I say “Hallowmas”). In the advanced copy I received, the publisher said that this book came to her shortly after the election last year. She needed a place to escape and this book became a wonderful escape. I have to say that I agree with her. I’ve read many amazing books this year, but this one quickly became my favorite one of the year (so far). Meet Morrigan Crow. She’s cursed. Every single thing that goes wrong is blamed on her. On Eventide, all cursed children are killed. As the hour approaches for her death, a strange gingered hair man arrives to take her away to a place where she cannot be killed on Eventide. That land is called Nevermoor and here, Morrigan has been selected to become part of the Wundrous Society. There are many applicants, but only nine places available. They only accept those with the best knack. As Morrigan goes through each trial, she wonders what her knack is. She has no idea, only her patron knows what that is. With the Stink (cops) breathing down their neck because they know Morrigan is an illegal in their republic, Morrigan must face her fears and win each trial in order to stay in Nevermoor. If she doesn’t secure a spot, she could be killed if she is sent home. The problem though for Morrigan is that the final test is the Show Trial, where she is supposed to present her knack to everyone. She doesn’t have a knack. The ending will surprise you. I absolutely love this book and hope you will enjoy it as much as I have. It’s a world you want to escape to.
[Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a commission.]
An incredible debut novel from Jenny Zhang. This book is a collection of stories from Chinese immigrants in Queens, New York. This is not for the faint of heart. In our political climate today, there is a bit of arrogance that goes along with the immigration experience. People assume all immigrants (both legal and illegal) show up and begin using welfare the second they arrive. The people in this book are too proud to live on handouts. They live in complete squalor. Five families sleep in a room together in an apartment run by a slumlord. The building should be torn down, but these families live together, sleeping in one room, just trying to make it. They are literally working 18+ hours a day, going to school, taking ESL classes, and starving just to make it in America. They live in extreme poverty in the most inhumane conditions. Reading these stories, you have to ask why this dream was better than their previous life. Each story tells of parents that chose to live in extreme poverty and take a chance that they could make it in America, rather than go back to China. They had a better chance of surviving in America…and that says something. This book is a must read to understand immigration in America in a totally different light.
Stay With Me is one of the most phenomenal books of 2017. Written by Ayobami Adebayo, this debut novel takes us to Nigeria where we are introduced to Yejide and Akin. Yejide and Akin are happily married, but are missing one thing…a baby. Akin’s mother begins to pester the couple about an heir before bringing members of the community to their door to suggest Akin take on another wife to produce an heir. Yejide is infuriated. She does not want to live in a polygamous household. She is so desperate to have a baby, she seeks the help of shaman. When she leaves the mountain she believes she is pregnant. Her belief is so strong that her body starts to fake her pregnancy. Akin becomes worried about her and her sanity. He begins to accuse her of betraying her until nine months later, there is no baby. A year goes by and still there is no baby. Akin goes to great lengths to give Yejide what she wants, even if that means destroying their marriage in the end. This book is a powerful novel about love and marriage. It shows how other forces can interfere and ruin marriages all for the sake of an heir. They blame the wife as if all infertility is her problem, not realizing that the issue may lie with the husband. A very sad, but incredible story. A must read for 2017.
[Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a commission.]
A Special Note from the Editor
Fashion. Books. Home. Food. DIY. These are all things this site promises to deliver, but it has not really lived up to doing just that. Or perhaps, it was something I always wanted to deliver, but needed some sort of direction on how I would deliver that to you.
When people ask me about this site, I never really passionately talk about it. Perfectionist Wannabe has not been in a place I was proud of yet. I was honest about that with the people I met. I did not know how to find that sweet spot where I was content with what I was putting out there.
So I went on a mission to discover what exactly I loved about magazines. Blogs were no longer the answer to what I was looking for.
The Bold Type
As I flipped through a stack of magazines, Freeform’s The Bold Type, a show about three young women working for a fashion magazine, played in the background. The show centers around a writer, a secretary turned stylist, and a social media director. As the girls go from one disaster to another, it is the wisdom of their editor that resonates.
1) Write from your own perspective in life.
2) Print is dying. The electronic age is making print media obsolete, so it is important to focus only on that.
Taking these two points, I began to see a clearer vision of what I wanted.
To get a better handle on how book reviews should be done, I went to the best source: O Magazine. As I read through the book reviews, I saw the importance of writing about experiencing the book. Describing feelings eloquently is what ultimately gets people to read a book.
I read about one reviewer’s morning before she even sat down to read the book. She made me experience her morning with her. There was nothing extraordinary about it. Her morning was a regular morning, just like anyone else’s morning. But by the time she sat down to read the book, I wanted to read whatever she was reading, even though she told me so little about the book.
What made this particular review stand out is that it was written incredibly well. That is the beauty in writing a good review. The writer made me see reviews, not just book reviews, in a whole new light.
Finally, it began to occur to me what I was unhappy with. I was dissatisfied with the voice I used on this site. I was mimicking other bloggers and what they were doing instead of focusing on what I ultimately wanted to do with this site.
In the back of my mind, my friends who are well read, played in the back of my mind. Their comments on fast literature (i.e. the books saturating our market), started to bring me down. As much as I shared their opinions on great literature, it made me ask if what I write is great literature. Would they even think I was good enough?
This is where that sense of wanting to be perfect comes in. There is that fear of never being good enough for my friends to recommend my work to others. They are brutally honest (which I respect and need). What if what I was doing did not live up to their standards?
In our opinion, discovering an author or a book that is well written is difficult to find these days. If you think about blogs in this context, it is not so often you will come across a lot of well written blogs.
Magazines and newspapers house many of the best writers that live up to these standards. Yet, these types of publications are failing because of the saturation of mediocre or poorly written content flooding the market. That means there are a lot of incredible writers out there that go undiscovered by the masses.
There are a lot of blogs out there I love that are both inspiring and beautiful. I like their brand. Even though many of these bloggers are the first of their kind in their niche markets, there are many who try to emulate that same voice, which in turn creates a problem. That brand’s voice is copied, and then it becomes overdone, watering down the original voice. I know, because this site started to do the same thing. I ultimately did not want that.
The direction this site lacked was always something very simple. It was missing my voice and the way I wanted to write and present my views of the world. I spent too much time trying to be like the other bloggers. As a result, I forgot why I created this site to begin with…to share my own adventure into learning how to be a better version of myself.
A Sense of Direction
Most noteworthy of this entire adventure are the opportunities that presented itself to me over these past few years. From Martha Stewart’s American Made to Tribeca Film Festival to Book Expo America (BEA), the universe gave me every single tool I needed to discover how to create my vision for Perfectionist Wannabe.
As a result of those experiences, I learned that even though I believe I am not doing enough, the industry communicated the exact opposite. Publishers explained to me at BEA that I was doing the right thing. I did exactly what they were looking for in order to work with them. They decided who they were allowing into the BEA this year, and I was among the select few they allowed in. [Of all the publishers I spoke with, they only counted three bloggers that were allowed to attend, unlike previous years where the expo was saturated with bloggers.]
What all of these incredible experiences tell me is that I was always on the right track.
I finally had an AHA! moment somewhere between flipping through the magazines and binge watching The Bold Type. This site is my resumé. In the end, this site is about a brand. These past few years of discovery was about defining that brand. That is the only thing it’s been about. In a sense, this site is turning into a better version of itself.
So what can you look forward to? Better content. More continuous posts. A more active social media experience. Better inspiration. More importantly, my voice.
On a hot, muggy summer day in Bangkok, I crossed a bridge over a highway, following my mother and aunt to catch a bus. Locals sold their wares along the sidewalk. From lychee fruit to shoes, they lined up along the busy highway, selling their goods to passersby.
At this moment, my aunt believed it was time for me, at nine years old, to own my first handbag. We walked up to a vendor who displayed purses both big and small in an ocean of colors on a large blanket. There was only one that caught my eye. A little thing it was, but the only one I could see in a sea of handbags.
I pointed to it, “That one.”
My aunt asked for the price. “50 baht,” the man replied.
She did not have 50 baht on her at the time. She tried to haggle the price down, but the man saw my face and knew there was no way I was walking away without that purse. He stood firm, “50 baht.”
My aunt turned to me and pointed to the other bags. There must be another bag I was interested in. I pointed to the bag again. “I want that one.”
My mother intervened and tried to convince me that any purse was better than that one. I responded, “It is that one or none of them.”
She tried again, but I would not hear it. I walked off and had the only tantrum to this day I still remember. My mother tried to go after me, but I kept walking. I left them both behind.
Ten minutes later, my mother and aunt walk towards me with a black bag in hand. Inside is that little red purse. The man finally agreed to lower his price after others started chastising him for refusing to haggle.
Asking For What You Want
I should have felt guilty for what I put them through, but there was something about that cherry red purse. This was my way of finally getting what I wanted. Up until that moment, every time I tried to voice what I wanted, I was shot down. So I tried to take others into consideration. I would tell them what I wanted by guessing what they desired for me. Instead of choosing what I really wanted, I always picked something I did not want, because I felt bad asking for anything. Actually, I felt bad for wanting something different than what they were willing to give to me.
This was the first time I ever vocalized what I truly wanted and stood my ground. To be told no and to pick something else, I did not want to hear it. I had enough of it. I felt in that moment I was asked to be truthful, and then told I could not have it. That is a horrible thing to do to a child, especially if you know they never get what they want. I always chose something less, instead of the only thing on the shelf I was eyeing with a fierce passion.
When I was very young, my father bought me a cheeseburger Happy Meal every Sunday after church. I hated cheeseburgers, but I sat there every Sunday pretending I was happy to the point I was sick to my stomach. When I was old enough to see chicken nuggets were the same price as cheeseburgers, I asked my father if I could get that instead. He responded, “But you love cheeseburgers.”
I sat down at the table and tried not to cry. I vocalized what I wanted and was told I loved something else, when it was far from the truth. I really hated cheeseburgers. Just like cheeseburgers, I was being told along that Bangkok highway what I wanted when it was far from the truth.
The Little Red Purse Grows Up
As I grew older, I cherished that little red purse, but it started to become smaller and smaller. New bags caught my eye as my needs and desires changed. In my twenties, I fell in love with couture and Valentino. Seeing Valentino’s work was like being a voyeur in an orgasmic release of a man making love to the beauty of a woman and the end result was the most elaborate gowns you will ever feast your eyes upon. That was art.
His signature color is red, just like my first handbag. So it was only fitting that this year, as I contemplated which couture bag to add to my collection, I would stumble upon an adult version of my little red handbag. There she was…a Valentino couture red patent leather handbag equipped with little roses, just like my first handbag. This was the ultimate upgrade to my first, the one that started it all.
While there are women who race to purchase the rockstud collection from Valentino, I added a piece that means more to me than just a passing fad in our fast fashion world. When I saw it, I did not look at the price tag. I just added it to my cart. This bag was the little red purse I outgrew so many years ago. It had all of a sudden grown up. A piece of my childhood resurfaced in the form of Valentino, the designer who opened my eyes to the beauty of fashion embedded in each thread and embellishment.
Over the years of collecting vintage and couture handbags, I learned the importance of choosing the right bag for my collection. In the beginning, I bought what I could afford from each designer, instead of waiting to buy the bag I truly loved. I found that I should always buy the one that speaks to me, the ones I fall in love with the first time I lay eyes upon it.
It is just like that little red purse from Bangkok. It was the only one I wanted and no other handbag would do. It was that bag or nothing. Why? Because just like falling in love, when you see the one you love, in that moment you’ve fallen, there is no one else in that great sea. All you can see is that one and no one else will do.
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This book is set to be released on September 19, 2017. Exploring the dysfunctional family dynamic, Peery takes us into the lives of the Campbell family. Just how does a family become dysfunctional? Does the book ever find an answer? No, but then again, maybe it does. For those who come from families struggling to love each other, this book helps you to see that a) you are not alone, and b) there are people out there who have it worse than you do. Or perhaps you may see yourself and your own family in these pages. You may ask how you can escape going down this same path. If anything, this book is eye opening in that it helps us look within our own pain to find some sanity in the place where the pain hurts the worst…the wrongs committed against us by the people we are supposed to love and they are supposed to love us…our family. [Review]
The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs explores the dysfunctional family dynamic. Not everyone comes from a perfect, loving and caring family. There are many that come from screwed up parents, disturbing childhoods, and neglectful guardians. Many that come from a dysfunctional family question just where everything went wrong. Why are they so screwed up?
Janet Peery takes a look into the lives of one dysfunctional family, the Campbells. The family consists of a former judge (Abel), his stay at home wife (Hattie) and their six children.
With Abel retired from the bench, and Hattie taking care of him, the story revolves around their final years after Abel turns 80. With one child dead and the rest with a long history of problems that range from substance abuse addictions, arrests, DUIs and estrangement, each child continues the cycle that contributes to the perfect dysfunctional family, one that is always at odds with each other with no end in sight.
How did they get this way? Was it the parents? Did something horrible happen in their youth that made them make such poor, destructive decisions? Were they neglected? Just what was it that made them utterly hate, yet love each other?
The youngest, Billy, should have died long before. He is HIV+ and is slowly deteriorating. He spends most of his life trying to find any drug he can get his hands on. He is a ‘masseuse,’ which is what pays the bills for crappy tenements he believes are luxurious, even if it is downtrodden, covered in trash and rat infested.
He relies too much on his 80 year old mother to help pay for his prescriptions, bills, rent, and addictions. He is in and out of rehab more times than anyone can count, yet no one really helps him out except his mother. He is the brother they know is killing their mother, but they try to forget he exists.
The eldest daughter is an academic that stays far away from home. She lives out on the East Coast and travels home only a few times a year. Another brother is a drunk and stays away from everyone most of the time, including his own children. The middle child always screams for attention and feels like everyone is being taken care of except her. The eldest boy, a recovering alcoholic, always has a hard time letting go of things that hurt him. He keeps them around, hoping in a way that everything will get better, but never does.
They not only squabble with each other, but they all have to deal with their father, Abel. He may be respected in their hometown, but in their home, he is the reason why their family is this way. With the insults he throws at them, making them feel like they will never amount to anything or be good enough, that is why this family is in pieces.
Hattie, though, is part of the problem. Between showing too much love and affection towards the youngest child who takes advantage of her, and enabling all of the wrong things…her children are basically left to fend for themselves, and have no idea how to do that, so they turn to drugs and alcohol so they don’t have to think about it.
I grew up in a dysfunctional home. Looking deep inside a dysfunctional home to try to understand where everything went wrong so that you can stop repeating the same mistakes is a difficult task. You have to make decisions, including the tough ones that make you look like the selfish one, when all you are trying to do is survive.
Not everyone wants to live a life of pain. Everyone deserves some happiness in their lives. It’s that little bit of happiness that the Campbell family is trying to find. There is a source to their unhappiness, tied to them by blood and obligation. They will never be rid of it.
The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs is well written and explores the side of family most fear to look into. For those who are hurting, this book may give you the answers you’ve been looking for in finding where the wrongs are in your family, or maybe it won’t, because the Campbells never really figure out how to be free from that pain.
In the end, it’s really about choice. You can’t fix a wrong by committing another wrong. You can’t fix what happened or how someone made you feel by drowning in drugs or alcohol. You can’t fix it, but you can choose to let go of the pain and be the change. You can find happiness, but that means you need to learn to let go of all the wrongs.
The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs is set to be released on September 19, 2017.[Pictured in photo: Rebecca Minkoff studded handbag. Similar.]
Due to be released September 26, 2017. Imagine Guardians of the Galaxy meets Doctor Who, and you have Farway Gaius McCarthy and his band of misfits scavenging for priceless artifacts throughout time aboard their ship, Invictus. From the Titanic to the Library of Alexandria, Far and his friends steal precious items for clients until things begin to go wrong. Far was born outside of time. His mother gave birth to him on board the ship while they were traveling between Ancient Rome and 2354 A.D. As a result, it created a disastrous ripple effect in the universe. The universe now needs to set things straight, even if that includes destroying all traces of Farway in every dimension he exists. An excellent read and incredible adventure worth following as Far and his friends travel through time together, trying to escape being erased from existence.
It’s that time of year when women across America start thinking about their back to
school fall wardrobe. What is wonderful about transitioning from summer to autumn is that we can still wear some of those summer favorites into the fall months. All we have to do is add a layer or two, a fall color and we’re good to go.
Consider adding an autumnal color to a bright yellow jumpsuit. Add a sweater or sweatshirt to a light flowing skirt. Throw on a moto jacket over a maxi dress or throw a pair of cropped or leather pants underneath.
Here are my picks for items under $50 from the site boohoo.com. They have such cute stuff. I was completely surprised by how cheap everything was. My friend has a rule: Everything she buys must be $25 or under. This site passed her test in so many ways.
Make sure to check out their shoes while you are there (especially the sneakers). You can find cheaper versions of Miu Miu and Gucci classic sneakers for next to nothing!
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This book is set to be released on September 5, 2017. Have you ever wondered about your significant other’s previous lover? Have you ever compared yourself to her? In this book, the protagonist obsesses a little too much over her husband’s first wife. She tries to calculate how many times they had sex. Was she happy in the beginning? Was she better than her? But then again, don’t we all think these things? This book explores the second wife’s mind, while she fails to focus on her own marriage and the poor decisions she makes. Sooner or later she finds herself as the former wife when she makes one too many mistakes. A very quick read (i.e. you can finish it in one sitting).
I really love this series. In book three of Kevin Kwan’s “Crazy Rich Asians,” Ah Ma is dying. Everyone descends upon Tyersall Hall to say goodbye and stake their rights in the Will. Nick and Astrid find themselves banished from their ancestral home. It takes a couple of servants to sneak them in to see Ah Ma one last time before she dies. What erupts afterward is the same old drama. They fight over what will happen next with their legacy. Astrid is plunged into a sex tape scandal and could lose custody of her son. Nick is trying to amend past wrongs with Ah Ma and keep her legacy alive. Eddie is his usual, “It’s all about me. Pay attention to me.” Kitty is trying to destroy her step-daughter, Colette, the same woman behind Rachel’s poisoning in book two. Colette has also found an upgrade and a way back into society, but she’s looking at it from a global scale after her humiliation in China. All in all, it’s your basic everyday billionaire drama. You know, the kind of tabloid gossip you can’t look away from. It’s Gossip Girl Asian style.[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a commission.]