Books · Favorites · food · Non-Fiction

Book Review: Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

According to Chef Lee, the best way to get to know someone is to eat the food that they eat. Not only do you learn about their personal tastes, but you develop a deeper connection to them and where they came from. This is exactly the notion that Lee chased when he began travelling all over the country, in search of American immigrants and the food and stories that they bring to the table.

In Buttermilk Graffiti we’re introduced to Lee and his own background as a Korean American chef with one foot in the deep South, the other firmly rooted in his family heritage. On his journey he takes us everywhere from New Orleans to learn about beignets, Connecticut to learn about smen, West Virginia to sample slaw dogs, and Louisville for some down-home goodness. And that’s only the beginning. The point of his journey was not only to taste delicious foods, but to learn about how they’ve evolved, if at all. How did authentic Korean food come to be in Montgomery, Alabama? How did Brighton Beach become a haven for Russian immigrants? At times, the answers he recieveonly inspire a dozen more questions.

Sometimes he’s the odd man out, other times he blends in flawlessly. That’s both the beauty and (sometimes) ugliness of American culture. Throughout his travels, Lee gives a voice to the other odd ones out, the ones who have much to say, share, and cook about. The ones who so seldom actually get a voice.

This was not only an inspiring and creative story about food, but an incredibly insightful look into the lives of who really makes up the melting pot that is America.

Books · Favorites · Non-Fiction

Book Review: My Life in France by Julia Child



This book…I don’t even know how to begin explaining the love affair I’ve been having with this book the past few weeks.

As someone with formal culinary training and a background in pastry, obviously I have a passion for food. One of my early influences, back when I was first learning my way around the kitchen, was Julia Child. Most people my age had never even heard of Julia, but as soon as I discovered episodes of her old cooking shows, I fell in love with her knowledge and appreciate of le cuisine de France, and, of course, her fun personality. Reading this book was just like discovering her and my love of cooking all over again.

The book recounts Julia’s life during the years she lived in France and her journey from kitchen novice to television chef. She talks of her time spent training at Le Cordon Bleu, wandering the outdoor markets of Paris, and the hours she spent in her tiny apartment kitchen. She then recounts the years spent writing and testing recipes for her cookbooks, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes I and II. If there was ever any doubt, Julia was, indeed, a master in all things classical French.


I looooved reading about Julia’s early years in France – the wonder and excitement of discovering a new city, new cuisine, and a new language. Her experiences are described so vividly that it’s easy to feel like you were right there with her. (I will admit, as someone who’s already been wanderlusting after France for years, this book only intensified it.)

I also loved reading about the people in Julia’s inner circle, from her friends and family back in America to all the influential culinarians (including James Beard!) who helped her along the way. Her wit and sense of humor are interjected throughout, along with stories of not only success, but her failures, as well. Part of her charm lies in the fact that not only was she an incredibly talented and dedicated woman, but she was humble, as well.

I’m glad this book exists so that Julia can continue to inspire, despite the fact that she’s no longer with us. Bon Appetit!

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Non-Fiction · Young Adult

Top Ten Tues: Best Books I’ve Read in 2018

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday again! (TTT is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’d like to participate, a list of the weekly themes can be found here.) This week’s topic is “Best Books I’ve Read in 2018.” Sounds like an easy one, right? WRONG. I’ve read so many good books in the past six months that I don’t even know where to begin.

I actually did a post on my favorites of 2018 (so far) about a month ago, but I’ve read several other great books since then, so here’s the updated list:

The Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab


To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo


Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman


Robots vs. Fairies (Anthology)

The Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire


Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Books · Non-Fiction

Book Review: How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

It’s Monday…


Let’s start off this week with a book review, shall we?


My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 

Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.

(via Goodreads)

After reading Jenny Lawson’s books at the end of last year I told myself that I would read more memoirs and non-fiction. I feel like Caitlin Moran’s book was a good first choice for 2018. How to Be a Woman takes a deeper look at some of the bullshit that women are subjected to on a regular basis. Sexuality, lingerie, the impracticality of heels and handbags, relationships, pornography, and the pressure to have children are just a few of the topics she dissects with a witty and sometimes outraged approach.

While I did not agree on every viewpoint Moran made (which is fine, because she even points out how it’s okay to challenge each other’s feminist ideals when necessary), I enjoyed what she had to say. This book proves that despite the progress we’ve already made, feminists still have a ways to go.

Be prepared to chuckle while having the truth slapped across your face. You know, in a good way.

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Non-Fiction

Currently Reading

Thank you for the well wishes yesterday. I’m still battling with the infection, as the antibiotics I was prescribed don’t appear to be helping much. Blergh. I spoke with my doctor’s office today, however, and hopefully things will be better soon.

I started reading two different books this week. Given how much time I’ve had to read, one book didn’t seem like enough. 😛


So far I am enjoying both books. After reading Jenny Lawson’s books at the end of last year, I told myself that I need to read more memoirs/non-fiction. Cailtin Moran’s book is my first of 2018.


What are you reading this week?

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Non-Fiction

Book Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I didn’t need to buy another book, I really didn’t. However, after finishing Furiously Happy, I had to read Jenny Lawson’s first book. I had to. The universe demanded it. Who am I to say no to the universe like that?

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a memoir, sharing the mortifying, bizarre, and hilarious things that have happened throughout Lawson’s life. It’s different than Furiously Happy, as in mental health is not the sole focus of each chapter, but it’s still a present topic throughout.

I loved getting to read more about Jenny’s life antics. Even her more serious stories will make you laugh out loud and wonder what the hell you just read. (There were a few evenings in which I laughed out loud while laying in bed reading this book. Boyfriend may or may not have been trying to sleep next to me. He is now most likely questioning why he ever asked me to move in with him.)

The book has more stories about Lawson’s fondness for bad taxidermy, the “joys” of motherhood, the zombie apocalypse, her pets, and the time she overdosed on laxatives during a home invasion…just to name a few highlights.

I swear, this woman is my new hero. I fucking love her.

Books · Non-Fiction

Currently Reading (and 2018 Reading Goals)

Happy New Year, lovely readers! I hope everyone had a safe, happy New Years Eve celebration, whether you were out partying or staying home with family. We had a quiet night at home with the fur babies, beer, and a few episodes of Black Mirror.

Keeping with the Monday tradition, here’s what I am currently reading:


Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is Jenny Lawson’s first book. Since I loved Furiously Happy I knew I had to read this book and see if it’s nearly as good. (So far it is.) I am also still trudging my way through Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. It’s taking me a little longer than expected, as it’s super long and a bit slow at times.

Since it’s the start of a brand new year it’s time for new reading goals! I was pretty pleased with how well I did with my reading goals last year, so this year I’m going to aim a little higher. Last year I wanted to read 30 books (I managed 36!). This year’s goal is to read a minimum of 40. I don’t get much more particular than that with my goals. I know some people like to do challenges where they read a certain amount of books from a particular genre or read only new releases. I don’t like to do these kinds of challenges though, as what books I choose to read are largely based on what mood I am in at the time.



Did you set any reading goals for yourself? How many books do you think you’ll read in 2018?

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Fiction · Non-Fiction · Young Adult

Favorite Reads of 2017

  • Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – Brilliant. Asolutely fucking brilliant. Jenny Lawson may have changed my life with this one.
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – I really enjoyed all of the books in the series, but this one grabbed me the most. The complexity of the relationship between Feyre and Rhysand was awesome. I loved the way they understood each other and learned how to help and lean on each other after going through such traumatic events. Their story was way more than I anticipated.
  • Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – Rothfuss is an amazing storyteller. The detail and history that make up Kvothe’s story are definitely worth a read. I’m still waiting on the last book to come out, but I have no doubt that it’s going to be something epic.
  • Shadow and Seas by Colleen Oakes – I devoured parts 2 and 3 of the Wendy Darling series faster than any other books this year. Oakes managed to improve the beloved tale of Peter Pan and then some. It was a beautiful world and an even more beautiful story, even with it’s sinister twists. I cried a little on the inside when I finished these because I didn’t want them to be over.
Adult · Book Reviews · Books · mental health · Non-Fiction

Mini Book Review: Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself

I dislike self-help books. I’ve mentioned it enough times on my blog now that I won’t make you suffer through that rant again…Seriously though, why are self-help books usually so text-book like? Odds are, if you have a problem you already know what the problem is. You don’t need someone over-explaining anxiety to you. In fact, that in itself is likely to cause more anxiety. OMG, ARE WE GETTING GRADED ON THIS?!?! I DIDN’T STUDY.

Recently, during one of my frustrating visits to the self-help aisle, I picked up this tiny book:


It’s a compendium of stories and self-revelations submitted to by its readers. If you know me personally you are probably laughing right now, given that this is so not me. I am not the spiritual or enlightened type. I hate dislike yoga and anything that is remotely new-agey. I’ve never even been to and I don’t want my chi cleansed. When I saw the title and cover of this book I almost put it immediately back on the shelf. Given that I was in a messy state that evening, having just lost my cat, I clearly wasn’t thinking properly. I flipped through a few of the stories, expecting them to be spiritual and full of all those things I typically scoff at, but was incorrect. (Funny how things can surprise you when you let go of your preconceived notions for a moment, no?) Enough of what I saw resonated with me that I decided to bite the bullet and just take the tiny little Buddha book home with me…and hide it so that nobody would laugh.

The stories shared in this book all share a common theme: learning to love and accept yourself. They’re about letting go of negativity, embracing your flaws, learning to be comfortable in your own skin, and letting go of the need to seek approval from others. I won’t say that this book changed my life of anything, but some of the stories definitely spoke to me and offered good advice. This is definitely a good tool to refer to when I am having a bad body image day or being hard on myself.

I recommend checking it out if you’re ever in need of a boost.