… so, I finished “Party of One”.

I’ve never been one of those people that say “do you remember when MTV used to play music videos?” because, by the time I got on the MTV-watching-bandwagon, that wasn’t really happening anymore. I started watching MTV when “The Real World” already had a few seasons under its belt… dating shows like “Next” and, uh, the others were happening.. and there was a lot of other types of”original content” that had nothing to do with music. Except for TRL.

If we want to talk about TV shows that defined my early teenage years that is definitely one of them. “Trading Spaces” on TLC, all of the teenager related TV shows like “Saved by the Bell”, “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, “Boy Meets World”, “Blossom”.. “Dawson’s Creek”, “Gilmore Girls”, “Buffy”, “3d Rock from the Sun”……. and ,of course, TRL. Back then it was the only way I could follow some of my favorite music artists. We didn’t have YouTube, we didn’t have as many gossip sites as we have now… and, honestly, we didn’t get as many of the magazines that were available to American teenagers back then. So I relied on MTV to provide me with as much information about my faves as possible. Back then my VCR was my best friend. And to this day I still distinctly remember how excited I was to record Backstreet Boys’ music video “Show me the meaning of being lonely”…. but not really watching it again on tape because of how sad it made me at the time. I will always remember liking Hanson in spite of MmmBop’s video (I still remember how many m’s it had… and I remember the lyrics as if I’d learned them just yesterday), not really understanding what all the fuss was about Limp Bizkit and thinking they weren’t that great to begin with…. being excited to see artists like Pearl Jam and Radiohead and Foo Fighters on the countdown whenever it happened and even if it didn’t happen more than once. Needless to say both MTV and TRL were a huge part of my life.

… so, I finished “Party of One”. I wanted it mostly for the MTV tidbits and to get a behind the scenes look into a big part of my teens, from one of its protagonists.. but reading about his life was very interesting anyway and I’m glad I requested it for review. It was an easy-to-get-into read.. and I finished it in one sitting.

Did you watch TRL as religiously as I did?

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

… so, I finished “The More of Less”.

First of all, I will apologize if all you’re getting lately are just book reviews. Honestly, it was my main motivation to start a blog, but I did intend it to have sixes and nines and I promise I will focus more on sixes and nines in the future. However, when this book came along in the Blogging for Books website I couldn’t pass it up. I’ve been thinking about minimalism and living a minimalist lifestyle for a while now. Although I have no real attachment to most of my material belongings, I tend towards collecting….. “tend to” might be mild. Uhh, hello, my name is Elisa and I have hoarding tendencies. I like to save things “for later, because I’m sure I’ll use it eventually“. Specially crafts. I watched three videos on weaving baskets out of magazines… I didn’t have any magazines then…. so now I have 5 magazines ready to be turned into baskets buuuut I’ve moved on. Why don’t I throw out the magazines, you say? Well, what if I want to weave the baskets tomorrow? So, this book.. it seemed perfect. It did. But, remember how I don’t like to be indoctrinated?

I failed to do my research thoroughly. The author is Christian. I have absolutely no problem with religions, with religious people or with religious life… but I. don’t. like. to. be. indoctrinated. In this case, it’s my mistake for not going on Amazon and reading more about it – heck, it made it on the Christian Books and Bibles best sellers list. The book has their story, as well as other peoples’ stories, of everyone’s path towards minimalism. It was ok to read their stories – I skipped the religious parts – and it was an easy read while in a crowded mall waiting for my friends to show up. I did finish it in one sitting but only mostly  because I found myself skipping pages and pages at a time.

… so, I finished “The More of Less” and I expected to at least be able to “craft a personal, practical approach to decluttering your home and life” but I still don’t know exactly what to do. I didn’t see myself in any of the stories and I didn’t feel particularly inspired to keep looking. Maybe I should’ve just bought Mari Kondo’s book.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

… so, I finished “America’s Best Breakfasts”

If I had to choose, I’m about 65% sure that breakfast food is my favorite food ever. Pancakes, waffles, fried eggs, sausage, bacon, milk and cereal, bread with coffee… plus other traditionally Dominican breakfast dishes I’m not sure you’d know of. Mashed plantains with fried salami, for example, plus a sunny-side-up egg right on top of the mashed plantains. I would eat breakfast food any time.. all day, every day. In fact, I often have breakfast for dinner.

However… for some inexplicable reason, I barely eat breakfast at the time you’re supposed to. Something about not being able to eat any solids before 10am when I was a kid/teenager.. and now that I can eat at 5am if I wanted to, since I’m not used to it, I never count it as a part of my morning routine so I never save up enough time to cook breakfast. It usually means I get to work and either buy a toasted ham and cheese sandwich or freshly baked bread (used to be butter bread, now it’s whole wheat), or just don’t eat breakfast at all and wait until mid-morning to eat a snack. This is something I want to change. I want to eat breakfast in the morning, when you’re “supposed” to! Not just for yummy reasons but for health reasons, too. So I figured a recipe book full of breakfast ideas would be a wonderful thing to have.

… so, I finished “America’s Best Breakfasts” and, uhh, I think these are “breakfast for dinner” recipes. Some take way too long to prepare (I don’t have enough time in the mornings) and some use weird ingredients I don’t really wanna eat so early in the morning, know what I mean? Still, it’s a good book to have just to have.. and to make breakfast for dinner – doesn’t that sound like heaven?! But I might have to start looking for a recipe book with “frozen breakfasts to defrost in the mornings”……

What’s your favorite breakfast food?

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

… so, I finished “The Tabasco Cookbook”.

Ok, you might think I’m nuts.. specially after my last cookbook fiasco… but I just had to try again. You may or may not know already, but I’m determined to find perfect cookbooks for my future kitchen. So I just closed my eyes and clicked on the “order” button without a third thought (’cause, after the fiasco, a second thought is always given).

This book IS ONE OF THE PERFECT ONES!! I’m serious. First of all, the book itself is 144 pages long. Foreword has two pages, Preface has two more and the Original Introduction has 4… plus four more pages of random information at the end. And then, guess what? RECIPES. Glorious pages full of recipes. 80 in total, and the majority fall in the “oooh, I definitely wanna make that!!” category. There aren’t even many pictures, which is kind of a good thing, since what I want are recipes. They’re divided into specific sections, which makes it easier to browse.. and there’s a clear graphic to differentiate the different levels of “spicy” a.k.a. the “piquancy scale”, which is just so fancy that I might start using it in my day-to-day vocabulary. In the spirit of full disclosure, the only thing I would change is to add a differently organized index in the first few pages of the book. Just something to list the recipes with their respective page number so I don’t have to go through a whole section to figure out what I want to make from that section. Does it make sense? I’m nitpicking, really…..

… so, I finished “The Tabasco Cookbook” and I recommend it 100%. Even if you’re not a fan of “spicy”, you will find that the recipes in this book work perfectly even without an extra kick. And there’s such a variety of recipes…. dips, soups, sauces, desserts…… you seriously can’t go wrong. And if you don’t like too much spice, I recently bought a Mango + Habanero sauce that is to die forrrrr. A subtle spice with a sweet and tangy tone…? Yum. Just putting it out there.

Do you like spicy food food with a high number in the piquancy scale?

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

… so, I finished “Brodo: A Bone Broth Cookbook”.

Do you remember when cookbooks were full of recipes? I do. I remember reading my mom’s cookbooks as a kid and going nuts. I’ve always had a big imagination, so I could “smell” the meats cooking, or “see” the butter melting, or “feel” the dough forming between my fingers as I read about it. I remember bending the corners of every recipe I wanted her to make… or help me make…. and having to stop because almost every corner was bent. It was simple, too: an introduction, either by the author or someone else, which took two pages at the most… and then, recipes. Lots and lots of them.

This book starts with what feels like an indoctrination. Reasons Why You NEEEEEED To Become A Broth Person. Is this what this new generation of recipe writers are going to be about? Cliques? Segmenting people into broth-ers…. detox-ers…… paleo or Atkins…. gluten free by choice, not allergic reasons…. smoothiers…. protein-shakers…. “do you do chia?”…. super food-ers? I’ve been reading science fiction for a while now.. it feels like we’re almost living inside one of those books. Everything is the answer. Everything is the cure. Nothing is a part of the whole, everything is its own separate entity. Apparently, so are broths. Broths are the new…. umm… the new whatever was big earlier. It’s not just a broth anymore, it’s a whole production. “Recent explosion of interest in bone”? That’s not recent. Bone broths aren’t new! Is everyone seriously finding out about them now?

… so, I finished “Brodo: A Bone Broth Cookbook” and, though I wanted a book full of broth and related recipes, I have to settle for a few tens of pages at the end. At least I got some, right? And, guess what? I still haven’t made one from this book. I’m not saying I’m not going to, or that I don’t like this book… I just really, really wanted a book-full of broth and broth-related recipes.

Do you like broth?

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

… so, I read “Kafka on the shore”

DISCLAIMER: This post about Haruki Murakami’s “Kafka on the shore” has spoilers. Not on purpose, ’cause I really don’t like spoilers.. but it’s the only way I can properly explain why I disliked this book so much.

I like weird books, I know. I like weird movies sometimes, too. My favorite movie is “Memento”, which is saying something. This book started with two seemingly separate stories that, in the end, converge…… ish. But the reason for my dislike isn’t its weirdness. Like I said before, I like weird books. I also liked some parts about this book.. Nakata’s storyline was quite interesting at first; to me he started as an interesting character but later became a tool: a convenient magical shortcut of sorts the author used to his advantage, whenever needed.

The other “main” character has a classic Oedipus Complex, except the teenaged subject is aware of the issues and continues to pursue them anyway. “I was masturbated by someone who I think is my sister, and later actually visited her dreams and dream-raped her even after she told me she thought she was my sister, too… and, by the way, I’m in love with someone I think is my mother – but, wait, I’m not in love with this version of her, that would be sick-ish – but totally in love with her 15-year-old spirit, who visits me in my room late at night even though she’s still alive. I mean, I’m still gonna have sex with the woman I think is my mother now, obviously, sooo… also, I may or may not have directly or indirectly killed or somehow made someone kill my father, that’s still blurry… but it was all part of my dad’s prophecy/curse, you see”. Ugh.  Also, a very disturbing description of cat torture I skipped as soon as I realized where it was going, which in my opinion was gratuitous. He didn’t need to spell it out.

… so, I read “Kafka on the shore” and if I never read another book like this I would be happy. I don’t understand it. It feels like he was trying very hard to achieve something. I just don’t know what it was. Disgust? Repulsion? Or maybe he was just trying too hard, period. Also, the author reminded me of a horny old man writing stories for his own sexual satisfaction. You know how sometimes you want to read a romance novel, so you get one of the free ones on Amazon and after a few chapters of lovey-dovey narrative you suddenly get an explicit sex scene? I can take that “smut”… it’s a romance novel. But, for some reason, I just couldn’t digest this one. I don’t want to read about a 15 year old boy’s penis or how his mom’s/sister’s vagina feels to him.

Have you read a book written by Haruki Murakami before?

… so, I started doing yoga.

Anxiety, I have it. I overanalyze everything, I stress out and get overwhelmed easily. Not often, I gotta say… it was more common in my teens, but as I grew up I learned how to deal with it. I learned how to notice what my triggers were and deal with them before anything happened. However, both a resurgence of stressful situations and a really toxic environment at work threw me off my game and all of a sudden it just started consuming me…. add to that both of my parents with important health scares (that have, thankfully, remained as just scares), financial situations, a death in the family and the situation at work snowballing into a big ball of ugh that I couldn’t wait to get out of (via my vacations, for now)….. well, food became a prize again. I’d buy fresh baked bread because I deserved it… I’d order chinese take out because I needed to destress… I’d fry everything and whatever because I needed a win…. I basically went back to bad habits.

However, this new year, my resolution is to make it right. My first resolution is to forget the snooze button exists and just. wake. up. So far, so good. Today was exceptionally hard, but I didn’t snooze! I stayed in bed and snuggled for a few more minutes, yes, but awake and aware. My second resolution is to go back to actively working on letting go of my anxieties. One of the things that’s helping is my Instant Happy Journal.. I open a random page every day. I also keep repeating to myself how I’m “alive and able”, which helps me realize that whatever I don’t like I have the ability to work on and change. And then, because I seriously missed sweating my way through the toxins, I had to figure out what to do to start moving!

… so, I started doing yoga. It’s been four days. Am I crazy when I say I can definitely feel the difference already?? Emotionally more than anything else. I definitely look forward to it. Don’t be fooled, though. Yoga may look like a lot of breathing and sitting around in weird poses, but it’s not as easy as it looks. The weird poses are actually engaging a lot of your muscles. Save a few, like Savasana (corpse pose), which is basically laying down face up and breaaaathing with your eyes closed… they are uncomfortable and a lot of work. I mean, think about it… plank looks so easy, doesn’t it?! Try to hold the position for a minute. Thank you. I don’t even get how it’s supposed to be a beginner’s pose…. like, it is very easy to get into the pose, I get that.. but holding it??? Ugh. Seriously??

How long can you hold a plank for?