The original Queer Eye was something I was aware of but never watched. Still, Carson Kressley was a major influence on my style. I bought a copy of his book, Off the Cuff, at some discount shop and it absolutely changed my life. He listed all the different shoes, shirts, and jackets that a stylish man needed to have. I took his advice like gospel and was soon reworking my closet. I had a pink oxford and a denim jacket and wingtip shoes, and suddenly, I felt so much nicer. When I presented myself fashionably, I felt that life was better. I’ve branched out from Carson’s suggestions, but always fondly remember the way he changed my existence. When Netflix released a new version of the show, I pretty much ignored it until the second season was released. As soon as I began to watch, I fell passionately in love with the show. Every episode was gorgeous, and each episode was filled with such love and kindness. I joked, quite seriously, that a fun new game to play was counting up all the different ways you could cry watching a single episode. I only had one choked sob in the second season, so that was great. You surely know the premise of the show, five gay men show up to change the life of somebody who needs it. Maybe they were in a rut, emotionally unwell, or just needing a change. Each gentleman has a specialty and I spiritually relate to each of them. Tan is in charge of fashion, which is a powerful attraction for me, and it was amazing to see what a change of wardrobe could do for a man. Bobby was the interior decorator and in each episode he has like three minutes of screen time and somehow manages to remodel or build an entire house. It’s wild. Karamo is in charge of culture and emotional health, he takes people on a drive and then we all end up crying. Antoni is far too handsome and teaches cooking, and looks good without a shirt, and can do anything with an avocado. He also poses immensely attractive selfies in hotel robes, and I’m here for it.
Jonathon is the true standout star of the show. He’s in charge of grooming, and is just so overwhelmingly kind and so completely comfortable in his own skin that you can’t help falling in love with him. And then suddenly you find yourself responding with memes of him constantly and life is delightful. The next season takes place in and around Kansas City, and Jessica and I lost our minds with how close the Queer Eye guys were going to be to us. Watch the show now if you haven’t already; it is honestly such a refreshing delight.
“Sweetener” by Ariana Grande:
I am distraught about the drama surrounding the cancelled marriage of Ariana Grande to Pete Davidson. I worshipped them together because it was so odd and so unexpected, yet so marvelous. I’ve loved Pete forever, ever since I first saw him on Saturday Night Live. I don’t really know why, either, because he does not seem to be much like my type. Something very attractive about him, though. Oh I think I know what it is now…lol let’s move on. I guess I do have a thing for recovered drug addicts. I don’t know why that is, either. I might have bad taste in men. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But this is not the moment for a dissertation on my lacking love life, this is about the greatest album of bops that I have heard lately. Sweetener is the latest album by Ariana Grande. She delivers powerful vocals, and puts together an eclectic but gorgeous compilation of songs. There are collaborations, like “The Light Is Coming” with Nicki Minaj and it makes absolutely no sense. And then there are other collaborations with Pharrell and creates a solid bop in “blazed.” Everything is catchy, and I have had such fun listening to it fairly nonstop. Also, “goodnight n go” might be the most beautiful song ever recorded. I can barely bring myself to write about the tragic heartache that is the love song she dedicated to Pete. It’s called, ‘Pete Davidson,” which is honestly not getting a lot of credit for originality, but is sumptuous and ethereal, and in light of what happened with their ill-fated romance, is exceptionally sad. Also so funny. The entire album, reader, is mandatory listening. I love it and hit it and hit it and hit it and flip it and flip it and mix it and…
The Witching Hour:
This is definitely a ME book. I devoured it as fast as I could, but that took absolute ages because the book is massive. It’s the first in Anne Rice’s trilogy about a family of witches who settled in New Orleans. Like all of her books that I love best, like her sensational and sinfully underrated masterpiece, Blackwood Farm, this book is not just an overwhelmingly well-fleshed out universe, it’s a gorgeous love letter to a home. Great swaths of this novel are sumptuous descriptions of home renovations. An old New Orleans manor house is being restored, and there are pages devoted to silky smooth plaster, color swatches, silk patterns, definitions of channel walls, loving moments of flipping through catalogs for just the right knob. Anne went on at length to describe the rooms of the house, the luscious gardens, the crystalline water in the pool, the luxurious air of New Orleans. And I ate it up. Nothing thrills me so much as restoring an old home. It’s not something I have ever done, but it is something that I will absolutely do in my life. I’d be doing it now if it wasn’t for…well, I’m not going to get into that tale of woe right now. The other parts of the book are gorgeously crafted descriptions of family drama, and the unusual issues that arise with a powerful and possessive family ghost. I fret to give a description of it for you because it will not do it any justice. But basically the story is this: Rowan Mayfair, a neurologist in San Francisco, saves a man from drowning in the cold water off the beach. He dies, but is revived, and when he returns to life, he has the ability to psychically know things about what he touches. This overwhelms him, so he takes to wearing gloves. When she meets the man she saved again later, she can’t help falling madly in love with him. Michael feels the same and they begin a fiery relationship. Rowan was raised by adoptive parents who were her kin, but before her adoptive mother died, she made Rowan promise to never go to New Orleans and seek her roots. Of course she had to, especially since her real mother just died, and her lover, Michael, was craving to go to his childhood hometown, which conveniently was New Orleans. Rowan inevitably follows and thus puts the story in motion. There’s too much to explain, but it seems that Michael and Rowan were destined for each other in a strangely premeditated way. The book is long. It took me ages to read, but it was absolutely worth it. It was decadent, and the way Anne writes is so gorgeous. I take a lot of inspiration from her. And now I want to do nothing more than wander through the Garden District in the early winter, gazing at the dilapidated and gorgeous homes, sniffing out the night jasmine, admiring cracked pavements, wandering aimlessly through the gorgeous cemeteries, and stuffing my face with beignets. I must do that soon. I must read every book in the series. Get all of Anne’s books.
The House of Flowers:
If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how passionate I am about telenovelas. They are my everything, and whenever I find myself free for an hour, I’ll find myself almost assuredly watching a show that is inevitably about drug trafficking. I won’t be able to stop. They’re as addictive as the drugs they portray. I was in the mood for a change of pace, though, so I was ecstatic when an article was posted on Buzzfeed all about the Spanish language shows that you could watch on Netflix. I immediately added like all of them to my list. This weekend I started La Casa de las Flores, which is my everything all of a sudden.
It’s about a very wealthy family in Mexico City who operate a successful flower shop. Secretly, the patriarch of the family also runs another House of Flowers, but this one is not a flower shop…it’s a drag club. His wife knows nothing, but all the secrets come spilling out when his mistress hangs herself in the flower shop. It starts off fairly dramatic, but after the first episode it becomes a delicious black comedy. I’m obsessed with the three siblings. The oldest, Paulina, has the most gorgeous Spanish cadence that I have adopted as my own. It’s slower and more pronounced, and I think it is simply the loveliest thing in the world. The middle sibling, Elena, is an architect from New York who comes back home and gets stuck there. My other favorite is the youngest, the boy, Julien, who is battling his bisexuality. He is dating the family accountant, Diego, and I love him too. I love all of them. I love the whole show. I want to live in this world. (Diego and the lady who killed herself were both presidential candidates in my other favorite Spanish show, Ingobernable, and when I saw them I SHRIEKED. It has no bearing on the comic show, but it just filled me with glee.) I am halfway through now and I can’t wait for this weekend so that I can binge watch the last half. I have learned so many words and cultural things, and it is simply marvelous. Watch it immediately. Watch all the Spanish shows just as soon as you possibly can. It’s so worth it.
Reba McEntire’s Greatest Hits Volume 2:
I highly recommend screech-singing “Is There Life Out There?” when you’re feeling all moody and driving home. I know that I have been talking a lot about Reba lately, but I’m going through something of a Reba phase. I can’t get enough. I still can’t get over that music video I shared with you a week or two ago. I watch it every day and squeal with delight every single time. Let’s watch it again, shall we?
Isn’t that just wonderful? Well, dear and faithful reader, that is not the only high quality track on the greatest hits album. There is also “Fancy,” which you certainly have to know. And if you don’t, you certainly need to. It’s all about a destitute girl in New Orleans who becomes a high class prostitute to escape the evils of poverty. And it’s a bop. Seriously, why don’t they make songs like this anymore that tell a story? I don’t mind a pop song, never get me wrong, I obsess over them. Like that Lady Gaga song from the A Star Is Born soundtrack, “Why Did You Do That?” It is completely pointless and has like two different lines, but it is still a hella bop.
I worship a bop. Reba is the queen of narrative music. Watch:
And then there’s “You Lie,” which has the most sublime high notes and is delightful to sing along to in a poor falsetto. But the most important song on the album for me has turned out to be “Is There Life Out There?” This masterpiece is about a woman who married young, raises her family, does everything right, but she longs for whatever else there is in the world. She doesn’t regret her life or her choices, but she is longing for something more than what she has. I have never resonated with a song more.
One line gets me every time, “There’s a place in the sun that she’s never been, where life is fair and time is her friend,” and I want to weep every time the most joyful tears. The song, even though it doesn’t appear to be at first, is really a love song to life and living and all the glories and wonders that are out there waiting for you. You just have to go out and look. There’s nothing wrong with wanting something more out of life, longing for new experiences, living out your dreams. Listen to me and Reba and go live an exciting and exhilarating life.