13 Reasons Why

Have you read 13 Reasons Why?  No?  Okay... Have you seen 13 Reasons Why?  Let me elaborate.

13 Reasons Why is the story of Hannah Baker, a seventeen year old high school junior whose seemingly abrupt suicide sends shockwaves through her small town.  The news of Hannah's suicide is compounded when weeks later, a mysterious unmarked box is dropped on the porch of Clay Jenson, Hannah's former classmate, co-worker, and onetime crush.  Curious, Clay opens it to discover seven cassette tapes, unmarked other than the numbers 1 through 13, painted on in blue nail polish.  After struggling to find a device that can actually play tapes, Clay's blood runs cold as he plays tape #1 only to hear the familiar voice of Hannah Baker, detailing the circumstances that led her to take her own life.  She goes on to explain the chain of events that contributed to her ultimate decision, and if you're hearing these tapes, that you were in fact one of the thirteen reasons why.

This month, 13 Reasons Why the series debuted on Netflix.  Both the book, by Jay Asher, and show are haunting, intense, and thought provoking.  There are distinct plot difference, though the underlying current and tone is the same.  I did appreciate the character development the show portrayed that was not always apparent in the book; the depths of physical anguish and sadness carried by Hannah's grieving parents, the quiet ache felt by those who used to consider Hannah a friend.  The throbbing pain of her absence in everything at school; her abandoned locker, the perpetually empty seat in her classes, the shrine of flowers and pictures in the front hall.

What 13 Reasons Why highlights is that sometimes something that seems so insignificant to one person might consume another. An empty rumor that spiraled out of control, being branded a slut when there's no validity to the claim, the out-of-context photo that went viral, and the vague plea for help that went ignored.  When these incidents are stacked one atop the other, it can feel overwhelming.  Which is why it is imperative to reach out, know the signs, ask and offer help.  Every gesture counts.

My only experience with suicide comes from high school.  My sophomore year, one of my closest friends attempted suicide.  She had a huge fight with her mom before school, and downed a bottle of her brother's heart medication and then came to school as usual.  We had first period together.  We used to share clothes and that morning I was wearing her sweater.  When I motioned to it as I walked past her assigned seat up the aisle to my own, I remember her blank eyes, staring straight ahead.  About five minutes into class, the guidance counselor rushed in, exchanged hushed whispers with the teacher, and ushered my friend out of the room.  I didn't see her the rest of the day. She didn't come back to school that entire week.

This was before everyone had cell phones, so we couldn't call or text from school to check in, and our calls to her home phone went unanswered.  Later, a rumor circulated that an ambulance had been at school that same day.  I never even thought to connect the two occurrences.  I was one of her closest friends, and I had no idea anything was amiss.  In hindsight, I realize that there were red flags, behaviors that could be characterized as a cry for help.  But then, in my high school bubble; to me she was popular.  She was adored.  She was happy.  Until I knew the truth, I had no idea.

So there, these are my reasons why 13 Reasons Why is worth a watch.  The show is visceral.  It is heartbreaking to watch at times.  It is quite difficult to watch at times.  However, I think it also has the potential to open up a dialogue about a challenging subject between parents and their teens.

This post is part of my partnership with Netflix where I share what my family and I are watching each month on our favorite streaming platform. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  #StreamTeam

Big Little Lies

Did you watch Big Little Lies on HBO?  If you're looking for a short, intense drama series this one might be worth a watch.  I read the book upon which the series by Liane Moriarty years ago, and while there are similarities between the two, there are also significant plot differences.  

Ultimately I found the series a compelling drama, difficult to watch at times as it features some heavy topics including rape, infidelity, and domestic violence and rape in a marriage.  Having said that, it also employs the typical plot twists that keep you on the hook episode to episode, wanting more.  It debuted in the traditional series format of one episode per week, but now all seven are live so you could opt to binge watch it if so inclined.  Nicole Kidman gives an astonishingly strong but wounded performance, in my humble opinion.

However, one of my favorite parts of this series was its soundtrack!  My personal favorite is the Elvis cover of "Don't" by cast member, Zoe Kravitz.  The soundtrack is packed with catchy R&B songs as well as new riffs on familiar favorites.  Worth a listen!

Have you tuned into Big Little Lies?  What did you think?

image/thespin

Good Friday Fun

Happy Easter!  We'll be participating in a few egg hunts around our neighborhood this weekend, feasting on brunch goodies all day long, and visiting with some out of town family.  Have a good one!

+ how cool are these succulent cupcakes?!  (pictured above) and more succulent sweets here.

+ loving this before/after house tour, I love seeing the potential a home can have (I don't personally have an eye for this but find it fascinating!)

+ this little girls dressed covered with toucans is simply adorable


+ have you ever used google flights? if so, what do you think?  I'm so curious!

+ eyeing this amazing spread

+ loving these simple, easy pretzel m&m bites for kids easter snacks

+ curious to try making detroit style pizza at home.  fun fact: my husband grew up eating buddy's pizza which was the inspiration for this detroit pizza trend (while I'm taking a a moderate vacation from the gluten-bandwagon, my family is still on board).

+ going to take this personality test this weekend!

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Weeknight Baking: One Bowl Gluten-Free Banana Bread

Lately I've been experimenting with avoiding gluten in my daily eating, and have noticed that when I do eat it from time to time, there's a noticeable difference in how I feel.  While I won't proclaim myself gluten-free by any means, I and exploring other alternatives in baking and meal planning.  

We had an abundance of bananas browning on our counters, so I opted to try a gluten-free recipe, if only to get a gauge on how it would turn out.  I used Minimalist Baker's recipe, and it was really moist and flavorful.  Would definitely try this recipe again. 

Cookbook Crush: Skinnytaste Fast and Slow

Of all of my cookbook crush posts, this one has to be the most "successful" in terms of recipes attempted, made, and flagged for future use.  I've had Skinnytaste Fast and Slow roughly a month (after checking out from the library to verify it's credibility), and as of today, I've made 7 of the recipes, several more than once.  The selling point of this cookbook is the abundance of slow cooker recipes, simplicity of directions, emphasis on quick prep, and overall flavor packed in every meal.  I mean it, every meal has been delicious!  In fact, I've discovered that two of my close friends also swear by this cookbook, and since our revelation, we've had an ongoing text thread sharing our latest meals, suggestions, and tips.  

I know, I know, I'm a big pusher of cookbooks, but don't believe me?  Here's the recipes we've made thus far: egg roll bowls, slow cooker hamburger stroganoff, slow cooker Korean-style beef tacos, Greek sheet pan chicken, slow cooker buffalo chicken lettuce wraps, Santa Fe turkey egg rolls with avocado ranch sauce, and slow cooker goulash with sauerkraut.  Most (but not all) have been hits with kids, which is also a huge bonus.  Truth be told, I was even reluctant to pick up this cookbook as I didn't love her first cookbook (I was a little put off by the title 'Skinnytaste' if I'm being honest), but I'm so glad I opted to give Gina Homolka a second chance.  Worth every penny.

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Friday Fun

Hello my dear readers.  How are you?  I've had a slew of posts on my to-do list, and am finally getting around to them.  Funny how that works.  These days I put find that my to-do list contains items such as "paint nails," and "send email to x."  When did that happen?  I can remember a day when to-do lists seemed to only be lined with jobs of the utmost importance, rather than mundane day to day dribble.  There's a penny for my thoughts...  Have a lovely weekend!

+ fan of legos?  what do you think of lego tape? or this lego mug!


+ a well rounded summation of the life and works of Amy Krouse Rosenthal, RIP


+ just learning that there are 4 ways to make a fried egg, who knew?


+ I've always wanted to go to Maine, have you been?

+ four questions to ask your kids at bedtime

+ my friend wrote a book!  if you're a momma, have you read it?  

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Last Great Book I Read: My Lady Jane

Historical fiction with a substantial heaping of magic is not my typical read.  While I do appreciate a good love story, especially one amongst royals - I tend to opt out of books parading magic (with the exception of Harry Potter and Twilight...of course).  But My Lady Jane is a clever, charming read, and I couldn't get enough.  Truth be told, I polished off the hefty thing in four days.

And for those skeptics, don't let the presence of magic deter you.  While I resist telling you more of the plot, consider this book an fictional explanation of real life character, Lady Jane Grey's 9-day reign as the queen of England (more on the real Lady Jane Grey here).

In a nutshell, a historical fiction spinoff love story, infused with magic, with a twist.  And for the record, you can always tell the hallmark of a good book is when you finish it only to be disappointed that it's over.

image/amazon