Friday Reads Book Club - Bitter is the New Black

Friday, September 19, 2014

By: Jen Lancaster


Happy Friday! If this is your first time joining us, we are a weekly book review link up. This is the place for people to go when they are searching for a new book or want to share one that they recently read. I'm collaborating with three other amazing Arizona bloggers: Anne at Under the Brella and JoAnn and Megan at Whimsicle, to bring you a full review of a different book every week.

This week I'm reviewing Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster. 


This is the story of what happens when you bring a Prada bag into an unemployment office.

Jen Lancaster had it all - a chic penthouse in Chicago, a six figure salary, closets full of designer clothing and accessories, weekly manicures and pedicures, a great guy, and a snarky wit. But after getting laid off in the post September 11 recession, she suddenly finds herself in a whole new arena. She goes from daily shopping sprees to suddenly not having health insurance and moving into an apartment in the ghetto. From there it gets worse when her boyfriend (who becomes her husband during this time) loses his job, they lose their car, and they are almost evicted from their ghetto apartment and have to move back in with her parents. And yes, there is a point where she actually goes to the unemployment office while carrying a Prada handbag. Needless to say, the encounter does not go well.

The Jen in this book is egotistical and a mean person, there's no other way to say it. She spends the first half of the book being so horrible that you wouldn't want to have her as a friend or coworker. Yet she's absolutely hysterical and you find yourself rooting for her despite all of her flaws. She cusses like a sailor, understands that she has issues being cruel to people, and once refers to herself as "Carbohydrate Barbie". There were several occasions when I was reading this in my break room at work and had to clamp my hand over my mouth to stop myself from laughing loudly and incessantly. The fact that this is a memoir and she's actually a real person makes this even better. By the end of the book you do feel that she has learned her lesson about needless spending and how she is going to take her second chance and make life better. She starts to have a bit of humility and becomes a tolerable human being. Also, this takes place in Chicago and as a native Wisconsinite I knew most of the places she was talking about! So that was fun too.

The first book of Jen's that I read was her second memoir, Bright Lights, Big Ass, which is my favorite of all her books. That book talks about her life in the city (after the events of Bitter is the New Black) and how she's calmed down a bit. She devotes pages upon pages to her love of Ikea, Target, and Trader Joes (this I can relate to). However, when I went back and read Bitter is the New Black, suddenly Bright Lights made much more sense, so I'd definitely recommend reading Bitter first. So if you like her writing style but don't like the character, I'd  give Bright Lights or any of her later books a chance - they're all laugh out loud hysterical and she as a character is much more mellow in her later books. Overall, I highly recommend Jen as an author and this book, but only if you don't mind a little snarky humor!



As a reminder, this "book club" is intended to create a community where we can all share fantastic books that we read and want to recommend to others. Each week, one of the blogger hosts will write a review of an outstanding book. We will also have a linkup each week where fellow bloggers can post book reviews and recommendations.

We encourage you to:
  • Visit the host's blog, check out each week's book review, and leave a comment with your thoughts. 
  • Post your own book review in our linkup. (Please link back to us on your own post when you do!! 
  •  Also, grab our Friday Reads badge to let everyone know you are participating!)
  • Visit other blogger's reviews that are posted in the linkup and leave a comment on their post.
Read anything interesting? Link up below!


A Little DIY Duvet Love

Wednesday, September 17, 2014



Here's something fun - my DIY Anthropologie inspired duvet tutorial is on Mashable along with other adorable Anthro crafts. Check out their 15 Clever DIY Anthropologie Hacks for Your Home!

Guide to Door County, WI - Egg Harbor

Wednesday, September 17, 2014



Full disclosure here - I've spend the least amount of my time in Door County in Egg Harbor, we're normally north in Sister Bay or Ephraim. So if anyone has any favorite places here, I'd love to hear!

Eat:

1. Shipwrecked Microbrewery & Restaurant - Fun casual restaurant and bar. Short walk to the beach, right downtown, and they have a great selection of their own beers.

2. Trio - Craving pasta? Trio has great Italian and French dishes. We don't get down to Egg Harbor that much, but I always try to stop here when we do.

3. The Bistro Bar & Grille - Another great casual place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It has a fun patio to sit outside and enjoy both the food and the weather.


Do:

1. Egg Harbor Beach and Marina - The great thing about Door County is that most of the towns are beach towns. Egg Harbor has a great beach for swimming and a fun marina to explore.

2. Wine Tasting
a) Harbor Ridge Winery and the Wisconsin Cheese Masters Shop - This is another one of my favorite stops in Door County because the wine shop and the cheese shop share the same parking lot. How much better can it get? Start at the Harbor Ridge Winery for some free wine tasting (their oaky Cab is amazing!) and the walk a few steps over to the Wisconsin Cheese Masters and take a cheese journey (No really, that's what the sign says) when you sample some of their many cheeses. So much goodness.
b) Door Peninsula Winery/Door County Distillery - The Door Peninsula Winery/Distillery has a special place in my heart. We used to come here when we were younger to taste the fudge and olive oil (while my parents tasted the wine) and in the last few years it opened a distillery in another part of the old schoolhouse building. They produce small batch gin, whiskey, vodka, and now brandy. This is my favorite gin ever. EVER.
c) Simon Creek Vineyard - This vineyard is inland a bit, but if you're in Egg Harbor it's not too far of a drive. Another winery that I'd recommend visiting.

3. Antiquing - Egg Harbor is near some great antique stores. Some of my favorites are Old Orchard Antique Mall which feels like it's miles long and full of fun and Bay Trading Company which has an entire room full of architectural discards such as shutters, mantels, doors and other goodness. If I had a house in Wisconsin I'm pretty sure half of the decor would come from that shop.

4. Kurtz Corral - If you want to ride horses through the countryside, this is the place to go. They're open all year, but summer and fall are my favorite times to explore the fields on horseback.

5. Various locations - cherry picking - Door County is known for their cherries. If you're up there while they're in season (late July to early August) definitely go cherry picking! There are numerous orchards and locations, so just find one that's close to you.

Friday Reads Book Club - If I Stay

Friday, September 12, 2014


It's Friday again! If this is your first time joining us, we are a weekly book review link up. This is the place for people to go when they are searching for a new book or want to share one that they recently read. I'm collaborating with three other amazing Arizona bloggers: Anne at Under the Brella and JoAnn and Megan at Whimsicle, to bring you a full review of a different book every week.

This week Anne is talking about If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Head on over to Under the Brella to check out her review!

As a reminder, this "book club" is intended to create a community where we can all share fantastic books that we read and want to recommend to others. Each week, one of the blogger hosts will write a review of an outstanding book. We will also have a linkup each week where fellow bloggers can post book reviews and recommendations.

We encourage you to:
  • Visit the host's blog, check out each week's book review, and leave a comment with your thoughts. 
  • Post your own book review in our linkup. (Please link back to us on your own post when you do!! 
  •  Also, grab our Friday Reads badge to let everyone know you are participating!)
  • Visit other blogger's reviews that are posted in the linkup and leave a comment on their post.
Read anything interesting? Link up below!


Friday Reads Book Club - How Not to Be Wrong

Friday, September 5, 2014


It's Friday again! If this is your first time joining us, we are a weekly book review link up. This is the place for people to go when they are searching for a new book or want to share one that they recently read. I'm collaborating with three other amazing Arizona bloggers: Anne at Under the Brella and JoAnn and Megan at Whimsicle, to bring you a full review of a different book every week.

Get Featured:
This week, we are trying something a little different in the linkup.  As a reader, please check out all the wonderful bloggers who link up below.  Then, vote on your favorite by clicking in the tiny heart on the upper right corner of the link.  Perhaps its a book you really want to read, or you really liked how the blogger wrote the review.   The winning link will be featured in our Friday Reads post next week.

This week check out Whimsicle for their review of How Not to Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg.


Book Link Up

We encourage you to:
  • Visit the host's blog, check out each week's book review, and leave a comment with your thoughts. 
  • Post your own book review in our linkup. (Please link back to us on your own post when you do!! 
  •  Also, grab our Friday Reads badge to let everyone know you are participating!)
  • Visit other blogger’s reviews that are posted in the linkup and leave a comment on their post. Vote on your favorite post so that blogger will have a chance to be featured next week!
Read anything interesting? Link up below!


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