Run Away From Your LA Problems

As I sit in an endless line of traffic to merge on to the 405, I find myself looking out longingly to the mountains ahead. The mind-numbing hell scape that is Los Angeles’s gridlocked streets and freeways seems to test me in new ways every day of my life. And while finding alternative means of transportation may sometimes partially abate this disdain for congestion, occasionally you have to escape the city itself to find peace.

And how do I do that? I run.

What makes LA so tolerable and in truth extremely enjoyable is how easily you can sneak off into nature before that 9am meeting in West Hollywood. Beaches, trails, mountains, and endless stairs wait for you to attack them with the fury that only bumper to bumper traffic can bring.

So, if you are looking for new spots to run, hike, or walk, look no further for you have found David’s BEST spots to run in LA.

Runyon Canyon:

Image Via: City of LA

This is without a doubt the most popular hike in LA, and possibly southern California. Runyon Canyon is tucked up in the hills above West Hollywood and snakes through the canyon for a 3-mile roundtrip excursion. While the crowds here somewhat defeat the purpose of escaping the buzz of the city, the hike’s many paths and trails allow people of all fitness levels to enjoy themselves.

Personally, I love to go to Runyon when I’m in a rush, the shorter loop makes it an efficient morning workout. This being a dog friendly zone, my dog and I take on the large asphalt hill that leads to the summit of the park. It’s not an easy run to the peak, but once you’re there the view of LA is unmatched. It’s truly the best way to see the city in its entirety. Side note, if you have friends coming to the city for the first time, take them here. It’s around a ton of other things to do and gives them the best view of their surroundings and lets you appreciate how truly MASSIVE this city is.

Hollywood Sign Hike:

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Image Via: Getty

The second most frequented hike in LA but still just as enjoyable is the Hollywood Sign Hike. There are many routes to get up behind LA’s iconic signage, personally, I like to start at Brush Canyon. Easily accessible and chalk full of parking, taking Canyon Dr. to the Brush Canyon trail, is the easiest way to start this journey.

Once you’ve parked, it’s a 6.4 mile trek to get up and down this well managed and somewhat strenuous Hike. To get a great workout in but not throw up, I like to run from the base to the first summit (about 1.25 miles up) and take a break as I enjoy the view. This first section is a beast to run and a nice stroll to hike. Once you’ve gotten here the next sloping section is an enjoyable and easy run full of horses, dogs, and since it’s LA… PEOPLE. Once you finish this section you arrive at an asphalt hill that can take you up behind the sign for a gorgeous view of the city, and a unique perspective on 9 letters. Be warned, this section is rough. Strenuous to walk and screw you I’m not running this. If you’re like me and have been behind the sign, I like to continue the sloping section and stop at a great view directly in front of the sign.

This hike is rad but can get packed in peak seasons. Wake up early and knock this one out before the tourists get there and the sun tries to kill you. SIDE NOTE. If your Dad is in town and you want to impress him cause your career isn’t, take him on the small side trail by the parking lot to show him the tunnel to the Batcave from the Adam West era Batman.

The Culver City Stairs:

Image Via: KCET

Fuck you Culver let me bring my dog with me.

Sorry, had to get that out there. ANYWAY…. The Culver City Stairs are a brutal ascent up the side of a 400 ft hill at the Baldwin Hills scenic overlook. Again, this location is crowded night and day, so you don’t get to escape those damn people, but if you want your legs feeling like jello in a short amount of time, this is your spot.

The stairs make for an awesome workout, with steps varying in size from 1 to 3 ft high, you get a BLAST to your lower appendages. And once at the top you can take in a new view of LA. With most popular hikes being on the northern side of LA, the Culver City Stairs provide you with a great and uncommon perspective of LA from downtown to the sea.

Personally, I like to take the stairs up and run down the backside trails to the start for each round. This keeps me from walking down these monster stairs which I’m sure I will one day fall on.

Escondido Falls:

Image Via: The Outdoor Project

Way up north, just off the PCH sits a small un assuming parking lot. After leaving your car here without knowing if this is the right spot or not you walk up an asphalt road. After meandering through palatial Malibu homes, you finally arrive at the entrance to Escondido Canyon Park. While the walk through the neighborhoods is not exactly a nature romp, it is an awesome look at the Malibu lifestyle that I will never be able to obtain.

Once you make it to the park entrance the hike in is easy, flat, and gorgeous. With the entire hike being 3.8 miles roundtrip, this hike is fun for all. When you reach the end, you find yourself at either a flat dry canyon wall, or if it’s the right time of year, a fantastic waterfall thundering down to earth.  And if you’re looking for a bit more adventure, you are able to climb up a difficult but doable hillside to get to the upper falls. This climb requires the use of roots, ropes, and your acceptance of getting dirty.

Escondido Falls is an easy hike or run with a terrific payoff at the end. The drive up PCH is a long one, but if you have to be driving, Highway 1 is the best place to do it.

Temescal Canyon Loop


Image Via: Peaks and Professors

Right of Sunset in the Pacific Palisades, Temescal Canyon beckons you away from the water with the promise of beautiful views and a satisfying workout…and what does she do? She delivers. This loop is one of my favorite hikes or runs in LA. Its terrain allows you to stretch this from a 2 mile trot all the way up to a 5 mile trek if you’re “feeling dangerous” – a quote by the savior of football, Baker Mayfield.

I like to park on sunset to avoid paying park fees, because I like keeping my money and the city of LA gets enough of it with their damn meters and tickets. From the street simply stroll your way through the parking lots and tuck into the canyon as soon as you see a trail. Once you land on the main trail it’s a steady climb to the peak. If you can run this whole thing I will take you out for a beer. If you’re like me and alternate between a jog and a run on hills like this, it will be an awesome challenge but one you can do.

Once at the top you will have a panorama view of Malibu and West LA. This hike gives you the best and most expansive view of the west side, since anything near Hollywood will be so drenched in smog that you can’t see past century city.

I highly recommend this hike to novice LA explorers who are trying to break out of their Runyon Canyon ruts. This spot is not too far out of the city, not too difficult, but will prepare you for the more advanced Angelino adventures.


Ocean Front Run

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Image Via: Getty

Now this next one is pretty obvious, but necessary if you are an LA runner. Directly down the street from Temescal Canyon is the parking lot for Will Rodgers State Beach. You can park your car here for a small fee and pull up directly to the Ocean Front Walk, a curving, flat, paved walkway that ambles its way from the Palisades all the way to Marina Del Rey.

Why I like to come all the way up to the top of this path to start this run, is that it provides you with the entire scenery of LA’s beaches. Obviously, this doesn’t include Malibu and Hermosa and all the fantastic So Cal beaches nearby. But here, as you run you go from the state beach, to Santa Monica, under the pier, through Main street’s beaches, you dodge in and out of performers and scared tourists in Venice Beach. It’s a snapshot of LA’s beach culture and you get to take it all in just by running.

I like to stop in Venice Beach and run back, anymore and you are pushing 10 miles. And since I have the knees of an 80 year old baseball catcher I am not doing that shit.


Mount Baldy


MOUNT BALDY MOTHER FUCKER! This hike is intense with a capital I. Wait, should I have just capitalized the i? Who cares we’ll let my editor Jared deal with that mess. Mount Baldy is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains and will kick your ass from top to bottom. Since I am not insane like some people, I merely hiked this daunting mountain (which is also just a ski resort in winter? So, you are hiking a ski resort…super easy). The picturesque hillsides and stunning greenery make you almost forget about your burning quads.

Mount Baldy is about an hour drive from LA with no traffic, so leave early. I left at 6:30am and pulled up to parking lot packed to the gills. Luckily, we got a spot and the hike is so huge that groups space out, allowing for you to hike without the annoyance of others (side note, if you are one of those people that hike with a speaker so everyone else can hear your music, please stop it). Make sure to get a nature permit for the day at the Ranger station in town, if you don’t you’re going to need to drive allllll the way back down a long circuitous hill to get it. Which I would have had to do if it wasn’t for a random woman that provided me with an extra, you are my angel and I will never forget you.

Baldy is an 11 mile hike that should take you 7 to 8 hours. There are death defying narrow trails, views unmatched by any other peak in So Cal, and trees so pretty you’ll want to kiss them. Also, if you skip the loop and double back the way you came, you can stop off at the ski lodge for some beers, which after a hike this hard will be well deserved.


Baldy is my favorite hike in LA County. It’s a tough one, and somewhat of a drive to get to, but if you are craving an escape, this is the place to get it.


West Ridge Trail Head


Mount Baldy may be my favorite hike in the county, but this is the best run in the city.

The West Ridge Trailhead leads to a rollercoaster of undulating trails over and back the tops of mountainsides that cascade through the Westridge-Canyonback wilderness. These trails and views are almost unbelievable in their grandiose beauty. And the best part about it, only true locals seem to know about this hike. I always park on the street as the lot is tiny, but it’s free either way.

This hike has everything you want from an LA escape. Its easily accessible through a short drive up the Brentwood Hills, it’s dog friendly, there are routes difficult and easy, it’s gorgeous, and best of all… it’s quiet. Unlike all other hikes I have found in LA, this one is the most consistently empty. While you run the trails and explore each new ridge, you find yourself sinking into relaxation. Every curse word yelled at you by drivers on your way here seem to dissolve from your mind, all the stress of the city below seems to melt away. This is the place to truly get away from the rat race that is LA. This trail is more than a great run, it’s a reset button for you.


One Woman Book Club: May 2018

Well, this is awkward.

Let’s address the elephant in the library (ha… ha…) I apologize for my absence. Sometimes you read 11 books in a month, and sometimes you read, well, none.

For the month of May, however, I decided to fall back into my reclusive, book-binging ways and boy oh boy do I have a few goodies for you.

*YouTuber voice* And without further ado, let’s get into it.


My Best Friend’s Exorcism

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Grady Hendrix

Five Star

     Firstly, we need to address how fucking fantastic this book cover and its sleeves are. The hardcover version is laid out exactly how you’re imagining your parent’s high school yearbooks are, instantly setting you up for a fun (albeit dark) reading experience. The insides are riddled with signatures and lengthy variations of H.A.G.S all addressed to one of the main characters, Gretchen, and well… you know what? I’ll insert a photo. It’s great.

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     The book is set in the 1980’s amid the beginning of the very real satanic panic. The culture of the 80’s and the whole ‘there-is-evil-controlling-the-world-I-think-my-neighbor-might-be-sacrificing-a-cat-help-me-Jesus” mentality that was quite literally a thing, drives the plot of this horror-comedy that is otherwise about deeply rooted friendships and the lengths we go to in order to preserve the ones we hope will stand the test of time.

     Abby and Gretchen have been the best of friends since 5th grade. It’s that pure and heartwarming friendship that’ll leave you feeling nostalgic for the friend that you grew up with during your awkward phase. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when the girls find themselves on a bad acid trip in the middle of the woods during high school. Gretchen wanders off to God knows where and disappears for a period of time, concerning the other girls. That being said, Gretchen’s strange behavior upon her return ends up being much more worrisome. Abby becomes convinced that a demonic possession is to blame for the wedge driven between them, and commits to doing whatever it takes to save her best friend.

     Now, this is not a terribly scary book. I don’t imagine many readers will be losing any sleep or reaching for their holy water. With that in mind, a few intensely detailed visuals of several particularly disturbing scenes might make your skin crawl a bit. Grady Hendrix does a wonderful job of delving deep into some squirmy shit, while simultaneously keeping the overall tone lighthearted and comedic. I was extremely impressed to discover that Hendrix is a male author being that the inner workings and nuances of female friendships are so well depicted. 

     All in all, this book was one of a kind. It was a novel that was hard not to inhale, and more than anything, it was just plain fun. I really look forward to reading Horrorstör, another one of Hendrix’s novels, which is set up like an Ikea catalogue. (This guy is so cool don’t @ me).


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Dean Koontz

 Four StarFour stars

     So, my Grandma loaned me this book. Her words? “Oh, Kirsten. I just finished this book. It was pretty disturbing. I think you’d like it.”

     Thanks, Grandma.

     For all twenty-six years of her life, Chyna Sheppard has been a survivor. Despite an extremely unfortunate and borderline abusive childhood, she has come out on top and allowed herself to open up to a single person: her best friend Laura. Laura takes Chyna home with her for their spring break, where the unimaginable happens. Sociopath and serial killer Edgler Foreman Vess sneaks into the home, and begins brutally slaughtering all of its sleeping occupants, Laura and her family included.

     This book does not relent. The suspense was literally anxiety inducing at times, and the beginning of the book is extremely graphic. What makes it so addicting is the insane attention to detail throughout the entirety of the novel. Koontz has the ability to accurately describe the precise thoughts and idiosyncrasies the characters have exactly how I imagine I would have them myself if ever found in that horrific situation. For example, when Vess enters into Chyna’s guest room, he finds the room completely undisturbed and seemingly unoccupied. Chyna’s suitcase was still packed and hidden away, her bed still made, her toiletries put away. There was nothing to indicate that someone was staying in that room that night. And yet, as Chyna hides under the bed absolutely silent, she wonders if perhaps the sink had water droplets from when she washed her hands earlier. And, what if the hand towel is still damp from when she dried them? Will he notice? Will these small details be what gives her away and costs her her life?

     The book switches off between the perspectives of Chyna and Edgler Vess, both of which are ridiculously complex characters. While Koontz’s gift to so thoroughly show and not simply tell is what made the book so unique, it was also why I gave the novel only 4/5 stars. Because I had become so familiar with the minds of the characters, I found myself questioning a few decisions that didn’t seem to really fit what I had grown to know about them. There was also an occasional excess of details that felt tedious at times.

     While this wasn’t for the faint of heart, I did enjoy the book as a whole. This was my first Koontz novel, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it won’t be my last. 


The Off Campus Series


  Elle Kennedy

So there are four books in this series, and I’ve decided to do them all in a single review.

The Deal: Five Star

The Mistake: Four Star

The Score: Four Star

The Goal: Three Star

     Dude, these covers kill me. Full disclosure, I read these books on the Kindle app on my iPhone, so I was spared the quizzical and judgmental looks I imagine I would have received if I had read one of these bad boys out in public.

     Speaking of bad boys, AMIRITE?

     All of these books fall in the still fairly new genre of “New Adult”. On Goodreads, New Adult is described as “bridging the gap between Young Adult and Adult genres. It typically features protagonists between the ages of 18 and 25 with the cap at 30ish.” While I would agree with all of this, I also have come to find that it also means “toooooonnnnnnnnns of sex”. Seriously.

     Regardless, I really enjoyed this series. The common denominator throughout all of these books are the male protagonists. All four boys are good friends or roommates that play on the same college hockey team. I really like the fluidity of novels that reference one another, and it’s nice to have familiar names and characters that you already know pop up in one another’s books. I found that this allowed me to get more involved in the story, as well as more invested in the well-being of the characters and the relationships that they form.

     The structure of all four books are generally the same: the guy is a huge player until the girl comes along that makes him want to change his ways and be monogamous. What really makes this series a standout among the million other books with the exact same storyline is that all of the characters are likable. The author doesn’t waste your time with petty and immature plot lines, because all of the main players are impressively reasonable. The issues that the characters do encounter in their stories are actually valid, and their resolutions are equally as believable. 

     The books also have their subtle yet distinguishable differences. The one with the best character backgrounds and development (The Deal), the most sexually charged (The Score), the most obnoxious female protagonist (The Goal), etc. 

     I always enjoy a more mindless read in between all of the emotionally taxing horror/suspense novels that I read, and this series allowed me that. While there definitely is a stigma surrounding new adult (thanks a lot, Fifty Shades of Grey), I would say that this series did the genre right. But can we be a bit more discreet with the covers guys? No? Sex sells, you say? Well, alright then.



See you next month!



(most likely)

(no promises tho)

Put The Book Down: Lessons From A Self-Help Addict

Photo © Albert Watson

For the first time in seven years, I voluntarily cracked opened a fictional book. The last story I read that wasn’t set in reality was Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons. The book I’m reading now is…fine, albeit a little cheesy. But it’s been nice to get back on the horse, and I’m already looking to add a few options to my reading list.

This fairytale hiatus can be attributed to two things: 1) I got lazy around the age of 17 and substituted reading for Netflix and weed. 2) I got back into reading four years later, only my re-initiation was in the form of a self-help book, and I was hooked.

Self-help books are empowering. A good one can leave you with a rush, ready to seize the day, and overpower any and all obstacles that happen to fall in your path. There have been self-help books that have completely changed my perspective on life. However, immersing yourself too deeply in self-help books can be counterintuitive. It becomes easy to convince yourself that this leisurely activity has become a necessity.

Before we get into them, let me clarify what I consider to be “self-help.” Self-help books cover a considerably broad spectrum. Tony Robbin’s Awaken The Giant Within obviously falls under this category because it centers around taking control of your life and being the best you can be. But so does Walter Isaacson’s Ben Franklin, as we can all learn from the biography of one of the greatest minds in history. If it’s non-fiction that can teach you something new about life, I like to file it under “self-help.”

Here are the some of the biggest traps of the self-help rabbit hole.


Reading A Book On Productivity Does Not Make You Productive

Photo via Medical Daily

It’s very easy to skim through the pages of The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People and feel the infectious energy of the people in this book. Unfortunately, this feeling can linger, while the call to action that comes with it does not. Sure, maybe you made your bed every morning for the first three days, or you spent the first week not answering emails in the morning (both suggestions you’ll find in every other self-help book you read). But these trends rarely hold place, while the belief that we’re actually being productive does. This in turn creates an internal pass to be lazy. It’s like the person who goes to the gym for the first time, then comes home and happily scarfs down a cake as a reward. That slice of cake can become particularly addictive, because all of a sudden you’re pursuing that feeling of productivity over actually productivity.


Regurgitating What You Read Does Not Make You Smart

Remember, you bought this book to improve on yourself, not to impress others. It’s so easy to quote Robert Greene’s description of Ben Franklin’s social intelligence, but no one cares, yourself included. Finish the book, let the facts that stuck with you sink in, and add your own opinion to them. Anyone can repeat a sentence they read in a book, but the point of self-improvement is to supplement your thoughts, not create them.


You’re Chasing The Dragon, Not Your Dreams

Photo via HBO

When you first delved into self-help, you did it to better yourself and eventually achieve the future of your dreams. There’s no get-rich-quick scheme. As all of these books have showed you, it’s about hard work and a pragmatic approach. But you start to wonder, what if there’s something else? That last book made such a good point about money management, what if the next one tells you exactly how to run your at-home business? Maybe the one after that will give you the perfect morning routine that will then give you a head start on the competition. All of a sudden, you don’t want to take action, because you think there’s more information out there that you might be missing. What was initially a form of motivation has now become a roadblock between you and your goals.


You Are Not Malcolm Gladwell

Photo via The New Yorker

The most obvious statement in this article actually hit home the hardest for me. Malcolm Gladwell stated that he believes everyone should have a small breakfast. For him specifically, he has half of a croissant and a quarter cup of oatmeal. I tried a rough version of this for about two weeks and was very confused as to why I hated everyone and everything by 11 a.m. Malcolm Gladwell is 5’8”, 150 pounds, meanwhile I’m 5’10” and 185 pounds of PURE MUSCLE, BABY. To assume that I should emulate someone’s diet just because they used to write for The New Yorker is ridiculous. More important, it made me realize that everything I read is not one-size-fits-all.


Everyone Is Different

Just because Jocko Willink gets up at 4:30 a.m. to work out doesn’t mean you need to. Tim Ferriss goes on airplane mode after dinner and doesn’t turn if off until the next morning. Let’s be honest, that sounds awful. Tony Robbins jumps into 57-degree water every single morning. No thank you. Casey Neistat sleeps three to four hours a night. That’s a stroke waiting to happen.

A lot of people in these self-help books do things that seem inhuman, and probably have played a large part in creating the people they are today. That doesn’t mean that they are better than you, nor does it mean that it will work for you. I used to wake up at 5:30 every morning to do yoga before work. You know what that made me? Tired. After several months of waiting for my body to “get used to it,” I realized that I performed much better with the extra hour of sleep and just did yoga when I got home for the day.

Self-help books are full of suggestions, not facts. If something catches your interest, give it a try, but don’t be dismayed if it doesn’t work out. These books aren’t meant to create a whole new person, just help find pieces to the puzzle that is you.

Tim Ferriss.jpg
Photo via CreativeLive

Despite the treachery that can come with them, self-help books are incredible. While I plan on cutting back on them and mixing in a little fiction every now and then, they will still remain an integral part of me. Since I first cracked one open, my life has taken an immense turn for the better. Yeah, I live with my parents, but I’m super entrepreneurial about it. No, I’m not employed, but I’m going to be SO successful when I am. Okay, I also haven’t received my degree, but like, whatever. Fuck, what am I doing with my life?

In all seriousness, self-help books have made me a much better person. I’m in the best shape of my life, much more grounded than I would have been without them, and all around, I’m simply happier.

Go read some self-help books. Below are some of my favorites. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to read them in the comments section or you can always tweet me.


  • Psycho-Cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz
    • There really is nothing like your first time. My first self-help book is near and dear to my heart. Psycho-Cybernetics is all about developing the ability to “steer” your mind toward your goals, and showed me just how much the average mind is capable of.
  • Blink, Malcolm Gladwell
    • This book taught me to question every initial thought I have, and has strengthened my bullshit detector tenfold.
  • Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson
    • It was a beautiful thing to gaze into the mind of a man who shaped the world we live in today. Wow, what an asshole, though.
  • Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss
    • Basically a transcript of approximately 200 interviews with some of the most successful people on Earth, divided by “Health,” “Wealth,” and “Wisdom.” There is something in this book for everyone and it’s the one I would recommend if you had to choose one.
  • The Four-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss
    • This book still impacts me to this day with all it taught me about diet and nutrition. Most of my love for this book stems from its intense diet, The Slow Carb Diet.
  • How To Win Friends And Influence People, Dale Carnegie
    • The mother of all self-help books, many of the lessons on human interaction still hold true today, despite being over 80 years old. Warren Buffett’s favorite book, if that means anything.

“I listened to this TED Talk”: How to be the Smartest Dumb Guy at Your Next Party

We live in a time when information is more obtainable than ever before. A time when undeserved recognition is just an Instagram bikini picture away. So why not use both of these convenient advancements in technology to your advantage at your next social gathering?

Throughout generations, great intelligence has been one of the most revered attributes of a person, from Einstein and Edison, to Gates and Musk. The only difference between these great minds and yourself is that they created and invented to advance society and bring change, while you will spew half-right information and lies to make others feel contempt. That is precisely why at your next ball or gala you will astonish fellow friends and acquaintances with your taste in all things outdated and hard to challenge. Here is an easy guide to follow in order to depart a party leaving people whispering, “Is he always like that?”, and by “that” I mean smart.

  1. Bring a brand of alcohol no one has ever heard of and insist that it’s the only thing you drink now, and that “there’s no way I could go back to the cheap stuff.” Then refuse to share it by hiding it in a cabinet when you’re not pouring yourself a glass.
  1. If you have traveled anywhere outside of the states, it is extremely important that you constantly express how it changed your life. You also need to go back soon.
  1. Always preface an interesting fact that you forced into someone else’s story with, “I listened to this TED talk…”

    Photo via YouTube

Example: “I listened to this Ted Talk and it said if you don’t get at least five hours of sleep a night you have a much higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.”

  1. Bring up Alzheimer’s.
  1. Even if you didn’t see the movie someone brought up, say you saw “parts of it.” If they bring up any particular scene from the movie, you happened to miss that part.
  1. The music/artist you’re really in to must be at least 40 years older than the age group of your audience. The worse the music is, the more unique you are and the less they understand art. You also like their older stuff better.
  1. Infinite Jest is the best book ever because the author killed himself because he was too smart. Nothing smarter than liking a guy who was too smart to live. Nirvana is cool, too.
  1. Wear a nice analog watch on your drinking hand to get your wrist into other’s view as much as possible. NO DIGITAL CLOCKS! Change your Apple Watc
    Photo courtesy of Happy People Read and Drink Coffee by Agnes Martin-Lugand

    h to an analog face. Then when they ask for the time look at your watch, don’t say the time, hold it up at them, don’t say the time, let them struggle for a second, then say the time right before they are about to say it, making them look foolish.

  1. Your Instagram is only filled with pictures of cups of coffee sitting next to open books. You follow no one, everyone follows you.
  1. Lastly, highjack the AUX cord and sneakily play a song that should not be played at a party, like Father John Misty or Bon Iver, to firmly solidify your spot at the top of the party monarchy.

If you perform these simple steps correctly you will never be invited back to a party ever again, but that’s okay because you will still hear about it and show up uninvited. You will get older, gain more knowledge, and go to more parties. You just have to remember that you are better than every single person there. It is also important to remember that some of those people may not like you, but that’s also okay because not everyone likes Kanye, and you’re like Kanye.

  1. Tell people you’re like Kanye.


One Woman Book Club: February 2018

February was a good month for books, people! I’m so excited to be able to highly recommend a few of the books on this month’s One Woman Book Club list. I know the suspense is killing you, so let’s dive right in.



Dangerous Girls

By Abigail Haas (pseudonym) Abby McDonald

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Goodreads rating: 4.13 stars

My rating: Five Star

Wouldn’t we all look guilty, if someone searched hard enough?

I don’t even know where to really start with this book. Because I am a monster, I typically read books in a single sitting. It’s usually around 4am after starting a book four hours earlier that I realize hmm, maybe this was a mistake. That being said, this book made it easy. 

A group of best friends decide to spend the Spring Break of their senior year getting trashed in a luxurious beach house in Aruba. Soft spoken, easy-going Anna is having the time of her life celebrating with her dream of a boyfriend Tate, and her wild and free, don’t-give-a-fuck BFF Elise along with a few other close friends. That is until Elise is found stabbed to death in her bed, and Anna and Tate are declared the prime suspects. Now Anna is stuck in a foreign country, fighting for her innocence in a system unfamiliar to her.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking- this is totally an Amanda Knox meets Natalee Holloway type of story.  You’d be right. The similarities are definitely there, but the originality certainly isn’t lacking. This book is so much more than the murder of a pretty blonde on a vacation. Haas writes with a deep understanding of complex young-adult relationships; love, sex, deceit, jealousy, friendship, guilt, innocence. The murder was simply the catalyst, with both that and everything in between executed to near perfection.

The story reads as a stream of consciousness from the perspective of Anna. It bounces back and forth between her memories and recollections both before and during the event, and her understandings and emotions during the aftermath and pending trial. Throw in a few police reports, documented transcripts of phone calls and interviews as they are being presented in court, and you’ll find yourself invested in a captivating thriller that you might as well be a jury member on. You will find yourself empathizing for Anna, scared for Anna, wishing the best for Anna. You will feel her emotions and anxieties as if they were your own, simply because she comes across so flawed, and therein, so real. But most of all, you will find yourself questioning Anna. How reliable is your narrator? What exactly do you believe, when the only story told to you is one you know to assume to be the truest version? I enjoyed everything about this book, and the feeling it left me with resonated for days afterwards. I would say to throw any reservations you may have about this book out the window, and give it a shot.


Bird Box

By Josh Malerman

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Goodreads rating: 3.98 stars

My rating: Four Star

It’s rare to stumble upon a truly original psychological horror, but Josh Malerman delivered. People around the world are seeing… something. Pregnant Malorie is at home with her sister when the first case breaks out in Russia. Before she knows it, the phenomenon has spread to a global scale. No one has answers. All that anyone seems to know is that if you see this something, you will quickly be driven to madness, murder, and finally, suicide. People begin blacking out their windows, boarding up their homes, and living their lives in blindfolds, all in the name of survival. What makes this book so bone-chillingly scary is that the unseen is so much more terrifying than the seen. It’s like being in a horror movie where the camera purposely doesn’t pull back large enough to see what’s standing directly behind you for the entire novel. There is something absolutely terrifying about not being able to give your fear a face.

Presently, Malorie has two small children in tow. She spends the first several years of their young lives training them- teaching them to live in the dark. The children have essentially lived their entire existence without the use of their eyes so that they might stand a chance at surviving upon leaving the house.

For full disclosure, I will say that you shouldn’t go into this book expecting answers. There is no, ‘why did this happen?’ or ‘how did this happen?’ which I believe is something to be appreciated. In this book, it couldn’t matter less. Our protagonist Malorie’s only goal is to find safety in this dystopian setting, and she’s all the more determined to now that she has something to lose.

If this sounds like a book you’d be interested in, I’d go pick it up ASAP and give it a read before the movie, starring Sandra Bullock as Malorie, is released later this year!


Killman Creek

By Rachel Caine

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Goodreads rating: 4.32

My rating: Four Star

After reading Killman Creek’s predecessor, Stillhouse Lake, I could not wait for this book to arrive. I was tracking my package on Amazon constantly like the impatient brat I always knew I was.

By the opening of this novel, Gwen Proctor has successfully transitioned from victim to warrior. She may have won the first battle against her murderous ex-husband’s psycho accomplices, but the war has just begun. Now Melvin Royal himself has escaped from prison and is determined to destroy his ex-wife and shatter the new lives that her and her children have attempted to create for themselves. This time, however, Gwen decides that a game of cat and mouse isn’t permissible. She’s tired of hiding and waiting around for the worst- of Melvin having all of the power. No, she’s decided to save him the trouble of finding her, because she’s coming for him.

After being so utterly in love with the first book, I almost felt like this sequel didn’t stand a chance of living up to it. Don’t get me wrong, Killman Creek had all of the elements that made Stillhouse Lake such a hit for me, but there were a few things I struggled with throughout. Stillhouse Lake is told exclusively from the perspective of Gina/Gwen, whereas this book expands its narrators to include fellow revenge seeker Sam Cade, as well as both of the children, Lanny and Connor. Caine definitely had her reasons for doing this (which I won’t divulge for the sake of spoilers), but I still found myself missing the well executed simplicity of keeping the thoughts of a single narrator straight.

I also struggled with the fact that Melvin had escaped prison, because of course he did. The only time that was even somewhat realistic to me was in The Shawshank Redemption. That being said, if you manage to suspend your disbelief, you’re bound to enjoy this pulse-pounding thriller. I’ll definitely be purchasing the third book in the series upon it’s December 2018 release.


The Butterfly Garden

By Dot Hutchison

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Goodreads rating: 4.06

My rating: Four Star

The Butterfly Garden is another one of those books that takes place in the present, but is consistently flashing back to past events in order to give us an understanding of what had to happen to get us to where we are now. This is extremely common, and in this case, extremely effective.

Hidden away there exists a garden. This garden is filled with “butterflies.” If the quotations there didn’t tip you off that we aren’t talking about insects, then let the record show that no, we aren’t talking about the little fluttering kind. No, the butterflies in this garden are young women- all drugged and kidnapped and brought to live in this twisted community where they are forced to sing and dance and have sex with their self-proclaimed keeper, The Gardener. He tattoos intricate and individualized butterfly wings onto their backs, and, past a certain age, has the women permanently preserved. Preserved, you ask? What do you mean? Well, if you’re thinking the worst, you’re correct.

Our story opens with the FBI questioning a particular butterfly, Maya. One would think that the fact that the reader is so quickly assured that The Gardener is caught would almost certainly guarantee a happy ending, however that shred of hope is ripped away just as quickly as it is introduced.

The character development in this story is outstanding. Almost every butterfly introduced plays a unique role in the unfolding of the novel, and Hutchison effectively captures the different ways that individuals can attempt to cope with trauma. This is a story about the lengths some will go to in order to survive, and the deeply ingrained desire to preserve beauty at any cost. While I wouldn’t say you need to rush out and buy this little guy, it’s definitely a unique and easy-to-read novel in its own respect.



See you next month!