Vlog #3 – Trip to Napa!

It’s finally here – another Vlog – almost 2 months late, whoops! Please watch the video below to get a little taste of Napa & see how I celebrated with my mom for her birthday!
Thanks for stopping by, please FOLLOW me here & on YouTube to stay up to date with all my Vlogs & Blog posts 🙂

Book Review! Douglass’ Women by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Okay, this is going to be the last Book Review for a bit – I was reading like crazy for a while but now I have to catch up on other topics!

Initial Thoughts:
“Douglass’ Women” is a random $1 Store find – believe it or not! It wasn’t on my Book List but it sounded intriguing and I thought, “For $1, why not?!”. I’m not up to date on all the history about Frederick Douglass, especially his family life, so I’m not sure how much of this is true or fictionalized.

Plot:
The story of famous abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, as told from the point of view of the two women he loved most – according to this story. One, his wife, a free woman of color, Anna Murray Douglass & the other, his lover, an educated white German woman named Ottilie Assing. They battle each other over the years & eventually come to the realization that Douglass is the problem. Unfortunately, they’re both too invested to turn away so they spend the rest of their lives longing for a man that cannot give either of them what they truly want & deserve. The story shows the different ways people deal with love, grief, infidelity, and how those emotions can help us find ourselves, or tear us down. Essentially, the typical story of a cheater & the people they hurt along the way.

Characters:
– In the beginning, Anna is a woman with almost nothing to offer, except what Frederick wants most – freedom. Initially he is attracted to her potential and the future they COULD have together. Like most dreams, to make it a reality you have to put in effort. He didn’t want to put in the effort to build a future with Anna, he was more focused on building his future in the political world. Anna saw a much different future. She saw babies and a love to grow old with, not politics and traveling the world. They didn’t know each other long enough before jumping into a commitment to know that they just weren’t compatible because they wanted very different things. Anna is an extremely strong woman. Anna’s desire to be with Frederick was misguided from the beginning, but she stays committed & tries to make the marriage successful. She manages to persevere and raise her children with grace & dignity, despite the many “sins” her husband commits against her.
– Ottilie is a woman who offers Frederick everything, a whole world of formal education, fancy parties, powerful people, and social change. They are more compatible on a social and intellectual level. However, Ottilie’s obsessive desire to be with Douglass in a romantic way is their undoing. She gives him too much. He tries to resist at first, but she persists and shows him he can have his cake & eat it too. Obviously they live in a time where divorce wasn’t much of an option so she had to have known all along that he could only be with her legally once Anna died. What a risky game! Unfortunately, that is often the case when a woman agrees to become “The Other Woman”. In the beginning Ottilie comes across as villainous. She makes everything a competition with Anna, in her mind & in conversations with Frederick. However, towards the end, you see she was just lonely, insecure, & also misguided. Although she honestly should have expected it, when Frederick eventually betrays her too, she loses all sense of reason. To a certain extent her reaction is understandable because she’s centered her life around him, but that’s why you can’t build a life focused on someone else. If, most likely when, they leave you, you have nothing left.
– Frederick is tough to analyze. He comes off as a very rude, selfish, conceited, mean spirited man, but you have to understand that he spent his youth being treated less than human by slave owners. Earning his freedom allows him to pursue (almost) anything he wants & he wants it all. How can you blame him? However, despite his circumstances, I still feel like he had an ugly heart. He was always so focused on himself, even in the bedroom! During the sex scenes, which were very uncomfortable to read, his “sexy talk” consists of, for example, “I’m no slave” & “I’m equal to any man”. Uhhhh okay, a romantic moment with a lady isn’t really the time for this kind of talk – at least in my opinion, but what do I know!? Based on his character as described in this story, I have no warm feelings for him, despite his accomplishments. I’m not sure if the author is doing a historical figure a disservice or if she did the research to find that he really was not a great person in regards to his personal life.

Quotes:
Pg 225: Anna, “When I was most angry, I reminded myself Freddy fathered my children”, Ottile, “When I was most lonely, words failed to comfort me. Ideas can never be children”.
I think these two quotes sum up a great deal about these characters. Anna was angry with the way Frederick treated her. She used her position as a mother to help her cope. She couldn’t give Frederick a beautiful, educated wife to impress his colleagues with, but she gave him a family. Ottilie, on the other hand, was defined by her loneliness, that’s why she started the affair to begin with! While she could give Frederick the lifestyle Anna couldn’t, she couldn’t give him a family to continue on his legacy. That’s the draw of the two women. They both offered something completely different, a “special skill set”, that Frederick wanted.

Overall:
A sad story of two strong, educated in their own way, extremely different women that found themselves struck down in the name of love. This story shows the paths that love can lead us down & how they aren’t always as romantic as we envision them to be.

Rating: B
I enjoyed this book, although the sex was a little much for me. I guess you won’t find me reading “50 Shades…” anytime soon, haha! The reason for the B rating is simply because I wasn’t over the moon about this book. It was good, but not something I need to read again.

Have you read “Douglass’ Women”? If so, what are your thoughts? Did you find it enjoyable? I also recently reviewed “The Duchess” by Amanda Foreman – another book based on women in history, although that one was written as a Thesis so it’s more historically accurate. Do you have any book suggestions for me? Please let me know in the comments below!

Book Review! The Sisters by Nancy Jensen

Lots of book reviews! I still have at least one more planned for this week 😀 “The Sisters” is going to be a quick one – too many potential spoilers!

Usually I write pretty in depth Book Reviews with Character Analysis and Quotes, etc. However, my Review of “The Sisters” is going to be much more general. I was so enthralled in the story I raced through without taking any notes. I considered giving it another read simply to take notes to write a better Review, but ultimately decided against it for a couple reasons.

1. There’s no way to talk about the story & characters without spoiling the main mystery, the “big reveal”, the catalyst that sets all the drama in motion. You find out the details in the first few chapters, but it’s still a journey you should experience for yourself, not through Spoilers in this review.
2. I have other books I want to read, haha! While I enjoyed this story & thought it was well written, the subject matter was fairly dark, not something I want to linger over. Plus, now that I know all the ins and outs of the story, there’s no…thrill of the chase, if you will. I know how it ends. Rereading all the pain and suffering this family experiences isn’t going to change anything other than this review. You should take my word that this is a good book without needing a full review, haha!

Rating: B
As mentioned above, the story was super sad, but definitely kept me intrigued. The basic story is about sisters & best friends, Mabel & Bertie, young girls in the 1920’s. When Bertie is 13, a tragic set of circumstances & misunderstanding separates them. The novel follows how, not just their lives, but the lives of subsequent generations are changed because of the actions taken by the two girls. It will tug on your heartstrings especially if you’re a woman and/or have sisters or just in general have had a relationship torn apart due to a misunderstanding. I couldn’t give it a full A because like I said, very dark, not something I’d really want to read again, it didn’t really make me think or inspire me in any way, & towards the end I did have some trouble keeping track of all the characters.

Have you read “The Sisters”? If you want to talk Spoilers, please be courteous of other readers & don’t leave them in the comments! All my contact info is listed at the top of the page – you’re always welcome to shoot me an email at MissAl.Leigh@gmail.com Thanks for reading!!

Announcement/Event Recap! – NBC Universal Audition

Today’s post is going to be part Announcement, part Event Recap, part Personal.

To start, I’d like to share with you all that I received my first Acting callback!!! I’ve been an Extra in a few movies and music videos, but this is the first time I’ve actually been called back for an audition. I can’t reveal too much because it’s in pre production & I haven’t actually been cast yet. Even if I don’t get cast, I’m extremely excited because I came to SoCal to pursue an Acting career…but never really made any moves because of where I was living/my living situation/my job etc. I’m honestly not that focused on my Acting career any more because I finished school & chose a career path I’m very excited to pursue – but obviously to make a career as an Actress would be a dream come true. I’ve recently begun applying for parts just to see what would happen, so it feels great to have made it through 3 rounds of an Audition.

The Audition was for a non-airing TV pilot, so even if I’m cast it’s very likely my screen time will never actually see a screen, haha! I sent in my picture to a Casting Agency, answered some questions, & after they were reviewed, I was invited to participate in a Skype Interview/Audition. I talked to a really nice Casting Assistant, answered more questions (!!!), & was eventually invited to attend an In Person Interview. I drove out to Los Angeles to NBCUniversal (!!!!!!!!!) for the filming. The whole process was really fun and I was able to network with the other people there to audition. On another note, I saw Comedian Gabriel Iglesias in the NBCUniversal lobby & I’m slightly ashamed to say that I snuck a really bad picture of him because I was so excited 😀 His picture is below along with some really silly Selfies I took that day – enjoy! Click on them to make them full size!

I don’t usually talk about stuff like this but…the personal part of this is a reflection of how I’ve been feeling lately – get ready for some preaching! I really want to express how much y’all should appreciate the people that love you. So cliche but it’s seriously true. This doesn’t have to mean your family – I realize not everyone gets along with their family – but whoever truly has your back, value them. As my life has changed, graduating, moving back to SoCal, my Internship, my job search, this Audition, my love life, my friends & their accomplishments (babies, marriages, & such), etc etc, I have been thinking about my grandparents and dad a LOT. I wish they were here to offer me advice & cheer me on. I know they’re watching down from Heaven, but it’s not the same. However, they must have known I’ve been occupied by these thoughts because I had an interesting encounter the other day. I was walking through a parking garage late at night & all of the sudden I smelled my Grandpa’s cologne. It hit me & I immediately recognized the scent, it was so strong I looked around to see if someone was walking near me that might have had the cologne on – but there was no one around. I’m not usually one to believe in supernatural stuff like this, but I feel like there’s no other way to explain what happened & honestly it’s comforting to know that the people we love have ways to reach out to us even if it’s not with words. So my bottom line is, love the people that love you! One day all you’ll have is memories & you’ll want to feel like you did your best to let them know you loved them.

Okay, I’m done! Have a great week – I have some more exciting posts coming up so click that FOLLOW button at the top right to stay connected with me! Thanks for reading 🙂