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This was me the day Hamilton tickets went on sale in Chicago: Actually, that was my whole office. Actually, that was, quite possibly, all of the city. I'm not going to sit here and pretend to be a fangirl: I had never even listened to the Hamilton soundtrack (still haven't...

Not all of the things we want to do in life are monumental. Sometimes, a life goal might be seemingly small, simple, mundane, but something we want to accomplish all the same. I've been hoarding cooking magazines for as long as I could remember. In high school, college, I had stacks and stacks of Gourmet, Bon Appétit, and Martha Stewart Living on my shelves. I had a subscription to Better Homes & Gardens when I was in grade school. I still have a subscription to Food & Wine. At one point, long ago, the stacks started taking over my room. So I...

I've been on this kick lately to do the things I always say I'm going to do. You know those things. Maybe you were watching an improv show once and thought to yourself, "this is so much fun, I wish I could be up there." Or maybe you passed by that swanky but impossible-to-get-into restaurant and thought, "I keep meaning to try to make reservations." Or, maybe, you were lusting over Pinterest boards on Brazil thinking, "someday I will take a vacation there." Those things. We're always making these mental lists. Lists of things we want to do in life. Lists of those things we...

Most of the things on our bucket lists are things we can, to at least some degree, control. If you want to learn Spanish you can take a class, you can download an app, you can check a book out at the library. If you want to see Machu Picchu you can book a flight. You can book a tour. You can plan that vacation. If you want to lose weight, if you want to buy a house, if you want to publish a book. You can actively work towards those goals. Many times, the only things holding us back are ourselves. But, there are...

I may be one of the most skeptical people you'll ever meet. For every extreme political meme you post on Facebook I immediately go to Snopes to fact check. I assume all news stories are grossly exaggerated. I assume all personal stories are grossly exaggerated. I read marketing text and say to myself, "50% fewer calories than what?" And, if you drag me to a motivational speaker, I will probably spend those three hours rolling my eyes and trying to hold back laughter. I just don't buy into a lot of crap. I'm jaded. I'm cynical. I'm skeptical as fuck. But psychics?...

It came to me while doing my yearly binge watch of My So-Called Life: I'm almost as old as Patty Chase. Let's let this sink in for a moment. I'm almost as old as Patty Chase. Have you never seen My So-Called Life? I don't know if we can be friends. Buy the box set from Amazon or stream it on Hulu. Go binge watch it now — I'll see you back here in 15 hours...

When I was young, maybe eleven or twelve years old, I got a cactus. I named my cactus Mr. Bean and put it near the window of my bedroom. And it sat there, for a while, until it eventually died because I never remembered to water it. Let's back up here: I killed a cactus because I didn't water it enough. I killed a cactus, the one plant in the world notorious for not needing all that much water to survive, because I didn't water it enough. That's about how green my thumb is. In the years since, I've killed many plants. All of...

It's back! It's been over a year since my last installment of Val Reads The Baby-Sitters Club. And I have one bad reason and two good as to why it's taken me so long to continue. 1. I've been lazy. (That's the bad reason.) 2. I left to travel shortly after finishing book 25 and my quest to pack light didn't include stuffing my backpack with a BSC library. (That's a good reason.) 3. I knew what was coming next...