Book Report: Whiskey Sea

whiskey sea ann howard creel

Synopsis: The Whiskey Sea is the prohibition-era story of Frieda Hope, the eldest daughter of a deceased whore who lives in a small shore town with her little sister, Bea, and Silver, a clammer/fisherman who took the girls in and raised them. Frieda grows up on the sea and falls in love with the ocean and their fishing boat. Desperate to escape the fate that befell her late mother, Frieda breaks with traditional gender roles of the time to become a boat mechanic so she can support her sister’s academic endeavors. When she’s offered an incredibly lucrative job on a rum-running boat, the rewards (and romance?) far outweigh the risks.

Characters: I really identified with Frieda. We’re both tough as nails badass bitches from small seaside towns who are majorly protective of our perfect, gradeful little sisters. Neither of us are traditional women. We’re tomboys, outliers, and dreamers. We both want to escape a small shore town past.

On the other hand, I really despised Bea. She seemed so aloof and ungrateful, lost in her fashion magazines and daydreams without doing a thing to help herself OR her sister. She provided a stark contrast to Frieda- perfectly feminine and diligently fulfilling gender roles around the house. I pictured her singing to the birds and mice like a Disney princess as she went about her chores.

Hawkeye, an older fisherman who skulks around the local bars and docks, presents Frieda with a nemesis, but this relationship is never fully developed or concluded. It’s inferred that he’s Frieda’s biological father, but she never suspects or accepts this possibility.

Class tourism.
The focus of the story centers on Frieda’s unexpected feelings and relationship with Charles (aka Princeton)- a well-educated, wealthy do-nothing spending the summer at his parents’ beach house. Bored little rich boy craves excitement and so volunteers to help out on the rum-running boat Frieda works on. Against the core of her beliefs, Frieda falls for him knowing his intention to leave at the end of the summer and return to his richboy life in Manhattan. Princeton just wants to live dangerously, rum-running for fun, where Frieda and crew risk their lives almost nightly for a chance to escape poverty. This dichotomy creates most of the tension in the book.

Set in the prohibition era, rebellion presents as a major theme across all classes, from the rum-running boats in poor fishing towns to the speakeasies popping up around Manhattan. The country at large was rebelling against what they saw as an illegitimate law. Frieda, triggered by her own insecurities about her mother’s past, rebels against femininity, balking tradition and working hard to become the best, most respected boat mechanic around. She rebels against Silver’s desires for her future and Bea’s hopes for her as well. Her brand of rebellion ends up alienating her from most of society, just like her mother was. And good ole Princeton rebels against the “restraints” placed upon him by the expectations of upper class society.

Questions to think about.
What drew Silver, who was 25 at the time, to take the girls? He spent his life and resources on them and never married. Was he happy with his choice?

Who is Frieda’s father? Presumably Hawkeye as he’s the one who leaves flowers on her mother’s grave. How would that realization impact Frieda? Does she know and choose to ignore it to protect her heart and her hatred?


Splatoon 2 Updates: March Splatfest Recap


Splatfest Results: Team Chicken 🥇 vs Team Egg 🚫

Another Splatfest, another loss for my team. In the nine Splatfests that have occurred since the game came out in July, I have won exactly ONE event. However, this month’s was one of the most fun/least frustrating I’ve played.

I chose Team Egg because 1) science, and 2) I love the aesthetic of a fried egg. My Splatfest team choices are always based on personal preference – not what my favorite host chooses, not what most of my friends pick, not ink color or anything beyond what I love. And the things I love are losers. 😂


Things looked good at the start. The vast majority of my friends list had also chosen Team Egg and almost every one of my matches looked like the two omelets here. Somehow, playing solo with randoms makes for a more successful match than playing with a team. My friends are not very good at this, apparently.


Typically, my battle gear includes my official Splatest T, Special Forces Beret with a mix of abilities to round me out a little and scrubbed moto boots. Farming chunks is always a priority. Weapon-wise I’ve come to rely on the N-Zap 89 in turf wars because the special and sub suit my particular style of strategic play. I know it’s sort of frowned upon to try new weapons during Splatfest, but I was really enjoying the feel of the new Dark Tetra Dualies in the days leading up to the event. I fared really well with them in the end. I spent about 1/3 of the event wielding the Neo Sploosh-o-matic, which was a beast for coverage, but didn’t allow me the power or speed I’m used to.


Team Chicken MVPs. I played several rounds against these teams and I giggled at their names every time. The creativity on both sides of this Fest ensured I kept playing matches and running around Inkopolis Square to see the fresh artwork. IMG_7404.JPG

Team Egg MVPs I wasn’t part of this team nor did I have the luck to encounter any of them. Someone shared this in my Splatoon 2 group and I loved it so, so much.

I think for next Splatfest, I’ll put together a strong team. Between my friends list (some of them are better than me) and my clan, there should be a win in my future!

Which team did you pick?

Sunday Stats

*Since my family first got an NES, I’ve had a controller in my hands. Exploring new worlds, meeting new characters and experiencing stories… in some ways, I’ve just connected better with the world through games. However, it’s also very important to me to be present in my life, to improve myself, to go out and MEET the people I’ve connected with online and to expand my knowledge. I spend hours in games; how do I level myself up?

In this weekly series, I’ll chronicle how I’ve improved my “stats” with completely arbitrary scoring.*

+1 Intelligence – How did I make myself a little smarter? What did I learn?
Ugly Delicious on Netflix taught me so much about food and cultural perspectives (and I’m pretty sure it made Ryan think too!). I have to admit, I’d never questioned the American cultural status of Chinese food. David Chang (of Momofuku fame) pointed out that while it deserves the same consideration as French or Italian cuisines, it’s widely perceived as “cheap” and “dirty.” That was eye opening. I realized I’ve also considered Chinese food to be a cheap and “lesser” category of food. I don’t know the difference between regional flavors and styles. Though I always make an effort to experience and appreciate other cultures, it’s always a humbling reminder of my white privilege when these perspectives and perceptions smack me in the head. I’m grateful for shows like this that make me reflect and understand. I highly recommend everyone check it out.

+1 Charisma – How was I less awkward or more beautiful?
Our Boss’s Boss’s Boss was in the office this week and I made sure to get a little face time in with her. There were a lot of people clamoring for her attention, but I stepped up and asked her some good questions during her Office Hours.

-5 Strength – New workouts, breakthroughs, challenges.
It was a failed week at the gym. I didn’t make it once. Couldn’t sleep. Super emotional. Lots of crying. But I’m blasting this trend on Monday. I’ll never be ready for my race in April if I don’t get back into a solid routine NOW.

+2 Defense – Where did I consciously avoid or deflect negative energy?
My Discipline moved to a beautiful, bright new space this week. It’s not without its glitches, but it’s a massive improvement over our last floor. A lot of coworkers have been complaining about it though. So I’ve started pointing out something great for every complaint they have. “These pillars disrupt the room”: “We can wrap them in streamers and post up artwork!” “It’s going to be too crowded.”: “Let’s enjoy the quiet before we enjoy collaborating with everone else when they move in.” It’s all how you frame it. If you look for misery, you’ll always find it. If you look for the good, you will always find it.

+1 Luck – Something good that happened this week
I love my Passion Planner Eco, but when I close it the sleeve doesn’t quite fit right. The front of my poor bujo is bent in all manner from trying to wiggle and force it to close properly. I guess several buyers write a note to PP because they reached out offering a refund or replacement of my choice while they discontinue the Eco planner until it’s perfected. So now I’ll have a gorgeous Cosmic Rose Gold undated planner to map out 2019!

+5 Wealth – How did I save towards my goals?
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before, but I dog sit through I figured I already have a dog so what’s one more? Why not get paid for Muldoon to have an occasional sleepover? Last year I made over $3,000 for hanging out with cool ass pups. This week I booked a new client for TWO AND A HALF WEEKS! AND she’s a puppy so I get my puppy rate. By this time last year, I hadn’t had a single booking yet and I only gained 2 new clients for all of 2017 (my regulars were super active though!). After this new booking, I’ll have already made 1/3 of my profits from 2017 and booked THREE new clients! It’s shaping up to be a lucrative year!

How did you level up this week?

The Wild Unknown Tarot Interview

I jumped into this latest interview with one of my more advanced decks. The Wild Unknown replaces the knights and pages with “son” and “daughter” cards for each suite. The imagery, while whimsical and gorgeous, presents in a watercolor minimalist style that connects deeply with nature instead of adhering to the traditional tarot symbolism. So I’m still pretty married to the guidebooks when I read from this deck.

Tell me about yourself

Daughter of Wands
I am a truly visionary deck. Stronger than my soft appearance suggests. A free spirit who embraces transformation. I’m passionate and emotionally-driven. I’m very excited to connect with you and begin our journey together.


What are your strengths?
Ace of Pentacles
Every tree begins with a small seedling. I will be the soil that grounds you. My connection to all things natural will nurture our relationship into a blossoming tree bearing fruit to nourish you on this journey. My specialty is turning passion into opportunity and turning opportunity into wealth of various forms. I will help you manifest abundance through the things you already love.

What are your limitations?

Daughter of Pentacles
I can only take you so far. You need to stay focused on the tangible outcomes to fulfill our work.


What are you here to teach me?

You’ve never been very good at balance, even though it’s balance you seek. I want to help bring harmony to your life. I will teach you how to heal and renew. Through our connection and work, you will learn to better trust the ebb and flow of the Universe and let go so you may flow within her.

How can we best collaborate?
The Moon
Embrace your light and shadow so you can keep the whole picture in view. Sometimes you miss the forest for the trees. Let go of mental blocks so we can enjoy the path to our destination.


What’s the potential outcome of our relationship?
IX of Wands
We will go far together, to the moon, step by step. The gaps in knowledge and skill will close to bring abundance. Don’t ever stop climbing. Push on and let nothing stand in your way.

The Wild Unknown carries the most peaceful energy of any deck I’ve used. I turn to this deck in times of great stress or conflict to get a deep breath of practicality.

Want to know whats in your cards? I’ll read them for you starting at just $5!

Book Report: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Memoir is an incredibly difficult genre to write well. It requires a certain level of narcissism mixed with transcendent wisdom that must be shared with the world. Because Tina Fey lacks both of these qualities, Bossypants is a hilarious, relatable look into the unlikely success of one of the funniest women on the planet.


The self-depreciating tone of the book told with Tina Fey’s signature sarcastic wit struck a chord with the insecure middle school nerd of my past. As a (kind of) successful (though far less famous) woman myself, I realized how important that nerd and all of her embarrassing, awkward moments were in forming who I am now. To look back on our past selves and be able to endearingly chide ourselves instead of reliving that embarrassment is an important step in loving yourself. Forgiving our child selves, and acknowledging the strength that pushed us through the mess of adolescence is an indicator of growth. Tina Fey recounts an awkward time in her life where she used her gay friends as props, but selfishly wanted them to stay “half in the closet.” This analysis of her past was no doubt a huge epiphany for her that helped her form stronger relationships and become a better person.

“You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.” ― Tina Fey, Bossypants

Tina Fey also failed a lot. Sometimes her sketches fell flat. Sometimes she didn’t feel like her work was complete when the SNL deadline hit and she had to forge ahead anyway. Her insight on the myth of doneness resonated. There will occasionally be times when the goal changes from finishing to fighting through it and moving on to the next thing. There’s no time to beat yourself up over failures, but there’s immense value in learning from them and applying them to the next sketch.

“Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”
― Tina Fey, Bossypants

I also appreciate her openness about doubt and anxiety. No successful woman achieved her dreams without doubting herself along the way. Staving off the “what ifs” that anxiety chronically throws at me is one of my biggest challenges. Tina Fey laid bare all of her doubts about motherhood, comedy, cruises, fame, even her writing and acting abilities. But she never questioned the talent of her team.

I’m sure each of her peers have felt the same doubts, but there was a huge lesson here, especially for women: Others see us much differently than we see ourselves. It’s important to share our perspective with the women in our lives. Fey is hyper-aware of the pressure on women to not only succeed, but “do it all.” I was nodding my head in agreement with her thoughts on older women (especially those who speak their minds) being referred to as “crazy.” Where age = wisdom for men, as women we lose our credibility and relevancy when we’re no longer “hot.” Amy Schumer actually did a hysterical sketch with Tina Fey on this phenomenon:

Reading about the hilarious behind-the-scenes work on SNL and 30 Rock makes me want to watch all of 30 Rock. I think I fell off somewhere around the time the latest season of Shameless appeared on Netflix. Putting together a tv show seems unimaginably stressful, triple that for a live show! My admiration for Tina Fey has grown exponentially.

Her appreciation and gratitude for the people in her life, especially Amy Poehler, inspired me to write love letters to my friends.

Do you want a love letter? DM me your address on Instagram or Twitter and I’ll send you a handwritten note about how much ass you kick.

Sunday Stats

Sunday Stats

*Since my family first got an NES, I’ve had a controller in my hands. Exploring new worlds, meeting new characters and experiencing stories… in some ways, I’ve just connected better with the world through games. However, it’s also very important to me to be present in my life, to improve myself, to go out and MEET the people I’ve connected with online and to expand my knowledge. I spend hours in games; how do I level myself up?

In this weekly series, I’ll chronicle how I’ve improved my “stats” with completely arbitrary scoring.*

+1 Intelligence – How did I make myself a little smarter? What did I learn?
I did some networking at Stocktwits on Monday. I stumbled across someone who used to work for my company doing similar work for a different department. We made plans to get a coffee and chat. Gotta love exchanging knowledge!

+1 Charisma – How was I less awkward or more beautiful?
There’s nothing more charismatic than confidence. And I’ve been taking initiative all over the place to get my work seen. I’m making a huge impact on my company and I feel great about the future.

+1 Strength – New workouts, breakthroughs, challenges.
I’ve been working on my spiritual strength lately. I finished Witch Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic by Lisa Lister. I don’t recommend it, but there were some decent thought starters once I got through now much more legit of a witch she is than any of us could hope to be. I’m working on creating my own Celebration Cycle based on the Celtic traditions.

+4 Defense – Where did I consciously avoid or deflect negative energy?
I had a huge epiphany this week and someone captured the moment on Instagram (above). This very tall girl was behind me at The Dandy Warhols show in Brooklyn. She was dancing, having a great time. At one point, she moved past me and tapped the large dude (a stranger to both of us) next to me, gesturing about getting on his shoulders. As they started to attempt the maneuver, I heard myself saying “No! No! Don’t do that!” And then I looked up at her having a great time up there and I shut the fuck up. Queen Slay, as she is now known, was carefree and brave enough to do something I wish I had the confidence and extroverted personality to do. Why should I bring down someone else down because SHE’S brave enough to express her joy in a dramatic way and I’M not? Policing her good time wasn’t going to do anything for me, but positive vibes are contagious. So I gave her the smile and nod of an introvert and went back to happily, awkwardly dancing on my own. Live and let live. If you’re not brave enough to spark the highest vibrations in the room, soak up the high vibes all around you!

+1 Luck – Something good that happened this week
I got a free custom engraved New York City Beer Week glass courtesy of one of my favorite places: Coney Island Brewery. Glux, Ryan and I went to their tap takeover at the Brazen Fox Thursday evening and got a lot of great swag and delicious beers. I finally got to try the Everything But The Schmear Brown Ale and it’s the love of my life!

+5 Wealth – How did I save towards my goals?
#NoSpendFeb was a great success. I saved $1,000 in a month. I shook off some bad habits. I learned SO MUCH. Check out why I’m going to repeat this experiment every year.

How did you level up this week?

Lessons from #NoSpendFeb

As a result of some uncontrolled spending in January, I put myself on a strict financial diet for February. I tracked my daily spending to the last cent and resolved to not make purchases unless I really needed to. My strategy looked like this:


I wasn’t always perfect. Concert tickets for the summer all seem to go on sale in February and there were some opportunities I couldn’t miss. But I learned so much about myself and my habits in the last month.

1) I’m very impulsive with money. On the night of the Super Bowl, I tried to buy a case of Tastykakes while drunk. Luckily my card wouldn’t go through and I (also luckily) didn’t have my credit with me because I hid it from myself (also while drunk) and I can’t find it.

2) Wishlists work. I created two lists – Wants and Needs. Needs are obviously prioritized and include things like new sheets. The Wants are things I’d typically buy myself in the moment, and maybe regret later. By adding it to the list, I can let some time pass and see if it’s still something important to me. Maybe someone needs a gift idea for me? Maybe I don’t want that thing anymore? Do I want this $300 water bottle filled with diamonds? Yup. Do I need it right now? Probably not.

3) Make your wallet inconvenient to access. This was so simple and SO unexpectedly effective! I switched from a messenger bag to a backpack recently. To access my wallet, I need to take the backpack off, unzip the compartments, and dig it out. It’s kind of a pain. When my wallet was easy to access in a side pocket, I could whip it out all too often. Now when I stroll through The Strand, I have to really think about if I want to hold up the line to excavate my wallet to buy a new book. I keep daily essentials like my work badge and MTA card on the back of my phone, but not my debit card.

4) Don’t autosave card numbers into websites. One-click purchases are just too convenient… and often thoughtless! I took my numbers off Amazon. Seamless. Paypal. Modcloth. Pretty much everywhere. Ticketmaster got to keep my card info. That’s it.

4a) DO automate saving! I had an ambitious savings goal of $1,000 for the month. Granted, tax returns helped with that quite a bit, but my bank also lets me set goals based on timing and then automatically moves money into those goals every day.


5) There’s a lot of free stuff to do around the city. I kind of knew this already. But I rededicated myself to finding free or cheap things to do. There’s lots of free music. Free tastings. Cheap performances at the PIT. One of the reasons I LOVE living in NYC is that i consider my crazy rent part of my membership

6) I appreciated my paid activities more. Like lunch with Tony. And Galentine’s Day festivities. Likewise I felt bad about money events I can’t control – like a “team lunch” that we had to pay for ourselves where I ended up with a $21 appetizer-sized crab cake after splitting the bill 😑 It was really a lesson in value over cost and how to balance the two.

7) Rethinking gift giving. I tend to throw money at spoiling the people I love. It’s a Taurus thing reinforced by my Dad’s specific way of expressing love. For Valentine’s day, instead of a fancy night out and big gifts, I got Ryan a Movie Pass subscription and a poem I wrote about him when I was SIXTEEN. So now we can have a cheap date night at the movies whenever we want!

8) I didn’t check my bank account as much. Because I wasn’t worried about money! Usually in the week leading up to payday, I’m anxious about my account. I check it at least once a day. I always pay all the bills first, but when I’m frivolous with money I don’t feel secure. Since I was very closely tracking my spending, I always knew what was in my account without even having to check. It was a much better feeling!

9) My friends are awesome. Not a new lesson, but it really helped to have friends who understood my experiment and were supportive of the mission. No one was offended if I said no to a spendy hang out. I really appreciated their company instead of worrying about how to keep everyone entertained.

10) I have a mild shopping addiction. It gives me a RUSH to pull out my credit card and punch in the numbers… and then guilt. I feel out of control when I buy things sometimes. I don’t want to feel like that. I channeled that energy into working out or discovering an amazing piece at one of the museums I have memberships with.

I highly recommend trying a No Spend month! The daily spending tracking habits I’ve developed will continue forward, help me save more than I ever imagined, and force me to prioritize my needs over impulsive wants. If you try this experiment, let me know how it goes!