A Year in the Life, Round Two!

1280_gilmore_girls_revival_fallMy sister and I finished up the Gilmore Girls revival tonight—er, last night?—with “Summer” and “Fall.” While the first half of the revival was göööd, the second half was… lacking. The following review is mostly spoiler-free, and contains some complaining from the perspective of a storyteller and longtime fan.

When “Summer” started, there was still no sign of Jess or Dean, and Rory was still really lost. Lorelai and Emily were working through some things. During a town meeting, Taylor announced that they’d be putting on a musical. This musical took up entirely too much time. It was awful. We got it already, okay? Everyone else seemed to enjoy it, except Lorelai. The musical didn’t really seem to fulfill any purpose other than filler. I actually considered fast-forwarding, which I’ve never done while watching Gilmore Girls. Ever.

There were still funny parts, of course, but the whole thing just seemed to lose direction. I didn’t even mind that all three generations weren’t on the best of terms, because that’s been a theme throughout this show. What bothered me was the long segments that did nothing to move the story forward. Between the never-ending musical and the caricature of a dream sequence that was actually the return of the Life and Death Brigade, I was bored and frustrated. Lauren said she felt the same. We actually paused during the musical to make some tea. I wish I’d just let it keep playing, because literally nothing new happened.

In “Fall,” things finally started coming together in the second half. But they seemed rushed. It was almost as if ASP really didn’t know which direction she wanted to go in. I know the cast members all have other commitments, so it’s not that I’m bummed Dean had two minutes of screen time and Jess had only a few more. Both Rory and Lorelai felt very out of character to me. The things Rory was doing just weren’t her. And Lorelai’s quest in “Fall” was so bizarre. That’s not how Lorelai handles things.

It all just seemed like filler.

And, without giving anything away, the ending felt very anticlimactic and left me with no closure. That’s what this whole thing was supposed to be about. There were three things I was left wanting after the abrupt end of the original series:

  • a Luke and Lorelai wedding
  • to know that Rory had her life together
  • a real match for Rory

I didn’t feel like I got any of those things. If they’d canned the 30-minute musical, we could’ve had more than an elopement montage and a thrown-together ending with zero resolution.

Even more frustrating, the ending left us with more questions than answers. I was very disappointed and, like Lauren said, almost wish they hadn’t even bothered. Though I will say I’m glad things were finally resolved between Lorelai and Emily. Even that felt rushed, though.

The four words—I won’t give them away, I promise—were pretty much what I suspected. But they just left another cliffhanger for dedicated fans to tumble off of.

In a nutshell, the first half was great and the second half was rushed. I’m deeply disappointed. If by some chance they do more, I won’t be watching. I feel punk’d.

Have you seen the Gilmore Girls revival? What did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

PS: I’m thinking of doing a live stream in Romance Readers Anonymous where we can talk about our feels. First I’ll survey the group and find out how many of us have seen it, that way I don’t accidentally spoil anything!

A Year in the Life with Barone’s Belles

I made this for the reader group I co-run, Romance Readers Anonymous. Jess or bust!
I made this for the reader group I co-run, Romance Readers Anonymous. Jess or bust!

Technically I’m supposed to be unplugged for the weekend, but I couldn’t resist sneaking on and sharing some of my thoughts on the Gilmore Girls reunion on Netflix: A Year in the Lifespoiler-free, of course!

I grew up on Gilmore Girls with my mom and sister. Those nights are some of my best memories. No matter what was happening in my life, I always had my girls and the Gilmores. We also got my Noni hooked on it, and even my dad watched with us sometimes. (He was convinced from the very beginning that Luke and Lorelai were meant to be.) So when I heard about the reunion, I knew I’d have to binge it with at least two of the women who have always been my rock. We’d originally planned on trying to do it on launch day, making it an all-day fest—complete with coffee and Chinese! But I screwed up the date and my mom ended up having to work.

Then I found out Noni and Aunt Wendy wanted in, making it a three-generation celebration! We did some planning and decided to watch the first half tonight and the rest tomorrow (and maybe Sunday, if we need to). And of course, we had Chinese (though not coffee because it was already late in the day and I am one of those people who believe you can’t sleep after drinking it, haha.) I have a lot of thoughts and feels, but I’ll keep it spoiler-free, because I don’t want the wrath of Taylor sicced on me. 😜

Side note: I call my reader group Barone’s Belles*, because I’m Barone and my kick-ass main characters are my belles—plus my strong and beautiful readers are my belles (and beaus sometimes), too. After I told my family about the group, Noni started calling us her Barone’s Belles. So it’s an extra special name now. I was super excited to get to spend time with these ladies, because life is life-y and we don’t often all get to gather.

We watched “Winter” and “Spring” back to back.

First of all, this reunion is funny. Like, Gilmore Girls was always funny. Rewatching it again recently, I thought it was even funnier than I’d remembered. But Amy Sherman- and Daniel Palladino really brought it for this—as well as the entire cast.

And it’s so pretty! The set is gorgeous and even though some things are different, it’s definitely my Stars Hollow. Even the way it was shot and everything… Just beautiful!

I teared up when “Winter” kicked off, because hearing the rewind of the original series and  knowing we were about to see the reunion just made my heart squeeze. As each cast member made their appearance, I got so excited. It was like seeing old friends.

Now, this isn’t a spoiler if you’ve watched the trailers, so I think it’s okay to mention. All three Gilmore women are going through a rough time. It’s so painful to see Emily grieving Richard, and it’s hard watching Lorelai struggle with her worries, but I think it’s hardest for me to watch Rory feeling so lost. Rory has always been something of a role model for me. She’s always been so confident, and to see her struggling with her confidence is both heartbreaking and relatable. I’ve been feeling a bit lost myself, lately.

But I know Rory will find her place and come back swinging, because that’s my girl. (And so will I, because if Rory can overcome Wookies and bitchy CEOs, I can handle my stuff, too.)

I really want to gush and squee over the details, but I don’t want to give anything away. So if you want to leave a comment, keep it spoiler-free for those of us who haven’t watched yet. (I can tell you right now, I won’t be checking anything internet-y until I’ve seen all four episodes because I will cut a bitch**.)

Oh, and speaking of episodes… Netflix is calling this “Season 1.” While I kinda think that’s just because it’s how they do things, part of me is hoping it’s because there’ll be more. But even if there isn’t, I’m so, so, so happy that we got this reunion—and we finally get to hear those four words.

Which of Rory’s exes are you rooting for? All five of us are Team Jess, and so is my dear CP Molli Moran, but I know my dear work wife J.C. Hannigan is staunchly Team Logan. 🙃  Tell me who you’re hoping Rory ends up with in the comments!


*If you’d like to join my reader group, click here and request to join. I or someone else will approve you ASAP! I post behind-the-scenes tidbits while I’m writing, Belles-only excerpts, early cover reveals, and more! I also co-run Romance Readers Anonymous with Molli, J.C., and the lovely Rebecca Paula.

**I don’t actually think spoilers are a big deal. I mean, am I going to avoid going out into public for fear of spoilers? No! I think people who get angry about them are overreacting a bit. But something like this, something we’ve waited ten years for… I think it’s decent to maintain the surprises for everyone else. Thankfully I have Netflix so I don’t have to wait—THANK YOU SANDY!—but I’d be a little miffed if I went on Twitter and all the details were immediately in my face. Not everyone has the luxury of extras right now, and I understand that all too well. As far as everything else… Well, I’m married to the king of blabbing TV and movie spoilers, so I’ve learned to deal. I actually call him Spoiler Alert sometimes. 😂 He knows better than to spoil certain things for me, though. 🔪😈😉

Review: Give Yourself the “Guts” to Fight (+ Giveaway!)

Schwartz Bioresearch Probiotic
Schwartz Bioresearch Probiotic

Those of you who have been with me for the past 10 years know I’ve been fighting a pesky autoimmune disease that is maybe Lupus. One of my main symptoms is debilitating joint pain, which I combat with a wide toolbox. My greatest ally has been the painkiller Tramadol, which knocks 10/10 pain down to a more bearable 7 or 8. The only downside to taking an opioid like Tramadol is that it can mess with your GI system.

One of my other main concerns about my autoimmune disease is my immune system itself. Since my immune system is confused and attacking my body, it gets even more confused when I come down with something like the common cold. Most people don’t even miss work when they’re sick, but I get knocked on my ass for several days and it almost always leads to a flareup of my autoimmune disease. This means lots of joint pain on top of an already annoying cold, so I try really hard not to get sick in the first place.

I’ve wanted to try a probiotic for a while now, but honestly the ones I’ve seen in stores are expensive. We’re talking like $15 to $20, which is way out of budget when you’re already struggling. I’d basically given up on trying one, until Schwartz Bioresearch contacted me and asked if I’d like to review one of their supplements and host a giveaway. Um, yes please!

Lucky for me, they offer a probiotic. They sent me a free bottle in exchange for my honest review. I don’t get paid for this review, but I do have some goodies for you!

The package itself came fast. Maybe it was expedited since I’m a reviewer, but it arrived three business days after I agreed to participate. I also really liked the packaging itself. The box was super easy to open; I didn’t have to fight with any glue like you do with most things on the market these days. My hands and wrists really appreciated that. However, the plastic around the cap was a pain to get open. It wasn’t perforated like most OTC medicine bottles are, and I don’t have the strength to rip it myself. So I gave up and used scissors. Still, no big deal! The peel-off protective thingy underneath the cap came off super easily.

Speaking of packaging, they were also kind enough to print a coupon for my next order right on the bottle. I thought that was really cool because I’m a busy author and I can easily lose a paper coupon in my various piles of papers, but there’s no way I can lose a whole bottle.

Being a spoonie, I take a lot of pills. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate taking pills. Any time I have to add another one to my pillbox, part of me dies inside. But these capsules go down easy with just a sip of water, and they play nice with my other medication. (Have you ever had a lump of meds get stuck in your throat? It’s not a fun thing.)

From what I understand, it can take a few weeks to get the full effect of probiotics. I take mine twice a day, as recommended on the bottle, and I’ve been taking them for over two weeks now. When I first started them—and sorry if this is TMI—I was not at all regular, thanks to my Tramadol. I try to eat a balanced diet with lots of fiber, but that’s not always enough. I really do think the probiotic supplement has made a difference; I’m still not as regular as I’d like to be, but I no longer have awful stomach pains, and I now “go” much more frequently than before. I consider that a win.

I also think they had something to do with keeping me germ-free while Mike died for weeks with a super cold. The poor guy never gets sick, but this thing knocked him on his ass. He missed like five days of work, which if you know him is unbelievable. And it was a mean cold, complete with stomach bug -esque symptoms and bronchitis. I never got sick, though. Now, I’m sure that washing our hands and not kissing had a lot to do with with that, but I also sleep next to the guy and I have a crap immune system. I once got the flu twice in a row, and I’m autoimmune. He’s finally feeling better, and I never caught it. Another win!

The bottle I received is a month’s supply, so I’ll know even better when the month is over whether it’s made a difference for me. The retail price is $18.90*, so it’s comparable to similar products in stores. Plus there’s that coupon. 😉

Even better, Schwartz Bioresearch offered a $100 Amazon gift card giveaway to my readers! Who can’t use a $100 Amazon gift card? I know I can think of a few things I’d like! All you have to do is enter your email address below (they’ll also send you a free smoothie recipe book).

Giveaway November 2016

So there you have it—my first time using a probiotic. I think I’ve finally got the “guts” to fight like the spoonie warrior I am!

Save 10% off on all Schwartz Bioresearch products! Use code 10SAVE17 on their website, http://schwartzbioresearch.com. My contact has assured me this code will not expire and can be used again and again, so start shopping now!

Have you ever tried a probiotic? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!


Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Schwartz Bioresearch. I received a free bottle of their probiotic supplement in exchange for my honest review. My opinion is my own.


ED, 11/21/2016: My original post linked to the wrong product; the product I received to review was the 40 Billion CFU probiotic, not the 20 Billion. I’ve updated the link and retail price. Also, Schwarzt Bioresearch’s social media manager read my post and very kindly sent me their turmeric and curcumin blend for my joint pain! I’ll be reviewing that product soon.