Recipe for Persuasion

Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes #2) by Sonali Dev

Last year I reviewed the first in the series, Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors and I really enjoyed that book! I liked the way Dev took Pride and Prejudice and made it her own, I enjoyed the characters and the themes, but most of all I loved the multiracial characters of DJ and Emma. Growing up biracial there was never a lot of material to read or watch that touched on those issues and I am always happy to read one.

So when Dev said that she was planning on writing another book, this one being a retelling of Persuasion, I was jazzed. I could not wait to read it!

Then I finally got my hands on a copy, I read it all in one setting and I didn’t really like it as much as I thought I would. So I decided to let my thoughts steep for a while and think about what it was that made me not love the sequel when I had really loved the first book in the series.

Hmm…

This book is about Trisha’s cousin Ashna Raje. Ashna is an Indian princess; her father (a prince) married a cricket star, but was constantly getting into trouble and causing scandal, so he was sent away from India to to America to be with his older brother (who would hopefully help whip him into shape). There he built a home and a restaurant, cooking Indian and fancy cuisine.

Ashna lived with her father in California, spending most of her time living with her Raje cousins, as her mother was always gone as she traveled around the world trying to better women’s lives. Ashna’s father died when Ashna was graduating high school and after his death she decided to carry on his legacy and traveled to Paris to attend Cordeon Bleu (meeting and befriending DJ, from the previous story). When she returned home eager to put her education to work and carry on her father’s dreams, she discovered that the people she left in charge of the business had embezzled a large portion of the profits and fled, the resturant is dwindling in customers, and that nearly every time she tries to make something new or deviate from the original menu she has panic attacks.

DJ tries to help her revamp the menu, but she struggles trying to do anything. Her customers continue to dwindle and her sous chef leaves her for a better position.

Ashna feels alone and lost when her mother, who left her as a child, calls and makes her feel worse about her life and her choices (as always); along with trying to convince her to sell the resturant and do something else. Ashna becomes angry that her mother is again belittling her life choices and decides to do the one thing she never thought she would ever do, agree to be on her friend, China Dashwood’s, cooking show competition.

China Dashwood is producing a new show, Cooking With the Stars, that pairs a local chef up with a celebrity. Ashna was set against it, but being on the show will be good for business and help stick it to her mom, who Ashna has a lot of unresolved issues with.

Meanwhile, in England, World Cup Winner Rico Silva is trying to decide what to do next with his life. Rico was born in a favela in Brasil, the illegitimate son of a famous fútball star. When his mother passed away, he was sent to America to stay with his Tia. There he started playing soccer; along with meeting and falling in love with Ashna.

But Ashna was always ashamed of him and never wanted him to meet her father or family, always keeping him hidden from them and a secret, just like his dad treated his mom. One day, Rico went to see her father and he said horrible things to him and about his family. Ashna never spoke to Rico after that, completely ignoring all his texts and calls.

Now Rico is a famous fútball player who’s knee injury has forced him to retire. Feeling bad for himself at a friend’s bachelor party, he starts thinking of his string of failed relationships, as he has never been able to move past Ashna. He decides to google her and discovers she is going to be on a cooking show. Not making the most logical decisions, he decides to go on it too, be her partner, and get his revenge? Find closure? Maybe a mix of both?

Ashna is extremely nervous to be on the show, but when she sees that her partner is Rico, the man who broke her heart-she is so surprised she drops her knife, nearly slicing off her toes. Luckily Rico dives and saves her.

Ashna is uncertain how she will make it through this competition while being so close to Rico, this whole situation is so painful and brings back both good and bad memories. Meanwhile, Rico starts regretting being alongside someone who still has so much emotional power over him.

They should not have done this.

But even if both wanted to back out, it is impossible now as they are leading the charts with their chemistry. Ratings are a dream as everyone is tuned in to see what will happen next in the cooking romance. But can the two work as a team? Or is the heat between then too much for this kitchen?

Hmmm…

So the story wasn’t bad but I wasn’t really as invested in these characters as I was with the ones from the previous book. It’s weird as I was really interested to have more Ashna, as I liked her in the previous book, but I felt like something was off in thiI think it is because the circumstances didn’t pull on my heart as much in this book as they did in the original Persuasion and in the previous book. In Persuasion, first we have the fear of loss of security as their family is running out of money and Anne’s father Sir Walter and sister Elizabeth are making no effort to change that. Anne gets a glimpse of her unhappy future as she stays with her horrible sister Mary and brother-in-law. In Recipe for Persuasion, there is the fear of losing her father’s resturant, but I had a harder time finding connecting to that as she still has the property and the house-both of which are prime Bay Area real estate, she could sell them and get millions. And if she did lose her place as she had too much debt that would be paid after the sale, she could always stay at the Raje family compound. Her family is amazing and she used to live with them, so it isn’t as scary an end. I mean it is still sad to have failed and to lose your dream, but she wouldn’t be lost or alone as all would be willing to help her as she regrouped and figured out what was next.

Also in Persuasion, when Wentworth comes back successful and has both the Musgrove sisters fawning over him, he enjoys the attention, especially as it is in front of the woman who rejected him-while Anne definitely feels less then and sad that she let him go. Then when Captain Wentworth realizes he still loves her, he is stuck waiting to see what will happen to Louisa as his attention to her made everyone assume they are to be engaged and he can’t abandon an injured woman. With this there is no block to their happiness, I mean Rico gets over his hurt fairly quickly and is trying to get with Ashna pretty early on in the book. The author does try to mislead us and Ashna with KDrama star Song and Rico growing close, but she isn’t a serious contender. She is never more than just friendly to him.

The other 1/3-1/2 of the book focused on Ashna’s mother’s story, Shobi, who’s storyline is very sad. The first part of Shobi’s story describes how she was in love with another man but her father wouldn’t let her marry a poor Muslim, and instead agreed to a marriage with the prince, Ashna’s father who wanted her. The prince is a horrible abusive man who rapes her on her wedding night. That part I didn’t have an issue with, having been in an abusive relationship I felt they dealt with her story well. What bothered me was the way she justifies leaving her child to help children all over the world and the anger she has at her ex-husband blaming him for her and her daughter’s decaying relationship. Now I will never condemn someone for leaving their abusive partner, but the way she belittles not being there for her daughter because she had a “greater good” to serve really bothered me. Her husband did not paint Shobi in the best light to her daughter, but I felt that she also needs to take responsibility for the choices she made, especially after her husband died. She still hardly spends time with Ashna, doesn’t listen to what she wants, just drops in without warning believing that will fix everything, threatens to sell the store if Ashna doesn’t listen to her, etc. And if she did apologize and recognize her failings to Ashna, instead of telling her again and again these impoverished women are more important than her own daughter, I would have liked her more.

I also didn’t like how easily Ashna and her mother Shobi resolve their issues. Ashna realizes that her being with Rico wasn’t what made her father commit suicide, but that her mother served him with divorce papers. That brought a bunch of memories of how horrible her father treated her mother and she instantly forgives her and is happy to hear her mother is in a happy relationship with another man (who Shobi has been dating for almost all of her married life). I understand what the author is doing and wanting to wrap up that thread, but I used to work with grieving adults and kids and it is never, ever that easy. This exact scenario happened with a preteen I was working with. The mom stayed with her abusive husband because of the kids, but was finally planning on leaving him. He found out and killed himself, the daughter being the one who found the body. The daughter hated her mom as she blamed her for the death, and idolized her father (just like Ashna) and after a lot of therapy and the art class they were in a better place; but she was still very angry with her mom, and it was a continual process. There were also adults who went to the grief class and had a similar scenario happen in their life and had never dealt with those issues. After the art therapy class they were in a better place with their parent-but still had hurt and blame over their mother “causing the death” of their father. I found it extemely unrealistic that Ashna who has never been in any therapy regarding her mother was able to get over the abandonment of her mother; moved past feeling second best to her mother’s charity work, and accepted that this whole time her mother had a secret life/relationship with another man in an instant. What? I would have liked it better if her mother and her started talking and then showing years later they are in a good place instead of it all fixed in one night.

Hmm…

There are also some interesting writing choices in this book as well. We have a chapter where we are in we are in Ashna’s POV and then it suddenly switches to her mom. It was a bit disorientating.

I also had a really hard time with all the Portuguese in this book. Being half Mexican I grew up with Spanish and Portuguese is not Spanish. This is nothing against the author or the language, I just struggled with it and cautioning other Spanish speakers/readers you too might have a bit of a struggle as well.

So that’s all that I did not care for, now what did I like? First of all I loved that again we have an interracial relationship with Ashna (Indian) and Rico (Brazilian). Growing up biracial there wasn’t a lot of media that had interracial or multiracial couples/characters. Anytime there is anything that has even a tiny shard of it, I am excited to see. I loved that scene when they blend Rico’s favorite dish from Brasil with pieces of an Indian recipe that Ashna’s grandma used to make. That scene was just wonderful! It made me think of my own life when blending traditions from both sides of my culture.

Like Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors, this book was also a love letter to food. I like how it highlights the comfort, love, and traditions of it. I also love how we have the two bond of cooking. Rico, having only been a part to get back at Ashna, actually find himself enjoying creating these different dishes with Ashna. And Ashna finds herself having a renewed interest in it, and finding herself once again being creative and not stuck in the past and past recipes. In a sense, then cooking together really is what begins to help heal what transpired between them. And of course there is the constant Chais that Ashna creates and blends for her cousins. It made me want some, real chai, so bad.

And of course, Rico writes Ashna a letter to convince her that he’s serious in his feelings for her. You know me, I’m a sucker for a character writing a love letter. It gets me every time.

I also liked how the author shared about the struggles women face in other places of the world along with Shobi’s struggle with abuse and marital rape. I think both of these issues are important and I’m glad that Sonali Dev didn’t shy away from it all.

So I didn’t hate it and I don’t think it was a bad story-there was just something missing for me…a missing ingredient that I felt the previous book had and this one lacked.

She just published a third book, Incense and Sensibility, and I have read and will be posting on it soon (I hope).

Because of the content of those book I want to end this post with this: Are you in an abusive relationship? Do you need help or assistance? If you are in need of help please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides essential tools and support to help survivors of domestic violence so they can live their lives free of abuse. You can reach them at 1.800.799.7233

For more Persuasion, go to Jane in Love

For more Persuasion adaptions, go to Holiday Mix Tape

For more on The Rajes, go to Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to I Watched Northanger Abbey (2007) With My 13 Year Old Niece

You Are a Horrible Cook, But I Will Eat What You Prepare Anyway: Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

Most Romantic Moment #4

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Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

So Bridget Jones’s Diary is a film I didn’t really like, click here to read why, but had a few romantic moments that I enjoyed, and here is one of them

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Bridget Jones works at a publishing company and has the hots for her boss, Daniel Cleaver, (Hugh Grant). She is unhappy with her weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, and singleness.

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Her mother tries to throw her together with recently divorced barrister, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), but Bridget thinks he is a snob and gets offended at something he says.

Those guys

That guy

After a really embarrassing night she goes off with Daniel Cleaver. The two begin dating and he tells her that he had his heart broken when Mark, his best friend, took off with his fiancé.

What jerks

What a jerk

Also to complicate Bridget’s life, her mother has split up from her father dating someone new.

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Bridget is excited to show off her boyfriend, but Daniel is called away; and it turns out he’s been cheating on her the whole time.

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Back to the ice-cream

Bridget leaves her job and takes another where she is mostly boobs and butt instead of a serious reporter.

Those guys

Those guys

As she is trying to change her life, Mark says he loves her out of the blue.

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Will Bridget be able to navigate her life through the twists others toss her way?

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Most Romantic Moment: I Will Help You Cook and Eat What You Make

So Bridget has this bright idea to cook her birthday dinner, but unfortunately has no clue how to cook.

I don't know what to do

Mark stops by, out of the blue, and when he sees her uncertainty and lack of skill goes right into the kitchen to assist her.

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With a voice like Bing Crosby's who could blame them?

A guy who cooks?

But the most romantic part of this, is not only does he get in the kitchen and assist in the cooking; showing he is not a snob, stiff, and destroying the image Bridget cooked up in her mind: but he actually eats the slop that Bridget eats.

What?!

What?!

That’s real love right there, because that food looked and probably tasted disgusting. But Mark didn’t let that get in the way. He loved her so much he overcame such obstacles.

Aw!

Aw!

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To start Romance is in the Air: Part V, go to I Did It for You: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For the previous post, go to I Will Face My Fears for You: Back to the Future (1985)

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For more on Bridget Jones’ Diary, go to Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001)

For more Colin Firth, go to When I Get Into a Novel

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Is Mr. Darcy Out There?

For more based on Jane Austen, go to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be: Casual Sex? (1988)

Most Romantic Moment #1

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So you are probably wondering what am I doing watching this movie, well it wasn’t really the one I wanted. You see I was at Big Lots and they were having a 20% everything sale. That sounded great to me, so I went and looked around. I found a DVD set for $4, of which three were Michael J. Fox films and the other two were ones I had never heard of.

AWESOME!!!

AWESOME!!!

Well you all know how I feel about Michael J. Fox

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I love him, so this seemed like a deal too good to pass up.

So my friend and I were watching some of the films, when we decide to check out this one, Casual Sex?, as we both like Lea Thompson.

I have to admit this movie surprised me a lot. It was rated “R” but didn’t really show anything, you know nothing like Game of Thrones, and actually dealt with the issues of sex. How you can get diseases, pregnant, sometimes the person just wants you for the sex, how sometimes you get involved with a person and they turn out to be nothing like you expect; and how hard it can be to meet anyone whether you desire sex or a relationship. It was pretty good.

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So the film is about two women, Stacey and Michelle, who have not had the best luck in love.

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Stacey is constantly falling for artists, of which she not only changes herself for them but they always leave her in the lurch.

Melissa has only been with two men, and the second one, her ex-fiancé broke up with her as he was “going through a selfish phase.” Ugh, Men.

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The girls decide to leave the LA area and head on some kind of getaway in hopes to meet the perfect man.

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They decide to head to a health spa in which they meet a variety of possibilities. There is Vinny “the Vin Man” from New Jersey who hits on everybody and is always talking about his “attributes.”

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Jamie, one of the spa workers who seems sweet and caring:

You're so cute

Matthew, a psychologist, who is looking for material for his newest book on psycho-sexual tendencies of pre-menopausal females.

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And Nick, a fitness instructor who dreams of becoming a rock star.

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Will the girls find the man of their dreams? Or will they be disappointed once again?

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Most Romantic Moment: From Vin Man to Vincent

So the most romantic moment comes from the most unlikely source, Vincent otherwise known as Vinny or the Vin Man.

Vincent is from New Jersey, a pre Michael “The Situation”. He is gross, annoying, and just doesn’t understand that women are not interested in crudity.

Men

Men

However, as he keeps striking out with the women, one of the spa instructors gives him a book, The Pretend You’re Sensitive Handbook.

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He tries it out on Stacey, but as she has her own stuff going on she wants nothing to do with it.

Vinny: Stacy, how nice to see you. Do you have a few minutes? I mean, it occurred to me, I don’t even know where you work.

Stacy: Where I work?

Vinny: Yeah, you know, your career plans, your dreams, your aspirations… I really want to hear all about them.

Stacy: What I want? I don’t even know — ask me what anyone else wants. Give me three seconds, I’ll figure out your whole entire life.

Vinny: Would you maybe want to share something with me about your childhood, perhaps?

Stacy: Vinny, what the hell are you talking about? I’m in a big rush. Look, I have to go talk to Melissa, because if I don’t figure out something about my life soon, I’m going to crack!

Vinny: I respect your strength, Stacy, and I think you’ve got a lot of potential!

After striking out once again, Vinny runs to the spa instructor and tells him that he can’t do this. He can’t pretend, he has to be it. He decides to leave, catching a ride with Stacey to the bus stop. There we see a look at the real Vinny as he asks Stacey for advice. He wants to have a real relationship with a woman; like a friendship but more, but doesn’t know what to do. What do women want?

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She doesn’t have the answers and drops him off at the bus station. We think that is the last of him, but then we are given this surprise.

Stacy: [reading] ‘Dear Stacy, I hope you don’t mind me writing to you…

 Yes, Vinny writes Stacy a letter and tells her about how his life has been changing. He wants to be a different person, but no more pretending, he’s going all the way. He starts reading books,

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Cooking, changing his wardrobe to more appropriate clothing (and no more super “Vs” showing off the chest,

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Giving up all those aspects of the Vin Man and transforming himself, from the inside out, into a new person, Vincent.

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The sweetest, most romantic thing about this is that he made all these changes on his own, no “promise of getting the girl”, no other motivation than he wanted to be better and strove for it, turning himself from jerk to heartthrob. And once he feels his change is complete, he travels from Jersey to LA to see Stacy and prove that he is not only a new man, but ready for a real relationship.

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What a guy!

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For more Valentine’s posts, go to Now That I’ve Met You, I Can’t Imagine Life Without You: Sabrina (1954)

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For more ’80s films, go to We’re in the Future: Goodbye 2015

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to We Wish You a Merry Christmas

We Are Family

Family

Day 25) Your Family

So a while back I did a post, Considering Lily, about how I was inspired by a book to write my own blog. One thing I learned from that story was that it was best not to write about family and friends, just in case they didn’t like what I had to say. So talk about my actual family…

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So instead I will talk about my other family. My babies. My kitties!!

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I have two adorable kitties, of which I have posts to come on, and they are my babies. They may give me trouble every now and then, like all cats:

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But I just love them!!!!!!!!!!!

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I also have another family, my blogging family. So there is the original:

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All about Jane Austen, Holidays, things that happen in my everyday life, music, etc.

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But that is not the only blog in my family. In fact, I have a younger sister, that is sister blog, called Mysterious Eats.

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This blog reviews mysteries:

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And recipes. The recipes come either from the mystery books, or are just recipes I want to test out. A Mystery! (On both ends)

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And then their is my youngest sister, sister blog, From Print to Screen, who just had its first post. Congrats!

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This post compares the books to their film versions and tells you which they like best.

So if those strike your fancy, check them out!

Take it away Sister Sledge!

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

For the previous post, go to One of Many

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For more Lillian Jackson Braun, go to Cat Lovers All Know This

You Weirdo

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16) Five Weird Things You Like

Here we are with another top five countdown. Here we have five things I think are fine, but others have told me is strange or weird.

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1)I Freakin’ Love Basil

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I love basil. I think it is the best smell in the world and would totally buy air freshener of it. I love how it tastes! I love cooking with it! I love it’s color! I love everything about it.

For more on basil, go to Pizza Worthy of a Queen

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2) I Wear My Clothes in Rotation

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I like to wear my clothes in rotation so that I:

  1. Don’t wear the same thing over and over again
  2. Duplicate the same outfit that week
  3. So everything has a turn.

When I wash my clothes or get new ones they all go in the back. I am only allowed to pick from the first 10 items in the front. This is for all the reasons stated above, but also so the things I’m not wearing get stuck in the front and I can give them away as I am obviously no longer interested in them.

It might be weird to you, but makes perfect sense to me.

For more on my fashion views, go to Fashionably Postworthy

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3) I Sometimes Sleep on the Floor

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So I sleep in strange positions. I lay down like a regular person, but then the next day I’ll be twisted around, facing the opposite direction, etc. Because of this, I can sometimes wake up sore, due to a twisted body. To put everything back in shape, I’ll sleep on the floor. Doing so causes me to sleep like a regular person.

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4) I Have to Have My Books Organized by Height

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Everything else can be absolutely messy, except for my books. It’s really a compulsion, how much I have to have them in order from tallest to shortest. It just looks so much nicer that way.

The only exception is, if they are in a series. In that case, size doesn’t matter as much as order.

For more bookish posts, go to Considering Lily

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5) I Like to Eat Out of the Container

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Plates and bowls are nice but I prefer just eating out of the box, tupperware, or container. It’s easier and you don’t get another dish dirty. Besides you eat until you are full, instead of constantly refilling.

Now I don’t usually do this if it’s something I’m sharing, (germs), but if it is something that belongs only to me, I don’t bother with a plate I just eat it.

For more foodie posts, go to Always There for You

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deathtoNormalcyMishaCollins

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

For the previous post, go to It’s So Random!

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For more on being weird, go to Normal is Boring

For more Mischa Collins, go to GISHWHES Girl