Show Review: Hart of Dixie

Hart of Dixie is one of those fun, guilty-pleasure shows that you don’t want to admit you watch, but you watch anyway.

The basic story is that Zoë Hart is a big time surgeon from New York City who gets told she needs practice family medicine before she can move on in the program. She gets an offer to work in a practice in Bluebell, Alabama. Eventually, she decides to take him up on his offer, but by the time she reached out, he had already died. It turns out he was her long-lost father and he left her his medical practice. Zoë sets out to learn about her father and practice family medicine for a year and then get back to her life in the city. Bluebell turns out to be a quirky, southern small town that gives Zoë a run for her money and reminds her every day of what an outsider she is. Through twists and turns and love triangles, Zoë finds her way.

Besides the absolutely, atrocious southern accents, this show has some charm in the first two seasons. It is full of typical arch characters and is a story we have heard far too many times, but it pulls you in for awhile. I rather enjoyed the main two male characters attracted to Zoë, because she is the cute, new girl. George is your good boy, small town lawyer engaged to the beautiful, blonde, powerhouse and Wade is the down home bad boy bartender who gets around. Lemon, the powerhouse, is obnoxious, but so loveable. I think she was my favorite character, because I liked how she grows and learns throughout the seasons.

Season three is where the show really started to go down hill. They tried to save it in the last season, but it never really gets there and ends after ten episodes. Luckily, they give you a proper ending that you can actually be pleased about or at least I was.

The show feels like a southern version of Gilmore Girls. Bluebell is basically Stars Hollow and the townspeople feel very similar. But the storyline is a lot more cliché than Gilmore Girls. This really is just a show for pure enjoyment, it doesn’t not provide much fulfillment.

Bottom Line: The CW provided us rom-com lovers another fun show that basically has no strings attached. It has typical characters and light, silly moral components to each episode. The writing is pretty awful, but the scenery is beautiful. Bluebell is a town you wish you could be a part of. Give it a shot if you like crappy television with pretty people.


Book Review: SCRUM

Scrum is a lightweight framework designed to help small, close-knit teams of people develop complex products.

I was assigned this book as one of the “texts” for my content strategy and social media class. This is my favorite class of the semester, so I ordered all the books and have been excited about diving in and reading them (which is odd, because I typically don’t read textbooks), but I feel this class is super pertinent to what I hope to do when I graduate. With that being said, it is important to realize that I read this book without any prior knowledge on SCRUM methods or any understanding of what Agile even is.

From what I read, I gathered that SCRUM are methods based off of Agile, that helps small teams get stuff done. The author uses the methods in terms of software production, but claims it can be implemented for any line of work. The title calls this a breathtakingly brief introduction and brief it was: less than 50 pages!

I liked that it was small, so reading it didn’t feel so daunting and overwhelming. The author also uses very concise writing as to not clutter and drone on and on. I feel in a lot of works where someone is trying to explain a system they overthink it and in the end explain to much, but I this was short and to the point which is a great example for technical communication.

Two ideas they showcase in the SCRUM model that I want to implement in my own work as well as any teamwork I am assigned in the future are the task board and the definition of done. The task board is a simple way of categorizing items: to do, doing, and done. I kind of already do this, but I just think it is an easy and useful way to keep everyone on the same page. If all the items for a project are on that board then no one can say they didn’t know it needed to be done or was already completed. The definition of done was an important one to me, because the author talks about how different people feel like a project is considered done at different stages. He recommends discussing this idea with everyone and coming to a common conclusion as to when the project will be done.

My only complaint or minor irritation about this introduction to SCRUM was the need to call things multiple different names. For example: backlog items or user story. They used these interchangeably throughout the whole book and it confused me. I think that in such a concise method, the same terminology needs to be used throughout books on the topic as well as execution in the field. They talk about users and “story time,” so calling the items user stories makes more sense to me, although I still do not fully understand how a user story actually works or should be worded.

Bottom Line: For an extremely quick and concise introduction to simple methods, this book was easy to read and pretty easy to understand. I feel like I have basic knowledge on the SCRUM system now and am ready to begin implementing it into my work. Although it is a small book and a quick read, I recommend taking your time and really trying to visualize how these methods work and can be executed in your own line of work. I would recommend this for anyone who frequently works in teams or is struggling to stay on task and execute projects.

Book Review: Small Great Things

Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.

Because of school and other stuff going on in my life, I have not only not had the time needed to be the reader I used to be, but I can’t sit still and focus long enough to finish a book. I was literally counting down the days until Jodi Picoult’s newest book came out. At last Small Great Things was finally available to us (in October I think) and I ran out to the store to get it. I was full of all this hope that Picoult’s most recent book was going to get me out of my slump and renew my reading obsession.

While Small Great Things didn’t jump start my obsession for reading, it did give me some much needed highs. I was all about this book for a couple weeks and then life got in the way and then a couple weeks ago I was on a plane and just powered through. Although this did not become my new favorite Picoult novel, I would put it at maybe fourth or fifth. To my dismay, I found this novel to be one of the most predictable novels she has ever written. I typically look forward to the crazy twist endings that always blow my mind, but I managed to guess the ending to this one fairly early, but that doesn’t mean her goal for writing this book was not achieved, because it was!

Small Great Things absolutely opened my eyes to the way I view race as well as the way I view racism in my own life. 

Without giving anything away – Small Great Things is a book about Ruth Jefferson, a black neonatal nurse in New England. One day, Ruth is assigned to a couple who has just given birth to a baby boy. Ruth goes in to tend to the family and to her dismay is not treated respectfully and is asked to get her superior. After the couple speaks to her supervisor, Ruth is taken off the case and a note is placed in the baby boy’s file saying no black employees may touch this child. Well Ruth is the only black employee at the hospital. Not too long later, the hospital is understaffed and the nurse who was assigned to the baby boy’s case has to rush to surgery for an emergency c-section, so she asks Ruth to watch over the baby boy after his circumcision expecting to be back ASAP. Unexpectedly, the baby boy goes into cardiac arrest and Ruth has to decide whether she is going to try and save his life or do what the note in his file requests. Ruth attempts to save his life, but the baby boy dies anyway. The couple blames Ruth and sues her. With the help of a white public defender, Ruth fights not only for her life, but for the truth to be heard and for race to play a factor in the courtroom.

Reading this book as a white person, I felt very self-aware and found myself becoming defensive at certain points, especially during the jury dury portion of the novel. Then I would feel guilty for feeling defensive. This novel forced me to be honest with myself about how I behave toward people who look different than me and understand that I become defensive because I may not purposely act this way. I related very closely with Kennedy, the white public defender, in respect to how she views herself in relation to people of a different race and her realization at the end of the novel also resonated with me. Ruth and Kennedy’s relationship/friendship was refreshing as well and provided me a few smiles, because it was very honest.

Bottom Line: I would definitely recommend this book, especially to white people. I feel that Picoult brings up some great points and food for thought on how we think about ourselves in regards to race. It is an eye-opener and I think it really benefited me and that it will definitely benefit others in helping us try and put ourselves in other people’s shoes.

Sometimes I Just Need An ‘Atta Girl’

It’s my senior year. It’s more than that though, it’s my senior year of college! And let me tell you how exciting, scary, and totally exhausting it is. It feels that there is always something to be done and I am feeling the pressure. Last week, I felt like my head might never stop aching from all the stress and pressure and complete exhaustion. All I want to do is graduate and transition into a job afterward, but sometimes it feels that that is impossible.

Well to add to the natural stress that comes with preparing to graduate and be on your own, is the mixed signals from my parents. My parents are two of my biggest supporters, but in the last month or so they have fallen down on the encouragement wagon. It has been a blessing to have their help in paying for college and rent during my time in school and have worked hard to focus on my education as well as holding one part-time job. A few months ago I had the opportunity to add another part-time job to my load, but my mom assured me that wasn’t necessary and that they just wanted me to really focus on my studies, so I let the offer pass. My current part-time job was supposed to end back in December, so I tried for a few weeks to replace it, but came up empty, but luckily my boss’s were able to find some more work for me that should keep me employed for the next few months. Yay! But my mom is still on me about finding another job and although I am grateful for all the help my parents give me adding on another job seems like a daunting task, because finding a job is a full-time job on top of school and the current job I already have. Sometimes I just need them to be excited that I am not jobless and that I make great grades in school.

I have also been super nervous about not having a job when I graduate. One of my worst fears is having to move back in with my parents, because I won’t be able to support myself. So with that in mind I have been trying to be diligent about keeping up with job ads and figuring out where I can actually get hired. But I was able to get in touch with my boss from my internship letting her know that I was very interested in coming back to that company and she emailed me back saying that they would love to have me. I interpreted this as fantastic news and it calmed my nerves a bit, but when I told my mom she seemed way less thrilled than I expected. This was a bit of a let down, because I would really like her to notice how much I am actually accomplishing as well as what I am actually capable of.

All I wish to get across is that encouragement goes a lot farther than expectation.

Show Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events… where do I even begin?

Let me start by saying that I never read the book series. During Elementary School I would always see kids carrying the books around, but I never desired to read them. With that being said, this series is my boyfriend’s favorite of all time, so while watching he fed me all the comparisons between book and show. Also, I did see the original movie, but not since like 2008 or so.

Now, I can only describe my viewing experience of A Series of Unfortunate Events as a tolerate/hate relationship. I only watched it, because my boyfriend begged me too. I fell asleep during the first episode, because it was boring, but really I felt that the way the script flows is really weird and the humor was more annoying than funny. I found not knowing where everything was taking place (like the United States) or what year it was (like present day) to be very frustrating. Nothing felt natural about the show; the children especially seemed bland and extremely scripted and Count Olaf was just plain disturbing and while watching him on multiple occasions I felt violated… I just did not click with anything about it. Oh and I also couldn’t get over how ridiculously stupid the adults were. I am sure there is some underlying reason to why that is, but I just couldn’t get on board with it.

With all that being said, I did make it through all eight episodes and they did start getting better toward the end. Through all of my irritation and dislike of the show, I did find some positives I will share. Making it a tv show was the best idea! For large and successful book series, fitting them into a few movies just doesn’t always cut it; we know this from the failed attempt at a movie series back when Jim Carrey was Count Olaf. I felt the movie was doomed from the start, because they went out of order instead of staying true to the series or making each book its own movie, so by splitting each book into two episodes, it is my understanding that all of the major themes were included and making it so that the story made sense (or as much sense as it can). I liked the air of mystery as well as the conspiracy I feel they keep hinting too.

All in all, this show has great potential! Although hesitant, I have no doubt I will be back to watch the second season.