Hocus Pocus Cookbook: Book Review

It’s Halloween season, and for many of us of a certain age, there is one movie that captures the very essence of this season better than any other; the modern classic Hocus Pocus. And what do we love more than a good movie binge? Why, a cookbook that goes along with the movie to create your own full immersive experience at home!

Enter “The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook”. This cookbook is authored by Bridget Thoreson, whose other works include “XOXO: A Cocktail Book”; and consulting for “Are You My Wine?” and is clearly written by someone with a deep love for the film.

I would like to thank Pacific & Court, Bridget Thoreson, and Ulysses Press for sending me a copy of this cookbook for review.

The recipes in this book are loosely organized and seem to focus more on the macabre naming of the recipe as opposed to what the recipe is actually for. The first three sections are thematic in nature; fall favorites, “townspeople” curated food, and “macabre” named items (which were my favorites). The last three sections are for alcoholic beverages, nonalcoholic beverages, and miscellaneous items that you might need to go with previously mentioned dishes. It’s great if you’re planning a menu, but gets confusing if you’re looking for something for dinner.

You can’t really review a cookbook without doing some actual cooking; so that is what I did. I picked four recipes from the various sections to test. All were super quick and easy to put together. They were also easy to modify based on what was available at the store.

@fabkiwi06

Cooking my way through the Hocus Pocus Cookbook! Review on glitterandprofanity.com #cookbooktiktok #hocuspocus #hocuspocuschallenge #nashvilleblogger

♬ original sound – Kieran ‘Kiwi’ Bailey

First up, we had the Bones of 100 Chickens, which is a take on wings. I made it using the pre-cooked wings from Publix because I was tired. These got rave reviews from both my partner and myself; a great flavorful spicy as opposed to a heat spicy. Just make sure you check your spice blends for salt before you add more to the mix.

Next, I made a big batch of the Cinnamon Pecan Syrup. I’m a Yooper living in the South… I love my maple and I love my pecans. This was delicious as is. Wonderful on pancakes, waffles, and the lot. But as a coffee syrup? To die for.

Moving on to the weakest of the lot, A Spell For Flayed And Crispy Breast of Chicken. This tasted a lot better than it looked; my oven did not want to toast this bad boy up. I’d make it again, but probably pan-fry to get it to the golden perfection it deserves.

Lastly, I had to try breakfast and I made A Little Child… On Toast, which wins the best recipe name in my opinion. You can’t go wrong with a classic egg toast like this. Would probably also be delicious with some of the leftover wings from above after a night out.

The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook is a loving tribute to the world the Sanderson Sisters stepped into when they were awoken in modern-day Salem in the mid-90s. These recipes are a fun way to create a mini-immersive experience while you have the movie on a constant loop for Halloween or any time of year; It is always Hocus Pocus season, after all.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book & Publishing Info:

The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook by Bridget Thoreson
Published Sept. 2021 by Ulysses Press
Author Website | Ulysses Press | Goodreads | Amazon

“Being weird is a wonderful thing”: Book Review + Giveaway!

I want to give a big thank you to Workman Publishing for inviting me to participate in this blog tour. Make sure to scroll all the way to the end to find out about the *GIVEAWAY*

Buy it Here: Workman Publishing

“Being weird is a wonderful thing”, releasing Sept. 28th 2021 by Kathryn and Ross Petras, is a collection of quotes that celebrate being unique and slightly off the beaten path. Featuring famous words from the world of music, literature, sports, and more, this book is full of quirky quips that are great for a bit of self love or a clever Instagram quote.

To pull from the official press release: “Brother and sister Kathryn and Ross Petras are great curators of quotes whose books and calendars have sold more than 6 million copies.” The Petras have a handful of other books with some great titles as well, such as “Dance First, Think Later” and “Age Doesn’t Matter Unless You’re A Cheese”. It makes perfect sense why they would seek out to curate a collection of quotes about being “weird”.

The thing I appreciate about the collection of quotes the Petras siblings gathered is the variety. There are some highbrow deep thoughts as well as comedic quips and one-liners. If you are looking for something inspiring and motivational or light hearted and whimsical, you can find it. The subjects being quotes came from a good mix of genres. A real “crowd pleaser”, if you will.

Aesthetically speaking, this book isn’t that fancy. The pages are plain and there are no illustrations. The font is a simple, clean, easy to read choice. It’s all very no frills, which perhaps isn’t the way I would have gone. But, that being said, when I flipped through I found it inspiring. The people and quotes included make good springboards for art inspiration. These quotes are great to copy for lettering practice. I’ve also been flipping through to find quotes to augment my daily journaling.

“Being weird is a wonderful thing” is a quintessential gift book. It’s a fun addition to your easy reading/browsing reading stash or a great quirky gift basket addition for this holiday season. I’d pair it with a nice hardbound journal and some fresh colored pencils, or a beautiful coffee mug and giftcard to your favorite coffee shop.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

**Giveaway – CLOSED**

Thank you again to Workman Publishing for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour! They’ve also generously offered a giveaway of a copy “Being weird is a wonderful thing” to followers of this blog and my Instagram!

To enter for the blog giveaway, you must be an email subscriber of this blog, which you can do below. Giveaway is US only and ends 10/4/21. Winner will be contacted by me from the email listed in my contact page.

Make sure to also head to my Instagram for a second shot at winning!

Book & Publishing Info

Being weird is a wonderful thing by Kathryn & Ross Petras
Published Sept. 2021 by Workman Publishing
Author Website | Workman Publishing | Goodreads | Amazon

Monthly Reads: January 2021

If there is one good thing I can say about 2020, it’s that it truly brought back my love of reading. Not being able to, or HAVING to, go out and socialize has meant that I have had a lot more time to pick up old hobbies that had fallen by the wayside. Reading for pleasure had been pushed aside for many years, and is now back in the front of my priority list.

I blame my competitiveness and my Goodreads Goal for part of it. After joining some Facebook groups that revolved around books (and book planners, let’s be real), I got very hyped about having a lofty goal and the “analytics” on how many books I would have to read to reach that goal at any given point of time. I ended up acing my 2020 Goodreads Reading Goal of 50 books read by going over.

In order for me to reach my Goodreads Goal of 75 books this year, this requires me to FINISH at least 6 books a month for all of 2021. Or, if you’d rather, roughly a book and a half a week. This is proving to be both harder and easier than I expected. Harder because it’s been difficult to find the time to sit down, unplug, and just read. Easier because audiobooks and working from home go together like brie and the bacon jam in my fridge – perfectly. This month was a success.


Books Read: January 2021

Shine Your Icy Crown – Amanda Lovelace

[NetGalley ARC] [Buy on Amazon]
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My first finished book of the year and first NetGalley review of 2021. I read “break your glass slippers” last year by the pool and was surprised at how much it touched me. When I saw this up for review on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read it, and wasn’t disappointed. I may end up buying a physical copy as well.

Plan a Happy Life – Stephanie Fleming

[Buy on Amazon]
Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

I have a full review in a blog post [here] but in essence, this book was meh. This could have been great if it knew what it wanted to be and wasn’t two years too late.

Unfuck Your Adulting – Faith G. Harper

[🎧Audiobook🎧] [Buy on Amazon]
Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have a bit of a kink for “self help” books that have the word fuck in the title. See evidence here. This was a pretty good one, easy to listen to during the workday but with enough substance to warrant a few post-its of quotes and notes to takeaway.

Outlawed – Anna North

[Book Of The Month Club] [Buy on Amazon]
Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Working at a western lifestyle adjacent company, it’s not often I seek out that subject matter for off-work hours. The description for this on the Book of the Month site was enticing and I was not disappointed.

Viral BS: Medical Myths and Why We Fall for Them – Seema Yasmin

[NetGalley ARC] [Buy on Amazon]
Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a great read for anyone who is endlessly frustrated by the continuous social media scroll of the medical memes and claims your great-aunt constantly posts on Facebook. The biggest downside is that it was clearly planned and written before COVID-19 became a viral misinformation mine.

What Would Frida Do? – Arianna Davis

[NetGalley ARC] [🎧Audiobook🎧] [Buy on Amazon]
Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I went into this only knowing the broad strokes of Frida Kahlo’s life from what pop culture has immortalized. I wouldn’t call this an indepth biography by any means, but it was an insightful look at a multifacited artist who has had a lasting impression on society. It also made me want to put flowers in my hair, wear a bold lip, and embrace taking more selfies of myself.

Here’s to the next 11 months of good books, thought provoking passages, and hot cups of coffee under a blanket.

Follow my Instagram to keep up with my current reads: @FabKiwi06
Track my 2021 reading goals with me on GoodReads.

Plan a Happy Life: Book Review

It’s no secret that I really like planners; it’s pretty much the cornerstone of my blog content. I also really like books. Thus, books about planners are my jam.

I started my planner journey in 2015 using a MAMBI Happy Planner to stay on top of being on dialysis and getting my transplant. Over the years, my planning style has moved on from that planner, but I still hold a soft spot in my heart for the company and the founder, Stephanie Fleming, because of the feeling of control I was able to have over a trying part of my life.

So, when I found Plan A Happy Life on the shelf during a rare shopping trip out, I was intrigued.

In all honesty, this book was somehow too much, too little, and too late.

There’s a lot packed in this book; company history, planning tips, positive psychology, creativity outlets, guided journal, lifestyle hacks, and goal coaching. All crammed into 200-odd pages with roughly a quarter being fill in the blank style. Whew.

And yet, somehow in spite of all that crammed in to those pages, very little is actually said. We never get any depth to anything. No personal details or anything that grabs you. It’s a bit like a packet you get at a conference, complete with the fill in the blanks.

This is extremely frustrating because having seen Stephanie speak at a planner conference about many of these things and she was so engaging about these things. She presented at the Go Wild: Vegas conference in 2019 and it was great. She covered pretty much every thing she talks about in this book, but “better”. She gave backstory, showed vulnerability, and gave insight to how she incorporated these ideas into her life.

RELATED: Make Anything Happen: Book Review

Ultimately, the biggest issue is that this book is about 2 years too late. We are inundated with books about time management, curating your lifestyle, pop-psychology, goal setting, and living your best life. The planning community is visibly moving on from the “big company” planner brands in favor of the smaller, indie, and diverse shops.

Would I recommend this book? Maybe. If you are putting together a gift box full of MAMBI products, this is a nice touch to add. But, for an actual read or activity book? It’s a pass.

Review: Trixie & Katya’s Guide To Modern Womanhood (Reading Rush 2020)

I would like to start by saying that I really really really love the things that Trixie Mattel and Katya do, both individually and together. In fact, I’d say Trixie is building the type of public persona that made RuPaul a household name.

I also would like to say that UGHhh really shook up the YouTube game. From the combination of these two queens’ personalities to the editing… it showed that you can do a lot sitting in a basement in front of a green screen talking about Contact.

So, when I heard that Trixie and Katya were writing a book, and that book was going to be a “Guide to Modern Womanhood”, y’all my heart went pitter patter. I am here for the sarcastic analysis of the concepts of modern womanhood by two men who are professional women for a living. I ordered the hardcover because I knew the pictures would be works of art, and I got the audiobook because I knew that these two played off each other so well so the audobook must be awesome.

Get It On Amazon

This book? Is just ok.

“Trixie and Katya’s Guide to Modern Womanhood” is what happens when people who make a living not taking themselves seriously are forced to take themselves seriously, but also don’t want to take themselves seriously. This book doesn’t know if it’s a humorous book or an actual self help book. It is a “Guide to Womanhood” in the sense that it borrows a lot from every other formulaic self-help guidebook out there; look presentable, eat reasonably, don’t be a dick to people. However, there is a lack of real depth of issues; no discussion about safe sex for example. There are also moments of real depth and advice, but they’re bookended with the PG-13 version of UGHhh style humor.

Fuck, they don’t even say fuck in here.

I think my biggest issue with this book is the amount of Trixie and Katya that was injected in there was subdued. And these two aren’t subdued Queens. Case in point:

Nothing Subdued About This

This was especially noticeable in the audiobook. Both Trixie and Katya were dialed in at a 5 when we’re used to a 50. Katya was downright calm. It didn’t fit with what the expectations are for these performers. There are sections that are written to be a conversation between the two and it’s just… painful. You can tell they recorded it separately (which makes sense because of schedules) and all the energy between them was lost to the ether.

Side note: If Katya ever wanted to leave drag and needed another vocation, her reading voice is fantastic. I’d fall asleep listening her read the phone book; it just did not mesh with this book. She’s more of a novel reader as opposed to a novelty reader.

Before you think I’m here to drag the drag queens, there are some shining moments. The photography in this book is STUNNING. The layout in this book is wonderful as well; it turns like a magazine. I like the way that they divided the topics between the two. Katya reflecting on drug issues and self love was moving. Trixie gave some solid advice on breakups, finances, and makeup. However, right when you think you’re about to get deep with them, it turns to back to being jokey.

Reading and listening to this feels like the editors cut all the edge away to make this marketable to the most amount of people and to get it sold in Target. Which makes sense seeing as Drag has been getting the Radio Disney style marketing treatment over the past few years. Even more sense when you factor in that Trixie has been dropping a documentary, makeup, and music over the past year.

Then again, you have queens like Willam who released his “self-help” book back in 2016 and managed to fill it with some real gritty life advice and not falter at all in his trademark sass and wit.

Ultimately, I’d give this book 3 stars. If you are a massive fan of Trixie and Katya, you’ll probably get this book if for no other reason than to have in your library and marvel at the amazing photography. It’s a coffee table book that probably wouldn’t scare your open-minded grandmother, but if you’re looking for real advice or something that will make you laugh as hard as the web show, you’re not going to find it here.

Make Anything Happen Book Review

Mini Fangirl Confession: I love Carrie Elle. I have seen her speak twice (at two Winter Planner-Lands) and regularly peep her instagram and blog when I should be doing other things. She’s one of the people in the Planner-verse I find extremely relatable. When I saw she had a book at her booth this year at WPL, I snapped it up (and got her to sign it too, because of course I did).

Make Anything Happen: A Creative Guide to Vision Boards, Goal Setting, and Achieving the Life of Your Dreams is part guide book, part activity book, and part confessional. The book is broken up into three sections; defining your dreams, visualizing those dreams, and making them happen. Carrie Elle walks you through with little tales from her own life that have worked, or caused her to make those changes. No major adversity or mountains to climb; no tales of redemption or heros journey’s to get through. Just the things that have worked for her, and some that didn’t but maybe they might for you. Overall, it’s a nice, easy breezy read that gets you motivated to put those ideas in to practice. It’s not a deep read by any means, but it’s a handy motivational tool to have on your bookshelf if you are struggling with a brain block and need a creative way out.

Some highlights for me were the talk about creative notetaking and how your brain remembers info better when it’s doodled as opposed to just written down and the connection she made to her poster covered high school bedroom walls essentially being a giant vision board. There are a handful of worksheets sprinkled in to nudge you along the way, but not so many that you feel like they’re just padding the length of the book.

Additional perks include additional book recommendations for relevant topics sprinkled throughout, links back to full worksheets and templates on her blog, a facebook group, and beautiful photos that are a bit like an ISpy of craft items.

It’s a fun way to get motivated and creative to make a vision board. There is even a template that you can use to get started. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon productively procrastinating. I made mine instead of doing my laundry!

Reading Make Anything Happen was like having a conversation with your “has it all together” friend over coffee who assures you she puts her pants on one leg at a time and then gives some tips on how you can get going down that road yourself. The advice isn’t preachy or deep, but helpful reminders on how to go about setting and achieving goals that you can go back to again and again. It’s a worthwhile addition to the crafting cart.