The Perfect Summer Dress

Happy Monday beautiful people! I hope you got some time for yourself this weekend. I hope you have been able to gain some happiness in our new normal.

Pink flower, 🌸, lace dress, black woman

I bought this dress back in February when I was out exploring different cities in Atlanta. When I moved here I knew Atlanta was made up of various cities but I did not realize how much each on has a completely different vibe. So I was over in Downtown Decatur which can only be described as a quaint small-town vibe. There was a patch of restaurants, stores, and a hotel surrounding the Dekalb County Courthouse. The restaurants vary from southern comfort food and pub food to an ice cream parlor and cupcake shop. There is even a mom and pop bookstore called Little Shop of Stories I highly recommend checking out. Anyway, I looked up and saw this huge mural of a Native American man and stubbled upon the shop Squash Blossom Boutique.

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The Squash Blossom Boutique is owned by a beautiful Black woman named Lisa! That is where I spotted this amazing dress. The interior of this store is the bohemian dream. The dressing rooms are so fun! You walk up and its a door that has a curtain covering the window part of the door. So you can try stuff on and pull the curtain back from the top half to model what you are trying on for your friends or the sales associate. I tried on this beautiful Free people dress, but unfortunately, my boobs did not completely fit lol. So back to the sales rack it went. I did fall in love with this BBDokota yellow floral eyelet dress. This is the perfect spring and summer wedding dress. I also thought it would be cute to wear on my next girl’s trip at the time (before we all knew the virus would change our lives).

 

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The dressing room with a curtain, so you can peak out and model your outfits.

Instead, I decided to wear it in the park, since my appreciation for green space has grown exponentially during this time. I wanted an excuse to dress up in more than just a work outfit! Have you all found any cute new places to check out in your neighborhood?

 

 

 

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Recharge with a Visit to a Waterfall

Yellow Everything But Water Bikini Waterfall

This weekend was the first time I’ve been swimming since September. I know what you’re thinking. You could get a gym membership and swim during the winter. You could do the polar bear challenge! While these are great solutions to a first world problem, I’ve always enjoyed the feeling of the sun on my face or back as I’ve swum laps in the pool. The joy of looking up and seeing the trees or stars during a late-night swim. Since Georgia has been one of the guinea pig first states to open I’ve waited a while to go out and swim. I realized what I’ve missed about it is the joy you see on everyone’s faces. When you’re in the water you can’t be on your cell phone, you can help but laugh and splash other people. The color blue has been proven to be calming to the mind. It creates a sense of soothing, just like green spaces can improve mood and prevent depression.

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The water was cold, yet refreshing

Swimming has always been my favorite way to clear my head or figure out how I want to play a difficult character. Since the pool at my complex is still closed, I looked for parks with waterfalls. I found this beautiful one that use to be a mill. The area surrounding it is so pretty and makes you feel like you’ve been transported back to an old cowboy town.

Now I will warn you that like many places in Georgia you have to climb down some rocks to get to this spot. One side was basically like climbing a ladder on the other side you could physically walk down, then climb across some rocks to a smaller private waterfall. I was stunned by the sheer beauty of it all. This spot is maybe thirty minutes from Atlanta. There were a good amount of people at the waterfall. Most people were sun tanning on the bank and racing one another to the waterfall. You could hear the people laughing and splashing around. I was just thankful to hear the tranquil sound of rushing water and be thankful for the simple things. I left feeling energized and calm. There is something so beautiful about spending quality time in nature. Have you discovered any beautiful waterfalls? Where is your favorite place to clear your mind and recharge?

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude

Happy Friday! Happy Juneteenth!

I hope you all move through this weekend with a joyful heart remembering to have fun.

10 way to practive gratitude

  1. Tell someone you care about what you love about them and how you appreciate them – This could be your best friend, your grandma or your mom. You never know when you could make someone else’s day. It also just feels good to give someone else a compliment.
  2. Make a playlist – Make a Spotify playlist that full of music that makes you want to dance and laugh.
  3. Look on the Brightside – There is usually a way to make a negative situation positive. You didn’t get the job you wanted that sucks, but you can take this time to learn new skills and potentially right a cover letter for an even better job. This past week my voice-over lesson with my favorite coach had to be canceled twice due to unfortunate circumstances.  This gave me more time to practice the technique she mentioned from our last session and develop three separate characters instead of one. Something I would not have had the time for otherwise.Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale Devotionals
  4. Read daily devotionals- It was so easy to get in a negative headspace during this time, so I subscribed to two daily devotionals. One from my favorite church and one from a random women’s site I found. These can often provide a sense of peace and remind you that you are not alone.
  5. Make a new routine – Try waking up earlier by 15 minutes. Take a few minutes to stretch and ten minutes to journal. Journaling anthropologie diffuser, green journal and mirrored dresser
  6. Journal – if you are feeling sad, negative, anxious, write it down in a journal. Use I am statements. I am so frustrated. I am scared about getting sick. I am scared about losing my home. Then after you’ve written that multiple times tear the pages. Then write down three things you love about yourself until you fill half a page. I am a great friend. I am smart. I am lovable. This way you can release your valid negative feels and end on a positive note.
  7. Watch funny videos – Sometimes you just need a good belly laugh. Watch videos on YouTube or Tick Tok. For some reason no matter how pissed I am this video and song always make me laugh. Probably because it’s complete nonsense.
  8. Pray – Pray for yourself, family, friends, people who are alone. There is always someone you can pray for we all are works in progress trying to heal from something.Green forest park walks - Keri Elaine
  9. Go outside – Put your phone down and genuinely enjoy the beauty of nature. There is scientific evidence that green space improves mood. Which is probably one of the many reasons even in New York City has Central Park to keep everyone sane.
  10. Watch college graduation speeches– This about it, motivational speakers are brought in for graduation to inspire hope and empower grads for the future why not you.

How to Pivot and Job Search

Happy Monday, everyone!

My friend and I spent yesterday talking about LinkedIn and all the various job websites out there. How it’s fun to see the various careers our friends ended up in. She mentioned how like many people she is unhappy with her job. At a time where everyone will tell you to be thankful you have work, I pointed out that she still deserves to be content with her place of work. We spend over 2000 hours a year at our jobs, not counting overtime, early morning meetings for training, and other unknowns. You need to at the very least find a company whose values align with yours, has potential for growth (into a new position so you do not feel stagnant), is paying you your worth.

Job Search Pivoting Industries

  1. Check out the LinkedIn Jobs tab for the jobs that are open to you. You can see how your resume compares to the qualifications they are asking for. However, do not feel discouraged if you don’t fit all 10 or 12 of the criteria. There is always room for growth and training and as this article points out, most women only apply for jobs they 100 percent fit whereas men apply for jobs they only fit 60 percent of. Be confident! You can learn and adapt to your new role. Most of the jobs here are legitimate and link to the company page where you can fill out the application and add your cover letter. There is a rise in job scams so beware!
  2. If you are curious about a different career search in LinkedIn and see what skills, you need to apply. You never know, planning the company holiday party, heading up a project, and reaching out to new candidates at your previous job can translate into Project Management, client coordinator, and Event Planning.
  3. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you know. If there is someone working in your dream industry don’t be afraid to shoot them a message. Be polite, say hi, mention you’ve been cheering them on from the sidelines, and would love to hear more about their industry. We all love to toot our own horn, and this is the perfect opportunity for them to impart their wisdom.
  4. Take classes, certifications, or go back to school if you have too. There are so many programs online that can teach you marketing, coding, voice acting, and various other skills right now. If you are interested in something there is no harm in reaching out to see if there is an introductory or discounted first class. Many online classes are certified through universities now and offer a free one-hour introductory class or a 50 dollars one.
  5. Research, research, research.
  6. Know that you may take a pay cut now since you are starting in a different industry, but there is always room to negotiate at your one-year review. Document what you have done to add value to the company throughout the year and any courses you took to become an expert.

Keri Elaine Ted Baker Coat Books

Have you been considering a new career path after the pandemic?

What is Your Definition of Success?

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I found an old journal from 6th grade this weekend. It was from my English class, back when we had to start the first ten minutes of class copying the prompt on the chalkboard into our journals then writing a paragraph or so about the prompt. I absolutely hated writing at the time. Partially, because I loved an in-person debate more, partially because I never felt people correctly understood what I was saying when I wrote. The second journal entry asked what is your definition of success? Back then my response was to own multiple homes in various parts of the world, to make Forbes list of successful people, to have millions in the bank, be married, have kids, and be on various television shows.

As I’ve gotten older my definition of success has shifted I still want to be on various television shows and in movies that will probably never change – but I also think having free time is the ultimate success. We trade so much of our time for money to provide for ourselves, our families, get the next big thing, or show off. I think the true definition of success is having enough money to live comfortably, own your home, be able to work on passion projects like volunteering for charities you love, spend quality time with your kids while they grow up, having a loving respectful marriage where you both share the household work.

anthropologie diffuser, green journal and mirrored dresserOver the years I’ve worked with so many “successful” people who were the angriest, most ungrateful, paranoid people on the planet. The kind of people that see others as stepping stones to their goals, unfortunately, every time they reach their next goal they are still unhappy. They think by making the next 10 million dollar deal for the company they will be fulfilled and get a pretty decent slice of the pie. Unfortunately, their idea of success keeps getting bigger and bigger. Three houses throughout the country, another midlife crisis car, frequent vacations to other parts of the world, a private school for all of their kids, college funds, and trust funds. All of these things are wonderful but can wear on one person when they are expected to keep bringing in more income every year to keep up with the family’s spending. (Lifestyle creep is real!) One of them admitted that he doesn’t consider himself successful because his friend has a net worth that’s 5 times the amount of his. They say comparison is the thief of joy and they would be right.

I think when we focus more on what makes us happy and excited, why we do what we do to make a living then we can appreciate our success. Instead of thinking of all the family members, or friends you want to impress think about what you really want to do. Where do you really want to spend your time and money?

What is your definition of success?

Gratitude for Change

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As we go into this weekend I want everyone to think about gratitude. I want us to think of the things we are grateful for, the positive changes that are going to come out of this the hope we all felt when former President Obama spoke out this week. It reminded me of a simpler time, a time of hope, joy, and change. It reminded me of the excitement we all felt the night a brilliant, well-spoken, charismatic, black man from the southside of Chicago was elected President of the United States. I thought we were so far from our ugly racist history, but years of body cam and cell phone video have proved otherwise. We can and will make this country a better place by voting out problematic members of our government and educating our citizens. We can make this country safe for black people because there are so many people who are willing to listen and change. I am filled in with gratitude at the various people on social media, text, and phone calls that have asked for resources to learn more and be better. To stop sticking their heads in the sand and getting involved in preventing more senseless violence from striking the black community and disgracing our country.

This week I am grateful that we should not have to continue to live in fear of racism, or being shot in our homes due to a police error, oppression at work, financial oppression, and last but certainly not least no one should fear that their son will get shot walking home with his hood on and skittles in his pocket. I don’t know why, but Trayvon Martin’s story is still the one that cuts me to the core to this day. So much potential, light, and joy taken from this world. The fact that he will forever be a 17-year-old boy, not a man. We will never know what great things he could have accomplished.  I know so many amazing black men that could have been him. I hope and pray that no other man, child, or mother has to feel the devastation of burying her child due to racism and police brutality. To the good cops who are protecting and serving the community and holding their fellow cops to the same standard, I am thankful for you. The only way we can grow, heal, and change is by working from the inside out.

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I am grateful for how beautiful the weather has been.

I am grateful for the love that has been shared on social media this week.

I am grateful for everyone who is voting to make a change.

I am grateful for everyone who has taken the time to check on their friends and family.

I am grateful for everyone who has read someones story of injustice this week and been touched by the pain they felt.

I am grateful for everyone who listened to their friends completely and asked how do we help.

I am grateful for everyone who asked for resources to teach themselves and their children to be better.

I am grateful for the people that have let go of toxic beliefs and family members.

I am grateful for my fabulous LGBTQ friends who have supported the Black Lives Matter campaign this month and Pride. I love you all so much more than you ever know.

I am grateful for the celebrities speaking out against violence.

5 Work From Home Looks

Hello beautiful people!

I hope you are feeling hopeful, empowered, and are currently voting after the events we’ve all witnessed these last few weeks. I filmed a fun work from home lookbook in my apartment last week and wanted to share it with you. I also want to say thank you to my friends who reached out after my post on Monday.  If you did not read that you can check it out here. Being open can be hard, especially when you do not know how the message will be received, but I am so thankful for the outpouring of love and open discussions on how to grow and make changes.

Now back to the fashion! All of these looks were in my closet and pieces you can find in your own closet, Zara or at Target. I have included photos as well as a fun lookbook on Youtube I’ve shot around my apartment. It’s three minutes long and I have fun surprise near the end of the video!

The first look for is a peach Zara cardigan over a purple satin-trimmed t-shirt and black Seven for All Mankind jeans.

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Day two a white v-neck, open sleeve top, and fitness leggings. That way you can quickly swap out your top for a sports bra and t-shirt and do a midday work out video.

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Day three Burgandy blouse by Nine West and the same black Seven for All Mankind jeans from Monday.IMAG5022

Day four a navy lattice cut cotton dress from Abercrombie and Fitch. Perfect for being comfortable and still appropriate for Zoom meetings. Navy dress beautiful woman

 

Day five, lilac v-neck t-shirt, navy A-New-Day Target cardigan, and navy mini skirt.

IMAG5024What do you wear to be productive while working from home?

Black Lives Matter |More Justice and Due Process

Hello beautiful people!

More Justice More Peace

This is one of the few posts I’ve struggled with. As a black woman in Atlanta, GA my eyes have been opened to racism way more than I ever expected in 2020. When I moved to Atlanta it was because this was supposed to be where black people thrived. This was the land of milk and honey. Black businesses, lawyers, doctors lived and thrived here like kings. I could finally see myself reflected as one of many college-educated people working throughout the city and shopping at the mall. Instead of being one of the few people that looked like me older white women, employed as salespeople, followed my mom (dressed in a business suit) and I all over Nordstrom as I looked for a homecoming dress like we were going to shoplift. Now I understand that this is still Georgia, a very large conservative red state that loves to fly the Confederate flag. Trust me there have been many road trips through the backwoods of Georgia that I did not drink water for over three hours because I was terrified to stop in a certain area for fear I would end up missing. You all know I love south Florida with all my heart, and I can honestly say the few racist encounters I had over the years there growing up. Every time something happened, I felt hurt, disappointed, but I refused to accept hate in my heart for a few bad apples. I accepted that these people were probably raised ignorantly and did not have the bandwidth to learn about other cultures or ask questions (even though Palm Beach County is a huge melting pot).

I even had a close friend in college tell me racism was not real. In my mind, I was completely stunned, that a blonde-haired blue-eyed poster child for all American beauty would tell me that racism did not exist. I told her that it definitely does exist and that she would not notice because she was not the target of racism. Her boyfriend even stepped in to say he knew racism existed and did what he could for friends whenever he noticed it. He was always an incredibly empathetic guy and for that, I am so grateful. I told her about the microaggressions I experienced while dating in south Florida. I had so many white guys pursue me through Facebook message and text, spend hours talking to me on the phone, and at parties only to disappear into a crowd when we were on a date in public. Only to never introduce me to their close friends or family after six months of being in an exclusive relationship. It finally clicked in my head that they were more afraid of losing their family’s financial support, future trust funds, and being “made fun of” by people, they knew than treating me with the respect I deserved. I even had this happen in college when a guy I was dating walked by me like I was wallpaper with his friends on campus as I waved to him. He texted me later to say he was, “sorry”. I blocked his number. My high school sweetheart was Hispanic, and his friends and family relentlessly made racist comments to my face about my skin being ugly, my appearance to looking like a monkey, cockroach, and other asinine insults. This became one of the major tipping points in us breaking up because I could not marry into a family that does not respect me. I could not have children with a man that would not stand up for me. I could not risk letting some ignorant women call my child disgusting names and trying to make them hate themselves any more than the world already would. The irony of this is his family was Puerto Rican and darker in skin tone and thicker in hair texture than I am. I pointed out that contrary to popular belief we both have originated from Africa and that their comments showed a lot of self-hatred. I think every skin tone, hair texture is beautiful because it adds variety to our world.

In my first corporate job in Atlanta, I found out I was making five thousand dollars less than the previous white receptionist. She told me flat out that my test scores were higher than hers, and every other candidate they ever had. She also told me what she was making before she left so I would not be screwed over. (She also pointed out that I had a year of office experience something she did not). However, when I fought for that salary, I was told to take the lesser amount or walk. As time went on in the company my boss said at a lunch meeting that, “The south should have won. That they had far better leadership.” I felt I was not in a position to say anything for fear of losing my job and my only means of supporting myself. I choked down my burger and went to the bathroom to cry. The next year I moved up to an admin position. The new receptionist and admins complained about their salaries to me. I found out that the receptionist was making more than I currently was by nine thousand dollars and the admins by twenty thousand dollars. I finally realized it did not matter that I went to a private university, graduated with a philosophy degree, worked harder than everyone else, never came in drunk, did not complain and made everyone else’s lives easier, I was still a black woman in the south. These women while polite at times, came in late often, took two-hour lunches, left early, caused drama, ran off various analysts, associates, and receptionists like it was Game of Thrones. They had no problem screaming and cussing each other out across the bullpen while employees were on the phone with clients and drinking at work. They continued to make more than I did while doing less work for no other reason than the fact that they were blonde, and white from the same small towns in Georgia as a lot of the vice presidents and managing directors were.

Coming to Atlanta the birthplace of civil rights, home of the Civil and Human Rights Museum, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home it is disheartening to see the work and sacrifices of so many have pushed us forward very little. I do not understand why it is okay for someone to walk into a church, murder nine people, permanently traumatize so many more and walk out in handcuffs without a scratch, without a knee to the back or throat. But a black man running through a neighborhood can be gunned down in the street by two citizens and they never received an arrest until Twitter had to create a national outcry MONTHS after the murder occurred. To see that four police officers pinned down George Floyd a man who was not holding a weapon, did not threaten or shoot anyone thrown on the gravel with a knee pinned on his forty-six-year-old neck. I do not understand how anyone can say this is anything other than racism.

I am heartbroken for every person that is terrified to be pulled over for fear of getting killed. I am heartbroken for every person that has false reports made against them. I am heartbroken for every person that has been told they deserve to be treated like a criminal because of their skin tone. I am heartbroken for every person that just wants to live their life equally like everyone else but cannot because of arbitrary ignorant fears and beliefs.

Yes, I know there are riots and crime and utter chaos happening in our metropolises. I do think a lot of the violence and crime have been caused by other races using this movement to cover up their actions. People are angry. Everyone has lost their jobs, some of their homes, and they want someone to blame. I think this movement was the perfect time and opportunity for people to loot under the guise of the Black Lives Matter movement. A time to commit crimes because “everyone else was doing it” and it will be hard to hold people accountable. I have seen many videos of black people begging people of other races to spot spray painting, breaking, and setting fire to things. Crying out that this is not the support we are asking for! That this only fuels the negative narrative the media has already spread. I’ve seen videos of black people volunteering to clean up areas that have been damaged the next day. I have seen the heartbreak of people going to a peaceful protest only to walk back and find their own car has been spray painted or their business looted. I am not saying this is positive, but thankfully our material things can be replaced. We can rally around and rebuild, but we cannot gain back the lives of people who have been killed. This country of mine has a history of killing young black man falsely such as George Stinney Jr. who was fourteen in 1944 when he was sentenced to be executed by an electric chair. He was accused of killing two white girls age eleven and seven. He was held in solitary for over eighty days without seeing his parents and they were not allowed at his trial. He was treated as though he was guilty before even getting the right to due process. He has since been proven innocent. Stories like these are the reason why we as a country need to change.

There have also been peaceful protests for years. Kneeling to the flag during the anthem at NFL games, the Black Lives Matter movement that was immediately disrespected and watered down by the blue lives matter and all lives matter comments. The difference between blue lives matter and black lives matter is you volunteered, trained, and get paid to be a cop. Black people never asked to be born black. While we love and celebrate the skin we are in, we never asked for systematic hate, racism, and disadvantages.

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What can you do to help?

  1. Take an educated look into each elected official for local government. I’m talking county and city, senate representatives, and the huge primary presidential election. Vote for the greater good. You are never going to agree with everything a candidate supports, but if there is a greater candidate of the two picks the one that will do the least amount of harm.
  2. Donate to lawyers that are offering to bail out protestors. (If you have five dollars to spare, we all know how hard and tight it is for everyone financially).
  3. Actually, listen. Listen to your friends from other ethnicities when they mention dealing with microaggressions as well as physical aggression. Do not dismiss them look at your phone or belittle their feelings and concern.
  4. Be an ally. Have the awkward conversations when someone at work makes a racist joke or a family member does at dinner. The same as you should if someone used a gay slur. We all need to stick together and demand that everyone be better and more empathetic to one another.
  5. Teach your kids to judge based on character, not appearance. Children are the future and buying your kids dolls and storybooks of other cultures teaches them about all the beautiful people in the world. It breaks down stereotypes and walls so we can teach the next generation to be even better than us.

 

If you’ve read this far thank you. Thank you for trying to understand. Thank you for listening. I hope I gave you some idea of a way you can help and make a change.

10 Inspirational Quotes to Stay Positive

Hello Beautiful people!

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For some reason this past week felt a little hard than the rest, so I thought it would be the perfect time to look up inspirational quotes. There is something so empowering about reading new quotes. So I made a short video on 10 inspirational quotes to stay positive during this quarantine.

Are there any quotes you want to share have that inspire you?

15 Movies You Should Watch on Netflix

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Happy Friday ya’ll! I hope you all are well, here are some movies to check out on Netflix this weekend. I’ve thrown in some 80s and 90s films along with new ones.

 

18 Presents– It’s in Italian, but hear me out. A woman with cancer leaves behind 18 presents for her unborn daughter. All I can say is grab your tissues.

 

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective – a 90s classic, Jim Carey plays a pet detective out to figure out who kidnapped the Miami Dolphin’s mascot.

 

Back to the Future – An 80’s classic that has flying cars (even though we still don’t), sci-fi, time travel, and the fun premise of getting to go to high school with your parents and seeing what they were really like as teens.

 

Back to the Future II– Talks about free will vs. determinism which is great for all my philosophy lovers out there!

 

The Social Network– a dramatic twist on the creation of one of the largest social networks of all time.

 

Becoming – Michelle Obama’s documentary that reminds you to own the woman you are becoming. She reminds us that even in hard times there are kind people in the world and to always hold onto out hope.

 

Brain on Fire – Is based on a true story of Susanna Cahalan a New York Post journalist with a rare auto-immune disease called anti-NMDA.

 

Despicable Me – Steve Carell voices a supervillain hell-bent on destroying the world with hundreds of minions to “help” do his bidding. If you need a laugh this is the film for you.

 

Fire in the Blood– Documentary on the African AIDS crisis and the fight to make the lifesaving drugs more affordable.

 

Girl– A 15-year-old ballerina prepares for her gender confirmation surgery. This film was at Cannes film festival in 2018.

 

Lady Driver – A great coming of age film. A teen girl with a passion for cars begins racing and discovers racing was always a part of her destiny.

 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – This film is the perfect coming of age romantic comedy. It will remind you of a simpler time, where your biggest problem was how to tell your crush you like them.

 

P.S. I Still Love you – is the sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Lara Jean continues to talk to one of her old crushes from her love letters.

 

Perks of Being a Wallflower– Based on the 2012 novel. A teen who struggles with depression after losing a friend to suicide rediscovers the joy in life through music friendship and his crush.

 

The Laundromat– Based on the Panama Papers, a woman investigates a fake insurance scam. That woman is Meryl Streep.

Do you have any films you recommend for my next list?