Happy Birthday to The Smart Cookie Philes!

Today, we are two years old. Wow, how fast time flies!

Some people are unaware of the origins of this site and how it came to be so I figured it was appropriate to share the birth story of The Smart Cookie.

Not being able to find a job once out of college was part of it.

Not being able to find a job that was my dream job and also accepted all of my idiosyncrasies was also part of it.

The Smart Cookie Philes was born on MLK day 2016 because like the GREAT changemaker, I too had a dream, and it wasn’t one dimensional or going to be abc-123 easy to achieve.

So I decided that the right opportunity doesn’t wait for no man, so I created the opportunity for me and many others.

To the untrained eye, this looks like a simple book blog and that was the original intention behind it.

Yet, I am a vivacious reader who also loves everything that music does for it’s listener. How it soothes the soul, makes you feel less alone, and connects people.

I realized then that books and music both connect people in similar ways even though they are entirely different mediums, they both start from the same origin: out of the heart and mind of a creative soul who wants to affect change some how some way in a wave, in a ripple, in a surge of hope.

Yet, I also wanted this to be a site where all people not just writers and musicians could feel welcome because society really provides a heavy load with it’s labels and pressures if you don’t exactly mirror every other person that has gone before you.

So this is a community for the rejects, for the weirdos, for the over-caffeinated writer who grew up too shy to do anything but vivaciously read and learn all the lyrics to their favorite songs and yet, had trouble finding solace and acceptance among those in their peer group.

This is a community for those who decide to dare to be different and are unafraid and unashamed to walk a path not yet walked so that by chance, they can lead the way for others who come after who feel the same way.

This is a community for those who become a part of it to ESPRESSO THEMSELVES however that looks no matter what because we only get one life and we should live it in the most genuine and authentic way we know.

Here at The Smart Cookie Philes we are all smart, strong, and enough. After all, when it comes to cookies, flavors and variety always makes for a more delicious experience overall.

THANK YOU for your continued support of my dream and the beautiful works of others.

Here’s to more years being exactly who you were meant to be and expressing yourself authentically.

So much love,

Chelsea DeVries

Creator of The Smart Cookie Philes

Never miss a crumb of the action by subscribing to my email newsletter That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles.

 

 

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#BookReview By The Book will make your heart swell with Bookish love

I only read the first three chapters of By The Book by Julia Sonneborn and I was hooked.

I entered a giveaway for the book but knew in my heart that nothing would keep me from being swept up into Anne Corey’s world of literature and those that love it.

I read the majority of this book in the time span of twelve hours because the plot was both seamless and still surprising.

It contained my favorite type of love story but in an entirely new way: a love triangle where two men of different character fall in love with the same girl and makes hints about their true intentions in order to gain her affections in return.

 

 

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It is the perfect read for anyone who considers themselves a bibliophile and already has blueprinted their dream library.

To get the chance to read excerpts of upcoming books and have the chance at winning a paperback copy, join Bookish First.

 

https://thisiswriting.com/the-ultimate-list-of-fiction-books-you-should-read-at-least-once-in-your-life/

#BookReview: A thrilling read that zooms in on the bigger picture; My Not-So-Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Social media is an absolute wonder. It creates a sense of instant gratification. It connects you with millions of strangers.

All with the click of a button.

Yet, it also creates this image of “the perfect life” that no one can achieve AND be human.

Social media or obsessing over your identity over those platforms leaves room to puppet string or enlarge our deepest fears and insecurities as people.

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The greatest thing is this book used that notion to tell a story of twenty-something English-farmgirl Katie Brenner, who after graduating from college, reinvents herself and loses her country accent to appear more high-society. Her new identity? London city girl named Cat. This is all so she can fit the mold of those around her while working at an ad agency as a junior associate with dreams of being a project manager.

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This book really makes you take a second look at societal norms, relationship standards in today’s dating world, and most deeply, the imperfect human condition that should be more accepted and less altered.

Overall, the reader will leave this book realizing that things and people are not always prim and proper as they appear.

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#Superbowl Ads That Affected Us All

Prior to crying a bucket of tears watching the post-game Superbowl themed episode of #ThisIsUs finally sharing the story of how Jack died, there were many ads during the game that pulled at our heart strings, spoke a profound truth, or just plain tickled our funny bone so without further ado, here is how they stacked up in my opinion.

My favorite ad featured an Olympic athlete and a classic rock anthem and it was beyond epic. It got me stoked for the Winter Olympics coming this week to NBC.

I am referring to this ad right here:

My second favorite ad of the entire line-up was an ad where the speaker was given credit right in the beginning, the ad showcased the spirit of American people being best known for greatness, and true greatness is found in humbling oneself to the mindset of serving.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s actual audio was used in the ad where he was directly quoting the book of Matthew and the words of Jesus. I’m referring to Dodge Truck’s Built To Serve ad.

The next commercial that had me laughing and intrigued was for my favorite beer brand.  It showed people during the Medieval Times immersed in a battle and the Bud Knight appears and invites them to a party by saying, “Hey, if you survive, you should come by.”

Bud Light’s Bud Knight Dilly Dilly

The following ad was so outside of the box it really made me think and laugh all at the  same time. It featured David Harbour from Stranger Things and made the viewer re-think all the other ads showed during the game.

It’s A Tide Ad

Sometimes we forget about the people who answer the call. The nameless faces that are the real heroes. Yes, I’m referring to the first responders of all tragedies and difficulties we as humans face, not to mention the recent terror attacks and mass shootings we’ve faced within our country.

Answer The Call From Verizon

The last but certainly not least ad that had me hooked from the start to finish was the partnership ad of Doritos vs. Mountain Dew playing up their new products with appearances by Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman while having them lip sync to big names in hip-hop music is Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot.

Doritos Blaze vs. Mountain Dew Ice

Of course, we can’t talk about the Superbowl without discussing the half-time show starring Justin Timberlake. Although, I thought it was a great show, it was way too short of a half-time show and I blame NBC for that because they wanted to fit in the post-game episode of This Is Us.

 

#BookReview: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella did all but that

I was honored to get to review this book as Sophie Kinsella is indirectly the only reason I fell in love with the song, Calling You by Kat Deluna, as she is the name behind the best-selling shopaholic series which resulted in a major motion picture staring Isla Fischer.

Yet, this book did not make me feel as invigorated as the song.

It follows a married couple who find out that their life expectancy is quite a stretch more than they originally thought when they promised “till death do us part.” Right away, you find yourself rooting for the main character, Sylvie. She’s the typical mother of two girls looking to spice things up in her life and marriage by coming up with this idea that her and her husband Dan should surprise each other with things, ideas, or creative endeavors to keep things “lively” since they have about 68 more years of healthy, happy married life.

Yet, although I finished the entire novel, I found myself skimming through entire chapters because they seemed almost superflous in nature to the overall story. Maybe I read this book all wrong but after just finishing a 60 chapter not yet published novel in an entire day, I can say that what was abundant in that book was missing in this one:

There was a lack of tension or an overall obstacle for the main character or characters to overcome.

True. This is a married couple we are talking about so the climax will not be as romantic as two arch-enemies that fall in love with one another BUT I guess I still felt something was missing.

Ultimately, that was the most surprising of all. That this book left me feeling like I just read one of those books I read in grade school ONLY BECAUSE I was obligated and not at all because I wanted to.

This book was my modern day post-academic life The Crucible by Arthur Miller. 

 

#BookReview: Why Perfect Illusion on @inkittbooks is the perfect READ

It has everything a book should have.

Revenge.

An arrogant rich guy.

A handsome guy in a leather jacket.

A girl who is a bookworm and doesn’t see her own greatness.

A best friend who can see through the facade.

A love story that will shock the whole world.

Perfect Illusion

To fall in love with the Perfect Illusion, check it out on Inkitt today.

#MusicReview: Rend Collective new praise album boasts Good NEWS!

I’m not particularly crazy about worship music because usually it isn’t very dance-worthy, is heavy on piano or organ, and tracks for worship are sometimes ten minutes or more in length. So when I got approached to listen to Rend Collective’s Good News, I will admit that I hesitated because of my stereotyping worship music.

Then, the first track started and I was into it and as each track went on, I got more and more into it. This album not only strengthened my love for my Lord and Savior Jesus but it made me an instant fan of Rend Collective and I will never hesitate to listen to another album they release ever again.

About Rend Collective:
Hailing from a small town off the coast of Northern Ireland, Rend Collective (Gareth Gilkeson, Chris Llewellyn, Ali Gilkeson, Patrick Thompson and Stephen Mitchell) wants to be known as a celebration band, worshiping for God’s Glory and fame. Since the release of their first album, Organic Family Hymnal, the group’s authentic and energetic style of worship has attracted an international audience, with career sales of more than 300,000 albums. The group saw early success as their first ever single “Build Your Kingdom Here,” peaked at No. 12 on the National Christian Audience Chart. Their 2014 release The Art of Celebration, charted at No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Albums Chart within the first week of its release. Known for their electric lively worship, the band has been a part of several major tours with top artists such as Chris Tomlin, MercyMe, Kari Jobe, Lecrae and more. The group released critically acclaimed As Family We Go in 2015, followed by, Campfire Christmas Volume 1, their first Christmas record, and Campfire II, both in 2016, Rend Collective’s newest single, “Rescuer (Good News)” is available now.

Good News is set to release in January 19, 2018.

Song by Song Review

Life is Beautiful: Irish musicality trickles on every track of this album and this particular song speaks to our John 10;10 abundance Jesus died for each believer to live out.

I Will Be Undignified: A fiddle keeps this track fast-paced and promotes and unashamed dance in the presence of our King.

Rescuer (Good News)The title track of the album; praising God for rescuing us forevermore.

Counting Every Blessing: A worship song that brings to mind every blessing the Lord has provided and more importantly God’s goodness. I thoroughly enjoyed this track because it promoted me to beam with an unbreakable smile while listening to it.

Nailed To The Cross: We are taken back to Jesus’s victory on the Cross and all his death there redeemed for all mankind.

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Hymn For The Ages: Almost like a modern day “Amazing Grace,” praising Jesus for who he is.

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True North: This is another favorite off the album because not only is it a pure worship song but it has a musicality that makes me want to dance and feel fun and fancy free.

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This track completely had me overjoyed because it had Contemporary Christian musicality but praise-worthy worship feel.

9. No Outsiders: God is love and we can come as we are thanks to Jesus

10. Weep With Me: 

“Lord I believe you weep with me”

A worship track with an almost r&b feel to it that speaks to the depths of the listener’s brokenness.

Weep With Me (Reprise): A sweet finish featuring a strong use of violin and lead vocals

Marching On (Feat. Hillsong Young & Free): The EDM musicality and the lead vocalists motivated the listener to keep fighting the good fight.

Yahweh: A soft acoustic guitar strikes a soft chord to illustrate the gentleness of our God who is there in the midst of it all, and holds it all.

Counting Every Blessing: A ukelele version of the fourth track brings a new sense to resting in his presence.

Christ Lives In Me: I have a future and a hope because Christ lives in me is what this track emphasizes.

Get Connected with Rend Collective:
Website // https://rendcollective.com
Facebook // https://www.facebook.com/rendcollective/
Twitter // @rendcollective
Instagram // @rendcollective

“From the opening track to the last one, Good News will give you joy unspeakable and provide hope because Christ lives in each believer, life is forever beautiful.”

To see the The Smart Cookie quoted in the Good News press release click here

 

Come closer and make a wish! #BookReview @ChelseaSedoti’s #AsYouWish

Chelsea Sedoti is a new favorite author of mine and I was entirely stoked to see she was coming out with a book that contained an actual cave that grants wishes. Magical realism is  a genre that I started getting all the feels for in eleventh grade English. We were assigned to read the book One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The book is a relic itself being that it was translated from its original Spanish to a  five hundred page novel in English. Once I started reading it, I fell in love with Marquez’s eloquence and the concept of magical realism.

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Magical Realism is a literary genre or style associated especially with Latin America that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction.

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And so Sedoti returns with a YA novel centered around a small desert town of Madison which appears ordinary to the tourists and visitors but actually has an extraordinary magical element: Every citizen of Madison gets one wish on their 18th birthday within a cave.

It makes the reader wonder what they might wish for if in Eldon’s shoes.

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Overall, I wish anyone who reads this book gets swept away by it’s magical charm amidst a regular ordinary main character, a teen that wonders if wishes do more harm than good and someone who isn’t afraid to walk a path uncharted.

And that is a concept I can get behind, wishfully or otherwise.

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All your wishes can come true when you enter my latest giveaway!

#GiftGuide: Best Music Albums in 2017

There were too many earworms in 2017 that I decided to narrow down my musical fangirling to an album only list of the Top Ten. The great thing about music is that it’s subjective so your favorite may not be here. If I missed one, comment below. Maybe I’ll make a playlist for 2018.

10. Ryan Follese by Ryan Follese

The lead singer of Hot Chelle Rae goes solo and heads back to his country roots with his first pop country solo album. Croon along to One Thing Right or jam out to Roots, either way you’ll fall in love with Ryan’s singer-songwriting talent and musicality.

To read the full review, feel free to float your boat.

9. Alessia Cara’s Know It All

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This Canadian pop rocker will have you realizing your beautiful and not alone at that party you didn’t want to go to but are now stuck at.

To join our Wild Things Club, visit here

8. Tomorrow We Live by KB

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Tampa native and Reach Records rapper KB just released a new album October 20 but to here the one that had my haters looking at me sideways and believing we will win, check out the rapper’s second album.

I won’t play anymore games, I’mma just do it.

7.  Identity by Colton Dixon

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How do you identify? Well with one listen of Colton Dixon’s third studio album I was renewed in my faith as a believer in Jesus Christ and realized why each of us is marked with his fingerprint because he designed us with a unique call and purpose. To find out more about the brand new life and how love came down, check out Colton’s newest album.

For all that matters, visit here.

6. All is Vanity by Christina Grimmie

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Her final musical project is her debut album. Post-humanous and with her signature supernatural vocal range, Grimmie shares song that showcase her r&b musicality and lyrics that showcase her huge heart and that she was okay with having standards.

For full review and to read my memorial post, join Team Grimmie

5. Lifer by Mercy Me

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Christian rock supergroup is back with a project even i couldn’t imagine. Every song on it is repeat-worthy and will have you happy dancing even if your answer doesn’t come right away.

To join Team life, visit here.

4. ’91 by Jamie Grace

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Jamie Grace is back with her first independent release but third studio album that represents the Christian music from the nineties she grew up on.

To join Team ’91, feel free to get your dance on.

3. All Things Work Together by Lecrae

With his first major label release, Lecrae will inspire and sow hope as he will make all who listen to this album see that he’s no stranger to hip hop music but instead aims to reach higher.

To find hope in all things, visit here.

2. Tell Me You Love Me by Demi Lovato

Six albums later and Demi Lovato is no longer apologizing for who she is. Instead, you’ll catch the singer-songwriter in raw and real vulnerability that will make you fall in love with her artistry.

To meet Lovato and all her daddy issues, visit here.

  1. Waves by Rachel Platten

Some of you may not know this but Rachel Platten was the first major artist to support The Smart Cookie Philes directly and her sophomore album proves she’s not done making waves or putting up a fight, she’s just not going to apologize because she’s not perfect for you.

Love her or leave her alone, she’ll keep dancing on broken glass. 

Happy Holidays and I hope 2018 is the year you start #ESPRESSOYOURSELF

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