Books, Book Reviews, Seltzer, Seltzer Reviews

Book + Seltzer Review: Naturally Tan + 365 Everyday Value Ginger Sparkling Water

Posted by The Carbonated Scholar

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Today is the premier of Season Five of Queer Eye on Netflix and it’s Pride Month, so it’s the perfect opportunity to review the Naturally Tan, a memoir by the QE’s very own fashion expert Tan France. Tan is absolutely fabulous on the show. He is frank, funny, snarky, and beautiful coiffed. He’s one of my absolute favorite members of the Fab Five (but honestly they’re all my favorite) and gives me the realist Slytherin energy — me too Tan, me too. Also, catch Tan giving the fiercest Anna Wintour at the Stylish Pooch’s dog fashion show in episode 5.2.

I’m pairing this review with my newest seltzer find — and newest favorite — the Ginger Sparkling Water from 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods). On a whim, I added it to my Amazon Prime Now order (which I get free with my Amazon Prime membership!), and I don’t know how I have lived without it. You can find my review at the end of the post!

Naturally Tan, by Tan France (2019)

First of all, let’s start with how beautiful a man Tan France is. I know this is a book review, but let’s call a spade, a spade. He’s gorgeous, or “GORGE!” as Tan says. Throughout his book, he plays down his looks and his star-quality, but this man has the IT factor. The worst part of this book is that it is not a video-book. I’m petitioning all future Tan France books to come with a video portion and an accompanying lookbook.
I listened to this book on audiobook, and I certainly recommend that medium for everyone, even if you aren’t a regular audiobook listener. I love listening to books narrated by the author, especially public figures. It brings an extra dimension to the performance, especially when the author can get a conversational, revelatory tone.
This is exactly what Tan does, plus he does it in his unique northern-but-not-northern-living-in-America-too-long-sounds-kinda-fake accent he has. Honestly, the audiobook is perfect. The narration made me feel like I was at an intimate story-telling event watching a friend perform.
I’m not actually sure what I would think of the reading experience of the physical book, because I can’t separate the narration from the book itself. I suspect it might feel somewhat disjointed and lacking of a narrative arc, but the narration smooths out all of this. Plus, I like that the book doesn’t follow a strict linear or narrative structure. 
Is there anything cuter than Tan & Rob France and their coiffeurs???
Tan covers so much in this book: his upbringing and being gay in a South Asian Muslim family in northern England, the acute racism he experienced growing up, the many jobs he quit (wow!), his romantic relationships (most importantly with his husband Rob 💖), his entry into the fashion industry, his business ventures, a few Queer Eye stories (I NEED A TELL-ALL!!!), and his thoughts on becoming a celebrity, plus fashion & lifestyle tips and tons of snark. I would have been here for any one of those topics from Tan, and he served us all of them.

TAN, can we have the extended version of your memoir??? Please!!!

I’d only thought of Tan as the fashion expert on Queer Eye, but he is so much more. He’s an incredibly hard-working, savvy business man, a trailblazer for gay South Asian representation, and a loving and committed partner. Also, his character on Queer Eye is not character; that’s just snarky, adorable, judgmental Tan. 
My favorite thing about Tan is his utter commitment to his Slytherin side. This man would dance on the graves of his enemies. He doesn’t forget; he doesn’t forgive; and he is not sorry for it. This book is full of comeuppance stories, and Tan loves to tell them almost as much as I love to listen to them.
Also, he is not afraid to break the rules, whether of fashion, business, or family customs. This boy just straight went to New York as a teenager and didn’t tell not one, single soul in his family (yes, I used a double negative; it was necessary for emphasis.) As I was saying, he just told his parents that he was at a friend’s house, hopped a plane to NYC, and shopped ’til he dropped and partied all night long for five days, then just flew home like nothing happened. As a teenager.
I have so much more to say about this book, but I’m down to my last sip of seltzer, so I must bid adieu. I will leave it with, if you are a fan of Queer Eye, if you are interested in diversity in Hollywood, if you identify as a Slytherin, if you run a business or dream of running a business, or if you love snark, this book is for you. And if you plan on watching Season 5 of Queer Eye, I suggest you read this book before watching episode 2. If you can’t wait, then re-watch episode 2 after reading Tan France’s books. Knowing the background of Tan’s experience as a business owner makes the episode even more meaningful.
Oh yes, and again, listen to the audiobook. It’s fantastic!

365 Everyday Value Ginger Sparkling Water

It’s seltzer time! If I do say so myself, this is the perfect seltzer-book pairing! Just like Tan, this ginger sparkling water is delightful, spicy, and a bit extra (*I LOVE extra*). Plus it pays great homage to Tan’s South Asian heritage and love for Indian cuisine (which he talks about in the book!). Plus the can matches the book cover.

Let’s start with the can design. It is adorable. It features a full ginger root, the ginger flower, and ginger leaves. I have never once thought about the ginger flower, but it’s gorgeous. It looks like there might have been recent redesign, because the only images of cans I could find on Google were hideous, as you can see in the image.

Let’s turn to the taste. Imagine brewing ginger tea straight from the root (no bags here!). Now chill it and sparkle it. That’s what we have here. It’s authentically gingery and the flavor is strong. (Not quite as strong as Starbucks new Golden Ginger Drink, which I also love, but close!). It’s crisp, refreshing, and interesting. I would drink this everyday.

Also, it doesn’t taste like ginger ale (but if you like ginger ale, certainly try Canada Dry’s Bold Ginger Ale!), because it’s not sugary or sweet. It’s super light and clean. The aftertaste is A+ and stays with you long after finishing the can, which may not sound like a positive (and it wouldn’t be for most flavors), but this just extends the pleasure for this seltzer.

It’s a 365 Everyday Value product, so you can find it at Whole Foods and Amazon. It seems to be a bit hard to track-down, so definitely buy a case, if you can find one!  

Other Queer Eye Reads:

What do you think? Have you read Naturally Tan or any other Queer Eye books? Are any on your TBR pile? Let me know in the comments below or on my socials!

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