Monday, December 29, 2014

Winter Break: Movies You NEED to Watch NOW!

I love Christmas movies, like LOOOOVE them, but by December 25th, I'm definitely ready to put them away for another year. As December and January rages on and the weather gets delightfully worse, I look forward to spending days and nights inside, snuggled up in pj's and a blanket by the fire with either a great movie or a great book. 

But first things first, what movies do you watch? There's an art to movie selecting you guys. Much like the guide I previously made for Summer movies (here), I've compiled a list of movies to watch during winter break since all your favorite TV shows are on hiatus, leaving you with mass amounts of available time! And by "mass amounts" I mean after work and by "available time", I mean the time you should be spending cleaning but eh, who really cares! You NEED to de-stress, unwind, and relax from the holidays, work and/or school, I mean, you deserve it! So why not with a stack of amazing movies?! It's not like you'll be wanting to go out in the stormy weather anyways, and who has money after Christmas to do anything to begin with?! You're really just doing yourself a favor and saving money to boot! :) 

10 Movies to watching during Winter Break:

1. Jurassic Park (1991)

This is one of my favorite movies. Ever. Any time it's raining, my sisters and I say to each other "it's the perfect weather to watch Jurassic Park!" and we usually end up watching it. Because it's ah-mazing. Not sold yet? Here's a list of reasons you should watch it NOW: A) Dr. Grant. Let's just get that out there. B) Dinosaurs COME TO LIFE GUYS. And they are SCARY! C) Steven Spielberg. NEED I SAY MORE?! 

PS- The 4th one with the studly Chris Pratt comes out June 12 (!!!) so you might as well get a start now! ;)

2. Notorious, (1946)

There is something about winter that screams Hitchcock to me. The suspense, the drama, that era, everything is PERFECT. Notorious is my favorite Hitchcock, though I think everyone has a favorite... This is one of his lesser known titles starring the amazing and handsome Cary Grant, who starred in several Hitchcock films like North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief and Suspicion. But if you haven't seen Notorious, do so. Now. You won't regret it.

3. ALL the Harry Potters

Who doesn't love Harry Potter!?! Seriously, I must've seen them a thousand times each and I still love them just as much as I did when they first came out. We are currently working on Harry Potter movie nights, but it's been hard with work and school. We plan to make the best of Winter break and hopefully get through a couple before the next semester starts back up again! Also, an equally amazing part about doing Harry Potter marathons, you can wear your Hogwarts t-shirt you pretend you don't have and make HP themed food!! There are tons of Pinterest boards dedicated to it, so you'll have plenty of ideas! Invite your friends or make it a family day and eat amazing grub while watching  Harry, Hermoine, Ron and the gang kick some serious wizard butt! 

4. Bridget Jone's Diary (I & II)

I have a special place in my heart for Bridget and her wacky self. She's so real, there's nothing fake about her and she's seriously hysterical, you can't help but love her. OH! And Mark Darcy (sigh)... I mean Colin Firth, is just a *dream*. Watching him and Hugh Grant's character get into fight after fight is the most comically pleasing thing to have ever happened. They're the perfect romantic comedies to ease your winter blues.

5. The Shining (1980)

I'm a fan of Steven King and all things creepy and scary, so this makes perfect sense to me. I'm also a huge fan of ghost stories and the hotel Steven King was staying at in Colorado while writing The Shining (The Stanely Hotel) is actually haunted and influenced a lot of how he wrote the Shining based on those experiences. I want to stay there SO BADLY, I can't even stand it. But the movie itself is great and Jack Nicholson is probably the second most creepy human being in the world (Christopher Walken is the first, obviously). Lots of snow and creepy happenings make this the perfect winter horror movie. 


6. Your *favorite* Jane Austen Adaptation (or ALL of them!)

While my sister's in town for the holidays, we decided to do "an Austen a day" to keep those *winter blues* at bay. Nothing cheers you up better than an Austen. I typically re-read Pride and Prejudice during Christmas, but this year I didn't have enough time! To fill the void, I'm watching ALL the Austen's because why not!? Plus, who doesn't love watching Collin Firth or Johnny Lee Miller anyways?! Yes please! :)

7. Twister (1996)

Nothing like a good ol' disaster film to brighten your post-holiday slump! ;) I LOVE Twister, it's just about one of my favorite movies of all time. I'm not sure why I love it so much, but I do. And there's just something about escaping the storm outside to watch a storm inside that just makes sense, right? Just me then?? Okay, well watch it anyways and enjoy Helen Hunt and the handsome Bill Paxton on their storm chasing journey to save people from deadly tornadoes. 

8. Signs (2002)

M. Night Shyamalan started out so good for me. I mean, the Sixth Sense scared EVERYONE half to death, even if they won't admit it. Signs for me wasn't as amazing, but still really really good. As a movie fan, this is one of my favorite "alien" movies. M. Night does such a good job because you're held in suspense almost the whole movie without fully seeing the aliens, so by the end when you actually do see them, it's terrifying!

9.  Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy 

Christopher Nolan's Batman series is much darker than any Batman was before. It's such an amazing trilogy, I don't think anyone could ever make it any better. Not only is the directing superb, but Christian Bale as Batman really sends it home. Not to mention the 3 villains (Scarecrow, Joker, and Bane) are just downright terrifying, all played by really great actors (Cillian Murphy, Heath Ledger, and Tom Hardy). The darkness of the mood and the gorgeous cinematography make these my all time favorite superhero movies and *PERFECT* for winter break!

10. The Walking Dead (2010-)

Okay, I know this isn't a movie, but whatever, it still counts. Netflix now has The Walking Dead (first 4 seasons) and I'm super excited to watch this from the beginning. I started watching this show a couple seasons in, so I've never seen how it ALL started and I'm VERY excited to do so. If, by some crazy chance you're not into the show (insanity!) then any good zombie flic will do (28 days later is a personal favorite). But if by chance you haven't tried the show out, NOW'S THE TIME!! Plus, you'll LOVE Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus, despite all the gross zombie sounds that fill the background. ;) 

Happy Viewing!! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Born in the Wrong Time: A Romantic’s Struggle through Dating in the 21st Century

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I was born at the wrong time. Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for everything we have nowadays, like equal rights, TV shows, and indoor plumbing, but there are some aspects of the "old life"(the 19th century specifically) that I adore and am rather envious of. Not only did they have wonderful style (I NEED a reason to own and wear a hooded cloak!), but language was so beautiful then; people don't talk like that anymore, and it's a shame. But the one thing I probably envy the most is their romance.

Things were just so…different back then. I’d venture to say that romance nowadays isn’t just sick with the flu, it’s on life support. Sure, there were downsides in romance during that era as well, and as a feminist, I am more than happy that women now aren’t married off as property like they used to be or that people in general are not held to severe societal rankings that prevented under class marriages. But other than that, romance was alive, and in full bloom.

There's a wonderful quote I read by the amazing Emma Watson, where she said “I'm a feminist, but I think that romance has been taken away a bit for my generation. I think what people connect with in novels is this idea of an overpowering, encompassing love - and it being more important and special than anything and everything else.” I couldn’t agree more! I know many people that think these notions of romance are “silly” and “outdated”... I’m oftentimes told to “grow up” and “accept the way things are”, but I can’t! In fact, I refuse! Because the way things are right now is awful.

Romance in the 21st century, if you can even call it that, is so lackluster. Call me old fashioned all you want, but where’s the romantic spirit, the sentiment, the emotion? Where’s the charm? The whimsical poetic enchantment that once defined dating and relationships and love? And no, I’m not talking about impractical, unrealistic, foolhardy fairy tale notions either. But real ROMANCE. Not extravagant or glamorous or corny, but real.

In conversations, this is usually the part I hate when people scoff at me like I’m a child (I’m 26, thank you very much), and reply in mockery with something like “Ohhhh, you have to be wined and dined first?”, like somehow wanting romance makes me snobby or conceited or high maintenance. And somehow it comes back to the idea that if you’re a “feminist”, you can’t also want chivalry and romance. Well, I am and I do. And I can’t help but think I’m not the only one. When did relationships and love turn into a game? Isn’t anyone else just sick and tired of playing? 

There's such an emphasis on the physical aspects of relationships these days, that there doesn’t seem to be any room left for romance. Chemistry is an important part of any relationship, no doubt, but so are the emotional parts. And maybe to resuscitate the life back into romance, we need to demand a change. We need a more balanced approach to dating that involves less of the physical “hook up” and more emotional sustenance. After all, aren't we looking for love? 

It seems like taboo to say such a thing as a single female in her mid-twenties. In my head I've got this vision of being surrounded by fellow female pirates and they're screaming words like mutiny and traitor at me while shoving the tip of a sword into my back as I walk the plank. (Is that weird? I think the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack is on my study mix...) Well, I've gone and said what we're supposed to keep secret. *I'm sorry.* But it had to be done. 
As a self-proclaimed Janeite (a person/people who have a “self-consciously idolatrous enthusiasm for 'Jane' [Austen] and every detail relative to her”), there’s one thing I love most of all- the type of unchanging, unfaltering love that overcomes any obstacle in its path. The kind of love that’s like water, which at its most powerful, shapes and defines great canyons, but at its softest, cultivates the growth of delicate blossoms. Love that’s passionate and tender, merciless and gentle, coarse and refined- beautifully complex and rough around the edges and not perfect by any means but honest and true, even in its flaws. You know, real 'Queen Victoria and Prince Albert' kind of love.

It just seems like us hopeless romantics are on a sinking ship, trying to throw pails of water over the sides but never making any progress. I know our lives are not Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell novels (if only!) but that doesn't mean we don't deserve romance! We just have to band together and demand a change. Like J.K. Rowling wrote, "it takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends," or you know, prospective love interests… 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Music Madness: COME ON, GET HAPPY!, A Playlist

I don't know about you, but sometimes I need a little extra encouragement. Sometimes, life is really really tough. Maybe it's an awful situation or stress or hormones or maybe you don't even know what is wrong but you're feeling a little extra blue...whatever it is, it's the ABSOLUTE WORST.

As I've stated a THOUSAND times before, music is one of my passions. It's something that is always a stable foundation for me. It never fails to boost my mood or give me exactly what I need at that moment. Lately I've had a lot more anxiety and "blue" days than are normal for me. I've noticed that that seems to be the case for many of my loved ones and friends. Maybe there's something in the air or perhaps the planets are in a strange alignment. Or maybe it's all that dang HEAT we're still experiencing, I don't know. But I do know that the world is a MESS right now. But we don't have to feel that way! We can turn it around! Even if it's only for as long as a playlist.

So here's to all those who are struggling to be happy or enjoy life right now. Put on this playlist and escape to your happy place for the next hour or so. I'll be there too.

[Author's Note: Clicking on the playlist title will allow you to listen to it for FREE on Spotify!]


1. Shake it Off, Taylor Swift
2. Carry on my Wayward Son, Kansas
3. Move Along, All American Rejects
4. What A Feeling, Irene Cara
5. Eye of the Tiger, Survivor
6. It's Time, Imagine Dragons
7. The Show, Lenka
8. Follow Me, Muse
9. Joy Ride, The Killers
10. Girl on Fire, Alicia Keys
11. Counting Stars, One Republic
12. Roar, Katy Perry
13. Can't Hold us, Macklemore
14. Titanium, David Guetta
15. Good Feeling, Flo Rida
16. (I've Had) The Time of My Life, Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
17. Hella Good, No Doubt
18. The Zephyr Song, Red Hot Chili Peppers
19. Any Way You Want It, Journey
20. Footloose, Kenny Loggins
21. Go Your Own Way, Fleetwood Mac
22. Beat It, Michael Jackson
23. Take it Easy, The Eagles
24. We Built This City, Starship
25. I Gotta Feeling, Black Eyed Peas

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

13 *Halloween* Movies to watch NOW!!

It's no secret I LOVE Halloween. I mean, it's almost as great at Christmas, almost. Not only does it fall (pun intended) during my favorite season, but it also has involves my favorite things: candy, creepy things, and the macabre. I mean, a month to celebrate all things spooky?? Sounds amazing right!?

A lot people forget about Halloween movies because the Christmas movies get all the hype. But Halloween movies are just as great!

1. Hocus Pocus (1993)
The BEST Halloween movie in my opinion (tied with #2). Who doesn't love witches?? And spells! And immortal cats! And a zombie that comes to life but in the end is really a good! I mean, it's seriously fun Halloween perfection. And it's hilarious
2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
I've always been a Tim Burton fan. When this movie came out, it was my favorite! I was a tiny tot and I remember getting it on VHS for my birthday. (Yup, that dates me.) Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING is better than Jack, Sally, and the gang. It's an amazing soundtrack too! Tim Burton never fails to create masterpieces.
3. The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values.  (1991 & 1993)
Who didn't want to be an Addams?! I LOVED them as kids, loved their black clothes and all the lace and dark hair! Plus, they had the best one liners! I mean, Wednesday is HILARIOUS! And Morticia is clever and witty and wears black better than anyone! Who didn't want to be her? Plus, who didn't have a crush on Gomez? I mean, honestly! What's more macabre than this family?! They ARE Halloween.

4. Sleepy Hollow (Johnny Deep version) (1999)
Again, I've been a Johnny Depp fan since Edward Scissor Hands, and this movie doesn't disappoint! And Christina Ricci makes the list again. I love the story by Washington Irving and LOVE Johnny as Ichabod Crane! He definitely brings his signature "Johnny-ness" to the role but still makes Ichabod an individual character. Not to mention Christopher Walkin makes a freaking terrifying Headless Horseman.

[P.S. Now it's a TV series on Fox (in it's second season), and it's also amazing. And Tom Mison is Ichabod, and he's PERFECT.]

5. The Monster Squad (1987)
Probably the best "monster film" out there. My siblings and I grew up watching this every Halloween and it's great. It's super fun and something everyone will enjoy. Plus, it has all your classic Halloween monsters, in one place! 
6. Young Frankenstein (1974)
This is one of the greatest spoof movies of all time. We watch it every year and still laugh! It's a MUST. If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and watch it, immediately! Or you know, as soon as possible.

7. Ernest Scared Stupid. (1991)
A freaking classic. I've can't remember a Halloween that doesn't involve this movie! It's funny and weird and perfect for a laid back October evening. 
8. Halloween Town (the Disney Channel Movie) (1998)
Yes, I HAD to include this. Because it's probably the best Disney Channel movie, ever. (Okay, okay, but it's up there!) 90's kids unite!

9. Halloween...Obviously. (1978)
I was much older when I finally saw this, my friends and I watched it on Halloween and it was like a right of passage. Sure, it's not as scary as the horror films nowadays because we're so desensitized, but it's a freaking classic, so pay your respects to a film that paved the way for the Horror film genre. Plus, the theme song really is creepily awesome. (It was my "ringtone" back when people still used the phone to actually call each other.) I also like Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street, but they'd all fit this same slot. 
10. The Others (2001)/The Sixth Sense (1999)/Amityville Horror (2005)
Ghost movies are the ones that really freak me out. A lot of circumstances or situations in horror films can be avoided, like say, The Hitcher. Just DON'T pick up a hitch-hiker! Or like, I Know What You Did Last Summer, don't hit a fisherman on a foggy windy road in the middle of the night, think you've killed him, and dump his body in the lake and you'll be fine! Unlike classic "slasher" films, the ghost ones FREAK ME OUT. Because you just NEVER KNOW.  Anyways, The Sixth Sense scarred me for years when it came out and it's just a Classic. And I LOVE Amityville; it's terrifying and also Ryan Reynolds spends half the movie without his shirt on chopping wood, so you know, there's that. ;)

11. Beetlejuice (1988)
This movie is pretty weird and at some times borderline disturbing, but that's what makes it great! It wouldn't be Tim Burton without it! (and the 3rd Burton on my list...) It's not technically a "Halloween" movie, but it sure fits the bill. And it's a classic!

12.Practical Magic (1998)
This is definitely NOT specifically a Halloween movie, but as it involves witches and my favorite actress (Sandra Bullock), it's a MUST. My BFF and I watched it all the time growing up and it's still a favorite. Plus, it's a great book too! :) It's a chick flick, so it's perfect for a Halloween girls night! ;)

13. 28 Days Later (2002)/ Zombieland (2009)
You've got to have at least ONE zombie film, whether you make it a classic horror film or go with a comedy is up to you. 28 Days Later is a great apocalyptic zombie film that I like to think inspired The Walking Dead. Cillian Murphy is amazing in it as well. You'll need a strong stomach for this one, as naturally, there's a lot of blood. Zombieland is hysterical and includes Emma Stone, Woody Harrleson and Jesse Eisenberg, so you know you're in good hands. 

Happy viewing!!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Literary Playlist- Katniss Everdeen Edition

I'm a Hunger Games fan. I mean really, who isn't? But normally I'm a classic literature fan. Not that I don't like young adult fiction, because I certainly do, but that it takes a certain story or character to actually get me into it because I don't read a lot of them. Katniss Everdeen is, by far, my favorite female character in a YA series (followed closely by Hermione obviously). She's complicated, tortured, courageous, intelligent, cunning, tenacious and selfless. She does ALL the saving in the series, for the most part anyway. She's strong, tough, and a great fighter. Everything she does, she does for others and I think she makes an excellent rolemodel. Like I said in my first "Literary Playlist" (here), this is entirely my own whimsical imagination of what I think Katniss would listen to, if in fact, she were a real person. I felt like her soundtrack would be a darker industrial sound, with some influences of rock and pop, which is why there's a lot of electronic beats. If they had iPods, I feel like Katniss would be listening to these while practicing with her bow...I know I'm a dork, but I can't help it. When I read or watch something, there's always a soundtrack forming in my here ya go!

[Author's Note: Clicking on the title of the playlist will allow you to listen for FREE on Spotify!]

 1. Snuff on Digital, Blaqk Audio
2. Divided by Night, Crystal Method
3. Change (In the House of Flies), Deftones
4. Heaven's a Lie, Lacuna Coil
5. Complications,  Deadmau5
6. Instant Crush, Daft Punk
7. Prayer of the Refugee, Rise Against
8. The Ghost Woman & The Hunter, Lacuna Coil
9. Bitter For Sweet, Blaqk Audio
10. Intensity In Ten Cities, Chiodos
11. Fully Alive, Flyleaf
12. A Pain That I'm used To, Depeche Mode
13. The Embrace, AFI
14. Lonely Day, System of a Down
15. Shadowplay, Joy Division
16. Teen Age Riot, Sonic Youth
17. Uprising, Muse

Enjoy!! It might seem sort of weird pair ups, but just give it a listen! ;)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Being a Single (Puppy) Parent can be Really Difficult!

I’m almost twenty six years old and a new single parent to my wonderful new pup Frankie. Having the opportunity to adopt him was not a decision I took lightly, though in the end, it was probably the greatest decision I have made. Sure it’s difficult to be a single parent, but there’s no joy greater than coming home to those sweet puppy eyes and seeing how excited they are to see you. There’s nothing better than curling up in your bed with your pup at night and binge watching The Mindy Project well past your bedtime. Or the moment they smile (because they do!) at you and your heart melts and you can no longer picture your life without them in it. Your whole life seems so trivial without them; they give it more meaning than you could’ve ever imagined. Being a puppy parent is probably the greatest thing in the world. But being a single puppy parent can be really difficult.

Couple puppy parents sometimes don’t realize how different it is to be a single parent. After all, it’s just you and your pup. I took days trying to come up with the name of my new pup; I wanted to give him a moniker that would not just suit him, but help him reach his potential. Names are very important, you see. In the days leading up to getting him I worried all day, every day, that I wouldn’t be able to give him everything he needs. I worried about something happening to him in his new home, I worried he’d be unhappy or wouldn’t adjust well to his new surroundings. I worried he wouldn’t get along with other dogs or misbehave and get himself into trouble. I worried that he’d get sick or injured, and did I have enough money in my savings to pay for vet bills? Do I have enough to start budgeting in the nice organic food that he deserves? For days and days I worried about that. And then I got him.

He was adorable and seemed to like me right off the bat. I’m a dog person and usually dogs like me. But this would be my dog. I didn’t need him to just like me or tolerate me. I needed him to love me. Because I already loved him. It was a hard couple days of adjustment. After I picked him up, he cried all the way to his new home. Every little howl ad whimper broke my heart. I tried to comfort him as much as possible. And of course he missed his other family! But I was terrified he wouldn’t love me after all. And then he didn’t eat very well the first couple days which made me feel like the absolute WORST parent EVER. One night I almost broke down into tears just trying to get him to eat. I was worried for his health, but all the books and websites said that was normal adjustment. It just seemed like every rejection of food was also a rejection of my love. Nobody tells you how hard it can be. But it really is.

After about a week things were a lot better but I'd say by two weeks our bond had formed. It was SO HARD to not try too hard and smother him and let it happen naturally! But then I started to learn a lot, really quickly. As a single puppy parent, you do all the things that two people would normally do, by yourself. You have to be the nurturer and the discipliner. You have to do all the bathing, feeding, shopping, walking, entertaining, and pooper-scooping all by yourself. Let me tell you, it can sometimes be really difficult. Depending on how big their bladders are, they could be waking you up (maybe multiple times!) in the middle of the night to go potty, outside in the cold. And when they’re hungry, boy do they let you know it! It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, you have to stop and feed them or risk angering your neighbors from the grunts and barks you will receive until you give them what they want. You could have amazing plans, spend an hour getting ready and as you’re walking out the door, your little babe as diarrhea on the carpet and you have to spend the next ten minutes cleaning him, the carpet, the floor, and yourself. Ultimately you end up cancelling your plans because you’d just worry about him the whole time (and also a little (or a lot) about the poop storm you’d most likely come home to). Don’t even get me started on the fact that they will always be dying for a walk at precisely the wrong time. Like I said, it can be rough.

That is until you wake up to your pup sharing the pillow with you and he’s just contently staring back at you and you realize that they love you. Like, unconditionally love you. And at that moment, all the anxiety and worry is completely worth it. And there’s really no place you’d rather be than sitting at home playing with you pup (even though you spent tons of money on nice toys but they only seem to really like the yellow plastic lid that went to the peanuts container). 

Your friends without kids start noticing the changes and maybe even give you a little hell for it, but you know what, that's okay. It's okay that before you (finally!) go out at night, you have to stop by the house after work first to let them out to go potty and turn the lights and TV on so that they won’t feel so alone. And sure, you start planning less trips because you don’t want to be apart from them, but quite frankly, you’re okay with that. Instead you opt for day trips to the beach because your furry little love can come too, movie nights IN or making play dates at the park with your other single parent friends. And in the event that you do have to leave, you spare no expense making sure they’re in the best of care and have their favorite little treats to help ease the pain of separation. 

There really is nothing better than being a dog mom. And even though it can be down right difficult to be a single parent, your little fur baby makes it completely worth it. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

10 Literary Works that Changed my Life

1. Pride & Prejudice, By Jane Austen. This was my very first Austen and I fell instantly in love with her and her time period. It basically started a Revolution for me.
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, By Harper Lee. The first time I remember feeling really enamored by a character; Atticus Finch is someone I want to emulate in my own life. 
3. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll. I'm sure my imagination started well before this novel, but I don't think it was fully realized until then. 
4.The Cask of Amontillado/Annabel Lee/The Raven/Tell Tale Heart, Edgar Allen Poe. Basically EVERYTHING written by Poe actually. I discovered my love for the macabre from him. One of America's greatest writers. 
5. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. This novel started my love affair with France and the time period. It's one the greatest adventure novels of all time.
6. Brave New World, Aldous Houxley. This was was the first book I read that really challanged what I thought about the world and how it should be. I think it helped to mold me into the thinker I am.
7. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. This was the first novel I read by Fitzgerald and I was instantly enthralled with the 1920's, and have been ever since. And what I think I learned the most from Fitz was that "happy endings" don't always exist. And sometimes, that's okay. 
8. And Then There were None, Agatha Christy. There's almost nothing I love more than a good mystery, and that I learned from her. It's my favorite genre, and paved the path for my modern favorites like James Patterson. I love everything about this Classic Who-done-it.
9. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte. This spot was difficult, as I was saving it for a Gothic novel, a genre which I absolutely adore. I chose Jane Eyre despite being written by a Bronte (as a self-proclaimed Janite, the reasons for that statement should be obvious) but it was closely followed by Bram Stoker's Dracula and Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera.
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky. This is one of the greatest books I have ever read. Told completely through the narrator in letters written to an unknown person, it's mesmerizing and moving in way I haven't felt about modern literature in a LONG time. Plus, it's got killer music references throughout, my two favorite things!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

10 Reasons I'm Ready for Fall...NOW

Fall officially starts on September 23 and I can't tell you how excited that makes me. It’s no secret that Fall is my *FAVORITE* time of year! I mean, what’s not to love right? And yes, I do like summer, for about 12 minutes and then I’m ready for Fall again. Truth is, I never really want Fall to be over. I LOVE IT. Sure, Winter is great, and definitely second best, but Fall is for sure the BEST. I know most people are clenching onto their last days of summer the way I do to Lindor Chocolate Truffles, but seriously you guys, it’s really time we get this show on the road and say sayonara to Summer.

Here are the 10 reasons why I CANNOT WAIT for Fall:

1. Hoodies. Hoodies are my FAVORITE thing in the world. They’re so comfy and cozy and warm. Mmmmmmm… they just put you in the best mood! Not to mention the weather that’s associated with hoodies. Give me cold and cloudy ANY day of the week over hot and sunny. Sweater weather is better weather.

2. The changing of the seasons…in the literal sense. I love when the trees change color; orange, yellow, purple…so many beautiful colors! One of my favorite things in the world is to stomp on crunchy leaves...really, you can never be too old to do this! I love when they cover the streets and everyone’s front yards. It seriously makes me SO HAPPY. The weather is perfect because you're not sweating your butt off and you're also not experiencing frostbite yet. It's the PERFECT medium!

3. Bonfires w/ SMORES, obviously. Sure, you can have these in other seasons too, but it’s not as good. It doesn't even taste as good, I swear! Sitting by the fire in a hoodie and wrapped in a blanket, roasting marshmallows at dusk…doesn't that sound like the *PERFECT* night?? Add in some ghost stories and you have the best.night.ever.

4. RAIN. I love rain. It’s my favorite type of weather. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but it’s just perfect. Maybe as the earth gets a nice cleanse, I get a metaphorical one as well? I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but that’s how it feels. And the smell of the asphalt as it just starts to drizzle is indescribable.

5. PUMPKINS!! I love ‘em. I love how they look in our garden in the front yard, I love how they taste, I love the fake “pumpkin spice” flavoring that goes into EVERYTHING. Pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls, cider, muffins, cookies, bread, you name it, it’s going to be sold starting October 1st. Not to mention the pumpkin scented candles! I love lighting those babies every day after work. It’s like a pumpkin wonderland!

6. Apple Hill. For those who might not live near me, Apple Hill is an area of apple orchards (yes, on a hill) that put on like a farmers market, but bigger! They have boutiques set up everywhere, tones of food places, the best CARAMEL in the world, and some pretty bangin’ apple pie using their own apples. You drive around going to different people’s orchards and pumpkin farms (where you can hand pick your very own!) and eat tons of delicious food, buy tons of unique things and enjoy the beautiful fall weather in a little slice of nature’s paradise. We've been going every year since I was young, it’s a family tradition. And one that will not be broken. EVER.

7. Rainy days inside. I love a wonderful Saturday when the weather is “ghastly” outside and you curl up in your pjs with a great book and a warm blanket on the couch with your pup and read for hours. Maybe at night you throw on Casablanca, The Philadelphia Story (personal favorite), or ANY black & white Hitchcock and enjoy it while the rain pelts against the window glass. It’s also my favorite time to listen to Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin, and you know, Michael Buble. If you're lucky, the power will go out and you can play Clue by candlelight! Which is hands down the best thing in the world.

8. HALLOWEEN. It’s just about my favorite holiday…tied for 1st with Christmas. I love everything about Halloween. And starting October 1st you can start decorating and not stop until the 31st! I mean, it’s wonderful. I always re-read POE during October, because you HAVE TO. And also Practical Magic because it’s about witches and it’s really great, fun, endearing and definitely “Halloween-ey”. Not to mention watching a scary/holiday themed movie every day. ABC family does their 31 days of Halloween where you can revisit Disney Channel classics like Halloween Town. And then on the weekends you can watch grown up scary movies with all your friends! It’s great!

-Runner up is Thanksgiving, because it's a huge family holiday, usually around my BIRTHDAY... and also I love to shop! :)

9. Scarves, scarves, and more scarves! A great scarf is the best fashion accessory in fall/winter. It can take a normally unexciting drab outfit to fabulous instantly. A lot of fall/winter colors are darker, but a great scarf can add a punch of color or print to an outfit and knock it out of the park. Not to mention, a scarf looks instantly chic, perfect for date night or girls night! 

10. SEASON PREMIERES OF YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWS!! Who doesn't honestly wait for their favorite TV shows to come back with new episodes?? Maybe we don't like to admit it, but most of us are eagerly waiting for September to arrive with our Fall favorites! It's been rough waiting for their return, and USA does a great job with their summer shows helping to ease the pain, but my goodness are we ready to get back with our favorite characters every week! I mean, David Clark is ALIVE?? What is Emily (aka Amanda) going to do?? Will she finally realize that she's loved Jack all along? [Revenge] Olivia Pope quit her job and got on the plane with JAKE and Fitz is staying with Milley and what's going on in the White House?? [Scandal] Don't EVEN get me started on where we stand in the Apocalypse and the 4 horsemen. [Sleepy Hollow] It will be SO GOOD to get back to our friends and perhaps make some new ones with all the new shows coming out this year! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Literary Playlist- Elizabeth Bennet Edition

Have you ever thought about what your favorite literary character’s playlist would be like? Or is that just me? I think about that kind of random stuff; I have a vivid imagination and it tends to run rampant. Like, say your favorite book character was a real person today, what would be on their iPod? What sort of songs would fill their playlists? I’m a full believer in the idea that what kind of music you listen to (the genres, artists, and songs) tells a lot about who you are. Your playlists are like diary entries to your life, just someone else’s words. At least mine are. I’ve been thinking a lot about that- because that’s what I do, I’m always thinking. About anything and everything, all at once.

When I read a book, those characters really do come to life; I see them, I hear their distinct voices, they are real to me. Page by page and paragraph after paragraph, they are real. Maybe that’s why I love reading so much. While I’m reading and perhaps while I’m daydreaming about it, I’m in that world, fully invested and living amongst the characters as if I were one of them. Omnipotently* watching their lives unfold and listening to their dialogue.

So a lot times when I’m reading a book, I think about how that character would be like today, in my world, in the “real” word. I guess it helps me relate to them on a higher level. I don’t know, maybe I’m a bit overzealous. But it’s FUN
! If you like that sort of thing…

On the off chance that you do, and you also like music, than you’re in the right place! To start this off, I thought I’d share with you my favorite character of all time, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Inspired by her thoughts and based on her life, as we know it within the pages of Pride and Prejudice, and how I see it in my mind, I give you her playlist, whimsically dreamed up by yours truly. Enjoy!

*Yes, I make up my own words, too.

[Author’s note: by clicking on the title of the playlist, you can listen to it for FREE on Spotify.]


1. Laura Palmer, Bastille
2. You’re So Vain, Carly Simon
3. Penguin, Christina Perri
4. Reason to Believe, Dashboard Confessional
5. Soul Meets Body, Death Cab for Cutie
6. Between Two Lungs, Florence + the Machine
7. Cold as Ice, Foreigner
8. I've Got you Under my Skin, Frank Sinatra
9. Oil & Water, Incubus
10. Somewhere Only we Know, Lily Allen
11. Madness, Muse
12. Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield
13. Just a Girl- Acoustic Live, No Doubt
14. Cold is the Night, The Oh Hello’s
15. Fall for You, Secondhand Serenade
16. I’m Gonna Be, Sleeping at Last
17. Back to December, Taylor Swift
18. Where the Streets Have no Name, U2
19. Clarity, Zedd/Foxes

20. King and Lionheart, Of Monsters and Men
21. Cold Shoulder, Adele