Since I’ve been gone

Eeek!

I haven’t posted since October of 2014.

That’s typical of me.

While I could get into the stressful life I currently live (in which the majority of stress come from my ongoing and sometime seemingly unending job search) I am not going to. It’s more personal than I feel like sharing. Instead I’m going to share a different side. I’ve had a lot of extra time and in the last several months that time has been split between Netflix and Target (no joke, if you can’t find something at the Target in East Liberty, give me a call, I probably know where it is).

So here are some of my favorites of the last few months:

*This list is separated by category, but the categories are random*

Books:

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (audiobook): I have been listening to this book since October of 2013… essentially FOREVER. But it was 38 hours long and I was also in school. But all-in-all I love it. I now have only 6 hours left. I know some people can’t stand Anna Karenina, but I’ve found it so fascinating to listen to the dynamics of the various relationships.
  • The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend: This is a picture book, and it is beautiful. It recently won the Caldecott, and quite honestly is the best story I’ve read.
  • Scary Close by Donald Miller: I really like Donald Miller, though admittedly I’ve only read half of Blue Like Jazz. But Scary Close is about creating more intimate relationships. Instead of being a “self-help” book, it’s really just Miller’s story and some anecdotes about others. I like that there are moments in which I recognize certain issues that Miller has as ones I struggle with, but then there are others that I don’t struggle with.

Movies:

  • Birdman: I really liked the aesthetic* of this film though disliked the direction of the story at certain points. Regardless it was exquisitely filmed.
  • The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Be warned that this film is very sad. It follows a couple played by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy who have experienced a major tragedy and have now drifted apart. The film starts without giving much information, but as it progresses, layers are added that give more context to the pain being experienced. I felt that it was very realistic in that pain and trauma doesn’t always present itself in a coherent way. Sometimes it comes out in bits and pieces.

Music:

  • Imagine Dragons- Smoke and Mirrors: I am always pleasantly surprised by this band. Their usually get radio-play, and the song that gets replayed is usually good, but then you listen to the full album and realize how truly talented this group is. I recently purchased their album and though I haven’t listened to its entirety, I know it will be on repeat for awhile. It’s hard to get through an album when you keep hitting repeat on the second song because you love the sound of it.
  • Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars: This song puts me in the nest mood. I just can’t get over how happy it makes me.
  • Arrows by Fences ft. Macklemore: These two artists have very different energies. Fences is very laid back and Macklemore is very high strung in this song. But they meld so well and I like the lyrics so much. I could wax poetic about this song. (P.S. I hadn’t seen the music video until today, but I ABSOLUTELY love it).

Television:

  • Call the Midwife: I find birth terrifying and fascinating.
  • Orphan Black: This show starts its third season incredibly soon and I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that the main actress plays more than 8 different characters on the show.
  • Friends: I’m so late to the game on this, but I wasn’t allowed to watch it growing up. It was wonderful.

Food: (weird category, I know)

  • Siggi’s Icelandic yogurt: Best. Yogurt. Ever.
  • Kale: I sincerely never thought I would like kale since I tend to dislike most green vegetables- especially if they are leaves. But it’s delicious. Current favorite recipe: olive oil + small potatoes + kale + Old Bay seasoning + large skillet + medium-high heat = deliciousness.

Well, those are some of my favorite things right now. I can’t promise that I will post often. One day I hope to really invest energy in this blog. I like it and think it could be a good platform for things.

Notes and other references:
*I jumped for joy that I spelled aesthetic correct the first time.  

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Born To Lose

Today some of you get to learn something new about me. I really like metalcore. For those unfamiliar with the term, metalcore “is a broad fusion genre of extreme metal and hardcore punk.” Thank you Wikipedia for that lovely definition. I have my cousin to thank for this because he has been my biggest influence in this genre. He has this uncanny ability suggest bands that I will like… seriously, there is not a single metalcore band that he has suggested for me that I haven’t liked.

But I love it. It’s a mix of exquisitely beautiful and chaotic instrumentals that fuse together and somehow, it allows the screaming to be complementary and contrasting at the exact same time. But enough with introductions because this whole post was simply about sharing one of my favorite songs by The Devil Wears Prada. I love this song because is speaks of the war that is within ourselves… at least it does to me. It could also be pointed at someone else, but whenever I listen to this song, it’s almost as a reminder to myself. I’m probably explaining this horribly, but that is life.

Read the lyrics and then watch the video… it’s powerful.

Born to Lose

Blessed be those who have no idols.
I invoke holy honor, sanctify the patient.
I don’t see the world the same.
I’m no one’s hero, so just forget my name.

I abhor you,
With every foolish thing that you say.

None of it is worth the time:
Another meaningless war.

You don’t know what you need.
We’re all so back and forth,
Nothing is as it seems.
You don’t know what you need.
We make the same mistakes,
We’ve ruined everything.

What is it this time?
What must you call holy?
This is your lifeline,
Nothing is as it seems.
If I were you I’d give it up.
I’d give it up. I’d give it up.

If I were you I’d care.
I’m born to lose
With a noose around my neck.
World be damned and move forward.

I abhor you,
With every selfish thing that you say.
None of it is worth the time.

You don’t know what you need.
We’re all so back and forth,
Nothing is as it seems.
You don’t know what you need.
We make the same mistakes,
We’ve ruined everything.

Born to lose, born to lose
Born to lose
With a noose around my neck.

Winter Break

I’m officially done with my first semester of graduate school. It’s insane… I have no brain power. Since school has ended, I’ve just been recuperating and relaxing. On Wednesday I’ll be flying to Nebraska (yay!). But before that, I’ve got laundry and cleaning and packing to do. But, there will be a lot of lounging around as well.

So in honor of my break starting I have a couple of videos to show you… they are the absolute funniest videos I have watched recently… in fact it was last night. The two guys below are a couple of my favorite YouTubers to watch and these videos in particular are splendid.

Enjoy!

When your best friend comes to visit.

inclineThis year was my first Thanksgiving away from home. It was weird and I was a little apprehensive because the idea of spending Thanksgiving on my own didn’t sound fun. But then… my best friend since freshman year of college said she was coming to visit Thanksgiving week! Miss Kimber is a wonderful person and I was super excited to show her the city I’d only been living in for a few months. (Which means that I couldn’t really show her a lot, but maybe next time.)

We had quite an adventurous week that began when her plane was grounded in Dallas due to a windshield malfunction. But finally she made it and we proceeded to traipse all over the city utilizing the infamous bus system. We went on the Duquesne Incline and it was snowing and foggy, so you couldn’t actually see the city, but then we visited the Holiday Market downtown to look at all of the authentic European wares being offered. A bonus of that is now I have most of my Christmas shopping done!

Hmm… what else did we do… Oh! We went to my work and Kimber got to see the busyness that is the Beechview Library. 🙂 Thenext day we went to the Strip District (which is not a strip club, just to clarify) and ate a Pamela’s Diner- which is cash only. We walked around there and then prepared to make our way to the great land of Amish country. After taking some backroads to Volant and New Wilmington, PA, (which included steep hills) we began to realize that Pittsburgh people are a little deluded on what their state actually looks like. I swear, I always get questions and remarks about the flatness of Nebraska, well, Pittsburgh people, if you want to know what Nebraska farmland looks like, drive around Butler, PA… the rolling hills of fields (the kind that aren’t steep)= Nebraska. You could literally confuse the two states.

Thanksgiving

We saw only a few Amish people, but managed to get some cute items from some quaint antique shops. We then went home and had some fun baking cookies. The next day was Thanksgiving! We were invited over to my pastor’s house and had a wonderful time. It was nice to be able to introduce my old friend to my new friends. After getting our fill of turkey and stuffing, we went downtown to ice skate. It was wonderfully fun!

Sadly, the next day Kimber had to say goodbye and head back to Colorado. But I was super glad to have the time with her!

Oh, we also watched three movies that week. First, we watched Blackfish… Sea World is evil. The we watched Lars and the Real Girl… which was surprisingly touching. Finally we watched Little Women… a classic always.

I hope your Thanksgiving was just as wonderful!

My Favorite YouTubers

Earlier this year I discovered the wonderful communities that exist on YouTube. Now, I am obsessed… just a little bit and I can’t contain the amount of joy I get from following all of the Youtubers and content creators I’ve listed below. There are many more I like, but the list would get a bit too long. Enjoy and get ready to waste a lot of time!

Grace Helbig- Daily Grace: Her sense of humor is very similar to my own so I enjoy watching her videos. Yeah, I feel like you just need to watch them to understand.

Hank and John Green- Vlogbrothers: These two are very smart and do a lot of things. They also explain a lot and have multiple channels and run under the mantra of “Don’t forget to be awesome.”

Jack and Finn Harries- Jacksgap: I guess you would call them aspiring film people? Mostly they’re funny and create amazing videos. They recently participated in a race across India to raise money for the Teen Cancer Trust and soon those videos will be coming out. Here’s the trailer.

Hannah Hart- MyHarto: Oh Hannah… she’s so punny. She also does a show called My Drunk Kitchen that never ceases to make me laugh. Here’s her most recent episode!

Mental Floss: As someone who has a keen ability to remember a multitude of random facts, this show is a gold mine. Here’s one of my favorites.

There are several other creators that I like to watch, but I’ll share them another time only to give the illusion that I do something with my life. Do you have any favorite videos?

Allegient: A Book Review (It’s very vague)

I tried to not put spoilers in here, but readers beware.

Or just skip the first paragraph because even though it’s insanely vague, it might give too much away… not really though.

 

This is your last chance to turn away, otherwise it’s completely your fault. (Seriously, though, I don’t give anything away.)

 

I recently just finished reading the final installment of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth: Allegiant. I have never been so conflicted about the ending of a series. I just… I don’t know. I will say that I liked the book, but I don’t necessarily think that I loved it. The final book wasn’t what I expected, though I did actually like the twist at the end. I didn’t like that one part though.. nope, that wasn’t fun. I felt a little like I was watching a M. Night Shyamalan movie.

If you’re thinking of reading the Divergent series, I would absolutely recommend it. The first two books are intriguing and the world Roth creates is fascinating. While the main character is a girl, Tris, I wouldn’t consider the book geared towards girls.

Perhaps I should back up and explain a little bit about this series.

Divergent is set in a dystopian society that is  separated into five factions of Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, Amity, and Dauntless. Each faction carries the strength of their name and all the members of that faction strive to emulate the character traits of their respective factions. Everything from what you learn, how you act, and how you dress are decided through this. It’s a peaceful society overall.

At the age of 16, every person must take a test that determines which faction they belong to. Some stay in their same faction, but others choose another. The story follows Beatrice, a girl in the Abnegation faction. When she takes her test, she learns that she fits more than one faction– she is Divergent. Sadly for her, being Divergent is dangerous because it means that she doesn’t fit anywhere. Now Beatrice must choose a faction and learn how to hide her Divergence from those who wish all Divergent dead.

You want to read it now, right?

Well, if I haven’t convinced you yet, look below to watch the trailer of the movie that is coming out next year! (I’m super pumped.)

You can wear socks with stilettos and 24 other things I learned from Vogue.

My roommate gets Vogue magazine and I decided to flip through it. Here a some things that Vogue has taught me.

  1. It’s okay to only wear one earring.
  2. Flyaway hairs are also okay.
  3. Expensive perfume give me headaches.
  4. The vampire gaunt look is IN. (8
  5. The hot model pose is to look dead, but actresses who are modelling always get to look pretty.
  6. To be a model you have to be okay with unattractive photos of yourself in high-end magazines, but if you’re an actress, you’ll be fine.
  7. 90s grunge is back.
  8. In order to appeal with the less affluent crowd, there was one ad for Target clothes.
  9. Plaid is back.
  10. Heavy coats are meant to be worn without pants.
  11. The 40s are back.
  12. The 70s clothing and hairstyles are back.
  13. Over-sized jackets and heavy knit sweaters are back… hello 90s.
  14. The 50s are back.
  15. Emma Stone is really pretty.
  16. You can mix several extremely bold prints and be a-okay.
  17. Downy’ ad was very domestic. Cue the 1950s homemaker (there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s ironic because people usually get mad about ads or commercials that give any hint that women should stay at home).
  18. Stop plucking your eyebrows people because untamed ones are in.
  19. 60s hairstyles are back.
  20. The only food ad was a Crystal Light one…
  21. Smiling is so last year.
  22. GUYS! IT’S OKAY TO WEAR SOCKS WITH HEALS! There were three ads that showcased the style.
  23. You must NEVER show emotion if you want to be featured in a spread in Vogue.
  24. Being a housewife is in only if you wear an extremely expensive princess dress while cooking.
  25. To have a successful magazine, the ads must comprise of 70 percent of the content… who care about anything else?