Movie Reviews, Not Books

The Staircase [series review]

The Staircase begins by setting the scene of a horrific accident: a woman, Kathleen Peterson, who had fallen down the staircase of her own home while her husband Michael was outside, far out of earshot. The emergency services call made by Michael upon the discovery of his wife is downright harrowing and raised goosebumps on my arms. It was clear he was devastated, hysterical even. While I found the story itself to be quite tragic, it all seemed to be rather cut-and-dry to me and I had to wonder how this was worth making a 13-episode documentary about. The Staircase’s biggest weakness is the lack of punch it brings to its beginning. Had I not heard people rave about it, I probably wouldn’t have even continued with the series but I just needed to know why it seemed to fascinate so many people.

While in cases like these it often seems easy to assume the husband is in the wrong, I just didn’t get that feeling here. I was confused as to why the police even thought something was amiss. To be honest, this is something that doesn’t clear up for me as the story continues. While the medical examiner stated that she didn’t find the wounds to be consistent with a fall, I never really understood why. There are conflicting testimonies surrounding this so-called fact and it seemed odd to me that a consensus couldn’t be reached. Without even substantial evidence that this was not the result of an accident, it was difficult for me to turn Michael Peterson into a perpetrator of what could not even be proven to be a crime.

The second episode set my anxiety in motion and made the whole series a lot more personal to me. The prosecution discovers that not only is Michael Peterson bisexual, but that he has had one-night stands with men throughout his marriage. Every person in Michael and Kathleen’s lives had vouched that they had a solid, loving marriage and had never witnessed anything less than pure devotion between the two. For some, this information proves that this was nothing more than a facade; after all, how can a marriage be truly blissful if one of the partners is seeking sexual satisfaction elsewhere? They alleged that this was proof that Michael had killed his wife.

The thing is, Michael shared that while he and Kathleen never explicitly spoke of the matter, there was a silent understanding. She knew he was attracted to men, she knew he sought out men sexually, and she was okay with it. While this seems to come down to whether or not you believe Michael Peterson is a liar, a male prostitute who Michael had solicited is later brought in to testify and seems to confirm this story. He shares that he had been involved with many married men and that most of the time, these men’s wives seemed to know and accept their husbands’ transgressions. He testified that Michael had not only told him the same, but also that Michael spoke highly of his wife and seemed to be deeply in love with her.

I was terrified that this documentary had set out to demonize a bisexual man in an allegedly open relationship of sorts. As a polyamorous bisexual woman, this really hits home for me. Luckily, while that seemed to be the prosecution’s argument, the documentary explored more of Michael’s side of the story and the defense tackled the subject quite matter-of-factly. Sadly, this seemed to turn Kathleen’s family on Michael. They truly believed there was no way Kathleen would have allowed this, that there was no way she could have known. In fact, one of her sisters even says in essence that if Michael could lie to them about being bisexual and sleeping with men, then it isn’t the least bit unbelievable that he could have murdered Kathleen. Statements like this got my blood boiling. While I can understand their point of view to a certain extent, a man not wanting to out himself does not equate to murder.

The prosecution also pulls out another surprise: Elizabeth Ratliff, who had been a close friend of the Petersons when they lived in Germany, died in a similar incident years earlier. While this seems damning in name, none of the evidence supported it as a homicide. The doctors in Germany had ruled this the result of a cerebral hemorrhage — Liz had been experiencing headaches for weeks beforehand and blood was found in her cerebrospinal fluid. The same medical examiner who had announced Kathleen’s cause of death as homicide also said that Liz had been murdered. I already didn’t trust this ME, and most of the evidence seemed to indicate otherwise, so this wasn’t a clincher for me.

There’s a bit more to the series, so I’d recommend watching it if you haven’t already. The above points were what drew my interest the most, though. I also found the “owl theory” quite compelling. Regardless, as Michael Peterson himself said, “Truth is lost in all of this now… This has become a show.” Don’t come to The Staircase looking for answers, come to The Staircase if you have an interest in true crime and the inner workings of the criminal justice system. You are not going to find out without a doubt who killed Kathleen Peterson, but you will see how a (relatively privileged white male) defendant moves through the system.

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Movie Reviews, Not Books

Happy Death Day 2U [film review]

Happy Death Day 2U [2019] directed by Christopher Landon
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
rotten tomatoes: 68%

I’m a little biased because I’m writing this after listening to the Brunch review, but I do agree with a lot of their points. Their main issue with this sequel was that it lost sight of the original movie. In a way, I agree with that. It skips from horror to sci-fi, with some thriller elements. Still a dark comedy, but not in the same way the first one was. There is a hefty bit of suicide that comes across darker than intended. And honestly, the whole thing ended up pretty jumbled. They never made it clear how any of the science actually worked. The multiverse theory is briefly explained, but there are so many questions surrounding most of it. I’m not looking for scientific accuracy here, but a cohesive explanation would be nice. Also — you find out that she only lived through the same day 11 times in the first movie. I just don’t find it believable, it had to have been more than that. Especially with how hard she fell for Carter.

On the other hand, there were a lot of elements I really enjoyed! The humor was still there in a big way. I laughed out loud multiple times in the theater, something I rarely do. I’m sure I’ll re-watch it. I still enjoyed Tree a lot as a character, and think Jessica Rothe was just spectacular as her. I really liked the examination of her relationship with her mother and her grief, which I think went underexplored in the first movie and were used more for filler than anything else. I’ll be real, I almost cried watching this. That is not something I could have anticipated.

Overall, I liked it. There were a few bits that dragged on too much and plenty that could have been cleaned up, but it’s a fine addition to the franchise. I’m not sure I liked the idea of the possible third movie hinted at, but I guess we’ll see what happens.

Letterboxd Highlights

i’d die 12+ times for jessica rothe too

https://letterboxd.com/dianaprinceisbi/film/happy-death-day-2u/

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Not Books, Personal

Boskone 56 Day 2

ICYMI, the recap of my first day at Boskone can be found here. I didn’t make it to day three due to some medical issues, so this is both my second and last post about this year’s Boskone. I also made it to fewer panels on Saturday than I had hoped, but still got to plenty and had a great time! I’m already excited for next year’s. 🙂 In case you all are interested, I’ve got an entire shelf on goodreads of recs that came up throughout Boskone.

The Historical Progression of Horror

My first panel, at 10am sharp! The moderator was Jack Haringa, and the panelists were Deirdre Crimmins, Brett Savory, Tonia Thompson, and the one and only Paul Tremblay! I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to make it to Paul’s signing, but it was still great seeing him speak in the panel! Tonia also saw the cover of my journal prior to the panel and gave me a shout-out as a fellow Twilight Zone fan, which was fun.

The panel began with a discussion of the stimuli that lead to horror, whether related to technological advances or cultural changes. Tonia noted that space is less scary now that we (the human race) have been there and that the focus has shifted back to Earth, specifically a fear of AI and lack of privacy. Paul piped in that the speed at which misinformation can now spread is also a contributing factor to fear and horror.

Deirdre pointed out that modern horror has embraced technology in order to exploit our fears of it, followed by Tonia noting that technology makes writers work harder. No longer can we rely on the trope of no cell service without coming across as lazy. This makes the isolation often inherent to horror a lot more difficult. Paul pointed out that it forces a different kind of isolation to emerge.

As the conversation shifted, the topic of underexplored tropes arose with Tonia’s assertion that zombie fiction has not been explored to its fullest. She talked specifically about traditional Haitian zombies, which have long been used as a metaphor for enslavement. On a similar line, she hoped that hoodoo (distinctly different from voodoo) would be explored as well.

Later in the panel, the concept of the happy ending was brought up. Paul said that he felt a happy ending still needed to respect the experience of the character, and that they could not be able to escape these horrors completely unscathed. Jack noted that it is harder to portray any internal changes in movies, while Deirdre added that on the flipside movies are able to do the heavy lifting in other ways.

Tonia later brought up the differences between US and Latin American horror, the latter of which is more focused on religion. She noted that it would be interesting to see US horror explore religion, or lack of it, a little more. Jack brought up the fact that while we do have horror that explores religion, it is almost always dealt with from a Catholic perspective, and rarely in a contemporary setting.

In Our Own Voices

This panel was moderated by Julia Rios and included John Chu, Kenesha Williams, Tonia Thompson, and Hillary Monahan. Julia started off the panel by asking if the panelists found it difficult to find themselves represented. Kenesha started off by clarifying that in traditional publishing, the answer is yes. She noted that there is more representation in independent publishing. She also brought up the fact that many black stories are limited to oppression stories and historical retellings, and that black people don’t get to be the heroes.

Tonia answered next, sharing the first time she had read a book with a biracial character — in her 30s. “I wept because I had no idea what I was missing out on” not seeing herself in books. Hilary explained that a lot of traditional publishers use a couple non-white authors to say they’re diverse. Also biracial, she talked about how white authors will write biracial characters, but only include the white half of their lives. She spoke about how an author can’t say someone is half something and then never speak to that half.

Julia asked where the panelists tended to find their diverse fiction. Kenesha used Amazon suggestions, whereas Hilary depended mainly on word-of-mouth. She said it’s important to listen to people in the community you’re looking to explore and that she’s skeptical of lists made by people outside of the community. Tonia said she likes to use conferences and conventions to find new authors. Kenesha jumped back in to say tailor facebook groups tend to help listing a few, such as Colors in Darkness.

The idea of writing outside one’s own lane also came up. Tonia expressed her frustration that white people continue to get recognition for writing outside their experiences. Kenesha added that you can tell when a white editor has had a heavy hand in a black author’s work, and that they need to step back and trust the reader. Hilary argued that you can write outside your lane, but you need to take the time to do it right, with research and sensitivity readers.

Near-Future Sci-Fi

This panel had moderator Paul DiFilippo and panelists Fran Wilde, Michael Swanwick, Karl Schroeder, and Brett James. DiFilippo started by discussing an essay from Charles Strauss (“Worldbuilding 404”) where he asserted that looking into the near future was 85% knowns, 10% known unknowns (something will happen, but what?), and 5% unknown unknowns (black swan events). Karl noted that sci-fi must stand as a plausible future, we must be able to see how we got there.

Karl also brought up the question of what happens if you get something wrong that is wrong by the time the book gets published. Michael brought up an incident where he almost wrote a book that involved a nuclear war between the US and the USSR, but decided at the last minute that he thought it would be boring. Sometime between the book’s acceptance and its publication, the USSR had fallen. Fran brought up a more concerning point: what if you get something right and someone uses it as their guide?

Karl argued the importance of near-future sci-fi by stating that setting novels 10,000 years in the future doesn’t help to solve present-day problems. Near-future sci-fi can give us a way to envision solutions to these problems. Michael stressed the importance of having a modesty about what you’re writing and looking just to the edge of the present for inspiration.

Why Diversity Matters

This panel was moderated by William Hayashi and had panelists Gerald L. Coleman, Cerece Rennie Murphy, Carlos Hernandez, and Reiko Murakami. William began by arguing that diversity in media normalizes the actual population of the country, as Cerece stated that “we write the world as it is… it’s time for us to stop explaining our existence.” Gerald also stressed the importance of having black characters with “every person problems” instead of relying on stereotypes to create “black problems.”

Cerece was lucky in that she grew up surrounded by diversity, and didn’t quite know that there were places where it didn’t exist. She said that someone once asked her what made her realize that she could write science fiction as a black woman. It was that moment that made her realize she had never thought she couldn’t.

Gerald and William began to discuss the impact of the Wonder Woman movie on women and girls. They walked out of the theaters visibly empowered, feeling like they could accomplish anything. Some had to wonder, “is this how white men feel walking out of superhero movies?”

Reiko added that, as someone who works in the video game industry, she has noticed the developers’ assumptions about the player have changed. They are no longer catering only to white teenage boys. She also stated that the most important part of writing diversely is doing your homework and showing respect.

Young Adult Science Fiction

Justin Key was the moderator of this panel and the panelists were Erin Underwood, Lauren Roy, Michael Stearns, and Fran Wilde. Justin began the panel by asking why there is so much more young adult fantasy than young adult science fiction. Lauren pointed out that when something is written by a woman, it is less likely to be labeled as sci-fi. Michael also said that the sci-fi label is avoided in YA as it is seen as the death of a novel. This leads to YA science fiction being sold in the general science fiction section instead.

Justin also asked whether sci-fi is encouraging kids to go into STEM fields. He used himself as an example, saying science fiction was part of why he became a doctor. Erin said that having the fiction to lay the groundwork for these interests can be essential. Fran also noted that fiction doesn’t have to be future-looking to be about science, “it’s not just robots and rockets.”

Social Change and the Speculative World

Janice Gelb was the moderator for this panel and the participants were Andrea Corbin, Robert VS Redick, Christopher Golden, and Hilary Monahan. Hilary was adamant that all fiction is political and that marginalized groups writing naturally makes their works political. What you include and what you don’t include in fiction is impacted by who you are. Christopher added in “Ignorance is privilege, and privilege is ignorance.” Hilary also noted that sci-fi and fantasy can put a fun twist on difficult topics, keeping people interested who might have otherwise checked out.

An audience member asked about how economic inequality and class systems are addressed in speculative fiction. Hilary noted that there are very few narratives set around poverty, although there are always exceptions. Christopher noted the Hunger Games trilogy as well as the Red Rising trilogy as examples. Hilary continued, pointing out other social justice issues that aren’t given as much attention: disability, classism, fatphobia. Andrea added that when these are included, they’re often an undercurrent and not the focus.

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Not Books, Personal

Boskone 56: Day 1

Last year I attended Boskone, a sci-fi/fantasy convention right here in Boston, for the first time. Not only did I get to meet one of my life-long favorite authors, but I also attended loads of wonderful panels and discussions. I had intended to write a post detailing each day but alas, only made the one. A lot of the events I attended had a strong focus on diversity of all kinds, which is part of what made me love the convention so much. Needless to say, I was so excited to attend this year’s convention as well!

This year I planned things a little better, figuring out which events I wanted to make it to ahead of time and what time I needed to get to the convention on Day 1. I arrived with plenty of time to check in and read a bit of my current read before my first panel. I’ve written summaries of all the panels I attended, but some are a bit lengthy. Each has their own header so you can skip around to read only what sounds interesting to you!

The Hopeful Future in Science Fiction

This panel contained James Patrick Kelly as the moderator with Muriel Stockdale, Gene Doucette, Fonda Lee, and Steve Miller as the participants. The discussion started with introductions as each panelist shared whether they had a hopeful view of the future or not. They then set into discussing optimism and pessimism and its place in the science fiction genre.

Fonda Lee noted that she felt “science fiction is an inherently optimistic genre” in that it implies that we will be here, even when things go sideways. She expanded on this by commenting that dystopian fiction is less of a genre, and more of a point of view. Lee argued that she could write a story set in the Capitol of Panem (from The Hunger Games) that was utopian; it all comes down to perspective. Gene Doucette agreed with her sentiment, adding that even in post-apocalyptic books the narrator (or reader) is assumed to be a survivor: “the future is going to be the end of everything, but not for you.”

The topic then shifted more towards optimism in the genre, with Fonda bringing up the sub-genre of “hopepunk” which James Patrick Kelly then compared to “solarpunk.” Both of these genres focus more towards cultural shifts as the solution rather than technology. Because of this, “climate fiction” and related stories are written more by authors who tend not to write sci-fi. Kelly also points out that whereas sci-fi as a whole glorifies the power of the individual, these sub-genres focus more on solutions that are the responsibility of an entire society. They are telling us that one person is not capable of making the changes necessary to fix this.

During the Q&A portion, an audience member brought up the question of whether more pessimism in sci-fi may be the result of discordant realities and a shift in the demographics that the genre is being marketed towards. Lee agreed with this idea, hammering home the fact that sci-fi that may have been considered optimistic 50 years ago no longer comes across that way to some; when the spaceships are full of cishet white men, the stories are only optimistic for a certain subset of people.

Overall, I found it great food for thought and definitely plan to explore the hopepunk genre a bit more deeply. Kelly offered the collection Hieroglyph as well as the Better Worlds project from The Verge as recommended reading for these topics.

Medical Ethics in the 21st Century

This panel had Robert B. Finegold, MD as the moderator with Paul Jeter, Julie C. Day, Frank Wu, and Justin Key as the participants. Prior to the panel, Dr. Finegold asked some audience members why they chose to attend this specific panel. As someone who works in clinical research — medical ethics are essentially my whole job. Questions like these (perhaps not always to this degree of intensity) arise on a daily basis in my office, so I’m always interested in learning more.

The panel began with a discussion on the ethics surrounding genetic testing. Frank Wu spoke first about the difficulty surrounding whether to undergo testing for Huntington’s disease, a devastating condition that is passed down genetically. Simply knowing whether or not you have the disease can impact the course of your life. Justin Key brought up the potential impact genetic testing can have if the results fall into the hands of insurance companies, who could potentially discriminate against their clients.

Dr. Finegold then moved onto the topic of genetic editing. A lot of nuances were brought up here: editing the genes of people who can choose (consenting adults) versus those who cannot (fetuses), editing genes to prevent or cure fatal diseases versus editing genes based purely on preference. Underlined here is the fact that genetic editing can and likely will have unintentional consequences that we may not even be aware of for years to come. Key weighed the pros and cons aloud, emphasizing that he was unable to pick a side: we could have the ability to treat chronic and debilitating diseases, but at what cost? He was also sure to add that even now we use medicine to change bodies to fit our own preferences: dieting and plastic surgery are two common examples he gave, commenting that we don’t even know the possible long-term consequences of these.

The last topic under discussion was organ transplantation, specifically how the demand far exceeds the supply and the dilemmas this causes. Key spoke first about how psychiatrists are responsible for evaluating potential transplant recipients for risk factors. While they themselves don’t choose whether someone receives an organ or not, this evaluation is taken into consideration. He noted that it will be interesting to see how machine learning and AI play into this process, essentially whether we will end up inputting all the available data and allowing a computer to decide who receives a transplant. Jeter took this in another direction, bringing up how we must account for animals, ethically, in our medicine.

A few other threads were followed including the concept of opting out of organ donation rather than opting in; populations that may distrust medicine for good reason; mandatory immunizations; and how short appointments and long waiting times both lead to injustice in medicine. I found a lot of these discussions absolutely fascinating and am hoping to seek out some resources to read about them.

Telling Tarot Tales

I took fewer notes in this one, since it was a workshop and not a panel. The workshop leader, Trisha Woodridge, was just great! She emphasized the importance of tuning into your intuition when reading tarot rather than trying to memorize what the cards are “supposed” to mean. We did an exercise where we each spent a minute looking at a randomly drawn card, then flipped it over and wrote what we remembered of it. We went around and described what had stood out to us while she helped us draw out our interpretations.

She then went over some general associations with the cards (minor vs major arcana, court cards, each of the suits) and finished the workshop by setting up a celtic cross spread and using it to tell a story. While the workshop focused less on the storytelling aspect than I thought it would, that’s mainly because 50 minutes is a pretty limited amount of time. I’m really glad I made it to this one and will definitely be using some of what she shared in the future.

Agency and Free Will in Speculative Fiction

This panel was a bit less structured than the earlier ones, with Juliana Spink Mills as the moderator and Gillian Daniels, Rebecca Roanhorse, Greer Gilman, and M.C. DeMarco as the participants. This discussion was mostly about prophecies and the “Chosen One” trope. Mills did a good job of asking some thought-provoking questions, which the panelists took and ran with.

Gillian Daniels cautioned that while this can give the reader a reason to care about the character, the author needs to make it interesting in order to make it compelling. She shared that double meanings and misinterpretations of prophecies are one way to accomplish this. Rebecca Roanhorse added that it helps to confound your readers’ expectations and that you should use what they bring to the story against them.

They went down a few other paths, but a lot of it circled around to the question of how you know whether a character has free will or not. Do the secondary characters surrounding a Chosen One have free will? Do we have free will if confined by the circumstances of our lives? Does your free will cut into someone else’s agency? How do addiction and behaviors stemming from it play into free will? It’s a lot of food for thought and I’m interested in exploring the concept more at some point.


So, that was Day 1 of Boskone! I am finishing this post at 10pm the night of, and am excited to see what the next couple days have in store. You’ll get recaps of those in the next week or two as well. I can say that it was already well worth getting ticket’s to this year’s con.

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Movie Reviews, Not Books, Personal

Movies I Want to Watch in 2019

With the Oscars coming up, I’ve been thinking a lot about the movies I intended to see in 2018 and didn’t. I rarely make it out to the theaters, so I mostly end up watching whatever is included with Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. I also usually end up watching movies with my sister, so most of the time we choose horror movies or comedies (a weird combo, but oh well). So, I figured I’d take some time to share with you all a few movies I’m hoping to watch this year. A lot are from 2018, but there are some older ones in here as well!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018] is everything everyone’s been talking about for the last month or so. This is one I’ll probably try to get to while it’s still in theaters, since I think it’ll be worth it to see it on the big screen!

My sister and I watched the original Halloween in preparation for Halloween [2018] and then… never saw it in theaters. Hopefully we’re able to find it streaming somewhere soonish.

I’ve been meaning to see the original Suspiria [1977] for quite some time now, but the remake definitely makes it feel a little more time-sensitive. So I’m hoping I manage to get to this one sometime in 2019!

I really don’t know how I haven’t seen The Shape of Water [2017] yet. I meant to see it in theaters, and then missed it, and then just… never saw it. Part of it is definitely that my sister has absolutely no interest in seeing it. So hopefully I’ll get to it sometime when she isn’t around, ha.

Gimme that gay shit!!! I’ve been wanting to watch The Miseducation of Cameron Post [2018] since I heard it was getting made into a movie, but just haven’t known where to find it. BUT! It looks like it may finally be on Amazon Prime, so I’ll have to check it out.


How many of these are on your watchlist?
Feel free to add me on letterboxd, as I am always looking for new friends and have been in quite the movie-watching mood lately.

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Not Books, Personal, Video Games

Games I Want to Play in 2019

I was inspired by both Destiny and Avery to do this post. I used to play a lot more video games than I do now. Partly because I had more free time, partly because I read less, and partly because I had a PC in better shape than mine currently is. However!! I now have a Switch and between that and my hit-or-miss laptop, it should be much easier for me to get to games. I’ve already knocked out the main playthrough of Pokemon Let’s Go! but these are the other games I’d like to get to!

While I adored Fallout 3, I never got too far into Fallout 4 or Fallout: New Vegas (both of which I own), so one of my goals is to dedicate some serious time to both of those. Knowing me, I’ll just end up replaying Fallout 3, though.

I only started The Wolf Among Us very recently, so I’d like to finish that. The same goes for Life Is Strange and The Walking Dead!

I just started playing Night in the Woods on the Switch this week and I LOVE IT. This is going to be my current priority.

My friend started raving to me about Hollow Night recently, so I downloaded it to my Switch as well (it was on sale!).

Much like Avery, I have tried and failed to play Stardew Valley on the PC, but I’m thinking the Switch might be the trick! I’ll have to wait until I work through my other games (ha, self control whomst???), but then I’ll let myself give it another shot.


Do y’all have any video games you’re going to try to get to this year? I find them fun and relaxing and am trying to feel less guilt about playing them!

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Not Books, Personal

2019 Non-Bookish Resolutions

I feel a little iffy about New Year’s resolutions, mainly because it feels like they always fizzle out. But there are things about my life I’d like to improve, and now seems like as good a time as any! I’ve made a list of somewhat specific resolutions (things I can actually measure in some way, rather than “work out more” etc.) that I’d like to work toward achieving in the coming months. While the list may seem a little overwhelming, I’ve decided to use the “Monday resolutions” method — I’ll work to implement one of these every week or three and slowly incorporate them into my life.


Journal 4+ days a week

I used to journal religiously every single day, usually 3 full handwritten pages. I don’t know exactly when or how I fell off the bandwagon but I miss it. It helped me to remember things I had been up to, and helped me to organize myself in some ways. I’ve tried to keep telling myself to start up again, but have finally realized it may not be feasible to jump back into journaling every day! Instead, I decided I’d like to journal most days. See how that may be a little easier? This way, I’m less likely to feel like I’ll run out of things to say, and I don’t have to beat myself up if I don’t have the chance to get to it. You’ll see that a lot of my resolutions have been structured similarly.

Exercise 3+ days a week

By exercise, I mean go to the gym for 20-30+ minutes or go running outside. I have a membership to the gym a block from my office so I have no reason not to get back to this one (except for depression and fatigue…). I always feel so much better when I’m actively exercising and if I can do it before work, I don’t have to worry about being too exhausted at the end of the day!

Spend (IRL) time with someone who isn’t my sister 1+ day a week

This is an easier goal than “make more friends” which can feel daunting. But in winter especially, I really need to focus on spending time with others and not self-isolating. I live with my sister so we “hang out” a lot, but I think I would feel more enriched if I made an effort to spend time with others!

Create 1+ days a week

This can be drawing, writing, knitting, etc. I haven’t really been creating in a while and I feel so stale. My friend Marlaina and I have been trying to do drawing challenges but I’ve been terrible about actually doing them. Instead of beating myself up about it, I just want to try to do anything creative at least once a week.

Order takeout and eat out twice or less a week

I’m a takeout fiend, and it is really cutting into my budget! My sister and I recently started doing Peapod, so it should be much easier for me to eat food I already have at home. I started this rule a while ago and fell out of it, but it wasn’t actually too difficult to stick to! I just need to be really conscientious of how much I’m eating out. Usually I’ll try to save it for the weekend and even just cutting out weekdays has helped a lot!

Praise myself more

I’ve always been in the habit of getting down on myself about stuff, so I really want to focus on praising myself more! Anytime I work toward any of the above goals, or do anything good for myself, I’m going to try to praise myself for it. This doesn’t necessarily mean treating myself, or rewarding myself, but just saying some nice things to myself and recognizing any progress I’ve made!


How do y’all feel about New Year’s resolutions? Do you have any you’re going to try out in 2019?

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Not Books, Personal

Hamilton: My Broadway in Boston Recap

In mid-September, Hamilton came to Boston for a two month tour. I’ve always assumed I’d have no chance of going — I’m not sure what tickets looked like before, but the most inexpensive seats for this weekend are in the ballpark of $300 each. My aunt clued me in on the lottery, though, so I downloaded the Hamilton app and entered every single day. It became such a routine thing that I had almost forgotten there was anything at stake.

On Wednesday evening, I was headed home from work and had a notification from the app come in on my phone. I assumed it was the routine “better luck next time!” heads up but to my shock, I had won the lottery! I immediately logged in and claimed my ticket, ecstatic. I texted my closest friends (all Hamilton fans) in disbelief, I posted on Facebook, I thanked my aunt profusely for letting me know about the lottery.

Thursday morning I picked myself out a simple, classy black dress, matched with maroon leggings and black wedges. I did a full face of makeup and went into work dressed to impress. When I got out, I headed over to a coffee shop a couple blocks from the theater to read and get something to eat before the show. Around 6:45pm, I stopped by the box office to grab my ticket, grinning ear-to-ear, and made my way inside. I grabbed a Harpoon cider and waited for the doors to open.

Glad to have beaten the rush (I was among the first seated), I let the usher lead me to my seat at just past 7. I had expected a secluded seat near the back and couldn’t believe it wasn’t a dream when they brought me right up to the second row, congratulating me with a smile. I sat back and gazed at the stage in awe until the show started.

I’m disappointed to have missed the original cast, but the group of actors who performed were absurdly talented, of course. Actually getting to see the visuals enhanced the entire story in a way I could not have even comprehended beforehand. The characters truly came to life for me, and it was so fun to see the different spins that the actors were able to put on them. In particular, Austin Scott (the lead man himself) projected certain lines in a completely different manner than Lin-Manuel Miranda had. Although each character was at their core the same, it is fascinating to see how one person can be interpreted and portrayed so differently — even when restricted to the exact same lines.

Overall it was a truly magical experience that felt like it was over just after it had begun. I wish I had more to say about the play itself, but it really feels like something I would need to see multiple times to even begin to explore in depth. There were so many nuances and points of discussion that flashed through my mind as I watched, but there was no way for me to remember most of them while focusing on experiencing the performance in the moment. All I have left to say is that if you can get yourself to a production, I would highly recommend it.

Not Books

Shuffle the Music [tag]

I bookmarked this tag that I saw Hilary do aaages ago and just re-found it! I love music and have discovered a lot of new artists recently, so it seems like a fun time to do it. In addition to the below rules, I’m going to skip duplicate artists and I’m going to use my Spotify library since that’s all I use to listen to music anymore, so be aware that it doesn’t necessary reflect my full music tastes. I’m ALSO only going to do ten songs so this doesn’t get too long (since I’m including album covers and quotes).

First and foremost… click HERE for the Spotify playlist of all the songs included below! 🙂

The rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you for this tag and link to their blog.
  2. Shuffle your entire music library (no matter how old songs the songs are) and talk about the FIRST FIFTEEN songs that come up (anything like why they are there, if they signify something, any story, why you like them, etc.)
  3. Mention the songs as well as the artists.
  4. Tag 7 people or more to do this tag and please let them know!

 

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Please save this for me
I’ll come back for you, love, I promise to

Please by Ludo
My favorite band, one of my favorite albums. This is a really great first song for this tag! Ludo is super fun and goofy, but they also have more serious songs like this one.

tailgatesandtanlines

Hey I’m a little drunk on you
And high on summertime

Drunk on You by Luke Bryan
Okay, so I’m a bit of a country fan, mostly because I grew up listening to it! I really love this song because it’s catchy and fun and I used to love driving around listening to it on summer nights.

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I think I’ve been here before
I think I’ve run into you

Deja Vu by 3OH!3
Okay, so 3OH!3 is another one of my favorite bands. I fell in love with them during high school and still JAM to them. I’m actually going to see them live (for the first time EVER) in a couple weeks and I’m wildly excited.

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I was in the wrong place
At the right time

A Night on the Town by The Dear Hunter
I’m a broken record. You guessed it, ANOTHER one of my favorite bands. These guys I’ve seen probably 4ish times at this point? I’ve cried at their shows, and they’re the first (and so far only) band whose lyrics I’ve gotten tattooed on me.

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Where will you be waking up tomorrow morning?
Out the back door goddamn but I love her anyway

Miss Jackson by Panic at the Disco
I don’t listen to a ton of patd anymore but I’ve been obsessed with this song for like 3 years and can’t stop.

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I got too many people I got left to prove wrong
All those motherfuckers been too mean for too long

Bastards by Kesha
An explicit cover and an explicit song, oh no! God, I love Kesha so much and I really adore this song.

bentleyhome

If this is really how it’s meant to be,
Then movin’ on sounds good to me, baby

In My Head by Dierks Bentley
More country music, what can I say. This one is just catchy.

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I remember how they took you down
As the winter turned the meadow brown

Mykonos by Fleet Foxes
I got really into indie folk the year before and after I graduated from college. Burlington, Vermont will do that to you.

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And I realize the blame is on me
I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift
I think TSwift’s music is so catchy and I liked her back when she was doing country #originalfan (jk).
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It’s not the chase that I love
It’s me following you
Kick Drum Heart by The Avett Brothers
See the whole Indie Folk thing above.
I tag whoever would like to do this!
Book Tags, Not Books

The Liebster Award #2

Thank you to Becky @ Strikeouts + Sprinkles for tagging me! 🙂

The Liebster Award Rules

  1. Acknowledge the blog that gave it to you and display the award
  2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself
  4. Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nomination
  5. Give these blogs 11 questions to answer

Becky’s Questions:

  1. What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
    • Best: My digital camera! I haven’t used it in a while, but I adore it so much.
    • Worst: Hmm, I don’t know why this is such a difficult question! I literally can’t think of one single purchase, mostly because there are so many small ones I regret that just add up so much!
  2. Who is the messiest person you know?
    • This is another difficult one. Maybe my dad, but it’s mostly because he has so many things that it makes a mess!
  3. What are your thoughts on mascots?
    • When I think about mascots, all I can think of are the Washington Nats mascots and how scary they are.
  4. What’s the most useless talent you have?
    • I am extremely good at just barely starting hobbies and then completely dropping them.
  5. What was the last photo you took?
    • One of my sister’s cat, I think! Or a selfie to send my girlfriend, haha.
  6. What song always get stuck in your head?
    • Pretty much any song can get stuck in my head as soon as I hear it. Currently it’s I Know Somebody by LOCASH
  7. What’s your cure for hiccups?
    • Hold my breath and sip water.
  8. What movie quotes do you use on a regular basis?
    • Oh gosh, I don’t know but I’m sure there are a few I don’t even realize I’m using.
  9. What’s something you’ve done that you’re proud of?
    • Graduating college!
  10. Is there a show you used to watch and stopped watching and want to start again?
    • Grey’s Anatomy!
  11. What’s your worst example of procrastination?
    • Buying present for people AFTER Christmas.

Facts About Me:

  1. I’ve broken bones 4 times and have gotten ~40 stitches. I’m accident-prone.
  2. I think 5 cats is the ideal number of cats.
  3. My favorite flowers are lilacs.
  4. I like baseball.
  5. I grew up a few hours away from Canada, but my first time leaving the country was a day trip to Mexico (from San Diego) when I was ~12.
  6. I have always lived near a large body of water.
  7. I do not refrigerate cake, and recently learned that a lot of people do.
  8. I have an undergrad degree, and have been considering graduate school.
  9. When this posts, I’ll be on a plane to Texas.
  10. I love libraries.
  11. One time I saw Stevie Wonder in an airport on my birthday, and he sang happy birthday to someone else.

My Questions:

  1. If you could control the weather, how would the seasons change for you?
  2. What are you reading right now?
  3. If you could magically acquire a new talent, what would you choose?
  4. What’s the best movie you’ve seen recently?
  5. What is something you’re hoping to accomplish in the next year?
  6. What is your most used emoji?
  7. What was the name of your first pet?
  8. If you didn’t have to work for money, what would you do with your time?
  9. What is your favorite mythical creature?
  10. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  11. What’s your phone background?

I Tag:

  1. Jenna @ Falling Letters
  2. Madame Writer
  3. Destiny @ Howling Libraries
  4. Callum McLaughlin
  5. Ally @ Ally Writes Things
  6. Rachel @ pace, amore, libri
  7. Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books
  8. Fran L
  9. Lilly @ Lair of Books
  10. Melanie @ Mel to the any
  11. Sam @ Sleepy Sam Reads

 

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