Musings

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Life Lessons from Horror Movies

I love a good horror movie. Okay scratch that. I love a few select horror movies and none of them are recent. Trust me, just ask anyone who gets incredibly mad at me laughing the entire time because I just cannot suspend my disbelief for two or so hours. I might get into my favorites in another post because I just finished watching the 1979 version of the Amityville Horror and AMC’s Fear Fest is going to start in just a few days. Plenty to write about, right?

We all know the horror movie clichés. I mean, if we didn’t there wouldn’t have been 5, yes FIVE, Scary Movie franchise films to mock them. For example: There’s the typical don’t go camping because, of course, nothing good ever happens in the woods. Who likes spending time outdoors anyway? Another good one: Don’t be a promiscuously dressed female attempting to run away from any ghost, zombie, monster, or killer. Why would you be wearing heels at time like this? Are you serious right now? Get rid of them and high tail it out of there, girl. See what I’m getting at? So I chose 6 of the best life lessons we can learn from classic horror movies to get ourselves through the next few creepy weeks leading up to Halloween.

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Music Monday: Arcade Fire

If I had to choose one of my favorite bands of the last 15 years, Arcade Fire would probably be one of those bands. Okay just kidding. They are one of those bands. So forgive me if this post gets a little wordy or in-depth. Once you pop you just can’t stop sometimes.

Arcade Fire was formed in 2001 in Canada, and they rose to prominence with their 2004 album, Funeral. They have a core group of members who play a variety of instruments including guitar, drums, piano, xylophone, and even glockenspiel (among others). They have created a short film to accompany their album, The Suburbs, and even contributed a song to the Hunger Games soundtrack. Arcade Fire have won plenty of awards for their music and other technical/creative aspects. These include Brits, Grammys, and two members (Will Butler and Owen Pallett) even received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Score for Her. Everyone surely has heard of Arcade Fire or at least their most popular song Wake Up. Wake Up was featured in Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are and commercials for the NFL in 2010.

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Life Lessons I’ve Learned from The Bachelor

Ah, Bachelor Nation. The nation I have recently joined purely by accident. My friends love The Bachelor family of products almost religiously, and I reluctantly joined their Bachelorette viewing party this last summer. I was likely invited to simply bring homemade guac, but I haven’t been able to look away from this beautiful train wreck ever since. Like with most things in life we can learn a lot from The Bachelor and it’s entirely unrealistic crazy universe. Since I have never really exposed myself to The Bachelor franchise of shows until last year’s Bachelorette, I never realized how crazy things get sometimes. This lead me to discover some of the quirkier and stranger things that could literally only happen on a reality show about finding love.

Let is dig in, shall we?

Never Wear Red – On the season premiere red was the go to color worn by the women who were hoping to “stand out.” Sure, in theory this sounds like a great idea. Not all women look great in red (I don’t), and with a sea of those horrible rejected prom dresses, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. So you reach for red thinking you’re original! Red is the color of love after all! Men are scientifically proven to have a greater attraction to the color red because it makes women appear warmer, competent, and feminine. But, these studies weren’t completed in a competitive reality show environment now were they? Better save the red for the highly coveted one-on-one dates or just pull out that shark costume you’ve been dying to wear. 

If You Believe Hard Enough…Sharks Can Be Dolphins – Poor Alexis had great intentions trying to be different with her dolphin costume except she clearly never saw the Katy Perry Super Bowl halftime show and it was actually a shark. Now, for someone who loves dolphins as much as she claims, she would know that sharks have side gill slits and dolphins do not. While the nation was united in the debate of Shark vs Dolphin, watching Nick have to correct her (multiple. times.) about the costume was just about a cringe worthy as watching this grown woman wade in a pool making porpoise noises.

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Do What You Love…Someone Somewhere Will Accept It – One of the best things about The Bachelor are the job titles (99% of aren’t real jobs at all). Don’t believe me? “Free Spirit?” Is that just a title for someone who believes they can be the Penny Lane of 2017? Alexis was labeled Aspiring Dolphin Trainer while a real job that’s a pretty niche market and probably requires knowing the difference between sharks and dolphins. If anyone knows how to capitalize on the job “hipster” (another title actually used), please let me know. I could make enough to pay off my student loans. I guess it’s better than selling detox tea on Instagram.

It’s Okay to Have An Adult Nanny…In Your 20s – Sure, we call them “assistants” to give them some kind of real dignity in their jobs, but let’s change it up. Have them bring you a midday cucumber snack (whatever that is) or make you and your significant other “cheesy pasta!” Just because you’re a fully grown adult capable of making and consuming actual meals, doesn’t mean you have to.

Dates Are the Worst….Especially In Groups – It’s a well-known fact that most of the time spent on the show is done with alcohol and a lack of food. They never eat on dates (what a waste) and they spend hours filming them. Uncomfortable times exploring the wooded areas of a cabin (why) are just awkward to participate in let alone watch. Watching a disastrous beach volleyball date this season had to be the cream of the crop. Suddenly everyone is crying because they just realized what show they were on apparently? I don’t want to compete for someone’s attention and I would likely spend all my time judging everyone else instead. All I know is, if someone asks me to play beach volleyball I’m going to take a hard pass. It can’t end well. 

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Be Yourself….The Weirdest Version of Yourself – If Nick can do this “dinosaur” impression while trying to win the hearts of women, you can do just about anything. Odds are someone…somewhere is going to find you to be incredibly charming. Being normal is overrated. It takes a lot to be yourself in this world but we all have something that magnetized us to our ideal mate. It’s probably dinosaur imitations…so start practicing.

Always Take Naps – Naps are proven to increase productivity which is why many workplaces now implement nap rooms for the employees. There’s never a problem a nap can’t solve. According to Corinne, once you achieve your goals (getting a rose) you no longer have to follow any rules or general human decency, and should nap instead. Was not showing up to the rose ceremony kind of dick move? Of course. But I mean…Abraham Lincoln took naps…

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When all is said and done there is a lot to learn from the Bachelor. You can take down a girl simply by saying she’s not here “for the right reasons.” Chris Harrison lives on island time and shows up casually to earn money by making statements once an episode. But most importantly, always tell the person you have feelings for that you have feelings for them. There’s always a chance someone else will get to it before you and you should never let that happen. Never settle and never give up. When all feels lost just remember Nick has been “looking for love” on television four times now.

Food Trends

Just like with most things in life there are trends and food is another one of those things. I hadn’t even considered it before until there were thousands of avocado toast Instagrams and fancy mixology cocktail bars began appearing. There are plenty of things that will rise in popularity of the course of this year and many things that should disappear this year too. Don’t believe me? Just ask Bon Appetit the omnipotent source for all things food.

I’m no expert on food. I can cook it. I eat it quite a bit. I always like to try new things. But a few of the things on their list I just can’t get behind.

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  • Nutritional Yeast – A condiment that is most commonly sprinkled on popcorn and is quickly becoming a substitute for parmesan cheese. I just can’t get behind giving up delicious parmesan cheese for a sprinkle of yeast.
  • Adventurous Yogurt – Yogurt made from sheep’s milk, coconut milk, and even water buffalo milk is just a little too adventurous for me. I think I’ll stick to granola and plain ol’ Greek yogurt.
  • Charcoal – Charcoal may be a great remedy for food poisoning and stomach ailments, but I think it’s better suited for giving my pizza that perfect charred crust.

How about those 2016 food trends that need to go? 

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  • La Croix – Okay, I get the cult following, but it just all tastes the same to me. What am I missing?
  • Smoothie Bowls – So you put some fruit in a bowl? Did you just make a smoothie and not have a cup around? They sure are colorful, but what is the purpose?
  • Zoodles – No. I’m a big fan of noodles. If I’m gonna eat pasta, I’m gonna eat pasta. I’m not gonna trick myself into eating veggies in place of noodles to be healthy.

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Winter Wellness: Let’s Organize Some Stuff

It’s been mere hours since Christmas ended, and that means we are currently existing in the “between holidays limbo.” That cool 7 days where the floor is filled with remnants of holiday gifts and it’s just too early to put the holiday decorations away. But in a few days 2017 will be here which means a fresh start. I’ve never needed a giant reset button as badly as I do now.

One of the simplest ways to embrace a fresh start is to purge the old and organize the rest. There are a few items, areas of the home and life that can create a perfectly clean slate for 2017. 2016 has been a rough one so it’s not really a hard decision for me to want to pretend it never existed. I mean, was there an option to sleep through the year? I should have taken it.

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That said, here are a few of my favorite things to organize right before the new year.

  • Decorations + Wrapping Paper. For whatever reason every time there is a birthday or holiday requiring gifts, I end up purchasing new gift wrap, tissue paper, etc. Toss out the rolls with minimal paper left (or remove & fold the remaining paper for later use), fold the tissue and other items, and toss them all in a clear plastic bin easily accessible for later. Or if you want to get fancy, check out the Container Store’s Customized Gift Wrap Center.
  • Beauty Products. With the new year fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to get rid of all the make up and beauty products you no longer use. Many, if not all, products have a shelf life which should be followed because of things like bacteria. If you don’t know the exact date or months of ownership of a particular product, but think you’ve had it long enough, pitch it.
  • The year in review. At the end of the year I’ve accumulated a years worth of concert tickets, movie stubs, and other odds and ends in random places. Keep the important (to each their own) and toss the rest. For this use storage boxes or simple clear plastic containers to keep things in one place.
  • Clothing. Between all the gift cards received during the holidays and the sales it might be fun to load up on new additions to your closet, but that also means getting rid of things you no longer wear. It may feel a bit strange to do this mid-season, but odds are if you haven’t worn your old clothes yet, you won’t. Donate them and pass them on to others who could really use them.
  • Goals + Resolutions. Yep, it’s that time of year again. Just a suggestion, but don’t make resolutions. Set goals. Monthly goals, daily goals, or even yearly goals are much easier to reach plus you’re less likely to drop them a week later. Avoid the disappointment and self-hatred by being realistic.

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Winter Wellness: How to Beat the Winter Blues

As the popular song suggests, the holidays are often described as the “most wonderful time of the year,” but this time of year, and through the winter, there is an increase in seasonal depression. Despite nearly every street corner being illuminated with beautiful lights, blissful music playing from every store, and cheesy heartwarming movies on the television, there are plenty of reasons the holiday season isn’t cheerful for everyone. I know this first hand.

The end of the year is often met with deadlines, money concerns, common illnesses, and reminders of the things and people we’ve lost when gathering with our families for festive celebrations. It’s not just a holiday depression, but can lead to months of the blues due to weather and the lack of sun. There are plenty of things one can do to avoid the holiday and winter blues. Set realistic expectations for things you want to accomplish, don’t attempt to take on too much (my biggest problem), and take care of yourself even if it’s a few minutes a day.

One of the most important things, I think, is not comparing your life to the lives of others especially around the holidays. With social media its key to understand people are only sharing the happy (or seemingly happy) moments of their lives. They too go through rough times just not on display. We share the things we want people to see, and keep everything else to ourselves. While looking at people’s families, vacations, or even their gifts, keep in mind that doesn’t make your existence or life inadequate.

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There are a few things I like to do for myself in order to beat the winter blues. In addition to what I’ve listed below, you can increase your vitamin D with supplements, eat all the bread you want (it keeps blood sugar levels regular because it breaks down slowly), or just brighten up your space.

  • Be active. Going to the gym or on a simple walk can feel like a pain in the ass sometimes. I usually hit the gym at times when there’s no one there (use Google’s peak time indicator for wherever you go to find the best time), because I get to have time to myself without someone using the treadmill right next to me (my biggest pet peeve). If you don’t feel like hitting the gym, go for a walk or even try yoga. Just 35 minutes to an hour can improve the symptoms of depression and increase your confidence levels.
  • Eat chocolate. Consuming chocolate releases a temporary euphoria like feeling in the brain leading to a decrease in anxiety and feelings of depression. Whether its hot chocolate or baked in a treat, chocolate is readily available this time of year so there’s no excuse not to have some.
  • Listen to happy music. During the holidays classic carols and radio hits can bring along memories of happier times, but for the other months of winter, choose cheerful music that makes you happy. Dancing and smiling (even forced) can bring upon a faux feeling of happiness which eventually the brain begins to believe is true. I’ve even created a playlist for cheering up.
  • Help Others. Get outside and volunteer. When you’re feeling like your life isn’t going the way it should or you’re bummed out, give your time to others who are having it a little worse. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or animal shelter, give your latte money to one of the Salvation Army bell ringers, or deliver an entire bag of non-perishable food items to a local food bank. Just the feeling of knowing you made someone’s life a little better can lead to a better mood.
  • Unplug. When viewing everyone’s lives on social media gets to be too much, sign out. Sure, it’s easier said than done (I know this personally) but sometime’s it’s better for your own mental health. Taking a break from the news, photos, Snapchat filters and updates of everyone’s little move will feel great and it will all still be there when you decide to return. Recharge your brain and put it to better use elsewhere.

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Back to School Watch List

Summer is unofficially over. On one hand it’s going to be great to stop the influx of summer vacation FOMO but on the other hand it means focusing on school (and pumpkin spice latte Instagrams). There’s really only one place to turn to when it’s time head back to school: teen movies.

Teen movies are great for a few reasons. First, once you’re out of high school you see them in a completely new light. Were the kids in my high school rich snobs like in Clueless? Would I have been the subject of Laney Boggs/Zack Siler situation? These movies become even better as an adult not only for nostalgia sake, but because they are absolutely insane concepts. You see things you don’t realize as a teenager and how illogical or implausible they are. Another reason they are great is they help you survive the years you are stuck in high school. See the characters are just like you (albeit played by twenty-something actors), living in towns just like yours, and engrossed in situations (a bit more farfetched) like yours. They are somewhat of an escape to places and people we wish we could be rather than the even crappier teenage situations we were in at the time. I mean there isn’t always a swift, romantic resolution or choreographed dance sequence at the prom.

So these are a few of my favorite teen movies for back to school season. I consider myself a lover of the teen movies so truly this is just a jumping off point.

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10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

10 Things I Hate About You is essentially The Taming of the Shrew for teenagers. There are two approaches to high school: you either embrace it and take all it has to offer or you shun it completely as ritualistic nonsense. Thankfully with 10 Things I Hate About You I was able to enjoy both sides equally (in real life I was much more of a Kat than a Bianca). Plus Joseph Gordon Levitt is quite the babe.

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Bring It On (2000)

Bring It On fed into my middle school cheerleading ways and made me optimistic about high school. Torrence was cool and looked like every model in a Seventeen magazine. Plus her love interest Cliff is literally everything athletic boys aren’t. He’s charming, witty, and has some serious air guitar skills. He’s everything I wanted in a high school boyfriend. The movie is funny and so ridiculous. Competitive cheerleading is SERIOUS business.

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

The Breakfast Club is essential teen movie viewing. It encompasses the high school experience from every perspective there is. 5 people from different walks of high school life forced to spend the day together where they unrealistically bond and act as though once detention ends they could ever continue this facade. The end is absolutely perfect and one of my favorite movie endings of all time. Real detention was not at all like this.

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Clueless (1995)

Clueless is probably the least relatable high school on this mini list. Not because regular teenage situations weren’t involved but because rarely does a high school like theirs exist. Sure in gym we played tennis, but not with a machine where balls flew at our faces. But also we couldn’t get Marky Mark to plant a celebrity tree for Arbor Day either (he was a distinguished actor by the time I entered high school). I grew up wanting to live in this movie for lack of a better reason to choose it. It’s a true classic and everything about it is perfect. I’m still really disappointed I didn’t get a white Jeep for my 16th birthday..but that’s a different blog post.

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She’s All That (1999)

She’s All That is literally a high school nightmare. Any group of popular kids who place a bet to make a nerdy outcast popular are just horrible. And that’s probably because I very easily could have been Laney, you know, if people actually did that in real life. There’s so much I love about this movie now. It has everything: a makeover, beach volleyball, a girl showing popular girls whose boss, an almost dated MTV Real World reference, and above all a choreographed prom dance sequence. Brilliant.