Harry Potter Inspired Self Care (Part 1)

I’ve just binge read the Harry Potter series for the millionth time as an act of self care. These last couple (ten) weeks have had me visiting every emotion. I’m up, I’m down, I’m excited, I’m claustrophobic. My brain has been messy.

When things get chaotic in my brain I rely on EASY TO REMEMBER and instant gratification tricks to help me get back in the zone. Revisiting an old literary friend is one of my coping mechanisms – it’s chicken soup for my nerdy soul.

Video for all my auditory learners!

Every time I revisit my favorite wizarding school I pick up a new nugget of wisdom and this time I got hit over the head with a bludger of ideas of Harry Potter self-care. By Harry Potter self-care, I do not mean taking Gryffindor themed bubble baths, creating shrines to Cedric Diggory or donning the sorting hat to advise us. Instead I want to instill in my self-care the values and tips shared throughout the books. 

So without further ado here are my Harry Potter self-care tips. Use them well and use them wisely. 

Harry Potter and the Healing power of Chocolate

“Well, he should have some chocolate at the very least.” – Madam Pomfrey 

Professor Lupin provides us with my favorite antidote – Chocolate. Chocolate heals. Chocolate milk, chocolate bars, chocolate bunnies – you name it I think it’s healing. If you’re not a chocolate person use this as a reason to give yourself a luxurious treat – and that doesn’t have to be food! A bubble bath, a movie night in, a glass of good wine – whatever fills you with a little warmth inside to help keep you happy. 

Pocket Patronus

“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them.” – Lupin

Self-doubt, negative self talk, gossip and fear are just muggle dementors. How do you get rid of a dementor? A patronus. For those of us that haven’t made it to NEWT level Defence Against the Dark Arts, to cast a patronus you have to think of the happiest thought you can summon. As a muggle I like to use this to practice coming up with pocket happy memories or thoughts. 

To do this I think of my happiest memory or a location I’ve been happy in or a person I love. I’ve actually written these down and I will revisit them or try to think about them anytime a negative Nancy comes my way. Expecto Patronum negative thoughts. 

Boggarts

Make fear riddikulus and confuse fear by not facing it alone. A boggart, for those of us who may not remember, is a creature that takes the shape of the biggest fear of whoever is standing in front of it. For each person the boggart would take a different shape. In the books/movies, Harry’s boggart turns into a dementor because his biggest fear is fear itself (very FDR of him). Laughter is the only way to get rid of a boggart so to fight one the attacker must imagine their biggest fear becoming something funny while stating the incantation “Riddikulus”. Boggarts also struggle to come to their form if they are facing more than one person so when fear comes along turn it into something funny and if you can – bring a buddy. 

One of my personal boggarts is the fear of failure so to combat it I imagine the most ridiculous set of experiences leading to my failure in whatever I am working on – it sounds a little counterintuitive but it always makes me laugh. 

These are just a few of my Harry Potter self-care tips. I’ve got a few more up my sleeve. Please leave a comment and let me know if you want to hear more of them! Keep safe and sane! 

*I am not a therapist or licensed medical professional. This does not replace the advice of a certified medical professional. Always work with a legitimate professional when it comes to your health.

You Are Not Your Job

I’m just going to say it – you are SO MUCH MORE than your job.

When you introduce yourself how do you do it? In the past I’ve always said “Hi I’m Emily – I work in HR at BLANK company.” And before that I was “Emily – and English major at UCSB”. I wouldn’t even say I valued my job more than my hobbies or family life – it was just status quo to describe myself based on what my “current job” in society is at the time. We’re just going to start with the facts here – you are not your job YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.

You are so much more than your job!

With 8.2 million Americans (at the time I’m writing this) collecting unemployment right now I think a lot of us are grappling with this concept. Who are we when we aren’t working? What is our value without our jobs?

We have to disconnect our self worth and our careers.

 So how do we detangle our self worth from our jobs? How do we live a life with a fulfilling career that doesn’t own our happiness and security? I’ve got a four ideas for us to try.

Self love

I know, I know, I bring this up A LOT but that’s because it is vital to our happiness. You have to love yourself as an individual – not for your output. To untangle ourselves from our careers we have to identify who we are and why we are worthy of love (spoiler alert: its because we are alive). When we embody self love we see ourselves as individuals by doing that  we’ve separated our worth from our outputs. I’ve got a video on embodying self love if you need a little more inspiration on it.

Self Love Club Party

Find your wants

Another way to seperate yourself from what you do is to ask yourself what you want. This is a loaded question so spend a lot of time with it. It’s important to find what you want not what others want for you. Think about it in a silo – if you could have whatever you wanted with no strings attached what would it look like? Dig deep.

Kick comparison and competition to the curb

A little competition doesn’t hurt but try to reduce competition and quiet your competitive nature. Once you know what you want you can use it to stop comparing yourself to other people – especially people who don’t want the same things as you. It’s totally fine to want to be the best at things or do them well but you don’t need to compete with people who aren’t even running the same race as you. When you stop competing unnecessarily you can be grateful for what you have and how far you have come.

Phone a friend

Lean on friends and family to help build you up. If you’re reallllly struggling to remove your worth from your work as a trusted friend or family member if they are willing to describe you. Odds are good they will describe your qualities as a friend – not your career.

These are just a couple tips to help separate your worth from your work. Practice self love, identify what YOU want, quiet your competitive nature (just a bit) and lean on friends to help build you up.  Remember you are not your job – you are a beautiful, authentic, individual human with unique hobbies, interests and qualities. Sending you lots of love!

Quarantine Lessons: I Threw Away My Daily Schedule

Last week I had to remind myself to take my own advice

Up until two weeks ago every Monday -Friday of the last five years has been directed by my work Google Calendar. I’m a self-proclaimed hater of being told what to do but I have to admit that the whiplash from going from having every moment planned to a completely empty slate was a lot to take. 

To help ease the discomfort of having no structure for the foreseeable future I took control. During the first week I set myself a type A personality worthy schedule. I gave myself a plan for each day, a timeline for working on personal projects, physical goals and creative play.

Where Things Went Wrong

While the plan itself was well intentioned I made a major mistake. I ignored my body’s personal cues and didn’t ask myself if the schedule felt authentic. I followed the advice of mental health experts and online articles and attempted to maintain my weekday 6:30 am morning routine. I remained mentally rigid about when I woke up, worked out and worked on personal projects – treating my creative babies like work instead of play.  In an attempt to maintain normalcy I sacrificed flexibility – and I failed miserably. 

Unfortunately for my beautiful, color coded schedule –  I’m a night owl by nature and I SUCK at mornings. My natural sleep cycle sits somewhere from 11pm-8am. Due to the pressures from society to “fit it all in” with work, fitness, creative fulfillment and socializing I’ve spent YEARS trying to convince myself to be a morning person. Sometimes I almost believe it. But, naturally I’m not good at mornings so by day 3 of my furlough I was staying up too late, sleeping in and “throwing off” my perfect plan for the day. It made me feel like a failure. I could feel the perfectionist thoughts sneaking back in so I pumped the brakes and threw away my schedule

Pressing Pause

Thinking back on my schedule I tried to identify why I was so rigid about it. Practicing some of my tools from my authenticity video, I re-evaluated why this wasn’t working. I was worried that without every moment dictated to me, the project planned out, every goal outlined in the tiniest tangible steps, that somehow I was going to miss a step or misuse my time. I dug deeper and realized that I was judging myself for not having what I’ve always been told was a successful person’s schedule. We’ve all seen those articles on LinkedIn about how Joe CEO wakes up at 4:45am everyday and that’s why he’s successful. Those articles are full of shit. And the worst part was that I was comparing myself to people that I didn’t even want to be like. I realized I was being hypercritical of myself – I didn’t trust myself with free time. 

So I had to treat myself like I would a friend. I would NEVER hold anyone else to a daily schedule at this time or try to convince them that if they didn’t plan out every moment they would fail – so I had to stop doing it to myself. We are all our own worst critics and I am no exception. 

Building Trust with Myself

With my newfound freedom from structure I looked at all the things I wanted to do and made a plan – not a schedule. I now have a daily to do list with chunky timeframes to do it in and a lot of extra room for exploration. I still have big plans and I want to stay on top of things but right now there is no reason to live life according to anyone else’s agenda – I’ve literally got nowhere else to be. An unprecedented time calls for an unprecedented schedule. I’m much happier with my glorified daily to-do list than I was with my color coded calendar. 

I hope this inspires you to take stock of your day to day and look at what’s serving you. Ask yourself what you really want, what feels authentic to you and if you are doing things that align with what makes you feel good about yourself. If you can, try letting go of what’s not serving you right now – odds are you don’t need it. 

A little extra self love motivation for you

You Don’t Need to be Productive Right Now

Content from the video included in the text below

But really tho, I’m going to pull all the pressure off right now: you do not have to accomplish anything (other than staying alive) during this pandemic.

We are all being pushed out of our comfort zones and into a lot of uncertainty and we do not need society’s added pressure of productivity to come in and add even more stress to our lives. Please don’t hold yourself to a productive and unrealistic standard.

Productivity as a Concept

Productivity is a sticky concept even when we aren’t in the middle of a pandemic. Productivity tells us that we need to “go go go” and constantly generate output. Productivity feeds off our innate competitive mindset. To quote Pokémon, it makes us “want to be the very best. The best there ever was” at everything we do. Productivity has us out here believing that we are only worth what we contribute. 

A pre- Covid 19 example. To no one in my life’s surprise I majored in English in college. Outside of my friend group and immediate family I was always asked what I was “going to do” with that degree if I didn’t plan on being a teacher. This is shocking for two reasons:

1) Writing and quick comprehension are key skills in the workforce 

2) Why did it matter what my degree contributed to society if I paid for it? 

Productivity and Social Media

Pandemic, scarcity and fear mentality only make this worse. I see parents online trying to homeschool their kids so they don’t get behind in school. I see adults trying to create or put out more content because they should and because they “have the time”. I’ve seen multiple posts float around about how pandemics in the past created things like Shakespearean plays or calculus and honestly – we don’t need another calculus out there. We don’t need a Sir Issac Newton or the next Shakespeare and you don’t need to hold yourself to their standard. 

Society has us trapped in a productivity wheel. We are convinced that we are only worth what we create. While we can get fulfillment from creative activities we do not have to be productive to have value. We’ve been told that we have to always be doing more and our friend social media has made this even worse for us. It’s so easy to now compare how you spend your day against your friends’ day thanks to things like insta stories, and right now social media is our sole way of communicating with each other, putting this perfectionist & must be productive energy at an all time high. But I’m here to remind you that you are still enough – even if you don’t color code your closet over the next six weeks. 

You do not have to write plays, or books, or learn underwater basket weaving. You’re allowed to marathon your favorite comfort tv while eating bonbons (assuming they are still in grocery stores near you). You can take this time to process and validate all the big scary feelings we are all having right now.

What if I want to be productive?

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t use this time to write, create, learn a new skill, dance or anything if you feel inclined. If you want to do it – I encourage you to do it and CRUSH IT at that my dude. Chase your dreams. Just make sure you are doing this because YOU want to not because society makes you think you should. But if you don’t do anything, or now isn’t the right time, YOU’RE STILL ENOUGH. and valid and important. 

So, to keep the productivity monster at bay, let’s try these three affirmations: 

I am enough 

I am whole 

I am loved 

Don’t let society, social media, or anything else convince you to be extra productive. Follow what feels right for you and treat yourself with lots of love. 

Questions, comments, concerns? Sound off in the comments. Sending you all lots of love. 

*Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. If the stress of this situation is affecting you I implore you to get help from a certified professional.

Taking Up Space

As part of my 2020 goal to live my most authentic life I’ve started analyzing how I present myself to others. Through this process I’ve learned that I make myself small in an attempt to be palatable – how boring is that!

Taking Up Space as a Woman

Have you ever observed how many times in a day you’ve moved out of a man’s way because he wasn’t going to move out of yours? Have you counted the number of moments a man has explained something you specialize in to your or the times a man has interrupted you in a meeting? I cannot because the interruptions are everyday and moving out of the way is ingrained in me.

Learning About Taking Up Space

I used to resent men for this; how dare they possess the audacity to spread their legs on public transportation, to take up so much space, to interrupt with their ideas whenever they see fit. But I’ve come to the conclusion that if you can’t beat them, join them. I’ve decided that I too, can take up space. 

Take up space in a way that feels authentic to you.
Taking up space in a coffee shop bathroom

Field Research on Taking Up Space

Stereotypically, women are taught to take up as little space as possible so my first to do is to unlearn the habit of making myself small. From my field research (google deep dives and personal observations), I studied that men tend to sit wide legged on public transportation (man spreading). They like to lean forward in meetings and interrupt women mid sentence. They don’t worry about their idea being dumb or being perceived as rude.

My Experience with Men Taking Up Space

Last week on public transportation during rush hour my research subject literally flung himself into me on the train (that was standing room only). Instead of apologizing he continued with his very loud phone call not missing a beat. While other people would have perceived this as rude I could only look over with admiration. A blatant disregard for others around me isn’t my ideal but it’s impressive to see in action. In other words, men know they are entitled to take up space. 

After observing many men take up space (the majority more politely than my public transportation pal) I’ve decided the best way to start taking up space is to refuse to move out of the way. I’m expecting to have a couple run ins that land me on my ass but I love the idea of not moving out of the way. 

Sound and Taking Up Space

I’ve also learned that men are loud. As women we are taught that politeness and social graces are key but men are taught to be loud and argue. To grow and develop, women are told to be likeable and friendly. But this is just bullshit to keep women small.

My observations have reminded me that men aren’t told they need to be likeable – they’re told to be innovative or in charge but the moment a woman puts out that energy she’s perceived as bossy. Because of this, for a long time I’ve made myself small to make myself likeable which is counterintuitive. Now that I’ve realized that being likeable won’t get me to my goals I’m throwing that to the side and taking up space.

To take up more space I’ve decided to drop politeness. I’m saying goodbye to unnecessary “I’m sorrys” and expectations of being a social buffer. I’ve blogged about this before but I still instinctually apologize for things that aren’t my fault. So it’s time to drop the I’m sorry and the social graces with it.

As a woman I also take the burden of social graces. When a conversation goes awry I feel like it’s my responsibility to fix it. I’ve decided to save my breath in moments like this and take a step back. I want to save my energy for taking up space instead of smoothing out the rough patches in conversations. I think the best way to take up space is to use my voice to fight for what I believe in (and god knows we need more women to stand up for what they believe in with this political climate). 

I’m taking up space because I want this to be normalized for future generations. I want to live in a world where women take up space and girls know they take up just as much space as boys. So sprawl out with me – let’s take up space! The future generations depend on us. 

Hi 2020, Sorry I’m Late. I was Lacking Motivation

I’m going to be 110% honest, I have had zero motivation for the last week. As a self-proclaimed lover of fresh starts I have gone into this New Year on a more subdued note than usual. Instead of beating myself up about it, I spent a little time reflecting on 2019 and I came to the conclusion that 2019 was a happy little storm of chaos and I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.

My 2019 intention of self care in action at Disneyland
Me, driving into the new year.

Somehow 2019 managed to have the highest of highs (Disneyland, moving, promotions, growing this community, Herman settling in, sweet moments with dear friends) and some low lows (family members being sick, the loss of Brenton’s grandma, anxiety, generalized confusion on how to adult, the whole political climate, the fact that we are LITERALLY killing our planet). This year had the making of a perfect season of a teen drama but unlike Gossip Girl I couldn’t turn it off when the plot started to sink.

My 2019 intention of being kind to myself in action at Disneyland.
Living my best life at Mickey’s house

Yet, somehow, by the grace of our own strengths, we all made it. 

When I started 2019, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I set myself the following intentions: 

  • Be patient with myself and others (done)  
  • Shush my chronic imposter syndrome (she could be quieter but we’re improving) 
  • Continue self care through movement, good food, meditation, and general health (done)
  • Continue writing and sharing (done) 
  • Learn conversational spanish (my Duolingo Owl thinks I am a lost cause)

While I may have failed at learning Spanish I’m proud of how well I did on the rest of my 2019 intentions. Not only did I reach my goals but I had fiction and non-fiction published, I bought this blog domain so I could monetize it, I doubled my social media following for the blog (check it out here if you aren’t following along already), and I built my confidence to an unrecognizable state. 

I’m so proud of me! Which means this year I can update my intentions to encompass even more of the woman I want to be (and already am inside). Are we ready? My 2020 intentions are: 

  • To live an authentic life by honoring my whole self and prioritizing my wellbeing 
  • Keep building my blog, social media, podcasts, and writing projects 
  • Stay grounded in the chaos of the world 
  • *Keep at my Duolingo to get my Spanish up and running again 

So how am I going to do it? First, I always set intentions instead of resolutions because they leave room for human error, off days, and they help this former perfectionist sleep better. Then, I usually break down my intentions month by month and pick a few things to focus on. As we ease our way into January I’m focusing on the top half of the list and being selfish with my time by putting all my energy into my side projects. Brenton and I have already launched a Veronica Mars rewatch podcast called Life on Mars and we are working on another one about conspiracy theories called But Really Though. I’ll continue being active on here, on my instagram, and twitter. As always, I’ll be in the gym 5 days a week and working my way through YWA January Yoga Journey. 

I’m excited for my 2020 adventure and after 2019 I’m hanging on tight. I’m sure it will only get crazier from here. 

Happy New Year! 

Self-Worth isn’t Found at the Bottom of my To- Do List

Society has tangled self-worth and wealth – I’m here to dig a little deeper.

As the Queen of introspection I often ask myself “why”. Usually, whatever I’m questioning is an action. The questions form along the lines of  “Why did I order that third prayer plant?” or “Why I am I making this decision?” and usually my toddler-like tenacity for questions is fulfilled by these self-revelations. I tend to only stump myself when I zoom out past my current situation and incorporate the dreaded sociatel “we”. My latest ponder has left me stumped and I’m hoping we can solve this toddler style question together. Are you ready for it?

Why do we base self-worth on productivity and how do we stop?

I firmly believe that our modern capitalist society uses wealth and worth interchangeably. Sure, we may hide this connection under the guise of hard work equating worth but the name change doesn’t make this connection any healthier. You either work hard to make more money to then feel good about yourself or you work hard under the pretense of one day getting rewarded for this work with recognition and monetary gain. We have made it shameful to not work while simultaneously making it shameful to work hard and not be rewarded with success. In summary, as a society, we have made existence transactional and by doing so we have surmised that those who do not contribute (are not productive) are not worth caring for. 

Self-Worth and the Day to Day

This sociatel mentality then trickles into our day to day habits. Think about it – if you don’t feel productive during the day does it change how you feel about yourself? I know for me, and everyone who answered my Instagram survey, productivity is a key player in self worth. 

Self-Worth in the Workplace

 In the workplace we begin equating our self worth with our outputs. We work ourselves like machines to generate the highest value for our employers, even if we are not being rewarded fairly for this work. We begin to equate how we feel about ourselves with how well we perform.We continuously strive for that next promotion, another certification, or having the best idea in a concept meeting because we want to feel worthy of our spot in the workplace.

To make matters even worse we take this to the next step by applying these pressures to our personal lives. We use our long “to do” lists  as a point of pride on social media. People are happy to drone on and on about how busy they are. Jam packed schedules are considered a sign of success and enviable. The “rise and grind” or “hustle” mentality has seeped into everything from our board meetings to our weekends at home. But is this what we were really designed to do? 

Personally, I think it’s ridiculous and needs to change. So I’m channeling my inner Mr. Rodgers by starting in the only place I know how – myself. I’m spending this next year (and probably the rest of my life) untangling the web. I refuse to be defined by my outputs, my annual income (though I would love for that to go up), and how productive I am. Don’t worry mom, I’m not quitting my job, or slacking on my projects, I’m just being conscious about how I find value in my life. I’m placing my self worth in being my authentic self for 2020 – ready for the journey with me? 

*I am not a therapist. Please work with a licensed physician when it comes to your health.

Small Businesses Etsy Haul

Recently, I’ve been in the mood to shop but I haven’t been able to find everything I wanted in local stores so I went on an Etsy shopping spree. Check out Etsy Haul below: 

Art from Zeppelin Moon

If you follow me on insta you know I am obsessed with Zeppelin Moon’s cartoons. She is able to marry comedy and the complicated emotions of life with animals. I’ve now purchased quite a few of her pieces and not only are they perfect but they are so well priced. I’m partial to the sloth prints myself but I do have a soft spot for the manatee as well.

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Bear on the right truly resonates with me.
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Sloth is bae

Headbands from TwistsandTopKnots 

I am also getting super into headbands via TwistsandTopKnots. Cheetah, Baby Pink and Emerald Green. I love the look of them but they do run a little big (or I have a small head). I’ve been able to adjust them by pulling on the knot on the top to make them work which is amazing because I love the look of them (and so does Herman). 

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Herman loves a mother & son matching look.

Jewelry from shopEphemera 

I’ve gone down a gold jewelry deep dive and I have no regrets. I’ve got quite a few longer necklaces and wanted a couple chokers to balance them out. So far I’ve been loving these three and they have yet to turn my neck green so I consider that a win.

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My new gold chokers.

Crystals from Auramore 

Now that I have gone all in on all things occult and witchy I decided I needed to up my crystals collection. Thanks to this Etsy haul I now own a chakra set, amethyst, clear quartz and a rose quartz. I’m loving the chakra set for meditation on the go and the others for my home practice.

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My chakra set
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My beautiful amethyst & quartz friends.

I love shopping locally and supporting small businesses, but they don’t always have everything I need which makes Etsy the perfect place to fill in those gaps. Know of any other websites that allow small business owners to sell their items OR of any Etsy shops I should know about? Let me know in the comments! 

But Really Though, I’m Addicted to Plants

Welcome to my Apartment Gardening Adventure!

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that I have a plant problem (read: addiction). What started as a few succulents and an annual purchase of a mini Christmas tree at Trader Joe’s has rapidly morphed to a collection of green children.

I think this might all be my mother’s fault. She is a plant fanatic and has an amazing garden. She has gone so far as to dig up bulbs from my grandmother’s garden to plant at home. Then again, maybe she got it from her mother and we are just a family with an affinity for horticulture. Either way, I’m all in on plants. 

My new children are: 

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Prayer plant & my new favorite candle from Bath & Body Works.

Prayer plant: my Granny always had one of these in her back bedroom and I was mesmerized by the movement it makes throughout the day. It is also pet friendly which makes it perfect for our home. 

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I solely picked this plant based on it being dog friendly & pretty. No regrets.

Tradescantia Zebrina: I found this plant on Bloomscape and it just looked fun. I’m a big fan of its purple leaves. It’s also happy with low light and is pet friendly so another win in our book. 

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Found this snake plant at my local nursery where I accidentally bought more fertilizer instead of potting soil…

Snake plant: recent purchase but another pet friendly houseplant. I liked this guy because he was little enough for a shelf but long enough to make a statement. I purchased him at our local nursery. 

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House plant in the back with my poor sweet marigold & vinca prior to their untimely demise.

Houseplant: honestly no idea what this guy is called but I like how he looks. I do not think he is pet friendly so he lives up on the bathroom counter where corgi paws cannot reach.

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Fun fact: my first orchid fell in a toilet and continued to live for another year..they are resilient af.

Orchid: I usually buy an orchid every time we move. The last one we had was from a farmers market and died during the SB fires but this one seems to be doing just fine.  

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Pearls on the far left, Trader Joe’s succulents in the middle and poor marigold & vinca prior to their demise due to me buying the wrong potting soil.

Succulents: My only, surviving, outdoor plants right now. They prefer to be ignored and honestly that’s the best kind of plant in my opinion. 

Pearls: they get their own honorable mention because they are so fun looking. 

Lavender (not pictured): I joined our local nursery and bought a lavender…Brenton then dropped it on its head but one week in its looking okay! I’ll give an update once we know if I have killed it with my plant murdering brown thumb in a week or so. 

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Prior to its untimely death this is my marigold.
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And here is poor, dying vinca.

Vinca & Marigold: These were the cutest flowers I bought but they did not survive. See photos for evidence. 

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Famer Herman checking on his crops.

Honestly, houseplants are the best. I set a weekly reminder to water my houseplants & succulents and occasionally spray them with water if they look a little dry. I’m loving how the greenery improves my mood and that they help clear the air in the house. Any suggestions for what plants I should try next? 

Booksmart was the Best Movie of Summer 2019

I left the theater after seeing Booksmart and immediately texted my best friends from High School that I loved them.

Booksmart is a film that as soon as it’s finished, you immediately want to watch again. It is raw and honest commentary about the harsh reality of being a teen in today’s world and the importance of having a solid grasp on who you are. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is a beautiful balancing act between the pain and humor of being an overachieving teenager. Wilde’s selection for the stars of the film, Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, deliver an unbridled, honest, look into the life of Type A students and best friends. At first glance the plot appears to be about two high school seniors who were all work and no play utilizing their last night in high school to let loose; but after the opening scene it is revealed that this is more than a movie about high schoolers realizing they should have partied more. It’s about the importance of female friendships and how our self-judgement affects our relationships. 

Booksmart highlights the negative impact of holding other people to our standards without their consent. Beanie’s character, Molly, is self-assured, brilliant and wickedly funny but she lacks the ability to comprehend life from any point of view outside of her own. Kaitlyn Dever’s character, Amy, is her trusted bff, through thick and thin, who has dreams and goals of her own that she is afraid to share with Molly. On the very last day of school Molly learns that all the students she wrote off as dumb or partiers were just as successful as she was at getting in to good schools. Molly decides to correct this narrative by going out to the last day of school parties, and like it or not, Amy is joining her. 

The girls stumble through multiple parties, strange cab rides, adventures with their favorite teacher and high school level awkward situations. The highlight of their adventures is the omni-present Gigi. Wealthy, wishy washy, very abrupt and unpredictable – Gigi is the human embodiment of a triple Aquarius; weird in all of the best ways. Billie Lourd delivers Gigi as the alien of the high school, who can only cause a little harm, and serves as our protagonists’ sherpa on their adventures. 

I don’t want to ruin the rest of the movie for you if you have not seen it (idk what you are waiting for, STREAMING NOW!) but it is undeniably the best movie of Summer 2019.  It is not your average teenage makeover movie. There is not a dressing room montage scene (though there is a getting ready scene that involves blue jumpsuits). There isn’t even a magical hair style redo. Booksmart is a high school film that focuses on the power of female friendship, the importance of knowing who you are and allowing others to do what’s right for them. I IMPLORE you to go see it. If you already have, let me know what you think in the comments!