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! 

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! 

It’s me, Mario!

I’ve got a Mario problem!

If you know me in everyday life, you know I kind of suck at video games. It is why my previous obsession with Pokemon Lets Go Eevee! was mildly shocking. Prior to my Pokemon obsession, I can honestly say my biggest gaming accomplishments were:

  1. The Sims
  2. Dream Dollhouse (if you know, you know)
  3. Pokemon Stadium on the N64 but only the mini-games
  4. Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade
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Now that we have confirmed my professional status let me tell you about my newest obsession, Super Mario Party for the Nintendo Switch. As you may have noticed from the list above I was never a huge fan of the original Mario Party; because of this chosen ignorance I had wildly low expectations of Super Mario Party. I honestly thought it would be another game where Brenton carried the team while I sat there trying to figure out why my controller “doesn’t work” (a phrase I use willy nilly when things don’t seem to be going my way). Luckily, I was wrong. I LOVE this game. Here’s why:

  1. The premise is adorable. The story begins with Mario, his brother Luigi (I think they are plumbers) and all their animal and human friends fighting over who is best at the game. The equally adorable bad guys show up (Bowser Jr looks like the cutest brat you have ever met). From there the game gives you a quick overview of how things work for Mario and his friends. You select which cute creature or human you want to be, select a difficulty level and then you pick the realm you want to be in (aesthetics based). After you pick, they plop your little characters on a board and your character literally rolls a dice to get around the board. Cute, right?
  2. Mario, Luigi and their cute little friends let you play as a team. What I loved about games as a child, specifically games on consoles, was that I got to spend time with my brother while playing them. By allowing team play the game is preventing family fights and break ups worldwide. I honestly would not play if I had to play against Brenton, but communicating and working together on the same team is a fantastic way to spend the hour between dinner and bedtime.
  3. According to my research (aka yelling to ask Brenton if this is true) Mario Party has always been a turn style game. I enjoy that the game is set up like an electric board game, since I have slow gaming reflexes and hate games where I have to be super reactive to being attacked. Life is stressful enough, I don’t need big ole Bowser coming at me when it’s not his turn.
  4. Mini-games! I love minigames, see Pokemon Stadium line item above. In Mario Party mini-games occur after each team moves on the board. Mini-games are different each round and we have yet to play the same one twice. They can be anything from shaking your controller in a circle to row a boat to identifying the right pictures.  It’s honestly the only thing I am good at on most games since it involves less skill and more chaotic energy (thanks Aries rising).

My only con was that they really did Princess Peach dirty. The poor femme fatale of most mario games was set up to fail even when the computer played as her. We played a round of the game on the “Normal” difficulty level and the computer just kept getting her squashed with a wall. The poor princess never stood a chance.

Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite game!

I’m a Gamer

Okay, so I lied. I am not a huge gamer, especially when it comes to single player games, but recently I’ve fallen in love with Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee! on the Nintendo Switch.

As I mentioned before, I’m not good at playing alone. If I am going to do a solitary activity it is usually passive. My favorite solitary activities are reading, taking baths, watching Youtube and scrolling through Instagram when I should be doing something else. Doing something interactive with a computer is not usually my jam I would much rather hang with humans (or Herman).  

Normally, when I play video games I get stressed. The gamer life is not ideal for my anxiety ridden self. Having to make real time decisions in a virtual world is overwhelming; isn’t it bad enough we have to do that in reality? As a pacifist in reality and virtual realities, I would much rather watch someone play a fighting game then play it myself.

But lately, this has all changed. I’ve become a Pokémon addict (dare I say, MASTER). Granted, I think a lot of my enjoyment comes from the sense of nostalgia since I loved watching the show as a child. But within DAYS of purchasing the game I had spent well over 24 hours with my Eevee. In true gamer style I struggled to put it down. I managed to find the game relaxing, entertaining and methodical much like the old Pokémon games we all played on Nintendo

What makes this game so calming to me is that battles are all turn based, meaning that I have time to plan my next move instead of just pressing random buttons and hoping I manage to hit my opponent. I find the story, especially the time spent exploring the cities and talking to other characters, engaging and exciting. My favorite part of the game is going on mini adventures to help townspeople in the places my Eevee and I visit.

There’s also a charming method to the game. In every city Eevee and I visit, we explore, go to the Pokémon gym and get a new Pokémon. The method to completing the game is very intuitive and it is literally impossible to do it wrong.My favorite aspect is that you can PET YOUR EVEE and it will give you presents. It’s like having a tamagotchi that doesn’t need to be fed or a furby that doesn’t yell at you to rock it to sleep in the middle of the night. I named my Eevee Herman, after our dear sweet corgi boy, and nothing brings me more joy than simultaneously petting Herman irl and Herman the Eevee at the same time.I will note that this game is designed for children which makes it the most fun for adults like myself who are not well versed in the video game tricks.

I am absolutely loving this game and struggle to put it down each night. I highly recommend this game to anyone who wants to try video games but isn’t ready for something fast paced. If you’re in possession of a Nintendo Switch and want something mellow and enjoyable give this a try and let me know what you think. Now I got to go, Herman needs some virtual pets!

Five Podcasts I Can’t Stop Listening To

I recently was referred to as chatty. While the speaker may not have meant that as a compliment – I chose to take it as one. I’m content with this social quality of mine.

As a chatty person I also like to listen to people chat – eavesdropping is a very fun hobby although not ideal in the workplace – so during my first, very boring, 9 to 5 I found podcasts to fill the silence. 

Contrary to my eavesdropping tendency, my love for listening to people talk is not all encompassing. The speakers have to meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Have something fun or educational to say
  2. Not grow to annoy me over time
  3. Give me the feeling that I could be friends with the speaker

Number one is a given and two is a bit arbitrary – sometimes people just don’t appeal to other humans – but three is the most important for me. Obviously everyone looks for different qualities in friends; I feel the same way about podcasters. Not everyone can be my cup of tea but the following five podcasts are.    

My Favorite Murder *Warning DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS ALONE AT NIGHT OR WHILE FALLING ASLEEP*

My Favorite Murder is my favorite podcast. The premise is that the hosts Karen and Georgia (with the help of Steven their resident millennial editor) each present a story about a murder case. It sounds morbid on its face but Karen and Georgia do more than just retell a horrible story – they normalize the fascination of true crime. While in theory it should be uncomfortable listening to a comedy podcast about murder, in application K & G are able to honor the victims and help everyone find humor to balance the gravity of the cases they discuss. K & G present themselves as flawed humans and openly discuss mental health and their personal battles with anxiety, depression and eating disorders. They normalize the true crime lover in all of us and I love them dearly for it. 

 

How Did This Get Made

 This is my go to “laugh my ass off” podcast. The premise is simple: Hosts Paul, Jason, June and whatever guests they have on discuss an awful movie. True to the title, by the time they are done sharing the plot of the movie with the audience you also begin to wonder how the movie was made. B & I went to see them live for my birthday a couple years ago and they discussed The Lake House (if you have not seen The Lake House I do not recommend it). This podcast is perfect for long car rides or any time you need a dose of silliness. 

 

Lizard People

 Lizard People is a comedy podcast that mocks conspiracy theory culture. The host Katelyn has a different guest on each week and their primary goal is to convince her of the legitimacy of a conspiracy theory. After the guests theory is presented she a rates them on how convincing their argument was. The guests’ arguments range from an “I made this up” vibe to college research paper. It has a UCB vibe with “Who’s Line is it Anyway” undertones in the sense that the arguments can seem improv’d and her scores don’t matter. Lizard People is fun due to its silly subject matter and is a perfect palate cleanser after a MFM binge.

 

Heaven’s Gate

Cults fascinate me! Part of me feels like if I had joined a cult it would be Heaven’s Gate – the other part of me knows I’m way too chicken to join a cult. Lucky for me my obsession with cults is not unique. Heaven’s Gate is a full podcast series on the Heaven’s Gate Cult. If you do not know about this cult I highly recommend listening to the podcast! The hosts interview former cult members, the family of cult members and the daughter of the founder.  It does an excellent job of digging into the UFO cult scene and humanizing the victims of this groupthink.

 

Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me

NPR is Nostalgia Public Radio for me. When I lived at home, I woke up every Saturday morning to my stepfather BLASTING “Car Talk” with Click & Clack or “WWDTM the NPR News Quiz”. If you’ve never listened to WWDTM it’s pretty straightforward. Basically a bunch of liberals in Chicago get together and participate in different styles of quizzes about the news. Guests get to call in and compete for the prize of Bill Kurtis on their answering machine.The host is a former english major named Peter Sagal. They have guests ranging from James Comey to Aubrey Plaza. As a kid I loved listening to all the adults talk about the news intelligently and loved that adults made the news into a game. Now that I’m an adult I unfortunately know what they are talking about (the news is bleak atm) but I still enjoy the show. WWDTM is a nerdy, comedic twist on the news.

 

Podcasts may have brought the death of talk radio but I’m glad I’m able to curate the voices/subjects I listen to. The rise of podcasts and their heavy mix in social media has created communities where we can all fulfill our love of eavesdropping with permission.

 

Let me know your favorites in the comments.

But Really Though Tries- Pilates with the Reformer

While visiting B’s family in Southern California for Christmas (a fate I would not wish upon my enemies WHERE ARE THE SEASONS SOCAL?) we were invited to try a Pilates Mix class on Christmas Eve. I jumped on this opportunity because I have always wanted to play with the pilates machine (formally known as the REFORMER, sounds scary doesn’t it?). Prior to this, my only pilates experience has been through Cassey Ho or the tragic time my mother asked me to help her with WindsorPilates at home VHS (she still hasn’t forgiven me for taking her request to straighten her leg so literally). So you could say I was walking into the class blind.

The studio was doing a free 8 class pass so we bought the passes online (for a $5 initiation fee smh) which seemed reasonable enough if you were a local and able to use the pass in its entirety. Pilates rule number one is apparently that you have to wear weird little toe socks so I borrowed a pair. After we got set up, we set foot (well butt actually) on the reformer. The reformer is the most fun I’ve ever had using a machine in the fitness world. It may look intimidating but it’s really just a flat slide. The machine itself is a lot of fun and seems like it would lend itself to some crazy intense workouts.

The instructor was nice but it kind of felt like she was phoning the class in (in her defense it was Christmas Eve and she probably pulled the short straw to be there). Usually, when I try a new fitness class the instructor spends some time asking about fitness levels and explaining the machine but she had us just hop right on.

Even though I was most excited to try the reformer, my favorite part of the class was actually with a different piece of equipment called a springboard. This is literally just a board on a wall with numbers and springs to use for resistance. See image for a better idea of what it is and how it works.

Unfortunately for B and I the class we chose was a little calmer than the usual pilates class. We left with tight cores but definitely not sore. It was a lot of fun, but it was only 50 minutes which wasn’t enough time to work up a sweat with the movements chosen for that class. I would definitely take the class again but I would probably try for a different instructor or a different style of pilates. I like my workout classes to feel like they kicked my butt.

Have you ever tried pilates? What are your thoughts on the reformer? Do you think I can by a springboard somewhere? Let me know!