Goodbye, 2014

I can’t say I’m sad to see 2014 go.

Don’t get me wrong, some really great things happened this past year.

I read some really great books.

night filmready player oeyes pleaseclearly i didnt

I saw some really great movies.

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I watched some really great TV.

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My brother graduated from high school and started college. I got a new job. I fell in love. I fell out of love.  I moved out of an apartment with a roommate and moved into an apartment with a boyfriend. And then moved out of that apartment and into a place of my very own… And then had to get a new second job in order to afford said place of my very own. I joined a gym. I made new friends. I lost some along the way, too.

2014 has been a roller coaster of year. It has taught me a lot about life and a lot about myself.

In 2014 I learned…

Love really does make you do crazy things. Like stick around for longer than you should and put up with things that you shouldn’t have to. It’s easy to sit there and say what you would do if you were in someone’s shoes, but it’s a whole other thing to actually be that someone in the thick of things. You never know what someone is going through, so can we all just start being nice to each other?

There is always a way out if you want there to be. I was the first person to tell people how bad of an idea I thought moving in with a boyfriend/girlfriend was, and then I did the very thing I used to preach against! So when it wasn’t working out, I felt like such an idiot. I’m lucky to have supportive friends who would always let me vent and parents who offered to help me even before I asked.

Don’t ignore your intuition. That little voice inside your head that’s whispering to you? Accept the fact that it knows better than you do and listen to what it’s saying.

Nothing is as important as your own health and happiness.

Someone who sees the glass half empty all the time is not someone you want to be around.

Just because you post copious amounts of cat pictures on your instagram and no longer have a boyfriend does NOT mean you are a crazy cat lady. (Saying this for a friend.)

Not wearing makeup isn’t the end of the world. In fact, no one even said I looked tired/awful/insert unflattering adjective here. Instead, someone commented on my “healthy skin” and said they were jealous of my long eyelashes. I think I’m on to something here, ladies…

On the flip side… Makeup is fun! This past year, I discovered my interest in nice makeup and Sephora and I’m not looking back. Maybe in 2015 I will finally attempt to try some of Amber Rae’s makeup tutorials!

Sometimes you just have to stay in and watch 90s TV marathons on Netflix. And that’s totally ok.

I still don’t have it all figured out, but instead of letting that scare me, I’m meeting the new year with arms wide open and ready for change. Bring on 2015!

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TV Update: Finale Edition

OK, I have a confession. I haven’t been watching a ton of TV lately! And by lately, I mean that I haven’t seen the finales for at least a few of the shows I used to watch. Similar to what happened during the mid-season break, I’ve done a lot of TV show cleansing in the past couple of months. Once again, I got pretty behind on my shows and realized that I felt “forced” to catch up on some of them… When it starts feeling like a job, you know you need to make some changes!

What I’m Watching

Game of Thrones – LOVE it.

Mad Men – I haven’t loved the final season, but the mid-season finale thing (last week’s episode) was pretty good. Plus, I’ve stuck around this long, so I’m not going to give up on it now.

The Walking Dead – I loved this last season and am eagerly awaiting the next! (The fact that Tall Guy and I watch it together is a pretty big bonus, as well.)

Nashville – My love for Connie Britton will keep me watching this show. It kind of lost itself a little in the middle of the season, but I thought the season finale was strong, and I’m glad they’re bringing it back for a third year.

True Blood – I’m so sad the coming season will be the last! Also, one of my favorite characters (you know who if you watch it) better NOT be dead!

Dropped

The Bachelor/Bachelorette – Juan Pablo ruined it for me. I won’t be watching any further seasons.
Chicago Fire
AHS: Coven – I got all the way until the finale and stopped caring. I’m sad that it lost me, the season started off so strong!
Grey’s AnatomyScandal
Girls

Do you remember way back in the Fall when I had a ton of shows to watch? I’m proud to say that I’ve cut my number of shows in HALF!

What shows are you still following?

10 Binge-Worthy TV Shows on Netflix

It’s FREEZING again today! Thankfully, Netflix is there to help us all survive the rest of this Winter! Here are my picks for TV show binge-watching…

Broke Girls Go Out

It’s March, but there’s still snow on the ground and temperatures only get above freezing for a few hours each day. I would kill for some nicer, light-jacket-only weather, but it seems like this Winter will be hanging around a bit longer.

What better way to ride out the tail end of the longest Winter than TV binging? Here are my top TV picks that can currently be found on Netflix…

1. House of Cards – Possibly the greatest thing that will ever come from Netflix. I’ve talked about it a little bit on my personal blog, but do yourself a favor and start watching this today. Like The West Wing, but cutthroat.

2. Alias – Jennifer Garner as a secret agent government spy, kicking ass and taking names. This show is funny, action-packed and emotional. A lot of episodes have cliff-hanger endings, which makes binge-watching this show…

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And the Oscar Goes to…

Tall Guy and I made it a point to see every film that’s an Oscar nominee for Best Picture. (Apparently he does this every year. He is a crazy movie geek… I maybe am jealous that I’ve never done this before… Don’t tell him I said that.)

On the off chance you haven’t seen all of them, here’s my spark notes review of each one that you’ll hopefully find helpful come March 2nd. Ratings are done on a 5 star scale.

In order of appearance…

Gravity

I was under the impression that this entire film was about Sandra Bullock being trapped alone in space.. So I went into it wondering how, exactly, they filled an hour and a half with that story line and was pleasantly surprised to find that not only did the movie have substance, but it kept a pretty good pace, too. The CGI looked real, save for one scene in the very beginning where the spaceship looked like a piece of paper floating across the screen (this might have been a product of the contrast, brightness, angle and size of my TV, though), so I imagine it will at least win that category. I love Sandra Bullock and Clooney, and the two of them worked very well off of one another. Tall Guy was unimpressed with Clooney’s performance, saying it was a typical Clooney role and he would like to see him play something different, but I kind of like the way the performance was so comfortable for Clooney. It made it feel almost familiar, in a good way. (Does that make sense?) Definitely see this movie if you have the chance.

My rating: ****
Tall Guy’s rating: *** ½

The Wolf of Wall Street

I wanted to like this movie. With Scorsese directing and Leo starring, I REALLY wanted to like this movie. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t there for me. No, I wasn’t shocked and awed and disgusted at the antics that DiCaprio’s character engaged in on a daily basis (“hookers and blow,” as Tall Guy likes to sum it up), I was actually kind of bored with them. Once you get over the initial “this guy is disgustingly rich and pretty much does whatever, and whoever, he wants,” there’s not much left to the film. The movie kind of just dragged on and on and was the same thing (read: hookers and blow) for its entirety. Jonah Hill’s character was pretty funny, and there were definitely comedic moments here and there, but nothing about this film really impressed me.

My rating: ***
Tall guy’s rating: ****

American Hustle

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Another movie I really wanted to like. OK, I did like most of it. It started off really strong and definitely drew me into the character’s lives quickly, but then got a little lost in itself in the middle. (Side note: I was also really tired when I watched it, so that probably didn’t help.) I really like all of the starring actors, and, aside from Amy Adam’s on-again/off-again accent, which Tall Guy REALLY got annoyed with, they didn’t disappoint. I thought the ending was pretty strong, as well, and really liked how it all wrapped up. I won’t elaborate any more than that for fear of spoilers…

My rating: ***
Tall Guy’s rating: ***

12 Years A Slave

I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to this film. Yes, I was sure it wouldn’t disappoint in terms of story, but I was really dreading watching something super depressing. I ended up really liking it, though! Sure, some scenes were hard to watch, but I was prepared for it to be way worse, sadness wise, so all’s well than ends well, really. The story was portrayed in an artsy way, but not too artsy that it became hard to follow and the acting was superb. Definitely deserving of its Oscar nod.

My rating: ****
Tall Guy’s rating: ***

Philomena

philomena

This was a really upsetting film. I wasn’t super prepared for it to be SO sad, so that was difficult, but it wasn’t at all hard to get through. Judy Dench is great in anything, and her portrayal of Philomena did not disappoint. I didn’t realize there would be a birthing scene, either, so that was unfortunate since I reallllllly hate watching birthing scenes. Seriously- I had to close my eyes. I’m sure there’s some deep-rooted issue as to why I can’t/refuse to watch birthing scenes of any kind that I’ll have to work out with a therapist some day…

My rating: ***
Tall Guy’s rating: ***½

Dallas Buyers Club

original

I feel kind of weird saying that I love something that’s centered around a rather morbid subject like people dying of AIDS, but this was a really strong film. The acting was AMAZING. Seriously. I’ll be mad if Matthew and Jared don’t both win their own statues… On top of the acting, the story was really solid, flowed well and kept me interested through and through. And Jennifer Garner was the icing on the cake (I LOVE her).

My rating: ****
Tall Guy’s rating: **** “Acting was flawless”

Nebraska

Oof. It had its moments, but was pretty painful overall.

My rating: **
Tall Guy’s rating: **½

Captain Phillips

Definitely the movie that held my attention the most out of this group. The action started maybe five minutes in and was constant throughout the entirety of the film. I generally like Tom Hanks in the roles he plays, but this one might be my favorite. The story (based on real events) was compelling and complex, and the supporting cast was great, making this, in my opinion, the most well-rounded movie of all the nominees this year.

My rating: *****
Tall Guy’s rating: ****

Her

“The future: where no one wears belts.” – Tall Guy

Better than I thought it was going to be, albeit I was picturing more of a comedy than the depressing film it actually is. I don’t even really know what to say about it.. Pretty blah. Could have been clever given the fact that the main female lead is never actually seen on camera, but the love story was pretty typical, making ScarJo’s character your typical female lead, standard relationship complaints and all.

My rating: **
Tall Guy’s rating: **

My Picks

Dark horse: Philomena
Runner up: 12 Years a Slave
If it was up to me: Captain Phillips

Tall Guy’s Picks

Dark horse: Philomena
Runner up: The Wolf of Wall Street
If it was up to me: Dallas Buyers Club

And the Oscar goes to… Dallas Buyers Club

So Long, Sweet Season 2

I’m talking, of course, about Netflix’s House of Cards.

Ask any of my good friends and they’ll tell you that I can binge watch TV shows with the best of them. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that I’ve already finished the second season of this insanely addictive show. If you’re like me, you understand the House of Cards-shaped void in my life right now.

To ease the pain, I offer you this video from Digg. Note that it contains ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS WHATSOEVER, so don’t be afraid to watch it if you haven’t seen all of the new episodes… Or any episodes at all.

And now, wise words from the {SPOILER}, Frank Underwood.

If you haven’t gotten into this show yet, shame on you and get on it ASAP. You can thank me later.

Olympics Obsessed

It’s finally here! The Olympics Opening Ceremony is TONIGHT!

Even though Sochi is kind of a hot mess,  I’ve been counting down the days to the Olympics and cannot wait to see all of the different events! Everyone is as excited about the Olympics as I am, right?

My Olympics obsession started way back in February 2002 when my dad and I took a trip to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was pretty young, but I will never forget all of the crazy things we did on that trip. Highlights include… Seeing the US Women’s bobsled team win Gold; taking an old-school train through the countryside to the cross country course; sitting in the very back row at the ski jumping stadium and making friends with the women next to us; getting ice cream from a shop called COWS; trading 3 pins for a green jello pin; seeing Bode Miller on the podium at a Medal Ceremony; my dad and I making the best steak sandwiches I’ve ever had in our tiny hotel room; sitting on the side of a mountain at a skiing event with no jacket on because it was super warm out; getting a t-shirt signed by the Jamaican bobsled team; going to a Dale Chihuly exhibit; seeing a medal women’s hockey game and watching the losing team cry on the ice; and realizing I had the best dad ever when he got tickets to the Medal Ceremony where ‘N Sync was performing. We saw every event except for curling and speed skating and it was, hands down, the best vacation I have ever had (and probably will ever have)! We took millions of pictures, but unfortunately they were all on disposable cameras (do you remember those?) and the prints are now sitting in an album at my parent’s house, so I can’t share them with you, but just take my word that the trip was amazing.

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My dad sent me this picture last week! We bought one of the (super fancy shmancy) 2002 Olympic commemorative ornaments.

So not only do I love watching the Winter Olympics every 4 years because of the fun events (snow cross, anyone?) and the amazing athleticism that these people display, but it brings back really fond memories of my own Olympics experience.

Tune in to the Opening Ceremony tonight on NBC at 7:30 pm! And be sure to check out the NBC Olympics TV schedule so you don’t miss your favorite events!

Midseason TV Update

Ok, it’s just past the midseason mark, but work with me here…

Life got busy, TV got boring and my TV scheduled was whittled down a bit…

What I’m Watching

The Bachelor – Juan Pablo is a homophobe. This season is boring. I’ll probably still watch it just so Jennifer Weiner’s tweets have some context.

Chicago Fire – I still really like this season! (It’s one of the few shows I can say that about..)

Nashville – I’m not loving most of the plot lines this season, but I’ll keep watching because of Connie Britton and country music.

AHS: Coven – The season started off strong, but I’ve slowly gotten less interested. The finale is tonight and I’m 2 episodes behind. I’ll definitely watch it to the end, if for no other reason than the fact that it’s so close to being over.

Grey’s Anatomy – I don’t even remember what happened in the midseason finale. And I haven’t watched any of the new ones after the break. Has it even started back up again? I’ll probably drop this soon.

Scandal – The midseason finale was really strong. I haven’t seen any of the new episodes, though, so I need to get over my “no new TV was on, so I forgot that I care about TV” attitude and watch them.

Girls – I can’t decide if I like this show or just like to hate-watch it. Maybe somewhere in between, but the episodes are short and easy to get through, so I’ll keep watching this season. I’m kind of getting used to its awkwardness and maybe have started to appreciate it a little bit.

The Walking Dead – I absolutely loved the midseason finale and am REALLY looking forward to where the second half of the season will go. The prison was getting a little old, so I’m glad they’re branching out again.

Dropped

Sleepy Hollow
The Originals
The Vampire Diaries
The Crazy Ones
Dracula

I realized I was forcing myself to catch up on some shows that I really didn’t enjoy all that much. Cleaning out the (TV schedule) closet feels good! I’m sure the fact that Tall Guy doesn’t watch or like any of my shows has something to do with my trimmed down schedule, too…

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What shows are you still watching?

Pumpkin Fluff Dip

I had a pretty low-key Halloween. The original plan was that a friend and I were going to have a scary movie marathon. That then morphed into us going to Terror Behind the Walls (which was AWESOME! More on that later…) and then watching Trick ‘r Treat and eating snacks. Speaking of snacks…

My friend made a delicious pomegranate margarita concoction (tequila, pomegranate juice, sugar, lime juice and orange bitters) and I made pumpkin fluff dip and also had (store-bought) guacamole.

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Pumpkin dip on the left!

I liked the pumpkin fluff dip, but it was very sweet and one of those things that you can’t really eat a lot of. With that said, I would definitely recommend making it for a party or some large gathering of people, as the recipe makes a lot (like, a lot a lot).

Pumpkin Fluff Dip (recipe originally from allrecipes)

1 (16 oz.) container cool whip, thawed1 (5 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 can pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

In a large bowl, mix together pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in cool whip. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serving suggestion: Dip goes well with gingersnaps, apple slices and graham crackers. I served gingersnaps with mine.

Did you make any Halloween-themed recipes?

Tonight’s Must-Watch TV

In an unbelievable slip, I forgot to include one of my absolute favorite shows in my original Fall TV post. The horror!

It’s a show I am eagerly anticipating watching on my TV again and its season premiere is TONIGHT!

You guessed it: The Walking Dead (AMC, Sundays at 9/8c; Season premiere 10/13)

The Walking Dead, saison 1

Image from geeksofdoom.com

There’s something you should know about me. I am the BIGGEST scaredy cat when it comes to scary movies and TV shows. Haunted houses? I’m the pillar of strength. The Ring? I couldn’t sleep for a week. I do believe I’ve touched on this before. Thanks for the sleepless nights, American Horror Story Season 1!

So when my best friend first told me I “HAD to watch” TWD, I wouldn’t even hear it. No WAY was I going to open up that can of worms again. But then she convinced me and we watched a couple episodes together and I was instantly hooked! The thing about TWD is that it’s more about the relationships between the characters and how they form this new life in the apocalyptic world than it is about being scared of the constant threat of zombies. Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of awesome zombies on the show and yes, sometimes they sneak up on the characters and scare the shit out of me, but the plots and character interactions are what drive the show. If you haven’t seen it and are into zombies in any way, or even if you just think Andrew Lincoln looks hot in a dirty cop uniform, do yourself a favor and start watching this! It’s on Netflix and if you’re like me, you’ll catch up to the new season in about a week. You can thank me later.

FTF Update:

I love it!
Sleepy Hollow – This show is better than I expected, and already got a full season order from FOX!
Chicago Fire – Season 2 is a lot stronger than the first season.
The Vampire Diaries – I’ve cried watching both new episodes, so…
Grey’s Anatomy – How am I not bored of this show? Props to series creator Shonda Rhimes for keeping things interesting.
Scandal – This season is crazy good. Yes, I’m aware we’re only 2 episodes in.

Meh.
The Originals – It has major potential and I REALLY want to love it, but I just don’t. I’m definitely going to keep watching, but there’s just something about it that isn’t clicking for me. The lackluster writing leaves something to be desired, but the plot and most of the acting is solid.
Nashville – Still love this show, but it seems like this season is moving at hyperspeed. There’s a lot of stuff going on, but they’re not really delving into detail with anything, so it’s kind of just ending up as a jumbled mess. Hopefully it will get better soon.

Late Additions
The Crazy Ones – Based on the pilot episode alone, I will watch this series solely for the genius that is Robin Williams. He and James Polk are great together.

Axed
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – The pilot was fine, but I just can’t seem to care about the characters, or really the show in general. I didn’t have time to watch it when it aired the second week and didn’t feel like dedicating time to catch up on demand.

I haven’t watched AHS: Coven yet, but I’m SO excited to see it because I heard it’s amazing and it does indeed look amazing. Dracula premieres on 10/25.

What shows are your favorites so far?

Don’t Talk to Me While I’m Watching Hockey

HOCKEY IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!! And clearly I couldn’t care less…

hockey

via Pinterest

Yes, tonight is a good night because hockey is FINALLY, officially, on my TV again. And I, of course, am rocking some orange and black gear. If you haven’t discovered your love for hockey yet, do yourself a favor and put on a game tonight, ok? GO FLYERS!