Flashback Adventures: Sakura Matsuri

I’ve been so ready for spring to hit after enduring the extra snowy winter in NYC this year.  My favorite part of spring is enjoying all of the gorgeous cherry blossom trees lining the streets.  The cotton candy pink petals against the clear blue sky is my favorite color combination in nature.  I’ve been daydreaming about being able to attend Sakura Matsuri at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden again this year and since I never posted my photos from last year I thought now would be a good time to admire them until the weather outside matches the weather in these photos! (Sidenote, I can’t wait until my hair is that long again!)

For those that don’t know, Sakura Matsuri is the national cherry blossom festival which takes place in DC and commemorates when Mayor Yukio Ozaki gifted Japanese cherry trees to the United States in 1912.  The first festival was held in 1935 in Washington DC and now there are several different states which host their own version of Sakura Matsuri.  The Sakura Matsuri in Brooklyn has been occurring since 1981.

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My Bucket List

I love the idea of having a published Bucket List to reference when I’m planning future events and reflecting back on the past.  Kristina Horner published a bucket list on her blog and it inspired me to type out my own so I can focus on making sure I accomplish as many of the things I want to do during my lifetime.  I’ll be writing posts about the things I do and even flashing back to some things I’ve already experienced but were always a part of my list.  What’s on your bucket list?

  1. Visit Harry Potter World in Orlando
  2. Live in New York City
  3. Meet JK Rowling
  4. Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
  5. Tour Studio Ghibli
  6. Lord of the Rings Tour in New Zealand
  7. Attend the Yule Ball
  8. Visit all of the Canadian locations in Scott Pilgrim
  9. Disneyland in Paris
  10. Disneyland in Tokyo
  11. Visit Club 33 at Disneyland
  12. Sakura Matsuri in Japan
  13. Attend Sleep No More
  14. Wine tasting in Napa Valley
  15. Publish a novel
  16. Own a pink KitchenAid mixer
  17. Drink champagne in front of the Eiffel Tower
  18. Cultivate and maintain a garden
  19. Go to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade
  20. Learn to French braid hair
  21. The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff
  22. See the Chicago Bean
  23. Go pumpkin picking
  24. See Shakespeare in the Park
  25. Go on a Jack the Ripper Tour in London
  26. Learn how to bake French macarons
  27. See the Yayoi Kusama exhibit
  28. Go skiing
  29. Go to Coachella
  30. Go to The Louvre
  31. Stroll through Central Park in the fall
  32. Complete NaNoWriMo
  33. Sakura Matsuri in NYC
  34. Stay in the Library Hotel in NYC in the Fairy Tale room
  35. Tour NASA
  36. Ride a train across the country
  37. Stargaze on the Highline
  38. See Stonehenge
  39. Kiss Andrew atop the Eiffel Tower
  40. Go apple picking
  41. See the Northern Lights
  42. Watch a sunset on a beach
  43. Go to all 50 states
  44. Climb a lighthouse
  45. Create a board game
  46. Fly in a private jet
  47. Meet R.L. Stine
  48. See the Acropolis in Greece
  49. Stand on the Equator
  50. Visit The Globe Theater in London
  51. Visit YouTube Studios
  52. Go strawberry picking
  53. Customize toys
  54. Carve Andrew and I’s initials into a tree
  55. Attend the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
  56. Get married
  57. Kiss Andrew in front of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center
  58. Visit NBC’s Rainbow Room and Observation Deck
  59. Attend a live taping of SNL
  60. Attend a live recording of Welcome to Night Vale
  61. Tour Pixar
  62. Tour Nintendo
  63. Meet George Lucas
  64. Tour Google
  65. Attend BlogHer
  66. Drink at the Met’s rooftop bar
  67. Learn how to use photoshop
  68. Visit the Glow Worm Caves
  69. See the Hollywood sign
  70. Attend a movie premiere with a red carpet
  71. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
  72. Meet Michio Kaku
  73. Own a pair of Christian Louboutins
  74. Own a Chanel purse
  75. Style a fashion shoot
  76. Be styled for a fashion shoot by a celebrity stylist
  77. Attend an outdoor concert at Jones Beach
  78. Attend a farewell concert for a band I love
  79. Visit Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany
  80. Be thanked in the acknowledgements of a published book
  81. Meet Neil Gaiman
  82. Meet Stan Lee
  83. Get a Sandman tattoo
  84. Fall in love
  85. Help out at a fashion show
  86. Get published
  87. Be on a television show
  88. Be made fun of by Joel McHale on The Soup
  89. Have an IMDB page
  90. Speak on a panel at a convention
  91. Moderate a panel at a convention
  92. Live in Los Angeles
  93. Read all of the books I own
  94. Get a Harry Potter tattoo
  95. Attend San Diego Comic Con
  96. Attend Star Wars Celebration
  97. Attend Book Expo America
  98. Walk and shop along the Champs-Élysées
  99. See a show at the Moulin Rouge
  100. See the Cirque de Soleil Beatles LOVE show in Las Vegas
  101. Drink gluhwein at Rolph’s during Christmas season
  102. Go to the Labyrinth Masquerade Ball in LA
  103. Buy a vintage typewriter
  104. Visit The Last Bookstore in LA
  105. The Walking Dead Tour in Atlanta
  106. Visit Powell’s Bookstore in Portland
  107. Visit the Space Needle in Seattle
  108. Attend an event in the Great Hall at Whimsic Alley
  109. Visit the castle in Scotland that Hogwarts was based on
  110. Go to Star Wars Weekends at Disney
  111. Meet Peter Jackson
  112. Go to a Renaissance Faire
  113. Attend the Holi Festival in NYC
  114. Take a photo in front of the mirror fence at Storm King

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Party Planning: A Star Wars Christmas Party

I had such a blast putting together the Doctor Who party I hosted for the premiere of season 9 that I decided to make seasonal theme parties a thing in my apartment.  Thankfully, my roommate Taylor was totally on board with my idea for a Star Wars Christmas party!  Nothing says Merry Christmas like a Wampa in a Santa hat, am I right?  My other friends decided that it should be an all encompassing space Christmas party, but I’ll get to that later.

Food

My favorite food I made were the Chewbacca cookies.  They were also (surprisingly) one of the most simple.  I simply bought a box of chewy Chips Ahoy cookies (Chewy because.. right, you get it), and used an icing tip to spread a diagonal brown line of chocolate.  I then pressed white pearl sprinkles into the icing and voila!
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Another three easy dishes that required little to no work were the chocolate and honey flavored Teddy Grahams starring as Ewok cookies (creepy, right?  I bet you’ll never look at one of those the same way!), pizza bagels as C3PizzaO’s, and cinnamon buns as Princess Leia buns.
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Next I made chocolate covered lightsaber pretzels!  These were pretty easy and I’m really pleased with the way they turned out.  I used mini red M&M’s as the button on the hilt of the lightsaber.  I also baked a Star Wars cake and I used the Star Wars cookie cutters from William Sonoma to cut out Stormtrooper heads in fondant (and then covered the cake in Christmas sprinkles).  Lastly, I made Tie Fighter graham cracker treats which consisted of a graham cracker halved and held together by peanut butter and a marshmallow.
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Taylor made some delicious Star Wars sugar cookies (which I’m going to be expecting every year now that he baked them for me two years in a row).  And Melissa baked these incredible muffins which she decorated with Star Wars cupcake toppers!

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Decor

Andrew is always the most helpful when it comes to decor!  He printed these lovely signs for me to hang (my favorite is the bathroom sign which is still currently hanging on our door.  It read “Please remember to wash your Hans” and I still cannot look at it without bursting out laughing).  Andrew also printed the food signs I designed 9which you can see in the photos above) and he drew the Yoda face on our plates.  Taylor somehow managed to throw the Wampa atop his bookshelf (with a Santa hat on it mind you) in the perfect position.  I picked up a few Santa hats of my own for my Stormtrooper candy bowl (festively holding candy canes), and my life size R2D2 trash can from ThinkGeek which is used solely for storage.

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Friends

I wore my favorite Her Universe Star Wars dress for the occasion with a festive emerald green statement necklace from ModCloth.  Cassie insisted the party was for Star Trek and she bought a redshirt dress specifically to wear.  Melissa wore a She-Ra sweatshirt because it was Christmasy (but she brought a Star Wars purse because she loves me).  Lauren wore an R2D2 hoodie and her boyfriend Matt wore a Buzz Lightyear hoodie because Cassie made the Facebook invitation and confused the heck out of everyone.  But it was Giovanni that really took the cake.  He came dressed as Arthur Dent in a bathrobe carrying a towel.  He has strong dedication to jokes.  We played the original Star Wars trilogy in the background with Christmas music as sound but toward the end of the night we switched over to Taylor’s Xbox and everyone danced for hours!

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Christmas Baking Recap On My New KitchenAid Mixer!

This Christmas I had the good fortune of being the luckiest girl in the world.  I somehow managed to convince my amazing boyfriend Andrew that we should exchange Christmas presents early so that we didn’t have to carry them back and forth on several trains to and from our parents houses on the actual holiday (I bought Andrew a Wii U and I had enough trouble lugging it on the subway back to my apartment to even fathom carrying it another place [I am weak – see New Year’s Resolutions]).  When we opened our gifts I thought I was going to cry (in the BEST way)!  Andrew made my dreams come true yet again by handing me the pink KitchenAid Mixer I spend A LOT of time oogling online and IRL (seriously, I visit it in Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond more times than I care to admit).  He was even smart enough not to buy it from my Amazon wish list because he knew that would be an item I would notice if it had disappeared.

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The early exchange also really worked in my favor because I was able to use my present to bake all the Christmas cookies!  I decided to try out different recipes than what I normally bake with my mom (tears that we weren’t together for baking this year) but I knew I’d be eating hers on Christmas Eve and Day so I headed to my Pinterest boards for recipes and these are the things I chose.
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The Grinch Who Stole Christmas Cookies

Santa’s Shortbread Bites

Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies

 

Christmas M&M Cookies

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I forgot to take a photo of my finished M&M cookies… oops! But you can find the recipe on the back of any Nestle Tollhouse bag of chocolate chips.  What are your favorite Christmas cookies?  I’d love any recipe links too since I am now planning on baking up a STORM!

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Tea & Book Chat: These Broken Stars by Aimee Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (These Broken Stars #1)

I’ve been wanting to read These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Meagan Spooner for some time now so when I arrived at Barnes and Noble during a quick lunchtime bookstore browsing session and I saw that it had come out in paperback it was as if the stars of my book collection had aligned.  Although, now that I’ve found out it’s a series and I enjoyed the first book, I’ll have to decide between waiting for the second book to come out in paperback or buying the hardcover and having a mismatched collection… but I’ll digress!  I absolutely love the gorgeous cover (see below) so I was immediately drawn to it.  The book was much more sci-fi than I was anticipating and I really enjoyed it overall.

Tarver, a youthful but honored war hero, and Lilac LaRoux, the heiress to her father’s spacecraft business, are the only two survivors of the catastrophe aboard the Icarus.  They land on a strange and uninhabited planet and the pair must work together to try to get back home safely despite their differences.  Lilac is a headstrong young woman who has closed her heart off to any experiences after being traumatized during her past.  Tarver comes from a family of a lower status and Lilac instinctively tries to ignore him for (what she tells herself is) his own good.  I’m really glad Lilac proves that she is stronger, braver and more intelligent than she initially lets on but it was a little bit of a challenge for me to like her.

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I was slightly disappointed with the romance aspect of the book but the overall story and my curiosity about the planet were able to distract me from focusing too heavily on the something I felt was missing. I am looking forward to continuing reading on to book two so more of the loose ends will be tied up but I have heard that it centers around a different set of characters.  These Broken Stars is beautifully written and I would suggest reading it if you’re in the mood for YA sci-fi.

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It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it. (via Goodreads)

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December Book Haul

December was a GOOD month for book shopping.  Between Christmas and an exceptionally high number of visits to bookstores I added quite a few new titles to my personal library, all of which I hope to read in 2015.  I have already read (and posted reviews for) a few of the books below with more coming.  Have you read anything I picked up in December?  What should I read next?!

Gift from Andrew’s Brother Joe

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Gift from my bookish Secret Santa Michelle

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Gift from Carolyn at Simon & Schuster

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Gift from my cousin Rachel

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Gift from Cassie (My True Love Gave to Me UK Edition)

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Gift from Andrew’s brother Greg

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Tea & Book Chat: Girl Online By Zoe Sugg (Girl Online #1)

Before ever watching any video put out by the YouTuber Zoella, I had come across her book on Amazon and the plot of the story drew me in (basically, girl with blog meets cute boy).  I picked up a copy of the book from The Strand and I quickly moved it to the top of my TBR pile.  About halfway through I came across articles about Zoella and the controversy surrounding the book I was currently in the middle of reading.  It turns out that Girl Online was actually written by a ghostwriter (Siobhan Curham) and people were getting very upset about it.

It’s nothing new for publishing houses to employ ghostwriters to pen the books that most celebrities slap their names on but something about this felt different.  It led me to think long and hard about why I had such an off feeling about something I’ve accepted so easily in the past until I drew this conclusion:  It’s different for a person who develops all of their own content to pass something off as their own original work.  Despite the amount of involvement Zoella may have had in the initial brainstorming process, she didn’t put the proverbial pen to page and write the finished product.  This leads to dangerous territory because Zoella will inevitably lose some credibility with her YouTube fans.

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Girl Online was the first book published by Keywords Press, a division of Simon & Schuster created solely to publish books written by people with influential online persona’s.  This also leads me to wonder if Keywords will be hiring ghostwriters for all of the books they’re going to publish in the future or if they’ll take the Zoella catastrophe into consideration when making future decisions.

Overall, I struggle to admit that I enjoyed aspects of Girl Online.  It was by no means a favorite of mine, but it was one of those quick and easy reads that I need every once in a while.  I found myself actively acknowledging that the writing is poor and the story is predictable yet I somehow managed to form an attachment to the main character?  The story was FULL of common character tropes, cliched plot elements, and current pop culture references that will not date well. But I did enjoy the New York City adventure, the cute Brooklyn boy, and the blogging portion (despite the overly cheesiness of it).  I honestly think I would be too embarrassed to recommend this book to anyone because of all the issues I recognize within it despite my ability to like it.

What are your feelings on ghostwriters?  Does your opinion also differ since this time it involves a YouTube star?

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Penny has a secret.

Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family – and the panic attacks she’s suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog.

But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever. (via Goodreads)

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Books I Read In 2014

This is one of the strangest “Books I Read In ____” posts I’ve ever written because in 2012 I read a total of 104 books, in 2013 I blew my goal of 120 books away and I read a total of 189 books, and in 2014, I’m sad to say that I did not make my goal.  There are several reasons why this happened (some of which you can read about in my 2014 recap) and some of which I’ll outline here.  99% of the books I read in 2013 were graphic novels which are much quicker reads.  I really wanted to focus on getting back in touch with my love for YA this year so the books I read had much higher page counts and slowed me down a bit.  Another reason I think I read less is because you know how you can read a book, fall completely in love with it and then you’re just not ready to start a new one right away?  That happened to me A LOT this year.  I really think I spoiled myself with well written books this year.  Also I read the entire Nana manga series Nana by Ai Yazawa because her other series Paradise Kiss is my favorite manga of all time.  Little did I know that Ai Yazawa would be taking a hammer to my heart and crushing it to pieces with Nana.  I’m still not over it.  So my grand total for 2014 only came to 91 books.  Considering that I lowered my goal to 100, I suppose I didn’t do too horribly but I still don’t feel good about it.  So 2015 is officially going to be a year of READING.

Here’s everything I finished in 2014!  I tried to hold back and only bold the titles I REALLY loved but there were so so many!  Did you make your reading goal for 2014?  If not, have you strategized your reading plan for improving in 2015?

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January

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
3. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
4. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Leviathan
5. The Diviners by Libba Bray
6. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
7. Looking For Alaska by John Green
8. The Unbound (Archived Book 2) by Victoria Schwab

February

1. City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments Book 2) by Cassandra Clare
2. Cress by Marissa Meyer
3. Locke & Key Volume 6: Alpha & Omega by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
4. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
5. Sailor Moon Volume 8 by Naoko Takeuchi
6. Sailor Moon Volume 9 by Naoko Takeuchi
7. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

March

1. Nightwing: The Hunt for Oracle by Chuck Dixon
2. Vampire Academy 2: Frostbite by Richelle Mead
3. Nightwing: Big Guns by Chuck Dixon
4. John Constantine Hellblazer: Original Sins by Jamie Delano
5. Nightwing: On the Razor’s Edge by Chuck Dixon
6. Preacher Volume 4 by Garth Ennis
7. Sunshine by Robin McKinley
8. Gotham Central Book 3 by Greg Rucka

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April

1. Superior Spider-Man Volume 3 by Dan Slott
2. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
3. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellairia
4. The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

May

1. Nana Volume 2 by Ai Yazawa
2. Nana Volume 3 by Ai Yazawa
3. Nana Volume 4 by Ai Yazawa
4. Nana Volume 5 by Ai Yazawa
5. We Were Liars by Rachel
6. Nana Volume 6 by Ai Yazawa
7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
8. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
9. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

June

1. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
3. If I Stay by Gale Forman
4. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet
5. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

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July

1. Two Wrongs by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
3. A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
4. Adventure of the Dancing Men by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes)
5. Afterlife with Archie by Roberto Aguierre-Sacasa
6. Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
7. City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments Book 3) by Cassandra Clare

August

1. City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments Book 4) by Cassandra Clare
2. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas &. Jennifer Graham
3. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
4. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
5. Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher
6. The Unwritten Volume 6 by Mike Carey
7. The Magician’s Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia #1) by C.S. Lewis
8. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia #2) by C.S. Lewis
9. The Horse and His Boy (Chronicles of Narnia #3) by C.S. Lewis
10. Rocket Girl Volume 1: Times Squared by Amy Reeder
11. Nana Volume 7 by Ai Yazawa
12. Daredevil Ultimate Collection Book 3 by Ed Brubkaer
13. Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia #4) by C.S. Lewis

September

1. Nana Volume 8 by Ai Yazawa
2. Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianne Wynne Jones
3. Adventure Time: Candy Capers by Yuko Ota & Ananth Panagariya
4. Nana Volume 9 by Ai Yazawa
5. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
6. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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October

1. The Woods Volume 1 by James Tynion IV & Michael Dialynas
2. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
3. The Girl Who Circumvented Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente
4. Ranma 1/2 vol 1 by Rumiko Takahashi

November

1. Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman
2. The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle Book 1) by Maggie Stiefvater
3. Nana Volume 10 by Ai Yazawa
4. Nana Volume 11 by Ai Yazawa
5. Nana Volume 12 by Ai Yazawa
6. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
7. Nana Volume 13 by Ai Yazawa
8. Nana Volume 14 by Ai Yazawa
9. Hawkeye Volume 3 by Matt Fraction
10. Teen Titans Earth One Volume 1 by Jeff Lemire
11. Nana Volume 15 by Ai Yazawa
12. My True Love Gave to Me by Various Authors

December

1. Nana Volume 16 by Ai Yazawa
2. Nana Volume 17 by Ai Yazawa
3. Nana Volume 18 by Ai Yazawa
4. Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
5. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman
6. Nana Volume 19 by Ai Yazawa
7. Nana Volume 20 by Ai Yazawa
8. Nana Volume 21 by Ai Yazawa

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Into the Woods

A few nights ago, Andrew and I finally went to see Into the Woods.  Under normal circumstances I would’ve made it a priority to see it on opening night but since the film debuted on Christmas it was a near impossibility.  I have loved the play and all of the music since I was in middle school so I was over the moon when I heard that Disney would be putting out a film version (many people would argue that I’m an eternal optimist).  But seriously, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, and Emily Blunt all in one of my favorite musicals?!  Yupp, I’m there.

I feel like it’s my responsibility to start by saying that Into the Woods was Disneyified.  Since I completely expected this, it was easy for me to get over it (Andrew’s biggest complaint is that Agony Part 2 was cut, but I’ll let him wax poetic about that).  I thought overall, the film was done really well.  Meryl Streep plays an amazing version of the Witch.  And James Corden!  I have SO MUCH love for James Corden it’s almost unbearable.  I was truly shocked that my favorite number (Agony) ended up being performed by the two princes, Chris Pine and Billy Magnuseen.

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The catchiest song from Into the Woods will always be the prologue song of the same name which lays the groundwork for the rest of the story.  The baker and his wife wish for a child, Cinderella wishes to go to the ball, Little Red Riding Hood wishes to see her grandmother, and the witch next door wishes to break the curse she placed on the barren baker and his wife so everyone must set off into the woods to achieve what they think they desire.

I also LOVED the costumes worn throughout the film.  Little Red Riding Hood’s velvet cape with a satin bow is so incredibly gorgeous.  Mr. Wolf (played by Johnny Depp) is also outfitted perfectly and I love his concealed candy collection beneath his jacket.  Cinderella’s dress is gold toned which looked lovely on Anna Kendrick and Rapunzel’s dress is simply stunning!  I was so excited that some of the costumes worn in the film were on display in the movie theater Andrew and I went to on the Upper West Side.

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If you’re looking to enjoy some music and you love fairy tales with a more realistic ending, you should absolutely check out Into the Woods.  Just be warned that it’s different than the original.  But it’ll be impossible not to adore James Corden if you aren’t already familiar with him (all my Whovians know what I’m talking about).

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Into the Woods is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy) – all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family, and their interaction with the witch (Meryl Streep) who has put a curse on them. (via Disney)

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2014 In Review & 2015 Resolutions

I am a total dork and I wholeheartedly look forward to creating New Years resolutions every year.  I think it’s partially the obsessive list-maker in me and partially because I think it’s important to spend time reflecting on the past and determining where you want to be in the future.  It’s so important to constantly strive for the things that will make you happiest and I find it easiest to do so when I have a clear list to reference at any point.

 

I previously mentioned in my Thanksgiving recap that 2014 has been quite the transitory year for me.  When older friends that I haven’t spoken to frequently in the past year ask me what’s new, my answer is literally everything that could possibly be new is in fact, new.  I met the love of my life, Andrew <3, who has always been supportive and encouraging of all of my endeavors since our very first date.  The desire to move closer to him was the exact motivator I needed to find a new job.  Funnily enough, I did the whole moving/new job thing kind of backward.  My good friend Taylor happened to need a roommate and I happened to feel ready to move so the stars just sort of aligned.  I viewed the apartment once, said yes within a few hours, started paying rent in May, started my new job at the end of June, and I officially moved in on July 1st.
Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

I’ve spent roughly half the year adjusting to life in Brooklyn and my new job in New York City and I couldn’t be happier.  I certainly miss MANY aspects of living with my family (full disclosure: Taylor and I have had some major-not-so-fun issues with our third irresponsible and messy roommate), but I guess I’m an adult or whatever so it was time to move into my own place.  Plus, my family is a quick train ride away so I still see them pretty often and I talk to mom on the phone almost every night after work when I’m walking to Andrew’s office.  Professionally, I have never loved a job as much as I love my current position.  I’m working at one of the top law firms in NYC and accepting the position was the best career choice I’ve ever made.  I quickly assimilated and became really good friends with one of my coworkers who shares my love of reading YA, comics, and toy collecting.  We are totally kindred spirits.

 

So overall, 2014 was a really wonderful year.  It’s going to be really challenging to top, but I’m certainly prepared to try!  I’ve already posted my blogging resolutions for 2015 as it was last weeks topic of Megan and I’s 5 Fandom Friday so I won’t go into blogging in this post.  (I’ve also posted the Best of 2014: Top 10 Comics, Best of 2014: Top 10 Books, and Best of 2014: Top 10 TV Shows, Top 7 Movies & Top 5 Broadway/Off Broadway Shows if you’re interested in reading them!)  Here are the rest of my 2015 resolutions broken down by category:
Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Personal Goals

1) Create More – There’s a thing I’m starting early in the year that I’m REALLY excited about but unfortunately I’m not allowed to announce it just yet.  It’s going to allow me to be more creative because I’ll be producing and creating my own content and Andrew is involved too which I’m really happy about!  I can’t wait to work with him in a creative aspect.  I’m always spending so much time consuming books/movies/tv that others have created so working on this will allow me to put more out there.

 

2) Reconnect Online – In 2013 I was on a reality tv show called Fangasm.  Before filming, I was internet obsessed and I spent a large portion of my time on Twitter, tumblr, etc.  As soon as filming ended and I was left with the feeling that I hadn’t had any privacy for the months I lived in L.A. and it was not a good one.  I spent 2014 distancing myself from the internet and rebelling from any form of communication that I felt infringed my privacy.  I spent the first month of 2014 (until I met Andrew), going straight home after work every day and reading for hours on end and avoiding the internet.  While I do think that it’s important to be present in real life, there are certain aspects of the internet that I miss and I want to make more of an effort to reconnect, especially with my Twitter friends.

 

3) Save More Money – Another thing Andrew has done for me (whether he realizes it or not), is to help me feel excited about saving money and planning for the future.  Meeting someone that I want to spend the rest of my life with has really put into perspective how important it is to save so we can achieve the future I see for us.

 

4) Travel – In 2012 I overcame my fear of flying which led to me being an impulsive jet-setter who went to just about every convention I could manage (which I admit is much easier to do when you’re living with your parents).  Last year, being as transitory as it was, I didn’t have any time for travel between moving expenses and starting a new job/not having acquired time off yet.  I would really love to budget in at least one vacation in 2015, most likely to a convention in a city I’m itching to visit.

 

5) Live a Healthy Lifestyle – I am one of those people who walks instead of taking subways or cabs whenever I can avoid them and I always take the stairs over the elevator but I feel like it’s not enough.  I’ve come to terms with my sweet tooth and since I know that’s never going to change, I want to make an effort to schedule in a daily exercise routine.  One positive lifestyle change I made in 2014 that I’ve already seen the results of is that I started eating an egg omelet with spinach and peppers every morning.  I’ve never been a breakfast person (in the morning, I’ve always been pro-breakfast foods at every other time of day), but since I became a vegetarian I’ve tended to bruise really easily (I’m talking, press on my arm too hard and a bruise will appear).  Since I’ve consciously made the effort to add protein and iron to my diet every day of the week, I can’t even remember the last time I had a bruise.  It’s such a small change but it’s had such a large impact.
Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Reading Goals

1) Read More Books! – 2013 is without a doubt the most impressive reading year of my life thus far.  I read a total of 186 books.  That’s so incredible to me and I had no idea I was going to reach that high until I started calculating at the end of the year.  2014 has been rather busy (see above) and I’m sorry to say that I haven’t even hit 100 books.  Granted, I almost solely read graphic novels in 2013, whereas in 2014 I read SO MUCH YA.  So hopefully, 2015 will be the year of balance where I strike a happy medium and surpass my 100 book goal.

 

2) Re-read Old Favorites – I’ve always loved the idea of re-reading… in theory.  I’ve been thinking a lot about how strange it is that I can watch the same movie almost 100 times with no problem but the same doesn’t apply to books.  Once I pick up a book to re-read I start feeling majorly guilty about the unread books on my shelves and I ultimately end up putting back the thing I’ve already read and diving into a new story instead.  In 2015 I am going to make a conscious effort to re-read my heart out, obviously starting with Harry Potter (some of the only books I’ve already re-read multiple times!).

 

3) Read More of the Books I Already Own – I have a book buying addiction.  It’s pretty serious and I think it’s because I’ve always been used to getting new books all the time as a child.  My dad worked for a major publishing company for the majority of my life and there wasn’t a week that went by where I wasn’t able to browse through catalogs (perhaps this is where my obsessive Amazon habit transformed from), place orders, and jump for joy when my dad came home holding a huge box of new books.  The only difference is that now the books I’m acquiring are not free and while I get SO MUCH joy from holding and owning new titles, I have racked up an impressively large TBR pile.

 

4) Read More Books With 500+ Page Counts – 2014 really was a slower reading year so I am the first to admit that (especially towards the end of the year) I barely even considered picking up novels with over 500 pages.  The best book I read last year is without a doubt The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which has about 700 pages but I couldn’t even bring myself to start the sequel which has over 1,000 because I knew I would be devoting a good chunk of time to it.

 

5) Write reviews in a timelier manner – I read fairly quickly, but I am the biggest procrastinator when it comes to writing reviews which is strange since I genuinely enjoy writing them.  Maybe it’s because I’m so ready to dive into another story?  I have no idea what the case is, but I do know that if I write my review straight away it’ll be fresh in my head and my thoughts will be easier to sort out.
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Source: Pinterest

Do you prefer making a list of resolutions at the New Year?  What are your biggest goals for 2015?  Let’s keep each other motivated throughout the year!
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