Tag Archives: movies

Internet Hiatus

At the end of May I found myself needing a break from this place. Sometimes it’s just too much, you know? Plus, I’d been obsessive over it, spending all my free time on social media instead of doing productive things that actually leave me feeling happy with myself.

 

I told myself I’d just get away from it for June and spend some time reading, which is something I’ve failed at majorly this year. And maybe be able to finally write something after giving myself a much needed dip in the creative well. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up reading all that much, or writing a single word for that matter, and as you can see by the date of this post, it’s August and I’m just now returning. Sort of. But my time away wasn’t a waste. In fact, I was super busy. And not just busy doing things that are or feel like work, though there was some of that too.

 

So what have I been up to? Well, let’s see….

 

I did read a little, but more comics than books. That’s basically been the story of this year. I don’t know what’s gotten me so much more into comics this year than previous years (probably, it’s partly Heather’s fault. 😉 ) but my comic reads and purchases are leading by a landslide. A few of the more notable reads during the hiatus include: Jem & the Hologram Comics, Morning Glories Graphic Novels, and The Haunting of Sunshine Girl Novel.

 

Photography’s been keeping me the busiest outside of my day job, between actual photoshoots and hours of editing. I shot a wedding, a superhero birthday party, a pregnant lady, and a little diva! It’s both weird and awesome how much paid work I’ve gotten photography wise, considering how little I broadcast the business. God’s been good to me this way. As I look toward fall, which is notoriously my “busy” season when it comes to pictures, I’m a little nervous about how I’ll juggle it all alongside wedding prep, but I think I might be able to make it happen with designated weekends for taking ALL the pictures. Sort of like Fall Minis or whatever that trend is… I’ll have more on that later if anyone’s interested.

 

VBS CollageI had two opportunities to work on one of my resolutions during the hiatus. First, I shot most of Vacation Bible School at my church. Not only was it fun capturing all the kids being kids, it was awesome to see how excited they got about Jesus. And just how many of them showed up night after night. My small church saw a record breaking number of 106 attendees! That doesn’t even include all the adults who worked or attended the adult class either. At the end of the week there was a slideshow presented with a bunch of my pictures mixed in. My cheeks were sore from all the smiling I did watching the recap of a great week. I hope I get to do even more next year.

 

 

 

Sharing Table CollageI also finally got to volunteer for the Sharing Tables (aka Soup Kitchen) during the hiatus too. I didn’t take my big camera to capture that, just a few camera phone shots, but it is definitely something I want to commit to every time my church participates. We served the 70-some people that showed up lunch and dessert and then, thanks to the goodness of local grocery stores and everyday people donating their goods, every person gets to leave with a bag of food and necessities to get them through the week. These Sharing Tables are open to them every Saturday and while it was really sad to see how many people have to rely on this to eat and live in general, I am so glad such a thing exists for them. It’s disheartening to see just how many people right around me go without; the veterans, the disabled, families with an abundance of children. Their struggle tugged at my heart in a serious way and I left there feeling both humbled and blessed and really happy I got to serve God this way.

 

My toy collection grew somewhat substantially during the hiatus, but that’s probably no surprise. I was extra excited about all the toys I got in June & July though because for the most part I’d pre-ordered them all months ago and even though they weren’t necessarily slated to release all at the same time, they basically did, leaving me with what seemed like days and days’ worth of toy hauls. Toys received include: Inside Out Funko Pops!, Mystery Minis, and Disney Tsum Tsums, Winnie the Pooh Tsum Tsums, The Breakfast Club Funko Pops!, a full case of Garbage Pail Kids Funko Really Big Mystery Minis, Funko 10” GPK Adam Bomb Vinyl Figure, the 17” Monster High Freak Du Chic doll Gooliope Jellington, and Tokidoki’s Unicorno Series 4! You can see pictures of all them HERE!

 

Some random things I did during the hiatus that are worth noting include: Starting two new subscriptions services in addition to my Loot Crate. One was Nerd Block’s latest venture, Comic Block. I’m still not entirely sure how much I’ll love this in the long term, but I think I’ll probably keep it around until I switch back to Horror Block for Halloween. And I also subscribed to a treat service called Universal Yum, which sends you snacks and treats from different places around the world every month. So far I’ve gotten goodies from Mexico & Japan. It’s been really fun tasting places I’ll probably never get to travel to.

 

My tattoos have changed since the last time I was online. I’ve had two sessions to add color behind the leaves and snowflakes and they finally feel complete! I’m hoping to squeeze one more tattoo in before the wedding, so long as schedules and funds work in my favor. If not, I suppose I’ll have to be patient till next year.

 

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Heath and I went to see Cirque Du Soleil’s Varekai. I’ve always wanted to see a Cirque Du Soleil show, but I guess I was ignorant to the fact that they’re entirely in French. Despite having taken 4 years of honor French in high school, I had no freaking idea what was going on. But it sure was pretty and they’re some crazy talented performers. I think before I make too much of a confused judgment on Cirque Du Soleil as a whole, I should probably see another show first and see if I can follow that story a little better.

 

I actually went to the movies. Twice! As someone who loves film as much as I do, you think I’d go more often, but I just can’t justify the cost and am strangely patient in most cases when it comes to waiting for movies to come out on DVD (probably because it happens so fast these days). That being said, I miss the theater. I used to go A LOT and even though it’s crazy how much it costs nowadays, there’s something about seeing it on that big screen that you start to miss. So, Groupon had a deal and Heath and I just picked whatever looked the funniest, which happened to be Amy Schumer’s TRAINWRECK (and it was perfectly hilarious, btw) and we found ourselves at the movies randomly one day after work. I think it’d been a year since I’d been to the movies so it was odd that I’d find myself there again, for a second time, in the same week. But that following weekend my sister called and said, “We asked Gideon who he wanted to go see Minions (his first theater movie) with, Mommy or Daddy? And he said, “Aunt Sarah,” so I don’t know if you wanted to take him or not, but…” And of course my heart was melting and I was all, “I’ll be right there!” God, I love that kid. He was scared initially, of the bigness of the theater, of the darkness (he’s scared of everything new these days, it’s a phase), but once that screen lit up he was so captivated he forgot all about those fears, he even forgot he had an ice cream sandwich in his hand (and no one ever forgets about ice cream). When it was over he was so excited to see it again on that “Big TV.” And I’m excited about the idea of getting to see kids movies in the theater now, because Aunt Sarah will always be willing to take him. 😉

 

I’ve finally started to panic about the wedding and the lack of planning I’ve done for it thus far. It’s 3 months away now and I’ve only just now locked down a photographer and sort of locked down a caterer, but haven’t decided on a menu yet. There’s still so much to do that even thinking about making a to-do list for it all overwhelms me. I’m sorely regretting not taking this more seriously earlier on in the year. It’s still just going to be a laid back, sort of non-traditional wedding (I keep referring to it as a glorified cookout, but it’s definitely more than that), but that still requires serious effort considering I’m making so much of the decorations and whatnot by myself. I’ve really got to get busy.

 

Ocean City CollageThe most exciting thing I did during the hiatus was taking a real vacation for the first time in ages, to the beach for the first time in over a decade. It was only a 3 day getaway, but it was much needed and oh so fulfilling. My parents had rented a giant beach house and my sister’s family and neighbors came down too. Being at the beach again with my entire family had me nostalgic for my youth and all the vacations we took there when I was a kid. Heck, just being on the boardwalk after so long away from it had all the feels buzzing happily inside me. We did all the necessary, OceanCity things; Candy Kitchen’s Fudge, Fisher’s Popcorn, Thrasher’s Fries, Skee-Ball, and Old Time Black & White Photo booth pictures. We walked a ton and ate a really good seafood restaurant called Hooked, and even got to take home some really pretty blown glass ornaments from the Christmas Village my parents have always gotten their own ornaments from. The waves kicked my butt and Heath and I were both so sunburnt we looked like lobsters, but it was incredibly fun and relaxing. Just the long overdue escape from life we needed. I hope my parents get that place again next year. My camera performed like a champ while we were there, and if you’re interested in seeing pictures from the trip, click HERE!

 

This hiatus was good for me, mentally and physically, and while I did miss the internet a little (Okay, that’s kind of a lie. I mostly only missed Twitter – lol.), I think I need to practice staying away from it a little more often. It’s a bad habit I don’t want to let takeover me again. Because even if I didn’t get all the things I thought I would do done in my absence, I still did a heck of a lot more than I would have had I still been wasting all my free time with it. Stuff that was way more fulfilling than the internet’s ever made me feel. Everyone should take a break from time-to-time. It’s good for you to actually live life, you know? Not just watch how other people are living theirs. 😉

 

What have you been up to while I was gone?

 

 

 

 

Review: Breaking Dawn – Part 1


*Warning: Contains Spoliers*

I saw Breaking Dawn today with my sister and mother. It was better than I was anticipating. Out of the series, it wasn’t exactly my favorite book. I thought the whole switch over to Jacob’s point of view was entertaining, but totally unnecessary and the whole build up in the end of this 700 page book is really for nothing in the end. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with it as a closer for such a popular series. But I also didn’t hate it. I did read the series 4 or 5 times so clearly I can’t complain too much.

I rarely feel like movies made out of books live up to the awesomeness that the books are, but I’ve been pretty pleased with the transitions from book to film with this series. Breaking Dawn just might have been the most true to the book film so far. The whole birth of Renesmee and attempt to make Bella a vampire is almost gory in the book, sort of horrific even. The movie left none of this out. Edward ripping the fetus out of Bella with his teeth, then proceeding to stab her in the heart with a needle full of his venom and bite her major arteries – it was all there. Honestly, I was shocked, but in a happy way. The graphic nature of it was what made it so mind blowing in text, seeing it come alive on screen very much like it was in the book was impressive. There had been talk that this movie wouldn’t even happen originally because of this scene. I was glad they didn’t glaze over it and make it fluffy when it wasn’t supposed to be.

On the acting side of this film I’d say all three of the main characters acting ability has vastly improved over the last four films, however the dynamic between Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson just felt awkward. They act so uncomfortable with each other that as a viewer I felt  uncomfortable watching them try to make love for the first time and reach these intimate monuments in their relationship. I was really hoping this part of them would have grown by this movie, but unfortunately for me, they fell flat. Taylor Lautner, on the other hand, may have acted better in this movie than anything else I’ve seen him in. Jacob’s stand against Sam for his Alpha role is very intense and he even sheds tears that are totally believable. I’m not entirely sure how successful his career will be after this phenomenon has ended, but I think he’s really coming into himself as an actor.

Visually this movie was very rewarding; from the beauty that was every girls dream wedding to the insane amount of action between the werewolves and vampires. Even the littlest things like the color of the Cullen’s eyes fading from golden to black when they’re starving (a detail they failed at in previous films) and Bella’s extreme deterioration as her baby eats her alive from the womb were really vivid. Most appealing was Bella’s final deadly skeletal look healing, filling out, and regaining color when Edward’s venom finally starts to change her. The CGI team on these films does spectacular work. The only gripe I would have with the visual aspect is the lack of glitter. Sure, lots of people have a serious hatred towards vampires who sparkle, but it’s how they were written – its part of what made their story unique enough to become the phenomenon that it is. Sadly, not once while on their honeymoon and basking openly in the sun did Edward’s skin shimmer. To me, it was a failure on their part to leave this trade mark feature out of the film.

The soundtrack for this film, while good, felt very different than all its predecessors. Previously a lot of indie rock bands were used in setting the tone of the Twilight world, but this latest film was full of upbeat poppy songs. I suppose given the general happier context of the film (or at least the beginning of it), upbeat happier music makes sense, but I am just having a hard time accepting how the lead songs went from Paramore, Death Cab for Cutie, & Muse in the previous films to Bruno Mars in this one. No offense to Bruno Mars, he’s great and all, but at least the other three lead songs all sort of fit in the same class. Bruno’s not part of that genre. I’m a fan of all sorts of music so I’m not disappointed with the soundtrack at all I’m just confused over why its overall sound changed so drastically as a whole for the series. Also, I was sad to see that Muse in particular, after being such an influence to the writing of these books and being featured on the previous three soundtracks, apparently didn’t make the cut for its finale. I will say one really cool thing about this film was it’s usage of some of the more memorable songs from important moments in the previous films for example: during the wedding scene the song, “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron & Wine, from the first film’s prom scene played. It was a nice way to make their relationship come full circle with music alone.

Overall, I really enjoyed this latest installment in The Twilight Saga. Originally I couldn’t imagine how or why there was a need to break the book into two movies, but I really enjoyed the breaking point. It leaves you with a great cliffhanger for those who haven’t read the books and for those that have it gives you a little reminder of what’s to come after the credits roll. It’s hard to believe in just a year this series will have reached its end, but I’m feeling pretty confident now that they will do it justice.

Click the following titles for my previous reviews on New Moon & Eclipse.

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Christmas Movie Collections

Every Christmas I typically treat myself to a Christmas movie to add to my growing Christmas collection. For some reason Christmas movies are never cheap and I always feel bad about splurging on myself during the holiday season when I should be spending all of my money on my friends and family so I limit myself to one a year. Because of this though, my collection is still semi-shabby. I own my absolute favorites though and then a few I’ve grown to love over the years.

I’m going to try to put them in order starting with my most favorite, but whatever waits at the end of this list is by no means my least favorite. With Christmas movies, it’s just hard not to love them all.

1. A Christmas Story
2. White Christmas
3. It’s a Wonderful Life
4. Miracle on 34th Street (The original)
5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
6. The Grinch who stole Christmas (Both the Cartoon & Jim Carrey Version)
7. Home Alone
8. Elf
9. The Santa Clause (All 3)
10. The Polar Express
11. This Christmas
12. Christmas with the Kranks

Movies that would definitely make this list, but I have still yet to purchase would be A Charlie Brown Christmas & A Christmas Carol (The Original). Maybe one of those will be my treat to myself this year. :)

Since I don’t have enough movies to watch one each day leading up to Christmas, I try to spread them out evenly across the month. And even though I listed them starting with my favorite, I typically watch this list in reverse. Watching A Christmas Story is a must on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (and TBS usually makes it impossible to miss even if I didn’t own the DVD).

So, LJ friends, what are your favorite Christmas movies and/or what’s in your personal collection?

Peace – Sarah

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Plans for the weekend?

So I just finished watching “The Runaways” starring Kristen Stewart & Dakota Fanning. I’m really not a fan of Kristen Stewart’s, but I must admit if there’s a role meant for her, it was Joan Jett. However, I was confused why the movie seemed to focus so much on Cheri Curry over Joan Jett when the talented musician of the group was Joan. With all that said, it was still a decent movie and has put me in that hardcore bad-tough girl mood, (Which I’m SOOO a fan of) therefore I’m listening to Pat Benatar.

I know, you’re thinking Pat Benatar is not Joan Jett. WTF, Sarah? The answer to your question is that when I was growing up my parents were still youngin’s themselves and my Mom LOVED Pat Benatar, therefore I LOVE Pat Benatar. It’s not to say that I don’t love Joan Jett too, but Pat was in my youth more than Joan, until I personally got into Joan on my own…. So Pat it is. (Look, I’m a child of the 80’s okay, deal with it.)

Moving on….

As for my weekend plans – here’s what’s on my agenda:

1. Saturday – Hopefully wake early to write. My goal for the weekend as a whole is 6,000 words (which is ¾ of my month’s goal) because I’m running out of time for the month and I need to get on this. PLUS I’ve been playing out the next two scenes/chapters for days on the rides to work so it *should* be easy to finish. (I hope)

Then around 5ish I am going to my parents for my grandparent’s 50th anniversary party. I can’t tell you how proud it makes me to not only have parents still together, but grandparents (on both sides) still together too. Seriously, why is this lost to our society? What happened to love – forever? It makes me proud of them so I’m very much looking forward to it. And, bonus – my sister and her boyfriend will just be returning from Vegas so I’m eager to hear how that went and see all the pictures (because I’m a picture kind of freak).

Then maybe more writing when I return? We’ll see I suppose. I did start reading “The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel” by Michael Scott today at lunch and I MUST say it’s already really good so I may just end up reading for the night. This will be my 4th book for the month which is good IMO and for this month especially since I felt bad about buying more books than I intended. (P.S. “Need” by Carrie Jones was spectacular, just saying. Thanks edgyauthor for the suggestion! The review I do later will tell you all about that spectacular nature :P)

2. Sunday – Hopefully I’ll write some more. This is the first weekend I’m absolutely devoting to writing (according to my revelation about not being a good writer throughout the week the other day). I truly hope I meet my 6,000 words, but deep inside I’m hoping I meet my entire months goal so that anything that happens next weekend is completely bonus and I can do a whole “Like Whoa” post… I feel so behind everyone else and even behind myself. This time last year I had so much completed. It shouldn’t be taking this long so it’s time to buckle down and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Write damn it, write!

Okay… in addition to the plans listed above – I must find time to get an oil change at some point and do the rest of the grocery shopping (which BTW I’m incredibly poor this payday with only 76 bucks left to survive on for the next two weeks. I don’t know how I’ll do it, but I am going to make it happen!) I also need to do the two loads of laundry I always face on weekends (but this certainly doesn’t matter to you as readers) and well… maybe that’s finally it.

So that’s my plans. It shouldn’t be incredibly hard. I mean I barely listed anything note worthy, but sleep summons me because I lack it so much throughout the week and for this reason it’s likely that my goals will be accomplished in shorter time frames than I anticipate. I hope I’m wrong, but I know me and I’m so damn tired. Always. Even on nights when I manage to get to bed at reasonable hours I wake up every hour with the most ridiculous nightmares it unbelievable. Dreams are nice and all, but damn they can exhaust you more than you already are. This has been my week.

So…. What are all my readers’ plans for the weekend? Anything more exciting than mine? I’d like to hear about it if so. If you’re not willing to share, I hope you enjoy it regardless. That’s what the weekends are for after all, right?

Peace – Sarah

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P.S. m-stiefvater made #1 NYT Bestseller this week with “Linger”. I knew that was going to happen (what, I did?) but still I’m incredibly proud of her – as if I know her personally or something. Either way it was worth mentioning because I TOTALLY LOVED “Linger” and apparently so did the world (or the US at least). Being an aspiring writer myself, I just feel immensely happy for her – especially because despite her fame – she still remains – forever – a remarkably humble-regular kind of Maggie. She deserves it more than most people (IMO). And she goes out of her way to teach menial beings like myself and so forever I am grateful. She deserves some kind of recognition for that, right?

P.S.S. In truth I listened to 3 different Pat Benatar songs during this post, but the last one on repeat is listed. The other two were: “Love is a Battlefield” –AND- “You Better Run”. That’s all. Listen to them if you don’t know Pat girls… you’ll love it. Believe me, she’s so bad ass just like Joan.

P.S.S.S. Damn it – I was trying to post this before midnight, but I FAILED.

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One Heck of a Birthday!

Tuesday – Dinner with the family at PF Changs. Got to see my sister & her boyfriend for the first time in a while which was nice and there was the usual embarrassment/comedy of my father and grandfather taunting the waitress. It was quite fun. Also tried Red Velvet Cake for the first time – Yum!


Wednesday – Arctic Monkeys Concert at Ram’s Head Live with my mom. Ram’s Head Live was a really nice venue. It used to be BAR of Baltimore and The Improv Comedy Club side by side. I’d been to both of them, but never Ram’s Head as a whole. It was hard to imagine it the way it used to be.

The opening band was Sleepy Sun and for some reason I never have much faith in opening bands, but Sleepy Sun was REALLY good. Like 70’s Psychedelic rock good, and go figure they’re from San Fran. Mom really enjoyed them too. She was sitting down for a little bit while I watched against the railing. She was text messaging me to make sure I was okay with her sitting down for a minute (being the good mother that she is). Then the following text messages went something like this.

ME: That song was good, but that girl dances like she’s on drugs.
MOM: That’s EXACTLY what I was going to say. Very good, but she looks like she’s on acid.
(I laugh out loud and the girl next to me tries to read my phone)
ME: LOL. Prolly is.
(Some girl and her boyfriend try to creep up on my spot against the railing, but I hold my ground.)
MOM: Don’t let those people push you out. I’ll come down and whip some butt.
ME: LOL. I’m fine mom – you’re cracking me up with these messages.
MOM: I know I’m soooo COOL :)

She is too funny.


So then Arctic Monkeys came on and WOW. I was so excited to be there for my birthday! The instruments were a little too loud unfortunately over Alex Turner’s voice, but it was still great and they even played more older songs than I would have expected which makes me happy because I like the old fast stuff. You weren’t supposed to bring a camera in so taking my Canon Rebel XTS was out of the question. And mom panicked about me sneaking my Nikon Coolpix L6 in. She said, “You’re just like your dad, always breaking the rules.” Kind of funny considering I was the goody to shoo child – lol. In the end they didn’t even check bags and everyone and their brother had a camera or their phone in the air. I’m not sure what the point of even saying No Cameras was. Anyway, the pictures are terrible, but you can view them HERE.

Thursday – My Actual Birthday. Heath and I went to see Clash of the Titans in 3D – which was very good, but I wasn’t sure what the point of seeing it in 3D was. All of the action scenes happened too fast for you to get the 3D effect and there really wasn’t anything else jumping out of the screen aside from that. Regardless it was a very good movie and my day as a whole was very relaxing :)

Gifts – So I’ve already talked about the gifts I received this year several times because they were books and I couldn’t help myself. But I did get a few other things such as a pretty new box to store my writing stuff in (which is a huge upgrade from the COPY paper box I was using), my aunt gave me some really pretty Tulips, and the girls at work got me some balloons!

Isn’t that just the coolest bookmark? Gives me ideas for the publication of my book one day :)

Sorry for all of the pictures, I was in a picture kind of mood.

Peace – Sarah

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