Friday Favorites

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Happy Friday friends! On the off chance you’re facing some free time this weekend and don’t know what to do with yourself (besides nap!), I’ve compiled a list of my current favorites in entertainment!

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Reading: The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

This novel is about the women of a family coming together to solve their individual problems by spending a month at their old beach cottage. Old romances are rekindled, loved ones are lost, and former feuds come to a head. It’s the perfect fluff-book reading material you need for a day at the beach!

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin

Watching: Grace and Frankie

This Netflix original series is about two women who strike up an unlikely friendship after their husbands leave them – for each other. It’s incredibly funny, heartwarming, and sometimes outright bizarre. My roommate and I binged this in a week flat. Check it out on Netflix!

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Listening To: Jekyll and Hyde by the Zac Brown Band // The TED Radio Hour

Musically, I’m checking out The Zac Brown Band’s new album, Jekyll and Hyde. Be forewarned: it’s country music. They’ve got some unusual tracks on it which feature guest artists; it’s a break from their usual country-folk-reggae sound. My personal favorite: Loving You Easy.

Podcast-wise, I can’t get enough of ‘The TED Radio Hour’. It seems like every time I throw on an episode of the gym, I learn a lesson or find new motivation. The host, Guy Raz, takes the highlights from every talk and sits down to interview each lecturer. I promise you’ll walk away having learned something new!

A happy weekend to all, and to all – a nap.

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That Grey Area: Why I saw 50 Shades

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At first, I wasn’t going to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, I’d read the books (sadly, that’s plural) when they came out. Yes, everyone and their mother has been simply agog about the titillating teasers that have been gracing the net. But I wasn’t going to do it. Why not? Because suddenly my Facebook feed was blowing up with posts like this:

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“‘It’s domestic violence dressed up as a sexy fantasy.'”

Yuck.

So when my best friend called me up and asked if I wanted to see it, I said no thanks. It wouldn’t feel right to give them my money. But as I was speaking these words to her, my brain started kicking into gear.

I won’t know unless I actually go and judge it for myself.

Then:

And I could write a blog post about it, so it could count as research.

In the same breath as saying no, I said yes, I’d go.

We ended up sneaking into a later showing than we’d bought reserved seats for, seeing as we arrived 30 minutes late. We didn’t want to miss a second of it. The lights dimmed, the previews were shown, and two hours later, we were walking out slightly dazed.

Here’s what I thought. As a side note, let’s focus solely on the movie, and put the books aside for a second.

** Warning: The Next Section May Include Plot Spoilers **

The Bad

  • Don’t count on this movie winning an Oscar anytime soon. The lines were sometimes laughable, and as I’m racking my brain, I can’t think of the plot as being anything more than their love story. What was Ana trying to do with her life? Not much, I guess.
  • Christian Grey is a controlling man with some seriously creepy ideas of romance, such as letting himself into Ana’s house without her knowledge.
  • Additionally, he does get her a computer and a car and follows her on her visit to her mom’s place. Like I said, controlling. And off putting.

The Good

  • I saw consent throughout the movie. He goes over the safe words they use more than once, and they even have a formal meeting about what she is and is not comfortable with. Anything she axes, he agrees to.
  • Dakota Johnson brought a life to Ana’s character that was refreshingly unexpected. Keep your eyes peeled for the ‘drunken call scene’, it was one of our favorites!
  • When she says stop, everything stops. She says leave, he leaves.
  • It was steamy. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Let me state here that I am not an expert on BDSM practices. I do know consent, though, and while Christian could be creepy, he seemed to follow the rules when it came to ‘yes means yes and no means no’.

As for being controlling? I don’t want to defend the character here, seeing as control is usually a factor in domestic abuse. However. Part of the whole premise is that Christian comes from a bad past. His birth mother was a drug addict and he saw a lot of messed up things in his childhood. Then his adoptive mother’s friend raped him when he was 15. Thus it seems only natural that he – as a character – craves control in his life. When and what he eats, how his company is run, his exercise routine. And it makes sense that this would carry over into his relationships.

Again, the controlling aspect is not okay, by any means.

And Ana balks at it! She hates it! It makes her feel trapped and kept and uncomfortable. She doesn’t like it when he chases her down to her mother’s house. She has an incredibly hard time trying to accept Christian’s tastes in the bedroom. It’s screwed up – all of it – and they both acknowledge this and try to work through it. He starts to change a little for her (several times the notion that he’s never let anyone else sleep in his bed with him before comes up).

Ana, on her end, tries to be open to his BDSM. At one point, she wants him to show her what the worst case scenario could be, so she can fully understand what she’s signing up for.

And you know what? She hates it. She doesn’t understand. She tells him he will never do that to her again. And she leaves. And that’s that.

This movie is imperfect – very imperfect – and in many ways lives up to the hype of being “mommy porn”. In it, though, I saw two worlds colliding and struggling to stay together, despite their differences. I saw a young woman stand up for her body and her wants, and that alone earned my $15.00 AMC ticket.

 

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Together At Last

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You’ll never believe it (because I hardly can), but I’m home on the east coast for the holidays! Currently, I’m cozied up on the couch in front of a blazing fire and our decorated tree, cuddling with my Pomeranian, Fritz. Yesterday was my family’s crazy annual Christmas party, where we eat junk food and each buy one ornament. It was amazing to see everyone at last, and it felt like I’d never been away at all.

While I have a lot to look forward to this vacation, there is one person I’m extra especially excited to see – my boyfriend! It’s been a year since we’ve seen each other. Yep, you read that right. One. Whole. Year. Probably almost to the day. A bit of background for you: my BF and I got together right after I graduated high school (he was the grade below me), and then he went into the Marine Corps immediately after he graduated. At first we went about
three months without seeing each other, while he was in boot camp. Gradually, the stretches got longer and longer, and for the last two years we’ve only seen each other at Christmas, when we return to NH. Oh, did I mention he’s stationed in Hawaii?

Most people I tell this to jump to the conclusion that we’re either crazy or 100% soul mates. I’ll be honest – while in many ways, being long distance is difficult, it’s kind of lazy dating. We don’t have to make plans every week with one another, or worry about how our schedules or work or travel will affect one another. The normal every day wear and

Our Hawaiian Christmas, 2012

Our Hawaiian Christmas, 2012

tear that comes with a relationship spent in the same time zone is nonexistent for us.

That being said, we’ve worked hard for the relationship we do have. What’s worked for us is being upfront about issues that have come up. My BF is not great at communication. In fact, he’s down right horrible at it.  Sometimes, getting him to call me has been like pulling teeth. Not that he doesn’t want to chat with me, he’s just a little uncomfortable on the phone. I, on the other hand, could talk your ear off if you’d let me. What we’ve found is a comfortable middle ground – texting and Snapchat are our primary go-to’s, but he knows to call me at least every other week to say hi.

While we continue to work on communication, honesty is something we’ve had since day one. I remember the night we went to dinner, right before he enlisted, and he asked me to lay all of my cards out on the table. How was I feeling about everything? he wanted to know. Did I want to be with a guy that was going into the military, bound for destinations unknown? I told him I was hesitant at first, but I wanted to give it a try, at the very least.

That was four years ago. Since then, we’ve been careful to check in with one another, see how we’re doing with the distance. We agreed that if at any point we found someone else who was a little closer, we would be upfront about it and not lead the other person to think you were still 100% involved.

So far though, so good. Obviously, long distance isn’t for everyone, but we seem to have found our rhythm with it. In fact, I’m almost nervous to see him, because we’re both a year older and (hopefully) a year wiser. In many ways, we’ve changed. Sometimes I worry I’ve forgotten little important details about him – how he likes his eggs, his favorite shows, his cologne. While the future is still unknown, in regards to both of our career trajectories, we’re hoping this is one of the last years we spend so much time apart. Two days until he’s stateside!!! I can hardly wait.

May your holidays be filled with love, laughter, and lots of sugar this year.

 

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I apologize for the brevity and the slight repetitiveness of this post.

I am currently ending day 15 of my 19 straight day work week. I am cuddling up in hotel number 11 and just showered in what now takes the record for the most vile bathroom on the East coast. As you can imagine, I am entering into a very zombified state. Also, I am really appreciating the world I have waiting for me: my home. Being so far removed from my home has sharpened its definition and has increased my desire to return to it.

It is not so much the physical structure or the decor that signals its ownership. It is not directly the work or the schedule that I hold while I am there. It is the feeling. It is the feeling of belonging and of being needed. It is the comfort and security to be myself. It is knowing that I am missed and loved. I realize more and more that home holds no physical definition but is a feeling that I keep.

When I land back in Logan, I want to fully experience the feelings of my home. I am reminded of the appreciation I must show for the things and the home that I have. I plan to make the most of it by cuddling up in my own bed and taking the most glorious shower on my much anticipated day off. Wish me luck!

Jess (2)

Phenomenal Women

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I am who I am for many different reasons – because of where I grew up, who my friends were, who my parents are, the decade in which I was born into – the list goes on and on. There is, however, one group of people that I am especially grateful to, and that is the collection of strong and amazing women I have surrounding me in my life. From my friends, to my aunts, to mentors I’ve had at school, these women have been my inspiration and role models.

I currently stand at 5’11” and weigh more than any of my shorter friends ever have, and because of this I’ve always felt more gangly than pretty. Being painfully shy at times made me feel out of touch with others. At times, I thought my glasses were the strongest feature in my face, and all I had going for me were my grades. When those didn’t go the way I wanted them to, I felt like I had nothing to offer anyone.

Each time I’ve fallen and stumbled, I’ve had these aunts and cousins and friends and grandmothers and mentors to rally around me and pick me back up. They taught me that I shouldn’t – couldn’t – compare myself to others, that I was powerful and articulate and funny, and that in the darkest of times we are our own best ally.

These are the women I aspire to be more like on a daily basis. I would name them for you here, BUT in case they’re following along with this post, I won’t. This is because today, I wanted to write to each of these women individually and thank them for being apart of my life.

I would, though, like to start with a letter to my cousin Jess, with whom I share this blog ❤

 

Dear Jess,

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am that we embarked on this blogging journey together! I’ve secretly been your biggest fan since probably the day I was born. Sadly, though, my favorite way of expressing this when we were younger was by joining up with Corey and making your life more difficult.

I have always admired your candor, your strength, and the way in which you’ve always wholeheartedly chased your passions. You were a chef and an athlete, an RA, a dancer, a blogger564339_10153213174785157_43783420_n, and so much more. Know that I have always looked up to you and wished that I was half as personable (and thrifty!) as you are.

I especially want to thank you for consistently having made me feel like I mattered. You were the first person I went to with all of my angsty teenage questions, and you never failed to answer them. You were there to prep me and send me off to my first prom, attended many of my interestingly staged school plays, and welcomed me to real adulthood on my 21st.

I love you, and I look forward to all the future adventures we have in store together. I know that at times, the future seems pretty uncertain, but I know you’re going to come through it unscathed & unfazed. Never stop being so honest, caring, and beautiful inside and out!

Love,

Aubrey