love week | fictional guys i’d totally marry.

Hello all!  Welcome to the week of Valentine’s Day, which usually finds me and my single friends eating chocolate and watching sappy movies.  (The same can probably be said of you, too, if you’re single – don’t even try to lie to me.)  This week, I’m going to be indulging in all things romantic, because even if I’m not in a relationship, I can at least enjoy the fictional people who are, right?

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I was going to write a blog post on my favorite fictional couples, but it turns out I already did that (and my post is pretty dang great, so check it out).  I’ve also done post after post after post about being single (going twenty-two years strong, how’s that for a RECORD), so read those, too.

So since my sister is getting flowers from a male non-relative who likes her for the second year in a row, I’m going to think about all the fictional guys I’d totally marry if they existed.

No judgment, guys.  You and I both know that I have Standards and A List, and I probably wouldn’t actually marry half of these guys, but it’s fun to pretend, so… no judgment.

Anne-and-Gil-talking.jpgGilbert Blythe | Anne of Green Gables

Because who the crap could resist those beautiful eyes, that dazzling smile, and just his entire winning personality???  Anne tried, but couldn’t for long.  He’d tease you but he’d also love the heck outta you.  I’m down for that.

“There would never be anyone for me but you. “

Levi Stewart | Fangirl

This one’s obvious – he loves books (even though he can’t read very well), he’s a fanboy, he’s super sweet and super funny, and he works at Starbucks and makes his own unique drinks – which he brings to Cather.  I mean, it’s a win-win-win.

When she opened her door, Levi was sitting in the hallway, his legs bent in front of him, hunched forward on his knees. He looked up when she stepped out.
“I’m such an idiot,” he said.
Cath fell between his knees and hugged him.
“I can’t believe I said that,” he said. “I can’t even go nine hours without seeing you.”

Neville Longbottom | Harry Potter

Nev wasn’t much to look at when he was younger (I blame it on the fake teeth and fatsuits they put Matt in, because he wasn’t that ugly in the book) and he’s a tad forgetful, but he’s got a heart of gold.  Plus, he bailed Harry out more than once.  What’s not to love?

“I’ll join you when Hell freezes over,” said Neville. “Dumbledore’s Army!” he shouted, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd, whom Voldemort’s Silencing Charms seemed unable to hold.

HIS. EYES..pngPeeta Mellark | The Hunger Games

M’KAY, listen UP.  My college/career Bible study got into a heated debate about Gale vs. Peeta and I’m pretty sure Team Peeta won because (1) he saved Katniss’s life more than once, (2) Gale basically killed Prim, and (3) he’s such a strong guy – physically, emotionally, and mentally.  I’ll always be Team Peeta.

“We were five. You had a plaid dress and your hair…it was in two braids instead of one. … So that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot right up in the air. She put you up on a stool and had you sing it for us. And I swear, ever bird outside the windows fell silent. And right when your song ended, I knew -just like your mother- I was a goner.”

Faramir | Lord of the Rings

My siblings and I just recently introduced some friends to Lord of the Rings, and watching the extended versions all over again rekindled my love for this man.  He’s selfless, sacrificial, and willing to do anything for those he loves (even his deadbeat dad, who doesn’t love him at all).  Move over, Eowyn – I’d marry this guy so hard.

“Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor?” she said. “And would you have your proud folk say of you: ‘There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Numenor to choose?”
“I would,” said Faramir. And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many.

Mac Campbell | Rose in Bloom

If you know who this guy is, bless you.  He’s a bookworm, super smart, and just the sweetest little pumpkin that there ever was.  The first time I read Eight Cousins, I knew I loved him, and Rose in Bloom just cemented my adoration for this guy.

“What have you decided to be, Mac?” asked Rose, as they went up the avenue side by side.
“A man first, and a good one if possible; after that, what God pleases.”
Something in the tone, as well as the words, made Rose look up quickly into Mac’s face, to see a new expression there.  It was indescribable; but she felt as if she had often done when watching the mists part suddenly, giving glimpses of some mountaintop, shining serene and high against the blue.
“I think you will be something splendid; for you really look quite glorified, walking under this arch of yellow leaves with the sunshine on your face,” she exclaimed, conscious of a sudden admiration never felt before; for Mac was the plainest of all the cousins.
“I don’t know about that; but I have my dreams and aspirations, and some of them are pretty high ones.  Aim at the best, you know, and keep climbing if you want to get on,” he said, looking at the asters with an inward sort of smile, as if he and they had some sweet secret between them.

dylan-dylan-ox27brien-hot-sexy-beast-Favim.com-1068521.pngStiles Stalinski | Teen Wolf

Here’s where my “no judgment” rule comes in.  Don’t ask how I found this show, why I started watching it, or how far into it I am.  Never mind, I’ll give you one answer – I started watching it because of Dylan O’Brien, whom I love, which is obviously the reason why I love Stiles.  He’s hilarious, loyal, and – as much as he denies it – heroic.

“The ten-year plan for making Lydia fall in love with me may have to stretch to fifteen, but the plan is definitely still in motion.”

Chandler Bing | F.R.I.E.N.D.S

I don’t love Chandler as much as I am him, which is probably why our marriage wouldn’t last a year, but I’d still take him.  I’ve always wanted to marry a funny guy, and Chandler is a million times that, plus he’s got a super-sweet heart and a genuinely caring spirit.  I’ll take it, even if it’d only last a little while.  (But then I’d give him back to Monica because they’re my otp.)

“I thought that it mattered what I said or where I said it. Then I realized the only thing that matters is that you, you make me happier than I ever thought I could be.  And if you’ll let me, I will spend the rest of my life trying to make you feel the same way.  Monica, will you marry me?”

Shawn Hunter | Boy Meets World

SHAWN IS MY PRECIOUS BABY AND I WILL LOVE HIM ‘TIL THE DAY I DIE.  No kidding, I liked him in the first episode, but I really loved him around Episode 17 – The Fugitive (you know, the episode where he blows up a mailbox).  I just want to love and protect him and give him everything he ever deserved that the world never gave him.  Everything – and I do mean everything – went wrong for him, yet he emerged stronger than anyone thought possible.  GAH.

Cory: Okay, so after the prom, romance in the air, you and Angela, you’re gonna look in each other’s eyes, and…
Shawn: Me and Angela? I don’t know. Maybe. What do you think, we sat down and discussed it? How dorky do you think we are? What about you and Topanga?
Cory: We sat down and discussed it.

Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-Chris-Evans1.jpgSteve Rogers | Captain America

Chivalric hero from the ’40s with a super hot body?  Heck yes I would.

Peggy: You have no idea how to talk to a woman, do you?
Steve: I think this is the longest conversation I’ve had with one.  Women aren’t exactly lining up to dance with a guy they might step on.
Peggy: You must have danced…
Steve: Well, asking a woman to dance always seemed so terrifying.  And in the past few years, it just didn’t seem to matter that much.  Figured I’d wait.
Peggy: For what?
Steve: Right partner.

Sir Percy Blakeney | The Scarlet Pimpernel

The same exact sentence for the guy above could literally be used for Percy, so… heck yes I would again.  I own four (4) copies of The Scarlet Pimpernel, various paperback copies of the other books, and I think I’ve read ten out of the sixteen books (and El Dorado is the best).  I love this guy.

Had he but turned back then, and looked out once more on to the rose-lit garden, she would have seen that which would have made her own sufferings seem but light and easy to bear–a strong man, overwhelmed with his own passion and despair. Pride had given way at last, obstinacy was gone: the will was powerless. He was but a man madly, blindly, passionately in love and as soon as her light footstep had died away within the house, he knelt down upon the terrace steps, and in the very madness of his love he kissed one by one the places where her small foot had trodden, and the stone balustrade, where her tiny hand had rested last.

George Knightley | Emma

My first reading of this book (don’t hate me; I’m just now going through my classics phase) basically cemented my love for this guy – and also the fact that Jonny Lee Miller will always be the best Knightley fIGHT ME.

“I cannot make speeches, Emma:” he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing.—“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am.—You hear nothing but truth from me.—I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.—Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover.—But you understand me.—Yes, you see, you understand my feelings—and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice.”

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Jack Pearson | This is Us

Jess who?  Move over, kid – Milo’s back and this time he’s even better than you.  Jack is literally the best male character on the small screen today.  Dad goals, husband goals, friend goals – just everything goals.  In the words of Rebecca, his oh-so-lucky wife, he’s “freaking Superman.”  I’ve loved gushing over him with my mom friends at the preschool playground and I know that I’ll still be gushing over him over the next few years as the show progresses.

“You know, when I was a little boy, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Adults always ask little kids that.  I never had a good answer – not ’til I was twenty-eight.  Until the day that I met you.  That’s when I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wanted to be the man that made you happy.”

What about you?  Any men you’d totally take?  I claim all of these guys, though… at least ’til I find an actual real-life male non-relative to obsess over.  😉

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year in review: 2016.

{this post is finally done.  i feel like it’s taken me forever to write it, and it’ll take you almost as long to read it.  so i’m sorry, and if you read the whole thing… bless you.}

Can we agree that 2016 was just an all-around bad year?  I mean this for the world in general.  So many deaths and shootings – not to mention the atrocity that was the US presidential election.

{Side Tangent: In a previous draft, I said something about Carrie Fisher being okay.  Well, that’s not true anymore (for Debbie Reynolds, either) and I don’t know how to process that.  I’ve thought about it a lot and I think the reason there have been so many celebrity deaths this year is because God’s reminding us that our time here is so limited.  When we were young, we felt so infinite.  The days were long and death seemed so far away.  But that’s not true.  I’m not going to remind you to spend your time wisely because I know you’ve heard it before.  So just… cherish it.  And know that we’re all a little less infinite than we think we are.}

My personal year wasn’t quite as bad, and I think it ends up fitting with my year-long prayer, taken from this song:

“God, it has been quite a year-
I’ve lived a little bit and I’ve died a little more.
I know that I’ve asked it before,
But please let the scale tip here in my favor.”

I think it has.  This year has been full of disappointments and things that stress me out (pretty sure I had a full-on anxiety attack back in July and let. me. tell. you – that was not fun).  Even so, this year has been full of really good firsts – first crush I’ve told people about, first trip to Universal (and two trips to Disney whattheevenheck), first girls-only trip…  It’s been good.  Though I’ve had my fair share of bad things, I know I’m better for it.  While I wish some things hadn’t happened, I’m glad they shaped me into the person I am today.

Regardless of how terrible the year has been, at least we made it this far, right?

As always, this yearly review is mostly just for me to look back on throughout the year, and you can read the whole thing or just skim it.  (And, if you’re interested, here are the links to the other years I’ve done: 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015.)

January

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my siblings and i // first day at disney

February

  • Studied a heck ton, nannied a heck ton
  • Younger siblings went to a retreat, so I had a special time with my older sister and my parents, watching movies that they’re not allowed to watch yet and talking about Stuff.
  • Hosted a single-girls Valentine’s Day party (where we ate cookies and watched Julie & Julia) and chaperoned (from afar) as my sister got roses from a guy.
  • Discovered About Time – aka one of my favorite movies ever.
  • Went to Disney World for the first time in 15 years with the fam
  • Met the Taylors
  • Studied: American Lit CLEP (1/16-2/16) // Principles of Marketing CLEP (2/16-3/16) // BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16)
  • Read: More Happy Than NotThe Help, and Me Before You
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my thoughts during a Starbucks study session and my unplanned Valentine’s Day series – twelve ships I ship, a mushy snippet from my novel, and my thoughts on love

March

  • Again, studied and nannied a heck ton
  • Bought Jordan Taylor’s album (because I felt more connected after meeting him, duh)
  • Rediscovered Sherlock (long story)
  • Freaked out about all of the Mother’s Day posts on Instagram, only to discover that it was just Mother’s Day in the UK.  (However, since I was out of the house, I bought flowers and surprised my mom with them.  I’ll definitely be doing that again this year.)
  • BECAME A SENIOR
  • Ups and downs with my sleeping habits (definitely something I’m going to fix next year)
  • Discovered Downton Abbey and Mission Impossible
  • Watched the livestream of Daddy Long Legs, one of my favorite musicals
  • Uploaded first video to YouTube (you’ll have to hunt it down bc I’m not leaving the link here LOL)
  • In charge while Mom & Dad went to a marriage conference for a week (during which I watched too much Downton Abbey and stayed up too late)
  • Studied: Principles of Marketing CLEP (2/16-3/16) // BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16)
  • Read: The Boxcar ChildrenFar from the Madding Crowd, Frindle, A Thief in the Theater, Red Rising, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikryand The Bronte Plot
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my big post about my thoughts on Harry Potter, my “flatmates” story, my thoughts about romanticizing the past, and my 5-years-in-the-making blog post, “movies i don’t like.

April

  • Watched the High School Musical movies with a friend
  • Went to the first wedding of the year (and first since 2014, I think)
  • Started watching more movies by myself (bc I’m tired of waiting on my siblings and bc I have a brother whose opinion we have to consider) (movies include 17 Again, 13 Going On 30, and Napoleon Dynamite)
  • Literally have a note in my journal that says “2pm-3pm – Question Everything.”  Basically, yeah.
  • Discovered The Great British Baking Show.  HECK YES.
  • Had coffee with a friend and talked about her recent engagement, told her I didn’t have any guys in my life and wasn’t going to be interested in any until I graduated, Discovered A Guy that night (again, long story)
  • Officially met one of my new best friends
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16)
  • Read: Roomies, All the Bright Places, After Youand Golden Son
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my uber- nostalgic “favorite childhood movies” post, the snippet from my novel, The Boy and the Theatre Girl, and my ranty defense of CollegePlus students
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me & the twins

May

  • Submersed myself in blog posts about singleness and contentment due to aforementioned guy
  • Changed DSST after studying for a month (a first and a last)
  • Texted aforementioned best friend’s younger sister (with whom I’ll become good friends but won’t meet ’til September)
  • Learned how to cheat the system with college coursework – aka befriend the prof and say yes when she lets you submit part of your novel instead of several different assignments.  FISTPUMP.
  • Started a tough time with one of my best friends (drama goes down)
  • Dad’s intern arrived for the summer
  • Started officially going to a church
  • Discovered Friends and Taylor Swift (entire discography instead of just the ones on the radio)
  • Made a summer bucket list for the first time
  • Enrolled in Thomas Edison State University
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16) // BYU’s Creative Writing (5/16-7/16)
  • Read: Golden Son, The Raven Boys, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here (which I loved enough to review on my blog as well)
  • Favorite Blog Posts: my reasoning behind taking off my purity ring (which got so much more feedback than I ever expected ohmygosh), my review of the gloriousness that was Captain America: Civil War, and my addition to the flame war behind that random dude’s “open letter to Rey” (which by the way, lemme say again, ugh)

June

  • Younger sister graduated from high school and we have a pretty awesome dance party
  • Taught myself how to play ukulele
  • Started going to Starbucks with my sister during the second hour of church (since there isn’t a Sunday morning class for college/career young adults)
  • Discovered Waitress during the Tony Awards (Hamilton won the other 11!)
  • Surprised with a weekend visit from one of my best childhood friends
  • Gave in to the stereotypes and got a Snapchat
  • Broke ground on our new house
  • Drove back and forth with my sister instead of staying at our grandparents’ for a whole week like we usually do (a first)
  • Had two entire days to myself, in which I did school, watched movies, cooked lunch for myself, and blasted Imagine Dragons
  • GOT A FRIKKIN LETTER FROM LIN MANUEL MIRANDA
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing for Children and Adolescents (2/16-6/16) // BYU’s Creative Writing (5/16-7/16) // Marriage and the Family TCEP (6/16-7/16)
  • Read: The Rosie Project, Extraordinary, and The Rosie Effect
  • Favorite Blog Posts: fangirling about tøp after being a fan for a year and a short story I wrote for school (“my best friend’s brother”)
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our awesome car on the way back from WIT

July

  • Studied and wrote like crazy
  • WITAlive again, this time without my older sister and with a car of friends (and I was a co-leader at a table this year!)
  • Wrote some poetry for the first time (including a sonnet based on Gilmore Girls)
  • Watched my “little” brother star in The Pied Piper of Hamlin at a local theatre
  • Had a movie date with a friend every two weeks or so (during the entire summer)
  • Witnessed the beginning of my sister’s relationship with my dad’s intern
  • Finally started accepting and actually loving my body, even its flaws… and it wasn’t until then that I started losing weight
  • Forgot to journal for two weeks, so I completely don’t know what happened except I know a lot of studying was done and a lot of books were read.
  • Studied: BYU’s Creative Writing (5/16-7/16) // Marriage and the Family TCEP (6/16-7/16) // BYU’s Writing in the Social Sciences (7/16-9/16) // BYU’s The American Novel (7/16-9/16)
  • Read: Salt to the Sea, The Vintage Book of Contemporary Poetry, The Art of the Personal Essay, Imaginative Writing, The Marriage and Family Experience, If You Find This Letter (which became my favorite non-fic book by the fifth page and I literally bought four copies to give to friends for Christmas – seriously, READ. IT.), and Everything, Everything
  • Favorite Blog Posts: another post about love & waiting & purity & stuff, my first post on writing advice (“what do do when {you think} your writing sucks”), and another snippet from The Boy and the Theatre Girl

August

  • Dad caved and finally got Netflix for us – YESSSSS
  • Started reading classics for my lit course and developed a deeper appreciation for classics
  • Went book shopping one Saturday with my sister (to two bookstores) and then had a fries taste-test – a day that will be remembered with fondness in both our hearts
  • Took my “little” bro to his first co-op and greatly enjoyed getting stuff done so early in the day (although I didn’t enjoy getting up so early)
  • Hosted a surprise sleepover for my friend (my first sleepover since I was six)
  • Started meeting new friends at our new church
  • Figured out the situation that caused the anxiety attack back in July (something I highly recommend – figure stuff out, guys; save yourself the stress; even if you do. not. want. to, it’ll be so much better in the long run, I promise)
  • Repaired more friendships – YAY
  • Had some bro time with my “little” brother while our sisters went to a camp for a week (we watched movies without them #oops)
  • The Furies happened (and we continue to talk about feminism and movies and relationships and generally just kick butt in all areas of life and I’m so happy to have such a close-knit friend group like this)
  • Blew through so many classics in such a short period of time – such a good feeling
  • Volunteered to play in an orchestra concert… the day before
  • Shared my testimony for the first time in a class at church
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing in the Social Sciences (7/16-9/16) // BYU’s The American Novel (7/16-9/16)
  • Read: The Coquette, Hope Leslie, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Scarlet Letter, Benito Cereno, The Outsiders, Life in the Iron-Mills, The Problem With Forever, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Washington Square (DANG THAT’S A LOT OF BOOKS)
  • Favorite Blog Posts: fangirling about Stanley Tucci, a peek into my life, and some rambling thoughts about Friends and the validity of your opinion.

September

  • Started the month out with my car breaking down.  Yay.
  • Nannied three days in a row – including a 9am-11pm day (which was my favorite day of the three because I took the kids to see Pete’s Dragon with my sister and then put them to bed early and watched movies ’til their parents got back)
  • Started watching Stranger Things with my sister… at 11pm at night… all by ourselves…  (protip: not a good idea)  (still, we finished the show within a week)
  • Hosted some friends for a weekend and had an absolute BLAST
  • Saw a friend star in You Can’t Take It With You
  • Went shopping with some girlfriends and actually bought something.  And not just anything.  A DRESS.  I DON’T EVEN KNOW.
  • Got baptized : )
  • Started practicing music with friends for two weddings (and started calling ourselves The Last Page)
  • Introduced some friends to Lord of the Rings (which they loved, obviously)
  • Cut my hair super dang short (and loved it)
  • GOT A NEW PHONE HECK YES
  • Stopped journaling (haha whoops)
  • Studied: BYU’s Writing in the Social Sciences (7/16-9/16) // BYU’s The American Novel (7/16-9/16) // Marketing Communications TCEP (9/16)
  • Read: Ethan Frome, My Ántonia, Marketing Communications, Absalom Absalom, Pale Fire, and Writing in the Social Sciences.
  • Favorite Blog Posts: blogged the results of my summer bucket list, talked about bad boyz (even though my opinion on Jess Mariano has changed so much because he turned out to be the best guy for Rory), continued to ramble about love & feelings & stuff, and rambled about life in general (which y’all liked so I started doing it more)
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failing at a jumping pic with ‘the last page’

October

  • Started a course on theatre which is just *heart eyes emoji*
  • Started planning my very first girls-only trip with The Furies
  • Gilmore-bounded with my frens (which is honestly still one of my favorite events of the entire year)
  • Introduced my other siblings to Stranger Things
  • Lost enough weight to fit loosely into a dress that didn’t fit me a month before *sunglasses emoji*
  • Played in two weddings with The Last Page (twas lit)
  • Had an impromptu brunch with people who came in for aforementioned wedding and hosted almost twenty-five people
  • Deepened friendships and fell in love with people in general
  • Started planning a watch party with friends for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (obviously including soda and Chinese food and poptarts and all kinds of junk food)
  • Scott Gordon Patterson (Luke from Gilmore Girls) liked our Gilmore-bound picture (!)
  • Did Halloween for the first time in over a decade (thank you, younger adopted siblings)
  • Again, studied and read like crazy
  • Studied: BYU’s Intro to the Theatre (10/16-12/16) // BYU’s Playwriting (10/16-12/16)
  • Read: Writing in the Social Sciences, The Strangeness of Beauty, and Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour
  • Favorite Blog Posts: fangirled over Stranger Things, made a list of songs that make me happy, and rambled about life again

November

  • Studied like crazy – including writing three plays (!!!)
  • Talked to dozens upon dozens of people about the presidential election
  • Voted in the presidential election for the first time (but not my first time voting)
  • Read books on top of my car overlooking the mountains (heck yes I did)
  • Visited a friend at his college with my sisters and another friend and talked about hard stuff for over four hours (“It’s rough all over“)
  • Bashed around Charleston with mah girls
  • Visited a friend for a week, in which I stayed at their house and basically became a member of their family
  • Went to a movie theater and watched a recording of Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet
  • Went to Disney and Harry Potter World at Universal – and had an absolute blast
  • (Charleston, becoming a member of another family for a week, Hamlet, and Disney/Universal all happened in the same twelve days and it. was. magical)
  • Had the Gilmore Girls watch party with my frens
  • Studied: BYU’s Intro to the Theatre (10/16-12/16) // BYU’s Playwriting (10/16-12/16)
  • Read: The Cherry Orchard, Anything But Typicaland Hamlet.
  • Favorite Blog Posts: expressed my thoughts about the election, converted a play I wrote into a short story (and y’all loved it, which just makes my year), and offended some people after writing about courtship (lolz whoops)

December

  • Finished my schoolwork the day before my birthday – HUZZAH, AN ACTUAL CHRISTMAS BREAK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THREE YEARS!!!
  • Turned 22
  • Watched Return of the King with friends for my birthday
  • Basically just chilled for the entire month.  Read a lot of books, watched a lot of movies and TV shows, but mainly just lived.  I made cookies and brownies with my baby siblings twice, and cleaned the kitchen and my room a lot.  It was really fun to just relax and live life without the pressure of schoolwork looming over my head.
  • Went to a young adults Christmas party at our new church and had such a great time
  • Realized that my blog turned seven – w h o a
  • Celebrated Christmas four times – with each of my parents’ families, my family, and an extended family Christmas (and had my sister’s boyfriend do Christmas with us, so that was An Experience)
  • Went to my grandparents’ house for an extended weekend before New Years and partied hard with my cousins and aunt & uncle (who talked with my siblings and I about stuff for hours upon hours, which was a blessing)
  • Rang in the new year with friends and a headache
  • Studied: BYU’s Intro to the Theatre (10/16-12/16) // BYU’s Playwriting (10/16-12/16)
  • Read: The Bad Beginning (Series of Unfortunate Events #1), If You Find This Letter (re-read bc I bought four copies for friends and wrote in them like my friend did for me), and Crosstalk
  • Favorite Blog Posts: hosted a Christmas movie marathon because I love movies and posted some Stucky fanfiction (part one / part two) that I wrote a few years ago

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    le fam (+ sister’s boyfriend) at church on christmas day


Whew.

Honestly, it always blows my mind whenever I write these posts and look back at all of the amazing things I did.  (And hOW DANG LONG IT TAKES ME OH MY GOSH.  This one took me several sittings over several days – and I know I didn’t over everything.)

Anyway, I’m always so blown away with what I’ve been able to do in a year.  Even though the year was ridiculously crazy at times, I wouldn’t trade any of the craziness for the world.  Even though the year was rough, it still had some amazing experiences for me.  I invested in friendships more than I ever have before (including at three people who are 5-8 years younger than me), I’ve learned more about relationships (the good and the bad), and I’ve learned to be authentic, to be honest, to give second chances, to know when to stop pouring myself into toxic relationships, to let go of grudges, and, obviously, I’ve learned how incredibly far I have to go.  I know I won’t ever get there, but it’s nice to look back on a year and know that I’m a better person than the selfish idiot who wrote last year’s Year in Review post.

2017 is going to be incredibly interesting and I can’t wait to see where God leads me!  My word of the year is “excelsior,” and I explained why on my Instagram, so I’ll just link to that and keep this from getting any longer!

Can’t wait to see where God has me at this time next year!

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continuing the tradition of taking pictures of myself in the bathroom mirror on new years day even tho i didn’t feel like putting on makeup or doing anything to my hair or fixing my christmas nails but i won’t apologize bc this is how i look kthxbye

i read banned books.

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I follow a lot of bookstagrammers and have been reminded several times this week that it’s Banned Books Week.

As I looked over the list of banned classics and the lists of the top ten books banned every year since ’01, I realized that I’ve read a lot of them.  And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

For instance, The Bible was banned for “religious content.”  To Kill a Mockingbird was banned for “racial slurs and profanity.”  Lord of the Rings (and other Tolkien novels) were banned as “satanic.”  The Grapes of Wrath was banned for “sexual content and profanity.” (Find all these reasons and more here.)

I didn’t write a blog post about Banned Books Week last year, but I thought about it.  And now, since I’ve read so many more classics (seriously, this American Lit course is kind of ridiculous), I have many more thoughts about it.

(Hence the blog post.)

One of the things I’ve thought about books is that while there are valid reasons to ban books from libraries – especially school libraries – it’s ultimately just up to the reader. There’s nothing stopping a reader from simply going to the bookstore or getting a book online that wasn’t available at their library.  Of course, it’s less likely they’ll spend money on it rather than just find a library that has it, but there’s very little point to keeping a book out of a high school library.  (Elementary and middle schools are a completely different story, however.)

However, the main reason is that people shouldn’t tell other people what not to read.  I understand parents not allowing their children to read something, but you can’t just mass-ban something just because you don’t agree with it.

Many of these books were banned for good reason, and I understand putting warning stickers on them or something (like the “Explicit” stickers on albums)… but banning them?  What about all the good in them?

To Kill a Mockingbird isn’t just racial surs – it’s about friendship and family and – HELLO – the opposite of racism.

Lord of the Rings isn’t just – well, first of all, it isn’t even satanic, okay?  And it’s about love and friendship and courage and defying the odds and it’s just all-around amazing.

The Hunger Games is about standing up for what’s right and fighting for what you believe in.

Harry Potter is about tenacity and friendship and John 15:13 love and courage and perseverance.  (And that doesn’t even scratch the surface – read my posts about it here and here.)

Some of my favorite books of all time have language and/or inappropriate scenes in them. I recommend Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell to lots of friends because I connected so much to it, as I do with The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly.  Both have language (although the former has significantly more than the latter), but I still recommend them. Why?  Because they’re good.

Bottom line, books shouldn’t be banned.  Decide what you want to read for yourself.  If you don’t like language, don’t read something that has language – simple as that.  I’ve “ClearPlay’d” books before for friends (and for myself) and while I kind of dislike it because you’re defacing a book (!!!!!!), it does get rid of the language.

Have you ever read a *gasp* banned book?  If so, which one?  Do you think they should be banned?

the bedtime movie tag.

{Looks like I’m in a season of doing things I “never” do!  I haven’t done a tag in forever… basically because I thank people for tagging me and then I forget to do them.  Whoops.  So I’ve been thinking – is there anything you guys would like to see here that I “never” do, or don’t do enough?  I’m trying to blog more regularly, and any suggestions that you have about what to post would be great.  :)}

As I was drinking a mug of coffee when I read Eva’s tag post, I consider myself tagged.  Booyah.

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relationship goals. (after my husband stops lying about who he is, that is…)

1. A movie that kept you up all night

This one’s tricky…  I’ve done an all-nighter with my sister, if that counts!  We watched Divergent, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Mom’s Night Out.  Another night I stayed up super late watching a movie was when I watched Our Mutual Friend with my uncle and aunt.  We stayed up ’til 4:45 finishing it because we didn’t start it early enough (and it’s like six hours long).  *yawn*  (But, seriously, if you haven’t watched this, what are you doing with your life?!  Watch. It.)

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he’s really not.

2. A movie that made you scared to sleep

I remember feeling really scared to sleep after I watched the first episode of the BBC’s Sherlock.  For some reason, I thought a cabbie would come and murder me.  YIKES.  I also couldn’t sleep very well after my siblings and I marathoned eight episodes of Monk.  Again with the murderous people.  Crazy!

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“and got bi-zay!”

3. A movie that made you go to sleep

I actually don’t fall asleep during movies very often – I’m too excited about them!  I almost fell asleep while watching The Incredibles with a bunch of young adults, though… but that’s because we started it at about one in the morning.  What happens at WITAlive stays there.  XD

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take a wild guess as to whose side i’m on. ; )

4. A movie that left you tossing and turning all night in anticipation of its release

Oh my gosh, SO. MANY. MOVIES.  The ones I’m currently super-duper excited about are Mockingjay Part Two and Captain America: Civil War.  I’d just like to extend my apologies in advance for those who will be in the theater with me when I watch those two.  It’s gonna be so bad.  I’m gonna be such a mess after those two.

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plus they both have super-sad backstories, so they can get over their ptsd together. couple bonding.

5. Your dream boyfriend/girlfriend ship of two separate movies

Hmm…  I don’t really ship characters outside of their movies! … Oh, wait – yes, I do.  I’m a huge Jackelsa shipper.  HUGE.  No shame.  I think they should totally get together.

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and that’s the moment i started crying.

6. A movie that would be your worst nightmare to live in

Probably The Hunger Games, especially if I got reaped.  If I survived the initial shock, the training, and the interviews without any fatal panic attacks, I’d probably jump off the pedestal too soon and get killed by the mines.  Even if I survived all of that, I’d probably hide out until someone killed me.

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hey, look, it’s most of my favorite people in the series!

7. A movie that reminds you of nighttime

This one’s hard because my family typically only watches movies at nighttime, so they all remind me of night!  HA.  I think I’m gonna have to go with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, though, because most of it takes place at night (twice).  That ending will never not throw me though a loop.  I read the book and was like, “Whaaaaaaat is going onnnnnn?” for basically the last thirty pages.  : D

Today

annie, peeta, and joanna. T_T

8. A movie that has a nightmarish cliffhanger

HELLO, MOCKINGJAY PART ONE.  Peeta’s straining against the bonds that tie him down, trying to escape so he can kill Katniss, and she’s just staring at him with this sort of shocked horror on her face.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie with such a horrible cliffhanger.  (Unless one of the Lord of the Rings movies count.  Those have terrible endings.)

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j.k. rowling.

9. A movie you actually dreamed about

This one’s hard because I don’t have very many dreams.  No idea why, but it’s true.  I just sleep too hard, I guess.  XD  Even after wracking my brain for several minutes, I still can’t think of one.  Yikes.  I did have a dream about Armie Hammer yesterday, though.  And it was beautiful.  🙂

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all i need is sam and the light of elendil to keep all of these scary monsters away. 🙂

10. A movie monster you would not want to find under your bed

A dementor!  UGH.  Imagine waking up to those creepy screams and then having your soul sucked out while you’re struggling to think of a memory happy enough to summon your patronus with.  Or maybe Shelob from Return of the King.  Big spiders always freak me out.  (“Why’d it have to be spiders?  Why couldn’t it have been ‘Follow the butterflies’?!”)  Or the Ringwaiths from Lord of the Rings.  “Bagginsssss… Shiiiiiire…”  *shudders*  I watch too many freaky movies.  XD

If you’re wearing white, consider yourself part of the family tagged!  Comment with the link to your answers – or, if you don’t have a blog, just leave your answers in the comments.  (Also, leave your suggestions for posts in the comments.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about my blog and what I can do to make it better!)

hello!

Hey, you guys!  I’m still alive!

This past week has been reeeeally busy due to Christmas and a million other (pretty huge) things happening to my family and other friends, sooo… I haven’t had much time to blog.  I have a few posts planned, but I can’t write them cuz I just don’t have time.  Sorry!

To make it up to you guys, here’s one of my favorite Faramir and Eowyn music videos.  🙂

Movie Review – The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

301882id1_TheHobbit_TDOS_Alt_27x40_1Sheet.indd“What have we done?” – Bilbo, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug  (hereafter referred to as Desolation)

Some of you may know that I’m a Tolkiendil.  (But only the some who have braved the storm of the LotR Blog Party this past week.  [Y’all are awesome!])

Some of you may also know that I saw Desolation yesterday.

Some of you may know further more that I enjoyed it.  MUCHLY.

Behold.  My calm, spoiler-free review, with a very restrained amount of caps lock.  (Yeah, it was hard.)

 

The Story

HBT2-TRL1-008r“”The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, on an epic quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.

Having survived the beginning of their unexpected journey, the Company travels East, encountering along the way the skin-changer Beorn and a swarm of giant Spiders in the treacherous forest of Mirkwood.  After escaping capture by the dangerous Wood-elves, the Dwarves journey to Lake-town, and finally to the Lonely Mountain itself, where they must face the greatest danger of all – a creature more terrifying than any other; one which will test not only the depth of their courage but the limits of their friendship and the wisdom of the journey itself – The Dragon Smaug.” (from the official website)

Yeah, that’s basically it.  We missed the first fifteen minutes due to traffic on our way to the theater, so I didn’t see Beorn (argh).  The rest of the movie was basically the above, with a lot of fighting, “very important dialogue,” and character-building.  Desolation was most definitely a lot more tense than An Unexpected Journey, with an action level of Two Towers.

 

The Characters and Cast

4Bilbo Baggins is a very likeable little hobbit.  He’s been dragged from his comfortable home and taken on this wild adventure.  When we meet him again in Desolation, he’s changed.  He’s slowly gone from wanting to turn around because he forgot his pocket handkerchief to being able to battle spiders and, hello, talk to a very fierce dragon.  He’s a little dim-witted at times (the beginning of the barrel scene, anyone?), but he is slowly embracing the Took side of himself and becoming more of a persevering warrior and leader, like Thorin.

And there’s not much to say about Martin Freeman… other than the fact that he has done it again.  He’s portrayed Bilbo with perfection and knows his character very well, never going overboard with either Bilbo’s timid side, nor his brave side.  My favorite part was when the gold starts shifting and he realizes that, good gracious, the dragon is alive.  He just sits down in the gold, trying to make himself as small as possible.  So funny!

21Thorin Oakenshield is the leader of the Company and the rightful King under the Mountain.  He’s eager to get back his kingdom and will stop at basically nothing to reclaim his homeland and take back Erebor.

Richard Armitage clearly knows what he’s doing.  I watched an interview where he explained that he had written things about Thorin’s backstory, not for publication or anything, but so that he can understand his character better.  It definitely shows.  He adds so much depth to Thorin’s character, it’s astounding.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUGTauriel comes next, because she’s the new addition to the cast of characters.  And, boy, is she amazing!  A warrior elf, but not without a feminine side.  She is made aware by Thranduil (wonderfully and somewhat creepily portrayed by Lee Pace) that his son, Legolas, loves her.  Kili also loves her.  (For all who are worried and nervous, this is as far as the love triangle goes.)  And, hey, who doesn’t like her?  She’s strong-willed and brave, not to mention a wonderful shot.  Another aspect of her character is made known, but I won’t go into that because, ya know, spoilers.

Evangeline Lily played Tauriel, and did a great job making her fierce, yet gentle and feminine.  I really enjoyed Tauriel and can’t wait to see what happens to her in There and Back Again.  (I’ve already been speculating with friends and family about this….  We shall see.)

9135282_600x338Gandalf is the same old Wizard we’ve known since LotR and Journey.  In Desolation, he guides the Company as far as Mirkwood, then leaves on business.  In the book, we don’t know what his business is and have to be content with that.  In Desolation, Peter Jackson and his League of Awesome People have expounded on the story, explaining where Gandalf has gone and how his “business” ties into the events circling around LotR.

Ian McKellan again portrays Gandalf very well.  (It’s always fun to see him in a different role and say, “Hey, it’s Chauvelin!”)  Without going into much detail, Gandalf has his own action scenes and it’s evident that McKellan worked very hard on making the fighting seem life-like.

SMAUG.  The creepiest part of the entire movie was the last half, during which Smaug was a key character.  He was massive and scary and everything a dragon needs to be!  (And, no, I am not going to put a picture of him because, duuuuh, that’d ruin it for you.  There are a few pictures online if you must see them – look elsewhere.)

Benedict Cumberbatch did a wonderful job voicing Smaug (and the Necromancer), but you couldn’t reeeeeally tell that it was him because his voice was altered slightly to make it deeper and fit Smaug a little more.  Still, it sounded like a jaguar hiding in a cello.  (And it was suuuuper cool to “see” Ben and Martin on the same screen once more.)

Honorable mentions:

25Bard – He’s really cool!  He also doesn’t look a day over twenty-eight, which makes it a little unlikely that he has three kids, but, hey.  I don’t mind.  : )

Kili – He’s got a much bigger role in this movie, which, no doubt, has further endeared him to those who became fans of him during Journey.  Sadly, I can’t say anything other than that without ruining half of the movie.

Balin – I was really glad to see that PJ stayed true to the book and had him encourage Bilbo right before he went to get the Arkenstone.

Legolas – He’s back.  Considering it’s ten years later, post-Pirates and whatever else Orlando Bloom has been in, Legolas is played much better and, at sixty years younger, he’s a much better fighter.  The shield-slide at Helm’s Deep ain’t nothin’ compared to some of the awesome moves he pulls in Desolation.

And all the other dwarves were amazing yet again.  : )

Also, the end credits song is… awesome.

 

Objectionable Content

As I said before, t19his is definitely a ton creepier and more intense than Journey.  I was the only person in my family to watch the whole thing without covering my eyes.  Spiders jump out at you, the orcs are as creepy as ever, and the battle scenes are pretty gory.  There was also one minor crude joke that I thought could have been left out.  For more details, see the PluggedIn review.  (However, there are a lot of spoilers in the review, so only read it if you feel like you need to.)

 

The Bottom Line

I read several reviews that made me a little hesitant to see it, but I thought, “Hey, it’s Tolkien and PJ.  It’s bound to be good.”  I ignored the evil reviewers and saw the movie with friends (which is always the best!).  And I’m really, reeeeeeally glad I saw it.  My siblings and I can’t stop talking about how amazing it was.  Even though, yes, we do talk about the parts we thought were slightly “off-the-book,” we still always end with, “It was sooooo amazing!”  And I’ll definitely be seeing it again in the theater – to watch the first fifteen minutes and for that great feeling of being unable to breathe while certain things happen to a certain character.  And we’re still talking about how insane the cliffhanger at the end is.  *exasperated sigh*  Now we have to wait a “whole ‘nother year” to see There and Back Again.  Argh.

So here’s the bottom line: If you’re even a teeeeny fan of Tolkien and liked Journey and LotR…

GO SEE IT!!!  (Whoops.  There goes that pesky caps lock.  Oh, well.)

It’s Over Now, the Music of the Night!

“A Short-Cut To Mushrooms” is nearly over. *sniffle*  We’ve had such a great time planning this and making our plans a reality, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have.  It’s been a marvelous experience for both of us (although we do have a list as long as the road to Mordor of things to do “after NaNo, after the blog party” :P).

But wait!  It’s not quiiiiiite over yet.  It’s now time to unveil the “special surprise” we’ve been telling you about!  You see, we discovered that we have the same music book: a book of violin pieces from the LotR movies, with piano accompaniments (we both play violin, and Eowyn plays piano as well).  So we got this crazy idea of putting one of the pieces together, and, somehow, we managed to work it out.  Eowyn recorded the piano and sent it to Jane, who recorded the violin and sent it back.  Then Eowyn made a video to match it.

So without further ado, may we present “In Dreams” by Miss Jane Bennet and Eowyn!

(At the time of the writing of this post, Eowyn is sick and can’t figure out how to post the video.  So you’ll just have to run on over to Miss Jane’s blog and see it there!  Terribly sorry.)

And now, we really are saying good-bye, so we’ll close this with one of the most gorgeous quotes in the entire trilogy.

“And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air
and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien,  The Return of the King

Personal message from Eowyn to Jane:

Thank you, dearest Jane, for giving me the opportunity to do this – especially the fact that I’ve been able to do this with YOU!  I have had SUCH a blast – as you probably know from all the emails that have passed between us!  I especially can’t believe we did ^THAT^.  Gracious SAKES, it’s been a whirlwind of fun!  We definitely need to do something huge like this in the future – oh, wait.  WE ARE.  😀   Can’t wait to continue our friendship, knowing that, together, we’ve done something as crazy and fun as this.  I also can’t wait to see what God has for your future with your writing, violin-playing, and everything else you’ve got going on!

Congratulations on your new status as Supergirl, Gollum.  You absolutely and most positively deserve it!!!  The video below is for you, girl.

CARRYING THE BANNER!!!

-Eowyn-