30 September 2016

My Thoughts On 50 Movies This Summer

As you might already know, over the summer months I decided to up my "film major" game, and actually watch some of those movies I kept purposing to watch but never did.  "Some" being fifty.  Which was a ridiculous but also awesome idea.

So, today, the last day of September, I'd like to finally give you guys the recap of those fifty films and what I (personally) thought of them.

(in order of release)
  1. Inception (2010) - Lives up to the hype. 5/5
  2. I Was a Male War Bride (1949) - Pretty bland; funny at parts. 2.5/5
  3. Hercules (1997) - I understand why I hadn't watched it until now. 3.5/5
  4. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) - Man destroys family for aliens. 1.5/5
  5. The Emporer's New Groove (2000) - Amusing but not quite my sense of humor. 2.5/5
  6. The Tree of Life (2011) - Absolutely brilliant journey through life. 5/5
  7. Beyond the Mask (2015) - Pretty solid and really fun. 4/5
  8. Gone with the Wind (1939) - I loathe this well-made film with a burning passion. 1.5/5
  9. The Love Bug (1968) - One of the genuinely funniest movies ever; also Dean Jones. 4.5/5
  10. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - Ehm, it was rough. 2/5
  11. Psycho (1960) - Not sure what made me think I should watch this. 1.5/5
  12. Now You See Me (2013) - Not great, not terrible. 3/5
  13. Rear Window (1954) - Murder seen through the window really is a murder okay then. 3/5
  14. Belle (2013) - Surprisingly great; a different kind of period drama. 4/5
  15. The Ten Commandments (1956) - Moses' hair just keeps getting better. 3.5/5
  16. Alice in Wonderland (2010) - Could've been way better. 2.5/5
  17. Hail, Caesar! (2016) - Seriously amusing commentary on classic Hollywood. 4/5
  18. Days of Heaven (1978) - Boring movie, bad subject. 1/5
  19. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) - The first one is the only good one. 2.5/5 
  20. Citizen Kane (1941) - I can go along with the opinion that it's the greatest film ever made. 4.5/5
  21. Saving Mr. Banks (2013) - Absolutely beautiful story of the power of filmmaking. 4.5/5
  22. Zootopia (2016) - Could barely get past the political correctness. 2.5/5
  23. The Martian (2015) - Fantastically made, seriously fun. 4/5
  24. The Grapes of Wrath (1940) - Well made but kinda boring. 3.5/5
  25. Bella (2006) - Great subject, but not super interesting as a whole. 3.5/5
  26. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) - Not bad, but not really my cup of tea. 3/5
  27. Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) - Just watch Prince of Egypt instead. 2/5
  28. Faith Like Potatoes (2006) - A surprisingly good movie about a Christian in Africa. 3.5/5
  29. An American in Paris (1951) - Gene Kelly isn't my fav. 3.5/5
  30. And Then There Were None (1945) - Not as good as the book, but still good. 4.5/5
  31. Spider-Man 2 (2004) - I didn't hate it... maybe even enjoyed it. 4/5
  32. The Maltese Falcon (1941) - Depressing, but not bad. 3.5/5
  33. August Rush (2007) - Except for the not-so-great backstory, wow so pretty. 4/5
  34. End of the Spear (2005) - Uhmmm my parents wanted to watch this. 3.5/5
  35. The Secret World of Arrietty (2010) - Seriously so nice. 3.5/5
  36. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) - Nothing short of magnificent. 5/5
  37. Mr. Holmes (2015) - Most boring well made film ever. 2.5/5
  38. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) - It's not bad, it's not great -- it's just fun. 3.5/5
  39. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) - Somehow it ended up being a good story. 4/5
  40. Love & Friendship (2016) - Slightly problematic period drama. 3/5
  41. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - Barely got through it. 2.5/5
  42. Fahrenheit 451 (1966) - Actually upheld the spirit of the book, I felt. 4.5/5
  43. The Swan (1956) - The ending ruined everything they were going for. 2.5/5
  44. Les Miserables (1998) - An important story. 3.5/5
  45. The Finest Hours (2016) - Chris Pine was reason enough for me to dislike it. 3/5
  46. In the Heart of the Sea (2015) - Wow, yes, a solid "I liked it." 4/5
  47. The Manchurian Candidate (1962) - Brilliance (that probably informed Winter Soldier). 5/5
  48. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) - That dear Mr. Smith though. 4.5/5
  49. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) - Hm, not bad, not great, and too long. 3.5/5
  50. Stagecoach (1939) - Surprisingly good for a western that I thought I wouldn't like? 3.5/5
And there you have it.  That's kind of alot, right?  Not sure if I'm going to do this 50 films thing again next summer... ;)

Before I get back to working on feeling better from my annual Fall cold, here's a few of my favorite movies from the list that I can whole-heartedly recommend:
  • Inception
  • The Tree of Life
  • Beyond the Mask
  • The Love Bug
  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • The Secret World of Arrietty
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • The Manchurian Candidate (a bit mature, but really good)
And there you have it, friends!  Which movies from my list have you seen??  And would you agree with my assessments of them? :)

11 September 2016

A "Strange" New Cosplay: The (Refashioned) Tunic

So, my second year of college is going fantastically.  But instead of doing the whole "weekly update" thing that I did last year, I think I'm going to give myself a bit more freedom this time 'round and just blog about what's been goin' on in my life as I feel like it blogging about it.  And so, the first of these posts from sophomore year is this one right here, featuring my next cosplay...

With just 53 days (I'm definitely not counting) until the latest Marvel Studios film (Doctor Strange) is released, my costume for opening night is starting to take shape.  And the shape looks pretty decent so far, too, which is always a good thing.?? ;)

I've been working on it on and off the past few weekends and weeknights when I don't have homework (or when I want to avoid homework... shhhh), and I've also been doing a ton -- and I mean a TON -- of online research for it as well.  You don't really think about all those random little things like his pendant (the Eye of Agamotto), the belts, the trims on the armwraps, etc etc, until you sit down and try to figure out where/how you're going to buy/make all of it.

But!  Both the sewing and the research proess have been going fabulously, and I'm already way ahead of schedule to finish this costume by November 4th. ;)

Okay I seriously need to cut the chit-chat and get to the pics.

To start off, I altered (transformed would be a better word probs) this jacket and pencil skirt set, donated to me by my grandmother, into the main tunic.  Seriously, Grammie, thank you so much for the contributions, they could not have been more perfect. :D

The alteration process was seriously so fun, and since the garments were already nice, high quality pieces with lining and everything, the tunic turned out to be way higher quality than I would have made it otherwise, which is kinda cool.  OH and did I mention freeeeee???  Budget cosplaying for the win.

First of all, I altered the jacket into an attractive size and removed those depressing sleeves and shoulder pads:


THAT COLLAR/NECKLINE THOUGH.  And the fabric.  UGH I don't think I will never get over the perfection of this thing.  Gorgeous and actually quite screen accurate.

Then, I neatly destroyed the pencil skirt to form the bottom half of the tunic...

No I'm not making bermuda shorts I PROMISE

Sewed them together, aaaaaaaaaaaaand...

VOILA.  Except it looks better in real life.  BUT I just have to add a button where that pin is, and fem Doctor Strange's tunic is complete!

*yay for cosplay progress*

More updates coming soooon.. :D

28 August 2016

The Night Before Sophomore Year

Pretty sure my second year of college starts tomorrow.

Say WHAT?!

But we'll skip the part where I go on and on about how fast time flies, how I can't believe I'm already a sophomore, how excited I am to be back at college, how I'm looking forward to seeing what God does in the next year--

Oops I guess I didn't skip that part.

Aaaanyway -- let's see if I can wrap up the happenings of the past few weeks a bit more succinctly... ;)

So, summer in Washington state ended up being really great, and I made lots of memories while my family and I were out there. There was also some serious sister-bonding time (I'm lookin' at you, Dani), which was so great. Lots of laughs, too -- but that's a given with me, right?

Sorry not sorry guys, I laugh too much. Get over it and laugh with me. It's good for you.

Tonight, the last day before my self-imposed deadline, I am about to complete my ridiculous 50-movie summer watchlist, with the 1939 classic Stagecoach (which looks great I'm psyched). Honestly, I still can't decide if the 50 movies was a good or a bad idea, but regardless, I've had seriously so much fun glutting myself on films over the past three months. ;)

No, but seriously -- I feel so much more knowledgeable about filmmaking and films in general, after finally having seen the ultimate classics like Citizen Kane and Gone With the Wind. It's been great, guys. Not sure if I'll do it again (maybe on a smaller scale), but it was great.

Oh, and if you're at all interested in seeing what films the list comprised of... here it is. I must give the disclaimer that not all of them were good, per say -- you can see my ratings on the list there. ;) Sometime in the coming weeks, I plan to do an extensive post concerning all the movies that I DO recommend off the list, which is gonna be way fun.

Let's see, what else has been going on.... oh! Just this week, I helped out with the New Student Seminar (and other events of freshman orientation) at my university, to fulfill the required 20 hours of Christian/community service hours for the semester -- and let me tell you, it was amazing.

We stuffed and handed out tons and tons of bags and brochures and T-shirts to the dear freshmen, helped them find their way around the campus buildings, and I think all 35 of us helpers went home with heatstroke -- BUT, I also think we'd all say that it was totally worth it, just to be able to be a part of welcoming the 4,000ish new students. I know I do, anyway!

So, to wrap up this post, and for my final bit of news from the summer...

Drumroll please.

so enthusiastic
A new cosplay is iiiiin the works!!!

can you guess what it's gonna be can you can you
More on that at a later date -- for now, I gotta go pick out my outfit for my second first day of college... ;)

30 July 2016

A Long-Gestating Sewing Project

Once upon a time, several years ago, in a department store far, far away... I spied a black shirt dress. I loved the style, the color, the fabric... everything except the fact that it was about 12 inches too short.  And, because I am not one to just put up with that, I snapped a picture, hung it back up on the rack, and made a mental note to make one someday just like it that fit me properly.

And a couple months ago, that project, which I hinted about all last semester, finally came to fruition!

(Photo credits go to my fantastic sister, Danielle)

I highly recommend the pattern that I used, Simplicity 8014! It was a moderately difficult build; not too confusing, just rather time consuming. I made it one size smaller than the envelope suggested, and it fit perfectly without any other modifications or alterations. I'm considering making a second dress from the pattern, perhaps with the mandarin collar and shorter sleeves, out of a more summer-y fabric? We'll see. :)

As for the fabric I used, the black "peach skin" polyester I got from Joann is probably the most comfortable and beautiful fabric I've ever worn.  It literally feels like peach skin, and flows like a nice quality silk.  Literally amazing... buuuut kinda a pain to work with, as with pretty much any silky-style fabric. :P

Oh, and with this project, I mastered buttonholes! Good thing, too, since I had to make something like twenty for this dress... ;D  My oldie sewing machine doesn't have the cool buttonhole setting like some of the newer models, but I figured out how to do them manually easily enough.  It was actually kind of fun, now that I think of it... ;)

So, that's the project I worked on all Spring semester long, finally completed! I hope you all are enjoying your summer (I am!) -- and happy almost August! ^_^

15 July 2016

Life Lately in the Summer Months

- Where I Am -

Currently breathing in the crisp air of the great North West.

- What I'm Wearing -

The shirt dress I made over the course of the last semester.
(Blog post on that coming soon!)

i'm no model but i try really hard

- What I'm Reading -
(from the Bible)

Daniel. God will have the glory due Him.

- What I'm Reading -
(from the library)

Re-reading Dragon Slippers, and about to embark in the next two
adventures in the series for the first time.

- What I'm Laughing At -

The Russian Hacker.

- What I'm Watching -

Classics of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s... such as, Citizen Kane, Psycho, and The Maltese Falcon.

- What I'm Listening To -

Heathenssssssssssss. And hymns, weirdly?

- What I'm Cooking -

- What I'm Doing -

Riding Icelandic ponies.

- What I'm Not Doing -

Pokemon GO.

- What I'm Writing -

He steps forward.

Now see here, sir -- Sirs! What is  
the meaning of this, here, see here 
...? I mean, if I may ... good sir? 
Sirs ... I mean ... you there ...   
here ...                            

Sylvie pats Hayes’ arm.

Well done, dear.                    
(to the large men)           
You heard ‘im! What exactly do you  
think you’re doing, blocking our    
way in this manner? Do you even     
know who I am?! I’m your princess!  
So you had better have a good       
reason for this outrage, or -- or --
Well, I’ll do something, and I can  
assure you it will not be pleasant. 

The large men’s faces betray their amusement at the odd pair.

Ah, we’re here to kidnap you,       

- What I'm Looking Forward To -

Getting back to my university in the fall. ^_^

- What I'm Learning -

Joy is a choice. Choose it every day.

27 June 2016

One More Step in the Journey

Every time I go through what I feel like is the lowest low I've ever experienced in my walk with God, I, somehow, a few weeks later, come out of it feeling stronger than I've ever been before. And today, it's time to tell you about the latest in the series.

Hope you enjoy the ride. ;) So, where did this latest low start...

The week after summer break started. I was alone, stuck inside my own head with all my faults, insecurities, and twisted thoughts. I kept things bottled up -- I tend to do that, though you wouldn't think it from the state of this blog. ;) See, until resolution comes, I deal with my own thoughts.

Me and God, that is. But this time, the latter wasn't a part of that equation.

In those weeks, I felt like I just kept learning more and more about God's holiness... and more and more of my own depravity. I sunk deep into a self-made prison, all the while screaming for God to help, to pull me up... but... He just, didn't. And I couldn't understand why.

My heart was so heavy, my mind so cluttered, my soul so dark. I felt isolated.

So there I was. At the lowest low, the tipping point, the bend in the river...

And then this weekend, something changed.

First, God spoke to me, taught me something that wasn't condemnation, and I finally felt a slight sense of peace. The turmoil my heart had became numb to lessened, and a piece of my broken spirit clicked into place somehow, somewhere deep within.

Another day, another click.

I slowly loosened my grip on the shriveled bits of self-confidence I had been clutching to so fervently, and let them go. I stepped out in faith in a few, small ways. I truly and fully gave my decimated self to God, and asked him to put me back together the way He wanted -- because, quite honestly, I was at the end of my rope.

Another day, another piece clicked into place.

Not all at once, but bit by bit, the pieces of my true identity in Christ were put in their proper places. Truth was poured into me from all different angles, until one last drop brought my cup to overflowing -- and there they came, coursing down my cheeks: salty drops of hope, joy, life.

With those tears, peace returned to a different me from five weeks ago.

A good different -- the kind of "different" that only comes through struggling and wrestling and crying and holding in there even when nothing "feels right." The kind of "different" that is not for the faint of heart. The kind of "different" that defines those chosen by God.

The kind of different that feels like sore muscles. A good, meaningful kind of hurt.

To (kind of) sum all this up...

These past five weeks have been really, really hard.

I've been a total and absolute mess. God made me come face to face with some hard truths and some dark places. He dragged me through it all -- and He dragged me out the other side stronger than ever. Growing pains? For real. But growing pains are good. And that's why, now,

I'm okay.

Thanks for asking.

How are you?


P.S. This video is just a little thing I created last week with some footage of that thunderstorm I mentioned earlier. Something of a creative outlet, as well as a creative exploration of God in relation to a thunderstorm.

02 June 2016

On The Topic of Invisibility

Talking about my invisible illness (crohn's, IBS, UC, or whatever exactly it is I have -- I was never given an official name) seems kinda taboo. Yes, it is embarrassing. It is a weakness. But it's also something I have to deal with every stinkin' day of my life. So, seeing "Crohn's Disease" trending on facebook today made my heart skip a beat, because seeing someone dealing with something much worse than me shout out to the world what she has to deal with... well, it made me want to shout out to the world what I have to deal with.

So, let me tell ya about me and my invisible illness, because its effect on my life has been pretty extreme. First of all, it has hindered me from so many opportunities I would have loved to experience (missions trip? not even an option). It has turned some fun times into disastrous experiences in mere seconds. It has made me struggle daily against living in fear of it. It has also made me the best person to ask where the nearest restroom is. ;)

But I thank God daily, because it's only by His grace that I didn't end up just like that girl who made Crohn's trending. He gave me my mother, who knows about nutrition and naturopathic methods, so that instead of having my entire gut removed, I have to follow a very limiting diet. It's tough, it's embarrassing, it's sometimes socially isolating. But I would choose not eating ice cream over having a bag attached to my stomach any day of the week.

With all of that said... I wouldn't trade my invisible illness experience for anything -- because it has brought me closer to God than anything else would have or could have. When just getting through a day of classes and work is trying, I have no option but to rely on God to help me through. And that's the beauty of an invisible illness, I think. When God's the only one around who knows what's going on, you learn to become very reliant on Him -- for strength, hope, and perseverance.

Friends, I pray this further knowledge won't make you view me any differently, but that it will just serve to deepen your understanding of my character and why I am who I am. Because, at my core, I'm just like you -- a sinner, saved by grace, fighting through a trial God has allowed, to become the person He wants me to be.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and God bless. ^_^