This Blog is Slow on Purpose

As I was poking around my WordPress dashboard this morning, I discovered a button in the settings that was not there before. It read, “Fight for Net Neutrality.” For WordPress users, you can enable a protest button on your blog that simulates the slow loading times we would experience if Net Neutrality were to be extinguished.

So if my blog is being slow, please don’t leave.

It’s being slow because I’m protesting against what the internet would look like if cable companies get their way. This issue may seem vastly boring and unimportant but if you want to keep streaming cat videos and read BuzzFeed in peace like the rest of us, then protecting Net Neutrality is vital.

Here’s a man who can explain the situation with much more wit and humor, John Oliver.

This post from Free Press also breaks down the situation quite nicely.

The FCC will be taking opinions from the public and there is still time to sign protests or make phone calls. At the end of 2014, the FCC will make their decision on how to classify the internet as either an “information service” or a “telecommunication service” and that very dull sounding distinction could change how Americans use the internet for the worse.

Companies like Netflix or WordPress would have to pay not only TimeWarner but Verizon and other internet providers excessive sums in order to have fast internet speeds for their websites. Which in turn will likely force these websites to jack up their prices for consumers.

I love this little blog. It’s my outlet, my small corner of the internet, and the people I interact with here give me the warm fuzzies. And I get to do all of this for free.

If Net Neutrality ends many blogs like yours and mine may cease to exist, because there may come a time where WordPress has to start charging us free bloggers money in order to keep up with cable companies demands. And it wouldn’t just be happening here, but across all internet sites.  Scary stuff.

If you want to put a stop to this, please share information with your friends, family, or readers. You can click on the link on this blog that will appear underneath that bedamned circle of loading torment in order to sign a petition to protect Net Neutrality.

Whether you’re an American reader or an international reader, thank you for bearing with me on my faux-slow blog. I hope you understand why I’m concerned about this issue and passionate about Net Neutrality.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so please comment down below with your two cents.

e.l.f. Treasure Within Beauty Book

Haven’t you always wanted to be a princess? Be it warrior or fairy or dare I say mermaid? Ladies, e.l.f. has you covered. Fresh off their success with their villain line last fall, e.l.f. has begun creating Disney sanctioned Beauty Books a.k.a. palettes for some of Disney’s princesses.

The first in what I presume will be a series is the Ariel Treasure Within Beauty Book. The Beauty Book comes with nine eye shadows, two bronzers, a lip gloss, and two brushes. All for the wallet friendly price of $10.

My nails conveniently coordinated with the mermaid theme.

My nails conveniently coordinated with the mermaid theme.

I am obsessed with the artwork for this Beauty Book. The black and white sketch is so dreamy and a bit more sensual. All of the e.l.f. Ariel products have similar artwork and it’s very enticing. The collection also has lip gloss, blush and eye shadow, and brush kits that are priced $10 and under. I stopped myself at the Beauty Book because that way I can sample a bit of everything and not get spastic.

The brushes included in the Beauty Book are OK. The eye shadow brush is more versatile but not as good as the e.l.f. studio line of shadow brushes. The little brush for the bronzers is just not the right size or shape for application but other than that it’s an alright brush.

Inside the Beauty Book is a small mirror and a few total look suggestions. I really enjoyed these additions though the looks are a bit extreme for me personally. And the mirror isn’t the best quality but it’s great to have that in the palette for travel purposes. There is also a piece of plastic covering the makeup so if anything breaks or falls out it slightly contains the mess.

Little details like this make the Beauty Books special.

Little details like this make the Beauty Books special.

Nice to have a visual with the instructions.

Nice to have a visual with the instructions.

The shadows themselves feels soft to the touch and all but the purple shade (Seashell) have some level of shimmer to it. I do find it a bit strange that out of nine shades only one is a true matte. They all blend easily, which is a good thing because some of these shades are rather bold. But there are also some nice neutrals in there to balance a look out.

In terms of pigmentation, the best shades are the three in the middle–a shimmery pewter (North Star, a shimmery brown (For Shore), and a slightly shimmery copper (Siren Song). Oddly enough these are the three shades that do not get used in the suggested looks you can see above. The other shades have decent color payoff but you have to build them up or pack them on to get results. The palest shade of the bunch (Sand Dollar) barely shows up, so I’d say use it for a browbone highlight or a base shade to neutralize your lid. You absolutely need primer with these shades, not so much for staying power but more for the color enhancing properties a good primer gives.

The eye shadow brush is now living in my brush jar but here is the rest of the Beauty Book.

The eye shadow brush is now living in my brush jar but here is the rest of the Beauty Book.

And here are some swatches for the eye shadow shades and bronzers. I apologize for the semi-blurry photos! But hopefully you can get a better sense of what these products look like outside of the pan.

From Right to Left We Have: Brilliant Sea, Seashell, Seaweed, Siren Song, For Shore, North Star, Tropical Wave, Coral Reef, and Sand Dollar.

From Right to Left We Have: Brilliant Sea, Seashell, Seaweed, Siren Song, For Shore, North Star, Tropical Wave, Coral Reef, and Sand Dollar.

You can barely see Sand Dollar because it is as pale as I am, but I promise it’s there. Most of these shadow swatches had to have two layers for them to show up well, except for the three in the middle that are the warm neutrals. North Star, For Shore, and Siren Song are my favorite shades in Ariel’s Beauty Book. Together they create a really stunning metallic smoky eye.

I will never in my life be this tan. Ever.

I will never in my life be this tan. Ever.

The top shade of the bronzers is Tan Lines and the middle swatch is Conch Shell. These were one swipe swatches. These bronzers are nicely pigmented and actually blend out beautifully. Perfect for a faux beach glow. I was really scared on Conch Shell but it’s not as intimidating if you buff the color out a bit. Then the lip gloss swatch is true to color and it’s called Go On And Kiss the Girl. How perfect is that product name? Wear-wise it goes on fine but feels a bit sticky and doesn’t last overly long. It’s a nice bubblegum pink but I don’t find the gloss itself to be a major staple in my collection.

Below are my versions of the two suggested looks. I tried to blend out some of the shades more because if you pack these colors on I don’t see these looks as overly wearable.

First is the “Sunset Cruise” look, which is on the right side of the diagram. The green shade, Seaweed, should be dusted onto your brow bone and inner corner. Then blend Seashell, the vibrant purple, into your crease. Apply Brilliant Sea, the bright blue, into the outer 1/3 of your eye.

First off, no. These shades together are a bit much for me because they need to be built up or else they get murky. And once they’re built up they are bright. I’d love e.l.f. to explain to me how Seaweed is a “light eye shadow color” fit for highlighting. But I digress. I blended Seaweed into the crease instead of as a brow bone color. Brilliant Sea went on to my outer 1/3 and then got winged out a bit for flair. And I packed Seashell onto the center of my lid.

You can also see the shade Tan Lines on my cheeks.

You can also see the shade Tan Lines on my cheeks.

Eye close up!

Eye close up!

Clearly I blended the living daylights out of everything because the colors were a bit too club-kid for every day.

Then the second look is called “On the Beach”. You take Sand Dollar, the pale off-white, and apply it to your brow bone and inner corner. The light yellow shade, Coral Reef, goes all over the lid. And then the blue green shade Tropical Wave goes on the outer 1/3 of your eye.  I stayed fairly close to the directions for this one but was disappointed by the poor color payoff on the first two shades.

Well I wouldn't wear this to the beach, but maybe that's just me.

Well I wouldn’t wear this to the beach, but maybe that’s just me.

Overall, I think this is a decent palette/ Beauty Book. The most impressive shades are the center trio, but you can get some lovely looks by playing around with different color combinations. This would make a fun gift for someone who is a Disney fan; I certainly felt pretty cool playing with my princess palette. I’d give Ariel’s Beauty Book 3.5 beauty bubbles. Not bad but not mind-blowing either.

As I mentioned earlier, this Beauty Book and other Ariel themed e.l.f. items can be found at Walgreens or They’ve already released a Snow White range, which also includes a Beauty Book, so I’m going to wait for my next offer before I purchase. These are limited edition and for their price are worth exploring. I’m a happy Disney dame at the moment and can’t wait to see which princess they pick next.

Announcement That’s a Big Deal to Me and Possibly Interesting to You

Well with a title like that I had better come up with something good, huh?

I’m moving! Not my blog, but me, the person behind the blog, Caitlin. I will still be here logging the woman-hours to bring you my scattered thoughts on books, movies, and beauty.

But for the next few weeks my posts might be a bit more sporadic since I have to be out of my current place by the end of the month. My living room is currently full of boxes and I donated my beloved couch and ottoman to a charity, so I’m currently writing this from my bed, which has also been stripped of its comforter and decorative pillows.

Moving is such a strange thing that you start to pack the most important parts of your life away while you’re still trying to live day to day.All in the hopes that you’re going somewhere bigger and better. I have loved my past two years in Orange, California. Truly, I could see myself settling down in a community like it one day.

At the same time, I think it’s healthy to move on and explore a new space. I won’t be going far–the big move is to LA (woo!). I’ll have roommates again and there is the possibility of getting a dog, so lots of new experiences that I can’t wait to embrace.

Once I get settled in to the new place, posts here at the bubblewrappedblog will continue as per usual. I’ve got a movie review in the works and some product comparisons and my monthly ipsy bag review. So keep an eye out for those posts sometime in the near future!

Ladies and Gents, This is Censorship

I like to rock out in the shower. I dance. I sing. And occasionally there might be some air guitar. My favorite method for shower music is Pandora. And lately it has been all about the Top 40 station.

A series of events have happened over the past few days and I’m just now figuring out how to articulate my thoughts on the matter. What I’m about to say may at the surface level seem random or unimportant, but the more I think about things the more relevant these small events seem to our society at large. I write this from an American perspective but maybe those of you from other countries can chime in about your experience with pop music and censorship.

On the radio, I expect a certain amount of censorship, but I never really noticed it on Pandora until yesterday (not that it didn’t exist, just that I never paid attention to it). I was jamming to Iggy Azalea’s mega-hit Fancy when my ear caught something unusual and I paused. When you think of censorship in that song, Charli XCX’s hook comes to mind since she drops the f-bomb, and that was definitely censored during the song. Instead the part that I noticed being skipped over was the word “gun” in the third verse of Iggy’s rap. The line normally reads “Slaying these hoes, gold trigger on the gun like.” If something were to be bleeped, you would think it would be “hoes”. But instead it played, “Slaying these hoes, gold trigger on that like.”

I didn’t think much of it–censorship is fairly standard on the radio after all–until the next song came on, Macklemore’s Thrift Shop. And the song played through every f*ck, damn, shit, and motherf*cker with nary a hesitation. Now maybe it’s nothing, but the discrepancy seemed strange since it was the same station. But if they played the clean version of one, why not the other?

My first two thoughts were is Iggy Azalea being censored because she’s a woman? And next, has our society gotten so strict that we can’t even say the word gun in a song anymore?

Neither question is more or less important than the other since both are at the heart of some of our nation’s biggest controversies right now. Issues in women’s equality and women’s rights are right now before the Supreme Court and Congress. Whether you agree with Planned Parenthood and birth control or not, you can agree that the issue at hand is about women. And by posing the latter question about guns, I am in no way making light of the endemic shootings America has been experiencing of late. In the same vein, whether you believe in firmer gun control laws or advocate concealed carrying, guns are being talked about at high volume. Both issues need to addressed, but I don’t think music censorship is the answer.

I was in a Wet Seal store earlier this week when Katy Perry’s E.T. came on and I noticed the word “sex” was skipped over with a stylized scratch. In comparison to my initial fear about gender discrimination, it was Kanye’s rap portion of the song that got bleeped, but is sex such a terrible word that it has no room in our music? This is why Americans are often depicted as Puritanical. You could make the case that Wet Seal is a store for teens and that’s not appropriate for their age range. But then I say unto you that store is hawking crop tops for tweens and if you are under the impression that teens and pre-teens don’t know and think about the implications of the word sex, then you have forgotten what it felt like to be a teen.

So why is one song censored over another? All three instances were in rap music. One a white woman. One a white man. One a black man. Why was only one left uncensored on the radio? The issue of race is and always will be valid as long as there is a scrap of inequality left because of someone’s skin color. That in and of itself could be addressed in a whole other post.

And I enjoy the music of all three of these artists. I’m certainly not blaming Macklemore because his song went unbleeped on Pandora, but I do have to wonder why Pandora chose to play one song censored and the other uncensored?

I don’t have an easy answer for the censorship question or the reasons behind it. I’m wiling to concede that for public radio words like f*ck should be bleeped out because children have easy access to public radio. I can even extend the same logic to stores. That’s why you have explicit records and clean records. Fine. Check.

But words like sex and gun are regularly used in metaphors, in textbooks, in doctors offices. They are words that pepper our daily conversations. We cannot begin to censor these words in music when we place value on them in our daily lives. These are not the words that should be censored on the radio.

We cannot be afraid of using words. Words are powerful and profound. Some are offensive to others, true, but they are ours to use with discretion. The first item of business for America’s founding fathers was freedom of speech in the Bill of Rights. While they may not have anticipated swearing to this extent, I think censorship in the modern era would make them uncomfortable. Freedom with words does not  inhibit the concept of freedom: words challenge, expand, and strengthen the notion of freedom.

Maybe there is a simple answer for these two examples of censorship I experienced, but I truly believe if we don’t talk about these issues that bother us then they become the norm.

Phew! Ok I’m going to step off my soapbox for the day. Thanks for listening, and I’d be happy to hear your thoughts as well.

What the Hell, Tinker Bell?

What happened to Tinker Bell? This has been bothering me more and more with every new Tinker Bell and friends straight to DVD release i.e. The Pirate Fairy, The Secret of the Wings, etc. Disney has completely rebranded Tinker Bell as, “Sassy, Fashionable, Creative.” This positive spin first appeared in 2008 with a computer animated version of Disney’s long-time favorite fairy. With the new, more plastic looking Tinker Bell (I mean really, her face has clearly been under the knife) comes an attitude that is way more about sharing, caring, and friendship. Yeah, let that sink in for a minute. The reason I and many, many others have always adored Tink is because she’s morally ambiguous and, frankly, a bit of a bitch.

This quote has been taken from the Disney website:

“Tinker Bell is both sweet and sassy. She is loyal to her friends and will help fix their problems like a true Tinker Fairy. She loves adding lost things to her collection and going on adventures.”

Beg pardon? Sassy. Check. Sweet? The hell you say! Tink is loyal to herself and Peter Pan exclusively, and has committed some highly questionable acts in the name of that moral compass. SHE TRIED TO KILL WENDY. How do you gloss over attempted manslaughter??? The Disney Wiki explains away Tink’s outbursts due to her size, saying that she is only capable of feeling one emotion at a time, which is why she occasionally exhibits vindictive or angry behaviors. Poor wee woman with her wee emotions sometimes loses control because she’s so small. I realize I’ve over reduced the argument here, but holy crap is that a condescending statement about females and their emotions.

A screen-grab from Disney's Peter Pan courtesy of the Disney Wiki.

A screen-grab from Disney’s Peter Pan courtesy of the Disney Wiki.

And maybe I never knew about Tinker Bell’s “tinker heritage” before but I’ve got issues with this new spin too. First of all, if that is her breed or job description or whatever exactly you want to call it, how terrible is it that her name starts with her job? Does that mean her proper name is Bell? Even so, she should be more than her vocation. The other fairies in this new world have regular names that invoke their skills without making it sound like the job defines them–Rosetta the garden fairy or Iridessa the light fairy. Since it’s geared towards children I’m willing to accept a certain amount of literal naming, but having Tinker explained as a job description sounds borderline fascist. The new fairy world is dominating canon and it’s making me uncomfortable.

The other thing that bothers me about the tinker element is that it feels smashed in to create this new understanding of fairies, and it also happens to limit the abilities of the individuals. When I was younger, I thought Tinker Bell could do darn near anything. She was Peter Pan’s companion and felt utterly free in her powers…now she’s got specified skills and feels tamed. Her brief displays of “sass” now feel completely foreign from the Tinker Bell of the Disney classic.

And now the new Tink taken from Notice the visual differences?

And now the new Tink taken from Notice the visual differences?

I understand that positive role models for young girls are important. Yet women comes in all types and temperaments. Why can’t we embrace that Tinker Bell isn’t perfect, nice, and sugar sweet? Short of idolizing the villainous females like Ursula and the Evil Queen, Tinker Bell was the feistiest heroine for young  girls to identify with. We as women responded to Tinker Bell because she was saucy, sensual, and a tad vindictive. Trust me, grown women are not walking around with Tink tattoos because she was a sweetheart. And if you’re a concerned mother/grandma/aunt then use her not-so-nice behavior as a talking point with your kid.  My own Mother had similar conversations with me and it got me to engage more with her and with the thematic material. All of which are good things and I could still enjoy the characters for what they were.

Disney is clearly trying to “fix” many of its perceived wrongs about women, which we can also see with Frozen (Don’t even get me started with that one). But sometimes women are bitches, and that’s OK. We’re allowed moments of it, why not celebrate it? Because, really, Tinker Bell has moments, not constant displays of bitchiness. Not that I’m condoning bad or violent behavior, but changing an iconic character in such a drastic way completely ignores why Tink was lovable in the first place. Sidenote: They’ve also given the girl a longer skirt so she’s more modest. Again, I’m not saying encourage young girls to wear mini-skirts; my point is that Disney has sterilized an original and complex character in every way.

What inspired me to write this post was the abundance of trailers for The Pirate Fairy, which made me feel kind of betrayed. Why do we have to change Tinker Bell? For product lines and straight to DVD releases? Because that is exactly what it boils down to–marketability. Which saddens me. Disney forgot one of its greatest truisms that audiences have recognized for a long while now: you don’t mess with Tinker Bell. So knock it off, Disney and bring back the Ms. Bell that even Captain Hook respected.

Growing Gardener

Chapter 2–Memorial Mug

            In my brief tenure as a gardener, I have discovered a love for planting in unconventional containers. Vases and Terra-cotta pots have their own beauty, but I lean towards the quirky personalization of planting in something that wasn’t meant for soil or roots. And when that something has special significance to you, it becomes even more satisfying to see a living plant thriving inside it.

This past January, my father passed away. Even though he was a diabetic with failing kidneys, we expected him to be around for many more years. He was on dialysis and his doctors were optimistic. Needless to say, his death shocked our family. After someone dies, you learn more about yourself and the person you lost. Those revelations are for another day. To be honest, I’m not quite done going through that process. But it has been comforting that have things around that remind me of Dad.

My parents have been divorced since I was about four years old, so I was surprised when Mom called me in mid-March to tell me that she had an item that reminded her of Dad. In my last post, I mentioned Mom’s love of antiques. She’s got a special fondness for silver pieces. There’s an ornate tray on top of her commode with a small vase, a jar that hold cotton balls, and a baby cup that she used to hold Q-tips–all antique silver. After years of neither of us paying particular attention to the items beyond their aesthetic appeal, Mom realized that the baby cup had Dad’s initials engraved across the front in plain script. She asked me if I’d like to have it, and when I said yes, she suggested planting some kind of shade plant as a positive reminder.

Mom promised to bring out the baby cup when she visited me in May and even purchased a little fern that fit perfectly. Unfortunately, you can’t bring plants on a plane, so the fern she bought had to remain back in St. Louis. Part of our agenda for her visit became finding a small shade plant at a nursery. En route to a fabulous used bookstore, we stumbled upon M&M nursery, an equally fabulous place to find a variety of plant life.

M&M nursery was a fun little oasis to explore, with a friendly and knowledgeable staff. We quickly found a pink and white petite fern that would be quite happy in the baby cup. Despite Dad’s initials being present on the cup, it’s a girl plant. I’m weird about naming objects both animate and inanimate; I’ll spend quite a long time trying to figure out just the right name. Thus, there is a pink plant in my bathroom named Vanessa. Who actually needs to be watered…

Chapter 3–A Touch of Whimsy

                Something about miniatures increases the cute factor. Witness, toy breeds and tiny bottles of wine. They’re freaking enchanting. And really, really hard to resist. This whole green thumb thing kind of spiraled out of control after finding M&M nursery.

While on the hunt for a plant that would suit the baby cup, I became absorbed with the nursery’s Wonka-like aura of wonder. There were moss capped stumps of bleached wood made to look like toadstools. Teeny tiny trees with white rose buds reminiscent of the Queen of Heart’s garden blooms. Porcelain figures trapped under an errant wine glass in a picnic basket garden. Multiple miniature gardens all with an invitation to play and dream.

M&M specializes in fairy gardens; they even teach classes in how to craft them. The gardens ranged from sprawling miniature cities to fairies perched on a soup ladle. I instantly loved the idea of creating my own, but realized I didn’t have the outdoor space to support a large garden. I’m also renting, which means that what outdoor space I do have isn’t truly mine. Plus, there’s the moving factor. Carting an extensive garden cross country if I have to move in the next year or so just isn’t practical.  I had nearly convinced myself that it was impossible, until I reached the checkout counter. Next to the register was a smaller scale garden in a rounded glass vase–an indoor terrarium complete with winged fairy. Once again, I talked myself into this.

That night, Mom and I journeyed to Michael’s, where she helped me pick out a 160 oz. brandy snifter. The next day we returned to M&M and picked out five small shade loving plants, including a tiny ivy vine. Each of the plants selected should be good indoors, receiving enough diffused sunlight from the kitchen window to keep them happy.


My five shade loving plants.

Upon the recommendation of one of the chief fairy gardeners I bought a medium sized bag of both peat moss and perlite, along with a small baggie of charcoal. The ratio needed is 2:1 peat moss to perlite, with a few tablespoons of charcoal thrown in to eliminate odor and keep the garden fresh.


            To fill my 160 oz brandy snifter, I ended up using 3 cups of peat moss and 2 cups of perlite, mixing in the soil that came with the plants to re-balance the ratio. I added two spoonfuls of charcoal to complete the mixture.


                     The hardest part of shopping at M&M nursery was the limited space I had to work with. There were so many cool things it was hard to limit my purchases. They had hobbit-esque houses, miniature tea sets, unicorns, hedgehogs, margaritas…how am I supposed to make these kinds of choices??? On a side note, I’m convinced I’ll have to seasonally redecorate. There was a set of mini skeleton mariachis for goodness sake!

But I digress. After prowling around the nursery, I settled on a trellis for the ivy to grow on, three white rabbits, a porcelain piglet (Mom and I had a huge debate over barnyard vs. forest creatures, but I couldn’t let the little piglet go. His name, if you were interested, is Winston), and a curtsying little chalk fairy.

First I put a baseline of the soil mixture in the snifter and got the trellis situated. The ivy went in first so I could wind its vines through the slats. The other plants were staged to create a diverse look of colors and textures.


                    The finishing touch was placing the fairy, bunnies, and Winston, the wee pouting piglet.


The final product


Aerial view

I love having my little fairy garden in the kitchen, but I fear it may only be a gateway fairy garden. I could see these turning into Christmas presents for friends, or a larger scale garden for myself when the outdoor space is available. Strangely, I haven’t yet landed on a name for the pink fey.  Any suggestions?

Paranoid Plant Parent

Chapter 1–I Talked Myself Into This

            Ever since I moved out to California, I have been obsessed with having something living in my care. Usually this involves an emotional spiral wherein I:

1. Get lonesome.

2. Decide that a dog would be a great idea.

3. Spend several hours on seeing what kind of small dogs are locally adoptable.

4. Examine the adoption requirements and ponder renaming the dachshund/chihuahua/bulldog in question.

5. Think about it.

6. Think about it.

7. Conclude that I can neither afford to give the pup the time it deserves, nor can I afford the potential expense (particularly the hike in rent).

8. Get sad.

9. Feel that I have made the morally right decision and congratulate myself.

10. Return to step one.

Clearly, I have made a series of logical decisions. On repeat. For ten months. Writing this has nearly put me on the threshold of step one, so I probably need to cool it. A dog seems like a great idea, but ultimately I realize it wouldn’t be fair to the little fella in question.

After a lot of deliberation, I landed upon my answer–plants. They’re alive. At least if you do it right. They’re not expensive. They don’t need to be walked. And they don’t require a large amount of time. Plus, I figure keeping a plant alive is a baby step towards a pet. So I wanted to start small. Enter the succulent known as Gus.

Side story time. My Mom’s favorite little store back in St. Louis, is called The White Rabbit. We go in there whenever I’m home, and the store is full of antique inspiration. One of the things that I saw repeatedly in The White Rabbit was adorable little succulents in tea cups or other unlikely vessels. I’m eternally convinced that I can be as crafty as a storefront or someone’s pins on Pinterest. And there are antique stores aplenty in Orange County for more convenient vintage hunting grounds.

Several months ago, I dragged my friend, Dara, to one of the various antique stores in downtown Orange, CA  in search of the perfectly unique container for my small, rose-shaped succulent. After scouring several of the booths in the lovely antique mall, we came upon a porcelain shaving pot with pastel flowers painted on the base. Hurrah for girly masculinity! The shaving pot had five holes in the uppermost portion that I thought would make a perfect method to drain excess water. Never mind the fact that succulents do not require a ton of H20. So shaving pot purchased and Gus had a new home. Gus, it should be noted, was picked out at a random nursery after I stared at their succulent selection for fifteen minutes.


            Except I think I over watered Gus. Next I worried he wasn’t getting enough sun in my kitchen, so I took him on field trips outside. He seemed happier out there–his trips became longer and longer. Then he looked a little fried. And then I got concerned Gus didn’t have enough room to grow in the shaving pot. I trimmed his roots. I put more soil in the pot. I may have accidentally broken off a few of his leaves at some point. One plant and suddenly I’m a paranoid (and terrible) parent. This is may be why I shouldn’t get a dog.

Multiple Google searches later, I felt that despite the mishap with the leaves, Gus could still have a happy life in my home. Instead of jumping around trying to fix any conceivable problem, I needed to provide more consistent care rather than repeatedly shock the plant with outdoor/indoor changes. I rationalized that Gus just needed better living quarters. And maybe some company. So I trucked on down to a store called Dragonfly in the circle to purchase a slightly larger pot, and a smaller succulent to move into the shaving pot. The new pot isn’t fancy. It’s just blue with room to grow. The new succulent looks like a tower of mini Lima beans. His name is Harold. Gus and Harold are now ensconced in my kitchen receiving modest sunlight and even more minimal water. They both appear to be content. Though I still helicopter parent them on a daily basis. I ask them how they’re doing, and they have yet to respond (Yes, I talk to my plants on a regular basis). The key here is that they haven’t died and this makes me happy.


            Chapters two and three of this saga detail my belief that I now have a green thumb. Get ready.

Miscellaneous, Movie Related Updates

Things have been incredibly busy of late, but instead of making flimsy excuses I’ll just rattle off a highlight reel of movie themed news.

5. A couple of weeks ago I worked a day on a friend’s film set for his cycle project called The Stunt (with luck, one day you all might see it when he’s become an incredibly famous director and they throw the short film in the special features section of a DVD). For the most part, I just sat back and watched. But for a hot second I was actually on-screen as a body double. That’s right people, the back of my head is in a movie for two seconds…maybe…we’ll have to see when it’s all finished. In any event, I had a blast  and got to see movie making from the other side.

4. I got a job reviewing independent films for CinemaBeach. Go forth and explore the website–they’ve got a lot of great reviews from people who just love to watch movies. And don’t be intimidated by the idea of “indie films”, I promise they’re not that scary (except for the one I’m reviewing this week, which is, in fact, a horror movie).

3. My first review for CinemaBeach is here for a movie called Jack and Diane. Enjoy. I’m working on a second one for the film In Their Skin, which promises to give me nightmares for many a  night to come. Hurrah for horror.

2. Go see Argo. Seriously, I think it’s Ben Affleck’s best film to date; he’s growing as a director, his acting is solid, and the film as a whole displays an attention to detail that is flat-out commendable. If this film doesn’t get nominated for an Oscar, I will be in a supreme state of shock.

1. I’m taking a class at Chapman that will allow my happy little self to got to the Sundance Film Festival. I turned in my paperwork yesterday and put down a deposit, so it is definitely happening.

Bam! Yeah, I know that last one is kind of big deal, at least for me it is. I promise to take lots of pictures (where permitted…and where not permitted when I can get away with it) and to drag my laptop along with me so I can share the experience.

OK, that’s all for now, but I’m working on a book related post, so stay tuned!

Move Um Out…Rawhide!

This is it. THE BIG MOVE.

I’ve casually mentioned moving out to California and the epic packing, which God help me, the latter is not quite done. Overwhelmed does not even begin to describe the sensation of packing up your life. I honestly did not realize how much stuff I have collected over the years.  And the hard thing is that not all of it can come out there with me.

Letting go is something I struggle with. I keep mementos of major and minor events in my life–like my ticket from The Merchant of Venice, in England, or the pennant from my high school. Well those little tickets and trinkets add up. I’ve had to recycle and toss a lot of things both big and small, which has been so hard. But moving  out of St. Louis is a new opportunity and I’m ready to embrace it!

My convoluted journey begins tomorrow morning with a trip to Ohio. So I’ve got to go back to move forward. I’m actually spending some time up there with him and then he’s going to help me get out to California. We’re going to make to most of our adventure out West and make a couple of stops on the way. We’re not making huge plans, the one thing I know for sure is that when we stop back in St. Louis we are going to stop at the zoo because we both love penguins (the St. Louis Zoo has one of the coolest penguin enclosures I’ve ever seen).

So in the midst of all this moving/packing/driving I will not be blogging. When I get the chance to write again I’m sure there will be so much to say!

The Hobbit…It’s Happening


I am obsessed with the trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I’ve seen it on and off in theaters for a while now and my excitement builds with every viewing. The Hobbit even graced the cover of this past week’s  Entertainment Weekly, so clearly I’m not the only one who is waiting with bated breath for this movie’s release.

Peter Jackson is at the helm of yet another Tolkien wonderland.  Originally, Guillermo del Toro was slated to direct the LOTR prequel, but backed off when the project kept stalling in production. Personally, I am thrilled that Jackson is back for more. I could understand Jackson’s potential fear of being pigeonholed as a director or wanting to change-up his perspective, but I couldn’t imagine a better point of view for The Hobbit.

Fans of the original Jackson series will be glad to see familiar faces in the new film. Actors Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, and Hugo Weaving (Gandalf, Galadriel, Legolas, and Elrond respectively) will return for The Hobbit’s adaptation. Jackson also discussed some story expansion of some of these old favorites in order to extend the release into a two film series. Tolkien purists hopefully won’t be too upset  because the material is mostly taken from the writer’s other works.

The thing that I’m looking forward to the most are the thirteen dwarfs. Jackson told EW that his biggest struggle is defining each of the thirteen new characters as individuals since the book is at times vague with character description. The portion of the trailer where Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) stares in to the fire and sings, his baritone resonating through the space, fuels my Hobbit obsession like no other. I have been humming the tune sporadically for months. I cannot wait to see how this vast cast of characters develops.

Is anyone else obsessed? What are you most looking forward to?