Things That Are Awesome, Vol. 105

The weekly roundup of things that are awesome:

  1. I saw The Wolf of Wall Street over Christmas break (and thought the movie itself was okay but Leo was flat-out great), and I’ve been thinking a lot about all the criticism it’s taking for “glorifying” shady behavior. At first, I was inclined to think the criticism was overblown, but after reading this, I’m less sure: An Open Letter to the Makers of the Wolf of Wall Street.
  2. So many interesting tidbits here: 40 Maps That Will Help You Understand the World.
  3. Here’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Golden Globes Opening Monologue. Spoiler alert: it’s perfection.
  4. Disturbing yet accurate: The Cast of HBO’s Girls As American Girl Dolls.
  5. I’ve only lived here for two weeks, but I can already attest to the truth of #15 and #18: 18 Things You’re Only Afraid of If You Live in Geneva.
  6. Because everyone knows Puppy Bowl > Super Bowl: The 2014 Puppy Bowl Lineup Will Tackle Your Heart.
  7. A childhood slumber party was not really a slumber party until we watched this movie: 30 Reasons Now and Then Was a Defining Childhood Movie for Girls.
  8. Pretty accurate (minus the part about Biggby Coffee, which I really don’t think is true): How to Piss Off Someone from Michigan.
  9. Believe it or not, I didn’t just include this list because #26 happens to have been taken by yours truly: 30 Instagram Photos That Will Make You Fall in Love with Ann Arbor.
  10. This is adorable and I love it: Peter Pan Proposes to Wendy Onstage. (However, it does raise a burning question – why are they singing “You Raise Me Up” in a Peter Pan performance?!?)

(Image via Entertainment Weekly)

Things That Are Awesome, Vol. 84

pug

The weekly roundup of internet awesomeness:

  1. Amazing: Worst Engagement Photos in the World.
  2. This makes me laugh: Take a Moment and Watch Rahm Emanuel Dance to Blurred Lines (to be fair, though, who doesn’t want to dance to this song?? #THICKE)
  3. Speaking of Blurred Lines, these mashups with Growing Pains and The Cosby Show are, as the article says, perfection. I can’t even.
  4. Annnnnd…yet another Blurred Lines video, this time with the genders swapped.
  5. Can this movie really be 20 years old? And if so…how old does that make me?!? Hocus Pocus Anniversary: 20 Years Later, 10 Things the Cult Classic Gave Us.
  6. I’ve always found Diane Von Furstenberg really inspiring; naturally, then, I love this: Diane Von Furstenberg’s Never-Before-Seen Vintage Wardrobe.
  7. Too cute: 10 Pugs Who Look Like Things. I’m dying to get a dog after I graduate law school, and right now, a pug or a Frenchie are at the top of my wish list.
  8. 24 People Who Are Really Nailing This Parenting Thing. I love the expression of the kid in #18 – it’s like he’s saying, “What is my life?!?!”
  9. A while back, I posted a link to this article about the decline of American Girl Dolls. Now, here’s another good one. Seriously, stop messing with my childhood!
  10. This was on Freshly Pressed last week, but I think it’s worth a link here, too: NPR Host’s Live-Tweeting of His Mother’s Last Moments Shows the Power of 140 Characters. When I first saw that headline, I was prepared to be appalled – but it’s actually quite poignant.

(Image via Buzzfeed)

Things That Are Awesome, Vol. 72

middle-class problems

The weekly roundup of awesomeness:

  1. As a little girl, I was obsessed with American Girl dolls – in large part because, as a history nerd in training, I loved reading the books and learning about each doll’s time period. Today, American Girls are more like oversized Barbies; that is, shallow and superficial. This article nails it: American Girls Aren’t Radical Anymore.
  2. My Arrested Development hysteria continues to mount as little tidbits about the upcoming Netflix season start to emerge. For instance: this clip and these posters. Cannot. Wait.
  3. The law geek in me loves this: What’s the Most Important Supreme Court Case No One’s Ever Heard Of? (And, for the record, I’ve heard of/read all of them except one).
  4. Europe, in 9 Walks. Want to do all of these, especially the Paris Promenade.
  5. I never did a full semester study abroad program, but I did two summer ones and this list is so true: The 50 Best Study Abroad Memes (The Jon Hamm one!!)
  6. Great moments in the playoff history of the Detroit Red Wings. I vividly, vividly remember watching #4 with my friends.
  7. These are great: 27 Middle-Class Problems. #24 and #27 killed me.
  8. Stuff like this is why France is great: French Bus Drivers to Go on Strike in Protest of Their New Uniform Because the Trousers Are Too Tight.
  9. I marathon re-watched Sex and the CIty a few months ago and realized that the show is just not holding up well with time (seriously, I’m in my 20s and my maturity level is light years ahead of the women in their late 30s and early 40s on that show). To that end, can we all agree that Carrie Bradshaw is pretty much the worst? For example: 27 Ways You Are Not Carrie Bradshaw.
  10. And in conclusion, this is why Emma Stone is the best ever.

Things That Are Awesome, Vol. 36

(Image via Huffington Post)

The weekly roundup of all that I deem awesome:

  1. A compilation of recycled Aaron Sorkin dialogue. Amazing how many phrases and anecdotes he repeats, almost word for word, in different projects.
  2. When I Was Growing Up, Girls Just Didn’t Run in Public” – a Nike ad in celebration of Title IX’s 40th anniversary. Love this so much.
  3. If I lived in L.A., I guarantee I would visit this Arrested Development-inspired art exhibit. Too good.
  4. And if I lived in NYC, I would totally go to this: a play, the premise of which is the Babysitters Club reuniting in Stonybrook for Mary Anne and Logan’s wedding.
  5. Ryan Gosling was glad the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, too.
  6. Nickelodeon buried a time capsule in 1992. Looking at what was inside, my ’90s nostalgia is running rampant.
  7. Also making my 90s nostalgia run rampant? 14 First World Problems from the 90s. Funny how things have changed (and, for the record, I always found number 8 particularly upsetting).
  8. Stately Sandwiches – a fun project where the author is creating a sandwich to represent each state. I’m trying to figure out what the Michigan sandwich should be…
  9. This article made me smile: How American Girl Is Saving the World, One Doll at a Time. As a lifelong American Girl fan (I had Molly when I was little), I would agree that the brand is pretty wonderful.
  10. Crazy nerdy, but this made me laugh: Write Like the Wind, a song encouraging George R.R. Martin to write his books faster.

Didn’t get enough awesome? Head to the Awesome Archives.

Things That Are Awesome, Vol. 26

(Images via Entertainment Weekly)

The kinda-weekly roundup of internet gems:

  1. I admit it: I”m semi-obsessed with the Hunger Games. That’s why I find this map of Panem fascinating. The amount of detail and the careful thought process the makers put into it is amazing.
  2. And one more Hunger Games thing – posters for the movie, if it had been directed by other famous directors. So good. I think I like the Nancy Meyers one best: “She’s been chosen…but can she choose?”
  3. This will sound dorky, but it drives me crazy when people don’t use the Oxford comma. Here’s a good reason why.
  4. One of the most emblematic parts of my childhood? American Girl dolls. Here’s a piece I completely identify with.
  5. One Tiny Hand. This is both really creepy and completely hilarious.
  6. Another week, another set of cute dog pictures – The Bizarre Ways That Dogs Like to Sleep. Too cute not to post.
  7. I used to work as a writing tutor during college, so I found this particularly hilarious: Lines from The Princess Bride that Double as Comments on Freshman Composition Papers. “You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
  8. A 12-year-old rants against plain donuts. Hilarious. Sample line: “It’s just a BAGEL! A BAGEL!”
  9. Zoopreme Court: pictures of Supreme Court justices as animals. This will be funny to approximately no one but me.
  10. Between the return of Mad Men last Sunday and the return of Game of Thrones this one, it’s a pretty great few weeks to be a TV lover. Sunday is Coming.

Want more awesome? Ask and you shall receive.

30 Day Book Challenge in One Day (I’m That Good)

I saw this 30 day book challenge floating around the interwebs and thought it sounded like fun. However, dragging it out for over 30 days (and finding enough substance for each prompt to fill 30 posts) did not sound so fun. So, I condensed it a bit. Or, a lot. Whatever. Voila!

Day 01 – Best book you read last year:

Does it make me sound like a crazy teenager to say the Hunger Games trilogy? I hope not, because that’s definitely my answer.

Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times:

When I like a book, I tend to re-read it frequently, so there are many of these – all the Harry Potter books, A Year in Provence, Summer Sisters, and many more.

Day 03 – Your favorite series:

Harry Potter. Obvi. Next question.

Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series:

Close call, but probably Goblet of Fire. I think it’s because this seems to be the book where they all start growing up, and the stakes get raised a TON with the resurrection of Voldemort. Also, I think the Triwizard Tournament and the Yule Ball are so fun.

Day 05 – A book that makes you happy:

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. It’s easy to read, and all his stories are so delightful. Definitely the ultimate travel fantasy.

Day 06 – A book that makes you sad:

There are many. For one, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – so chilling. Also, Cold Mountain. Man, that ending is crushing. Whyyyy, after all that time, did that have to happen? And, this will sound silly, but…The Polar Express. It always makes me sad when he loses that damn bell (stupid hole in his pocket!). And, I remember as a child being disturbed that the boy was the only one in his family who was a true believer.

Day 07 – Most underrated book:

Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. And, please, do not watch the movie version of this before you read the book. In fact, do not watch it ever. Nicholas Cage + terrible Italian accent + attempts at emoting = disastrous.

Day 08 – Most overrated book:

I don’t know if this is technically overrated since I think many people would probably agree that it’s terrible writing, but the Da Vinci Code. That damn book was everywhere for awhile, and it annoyed me so much. Also, Beloved. Is it sacrilegious to say that I just. don’t. get. this. book.? Also, part 2, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Also, part 3, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Too pretentious.

Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving:

To me, Russian literature does not exactly scream “fun,” but I loved both Eugene Onegin and Crime and Punishment. In fact, taking a Russian lit class and reading those two novels is what really made me a fan of Russian authors circa the 19th century (which also sounds pretentious, but I’m owning it).

Day 10 – Favorite classic book:

Obvious choices, but either Pride and Prejudice or Little Women. Both so, so good.

Day 11 – A book you hated:

Twilight, Twilight, Twilight. I felt offended that I spent money buying this book (lesson learned: patronize your local library). I actually laughed out loud on several occasions while reading it, and let me tell you – it’s not because Stephanie Meyer is a brilliant humorist (sidenote: do you remember when Stephen King said she couldn’t write worth a damn? My hero.)

Okay, Twilight was obvious. Other books that really disappointed me? A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway – both of the protagonists were so unlikable that I couldn’t have cared less when Catherine Barkley died at the end. Also, as previously mentioned, Beloved by Toni Morrison. Ugh, ugh, ugh. It’s really gross to try to write a coherent paper about a book that you just cannot stand, as I had to do with Beloved during high school. And finally, Saturday by Ian McEwan. I think McEwan is a fantastic writer generally (see: Atonement. Stunning book.), but I really hated this one. And the protagonist is such a creeper.

Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore:

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. The night before my junior year of high school started, I stayed up until like 3 am reading it. I thought it would end up being an all-time favorite, but I’ve never read it again. And, the more I think about it, the more it creeps me out. You know what scene I’m talking about, right?

Day 13 – Your favorite writer:

Oh so many, but you know who I’m going with? David Sedaris. He never fails to make me laugh, and sometimes you just need to laugh.

Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer:

Me Talk Pretty One Day. I love all this books, but I think this is Sedaris at his best. I love when he talks about learning French and his life in Paris.

Day 15 – Favorite male character:

Seems like an obvious answer, but I have to go with Mr. Darcy. Hot damn.

Day 16 – Favorite female character:

Hermione. Elizabeth Bennet. Abilene from the Help. All strong, smart women.

Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book

Not sure this is my favorite book, but one of my favorite quotations ever is from Corelli’s Mandolin: “Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love,” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”

Day 18 – A book that disappointed you:

This also feels sacrilegious, but The Great Gatsby. I liked it, but I had built it up in my head so much that it was bound to disappoint. I just didn’t love it the way I thought I would.

Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie:

In general, Hollywood always gets it wrong. But two times it got it right? Pride and Prejudice (both the BBC version and the newer one with Keira Knightley). And, I really love Under the Tuscan Sun. It is NOTHING like the book (other than the fact that it happens to take place in Tuscany), but it’s a delightful movie.

Day 20 – Favorite romance book:

One Day. This is also a good segue from question 19, as I’m still weeping over the way Hollywood butchered this story. Anne Hathaway’s “British” accent continues to haunt my nightmares.

Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood:

Any American Girl Book, but especially the Molly stories.

Day 22 – Favorite book you own:

Probably the entire Harry Potter series. This whole post is basically an ode to my enduring love for Harry Potter.

Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t:

Yikes, there are so many. But, to name a few? War and Peace, Lolita, and Master and Margarita have been high on my list for awhile now.

Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read:

On Beauty by Zadie Smith. White Teeth was the one that got all the critical acclaim, but I enjoyed On Beauty much more. It’s a hidden gem.

Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most:

Bridget Jones, in the sense that I feel like I need to get my shit together. Sloane Crosley (who’s not a character, I know), also in the sense that I feel like I need to get my shit together. Beth from Little Women, in that I’m always the quiet one (though hopefully I don’t die from scarlet fever). Hermione, in that sometimes I might be a know-it-all (although, of course, I am ultimately lovable and brave). Now where’s my Ron?

Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something

I don’t know if it changed my opinion about one specific thing, but a book that changed how I looked at life in general was Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything by James Gleick. The basic gist of the book is examining how we’re trying to do everything in our lives faster nowadays, but asking: to what effect? Where is it getting us? Now, I think about this idea often as I go through normal things in my daily life. There are two examples that Gleick gives that I always think about: pushing the “door close” button on an elevator (which apparently doesn’t make the door close any faster, but which people – including myself – do anyway) and microwaving something for 33 seconds rather than 30 because it’s quicker to punch “3″ twice rather than punching “3″ and then “0″ (this is something I never did but, ironically, started doing after I read the book).

Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending:

My Sister’s Keeper. It comes out of nowhere and just guts you. Also, you can add this book to the list of ones that Hollywood butchered by COMPLETELY changing the ending from the book. And also, by casting Cameron Diaz.

Day 28 – Favorite title:

100 Years of Solitude. So evocative. And man, I love that book.

Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked:

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert. This got a lot of bad reviews, but I actually found it pretty good. I didn’t really enjoy all the musings on her own relationship (a little too self-involved, but that seems to be a hallmark of her writing). However, I loved her research on what marriage means in other cultures and how it has evolved over time. So fascinating.

Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time:

I honestly don’t know if I have an all time favorite; I think different books are good for different moods. It might be the entire Harry Potter series. It might be Little Women, or Pride and Prejudice, or Corelli’s Mandolin, or A Year in Provence, or 100 Years of Solitude, or Me Talk Pretty One Day. All excellent.

Five Things That Make Me Feel Old

Okay. I will preface this by saying I’m fully aware that I’m 25 and that 25 is not old. But…

It seems like there’s been a huge wave of ’90s nostalgia lately. I’m all for this; though I was alive in the ’80s (for a few brief years during toddler-dom), I could never really connect with ’80s nostalgia that seemed prevalent because, clearly, I can’t remember the ’80s. But ’90s stuff? That I get. That’s my childhood.

However, the thing about all this nostalgia is that, at some point, you start to realize all these things you remember so vividly (‘N Sync! Dawson’s Creek! Beanie Babies!) happened well over a decade ago. And once that realization sets in, it hits you. You’re getting old.

I saw this article the other day – “40 Things That Will Make You Feel Old” – and it perfectly taps into that feeling. Almost every single thing on that list is something I totally identify with.

The list also got me thinking, and in almost no time, I came up with a few of my own things that make me feel really, really old. I know if I pondered this question for longer, I could come up with way more, but for now – here are the five things that make me feel super ancient.

One: I’m as old as the characters in Friends

This is the one I find the most disturbing. A few months ago, it hit me – in Friends, season 1, they are all 25 or 26. And I’m 25! What? How did that happen? Seriously, I’ve been watching Friends since it first came on the air (like 17 years ago, oh my god), and it never really dawned on me that I’d catch up with (and surpass them) one day. Insanity, I tell you.

Two: Clueless is now as old as Cher was in the movie

Yes, Clueless came out 16 years ago. 16! How is that even possible? Clueless was, hands down, one of the most beloved movies of my childhood and one of my go-to sleepover movies for years (along with Now and Then, which is also fantastic). The thing I love about Clueless is, to this day, the movie holds up well. Paul Rudd is still adorable. Alicia Silverstone is still the perfect mix of ditzy and lovable. And the jokes are still funny (some, by the way, are made even funnier by the passage of time – for instance, Cher’s reference to “Marky Mark taking time out of his busy pants-dropping schedule” always makes me smile because Mark Wahlberg is allegedly a serious actor now).

Three: JTT is a thirty-year-old

Okay, I’m not proud to admit it, but back in the day (i.e., late elementary to early middle school), we were all about those completely vapid teeny-bopper magazines – Teen Beat, Tiger Beat, etc. Though many crushes were developed in those days (hello, Devon Sawa! Where have you been lately, Rider Strong?), the king of them all was Jonathan Taylor Thomas, affectionately known as JTT. And now, he’s in his thirties, and my mind is blown.

Four: Jonathan Lipnicki can legally drink

You remember Jonathan Lipnicki, right? The super cute kid from Jerry Maguire, who knew that the human head weighed eight pounds? Well, should you run into him at bar one day, you could buy him a drink. Odd. Also, even odder – he’s apparently, like, a body builder now. Yikes.

Five: There are way too many American Girl Dolls

I remember the glory days, when Felicity, Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly were the only American Girl dolls. I don’t know about you, but American Girl dolls were huge in my world (and, not that you asked, but I had Molly – and, apparently, many other girls did too). I prefer to remember American Girl in its early heyday, where only these four dolls existed. But then…the American Girl empire began to expand. They added Addy. That was fine. Then they added Josefina. That started to feel like a bit much. Then Kit came along. That was over the line. Who wants a Great Depression-era doll anyway? What a downer. And now there are a ton more, plus a bajillion “modern” girl dolls. Too far, American Girl. Too far. Go back to a simpler time and place, please, where all we had to worry about was Molly raising money to buy war bonds and Kirsten wearing a (highly-flammable, I’d suspect) wreath of candles on her head in celebration of St. Lucy’s Day.