Adventures of the charmingly odd

What’s the Buzz #4: “But One Thousand Years Ain’t Enough to Tear Down Your Walls”

These posts used to be called “Coffee & GChat”, a weekly(ish) post on how I’m spending my time. That has now turned into “What’s the Buzz” posts! You can read the last one here. Mostly I ramble about the things I’m obsessed with lately.

Such as yesterday, I put my steam rollers in my hair for the first time in ages! (It’s hard to muster up the energy to look presentable when you’re on crutches. Paired with my every growing Besame Cosmetics make up collection, I was able to pull off a very vintage vibe last night.

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One goal I have right now is to really clean out all the JUNK I have. I’ve always been a collector, saving souvenirs from every experience that meant something to me. Or collecting things that go along with movies & books I love. As a result- I have so much stuff and I want to get rid of 90% of it. I live in such organized chaos and beloved clutter but I want to be more simplistic. I’ve sold some things on eBay, Etsy, and Poshmark but the app only service, Mercari, is by far the BEST. There are no fees, like eBay has, and there’s a lot of users which means I’ve already been able to sell a bunch of stuff. I might also just post some things on a page here on my blog in case any of you are interested. Or join Mercari- I 100% recommend it for selling things AND to find unique things you’ve been looking for. Use code “DMCDYQ” to get $2 towards your first purchase!

Roller Derby

0be6110c7fcaadb01ac8b60b08520b9fIt’s now been 3 1/2 weeks since I broke my leg at derby practice. Boy, let me tell you how much I am loathing these crutches. I hate not being able to walk AND carry things at the same time. I hate how much effort it is to do anything, especially shower or work. I’m also not sleeping well because I move around a lot in my sleep, which leads to me moving my foot, which causes a sharp pain up my leg and well, repeat that process a million times a night and see how exhausted you are the next day. There does seem to be more pain on the inside of my ankle (I broke my leg on the outside of my ankle) which leads me to believe I might have severely sprained something….which is not good. Ugh. I have an MRI on Thursday to see exactly what’s going on. I miss skating so much but my mind is having a constantly struggle of “Is roller derby worth all this pain, inconvenience, and losing money due to me not being able to work as much?” If I got 100% healthy again only to get hurt again skating, I would lose my mind. I have no idea what I’m going to do anymore. I did buy these hilarious stickers for my crutches though….

Reading

Honestly, I haven’t been reading much other than rereading “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes a LOT in the past couple of weeks. It’s one of those books that I’ve just kept in my bag and whenever I have free time I read a chapter or two. Something about this book really captivated me, providing comfort in how stressed out my personal life has been lately. Things with Steve are perfect, I assure you, but there are other things going on that is causing me so much anxiety and I’m having a hard time handling it. But this book makes me so happy <3. If you’ve read “Me Before You” and have any recommendations for books like it, please let me know! The closest books I can compare it to is “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger or all other books by Jojo Moyes.

Watching

The_white_queenI’m still not allowed to put any weight on my broken leg and I’m supposed to keep it elevated as much as possible, which means I’m watching a ton of television shows. So far I’ve caught up on season 2 of “Outlander”, all of “The Girlfriend Experience”, and all of “The White Queen” (thanks Starz on demand!). “The White Queen” was amazing and I highly recommend it to everyone. It’s based off of a series of books by Philippa Gregory called The Cousins’ War (The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter) and was done extraordinarily well. The acting, production quality, and writing are all superb. The leading actress, Rebecca Ferguson, is memorizing. She won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Miniseries for playing Queen Elizabeth on this show and her performance is a force to be reckon with.  If you’re a Game of Thrones fan but prefer to have more of a historical fiction feel than fantasy-you’ll absolutely love it. It’s along the same vein as Pillars of the Earth, another favorite of mine. What’s even BETTER is that Starz recently announced that they are in production for the sequel to “The White Queen”, titled “The White Princess” according to Entertainment Weekly. YAYAYAYAY!!!

Listening To

My brother is notorious for his fantastic taste in music. So when he recommends a band or brings home a new CD, everyone in my family gives it a shot. 99% of the time he’s correct. The newest band I love that he’s told me about is Yukon Blonde, a group of Canadian guys. Their song “1,000 Years” is currently on repeat for me.

Super catchy! Check out more about them on their website here.

 House Keeping

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I was interview by Melissa over on Talking Comics on how much Peggy Carter means to me! Here is the beginning of the interview:

MM: So, I’m interested in particular in fans who develop a special sort of personal connection to a fictional character. I’m not talking ‘favorites’, but a character who influences your life or experiences in some significant way. Do you have a connection like that?

ZG: Peggy Carter immediately captured me, before the first Captain America movie came out. So much so that I cosplayed as her at the movie premiere at San Diego Comic Con 2011.

MM: Why Peggy Carter?

ZG: The two obvious reasons are: she is from the WWII era, which is a specialty of mine and she looks like me. This is an example of where representation matters. I’ve always been bigger than a size 4, with broad shoulders and strong jaw, much like Peggy. I had never seen an actress with the same body type as me before.

The other reasons would be that she is an outsider in her field because she’s a woman, and what woman hasn’t felt like she’s being underestimated as a result of her gender? Also, she had a heart of gold, which I strive for.  She loved Steve Roger before his transformation, before he became Captain America.

Check out the rest of the interview here!

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What’s the Buzz #2: “There’s No Such Things as an Ass Cast”

These posts used to be called “Coffee & GChat”, a weekly(ish) post on how I’m spending my time. That has now turned into “What’s the Buzz” posts! You can read the last one here.

Roller Derby

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The CJ Roller Vixens! I’m the awkwardly tall one who didn’t realize everyone wore black except for her)

Since I started roller derby boot camp last month, it has now consumed my life in the best possible way! No doubt that it’s going to become a regular staple in my life so it’s only fair that it has it’s own category now. This Sunday marks my 6th and final week of boot camp with the Central Jersey Roller Vixens! After this practice I sign some papers, pay my first month of dues, and then I’m officially part of the team! Anyone who has known me either personally or online knows that roller derby has been a dream of mine for years. 4 years ago I even bought skates and gear and would practice in Central Park with the intention of trying out for New York City’s Gotham Girl’s Roller Derby team.

But then I fell and got hurt and saw countless doctors for years and sued the store I fell at and etc etc. However, last year I got my nerve pain under control and decided- fuck it! I’m not going to let this stupid disease hold me back. (Just two days ago my doctor told me flat out I should not be doing derby and I sheepishly shrugged and said, “Whatever, it means me happy so I won’t stop.”)

The only injury I’ve had since starting is falling pretty bad on my tailbone, bruising it on Valentine’s Day. It hurt so bad that I told Steve I couldn’t take my pants off sooooo that lingerie I bought would have to wait hahaha. It still is sore but bruised tailbones take 6-8 weeks to heal properly.

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Pan is wondering why I was wearing skates in the house instead of giving her treats

Last night I put my skates on in my house for the first time to practice some footwork. Maybe it was the close proximity of couches, but I was able to get the hang of skating backwards and transitioning stopping for the first time!! Roller derby is really scary so for someone like me (hellooooo anxiety disorder!) and I get very in my head during practice, which is the hardest part so far.

But every moment I don’t have skates on, I wish that I did. And if that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.

Reading

Since the last post, I’ve binge read two books that I was absolutely obsessed with. This hardly ever happens with two books in a row! And magically enough, they were both already on my kindle. I bought them about 6 months ago and then never got past the first couple of pages. The first one was “The Last Letter from Your Lover” by Jojo Moyes. This is the same author as “Me Before You” and “Me After You”, both of which I devoured in 4 days. When I realized I had another Moyes book already in my library, I decided to give it another shot-THANK GOD. “Last Letter” was heartbreaking in the best way. It took place in post WWII Europe and featured romance, sex, politics, social classes, and all that good stuff. One plot twist made me gasp out loud and talk to an empty room on how amazing this book was.

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The other book was “The Paying Guests” by Sarah Waters. I was tempted to buy all of Moyes’s other books but I told myself that I should at least give the books I have one more shot. “The Paying Guests” started out incredible slow, but not for lack of good writing. Waters’s style is very detailed, rich with descriptions of living in 1922. About 40 pages in, nothing exciting had happened yet. I honestly had to Google the book to see if it was worth finishing. I found out about the unexpected romance that was about to happen in the story, so I stayed on. Once the pacing picked up, I couldn’t put down the goddamn book. I sat for 5 hours Monday night finishing the nearly 600 page novel. If gothic thriller, lesbian romance, murder mystery is your thing- look no further!

Watching

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I finished catching up on Zooey Deschanel’s “New Girl” and then binge read 4 books. Last night was the first time I watched something all week and of course I decided to check out the Netflix Original “Love”. Created by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin, it stars Gillian Jacobs and Rust as two down on their luck in love 30 somethings. The writing and originality of the characters immediately drew me in. I’m a fan of Apatow’s previous tv shows, especially Freaks and Geeks and I like seeing some of the same actors he’s worked with in the past show up here. Jacob’s character Mickey in an early episode takes Ambien and goes to weird midnight church meeting and it made me loyal to her Mickey for life. ( You may already know about my great love for Ambien despite the hallucinations I’ve had on it. Ever heard my drag racing story while on Ambien? Ask me about it sometime-it’s hilarious.) (I should also mention that I have a real prescription for Ambien from a real doctor for my anxiety induced insomnia.) The show is awesome-check it out!

Wishing

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Since started Roller Derby, I quickly realized that at some point soon I’m going to have to buy better skates. Better quality boots, better bearings and wheels, and overall better for safety and performance. My parents were awesome and got me the high end body gear from Triple 8 so all that’s left to upgrade are some quads! I have my eye on Riedell’s Wicked 265 Rival Skates (found here). SO badass!

And Then Some Housekeeping

 

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I launched a Patreon! I know it may sound silly, since I’m not an artist or musician or someone that produces more substantial material. But since launching my own account I’ve played with it more to find out how to approach it that’s best for me AND for people who may want to support me in my adventures! I figured out that I’m going to treat my Patreon and a platform to blog about my life in between Twitter and my blog.

Twitter is usually for spur of the moment musing and things I’m up to. My blog posts are usually much longer and detailed. Patreon will be daily mini blog posts (much shorter than here but longer than 140 characters) that feature pictures not on Instagram or Twitter! I’ve capped the rewards at $5+ a month because asking for more sounds ridiculous.

If you’re interested, please do check out my Patreon here! The money goes directly to paying my derby dues, to hosting my blog site, and paying for all the anxiety prescription drugs I’m currently on. (Seven! Seven a day!) So if you want to hear more about my daily crazy life, check it out!

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A Movie I Loved, A Movie I Hated, & Movies I Was Just Meh About

Below are four movies I’ve watched recently and have strong opinions about. Then again, when do I not have a strong opinion about a movie? I’m a pain in the ass, I know I know. But humor me, shall you?

Loved:
“God Help the Girl”

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This 2014 movie has been in the works for years. Since 2009 I have been waiting for this movie to finally finish production and a few months ago it was finally released, but only on Vimeo. I bought the download code and the soundtrack on vinyl immediately, knowing 100% that I was going to love this movie.

In short, it’s about a girl named Eve who escapes from her mental hospital and starts a pop band with a boy named James and a girl named Cassie. Quirky, emotional, magical goodness follows. I have listened this shit out of this soundtrack. It’s catchy and moving and different than anything else coming out these days. Watch the trailer below and try hard to not become enchanted! Even better, visit the site and buy the movie for yourself!: http://www.godhelpthegirl.com/

 

Hated:
The Last 5 Years

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I wanted to love this movie. I wanted to love this movie so fucking bad. All last fall I listened to the original Broadway soundtrack, but it was not good enough. I wanted to hear Anna Kendrick sing all the songs because he voice is heavenly! But I had a gut feeling that this wouldn’t be as good as I hoped. I ignored that gut feeling to the highest degree and bought the movie on iTunes the day it came out.

Boy was I disappointed. The songs are boring, minus two: “A Summer in Ohio” and “I can Do Better Than That.” Both are sung by Kendrick and both have been on repeat for weeks at a time. But the story about the rise and decline of a writer and an actress’s relationship is plan old tired. I hated the guy, named Jamie, from the get go. He was too full of himself and Kendrick’s character Cathy was just so in awe that somebody as charming as gorgeous as him would love her, that she let him get away with everything. No wonder she got her heart broken.

I was so disinterested every time Jamie sang that I literally skipped entire scenes because I couldn’t care less. There was no character development or real plot. What a disappointment, Kendrick deserves much better considering her incredible talent. Check out the trailer below to make your own decision (but for the love of god, don’t buy it.)

Meh:

Skeleton Twins

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This 2014 indie movie staring SNL veterans & friends Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader flew under the radar but the trailer was so charming so I put it on my Watch List. It’s about a pair of twins with matching massive personality flaws. Hader’s character is a suicidal, gay, failing actor in LA and his sister, Wiig’s character, is a severely depressed woman pretending to be the perfect housewife while sleeping with her hobby instructors.

A few weeks ago when it was iTunes cheap rental of the day, I jumped right on it. I watched it a couple of days ago and was underwhelmed by the whole thing. Hader & Wiig’s performances were solid; I loved watching them as serious, dark characters instead of them being type casted into comedies. However, the writing isn’t strong and the character development is weak. Plus all the good scenes are shown in the trailer, which you should watch for it’s charm but skip the movie entirely.

 

Broken Flowers

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This 2005 ‘dramedy’ starring Bill Murray was done between his role in “Lost in Translation” (one of top 3 favorite movies ever) and his role in “The Life Aquatic”.  So when Steve & I saw this on HBO Go the other day, we jumped right on it. This had to be good! It was about an aging bachelor convinced by his Ethiopian, wanna be Sherlock Holmes neighbor to track down Murray’s girlfriends from 20 years ago when he receives an anonymous letter in the mail claiming he’s a father.

In short…this was not very good. Weird as fuck, no real character development, and basically an overall mess. I’m glad I watched it because I want to watch Murray in everything he does (except ‘Groundhog Dog, which I despise much to Steve’s dismay). But honestly, don’y bother checking this one out, it’s a total bore. But you can check out the trailer below:

 

Have you ever seen any of these movies? What did you think about them? Shoot me a Tweet at @bookishbelle!

 

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“The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring” At Lincoln Center!

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Last night I dragged Steve with me to see The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring in concert at the famed David E. Koch theatre at Lincoln Center! I just had to attend, seeing as how LOTR is my first true love. The tattoo on my ribs that says “Shire” in Quenya isn’t there for nothing, you know.

Thanks to StubHub I was able to score 4th row seats! Any seats really would have been amazing, but being so close to the orchestra and seeing everyone perform with such vigor was overwhelming. Especially during “The Bridge of Khazad-dûm”, it shook the entire theater and made the fight with the Balrog more intense than ever.

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I wore my scarf that has a map of Middle-earth on it, and my prized Lothlorien Leaf necklace/brooch I bought from Weta, made all the way over in New Zealand!

They even had a Weapons check in for people who came dressed up and brought swords and axes!

Steve was SUCH a trooper! He had never seen any of the LOTR movies before we met, and one rainy summer afternoon last year he agreed to watch Fellowship with me. However, I only had the extended editions on my iPad (because who the hell still watches the theatrical versions these days?). He sat through the whole thing like a champ then! When I got my hands on tickets for this one, he was perturbed I didn’t pick a movie he hadn’t already seen. But Fellowship is my favorite of the three, so he was just going to suck it up and put up with the fact that his girlfriend is a huge nerd.

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I cried through so much of it. I did warn Steve ahead of time though. He didn’t believe me, silly guy. I cried at the opening, when the Shire was shown for the first time, when Sam took the farthest step from home he had ever been, when Aragorn turns down Frodo’s offer of the Ring (“I would have gone with you to the end, into the very fires of Mordor.” Oh, an arrow into my heart every time), and basically the last twenty minutes I was just bawling. Especially during the credits when a little boy performed “In Dreams”, I was sobbing. And when Howard Shore came out at the end, I cried even harder because I was standing in awe of a man who had brought such important music to my life. Thankfully a girl behind me was also bawling her eyes out and tapped my shoulder to share her tissues. Steve couldn’t stop laughing at how emotional I was getting, but I think he was laughing out of how stupid adorable his nerdy girlfriend is. (right?)

Back in December 2004, I had begged and begged my dad for weeks to take me to the THE LORD OF THE RINGS SYMPHONY with The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at the NJ PAC center in Newark (which is the ghetto). He was such a good dad, driving all the way there on a Friday night in traffic for his 14 year old daughter! My dad had fallen asleep during the performance then, so I told Steve the only thing he had to do was not fall asleep and fake enthusiasm. To his credit, I think he honestly had a good time.

In the lobby they were selling Doug Adam’s book “The Music of The Lord of the Rings Films: A Comprehensive Account of Howard Shore’s Scores” (you can purchase yourself here) and gorgeous programs! I already own the book (it’s incredible, you should own it) so of course I bought the program SO FAST without even asking how much it was. ($25, which was totally worth it.)

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I haven’t watched the theatrical version in probably ten years, sticking with the extended editions (duh), but I do think the concert trimmed some of the movie itself down, but I can’t be sure. There were also subtitles during the show, which I understand due to the music being so loud, but not all the subtitles were %1000 percent accurate which slightly bugged me. But whatever, #NerdProblems.

I still had the most brilliant time! And it was worth every penny of the tickets. I mean, they were pretty expensive for a movie I’ve seen a hundred times hahaha. But the experience was 100% worth it! If any of you are lucky enough as well to see LOTR in Concert this weekend, let me know what you thought of it! Tickets might still be available at the website http://www.lotrlincolncenter.com/tickets.html or on StubHub.com.

If you want to gush about LOTR feel free to tweet me anytime, my handle is @Bookishbelle!

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“Finding Neverland” The Musical Review: Still Left Speechless

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Saturday, March 28th my sister Maya and I saw the new Broadway musical “Finding Neverland” which opened in previews on March 15th and officially premieres April 15th. It stars Matthew Morrison (Glee) as author J.M. Barrie, Kelsey Grammer (Fraiser, X-Men) as producer Charles Frohman, and Laura Michelle Kelly (Lord of the Rings The Musical) as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. If you are not familiar with the 2004 Oscar winning film of the same name, “Finding Neverland” is based on the true events of how Barrie was inspired by a widow and her four boys to write the beloved Peter Pan play in 1904 which was then later turned into numerous stage productions and films.

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I consider myself a Peter Pan snob, especially when it involves theatre. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I have a reoccurring dream of playing Wendy on Broadway for some apparent reason. I greatly dislike the Disney movie but the 1954 stage musical production is my absolute favorite. I reviewed those previously when Cathy Rigby performed it at Madison Square Garden (read here) and again when NBC did a live television broadcast (read here). In 2012 another story of how Peter became Pan came out on broadway in a play called “Peter and the Starcatcher” which is hand down my most favorite play of all time. The review for that can be found here.

I mention all this to reiterate that I take Peter Pan and any production of it extremely seriously and with high expectations. So I do not say this lightly when I tell you, “Finding Neverland” is one of he greatest Broadway shows I have ever seen.

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The acting is incredible. Morrison is well known for his lead role as Will Schuester on Glee, however his roots are in theater. The amount of acting talent & pure acrobatic energy he brings to the stage is outstanding. I have never seen an actor give so much of himself to a role before. He climbs, jumps, rolls, sprints, flies across the stage, never pausing for a moment to bring the sort of excellent one would expect of Broadway.

Grammer is his usually incredibly talented self, exuberayting charm and shocking audiences when he steps out as Captain Hook. Sorry Dustin Hoffman and Christopher Walken, Grammer is officially my new favorite Hook.

Kelly as Sylvia is adorable, heartbreaking, and made me cry on numerous occasions with empathy for her character. In fact, the entire cast is one of the greatest ensembles I have ever seen in a production. The amount of talent in this cast is incredible.

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Now, to compare, “Big Fish” (also based on an award winning film) came out onto Broadway in 2013 and I was so excited to see it. It stared one of the greats, Tony Award winner Robert Leo-Butz of “Wicked” fame. However, the show was no where up to par as other Broadway shows. The music, book, lyrics, stage production, and unfortunately even the acting was sub par and I left disappointed. This was in no way the case with “Finding Neverland”.

This stage production is one of the most impressive and magical sets I’ve seen. Even more impressive than “Wicked”: this set moved and created illusions such as Tinkerbell flying around the theater and a whirl wind of fairy dust that reduced me to a crying mess.

I’m honestly still fangirling so hard from how much I fell in love with this show. The soundtrack doesn’t come out until April 21st but you can watch Matthew Morrison perform one of the songs from the show titled “Neverland” here.

As soon as the curtain fell, Maya and I ran outside to the stage door and we got to meet Kelsey Grammer, Matthew Morrison, the rest of the cast! They also all signed her poster!

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Meeting Grammer was amazing. When he came out to sign Playbills and posters, we had the following conversation:

“I loved the show so much!”
“Thank you!”
“You’re officially my new favorite Hook! When you came out dressed up, I was like COME ON.”
“I know, right?!”
“You should keep the costume after the show is done.”
“That’s what my wife wants me to do. She wants me to wear it at night.”
“I mean, how could you say no to that?”
“Absolutely.”

So, basically the best Kelsey Grammer encounter ever.

Maya and I have been blasting whatever songs we can find from the show on YouTube and counting down the days until the soundtrack comes out! The show is currently in previews and tickets start at $79!

For more information http://findingneverlandthemusical.com/If you’re in the New York area, or traveling here soon, you must must must get tickets. I’m going to try to go again myself! I cross my heart, promise to never grow up, gotta crow, that you’ll love it!!

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Craft Beer Club Review!

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The folks over at Craft Beer Club were kind of enough to send me over a case of their monthly subscription beer. So here is my completely unbiased opinions of their products!

Their program is great, especially to give as a gift for those beer enthusiasts in your life. The Craft Beer Club sends monthly boxes of craft brews from all over the country. Each shipment is hand selected from small-production, independent brewers who only use traditional brewing ingredients! These are hard to find beers from some of the best Brewmasters in the business.

Along with Steve’s help, here is what we thought of the last month’s box, beer by beer!

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 Beer Breakdown

From Two Brother’s Brewing Company in Warrenville, IL

  • Domaine Dupage: Biere de Garde 5.9% ABV 24 IBU’s
    This was my favorite! It has a great color, super smooth and DELICIOUS. You can tell it’s inspired from the brother’s time living in France because they captured the sweet caramel undertones perfectly.
  • Side Kick Extra Pale Ale: American Pale Ale 5.1% ABV 36.1 IBU’s
    This one was Steve’s favorite as it’s clean, refreshing, & citrusy. It was fruity and hoppy and he called dibs on the second one in the crate immediately.

From Penn Brewery in Pittsburgh, PA

  • Penn Gold: Pale Munich Helles Lager 4.5% 20IBU’s
    A very light beer, kind of malty and would go well with a burger and fries!
  • Kaiser Pils: Northern German Pilsner 4.5% ABV 45IBU’s
    This Pils was so pale and very hoppy. Not exactly my tastes but it was pretty flowery and malty aftertaste.

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Membership Options

  • $39.99 you get 12 beers: 3 each of 4 different kinds. You can have this delivered on a monthly basis, every other month, or even quarterly!
  • $74.11 you get 24 beers, 4 different styles and 6 of each flavor! This would be a great excuse to have friends over ever month!bonus_gift_pop

Overall Thoughts

This is a really great idea and I would totally buy subscriptions for Steve’s friends for their birthdays or Christmases because seriously, who doesn’t love beer delivered right to your door

Sold yet? Join the Craft Beer Club today! There is no membership fee, no obligation to continue, and you may cancel anytime for any reason! Happy drinking!

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All photos by Steven Shulze.

To Kindle or Not To Kindle

About 5 years ago I was working at Barnes and Noble (I worked there for all 4 years of college) and my favorite part of the job was to buy back textbooks at the end of each semester. Sometimes we’d buy back these books that cost hundreds of dollars, but plenty of times we didn’t and the students would tell us to just throw them out or whatever because they never wanted to see that Biological Warfare of the Human Genome (or something equally horrifying) again. Anyway, I would take this discarded books and sell them to Amazon, sometimes for tons of money. (I don’t feel guilty, should I feel guilty?)

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Now, I had all this Amazon credit and I was sitting at the kitchen table in the breakfast nook of my aunt’s house on a river in Delaware, seriously contemplating for the 1st time if I should get a Kindle or not. I had the money, should I take the plunge?

My parents were big supporters of my getting a Kindle. Every summer when we would go to Hawaii, my suitcase was half filled with books to read on the beach after a morning of surfing. They were tired of paying extra baggage fees to account for my library.

But I was a snob! I was purveyor of the page! How could I ever abandon my bookstore and the smell of a brand new book? I ended up not getting one that summer, but for the last 5 years I’ve debated taking the plunge into the world of eBooks.

I had a soft introduction a couple years ago when I downloaded the ’50 Shades of Grey’ books onto the Kindle app on to my iPad. My excuse was that I was commuting on the train into Manhattan and I didn’t want everyone to know I was reading porn. But I hated reading stuff on my iPad: it was too big and bulky and I was too tempted to check the Internet instead of read.

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In the last couple of months, my reading has decreased significantly. By my house in New Jersey, there aren’t ANY bookstores which depresses the shit out of me. And I’m back in a small room (oh, the woes of moving back home in your mid twenties! Curse you, cliche romantic comedy scenario!) so I don’t have that much room to keep buying books. My grandfather built me huge bookshelves but they’re full and my floor is covered with stack and stacks of books. I just don’t have enough room.

Plus, these days I’m never home. I go to work and on the weekends I’m usually off doing stuff with Steve and I always forget to bring a book. And so, I came to the conclusion that perhaps, a Kindle would do me good. I mentioned it a lot on Twitter, and my friend Isabel told me she had a brand new Kindle, still in the plastic, that she would sell me for $20 if I wanted. I jumped at the chance!

Now, I’ve had it for a few weeks and I must admit: I really really like it. I basically love it.

Pros

1.) It’s so easy to see a book recommendation online and buy it instantly from Amazon. So good for me, so bad for my wallet.

2.) I’m finally using my library again! I’ve always hated using libraries because I never, ever remember to return books. I’ve single handled supported my local library with late fees all during middle school and high school. But with the Kindle, I can borrow eBooks from the library, without ever leaving my house. No late fees! Instant gratification! Plus, I still have my library account for the New York Public Library, so I can borrow books from them as well. (Sorry for mooching NYPL!)

3.) I can read books from NetGalley! So far I’ve been approved for a ton of books and I’m currently reading ‘The Magician’s Lie” by Greer Macallister, which I’m loving.

4.) I’ve read way more in the past few weeks that I have in ages. Which really, isn’t that the point?

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Cons

1.) If I really love a book, I can’t keep it on my shelf and I can’t underline my favorite quotes, which I do obsessively. However, I’m trying to combat this by making sure I buy hard copies of books by my favorite authors or books I had a strong feeling I’ll love.

2.) I look like one of those douches in the Amazon ads in the NY Times Book Review with a little black piece of plastic instead of a REAL BOOK. But I’ll get over it, I guess.

3.) Again, bad for my wallet. So bad for my wallet.

Conclusion: I admittedly love my Kindle and I’m going to use the hell out of it.

Do you bookish folk use a Kindle? Love it or hate it?

Zoe

Ipsy December Review!

 

 

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I’ve known about YouTube star Michelle Phan through my sister, who loves makeup tutorials. However I didn’t know she has spear headed a make up subscription service called Ipsy until Katy Rex on Twitter tweeted about it! Only $10 a month (vs Birch Box which is $30 and Julep Maven at $20) I was willing to give it a shot. Ipsy promised samples plus full sized products! Plus, if you like the products you get in the bag, you can buy full size version from the Ipsy website with coupon codes! And if you review your bag on the site, you also earn points that can be redeemed for products!

I got the November bag in the mail and loved it enough to forget to consider canceling my subscription before this month’s, and I’m so glad I did!

Each month you can an adorable little zipper make up bag filled with goodies!

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 Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara

I love a good mascara and this did not disappoint! Plus, I love everything I’ve tried from Tarte so I was extra excited that this was in the bag. For the same mini size, Sephora sells this for $10- which covers the price of the bag right there!

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Coolway Hair Boost Repair Treatment

This mini is great! My hair is dry and damaged on the ends from coloring and heat treating my hair over the years. Using this in the shower really left a difference in my hair. It’s priced around $5 normally.

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Crown Brush Dulex Infinity Crease/Shadow Brush

Now I don’t know a lot about brushes to be honest, but it put on my eye shadow well and it’s easy to clean! Good enough for me! Retail it’s priced at $17.99

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Pixi by Petra Fairy Dust

This eye shadow is amazing! I’m not a huge fan of wearing a lot of dark shadow around my eyes and this peach color is amazing! It blended into my skin really well and adds a wonderful touch. I’m definitley wearing this everyday for work. It’s a full size so it’s worth $10!

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NYX Cosmetics Butter Lip Balm

This stuff is wonderful! My lips get so dry in the winter and it really made them feel soft instantly. Plus the touch of color was a good step up from chapstick but not as messy as lipstick. Priced at $4.

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Overall the worth of the bag was $40!! If you’re interested in becoming a subscriber you can do so here! Usually I cancel subsciptions like these after a couple of months but I do see myself holding onto this one for a long time!

 

Zoe

Review: Completely Loved Peter Pan Live!

4.5/5 stars

Let me first say that I am a Peter Pan musical snob. I’ve never liked the Disney movie and I grew up watching video recordings of the stage productions starring Mary Martin and Cathy Rigby. I’ve seen high school musical productions and I saw Cathy Rigby live at Madison Square Garden as Pan in 2012. I know this show inside and out.

So when I say that NBC’s production last night was good, I know what I’m talking about.

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The main complaints of other reviews so far have been that the show was weird, too long and campy. The phrase “3 hour long drag show” was thrown around quite a bit. But what a lot of people seem to be missing is that this show stayed very close to the original 1954 musical, so the script and music are 60 years old. If this was written in the last ten years, god knows it would resemble Wicked more than anything so we have to give it a break for being a classic.

The musical is a production based off the story by J.M.. Barrie. Peter Pan original started as a play in 1904. It was successful so Barrie then turned it into a children’s novel in 1911 and then turned into an animated film by Disney in 1953 and then Broadway production in 1954, of which this live performance is based off of. It was very close to the original script, which I appreciated greatly. I was cautious about this special because of how terrible last year’s The Sound of Music Live was and also of how much I love this musical. But the show was exactly what I wanted it to be, thank goodness, with very minor let downs.

Let’s talk about Allison Williams. She was the best option for NBC and she did a truly wonderful job. She is talented, pretty, and relatively well known if not for HBO’s Girls, then for being Brian Williams’s daughter. Since the original play in 1904, Peter Pan has always been played by an adult woman as a tradition. Williams was boyish, adorable, and spry as Pan and her singing/ British accent was easy on the ears. I can’t think of anyone else who would have done a better job.

peter-pan-promo-092414-400x470Christopher Walken was amazing, because he was just Christopher Walken and not necessarily acting as Captain Hook. He was hilarious, goofy, and aloof however not actually talented enough vocally to play Hook. Hook’s songs in the musical are made for someone with a wide vocal range, especially in “Hook’s Waltz”. It was painfully obvious Walken couldn’t hold these notes and he didn’t try very hard either. But it’s impossible to not love him, so he is easily forgiven.

The rest of the cast was made up of Broadway alumni including personal favorites Christian Borle and Kelli O’Hara. The Darling children and the Lost Boys were all plucked from various Broadway productions as well, namely Newsies and Bring It On.

My biggest problems with NBC’s The Sound of Music Live last year were a.) the terrible acting b.) the mediocre set and c.) the horrendous cinematography.

Carrie Underwood was horrible last year. She had minimum acting experience so the entire show she made the rookie mistake of yelling her lines thus she was rushed and out of breathe the entire production. It was painful trying to watch her. Allison Williams was incredibly fresh and adorable as Pan and like I mentioned, NBC would have been hard pressed to find a known actress that would have done a better job.

The set for Peter Pan Live was incredible! They kept the original set design of the Darling’s children’s room opening up to fly over the streets of London and then land in Neverland. Each scene was breathtaking and vast, full of props and color. I especially loved the Jolly Rodger over the misty ocean. For a sound stage in NBC studios, I cannot imagine how it could have been better done.

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The cinematography this year was very much improved. It was obvious they did many test runs before the live taping, figuring out the best angles to follow the actors around. One of the biggest complaints on Twitter was that they company didn’t even try to hide the wires while Peter flew around the stage, which is ridiculous. It’s a children’s show performed live, on a stage. There is no CGI (minus the lighting of Tinkerbell) and if you can’t find whimsy in seeing actors fly around stage doing back flips and straight on to Neverland, you shouldn’t have been watching to begin with.

Know what would have been great? Christian Borle as Captain Hook. In 2013 he won a Tony Award for playing Black Stache in Broadway’s Peter and the StarcatcherStarcatcher is about how Peter and the Lost Boys got to Neverland the how Stache turned into Hook. I understand that a huge selling point of this live production was Walken but Borle as Hook would have been incredible and a much better use of his talents instead of having him as Mr. Darling and Mr. Smee.

Little things I did not love: Some of the costumes. Why were they dressed like mismatched gentlemen and rugby players? Theyb4a8572351244278c24d8e86024ffc26 so desperately didn’t want to grow up yet they were dressed like adult hobos. If Peter pan was running around in his signature leaf like costume, why did the boys dress like Hogwarts drop outs? Also, in the original production Captain Hook’s pirates are all dressed differently from different cultures but here they all kind of looked like Jack Sparrow rip offs. Then the two songs they added: one sung by Wendy and the other sung by Mrs. Darling. I get why they were added to give the characters more depth but we really didn’t need them.

Overall, I was incredibly impressed with this production. Everyone held their own and there were no glaring mistakes. which is no mere feat for live theatre. NBC has already announced that next year’s live musical production will be The Music Man.

If you enjoyed this production enough to watch it again, I would recommend picking up a copy of Cathy Rigby’s Peter Pan 2000 performance instead. The acting, choreography and set design are immensely better and incredibly charming. Basically it’s just impossible to not fall in love with this magical world of the boy who would never grow up.

Zoe

Stuff I Love: Peggy Carter Color!

I’ve never been one to wear a lot of makeup. In high school I somehow went all the way until the end of senior year wearing no makeup and not using hairspray.These days I don’t use much more than some eyeliner, mascara, and concealer because I feel fake in anything more.

However, sometimes I feel like channeling my film heroine, Peggy Carter.

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Back in 2012 I attended the ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ movie premiere at San Diego Comic Con dressed as Peggy Carter, and then again at New York Comic Con that fall. I received many compliments on my costume, most humbling from Chris Evans himself. I adore and admire and obsess over all things Peggy for her no bullshit attitude, WWII kick assery, and insanely gorgeous appearance.

IMG_7934So when my best of friends, Mara, sent me what she dubbed “Peggy Red” lip stain for my birthday earlier this year, I freaked out. It’s the most long lasting, no mess, all around stunning lip color I’ve ever had. I have been wearing it to work lately and every co worker & countless students have complimented me on it.

It’s called Lime Crime lip stain in ‘Red Velvet’. Mara bought it from Modcloth, but it’s currently out of stock there and practically everywhere on the Internet, EXCEPT for Amazon where you can purchase it for $35 including shipping. Even though that’s more than the usual $20 price tag, I would pay the extra because I love it so much.

 

Peggy’s other signature look is her red nail polish!

 On October 22nd, Hayley Atwell tweeted a picture of Opi’s Cinnamon Red nail polish, saying it was the official Agent Carter that she wears on the show! Of course I immediately needed to have it. It’s part of Gwen Steffani’s 2014 Holiday collection, but you can buy it individually on Amazon for $6.75 + free shipping. It got to my house pretty quickly, so the seller is reliable.

  Do you have any accessories that remind you of her? Please share! I need more to hold me over until her Agent Carter show premieres in January!!

 

Zoe

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