Three Films Worth Watching This Summer

{ Sunday, May 23, 2010 }
We all have those summer days that are entirely too hot to enjoy outdoor activities, where even walking to your mailbox without breaking a sweat is a challenge. Seeing that I live in Georgia, there have already been a good number of these inhumanely hot days. Thanks to my Netflix account, however, I've been able to transform these unfortunate days into great ones by discovering new films. Below are three reviews of my newest favorite films for summertime: Dakota Skye, Peter and Vandy, and How To Be.

Meet Dakota Skye, your seemingly normal, angst-filled, 17 year old high school student. Did I forget to mention that she is incapable of being lied to? That's right- Dakota can tell exactly when she is being lied to; she is always faced with the truth, even when it may be hard to bear. Her so-called "superpower" comes into further play when her relationship with her current rockstar boyfriend is jeopardized by a new, mysterious boy- Jonah.
Although Dakota Skye was filmed on a relatively low budget, the characters and plot of the film are so believable (and not to mention relatable, for some of us) that the size of a film's budget becomes irrelevant. I haven't been able to relate to a movie like this one in a long time, which proved to be comforting and entertaining all at once. You'll be rooting for Dakota at the end of the film when she finds her inner-self and follows her heart in search of the truth.

Rating: *****
For fans of: Degrassi, Juno, You Me And Everyone We Know

Calling all (500) Days of Summer fanatics! This film follows the similar, off-beat pattern of the aforementioned film while chronicling the relationship of happy-go-lucky Peter, and the calm, cool, and collected Vandy. Although, in my opinion, (500) Days of Summer is one of the best films of the last decade, Peter and Vandy proved to be even more realistic for me. Fights caused over little, insignificant annoyances, communication gone wrong, and infidelity- you name it, Peter and Vandy have gone through it. For fans of realistic romances- not sappy, fairytale endings- this is the film for you.
My only complaint about Peter and Vandy is the lack of character development. Although the characters were extremely likable and relatable, I wish we were given a little more backstory of their personal experiences, careers, etc.

Rating: ****
For fans of: (500) Days of Summer, You've Got Mail, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Sure, Robert Pattinson makes a decent vampire, but let's not forget about the films produced in his own stomping grounds. How To Be is a dark comedy, concerning Pattinson's character trying in vain to become a successful musician all while vying for his parents love and attention- and failing miserably at both. I love dry, British humor, and How To Be certainly satisfied my craving for sarcasm and wit. Putting Twilight aside, Pattinson really is a talented and versatile actor. Personally, I like him significantly more in British films rather than American films. Why hide the accent? It's wonderful! If you've had a down-and-out day or simply feel like enjoying a good laugh, I'd definitely recommend viewing How To Be!

Rating: ***
For fans of: The Go-Getter, Little Miss Sunshine

All of the movies mentioned above are available for instant play on Netflix. If you're not a Netflix user, try browsing your local Blockbuster for these titles. You may have a hard time finding them seeing as they are more "indie," less-publicized titles, but with a little hard work and dedication you'll be in movie-watching heaven in no time!


She Moves In Her Own Way

{ Saturday, May 22, 2010 }
Happy weekend everyone!
I feel as though I've finally gotten back into the swing of my daily routine after a rough week at home; it's a wonderful feeling! My day has been full of sunshine, room-cleaning, and a trip to the beloved Target. It felt odd buying stacks of towels and storage containers for my future living area in the fall. Regardless of any strange feelings I've been having lately, I'm still very ready and excited to make my transition into college life in August.

Dress- H&M
Belt- Target
Earrings- H&M

I found this uniquely-printed dress at H&M this past week while celebrating my friend Carrie's birthday. Although I'm usually not a fan of all-over prints, I loved this one! Accenting it with a stand-out belt helped add a quirky feel (and give me more of a waist, thankfully)! I'm really going to try to upload more consistent outfit posts- it's such a great way to reminisce upon my creative days.
I used to despise this bracelet below (I honestly thought it was the weirdest thing ever known to mankind), yet I've grown to love it recently. My grandma has always been an avid collector of unique, one-of-a-kind accessories, and this little gem was passed down to me a few years ago. Although I'll be the first to admit that it is a bit strange, who else will you see walking around rockin' a ram's head on their left wrist? Point made.

With summer, there comes reading. As nerdy as it may sound, ever since elementary school I have looked forward to my three month long free time session as a prime opportunity for uninterrupted reading time. In tradition, I have taken full advantage of this time of year! I'm currently working my way through four novels. I honestly believe I have reading ADD, because I simply cannot read one book at once. I may become bored with a character at the moment or temporarily lose interest, and it's always nice to know you have another story to fall back on. I'm currently reading The Green Mile by Stephen King (surprise), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, The Fiction Class by Susan Breen, and last but certainly not least, Nineteen Minutes by the wonderful Jodi Picoult.

I find it helpful to switch up titles every few days and come back to the story later, especially when the novel is dealing with serious themes or disturbing subject matter. This is certainly the case with The Green Mile and Nineteen Minutes, so it's nice to have a "fun reading" book nearby. If you're looking for a cozy and entertaining beach read, I recommend The Fiction Class. I bought it for a dollar on the "last chance" rack at my local Books A Million and I'm loving how the plot is unfolding! It's also served as a great creative writing tool, since the end of each chapter contains a fun and easy writing prompt. It saddens me that such great works end up on clearance racks, simply due to the fact that the author isn't a household name or that the title isn't listed on a bestseller list. Is it crazy that I feel sorrow for the ignored books in stores? I think so.


"But there's an echo of careless, callow footsteps..."

{ Thursday, May 20, 2010 }
Due to the fact that my thoughts are simply all over the place this evening, this post will be in list form. Hopefully my train of thought won't be nearly as derailed tomorrow!
1.) Most importantly, my mom found out good news about her breast cancer prognosis yesterday afternoon. Although her entire situation is scary and unfortunate, we found out that her cancer has been confirmed as Stage 1 and is extremely slow-growing. She is still anxious and sad, but not nearly as distraught as she was on Tuesday. Our entire household is slowly calming down over this matter and putting things into perspective, which is a big step towards helping my mother overcome this disease. My mother's lumpectomy has been scheduled for June 7th, which will signal the beginning of the end to this hard time in her life. Thanks to all of you for the outpouring of prayers and support. You are all truly wonderful.
I've recently delved into the works of Maya Angelou, who is exactly who she writes of: a phenomenal woman. I believe this quote speaks directly to my mother:

You may encounter many defeats,
but you must not be defeated.
In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats,
so you can know who you are,
what you can rise from,
how you can still come out of it.

-Maya Angelou

2.) I've been using this past week at home after leaving my job as a week to spend time with my mom, get back into a fitness routine, and compile my writing portfolio. I feel at peace with my decision to give myself the summer off from the responsibility and time constraints of a part-time job. I've even put together my first resume- success!
3.) Speaking of success, a small yet notable achievement occurred for me last week. When I returned home from work, a large envelope was waiting for me on the kitchen table. Assuming it was a packet of information from GCSU, I tore it open, not expecting any exciting contents within. To my surprise, it was the newest issue of Teen Ink magazine, with a letter from the editor enclosed! A poem I had uploaded online months ago had been published in the magazine, and I was congratulated for my work. Just as I had hit a stubborn plateau with my writing, this little bit of good news renewed my vigor and enthusiasm to return to the paper and pen.
Alright, I feel like I'm rambling. This blog will soon be full of interesting pictures, outfit photos, shopping finds, band articles, etc. I feel like things are getting back to normal and I'll have my focus back 100% by the weekend. I love all of my readers for sticking with me and continuing to keep your interesting in what I have to say. Thank you!
By the way, watch this music video. Every song by Everybody Else reminds me of summertime, but this one is exceptionally great. I love the vintage feel of the video!

On May 18, 2010...

{ Tuesday, May 18, 2010 }
I found out my mother has breast cancer today. I've spent the past 12 hours or so in a shroud of disbelief, confusion, and insecurity. My household has been unnervingly quiet. No laughter, no easy-going conversation, no happiness.
My mom isn't even 50. This isn't supposed to be happening. I'm moving out in less than three months, when she needs me. I can't even start to explain the conflict in my heart at the moment. Do I leave in the fall to continue my higher education, or do I stay and put everything concerning myself on hold?
I'm trying my best to be strong, to keep my chin up, to not show any sign of weakness. I simply cannot break down, for it will break her.
I'm assuming her cancer is in stage I, since the doctors said her tumor is small and confined- roughly the size of a pea. I consider this a small blessing.
The next weeks will be full of testing, doctor's visits, and conclude with a lumpectomy and radiation therapy. Hopefully that will put an end to this nightmare.

If you're a praying person, please pray for my mother. If you aren't, please keep her in your thoughts. If you've gone through a similar experience with your mother, I would love to hear the outcome. Any words of comfort are greatly appreciated at this moment.