Monthly Archives: February 2019

Observe

Griffith Observatory, Los Angelos

I have mixed feelings about LA. I used to see it as a magical place where anything can happen. But after visiting it a few times, I realize that a lot of LA is very fake and plastic. Almost like it’s trying to suck you in and then completely abandon you.

Some parts like the Griffith Observatory are nice however. It serves as a small, but significant slice of LA that offers some sense of sincerity.

Tyler Durden

Tyler Durden a fictional character played by both Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Character Tyler Durden is from the movie fight club which was released in 1999 still hold a prominent role today. Not only is there a song about him ( ) but his prominent red leather jacket from the movie still lives on. Coloured leather had its time back in the day, but it looks like they’re making a come back…again. Gigi Hadid, Yolanda Hadid, Kylie Jenner, Zayn Malik… are all seen sporting this look.

Not only did Tyler Durden wear his red leather jacket but he also loved his red glasses, and I’m sure you could guess… they too have made a comeback, which is shown in the photo below.

James Dean

James Dean an actor born and raised in Indiana. James dean was teen- heart throb best known from a famous film called “A rebel without a cause” filmed back in 1955. In the film he starred as rebel teenager Jim Stark. James Dean later died in a car accident in 1955 but has been remembered as the first actor to have two posthumous acting nominations. Although he is remembered for his great accomplishments one of the biggest things that have lived on throughout James Deans life is his style.

A movie Called “Cruise” released in 2018, starring Spencer Boldman, Emily Ratajkowski and more. This movie takes place in the 80’s. However I’m not here to do a movie review; I want to focus on the clothing. Spencer Boldman (playing Gio Fortunato) dresses a lot like James Dean. How does James Dean dress? Well, his outfits aren’t anything out of the ordinary he wears white shirts, leather or jean jacket, tight fitting bootlegged jeans, and a pair of combat boots. The way the description sounds I’m sure you’re picture John Travolta from Grease. However James was the trend setter, he’s the one who made the style was it is today.

Process Post

For week eights activity I had to do some research about a brands that we interact with. I chose to do some research about Fashion Nova and to my surprise found out some dirt. There was a few controversies to do with clothing or posts from Fashion Nova in the past but nothing compares to the new accusations being made against Kim Kardashians relations to Fashion Nova. People have been accusing Kim Kardashian for leaking designs to the website to get more publicity. After Kim Kardashian caught wind of this “rumour” she is now threatening to sue Fashion Nova for $10Million dollars. Some brand might stay quite and hope this issue goes away. But not Fashion Nova, this brand has been replying and stirring the pot because to them there is no such thing as bad publicity. There name is now associated with Kim Kardashian and is probably getting them more website clicks and sales than ever.

black & white movies: emma’s recommendations

A new addition to my blog is something that I do on pretty much a daily basis — recommendations! (recoemmadations???)

I am constantly trying to get my friends to watch my favourite movies, and read my favourite books — so, I decided to start doing something along those lines here! For my first recommendation list I am going to be talking about some films, but to be more specific, films in black and white.

To most, a B&W film means an old film, which is partially right because most b&w films are old ( The Wizard of Oz was one of the first films presented in technicolour! do you know that?) Although, there are actually many modern films that are in black and white. I personally love the use of black and white in movies, I find that it adds another layer to the overall story and how it is thus conveyed. So in this list I will be recommending a combination of old & new films that utilize the absence of colour.

first — we’ll start with the older films:

Citizen Kane (1941)

this first film is one many people have claimed to be the best film of all time. Now, I’m not exactly sure if that is true, but this is most definitely one of the best movies I have ever seen. It was one of the films we watched in my cinema class last semester, and while I’m sure it won’t be of interest to many people, I really think it is a movie everyone should watch at least once in their life. It tells the life of a recently deceased ‘newspaper tycoon’ — and is the basis for a lot of modern storytelling we see these days.

Cléo de 5 à 7 (1961)

Another film deemed as a classic to many is Cléo de 5 à 7. Much like Citizen Kane, this was a movie I had to watch in my cinema class last semester. It is a very beautiful as well as ~artsy~ film, following a famous singer as she “lives her life” in the hours before she finds out out whether or not she has cancer. There are also some very cute kittens!!!

Alright, now that those oldies (but goldies) are out of the way — here are some more recent black and white films. As well as some ‘wildcards’ that I have added at the end.

Frances Ha (2013)

While this is not only a wonderful film in black & white, it is also a wonderful film. Starring none other then national treasure (& academy award nominated director!!) Greta Gerwig — it follows (you guessed it) Frances — an apprentice of a dance company, despite her not really being a dancer, while she lives in New York City. A seemingly beautiful film, which contains one of my favourite movie scenes of all time (Greta Gerwig dancing and twirling through the streets of NYC to a soundtrack of David Bowie).

Roma (2018)

Another more recent movie, as well as probably more well known. This bad boy was one of the most nominated films at this past year’s Academy Awards (10 nominations!) — and took home 3 golden statues. In my opinion this movie deserved to win best picture — being incredibly beautiful for so many reasons, one of those being the b&w colour palette. Following the life of Cleo, a young domestic worker for a family in middle-class Mexico, as they all struggle and stride in their own ways. This one is also very easily accessible as it is on Netflix — so please (I’m begging you!) watch it

Cold War(2018)

Another recently Oscar nominated film is Cold War. This is one of the most beautiful movies I watched in this past year. Following a man and a woman in post-war Poland as they tread their way through the trails and tribulations of love. Like I said, this film is very beautiful, and while I thought wow i wish this was in colour, I actually realized that I didn’t want that & that the black and white ‘colour’ was one of the most beautiful aspects of the whole film. This one is also slightly more accessible, as it will be available on Amazon Prime Video very soon!


The Shape of Water (2017)

Okay, I know what you’re thinking… Emma! The Shape of Water isn’t in black and white! and yes, you are correct. This film is NOT in black and white, but, I decided to throw it in here (a bit of a wildcard if you will) because technically there is a short scene in black and white!!! And Guillermo del Toro (the director), even said that there was plans to have the entire film in black and white. This is more of a popular film, especially seeing as it won best picture at last year’s academy awards.

Another not really black and white film is Logan (2017) it’s not actually in black and white, although there was a semi wide-released black & white version (Logan Noir) and all in all it is a very good film…

So there you have it! a good mix of some very beautiful films all being void of colour. Along with some that aren’t technically black and white — but I mean I always love a loophole that gives me a chance to recommend my favourite movies! I really hope this encouraged some people to step out of their comfort zones and watch some new and different movies.

image sources imbedded – select each photo for more info

Peer Review – 2

I had the pleasure of peer reviewing Jill’s Book Blog, which you can find here. From the onset, this is an engaging site, as it explores accessible reading, an aspect of publishing that the majority of the population is somewhat unfamiliar. Jill’s Book Blog is completely transparent; the creator offers insights and perspectives on the development and design of a blog through an access aide. As Jill articulates here, there are certain challenges one faces when visually impaired, with design in particular being an understandable barrier. As I am not overly committed to reading books, especially during undergraduate where we do have a high quota of readings, I was, at first thought, somewhat uninterested in the content of this blog; however, in exploring the pages and being introduced to the works under review, an appreciation was established and is hopefully reflected in this review.  Here, I have divided my review by examining the content, design and overall impression.

I find book reviews challenging. To take a relatively long piece of writing and condense it into a concise and engaging review is difficult, so I feel that Jill’s Book Blog tackles an ambitious topic, especially for a weekly update. Likewise, in attempting to reach her goal of 96 books in 365 days, time is of the essence, and here, she does this well. I find the writing to be clear, effective and brief, and despite this, she negates jeopardizing the offering of a polished summary and well-written opinion about the book. There are some minor grammatical errors that are revealed through missing commas and dashes, as well as some repetition, but overall the posts are strong and any wordiness can be reflective of the vernacular a blog can sometimes evoke. I appreciate Jill’s sentiment that “I feel like I have become stuck in the formal, uninventive, dry essay/assignment writing and organizing we have to do in University, that I perhaps lost my creativity and imagination,” and understand how the concept of blogging for a course is refreshing. One post that I found highly entertaining was this interview with Batman.  Using a strong sense of humor, playful language and clear objective of interpreting a novel through Bruce Wayne’s understanding of crime, Jill effectively entices the reader to explore the content afforded throughout her blog. I would like to see this extended with more links to other reviews or related-sites.

I like the design of this blog; it is simple, clear, focused and easy to navigate. I can’t really relate to the challenges in creating and maintaining the design via an access aide, but I can certainly appreciate the effort that was made to vocalize the desired outcomes. I like the black border, which in most cases I do not, but here it reflects the pages of a book. I am also fond of the number of tags for each post, as for me, when creators attribute too many tags, the page starts to look cluttered. There are two things I would like to see considered for alteration. First, I think that Jill has two important tag-lines for her blog; “Adventures of Accessible Reading” and “96 Books in 365 Days;” however, the latter is difficult to locate, and for me, is one of the interesting aspects of the blog. I would prefer to see it alongside “Adventures of Accessible Reading.” Also, I am not entirely fond of the main image of the lagoon and book waterfall. I appreciate the creativity of the books being employed as an abundant fall, but the image is somewhat unclear and too low of quality. I am also less enthusiastic about the type of image; I feel that the natural wonder-like photo does not really reflect the types of books being reviewed. This is of course, personal preference, but for me, I would like to see something different.

Overall, I like this blog. I found it incredibly approachable and accessible (pardon the pun), and unlike some opinion-based blogs, I feel that I truly learned something, or became interested in learning more about accessible reading. In fact, I would value further links to other resources outside of just the book, not just about the book itself, but how accessible reading is made available. I don’t need to read more about accessibility on this blog, but resources that are vetted by someone with a visual impairment would be interesting. Likewise, more links in general would be intriguing; I would like to know who Jill agrees with, disagrees with or what other books the focal one could be related to. One could also link to where to find the book, which I like about this book blog found here.

Jill’s Book Blog is a well-developed and organized site that provides visitors with approachable and strong synopses of various books. With some minor edits and slight alterations to some design aspects, this blog is very appealing and worth revisiting – for 96 days.

PEER REVIEW No.2: Aylin Gis’ Blog

Examining the design of a fashion & lifestyle website.

This week, we will be taking a look at my lovely classmate’s blog, Aylin Gis. Named after the author herself, this website covers a variety of topics––from fashion trends, to product reviews, to lifestyle photography––all seamlessly unified under her personal identity and brand! My task will be to identify her stylistic choices and offer feedback as to whether these decisions either advance or detract from her content overall. For clarity, I have gathered my thoughts into three sections; atmosphere, imagery, authorial presence, and formatting.

A view of the homepage.


1. ATMOSPHERE

Aylin has chosen a refreshingly minimalistic, crisp look for her website. This is a strong decision that makes every subsequent visual element much more prominent, therefore presenting both opportunities and challenges. The overall impression is fairly light and airy thanks to the choices in typeface; thin sans serifs that are appropriately modern without being too trendy and an excellent initial decision for this blog. Because the text is always black on white, the only colour on the page comes from the images (more on those later) which certainly draws the eye towards the content, encouraging us to click. These are all important aspects to the overall look of the website that do function well to establish the perfect mood for us to enter into Aylin’s content.

However, I would love to see a bigger impact from Aylin’s homepage. Besides the title, there is no establishing focal point for readers to grab onto, and as we learned from Mauve Pagé’s guest lecture, this makes things a bit disorienting. So, a more dramatic and unifying element is necessary; both to more immediately convey a sense of uniqueness and to distinguish the homepage from subsequent pages.

Seeing as Aylin has a passion for photography, the natural solution to this focal point problem would be to introduce a website-wide area for banner imagery. If we take a look at Aylin’s theme, Kale, this can be easily accomplished by selecting some featured posts with strong imagery to be highlighted. Luckily, Aylin has a variety of photography posted already and this is the perfect opportunity to highlight past efforts and ensure that these posts don’t get lost. Assuming these are original images (it is unclear), I think this seascape, these barnyard outfits, and this flat-lay would be perfect stars.

In sum, it is clear that Aylin has the right mood in mind but she should consider making a stronger impression by introducing a focal point to convey a unique sense of place, which is lacking at present.

2. IMAGERY

As mentioned earlier, Aylin is clearly well-tuned to the nuances of images, I suspect in a manner that is akin to Tara Chittenden’s explanation of “aesthetic socialisation” whereby bloggers utilize the right visual codes to convey their familiarity with culturally significant trends. In selecting the thumbnail imagery for her posts, Aylin expertly utilizes photo curation and filtration techniques to convey a desired impression to her viewers. It seems these images are fairly consistent in that they are distinctly feminine, approachable, and a tad romantic––all qualities that work well to enhance the written content. In sum, Aylin’s confident selection of both stock and personal pictures is an important foundation to her website’s success given that she has chosen an otherwise sparse layout.

On the whole, Aylin’s colourful thumbnails jump from the page, sparkling like enticing little jewels, all lined up in rows. This orderly appearance, whereby all the posts appear as the same size on the homepage, could be slightly better maintained by making sure all the thumbnails are always properly cropped and scaled to be the exact same size. This inconsistency unfortunately appears repeatedly on this blog. While that may seem a minor adjustment, it is an important consideration when using a minimalistic layout.

Which one is Aylin? After clicking into the posts, I am pretty sure
that is her on the bottom left (the others are stock imagery).


3. AUTHORIAL PRESENCE
(via visuals to enhance brand)

These chosen images (above) seem to indicate that Aylin wants to integrate a sense of personhood into the visual vocabulary of the website. I feel the often personal perspective to Aylin’s content is not yet fully reflected in the visuals: There is perhaps a disconnect between the title of my classmate’s blog, Aylin Gis, and the fact that viewer’s don’t have a clear sense of who she is. (It is fine that Aylin seems to be a bit camera shy in her poses, but I find this puzzling because Aylin Gis has previously stated her affection for another fashion blogger, Aylin Koeing, whose coy positioning of face and body is the great uniting factor of that aspirational blog.)

After all, recognition brings familiarity and a sense of legitimacy that I think could be useful here; differentiating from stock imagery would also be key if Aylin is interested in partnering with brands or building up a fanbase. (Chittenden refers to this ideal position as “prosumer”––a hybrid of consumer and producer that acknowledges the monetization of blogs, whereby imagery is a key player in that success.) In brief, I would encourage Aylin to produce more original imagery of products, everyday life, and herself, whenever possible. In prior posts, when she has had the time, I better understood the future potential and look of Aylin’s blog.

There is one simple thing that can be done right away to enhance the personal aspect: I would encourage Aylin to make the About Me a more prominent visual element. She already has a brief About Me page, along with its charming picture, which could communicate a sense of orientation and permanency by being positioned into the right side of the blog (again possible according to the Kale theme demo). This would also add a sense of balance to the front page and is much more do-able than designing a logo.

3. FORMATTING

The trouble with formatting is that it can be very tricky to achieve good-looking text using WordPress. However, by looking back to the beginning of the semester as compared to now, I can see that Aylin is doing a great deal of necessary experimenting to appropriately improve the legibility of her text.

In the beginning, the text was very small with unappealing proportions and little spacing, but Aylin’s latest posts have enormously improved by increasing the type size. Her site is legible across devices as well. One small improvement that could be made is by increasing the spacing between text paragraphs and images. As you can see below, Aylin is careful to create wonderful spacing between images themselves (right) but her text could use some breathing room and a better proportion between line length and image width (left).



Overall, as demonstrated through our above discussion of her visual choices, Aylin clearly has a great aesthetic sensibility! I have every confidence that this will help her navigate future design decisions with clarity. With that said, there are a lot of easily-accessible customization options for her theme that have yet to be explored. My hope is that she will implement some of my suggestions, with the primary goal being a more impactful and considered representation of her content. Although there is certainly room for improvement, we can see that Aylin has already taken it upon herself to steadily improve the look of her digital space.

I look forward to seeing Aylin’s body of content grow by the end of the semester. Please have a look at her review of this website, which offered up some tremendously insightful suggestions. (Thank you, Aylin!)


Why Study Nightlife? An Answer in Conversation with Nietzsche on Music and Myth

At times, it feels arbitrary to study nightlife, or to even want to study nightlife. The primary function of nightlife often appears to be simple: to entertainment. However, At other times, it feels like I take the elements of nightlife, of the organised party, for granted. What could those elements be? Can studying the phenomenon of nightlife reveal humanity in a fresh perspective? I like to think so. With this in mind, it seems worth it to explore the question “why study nightlife?”

My automatic answer is that leisurely congregation is an important form of community brainstorming where prevelant qualities of a group become visible in personal contexts. It is the site where human desire, and desire’s associated behaviours, rise to the surface of our collective broth. Desire is a flexible, flowing phenomenon by which the whims and fears of a group are revealed. The club is a location that facilitates an exploration of these qualities, thus it is an important modern institution for any individual.

Philosophers have proposed theories that consult my question more articulately (albeit indirectly.) For Friedrich Nietzche, in The Birth of Tragedy, it is essential for music to be accompanied by tragic myth. According to him, these two elements identically simulate transcending individuality. They are both born from “the playful construction and demolition of the world of individuality as an outpouring of primal pleasure and delight” (the Dionysiac) as in the case of a child who builds a castle from rock and sand only to knock it down with the tide (783).

To facilitate this process are structures that form beauty (The Apolonian), for there is no sand castle without a basic idea of architecture and there is no rhythm without musical consistency.

When Nietzsche talks about music and tragedy, I imagine he pictured the orchestra and the theatre company. The Birth of Tragedy pivots on the theatrical legends of ancient Greece where the elements of tragedy are explicit.

Considering that theatre is nearly absent in the contemporary club, Nietzsche might find club culture to be particularly flimsy. He claims that the relationship between music and myth is so intimate “that the atrophy of the one would be connected to the degeneration and deprivation of the other” (783).

In search for a reason to study nightlife, I reject this deduction. As the image of nightlife has shifted from the theatre and the seated club and centred on our modern evolution of the saloon, humans have also shifted their mythological value. In the dance hall of today, these myths are rarely expressed intentionally and are open to speculation.

Myth is, after all, simply a narrative that one tells one’s self to inform behaviour, or as they say at Modern Mythology, myth “allows us to establish a place within history for ourselves.”

Many secular myths are prevalent in the club. Some that come to mind are myths of gender (and its degradation,) of masculinity and femininity, myths of sexuality, myths of authenticity, robust economic myths, myths of democracy and etc.

It is these myths that fascinate me and drive me towards nightlife. I don’t feel equipped to judge society’s Dionysiac capacity, but I believe that Nietzsche’s connection between music and myth is a useful perspective of nightlife. Myths like the ones suggested above add substance and social cues to late night socialisation and dance. Critiquing that substance enables us to discern whether it functions to improve social health or to damage it, thereby allowing us to adjust our patterns of socialisation. Studying the club presents intimate planes for growth.

Work Cited
Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. “The Birth of Tragedy.” ed. Vincent Leitch. 2nd ed. Norton. 2010. Print.

Beauty in Blur

Sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. Contemporary photography no longer needs to be in focus to prove its excellence.
Rinko Kawauchi’s Untitled, from the series Murmuration (2010).

Humour me this: Have you ever wondered why those really, reaaally old photographs from the 18th century seem so creepy? When we see the stern faces from that era, it is natural to misinterpret their tense, expressionless demeanours as indicative of the times––often perceived as darker and more dismal. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth! People from back then were just as jovial as we are today, but these emotions simply had no place in photography at the time.

Peculiar as this may seem, it all makes sense when we consider the inadequate photographic technology they had at their disposal (namely, the Daguerrotype). People had to hold very still for their pricey portraits, which even required several long minutes to expose. A somber face was not only easier to capture but also followed the painterly tradition of the perfectly posed subject. Most importantly, with crisper detail came an enhanced likeness.  

As a result of the above attitude, the next century brought about photographic improvements which sought to improve on the medium’s capacity to best reflect reality. Keeping in mind that photographs were two-dimensional preservations of a moment, the logic that followed was that the best preservation of memory came with a sharper rendering.

Now that we have reached the twenty-first century, we have absolutely perfected the techniques of high-definition photography. With this mastery achieved, the time has come to question the long-held belief that photographs should always be in focus.

Here are outstanding contemporary photographers whose work subverts that outdated ideal:

RINKO KAWAUCHI

Rinko Kawauchi’s Untitled, from the series ‘HANABI’, 2001.

Widely recognized as one of Japan’s foremost photographers, Kawauchi is known for her ambiguous and poetic style. Her selected photographs undeniably evoke feelings, often nostalgic ones, despite photographing fairly ordinary subjects. In the case of Kawauchi, blur perfectly compliments the luminous washes of colour that distinguish her photographs by highlighting the temporal nature of the moment. This artist’s practice is founded in her extraordinary ability to capture the world as if filtered through memory.

UTA BARTH

Ground #70 (1996), by Uta Barth.

Berlin-born Uta Barth seeks to puzzle her viewers into further contemplation. By focusing her camera on areas seemingly devoid of meaningful subject matter, this artist consistently seeks to call the viewer’s habits of looking into question: “How can I make you aware of your own activity of looking, instead of losing your attention to thoughts about what it is that you are looking at?” Barth expertly toys with traditional compositional rules and upsets standards of foreground/background relationships. For her, since photography (in its purest form) has always been an endeavour to collect light itself, and her mundane subject matter allows this conceptual premise to be highlighted over anything else.

GASTON BERTIN

Untitled, from the series New Now (2009), by Gaston Bertin.

Parsons graduate Gaston Bertin creates curious interactions between colours which, although reminiscent of pop art’s commercialized delights, still investigate a more contemplative relationship to the photographic medium. By abstracting some initial collages, his nonfigurative photographic creations do inevitably pull from both painting and sculpture as well. However, Bertin seeks to remove us from their materiality through effacing that recognizability, calling into question the fundamental ways we seek to identify reality through sight and its more tangible offspring, photographic prints. In his artist statement, he concludes that “[his] photographs do not transform reality into images, but transform images into reality.”

LAUREL NAKADATE

Lauren Nakadate’s #172, from the series Lucky Tiger, (2009).

This multi-disciplinary artist treats her printed self-portraits as documents less as extensions of self and more as material actors capable of acquiring their own histories; gathering fingerprint evidence of everyone who has (literally) laid their hands on them. Overall, Nakadate’s practice seeks to complicates the charged theme of women’s objectification. In this series, she invites a strangers from the internet (middle-aged men) to handle her coy self portraits (akin to soft pornography) so long as they agree to inking up their fingers beforehand. Through this consensual process, she materializes and complicates the sexually charged power dynamics at play in photographic representations of women’s bodies, thereby merging that discourse by locating it both within fine art and popular media.

Nakadate explores the same goal as all of the photographers above in that she seeks to draw our attention to the ambiguities of viewing through the use of two kinds of blur. Firstly, with the gentle, homemade aura of her camera’s soft focus as it skims the contours of her body. Secondly, in the disruptive fingerprints on the surface of the material photograph, which materialize and mimic the hasty and sometimes messy way that a viewer’s perception interacts with what is represented. While Nakadate’s process is not so much an overt example of the camera’s ability to blur, her premise still interestingly pin points the main conceptual pulse behind that act of “blurring a photograph”.

All of the photographers above seek to draw our attention to the ambiguities of viewing through the use of blur. So, whether this is done to capture a sense of motion that implies an relatable sense of ephemerality, or to complicate conventions of a subject’s representation, such acts of blurring all effectively challenge their viewers. These blurs enable the photograph to demand a more considered contemplation, beyond aesthetics and composition; one that prompts deeper questions as to the purpose of photography. Each of these artists prove that a well-executed photograph is not necessarily a sharp one.

Whyte Lake

5.5 klicks


49°21’39” N, 123°15’32” W

Whyte Lake

Tucked away behind the sea-to-sky highway – just above Eagle Harbour – this popular West Vancouver trail is the perfect quick hike to get your outdoors fix. The winding path takes you through the old growth forest and up to a small lake, where in the summer some are brave enough to take a refreshing dip. Whyte Lake offers an easy hike immersed in nature’s tranquility, just 20 minutes outside of Downtown Vancouver. This local favourite is accessible and a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Escape the city

Whyte Lake offers an easy hike immersed in nature’s tranquility, just 30 minutes outside of Downtown Vancouver. This local favourite is easily accessible by car, and a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Layers

While the steady incline will make you break a sweat, the mossy rainforest canopy makes it hard for the sun to shine through. Make sure to bring a couple layers to stay warm, as you cool down quickly when standing still.


Round-trip: 2h
Elevation Gain: 178m
Highest Point: 295m
5.5 km – out and back


Open all-year round, this hike is fun rain or shine – or even snow! Although, be forewarned: if you choose to go up despite snowy and slushy conditions, be ready to slip at at least five times. And that’s not counting the times you’ll slip on the way back down. I would also be lying if I didn’t say it was part of the fun. The terrain is a mixture between roots and rocks, with a boardwalk surrounding the Whyte Lake to protect your feet from the marsh. The trail is clearly marked; however, once you’ve reached the top, the path becomes less obvious with the snow.

Stay on the trail – for your own safety, as well as for trail conservation.

These tall coniferous trees being to all look the same, especially once you loose sight of the trail. It is incredibly easy to get lost in a forest, and I wouldn’t underestimate the power that nature has against an unprepared day hiker. Even some of the most experienced hikers will recommend you don’t venture off in uncharted lands.

I was reminded of this when the trail I thought I was following was starting to get steeper and steeper. Turns out I was just following dog tracks and had veered way off course. Luckily, I was able to turn right around and retrace my steps.

Pros: Easy to get to, and short enough to fit into your morning or afternoon. If you’re a local, you’ll be sure to bump into somebody you know.

Cons: Very slippery with snow or rain. Can get pretty busy, so pick your day and time of day appropriately if you’re hoping to have the trail for yourself.



Have you completed this hike? Share your experience bellow!

Live Like Joao

Live Like Joao
Food, Places and Everything About My Life

*Above image taken from Live Like Joao’s Blog

A PEER-REVIEW ON WEBSITE DESIGN

Live like Joao offers a personable and candid approach to food blogging. When it comes to creating his new blog, Joao’s honesty is refreshing; while this may be a daunting new task, Joao invites his audience into his inner thoughts as he navigates the unfamiliar waters of WordPress. According to the screenshots from Amanda‘s first peer review, Joao has implemented a lot of her recommendations and suggestions. Already, Live Like Joao is starting to have synchronicity between the website’s appearance and the content. To properly unpack the different design elements in this blog, I will be focusing on two important design umbrellas: user experience (UX) and User Interface (UI).

User Experience

Travis Gertz’s 2015 Design Machines: How to survive in the digital Apocalypse explains the UX design as how the website works, as opposed to how it looks. A hyper-simplified breakdown of the UX design category would include layout, interaction, information architecture, wireframing, prototyping, research, and testing. At first glance, Live Like Joao seems to work pretty cohesively and sensibly. There are subtle cues throughout the blog that indicate where I should look or click. For example, both the BLOG and POSIEL tab on the top righthand menu have a little downwards arrow to indicate a drop-down menu. These exemplify what Victor Kaptelinin describes as affordances in his article The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction.

The search function right above the categories list is a really helpful tool, especially when looking for a certain page or post that I particularly enjoyed, but was unable to retrace my steps. Since this blog is fairly new, I wasn’t lost in the content and it was easy to find my way back; however, once there are more entries and if Joao chooses to continue this blog post-PUB101, I suspect that this search function will become a really handy tool.

While there are affordances that create direction throughout the blog, I still seemed to have encountered some problems with Joao’s BLOG section. Firstly, I noticed that there is a category for “Blog” and “Blog Post”. This seems counter-intuitive, as these categories seem synonymous. Kaptelinin underlines that “Good designs are intuitive“; hence, I would always recommend going through the website fully – as a sort of informal audit – and paying extra attention to what is intuitive to you. What comes up when you click certain links? Does it take you where you would expect it to? This brings me to my second suggestions: make sure that  the information is stored in the right place. For example, when I click the BLOG POST on the drop down menu, the only post that is available is the “Short Essay 1”.

User Interface

In contrast to the former, UI Design encompasses how the website looks as opposed to how it works. Gertz explains that typography, colour, forms, illustration, photography, and detail can all be found within this realm.

Caution: Do not read when hungry!

This blog does a wonderful job at capturing mouth-watering cuisine. From a UI design perspective, there is a great use of white space and visual contrast with images. Blog Post 1 does a good job of separating chunks of text and using different fonts, especially by bolding the Ingredients title. The other blog posts could benefit by following the great example from that first blog. For example, my eyes are yearning for more contrast in the text in the Blog Post 3. There is a beautiful photo of gorgeous cuts of meats – perhaps I should have waited until after dinner to write this review – followed by the restaurant’s information and a short review. To better accompany the bold image, I would make the text larger and create a small text box containing the restaurant’s pertinent information. Currently, the review is the smallest group of text on the image: all these small modifications would allow for the sections of the page to be more proportionate to each other, and allow the important information to stand out.

The beautiful rustic table of food that act as the blog’s cover page sets the tone for a visually-enticing food blog. Keeping this in mind, I would recommend continuing with this theme by adding more images throughout the blog: as we are unable to taste this food with our taste buds, we do so with our eyes. Therefore, it is important to describe or visually show these through images and videos, as is done in the first blog post. If at all possible, ensure that photos and videos are the same size or are complimentary to the overall page layout to allow for synchronicity and fluidity.

Overall, I enjoyed joining Joao on his adventures through WordPress and discovering exciting new restaurants around the Lower Mainland through his reviews. I look forward to seeing the progress and reading more content from Joao. The recipes, reviews, and personable tone leaves me  hungry for more!

Check out Live Like Joao here.

The February trend report

Your cheat sheet is here! This February, we’re seeing some exciting trends that I thought I would share with you.

Bold colours

The lovely Amour pouch is the pop of colour you’ve been looking for. Pair it with a striped top like the Tatum Top or the Ruffle Pullover. Add an arm party and you’ve got yourself an outfit.

The Amour Pouch
The Amour Pouch

New neutrals

The Double V Sweater is definitely a must have. Dress it down with this soft blush Chrissie Collar necklace and a mixed medal arm party.

Double V Sweater

Chrissie Collar

Statement hoops

Make a statement and add some hoop earrings to your collection.

These Hammered Heart Hoops come in gold and silver.

Hammered Heart Hoops

Or, try these cute Corset Hoops for something different.

Corset Hoops

See something you love? Get in on the trend!

All images are from Stella & Dot.

The post The February trend report appeared first on Veronica Aarstad.

oh so excited: my most anticipated books & movies for 2019

While I’m still getting through books and movies that I was excited for in 2018, There are already so many books and movies I can’t wait to see in 2019.

A couple weeks ago was Sundance 2019, which if you don’t know is a pretty big film festival that takes place every year. It was started by none other than Robert Redford in 1978, and is a great insight into what the coming year will look like for movies (or at least a lot of ~indie~ movies). When I looked at a bunch of recaps from the festival, I started adding a lot of films to my “mental” 2019 movie list. So I then decided to create an entire list of movies I’m pumped to see in 2019 (going beyond those that screened at Sundance), as well as the books that I’m looking forward to reading. Although, these lists will probably be changing constantly throughout the year as I find out about new projects, and some might end up getting pushed back to 2020. Although, while we’re here — these are my most anticipated books and books for 2019

Something I’ve noticed with books is I only ever find out about them through people I know, the authors I already read, or random lists on the internet. So my list of anticipated books is kind of small, but that is because there are so many books that might be released this year that I don’t even know about yet

1.) Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1) by Cassandra Clare

Release date: November 20th, 2019

Alright, in my defence, Cassandra Clare’s books are definitely my guilty pleasure reads. Although, after binging her Dark Artifices series last fall, I have fallen back into her Shadowhunter world. I am STOKED for this book, mainly because I want Will Herondale, and the only thing better than that is DAD Will Herondale. So Cassandra, you’d better deliver.

2.) Wayward Son (Simon Snow #2) by Rainbow Rowell

Release date: unknown

I have a very distinct memory of this book being announced through Rainbow Rowell’s instagram last year. The initial release date was in 2020, but it’s now 2019, and I don’t know who I am meant to thank or that — but THANK YOU. This is the sequel to Rowell’s book titled Carry On which is about the character of a book that the character in her other book Fangirl writes fanfiction about — yeah it’s pretty meta. It’s about wizards and stuff and it’s amazing and that’s really all you need to know.

3.) Too Much Is Not Enough by Andrew Rannells

Release date: March 12th, 2019 

Now, I am not a huge fan of non-fiction, and I don’t read a whole lot of memoirs. The only exception is when people I actually really like or look up to release them. So that being said, the second Andrew Rannells announced he was writing a memoir I was PUMPED. For those of you who don’t know who Andrew Rannells is (and there’s probably a lot of you) — he’s a Broadway (& screen!) actor, who’s probably best known for originating the role of Elder Price in the original Broadway cast of The Book of Mormon. He has also been seen in the recent revivals of Falsettos and The Boys In The Band….But it all really started with Pokémon Live! He’s just a kid from Omaha, Nebraska who was lucky enough to make it in “the big city” so I’m excited to hear more of his story to stardom.

4.) The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses #1) by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu

Release date: April 2nd, 2019

wowzer another Cassie Clare book on here. This one, I’m very much looking forward to. Cassandra Clare is definitely one of the hardest working authors out there as she keeps putting out these (MASSIVE) books each year. And this one is going to be about one of the best couples ever, Magnus and Alec. I honestly don’t know what to say other than GIVE IT TO ME NOW.

5.) Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

Release date: May 7th, 2019

Okay another very exciting book being released this year. Christine Riccio, PolandbananasBOOKS on youtube, is coming out with her debut novel this year. It follows the main character Shane as she navigates her life while studying abroad. I mean coming of age? England? what more could I want!? Christine was actually the first ‘booktuber’ I ever watched back In 8th grade when I was trying to find stuff about the book Graceling and I stumbled upon her booktalk. I was introduced to the online presence of books and people who talk about books, so It’s pretty cool for me to see her writing and publishing her first book!

6.) The Fever King (Feverwake #1) by Victoria Lee

Release date: March 1st, 2019

Okay this is now where we come to the books that I have randomly found out about through the internet, but I’m VERY excited about. The Fever King was on a 2019 YA book release list, and I was immediately drawn to amazing cover. I then read the synopsis and was really interested in it, read reviews and became even MORE interested, and I then discovered it wasn’t coming out until March and was very sad. This book is sci-fi, but not really sci-fi — with politics and intersectional issues. I haven’t read it yet obviously so I don’t really at all know what it will entail — but I’m SURE it’ll be great.

7.) The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown

Release date: March 7th, 2019

Yet another book I stumbled upon in a list of 2019 releases. This one immediately drew me in with the title because it made me think it would be a mystery, and I was right. This kind of reminds me of John Green’s Turtles All The Way Down in the sense that someone who is not at all qualified to investigate something is investigating something — and that’s what makes me want to read it!!! The reviews that are coming in are also super positive and praising it for being beautiful and treating grief in such a beautiful way so yeah — me reading this book?? you can count on THAT

8.) Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzie Lee

Release date: September 3rd, 2019

The next book on my list is EXCITING, which is amazing seeing as I only found out it was a thing about 30 minutes ago. I’ve seen these Marvel and DC hero YA books around for a while now, but I have yet to have a whole lot of interest in them. That is before I saw THIS ONE. for one, Loki, probably one of my favourite anti-heros ever (DON’T talk to me about infinity war, thanks) and two, Mackenzie Lee. I’ve read her debut The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue which is a wonderful adventure story that twists and turns but at the base is SO witty and charming. You put those two things together and you’ve got an AWESOME book that I am dYinG to read. (and we don’t even have a cover… and it doesn’t come out for 7 months…)

9.) Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Release date: November 5th, 2019

Alright, 100% my most anticipated book of 2019, and it was only announced a couple days ago. Pretty much, this is the first book in a companion series to Maggie Stiefvater’s other series The Raven Cycle, and it’s going to be centred around one of her best and most interesting characters Ronan Lynch. I am……… very excited to say the least, and I recommend that literally everyone reads The Raven Cycle (the first book is The Raven Boys) because it is amazing and I could probably do an ENTIRE blog post on these books 🙂

Alright, buckle your seatbelts we’ve got another long list coming at ya. I won’t go too in-depth with these to save your the time, so I’d recommend clicking the links to read more about each film. I will also say that this is not in order, because I’m wEaK and hate choosing favourites (especially because some of these could definitly be very disappointing, lets face it) So this is in chronological order of when they are (meant to/rumoured) to be released

1.) Captain Marvel dir. Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck

In Theatres: March 8th, 2019 — Trailer

Not much to say other than I am ready for Brie Larson to singlehandedly save the Avengers, and have her pet cat steal the show the whole time, while simultaneously showing me 90’s culture with a sick soundtrack. (I’m begging you marvel)

2.) Us dir. Jordan Peele

In Theatres: March 22nd — Trailer

There is a VERY good chance that won’t see this movie in theatres because I’m WEAK and hate horror movies. Although, it’s on this list because Jordan Peele is a gEniUs and it’s going to be amazing. So, I can’t wait to live vicariously through everyone’s reviews until I probably watch it 6 months later on my computer screen in broad daylight.

3.) Avengers: Endgame dir. Anthony & Joe Russo

In Theatres: April 26th, 2019 — Trailer

Infinity War punched me in the face, called me ugly, and then punched me in the gut for good measure. I have my theories for this, and I simultaneously want all of them and NONE of them to come true.

4.) Ad Astra dir. James Gray

In Theatres: May 24th, 2019 — no trailer

What can I say, I love me some space?

5.) Rocketman dir. Dexter Fletcher

In Theatres: May 31st, 2019 — Trailer

Okay this one, pretty dicey. Bohemian Rhapsody was a little bit of a mess, but Elton John has had a HUGE part in the making of this film so tHeRe’S hOpE. Taron Egerton also looks INSANE as Elton John, AND actually sings in it. Also, Richard Madden… dare I say more?

6.) Men In Black International dir. F. Gary Gray

In Theatres: June 14th, 2019 — Trailer

Um, best casting choice ever. Not much else to say other than I love it already.

7.) Spider-man: Far From Home dir. John Watts

In Theatres: July 5th, 2019 — Trailer

8 words and 8 words only: Keep That Bowl Off Of Jake Gyllenhall’s Head

8.) The Lion King dir. Jon Favreau

In Theatres: July 19th, 2019 — Trailer

Less excited, more interested in how this is actually going to turn out, but Donald Glover as Simba… yes please.

9.) Once Upon A Time In Hollywood dir. Quentin Tarantino

In Theatres: July 26th, 2019 — No trailer yet

Not to sound like that annoying pretentious cinephile girl — but with a cast like that and a director like that, there’s almost no way you’re getting me to NOT watch this movie.

10.) It: Chapter Two dir. Andy Muschietti

In Theatres: September 6th, 2019 — Not trailer yet

I know I said earlier I don’t like horror movies but this is an exception because I loved It so much. Very scared to see this movie, but there’s almost nothing stopping me from seeing Bill Hader play Richer Tozier.

In Theatres: October 4th, 2019 — No trailer, just this sick makeup test

okay, very random because if you know me you know I don’t like DC… But I have hope in Joaquin Pheonix. I think he’s a really good Joker and could bring some Heath Ledger level stuff to the table.

11.) Star Wars: Episode IX dir. J.J. Abrams

In Theatres: December 20th, 2019 — No trailer

The previous movie was one of the weirdest reviewed movies I’ve ever seen. All in all I want to J.J Abramms to take BACK the reigns of this trilogy and give me a conclusion that I KNOW is coming. Also Kylo Ren. that is all (also please give us a title, trailer, and poster asap…)

*the next movies were ones that premiered at Sundance and don’t have release dates or even trailers yet !*

12.) Honey Boy dir. Alma Har’el

Honey Boy? more like OH BOY. Shai Lebeouf wrote this (semi) autobiographical script about his relationship with his dad — where he PLAYS HIS DAD. We also have Noah Jupe playing young him, and none other than Lucas Hedges playing not as young him. It was also the best-reviewed Sundance film on rotten tomatoes, and it’s 100% my most anticipated film of 2019 — I’m pumped give me the tissues Shai.

13.) The Farewell dir. Lulu Wang

Awkwafina looks sad in that promo picture, and that made me sad. Then I read the synopsis and I got even MORE sad. Then I read that A24 bought it and boy oh boy did I get excited.

14.) The Report dir. Scott Z. Burns

This may turn out to be just another Spotlight or The Post, but it’s getting some pretty rave reviews. also… John Hamm AND Adam Driver?!??! thank you casting director.

15.) The Last Black Man in San Fransisco dir. Joe Talbot

A24 is D E L I V E R I N G this year

16.) Big Time Adolescence dir. Jason Orley

I loved Pete Davidson pre Ariana drama, okay? also we’ve got Griffen Gluck from American Vandal... and Machine Gun Kelly apparently?? even if they weren’t a part of it I’ll watch any coming of age film okay?

OKAy that’s a long list and I apologize. Although, I’m hoping you saw something that maybe tickled your fancy! watched some trailers maybe? bought advances tickets for Captain Marvel? I hope so.

Anyways, 2019 is looking to be a Pretty good year for books and movies, and I’m really looking forward to delving into these worlds soon!

*BOOK COVER IMAGES SOURCE

*MOVIE IMAGES SOURCE

Process Post

I found myself sitting at home watching movies until I finally came across The Matrix on Netflix. Looking at their outfits really inspired me, and made me realize that todays fashion is very similar to the 90’s movie. Even though I didn’t plan on finding inspiration for my blog post from the movie, I think it would be a good way to start finding more inspiration from classic movies that will always remain relevant.

The Matrix

The Matrix first came out in year 1999, directed by Lana Wachowski but more importantly Kym Barrett the costume designer. In the movie The Matrix the cast wears latex, black trench coats, slick hair (tight buns), and tiny glasses which look so sleek. This movie came out in the 90’s which is when everything was bleak and monochromatic. Fall of 1999 Dior came out with a haute couture season which was inspired by The Matrix. Up next is Vera Wang, Fall in the year 2000 she came out with a primarily black fall collection with many pieces that payed tribute to characters Morpheus’ uniform from the movie.


The glasses… teeny-tiny, 90’s inspired sun-glasses can be seen being supported by Kanye West. Kim Kardashian came out and said that Kanye can’t stress this enough ” NO MORE BIG GLASSES”.

Stars today are still seen rocking this 90’s look. Skinny glasses which can be found at Balenciaga. Floor-length trench coats from Vetements, during this same season Balmain and Alexander McQueen all rocked the all leather look. Fall 2018 Alexander Wang has now presented his own take with business chic meets The Matrix collection.

London on a Budget

This past spring I was lucky enough to travel to London with my best friend and travel partner. For us this trip was actually just a smaller portion of a larger trip that we were embarking on, but nevertheless it was still an exciting travel experience for the both of us. On our way to Greece, we decided to stop in London and stay for a few days as London has always been one of my favourite cities that I have had the privilege of seeing in this wonderful world of ours. Though in my opinion this incredible city is worth every penny, it is known to be one of Europes priciest destinations which for the most part is simply due to their currency, the British pound. For us Canadians, when purchasing something in London using the British pound it is almost twice the price when it gets converted the Canadian dollar meaning that something you’ve bought for 10 pounds is really 20 Canadian dollars. Despite this information, I highly recommend that you don’t let the financial aspect of traveling to London deter you because as previously stated, I believe this city is worth every single penny that it may pull out of you and if you follow a few of these simple tips and tricks you should be able to get by on a relatively decent budget.

To start, we booked our flights to London with WestJet when we came across a great deal that offered us to fly to London roundtrip for $600, which is a great price when flying transatlantic. By saving a few hundred dollars on our flights, we were able to put that extra money towards the time we would actually be spending in London.

Accommodation

For many the most expensive part of visiting London is going to be accommodation so this is where budgeting is going to be most important. I myself am lucky enough to have family that live in downtown London making figuring out where we were going to stay a very easy and cheap task. If you don’t have any friends or family so stay with during your time here don’t worry because London has many different affordable hostel and hotel options that are great for budget travellers.

Safestay London Kensington Holland Park Hostel

The Safestay London hostel is an incredible option for those you hoping to travel to London on a budget. Equipped with everything you need including free wifi, laundry, a pool and a bar this four out of five star hostel is available for as low as 26 Canadian dollars a night.

If you’re someone that has either had a bad experience with hostels in the past or simply just isn’t comfortable with this idea, that doesn’t mean that your only other option is going to be spending a pretty penny on a hotel room. Being as large and as popular of a city as London is, London has quite a variety of different accommodation options, one of which being AirBnB. AirBnB is one of my personal favourite ways to secure accommodation when travelling as it provides safe and secure homes for travellers to rent for a reasonable and affordable price. No matter what kind of accommodation you are looking for, whether it be just a single room or an entire apartment or house, this website will have what you are looking for suitable for every kind of price range.

Food & Drink

Food & drink is another place that managing your money while travelling can become difficult, especially in London with all of its posh and fancy restaurants and bars. But much like any city, for every top of line restaurant that you come across there are two or three great smaller places that will provide just as great of an experience for at least half of the price. My first tip for all of you is not to spend much more than couple dollars on breakfast. Yes breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but in my opinion it is also the simplest. If you aren’t staying in a place that provides breakfast free of charge in the mornings, running into a little coffee shop for a muffin or scone or even stopping by a local market to grab a few small things for the mornings is a great way to save money while exploring this city, allowing you widen your budget for lunch and/or dinner later on in the day a little bit more.

London is a city that has great nightlife, whether it be going out and clubbing or simply going out for dinner and maybe a drink, this city is a fun place to go out in at night. Although we did splurge and treat ourselves to one fancy and upscale dinner, majority of the time we would head to a local pub for dinner, drinks and fun. Pubs are a great place to visit in London as not only is there one on every second street corner but they are also fun, upbeat, reasonably priced and a great place for experience some authentic english culture.

If you don’t consider yourself a pub kind of person and are looking for a more traditional sit down dinner while still saving money, don’t worry! London has tons of amazing restaurants that you can visit that won’t break your wallet like many of the others.

Ruby Blue Bar

If you’re looking for a fun yet affordable night out in London town, then this is for sure the place for you. Located right in the world famous Leicester Square this thriving little cocktail bar & restaurant is sure to provide a good time without burning a hole in your wallet

Mabel’s

Similar to Ruby Blue but slightly more relaxed, Mabel’s is a great place to head for a fun yet chill dinner and night out in London. Serving a variety of traditional British dishes, this place is great for its after work scene and will also be a great place to get a taste of the local culture in London.

Activities

Activities and things to do in London are never ending. Lucky for us tourists, many of the big sights are free of charge to see and explore although there are some things, such as riding the London eye, that are gonna cost you some money. This in my opinion is an incredible once in a lifetime experience that anyone thats not afraid of heights should take advantage of and is completely worth the money. Depending on the time of day you may find slightly cheaper prices and for those of you enrolled in school, you can use your student ID to get a bit of discount as well.

When travelling from sight to sight it is easy to walk many places but for those activities or sights that seem a little to far to travel to on foot, London has one of the worlds most incredible transit systems that is sure to make travelling across this city easy & affordable.

For more on London stay tuned for a more in depth travel diary of my time in London coming soon!

Process Post

This week I’ve been working on my video for my blog, I want my video to be like a documentary that looks at the what the average person’s views on styles and trends that circle around again and again. I’m still in the process of making my video exactly how I want it which has been very difficult. I had some technical difficulties uploading the footage but I’ve been working on it everyday so eventually ill get the hang of it. I think visuals are the best way to express my kind of content, giving my inside on trends while making the video visually appealing to catch the audiences attention. I will keep you guys updated on my process as I more further along.


Baggy or Oversize?

Baggy or Oversized? Many think the two are the same. However they are very different. Baggy shirts or oversize jeans has been introduced by brands like Yeezy and Off-white. They’re being advertised by A list Celebrities like The Kardashians and The Hadid sisters.

Now to get into the difference, so when I’m talking baggy jeans I am not talking about jeans that you would see in the 2000 on wannabe rappers like the photo on the left. But shown on Bella Hadid in the photo on the right.

Oversized is usually worn as hoodies or jackets on both men and women. Oversized might look baggy however the whole article of clothing is a couple sizes up than you’re actually getting. Some examples of looks you can put together with oversized outerwear are shown below on model Hailey Baldwin.

Now again… Baggy or Oversize? Oversize had a good run and is still semi relevant in todays trends. But Oversize has made an even bigger come back and is worn on a lot not only males but females too. Tight jeans are still in but essentially the looser your jeans are the “cooler” you’ll look!

[not so] eloquent emma 2019-02-03 03:37:35

to me, January is one of the most slow and painful months. Even though we’ve only been in 2019 for 31 days, it feels like it’s been 90 days! it’s especially frustrating because we just started a new year, and in the new year we make new goals and ‘New Years resolutions’ — but (at least to me) it definitely feels like all of those have already failed.

This January was quite a jam packed month for me. I went back to school for my second semester of University! which is both exciting, and stressful. I was stupid and decided to take 4 classes this term, one of those classes being a math class… yeah, my little fine arts brain is dying. I am also managing 3 part-time jobs at one time… yeah 3 jobs. I pretty much have no free time, but I was still able to read a couple books and watch a couple movies this month.

Each month in my journal I do a little wrap up of the books I read, movies I watched, and music I was into — so I thought I would also do here on the blog! Along with that I do a little thing for the upcoming month I call a ‘TBR & TBW’ (to be read and to be watched) which are some books I really want to read, and movies I really want to see! 

so first, the books. I was luckily able to TWO whole books this month. Although, in terms of my classes this semester, I should’ve read 2 more… but that’s alright. Seeing how busy and stressed I was this month this is a quite a good amount. I was even ahead on my Goodreads 2019 reading challenge for a couple days — but I think I’m behind now. The books I was able to read were:

Two VERY different books, especially because one is YA and the other is adult. I also picked the first one up on my own, and Exit West was for a class. I gave TIKOAELS 3.5/5 because while it was an incredibly diverse and sweet story, I found it to be lacking in a lot of places and i just didn’t end up loving it as much as I wanted to. I then gave Exit West a 4.5/5, and if you want to know more about that book I’d read the review I posted for it last week.

For movies this month I was also able to see a whopping 4! 2 of those films were in the theatres, and 2 were in the comfort of my own home. I’ll be honest and say there will definitely be more movies than books for me in the coming months, and that is because awards season is among us! I watched the first two movies in preparation for the Golden Globes, and I am slowly but surely knocking unwatched Oscar nom movies off my list.

So, these are all 2018 movies, and that is mainly because pretty much no good movies come out in the first few months of the year. The first movie I saw as A Star Is Born, which some of you may know — came out in OCTOBER. I was very behind on this train because I didn’t have anyone to see it with at the time, but I finally dragged my dad to the theatre when the golden globes were coming up. I gave this bad boy a 3.5-4/5 stars, it’s a very good movie, especially for Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut — but it’s literally a remake of a remake of a remake. I also don’t personally think Lady Gaga was as amazing as everyone is making her out to be! but that’s just my personal opinion…

I then watched BlacKkKlansman the night before the Golden Globes on the couch. This was a movie I wanted to see when it actually came out, but I just never found the time. This movie was a lot of fun! and was definitley entertaining. Although, it also deals with a lot of important things. I googled about halfway through “is blackkklansman a comedy?” because I wasn’t sure if I should be laughing the amount that I was. I gave it 4.5/5 stars because there were a few aspects I didn’t love, but all in all I think it was a solid film.

I then watched one of the most underrated and under appreciated movies of 2018! Paul Schrader’s First Reformed. I heard about this bad boy back in the summer, because it’s an A24 film and I love A24 films. Although, this movie was sadly quite indie so I don’t even think it came to any theatres near me. Luckily it is now available on DVD and digital download — which is how I watched it. This movie is CRAZY. but like good crazy, obviously. Ethan Hawke is crazy good in it as well and I wish it got a lot more recognition this awards season. I gave this one 4.5/5 stars because there were some moments that left me a little too confused, but other than that it’s an amazing film that I think everyone who likes movies should see.

Okay last on the list of movies I saw is one I saw just 3 days ago, and that is Cold War. This is a foreign language film, Polish to be exact. I used to not like watching foreign language movies, but after I took an intro to cinema class last semester, and we watched about 5 movies that were not in English — I’m now a lot more open to them. This film is beautiful to say the least. It’s nominated in the foreign language category at the oscars as well as best director and cinematography, which I most definitely think it deserves. I also just love black & white movies, even without colour it’s so full of depth and I wish more movies were shot in B&W these days (GOD I sound pretentious). I gave it 5/5 stars because I mean… what else would I give it?

Alrighty, usually I make up a monthly playlist of the songs I enjoy listening to — But this month I didn’t do that. That is because this month the only thing I have been listening to is Greta Van Fleet‘s two albums top to bottom, back to back, and on repeat. If you don’t know this band they’re made up of 3 brothers (1 set of identical twins) and a long time family friend. They’re also from a very small town in Michigan called Frankenmuth, they’re all under the age of 25, and they’re all self taught. This band has only been around for a couple years, but I just recently discovered them earlier this month, and to say I like them is an understatement. These guys are SO talented and SO young. They’re already making pretty big moves as they were nominated for 4 Grammys this year (!!!), and they’re currently on a pretty much sold out world tour. I may not look like a rock & roll kind of person, but it’s probably my favourite genre of music. I don’t listen to a lot of current music, the exceptions being Harry Styles and Bon Iver (who I know, is definitely rock & roll), so when I heard these guys give a modern twist on the classic music I listen to all the time, I was hooked! If I have my ear buds in I’m definitley listening to either there double EP From The Fires, or their debut full length album Anthem of the Peaceful Army (heck! I’m literally listening to them right now) Some of my favourite songs are “You’re the One”, “Age of Man”, “Anthem”, “Highway Tune”, and “Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)” (just to name a few), but I would definitely recommend listening to this the way it is meant to be — top to bottom and really loud.

and yes I know they sound like Led Zeppelin, but is that really such a bad thing???

Okay, there we have it, my January wrap up! not too much this month because as I said — I’m VERY busy. Although, I did purchase a planner the other day, so hopefully I will get a bit more organized. For February, I’m hoping to get my crap together. I’m definitely looking forwards to our upcoming reading break, but also know that that mean I have 3+ papers to write before then.

In February I’m hoping to read 3 books

this is definitely a BIG goal seeing as there is a lot of work that I need to do in February — but these are all books I’ve been meaning to read so my fingers are crossed I get to them.

For movies I’ve got 5 on here, all 2018 movies because I am sadly still catching up and not many new ones are coming in February.

I’m really hoping I get to watch these all because The Oscars are this month! and I need to be caught up!!!

I also finally got a Amazon Prime membership, and therefore a Prime Video membership. So, I’m hoping to watch some shows I have been missing out on. I’ve already started watching Parks and Recreation  (which is an oldie, but I haven’t seen all the episodes so I’m hoping to get myself all caught up) as well as  The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Homecoming. They’re both quite ‘talked about’ shows — and my brothers won’t shut UP about them — so I’m looking forward to finally understand all the hype.

So, dear February, please be good to me! I’m really banking on reading break completely taking away all my stress and immense lack of sleep — but I think we all know that won’t happen. Here’s to the second month of 2019! *clinks glass*