Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Spoliery Wrinkle in Time Movie Review

I love A Wrinkle in Time. It's one of my all-time favorite books. Yet, I never thought "I so need this to be a movie." So when the news came out one was being made, I got more than a little nervous.

Because of the fan contract, I went to see it over the weekend with Bestie Danielle. People I knew who saw it loved it, but the reviews in general were not good. This didn't color my opinion either way. For the first time ever I went into a movie with no preconceived notions and was just along for the ride.

The movie wasn't a total aberration but it wasn't really true to canon either. There's a reason why they say "based on" and not "exact replica." Instead of a true movie reviewer style write up, I'll break this down by what they got right and was they didn't.

What Was Right

  • Charles Wallace. OMG, I loved Charles Wallace. He was precocious and adorable and slightly off just like the book version. The actor delivered it perfectly. I couldn't picture it done better. 
  • Mr. Murry. Flashback scenes aside (since most of those did not exist in the book), the acting was spot on again. The love for his family is obvious just like his despair of being separated from them.
  • Fortinbras. They never say the dog's name but that black dog Meg and Charles Wallace walk is Fort. It was a nice little addition.
  • Meg, for the most part. Book Meg is a lot more negative and angry. A little more wild, even. What was kept and resonated was how Meg's still hella science smart and stubborn and loves her little brother unconditionally. I'm glad the traits they kept were the important ones.
  • The neighborhood on Kamazotz. The coordination, the look, the exact eerieness of the place was there. When I saw that scene on the trailer initially I was sold.

What Was Wrong

  • The lack of twins. Meg's the oldest of 4. Her and Charles Wallace are the bookends of above average. The twins, Sandy and Dennys, are the "normal" ones. There wasn't even a photo to show they existed. The fact they are not present indicates there were no plans for their story ever to make it to film. 
  • IT. First of all, it's not called "The It," it's just "IT." And it's a disembodied brain that chills out on a pedestal, not The Black Thing as was hinted in the movie. This change bothered me a lot. Probably because I find the brain much creepier than CGI lead or whatever Disney was trying to go for.
  • The Happy Medium. Gender aside, The Happy Medium is someone who just wants to focus on the good things in the world and gets deeply upset about the negative. I feel like this was a missed opportunity.
  • Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit. These 3 ladies were once stars, as in balls of gas, so their idea of looking human is a little off but it's not this weird bedazzles nonsense I saw. Their costumes were too over the top, too ridiculous, and not flattering for any of the actors at all. And that weird dragon/lettuce thing Mrs. Whatsit turned into? Just, no. She's supposed to transform into a winged centaur.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the movie was decent. I'm not upset by paying the matinee price. The message of family and love stayed true to the story and that's what counts.

Did you see A Wrinkle in Time? What did you think?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Stitch Fix: A Review

Ever since having Munchkin, I've struggled with clothing. This has to do with my post-preggo body which still has all the baby weight plus more fluff in the front than before. I wore a mix of leggings, maxi skirts, oversized shirts, and maternity clothes for the first nine months post-partum. Even now seventeen months after giving birth, I still have at least four maternity tops in rotation* and will wear leggings and a hoodie any chance I get.

One of the normal post-partum styles for me
Despite my post-partum outfits being comfortable, I felt frumpy. A lot of my clothes didn't fit the same exact way they did pre-Munchkin since the fluff shifted to different areas which made wearing my old clothes pretty much awful. If I went clothes shopping, I'd come home with more leggings and oversized shirts. I needed to change my style to something a little more in line with how I used to dress and find things that defined me.

Enter Stitch Fix.

What you should know: Stitch Fix is a clothing subscription box. You pay a $20 "styling fee" and fill out a form with questions ranging from clothing sizes to style to how much you want to spend. They encourage you to include links to your social media (especially Pinterest) so they can see your clothing tastes. You get assigned a stylist who will put together a box of 5 items for you. Once received you get 3 days to review the items, try them on, and decide if you want them or not. You can choose to get a box every 2 to 3 weeks, monthly, every other month, or quarterly.

The mysterious delivery box
What I wanted: An edgy look that encompassed my love of rock n roll and goth that would work in the business casual environment of the day job but also in my day to day as a Munchkin wrangler and a jeans/leggings and metal tee girl. I clearly specified no ruffles and some other crazy comments. I felt bad for the stylist who got assigned to me.

Allowing some complete stranger pick clothes for you is a little scary. So the days leading up to receiving my Fix, as they call it on the site, had me in a state between trepidation and excitement. When it got a delivered a day earlier than expected, I was thrilled. I couldn't wait until Munchkin went to bed so I could try it all out.

My first thought upon seeing the box was "Hmm, I'm not sure how they fix 5 pieces of clothing in that little thing." I'm plus-sized and in my mind I am much larger than I am in real life which meant that the box was too small for what I pictured as clothes the size of a muumuu. In reality, it was just a very well-packed, well-folded set of clothes and a necklace along with a return envelope in case the clothes did not work. The box also came with a style card which gave you suggestions for each item and a little note from your stylist.

Pretty pleased with this outfit
In my box, I received a grey and white striped cardigan (with pockets!), a black sleeveless top, a floral sheer top, and some olive green parachute-looking pants. There wasn't a ruffle in sight! At the pants, I deflated. They looked like "fat lady" pants: elastic in the back, semi-pleated, and wide enough ass an elephant could sit in them comfortably. If my stylist picked out something like that, was the whole box doomed?

Normally everything in the box totalled a retail of about $230, which is well outside of my clothing price range. With the bulk discount and my $20 styling fee applied, everything would have been $151. Still high, but more doable. 

So I tried on the outfits with Hubby's encouragement. The first thing I tried was the black top with the pants and the cardigan. The pants fit surprisingly well with only a little gap in the back. The top was amazingly cut, comfortable, and soft. The cardigan I immediately loved. The ensemble didn't look to bad. Hubby was impressed by how the pants looked much better on me than in the box. So was I. However, I wasn't a fan of the rayon-esque material and how they wrinkled within a minute. I'm anti-iron so anything that wrinkles is a big no-no for me.

Totally not a fan
The floral top, which I thought was beautiful in the box, turned out not to work for me AT ALL. The colors in it were great: navy blue background with some nice fall/spring pops of color. It had a pleat in the back and with my bust size it just looked like the muumuu I envisioned. It wasn't a perfect fit either so I definitely wasn't a fan. Plus, I already had a sheer floral top for the day job. I didn't need 2.

I got the opinion of Bestie D and a few coworkers and friends. They all agreed the floral print top was not working so that was going to be returned. However, by returning the top, the rest of the box would come out higher or almost the same cost as the entire thing. I reviewed the rest of the items again. The silver lariat necklace I received was pretty but not necessary. Out of the box, my favorite items were the cardigan and the black sleeveless top. Hubby and I agreed I was definitely keeping the cardigan. Because pockets.

That left me agonizing over the black sleeveless top. I loved it but if I purchased that and the cardigan, it would have been $115. That's a lot of two pieces of clothing. Hubby pointed out I could probably find a similar top on Amazon. I did for $10. Time to return the black top too.

I purchased the cardigan and with my $20 styling fee applied it wound up being $38 bucks. But it's very versatile. I've worn it several times already. However, this did not change my wardrobe. In fact, it was more of the same: comfy with toeing the line at frumpy.

The bottom line: Stitch Fix is what you make of it and, if you're in a Walmart budget, pricey. If you put a lot of thought and advanced work into what you are looking for, the stylist will have a better idea of what you want. I'm pretty sure my stylist looked at my clothing board on Pinterest and saw a bunch of items in direct conflict of what I had made notes of and promptly opened up a bottle of wine and cried. For my next delivery (in June) I've already added styles of clothes to my Pinterest that are more in alignment with my preferred style and not that of characters I'm writing about. I have yet filled out the notes for the stylist but I still have time. I requested the same styler because I believe it will take a few times around until we're both on the same page.

 Have you tried Stitch Fix or another clothing subscription box? What have been your experiences with them?

* Mainly because I like how comfortable the maternity tees are. Seriously, there is nothing comfier to hang out in.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Things I Knew Before I Dyed My Hair a Non-Traditional Color

Lately I've been in sort of a rut. And what do you do when you're in a rut? You want to shake things up, of course. Now, I'm not the type who likes to shake things up or do anything impulsive* so I thought this through. I kept going back to my hair. I wanted to do something drastic to my hair.

Ready to plunge in
But what could I do?

My day job is in a corporate environment so whatever I did had to work there. This really limited what I could do. I could do an edgy, professional cut but I'm someone who considers a messy bun as the height of hairstyle and the less product, the better. And I hate having short hair so that also limited what could be done. So a hair cut was out. That led me to color. I've been coloring my hair for years in the auburn and red zone for the most part but I wanted a funky color. Without bleaching my hair.

I did some research and found the Splat Midnight series. It's technicolor hair dye for brunettes who just don't want to bleach their hair. It's what they call "demi-permanent" and meant to last 30 washes. After reviewing the color options with Bestie Danielle, I went with the Midnight Indigo and took the plunge on the first of March.

How did it go?
Interesting to say the least. I was nervous-excited as I prepped for the dye job Thursday morning. At Danielle's suggestion, I decided not to go full blue but only do the underside. That way if I hated it or it came out awful it would be hidden when I let my hair down.

Since I've been DIYing my hair for a while. I have a system: wear my contacts, no shirt, and clamp my hair up with a claw once all the dye is in. After I sit and read for the 25 minutes it takes for the color to set, I hop all the way in the shower to rinse out the dye and, well, shower.

This system does not work with demi-perm dye.

The Smurf massacre
First, since it was a blue base it look like a Smurf massacre in the bathroom. No matter how careful I was, blue dye ended up all over me and the sink. Even with Vaseline over my ear tips, shoulders, and neck I was still covered in blue. Hubby helped me remove some of it with water and some burp clothes that Munchkin no longer uses. It didn't work. What did was make up remover towelettes to take the dye off me. It worked beautifully.

The second mistake I made was not giving me enough time. This dye takes longer than my normal 25 minutes to set. In fact they recommend 45 minutes to an hour! Since Munchkin had an appointment that day I barely made 45 minutes. Next time I will not do it on a day where there is an appointment. Or a day where Munchkin is going to be around because the last thing I need is a blue toddler.

Wet it looked black
The third mistake was just hopping in the shower like I normally do. The water looked like blue food dye and stained everything. Including my feet and legs. So next time I will not hop full body in the shower. It just doesn't work.

Because my hair is naturally dark the blue did not pop like I pictured but it was more subtle. When it was 100% wet it didn't even hint at blue and I thought "dammit, all that time to just have black hair." Because of that, I wasn't sure I liked it at first but as the day went on, the color grew on me more. And the fact that I'm half blue and half auburn is kinda cool because I can twist my hair in different ways to showcase both colors.
Final product

One word of caution: When your hair is wet, the color will run and stain so it's important to not wear light colors when you have the wet hair, go to bed with wet hair, lean against your pale colored headrest in the car, etc. Make sure you have some ratty towels or rags to drape over things if you're going to put your wet head on anything.

Will I do it again? Most likely.

What do you think, Lurkdom? Was it a success or a bust? Tell me below.

Also, I want to know: What's the craziest thing you've done to your hair?

* Save that one time where I flew to PA for an overnight just to see a tribute band.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Flippant Girl's Guide to Staying Positive

Rumor has it there are people out there who are called "optimists." I call shenanigans. There's more chance of me riding a unicorn than meeting one of these other cryptozoologic wonders. But as someone who has an impressionable child, it's my job to keep those horrible sarcastic, doubtful thoughts far away. So how the heck does this get achieved?

Warning: Amateur hour advice ahead!
  1. Medicate. Medicate, medicate, medicate. Take a thousand uppers, have too many Frappucinos, mainline caffeine. Do anything humanly possible to stay upbeat. 
  2. Create a panic room. But not the kind you use for an alien invasion or an insane president. This will be solely for when you feel the need to spew out every negative thing in your brain but don't want anyone to hear. Make sure you have some wine in there as you might be in there for a while.
  3. Have a questionable agenda. It's true. No one will suspect you're planning world domination if you're positive and happy-go-lucky all the time. 
  4. Surround yourself with people more pessimistic than you. If you chill out with a bunch of people who talk about any of the following, you in turn will feel like the most positive person on the planet: Medicare, Trump, how it goddamn snows in the winter, taxes, death, the "good old days." The list really is endless.
If you too struggle with being positive in the face of life or perpetual cheerful ankle-biters, remember, I'm here for you!

Also, did you know my YA Contemporary about four friends and an all night scavenger hunt is up for nomination on Kindle Scout? You can read the first 3 chapters here. If you nominate me and share my book with your friends, I have a chance at publication (and then you'll get my book for free). How awesome is that?

Monday, February 26, 2018

It's Nomination Time!

If you've been around for a while, you've heard me talk about mimes and a book with I refer to as SFLN. If you're curious to know more about it now's the time! What was called Scenes from Last Night is now up on Kindle Scout as SCAVENGER NIGHT.

If you're not familiar with Kindle Scout, it's an initiative through Amazon that empowers the readers to select the books that will be published. Each book has a 30 day window where people can read a tag line, short blurb, and an excerpt. If you like what you read, you can nominate it and share it for others to nominate too. If you get enough nominations, you get a publishing contract and an advance for your book. Pretty sweet, right? Right!

What's SCAVENGER NIGHT about anyway? It sounds like a horror book.
It's definitely not a horror book. It's a YA contemporary with humor and mimes.

For Leo, winter break always meant tearing it up at Chaplin Point’s annual Christmas scavenger hunt. Not this year. Instead, he’s made plans with three of the geekiest kids in school. Leo can’t imagine a more cringe-worthy night than one involving sweatpants, Netflix, and aliens. Even if his dad finds out and makes good on the military school threat, Leo’s hell-bent on making it to The Point, geeks in tow.

Leo’s plans are bad news for Sully and his annual Dr. Who binge fest. Even if going to The Point means he’s got a shot with the girl of his dreams, he’d still have to face her terrifying bully of a boyfriend.

Going to the party of the year is exactly what Faith needs to ignore her suspicions her boyfriend is lying about his Christmas plans. She wants to win the scavenger hunt and take home the cash prize. Anything to take her mind off confronting him and what comes next.

Concerns about the party plague Natalie. Among them: never being able to escape the nickname “Shorty McTits” and her growing attraction to Leo. When he dares her to team up with him for the scavenger hunt, she ignores the butterflies in her stomach and meets his challenge. But when Leo and Natalie get picked up by the cops, plans change. As the foursome race through a night fueled by beer, mimes, and bullies, they all must choose between who they are and who they want to be.

Want to know more? Read the first 3 chapters and nominate me for publication here!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

My One Word for 2018

Last year, my word for the year was strive. I felt it was a great word since I had a lot of changes in my life and it was a kind word which gave allowances if I backslid or did not succeed at something. Even now I still use this as a reminder to be kind to myself.


But strive was so 2017. We're well into 2018 and it's time to focus on the present. This year my word is "create." Create means to bring something into existence which has broad applications. I definitely had writing on the brain when I chose my word but it applies to other aspects of my life as well. Now I'm not consciously creating anything but keep this word in the back of my brain is enough to think outside of the box for solutions, for pursuing creative initiatives, for fostering a creative life in Munchkin.

Do you have a word for this year? If you do, share it below and how you plan to incorporate it in every day life!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Where I've Been: An Almost Year in Review

Happy Monday, Lurkdom!

It's been almost a year since I last wrote and a lot has happened. Some of it great, some of it not so much. Regardless of what it was, I've been BUSY.

Well, what the heck have you been doing?
Parenting. A lot, a lot of parenting. Munchkin demands takes up a lot of time. But you know what? That's okay because she is the funniest, craziest, cutest Munchkin around. She loves the movies Trolls and Sing so much I can most definitely do monologues from both. She tells me to shush if I want to sing her to sleep and insists on eating apples in their natural, uncut, unpeeled form.

With all of my time being consumed by my daughter I'm learning how to crunch in writing in different ways and that is an ongoing process. I'm trying to do more writing in the morning so I can spend my evenings doing things like watching movies with Hubby or crocheting or staring at the cat but I got to say this is a hard transition.

I've taken up bullet journaling for this year with mixed results so far. For the 2nd consecutive year, I've picked a word for the year which is create. (Hopefully I will post more about that soon.) I'm working with an editor to self-publish Phoenix Rising. I constantly want to throw everything out of our apartment and start everything over from scratch. Hubby's unemployed and I volunteered to learn about another line of business at the day job.

There have been some other awesome things going on but I don't want to slam it all down in one shameless post. Instead I will leave you with a few fun photos of the last year and hope you all will share with me what you've been up to in the comments.

Slippers from a local con

Sandra Boynton 1st bday cupcakes
How we roll: Shirts, socks, and all the Cheez-its

Trolls has even taken over The White One's life

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