Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019!

Originally this post was going to be called “2018 Can Bite Me” but I figured that was a little harsh for the normal tone of my blog so I decided at the last minute to change it. Welcome to 2019 everyone! 

I’m done saying “this year is my year”, because I say it every year and guess what, no year so far has been my year. I am not saying that this year isn’t going to be your year, 2019 is full of possibilities and I am starting this post of November of 2018. My year started out pretty great; let’s just say the trajectory for the rest of the year after May has not really gone all that well. I have not currently gotten any of my New Year’s Resolutions done because this year flew passed me going 80 in a 35 mile and hour zone. Y’all 2018 has been wild, some of it was great but most of it was not so much for me and most of that is my fault. Some of it has been beyond my control but here I am sitting well before Christmas hoping that 2019 will be a better year. 

            Like I said, I’m not going to say again this year “2019 is going to be my year!” because no matter what happens 2019 is still a year of my life, for the better or for the worse and your year is what you make it. I don’t want to sit on my goals anymore, I have been saying that for years. I am going to work out, eat better, lose the weight, make more friends, get out more, live like a normal person does, get my stuff together, publish a book, and a whole host of other things that I want to accomplish in life. 

            The beginning of 2018 was fine, I moved, I met a few people who became huge parts of my life, there are some long stories there and a lot of memories that I will cherish forever. Thigs changed in the summer and from pretty much then on things have just been consistently going right downhill. 

            New Year’s Resolutions are such a crock, granted they can be guide posts to show you what you need to work on and they can be really helpful when you are trying to hit both long and short term goals. But I don’t want to call them resolutions anymore because I am not going to resolve anything by finishing my resolution. Writing down goals in a book without a plan or posting them on Facebook just makes them words on a page, I don’t want goals as words on a page any more. I want results, I want to prove to myself and everyone else in my life that I can do something. I don’t want to tell people my goals because guess what, the moment I tell someone something I lose motivation to do it and I am done losing my motivation in 2019. 

            I don’t know what this year is going to hold me, (as I write this in early November.) but here is me standing, rather sitting and hoping that 2019 will be a year that I look back on and say “wow, that was a really great year. Maybe it even was my year.” 

            So happy New Year everyone and I hope that you reach all of your goals this year, no matter what they are. You want to lose the weight; cool I am with you. You want to eat better; cool I am with you. You want to make more art; cool I am with you. This year is full of 365 new possibilities, though now we are down to 360 because I am posting this on the fifth of the month. Still, 360 is a lot, it’s all of the degrees in a circle and by the time we get to the other end of this year I hope I can say that 2019 was a different result than 2018.

            I am making a promise to myself to at least post two days a week and I am really trying to stick with that goal because I did pretty well some months last year but my consistency was not there and I really want it to be there this year. 

            Got any goals? 

            -MJ

Advertisements

Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas Eve everyone! Happy Holidays! Here are some puppies to brighten your day!

Mr. Oz and Miss. Ginger wish you Happy Holidays!

            I can’t believe that we are a week out from 2019, there were so many things that I wanted to do this year that just fell by the wayside but I will talk more about that in my New Year’s post which I started writing in early November because this year, it’s been a year. I just wanted to take some time with today’s post to take a break from beauty and lifestyle and everything else that this blog usually is and reflect on the season.

            I’m going to preface this, this post is probably going to be more “stream of consciousness” than my usual posts because I don’t really have a set intention for this post, no razor sharp focus today because I just want to get some thoughts out.

            I hope that this holiday season finds you well, I hope that you are spending time with family or friends. I hope that everyone has too much food and laughs too much around a table with people who make you feel whole inside and for some people I know that’s not possible and I am sending love to all of the corners of this place for all of those people. 

            I don’t expect this post to be super long because I am just going to talk about my holiday, in my family it’s just my mom, my dad, our dogs, Ozzie and Ginger, and me. We don’t have a big family but this is this year since we moved from my hometown it’s going to be a small Christmas; normally we would be surrounded by my cousin’s family so there would be about 10 of us, this year that is not the case. I doubt that we even really get out of pajamas this year and I am not mad about that. I’m not making a big deal of Christmas this year because this year has been, I can’t sigh over the internet but that is about the emotion that I tie to this year; just one long sigh. 

            It is something like 50˚ or a little bit below as I am writing this post so that means there is not going to be a white Christmas and that to me is such a strange sensation, I was born and grew up just underneath Lake Michigan and we had snow. We got the lake effect and that meant that usually we got plenty of snow and there is a part of me that doesn’t miss that, I hated driving in it, I didn’t like shoveling, because once you grow up there are no such things as snow days unless it’s a state of emergency which we dealt with more than once because of snow. Or you are in education and then it just means another day on at the end of the year, I’m not complaining, days when they closed school meant that I didn’t have to drive 45 minutes to school. I have been walking around in a sweater, I had my windows open last week, it’s December and I’m just not used to that. I was hardened by the north and all that rot. 

            This year is my first year in a new place, it’s not in the house I grew up in; no someone else owns that now and from what our neighbors have said about the new neighbors who now live in our old house, they are not well liked. (I’m not here to pass judgment on them, I don’t know them.) If I was still in Indiana Christmas would be different, we are still going to be doing many of the same things but it’s just different down here, new house, new town, new everything, and I don’t feel very jolly this year. That is not the fault of anyone but my brain, it’s been a really up and down year for me and I think my mind and body are just exhausted with this year and I know when I wake up on January 1st, 2019 it’s not like I get to press the reset button but I am going to do what I can to make that reset button a real thing, even metaphorically. 

            On a lighter note with no transition because I am not having a very easy time having this post pull together as a flowing piece of prose, but here it is. A brief of Christmas traditions in my family: Christmas Eve is just appetizers, we used to make a full dinner because it would be the three of us, my grandmother (God rest her soul) and my Godfather but several years ago, I think I was still in high school when we started to just have appetizers because it was just the five of us. My grandmother passed away in 2015 and that holiday season was hard because her birthday was Thanksgiving that year, she only missed it by a month so that season was hard and even now I am getting a little teary because Christmas was her favorite time of year, my grandmother and I had a rocky relationship from the time I was about 12 so Christmas was the one time a year when nothing was ever said because we were family and it was the holidays. So lighter note my behind as I fall into a pit of needing a therapist and that is not what this post is for. (I am super scattered this morning, I’m sorry but I am not going to censor myself to say that everything is sunshine and rainbows when that’s not how life works.) 

            Back to traditions, appetizers on Christmas Eve, then we all go do our own thing, I normally watch A Christmas Story and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, if you read my Top 10 Christmas Movies post, or if you would like to do that you can click the link and see my reasoning and recommendations to what movies I love to watch during this season. Christmas morning is presents, breakfast, coffee, and it used to be watching the WGN morning show because that is just a weird tradition in my family. Then it was starting to cook, cooking all day, and then having family over in the evening, and topping it off with right before falling asleep I would watch Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown. This year however, we are still having appetizers, our Christmas will just be us and maybe my mom’s best friend, I’m going to try to squeeze in movies because by the time this is posted I’ll have been at my parent’s house for over a day. It’s odd to have to drive somewhere for the holiday but I am excited to do it, even if it’s only about half an hour away. 

            I don’t really have all that much else to say, I hope that your holiday is merry and bright. I will see everyone on Saturday with another post.

            Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

                        MJ 

Top 10 Christmas Movies

I can’t believe that it is already this time of year! Like 2018 has taken three or four solid years but the last three months of this year have flown right by and we are two weeks out from the end of 2018. Cannot even believe it. 

            I wanted to do a few holiday posts even though we are only a week out from Christmas but this is the time of year for themed movies! I did a post like this for Halloween and so I felt like I needed to continue the trend of the “my favorite movies” but now for Christmas. I did something similar if not the same last year on my YouTube channel but I have taken most of this year off of my channel, hopefully 

            Now I am going into this as the top ten movies that I watch during the season, it doesn’t mean that my number one movie is my all-time favorite, they aren’t really in any order so here we go. 

All thoughts and opinions are my own, per usual.

  1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

There are two movies that I watch every Christmas Eve and this is one of them, usually the first film of the pair that I watch. I have been watching this movie for probably longer than I should have because of some of the language and the themes that are involved but who doesn’t love a good old fashion family Christmas from the saga of the tree, to the Christmas lights, to the reality that is having a big and diverse family around at the holidays. It’s one of those movies for me that no matter the time of year I can pop it in and enjoy it no matter what. It has some really memorable lines that I reference in conversation every once in a while if I know the other person has seen the film. 

2. A Christmas Story

This is the other movie that I watch every Christmas Eve, TBS shows, it or at least used to for 24 hours and I would try to stay up all night on Christmas Eve and watch it over and over, there was a good chance that I actually would only catch about half as I dosed in and out of sleep. Now that I am an adult I prefer sleep to trying to stay up all night like I did as a kid and even as an adolescent, when I was a kid it was the excitement of Christmas morning when I was a little older it was just me seeing if I could do it. I don’t think I ever did. Such a good movie though, whenever I bundle up to go outside and I have a lot of winter clothes on my first reaction is to say, “I can’t put my arms down!” because that is one part of the movie that makes me laugh every single time I see it. Also the word “fragile” neither my father or myself can resist saying it like they do in the film whenever we see the word. 

3. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas 

I love both of the incarnations of this film that have been out for years, I have not seen the version that came out this year but the one I am referencing in this list specifically is the 2000 live action adaptation. We went to the theater I think two days after Thanksgiving to see this and the whole family went my mom, my dad, my grandma, and me (small family). Now I watch it at least two or three times during the season because this is the movie I wrap presents to, normally that means I don’t really watch it so I have to watch it again and usually the second time through I end up falling asleep so a third time is required. I watched it for the first time yesterday and I was only a little distracted while trying to write this post yesterday, it didn’t work. (Then I watched Coco and cried a little.) It’s been one of my favorites since I got it on VHS in 2001, that’s right VHS; let that sink in for those of you who remember what a VHS is. I was 8 when this film came out so I grew up watching it and I still watch it every year.

4. Muppet Christmas Carol

Okay so I have a confession to make on this one, I didn’t see this movie until 2014 in my senior year of college, I told one of my roommates that I had never seen it and she was appalled because this is one of her favorite movies. I may have seen parts of it beforehand but never all the way through so we watched it and I have watched it every year since. It was on Netflix, then it was on On-Demand and then I had to get the DVD because no one else had it on TV or to watch online one year. I love a Christmas Carol; I need to actually sit down and read the original Dickens prose because it’s one of those pieces of literature that is so ingrained in our popular culture in so many different forms. Bah, Humduck! a Looney Toons Christmas Carol and A Flintstone’s Christmas Carol both are on my list to watch every year but didn’t make the top ten, though they were rather close in the running but I didn’t want more than one movie adaptation of a Christmas Carol on here.

5. The Santa Clause

Another movie that I grew up on, I am talking about the original Santa Clause here not the second one which was fine or the third one which I haven’t seen. I’m talking original mid-90’s movie. This was another one I had on VHS growing up so I watched it every year without fail. I love the story that goes along with the film, but there are some pretty dark themes to it that as a kid you don’t see. Like Scott losing custody of Charlie because everyone thinks he’s going insane, the mistrust of things that you don’t understand, and some other things that are at the moment slipping my mind. 

6. The Nine Lives of Christmas

I am a sucker for a Hallmark Original holiday film, even though they all have roughly the same plot formula, I don’t care. I will sit and watch a whole day of the same movie over and over because it just makes you feel so good inside. I actually did read the book for this movie and it is a lot different from the movie if we are being honest. Though my cousin borrowed the book in like 2015 and has yet to give it back, I probably should go buy a new copy because I have a doubtful feeling that I will get my original copy back. This movie is just super cute, I’m not even a huge fan of cats but this is one of those feel good movies that you can’t look away from no matter what. I don’t even get the Hallmark Channel now with my cable so I haven’t watched a single Hallmark movie this year. 

7. Yogi’s First Christmas

            I scoured the internet for this one year because I remember watching it as a kid and it was one of those things that I just couldn’t find, thankfully Amazon had the DVD so I ordered it because I needed to watch it and relive my childhood. There were plenty of Christmas specials on Cartoon Network when I was a kid, they had days dedicated to it or at least evenings about the time the Christmas break for school started and I watched so many things that I don’t remember the names to now. There was one movie about Santa with fairies and I had to look it up because for a while there I couldn’t find it to save my life, it was The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus.This movie is just one of those movies that brings back memories from when I was little so it’s really nostalgic even though it came out over a decade before I was born.

8. Arthur Christmas

            I mean, it’s a cute movie and Christmas is the time of year where animated movies rule the day. It’s a really cute movie about family and acceptance, it has some really good messages and this kind of amazing theory on Santa Claus. The animation quality is great and it’s just a feel good kind of film that takes a realistic look at a family business. 

9. Home Alone

            How could this movie not make this list? I mean it’s one of those movies that gave everyone the thought that they could so take on a burglar if they were Home Alone, though to be honest calling the police would have been a better option than maiming others. It’s a really violent movie if you watch it as an adult, no hate I still watch it every year and laugh throughout the whole film but after watching videos of medical professionals and others talk about the survivability of some of the stunts in the film it makes you question how super human Marv and Harry really are. 

10. The Holiday

            Another really feel good movie, holiday house switch both women find love. It’s very cliché and I love it either way. It has a really all-star cast and a really good story of stepping out of your comfort zone and not dwelling on things that bring you down and letting go of toxic people in your life. It’s cute and has a really great score behind it, if you haven’t given it a watch and romantic dramedy is your thing I would suggest it.

            I want to take just one second and talk about some of my favorite holiday specials growing up, The Rugrats Chanukah episode, it was something that taught me as a kid about a different holiday instead of Christmas and it was one of my favorites. Also the Proud Family Seven Days of Kwanzaa episode, again it was a holiday that I knew nothing about that was showcased on a show that I loved growing up to tell a different story about the season. 

            So have you got any favorite holiday movies, TV episodes, or specials? 

-MJ

MJ’s Top 10 Favorite Animated Disney Movies

I wasn’t even sure if I was going to write this post but I needed a brief interlude for something fun that isn’t beauty and lifestyle related. Don’t get me wrong I love writing those blog posts but I wanted to take a walk into stuff that I like. I grew up in what some people call the “Golden Age” of animated Disney films. I am a child of the 90’s, I am a mid-range millennial, my childhood was categorized by many an animated Disney film and some of those are still my favorites today. Though some of the newer Disney animated films are also on this list. This is going to literally be more of a list, it will be the movie (in no particular order) and a brief description of why it is on my list. Now I wrote my list in early 2017 so there have been other movies that have come out since then but these are my top ten as of when I originally wrote the list.

 

All of these are my opinions and my thoughts, if you don’t agree; that’s cool. We can all have our own opinions on things.

 

  1. Tangled
    • Maybe it’s the escapist in me, I love Tangled because it is a story about rebellion for the right reasons. It’s about the unlikely love story and telling people that you don’t have to be perfect to deserve good things in life. I love the musical numbers as well because they are catchy and there is an entire song dedicated to barbarians who want the almost opposite of what a traditional barbarian wants.

 

  1. The Great Mouse Detective
    • This movie is so underrated. It is for sure one of my favorite movies from childhood. It was my introduction to Sherlock Holmes without letting me realize that it had a loose basis in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle character that has become increasingly popular over the last decade. I love this movie it still has all of the Disney elements that you would expect, a rescue, musical numbers, a terrifying villain, (I was afraid of Ratigan for years.) and witty one liners.

 

  1. The Princess and The Frog
    • I have been to New Orleans and I love the fact that it was the location basis for this film. Tiana is one of my favorite princesses, (her, Belle, and Rapunzel tie for my favorites.) she is hard working and focused while still being compassionate and generous. I loved this movie for so many reasons, normally when I am feeling down I watch it because it is just such a feel good story.

 

  1. Beauty and The Beast
    • How could this not make my list, Beauty and The Beast was a staple in my childhood and I always loved Belle, she was bookish and she was smart but people in her community didn’t understand her and made fun of her for things that most people would cherish. I grew up in a similar vein, bookish and isolated; people made fun of me. Granted I did not run away to an enchanted castle to a beast who suddenly becomes human at the end. (Side note: I did like the live action even though I know lots of people who hated it.) This movie was one of those that helped me accept that the things that made me unique were not something to be judged or hidden under a rug they were to be held proudly because they are what makes you who you are.

 

  1. Big Hero Six
    • This movie was also about accepting what makes you unique and basking in that because it can help you overcome so much. It is also a movie about the importance of family no matter if they are blood or not. It has a diverse cast of strong characters while still being relatable and grounded, it lets all sorts of people see themselves in these characters and that is very important in a film. It was a very creative movie when it came out and taught what I believe to be some good lessons. Including, revenge may not always be the answer; it will not make everything better it will not bring someone back it will only hurt more people.

 

  1. Robin Hood
    • Also a hugely underrated movie in my opinion it is one of my favorites and again I feel this movie like The Great Mouse Detective introduced us all to classic literature without any of us knowing it. We didn’t know we were learning about something that had been around for a long time it was just a fox running around the forest with a British accent stealing from a lion. There is literally no room to be mad about that. It’s a good movie and it was and still is one of my favorites.

 

  1. Wreck It Ralph
    • I was a fan of this movie when it came out because it was about overcoming stereotypes in a way, it was about moving out of your comfort zone because you don’t feel right there anymore. It also provided an interesting backdrop because video games are such a huge thing right now and there were a lot of familiar faces in the film that gamers of all ages would recognize. It was a funny movie because half the main cast are comedians and I was there for it at the time.

 

  1. The Little Mermaid
    • Who doesn’t want to be a part of your world, I mean come on some of the songs off this movie were the songs that I can still sing all of the words to. I still want a sassy crab friend to give me advice and tell me that I am stupid. I loved this movie because it was about overcoming a lot of things and also not trusting you know a sea witch who wants your voice. Granted like most of the princesses I have some issues with some things about the relationships with the princes but that is not a conversation for this post.

 

9. Pocahontas

    • Okay this was not on my original list, it was Frozen and after working with small children for two years I figured it was time to Let It Go. I know that Pocahontas was a very different reality from the Disney film but I loved the Disney film growing up. I watched it a few years ago and cried for most of the end. I love the songs and the animation as well as pretty much everything else about it. Like I said with The Little mermaid, I also want a hummingbird and raccoon sidekick and a sassy willow tree to help me with all of my life problems. (I mean getting the boy would be nice but I also want the assistance of a sidekick who is a cute and lovable woodland creature or magical entity that helps me out with stuff.)

 

10. Lilo and Stitch

  • Last but for sure not least, my godfather is from Hawai’i so when this movie came out he took me to see it, we all went to the islands the next year. I love this movie, it is one of my all-time favorite movies in general, I love the message about family that it provides and it is just a fun movie with a great soundtrack. It really shed a light on the difference between the natives to Hawai’i and the tourists.

 

Bonus: Moana.

  • This makes my list now because it is a beautiful film again that shows the heritage of many Polynesian islands and peoples. I had lost my grandmother about six months before this movie came out and I cried in the movie theatre when Moana lost her grandmother. Granted my relationship with my grandmother was rocky at best it was still fresh and I understood what she felt as she went out on her own to go and protect her people and her way of life even after losing one of the most important people in her life. I listen to the soundtrack when I am down because Shiny is a huge joke between my best friend and I. (I could not stop laughing in the theatre when I heard that song for the first time. It just hit me somewhere in my giggle bone.)

So there are my top 10 and a bonus favorite animated Disney movies. What are some of your favorites?

 

-MJ

Social Media Burn Out

I feel like I go in cycles of what social media websites that I frequent. Maybe that’s just me, maybe it isn’t but here are some of my thoughts and observations.

One month I may spend hours on Pinterest scrolling through categories until I am hungry and have 30 new books to read. I pin things like crazy adding to boards that I may not look at very often. The next month however I may log into Pinterest only to get the little notification pop up next to the app to go away.

This is a common thing to happen to me on multiple sites, Tumblr is another really good example of this; there are months when I do not log in at all and some months I am on the website everyday reblogging and liking pictures that I will go back and scroll through my blog and laugh about over and over again.

YouTube is one of those rare websites that I will find myself on all the time, but what I am watching and consuming on the video sharing website can shift so drastically. Sometimes I watch daily vlogs, sometimes it’s Beauty and DIY, sometimes it’s Vine compilations because I need to laugh. I have so many people I subscribe to on YouTube but there are times when I am just not in the mood to watch their videos and other times I cannot get enough.

Twitter I can ignore for months on end, not tweeting not knowing what is going on in that space and not really letting that bother me. Facebook is the same way; I get on Facebook to merely look at those people that I know or knew in the past to see what their lives are like today.

The only difference with Facebook is that I don’t have the app on my phone anymore and I have found it to be very liberating.

I have a theory about my social media use and I wonder if it is the same way for other people. There are some days when I don’t go on social media, I am productive, I am busy, and for the most part I am happy. Then there are some days when I spend my whole day scrolling, I don’t feel those days are often but many of them are not happy days because I spend my time comparing my life to other people’s lives, why did they get more likes than me? How could I ever get to their popularity level? Why don’t I have more followers? I spend my time on social media on those day’s playing a game of “woe is me” and I hate that.

Social media burn out is a real thing in my mind, we sit and scroll looking at other people’s lives, pets, food, experiences and we sit and look at ourselves and try to figure out why that can’t be us. I could be alone in this but I have a feeling I am not. When we spend our lives online and allow that to control everything we are, everything we do, everything that we buy we don’t look at social media as being fun anymore and I would prefer my social media experience to be fun; not a chore.

Thoughts?

-MJ

What Do I Do for Fun?

Recently people have been asking me what I do for fun and in many cases I have stumbled over my words wondering which of my various hobbies would be socially acceptable for the situation. Most people look at me like I am crazy when I say I don’t drink because that seems to be a hobby that most people find acceptable, I come from a family where alcoholism is a very real thing and I don’t want to risk another facet of my already addictive personality becoming activated. Granted, I may have one drink once in a while but I don’t go to bars, I don’t enjoy parties where other people are drunk; I don’t even like drunk Snapchats and text messages.
Like I said, normally I just stare at the person and want to start screaming, “I don’t do anything fun I am not really a fun person to be around!” Because I would rather sit in my office, on my laptop, with my headphones on crafting a world out of thin air or getting so lost in watching YouTube videos that I lose hours on end unintentionally. I like spending time to be with just me, I don’t like big social gatherings, I don’t like crowds, and I do not really like interacting with people that I don’t know or don’t know very well. Yes, I do suffer for social anxiety and I know that; some days it takes me hours to even leave the house and then hours after I get home going over every conversation that I had while I was out and overthinking every moment of human contact I had coming up with things that I could have said differently or responses to questions that I could have had instead of staring blankly trying to think of an answer.

Read More