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Popgirl — #14

For those keeping track, yes, I did watch 25+ epsiodes of television in a matter of days. I’m doing just fine!

Let’s talk October.

Buttered

As (embarrassingly) delightful as Kendall Roy rapping about his dad.

The NYT Crossword App
Not long ago, a friend of mine shared the Crossword app and I’ve been hooked on the daily mini crosswords ever since. I keep trying to get others to join me by promising “It’s really fun!!!” but so far have only been marginally successful. So, if you’re a nerd like me, please check it out. It is really fun.

Fair Food
I haven’t been to the Georgia National Fair in years, but every October, I begin to develop a very specific craving for Elephant Ears and a strawberry pineapple drink from that one food stall that plays ‘Kokomo’ on repeat. This year, time and space separated me from that specific experience, however, I was lucky to indulge in a Korean fair food experience instead. The Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival — hosted in my current city of Jinju — is a lantern festival with tons of gorgeously lit views to appreciate and my favorite, food tents with offerings inspired by different parts of the world. I went out of my way to try the “Tornado Potato” and a churro with customary chocolate dipping sauce on more than one occasion.

Watching
Grey’s Anatomy (S15) For years, I have joked that watching Grey’s is a chore that I’m committed to seeing through. It isn’t quite in a Hate Watch category for me, but I generally find myself wishing for the Good Old Days (with Izzie and George, of course). That said, I found season 15 much more enjoyable than I have in a while. As McDreamy once said, it was like coming up for fresh air. Succession (S2) I know I talked about this show in the last issue of Popgirl, so I’ll just say that the second season raised the stakes in such a way that I am genuinely nervous to see if they can continue this streak of excellence with the third. I spent two hours of my life watching Brad and Claire, of Bon Appétit test kitchen fame, making sourdoughnuts and subsequently Starbursts and think you should, too. With the likes of Simu Liu and Andrea Bang, Kim’s Convenience (S1-3) is a good time and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In preparation for the sequel, I gave Maleficent (2014) a chance and was very pleasantly surprised. I loved the visuals and the overall message of this film.

Listening
I discovered the Keep It! podcast from Ira Madison III, which has the perfect balance of pop culture rambling and thoughtful discussion about current events. Similarly, the Just a Tip with Megan Batoon podcast features refreshing conversations with delightful guests, such as Koreen Odiney and Alyson Stoner. I got a wild hair to make a Diet Halloween playlist (featuring songs that aren’t actually about Halloween) and then listened to it exclusively* for two weeks straight. Other music notes include Kesha’s ‘Raising Hell,’ the Bad Ideas album from Tessa Violet, and also ‘If The World Was Ending’ by JP Saxe, because of this:

*Side note: I recently checked out my Spotify statistics and was essentially roasted by the platform for having such singular taste in music. You can visit this page to get roasted, too.

Reading
This month was pretty light on the reading front, but I did devour Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, mostly because I love the movie. It was a fun, fluffy read that made me feel much better about my own shopping escapades. Let’s Talk About the Yacht Clothes on Succession, because this show was pretty much all I could think about for nearly a month. A necessary read from Kevin T. Porter on how Ellen DeGeneres has diminished “kindness” to a dinky parlor trick deployed for status and profit. And, because I procrastinate, here’s an article I wanted to read but haven’t — on Instagram’s “getting real” moment.

Stale

Absolutely average.

Movies
In true scaredy-cat fashion, the only spooky movie I watched was Shaun of the Dead (2004) which isn’t that scary at all. If you like zombie content that moves as slow as the walking dead, give it a whirl. I also watched Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which was not terrible in execution but deflates as a solid medium in comparison to the first movie.

Nice to Meet Ya’ by Niall Horan
I’m thrilled beyond measure that Niall is releasing new music. That said, this single doesn’t do much for me. I find it just okay, and the music video made me even less enthusiastic about it. It is certainly branching away from Flicker, but I don’t yet know if it’s a direction I’m here for — though this article on the subject did give me some hope for what’s to come.

Pop of the Month

Sources say “oh my god, this is the best thing i’ve ever seen, no hyperbole.”

The Kid Who Was Pants for Halloween
I firmly believe this kid will do great things. In a continued thread, the dad went on to say they dressed as ‘a big shirt’ and ‘purple hat’ at his request “because we love him very much/ don’t know how to say no yet” which is even MORE endearing. Protect this wholesome Halloween content!

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Popgirl — #11

My calendar says it’s June now but I just don’t believe it! We had five whole weeks of May but it feels closer to five days, and I am in no way exaggerating. Perhaps the busy nature of the month is why I wasn’t as tuned in to pop culture for May, we just don’t know!

That said, here’s my recap for May 2019:

Buttered

Wonderful and weird things I love.

Something Great (2019)
I’m grateful to this movie for making me laugh and also for gently letting me know that I needed to listen to Lizzo’s latest album. I need more female-focused movies written and directed by women, please and thank you.

Killing Eve (S1)
Listen, Sandra Oh is a brilliant presence and I have not enjoyed a fictional psychopath like Villanelle since Luther’s Alice Morgan – though Killing Eve’s freshman season was thankfully not as dark as early Luther. All things considered, Killing Eve brought some welcome variety to my standard sitcom fare.

Shazam! (2019)
I may be a Grinch about most superhero movies these days (Age of Ultron really did a number on me) but I’m always up for a cinematic adventure with my brothers, and Shazam! was on the agenda. Having recently fallen in love with Zach Levi – thank you, ASP – I knew at the very least I’d enjoy watching his face on the silver screen. But I was pleasantly surprised by Shazam! with all its heart and glory. You guys can have the Avengers, I’ll take the Shazam Family any day.   

Chef’s Table: Pastry (E1)

“I think the world is more often your oyster when you approach it with more of a childlike sensibility. The world is a more curious place. It’s a more beautiful place. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, but within any given day in life, there should always be a moment where the weight of the world is just a little bit lighter on your shoulders.”

Christina Tosi

The Christina Tosi episode of Chef’s Table: Pastry is magical and wonderful and will definitely make you want to eat a cookie. I loved learning about Tosi’s journey as a chef and how she started working with Momofuku restaurateur and champion of ugly food, David Chang. It’s always refreshing to see successful people be transparent about how much hard work and courage to fail it really requires to make it, whether that’s with a popular bakery or something entirely different.

The Creative Types Test
I’ve always loved surveys and personality quizzes, so when Adobe released a test to help individuals better understand who they are as creatives, I immediately took it. With different animations for each question, the test itself is a fun experience and unique tribute to creativity all on its own. Whether you realize it or not, everyone has a creative type, so I highly recommend you check it out! P.S. I took the test multiple times, and each time I was ID’d as The Artist with strength in my ability to bring ideas and concepts to life. Fun!

Superstore (S4 Finale)
Y’all ever watch something with the perfect balance of lighthearted idiocy while still tackling real social issues? May I introduce you to the season four finale of Superstore?

What I listened to
Cuz I Love You, Lizzo’s thoroughly enjoyable third album. ‘Like a Girl’ inspired me to create a playlist of similarly-themed tunes. On Mother’s Day, I played Sara Bareilles’ bonus track from Amidst the Chaos and definitely Did Not Cry. This cover of the classic Lizzie McGuire Movie hit, ‘What Dreams are Made Of’. While driving to Elliott Morgan’s home state, I checked out a few episodes of The Fundamentalists podcast (Pete’s accent is dreamy). New CRJ, ‘Too Much’ is just enough for me. ‘Stay Young’ by the talented Maisie Peters. Also, this.

What I read
Every Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Movie, Ranked by Surreality. Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds, a fun read with bright cover artwork and a storyline that is just as colorful. The slowly eroding myths about crying at work. An opinion piece from The Times on the unequal division of labor in the home for heteronormative parents.

What I wrote
At HUM, we launched a new series called “HUMan Interest,” which features opinion stories from my team on topics that resonate with us most. I’m very proud of the three I’ve contributed so far on why sustainability is much more than just a fluffy marketing term for businesses, the mission of The Little Market, and ethical brands that are doing good for our planet and the people in it.

What I wore
I maintain a very lazy style Instagram and these were two of my favorite looks from last month:

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We're all weird people.

A post shared by Katie (@styleshopgirl) on

Stale

This ain’t it.

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Yet another book that just uses twinhood as a device even though I fully went into it expecting to read a Twin Book.

ME! by Taylor Swift
I’ll admit it: I am stuck in the not-so-distant past and long for every Swift endeavor to be as phenomenally fun as 1989. That said, this is not a great song. Thanks.

Pop of the Month

The Valleycast ft. Michael Buckley

Michael Buckley (former YouTuber, current life coach, all-around great human) went on the Valleyfolk’s podcast and I loved every minute. Particularly here for the last 20ish minutes or so, where Michael shares so many gems about this human existence we all share. In the words of Alana Fickes: “Big fan, first time realizing what you’re about and I’m so excited.”

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Here’s Looking At You, August.

TRULY cannot believe it’s already September, but I am totally ready for this Georgia humidity to lessen as the days get shorter and the weather cools.

And now, a word on August.

MUSIC AND LYRICS
IMG_6038IMG_6176Well, I went to a One Direction concert. No other concert experience can compare. There was so much tangible happiness in the air. I wouldn’t be able to know how well they performed because I was singing along to literally every song. At my request, my friend Patricia beautifully wrote a summary of her experience, and it says just exactly what I would say about my own experience also. Notably, One Direction released their newest single “Drag Me Down” a week prior to the concert I attended, and updated the set list accordingly (as an added bonus for audiences everywhere). I firmly believe it is impossible to listen to “Drag Me Down” without immediately listening to it all the way through at least one more time.

Nate Ruess’ solo album Grand Romantic was released well before August, but I became well acquainted with it in the last month. I enjoy the entire work, but I especially love the collaboration with Beck “What This World Is Coming To”, as well as the tune Ruess himself described as “Some Nights”‘ evil twin, “AhHa”. Teaming up with Apple Music, Ruess shot “The Grand Romantic”, a fun four video series that features music from the album. The series focuses on the struggles a big time rock star faces when he loses his voice, which is especially comical knowing the true vocal talent Nate Ruess is.
* RATED TEN ANDREW DOST ORIGINAL PIE PAINTINGS *

BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS

I blazed through Maggie Steifvater’s “The Raven Cycle”, falling in love particularly with Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the third installment in the series. Steifvater has cornered the market on stirring prose coupled with intriguing content. I absolutely cannot wait to see what she does with the final book.

Upon a highly trustworthy recommendation, I read Anthony Doerr’s All The Lights We Cannot See. Truthfully, I probably finished it in July, but reading All The Lights We Cannot See was sort of like being slapped in the face with truly beautiful words and ideas and I implore everyone to read it and experience the painful, glorious process for themselves.IMG_6007IMG_5998

SNAPSHOTS

In August, I moved from
one corner of North Georgia to another. In all honesty I am beginning to feel the same level of restlessness I grew accustomed to in my hometown. FUN FACT: our new apartment has the same exact residence number as my old dorm at KSU did, it is all very zen and connected.
IMG_6003 IMG_6037

The One Direction concert I attended was in Baltimore, so I drove with Katie to stay with our friends Kel and Chiara in DC. Concert aside, the entire trip was one of the more memorable things I’ve had happen to me this year.

It was so nice just being in a new place, with the best sorts of people. Kel and Chiara were so generous to let us crash in their apartment for a whirlwind weekend. Highlights include the strawberry frosted birthday cake I was greeted with, walking around Georgetown, the time we spontaneously decided to eat dinner at a rooftop Tiki Bar and promptly realized that actually no, we did not want to eat dinner at a rooftop Tiki Bar, and the fact that I now include the term “lowkey” in my every day vocabulary.

Okay September: show me what you got.

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June With a View

Calendars and society are telling me we’ve reached July, but I have my doubts. I’m just continually amazed by how quickly 2015 is flying by. What a difference a year makes. I remember feeling like June and July dragged on especially, what with that imminent college graduation and all. I have a certain boy band concert to attend at the beginning of August, so I can’t say I’ll be disappointed if July comes and goes just as fast as the rest of this year has. Enough stalling– I’ve got a monthly review to write!

BOOKS
The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan
I love Marina’s voice. The fiction portion of this collection inspires my own delusions of authorship, whirling from one artfully crafted snapshot of a moment to the next. I know any good writer is capable of what Keegan accomplished, but I still found myself awash in jealousy and awe as I read. Somehow, “Winter Break” and “Against the Grain” both made me feel like making that 2.5 hour drive home just so I could give my mom a hug and tell her I love her to her face. In fact, all of the non-fiction essays connected with me emotionally. “Stability in Motion” for the nostalgia factor alone. Keegan describes her 1990 Toyota Camry and mode of transportation through high school as “a place of comfort and solitude amid the chaos of my daily routine. My mind was free to wander, my muscles to relax. No one was watching or keeping score.” Just. Come on. Don’t you love that?

Paper Towns by John Green

“Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl.”

It took almost 200 pages before I finally understood what it was about this book that I first loved so much, but once I did, oh boy. What with fresh-faced idiots labeling John Green the “savior of YA Lit” and then some, it’s difficult to take any of his work seriously. However, I once considered PT my favorite novel, and I knew the movie release was just around the corner. Two things that remain true to memory: the genuinely epic road trip sequence, and the pay-off at the end of the book. It is almost (not quite?) worth the terribly boring 100+ pages we spend suffering Quentin’s creepy obsession with Margo.  I do love that moment when Q miraculously- finally- understands that the Manic Pixie Dream Girl image he has of Margo isn’t anything more than “an idea that [he] loved”; and when he acknowledges “how long, and how badly, [he] wrongly imagined her” you sort of feel like cheering.

 

CINEMATIC ADVENTURES

downloadAvengers: Age of Ultron in the spirit of full disclosure I will state that I do not consider this worth reviewing. It is as if Whedon wrote Avengers fanfiction, ran it by Marvel execs as a potential sequel idea and somehow turned it into what I can only describe as the most agonizing 140 minutes of my life. No stars.

Spy OK- I admit I went into this movie 75% invested in Jude Law’s return to the silver screen (Wes Anderson and thriller forays excluded) and the other 25% focused on the actual movie itself… but despite this, I loved Spy. Not only was Melissa McCarthy incredibly well cast, it is just an absolute blast to watch. Little things like the juxtaposition of a rodent-infested headquarters against the super sleek exoticism that abounds in tales of espionage just put Spy at the top for me. Also, Jude Law did not disappoint.

It’s worth noting that I watched Mad Max: Fury Road, Tomorrowland, and Pitch Perfect 2 in May, and proceeded to Not blog about May. Still feel like talking about them, though. Beautifully shot, Mad Max was absolutely one of the best films I have seen all year. I left the theater feeling like I hadn’t taken a breath in over three hours.

I went into Tomorrowland with almost no Meet-the-robinsons-disney-quoteexpectations and was blown away by the magical optimism of it all. I believe my friend Simoa stated it best when she said this was a movie Walt would be proud of. I’ve attached this quote displayed at the very end of Meet the Robinsons (2007) because it applies so well to the feeling I got while watching Tomorrowland.

Meanwhile, I had the highest expectations you can possibly imagine for Pitch Perfect 2 (Anna Kendrick and a capella… what could possibly go wrong?) and was marginally underwhelmed. What made 22 Jump Street funny was the constant reference to the fact that the film was basically exactly the same recipe as the first one, just with a larger budget. What made Pitch Perfect 2 unfunny and unlikeable for me was the obvious reliance on the popularity of the first movie… with a bigger budget. All/most of the song choices fall flat. Hailee Steinfeld works wonders, but as one of the few characters that is not recurring, this is not a huge surprise. When it was all over, I wanted to watch Pitch Perfect just to cleanse my soul of this gross attempt at a continuation of the original story.

SNAPS

IMG_5393
tfw the sunset is on fleek

Lately I have not been my usual cloud pic loving self, so I was glad to find this gem on my phone. I love a good sunset, but I think we can all agree the cloudy sky is what steals the show. I don’t know if the business (or rather, routine chaos) of my life is keeping me from taking stock of the natural beauty we get to see every day or what. But I hope I have more pictures of the sky to share come the end of July.

IMG_5416
tfw ur trying to show off ur haircut but its not rly workin

At the beginning of June I decided I wanted a haircut change without actually sacrificing the length of my hair. I honestly feel like I have been growing it out for years, when in reality it’s probably only been a couple of months or so. Either way, I decided to try out an undercut. I didn’t really get it as short as I’d have liked, and it’s definitely subtle– but I suspect this is a good thing. Better safe than sorry re: hairstyles. Always.

IMG_5494
tfw ur too poor to buy vintage

I spent the entire month of May completing a series of style dares on Instagram (most of the evidence has since been deleted because, you know, I have that ability…) so June’s style was severely lacking. That, and I don’t think you’d be surprised to find that spending most of my time at work does nothing to inspire my inner fashionista.

This blog is horrifically long and I am a monster.

K

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April Showers Bring…

I am so glad to be rid of April. I can barely believe it’s over, it seems to me like I was just writing my March, Revisited blog! In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to say I am not feeling very writer-y. The past few weeks have left me drained and weary, though luckily I have not yet slowed down enough to fully take stock of the damages.

IMG_3905April was characteristically rainy. Despite my overall interpretation how the month went, I did love all the rain. Waking up to rainfall is always nice, even if you do have to force yourself out of bed rather than enjoying blissful sleep accompanied with the lullaby of rain falling.IMG_3904

In my drive home for Easter, it rained most of the way back. Once I arrived in central Georgia, the sun was still hiding and the persistent rain was very evident. I began to look at my familiar drive with new eyes, and stopped (er… carefully drove) to take a few photos of the beauty I previously passed without second thought. I can never have too many reminders that the destination isn’t always the primary focus: the journey is just as important!

That said, all my contemplation and reflection on April has left me very full. People often use storms as a metaphor for difficult times in life, because how rewarding is the sunshine after a particularly brutal storm? But Sara Bareilles states best what I experienced…

And I always felt it before
That the world was filled with much more
Than the drowning soul I’ve learned to be
I just need the rain to remind me
—Sara Bareilles, 
Let The Rain

These lyrics impacted me when I very first heard them, and they still get me today. There is much more, and I have determined to let the rain be a reminder rather than an easy excuse for a pity party.

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March, Revisited.

I’m forcing myself to write this now, while the subject remains semi-relevant. This past month was so full and chaotic, but in a nice “my life needs a little more balance, but it’s kinda great” sort of way. So. March. I challenged myself to write more blogs, drove to NC for a weekend visit with the twinster, and acquired a new job. These are all things I’ve blogged about, however briefly. Here’s a few things I haven’t:

ENTERTAINMENT
Can you believe the broad nature of that title… entertainment? My packed days didn’t really afford much time for new cinematic or literary discoveries. I did peruse Rookie Yearbook Three in a Barnes and Noble for a few hours, aka time well spent. I feel an overwhelming sense of pride and also despair when I think about how successful Tavi Gevinson is. One of the highlights of this edition for me was definitely the Kanye West essay, found here.

CAk-R0lVIAEETvi
Rose McIver, killing it.

I was pleasantly surprised by Rob Thomas’ iZombie- a loose adaption of the comic series by the same name. I’m a huge Veronica Mars fan (check out my blog about the VMars movie here), but I’ve never found the zombie narrative very compelling, and I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the iZombie pilot. Any and all doubts I had were quickly abandoned. Among others, Thomas brought in former co-producer and co-series writer Diane Ruggerio to bring iZombie to life. It’s impossible (for me, anyway) not to compare this show to VMars, but all of the little comparisons I see in each episode truly just make me love it more. Mars was killed far too soon, and I find it so refreshing to witness such a familiar writing structure on my TV screen. Some might say the similarities are tired, unoriginal. But I’d argue it’s fairly difficult for a zombie show to have originality these days, regardless.

l5ymoviecoverartThis may be technically a February experience, but a huge part of March was dedicated to my continued The Last Five Years appreciation. I’d known about Anna Kendrick’s involvement with the production for months, and downloaded the soundtrack immediately after its release in February. I was totally unfamiliar with the musical itself, and became slightly obsessed once I finally viewed it. I legitimately listened to that soundtrack more than any other album throughout March. Listen to Kendrick perform A Summer in Ohio and you’ll know why. The film is a bit unsure of itself in moments, if anything it just made me wish I could see a live production of the musical.

I also binge-watched all episodes posted (to date) for the webseries The March Family Letters, a Canadian production based on Little Women and affiliated with Pemberley Digital. I’d rate it probably like three grinning cat face emojis.

FOOD
IMG_3833IMG_3832Early on in 2015, I resolved to be more ambitious with my dining out experiences. I’m fortunate enough to live in a fairly metro area, yet I always seem to eat at the same four places when I do go out. I received guests in the form of my sister Beth (newly 29) and her husband Bob this past weekend, and was happy to try out some different restaurants with them. Cafe Reveille was the perfect Sunday brunch spot, and despite the crowds of people we managed to enjoy our meals (as well as each others’ company) without any real discomfort. I don’t think I’m being too dramatic when I say the Gouda Grits were life changing, and the strawberry and cream crêpe I ordered wasn’t crêppy at all. I can’t wait to return with friends and breakfast aficionados in tow.

Miscellaneous other foods/drinks I tried this month: the restaurant PDQ, meaning People Dedicated to Quality. I didn’t really find the entree items anything worth talking about, but the apple slices and toffee dip were truly to die for. Like, it’s worth the cold fries and strange sauces just for that. I also optimistically ordered Starbucks’ Tiramisu latte and felt something similar to what Michael Bluth felt when he opened the bag in his freezer labelled “DEAD DOVE DO NOT EAT”.

STYLE

BaeIMG_3834Taylor Swift’s Style begins to play. I don’t know, except I got a nifty hair cut/colordone and I wanted to share that with you. My coworker’s mom does hair and she was very patient with me as I scrolled through multiple photos and offered vague half-descriptions of what I wanted. I couldn’t be happier with the end result! On the subject of ‘style’, this month I thrifted a vintage top with a decorative collar that I have worn constantly and with no abandon. I also was inspired by the sleek simplicity of Daniel Wellington watches and managed to snag a slightly ‘bling-ier’ version at Kohls for a very affordable price. Confession: the cheapness of the watch definitely has translated in certain wear and tear. I’d suggest to any potential watch buyers that this is definitely a purchase you want to splurge on! Find the watch you love and buy it– just trust that a slightly more expensive purchase is worth it in the end.

This turned out to be a wordier blog than I intended, sorry! That’s my March in a pretty big nutshell. APRIL IS SURE TO IMPRESS!