What I’m Watching

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If I’m being 100% honest, one of my favorite things to do is watch tv. I know, I know, that’s awful….but it’s the truth. There’s just SO much awesome media out there right now and I love having something on in the background while I blog, sweep, fold laundry, make headbands, or cook dinner. Because there’s an embarrassing amount of shows on this list, I’ve broken it down into categories for you.

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Top 10 (non spoilery) reasons to see Jurassic World RIGHT NOW

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As you (hopefully) already know from yesterday’s post, last night I got to see Jurassic World and….I don’t want to hype it up too much….but…..HOLY COW IT’S AMAZING!

I’ve put together a spoiler-free list of reasons to get your tickets for this gem ASAP! Of course there are tiny things divulged in this, but nothing more than you would see in the trailers. That being said, feel free to step away now if you want to be totally and 100% surprised.

  1. Easter egg/nostalgia mania! This movie was totally made for fanboys and girls like me and I’m totally happy about it. Obviously I won’t give anything away but expect lots of callbacks to the original film.
  2. A diverse cast! This was a pleasant surprise for me, but there were several POC who were supporting actors in the film. No tokenism or stereotypes (that came to my attention) just people being people. 
  3. It’s the sequel we all deserve! As much as I try to like The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3….they’re both pretty bad. Even the Lost World is worse than I remember, if I’m being honest. This. This right here is the sequel we’ve been waiting 22 years to see.
  4. Dinosaur fights galore! In the first three films, we get some dinosaur interactions but I feel like this was what we’ve been waiting for….epic dinosaur battles from start to finish.
  5. Gruesome deaths! Come on, you always wanted to see some more brutal deaths and this one delivers. It’s not TOO gory but let’s just say most aren’t the quick “snatch you off the toilet” deaths of JP past.
  6. A beautiful score! Now don’t get me wrong, nothing will top what John Williams did for the first film. That being said, I really enjoyed the score for this film, which also included callbacks to the original Jurassic Park theme we all know and love.
  7. Kids that you actually want to survive the movie! I’ve gotta be honest, Timmy is the only kid in JP history that I really wanted to survive the whole ordeal so I was thrilled to finally get some likable kids.
  8. You’ll laugh! You probably already know this, but Chris Pratt offers some nice comedic relief in the movie. As much as I love seeing dinosaurs wreck shop, it’s also nice to chuckle a bit. The only thing missing was Jeff Goldblum’s laugh.
  9. It’s the park you always wanted to see! Come on, you were disappointed that Jurassic Park (the park) was a failure! Who doesn’t want to see DisneyWorld with dinos?! Well now we finally have that and it is absolutely breathtaking. Thank goodness Jurassic World really lets you experience the park before….you know….
  10. It’s MUCH scarier than the original trilogy. I spent 75% of the movie either with my hands over my face, mouth agape or eyes bugging out. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen Jurassic Park so many times, but this movie felt MUCH more intense as a whole.
  11. Bonus: Chris Pratt. Duh.

We saw Jurassic World at our favorite theatre in Dallas, Alamo Drafthouse. They have tons of fun Jurassic Park/World themed stuff in the lobby plus a special themed menu. Dino DNA milkshake, anyone?!

“Welcome…to Jurassic Park.” When you walk through the doors of the Alamo Drafthouse Richardson, you get to walk through the gates of Jurassic Park! We assure you, we spared no expense to make this happen.

Posted by Alamo Drafthouse Dallas / Fort Worth on Friday, June 12, 2015

*Not sponsored, I really just love Alamo Drafthouse.

Anyone see it last night?! What did you think?! If not, do you have your tickets yet?!?! Sound off in the comments below!

xoxo
Valery


On Giuliana Rancic, Zendaya and White Privilege

On Monday’s episode of “Fashion Police,” Giuliana Rancic decided it would be hilarious to comment on Zendaya’s choice to wear dreadlocks to the Academy Awards, saying “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil and weed.”

You can see Zendaya’s look here. (I’m not tryna get sued for using photos illegally, okay people?)

Before we go any further, let’s chat about white privilege. To make it easy on both of us, the BEST resource for understanding white privilege is Peggy McIntosh’s, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. I’m SO thankful to the my favorite professor at A&M for introducing it to me (I’m looking at you, Dr. Brown) because it’s such a tangible way to look at white privilege. If you’re unfamiliar, I HIGHLY encourage you to take the time to read it – it’s mostly a list so just pretend like it’s a buzzfeed article or something.
If you’re super crunched for time, basically McIntosh analyzes her own daily life to figure out how she benefits from white privilege. Here are a few examples:
  •  I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
  •  I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
  •  I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
  •  I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.
Make sense? Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s move on.
After that nasty comment from Rancic, Zendaya responded in the most eloquent, beautiful way….especially since she’s only 18 years old.
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via instagram.com/zendaya
I don’t even want to know how I would’ve responded if I was 18 years old. There probably would’ve been a lot of caps lock or emojis or something. Also hashtags. (Maybe that’s how I would respond now….)
No one is upset Rancic didn’t like Zendaya’s look. We’ve all seen “Fashion Police” before, it’s what they do. The problem is the language that was used and the insensitive racial undertones that were present. I’m sure Rancic thought her comment was hilarious and “all in good fun” (hey, white privilege). Because guess what – no one would say that about Rancic….because she’s white. Just like she didn’t say that about Kylie Jenner’s “edgy” look a few weeks ago.
Ransic said something terrible. Pretty much everyone is pissed about it, and rightfully so. But you know what she did right? She apologized. It would’ve been easy for her to fight this, or give a fake “I didn’t now what I was saying” apology, but she didn’t. Instead she said this

“It is not my intent that matters, it’s the result.”

I can’t even begin to express to you how much this resonated with me. How many times have I unknowingly said something offensive? More than I would like to admit or probably even know about. It’s easy to just give ourselves a pass (because, you know, white privilege) and move on. Let’s not do this, y’all. Instead, figure out why it offended that person (if it’s a friend, ASK) and apologize. LISTEN. Don’t make excuses. Don’t shift the blame. Apologize and learn from it. Don’t do it again. Become more conscious of what you say.
I’m going to keep messing up. And I know I have some great friends who are people of color that will call me out when I do. Yeah it’s going to sting a bit, but it’s part of owning up to my white privilege and becoming a better person for it.
The hardest but most important part of being a white ally is listening. And listening means recognizing you’re wrong and taking people’s concerns seriously. Let’s all agree to just listen a little better and be more careful with what we say, okay loves?
xoxo
Valery

Oscars 2015 Recap

As I’m SURE you already know by now, last night the Hollywood elite gathered for my favorite awards show of the year, the 87th Annual Academy Awards. Although I had a few issues going into this particular show (the lack of diversity, the American Sniper controversy), and some moments were disappointing – I expected a little more out of Neil Patrick Harris (the “treason” remark was particularly offputting) and Sean Penn deserves to get slapped for his green card “joke” – I still enjoyed watching and the fashion was on point.

Image: © 2009 Davidlohr Bueso, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio
Image: © 2009 Davidlohr Bueso, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Recapping things is hard when you don’t have rights to photos…right guys? So I decided to give you guys a tweet-by-tweet recap of last night.

First up, the red carpet (make sure to click the blue bar at the bottom to see everything!)


Next up, a Play-by-Play of the actual show. I left out a lot of the stuff that you’ve likely already heard about to keep this (relatively) short. Again, don’t forget to hit the blue bar to see everything!


Did you watch the Oscars last night? What were your favorite parts? Least favorites? Fashion hits and misses? Let’s chat in the comments!
xoxo
Valery


Holiday Gift Guide – For the Pop Culture Junkie

Bonjour!

First off, if you missed my last post, make sure to subscribe! One email a week with updates from the previous week. I promise you won’t want to miss all the awesome stuff I’m giving away these next few weeks! (Along with normal outfit posts)

Today is my very first gift guide and I’m pretty stoked about it! This one is for people who are into pop culture – my specialty!

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1. A print from Holly’s Moving Castle. Holly’s Moving Castle is an artistic venture that merges simplicity with geekery. The result is 11×17 minimalist posters that start at only $12 each (sometimes less if you catch a sale!) You can’t beat that, especially for beautiful pop culture inspired art. And guess what, party people…..we’re giving away one of these bad boys! See below to enter.

2. Chromecast. I’m not going to go on and on about this (because I already did in this post), but if your pal has cut the cord from cable, they need one in their lives. $35 for a life changing gift. LIFE CHANGING.

3. Netflix. You guys know about it and they just keep expanding their library so buy someone a subscription (or get them a few months that they don’t have to pay on their own). It’s only $8 a month! If you’re not obsessed with Netflix, get your life together and read about my obsession here and here.

4. Anything from Think Geek. Basically anything that’s considered “nerd” pop culture (using that term loosely) has a section on Think Geek. My favorite part though, is the fact that their stuff is high quality, beautifully designed and somewhat practical. Several years ago I bought my husband a Tauntaun sleeping bag and it’s seriously one of the most used items in our house!

Now BACK to that giveaway!

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The winner will receive any one poster of YOUR CHOOSING (US only). Visit her site to check out more amazing designs and to pick out the poster you’re going to get once you win this contest! Use the widget below to enter and good luck! This contest runs for one week so hurry up and enter now so you don’t forget!

xoxo
Valery

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Two Way Tuesday – From costume to chic

Daylight savings really screwed me again, you guys. That being said, I’ve come up with a creative Two Way Tuesday post so hopefully you’ll bear with me. If you’re new here, Two Way Tuesday is a weekly linkup I host where I showcase two distinct ways to wear one piece! This week I’m showcasing a pair of booties that I styled two TOTALLY different ways!

Outfit 1:

This first outfit features a dress from a brand new shop, Dear Piper. This shop is fun by an adorably sweet fashionista and it features adorable vintage and pre-owned clothing at crazy awesome prices. This particular dress I’m modeling (which is actually available for purchase!) is so stinking fun and surprisingly versatile! I paired it with tights, a moto jacket and heeled booties to mix the feminine cut of the dress with more masculine pieces. I can also imagine this dress with something sequin or some red heels for a holiday party! Thanks to Stephanie Drenka Photography for snapping these photos on a cold, super dreary day!

Dress: Dear Piper ($12) | Moto Jacket: TJ Maxx ($20) | Tights: Express (these are literally 7 years old and haven’t fallen apart yet…) | Booties: Charlotte Russe ($20) | Earrings: Bauble Bar ($16)

Outfit 2:

Okay so this outfit is really an Edward Scissorhands costume I wore for a styled shoot with Lindsay Steele Photography. But I’m featuring it here for a reason, I promise! When I was putting together this costume I didn’t want to waste money on a bunch of stuff I would never wear again. I already had plenty of combat boots (just not black ones) so instead I invested in these amazing buckled heeled booties that gave Edward Scissorhands a feminine edge. The black “pants” are actually faux leather tights I already owned and the moto jacket was a Forever 21 clearance purchase that will totally come in handy this winter. The moral of the story is, when you’re putting a costume together, don’t blow money on dumb stuff….buy things you know you’ll reuse. All the details and more photos from this shoot here. Photos by Lindsay Steele Photography.

Jacket: Forever 21 ($8) | Tights: Bought secondhand ($8) | Booties: Charlotte Russe ($20)

Next week I promise to have a REALLY great Two Way Tuesday post for you guys. <3

xoxo
Valery


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That time I hung out with one of the stars of Mad Men

It seems like a LIFETIME ago, but earlier this month the company I work for (SoloShoe Communications) sponsored an event for one of our clients in College Station, MSC OPAS, an organization at Texas A&M University that presents professional productions of theatre, music and dance programs.

When I found out that Bryan Batt (aka Sal from Mad Men) would be bringing his cabaret show as part of MSC OPAS’s 42nd season, I almost lost my mind. Mad Men is one of my all-time favorite shows AND Sal is one of the absolute best characters on the show. If you’re not a Mad Men watcher, you may recognize him from Jeffrey, 12 Years a Slave or one of the million Broadway shows he has been in. This guy is crazy talented.

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The urban-chic Downtown 202 (one of my favorite spaces in the Bryan/College Station area) hosted the cabaret and it was the absolute perfect venue – exposed brick walls, concrete floors and elaborate chandeliers…these are a few of my favorite things. Bryan’s show was spectacular – he was funny, charming and had the voice to back it all up. He performed Cole Porter originals, Broadway classics, and even threw in a tune from Gilda Radner’s one-woman show, “Let’s Talk Dirty to the Animals,” (which was his first Broadway show).

After the show, Bryan spent tons of times chatting with fans and taking photos. He was so incredibly kind and humble…and even spilled a few secrets about costarring with my boss’s all-time favorite, Elaine Stritch!

If you ever get the chance to go see Bryan Batt, don’t hesitate to go. Whether you’re a Mad Men fan, enjoy cabaret or just like to be entertained, you won’t be disappointed. And here’s Bryan Batt and I doing a prom pose, per his request. <3

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Literally one of the best nights of my life.

xoxo
Valery


10 Songs That ALWAYS Make Me Happy

10-songs-that-always-make-me-happySorry it’s been a little quiet around here this week! I promise next week is going to be filled with lots of goodies, all wedding themed if things go according to plan – which they probably won’t, because life… 🙂

Last night my husband and I were talking a lot about positivity and the effect it can have on your life. I really believe that you have to actively pursue things that make you happy and you have to ACTIVELY put more positive energy than negative into your life.

One of my favorite ways to do that is through music, so I’ve developed a list of songs that are guaranteed to change my mood. Some have better reasoning than others, but I promise they’re all goodies.

1. Run the World (Girls) by Beyonce

(This version from Oprah’s Surprise Farewell show will ALWAYS be a favorite of mine)

Now y’all must know by know that I love the Queen, but this song in particular really does it for me. It’s so incredibly empowering and makes me feel like no matter how bad things get, I can change my experiences and fix it.

2. Sister Golden Hair by America

This song is so calming, it’s not even funny. It starts with the acoustic guitar and then the vocals come in and it’s perfection. For a long time, this was my alarm in the morning…and for good reason. It’s a fantastic way to start the day and a perfect way to change my mood.

3. Stuck in the Middle With You by Stealer’s Wheel

I wish I had a really great reason for adding this song but I don’t. All I know is I listened to it a LOT growing up and every time I hear it, it makes me really happy. Also I used to always think he was talking about the Jack Nicholson Joker, so there’s that.

4. Modern Love by David Bowie

Oh, David Bowie. This was another one that I had a hard time choosing but I think I made the right choice. This song always gets my hyped up and it’s PERFECT for singing along to.

5. Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ by Journey

I swear there’s some kind of curse with me and this song because I ALWAYS catch the last thirty seconds of it on the radio…which is so horribly upsetting. Let’s be honest, this song has a pretty terrible message but it’s SO GOOD and will put me in a great mood no matter what. I mean who doesn’t love singing “na na na na na” a million times?!

6. Dirty Diana by Michael Jackson

You KNOW I had to include the king of pop. Honestly a lot of his songs makes me happy but this one is particularly good. The guitar, the lyrics, HIS VOICE…it’s perfect.

7. Bye Bye Bye AND Tearin’ Up My Heart by ‘N Sync

I tried to choose between the two, but I just couldn’t. I will always be an ‘N Sync girl and both of these songs are total jams. Also I snuck Britney in too….sorry I’m not sorry.

8. Madeline by Hanson

I haven’t really talked about this much on the blog, but you guys…I love Hanson. Not in like a nostalgic, they were so cute in the 90s way, but in a…I have all of their albums including the one that came out in 2013 way. They’re amazing. More on that later, but for now here’s on of my favorites from their debut album, Middle of Nowhere…you know, the one with the orange and yellow cover art. You know the one.

9. You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oates

This song might just be the epitome of a happy love song. You may or may not see this song pop up on the blog again next week (you will).

10. Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney and Wings

(Especially this spectacular live version)

Paul McCartney is my dude and this is one of the most romantic songs out there. Piano, super sweet lyrics and the perfect Paul McCartney sing-screaming. Plus, it was written about Linda McCartney….RIP sweet Linda.

Honorable Mention: Literally anything by The Beatles

(Except maybe Octopus’s Garden…sorry, Ringo). I really feel like this is a copout but I promise you, it’s not. This band has changed my life time and time again and if you don’t like The Beatles, I have a really hard time understanding you as a human.

There you have it. Now, go on and make yourself a happy playlist on Spotify. We all need a pick me up every once in a while and this is seriously one of the easiest ways to do it. Here’s a link to my happy playlist if you like 90s music and nostalgic white people music (just being honest here, my childhood was very white…haha).

xoxo
Valery

 


6 things I learned from The Spice Girls

I had kind of a rough day, so my husband said we could do whatever I wanted to do last night. Being a normal 25 year old girl, I took full advantage and decided to FINALLY watch Spice World. It was 90 minutes of pure bliss and nostalgia, but while I was watching it, I started to realize how many life lessons I learned from being a Spice Girls fan. It sounds really ridiculous, but bear with me.

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1. “If you wannabe my lover, you gotta get with my friends”

Say what you want about this song, but it’s actually a pretty dang good message. Ladies, your dude HAS to like your girlfriends.

2. Brand yourself.

Obviously the Spice Girls take it to the extreme, but I really do believe it’s important to brand yourself. I was never happy with the clothes that ended up in my closet until I finally developed a “style,” and now it’s a whole lot easier for me. Be intentional with what you wear and try to make sure your outfit says something. Don’t just buy something because it’s “on trend” or because you see it in a Nordstrom catalog (do those even exist?) One of the best things about fashion is it’s a way to express who you are….take advantage! Also watch this video of the Spice Girls dressing up like each other because it’s BOMB.

3. Enjoy life and have fun…forget what everyone else is doing.

Honestly you guys, the Spice Girls were pretty weird. They acted super strange and half of their songs didn’t make sense but man….those girls knew how to have fun. Growing up watching them, I realized that life is really supposed to be enjoyed! Don’t get wrapped up in negativity, just take a deep breath and Spice Up Your Life! Yep, I went there.

4. Dressing provocatively doesn’t make you any less of a feminist

I think we’re getting away from this (thanks to women like Beyonce), but in the 90s, if you showed cleavage all the time you were probably a whore. Or at least that’s what everyone told me. I think it’s really interesting that The Spice Girls stomped all over that with their gigantic platform shoes. They wore what they wanted and it didn’t really matter what other people thought. They were women and they were in control of their own bodies.

5. Sometimes sensible shoes aren’t important.

I’m probably not going to be able to walk when I’m 60 buuuuut I love a good heel. Shoes don’t always have to be sensible, ladies. The Spice Girls singlehandedly brought platforms back in the 90s….and these weren’t just ANY platforms, they were like 10″ tall. I distinctly remember BEGGING my mom to buy me platforms in elementary school. She finally caved, but my friend Mallory always had bigger ones. -_-
Note: Just make sure you know how to walk in your heels! No t-rex’s allowed!
Another note: feet actually are important so take care of them.

6. Girl Power is a really powerful thing

Society loves to pit women against each other. (See: this song by the Pussycat Dolls.) That’s one thing The Spice Girls NEVER did. I know, I know, they weren’t really friends to begin with, they auditioned to be in the group, etc etc. I’m talking about what they stood for. As an eight year old girl, hearing “Girl power” over and over again honestly had a really positive effect on me. Say what you want about the Spice Girls, but those women did a lot for budding feminists like myself. Even if we didn’t know it at the time.

I’m so thankful I was a 90s kid who got to experience the mania of The Spice Girls firsthand. I’d like to give a public shoutout to my dad who bought me the Spice World VHS at Blockbuster the day it came out (with the free poster it came with). This dude also bought me concert tickets and took me to Smirnoff to see them (sans Geri….still upset about that). Number one dad, y’all.

GIRL POWER!

xoxo
Valery


true that – Michael Cera released a new album (and it’s called true that)

I think every 20-something girl went through her Michael Cera phase. He’s adorable and seems like a nice enough dude (although I still reserve that plenty of you wouldn’t like him if he wasn’t famous…you know who you are!) He was the touring bassist for indie band Mister Heavenly back in 2010 but he’s been pretty quiet on the music front lately. Until last night.

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Image: © 2012 Eva Rinaldi, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio “What have we always said is the most important thing?” “Breakfast”

YOU GUYS: Michael Cera has released a new album, and it’s fantastic.

If you’re a fan of Juno this is for you. If you love Sufjan Stevens, this is for you. If you’re feeling stressed out, this is for you. If you like things that sound nice, this is for you. If you like piano interludes, this is for you. If you like quiet music that might make you really sleepy at 2:30 in the afternoon, this is for you.

I’ve been pretty stressed lately. Nothing too crazy, just trying to juggle a lot and stay organized…this album seriously could not have come at a better time. It’s so relaxing and from the first track, it just made me feel so calm. I really love that music can completely change how you feel in a matter of three minutes and this album is no different. So grab some hot tea (or iced tea if it’s a thousand degrees like it is here in Dallas) and settle in for some Michael Cera goodness. You won’t regret it.

Listen to the whole album here: