When in Rome…

Hello from Italy! I’m studying biochemistry and Italian art abroad in Cortona, Florence, Siena, and Rome this May. So far so good – but I think I’ve managed to become pasta-ed out. If you know me, you’ll know I’m usually up for eating pasta for every meal so you can only imagine just how much delicious carbs I’ve been enjoying on my travels!

Here are a few sneak peaks of my time so far:

Fun Things

It honestly feels like life is moving at fifteen mph above the speed limit.  It’s been one of those “please, for the love of everything sacred, slow down!” weeks. And it’s only Monday. But the good news is that the Internet is always helping me find cool ways to distract myself from how overwhelmed I actually am.

North Carolina Forest

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Whenever I go to the beach I make sure to bring enough books to read. This summer, however, I knew I had a goal of twelve books as well as the May, June, and July books for the bookclub I’m in. That’s fifteen books for an entire summer, over half of what I usually read per year! Usually I have a daunting to-read list, but I didn’t know where to start this time.

I started off the summer with The Goldfinch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and the Inheritance Cycle. After that, I hit a wall. I spent a lot of my downtime at work surfing through Twitter instead of reading. Politics, even though I dislike them, have been interesting this year. Its like reality tv with all the drama and he-said-she-said gossip going on. That’s when I decided a book on small town politics might not be such a bad thing to read at the beach. I picked up The Casual Vacancy the day before we left for Topsail and didn’t put it down until I’d finished it three days after.

IMG_1089

The Casual Vacancy is a book about Pagford, a small town in England. The story revolves around the death of Barry Fairbrother, a member of the Pagford Parish Council. Barry is loved by everyone and loves everyone in return. He has a big heart, but politically that’s what gets him into trouble. Many years ago, Pagford and Yarvil were friendly neighbor cities, Yarvil being the bigger of the two with a large estate sitting between them. The estate sold lands to Pagford to make cheap housing. Decades later, the cheap housing has become government housing, and is costing Pagford quite a bit of money in the end. Barry wants to keep “the Fields” and the addiction clinic as part of Pagford. The other half of the council does not. When there is a casual vacancy because of Barry’s death, the entire town splits between pro-fielders and anti-fielders and those running for council find themselves the topic of discriminatory posts on the Parish Council website.

What did I tell you, politics with a side of reality tv show worthy gossip! If you like Rowling’s writing style for Harry Potter (this isn’t exactly the same, but it’s not far off) and are interesting in small town politics then I’d definitely give this book a go!

pod·cast /ˈpädˌkast/: a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device

I have a three hour drive from my home to college. While it doesn’t seem like much, I have a hard time listening to one playlist for three hours (unless, of course, it’s Hamilton). So instead of playlists I listen to *drum roll please* podcasts! Some of the podcasts I loved in 2016 have been renewed for another season(s) in 2017, so without further ado here’s my list of recommended podcasts:

heavyweight_socialmedia_card

Number one has to be Heavyweight. Hosted by Jonathan Goldstein along with Gimlet Media,  Heavyweight is created around the idea that almost everyone has a part of their past they wish they could change. Jonathan finds these stories and helps their owners come to terms with their past. I love this podcast because it’s sentimental and reminds me of parts of my life. The stories are so personal yet it’s easy to connect with the people telling them. If you want to check it out click HERE.

serial-s01-shareWho doesn’t love cereal? Whoops, sorry, I meant Serial! This podcast has been out for a whiiiile, but now there’s a second season (and a third season in the works). For those of you that missed out on the Season One, here’s a brief overview: teenager was wrongly convicted of murdering his ex girlfriend, a reporter picks up on his story over a decade later and decides to interview everyone involved to see if he was actually wrongly convicted.  The story was actually so compelling that a judge ordered a new trial for Adnan, the convicted ex-boyfriend of the murdered high school senior. Season Two is about Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, who sneaks out of a remote U.S. Army outpost in eastern Afghanistan. After he abandons post, six men from his unit are killed. He is blamed for their deaths. But should he be? Find out in Season Two of Serial, linked HERE.

0e4d1d0e928a1b8d1127ee797816df16As a Harry Potter geek you can probably guess that I jumped on the bandwagon with the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast series. I went to Catholic school for almost a decade and have some pretty interesting views on religion, but I actually really like taking my favorite book series and evaluating (and reading) it as a sacred text. There are even prayers at the end of each episode for or about characters from the books. I wouldn’t suggest this for anyone that’s very devout in practicing their religion because I feel like some episodes, and perhaps the whole idea of reading a fantasy book series like you’d read the Bible, Torah, Quran, etc., that poke fun at the definition of religion itself. That being said, I still really like this podcast, and so does the friend I recommended it to.  Click HERE to give it a try.

logoHave you ever had a paranormal experience? UFO sighting? Deja vu that seemed to go…unexplained? Welcome to the club! Unexplained is about real life events that go ‘unexplained.’ The host of the podcast, Richard Maclean Smith, talks about the history of the event as well as the science behind why or how it could have happened. While the explanations are mainly theories, they still have enough traction to make the unexplainable easier to swallow. Find it on iTunes or at this link HERE.

04bbd1e1b2a9d6fc63c741be1964c645My friends sometimes say I remind them of a walking encyclopedia, like “the internet without the dirty pictures” to quote an Entomology professor I know. If you need random facts, look further than yours truly. But since I can’t be everywhere at once, the podcast Stuff You Should Know is a great backup. Reminiscent to “How It’s Made,” Stuff You Should Know talks about top facts and opinions on just about any subject you could ever want. From animals to Japan to war there’s a podcast for everything, including my favorite: Psychology! Check it out at think link HERE.

 

This Summer’s Hottest Reads

Summer 2016 has plenty of popular books ready for you to stow away in your suitcase or sling in your backpack for time spent at any vacation spot. Here’s what’s hot now so you can read it before everyone else spoils the ending.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes220px-me_before_you

What better way to start off summer than with a romance novel. Another perk? The book is about to become a movie, so read it before hitting up the big screen! If you’re looking for a tale of romance and adventure, look no further.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Reading the reviews of this book (because I’ve yet to read the novel, sadly) I’m sincerely reminded of the movie Up. Ove is a cranky old grandpa, somewhat like Carl from the Disney flick. One afternoon a young, energetic family moves in next door and crushes his mailbox. And thus, the plot line is born. I’m looking forward to picking up this book as soon as I can; it’s bound to be a charming read!

milk and honey by Rupi Kapur

milk 31-odaa7erl-_sx322_bo1204203200_and honey is a book of poetry and prose about survival and the loss of femininity. Broken up into four chapters, each part deals with a different type of pain and heartache but instead of focusing on the bad author Rupi Kapur manages to find points of joy and resolution.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Will the world ever get it’s fill of Harry Potter? And for that matter, his children? I don’t think so. Or at least I never will. Follow Albus Potter on a new, magical adventure in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I just started reading this book and I’m already bawling; happy tears, sad tears, the whole 41jfvzl72yl-_sx336_bo1204203200_shebang. When Breath Becomes Air is a touching memoir about both death and life. Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the age of 36, during the height of his career as a neurosurgeon and the beginning of his life as a father. His memoir grapples with living life day to day because the future isn’t a given, what makes life worth living, and other hard questions that presented themselves during the last stages of Kalanithi’s life.

What are you reading this summer?

xo, Bailey

How to Amazon

What do we even call people who are as addicted to Amazon as the new age college student? Amazonians? Amazoniacs? Nerds?

amazon-logo_transparent

Regardless of name, they’re doing something right. They’re hunting for bargains – and finding them. If the internet were a family, Etsy would be the entrepreneur child, you know, the kid with the lemonade stand that makes $300 each summer. People love them, they’re cute and cuddly, but a little expensive sometimes. eBay is the crazy grandma who buys all the kiddos shiny Christmas presents and all the parents wine, but somehow can never afford a hotel room. But Amazon, he’s trusty. Reliable. He’s good old Uncle Blankenship with his magic bag of goodies. Sort of like Santa, but with shipping and handling.

As zany as the internet is, Amazon doesn’t have too many curiosities. You won’t be able to find the crazy things wackos on eBay sell. But you will find some charismatic (or maybe I should just go with…interesting?) oddities on the online retailer. Here are a few sure to win your heart:

Ariel Grumpy Cat Pullover

51mewqgexsl-_ac_sy200_ Under the sea, or just under the weather, this grumpy cat – Little Mermaid pullover is purrrr-fect for anyone looking to get a laugh out of the two big fads of 2015.

Buy it here.

 

 

Bee Movie Script Hoodie

51rvohfoyl-_ac_aa160_ Yes, you read that correctly. This hoodie has the entire script of The Bee Movie on it. My boyfriend didn’t believe me, but things like this do exist (and he’s so glad they do). Don’t remember this movie? It’s about a bee who sues the human race for eating honey. It’s…uh…different.

You can buy the sweatshirt here and check out the movie here.

Drunken Unicorn Wine Rack

41rpctbwdl-_ac_aa160_ Who doesn’t need a unicorn drinking a bottle of wine? It gets even better when you realize it’s a wine rack. Now we know the real reason Voldemort drinking unicorn blood led him to living a half-life, he was drunk!

Buy it here.

Narwhal Tusk (Teaching Replica Quality)

“Yes, hi, I’d like to buy a narwhal tusk?…Mhm?…Oh, only replicas. Darn.”

For sale, believe it or not, here.

Caffeinated Lip Balm

3163jm692hl-_ac_ul160_sr160160_ You know you have a problem when you order this in the package deal off Amazon…caffeinated chapstick, lotion, and soap.

Buy it here.

Grass Pen

Product Details Perks: allergy friendly, doesn’t need watering, will help you actually get stuff done

Cons: doesn’t do the blade-of-glass-whistle thingy

Buy it here.

 

 

What are some of the wacky things you’ve found on Amazon? I’d love to hear!

xo Bailey

What’s on My Radar

Hello again! What’s everyone up to this week? I’ve been slammed with tests, papers, and basically every college event known to man kind! The rest of humanity seems to be busy as a bee too. If you haven’t been keeping up with your tweets, FBs, or instas, I have ya covered, right here in this world wide web recap of everything I’ve found interesting from the past few days.

Ever wonder why basketball players slap hands after free throws? Well now you know.
Did anyone watch the award winning public service announcement going around with the teen boy, Zarriel Trotter, from Chicago speaking out about gun violence? He’s recently been shot and is in recovery.
The National Autistic Society recently launched a campaign called “Too Much Information” and with it released this powerful video.
An Instagram account that turns magazine covers and album covers into classical paintings?! Yes please!
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is being ILLUSTRATED! This is NOT a drill! The same artist that illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is back, and Buzzfeed’s sneak peak at the drawings seem magically surreal.

enhanced-27542-1458142999-6

xo Bailey

Read This if You Liked…

It’s almost the end of February, which means it’s time for another “Read This if You Liked…” post!

I’m a die-hard Harry Potter fan. My college classes having nothing on Professor Flitwick’s Charms class, my squad is the marauders (minus the turning into animals part), and I’d totally go to Hogwarts if they accepted FAFSA. So when I stumbled across the Charlie Bone series, also called Children of the Red King, I was surprised to note all the similarities…could this really be the next Harry Potter?

Maybe. Charlie is a orphan (like Harry), with special powers (like Harry), who gets a strange invitation to a special school (like Harry) so he can learn in an environment that’s best for “talented” children like himself (starting to sound familiar yet?). But, of course, that’s not the end of the tale. Powerful people start to take over the school, and the balance between good and evil is broken. It’s up to Charlie and his new friends to save the day. Here’s the only catch – they’re not wizards. I mean, there’s also a feathered invisible python but the bigger catch is the wizard part.

So if you liked the Harry Potter series give the Children of the Red King a go, you might just fall in love!

9475harry_potter_and_the_sorcerers_stone

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Her

It’s almost upon us! The worldwide day of love!

And just in case you’re freaking out because you’ve no idea what to get that special girl in your life, don’t fret! These gifts are *almost* as easy as buying a box of chocolates the day of (but way more impressive).

vday for her

Tiffany and Co. Heart Earrings Really any earrings will work…I just really like these as an extra special gift. Some girls don’t like jewelry at all, and some people are allergic to nickle (which is a main component of many earring posts) so be careful when picking these out!

Costco Giant Bear These are outrageously expensive, but getting a giant bear (or really, any kind of bear) has been on many of my friends’ Valentine’s Day wish lists.

Coordinates Necklace I love these! I think they’re perfect if you’ve been in a relationship for a long time and have a special place, like the place you met or the place you hang out all the time, that you want to commemorate. It’d be an especially great gift for long distance couples and can even be incorporated into a couples gift by giving the partner a matching key chain!

Harry Potter Mugs Matching couple mugs have been on Pinterest for what feels like forever now. I think they’re adorable, and they’re so easy to make! Here’s a great website on how to make a Sharpie mug, but if you aren’t artistic that’s okay – you can still buy the mugs off ebay, Amazon, Etsy, and the like!

LUSH I feel like LUSH has become somewhat of a cult craze over the past few months, but their products are to die for so I’m totally okay with it! Anything from LUSH (or Sephora, for that matter) is fair game on Valentine’s Day, especially with the Valentine’s line created just for the holiday!

xo Bailey

P.S. What’s everyone’s thoughts on sentimental vs. cheesy vs. expensive gifts for V-Day?

On the Death of Professor Snape

ba1f97df23125fea069b5c3fbacff1db

We all deal with loss differently. The universal truth behind it, though, is that once you lose something you know it’s never coming back. With celebrities like Alan Rickman, otherwise known as Professor Snape, you can rewatch movies, plays, TV shows, interviews, what have you over and over and over again. It feels like they’re still there. That is, until another tabloid pops up in the check-out isle of the grocery store months later promising “the real truth” behind his death.

Death is a funny thing with celebrities. We’re allowed to feel so close to them because of social networking and the media, but in fact we’re very, very far away from their world. When Alan died it reminded me of how I handled Snape’s death. I didn’t like what was happening in the book so I reread previous chapters when he was alive, replaying everything up until his mortality caught up with him. You can do that with actors because they’re preserved on the big screen with movies and television, and now on Netflix and Youtube. It’s a horcrux of sorts, if you will. As long as you keep replaying the movies you get to keep watching them live.

Because we, the in-famous folk, aren’t living in a world where we interact with celebrities on a day to day basis, accepting the finality of death isn’t as hard. We don’t have to stare it in the face and watch it take the professor we love. Instead, we have the opportunity to reread all the other chapters in the story until we’re ready to greet Death as an old friend and accept finality. Not finality for us, of course, but the understanding that Alan won’t be making or playing in any new movies, or going to premiers, or being  a part in a ten year Harry Potter reunion.

‘Besides,’ said Sirius, ‘the ones that love us never really leave us. You can always find them…[puts hand over Harry’s heart] in here.’

This an article on the last project Alan Rickman worked on before he passed.

What are your favorite roles Alan Rickman played over the course of his life?