Monday, March 30, 2015

Summer 2015 Movies

We saw Insurgent on the weekend. It's been a while since we went to see a movie at the theatre. Some of the posters and previews we saw got me excited for the summer movie season. Here are the movies I want to see this summer: (there may be more that I just don't know about yet.) Click on the title to watch the trailer.

Avengers: Age of Ultron - May 1
The new Avengers movie. I love comic book movies. I love Marvel. Stephen and I watched Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D so I'm excited to see how this one fits into the MCU movies and shows.

Pitch Perfect 2 - May 15
The first one was funny, this one will probably be funny. A good summer movie.

Aloha - May 29
Bradley Cooper works with the military. He goes back to where he used to live in Hawaii and encounters his ex-gf Rachel McAdams, and meets his new co-worker Emma Stone. Bill Murray is his boss. The trailer has lots of good actors in it, the movies seems good.

Jurassic World - June 12
Jurrassic Park sequel. They never learn. This time they bred their own dinosaur using genetics. The park is open and tons of people are there. Things go badly and Chris Pratt has to save the day.

Infinitely Polar Bear - June 19
Mark Ruffalo is a manic depressive dad in England. His wife Zoe Saldana gets into business school in New York. She moves there and leaves him to look after their two daughters. Seems like a cute family drama. My kind of movie.

Minions - July 10
Prequel to the Despicable Me movies, it's the origin story of minions.

Ant-Man - July 17
Another comic book movie. I love Paul Rudd.

Mr. Holmes - July 17
Ian McKellen is Sherlock Holmes as an old man and he has to solve a mystery from his life with the help of a little boy. I love Sherlock Holmes and I love Ian McKellen. This movies seems cool.

Inside Out - July 24
New Pixar movie about the voices in our heads that control us (aka our emotions). Features awesome voice actors including two of my fave ladies: Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling. The movie looks really cute and like such a positive movie for kids. Watch the trailer for this one!

Paper Towns - July 24
I really like this book. It's probably my favourite John Green book, and it's really funny. I like Nat Wolff a lot (Stuck in Love, The Fault in our Stars, Palo Alto) and I'm excited to see the adaptation.
There are rumours that a Looking for Alaska movie is going to be made. I wonder if John Green movies are going to be this generation's John Hughes movies.

That's it. Any other movies I should check out this summer? Leave them below. What upcoming movies are you excited for?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Medicine Hat Butterfly House

I spent the weekend in Medicine Hat visiting my sister for her birthday. On Saturday we went to the Butterfly House. I had never been before and really enjoyed it. It's a butterfly conservatory, full of tropical plants, butterflies, and animals. The space is small but very peaceful and beautiful. 

I love this little buddha's attitude.

They gave me a pamphlet so I learned the names of all the different kinds of butterflies. 

Blue Morpho (they are blue inside when they open their wings.)

Starry Night Cracker

Blue Morpho

King Swallowtail

King Swallowtail

Red Eared Slider turtle and koi fish
(I loved the turtles. I had a turtle like this for years.)

Japanese Button Quail

Tiger Long Wing

King Swallowtail

I've been to Medicine Hat many times but I've never been to the Butterfly House before. It was a very cool place.  I definitely recommend a visit if you're in the area. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Indoor Plant Love

The snow is melting like crazy here and I can't wait until I can work outside in the garden again. Until then these are keeping my heart happy and my thumb green...

succulent flowers

my desk at work

S surprised me with these last weekend and they are still healthy a week later

beautiful lilies!

happy houseplant thriving

the Christmas cactus always blossoms once in winter and once in spring

looks like a bird to me

bamboo on the dresser

Have a great week! Spring is coming!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Book Recommendations for International Womens' Day

In honour of International Women's Day today I want to share some of my favourite books about girls and women written by women. These are the girls and ladies who raised me.

Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery. 
This was my favourite book as a child. I was obsessed with the entire series. When I was 12 I travelled to Prince Edward Island with my parents and we did everything Anne. We went to the musical, we went to the town of Avonlea, we went to the actual Green Gables house. It was amazing.
Anne Shirley/Blythe is an imaginative, stubborn, smart, funny girl and the series follows her life from childhood to middle age, from when she moves to PEI at age 11, through her university experience, to her life as a mother. It is a great series, with awesome characters and great female role models. 

The Babysitters Club series by Ann M. Martin.
This was my shiz when I was a kid. I probably read every single book in the series, and there are hundreds. The books are about seven pre-teen girls who create their own babysitting business in their town. The characters are all individuals and Martin doesn't rely on "types." Each book in the series is narrated from the perspective of one of the girls. The books chronicle their babysitting adventures, as well as their friendship. The girls help each other through life and support each other with school struggles, boy drama, health problems, and family issues. It is such a positive series for young people. Note: many of the books were ghost-written, some were written by men, but the first 50-some books were written by Martin and all the characters were created by her.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares. 
This series is about four teenage girls who are best friends facing their first summer apart. They find a pair of pants in a thrift shop that magically fits them all despite them being different sizes and body types. They use the pants to stay connected when they are apart. Each book follows all four girls, and the series follows them from high school to college. The last book, Sisterhood Everlasting is set much later, when the girls are all adults. I'd say it's skippable but the first two books of the series especially are well-written and the characters are very well developed and relatable. 

Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and Boy Next Door, and Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.
I didn't read these books when I was younger because they only came out in the last few years, but they remind me a lot of books I loved when I was younger. You can read my review of the first in the series here. Each of these books focuses on a different main character, but the characters in all three books are connected in some way. Each of the girls is a unique person with her own interests, problems, and goals. While each book focuses on a love story, the books are also about the character development of the title characters. Each book is written in first person and there is a lot of self reflection and growth in the girls. These girls seem like real people who make mistakes and learn and grow, which is so important for young readers.  

Bossypants by Tina Fey, Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling, Melissa Explains It All by Melissa Joan Hart.

These memoirs are all funny and interesting and all about being a woman and balancing personal and professional lives. I'm interested in all of these womens' lives and work so I really enjoyed all these books.
You can read my review of Bossypants here and my review of Yes Please here. 

Happy International Women's Day! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

How I Stopped Biting My Nails

Last summer, my friend started selling Jamberry nail wraps. They are kind of like stickers that you put on your nails. I didn't order any at first, but watched while some of my other friends got into them. I have always had a bad habit of biting my nails and the skin of my fingers so I thought that any sort of nail product was not for me.

When I was in middle school my parents made a deal with me. If I didn't bite my nails for a month, at the end of the month they would pay me $10 for each unbitten nail. The same deal had helped my dad get my mom to quit biting her nails when they were in college together. I took the bet, quit biting for a month, collected my money (I think I only actually got $80, not the full $100) and then started back up again.

I'd tried lots of things over the years to help me quit. 1. that gross tasting chemical you put on your nails. My mom put it on me when I was a kid, I bit anyway. 2. Fake nails - I just picked at them until I pulled them off. 3. Nail polish - well, nail polish only looks really good on long, healthy nails. But even when I managed to grow mine out enough, I would still bite, or (this is gross, I know) sometimes bite or scratch at the polish to peel it off. I'm disgusting, I know! But I haven't bitten my nails habitually for months and here is how.

Back in August, my friend offered me a manicure with a sample Jamberry wrap to see how I liked it. I chose the wrap "Imperial" - a turquoise floral wrap. She applied it to my nail and painted my other nails. The wrap outlasted the nail polish by days. As you can see from the photo, my nails were still pretty short and not in great condition back then. 

I thought what the heck, I'd try it. So I ordered some wraps from her. When they came, I went to her house and she taught me how to apply them. This first manicure I did was "Lotus" (the mint one) and "Punchy Puff" (the rainbow one.) The stickers stayed on my nails for over a week before they started to lift at the edges and peel off. And I didn't bite my nails or my fingers the whole time because I wanted my nails to keep looking awesome. When I removed the wraps my nails were not chipped or cracked like they always were when I removed nail polish (because I still would scratch them with my teeth even when I had polish on) and they had grown! So I was hooked. 

"Wild Flowers"
I started ordering wraps from her and giving myself manicures. One sheet of nail wraps costs $17 and she offers free shipping, and frequent sales and deals. With one sheet you can do 2 manicures and 2 pedicures, and they last on my nails for about a week to ten days. I think it is a pretty good deal when you consider that gel nails and things like that usually cost between $25 and $50 and destroy your nails.
"Birds of Paradise"
I see it as a way to treat myself to something nice that makes me feel good about my appearance, and it is also an investment in "me time" since I usually do the manicures either with my friend at her place or mine, or by myself while watching a show or listening to music or something. The wraps don't take too long to apply, especially once you get good at them (about 10 minutes for 10 fingers) but those 10 minutes force me to sit and spend time on myself, "pampering" myself, basically. 

"Morning Dew" and "Blue Sparkle"
Plus, the wraps I order are always cool designs that I could never do with nail polish. Over the winter holidays I was rocking these blue sparkly ones. Removing sparkly nail wraps is so much easier than removing sparkly nail polish.

"Blue Sparkle"
"Bird on Fire"

Note: none of my blog posts are ever sponsored, and this blog is not monetized at all. I just found that using these nail wraps helped me kick a bad habit that I've had for years. They make me feel good about myself and I get tons of compliments on my nails from strangers. They helped me so I wanted to share the information in case they can help somebody else out there. 

I order my jamberry wraps through my friend, but the Jamberry website has a button at the top called "Find a Consultant" to help you find someone in your area you can order through.