Saturday, December 23, 2017

Owl Crate December Review

Hello, all!

I hope everyone's getting ready for their Christmas holiday. All I have left to do is wrap gifts, but since I'm completely horrid at wrapping, I keep putting it off so I thought it was the perfect time to review this months Owl Crate.

The theme this month was "Seize the Day", so let's get right into it!

The first thing I pulled out was this cute wooden ornament from Juniper & Ivy Designs based off the book Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. This was so detailed and pretty, I automatically rushed to put it on my tree where everyone could see it.

I love a candle. It's so weird, I never used to like them, but now I have stacks of candles that I change throughout the year depending on scents. This one by Novelly Yours is definitely going to get heavy rotation. It has such a lovely apple scent which is one of my favorites. It said this candle was inspired by The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord, and I've never read that but based on the candle alone, I feel like I need to.

Just like a candle, I love myself a bookmark. I feel like they're one of those things you just can't have enough of, and this double sided one by Little Inklings Designs is perfect to add to my collection. One side of the bookmark has a quote from The Serpent King (another I've never read, but which is going onto my Reading list) and the opposite is from The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

I've mentioned my love of the Percy Jackson series/Greek mythology before, so getting this magnet inspired by that same series was perfect. It was created by Ink & Wonder Designs and it's so pretty. I mean, just look at all those colors!

Now, to my favorite item in this box-- a Harry Potter tote! This tote, designed exclusively for Owl Crate by Bookworm Boutique, is so perfect. Not only does it have the cutest deign and quote, but it has extra long handles and a decent size which makes it the best trip-to-the-book-store bag.

I kept saying that I wanted to be one of those people who had planners and were super organized, and now I can finally make it happen! This lovely 2018 planner/reading journal was a partner design between Owl Crate and Blue Star Press, and features quotes from previous Owl Crate book picks, spaces to fill in your favorite books, and even a rating system to keep track of all that you've read so far. I'm excited to use this, I usually keep track of books I've read on little scraps of paper, so it'll be nice to have them all in one place now.

The book for this month is called Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. When Claudia is caught eavesdropping on a conversation that was only meant for two people, she gains an enemy in Iris, one of the meanest girls in her school. If that wasn't worse enough, the two of them are then forced to participate in the school's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The whole story revolves around first loves, finding friends in unlikely places, and learning to step out of ones comfort zone. It all sounds a bit Sarah Dessen-ish to me, and she's one of my favorites, so I feel like this will be right up my alley. It also came with a little patch, and we all know I do love a patch.

I hope everyone has a lovely holiday!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Top 5: Christmas Horror Movies

Hello, all!

So Christmas is rapidly approaching, and when everyone else is curling up on the couch watching Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas, here are a few *ahem* less family friendly films to get you through the festive season.

1. Silent Night, Deadly Night: After witnessing a man in a Santa suit kill his parents on the side of the road when he was 5, Billy isn't the biggest fan of Christmas/Santa in general. Now a young man, Billy is asked to stand in as Santa at the little toy store he works at, things go awry and something snaps in Billy, leading him to go on a killing spree, including impaling a lady on a set of deer antlers hanging on a wall, decapitating a sledder and shouting "Naughty!" at everyone before he dispenses his Yuletide justice.

2. Jack Frost: No, I'm not talkin' about the weird family movie where Michael Keaton dies and then comes back as a snowman to have another chance at being a good dad. I mean, it's sorta the same, someone does come back to life as a snowman, but it's a serial killer (aptly named, Jack Frost) who crashes into a truck full of "genetics material" on his way to his execution. What ensues next is what B-movie dreams are made of: a killer snowman terrorizing the quiet town of Snowmonton.

3. Rare Exports: Ok, I have to admit, I had no idea what was going on throughout this entire movie, but I do know it was cuh-reepy. It's a Finnish movie and even with the subtitles, I really couldn't understand much, but the gist is that a research group was drilling on top of what ended up being an ancient burial chamber which a young boy thinks is Santa's, who in this story is a horned being who beats naughty kids and boils them in his cauldron. Then there's some slaughtered reindeer and a bunch of naked Elves running in the woods, and plans to blow up Santa before he can do anymore damage. This one left me with no words except for, "HUH?"

4. A Christmas Horror Story: Unlike the others on this list, this is more of an anthology movie, and the thread that holds all four storylines together is William Shatner as a radio DJ who pretty much just talks throughout the entire thing. Since it's a bunch of different stories together, there's a creep factor for almost everyone: you got your ghost possession, evil clones, Krampus and zombie elves...and a partridge in a pear tree.

5. Gremlins: This is my favorite Christmas horror/but not really horror movie. It's definitely the most family friendly on this list, but it's still got some scare elements to it. Like, I dunno what's worse finding out the smell coming from your chimney wasn't a dead animal or listening to a bunch of bat-eared leathery green reptile thing-a-majigs screech out some Christmas carols on your front porch. There's also a ton of comedy in the movie as well, the entire scene of the Gremlins in the movie theater watching Snow White kills me as well as Corey Feldman just delivering Christmas trees while dressed as a tree.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

National Geographic: Ocean Odyssey Exhibit

Hello, all!

When I was younger, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I mean, I was just obsessed with the idea of working with sea animals, specifically sharks (thank you, Jaws). I used to spend hours at the library tracing sharks out of books and labeling their anatomy. I read every single book I could find on different sea life, and copied little notes for myself in notebooks. My Mom even adopted me a whale one year for my birthday.

My marine biologist dream were dashed once I got to high school and I realized just how crummy I was at science, and how my asthma would get in the way of trying to scuba dive. But my love of sea animals never went away, so once I heard that National Geographic was having an exhibition in the City called Ocean Odyssey, I knew I just had to go and see it. Unfortunately, it really wasn't what I had dreamed it would be.

I was picturing lots of actual physical exhibits or maybe objects discovered on dives, or videos of animals in their natural habitat or pictures from expeditions. What I got was a bunch of computer generated videos and a 3-D movie of a humpback whale eating some fish.

I think this exhibit might be geared more towards younger kids, because at the end of the tour, one of the guides gave out a little scavenger hunt sheet for them to do. Another thing I wasn't too keen on, was that you weren't allowed to walk through it on your own, you had to stay in your designated group. You would think that that would make the visit slower since you have to wait for every single person, but we were still in and out in about an hour.

There were some cool bits though. There was a room that was set up as a maze with mirrors and floor to ceiling sea kelp and you had to maneuver your way out. And once you finally did, there was a room with little circles on the ground that once you stepped in the middle of it, a computer generated sea lion would show up on the screen before you that you could interact with by lifting up your arms.

It may not have been all that I thought it would be, but I can see how amazing it would seem to a young kid. All the kids that were in my group were loving life and really enjoying all the interactive screens that showed characteristics of a few animals, and there was also a room that the floor was designed as a coral reef and when you stepped in certain spots little bioluminescent bits would glow which reeeeally got their motors running. It was definitely an exhibit that is original and super immersive, I just think I had higher hopes and expectations.

I took a few pictures of the actual displays they had up, so enjoy!