TV/Movie Reviews

Off the Beaten Track…

Happy weekend!

We are having a dangerously hot weekend at home, so I will be staying indoors and will be catching up on reading, tv/movie show watching, and packing for my brother’s wedding next weekend. In lieu of planning my uneventful weekend (which I am perfectly fine with, after a very busy summer so far โ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‡), I got to thinking of some movies that I truly enjoy watching that are a bit off the beaten track Summer flicks. What I mean by this is that they aren’t part of a trilogy, or huge blockbuster movie, or even cult classic. But something just a bit…different.

So here are a few recommendations for you if you need a movie weekend!:)

  1. “Love, Rosie” (2014)
  2. “Brooklyn” (2015)
    “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014)
    “Pride and Prejudice” (2005)
    “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012)

Word of warning: I really enjoy period dramas (“Brooklyn” & “Pride and Prejudice”) and Indie Films (the other three) so if these genres of movies aren’t your thing, you might not like them as much as I do. But I think they’ll all warm your heart in some way or another through love, romance, laughter, and beauty.

Stay cool and safe this summer! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Tunes on Tuesdays

Tunes on Tuesdays: Musical Movie Edition

Music and movies are some of my favorite things. So when they are combined together, I’m ecstatic. My parents and I went to a concert recently where the orchestra did a montage of various scores from musicals. This has gotten me into listening to some of my favorite musicals again, some of them older and some newer.

So today I’m recommending six of my favorite soundtracks from movie musicals, three that are newer with soundtrack links, and three that are older classics!:)

  1. La La Land (2016)

2. Hamilton (2015)

3. The Greatest Showman (2017)

4. “The Sound of Music” (1965)

5. “West Side Story” (1961)

6. “Phantom of the Opera” (1986)

The Scripture today is: “In my heart I store up Your words, so I might not sin against You” Psalms 119:11

Have a wonderful, musically filled Tuesday all! โค


Itโ€™s gonna be fooooooda

Happy weekend all!

This week has been a bit crazy and I honestly have not been in the headspace to write something super exciting for the week. I apologize.

But this week has got me all over the place and I haven’t been able to workout and eat my normal diet. Disclaimer: I am NOT a health/exercise junkie or nutritionist, and if you saw me, you’d be able to see that right away. ๐Ÿ˜œ But I do really enjoy exercising most of the time, as well as finding healthy and tasty snack alternatives for myself. So if these foods appear to fit your lifestyle/budget, I think you’ll really like to check these out!:)

So I got to thinking that maybe I’d share some of the best healthy snack alternatives I have found for my own diet that are: A: Tasty ๐Ÿ˜‹ B. Mostly affordable..(?) well it’s how much you want to spend on food. C. HEALTHY

    Think Thin Bars (Amazon, Target, Think Thin website)-These are a bit pricey with about a $1 a bar, but they are very high in protein, low in carbs, and NO SUGAR! But they taste delicious and are a great snack or meal replacement at 230 a bar. I highly recommend Lemon Delight, Chocolate Brownie Crunch, and Creamy Peanut Butter.
    Nature Valley Granola (Target & Walmart)-Great breakfast food and so tasty. High in Protein and Fiber! Add a scoop of crunchy peanut butter and with Silk Vanilla Almond Milk and oh myyyy it’s so good! Which leads me to…
    Silk Vanilla Almond Milk (Food Lion, Walmart, Target)-Unless you are unable to drink a sweetened almond milk, you NEED to get this sweetened in Vanilla or Chocolate. (Though I’ve only had the vanilla out of the two) It is delightfully good, dairy AND soy free, and honestly I prefer it to regular skim milk now.
    Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Rich Chocolate (Amazon)-This is a fantastic protein powder for post workout muscle refuel. So tasty too. All you need to add is water or milk (especially vanilla almond milk;) and I highly recommend a workout shaker bottle.
    Halo Top Ice Cream– (Food Lion, Target) IF YOU LOVE ICE CREAM TOO MUCH PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND GET THIS. So many flavors to recommend. I will say that you will either like it or you won’t. The consistency is quite different, and I will STRONGLY advise you to check the cartons for the ones with Coconut Milk. I bought one accidentally and it tasted pretty terrible to me. My favorite flavors include Birthday Cake, Lemon Cake, Mocha Chocolate Chip, Mint Chip, Caramel Macchiato, Red Velvet, and Peanut Butter cup!

I hope this post has been helpful for you!

The Scripture for today is a great reminder for all of us!

“Blessed be the man that trusts in the Lord, and the Lord shall be his confidence.” ~Jeremiah 17:7

Wishing you all a great weekend โœŒ๐Ÿป


Wonders of Vac(relax)ation

Hey all!

I just came back from a few days of vacation with my parents and my little brother and it was glorious. Since I’ve started a new job as of yesterday, I won’t have the time to write too much for a post. I’ve decided to add a few pictures from the weekend. And I’ve clipped this video because it’s so good and you probably need to hear it today!

Enjoy!:) Dragon flies everywhere

Books Books Books

Book Challenge for July!

Hello fellow-readers!

Since a good friend of mine introduced me to the Goodreads app, I have added more books to read and have altered my 2 books a month Reading Challenge to about 3-4 books a month on the Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge tracker. I started this challenge late in the year, and my new goal is 30 books total this year. (I have only read 10 so far…) But it’s a start, right? ๐Ÿ˜€

I just finished “Pocahontas” by Frances Mossiker in the earlier half of June. ** out of ***** for me sadly. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ However, I finally got to reading “1984,” and I LOVED it! *****

We will see how it goes with the added books and a new job on the way next week for me, but I’m excited to share what I’m reading this month!

1. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr

I am spicing up this challenge by listening to it as an Audiobook with my month feee trial of Audible. I LOVE this book so far and while I’m only a bit in, I can already vouch that this book is so well written and a great one for an audiobook reading!:)

2. “Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words” by Sr. Lucia

This is an eyewitness account of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s apparition to Francisco, Jacinta, and Lucia in Fatima, Portugal. I’m superrrr excited to start this one!

3. “A Night to Remember” by Walter Lord

A compilation of eyewitness accounts of passengers on the Titanic. This book paved the way for our acquisition of what actually occurred on the Titanic. I was just talking about the Leo DiCaprio movie with someone this weekend so I was inspired to pick up this book which has been sitting in my book shelf.

Anyway, I’m interested to hear what you’re reading and invite you to join me in your own variation of a 2019 Book Challenge on Goodreads!

The Scripture for today is from Exodus 14:14. “The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.”

Have a great weekend!:)

Tunes on Tuesdays

Music for Encouragement

It’s Tunes on Tuesdays!

We all need encouragement in our lives, right? When we are down on ourselves, about our relationships with God and others, and down on life in general, we need to be encouraged that God will help us rise above the difficult and trust Him. One of the things that have really helped me in tough times is uplifting music.

Music is an incredibly powerful tool which can not only affect our mood, but change our outlook on situations in life too due simply to the rhythm, sound, and lyrics of the music. When I’m down, I need to be encouraged that God will protect, love, and be there for me (like He is for ALL of us) even in the most difficult of times. So these are some of the songs I have picked out which have really been an encouragement to me when I have lost sight of God and His loving mercy and care.

If you have any encouraging songs (these songs aren’t all Christian specifically), please feel free to comment or reach out to be with some of your favorites. I will be adding these songs in the order that they’re listed here to my blog playlist on the music page above! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • “You Say” by Lauren Daigle
  • “God Only Knows (Timbaland and Echosmith Remix)” by For King and Country
  • “Free” by Ryn Weaver
  • “Hope for Every Fallen Man” by Relient K
  • “Talk to Me” by Joe Hicks
  • “The Heart is a Muscle” by Gang of Youths (Amazing band I only just discovered thanks to Mumford & Sons)
  • “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons
  • โ€œLet it Beโ€ by The Beatles
  • โ€œGive Me Your Eyesโ€ by Brandon Heath
  • โ€œ10,000 Reasonsโ€ by Matt Redman
  • โ€œAlive Againโ€ by Matt Maher
  • “River” by Leon Bridges
  • “Even When it Hurts,” “Touch the Sky,” and “Oceans [Where Feet May Fail] by Hillsong United >>>This group has so many good songs of encouragement I couldn’t leave any of these three out!

I hope and pray that these songs speak to you in some kind of way when you are down and need a pick me of God’s love and hope through the power of music.

Today’s Scripture is: “The Lord is my portion, said my soul: therefore I will wait for Him.” Lamenations 3: 24

Have a fantastic week all, and Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans!

TV/Movie Reviews

YouTube Channels Worth Watching

Happy Saturday!

Today I wanted to share some really wonderful YouTube channels that I enjoy watching for learning, inspiration, reflection, and a good laugh. While it is summer and I’m not advocating spending time getting lost on YouTube everyday (itโ€™s so easy to do), these are worth watching maybe on long car rides or on rainy days (or in the South’s case, when it’s too hot and humid to go outside at all, which is most of the summer days there…)

I’ll be listing my five favorite YouTube channels and their links for you to check out in your own time:

For Entertainment, Humor, Darcy, and Story-telling

1. “The Lizzie Bennett Diaries”-

While this channel has been around for a few years now, somebody in high school told me about this 100 episode series after they learned that my favorite book is Pride and Prejudice, and I’m thrilled that they did. If you’ve read P & P, you’ll love this series and it’s clever writing. It tells the story in modern times as Lizzie vlogs about her life. If you haven’t read P & P, I would highly suggest this series to introduce you to the story and characters from the novel. Note: Obviously watch from beginning to end.

For Catholic advice/ perspective on all different topics

2. “Emily Wilson”-

This channel is FAN-Freaking-TASTIC. Emily Wilson is a Catholic motivational speaker and tells it like it is, which I appreciate so much. As a Catholic, it’s incredibly hard to live in these modern times that are so contrary and hostile to Catholicism, and Christianity in general. Emily lays out the truth when it comes to relationships, faith life, and being counter-cultural. While there are many great Protestant YouTubers who read Scripture on their channels, Emily uploads “Verse of the Week” every Monday morning and man oh man, have those Scripture messages spoken to me in timely moments. She also keeps her videos short, sweet and to the point. Definitely check this one out if you’re Catholic or are interested in learning about the faith and what it actually teaches. Note: NOT a preachy channel at all.

For a restoration of hope in humanity

3. “Thoraya Maronesy”-

This girl is amazing. She goes out to parks and college campuses (she films mostly in Balboa Park, CA) and interviews people with a particular question or with a task in each video. A video suggestion from her channel came up for me to watch a few months ago, and I’m so glad I clicked on it. These videos range from having strangers call their crushes, to asking people the hardest questions pertaining to their personal lives. It’s a beautiful channel and I have laughed and cried so much from watching her videos. She’s doing great work!

For a great laugh

4. “Blimey Cow”-

I’ve been watching this channel since their video, “Seven Lies about Homeschoolers” came out when I was in high school (And homeschooled). This group of brothers, sometimes their sister, and the guys’ wives are incredibly funny, but also incredibly honest about the range of topics they dive into it. Through character acting in their Messy Mondays series, to my all time favorite (PLEASE check this segment out), Jordan’s Messyges, these people provide wholesome but hilarious humor that literally anyone could appreciate.

For great Christian perspective on life

5. “Far Away Distance”-

I JUST discovered this channel last week. Becca is a very devout Evangelical Christian who gives realistic and faith-filled perspective on an assortment of topics for young ladies and teens. There are so many great things she has to say, and I’ve honestly really have been inspired by many of her videos in just the last few days. Note: Also NOT preachy at all.

Something I want to note is that ALL of these channels are operated and filmed by young people like myself, and that is so encouraging to me. Whether it’s promoting the Faith, values, humor, love, and story-telling, these young people are paving the way for uplifting YouTube videos and series, that we are in such need of this day and age. So next time you’re bored and not sure what to watch, I highly recommend all five of these amazing channels and all the hard work, dedication, and time they all put into creating quality content!

Have a great weekend all! ๐Ÿ™‚

Books Books Books

Nostalgia, libraries, and diaries

Hey all!

I don’t know about you, but nostalgia hits me hard particularly in the summer. One of the things I was reminiscing about the other day was when my mom would take my siblings and I to our public library that was a half mile walk from our house in NY. Thinking back on the many books and VHS’s I checked out, the various free programs that my mom would take us to throughout the school year and summer, and even doing schoolwork there sometimes (we were homeschooled after all…), I thought back to one of my favorite book series that my library carried to feed my addiction. ๐Ÿ˜‰

When we were all little girls, I’m sure we had our favorite books to read. When my younger siblings and I were about the ages of 7 & 9, my mother subscribed to an order of particular book series for each of us through Scholastic Books. While I started out with a Disney collection series when I was about 7, by the time I was 9, I transitioned into a new series that would further my love for reading, writing, and history. The Dear America series presented a new twist to the historical fiction genre as it focused on the diaries of young girls who lived through important times/events in American history. While these are certainly written for a young audience in mind (10+), these books are very well written and I still enjoy re-reading them to this day!

The first book I ever received was “Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell.” I fell in love with this series instantaneously given the detailed description of personal and public events taking place in the book. This series is written by a variety of authors, but one author to note is Mary Pope Osborne, the author of The Magic Treehouse books (My little brother was reading this series through his Scholastic book orders). They all contain the diary entries (the main stories), an acknowledgement, a forward, and historical notes. Some of the historical notes include songs and recipes from the time period that the story took place in.

These books dive into everything from family, friends, love, war, marriage, children, poverty, wealth, and death. I think what makes these stories relatable for me to this day is their ability to capture all of these mature topics and themes affecting children in those times so realistically.

They’re short reads, highly entertaining and educational, and present American History in a very realistic, yet honest way. In these times when American History is often not taught, altered to fit political agendas, or belittled in our public school system, it’s encouraging to know this series exists to introduce young readers to both history and fictional characters resembling those who lived through the time period of the story. I wanted to share my appreciation for this series and recommend some of my all time favorites for you all:

1. “My Secret War: The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck. Long Island, New York” by: Mary Pope Osborne (OG Favorite)

2. “A Coal Minor’s Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska. Lattimer, Pennsylvania” by: Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Newest favorite)

3. “Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady. RMS Titanic” by: Ellen Emerson White

4. “Standing in the Light: The Captive Diary of Catherine Carey Logan. Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania” by: Mary Pope Osborne

5. “Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell” by: Kristiana Gregory

There are more where those came from! While I’ll admit I haven’t read EVERY SINGLE book in the original 36 book series, I’ve read most of them, and thankfully my library carried many of the books so I could read the ones that didn’t come in my subscription. As someone who has been journaling since they were six, these books spoke to my soul as a young girl, and continue to do so as a young woman.

There are also other spin-offs of this series from Scholastic that I have never read, such as My America (children’s journals), My Name is America (young men’s journals), Dear Canada, and The Royal Diaries (obviously journals written by royal young people). But I’m sure they’re just as great! ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you ever read/heard of this series before? If so, what were your favorites in the series?

Today’s Scripture meditation comes from Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7)

Have a great week ladies, and remember that you are loved and created with dignity by God! โค๏ธ

Faith Talk

The One about Trust

Image from the Bible App

Happy Saturday all!

I wanted to leave this post very brief with this image from my daily Bible Verse on the Bible App. Think on it. Pray on it. Ask God to help you trust Him, because let’s face it, we all struggle trusting God with our lives. Especially when the going is devastating and tough.

One other quote about trusting in God comes from St. Teresa of Avila, and this speaks to the heart and mind VERY MUCH right now:

โ€œ. . . it is presumptuous in me to wish to choose my path, because I cannot tell which path is best for me. I must leave it to the Lord, Who knows me, to lead me by the path which is best for me, so that in all things His will may be done.โ€

Start with the small tasks in your life you don’t want to do and offer them up to God. Be intentional with your actions, and conversations with others. Trust that God knows you better than you know yourself, and let Him guide your unpredictable life. Yes, even in the most difficult times. Remember that God is our Creator, Father, and Protector. He will give you “new strength” when you learn to love Him completely in trust.

There is nothing profound from me in this post, Iโ€™m sure youโ€™ve heard it before. But it is a reminder which we all need. What I can do is provide a song that does just that, as it serves to be a constant reminder of giving our lives to God completely. It’s so lyrically simple yet beautiful!

Also, if I can ask you all for your prayers for a very special intention right now. Things are looking every which way horrible, but I am trying not to lose faith and trust in God. I also know that prayers are the only thing I can do at this point and would appreciate yours. Thank you! โค๏ธ

Tunes on Tuesdays

Tunes on Tuesday

Happy Tuesday all!

I hope you all are having a wonderful last week of Spring (Even though it feels 100% like Summer where I’m at). I’ve decided that every other Tuesday I will be making music related posts, whether they be music suggestions, reviews, videos, etc.

Today I’ll be posting YouTube links to some of my favorite music videos. These videos all have stories within the videos which have inspired and impacted me in some way over the years. Some are just nostalgic. I hope you enjoy this post and find some videos you think are great along the way! (Note: While many of these videos are by artists mentioned in my last post, I listen to much more music than these artists but these are just wholesome and wonderful videos that just happen to be from these artists. ๐Ÿ™‚

10. “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift

Don’t judge me-I use to be a big Taylor fan in middle and high school and this was one of the first music videos that I remember falling in love with! Bringing it back to seventh grade…

9. “Ocean Eyes” (Dance Performance) by Billie Eilish

This is by far my favorite Billie Eilish song. It’s so pure, raw, and beautiful. This dance performance music video embodies all of these things wonderfully I think.

8. “Heaven Knows” by The Hunts

Siblings, their ode to Virginia, and the beautiful shots of the sea, mountains, and countryside make this music video delightful.

7. “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran

This music video and song just give you the romantic feels, and honestly its my favorite Ed Sheeran music video purely for the fact that it was filmed in Austria. โค

6. “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons

While this is an edited video of their performance at Red Rocks, this was the first Mumford song I heard and this video just gives you an idea of how fantastic and energetic their live performances are. ๐Ÿ™‚

5. “Man of the Woods” by Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake writing an album about his roots in family, home, and his wife and son= Adorable

4. “The Ballad of Cleopatra” by The Lumineers

Before you say, “Ughh 24 minutes long?” This video tells a chronological story told through six songs (“Ophelia,” “Cleopatra,” “Sleep on the Floor,” “Angela,” “My Eyes,” and “Patience”) from The Lumineers’ album “Cleopatra.” It gives you a lot to think about and evokes the feels. Take time to watch this one.

3. “Delicate” by Taylor Swift

This is such a fun, yet thoughtfully constructed video and song that I applaud Taylor for this one.

2. “Some Nights” by Fun

This is one of the most simplistically filmed, yet complicatedly topical videos I’ve watched that portrayed the love and losses from war so clearly. Definitely one video to realize the consequences and sacrifices of soldiers in war.
  1. “Pluto (Remember You)” by Beatenburg ft. DJ Clock
This is my favorite music video. Period. These cuties just make love appear fun and disorienting in just a few minutes. This is just an overall amusing and amazing video.

I forgot the daily bible verse in my last two posts so hereโ€™s our scripture for today: โ€œThe Lord is like a father to his children; tender and compassionate to those who fear Him.โ€ Psalm 103:13