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Monday, January 30, 2017

Playlists for the Ladies of Hamilton

I recently downloaded Spotify (late to the game, I know) and immediately started making playlists based on the ladies of Hamilton. I decided to center them around Eliza, Angelica, and Maria Reynolds as the three female characters with the strongest aesthetics. I'm still crafting them (and honestly don't know enough non-musical theatre music), so if you have suggestions for songs to add to any of them, please leave them in the comments below!

Eliza Schuyler | and my heart went boom 
Eliza's playlist is centered around cute love songs and that helpless feeling when you're falling for someone. It's the happiest and lightest of the three playlists.


Angelica Schuyler | i will never be satisfied 
I decided to make Angelica's playlist a collection of girl power jams, sprinkled with a few songs that hint at her complicated relationship with Alexander Hamilton. If you need to pump yourself up, this is the one to choose! 


Maria Reynolds | someone under stress meets someone looking pretty 
For Maria, I chose sultry songs and anything that hints at being a mess or going after a guy that you shouldn't. I know that this is going to become my playlist for when I'm doing my makeup to get ready to go out to a party.

Friday, January 27, 2017

My Jane Austen Favorites!

To round out my content this week celebrating the anniversary of Pride and Prejudice on Sunday, I wanted to share some of my Jane Austen favorites. I'll admit that I'm unfamiliar with Persuasion and Mansfield Park, so this will be based on her other four novels.

Favorite Cad: Mr. Willoughby 

While Wickham and Frank Churchill have little more than their good looks to recommend them, I always thought that Willoughby was absolutely dreamy. He can quote Shakespeare's Sonnets, he's funny, and he carries Marianne home in the rain when she sprains her ankle? If it weren't for his mercenary ways and tendency to ghost girls, he would be perfect.

Favorite Mean Girl: Isabelle Thorpe 

While Caroline Bingley may be the iconic mean girl, Isabelle Thorpe is much worse because she's so much more convincing in trying to befriend Catherine. She's also incredibly entertaining in her scandalous ways and has some of the funniest remarks.

Favorite Sibling Relationship: The Bennet Sisters

While the Dashwood sisters are lovely, there's no one as iconic as the Bennet sisters. Whether it's in the original book or the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I think the true focus of Pride and Prejudice is always the relationship between them.

Favorite Relationship: Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley

I've always preferred Jane and Bingley's relationship to Darcy and Elizabeth's (likely because I'm such a non-confrontational person). I love the idea that they're smitten as soon as they meet and are only ever pulled apart by outside forces. And it's a lovely idea that the guy who ghosts you might one day return to sweep you off your feet. I love how much Bingley unapologetically admires Jane...and isn't afraid for anyone to know.

Favorite Heroine: Emma Woodhouse

While Jane Austen thought that no one would ever love Emma Woodhouse, I've loved her since I first read Emma when I was thirteen. Emma is delightfully flawed, but always has the best of intentions. I identify with her need to try to take care of her friends and unfortunate inability to see when she's wrong.

Favorite Hero: Mr. Knightley 

While Mr. Tilney and Mr. Bingley both were serious contenders for this, after Emma Approved there could be no question about who my favorite Austen man was. Knightley is supportive, intelligent, and kind in addition to being an attractive and successful man. He always wants what's best for Emma, but he's not afraid to tell her when she's being unkind. He'll always have my heart.

Who are your Austen favorites? Do you agree or disagree with mine? Let me know in the comments down below. x

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Happy Birthday Pride and Prejudice!

In honor of Pride and Prejudice's birthday, I filmed a little video rambling about how much I love it and giving some suggestions (YouTube series! books! places!) for other people who love it as much as I do.

Monday, January 23, 2017

An Ode to Jane Bennet

This week, in order to celebrate the anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, I decided to do some Jane Austen themed content. Jane Austen is absolutely my favorite of the classic authors and I feel like so much of my growth as a teenage girl (and even now) was based on her characters. I've gotten to know her characters through books, movies, and Pemberley Digital YouTube series. This month, I've been rereading Pride and Prejudice and it never fails to impress me how her stories and especially the people she created have withstood the test of time.

As a young girl, I idolized Elizabeth Bennet as most young girls do. I may write an entire post at some point about how I transitioned from admiring and trying to emulate characters like Elizabeth Bennet and Jo March to recognizing that it's okay to be a Jane Bennet or a Meg March. Because as time went on, I realized that I'm not the Elizabeth Bennet and nor do I want to be.


I'm not saying that I don't like Elizabeth Bennet because I do. In fact, I find myself drawn to friends who remind me of her (hi Jenna, MaryClaire, Lucy!). But in my later high school years, I realized that I'm more of a combination of Jane Bennet and Emma Woodhouse from Emma. I'm always dismayed at the reaction I get when I tell people that Jane Bennet is one of my favorite female characters of all time.

I'd like to make an argument for why Jane Bennet is an incredibly lovely person that young women should want to emulate.

She is so kind.
One of Jane's main characteristics is that she is kind in a very live-action Cinderella way. She thinks of others' feelings, is sympathetic to her younger sisters, always listens to Lizzy's troubles, and endures her mother better than any of the rest of the Bennet girls. She is arguably the only character in all of Pride and Prejudice who never hurts someone else. Shouldn't we all aspire to that?

She is nice without losing her ability to stand up for herself.
Jane isn't without a sense of humor or a backbone. While she sees the best in everyone, she also is willing to admit that Caroline Bingley is a snake by the end of the book. One of my favorite lines in all of Pride and Prejudice is in Chapter XVII when Jane tells Elizabeth, "Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of his opinion." (And, for the record, she's right that Mr. Darcy isn't as terrible as Wickham says he is.)


She is so much more than beautiful. 
I admire how Jane deals with her beauty for she doesn't let it define her, but she also doesn't contradict it. I think that many girls we see in the media aren't allowed to accept a compliment to their looks, which is a terrible thing to teach young women. Jane never contradicts her mother's comments about her looks, but she also focuses on being kind.

She has great taste in guys (trust me). 
In my opinion, Mr. Bingley is a much better choice than Mr. Darcy. Shocking? I know. But, let's be honest, the Darcys of the world are actually just brooding guys who think they're too cool to call you back. I appreciate Bingley's open admiration, honesty, and good naturedness more than Darcy's temperament regardless of how nice Pemberley is.

Do any of you love Jane Bennet as much as I do? Who is your favorite Jane Austen character? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter! x

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Year in Review | Goodbye 2016!

2016 has been quite a year! It was both one of the best years of my life and one of the worst years. I saw an incredible amount of Broadway shows, I spent my first summer in New York, and I made wonderful new friends. I also got my heart broken and my little sister was sick and in the hospital for a few months. It's been a bit of a trying year and I'm hoping that 2017 will be a year of thriving in comparison.

I loved Louise Pentland's Year in Review post, so I wanted to write a little one of my own for sentimental reasons. Let me know how your year was in the comments! x

January 



I started off the year by taking the most amazing class ever: a sociology course about Disney Parks and happiness. I got to spend a week in DisneyWorld and a week in Disneyland with people that I still consider to be among my best friends. I got to visit the actual Walt Disney Studio in Burbank, hold one of Walt Disney's Academy Awards, and talk to the chairman of the company. I feel so blessed that I got to share this experience with such lovely people who I am so grateful to have in my life.

February



February saw a return to campus and a return to making content for my blog and YouTube channel. (My camera roll is mostly full of Hamilton Valentines Day memes.) I received a response to a letter that I had sent to Lin Manuel Miranda and I'll never forget crying at my mailbox when I saw his signature on it.

March



March saw me doing a lot of studying outside and appreciating the sunshine. My family spent spring break in New York City, reveling in Hamilton sites and exhibits. I also got to be in "the room where it happens" and I can pinpoint the best moment of my year as the very moment that Lin Manuel Miranda walked out for his first entrance in "Alexander Hamilton." We also got to meet Daveed Diggs, who is a real life angel.

April



One of the best things about this year was my friendship with Jenna and nothing epitomizes it more than the Disney themed party we threw in April (I dressed as Princess Anna, of course). I presented my thesis research for the first time and spent an amazing day at the zoo with friends. I also fulfilled a dream of many years, one that I thought I would never feel secure enough to do, and dyed the tips of my hair pink. Thanks to Louise Pentland for the inspiration...and the confidence to do it!

May 



In May, I performed a piece of feminist poetry in French for my class and spent a lovely Mother's Day with my family. I finished off the end of my senior year and said goodbye to all my friends to move home for a couple of weeks, before my mom took me up to New York City in the final few days of May.

June 




June was the beginning of my whirlwind summer in New York. I became super close with my roommates (Kimmy, Kendal, and MaryClaire) and we had so many adventures (including a bottomless mimosa brunch on the day of Pride that proved that there is such a thing as too many mimosas). I finally saw Laura Benanti perform in She Loves Me and met Zachary Levi (for the first time). I saw other amazing shows (Bright Star! Daddy Long Legs! Laura Osnes in concert!) and had my best friend visit me. I also fulfilled a lifelong dream by seeing John Owen Jones as Jean Valjean.

July




I started off the month with an incredible Fourth of July weekend including hanging out with my friend Julie, exploring Central Park and having a picnic, and dragging my roommates to an Alexander Hamilton exhibit. I got to see a New York Pops concert, have my friend Carolyn visit me for a weekend, and go to Coney Island. Julie also introduced me to Finding Neverland, I met Jasmine Cephas Jones on the street outside the Richard Rodgers, and MaryClaire and Kendal and I had a blogger photoshoot in Washington Square Park. Highlights included meeting Bernadette Peters, going to a Ramin Karimloo concert, and doing the meet and greet at Laura Michelle Kelly's concert. Additionally, Zachary Levi recognized me and Julie the fourth and final time I stage-doored She Loves Me, so that's likely going to be my claim to fame forever.

August




As my first summer in New York was coming to a (tearful!) close, my family came up to visit me. I taught them about rushing shows and we went to Ellis Island (and more Alexander Hamilton exhibits). I also had my second time in the "room where it happens" and finally got to see the amazingly talented Chris Jackson as Washington. Then it was back home to start preparing to move back for my senior year of college.

September



In September, I started taking my favorite classes I've ever taken (History of Musical Theatre! Acting for Non-Majors!) and was reunited with my friends. I started working for Elon Tonight, my school's comedy sketch show, and found a family of amazing friends. My best friend Andrew and I threw a joint birthday party with a shared theme of "Historical Figures and Jimmy Buffett" so I fulfilled another life dream...to dress as Bonnie Parker (modeled half off her real clothing, half off Laura Osnes in Bonnie and Clyde). My family and a few friends and I also went to the screening of Miss Saigon, which made me very excited for the Broadway revival.

October



October was a month in which my life felt like it went off the rails a bit. The first weekend, I took a trip to Chicago to visit my dad's family and got to see the Hamilton marquis there! While there were some fun things, like a great Halloween party with my girl squad and being an extra on a student film set, it was also a very difficult month. My little sister was sick and I spent a good deal of time going between school and the hospital.

November



November was a great month because my sister got to come home! We had a lovely Thanksgiving with my aunt and uncle and we all had a lot to be thankful for.

December



December saw not only exam week, but editing week for Elon Tonight. We had our first Elon Tonight premiere in the theatre in our new communications building...and actually had to have two showings! I also performed "Guns and Ships" as part of my final presentation for my History of Musical Theatre class...on a real stage! Then we celebrated a lovely Christmas with our family...and got to see the Cinderella tour! Overall, December was a great month (exam week aside) to end a year that had so many ups and so many downs.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Top Five Book I Read in 2016

I didn't read as many books as I'd hoped to in 2016 (only sixteen out of my goal of twenty), but I absolutely loved some of the ones I did read. I decided to share my five favorites with you, in the order that I read them (because I couldn't possibly rank them!). I'll be tracking my reading again this year on Goodreads with the same goal of twenty books, so definitely friend me so that we can see what books each other are loving! x

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith


I held off on reading this book for years because I adore Pride and Prejudice and hate zombie movies. I had no idea that this book is actually a brilliant satire and has so many fun references for Austen fans to the original novel. The author clearly has a strong grasp on the history of Regency England and was incredibly clever in how to blend zombies in. You can read my full review here, but I thought the book was much better than the movie...even though I loved the movie!

Dream a Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher 


Giovanna Fletcher is my absolute favorite author, but her books are somewhat hard to get ahold of from the United States so I was super excited to get this one for my birthday. And it didn't disappoint in any way! A lovely story about a woman who begins dreaming about an old friend of hers she knew at university...only for him to turn up as the new hire in her office! It's also a great commentary on what it's like to remain friends with an ex and the importance of great friends. I highly recommend this book as it was definitely the best realistic fiction I read this year.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick


Before reading this book, I liked Anna Kendrick because of her hilarious Twitter account and her role in my favorite movie ever (The Last Five Years). Now? I'm obsessed with her. In the best memoir I've ever read, Kendrick reflects on her upbringing as a child actor on Broadway, her move to LA, and how she's learned to navigate Hollywood stardom. She comes across as incredibly relatable and down to earth, while also quirky (in the best sense) and honest.

Trains and Lovers by Alexander McCall Smith


This lovely little book tells the story of several passengers on a train journey who share their life stories with each other. Told in alternating perspectives, the novel is completely unlike anything I've ever read before. I picked it up in a sale bin on a whim and I'm so glad that I did.

On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher


I couldn't wait to read Carrie Hope Fletcher's first novel and it was even more amazing than I expected. A beautiful story about love, loss, death, and life, it weaves magic into the 'real' world more seamlessly than I've ever seen before. Carrie's prose is beautiful and I fell in love with every single one of the characters. If forced to choose, I would perhaps say that this is my favorite book I read in all of 2016.

Monday, January 2, 2017

17 Goals for 2017


Happy New Year everyone! I, for one, was definitely glad to tell 2016 goodbye. I have a post in the works looking back on this past year, but first I wanted to share my 17 Goals for 2017. Instead of making several New Years resolutions this year (my one resolution is to have courage and be kind), I decided to set 17 more achievable goals to be accomplished in 2017. 

One: No excess spending in the month of January. 
Between all the spending that led up to the holiday season and the amount of gifts I received for Christmas, I feel like I have no reason to buy much in January. Of course, this doesn't include food or birthday gifts for other people...and I might allow myself a cheeky movie ticket or two because I still haven't seen Rogue One or La La Land. I love this goal because it gives me something to focus on in the first month of the year!

Two: Read twenty books.
I track my reading on Goodreads (friend me!) and every year I set a reading challenge. This past year, I only read sixteen out of my goal of twenty so I definitely want to hit twenty this year. I'm starting by rereading one of my favorites, Pride and Prejudice. 

Three: Turn in my thesis. 
This month, I will be writing the majority of my 90-100 page history thesis for my honors program at university. In March, I will give a finished version to my thesis committee and by April the product of three long years of work will be finished. Cue my internal screaming.

Four: Go to the gym.
Embarrassing fact: I didn't set foot in our school's gym the entire fall. And the only time I was in the gym in my neighborhood depot building was when my roommate Brian and I walked in there after getting our mail just so that we could say we'd been in it. One of my goals is simply to go to the actual gym even once this year.

Five: Send someone a card for no reason. 
I'm fairly good at remembering to send birthday cards and I sent out a batch of holiday cards every year. But isn't the best mail when you go to your mailbox and find something you didn't expect? Maybe my head was turned by all the She Loves Me and Daddy Long Legs this year, but I want to send someone (or multiple someones!) a card or a letter for absolutely no reason this year. 

Six: Reach 300 subscribers on YouTube. 
This is the one goal I've set that seems completely unobtainable to me right now. I currently have 135 subscribers for my channel so this is asking to more than double that number in a year. As daunting as it seems, I would absolutely love to grow my audience.

Seven: Drink at least one water bottle of water a day.
I need to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I'm setting my goal low (one water tumbler a day) but hoping I'll exceed it.

Eight: Learn five dishes that I love to cook.
To be completely honest, I am lost in a kitchen. I typically avoid making dinner for myself because all I know how to make is pasta with sauce from a jar. I'm realizing that in just a few short months, I will be out on my own without a meal plan (HELP!) so I need to learn a solid five simple dishes that I can make for dinner. I would really love to cook myself dinner at least once a week during the spring semester.

Nine: Get a job/internship/fellowship.
As I graduate in May, I have to find some way to support myself after university. I'm currently looking around for jobs, fellowships, and paid internships so if you know of anything in marketing/PR/social media in New York or LA, please do let me know. (I'm particularly looking within the entertainment and theatre industries.) 

Ten: Film at least five collaboration videos for my YouTube channel.
I have loved filming videos with my friends Fletcher and Lexi and I want to do more collabs this year! Of course, I'd love to get some in with my uni friends before I graduate but who knows who I could film with when I move to a new city...

Eleven: Create a PR guide for Elon Tonight.
As I'll be passing on the role of Head of PR for the TV show I work for at my university at the end of the spring, I want to make a guide for my successor that explains everything from the social media account passwords to a working list of PR team members to how I've done everything thus far. I think the transition will be much easier if they have a handy Word document they can consult to get things started. 

Twelve: Go to an exercise class.
I always talk about how I would love to go to a SoulCycle, barre, or Zumba class and yet I never do. Since I'll hopefully be moving to a big city in the fall where they will have these classes in abundance, I want to commit to going to at least one.

Thirteen: Graduate magna cum laude.
I graduate in late May this year and thus far, I'm on track to graduate magna cum laude (the middle of the honors rankings, dependent on your GPA). I hope to achieve this, as I know that it would make all the family who are traveling to see me get my diploma proud! 

Fourteen: Post a blog post once a week for three months straight.
I'm hoping to start this one right away. I'm planning on going back to my normal schedule of two posts a week, plus one YouTube video and a weekly vlog, but I want to see if I can go three months without missing a single week. 

Fifteen: Visit a North Carolina historical site I've never been to. 
As much as I love touristy historical sites when I'm traveling, it's a shame that I haven't been to more in my own home state. I would love to go to go to Stagville Plantation or Bennett Place, but if anyone has suggestions, let me know! 

Sixteen: Work out twice a week for one month.
I know that a total of eight workouts wouldn't seem like a lot to some people, but in all the chaos of this past fall, I haven't worked out once. I'm hoping that achieving this goal would help me set a routine to continue it for many more months.

Seventeen: Try meditating every day for a week.
One of my goals for 2016 was to take better care of my mental health and I want to keep working on this in 2017. I think that I would definitely benefit from meditation so I want to find an app that I like and try doing it every day for a week to see if it works for me. 

I can't wait to start checking these goals off my list! What are your New Year Resolutions or goals for 2017? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter. x
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