What I’ve Watched For Every Mood I’ve Had In Quarantine

Wow guys! Are we all so sick of quarantine? I know I am. BUT – I feel moderately optimistic. It’s basically summertime, things are slowly opening back up (which I’m nervous about but also cautiously excited for), work has kept me nice and busy, and I’d just rather focus on the good and fun parts of it all.

We all know quarantine has had its ups and downs. I’ve had real low moments of intense loneliness while I miss my friends and family, and sadness while I feel like all the things that make life fun (read: bars, restaurants, concerts, parks, travel) are temporarily on hold. I’ve also had moments where I’ve felt pretty happy with how I’ve been able to spend my time. Through it all, I’ve kept up a consistent stream of entertainment (look, don’t lie, we’re all watching more TV right now and I live alone so I need it more than others.) So I thought it would be fun to share all the things I’ve been watching, based on the moods I’ve been in during this quarantine!

Note – this doesn’t include the movies I’ve been watching as part of my movie review series on Instagram.  

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When I was ready to laugh my ass off:

For all the times I was in a great mood and wanted to keep the party going, I usually put on one of these options for a guaranteed crack-up.

Schitts Creek – The Rose family’s riches-to-rags journey is that of comedic GOLD. I can never decide what’s funnier, David’s physical humor or Moira’s pronunciation of “baby” (read: bey-bey.) The number of times I laugh out loud at this show is astonishing, and I will literally never be able to “fold in” any ingredient in a recipe ever again without saying “FOLD. IN. THE. CHEESE, DAVID!”

Brooklyn Nine Nine – I’ve got to be honest, I was never a huge Andy Samberg fan. I thought he was good on SNL but never gave him much thought. But so many people recommended this show to me, knowing my love for Parks & Recreation and The Office, so I tried it and quickly got hooked. It’s great. Andy is very funny, but the real comedic gem is the character Captain Holt who delivers some of the funniest & unexpected one-liners I’ve ever heard.

Chris D’Elia’s No Pain – Do I need to explain further? He’s hysterical! I watched the comedy special he dropped on Netflix, then immediately watched all the others ones he’s done and then moved on to re-watching all of John Mulaney’s comedy specials. They’re just so good.

 

When online dating wasn’t quenching my thirst for romance:

When quarantine first started I was highly amused with what was going on with my dating apps (you can read about it here) but as time went on I got really bored. I missed all the things that happen when you meet & fall for someone IRL, so I filled the void by watching it happen on screen.

Outlander Ohhh boy. This show. The things it’s done to me. Wow. I knew nothing about Outlander except that it kept showing up on my “recommended for you” list on Netflix. So one night at about 9 p.m, I was like “I’ll try it out and watch one episode.” 12 hours later I had pulled an all nighter and watched almost the entire first season because IT WAS SO GOOD I COULDN’T TEAR MY EYES AWAY. It has everything I could ever hope for: The 1700’s (my favorite time period to learn about), foreign scenery and accents (hi, Scotland is a dream), danger and strategy, really hot Scottish men in kilts, and a truly legendary romance. Unsure if I’ll ever be able to fall in love ever again because I highly doubt anyone will ever measure up to Jamie Fraser.

Jane the Virgin – A lot of people think this show is cheesy and ridiculous. And honestly? It is. But that’s kind of the point! It’s meant to mimic and even mock cheesy, preposterous, almost nauseatingly romantic telanovelas. I like it because it has lovable & relatable characters, dramatic love triangles, and this element of magical realism that makes it feel like you’re watching a romantic daydream come to life onscreen.

 

When I missed being with my friends:

Sometimes I just really missed the feeling of being surrounded by buddies…

New Girl – I swear, this is the only show that has ever made me wish I had roommates. Can you imagine how entertaining it would be to live with Schmidt, Nick, Jess, and Winston? There’s always some weird, hilarious thing going on and you’d be right in the center of it. For someone who lives alone, that sometimes sounds really fun.

The Bold Type – I love the #girlpower in this show, and I love watching the friendship between the three main characters because it’s pretty reflective of the honest, silly, supportive, no-bullshit friendships I have with my own girlfriends.

How I Met Your Mother – Ahhh, a classic. I’ve revisited this show so often over the years that I feel like these characters are old friends of mine.

 

When I needed an excuse to ugly cry:

Modern Love – Each episode tells a different story of love, both romantic and not. It does this amazing job of showing you how love is complicated, beautiful, wonderful, and terrible all at once. Every story is so moving that I find myself weeping by the end of each episode.

Someone Great – This movie really gets me right in the feels, I’ve watched it several times when I just need to emote. The main character breaks up with her boyfriend of 9 years after deciding to move across the country for a job (#relatable, lol) and enlists her two best friends to join her for a day of adventure in New York while she starts to deal with her heartbreak. This movie came out around the same time I went through my very similar breakup and I remember being so taken aback at how accurate it all felt. It so truthfully depicts falling in love, staying in a relationship you’ve outgrown, experiencing a heart-wrenching breakup, and beginning to move on. Even if you can’t immediately identify with any of those things, it has this way of really getting you there mentally. I found myself crying for the past version of myself going through all of that. I also found myself crying out of gratitude for all the incredible friendships I have that get me through whatever heartbreak I’m dealing with, which is also something this movie perfectly exemplifies.

Alright! That’s it! Back to re-watching Outlander. What are you all watching during quarantine?

The 5 Best Things I Did For Myself in 2019

Ahhh, a new year. So much promise, so much excitement, a brand new fresh start! I love it. I’m doing a lot of looking forward in the new year, but with resolutions also comes reflecting. 2019 was such a whirlwind of a year, it had so many ups and downs, but ultimately it was one of the best years of my life. So, I’m sharing the 5 best things I did for myself in 2019.

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***Also, yes. I know we’re already halfway through the month. I still haven’t sent my Christmas cards and honestly, it will happen when it happens. Doing my best people!

1. Aggressively Pursued my Professional Interests & Goals

I was busy af in 2019. I wanted this year to be the last one I spent feeling like I was waiting to choose a concrete path, so I worked tirelessly to make big moves in all of my professional interests. I worked 40 hours a week at a veterinary hospital, took a microbiology class to complete my pre-requisites toward vet school, and applied to veterinary school once more (and on the 31st I got notified I’ve been selected for an interview at one of my top choices – talk about a way to end the year!) On my days off, I worked as a freelance content creator, food stylist, and photographer. In whatever free time I had, I made content for this blog. More often than not in 2019 I did some form of work 7 days a week. Was it exhausting? Sometimes. But here’s the thing – I ended the year in a new role that’s honestly a dream come true in an industry that I’ve been wanting to enter for years. If I end up getting into vet school, that’s also a huge accomplishment whether I choose to go or not. I have options, and really good ones at that. Hard work pays off!

2. Laser Hair Removal

Everyone has things about their appearance they wish they could change. I know this, and I’ve worked hard to be more accepting and loving of the body I was given, imperfections and all. But I also believe there are certain things you simply don’t have to “just live with”. For me, the course, dark, Italian hair in unwanted areas was not something I wanted to fret about any longer. I was sick of constantly tweezing, waxing, checking in the mirror, and feeling generally self-conscious. So I got laser hair removal. After ONE visit, my problem areas are almost completely clear and I have a newfound confidence. Such a simple process with so much payoff.

3. Said “Yes” to Almost Every Single Invite

I made so many wonderful new friends, connections, and memories in 2019 and it’s because I pushed myself to say yes to almost every invite I received. I went to dinners, professional events, parties, out for drinks, to sporting events, first dates, you name it. Sometimes I really didn’t want to go. Sometimes I was feeling tired, or lazy, or I didn’t have anything to wear, or I was anxious about a new setting with new people. But I can’t name a time where I didn’t have a blast, and I feel like I’m really developing a solid community here in Raleigh.

4. Knew When To Say When

I said goodbye to a lot in 2019. I ended a 7 year relationship and exited a field I’ve been working in for 4 years. Change can be difficult, and letting go of certain hopes & plans for the future is not easy. But staying in jobs or relationships that aren’t right for you any longer is harder. When you’re honest with yourself about what you want, need, and deserve it allows you the chance to actually find those things. I didn’t settle, I knew when to identify if something wasn’t right any more, and I stepped away from things that weren’t serving me in building the life I want.

5. Stuck to a Budget

Budgeting is my favorite adult task, hands down. Some day soon I’ll do a post explaining what I use to budget and how it’s been so absolutely life changing. For now, I’ll just say this: sticking to a budget in 2019 made me a more intentional consumer, it made travel more fun (because I was less anxious about what it was setting me back), it allowed me the flexibility to go out and enjoy myself with friends, it enabled me to be more generous, allowed me to finally save up enough to upgrade my DSLR camera, and I was even able to considerably save for more long term goals (like buying a house and getting a dog)!

 

How To Throw A Harry Potter Movie Night

My parents are top notch, but they failed me in one major way.

None of my birthday parties were ever Harry Potter themed.

I KNOW, right?! It just seems like the worlds biggest oversight on their part. Would I ever have rebelled as a teenager if I had gotten a snitch shaped birthday cake even once?! Something to think about. The world will never know. 😉

Anyway, I’m sure it surprises no one that the idea of hosting any Harry Potter themed get-together sounds like heaven to me. I’ll probably overcorrect from my failed childhood (lol, kidding) and make every one of my future kids’ birthday parties Harry Potter themed. My hypothetical wedding might have some Potter-ish aspects to it. Today, though, we’ll start with an admittedly lower stakes kind of party: a movie night.

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Throwing a Harry Potter movie night is kind of like…duh. What better way to celebrate than by watching 1 or 2 of your favorite Potter films with some friends? It doesn’t take a ton of expertise to pull off, but I thought it would be fun to share how I did it.

The Guest List

First things first? Knowing who to invite. My ideal guest list for a Harry Potter movie night is a bunch of already established fans (or at least people who know the story and appreciate the franchise). If you have a bunch of non-Potterheads on the guest list, you run the risk of a few things happening: 1) they won’t appreciate the little details and extra efforts you made as a hostess, 2) you might have to stop the movie(s) to explain things to them (annoying), 3) playing themed games might be less fun for them, and 4) they will probably hate it when you and your other Potterhead guests recite the very famous lines along with the movie (when I went to the Hollywood Bowl to watch Sorcerer’s Stone, literally every single person in the amphitheater recited the line “she NEEDS to sort out her priorities ” at the same time and I was so happy I almost passed out).

The Decorations

For any kind of organized gathering, it’s best to have some sort of decorations set up. If it were closer to Halloween, I might’ve thrown up some spider webs or brought out some skulls and potion bottles. Since it’s the middle of summer however, and I really didn’t want to go digging through my holiday decorations, I chose to go a more classy, subtle route. Flowers are always a must for me. I stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up some dark red blooms, golden mums, calla lilies (a subtle homage to Lily Evans!) and eucalyptus for dirt cheap. The rich, moody colors and greenery went well together and were so on theme.

Candles are also a requirement for any HP themed event, preferably tall tapers with either black or gold holders. For me, candles helped set the mood with some medieval vibes and warm tones.

I like displaying quotes, especially since Harry Potter has so many good ones! So I used my letter board to showcase a silly, well known quote that guests were bound to recognize.

If there’s ever an appropriate occasion to bring out some souvenirs you might have from the Universal Studios Wizarding World, it’s this. I happened to save a few boxes from Honeydukes that I strategically placed about. They were obvious, but not over the top in your face, so they worked. You can also order these or download printables from the internet!

Finally, with a little more time I would have loved to hang some Hogwarts acceptance letters with fishing line from the ceiling in my entryway, so it resembled this scene & so guests felt like they were entering a little realm of magic right away! Next time, for sure.

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The Food

Obviously, the menu is crucial. Most of the food mentioned in Harry Potter are types of sweets. Luckily, it being a movie night, sweets are definitely appropriate. It took no effort at all to set out some jelly beans to resemble Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans, & chocolate coins to look like big galleons (wizard currency). I even made Fizzing Whizbees, a popular candy from Honeydukes, which couldn’t have been easier (you just add melted chocolate and Pop Rocks to a bumblebee candy mold, freeze, and serve). 

No movie night is complete without popcorn, and no bowl of popcorn is complete without m&m’s sprinkled throughout. I chose to put out a big bowl of popcorn and surrounded it with smaller bowls of m&m’s separated in the colors of the four Hogwarts houses. Guests can prepare their own personal bowls and choose the m&m’s that represent their own house. It’s fun to see how all your friends have been sorted! 😉

Not everyone has as big of a sweet tooth as me, so I always think it’s a good idea to set out at least one savory option. An easy flatbread or a moody cheeseboard are perfect candidates.

Finally, every event needs a signature cocktail! I set up a mini martini bar so that guests could make their own Voldemortini (which is really just a dirty martini). So easy and so fun!

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The Games

Whether or not games are needed depends on your crowd and your preference. Some people just want to get right to watching the movies, and I respect that! But if you have time to kill, or you’ve all seen the movies 100x and can afford to play/chat as you watch, consider a game of Harry Potter themed Trivial Pursuit. Or Harry Potter Clue. Or make up hilarious drinking game rules! “everyone takes one drink every time Ron says “bloody hell!”

The Movies

Nobody asked my opinion, and everyone has a different answer for this, but my definitive ranking of the Harry Potter films are as follows:

  1. Sorcerer’s Stone
  2. Deathly Hallows Part 1
  3. Prisoner of Azkaban
  4. Chamber of Secrets
  5. Deathly Hallows Part 2
  6. Order of the Phoenix
  7. Half Blood Prince
  8. Goblet of Fire

So, that’s my recommendation. It’s probably best to take a vote on what movie(s) your specific group wants to watch. Recently, when my family was tasked with choosing a movie to watch together, we came up with a bracket system and everyone had to make spirited speeches for the movies they wanted considered. Choosing the movie became as fun as watching the movie itself!

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There ya have it! Honestly, the most important thing is to have fun and try not to cry an embarrassing amount when you see the golden trio together for the first time in Sorcerer’s Stone. I know, easier said than done.

Thanks for reading!