Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life…WTF?!

Okay, I know I’m a thousand years late on this BUT this weekend I finally finished rewatching the entire original seven seasons of Gilmore Girls and sunk my teeth into A Year in the Life. And now I have a lot of feelings…

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Let me cut to the chase: I did not like them. I thought Rory was shitty, the drama was strained, and the whole thing seemed like a big “look who we got to come back and be in the reboot!” Especially after watching the original series literally into the new ones it was like a slap in the face – it seemed like everyone was playing at Gilmore Girls instead of being in it.

Everything just seems off. Lorelei and Rory don’t have the same chemistry, Paris is getting upset seeing (not real) Chad Michael Murray at Chilton, Sookie is eating dirt and letting Rachel Ray take over her kitchen? I just don’t buy it! It felt like a totally different world from the original seasons.

Which leads me to this very important fan theory that actually makes me feel WAY better about the whole thing: Year In the Life is the only real Gilmore Girls universe and the first seven seasons are actually the book that miserable 32-year-old Rory wrote to make her life seem way better.

Frankly, I like this theory a lot more than the idea that Amy Sherman-Palladino just wrote a really shitty and inauthentic script to make bucket loads of money ten years after the fact (even though that’s definitely what actually happened).

Anyway, I’m sure everyone is completely over this by now but I had a lot of feelings and needed to share… That is all.

Blog Roundup: Have a Romantic Weekend!

Hope you guys had a wonderful week! I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe it’s already Friday! No Valentine’s plans for me, but I’m actually really looking forward to having a creative weekend: I’m taking a writing workshop, going to the movies, and making a dent in my newest library book.

Here are a few blog-related links and some blogger industry news that’s fascinated me this week. And of course, let me know if there’s anything I missed – I seriously love putting this post together! Enjoy and have a relaxing and joyful weekend!

1. Chiara Ferragni Returns to Harvard

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Chiara Ferragni, the international blogger/street style star/designer/entrepreneur is returning to Harvard with her team to once again lecture in the Luxury Marketing MBA program. From her snaps it sounds like they focused on the ways that new platforms and fan engagement affect luxury commerce and how they transformed The Blonde Salad from a personal fashion blog to a complete fashion empire. She was one of the first really successful bloggers and has her own case study published by Harvard Business School (in case anyone is looking to get me a very unorthodox Valentine’s Day gift 😂).

I would have loved to be in that lecture and seen how they laid out their business plan. I feel like so many bloggers try to hide the fact their blog is also a business and so they don’t share their strategy and policies. This has led to a lot of confusion in the highly-unregulated blogging industry over legality, finances, and transparency, so hopefully the TBS crew can start to open up that can of worms for the benefit of everyone.

2. ‘My Child is Transgender’ on Cup of Jo

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Joanna Goddard’s blog is seriously stepping up! In the last year she has really responded to readers’ call for more diversity and social justice-oriented content. She is doing an great job at writing more inclusive posts amongst her usual style and lifestyle posts. Her voice is so intimate and she lifts up stories that are meaningful and reflect the social justice orientated readership she’s cultivated. Obviously there’s always room to do more, but she’s responding far more than any other blogger I’ve seen and she does it all while remaining authentic to her brand.

I also loved this post featuring children’s books with characters of color and her response to the November election.

3. LIKEtoKNOW.it the App?!

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Okay so this is less of commentary and more of mystery because I legit can’t find anything about this upcoming app! For those who don’t know, LIKEtoKNOW.it is a monetization tool for bloggers where followers can like an image on Instagram and then an email of shopable links is sent to that follower for them to peruse and buy their favorite items.

LIKEtoKNOW.it and RewardStyle, which are run by the Venz Box titans, have completely altered the fashion blogging landscape by giving bloggers a way to monetize their looks and get commission from recommending products. They’re like my heroes so I’m always really excited when they literally do anything – but why can’t I find any info on this app?!

I’m interested to see what the app is because so many brands and bloggers are steering away from the app thing. They’re cumbersome on the backend and require a reader to open an entirely different activity to access content, putting up another barrier to user interaction – especially when content on Instagram would show up without even trying (although that new algorithm is still getting under people’s skin).

But then you have apps like Mary Orton’s Trove, which is another shopping-centric app where you can shop directly from blog posts. So maybe apps are becoming the personal shoppers of the future? It’s obviously too early to tell, but I definitely signed up for first access to the LIKEtoKNOW.it app – I’ll be sharing once I’m in!

What’s Your Morning Ritual?

I know it’s a little late for New Years resolutions, but I’m starting to feel settled at my job and finally have more energy to dedicate to life outside work (whaaaa?). I’ve been an aspiring morning person for a long time so I picked up Laura Vanderkam’s book What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast for a little advice…

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In it she talks about using mornings to focus on personal growth through activities like exercising, writing, or meditating and sustaining them over long periods of time. She claims the benefits of morning rituals: people feel more fulfilled, have long-term career success, and are more focused and productive during the day. Her reasoning is interesting:

“Getting things down to routines and habits takes willpower at first but in the long run conserves willpower… Ultimately, self-control lets you relax because it removes stress and enables you to conserve willpower for the important challenges.”

I like the idea and, in turn, have been getting up early to write for an hour before work (almost) every day. Here’s what I’ve liked and disliked so far…

Pros

  1. I feel like a superhero! I’ve gotten up, eaten breakfast, caught up on email, and written for an hour before most people in my building are even awake.
  2. I like investing in my creative life. My job is really technical and it’s nice to still flex my artistic muscles even if its not my main focus right now.
  3. It makes me more focused at work. I’ve had a chance to brainstorm and daydream before I even get to the office so I’m not so distracted.

Cons

  1. Waking up is hard. I love sleeping, hate mornings, and it’s so easy to get derailed.
  2. Writing now feels like a chore, which duh is the point, but I’m surprised at how quickly I burned out on something I love. It make me wonder if I’m fostering my creativity or forcing it.
  3. It’s another thing to push through. Sometimes my writing goes great and I feel awesome, but other days I feel frustrated or disappointed, which is a tough way to start the day.

Looking at my list, I definitely feel like it’s worth it to keep up my writing ritual (it was actually kind of tough to come up with cons!), but it makes me wonder if I’ll eventually lose my love for it because I’m forced to do it everyday. Or will I just love it more because I do it everyday? The jury’s out.

So, I’m curious: do you have morning routines? What do you do? Is it something you love to do or something you feel obligated to do? Any tips on keeping it up? Hit me up!

9 Tips for Writing Your Thesis

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Over the summer, I wrote my master’s dissertation and, oh boy, was it tough. Writing a 16,000 word paper is one thing, but to do it basically on your own was certainly another. I’ve always struggled with setting my own deadlines and sticking to them, so this was like self-discipline boot camp! I finished the whole thing in late August and I learned so much about how to accomplish long-term writing projects and picked up some tricks that helped me along the way.

Since I know many are in the throes of thesis writing season, I thought I’d share what worked for me in case that might be helpful to anyone out there. And to those taking on a thesis – you can totally do it! I never thought of myself as a serious writer, but I just took it a day at a time and worked hard and was so proud of myself by the end. You’ll get there, I promise!

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1. Start somewhere. I’ll admit it – I can be a little bit of perfectionist. But this can be so paralyzing when you’re starting a longterm writing project. I often feel like if it isn’t just right, I can’t write anything! But take a step back and remember it’s easier to edit something that already exists than think of something completely new. Also, a glass of wine helps if you need to relax.

2.Don’t fight your work habits. I’ve always heard that writing in the morning is the way to go because you’re distraction free, but I’m a huge night owl and could never get myself motivated in the morning. I was always beating myself up if I didn’t write right away or I couldn’t focus first thing. Eventually, I let myself fall into writing at a later time slot, which comes more naturally to me, and felt sooo much better. Don’t believe the hype – you do you.

3. Set boundaries for yourself. This became really important towards the end of my dissertation when I had an endless list of edits to make. I was driving myself crazy with guilt about leaving things undone. So I started setting myself boundaries: when I was done for the day, I was done. I would turn on Netflix, cook dinner, have a glass of wine, and let myself relax. As my advisor said, “There will always be changes”, so give yourself some time off too.

4. Get an editor. I had a really great experience doing this in undergrad because we had a Writing Center (which I actually worked at, too). I had an awesome tutor (thanks, Mary!) who I met with every week who read through my work, gave me feedback, and helped me talk through my ideas. It was seriously the best thing I could have done – it held me accountable for working between deadlines, allowed me to express any frustration, and generally improved my writing a ton.

5. Time yourself. This is an exercise I started doing whenever I was just not feeling it: set a timer for 30 minutes and set yourself a small goal, such as “find quotes to substantiate this point” or “edit your introduction”. Setting myself smaller goals and feeling the pressure of being timed helped me get the ball rolling and more often than not, I found myself working past the 30 minutes and really digging into whatever I was doing.

6. Plan out tomorrow before you finish today. Because my paper was so long, I always found myself struggling with picking up where I left off the day before. What argument was I trying to make? What edits did I need to make to this paragraph? So, I started making myself a to-do list for the next day before I finished that day’s work. I would include specific notes or short outlines to help ease myself into the next day. It was hard to push myself that last bit everyday, but it made me so much more efficient.

7. Use online resources. Two electronic resources that are invaluable: electronic copies of your most used texts and the Self Control app. I had both a physical and digital copy of my main primary source, so I could jot down notes while reading and search for quotes that I couldn’t quite put my finger on (lifesaver). I also used the Self Control app, which puts certain websites on a blacklist for a length of time, so when I was doing my 30 minute timed exercises I couldn’t just troll Facebook or Pinterest, instead. It’s a great tool for those addicted to social media, like me.

8. Talk to your classmates. This is particularly important if you are not in class while you’re writing – go get a coffee or a beer with your classmates and vent. DO IT. Even if you don’t know them very well or you’re exhausted from writing all day, just go. Isolation can become a major problem for long term writers so go be amongst other people who really get what you’re going through. It will help so much.

9. This project doesn’t define you. This is probably the most important one. This project isn’t you or your self worth, it’s just a project. I know it can seem like the biggest thing in the world (because it is in your world), but remember that it will end eventually and you will still be the amazing, intelligent person that you are, no matter the result. Just focus on your own personal growth and be proud of yourself for even taking it on. Let the rest go.

Love or Hate: The Neon Demon

Last week, my friend, Aoife, invited me to see an early screening of the movie The Neon Demon. I was excited to see a sharp critique of the modeling industry and beauty culture from the director of Drive. But what started as an interesting commentary ended up being something entirely different…

Warning: there are a few spoilers in this post – if you’re planning on subjecting yourself to this film then don’t read any further! Just know you’ve been warned.

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Introducing… My Master’s Dissertation!

For those of you who don’t know, I’m currently writing my master’s dissertation here at Trinity College Dublin. Just me and 15,000 words all summer… soooo fun… The whole thing has been pretty solitary, which can be tough for me, so I wanted to share some of what I’ve been reading/thinking about/procrastinating with all of you.

Before you start rolling your eyes, I am not writing my dissertation on like 15th century clay pots or the habits of bug mating in South America (although I would probably still read a blog about that). I’m writing about social media, female sexuality, and young adult literature – more specifically, the way social media is used to shame and harm young women who either partake in consensual sex or are raped. So like pretty heavy stuff, right?

And I guess for me, the most important part of writing about this academically is to be able to talk about and share the things that I’m reading and discovering. Because as great as it will be to have another feminist piece of academic criticism on the books, that doesn’t necessarily start the conversation I want to have.

Since writing about my weird email experience (here), I have been completely inspired to make my blog a place of actual real conversation. It was so amazing to feel a sense of solidarity and real talk on the internet instead of trolling and tearing each other down and I want to keep that up. That doesn’t mean everything has to be heavy all the time (I’m sure there will be a fair share of silly/excited/fun posts as well) but I’m really trying to steer myself in the direction of my genuine opinions, which will also be a journey for myself as a person/writer.

SO with all that said, please feel free to give me real/candid/anonymous/whatever makes you comfortable comments on any of this stuff because the blog is just another page on the internet without you…

Now back to the main event!

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Above are just a few of the many books I’ll be reading for my dissertation, including my three primary texts Asking for It by Irish author Louise O’Neill, Gossip Girl the series that inspired the TV show by Cecily Von Ziegesar, and Good Girls by Laura Ruby. All three, in different ways and at varying degrees of technological advancement, deal with young women be criticized for sexual acts (consensual or not) on the internet.

Asking For It is by far the most recent, published in 2015, and is also the roughest one to read both in terms of sexual violence and patriarchal bullshit. Good Girls also has its fair share of infuriating moments, but promises more resolution and female solidarity than the others. Gossip Girl, I was surprised to learn, is rather different than the TV show, but is still packed with drama, nonetheless.

I have gotten several eye rolls/questioning looks from librarians as I’ve checked these out, so I would like to take a second to defend my choice in academic literature: These are books people read outside of school. Girls read them when they’re 13, adults read them to regress a little at night, people read books like these without an academic lens. But I think it can be dangerous to leave books that are widely consumed by culture (and particularly by young women) completely unexamined. What are these books really saying? Are they empowering or puritanical? Do they show girls that sex is a natural right or something to be feared? I’m not sure yet – that is kind of the point of all this. But I’m not content to let these books be tossed aside by academia simply because they are intended for young women.

As I go through this writing process, I’ll be sharing bits and bobs of what I’m researching hoping that someone else will find it interesting, too. And as a way of keeping my own sanity as I dive into the pits of patriarchal hell.

So let me know what you think! Have you read any of these? What else should I be reading? Seriously, recommendations would be incredibly, amazingly helpful because the internet is a deep dark place… Thanks so much y’all!

Weekend Roundup: Happy Earth Day!

This week has been totally crazy cause I’m in training for my new job (which I talked a little bit about earlier) – I’m learning many marketable skills such as hanging up sparkly dresses and strategic ways to stand above objects while I photograph them. It’s unexpectedly exhausting though, so I have been minimally productive in other regards (aka my essays due in like a week and a half 😳). Planning on holing up at Bailey Bar’s outdoor patio this weekend with a glass of white wine and about 5 books on French existentialism… Hit me up for good times.

In other news, happy Earth Day! We were #blessed with beautiful weather today and I took a lovely walk home from work in celebration. Keep up the good work, pretty lady!

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And here are a few gems from around the interwebs, if you’re looking for a little procrastination…

The best tribute to Prince yet. (Also, Kiss is on repeat this weekend 😭)

When you explain ‘goals’ to a grammar guru

These illustrations are totally my vibe… even if they are just for candles lol

You know you’re a goddess when Zac Posen designs your showgirl costumes and you can get away with naming your burlesque show Strip Strip Hooray! 

Rocking out/getting v nostalgic for high school thanks to this cover. (This whole album is hilarious.)

That’s all from me for now – have a great weekend, chickadees!