Monthly Archives: October 2017

How to Live Fall AF: 10 Fall Activities

10 Fall Activities For When You Can’t Think Of Anything Else To Do

Halloween is Tuesday! This is one of my favorite times of the year (in an extremely close tie with Christmas time), and I can’t believe that it’s almost over! I started to feel like I hadn’t done anything fall-related. So, I came up with 10 things for me to do this fall to get in the spooky spirit. Keep reading to find out what they are!

1.Get outside and take cute pictures of the fall colors!

I mean, I think that it’s obvious that I absolutely LOVE photography! But what isn’t obvious (or is it?) is that I love taking landscape pictures. I find it super relaxing to just be by myself and capture the environment around me, and when that environment consists of beautiful fall oranges and reds and yellows, it makes me so happy!

2.Go antiquing!

Not a lot of people know this, but there is at least one antique shop in every state. (At least, I think there is…) Every time that I ride through a cute small town somewhere, I see one of these shops. And I’ve always wondered what it would be like to go in and browse the immense history of other people’s old stuff. 🙂

3.Take a “wrong” turn and just drive.

When it comes to taking road trips, my philosophy is that there are no “wrong” turns. If I’m out to drive, then I am out to drive all over the place. So, when it comes time to leave your worries behind, do so in a place you’ve never been.

4.Go to a Renaissance Faire (or other fall festival).

The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire is such an amazing display of artistic venture! My fiancé and I went to the Faire this weekend with his family, and we had an absolute blast. Check out the pictures below to see what we were doing there!

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5.Go to a Halloween party (and actually dress up).

This one doesn’t sound hard at first, but not a lot of people actually dress up when they go out to bars or parties during Halloweekend.

IMG_1627Like come on guys, don’t you want to be fun? Here’s what my sisters and I dressed up as when we went out on Friday night:

 

6.Visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch!

This one sounds lame and basic, but it’s honestly kinda nice – especially if you bring along some kids. I went to Milburn Orchards, which is an apple orchard near where I live. My fiancĂ© and I walked around the market they have, and it was really cute. We ended up getting apple cider (duh) and some apple cider DONUTS – something Milburn is famous for. They’re delicious.

7.Build a fort in your house and watch movies under it!

When I was a little kid, my sisters and cousins and I used to build forts in the house ALL THE TIME. It was so much fun to push some couches and chairs together, cover everything in a blanket, and stash some pillows, books, and food in there. I could honestly spend hours reading in a fort (even as a 22-year-old adult).

8.Watch your favorite Halloween movie (scary or family-friendly).

My favorite Halloween movie Hocus Pocus, which is very family-friendly. I don’t do scary movies a lot anymore because I watched Saw and pretty much died. But Hocus Pocus will always be my OG fave.IMG_1602

9.Make DIY fall decorations (for Halloween or Thanksgiving or just for fall festivity with the different fall colors).

I don’t do this as much as I would like to (which is Internet code for I don’t every do this). I want so badly to be one of those people who crafts a bunch of DIY Halloween/fall decor, but I don’t have the time! If I did have that kind of time on my hands though, my room would definitely be decked out in webs and spooky-ness!

10.Make fall- or Halloween-themed snacks!

Who doesn’t love snacks? I mean, snacks are the backbone to our society. And Halloween snacks? Forget about it! I would love to make this Halloween Bark (recipe courtesy of Family Fresh Meals). It looks so decadent and delicious! And don’t forget about the drinks (courtesy of The Wholesome Dish)!

Whatever you’re doing this fall, make sure to do it with the people you care about. None of my most favorite Halloween/fall memories happened while I was alone. I hope you guys get a chance to try some of these ten ideas, and if you do, please share pictures of them with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest!

‘Flatliners’: Why It Isn’t Crap Like Everyone Thinks It Is

No one who is alive knows for certain what happens to us after we die. Through religion and science, we who are among the living can speculate, but to truly know requires one thing only – dying.

The new Flatliners movie expands upon that concept. A group of five medical students – Courtney (Ellen Page), Ray (Diego Luna), Marlo (Nina Dobrev), Jamie (James Norton), and Sophia (Kiersey Clemons) enter into the world of the afterlife through an experiment that Courtney initiates. They stop their hearts for a minute to three minutes (depending on the person) and then are resuscitated after they experience the beyond.MV5BMTExMTk2ODk0NDNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDMxNTExNjIy._V1_UY1200_CR80,0,630,1200_AL_

I went into this movie blind; I had never (and still have not) seen the original Flatliners, and I hadn’t read any reviews on the new movie. With no prior information about what the previous movie was or what others thought about the new one, I was able to watch the film with a clean headspace. And I loved it.

The question the film wrestles with – what happens after we die – is one that humanity has been trying to answer for so long. The writers of this film use empathy, thrills, and human nature to give their audience one explanation – that there is no one explanation.

In an interview with Screen Rant, Ellen Page said that she sees Courtney’s afterlife experience not as a stock “rush” but as an “ambiguous…brain firing” that is different for every person who dies – because we all experience different things in life.

A lot of the reviews that I’ve read in preparing to write this blog post were negative. Actually, I couldn’t find one positive review on this movie in the hour that I spent researching. What I did find, however, were a lot of comments based on the original movie. (And most of these critics contributed to the 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.)MV5BMjE1NjExOTcwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjY5Mjc0MzI@._V1_CR0,60,640,360_AL_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_.jpg

The original Flatliners was apparently not as thrilling as this 2017 version. James Norton (who plays Jamie in the new film) says in this interview that he enjoys the horror aspect of the movie. He also made the comment that this is not a “reboot or a remake” but “[their] own thing” which I completely agree with. Too many critics now are so focused on judging the present based on the past.

The actual aesthetic of the movie is beautiful. The camera follows the grad students in wide angles when they’re in the hospital – a nod to the fact that they’re on display to their superiors. It keeps close during horror shots, lurking around the corners of the set as is typical for thrilling scenes. The image quality of the movie is striking; even though there are no far-off “landscape in the distance” kind of shots, viewers can still appreciate the magic of each flatliner’s after-life experience. Courtney sees “pure energy” in the form of balls of light – something beautiful that I wouldn’t mind photographing – and Jamie rides on the back of a motorcycle with city lights streaking past him.Ellen-Page-in-Flatliners

Like I said, I loved this film for what it is – a spooky and beautiful look into the ways in which our minds react to death and loss.

Every-Day Practice: Boosting Your Photography Skills

Hey everyone! So this week, I thought I would talk a little bit about what I do to keep my photography skills in shape.

Being a photographer is just like being a musician, writer, athlete, insert other craft name here. The muscle memories that you create when you practice your skill are vital to your success. Normally, this translates into an every-day practice regimen, and photography is no different. I have to practice at it all the time – hopefully every day – in order to retain my skills and even to learn new things and get better at it.

Last weekend, I went on a trip to Kentucky with my fiance and his family. While we were there, I tried my hardest to pull my camera out at least once a day for just a few minutes to practice taking pictures of different scenes. What I found out was that practice does not make perfect.

The first picture I took of the moon (see above, left) was a lousy one. It was followed by about a billion other lousy ones, most of which were almost all black. Over the next few nights, I took more moon pictures and played around with the settings on my camera until I was able to take the better picture (see above, right). If I hadn’t taken out my camera every night to work on my craft, I wouldn’t have been messing around with the settings to find out that I needed a low ISO and high aperture with a slow shutter speed. (That’s camera-talk for settings that make me stand stick straight for a solid minute while my camera tries to catch up to the scene.)

The picture on the right isn’t perfect. In fact, I wish I was still in Kentucky so that I could pull out my camera and keep trying. What the picture does have is potential, and practicing will increase my chances of reaching that potential. So I encourage you to practice what you love every day – even if it’s just for five minutes. Whether you love to write, dance, sing, act, read, etc. – practicing can help you reach your potential.

Short Story: The Collector

What a freaking mess, Harvy thought as he leaned down to pick up the last catcher of the night. The glow from people’s dreams was overflowing from strings that held the object together. He knew that once the glow started to emanate from the catcher, hundreds of dreams had already been lost – scattered to the in-between spaces of floorboards or cracks between bedroom walls and the headboards that never fully touched them.

Bucket in hand, Harvy hung the last catcher on the nail, thankful that the head honchos at the collection agency hadn’t seen it on the ground. He’d lose his job if they found out that he had missed another one as it fell in from the sky. But how was he supposed to keep up with all of them? It wasn’t his fault that populations were growing, and the agency refused to bring on another collector. If they really want all of these dreams documented, he thought, they’d better hire another guy or give me a helping hand themselves. He chuckled at the idea of one of the stuffy old executives shuffling around the dream plane trying to mop up some of the glowing ether on the floor from forgotten or lost dreams.

“Ah well,” he said aloud to himself. “Better get on with it.” Settling the bucket on the ground beneath the catcher on the nail, Harvy ran one gloved hand down the object, pushing down the glowing substance – dreams. One by one, the dreams fell into the bucket, causing ripples as they grew in volume. He filled the bucket and then made sure there was nothing left on the catcher’s strings. When that was done, he took off the glove and discarded it into the bucket as well so that whatever dreams had been caught on the glove could be included his documentations. Harvy hated what came next.

As a collector, Harvy had a special gift that the agency was required to capitalize on. He could see the dreams of other people. And not only could he see them, but he could also remember them – document them in his brain and then regurgitate that information to the executives at the agency, if they needed him to. Though most of the time, he didn’t see anything in people’s dreams that he thought needed to be revealed. So he collected the dreams as usual and filed them away – separated them in individual bottles to be stacked on an infinite number of dusty shelves hidden somewhere in the dream plane. Only the agency, he, and the collectors in other parts of the world knew where the dreams were stored.

But none of that was what Harvy particularly detested. What he hated was the manner in which he saw dreams. In order to see dreams after they have already been dreamt, a collector has to gather the glowing substance left behind by dreams into a container – like a bucket – and then submerge his eyes in them. He had to dip his head into the bucket.

This was his 111th bucket of dreams on this particular night – his last bucket, in fact, as he had hit the boundaries of the dream plane that marked his territories. Whatever dreams lingered in the houses beyond those boundaries were someone else’s problem. For now, he would watch these dreams closely to see if he needed to document anything peculiar or interesting from them. He dipped his head into the bucket and waited for his gift to take over.

The first dream was a child’s. Harvy could tell because of the white iridescent light surrounding his frame of vision – the innocent aura of a child’s imagination. It appeared that the child was at a playground, being pushed on the swings by a woman in her thirties – a mother, perhaps? Harvy instantly felt sad, like he wanted to cry. Another part of his gift was being able to feel what the dreamers were feeling in their dream – as if it were him dreaming everything up, whether he wanted to be or not.

The second dream was short – a man eating pizza with three hands. Harvy wasn’t sure what that meant, but it hardly seemed worthy of bringing to the agency for investigation.

More and more dreams passed through Harvy’s mind, like scenes going by when you’re looking out of a car window while it’s moving. Most of them were short – more references to food, people reading or listening to music (things they might have done before bed that were still attached to their subconscious). There was the occasional risquĂ© dream, which Harvy brushed past much faster than others. There was definitely no need to share those dreams with the agency or anyone else for that matter…

At last, Harvy had reached the last dream. It started kind of slowly, with a black film over everything so that all Harvy could see was a glowing in the distance. But what he saw next really shocked him.

He saw himself. He was carrying his bucket, walking down a lane of freshly cleaned dream catchers, all with full buckets underneath of them. He reached a catcher that was almost dripping with dreams and started to complete the process that he was actually completing right now, in real time. Who dreamt this? Harvy thought, watching himself raise a gloved hand to the catcher. He started to feel panicky, which he realized was how the person who had been dreaming was feeling while they were seeing him dip his head into a bucket full of glowing stuff. The dream filtered out into new dreams, which he realized was his dream self exercising his gift right in the frame of whoever’s dream this was.

Millions of dreams poured out of the bucket and into dream-Harvy’s mind, which means that real-Harvy was seeing dreams inside of this dream. The sensation was almost too much, and his heart beat away inside his chest, faster and faster until he thought it might beat a hole into his breastplate and escape his body.

Dream-Harvy lifted his head out of the bucket and wiped at the crust in his eyes – a side effect that happened to real-Harvy after watching dreams (as if he had been sleeping while collecting). Suddenly, a mirror was in front of his field of vision. As he looked into it, he saw someone – the dreamer – looking back at him. It was a girl, barely 13 years old, with raven hair and icy blue eyes. She lifted a finger and pointed at him, as if she could see him, too.

Finally, the dream was over. Harvy panted as he lifted his head out of the glowing bucket. What just happened? What the hell was that? He thought that he definitely needed to take this one to the agency. He took out a bottle from the stash that collectors used for emergencies like this and sifted the dream into the bottle. This is the most exciting thing to happen to me all day.

When he arrived at the agency headquarters, he was surprised to find that they were expecting him. He was ushered into a conference room, where he sat for about fifteen minutes before there was finally a knock on the door. He stood as an executive entered, followed by a girl with raven-colored hair.

It was her. She was the girl from the mirror. He stared at the bottle he had placed on the long conference table. The girl looked at it and then at him without saying a word. She looked confused and scared.

“Harvy,” the executive said, “this is Yessie. She’s our new collector and your new trainee.”

Yessie gave him a small smile and asked, “You’re the guy from my dream, aren’t you?”