0

VidCon 2017 Notes

 

I’m a little behind on my VidCon recaps (it’s almost been a month already!), but I wanted to bring you something a little different on the blog today: my VidCon notes!

I have a little notebook that I bring with me every year and fill up with notes while attending panels, but one of the worst things I tend to do is that when I get back home from VidCon, I never look at that notebook again until the next VidCon!  In order to help me process what I learned a little better this year, I thought I’d share with you the notes I took this year. Be warned, some of them don’t make much sense to me now (What did I mean by just “backlays?” We may never know.) But hopefully you can decipher some of my gibberish to gather some information if you attended different panels or weren’t at VidCon.

Enjoy!

EduTAINMENT

Moderator: Blake de Pastino (Editor in Chief – SciShow/Crash Course)
Panelists: Dianna Cowern (Physics Girl), Michael Stevens (Vsauce), Sally Le Page, Henry Reich (MinutePhysics & MinuteEarth), Brady Haran, Kim Diaz (Creative Producer – Sesame Studios)
  • What comes first? Fun or able to understand content?
    • Learning is fun by default but you can mess it up
    • Start from excitement
    • Learning yourself and sharing your experience
  • How much do you think about your audience?
    • Who you make for and who watches your content can be different
    • Science edu with 80-90% male
    • Girls under 13 excited about science but it drops off as they get older → Why? How to change this?
    • Makes for his wife (who will never watch) → Brady Haran
    • Be a good interviewer and ask the right questions
  • How do you reach people who aren’t seeking to be educated?
    • Title/thumbnail (clickbait-ish?) → Vsauce suggestion
    • We learn things all the time
    • Hard to break into the media bubble
    • People who don’t think of themselves as lifelong learners are more apprehensive
    • Teaching humanities = teaching critical thinking
  • Three Blue One Brown → a good example
  • Mental Health Content = public service + don’t be ashamed to tell people when they’re wrong

 

Transitioning Your Channel into a Full-Fledged Business

Moderator: Phil Ranta (COO – Studio 71)
Panelists: Thomas Ridgewell, Mindy McKnight, Megan Batoon, Joe Penna, Benji Travis
  • Megan Batoon (amalgam of talents, but what’s her business?)
  • Thomas Ridgewell (office + 2 employees)
  • Other Sources of Revenue
    • Patreon
    • Affiliates (recommending products/services; see Video Influencers)
    • T-shirts
    • Sponsorships
    • Speaker fees (issue-based YouTubers)
    • Selling your own brand/business
  • “Amateur needs inspiration, a professional needs discipline”
  • Common mistake for new YouTubers: getting stuck and thinking it doesn’t change; “adapt or die”
  • Clear voice and idea of who you are
  • Business vs Personal income → create a business bank account
  • Get attorney sooner rather than later
  • Find friends to help you out
  • “Am I doing what I love to do?”
  • A team sooner rather than later
  • 50/50 rule in job → pays bills/what you’re passionate about

 

Workshop: Video Production Shortcuts: How to Make Better Videos in Less Time

Presenter: Thomas Frank
  • Channel to teach college students how to learn better and get better grades
  • Thomas Frank → collegeinfogeek.com/VidCon
  • Softboxes light to wall; small LED light for face
  • Gorillapod → tripod head for all different tripods/places (makes it easier to switch out cameras/tripods/setups)
  • Remote + power strip (for quick on/off)
  • Need a “pre-flight checklist” before you shoot
  • Overhead set-up → I NEED THIS!
  • Make a b-roll list before shooting
  • Create animation templates in AE
  • “Preset Properties” → use for description
  • Ripple edit → cuts out bad and moves forward
  • Compression & EQ on audio
  • Presets in AE → select animation keyframes > animation > save as preset
  • Tools:
    • Universe – Red Giant
    • Animation Creator – Video Hive
    • FX Console – Video Copilot
    • Flow – AE Script
  • Alias → set to shorthand
  • Charisma on Command
    • What is your art? And what is your ego?
  • Frame IO → upload rough cut → make comments at time stamps
  • Build standard operating procedures list
  • Google: “Sources for Creative Commons”
  • ICG slack channel → what do you offer? Advertise and collaborate
  • MMO mouse
  • Read through Premiere shortcut keys → so many options that aren’t even assigned yet!
  • Backlays

 

Workshop: Branding Your Brand’s Brand

Presenter: Charli Marie
  • Not just how it looks but how it feels
  • Overall impression when on channel
  • What’s unique about you?
  • Who are you?
    • What is your channel mission?
    • Who is your audience?
    • What impression do you want to give through your brand?
    • What impression are people getting now from your brand?
  • ME:
    • Inspire young women to believe in themselves & follow their passion
    • 16-24 young women/students/like being creative
    • Creative/fun/inquisitive
  • Visual Identity
    • Canva/Gimp → online photo editing
    • Keep it cohesive
    • Keep it simple
    • Keep it you
    • Dribbble.com → designers
    • Write on effect in AE

 

How to Engage With Community

Moderator: Heather Wilder (Head of Creator Care – Patreon)
Panelists: Olga Kay, Trevor Moran, Ash Hardell, SuperSamStuff, Julia Nunes
  • Olga Kay → older sister/mom
  • Videos for Self / | \ Videos for subscribers (try to stay in middle ground; not too far on either side)
  • Self-moderating community
  • +1 system
  • Choose moderators from most engaged fans
  • Look up Sam (on panel) → what does he create? Smaller channel.
  • Build a family type of community
  • Consistent
  • Protect against burnout; stop just short of burning out for some?
  • Julia Nunes recommends Tessa for vlogs → “she’s the friend of vlogs”
  • What one word would describe your community?

 

YouTube in the Classroom

Moderator: Angela Lin (Head of Family & Learning Partnerships – YouTube)
Panelists: Caitlin Hofmeister (Senior Producer/Host – SciShow), Henry Reich (MinutePhysics & MinuteEarth), Destin Sandlin (Smarter Every Day), Viviane Lalande (Scilabus), Teresa Mobley

#YTClassroom

  • “Wow factor” to make them care
  • Teresa Mobley → teaching teachers how to use YT in the classroom
  • Google Classroom (?)
  • Harder to work into curriculum → balancing lifelong learner and the classroom learner
  • Show process of discovery and trick them into learning
  • “Nerd is the new awesome”
  • YouTube kids app → finding edu content on their own
  • Can’t make changes to video without re-uploading → this is a problem! Why hasn’t YT fixed this yet?
  • Watch – Know – Learn → teacher approved content (website to connect YT creators + teachers)
  • Ed Puzzle → add questions with video
  • One video = one objective
  • WeCreateEdu.com
  • Keywords that link to standards

 

Art & Online Video

Moderator: Sarah Urist Green (The Art Assignment)
Panelists: Didda, Beth Radloff (SNARLED), John Le, Jamie Wells (Visual Jamie)
  • Didda → imagination
  • INFJ → “counselor” → inspire & motivate people; “older sister”
  • Visual Jamie (Twitch)
  • Beth Radloff (Snarled)
  • Hate comments hurt most when it’s actually about your work.
  • Joshua Tree → camping
  • When work takes creativity, you will burnout/run out of creative flow

 

Hank Green & Phil DeFranco Fireside Chat

  • Not hitting the levers (for money) that they could → out of fear
  • It’s hard to launch a business, easier to launch from something
  • What’s a step between having audience and monetizing → need your own thing to make money
  • Never be beholden to one website (aka revenue source)
  • Can be fruitful to blaze your own path (when other platforms are supersaturated)
  • Patreon = safe base (because you can’t base a business on virality)
  • Still trying to innovate after all this time and to influence/motivate people
  • Less about motivation and more about discipline (Long Term Success)
  • It’s a marathon not a sprint
  • Snacked (?) → video responses

 

Search & Discovery on YouTube: Tips for Success

***Article in creator academy with this information****

**** bit.ly/YTdiscover ****

  • Audience not algorithm
  • Long term engagement and satisfaction
  • Deliver on promise of your title + thumbnail
  • Avoid over sensational/outrageous catches
  • Over 200 million videos on the home feed every day.
  1. Search → title, description, what’s in the video itself? (tags apparently aren’t super important anymore)
    1. Show best video for that query (is it relevant to keyword)
    2. Write robust descriptions
    3. Use trends in the keywords
    4. Develop a search based show (e.g. Scishow)
    5. Put misspellings in tags
  2. Suggested Videos
    1. Stronger call to action
    2. Consider sitewide popular formats
  3. Home
    1. Spend time as a viewer
    2. Put yourself in the shoes of the viewer
    3. Look at Home + Subscriptions feeds
  4. Subscribers (all areas)
    1. Ask for subs @ the emotional climax
    2. Upload when you think they’re awake (at school? work?)
    3. Educate viewers on how they’ll get videos once subbed
  5. Trending
    1. Broad mass appeal content
    2. Getting views outside of this list
    3. Try to show videos in “Trending” section before they’re trending
    4. Viral video strategy
    5. Has video in the past trended?
  6. Notifications
    1. Mobile push + email notifications (highlights)
    2. Over sending notifications can make them unsubscribe
    3. Educate subscribers
    4. Treat them as superfans (bell ringers)

 

How to Get the Most Out of Snapchat

Presenter: Shaun McBride (Shonduras)
  • Creating stories with payoffs rather than updates about your day
  • People loves series
  • Getting people involved → building something with “family”
  • Don’t overuse “shout outs” because it’s a detriment to your voice
  • Can’t go viral → you must have a plan to reach a larger audience
  • How to stand out?
    • You don’t get views from sending out your snapcode on other social media accounts
    • Get featured on internet as “person to follow on snapchat”
    • “Emails from mom” (insert silly face)
    • Snapchat wars
  • About perception rather than # of subscribers
  • Work smarter not harder
  • Create a unique strategy
  • Move to next platform (consider it like the next level)
0

The Case for Jess In Gilmore Girls

Sometimes I don’t understand how there are people who still haven’t watched Gilmore Girls (but then, there are also people who haven’t read Harry Potter, including my boyfriend *gasp*). One of my favorite creators, Tessa Violet, is one of them, and I noticed that she’s been tweeting about her experience watching the series recently and made this declaration:

Which prompted her to post this poll because the proverbial question of Gilmore Girls (despite the show’s actual intentions) was always “Who does Rory belong with?”

While the general consensus of the poll was that they were all terrible boyfriends (which, YES), Tessa was more concerned that Logan even got a few votes.

I’m like Tessa and have never quite understood so many people’s fascination with Logan Huntzberger. While the revival made it pretty clear that Logan was Rory’s Christopher, how can anyone think that’s actually a good thing when we’ve seen all the chaos Christopher has wrought in the lives of Gilmore women?

But I’m not really here to talk about Logan because there are plenty of defenders and naysayers. Instead, I wanted to address why I voted for Jess, because while I know “Team Jess” has a strong following, and again, the revival made clear the parallels of Jess and Rory to Luke and Lorelei, there are just as many (if not more) Jess haters.

First though, let me give you a little bit of background. I was in high school when Gilmore Girls was still on the air, and I found myself living the “Rory Gilmore Love Life” as my first boyfriend was rather Dean-esque in his saccharine exterior (he’s the perfect boyfriend!) with an underbelly of possessive and controlling behavior. I eventually broke up with him and ended up dating a Jess-like unstable and selfish guy. When that relationship ultimately ended in tears because he just STOPPED ACKNOWLEDGING ME, I fled back to the Dean-esque “First Love” which ultimately ended in him being rather emotionally abusive. My boyfriends during college and later weren’t quite so Gilmore Girls inspired fortunately, and as far as I can tell, I don’t think I’ve dated a Logan. (And I like to think that this is due in part to being a smart and self-respecting young woman. But boys like that can sneak up on you, no matter how Rory-Gilmore-Smart you are).

Now far removed from all this high school relationship drama, I sometimes look back and see the uncanny parallels and wonder WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME? Because I was watching the show and I knew that the way Rory was being treated was wrong, but I went back to my daily life where I was basically living the IRL version. (Fortunately, there was no cheating with the high school sweetheart which I consider Rory’s first real low point).

But I always held a soft spot for Jess, even if high school Jess and my own IRL Jess were pretty dumpy boyfriends in hindsight. So I have to say that standard arguments from Jess hates are actually pretty sound.  He was selfish, unstable, and abandoned Rory several times during the course of their relationship. And it’s pretty easy (even for a Jess lover like me) to come to the conclusion that he’s absolutely NOT high school boyfriend material for Rory.

But the thing is, Jess didn’t grow up to be a selfish and unstable person. And while he wasn’t the boyfriend Rory deserved when she was 16, he was at least a driving force for good in her adult life. (e.g. Telling her to go back to Yale and stop living in her grandparents’ pool house because that’s not the Rory we know and love!)

And this idea of Jess being the “responsible and down-to-earth” guy continued in the 2016 Netflix revival despite his minimal screen time because again, he was the one to give Rory the idea to write a book about her life story. Essentially, adult Jess has his life together and functions as an encourager for Rory. While I’m not entirely sure that the self-involved and snobbish Rory we saw in the revival (or even really the later seasons of the original Gilmore Girls run) deserves to be with Jess, I think he’s plenty worthy of being considered “boyfriend material.”

But also, yeah, Logan sucks.  😜

Are you Team Jess, Dean, Logan, or All of Them Suck? Tell me why in the comments!

0

I Cried in Wonder Woman (But Not For Why You Might Think)

So I’m a little late on the Wonder Woman train. I had been excited to see it because it looked epic (!), but I’d also been apprehensive that it would continue the train wreck that is D.C. superhero movies right now. Like I wanted to like Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad (and generally, I found them enjoyable), but they just haven’t had the addictive quality that Marvel films over the last few years have been achieving in my opinion.  

But then early reviews started coming out, and they were super positive! And once it premiered, many of my friends were able to go see it opening weekend, and they thought it was amazing! And so while I’ve spent the last few weeks uber busy with traveling and work and YouTube, I’ve felt like I was missing out on a special shared cultural moment.

Fast forward to the July 4th holiday when I finally had a bit of a break, I made it out to a movie theater and got to witness Wonder Woman in all its glory! And yes, it was glorious!

I could be really picky and talk about how I felt the special effects in the final battle got a bit too CGI-heavy or some of the suspension-of-disbelief issues I had with Diana’s wardrobe changes (and choices). But I think if THAT’S what you focus on after seeing this movie, then you’re being just that–picky. It blows Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad out of the water in terms of an interesting (and easy to follow) story and compelling characters. And I think runs in a similar vein to Marvel’s Thor (also one of my favorite Marvel films and also dealing with gods in the human world). It was funny when it needed to be funny. It was action-packed when it needed to action-packed. It was gritty when it needed to be gritty. (This is a story about war after all).

I also came away with two film moments that will forever be seared into my mind as things I aspire to create: the scene where Diana first watches the Amazons training and later the big and beautiful beach battle scene between the Amazons and German soldiers. Those two moments legitimately made me tear up watching them because they were the kinds of scenes of epic female badassery that I had always imagined creating myself because I’d never seen them before.

But I’ve also had the niggling fear of embracing the idea of epic women fighting because I’ve been consistently bombarded with the message that “women can’t fight realistically” or “women are too weak to fight.” Et cetera, et cetera. These messages came from commenters on YouTube videos (like when I made the ill-advised decision to talk about female action heroes once) and even my own boyfriend, who may be a big supporter of badass heroines, but is, in my opinion, a bit extra critical when it comes to how easily the suspension of disbelief can be broken for him. I mean, yes, I know that Wonder Woman taking her hair DOWN to fight is impractical, but it’s also 1.) an iconic part of the character and 2.) kind of irrelevant since I think a demigoddess should have the magical ability to fight AND have magically flowing perfect locks. I mean, if I was a demigoddess/superhero, that’s definitely what I would want!

And then there’s also the fact that there are plenty of examples of movies and TV shows that use action sequences with female characters poorly. One scene that always comes to mind is from Pretty Little Liars where Aria had learned kickboxing (or some defensive sport from her temporary-boyfriend-who-was-not-Ezra) and “takes down” Red Coat. It was laughable, poorly choreographed, and poorly executed. Aria is literally the smallest of all the Liars and they chose her to be the fighter? At least Emily was somewhat convincing when she had more physical scenes since they’d established her as the “sporty one.”

But there are times when women steal the show and can hold their own in a male dominated action world. Furiosa from Mad Max is one of my all-time favorites. And now the Amazons from Wonder Woman have entered my personal hall of fame as well. These are beautiful moments in cinema as well as for the women who dreamed as little girls not of being just princesses, but of being badass, dragon-riding warrior-princesses.  You don’t see that too much on the screen so when something like Wonder Woman comes along, it’s a moment to be celebrated, emulated, and encouraged.

(The kind of princess I imagined myself to be as a kid.)

Storm Rider by IronShod

0

Was the Pretty Little Liars Endgame Satisfying?

It’s been a few days, and I’ve been able to process the series finale of Pretty Little Liars a little more. If you’re interested in my in-the-moment squeals and gasps, you should check out my latest video here.  But otherwise, I thought I’d lay out some of my in depth thoughts on that crazy A.D. reveal and how the series tied itself up.

Also…SPOILERS GALORE

First, somewhere around mid season I saw a theory that Spencer had a twin, and I really started to believe it after the scene in the airport with Ezra, Wren, and “Spencer.” When Spencer visits Toby at his cabin and has sex with him, I also felt like this was a pretty disingenuous Spencer moment and it strengthened my belief in the “Twincer” theory. So when it was actually revealed about midway through the finale through that awesome mirror scene that Spencer actually DOES have a twin (aka Alex Drake), I was both gasping with shock (because WHOA!) and internally delighted that for once the subtle clues had actually lead to a plausible “A” reveal. (As opposed to the Charles/CeCe reveal which while somewhat expected because we’d run out of suspects, felt weird and half-thought out.) There didn’t feel like there were actually many clues that CeCe was Charles was A or how she stole the game. (Hence why there needed to be an entire episode of flashbacks and explanation).

So was this ending satisfying? Yes and no.

Yes, because there were actually a few deliberate clues to lead you to this A.D. reveal. But also no, because it feels like a big missed opportunity that got shoved into the last half of the final episode.

 

One of the initial intrigues of Pretty Little Liars was that it’s such a mystery. A’s identity is always hidden and masked behind manipulated minions. And it became a bit of a trope for the show to not make any kind of “bad guy” reveal until a season finale. While I think this really worked for the reveal of the initial A (aka Mona) because she was so unexpected, but also completely suspicious if you rewatch those first two seasons, it’s become a bit of a detriment to the show’s story in later seasons.

And I think that formula may have finally run itself into the ground in this final season. The major complaint I’ve seen in comments in the run up to and during this season is that people want answers. On a show that’s known for its twists, there have been quite a few plot holes over the years, and I think many diehard fans were hoping for answers in the A.D. reveal that cleared up at least a few of them. But while this season was touted as the “Season of Answers” and a few questions were put to bed (e.g. Who was Charlotte’s father? Who killed Mrs. Dilaurentis?), I think overall we were still left with many unanswered questions and plot holes (e.g. What happened to Nicole? Did Alison ever get her money back? Was the full story of Bethany Young ever fully told? Did Mary Drake actually care for Spencer?)

 

The “Spencer has an evil twin” reveal was interesting in my opinion, and had a lot of potential to clear up many of those plot holes if it had been more fully formed and introduced earlier in the season. The one regret I really have from this finale is that I wish Spencer being captured and Alex Drake taking over her life had happened earlier in the season. I know that wouldn’t have given us the quintessential last-minute “A” reveal, but I think for the story as a whole it would have been more compelling. We had to learn everything about Alex Drake in the last hour of the show, and I just don’t think it was enough time. (Hence why there are still so many questions and plot holes). I would have loved to see more of Alex impersonating Spencer (with context it makes it incredibly creepy like when she’s holding one of Emily and Alison’s twins). And I think it would have been more compelling to see the girls figure out that Spencer isn’t Spencer organically and not just Jenna noticing a different perfume, and in a move completely out of character, Toby and the girls actually believing her. (Wouldn’t it have been incredible to see Jenna figure it out but no one listened to her and actually seeing her work toward helping someone for once?)

I guess what I really wanted was more time understanding A.D. and for it to connect better with the original storyline of CeCe (and even Mona!) as A. Why couldn’t Alex have been there all along? Why couldn’t CeCe have been protecting her and not wanted her to get involved with the game until it became necessary because Alex wanted revenge on Charlotte’s murderer and the girls for taking her sister away from her for five years?

I know the answer is: no one in the writer’s room really thought that far ahead. And also: non-series regulars have time constraints which contributed to the lack of Wren’s presence this season (all his scenes were shot in one day!) despite his character being central to the A.D. storyline. But sometimes I just want MORE from a show! If you’re going to commit to seven seasons, then really COMMIT! It hurts as a fan to see the show’s hard work thrown away with weird replacement storylines because actors couldn’t show up or the fans were too good and guessed the villain early or you want to drag out the suspense and therefore don’t leave time for the payoff and explanation.

All in all, I think I’m just happy that it’s over. (NO MORE A MYSTERY!) While I love the show, I also recognize that it was pretty ridiculous at times. But I’m glad that I actually stuck with it to see the eventual (and final) reveal! It feels like something I can check off my bucket list. And hey! We’re not old ladies in the retirement home when we finally figured it out!


So what do you think about the A.D. reveal and the Pretty Little Liars finale! Let me know in the comments!

0

#18 – Thoughts After Watching the Handmaid’s Tale with My Boyfriend

There are probably a hundred blogs and articles that you could read that tell you how AMAZING The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu is and how it’s a must watch and analyze it through a much more critical lens than I. But while I’m definitely going to tell you, “YES! Please watch it!” What I felt like would be the most beneficial dialogue I could bring to the table is my own personal experience.

In the summer of 2007 between my junior and senior year in high school, I had a reading assignment for my Advanced Composition course where we were given several lists of books on certain themes and we needed to read a set number from each list and write reflection pieces on them.

To be honest, this was my first foray into “adult” writing. I’ve always been a fan of young adult and fantasy literature and that’s pretty much all I read for fun up until to that point. But this assignment made me read some really amazing and thought-provoking literature. To this day, I still consider many of them to be among my favorite and most informative books. (Some examples include The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez). But the book that influenced me the most was undoubtedly Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It was the first book I ever read that depicted sex (and a rather unsexy version at that). It was first time I saw the everyday injustices of being a woman. It was the first time I began to fear what the government (or really any group with unchecked power) could do to me. And so despite it’s dark subject matter, it became one of my all time favorite books. A choice which when people asked me to list my favorite books was always confusing or appalling to them.

So 10 years later, when a television adaptation premiered on Hulu, I was so ready for it. But there was also a part of me that was terrified of it. The show was in production before Donald Trump won the presidency but somehow it couldn’t have been more timely of a release. It’s message is an important warning for our current political and cultural climate. And if adamant Trump supporters and those on the far-right want to know what these “snowflake women” are afraid of, it’s the universe in The Handmaid’s Tale. A world that seems so insane that it couldn’t be possible and yet, somehow, came to be when people stopped watching. When they got too comfortable. When they thought they already had all the rights they could ever need.

But you just don’t realize how quickly everything you’ve taken for granted can be taken away from you until they’re already gone and you’re dressed in a red with your skull bumping against a strange woman’s crotch as her husband tries to impregnate you.

Watching Hulu’s adaptation was a must for me, and I convinced my boyfriend to join me because I felt like it’s required watching in these times. While I knew the story and would have watched to the end no matter what, he was hooked after the first episode because it was just so INTENSE. And watching it became our weekly, much-looked-forward-to ritual. (He lovingly referred to it as “The Handbride’s Tale” in order to lighten the mood). And when we finished the series last week, I’d come to the following conclusions:

  • I’m so very glad that the world of The Handmaid’s Tale disturbed him as much as it does me. I’ve seen that this hasn’t been the case for everyone who’s watched with their husband/significant other. The feeling of mutual horror is important to validate the fear one has of this actually happening.
  • He kept waiting for the action which I thought was indicative of his love for post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories. But what’s really surprising about The Handmaid’s Tale is how many rights get stripped away with so little fight. And the fact that the story is from the point-of-view of a normal woman. That while there is violence that happens (e.g. the bombing of the Senate and the House), so little directly happens to our protagonist. It’s the fear that keeps people in check and allows this theocracy to take over.
  • It was interesting to watch with someone who didn’t have any preconceived notions about the story. I was always surprised if he correctly guessed what would happen next. But because the series expands upon the original world of the book, giving us more perspectives from Luke to Ofglen/Emily to Moira to Serena Joy, we also had several discussions about what was “assumed” when reading the book to what was shown in the series and how it affected our views.
  • Finally, we never discussed the fact that the Commander and Serena Joy are originally written to be much older than they ultimately were portrayed in the series. It does make me wonder what my boyfriend’s reaction would have been to the same situation had the Commander not been the relatively swarmy Joseph Fiennes but instead a much older actor. I do wonder if his “appalled meter” could have gone any higher.

So if you haven’t watched The Handmaid’s Tale yet, get a Hulu free trial and binge that thing! If you have, I’d be interested to know what your thoughts and experiences while watching it were. Let me know in the comments!

0

Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival – Food & Beverage Sampler Review

The Food & Wine Festival at Busch Gardens Williamsburg is one of my favorite times at the park (second only to the pure MAGIC that is ChristmasTown), and I was so excited to get to experiences the YUMS this year too. I give you a rundown of the new kiosks (Mediterranean and India) and my favorite dishes in the park in my latest video which you can check out below.

But I also decided to splurge for a Food & Wine Sampler Pass for the first time, and I wanted to give you my thoughts because one of the questions I’ve always had is “Is it worth it?” The short answer is, most likely.  There are two options, a 10 item sampler for $45 (plus tax which comes out to be $50) or a 15 item sampler for $60 (plus tax which comes out to be $66) but for simplicity’s sake let’s go with the pre-tax prices. This means that on the 10 item sampler, any dish or drink you purchase will be $4.50 and on the 15 item sampler it will be $4.00. Dishes and drinks range between $3.00 and $6.00 so for some of the heartier and more expensive items this is quite a good deal!

Drawbacks you do have to note though: this sampler pass doesn’t cover EVERYTHING. It includes all the entrees (yay!), specialty non-alcoholic drinks (like my favorite the Hibiscus Lemonade in Hawaii) and some samples of wine and beer. Flights of wine/beer, cocktails, or full-size alcoholic beverages available at select kiosks are not counted though and you’ll have to pay for those separately.

So how do you get the most out of a sampler pass?

  • Unless you’re just really not very hungry (but I mean, it’s a festival about food so why wouldn’t you be!), the 15 item pass is the best deal because it brings your average price per item down to $4.00.
  • This is definitely the best option for a group as you can split the 15 items between you and share all around!
  • If you’re mostly interested in sampling the beer and wine from the kiosks this is also a perfect idea. Most of the samples run at $5 so you’d be saving a $1 for every drink!
  • I also think it’s a perfect idea for a family if you’re going to be in the park all day. You can graze around the park as you take the kids on different rides and save money for lunch/dinner by getting several of these smaller items rather than something from one of the main dining areas.
  • If you’re really looking to get the bang for your buck, make sure that you purchase items that are under $4.00 separately (and if you have a season’s passholder you get a 10% discount so it’s even cheaper!)
  • If you’re looking for simplicity this is also your best option. You pay once (say, at your first kiosk) and then the rest of the time you just have the cashiers scan your pass and you’re golden! No fumbling with cash or card or trying to keep track of multiple receipts!

Reasons you might should skip out on the sampler pass?

  • You’re more interested in the cocktails or wine/scotch/beer specialty samples. These aren’t included in the sampler so save your bucks and go straight for the booze!
  • You’re there for the desserts. Most of the desserts in the kiosks run in the $3.00 to $4.00 range so you’d actually be overpaying for them in the long run.

So there you have it! I think the sampler pass is best purchased when you have at least three people eating and the 15 item one is an absolute no-brainer when comparing it with the 10 item sampler. I hope this has given you a bit of clarity on how to spend your money at the Food & Wine Festival. It’s all delicious so I can really only say go for it!

0

Why Stitchers is the Absolute BEST!

In a surprising twist of events, one of my favorite shows Stitchers on Freeform (which has had moderate views and ratings for two seasons despite being jerked around in timeslots and days) has premiered with a 3rd season!  This is extremely exciting for me because it’s 1.) An amazing show and 2.) Has a passionate fanbase.  And I think during the radio silence between season 2 and the announcement of season 3 when that fanbase was reluctantly coming to the realization that our favorite show might be canceled and cried out for renewal, we actually helped influence Freeform’s decision to renew. We might be a smaller fandom but we sure are full of spunk!

I’m so happy that Freeform took a chance on a third season for Stitchers, and I wanted to share my love with you (as inspired by gifs) so that you might discover the awesomeness that is Stitchers with me!

1.) It’s full of badass ladies.

This gif pretty well sums up why this show is awesome. The ladies do the dirty work. And Kirsten is just one of them.

2.) Men of Science

Linus and Cameron are the nerdy dream team. I want these Men of Science with me if I’m ever having to solve crimes by stitching into the brains of dead people.

3.) All the nerdy references you could ever want

Cameron is simultaneously a doofus and heartthrob. And anytime you throw in a Back to the Future reference I’m a happy gal.

4.) Just Camille.

She’s got so much wit and sass. I aspire to be Camille in my everyday life. She doesn’t take sh*t from anybody.

5.) The best cast ever.

Stitchers Season 3 opens with Kirsten’s team in jeopardy. She outright refuses to work without them and goes on a mission to save them. If you’ve watched Stitchers you know why. From Maggie Bapiste, an ex-CIA assassin and now the leader of the Stitchers program to Detective Fisher, an LAPD officer recruited into the Stitchers program to the rest of the Stitchers lab team, the Stitchers world is filled with awesome and compelling characters.

6.) Sci-Fi Crime Procedural Drama

Science Fiction + the NSA? Seems outlandish, right? However, it works because the characters themselves usually feel like it’s a bit crazy too. But who’s not going to whip out an NSA badge if the times comes?

7.) BFFs not Frenemies

Stitchers begins with Camille and Kirsten at odds. They’re too brainiac girls from CalTech and you might think that this catty dynamic will be central to the show. Turns out uber competitive and smart girls CAN get along and love one another in their own odd ways (even when one of them is incapable of emotion for the first season). I love their friendship. And I love how Freeform portrays it.

8.) Linus and his family storyline

There is life outside the Stitchers lab, and this became incredibly obvious to poor Linus in Season 2 when his dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Ritesh Rajan does an all-star job showing the emotion of a young adult who’s got his professional life all figured out but a chip on his shoulder in relation to his family, dealing with this real life drama.

9.) The way Kyle Harris looks at Emma Ishta

Oh gosh…just…MY HEART!

10.) #Camsten

Very rarely do I start a series and from day one am I completely gung-ho about a ship. But with Camsten, I just can’t even! They’re such a perfect pair, it’s crazy! And I’m hoping to get some great Camsten payoff in season 3 after these last two seasons of angst!

So guys if you haven’t already checked it out:

Also if you’re looking for the basic run down of the plot check out blog on the show pre-season 2 here, and my video about season 1 below!