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A New Website and Christmas Break!

Hello my friends! I just wanted to write a quick update to let you know that you might be seeing a little less of me on the blog in December. One of my 2017 goals has been to finally turn this blog (Imagining Happenings) into a full-fledged website that curates all my content (videos, writing, art, etc), but to do that, I really need a little extra creative time and the ability to work behind the scenes. So I thought, what could be a better time than during the holiday season when people are going every which way already?

Most likely I won’t be entirely absent during the next month since I’m going to Christmas Town this evening (😀) so there will be a video and (most likely) blog for that soon, and I have several super fun holiday-themed videos planned for December that might warrant a behind-the-scenes blog or two! But overall, I really want to try to allocate the time I usually spend writing for the blog every week tinkering on the backend and rebranding.

If you’ve checked out my YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter banners recently, you should have noticed a change! These new banners were the first step in my design process as I’m moving to a  galaxy-theme (because we’re so unique, we must be from outer space!) of blues, purples, and pinks and adding a cat with glasses (because, of course!) as my mascot. It’s still somewhat a work in progress, but when I re-launch the website, you can expect something along these lines!

I’m excited for the ideas I have for the site, and I could use good vibes and prayers that I can spend my time efficiently to bring them from ideas to reality!

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A Farewell to The Mindy Project

So The Mindy Project aired its final episode this week. Season 6 was particularly short (only 10 episodes!) which is heartbreaking (because why can’t it go on forever!), but also I think realistic considering Mindy Kaling’s real life pregnancy and how well this season did on bringing in old characters and tying up storylines.

Also, it should be noted that if you haven’t watched the final episode or aren’t caught up on this season, this post will contain SPOILERS! So I highly recommend you skip this post until you’ve indulged in the final moments of Mindy’s story!

So now, let’s talk about that ending!

When Mindy and Danny broke up in season 4, I wrote this blog post detailing how I felt like the show did an amazing job at bringing to light some of Danny’s not-so-Prince-Charming qualities slowly over the course of the first half of the season which ultimately ended in one of my favorite drama-worthy scenes from the series in which Mindy and Danny fight over the disconnect between her professional ambitions and her duties as a mother/wife.  It’s in this scene that it becomes clear that Mindy will never be able to be herself if she stays with Danny.

It was heartbreaking, but a great moment to propel Mindy towards more personal growth. And since that point, Mindy has been moving forward as she adjusted to being a single mom, starting her own business, making friends with (and I think inspiring change in) the most sexist and racist character on the show, finding the Prince Charming and fairytale ending she’d always wanted but realizing life isn’t as simple as it seems in romance movies and ultimately getting a divorce.

The Mindy Project has always been a show that puts a spin on the classic idea of a “Rom-Com” so I don’t know exactly how I feel that the show ended with the very typical rom-com resolution of “guy shows he’s changed with a romantic gesture and guy and girl decide to get back together because they never stopped loving one another.” It’s hard to assess because on the one hand, I’m a fan of the show, and I’ve known from the beginning that the only person capable of matching Mindy’s crazy is Danny (who we learn over the course of the show has his own closet full of crazy) and so the thought of them being end-game especially after such a long (and needed) break-up is both exciting, but also disappointing.

While it’s great that Danny seems to have changed his mind on “Mothers in the Workplace,” it’s still by no means a perfect relationship.  I think they do pay respect to that fact a bit because after their make-up kiss, Danny immediately launches into the “I can’t live in your apartment” shtick that caused stress two and half seasons ago.  Mindy quickly shuts this down as a topic for later and points out that Danny does in fact like cupcake shops despite the discomfort it causes to his machismo.

Really the problem may be how rushed the ending felt since I was left with so many questions. While your average rom-com tends to gloss over the questions of the feasibility of a relationship, The Mindy Project has always handled them head on which is why in this moment of resolution, it seems strange to throw our seemingly star-crossed lovers together but still with so many doubts of whether their relationship can work hanging over our heads.

But then it also might be an attempt to show that relationships are messy and far from perfect. And that sometimes you just find a person that you fit the best with even if the edges aren’t quite all trimmed and try to work it out the best you can.  Sometimes it takes being apart and growing as separate people but ultimately coming back together. Maybe, hopefully it will work for Mindy and Danny, but perhaps the best we can do is try.

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Adulting Ahead

If you haven’t already seen the slightly sleepy and delirious vlog I made with Alanna at William & Mary’s Homecoming discussing the peaks and valleys of post-college life, I highly recommend you do that now!

Otherwise, I’m going to dive right into a few more thoughts on “Adulting” because even though I was SO TIRED when we filmed that video from a day full of travel and nostalgia, we started to hit on a lot of topics that I realize I have more insight into now! Within a few months of graduating (and job searching), I made this video about post-college life which makes me laugh now at how young and naive I was!

 

 

At this point, I was definitely experiencing some of the disappointment of post-college life (especially in 2012 when the economy and the job market was just starting to get its feet back under itself!) But I didn’t know what it was like to work a full-time job yet. I didn’t know what it was like to rent an apartment or make car payments or see my friends go off on different tracks of life and at different speeds.

Now while I definitely don’t feel like I have this “adulting” thing fully under control quite yet, I do think I know A LOT more than I did at 22/23 when I’d only been a year out of college and was slowly adjusting to post-college life. I know how to call the insurance company and get my car fixed if after having a wreck (both when it’s my fault and someone else’s!) I know what it’s like to do long-distance adult dating. (It sucks…) I know what it’s like to have to live with your parents because you are poor and jobless, and what it’s like when you’ve lived there a little bit TOO long and you feel like you’re going insane and wondering if you’re 16 or 26.  I know what it’s like to job-search the heck out of yourself and what it’s like to move to a new city for a job. I definitely know a lot more about all this practical adult stuff (and I find that I’m still learning everyday), but I’ve also learned so much about what it’s like to emotionally be an adult.

Yeah, I know that sounds all “mushy-gushy-feelings” or whatever, but I think one of the things I was least prepared for was how “adulting” would affect me emotionally.  With practical tasks like job-searching and apartment hunting and dealing with your insurance, if I didn’t know what I was doing, I could call a parent or grandparent or friend who knew more than me. They could walk me through the steps, remind me of the questions I’d need to ask, and give me the general low-down.  What calling in backup couldn’t do though is prepare me for the crippling self-doubt that comes along with just about every new decision and situation I find myself in as I navigate this world of adulthood. So emotionally I’ve had to do A LOT of learning and growing over the last few years, and I think it’s this aspect of adulting that high-achievers like myself are so ill-equipped for when we leave college.

Which is why I want to start making more post-college and “adulting” advice videos on my YouTube channel. iIMAGINEblank seems to grow with me, and now we’re moving into a space where I have more advice for young adults rather than teens. (Though don’t worry! They’ll always be advice for teens too!) So I’m wondering: what your post-college questions? Whether they’re questions you actually have because you’re nervous about the future or you are an adult but would like to know my take on a particular post-college/adulting topic. Basically what kinds of topics should be in my “Adulting Library?”  Let me know in the comments and you might just see a video about it soon (with a shout-out for your suggestion, of course)!

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Get Into the Halloween Spirit with My Favorite Halloween Video Creations!

I’ve always loved Halloween for its magic and how it inspires me to be creative. It was an excuse to dress up in fun and imaginative costumes that people would actually see (as opposed to just my parents who I gave daily fashion shows of my latest creations), and a time to imagine myself in a world where witches and monsters and ghosts roamed the land waiting to be discovered by my inquisitive detective work. Basically for a kid with a highly overactive imagination, it was heaven.

And even though I’ve grown up, Halloween has never quite lost the magic for me. Instead, it’s become my favorite time to make videos on my YouTube channel. An excuse to make cool costumes even if I don’t have a party at which to show them off. An excuse to be super silly and feel like a kid again. An excuse to just plain old try new things (which sometimes can be hard to do when you’re making consistent videos on YouTube and feel like you have a “formula.”)

So to celebrate the season, I thought I’d put together a little list of my favorite Halloween videos to get you into the Halloween spirit!

Halloween Imagination

This one is an oldie but a goodie! This was the first video on my channel where I actually decided to wear costumes rather than just talking about or showing still pictures of them. Here I pulled together all the costumes I’d worn over the last several years and still had hanging around in my closet: a Unicorn, Luna Lovegood, 50’s Poodle Skirt Girl, a Painter, and a Lion Tamer/Circus Ringleader. It was also Sir Finnegan’s first Halloween and though I didn’t try to put any costumes on him, he did help me out as the lion to my lion tamer costume!

 

Howl-O-Scream 2016

I’ve been making Howl-O-Scream videos since 2014 when I first started as a Thrill Chaser exclusive blogger with Busch Gardens. There are 4 on my channel for each year, but I think the one from 2016 is my favorite because I was able to go the media event (which always has its perks) and I had a Scare-Cam on during my first tour through that year’s new haunted house, Circo Sinistro. I just think my faces are hilarious in this one and it’s great to actually get to take you along with my in the house! (Plus dolls are just SO CREEPY!)

 

Why Do Women’s Halloween Costumes Have to Be Sexy?

If you’re in more of a mood for a rant about Halloween, then this one’s perfect for you! In the fall of 2012, I was SUPER frustrated with trying to find a Halloween costume that didn’t have “SEXY” added to the name (e.g. Sexy Indian, Sexy Police Officer, Sexy Snow White, Sexy Pizza, etc) and a skirt that was about 6 inches shorter than it really needed to be. I mean, can’t we have costumes where their main purpose isn’t about how much boobage or thigh you can show? It’s one thing to look sexy in your costume, but it’s another if your ONLY costume option is “Generic Sexy Whatever.”

 

My Cat Tries On Halloween Costumes

 

What could be better than seeing Finnegan all dressed up as a shark and a pirate and a dragon?! Nothing! Nothing could be better. In this video, I finally took the plunge and bought some halloween costumes for Finn, despite him not really being a “clothes” cat. When I’ve tried putting a harness on him because I have this intense (but probably misguided) desire to make him an adventure cat, he’s just flopped on his side and refused to move. The costumes actually went a little better than expected, but he’s still not particularly enthused at being contained by a silly costume! However, this video is filled with some of the best kitty cuteness that I’ve ever released on my channel, in my opinion!

 

Halloween Lookbook

Finally, I have to give a shout out to my latest video where I created a fashion-forward lookbook from some of my favorite Halloween characters. This video is intended to give you some style inspiration if you want to celebrate Halloween but can’t wear a costume to work or school, but after I’d filmed it, I realized that most of these looks could easily be turned into costumes as well with an appropriate wig and makeup! So I’m killing two birds with one stone in this video for you!

 

I hope you’ll take some time watch some of my favorite Halloween videos so you can get into the spooky season spirit! 👻🎃🕷

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Once Upon a Time: 7×01 Thoughts and 7×02 Predictions!

I promise I’ll get back to non-Once Upon a Time/TV-related content eventually, but there’s just too much stuff to think about, and I want to write it down for posterity!

Last week we talked about the new season of Once Upon a Time and how it was a reboot and a new beginning for the show. (Queue tears for the loss of Jennifer Morrison on the show, but excitement for new stories!)

But basically, we’ve known very little about what actually is going to take place this season or how Emma exits the show (Death? Break-up? No!) But between the first episode of season 7 and the preview images and promo for episode 2 (the one-off episode that Jennifer Morrison agreed to return for), I think I’m getting a better idea of what’s happening, and I’m FREAKING STOKED!

First, let’s talk about the first episode of this season. My first thoughts post-watch were mixed and confusing. It was Once Upon a Time, the show I love. But for a show in it’s seventh season, it had a lot of exposition for a season opener.

But that’s when it hit me that this is a pilot episode. It’s a pilot for this new world and new story and new characters. It’s definitely based in our original OUAT mythology, but this episode is setting up more than a season. It’s essentially establishing a nearly new TV show. Same mythology, but mostly different characters and slightly different execution.

I can understand why this might totally turn off some fans. It’s like getting a spinoff or sequel series labeled as the original series. If you weren’t expecting it, I could see it being jarring. But from what I’ve been observing on social media since season 6 ended, is that people are in two significant camps. They either love the show for it’s unique take on fairytales and will follow it wherever it goes (I’m here!) or they have a very narrow view of the way the show should function (mainly with respect to its seasons 1-6 main characters and the state of their happy endings) and had abandoned ship with the announcement of Jennifer Morrison leaving the show. They might have decided to watch the first few episodes to see where it goes, but I think with the pilot-like feel of episode 1 and what I suspect is going to happen in episode 2, they may not be returning.

And honestly, that’s okay. I think (although I certainly don’t know at this point with only one episode under our belt) that the OUAT creators are going to honor the journey we went through in seasons 1-6 and season 7 is very much a new, slightly unrelated journey.

I will say that I’m excited for this new and untraditional Cinderella. She definitely captured my heart as soon as she knocked out Henry and commandeered his motorcycle! Also, the new adult Henry played by Andrew J. West was a pleasant surprise. While I feel like we’re going to have reintroduce ourselves to this adult Henry a bit, I feel like in the first episode he navigated the line between likable hero and irritating, clueless grownup who doesn’t believe in fairytales that harkened back to Emma in the pilot. (Especially with his “Really?” at the troll under the bridge. Like mother, like son!) Also, a standout is Alison Fernandez as Lucy, Henry and Jacinda’s daughter, who’s taken over the “little kid who remembers, but everyone just thinks she believes too hard in fairy tales” mantel from Henry. She has been amazing on Jane the Virgin as young Jane, and she’s just as innocent and beautiful on OUAT but with a much larger role! So I’m excited to see where she’ll go!

Now for what I think might happen in episode 2 and how Emma’s absence will be explained. First take a look at this picture:

OH MY GOODNESS DOES THAT HAND TO BELLY MEAN WHAT I THINK IT MEANS?!?!?

So I’ve been torn about Emma/Jenn leaving the show. On the one hand, I’m actually glad to put Emma’s story to rest (because she has been through A LOT!), but on the other, I’ve been afraid that in order to explain her absence in this time jump, they were going to have to kill her off or have she and Hook break up so that he could be caught up in the curse because there’s just no way that if Henry were in trouble that she wouldn’t be out looking for him and certainly wouldn’t be separated from her true love in a curse!

But with the promo suggesting that there are somehow TWO Killians and this photo suggesting that she and Hook are expecting a baby, I think I’m getting a clearer picture of what’s going on. We were introduced last season to alternate universes as Regina’s Evil Queen half had Emma sent to a Wish Realm where the Dark Curse had never been enacted. We met AU Robin there who Regina brought back with them, though later it turned out he wasn’t quite the original Robin and not really fit for this world. Eventually, when Regina accepted her Evil Queen side and gave her some of her good heart, and eventually sent she  her to live in that Wish Realm. So essentially, we know that alternate universes exist in OUAT mythology and there can be multiple versions of the same person. I don’t know if it’s a Wish Realm or perhaps Killian is the only Captain Hook in the different storybooks, but I think they’re going to introduce an AU Hook and he’ll be the one left in the Cursed World with Henry and the others. And Emma and original universe Hook will return to Storybrooke (or wherever!), have a baby, and continue living their “happy beginning.” I imagine there will be some conversation between Emma and Henry along the lines of, “It’s my story/journey now” and the torch shall be passed.

From a show writer’s perspective, I think this makes sense. We don’t destroy the true love story that was built over several seasons, and we now have a new single Killian Jones to pair off with someone because if we’re being honest here, there was no way they were going to continue with Colin O’Donoghue on the show and somehow keep him single. This is primetime TV we’re talking about and romance sells.

So…these are just my hunches (and maybe a little bit of hopes because I don’t want Emma to die!), but I think we’ve been given enough clues that I’m on the right track. This does open up the question of whether the Regina and Gold in Hyperion Heights are also AU versions of themselves. We know Regina already has a doppelganger in the Wish Realm so could it be the Evil Queen running Roni’s instead? As for Mr. Gold, while it seems unlikely that Rumple would actually let himself get caught by a curse, it’s also just as difficult to imagine there being any other Rumple, but Rumple himself.

Whatever it turns it out to be, we’ll just have to wait and see!

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Once Upon a Time: New Season, New Storybook!

If you haven’t seen it already, you need to check out my Emma Swan cosplay from yesterday’s new video. I am in high excited gear for the new season of Once Upon a Time premiering tonight on ABC at 8 PM! So excited that I felt like this was the perfect time (and maybe the last time it would be relevant) to finally realize my dream of cosplaying Emma Swan.

OUAT’s season 7 will begin with a big absence as it’s main character for the last 6 seasons is leaving the show. Emma has always been my favorite character, and I’m sad to see her go (and admittedly, curious as to how they’ll explain her exit from the show), but I’m also incredibly excited for this “reboot” as we now recenter with adult Henry as the hero of a new storybook world and curse!

OUAT has been in need of a good reboot in my opinion. At first it was always exciting to go to a new “land” every season (e.g. Neverland, Oz, Camelot), but I suppose, the gimmick got old especially when it stopped seeming as important to the story. I love exploring new Fairytale lands and characters, but if you look at season 6 and the introduction of the “Land of Untold Stories,” we were actually there for such a short period of time and it seemed like more of a device to throw in some extra characters for one off stories rather than full arcs. Things just started to feel rushed, I guess. I like diving into the backstories of characters, but it started to feel somewhat disingenuous, especially since new fairytale characters only seemed to be brought on to somehow further the story of the main cast (i.e. Emma, Snow and Charming, Regina, Hook, Gold, etc). One and done style, basically.

But that’s enough negativity! Because despite my gripes with the show, I still love it. And I have hope that maybe a reboot with new characters will lead to deeper character exploration and more interesting (or rather, less convoluted) stories!

So What Do We Know So Far?

We’re jumping into the future when Henry’s older (29, perhaps?) and has experienced new storybook worlds on his own, but somehow has fallen prey to a curse that wiped his memory.

And it’s up to his daughter Lucy, much like Henry’s original mission with Emma in season 1, to make him believe again!

We’re in a new land with new versions of characters we’ve seen before: Cinderella, Alice, Tiana from the Princess and the Frog so that gives me hope for even more takes on those fairytales.

Also, no more Storybrooke, Maine! We’re now in Hyperion Heights, Washington, just outside of Seattle. We find our characters under a new curse, seemingly instituted by Cinderella’s evil stepmother and somehow Regina, Hook, and Gold have been caught up in the magic too!

Also, Henry drives a (August’s?) motorcycle and it’s AMAZING. (I love this picture of Cinderella in her big, poofy ball gown on the back it with Henry!)

Should You Be Excited or Scared?

I saw a lot of super negative comments when it was announced that OUAT wasn’t ending after season 6, but instead rebooting itself after Jennifer Morrison’s exit. “Once Upon a Time is done for me after season 6!” “How can you get rid of the main character and expect people to keep watching!?” And yes, it’s extremely sad to see Emma/Jenn go, but the great thing about a show like OUAT with an ensemble cast and based on fairy tales, is that it’s completely possible and logical for a new hero to take center stage. As long as the show doesn’t negate any of the journey we’ve been on for the last 6 seasons in doing so (i.e. breaking up Captain Swan when they were supposed to be true love; killing Emma without any sense of a happy ending, etc), I feel like change is good!  I feel like there are definitely still stories to be told. (That’s one reason I’m super excited that Zelena got added back to the cast since I feel like there’s still some sister bonding that Regina and Zelena need to do!) And while sad to see some of our favorite characters go (i.e. Charming and Snow, Belle), I think it will give the show more room to breathe and develop new characters and stories!

OUAT has had so many great characters they let fall to the wayside because I think they’d overextended themselves story-wise and focused too heavily on side stories for the main cast. (Some of my favorites were Mulan, Aurora, Ruby/Red Riding Hood, and Ariel! Plus whatever happened to the rest of Camelot’s townspeople?) But hopefully with a pared down cast, new characters, and a new curse and set of main heroes, I think we have the possibility of finding a new OUAT groove!

But then, it also might not work at all. And that will be sad, but okay too. I’m just excited that we get more OUAT and to explore new worlds. So here’s to another season of magic and mayhem!

I really hope this hand to hook action from a sneak peek photo means that Killian and Emma are still going strong!

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A Concert for Charlottesville

Two weeks ago, my friend Katherine called me on a lazy Sunday afternoon and asked what I would be doing the following Sunday. For once, I actually didn’t have much planned that weekend so I told her I was totally free, and she subsequently invited me to A Concert for Charlottesville hosted by The Dave Matthews Band at Scott Stadium on September 24th.  And it was with that invitation that I had the privilege of going to this night of music and unity.

I was both incredibly excited because this was technically a free concert with musicians that I would probably never get see perform live because of distance or money or impracticability, but also uneasy or perhaps, uncomfortable is a better word. While what happened at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on August 11th and 12th didn’t directly affect me because I wasn’t there and I don’t live in Charlottesville and I didn’t go to college at UVA, I still felt the subsequent ripples of pain because Virginia is my home, and I know Charlottesville well. Once the dust had settled and the victims started being identified and interviewed. I realized that I played softball as a child with Marissa Blair, the woman who was pushed to safety by her fiance, Marcus Martin. This face I knew from a young age was plastered over the news stations, distraught from the horror of the attack but also fiery with the injustice of everything that took place in Charlottesville that day.

So when amazing and talented musicians come to town to put on a benefit concert and I happen to get invited, I wonder how sincere it is. I wonder if my being there is right. I wonder if we are doing the right thing to honor Heather Heyer or if we’re distorting healing and justice with pageantry.

Honestly, I don’t know the answer to these questions. I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. (Justin Timberlake was so amazing! The Roots were phenomenal! Chris Martin from Coldplay and Stevie Wonder were there!) I do know that I was moved by many of the statements and songs and poems. I do think that every artist that came out on that stage was moved to perform for this specific concert because of a desire to help in whatever way their skills and gifts allowed.

It was a night of authenticity and sincerity while also being more complicated because music doesn’t heal physical wounds or change people’s worldview. I think it’s important to remember when you’re enjoying yourself in your bubble of safety with like minded people that there is an outside. That coming together is wonderful, but you then have to be able to go back out into the world and advocate for change. Many people are doing this. And many people like myself are not doing enough because we don’t know how or are afraid to leave our comfortable bubbles.  But nothing great was ever done or injustice solved by staying in your bubble.