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Stitchers Season 3 Finale Reactions and Hopes for the Future!

Hello my fellow Stitchers friends (or maybe you’re wondering what this whole “Stitchers” thing is about)! We’ve come to the close of another season of Stitchers on Freeform. It’s always gut-wrenching (because the Stitchers writers can be merciless with their cliffhangers!) as well as sad (because no more Stitchers for who knows how long!?) This season was a culmination of much of the mystery behind the Stitchers program, Kirsten’s fractured family, and the romance writhing under the surface for #Camsten.

So how did everything turn out? And where might it go if Freeform renews this beloved show for another season? (#RenewStitchers4 on social media, peeps. Shout it from the rooftops!) Let’s find out!

Ivy is good!

About two-thirds of the way through the season, they dropped the bombshell that Ivy was the one who created and ran the anomaly that trapped Kirsten inside of her own mind at the end of season 2. Everyone dealt with the news in their own way, but it dealt particularly hard blows to Kirsten (who felt betrayed by a sister) and Linus (who felt like his affection for her had been abused). Considering that Ivy hadn’t even known Kirsten that long at the time of the anomaly and we see that Stinger kept showing up and demanding her help, she seemed like a lost cause!

However, Maggie knew what she was doing and had Ivy double cross Stinger which ultimately led to his arrest. Hooray! Kirsten and Ivy get a chance to form a sisterly bond, and Linus FINALLY gets that date with her.

Camille is working on those trust issues!

One of the first revelations of the finale is that Camille and Amanda (now back together, yay!) are going to move in together! And even more surprising, Camille is actually 100% down for it, show a big step for her in terms of personal growth and opening up to trust again.

While I’m not sure I’m as 100% down with this idea as she is (I love Amanda, but it seems so fast and reckless! Like I know you want to learn to trust more, but girl, there are steps between 0 and 100!), I do wonder how this will play out. I think Camille has a lot of baggage from her past that she needs to deal with before any long-term relationship is going to work. Maybe Amanda will be someone who can help with this? But I could also see it taking a toll on their relationship as they try to move forward.

Who picks the stitches? Kirsten’s brain!

In a lot of science-y explanation, we learn that Kirsten and her mom both have nanobots installed at the base of their brain stem. According to Stinger it was how the Stitchers technology was originally designed to work (and what caused the “reflection” that Cameron’s mom saw in Kirsten’s brain scans). But through a bit of sleuthing in Denise Nichols’ memory (a NASA mathematician they learn has been somehow involved in choosing the cases to Stitch into), they realize that the nanobots in Kirsten’s brain have actually been exchanging information with Denise’s supercomputer, but it was ultimately Kirsten’s brain that picked the cases based on what parts of the brain were left to map. Whoa! Talk about the unconscious mind, right!

All the Stingers are now alive and awake!

The episode ends with Kirsten and the team being able to successfully wake up Jacqueline from her stitch-induced coma by firing Kirsten’s emotional energy from the corpse cassette toward her mother in the stitch tank. And in a beautiful scene of all white and light where Jacqueline and Kirsten meet for the first time in years, their theory proves successful. Sleeping beauty is awake and Prince Charmless (aka Stinger) is there to gather her up in his arms and promise he’ll never leave her. (Which, on the one hand, is a great callback to season 2’s finale when Cameron promised Kirsten he’d never leave her, but also proves that Stinger’s one and only priority has always been Jacqueline and not either of his daughters).

Camsten finally got to be together! (For a little while…)

#Camsten finally became a real thing this season! And with Linus’ genius work on an oxytocin filter, by the end of the season, they got to be together physically as well. So the finale begins with culmination of their romantic relationship, and you just knew it was too good to be true. Midway through the episode I was afraid that during the ultimate stitch, Kirsten would revert back to her emotionless, temporal dysplasia problem. (It seemed fitting because it was Kirsten’s initial stitch into her unconscious but still alive mother as a child that gave her temporal dysplasia in the first place.)

So while I was relieved that the consequences of the ultimate stitch weren’t a loss of her emotions, I wasn’t expecting the gut-punch that was her losing her memories.  On the one side, you’ve got Cameron freaking out and blaming himself because he allowed her to stitch when he knew it wasn’t safe. But on the other side, you have their friends trying to remain positive and not place blame because it’s out of their control now anyway, right?

Lost memory or covert mission?

But did Kirsten actually lose her memory? It seems heartbreakingly so until the final moment of the finale when a shadowy figure approaches Kirsten and she says, “I will never forgive you for what you’re making me do to him.” Which, of course, had all the Stitchers fans like:

So what might season 4 hold for the Stitchers crew?

We’re, of course, all asking, “Who’s Kirsten talking to?” and I think that will be at the forefront of our minds if (when!) we get a season 4. My prediction is that it’s actually Jacqueline. Most things I’ve seen have suggested Maggie or Stinger, but when did Kirsten have time to coordinate with someone her “memory loss” post stitch. No one, except for her mother, who via the nanobots they both have implanted in their brains, could potentially communicate with one another, especially when they were connected in the stitch.

As for motivation, that’s a little bit harder. We’ve only ever seen positive memories and affection shown for Jacqueline. Though she hasn’t played much of a role on-screen so far, the IDEA of her has permeated the show and Kirsten’s motivations since season 1. Essentially, while she’s been implied to be a “good guy” on the show, there’s actually no evidence to prove this. And who knows what happened to her while she was in a stitch-induced coma for years? Basically, I think Jacqueline might be next season’s new antagonist. What she’s actually working towards and whether it’s for the good or bad of our beloved characters, I’m not quite sure about yet, but I think if she is the one Kirsten was talking to, she’s definitely going to be causing some trouble!

If you love Stitchers as much as I do be sure to use the hashtag #RenewStitchers4 to spread your love and sign the petition for season 4 here!

 

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Glamping Adventures

My unplugged vacation was a success! Although I did find that despite being on top of a mountain in basically the Middle of Nowhere, Virginia, I did still have 4G LTE which was surprising and also didn’t entirely cut me off from social media. But I still enjoyed myself immensely and was actually able to RELAX which is a big deal for me.

I even went the whole week without writing or filming or editing any videos! What madness!

But honestly, it was a welcome break from not only my day job (which is video producing/editing) but also my YouTube life. And sometimes you just need a little YouTube vacation!

However, I wanted to share with you, the magical place we stayed because you can stay there too! It’s working farmstead called Cair Paravel (Narnia reference!) and has 3 sites available on AirBnB including the very cool yurt we stayed in!

So if you don’t know what a yurt is, I brought you a handy-dandy dictionary definition:

But it should be noted that we weren’t staying in a movable tent. This yurt (and many others available for rent around the U.S.) is based on the ancient tent-like shelters of Mongolia, but it’s modified to be much more sedentary with a hardwood base and ceiling, a working kitchen and bath, running water, a small A.C. unit, ceiling fans, and even a loft for extra sleeping space! While it’s an open layout with a lattice framework and screened windows with several layers of flaps to open and close in order to help cool/heat the structure, it was really like a beautiful, round cabin in the woods!

Now while the yurt itself was a beautiful sight to behold, it was really all the interesting things that happened while we were there that made our trip memorable.

Clumsy McClumsy Pants

So as soon as we arrived we had to explore the yurt which mean opening up all the cabinets and flipping all the switches to see what they controlled. It also meant running up to the loft area to check out the row of cute twin-size beds and even musical instruments! Parker drummed a bit on the bongos and we looked up through the skylight and marveled at this awesome little place we got to stay in for a few days.

Then we decided to begin our descent so we could make a trip to the grocery store (a nice 30 minute drive) to stock up on food for the week. You would think doing something as simple as walking down some stairs would be easy-breezy for me, right? No. Nothing is easy when it comes to managing my physical body the way it’s supposed to be managed.

Parker took the stairs first and I followed quickly behind. I’d taken about 3 steps when I felt my foot slip a bit and I caught myself. (I was was wearing socks which was my first mistake). And I said, “I’m going to slip, Parker.” But I kept descending and with another 2 steps, my feet slipped again and I reiterated (a little more distressed this time), “I’m going to fall down these stairs!” Then one more step and somehow I was gone, my feet completely out from underneath me as I desperately tried to hold onto the railing and then eventually the cables that lined the stairs. I’m not sure how I managed to fall the last half of the stairwell without killing myself (or at least seriously injuring myself), but somehow I made it off the stairs with just a bit of a sore back from where it had bumped its way down a few stairs. And Parker staring at me like I was crazy.

“Well, you did say you were going to fall down the stairs,” he quipped matter of factly.

So it was with that slightly traumatic instance that I began my vacation. Fortunately I was not seriously injured. And I did NOT go back up the stairs. I also did not wear socks while in the yurt anymore after that. Socks + hardwood floors DO NOT mix well.

The Wildlife – Both Beautiful and Terrifying

We also experienced LOTS of wildlife on our mountain adventures. Some were a bit scary. Like when I spotted a snake slithering through the rocks of the firepit that Parker had just been walking on and around to stoke the fire. (After some research I determined from its markings and head shape that it was a non-venomous water snake. Still creepy but we weren’t in imminent danger. It just liked our warm fire!)

We also had a funnel weaver spider. I tried googling the exact kind of spider it was (Maybe a grass spider? Maybe a barn funnel weaver?) All I know is that it was BIG and it made funnel-shaped webs and it was IN MY BEDROOM. Googling was futile because it just gave me the heebie-jeebies, made my skin tingle, and made me NEVER want to go to Australia because their funnel spiders are deadly. (Is Australia just one big deathtrap?) There was a “Bugzooka” in the yurt which Parker considered using to dispose of this creepy giant in our living space, but he was so high up and Parker is just as freaked out by spiders as I am and it required him to get way too close to it.  So…we just lived with a spider roommate all week. We eventually became a bit desensitized to him and would even walk under the doorway where he’d taken up residence. But sometimes he would disappear for a few hours (hopefully just down into a nearby crevice), and it would freak me out. He was much too close to my open luggage and it made me think I would be taking home our new spider friend!

On the not-so-scary side of wildlife encounters, we also ran into a few deer. The first was on our trek back up from White Oak Canyon falls. This encounter was actually a little concerning because it was a lone deer, criss-crossing the trail around us and seeming completely unconcerned with us (or several other human passersby). Parker mentioned it made him wonder if it had rabies. (She got close enough where we could actually see her ribs poking through her sides and I felt like during the height of the summer there should have been enough deer yummies to fill up her tummy. But I also know very little about deer.) It was an interesting experience to get that up close and personal with a deer as we basically walked a good quarter of mile on the trail with her.

The best wildlife encounter though was with a fawn and his momma. (Can you say Bambi!)

These deer were quite a bit more standoffish than the previous one although after determining that we weren’t a threat, the fawn slowly explored his way closer to us as shown in this awesome video:

We also watched the sweet baby deer having a case of the “zoomies” (or rather deciding he needed to show off for his new human friends). He made several laps at top speed on the hill above us with his (probably exasperated mother) looking on and rolling her eyes. All in all, this was probably my favorite experience of the trip!

Midnight Intruder

There was also an instance when I definitely thought I was going to die.

Parker has been begging me to watch “Se7en” for probably a few years now. And for some crazy reason when we were downloading movies to watch while at the yurt and he (I think somewhat jokingly) suggested it, I agreed. I did note that watching a creepy movie in a cabin in the woods is probably NOT the best idea. And what did we do? Watch it at night with the lights off. (Admittedly, we had started it before the sun had gone down and just hadn’t turned any lights on yet. It was not intended to make the creepy factors off the charts!) We were near the end when there’s a general sense of unease because catching the killer seemed just TOO EASY when we suddenly heard a set of footsteps running across the deck outside. Parker and I looked at each other in the glow of the laptop screen like, “What the heck!?” We waited a moment, expecting a knock on the door and perhaps Whitt, the owner of the property to be there. It was about 9:30 PM and bit late for him to show up, but that’s the only thing that would make sense. After a moment’s waiting and no knock nor anymore footsteps, I turned on a light and Parker jumped up and went towards the door. The next few moments were a rush of turning on lights, grabbing sticks as weapons, and peeking through the blinds but finding it too dark to see much.  Parker then decided it was best to turn off all the lights, plunging us back into blackness, and lie on the floor listening for more footsteps or just any sounds at all. (I started getting particularly creeped out because the yurt sits up off the ground and there’s significant open space below the deck and body of the yurt that someone could hide in. After literally 15 minutes of lying on the floor and listening, Parker then decided he was going to check the grounds and left me, brandishing his belt like a weapon in the pitch-black yurt while he explored outside with a flashlight. This only made my anxiety worse because though I heard nothing from the outside I kept thinking, “What if he doesn’t come back inside!? This is how all the horror movies start! You never split up!” And I was imagining what I would do, who to call, how to fight, etc. It was an awful 5 minutes in my brain. Parker finally called for me from outside and asked me to come out too. (Which I didn’t particularly like because there were in fact two doors to the yurt and I imagined someone slipping in the second one while I was outside). He said he couldn’t find anyone or anything so it was best just to go back inside and forget about it. Which we did. (Although apparently after I’d gone to sleep that night, Parker had checked the loft area and the outside one more time).

Flash Forward to the next day when I thought, “Maybe it was one of the dogs running across the deck? If it’s a farmstead, surely there might be some dogs loose at night.”  I sent our AirBnB host a message telling her about our scare and suggesting that perhaps it was a dog (even though the footsteps we heard did not sound like a normal four legged creature).  What we found out is that they 1.) Do have some dogs loose at night and they like to patrol the property and 2.) Most likely we’d heard Tsuki, their three-legged dog, whose gait would have been just a bit different.

You cannot believe how much we laughed when we realized this absolutely was the explanation and how silly we would have looked to anyone on the outside of the situation, lying on the floor listening for footsteps for 15 minutes!  It was a welcome relief. And also Tsuki is creamy white/yellow and sweet and definitely not a midnight murder!

WRONG WAY!

Our final adventure of the trip involved turning our four mile hike up to Hightop Mountain into a six mile hike because I didn’t look across the street from our parking area! We ended up going about a mile in the wrong direction (and unfortunately downhill) on our last day of hiking when we were trying to make it up to Hightop Mountain. I was kicking myself for not taking the time to double check the trail and following my gut when we didn’t see an obvious trail head at the start. We were both tired at that point and trying not to overdo it since neither of us has done any significant amount of hiking in the last month or so. But we decided after turning around and making it back to the carpark that we still wanted to make it to top even with the extra pre-intended hike mileage. And we did it! Although we were feeling some fatigue on the way back which is always a little scary on rocky and steep trails like this. One misstep or a weak ankle and you’re out of commission!

But fortunately, it all turned out okay. No twisted ankles. No spider or snake bites. No rabid zombie deer (as far as we know…) I’m so glad we got to spend a week in this magical and special place. We’re definitely planning on going back (preferably in the fall or maybe early winter when it’s a bit cooler). And if you’re interested in staying in the yurt or one of the other cute places at Cair Paravel, you can book it on AirBnB here!

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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

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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!

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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!

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How to Prioritize Your Life

6-2-17 How to Prioritize Your Life

It’s been a hot minute since I posted anything here on the blog, and I’ve been really sad about this. But now I’m back on a new day with some thoughts on how to remedy this!

My big problem during the last month and half was that I felt like all my life priorities had gotten WAY out of whack. Do you ever have times like this? Where you’re running on fumes but keep telling yourself, “If I can just get to X, then everything will calm down and fall back into place!”

Well, sometimes this might happen. In a magical-not-very-realistic world, maybe. But in my experience, it’s never actually worked out that way.  Instead, I’ve usually come to a crashing halt because I end up getting really sick. Being sick usually affords me the time to take a critical look at all my responsibilities and commitments because my body’s stopped obeying my intense go-go-go drive temporarily. Not that it’s a pleasant way to essentially be forced to reevaluate your priorities, but I guess I just tend to take life as it comes to me.

Pre-getting-the-cold-from-hell I’d release this video on my summer plans to slow down my video output. (We’re going to do just Thursday videos from June through August!) I had already seen my mental wellbeing and productivity careening off the rails so I thought I’d take early action to try to mediate the coming chaos. I still got sick, but at least I only had one video to worry about instead of two!

You see, I want to do ALL THE THINGS. And I also have incredibly high expectations for myself on anything I set my mind to do. Unfortunately, these two attributes don’t usually play nice together. It’s physically impossible for me to always be DOING MORE while keeping up my 110% standards.  This usually results in me crashing into pits of self-doubt and hate because I feel inadequate. Or overextending myself to the point where I freeze up and don’t accomplish much of anything for fear of failure.

None of these are very good outcomes, but what do I do to better prioritize my life and goals and interests?

For me, it’s about reevaluating where I’m at and making new and updated task lists continually. I legitimately have a list for everything. It helps me feel in control of the chaos that’s constantly writhing under the surface of my life. And it keeps tasks, ideas, and interests that I don’t have time to accomplish at the moment, still in my mind.  As life morphs and grows with time, I can see when something that’s been on the backburner might be a welcome change to the routine. Or hopefully know (when things just get a little too overwhelming) how to reorganize my commitments to take off some of the stress while still allowing me to feel creative and productive.

It’s certainly no easy task! But it’s been on my mind a lot lately as I think about where I am now and where I want to be in the future and what that means for how I prioritize my life. In the short term, I’m going back to producing one video a week for the summer and I’m changing my blog release day to be Friday. There was something about releasing all this midweek content that was exhausting me so we’ll see what happens with a Thursday/Friday double hit! Furthermore, I really want to spend the summer organizing and creating a website for iIMAGINEblank so that my videos and blogs (and just generally ALL my content) are in one place and better cross-promoted. I’m also thinking about some big, more awesomely creative projects I’d like to do with iIMAGINEblank, and I’ll hopefully be able to do lots of pre-production on them so I can put my plans into action in the coming months!  I have lots of cool ideas to stretch my skills and grow my brand beyond just life advice videos and I feel like now is the time to seize the day and do it!

So here’s to a productive (but enjoyable!) summer!