What I’m Thankful For | 2017 Edition

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Happy Turkey Day (or for me, Happy Spaghetti Day), dear Americans!

I think we can all agree that this year has been hard, but we’re almost done, peeps! We made it! I think every day we’re all in need of some sort of escape, and I’m thankful for the following things for doing that for me…

Thank you…

  • YA Fantasy Authors for getting me into fantasy books for the first time since Harry Potter (and in that vein…)
  • Latinx music artists for upping the ante this year. I am loving all the Spanish in mainstream pop.
  • Tyler Posey, please stay on Jane the Virgin for forever.
  • Harry Potter for still being awesome after all these years and helping me fall asleep every night.
  • Ben Platt for his role in DEAR EVAN HANSEN. Thank you for playing a character with anxiety so accurately and compassionately and absolutely making my summer trip to NYC.
  • Jem Carstairs for being the ultimate book boyfriend. I wish I could claim you as my parabatai.
  • The CW for proving that Friday night programming can actually be quality. PS Everyone go watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin.
  • This Is Us & Stranger Things for beating that pesky sophomore slump. I’m SO invested in both shows right now. Shout out to Joe Keery and his fabulous hair.
  • Wonder Woman for being the first superhero film that I’ve actually liked in a long time. And Gal Gadot for just kicking ass in general.
  • Zac Efron for making a musical again and making my teenaged dreams come true.
  • Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan for each having AMAZING solo releases. People make fun of me less for still being a #1 1D STAN.
  • Dashboard Confessional for FINALLY releasing new music!!

and…

  • Every single publisher that has sent me books or approved my read requests. I am so incredibly happy to get more involved in the publishing world.

 

What I’m Loving Wednesday: 10/18/17

We’re halfway there, pals! This week in particular I’m working for the weekend. I’ve been working super hard to get back to regular, consistent posting on this baby, as well as juggle my full-time day job and freelance work. Whew. It’s a little much, but budda bah bah bahhhhh I’m loving it.

It’s also #Recommendsday (still a thing, right?), so please send or comment what you’re loving right now. You can never watch too many shows or have a TBR pile too big.


What I’m listening to…

I saw Imagine Dragons (not to be confused with 1D) on Monday and It. Was. Awesome. They’re excellent live and their latest album, “Evolve,” is seriously quality. If you’re looking for a deeper cut than the radio favorites, “Rise Up” and “Mouth of the River” are getting the most love from the repeat button, but again, the entire album is worthwhile.

Speaking of 1D, I want to send a special shout out to my #2, Harry Edward Styles, and his cover of “Girl Crush” on Spotify because it’s curing my soul. PS, I’m not a “conspiracy theorist,” but this song in the context of Lourry makes me want to cry.


What I’m watching..
Photo: Marc Hom /The CW –© 2017 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved

Each fall, I try to give every pilot a chance because I love tv and tv loves me. It’s only been a few episodes in and not every show has premiered yet, but I’m really enjoying…

  • Dynasty, because I love The CW with no shame and it’s filling the void 90210 and The O.C. have left in my heart. And I need a healthy dose of catty family drama and fabulous clothes every week to stay sane;
  • The Gifted, because I’m a sucker for the X-Men and Nick from Skins grew up very nicely;
  • and The Good Doctor, because YAY for neurodiversity representation.

As for returning shows, I dropped a bunch that have been losing my interest for a while (stay tuned for that post), but This Is Us and Mr. Robot have had great first episodes.


What I’m reading…

I just finished Stephanie Perkins’, There’s Someone Inside Your House this morning and despite the mixed reviews, I really enjoyed it. A slasher serial killer and a cute, teen romance? Two of my favorite things. Next on my list is The Crown’s Game and I’m optimistic also despite the mixed reviews. Bring on the love triangles and magical duels—I’m READY.

What I’m Loving Wednesday: 4/12/17

It’s been a while, peeps. But I’ve been keeping busy. A lot shows are on spring hiatus. (Minus Kimmel) there’s no new late night this week. I had some time on my hands.

What I’m listening to: “Sign of the Times,” “Wolf”

So, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but one Harry Edward Styles released his debut single last Friday…aaaaaand it’s kind of bomb. But I’ll get off my fangirl podium now.

At work this past week, I’ve been listening to Tailor’s “The Dark Horse” album on repeat. “Wolf” was used on So You Think You Can Dance this past summer and I really liked it. And turns out the entire album is quality.

What I’m watching: Skam

Skam began its fourth (and final 🙁 ) season and it’s all about SANA and I’m so pumped. Her take-no-shit attitude is awesome, and even though Noora will always be my fave out of the girl!squad, as soon as she said, “I’m a Muslim girl in a white, faithless country. I’m the biggest loser of them all,” in season 1, I knew she’d be a force. Now, more than ever, we need positive Muslim representation in the media and I’m super glad Sana gets the final word for Skam. If I’m willing to sit through subtitles, I must really enjoy what you’re putting out there, and I love Skam so much.

Also, the Prison Break revival is here and Michael is about to break about out of his third prison. It’s just so fabulous.

What I’m reading: “Glass Sword,” by Victoria Aveyard.

I wasn’t a huge fan of “Red Queen.” I don’t know, I just expected more out of this super-hyped up book. But when I saw the sequel on sale at BookOutlet for $7, I knew I had to give this series one more try. So far, I’m liking it more than “Red Queen” but not loving it. I’m chugging through it because next on my list is “A Quiet Kind of Thunder,” about a girl with selective mutism who meets a guy who is deaf, and I’m ready for it to wreck my soul.

(PS If you want to keep up with my literary adventures, I’m on Litsy @katekrug)

What I’m Loving Wednesday: 8/12/15

Happy Hump Day and all that good stuff. I can’t believe summer is nearly over and soon we’ll be whipping out the sweaters and leggings. But who am I kidding. I wear sweaters and leggings year round. I’m here sipping on my usual vanilla Americano and a random Diet Coke with the name “Sylvia,” on it. I am determined to find my damn name on a Coke bottle.

What I’m listening to: “Drag Me Down,” by One Direction, Melanie Martinez

I’ve kicked the showbiz obsession and now it’s back to your regularly scheduled programming: boppy pop music! My One Direction infection has certainly faded considerably over the past year (thank God, it was getting embarrassing), but that doesn’t mean that I still don’t get excited for new 1D tunes. “Drag Me Down” marks the first post-Zayn single and, honestly, it sounds just as good. Harry takes over what would have definitely been Zayn’s riffs at the end and he pulls it off. Plus I’m always a sucker for songs where Louis gets to shine because I’m still and will always be a Louis Girl. Bring on album numero five.

I’ve been a fan of Melanie Martinez ever since she auditioned for The Voice with that gritty, broken-down version of “Toxic.”  I liked her EP that was released last year, and her new stuff is just as good. Her style is unique, it’s funky, and it’s a tad alternative and definitely up my alley. I’m pumped for her album to come out next week—I may need to treat myself to new music. My favorites are “Dollhouse,” “Soap,” and “Pity Party.”

What I’m watching: Boy Meets World, The Office (hello flash from the past)

Since my discovery that ABC Fam airs Boy Meets World reruns every morning, I’ve been loving my BMW DVD collection. So happy that I decided to purchase them all a few summers ago. Reliving Cory and Topanga’s love story, Eric’s descent into madness, learning life lessons from Feeny…I feel like a kid again. And I’m still convinced that the season 5 Halloween detention episode is one of the best holiday tv episodes ever made.

Digging out another old favorite, I’ve also been making my way through The Office. It’s hard to believe that Steve Carell never won any awards for his portrayal of Michael Scott. His actions and overall thought process are so squirm worthy that I get secondhand embarrassment watching. I guess that means he did his job well. And I can’t complain about seeing John Krasinski’s face. Jim Halpert will always be one of my favorite characters. I wish I had gotten hooked on this show earlier and got to watch the whole show in real time. I remember people skipping night class  so they could watch Jim and Pam’s wedding episode.

What I’m reading: “House Rules”

Still making my way through “Wild,” I’ve hit a wall reading it, but I’m so determined to finish. I hate leaving books unread even if I’m not feeling it. Sooo I kind of cheated. In addition to knocking out a few pages of “Wild,” I started reading “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult. Picoult is one of my favorite authors, so I’m very hopeful that this be an easy read and get me back on track with my goal to read 15 books in 2015. “House Rules” is about a boy with Asperger’s who gets accused of murder, and how this revelation affects his family and his town. It’s written in multiple POV’s, as is usz for Picoult. I’m about 30 pages in and I’m intrigued.

An Open Love Letter to Harry Potter

While watching Harry Potter Weekend a few days ago on ABC Fam, I asked my dad if they had a Harry Potter growing up. A book series/film franchise/general cash cow that helped to define their generation. They said “no” and that just made me really sad. I have endless love for Harry Potter. Whenever it’s HP Weekend (#HarryPotterForever), I can always expect texts from my closest friends because, obviously, we’re all watching. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the movies or read the books, and they never grow old. Truly.

I grew up a (slightly embarrassing) HP fanatic. I have vivid memories of my mom reading the first book to my sister and me before bed. My room was papered with posters. I listened to the book tapes to sleep. Ok, confession: I still do. At this moment, I’m actually upset that my books are currently chilling in storage and I don’t have a direct way to get them. I feel a great reread needs to happen soon.

Harry Potter has brought me such fond memories over the years. I loved going to the release parties at Barnes and Noble and the midnight movie premieres. I loved that feeling of cracking open the novels and the smell, oh the smell. Despite not being able to ride any of the rides (thanks to my weak stomach), Harry Potter World was a huge highlight of Disney for me. And I completely fangirled over the exhibit at Warner Bros. studios while in LA.

I’ve also always found it inspiring that J.K. was turned down by 12 publishing companies and still persevered. I’ve always taken rejection pretty hard and would have definitely given up after the first few “no’s.” Now she’s this internationally ranked author and multimillionaire. Accepting my heritage has also been something I’ve struggled with, and the fact that Harry’s first real crush was on an Asian girl was a self-confidence booster for me. I was very invested in the casting of Cho Chang. Plus, it made for an easy Halloween costume, holla.

And who wouldn’t want to be a wizard/witch? You’d be a total bad ass. Cleaning would be a cinch. Things would always be exciting. Pictures would move (aka GIFs). I’d kill to roam the shops in an actual Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade (sadly Harry Potter World doesn’t count). But more than anything, I think I’m desperate for an escape from my current state. I’d love to perform a memory charm and forget these past few years.

This post has no point, other than to sing the praises of J.K. Rowling…so thank you. Thank you for creating this magical world. Thank you for being my escape. Thank you for helping to shape my childhood. Thank you for countless great memories with my friends. Thank you for the future memories I’m bound to create.

MORE ON THE BLOG:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I Review

Seven Favorite Soundtracks

Ever since I rediscovered the gem that is the Babes in Toyland soundtrack in my iTunes library, I’ve been all about the soundtracks. Broadway, made-for-television, tv shows, movies, etc., my soundtracks playlist has been getting a lot of love. Music has always been very important to me (my iTunes is meticulously organized) and, like for most, can make or break a tv show/movie. When I interned in LA I met another intern who was spending her summer in the music department for E! Network and her experience sounded ah-maze. That track that played when Kourtney started over-the-top crying? Yup, that was orchestrated by her.  Too cool.

I couldn’t narrow it down to five, and 10 seemed like a cop-out, so I settled for my seven favorite soundtracks. Shout out to honorable mentions: Chicago, One Tree Hill: Friends With Benefit, and The Book of Mormon. It also pains me not to include the Pitch Perfect soundtracks, but life goes on. These are personal favorites, but I tried to keep in mind quality of the music too. Sentiment somehow trumps quality at times, am I right?

[in no particular order]

A Walk to Remember

51Qbzu99BfLThis is a CD (yes, I actually own the CD) that I can play from start to finish without skipping any songs. This is a feat, especially for me. I always appreciate the soundtracks to Adam Shankman films. I think his music background makes him especially particular about choosing the tracks, and it shows. He can also come back and replace Jason DeRulo on So You Think You Can Dance. What kind of decision was that, Nigel?

Favorite song: Ok. So my favorite use of a song has to go “Dare You To Move,” because that song was used perfectly within the context of the film. Admit it: you cried. But my favorite actual song off the album is “Cry.” Mandy Moore doesn’t get enough credit for her vocal ability, although I will always be Team Britney.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year 

51UOkdSv7SLI had just graduated when this movie came out and I saw it in a packed theatre with my best friends from high school and bet your ass I bawled like a baby. I’m the first to admit that the cast of HSM doesn’t have the best voices, but I’ve always appreciated that they never resorted to auto-tune to make them sound better. You get mediocre voices in all their glory. Not really selling you on this, am I? Each song is catchy as hell and we’re all in this together, man! I’m itching to include the other two soundtracks on here, but I saved you from reading my incoherent bursts of love for the HSM trilogy. You’re welcome.

Favorite song: “High School Musical,” because that final jump still makes me weepy. But my favorite from the entire series has to be “Gotta Go My Own Way” because that’s exactly how every break-up go. And if you don’t sing both Troy and Gabriella’s parts, you’re missing out on a true musical experience.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella 

tumblr_mv4vatTRee1sk2j04o1_1382551158_coverI have to clarify that it’s the 1997 Whitney Houston/Brandy version because it’s my favorite interpretation of Cinderella EVER (I was never a fan of the animated one). Not only is the music top notch, the diversity of the cast is off-the-charts, and it brings the nostalgia of old-school Disney like whoa.

Favorite song: This is seriously so hard, but I’m going to have to go with “Impossible,” because THESE DAFT AND DEWY-EYED DOPES KEEP BUILDING UP IMPOSSIBLE HOPES.” Yes, the caps were necessary.

The Lion King

o-THE-LION-KING-570While the Broadway version is freaking amazing, I’m just as much of a fan of the original movie soundtrack. It’s a classic. And you’re lying if you don’t still get goosebumps during “Circle of Life.”

Favorite song: “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” because who doesn’t love two lions making bedroom eyes at each other? And just to add, my favorite from the Broadway version is “Endless Night,” because shout-out to high school show choir.

Moulin Rouge

urlWhen they’re done well, I’m a huge fan of covers. And Moulin Rouge fills that void very nicely. Apart of it being my favorite movie EVER, I’m a fan of the soundtrack alone. I especially like when covers are original and completely rework a song, and that’s the case for many of these. Plus, I mean, Ewan McGregor singing love songs. I sit through Star Wars movies for him.

Favorite song: “Your Song,” because Ewan is dreamy and paired with Elton John is a recipe for success. “El Tango de Roxanne” comes in as a close second because that whole sequence is amazing. “Elephant Love Medley” because it’s the perfect karaoke song to belt out with your friends. “Come What May” because the hopeless romantic part in you, no matter how small, will rise from the ashes. Actually, just listen to the whole damn CD.

RENT

RentMovie2005Again, Broadway lovers may scoff at that I like the movie version better than the live version. I liked that they could film on location—really gave you a picture of the time period—and the music sounded more perfected, which I’m a sucker for. Also, during the stage version that I saw the band was so loud that you could barely hear the singing, so I like that you can actually hear on the movie soundtrack.

Favorite song: “What You Own,” because it has one of my favorite lyrics ever: “I don’t own emotion. I rent.”

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

MI0000935068Mmkay. So I went to Catholic school and at least once a year a theology teacher would get lazy and pull out this baby. And not gonna lie, that was always a highlight of our education. I’d say it’s not an exaggeration to say that everyone could sing this entire musical word-for-word by graduation. Although I was rejected for community theater production (not bitter or anything), Joseph still remains one of my fave musicals.

Favorite song: “Any Dream Will Do,” because it’ll get stuck in your head for hours and you’ll wish you were in jail with Joseph just to get away from it. (I wore my coat…ahhh!)