Hello Again You Guys!
Firstly, I am aware this post is horrendously late, and I really have no excuse. I’m so sorry! The last few weeks have been so busy, and I’ve been VERY distracted with all things Wedding. We have officially set the date, for late November this year <3 So insane. We are so excited. Thank you all for all your sweet messages you have sent us, xo.
Okay so I really dropped the ball on my December Wrap Up, and I will now bring it to you.. over two weeks late, but still pretty intact! I read a few really amazing books this month, and one REALLY really awful one. I saw some incredible movies, and got obsessed with some new TV Shows of course. I will give you guys the run-down right now, as well as share some Christmas Vacation photos.. that I totally forgot to post.
Don’t you worry though, I have got my shit together now, and my January Wrap Up, won’t be late I promise. Also I have some exciting little adventures to Palm Springs and Mexico coming up in the next few months.. and I can’t wait to share it all with you guys.
Hope you are all having a fantastic start to 2018,
Annnnd without further excuse making and stalling.. here is my very late December Wrap Up,
1.) Black Mirror (On Netflix Currently)
If you haven’t seen this show yet, REALLY what are you doing with your life? “Black Mirror” is one of the most incredible shows I have ever seen. The fourth season was just released on Netflix, and every SINGLE episode blew my mind. Each episode in the entire Series: Seasons 1-4, is a stand alone episode.. each one focusing on a distant & not-so distant future. Each episode explores the VERY dark and disturbing side of possible future technology. It explores morality issues, monitoring, and “techno-paranoia” as it has been called many times online.
Every episode makes you think “OHMYGOD what if this happened”, while also leaving you so emotionally drained and somewhat deeply disturbed by the ideas presented in the episode. I have some friends who have actually found it too upsetting to keep watching, because it just gets so dark. I love dark and twisted stories, as you guys know.. so this is RIGHT up my alley.
Not every episode in Season 4 is super disturbing though. Episode 1 called “USS Callister” is a wild and fun space-style (almost Star Trek vibe) adventure.. with a dark twist obviously. Also Episode 4 “Hang the DJ” is a very weird and interesting look into the possible future of dating/relationships, I LOVED this episode. My absolute favourite episode of the new Season was 100% Episode 3 “Crocodile”. I will warn you it was probably the bleakest, most disturbing/ most upsetting episode of the series so far… but my GOD was it fucking fantastic. Not only was the episode brilliantly crafted, acted, and well plotted… but that SCENERY. The episode was shot in Iceland, and every single frame I kept thinking “OhmyGOD that is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen! OhmyGOD that view! OhmyGOD I NEED to go to Iceland!”. If I didn’t want to go to Iceland before, I definitely do now. #1 on the list for sure.
This show is so brave, and takes so many risks…. without ever holding back on an idea. Really loved this one. Highly recommend.
I highly recommend watching this in its original German language, with the English Subtitles turned on. The dubbed version is really bad, and really breaks you out of the immersion of the drama.
This is the first German original series produced for Netflix, and it was SO AMAZING. It has a very “Stranger Things” vibe, but much much darker… and without the comedy and 80’s campy-vibe that “Stranger Things” has. “Dark” doesn’t mess around, it’s not a lighthearted show at all, and the opening scene is actually quite graphic.
I could tell from the first five minutes of this show, that I was going to love it. I always notice things like Cinematography right off the bat, probably because I’m a Photographer and I’m always looking at stuff like that. The incredible symmetry of the scenes, really blew me away. This was no accident, the director had intent behind every scene that he shot.. and it was so expertly crafted.. that the show could literally be about ANYTHING and I would be glued to the screen.. for the art of it alone.
It’s hard to get into the plot of this, because every episode is full of new and crazy twists.. and after viewing it as a whole.. the lines of it have blurred for me. It basically starts out with two children going missing in a small German town… and then some dark and crazy history/stories/events play out. There is a sci-fi element to this show as well, and a REALLY terrifying cave, that rivals the “Stranger Things” upside down.
3.) “The Confession Tapes”
Documentary Style Crime
I have been hearing buzz about this show for a while now, and I just hadn’t gotten around to checking it out yet. A few weeks ago, around like 1 AM.. I just figured I’d try it out…. flash forward to 6 am.. I was STILL awake watching it.
This is one of the most compelling, terrifying, and shocking Documentary series I’ve seen in a while. Every episode of the show, focuses on a different case… where people confess to murders/horrible crimes… and then in someway try to backtrack and change their stories after the fact. Some of them claim, they were forced and tricked into confessing by the Detectives… some say they didn’t mean it… and the most horrifying of all are the confessions that you see and hear being recorded.. where you know 100% this person killed the victim they are accused of killing. Hearing the sickeningly casual way some of these people confess to doing absolutely horrifying things.. literally made all the hairs on my arms stand up. One of the most chilling things I’ve ever seen.
Some of the episodes leave you with a bit of doubt, wondering if in fact someone has been sent to jail.. when they are innocent. However most of the time they seem PRETTY fucking guilty. A really chilling and interesting show & look into the interrogation process.
1.) “Call Me By Your Name”
“We had the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.”
I don’t even know where to begin, or how to accurately express how much I loved this movie. I can’t even count the amount of articles, interviews, and intense hype I’ve been seeing & hearing for this film. I was really excited to see it, and I knew that it was going to be good. I wasn’t prepared for how much I related to.. and just absolutely LOVED this movie.
The film was shot completely in Northern Italy.. in the little town of Crema, and to call it beautiful… really doesn’t even do it justice. Every frame, every scene, every word of this movie was perfection. This film was directed by the talented Luca Guadagnino, and it’s based on a the novel “Call me by Your Name”, which I now own, and am very much looking forward to reading.
Okay so the setting for this film was gorgeous, that’s a fact. The second thing I immediately fell in love with, was the star of the film.. Timothée Chalamet. Not only is he gorgeous, but he just acted the part of 17 year old Elio Perlman.. with such grace and utter precision.. that it never for one second felt like he was acting. He WAS this character, in every way.
This is the story of Elio and his family, who are spending their Summer at their beautiful villa in a small town in Italy. His father has a young doctoral intern coming to live with them for the Summer.. and it turns out to be Oliver (played by Armie Hammer).
I think everyone who has seen the film poster, or the trailer knows this is clearly a love story between Elio and Oliver.. but I promise you it is so much more than that. It is one of the most organic, and realistic portrayals I’ve ever seen of “falling in love”. The way this film was shot, was so intimate.. and so quiet. That sounds weird.. but what I mean is the entire thing unfolds so seamlessly, without a loud score and other distractions. It feels like you are living inside this movie, and you feel what the characters feel. It was CRAZY. haven’t felt that kind of immersion in a movie, since the Drake Doremus film “Like Crazy”.
I think what I loved most about this movie, besides how achingly real it felt.. was how it treated the relationship between these two men. So many movies make the “coming out story”, and the relationship between two men.. the focal point. In this movie, it is never once presented as an obstacle these two characters need to overcome, or confess to.. they are just simply in love.. and that’s it. There is no big coming out scene, or any fallout for either of these characters. I recently saw an interview with Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, and they said that’s what they loved so much about the script. Armie says he loved how there was never a feeling of anyone being “punished” for the choices he or she made with their sexuality.. and that the beauty of the film was that it was just simply a story about falling in love, over this one amazing Italian Summer.
I can’t recommend this ENOUGH, and I hope it cleans up at the awards season this year.
2.) “The Greatest Showman”
A Musical Extravaganza!
The only thing I love more than a good Musical, is Hugh Jackman starring in a good Musical. “Les Misérables” is my all time fav Musical, and Hugh Jackman KILLED it in that film as the infamous Jean Valjean. He didn’t disappoint in “The Greatest Showman”, I loved it so much.
“The Greatest Showman” was inspired by the story of P. T. Barnum & the start of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. It’s a historical drama, and the scenery is so breathtaking. This musical went full out, and it was perfect. The story of P.T Barnum is so inspiring, and the songs were so great! The soundtrack of this film has been playing NON-STOP in our house. I think I’ve listened to “Never Enough” and “This is Me” like 100 times in the last few days haha.
This was everything you could ever hope for in a Musical. Costumes, huge musical numbers, dance numbers, amazing songs.. and an overall feel-good message. Also who doesn’t want to see Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron running around singing on stage? I know I do. It makes me so happy to see how well this movie did, and how full the movie theater was. I love that people still appreciate a good Musical <3
3.) “Lady Bird”
I really liked this movie, but I have to admit I think I had my hopes set a tiny bit too high for this one.
I’ve been a longtime Greta Gerwig fan, and when I found out she had written and directed a movie.. starring one of my favorite actresses Saoirse Ronan.. I was SO excited. Before I knew it, this movie was getting hype like I’ve never seen. “Lady Bird” broke RECORDS on Rotten Tomatoes for having the most amazing reviews! I couldn’t WAIT to see it.
It was a really well done movie.. funny, smart, sarcastic, refreshing.. and very real. I think I was just expecting too much from the plot.. given all these insane reviews. Sometimes too much hype can kind of spoil something. Don’t get me wrong though, it was a fantastic movie and I absolutely love Saoirse Ronan in it. The relationship, and the dynamic between Lady Bird and her Mother was so well done. I also had several laugh out loud moments watching it.. and bonus my beloved Timothée Chalamet had a tiny role in it, as a brief love interest of Lady Bird’s. I think he is going to be a huge up and coming star in 2018. “Lady Bird” was absolutely worth a watch! Also I need to dye my hair pink after seeing this.
I thought I would briefly mention my fav’s in the Photography category for December. I wanted to talk about where I love to get my Professional Prints done.. and some great iPhone Photo-Editing Apps too <3
Printing out all of our photos, is kind of a dying art. Being able to store over 6,000 photos on our smartphones has made the idea of physically printing out these memories… kind of a hassle. Trust me, I take THOUSANDS of photos of my loved ones every year.. and I live in constant fear of my external hard-drive breaking down. This Christmas I just went to town, and ordered tons and tons of prints (like I’m talking HUNDREDS) for all my friends and family.. of some of the best photos I took of them over the past few years. I went to Costco, and I was SHOCKED to see that I got ALL my prints (several 8X10’s/8X12’s/5X7’s & HUNDREDS of 4X6’s) for literally less than $120. Not only was it the perfect gift, but I can now physically hold so many precious memories.. put them away in albums old-school style.. and never have to worry about them getting deleted by a tech-glitch. I forgot what a thrill it was to have a printed photo of mine, in my hands.
I love Costco the most, because they do a fantastic job.. and they are SO cheap! London Drugs charges like triple the price! The only thing I will warn you about with Costco, is when you get to the online checkout there is an option for “Auto:Correct “On/Off”. They automatically will have it set to “ON” which is really bad for anyone who is a Professional Photographer.. or who edits their photos at all. It will try to brighten shadows, fix colors etc.. on your photo.. but as you fellow Photographers know.. sometimes the shadows are on purpose, and the auto-correct can completely ruin your edits. Always make sure to check it to “OFF”.
iPHONE Photo Editing Apps
I will just briefly mention two of my fav iPhone Photo Editing Apps.
1.) Color Story: This App is amazing. They have so many great non-Instagram filters.. you can buy packs with really cool lens flares. You can make a boring grey sky pink, or add a cool light flare into any photo. It’s super creative, and really inexpensive.
2.) Snug: This App isn’t actually a Photo-Editing app, it’s actually an Instagram-Layout App. Basically it lets you add and move around photos onto your “Instagram” feed without actually doing it. So you can plan out your posts, see what looks good posted where in your Feed, etc. Perfect for Bloggers.. or anyone who wants to perfect their Insta-Feed.
1.) “The Clueless T-Shirt”
Christmas Gift From My BFF Elizabeth
As any girl who grew up in the 1990’s will know.. “Clueless” was basically EVERYTHING to us back then. One of my best friends (and my very FIRST friend) Elizabeth and I, probably watched it like 200 times? For Christmas this year, she gave me this incredible shirt, and I will never be able to take it off.
2.) “Urban Outfitters”
I don’t think I’ve EVER walked into an Urban Outfitters, and been like “No, nothing cute in here”. I remember meeting this cool girl in University, who had this amazing coat on. I asked her where she got it, and she was all like “Oh from Urban Outfitters”. I had no idea what this was. It hadn’t come to Vancouver yet, and was always a hi-light of my Seattle Road-Trips. As soon as it opened in Vancouver.. I have been recklessly spending money there ever since. I also worked there for a brief few months in my early 20’s.
Here are some of my fav things I’ve found there over the last month. Excuse my weird posing, and annoying filters. You can’t exactly bust out the DSLR camera in the change-rooms after all.
3.) “The Gap”
I finally found the perfect “Ripped-Jean”
I’ve been searching for the perfect “boyfriend jean style/ripped jeans” for so so long. I never shop at “The Gap”, but I just randomly happened to pop in.. and I found my dream pants. They were a bit more expensive than I remember “The Gap” being.. but I’m really happy with them.
I read 4 Books This Month.. One Poetry Book.. And One Graphic Novel.
1.) “Heather The Totality”
By: Matthew Weiner
“despite all the machinery of civilization devoted to splitting up and moving on, Mark couldn’t imagine the strength needed to actually do such a thing.”
(I already mentioned this one in my “Best of 2017” Blog Post, but I will attach it again)
This is officially the BEST book I’ve read in 2017. This book completely blew me away, and I couldn’t be more impressed and disturbed by it. This book is quite short, and I read it in a few hours. A few stressful and intense hours. The author of this book is the creator of the popular TV show “Mad Men”, and this is his debut novel. What a fucking triumph.. it’s honestly perfection. The dead on insight in this book, and the unflattering reality of our own thoughts, was captured perfectly. Especially when reading from one of the more disturbed characters POV. This book hints at something awful, and then completely takes you there. Would 100% aggressively recommend!!!
Good-Reads Plot Summary
(The Breakstone family arrange themselves around their daughter Heather, and the world seems to follow: beautiful, compassionate, entrancing, she is the greatest blessing in their lives of Manhattan luxury. But as Heather grows-and her empathy sharpens to a point, and her radiance attracts more and more dark interest-their perfect existence starts to fracture. Meanwhile a very different life, one raised in poverty and in violence, is beginning its own malign orbit around Heather.
Matthew Weiner-the creator of Mad Men-has crafted an extraordinary first novel of incredible pull and menace. Heather, The Totality demonstrates perfectly his forensic eye for the human qualities that hold modern society together, and pull it apart.)
2.) “The Secrets She Keeps”
By, Michael Robotham
“She says I should reach out and build bridges, but I think certain bridges are meant to burn and it’s a shame some people can’t be on them when it happens.”
― Michael Robotham,
Sorry for the shitty quality of this photo, I read the book on my iPhone. I rarely ever do this, I 100% prefer a physical copy of a book. I LOVED this book so much, that I had to immediately order a copy on Amazon. This is one of the most FANTASTIC Psychological Thrillers I’ve read in years. It’s top 5 of the last 10 years, for sure.
This is one of those books, where you read the basic plot outline on the back cover.. and you THINK you know what this will be about. It’s basically described as being a story about “two women who are both pregnant.. but from different sides of the tracks.. one is a rich mommy-blogger.. with a perfect TV star Husband & two perfect children.. the other is a lonely supermarket worker.. and they somehow meet and become friends”. If you read something similar about this book.. TRUST ME.. you have no fucking IDEA how insane this book gets. So many twists, so many shocking scenes… I read this on my iPhone and it was “723 pages LONG” and I read it all in one day. My eyes are probably permanently damaged from the screen..it was that good.
This story is told in two voices, each chapter told from the voice of Agatha or Meghan. Both of the characters were so well developed, and such rich and interesting characters. Every single supporting character was incredible well developed as well. Michael Robotham is a fantastic writer, and I can’t wait to read his other books. Sometimes when a male author writes a story from a woman’s perspective, it can be kind of a disaster.. but Michael Robotham nailed it.. in every single possible way. A+
Good-Reads Plot Summary
(In the bestselling tradition of The Girl on the Train and In a Dark, Dark Wood, from the internationally bestselling author whom Stephen King called “an absolute master” of the psychological thriller, comes a riveting suspense novel about the unlikely friendship between two pregnant women that asks: how far would you go to create the perfect family?
Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog—posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls.
When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…
With its brilliant rendering of the secrets some women hold close and a shocking act that cannot be undone, The Secrets She Keeps delivers a dark and twisted page-turner that is absolutely impossible to put down.)
3.) “Turtles All The Way Down”
By, John Green
“Your now is not your forever.”
― John Green,
John Green will always hold a special place in my heart. Years ago, I fell head over heels in love with “The Fault in Our Stars”, and “Looking For Alaska”. I was very excited about this upcoming release. Not only was it the latest John GREEN book, but it focused on a story about a girl struggling with O.C.D, which I have personal experience with. John Green has his own personal experience with O.C.D, so I knew this book was going to be amazing. I knew he would do the subject matter proud, and he did.
My only criticism of this book is maybe that I’ve slightly outgrown the whole “YA” scene, and the quirky back-and-forth banter between these high-school students.. you know what I mean? That being said, it was a fantastic representation of what it’s like to live, and struggle with the relentless feelings of O.C.D. I was very impressed by how he managed to put such an in-explainable feeling, into such accessible words.
Good-Reads Plot Summary
(#1 bestselling author John Green returns with his first new novel since The Fault in Our Stars!
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.)
4.) “Lighter Than My Shadow”
A Graphic Novel/Memoir
By, Katie Green
I’ve heard many people raving about this heartbreaking, beautifully written and illustrated graphic novel/memoir. “Lighter than my Shadow” is about Katie Green’s own battle with a severe Eating Disorder. It chronicles her journey from middle school, through high-school, through a very traumatic event (major serious trigger warnings for sexual assault, not only words but drawings as well), and onto college. The illustrations in this novel, done by Katie Green herself are outstanding. She manages to capture the feeling, the idea and the experience of her illness within these drawings.. and I’ve never seen anything like it. This is a hard read.. and I wouldn’t suggest it to the faint of heart. If you or anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, this book might be very helpful to you.. or it may trigger you immensely as well. Please do your research, and don’t go into this without knowing what to expect.
Good-Reads Plot Summary
(Like most kids, Katie was a picky eater. She’d sit at the table in silent protest, hide uneaten toast in her bedroom, listen to parental threats that she’d have to eat it for breakfast.
But in any life a set of circumstance can collide, and normal behavior might soon shade into something sinister, something deadly.
Lighter Than My Shadow is a hand-drawn story of struggle and recovery, a trip into the black heart of a taboo illness, an exposure of those who are so weak as to prey on the vulnerable, and an inspiration to anybody who believes in the human power to endure towards happiness.)
5.) “I Hope This Reaches Her In Time”
By, R.H Sin
“you are more
and you deserve more
than what they are willing to give you”
― R.H. Sin,
Firstly, this is a VERY tiny little book. I got it off Amazon Prime, for like 4$. I really like R.H Sin’s poetry, and this book felt like one long love letter.. all separated into different poems. The theme of this collection is clear.. it’s meant for a woman who has been mistreated, and underappreciated by a lover. The poems are powerful, and a few of them I book-marked and enjoyed.. but a LOT of this book felt like fill. Lately, a TON of these types of poetry books are coming out.. Sometimes one line a page.. and it’s just a bit underwhelming. I liked this a lot overall, and I love R.H Sin.. but I’m not so sure about this one.
By, Amanda Robson
I rarely ever “DNF” a book. “DNF” meaning “Do-Not-Finish”. I had to DNF this one. I HATED this book so much, that it made me angry while reading it. This book was marketed all over town as being this “Amazing Psychological Thriller”, and I am willing to bet all my money that these people were PAID to say that.. they 100% had NOT read this. This book was just the worst.
I don’t even know where to BEGIN. It’s basically the story of two married couples, who are all good friends. They all kind of flirt around and intertwine together.. but in such a clumsy, poorly written way. The characters were all HORRIBLE and soooo unlikable.. not to mention the writing was so bad. For example in one chapter a character keeps referring to the other main character as a “BITCH WHORE” (I’m not joking) like 10 times. That is just poor writing. Nobody really speaks like that…. Also there was a very weird and forced religious element to the story.. which made NO SENSE and was just… bad. I think this might be the worst book I’ve ever read. Do NOT pick this up.
The sad thing is that this book had like 1/20 decent parts… and a pretty intriguing plot idea…but the CHARACTERS were garbage, the dialogue was garbage.. and the representation of mental illness was HORRENDOUS… like don’t even get me started on that.
Also PS. I hate that one of the characters is named “Carly”.. ahhh. Made it even WORSE!
Good-Reads Plot Summary (But Please Guys, DON’T DO THIS to yourself)
(One evening, a wife asks her husband a question: who else would you go for, if you could?
It is a simple question – a little game – that will destroy her life.
Carly and Rob are a perfect couple. They share happy lives with their children and their close friends Craig and Jenny. They’re lucky. But beneath the surface, no relationship is simple: can another woman’s husband and another man’s wife ever just be good friends?
Little by little, Carly’s question sends her life spiraling out of control, as she begins to doubt everything she thought was true. Who can she trust? The man she has promised to stick by forever, or the best friend she has known for years? And is Carly being entirely honest with either of them?)
Now I will share some of my un-shared assorted Christmas Photos <3
(All Photography @Carly Ingram Photography 2018)
(All Movie & TV Photos From @Google Images 2018)