Sunday, August 22, 2010

Whipped Into Shape (Part 1)

"'Cause size two clothes don't come to those too lazy to sweat!"

I never thought of myself as a particularly chubby person, to be honest, but I'm not healthy and that's a problem. I have gained a decent amount of weight in the past year or two and I'm working to get it off. Starting right now (well, actually yesterday, but...whatever).

Jess, over at Half of Jess, is starting a weigh-in challenge called Drop Dead Gorgeous by December and I'm into it. I'm especially into it because it focuses more on making you a better person and making you a healthier person than on being the skinniest you can be. I'm combining this with the rules of Bethenny Frankel's Naturally Thin book.

Here's why: I am entirely too young to be as unhealthy as I am. I would really like to make a change and what better time to start than now? I have three days off a week from class, so that's plenty of gym time to get in. My main goal is to be able to actually start running. I realize getting ready to do this by December is kind of stupid, but my college has an indoor track, so I can use that when Pittsburgh weather gets me down.

Once I get a scale (or find someone with Wii Fit), I plan on taking a picture (because part of Jess' challenge is taking positive pictures of yourself weekly) and weighing in. Yes, I said it. My weight for all to read. I am going balls to the wall to get this done and I have multiple support systems to help, including my dear momma, my friend from high school and fellow RA, Caitlin, our GA Chris, and now Jess and everyone else participating in Drop Dead Gorgeous by December. A support system helps, especially in making sure that you don't get lazy (like I probably will within like two weeks).

I'm very excited to start this and it'll be interesting to watch this attempt, especially living in a dorm and having a meal plan. There are healthier alternatives on campus, but...not too many. My two goals for DDGBD (which is also on Twitter, check it out) are to start running, like I said before, and to stop eating out as much (which will help save some money!). I'm a senior in college, I really need to start budgeting and worrying about money and going to grad school.

In other news, SORRY I've been so MIA. I started RA training and that owned my soul for the past two weeks. However, the rest of this building staff is FANTASTIC and it's been so much fun. I'm so glad that I'm surrounded by such great people. :)

Classes start tomorrow/Tuesday for me since I have no class MWF (WOO!). I can't believe summer's over already :( However, this is going to be the year, I can feel it. :)


So, here is the weight: 138 with clothes on as of about a half an hour ago. I hear you shouldn't weigh yourself at the end of the day and I have clothes on, so I'm really probs 135, but that's still a lot for being so short.

Ignore my awkward facial expression lol! Good luck to anyone else who's doing DDGBD! :)

"Whipped Into Shape" from Legally Blonde: The Musical; 2007

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Here in this diary, I write you visions of my summer.

This Ataris song came on while I was driving to work this morning. It made me so happy and I found it very appropro given my thoughts on the summer and what's to come in the busy year.

Tomorrow is a monumental day. Not only am I moving in to my senior year of college (no, classes don't start already, I just have RA training), but it's the last night I'm spending in my house. I never particularly liked my house, but it's a little sad. My mom and my stepfather are getting a divorce. The end of a marriage is always sad, but to be honest, I'm a little relieved this is happening.

I was one of those kids that never entirely liked the idea of my mother dating someone, especially the older I got, because I'm a self-centered only child. To be frank. However, even though I was going to college fifteen minutes away from home, I knew it'd be hard on my mom (me, too, but I'm better at distracting myself). So, I was happy that this guy came along to keep her a little less lonely while I struggled through my freshman year of college. However, that's the only reason why I was happy she got married. Selfish, I know.

Now it's deteriorating because he's a douche and...if my mom were more upset, I'd be upset...and I know it'll hit her soon and she'll be sadder, but I really do think she's better without him. She wants to travel and get her Ph.D and maybe live in a different country for a while to teach English (she's actually probably doing this) and he just wasn't into it. Now she'll be able to come into her full potential. Eat, Pray, Love honestly couldn't come at a better time.

Oh, well.

In happier news, I FINALLY read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, the first two novels in the fantastic Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Stop reading this immediately and go to and order them. While you're there, you might as well preorder the third and final novel, Mockingjay (due out at the end of the month), because you're going to need to know what happens next. I haven't been this involved in a story and a world since Harry Potter. And you've read my posts, you know how much I care about the world J.K. created.

They take place in a dystopian society where the evil government (called The Capitol) shows its control over the twelve surrounding districts by forcing each district (by pulling names from a lottery) to have one male and female tribute partake in the annual Hunger Games - a fight to the death in an arena, televised for everyone to see. Fucked up, right? Sorry, there's no other way to describe how messed up that is. The story follows Katniss Everdeen and her life in District 12.

Anyway, it was fabulous and addicting. The first started a little slow, but quickly I was sucked into this world and I finished the last, say, two-hundred pages and the entire second one in about a day and a half or so. Speeds that have not been seen since I read The Deathly Hallows...or maybe even The Order of the Phoenix (I read Deathly Hallows slowly because I didn't want it to end). Suzanne Collins does an excellent job of dropping you into this world that you cannot get enough of. I'm not kidding. Scroll up and click that Amazon link, it goes right to the page.

So, while my summer's pretty much over, it's been an exciting couple of days (not necessarily in the positive sense with all the packing and a little sad air around the house). I'm not ready to go back, but I am kind of excited. Wish I could see Secondhand Serenade on the 11th and I'm still holding out hope I'll be done with training early enough to go! Fingers and toes crossed.

"Stronger" by Britney Spears; 2000

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tangled Up in Me

"Wanna know more, more, more about me?"

So, my dear friend Kaitlyn gave me the Versatile Blogger Award a few days ago (check out her blog, please, thanks!), which is so exciting and such a huge honor! She said such wonderful things about me and my blog and it was the first award I've gotten!

The way it works is like this: If you received this award, you have to share seven things about yourself and then give the award to fifteen other blogs. However, since Kaitlyn only managed to come up with ten, I'll try to match that number instead of fifteen.

Seven things about me. Let's see:

1.) Despite the fact that I never really cared for girls in high school, I joined a sorority in college (Alpha Sigma Tau, WOO!) and actually it is the best decision I ever made. I've made some of my best friends and formal recruitment was a great way to beat the homesick feeling I was having my first year at college. It has honestly changed my life to have such a constant support system away from home and it has opened up so many doors, too, that I cannot imagine my college education without the lovely women of Beta Delta.

This is my lovely pledge class, SNMC '08 <3

2.) I LOVE football. I don't give two shits about hockey and I'm from Pittsburgh, so baseball is not even real, but I bleed black and gold and I love my Steelers no matter what. Even after the sad little season that we had last year, no matter where I move and relocate to, my heart will always belong to Steeler Nation.

Me and a few of my sisters went to the Steelers Victory Parade two years ago :)

3.) I'm addicted to Twitter. I tweet often, I tweet at celebrities, I tweet at Bravolebrities. I just love everything about it. At first I thought it was stupid, but it's a surprisingly simple way to stay in touch. Yes, it is a little egotistical, but who cares? It's fun! Follow me: @heytherebriana

4.) The Harry Potter series and Watership Down changed my life. Prior to the release of Harry Potter, I always knew that I wanted to be a writer, but after reading the first novel, it became clear that there were no other options. Whether it's screenwriting, playwriting, fiction writing, critiquing - I know that I'm supposed to be a writer. Thank you, J.K. Rowling. Richard Adams further solidified this, in his striking ability to tell a political story from the point of view of rabbits. This book doesn't receive nearly enough credit. Read it right now.

5.) I'm obsessed with television and movies books and music and pop culture. I'm hopefully going to NYU or UCLA for a Ph.D in Cinema Studies. Bravo is one of my favorite channels, ever. I'm in love with the Real Housewives series and I think that Bethenny Getting Married? is one of the most refreshing shows on TV. I love movies, I love midnight book release parties. I love it all. I also feel an odd connection to Andy Warhol, dunno.

6.) I'm pretty sure I should've been born in the 1910s to be alive in the 1920s. There's just something about that era that fascinates me. All that jazz, prohibition, Gatsby, I love it all. Flappers and speakeasies. It's my goal in life to throw a Prohibition party and I am so excited for the new show on HBO, Boardwalk Empire.

7.) Lastly! My mom is my best friend. I love her so much. We are seriously a real life, not rich, less dramatic version of Gilmore Girls. She had me when she was young, but accepted the love and support of my grandparents and I think having me so young really benefited our relationship. The combination of that her no-bullshit way of raising me. I thank God for my mother and I love her more than anything. She's my best friend, my rock, and my biggest fan. The Lorelei to my Rory. I'm 21 and will openly admit I love my momma :)

AND NOW!!!!!!! The blogs I pass this onto, in no particular order are as follows:
1.) Kaitlyn at Kaitlyn in Bookland
2.) Nathan at How I Roll
4.) Sara at The Bucket List
6.) Dree at Defining Dree
7.) Heather at Boyfriend Challenged
8.) Penny Ann at Beauty in the Breakdown

And with that, I'm stuck at 9, which isn't so bad, I suppose. Thanks again, Kaitlyn :)

"Tangled Up in Me" by Skye Sweetnam; 2004

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rocking at Hogwarts

"Snape. Snape. Severus Snape. DUMBLEDORE!"

Today is Harry Potter's birthday. In reality, it is JK Rowling's birthday. I'm wishing a very, very happiest of birthdays to both, the Boy Who Lived and the wonderful woman who created him.

I can vividly remember when I was assigned to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I was eleven and in fifth-grade gifted classes and I was irritated that I had to read this fantasy nonsense, as someone who preferred realistic fiction ala Judy Blume. However, after reading the first chapter aloud in class (back when my teacher assumed Hagrid was the only British one, with his thickly written accent), I was hooked. I begged my grandparents to take me to the bookstore to buy my own copy of the novel and I finished it the next night.

If only then I knew this was child's play of my Harry Potter reading records (Hello, Order of the Phoenix, done in 14.5 hours). There was something magically hopeful about Harry and his world. It was the stuff of fantasy, but realistic enough to not completely turn me off. To this day, I'm not sure Hogwarts doesn't exist and maybe I'm just a run of the mill Muggle, living in quasi-ignorance.

This also stands out to me, because JK Rowling and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is what made me realize writing was what I wanted to do. It just made so much sense, it was something I hadn't thought of before reading the series. Really, it wasn't something I had thought of prior to hearing that JK (because we're on a first name/initial status at this point) started the series on a train, writing it on napkins. Clearly it wasn't fruitful at first shot, but it was life-changing. I wanted to change lives, too.

When I think of my childhood in terms of literature, two things stand out: Watership Down and Harry Potter. When thinking about the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in theaters, it makes me a little misty-eyed. In July 2011, my childhood is officially over (especially fitting, since I graduate from college in May 2011). It was also eerily appropriate when the novel was released the summer after I graduated high school, weeeeeird!

I cried when I watched the trailer. I got PISSED when I sat through nine hours of Twilight garbage and didn't get a Deathly Hallows trailer. I cried when I saw Eclipse a second time, mostly for the Deathly Hallows trailer. Every time I go to the movies, I'm a little sad if I don't see a Deathly Hallows trailer. I didn't even LIKE Deathly Hallows that much. It's the most bittersweet anticipation I've ever experienced.

Ranking the books is hard. It's hard and so easy at the same time. I love talking about the books with people and seeing how my favorites stack up to theirs. As it is:
  1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
However, after watching and rewatching the film adaptation of Half-Blood Prince, I might need to reread that and reassess my ranking.

It's a phenomenon. It's great literature. I'm sad to see it end. It has staying power. It's more than just a fad. It's the story of a generation, yet it is satisfying to all. How many stories can do this? Yes, I challenge you, Twihards. My mom could not get three pages into Twilight, but she finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and is hungry for more.

I'm sad to see this end, but I'm so happy it happened. Thank God, it did.

"Rocking at Hogwarts" by Harry and the Potters; 2003

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

"Who is Salt?"

That seems to be the inevitable question throughout this movie. I saw Salt the day after it came out, of course I had to, I'm in love with Angelina Jolie. This movie, contrary to what critics are saying was actually pretty good. It's an action movie, I don't know why critics have such high expectations for them in terms of plot. They are good for explosions and outrageous stunts, not much else.

That being said and despite plot holes, I thought this plot was excellent for an action movie. Angelina Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, CIA officer. One day, Salt and her friend Ted (Liev Schreiber) interrogate a Russian defector who informs them that a Russian spy/sleeper agent is going to assassinate the Russian president at the American vice-president's funeral. The defector, Orlov, informs them that the Russian spy's name is Evelyn Salt.

Salt is concerned about her husband's safety and runs off, resulting in the CIA, specifically Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to think she's guilty. The rest of the movie is a roller coaster ride that leaves you out of breath and for most of the movie unsure of who to trust.

I figured this was just a little action movie, and critics seem to think that's all it is. Critics seem to have high expectations for action movies and I still don't know why. By and large there are epic plot holes and things that happen for no reason. I understand that I'm supposed to suspend disbelief in most movies, ESPECIALLY action movies (and horror movies). Yes, there are plot holes. Yes, at the end I was like "WHAT?" in a different way than I was afterInception. However, I think the plot was still very strong for an action movie.

The cast was also really good. I had read that Tom Cruise was supposed to be Edwin Salt, and I couldn't have been happier when they rewrote the script for Angelina Jolie. Beyond just being over Tom Cruise at this point (really, man, maybe you should just retire and enjoy being a Scientologist), it was great to see the role given to a badass woman. Women can kick ass and take names just as well as a guy can. Her fight scenes weren't unrealistic, there were times that she got her butt kicked, but she recovers. It was surprisingly empowering. My mom and I left the theater like "Yeah! Let's go for a run!" ...but it was like 97 degrees outside so instead we went home and watched TV.

It was a really great action movie, one of the best that I have seen in a while...I'd go so far as to say in years. The plot is more complicated than it seems. Yes, you have to suspend disbelief, you really think Angelina Jolie can hop off of a bridge and land on a moving truck and go further as to keep hoping from car to truck all while being shot at? Exactly. It was refreshing and fun. I'd probably go see it again, but it's not like Inception, where I absolutely must go see it again. I'd give this a B...maybe a B+ because I really did enjoy this :) I think most people won't be disappointed in this film.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" by The Spice Girls; 1997

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dream On

"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling."

So, I saw Inception on Monday and it's taken me this long to assess the movie. It wasn't bad, quite the contrary, it was on of the best movies I've seen in a really long time. However, there's just so much. Each day, I thought of something new about this movie, and it was great.

Frankly, I'm seeing this movie again. Next week cannot come fast enough and I think everyone should see this movie. Well, if you like this type of chaotic, makes you think movie. If you only really like Disney films and vapid romantic comedies and simple plots with lots of explosions, this isn't for you.

Let's start with the cast. Perfect. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, our protagonist who is able to get into people's dreams and extract information. He works with Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Ariadne (Ellen Page) directly. Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Dileep Rao, and Michael Caine also star. They are all excellent and this was an excellent example of great casting. This movie could've been crap and this cast would've salvaged it.

Now, let's talk plot. It's very complicated, yet very simple. Cobb can slip into people's dreams and extract information, which, when used for corporate espionage, is illegal. For some reason (no spoilers here!), Cobb is unable to go home and Saito offers to clear his record if he can manage inception. Inception is planting an idea in someone's subconscious and Arthur thinks it's impossible. Cobb says you just have to go deep enough and hence begins our adventure.

I was afraid that this would be more complicated, but it was surprisingly simple to grasp, while being remarkably complicated. At the beginning I was a little disoriented, unsure of what was a dream and what was a reality, however I liked it. I won't lie, I was worried this would be a heaping piece of shit like that movie from a few years back Stay, with Ewan McGregor and Ryan Gosling, but this was infinitely better.

This film is visually magnificent. The two standouts to me all took place at the same time. I loved the fight featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the zero-gravity hotel corridor. It was mesmerizing and awesome. I appreciate it even more after hearing Gordon-Levitt (my future husband, ps) say in an interview that they shot it in a rotating box. SUH-WEET. The second standout was the way Christopher Nolan handled the time-frame of the three dreams. How the van dropped in slow motion, the hotel lost gravity, and the rest was in normal time (as far as we're concerned). Brilliant.

I'm starting to wonder if Leonardo DiCaprio is trying to tell us something with his latest role choices, but they are great movies (if you haven't seen Shutter Island, stop reading this and go Netflix/On Demand it right now) and they really make you think twice. They are movies that you leave debating with whoever you see it with, which is refreshing.

A+, Christopher Nolan! A+++! As someone who doesn't really care for the new Batman series (I won't lie, I wasn't too impressed with The Dark Knight, with the exception of Heath Ledger), I was a little nervous going into this. It definitely did not disappoint. I'm going to see it again next week. Make sure you don't doze off or have to run to the bathroom during this, you need to pay close attention to everything. It flies by and is a lot of fun. Fab movie.

"Dream On" by Aerosmith; 1973

Monday, July 19, 2010

Can't Smile Without You

"'I've missed this,' Marcus thinks, 'I've missed you.'"

I want a love like Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie.

Happy Birthday, Marcus Flutie. Well, technically it was yesterday since it's after midnight, but whatever.

In honor of the birth of a fictional character I'm in love with, I'm telling everyone that you must read Megan McCafferty's series about Jessica Darling.

I started reading these while I was still in high school, the perfect time to read them and I find that I really did kind of grow up with Jessica Darling (not as much as I did with Harry Potter, but still). Her outlook on life is strikingly similar to mine and I really appreciate her as a character. Written diary-style (sans Perfect Fifths), you really get into the mind of Jess, which makes her become a part of you. She's raw and candid and real, something missing in a lot of books I read with characters this age. Jess is authentic, rather than generic.

Marcus Flutie is perfect. He's a mess, but so deep and...he's fascinating. I hope that one day I meet a boy like Marcus, even if we don't fall in love. Marcus could be my best friend and my lover.

Sunny steals the last book. You can find out more about her later, but she's a pleasant addition to the characters I love so much.

I was really sad when reading what I heard to be the final book, but Jessica's a grown up. Marcus is a grown up. She's done with college and has a steady job. She knows people getting married. In many ways I'm where Jessica is at the beginning of Perfect Fifths. I so very wish they'd make movies of each novel, but at the same time, I don't want it damaged by Hollywood.

GO READ THIS SERIES. It's not cheesy and stupid, it's smart and funny. It's sophisticated. It tells the story of a young adult without the stereotype of being a young adult novel. It's grown up and it's real. In some ways, it feels like McCafferty just made her name Jessica Darling for the sake of the novel, because I can't believe this reality came from a subconscious (though, after seeing Inception, I may be wrong).

It is a light, fun read, but it'll also touch you. I cried when I finished the final book because it was over. In an earlier book (I think Second Helpings), I wrote Jess's valedictorian speech down on construction paper and taped it to my door. This is a coming of age story in the best form and I hope anyone who reads it enjoys it as much as I do. I honestly can't imagine my life without Jessica, Marcus, Hope, Cinthia, Bridget, Percy and even Manda.

I wish I could go into more detail, but I don't want to ruin it. Just go check it out. They're in the Fiction/Literature section of Barnes and Noble or they can be found online: Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds, Fourthcomings, Perfect Fifths. All are worth it. Some more than others, but that differs per person. Perfect Fifths and Second Helpings are my two favorites, I think.

While J.K. Rowling may be the author that inspired me to write, Megan McCafferty is the author that's inspired me to not give up.

"Well, this will make a good happy story," Marcus says. "Whenever you decide to tell it."
At first Jessica nods in agreement, the top of her ponytail striking his chin with every head bob. But then she corrects herself with a decisive head shake. "We," she says.
"Whenever we tell it," she says. "Because it's
our story."

"Can't Smile Without You" by Barry Manilow; 1978