The Force Awakens (After 16 Years of Waiting For a Good Star Wars Movie)

*Spoiler free

I sat there, clutching the armrests of the chair with a deathgrip that could pull the most stubborn stuffed animal from the depths of the claw machine. The skin on my arms was pimpled, hairs standing at attention, and the butterflies in my stomach zooming around at an intensity that rivaled the jitters from drinking a fourth cup of coffee. By the time the gold font scrolled up the screen and the John Williams score kicked in, I was 100% invested.

I’m sure some people will judge me for showing more excitement at the premier of Star Wars Episode VII than at, well, pretty much anything (I’m fairly confident that I won’t be as excitedly nervous and breath-taken at my own wedding.)

star wars han leia chewbacca

Even though I don’t tend to write about pop culture or movies, I would be remiss to not share my feelings on The Force Awakens. Not just because it’s on par with my love for Harry Potter (fun fact: while Harry Potter wins my personal award for favorite books/series, Star Wars wins favorite movies by far) but because Star Wars has been a part of my life since I made a habit of watching A New Hope, taped from the local cable station, every other weekend growing up. Literally. Twice a month, over, say, about 8 years, meant I had seen A New Hope approximately 192 times by the time I hit middle school.

Without giving anything away, The Force Awakens brought back the spirit that the original movies did, without a doubt.

The story itself is adventuresome, it’s fun; and the characters are charming and endearing in their own ways. While there’s humor to be found in the original trilogy (see here), The Force Awakens is laden with moments of honest laughter as opposed to the dry, political drama of the prequels. I have so many questions — so many thrilling, I-can’t-wait-to-see-where-this-is-headed questions — and I haven’t been this excited for a movie in years.

It wasn’t perfect: there were some moments I felt were lagging as a story, or ones that felt inauthentic or just could’ve been fleshed out better. In appreciation of keeping these parts spoiler free for those who still need to see it, I’m not going to discuss that now (feel free to email me if you’d like to discuss, however!), but it’s worth mentioning that even with it’s faults, The Force Awakens is a much more fitting addition to the universe than the early 00s prequels.

Are the Star Wars movies my go to example when teaching archetypes or relaying the cycle of the hero’s journey as it pertains to Joseph Campbell’s monomyth? Certainly. Do the originals hold a spot in the accolades of classic cinema? You bet. Do I really just have fond memories watching The Empire Strikes Back with my Dad growing up?


Link Love


There’s something to be said for a slow morning. I thrive on waking up leisurely, still early, and sitting down to coffee and the news. Here are some links to help you start your morning out slowly this Sunday…

♥ An important grammar PSA for the holidays: how to pluralize your last name for Christmas cards. Stray apostrophes truly hurt.
♥ Responding to Tragedy, France Turns to Hemingway. This is (one reason) why we read, folks.
♥ Need a book recommendation? The Penguin Hotline is here for you!
♥ This is what a handwritten novel by Neil Gaiman looks like…
The Goodreads 2015 Choice Award results are in! What do you think?
♥ The NFL’s Unofficial Librarian: The Andrew Luck Book Club
11 smells that are slowly disappearing  — fascinating! And kind of sad.
Day-to-Day Life as a (Female!) BioWare Writer
Part I: The Life and Slow Death of a Former Pennsylvania Steel Town
♥ This printable reading journal is adorable!
Gifts for English majors

What fun links have you found lately?

Link Love


This week’s links don’t make for terribly light reading, but they’re ideas I find tremendously interesting, ranging from what makes good literature to new approaches in the digital humanities. Take a moment today and, even if you just read one link below, explore something new.

How income disparity affects romantic relationships
♥ Sara shares some tips for how to read more books
♥ If you line up these page markers correctly, they can create whole scenes! Godzilla strolling through rainbow-laden Tokyo? Yes please!
Inside Amazon’s first physical bookstore 
What makes good writing? I don’t know that I have the answer, but it’s something I think about with every review I write.
Shakespeare and the Suffragettes
♥ I don’t post too many long-form scholarly articles, or in this case, books. But Hacking the Academy: New Approaches to Scholarship and Teaching from Digital Humanities aligns with what I focused on in college, and is such an important look at our state of print consumption today.

P.S. Did you see that I’m back on Youtube!?

What fun links have you found lately?

7 Things That Make Me Feel Like An Adult (with JORD Watches)

Things That Make Me Feel Like an Adult

Every now and then I run into people I went to high school with and think “Wow, you’ve really aged.” Which I realize makes me sound like kind of a horrible person. What I mean is that they are a far cry from the baby-faced, naive-looking student that they were years ago, and really look like an adult.

I know “looking like an adult” is a vague and baffling statement on its own. What does an adult look like, exactly? Are they precisely 5′ 6″? (If that’s the case, I’m doomed.) Have a certain percentage of their face covered in facial hair? (gentleman, obviously.) There comes a time when people just start to look older. They have more of a presence, seem more sure of themselves — responsibility streaming from their eyes.

And here’s me, getting stopped by building security and asked where my hall pass is.

I know I’m petite in stature and have the eternal look of a middle-schooler. But after a while, hearing “You’ll appreciate your youthful looks when you get older” becomes frustrating in itself. Maybe it’s because I can’t see myself as others see me, but I don’t feel like I’ve physically changed much since I was in high school myself, much less look like the substantial “adult” that others do.

JORD Wood Watch

There are a few little things in life that make me feel like an adult, however, and I’ve come to appreciate them greatly. Not because they make me feel any more validated, but it’s nice to feel – internally — like I’ve accomplished things. They may not seem like much, but these are the moments that make me stop and really feel like I’ve “made it”.

  1. Talking about insurance and interest rates over dinner, among other things. A captivating conversation for sure, but talking about what’s going on in your day-to-day life takes a turn for the more boring when you reach a certain age.
  2. Hearing my footsteps click on the hard linoleum floor. This conjures up images of adults from my childhood and, for whatever reason, just screams adult to me. Maybe it’s the association my brain makes, or the fact that it’s harder to be confused for a student when you’re wearing professional shoes.
  3. Walking into a car dealership and negotiating a deal on a new car. Chalk this up as one of my biggest accomplishments this year. Buying used just isn’t the same as walking into a big, intimidating dealership and holding your own.
  4. The urge to clean the apartment before company arrives. A dirty, disorganized house just isn’t okay. Cleaning is beyond a chore and while I still don’t like it, I recognize when it needs to be done. Having a scrubbed and dusted house complete with candles burning makes everything feel more homey and put-together.
  5. Sensible shoes. I don’t have the patience for shoes that I can’t move in. Call me crazy, but I’m all about comfort and practicality.
  6. Shopping for candles becomes a thrilling adventure. The candle store is exciting! I have places to put candles! I must smell all of the candles! Twice! There was once a point when shopping for CDs was my primary interest, but those days are long gone. Give me candles or give me death!
  7. Checking my JORD watch for the time. Phones are great and all, but a watch has the added bonus of making you look classy and put together.

For whatever reason, of all of the things that scream refinement and maturity, I love a good watch. Maybe it’s because we’re so reliant on our cell phones nowadays, but raising my wrist to look at the time feels like a nod to an earlier generation. It’s a little luxury, even, and a welcome motion that I know won’t turn into my getting distracted with a text or notification from Instagram.


I love that JORD’s watches are unique while still looking timeless. A wood watch is quite a statement in itself, but JORD’s manage to take classy to the max. My style leans more on the traditional side, but the burgundy hue of the Cora watch caught my eye immediately. The mother of pearl face paired with the purpleheart wood is sophisticated enough while still making the subtle statement that makes my high school goth phase giddy.

Burgundy is just so darn classy.

Can I add a color to a list of things that make me feel like an adult?

*I received a complimentary watch from JORD to review. All opinions, however, are my own.

Watches Made From 100% Natural Wood by JORD

What little moments make you feel like an adult?

Link Love


My boxes are mostly unpacked (finally!), though I’m still trying to set up a place to record new Booktube videos. It may not be perfect yet, but I wouldn’t trade my cozy living room for the world (because plaid and candles for days! Total no brainer.)

While I finish getting settled in, here’s some reading for the week…

♥ Advice I’m 100% tuning into right now: I’m returning to single-tasking
The Emotions That Make Us More Creative
♥ Teaching, meet Blogging: 5 Educational Theories That Will Improve Your Content Marketing
Too much to do, not enough time
♥ The Caped Crusader has come a long way in film since 1939 — The Evolution of Batman in Cinema
♥ There’s also a Batman cafe in Malaysia. Who’s coming with me?
♥ Every Southern Gothic Novel Ever – ha!
♥ How being in an all-girls D&D group reminds me that femininity and feminism can coexist in harmony
♥ Isn’t love supposed to be a head over heels feeling? What about the peril of not dying for love?
On being a bad blogger
♥ Ever wonder what goes into choosing a book cover?
♥ Fiction writers! Here are 8 paragraph mistakes you may not know you’re making
What a degree in Literature teaches you
♥ Could you go one year without social media?
People wrote thousands of love letters to their favorite trees (I know this sounds crazy, but bear with me!)
♥ The internet was all in a tizzy a few weeks ago about this couple that tried to emulate a Victorian lifestyle in 2015. Y’know, by blogging about their historically accurate lifestyle. The internet retaliated with the important distinction between appreciation and ignorance, and what it means to understand history with pieces like Vox’s Victorians.

What fun links have you found lately?