Stranger Halloween Things

The Amateur Everything | Stranger Things Halloween

I didn’t think I was going to dress up for Halloween this year. I had thrown around a few ideas and tried to convince J to go in on them with me, but no bite. I’ve also been feeling overwhelmed and overstretched recently, with midterms ending right before Halloween weekend, so I knew it would be tough to pull anything together. But a couple weeks before Halloween, I opened up my email to find this message:

Yaaaassssss, I whispered to myself.

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The Sangria-Off

The Sangria-Off

I take my birthdays pretty seriously. So seriously, they can actually be pretty stressful in the weeks leading up. I am always torn between wanting to surround myself with as many people who I love as possible, and wanting to spend meaningful time with each and every one of them. I have tried to solve this dilemma in the past by taking my birthday celebrations to the next level. A couple of years ago, I organized a linocut crafternoon, where everyone learned how to create  a linocut print. I gathered all of the materials, set up work stations, instructed everyone, and also put together an awesome taco bar (with immense help from J, of course). The next year I organized a ceramics painting crafternoon. Unfortunately, I was too wiped out afterwards to get around to writing a blog post…. But for that party I also purchased the supplies — Pebeo porcelain paints, a variety of ceramics, paintbrushes, etc. — and spent the afternoon painting with some of my best friends. J and I also perfected an incredible pork belly bao recipe, which we served in a massive, excellent make-your-own-bao bar. Add that to the list of belated blog posts…

This year, instead of a crafternoon, I decided to get people involved with a potluck of sorts. I put together a Sangria-off, where everyone was asked to bring a pitcher of homemade sangria to enter into a blind tasting competition. There were scorecards. There were awards. There was a homemade photo booth! And of course, there was a TON of food.

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On Weddings and Best Friends

Weddings and Best Friends

This past Fourth of July, one of my best friends from high school got married. We’ve stayed connected despite the fact that we both moved to different states and live very different lives. In high school we were part of a group of girls who regularly ate lunch together. We loved to plan elaborate, themed lunch picnics about once a month. To coordinate, one friend created a Myspace group (I’m dating myself here…) and titled it “The Lunch Bunch”. Thus, our identity was forged in the annals of social media.

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Movie Night: Studio Ghibli Bingo

Studio Ghibli Miyazaki Movie Marathon | The Amateur Everything

A year ago I hosted a Miyazaki Movie Marathon with my friends and created this illustrated Studio Ghibli Bingo card. Now, with the recent release of The Wind Rises, I have had the opportunity to guest post on The Nerds of Color for their Miyazaki Week special.

Click here to see the full bingo card and print it free for your own movie night. 


Text from the original post

Up until I was eight, my dad traveled frequently for work, often for weeks at a time. Once, after a long trip to Japan, he returned with a couple of animated movies on VHS: My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Even though I couldn’t understand the dialogue, I watched them repeatedly and reveled in the worlds created by Hayao Miyazaki. I shared them with my friends and even rewound the cassettes to catch the trailer featuring a dreamy floating castle (I now know this trailer was for Laputa). The characters and art have stuck with me ever since. After three cross-country moves, I can still look to Kiki for support in being a young woman of color figuring out how to make it on her own.

A year ago I was again given the gift of Miyazaki’s work, and this time I became the proud owner of the amazing Studio Ghibli Movie Collection. Sixteen brilliant and beautiful films, many of which I had once attempted to download and subtitle in a dimly-lit dorm room (to little success), were now legally in my possession. This was clearly cause for celebration, so I invited various friends over for a Studio Ghibli Movie Marathon. For the occasion I created an unofficial Studio Ghibli Bingo card, which I now give to you. If I’ve learned anything, it’s to share the beauty, creativity, and human stories of Miyazaki’s work.

Of course there’s no right way to enjoy the films, but if you want to add a more participatory element, print out the bingo card and cross off the themes, tropes, and common elements as you see them.

Did I miss something? Add your own boxes in the comments.

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