Solo: A Star Wars Adventure

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To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled for the Solo: A Star Wars Story movie. There seemed to be a lot of drama on set such as firing the original directors  and hiring an acting coach for Alden Ehrenreich. In the second link, Alden does address the acting coach rumors and says, “it was blown way out of proportion.” Spontaneously my friend bought tickets for me and the boyfriend to attend the showing yesterday. I must admit, it’s not my favorite Star Wars movie, but it’s much better than I was anticipating.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT 😀

 

 

 

Han Solo’s story begins on the planet of Corellia which is a horrendous planet. Solo is attempting to leave with his fling Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) when he escapes and unfortunately Qi’ra does not. Flash forward three years, Han is kicked out of the Imperial academy and is connected with Chewie, Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), and Qi’ra who he hasn’t seen in years. Of course Lando (Donald Glover) is introduced and basically the group of them fly the Millennium Falcon completing a bounty for Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) who leads the Crimson Dawn criminal syndicate.

As far as Alden’s portrayal of Han Solo, I personally didn’t mind it. Granted I’m not the biggest Han Solo fan, so if Alden didn’t do a great job, I wouldn’t know. I thought Alden was dominant, feisty and sarcastic which makes up Han Solo. I think with all of the hype for this movie, I believe Alden delivered.

I was skeptical with the casting of Woody Harrelson. He’s not a bad actor, but usually the Star Wars franchise doesn’t include “huge actors”. I was afraid by watching the movie I would get distracted by Woody because of his notable roles. That wasn’t the case. I enjoyed his character and he teaches Han the crucial lesson of “Don’t Trust Anyone”.

If you’re still reading, there will be a MAJOR spoiler in the following paragraphs. Please stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie.

 

One of the biggest reactions with this movie is a surprising cameo. Qi’ra has just killed Vos and you see her steal his ring. She plugs it into this desk and is talking to Vos’s boss. I’m assuming this is going to be Supreme Leader Snoke maybe? It would help with developing his backstory as a villain. Instead the cameo is none other than. . . Darth Maul!!!!

Darth Maul is a terrifying villain and it’s a shame he was killed so early on in the Phantom Menace. I know that Maul exists in Star Wars comics, I even a read a Darth Maul book in the extended universe. I just wasn’t expecting him to appear in the movie. Literally my mouth dropped and was open for his entire scene. I’m still shocked.

My biggest complaint thus far with the film is that Thandie Newton’s character dies in the first 20 minutes. What’s the point of even bringing her on board for the movie if you kill her so quick? Seems silly to me.

Solo: A Star Wars Story was not a train wreck which is a nice surprise. The movie may have it’s flaws, but it’s ultimately a fun movie to see in the theater. I’m interested to see how things pan out in future movies especially with the fun cameo I mentioned a couple paragraphs above. I’m always interested to hear what readers have to say, so leave a comment below. Please also be respectful of spoilers as it is opening weekend for the movie.

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Boston… Take Me Back

This past week I was in Boston, MA for a family vacation with my mom, brother and the boyfriend. We drove all 22 hours to get there and 22 hours back. In fact this past Thursday we drove 17.5 hours in one day which I don’t recommend. This trip to Boston is special to me because out of all the places I have visited, Boston is the one city I would love to move to. I’m going to share some pictures of my adventure along with why I adored Boston.

Sunday May 13th

Technically we arrived in Boston on Saturday night at around 8:00 PM. After drinking a pint at a restaurant downtown, we decided to walk around downtown Boston near the Boston commons. Boston Commons is Boston’s version of Central Park in NYC. Right on Bolyston Street is this Edgar Allen Poe statue. There’s his majestic raven and on the back of the raven is a heart from the “Tell Tale Heart” short story. I’m a huge fan of Gothic literature so I did indeed take a selfie with Edgar Allen Poe.

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On Sunday May 13th, me and my family did some more exploring. After walking through the Boston Commons in daylight, we walked to Beacon Hill. This neighborhood is so serene and architecturally stunning. Every building has a New England feel to it. My dream house would probably be somewhere in this neighborhood.

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After exploring Beacon Hill, we headed over to Quincy Market. Quincy Market is an indoor Farmer’s market with a variety of different restaurants. All the food smelled so good. This picture I took is the center of Quincy Market which I thought was spectacular.

324My coworker recommended to me that we explore the North End of Boston. Paul Revere’s house and statue are located here. The North End of Boston is also well known as being the Italian district with many different Italian restaurants to choose from. I was so surprised walking around this area how many restaurants there were! We passed at least 10 different restaurants before settling on the one we picked. There was a balcony with some flowers to provide a nice ambiance. I ordered butternut squash ravioli and I about died and went to heaven. My chardonnay was delicious and complimented my meal perfectly. Sunday was also Mother’s Day so the boyfriend snapped a picture of me and my mom enjoying our wine. Like mother like daughter, right?  331332333341

This is the Boston skyline from Boston Commons. As you can see, we lucked out on how gorgeous the weather was. It was sunny which is something I longed for after surviving yet another Minnesota winter.

Monday May 14th

The bookworm in me was thrilled to see that there was an outdoor book shop in downtown Boston. Brattle Books is one of America’s oldest book stores in the country <  I didn’t know this while I was currently shopping for my next book obsession. If I’m ever near Boston again, I will stop here for more books.

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Boston is a city known for all of it’s U.S history. We stopped by the Boston Tea Party Museum (which I didn’t pay to tour it) along with the U.S.S Constitution. This naval ship shown in the picture below is the oldest ship still in the water. The boyfriend was really excited to see this in person. However, the museum was actually closed on Monday which stinks, so we could only see this from the outside.

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The view from the Boston Harbor is breathtaking. You can see the whole city in it’s entirety and look at how blue the water looks. This picture is probably my favorite picture I took on this trip because it demonstrates how beautiful Boston is.

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Typical couple picture in front of the Boston skyline because why not?

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Me and my mom are on the same page with our love of Boston. As you can see she’s wearing a Patriots long sleeve shirt. I cannot stand the Patriots…

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Tuesday May 15th

At my mom’s request, we walked from our hotel all the way to Fenway park. If there’s any sport that I truly love to watch, it’s baseball. When I think of an ideal summer day it would include watching the Minnesota Twins at Target field with a beer in my hand socializing with friends. Fenway Park is a really nice baseball stadium and I like how many restaurants surround this field. Unfortunately, we were unable to see a baseball game, but that’s on my bucket list for my next trip to this city.

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Our final activity was to see the Skywalk Observatory. It’s located near this upscale hotel and you have to pay $20 to go up there, but it’s worth it. You get an incredible view of the entire city. It’s also not too packed up there so you have room to walk around and take plenty of pictures. This was another tourist activity I recommend doing while visiting Boston.

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Overall, Boston is my favorite trip I have taken so far. If I could move anywhere in the U.S, I would love to live near Boston. Another thing I learned with this trip is that this was a long drive. 22 hours is a long drive one way. I’m not sure if I would want to do another road trip that long of a distance again. I found myself growing impatient and slightly uncomfortable from sitting in the car for many hours. I’m proud to say that I drove all the way out there. It’s a cool achievement.

Do you live in Boston? I would love to know what other cool things I missed out on. Leave a comment below!

Road Trip Tips & Tricks

So you want to go on a road trip? I absolutely prefer driving versus flying unless of course I’m traveling to another continent. In less than 2 weeks, my family & the boyfriend are driving all the way to Boston and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I find with driving you can experience so much more of what the U.S. has to offer versus flying past all of the cute small towns or lush forests along the way. I wanted to give a couple road trip tips I learned to help create a smooth driving experience with friends or family.

Dress Comfortably for the Drive

I never drive in jeans because I want to be comfy if I have to be in the car for 10+ hours. I personally love driving in active wear because it’s soft, and doesn’t cling to you in hot weather. Sure, you can turn on the AC, but if you’re stuck in traffic with the windows rolled down, you will be sweaty. Active wear is the way to go for driving long distances. Also wearing sneakers versus flip flops is a must! It’s unsafe to drive in flip flops because it doubles the amount of time to move your foot from the accelerator to the brake. Please wear sneakers 🙂

Pack Sunglasses or a Hat to Protect your Eyes

 

Sunglasss

Racine, Wisconsin. Can you tell I forgot sunglasses?

^^^ This will make your road trip pictures look better if you’re not squinting against the sun.

Plan out your trip, but leave room for spontaneity

Superman Statue

Metropolis, IL

Figure out museums, parks and other attractions you must visit, but leave some room in this road trip for stops along the way. When I was driving through Illinois to get to Kentucky, we found the city with the largest Superman statue + museum. There was a sign alerting us to it so we pulled off and took many photos outside the museum and with the statue. It makes the road trip more memorable if there are stops that you weren’t originally planning for.

Have an emergency fund.

Include at least $400 for an extra hotel room, car repairs or medical emergencies. In June 2015, me and my friend drove to a music festival in Michigan. When we were pulling into the camp grounds, my car shut off and wouldn’t turn on. We were able to gather at least 10 people to push my car off to the side so I could call for a tow. This event unfortunately put a damper on our vacation because we weren’t sure how to get home and we didn’t have the $$$ for major car repairs. Thankfully it all worked out, but it could have been much worse.

Set a budget!!

How much will you spend in a day? How much are you planning for the trip? This is crucial to ensure that traveling doesn’t break the bank. Also when you think of purchasing a souvenir, actually ask yourself “do I really need this?” Sometimes if we truly evaluate our purchases before impulsively pulling out our credit card, we can make the right decision and not regret it later.

I hope these tips are helpful, but ultimately you will come up with your own road trip tips when you experience the pleasure of driving from point A to point B. Also if you’re from the East coast please give me recommendations of things to see. I have never been out to this part of the U.S. so I need all the help I can get.

Financial Tidbits I learned

We talk about physical and mental health quite frequently in society, but what about financial health? Financial health describes what your financial state is. This includes emergency savings, retirement along with how much disposable income you have. Disposable income is important because to fuel the economy we need to purchase stuff. I wanted to share a couple things I’m doing to help me out financially.

Wands at the ready

Attend another convention? Yes, please 🙂

Creating a Travel Savings Account

My financial adviser suggested to do this to help pay for travel without digging into my “emergency savings.” Plus if I know my money is directly going to fund my next trip, it gets me more excited to stay in if I know I could fly somewhere new in the next couple of months. I’m using Ally  and I opened a high yielding savings account to help accrue more interest. I’m looking forward to seeing this account grow and which trips I can personally fund out of this account.

Make all minimum payments on credit card debt

Before, I was throwing as much money as I possibly could to pay my credit card debt which led to me draining my checking account too easily. Instead I will be putting 15-20 dollars from each paycheck to my credit card. I narrowed down my credit card debt to around $100 which means I’m so close to paying it off.

Put anywhere between 10 – 20% in the emergency savings

I tried putting 20% of my paychecks in savings and find that’s not working with all of my bills I have to pay + having some discretionary funds to buy comics / books, go shopping or go out to eat. I’m playing around with how much to put in my savings so that I still have some left over fun money as well.

Create a Budget

I used Microsoft Excel to lay out all my bills for each month. This keeps me so organized and helped me cut some expenses I didn’t need. For example, I dropped off some of the virtual coaching I had been doing so this left me with an extra $80 a month. I also forgot about some of the extra random bills like car tabs once a year and my xbox live yearly subscription. This budget has helped me immensely into becoming organized with my paychecks.

I’m always looking for ways to save money and be financially smarter. So leave a comment below if you have any other tips / tricks with money.

 

April 2018 Goals!

Happy Easter! Easter has never been a big holiday in my family, so me and the boyfriend decided to drive to Milwaukee to spend this holiday with his family. It’s nice to get out of my regular routine every now and then. Spring is right around the corner hopefully, though when I look outside I still see brown grass with dirty snow piles everywhere. Let’s recap the month of March:

Increase my Roth IRA deposit from $50 to $100 FAIL *ish* 

Last month I made an appointment to meet with a financial adviser from Thrivent about my finances and spending. I learned a lot about how to save for my future. Instead of bumping my Roth IRA, I’m more focused on having more money in my emergency savings. My adviser calculated I was $1000 short of what I should have in that account… yikes. I chose to keep my Roth IRA at $50 a month until I reach my savings goal. If you have never made an appointment to meet with a financial adviser, I highly recommend it.

Move at least $100 from each paycheck to Savings PASS 

I also moved my federal refund from my taxes into my savings as well. Saving money has never been difficult for me.

Binge Watch Season #2 of Jessica Jones PASS 

I even wrote my review under my Bizarre Brunette Binges section, check it out if you haven’t already: Jessica Jones Review

Catch up on my Comics Pile PASS 

I finished Moonstruck Issues #3 – #5. I still have Saga and Paper Girls to read, but I did read a lot more comics this month.

Beat Lego Marvel Superheroes 100% PASS 

I unlocked all the achievements besides the 100% achievement. I know what you’re thinking, technically I didn’t meet my goal right? I realize there are many video games out there for me to play, there’s not enough time to 100% every single game. I collected all the achievements I wanted to, but now I’m playing Uncharted Drake’s Fortune. 

My goals for the month of April:

Plan out my Boston Trip with family.

In May, me and my family are driving out to Boston! I’m super pumped about it because I love road trips and I haven’t been to the east coast before. We haven’t really planned a whole lot of it yet.

Create a Travel Savings account

This is has been on my mind for a while, but I want to create a new savings account specifically for travel. I don’t want to dip into my emergency savings to pay for something extra. I’m thinking of going to Ally bank because they have higher yielding savings accounts versus other typical banks.

Beat Uncharted Drake’s Fortune & Start Uncharted #2 Among Thieves

A couple months ago I bought the three games remastered on one disc. When I bought my PS4 back in November, I knew I wanted to play the Last of Us & Uncharted because they were huge titles on the play station.

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Visit One Brewery I Have Never Been To Before

I don’t drink alcohol very often, but if I do it’s usually a beer at a brewery. Brewery’s are chill places to have a pint and a genuine conversation with friends. Minneapolis / St. Paul have way too many breweries to count, but I want to visit one I haven’t been to before.

 

Waffles & Beer; Entertaining my Friend for a Weekend

I’m still best friends with the first girl I met while I was in school. She was on my floor freshman year while I lived in the dorms and we would watch movies together and play board games. Finally we found a free weekend where she could drive to the cities so we could hang out. I wanted to talk about all the fun things we were able to do.

Me and Amelia graduation

My friend Amelia on the left, me on the right. Graduation from WSU in May 2017

Friday:

I took my friend to Black Panther at the movie theater by my house. It was her first time seeing it while I had seen it a week prior with the boyfriend. She hasn’t been impressed by Marvel movies lately, but she thoroughly enjoyed this one. My favorite character is Shuri because she’s the head of the science department and uses technology to attempt to take down Kilmonger. Besides seeing Black Panther, I took her to a really good pizza place called Pizza Luce. She ended up ordering Mac & Cheese, but I indulged in many slices of pizza with no shame.

Saturday:

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Unfortunately, my job requires me to work most Saturdays from 7 AM – 1 PM. I actually don’t mind it all that much because I’m constantly busy so the shift goes by fast. However, it sucks when I have actual plans on Saturday. My boyfriend entertained my friend until I drove home. We got lunch and I showed her one of my favorite comic shops in the cities the Source Comics & Games. I’m pretty sure I wrote a blog post about this shop, but I’m too lazy to search for the link to the post.

Besides comic book shopping, we attended this event at Tin Whiskers Brewing Company in St. Paul, MN. They were hosting a comic book night with local artists tabling and displaying their work. I was walking around with my 10 oz. IPA sipping on beer and browsing through art. I ended up buying a really cool piece by Chance Wyatt with the Flash running on a lake with his reflection showing the Reverse Flash. We were going to go to a Harry Potter themed acoustic show, but the place where it was held was lighting an incense my friend was allergic to. By this time we drove back to my house and watched a movie and I passed out because I was exhausted from being  up so early.

Sunday:

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I had always wanted to try a Waffle Bar in the Twin Cities area because we wanted breakfast, but my friend doesn’t eat eggs. The Coffee & Waffle Bar was pretty good, I ended up ordering a strawberry cheesecake waffle with a cup of black coffee. I could honestly eat breakfast food all day because breakfast is my favorite meal. I also thought that if Leslie Knope ever visited Minneapolis, she would want to eat here.

I’m always happy showing my friends around Minneapolis / St. Paul. I love where I live and even though winter really sucks, I like this area. Next weekend we are hosting another friend as well, so I have to think of other things to do. It’s fun being a tourist in your own city! 🙂

March 2018 Goalsss :D

Unlike February, I won’t be traveling at all for the month of March. I need that downtime  because traveling whether it’s flying somewhere or driving is expensive. March and April will be money saving months to prepare for a road trip to Boston with my family in May. Since I’m sticking in my area throughout the next two months, I will be having some friends come stay with us from my college town. It will be nice to see them since it’s been a couple months since we had good quality time together. Let’s recap the month of February.

Set a budget for Planet Comicon SUCCESS 🙂

Waiting in line for Matthew Lewis

Yay for sticking with a budget for a convention.

I was most worried about this goal because I can easily spend more than what I had previously said I would. I spent $40 less than I had originally anticipated! It helped that I spent most of my Saturday waiting in line for photos and autographs so that meant I didn’t end up wandering around browsing other artists or it would have been game over.

Work at Steamship at least once per month. FAIL 

Normally I end up working one shift a month, but nobody posted wanting a shift taken so I didn’t end up working. It works out for the best because I am working 40+ hours a week at my full time job and maybe I do want my free time to be able to re-watch season #1 of Jessica Jones.

Play D&D at least once this month. FAIL

My biggest problem with being able to play D&D is finding a group that’s local. I’m a part of one Facebook page, but they usually meet at a game store 30 minutes away and that’s hard to get to on a day of the week. I do want to play D&D more often, but I haven’t found the right group yet.

Read one book & one comic book this month. Success / Fail. 

I did read more comics than books which is my usual. I can read comics a lot faster than books. I read books on my lunch break, but I usually don’t get a full chapter in. Currently I’m reading the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed. It’s the story adaptation to the movie. When I finish it, I will post a review because Rogue One is my all time favorite Star Wars movie.

Now onto the goals for the spring month of March:

Increase my Roth IRA deposit from $50 to $100

If you haven’t opened up your own retirement fund, you definitely should. I don’t rely on my employer to save for retirement and I like that I control how much I can put in. Now that I have been working for several months, it’s time to get serious about saving for retirement. I need to contact my thrivent agent to tell them to bump up my Roth.

Move at least $100 from each paycheck to Savings

I usually always do this with every paycheck. In addition to this, any left over amount of my previous paycheck also gets moved to savings.

Binge Watch Season #2 of Jessica Jones

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Jessica Jones is my favorite “superhero” from the Defenders. I admire everything she has gone through and she is such a complex character. I hope to see more appearances with Luke Cage and see more of a budding romance again in season #2. I also want to learn more about her past and what happened to her that gave her these incredible powers. Also to see Patsy Walker kick ass too. All the women in this show are really interesting characters.

Catch up on my Comics Pile

I am reading through a new comic I bought called Manhunter from DC Comics, but I have a pile of comics to read including Paper Girls Volume #3, Saga Volume #2 and Moonstruck issues #3-#5. I need to sit down on a Sunday with some coffee and take a couple hours to read my comics.

Beat Lego Marvel Superheroes 100%

This game has been my guilty pleasure. I have been trying to 100% the game to earn extra achievements for my gamer tag iceskater101. It’s taken me a while because I’m not able to play video games all that often anymore. I find this game a nice & fun distraction from the stress of my ordinary life.

That’s all I got! This month there’s a lot more financial goals than last month, but they’re still important which is why I included them. I’m looking forward to the Spring weather Minneapolis hopefully has to offer.