High Five / 12

Hello!

high-five-12How are things, friends? Anything planned for your Sunday? Yesterday kicked off my February break, and so I’m relishing the time I have at home, taking the opportunity to catch up on calculus problems and yearbook spreads, try a few recipes I’ve bookmarked {like this one!}, and make my way through the growing pile of books by my bed {Currently on my nightstand is Corey Ann Haydu’s The Careful Undressing of Love and Mara Wilson’s memoir Where Am I Now?}. 

This vacation also gives me the chance to return to Ciao Bella – it’s been left untouched too long for my liking, if only because I wanted to wrap up my first semester and start my second on a good note. As a means to catch up – and a way to jump back into this blogging thing once again – I thought I’d share another edition of High Five. Any highlights of your own to share?

[1] First, Teen Vogue has been receiving widespread acclaim as of late, and for good reason: their editorial and artistic direction has been top-notch over the past several months. Editor-in-Chief Elaine Wentworth, digital director Phillip Picardi, and creative director Marie Suter are a team to be reckoned with, and I’ve found their content not only enjoyable, but informative, with a range of everything from an interview with their cover model Bella Hadid to fact checks on the Trump administration. ith the recent unfounded attacks on the press, I can think of no better way to resist such claims than to support the publications that consistently do it right. The new issue, a different approach from previous years in that it’s pitched more as a “collectible” than a monthly magazine, has yet to hit my mailbox, but I’ll be sitting down to read it cover to cover as soon as it does.

[2] More often than not, if I’m not reading or working on homework, you can find me at rehearsal, a statement that sums up my afterschool schedule over the past few weeks. This month has had me working on three productions: I’m coordinating auditions and early rehearsals for the local community theater’s The Great American Trailer Park Musical; I’m stage managing my school’s entry into the state one-act play festival, and I just wrapped up the tech week and performances for this year’s Cabaret, the choir showcase at my school. Needless to say, I feel as if I’ve seen enough cue sheets and rehearsal schedules to last me a lifetime, but it helps that I’m having a blast while doing so :) Cabaret marks the beginning of the end for us seniors involved in the drama department, and I know graduation and my last musical and “Tony Night” will be here before I know it. For any other high school seniors, is your year flying by as quickly as mine?

[3] In other theatrical news, my mom, sister, and I were lucky enough to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time when it stopped in Providence on its national tour, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Tony winner of Best Play in 2015, the production tells the story of fifteen-year old Christopher as the he unravels the mystery of the relationship between his mother and father. The actors were all stellar, as was the intricate choreography, but the stage manager in me was most impressed with the projections, used to give a sense of time and place {you can a glimpse in the photo above}. After seeing the company bring the story to life on stage, I’m anxious to read the book that shares its title, as I’ve heard nothing but good things. Have you read and/or seen The Curious Incident at all?

[4] Have you heard of the CW gem, iZombie? I myself had not until my sister introduced it to me on Netflix, and I only regret not watching it sooner! As someone who shamelessly devours mystery novels and who will gladly watch any and all detective shows, the program – which premiered in early 2015 and which was inspired by Rob Thomas’ comic of the same name – is right up my alley, following a doctor-turned-zombie whose abilities become an asset to the local police department. With actress Rose McIver as the main character Liv Moore, the cast seems to have a tight bond, both on and off the screen; the story, meanwhile, is the perfect blend of humor, horror, and suspense, garnering a number of fans, myself now included. Already eight episodes in, I have my fingers crossed that my sister and I can bring ourselves up to speed before the third season starts in April.

[5] Finally, if you’re searching for some new songs to jazz up your playlist, look no further than the soundtrack for Dear Evan Hansen, one of the most recent musicals to open on Broadway. With lyrics and music from the songwriting team Pasek and Paul {they’re the duo behind Dogfight, another favorite of mine}, the show explores the role of social media and the definition of an “outsider” as the title character forges a friendship after the death of a classmate. All fourteen tracks are worth a listen, in thanks to incredible voices of Ben Platt, Laura Dreyfuss, and the rest of the company, but I particularly enjoy “Waving Through a Window” and “Requiem.” What music have you been listening to lately?

And with that, I wish you a lovely Sunday!
xo, B

High Five / 11

Hi!

high-five-11Happy Friday! How are things? I myself am excited that the weekend has arrived – I was just discussing with my family that the school week was shorter, but getting back into the swing of things made it feel far longer. Thankfully, with a calculus test moved to Monday and no other assessments on the agenda, I’m easing right into the weekend: I’m seeing friends in a production of 13; I plan to wrap up the wonderful The Upside of Unrequited; and I hope to catch the next installment of Sherlock after watching The Golden Globes.

All that said, it’s been far too long since I last shared a High Five, so I figured no better time than the new year to start the feature up again! What made your week?

[1] First, while I have been devouring quite a few novels off my bookshelf over the past week or so, I also have slowly been savoring the interviews included in In the Company of Women, a collection compiled by the founder of Design*Sponge, Grace Bonney. I’ve been crushing on the book for months, and so, I was over the moon with excitement when one of my best friends gifted it to me for Christmas, and, fortunately, it didn’t disappoint. Featuring over one hundred different entrepreneurs, artists, and designers {including some of my personal favorites like blogger Joy Cho, illustrator Julia Rothman, and the one miss Tavi Gevinson} of various backgrounds, races, and ages, the book touches upon a number of topics, everything from insight on the creative process to early business advice. I’m only about halfway through right now, but I have a feeling this is a book I’ll be turning to again and again. Have you read In the Company of Women?

[2] I love me a day trip, so I jumped at the chance to fit one in before my sister and I returned to school earlier this week. My family and I decided to visit Colt State Park, a gorgeous – and large! – park in Bristol, Rhode Island. As we’ve only previously gone to it in warmer weather {it’s where, in fact, my sister Lulu snapped my senior photos}, it was a refreshing change of pace – and gave us good reason to stop into the Beehive Cafe for a brownie and hot chocolate afterwards. I’ve decided to forgo the resolution making this year beyond choosing my annual word, but if 2017 brings more frequent, fun trips like this one, I’ll be a happy camper.

[3] Thirdly, friends, believe the hype: La La Land is as wonderful as promised. Set against the loud and vivid backdrop of Los Angeles, the film follows two artists: Mia, played by Emma Stone, who works on the Warner Bros. set while dreaming of starring in a movie of her own, and Sebastian, Ryan Gosling’s character, whose dreams of owning a jazz club have not yet met reality. My sister, my mom, and I caught it on Christmas day, and I was mesmerized from beginning, where it opens in song and dance on the highway, to the end, a testament to not only the work of the actors, but the director, composer, cinematographer, and production designer as well. I’d happily see it again, but in the meantime, I’ve been listening to the soundtrack on repeat and have been on the search for a copy of Damien Chazelle’s first movie, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench. Do you want to see La La Land?

[4] If there’s one thing to love about the winter weather {in addition to snow days, of course}, it’s the opportunity to hold many a movie night and television show marathon. Over my holiday break, my sister and I watched and caught up on a number of shows – This is Us or The Fosters, anyone? – but one of my new favorites is The Good Place, which first premiered on NBC in the fall. Starring Ted Danson and Kristen Bell, the show is whimsical and humorous take on the afterlife, in which you land in the “good” or “bad” place based on the sum of the actions you take in life. The stellar cast is supported by a team of brilliant writers, and after watching all ten episodes available in a matter of days, my sister and I have come to the same conclusion: if you need a laugh, The Good Place is the show to watch. Episodes only just yesterday started airing again, so if you too are looking to catch up, this weekend would be the perfect time.

[5] Finally, it’s from one holiday to the next at Boden, but I’m not one to complain: I adore so many pieces in their new spring line! Rolled out earlier this week, the collection plays well with color and pattern {for examples, I particularly like this swan-dotted dress and this quirky Breton} and, in many pieces, evokes a retro vibe {I think this sweater would look so cute with jeans come spring}. I won’t be purchasing anything so soon after Christmas, but I’ll have a few things to put my tutoring money towards later in the year :) Are you ready for a wardrobe change, or are you content with sweaters and layers for the next few months?

Have the most wonderful Friday!
Bella

High Five / 10

Hello!

high-five-tenHow are you? Hanging in there, I hope? It’s been a draining week, and I’m thankful that this long weekend offers the chance to recover {in classic Bella fashion, that means lots of reading and organizing and spending time with friends}. I hate to share another High Five so soon after Edition Nine, but it’s been so long between posts, that I’m anxious to catch up! Here are a few highlights – and things that have been on my mind – from the past couple of weeks:

[1] My sister, Lulu, is a webseries fanatic, and ever since she introduced me to the delight that is The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I’ve learned to trust her YouTube recommendations. At her urging, I recently watched Edgar Allen Poe’s Murder Mystery Party, a hilarious, high-quality series that has various authors and poets solving a set of sudden murders. What it obviously lacks in historical accuracy, it makes up in humor: Poe, a quiet, lovestruck host, attempts to distract the police from his “informal gathering;”, Mary Ann Evans tries to live up to her pen name, George Eliot, by convincing everyone she’s a man; and H.G. Wells wants to do nothing but work on his inventions. In other words? It’s all sorts of funny, and I’d suggest watching it yourself if you haven’t already – I myself can’t wait to look into the other series from Shipwrecked Comedy! Do you follow any webseries?

[2] Chalk up my recent blog disappearance to tech week, a seven-day spurt in which I spend far more time in the school auditorium than any sane person should :) In all seriousness, I had the absolute pleasure to stage manage my school’s night of one-acts. The first show of the evening was Eurydice, directed by one of my best friends so that we can later enter it into the statewide one-act play festival; written by Sarah Ruhl, it’s a powerful show, and this particular production had a variety of technical elements to keep the crew busy, from flying in string rooms to lighting trap doors. After intermission, we put on Black Comedy; as the title suggests, it’s a humorous play in which the characters are stuck in a blackout – only the audience can see everything that happens! It was an emotional week – as a senior, closing night certainly hit home – but it’s not quite over yet; I’m so excited to continue with our festival entry into the spring. For my fellow drama friends, are you working on any productions at the moment?

[3] Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, but I won’t lie, my mind has already moved to the next holiday: Christmas! I adore the holiday season, and I’m already counting down the days until the specials are on television and I can pull out my festive sweaters and cookie recipes. Fortunately, I’m not only the one who thinks Christmas music is appropriate the day after Halloween; my favorite indie duo, She & Him, released their second holiday album, Christmas Party, just a few weeks ago. As is to be expected, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward’s sixth collaboration is excellent, bringing their signature retro, simple sound to Christmas classics, like “Run Run Rudolph” or my favorite, “Christmas Memories.” Needless to say, I’ll be playing this on my way to school for weeks to come! What about you? Do you like holiday music, or would you rather it never hit the radio?

[4] Besides listening to Christmas music on repeat, I’ve found the holiday spirit in another form: coloring! Johanna Basford, who might as well be credited with the adult coloring book trend, just released yet another book, Johanna’s Christmas, and it perfectly captures the holiday season. Her illustrations – think nutcrackers, reindeer, and ornaments – are incredibly intricate, and I’ve found them so fun to color during family movie nights or in between study sessions. The improvements, including thicker cardstock and one-sided pages, are much appreciated by this tried-and-true Sharpie user, and you can be sure I’ll be coloring up until Christmas Day. Have you jumped on the coloring book trend at all?

[5] Finally, I often leave politics out of Ciao Bella – I like to keep it as a respite from the ugliness of the news – but the results of this week’s election, I believe, warrant a mention. And there’s no dodging it: I’m devastated. I’ve had a pit in my stomach for days, and I’ve yet to accept the fact {I keep thinking I’ll wake up to find that this was an awful dream}.

As I’ve mulled it all over, here are a few links I’ve come across {if you fancy a read, and you’re ready for it}:
The Hard Question Isn’t Why Clinton Lost – It’s Why Trump Won
Why Did You Vote for Trump?
How Do You Handle the Results of This Election?
Donald Trump Wins. Now What?
Girls Can Be Anything, Just Not President
And here’s something happy to end on: Something to Celebrate: 6 Women Who Won Historic Firsts

I hope this election will stir people, myself included, into action {One way to start? Expand who you follow across social media. A variety of voices and perspectives is important if we want to move forward}. I know kindness will prevail. In the meantime, be a friend to your loved ones and strangers, because as the wonderful Phillipa Soo tweeted, “love needs our minds, bodies, and voices to send it great distances.” We can do this.

xo, B

Psst. All credit to Penelope Dullaghan for that lovely flag illustration.