Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in Review

I can't believe New Year's Eve is tomorrow!

Goodbye, 2010! In the past year, I...

Turned 21!

Went to Santa Barbara with L. as my 21st birthday present.


Celebrated L.'s 21st.

Went to Hawaii for the first time ever! (And have been dying to go back ever since!)


Celebrated my one-year blogging anniversary.

Had an amazing summer in which L. and I officially tested the waters living together and I worked full-time at my wonderful job in publishing (which I'm going to miss so much!) Oh, and hung out with Justin Long too.

Started my senior year at Williams. (In the same year Williams was named the #1 college in America by Forbes! Yay Williams!)


Attended my brother's wedding.


Celebrated L.'s and my two year anniversary.

Went to my first ever NFL game (and first ever Packers game!)

. . .

Looking ahead to 2011, it is going to be a BIG one for me. In it, I will...

Turn 22 (the age to me that seems truly "adult-y")

Finish my thesis! Oh joyful day! (Here's hoping I can keep it under 100 pages...)

Have a fantastic Senior Week, which will include traveling with all my friends to Hilton Head, dinners, parties, champagne brunches, all culminating in the day I...

Graduate from college!!!

Pack everything I own in L.'s Subaru and move across the country/move in together.

Begin working full-time hopefully at the job of my dreams for which I'm interviewing in March (fingers crossed it all works out!)

Adopt a puppy (?!?!)

I can't wait. And I can't wait to share it all with you guys! Things can only get more interesting from here on out...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reindogs

Life is good. I'm nestled comfortably at home, sipping on hot chocolate from the Keurig and nibbling a Lindt chocolate sampler, and since I'm feeling just so holly-jolly I thought it was the perfect time to share with you my afternoon a couple weeks ago with the Reindogs, especially since my own little Reindog, Abby, is snoring peacefully at my feet.

What's a Reindog, you ask? Well, obviously it's a dog dressed up like a reindeer. And Williamstown, being the tiny, weird, quirky, Stars Hollow (anyone get the reference? anyone?) town that it is, holds an annual Reindog parade every year, where anyone in town who has a dog can dress him or her up like a reindeer and march in the parade that goes down Spring Street, our only commercial street. There's also little kids, but I don't like them as much, and they definitely weren't as cute as the dogs.

This year, I got to be an elf, which essentially means I got to pass out candy canes to all the little kids along the parade route (well, that and being Santa's right hand man, obvi.), but the best part of the job was getting to judge the Reindogs and pick the winners!


YOU GUYS. There was a red wagon full of tiny Golden Retriever puppies! I think my heart literally exploded. There is NOTHING in this world cuter than a red wagon full of tiny Golden Retriever puppies.


This is who we picked to win for Best Temperament. She was so quiet and sweet! Love her.


All the Reindogs assembled on the steps of Chapin Hall on campus. Can you spot me? Hint: I'm dressed like Santa and wearing fantastic riding boots.


This is Caleb, the defending champion. I thought he should have won again and wanted to give him the prize, but Santa felt like "another dog deserved to win." Needless to say, I was outraged at the politics involved in the Reindog judging. Caleb was CLEARLY the most convincing Reindog. I felt like he was going to take off any minute.


FUTURE DOG ALERT. When we graduate in June, L. and I are getting a yellow Labradoodle. Well, I'M getting a yellow Labradoodle. L. is getting a black Labradoodle or a black Standard Poodle. They're going to be best friends.


I told you I live in Stars Hollow.


I can't even post any more. I am literally dying, they are so cute. There's my other potential future dog, over on the left.

Oh, and all images via iBerkshires.com, in case you couldn't tell by the giant watermarks that clearly indicate "don't steal these pictures and put them on your blog." Oh well.

Monday, December 20, 2010

That time I reinforced gender stereotypes at an NFL game

I'm sure everyone has heard about how the Green Bay/New England game went last night. I won't even type the four-letter word that begins with "l" and rhymes with "cost." Before I detail the way the night almost ended in disaster, let's talk about how out-of-my-mind I was excited in the hours leading up to the game:

9:00am: Michelle wakes up for some last-minute studying for her 1:30pm Bio exam; cries a little; curses finals; curses college and higher education; wonders if it's too late to go to culinary school.

2:30pm: Michelle finishes Bio exam and, with it, her LAST FALL SEMESTER EVER at Williams College. Cries a little (out of joy); comes home, packs to go home for Christmas.

3:41pm: Michelle takes a silly picture of she and L. wearing their Rodgers/Brady jerseys, posts it on the blog.

4:00pm: Michelle and L. get on the road, stock up on Bugles and embark on the three hour drive to Gillette Stadium.

7:00pm: L. and Michelle decide it will be cheapest to park a mile and a half away from the stadium. They pay $40, which turns out to be a bargain. The following (possibly dramatized) exchange takes place when they get out of the car:

M: Wow, it's not that cold at all!
L: No, it's not, this should be great!
M: It doesn't even feel like winter! It feels like a chilly fall night! I'll definitely be warm with these two sweaters under my Aaron Rodgers jersey! I DON'T EVEN NEED A COAT! (Note: The actual temperature was in the 20s, with wind chill, probably lower.)
Random Guy at the Porter-Potty: Wow, a Green Bay fan and a Patriots fan! Together! In a relationship!
M:
YEAH lolz one of us is going to be very upset on the car ride home lolz haha! (I couldn't have known how much I would regret that statement).

7:45pm
: We finally get into the stadium and I rush down to the first level to watch the Packers warm up. I couldn't have even anticipated that I would have been that excited. One of the widest, most genuine smiles in my recent memory spreads across my face. I spot Matt Flynn and Clay Matthews and Donald Driver and Greg Jennings (and Tom Brady...I can't lie and say I don't love him) and wonder if this is real life. Can I do this every weekend?


8:20pm: Kickoff. I am dying. With glee and joy and happiness.

Then, PACKERS ONSIDES KICK! RECOVERED! And then Packers are up on the Patriots! And then Matt Flynn is playing better than Tom Brady! And then HOLY CRAP WE MIGHT WIN!

Then I got cocky and got into some arguments with drunk belig New England men. One of them said "You're in New England Sweet-haaat!" Note: Drunk Patriots fans are really good at Geography.

When I wasn't arguing with drunk New Englanders, I was creepily stalking Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines through my binoculars.

Also, we were sitting with a lot of Packers fans and so we were in good company and I made friends.


LOOK AT MATT FLYNN! I LOVE HIM!


This is the last time I would be happy for a long time. I had also finally given in and put on my coat, because I was literally shaking uncontrollably and probably hypothermic.

Then. Then things took a turn for the worse. Suddenly, I wasn't jeering and taunting and screaming and high-fiving with the other cheeseheads and generally being an awesome cool girl whose team rocks at sports. Suddenly, every time the Patriots scored I found myself sitting silently in my seat as a stadium full of 60,000 people jumped up to their feet around me. It kept getting worse; suddenly it was the fourth quarter and the Patriots were up by 4. Suddenly there were only 19 seconds left and we were on the fourth down. I felt myself starting to break down; I couldn't help it. It was my first NFL game, my first Packers game, we had played better football for basically the whole game, I was so proud of/impressed by Matt Flynn and really wanted this for him, and, most of all, even though I can be a rough-and-tumble, trash-talking, hot-dog guzzling sports fan like the best of them...I am an emotional girl at heart, and something really, really bad was about to happen.

I repeated "please please please" about fifty times in the eleven or so seconds that remained. But suddenly, the clock was down to zero, and we were still down by four. The entire stadium jumped to its feet in an uproar; I felt the tears rush forth and I jumped from my seat, struggling to hold back my sobs, and left as quickly as I could. L. ran after me and we walked down the six (!) ramps from our seats in the upper balcony, and I gave myself one of the worst headaches I've ever had from struggling to hold in my tears. I know you guys are probably laughing about this and maybe in a few days I'll get to a place where I can see how it's funny, too, but I just got really emotional about the whole thing. I was absolutely devastated. L. felt awful and couldn't even gloat properly, so while I stood dejectedly in the sea of cheering and congratulating fans, he got an idea.

He went up to one of the vendors and asked him a question, and then came back and led me away from the exit, where the herd was gathering. He took me down a side hallway and out a side door, and we walked around the outside of the stadium, where we found ourselves in front of the Packers' buses. L. asked the security if they would be coming out soon, and they said if we hung around for a half hour or so, we should get to see some of the players. My tears slowed. Then, the security guards whispered that if we headed over to the little grassy patch to our left, where the friends and family usually waited, we might get to see some of THE players. My tears stopped. And thus began our wait: Me, L., a family with a little boy with awesome green and yellow face paint, and actual legitimate players' friends and family. After only about fifteen minutes of waiting, I saw Clay Matthews exit the stadium and get on the bus. Then, I started getting excited again. I was shaking uncontrollably but if Rodgers came out, I wanted him to know I was a true fan, so I took off my coat. L. said I was crazy; I said I was loyal; he said I was stubborn; I said I wasn't.

Then, to our left, all the friends and family ran over to greet Josh Sitton. And then, not longer after that, out came...


MATT FLYNN.

I debated going over to talk to him for about 5 minutes, as L. told me that if I didn't I would regret it forever. Finally, I went over (awkwardly meekly) but, as I was walking, I realized I had no idea what to call him. Matt? Flynn? Mr. Flynn? Matt Flynn? When I finally got up to him and his whole group turned to look at me, I sort of whispered "Matt?" He smiled, and I felt encouraged. "I'm so sorry to interrupt," I said, "but I just wanted you to know that this was my first NFL game at I'm so glad I got to see you start." He smiled and said thank you, and I added, "I mean, I just spent the last 20 minutes sobbing, so my night is really looking up now," at which his mom laughed. He smiled again and laughed and said thank you, and I walked away beaming. The little boy and I hung around a little longer, hoping to see Rodgers (who we didn't see), but we did see Mike McCarthy and Charles Woodson. The night was saved, and we walked around the amazing Patriots Place before (barely) making it back to the car and got home and I fell asleep warm and happy.


(PS: Do you guys like the new header??)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Can love overcome all adversity?


We'll know by the end of the night. On our way to Gillette Stadium for the Packers/Patriots game! GO PACK GO!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Michelle's Guide to Holiday Movies

Tonight we're having a Yankee Swap/Holiday Party in my suite, and I've been thinking about what movie we should watch after we swap gifts. To help myself decide, I thought I would compile a list of my ten favorite Holiday movies, trying to cover lots of ground--animated, feel-good, drama, classic, etc. I would love if you guys would give your recommendations for your favorite holiday movies, as well!

Also note that some of these aren't explicitly "holiday movies," they just "happen" to take place around Christmastime...but they still make me happy!

ALSO, all of the Harry Potter movies deserve to be on this list. It's not an oversight.

Finally...this post comes to you in lieu of studying for finals/writing my thesis. Holly jolly.

10. The Polar Express


I haven't seen this movie since I saw it in the theater with my parents, but I walked out permasmiling afterwards. It was beautifully animated and just totally feel-good...even though Tom Hanks' character sort of creeped me out a little (he looked JUST like him). I also had that song about hot chocolate stuck in my head for weeks.

9. The Family Man


This movie strikes a chord really deep within me. I know I'm the type of person to pull a Nicholas Cage and choose work over love...and miss out on a wonderful life. (In fact, the way things are shaping up, I'll have a Nicholas Cage-esque decision looming before me very soon, but that has no place in a holiday movies post and I don't want to think about it, so let's shelf that, shall we?) When he sits in the char on his last night and tries to stay awake? SO SAD. Although, it really sort of bothered me when Jack gets the apartment in New York and Kate freaks out at him and says she refuses to pull the children out of their schools. Like, I get that she's into the suburbs and all, but that's a great example of someone trying to compromise between family life and career ambition, and I think Kate should have been more open-minded about it. That's my PSA for the day.

8. Edward Scissorhands


First of all, this is totally one of those moments when you could say "Okay, Michelle, that is absolutely NOT a Christmas movie." That would be legit, but I DON'T EVEN CARE because this is literally one of my top three favorite movies of all time. It was Tim Burton, before Tim Burton got bad. It was Winona Ryder, before Winona Ryder got bad. And Johnny Depp is absolutely amazing, period. I love that this movie is heartwarming, heartbreaking, fairy-tale, violent/dark, and just absolutely beautiful to watch, all at once. Not to mention, unexpectedly hilarious. The waterbed moment? Priceless.

7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer


Rudolph is the most adorably awkward thing I've ever seen, and the stop-action animation only highlights this fact. I LOVE his nasally, awkward voice, and his awkward wobbly-legs, and oh obviously his super-awkward bright red nose. I also really like the abominable snowman. He's probably the most likable enemy in any movie I've ever seen...he's sort of a hot mess and just wanders around bellowing. Yukon Cornelius is just a straight up baller, and I LOVE that his sled-dogs are a random assortment of cuddly pups. Straight-up Christmas classic. (Oh. and Hermie has got to be the greatest name ever).

6. The Family Stone


First off, the sheer amount of star power in this movie is mind-boggling. My girls Rachel McAdams, SJP, and Claire Danes, all in one place? Yes plz! Luke Wilson, the best Wilson brother, Diane "I'm the same person in every movie" Keaton, and Dermot Mulroney? BEST CHRISTMAS EVER. Except it's not, if you're SJP, because you're put in so many unforch, awkward situations that even I, who pride myself on not even getting awkwarded out by The Office, cringe. I was sort of thrown by how this movie glided between comedy, drama and pure grief-stricken sob-fest, all relatively seamlessly. AND SJP's throat tickle/cough noise is the best tick. Finally, the name Ben Stone is taken already, by Seth Rogen's character in Knocked Up (favorite movie of all time). No points for creativity.

5. The Holiday


I might have been the only person on the planet who actually liked this movie. And THAT'S OKAY. Nancy Meyers' houses are reason enough to watch the movie, but if that's not your thing, who could turn down a movie with Kate Winslet and Jude Law? Cameron Diaz is the same as usual, and Jack Black is actually bearable/actually gets relatively serious. And I think the Arthur plot just adds so much to the movie; it elevates it from typical rom-com to an actually really good movie. OH and Mr. NAPKIN-HEAD! Do people actually...do this, though? Swap houses with total strangers, and coordinate the details over what appears to be AIM, I mean?

4. Home Alone


Oh, Macaulay. Look at yourself. LOOK AT YOURSELF. You used to be literally the cutest thing that ever graced the silver screen. Even John Hughes thought, at what--seven? years old--that you could carry an entire movie by yourself. They JUST let Rachel McAdams do that with Morning Glory, and it did not go ne'er so well. But YOU. You had it all. We just sat there for 103 minutes and watched you attempt to shave, eat ice cream, shoot things with BB guns, and you know what. We ATE IT UP. I think one of the best parts of Home Alone is that while Kevin does all the aforementioned activities, he also goes grocery shopping. Adorable. I always love a good cat-and-mouse movie (Catch Me if You Can, anyone? Inside Man?) Too bad after watching this movie I couldn't go into the basement for years. YEARS.

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Boris Karlof/Animated version, NOT Jim Carrey version)


Apparently the exclamation point is necessary. So, now it's time for me to admit that when I was little, when I found a movie I liked, I watched it over and over and OVER, until I knew the whole thing by heart. (To this day, I can still recite Beauty and the Beast by heart). I also used to have to fall asleep with my tv on when I was little, and still do sometimes. Thus, every Christmas Eve I would get into bed and pop this on, and if I fell asleep in the middle it didn't matter because I knew the whole thing, anyway. This movie is an absolute classic; there's really just nothing else to be said.

2. It's a Wonderful Life


Probably one of the top five best movies of all time, Christmas or not. We watch it every Christmas Eve just before we go to bed, and my mum, who has seen it about 50 times, still gets anxious/upset/cries every.single.time, which is sort of hilarious but also touching. Donna Reed and Jimmy Stuart are just perfect; every single time I watch this movie I forget that I'm, indeed, watching a movie.

1. Love, Actually



I can't figure out which of the storylines in this movie I love the best. It's probably the Colin Firth/LĂșcia Moniz one, just because it is so ridiculously cute, and I love that they talk even though they don't understand the language. Laura Linney's plotline is so, so sad--I get that maybe it's supposed to be that she and her brother are the love story in that one, but still. Give the girl SOMETHING! And of course, Sam. His happy face/angry face are completely precious. Even though Hugh Grant is a bumbling fool in every movie he's in, he fits in this one. And I've been told I look just like the girl who plays Natalie, which I guess I'll take since if the President of the United States (oh, Billy Bob...why?) gets after it, that's alright with me. Oh, and I can't forget the wedding scene and the "caroling" scene with Keira Knightley. All in all, it's a good enough movie to win out over IAWL and Home alone--it's clever, hilarious, and just more feel-good than I can handle.

PS. I have a confession to make...I hate A Christmas Story! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I just really can't stand it. I also really hate Elf. It creeps me out! Maybe I should do a follow-up post of Christmas movies I hate...

Finally, I've always felt that the Nightmare Before Christmas is more of a Halloween movie than a Christmas movie. What do you think?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Peppermint Bark!

I've been craving some Christmas sweets nonstop lately, so yesterday I finally gave into my whims and made a batch of peppermint bark. It was my friend Bianca's 21st, so I made up a little box for her, and the rest I'm planning (trying) to save for the holiday party I'm having with my suitemates on Wednesday, complete with a Yankee Swap, hot chocolate, carols, and Love Actually.

Peppermint bark is SO easy to make! All you'll need is white chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli because they melt so nicely) and some candy canes, and then a double boiler (I just use a glass bowl on top of a saucepan), wax paper, and come cookie sheets!

Melt down your chocolate chips in the double boiler, stirring constantly until smooth. Crush up the candy canes in a bag and add them--more or less depending on how chunky you want your bark--to the chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, distribute the chocolate evenly and not too thickly over a wax paper-covered cookie sheet, pop in the fridge (or freezer, but watch it closely!) for 15 minutes, break it up into small pieces, and you're done!


I've seen some recipes that call for doing this exactly, but then spreading some melted dark chocolate on top of your bark, and then another layer of the white chocolate with candy canes. That could be delicious, but I love this for its simplicity--it only takes about 20 minutes, hardening time included! And I have a LOT of fans now, including my boyfriend, who absolutely loves it (I've already had to promise to make him some every year from now on).

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I ended class on Friday and am officially done with my fall semester (the last one I'll ever have at Williams), so after one exam this week and some thesis work I'll be heading home. I'm taking this weekend to relax a little; L. and I are going out for beef and broccoli tonight and then going to snuggle up and watch Inception. I've always actually sort of liked finals week because there's so much more free time--even if you have to spend it studying--to hang out in sweatpants and watch way too much tv. Masochistic? Maybe.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What do you do...

when your thesis advisor has you re-write your introduction three times? THREE. That means that the first twenty pages I wrote are useless, and the second twenty pages I wrote are useless, so that I've written forty pages of thesis, and yet somehow have zero.

I, for one, don't know what you do in that situation, which is why, among many other reasons, I am just saying adieu to this semester. As in, peace out, it's been real, I WILL NOT MISS YOU.

Forty pages of thesis, ten pages on Henry James and a Bio exam are all that stand between me and Christmas break. More specifically, they are all that stand between me and officially being DONE with exams on December 19, at which point L. and I will jump in my car and drive to Foxborough, Mass., where we will watch the PATRIOTS v. the PACKERS!

L.'s favorite team is the Patriots.

My favorite team is the Packers.

Someone is going to be very unhappy on that car ride home at approximately midnight....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back from Break, and C.'s Birthday!

Well, as you can tell, I certainly enjoyed my break to the utmost--not only did I take an unintentional break from blogging, but I didn't get any work on my thesis done. That was not okay! I had tons of fun though.

Before we went away, however, we celebrated C.'s birthday a couple weeks ago! I got her The Poisonwood Bible and a pretty pair of mixed metal earrings, which I knew she would just love. To celebrate, we drove an hour away to our archrival, Amherst, to attend the last football game of the season at their homecoming. It was basically Homecoming, part two!


C.'s mom made the most delicious spiced bourbon cider...unfortunately (or fortunately, actually), it was about 75 degrees outside--in the middle of November!--and we were actually all sweating so much in the sun that we could barely watch the game from the bleachers!


For awhile, the game was a nail-biter...but we finally pulled ahead and won, meaning that we finished our season undefeated! It was so exciting to be there for such a great first endcap to our Williams experience--we even got to rush the field, which is something I have always wanted to do, although it was absolutely terrifying. I was sure we were going to get trampled.

After the game, we went to Northampton to a super nice Asian-fusion restaurant.



I know many people would kill to be 22 again, but for me it's the first age that really squares us away in adulthood. 21 has all the wild, partying connotations with it, so it seems that 22 is the first serious, life-starting age, what with graduating college, being comfortably settled into your twenties, etc. I'm feeling a little apprehensive about mine next month!