Bookish Journal #1: Pledging to Be More Open & LOTR Tattoos

, by Zoë Gulliksen

Dear Readers, Hobbits, Pirates, & Robots,

With this new edition of my blog, there are things I want to put into practice that I was never really able to execute before. Most of them are already in the works, such as Company Spotlights, Product Reviews, and so many Giveaways coming your way! Another aspect of my blog that I want to put a strong effort into doing is personal posts. My favorite blogs to read are the ones who talk about their lives, tribulations, and adventures. I try to do that as much as possible, but so much of me keeps things to myself out of worry.

Worry about what my parents may think, future employers, people I knew from high school, relatives, or anyone who reads this at all. But then I think to myself, my blog isn't for any of those people. It's for my own personal pleasure with the hopes that my internet friends near or far enjoy what I have to say and perhaps find inspiration somehow. 

With that, I am pledging to be more open about my life in New York City, because it is rather exciting =)

Tonight's highlight is my best friend Angela (@angelaplz) and I finally deciding once and for all  to get out Lord of the Rings tattoos. We are very different in most ways, such as she is an extrovert blonde knock out going to Med School with a terrifying passion for european football. On the other hand I am an introvert brunette with an addiction to books, movies, and reveal in my geeky awkward life. However, what created an everlasting bond between us was our unmatchable love of Lord of the Rings.

We have gone to the extended movies marathons where we cried for hours and hours, or that time we went to the One Man Lord of the Rings show (which was amazing). We just have this deep connection to the movies that we can't explain, but we get it. And so we are going to get matching LOTR tattoos. I won't reveal what they are, exactly, those are being kept secret until we get them. 

And all of our incredible friends on Twitter asked if they could contribute to our InkFund, so we set up a page where as of right now we already have $70 out of our goal of $200! We are so surprised and thankful for all of you for the encouragement =) If you want to help too, click here. We plan on getting the tattoos before the end of February, so I'll keep you posted! 

All in all, I am glad that January is over, because this has turned into a month of blues for me. February is already bringing inspiration and cheerfulness back into my system! But tomorrow's blog post will be about that =P

Until next time!
-Zoë

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Disney's Paperman: Manhattan, WWII, & a Kiss

, by Zoë Gulliksen




As most of my Twitter followers and friends known, Disney's Paperman animated short film was one of the highlights of last year for me. For months I had been following the making of this film because it simply held everything I hold dear. I could not have written a more perfect story for myself, even if I tried. Taking place in Mid-century New York City, there is a chance meeting at a train station, longing across an avenue between two skyscrapers, and the magic of paper?  In short, this is a WWII era romance set in Manhattan all in black white touched with a kiss.

Life doesn't get any better than this:





"Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him."


Source: The Daily BLAM!

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Spotlight: Flowering Rock

, by Zoë Gulliksen

One of the best tea products I found at the New York International Gift Fair was Flowering Rock. The founder, Konrad Makowski, and the sales manager, Bruno Lucas, are two of the nicest guys I have had the pleasure of meeting. These men are passionate and excited about their tea, which they should be because it is delicious. 

Their teas feature sideritis, which is from the Mediterranean region and has been used to aid digestion and strengthen the immune system. Their herbs come from an organic grower on Mt.Othrys, Greece with other botanicals. Their main products are six teas named after Grecian characters, each representing the theme of the tea.  One of these is called Titan "The Giant of Strength and Stamina" which is believed to increase energy and strengthen bones.

Makowski believes that "in our Greek grower's organic farming methods and believes that these healing botanicals can benefit everyone's life and genuinely make a big difference for many small farmers and rural communities in Greece."

Personally, I love their Melete Tea, inspired by the Muse of Thought and Meditation. It contains organic sideritis with spearmint, as well as rose hips and hibiscus which can help enhance physical strength and mental acuity. (All aspects I could improve on)

You can purchase all their teas in their shop, and check them out on Facebook and Twitter.


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Bookish Review: "The Thorn & the Blossom" by Theodora Goss

, by Zoë Gulliksen



This is an adorable little book from QuirkBooks, and a must have for it's unique binding. In this box set you recieve not one, but the two stories of Evelyn and Brendan told on both sides of accordion folded paper. Check out this video to see the beautiful style of the book:



As a reader, you get to chose whose story you can read first. I chose Evelyn's story, as did a few other readers and we think it's a good way to start- but don't take my word for it. *coughreadingrainbowreference* After you chose whose journey to read first, you can indulge yourself with a little bookish romance between two fans of the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. 

However, I warn you to be gentle with this book because the lack of binding on all "pages" has made the bok delicate, but no less worthwhile of your time. The story of "The Thorn & the Blossom" makes a perfect gift for the bookworm in your life, as well as on your own bookshelf.

You can purchase the book on Amazon and be sure to check out the awesome author and publisher on Twitter at @TheodoraGoss and @QuirkBooks

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Things I Love: Vinca Diamond Earrings, Made of Wood

, by Zoë Gulliksen


An artist I had the pleasure of connecting with at the New York International Gift Fair was Amanda Dimova, the designer behind Vinca USA. I fell in love with many of her wooden  products, especially these Diamond Stud earrings made of wood. The picture above is not of me, but you might have seen me Instagraming my own pair this week, I love them! 


These earrings are great because they are not heavy & are a conversation piece without being too flashy. The simple yet interesting design goes great with any outfit I throw on and they don't hurt my ears after a while, which happens with most pairs I wear. 

Lucky for you these earrings are half off right now over at Fab.com! Grab your own now

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Giveaway: Mighty Wallets

, by Zoë Gulliksen

Is your wallet too bulky and filled with phone numbers you never actually called & fortune cookie sayings you never listened to? Then let Mighty Wallet make way for movie ticket stubs you have yet to collect or those 8 Metro Cards you can't seem to remember if they had money on them or not. 



Enter the giveaway below to win one (1) of three (3) Mighty Wallets! If you are chosen as a winner, you can chose between a Crime Scene Do Not Cross wallet, A Beavis & Butthead wallet, or a DC Comics Flash wallet each a $15 value! You can enter many different ways, and each time will increase your chances of winning! 
The contest ends Sunday, February 3rd at 12pm. Sorry, this contest is only open to USA muggles.




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Spotlight: Bone Collection

, by Zoë Gulliksen



One of the first companies I fell in love with at the New York International Gift Fair was Bone Collection, a brand that sells accessories for the iPhone, iPad, & iPod as well as flash drives and bags. They originate from Taiwan and are well known for their mascot, Maru the Penguin. 

Bone's manifesto states: "Bone cares about our environment as well as great design. The high quality environmental silicone without heavy metal is 100% degradable. The changeable coats for the USB drives allow you to have a whole new product with no need to make unnecessary consumption. The most environmentalfriendly design is the best design which makes consumers keeping the products longer. Preserve the environment and treasure our design explains why Bone is green."

Bone's products are durable and green, which satisfies my geek without compromising my eco friendly mentality. The iPhone pouches are made of micorfiber, so your phone stays clean & clear all day. They have a line of Chinese Zodiac Flash Drives that are some of the cutuest and badass flash drives I have ever seen. Maru is one of my favorite parts about this brand because their USB drives featuring him are simple and still iconic. You can purchase Maru on a mug, iPhone pouch or cord wrap. My calendar featuring his adventures is one of the highlights of my day.



You can find the Bone collection online at  Cyberguys.com & Amazon.com and like them on Facebook
Update: Bone Collection tweeted this morning: "‏@BoneSA
BIG NEWS! Our online store will be launching on Friday! There will be some great opening specials and great deals, so stay tuned!" You heard the penguin!

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Things I Love: Martha Stewart Acorn Lamp

, by Zoë Gulliksen

This article was originally published at Martha Stewart's site in 2008. By my apartment there is an Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine and these acorn lamps are in their window display. Some of you may already know that one of my prized processions is my acorn necklace as seen in my default pictures across my sites. I have a special affinity for acorns and I fell in love with these lamps. One day I finally went into the center & asked where they purchased the lamps from. A worker told me they were made by Martha Stewart's in house crafter, Kristin St Clair, specially for them. Thankfully I found this article online and one day this year I'll make them for myself.




Tools and MaterialsLarge balloon
Tape
Vegetable oil
Cheesecloth
Fire retardant
Water-and-glue mixture (1 part white glue to 1 part water)
Brown or green tissue paper
Scissors
Foam brush
Brown or green felt
Hot-glue gun and hot-glue sticks
Utility lampshade
Bulb socket with brown cord
Fluorescent lightbulb
Leaf template
Pencil
Screw punch
Floral wire

Acorn Lamp How-To1. Blow up the balloon and tie. Tape the tie flat on the balloon -- this will be the point of the acorn. Grease the balloon with vegetable oil so the glue won't stick to the balloon.

2. Spray cheesecloth with fire retardant and allow to dry. Stretch treated cheesecloth over balloon and saturate cloth with water/glue mixture. Let dry.

3. Cut tissue paper into 2-inch-wide triangular strips. Brush water-and-glue mixture onto balloon with a foam brush, place a strip of tissue paper on the balloon (with triangle point at tip), and brush mixture over the strip. Repeat to create a layer of strips all over balloon. Allow the layer to dry and repeat, covering entire balloon with 3 to 4 layers. Allow layers to dry overnight.

4. Poke a hole on the rounded end of the balloon and allow the balloon to deflate. Remove the balloon. Trim excess tissue paper.

5. Cut 2-inch squares from felt and turn them on point so they are diamonds. Hot-glue the felt diamonds onto a utility lampshade, starting at the bottom rim of shade. Cover rim by folding diamonds over edge.

6. Overlap diamonds to cover the rest of the lampshade, using a dab of hot glue in the center of each to attach. Cut vent holes in the remaining felt pieces to align with the vent holes on the top of lampshade.

7. Wrap 1/2-inch strips of felt around a brown bulb socket cord, attaching with dabs of hot glue. To create little branch knobs, roll a strip of felt into a spiral and glue to cord.
Note: Felt can also be sprayed with fire retardant.

8. Screw in fluorescent light bulb.

9. Print and trace leaf template onto felt. Cut out leaf shapes. Make holes with a screw punch as marked on the template. Weave floral wire through the holes of each leaf and secure with a smidgen of glue at ends. Attach leaves to cord with hot glue.

ResourcesLamp parts are available at any hardware or lighting store. Tissue paper can be found in packs of 24 fromdickblick.com. Cheesecloth is available at most grocery stores and any fabric store. Wool felt is available from achildsdream.com. Fire retardant is available from natfire.com.

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Work Out Deals From Old Navy & Target For Cheap!

, by Zoë Gulliksen

Today I went shopping with my mom since I'm visiting my family Jersey, and I found some awesome gear on work out clothes!

At Old Navy everything I found:

Bobble Water Bottle 34oz for $5.99 (Originally $12)


A running winter hat with built in head phones $4.97 (Originally $19.94)
It has surprisingly great sound!

A sports bra for $4.99 (Originally $16.50)

A tank for $1.97!!!! (Originally $16.94)


 M.A.S.H. & Beatles Baseball tees, for $1.97 each! (Originally $19.94 each)
Excuse the cat photobomb

At Target I also found these:


A Champion Advanced sweatshirt for $7.48 (Originally $24.99)


A Champion Fleece for $7.48 (Originally $24.99)

A Champion hoodie for $10.48 (Originally $34.99)


The grand total was $47.30 for 9 items of quality clothing. I am terribly proud of this batch of purchases because I am a girl on a budget! 

Where do you guys go for great deals on clothes?






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Gaiam Yoga Sale at Target 1/20 thru 1/26

, by Zoë Gulliksen

Hello fellow yoga enthusiasts! I just wanted to share quickly with you that Target is having an awesome sale this week on all their work out supplies, namely Gaiam products!


Gaiam yoga can be expensive, and the $17 is a deal compared to the $20-$30 price tags they have on Amazon. All of their products are on sale as well, including head bands, blocks, bags, straps, socks, and more. So if you fitness fiends are looking for quality (and gorgeous) equipment to use, drop by a Target this week!

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Before Midnight: What Are The Odds?

, by Zoë Gulliksen




Today new pictures were released for "Before Midnight", the third movie after "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset". You can check them all out at The Daily BLAM!, and I could not help but suppress a squeal at work today when I saw these images. I have been a long time of the previous films, and I am very excited yet very scared for this third film.

I won't give you a synopsis of the movies, you can read the Wikipedia page for that. However I would like to take a moment to talk about the odds of this film being good

The ending for "Before Sunset" is so perfect in it's pacing, tension, and meaning that when the screen goes dark you cannot help but feel longing, excitement and stil satisfaction. If you are familiar with the ending or don't mind being spoiled, check out this image

Is there a chance that this film could be just as good, if not better as it's precursors? Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply are back, and have co written the screenplay with the trilogy's director Richard Linklater. These are small, simple films that each take place over a course of only so many hours. These movies are personal projects that mean something to the creators. Will they take the characters and give them the happy ending they deserve, or will our heart strings be ripped apart at the seams and leave us with another tearful parting?

I'm rambling, but I would like to know what fellow fans think. Will Celine and Jesse finally get to be together, once and for all?

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Blog Relaunch!

, by Zoë Gulliksen

Hello guys!

Welcome to my new and improved blog layout! I've spent the past couple of days bundled up in my  Leia hoodie fiddling with different layouts and styles, messing around with the coding, and finally I'm happy with the results. I hope you check out the new categories on the top bar and read some posts I've also just published. 

Be sure to check back for more mini movie reviews, fitness posts, and every day entries about my life. And if you have any suggestions on things I should add/change on my blog please let me know!

Until then!
-Zoë

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Walk Jog Run App Review

, by Zoë Gulliksen


I was very excited when I discovered that the people behind WalkJogRun.net had made an iPhone app. In college I would document my runs on their site to determine how far my work out was and approximately how many calories I burned.

With this app I am able to plan my run ahead of time in my neighborhood to make sure I do a full 5K, or I can run without a plan and see how much distance I covered when I'm done thanks to the GPS. When I "Finish" a workout I am given a synopsis of my work out including a map of where I went, the distance, the pacing per mile, the duration, and how many calories I burned. 

After each run I like to take a screen cap of this data (minus the map to prevent stalkers from seeing my run) and pair it with a picture something I saw on my run. I then share the collage on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to document my progress. The app is updated regularly and I have not experienced any glitches yet.

I live on a tight budget but the WalkJogRun app is worth the $4.99 price tag, even for someone like myself who never purchases apps.

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Fit Desk Stationary Bike Review

, by Zoë Gulliksen



The FitDesk was very easy to assemble, especially for someone like me who is not often trusted with any sort of machinery at all. The directions were simple, the pieces were organized and it took less than a half hour to complete. My favorite aspect is how sturdy it is: I’ve had it for a few months now and it has stayed together perfectly since. I’m not afraid of falling off or it falling apart at all, no matter how hard I’m pedaling. The padded mount where you can attach your laptop is just as secure and stable. It gives me no worry about keeping my computer safe, something I take very seriously considering how much I use it on a daily basis. 

 The FitDesk is also compact and can be stored in the closet of my tiny studio apartment in New York City. For those of you who live in a city where space efficiency is a constant worry, this is the only piece of exercise equipment you'll need at home. It’s my perfect work out machine because I am easily motivated to exercise with the promise of watching Netflix or playing a video game. It provides just as intense a work out as running or hitting the elliptical machine at the gym, and is worth every penny. A few of my friends have bought them from my recommendations and each has loved it just as much as I have. It’s the secret ingredient for getting into shape this convention season! 

 The FitDesk can be found at for FitDesk.net for the price of $224.99



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2013 in Movies: "My Blueberry Nights"

, by Zoë Gulliksen



The second film I watched tonight was "My Blueberry Nights". This film came out in 2007 and stars my favorite musician Norah Jones (which is why I wanted to see it so badly) as well as Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and Rachel Weisz. According to IMDB the plot is described as "A young woman takes a soul-searching journey across America to resolve her questions about love while encountering a series of offbeat characters along the way."

Quick Review: This is a very simple movie that feels almost shallow. Norah Jones is sweet in this movie and feels as though she is acting as herself, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Her character was just not given enough material for Jones to work with. The story is sweet and had potential but it was just not enough. Portman and Weisz are brilliant as always, and Law is very endearing as the owner of a New York City cafe that befriends Jones. However, the film left me unsatisfied and rather bored. 

Also, awful title. Sounds like a porno.

Stars: 2

P.S. -I looked up the cafe featured in the movie because I wanted to check it out in person, however it has been turned into a hair salon. *sigh*





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2013 in Movies: "Love and Other Drugs"

, by Zoë Gulliksen



Tonight I watched two movies, the first being "Love and Other Drugs". This film came out in 2010 and stars Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. According to Wikipedia the plot is as follows: "Love and Other Drugs is a 2010 romantic comedy film written and directed by Edward Zwick and based on the non-fiction book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy".

Quick Review: I did not like this movie as much as I had hoped. At first I really enjoyed it but after thinking about it I realized that the film is rather 2 dimensional with not a lot of material for the actors to work with. Yes Hathaway played a "sick" 26 year old girl with Parkinson's dieseas but we hardly actually see her as "sick" besides one scene where she wasn't able to pick up her medication.
Hathaway and Gyllenhaal have great chemistry, however he said of his co-star "She could probably talk to a wall and have chemistry. The highlights of the film are seeing Hathaway play outside of her Sugary sweet persona and the guest apparence of her breasts, many times over. However, the film did leave me lacking. 

3 stars


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Fitness Review: Ballet Beautiful: Body Blast DVD

, by Zoë Gulliksen



This Body Blast DVD is part of the Ballet Beautiful Collection and came out in 2012. Ballet Beautiful was created by Mary Helen Bowers, a professional ballerina, who wanted to provide "techniques to build and maintain the beauty, strength and grace of a ballerina." I have never done a ballet work out before but the cover boasted a work out that would leave me with lean and toned muscles instead of bulky ones. 

I am all for this!

The work out includes a "15 Minutes Ballet Beautiful Body Blast", a 15 minute "Swan Arms", and Butt Series Part 1 and 2. (This is not a porno, I swear). I am now obsessed with these workouts. The Swan Arms kicked my ass the first time and this is the greatest work out my arms have ever had. The moves are graceful and simple yet they leave me sweating my sore the next day. They are also so simple that I don't need the DVD to do the work out if I'm short on time or away from my computer. 

The Body Blast is short enough that I don't feel like quitting half way through and the Butt Series are like pilates on speed. I had to do the moves in front of the mirror to make sure I was doing them correctly enough because there was no way I looked as graceful with my ass in the air as Bowers did. 

I love this workout and I highly recommend it to everyone wanting an non scary work out DVD experience (Hello Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred). Good news is, you can own it yourself for only $8.86 over at Amazon.

Stars: 4.5


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