What I Learned Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons for 600+ Hours

It’s been almost a year since my first Animal Crossing: New Horizons blog came out at 300+ hours. Since then, I’ve logged over 630 hours and have restarted my island not once but twice which brings me to my third and hopefully final island. I had thought that AC:NH was simply a game to help get me through the pandemic and hellscape that was 2020, but buddy, was I wrong. This last year has tested me to my absolute limits through losing friends, relationships, what I thought I wanted and what I thought I deserved. I’m happy to report that I am definitely on the other side of all of the negativity now, but one thing was always a constant – the happy, brightly hued island I could return to day after day when things were rough. 


Surely, you’ll say, there’s nothing left to learn in that game? You’re probably right, but here we are.


Your island (and life) is only as good as you make it.

Island no.3 has a fall/halloween theme as shown above.

Yes, this is an easy concept to understand but harder in practice. Over the last few months, I’ve been forced in some shape or fashion to really examine my life/island and decide what actually serves me. Like Marie Kondo says, does this bring you joy? The answer for a vast majority of the pieces of my life was no. Definitively no. I was sacrificing myself for others happiness and at the cost of my own sanity. Why continue adding bricks to the house when the foundations are crumbling? Why hold on to something that is dead and makes you miserable when you could just restart? Restart your island. Restart your life.


Don’t be scared by the big picture – take it one step at a time.

My first design zone on island no.3

I found that on island no.2 I was so overwhelmed by what could be that I struggled to bring anything to fruition. When I restarted on island no.3, I made a point to not think about the whole picture. Find a theme, a design, a color scheme even and just roll with it. I opted to spend my time making smaller areas look picturesque rather than throwing furniture all over the island just to level up. The same can be said about life or healing. You can’t tackle a large problem head on and expect an immediate fix – not often at least. Instead, focus on the small actionable problems that will reduce the size of the original. Don’t be overwhelmed by what could be or could have been – focus on what is.


A change of scenery is necessary.

A colorful exterior from Happy Home Paradise.

When moving through life and games, sometimes it’s easy to feel stuck. Unmoving. Unchanging. The easiest way to step out of this mindset? A change of scenery. Whether you rearrange your room, move to a new side of town or restart your island in a different hemisphere – there is always a way to shock the system towards change and growth. That’s not to say it isn’t hard or uncomfortable to make that decision – but it is necessary. You can’t change where you were squandered or deeply unhappy.

 


Surprises can exist around every corner.

A happy client from the Happy Home Paradise expansion.

I am not a huge fan of surprises, but a free update on Nov. 5 for AC:NH filled me with so much joy it was a little ridiculous. The addition of a cafe in the museum, dozens (if not hundreds) of new items to purchase, plus an expansion that mixes the best of AC:NH with Sims, what’s not to love? After 600+ hours, it’s easy to fall into the mundane checks and balances of keeping the island afloat – much like a long term relationship. The updated content helped to make me excited about the game again. Moments like this can happen in everyday life too – you just have to pay attention and be willing to accept it.


Do you play AC:NH? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!


It Bothers You More Than It Bothers Me

“Your bra strap is showing.”

“I can see your panty-lines.”

“Woah, is that a gray hair?”

Bra straps, panty-lines, and gray hair – oh, my!

How many times has someone made one of the above offhanded comments to you and suddenly you’re sent through an anxiety spiral? You’re now frantically rushing to the bathroom to pluck that stray gray hair you shouldn’t even have because you’re only 25 and what 25 year old has gray hair? You’re also trying to figure out if there’s a way to hide your bra strap and panty-lines… you’re only one “no f*cks given” away from freeing the titty and going commando to hide the lines and straps that society has forced you to wear but is somehow mortified to actually see evidence of on your body.

As your anxiety spiral continues at full force, all you want is to go back to your calm, cool, and collected vibe you had moments before that comment about your appearance was made. Now you’re in a position where you’re uncomfortable with your own body, wondering how you can fix it, or if it can even be fixed right in this moment.

Pro-Tip: If you want to say something about someone’s appearance in order to “help them out” – make sure it’s something they can fix immediately. If they can’t fix it immediately, don’t comment on it.

  • Tell someone:
    • They have something in their teeth
    • They have a visible booger or something on their face
    • They have toilet paper stuck to their shoe
    • Their makeup is smeared/lines are harsh (something they can quickly swipe and fix)
  • DON’T tell someone:
    • That you can see their gray hair, they probably know it’s there and are mildly self-conscious about it. What are you gaining in telling them you see it? They can’t dye their hair right this second…
    • That you can see panty-lines or bra straps – they’re just the visual constructs of society holding our shit together. Don’t hate the lady – HATE THE MAN!
    • That their lack of makeup makes them look tired/sick, “Are you ok?” not anymore homie…

Honestly, just don’t give unsolicited opinions about someone’s appearance – unless it’s something that will boost their self-esteem and make them smile. You’re not helping anyone by knocking down their physical appearance.

Even Regina George knew that…

. . .

The comments that get the most under my skin are about gray hair. Yes, yes – I am 25 years old with quite a few grays. I have rather dark brown hair, and I’ve been assured this is why it seems I have more than most of my friends, but it still makes me feel self-conscious. My lighter haired gal pals either get their hair dyed more frequently or their graying hair is maybe a lighter blonde?! We’ll never know 😉 (and that’s annoying)

Personally though, I’ve had several hairdressers assure me that I truly don’t have as much gray hair as I think and also that 25 isn’t super radical for grays to start showing face. Graying before you turn 20 is a bit early for grays, but after 20 is more in that “normal” sector. Whatever normal means anyway.

Through my frantic research of “is gray hair in your 20s normal?!” I found awesome terminology for the grays – some call them your “wisdoms” or “wisdom highlights” – and I’m obsessed with this. Gray hair confirming I am one of the wisest of them all? Yes, please.

“A little gray hair is a small price to pay for this much wisdom.”

. . .

As much as this article starts out by saying “DON’T RAIN ON SOMEONE’S PARADE BY MAKING UNSOLICITED REMARKS ON THEIR APPEARANCE!” People are still going to do it, they’re going to make a comment if you rapidly lose or gain weight, if they can see your gray hair, if your eyebrows need done, etc. People will always talk, always. You can’t control what they say, but you can control how you react. You have the power to decide if their opinion is of value and worthy of your stress, or if you completely disregard their remarks, maintain the headspace you had moments before the words left their mouths, and don’t let them live rent free in your head.

I think we can all agree the latter is the better option here.

Karen Smith Mean Girls Movie GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

. . .

Less than 5 Ingredient Holiday Treats

Who doesn’t love a good cookie?

Crazy people. Or boring people.

Who prefers the idea of baking cookies, to actually baking the cookies?

Most people.

Well friends, I like baking cookies but only if they’re quick and easy, and as long as I have most (preferably all) of the ingredients already in my cabinets. The past couple of years I’ve baked cookies for friends/family/work and each time I get the, “Woah you actually BAKED these cookies?” to which I respond with a, “Yeah but they’re super easy. Like genuinely easy, not Ina Garten easy.” Being the nice person I am, I also breakdown the recipes for everyone as proof that the cookies really are that easy.

So to spread some yummy cookie cheer, I’ll share my minimal ingredient secrets with you all!

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup of peanut butter
    • 1 cup of sugar
      • Regular white sugar for a smoother cookie, but if you like a crumblier cookie with a heartier texture use sugar in the raw – I personally prefer sugar in the raw’s cookie texture! Tastes grittier because the sugar doesn’t fully dissolve in the baking process.
    • 1 egg
  • Instructions:
    • Preheat oven to 350° F
    • Mix peanut butter, sugar, and egg together until completely combined
    • Use a small spoon to scoop out cookies onto baking sheet
      • I always roll them but other recipes say you can do a simple drop too, no roll
    • Pop cookies in the oven for just under 10 minutes
      • If you use sugar in the raw they take a bit longer to cook, right at that 10 minute mark, but if you use regular white sugar those things are done in like 6-8 mins depending on cookie size
      • It’s also best to take these guys out when they look like they need five more minutes. Once you take them out to cool, they’ll continue to cook on that scorching sheet anyway, and you don’t want a burnt bottom
  • Notes:
    • Turn these into “Peanut Butter Blossoms” by adding Hershey’s Kisses on top of the cookies immediately upon removal from the oven. You can use any of the Hershey’s Kisses – I personally prefer the dark chocolate Kisses!

Cool Whip Cookies

Click the photo for a more in-depth look at this recipe!

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 box of cake mix (literally any kind, red velvet keeps it festive though!)
    • 1 8oz container of cool whip (can be the low fat or reg)
    • 1 egg
    • Confectioner’s sugar (only a plate/bowl full will be needed)
  • Instructions:
    • Preheat oven to 350° F
    • Mix together the cake mix, egg, and cool whip until completely combined
    • Form mix into small balls and roll into the confectioner’s sugar until coated
      • The mixture is super gooey, so it’s easier to spoon a drop into the sugar and use the sugar as a barrier between your hands and the gooey mess
    • Bake for 10-12 mins
      • If these guys look like the need five more minutes, let them have their five more minutes. They do all of their cooking in the oven and won’t get much farther once taken out (unlike those peanut butter cookies)
  • Notes:
    • These cookies are soft and a tad gooey, but if they taste super gooey and can’t even easily be picked up without sagging… then they’re not cooked all the way.
    • These are also a bit of a blank canvas cookie and taste great with walnuts or pecans added – whatever you picture vibing with the cake box you’ve chosen! Walnuts and chocolate cake mix cookies go well together from my experience 🙂

Oreo Cookie Balls (no-bake)

Don’t want to bake? Click the photo to go to an Etsy page that sells those EXACT cookie balls 😉

  • Ingredients:
    • Pack of oreos (38 cookies)
    • 8 oz of cream cheese (room temp)
    • 1-2 cups of melting chocolate (either two cups of reg milk chocolate, or one cup white and one cup milk depending on preference/decor!)
  • Instructions:
    • Place Oreo’s into gallon ziploc bag and smash those suckers up. Get out all of your pent up anger from 2020, just take it all out on those Oreo’s
    • Mix together the now cookie crumbs and the cream cheese
    • Melt the chocolate in the microwave (or stove if you’re fancy)
    • Roll the cookie mixture into balls and dip into the chocolate using a fork, then place onto baking sheet to dry
      • The decorating/chocolate coating is easier to manage if you form the mix all into balls and place them in the freeze for 10-15 mins to harden and then coat in chocolate. But honestly it’s not super necessary, if you’re as impatient as me then don’t worry about it. But if you like to do things a bit more… “by the book” place them in the freezer for a bit.
      • The chocolate coating bit is where you can get fancy, dipping half the ball into the milk chocolate, half into the white, or drizzle…etc.
    • Once you’re done coating in chocolate, pop in the fridge for about an hour and they’re good to go!
  • Notes:
    • Other things you can do to make these more fun is coat in crushed candy cane pieces, sprinkles, nuts, etc – literally anything that you think could vibe with Oreo’s… go for it – they’re your cookies!

Sugar Cookies

Don’t want to bake? Click the photo to go to an Etsy page that sells those EXACT cookies 😉

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup of butter (softened)
    • 2/3 cup of sugar
    • 2 cups of flour
  • Instructions:
    • Preheat oven to 325° F
    • Mix together sugar and butter until completely combined
    • Add in flour
    • Mix all ingredients until perfectly combined – get your hands in there!
    • Option to roll out dough and use cookie cutters for fun shapes, or you can simply roll into balls and flatten into a round cookie
    • Add a sprinkle of sugar onto the top of the cookie for a lil sweet pizazz
    • Pop in oven for 14 – 16 mins or until golden brown
  • Notes:
    • These are fun to, of course, coat in icing or sprinkles, but honestly sometimes sugar cookies are best just as they are – simple and sweet.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Don’t want to bake? Click the photo to go to an Etsy page that sells those EXACT pretzels 😉

  • Ingredients:
    • Pretzel sticks or regular pretzels
    • 16 oz of melting chocolate (dark, milk, white – whatever your preference)
    • Toppings of choice (sprinkles, candy cane pieces, nuts, M&Ms, etc.)
  • Instructions:
    • Prep a baking sheet with wax paper
    • Melt chocolate by filling a tall cup, mason jar, etc (something tall that the pretzel stick can be mostly dunked into) with the melting chocolate
      • If you doing smaller regular pretzels instead of rods, use a bowl instead of cup!
    • Heat cup in microwave in 10 sec intervals, stirring and heating until completely melted
    • Dip pretzels into the chocolate, lay out on the wax paper and then add your topping
  • Notes:
    • This can get real messy, real fast – but that’s okay. There are sinks in the kitchen for a reason 🙂
    • It’s also super preference based. Go with whatever your taste is, honestly if you don’t want toppings then don’t put toppings. Simple chocolate covered pretzels are nice too 🙂

. . .

Baking cookies shouldn’t be stressful, if anything it should be a way to put stressful things out of sight and out of mind for a little while. So if you’re someone who likes cookies, but doesn’t care for the whole extravaganza that some cookie recipes call for… try some of the above recipes. If you’re having a small get together or want to make some cookie boxes for friends and family, the above options make such a nice spread that everyone will think you went ham and did the whole grand cookie extravaganza – and it’s not a crime to let them think you made some intricate cookies 😉

. . .

Playlist Fiend: Eclectic Christmas Vibes

~Hi, hello, I’m back with an eclectic playlist to fit the seasonal vibes~

My absolute favorite holiday in the entire world is just around the corner folks, it’s nearly Christmas! COVID may have squashed my Thanksgiving family time, but I’m not letting Miss Rona f with Christmas. I’ve rented a car and will be journeying to my mom’s in PA and then heading down south to KY to see dad and rest of the fam, so obvi with two six hour drives… a hefty Christmas playlist is more than necessary.

I can’t let the road dull my holiday cheer.

My playlist has notable classics along with some covers, and also original Christmas songs by various artists. Below are just a few of the songs that made the list:

Winter Wonderland covered by The Judds

Growing up, The Judds Christmas CD was always brought out. Every wintry drive with my mom and sister, one of these songs was nearly always in the background. This song just happens to be my favorite from that CD 😉

Little Drummer Boy covered by Lauren Daigle

This song in general, has always been one of my favorites, perhaps due to it being so different to the usual bravado typically chorused in Christmas music. Lauren Daigle’s cover captures the gentle mysterious vibes that I love so much~

We Three Kings covered by Alexander Jean, Casey Abrams

Okay, We Three Kings is fr fr my actual favorite Christmas song. It’s my number one, again because it has that mysterious vibe unique to Christmas music, and this cover is #sick.

Winter Song by Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareillis

Ugh this song just gives allllll the feels. Ingrid & Sara are queens – simple as that ❤

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland

When writing this article and choosing five tracks to highlight, I hadn’t planned to list any classics because everyone should know OF COURSE the classics are on this playlist. Not some of them, but like… all of them are on there I promise. But then I decided I needed to highlight this song, because if I could choose one song, and one song only, to listen to all season… it would be this one, without a doubt ❤

. . .

Okay guys, those are only a few songs that barely scratch the surface of my playlist! See the full playlist here and get into the Christmas spirit me…

Ice Queen Vibes

UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT: Winter is better than Summer.

Actually, I’ll go even further. Winter is better than all other seasons! Winter could take on any other season in a fight, even with one hand tied behind her back. I said it.

Before you completely dismiss this article AND Winter, check out the list of reasons I give to support my argument below:

1. Colder Temperatures = Less Sweat

Look, I know that this sounds like a prissy, annoying and superficially “girly” reason to dislike summer. But be honest, who actually enjoys sweating, other than satan himself? Summer is great, until the temperature goes above 75 degrees. Once it’s 76 and over, it is GAME OVER for the armpits of your favorite shirts, your perfectly coiffed hairstyle, the shower that you just took that morning and the skin on the back of your legs as you rip yourself off the leather seats of your car. No thanks, I’ll pass.

2. No Flowering Trees in Bloom = No Incessant Allergies

“But what about indoor allerg–” SHUT UP LINDA, THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Personally, I suffer from pollen allergies. Every childhood summer I had was spent avoiding my siblings pleas to play outside with them. I didn’t know why I hated it out there until high school when my doctor told me for the fourth year in a row that I wasn’t sick, I just had allergies. Finally it all made sense! I figured out that the sore throat, the runny nose and the itchy eyes (actually the itching all over) had a cause. That cause was warm weather. Therefore, God bless buttoned-up coats and bare-naked trees!

3. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

HELLO WINTER HOLIDAYS! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, you know you’re going to have a killer family (or friend) celebration during the Winter months. Even if you don’t celebrate any religious holidays, there’s probably still a New Years Eve party to boogie with your friends at on December 31st. I can’t lie, I love getting fancy and festive! Oh, let’s not forget the fact that even as an adult, you normally get time off from stress for these celebrations. Sign me up!

4. Cold Weather Fashion is the “Coolest”

Dresses with tights, blazers, sweaters, beanies, boots and scarves…need I say more? Much cuter than a pair of sweaty jean shorts…just sayin’.

5. The Cozier, the Better

There’s really nothing better than being wrapped up in soft blankets on a cold night, hot tea or hot chocolate in hand. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a fireplace, cuddle up next to that bad boy and read a good book! Go get yourself a hot peppermint mocha latte and sip your cares away. In the summer, all you get is sweat-soaked sheets and an angry walk in the heat to the coffee shop. Which sounds better to you? I sure know what I’d prefer.

*-*-*-*-*-*

There are some good things about warm weather. I love bonfires and beaches as much as anyone! I also can see why one might dislike Winter, like driving on icy roads (but hey, snow days!) and having to carry your coat all around the bar. However, I’ve weighed the pros and cons of all four seasons and Winter always seems to come out on top. You can try to convince me otherwise, but meanwhile I’m content with being the ice queen I am.

Playlist Fiend: Witchy Vibes

~Your serial playlist maker is back with some tunes for this Halloween season~

Whenever October rolls around I always crave a good spooky playlist, and I always find myself unsatisfied with the results out there. The typical Halloween songs are either like Monster Mash and Witch Doctor, or some Marylin Manson and Thriller – there is nothing wrong with any of those vibes, none whatsoever, but it’s just not what will work to make me feel spooky from the inside out.

Spooky isn’t even quite the right word. It’s not spooky that I want to feel, but witchy and ominous. I want the music to make me feel mysterious and powerful and like I can whip magic as quick as Hermione.

Last year, Zoe & I went to Salem and I created this insane playlist for the road trip… I went a little overboard with some of the music and it got chaotic and I lost the plot of the playlist tbh. This year, I dialed it all back just a little bit and became a bit more focused with a new Witchy Vibes playlist. Below are a few of the gems that made the list!

Uninvited by Alanis Morrissette

This track made both this year’s playlist and last years. Alanis went hard in this one, every time I hear it I instantly get chills…

Master Hunter by Laura Marling

Laura has several songs that could work for this playlist (and several of them are on there!) but this is the one that gets the notable mention because the edgy witchy vibes ARE PROMINENT!!!

Jesus for the Jugular by The Veils

The first time I ever heard this song was at House of Yes and this track backed an acrobatic intensely emotional performance… it was riveting. This song is harsh, passionate, and ominously magnificent.

If I Had A Heart by Fever Ray

It’s got chanting… it feels dark… this could be the anthem of any power hungry unsatisfied witch, without a doubt. I feel like I need to brew a potion while listening to this, or I should be hexing someone!

La Llorona by Angela Aguilar

In Hispanic American folklore, La Llorona is a legend about a woman who drowned her children and mourns their deaths for eternity, roaming Latin American areas as a ghost or apparition… google images of her portrayed in film and various series are #terrifying.

Coconut by Harry Nilsson

Okay, okay this song is random, I know. But also if you know, you know and you understand this song of course is on this list. Practical Magic is a movie you need to go watch RIGHT NOW and then maybe you’ll just understand…everything.

. . .

Okay guys, those are only a few songs that barely scratch the surface of my playlist! See the full shebang here and get into the witchy spirit me…

Emily’s Roommate Guide

In all my 25 years of life, I’ve never had my own apartment (excluding my brief semester abroad, but let’s be real I was hardly in that little dorm.) I’ve always had one or multiple roommates; and there’s not one place I’ve lived where I don’t have a crazy story to share – both good crazy and bad crazy. Just to name a few, I’ve had roommates hide under the bed for days at a time, I’ve had roommates accuse the entire apartment of tackling their 5-gallon jar of pickles (gag), I’ve had roommates with no sense of pride in the space we both call home, and I’ve had roommates where we don’t even remotely speak the same language.

Each and every one of my living situations could not only have their own blog post, but I could write a whole series of books, accurately titled: “Emily’s Series of Unfortunate Roommates:The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

But this post isn’t a tell-all on past roommates – sorry to disappoint you, you gossip ready scoundrels. Instead, I’m roaming the higher ground here. I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned through these good and bad situations, and most importantly: questions you should ask yourself when in the market for roommate.

Blanket Question: What is important to you?

This may seem like an obvious question, but clearly not since at 25 – 7 years into the roommate game – I’ve only just learned how to properly answer this when on a roommate search. Let’s breakdown what could be important to you, you just don’t realize it yet:

  • Which spaces always have to be tidy or you’ll have an aneurysm?
    • Even if you think you’re pretty chill, not too much of a neat freak, I’m sure there’s actually one or two things that get under your skin. For me, I’ve realized I need the toilet to always be pearly white, uncluttered kitchen counters, and absolutely nothing permanently (or even semi-permanently) planted on the stove – excluding a kettle – I also cannot cope with dishes overflowing the sink for more than like 3-4 days. So if you get roped in with someone who ends up being more on the messy side, voice the spaces that matter most to you.
  • How do you feel about entertaining guests?
    • Granted, in Covid-Culture, this question is answered way differently now then it would be if all was right in the world – or for some of you, maybe not! Either way, it’s important to sort if you’re content with guests frequently coming and going, staying for short or long periods of time. Especially if you live in a major city, it’s common for friends and family to want to come visit often and for longer than just a weekend. So figure out how you feel about this, if you’re content with strangers coming and going – potentially running up utility bills during their stay 😉
  • Speaking of utility bills, how do you feel if it seems your roommate may be causing spikes in bills?
    • If I’m being honest, I never even realized that this was a thing until very recently. In my books, you’re in a contract with your roommates to go half on everything. If there’s a spike in the bill, it sucks but that’s just it – it sucks. Even if the other person may have caused it, you couldn’t possibly confirm that, so you have to buck up and pay your half and everyone aim together to be more conscientious for the next bill cycle. Trying to pin a spike in a bill on someone is a slippery slope, because what about the months you had several guests staying for a week or two at a time? Or how about there’s a month where you’re using the washer and dryer more? Do you see what I’m getting at? It opens a door that you probably don’t want to open. But either way… if this is your little psycho tick… sort it out now before trying to screw someone over. Have fun with that future conversation! Side note, if you don’t bring this up and try to con a roommate into paying more of a bill – shame on you.
  • Your sleep schedule?
    • Most of the time, you know if this is important to you – so voice it! Make it known that you’re a night owl, or make it known you go to bed at 8, grandma 😉

Blanket Question: What are you looking for in a roommate?

This is not just finding a cool person to live with, nor the same as simply finding a friend. While the above questions definitely facilitate sorting this question out, below is a breakdown of how to sort out the type of person you’re looking for:

  • Do you want someone with the same daily schedule as you?
    • Having the same schedule as someone is great, in theory. It opens doors to be able to hang out together after work and sleep schedules should be fairly similar. But also, it means they are always home the same time you are. For me, I’m not into that. I need alone time, I need the space to myself, and I hate fighting over the freaking bathroom. I’ve realized my ideal roommate’s schedule is someone who wakes up at the ass-crack of dawn and leaves the apartment before I wake up. Then I get to have a quiet morning to myself and get in the right head space for the day.
  • Are you looking to become best friends with your roommate?
    • This is fine! Moving to a new city and seeking to befriend whoever you live with is a smart way to get established and such an easy way to make friends. So think about what characteristics you like in a friend, but also think about how that translates into a roommate. Party people are fun, but do you want a party apartment? Bubbly, outgoing people are great, but are you someone who needs alone time to recharge? Just make sure you understand what you’re getting into!
  • What’s the ideal vibe?
    • It’s super important to me that my apartment is cozy, decorated, and smells heavenly with candles frequently lit. Maybe you’re wondering why this didn’t go in the first blanket question, but this is totally a personality thing. I’ve had roommates who just emit comfort from their very being and it translates into the apartment setup, I also have had roommates who see the apartment as just the place they sleep and aren’t into the whole decorating thing, or they have a minimalist vibe and aren’t into knickknacks and decorations. So while it’s important to understand your vibe, it’s equally important to sort out your roommates vibe – then you can create a conducive atmosphere that makes your space more than just an apartment, it makes it a home.

Blanket Statement: Know your boundaries.

If you understand what your boundaries are, what you are comfortable with and what you’re not, the roommate search will be more fruitful. If you’re not that clean, there’s no point in lying about it just to get the dream apartment with someone. If you need alone time, voice that and most people will respect it.

One thing I casually began doing to better understand what gets under my skin, is starting a “When People…” note on my iPhone. Whenever someone does something that rubs me the wrong way, even slightly, I write it down – just the action, not the person’s name, this isn’t a list of grudges! It has things like “When people interrupt others when they’re speaking,” which equates to the fact that basic manners are incredibly important to me, and another one is “When people flake on responsibilities,” and that one I don’t think I need to explain 😉

Creating a simple list of pet peeves is a great way to understand not only what you don’t like, but also what you do. Ultimately, it’s important to know yourself in order to know what you need from others so that you can flourish.

DISCLAIMER: While I hope this guide helps you, I think shit roommates are major character building experiences 😉

…..

PS: the featured photo is that of me and one of my best friends that’s survived many roommate horrors with me ❤

The Final Girls: Who Are They?

Since cinema began in the early 1900’s, there has been the creation of tropes. Tropes are characters or storylines that are universally understood, oftentimes as a metaphor, and are completely overused. Sometimes tropes can be obvious, clever or even downright annoying. In horror and slasher films specifically, there is the trope of ‘the final girl’. The final girl is just what you think it is: the final surviving girl of the film. The final girl was made popular with films like Halloween (1978) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). But what makes a final girl? While there is no clear list of attributes for a final girl, the idea is pretty much unanimous: a girl who makes it through the hellish road of her story to meet with the antagonist in a head-on battle to the end. Are all final girls created equal? Not at all. Let’s take a look into some of the more recent final girl films. 

Housebound (2014)

TW: Gore, violence, mental health
This film is not your normal ‘final girl’ slasher. This dark comedy/thriller out of New Zealand is one of the most underrated films I’ve seen in a long time. Full of twists and turns, this will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. While the main character, Kylie, does indeed make it to the end, it’s not exactly in the most traditional way. Kylie, a reforming shitshow, lands under house arrest at her mother’s house, complete with a creepy murderous neighbor, ghosts in the house and supposed hysteria which all create a perfect thriller.
Final Girl Rating: 7/10

The Rezort (2015)

TW: Gore, zombies, violence
A surprisingly new take on zombie films, The Rezort’s storyline is set after a zombie virus outbreak. All zombies have been quarantined to an island that healthy-wealthies can visit freely to hunt them like a safari. Not a big surprise to any; things do not go well for our protagonist group. Final Girl Melanie does not shy away from the violence and helps her team try to survive, while maintaining her humanity throughout. This B-rated British film also takes an interesting look into the dark side of humanitarian crises amongst outbreaks.
Final Girl Rating: 7/10

Revenge (2017)

TW: Rape, violence, domestic violence, graphic injuries, gore, drug usage, abuse
First and foremost, this film is full of realism, graphic injuries and gallons of fake blood – gotta love the french for that! On a tranquil vacation gone wrong, Jen accompanies her married boyfriend on a boys hunting trip to a remote island. Fairly quickly, things start to go downhill. Jen transforms from a naive mistress to scrambling prey to bloodthirsty badass in under two hours. This is truly a revenge plot like the title suggests and it is so satisfying at the end.
Final Girl Rating: 15/10

Ready or Not (2019)

TW: Violence, gore
This dark comedy may not technically fall under the ‘horror’ bucket, but Grace deserves to be a final girl. On her wedding day, Grace is surprised to learn that she must play a game to be initiated into her husband’s family. A simple game of hide and seek turns into a bloodbath for the ages. Overcoming the shock of what is actually taking place, Grace fights back and becomes an unstoppable force, laughing in the face of Satan (no, really).
Final Girl Rating: 8/10

Honorable Mentions:

Darkness Rising (2017)

TW: Cults, possession, violence, gore, supernatural, curse
Teenager Madison and her friends break into her childhood home, which has been condemned and in disrepair since her mother went crazy. This thriller starts out in a normal cadence, but things go off the rails quickly. Little ghosts in the background of shots, a supernatural house, some serious demon energy – what more could you want? While the story is interesting in a ‘what the f**k just happened’ way, Madison’s character is a little two-dimensional. She gets pulled through the story rather than taking an active role in it.
Final Girl Rating: 5/10

Midsommar (2019)

TW: Gore, violence, cults, graphic injuries, sexual acts, drug usage
A fan favorite from director Ari Aster, Midsommar is a fringe mention for final girls. I wanted to include this film mostly because Dani has to overcome a mountain of trauma to become the final girl. This is a poignant, beautifully directed film that leaves the viewer uneasy and disturbed. Dani may not be an overly violent character, but the ending of the film proves that she’s just as cunning and dark as the rest of them.
Final Girl Rating: 7/10

As a viewer, what can we learn from the final girls? Each final girl is able to find the strength to push through any situation – even if they didn’t think they had it in them. Final girls teach us to adapt and survive, to overcome and conquer any obstacle. While they suffer throughout their stories, final girls always make it to the other side stronger, often with new skills or traits. In our day to day lives, we may not find ourselves in a life-or-death situation like a final girl, but we can carry that resolve with us to the end.

Playlist Fiend: The Future is Female

My name is Emily, and I’m a serial playlist maker.

Road trip to Montreal? I gotta playlist for that.

In the mood for some incredibly sad songs that help you justify your tears for the ultimate cathartic release? Yeah, I got a “Feels” playlist obvi.

How about a playlist for that one mood that always happens on the same day every week and you need a playlist to get you out of the funk? Do you doubt me? Of course I have a playlist for that as well.

I’m ultimately obsessed with the power that music has over a situation – don’t even get me started on movie scores (Twilight has the best soundtrack of all time COME AT ME.)

Early on into the conception stage of Peachy Keen Collective, I was desperate to create a playlist that embodied what we were trying to create here. So I dove into massive research and read numerous articles trying to find “Women Empowerment Songs” that also were the right vibe. And honestly I never even found one article that had all the answers, and most articles really only had one song that I was keen on being in our “Playlist Mood Board.”

But alas, this playlist fiend hath created what she believes a worthy playlist.

Below are some songs that made the cut:

JULIANNA CALM DOWN BY THE CHICKS

“Put on, put on your best shoes / And strut the fuck around like you’ve got nothing to lose”

No one likes being told to calm down, but with The Chicks always following up with a “We know…breath. It’ll be okay.” It’s easy to feel that they’re giving advice from a place of deep understanding and “been there” experience. They’re not coming from a condescending place of, “You’re overreacting, chill.”

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I WAS AN EAGLE BY LAURA MARLING

“I will not be a victim of romance / I will not be a victim of circumstance / Chance or circumstance or romance, or any man

If you are unfamiliar with Laura Marling, I would go as far as to compare her to a darker Joni Mitchell. All of her songs have this whimsical story telling to them that’s simply captivating. What really makes this song stand out is the whole premise of “I was an eagle, and you were a dove” ~ go listen and you’ll feel what I mean.

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GOOD KISSER BY LAKE STREET DRIVE

“If you’re gonna tell them everything / Tell ’em I’m a good kisser / Tell ’em all the things you told me / In your desperate whisper

This upbeat jazzy ballad screams PKC – if you’re gonna tell the truth you better tell the whole truth and not just the parts that make you seem better.

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MOTHER’S DAUGHTER BY MILEY CYRUS

“Don’t fuck with my freedom / I came back to get me some / I’m nasty, I’m evil / Must be something in the water or that I’m my mother’s daughter”

I’ll admit, I know full well that Miley is hit or miss for a lot of people. But this song hits the spot. It’s about freedom, openness, & rolls well on a road trip to anywhere – and ain’t that just the ultimate vibe?

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GIRL CAN’T BE HERSELF BY ALICIA KEYS

“In the morning from the minute that I wake up / What if I don’t want to put on all that make up? / Who says I must conceal what I’m made of? / Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem

Alicia Keys is vibes on a million levels, and this song just puts her up even higher in my books. The minute she dropped the Maybelline brand name I was like “Same girl, same.”

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GRIGIO GIRLS BY LADY GAGA

“On the Pinot, Pinot Grigio girls / Pour your heart out / Watch your blues turn gold / All the Pinot, Pinot Grigio girls / Keep it real cold / ‘Cause it’s a fired up world”

Lady Gaga’s album Joanne is straight fire and arguably one of the most beautiful albums she’s put out. I’m not into Pinot Grigio (more of a Sauv Blanc gal) but this song had me striving to find a Grigio I enjoy just to even more directly relate to this song *sigh*

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F E M A L E BY SAMPA THE GREAT

“Big bold women, round of applause / Get-my-goals women, round of applause / Know-my-roots women, round of applause”

Honestly those first few lyrics speak for themselves, so just listen to the song, vibe along, and feel that boost coming your way.

Full playlist here!

I’m sure there are songs you’re in shock that I didn’t include – why don’t you link your jams in the comments so I can take a peek??