patriots day

Movie Review: Patriot’s Day

Saw this with my best friend tonight and all I can say is WOW. Amazing cinematography and Mark Wahlberg’s accent was perfect for this movie, unlike many of his other movies. It was brutal, my God they showed everything. It looked real because they used actual footage from the news. It makes you wonder who thought it would be a good idea to show this in theatres. I love gory movies, but this was real life. This was no movie. I was genuinely shocked at how well this movie was made. It was desensitization in the worst way. Don’t watch this if you’re squeamish because it all looks so real. Overall, great and powerful movie.

Even though I knew what was going to happen, it was compelling to watch. I honestly think that movie deserves an award. It’s one of the few movies I would recommend watching. Mark Wahlberg truly has come a long way, and in a way that I never really expected of him. It’s got a lot of great stars in it as well, who do a great job and really do the story justice. Great acting all around.

This was probably the only movie I didn’t plan on watching. Normally, I do extensive research to make sure I want to watch a particular movie, but this was different. My friend called me up at the last-minute to see if I wanted to see Patriot’s Day. I hadn’t been working at the movies for a couple of weeks already and I was so out of the loop that I didn’t even know what the movie was about. Once the movie started, I realized the subject matter. I had actually wanted to see this movie, I just couldn’t remember the title so I was happy that my friend invited me to go.

My score: 8/10

For more movies reviews, you can view my entire list of movies here.

the place beyond the pines

Movie Review: The Place Beyond the Pines

I tried watching this four times, and I fell asleep during the first 30 minutes every time. So I finally finished the movie, and let me just say I watched two different Ryan Gosling films and I didn’t like him in this film as much as I did in The Big Short. The story had a good premise, but it was way too long. I’m not even sure what could have cut, but there was no reason for that movie to be 2.5 hours. It’s worth watching if you can get through it in one sitting.

Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendez do a great job of acting with each other. It must be hard to play certain roles together when you are married to someone who works in Hollywood. While I was watching this, I felt like I was watching one of Brad Cooper’s earlier movies, but this came out in 2013. I know he has done several films before this. It makes a lot of sense why they would cast him for American Sniper. I wouldn’t say Brad Cooper is my favorite, but I can’t deny that he’s a good actor. I’ve seen him play several different roles, and I think he has finally proven himself.

Ryan Gosling, on the other hand, I can name two other movies that he’s in that would be better than watching this. That’s not to say this is a bad film; it’s just not Ryan Gosling’s best work. If I had never seen those other movies, I would think he’s a terrible actor.

I’m not exactly what the title means in regards to the story anyway. Maybe they talked about it in the movie, but I don’t recall them explaining it, and it’s not exactly self-explanatory.

My Score: 7/10

For more movies reviews, you can view my entire list of movies here.

Movie Review: Lakeview Terrace

Another great movie ruined by a horrible ending. It had a good concept, and Samuel L. Jackson plays a crazy cop, so that’s always fun. The story line was awful; too many unimportant details that would have better served in a TV show format and spaced out over the course of several weeks. If you replace the husband with a better actor, it would have made a great TV show that would have gotten canceled after one season due to lack of viewership.

I saw this on my television, and the movie stayed in my DVR queue for over a year. I needed to clean up space, so I finally decided to watch it to mark it off my movie list. The first half of the film is not that bad, and it’s good because you keep wondering what’s going to happen, but then there’s a twist at the end, and after that nothing makes sense as to why everything is happening. It ends up being a huge misunderstanding which in my opinion killed the tension of the whole movie, which is sad because it was a good movie up until that point. Samuel L. Jackson is good at being a crazy guy, so he plays his character well. It’s not a bad film, but it’s not amazing either. Some people might like it, but the ending killed it for me.

I can think of at least a few movies with Samuel L. Jackson that would be a better use of your time and are much more enjoyable. The Hateful Eight, Pulp Fiction, and Jackie Brown are some good films I can think of right off the bat. It’s also interesting to see Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington playing the interracial couple in this movie. I believe that it’s important to discuss the problems and issues that interracial couples face.

For more movies reviews, you can view my entire list of movies here.

the founder movie poster

Movie Review: The Founder

I have wanted to watch this movie for a while. I just recently found out that you can get new DVDs for free at the library. I decided to check this one out without realizing it was currently on Netflix. Either way, you should check out your local library to see what DVDs they have. “The Founder” is the origin story of McDonald’s, which I have to admit I didn’t know about all the controversy before the movie came out.

I was still working at the movie theater when this movie came out. I remember wanting to see it then, but it only lasted about three weeks. This situation would happen all the time; a good movie gets released, and no one watches it. Then, you never hear about it again until something happens. By then, it has probably been at least a couple of years. I enjoyed watching this movie. I thought it was very accurate for a period piece. It was funny, entertaining, and eye-opening to say the least.

Michael Keaton does a pretty good job of being a villain, and you almost start to feel sorry for him. It’s an interesting way to frame his character.

I cannot believe that this happened in real life, and I would bet money that most people you ask don’t know about it either. It makes you wonder what would have happened if certain people had never come into your life. In my opinion, I thought the movie was a little long. Some parts dragged on a little, but overall it is a film worth watching. I’d even venture to say it’s a movie worth paying for if you had even noticed it at the theatres.

Overall, I’d give it a 7/10 because although it was a good movie and I liked it. I took points off for it being too long, which caused the story to drag a little bit.

For more movies reviews, you can view my entire list of movies here.

My Score: 7/10

our brand is crisis movie review

Movie Review: Our Brand Is Crisis

This movie’s storyline starts off slow, but it got better towards the middle of the film. Anthony Mackie, who plays Falcon in the Captain America franchise, was in this movie. He does a good job considering he doesn’t have that many lines. I’m wondering if anyone went to see this in theatres, I know I didn’t. (I saw “Burnt” starring Bradley Cooper that week)

What struck me as odd, was that this movie deals heavily with psychology but it wasn’t advertised that way or at all. Who could remember a movie title like “Our Brand Is Crisis”? A good movie with good actors, but has a forgettable title, is a recipe for a box office flop. I even remember asking my mom right after the preview for that movie ended if she remembered the title. She immediately said no.

The antagonist in this movie is much worse in real life than they portray him in the film. I remember thinking who else could have played Sandra Bullock’s role, and the only person who came to mind was Tina Fey.

This movie brings awareness about the fact that people with anxiety and depression can do anything if they can overcome their mental obstacles. As someone who experiences both, I highly recommend watching this movie just for that aspect. Overall, it wasn’t the best movie, so I’m not surprised that it didn’t even make it double digits in profit. It wasn’t a bad movie though, but it will be overlooked for years to come. If you do happen to watch the movie, you’d be hard pressed to find someone else who has seen it.

My Score: 6/10

If you like to listen to my review of this movie in podcast form, please check out my Mixcloud page.

For more movies reviews, you can view my entire list of movies here.

florida aquarium

My First Time Visiting the Florida Aquarium

#FloridaAquarium

I went to the Florida Aquarium with my cousin while we were in Tampa visiting for her graduation. Some of these pictures I took with my phone, and others I took with my camera. I paid $20 for my admission and I have to admit, I was slightly underwhelmed by the exhibits. Maybe I was expecting too much, but most of the animals were asleep. There were some slightly cool sights like one of the birds with a dead rat in his mouth and the two turtles having sex. The animals were cool to look at and be able to see them up close, but the exhibits were kind of boring in my opinion.

We went through the exhibit a couple of times just because it only took 15 minutes to go through the whole thing once. At least at the movies, you’re paying $10 for 2 hours of entertainment. I might have been more satisfied if it was only $10 for admission because there were a lot of cool photo opportunities. The Texas State Aquarium was twice as big and had more exotic animals. It almost made me regret going because it seems like the animals didn’t really like it there, but I could be wrong.

Overall, I had fun getting to spend time with my cousin since we only go to Florida to visit every couple of years. I’m glad we chose the aquarium over the zoo that day because it ended up raining pretty hard. We had to wait out the rain for almost 15 minutes, but I still say it was worth visiting. I figured there wouldn’t be that many kids since it was already the end of May. There were actually a few groups of kids there so it was a bit crowded in some areas. I think the photos came out great and I can’t wait to visit aquariums in other states someday.

failure is not a bad thing

Why Failure Is Not A Bad Thing

If you haven’t heard of Quora, you should make an account there if you love writing. It’s a question and answer website where people can seek a reply to thought provoking questions. It’s perfect for when you have writer’s block and just want to write something. I liked one of the questions so much that I decided to write an extended response of one of my answers. I started there on July 11, 2017, and at the time of publishing this I have 70K views on my answers.

You can check out my Quora page and follow me if you want to.

One of the questions I found that really struck a chord with me was: Is failing at something caused by a lack of talent or by not trying hard enough? Here is a link to my original Quora answer. I posted something short because I didn’t think about telling the full story.

To answer this questions, I wrote about a memory from my childhood when I was in the Girl Scouts. I was 8 years old when this happened and I was not prepared for this to happen to me. My parents had always raised me to have a good work ethic and not to be a sore loser. So here’s what happened: I was a brownie in the girl scouts at my elementary school and I already had about 6 or 7 badges.

I still have the sash to this day in my closet with space where my cookie badge should have been. I’m surprised at how little the boxes of Girl Scout cookies had gone up. When I sold them in the early 2000’s they were only about $3 each. I wanted that cookie badge more than anything. I was a cute kid, so it wasn’t that hard to sell them.

No child should have to go through that.

If you can believe it, I sold 20 cases of cookies, which if you don’t know are around 500 boxes and that amounted to about $1,500. On the way to drop off the money, I was so happy. I knew there was no way that any of the other girls would sell more cookies that I did. I thought I was a shoe-in to win the cookie badge. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. The reason why still breaks my heart and makes me sad even as I’m writing this. I didn’t win the cookie badge because the troop leader’s daughter got jealous that I had sold so many cookies and her mother stole my cookie money and gave the badge to her daughter.

I was only 8 years old and I hate that her mom gave into her child’s demands like that. She never took into consideration how it would make me feel, and I quit the Girl Scouts shortly after that. So in response to the question, failure is not always caused by lack of talent or by not trying hard enough. I learned a hard lesson about life and I realized that failure is not always a bad thing. It could be the push you need to try harder in order to succeed. It’s hard to call my accomplishment a failure, but I suppose it depends on your definition of failure.

I wrote another blog similar to this called You Never Know How Your Actions Will Affect People and that could have easily been the title of this blog post as well.
grandma vlog

[Vlog] Grandma’s House Was Never Empty

I started vlogging again and my first video is a tour of my great grandma’s house. I spent most of my weekends playing with my cousins because Grandma had taught us the importance of spending time together. At the time of recording, several years had passed since the last time I had been at that house. I even wrote about my experiences at my great grandma’s house in an essay for my TAKS test.

I have more vlogs and live streams that I have posted on my YouTube channel.

You always had to be at Grandma’s on Sunday. No excuses.

qigong

New Film Projects Coming Soon

Here is a sneak peek of a photo shoot I did at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

In an effort to get back to filming more frequently, I decided to help out my friend’s Yoga teacher by doing a before and after video of their gardening project. I filmed the video in two segments about 3 months apart. I love shooting scenery with a pan. It’s something I’ve always done and it’s probably the best way to know I filmed something. I’m really glad I started filming again because it’s something that I’ve always loved doing. I’m glad to be sharing my talents with the world again because I know that I don’t keep filming I’ll stop doing it again. I know that if I keep practicing, I’ll get better.

I hope to post a new yoga video featuring my friend, but the weather has not allowed us to film anything. My schedule has gotten tighter with work, but I hope we can do it soon because when school starts I will have even less time to do filming projects. It’s hard to get it all done when filming is not your only hobby. I have so many things to do and these past two months have been pretty hectic with filming family interviews and trying to work on scanning old family photos. I am looking for a way to incorporate all my hobbies so that I can film historical events and sites. If anyone has any suggestions or places that you think I should film let me know in the comments.

If you would like to join any of Mary Martha’s classes please go to GentleWellness.com for more information.

If you would like to read more about how I started doing yoga, please read this blog called 3 Reasons Why I Should Have Started Yoga A Long Time Agostart doing yoga today not tomorrow

one world that will help you increase your traffic goals

The One Word That Will Help You Increase Your Blog Traffic

I started blogging with MCXV in late April. I’ve made $17 since then because I have been trying to figure out all the different ways to drive traffic to my blog. After watching every Livestream that Evan and Danielle posted about tips to help us, I can say without a doubt that all the information they gave us was instrumental in me getting to where I am today.

Now, I’m not getting thousands of views per day as much as we’d all like to. I was at a point a few months ago where I would maybe get 5-10 people to visit my blog but I wasn’t promoting it like I am now. I had a Facebook page and Twitter but I wasn’t using them like I should have been this whole time. In this blog, I’m not going to tell you ALL the ways to increase traffic because some things work better for some, but it doesn’t always work for everyone. I’ve seen a million of those blogging income reports, and even though it inspired me to want to get that point one day, I had to be more realistic.

There’s only one word that will help you gain more traffic and that word is GOALS.

It’s important to have goals to get anything done in life. Without goals, you’re just aimlessly working towards something without a final destination in mind. If you want to make a successful blog you have to figure out what that means to you. A good rule of thumb for new bloggers is to set a goal of 1,000 views per month. That’s less than 35 page views per day. If you aren’t getting that kind of traffic, take a look at your blog, or have someone else take a look, and figure out ways you can improve.

If you get 35 views or more per day, you know you’re well on your way to completing your monthly goal. If 15 people visit your blog per day, but you don’t have any goals, you’re happy with 15 people because at least someone is reading your blog even if it’s just your friends and family. At 15 views per day, you’re getting 450 views per month and most people would be happy about that, but success is about growth.

The first thing I did was sign up for every free course that I could and the first thing they suggested was to overhaul my social media accounts. The courses were mostly about Pinterest, but they have given me a lot of solid information that I was able to use across all my social media. For the last year or so, my Twitter profile had 2,400 followers and I was stuck for many months. I started posting my blogs and affiliate links on twitter and just being more active in general. Even though I’m not getting a drove of new followers, I do get a couple of followers per week so it has increased and has stayed steady over the last few weeks.

I designed a new logo for my Facebook page and set up links that I really enjoyed on StumbleUpon on a schedule so that my page would appear to be active. Sharing articles from Stumbleupon also increased my followers on there, as I now have 20 followers. I’m still struggling to get new Instagram followers, but according to Google Analytics, I am getting a handful of people to click the link on my profile.

I’m still navigating my way through Pinterest but I changed my board covers to the same background with different text to look more like a brand or business. If you haven’t already, you need to convert your Pinterest to a Business account. It’s free to do and you get access to analytics that can be very helpful. I’ve also been pinning a lot per day and I check my Pinterest stats every 3 days.

In just over a month of implementing these newly learned strategies, I now have 5,000 average daily views and 25,000 average monthly profile views. Of course, I learned this means nothing if they aren’t clicking your link though. Before I changed the board covers, only one person had clicked the link. It took about 4 days since my coding is a little rusty, but I finally enabled rich pins. Rich Pins are essential to getting traffic on Pinterest, so I would look into that if you haven’t already. Since my new changes, I’ve had 5 clicks. 5 clicks out of 25,000 people are nothing to boast about, but small progress is still progress.

I made some personal goals for June and July, but I didn’t want to share my strategies until I could show some results.

My goals for June were:

  • 1K+ Pageviews and Unique Pageviews
  • 100+ New Users per week (500 new users for the month)
  • Make more money from MCXV than the previous month
  • A penny per day in AdSense (minimum $0.30 per month)

This is what really happened:

  • 1,052 Pageviews and 819 Unique Pageviews
  • New Users:
  • Week 1: 66
  • Week 2: 34
  • Week 3: 87
  • Week 4: 389
  • For the Month of June: 604
  • MCXV Money for May: $6.81 ($2.81 more than the previous month)
  • AdSense Money: $1.81

It’s important to note that I got 2 ad clicks during June. I would have made $0.11 just purely based on views.

My goals for July are as follows:

  • 2K+ Pageviews and Unique Pageviews
  • 200+ New Users per week (1K+ New Users for the Month)
  • Make more money from MCXV than the previous month
  • $5 this month from AdSense

Here is my dilemma: I had 443 page views yesterday (July 7, 2017) and I have already received 825 Unique Pageviews for the month of July and 627 New Users the first week. With those 400+ views, I got 2 ad clicks and I earned $3.33. That’s already half of the money I make at MCXV per month. My question is, should I change my goals for the month to reflect the change and continue to challenge myself or be happy with the progress and keep it going the way I have it now (100, then 200, then 300, etc.)? I’d love some feedback, so please leave a comment.