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Internet Icons: Claire Marshall

My first victim internet icon is Claire Marshall, aka heyclaire. Hailing from the Washington DC area, she comes across like someone from the fast-paced New York rather than from LA, where she actually lives. She is worldly, having travelled so much in her childhood with her mother. She is a beauty and fashion personality on YouTube, but her brand also includes a Twitter, Instagram, tumblr., and blog.

For me, she is a style inspiration. She has identified her style as “hobo-chic” and she utilizes basics to her advantage. Her wardrobe consists of enviable items she has curated from designer brands like All Saints and Alexander Wang, mall stores like Zara and J. Crew, vintage finds, as well as lesser-known online stores, like Runway Bandits. Her style is not typical, though it does include very classic pieces, it is completely her own.

In her videos she often speaks to her precious black cat, Bruce Lee. Claire very much has personality, which translates into her edited videos, some of which she doesn’t even talk in, as well as her vlogs. For anyone wanting to watch a video that can make you laugh, warm your heart, entertain, teach you, and/or inspire, her channel is where it’s at.

Besides beauty videos, Claire also films many vlogs, often featuring her hilarious friends, behind the scenes footage of different projects, yummy-looking food, and of course, Claire driving in her car. These vlogs are always sweet videos. My favourites usually have Claire just simply talking to is while she’s driving. It’s like a very mellow one-sided conversation!

Claire also uses very good, catchy, albeit more indie, music. I wouldn’t say she has introduced me to my new favourite bands, but I have rediscovered old favourites through her videos (Foxes and Fall Out Boy). She seems to really like pop punk, alternative and indie rock, but she has expressed appreciation for Top 40 pop, having said “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift was her most listened to song at one point. Because she had grown up in the DMV area, she listened to a lot of pop punks in her youth, though from what I can tell she still does, seeing as she’s done the Pop Punk Challenge twice.

Side Note: One song in particular that she introduced me to was Radio (Juno Jay remix) by Mansions on the Moon.

Another place I follow Claire is her tumblr. It looks very “tumblr”-esque for those who are only familiar with tumblr’s repute: eclectic, kind of hipstery, humorous, stylish girls, and of course, cats. I love it. Personally I like all the selfies; when your brow and cat eye games are that strong, who wouldn’t want to see your face?

My favourite photos from her Instagram and tumblr:

I have not spent much time on Claire’s blog, but scrolling through I noticed she posts YouTube video updates pretty often. I noticed one series that looked cool on her blog: Music Monday, originally Monday Morning Mixtape. Again she’s got great taste in music, so it should be interesting how I get on with her recommendations.

MY FAVOURITE HEYCLAIRE VIDEOS:

Tutorials — heyclaire offers many tutorials for makeup, hair, and occasionally food. Here are just my favourites:

My Manicure At Home — I found this in-depth video helpful as I am only recently getting into painting my nails.

Sweet Sunday | Buttercake — this looks pretty freaking delicious and it was really cool how she took the risk to adjust the recipe as she saw fit and how it worked out well.

EASY BEACH BABY HAIR — This is a fast no-heat waves, though she gives the option of more defined curls with some heat. Plus I know I’m not the only one interested in Oribe after watching this.

Vlogs — Claire does not separate her vlogs from the rest of her videos, making her channel all the more personal. Even though they’re not as heavily edited as a normal video would be, she still shows how creative and funny she is on an everyday basis:

VLOG: BECAUSE THAT’S DIFFERENT — this was pretty chill, but we got to see the work put into creating a lookbook.

VLOG: BOYS BOYS BOYS — this was supremely cool. We followed Tennis System for a day, you know, living like a rockstar vicariously through this video.

VLOG: Behind the Scenes – NBD Vintage Holiday Video — this video was absolutely perfect; some parts of the video looked like they could have been taken from any multi-million dollar ad campaign. I know the magic in this video was not accomplished by Claire alone, but I really appreciate her sharing this video with us.

Lookbooks — I have already stated that I adore Claire’s style, but I think I love her lookbooks even more! They are creative and fun and they look like a lookbook coming from a big, well-known brand:

Summer Looks with ShopWasteland.com — This lookbook is my favourite! It lolo’s like she had a huge team to help her with the concept, locations, filming, and modelling. It reminds me of H&M commercials, the MyBurberry as campaign with Cara Delevigne and Kate Moss, and various America’s Next Top Model photo shoots. Except Claire did it best.

CALIRE’S CLOSET • BLACK BOOT COLLECTION — This video was too cool. It probably took forever to choreograph and make sure everything fit perfectly, but it looks effortless.

FAVORITE NAILS INC. POLISHES — Nails Inc. made a wise decision to have Claire make a video about their nail polishes. As always, this looked super professional and was perfectly edited.

FAVORITE MAC LIPSTICKS – Va Va Voom — Is this a commercial? No? Well it certainly looks like one.

And so that was the very first of the Internet Icon series. If you hadn’t heard of Claire Marshall beforehand, I hope you at least check her videos out. I can’t wait to see what Claire does in the future! As always, have a good day and you’ll hear from me soon!

Introducing: Internet Icons

I want to start a series on my blog highlighting people from the internet who I follow and love. For the most part I will feature people from YouTube, tumblr., or bloggers, just because those are the internet hubs I frequent.

My first official post on this series will be up tomorrow, but let me know if there is anyone in particular you want me to talk about! As always, have a good day and you’ll hear from me soon!

P.S. In case you didn’t know, I have a twitter, which is @SmudgeofScarlet. Follow me for updates and occasional moments of inspiration, as well as random thoughts that pop in my brain.

The Netflix Diaries: Lost

Lost was a drama that ran from 2004-2010. It ran for six seasons and was a success, dubbed by my older supervisor as “The big show at the time”. When it first aired I was only a kid, so obviously I never watched it. Thank goodness, though, because I don’t think I would have had the patience to wait around for the next episode every week. Lost, I find, is well-written, to say the least, and highly enjoyable and addictive for the audience.

The most important aspect of Lost is its characters. You guys might not know this about me, but I am a completely character-driven person, which is why I love a good Bildungsroman. I get attached to characters, whether they are good or bad, and I really appreciate the characters of Lost, particularly Sawyer, Charlie, Desmond, and Ben.

From the very start I fell in love with Charlie Pace. He had a boyish innocence to him, despite the fact that he was originally a heroin addict. His backstory was the first that made me teary-eyed because the idea of being used and abandoned by those we love is ultimately one of the scariest things in the world. In all honestly I had no major problems with Charlie until his tragic death (yes I justified his stealing Aaron and “kidnapping” Sun). It did not make sense to me why he locked himself in what became his death chamber rather than shutting the door from the outside and escaping with Desmond the way they got in. I felt that it wasn’t his time yet because he was really showing his promise, pretty much acting as a dad to Aaron.

The most complex characters on the show were The Others, particularly their leader, Benjamin Linus. He was so human; he was calculating and hurt and was seeking love always, from his unhappy father, his rebellious daughter, from the island he sacrificed everything to. But he lost them all. So he took solace in The Man in Black because “he’s the only one who’ll have [him].” At first I believed him to be just a clumsy, troublesome captive of Jack and John, but I immediately warmed up to him when he started showing his deceptive and manipulative side. I believe he epitomizes extreme qualities desirable to most people. He’s smart, cunning and knows how to get what he wants, but he’s very much a human and cares deeply for his daughter and the island.

Lost was not without bad characters, however. For example, I really disliked Kate. I didn’t think she was well-written or likeable but she was obviously a favourite amongst the writers from the get-go. She didn’t have any surprises to offer the audience (except maybe when she handed Aaron over to his grandmother); her being the criminal on the plane, falling for Sawyer, becoming overly attached to Aaron, it was all predictable. But on the show she was treated with so much importance it really irked me.

The overarching plot of Lost was interesting and provided enough surprises to keep the audience captivated. The first few seasons did not deal with the exciting science fiction elements that the last few did, but they were mortally entertaining nonetheless. At first I thought the polar bears from Season 1 came from some sort of unreported storm or tsunami that carried them all the way to Oceania. When it was revealed that the DHARMA Initiative brought them, it made a lot more sense, though it was not as fantastical. Again, I loved seeing The Others, seeing that they are people, not heartless mutants. These ordinary humans who somehow got sucked into that world and chose to stay and obey, yes, they were fascinating.

I did find that I became even more invested in the series by the fourth season. I loved Daniel Faraday because he was played by the talented Jeremy Davies, who I also loved on Hannibal. I loved him on Lost because he made the unreal sci-fi believable when I was freaking out over what was happening with Desmond in the beginning of Season 4. I comforted myself by believing he would be safe following Daniel.

In Season 5, there was the most science fiction in the series. I love finding sci-fi shows and novels and movies, so I really appreciated the time-travelling early on. The writers did well in making the time-travelling easy enough to understand but confusing enough to be believable and keep the audience engaged. A standout scene from the season was when Miles was explaining how nonlinear time is/was because of their jumping around different times to Hurley confidently but still not know how Ben did not recognize Sayid. I still don’t know the answer to that, but I liked how it was done.

Season 6 kept me on my toes, and I loved it. Mark Pellegrino’s Jacob was another one of my favourite characters on Lost. Because of the flashbacks and his appearances to Hurley (and his comrades later on) we saw this character unravel and reveal himself but also still take control of everything. Jacob was completely brilliant and shone light on all of the Candidates. Because of Jacob we saw the Candidates show these brilliant and mature sides. I also appreciated the flashes of that alternate dimension because it was quite a sweet ending that tied the entire series in with a bow.

With good there are always going to be some bad aspects. Not too many because this show was superb, but a little here and there. My main “problem” (for lack of a better word) was how connected the characters were. It struck me as odd how they had passed by each other, drank with, visited each others’ hometowns, but not really know each other until the plain crash. I found small things in individual plot lines odd; like how Sayid fell in love with Shannon, even though he was going to LA to find his true love, who he then immediately married after escaping the island sans Shannon. And just a small note, I know that Jacob manipulated some passengers to board the Oceanic Flight 815, but why were there no families and so few Australians? Considering the plain is departing from Australia I would have expected more than just Claire.

All in all, Lost is an absolutely solid show. It provided satisfying characters who were realistic and showed qualities unique and familiar to us. While the characters and their development were my favourite aspect of Lost, I did also greatly appreciate that they took the risk of adding science fiction elements. I know I’m not the only one who appreciated it, as The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences did, too (though they are still not prepared to honour the hands down brilliant Orphan Black, see details here) To anyone reading, I recommend Lost 100%. Whether you’ve seen it before or not, if you have Netflix, you need to watch this.

4.5/5 STARS

4.5/5 STARS

And so there you have it folks! If you have any TV shows you want me to watch or review feel free to comment down below. You’ll hear from me soon. Ciao, bella.

An Introduction to The Netflix Diaries

Hello all you people! So basically I became obsessed with Netflix during last year’s Spring Break. I had it for a few months before, but it wasn’t like I was constantly watching it and needed it. When I started watching TV shows on Netflix, I couldn’t stop. With the press of a button I can watch any episode of any show at any time, and there are so many incredible shows that I had missed while they were airing that I just have to take great advantage of Netflix.

So while I was watching Lost (I had two episodes to go until it was over), the most incredible idea popped into my head: to make a series here on my blog of reviews of TV shows I have watched on Netflix. I mean, I’ve already finished Breaking Bad, Gossip Girl, 90210, Sherlock, and Hannibal, so doesn’t it make sense to review them for you guys?

With that said I figure that the most appropriate first series to review is Lost. While it’s not the first show I watched on Netflix, I did come up with this idea while watching it and actually finished the entire series in the same day. I will post my review of Netflix tomorrow so that you can have time to read this, get a breather, and come back for a whole review. Have a great day, you guys!

Go to an Anime Convention, Find Fandom Heaven

Hello again reader! I have been keeping fairly busy over my summer break, even though it has only been a few weeks (officially). Just last week my anime-obsessed sister dragged me to a local anime Summer Festival. Now, I’m not a huge anime fan; when I was younger I did watch the anime that YTV played, like Naruto, Inuyasha, and Zatch Bell!, but I pretty much stopped watching when I was…10? 11? I would sometimes watch an episode or specific scenes that my sister was eager to share, but I have not watched anime consistently in my recent years.

I have a good friend who is the President of my school’s Anime Club. However, she did not inform me that they would be celebrating the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary this year. I only found out when I was flipping through my yearbook and I saw the club had made Tardis-inspired cakes!! Ohmygoodness, why was I not informed of this?! I was so sad because, although I’m a fairly new Whovian, I’m still very passionate about Doctor Who.

So with that said, I didn’t mind going to the festival because I hoped there would be Doctor Who merchandise. When I got there, I noticed that while I was not wrong, Doctor Who merch was all but abundant.

I did, however, find that a lot of fandoms were represented here. There was stuff for Superwholock lovers, like I, but also for Fannibals, and Breaking Bad and Marvel merchandise was being sold, as well as anime merchandise. Obviously.

When I first got to the festival, I was completely intrigued by this Lolita stall. Lolita is such a beautiful fashion style which brings me so much inspiration. When I thought I was going to visit Japan, I went straight to Pinterest to check out Japanese fashion and found such beautiful Lolita outfits. If I did end up going to Japan, I probably would have bought some Lolita-inspired clothes. The felt hats that the stall sold completely sucked me in; the good/sad new is that the hats, which I could only stare at for ten minutes, were definitely worth their hefty price tags.


After I pried myself away from the lovely Lolita ladies with the felt hats, I wandered about in search of Doctor Who merch. I found a stall that sold really cool hand-painted-looking posters for different fandoms. Their Rose Tyler poster really drew me in, and I bought one as well as two Hannibal mini-posters: one of Hannibal and one of Will.

A scratched up Supernatural pin featuring the Impala.

A scratched up Supernatural pin featuring the Impala.

But my favourite thing from this stall was this Supernatural-inspired pin. Supernatural has always been special to me as it was the first fandom (besides Harry Potter) that I joined. It opened me up to different music, actually sparked an interest in me in supernatural research, and the writing and acting and just Sam and Dean!!

 

The only other stall I bought stuff at was one that sold only pins. The girl behind the table was super nice. She separated the hundreds of pins she had into their fandoms and sizes. She also sold really cute vintage-y black and white pins that kind of looked like they were taken from an old newspaper or magazine. There, I got these Sherlock pins and this Breaking Bad one.

Well that about wraps up my post. But I have to ask you, the reader, something: do you like anime? Or would you ever be interested in going to a convention like the one I attended? And also I want to hear some recommendations and your thoughts on fandoms. Okay I’ll leave it at that. Bye you guys.

My Favourite Shows At the Moment

Recently I have been watching a lot of television shows. I got Netflix a few months ago, and I have been taking great advantage of it. My favourite shows to watch recently have been Reign, Breaking Bad, and Glee.

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During the summer when I first saw the Reign promos, I became very excited for the new show. I watched the Pilot a day before the official premier because M3 plays Reign a day early, which is totally awesome. And to tell you the truth, it has been really good. I know a lot of people have been bashing it because it is not always historically correct; I even read this review that said people (teenage girls mainly) would be fooled and take Reign as fact, but I disagree. This show is arresting. It does what a television show is supposed to: it entertains the audience. And some of the events do come off as a bit off, ridiculous and unlikely, even, but that kind of thing would make people who are not total history buffs want to do their own research on Mary Stuart and her life. At least I wanted to; I took out “Mary Queen of Scots” by Antonia Fraser because this show made me interested in her. And I also really like to watch attractive British boys, so Toby Regbo, you go!

About a month ago, I randomly started watching Glee from the first season because I only started watching in season three. And I have to say it is pretty freakin’ good. The music is alright, not mind-blowing, but I like how it is written. I prefer this older Glee over the current Glee. It was way better before they added all those annoying characters (ahem Marley) in the fourth season.

My favourite show has become Breaking Bad. I started watching about a week after the finale, which is really sad because I wish I could have started watching at the very beginning of the show, but it’s fine. I saw the last scene, which was really dumb of me, as my friends pointed out, because my brother was watching it during dinner. I started watching Breaking Bad, though, and thank goodness for that. I love it. I am almost done watching season four, and I really want to finish but at the same time I don’t because then I won’t be able to watch it for the first time again.

Those are my favourite television shows of the moment. They are all pretty good, and I highly recommend them. And also because the Breaking Bad finale was such a big thing, I’m pretty sure you guys have seen breaking Bad. Glee, too, has been popular, so you’ve probably seen it, as well. Let me know what you guys watch in the comments. Or also if you’ve got any opinions on my favourite shows, make sure to let me know.

The Fall of Five Book Review

WARNING: This article contains spoilers. Do not be disappointed with experiences related to this book you may or may not experience after reading this book review.

The Fall of Five by “Pittacus Lore” was definitely thrilling for the reader. It opens up with Sam Goode’s reunion with his long-absent father, Malcolm Goode, who appears to be buddy-buddy with a Mogadorian named Adam (the Adamus we were introduced to earlier in the series). This book of the Lorien Legacies is quite the eye-opener for most of us who put our faith and placed our bets on the happenings of this saga early in the series.

First and foremost, I want to address the most awesome aspect of the novel; its conveying that the Loric underdogs are not all perfect. Not even perfect, but good. The Garde gang find Five. Hooray! Except for one thing: he is a diabolical, brainwashed, and frankly creepy character! I mean it is genius the way he is first written as an annoyingly weak and inept butthole, and I really really disliked him from the start (I’m not using the word “hate” because how I felt then is nothing to what I felt at the ending). In one scene, Marina is helping Five clean the living room after Five fought with Nine. Five asks Marina in what was conveyed as an innocent tone what he did wrong, and that almost had me not dislike the loser. However, I wasn’t completely fooled by Five. I had my suspicions throughout his stay in Chicago, and I was literally screaming that he was a traitor when Malcolm’s detailed notes of the Garde’s belongings were found translated into Mogadorian, then retranslated into English. Mr Lore, I am mentally applauding you for your lifelike characters.

The character, Adam, though not prominent, is very interesting. His mentality is the byproduct of Mogadorian experimentation on his and Number One’s minds. But what does that mean? He escaped, and is a Mogadorian traitor, obviously. Does that mean the Mogs will now never experiment on their kind’s very closed-off brains? But they are a curious species. Will they just continue with the experiments until they work as planned, discarding the Mogs with humane mentalities? How about those “useless” Mogs? Can they escape as Adamus did? Or is Adam…special? Adam’s contrasting views versus his species’, like Five’s, was well done. I can’t wait to read more about him.

The roles of the three humans, Sarah Hart, and Sam and Malcolm Goode, had me scratching my head at times and yelping with glee at others. The reunion of John (Four) and Sarah, and Sam and his father were all quite touching. John and Sarah were a tad too willing to share their affection, even when Six was still kind of awkward around the two. I was alright with it, though. Hey, Sarah was locked in prison for a long time, remember? What is so compelling about the trio of humans is that they could easily have been “dead weight” or “damsel[s] in distress”, but they work with their human abilities to help the Loric as much as they can. At first I thought Sarah to be selfish, going with John on the mission to find Five because she was worried, overlooking the fact that her being there with him would make him nervous for her safety. However, when she proves herself useful, I swelled with pride knowing someone of my race was useful in this endeavour against technologically-advanced aliens. The Goode’s are less brawny here, more brainy in their efforts to help the Loric. In all fairness though, Malcolm Goode is not a bad shot, and a better soldier.

The breakout character in this instalment is Marina (Seven). In her previous appearances, I found her kind of annoying because she was not much except a healer. A nurse on the run. Her obvious infatuation with Eight at first left me embarrassed to read the books, but in The Fall of Five, it is sweet. What is also great about her is her role as the glue, or the nuts and bolts of the group. Where John is the leader, Marina is a silent constant, less appreciated, for lack of a better word, but still so, so important. She really proved her worth being a mediator, an older sister, a friendly face, and a sweetheart all at once. My one problem with her in this book, a huge problem, but one that cannot be simplified any more in my eyes, is her mercy to Traitor Five (let’s call him that from now on;he’s not Five, he’s Traitor Five). The author evoked true emotion in her last scene, her strength coursing through from the emotional gashes Eight left behind, allowing her power to kill Traitor Five but control to stick to her moral compass. I just really really really wish she killed Traitor Five.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was not as full of surprises as I had hoped it to be, but I don’t know if that has something to do with how the book was written or if I just have killer instincts. With the exception of Five, and Malcolm because I have nothing to compare him to, the characters grew well and made me yearn for more. John and Nine remain my favourites with Marina making her way up the ranks. The romantic love that exists around the characters, John and Sarah, Sam and Six, Ella and her crush on Nine, and what Marina and Eight had, added the touch of sweetness a thriller like this needed. It refreshed us as a mint refreshes the palate. The complex but not really all that complex status of Loric, Mogadorian, and presumably human traitors became still so fascinating. For the Garde’s sake, though, I am very displeased with Traitor Five’s conduct. I am glad to see the Loric were not all written as heroes as that would have made the series boring of it went down that route. Adam and Five reminded me of great characters before them who did the opposite of what people who should mean their world pressure them to do. Kind of like Wormtail, or a strange character from Doctor Who. I know that Ella, with her strange past and even stranger and scarier future, will be of utmost importance at one point, but I am more concerned with the more immediate dangers. The book ended at such a cliffhanger. I am desperate for the next book to see what becomes of these characters who have become my friends.

Photo from epicreads.com