SO HEY I EXIST love Elly + New Years Resolutions

Sometime last year two girls got inspired to create a blog together because FRIENDSHIP and WRITING and THEY WERE REALLY PASSIONATE AND SOMETIMES ANGRY BUT MOSTLY OVERALL CRITICAL ABOUT THINGS IN THE MEDIA. And one of them came up with a brilliant and witty nickname, and the other designed the blog and created it and did a lot of general planning and indeed most of the work. And then Life, the cruel succubus of the abyss interfered. And the girl who did all the planning and always worked hard and was ambitious continued to be a hard working contributor. And the other girl, who admittedly was amazing at nicknaming, watched as lasers and burning things and tsunamis of bad bad badness surrounded her. But then through patience and subtle manipulation the hardworking girl got the nicknamer to get some semblance of her life together and write again. AND THUS WE ENTER 2017 WITH A SENSE OF HOPE AND PURPOSE.

So hey. Two girls one blog got its original team back together. CUE 80’S DAD ROCK ANTHEM. It’s me Elly, your friendly film expert, and the girl who has no sense of structure, ON A COMEBACK. I’m not gonna say 2017 is gonna be my year, because time isn’t real, but if we look at 2016 as the mean ogre with a pitchfork who kept me in a cage, we could see 2017 as my fight sequence and eventual escape from ogre captivity. And that’s the attitude we all need for this year, Fight! Kick that essays ass, bat that mental illness away with a golfclub, joust your way into that person’s affection. This is the year of trying and recovery and not limiting yourself. This also might be the year for me to question some of my inspiring metaphors.

But what does that mean for me on the blog? Well it means content! That’s Right! The bare minimum of what you would expect for a blog! I am going to post here. But Elly, You ask, in slight apprehension, curiosity and maybe a hint of outright fear, what will you post? And to that I say hmmmmmmmmmm. I love films, and I love TV and I love media. I also love the sound of my own voice, so expect any combination of this and some varied writing. WHO KNOWS WHAT SORT OF HIJINKERY I AM CAPABLE OF. But in all seriousness it’ll be some reviews, some tips and some level of critical thought. And lets keep our fingers crossed that it’ll be up to the fantastic level and precedent set by my fellow writer Lizz, who is great. And pretty. AND VERY PATIENT.

Welcome 2017, The year where our standards are literally too low that anything mildly good will be great.

Elly

You might also like

Lizz’s new year resolutions – https://twogirlsonebloguk.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/new-years-resolutions-2017/

Elly’s favourite lessons of Steven Universe – https://twogirlsonebloguk.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/the-best-lessons-i-have-learned-from-steven-universe/

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The best lessons I have learned from Steven Universe

So 2016 sucked. Like the amount of animosity I have towards a metaphysical entity of a made up concept is downright ridiculous, but as the worst year ever ends and a new one begins, i will not wallow any more on how much life sucked last year. Instead I return to writing my bullshit opinions about media and what a way to start the new year than writing about the best thing ever.

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If you don’t know what Steven Universe is then shut yourself off from society for a couple of days, just you, your laptop and a couple of crystal gems BECAUSE YOU WILL BECOME A BETTER PERSON. I started watching SU because it was popular on the internet and i am a slave to popular culture, but it soon became apparent that this was a show for me and people like me and there had not really been a cartoon show for liberal minded young people with a pastel colour palette and musical interludes before. (All of which are my goddamn weaknesses.)

The story follows Steven Universe as he navigates life as a crystal gem, a team of alien heroes defending life on earth. Steven is the half human son of their former leader and is learning how to be a crystal gem. And gosh darn he is adorable.

(Actual dreamboat)

We follow Steven as he learns to control his gem powers with the help of his crystal Gem family, Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl, and his human family, Greg. We see him interact with the people of Beach city and Connie, who is his best friend (and maybe moreeeeeeee) as well as face the ongoing threat of homeworld. I am not going to give you all the lore of the show as I already have several whiteboards full of conspiracies about this show, that would be impossible to explain, but needless to say the world Rebecca Sugar and her team have built is vast and immersive and fascinating.

But the really incredible thing about the show is that they’ve decided to use that world to teach children important lessons and to demonstrate healthy behaviours and ideologies. While making dumb jokes. TRUE ART.

So these are some of the most important lessons I’ve learnt from Steven Universe.

  1. HEY, THEY LET YOU MAKE TV SHOWS ABOUT LESBIANS.

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Ok so this isn’t technically a lesson the show itself taught me, the actual lesson the show taught kids was that it’s okay to be gay, which is still pretty impressive and undoubtedly one of the best aspects. But the really amazing thing is that they got away with it? Like do you know how hard children’s networks work to block queer narratives in their shows. So hard that when Adventure time wouldn’t let Rebecca Sugar make the queer narrative between Marceline and Princess Bubblegum explicit, SHE CREATED A SHOW WHERE EVERYONE IS A LITTLE BIT GAY OUT OF SPITE. Like truly amazing. A show formed by a bisexual woman’s need to tell the world to suck it. That is critically acclaimed. Solid life goal. But the best part is that it’s enabled so many more shows to branch out, like loads more queer narratives are a possibility that wouldn’t have been 5 years ago. So the first lesson Steven taught me is to write whatever I want.

2. You have to do things your own way. 

Since episode one it’s been made pretty explicit that the only way Steven is going to work is if he does what works for him, and the same goes for every other character. If there was a universal message of Steven Universe it would probably be something along the lines of, Be unapologetically yourself and work hard at it. After all the reason the crystal gems were formed is because some of them didn’t fit into the mould set by the homeworld so they started a revolution. Which is an interest idea to keep with you as we head into Trump’s America, Be You, Work Hard and Screw the people who try to make you feel anything less than what you are.

Sorry for that turning into an inspirational instagram post.

3. You don’t have to be perfect.

Granted this one is very similar to the last but let us consider the immortal words of Greg Universe,

“If every porkchop were perfect we wouldn’t have hot dogs.”

As well as teaching you to work in your own way and strive, the show continually teaches us that your flaws do not define you nor do they detract from what makes you great. And as someone who regularly deals with copious amounts of self loathing this is a lesson that I need shoved down my throat at multiple intervals. Character arcs are formed around self acceptance, and that’s amazing for a cartoon show, especially when the medium usually deals with hijinks and action sequences and fart jokes. One of those is the worst. And it sure ain’t hijinks.

4. Always be kind. Always try to understand. Always greet people with a smile.

Be kind, be soft and make friends with monsters. Steven is a silly serious show which sometimes cannot understand which kind of tone it wants much like the writer of this article but at it’s core it is gentle. Also like this writer. And that’s why this show is a good show to watch when you are a little sad and maybe in need of something to tell you there is good, that everyone has some good, including you. Steven is like the best chocolate cake, glass of nice wine and hangover cure rolled into one. It tells us simultaneously to be kind whilst being kind to us with small soft stories. Steven is smol and you should be too. God i love this show.

5. Talk about how you feel and even if its bad.

The season four episode “Mindful Education” might not be my favourite episode of Steven Universe, but it is the one I sometimes think about at one a.m when I can’t sleep. Because the emotional impact of that episode really just hit. The lesson was simple, talk about how you feel and trust other people, even if what your saying is bad or if you have to admit you did something wrong. Simple, but honestly how many times has that been a message in media? How many times do you see a character say they think that acted badly and not immediately try to defend themselves with skewed morality so they seem like the good guy? looking at you all network crime shows. We never got told to talk about our feelings. Did we ever get told it was okay to feel bad? Or was everything from our childhood this constant stream of be happy, be happy all the time, if you aren’t everyone will make fun of you and you will sit in the corner in a grey colour palette. Yes, Yes it was. This episode is a classic example of Steven telling you its okay to feel and it okay to talk but it isn’t the only one. And I am so happy that in this quite frankly dark and unsettling time we have things like this telling us to look forward to the future and have hope.

 Steven Universe is a good show, I’ll probably end up writing and talking about it more on here, but if there is one thing I can tell you to do this year to make it better, it would be to watch this show.

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Also here is a handy picture of fellow twogirlsoneblog writer Liz, as her probably gemsona Pearl. The amount of similarities are startling. (Debate is still ongoing as to whether I am Amethyst or Peridot.)

~Elly

10 Fantastic Reading Challenges To Push You to Read Something New in 2017

Wondering what to read in 2017? Thinking about exploring a new genre? Looking for the perfect 2017 reading challenge? Never fear, I have put together a list of 10 fantastic reading challenges that are taking place this year to inspire you!

For everyone… Take the seasonal challenge of the Bookish Bingo cards: 

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Run by: Bekka @PrettyDeadlyReviews

Dates: December 1st 2016 – February 28th 2017 (Winter) But she runs one every season!

Description: Every 3 months (new season) a new bingo card is released. Each square on the card has it’s own challenge – the aim to cross of as many boxes in rows as possible. Check out my latest Bookish Bingo update here.

Original Post: http://www.prettydeadlyblog.com/bookish-bingo-winter-2016-2017/

For those looking for an eclectic challenge… Try this year’s Popsugar reading challenge:

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Run by: POPSUGAR

Dates: January 1st 2017 – December 31st 2017

Description: Designed to make you mix up your reading list and pick up something you never would have thought to, the POPSUGAR reading challenge is back again this year. With enough tasks for you do one every week this is a great challenge to take on!

Original Post: https://www.popsugar.co.uk/love/Reading-Challenge-2017-42802963

For those looking to read more diversely… Try one of these challenges: 

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Run by: Lisa @Books and Feminism

Dates: January 1st 2017 – December 31st 2017

Description: Only read books written by women for a whole year – are you up to it?

Original Post: https://booksandfeminism.com/2016/12/07/women-writers-2017-reading-challenge/

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Run by:  Gina @Book Dragon’s Lair

Dates: January 1st 2017 – December 31st 2017

Description: Read at least one book this year with an LGBTQIA character in it – simple!

Original Post: http://www.bookdragonslair.com/2016/11/lgbtqia-reading-challenge.html

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Run by: Alysia @Sistahs & Satire

Dates: January 1st 2017 – December 31st 2017

Description: This challenge asks you to add diversity of race to your reading list this year!

Original Post: https://sistahsnsatire.com/2016/12/30/2017-poc-reading-challenge/

For those looking to stick it to the man… Try reading some banned books:  

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Run by: Gina @Book Dragon’s Lair

Dates: January 1st 2017 – December 31st 2017

Description: Fight censorship and encourage bookshops and libraries to continue buying banned book!

Original Post: http://www.bookdragonslair.com/2016/11/hosting-bannedchallenged-books-reading.html

For Crime fans… Spend the year adventuring with the world’s greatest consulting detective: 

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Run by: Marian @Noonlight Reads

Dates: January 1st 2017 – April 2018

Description: With this challenge you’ll be reading the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories in the order that they take place in the great detective’s life. All in 16 months!

Original Post: http://noonlightreads.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/the-chronological-sherlock-holmes.html

For those from whom one world is not enough… Try exploring the galaxy or another world this year: 

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Run by: Melissa @The Space in Between

Dates: January 1st 2017 – December 31st 2017

Description: This challenge is inviting you to read some of the great SFF books that you haven’t got round to reading yet.

Original Post: http://readingchallengeaddict.blogspot.co.uk/p/blog-page_4.html?m=1

For those looking to learn something new… Try picking up some non-fiction books from your shelf:

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Run by: Michelle @Gather Together & Read

Dates: Any five years of your choice

Description: This challenge has a bit more freedom than others and could fit really well around your other reading as you’re only required to read an average of 10 books a year. Pick at least 50 non-fiction books, pick a starting date (your end date will be five years later) and get reading!

Original Post: http://www.gathertogetherread.com/p/a-non-fiction-adventure.html

For those looking for more than prose… Get stuck into some verse:  

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Run by: Serena @SavvyVerseandWit

Dates: January 1st 2017 – December 31st 2017

Description: The aim of this challenge is to read more poetry this year, and maybe if you’re feeling brave enough try reading a new type of poetry!

Original Post: http://savvyverseandwit.com/2016/12/poetry-reading-challenge-2017.html

Are you taking part in any reading challenges this year, let me know in the comments!

Happy reading everyone!

Check out my last post: New Year’s Resolutions 2017

~ Lizz

Bookish Bingo Update #3: November (Fall #3)

Please visit Pretty Deadly Reviews for more information on Bookish Bingo!

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Hello everyone, hope you had a fantastic November! This is my final Fall ’16 Bookish Bingo update (Winter Bookish Bingo posts will be starting here on Dec 2nd). I’ve really loved my first season of Bookish Bingo, and although I didn’t get any bingos this time (mostly due to being forced to read books for school that only fit into random categories)  I’ve had a really great time and I can’t wait to start the Winter Bookish Bingo card.

All hail my MS Paint skills!

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This month I read four books (yellow is November’s colour):

Rec’d to You – Scar by Carrie Etter [I went to a poetry reading night and Carrie read this poem out which the guy from the book shop said was great. He was right it was fantastic and I had to buy it and read the whole chapbook again.]

Weapon on the Cover – Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes  [Lovely cover, lovely book]

Graphic Novel – Godzilla in Hell [A quick read, but I didn’t really understand what was going on, or enjoy it that much]

Backlist – Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier [My mum recommended this book to me four or five years ago, and this month I had to read it for my genre fiction class so I finally picked it up. I got the audiobook.]

And that is the end of Fall ’16 Bookish Bingo (awwww) but come back this Friday for the start of the Winter ’16 Bookish Bingo!

~ Lizz

BONUS NEWS: This is a special piece of news just for you for reading all the way to the end – this December I will be be uploading a blog post everyday! I’ve got lots of exciting new things planned for this next month including Bullet Journal related posts, book tags, I’ll be sharing some of my poetry, a few posts to get ready for 2017 and lots of reviews on top of that! I’ll hope you’ll join me for the most exciting month yet on TwoGirlsOnBlogUK.

^This didn’t happen, oh dear…