One of the best investments we made this year was our monthly subscription to AMC A-List. For $19.95 a month (it just increased to $21.95 in 2020) we were able to buy 3 movie tickets a week, every single week. From our original purchase date on December 30, 2018 until December 30, 2019 we have seen 44 movies. FORTY-FOUR MOVIES.
We could see movies all over the country. When I travelled to visit my dad in April, I saw Pet Semetary. Michael goes to see movies while he’s traveling for work. We saw a movie in the middle of nowhere CT during our road trip this summer. It became one of our favorite *free for included* activities.
There was no favorite genre, and some movies we saw separately – but holy cow. AMC A-List allowed us to see far more movies in 2019 than I have ever seen before.
Coming in to 2020 I wanted calculate about how much each of the movies cost us in 2019 – They cost a whopping $5.44 per movie ($19.95 x 12 / 44). It was a great investment for us and an easy thing to keep budgeted for 2020.
Below is my list of movies in 2019.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Ralph Breaks The Internet
Mary Poppins Returns
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
What Men Want
Isn’t It Romantic
Fighting With My Friends
A Star is Born
Five Feet Apart
Avengers: End Game
Pokemon Detective Pikachu
Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
Toy Story 4
Spider-Man: Far From Home
The Secret Life of Pets 2
The Lion King
One Upon A Time… In Hollywood
The Art of Racing In The Rain
Dora And The Lost City Of Gold
Zombieland: Double Tap
Ford v Ferrari
A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood
Jumanji: The Next Level
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
For the first time last night I had seen a large number of the movies nominated for Golden Globes which has never happened before! Congratulations to all the winners last night.
I have a loose goal of seeing 52 new movies in theater this year.We’ll see what happens, but I think anything is possible.
In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy—only keeping her from meeting her goals—she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year.
The Year of Less documents Cait’s life for twelve months during which she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, gas for her car. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping. She decluttered her apartment and got rid of 70 percent of her belongings; learned how to fix things rather than throw them away; researched the zero waste movement; and completed a television ban. At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt.
The challenge became a lifeline when, in the course of the year, Cait found herself in situations that turned her life upside down. In the face of hardship, she realized why she had always turned to shopping, alcohol, and food—and what it had cost her. Unable to reach for any of her usual vices, she changed habits she’d spent years perfecting and discovered what truly mattered to her.
Blending Cait’s compelling story with inspiring insight and practical guidance, The Year of Less will leave you questioning what you’re holding on to in your own life—and, quite possibly, lead you to find your own path of less
It had been a while since I opened a book (or in this case an e-book). I was on day 3 of scrolling through the library books available online at that exact moment when I stumbled upon The Year of Less. In my time away from blogging, I thought a lot about my spending habits (i.e. buying books that I wasn’t reading yet!!) and how it was impacting my overall life. I was putting money into savings every month, paid off my student loans, began really saving for buying a house — but I was (and still am) stuck with the question: Am I doing enough for my future financially?
I flew through the pages of The Year of Less not because it was a well-written book, but rather the underlying message spoke deeply to me.
If I could describe the writing style of The Year of Less in a single word it would be: whiny. This book was mainly memoir of a 20-something who made some major mistakes in her life and overcame huge obstacles to get back on her feet, but the writing was not good. There were sections of the novel that repeated the same line multiple times. I had to flip back and forth to make sure I wasn’t having double vision.
The 5% of the book focused on decluttering your life and saving money for your financial future sparked a little light under my butt. I came home and grabbed a garbage bag and sat in the bathroom to begin to throw away all of the extra, superfluous items in my life. I made my way through one cabinet and needed a break… could be my sleep schedule, could be my interest or maybe I just completely overwhelmed myself. But I began the process of clearing out the clutter.
“But there were really only two categories I could see: the stuff I used, and the stuff I wanted the ideal version of myself to use.”
The concept in the memoir that I found the most interesting (and unrealistic) was how she emptied her closet down to something nutty like 25 articles of clothing. She lived in Canada — are there not TWO+ seasons in Canada where you need different styles of clothing? Can you really function with only one pair of shoes?? (Says the girl who ordered a new pair of boots from Kohls last night…)
So for those of you who have made it this far, could you pare your closet down to 25 articles of clothing/shoes? At this moment, that is truly just unrealistic for me, and likely most people. I have 25+ articles of clothing specifically for work. Is that overkill? Yes, likely. But oooooof – This is the one place that I couldn’t jump on the decluttering band-wagon (You could also ask Michael who painfully threw away 15 pairs of my old, ratty vans and converse a few years ago when he was helping me pack to move… RIP SHOES).
If I’m feeling generous (which I am because she sparked a light under my butt), I would give The Year of Less a 2.5 out of 5 rating. Her editor could’ve pared down the stories; she could’ve been less whiny in her writing and poor me attitude. If I didn’t take away bits and pieces of her message, I would’ve likely rated it a 1.5 or 2.
It’s been 146 days since I last logged onto WordPress. The app fell by the wayside on my phone and notifications were deleted from my email. It’s not that I stopped thinking about writing; but I was unsure of what I wanted to contribute. I longed to be part of the book and blogging community and I was frustrated by my lack of progress and my inability to put words onto the page.
I could see the hiatus coming from a mile away – the amount of time lapse from post to post, my non-desire to crack open a book. 2019 has been the year of change and growth figuring out who I want to be and for the last five months, books hadn’t been a part of it. I’ve grown to understand that changes looks different for everyone and for me part of the time I felt like I was treading water trying to figure out what the new normal looked like.
But I’m back (again). I wanted this post to serve as a reintroduction to all of my old followers and any new ones that I acquired in my absence.
Things To Know About Me: – I have a fiancé (Michael) and a cat (Harper). – Up to this point, I have seen 41 movies in theater this year (an updated Movie Stubs post will be coming). – I love to cook and exercise; I am getting back into my love of reading. – I watch a lot of television every week thanks to my DVR. – My favorite foods are chicken fingers (or wings) and curly French fries, extra crispy.
I scrolled back to my January 3, 2019 post titled Reading Resolutions + Challenges 2019. I am not surprised that I have not met my goals or participated in the challenges that I set out to complete – and honestly, that is okay by me. My resolutions for 2019 are going to roll into 2020 next month. I still plan on being intentional with my posts and my words.
The one thing I’m going to do in 2020 is not actively participate in any group reading challenges. Throughout 2018-2019 when I was picking out items that I wanted to read I felt pressure to read a book that fit the qualifications for those (many) challenges. So in 2020, I am going to read what I want to read. My reading goal is going to be slightly smaller: 24 books in 12 months.
One of the things I realized is that I stopped doing some of the things that I loved (i.e. reading and bullet journaling) because of the extra stress I was placing on those areas to be perfect. That seems unhealthy to me. So we start over from the beginning.
I’ve read two books in the last week:
The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
Let me rephrase that – I flew through these two books this week. I couldn’t put either of them down. The Year of Less is a whiny millennial memoir with an undertow of a deep message that brought me back to my blog and The Perfect Couple was a mystery page turner. It no longer mattered the genre or number of pages when I was scrolling through the books available on the library website for online viewing. It was the 1) synopses and 2) covers that carried me in.
I am still sticking with my word of the year: intention. I don’t feel like I’ve done it justice and I want to do better.
I just wanted to thank you for reading my welcome back blog post whether this is your first time visiting Arguably Alexis or you are a returning visitor. I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday with your families and that you have a safe rest of the Holiday season.
A shockingly dark, funny, and heartbreaking portrait of a young teenager’s clash with mental illness and her battle toward understanding and recovery.
Ambitious, talented 14-year-old honors student Juliet is poised for success at her Southern California high school. However, she soon finds herself on an increasingly frightening spiral of drug use, self-harm, and mental illness that lands her in a remote therapeutic boarding school, where she must ultimately find the inner strength, and determination, to survive.
I am still slightly confused if this was a fiction novel or a non-fiction memoir. Is it something called Autofiction?? It’s noted as a fiction novel honing in on mental health.
To me, this wasn’t a memorable book — There were a lot of drugs, fighting with parents, and suicide attempts. It felt redundant. You could feel the story happening and honestly, I wasn’t surprised when her parents dropped her off at a school in the woods.
I feel bad for disliking Juliet the Maniac because it does fall into the strange auto fiction realm meaning that this is Juliet’s story with some artistic range. I feel bad rating someone else’s trauma and experiences? This is the first time that I feel weird about it.
Additionally for a book like this, you really shouldn’t judge the book by its cover. It’s not the warm, fuzzy young adult novel you would be expecting. I also don’t remember thinking this was a funny novel — Juliet’s story was just intense.
I’m rating Juliet the Maniac as a solid 2 out of 5 stars.
But more and more frequently, I find myself at a loss for words.
Hence the amount of time since my last post (whoops). Back in May I got an email from Tumblr celebrating that my account had been opened for nine years. That obviously peaked my attention, so I went on a deep dive into my younger life throughout the end of high school and into college. It had the typically re-blogged pictures and also a boat-load of writing about the current events in my life.
I think that part of being young and truthfully not knowing anything, you feel like everything is the end of the world. I don’t quite know when that flip switched because I no longer feel like every day events are the end of the world nor do I feel like my life is regularly imploding.
But I will say, the one thing that I found the most interesting about past-Alexis is the brutal honesty that came with my thoughts. I guess at the time I wasn’t afraid to voice my opinion, but I was also younger and didn’t know as much about the world. I loved the beauty in the pictures and the simplicity in the words. I still really love to look back at that account because it still is and feels like a piece of me.
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”
Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. Fearless. I remember the time when I was fearless and I could conquer every task that was put in front of me regardless of every thing else. I think part of what extinguished the fire in my soul has been the waiting on my clearance (almost 30 months and counting..) Reflecting on it, I feel like I lost a piece of myself in the process. Hanging on, waiting for them to say “yes, here it is.”
At the beginning of 2019 I said that my word of the year was intentional and I’m not quite sure if I’ve been living out that word to the extent that I wanted to. I want to make intentional choices and to have intentional friendships. I want to keep my promises to others + myself.
This is obviously still going to be a blog about books, but it also says right in the name, Arguably Alexis. This is the place for my thoughts on books and my journey in life.
Here’s to turning 25, getting engaged and to figuring out what I want this crazy life to be.
I’m going to be honest: I got this from NetGalley within the last couple months. I’m unsure how because it was published over a year ago. Technically it could’ve been an advanced reader copy, but I’ve been seeing this self-help book on the shelf for so long, I don’t personally feel like I can classify it as an “ARC.”
With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.
Founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Chic Media, Rachel Hollis has created an online fan base of hundreds of thousands of fans by sharing tips for living a better life while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own. Now comes her highly anticipated first book featuring her signature combination of honesty, humor, and direct, no-nonsense advice.
Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.
From her temporary obsession with marrying Matt Damon to a daydream involving hypnotic iguanas to her son’s request that she buy a necklace to “be like the other moms,” Hollis holds nothing back. With unflinching faith and tenacity, Hollis spurs other women to live with passion and hustle and to awaken their slumbering goals.
As I mentioned in my disclaimer, I have zero clue how this was still on NetGalley as an advanced reader copy… But I saw it and I had heard some people ranting and some people raving about it, so I wanted to give it a shot. Truthfully, I had never heard of Rachel Hollis before (even when I was hearing the name of her book). I have no idea that she was an internet sensation or that she ran a lifestyle blog. It was just the title of the book that drew me in. Like girl — wash your face; get up off the floor and do the damn thing.
“Someone else’s opinion of you is none of YOUR business”
Rachel Hollis, Girl, Wash Your Face
I’ll admit that I was given a bit of a heads up about the faith aspect of Girl, Wash Your Face. I don’t know if it would’ve caught me off guard if I hadn’t been warned, but the messages she speaks about transcend the boundaries of individual religions.
I had just a few small issues with Girl, Wash Your Face. The first (and most major) issue was that the editors didn’t seem to place all of the stories so well throughout the book. There were several pieces that seemed out of order that could’ve easily been fixed by rearranging chapters. It would’ve also removed some of the repetitiveness of Rachel’s ideas.
The second issue that bothered me was Rachel Hollis’ “I’m so awesome. This worked for me so it’s going to work for all of you” vibe. As a motivational writer, I completely understand the need to put her best self forward to influence her readers, but at the same time it often came off as pushy and inauthentic.
I’ve discussed in-depth some of the motives behind this book with some of my close friends. There were some resounding pieces that stuck with each of us that I believe should be noted for you!
If we make promises to other people, why can’t we keep promises to ourselves? If you set a goal for yourself, you are promising yourself that you are going to accomplish that task. Maybe its a goal as simple as drinking 100oz of water a day. When you don’t keep up with a goal that you’ve set forward for yourself, you are breaking a promise to yourself.
Remember that you as a human are doing awesome. You cannot base your day on every little thing exceeding expectations. You don’t have to love what you’re doing every second of every day, but remember that you are human and you are doing your very best.
My biggest take away was the promises you make to yourself are the promises you should keep. Typically you make promises to a friend, you keep them. Why is it so easy to break a promise to yourself?
A few months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, kicking off the U.S. civil rights movement, making headlines around he world and becoming an enduring symbol of the fight for dignity and equality, another young black woman refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was the wrong person at the right time, and so History did not choose her. Her name was Claudette Colvin and this is her story.
Colored: the unsung life of Claudette Colvin isn’t a book that I would usually pick up from the library, but when I was scrolling through NetGalley, the title of the novel caught my eye. As a graphic novel, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of storytelling with pictures versus words.
Every student in the United States who has passed middle school has heard the name Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., but has anyone ever heard of Claudette Colvin? This is one of those moments where I feel that our education system has let down the students. Why is it that we only hear the names of one or two influential African American individuals, when there is clearly a larger story?
Colored: The Unsung Life of Claudette Colvin gives us a beautiful, and heart wrenching story of a young 15 year old African American woman who was raised by her family in Montgomery, Alabama. Claudette attends school and follows the rules of transportation just like all her classmates, but when confronted to give up her seat to a white man, she says no because she has paid her ticket just like everyone else. This sets off a cascading series of events where she is arrested and is tried as an adult for her crimes.
The story of Claudette Colvin is told in a simple way; one that would easily transcend high school classrooms around the country. The graphics further provide a sense of the feeling from the time, that you can’t understand from the words on the page. The graphics are able to provide a glimpse into the history of the moment – the police pulling Claudette off the bus, Rosa Park’s receiving national attention for not giving up her seat on the bus, the men taking over the boycott.
The introduction to Claudette’s story takes the reader to a place where you are supposed to leave your environment and focus solely on the story of Claudette. Emile Plateau instructs the reader to take a deep breath and envision yourself moving from your location through time and ultimately ending up in the 1950s as a colored person from Alabama. That imagery takes a hold of the reader – especially one that has learned about United States history and segregation in the South during that time.
Another key piece of history that is shown through Claudette’s life is how the men of the 1950s believed that they were better equip at handling the legal problems of the African American population. The story shows how they did not fully explain what was happening in the courts to the women and discarded the women who were no longer necessary to their court case.
How many of you have heard of Mary Louise Smith or Jeanetta Reese? How many of you have heard of Claudette Colvin?
Colored: the unsung life of Claudette Colvin was simple and powerful. I would recommend to anyone interested in another truth of history.
Last year I hoped onto the MoviePass train. Full steam ahead, I loved it. Originally I could see any movie that I wanted to, as many times as I wanted to see it for a yearly flat rate. As many people know MoviePass completely flopped in the later half of 2018 — it became more strict, had limitations, changed their rules of viewing, etc. It was a pain in the butt. Slowly but surely I stopped using MoviePass and I missed going to the movie theater on a random Tuesday evening. It was nice to have an activity to do outside the house that wasn’t costing an additional amount of money every week.
So in late December, being fed up with MoviePass and searching for something new, we found out about AMC Stubs A-List. It has been INCREDIBLE. Similar to MoviePass, I can see any movie that I want – and it started out with a limitation of 3 movies a week, which works out great because I can’t watch that many movies in a week (I’ve only used all three once!). I can also watch movies in any of the 600+ AMC theaters across the United States.
So far it’s been a truly awesome experience and I’ve seen SO many movies that I likely wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Aquaman – December 30, 2018
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – January 1, 2019
Vice – January 5, 2019
Ralph Breaks the Internet – January 9, 2019
Mary Poppins Returns – January 19, 2019
Glass – January 27, 2019
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – February 9, 2019
What Men Want – February 10, 2019
Isn’t It Romantic – February 17, 2019
Fighting With My Family – February 21, 2019
A Star Is Born Encore – March 2, 2019
Captain Marvel – March 7, 2019
Green Book – March 9, 2019
Us – March 22, 2019
Five Feet Apart – April 6, 2019
Shazam! – April 10, 2019
Pet Sematary – April 22, 2019
Avengers: End Game – April 25, 2019 (upcoming!!)
So as you can see, I watch on average one new movie every week! I made a goal back in January to see 30 new movies during 2019. This goal was to include other movies that were released in the past that I just never took the time to see, but I’m going to hit 30 new movies released in 2019 which is pretty neat to me.
Does anyone else use AMC Stubs A-List? How many movies have you seen so far this year?
Former CIA case officer Charles Jenkins is a man at a crossroads: in his early sixties, he has a family, a new baby on the way, and a security consulting business on the brink of bankruptcy. Then his former bureau chief shows up at his house with a risky new assignment: travel undercover to Moscow and locate a Russian agent believed to be killing members of a clandestine US spy cell known as the seven sisters.
Desperate for money, Jenkins agrees to the mission and heads to the Russian capital. But when he finds the mastermind agent behind the assassinations—the so-called eighth sister—she is not who or what he was led to believe. Then again, neither is anyone else in this deadly game of cat and mouse.
Pursued by a dogged Russian intelligence officer, Jenkins executes a daring escape across the Black Sea, only to find himself abandoned by the agency he serves. With his family and freedom at risk, Jenkins is in the fight of his life—against his own country.
Last year I was introduced to Robert Dugoni when I received a copy of The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell from NetGalley. Looking back at my review I was entranced by the way Dugoni wrote, so I was excited when I saw another novel pop up written by him.
There are two very different parts of this mystery thriller. The first half of the novel we follow Charlie Jenkins as he travels into Russia in order to work in undercover job for the CIA. He’s provided information by an individuals who he believes is working for the CIA and it’s in order to provoke a response to find a worm within the agency.
The second half of the novel was more of a courtroom drama. Charlie Jenkins makes his way back to the United States and escapes Viktor Federov, but finds that he has a new enemy — the US government. There has never been a US citizen who has successfully defended themselves in a court of law against the US government when it comes to a treason and espionage. Will Charlie be able to prove his innocence? Is Charlie innocent?
I found the first half of the novel harder to get through than the second half, which was incredibly surprising to me. I wasn’t expecting it to be 50-50% spy novel and courtroom drama. From the synopsis, I was thinking it would be more of a complete spy drama where he still had to deal with the consequences when he finally made his way back to the United States. However, when he hits US soil, the entire viewpoint of the story changes and it’s the US vs Jenkins.
But here’s the thing: I picked up the novel thinking it was going to be a spy drama the whole way through and I was excited about it… only to figure out that I really didn’t enjoy the first half of the novel.
I like Dugoni’s writing style — his characters jump off the page and he takes the time to fully develop them throughout the course of each book. I was pulled in with the concept of these sisters operating in Russia and the backstory to find out who the sisters are and what their lives were like. However, the biggest disappointment for me was that it stopped being about the sisters! How are you going to name the book The Eighth Sister and then completely dodge the rest of the story about them….
I’ll give The Eighth Sister a rating of 3/5 stars. I imagine that this will become a series of novels about Charlie Jenkins and I’ll likely give the next book a shot.
So I have to admit that I am very behind on reading this Advanced Reader Copy of Three Little Lie by Laura Marshall. I received it from NetGalley after it was released last September, but I have no good excuse for why it took me so long to get to it.
When Sasha disappears, Ellen fears the worst. Then long-buried secrets resurface, Ellen realizes she may not know Sasha — or what she’s capable of — at all.
2005: 17 year old Ellen falls under the spell of glamorous newcomer, Sasha. As Ellen is welcomed into Sasha’s family, she doesn’t see the darkness that lies beneath their musical, bohemian lifestyle. At a New Year’s Eve party, events come to a dramatic head, resulting in a court case (in which Ellen is a key witness) that means family life at the Corner House will never be the same again.
2018: Now 30, Ellen and Sasha are still entwined in each other’s lives and sharing a flat in London. When Sasha disappears, Ellen fears the worst. She has gone missing like this before and the police won’t take it seriously, but long-buried events in their shared past mean that Ellen has good reason to be frightened – not only for Sasha, but also for herself. Finding out the truth about what really happened on New Year’s Eve twelve years ago puts Ellen in terrible danger, and forces her to confront not only the past, but how well she really knows her best friend.
This was the novel that I needed to get me back on my reading game. Three Little Lies was a quick read. I started at around 9:45 AM and was finished by the time I went to bed in the evening after working a shift at the bar. This was the first novel that I’ve read by Laura Marshall. I enjoyed the pace of the story and how she developed her characters, especially the storyline of Ellen. I was impressed by the way Ellen’s perspective changed throughout the novel — a once loyal best friend learns that maybe her best friend isn’t exactly as she always seemed. You can see how friendships and family’s shift in times of grief and tragedy.
Three Little Lies touches on a tough topic, but it was handled well. Seeing the perspective of a mother in the courthouse watching her child sitting on the stand was stressful for me as a reader. Reading Olivia’s thoughts as she hears all of the terrible things her son, Daniel, is accused of, really brings to light the struggle of family trust. Do you always believe your child? Or do you believe the law? How do we know if the criminal justice system is flawed?
I will say that the reason I wasn’t completely blown away by this book is because the ending fell flat to me. As a reader, I was trying to guess how it was going to end, and Laura Marshall was able to pull off a huge twist — but then there were more pages to the novel and it didn’t end as strong.
Overall, I liked this book. I’m going to check out Laura Marshall’s other novels as well because I enjoyed her writing style and the flow of the novel.