The Beach is My Dream, the Ocean…My Nightmare

I love the beach. Perhaps you follow me on Instagram. If you don’t…come on over: @nerdinthesand. But if you do then you know without a shadow of a doubt just how deep my love for the beach runs. It is a physical representation of the happiest place I could ever imagine being.
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I feel calm when I’m at the beach. I feel like I’m home out there. I feel like I know myself so clearly and that if I just reach out I could probably touch the hand of God, like in Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel. I don’t feel like a hurricane when I’m at the beach. I feel like a palm tree, deeply rooted and able to stand the harsh hurricane winds. My soul says, “Do your worst for you can’t touch me out here.”
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Everywhere else I’m the hurricane and the surrounding trees have to survive me. But here is where I am truly what I was made to be. A
song sung on the breeze. A shadow on the sand. Perhaps that’s why being away from it for 8 long years was just too long for my soul and eventually the shore had no choice but to call me back.

I do not feel the same way about the ocean. The ocean scares me. Deeply, down to my toes.

My mom likes to watch Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Every July I start to hear about things like Goblin Sharks and Vampire Squids and Fangtooth Fish and Giant Tube Worms and all manner of creatures that sound better suited for a horror film than for the ocean. A place I think we truly don’t belong. Though I don’t at all feel that way about space….interesting.

If Atlantis were a real place and it was up to me to search the depths of the ocean just to find it, then it would stay lost forever.

On my recent road trip up to New York with my brother we drove through Delaware. This took us across the scariest stretch of road I’ve ever been on. The Lucius J. Kellam Jr Bridge – Tunnel. It’s series of bridges and tunnels that stretch over an expanse of the ocean itself. Not a bay or a lake or a gulf or a stream, but the edges of the ocean. Look left and you can just make out a distant horizon that must be the shoreline, but look right and you are faced with the expansive stretch of deep blue sea with no end in sight.

I thought for sure that while we crossed it, some catastrophe would hit. Maybe we’d get stuck in that tunnel for hours on end only to be engulfed in the very ocean the tunnel was supposed to protect us from. Or we’d get stuck on the bridge in traffic and a Sharknado would come sweep us away into the ocean where the rest of the sharks were lurking.

I was never afraid of the ocean as a child. It’s only in adulthood when the overactive fears of our imagination are given a voice. As children we have those same fears, but the monster under the bed is just a shadow and shark attacks are less likely to happen than car accidents and lightning never hits the same place twice.

Adults know that shadows only exist where there is a sliver of light. We know that sharks are a reality and of course lightning can hit the same spot twice, it’s not like it has memory or anything.
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The beach is my dream and the ocean, my nightmare. How funny that the two should be so intertwined for I could never have the dream without the nightmare. For one to exist, the other has to as well! The irony is not lost on my. Or rather God’s imminent sense of humor. He’s constantly laughing at my fears, the way a loving father laughs at a child who’s too scared to look under the bed. “Sweetheart, there’s nothing under there. Don’t you trust me? Have I ever let you down?”
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5 Fandom Friday

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5 Geeks Who Inspire Me

Before this week, I’ve been away from the Blogosphere for a little while. And I have to share that I haven’t been the same without my blog or without you, my darling, nerdy readers. It’s a part of me. An extension of my brain and of my personality. And I think I’d forgotten that! I must have, because I thought it’d be a good idea to take a break from writing. When in fact, writing is exactly what I’ve always needed to help me figure out the cobwebs of my mind.

Whether it’s introspective blogs like I’ve been writing this past week, or blog topics that we write together as a community like today…I’ve remembered why I started blogging in the first place. And while I don’t promise never to take another break (cause sometimes we need such things) I do, however, promise not to neglect my little blog. She who has been there in so many dark moments. She whom I found over 4 years ago, but I suspect it’s she who found me!

This week’s 5 Fandom Friday topic is about Geeks who inspire me. Cutting this down to just 5 people is tough. There are so many amazing nerdy folks out there living the dream. But here are the ones who really speak to and inspire me!

#1: Felicia Day

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She has offered nerd girl’s everywhere the inspiration to step out and shout “I’m a nerdy girl and proud of it.” She was a potential slayer in season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and also starred opposite Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris in Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog which she helped write with Joss Whedon. She’s also the writer and star of her own extremely popular web series, The Guild. Founder of the nerd mecca that is Geek and Sundry and now author of her own autobiography (which I just bought last night and started reading), “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost).” Felicia Day has been where we nerd girls have all been and she’s made it to a place we sometimes wish we could reach. Acceptance. Acceptance of who she is, of the power she wields and of the world she lives in.

#2: Zachary Levi

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If you’ve been reading my blog or following me on any social media platform, then this one is a no brainer! He’s the founder of The Nerd Machine and of Nerd HQ. He’s the star of Chuck and the voice of Flynn Ryder. He’s an ambassador for Operation Smile and a genuinely kind man. He’s Zachary Levi and I am constantly inspired by him. Doesn’t hurt that he’s 6’3″ and loves Jesus! He has often been called the King of the Nerds. He leads the charge and finds a way to give back every chance he gets.

#3: Wil Wheaton
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 It was the early 90’s and one of my favorite shows to watch with my mom and dad was Star Trek: The Next Generation. And since I was between the age of 5 and 12 when TNG was on the air, I was the perfect age to fall head first in love with the dashing, young Wesley Crusher. He was just a kid and he was serving on the USS Starship Enterprise. Be still my preteen heart! Later I would come to admire Wil for his work in Felicia Day’s web series, The Guild and as himself on The Big Bang Theory and just for the all around nerdy dude he is. He can also be seen as the host of Geek and Sundry’s Table Top. Wesley Crusher was not a favorite among TNG watchers, but Wil didn’t let that stop him from becoming the nerdy icon that he is today!

#4 – John Boyega

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No, he didn’t make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, but now he knows someone who did. John Boyega is one of the lucky stars who will be in a little film called, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (maybe you’ve heard of it.) As a bonafide fanboy himself, one imagines that when the call came in that he’d gotten a part in the biggest movie of our time that he ‘Squee’d’ the ‘Squee’ of a thousand nerds, especially since he’s a Star Wars nerd himself. We don’t know much about his character other that his name is Finn and he now has a chance to wield Luke/ Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber and we don’t know why. (Dear Lord, let December come swiftly!!!) It is a joy to watch him at conventions and press junkets, because he is truly one of us. A nerd to the core…inside and out. And we are proud to have him represent his people in the Star Wars Universe!

#5: Veronica Roth

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Another nerd to the core. I started out liking Veronica Roth as the author of the Divergent series. It’s a great set of books with a compelling story and I like to support the people that create things I like. And then I saw her at Book Con last year and at Geeky Con this year and that’s when I realized that she is one of us. Truly, madly, deeply one of us. Dressed in her Draco Malfoy cosplay and talking about which house she’d be sorted to if she ever went to Hogwarts. Veronica Roth is a bonafide nerd and we nerds gotta stick together!!

Honorable Mention: My Little Brother

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I love all the nerds I mentioned above, but this nerd is the nerd who made me into a nerd! If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Power Rangers or Batman: the Animated Series. I would probably still be a Star Wars fangirl (that one was written in the stars) but I might not have the deep understanding of the SW Universe that I have from knowing this guy. My younger (not littler) brother, Jeremy. He is the coolest nerd I know. He taught me how to nerd. And if you are looking for someone to share a road trip with…he is your guy. Plus he comes complete with Star Wars sleeping bag and audio books. He’s a nerdy boy scout, which means he’s always prepared to nerd!

Which nerds/ geeks/ dorks inspire you??

What I Feel vs. What I Know

I’ve been reading Jamie Tworkowski’s, founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, book called If You Feel Too Much. And I’ve been taking my time with it. Every page I read, I feel like I need to savor it because there are gorgeous profound truths in the pages of this book. Things that Jamie went through that speak to my heart, especially as I go through this transition. And so it’s taking me months to read a book that would normally take days. But I don’t want to rush the words.
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And in one of the chapters Jamie pits What He Feels against What He Knows. So the title of this blog post is pilfered from his book. Borrowed, really. So, thank you Jamie! Thank you for your words. For the difficult things you experienced so God would give you the words that you are now giving to me.

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Here’s What I Feel versus What I Know at any given moment in any given day…

I feel sad. I know that it’s temporary.

I feel happy. I know that’s temporary too.

I feel like I’m bad at everything. I know that I’m not.

I feel like I don’t have a whole lot to offer this world. I know that I do.

I feel fat. I know that I’m not and that there are people who actually struggle with obesity or eating disorders and I am not one of those people. So I know that my insecurities stem from a place that is not worth validating.

I feel like I’m not enough. I know that I am just enough or else there would be a whole lot more of me to go around and there isn’t. So I must be enough.

I feel like I’ll never fall in love. Or worse…no one will ever be able to fall in love with me. I know that I am the only thing standing in the way of that happening.

I feel like God made a mistake when he mixed the ingredients that make up my brain and the very essence of who I am. I know that He didn’t, because God doesn’t make mistakes and for some beautiful, unknown reason He chose to make me.

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What we feel and what we know are constantly at war. We are not meant to move with the emotions that come and go. Ebbing and flowing like the tides on the shore. They are as inconstant as the wind. And in Florida, the only thing you can count on is that the wind is there, but never which way it will be blowing,

We are meant to move with the knowledge and discernment that only Christ can offer. Even when we don’t feel Him there…He is. Even when we don’t feel strong…we are. Even if we think we can’t carry on…we will.

If we allow what we feel to dictate our actions we will always be ruled by the flaky, unpredictable self. And God asks…no He demands more from us.

So I feel like I don’t know what’s coming next. But I know that if I’m listening, I won’t need to.
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I Pitch My Tent in the Valley

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I had a revelation about dating. It’s not ground breaking information or anything. Just a thought about me. The person I know the most and spend the most time with. And maybe you’ve felt or feel like this and that is why we share. To find connection. To say, “Hey, you’re there right now? Me too.”
So…I don’t like dating. It’s no secret. And I recently went on a date with a really nice guy. He was socially well adjusted and he liked nerdy things and he loved Jesus. He was quite possibly a unicorn. But I wasn’t having any of it. I didn’t wanna go. And when he asked me out for a second date (something I’ve never been on with anyone) I dragged my feet about it. And turned into a whiner. I whined about it. “Do I have to go?” I asked my friends and family. The same friends and family who have heard me complain time and again that I don’t get asked out by decent guys and have heard me complain that I’ve never even been on a second date with anyone…ever.
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What was wrong with me? What have I been saying??? “Unicorn!” “Where are all the unicorns?” “If only I could find a unicorn then maybe my relationship stuff would be over.” But here was a unicorn sitting in front of me and I couldn’t be bothered.
It wasn’t adding up.

There’s an element that I have not shared with you beautiful nerds. I’ve kept it close. It was too private to share. But…here goes everything.
I accidentally fell in love somewhere in the 8 years I was living in New York. And yes…accidentally falling in love is as stupid as it sounds. And it doesn’t produce the happy outcome that you readers and viewers and family and friends so graciously hope for my life.

I’m only giving the highlights because of anonymity and because if he ever reads this (highly unlikely), he knows all he needs to about it and doesn’t need to know any more than what I’ve chosen to share. And because there is way more to it than this, but this is the important stuff.

The bullet points are as follows:
-He’s a boy
-I’m a girl
-We were friends
-Then we were roommates
-I moved out
-I missed him
-I started to feel more
-But knew it was not a possibility
-So I tried to get over it
-And failed miserably
-I told him I was in love with him
-But nothing happened
-Then I moved to Florida (not because of!! Important note.)

Now as I mentioned, this unicorn guy came along after the bullet points. And the bullet points, of course, have a lot to do with a lack of enthusiasm about the unicorn.

Here’s what it boils down to. I’m 32 now. I’m not getting any younger. But hey!! I am getting way…way better!!
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I’m about to be an aunt. And almost all my friends and family are married. It’s natural. It’s what happens. But maybe that’s not what “happens” to me.

See…dating comes with a price tag. The price is that there are a set of expectations in a dating situation that for a hurricane like me, are unavoidable and undesirable. Expectations like…do I like him? Would I kiss him? Do I want to have sex one day with him? Would I marry him? (I’m drastically over simplifying but you get it.) All the while society and well-meaning church folks ask the dreaded questions…”When will you be getting married?” “Should I set you up on a blind date since you’re still single?” “Don’t you want to be happy?”

So instead of turning to a unicorn who I know there is potential with, I turn to and fixate on the bullet points. Cause there is no future there. There is no expectation of more. And that is ok with me right now.

But “NO!” you say. You’re shaking your head that it isn’t better. I know what you mean and I know why you shake, but I currently disagree… because I’m not looking for ‘The One’ I’m looking for a friend. Friendship is what you hope to end up with at the end of a long married day. A friend. Who gets you and loves you and sure…wants to have some sexy time with ya. But who is ultimately…your FRIEND.

If the only expectation on a date was getting a friend out of it, maybe then it wouldn’t fill me with the crippling fear that it does now. I don’t let fear get in the way for me usually. But with this dating stuff, for some reason, I listen. I don’t want to worry about whether or not some guy is gonna hold my hand or try to kiss me and will I be too polite to tell him I’m not really feeling anything but friendship for him. And why has it become such a crime or an emotional wrecking ball to have that conversation.

I want amazing. I want exciting and I want it with some one who knows me the way the bullet points knew me. But who also loves me back.
And it’s a Catch 22 that won’t happen if I avoid dating. I know that, mom! (She’s pretty smart!) This blog has no answer. It has no solution.

But then again, this blog has never been about having it figured out. Or about teaching how life works. It’s always been about the journey and the figuring and the valley moments. Cause that’s where I find my tent pitched 89% of the time. I’ll let someone else write about the mountain top.
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Me, Myself and that Other Girl

Do you ever have those moments? They often happen around bedtime for me. You know…when little revelations about your life seem so attainable?
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You think maybe you’ve figured it all out. And you can finally say the things you’ve bottled up and you can face those demons head on without fear.
When I’m about to go to bed is when I feel the most motivated. Motivated to run the next morning. Motivated to start that new project. Or write that new novel. Or create a manageable budget that will fix my monetary foibles. Or solve those relationship issues. You get the idea!
And then I wake up and it’s like a lazier version of me has body snatched that productive, healthy person. And I’m left with the one who wants a frozen York Peppermint Patty for breakfast (can’t blame her for that) and chooses to watch 2 episodes of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt instead of going on that run (what’s wrong with that? That show’s awesome!)
What goes on when the dreams come? Do I have to stay up all night so that productive girl doesn’t run away?
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But wait! Sometimes…a miracle happens. Usually when I haven’t eaten 3 cookies before bed and I haven’t stayed up till midnight watching episodes of Star Wars: Clone Wars.

A miracle where that productive girl laces up her sneaks, picks her ass up out of that bed and she runs. She runs to feel healthy and to know she is powerful. She runs to finish the projects she’s started cause there is another one brewing in her mind. She makes a to-do list and checks every single thing off of it. She is successful. She has her shit together.
I wish that girl was always me instead of only sometimes me. I love the whole package, but sometimes those girls get into a fist fight. And it ain’t pretty.
The productive one doesn’t always win, but then again, neither does the lazy one. They both lay dormant inside waiting for their days to come. The runner comes out when the lazy one has turned my body into something too soft for her liking. And the lazy one comes out when she feels that other girl has been working too hard and needs a margarita.
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Maybe you don’t have a war going on inside of you. Maybe you are always productive or always lazy or always whatever it is that you are. And maybe I’m the only one having conversations between the 2 of us…the 3 of us. To be honest, I’ve lost count.
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But I wouldn’t be me without those crazy girls. And I guess what I’m trying to say is that inside my head, no one always wins. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Signed,

A nerd in progress…

The Nerd Returns to the City

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“Well… I didn’t expect that!”

I was so sure that the tears I’d cried over leaving New York were because deep down I wanted to go back. I wanted my life back. I wanted what was familiar and what had become “normal” for years.

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But there I was, back in the bright lights and I felt like I was gonna jump out of my skin. I am not an anxious person and I’m not a worrier. But everything about being back made me feel anxious and made me worry. I was late to meet my friends. I was bustling along the streets. I was stuck on the train that seemed like it would never move.

This was the life I’d lived for the past 8+ years. For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer (and let’s just be honest…it was always for poorer.) This was how I’d lived. Blissfully unaware of the madness of the city because I’d become a part of the madness. I was the madness. I understood it and it had become a part of me. I fell in love with it. (Read about That Time I Fell in Love)

The first weeks back in Florida, I had a frog permanently living in my throat. I was on the verge of crying every single day. My mom asked me if I wanted to sing at church and I burst into tears saying, “It’s too soon! It’s not the Journey.” My friends suggested I try online dating to get over a certain person I may tell you about someday, but I burst into tears just reading the profiles saying, “It’s too soon! I’m not ready.” I drove out to the beach and even that didn’t feel right at first (despite what my Instagram portrayed) and I cried the whole way back saying, “It’s just not New York. It doesn’t feel right!”

Everything seemed to be a pressure point. Everything seemed to set me off. So, here was my chance. To make the choice to stay on the path God called me to walk on or to turn back around and run to something comfortable. It’s funny to call New York comfortable. It’s the least comforting city I’ve ever lived in. Surrounded by 8 million people and constantly alone. But when you acclimate to something it does feel comforting to be a part of it. So New York was the comfort and Florida was the challenge?? What an unexpected outcome!

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I was truly shocked by this panic attack. I’ve never even had a panic attack before, so I can’t be sure that’s what I was experiencing. But my heart was racing and I couldn’t breath… so I started to pray.

To be honest with you, I’ve been mad at God. Why did he call me to leave my beloved city? Why did he bring me down to Florida where my purpose is still being figured out? Where my friends and family already have their lives figured out down here?

I decided at some point that I was too angry to listen. I decided that I was going to make my own way!

If you’ve ever gone your own way, you’d know it’s not the right move! I know it’s not the right move and one restless night God hit me hard with the news that I was supposed to be listening! And this feeling that I felt in New York was just confirmation that I’d made the right choice in listening to God. That moving was His plan, not mine. And that my new challenge was to listen for the next light he shines in front of me instead of buying batteries for my flashlight and finding my own path.

It’s not a revelation. It’s not new information! It’s just a daily reminder that I need to constantly turn my eyes up to Him. And a daily reminder that I am right where I need to be. Even if it’s hard! Especially if it’s hard! And trust me…it’s been hard.

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Cross Country Nerds

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A dear friend, who knows my propensity for nerdities emailed me, over a year ago, about a friend of hers that had just written a science fiction book and was looking for bloggers to read it and possibly blog about it. I always love discovering new books and authors and I really love to use my blog to highlight the great artistry and work that other people are accomplishing. So I eagerly started to read “A Time to Reap: The Legend of Carter Gabel” by Jonas Lee.  (check out my interview with Jonas and review of the book and then go forth and read!!) And I loved it! So I wrote a blog and connected with the author, Jonas.

Come to find out, we had much more than a love of science fiction in common. And we became instant social media friends! Tweeting the latest rumors about Star Wars and discussing shows like The Flash and Arrow.

It’s funny how these days you can become friends with someone and never see them in person. It’s a standard of our time period. I have countless friends on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook that I feel like I know well, but have never met and may never get the chance to meet. Or chat with face to face.

This is not the case with Jonas Lee. Tonight at 8pm est, we will be chatting live on Google Hangouts. Exploring topics like Star Wars, Marvel, DC, what it means to be a nerd in the 21st century, what it was like ‘growing up nerd,’ and anything else nerdy, geeky, dorky or otherwise! If you have something you want us to talk about, by all means tweet it to us at #CrossCountryNerds

He lives in South Dakota. I live in Florida. If not for the wonderful world of the world wide web, we might never have met. Watch what happens next and…

We hope to virtually see you lovely nerds there tonight!! Here’s the link: Cross Country Nerds

Ant Man

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I’m currently on a blog hiatus for the month of July, but I just had to break it to talk about Ant Man! So many thoughts about it!! If you are into hard hitting criticism, this is not the review for you. This blogger LOVES Marvel and usually just takes time to sing it’s praises. This will be no different.

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I’ll keep this one SPOILER FREE. But I will have to go in depth later, cause the spoilers are really good ones and I wanna talk about them!! Here we go…

1. The Hype

I don’t usually listen to the hype or the critics or anyone, because I like to inform my own opinions about a movie. But the news was good from the early screenings and I have to say that it started to make me even more excited to see it. What’s more, the hype was well deserved!

2. The Cast

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Ah-Maze-Ing. Once again Marvel proves that it knows it’s properties and it’s fans very well. Paul Rudd did a wonderful job as Scott Lang’s Ant Man. He has a Tom Hanks charm about him that you just can’t help but love and root for. And I could literally go on and on about how amazing he is as Ant Man. He’s just one of those actors that is so dang likable. Add serious action moves and a surprising set of abs and he just belongs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Perfect choice!!

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Michael Douglas plays Hank Pym, the original Ant Man and mentor to Scott Lang. I forgot how much I love Michael Douglas! And whatever they did to make him look young again was really convincing! Really good makeup or CGI? I didn’t care. I believed that somehow they found a time machine and brought back a younger Michael Douglas to play a younger Hank Pym. Cause if anyone has a time machine it’s Disney/Marvel/Star Wars!

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Evangeline Lilly has already reached nerd royalty status with her roles as Kate in LOST and as Tauriel in The Hobbit Trilogy. Lilly plays Hope, the daughter of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne. Rocking a serious bob and some majorly bad ass martial arts moves. No spoilers, like I said, but they take her character to a wonderful place and I can’t wait to see her future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!! Anyone who has been upset by the lack of ladies in the MCU will not be disappointed with what they do with Hope’s character!!

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Michael Pena, T.I. and David Dastmalchian play Luis, Dave and Kurt. A trio of crooks who are friends with Scott Lang and get roped into helping with Ant Man’s heist. Special shout out to Pena who is completely hilarious and delightful!! i hope they all have a future in the MCU cause they were really funny!

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Cory Stoll rounds it out as the villain of the movie, Darren Cross aka the Yellowjacket. I really enjoyed Stoll’s turn as the wounded baddie. All he wants is for Hank to show him his secrets and share his technology, but he doesn’t. So he has to make his own way and he kills a lot of lambs in the process. He will probably be compared to other bad guys in the MCU, but he doesn’t deserve the comparison. I think he’s a good villain and the antithesis to Ant Man in every way.

3. The Laughs

The entire theater was in stitches throughout the whole film! Every single joke landed and then punched you in the funny bone!

4. The Effects

The visual effects team should just go ahead and take some high fives for themselves. Ant Man requires heavy effects because of all the shrinking and getting big again stuff. The fights were so good!! Not only the parts when he is little and beating people up, which basically looks like they are mental. But also the parts where he is normal sized and fighting bad guys too. The action is really hard hitting!

5. The Cameos

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I promised I wouldn’t give any spoilers! And I won’t. But there is a spot on TV that does tell you that an Avenger does make an appearance. I won’t tell you which one. But it is awesome!! Epically awesome. Not only that, but there are some other familiar faces that make it into the movie, setting up some interesting plot points for Ant Man’s return in the future! Can Not Wait for that.

Ant Man’s release brings an end to Marvel’s Phase II. Now we have to wait till May 6, 2016 for the next installment. Captain America: Civil War will start Phase III.

I will definitely be seeing it at least 2 more times in the theaters. It’s that good! But don’t take my word on Ant Man… go see it for yourself! Give Marvel your money.

That Time I Fell In Love

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Having never been in love before, I didn’t recognize the feeling. The butterflies in my stomach, that nervous feeling like I might throw up at any given moment. It was strange and unsettling. I couldn’t sleep very well. I couldn’t eat…wait I could eat. I can always eat! But I knew this was something different than ever before. Exciting, scary, different, special and it just felt right. The way I imagine an older couple who’ve been married for over 40 years must feel when they hold hands or something. It was definitely love.

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That was me and New York in January of 2007. Love at first sight. It was bright and shiny. It kept me up all night, just thinking about it. Friends were made. A life was built. And not only did this become my home, but I even found family here.

You know what I love about me… I don’t just make friends, I find family wherever I go. Did you know that you can have more than one family? It’s pretty cool!!

There are the blood relations. The people God designed to be in your life no matter what. The people who raised you and who you grew up with. The people who teach you the things you’ll take through the rest of your life.

There’s college family. The people who were there in a difficult transitional period in life. The people you may have partied with. The people who teach you that life is bigger than the little bubble you came from.

There’s church family. The people who grow you spiritually. The people who challenge you and hold you accountable. The people who help you and pray for you and uplift you.

There are various work families. The people who understand the crazy things that happen at your job. The people you have happy hours with after long stressful days.

There are a bunch of other families that you can make. The people who understand your hobbies. The people you root with at sporting events. The people you cry with over television finales.

And then, if you’re lucky, you have all of the above. But there’s one more family. The kind that is unforeseen. It’s your New York family. Only they can understand what it means to leave those other little families behind to pursue something huge. To step onto this stage with a dollar and a dream. Maybe you get what you came here for. Maybe you leave with dashed hopes. Or maybe that family supports you through every bump and bruise till you are ready to leave on your own two feet to start a new adventure.

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That’s my story.

I came here thinking I’d fall in love. I came here thinking I’d make it big. And once I realized that no one defines my dreams and my accomplishments but me, then I knew that I did fall in love and I had made it big. It was never going to be conventional or “normal.” But then again I’ve always been extraordinary. I don’t mean that in the cocky, “I’m the best” sort of way. I mean, ordinary is not a word I understand. “Normal” is not a word that has ever applied to me. And New York gets that. Hell, New York invented extraordinary. (Well God invented extraordinary, but God also made New York so it still works!)

I found myself here. I found something I didn’t know I was missing. I fell in love with New York City! The funny thing about love is that it doesn’t go away, but it can change. It can become unrecognizable underneath the little annoyances, the little betrayals, the little boredoms, but it never fully goes away. The heart doesn’t forget like that. It’s the mind that tricks you into thinking that it isn’t love anymore. But it still is. And New York and I…we’re doing just fine. I have loved it here, in a way I never knew I could. And the best part about it, the part I know for sure, is that no one ever truly leaves New York. I intended to come here for my internship and then maybe stay for a year or two. Eight and a half years later…. I guess it’s time to go play in the sand for a while. But I know I’ll be back. New York is in my blood now. It’s a part of me. It’s where my family lives.

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This is surely the evidence of a life well lived.

Thanks, my pretty little city! See ya when I see ya!

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This nerd will return in August 2015…