Dear wanderer,

Perhaps you grew up dreaming of receiving your Hogwarts letter, or stumbling upon Narnia. Perhaps you long to visit Pemberley, to Defy Gravity, or to go to the ball. I will write you that letter, and build you that wardrobe. [A metaphorical wardrobe, that is.] Here you will find step-by-step lesson plans with takeaway homework assignments that show you how to embody fictional heroines in the everyday. This means chasing your dreams and making the impossible happen with your own inner magic.

For the full experience, you can Own Your Story, or request letters from Jane Austen.

You have the potential. Heroine Training provides the tools.

Welcome to our headquarters, where dreams meet reality, where fiction is cherished, where magic is real.

Sincerely, your guide on this journey,



P.S. Read more about Heroine Training

Sunday Sampling / 056

Sunday Sampling / 056

Last week we finally moved into our new flat and began to find home for the things we had packed up over a month ago. When I’m moving or traveling I am most conscious of minimalism, and my desire to live light. This particular journey was marked by getting published on Miss Minimalist – years ago, I would scour Francine’s site for tips on how to be a minimalist, thinking that *one day* I would submit an article for her Real Life Minimalists series. Well, I’m finally part of the collection, and what a kind, supportive community she has built!

MY FAVOURITE READS LATELY

🚀 The Hardest Disney Pixar Quiz Ever: In my defense, I got all the Monsters, Inc. and Incredibles questions right and isn’t that what matters?

🌟 How to build your community of movers and shakers: “Sometimes the connections you want to make begin with you stepping out and creating the thing you want to see.” Yes yes yes!

🎬 This article about female-centric films and what La La Land has in common with All About Eve, and Titanic (and how it’s different) is FASCINATING.

⚡️ I absolutely adore this piece on Newt Scamander, Toxic Masculinity, and the Power of Hufflepuff Heroes. More Hufflepuff leads please!

💕 It’s not too late to set an alternative New Year’s resolution, as illustrated (literally) in this lovely guide

🍹 I can’t wait to try these super colourful and summery DIY spruced-up soft drinks!

💖 For anyone frustrated with the overlooked complexities of “just being yourself”

👑 Plus on Heroine Training: How I use the Pomodoro Technique to get things done & why we call things overrated and why we need to stop.

Favourite Stories / February 2017

Favourite Stories / February 2017

These are the stories I’ve enjoyed this month

Life, Animated

directed by Roger Ross Williams, based on the book by Ron Suskind

This film legitimizes the power of stories and childhood make believe. Through Disney, autistic boy Owen finds his voice and understands the world, and through Disney, we understand Owen. I love his perspective on life, and his championing of sidekicks. I am so grateful for how his parents supported him and encouraged his world. Beautiful, inspiring, and so wonderful.

A United Kingdom

directed by Amma Asante, screenplay by Guy Hibbert

THIS is how you fight for what matters. Our hero and heroine rebel in a matter-of-fact way that is built on the foundation of their utter belief in what they deserve: what the world deserves, and what they know they will get. Undoubtedly. Not because they are desperate, but because it matters. > Read my full review on IMDb

Jackie

directed by Pablo Lorraín, screenplay by Noah Oppenheim

We have different ways of feeling affinity for stories, and how those stories are remembered beyond one’s lifetime is the core of this film. Jackie Kennedy has a sharp, perhaps unprecedented sense of legacy. During the week of her husband’s death we see her dealing with grief and a responsibility to her children, but above all, a responsibility to protect her husband’s legacy as President and historical figure in the making. > Read my full review on IMDb

Big Magic

by Elizabeth Gilbert

I put a call into the universe for the feminine version of The War of Art, and the universe gave me Big Magic. Pressfield acknowledges creative reality by embracing the struggle as legitimate while Gilbert liberates the need to suffer, be serious, or put too much importance on your work. My God am I grateful to have both of them. > Read my full review on Goodreads

Amèlie

directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, screenplay by Guillaume Laurant & Jean-Pierre Jeunet

This film explores how we define a person, introducing us to each character through their trivial likes and dislikes that in fact tell us more about those people than the typical questions we ask each other. It is a film of little things that make life magical when they are noticed. > Read my full review on IMDb

Manchester by the Sea

written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan

A devastating, haunting story set against the scenic seaside town, Manchester by the Sea captures the tension of a single person’s sense of obligation: to family, to himself, and to punish himself for his mistakes. This film feels like a novel, with each moment unfolding precisely, the story becoming apparent just a moment before its revelation.

A Prayer for Owen Meaney

by John Irving

This novel is like a massive puzzle; it fills in the big pieces first so you get a sense of the big picture, but all the little pieces fit perfectly too, not a detail wasted. Equally amusing and harrowing, A Prayer for Owen Meaney is about faith and friendship, exposing the absurdities of life. > Read my full review on Goodreads

What have you enjoyed lately? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. I’m so excited for Viggo Mortensen’s Oscar nod for Captain Fantastic, which I talked about here.

Image Credit: A United Kingdom trailer

Why We Call Things Overrated and Why We Need to Stop

Why We Call Things Overrated and Why We Need to Stop

When I heard that La La Land tied All About Eve and Titanic for most Academy Award nominations for a single film, and I was like, uh oh.

Because when anything is this ostensibly successful, the dissenters start to speak up. It has reached the level of popularity that deems it, alas, overrated.

Calling something overrated feels like a bold opinion when really it’s not.

It’s a very easy non-opinion. It’s a cheap shot, and it does hurt. I know because I happen to be a fan of a lot of overrated things. So I’ve learned to deflect that personal blow by dismissing it: “Of course it’s overrated”. Anything this popular is overrated.

I’m not completely innocent here. In fact, I’ve been really awful.

I’ve been on the Overrated Train too. When I was 7, I refused to read Harry Potter because I was sick of hearing about it. Just last year I was like ENOUGH WITH HAMILTON ALREADY, and I liked but didn’t love Frozen. I still feel really really badly about when a girl at camp told me she loved Avril Lavigne and I told her I hated Avril Lavigne, when in fact I hadn’t given her music a proper listen. I was just tired of everyone singing it all the time. The fatigue for fan noise gets mixed up with the thing itself, and that’s a shame, but that’s how it is. 

For me, ‘overrated’ is about feeling left out.

With Harry Potter and Hamilton, I think I felt left out. Reading was my thing, and all of a sudden everyone else was reading too, but without me. Ditto musical theatre, a somewhat lonely passion of mine that all of a sudden is on everyone’s radar because of a show I don’t know very much about. As for Frozen, I think my feelings are like how many people feel about La La Land and musicals right now – I love Disney, but this is the film everyone’s going crazy about? 

I try not to, but I take it all personally.

I get anxious about new Harry Potter things because I know the casuals who aren’t into it can’t wait to bring the franchise down. To rip it apart. To say that J.K. Rowling is just trying to make more money and be more famous, which sounds more absurd to me every time I hear it. 

I am so sorry, La La Land. You could have been an underdog, but 2016 in film let you down and left you alone at the top for everyone to pick on. You’re still great though, and I love you.

Can we just enjoy things please?

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely a huge fan of something. Whether it’s a massively popular thing or a tiny, niche thing no one’s heard of, you love that thing. So all I’m saying, everyone, is let’s remember what it’s like to love a thing, and be nice to other people for being into their thing. We’re all fans here. It’s cool. 

The problem with critics

We don’t have to compare everything all the time. I say this as the girl who puts great seriousness into ranking her top 10 films every year. I do this for fun, and I trust that your list is different from mine, and I think that is not only okay but amazing.

I say this as a critic, which is itself a misleading title, because I think the best criticism is not about what’s good and bad, but about what further conversation the art provokes: what questions does it raise, what discussions can we have? How did it make you feel and why? I LOVE THESE QUESTIONS, and find them so much more interesting and less hurtful than whether something is overrated.

So tell me about what you love, and why, and I promise I’ll not only respect that, but I’ll want to hear all about it.

P.S. More fandom hierarchy discomfort: An Uncool Thing about Geek Culture and the Internet Right Now