Sunday, December 25, 2016

Why I Will Always Say "Merry Christmas"

Merry Christmas, everyone! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanzaa! Happy Winter Solstice! Happy Festivus! Happy New Year!

I think that's everything. Phew! *wipes brow*

A week before Christmas, I take it upon myself to bring Christmas cheer to work. So this was exactly what I did this past week. As a man and his son left, I wished them a "Merry Christmas," figuring that it would be nice to wish a little boy such a thing. When they walked out the door and didn't really respond, my co-worker said to me, "Don't say 'Merry Christmas.' Just say 'Happy Holidays.' Not everyone celebrates Christmas. What if they are Jewish?"

Monday, November 28, 2016

If "Glee" Dedicated an Episode to "Hamilton"

Lately, earlier this month, I have been watching a lot of "Glee" clips that have recently surfaced on YouTube and it got me thinking. The final episode of "Glee" aired on March 20, 2015 and "Hamilton: An American Musical" began previews on July 13, 2015 and debuted on Broadway on August 6, 2015. I am 100% confident that if "Glee" lasted just a little bit longer, they would have definitely covered songs from "Hamilton" given how popular that musical is and how "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy's new show "Scream Queens" keeps referencing it in its current second season. Plus, they've covered songs from other musicals before.

Thinking about this, they could probably dedicate a whole season or even the whole series to the music from "Hamilton" because the songs could cover a lot of what happens in the storylines. The only thing that is throwing me is context. Usually "Glee" incorporated songs into episodes that were relevant to the theme of the episode's plot and "Hamilton" discusses a lot of politics and history, which isn't usually involved in the TV show. However, I am going to try to cast as much of the songs from "Hamilton" as I see fit, such as which songs would work well in which "Glee" situation. Also, what's not to say that the "Glee" writers wouldn't have changed up some of the lyrics to make sense in context? We also have to keep in mind that "Glee" tended to shorten songs for timing purposes. I am also going to include the Finn Hudson character.

So here is what would happen if "Glee" had a "Hamilton" music themed episode. We could also say that this is the weekly assignment Will gives them. Let's say that maybe he asks them to look back at their time in glee club and instructs them to chose a song from "Hamilton" that represents their feelings during that period.

Oddly specific, but yeah.

What's funny about this too is that a "Hamilton" episode would require Will to rap a lot, which was a running gag on the show.

So here is a brief rundown of the episode "Glee-milton".

Monday, October 31, 2016

My Top 20 Favorite "Arthur" Episodes to Celebrate 20 Years!

Credit: BBC
OMG, YOU GUYS!!! Did you hear??? "Arthur" is celebrating 20 years on the air and had its 20th season premiere on October 10, which makes this a perfect opportunity for my October 2016 blog post!!! Oh, what a wonderful kind of day! :D

My favorite TV show is a cartoon kids' show. I am 25 years old. LOL! I still drop everything and fangirl every time it comes on.

"Arthur" is a very innovative cartoon that premiered in 1996 based on children's books by Marc Brown about an anthropomorphic aardvark third grader named Arthur Read and his family and friends. The show is the second longest running animated show on TV, the first being "The Simpsons", (Added 11/13/16 At 3:30 AM.) the second longest running show on PBS Kids, the first being "Sesame Street" (End addition.), and the longest running children's animated show in the United States.

Take THAT, Spongebob! :P

I've always wanted to write a blog post about "Arthur" episodes, so I decided to go back down memory lane and talk about some of my favorites to celebrate the milestone. Now, this isn't going to be a countdown and a list of EVERY single one of my favorites in a particular order because there are WAY too many to sift through, but I will include my favorite episode of all time at the end. :) This will be a list of some of the show's most memorable moments for me that have influenced my development as a person or represent a certain aspect of myself.

I had to do some research and also search depths of my mind for some episodes that have stuck with me through life. This was totally difficult to narrow down, because the more I think about it the more I remember episodes that I feel deserve a spot on my list. As I was reaching back into my memories and looking up episodes, I remembered many episodes that I have enjoyed, some I have even forgotten until now, although too many for a blog post. These are the ones that have made the cut, at least for this discussion piece. This was actually one of my most fun times I've ever had researching for and writing a blog post. So much nostalgia! Enjoy, friends and fellow "Arthur" fans! :D

Also, spoilers ahead!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Top 5 Most Iconic "Arthur" Episodes of All Time! + Two Specials

In honor of its 20th season premiere, I am currently writing a blog post about my favorite "Arthur" episodes of all time. As I am doing my research for that one, I also remembered plenty of episodes early on in the series that were especially unique and iconic for the series. When you think of "Arthur", you automatically think of these installments. I can't write a blog post honoring my favorite "Arthur" episodes without mentioning these guys, so here are some honorable mentions:

Some spoilers ahead!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

"Paper Cup Reviews" and Other Blog and Vlog Related Updates!

Okay so just in case you were wondering lol :P, "Paper Cup Reviews" Episodes 7, 8, and 9 are underway, and then after that we are taking a small break from them because we are trying to figure out what to do for our 10th episode. Abby and I filmed Episodes 8 and 9 and were brainstorming last night, so stay tuned! My apologies for not delivering Episode 7 considering my hiatus, but I will get that one to you soon! As you may know, we tend to make long videos, so therefore it is a lot for me to look through and edit, which is what takes me a long time to finally publish it. Because of this, we are considering some changes regarding the series.

Also, I hope to republish my blogs and vlogs on here and my YouTube channel soon, so I'm excited about that! I've been missing it, but at the same time I feel calmer being low key on those mediums and social media and am more productive when I'm not on them, so I'm wondering about how I plan on handling the future of my online presence. We'll see! :)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Message From Stef Sears

Hello, friends!

Your favorite blogger Stef Sears here. You may have wondered where all of my blog posts, videos, and social media went. Well, I need to take a break from the Internet until further notice. I'm too addicted to it. I'm just overwhelmed.

Don't worry. My blog posts and videos have not been deleted, but are merely in drafts and set to private. My social media accounts have just been briefly deactivated. I'll be back and pick and choose certain posts and videos to make public again, but I need to completely prioritize my life and get healthy again. I want to wipe my Internet existence clean for the time being. I need to simplify my life and maybe start from scratch. I will still be blogging and vlogging, but for now I will be on hiatus.

I love you all! Thank you so much for your readership, viewership, and support! :)

- Stef

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Celebrating My One Year Anniversary at Mighty Quinn's Barbeque! :D

That's right! This month, specifically July 13, marked my one year anniversary working at Mighty Quinn's Slow Smoked Barbeque!! :D

I worked the day of, so I decided to bring in cupcakes for my co-workers to celebrate! :D

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

PROCEED WITH CAUTION! Should You Be Reading This???

A few years ago my friend Janis and I were volunteering at our alma mater's Lacordaire Academy Annual Book Sale. During some of our down time, we sat on the gym stage together and reminisced about our high school years there.

"What is one word you would use to describe me?" I asked her.

After some thought, she responded, "Cautious. You think about things in-depth before you do them."

Thereafter this turned into a conversation about how I can get out of this and has actually stayed with me ever since, making me question how much of life I am actually living.

Lately I've been encouraging myself to do more things, especially with my writing. Although, I still am a little cautious with that as well.

The truth is, I agreed with her answer whole-heartedly and wasn't offended by it. I actually like the fact that I am cautious. It makes me consider every logical path before making a decision and jumping into things.

However, this cautiousness of mine could also be more of a curse than a blessing. Cautiousness allows over-thinking and procrastination to dominate.

A part of the reason why I question my writing profession is that I never feel like my work is at its complete best and good enough in my eyes or ready for the cruel outside world. Think about it this way. Sometimes sharing my written work and putting it in someone else's hands is metaphorically equivalent to me walking outside in the nude and giving people permission to judge and touch my exposed body.

Yeah. It's THAT intimidating. And I'm not the only writer who suffers from this.

Usually when I finally submit the piece and then others see it, everything turns out fine. I never really had an issue with my articles and usually my subjects are happy with them, so I don't know where this fear is coming from.

However, this article in particular is different. The following is a recount of me deliberating with myself concerning said article and then making peace with my decision.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Life Updates and Possible Changes Coming to "Taking it One 'Stef' at a Time"

(Written May 15 & 16, 2016. :P)

It seems that my blog posts lately basically consist of me giving you updates about my life and explaining why I haven't been posting new pieces instead of actually delivering fresh material.

Well, this is going to be another one of those posts! :P

I'll start by updating you briefly and then tell you what is next for this blog.

Okay. So what have I been up to?

1) Dance lessons. From January through early April I was taking dance lessons. Dance lessons are something that I have been wanting to do and I'm excited that I took the chance to finally do it and learn something new. It's a nice addition to my cardio and weightlifting workout regime. It got me wanting to take classes in other areas, such as acting, which I hope to do soon. I dabbled in different genres, my favorite being Hip Hop. :) I'm finished with them for now because my 10-Class punch card has received its final punch, but I hope to resume them in the summer or something. I even made a bunch of vlogs during this experience that I hope to put together and put on my YouTube channel.

2) Reading. I'm always trying to read more, but I often get distracted. This year I am attempting the Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge. Goodreads is a fun way to keep yourself accountable and watch your literacy progress. I completed Immortals by Gillian Shields from January 11 through February 24. Great book! It's the first of a series of four and I want to read the other three, but for my second book this year I wanted to switch it up. I am getting into memoirs lately and am currently reading and more than halfway done with It's Hard Not to Hate You by Valerie Frankel. It is hilarious, fiercely honest, and is inspiring me to write memoirs of my own. In fact, I was just reading it when it motivated me to write this blog post.

3) Working at Mighty Quinn's. I'm still working there part time and enjoying it! May 13 marks 10 months since I started working there! :)

4) Freelancing. Of course, this goes without saying. This is a huge priority.*

5) Started an all-women writers group. This one I am very excited to announce. Back in January I started an all-girl writers group with fellow Montclair State University alum fellow female writers, called Literally!. It was named by my co-member/founder and friend Lindsay Kramer. There is a lot I want to do with this group and am looking forward to the prospects! Check us out at Literally!

6) Songwriting. Starting the writers group has been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Sometimes I find myself in a funk regarding my writing, but these women have gotten me excited about it again! Our meetings eventually got me to try songwriting, and...a part of me thinks I have finally found my calling. My friend and writers group founding member Kacie is a lyricist, singer, and musician, so she has been an influence on me. The music that usually plays in Mighty Quinn's also plays a factor. Sure, I still want to do journalism, playwriting, and screenwriting as well, but lately I have found my knack for telling a story through song. I've written songs before as a youngster, but this is the first time I am taking it more seriously and I have never before considered this as possibly my thing. It's invigorating. I've found that different things I want to write sound better in alternate mediums. For example, when I was trying to write something as a screenplay, I found that it was better as a novel. Recently I wanted to write something as a monologue, but then thought that it would sound better as a song and is perfect song material. I like that I have this as a creative writing activity along with my professional freelancing.

7) See theater. Well, duh. ;) So yes, I saw some theater at both Montclair State and Paper Mill Playhouse. In fact, the most recent musical at PMP, "Pump Boys and Dinettes", inspired a "Reflections about..." blog post, which I hope to write and publish.

8) Missing Women's History Month blog posts. If you remember my last blog post, I said that I got ill and couldn't focus on my "Real Influential Women Role Models (Real and Fictitious)" series so I would just publish them in due time. Well, I might still do that, but since so much time has gone by now, I might just hold off on them until next March anyway or something. We'll see.

*Okay, now for the more serious stuff. When I created "Taking it One 'Stef' at a Time", I was a young college kid looking for a creative writing outlet. However, now that I am a professional freelancer getting more and more writing work as I get further into the field, I may not have as much time and vigor for this blog, especially on the enormous in-depth essays that I normally share on here. As you know I want to produce at least one blog post monthly due to consistency and perfectionism, but my freelancing is a first priority. The reason why I was so late with this blog post is because I was placing more of my energy and effort on freelancing articles. My blog is something that was more constant back when I was unemployed with minimal writing work and it filled a void. I had more time on my hands. I've also been thinking about taking on more hours at Mighty Quinn's, which are slim already because I chose to leave a sizable chunk of space aside for my writing work and other life business.

This all being said, I need us all to prepare for me possibly not coming through every month with a blog post like tradition. I still will be writing on here, of course, but I don't want to stress myself out if I find that I might need to skip a month. I'll try not to, but this is where we stand. I have a bunch of blog posts in mind and in my drafts, so I will do my best to get them to you for your reading pleasure. :) Even if they're not my huge analytical essays, I'll try to at least post something, which is what I have been doing anyway. People make time for their recreational writing along with their professional writing and other work all the time, so I will attempt the same.

So, life has been pretty good. I like keeping myself busy and productive and building my confidence. I want to take on more in my schedule and I also have other writing projects in mind. Something I have been brainstorming is Taking it One 'Stef' at a Time: The Movie or TV/Web Series. ;)

Anyway, this has been fun! Let's do it again sometimes! :D

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Real Influential Women Role Models (Real and Fictitious): Women's History Month Blog Posts Update

Hi there, everyone! Happy Women's History Month! :D

You might be wondering why I haven't been delivering weekly "Real Influential Women Role Models (Real and Fictitious)" blog posts this year like I have done every year during Women's History Month since this blog's conception. Well, in addition to me not having anything very solid planned for this year, this has been a crazy month for me. Women's History Month this year kicked off with personal health issues (literally right away, like around 1 AM on March 1) which landed me in the emergency room for a few hours later that night. Then more stuff happened, which I will explain in my next blog post.

I then had work to do among other things that prevented me from blogging, which brings me to now. I actually have a total of two blog posts up my sleeves for Women's History Month and my series this year, both of which were somewhat inspired by my illness believe it or not. The thing is, they probably will not be ready for publishing this month. However, I still plan on writing them and publishing them for you at some point, even if it's not this month. Nothing wrong with writing about amazing women outside of Women's History Month. ;)

Stay tuned! Happy Women's History Month once again! :D

Monday, February 29, 2016

February 29 Blog Post

Perfect! Just right for my February 2016 blog post! :D

I wanted to post a blog post today. This day, February 29, happens once every four years so this is once in a 4-year span chance! So here I go! :D

Happy Leap Day and Year, everyone! lol! This is such a unique day! I hope everyone enjoyed it! lol!

Oh! And CONGRATULATIONS, LEONARDO DICAPRIO! Finally!!! Last night was awesome! I am inspired! :D lol!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Welcome to "Taking it One 'Stef' at a Time"! (Again)

Greetings! and welcome to my blog "Taking it One 'Stef' at a Time."

My name is Stef (short for Stefanie) and the title is a play on words "Taking it one step at a time." I choose this title because a) it goes well with my name and b) the saying itself represents where I am in my life right now.

Happy New Year 2016! I consider this new year to be full of new experiences and new beginnings for me. It is a time for me to become a whole new confident Stef who does not look down on herself or constantly compare herself to others, which is something I have a tendency to do. I am proud of myself and the life I have lived and want to begin the new year not thinking otherwise...