30 August 2015

Confessions of a Netflix Junkie: House of Cards

I'm Anna and I'm addicted to Netflix. Like, seriously. The Boyfriend subscribed to it sometime last spring and let me just tell you, I've spent hours on it this summer, mainly because June and July were kind of disappointing here in Finland (think rainy and cold). As a translation student I do need to comment on the subtitles on there, though, because let's face it, they are pretty appalling sometimes. You can see that the people doing them don't have a lot of time or experience.

Anyway, I've recently become hooked on House of Cards. I'm a bit late to the party, because the series started already in 2013. It's an American political drama television series adapted from the BBC's mini-series of the same name. It's actually based on a novel by Michael Dobbs. The series is set in present-day Washington and focuses on Frank Underwood, a South-Carolina democrat and House Majority Whip (google it, I can't really explain how it works).

Underwood is a ruthless son-of a-bitch, who manipulates pretty much everyone around him. A true Machiavellian character, you might say. Kevin Spacey is brilliant as Frank Underwood, just right for the role. I had forgotten what a good actor he is, I love the way he brings out all these small gestures and habits of a character. Before House of Cards Spacey had been going under the radar for a while, at least under my radar.

I have to admit that I'm not exactly very interested in politics. I mean, I do vote and have been to a demonstration or two, and I follow the news and stuff, but that's pretty much the extent of it. But then again, you don't really have to have a deep understanding about medicine to enjoy hospital dramas or about law to get into Matlock, right? ;)

House of Cards is intense and dramatic. The pace shifts a lot, sometimes things start happening at a really fast pace, sometimes it's just people talking and plotting and backstabbing. It's just great entertainment, and I love how the show blatantly break the fourth wall. Smack in the middle of a scene Frank Underwood suddenly starts addressing us viewers, giving insight to what or why or how he is going to do something or predicting how others will react to him. I find that really unusual for a drama series, and quite enjoy the fact that we get to know the character through his own words. Frank Underwood's wife, who doesn't address the audience, remains distant and I really haven't been able to figure her out yet.

Have you watched House of Cards? What do you think of it? What are your Netflix favorites?

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26 August 2015

How I Learned to Feel Comfortable in My Own Skin

I've always been a really self-conscious person. Looking into a mirror I've only had eyes for all the "flaws" and in my opinion, there were always so many. I compared myself to others around me and wished I was taller, shorter, skinnier, fitter, or had longer hair, blue eyes, bigger boobs... I'm sure many of you know the feeling, right? I shied away from photographs because I didn't like looking at pictures of myself.
Lately, however, I've had a real change of heart about a lot of things, most importantly about myself, and I thought I'd share some of my thoughts with you. It's gonna be a long one, so go grab some tea (or whatever you might be craving)!

Let's start with my skin. I started suffering from acne at the age of thirteen. It was devastating. My skin just wouldn't get better no matter what I tried. And believe me, I've tried pretty much everything, except make-up. Even though I wanted to at some points in my life, I have never worn make-up to cover it all up, mostly because I was terrified it might make my face flare up and because I felt like I would've had to put a ton of stuff on. And honestly, I don't like the feeling of make-up on my face. People (mostly my mother) would tell me to wait it out and keep taking care of my skin. It would pass. And it did! It just took a whole ten years to get better. 

My skin isn't perfect and it quite possibly will never be. I still get breakouts from time to time (hormones, I hate you) and I still have quite a lot of scarring and discoloration, but I don't care. I've learned to appreciate my skin as it is and I've grown to love my freckles. During the last year my skin has cleared up wonderfully. One reason for it is time, as I mentioned. The other reasons are definitely a healthy diet, lots of water, and the right type of cleanser and moisturizer.

In addition to having really bad acne, I've always been a chubby girl. In elementary school, other kids  used to call me names and tell me I was fat. I tried to shake it off and not listen to them, but pretty soon I started believing I was fat, and what do you know, also started gaining weight. My family would always tell me that I looked pretty, and on some days I actually did feel pretty too. But on most days I felt pretty insecure and miserable about the way I looked. Most teenagers probably do at some point in their lives.

I've told you guys before that I started doing yoga this year. I haven't gone to classes, just because they don't fit my irregular schedule. If you have a chance to sign up for a class, I highly recommend you do so! Yoga has improved my flexibility, strength and endurance (keeping in mind that I used to be as flexible as an iron rod). But most importantly, it has helped me to get to know my body better. Focusing on yourself and learning to move in a new way can be a true eyeopener. There have been many moments when I've just been amazed that my body can actually do something I never thought it was capable of.

The same goes for going to the gym. In a previous post I said the Boyfriend had introduced me to our local gym. At that point I was totally clueless and said I can only commit to going twice a week. Well, in the last month I've been going three times a week and I'm loving it. Never would I ever have thought I would say this, but I can hardly wait for the next time I get to go to the gym! I started working out because I disliked my body. Now I'm working out because I like it. My appearance hasn't changed much, but I feel stronger and happier and much more energetic.

My body definitely isn't fit and flawless but it's the only body I have. It's healthy and able to do amazing things, things I never even dreamed it could do. I have two strong legs that carry me around. I have arms that lift and pull and push.  I have a big bum and a round belly and broad shoulders. And I love my body. I love myself, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Not even sorry about my sweaty face!

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21 August 2015

Inspiration, where are you?

Hello. I haven't died or disappeared or lost the control of my fingers or anything horrible like that. Lately I've just felt really uninspired to write about anything at all.

Let's be clear: I lead a really ordinary life and am extremely happy with who I am and where I am and what I do on a day-to-day basis. I just don't think my life is always interesting enough to do a blog post about. Especially during the summer when all I'm doing is moseying about. I go to work, come home, go to the gym or for a walk or a run, watch reruns and go to bed.

I am trying to find my blogging shoes again! I'm sorry it's taking so long, guys. I'll be back soon, I swear. And I don't swear often, believe me!

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