Billion Dollar Bus Stop|Short Film Review

Hey guys! I hope everyone has been enjoying the on and off nice weather we’ve been having. I’ve been trying to spend as much time outside as I can. Mostly that means doing yard work and preparing for my sister’s graduation party that we’re hosting.

Whenever I haven’t been outside taking advantage of this weather, I’ve been in my bed rotating between Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of Amazon streaming for no reason other than that I’m a picky brat. I finally gave it a chance though. Out of all of the options available, I chose a 22-minute short film titled “Billion Dollar Bus Stop,” which was directed by a friend of mine.

Image result for billion dollar bus stopBillion Dollar Bus Stop is a dramatic short film adapted from a stage play written by the star, Morgan Reddinger. The film was shot last summer with a small crew of 3-4 people in Lorain, Ohio. Director Chad Austin Kerr said “I was really attracted to the simplicity of the script and I thought it would work well as a ‘one location’ short film,” and he was right. I especially liked the single location because after I was introduced to it, I was able to focus more on the lines and body language rather than any background changes. The film received the silver award for Best Actress, bronze award for Best Original Score, and Best Drama Short at the 2019 Independent Shorts Award. It was also an official selection for the Dumbo Film Festival in Dumbo, NY.

The official description on Amazon reads:

 “A young writer [Eloise], seeking her purpose in life, meets a mysterious man [Oliver] at the morning bus stop who tries to win her heart. The unexpected couple discover things about themselves and one another but one important secret remains. We follow these dreamers as they struggle with life, love, and companionship – learning to never waste a moment.”

I’ve met a few men “at the morning bus stop” who also tried winning my heart, but I think “tried to harvest my organs” is more fitting. So before I talk about how great the film was, let’s make one thing clear- there are creeps out there so keep your guard up. Not every friendly guy at a bus stop (or elsewhere) is an Oliver.

Stars Morgan Reddinger (Eloise), Joe Morales (Oliver), and Lauren Paulis (Oliver’s sister) all had great performances in the film. Reddinger’s smartass portrayal of Eloise really kept me hooked from the beginning. I’m glad she was able to act out the character she envisioned because it felt so real. As a young woman who has had some strange encounters at bus stops, I understood the short and defensive comments she made during her first encounters with Oliver. Morales’ interpretation of Oliver was, well, magical. I couldn’t help but think to myself that he could play the love interest in any Hallmark movie and I would watch the shit out of it (you guys know how I feel about Hallmark movies).

The storyline is so unique. I have a habit of trying to predict what’s going to happen next, and I just couldn’t do it with this film. I may or may not have thrown my laptop during the ending scene from anger and disappointment as the twist threw me for a major loop, but I immediately picked it back up and watched it all again.

After talking to the director, I got some interesting information about the production of the film. One thing that almost made my head explode was that the rain in one scene was all created out of frame with a water sprayer. I’ll admit that when I watched the scene I wondered if they expected the rain or they just went with whatever weather came that day. Could’ve fooled me.

I have to give lots of credit to Morgan Reddinger for not only acting but also writing and producing the film. That’s pretty impressive. I took an acting class in college last fall where I had to act, direct, and “produce” for my then-major so I know how difficult it can be to have to act while also orchestrating everything around you.

I’d compare this short film to a couple of big Hollywood movies but I know that if I do that, it’ll completely give away the surprise ending of the film. If you watch it, you’ll probably know exactly where I’m going with this. You can watch Billion Dollar Bus Stop on Amazon for $2.99 HD/ $1.99 SD  for free with Amazon Prime.

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December in Photos | Blogmas Day 12

We finally made it- the end of Blogmas.

I didn’t think I would make it this far. And I guess in a way, I didn’t. I was late uploading a lot of the time and couldn’t stick to my original schedule. However, I still managed to post 12 blogs in 12 days, and that’s something I am very proud of. My first Blogmas- at least in my eyes- was a success and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

When I wasn’t blogging, I was enjoying December and all it had to offer. I took a few pictures along the way and I thought I could share them all with you. Rather than explaining them in extreme detail, I thought I could just leave the photos to be interpreted by the viewer. So make of them what you will.

 

 

 

An Open Letter to My Ex Best Friend

Dear Ex Best Friend  Hannah,

It’s been a while since we’ve really talked. Sure we’ve exchanged a few words on Instagram, but that’s all. It’s not like how it used to be, and for reasons only a select few truly know and understand. But that’s ok. I like it better that way. I won’t go into detail about what happened between us since you already know. And although this is an open letter, it’s for you.

It wasn’t easy for me to lose my best friend. I felt like I lost my sister. The pain I felt was similar to grieving the death of someone. Perhaps I was grieving the death of a friendship… that would make sense. For weeks after our split (that makes it sound like we were dating), I sat in bed and tried to convince myself that it was only a small bump in the road. But it wasn’t. It was a head on collision.

Time seemed to go by slower once we stopped talking. I know we had distanced a little beforehand, but this was even harder. I remember nights where I was going through something awful and the only words I could get out were “I want Hannah.” But you’re not Beetlejuice so saying your name didn’t bring you nearer.

I’m reminded of our adventures whenever I scroll through my Snapchat memories or Timehop notifications. I remember when we went to the fair for only a few minutes until I got upset over a boy so you took me to McDonald’s. We made fun of the truck in front of us for having their tow mirrors out when they weren’t towing anything. “Gotta look like big tough country folk with our big tow mirrors.” I remember our field trip senior year to D.C. when we bought ice cream and hid away in your hotel room. To this day, the littlest things can trigger memories. Whenever I’m out shopping and see mermaid things, my mind goes straight to you.

Thank you for the nearly ten years of friendship. Each moment we spent together helped build me into the person I am now. I still hear you in my head telling me how dumb I am when I make stupid decisions and I know I’ll have your guidance with me even if I don’t have you.

No matter what happened to us, I will still always love you for being the best friend a girl could ever ask for. You supported me, kept me sane (sometimes, anyway), and gave me great advice. It’s been roughly ten months since we stopped talking, but it feels like a lifetime without you.

I hope you succeed in all that you go after, and achieve all your dreams you’ve had since you were young. I’m still silently rooting for you in the shadows.

 

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To My Boyfriend As He Graduates

 

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Zachary,

Today’s the day! All that hard work and dedication that you’ve applied throughout the years is finally paying off today as you graduate high school! I know that you’re extremely excited, and I am too. This moment is a huge one. Today as you move your tassel from the right to the left, your life will be changing immensely. Walking across the stage will be one of your last moments as a high school student. Then it’s time for the real world. I know you have already “adulted” more than many of your fellow graduates, but there’s much more to come. And I know you’re ready for it.

It’s fairly strange to me when I think about what is actually going to happen only hours from now. You’re leaving the high school as I did the year prior. We will lose our immediate connection to the place that introduced us to each other last year. I know it won’t actually change anything for us, but deep down, it feels like an important mark. We met in that building. We grew to love each other in that building. And now, as the last attending of the duo, you are receiving your diploma and becoming an alumni of that very building. It’s bittersweet, but I’m so ready for us both to head north for our next big adventure- college!

In the past year and five-ish months that we’ve known each other, I’ve watched you excel in so many ways. You’ve gotten straight A’s while working at a steady job, and gotten accepted into the college you wanted. Every smile and excited scream you let out (you know exactly what I’m talking about) got me more stoked to see all the things that you could accomplish in the future. And now with all the things you have gotten done so far, I believe that the sky is the limit for you!

I am very proud of you for working so hard in school (in-between your naps in Mr. Perry’s class). You’re leaving behind a great legacy for yourself. And although high school is already designed to be hard enough on students, you had your fair share of difficult moments this year as well. The way that you managed yourself throughout those times of trouble really tell a lot about your character. You are brilliant, dedicated, and very mature. At this rate, nothing will get in your way.

You’ve not only made it through high school alive, but also done it so outstandingly. You are really inspirational to me and many others. I hope that when you toss your cap today, you truly feel all the hard work that you put forth these past years, and feel proud of yourself for all that you’ve done.

I love you so very much, and I am excited to see what all the future holds for you and  your bright mind.

Congrats, grad.

 

 

 

 

One Last Dance

 

This past weekend, I “went back to high school” and attended one last prom with my boyfriend. It was an amazing night, and definitely one that I’ll remember.

Now, before I hear all the negativity about how “people who graduated high school should stay out of high school”, let me just clarify something- my boyfriend is a senior, and he asked me to go. At first, I almost refused to go because I wanted to stay clear of high school events (other than sporting events because I had to cheer my man on). But after a lot of thinking, I realized that it was his last prom and he asked me to come because I’m his girlfriend and he wanted the night to be special. So, I decided that one more prom wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Something different about this year was that I didn’t mind how I looked. Previous years, I was so stressed about my dress, heels, makeup, and hair that I made prom almost unenjoyable. This year, I didn’t think it mattered. I just put whatever makeup on that I felt the most comfortable in, wore some old heels of my sisters, and was on my way. As long as I was comfortable and able to have fun, I was ready to go.

My boyfriend picked me up and dang was he looking good. Last year we rode together along with another mutual friend, and when we looked back at it this year, it was so crazy thinking about how much things had changed. This year, I was riding shotgun with his hand in mine- a much different experience than last year. Before, I was in the backseat and the only thing in my hand was my phone that was also the designated “aux phone.”

We took some pictures with his classmates, as well as other returning students from my graduating class- my cousin being one of them. Everyone looked amazing! They were also so friendly towards me, which I did not expect. I never had any negative feelings towards returning grads coming to prom while I was in high school, but I didn’t know how others felt about it. Seeing people happy to see me calmed a lot of my pre-prom jitters.

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Once we arrived at the venue, I almost forgot how nervous I was before. I don’t want to say that I felt like I was back in high school because I was self aware and didn’t do anything to jeopardize my comfort and warm welcome. However, I did not feel too out of place, and I wasn’t as self conscious as I had expected myself to be. Honestly, I think that knowing I wouldn’t see a lot of those people again made me feel more comfortable and ultimately gave me the courage to go out and dance with my friends.

The music wasn’t too terrible at points, and the great company on the dance floor helped make the bad songs a little less excruciating. We danced for hours and only took a few short breaks to take a quick sip before heading back out to dance like idiots again. Overall, prom wasn’t so bad.

After the dance was nearly over, Zach and I went with a couple friends from our table to the Wendy’s drive thru. I had been craving it all night and I was fairly vocal about it. We wanted to hang out together, but at 11 at night, not much is open and easily accessible for girls in gowns. So after thinking long and hard about the next move, we decided to part ways and go home to sleep.

Zach and I went back to my house so I could get out of the unbearably itchy dress I had forced myself into earlier. That’s when he gave me a surprise gift that meant the world to me. He handed me a book. On the inside it said “Why I Love You,” and contained pages full of pictures and (you guessed it) reasons he loved me. He had told me before I saw it that it was not perfect, but he was dead wrong. I had never received anything so beautiful before. Just thinking about it makes my heart melt all over again.

We finished the night with a nap and the remainder of the Wendy’s that we had brought home. Zach eventually went back to his house at around 2:30 a.m., and thus concluded our night.

Playing dress up can be fun for sure, but getting to do it along side the man you love makes it even more special. I’m grateful that Zach brought me back for one last dance. He made my last prom even better than the one I originally thought would be my last.

 

 

 

Reasons to Thank My (and Probably Your) Boyfriend

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Sometimes it’s hard to always be thankful for what your significant other does for you. When it’s consistent for so long, you tend to take it for granted. But recently I’ve been rethinking a lot of what has been going on in my relationship, and I realized how much my boyfriend does for me every single day. No, there was no fight or break up (he can’t get rid of me that easily). However, there was a time where I felt that I was not living up to the title of the “best girlfriend ever” that he had bestowed upon me. That’s when I noticed that he does so much for me and I need to recognize it more often.

1. He makes time for me.

He has a crazy schedule- school, basketball practice/game, homework/studying, work on the weekends. I’ve definitely seen it take its toll on him. However, he always finds a way to make time to see me. Sometimes he’ll  do something as simple as surprising me at my house briefly after practice, but it’ll stay on my mind for days. He tells me his favorite days are the ones where he gets to see me.

2. He brings me food.

There’s been a lot of times where I haven’t been feeling well or I’ve been too tired to go out, and Zach will bring me food and come watch Netflix with me. Sometimes when he goes to McDonalds with the intentions of getting himself food, he ends up impulsively buying me something too and bringing it to me. Hell, he’s even brought me food to work before. He really knows the way to my heart.

3. He spends time with my family.

I think any girlfriend can agree that seeing their boyfriend talk deeply with their parents/siblings can melt their heart. Zach and my sister had a rocky start, but they eventually got pretty close and now they talk almost every time he comes over- either about boys, school drama, college, or sports. My mom and Zach always talk about high school basketball since he’s on the team and she’s at every game. I love watching them talk. It never feels forced, and they always have a good laugh. Their conversations put a smile on my face, and faith in my heart.

4. He lets me pay for things sometimes.

Ok, some people are going to call him names or belittle him for this, I’m sure. But I look at it like this: He has a job, I have a job, we’re in a healthy relationship, and (as much as I hate to be this person) it’s 2018. Girls can pay if they want. Guys can pay if they want. Sometimes it takes some bickering back and forth, or even a race to grab the bill, but I still get my opportunity to show my love for Zachary by throwing down a little money. Of course money isn’t what love is about, but I believe that if you’re willing to pay for someone else, it’s kind and shows the other person that you care.

5. He’s my best friend.

Yes, this is sappy. But it’s 100% true. He’s my go-to when I have to share my thoughts. He stays up late by his phone so I can tell him stories about work or school. He lets me gossip, and even chimes in sometimes just so I don’t feel ridiculous. But the best thing by far is that he lets me feel so comfortable with who I am. I can’t even begin to count how many “friends” I’ve had that have been judgmental towards me and my strange behaviors. Zach has embraced every single mood, characteristic, and vibe that I have portrayed.

6. He’s a good cook.

One perk of having a man who likes to eat is that he knows how to cook. When we stayed in Cleveland for his birthday, he made chicken parm that Gordon Ramsey would have (maybe) not hated. If I hadn’t been so tired when we had dinner- it was midnight when we finally got to sit down and eat- I would’ve eaten every last bit. Plus, he’s Italian so that definitely works in his favor!

7. He looks at me when I’m “not looking” and gives me forehead kisses.

There’s times when we’re together, lying down in bed, where I’ll start to doze off on his chest. Sometimes I like to peek at him, and see if he’s about to fall asleep too. But I always catch him looking at me. It’s not a “ew, get this thing off of me” look. It’s definitely a “wow, I’m so lucky” look. And it gets me every time. Sometimes I’ll ask him why he’s looking at me that way, to which I get a “huh? Oh, I don’t know” response. Other times I shut my eyes tight before he notices that I even saw him. Then, almost like a routine, he smirks (adorably, I might add) and gently kisses my forehead. That’s the best way to fall asleep, trust me.

It’s so easy to take all of these things for granted when you’re exposed to them all the time. However, I can’t let myself look past these random acts of love anymore. I recognize them for what they’re worth- everything. Zach has shown me that I have his heart, and that is something I do not take lightly. He is my best friend, partner in crime, and Friday night dinner date. But above all, he is the love that I never expected to find.

 

To Zachary

My dearest Zachary,

With this special day just about over when I’m writing this, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much you mean to me. We’ve known each other for about a year, and the whole time you’ve been leaving your mark on me. Whenever I slip and say one of your signature phrases, I know that a piece of you is always with me.

You’ve been such an important part of my life for the past year- even when I really couldn’t stand you. You were the one I could always count on to cheer me up at school when I was having a bad day. I always knew that you’d either say something funny or just do something so stupid that it would make me laugh uncontrollably. Once we became good friends, I realized that you were so much more than just a person to laugh at/with. You were someone with aspirations that so few would ever imagine. You’re deeper than what I thought. You were in tough with your emotions in a way that I had never seen any other guy be. You cared for people so much more than I ever could. It amazed me. To this day, I am amazed by all that you are.

Our past few months together have been noting short of unbelievable. You’ve slow danced with me in my room until I’ve fallen over laughing and sang with me at the top of our lungs during car rides. Whenever we’re together, it feels like the happy parts of any Hallmark movie. Sometimes the smiles we have on our faces start to hurt, but we still can’t make them go away. But I really never want them to. Our smiles mean something so special to me. Especially when we’re laughing together. We laugh about the dumbest things until we’re red in the face (which isn’t hard since we both are a couple of tomatoes).

But with every high comes a low. We’ve been there for each other through questions of faith, personal heartache, and so much more. Although it seemed easy at times, we never gave up on each other. Some things we went through were so much more than people our age should ever have to go through, but not once did we leave each other’s side. And I think that speaks volumes about our relationship.

Now, since it’s your birthday (or at least it was before I posted this), I want to thank you for a few things- 18 things to be exact.

  1. Thank you for transferring to my school for my very last semester of high school.
  2. Thank you for giving me advice (even the times that it was about boys).
  3. Thank you for driving me to my senior prom AND letting me have the aux cord the whole time.
  4. Thank you for finally following me back on twitter in SEPTEMBER. SEPTEMBER. No, I promise I’m not mad that it took you nine months to follow me back.
  5. Thank you for having such a cool family that always makes me feel welcomed and at home.
  6. Thank you for rushing to my house in the middle of the night when I’m upset.
  7. Thank you for always motivating me and pushing me past the boundaries I set for myself.
  8. Thank you for having four letters in your name so all my friends could have a shirt.
  9. Thank you for telling me I’m right when I’m clearly wrong, but way too passionate to admit it.
  10. Thank you for listening to me when I share gossip or stories about work.
  11. Thank you for forehead kisses that put a smile on my face.
  12. Thank you for not laughing at me when I cry during The Grinch (or basically any movie. But especially The Grinch).
  13. Thank you for always telling me you’re proud of me.
  14. Thank you for singing Falling in Reverse with me way too loud.
  15. Thank you for not caring when my legs aren’t super smooth (you still crack jokes, but at least you’re not being serious).
  16. Thank you for calling me beautiful when I’m in sweats with no makeup and my hair tied back.
  17. Thank you for making time for me even though you have a crazy schedule that barely coordinates with mine.
  18. Thank you for being my best friend and boyfriend all wrapped up into one.

I want you to know that I am always on your side. I will root for you even when nobody else does. When you feel like you’re alone, remember you’ve got me now, and you’ll have me always. You’re the best thing to ever happen to me Zachary.

Happy (late) birthday.

I love you.