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    BYOTissues: This Is Us is Back

    BYOTissues: This Is Us is Back

    Obligatory *spoiler alert!*

    On Tuesday night, the Emmy Award winning drama This Is Us returned to NBC, and it did not disappoint. I absolutely anticipate that I will be reduced to a puddle of tears every #TissueTuesday—yes, that’s a thing—this fall as the storyline repeatedly rips my heart out.

    Our reunion with the Pearson triplets began with their thirty-seventh birthdays, harkening back to the season one premiere, and a lot has happened since we last saw them. Kevin and Kate have moved to LA to pursue their acting and music careers, respectively, and Kate is still engaged to Toby. Randall remains on…

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    Dancing Pandas and The Search for Everything

    Dancing Pandas and The Search for Everything

    “And that’s how John Mayer ended up with dancing pandas.”

    It’s not every day that one reads such a sentence in a New York Times piece, but when it comes to John Mayer, is anyone really surprised?

    Mayer has made quite the reputation for himself, not only as a talented musician but as a man who can’t seem to control his “stupid mouth” in a number scandalous interviews. In the aftermath, he escaped to Montana, where he moved toward redemption, apologizing for many of those wrongdoings in Paradise Valley (2013), identifying many of his shortcomings (“I Will Be Found”), and promising maturity…

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    Confessions of a Foodaholic

    Confessions of a Foodaholic

    During the summer following my junior year of college, I attended a handful of Overeaters Anonymous meetings. I was plagued with compulsive overeating, binge eating, whatever you want to call it, starting in high school, having been off and on diets since age 14, and it reached its height in college; hence the infamous rock bottom that lead me to OA. OA is based on the same principles and twelve steps as AA, simply replacing alcohol with food, and it was not until OA that I faced or even recognized the depth of my problem. Anything you associate with an…

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    #allthefeels: Trying to Control Emotions in a World of Chaos

    #allthefeels: Trying to Control Emotions in a World of Chaos

    NPR’s fascinating podcast Invisibilia is back for its third season, and all is right with the world. Now we can all geek out about the strange ways our minds and bodies work and have everything we thought we knew about ourselves turned on its head.

    The first episode is a heavy hitter, covering a few stories and research discoveries that reveal different facets of human emotions: where they come from, how they affect us, and whether we can control them. The hosts spend most of the episode discussing a Missouri supreme court case that resulted from a fatal car accident. In…

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    The Gospel According to Gandalf

    The Gospel According to Gandalf

    It’s no secret that J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is full of Christian imagery, but upon diving into The Fellowship of the Ring, I soon realized that I had vastly underestimated the extent of said imagery. I was so taken aback and borderline giddy by the powerful, convicting metaphors I was reading that I started underlining and writing margin notes, a practice formerly saved exclusively for academic reading but never ever done when reading for pleasure. One passage in particular stuck out to me.

    Towards the beginning of Tolkien’s narrative, Gandalf explains the dark history of the Rings to…

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    Hopelessly Devoted: Psalm One Hundred Three Verse Fourteen

    Hopelessly Devoted: Psalm One Hundred Three Verse Fourteen

    If you imagine God looking at you, what expression does he have on his face?

    This question was posed by a Bible study curriculum I did in college, and it has always stuck with me, convicting me of my inaccurate perception of my heavenly Father.

    If I’m honest with myself, my default answer would be that God looks at me with frustration or disappointment, wondering why I can’t get my act together, why I can’t get a grip on that sin that just won’t go away. My perception of God is tied so closely to how well I think I’m fulfilling the…

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    The Gospel According to Beauty and the Beast

    The Gospel According to Beauty and the Beast

    Well, Disney, you did it again. You brought yet another animated classic to life with stunning costumes and incredible effects, transporting every audience member back to her childhood.

    I am referring, of course, to Beauty and the Beast. Although a more seasoned film critic might find fault with aspects of the movie—yes, parts are slightly hokey and some of the acting is off—I would advise against arguing about the quality of the movie with a 90s kid who grew up on this story and was thrilled at the idea of enjoying it again. I loved every minute of it. I laughed. I…

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    This Is Us, Unfortunately

    This Is Us, Unfortunately

    Golden Globe-nominated This Is Us follows the lives of triplets Kate, Kevin, and Randall. Kate and Kevin were the two surviving babies of a triplet pregnancy, and their parents, Rebecca and Jack, were determined to bring home three babies. Enter Randall: a black baby who had been left at the fire station by his biological father on the same day the other two were born. As the story unfolds during each episode, viewers get a glimpse into each character’s past and therefore a deeper understanding of their present—and an ever-increasing attachment to the characters themselves.

    Unlike most entertainment today (including reality TV),…

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    Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Fifteen Verses Fifty Six and Fifty Seven

    Hopelessly Devoted: First Corinthians Fifteen Verses Fifty Six and Fifty Seven

    At the end of Hamilton, Philip, Hamilton’s oldest son, is shot and killed in a duel. Hamilton and his wife, Eliza, attempt to put their lives back together, moving uptown, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. “It’s Quiet Uptown,” arguably the most haunting song of the entire musical, describes their pain as they continue through life, unable to articulate or comprehend what has happened to them. Hamilton, whose career was built on words, finds himself in a situation where words have lost all meaning. Two lines near the end of the song ring painfully true: “There are moments…

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    A Love Letter from King George

    A Love Letter from King George

    I recently caved and jumped on the Hamilton bandwagon. The two-and-a-half-hour hip-hop soundtrack took me about four days to listen to all the way through, and, I must admit, I now understand and appreciate what the hype is about. Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and winner of eleven Tony Awards, tells the story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton: how he came to America, his role in founding our country, and all the (romantic) drama in between.

    One of my favorite songs at the moment—which is probably very telling about my taste in music—is “You’ll Be Back.” King George (Jonathan Groff) sings…

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    Summer Camp: A Vacation from the Real World

    Summer Camp: A Vacation from the Real World

    Telling an anxious, Type-A person, like myself, not to take herself too seriously is nothing more than a practice in futility. Nevertheless, I have heard this message three times in various forms within the past week. Even in the slogan on the back of a Yellow Cab: “Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.”

    Whenever I hear people talk about being able to laugh at themselves, I automatically think of summer camp. I have spent eleven summers, sixty-four weeks to be exact, at Camp Merrie-Woode for Girls in western North Carolina. To give you some context, it is often…

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