Mattress Firm: Aiding Sleep, or Schemes?

That’s right, folks. It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room: The Mattress Firm Conspiracy Theory.

Forget your basic Berenstain Bears Mandela effects – this next level conspiracy theory will make you say “Illuminati, who?”

If you’re not familiar with the Mattress Firm Conspiracy Theory, here’s a quick rundown (you can also watch the video Youtuber Shane Dawson made about it): Back in January, a Reddit user commented that they believed Mattress Firm, the largest specialty mattress retailer in the US is a money laundering company, according to Business Insider.

For those who don’t know what money laundering is, according to the Google dictionary, it is “the concealment of the origins of illegally obtained money, typically by means of transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses.” Think Al Capone; people or businesses obtain money illegally but lie about where the money came from, typically claiming that the money was made honestly through business or came from foreign countries legally.

Though the original Reddit thread has since been deleted, other diligent citizens of the US took it upon themselves to investigate. Several videos surfaced on YouTube of people driving around their city Mattress Firm hunting. Some people discovered that there were three, sometimes four or more Mattress Firms within a couple of miles of one another. Check out this google map of Mattress Firms in Austin, Texas:


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Even in-and-around Boston, one can see the uncanny abundance of Mattress Firms:

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Creepy, right? What makes it double-creepy is that there are never ANY people in these stores. Having a Mattress Firm in my own hometown, I don’t ever see any customers, nor even bored employees having pillow fights with one another. So, how are these businesses staying afloat?

I did some digging of my own to try and find out why Mattress Firm feels the need to take up so many storefronts that could be housing much-needed Chipotles (I love me some chips and guac). An article from the Chicago Tribune back in 2016, which included direct quotes from the former CEO of Mattress Firm Ken Murphy (we’ll talk about his resignation later on), said that the abundance of storefronts wasn’t all that strange.


CEO Ken Murphy

Murphy explained that because the prices of mattresses are so high, even just the sale of one or two mattresses is enough to keep a store front open for months. Additionally, he said that, even if the businesses don’t do well, the storefronts are at least good advertising for the company.

Yeah, because that seems logical; instead of maybe spending some *cough* fake *cough* money on commercials, why not just buy a whole store?

Something is fishy, here, and it’s not just this guy’s neckbeard.

While the original Reddit thread might be forever lost on the interwebs, another Reddit user resurrected the theory, further elaborating on it:


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Also, where do people most often hide money? (Cue spooky music) UNDER THE MATTRESS.

To further support this theory, Mattress Firm has yet to publish its full-year accounts, meaning that the company hasn’t made public all of the business transactions it’s made… “accounting irregularities” my ass. Additionally, multiple executives, including CEO Murphy, have resigned since this conspiracy theory has gone viral.

Their throne of mattresses is tumbling to the ground.

Call conspiracy theories BS all you want, but you have to admit, this one sounds pretty legit. Something shady is happening at Mattress Firm, and it’s not just the fact that they aren’t a certified Tempurpedic Mattress seller (seriously, Tempurpedic sleep really is power).

Check out Mattress Firm’s Response to the conspiracy theory here.


The Challenge of Being Female on the Internet

I had a friend request from myself.

Worse than the unsettling experience of receiving a friend request from you that you hadn’t sent was the fact that it wasn’t really surprising at all. Since, for the past week or two, I’d been occasionally contacted by a Goodreads account that was an exact copy of my own.

As someone who has discovered a love for rereading books I loved in childhood, I set a goal of rereading every Sarah Dessen book in 2018. As I finished another reread of the queen of middle school literature, I logged into Goodreads to update my review.

Before I did, I checked my notifications. And saw my own profile picture. My name, with the same lowercase E I use on my profiles.

“emma started following you.”

“emma commented on your review of The Moon and More.”

I clicked the comment. My review of The Moon and More, another Sarah Dessen book, indicated my pleasant surprise at finding a condemnation of the phrase “not like other girls” in a 2009 book. For context, probably zero authors in 2018 know that that’s not a cool thing to say.

This fake me commented, “I changed my mind. I just finished rereading Along for the Ride, and Sarah Dessen is a total racist.”

In addition to the creepiness of being impersonated, and the disgust at some internet troll calling a completely innocent author racist, there was something more unsettling: I’d logged in in order to update that I’d reread Along for the Ride. I’d never marked it as currently reading: either it was a lucky guess by the impersonator, or they somehow had access to my browser history and could see the library ebook version I’d finished.

I was so anxious I felt sick to my stomach, but not panicked enough to think the latter situation was likely. I reported the account to Goodreads, deleted the comment, and moved on.

But I couldn’t stop refreshing the impersonator’s page as the account set a reading challenge identical to mine, as it friended my friends, as it operated as me. When the troll realized I’d deleted the comment, they ragefully wrote that I was actually a hacker and they were me, forced to create a new account as I continued to pretend to be, well, me. I deleted the comment again.

I posted on Instagram about it. I reported the account again, and the friend request it sent me. But days passed, and nothing happened.

Soon it became clear that the account was being run by another troll – one I’d blocked after he commented strange things on everything I posted. My roommate and I, having seen countless episodes of Catfish, reverse image searched his profile picture. Eventually, we found that he was using the photos of a Massachusetts man, who was married to a woman who had once taught a class I took last semester, though she wasn’t my professor.

Eventually, Goodreads took down the impostor, apologizing for the delay. But the original profile of the troll who ran it still exists, and I got a friend request two days ago from an account with an email address close to his username.

Ultimately, the troll didn’t do any damage to me beyond a couple weeks of increased stress and anxiety. But it was a reminder of something I hadn’t forgotten: It’s really hard to be a woman on the internet.

Since I started a public, book-related Instagram in 2015, I’ve been getting weird comments and messages, always from men, often sexually harassing in nature. The mere fact of my having the nerve to write about books on profiles with my face on them has opened me up to a series of unpleasant interactions. Yet there hadn’t been one like this.

While I appreciate Goodreads’ response in taking down the profile, and the sympathetic, righteously angry responses of the people I told about it, I’m not going to be able to forget that it happened. 

The Goodreads site is a prime example of the difficulties of being non-male on the internet. As the vast majority of the site’s users are women, it attracts a number of men for reasons other than an interest in reading. So while it may seem surprising that this would happen to me on GR, of all places, it’s really anything but. My desire to talk about things I love in the way I want to talk about them made me a target for some troll, and showing my face on public profiles has made me a target for dozens of men. To be a woman on the internet is, often, to be targeted.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

Starting a blog is a very daunting idea, but anyone is able to start one. Before I created my blog, I wish I had a better understanding of what I was getting myself in to. Although it is feasible to start a blog without a solid plan, I would strongly recommend against it. If you are considering starting a blog, here are 10 tips that I wish I would have known before I started my own blog.

It’s a LOT of work- When I first started my blog I had NO idea what I was doing. It took me a good month to figure out how to work my website. My naive self thought, “Oh this will be fun, I can just take a few pictures and write about it. It’ll be easy!”. And wow, was I wrong. I wasn’t wrong about the fun part, it is a lot of fun (but it may not be enjoyable for everyone). It takes a lot of dedication to stay consistent. 


Patience is key- I cannot stress this enough, patience is key! I may be the most impatient person in the world, so this is VERY challenging for me. It takes time to build a following and get a clear vision of what you want to do. If you don’t get your desired results right way, don’t stop. Keep believing in yourself and keep going! Not everything you do will be successful. My best advice is to use defeat as encouragement to be even better.


Not everyone will support you- This was something that I have struggled with a lot, especially in high school. Not everyone liked the idea of my fashion blog but guess what, I did it anyways. Once you find your target audience, then you will find your blog’s purpose. Although everyone may not support you, make sure you have a solid support team to lead on. Without my team of cheerleaders, I have no idea if I would still be blogging.


Be careful with who you work with- At first I wanted to work with anyone and everyone, but I quickly learned that it is not the smartest idea. Say yes to brands that represent your values and purpose. If Vineyard Vines reached out to me, that would be a huge deal, but I would not be able to say yes because they don’t fit my style and brand. I have had to say no to people because my viewers would be confused if I advertised for them.


Don’t force yourself to write- You will not always be in the mood to write, so don’t force it. Your viewers will be able to tell if the writing was rushed. With every piece of content you post, make sure you are putting in 110%.


Social media breaks are totally fine- Every once in a while, I have to take a break and not post for a while. Trying to keep up with social media is just plain exhausting. Putting my computer and phone away is therapeutic for me. Also, taking a break also gives me time to come up with more quality ideas.


Get organized- I am still continually learning how to do this but being organized is a MUST. To stay on top of things, I bought a planner specifically for blog things. I also make a posting schedule for my content so I can be more consistent. Google Drive is also an amazing organization tool. Take advantage of it! In my Google Drive, I store and organize all my

It’s okay to ask for help- If you’re like me, you try to do everything on your own. Every once in a while, it’s okay to ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak, it just means that your are eager to get better. Look up books, podcasts, webinars, etc. that will teach you how to improve your blog. Also, reach out to people in the industry and other bloggers for advice. Most of the time they are more than willing to help!pexels-photo-630839.jpeg

Set goals for yourself- You will never become more successful if you don’t set goals for yourself. First set short term goals: goals for the week, month, and year. Next, set long term goals such as your dream job or dream place to live. Make sure you constantly review your goals for encouragement and to see your progress.


Just go for it- My final tip is to just go for it. If you really want it, you will find a way to get it. It’s normal to have some doubts but don’t let those stop you from pursuing your dreams. Be smart and strategic but also have a little faith. A year ago I never thought I would be where I am but with hard work and a little faith I have exceeded my wildest dreams. 


My College Basketball Losing Curse

Now that the basketball season is over, I can openly admit that I might be the reason Emerson lost a few games… Okay, I get how silly it may sound but the curse has been proven. It all started in the game against Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) when they lost by one point in a 74-73 game. After the first time, I did not think much of the loss. It was just unlucky, right? I continued going to games and they continued to lose. Some games by 5 points, some by 20 but it wasn’t until I visited Duke that I actually believed in my curse.

If you aren’t familiar with Duke basketball, it is a HUGE deal. They are known for how many college players end up in the NBA, such as Kyrie Irving. To get tickets for these games, students legitimately camp outside of the basketball stadium for weeks. I thought that my friend was kidding about how intense they get, but then I got the chance to see it before my own eyes and actually got to participate in tenting.


On the day of the game, my friend and I woke up at 7 a.m. to go and wait for the 3 p.m. game. It was exhausting, to say the least. When I arrived at the area of the tents, I was absolutely shocked to see all the trouble they go through for some tickets (which I totally understand now). They would have random “tent checks” which consists of people scurrying from their tents to get ID checks. The trick to these checks is that 6 members must be present at all times. Some people made excel schedule sheets to schedule times to ensure 6 people are in the tent. I got to participate with my borrowed Duke ID (which looked nothing like me). With my friends’ group of friends, I was able to get front row seats at the game against the University of Virginia.


I was definitely excited about the game but by halftime, I was fully in the game. I even learned all of their cheers (but I was kind of forced to or else I would have looked like an idiot on TV). This game was a nail-biter and was back and forth the whole time. The game was predicted to be won by Duke, which gave fans even more anxiety about the closeness of the score. Duke is also known for their record-breaking wins in the Cameron Stadium. The day I attended the game, January 27, was also the first time since 1973 that Duke and UNC lost on their home court. It wasn’t until after that I opened a Snapchat from my friend back at Emerson that said, “you’re bad luck they shouldn’t have lost,” that I really considered being bad luck.

To test out to see if my curse really was true, I attended an Emerson basketball game against Clark. When I arrived it started off as a close half and then they started to fall behind to Clark. I felt increasingly guilty as the game continued so I decided to leave to see if they had a better chance. My roommate was keeping updated play by play and at the last second, the game went into overtime by a 3-point shot to tie the game. After they won in overtime, it was official: I was bad luck.

After my little experiment, I came to the conclusion that I have cursed college basketball teams. As silly as it may seem, I really am convinced that I caused them to lose. Maybe next year I can test out my bad luck theory again but as of now, I am keeping my distance from any and all basketball teams. Hopefully, my curse is only on college basketball teams, I have been too nervous to see if I’ll jinx NBA teams too…

The Formula for the Perfect Party Playlist


Have you ever been to a party where the atmosphere was amazing, the pigs in a blanket were cooked just right, you and your friends were having an awesome time laughing and making fools of yourself… but the music sucked? There’s nothing worse than a party playlist that sounds like it was made by the DJ at your middle school dance. Everyone’s just standing around awkwardly, sipping “punch” in an effort to keep from cringing. If you’re worried that your next party is going to be like I just described, have no fear: I’ve come up with the formula for the best party playlist that will be sure to please everyone, even the host yourself! You can also make this playlist for your friend who thinks Jake Paul’s “Everyday Bro” is appropriate party music (don’t come for me Jake Paul stans, it’s just the truth).

The formula is as follows:

  1. A heaping serving of current hits: they’re popular for a reason. Though everyone’s already heard these songs twenty million times on the way to your party, people will sing and dance along like they’ve been waiting for them to come on all night. Bonus points if the top 40 songs are good to dance to. We all love ourselves some Adele, but “Hello” calls for tissues, not partying.

Suggested songs: God’s Plan by Drake, Wolves by Selena Gomez and Marshmello, Finesse by Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B, Descpactio by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber, Know No Better by Major Lazer feat. Quavo, Travis Scott, and Camila Cabello

  1. An equal amount of throwbacks: More specifically, late 90s to early 2000s throwbacks. You need something to balance out all of those current hits on your playlist. Though these songs have retired to music heaven, there’s nothing wrong with resurrecting some classic, all-time favorites. While temporarily forgotten, everyone will miraculously begin belting out the lyrics after the first couple of cords ring out.

Suggested songs: I Want It That Way by The Backstreet Boys, Don’t Trust Me by 3OH!3, Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus, Everytime We Touch by Cascada, …Baby One More Time by Brittney Spears

  1. A splash of 80s music: These are different from the previous throwbacks. You can’t put too many of these songs on your playlist, as some people might not be as “woke” to them. However, there are a select few that are universal favorites that the majority will still be able to jam to.

Suggested songs: Thriller by Michael Jackson, Come On Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls, Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley (yes, I’m giving you permission to rickroll people)

  1. 1 Don’t Stop Believin’: Every playlist needs this song. Everyone knows it, and everyone loves it (even if only secretly). Even the hipsters who turn up their noses at “over-played” songs will be bobbing their fedora-clad heads to this tune.
  2. A healthy serving of rap music: Put some of these songs on your playlist, and everyone will suddenly start choosing the thug life. Get ready to figure out which of your friends is Jay-Z’s prodigy, and which is a wannabe Kanye West.

Suggested songs: Butterfly Effect by Travis Scott, Passionfruit by Drake, XO Tour Life by Lil Uzi Vert, Bodak Yellow by Cardi B, Unforgettable by French Montanna feat. Swae Lee

  1. A dash of EDM: Also known as Electronic Dance Music. Tread carefully when deciding what specific type of EDM you want to put on your playlist. You should probably steer clear of Dubstep (which is a mish-mosh of computer generated sounds, usually with few lyrics), but Trap (lots of bass, similar to rap) and House (think Chainsmokers or David Guetta) are usually safe choices.

Suggested songs: No Promises by Cheat Codes feat. Demi Lovato, It Ain’t Me by Kygo feat. Selena Gomez, There for You by Martin Garrix feat. Troye Sivan, Best Friend by Sofi Tukker, NERVO, The Knocks, and Alisa Ueno

  1. A sprinkle of line dance/group dance songs: You learned them either from your friend Kimmy in 5th grade or by watching YouTube videos for an embarrassingly long time, and you could do them in your sleep. These songs, though a bit corny, never fail to get everyone dancing.

Suggested songs: The Cupid Shuffle by Cupid, Watch Me by Silento, Cotton Eye Joe by Rednex, YMCA by The Village People, The Cha Cha Slide by Mr. C

  1. A spot of musical theatre songs: All 525,600 theatre kids in the room will go crazy. You will automatically out who was in their sixth-grade production of Grease as Rydell High Student #4.

Suggested songs: My Shot by the cast of Hamilton, Seasons of Love by the cast of Rent, Defying Gravity by the cast of Wicked, You Can’t Stop the Beat by the cast of Hairspray

  1. 3 (no more, no less) Pitbull songs: You can roll your eyes all you want, but don’t lie. All of us have willfully jammed to one of his songs at some party or another, even if it was your grandmother’s 60th birthday party. People might hate on Mr. Worldwide, but his songs are catchy.

Suggested songs: Timber by Pitbull feat. Kesha, Time of Our Lives by Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Give Me Everything by Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer

  1. A pinch of personal favorites: Be careful about over-indulging yourself. There’s nothing wrong with adding a few songs to appease yourself, but proceed with caution- not everyone might like what you like. If you can, try and pick some of your favorites that coincide with a previous category, or that you know other people at your party will enjoy.

Suggested songs (and some of my personal favorites): Closer by The Chainsmokers, Sugar, We’re Goin Down By Fall Out Boy, No Problem by Chance The Rapper feat. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne

At the end of the day, it’s important to know your audience. So, if you think your partygoers would enjoy a bit more 80s music and less top 40 hits, that’s okay- adjust the formula to suit your needs. No matter how you go about using it, however, I can assure you that no one will be sitting around at your party whispering about how bad the music is. If you’re on a time crunch and don’t have time to craft your own playlist, feel free to use my very own party playlist, which includes all of the songs mentioned in this post, as well some others of my own choosing. Don’t forget to make smart decisions when going to or hosting a party. Have fun!

My First Time in NYC

To think that I’m 19 and I just went to New York for the first time in my life is crazy to me. Especially if you really know me and the fashionista I am, it’s even crazier. I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous that New York wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of the skyscrapers, high-end fashion stores, and taxi crazed streets. I dreamed that one day I would walk the streets like Carrie Bradshaw and get to wear ridiculous fashion.

To get the full experience of New York, I took a train there. When I was first entering the station I couldn’t help but compare the surroundings to Harry Potter. I was ready to run into a wall and magically appear in New York . My inner Texan was so excited to go on a four-hour trip and actually end up in a new state and to use transportation other than a car.

Once I arrived in New York, I immediately headed to Times Square. It was probably very apparent that I was a tourist but did I care? Definitely not. I was just so happy to actually be in the city. I got a chance to see all of the stores, stop by some Instagram-worthy restaurants, and I even got scammed by those costume people to take a picture with them so they can force you to tip them after. Later that day I got the chance to walk around 5th Avenue and fangirl over all of the high-end designers like Gucci and Prada. To take a little detour, my friend and I decide to check out the infamous Plaza Hotel. Going to the Plaza was something that I had always dreamed of. Yes, I was excited to see the opulent atmosphere but I was really just excited to see where Eloise was shot. I even got a chance to browse the gift shop. The Plaza was also a part of the main reason for going to New York: New York Fashion Week.

New York Fashion Week was an amazing first way to explore New York. Although my weekend was mostly composed of working, I still feel like I got a good grasp of the city. I was truly in my element meeting people from the fashion industry and going to fashion shows. I got to see Dahlia Razook who is a dress designer for stars like J Lo, Gwen Stefani, Lady Gaga and more. The highlight of my event was working at the Simply NYC Fashion and Beauty Conference. At the event, I was able to meet stars such as Vanessa Hudgens, Brittany Snow, Bethany Moda, and more. To top off the whole weekend, I was able to attend the Art Hearts Fashion show with designers from all over the world. For more details on my New York Fashion Week experience, I wrote about it on my personal blog .

After less 72 hours of being in the city, I have already decided I am going to live there at some point in my life. Although I didn’t get to see all of the city due to time and weather constraints, I still feel like I have a pretty good grasp of what the city has to offer. I can’t wait to go back and get more basic New York Instagram pics and continue to explore the city!

Oscar-Worthy Releases of December 2017

December is finally here and so is the end of 2017. In the film industry, most look to this month as being the time when the next year’s Oscar contenders shine. Though there are many other worthy films that came out earlier this year, these are the newest competitors for the 2018 awards season to see later this month. 

Darkest Hour – December 8

Gary Oldman’s interpretation of Churchill has been getting so much Oscar buzz that he is a shoe-in for a Best Actor nomination. Taking place immediately before WWII, Darkest Hour depicts Churchill’s efforts to slow the impending war from happening. Churchill, however, must decide whether he wants to negotiate with the Nazis or follow his own values and rally his new nation. Oldman’s complete transformation into Churchill is uncanny and, because of it, it might finally get him the Oscar he has deserved for so long.

The main contender in Darkest Hour is definitely Oldman in his portrayal of Churchill. Though it’s going to be a tight race for Best Actor, he has been a frontrunner for quite some time.

The Disaster Artist – December 8

Similar to Tommy Wiseau’s participation in The Room, James Franco directed, produced, and starred in The Disaster Artist, a film based on the making of the infamously bad movie, The Room. Departing from the rest of this list, The Disaster Artist is a comedy, which might bring some variety to the Best Picture nominee list. Though it might not immediately be seen as a true contender because of its genre, it has been noted to be a dark horse in the race, meaning this film might just surprise everyone in its success during next year’s awards season.

The Disaster Artist has been receiving a lot of attention, especially towards James Franco, in recent independent award ceremonies. This could be his chance to receive nominations for not only Directo but also Best Actor.

 The Shape of Water – December 8

Guillermo del Toro’s newest film received tons of praise in its festival debut and continues to garner love from critics. The Shape of Water is an unconventional love story between a mute named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and a sea creature who is in danger from the evil Strickland (Michael Shannon). Though a fantasy – a genre that does not always get enough appreciation during awards season – del Toro’s consistently fantastic art direction is bound to get recognition from the Academy. The Shape of Water’s outpour of critical acclaim puts it in the front-runner’s spot and could be the first fantasy since Return of the King to receive the biggest award of Oscar Night.

For some reason, there has been a lack of nominations for The Shape of Water, much to the dismay of many critics. Nevertheless, the film could still shine not only in the directing and acting nominations – particularly for Hawkins and Shannon – but also in the technical awards like Best Original Score, Art Direction and Visual Effects.

Call Me by Your Name – December 22

Many critics have already noted Call Me by Your Name as being the next best coming-of-age classic. An LGBTQ romance, Call Me by Your Name has the potential to break boundaries once again for the LGBTQ community, as Moonlight did earlier this year. It follows seventeen-year-old, Elio (Timothée Chalamet), in Italy during the summer of 1983. During his time there, Elio meets and eventually falls for an American named Oliver (Armie Hammer), his father’s assistant. Its fantastic casting and beautiful cinematography have also been receiving non-stop critical acclaim, making this film a force to be reckoned with.

So far, Call Me by Your Name has been extremely successful in the awards circuit. Chalamet is the one to beat for Best Actor, as he continues to be celebrated by critics. Call Me by Your Name and Lady Bird is the two front-runners for nearly any award this upcoming year, as both coming-of-age stories have proven themselves as the most worthy competitors of the year.

The Post – December 22 (Limited; Wide Release: January 12)

Merely by saying it’s a Steven Spielberg film starring both Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep indicates an Oscar contender. The Post is a film about the Watergate scandal and the Washington Post’s involvement in the release of the tapes. Streep plays Kay Graham, the country’s first female newspaper publisher, and Hanks plays Ben Bradlee, an editor at the newspaper, as they both work together to form a battle with the government. With his past repertoire of biopics, Spielberg proves, again and again, to do no wrong in this genre. Along with a stellar cast and highly relevant subject matter, The Post is looking to be a major competitor in next year’s Oscar race.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to say that Spielberg has the opportunity to grab a Directing nod and Streep and Hanks to grab their own acting nominations. Though there haven’t been any screenings as of yet, their credibility due to their past credits allows a great probability for nominations their respective categories.

Phantom Thread – December 25

Yet another great film collaboration, this time in the form of director and writer Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis, gives Phantom Thread a high probability of being a nominee. Exploring a topic seldom seen in film, the film takes place after WWII in London where a famous fashion designer named Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis) meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), who becomes his muse and eventually disrupts his day-to-day life due to his infatuation. Day-Lewis never seems to fail in his impeccable delivery as an actor and he doesn’t cease to amaze both audiences and critics. Since this might possibly be his final role as an actor, it would be ludicrous to think he would fall short of people’s high expectations. With such a great director also attached, Phantom Thread will be a tough film to compete against.

Anderson’s track record in past Oscar ceremonies would say that he is guaranteed a writing nomination and Day-Lewis always seems to wow the critics. Since reviews have not been released yet, other categories are less certain. However, based on reputation alone, it is apparent that there will be more to be had for Phantom Thread.

With so many great films both throughout the film and in this upcoming month, it might be overwhelming to catch up on all of the contenders.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

There’s a shocking degree of disagreement over what makes an ideal chocolate chip cookie. Some people are confused, and believe the word “cookie” means “top of muffin” or “weird small cake” – these individuals shall wander through life in search of soft cookies. Some people are wrong and/or masochistic, and lead joyless existences filled with crispy cookies. For whatever reason, this group is unwilling to recognize that chomping down on a handful of gravel mixed with brown sugar would fulfill the same craving. And finally, some people are correct and know a chewy cookie to be not only the most satisfying of all cookie textures, but to be the best food on Earth.

It may surprise you to discover that I am of the latter population.

I spent much of my summer seeking cookie enlightenment. I was born granting chewy cookies their due respect, but I had another, far more broad quandary.

What makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe?

After trying over a dozen recipes, sustaining several small bruises to the hand, and somehow avoiding a salmonella diagnosis despite probably consuming a dozen raw eggs through cookie dough eating . . . I have an answer. We’ll get to the highlights in a moment.

But first, IT’S RUBRIC TIME.




(A good chocolate chip cookie does not taste like dough and chocolate chips, because boring. A quality CCC (a slang term I am attempting unsuccessfully to start) also has a caramelly/toffee-y taste from all the ingredients blending together perfectly. Insert chef kissing his fingers here.)


(This varies from person to person, but I happen to think that less is more when it comes to chocolate chips. Like, if I wanted a bite of pure chocolate, I would eat chocolate and stop wasting my time. I wanna taste that cookie!)


(I hate effort. If the process takes like a million bowls – and I don’t mean “dry ingredients in one, others in another,” because I never do that – or ANY CHILLING OF THE DOUGH IS REQUIRED, I’m out.)


(Dough should be either really good – yum! – or not great – then I won’t eat it. But it should always be worse than the cookies themselves. Otherwise what is the point of baking it at all, and dough does not keep like cookies can, so I just have to sit there and eat three dozen cookies’ worth of dough??? Come on.)


  1. Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewiness: 1.5/5

Flavor complexity: 2/5

Chocolate chip-to-dough ratio: 4/5

Ease of baking process: 5/5

Uncooked dough quality: 3/5

Overall: 15.5/25

This is an eh cookie. It is extremely easy to make, but also every single bite you take of it will remind you of how easy it was. This cookie screams “I had all the ingredients already and I didn’t have to chill the dough or anything.” It is not chewy. Flavor complexity = dismal. But sometimes you are baking cookies because you need to eat 18 of them and everyone knows that when you make something yourself the calories don’t count because you created it. For that task, this cookie will do the trick.


  1. The New York Times’ Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewiness: 4/5

Flavor complexity: 4.5/5

Chocolate chip-to-dough ratio: 5/5

Ease of baking process: 1/5

Uncooked dough quality: 4/5

Overall: 19.5/25

There are just . . . way too many inaccessible ingredients in this recipe. It may be that I forced myself to not love these cookies purely because I will never, in my life, have a type of flour on hand that isn’t all-purpose. This recipe calls for both cake and bread flour, and never ever ever in a million years even if hell froze over and my horoscope begged me to invest in diverse grain powders will I have either of those. Let alone both. It’s just financially irresponsible and, even worse, unnecessary. But this recipe is brought up on the Internet all the time and I want to be on trend so here we are.

  1. Sugar Spun Run’s Worst Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

Chewiness: 5/5

Flavor complexity: 5/5

Chocolate chip-to-dough ratio: 5/5

Ease of baking process: 2/5

Uncooked dough quality: 4/5

Overall: 21/25

The thing about the quest for a perfect cookie is that it, like so much of life, is futile. There is no such thing as the perfect cookie, because this one is full-on delicious and yet is so inconvenient to make that I have time for easily one to three existential crises in the process. Do not believe the time estimate that the evil blogger behind this recipe gives, because it would be wildly inaccurate EVEN IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO CHILL THE DOUGH. Yes, you heard me correctly. You have to chill the dough. Nobody ever, in the history of the world, has been baking cookies and felt okay with an extra 30 minutes tacked on just for a bowl to sit in a fridge. And who knows how much of my love for these cookies comes from my susceptibility to the reverse psychology in the name? I don’t exist in a vacuum, guys. Scrolling through fifteen pages of “best chocolate chip cookies ever” recipes does something to the mind.

So there it is! The sum total of my summer cookie quest. I am sure the question is one that will never be truly answered, and I will try new recipes until the end of time, never quite satisfied, but at least for now I know that Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips are the best kind. In the meantime, send your best recipes my way; I will be in a kitchen somewhere having an existential crisis while my dough chills for 30 minutes. (THE CONCEPT OF CHILLING DOUGH IS THE DEVIL’S CURSE UPON HUMANITY.)

Harry Potter is for Adults Too

I remember when my dad stubbornly refused to read the Harry Potter books for years. Anytime my mother, sister, and I would encourage him to pick up the hard-cover 7-part series, he’d scoff and claim that Harry Potter is for kids. He was a fan of heart-racing action adventure novels, not some magical fantasy children’s series. Of course, I finally convinced him, as I can be quite persuasive.

Fast forward a few months. We are in line for the midnight premiere of the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Typical of my father, he has still not completed the series. However, he has become absolutely enthralled by the novels (a fact I would gloat about for years to come). He is mere chapters away from the last line, “All was well.” While my family friends, sister, and I wait in line in outside the theatre, we urge him back into the car to finish the book. Thankfully, just in time for us to enter one of the best movies of our lives, he had closed the cover and left it to rest in the backseat.

Harry Potter is not just for children, as proved by my skeptical dad. And here’s why:

The Characters

Everyone knows that the characters can make or break a show, movie or book. If the characters are lifeless and bland, they can make the plot fall apart at the seams. It’s also important not to confuse good characters with good character development. You don’t have to like them; you just have to understand and really experience them. What sets Harry Potter apart is its superior character development. Within chapters of meeting each character, you already feel like you know them. This can be shown by my distaste of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Being the obsessive fan I am, I wasn’t constantly repeating throughout my reading, “He/She would never say that!” When a series lets you connect with the characters on such an intimate level, it’s impossible not to be riveted by it. Whenever Harry does something unnecessarily brave (and borderline stupid), Hermione makes a matter-of-fact comment or Ron is just plain obnoxious, it just makes sense. And that’s a characteristic of a series that adults can’t help but enjoy.

The Action

Whoever claims Harry Potter is for children must have not read or seen the series. If they had, they’d recognize that every single book is overflowing with action, adventure, and violence. We constantly experience the characters looking death in the face and somehow warding it off. From facing three-headed dogs to being chased by enormous serpentine creatures to fighting dragons to battling dark figures, your head might spin from the danger with which many of the characters face between the ages of 11 and 17. J.K. Rowling scripts these action sequences eloquently. You feel the pulsating fear, the slow pace of the intense battles, and the heart-wrenching deaths of beloved characters. There’s never a dull moment. Some of these scenes may prove a little to frightening for kids, and that’s why they’re perfect for us fearless (ish) adults.

The Relationships

Nothing keeps someone hooked to a series quite like a well-desired relationship between two characters. Several of these occur throughout the series, but none other like that of Ron and Hermione. It’s an underlying idea that we see develop through each book. Watching the two grow from enemies to friends to best friends to something more can be simultaneously frustrating and exciting. You just want to shake them both and say, “Just go for it already!” But the years that spread out between them makes it all the more engaging. The woes of their inevitable relationship are entertaining to read, especially when they’re so obviously into each other but refuse to admit it (a.k.a. The iconic Ron and Lavender Brown relationship that left Hermione in pieces). A little romantic drama always creates a more exciting plot line and makes this series much less of a “children’s series.”

The Magic

The best part of Harry Potter, of course, is the incredible magic. J.K. Rowling creates a world that most of us would die to be a part of. Learning about spells, divination, and transfiguration in school rather than math, physics and English? Count us in! Rowling manages to take magical creatures and experiences that we’ve heard about as children and make them into a realistic world. For most of us adults, we’ve learned to accept that “magic isn’t real.” Maybe this is true and maybe it’s not, but Harry Potter makes us believe that it could be real. It helps us see an honesty in Rowling’s words, and not just view magic as silly magician’s tricks, ancient witches brewing bubbling potions, and meaningless Abracadabra’s. This type of magic actually makes sense to us, and we believe in the power of magic and how it can be used for the good and bad. With this, Harry Potter teaches readers a valuable lesson about the world. As Dumbledore says in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” It reminds us that not everything in the world is black and white; there is a lot of gray area that we can interpret in our own way. There is a beauty and mystery in the idea of magic, and Harry Potter gives us a reason to believe in something more.

So, next time you hear your mere Muggle friend scoffing about the ridiculousness of Harry Potter, remind them that it is so much more than a magical, fairytale series. It is packed with incredible character development, an intense and enthralling plot, riveting action and adventure, and a beautiful world of magic. Maybe this is just coming from a woman who’s read the series more times than she can count, but, in my humble opinion, there’s a lesson that we can all learn from Harry Potter about believing in what we don’t quite believe.

What I’ve Learned In 20 Years

Yesterday I turned 20 and I have had time to reflect on a lot of things. The greater part of the last 20 years has been filled with laughter, love, and adventure. Just the way I like it. I decided to create a list of lessons I’ve learned thus far to analyze how I’ve grown over the past 2 decades.

Failure is a Necessity

Recently I have been faced with a fair amount of failure and rejection but it’s only made me stronger. I hope for the best but have learned that I cannot control everything and failure is good for me. I have learned to appreciate the philosophy that everything happens for a reason. I can choose to focus on all of the negativity, but I’ve learned to move past it and continue working for what I want.  A lot of rejection in a row can take a toll on a person but rising up through the pain is such a rewarding feeling. There is hope out there, but only if you keep trying no matter how many people tell you no. Keep persevering and keep telling yourself you are worth it. I’ve spent hours creating cover letters for internships that never even got back to me. I applied to jobs where the interview went really well and still never got the position. I’ve come to realize that I’m not what everyone is looking for. There is someone out there coveting your personality and skill set, keep looking for it.

Love Gets You Through

No matter how many bad days I have, the people I love are always there to make me feel better. Keeping steady relationships with family, friends, a significant other — I believe those are the foundation of a good life. The people I trust are everything to me and having a solid support system has allowed me to learn more about myself than I ever thought possible. These people have taught me about what I need in a relationship and what I am expected to give back to maintain mutual trust and respect. If you give love, you will get love. Whether it’s with your friends, your family, or your significant other. There is always room to invite love into your life and I have learned to welcome the love with open arms. In a way I believe that love is at the center of human existence because it gives us a deeper purpose and validation in the world. There are most definitely times of heartbreak and loneliness, but no matter where those feelings fall they can be replaced with love. Friendship love is one of the most beautiful kinds because you pick your friends. When you score with someone who truly cares and understands you, it is quite an amazing feeling.

You Can’t Be Friends With Everyone

Work has taught me about this most. I worked in a restaurant for about two years and I most definitely did not like everyone I worked with. I had some great friends, but people who didn’t carry their own weight always got on my nerves. I learned how to take a deep breath, focus on myself and give my best personal performance. I did my job and I did it well, which is all that I can ask of myself. I’m not going to like everyone and not everyone is going to like me. That’s just the way life is and it took me a long time to realize that. In grade school you are, for the most part, surrounded by the same people who you’ve grown up with since kindergarten. When you enter the real world after high school there are people you’ve never met before that have no reason to dislike you, but will. I learned this lesson going into college and I have accepted the fact that that’s how life goes. I am myself and simply because of that people won’t like me…and it’s okay. This is a big one for me. In high school it was difficult for me to get caught involved with petty friend issues and problems with my family. Looking back on how I’ve matured since then is really a rewarding feeling because I’ve learned to brush things off a lot easier. I won’t deny that I’m a sensitive person, but I try to reason with my emotions to not take things too personally. When I’m faced with a problem I think about where the other person is coming from and how I can use that information to gauge the situation. This mental process helps me let things go a lot easier and in return lowers my stress levels. I used to take it so personally when a customer wouldn’t be friendly to me, but now I think about how I am doing my best and if they’re having a bad day I can’t change that and I hope they feel better. The more I think about letting things go and filling my life with peace, the more it takes form and happens.

Me Time

I am a busy bee all the time. If you aren’t busy 24/7 do you even go to Emerson? I balance my life equally between academics, work, friends, and myself. There have been many times when I forget to care for myself and I feel overworked very quickly. By age 20, two years into college, I have found a a way to prioritize myself as well. Taking nights off to drink tea and do absolutely nothing. The thought sounds disgusting… doing nothing.

However, I need to do nothing sometimes. Alone time is sacred to me. Just to unwind, yoga breath, and have everything be still for a little while. Boston is a fast paced city anyways so it can be difficult to take a step back. Find your happy place and soak in the solitude. This lesson might be the most important thing I’ve learned over the past 20 years. It has led to more happiness for myself and those around me. It allows me time to think about everything going on and evaluate if I am truly happy or not. I cut out any negativity and focus on all of the great things going on in my life. There is no better feeling than when you feel content with the decisions you’ve made for yourself. Don’t be afraid to be selfish!!!

I’m excited to be 20 and break into a new decade filled with new challenges, adventures, and life lessons. Expect another article in 10 years about what I’ve learned by 30…hopefully some of the lessons listed above will still ring true with me.