The Best Documentaries on Netflix

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy learning new information in nice, digestible chunks. There’s nothing like a good documentary to make you feel productive while watching TV. If you feel the same, then I have great news for you! Netflix has a plethora of documentaries for you to watch and absorb passively on your couch. So sit back, relax, and grab your popcorn. We’re delving into the realm of documentaries!

American Anarchist - Documentaries

American Anarchist

It’s a story of passion, fervor, and regret. In 1971, William Powell authored one of the most controversial books ever written, The Anarchist Cookbook. The book contained instructions on how to make everything from weapons to illicit drugs. It quickly became the book of choice for social deviants, including terrorists and freedom fighters. But, after converting to Anglicanism in 1979, Powell devoted the rest of his life to making sure nobody ever reads his book again. This is his story.

cosmos - Documentaries

Cosmos

When you look up at the night sky, isn’t in wonderful? Have you ever wondered what’s up there and how it all works? Wonder no longer! Neil Degrasse Tyson is here to tell you in his classic dulcet tones. Cosmos succeeds in making its subject matter accessible with easy to understand examples and comparisons. It’s a very humbling documentary, reinforcing how small we really are in the face of the universe. We are all made of stardust, which is a pretty cool idea to ponder on.

Pumping Iron - Documentaries

Pumping Iron

If you’re at all interested in bodybuilding as a sport, this is the documentary for you. Originally released in 1977, this film follows Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno as they vie for the title of most aesthetic man alive. Pumping Iron pulls back the curtain on how the sport is fraught with body image issues and subjectivity in judging. This documentary is also a deluge of information about Schwarzenegger and Ferrigno. It’s worth a watch if the sport even remotely interests you.

Do you have any favorite documentaries? Leave them in the comments below!

How to Reduce Stress Throughout Your Day

Reduce Stress

When you’re trying to manage all of your summer responsibilities – whether it’s an internship,  a summer job, or simply finding time to cross things off your bucket list – it’s easy to become stressed. Stress can put a damper on any day, even the sunniest of them. Here are a few easy tips to keep your stress level under control and make the most of your summer.

Prepare for Your Day the Night Before

This seems like such an easy task, but most people over look it. Even if it’s just a few minutes before you go to bed, it’s important to plan for your upcoming day. Think about any appointments or activities you have scheduled, and then visualize how your day will go. What’s in your planner for the morning? When do you have free time? If your day is packed, would rescheduling a small task be beneficial? These are all important questions to ask yourself to ensure your day goes smoothly, ultimately helping you reduce stress.

Work on One Thing at a Time

There is nothing more stressful than looking at your To-Do List and feeling like its endless. Prioritize your most important tasks, putting them at the top of your list, and take on one thing at a time. This will ensure you utilize your efforts on the most critical assignments – instead of lackadaisically doing multiple things at once. When you finally check something off your to-do list, the weight will slowly lift off of your shoulders.

Utilize Journaling to Reduce Stress

Instead of letting your thoughts swim around in your head, try writing them down. It’s easy to compartmentalize your thoughts when you can physically see them. There are several ways to journal, and the best part about journaling is there are no rules – you can make your journal whatever you’d like. It can be full of poems which were cluttering your brain, short stories you thought of during the day, or a simple Bullet Journal to help plan out your days. It’s your journal, so everything is acceptable!

Take a Short Break Every Few Hours

When you’re stuck on a project or task, the best thing to do is walk away from it. This simple action is vital to helping reduce stress. The next time a homework assignment is giving you a headache, or you can’t think of the perfect thing to say for that work presentation – take a break. Go for a short walk, read a few pages of your favorite book, or go grab a quick snack and cup of coffee. It’s always important to give your mind a break a few times each day. The more you try to force the ideas – the more your brain can jam up. Take a break, let your brain breath and ideas will come flowing in.

Stress can become very overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure how to properly deal with it. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, even if it’s over something small, try some of these tips to relax.

Consider a “Staycation” This Summer

staycation

Summer is officially here and vacations are on everyone’s mind. Whether it’s a friend or a neighbor, I’m sure you know someone planning an elaborate vacation this season. But is a big vacation to Florida or the Bahamas out of your reach? No worries! Here’s why you should love “staycations”.

Give Your Wallet a Break

It’s no secret; vacations are very expensive. The cost of hotels, gas, dinning out, and any activities adds up very quickly. American Express estimates the average per person cost of a vacation is $1,145! If you’re particularly tight for cash, like most college students are, it can put a damper on your vacation. Easily avoid those costs by deciding to take a staycation! You already pay rent, so why pay even more to sleep in a strange bed? You can also cook meals at home during your staycation or only go out to eat once or twice – instead of every night. The main thing your money goes to during a staycation is activities. You can do more extravagant things with the money you save from not traveling.

Reduce Your Stress

Planning a vacation can become very stressful. Getting your friends or family on the same page with where you want to go/how much you want to spend is always a hassle. Not to mention, traveling is stressful as well. Rushing to get to the airport so you don’t miss your flight and rushing to be gone by checkout at the end of your stay add unneeded stress. Instead, you can make your own schedule during your “staycation”. There’s also no need to rush because you’re already where you need to be – now it’s time to just relax. As a college student, trust me when I say you need less stress.

Enjoy the Comfort of Your Own Home

There’s nothing more unsettling than having to sleep in a strange bed – and potentially having to worry about it being dirty or even having bed bugs. With a “staycation”, you and your family/friends can sleep in your own comfy beds. You can relax on your own couch and cook in your own, familiar kitchen. You also don’t have to worry about forgetting anything because you already have everything you need. There’s no better feeling than not having to wake up to a screeching alarm, in your own bed, knowing you can do whatever you want today.

Benefits to the Local Economy

This is the biggest positive of a staycation – giving back to your town. Especially during tough times, it’s very important to support local businesses. Instead of traveling to Florida and eating at chain restaurants – find interesting restaurants you haven’t tried in your town. Plan a day to go to the local museum or you city’s theatre. Supporting your local economy benefits everyone, making your town a more pleasant to live.

So, next time you’re stuck on where to spend your summer break, consider a “staycation”! It’s cheaper, less stressful and you get to sleep in your own bed!

The Story of Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man

I absolutely love movies with behind the scenes special features. One of my favorite things is watching what goes into making a full length film. When I learned Spider-Man was not going to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it set off my spidey senses. What behind the scenes tomfoolery could cause the absence of such a beloved character?

The answer is a story as convoluted and odd as you’d probably guess. It finally culminates with the return of Spider-Man to the MCU this summer in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Marvel, Bankruptcy, and Spider-Man

Way back in the 90’s, there was a massive comic book boom due to inflating comic book values. People began to realize the rarity of old comics from the 40s and 50s, especially first editions. DC and Marvel both capitalized on this, printing millions of new comics and making collector’s editions as much as possible. Characters married each other left and right, superman died, it was a crazy time. It didn’t take long for people to realize the market was saturated.

The comic book boom ended shortly after and Marvel quickly encountered trouble. They were up to their eyeballs in debt from overprinting and underselling comics. The crash eventually caused Marvel to declare bankruptcy. As a result, the company desperately sold off movie rights to a number of characters. The rights to both Spider-Man and the X-Men properties passed though a number of companies, finally settling in the hands of Sony.

Sony’s Tragic Mismanagement

Sony handed the property rights to Sam Raimi after a number of failed attempts to bring Spider-Man to the big screen. Sam Raimi reimagined the web slinger in “Spider-Man”, directing both sequels in the series. The first two movies were massive hits! The third was a flop, both critically and commercially. Regardless, Sony allowed Raimi to move forward with a fourth movie slated for a 2011 release date. Unfortunately, Sony canceled the project due to creative differences.

Spider-Man underwent a reboot from Sony with the movie “The Amazing Spider-Man”. It became a cinematic hit and the studio decided to produce a sequel. However, this was the 5th Spider-Man movie in 10 years. Audiences became tired of the superhero, and having two reboots in 5 years is a tad confusing for the general public. The series ultimately ended before producing “The Amazing Spider-Man 3”.

The Return to Marvel

Possibly the only good thing to come out of the 2014 Sony email leaks was news about Spider-Man was returning to Marvel. Disney and Sony reached an agreement to allow the wall crawler to return to the big screen under the Marvel umbrella. However, the odds are stacked against Spider-Man Homecoming. As the third reboot in 15 years, audiences could have Spider-Man fatigue. For fans of the superhero, here’s to hoping that Spider-Man: Homecoming rises above the tangled web of past disputes and turns out to be a great film!

5 Things I Learned Being a Commuter

My decision to commute as a college student was not easy. There were some pros – like not having to pay for housing; but there were also many cons- like not getting the “full college experience.” I remember thinking I would be the only one in my group of friends who didn’t go away for college. Three years later, I now realize I made the right decision. Along the way, I learned a few things which made being a commuter easier. Here they are:

The Best Time for Class

Traffic is always a hassle for commuters. Students who dorm enjoy the luxury of rolling out of bed and walking to class. If you are a commuter, it’s important to account for the possibility of traffic by waking up and leaving extra early. If you take morning classes, you must leave extremely early or you run the risk of getting stuck in the morning rush hour. On the contrary, if you take evening classes, you’re subject to the late afternoon rush hour. I’ve learned late morning and early afternoon classes are the best for commuters to register for. Yes, it’s in the middle of your day, but most of the time it’s worth avoiding heavy traffic. If your main goal is to avoid rush hour, ideally schedule your classes from 10AM – 2PM.

The Most Convenient Coffee Places

It’s practically a fact; college students live off of caffeine. You never know when you’ll need a little pick-me-up! That’s why it’s necessary to know where all the most accessible coffee stops are along your commute. It’s also vital they aren’t too far off your route or you risk adding more time to your commute and the possibility of traffic building up.

How to Efficiently Use Gas

The greatest downside to commuting is definitely having to pay for gas. Along with gas, potentially putting serious mileage on your car is another negative. The best way to save on gas and keep the miles down is staying on campus between classes. Even if you have a few hours before your next class, don’t travel all the way home and then all the way back. Use the time to get some work done at the library or go hang out with friends. You’ll quickly see staying a few extra hours on campus is worth it.

How to Make the Best/Easiest Schedule

With my senior year approaching this fall, I feel I have mastered schedule making. As a commuter, it’s ideal to be on campus as few days as possible. If you’re going to be successful with this strategy, you really must make those days count. Try scheduling more than one class per day. It’s easier to be on campus two days a week, taking a few classes each day, than being on campus 5 days a week while taking one class a day. You’ll save on both gas and time.

How to Use Your Time in the Car Wisely

You spend a lot of time in the car as a commuter. This may seem like wasted time, but there are several ways to efficiently use this time. Buying books on tape is one of those ways. You can buy whatever you like – fiction, nonfiction, educational or biographical – and listening to it while in the car increases your knowledge and keeps you thinking. Another great option is recording lectures (as long as it’s okayed by the professor) and listening to them on your way home. It’s a great way to pick up on things you missed the first time around. Reviewing lectures in the car is also a great study tool.

No one said commuting life was easy, but with things I learned from experience you can save on gas, make the perfect schedule and optimize your time in the car.