Feeling the Love

I love you all like Leslie loves Ann.

I love you all like Leslie loves Ann.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

For a long time, I was one of those girls who openly and adamantly disliked Valentine’s Day. But then I realized something: Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, and love encompasses so many feelings beyond just romantic attraction. I love my friends, I love my family, I love my jobs, and I love my hometown. I love dancing, writing, reading, watching sports, and eating chocolate. I love books, movies, TV shows, and theater. And I love Nerdy Girl Notes and everything it has given me in the nearly two years since I started it.

Take some time today to think about all of the things and people you love, and do something today to honor that love. Re-read your favorite part of your favorite book, watch a favorite episode of a TV show you love, or cheer for the country or athletes you love in the Olympics. Have dinner with a friend, call your mom, or surprise your significant other with a thoughtful gesture.

And don’t forget to take a moment today to do something nice for yourself, too. Loving yourself doesn’t make you conceited, and treating yourself to something nice doesn’t make you selfish. You should love yourself, because everyone deserves love.

If you’re single and kind of depressed about it today, don’t think you’re alone or unworthy of love. You’re worthy of the best kind of love; it’s just waiting for the right time to make itself known to you (and you have plenty of people—myself included—waiting right along with you). You’re not defined by your relationship status, so don’t define yourself by it. Instead, choose to define yourself by the things you love about who you are. Because—from what I know about the kinds of people who visit NGN—there’s plenty to love.

I am a hopeful romantic—there’s nothing hopeless about me. I am a passionate, enthusiastic person who thrives on encouraging others to be passionate and enthusiastic. I find inspiration and joy in loving things instead of hating them, in embracing hope instead of cynicism, and in caring about things and people with my whole heart instead of being apathetic. Valentine’s Day is one of those days when I feel proud to be a person who wears her heart on her sleeve.

I’m not shy about expressing how much I love the things I love, but sometimes I can be shy about expressing how much I love the people who make my life better just by being themselves. So if you’re reading this—no matter who you are—thanks for visiting NGN today. I really do value every single person who takes the time to read what I write. And to those of you who are frequent (or even infrequent but still awesome) commenters, I love the way you brighten this place with your own enthusiasm and passion.

I hope all of you are having and continue to have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. I hope it’s filled with the things and people you love, and I hope it reminds you that, in the words of Once Upon a Time, love isn’t weakness; it’s strength.

From Our Nerdy Family To Yours…

I would just like to take a moment on this Christmas Eve to wish all of you and your loved ones the merriest Christmas imaginable. May your holiday be filled with love, light, and laughter. And may the hope of this holiday be with you today and always.

My wish for all of you isn’t just that Santa brings you everything you asked for—it’s that the warmth of Christmas fills your heart with the belief and joy of childhood. And if you don’t celebrate the holiday, I still hope these next two days leave you feeling peaceful, hopeful, and happy.

From all of us at NGN to you, Merry Christmas!

I Wish You a Nerdy Christmas


Oh look—it’s me posing with my favorite nerdy gift from last Christmas!

Nerdy Christmas gifts are the best Christmas gifts. There’s nothing like opening up a present on Christmas morning (or at any other holiday celebration) and finding something inside that speaks to your passions, your most fervent interests, and your current (or even most cherished past) obsessions. Getting a nerdy Christmas gift—one that reflects something you have boundless, unironic enthusiasm for—means someone took the time to think about what makes you tick and what makes you happy. It means someone cares about you enough to think about what you really care about.

Giving nerdy Christmas gifts is its own kind of fun, too. I love thinking about other people’s passions, interests, and fandoms and getting them a gift that really means something to them. Whether it’s a book, a season of a TV show on DVD, a t-shirt, or any other kind of fandom-related gift, there’s a special smile people have when they open up a gift that speaks to their own nerdy side, whatever that may be. And I love being on the receiving end of one of those smiles.

My most memorable “nerdy Christmas” was when I was 13 years old. I had just discovered the Harry Potter series, and my love for Star Wars was experiencing a monumental resurgence. Under the tree on Christmas morning, I found Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets coupled with a Gryffindor ornament (because what kid when they first read the series doesn’t automatically think they’re a Gryffindor?) and the Original Star Wars Trilogy version of Trivial Pursuit. I spent the next blissful week of a very snowy Christmas vacation doing nothing but reading my book and playing my game and falling even deeper in love with two passions I continue to treasure to this day.

Over the years, I’ve been a recipient of countless wonderfully nerdy gifts: Alias DVDs when I was 16—back when it was still a very new concept to be able to re-watch your favorite shows through that medium. More versions of Scene-It than I could ever get tired of playing. Books about the making of so many movies, from Hollywood’s Golden Age to the last Harry Potter films. T-shirts that show my love for everything from The Avengers to Leslie Knope. Ornaments and calendars to remind me all through the year and for years to come how much I love Castle, Tangled, and Disney World. And jerseys for the sports teams I root for with all my heart.

I want to hear your stories—what was your most memorably nerdy Christmas? When was the Christmas where you were given a book or a movie that changed your life? When were you given a gift that showed you someone not only understood how much you loved something but that they wanted to encourage you to love it even more?

And for anyone still finishing up their Christmas shopping, don’t be afraid to reach for the nerdy. Get your friend the DVDs of that TV show only the two of you watched in high school. Find an obscure movie starring that actor your sister or brother has been obsessed with for years. Order a t-shirt, a calendar, a mug, or a book that speaks to the most telling thing about a person—their passions. You can never go wrong with a nerdy Christmas gift. I know from experience. It’s the perfect way to say “I love you for how much you love the things that matter to you.” And that’s such a wonderful sentiment to pass along to the people in our lives—at Christmastime and always.

The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (11/24 – 12/1)

This holiday week gave us a lot to celebrate as fans of great TV. With Once Upon a Time taking the week off, I also took a break from TV on Sunday night, but I was greeted on Monday with a great group of final performances on Dancing with the Stars and one of the most entertaining Castle episodes of the season. Tuesday saw a new champion crowned on Dancing with the Stars (Congratulations, Amber Riley!) and a rustic Thanksgiving celebration on New Girl. On Wednesday, we were treated to a look behind the scenes at the making of NBC’s live production of The Sound of Music, and Thursday featured the classic Thanksgiving combination of the Macy’s parade, the National Dog Show, and plenty of great football. Finally, the holiday weekend wrapped up with two great movie marathons: the Harry Potter films (on ABC Family) and both Star Wars trilogies (on Spike).

With so many great options to choose from, it was difficult to pick just one that was the best. Instead, I picked one TV personality who stood out above and beyond the rest this week (and really every week, if I’m being honest). From dancing and singing with the Sesame Street cast in the Macy’s parade to performing another classic holiday parody medley with Rashida Jones (and special guest Carrie Underwood), Jimmy Fallon made me smile so much my face hurt this week. His enthusiasm and sense of joy are unrivaled and infectious. Fallon makes me smile like no one else on television, and he does it just by being his happy and charming self.

What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?

Thankful Thoughts

Today is a day for giving thanks, and I would be remiss without taking a moment to count my blessings. Running Nerdy Girl Notes continues to fill me with joy, pride, and a deep sense of purpose every day, and I am so thankful to have a place to express my thoughts and feelings about the media I love so much.

More than anything, though, I am thankful for all of the people who help make NGN something to be proud of. Sometimes, I look at other websites and am saddened by the negativity and nastiness found in the dialogue between fans. So I am incredibly grateful that NGN has become a place where people can engage in intelligent discussions that are conducted with respect for all opinions. I can’t even begin to describe how happy it makes me to watch this website grow into a place known for its positivity—because there’s already enough negativity in the world, don’t you think?

NGN is a reflection of the people who visit this site every day. I’m so thankful for each and every reader and commenter—your readership, your insight, and your passion inspire me to continue to make NGN the best it can be. And they inspire me to be a more positive person myself.

I’m thankful for every Tweet, Facebook Like, Tumblr post, and message board mention about NGN. I’m floored with gratitude when I think of how much love has been sent NGN’s way since this site began, and I appreciate everyone who visits this site and takes the time to talk so enthusiastically about it (and even make gorgeous things on Tumblr with my writing as inspirations—don’t think your beautiful work has gone unnoticed).

I’m especially grateful for all of my incredibly kind, supportive, and talented contributors. I feel blessed to be able to call you not only my cohorts but also my friends. I was lucky enough to spend time with both Leah and Heather (along with my graphic designer Nikki and fellow blogger/frequent NGN commenter Kelly) in New York City a couple of weeks ago, and I would like to take this moment to say they are even lovelier in person than they appear to be through their writing. On this day of giving thanks, I feel forever indebted to the Internet for allowing me to form some of the most inspiring friendships I’ve ever had.

I hope all of you who celebrate this day have the happiest of Thanksgivings. And even if you don’t celebrate the holiday, I wish all of you a day—and a season—filled with warmth, love, and an abundance of things to be thankful for.

Son of a Nutcracker!: My Favorite Christmas Movies

It’s finally here! The turkey is eaten, the shopping is underway, and the tree is ready to be decorated. It’s Christmastime once again, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a time when the joy of giving, the peace of a winter’s night, and the beauty found in simple moments with people you love aren’t just cliches. The holiday season is my favorite time of year, and it’s my hope that I can share some of the happiness I feel during this time with all of the people in my life—including all of you that read NGN.

As I get ready for my first viewing of one of my favorite Christmas movies tonight, I want to share with you my list of 10 must-see Christmas films and holiday specials. These aren’t necessarily the best or the most popular, but they’re my personal favorites—the movies I come back to every year when I want to get into the holiday spirit.

1.) Love Actually: If you don’t like at least some aspect of this multi-storyline romantic comedy, then you should probably check to make sure your heart hasn’t been replaced with stone. Sometimes sweet, sometimes sad, sometimes silly—this is a movie that celebrates the unashamed romanticism of the holiday season with some of the best British actors around. (Hugh Grant’s adorable Prime Minister is a personal favorite of mine.)

Continue reading