Food, Friends, Art, and Coffee

Hello again! I thought that I’d end yet another infamous and periodic bit of radio silence with a post about an adventure I went on back in—what was it now, January? Man that was so long ago now.

Anyway, a while ago I went to Cabbagetown with the lovely ladies I am going to be sharing an apartment with next year! Three of us were already friends, and I was friends with the fourth. Before this, though, the two and the one actually had yet to meet each other, so an introductory excursion was definitely in order. And preferably one with breakfast food and cute photo ops.

So we had brunch at the Carroll Street Cafe, a cute little place with an abundance of both coffee and mimosas, depending on how old you are. The biscuits are the best too, highly recommend. Afterwards, we walked down the road and took a right to walk along the lengthy wall full of murals. We wandered all the way down to the Krog Street Tunnel, taking pictures and chatting and joking along the way.

After our adventure, we headed back to campus to do homework, as it was a Sunday and we are all typical Tech students. Not wanting the expedition to die completely, we went to Amelie’s for yet another change of scenery. And coffee.

All in all, it was a wonderful day, full of food and friends and art and coffee, which is basically all anyone could ever need. I am so looking forward to rooming with my friends in the fall. I can’t wait to decorate our apartment, to have movie nights, to have four walls to myself, to joke and tell stories in the evenings, to cook in a real life kitchen, to have a dishwasher… And, of course, I can’t wait to go on more adventures like this one too.

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The Adventures of Lauren & Stank

On Saturday, January 28th, I met Christine (affectionately called “Stank” since some time around tenth grade) in West Midtown for our very favorite meal of the day. Our favorite because it’s Leslie Knope’s favorite, mostly, but also because it’s dang delicious.

We ate brunch at West Egg, which I had never been to before. We waited outside in the sunshine for a good thirty minutes, but it was extremely worth it. It also gave us a chance to catch up, and I got to know her friend who was visiting too. We were all rewarded for our patience, not just with each others’ company, but with delicious food and wonderful weather. And coffee.

After breakfast, we wandered around the area for a bit. We saw a tiny coffee shop made out of a shipping container, saw shops and cool urban-looking renovations. We then found the murals. The blue one is outside of Bartaco off of Howell Mill, and it was right beside the Merchant, a cute stationery shop that we promptly visited next. After saying goodbye to the new friend, I took the old to the West Side Cultural Arts Center right down the street. I had been there once before, but was pleasantly surprised by how close it was.

It was a lovely morning (or early afternoon?) full of lovely weather, great friends, awesome street art, and amazing food. It was such a treat to be able to explore new places and get to see one of my oldest and best friends, and I can’t wait to do it again soon.

Before I Fall Movie Review

“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through you fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.”

Before I Fall, which comes out in theaters in a couple of weeks, has been one of my favorite books since I read it in ninth grade. It tells the story of a girl named Sam, who is a member of the most popular clique in her high school. She’s sweeter than her three best friends, though; she’s different. (Yeah, yeah, joke about YA I dare you.) It’s set over the course of one day. This happens to be Valentine’s day, but it is also the day that Sam dies, and the day that she relives, seven times, until she can fix what went wrong. Throughout the story, there are mean girls, bullied girls, snubbed boys, popularity contests, and high school parties. It has all the makings of a cheesy YA book to movie adaptation. But it wasn’t one. Aside from some questionable music choices, it was absolutely perfect.

before-i-fall-movie-images-zoey-deutch-halston-sage-21The whole premise of Before I Fall is that you never really know how long you have to live. You don’t know how your actions and choices will impact either your own life or, and sometimes especially, those of the people around you. Sam and her friends do not know how their words and actions impact their peers, until horrible things happen because of them. When Sam keeps waking up, she decides to change things; she is kind, embraces and appreciates what she has had but took advantage of. I love this concept, and when I read the book I thought, holy shit, this is serious, this is real. The movie did the same thing, and in a no less impactful way. Whenever Sam narrates, she is reflecting too, working through all of her thoughts and actions and what they mean. Through her life, we are called to think of our own too, whether they are as glamorous and dramatic as hers or not.

“It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new. Just one false step, one pause, one detour, and you end up with new friends or a bad reputation or a boyfriend or a breakup. It’s never occurred to me before; I’ve never been able to see it. And it makes me feel, weirdly, like maybe all of these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different.”

For that was definitely one thing that was interesting to see: how exactly Sam’s life was transformed onto a screen. We lost a lot of details, obviously: we never learned what kind of falling out she had with her mother, nor how horribly her relationship her relationship really was. But we did get to see her friends. The dynamic between Lindsay and the others was extremely authentic. They listened to music, made fun of each other, gossiped and laughed. It was accurate, it was fun and funny to watch, and it reminded me of me. It only felt forced when they mentioned Snapchat or said “bae.” Even then, though, they went right back to being believable high schoolers. (I mean, as believable as the twenty-something year olds and their supposed “senior party” could be.) The movie, though, did this really well.

In fact, the acting in and of itself was really good. I was impressed and pleasantly surprised. Not only were the relationships believable, but the characters were too. Sam was just how I imagined her, as were Lindsay and even Skye. Kent was perfect too, though I don’t actually know if they ever said his name.

“I shiver, thinking how easy it is to be totally wrong about peopleto see one tiny part of them and confuse it for the whole, to see the cause and think it’s the effect or vice versa.”

Not to go all Read It and Weep here, but I also knew a Lindsay in high school. I was the Sam in a friend group, and could relate very strongly to everything that that happened on screen. This realization about some of my back-stabbing high school girlfriends probably made the movie even more meaningful and realistic to me, to be honest. Since reading the book, I have seen and experienced firsthand just how mean and two-faced girls who claim to be your friends can be. It’s horrible. I didn’t go all Kickass Black Eyeshadow Day Five or Six Sam, which would have been awesome, but I did get the hell out of there after being involved for far too long, like Sam did. I too learned from being around the wrong people, though fortunately no one suffered this much from anything that happened. (That I know of…) I should have thought about this book at the time, but I guess life is funny and unfortunate like that.

“So many things become beautiful when you really look.”

before-i-fall-hd-trailer-stillsAnother thing that I really liked about this movie though, dark serious life thoughts aside, actually has nothing to do with the characters or story per se. And yeah, this is huge media me nerding out. But I absolutely loved how the film’s shots were set up, how the lighting felt, and how time and days passed. The transitions were seamless. I was curious as to how they would repeat one day over and over, reuse the same scenes, and still keep it interesting and new. And they did it so, so well. They picked significant things to focus on, made it just tense and funny enough. Whenever they ran through the woods, I pointed out how hard the light must have been to get perfectly. And the scene where Sam repeatedly wakes up? SO GOOD.

Lauren Oliver and Before I Fall were and are perfect. I highly recommend both the book and movie to any and everyone who likes contemplative stories with surprising, occasionally funny or dark, and thought-provoking twists. Sure, they may seem and feel a little fluffy at times, but the messages certainly are not.

“I realized that time doesn’t matter. Certain moments go on forever. Even after they’re over they still go on, even after you’re dead and buried, those moments are lasting still, backward and forward, on into infinity. They are everything and everywhere all at once. They are the meaning.”

Book: 5/5 stars

Movie: 9/10 stars

The Women’s March

On Saturday morning, I woke up to lightning streaking across the sky and rain pelting my dorm room window. It was early, around eight or so, and I wasn’t exactly sure  why I couldn’t sleep through such dreary weather as usual other than the fact, I quickly remembered, that it was a Very Important Day. It was the day I had been looking forward to for months, had carefully written down in my planner with a hot pink pen. It was the day of the Women’s March.

I met my friends in the rain and we sprinted to the dining hall for lunch. After receiving notice of the rain delay, we ate second helpings of breakfast food and watched the sky outside miraculously clear. Then we made our way straight down the road to the Center for Civil Rights, where the march was to begin.

When we arrived, it was already so incredibly crowded that we couldn’t even find the supposed speakers. Supposed, because, were they really there? We didn’t know. Instead we took pictures and embraced the excitement, support, dissatisfaction, strength, and surge of energy that the crowd, with its humorous, creative, threatening, hopeful, and even sad signs, provided. The electricity surrounding us had nothing to do with the storm clouds looming overhead.

After an hour and a half of waiting for the march to actually start, these feeling turned anxious, the cheers turned impatient and pressing. Finally we were told that the speakers were making their way to the from to lead the masses, and we finally began our climb up the hill and towards the Capitol building an hour and a half away.

Being in the march itself was incredible. We were like a river of defiance and solidarity, breaking over a dam of hatred and restraint. We chanted, cheered, laughed. Some people played instruments, everyone held signs, some walked quickly, slowly, danced, pushed wheelchairs, everyone was peaceful. There were thousands upon thousands of our fellow marchers up and down the road where we stood; every new altitude or bend in the road exposed an endless stream of people. Being on the street in such numbers was like being embraced, contained, assured. Safe, despite the threats that brought us here together, safe amongst each other and our shared cause, our differences but our shared and equal humanity.

A feeling of resistance ran rampant, but even stronger was one of hope. Hope amidst the storm clouds, hope in every single person present. Once we reached the Capitol, we all dispersed, heading in waves to our various destinations. But it was, still is, impossible to feel separated or alone.

La La Land Movie Review

“You say ‘romantic’ like it’s a bad thing.”

Let me just say one thing: I absolutely adored La La Land. Everyone told me, “no don’t get your hopes up, it’s disappointing, I don’t get the hype.” But did ya girl listen? No! I mean, the last time that I looked forward to a movie this much, so far in advance, and so crazy strongly was back when Begin Again came out. And was ya girl disappointed either time? Nope!

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I loved everything, from the storyline and romance to the acting to the cinematography to the dancing to the music… I love the nostalgia for classic Hollywood movies, and I flipped out every time Casablanca was referenced. Emma and Ryan were brilliant. It could have been so cheesy (and okay, maybe the planetarium scene was), but them, their chemistry and humor and dreaminess—they made it work.

Another thing I noticed (while crying and scouting Tumblr listening to the soundtrack a mere five minutes after the closing credits) was that literally every scene was beautiful. Beautiful. The colors, the movements, the balance on screen, every detail was meticulously planned so as to appear completely and effortlessly magical. The score made it even better; I already liked jazz (thanks Mum!) but if I hadn’t, I still would have loved every single song.

Ok, spoiler zone. 

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Throughout the beginning seasons I knew that Mia and Seb would fall in love, be adorable, yada yada yada. But I didn’t know how long they would last, if they would end up happy and together, if they would fight but make up…etcetera. When the movie was only halfway through and they did start fighting, though, I thought “oh god, this does not bode well.” And I was right.

I definitely was not expecting the time jump. When I found out they weren’t together after that period of time, and that she instead had a whole other, new family, I screamed. When she walked into his club, though, I was sobbing.

“In all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

Sound familiar? Anyway, that’s why I cried, and then kept crying because of the montage. (Which was also gorgeous, and definitely an ode to the art.)

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People were unhappy, I think, because Mia and Seb didn’t end up together. That would have been happier and, well, better, obviously, but it was still extremely satisfying. They chose to pursue their dreams apart from one another—and they were successful. They had helped each other realize that they could do it, motivated and pushed and encouraged one another to not give up chase their passions. They were like a team, and we can’t know whether or not they would have been able to do so had they have been together.

The montage shows is the future that they could have had together, both successful and married and in love, but the question of its plausibility remains. Simply, they chose to stay true to themselves, chose the dream and blind hope of Hollywood and LA. Both together and apart, they helped each other embrace the magic of La La Land.

“Here’s to the fools who dream.”

Rating: 10/10

Golden Globes 2017 – My Predictions

With the new year comes a new selection of films, shows, directors, actors, and producers just waiting to be seen and properly acknowledged by Hollywood and the various Presses and Guilds. With the new year comes new faces on the red carpet, new fashions and gorgeous gowns and designers displaying their swoon-worthy work. With the new year comes another chance for me to camp out and watch movie after movie and award ceremony after award ceremony. It’s the best part, really.

golden-globes-kristen-wiig-bill-hader-whaaatAs you’ve likely heard, tonight are the Golden Globe awards. This is my favorite of the award shows because it’s, well, fun. It’s not as stuffy or serious or awkward as the Oscars have been for the past several years. It’s funny, and lots of stars that I like are either nominated or will be attending this year. Also, it’s being hosted by Jimmy Fallon. (Jimmy Fallon! He’s the best!!)

I will be sitting here, waiting, watching, laughing, cheering, etcetera, for quite a while, so I thought that I would make my predictions for the award recipients. A lot of them are guesses since I haven’t seen all of the movies or shows (yet!). However, if I get the winner correct…this is just proof that yeah. Totally called it.

pictured-leonardo-dicaprio-kate-winsletBest Motion Picture — Drama

Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy

Best Director — Motion Picture

jackie-movie-natalie-portman-pablo-larrain-jackie13Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama

tumblr_ocg1irjzue1udl48so1_500Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

giphyBest Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

Best Motion Picture — Animated

LLL d 29 _5194.NEFBest Screenplay — Motion Picture

Best Original Score — Motion Picture

  • Nicholas Britell, Moonlight
  • Justin Hurwitz, La La Land WIN
  • Jóhann Jóhannsson, Arrival
  • Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran, Lion
  • Benjamin Wallfisch, Pharrell Williams, and Hans Zimmer, Hidden Figures (ooh I didn’t know they were up for this!)

Best Television Series — Drama

54ab999650f1d_-_elle-julia-louis-dreyfus-golden-globes-lgnBest Television Series — Musical or Comedy

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

8ffde8bc15bf86ab3f7dcacb971727a9Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Drama

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Drama

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy

aziz-ansari-01-800-2Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

b5a0cd57340d72b91f9930c7050b9aeeBest Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television

Where’d You Go, Bernadette Book Review

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple tells the story of a family, particularly a woman, who is a little “odd” and completely misunderstood by everyone. Misunderstood, but, throughout the novel, revealed—and redeemed.

As the title suggests, Bernadette, mother of Bee, goes missing. The novel, however, is more than simply a tale of how she goes missing and the madness that ensues; Bee, the narrator, goes deeper to tell why. Bee’s investigates the events originating from months prior, and readers can get to know each of the characters and walk around in their lives for a bit before things get complicated. They are privy to the secrets that Bernadette and the “gnats” keep from one another and their families, can witness the drama firsthand. Bee reads emails, police transcripts, messages between the neighbors that loathed Bernadette so strongly, to understand and share with readers who were mother truly is and why she did what she did. It is through these various mediums that the story is told.

The characters in this story were extremely unique and complex. It is difficult to fully understand Bernadette. It is helpful to see what she goes through as both a woman, but it seems as though sometimes her personality wavers.

What is more well-founded and clear, though,  is Bee’s fierce love for her mother. Their relationship and banter is similar to that of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, as well as, perhaps, readers themselves. They rang true, and was often hilarious. The scene in the car where they sing the Beatles was special. Truthfully, such scenes were far too brief, too rare. Such situations made the crazy events more realistic.

For many of the situations throughout the story that the characters find themselves in are just that: crazy. So many ridiculous things happen, unbelievable things, that the reader is reminded of it continuously. But the point is that they are surprised, suspended, and amused. And they are.

Sometimes things are clarified with later emails; sometimes things are confusing only to be explained in detail later on. Regardless, the events, be they funny, sad, exciting, or strange—keep the story moving at a quick, fun pace. For this book is certainly many things: twisty and exciting, relatable, outlandishly dramatic, complicated, and even thought-provoking. Most of all, though, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is completely and ridiculously fun.

Rating: 5/5