Tag Archive | fun

Summer Plans

FullSizeRender (1)This summer I am…drumroll please…STUDYING ABROAD! I’m taking part in Georgia Tech’s Summer Oxford Program. For the first six weeks, we will be traveling all around Europe studying Art History and European Composers. We’re going to visit Paris, Venice, Rome, Florence, Munich, Vienna, Prague, and Bruges, each for about three or four days. We’ll be traveling by plane, train, and…yeah, automobile, I had to say it. There are fifty-five people in my travel group, and we’re all packing into a bus, so we’ll be great friends by the end of the thing. There are three travel groups, and we all travel to different countries for six weeks before meeting back up in Oxford for our second set of classes.

It will be fast, but we are going to be able to see all sorts of museums, culture, shops, foods, landscapes, art, architecture, concerts… It will be an exciting whirlwind of art and audreymusic and history, which I absolutely adore.

For the second six weeks of the twelve week program, we will be taking classes on Oxford University’s campus in Oxford, England. Oxford. (Repeating Oxford like a million times because I still can’t believe it.) We will have Georgia Tech professors teaching us in Westminster College (one of the dozens of colleges). I’m going to be taking Computational Media (CS 1315) and History of Medieval England. Every Georgia Tech student has to take some sort of Computer Science elective, so I get to learn how to code, which is kind of cool! It should be better than calculus, anyway. And I’m really looking forward to learning even more European history in the place that it, ya know, actually happened.

So far, we have had a week of sort-of preparatory classes for Art History and Music, complete with midterms and an impromptu jazz concert by music professors from across Atlanta. We’ve studied the Renaissance, learned about Michelangelo and FullSizeRenderBramante and how much they hated and loved the Pope. We’ve discussed the symbolism is Bosch’s crazy triptych and what exactly is so “off” about the Van Eyck altarpiece.

In Music, we’ve learned how symphonies are set up, how instruments interact to create both pleasant and unpleasant music. We have learned how to compare different compositions, how to identify genres, and how to hear and feel musical tension. I’m obviously way more into art, and am skeptical of Music classes due to years of forced elementary school classes. But as long as I don’t have to listen to the same classical piece seven times in a row, I’m learning to appreciate the technical and compositional aspects of music a little more too.

I’m leaving for Paris on Tuesday, and I can’t believe that either! People have asked repeatedly if I’m nervous, but I’m not. (Should I be? Yikes.) I’ve been to some of these cities before, and I’m excited about getting to know them better. Other places I will see for the first time, and I tumblr_olldx89SLW1uzjdm6o3_500can’t wait to get to know them, the people, the sights, and the food there better as well. I know it’s also a long trip, and I’m going to miss my family and friends so, so much. But I’m not going to be completely disconnected or anything! My goal is to blog every single day, and share the photos that I take in each place. I’ll have free texting even when I don’t have data, too. So, sketchy wifi aside, I’m leaving, but I’ll definitely still be around ~

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

Jackie Movie Review

Last Wednesday, I went to a screening of Jackie.

This was the third free screening that I had attended at various theaters around Atlanta in less than three weeks. I had also just finished my very last final of the semester at ten o’clock that morning. I was completely packed and ready to go home the next day. All in all, I was giddy from good luck, excitement, and relief. Going to see the movie was my only plan for the evening, and it was a good and welcome one.

I went with Sam, my friend and cohort in many an interesting Uber excursion. She too had survived the biology exam with me hours before, and I thought it would be a perfect thing to do together before the holiday.

img_2486It was. We were a bit rushed and had very little time to take in the surroundings of the Tara Cinemas, however. We arrived inside right at seven o’clock, the movie’s schedule start time, and were directed to the last remaining seats. And where were these seats, you ask?

Why do you ask. They were in the very front row.

Fortunately, there was a distance between the front row and the screen that is unique, I think, to smaller, less commercial movie theaters. Also fortunately, we at least got to sit in the very middle of the row, so it was more of an IMAX experience than a sideways, off-kilter one.

When the movie began, the magic happened, as they say. I was first struck by how well-framed everything was. Media studies nerd-alert, I know. But Natalie Portman is completely and perfectly positioned throughout the entire film. Her face is balanced in each shot, the cars are centered or not, the buildings, etcetera. The lighting, the eerie music, you name it. It felt appropriately complex and calculated. The cinematography felt as heavy but significant as the material it conveyed. It alone was exquisite.

Then, of course, there was the way that the story was told. I had no idea how they were going to approach it beforehand. Would it chronicle JFK’s assassination from the eyes of Jackie in order of the events as they occurred? Would the movie’s plot take place years later? Where would it begin? These questions are answered almost as quickly as they are asked; a reporter on screen immediately knocks on Jackie’s door. He is interviewing her after JFK’s funeral. Later, of course, time is further skewed by the presence of a priest, but for the most part the movie progresses through a series of flashbacks and storytelling through the eyes of Natalie Portman as Jackie herself. I thought that this was a very compelling way to tell the story, as it allowed viewers to go back and forth from the impact of the assassination on both the United States and mental state of Jackie O, as well as the time in the White House before, when everything was beautiful and lovely and there was no danger of losing everything. This contrast was clear, emphasized, and horribly sad.

t-natalie-portman-jackie-kennedy-first-lookApart from the manner in which the story was told, there was the actual acting, the talent, that brought everything lovely and terrible to life. Natalie Portman was perfect. Like, Oscar-worthy perfect. She perfectly embodied Jackie’s grace, elegance, strength. At times it was unclear if she knew what she wanted, or what her relationship with JFK was really like, but I will attribute this to my admittedly scant knowledge of the Kennedys. Portman, however, became Jackie, completely exposing the psychological impacts that such a trauma would have on one’s self, life, family, and desires. She was luminary.

By the end of the film, it was as though I had been punched in the gut, without actually knowing why. It was such a strong film, perhaps. Or maybe the performance and final messages were just dumbfounding. In any case, I wanted to sit in the dark and quiet theater for as long as possible, not ready for the experience to be over.

When Sam finally dragged me up, though, I looked around and realized, for the first time, that we were the youngest people in the theater. Everyone was in their late thirties at least, and most seemed even older. A lady with white hair who had been sitting beside me, I realized, had actually been sniffling and trying not to cry. As we walked up the aisle, I heard discussions about the film begin to pick up all around us. They were debating the portrayal of Jackie, admiring or disputing the choice in actors, questioning how they found such a spot-on JFK look-alike, pondering the merits of that manner of storytelling.

There was a line to the bathroom, which was small and cramped and almost welcomed not only jokes about how cramped it was, but discussions about the film we had all just seen as well. One woman asked us what we thought of the movie, and we talked for a bit before learning that she was six years old at the time of JFK’s funeral, and remembered watching every detail on TV. “It was really a spectacle,” she said. I couldn’t tell if she said this reverently or not before it was time to wash my hands.

img_2489After leaving the tiny space, we were left to a nearly empty lobby. Nearly empty, accepting the sitting area complete with armchairs and a coffee table with a chess set, where several individuals were continuing their film debates at greater length. Critics! I thought excitedly, even though I have no idea if they actually were.

All around was an air of creativity, a feeling of philosophy and thought, complex analysis of film and art. There were movie posters for upcoming indie movies that I have been longing to see for ages scattered about the walls, and as we waited for our Uber back to reality, I walked around slowly, breathing it all in. I loved it—Jackie, the experience, everything. I loved discussing the story with the stranger in the line to the bathroom; I gained a new perspective. I loved watching an amazing performance from what probably wasn’t even a flattering angle. And I loved going to a new place, full of exciting, artistic, forward and critical thinking. I was in my element. And I can’t wait to go back. Very, very soon.

Rating: 9/10

Curiouser and Curiouser!

tumblr_ognhlb5ync1rve49co1_250BEETLEJUICE, BEETLEJUICE, BEE-

Hey again!

So Halloweekend.

A weekend dedicated to candy and parties, events and costumes. I always enjoyed Halloween in high school because it corresponded with Red Ribbon Week, and we got to dress along with different themes every single day.

I love trying to come up with the coolest, most accurate, or punniest costumes possible. Sometimes I go the pop-culture route; other times I prefer plays on words. When you have several days and events to dress for, this is easy. You can be anything you want, you don’t have to pick.

The challenging part, though, is coming up with something this good from the limits of our college wardrobes. I didn’t want to spend any money, if possible, on new clothes or props that I would only use once. A LITTLE GASOLINE, BLOWTORCH, NO PROBLEM.

tumblr_ognhlb5ync1rve49co8_250So one night, I dressed in all black and, when people asked who I was, I asked them who they thought I was. This little social experiment was a total cop-out, but the “witch,” “Pretty Little Liars,” and “chick from Beetlejuice” responses were pretty entertaining.

Another night I dressed as Alex Russo from Wizards of Waverly Place. She was my childhood hero and one of my first style-icons. Her clothes are extremely cool and eclectic, so I threw some things in my closet together and topped it off with a crazy funky chunky hat.
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On Saturday night, I was a pun. I wrote the names of dozens of characters on to name tags and stuck them all over my black dress. Then I put on a black bandana. I was an identity thief.When these name tags started falling off, I claimed that I was having an identity crisis. I was amusing myself all night with that one.tumblr_ognhlb5ync1rve49co2_1280img_0684img_0642

ATTENTION K-MART SHOPPERS. Costumes aside, what did I do on all of these nights, exactly?

tumblr_ognhlb5ync1rve49co7_500I hung out with my friends, went to parties, attended events. One night I went to a haunted house. We had a party, where we all baked spooky treats, on my floor. I attended SCPC’s Alice in Horrorland event at the Student Center. I even went to a concert. There wasn’t a dull moment. Something was happening, somewhere, at all times. College is so cool.

Alice in Horrorland in particular was pretty neat. SCPC turned the third floor of the Student Center into a twisty weird Wonderland. Each room was a different theme, with games and treats and creepy cat videos. There were delicious cupcakes and glow sticks and just about anything else vaguely Halloween and/or Lewis Carroll-related. The main attraction, however, was a haunted maze inside the ballroom. There were people in costumes wandering about, jumping out at you as you searched for a way out of the dark curtained path. It was fun.
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That same night, Wreckless, another club on campus, hosted a concert on the IC Lawn. And who played, you may ask? Judah and the Lion! I had only heard of them from a Spotify commercial, but I had liked what I heard. So my friends and I went, listened, laughed, sang, and danced. I highly recommend going to concerts, even if you aren’t too familiar with the band. Especially when they come to your school, especially when they’re right in your backyard.img_0714

Sunday was the day of studying, as were the daylight hours. The weekend was long, full of fun. But the best part was doing so many different things, both on and off campus, with my friends. Halloweekend was an absolute blast.

DAYLIGHT COME AND ME DON’T WANT TO GO HOME.

 

Homecoming, Man!

tumblr_o6owfyjmhm1scu1amo1_500Hey bros! (Brothers? Bretheren?)

It has been several months now, but Georgia Tech’s annual homecoming was an absolute blast. I am a homecoming-kind of gal. I love it. I love the events, the game, the competitions

I wanted to take part in the Homecoming festivities, because Homecoming at my high school was HUGE and I loved it. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to, because I’m not Greek and didn’t know about any other teams competing. However, there are teams for each of the dorm quads too! There are many more organizations involved than you may think, and anyone who wants to get involved—like me— is able to!

This being said, I helped out with chalking, painting windows, and designing and painting our quad’s banner. I also attended the carnival-themed events, which were fun too!

My favorite of all of these activities was definitely chalking. It took place on Friday, around lunchtime, and the atmosphere on Tech Walkway was indescribable.

It felt like fall for the first time this season, and people from all over campus had come together to get messy and creative amongst the leaves blowing along the sidewalk. Passersby meandered to and from lunch, stopping to watch and talk. I saw my friends, chalked with friends, made new friends. Someone was playing ACDC because it somehow related to the jungle theme, but no one was questioning it. It such a special experience. It was one of those times that feels almost unreal, like a scene in a movie. I mean, there was even background music.img_0476img_0482img_0471

The following Saturday was game day.

Before that, however, were the Freshman Cake Race and the Homecoming parade…which I accidentally slept through. Yeah, that was bad. I had been so busy for the past week though, what with late night Starbucks runs and cram essay-writing sessions, that it all caught up to me. It was a much-needed reprieve.

img_0616-1The Homecoming football game against Duke, though, a mere five or so hours later, was a blast. It was the big game, bigger than the Cornwall game in She’s the Man.

I sat closer to the field than I ever had before. So close, in fact, that I could actually see the football! (WILD!) (I usually block on the second level of the stadium with a different fraternity.) It was a really exciting game, but I’m still not sure if it was just the game or that I saw more of it than usual.

My high school AP Literature teacher (and favorite human being in the world) came to the game too! We caught up and nerded out over books and talked about school and life and etc. It was so sweet to see her.

And, to top everything off…WE WON! GO JACKETS! Duke didn’t know what hit them. (Duke the school/team, not Duke Channing Tatum. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.) It was hot, but I was happy.

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After the game, it was back to reality. Well, sort of. My friend and I tried to work, but were quickly distracted and/or exhausted. Our productivity was doomed. So we went into Halloweekend mode instead.

What exactly did this “Halloweekend mode” entail? In the spirit of trick-or-treating…you’ll have to just wait for my next blog post to find out!

Until then…do you like…cheese?