Tag Archive | love

Versailles

Saturday, May 27th, 2017, Part Two

The first time I went to Paris, we did the whole guided Versailles tour group thing. But that didn’t stop me from going back after Dorsay, for the remainder of what was essentially a really good free day.

IMG_0042This time, though, I didn’t have the fast skip-the-line advantage. But that was okay. Because even in the heat, in the direct sunlight, in the serpentine line of similar and sweaty tourists, most of our group was there together. Okay, maybe not most of the 55, but a solid 20 something. And we all bonded, complained about being thirsty, freaked out about the fact that we were in Europe, talked about Arrival and Survivor (Chris Page), and joked about tourists…together. For almost two hours. Talk about bonding.IMG_0039

It was really only bad because of the heat and lack of shade. Otherwise, I wasn’t in a hurry, but I think I was one of the only ones. I had already seen it before, though, so I mostly knew what to expect. I was embracing the chit-chat.

IMG_2269When we finally did get to the end of the line and go inside, though, a bunch of people were disappointed. It wasn’t as amazing and overwhelming as they had expected, I think. Or perhaps they were just thrown by how packed it was. Because that definitely also takes away from the experience: the sheer number of people packed into those hallways and being filed and pushed through those rooms.

It was still incredible, obviously. And even better because this time I knew the history and significance behind everything, but it certainly wasn’t as impressive as it had been the first time. And the tourists were viciously elbowing us to take pictures. And we didn’t have a tour guide telling us what we were seeing. And stopping to read anything for a refresher would have been impossible as the people are quite literally like a tidal wave or herd pushing you forward, forward. IMG_0045IMG_0065IMG_0076The Hall of Mirrors, a highlight of my last trip, was unfortunately only a blip this time. It was still gorgeous, and still my favorite part of the main palace. But it was kind of ruined by the volume of people. There was even a rope in the middle to lessen the confusion into a queue. And another of my favorite places, Marie Antoinette’s chambers, were closed. I was bummed. And then I was bummed that I was bummed in the freaking Hall of Mirrors.

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Me, pouting when I shouldn’t, in a room that was closed to the public. *not still bitter a little*

Talk about a bourgeoisie mindset. But, seeing as where I was, that was nonetheless appropriate though I guess.IMG_0137We got through the parts of the palace open to visitors in about thirty minutes. And even that was merely due to how large and crowded it was.

Afterwards, we wanted to go to the gardens out back. “Out back,” like it’s a casual backyard or something.

But first, we needed a snack.IMG_0155A Blair Waldorf snack, or a snack fit for queens, in any case. I may or may not have been channeling my inner Kirsten Dundst.tumblr_of24f8iqe91qcvii9o1_1280We sat and ate our macarons (Ladurée macarons, mind you) in the courtyard in the front of the palace of Versailles. We walked around on those gorgeous checkered tiles, did some more princess spins, and licked the sugar off of our fingers (whether they were actually covered in sugar or not). We were finally in the shade, and could see the line of people waiting to get in, all lined up outside the golden gates a ways away, just as we had been. And we did not envy the masses at all. Again, all very bourgeoisie.img_0169.jpgimg_0158.jpgThen we really did go find the gardens. I beelined straight to where these lil pruned beauties were, as I had not found them the last time that I was there.IMG_0177IMG_0195IMG_0184May or may not have saved one macaron to take this picture. (It was eaten soon after.)IMG_0196This garden is immediately to the left out the back of the palace. We had only gone right and back last time, and then ran out of time. I’m so glad that I got to see it this time though.

There was something else though, in addition to “the cool swirly gardens” that I was longing to see that I hadn’t during my previous visit. I hadn’t known about this at the time though, so it wasn’t an annoying regret at having been so close but missing something as the garden had been. No, this I learned about later. And this, you see, was Marie Antoinette’s estate.b3b48f06f13540cb28c0ce5c7e537455The estate is way the heck in the far right corner of the gardens of Versailles. Like, halfway down the huge freaking canal. In the top right corner, to be exact, if you’re looking at a map, which I was, a lot, and have since memorized.

Anyway, this estate is called Petit Trianon, and it is exactly 1.4 miles, or a thirty minute walk, from the back of the palace, where we were standing in the heat of the day.IMG_0211 1No one else wanted to go. They were tired, hungry, hot. It was already almost five o’clock, and they had “been there, done that.” Everyone wanted to go back to the city.

But me, no. I was determined. Marie Antoinette’s estate and farm, fundamentally, was the reason that I had returned. And knowing about it then, but LEAVING before taking advantage of the fact that I was at Versailles once more and may never go back…no. There was no way I was not going to go see it.

So I went.IMG_0218Like the previous day, when I had mastered the courage to go across Paris on the metro by myself, I simply took off. My friends knew where I was. I had my cell phone. I even had water. I was surrounded by tourists and other people. It was broad daylight. I could argue my safety in court. As for the train on the way back…I could do that too. I had done it yesterday, hadn’t I?IMG_0222I headed off in the directly that I knew (and that the map told me) the estate and farm was. I passed some things that were familiar, like one of the side fountains, hidden amongst the winding garden hedges; I passed some things that were new, like the rose trellises and sanctuaries of high arching trees. IMG_0241 1IMG_0242These tree paths were glorious. The breeze blew through them, a breeze that had seen been mysteriously absent. And then there was the shade. I walked on the grass for a bit, for it felt really nice on my feet which I at that point refused to acknowledge ached a bit.IMG_0252I went on that walk so so happily. Adrenaline and excitement, I think, got me to the opposite end of the park. Adrenaline and maybe a little bit of spite. Because once again, after all that time in line, everyone else just wanted to leave?

Granted, I had been there and seen everything else before. Everything was new to most everyone else. But my wait hadn’t been for the Hall of Mirrors. I knew exactly what I wanted to see, and I was going to see it. And that was so liberating.IMG_0245Along this walk, though, I also learned why Marie Antoinette took a carriage to her getaway house. It’s basically hidden on the other side of the park if you don’t know which tree maze to go through to get there. Kudos to Marie for knowing how to avoid Louis. Just have him build you a house on the other side of some really huge ass gardens.IMG_0259Finally, I found Petit Trianon. It was at the end of a really long lane, like something out of Pride and Prejudice. Or any period film, actually. Say…Marie Antoinette?

Regardless, I could imagine carriages coming and going, and it made me so happy that at one point I walked up in the very middle of the road like the merry lil tourist I was.IMG_0280IMG_0289I went inside the house itself, and, after Versailles and its grand rooms, it wasn’t terribly overwhelming. It was cute, almost. Tiny, cramped. Even her bed was small. But everything was really pretty and very tasteful. It was modest for a queen, but I think that’s what she was going for.IMG_0312 1I walked through and out to the back, where the trails led on towards the farm and into the countryside beyond. This was going to be something, I knew, and relayed to myself mentally, sounding like an endearing grandpa. This will be something for sure.IMG_0326 1The trek was easy by now. I walked really slowly and took tons of pictures. Everything was beautiful and shadowy and green. So, so green. I was at peace.IMG_0343IMG_0350 1

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Oh hey!

IMG_0360IMG_0373 1Eventually the path led through the woods and onto the farm. I only knew this because one, that’s what the map told me, and two, because after a while I could see more buildings, buildings I still hadn’t much been expecting, make themselves known from beyond the hills and trees.IMG_0352IMG_0381IMG_0390Um, peep.tumblr_oo440otidz1r6mymdo4_400(I’m fine. They just filmed literally all throughout this area, and I’m still just now finding more and more stills from the movie of places I walked. I feel like if I watch the movie now I’ll like melt away or something but I also literally know what I’m watching next. Seriously though why haven’t I rewatched that movie since then. Bye I’m off to worship Sofia Coppola a lil bit.)IMG_0396 1IMG_0421 1IMG_0458IMG_0461 1IMG_0466IMG_0475IMG_0477Jokes and movie references and fangirling aside, this entire area is one of the most beautiful places I have seen.

 

Maybe I loved it because I had anticipated it so much and yet had no idea (despite seeing the movie a while back) what I would find and see there.

Or perhaps it was because I had found it on my own, a little treasure and adventure all to myself. I had proven that if I wanted to do something, gosh-darn it I would.

Or maybe it was so wonderful because of the air, the quiet, the breeze, the rolling hills, the grasses swaying and flowers blooming. Everything was alive and moving while simultaneously remaining quiet and still. There were no tourists here. In fact, I could go for ages at a time without seeing a large group of people, something that would not often happen for the rest of my summer abroad.

This was an escape. Just as it had been intended to be, way back when Marie and her little girl came here to play farm, as Tracey told me once. Still, I loved it. It was one of my favorite adventures, I think.IMG_0486After I had seen the farm, I walked back a different way. It neared that by whence I had came, so I generally knew where I was, but I still wanted to see more, as much as was humanly possible. I wanted to see and cherish everything.

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Me, being very very happy. (And very amused that I found a French tourist wearing a Star Wars shirt to take my picture.)

IMG_0535I’m screaming and fangirling again sorry, but holy crap this was literally on the other side. I walked there!!!b1b2d049541c9b2eae416ea1c854e6a9I went back around from the farm in a way that led me around and past Grand Trianon, which I think was Louis’s getaway spot. Like, a hunting lodge or something similarly royal and seemingly masculine and…that’s right, bourgeoisie.IMG_0557IMG_0559By then, the park was closing, and I was much less impressed by this than I had been by the gardens and Marie’s lovely lil places. My adventure, though, was nearing its end anyway. The parks were closing, so there was a slow but unmistakable exodus of day-trippers like myself. I walked out through Grand Trianon and towards the long lake in the center of the park, which eliminated any chance that I would get lost.IMG_0565On my way I passed a restaurant and tiny little village-type area near the gate, for tourists of course. It was gorgeous too.IMG_0575It’s a straight shot from the end of the lake where I was to the palace. The palace, which at the time I was certain was my only exit. (It wasn’t, but don’t tell my past self that.)IMG_0579Because the hike back sucked. I know I can’t really complain, because I had basically just had the most amazing adventure ever, and was literally in the gardens of Versailles outside of Paris in freaking Europe. But it sucked. It just…did.

 

Somewhere along the lake I lost one of my nine lives, a small piece of my soul. I was exhausted, and none of the adrenaline that helped me get there in the heat remained to help me back. My feet hurt. It was hot. And I was starving.

I regret nothing, obviously. But I could have really gone for some food and a chair right then.IMG_0587 1This must have been how everyone had felt earlier. But it was just now hitting me. It would only be when I was back on the train by myself (well, by myself beside a really nice group of exchange students from Asia and Bulgaria that somehow knew each other and were also visiting Paris), that I could finally relax. I shoveled back some food, stared out the window, and floated away once again, completely content.

I was also, once again, pretty damn proud of myself for mastering Parisian public transportation. IMG_0599 1More importantly, though, I was proud of myself for being so determined and strong-willed and refusing to accept defeat. (Yeah, defeat. The Battle of Versailles, me versus myself and the elements and the influence of others in order to hike all the way to Timbuktu and back. I’m not being dramatic I swear.)

I was, and still am, proud that I walked the three plus miles total in order to see that beautiful piece of land and buildings where a former teen queen spent her holidays in peace and reprieve. Proud, and so, so happy. tumblr_oo440otidz1r6mymdo2_400

Dorsay

Saturday May 27th, 2017

We got to Musée d’Orsay (which again, I will be calling Dorsay because one I’m lazy but two it sounds more like an appropriate and affectionate pet name) around 9:30 am. Paris was quiet and cool, and we got to cross and see the river and streets before they grew wild with travelers and pedestrians like ourselves. Because we were so early, and such a large group, we were miraculously allowed inside the museum before they actually officially opened.

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As a result, we got to explore the quiet old railroad station, unencumbered by the crowd. And it was magical. You know that scene from Pride and Prejudice where Lizzy (Keira Knightley) slowly wanders around all those beautiful white marble statues while piano music plays? This was the closest I’ve ever gotten to that.

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We got lost for a while, wandering in and out of and between the various statues and paintings and rooms. We went upstairs, downstairs, back again.

At one point, we found an old ballroom full of chandeliers and mirrors where we twirled and twirled for a bit, pretending that we were princesses and that this was where we lived. It wouldn’t have been a bad arrangement.Then we finally kept going up, and up, and up, to what inexplicably felt like the main event on the fifth floor. It was the Impressionist exhibit.

I have always loved Impressionism. It’s my favorite painting style and movement, I think. When we learned about it in art class, I always got so excited. We got to do timed Van Gogh drawings and recreate Monet paintings.

I even loved the cheesy movies we watched on those awful rolling television carts in middle school, movies about Degas painting the ballerinas and sculpting the Little Dancer, about Renoir and his fierce competitive streak. The acting was terrible, no question. But they made the artists and their subjects real, alive. Also, Mr. Cooper, my amazing art teacher, was always so enthusiastic about them and how bad but good they were, and I think that kind of fervor catches on.

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The fact that I knew something about the artists, perhaps, made seeing their works even more special. Learning about things, having a context and background to them, always does that. Or maybe I was just so happy and into this exhibit because the paintings are so lovely. I love the style and mood of Impressionism, as I said. I love seeing the light, the paint and brushstrokes, the airiness.

Or maybe it was also because literally every painting was more famous and familiar than the last. Literally every single one. The poppy field? Waterlillies? The freaking Renoir girl that Lorelai Gilmore dresses up as in the Stars Hollow Festival of Living Art? The Degas ballerinas and practice statues? I was freaking out. It is, in fact, also possible to fangirl over paintings.

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Regardless, I was in awe and in love.

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After spending an eternity amongst the Impressionists, I wandered back downstairs to find my friends. In doing so, I also found Van Gogh, the Surrealists, and a handful of other abstract and brilliant masters.

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And then, after another little bit, it was time to leave.

I got a tote bag because I was tired of carrying my water bottle and brochures everywhere. I bought postcards and continued to fangirl over the wonderful place I had just visited.

Even when we all boarded the train that would whisk us away to Versailles, my mind and heart were still focused on the little train station-turned art museum. This had been my favorite art museum of the trip yet, maybe one of my favorites ever. And that is the pillar upon which it would and has remained. I loved, and will love, Dorsay and all that we saw and did there.

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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 ~

Talking As Fast I Can Book Review

So as you know I’m obsessed with Gilmore girls. (HA, understatement of the year.)

As you may also know (thanks to my Instagram that I much more faithfully update than this poor pretty little child blog of mine), when I found out that Lauren Graham was writing a book about her experiences as Lorelai on the old and new Gilmore sets, I completely freaked out.

Like, I don’t think I’ve as ever impulsively bought a book as I did when I clicked “preorder” on Amazon in September. (That’s a lie, I’ve grabbed off of the shelves at Goodwill faster than you could read the last sentence.)

When it arrived a while back, all pretty and shiny and new, I was ecstatic. It came out around when the miniseries reboot aired, and I had little time to touch it thanks to school and being completely preoccupied with the living breathing characters and Stars Hollow on screen.

When school ended for the winter break, and after I finished the show (*sniff*), I picked up my dear friend’s memoir and dove right in. I ate it up in a solid two days.

As a fan, I loved it. Lauren talked about her past, how her career began, where she started. I feel like all actors or comedians who write biographies throw this in there somewhere. (I also know that this is, in fact, what makes them biographies. It’s also a huge part of their story and who they are as people. As Lauren would say, “medical, medical.”) So I enjoyed learning about her past jobs and childhood, but I couldn’t help but keep thinking, “when does Gilmore Girls come in,” so I probably breezed through it a bit.

Other times, there were sections that were completely and interestingly insightful. The part about Old Lady Jackson and looking up every once in a while? Loved and bookmarked it. The writing advice she’d learned? Noted it and plan on using it. There were so many other brief little messages here and there that truly made me stop to think. I had been so hyped up that I wasn’t really expecting to find nuggets of wisdom, but they’re there—and plentiful.

Finally, the long awaited Gilmore Girls sections. First, Lauren described the process, what it was like originally. She had never seen all of the series herself (which I thought was odd at first but now totally understand), and so she literally watched it all and made notes about everything from what was going on behind the scenes to what was up with her hair at that point in her life. Oh, and she pointed out every time a technology was out-of-date, which was amusing.

Next (or actually, after several more sections and closer to the end of the book, which is fitting since so much time has passed and all of this is so recent), Lauren describes the reboot process. She describes it like a dream, and said she cried throughout the whole year in the life. So did I Lauren. So did I.

She kept a journal from the set of the set of the reboot, complete with pictures and the story of the things she stole from set. Alexis stole a Yale banner from the wall in Rory’s room, and when I read this I almost started crying. And the fact that every time Lauren mentioned how “cliffhanger-y” the ending was, Amy just smiled? Again in the words of Lauren Graham, “Hmmm.”

The Gilmore Girls tidbits were brief, but sweet. I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into this side of not only Stars Hollow, but the world of acting and life of such a wonderful, quick-witted, and introspective actor as Lauren Graham. I only wish that this lovely little book had been longer because, like Gilmore Girls in all of its many forms, I hated to see it end.

Rating: 4/5

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

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