Tag Archive | love

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

Far from the Madding Crowd Movie Review

IMG_5110In the beginning of the movie, Bathsheba Everdene (played by Carey Mulligan) promises that she will astonish everyone. And astonish them she does.

Everdene is an orphan and a farmer who, after a stroke of good fortune (or bad fortune, it depends on how you view the death of an uncle), inherits an extremely wealthy and large estate. Everdene is strong, independent, and hardworking; she isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty.

The story revolves around her independence and identity, her farm, and her love life, of course. And what a love life it is – she meets and wins the hearts of not one or two but three very different men. These men each come into and out of her life at various points in the story. They cause all sorts of problems, both internally and externally (let’s just say, there’s a gun involved). One of these suitors, however, does nothing but help and care for Everdene. He remains at her side through it all, even when she is oblivious.

This movie is easily one of my Top Five Favorite Movies Of All Time – maybe even top three. (It still doesn’t surpass Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice, though.) But seriously, I loved this movie. The actors, the acting, the setting, the costumes, the dialogue, THE STORY ITSELF – all SO good.

IMG_5097It wasn’t like one of Joe Wright’s period films (speaking of P&P); Far from the Madding Crowd didn’t seek to make every room or letter or teacup stunningly beautiful. But that was completely okay. I didn’t even notice much other than the story and the action – which were gripping. Occasionally infuriating and odd (the Valentine? Really?), but encaptivating.

Because the heroine takes what is, generally, the position of a man during this time period, a lot of gender role issues were explored. Everdene is, like I said, extremely independent; she does not want a man to tie her down. She’s a woman, but knows that she doesn’t need a man, although society around her claims otherwise. When businessmen try to scrimp on her payments simply because she is a woman, she won’t have it; she holds her own against them and finds that she can be successful on her own. Little feminist that I am – you know that I got fired up. This quote especially gave me chills – 

“It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in a language chiefly made by men to express theirs.”

I’m not sure if the book that this movie is based on portrays this same #YesAllWomen idea, but if it does, that’s pretty revolutionary for this time period. Especially since it was written by a man.

IMG_5104I know that there are some issues that were too brief, too vague, which is the peril of many such movies. For example, I’m not sure how Everdene inherits her uncle’s land to begin with, because this is England in the 1800’s. However, I’m sure that this, and many other significant plot developments, are much more clear in the book – which is officially on my short TBR list.

Basically, this movie is everything that I love (period film, England, feminism, and romance) all rolled up into one. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy period pieces with strong but wronged female leads, such as Jane Eyre or The Duchess.

I, for one, was truly and wonderfully astonished.

9.5/10 stars