Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The best parking spot in the whole parking lot!

Went to the Mall of America (yes, the largest mall in the country) yesterday to check out the after Christmas sales and return a few things. The excursion started out on a good note when I pulled into the parking lot and found THE best spot in the whole lot. Hello? Check that out!

Nothing that great at any store though. While I was at the Gap the store/mall actually went on lockdown and they made everyone is the store go back to the fitting room for 5 minutes. Yikes! Had no idea what was going on. Afterwards, found out that there were large groups of "juveniles" in groups of 50-200 going around the mall and starting fights, going crazy, taking bags, etc. Random. Cops, security, etc. After the fact, it did seem like there were a lot of young people there, but I assumed it was just because they are out of the school.

Anyway, random.

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Movie Review: Girl with a Dragon Tattoo

Went last night to check-out Girl with A Dragon Tattoo. Obviously, had to see it as soon as it came out. As is often the case with great books taken to the big screen, you have to be wary of the film adaptation. Especially when you not only have to live up to the quality of the book, but in this case also have to live up to the quality of the first movie version. Yikes! That is a lot to take on!

But David Fincher, Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and a wealth of other incredible actors do indeed take it on. And the result is shockingly good. You are riveted in your seat for 2.5 hours through what is essentially a suspenseful and dramatic mystery. At times graphic, others tinged with melancholia, this adaptation of the book is well done all around. The story stays true, the acting is incredible (how can it not be with that cast?), and the direction and production is top-notch. I was gripped, drawn in throughout the entire film, even in those moments when I was repulsed and shocked by what I was seeing on the screen.

And then there is Rooney Mara. She has big shoes to fill, both as the character of Lisbeth and the original protrayal by Noomik Rapace. The studio didn't even want her, they didn't think she was up for the role. Ha. Whatever. Who is laughing now since the Golden Globe nominations came up and Mara got a nod for Best Actress in a Drama?

Besides Social Network, I don't really know too much of her work. But this is definitly going to skyrocket her career. What a role! So many actresses were considered and she stole it away from everyone when few believed she could actually do it. Can you imagine how hard it must be thought? Such a character, such a role. Such darkness on top of the graphic nature of it. But my god ... she does an incredible job with the role, she becomes Lisbeth. Down to the fact that the hair actually her own cut and died (no wig) and the piercings are all 100% real!

She was actually the cover girl for Vogue recently and I was reading the article yesterday. Really great to get a little insight into her and the character. They mention in the article that some of the scenes were so graphic and horrific for the actors to film that they needed days away from the set after filming something in order to recover. Yikes.

In terms of holiday family fun movies, this is not the best for that. BUT, if you want a serious drama that is great, go ... see ... this!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Best Christmas Lights on a Tree EVER

So cool. Apparently this guy has been doing this to the tree in his front yard fro 10 years ... but I don't generally drive this direction so it was my first year seeing it. Wow! Just wow!!!!! Incredible. you can see this from the highway and I just had to get off and go find the house. There were like 5 cars parked outside his house admiring the tree and taking photos!

Me and my mom!

Mom and dad!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm ready for the red carpet ...

So, we went shopping today and I found this dress that I simply had to bring home and try on with shoes. So pretty, love all the tulle skirts. Sigh. It shall be going back ...

Friday, December 16, 2011

British Ad Awards: My Favorites

'Tis that time of year again ... the British Ad Awards (renamed to the British Arrow Awards this year).

Overall, some were hilarious and some were sad, but all were definitely good. I was, however, disappointed in the final winner. It was really very similar to last's years winner and therefore, to me, did not seem very innovative. Also, there were a number of ads (McDonalds, comparethemarket.com) that have very similar ads year over year and they get multiple ads in. There was lots of new material too ... but I really think they could have chosen a better winner.

Here are my favorites ...

Yo Vall-ey

 Sony Ericsson - Models

 Virgin Atlantic (bond themed - love the end)

Nokia N8 (watch all the way to end)

Drench - Goldfish

Dulux Walls (great song)

Thinkbox - Dogs Home

Johnnie Walker 

Warburtons - Take Off

Terry's Orange Chocolate 

Magnes - Catch 

Magners - Straight

Heinz - Containers

Nike - Fresh Air

Warburtons - Burndt Offerings

Audi - Beauty & the Beast (Audi R8 Spyder ... sigh)


T-Mobile (Welcome Back)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sneak Peak Movie Review: Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

A ... mazing.

That's it ... just amazing!

Honestly, an incredible, great, awesome, IMAX-worthy movie! Soooooo good. Better than Sherlock Holmes (which I saw Tuesday night). I haven't seen the other MI movies in awhile, but I am totally going to check them out again. But ... as far as I can remember, this is definitely the best one.

Yes, it has the great MI theme song. And yes ... it does have all the awesome fights and car chases and gadgets of the past. And yes ... Cruise still kicks @$$ as Ethan Hunt. In fact, I think he has gotten better with age.

Honestly, I am going to have to go see it again in IMAX, it was that good.

Enough said ... go see it.

Oh ... on a side note, the preview tickets for this one were at the IMAX theater at the Minnesota Zoo. I have never been there before, but that was quite an experience. The seats were terrible (they don't recline at all), but the screen was amazing. I do IMAX at standard AMC theaters whenever possible, but that is just the standard rectangular screen. This screen was actually square. I would say about 25% (?) of the movie was shot and played on the screen in the large square format. It would then revert to the letter-boxed rectangular film for other parts. It was super cool, especially on the scenes in Dubai.

This post will self destruct in 5 seconds.







A perfect Saturday - 12.10.11

This past Saturday was one of the most perfect Saturday's in a long time ... at least since the beginning of September when school started and I had that hanging over my head all the time.

But this was a wonderful Saturday. I got to do many things I absolutely love to do in this city and I feel like I found a little of myself that apparently had been lost these past three months. I missed doing all these things so much. I miss this part of myself ...

So ... my Saturday:
  • Backstage tour of the Guthrie
  • Brunch at French Meadow Bakery catching up with friends
  • Stop at the Walker for the new Graphic Design exhibition
  • Visit to an Estate Sale
  • Les Miserables at the Orpheum
Fun fun fun!!! So many of the things I love to do, all crammed into a wonderful 15 hour day!

And ... we're off! I know this is a long entry, but these things are all so important to me.

Photo: Guthrie FB page
First stop was the Guthrie Theater bright and early (well, early for me, it was 10AM) for a backstage tour. I had won two tickets during the summer at the Stone Arch Art Festival and finally got around to using them. Went with my friend Alli who I haven't had a chance to see recently - really enjoyed reconnecting and catching up!

I love the Guthrie as you have probably guess by previous posts. Great shows, great architecture, great environment. The backstage tour was about an hour long and great for two reasons.

One reason is that the tour itself was interesting. You don't get to literally go backstage of the actual theaters themselves, but you get to go back to the set making area and the places where they make all the costumes and props. Super super neat. The set design space was really cool. Huge space that takes up the entire top level of the parking lot across from the theater. 25 foot tall ceilings so they can build exactly as the set will be on the stage. They just build them and then move them down the hall to their respective theaters. So neat. They were working on the set for Cat On A Hot Tin Roof when we went. Then the costume shop ... OMG! Looked like something right out of Project Runway. There were even Mood bags! Not kidding. So many buttons and fabric scaps. Every costume made specifically for each individual actor. An entire room and 3 (three!) people to manage the wigs ... the WIGS!

The second reason I liked the tour was just because of the fact that they do that sort of thing. I love that the theater is not just a theater. You don't just show up before the show and leave right after. The building itself is dynamic and open and people want to be there, even if they don't have tickets. For example, there were at least 20 people in our tour. Additionally, there was a workshop going on with some of the cast and crew of Charlie's Aunt that was open to the public. There were people having coffee at the cafe and a family with a photographer that were taking some family photos. It is a place that people want to spend time in, and the Guthrie encourages this and developed a space and programs to accommodate this. I love that. I love seeing people enjoying a place like this and participating in these kinds of activities.

Overall, very neat to see what happens behind the scenes at the Guthrie and awesome to see people at the Guthrie even with no show tickets.

 Next we were off to the French Meadow Bakery Cafe, one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I have Sunday brunch there almost every Sunday. It was absolutely great to share an incredible meal (eggs benedict done just right, hash browns and even a piece of belated birthday cake) and catch up with Alli. I have missed my friends and having time to actually socialize, so it was great to finally do so. Yummy ... great company and great food.

After that, Alli and I headed to the Walker Museum where we browsed the great gift shop for some Christmas presents (yay for getting 10% with my membership). Honestly, museum gift shops have the best stuff. Then we checked out the Graphic Arts exhibition. She had just been there the day before with a group from the office and I knew I was coming back later, so we just browsed. (I need time on my own in museums to really take everything in. BUT ... we totally partook in the hands-on art project. We made art! Totally totally cool! I won't say much more because a certain someone in my family may be getting said art for Christmas ... so I don't want to give it away! But ... let's just say it's really cool and it's free!

Oh ... and bonus ... I bought tickets for the British Ad Awards for this coming Thursday! Something to look forward to!

After that, I stopped off at an Estate Sale and bought this gorgeous little gaudy gold jewelry box that had great potential for an update. Stopped off for red spray paint and tackled that little art project the next day. Check out this other post for the pretty result.

At this point I was somewhere down in Edina. I had planned to rush tickets for Les Miserables at the Orpheum. There better be some advantages to being back in school ... and $20 student rush is definitely one of them. Curtain was at 8pm which meant tickets were given out at 6pm which meant I needed to be in line by 5:30ish to feel good about actually getting tickets. The show had sold out (after rush) every night and was in high demand. Took forever to get downtown thought. Serious FOREVER. First there was a ton of slow traffic on 35W. I mean ... Saturday at 5pm with 5 lanes of traffic and we were going like 20mph. Couldn't figure out what was going on until I drove my the metrodome and saw that there was a game that night. Finally crawled closer and closer to the theater only to find that it was also Holidazzle on Nicollet. Plus the fact Les Mis. All that ads up to terrible traffic into the city and in downtown itself. By some miracle, I got a meter spot only a block away and they installed those new credit card meters so I was actually able to leverage the spot! Sweet. Got in line and waited patiently and got a ticket. Yay!!

With two hours to spare before curtain went up, I ran home quick (thank goodness I live very close to downtown) and quick grabbed dinner, got all dolled up in one of my favorite black dresses, did my hair really pretty and put on my favorite "sitting shoes". The girls reading will understand. They are gorgeous black and white cheetah pattered shoes from White House/Black Market that are super painful and I can barely walk in. But they look great and are perfect for an evening spent sitting at the theater.

Gave myself plenty of time to get back downtown given the traffic, and thank goodness I did. What normally takes me 5 minutes took me 25 minutes!!! But I made it and I found a spot in a ramp and hurried off to the theater as fast as my painful-but-fabulous shoes could carry me. So ... I have to say. I love winter accessories. Great tailored coats. Scarfs. Elegant hats. Fitted gloves. But ... living here I don't really get a chance to get fully decked out since we go in cars everywhere and don't spend too much time walking around outside in winter. But when I go to the theater ... I do the works. Yay for hats!!!!

I love love love the theater. Seriously. I love watching the actors on stage. The atmosphere of the theater. The songs. The people watching. Everything! And the Orpheum is perfect of this since it has such old world charm. I have seen almost every Broadway show that has come through that theater in the past 4 years ... and I have the Playbills and tickets to prove it!

First stop ... coat check for my coat/scarf/hat. I really don't like when people hold their giant puffy coats in their laps. Coat check is there for a reason. Anyway. Then up to my seat. I like the balcony view and was really happy with my seat. What was great was that they actually gave me one of the wheelchair accessible spots right above the first set of seats. So ... I had a perfect view down to the stage and was sitting in a real chair that I could position just the way I wanted and was actually comfortable and had leg room. Perfect.

Photo: Pioneer Press
At 8pm on the dot the show started. Les Mis is a classic and definitely a favorite - how can it not be? The music is so powerful and story so dramatic. This production is the 25th anniversary "edition" that features the revised set and staging. Gone is the rotating stage exchanged for a fresh perspective on set design and propping. Honestly, I liked it. But at the heart of the production is still the music and story. You could close your eyes and it doesn't matter what is on stage if the music still makes you cry and makes you smile.

And it still does ... it always will. Those songs send shivers down my back (literally). I cried numerous times (a given). And laughed, or course, during the songs featuring The Thénardiers. Haha ... Master of the House, Beggers at the Feast. The two actors who played the Thénardiers were wonderfully perfect comic relief!

And then there is Jean Valjean played by J. Mark McVey. Wow! He has taken on this lead role 2,900+ times. Incredible! And it shows. He was wonderful. A beautiful voice and and wonderful stage presence. He was not just singing, not just acting. He really became Jean Valjean and made the audience believe it. Then there is the actor playing Javert - Andrew Varela. A perfect compliment to McVey.

Les Mis was truly a wonderful show and just what I needed to finish off a perfect day that helped me find a piece of myself that had gone missing these past few months.

A wonderful day ... a wonderful time. I hope I have many more like it ...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sneak Peak Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes, We Bought a Zoo, New Year's Eve

I love this time of year for many many reasons. Christmas tree, decorations and displays, Christmas music, watching Love Actually on repeat ... etc ... you get the idea. 

But something that I really really love about this time of year is all the great movies that come out for two reasons: 1) it's the holidays so they bring in all the action packed blockbusters for all those families who are bored at home to go out and see and 2) all the movies making their appearance right before the awards season.

With that ... we move into the 3 movies I have seen in theaters over the past 5 days. Yes ... 3 movies in 5 days. I love preview screenings!

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Overall, I really liked it. Hard not to enjoy Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law with their witty repertoire directed by the wonderful Guy Ritchie. It has it's many moments of wittiness and a very twisty-turny-intertwined plot just like you would expect. And yes, as the previews show, Holmes does dress as a woman at one point. You really cannot go wrong ... all the elements are there for a great film. There were definitely many parts I enjoyed, many times I laughed, and many times I thought "that is so Guy Ritchie" or "that is so Holmes".

One of the things I love about these films is Ritchie's direction and showing the slowed down fight scenes. Dissecting them down, slowing them, and showing us exactly how they work and what they are as they later zip by.  I love how we can see the inner-workings of Holmes' mind. Ritchie's style makes violent fights and explosions seem so elegant and graceful. Those are good words ... elegant and graceful.

Oh ... and I love Downey and Law together.

But ... I did think the beginning moved a little slow and it wasn't quite as good as the first one. But it was definitely good and definitely entertaining and will do well in theaters as it should. You will enjoy it and you will be entertained. I wouldn't say no to a third movie.

We Bought A Zoo 
A light holiday movie for the whole family. I remember thinking when I saw the first preview: the only way they could have come up with this movie is if is based on a true story. FYI, as the closing credits will tell you, it is.

Damon does an admirable job as a dad who is struggling as a single dad with two young children. Slight midlife crisis makes him (go figure) buy a zoo. Scarlett Johansson pouts admirably throughout the film. The best part of the movie was the little girl played by 7 year old Maggie Elizabeth Jones. Seriously ... ADORABLE! She was so cute and great to watch! Incredible little girl.

Overall ... a little slow at times and a little long in the end, but a family friendly movie. If I didn't have free passes, I'm not sure I would have seen it, but it's good for families.

New Year's Eve
Uhhh. Ok, I will be the first to admit that I like most movies and that something really has to suck for me to not like it. Even chick flicks or easy ro-coms ... as long as they are entertaining and I laugh, then it works for me. That is what matters to me ... I go to the movies to enjoy myself. To smile and to be transported.

This movie did NOT meet any of those qualifications. Seriously. Yuck. And I do NOT say that often. Love Actually was the first and the best at this type of film and it did such a great job of weaving the stories together and make you care for the characters and show you how not everything works out. Then was Valentine's Day. Not nearly as good, but good enough. I smiled, I laughed ... it was enjoyable.

But this ... this was horrible. Horrible. I mean ... seriously bad. I didn't really laugh at all. Anything funny was totally expected because it was in the preview. The stories jumped around really haphazardly. There was no flow. All the different stories felt forced and bolted together, not interwoven gracefully. I just didn't really care about any of the characters. To be honest ... I got bored.

Wait ... I did laugh. The outtakes after the film was over were pretty funny.


So there it is ... the last three movies I've seen.

Happy movie-going this holiday season!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekend Art Project: Red Jewelry Box

Hello Hello!

One of the things I love to do is discover great finds at Estate Sales and Thrift Stores and turn them into treasures and pieces for my own apartment. Especially if they are items that had sentimental significance for the past owner, I feel like that should live on.

A favorite project was my entrance hall redo after I found hundreds of incredible European travel brochures and booklets from the 50s and 60s. Hand painted frames for those and even found some incredible vintage frames and a mirror that look great with a splash of color. In case you don't remember, I included a link to the original entry and a photo of the finished wall at the bottom of this entry.

Anyway, this weekend I took advantage of FINALLY having some time on my hands now that school is over for the semester and I did another project. I found this great little jewelry box with intricate latticework all along the outside and cute little claw foot legs and a glass top held in place with more little lattice detailing. Problem was it was a horrific gold color ... all over. And the bottom was a gross looking dingy yellow. I forgot to take a photo of it (darn), but trust me ... it was gaudy.

But I felt it really had potential and could look very cute with some paint and new fabric. I love that look of taking something that looks so gaudy and outdated and transforming it using bold colors. My favorite being red. Perfect example is the red mirror from the entrance hall.

Anyway. I figured out how to remove the bottom and from there it was easy. I couldn't take out the glass, so I inserted strips of paper between the edges of the "claws" holding the glass in place and the glass itself so that I could spray paint it without getting the glass. Then I just grabbed the spray can and sprayed away. For the bottom, I had an old black top I had recently discovered a hole in, so this made perfect use of it. Cut cut and staple staple ... new bottom.

I was really excited to remove the paper covering the glass this morning and insert the bottom back in. I put in some of my favorite colorful glass jewelry and it is a perfect little display piece!

Well ... what do you think?

Total Cost and Supplies:
  • Jewelry Box (Thrift Store) - $2.99
  • Red Spray Paint - $2.99
  • Fabric - Free

Original Entry: Entrance Hall Art Project (link)

IKEA stole my idea!!!

Hmmm ... a few months back I found this old mirror that was all gross looking. A splash of red paint gave it new life. Loved the old world detail and elaborate details in the bold color. 
That's the photo on the left ... the one on the right is a frame I found at Ikea when I ventured there on Saturday. Looks awful familiar! Old school frame ... done in a contemporary color. Hmmmmmm ...


Friday, December 9, 2011

Investment Banker Break-Up Email ... I Just Had to Repost

I'm sure you've heard about it by now ... the email that went viral from an investment banker who went out with a woman on ONE date. Wow! Read the original article here on the Huffington Post.

I am going to repost the email ... just so I can look back on it and laugh myself.

Hi Lauren, 

I'm disappointed in you. I'm disappointed that I haven't gotten a response to my voicemail and text messages.

FYI, I suggest that you keep in mind that emails sound more impersonal, harsher, and are easier to misinterpret than in-person or phone communication. After all, people can't see someone's body language or tone of voice in an email. I'm not trying to be harsh, patronizing, or insulting in this email. I'm honest and direct by nature, and I'm going to be that way in this email. By the way, I did a google search, so that's how I came across your email.

I assume that you no longer want to go out with me. (If you do want to go out with me, then you should let me know.) I suggest that you make a sincere apology to me for giving me mixed signals. I feel led on by you.

Things that happened during our date include, but are not limited to, the following:
-You played with your hair a lot. A woman playing with her hair is a common sign of flirtation. You can even do a google search on it. When a woman plays with her hair, she is preening. I've never had a date where a woman played with her hair as much as you did. In addition, it didn't look like you were playing with your hair out of nervousness.
-We had lots of eye contact during our date. On a per-minute basis, I've never had as much eye contact during a date as I did with you.
-You said, "It was nice to meet you." at the end of our date. A woman could say this statement as a way to show that she isn't interested in seeing a man again or she could mean what she said--that it was nice to meet you. The statement, by itself, is inconclusive.
-We had a nice conversation over dinner. I don't think I'm being delusional in saying this statement.
In my opinion, leading someone on (i.e., giving mixed signals) is impolite and immature. It's bad to do that.

Normally, I would not be asking for information if a woman and I don't go out again after a first date. However, in our case, I'm curious because I think our date went well and that there is a lot of potential for a serious relationship. Of course, it's difficult to predict what would happen, but I think there is a lot of potential for a serious relationship developing between us one day (or least there was before your non-response to my voicemail and text messages).

I think we should go out on a second date. In my opinion, our first date was good enough to lead to a second date.

Why am I writing you? Well, hopefully, we will go out again. Even if we don't, I gain utility from expressing my thoughts to you. In addition, even if you don't want to go out again, I would like to get feedback as to why you wouldn't want to go again. Normally, I wouldn't ask a woman for this type of feedback after a first date, but this is an exception given I think we have a lot of potential.

If you don't want to go again, then apparently you didn't think our first date was good enough to lead to a second date. Dating or a relationship is not a Hollywood movie. It's good to keep that in mind. In general, I thought the date went well and was expecting that we would go out on a second date.
If you're not interested in going out again, then I would have preferred if you hadn't given those mixed signals. I feel led on. We have a number of things in common. I'll name a few things: First, we’ve both very intelligent. Second, we both like classical music so much that we go to classical music performances by ourselves. In fact, the number one interest that I would want to have in common with a woman with whom I'm in a relationship is a liking of classical music. I wouldn't be seriously involved with a woman if she didn't like classical music. You said that you're planning to go the NY Philharmonic more often in the future. 

As I said, I go to the NY Philharmonic often. You're very busy. It would be very convenient for you to date me because we have the same interests. We already go to classical music performances by ourselves. If we go to classical music performances together, it wouldn't take any significant additional time on your part. According to the internet, you're 33 or 32, so, at least from my point of view, we're a good match in terms of age. I could name more things that we have in common, but I'll stop here. I don't understand why you apparently don't want to go out with me again. We have numerous things in common. I assume that you find me physically attractive. If you didn't find me physically attractive, then it would have been irrational for you to go out with me in the first place. After all, our first date was not a blind date. You already knew what I looked like before our date. Perhaps, you're unimpressed that I manage my family’s investments and my own investments. Perhaps, you don’t think I have a "real" job. Well, I’ve done very well as an investment manager. I've made my parents several millions of dollars. 

That's real money. That's not monopoly money. In my opinion, if I make real money, it's a real job. Donald Trump's children work for his company. Do they have "real" jobs? I think so. George Soros's sons help manage their family investments. Do they have "real" jobs? I think so. In addition, I’m both a right-brain and left-brain man, given that I’m both an investment manager and a philosopher/writer. That’s a unique characteristic; most people aren't like that. I've never been as disappointed and sad about having difficulty about getting a second date as I am with you. I've gone out with a lot of women in my life. (FYI, I'm not a serial dater. Sometimes, I've only gone out with a woman for one date.) People don’t grow on trees. I hope you appreciate the potential we have.

Am I sensitive person? Sure, I am. I think it's better to be sensitive than to be insensitive. There are too many impolite, insensitive people in the world.

I suggest that we continue to go out and see what happens. Needless to say, I find you less appealing now (given that you haven't returned my messages) than I did at our first date. However, I would be willing to go out with you again. I'm open minded and flexible and am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I wish you would give me the benefit of the doubt too. If you don't want to go out again, in my opinion, you would be making a big mistake, perhaps one of the biggest mistakes in your life. If you don’t want to go out again, then you should have called to tell me so. Even sending a text message would have been better than nothing. In my opinion, not responding to my messages is impolite, immature, passive aggressive, and cowardly. I spent time, effort, and money meeting you for dinner. Getting back to me in response to my messages would have been a reasonable thing for you to do. In addition, you arrived about 30 minutes late for our date. I'm sure you wouldn’t like it if a man showed up thirty minutes late for a first date with you.

If you're concerned that you will hurt my feelings by providing specific information about why you don't want to go with me again, well, my feeling are already hurt. I'm sad and disappointed about this situation. If you give information, at least I can understand the situation better. I might even learn something that is beneficial.

If you don't want to go out again, that I request that you call me and make a sincere apology for leading me on (i.e., giving me mixed signals). In my opinion, you shouldn't act that way toward a man and then not go out with him again. It's bad to play with your hair so much and make so much eye contact if you're not interested in going out with me again. I have tried to write this email well, but it's not perfect. Again, I'm not trying to be harsh, insulting, patronizing, etc. I'm disappointed, sad, etc. I would like to talk to you on the phone. I hope you will call me back at xxx-xxx-xxxx> (if it's inconvenient for you to talk on the phone when you read this email, you can let me know via email that you are willing to talk on the phone and I'll call you). If you get my voicemail, you can a leave a message and I can call you back. Even if you don't want to go out again, I would appreciate it if you give me the courtesy of calling me and talking to me. Yes, you might say things that hurt me, but my feelings are already hurt. Sending me an email response (instead of talking on the phone) would better than no response at all, but I think it would be better to talk on the phone. Email communication has too much potential for misinterpretation, etc.

Best, Mike

Great Ads of 2011:

Another one ...

Great Ads of 2011: 100 Years/Style/East London

Another great one ....

Great Ads of 2011: Contrex

From the Mashable Article: You Tube's Most Shared Ads of 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

My first Monday off in 3 months ... and it was awesome

So with school in session since September, every single Monday has been horrible. Straight off the weekend, full day at work and then leave at 4:45 on the dot to sit in traffic, struggle to find parking and then sit in a horrible class for 3+ hours. Then home where exhaustion (and headache) sets in and then it all starts over the next day. Tuesday's were supposed to be normal, but they never ended up being so and before I knew it, it was Wednesday and the work/class cycle repeated itself. The Friday snuck up and I passed out early. Saturday spent doing errands and Sunday studying all day. Even if I wasn't in class or wasn't studying ... I felt like I should be. There was that added pressure. Even at work, I would have felt so much better each day with just another half hour to feel like I was really on top of everything rather than just rushing through.

This is going to be a long 5 years ...

But for now, the first semester is over and today was my first Monday off. And it was awesome! After a crazy day at work I was able to stay a little later and catch up on some emails and actually leave the office (and my laptop) behind at the office. Then I went to the gym where I got in a good 1 hour cardio workout, leisurely enjoying some gossip mags. For the first time in weeks I wasn't running out to my car to beat traffic. I went slowly, enjoy the crisp winter air. Then ran a few errands. Bank. Library. Costco. Then home where I actually made (lose term ... heated up more like) dinner and was able to sit down and enjoy it while watching Gossip Girl.

Then some blogging. Some online Christmas shopping. Even did some laundry. Now going to take a shower and I may actually be in bed by midnight. Miracle.

I really like have my evenings back. Having the weight of school off my shoulders. It is really going to suck going back in January. Sigh. But for now I just want to enjoy December. I want to go to the gym everyday after work and get back in shape. I want to catch up on all my back-issues of magazines. I want to ENJOY the Christmas holiday!!!!

I wish my life were like a Google commercial ...

The  new Google+ commercial (well ... new to me) definitely made me smile. Google + Circles Love Story.

I am also a big fan of the first Google commercial. Sigh.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Eeek ... where do you even buy shoes like that anymore?!?!?!?!

So ... sometimes I look around and wonder what the hell people are thinking when they walk out the door. Do they really think that is acceptable to where in public? Uhhhhh.

Today was another one I just had to sneakily snap a photo of. Thank goodness for the iPhone where I can pretend to be texting when I am actually taking photos to later make snide comments about.

I remember these shoes ... back when they were poplar ... when I was in middle school ...12 years ago! Seriously! Where do you even buy shoes like this anymore???? And why (why!?!?) would you believe they actually look good?

Some of the worst no-no's (in my opinion) are: 
  • Work out sneakers (like full fledged running shoes or such) when you are not working out ... but rather just out in public. Kind of like the scene from Crazy Stupid Love when Ryan Gosling throws Steve Carelle's 407s over the mall balustrade. Exactly.
  • Sweatpants in public. No. Never. Not unless you are coming to or from the gym. And they better be cute ... and it better be really obvious you are on your way to/from a workout.
  • Sports jerseys in public. I make exceptions if you are actually at a game or at a bar or something like that. But no way you should just be wearing that for the hell of it.
  • Over-the-top handbags with any of the above. Accessorize appropriately for crying out loud.
Here is an example of all of the above no-no's in one unfortunate group walking through the MOA:
Note the sneakers, sweats, jerseys, handbags in the crook of the arm ... etc.

Movie Review: The Descendants

I would pretty much see anything with George Clooney in it. Seriously.

With that being said, The Descendants isn't anything ... it is definitely something. A major something. It is special. It is a beautiful film that examines the many nuances and situations of life in a place we often think of as idyllic and paradise-like that we often times forget has real people and real problems. The writing, acting, directing, etc are all top notch, just as you would expect. But beyond that, the movie makes you feel. Makes you cry. Makes you smile. It is not often a movie can do all that in one. The last that did it for me was 50/50. This is up there. Definitely up there.

The Plot: (copied from Rotten Tomatoes as it was too complex for me to accurately sum up)
From Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar-winning Sideways, set in Hawaii, The Descendants is a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic journey for Matt King (George Clooney) an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family's land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.

As I think more about this film and the previews I had seen, I don't think I as prepared for the context of death and loss. I thought it was more about his wife's affair. And it is. But be prepared, this film has death and loos and tragedy and coping. But it has it all so beautifully done and with Clooney at the helm to make it come across both effortlessly and full of real emotion and pain. And then there is Hawaii. I think that made this movie extra special, the setting and the back story. We always think of Hawaii as such a vacation place, the perfect honeymoon destination. That everyone must surf and work in the resort industry and that nothing bad can happen there. But it is a normal place, just like here, just like wherever you live. I like that they didn't show any of the characters surfing or going to a luau (sp?). I like how it wasn't always sunny ... in fact, it was overcast and rainy. I like how they made it seem real. How the place was a metaphor for how life often feels: sunny and happy and bright to everyone looking in from the outside, but for those living in it, it is normal and has its small moments of joy and many moments of pain.

I apologize dear reader (all 1 of you that probably reads this), I am blabbering because I am struggling with describing how I feel about this movie. It was lovely. That seems like a good word. Lovely. It stayed with me after I left the theater. It showed that paradise has its real life problems just like everywhere else. And it made me thankful in many ways.

Oh Christmas Tree ...

Another year ... another Christmas tree. I love Christmas, and to that end, I do it up right in my apartment. And that includes a REAL tree. Yup. It does.

Home Depot all by myself where I pick it out all by myself and load a 6.5 foot tree into my tiny 2-door VW Golf. That's right ... into. Not on top of. That scares me. And no ... the cranky HD lady did not help me get it into the car. Back to my building where I unload the tree and get that thing across the parking lot, up the elevator, and down the entire length of the hallway and into the apartment. Storage closet for an entire cart load of decorations and "stuff". Get the tree all set up and secure in its stand ... by myself. And then decorating time!!! My tradition - Christmas decorating MUST happen with Love Actually playing in the background. Repeat as needed.

And this year, I have to say, I am extra proud of my tree, decorations, and the entire apartment. It looks very nice!

And thus December begins! Bring on Christmas music, Love Actually, The Holiday, baking and the crazy malls! I embrace it all!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Yay! The red indicator-thing finally popped!! Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for many things this holiday season, most important my family and friends, health and good fortune. Oh yeah ... and that class is done for the semester.

But I am especially thankful that the little red indicator-thingy finally popped on the turkey! We have never done Thanksgiving at my house. Never. My mom is a great cook and can make some incredible things, but she's never done a turkey. This year however, she did it! She has been cooking up a storm and everything turned out incredible. It was a little scary there for awhile because the the turkey was only supposed to take 4 hours and it ended up taking closer to 5 ... and even with a higher temperature. We kept looking at that darn red thingy and it just would NOT pop! We were literally cutting up some chicken breasts to serve instead when finally it popped! Success! And it tasted delicious! She even did TWO kinds of potatoes (fancy mashed and au gratin), green beans, stuffing, and gravy. Yummy!!!!

She's the cook in the family ... as the photographer I was responsible for capturing the moment!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Some of the best music you've never heard - Northern Lights by Cider Sky

Yes ... it's from the Breaking Dawn soundtrack. And yes ... it's a great song!!!! Honestly, these movies always have great musict!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

First Snow of the Season ...

Well, it was inevitable, we got our first snow of the season! But it wasn't too bad ... jsut a dusting really. Nothing compared to this time last year when we had 2 feet on the ground!

And of course ... as soon as the white stuff started falling, people forgot how to drive.

Friday, November 18, 2011

YES it's 3AM and YES I just got home from seeing Breaking Dawn and YES I am going to blog and YES there are spoilers

So, I am hyped up on way too much Coke Zero right now. In addition to the fact that I did just see the first part of the last book of one of my favorite stories! So of course, I cannot fall asleep. So what's a girl to do in a situation like this but blog. Since it is all fresh in my mind, I thought I would jot down my impressions ASAP. Be warned ... I love the books and I enjoy the movies, therefore my opinion is skewed. But ... I also love good movies, so I try to give an honest opinion from that perspective as well.


Seriously ... SPOILERS ... Stop reading now if you don't want to know.

Well, not really SPOILERS since most people have read the book and know exactly what is going to happen. But spoilers more in the sense of treatment of scenes and events, direction, style, ending spot, etc.

Overall Impression:
True Twihards and lovers of the series and the characters will enjoy it because it stays true to the story and gets you one step closer to the finale. As a film however, it is not my favorite in the series (by far) and it falls flat in some areas and doesn't excite me as much as some of the others have.

  • First of all, I totally called how it was going to end. Seriously, I told two people today my prediction that it would end on Bella opening her eyes ... and I was right on!
  • I had downloaded the soundtrack early on but none of the music really captured me right away like the other three before. However, after hearing the music in the context of the film, I now have a few favorites.
  • And on the topic of music ... that score was horrible and cheesy and was really poorly placed at the beginning. Bad.
  • But I did love the use of Flightless Bird, American Mouth during the wedding scene when they were kissing ... perfection.
  • I love love loved the treatment of the ending. The montage, the music overlay, the way they transformed her body - so perfect!
  • No on can fault this movie for its accuracy. It falls flat in a lot places, but it is true to the book in the details. If you haven't read the book you may think many scenes (i.e. birth) are too much, but that is exactly how it is written.
  • I imagined Isles Esme to be a lot smaller and more intimate ...
  • But I did love the scenes at Isles Esme ... that was how I pictured them on the island ... broken bed and feathers and all.
  • Her dress ... the jury is still out. I thought the back was beautiful and loved the sleeves, but there could have been a little something more in the front.
  • I particularly didn't like the wolf pack scene when Jacob breaks away from the pack. That was just weird and awkward with the wolves talking in each other's heads. I mean ... I know that is how the book has it, but it just didn't work.
  • It was only 15 seconds into the movie when Jacob took his shirt off for the first time.
  • And speaking of awkward ... there were a lot of awkward moments. Some intentional (because let's face it, the characters and scenes are written that way) and some not-so-much intentional.
  • I did gag and cringe at some scenes. The same scenes I gagged and cringed at in the book.
  • If you haven't read the books and are going into this without knowing what will happen, I doubt you will enjoy it too much. 
  • I thought the wedding speeches were super cute/funny.
  • Thank goodness they made Edward look good again in this one. No more New-Moon-Edward.
  • I love Charlie. Played to perfection (in his few scenes) yet again.
  • The beginning felt very weak. I think it was the slow pace and the poor score ... but something was definitely off and started the whole thing with a bad rhythm.

That's all I got for now. My brain-dump of Breaking Dawn.

To recap, loyals will enjoy because ... well ... let's face it ... we will really enjoy anything with Twilight in the title and Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in the billing. It stays true to the book ... even to a somewhat gross extent. There are some nicely done scenes ... but lots that are just awkward.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bet you can't read my mind ... work-appropriate Twilight madness outfit!

In exactly 12 hours I will be sitting in a movie theater seat watching Twilight Breaking Dawn: Part 1.  O ... M ... G!!!! Seriously! One of the best nights of the year ... right up there with HP: DH P2!!!!

So as I was getting dressed for hte office this AMM I wanted to support Twilight in a work-appropirate way that still showed off my nerdiness! I am proud of it!

So ... cute tights, purple skirt, blue blazer ... and Twilight shirt!!! It's understated ... no "Team Edward" here. It just says "Bet you can't ready my mind". If you didn't know it was a Twilight tee ... you wouldn't know it was a twilight tee! Toopped the whole thing off with a cute oversized scarf to cove rup the graphic print since this still needs to work for work.

Work appropriate - blazer, skirt scarf.
Hidden beneth - Twilight and Team Edewar!!!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nylons are NOT disposable after one use ...

Well, that's obvious! But then why ... oh why ... do all my nylons keep ripping after only 1 or 2 wears.

I'm not exaggerating. I wear skirts and dresses 3-4 days/week and started wearing nylons again (vs bare legs) last week. I have already gone through three pairs!!!! Most of the time they rip in the big toe. That was today. They looked fine, I got home and took off my shoes and found that the toe was done. But others are just random. I look down ... and they are ripped!!! WTF.

Seriously ... to those girls out there that know any secrets for extending the life of nylons, please share!!! My wallet cannot afford this disposable approach much longer!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Twilight Madness! I have held back long enough from posting my true excitement!!!!

I am a Twi-hard! All ... the ... way! Go Team Edward!!! Read all the books tons of times, watch the movie son repeat, own a Team Edward shirt (though I have never worn in public), etc, etc, etc. And I am not ashamed of it!!!!!!

I am also not ashamed to pose with this awesome installation at the movie theater!!! Yay!!!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

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