Saturday, April 30, 2011

Movie Time: Fast Five

Even in the middle of studying, I of course needed a movie break! And of course I was going to see Fast Five! I really enjoyed it ... but I did not enjoy the small children parents saw fit to bring to this movie. Read to the end for my little rant on that!

Basic Story:
The whole gang (almost literally) is back ... and they are in for one more big car-chase-filled adventure. After breaking Dom out of jail, the whole crew in on the run and wanted fugitives. And who wants them? That would be the huge federal agent played by The Rock. Anyway, they head down to Rio and get themselves into a bit of trouble, all culminating in a big F&F getaway scene.

All in all, this is one of my favorite installments in the series. The acting, story and chase scenes are in line with what the previous movies delivered, but it does feel like it has a little something new. What I liked about it most is that it brought so many of the characters together and seemed to add a little something to the F&F story line. I think it had a little Ocean's 11/12/13 as well as a sprinkling of Italian Job. There are some particular scenes when they are getting ready for the big heist in this old warehouse and it looks exactly like the getting ready scenes in Italian Job with the Mini Coopers, or the Ocean's 13 planning scenes in that warehouse with the small museum model. Very similar!

So go and enjoy. This movie is a great start to the summer blockbuster series that is sure to come. And if you are like me ... add the first 4 to your Netflix queue to catch-up!

Oh ... and here is my random rant of the day ... small children at movies that are highly inappropriate for them, and very annoying for me!

Who (seriously ... who????) brings their young children to a movie like Fast Five??? Next to me was a couple who brought their 5 or 6 year old daughter. Seriously? I mean, she could actually understand the words and understand that people were being killed left and right! How do you explain that one in-between bedtime stories. I can just imagine the conversation: "Mommy, why did they blow that man's head off?" ... "Well honey, the men in the bullet proof vests were there to take Dom back for breaking out of jail, but the other men needed to stop them from taking him because their boss, the drug lord of Rio, wanted to kill Dom for stealing his money. Should we read Cinderella now?" WTF.

Oh ... and as if that was not bad enough. The couple in front of me had an infant! Small child, very small child. Like, cannot-crawl-type small child. It cried. Well duh ... so would I if my parents took me to a IMAX movie with loud and scary noises in a dark room. Seriously ... that is really bad parenting in my opinion. That child could not have been a day over 6 months!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Once upon a time ... Kate & Wills: The Roayl Wedding

Well, this post is a bit of a “duh” … but it is obvious I am going to blog about the wedding of the year/decade/unspecified-amount-of-time. I know that in the weeks/days that have been leading up to the big day I have not posted anything, but that has been a conscious decision on my part and it took a lot of willpower. One reason was because I needed to be GMAT studying, so I tried to cut back on posts, and the second reason was because I didn’t want to give away just how crazy/dorky I really am about this.

You see … I love all things royal. Yes, I am THAT girl. I have watched all the specials – I even TIVOed most of them for future re-viewing. I watched the Lifetime made-for-tv-movie (TV Wills has better hair then real-life Wills). I have the magazines. I have been following all the news. I love love love the excitement of it all. And to those of you who have been saying all week “uhh … it’s just so annoying, I want everyone to stop talking about, can’t wait for it to be over, etc” … all I have to say to you is BOO! And by the way … the next time you want to talk to me about the draft pick/season opener/fishing opener/last night’s big game … yeah, I’ll be the one saying “I want everyone to stop talking about it.” To each their own …

This was “my own” today:
-Watched last night’s TLC special with live coverage outside Kate’s hotel and all over London
-Up at 3:30AM
-At Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis at 4AM with my friend (and her husband … and his friend … who had been up all night and decided to join us!) when the doors opened for their special viewing party – complete with full English breakfast buffet (bangers and smashed!)
-Watched at Brit’s from 4-8 – the whole event, start to finish! They even had a bag-pipe player at Brit’s!
-Went to work at 8AM to gossip about it all with those who actually want to

All in all a very excellent day! Thought it feels very long! But it is incredible how fast 4 hours can fly by when you are having fun! It did not feel that long – just so much excitement and so much to see! A feast for the eyes in every direction!

I won’t post photos or try to describe anything or attempt to explain why I just have been smiling all day/week over this. It’s not worth it. The one thing I will say is that I think part of the excitement of things like this is being in the crowd and having that experience with other’s who share you passion and interest. It is the same reason I love midnight move/book release parties and attend them for my favorites! I loved being there with other people who knew everything there was to know, clapped when Kate came out, dressed up in fancy hats and dresses at 4AM, sighed audibly as a group when they were announced as man and wife, and were just generally full of joy for an event wholly unconnected to any of us personally. That’s a huge part of something like this – sharing in it with others!

And that’s all … almost … I do have to leave a few comments of my own just for posterities sake:
-Kate’s dress was very elegant – simple, classic, well proportioned for her (and for the abbey) and beautiful – and the fact that it had a similar look to Grace Kelley’s was great!
-Wills needs to just call it a day … buzz cut!
-Harry was hilarious to watch – two particular moments that stand out are when he turned around to watch Kate come down the aisle and smiled/joked at his brother who was staring forward so purposefully, and the other is on the procession back to Buckingham when he was laughing with the little kids in his carriage

-The hats! Love them! I live in the wrong country as I was born to wear hats! Here is one of my faves I almost bought in Munich! It would have been perfect!
-The kiss – twice! I thought it was cute … and I liked Kate’s little shrug!
- How different it all felt from Diana’s, how Kate look so much more ready for the undertaking and comfortable in the role, and how they looked so much more comfortable with each other!
-The people – those crowds, wow, what I would have given to be there!

Ok … that’s all.
To those who just don’t care … well I don’t care that you don’t care.
To those that do care … well, I completely understand!

And of course, I have to include a been there/done that photo. Not BTDT for the wedding ... but for London/Buckingham Palace!

Time to go watch my Tivo!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Travel Tuesday: The Matterhorn

I am going to keep today's Travel Tuesday short and sweet because I need to go take a GMAT practice exam. Fun times.

Today's destination: Switzerland and the Matterhorn!!! In honor of my friend who is going to be interning in Switzerland this summer, and the fact that Amazing Race was there this past Sunday and is going to be there again next Sunday, and since I just booked my flight to Switzerland! Yay!!!!

So ... the Matterhorn. Wow. Just wow. One of the tallest peaks in the Alps, it stands at 4,478 meters high, looming over the town of Zermatt in the Pennine Alps. To get to the viewing area, take the Gornegrat railway, a beautiful train ride up into the mountains to 3,100 meters where you have sweeping panaromic views of the Matterhorn and all that surrounds it.

The last time I visited was the summer I was living in Switzerland. It was a beautiful day! We rode the Gornegrat rail up to the viewing area and just enjoyed the view ... breathing in fresh air, enjoying the blue sky and warm sun. Wow! Perfectly crisp and clean white snow everywhere, endless views. Just gorgeous.

We spent a fair amount of time up there before taking the train just one station down. From there, we actually walked the remainder of the way down. Quite an adventure and a lot of fun! I recommend it ... walk! We just made our way slowly back down to Zermatt, stopping every once and awhile to enjoy the view.

There is a beautiful spot, right where the train makes a U-shape where it is just pure Switzerland: a beautiful green meadown with the train passing by ocassional, complete with a little shepards hut and a flock of baaaaaing sheep, and all with the beautiful Matterhorn looming overhead. Just throw off the jacket and lay back and enjoy!!! One of those purest moments in my life.

Oh ... and in case you are thinking "that looks familiar" ... the Matterhorn's famous shape is on many a chocolate brand ... Toblerone and Lindt to name a few. Ummm ... chocolate ....

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dear Delta ... *on hold*

Dear Delta,

You suck. I am writing this as I am on the hold with customer service ... for the second time. Because after being on hold the first time, the representative who called wasn't actually able to help me ... he just directed my call to the right department. As though me screaming into my phone "ONLINE RESERVATIONS" was not enough. And honestly ... how can you not understand "NO" when I am screaming it? That is the simplest word!

But back to Delta.

Just connected with Online Booking support ... who established that I actually need International Assistance.

"Please hold for 4-5 minutes."

As I patiently hold while listening to soothing elevator music, allow me to describe the problem I am facing. Trying to book a flight through Flights I want are obviously available and are options I can book. Choose my flights and continue. Enter all information. Click Reserve. Site reverts back to the original screen where it tells me that my flight for that fare is no longer available. Ok ... what? I had already chosen ... that sucks! Well, go back in and look for alternate options. But wait!!! My desired flights are still available! Choose them again, and go through process again, only to be told (yet again) that the flights are not available. Then why are they coming up as options!?!?!?!?!

Hence why I am on hold.

Update: Representative came back on the line to tell me "thank you for continuing to hold." Umm ... your welcome? Or ... No. Thank YOU for allowing me the pleasure of paying you $1600 for an overpriced flight! It is such an honor to spend so much money on my ticket with you and have such a mediocre experience. Thank YOU!

Anyway ... booked a flight ... though not the best one. Only took an hour of time I didn't really have since I should be studying. But what is studying compared to European holidays? (P&P quote ... sort of).

Lesson of the day: Book flights right away. Don't wait even one day once you've decided to go.

Friday, April 22, 2011

What do Earth Day and Valentine's Day have in common?

Everyone knows today is Earth Day. And if by some chance you woke up this morning and didn't, I am sure you will shortly since it is everywhere. I have only been at work for 10 minutes and have already seen signs at the elevators encouraging me to tak the stairs, in the bathroom telling me to use less paper towels, and at Caribou where it was the daily trivia (Q: Who was the first to issue an Earth Day proclimation? A: City of San Francisco). Oh ... and of course the great Google Doodle of the day.

I consider myself a green person ... I try to do my part where I can.

  • I always bring my own reusuable bags to the store
  • I don't use plastic bottles or buy bottled water
  • I reuse store carrier bags for other purposes
  • I use the energy saving light bulbs
  • I recycle
  • I try not too print too much at work

    It seems like a lot of small stuff, and I cannot claim that I do anything too big - you won't see me using public transportation in this city because it is just so inconvenient - but I like to think I do my small part. But what I think is more important is that I am consistent with it. Earth Day is like Valentine's Day to me ... it should not be just one day where you feel like you do your part and that is enough. No ... it is a day to recognize a behvior and things that you do all year. I don't want to get flowers and be told I'm loved on just one day out of the year, and you shouldn't care about our earth just one day either. It is something that you should do everyday, all year.

    So that is my two cents. Celebrate Earth Day, print less, use reusable bottles ... and do it everyday.

  • Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Some of the best music you've never heard: The Submarines (LIVE!!!!)

    Before tonight, I could count the number of concerts I had been to on one hand. After tonight ... I am up to 6! Woo-hoo! Not to mention that this summer I am (finally) going to see the U2 360 concert which will take me up to a whopping 7 concerts!

    Anyway ... of the 6 I have gone to, today was the second of The Submarines - one of my favorite bands making some of the best music you've never heard. Or ... in their case ... you've probably heard but just never knew who they were. They have had music on iPhone commercials, Grey's Anatomy, Nip/Tuck, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, and Gossip Girl. So yeah ... you know them ... you just don't know them.

    They are a great little indie-pop band from California and are touring with their third album - Love Notes/Letter Bombs.They have a fun background too:
    The duo, John Dragonetti and Blake Hazard, met in Boston and became partners and toured Europe. However, 4 years later upon moving to LA they broke up. Both continued to write music and they discovered that their songs were written about each other and their breakup. So ... they decided to work on some songs together and ended up getting back together. So those songs made up their first album ... and now they are on #3. Fun fact: Blake is the great-grandaughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Cool!

    So ... you really should check out their music - it is great! I have posted some videos of a few of my favorite songs. Brighter Discontent has been in my repitoire for years and years and is an old favorite that I am constantly going back to and that makes its way into nearly every playlist. I cannot count the number of times I have sung that song out at the top of my lungs in my apartment or the car.

    Brighter Discontent (song starts at the :53 second mark if you want to fast forward - really nice acoustic recording)

    Got a brand new roof above my head
    All the empty boxes thrown away
    I rearrange the place a hundred times today
    But the ordering of objects couldn't hide whats missing

    All these things should make me happy
    Make me happy to be home again
    All these things should make me happy
    Make me happy to be alone again

    Got myself a bottle of red wine
    Got a night nothing else to do
    Well I think I might now what I really want
    Is a brighter discontent the best that I can hope to find

    All these things should make me happy
    Make me happy to be home again
    All these things should make me happy
    Make me happy to be alone again

    But love is not these belongings that surround me
    Though there's meaning in the memories they hold
    A breaking heart in an empty apartment
    Was the loudest song I never heard

    Got a desk to write myself a note
    Pretending that it came from you
    On hotel stationary
    From that time we first met
    Whatever what I can do 'cause I won't throw my hands up yet

    All these things should make me happy
    Make me happy to be home again
    All these things should make me happy
    Make me happy to be alone again

    But love is not these belongings that surround me
    Though there's meaning in the memories they hold
    A breaking heart in an empty apartment
    Was the loudest song I never heard

    I'll be fine if I don't look around me now
    Too much for what's gone
    Well if only I could wait here just a little while
    Let time pass in my room



    Peace and Hate

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Travel Tuesday: Country Patches

    What do you collect from your travels and adventures? Whether they are from far off distant lands, or your visit to all 50 states, or a roadtrip up north? What is that one thing you always pick up wherever you go?

    For me, it has always been a combination of three things:
    · Backpack patch – more relevant when I was younger and actually traveled with a big North Face backpack where I proudly displayed all of them
    · Miniature – mini whatever … mini red London phone booth, mini Eiffel tower, mini Buddha, mini castle …
    · Brochures, postcards, napkins, metro passes, etc – whatever I want/can find for my scrapbooks Today’s Travel Tuesday is about the patches. A couple years back I finally took them off my backpack – which I no longer used – and stashed them in a drawer. At the same time, I was bad on a few trips about actually picking up the patches. Then … last year, my parents surprised me by taking all them and organizing them in a great display case. This has me really inspired to find/acquire the ones I am missing!

    Anyway – yesterday was my first day in a new role at my company, so I wanted to take the opportunity to redecorate my office space. So I brought this to the office to remind me of all the great memories … and to remind me to go after the ones I am missing!

    So … would love to hear what other’s collect from their travels! What is the one “must find” item?

    Happy travels!

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Spring is in the air ...

    Well, here in the land of 10,000 lakes, it has been a very long winter and an even longer transition into spring. Just when you start to think spring and warm(er) weather is here ... bam ... we get a cold snap and (shiver) snow.

    This was actually Saturday AM as I waited in Prospect Park for the Estate Sale to open ... brrrr.
    But the good news is that after that cold Saturday, Sunday turned out to be rather nice. In fact, it was ripe for a nice little outdoor downtime. Though I will say ... 40 and sunny is still a rather chilly in the shade, but I'll take it.

    Day was actually very pleasant. Woke up at 8AM to hit up the estate sale again (everything left is 50% off the second day ... I wanted more of the travel brochures ... and I SO got them). Then went to an early brunch and studied for my GMAT. Actually sat outside at FMB and a few people followed suit. As long as my chair was in the sun, it was perfectly pleasant. Next I stopped by the Walker to check out the new exhibition - Midnight Party. Followed by a nice walk in the sculpture garden and some lounge time just soakin' in the Vitamin D. Then some errands, back home to do some cooking, a workout and Amazing Race. Really, a very productive day.

    A few pics ...

    You know spring is here when the city brings out the Nice Ride bikes and stands. Yay! I really hope to take adavantage of these this year. I think they should defintly set up a stand right out side my apartment.

    Onto the Walker for some nice gallery viewing ... the 50/50 exhibition is really great! Print exhibition of Walker's own pieces where half the show was done by public voting, while the other half by museum curators.

    And on I went to the sculpture garden to enjoy the sun ...

    And the fun photo opps ...

    All in all though, it was a very good and productive weekend, and one the longest in awhile. I mean longest literally ... as in longest I was awake for. If you know me at all, you know I sleep until noon on the weekends. It is not so much the time that matters to me, as much as the fact that I don't have an alarm waking me up. I just need to naturally rise ... that could happen at 9 for all I care ... as long as it is natural. But alas ... it is usually closer to noon which means I loose my entire morning. This weekend though, I was up both days before 8 for the estate sale. It was rather shocking how much I could accomplish by doing this! I mean ... Sunday I was already done with brunch by the time I normally get to brunch! So then I could actually do things that afternoon! Totally shocking! I may have to try this again some time! Not every weekend ... let's not get crazy here ... but occasionally ... when the need arises.

    Also ... was listening to an old favorite I wanted to share.
    Jem - Finally Woken

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    House Hunters International: Rome

    Yay ... 9:30 on Sunday night means one thing: House Hunters International. Well ... ok ... maybe it means two things. Also that I have to be at work in less than 12 hours. Yuck.

    But back to HHI. I've said it before and I'll say it again - how do these people do it!?!?!? Today's episode featured a woman who left her job in NYC and is off to Rome where she will be teaching English! Teaching English! And ... her employer is giving her a $4,500 a month housing stipend! Wow ... but that isn't even enough for her in Rome! For a two bedroom flat in central Rome she will need to be prepared to pay $5,000-$7,500. Wow! That's a lot of money. But, if you want to live downtown and have spare bedroom for all those guests you are bound to have, you have to be willing to fork over a lot of rent!

    I will say though, the apartments on this particular episode were rather large and high end ... not what I would expect for Rome on a budget. But for that kind of money ... there better be a second bedroom and lots of closests!

    No travel entry is complete with some been there/done that photos from Rome:

    Press Play: Source Code, Arthur, Tron, HP7:1, Atonement ... + 2 new movies!

    Well ... was there ever a more hodgepodge list of movies than the one I am about to comment on here? Doubtful. Anyway ... a few theater picks, a few DVD picks ... and some trailers for upcoming movies I am REALLY excited about! I need a good lighthearted romantic comedy right about now!
    • Source Code
    • Arthur
    • Tron
    • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 1
    • Atonement
    • Friends with Benefits (trailer)
    • Crazy, Stupid, Love (trailer)

    Source Code
    Something bad has already happened. You can't change that. But you can go back to the last 8 minutes of that event (repeatedly) and use the knowledge gained to stop something else bad that has yet to happen.

    Overall a fast paced, intelligent, Inception-like story that keeps you interested, even if it does not always make sense in the moment. I only wish that they would have cut off the end about 2 minutes before they did. I liked the emotional side of the end ... but I didn't want them to take it as far as they did.

    He's going to get cut off from the million-billion dollar trust fund if he doesn't marry the cold and calculating b!tch. But he meets the woman of his dreams ... what, oh what, will our little lovable, British, alcoholic Arthur do?

    A few things. One. I never saw the original ... so I have nothing to compare this version to. Two. I really enjoy Russel Brand, and Helen Mirren. So ... with that being said, I agree with most of the reviews that this was a bit of a flop. BUT ... if all you are looking for is something funny and lite, this should hit the spot. Honestly, it even has it's emotional moments ... Mirren really delivers in that area, and even Brand comes up to scratch in those scenes. Overall though, his performence seemed somewhat uninspired, which is odd, because he is so funny and it feels like he should thrive in this role. But it just fell a little flat. He and Mirren really hae great chemistry though ... that carried it for me.

    Ummm. Something happens ... I think. Oh! There is definitly a video game! And ... hmmm ... funny light-up suits?

    For me this was a waste of a $.99 Red Box rental. Uhhh ... I was bored about 20 minutes in and was just glad I had 5 loads of laundry to keep me busy ... because the movie sure as hell was not doing a very good job of it.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
    Here ... we ... go! Eeek ... I love HP! Saw this (and the rest) at midnight release in theaters! Bought the DVD right away Friday. Yup ... I am THAT girl! And yes ... I will be at the midnight release for Part 2! Can I buy tickets now?!?!?

    Seriously though ... I thought this movie was very good (and all in the series have been great). It does a very nice job bringing the book to the screen. And for all of you who have only seen the movies and never bothered with the books (your loss) ... stop saying it was "slow and boring." Ummm ... duh ... this is what the 7th book is! Read the books ... then you will understand! Anway. The actors have really grown up, they have developed their characters well, and have really brought darker, deeper, and more emptional part to the series in this latest installment. The cinematography was well done and overall I thought the direction lived up to my expectations of what 7 would translate to on the screen.

    Girl and boy are seperated by a horrible lie that a young girl tells. She is a dreamer, innocent, and incapable of realizing the damage that moment will have on everyone's lives.

    This is one of my favorite movies. I still remember leaving the theater and just crying in the car, and not being able to stop thinking about this movie for the next few days. The end still makes me cry ... every single time. The green dress is still one of my favorite cinema costumes. The direction by Joe Wright is incredible (he is one of my favorite directors). The score by Dario Marianelli gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it. The powerhouse that is Wright-Knightley-Marianelli is incredible, I hope they do something together again soon!

    And of course ... there were some great movies. I am that crazy girl that loves to watch previews! These are the two that I am very excited about:

    Crazy, Stupid, Love
    Emma Stone
    Ryan Gosling
    Steve Carell
    Marisa Tomei
    Julianne Moore
    Kevin Bacon

    Friends with Benefits
    Mila Kunis
    Justin Timberlake

    Estate Sales and Memories: Travel Brochures and Maps

    Headed out to an estate sale in Minneapolis's Prospect Park neighborhood. The home was in really bad repair and all around poor condition, but there were some good finds. Ever since I got on the English Ivy mailing list, I get the email notifications with the sales ... and this particular one caught my eye! When the first item listed is "Herman Miller fiberglass shell chair" ... well ... yeah ... you know you have to go!

    But alas, the chair was gone by the time I got in. Boo. I actually got there early this time, which I haven't done before, and participated in the numbers system. People show up hours early and wait for the operator to come and give numbers in the order you arrived which decides the order you go in. I got there 40 minutes early and was number 38 ... yikes! They let 30 people in, and then we had to wait ... I was in the second group. My chair went with someone in the first 30. Sad ... but it was above my price limit anyway ... so that makes me a fell a bit better about the whole thing.

    I wandered for awhile and spotted some of the other pieces I was interested in - some paintings, some vintage exhibition posters - but in the end everything just felt very overpriced. Maybe I'll head back tomorrow when they are all discounted.

    However ... I did come out with a few great finds ... 20 of them to be exact! There were two great big boxes full of vintage travel brochures and books from the 1950-80's.
    Really great stuff. From all over the world, though primarily Europe. Brochures and maps and guidebooks ... all sorts of great finds. And the covers were all very unique and colorful and funky! I am super excited about this find ... only $0.50 each! I think I will buy some nice shadow box frames and do a cool wall collage with these. The colors will go great against a clean black frame and white matting ... organized on the wall in a fun pattern. I have been meaning to redo the front hall!

    Here were a few of my favorites ...
    Got really excited because I have been to all the places and these are just so fun! The woman had even been to Romania ... so she had some neat stuff from there, including the great map seen here!

    And I even found a great oval mirror with an old vintage frame with lots of curly-cues and swirls and such. Going to go a little Yves Klein on that one ... paint the whole thing a vibrant matte red! Should go great with my new frames and travel pieces!

    Of course - as with all of the estate sales I have gone to lately though, the whole thing is bittersweet. I inevitably end up thinking about the person who spent a lifetime collecting these memories and meticulously organizing them. And here they are, up for sale at $0.50 each. Makes me think about the numerous boxes I have of exactly the same thing. Will they end up in the same boxes?

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Some of the best music you've never heard: Lene Marlin

    Lene Marlin's music pretty much defines my Fresheman year in college. My dad introduced me to her music, and it was constantly on repeat ... the soundtrack to my life. Today her song's came up on a playlist and my mind automatically starting relating memories and moments to that music, making me tear up. It was so odd ... my mind remembered before I even realized what I was listening to and why I was tearing up. Listen ... you won't regret it.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Travel Tuesday: One day late (this week ... and in China)

    Oooops. I forgot to post yesterday for Travel Tuesday! I blame it on my after-work commitment combined with GMAT studying. Time just got away from me!

    So in the spirit of being one day late ... thought I would post about the day I was one day late getting home ... the longest day EVER!

    I had been in China on holiday and headed home. I actually don't mind long flights! I love reading and watching movies and just being disconnected. A normal flight home from Asia is long enough, but this was just ridiculous! I was supposed to have a 1.5 hour flight up to Seoul then 10 hours to MSP ... but when all was said and done, I had been traveling home for 42+ HOURS!

    The breakdown ...
    • Arrived at airport at 7am - my flight did not leave until 1PM, but I had to be there early ... boo
    • 7-10AM - sat in airport ... with my suitcases ... before check-in ...
    • 10AM - checked in and finally made it through to the Starbucks
    • 10AM-noon - Starbucks ... hearing announcements for some delays due to the late spring winter storm
    • Noon - boarded the plane ... according to flight attendant, we are scheduled to depart on time ... on time by @$$!!!!!
    • 2PM - still on the tarmac
    • 4PM - still on the tarmac
    • 7PM - still on the tarmac
    • 10PM - we finally move and the plane gets defrosted
    • 10:15PM - we have to go back to the gate because the pilots have been on the plane TOO LONG!!! seriously? seriously!
    • 10:30PM - back at gate
    • 11:00PM - ELEVEN hours later, we finally depart
    • 1:30AM - arrive Seoul ... obviously have missed connection ... leave airport and check into great Hyatt where I have a very nice suite. I make two phone calls: one to my parents, one to my manager. I won't be back Monday! Connection in the morning is at 9:30, and since I have to be up so early and will only get to have like 3 hours of sleep, I am scarred that I will sleep though my alarms ... so I barely sleep that night.
    • 6AM - I'm up ...
    • 7AM - check back in at the airport ... here we go again ..
    • 9:30AM - depart Seoul
    • 10:30AM - arrive Chicago (12 hour flight ... )
    • 11-1PM - Chicago airport ... hungry, bored, tired, no more battery left in either iPod ... have already read my three books two times each ...
    • 1PM - board Chicago-MSP flight ... THE longest flight of all! Seriously ... I was surrounded by all these little blonde sorority girls coming home from spring break. And they were ... like ... so tired of flying ... because they had, like totally, like been flying already for like 4 hours. (it was a struggle to not scream ... like ...)
    • 3PM - in a cab on my way home from the airport ...
    • 5PM - pass out in my apartment ...

    And that ... was THE longest flight ever ...

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Getting married ... in technicolor!

    One of my friends got hitched this weekend. It was a beautiful wedding and she was absolutely stunning! I was so very happy to be able to share in the moment with her and be there to celebrate her special day!

    And of course ... my ever-present camera was right there, snapping away photos all night! This one was an ooops that turned into something a bit fun! The bride is all about the white dress ... but what if you exploded it into big, bold and bright TECHNICOLOR?!?!? This is the result ... a fun Warhol-like treatment that is sure to be different from any of the photos from the pros!

    And no matter what color it is ... that smile and that happiness says it all! Congratulations!

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Some of the best music you've never heard: Bliss - Kissing

    If you haven't heard Bliss before, you have been servery missing out. This song reminds me of so many beautiful memories ... makes me want to cry and smile all at once. Listen ... trust me ... you'll be thankful.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Can I put you on hold for a sec? Dreams. Contentment. And realizing you need more.

    I don't think I have ever really "properly" introduced myself. In order for this post to work, I think I must do so now. Brace yourselves ...

    I'm 25 years old and I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota where I have lived and gone to school for the past 19 years since I moved here from Europe with my parents. While I would say I "grew up" here, it is equally true to say I grew up around the world. From the time I turned 14 I spent a fair amount of time (more than an average person does their entire lives) traveling. Here, there and everywhere. Holidays, summer breaks, group things, school things, family things, solo things, Europe and Asia mostly. Did the typical high school thing - straight A student, Honor Roll, managing editor of the school paper, swim team ... and like totally dated a a football player. Then came college - kept up the grades, joined clubs, had my best semester while studying abroad in BCN, got internships, when to the business schools and finished in 4 years with 3 majors in 2 schools (Marketing, International Business and Art History), kept on traveling. Graduated, got a job at a major company based here in the Twin Cities (believe me ... you know it), and spent three of the most wonderful months of my life before starting to work living in Europe and traveling around. I'm single by choice and (most days) happily so. I like to read, write, am obsessed with movies, art, music, and photography ... and am always trying to lose five pounds.

    That's me in a nutshell. Well, that's enough to make you understand the rest of this post.

    One of my best and oldest friends (she knew me back in kindergarten when I didn't speak a word of English!) called me today and told me she just got this incredible internship opportunity in Switzerland. First thought that went through my mind: I am so effing excited for her and so happy that she is doing what she wants to do and following her dream! Second thought that went through my mind: I am so jealous that she has had the nerve to follow this path and I wish I could take such risks with my life as she has! (Third thought: I miss Switzerland)

    The call was about two hours ago. I have spent those past two hours reflecting on my life - as I have lately taken to doing - and questioning a lot of my assumptions and decisions, and debating what comes next. Because honestly ... most days I have no ideas. Someone, a long long time ago, set out a path that we are supposed to follow. Over the years some slight tweaks to the master plan have come along, but the basic principles hold (at least in the American way of life): 1. Go to school. 2. Get a job. 3. Get married. 4. Buy a house and car. 5. Have kids. 6. Spend the rest of your life paying off school/house/car/kids and going through the daily rigmarole.

    But what if that isn't it for you? What if you choose not to follow the plan? What if you are not happy with just following the plan ... but want to blaze a new trail for yourself? Even scarier ... what if you know this plan isn't right ... but have no idea what else you want to do?

    That is why I have so much respect and am so excited for my friend ... she left the small town we grew up in, she chose not to do the same thing that everyone was doing. Went off to do some great work in an area she loves, moved to a place where she can enjoy life on her time off, is continuing her education, and seeking out some of the most unique opportunities life has to offer her. And here she is ... happy and off to see the world. Sure ... there are some obstacles to overcome, but she'll make it work!!!

    So where does this leave me ...

    On hold.

    That is how I would describe my life recently. On hold. Ever since getting back from my summer in Europe and starting work, I just feel like times passes but stands still at the same time.

    I go to work Monday-Friday.
    I workout in the evenings.
    I watch Gossip Girl and Grey's Anatomy.
    I go to the movies and hang out with friends on the weekend.
    I clean my apartment.
    I go to the theater and museum exhibitions.
    I read.
    I pay my bills.
    I travel.
    I start projects that I cannot seem to get myself to finish.

    That could be any year ... any week ... from the past three years. Nothing has really changed. Just a wheel that keeps spinning with no force or sway from external or internal sources to push it off its current path. There is nothing "wrong" with the path ... it's a good path. Good job. Good apartment. Good life. Good Delta Frequent Flyer status. I'm content. But content, I'm starting to realize, is not enough. When one day turns into the next, and this week blends with last, and you suddenly realize that half a year and then a year has passed, it's time to make a change. Because although I may not know what the end goal is, I do know that the thought of the next three years being like the last three scares me. They would be perfectly fine, perfectly content, perfectly happy years. But I would look back on them like I look back on these three, and think ... what more could I have done?

    I'm tired of thinking it.
    Tired of talking about it.
    Tired of remembering that my wonderful summer of freedom was not that recent anymore.
    Tired or knowing that I don't want to take the next steps I should (i.e. marriage, house, kids) but want to start taking those steps I want.
    Tired of dreaming/thinking/planning ... but not doing.

    So here I go ... doing. First step, take the damn GMAT (but I reserve the right to complain about it). Next step ... not sure ... but I'll figure it out.

    (I think this is what is called a wake-up call ... let's hope it was loud enough)

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Travel Tuesday: Singapore

    There is this indescribable feeling that only another traveler can really appreciate and understand. That second when you suddenly feel this freedom and lightness - atop a mountain, on a crowded street, in the metro, sitting on a bench. It is as though you are having a moment of enlightenment. Everything slows down, but speeds up at the same time. You are moving forward, but stuck in that moment, just breathing deeply, breathing for the first time in a long time. It is the moment you leave everything behind and are just there; in that place, with nothing else clouding you. Sounds sound richer, colors are bolder and brighter, everything is better, because you are better ... you are more free to really experience things at their utmost.

    I don't do a very good job of describing it, but I do a good job of experiencing it. I live for those moments - those instances when I am truly free.

    Singapore is one of those places where I have felt this weightless freedom. I was thinking back to my most recent trip, back in 2007. I can't believe it's been that long. I miss it, I miss that feeling of freedom.

    I don't smile in photos ... and I especially don't smile with my teeth. That is what makes this photo rare ... and what makes me look back on this moment and know that I was feeling that lightness I am trying to describe.

    I love the song To Be Free by Mike Oldfield. It make me think of those moments ...
    You don't know which way to go
    You're lost, no direction
    Then suddenly, out of the blue
    Some kind of magic pushes you thru
    You don't know how, you don't know why
    But someday, you're gonna take off ... fly

    And if I had one wish, my wish would be
    To be free
    To be wild
    And to be ... just like a child
    And if i get lost
    I really don't mind
    Cause I'm me ... doing just fine

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Dear GMAC

    Dear GMAC,

    I am just curious, when was the last time that you were out in your day to day life and needed to know (off the top of your head) that "any number to the negative power y is equal to the reciprocal of the same number to the positive power y."

    Similarly, when in real life have you come across a data sufficiency situation?

    Just curious.

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    My three weekend weakness (well ... three of many)

    Weekend are just too short. Can we flip-flop weekdays and weekends? I think 5 day weekends sounds very reasonable really. That should allow enough time to actually accomplish the things I need to do and the things I want to do.

    Seriously though, I always find myself battling between enjoying my weekends (reasoning that I deserve to just lay back and do nothing) and actually accomplishing goals. Studying, cleaning, cooking, working on projects. I am sure there is a happy balance in there somewhere, and there are a few rare occasions I achieve it, but it not often.

    Anyway, I have three big weakness on the weekends (and weekdays really ... if I am being completely honest). They are old movies, books, and sour jelly beans.

    1. Old Movies.
    I love going to the movies. If you have read my past posts you are well aware of this. But nothing compares to watching a good old classic curled up on my couch. Watching Audrey Hepburn float across the screen, or Frank Sinatra croon, or Cary Grand and Deborah Kerr fall in love. Nothing compares. Lighthearted, full of laughter and easy stories, a true escape to a simpler and more elegant time. A time when women wore gorgeous dresses and beautiful little hats on their coiffed hair, and men wore suits and were true gentlemen. Sigh. I want to travel with trunks on an ocean liner bound for Europe, to fall in love in the most meet-cute of circumstances, and to be carefree like that. Below are four of the recent favorite classics I recently re-watched.

    An Affair to Remember
    Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. They meet, they fall in love, the decide to be together, they are torn apart my unfortunate circumstances, they both believe the other doesn't care, they realize they are still in love that the circumstances of their separation aren't important. You cannot get better then this. Really. From Gossip Girl to Sleepless in Seattle, this story line has been copied again and again.

    The Grass is Greener
    Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr ... again. He's an English earl, she's his wife. In comes a rich American millionaire who sweeps her off her feet. What follows is a nice little movie full of witty banter and civilized discussions of adultery. Heck ... there is even a good old fashioner dual!

    Daddy Long Legs
    Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron. He's a wealthy American businessman who meets a beautiful orphaned girl in Paris whom he decides to take under his wings and anonymously sponsor at a girls University back in the States. Years pass and the girl grows up. They meet again, though she doesn't know who he is, and sparks fly between the two. Of course.

    Royal Wedding
    Fred Astaire and Jane Powell. Brother-sister act go across the ocean for an extended show in London right during the buzz right before Queen Elizabeth II's wedding. He meets someone. She meets someone. What a wonderful place and time to fall in love!

    2. Books ... any book.
    I just want to curl up and read ... all the time. Can I make a career out of it? Really. I just love to read. I get so absorbed in the book, I cannot put it down. I will stay up until all hours, read on the elliptical machine while working out, read in all the little spare moments I have in the day. Really, I always have a book in my handbag. The other day my car was getting washed ... perfect for getting in 5 pages! While cleaning today I came across my copy of "The Art of French Kissing" and set it aside to reread (for the 4th or so time). Great book!
    That is another thing ... I love to reread books. I know people who will never re-read, but I love it. Same with movies ... they are just as good the 2nd, 3rd, 4th .... time.

    3. Sour Jelly Belly candies.
    Yum. I always buy a small bag when grocery shopping. I have no other comment here. They are just so delicious!
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