Saturday, October 31, 2015

Movie Review | Burnt [THEATER]

I had such hopes for this film - it just seemed like a great combination. Great actors, seemingly good story, good looking food.

Unfortunately, the film just didn't deliver. Disappointing. That's the word I would use. It wasn't completely terrible ... but it definitely wasn't good. It was just bad. Disappointing and bad. Or, to use kitchen terms ... undercooked? Lacking in flavor? They could have added some seasoning? Ok ... I'm done.

But seriously, there was just something about it that didn't work. There were moments of intense drama, moments of romance, and comedy. But they just didn't come together in a cohesive way. I don't think it even knew what it was. And there were just so many random story lines that emerged from the woodwork at times. Ex girlfriends. Drug dealers. Rivals. Best friends with secret crushes. Best friends with secret scores to settle. I just couldn't keep up.

So that's that. Too bad really ... the cast had such potential for a great story.

I will say ... it definitely makes me want to go eat right now though. Something with lots of butter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Back in Time | Japan 2013

Looking for some photos on my computer led me to these gems from my Japan trip summer 2013.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Whole30 Approved | Eggs In A Nest

Whole30 has been going pretty good this time around. I'm about two weeks am feeling good and have my hunger under control. With that being said, I am being a bit more lax on the weekends ... but balancing it well. 

One item I discovered was pretty important to Whole30 on round one was sweet potatoes. They are great for a hash that you can add pretty much any protein to for a quick meal. Works well for make ahead and use at lunch and dinner. Here is the problem ... I don't really love sweet potatoes. Sigh. 

Tonight I tried a recipe I found on Pinterest: eggs in a nest. Basically a sweet potato hash sautéed a bit in a frying pan stove top, then formed into a muffin tin, then an egg cracked into it with some green onion sprinkled on top. 25 minutes at 350 degrees, then one slice of bacon crumbled and sprinkled on top. 

It was ok ... I might try it a second time to see if some slight adjustments will make it better. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up | November 24/25

Walker After Hours "Hippie Modernism" volunteering
Yoga (x2)
Treadmill/stationary bike
Steve Jobs
Wakame dinner with 'rents
Brunch with bestie
Fall leaf fun
Lots of iced tea 
Photo work

Movie Review | Steve Jobs [IN THEATERS]

It seems appropriate that I am writing this on my MacBook Air, with my iPad sitting next to me with my iPhone. How far we have come ...

I was disappointed that I wasn't able to see Steve Jobs early, but it was well worth the wait. I knew it was going to be good, but I was very impressed. My thoughts are a bit scattered right now because there are so many things I liked! So I thought a random list of the things I liked would be the only way I could get my thoughts down on the paper (screen) tonight.

Overall, I was very impressed. The movie was smart, intense, well acted, well directed, uniquely done, and an interesting perspective into the life of a very interesting man. Fassbender made it easy to think that Jobs was being a jerk and a visionary at the same time, which is quite the challenge. He was definitely able to deliver on that aura and pull that Jobs was able to exert over the people around him.

One of my favorite things about the film is that is just dives right in, from moment one. Most movies have an introductions ... build up ... climax ... conclusion. This movies just kind of ------------ goes. From start to finish it just keeps running at an awesome pace. It's not about action, it's about structured consistency and lots of great dialogue. There are so many quotable lines in it! Seriously.

I also really enjoy the storyline structure and how they told it in three parts via the backstage events before three major product releases in 1984, 1988 and 1998. What a cool perspective! And it really allowed the audience to get a sense of the differences and nuances in Jobs, the people around him, the industry, etc. But primarily in Jobs, and how he himself changed ... it was very cool to watch that unfold on the screen. Also, the relationship/dichotomy between his work persona and private one. And I really appreciated how they shot the three sections in three different film types (16 mm, 35 mm, digital) to show the technological evolutions over the 15 year period - what a great touch!

With a film like this is that is character driven, it is imperative to have the right actors, and this film wins at that. Michael Fassbender as Jobs is great - his ability to develop this real person is beautiful to watch on screen. Kate Winslet is wonderful ... as always. And Seth Rogan and Jeff Daniels are great in role as well. 

I will say, it does help to have some basic understanding of the major history and and players in Apple and the events leading up to 1984. Because the film jumps right in to the events pre-launch in 1984, names and histories are immediately thrown around. It is like opening a book and starting to read on page 128. It helps to least have a basic summary of what happened on pages 1-127. 

Oh, and I couldn't resist including pics of my good old trusty iPods over the years, starting with this pretty little iPod mini. I remember the days of university ... walking to and from class with this beauty. That turn-wheel was so amazing those days! And ... it still works! Boom. 

Walker After Hours | Hippie Modernism

Although I work in corporate America, my heart is really with the arts. That includes straight up art in the museum, theater, movies, books ... anything arts related. 

With the art and museum side of it, last year I started volunteering at the Walker Art Center and have enjoyed doing the occasional volunteer shift there. I get to enjoy the events, meet new people, and be part of something pretty cool. I like feeling like I'm part of something in the art world. 

Last night I volunteered at the Walker Art Center After Hours party for the opening of the new exhibition - Hippie Modernism. I had a great night greeting people, doing wristbands and enjoying the overall vibe. And, after my shift was over, I got to enjoy the party myself. Always a good bonus! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Being Healthy Means Being A Bag Lady

One of the things I hate most about being on the healthy train means that I turn into a bag lady Monday through Friday. Good times. 6 bags hanging on me daily. 

Being healthy means bring breakfast, lunch and snacks everyday. It means bringing my workout stuff with me. It means bags ... bags ... bags ...

Gym Bag
I don't do mornings, which means that I have to workout after work. In the past I would just come home after work and change at my apartment and then workout at the gym in my building. But, I have recently gotten into yoga which is everyday at 6pm ... so that means I have to bring my kit to change into straight from work to yoga.

Yoga Mat
Because ... see above. I know it's not a bag ... but it another thing with a strap that I have to cart with me.

Lunch Bag
Being healthy means bringing healthy food from home. And since I don't do mornings (like I said above), I bring my two hard boiled eggs to work to eat when I get there. 

Shoe Bag
I live in an awesome old warehouse, but what this means is that the parking is a little far from my actual apartment. It's all underground indoor walking, but it's a walk nonetheless. And then at my office, I always park in the far corner and again have a long walk to my desk. So I always wear flats (or boots in winter) and then change into my heels at my desk. So, I need a separate bag for my heels.

Because ... stuff goes into it. 

Laptop Bag
You can see the green strap of my fav little Tumi laptop backpack. Because a girl's gotta earn a paycheck. 

And this is every morning. Only exception is if I don't go to yoga after work, then I can skip the gym bag and yoga mat. And like I said, I have a long walk to my car and to my desk ... so my shoulders get achy. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

These are a few of my favorite things ...

I thought I would do a list of some of my favorite brands and products. Just a fun little list.

If you haven't discovered this amazing Swedish outdoor brand, you are totally missing out! I'm planning an upcoming post with more about it. But basically, they make great stuff and really awesome backpacks. Including the Kanken - a classic school child's backpack from Sweden. More to come!

Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus 
I've never found hair products that really work, but this one does! Spray right at the hairline in various sections and ta-da! Great volume right from the roots!

Beauty Blender
Who doesn't want to have flawless foundation look!?!? And don't be tricked by the imitators ... nothing beats the original!

Stila Eye Liner
It took me a long time to find an eye-liner that had everything I wanted: a strong line, easy to apply, not a separate brush and tub thing, not a pencil. But this is it for me! Perfect application and a nice rich line!

Peter Thomas Roth Face Wash
It makes me feels so fresh and clean!

Philosophy The Present Makeup Prep
This stuff is amazing! It goes on super silky and makes your skin feels so smooth! And makes the foundation go on so smooth too!

I'm a Canon girl for life!

Love these metal water bottles. And they come in such great patterns!

This is a newer discovery thanks to my friend Erica who sent me one for my birthday! It's claim to fame is that it keeps the contents cold (or hot) for a long time. And it really does work. Perfect for hot summer days out at the lake.

Amazon Prime 
Because who doesn't want everything possible at their fingertips and two days away?!?! And prime streaming music and prime streaming videos and so much more!

I could go on and on about how much I love my Kindle paperwhite. Because I do. I love it so much. It's amazing to have it in my purse and pull out wherever I happen to be with a few extra minutes. And how awesome it is at the gym - I can just set it on the treadmill and have a great workout while enjoying a great book! And I will never agree with anyone who says that iPad or Fire is just as good. Nope! It's all about the e-ink.

I'll never be the person that choose the cheapest flight. I am loyal and Delta is my airline of choice. It makes sense given my home-base of course, and I like all their global airline partners in SkyTeam alliance. Cards on the table ... I don't like the recent changes to the SkyMiles program and the way you earn miles and what is required for certain levels, but that's an issue for another post. 

Samsung Smart TV
I invested in a huge awesome Samsung Smart TV and I love it! I mean ... it really is SMART! I really like how all my apps are right there and I can access Amazon video and music, pandora, etc. AND ... I love how I can sync my iPhone and iPad and find things on YouTube on those devices and then "send" them to play on the TV. So smart ... 

Vidal Sassoon Hair Dryer
I love the Vidal Sassoon VS783 (find it here on Amazon). The shape and wide opening makes me feel like my hair is getting dried faster. Not sure if that's true ... but whatever!

AMC Theaters
Just like with Delta, I am a loyal AMC theater goer. I won't go to other theaters unless there is no AMC in the town (like my parent's town ... sigh). The reason for my loyalty? There Stubs program. Every dollar you spend on tickets or concessions adds up towards free money! Every $100 you spend gives you $10 free! And believe me, with the number of movies I see, that really adds up quick! Not to mention when I go to movies with my parents I always pay - three IMAX 3D tickets for a Saturday night is like $60 by itself. And ... they serve fountain Coke Zero. Amazing. 

That's It Fruit Bars
I tried not to include food or restaurant brands as that could cause me to go down a rabbit hole, but I have to include these. So obsessed since discovering them this spring. They are literally just fruit ... NO other ingredients whatsoever. Amazing. I don't really like fruit - I don't crave it and I don't like all the washing and messiness. But this is just the right amount of sweet in a super convenient package ... and yummy! My favorite is Apple Pear. Get it on Amazon here. 

Tag Heuer
My parents gave me a Tag as a university graduation gift ... and now I'm hooked. I'll forever love Tag watches, and I am excited for the day I can splurge on one for myself.

Soda Stream 
A recent aquisition, but so far I'm loving it! I love sparking water and would buy Pellegrino by the case(s) from Costco. The Soda Stream is great since I don't have to dray heavy cases around - amazing! And, before when I would run out of bottles of Pellegrino I wouldn't drink enough water (since I don't like flat water), but now I have already found myself being better hydrated since I can't really run out. 

Movie Madness | What's Opening Soon

Anyone else love movies? Probably not as much as me!

I get super sad if I cannot see a movie opening weekend! And even that is sad, because that means I didn't get to see it early in screening!

Right now is the best time of year with all the great movies coming out for awards season and the holidays. Some good ones have already come: Sicario, Everest, The Martian ... all awesome! But so many good ones still to come! Something every weekend!!!!

October 23rd
Steve Jobs

October 30th
Our Brand is Crisis

November 6th 
Miss You Already 

November 13th 
By the Sea
The 33
Love the Coopers

November 20th 
Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II
The Night Before

November 25th 
Victor Frankenstein

November 27th 
The Danish Girl

December 4th 

December 11th 
In the Heart of the Sea

December 18th 
Star Wars

December 25th 
The Revenant

December 31st 
Jane Got a Gun

Monday, October 19, 2015

To Do | Week of 10.19.15

Another Monday, another week ahead. Wanted to keep the idea of the weekly big To Do list going. I should have an item on my To Do list each week to make sure to do next week''s To Do list. (That's like the Easy A movie line - "make sure to remind me to cross 'watch The Bucket List' off our bucket list")

This week continues to be all about health. And the great news is that now that my MBA class is done (or, will be later tonight when I turn in my paper), I really have time and energy to focus on my health.

  • Start going to yoga again. I started last spring and really enjoyed it, but then I went to Spain for two weeks and the weather got nice and I stopped. But I enjoy it, both from a physical fitness perspective as well as mental stress release. So I'm gonna get back to it! 
  • Keep on going with Whole30. Had a good week last week, with the exception of a cheat-brunch on Sunday (ooops). Going to cook up some more hard boiled eggs and yummy sweet potato and sausage hash.
  • I feel great after cleaning the apartment this weekend, but still need to sweep the floors and maybe steam vac a bit too!
  • I want to think of some new blog topics for  here :)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fall Adventures | Apple Picking, Hiking & Fall Colors

I love fall. The crisp, cool air. The fashion (boots and scarves and blazers and layering, oh my). The colors. The cool nights and sleeping with the windows open. And the fall fun activities.

Included among these fun fall activities is hiking at Taylors Falls enjoying the colors and apple picking. Or in my case ... apple throwing. Some photos from today's adventures at Aamodt's Apple Orchard near Stillwater, MN. And yes, I took all the photos myself with the timer set ... boom. Further down are photos from my hiking day last weekend at Taylors Falls. Beautiful colors on the Minnesota River at the bluffs. 

The photo on the left is form 4 or 5 years ago. Recreated on the right today!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A New York Minute

A few photos from my trip to NYC last month. Did all the touristy stuff ... check check CHECK

Monday, October 12, 2015

To Do | Week of 10.12

I'm taking an interesting MBA seminar this semester about consumer behavior and the idea of nudging - small things that can be done to get people to do what you want them to, but without big risk or reward (i.e. money).

An element discussed in one of our books - The Small BIG - is the idea of implementation intentions. Basically, it is the idea that in order to get people to follow thru with something, you should ask them to form a specific plan for where, when and how they will go about accomplishing the task. Pretty simple really. A research team tested this with voting, asking people to go vote and trying certain scripts on them. The script in which people were asked to form a plan for getting to the voting poll increased voter turnout by more than 4 percentage points (versus control).

Pretty cool, right?

At the same time, as you know if you've been following along, the last few weeks (months) have really gotten away from me. So I find myself - once again - having let things slide and let myself go .... again. I don't know where the summer went ... or September ... or for the matter the first week of October!!! And here we area, already nearly halfway into the month. Craziness!!!

So, in an effort to get back on track, I thought I would test out this idea for myself and make a plan (and write it out here) in an effort to hopefully do a better job of sticking to it. Hopefully this will become a Sunday ritual of things I want to do for the week. It's not about my obligations or plans ... but more about the things I want to do to improve my personal health and well being. Each week, I want to accomplish small steps towards a better me.

So here we go, week one To Do:

  • Eat breakfast everyday - 2 hard boiled eggs
  • Eat lunch everyday - something Whole30 approved
  • Eat dinner everyday - something Whole30 approved
  • Refrain from eating out Monday-Thursday
  • No pop (this is going to be the tough one)
  • Make a sweet potato veggie hash with turkey sausage (Monday?)
  • Costco run for Whole30 goodies
  • Workout everyday (start with at least 30 minutes on the treadmill - work up to 1 hours by EOW)
  • Finishing cleaning the apartment (though ... really ... it's never actually "finished")
  • Complete my individual assignments for my MBA class
That's it for this week. It's actually a pretty big list now that I look at it. Hmmmmmm. Well ... this is worth a try. As you can see, there is definitely a health theme. Going to get back on Whole30, cut out book (and alcohol), and start working out again.

Next week I am already looking forward to something I plan to add - going back to yoga twice a week. This week is just too busy ... so I am going to leave that one for next.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

As Soon As ...

Did you see the finale for Sex and the City? The one where Carrie goes off with the Russian artist to Paris? Spoiler alert ahead if you haven't.

At the end, Carrie complains about how Alexander has no time for her. With him it's always "as soon as ...". As soon as the exhibition is over. As soon as I'm done with this. As soon as I'm done with that. He doesn't actually have any time to spend with Carrie, but he will as soon as ... 

As soon as ...

As soon as ...

Well, I definitely feel like that's a prevalent theme in my life too. But at a theme of my own making. 

  • I'll start eating better/healthier as soon as this party is over next week. 
  • I'll start working out as soon as this weekend is over. 
  • I'll start spending less money as soon as this credit card statement is over. 
  • I'll put more towards my 401(k) as soon as I'm done with my MBA. 
  • I'll start going to bed earlier as soon as things calm down at work. 
  • I'll start dating again as soon as I lose the weight I gained. 
  • I'll start cooking more as soon as I have more time. 
  • I'll stop drinking pop as soon as things slow down so I won't need the caffeine boost anymore. 
  • I'll stop drinking Starbucks chai lattes as soon as I have one this weekend because it's so appropriate with the crisp fall weather. 
As soon as ... As soon as ... 

It's just an excuse to not do something or start something today. That's all. I wish I was better at saying "now" instead of "as soon as".

So, on that note, as soon as I'm done writing this blog post and as soon as Grey's Anatomy is over, I'll go work on actual homework and work work.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Movie Review | Bridge of Spies [SCREENING]

Bridge of Spies opens October 16th ... but I screened it today! Yipee.

Can Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks really make a bad movie? I doubt it. But this movie goes beyond just good acting and good directing ... it's just plain good all around.

Bridge of Spies tells the story family man insurance lawyer Jim Donovan who is hired by the US government to defend accused Soviet spy Rudolf Abel of espionage during the Cold War. After doing so, he is further tasked with negotiating the exchange of Abel for US Lieutenant Powers who himself was conducting acts of espionage by flying U2 spy planes over Russia to take photos. In a way, the film feels like almost two separate story lines, but they flow together perfectly and seamlessly.

The film does a nice job of articulating what the Cold War really was: a war of spies, negotiations, paper, talking, power struggles, and reading/talking between the lines. It was a war fought with newspaper headlines and men of power locked in rooms (over good scotch) talking. This movie does a really nice job of bringing all of this to life. And of showing a nice balance of public opinion/perception versus actual actions behind those closed doors. Abel, although a spy, is highly likable (in my opinion). And Donavan is idealistic and charming and also highly likable. You don't really know what Abel did, and it doesn't really matter. 

The storyline is well paced, humorous at times, serious, gripping and smart. And something I really liked is how simple that story was. Sometimes simple is boring, there just isn't enough to tell a 2 hour story with. But this was good-simple. Elegantly simple. It was smart and just enough to get the story and point across without being overly complicated. For example, the complicated movie that comes to mind is another Cold War film - Tinker Tailor Solider Spy. Talk about complex ... I still don't understand a lot of that movie. This is very different from that ...

All in all, a strong movie definitely worth seeing. 

Fall Things

It's fall. Fall is awesome. Here are some awesome fall things I am looking forward to:
  • Cooler weather
  • Fall fashion - jackets and blazers and scarfs and boots ... oh my !
  • Going apple picking at an orchard (and by apple picking ... I mean eating apple pie from the orchard store)
  • Visiting Stillwater to see the fall colors
  • Hiking at Taylor's Falls
  • Great new  movies - Everest, Sicario, The Martian, The Walk, Spectre, Hunger Games, Joy, Steve Jobs, Black Mass, The Intern, Suffragette, Burnt, The Danish Girl, Macbeth, etc)
  • Fall TV (Amazing Race, final season of Grey's)
  • Getting back to the gym and yoga and cooking (hopefully)
  • Upcoming travel
  • Finishing up another MBA class and being closer to finishing my graduate degree all-together 

Things to look forward to are always a good thing ...

Movie Review | The Walk [SCREENING]

The Walk opens this weekend (Friday, October 9th) in theaters.

I got a chance to screen it a few weeks ago and I definitely recommend you check it out. It's based on the true story of Frenchmen Philippe Petit and his unlikely goal to perform a grand illegal high wire act on a cable strung between the newly-completed World Trade Center buildings. Crazy talk!!! He dreamed about it for years, learned all he could, practiced, and did many many illegal things to get into the towers and achieve his goal. 

And, crazy visuals! I saw it in IMAX 3D which I definitely recommend! Looking straight down 100 stories in 3D ... Yikes! This movie is not for anyone afraid of heights!  

Acting, approach, story, everything is great! Joseph Gordon-Levitt is awesome. There were only two things I didn't really like/can't decide if i like: it was a little slow at the start and there are time when Philippe narrates the story straight at the audience while standing atop the Statue of Liberty (it's a bit much). But once it picks up, it's pretty fast paced and exhilarating. 

No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk

There's no use crying over spilled milk. 

Talk about being cliche ... but I'm gonna go there anyway. Because I need to get over a few things and forgive myself for some others, and move on. And hope - hope - that my actions and my "spilled milk" hasn't permanently and irreparably damaged relationships, reputations, or health. 

I've had a rough 4 months. 4 months ... it feels much longer than that. I cried. I worried. I panicked. I made it through ... for the most part. But I lost things. I lost myself. Time. Confidence. The opportunity to build relationships. And probably some of my good rep. 

But now I feel better. Not 100%. Not perfect. But better. And I learned a great deal and hope that the next time I panic and focus on the negative, I can step back and draw on my own history to know that things will be ok. And now that I have managed to learn that tough lesson and I can focus on putting that into practice in the moment and in the future, I need to still step back and forgive myself (and hope that those around me will forgive me) for my shortcomings the last few months. I can't take my actions, my words, my tears, and my mistakes back. That ship has sailed. 

But I can say i'm sorry to myself and to those around me and move forward, more forward with valuable lessons learned.

So, if you are reading this and you know what I'm talking about, know that I'm sorry and I've learned and I hope I haven't permanently damaged any relationships and can work to earn your trust and respect. 

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