Monday, November 30, 2015

#TurkeyForTurkeyDay

Back in good ol' MSP after a week-long trip to Romania and Turkey. That's right ... #TurkeyForTurkeyDay. Get it? See what I did there? 

The trip started out as me really wanting to go to Istanbul, then my parents decided to come to and we made it into a family vaca. then some family friends came too ... the more the merrier! Then, my mom and I decided to stop in Romania before Turkey for a few days to visit family.

Crazy travel. That's how we role.

The trip was overall pretty darn good! But there were a few speed bumps. Mom got food poisoning on the last day in Romania so we had to postpone our departure to Istanbul by half a day, so we lost a day in Istanbul. But it worked out ok. And there was a lot of rain ... A LOT! We never had sun ... it was cloudy and rainy pretty much the whole time.

Saw a lot, had some good laughs, ate a lot (too much) good food, and saw some amazing things! Another great trip in the books. I'll share more photos and stories soon. But for now, a quick collage. 
Left to right, row by row (first row = Romania, other three rows = Turkey): in Romania with my favorite dessert, yummy lunch appetizers at my grandma's house, the five floor walk-up at my aunt's house, with my other grandma, outside the Blue Mosque, inside the Blue Mosque with my mom, the floor of Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, inside Hagia Sofia, Süleymaniye Mosque, inside the Süleymaniye Mosque, mom and I at the entrance to the Grand Bazaar, tea break and planning our route, my parents and I with our matching Fjallraven Kaken backpacks, the cats of Istanbul, floor of random Mosque. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Turn the Volume Up | Music I've Forgotten How Much I Love

Push & Pull 
[Nikka Costa]

Mirrorball
[Everything but the Girl]

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye 
[David Gray]

Brighter Discontent 
[The Submarines]

Flip side
[Everything but the Girl]

The Show 
[Lenka]

Let's Get Lost 
[Beck and Bat for Lashes]

All This Time 
[Bliss]

Do You Want it All?
[Two Door Cinema Club]

Overkill 
[D:Fuse & Hiratzka]

Yo Amare 
[Eros Ramazzotti]

Consequences
[The Notwist] 

I Am What I Am 
[Ocean Lab]

Sandman 
[Kristy McGee]

Universal Traveler 
[Air]

Don't Forget Me 
[Way Out West]

No Fear of Heights
[Katie Melua]

Such Great Heights
[The Postal Service]

How Come You Don't Want Me Now
[Tegan & Sara]

Book of Love 
[Peter Gabriel]

Dirty Laundry 
[Bitter:Sweet]

Phoenix 
[Martina Topley-Bird]

Young Folks
[Peter Bjorn and John]

Kissing 
[Bliss]

The Heart Remains A Child
[Everything but the Girl]

Breathe 
[Telepopmusik]

Forever Young 
[Youth Group]

Unfinished Symphony 
[Massive Attack]

What If I 
[Kristy Thirsk]

Stereo Love 
[Edward Maya ft. Vika Jigulina]

Deliver Me 
[Sarah Brightman]

Edge of the Ocean 
[Ivy]

Dream Machine
[Mark Farina]

No Ordinary Morning 
[Chicane]

Paris 
[Delerium & Aude]

Empty Streets 
[Late Night Alumni]

Mad World
[Gary Jukes]

Dream 
[Priscilla Ahn]

Puddle of Grace 
[Amy Jo Johnson]

Say What You Want 
[Texas]


Sunday, November 15, 2015

#PrayForParis | November 13, 2015


I am sad. Confused. Angry. Scared. Shocked. Broken. Tired. The events of the evening of Friday, November 13, 2015 in Paris are devastating. They make my heart ache. I am so saddened by the fact that this is the world we live in. That some people can have so little care for other's lives just to prove their own point. So many lives ruined. So many innocent lives. I cannot begin to understand the type of hatred and pure evil that lies in the hearts of some people. 

I was most recently in Paris almost two years ago to the day. I was visiting the City of Lights for Thanksgiving with my family. The Louvre. A boat cruise on the Seine. The Eiffel Tower. A little bit of everything on a short visit. This wasn't my first visit to Paris. And it won't be my last. I refuse for it to be. We will not be intimidated by these action. We will be stronger because of them. 

#PrayForParis



Monday, November 9, 2015

Movie Review | Spectre [IN THEATER]


If you've been following along, you know I love movies. Like ... LOVE. 

And within the realm of movies I love, Bond has a very special place in my heart. I remember when I was young watching the movies on TV during marathons. I grew up in the age of Pierce Brosnon as Bond, but looking back on it, he was meh. The movies were more flash and gadgets than good cinema. But the classic Connery films and Moore ... oh man. Eventually I owned all the DVDs. And I get ridiculously excited about a new Bond film. Especially with Daniel Craig. His Bond is is just so ... him. It's his own twist, a darker more real Bond. One who doesn't need all the gadgets to be the best. He is a Bond in a different era. The Cold War is over. As they last few movies have alluded to, Bond today is a different character in the context of our current world and environment. 

And now, for my review of Specre. NOTE: spoilers ahead!!!!!

Overall, it was a solid Bond movie. In the contest of Craig's Bond films, I would say it was better than Quantum, but not as good as Skyfall or Casino Royale. But honestly, Skyfall set such a high bar that it does seem hard to beat it. But it was still a really good, solid Bond installment. Classic Bond and I enjoyed every minute of watching it with a huge smile on my face and lots of "oooooo" and "ahhhh" and "yeah!". 

I actually saw it twice - Thursday night and Friday night. Because ... Bond. And because Thursday was a screening and it wasn't in IMAX, and of course I had to see it in IMAX. 

In honor of 007, I thought I would compile my thoughts into 007 things/buckets/observations about the film.
  1. The Good Guys - Craig is amazing as Bond. Duh. He was always good, from the start, but it really seems like he has matured into Bond and owns the character now. He has really taken this iconic man and made him more. Then there are all the other characters in this film. Of course M, Moneypenny, Q ... all great. I also must comment on the fact that it seems like Bond gets more help than usual from the above folks as he goes about his business, especially towards the end. 
  2. The Bad Guys - First thing that came to mind when I saw Andrew Scott as C was "Sherlock crossover!!!". Then I calmed down and thought "he clearly has to be a bad guy because I just cannot think of him as anything other than that". (If you don't follow BBC's Sherlock, he is the main bad guy there). Then there was Dave Bautista as Hinx. Awesome bad guy. He has (literally) one line ... "shit". His character is reminiscent of the iconic Bond henchmen Jaws and Oddjob - awesome! Then there is Christoph Waltz. I love him in general. And he makes a very elegant bad guy, very much a Bond villain for a modern world. 
  3. The Settings  - Rome ... Austria ... London ... Morocco ... Mexico City. Beautiful! There were actually many settings and scenes that felt very reminiscent of other Bond films/segments. The health spa on top of the snowy alps (a-la Piz Gloria in On Her Majesty's Secret Service or the ski scene in The Spy Who Loved Me). The bad guy's evil lair in the middle of a deserted area (a-la the hollowed out volcano evil lair in You Only Live Twice). The busy street festival (a-la Carnival in Brazil in Moonraker). The fight on the train (a-la the fight on the train in From Russia with Love). Dinner on the train with the Bond girl (a-la dinner with Vesper Lind in Casino Royale). The tracking device implanted in Bond (a-la the tracking device he gets in Casino Royale). Chase sequence on the River Thames (a-la boat chase on the Thames in Die Another Day). 
  4. The Props - Cars cars cars. I'll just focus on the special only-for-this-movie DB10 concept car that Aston Martin made. I nearly cried when it went into the river! Also really loved getting a glimpse into Bond's apartment. I think that is only the second or third time in the Bond franchise we have seen inside his home, and it just felt so right for Bond. Well done! Q's layer ... of course. M's office ... of course. And everything else ... from his suits to this watches to his sunglasses and "i'm dressed for the Alps" outdoor gear. 
  5. The Opening Sequence - I really enjoyed the Mexico City Day of the Dead opening ... great! The continuous shot following Bond and his lady-friend down the street and into the hotel and all the way over to when he points the gun to the bad guy across the street is beautifully done and a feast for the eyes. I'm pretty sure I've never seen that continuous shot approach in a Bond film before, so it was a nice new take. And Craig's casualness as he scales the rooftops in his (perfectly fitted) suit, then falls down the wall so perfectly onto the couch. Ha. 
  6. The Opening Credits - No Bond film is complete without a killer opening credits sequence and song. I will admit that neither was my favorite in the history of Bond, but they were both good. The song grew on me upon the second listening/viewing. It's hard to come after Adele ... 
  7. The Details - Any true Bond aficionado will love all the little details and gems hidden (in plain sight) throughout. The bulldog with the Union Jack on Bond's coffee table in his apartment - what M left him in her will. The DB10 has buttons marked with Dymo Tape, harkening back to the labels on the car in 1964's Goldfinger. The evil henchman reminiscent of Jaws or Oddjob. The cars themselves - all showing off the decades long relationships with the likes of Aston Martin, Jaguar, etc. 
Again, overall I would say it was a solid Bond installment. Classic Bond and perfectly good. Great even! It's hard to beat Skyfall which was just so awesome. One of my only complaints is that it felt like it lacked some originality in plot and sequences (see point 4 above), but ... I mean ... after 24 movies it is a little hard to be super original. And to be honest ... Bond doesn't have to be original. Bond is about the classic story and classic format. Stick with it for success.

One of my favorite things about Spectre (and, actually, Craigs' previous Bonds too) is the approach the film makers take to putting Bond's role in the context of the changing environment of the world. They speak to the fact that technology has changed the playing field - look what can be done with computers and drones. But M (new M and old M) argue very nicely about the need for someone pull the trigger ... or, more importantly, NOT pull the trigger. Also, the question of surveillance and government oversight for the safety of the people ... where does it stop? All good questions. 

Also, I like how it seems like there is a nice little arc going on in Craig's for Bond films - they come together nicely and stand alone independently very well (as Bond films should), but they were really well when enjoyed together to catch the connections. I am curious where they will take it for Craig's 5th film. 

Speaking of 5th ... WHEN?!!??!?!?! 

On a side note, I was reading up on some Spectre trivia and noted that this is the first film for Craig since 2012's Skyfall. CRAZY!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Now and Then | 4 Years Apart

Left: November 2011. Right: November 2015. 

Facebook's handy little "on this day" feature brought up the photo on the left above today. I had just gotten my hair colored this lovely deep red ... 4 years ago. And it was so long! And I hadn't yet discovered brow pencil/powder, or the magic of eyeliner. Kind of crazy. 

While I'm not so sure about the color, I do really like the length. Thinking it might be time to grow it out again. Maybe. Yup. Maybe.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sweat It Out | CorePower Yoga


I got into yoga last spring as a way to reduce stress and work on becoming more centered and clearing my mind. It worked pretty well and after only 6 weeks I was feeling pretty good. Then I left for Europe for 2 weeks and then summer was here and it was all about being outside (and working ... a lot ... I had a rough summer). 

But two weeks ago I got back into yoga. I have a Black Tag membership at CorePower because I really like their C2 class and enjoy the culture and atmosphere. I like how my membership works at any location, and although I have tried a few different studios around Minneapolis, my first and favorite is Downtown. I really like Molly Mc and Kaitlyn. In the two weeks I've been back at it I've been to 10 class and am pretty proud of myself. I like the heat, the sweat, the focus, the results. It feels great to sweat out everything. All the negative thoughts, the "what ifs", the day that passed, the day ahead. 

The only thing that makes me mad is paying for parking at the Downtown location. Sigh. $2 every time I want to take a class. 

The other thing that I find challenging about yoga is going home afterwards. I get sweaty. Really really sweaty. You could ring my clothes out and water would just be everywhere. But I don't want to shower and change at CorePower, I want to do that at home. So instead, I have to just get my sweaty self into my car. And it's gross. I'm gross. For now it's ok because it's still not to cool out so I just throw a sweatshirt on and I can make it home. But I'm a bit concerned for when real winter comes and I will have to don a real coat. I won't want to put a $400 J Crew wool coat over my seat covered body. So ... I guess that means carrying another coat for this purpose with me. 


Airplane Etiquette

This right here. This is what makes me so mad. The bins are extra deep and even have a nice diagram on how to make the most of the space. But look at how these people have put their bags? Just flopped down the long way taking up as much room as possible. Come on!

I've had a fair amount of flights lately and I thought it was time for a post about airplane etiquette. This topic has been done to death it seems lately, complete with a great instagram account that is all about passenger shaming ... usually well deserved. People do some seriously disgusting and weird things on planes.

But rather than focus on passengers behaviors once they are seated, I would like to take a moment to vent about carry on luggage. Therefore, here is an open letter to my fellow passengers:


Dear fellow passengers of whatever Delta flight I will be with you on;

I understand that the new checked baggage policies piss you off and that you don't think you should have to pay $30 to check your bag. Therefore, I understand that you want wanted to get a big carry-on roller bag to bring on with you to save some cash. Ok ... sure. But here is the thing - YOUR BAG IS ANNOYING AND YOUR LACK OF SKILL AT STORING SAID BAG IN THE OVERHEAD BINS IS ALSO ANNOYING.

First, the bag itself. Could it get any bigger? Seriously, did they have bigger ones at the store? You're extra large bags makes the flight crew look at everyone's bag more critically and makes them force people to check. Well guess what? I cannot check my carry-on. Because unlike you who just has clothes and such that you don't want to pay to check, I have cameras and other electronic equipment that I cannot check. But because of you and your oversized bags, my reasonably sized bag is at risk. So thanks for that.

Then, once you actually get your bag on the plan, you are terrible at properly storing it. SERIOUSLY! Delta has even been kind enough to give us deeper bins now that can accommodate bags on their narrow sides. And they even have helpful little diagrams that show how you should flip your bag on its side. With that, you can fit a lot more bags up in the bins which is just great! 

But NO. No. Why would you follow the diagram so as many people as possible can get their bins up there? That's just plain old silly. No. Instead, you just lay your bag down haphazardly however you want. So a bin that could hold 4 or 5 bags instead has 2. And then the flight attendent comes around and instead of encouraging peopel to arrange them better or doing it themselves, they just close the bins.

AND THEN ... then there is the guy who decides putting his bag back at row 35 when he is sitting in row 18 is smart. Because that's great. When we are all ready to get off the plane, he is making is way backwards to get his bag. Seriously? 

So thank you. Thank you for being ridiculous. Just look at the diagram and and we will all be happier. Or at least I will.

Kind regards,
iuli


This is NOT that hard people!

Again. NOT. THAT. HARD. Turn the bags on their sides and let other's use the space too!

Move Review | Our Brand Is Crisis [THEATER]


Second movie I saw in theaters this weekend.

Second movie that disappointed me this weekend. 

Another great cast. Another seemingly great story. From the folks that brought us Argo. And yet, just like Burnt this movie too just didn't deliver.

All of the funny/good parts are the bits and pieces you saw in the trailer. And the rest of the movie is just rather random bits of strangeness woven together. From a weird drunk night to a weird silver mask to an ending that I am still trying to figure out ... I just didn't get it. And, it wasn't even entertaining. If a movie isn't good good, then it should at least be fun to watch. This wasn't. 

So, that's all I really have to say. It was boring and disappointing and confusing.


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