Month: March 2014

Reading List Update: March

Junot_wao_cover

I had the good fortune of traveling this weekend which meant I could cram over half of this book in in less than 48 hours. This means I’m still on track with my reading list despite my procrastination of picking this book up very little throughout the month (I work well under pressure)! Despite all signs to the contrary that I just laid out, this book really was a good read.

Being one of the more “intellectual” choices on my reading bucket list this year, this was a surprisingly easy read. Don’t let the Pulitzer fool you, Díaz’s prose is a mixed bag of “homeboy”, “dude”, “fukú”, and other spanish phrases including lengthy footnotes to give you additional context. He also throws in some “———-” ‘s for the reader to fill in the blanks with their imagination. (Full disclosure, I could only guess what he was trying to say once, but who’s counting?).

Oscar isn’t the typical hero. In fact, I don’t know that he can even be described as a hero until the last 10 pages of the books and even then some would argue that he is simply the protagonist and not a hero at all. I love an underdog and Oscar is the most under of the underdogs so in my mind he undergoes a heroic transformation.

This book was difficult to read at times since it is based around the Cabral family’s generations past and present set in a series of flashbacks. Though slightly confusing, this provided a well-rounded look into the family’s history and all of their various struggles with “fukú” and their diaspora from the Dominican Republic to the States. It is painful and heartbreaking but a reminder that everyone has demons so we need to be accepting and forgiving rather than hurtful. I hope you enjoy this book too.

x B

Cutie and The Boxer

Image

Unemployment brings about many things, but one of the most enjoyable aspects is a slew of free time. How you fill that free time is up to you, but for me after a few days of mindless T.V. watching, the novelty wore off. That is until I discovered documentaries. They are the universe’s gift to the lazy. You can sit on the couch for an hour or two, but still absorb information that is relevant, interesting, AND educational.

Netflix has a great selection of documentaries and I’m constantly discovering more. One of my most recent finds was “Cutie and The Boxer”. This was nominated for an Oscar in the documentary category this year, but beyond that I knew very little about the film prior to watching.  It is a fascinating portrayal of the starving artist lifestyle and of marriage. A combination I never knew existed until now. This documentary takes you on a roller coaster of emotions (or maybe that was just me) and is nothing short of entertaining. Add this to your list asap and you won’t be disappointed!

If you have any additional documentary recommendations for me be sure to include them in the comments! In the mean time, you can see the trailer for “Cutie and The Boxer” here:

x B

Spring Movies

Since Oscar season is over, most of the movies coming out from now until the summer blockbusters hit the scene are slightly lack-luster.  But if you look hard enough you can find a few that are worth a rainy spring afternoon of entertainment.

1- The Railway Man

I love Colin Firth.  I don’t think he has chosen a poor script in his career and I’m willing to bet on him in this film as well.  I also love World War II films and I am looking forward to a British perspective rather than an American.

2- Tracks

A seemingly odd story-line, yes, but I’m intrigued.  It seems like a beautiful and poignant coming of age story — a plot line I never seem to tire of (maybe because I’m never going to be coming of age?).  Also, Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver are awesome.

3- Under the Skin

I’m not a Scar-Jo fan or particularly fond of horror movies, but this looks so enticing and intriguing I had to include it.  It is such an interesting concept and is getting rave reviews so I’d say it’s definitely worth seeing for yourself.

3.5- The Fault In Our Stars

Ok so this might fall more into the summer category, and the YA category, but everyone and their mom has been talking about this book and Shailene Woodley is awesome. I would watch her mime I love her so much. But I refuse to see Divergent…maybe I need to take that last statement out?

Enjoy!

x B

10 Ideas for Spring

Image

Spring is finally here!  With longer days and warmer temperatures there are so many ways to celebrate the changing seasons.  In case you aren’t feeling as inspired as I am, I’ve compiled a list of a few ideas to ring in the (second) best season of the year.

  1. Dine al-fresco in the park.
  2. Hike a new trail.
  3. Take a drive with the sunroof open.
  4. Plant a garden. (Or just start with something basic like air plants or succulents — full disclosure I killed an air plant this month.)
  5. Set up an easel outside and paint your surrounding landscape.
  6. Attend an outdoor sporting event — soccer, lacrosse, baseball, or apparently Quidditch is a real thing these days…
  7. Buy local produce at a farmer’s market.
  8. Window shop in a new area of town.
  9. Make a new recipe with in season ingredients (bonus points if they come from the aforementioned farmer’s market).
  10. Send a friend a card, just because.

Enjoy!

x B

Painting Progress

It was my 2013 New Year’s resolution to paint more.  This was the perfect excuse to yank me out of my non-creative rut.  The experience brought on a slew of new friends, many glasses of wine, and eventually a few paintings.

Below are some of my paintings to date, with many more in the works (including the rest of my mom’s Christmas present…from 2013. You didn’t think I meant for this year, did you?).

ImageImageImage

x B

Oh Joy! for Target

I know, yet another Target post, but they are seriously killing it (more than usual) as of late.  This new collection is too adorable not to share!  And with great price tags to boot.

Oh Joy for target

Goblets//Bag//Ice Bucket//Garland//Cake Stand//Bowl

I will definitely be purchasing all of these items immediately if not sooner for my new apartment!  (More on that to come).  Be sure to check out the full collection here.

x B

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Image

I’m obsessed with Wes Anderson. To me, he is an impeccable filmmaker who brings the opulence and charm theater and cinema used to embody back to film.  You know, before CGI and sound mixing were huge and Oscar-worthy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a blockbuster as much as the next person, but every once in a while you want to see a movie that is considered a “film”. Last night was one of those times.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” finally opened here in Denver and I got to experience it after months and months of IMDB stalking and trying to get my hands (or eyes, rather) on any clips, photos, and behind the scenes information I could.  (Told you I was obsessed. Wes, in the off, off-chance you are reading this, marry me?)

In typical Anderson fashion, the movie was quirky and over the top, but in the ‘opulence of days past’ kind of way. His set design, frames, costumes, soundtrack, and dialogue always meld together to form an extremely detailed picture. I get so wrapped up in the detail that must have gone into every frame that I often forget to pay attention to the big picture (see what I did there?). Luckily this movie is lighthearted and fast paced so I couldn’t stay fixated for long.

Each time I watch an Anderson film I swear it is my new favorite, but I truly believe he knocked it out of the park with this one. The plot, the slew of odd and comical characters, and the realistic (yet also hilarious and whimsical) dialogue set this one apart from his other films. If you haven’t seen it yet do yourself a favor and go now. And in case you are not as Anderson-obsessed as I am and have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the trailer below.

Image

Also, how killer are these movie posters??

x B

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Image

I’m obsessed with Wes Anderson. To me, he is an impeccable filmmaker who brings the opulence and charm theater and cinema used to embody back to film.  You know, before CGI and sound mixing were huge and Oscar-worthy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a blockbuster as much as the next person, but every once in a while you want to see a movie that is considered a “film”. Last night was one of those times.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” finally opened here in Denver and I got to experience it after months and months of IMDB stalking and trying to get my hands (or eyes, rather) on any clips, photos, and behind the scenes information I could.  (Told you I was obsessed. Wes, in the off, off-chance you are reading this, marry me?)

In typical Anderson fashion, the movie was quirky and over the top, but in the ‘opulence of days past’ kind of way. His set design, frames, costumes, soundtrack, and dialogue always meld together to form an extremely detailed picture. I get so wrapped up in the detail that must have gone into every frame that I often forget to pay attention to the big picture (see what I did there?). Luckily this movie is lighthearted and fast paced so I couldn’t stay fixated for long.

Each time I watch an Anderson film I swear it is my new favorite, but I truly believe he knocked it out of the park with this one. The plot, the slew of odd and comical characters, and the realistic (yet also hilarious and whimsical) dialogue set this one apart from his other films. If you haven’t seen it yet do yourself a favor and go now. And in case you are not as Anderson-obsessed as I am and have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the trailer below.

Image

Also, how killer are these movie posters??

x B

Reading List Update: February

9780307886279_p0_v1_s260x420

In light of my recent transcontinental move, I have gotten slightly behind on my reading schedule.  But there’s nothing like 24 hours of solo time in the car to indulge in some half-assed “reading”.

Enter: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), the audiobook, read by none other than Ms. Kaling herself.  This was a great choice and made my (incredibly long and straight) drive through Kansas a breeze.  Not the most influential piece of literature I’ve encountered but it was definitely entertaining.  I loved hearing about Mindy’s road to success since it was less than traditional, but it also made me question my direction in life.  She landed her job as a writer on The Office by 24 (my age), soo there’s that.  But hey, we’re not supposed to compare ourselves to others, right?  In all honestly this is a great way to make a road trip seem less long and I would assume a short read as well.

Still working on The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in the meantime…hopefully I will finish it in March??

x B