Getting the magic back

sofia coppola

girl most likely - kristen wiig

Random thought of the day: Writing is like working out.

It’s important to me. I want to do it more than I do. I find it hard to get started, especially after longer bouts without doing it. I succumb to excuses like, “I don’t have enough time to get in a good session if I start now,” and “I’m too [insert state of being here – busy, tired, full, lazy…].” I like it while I do it. I love it after I finish. Overall, I just feel better about myself when I do it regularly.

See what I mean? But that’s not what this post is about. Today I want to talk to ya’ll about movies.

Like Lydia is to music, I am to film. (My pretentious use of “film” is how you can tell I really mean it. 😉 ) And like she recently found herself in a music drought, I’ve felt myself drifting from my roots as a film buff and movie lover for awhile now. I can make excuses about how I’m busier (busy-er?) than I used to be or chalk it up to personal growth and change with age, but I miss knowing the inside scoop on films past and present, anticipating upcoming gems and getting sucked into new stories and characters.

Having a minor in film means I’ve spent way more time than most analyzing movie-making and could write for literally days, but I’ll spare you the rhetoric and just say this: when done well, film is a beautiful, multi-sensory celebration and sharing of story. This is why I love it.

It’s a sad day when your also-movie-appreciating boyfriend and you realize that all you’ve seen lately has been disappointing, gimmicky and just plain bad blockbusters. After realizing we need to take ownership of our movie-going decisions (and really learn our lesson already), I spent some time trolling IMDB and ‘best of’ lists to build this Must-See Films list of my own:

  • Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s – I love documentaries, grew up wanting to be a fashion designer, and the interviews with fashion elite seem both smart and sassy. Must. See.
  • The Bling Ring – Directed by Sofia Coppola. Which means I not only will see it, but I have to. Supporting talented women in film is SO important to increase opportunities in this historically male-dominated field.
  • Kick Ass 2 – I appreciate the originality and humor of the first one. And then there’s the whole getting to see Chloe Grace Moretz, well, kicking ass.
  • Girl Most Likely – Another girl crush (I think I’m beginning to sense a pattern here) – Kristen Wiig is the quirky lead, figuring out the pitfalls of life. The synopsis also threw in the promise of “The Big Apple,” Darren Criss and Matt Dillon, making this one a no-brainer.
  • The Spectacular Now – A “dramedy” romance from the writers of 500 Days of Summer starring Miles Teller. Done.
  • Prince Avalanche – Misadventure on the road with Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. One can only hope this comes close to my other Emile Hirsch favorites like Into The Wild and Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys. And who doesn’t like Paul Rudd?
  • The Internship – Okay. This one has the potential to be really awful. But Vince Vaughn’s and Owen Wilson’s internship is at Google. GOOGLE. And I’m a complete self-proclaimed Google Groupie.
  • White House Down – So I thought I’d sneak one more blockbuster in here and hope no one notices…but sometimes you just need a good action movie (and good, non-cheesy action movies are hard to come by these days). Plus, any movie Channing Tatum is saving me, I mean, the fictional world, is one I’m probably not going to say no to.
  • Some Girls – Adam Brody travels across the country meeting with exes. I just really miss Seth Cohen, so I’ll be making Lydia come see this with me.
  • Stories We Tell – I don’t usually go in for the whole “well Rotten Tomatoes says,” but this got a 96%! It’s also supposed to be insightful, sentimental and a great illustration of the true art that is documentary film-making.
  • The English Teacher – I was drawn in by the cast, but stuck around for the synopsis. This one could end up being even better than it sounds.
  • Before Midnight – I’ve always wanted to see its predecessor, Before Sunrise, so now is as good a time as any to get to know Jesse and Celine from their fateful meeting to their present day reunion.
  • The Lifeguard – I love independent movies about life transitions. Kristen Bell quits her New York job (why??) and moves home for a summer of lifeguarding and quirky small-town life on a quest for happiness.
  • Francis Ha – Greta Gerwig’s New York City-living lead has so much “kook” and dreamy ambition I can’t help but put this one in the same category as Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Which if you couldn’t tell, we’re just a tad obsessed with over here.

Will I see them all? I have no idea when, but I sure hope so! What other movies do you think I should be getting excited about?

Appreciating the here and now

rita schiano thankfulness quote

I lost it in my car the other day.

Let’s back up. It had been a rough day at work, it was very late and for some reason there was traffic backing up my exit at 10 p.m. forcing me to take the back way through South Dallas to my apartment. Now, this is always tricky. I miss my unmarked turn home every time, ending up lost in the kind of area you don’t want to get lost in. I was determined that this would not be the case this time. No, this time I would see that turn coming. This time I would make it home in the same amount of time my phone tells me the trip should actually take.

This did not happen.

So I yelled and screamed in my car as I made the seemingly giant loop to get back around town to my apartment…and then I looked up to find the most beautiful bridge and view I think I can safely say in all of Dallas. It was like magic, driving into the darkness along the empty stone bridge lined with glowing, old-fashioned street lamps and a perfect view of the Dallas skyline peeking over the far edge. SO worth the detour.

Why am I telling you this? Ironically, less than 20 minutes earlier I had been telling my friends how I want to work on thankfulness. I realized I had somehow become immune to the blessings around me…life, other people, random little things and even personal gifts and talents. I committed to more actively appreciating situations and people throughout my day…and promptly resorted back to frustration the second something wasn’t going my way. Seeing that bridge put me in my place, reminding me of my commitment and calling out just how quick I was to forget it.

So now I’m telling you, too: I’m working on my thankfulness. There are so many things to appreciate about life, especially right now! Working on my appreciation is also a great way to keep me rooted in the present, to dream about the future without getting stuck in it. It never fails – whenever I look back on a time of my life, even one that frankly didn’t seem so great at the time, I think about how happy / meaningful / edifying it actually was. Wouldn’t it be awfully sad to later look back on this time so fondly and realize we didn’t appreciate it to the fullest when it was actually here?

Here’s some things I’m thankful for right now:

  • airline miles.
  • parents who have those miles to generously donate.
  • straws.
  • sunshine.
  • friends who wait for you despite 25 minutes of traffic.
  • pay day yesterday.
  • patios.
  • co-workers who genuinely like each other.
  • blogging.
  • free film screening tickets.
  • community.
  • my perfect apartment.
  • tv time with the roommates.
  • friends that tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
  • sweet potatoes.
  • excited new home decor planning
  • carpooling.
  • dinner plans.
  • podcasts.

Oh, and if you ever have the chance to drive on the Corinth Street Bridge at night DO IT.

Sarah’s List

The list goes on and on due to an overwhelming desire to do, see, learn (and meticulously organize) everything. Somewhere along the line of growing up, people seem to accept this idea that we have to pick one thing in life to be, to do. But why limit yourself when there are so many great things and great people to experience them with? So here’s to doing it all and (hopefully) doing it well.

Below illustrates some of what “all” is for me. You can tell a lot about someone by their priorities and dreams; Lydia and I hope sharing some of ours will help you get to know us!

photo credit (from left, down):  1 | personal | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

Lydia’s List of to do’s

Sarah and I decided to make “to do” lists. In addition to enjoying our lives to the fullest, we don’t want to forget about those big things. The big ones that require planning, saving and vacation time. True to our nature, we are covering all of our bases.

I make New Years resolutions every year. I never remember them as they are usually decided moments before I fall to sleep and typically involve weight, exercise and “do less” of something. I much prefer to refer to this list as a “To Do” list. I love to do lists. I live for to do lists. Any kind of lists, really. The feeling of drawing that clean, straight line through an accomplished task or activity is like having a piece of chocolate (which is not to say that upon crossing something out on a list you shouldn’t celebrate with a Dove Dark Chocolate. You most absolutely should).

Anyhoo. My list is more for the next two or so years. I feel my interests are constantly changing. For instance as of today I have no interest in deserts in the least. But who knows, maybe in a few years I’ll be yearning to ride a good camel.

Without further adieu, my list.