Living in La La Land

rs-la-la-land-3d3a431a-8329-4539-b953-51e2d61a396cInitially I wanted to see La La Land, but then when the hype and awards buzz hit peak level I slowly started backing away from it. Opting instead to see new favorite Hidden Figures (it’s amazing, you must see it). But alas, I finally saw it in the last couple of days.

And y’all, I loved it. LOVED. Here’s a caveat, I keep a skeptical eye on musicals. I am really not a fan when people break into song for no apparent reason. They also tend to be overly sweet in nature, sometimes not, but often so.

Back to the matter at hand, La La Land…y’all it is a great telling and portrayal of the tension of ambition and love with the backdrop of Hollywood. But to see the tension fully of the two individuals play out was something that really pulled the story together. I love me some Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (hi Crazy Stupid Love, anyone?) but more than that, they showed the conflict they were both living out so well.

Because often the struggle of pursuing dreams, dreams that break you and hurt you, can be in direct conflict with love and a relationship because we like the idea of a clean separation of both, of handling both, but what often happens is they are pulling and tugging us in directions that come across as opposing. I could not help but see the beauty in that mess on the screen. The messiness of life in general can cause us to hurt and emote in ways we wish we didn’t, or even lead us to give up on that pursuit simply out of the need to not be hurt anymore by it, choosing instead the more solid route of comfort and security.

Seeing La La Land was a reminder that messy can be beautiful and it can be both temporary and permanent, it can leave us longing and wondering, but it can lead us to places we’d never thought possible if we recognize the tension of both and allow the tugs and pulls to be in the right direction. But we may not get it all the way we thought we would, and there in lies the rub of it all with our own selves.

We struggle against the path of perfection, of our ambition and love both intertwining easily in order to get all that we expect instead of living out the hard tension of hurt, heart break and wrong timing. When we are able to face them we understand more about who we are and how we resolve those. Maybe we shouldn’t be living so much in la la land with our expectations and instead find a way to live in the tension of ambition and love a bit more.

Lovin’ It, the Summer Edition

Every little bit I like to share what I am absolutely loving on. As random and weird as I am, you can bet it’s always a bit interesting around these parts. So below is a little rundown of some things I simply cannot stop loving on. So it’s summer, what’s good for summer loving? Check out below.

Music

Maren Morris
Y’all, seriously. I am a bit late on the bandwagon with this one around Nashville as I have seen my peeps here sharing her for a bit. My word it’s so good. She’s country, which I know is so not my style. But let me just say, I cannot stop listening to her. Especially this song.

For King and Country
I know I have talked about my love for them before, but I seriously cannot stop listening to Run Wild, Live Free, Love Strong from start to finish. I have used it to write to quite a bit, and this is me in song form, a simple glimpse into my mind:

Mudcrutch
Most people don’t know that my favorite band is Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (after NEEDTOBREATHE, obviously). I have long been a Tom Petty fan and his Southern rock sound found in his side project Mudcrutch, which was his original band in the 70’s. They have a new album out called 2, and I have it in heavy rotation, all the way through. That’s the mark of a really good album, that it’s a story from start to finish. Go grab it, or stream it your favorite streaming service. I’m curating some Spotify lists these days so find me and follow along!

Movies & Television

Superhero Movie Goodness
I love a good superhero film. Frankly, I love a bad one too. I am a dork and I freely embrace that when it comes to these big action films with caped crusaders, and villains alike. Captain America: Civil War? LOVED IT. X-Men: Apocalypse? So cannot wait to see it. Did I clap at the Doctor Strange preview? Yes I did. I will geek out at Suicide Squad. Honestly we could probably scratch out Superhero up there and put Action instead. I love a good action movie, especially in the summer. Jason Bourne? Yep, because MATT DAMON y’all. Independence Day twenty years later? Why of course I will see you. This is where my girlfriends get off the bus and leave me be. Don’t get me wrong. I love a rom-com (sobbed at Me Before You screening), but I want fight scenes, big explosions and hopefully some chase scenes with sharp objects involved.

Crime Shows
I confessed some time ago that I have a penchant for crime shows. Some Saturday nights in college you could find me watching Cops. I think part of me wanted to be a cop or FBI agent growing up (I wrote to the FBI at age 8 asking for info on the academy, such a nerd). Nancy Drew was my sister in crime-fighting in my elementary school days. Harriet the Spy was my Halloween costume of choice one year. So it’s fitting that I now cannot stop watching crime-related shows. I part ways at Law & Order, I have never watched it and don’t really ever care to do so. But this summer’s biggest binge? Southern Justice. It’s Cops, in my hometown. I kid you not y’all. It’s on NatGeo channel, and my neighbor growing up has been on there (she was the officer), as well as some guys I went to high school with. It’s insane to see the places I know, roads and sites, and people that I am familiar with on national tv. It’ll give you a good laugh, and a little insight to my App-a-LATCH-an upbringing. If you missed Quantico this season, I encourage you to binge it. That’s my other good summer suggestion because y’all, so good. (It has nothing to do with the guy named Ryan in the least). Not a cop show, but Zoo is also my other summer suggestion. Being a big fan of James Patterson (hi crime novels), this show is fantastically wonderful and back for a second run this summer.

Misc. Stuff

I had an M thing going, and I couldn’t stop y’all.

Food from the Garden
So I started an urban garden this year. I have a couple of herbs going nutso (basil and oregano for daaaays) as well as some tomatoes and peppers starting to pop up. But more than anything I am loving all the stuff from the gardens whether my own or a farmers at the market. Avocados are beginning to be an obsession, along with foil-wrapped corn on the cob with just a splash of EVOO and garlic powder. Grilling peaches for ice cream? YES MA’AM! Fresh strawberries and blackberries with a simple syrup, absolutely. Even last night I whipped up a fun, and mildly decadent, banana pudding to take to a work picnic. No Nilla wafers here, this ain’t yo momma’s pudding we’re talking about. Food from a garden beckons creativity and not treating it like you do in the winter, but giving it life just as it sustains you. It’s nice to get the creative juices flowing again in the kitchen (pun intended).

Workout clothes
I am obsessed with my Danskin workout crops. And the fun shirts that make me want to work out, to run, to get up at 4:30 to get my butt to POUND class. (except this week cause migraine) They were a reward for weight loss and muscle tone, and now I want more…but I have said it’ll only happen when I hit another marker, so I go workout for a couple of hours at the end of the work day when I just don’t really wanna. It’s better than feeling like a lump sitting on your couch though y’all. Get some fun workout clothes, or shoes even, to inspire a healthy attitude.

Park-aholic
From theme parks to state parks and national parks, I cannot quit you if you have a park in your name. Dollywood-YES! I have had a season pass for years, years. I hit up Mammoth Cave National Park already, and have a couple of other parks on the list this summer. Also, Holiday World. It’s a thing, and I will be there for my birthday. I cannot wait y’all. Can-not wait.


So what are you loving on right now? What’s something fun you are doing, reading, listening to or watching? What’s a favorite summer activity?

Year of Movies

As I sit here on Christmas Eve, smelling the cooking going on the kitchen, listening to a podcast concert of the Raconteurs from this summer, the mood has struck me to recount some of the best (and worst) movies I’ve seen this year. And just an fyi, I had to look up alot of the movies from the early Spring/Summer because as I get older, my mind goes. Also, these are just movies that I’ve seen this year…there’s still a huge chunk waiting on my queue at Netflix.

The Best….
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (March)-Performances by Amy Adams and Lee Pace that will surprise you. Frances McDormand never shocks me because she picks great roles. Rent it, own it, and truly enjoy this film.

Iron Man (May)-I just saw this film last week. Yes, quite a long time to wait but I am not a fan of Robert Downey, Jr. nor of Gwyneth Paltrow, nor Terrence Howard for that matter. However, this movie is spectacular. It’s a superhero movie, don’t try to think it’s an Oscar winning masterpiece. They did an excellent job of making you hate Downey’s character and then loving him for his empathy. Great adaptation of a DC Comic (something I am very weary of since I’m a comic nerd).

The Dark Knight (July)-Like this wouldn’t be in the best category?! Some complained about it’s length, some complained that it was too hyped because of Ledger’s untimely death, some even criticized how they went about Batman’s dark side in this second installment with Bale at the helm. My response is, “do you want to see this pencil disappear?”

Pineapple Express (August)-There are simply no words for this film. The best comedic film I’ve seen in many years. It’s about drugs, more specifically pot. I find comedic enjoyment from taking a movie at what it’s supposed to be about and nothing more. Don’t take it serious and you won’t be disappointed.
The Good….
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (April)-I nearly peed my pants laughing in this movie. Just a warning, there are several full frontal shots of the leading male character-I really didn’t think they’d show them but oh they did. Hilarious, fun, and overall a good movie.

Baby Mama (April)-A nice change of pace having two female comedic leads. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey pull it off brilliantly. Nothing grotesque nor hokey in this one. All out funny.

Wanted (June)-Great action movie. I’m not a fan of Angelina Jolie, but wow, can that woman act! James McAvoy does a stellar job as well. Overall, enjoyable good fun for an action movie.

Eagle Eye (September)-I caught this at the dollar movies last week. Good enjoyable fun, and a much better performance from Shia LeBouf than from his Indy appearance. Reminiscient of his Transformers performance and what made them choose him for the Indy film.

The Bad….
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (May)-This might have found itself in the Good column had the last thirty minutes not ruined the entire film. I was sad to see Indy take a turn like this….I blame it on the director.

The Duchess (September)-Keira Knightley needs to branch out from period pieces of a British nature. I’d like to see her play an American and pull off not having her British accent. I did not enjoy this movie and I’m a fan of alot of British period pieces….including The Other Boleyn Girl (until I read the book, the movie is vastly different from it).

The Just Plain Ugly….
Cloverfield (released in January)-quite possibly the biggest letdown of a built up movie in my opinion. One of my students raved about how good it was, however, I think our tastes differ drastically. Save yourself even the rental fee on this one.

The Happening (June)-Zoe Deschanel ruined this film. I’m not sure who told her that she could act, but she can’t….end of story. I think you could get better emotion out of shoe than you could out of her. Good story line, bad execution. Innovative idea from M. Night Shamalyan.

Twilight (November)-Now I’m all about taking a movie at what it’s worth and what it’s truly labeled. But this adaptation of the book was laughable. I am not kidding, I laughed at what were supposed to be serious parts in this film. Kristen Stewart’s casting was the wrong choice obviously. Robert Pattinson does an excellent job of playing a tortured vampire…very David Boreanaz from his early Buffy days. Bad wigs, bad dye jobs, and very bad acting from a highly-touted actress. Shame on you Catherine Hedwicke. No wonder you were not asked to make the sequel!

These are just a brief run down of the movies that fit into one of those four categories. I saw many other movies that were enjoyable but that just did not stand out enough for me to put them up there. Also, there’s still three movies to be released this week I want to check out so there might be some revisions. Whether you agree or disagree, movies are coming around to being more enjoyable with large lulls from the summer push until Christmas, and then again following the holidays until early Spring. My only pet peeve is the price. How about we not pay them millions so I don’t have to pay $9 for a movie ticket. I could rent movies for two months on Netflix at that cost….just a thought.