All good things must come to an end, and alas...I can cancel my Hulu subscription. Just kidding...well, I probably could, but that's not what's important here. What's important, is that The Mindy Project has come to end. That show is actually the reason I subscribed to Hulu in the first place. I've loved this show from the get-go, and Mindy Kaling is probably my spirit animal.
My husband went out with the guys one night this week, and while I had a ton of things I needed to do, I decided to treat myself to a solo date night, and finally got to see "Lady Bird," Greta Gerwig's directorial debut and starring Saoirse Ronan. Greta also wrote the screenplay. I adore Saoirse, but I was worried it was going to be another long, drawn out, indie drama that required me to use my intellectual brain to find the deeper meaning and artistic vision, and ultimately leaving me depressed and uninspired--it's just what I've come to expect of many film festival selections. But, it was actually brilliant and I LOVED IT.
The Dodgers are in the World Series for the first time in twenty-nine years and it's both very exciting and extremely stressful. I can't say I'm an educated baseball fan, but as a native Angeleno, I was born a Dodgers fans and as such the team is part of my identity. We often refer to baseball as "America's favorite past time," and it is in fact very nostalgic for me. I love going to Dodger games, because it reminds me of when my dad would take my brother and I to games and we'd chow down on Dodger dogs, which at seven or eight years old seemed massive. It also reminds me of going with my Girl Scout troop, chowing down on Dodger dogs, and having so much fun but hardly even being aware of what was actually happening in the game. So, I have many a fond memory of baseball, of the Dodgers, and of Dodger Stadium.
I did not know I could be so inspired by battle rap. Next to Don't Talk to Irene, this was my second favorite movie out of the Toronto International Film Festival this year. It's about half an hour too long which makes some of the battle rapping feel overly redundant. However, I really enjoyed how the filmmakers addressed diversity and political correctness in a way that isn't forced and uneducated.
This was definitely one of my favorite films out of the festival this year. It is so fun, so witty, so heartwarming, at times heartbreaking, and so on point. This "little" Canadian film stole my heart away. I laughed out loud so much my face hurt afterwards.
Unicorn Store, directed by and starring Brie Larson, was the first film I got to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this year, and one that I was super excited to see...I mean, it's Brie Larson and something to do with unicorns! How could I not be excited?? In reading the logline and based on the photo used on TIFF's site, I thought, this could be really cute or really indie arthouse weird. Of course, there's nothing wrong with indie arthouse weird, I've enjoyed a number of such films. I am an emotional film watcher, so I enjoy almost anything I emotionally connect with, but I honestly had no idea what to expect, because you just never know with some of these films at film festivals. I guess what I was really hoping for was just not the kind of depressing ending or an ending that leaves you with a sort of vacant and unsatisfied feeling that many of these more arthouse films tend to leave you with. Let's just say at the end of the movie, I was pretty happy and satisfied, and ready to let my inner unicorn out if I hadn't already.
As I read the reviews of this movie after screening it myself, I was disappointed in many of the reviews. This is the story of Robin and Diana Cavendish, produced by their now grown son, Jonathan. Robin (Andrew Garfield) was stricken with polio in 1958 and lived the rest of his life fully paralyzed but for being able to make facial expressions and move his head just enough to ding a bell. This no doubt was the performance of a lifetime for Garfield, being limited to using only his face for most of the movie, and most critics focused on his performance. However, it is very clear that this movie was made as a tribute by Jonathan to both of his parents, and perhaps even a thank you letter to express utmost gratitude for his mother in particular.
My ears perked up like a curious puppy when I first heard about this book. I can’t say I know much of what 50 Cent has been up to since my tween years, so I was very curious when I discovered he had written an apparently, incredibly impactful book. It was published in 2011, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
I started to wonder if the VMAs was even relevant anymore. I didn't even realize it was this weekend until Friday, when the radio station I was listening to was talking about Taylor Swift premiering her new music video, and speculating whether Katy Perry and Taylor Swift might have a reunion at the award show. I decided to tune in anyways just in case something that mattered might happen. Then it did.
Talk to anyone who has been to Lisboa, and they will tell you that you must also see Sintra. For some, you haven't seen all the wonders of the world until you've seen Sintra, and it was also a love of Lord Byron's. So, with the little planning I actually do for any trip, I knew there was at least one place we had to visit whilst in Lisboa.
Sintra was once the summer getaway destination for the Portuguese royal family, and after they were no more, Lisboa's elite continued the tradition as it is now a posh suburb of the city. It's a quaint town built on the foothills of the Sintra mountains. The 19th Century style architecture and colorful buildings give it a particular fairytale charm. It's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
First, the train ride is an easy 40 minutes from Lisboa's Rossio train station. Something to note, you can only purchase one ticket per person, so each ticket requires a separate transaction. It's a little annoying, but we learned our mistake when one of us got stuck behind the sliding gates. On the bright side, each roundtrip ticket is only 3,10€. That's the cheapest train ticket I've ever seen in my life. Along the way is when you really see how poor the country is, and there is just neverending scribbles of graffiti everywhere.
As soon as we got off the train, we worried we had gravely underestimated the weather. I was in a little sundress, and Chris was in a thin t-shirt and shorts, and it was very much overcast. When I had checked the weather before we arrived, we were expecting hot, hot days; and when we arrived we had two days of hot, hot sun. So, we didn't think to expect different. In fact it, was so grey that day, that it was even slightly drizzling, and many people were in puffer jackets, while some even had rain coats. Before you worry if we suffered the entire day, let me just say that we walked so much we ended up being perfectly dressed for the weather.
Our first stop was the National Palace, where the royal family used to vacation. Just around the corner from the train station, it's a white palace sitting at the edge of one hill. The thing that makes it stand out are the two cone shaped points that are the palace chimneys. Out in front of the palace is a large open courtyard, great for photo ops and for taking in the view. I bought a little bag of kettle corn for 1€ from a guy with a little red cart like the ones you see at Disneyland. The kettle corn were nice and large, which I really liked. It made eating them easier. We then toured the palace climbing and descending more stairs, and taking in the intricacy of the details that only these old palaces possess. The Portuguese are famous for the beautiful tiles and there was certainly some lovely tile work in this palace. There was also an incredible kitchen, which I feel like would be any chef's dream.
After this Palace, it was about time for lunch, and I also wanted to see Palacio de Pena and the Moorish castle, but especially the former. Palacio de Pena truly makes Sintra its own unique fairytale land. None of the restaurants in the main square were particularly appealing other than for people watching so we decided to head towards Palacio de Pena and see what we could find along the way.
Along the way we found a restaurant on the edge of a hall called something Garret. It looked nice so we decided to opt for that. It was okay. We both ordered baccalau in different forms. Mine ended up being deep fried like fish and chips style, which it basically was. The patatas fritas in Portugal though, are not regular fries, they're actually chips...as in crisps. It was a bit heavy for me. Plus, baccalau bones can be annoying to deal with. After lunch we continued to stroll up the mountain towards the palace. What we didn't realize was that we'd be "strolling" up the entire mountain, and Pena sat at the very top.
It was a long climb up, but ultimately very worth it. Though once we arrived, we realized there were buses you could take for 3€. The palace itself is relatively new, and unlike any other palace I've seen, it's very colorful with red, and yellow, and bluish-purplish walls, and the design incorporates Moorish influences.
Upon arriving at the palace, there are great opportunities for photos and it's almost surreal, because it feels like a set. Let me just say, it was probably a great idea building the palace here, because it would take a lot of effort just to reach the palace, for any wrongdoers. This palace was full of more stairs and some interesting rooms. At the end of the tour, you come out onto a nice big terrace where you can grab a snack and drink. To be honest, I would've much rather have grabbed a sandwich here over what we had for lunch. There's a particular Portuguese multi-grain bread that I love and it is so delicious. We also picked up some Queijas, which is a little pastry famous in Sintra. It tasted to me like a mince pie, but the other crust was a bit strange...like uncooked dough.
Of course, we figured we made it this far so we walked down instead of taking a bus or tuk tuk. We were far too exhausted to continue on to the Moorish Castle. Our walk down was quite interesting actually, because we saw the posh side of town on our way down. So, it was here I realized there are Portuguese people living well. I mean, I guess I knew that Christiano Ronaldo couldn't be the only wealthy person in Portugal.
Sintra was an adventure, and if you've got the time and ability to, I'd recommend the hike. Just bring good shoes--I was not prepared! Even on an overcast day, the views were delectable. There's so much more we didn't have time to see, too. Another time!
BIG LOVE & HUGS