Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday Snapshot is Back from Paris!

Oooh la la!

Currently reading:

Making Up by Lucy Parker: Giving this author another try.

The 10x Marketing Formula by Garrett Moon: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware: Very The Lady Vanishes


The Bookstore Bars of Paris on Bookriot


the shape of water
The Shape of Water, starring Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon

Not del Toro's best movie, in my opinion, but of course still pretty damn good. Not only is it gorgeous to look at, it's about more than just a monster. My only complaint is that the monster was in desperate need of some more character development.

the disaster artist
The Disaster Artist, starring James Franco and Dave Franco

Tbh I wasn't expecting much from this movie, and probably would have never watched it had I not been on a plane and desperate for in-flight entertainment. It was surprisingly hilarious and very weirdly touching! I'd never even heard of The Room before this movie came out, so if you're worried it's just for fans of The Room, don't be. It's really about friendship, following your dreams, and an incredibly strange guy named Tommy. A must-see for anyone who's a film buff.

pitch perfect 3
Pitch Perfect 3, starring all the people from the other Pitch Perfect movies.

Not as good as the first Pitch Perfect, but certainly better than Pitch Perfect 2. I'm happy they figured out it's a good idea to have a script before they started filming.

deadpool 2
Deadpool 2, starring Ryan Reynolds

I loved the first Deadpool, but I struggled with this one a bit. The beginning feels very meandery and it takes the script a long damn time to get to the point. But once Wade went into rescue mode it recovered its momentum and humor. I also liked Domino and the twist with Cable.

up in the air
Up in the Air, starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick

My favorite part of this movie were the two female leads, so much so that I thought for a moment it might have been directed or written by a woman! It wasn't, but there are several female characters in this movie who aren't just there for the male lead to lust after, have their own stuff going on, and speak more than three lines! It's kind of sad that's progressive, but hey, I'll take what I can get. Unfortunately this film has no resolution, so even though I enjoyed the journey I kind of felt like it left me up in the air. Still trying to decide if that was on purpose re: the title.

As a side note, I'd like to ask Netflix to stop listing movies like this under the category "romantic comedies." kthnx.

Paris a la heidenkindom:

I'm baaaack! Actually I've been back a while, but didn't want to post anything until I'd had a chance to edit some of my pics. But I had a fabulous trip and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

First off, my hotel, the Caron de Beaumarchais, was absolutely wonderful. It was a block up from the Rue de Rivoli in the Marais. My room was super cozy (good luck doing nightly yoga in there), but the shower had plenty of water pressure and the bed was super comfy. It was a surprisingly modern hotel considering the building dates from the 17th century. I would recommend it, although skip the 13 euro breakfast – there's an excellent café, not to mention a Starbucks with free wifi, right down the street.

And speaking of breakfast, a word on budget: you might remember I was freaking out a bit before I left because Rick Steves recommended a daily budget of $140, not including accommodation. Well, he was more or less on the nose with that, not because of museums fees or transportation, but because of food. It's super expensive to eat out in Paris, even if you just go to regular bistros. I had some excellent meals, though (more on that later).

As for travel hiccups, the main one was the train strike, which is still going. The strike was only 2 days a week, but it just so happened those were the days I needed to get to/from the airport OF COURSE. I was planning to spend the last 3 days of my trip in Reims mainlining champagne like a glamorous MFB, but because of the train strike I canceled my B&B reservation there and just spent one day touring a champagne house and walking around the city–which is beautiful, btw–before returning to Paris.

Anyway, pictures! That's what you came here for!

Ceiling of the hotel

Might seem strange that this is in Spanish, but the President of Paris is Spanish and lives around the corner from where this was written.

Sein ducks!

Day 2: in the Louvre...

A new exhibit at the Louvre I really enjoyed traces the history of the palace from when it was first established in the 13th century. This is one of the walls of the original palace, which was surrounded by a moat.

View from the top floor of the Louvre. That's a lot steps, people.

View from the courtyard.

Nicolas Flamel's house! For real!
Day 3: Museum of the National Archives 😍, tour of the Marais, and the Centre Pompidou

The Museum of the National Archives was filled with cool historical artifacts. This one's my favorite: it's Robespierre's table, and if you look closely you can kind of see the red stain of Robespierre's blood still visible under the glass.
I took a walking tour of Paris with Paris Greeters and it was one of the highlights of my trip. My tour guide showed me so many hidden historical nooks and crannies around the Marais. Here is the last surviving medieval street in Paris.

Sunset from the Centre Pompidou
One of my favorite paintings! A portrait of Philippe Soupault by Robert Delaunay.
Day 4: Cooking class and Père Lachaise Cemetery

Parisian cooking class with a French chef! Very Audrey Hepburn.

Coquilles St. Jacques, or scallops baked in their shells with cream, cheese, and mushrooms. Such a low-cal lunch, no? 
I ate scallop eyes
 Fish in paper

Bucket list item: Oscar Wilde's grave

A tree by Jim Morrison's grave covered in discarded gum. WHY.

Well, I have to go make dinner now, but I will back with more pics from the rest of my trip, plus some restaurant recs, next week. I promise!

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sunday Snapshot is Getting Ready for Paris!

bonjour paris gif
This will be me in a few days 

Currently reading:

Hello, Stranger by Lisa Kleypas: Pretty swoon worthy, even though it requires a hefty suspension of disbelief.

Instead of listening to an audiobook, I'm currently going through Rick Steves' Paris-related podcasts.


Nothing. But I did find some articles of mine online that I hadn't realized were posted by the publication! Read my guide to the Her Paris exhibition, which focused on female artists in 19th century Paris; and a review of that Haitian art exhibit I mentioned in my last Sunday Snapshot.


Loving Vincent, starring Douglas Booth

I've been wanting to see this film ever since I first heard about the Kickstarter years ago. A year after the death of Vincent Van Gogh, Armand Roulin is asked by his father to take one of his letters to his brother, Theo. But when Armand arrives in Paris, it's to find Theo dead and his wife and child gone. As Armand tries to search for someone, ANYONE, to take possession of the letter, he's drawn into the mystery of Van Gogh's death. Was it suicide? A tragic accident? Murder? Everyone in Arles seems to have a different theory, and a different reason to either hate or love the celebrated artist.

I ADORE this movie. It's absolutely gorgeous: 125 professional artists hand-painted every still of the film, bringing Van Gogh's paintings to life. I loved the visual quotes of Van Gogh's work and you really get a feel for how his paintings are a diary of sorts, documenting all the places he went and all the people he met.

I also enjoyed the film noir-esque atmosphere and storyline, which is particularly appropriate for such an expressive artist.

My only criticism is I don't understand why they didn't full-out animate the movie instead of filming it in live action and then hand animating it. It doesn't quite make sense to me: not only did they add an extra (and expensive) step, I'd rather look at a character in this film and think, "Oh look, it's Doctor Gachet!" or, "It's Postman Roulin!" than, "Oh look it's Chris O'Dowd and Aiden Turner!" It was just distracting and pulled me out of the movie. But otherwise I think this is probably the best movie about Van Gogh I've ever seen.

And PS, "Starry Night" at the end COMPLETELY wrecked me.

Dunkirk, starring, like, sooo many white guys.

Normally Christopher Nolan is my spirit animal, but this movie didn't do much for me. I appreciated the reportage angle Nolan was going for, but my mind started to wander about halfway through. There were just so many boats. And so much water. And the Germans were hardly ever mentioned or shown, which I found kinda weird and it made the whole thing a bit hollow. I mean, the Brits could have been fighting against the French for all we knew. There was certainly enough antagonism between the two. But war movies aren't really my thing, so.

Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis, Elizabeth Shue

Honestly pretty entertaining! It's not a good movie, mind (the presence of Elizabeth Shue should tell you that much), but I enjoyed the '70s B-movie vibe and some parts were just too hilarious. Plus Bruce Willis actually looked like he was having a good time! If you do go see it, expect a slow start, predictable plot, and lots of blood and gore.

PS I Love You, starring Hilary Swank

Uhg. First of all, there's a long and completely pointless prologue. Then Gerard Butler dies and leaves notes for Hilary Swank to send her on a treasure hunt to overcome her grief, or something. Question: WHO WOULD DO THIS? It's nutso. Also, let's say for the sake of argument someone would do that. Would their widow then proceed to fall for [[[redacted]]]? Hard to believe. This movie made me happy I refused to read the book.

Forces of Nature, starring Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck

A complete trash fire. Sandra Bullock looks terrible and the story is stupid and hateful. Avoid at all costs.

Southside With You, starring Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers

I realize this is supposed to be a "slice of life" film and not a drawn out romcom, but there was absolutely nothing going on of interest in this movie. It felt like a stage play where the characters just stand around and talk about their backstory. Tika Sumpter does do an excellent Michelle Obama impression, though.

These weeks in heidenkindom:

My trip to Paris is nigh and I spent yesterday afternoon pre-packing. I like to prepack because it reduces my stress, and also my packing process is basically: pick out everything I think I'll need, realize there's no way I'll be able to fit it all into my extremely tiny suitcase, and then edit it down.

That's something I don't want to be facing for the first time at 8pm the night before I'm set to take off.

The extremely tiny suitcase

Plus, when you prepack you realize what you need and what you may be packing two of for no good reason.

As you can see from the photo above, I'm a big fan of packing cubes. If you're the type of person who has crap spread out all over your bed 10 minutes after you check into your hotel, these will make your life about 100x easier and more organized. They're like drawers for your suitcase!

Anyway, I always enjoy seeing what other people pack, so I thought I'd share my still-tentative packing list:

  • A shit ton of socks. Guidebooks always tell you to only bring 5 pairs of socks, but once I was on a trip in the winter and ALL my socks got wet. There were no dryers and the suckers wouldn't air dry because it was cold. I was miserable. As a result, I now pack about 50x more socks than I think I'll need, and I've yet to regret it.
  • Undies
  • Shoes! I always pack two pairs of shoes, but I'm still undecided on which I'll bring to Paris. I actually bought two pairs of shoes specifically for this trip, and they're good shoes, but I kinda just want to wear my Merrill's and bring casual flats even though–again–the guidebooks are like, "Don't wear sneakers! You'll be spotted as a tourist immediately!" Okay, but I'm also going to be walking a lot. What's your answer to that, guidebooks?
Shoes! But which to bring?

  • Pants, another area I'm undecided about. I was going to bring a pair of jeans and black slacks for going out to a fancy-ish restaurant and/or trying to get a free upgrade on the plane, but I realized through the magic of trying on clothes that the slacks I have don't fit anymore. And all the dresses I have are sleeveless, so now I don't know what I'm going to bring exactly.
  • Pajamas
  • Tops (4 long sleeve, 1 button down, 1 short sleeve, 4 sweaters)
  • Adapter
  • Ziploc bags
  • Duct tape
  • Door lock
  • Clothing detergent & sink stopper
  • Jackets are something else I'm going back and forth on. It's supposed to be rainy and in the 50s, which is pretty darn cold for me, so I don't want to just bring a thin rain jacket because I will freeze and be miserable (see socks, above). I was going to take my black trench, but then the blahgs (uhg why do I read this stuff) were like, "Don't wear heavy coats through security, especially if they have a bunch of zippers!" I can see their point, but unfortunately the black trench will not fit into my extremely small suitcase. So now I'm back to the rain jacket and just layering it over a sweatshirt, but again, if I go out somewhere nice to eat...
  • Camera
  • All the charging cables
  • Portable charger
  • iPad
  • Kindle
  • iPhone
  • A scarf, if I can remember it
  • Toiletries
  • Earbuds (set of two)
  • Journal & pen
  • Umbrella
  • Small wallet-sized purse
  • Rick Steves' Paris–Rick Steves is not the hippest person on the planet. But this guidebook is packed with a TON of useful information and unique tours you can't find anywhere else. If I had to recommend one guidebook to Paris, it'd be this one.
  • Paris by the Book–A publisher sent me this last week and I was like, "That's a weird coincidence!" So I'm going to give it a try on the trip. If it sucks I'll just leave it in the airport or something.
Basically all my packing indecision comes down to the fact that I feel the need to dress like an adult, because PARIS. But it's stressing me out since I usually don't dress like that. What to do.

Anyway. If you have any packing tips you live and travel by send them my way! I'll be adjusting as needed until it's time to leave for the airport.

Hope you all have a great week and Happy Easter if you celebrate it!

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday Snapshot is Starting to Get Sick of Winter (Not That That's Much of a Challenge)

sugar boat by edouard duval-carrie
Sugar Boat by Edouard Duval-Carrié

Currently reading:

How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger: I may never be able to eat chicken again.

Party Lines by Emma Barry: Just started this one. We'll see.


the incredible jessica james poster
The Incredible Jessica James, starring Jessica Williams

I loved Jessica Williams in this, but the romantic comedy plot felt like an afterthought.

Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon

Not one of Clint Eastwood's better movies. The start is very slow and meandery, and there's practically no character development, so the detente between Afrikaners and black South Africans comes across as cheesy and pandering. Also, I'm kinda shocked both Freeman and Damon were nominated for Academy Awards on this film, since Freeman's performance was unconvincing and Damon had so little material to work with.

But I did enjoy learning more about South Africa and how Mandela worked to bring the country together after the end of Apartheid. We could all definitely stand to take inspiration from him and his story.

The Olympics

Normally I'm all over the Olympics, but this one was kinda blah. And don't even get me started on how NBC covered figure skating this year. RAGE INDUCING. I almost sent them an angry tweet.

These weeks in heidenkindom:

Winter has finally hit SoCO, and I'm already sick of it. Wearing a bunch of clothing is just a bummer, not to mention being stuck indoors all day.

So on the first big snow storm of the year, my mom and I went up to Springs to catch the opening of Art of Haiti: Loas, History, Memory. I became fascinated with Haitian history and art when I was a freshman in college and was assigned to do a presentation on it, so I was pretty pumped about seeing some Haitian art up close and personal.

The exhibit was okay. It wasn't what I was expecting at all, and it wasn't very well organized or interpreted. But it did have some really cool pieces. Here are a few of my favorites:

Memory Window #1 by Edouard Duval-Carrié
Memory Window #1 by Edouard Duval-Carrié

Mistress Erzuile by Ralph Allen
Mistress Erzuile by Ralph Allen

"Aunts and Uncles" Tessa Mars
Aunts and Uncles by Tessa Mars

Gede at the Graveyard by Wilson Bigaud
Gede at the Graveyard by Wilson Bigaud

Millionyearseeds by Yoshitomo Saito
Millionyearseeds by Yoshitomo Saito (not part of the Haitian art exhibit but still very cool)

In other news, I'm getting ready/nervous for my trip to Paris in close to a month! I still haven't reserved the cooking classes or tours I was looking at, nor have I figured out on which days I want to do what, so I feel completely unprepared. That usually means I end up creating a spreadsheet. The night is still young.

Oh, one more thing: I gave up meat for Lent. I was on the fence about it up until the last minute, because I knew it would be difficult, but I decided to just go for it. I never realized how many calories I got from meat until I stopped eating it. By the third day I was STARVING. I'm better now, but I have to eat a lot more to stay full on this diet. Don't become a vegetarian if you don't like to eat, like, all the time. That's my advice.

Hope you all had an excellent Valentine's Day and that next week is full of fantastic things for you!

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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Super Sunday Snapshot

Hey y'all! Long time no type.

Currently reading:

My current reads are making me pretty grouchy.

Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley: I get that the narrator's a cook, but I don't need to know every goddamn ingredient for every goddamn meal and how she makes it and then cleans up afterwards. GET ON WITH THE STORY.

Mystery Loves Company by Sheri Cobb South: Tbh, if this wasn't a John Pickett mystery, I would have DNF'd it a long time ago. It's like watching paint dry.

If you have any recs for good audiobooks I can download, feel free to hit me up.


It's over now, but next year you can be sure to celebrate the poet Robert Burns with the greatest literary holiday in the western world, Burns Night!


miss meadows poster
Miss Meadows, starring Katie Holmes

This is a really weird movie. But I mean that in a good way, like I can't believe it was actually made but it gives me hope for Hollywood that it was. Imagine a cross between Mary Poppins and Pulp Fiction and you have the basic vibe of this film. Holmes plays a charmingly odd schoolteacher who carries a gun in her handbag and isn't afraid to use it against the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. I could have done without the whole mother twist, but if you like dark comedies à la Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me, you'll enjoy this one.

florence foster jenkins
Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant

A surprisingly forgettable film, considering the talents of the cast. I thought Grant did a particularly excellent job–this might be the best performance of his career–but what the eff do I care about him and his piece on the side? The movie's called Florence Foster Jenkins, guys, maybe focus more on that.

the commuter
The Commuter, starring Liam Neeson

By now there surely must be a subgenre of film called Liam Neeson Shouts Into a Phone. Anyway, if you've seen any of the movies he's done since 2008 you know exactly what you're getting here, and it's not one of the best of the bunch. But it's okay.

Hostiles, starring Rosamund Pike, Christian Bale, Wes Studi

Yet another cheerful western /sarcasm. I found myself thinking several times during this movie that this is why people don't watch westerns anymore. A cavalry captain is given his last assignment, escorting a Cheyenne chief to his homeland in Montana so he can see it one last time before he dies. Along the way, EVERY SINGLE WESTERN THING HAPPENS. Not surprisingly, the movie's overly long, with a ton of unnecessary exposition, no comic relief whatsoever, and the treatment of the race relations between whites and Indians feels the opposite of woke. I got excited when I saw Ben Foster (where you know him from: he played the bespoke psychopath Charlie Prince in 3:10 to Yuma), but he was completely underutilized and his storyline was pointless. I also wanted Pike to be a way more crazy. Idk, this script just needed a lot more focus.

By the way, I started keeping track of my movies on Letterboxd if you want to follow me on there. My user name is heidenkind.

These weeks in heidenkindom:

How is 2018 treating all y'all so far? I have not yet saved enough for Paris, but I think I'm making good headway on eating more plants. Other than that, there's not a lot of news to relate. My favorite holiday, Valentine's Day, is coming up. If you want me to send you a Valentine shoot me your addy by email or on social media.

The "Big Game" is on today (we're not allowed to say Super Bowl anymore, I'm not sure why. Do they not want people to talk about their event?) and naturally I have food planned. I want to make grilled nachos (I can't find the specific recipe I picked out for some reason, but there are a ton of them on Google) and margaritas, and possibly steak with veggies for dinner. Or just pizza. We'll see.


This skit on Saturday Night Live about how the Patriots annoy everyone not from Boston made me lol:

Have a great week everyone!

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