Solo: A Star Wars Adventure

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To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled for the Solo: A Star Wars Story movie. There seemed to be a lot of drama on set such as firing the original directors  and hiring an acting coach for Alden Ehrenreich. In the second link, Alden does address the acting coach rumors and says, “it was blown way out of proportion.” Spontaneously my friend bought tickets for me and the boyfriend to attend the showing yesterday. I must admit, it’s not my favorite Star Wars movie, but it’s much better than I was anticipating.

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT 😀

 

 

 

Han Solo’s story begins on the planet of Corellia which is a horrendous planet. Solo is attempting to leave with his fling Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) when he escapes and unfortunately Qi’ra does not. Flash forward three years, Han is kicked out of the Imperial academy and is connected with Chewie, Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), and Qi’ra who he hasn’t seen in years. Of course Lando (Donald Glover) is introduced and basically the group of them fly the Millennium Falcon completing a bounty for Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) who leads the Crimson Dawn criminal syndicate.

As far as Alden’s portrayal of Han Solo, I personally didn’t mind it. Granted I’m not the biggest Han Solo fan, so if Alden didn’t do a great job, I wouldn’t know. I thought Alden was dominant, feisty and sarcastic which makes up Han Solo. I think with all of the hype for this movie, I believe Alden delivered.

I was skeptical with the casting of Woody Harrelson. He’s not a bad actor, but usually the Star Wars franchise doesn’t include “huge actors”. I was afraid by watching the movie I would get distracted by Woody because of his notable roles. That wasn’t the case. I enjoyed his character and he teaches Han the crucial lesson of “Don’t Trust Anyone”.

If you’re still reading, there will be a MAJOR spoiler in the following paragraphs. Please stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie.

 

One of the biggest reactions with this movie is a surprising cameo. Qi’ra has just killed Vos and you see her steal his ring. She plugs it into this desk and is talking to Vos’s boss. I’m assuming this is going to be Supreme Leader Snoke maybe? It would help with developing his backstory as a villain. Instead the cameo is none other than. . . Darth Maul!!!!

Darth Maul is a terrifying villain and it’s a shame he was killed so early on in the Phantom Menace. I know that Maul exists in Star Wars comics, I even a read a Darth Maul book in the extended universe. I just wasn’t expecting him to appear in the movie. Literally my mouth dropped and was open for his entire scene. I’m still shocked.

My biggest complaint thus far with the film is that Thandie Newton’s character dies in the first 20 minutes. What’s the point of even bringing her on board for the movie if you kill her so quick? Seems silly to me.

Solo: A Star Wars Story was not a train wreck which is a nice surprise. The movie may have it’s flaws, but it’s ultimately a fun movie to see in the theater. I’m interested to see how things pan out in future movies especially with the fun cameo I mentioned a couple paragraphs above. I’m always interested to hear what readers have to say, so leave a comment below. Please also be respectful of spoilers as it is opening weekend for the movie.

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Boston… Take Me Back

This past week I was in Boston, MA for a family vacation with my mom, brother and the boyfriend. We drove all 22 hours to get there and 22 hours back. In fact this past Thursday we drove 17.5 hours in one day which I don’t recommend. This trip to Boston is special to me because out of all the places I have visited, Boston is the one city I would love to move to. I’m going to share some pictures of my adventure along with why I adored Boston.

Sunday May 13th

Technically we arrived in Boston on Saturday night at around 8:00 PM. After drinking a pint at a restaurant downtown, we decided to walk around downtown Boston near the Boston commons. Boston Commons is Boston’s version of Central Park in NYC. Right on Bolyston Street is this Edgar Allen Poe statue. There’s his majestic raven and on the back of the raven is a heart from the “Tell Tale Heart” short story. I’m a huge fan of Gothic literature so I did indeed take a selfie with Edgar Allen Poe.

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On Sunday May 13th, me and my family did some more exploring. After walking through the Boston Commons in daylight, we walked to Beacon Hill. This neighborhood is so serene and architecturally stunning. Every building has a New England feel to it. My dream house would probably be somewhere in this neighborhood.

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After exploring Beacon Hill, we headed over to Quincy Market. Quincy Market is an indoor Farmer’s market with a variety of different restaurants. All the food smelled so good. This picture I took is the center of Quincy Market which I thought was spectacular.

324My coworker recommended to me that we explore the North End of Boston. Paul Revere’s house and statue are located here. The North End of Boston is also well known as being the Italian district with many different Italian restaurants to choose from. I was so surprised walking around this area how many restaurants there were! We passed at least 10 different restaurants before settling on the one we picked. There was a balcony with some flowers to provide a nice ambiance. I ordered butternut squash ravioli and I about died and went to heaven. My chardonnay was delicious and complimented my meal perfectly. Sunday was also Mother’s Day so the boyfriend snapped a picture of me and my mom enjoying our wine. Like mother like daughter, right?  331332333341

This is the Boston skyline from Boston Commons. As you can see, we lucked out on how gorgeous the weather was. It was sunny which is something I longed for after surviving yet another Minnesota winter.

Monday May 14th

The bookworm in me was thrilled to see that there was an outdoor book shop in downtown Boston. Brattle Books is one of America’s oldest book stores in the country <  I didn’t know this while I was currently shopping for my next book obsession. If I’m ever near Boston again, I will stop here for more books.

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Boston is a city known for all of it’s U.S history. We stopped by the Boston Tea Party Museum (which I didn’t pay to tour it) along with the U.S.S Constitution. This naval ship shown in the picture below is the oldest ship still in the water. The boyfriend was really excited to see this in person. However, the museum was actually closed on Monday which stinks, so we could only see this from the outside.

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The view from the Boston Harbor is breathtaking. You can see the whole city in it’s entirety and look at how blue the water looks. This picture is probably my favorite picture I took on this trip because it demonstrates how beautiful Boston is.

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Typical couple picture in front of the Boston skyline because why not?

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Me and my mom are on the same page with our love of Boston. As you can see she’s wearing a Patriots long sleeve shirt. I cannot stand the Patriots…

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Tuesday May 15th

At my mom’s request, we walked from our hotel all the way to Fenway park. If there’s any sport that I truly love to watch, it’s baseball. When I think of an ideal summer day it would include watching the Minnesota Twins at Target field with a beer in my hand socializing with friends. Fenway Park is a really nice baseball stadium and I like how many restaurants surround this field. Unfortunately, we were unable to see a baseball game, but that’s on my bucket list for my next trip to this city.

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Our final activity was to see the Skywalk Observatory. It’s located near this upscale hotel and you have to pay $20 to go up there, but it’s worth it. You get an incredible view of the entire city. It’s also not too packed up there so you have room to walk around and take plenty of pictures. This was another tourist activity I recommend doing while visiting Boston.

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Overall, Boston is my favorite trip I have taken so far. If I could move anywhere in the U.S, I would love to live near Boston. Another thing I learned with this trip is that this was a long drive. 22 hours is a long drive one way. I’m not sure if I would want to do another road trip that long of a distance again. I found myself growing impatient and slightly uncomfortable from sitting in the car for many hours. I’m proud to say that I drove all the way out there. It’s a cool achievement.

Do you live in Boston? I would love to know what other cool things I missed out on. Leave a comment below!

Netflix’s Thrilling Show; Mindhunter

Me and the boyfriend have made regular plans to binge watch a series together. After just coming off of Parks and Recreation, it was my turn to pick the next show to watch. I had seen Mindhunter on my Netflix feed and it attracted my interest. depepi wrote about Mindhunter on her blog and described it as “witty, harsh and intriguing”. The boyfriend was all for watching this show. By the end, he was disappointed as there was only one season. Mindhunter has been picked up for season #2 and I know me and the boyfriend will be anxiously awaiting it’s release date.

SPOILERS AHEAD OF COURSE 😀

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Mindhunter gets its inspiration from a book written by FBI agent John E. Douglas. Douglas has interviewed Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Speck and more psychotic individuals. Thomas Harris based his character Jack Crawford off of John Douglas (the author who wrote the Hannibal book series). I haven’t personally read the book myself, but it might be a book I may be interested in.

Mindhunter takes place in the 70’s where Charles Manson’s recent crimes shocked the United States. FBI Agent Holden Ford (played brilliantly by Jonathon Groff), admires from afar as to why the killers do what they do. He wants to understand these violent criminals to help prevent the crimes from happening in the first place. When he brings this idea of criminal profiling to his director, his director rebuffs him saying the FBI is only meant to solve the crimes when they happen. Holden is eventually paired with special agent Bill Tench (played by Holt McCallany) who’s job is to reel Holden in before he does something he regrets.

The drama from the show stems from Holden Ford’s actions. In one such episode, he secures a confession from a man who rapes and kills a 12 year old girl. As Holden interrogates him, he appeals to his mind by talking about how the 12 year old looks older and how fresh her vagina is < not even joking this was how he secures this confession. His mode of questioning works, but at what cost. Holden is an FBI agent can he really talk this way while representing the federal government?

David Fincher is an executive producer on this show which probably explains why I enjoyed it so much. Fincher is a miraculous director and has created some of my favorite movies (Se7en, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo adaptation, Gone Girl and Fight Club). If I were to become famous and could appear in any movie I wanted, I would want to star in a movie directed by David Fincher.

To be honest with you, this show starts off extremely slow. Me and the boyfriend were three episodes in when we contemplated starting another show. Once you watch the episodes, they get more intriguing as Holden discovers more cases to get involved with. The season ends with a cliff hanger as Holden appears to be having an extreme panic attack after visiting with Ed Kemper and scenes showing the BTK killer in Kansas.

I encourage you to give Mindhunter a chance. It starts slow, but the pace picks up rapidly leaving me and the boyfriend wanting more to watch. If you have ever been a fan of Criminal Minds, think of this as a prequel to that show. Without the impact of Mindhunter, Criminal Minds wouldn’t have ever existed.

 

 

Road Trip Tips & Tricks

So you want to go on a road trip? I absolutely prefer driving versus flying unless of course I’m traveling to another continent. In less than 2 weeks, my family & the boyfriend are driving all the way to Boston and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I find with driving you can experience so much more of what the U.S. has to offer versus flying past all of the cute small towns or lush forests along the way. I wanted to give a couple road trip tips I learned to help create a smooth driving experience with friends or family.

Dress Comfortably for the Drive

I never drive in jeans because I want to be comfy if I have to be in the car for 10+ hours. I personally love driving in active wear because it’s soft, and doesn’t cling to you in hot weather. Sure, you can turn on the AC, but if you’re stuck in traffic with the windows rolled down, you will be sweaty. Active wear is the way to go for driving long distances. Also wearing sneakers versus flip flops is a must! It’s unsafe to drive in flip flops because it doubles the amount of time to move your foot from the accelerator to the brake. Please wear sneakers 🙂

Pack Sunglasses or a Hat to Protect your Eyes

 

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Racine, Wisconsin. Can you tell I forgot sunglasses?

^^^ This will make your road trip pictures look better if you’re not squinting against the sun.

Plan out your trip, but leave room for spontaneity

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Metropolis, IL

Figure out museums, parks and other attractions you must visit, but leave some room in this road trip for stops along the way. When I was driving through Illinois to get to Kentucky, we found the city with the largest Superman statue + museum. There was a sign alerting us to it so we pulled off and took many photos outside the museum and with the statue. It makes the road trip more memorable if there are stops that you weren’t originally planning for.

Have an emergency fund.

Include at least $400 for an extra hotel room, car repairs or medical emergencies. In June 2015, me and my friend drove to a music festival in Michigan. When we were pulling into the camp grounds, my car shut off and wouldn’t turn on. We were able to gather at least 10 people to push my car off to the side so I could call for a tow. This event unfortunately put a damper on our vacation because we weren’t sure how to get home and we didn’t have the $$$ for major car repairs. Thankfully it all worked out, but it could have been much worse.

Set a budget!!

How much will you spend in a day? How much are you planning for the trip? This is crucial to ensure that traveling doesn’t break the bank. Also when you think of purchasing a souvenir, actually ask yourself “do I really need this?” Sometimes if we truly evaluate our purchases before impulsively pulling out our credit card, we can make the right decision and not regret it later.

I hope these tips are helpful, but ultimately you will come up with your own road trip tips when you experience the pleasure of driving from point A to point B. Also if you’re from the East coast please give me recommendations of things to see. I have never been out to this part of the U.S. so I need all the help I can get.

The Avengers; how much this movie means to me.

This past week I watched the Avengers with the boyfriend to prepare for Infinity War. This movie has a special place in my heart as helping to expose me to the world of comics. I remember sitting in the theater being a senior in high school and preparing to go off to college that fall. I watched this movie and I was entranced by all of the characters with their back stories and how they worked together. I wanted to dedicate a full post as to how much this movie meant to me and how re-watching it gave me all the feelings.

As I mentioned, I was a senior in high school when this movie was released. Reflecting back to that time of my life, I was insecure. Insecure with my looks, my body and who I was as a person. My uncle persuaded me, my brother and my mom to go to the theaters to watch this movie.

Everyone probably has their favorite Avenger. Most would say Iron Man or Captain America, but my favorite was Hawkeye. I had an obsession with Jeremy Renner for a couple years after the release of the Avengers. I still have two Jeremy Renner Hawkeye posters in my old bedroom at my mom’s house. Hawkeye is an ordinary human being who is forced into this alien invasion by Loki. He’s also the avenger who I think is given the most crap because he uses a bow. However, his hand to hand combat skills are lethal especially when he’s paired with the Black Widow.

Also can I just say one of my very first OTP’s I had was Black Widow and Hawkeye. I have always wanted to know what the hell happened in Budapest!?!?!?!. I was shocked when Black Widow was paired with Hulk because it seemed  odd to me. I feel bad for Hawkeye because I felt he really didn’t get the attention that he deserves in the Marvel universe and I know other fans agree with me.

I didn’t visit a comic book store until the summer of 2013 when I brought my ex-boyfriend to Mead Hall Comics & Games in Minneapolis. I bought a few single issues without really knowing what I was looking for. Now, I buy mostly trades because it’s difficult for me to keep up with single issue comics. I wouldn’t have even started buying comics if it wasn’t for seeing the Avengers in the theater in 2012.

To wrap up this post, I wanted to say how the Avengers has really transformed me into the geek girl I am today. It helped broaden my interests and put me waist deep into the Marvel comics fandom. I’m excited to see where Marvel movies will head and I’m looking forward to reading more superhero comics and enjoying free comic book day this year.

Hawkeye and Black Widow

Found this image from Writing in Rivendell: http://writinginrivendell.blogspot.com/2013_11_01_archive.html

 

 

Personal Training: Update!

I haven’t been writing regular posts because I have been feeling… uninspired. I haven’t been on any great trips or read any super amazing books so it had been days since I felt energized enough to write a post. One great thing happened to me this week I wanted to share and it has to do with my personal training experience at the gym I exercise at. After doing an In-Body machine *which calculates your muscle & body fat* I had gained a pound of muscle. How cool is that!? All the hard work I put into my sessions has literally left me feeling stronger.

I talked about why I decided to hire a personal trainer in that blog post so I won’t go through that here. For me, my goal is to put on my more muscle mass because muscle is so important since it can deteriorate as we age if we don’t use it. I would like to decrease my body fat, but I’m not necessarily ready to be super strict with myself. For example if I go out to a happy hour with friends, I will have one drink, but try not to exceed two. My body fat went up .2 which I’m not too concerned with. I carry about 53 lbs. of body fat which you might think is a lot, but not really. I love my curves! I don’t want to be really skinny because I like having some body fat on my frame. I would like to see this number decrease, but it’s not my main concern.

I can tell I’m getting stronger based on how I complete the workouts. Before this, I couldn’t do a push-up on my toes. Now, I can do multiple push-ups in a row on my toes and go farther down into the push-up. I have upped my weight in dumbbells doing 20 lbs. for a shoulder press. Also my stamina! I feel I have more energy to go along with my day which means I’m decreasing the amount of coffee I drink and increasing my water intake.

Overall if you have been exercising and haven’t been seeing results, hire a coach or personal trainer. Getting toned is tough to do on your own, so allow someone to help assist you in getting the results you need.

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Parks & Recreation is Amazing

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I find the Office both the British and American versions to be overrated. I know a couple of you reading this are already thinking, “how could you say that?!?!”. I have seen both versions and sure, there are some funny bits, but it’s still a mediocre show *in my opinion*. When me and the boyfriend were debating on what to binge watch, he had suggested Parks and Recreation. I told him because I disliked the Office, I didn’t think this show was for me. He persuaded me into watching the first season and I was hooked. I cannot believe I missed out on this show when it originally aired, but I finished season #7 a couple days ago and I wanted to sum up why I love this show so much.

Parks & Rec is filmed similarly to the office, but instead takes place in Paunee, Indiana in the Parks & Recreation department of the local government. Leslie Knope, (played wonderfully by Amy Poehler) is an over-achiever who is passionate about having clean parks for her town. In the first season she meets Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) and they work with the local government to fill this big hole outside of Ann’s house. Ann’s fiance Andy Dwyer (played by Chris Pratt) fell in the hole and was seriously injured. This show tells their stories and how they get into a bunch of  shenanigans.

What’s so endearing about the show is all the characters. Leslie is a feminist who believes women belong in the government. Ann Perkins really makes Leslie more level headed which helps her succeed. Ron Swanson (played by Nick Offerman) is the realist who believes the government shouldn’t be so involved in his affairs. Also he enjoys breakfast food, bourbon and living in the outdoors. Tom Haverford (played by Aziz Ansari) is the sophisticated wannabe socialite who helps Leslie live a little. Andy Dwyer is the lovable goof who’s kind of an idiot. April Ludgate is the person who you really identify with. She hates everyone and initially isn’t all that driven. Donna (played by Retta) is confident and emphasizes that you “treat yo self.” All of these characters help create the love for the show.

I can’t talk about Parks and Rec without including Leslie & Ben’s relationship. Ben Wyatt (played by Adam Scott) is Leslie’s husband and her other half. He’s introduced in season #2 and I don’t think I have ever “shipped” an on screen couple more. He allows Leslie to achieve her dreams while also being successful in his own field. As an added bonus, Ben is a real geek. He comes up with his own board game series, makes a great calzone and is from Minnesota. They are so perfect together.

I could write way more about how I love Parks & Rec, but my post has to end sometime. Me and the boyfriend have different TV tastes which comes in handy when he introduces me to a show I wouldn’t have normally watched. With that said, leave me a comment about why you adore Parks & Recreation.