Christmas with palm trees

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Having grown up in a desert climate with 4 full seasons, I always thought Christmas would not feel complete without cold weather and ideally, a bit of snow. Not anymore. Turns out I am more than happy to have the holidays sans snow and plus beach, sun, and sand. I’ll take Christmas day beach runs, body-surfing and sunsets any holiday.

This year, I got treated to all of those things in the Sunshine State. Yes, Christmas in Florida. No coats, barely even the need for a sweater, and beach-time. For those of you in the cold, I’m not trying to invoke jealousy, and I hope I can warm you up a bit with some of the sunshine in these pictures.

Having all traveled from much colder regions (winter isn’t coming, it is here- GOTR reference, anybody?), my family and I spent as much time as possible outdoors, finding nature reserves in abundance, exploring mangroves, and watching beach sunsets.

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Happy Holidays!

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Movie (& TV) Monday: Master of None

Aziz Ansari in Master of None.
Photo from Slate.com, via Netflix

 

Sorry guys, TV wins out again. You’ve probably had a conversation about the shorter attention span of our generation? Well, maybe I’m adding fuel to that fire by showcasing as many shows as I am movies..and maybe there is just some great television out there worth mentioning 🙂

That’s how I feel about the Netflix original Master of None. Created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, the show follows a young New Yorker (played by Ansari) as he navigates ’emerging adulthood’*. The show feels fresh and timely. Talking about the show, a friend mentioned how Ansari has captured many of the same feelings and conversations he has had–something most shows fail to do. Don’t get me wrong. I love sitcoms like Friends, but I can’t say many of the situations it portrays are as relatable. From a female perspective, I especially enjoyed the episode ‘Ladies and Gentleman,’ where the guys in the show are surprised to find out the about the misogyny women face every day, from the workplace to the dating world. The Terry Gross interview with the co-creators gives a great inside look at the show and reveals some of Yang’s and Ansari’s motivations for the material.

By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to read Ansari’s book, Modern Romance, I would recommend doing so. It’s a quick read full of interesting anecdotes about romance (and relationships in general) in the modern age, pooled both from Ansari’s own experience and sociological studies. I was impressed with the international population Ansari and sociologist Erik Klinenberg analyzed for their research, and intrigued with the explanations of how our brains have been conditioned to expect that instant gratification (and with it, withdrawal) we get with each new text message and email.

*Term Ansari uses in Modern Romance to describe the relatively new period of young adulthood, where we don’t go straight from our parents home to that of our spouses

Movie Monday: 9 to 5

In a previous post about the movie Grandma, I wrote’Lily Tomlin, what more is there to say?’ Well, when Ms. Tomlin is working with Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton on a movie, you can bet your 80’s lovin’ self there’s going to be a bit more.

9 to 5 follows the three ladies through hijinks and hilarity as they come together to overthrow their “sexist, egotistical, lying hypocritical bigot” of a boss.

What I enjoyed most about this movie– besides it’s 80’s workplace attire — is the way it portrays women coming together towards a common cause (even if it is totally goofy at times– also part of what I enjoyed). It’s been said before that women often feel a need to compete against one another in the workplace (among other settings). In the beginning of the movie, the women are at odds, until anger at their boss brings them together (alcohol and marijuana might also help that cause).

Tina Fey pointed out in Bossypants that we aren’t competing against other women, we are competing against everybody. 9 to 5 showcases this: Tomlin’s character vies for a promotion that is ultimately given to a co-worker because, she is told, “they needed a man.” We know this still happens today, and so it’s both refreshing and frustrating to see the parallels with today’s workplace culture. Rebecca Shaw of The Toast came up with some hilarious taglines inspired by the movie you can read here.

In addition to feminism, the movie does a great job of showcasing Tomlin, Fonda, and Parton’s humor. Go check it out for a dose of laugh and 80’s nostalgia.

 

Mindy Monday

Ok, so not movie Monday today– t.v. show Monday. Breaking out of the tradition..I’m going to call it being creative. Because I want to talk about Mindy Kaling, and mainly, her brainchild, The Mindy Project. It’s on my mind because I just finished watching the first episode of season 4, and the first episode since the show’s move to Hulu. Let me tell you: any concerns over how the move would affect the show were immediately laughed away. The Mindy Project is back, baby, and it’s as strong as ever in its 4th season.

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As you’ve probably noticed, I have an immense amount of admiration and appreciation for women writers out there, especially women comedy writers, rocking it in what has for so long been a male-dominated force field. To watch a show written, produced, directed and starring a woman is awesome– it shows us females that we can be anything we want to be (and ya, we hopefully already knew that, but it’s nice to have some real-life examples).

Regardless of gender, what makes the show so awesome is the confidence that the title character brings to every situation. I love watching it because I find myself imbued with Mindy’s confidence after every episode, and it’s what keep me coming back for more. It’s rare to find a show that makes you feel that way, that presents a strong female role model who does not apologize for who she is.

If you want to hear more about Mindy Kaling’s views on confidence, Glamour has a good article (and excerpt from her new book) here.

In the start of season 4, we get to see Mindy and Danny’s relationship continuing to blossom, still complete with all the challenges every relationship brings. While there’s a tendency for shows to lose spice when the two characters you knew from the beginning were going to get together finally do (ahem, New Girl), Mindy keeps the romance between Mindy and Danny spicy. Guest appearances from the likes of Joseph Gordon Levvit definitely help that cause.

If you’re even considering not watching because of the show’s move to Hulu, stop it. It’s so great. Just use your sister’s Hulu account if you don’t have one..I mean, sorry Hulu. Don’t be cheap. Get your own, people! Mindy makes it worth it.

Movie Monday: Grandma

Picture from The Atlantic article

Lily Tomlin. What more is there to say?

A bit more, it turns out. Grandma is not your typical, well, grandma. With Lily Tomlin involved, that may hardly come as a surprise. She brings her awesome comic bluntness to the screen, and the wonderful supporting cast, Marcia Gay Harden especially, make for a lively tale. The Atlantic writes a great review of it.

I’d planned to choose a spooky film for this Movie Monday, being only days away from Halloween, but Grandma is the most recent movie I saw, and it sticks with you. Abortion, mother-daughter relationships, and homosexuality all come up, but the arguments these topics usually invoke are not at the forefront here: the focus is on a grandma and her granddaughter, the relationships we choose to foster or let die, and how little it can take to let happiness into your life.

Check it out : )

Movie Monday: Mistress America

I like traditions. So I’m planning to implement a few on my blog. First up: Movie Monday

The first pick plays into what might end up being a larger theme in this blog: inspirational women in the arts.

Mistress America is a collaboration between writer/actor/director Greta Gerwig, and director/writer Noah Baumbach. It follows Greta in the lead role as Brooke, a confident New Yorker who meets her soon-to-be step sister, Tracy, a college (and New York) newbie. The two form a fast friendship. and Brooke’s whirlwind life begins to inspire Tracy’s writing. The movie is funny and relevant: Brooke’s initial confidence belies her insecurity about not following through with the numerous endeavors she pursues. She’s still just trying to figure the world out and where she belongs in it..aren’t we all?

Tracy: “Do you ever get that feeling when you are on a car trip that you never want to get where you’re going. That you never want it to end?”

Check it out.

Pictures from the movie tumbler.

http://www.mistressamericathemovie.com/about/

Back to school, ring the bell

Fall 2015

Hello and bom dia! It has been a while. When I first started my blog, I planned to post once a week. And somehow, it is October, and September went by in silence for this small slice of the web-o-sphere.

I can attribute it to many reasons. Mainly, I’m going to blame it on moving at the beginning of the month. Moving is stressful, right? Mentally and physically: overloading boxes to make as few trips to your car/moving truck as possible, letting said boxes block your view, causing you to almost sail over your parents dog. And then there’s the mental taxation of leaving the place you know and adjusting to a new environment.

All considered,it’s been a positive move of fresh starts and a lovely new neighborhood; a move born out of my choice to set out on my own and navigate a new territory– even if it’s on the other side of a state, not the other side of a country, it feels big to me.

When I first noticed I’d let a month slip by without writing an entry, I felt stressed and overwhelmed by the back-logged blog posts I’d thought up and never published. Then I took a look at the last post I wrote. And chuckled a little. Turns out Past Sonya was looking out for Present Sonya and wanting to remind her of the power of being adaptable to change.

In that spirit, here’s to the ‘back to school’ season, or, in this case, back-to-blogging season. Let’s take up with that spirit of returning to academia, and let the writing commence.

Here are a few bits of what’s been inspiring me this month:

  1. Amy Schumer. She is hilarious and brilliant. I love what she is doing for comedy and for the world. A recent Ms. feature pointed out how her comedy can (and has) influence topics in politics. This sketch is relevant, hilarious, and a little sad considering the way we inadvertently teach our football players, and youth in general, to approach women. Here’s to comedy inspiring change.
  2. Cider. Ooh, chilly fall weather and cider. I recently got to hear Jeff Smith talk about cider and his new book , and learned about some of the cider breweries in the Pacific Northwest, including Long Drop Cider. Get yourself some.
  3. This girl can sing. I had the pleasure of hearing Lake Street Dive open for Grace Potter, and it was great to see a successful female artist sharing her spotlight with another talented lady musician.

Now go enjoy this season with some comedy, good music, and a cider in hand.

Until next week.