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.

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.

City Love: Cali dreamin’

Earlier this fall, I visited one of my childhood friends in her current home of San Francisco. It was one of those weekends where your soul and the universe are in sync. Unlike those times when the two seem at odds, the world jives with you: plans come together seamlessly, you do everything you hoped to and more, the smog lifts, the sun comes out, and you remember how great life is and how lucky you are to be in it, with people you love by your side .

I also fell in with San Francisco. Not hard to do, right? My friend and I had several conversation about how cities romance you. We call ourselves ‘city sluts’ because we both fall quickly for the cities we visit (should that become a hashtag? Feel free to start that one, if you like). If San Francisco were a lover, it would be that sexy, flashy guy who you know is going to break your heart. Portland’s more of that cute, slacker guy that you think you can change and you realize after a while it’s best just to move on. My friend and I agree Boise is marriage material. You can settle down with Boise. Boise isn’t too big or small; it’s just right. It’s not going to break your heart. It has the outdoors and a vibrant downtown scene, but not so many great things going on that you feel overwhelmed…how much further can I take this analogy?

Anyway, back to SF. I was ready to drop everything and move there after this weekend. She totally seduced me with her hilltop views, sunshine, Tartine, North Beach, Dolores Park..(sigh). I know why California is in an overcrowded, expensive, smog-filled state.

I also realized during this trip the three ingredients that make for a happy visit anywhere: friends, the outdoors (especially with biking involved), and food. Doesn’t take a lot to please me, right?

What follows are some of the sights and deliciousness I was treated to over my weekend in SF. Try not to let her ensnare you with her sexiness. Just try.

Dolores Park
Hula-hooping in Golden Gate Park
Hiking on Mt. Tamalpais

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Outfit photos and practicing pouts at the Balm. If you are looking for new makeup, look no further. After being able to test all the products, my friend and I both were so impressed we bought several. Their BalmShelter tinted moisturizer is my favorite.

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Alabama exhibit, with artwork by Butch Anthony. You can read more about his and Natalie Chanin’s work here.

Part of the charm my friend introduced me to is the local SF coffee scene. We decided to spend one of our mornings biking from her Excelsior-neighborhood apartment through the Mission District, winding up in Valencia, touring the different selections of coffeehouses along the way (and getting WAAY too caffeinated).

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Dynamo Donuts and Coffee

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First stop was Dynamo. Coffee and donuts, oh my. And wonderful outdoor seating.

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Then, on to Sightglass. Beautiful pour overs and espresso from unique regions.

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Next, lunch and Blue Bottle coffee at the delectable Tartine.

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And finally, we ended our coffee tour at Ritual.

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It was an amazing day, and an amazing weekend in San Francisco. Already looking forward to my next visit..and more coffee.

Until then, ciao for now, San Francisco.

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Southern livin’

I spent a few weeks in the south this summer, and while some of the out-dated mindsets still remain, I did appreciate the beauty of the warmer, more humid region of the U.S.

I also got treated to my sister’s photography skills and great camera. We took some picture after a get-together we organized, and I like the results: large, green southern trees as the backdrop for my lilac-hued outfit.

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Southern Fare

On a trip to North Carolina this summer, I got to try one of the best meals of my life. If you find yourself near Kinston, NC, you need to go  here. Do try to plan ahead– reservations fill up at least a month in advance. It’s that good.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the backstory of Chef and the Farmer, you can check out the PBS show.

I used the dinner date as an excuse to dress up and enjoy the warm Southern evening.

Blog photos, NC

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CF Blog post

And, of course, a picture of my food: seasoned-to-perfection lamb burger with lightly pickled cucumbers, greens, feta cheese, a beet taziki sauce on the side, and squash risotto.


And my dinner date’s meal:

Food, chef and farmer

So much good food, locally sourced and wonderfully crafted. Southern hospitality, indeed.

On goals, checklists, and almost-achievements


               A while before I turned 25, having recently heard about Gretchin Rubin’s The Happiness Project, watched Julie and Julia, and, feeling an overall disappointment in my lack of reading since college (notice I didn’t say I’d read The Happiness Project), I decided to set a goal of reading 26 books before I turned 26. I told some friends about my goal, and they kindly donated books and made recommendations to help me reach it.

Spoiler alert: this is not the introduction to a new phase of my blog where I tell you about the 26 books I read during that year. Because I didn’t read them. I made it through about 7 books before my next birthday. I realized 26 books is a lot. I got some great recommendations from friends. Some inspired book discussions took place when I brought up my goal to people. I found some books I really enjoyed, and are still among my favorites: The Shining, by Stephen King. Something Wicked this Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury. The Sparrow. 

         While I didn’t get to check 26 books off my checklist that year, I was reminded of why we set goals in the first place– because they help motivate us. In the process, I realized it is OK if I don’t fully accomplish what I initially wrote on a piece of paper. Often, what is behind the initial goal is another idea or dream you will discover along the way. Putting forth some effort is good (i.e., reading 7 books instead of 26– 7 is better than 0!).

The compulsive side of my personality often sees incompleteness as failure. We’re pretty conditioned to see it that way in our solutions-oriented world: I didn’t check off every box on my list, so nothing ‘counts,’ I didn’t accomplish anything. Instead of looking at my checklists with an all-or-nothing attitude, I’ve been making an effort to focus on a positive approach, applauding myself for making progress towards short and long-term goals, rather than defeating myself when I don’t accomplish every goal I’ve made. Partial checkmark’s still have worth.

                My goals have taken unexpected twists and turns these past few years (more on that later). What I’ve found is pleasant surprise (usually in hindsight) at what I have accomplished and how I’ve adapted along the way. I also have found a lot to be proud of, and sometimes boxes that weren’t checked off for the best: ending a relationship with a man whom I loved, and was no longer a positive influence in my life. Deciding not to go to law school.

A couple weeks ago, I looked back at a list I’d made much earlier in the year of some accomplishments I wanted to make for 2015. I’d written down ‘camp 3 times .’ I smiled to myself, and felt some pride as I read the entry while lounging next to my tent during my second camping trip of the year (second spoiler: I’ve now camped 3 times this summer). My focus had turned towards the joy I found in camping, and not on checking off a box. At the same time, the list kept me motivated, and I felt proud of myself for working towards those goals.

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My campsite this summer at Lost Lake Resort

   Like so many aspects of life, goal-setting is a balance between doing nothing, doing something, and doing way too much. It’s good to do something: set goals that motivate and inspire you. It’s also good to be realistic about which goals you can make progress towards, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by epic goals and do nothing (sometimes my tendency), or set forth epic goals and do way too much and get burned out, losing sight of why you made that goal in the first place (also sometimes my tendency).

Some of the suggestions and insight I’ve picked up along the way about keeping yourself accountable and modifying goals:

  1. Share your goal with others. Especially other Type A, motivated people. Then they can bug you about your goal when you are feeling unmotivated/lazy and want to ignore it/never talk about it again. When I wanted to start a blog, I told my family and friends about my ideas. It took me a few years after I even brought it up to finally get it going, but having people check in and ask me about it reminded me that it was something I was interested in and did want to work toward, even when I felt overwhelmed by the work ahead.
  2. Break your goal into parts. You don’t have to achieve it all at once. Since reading my 7 books, I’ve kept my list going, and did eventually reach 26 books, even if it was after I turned 26 🙂 My original goal was based on finding motivation to read more, and it did help me find that motivation.
  3. Be ok with setting a goal aside and/or adapting it as circumstances change/life happens. If you are feeling overwhelmed or lacking inspiration, set aside your project for a minute. Take a walk, talk to a friend, scan Pinterest to re-boot your mind. Inspiration finds me when I’m not looking for it (yep, all that about a watched pot never boils).

So, I guess my conclusion is to keep setting goals and dreaming dreams. Just also be ok with how they will change and adapt as you change and grow, and be proud of yourself for the almost-accomplishments you make– they mean that you tried!

An epic picture of me in a powerful stance with a mountain in the background, to convey how I’ve grown through this process.