Oscar Winners Watch Party: Vol. 1

Or, Not About BooksThat Time I Decided To Watch Apparently Good Movies

Although I do love my movies (particularly of the trashy genre), I have a tragic blind spot where award-winning movies are concerned. I’ve watched some of the newest award winners, but have missed even recent classics. And so, I decided to address that the best way I know: making an Excel spreadsheet. In a very methodical way, I noted down all the Academy Award for Best Picture winners (excluding ones I’ve seen, like Titanic, or ones I have no interest in seeing, like LOTR: Return of the King. SORRY NOT SORRY but LOTR is dull). I then tracked where I can find these movies online before I have to resort to renting them: Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc.

And so, I dive into my Oscar Winners Watch Party: Vol. 1! FYI, these are the movies I found on Amazon Prime.

Movie Reviews in 30 Seconds

American Beauty: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. 

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No Country for Old Men: Blah Country for Bland Men. Too many dead dogs.

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Silence of the Lambs: Too scary for me to watch. Did not watch.

I also got too scared looking at the gifs to post one.

Terms of EndearmentShirley MacLaine is dope, Debra Winger reminds me of Emma Stone, their characters are basically a cross between Lorelai/Emily and Lorelai/Rory, and the ending should have been more sad but was mostly weird to me.

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Next up: Oscar winners on Netflix! (Maybe.)

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Not about books: my travel routine

I travel a lot for work (and a little for fun), and in the two years I’ve been a #businesslady I’ve developed a pretty solid routine:

  1. Post a killer photo of the city on Instagram and see what random likes I get from local users and people who follow business travelers
  2. Come prepared every time with my superawesome necessities

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While I’m certainly not the person to give hot tips on how to post on Instagram, I’m pretty proud of the “travel necessities” list I’ve cultivated.

All the yum yums: I get hungry a LOT. I’m a grazer and tend to eat a lot of small meals throughout the day, so needless to say I carry food with me at almost all times. I’ve started going to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods before I travel so I can stock up on healthy snacks pre-airport, instead of relying on plane snacks and Hudson News bags of chips. My favorite plane snack/meal on long flights consists of cheese, grapes, meat (usually beef jerky, or prosciutto if I’m feeling fancy) and dark chocolate covered almonds.

Most importantly, I need to eat really soon after I wake up. While I can usually splash out on a nice work-sponsored breakfast, one usually has to look generally presentable for that, and I’m not about to put in my contacts any sooner than 30 minutes after waking up. So, on my last trip I finally hacked the best Breakfast #1 plan. In a strategy so simple I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before, I brought bags of oatmeal with me! Every hotel has a coffeemaker that makes hot water, and I just make the oatmeal in a coffee cup or mug and bring a spoon with me from home. If I’m feeling  very  ambitious I whip up a pro greens powder drink, which mixes a veggie probiotic powder with water and basically tastes like drinking grass, but you get to be smug for the rest of the day about it so that’s nice.

If I’m very lucky, I’m in DC and can eat my favorite-in-the-world avocado toast with whipped goat cheese. *drools*

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Sleep Musts: One that is still evolving, but I’m slowly discovering how to sleep better in hotels. I tend to have some mild sleep anxiety, even at home, and do some failsafe tricks to sleep in strange beds:

  • Be a princess with the room request. It helps that I have status (#platinumlife baaaaby) but I’m VERY explicit when I check in and request a room as quiet as possible to hotel and street noise, throwing in I’m okay if the view is of a brick wall. My favorite is when I stay in a hotel enough times that I can say, “Give me any of the -14 rooms.” It makes me look super cool.
  • Noise machine! My boyfriend gifted me his noise machine and it’s been amazing. Yes, I know phones have the app, but I like that the noise machine can get really noisy. I use it at home, too, and it’s nice to have consistency. It’s also nice to be able to drown out rogue hallway noises. (My home is under a flight path to the airport, so I know that if this noise machine can cover the sound of a 747 directly overhead, it can handle hotel noises.)

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Waltzing my way through security with too many bags: My final crucial tip revolves around how to brazen your way through airport security when you have the personality that tends to crumble before authority. My dirty secret is that sometimes (most of the time) I sneak three pieces of luggage to carry on to the plane: my overhead carry-on bag, a snazzy professional backpack, and a very thin purse. Blasphemy! You’re only meant to have two!

In my defense, the purse is really no bigger than a wallet and I carry it separately simply so I can access my phone and money more quickly than ripping my backpack off. But, it does give me a little thrill whenever authority figures let my rule-breaking slide.

And yes, a few times it hasn’t worked, and I’ve either gotten a stink-eye from a flight attendant or been stopped by TSA to put the purse into the backpack (all the while internally rolling my eyes and externally apologizing profusely to them). You know what does work, though? Casually draping a coat over the rogue third personal item. Works like a charm, every time. And you’re talking to the gal who once snuck two large fountain drinks into a movie theater under a very large fleece. Pure pro over here. You’re welcome for this, world.

 

How I’m Marching On

On January 20, 2017, I semi-watched the 45th President get inaugurated with a pit of fear in my stomach.

On January 21, 2017, I joined 150,000+ humans in Boston Common as we gathered and drew strength from each other. We listened to the inspirational messages from our government representatives fighting for our basic human rights, and leaders of groups and movements from across Massachusetts.

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I didn’t participate in the march itself (just the rally) due to time constraints, but I did do my own personal 1 mile march from my subway stop to my home reflecting on the day and on the days following. Over and over, we’ve been hearing that this march isn’t enough. It’s a wonderful show of unity, as over 3 million people in every continent (including Antarctica!) came together to demonstrate for basic human rights and dignity. But just as important is staying informed (and keeping intersectionality front and center), staying loud, and staying involved. Here’s how I’m going to do that.

Staying Informed

I’m trying to get out of my liberal echo chamber by challenging myself to read books and articles that explore the nuances of all of America – not just the America I live in.

I’m also trying to grow my own intersectional feminism through informed research and exploration. Two podcasts that are helping me do that, and understand the fight women have had for generations and the fights we are still conducting, are Stuff Mom Never Told You and Call Your Girlfriend.

Staying Loud

I’ve saved the numbers of my government representatives in my phone and plan to be on a first name basis with their staff. I’m thankful that my representatives reflect my viewpoints that A) Cabinet officials should have a basic understanding of the job they are seeking; B) women’s rights are human rights; C) science is real; and D) universal health care is crucial to save people’s lives. But I still want to stay loud by thanking them for representing the rights of everyone, not just those who give them the most money, and also to ask what I could be doing to support them.

Staying Involved

The day after the election, I set up a reoccurring donation to Planned Parenthood, an organization that has saved millions of women’s lives and continues to be a top defender for human health and human rights – and personally has been an excellent educational resource for me.

In addition to donating my money, I’m going to be donating my time. I’ve been discouraged trying to find the best place that fits my abilities – with an unpredictable travel schedule, it’s tough for me to find somewhere that is okay with a non-weekly commitment, especially since many places prefer you to volunteer during the workday. But, on my personal march I reflected on the issues that are of crucial importance in my life and decided women’s rights fit that for me.

And so, I’m learning more about the Boston Doula Project, which provides compassionate support to women experiencing abortion and pregnancy loss. I’ve also signed up to volunteer at a women’s shelter that allows for unpredictable volunteer sign-up, and I’m going to work with my employer to see if they will allow me to take off 1 or 2 half-days per month for this commitment.

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I marched on Saturday for a lot of reasons, and my feet continue to carry me now towards positive change and peaceful resistance to a kleptocracy.

What’s next?

The Best of October

I’ll be honest: I can be kind of a grinch when it comes to October (actually, I’m kind of a grinch about everything – I was complaining my butt off about how the summer was too hot, and look at me getting ready to moan about October!). Don’t get me wrong – I love me some fall cliches, the cooler weather, and finally taking out my sweaters and boots again. But there is one thing about October I don’t love… Halloween.

I KNOW, I KNOW. I’m a monster (every day of the year). But in honor of all the things I do love about October, allow me a non-bookish blog post with a detailed ranking.

Behold! The best things about October:

Reason 47,896: Halloween

I admit it: I don’t love Halloween. Coming up with a costume is stressful and often expensive, it’s usually too cold to wear for the end of October, and I tend to dislike any holidays that mainly revolve around drinking (see: New Year’s Eve, Mardi Gras) and prefer holidays that revolve around presents (see: Christmas, birthdays, also the fact that I am obviously spoiled). So, I sometimes celebrate Halloween – the gentleman is a big fan of clever couple’s costumes, which is stressful in and of itself – but I do it with a slight scowl.

Moving on to happier things!

Reason 5: Mini candy

DUH, October is cool because of the explosion of mini candy bars in the store. Perfect K10 snacking size.

Reason 4: The smells and the cuddles

At my heart, I’m an 85-year-old woman, so nothing delights me more than to finally have a reason to sit on my couch, lit a nice-smelling candle, and cuddle up with a book, Netflix, or a person (sometimes).

Reason 3: Earlier sunsets

OOOH, I’m a maverick! I secretly get stressed out in summer when the sun sets super late, feeling guilty for being inside when it’s *sO gLoRiOuS* outside. An earlier sunset gives me the perfect excuse to stay firmly inside.

Reason 2: The Return of Fall TV

Finally, after a long, dry summer of television, my stories are back.

Reason 1: The *EXCELLENT* Halloween media I always have to consume this time of year

Tradition is tradition, folks. Starting when I was a baby freshman in college, I watched a few Halloween classics with my friends annually: namely, Hocus Pocus (obviously) and “And Then There Was Shawn” on Boy Meets World.

Everyone’s seen Hocus Pocus – OR SHOULD HAVE – but I implore you, go back and watch that episode of BMW. It is genuinely one of my favorite things and brings me a chuckle every time. “We’ll always remember he was this tall.” “You put on weight since the last time you were scared?” It’s just the best, people.

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Since then I’ve added in some other good media selections – Return of the Living Dead (which is just pure absurdity), the Parks and Rec Halloween episodes, and – of course – the Community Halloween episodes, especially the one where they all turn into zombies. Stop what you are doing and watch that RIGHT NOW.

WHO KEEPS THROWING CATS?!

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Note: not from that episode referenced, but also an amazing ep.

In related news, I just realized Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is streaming on Hulu, so excuse me while I do that forever.