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Thursday, May 19, 2016

me before you



Last night I had the opportunity to screen "Me Before You," a new British rom-com based on the book of the same name. How excited was I? Let me count the ways.

First of all, how can any closet nerd not want to see a movie with Daenerys Targaryan, Finnick Odair, Neville Longbottom and Clara Oswald? Bonus: it also features Mr. Bates and Tywin Lannister. It's a glorious nerd-world amalgamation/love fest!


I first saw the trailer with Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin back in February, and instantly knew I needed to see the movie. But first, I needed to read the book.

From Amazon -
"Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our StarsMe Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?" 




Even though I read this book specifically to watch the movie, I always get a little nervous about a Hollywood adaptation of a beautiful piece of literature. As is the case with all books-turned-movies, except Tuck Everlasting, the book was better. But, the movie was a fair adaptation.

Sam Claflin captured Will Trainer's morbid humor, while Emilia Clarke perfectly embodied the incandescent joy and quirkiness of Lou.

The movie did fail to bring in a few plot points from the book that I thought were integral to both full character development and the comprehensive plot of the second book. So, now I ponder with a slightly pouty lower lip: are they even planning to cinema-fy the second book? They did well to end the movie with closure, but the sequel just provides so much growth for Lou and her journey to self-discovery and fulfillment.


The good news is that you don't need to read the book to understand the movie. You can see "Me Before You" starting June 3 (and don't forget your tissues).

Be sure to let me know your thoughts on the movie or book in the comments!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

mother's day gift guide


One of my absolute favorite things to do in life is get gifts for those I love. It's kind of like a game for me: finding the perfect gift for the perfect person, whether it be sentimental, useful, or something they  had completely forgotten they'd wanted.

I admit, though, that shopping for gifts can be hard for even me sometimes, so I love gift guides! Hopefully, these will help you find the perfect gift for your mom this Mother's Day.

Clothes + Jewelry

Bags + Purses

House + Home

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

a-force vol. 2


Last we saw the women of Arcadia, they were battling unknown beasts from unprecedented portals to  other lands. Under Victor Von Doom's rule, none of the worlds are supposed to interact, so this crossover is troubling indeed.

(I feel like I've got a bit of comic-book-narrative voice going on ... and I kinda like it. Someone call Stan Lee so we can talk.)

The A-Force's fearless leader, She-Hulk, took it upon herself to find out exactly what was going on and disappeared into an unbelievable world: an apocalyptic Manhattan.

"I am the Baroness of Arcadia, the most blessed island in the whole of Battleworld. In the past 24 hours, we have been attacked by giant sharks, overruled by our unknowable god-emperor and his wizard-staff-up-his-butt vizier—lost one of our finest lieutenants for doing her duty, discovered an incomprehensible portal in our ocean—and met a universe incarnate adopted by my youngest and least emotionally stable operative. And fought a giant robot.

"So, I would say someone is trying to destabilize Arcadia, and I'd say they're doing a pretty fine job."

Almost as soon as She-Hulk lands in this new world, she is detected by some crazy robots and has to kick some ass. In the middle of her ass-kicking, though, Doom's minions find her and threaten to banish her. Because comic book characters never overreact.


She-Hulk tries to reason with them and explain that she didn't create the portals, but is only trying to protect her land. (Sorry for the fuzziness. I was completely off my photography game [the little I had] when taking these.)


With the minions refusing to listen, She-Hulk flees the battle and travels back through the psychedelic portal to Arcadia, while the rest of her team awaits her return.


She-Hulk realizes the portal was made from Arcadian magic. Just as she is explaining to A-Force that there is traitor in Arcadia, and that the minions are trying to blame Singularity (the cute little starry-skinned being that fell from the sky), said minions appear in Arcadia. Another battle is about to ensue when the traitor reveals herself.


Thankfully, one of She-Hulk's closest friends is only giving them time to escape. Medusa isn't really the traitor (phew). But who is?

Crazy ensues, and I'm not a fan of spoilers, so I'll just tease you with these faces:


A-Force is ordered to  split up and search for the traitor. She-Hulk resigns from her post as baroness as she is now considered a traitor by Doom and must go into hiding, but not before giving one last order: "Alert Arcadia. We are no longer safe."

"We tried to build a paradise. We knew we were blessed, and we rejoiced in everything we had, everything we were. Our eyes and hearts so full of the world we loved that we were blind to the little things beneath. A summer's day, a flight, a fight, a sacrifice ... And now, we are here.


"By little things, we find meaning. By little things, we lose empires. 'Someone has come for Arcadia. Engineered hatred within the ranks of A-Force. Opened holes in our defenses. Taken those we love from us. Brought the rage of Doom and his Thors down upon us. We must bring them to justice.'"


And then guest appearance by Halle Berry, which I don't really understand. But, then again, I'm new to comics and the Secret Wars and really think I should have started further back to get some context ...

As the women are both looking for the traitor and trying to find safety, Singularity offers a gift to repay the kindness she was shown:



I'd say that's a pretty solid ending, but I am starting to get more confused as I read on. Why are there three female Thors who are somehow on the "evil" side (with Doom)? Is every female Marvel superhero living in Arcadia? Is that why Storm showed up: because she was already there?

If you have any answers (or questions or comments) let me know below!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

brunch and babies


Brunch, I think, is one of those small joys in life reserved for catching up with girlfriends and pretending that it makes you Upper-East-Side classy. It's a time for laughter, indulgence, and maybe a little drinking before noon without guilt.

And then, someone brings a baby into your sacred brunch restaurant. Yes, babies are adorable and pudgy and make your ovaries yearn for a life yet to come. But they also cry. And scream. And their adorable little noses run and get their cute pudgy faces crusty. And they throw hashbrowns on the floor. And, though they sit in a perfectly clean restaurant, under the gaze of a watchful mother, somehow their little fingers end up grimy and sticky, and dirt inevitably makes its way under their fingernails. And they look up at you, all big eyes, toothless smile, dirty fingers and snot-encrusted face.

Yeah, they're cute. But you're still silently judging their mother for desecrating brunch.


But, brunch is still brunch. It's a beautiful, magical time that, whether with girlfriends or by yourself, allows you to escape the pain, sadness and complexities that may wait for you in real life.

It's for healing and discovering and forgetting and indulging. And, if you believe hard enough, it's two hours a week when calories don't count.

My favorite food at my favorite brunch place (a classification that qualifies it to compete for the coveted title of my most favorite thing of all) is cinnamon roll french toast. Way too sticky and sweet for a meal when calories do count, it's how I hope Heaven tastes.


Said most favorite brunch place is in Baton Rouge, and I have yet to discover an adequate Houston replacement. So, take to the comments below and tell me your favorite brunch places and meals. (Maybe we can even wear some of these brunch-approved clothes when we go.)



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

patsy walker, aka hellcat! #2




When we left Patsy, she had just begun the process of starting her own business—a temp agency for out-of-work heroes and people with powers. In the meantime, she's having to work retail.

The story opens with Patsy in a frenzy during her first shift at "The One-Stop Crop Top Shop."

"I'm not big on talking about my old life, but I'll tell you this for free: I've been through a lot. I've fought demons, aliens, monsters, robots, and more than a handful of regular joes with too much money and a superiority complex. The type that always called me 'lady' when we fought. I'd like to say most of them were worse than Gwenna, my new, 17-year-old boss, 'cause I know she's just trying her best, but still ... as of right now, she's on my list."



Patsy's day gets worse when she reads a feature story of her nemesis, Hedy Wolfe. (Hedy took the right's to Patsy's mother's books about Patsy's life and has republished them ... and is reaping all the benefits.) Hedy plays the victim in her interview about her and Patsy's relationship when, in reality, she isn't taking calls from Patsy or Patsy's lawyer, Jennifer Walters (A.K.A. She-Hulk).

While she's working, Patsy has to turn into Hellcat to chase a shoplifter with magic powers. Sadly, just as Patsy's about to catch her, the thief disappears into her magical Mary Poppins-esque bag. But, not before indicating, rather cryptically, that she works with someone who would love to have Hellcat as a captive.

Poor Patsy can't catch a break. Once the chase is over, Hedy shows up at the store, looking for Patsy. Patsy won't talk without Jennifer present, so Hedy disappears, leaving a path of insults in her wake.



Patsy refuses to end her day on a bad note, and so calls an emergency meeting for burgers with all her best girlfriends/superheroines. During the meal, Thor lets Patsy know exactly who was behind her attack at the mall: Casiolena. (But we don't yet know who exactly that is.)


Thursday, March 31, 2016

a-force vol. 2



After reading the first issue of A-Force, I realized, "Ok. This is going to get real intense. Real fast." And, the second installment only reaffirms that. We begin:

"After failing to save America Chavez from Doom's justice, She-Hulk rallied A-Force, Protectors of Arcadia, to investigate the strange monster attack that led to America's exile. Meanwhile, Nico Minoru, reeling from the loss of her foster sister, discovered a strange being who fell from the sky..."

The comic opens with members of A-Force waiting on a report from The Mariners, a group of people/heroes that seem to be a bit amphibious. We see them in the ocean, discovering a portal to another realm. The portal quickly begins to collapse, and they rush to the surface to join the rest of A-Force.


We go back to Loki's house, where Nico and America live. Nico is getting to know Singularity, who fell to the earth like a meteor last issue, and forming the beginning of what will become an inseparable bond.

"We are rarely given to know when our lives will change forever. In the years that follow, as we count the ripples, we can trace them to the single tiny stonethe brush of a hand, the sudden look, the conversation that took such a strange turnthe call in the dead of night.


"Who we arethe kindness and cruelty that shape usmay not come with a blush or a scar. We don't hinge on universes. We hinge on little things."

Nico brings Singularity to meet the rest of the team when Arcadia is attacked by a giant-ass Iron Man wannabe. The heroines snap into action to fight the new villain, but he's proving to be a bit too much. Not-Tony Stark is about to demolish the non-super citizens of Arcadia, but he isn't fast enough for Singularity, who saves the people in a flash.



The battle concludes with A-Force completely kicking ass (duh). But, once the battle is over, duty calls, and She-Hulk leaves to uncover the truth behind the portals.

And you won't believe where she ends up.



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

top 10 dives in upper kirby

I've been living in the Upper Kirby neighborhood of Houston for just about 8 months and, I have to admit, it falls quite short of my old neighborhood near LSU in terms of affordable, casual restaurants. (Honestly, though. What could I expect? The offshoot of Houston's most affluent neighborhood is just not going to have the same kind of restaurants as a college area.)

But, being the kind of person who neither cares for nor can afford fancy afford, I've scoured the neighborhood for suitable replacements to my Baton Rouge stomping grounds. These 10 restaurants, in no particular order (except for No. 1, obvs), are the only places I frequent now.

*Side note: for the sake of this post, a "dive" is a place cheap, good food, lackluster decor, probably not a lot of parking, and maybe shares a building with several other businesses.


10. Mainely Sandwiches
Location: South Shepherd, between West Alabama and Richmond
This is a yummy North Atlantic Coast-themed soup and sandwich shop, with a special focus (obviously) on Maine lobster. Their sandwich rolls are delicious, but the bread is probably the best part. It's like butter, melting in your mouth.
Try: Lobster Roll, Crab Roll, and definitely the Lobster Bisque

9. McElroy's Pub
Location: S. Sandman St (off of Richmond, right around S. Shepherd)
Go for the drinks, stay for the fun. McElroy's boasts friendly staff, a fun jukebox, and your standard go-to bar games of pool and darts. It's super chill with a comfy, rich and warm atmosphere. Be careful not to lose track of time in your relaxation!
Try: The Best Pint of Guinness in Houston

8. Blue Fish House
Location: Richmond, just east of the Kirby intersection
Blue Fish is a great place for Stephen and me to hop over to when we just don't feel like cooking. It's right across the street from our apartment, has a large menu, and is super affordable. It's not going to be the best sushi you've ever had, but it is really good, especially considering the price you pay. (Not a lot.)
Try: Volcano Roll and Vegetable Croquette



7. Hunan Village
Location: S. Shepherd, between West Alabama and Richmond
A relatively small Chinese restaurant with fast and friendly service, Hunan is one of our favorite places to order in when we're feeling a carby feast. Great egg rolls and crab wontons (my favorites at any restaurant), and excellent hot and sour soup.
Try: General Tsao's Chicken, Hot and Sour Soup, Crab Wontons

6. Luna Pizzeria
Location: Richmond and Kirby
A relatively small pizzeria with an even smaller menu, Luna has perfected their specialties: good food and a fun atmosphere. The restaurant is littered with throwback table games to keep you entertained while you're waiting on your food.
Try: Spicy Andouille Pizza (Super yum!)

5. Avalon Diner
Location: Westheimer, just East of the Kirby intersection
Though they now have multiple locations throughout the Houston area, the OG, 80-year-old diner on Wertheimer is always packed with people and personality. Have a burger and an old-fashioned milkshake, sit back, and enjoy the charm with a big side helping of people-watching.
Try: Milkshake (any flavor; they're all good), Breakfast Sandwich and Waffle

4. Dino's Den
Location: Richmond, between Kirby and Greenbriar
An ideal spot for Happy Hour, Dino's has stiff drinks, loads of friendly faces, and even a charging station. You may miss it at first, because there's no sign at the moment, but just look for the painted dinosaurs next to Blue Fish House.
Try: Honeydew Mimosas and the yummy Sunday Feature Food (though that changes week to week)



3. Star Pizza
Location: Norfolk, just West of S. Shepherd (near Richmond)
Star Pizza is basically a Houston institution. All of their pizzas are made to order (which may make the service slow from time to time) and completely delicious. Their marinara and dough are made from scratch daily, and the toppings are fresh and delicious. Eat there or take it home, either way it's completely delicious.
Try: Anything, really. But, especially the Deep Dish Starburst (pictured above), and the Hand Tossed Chicken Alfredo (pictured below).


2. Hobbit Cafe
Location: Richmond, between Kirby and S. Shepherd, nestled behind Blue Fish
This adorable little restaurant is a converted house with dining throughout the rooms of the house and, as you can imagine, decorated with all kinds of Lord of the Rings memorabilia. We expected more of a British pub when we went, but the menu has a great assortment of (mostly American) food.
Try: Boudin Burger, Quesadilla and Chicken Salad


1. BB's Cafe
Location: Richmond, between Buffalo Speedway and Levy Park
This is my favorite. My absolute favorite. BB's is the first place in Houston where I had "Oh. My. Goodness." good food. It's an exquisite blend of Tex-Mex and Cajun, and is, honestly, the best food I've had in a while. Go. Now.
Try: Crawfish Quesadillas (these are eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-your-head good) and the South Texas Fire poboy