Monday, February 27, 2012

What did I wear today?

One of these days I either need to live somewhere with good lighting or find a friend to take pictures for me outside. It's hard to capture how vibrant the colors of my necklace and sweater when you're photo shopping from a dark picture. Plus then I wouldn't be so focused on capturing the whole outfit in one frame and wouldn't make faces like this:

Cardigan: J.Crew from Jeremy's
Shirt: BCBG
Pants: J.Crew
Necklace: Anthropologie
Shoes: Ralph Lauren

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Excuse the Hipster Moment

A friend of mine, Megan, has a tumblr called madventure. She posts pictures she finds around the internet and songs. I think of it as a scrapbook of what's going on in her mind. Lately I've started to save some of the pictures and I figured I'd share a few of them here plus some extras I've found online over the years. I guess this would be my scrapbook moment.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Restaurant Review: Scratch

Restaurants that are not your typical Californian fare (Asian or Spanish) are pretty hard to come by in downtown Mountain View. Don't get me wrong, I love sushi, chinese (that doesn't have MSG because I'm allergic), and sometimes I do have a hankering for Indian. But as a whole my favorite cuisines are usually on the savory side (like Italian, French, etc.) not the spicy side. So when I was out for my friend, Kristen's, birthday and she told me about this restaurant her boyfriend works at, it took a lot to not leave her party in Santa Cruz and rush over to Scratch. She described the menu as fancy American comfort food. Umm...have you seen my Mac and Cheese recipe? Or my chicken pot pies? Or burgers? Do you know about my love for butter and all things cheese? My stomach secretly thinks it's Paula Deen's granddaughter.

After I found out about the restaurant I schemed ways to get myself there and managed to make lunch plans with 4 different groups of people. I really only expected one of these plans to work out, but somehow every one did and I went to Scratch 4 times in 2 weeks. I think the waitstaff probably thought I was a freak. But I was able to try a huge portion of their lunch menu and hang out with awesome people, so it was worth it!

The first time I went I had the Scratch Burger with fries and it was phenomenal. I rarely get burgers outside of The Counter because I am so picky about how I like them, but this was so juicy and delicious. I ate everything on my plate. I have no idea how I did it because there was so much. But I couldn't let it go to waste. Since then I've also had the grilled cheese (which was also good, but mine was overcooked. Boo to burnt bread), their signature pizza, and the Americana pizza (which is essentially margherita). It's so hard to come by decent pizza here and the Americana pizza was just what this picky NYer wanted. It's not like I had a whole NY style pie, but the personal sized pie was really good and I now have a place to go to when I've got a craving for something better than Domino's. My friends have gotten salads and the cuban, among other things, and other than the relatively small sized portion for the salad, nothing has met with complaints. I've never had enough space to eat dessert (that tends to be a dinner thing for me), but half the menu looks like things I'd love to get (including seasonal creme brule and butterscotch pudding (both of which come with really yummy looking cookies) and a smores bar). It's too bad the dinner prices are not as affordable as the lunch ones. Or well, someday.

Time for a couple of pictures from the website of food!


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Movie Review: Another Happy Day

There was a time in high school when if asked if I'd seen a movie I'd probably say no. I was (and in reality still am) a music nerd more than a movie buff. But after two serious relationships with people who owned more DVDs than pairs of underwear and becoming addicted to my Netflix, that's not the case anymore. I'll watch just about anything and while I still haven't seen every movie ever, I think in the last 10 years I've watched just as many movies as albums that I've listened to...actually, probably more.

Now that I'm in graduate school I think the number of movies I watch has probably doubled, if only because I'm so mentally burnt out that it's hard to read sometimes...most of the time. I used to be a big reader. I have two huge book shelves filled with novels (my friend Mike remarked when I moved, "all of these books are unhealthy," because I have that many). As an English minor in college I took just as many literature classes as psychology ones and I used to work for the Modern Language Association. Add in a mother who has a degree in library sciences and that equals a lot of books. My love of literature is deeply connected to my love of psychology. I love to read books and analyze the language used, think about the characters, and connect it all back to the psychology of the human condition. It's probably why when I'm at the beach you won't catch me reading trashy novels but things like D.H. Lawrence. Few things make me happier.

While I will watch trashy movies (because at heart I am a woman and enjoy a good rom-com with a glass of wine), I think I have replaced my love of analyzing great literary works with analyzing dramas. Sometimes the dramas are not acclaimed, knock-out, well loved movies such as An Education. They're easily digestible like Eat, Pray, Love, which I wrote a blog entry about as it made me think long and hard about life and the needs that we all have but don't always think about when trying to find happiness. Or they are smaller independent movies like Incendiary, which not only made me miss London terribly, but left me pondering the intensity and nature of the mother-child relationship for a good week. And sometimes, it's movies that don't have the best reviews (for pretty obvious reasons), but have a story that somehow resonates with me that does it, like The Story of Us, which has a 5.7 review on Imdb but become one of my favorite movies after I watched it a little over three years ago. A movie I watched tonight, with similar reviews, I think will probably enter into my top 10 list if it already hasn't.

When I first saw the trailer for Another Happy Day on I was instantly drawn to the plot and added it to my Netflix cue. Starring Ellen Barkin, Ezra Miller, Thomas Hayden Church, Demi Moore, and Kate Bosworth, the movie tells the story of a divorced and dysfunctional family that comes together for the wedding of the eldest son. It's extremely complicated, so I'll try to simplify it as much as possible. Barkin's character was once married to Church in what appears to be an extremely unhealthy and abusive relationship. When their two children were young Barkin left and was given the ultimatum of take Bosworth or take no children at all. Forced to choose, she took the daughter and left, leaving Bosworth's character emotionally scarred. Both parents over time remarry, have more children, and lose touch with the children they did not take. Moore plays the controlling and dramatic step-wife of Church; Miller plays Barkin's troubled son from her second marriage. Throw in a side story of aging parents, and you've got one hell of a wedding weekend.

One thing that many soon-to-be newlyweds worry about is the potential drama that bringing together certain family members who do not normally congregate with each other might bring. I wonder if the bride and groom of this movie did that, and how they felt once festivities were underway, because every moment of this movie was fraught with drama. The reviews picked that apart, claiming that Another Happy Day was over-the-top with its treatment of the melodrama, and that all the arguing made the characters unlikable. But I wonder if these reviewers ever had family drama that they were involved in. Have you ever had to walk on eggshells around feuding divorced parents? Have you ever been overprotective of a someone that you also want to smack for their bad behavior? Have you ever watched helplessly while someone you love suffers from a mental illness? Have you ever been angry with your parents? To me the movie rings pretty true to the kind of things normal families deal with (because let's face it, normalcy is actually functioning with dysfunction) and the mental and emotional exhaustion Barkin portrays is also pretty accurate for someone with a lot on her plate.

Barkin is so exhausted from coping with her long-ago divorce that she smothers her daughter who has suffered great trauma from watching the fallout of her parents divorce and being abandoned by her father. Searching for answers and the right cure for her daughter has led Barkin to micromanage her other children, over diagnosing and treating them for things that may not be real. Her youngest son supposedly has Asperger's because he'd rather relate to the world through a video camera than head on. When your two older siblings are in and out of intensive day treatment centers, wouldn't you have a hard time coping too? Her middle son supposedly has Tourette's because he lies and is verbally abusive, but having just read An Unchanged Mind by John McKinnon, he fits the classic description of a teen who has delayed maturity. I'd probably be angry with Barkin too if she was my mother, as she has reached her breaking point and is often verbally abusive back. Granted that doesn't make her behavior acceptable, but after watching a telling scene Barkin shares with Burstyn (who plays her emotionally distant mother) and the overall stigma her children face for their emotional battles, it becomes clear why Barkin's character struggles as much as she does...and that she needs some therapy of her own.

Having just returned from a family function out of state, this movie left me thinking about my own family and the issues we have faced. No family is without its skeletons, black sheep, and drama. No parent is perfect just like no children grow up without hating them at some point. Another Happy Day powerfully explores these themes and while there is not enough time to explore every one of them in depth, it mirrors the time sensitive nature of life and fear we all have of what happens when you pick at the wounds long left untreated.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I miss cable TV.

Sometimes I really miss having cable TV. I've survived without it for about a year and a half now. It's really easy to catch up on shows these days. I can read recaps for things I want to follow but don't necessarily feel like watching (House), or have the time to (General Hospital), and between Hulu and different pirating websites it's pretty easy to watch new episodes of shows within 24 hours and be perfectly content (Once Upon a Time, Glee, New Girl, and Downton Abbey). And Netflix has also been really awesome in introducing me to tons of new shows (Mad Men and Doctor Who) during those hours when I'm bored and searching for a way to fill in the Saturday afternoons I'd usually spend watching Food Network.

But then there's things like the Grammy's. And I spend a good two hours doing Google searches and refreshing every 60 seconds to see if there are videos of Adele's comeback performance, Katy Perry's new song, and Paul McCartney and Company doing half of the B side of Abbey Road.

How's a music nerd supposed to survive without cable on a night like this?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What did I wear Today? Boots Remixed

Every time I think of remixed outfits I always think of rap songs and how they say "this is the remix." I think that makes me a loser doesn't it?

So recently I had a full at the clinic between classes and clients but was sent home to change due to some not dressy enough pants (they are super strict with the dress code there), but no big deal because I had the opportunity to make a new outfit since the shirt I was wearing didn't go with the other black pants I had. So lucky you, two outfits for the price of one! And I gotta say, I like both outfits a lot (the first one is very mod/New York and may become a new date outfit for me) but I think the second is my favorite.

Pants: BDG @ Urban Outfitters
Boots: Michael by Michael Khors
Shirt: H&M (recent purchase)
Tank: H&M
Belt: Urban Outfitters (recent purchase)
Bracelets: Forever 21 (recent purchase)
Ring: Forever 21 (recent purchase)
Necklace: A gift from my Granny

Shirt: Forever 21
Cardigan: The Limited
Pants: The Gap (recent purchase)
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