The Lobster Review

the lobster poster in a review of the filmColin Farrell has always been at his best in small, indie, obscure or “off the beaten track” roles so I was looking forward to seeing him in The Lobster,an absurdist drama from director Yorgos Lanthimo. But MAN did I dislike this movie a lot. Perhaps because the past year has been spent watching the news with one eye closed because it seems like a never ending stream of horribleness and  I don’t feel that I need a big, bombastic film about how love is ridiculous and probably doesn’t exist at all. Perhaps I genuinely didn’t like this film. Anyway.  Is that a simplification? Of course it is. The film takes place in a not too distant future where single people are whisked away to a luxury resort where they have 45 days to find a mate or be turned into an animal of their choosing. In the meantime they hunt the loners, a group of single people who reject relationships as strongly as the hotel promotes them. Dave (Colin Farrell) goes to the hotel after his wife leaves him, accompanied by his dog (formerly his brother, Bob) where he tries to make a connection with a woman who has absolutely no feelings. When things go horribly awry he takes off and joins the loners, only to find himself in love with “the short sighted woman” (Rachel Weisz). The film is very stark and beautiful and the actors’ flat delivery works well. The characters are all reduced to a singular trait and ridiculous, and true to life  solutions (just have a child!) are offered to solve any relationship problems. All that is fine and a valid criticism of how society encourages people to find a stereotypical relationship that fits certain parameters and that single people are sometimes unjustly ridiculed and maligned. The Lobster has received much critical acclaim  which leaves me in the minority, but I found the premise just a little bit (a lot) patronising. Are relationships sometimes built on abstract or boring foundations? Sure. Is the emphasis on forming relationships/family/community something that has been used throughout history as something to better society rather than the individual? Sure. Have relationships been used abusively to subjugate women and children? Certainly and these are things that are worth discussing. But The Lobster doesn’t discuss them, it hits all the usual points (will people ultimately choose themselves over their partner in a time of danger?) and hits them on the nose. It’s worth noting that I don’t particularly think that movies have a message, and just because they make a comment on something doesn’t mean they have a “meaning”. But again, watching this film made me feel as if I was sitting through a 2 hour sermon, an extremely beautiful, star studded and sometimes hilarious sermon, but a sermon nonetheless. By the time the ending arrived I was hoping for a dramatic declaration that aligned the points of the film. That sounds as though I am saying that I wanted to be spoon-fed as an audience member, and maybe that is what I am saying, I don’t know. That said,  the ending does make a big statment that does, possibly, change the way we understand the film but, for me at least, it wasn’t enough to make a cohesive, enjoyable film.

What do you think? Did you see The Lobster? Did you like it? Did I totally miss the mark? Let me know in the comments.

My 2016 Book Round-Up

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”-Oscar Wilde

My goal for 2016 was to read more/only books written by women although I did read a couple male authors . I wanted to see if it would change my perspective of myself as a woman and it did. I’ve come into 2017 with more compassion for myself, with an understanding that the challenges and experiences of women are unique and important. Even more than that, I feel stronger than ever that what we read is important to our activism, to the way we show  and learn about what is valuable to us.The books that most impacted me most this year and stayed with me long after I read them were the first two books in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet,  Hausfrau by Jill Alexander EssbaumAmericanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey. As I start on my reading for 2017 I want to keep that in mind, to read more authors that challenge my view or teach me something.  Without further ado, here is my list of 2016 reads.black heart

1.)The Party Season-Sarah Mason
2.)Radical Self Love-Gala Darling
3.)The Looking Glass House-Vanessa Tait
4.)A Desirable Residence-Madeline Wickham
5.)Where’d You Go, Bernadette?-Maria Semple
6.)The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty-Amanda Filipacchi
7.)Americanah-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

8.)Beautiful Ruins-Jess Walter
9.)Beautiful Broken Things-Sara Barnard
10.)Still Mine-Amy Stuart
11.)Beware That Girl-Teresa Toten
12.)Reconstructing Amelia-Kimberly McCreight

13.)My Life In France-Julia Child
14.)Celebrate-Lauren Conrad
15.)Me Before You-Jojo Moyes 
16.)A Darker Shade of Magic-V.E. Schwab
17.)Still Life-Louise Penny

18.)The Cruellest Month-Louise Penny
19.)The Care-Taker A.X. Ahmad
20.)Hausfrau-Jill Alexander Essbaum
21.)The Couple Next Door-Shari Lapena
22.)The Chemist-Stephenie Meyer
23.) My Brilliant Friend-Elena Ferrante
24.)The Story of A New Name-Elena Ferrante
25.) Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte
26.) The Cuckoo’s Calling-Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling
27.) The Silkworm-Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling
28.)Milk and Honey-Rupi Kaur
29.)Introducing Agatha Raisin-M.C. Beaton
30.) Ulysses-James Joyce

What books had the biggest impact on you this year? Let me know in the comments!black heart

 

January Linkspiration!

It’s Monday, it’s a new week, and I have to plan my wedding! Ahhhh. I’m working on a post about he struggles we’ve had planning the wedding but for now I’m going to share the things that are inspiring me right now! My current obsessions are, in no particular order: Star Wars: Rogue One  black heart Working  on my pom pom pillow black heart Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novelsblack heart This Brit and Co-Free Downloadable Calendar black heart Bliss Lemon and Sage Bubble Bath black heart My bullet journal black heart And this article from Slate about bullet journaling  :Why Is Bullet Journaling Popular? It Makes You Feel Productive for Doing Just About Anything black heart Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey black heart  These pictures of Ziegfeld Follies from The Redlist  black heart

Ziegfeld Model - Non-Risque - by Alfred Cheney Johnston
Ziegfield Follies, photo by Alfred Cheney Johnston// The Redlist

 Cranberry Bars  black heart This wedding which is reindeer goals AND make-up goals: Rock ‘n’ Roll Bride-Festive Farm Wedding With Reindeer  black heart Guys when I travel I bring alllllll of my beauty products but if you want a more sensible approach  might I suggest this article: Travelletes-9 Travel Bloggers Spill Their Beauty Secrets?  On a more serious note this dad has the right idea: I’m Not The Keeper of My Teenage Daughters Virtue

Life is not a Liam Neeson movie. The chances that I’ll need to travel to Paris and go on an Albanian-sex-trafficker killing spree are remote. And yet, these so-called “rules” for dating one’s daughter present imagery that barely differentiates between boyfriends and kidnappers.

black heart Looking up cake recipes black heart and cake toppers for that matter black heart that I’m almost finished Ulysses  black heart this article about millenials :Stop the generational gaslighting: The definitive guide to why millennials aren’t whiney and entitled

But we are also the generation that is slowly but surely rebuilding our economy, reworking our social and political structure, and fearlessly asking for equality for all human beings.

black heart This Doggo: Find Momo black heart planning my next trip black heart thinking about palm trees black heart talking with friends and family black heart  wheat beer with peach slush (Shock Top or Belgian Moon for me) black heart counting the days until I see my bf again black heart

What’s keeping you going this week/month?

 

Gilmore Girls Revival-Review

***Warning, spoilers ahead***

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What do we do with media that is outdated? Should we consume media that is outdated in the sense that it is racist/homophobic/sexist? Should we just edit out the bits that are wrong? Should we leave them in but critcise them? Personally I lean strongly toward the edit/discard side, I mean do we need racist caricatures in old Disney movies? Not really. On the other hand there is culturally significant and enduring works that should probably be kept but with the caveat that we recognise and critique their prejudice. I’m taking the long way round in saying that watching the old Gilmore Girls from 2016 is…strange. How do we relate to Rory who has problems like “which rich relative will pay for my college tuition at Yale?” when many of us are overwhelmed by student loan debt and a job market that is less than promising? What about when she jets off to Europe for the summer on someone else’s dime while we are encouraged to get into debt in the sake of “gathering experiences, not things”? Is a town full of straight, white people really representative of the America of today? The writers, one assumes, heard these critiques and answered  them in the most soulless way possible. Michele (Yanic Truesdale) comes out as gay, hardly surprising as he was always gay the show just didn’t want to tell us directly. There are a few POC in the background but they don’t play any major role in the show, or even get named for the most part. Mrs. Kim, Lane’s mother, trots out a choir of scared looking Koreans who have just come over and are using all of her toilet paper, seemingly because the writers don’t know that Korea is a modern, peaceful and largely westernized country, or because they don’t expect their audience to know that. It all feels like the Palladinos wanted to shut up any voices that said their show was less than representative without doing any real work to correct the flaws of the original show.

In any case we find ourselves back in 2016 in Stars Hollow. Lorelai is still in a good (but UNMARRIED) relationship with Luke. Their unmarried status is something that is presented as a flaw which seems odd considering even way back in 2000 common law and civil union couples were treated as serious relationships, on television at least. Her relationship aside Lorelai’s life is in a bit of turmoil with Sookie having left the inn and Michele considering a job in a different hotel. Rory, meanwhile,  is aimless, working on a book that she doesn’t enjoy and trying to get a meeting with publication giant Conde Nast. She’s sleeping with an engaged Logan, while dating a guy who she keeps forgetting about. Some have argued that this is out of character for Rory but I disagree. Throughout the original series Rory often seemed ambivalent to the feelings of others around her, doing what she wanted regardless of who it hurt. That she would date someone she didn’t really care about? Sure. That she would have an affair? She already did that once. That she, someone who always had everything handed to her by people who consistently told her how wonderful she was and how she could do no wrong, would find the “real” world of work challenging?  I believe it. I suppose the question is not is it believable but is it necessary. I’m ambivalent about most of the reboots (with a few exceptions). I don’t think we need a new Spiderman every few years. I’m not a Full House fan and don’t know what that show which is seemingly so mediocre needed to be revived. Although it did lead me to read this very funny blog Full House Reviewed which I basically spent every waking minute reading until I finished it. In any case here we are. My unpopular opinion remains that I think a mean-ish and self absorbed Rory was the right direction to take her character. I don’t think we should like or applaud her behaviour but I think it was the right choice or at least as right as making her a kind and successful one. As for Lorelai, Lauren Graham is a strong an actor as ever and Lorelai’s sorrow at her fathers death, her confusion about Luke and her relationship and the uncertainty about the direction of the Inn without Sookie were well acted and well written. As for the final four words…eh. I like them, I think. I like the unconscious message that suggests that an unplanned pregnancy can happen to anyone, even a well-adjusted, educated and adult woman who has seemingly been birth control savvy for the last 15 or so years. I like the full-circleness of it all. Of course, however, this ending if it had come when it was intended to at the end of the original run, would have relayed a mostly different message.  Although I guess the idea that even a “good” girl can get pregnant would have been the same.  Quite progressive for early 2000’s television. Anyway we can argue about whether characters exist outside of their roles another time. I guess the final question is whether  there will-and should- be more Gilmore Girls. I’m certainly curious and would likely watch more episodes but I’m going to say no, there shouldn’t be more Gilmore Girls unless the writers tackle the problems of diversity and class in a real and helpful way.

A January To-Do List For Your Empty Bank Account

Hello friends and happy January! Are your jeans  yoga pants a bit tight after the holidays and are you using your debit card with your fingers crossed? Yes and yes are my answers. So, on that note I’ve compiled a few activities to tide us over until things return to normal!

1.) Organise your beauty supply
If you’re like me you have drawers and cupboards full of products. I love beauty subscription boxes and tend to collect small products from hotels since I can’t stand the thought of them being wasted. Organise yourmeandlarryyestercolour make up collection, throw anything that’s out of date a way, give everything a good cleaning and then make it a mission to use up
your oldest products first. You might even discover a lipstick you forgot you had (at least that happens to me fairly often)

2.) Organise your finances
Make a budget, define your goals for 2017, make a debt payment chart anything to get you back on track!

3.)Go outside
If you aren’t heading anywhere this winter there is always something to do in your hometown. My bf and I have a special affinity for finding and loving hole-in-the-wall places and dive bars so we discovered a few of those in my city, we wandering the market  and also went to a museum and gallery. If that’s not your style you could go for a walk, have a winter picnic or get all your blankets and candles, get a book and curl up in bed.

4.)Have a broke dinner party
Everyone makes something with their leftovers and you feast! Don’t forget the leftover wine/gin/etc.

5.) Dramatically leave social media
Do as the celebs do and unplug for an hour/a day/a week/ a month whatever you’re up to. It’s good for our mental health to take a break from the constant stream of news and the perfectly cleaned up versions of everyone’s lives. Take some time to escape, to think of all the good things you did this year and to think about what your hopes and dreams are for this coming year.

6.)Pinterest your goals
If unplugging isn’t for you, get some tea/coffee/wine, download a new screensaver for your phone and make a pinterest board of the things you want or are dreaming of for this year. Pin recipes to try, projects to make (if you’re into that) decor tips for your apartment/house/room, affirmations, money or career goals, a destination you would like to visit or absolutely anything you can think of. Years ago I read that planning a trip makes you almost as happy as actually taking one so daydreaming is an important way to spend your time. Thinking about what you really want can also help you take steps to get it. When I looked over my boards for 2016 I realised that what I want from life is much clearer and simpler than I thought.

However you spend your January, here’s hoping it’s a good one!

Welcoming 2017

Here we are in 2017 at last. My holiday has been rejuvenating and relaxing, exciting and hectic but now I want to take some time to reflect on my goals for 2017. Last night I re-read my 2016 journal and was pleasantly surprised. Despite the fact that some (a lot) of things didn’t go the way I wanted or intended and despite some genuine complaints I found that I lived my life the way I wanted to. I traveled to new places and learned new things about myself and the world around me. I read books on topics that were important to me. I took time to cook (when you work in a restaurant all the time this sometimes fall by the wayside) and drank wine. I talked to my family and friends and cuddled with my pets. I got to visit a new country and explore Ireland/Northern Ireland. I danced (badly) and bought myself flowers (inexpensive though they were) and feel spiritually better than ever. bracelet-and-scarfOn that note one of my goals for 2017 is to live life with confidence and ease, to not be in competition with others and put thought into everything I do. To sit on park benches and daydream. To wear a signature scent and sip coffee.  I also want to blog 6-8 times a month. I’ve been using this blog as writing practice and way to organise my thoughts and genuinely love it and hope to be more consistent. I also hope to visit at least one new country while using my Cancer tendencies of being a homebody to create a cozy living space filled with blankets, candles, cushions and fairy lights. I want to exercise at least 3 times a week rather than my current method of going all in or not doing anything for weeks at a time.  I want to read 40 books consisting of some classics (this will be the year I finish Ulysses) but also books by authors I haven’t yet discovered. I intend to keep educating myself about the issues that face the world and engage in debate and activism. I want to commit to continuing to reduce my debt. Most importantly I want to be kinder, give more compliments, live spiritually, eat and shop with the well being of others and animals in mind, be less negative and spread more love.

What are your goals for 2017? What do you want to achieve?  Here’s wishing everyone the very best in this new stage. black heart

 

 

 

50 Things I Did In 2016

image of holiday decorations in post about 2016

I hope everyone has had a wonderful and renewing festive season, however you spent it. The holidays are over and 2016 is nearly at a close so in the spirit of celebrating every victory no matter how small I’ve made this list of things I’ve done this year. Some are big, some are small,some are mundane, but all are  things that made this year what it was.

black heart 1 learned to poach and egg
black heart 2 bought flowers for myself
black heart 3 stuck with an exercise plan
black heart4 visited Sligo
black heart 5 visited a  new country (Denmark)
black heart 6 paid off my student loans
black heart 7 took an online writing course (at Skillshare)
black heart 8 and a fashion one  (at Udemy)
black heart 9  wrote more love letters and thank you notes
black heart 10 tried new lip colours
black heart 11 read 30 books
black heart  12 started this blog
black heart 13 watched more documentaries
black heart 14 re-watched The Gilmore Girls
black heart 15 reduced other debts
black heart 16 completed the 52 Lists Project journal
black heart 17 baked cookies
black heart 18 donated to charity regularly
black heart 19 improved my relationship
black heart 20 made a clam bake
black heart 21 went wild camping
black heart 22 spent more time on spiritual pursuits
black heart 23 went on a winter picnic
black heart 24 wrote more
black heart 25 and took more photos
black heart 26 went on a hike
black heart 27 visited Belfast
black heart 28 and Madrid
black heart 29 learned new make-up techniques
black heart 30 visited Oxford
black heart 31 went to a music festival
black heart 32 made something from my must-try board on pinterest
black heart 33 knit a blanket
black heart 34 discovered 2 Dope Queens and My Dad Wrote A Porno
black heart 35 made risotto for the first time
black heart 36 danced
black heart 37 went to the ballet
black heart38 and saw more plays
black heart 39 took a social media course
black heart 40 made a Thai curry for the first time
black heart 41  met new people
black heart 42 put more effort into recycling and caring for nature
black heart 43 finished Wuthering Heights (finally)
black heart 44 wrote more thank you notes too!
black heart 45 kicked my sugar addiction
black heart 46 and ate more healthy overall
black heart 47 tried a glittery eyeshadow
black heart 48 bought vintage shoes and adult jewelry (that is, not costume jewelry)
black heart 49 planned many dream trips
black heart  50 learned more about myself