Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 - A Year in Review

2011 was an amazing year. Here were some highlights:

2011 BYU basketball season

Festival of Colors

Summer country concert extravaganza
New York.






Summer in Cincinnati

Roadtripping to California

Being an awesome FHE mom

Halloween. Dance parties and a million haunted houses.

Being on the A&E desk for the Daily Universe

Dyeing my hair!

Temple Square at Christmastime

Yeah, it was a pretty good year. 2012 has a lot to live up to. I'll put my New Year's goals tomorrow.

Also, here are some of my "Best Of" lists. These only include things I've seen, obviously, so if I'm blatantly missing something, it's because I haven't seen it. I'd like to know what your opinions are too!

Best Movies of 2011
Midnight in Paris
Tree of Life
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2
The Help
The Artist
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Super 8
X-Men First Class
The Muppets

Best TV Series of 2011
Parks and Recreation
Friday Night Lights
Breaking Bad
The Vampire Diaries
Downton Abbey
Happy Endings
Raising Hope
New Girl

Best Songs of 2011
Rolling in the Deep / Someone Like You / Set Fire to the Rain by Adele
Super Bass by Nicki Minaj
Holocene by Bon Iver
Walk by Foo Fighters
Two Kinds of Happiness by The Strokes
We Found Love by Rihanna
The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga
Good Life by One Republic
Just a Kiss by Lady Antebellum
Honeybee by Blake Shelton
Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

After Christmas Time

So I realize I totally failed on the "blogging every day advent-calender style before Christmas" thing. Sorry about it. There were these little things called finals that got in the way, then flying home, then decorating THE WHOLE FREAKING HOUSE while my parents were in Florida, then Christmas, seeing my old high school friends, watching TV and movies, reading books.... OK, maybe towards the end of that there wasn't much excuse. Oh well.

But just because I don't like to leave loose ends, here is the rest of the list. You're welcome :)

What I Love About Christmas - Days 5-25

5) Christmas movies - specifically A Christmas Story, Elf, It's A Wonderful Life, Muppet's Christmas Carol, White Christmas and recently released Arthur Christmas
6) TV specials - How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the old cartoon) and Charlie Brown's Christmas are must-sees every year. The old 1960's claymation specials are winners too.
7) Spending time with family
8) Snow. Exception being this year...
9) Christmas dinner - ham and potatoes. mmm.
10) Twinkly lights
11) No school!
12) Christmas sweaters. I win contests with this special number:
You can only see half of it, but that mitten on the shoulder should tell you everything right there

13) The fact that everyone's just a little bit nicer this time of year
14) Memories and traditions. Such as getting snuggly pjs each Christmas Eve.
15) Making ornaments
16) Presents. This year I got shoes, clothes, some home necessities, nail polish, all 8 Harry Potter films, and money to buy even more movies hahaha
17) Going downtown and seeing the lights and going ice skating.
Big sparkly tree in Salt Lake City

and in Cincinnati
18) Snuggling in a blanket next to a lit fireplace, listening to Christmas music
19) The nostalgia of it all
20) "The feeling that even the darkest, coldest nights can be the best and brightest"
21) A reminder of everything you've been blessed with.
22) Giving presents. Making others happy.
23) Holiday sales
24) Christmas crafts
25) And of course, the most important - the birth of Jesus Christ. Having Christmas on a Sunday this year was great. Even though we should think about it year-round, it's always important to be reminded of the ultimate Christmas present - our Savior.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sundance Film Festival!

Here are the movies that I think look interesting.

Let me know what you want to see!

Films are listed by date and time.

Robot and Frank
1/20/2012, 6:30 or 9:30 p.m.
Set sometime in the future, Robot and Frank is a delightful dramatic comedy, a buddy picture, and, for good measure, a heist film. Curmudgeonly old Frank lives by himself. His routine involves daily visits to his local library, where he has a twinkle in his eye for the librarian. His grown children are concerned about their father’s well-being and buy him a caretaker robot. Initially resistant to the idea, Frank soon appreciates the benefits of robotic support—like nutritious meals and a clean house—and eventually begins to treat his robot like a true companion. With his robot’s assistance, Frank’s passion for his old, unlawful profession is reignited, for better or worse.

Frank Langella makes acting—and acting with a robot, no less—look effortless, and his relationship with the machine is filled with poignant exchanges and amusing adventures. First-time director Jake Schreier creates a lush world with futuristic flourishes and tells a beautiful story about family and the implications of humankind’s ever-changing relationship with technology.

1/21/2012, 6:30 p.m.
Celeste and Jesse met in high school and got married young. They laugh at the same jokes and finish each other’s sentences. They are forever linked in their friends’ minds as the perfect couple—she, a high-powered businesswoman and budding novelist; he a free spirit who keeps things from getting boring. Their only problem is that they have decided to get divorced. Can their perfect relationship withstand this minor setback?

Lee Toland Krieger finds the perfect tone to tell a story that is at first familiar but then transitions into something quite unique and authentic. Rashida Jones and Will McCormack have crafted a witty script filled with the insight needed to make Celeste and Jesse fulfill the definition of complicated souls seeking same. Jones also stars opposite Andy Samberg; together they create palpable chemistry and share eccentric dialogue, and infectious humor. Celeste and Jesse Forever is a delightful romp that examines the inner workings of marriage and its evolving place in modern life

Indie Game: The Movie
1/22/2012, 12 p.m.
With the twenty-first century comes a new breed of struggling independent artist: the indie game designer. Refusing to toil for major developers, these innovators independently conceive, design, and program their distinctly personal games in the hope that they, too, may find success.

After three years of painstaking work, designer Edmund McMillen and programmer Tommy Refenes await the release of their first major game for Xbox, Super Meat Boy—the adventures of a skinless boy in search of his girlfriend, who is made of bandages. At PAX, a major video-game expo, developer Phil Fish unveils his highly anticipated, four-years-in-the-making Fez. Jonathan Blow considers beginning a new game after creating Braid, one of the highest-rated games of all time.

About the Pink Sky
1/22/2012, 3 p.m.
Izumi, a headstrong high-school girl with a cheerfully cynical outlook—she routinely “rates” the newspaper by assigning articles positive or negative values—finds a wallet containing 300,000 yen (almost $4,000) and the owner’s ID: Sato, a wealthy high-school boy. Instead of returning it, Izumi lends a hefty sum to an older fishing buddy with financial problems. Her classmates Hasumi and Kaoru later force her to return the wallet to Sato, but, unable to account for all of the money, Izumi agrees to help him console a friend in the hospital by creating a newspaper containing only “good news.”

Beasts of the Southern Wild
1/22/2012, 3:30 p.m.
Hushpuppy, an intrepid six-year-old girl, lives with her father, Wink, in “the Bathtub,” a southern Delta community at the edge of the world. Wink’s tough love prepares her for the unraveling of the universe; for a time when he’s no longer there to protect her. When Wink contracts a mysterious illness, nature flies out of whack—temperatures rise, and the ice caps melt, unleashing an army of prehistoric creatures called aurochs. With the waters rising, the aurochs coming, and Wink’s health fading, Hushpuppy goes in search of her lost mother.

Hushpuppy is not just the film’s heroine; she’s its soul. Beasts of the Southern Wild exists entirely in its own universe: mythological, anthropological, folkloric, and apocalyptic. Benh Zeitlin’s first feature (a Sundance Institute Feature Film Program project) employs a cast of nonactors—reflecting its grassroots production—to fiercely portray the bond between father and daughter in a world where only the strong survive. Standing defiantly at the end of the world, Hushpuppy affirms the dignity of telling their own story: that they were once there

The End of Love
1/24/2012, 6 p.m.
Mark is a struggling actor stuck between the life he once knew and the one waiting for him. When the mother of his two-year-old son suddenly passes away, Mark is forced to confront his shortcomings. Their fates, now intertwined, hang in the balance as Mark grapples with his ability to grow up. When he meets Lydia, a young mother, he is no longer able to live in the comfort of denial. Endowed with a raw but vibrant truth, it tells a story about the universal pain of loss and the courage it takes to change.

ME at the ZOO
1/25/2012, 3 p.m.
ME at the ZOO tells the fascinating modern tale of Chris Crocker, a video blogger from a small town in Tennessee. Part of the first generation that came of age under constant self-surveillance, he was raised on the Internet, and his online videos—including his infamous YouTube declaration “Leave Britney Alone!”—have been viewed hundreds of millions of times. The film weaves a tapestry of Web comments and response videos with reactions from Crocker fans and haters to map the controversial rise of an Internet folk hero.

This unconventional documentary excavates a personal story that was written on the Internet and, in the process, uncovers an identity indistinguishable from technology. In this exploration of the way video sharing and social platforms shape the way we tell our stories and mediate our lives, filmmakers Valerie Veatch and Chris Moukarbel utilize the aesthetic imbedded in the story to craft a scintillating portrait of a young man who may be a star, a fad, or a harbinger of what lies ahead.

Safety Not Guaranteed
1/27/2012, 6:30 p.m.
Three magazine employees are sent to investigate a personal advertisement placed in the newspaper: guy seeking partner for time travel. They venture to the coast and set up a haphazard surveillance. Darius is recruited as the shill; her dry wit and cynical nature are perfectly suited to trap this enigmatic oddball, Kenneth, and get a good story. But it is she who first sees past the paranoid loner façade to the compelling person inside. The drawback? This still doesn’t rule out the possibility that he just might be crazy.

Colin Trevorrow has woven an ingenious tale: a modern version of the classic madcap romantic comedy. Clever dialogue and outlandish antics, peppered with misfit characters—each one charming yet flawed—are wrapped in a love story tingling with the tantalizing possibility of time travel. In a world where moments are fleeting and soul mates are scarce, it seems that even the simple act of falling in love is never safe.

About Face
1/27/2012, 9:30 p.m.
Portrait photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s lush new film is an intimate view of the women whose images have defined our sense of beauty over the past five decades. An uncensored look at many of the biggest names in modeling, About Face reveals the stories behind the magazine covers displaying these multicultural pioneers. Each woman is candidly interviewed in the studio and shares her experiences, ideas on longevity, and philosophy of life in the fashion industry. Elegant archival footage and interviews with designer Calvin Klein and agency head Eileen Ford round out this absorbing chronicle.

About Face is a step back in time to a glamorous, yet complicated, era when drugs were rampant and women were routinely harassed and mistreated. The divergent attitudes among the women about everything from the business of modeling, to aging and plastic surgery, are fascinating and priceless. This insightful documentary celebrates the raw intelligence and staying power of these timeless icons.

1/28/2012, 12 p.m.
Nicholas Jarecki makes an auspicious directorial debut with this taut and alluring suspense thriller about love, loyalty, and high finance. Arbitrage—buying low and selling high—depends on a person’s ability to determine the true value of any given market. It’s a talent that has made billionaire hedge fund magnate Robert Miller the very portrait of success in American business. But on the eve of his sixtieth birthday, Miller finds himself desperately trying to sell his trading empire to a major bank before the extent of his fraud is discovered. When an unexpected bloody error challenges his perception of what things are worth, Miller finds that his business is not the only thing hanging in the balance.

Building on the chemistry and charisma of an outstanding cast, including Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling, Tim Roth, and Nate Parker, Jarecki leads us through the slick and duplicitous limits of impunity and composes an anatomy of the way asset bubbles can burst.

Wuthering Heights
1/28/2012, 6:45 p.m.
Acclaimed filmmaker Andrea Arnold (Red Road, Fish Tank) offers a breathtaking reinvention of Emily Brontë’s classic novel of a passionate, destructive love set on the Yorkshire moors during the late eighteenth century.

Mr. Earnshaw returns to his family farmhouse with young Heathcliff, an orphan he has rescued from the streets. Mr. Earnshaw’s son, Hindley, shows Heathcliff only cruelty, but his daughter, Catherine, warms to him, and the two develop an intensely intimate and reckless bond that spans many years and their changing fortunes.

Arnold’s adaptation is audacious and artful—a stark cinematic expression of the novel’s fierce beauty. Always provocative, Arnold casts a black actor as Heathcliff. Stripping the story to its elemental form, she dispenses with narrative embellishments, music, literary sheen, and romanticism—leaving a wondrous, spare aesthetic of somber hues and harsh textures, dominated by nature, natural sounds, animals, and the craggy, windswept terrain. Heathcliff and Catherine—governed by visceral emotions—are like creatures in this primordial wilderness, trying to find peace. The result is a uniquely sensual, corporeal space designed to convey the erosion of human happiness.

Price Check
1/28/2012, 9 p.m.
Pete is a good guy who used to be cool. Once living his dream in the music industry, he now toils away in the pricing department of a failing supermarket chain to provide for his loving wife and young son. When Pete’s new boss, Susan, takes over the department, her high-energy enthusiasm and unconventional ideas start to shake things up. She aims to reinvent the company while grooming Pete for the executive fast track. Making more money now than he ever hoped to in the music industry, Pete begins to wonder if this new career is just what he needs to become the man he’s always wanted to be.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 3 - Sweet Treats

Christmas cookies! Gingerbread houses! Candy canes! No holiday is worse for your diet. But who cares, it's all so festivally delicious. My favorite is my mother, who spends all day baking treats for our friends and neighbors. She makes the BEST almond roca. Mmm.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 2 - Decorations

One of the best things about Christmas are the amazing decorations. The tree, the lights, the nativity, all of it just invites this feeling of warmth and comfort I wish I could feel all year. At my home, it looks like Christmas threw up. There's garland, figurines, pictures, poinsettias, everything chaotically arranged. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Here are some pics of our apartment. They're my roommates decorations, and I love them.

I love decorating!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 1 - Christmas music

Christmas music! Don't worry, I've been listening to it since Halloween. Nothing puts you in a better mood or makes you think of happier times than some holiday tunes. Here are my top ten favorites:

1) Carol of the Bells - Tran-Siberian Orchestra

I really like anything that TSO does, but Carol of the Bells remains its most epic.

2) O Holy Night - anyone

I love when the end just gets BELTED. OH NIIIGGGHTTT! DIVVIIINE!! Also, this is my favorite song to play on the piano.

3) White Christmas - Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby. Enough said. So much nostalgia.

4) Another Christmas Song - Stephen Colbert

I love me a good parody. And Colbert can actually sing.

5) Sleigh Ride - Mannheim Steamroller

Reminds me of the good old days in band class, where I looked forward to playing the slap sticks every year. So much fun.

6) Skating - Charlie Brown Christmas

Favorite Christmas movie.

7) All I Want For Christmas - Michael Buble

I imagine him singing this to me... not pathetic at all, I promise.

8) Wish List - Neon Trees

Not the biggest fan of Neon Trees, but I really like this song. 

9) Baby it's Cold Outside - Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone

So many good memories of Showcase... enough said.

10) Last Christmas - anyone

I know it's cheesy, but I just loving singing along to it.

What are your favorites?