Month: March 2014

HIMYM: Best of How I Met Your Mother

himymGather round folks let me tell you about a little show I have loved called How I Met Your Mother.  Back in 2009 I wrote about it in one of my first posts to get a decent amount of hits.  Regina Spektor and the Murtaugh List

At that point I described it as ‘my favorite show’ and while it has fallen on hard times in the writing department the last 3 years, it will always be one of my favorite shows ever.

If you don’t know the conceit of the show is a middle aged man named Ted sits his kids down and tells them how he met their mother.  This narration continues each episode for all 9 seasons- long story! (It really should have ended at season 6).

In truth, the title might have been more correct as ‘How WE met your mother’ because it is not just Ted’s story but also his best friends Marshall (Jason Segal), Lily (Allison Hannigan), Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). The cast is legend-wait for it- dary.

The key to this type of sitcom is a likable cast and they are incredibly likable. Enough so to keep me interested even when the writing got super lame.

Ted is that friend we all have who wants a relationship so badly they never seem to be able to keep a relationship. Lilly and Marshall are the sweet married couple we all wish we could be like.

Robin is the career obsessed, practical girlfriend most of us girls know (or are) and Barney, well there’s nobody I know like Barney (thankfully).  He’s the womanizing cheese ball who admittedly gets most of the good laughs.

Anyway, with the finale airing tomorrow night, I thought it would be fun to share with all of you my favorite episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

All of these episodes are available for streaming on netflix so give them a watch and see if you think it as charming a show as I do.  I really loved getting to know these characters over 9 years.

Top 10 How I Met Your Mother Episodes

1. Murtaugh (episode 19 season 4)

Let’s start with the episode that inspired me to blog. Ted creates a list of things things he’s too old to do now that he has turned 30 including attending a rave, getting an ear piercing, toilet papering, sleeping on a cot at a friends house etc.

Barney then decides to do everything on the list to prove he is still young and it sends him to the ER. I related enough to this idea enough to create my own list.

murtaugh

2. Monday Night Football (season 2 episode 14)-

Every year the group meets up to watch the Super Bowl but this year a guy from their favorite bar dies and the funeral stops them from watching.  So, they DVR the game and have to go 24 hours without finding out the score.  This proves to be especially difficult for Robin given she is a news reporter.

Given my recent rant on spoiler complainers it is probably of no surprise I find this episode funny.  The effort each one must go to in order to stay away from the Super Bowl winner is very entertaining and it made me think of the good times I’ve had with friends over the years watching something on TV.

To avoid hearing who won the game Ted tries out the sensory deprevator 5000
To avoid hearing who won the game Ted tries out the sensory deprevator 5000

3.  Lucky Penny (season 2 episode 15)-

Ted and Robin are racing through the airport trying to make a flight to Chicago for the interview of his dreams.  As they run, they try to figure out who is to blame for them being late.

Is it Barney running the NY Marathon and then losing his ability to use his legs? Or perhaps Lilly for wanting to camp out in front of a bridal salon next to a car alarm going off? Maybe it is Marshall breaking his toe?

As they unwind the events that caused them to be late we can’t help but think back to similar moments in our own lives and the seemingly insignificant puzzle pieces that led up to them.

lucky penny4. Slap Bet (Season 2 Episode 9)-

Robin refuses to go to the mall with the gang and everyone starts guessing why.  Marshall and Barney make a bet called a slap bet where the person who wins gets to slap the loser as hard as they can.

The results of said bet are carried out through each season creating one of the best story threads for the show. It is also the introduction of Robin Sparkles, Robin’s teenage popstar alter ego.

5. Arrivederci, Fiero (Season 2 Episode 20. Season 2 had a lot of my favorites)-

In this episode Marshall’s beloved car, the Fiero, finally conks out after nearly 200k miles.  For Marshall this is a symbol of his youth and it turns out to have sentimental value for all of the gang.

Perhaps the reason this season really hit me so hard is that it was 2007 when I was so unhappy at work and both Marshall and Ted are struggling with work-related issues. Marshall had dreamed of doing environmental law but with a new wife and her spending habits he is forced to take a corporate sell-out job.

At the same time Ted is working for a pompous idiot who has stifled his creativity and yells at him.  I just related to the story of becoming an adult and how the work-world isn’t always what you thought it would be when you were in college.

The other day I was going through  my dishes with my roommate and I still have my melmac plates from college.  The idea of getting rid of them made me cry. That’s what Marshall feels with the death of his car.

There is also probably more backstory to the characters in this episode than any others. In a funny scene we learn that Barney doesn’t know how to drive:

 

6. Matchmaker- (Season 1, Episode 7)

I really only like this episode because of the B storyline.  The A story is about Ted and Barney going to a matchmaker service and Ted finding out there are 8 women for him in the fishbowl that is New York City.  In fact, there may not even be 8…

The B story is one of my favorites  because it shows off Marshall’s innocence and charm.  He is extremely superstitious and one afternoon He and Lilly see a creature in their apartment.  She thinks it’s a cockroach.  He thinks it’s a mouse.

After seeing it again they conclude it is the ‘cockamouse’. Skeptic Robin doesn’t believe them and scoffs at their crazy notions.

How-Met-Mother_Ep107_300

7. Spoiler Alert (Season 3 episode 8)-

Ted is dating what he see’s as the perfect girl but his friends can’t stand her.  He can’t figure out what the problem is and they warn him about spoiling the image he has created of this girl.

Finally after incessant begging they tell him how she talks and talks and suddenly it starts driving him crazy.  He didn’t notice it until someone pointed it out but once they did he can’t get it out of his head.

Through the course of the episode each of the friends has a similar spoil behavior- Lilly chews to loudly, Robin says literally all the time, Ted corrects everyone, Marshall is always singing etc…

I think most people who have friends or family can relate to this episode.  We all put up with our friends bad habits because we know they are putting up with ours.

bad habits8. Intervention (Season 4 episode 4)-

Ted is engaged to Stella who he has only known for 6 months and the gang is concerned he is rushing into things.  He is about to move to New Jersey to be closer to her when he finds out his friends are going to hold an intervention to show how worried they are.

It turns out this intervention strategy has been used many times before by the gang for things like Marshall’s ugly pants or Lilly’s Scottish accent.

We see the intervention come up in later episodes and it is a funny plot device.  It’s just a well written funny episode.

Robin-Intervention-how-i-met-your-mother-17656939-500-375 x240-vGl9. Dowistroplia (Season 3 episode 7)-

Marshall and Lilly are thinking of buying an apartment but Lilly has a secret credit card debt she hasn’t told Marshall about.  What makes this episode funny is the narrator gives us what the friends ‘should have said’ and then quickly what they actually said. For example, when Marshall see’s the apartment:

Marshall Eriksen: I’m going to stop you right there. Don’t bother with the hard sell. We can’t afford this place just now, and besides, we just started looking.

Narrator: Is what Marshall should have said.

Marshall Eriksen: I’m going to stop you right there. I love it! We’ll take it!

This rang true for me.  How many times have friends asked you for feedback when what they really want is just a reassurance of what they have already done?  It is also a great Marshall and Lilly episode because she finally has to admit she has a huge problem and debt.

Dowisitrepla_-_no_spoiler10. Stuff (Season 2 Episode 16)-

Ted and Robin start off the episode with a fight.  She doesn’t like how most of the items in his apartment were given to him by ex-girlfriends.  She wants him to get rid of all the ‘stuff’.  Then he finds out that her 5 dogs are presents from boyfriends and Ted get’s upset calling Robin a hypocrite.  Instead of dogs he now see’s her 5 ex-boyfriends hanging around her all the time.

That is all funny but the true cream of this episode is when Lilly asks the gang to come to her avant garde play which is awful.  Barney is the only one who tells her he hated it and she’s offended.

To show her his side Barney makes them all go to his play where he dresses up like a robot, says the word moist over again and sprays Lilly with a squirt gun.  It is also the 2nd showing of the slapbet. ,

I found this episode funny because haven’t we all been to that terrible recital or play to support a friend? I have no doubt that some have done that for me, that’s for sure!

barneys playSo that’s my list.  What are some of your favorites?  I didn’t have any later episodes.  Any those that you particularly like?

If you haven’t watched the show and have Netflix check out these episodes.  I’d be surprised if they don’t at least make you smile.

(Oh another one I love at Christmas is How Lilly Stole Christmas)

Destination Swims

SLOW Newsletter, Volume 2, Issue 1

I am very fortunate to be the editor of the newsletter for our local open water masters swimming group Salt Lake Open Water or SLOW.

Each quarter I get the task of assigning articles and profiles to members and I enjoy making my little contribution to the community that has helped me so much.

This quarter I put myself in charge of writing an article on Destination Swims.  I think it turned out pretty well so I thought I would share it with all of you.  It is a great way to travel, make new friends and see the beautiful lakes and oceans with fellow masters swimmers.

Destination Swims by Rachel Wagner
One of the benefits of being a member of SLOW is not only meeting up with open water swimmers here in Utah but around the globe. With a little research and reaching out to new people we can have fun and rewarding experiences in the water wherever we travel.

There are several types of approaches to destination swims. Josh Green and Kate Pettipiece both met up with masters groups in Colorado (Grand Junction and Montrose respectively) when traveling there for other reasons so they could stay in shape and ‘not miss a swim’.

Other SLOW members have planned their vacations and travels around open water swim races and groups. Erin Jensen has done 4 swims as far distant as Florida and Hawaii:

“For all four, I knew that I wanted to go on vacation, but I didn’t care when. I wanted to make sure that there was a swim happening or else why would I go? The last time I had a destination swim was in Florida.”

Especially oceanic/lakeside vacations will often have established masters groups and open water swims and so it is easy to contact them and plan your trip without too much effort. Of her most recent swim in Florida Erin said:

“Using Google search, I looked up the different Master Teams websites. I found two in Florida, but on opposite sides of the state that worked within my free time. In looking at cost of the trip, I ultimately decided on which one was going to be cheaper for me to get too So, last May I swam the 2.4 mile Hurricane Man swim. It was fabulous and a wonderful experience”

Developing relationships with other open water swimmers can be particularly helpful when it is a location we often visit. I visit my parents in Sacramento area frequently but have never actually lived there. In 2012 I looked up ‘Sacramento open water’ on google and came up with a meet up group called The Sacramento Swimming Enthusiasts who met about 15 minutes away from my parents’ house at Folsom Lake.

destination swim

This proved to be particularly helpful in 2012 because I was getting ready for my first 5k and I did my first test 5k during that trip. They were all much better swimmers than I was and so not only did I have a great time but I learned some new techniques, got some tips, and trained hard while visiting my parents (plus got a break from the fam…).

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to meet up with them again because my visits to home have been brief and crammed with stuff but I hope to and really enjoyed my experience.
This May I am traveling to Tampa to visit a friend so I searched facebook for a masters group there and found Tampa Bay Open Water

Swimming and have already contacted them and plan swimming together. They are a new group so were very receptive to meeting me and learning about SLOW. I’m really looking forward to it.

There are many ways you can come into contact with swimmers when you travel. Social media platforms like facebook, twitter and meet up.com all feature clubs and races with a simple search. Google can take you to websites and blogs for groups and individual swimmers.

Also, the USMS website has a club finder section that can be helpful. In fact, that’s how I first heard about Deer Creek swim in 2011 and met Jim Hubbard.

So on your next vacation see who you can swim with. You will find it enriches your trip, produces meaningful relationships and helps you become a better swimmer.

Sleep and Spoilers

This is kind of a random post with 2 topics that don’t really go together. But this is my blog and I can do that if I want… 😉

Any reader to my blog knows I have struggled for years with insomnia.  Pretty much my whole life but it’s been particularly bad the last 3 years at times leaving me with little to no sleep for days at a time.  This can be very stressful and mentally debilitating.

Since 2012 I’ve tried everything from sleep labs to to medicine to psychoanalysis to solve the problem with nothing really providing any complete solutions.  This has led to my latest solution- stop caring so much!  I’ve decided recently to just go to sleep when I need to sleep and enjoy the time I am awake.

Naturally I still have to work in the morning but I’ve also stopped planning anything if I can help it before 9 am. I used to think ‘oh, i can do it just this once’ and then I would end up not being able to show up for a swim or being late to where I was going. (Sorry friends I’ve stood up in the past).

Anyway, since I made this decision I have been happier and less stressed over my sleeping issues.  We’ll see how it goes but for the moment it is working.  It also helps me be less dependent on sleep medications, which are very tempting but only work for a brief period of time and then they fail spectacularly.

So if you notice me posting late or engaged on social media at 4 in the morning don’t be surprised, I’ve surrendered to the Sleep Godss.  If you can’t beat them, stop fighting!

spoiler_splash

SPOILERS

And now to my totally unrelated rant.

I want to talk for a second about spoilers.  This has been a topic that has annoyed me for some time but I haven’t found a way to work it into the blog, so here goes…

Since I became more involved with twitter last year it seems there never goes a day where I don’t hear someone crying ‘spoiler alert’ over a tweet, video or facebook status.  As annoying as it can be to have something spoiled I am finding these protests to be even more annoying.

First, let’s define what a true spoiler is.  That is where a key plot development is uttered before you have the chance to view said entertainment.  For years this was only a sports phenomenon (mainly due to the fact that VCR’s weren’t popularized until the early 80s).  So, if you knew you were going to be out for the big game, you’d record it and hope that nobody told you the score/big plays. If someone did that would be a spoiler.

However, even then a spoiler would not have been someone telling you how the weather was or who played in the game.  It would also not be a spoiler if someone said ‘that was a good game’.  Such a comment is so broad that it could mean good defense, offense, refereeing whatever.

So, let’s move up to modern times.  Social media is everywhere and a huge part of our everyday life. This gives great potential for spoilers.

That said, just as wildly accessible and obvious details about a sporting event are not a spoiler back in the day, neither is it now.  If I tell you that Toby McGuire or Daniel Radcliffe is in a movie, that is not a spoiler.  If I say Michael Phelps swam in a race, that is not a spoiler.

It is also not a spoiler if something has occurred with enough of a time-lapse for most people to enjoy it.  There has to be a time limit on spoilers. An example from literature would be Dumbledore dieing in Harry Potter.  Giving that away when the book was released, major spoiler.  Talking about it now that movies have come out and it’s been years, not a spoiler any more! I mean at a certain point I’m allowed to talk about Vader being Luke’s father.  It can’t be a spoiler forever…

During the Olympics this was especially annoying.  I get not wanting to know events before the primetime broadcast but if it happened yesterday and we’ve moved on to the next day of competition I’m allowed to talk about yesterday’s events.

On facebook the US Olympic team would post photos of victorious Olympians and it never failed to get hundreds of spoiler comments.  Urgh…so annoying.If you don’t want to know what happens to the US Olympic team during the Olympics than unfollow them for 2 weeks and don’t be spoiled.  I mean what are they supposed to do pretend like we didn’t win anything until everyone has a chance to watch it? Then people would be complaining they are ignoring our Olympians.

The other thing is that part of the fun of watching events these days is sharing them with a social media group of fellow fans. For example, If you know I always tweet about Survivor, do not read my tweets Wednesday night and then be mad at me for spoiling. I am not going to put Spoiler Alert before every Survivor tweet. That’s just obnoxious.

I feel like the Spoiler Alert Kings are simply finding one more thing to complain about. Sometimes part of being a grown up is not being surprised any more.  Sometimes we know what is going to happen but we have to find a way to enjoy the experience any way. I personally am someone who is almost impossible to spoil.  In fact, I am quite the opposite.  At times I enjoy knowing what’s going to happen because I can relax and just enjoy the game/movie/whatever.

Other times I like the suspense of not knowing what is going to happen.  I was grateful nobody told me about the twist in Sixth Sense or the surprise at the beginning of Phantom of the Opera (the stage production).  Both of those scenes are obvious to most human beings as spoilers and most people at least make an effort not to spoil them.  If they do, again take a grown up pill and enjoy it anyway.

It is also not a spoiler if it is a detail that any non-idiot should know.  For instance, it is not a spoiler to say that 12 Years a Slave is about a person who is a slave for 12 years.  It’s getting to the point where you can’t talk about anything in an intelligent way because you are so afraid of spoiling it.

Using 12 Years a Slave as an example- when I wrote my review I gave a spoiler warning at the beginning because I went into detail about characters, motivations, settings, and scenes.  That alert was appropriate but again I think any rational person knows the difference between the types of analysis.  If I tell you the ending of Inception and we discuss it that deserves a spoiler.  However, if I merely say the movie is good and I liked the ending, that the ending surprised me, that is not a spoiler.

So, in conclusion spoilers are a part of life, so work around it.  Stop complaining, be a grown up and enjoy the entertainment spoiler or not.

There I said it! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Youtube All Stars

As I’ve mentioned several times on this blog I have been working hard on my videography skills lately and having a blast while doing it.  I have also had the chance to get to know youtube very well as I’ve been working on my channel making it better each day.  Naturally this means I have seen a lot of other contributors and created a running tally of what I call the ‘Youtube All Stars’.

So, you don’t have to do the same kind of work let me share what channels I think are worth your time.

Movies- 

There are a lot of movie review channels and to be honest most of them are pretty good.  Film criticism has basically gone away from television and moved to youtube/rotten tomatoes.  In some ways this is a good thing as someone ordinary like me can make a review and some ways it’s a bad thing because someone ordinary like me can make a review…

Some of the best are Chris Stuckmann, Jeremy Jahns, and Schmoes Knows.  Sometimes the bad movie reviews are the most entertaining.  Here’s a funny review of Batman and Robin with both the Schmoes and Stuckmann

I also really like the Nostalgia Critic but the language is bad .  However,  if you can handle  the language  I think you will laugh.  Check it out.

TV-

My favorite TV youtubers are

Rob Cesternino for reality TV analysis.  He’s a good interviewer and it’s fun to hear the backstory on Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother and more.  The last few seasons of Survivor have been very entertaining and Rob’s site have made it even more so.

Another one I like is the After Buzz channels.  They have roundtable discussions on all kinds of shows and they are a lot of fun.

Subscription Boxes/Beauty-

There are a lot of great youtubers on boxes but 2 of my favorite, aside from myself, are Mort3mr and Jen Luvs Reviews.

Mormon Messages-

If you are a member of my faith or just like nice messages The Mormon Messages channel is great

Given my history of bullying this video is very moving. There are lots like these on the page on a variety of topics.

———-

So there are a lot of other great sites to subscribe too.  Go and explore.  There is comedy, make up tutorials, crafts, cooking videos, etc.  Youtube has managed to remain corporate and still have the user friendly amateur level.

My Aunt has a channel for her business some of you might be interested in and Poler has a site showing some of their gear.

https://www.youtube.com/user/CarolTuttleVideos

https://www.youtube.com/user/polerstuff

What are some of your favorite channels?  Do you like youtube?

 

 

Straight and Blue Hair Tutorial

1972532_10152157768842239_1911689711_nHey guys! So today I must admit I felt beautiful.  My whole look came together in a way that doesn’t always happen.  I got a lot of positive feedback so I thought it would be fun to dissect the look so that you could try it out. This is something new for the blog so let me know what you think.

10152535_10152157765057239_115113178_nThe whole look is based on starting out with straight hair.  Some of the rules for straightening hair as curly and as long as mine is

1. It must be completely dry.  Any rain or moisture will make it curl up quickly.

2. Have at least an hour (I don’t do it very often because it takes a long time and to be honest my arm gets sore holding up the hair and flat ironing it.)

3. Make sure to use an iron guard to protect your hair from getting too fried.

So let’s start with the flat iron.  I have several but when I am straightening all my hair and it’s as long as it currently is (haven’t cut it since September) I use my full size iron.  These are hard to find and I couldn’t find a great link for you.

I got mine probably 5 years ago from a beauty supply shop that my stylist got me into.  This is the closest I found http://www.target.com/p/conair-infiniti-pro-tourmaline-2-ceramic-flat-iron-black/-/A-14653495

P1010512I like to start with dry hair. I usually shower the night before and then do the treatment in the morning.  It wouldn’t make a huge difference but saves you from having to blow dry your hair and given the beating it’s going to take that is a good thing.

Make sure to get the back of your hair and the underneath layers (that’s the part that takes the longest). I also have it on the highest setting because my hair is so curly that’s what it takes which is why…

You must use some protecting treatment on your hair.  My 2 favorites are:

CHI Iron Guard- I’ve had this bottle for years so it is $14 well spent.  It protects your hair from the heat and helps it look silky and smooth. It looks like hair spray but it’s not. You can’t feel it after it is applied and then your flat iron is used, and I put it on quite liberally.    http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod4730015

P1010513and VO5 Make It Straight Gel with Heat Protection.  A little of this goes a long way, but I couldn’t even tell you how long I’ve had this bottle. This is also hard to find but here’s a link but they are out of stock.  http://www.medshopexpress.com/095863.html

There are several different variations now of V05 straightening products but the reviews aren’t as good so I don’t know whether to recommend them.

P1010514I also make sure my hair is as tangle free as possible.  This usually means it is puffy and a mess before starting.  I have been enjoying this dry conditioner I got as a birchbox bonus item. http://www.birchbox.com/shop/serge-normant-meta-luxe-dry-conditioner

P1010517Then I literally spend an hour taking each section spraying iron guard and then flat ironing it.  Once I’m finished a section I use a high quality hair spray to set the area.

For today’s look I added blue streaks throughout using my latest friend Hot Huez Hair Chalk (any hair chalk will work fine but this is wildly available at Wallgreens and is under $15 for 4 colors). http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Huez-Temporary-Chalk-Set-Colors/dp/B00DRA91A0

101_PANAOnce you’ve applied the chalk set with hairspray again.  Also use a little bit of rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab to get rid of any chalk on your face. This wears down after a few hours so I wouldn’t recommend it for an all-day affair like a wedding unless you have blonde hair but for an evening out or afternoon it’s a lot of fun.

Another good thing about the hair chalk is that it is just subtle enough to surprise people without being garish or over-the-top.  I love it.

So that was my hair.  Now for my makeup, which I think turned out great too.

Blue Hair Rachel 1First I used my borghese brightening cream foundation. I got this in one of my boxes and I love it.  It’s light and helps with my redness without feeling cakey. http://www.amazon.com/Borghese-Splendore-Brightening-Body-Ounce/dp/B000A85FP2

borgheseNext, I used Avon You’re Blushing Plum stick.  I’ve had this forever too, so definitely worth the cost. It’s so easy to apply and doesn’t look heavy (I’m not normally a blush fan). http://www.amazon.com/Avon-Youre-Blushing-Cheek-Color/dp/B00ADX52P2

P1010525For lips I used a Lip Do from Model and Co, which is one of my favorite brands of late.  A birchbox favorite I actually got this duo in my recent Popsugar Must Have box and I really like both the lipstick and lip gloss. The feel is really good.  It lasts a long time and doesn’t dry out my lips.

Here’s a great deal for all 3 color sets and their mascara http://www.modelcocosmetics.com/shop/lip-lash-kit

101_PANA1For my eyes I used 2 products-

NYC Eyeliner Duet You’ve Got the Power 883. In this case I just used the gray not the black side.  I got this in a box at some point but it is a low cost very useful liner. http://www.amazon.com/N-Y-C-Eyeliner-Duet-Youve-Power/dp/B000W99X4I

P1010523Next I used Covergirl Bombshell Shine Shadow Ice Queen as the eye shadow above the liner.  This is a sample I got in my Birchbox Finds box which featured products from your local pharmacy such as Wallgreens. It’s a really good shadow and not overly glittery or clumpy (I crease really bad with my eye shadow)  http://www.target.com/p/covergirl-bombshell-shine-shadow-eye-shadow/-/A-15013236 P1010524I think that is everything.  Let me know what you think of this concept.  Is this something you’d like to see more of?

Some of the photography I will try to do better next time.  The samples are small that the camera struggles to, but I enjoyed experimenting with it.

Have any of you used any of these products or companies?  Do you flat iron your hair?  What do you think of the look? I really felt beautiful and that’s of course more important than anything else.

Phases and Smiles

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Do you ever go through phases?  What I mean is I tend to get really excited about something and dive into it and then my interest will lessen for a time and I’ll be hyper-focused on something else. I still always like whatever it might be but my focus can slightly change from time to time.

For example, since the beginning of the year I’ve been really into movies. Part of it may be my recent interest in videography and I’ve always liked movies but lately I’ve just found them so fascinating.  There are so many aspects of the art of film that can be analyzed and discussed and even a bad movie can be interesting to think about.

I hope you haven’t gotten bored with my movie posts of late because I’ve had a blast writing them.  I’ve said from the beginning that these are my silly thoughts about life and that can include movies, books, whatever phase I am in.  I love writing about it!

Books!

For those of you who are not into movies you may be glad to hear that I think I’m about to enter a reading phase.  This is partly due to the fact that I swear I’ve told like 5 people that I will read a book for them or with them.

Currently I’m listening to the book by frequent commenter of this blog Christine Plouvier, Irish Firebrands, and am greatly enjoying it.  http://irishfirebrands.wordpress.com/ . I was asked to be a beta-listener for her audiobook and at first the voice took a while to get used to but now I really like it.  It’s a sexy and romantic story about a Mormon woman who’s kids are grown up and feeling brave moves to Ireland and meets a lonely widower.

I’m also reading a book about Margaret Thatcher with my Mom. It was my present to my mother for her birthday.  Not just the book but that the 2 of us would read it together and discuss.  That’s the relationship we have.  When My Mom and I talk about politics we are saying I love you. (How many people can say that about their parents?).  Really just intelligently discussing anything has always been the best part of our relationship.

I also have the book for book club Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which have been a blast to read again.  I’m really looking forward to club meeting and our discussion.  My sister and I are reading Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim together and that should be great.

And yesterday I got the rewards from a kickstarter campaign I did last fall.  It was for a clean romance novel set called Ripple Effect Romance and they are written by mostly local authors and all are women with pretty decent writing resumes.

Even if they are silly I still think I will enjoy reading them. It’s so hard to find clean romance novels but in an age of the death of the romantic comedy I’m missing my cheesy romance! You can order the first one Home Matters on Amazon.  More about the authors can be seen- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/968976456/ripple-effect-romance-series-six-romance-novellas

ripple effectAnd there are others.  Like I said I have a lot of books I’ve been putting off and need to get with it!  Luckily a book phases is coming and I’m enjoying it just as much as the film phase.

Do you guys ever go through phases like this?  I guess I’m just a hyper-focused person.

smiles

Smiles

Presently I have also felt happier than I have in a long time.  It’s strange because there is a lot of uncertainty in my life, but I don’t really care (a big step for me).  I can’t really get into it but just trust me- there’s uncertainty and potential excitement and disappointment.  Fingers crossed for excitement!  (cryptic enough for you).

There are a lot of reasons I’ve been smiling lately.  One is how much fun I’m having shooting, editing, and learning about videos/youtube.  I’m happiest when I’m learning new things and have new projects. The response has even been exciting.  I have a video with almost 3,000 views!!  It’s just fun.

I’ve also had great times with friends- getting to spend 3 nights this week with different groupings of them (Sunday, Thursday, Friday).  I have the best friends.

The weather has been stunning.  Perfect and the air has been clear for once.  The mountains gorgeous.  How can you not smile when you see this out your door?

mountainsI think another reason I am smiling is I finally feel 100% better.  I was so sick at Christmas and it took me 2 months to feel completely better.  I can breathe freely.  It’s just a good feeling to feel strong and energetic again.

Also, I have finally found a swim coach and have been in the water more in the last 2 weeks than I was in the last 3 months!! I am remembering how happy it makes me.  In fact, I made this video I was so happy after my Thursday swim.

I think it took a while for me to get the bad taste out of my mouth after the Slam the Dam treatment and disappointment.  That was very discouraging. Swimming is supposed to be fun.  It’s not supposed to make me feel bad about myself and my swim times.

When I got in the water the last few weeks I remembered how happy it made me and I feel a renewed desire to train, get ready for GSL.  I had actually been debating about even entering this year because it has been so difficult for me in the past but somehow I turned the corner and am really excited.  Like I said, you can’t wipe the grin from my face after the pool.

today

Oh and I also went to an amazing play on Thursday- Big River at Hale Theater Orem.  So great!  Here’s a review of the show on Deseret News.  Had a great time with my parents.  My Dad and sister are going to Germany for a month and it is going to be fun hearing about their adventure.

My Mom and I at the play
My Mom and I at the play

So, life is good.  Some phases.  A lot of fun and a lot of smiles.  Thanks to all of you for reading no matter the phase. I love you all (for real). Thank you so much!

Feminist Fantasies

women actresses

So yes it’s another one of my feminism posts but it’s late at night and I feel like writing about something so why not! Over the weekend I was talking with my sister about her women’s studies classes and it got me thinking about the differences between the ideal woman of her era and of mine.

When I was in college we talked about a cycle of female imagery that we saw in the 40’s and 50’s. From Rosy the Riveter of WWII to the June Cleavers and Donna Reeds of the 50s.

I particularly remember analyzing I Love Lucy and how the working woman of the war had been turned into a silly, foolish, klutz always needing to be rescued and scolded by her husband (btw I think some of the episodes are very funny but that does tend to be the theme- Lucy get’s in trouble, Ricky groans and then saves the day)

I remember thinking that such a cycle was an oddity of the past and surely wouldn’t be seen again in my enlightened future.  Little did I know that I had already seen it in the change from the 80s to the 90s.

Then we have seen it change again in 2000’s and 2010s

See if you recognize them and if my descriptions ring true.

Feminist Fantasies- What I mean by that is the kind of woman that is put out as the ideal or ultimate example of womanhood.

1980’s feminist fantasy-

Well, the formation of the 80s ideal really started in 1978 with films like An Unmarried Woman with Jill Clayburgh and then in 1979 Kramer vs Kramer with Meryl Streep.  Both movies are about women dealing with divorce- one forced upon her, another by her abandonment of family.

While Streep never seems quite happy after leaving her family in KvsK, Clayburgh is happier, and by the end of the film grateful for her husband’s cheating ways. She’s liberated and free to experience all the new things suburbia and housewife life could have never taught her.

So the fantasy of the free woman starts…

Then the next decade you had women “learning” all kinds of things from divorce or not marrying.  Working Girl, 9 to 5, Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, Broadcast News, When Harry Met Sally all have women that rebel what’s expected of them, are independent and strong. Even if they found love it was a very ‘don’t put me in a corner’ kind of love- no rescuing required.

On television we saw young women living together (The Facts of Life) and old women living together (The Golden Girls).  There were also women cops, attorneys, executives and even the mothers were kind of tough girls (Growing Pains, Family Ties).  Even the cartoons of the 80s featured independent women.  I mean Smurfette is the only woman of her species…

So then the 90s

The fantasy woman of the 90s technically started in the late 80s and it is what I call the ‘perfectly balanced. I can do everything woman’. No person exemplified this more than Clair Huxtible from the Cosby Show.  I realize the show ended in 1992 but I still think it influenced that generation of girls more than the 80s.

Clair was a fantasy woman for any era.  A lawyer married to a doctor with 5 kids in a seemingly perfect brownstone neighborhood of Brooklyn.  Never once did the show discuss the problems such a lifestyle would face- daycare, family abandonment issues, latch key kids etc.

They got around a lot of it by having Cliff’s office at their house but the idea that someone like Clair wouldn’t have a nanny was a true fantasy.   Who needs a nanny when the modern woman can balance home, work, life, community so well?  Sigh…

Another great example of the 90s superwoman is the movie Baby Boom.  It’s a charming movie but the ultimate in feminine fantasy.  Diane Keaton plays a busy career woman who literally scoffs at the notion of home and family creeping into her work.  Then surprise her distant cousin dies and gives her a baby as an inheritance.

Now the workaholic must allow a baby into her busy schedule.  At first she’s overwhelmed but eventually (spoiler) she quits her job, moves to Vermont, dates a hunky vet and starts a gourmet baby food company that her former employer ends up offering a bid on which she turns down so she can run her little company and take care of her baby.

What I think is amazing about this movie is there is no even semblance of ‘let’s try to make my old world work with this new world of family’-a dynamic you’d have seen in the 80s.  In the 90s, it was this illusion if you retooled things and moved them around you could balance everything- even dating the hunky vet… (Murphy Brown would be a TV example of a Baby Boom type story).

Then we get the 2000’s.   I was already in college at this point so most of my female life fantasies had been fully entrenched by that point but there was definitely a shift.  The independent power woman of the 80s, and the perfect balancer of the 90s gave way to a dichotomy of women on one end of the spectrum or another.   The fantasy woman of the 2000’s was either a heroine or a villain.

Villains you ask?  What I mean is someone we might have lauded in the 80s as ambitious and accomplished became an ice queen who never took time for life.  Nowhere is this more true than in 2006’s Devil Wears Prada- a favorite movie of mine.

The career and image obsessed Meryl Streep (twice on this list. I guess she’s just an all around fantasy woman!) doesn’t have time to even pick out Christmas presents for her kids or have a stable relationship within home or the work environment.

In one of their first interactions Streep’s character Miranda gives a list of things for Emily to do.  It is remarkable how this same list would have been seen as great in the 80s and 90s but was definitely the sign of a witch here:

“Details of your incompetence do not interest me. Tell Simone I’m not going to approve that girl that she sent me for the Brazilian layout….Yes to Michael Kors’ party…Call Natalie at Glorious Foods and tell her no for the 40th time. No! I don’t want dacquoise. I want tortes filled with warm rhubarb compote. Then call my ex-husband and remind him that the parent-teacher conference is at Dalton tonight. Then call my husband, ask him to meet me for dinner at that place I went to with Massimo”

Perhaps it is an improvement that such multitasking is even acknowledged as opposed to Clair Huxtible it being all tucked under the table?  And I must admit I relate to this movie because when it came out in 2006 I totally had a Miranda boss who made my life miserable.  What can I say- sometimes people live up to the female fantasies of their era.

At the same time you had the ambitious ice queens of the 00’s you had the ‘desperate to be married’ and be loved group of women (like I said a dichotomy).  Every movie starlet of this era played the part of ‘I can’t get a date to save my life and all I really want to do is get married but I have to work’.  JLo, Jennifer Aniston, Katherine Hiegel, Sandra Bullock to name a few.

The ultimate example of this type of needy, desperate woman is in JLo’s The Wedding Planner where her lonely character has to be rescued from a runaway dumpster (you read right) by the hunky doctor (quite the comparison to Baby Boom…).  She then sits and plans his wedding to another woman as the chemistry percolates.  (huge hit I might remind you).

The description on Imdb says a lot about this end of the fantasy woman of 00s. “Mary Fiore is the wedding planner. She’s ambitious, hard-working, extremely organized, and she knows exactly what to do and say to make any wedding a spectacular event. But when Mary falls (literally) for a handsome doctor…or will Mary finally get to be the bride herself? When it comes to love, you can never plan what’s going to happen.”

Some of these desperate women were actually quite likable and funny because let’s be honest those women exist and there will always be cream in any trend.  Bridget Jones for one was just witty enough to make it work (and the fact it is based on one of the best books ever written Pride and Prejudice helped).

2010-present

So, what’s the fantasy woman now?  What is the image none of us can live up to?  I would say we have abandoned the desperate woman rom com (literally only 2 released last year)and embraced the tough, grizzled warrior woman (Hunger Games, Divergent, even Snow White is a warrior).  You also have the crass, grizzled, foul-mouthed comedic female characters such as in Bridesmaids.
Even Bella was turned into a warrior at the end of the Twilight movies!

That or we have reverted back to the more submissive roles of the 50s (again we are talking about media here).  You have Bella needing to be rescued at every turn and the women on Mad Men falling sway to the alpha males in their lives (I realize that show is set in the 60s but it still can be emblematic of a type of current fantasy).

It’s like the idea of being objectified for sex is suddenly a desirable thing. (The Mad Men website literally has a quiz ‘which of Don’s women are you’?  Not which character on the show but Don’s women)

The women on Mad Men are also kind of a tough talking and world-weary type you see a lot lately. I even read an article the other day about how the CDC did a study and that women report being more exhausted on a regular basis than men.  (Duh!).  To me that is interesting when you think of the cycle of women.  Are we trying too hard to be the warriors?

Clair Huxtible was tired once and Cliff took her to a hotel for a night and then she was fine.  In 2010’s even in our fantasies the women are tired from all the fighting, and warrioring they do.  Interesting.  (I mean can you imagine Miranda Priestly admitting she was tired?  No way!).

The warrior woman also demonstrates an undercurrent of boldness and leadership while being an inherent part of a movement or team.  Part of that is probably due to social media and the dichotomy it gives women between isolation and togetherness.  So, the ideal woman is the warrior with a dash of fatigue and dependence thrown in.

What do you think about the ideal or fantasy woman throughout the years? What have been some that have tantalized you or perhaps made you work harder (fantasies are not always negative)? What do you think are current trends? What women do you wish you could be more like? Or am I totally off on the idea of a fantasy woman changing in different eras?

Even minutes after writing the post I have thought of many other women roles and parts I could have mentioned.  What women came to mind as you were reading my post?