Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite: GLOW (Netflix and Run)

Glow is my latest Netflix and Run binge that I am sad to be done with. It is a re-imagination of the 80s show that I also loved. My favorite characters back then were Dementia and the Farmer’s Daughter. This new show stars Alison Brie and Marc Maron as star and director trying to get the matches on television. It took me back to my childhood bedroom with the teal and peach comforter adorned bed, my side ponytail and florescent pink Garfield sweatshirt with matching leggings, while I listened to “Two of Hearts” by Stacey Q on my boombox. And even though there is plenty of wrestling (no monkey tosses, sadly), it is a story about friendships that are worth fighting for.

Ruth (Alison Brie) and Debbie (Betty Gilpin) are close friends. Ruth is a struggling actress and Debbie is a new mom and former soap star. Ruth is sleeping with Debbie’s husband. When Ruth goes to an audition for a women’s wrestling show, Debbie crashes it with the knowledge of the affair. They end up being cast as each other foes, Debbie as the All American to Ruth’s Russian. They join the rest of the women who all portray a stereotype that befits their appearance.

In the ring each woman plays their part but out of the ring they are shown as not good or bad, but real. They all make mistakes, some with the best of intentions and some not. You want to hate Ruth not just because of what she did to her friend but because she can be annoying. But Alison Brie’s performance makes you love her anyways and you want her to win Debbie’s friendship back.

Just like Stranger Things‘ opening credits recall films like E.T., Glow brings back graphics that we saw on 80s shows like Solid Gold. Songs like “The Warrior” by Patty Smyth, “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie, and “Invincible” by Pat Benatar just enhance the emotional content of each scene. And if you remember Duran Duran’s Rio album cover, you have a good idea of what hair and makeup looks like.

Bad ass women, hair, makeup, and songs that bring the 80s, and an excellent Marc Maron, Glow is another hit for Netflix that you should check out. Season 2 should be a given.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Fighting for the Good

Why You Should Support Planned Parenthood

I didn’t follow my own advice recently and read the comments when a friend posted that she stands with Planned Parenthood. One of her friends said she doesn’t and ranted a bit about her tax dollars going towards abortions. I responded (LIKE A DUM DUM) and told her that if she doesn’t want to have an abortion, she shouldn’t have one. She ranted even more and I just ended the exchange by telling her that she isn’t going to change my mind and I won’t change hers (okay, okay, I did say something else but thought better of it and deleted the comment). But with the current White House administration, I believe it is very important to support Planned Parenthood as they are having their funds taken away. This doesn’t just mean abortions won’t be performed. It also means many other services will not be available to those who need it. And even those who think shutting Planned Parenthood down means abortions will go away are wrong.

First and foremost, I want to say that our federal tax dollars DO go towards abortions. But those abortions are done only in the case of rape, incest, and if the mother’s life is in danger. This is detailed in what is called the Hyde Amendment. As for other abortions, I still stand by my statement. If you don’t want one, don’t have one. But don’t pretend to know what somebody is going through who decides to have one.

Abortion is at the forefront of the news when you read about Planned Parenthood but that isn’t all they do. They also provide birth control, emergency contraception, general health care, HIV and LBTQ services, mens’ health services, education, pregnancy testing and services, STD testing/treatment/vaccines, and cancer screenings in addition to womens’ services. There are over 600 locations and they are there for more than 5 million adults and children each year.

Access to Planned Parenthood services keeps birth rates down. Texas has learned this the hard way. Back in 2011 they cut family budget planning by 67%. As as result, 80 Planned Parenthood clinics closed. That lead to an increase of 3.1 percent in abortions. You can read about it here.

So that’s my spiel. I am pro choice but I understand that abortion is a very hot topic and people not agreeing with them. But Planned Parenthood is not just about abortions. They provide so much more, especially for those that are low income. I hope this sheds some light on an organization that has been unnecessarily controversial in recent years (and for the love of all that is good, please don’t bring up baby parts). The need for Planned Parenthood is too great.

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorites: Korean Films and America

Joon-ho Bong’s Okja tells the story of a little girl and her super pig. When Okja gets taken from Mija (An Seo Hyun), she does everything she can to get him back. It is a moving tale that also showcases the meat industry and its disregard for animal lives. The cast is made up of Korean and American actors and has a lot to say about our society. Watching this made me think of other Korean films that I have been lucky enough to see over the years and how they seem to know us as citizens better than we do.

The Host is how a monster is created when chemicals are dumped into Seoul’s Han River by an American doctor (Scott Wilson, Hershel from Walking Dead). Hyun-seo (Ko A-sung) is taken by the mutant being and her family races to get her back. It is a monster movie but at it’s core it is about family with a bittersweet ending.

Snowpiercer is set in the future with a group of survivors who are trapped on a train that circles the Earth due to a climate change experiment. The train is separated by class of people. Those who run the train are in the front where it is luxurious and those in the back are keeping the train moving and are fed hideous bars of “food”. A rebellion rises up that is led by Curtis (Chris Evans) against the terrifying leader Mason (Tilda Swinton). Snowpiercer is my favorite on this list and is being made into a television show starring Daveed Diggs.

Train to Busan is about a father trying to get his daughter to Busan where she can be safe after a zombie outbreak occurs in Seoul. It is reminiscent of Snowpiercer in that is set on a train fueled by fear, the upper class believe that they deserve to be saved over the lower class, and it has an amazing action fight sequence. This is the only movie on the list that isn’t directed by Joon-ho Bong but it is just as good as the rest and I am a sucker for a quality zombie flick.

Korean films Okja, The Host, Snowpiercer, and Train to Busan are all about family (biological and non-biological). But they all have a darker view of the world, which takes away the element of a fairytale ending. Whether it’s a story about a girl and her pig, a monster movie, a dystopian tale set on a train, or a zombie film, I think this view is what sets them apart and makes them so good.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in California Livin'

Water Park Fun: Soak City

Sunshine and water are synonymous with California. As much as I love the way the beach looks, sand isn’t my thing. But Southern California doesn’t just have beaches aplenty. There is also a number of water parks at our disposal. There is Raging Waters, Hurricane Harbor, Soak City, and a lot of other smaller parks. As pass holders to Knott’s Berry Farm, my family is able to visit Knott’s water park Soak City from May to September every year. Soak City is 13 acres of wet attractions for every age from Gremmie Lagoon to Tidal Wave Bay.

Soak City 1

Gremmie Lagoon is a play area for the little ones. There is a submarine to be explored, mini slides for the babies, and shallow enough water that parents can breathe a little easier. My kids loved it when they were smaller but now they go to the Beach House. The Beach House is a fun house of bigger and taller slides, water guns to shoot, and a gigantic bucket that dumps itself on fun seekers and unsuspecting victims once it has been filled with water.

Soak City just went through a renovation and opened with new rides for families to have fun together and for those who are a little more daring. The Wedge is a ride where my group of four could ride down on a tube together that wasn’t too fast but enough where we laughed the whole way. It is also my kids’ new favorite ride. Shore Break is a 2 person tube ride where you start off on an enclosed tube and come out halfway through. You then fall down a steep drop (the best part IMO) at the end. Another part of Shore Break are four enclosed tubes where you get in, they close a plastic cover over you, and then you fall to your death (or maybe that’s just what I picture in my head). Hubby was the only one brave enough to try it (that was a hard no from me and the kids) and he said that moment before you fall was definitely terrifying but it was fun (he didn’t change any of our minds). We all love Banzai Falls, a mat race that ensures you will squeal and have water up your nose, no matter who wins.

Staples of our visits to Soak City are Sunset River and Tidal Wave Bay. Sunset River, aka Lazy River, is the one place I could stay the whole time. Give me a tube, put my tush in it, and I am good to go. It is never really overcrowded, the water is always a comfortable temperature and clean, and the kids love it just as much as the adults do. Tidal Wave Bay is a wave pool where the water turns into waves around every 10 minutes. There are 10+ lifeguards at all times here but it still isn’t my favorite part of the park now that my kids insist on not wearing life jackets (which is only required up to 48”).

Soak City

There are food, drinks, and desserts to purchase at the park but we stick to our Knott’s souvenir bottle that we purchase every year with the renewal of passes. It runs us about $35 and we can get drinks all year long without being charged. We don’t eat in the park because there are too many good options available to us once we leave the park that are cheaper and taste much better. And one other thing we don’t take advantage of is their lockers. The cost is enough of a deterrent ($20+ last time I checked).

Knott’s Soak City is a fun, clean, and affordable water park for us to visit during the summer. We try to get there when they first open (or even the hour before when they allow that for pass holders) to get a good row of chairs and not have to wait in long lines for the best rides. We are on year five of having passes and none of us have gotten tired of going so I don’t think this tradition will be stopping any time soon.

Soak City 2

Where do you live? Do you have a water park or beach you love to visit? I want to know!

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorite: Master of None

Master of None is the creation of friends Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang. It is a Netflix show that just recently premiered season 2. It is a comedy and drama that tells the story of Dev Shah (Ansari) and his group of friends in NYC.

Season 2 finds Dev in Italy learning how to make pasta and absorbing the culture. He is recovering from a bad breakup. He has made friends with couple Francesca (Alessandra Mastronardi) and Pino (Riccardo Scamarcio). After he returns to New York he lands a job hosting a cupcake competition show. As fate would have it, he is able to spend time with Francesca as Pino does business in New York. He develops feelings for her, which complicates their relationship.

You know when you sit down to watch something and you just know you are going to enjoy it? That’s Master of None. Aziz’s Dev is vulnerable, honest, funny, and lovable. His male character is one you rarely get to see on TV. He doesn’t try to be cool or strong, he is just Dev. But Master of None is not just his story. It is also Alan, Alan’s dad, and Dev’s friend Denise (Lena Waithe). Episode eight is a Thanksgiving story about how Denise’s family evolves over 20 years. The main focus is on Denise’s sexual orientation and how she comes out to her mom, aunt, and grandma and to them accepting her lifestyle. It was my favorite episode until I watched the one that followed. Nine is a work of art. There is an Italian score, the scenery of the city and upstate, and even the lighting in Dev’s apartment. The combination gives it the feeling of a sixties romantic film.

Master of None is one of the best television shows out there. Emmy nominations are right around the corner and it should get ALL OF THEM.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!

Posted in California

California is My Happy Place

My blog is having an identity crisis. I like to write about movies, music, and what is going on in my life. That doesn’t make me much different from a lot of bloggers. So for awhile now I have been thinking about why I love the bloggers that I do. Kelle Hampton is a mom in Florida who has three children. One of them is beautiful Nella who has Down’s Syndrome. Kelle is hilarious, throws Pinterest worthy parties, and loves in a way that I envy. Kristen Howerton is an OC mom of four. Two of them are adopted, Jafta and Kembe. She doesn’t shy away from hard subjects like racial profiling and politics. And then there is Glennon Doyle Melton. Glennon resorts to kindness in her hardest moments. As somebody with social anxiety and an inherent mistrust of people, she has taught me that love always wins.

They say to write what you know and love. I love my family. I love being a California girl, even if my pale skin, freckles, and dark hair screams Midwest. My husband, kids, and I are a single income family so we are always watching our expenses. But we also like to go out and do things. We want to get on a plane in the future to places like Tokyo, New York, and somewhere tropical. Until then we paint California red every chance we get. We are about an hour outside of the OC and LA, and even closer to Palm Springs. We like to go to museums, concerts, amusement parks, plays, etc.  I will be taking you as my readers on our adventures while showing you what is worth visiting, what food is worth eating, and what events you shouldn’t miss. Look for my first post on Knott’s Berry Farm’s Soak City next week. Happy Hump Day!

Sweet Vibes

 

Posted in Pop Culture

Friday Favorites: Getting through the week

The news. Friendships. Local water parks that would rather treat you like garbage than give good customer service. These past couple of weeks have felt like somebody is pushing my head under water, letting me come up for air for two seconds, and then pushing me back under. Anxiety, depression, and life can be fucking unfair. But you don’t want to hear/read me whine like a teenager. Even I get tired of feeling sad. When I have those moments I stop and think of the first thing that is making me happy. It sounds so obvious but being grateful for what I have does not come easy. This is what’s currently getting me out of my head:

Movies: Get Out and Cars 3

Get Out is an intense horror film from Jordan Peele about an interracial couple going to the girl’s parents house for the weekend. It is uncomfortable and claustrophobic with social commentary that will open your eyes a little bit or a lot.

Cars 3 is the latest cartoon from Pixar. It returns us to the story of Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and how he is being left behind by up and comers like Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). It is sweet and nostalgic with predictability that I didn’t mind. And it made me miss Paul Newman.

Movie Trailer: Stronger

Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this film about the Boston Marathon bombing. He plays Jeff Bauman, a man who loses his legs in the blast. My girl Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) plays his love. The trailer is heart wrenching and made me want to see it if only for people coming together in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.

Book: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

This young adult book is the 11th in The Mortal Instruments world that Clare has created. It is fantasy with warlocks, fairies, vampires, and a super human race called the Shadowhunters, which the stories mostly focus on. Lord of Shadows is number two in The Dark Artifices series and focuses on Julian Blackthorn and Emma Carstairs. They are parabatai, a bonded pair of Shadowhunters and best friends. There is a war coming between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders and it is their job to try and stop it. Clare has created a world that takes you all over the world and places you’ve never dreamed of.

TV Show: @Midnight

Chris Hardwick of Nerdist, Talking Dead, and any other show you can think of that he might host created this Comedy Central game show. Guests such as contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race, comedians, actors, and even Kenny G come on to play categories like HashTag Wars. It’s silly adult humor mixed in with current events and it makes me laugh at least a few times in the 30 minutes it plays. I started watching it after we cut the cable a few weeks ago and I have come to look forward to it every night.

What are you watching/reading/listening to these days? I want to know what is getting you through the day/week/month!

Thanks for reading!