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A teenage American-British girl while visiting her father, is thrown into London society during the “Debutante Season”.

This past month, while my aunt was vacationing at our house, we watched a ton of classic movies from the 50s a& 60s. One of those movies was called The Reluctant Debutant starring a very young Sandra DeeRex Harrison, Kay Kendall, & a dashing & also very young John Saxon. Murder, She Wrote‘s Angela Lansbury also makes an appearance in this movie.

My aunt & I were talking about Sandra Dee & how my aunt idolised her as a teenager living in Taiwan. This prompted me to search for a Sandra Dee movie for us to watch together. I felt like Gidget has been watched too many times already, so I settled upon this one (as mentioned above). I was mostly interested in this movie because I had read in the movie summary that Rex Harrison was going to be portraying Sandra Dee’s father in this movie.

Most movies from this 1950s era really intrigue & interest me. I love the fashion that the girls & women wear, & I love all of the tiny, speedy, zippy little sports cars the actors drive in all of the movies. For example, I just adore the little yellow convertible Audrey Hepburn drives in the movie How To Marry A Millionaire. She just zips & zags along the busy streets of Paris with Peter O’Toole in the passenger seat with a look of sheer panic on his face for the daredevil way she drives her tiny little auto. In this movie (The Reluctant Debutante), some of the clothes & dresses Sandra Dee wears is so pretty, I wish I could pull of wearing clothes like that, but other times the outfits make her character look younger than she should be in the movie.

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I adore Rex Harrison in this movie as the doting father & loving husband who’s often caught between doing what his wife says & making his daughter happy. I love how Rex’s character is sort of a goofball (funny) around Kay Kendall’s character (his character’s wife), yet he still shows his tender “dad” side to Sandra’s character. Kay Kendall plays the role of stepmother-who-competes-against-other-debutant-mothers perfectly. Kay’s character is always competing with her cousin (played by Angela Lansbury), who is trying to throw her daughter a coming-of-age announcement, debutante party. So Kay‘s character, who is always trying to out do her cousin in their social group’s popularity, tries to announce her stepdaughter’s coming-of-age in the debutante arena just to get her time in the spotlight. It’s so funny how the two cousins keep trying to throw each other off by giving misdirection & misinformation, only to end up with things working out best for the children they’re both trying to keep apart.

My all time favorite part of this movie was the blossoming romance between Sandra Dee’s beautiful & sensible character & John Saxon’s handsome & bold character. Even though Sandra’s stepmother is trying to keep her away from John’s character due to an alleged scandal that he was supposedly involved in, the pair still find time to spend together getting to know each other & really build up their romance. Rex Harrison’s fatherly character is absolutely hilarious at these times because he also sort of falls into a bromance crush with John’s character due to their mutual love of music & playing the drums. The husband side of Rex’s character wants to make his wife happy by keeping John’s character away from his daughter. Yet, he wants to make his daughter happy by allowing her to go out with John’s character. There’s a lot of comedic eavesdropping that gets foiled every time the nosy parents are discovered, but that doesn’t take away from the tender & sweet scene of Sandra’s character slowly & coyly seducing John’s character to sit with her on the couch late at night so they could steal kisses in the dark. The sweet moment when Sandra’s character promises to wait for John’s character while he attends a family funeral in Italy. Then, they are so excited to see each other again, & that’s when the relationship really starts to bloom. The couch kissing scene was my all time favorite from the whole movie. It made my heart do rapid flip flops.

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When at first Kay Kendall’s stepmom character thought John Saxon’s character was a boy with a past that would ruin her stepdaughter’s reputation, I was not surprised. I knew she would have preconcieved opinions about him based on the seedy rumors she’s heard through her social circle. Then, throughout the movie, when John’s character continues to hold his head up high & prove himself to be a fine, well-mannered gentleman, I really hoped that he would prove Kay’s character wrong once & for all. In the end, he proved himself to be worthy of Sandra Dee’s character’s love. He proved without saying a single word that he was the boy RexKay’s characters wanted for their daughter all along. I just loooved the shocked look on the stepmom’s face in the ending scene, when the butler announces John’s character as the high titled Italian duke with the heir to a huge family name & fortune. I was cheering at the TV screen that entire time. I loved the happy ending that was all wrapped up in a neat little bow. It was a perfect conclusion to a short & sweet classic movie.

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Well, that’s all I have to say about this movie. I would totally watch this again & again. It was such a fun, light-hearted, romantic movie that fills my heart completely. Until the next reveiw, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“WORK THAT” by TERIYAKI BOYZ feat. Pharrell Williams & Chris Brown

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I love to watch movies. Oldies, newbies, you name it. I’ll probably watch it, or at the very least try to watch one time. I really have to thank iTunes movie rentals & Netflix for helping me expand my movie genre interests, & for urging/pushing/encouraging me to watch movies I would have never thought to watch on my own, like various foreign movies for example. Also, my aunt has been vacationing at my house for the past month, & almost every night after dinner we’ve been renting classic/oldie movies from my cable provider’s On Demand movies list. It really got me thinking about all of the movies I’ve watched in my life & how would I categorize them.

My taste in movies is a little bit all over the place. I’m not a dedicated fan to just one genre, or movies from a certain decade. Most of my family & friends are super into current blockbuster movies, & also pop culture movies (usually ones that have some sort of connection to San Diego Comic Con). I love all sorts of movies, from 50s/60s classics, to musicals, to foreign, to box office bombs, etc.. (I guess you could say that my haphazard taste in movies is the same as my mixed taste in music genres.) Many times, I’ll mention my interest in a movie that would get my friends & family to scratch their heads. OK, so it’s mostly Jian that says I’m weird for liking certain movies. Here, I’m going to explain these such movies, these “guilty pleasure” movies that I don’t like to talk about with other people. Having to explain why I like these movies to most other people…well…it’s just too much for me to say in one blog post, so I’ll just get on with it then.

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  1. Ever since I was a young teenager, I’ve been extremely fascinated with Drag Queens. I don’t even know how I got introduced to the whole world of Drag, but once I learned about this style of entertainment, I’ve been a fan ever since. The first movie I ever watched with predominantly gay main characters was To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar. As a wide-eyed teen, I didn’t understand the stories behind the gay characters at all. All I cared about was that there were straight guys, acting as gay men, dressed in women’s clothes. I mean, I was excited to see Patrick Swayze dressed as a woman. (It’s waaay cooler than Dustin Hoffman dressing as a woman.) Of course, there is a deeper meaning behind this movie, & I totally understood the hard times these characters had to face after watching this movie a second time. I love the stay strong spirit behind this movie, & the fact that a whole town can turn their bigotry frown upside down, & learn life lessons on tolerance & acceptance.
  2. OK, I’m more of a “Tom Hanks in an action role” kind of gal, rather than a “Tom Hanks in a romantic comedy role” girl. However, this movie gets my heart fluttering every time. Maybe it’s because Meg Ryan is so cussing cute in this movie. I seriously envied her sweet character owning a small generational mom-&-pop bookstore in the heart of the big city. Yes, falling in love with a guy you’ve only IM’d with on the internet is creepy, but I like how they get to really know each other first before seeing the other person’s face. It’s like a relationship version of The Voice. Also, I think it’s cute (albeit outdated) when they chat with each other online & send each other regular emails. Nowadays, people don’t email or write to each other. It’s all texting, emojis, animated GIFs, & dick pics. My favorite aspect of the movie is that Tom Hanks’ character & Meg Ryan’s character really get to know each other before they find out they’ve been anonymously chatting with each other online the whole time. The part where Meg Ryan tells Tom Hanks that she wished all along that he would be her online crush gets my heart fluttering every time I watch this movie.
  3. When I mention to people that this Japanese cult hit is one of my all-time favorite movies, they either automatically scratch their heads from not recognizing this movie, or they just don’t understand why I love a movie with so much blatant & extreme gore/violence. This movie was not made with the intention of being overtly gorey or violent. This movie was made to convey a serious social issue in Japan. During the time of the movie’s release, there were many teenagers who were expressing apathy towards their elder generations, & were showing their lack of respect to their elders. These youth were becoming increasingly lazy & disinterested in changing the environment around them. The adults were fed up with the younger generation. So this movie got everyone’s attention. What would you do if you were put in a “kill or be killed” situation that you had no way out of? Would you save yourself, or would you band together to help your friends? Would you wake up & change your situation/environment? One such character in this movie, who had a chip on his shoulder from being shuffled around in foster care, was once a lazy apathetic teenager coasting through high school, but rose up & fought for the greater good of his fellow classmates. He fought to avenge the death of his best friend. He fought to protect the girl that he loved who had a pure, kind heart. He fought to avenge the unnecessary deaths of his fellow classmates. He rose up & fought to change the course of his life, to change his situation, to change the environment around him & not sit idly by while the world kept spinning without change. This movie really made me fall in love with the actor Tatsuya Fujiwara‘s acting. He is such an incredibly talented actor, & he amazes me every time I watch him on the big & small screens.
  4. In my community (a.k.a. my circle of friends & family) it is taboo for me to express my interest in the actor Jamie Dornan. I get laughed at every time I  talk about him. So, I keep my interest in Jamie Dornan super private. Many moons ago, Jamie Dornan acted in this movie set in a pretty little town in Belgium, where his character (pretended to) was learning about his family’s lineage, & trying to broker a deal with a professional racing bird breeder. This was a pretty casual, lighthearted, romance genre movie, which is kind of a different direction for this actor. There were no heavy military storylines, or action-packed love scenes, or thrilling cat & mouse chases. This movie was just good, clean fun to watch…& just to see a younger Jamie Dornan act in something that didn’t involve evading the police, serial murderings, war & guns, or bondage & spankings. I will declare here & now that I’m a huge fan of Jamie Dornan. I really enjoy his acting style/skills, even though I don’t really find his American accent appealing or believable, & often sounds forced. Also, I will “Plead the Fifth” on whether I find Jamie Dornan physically attractive or not. I try to not focus on that when I watch his movies or TV shows. He’s more than just a pretty face with 8-pack abs & rippling biceps, you know.
  5. This movie starring Hugh Grant & Drew Barrymore is so cheesy, but I love it’s ability to poke fun at itself…well, mostly it’s Hugh Grant’s aging pop star character. I love the self-depricating demeanor of Hugh Grant’s nearly washed up has-been pop star character. Drew Barrymore is also cute as & an insecure writer working for her sister’s weight loss company. I really enjoy the chemistry between Drew Barrymore’s character & Hugh Grant’s character when they come together to write lyrics for a new pop song together for a young rising pop singer. The young pop singer character is sooo annoying in this movie, but there is truth to her character as so many pop singers today display the same level of self-serving diva attitude. Kristen Johnson’s character is also really cute as the fangirl to Hugh Grant’s character, especially when she finds out that Drew Barrymore’s character (her in-movie sister) gets to work with Hugh Grant’s character. It kind of reminded me of when I was a naiive teenager who was infatuated with my favorite teen pop idol. I’m not quite sure, however, that this movie acurately depicts how difficult it actually is to write song lyrics. You can’t just sit down at a piano with your temporary house sitter & bang out a chart-topping pop love song in a day.
  6. Cannibal is a beautiful, unconventional romance set in Spain. How’s this for a plot twist? A woman falls in love with an introverted, quiet man who murdered her sister AND ATE HER HUMAN FLESH, all while she is in the midst of searching for said missing sister. I’ll admit, I was attracted to Antonio de la Torre‘s mysterious character from the very beginning. Hey, my paternal grandfather was a tailor & maker of fine gentlemen’s suits. So, when I saw Antonio’s character making men’s suits, that piqued my interest. However, it was his character’s mysterious & meticulous nature that really attracted me to this movie. I’ve seen movies & documentaries that featured cannibalism before, so I wasn’t too shocked to see Atonio’s character casually eating human flesh like a regular pork chop for dinner in one scene. What truly got me hooked on this movie was the fact that even though Antonio de la Torre’s character is killing women, he can’t seem to kill Olimpia Melinte‘s character. He is growing more & more attached to & in love with her as the movie progresses. Even though Antonio’s character lives a very strict & extremely organized life, he still lets Olimpia’s character enter in to his home & into his introverted life. Of course, as predictable movie plotlines go, Antonio’s character does try to keep Olimpia’s character at a distance, not wanting her to get too close to him, both emotionally & investigatively. My favorite scene in the movie is when Antonio’s character invites Olimpia’s character to his vacation cabin/”chop shop” with the intention of killing her (as well), but instead spares her life & ends up sleeping beside her on the sofa in a rare act of intimacy, which is unusual for his character who is mostly emotionally unattached. Of course, as you would expect, Olimpia’s character goes berserk once Antonio’s character confesses all of his serial crimes (including her sister) & his particular culinary appetite, but when Antonio’s character breaks down & emphatically professes his love for Olimpia’s character, my heart melts. Obviously I cannot go around & freely announce that I love a romance movie featuring a murderous flesh eating main character. That’s why this is my secret guilty pleasure movie on Netflix.
  7. Now, I’m not explicitly saying that I secretly like bondage & domination, or that I’m some pervy voyeur. I love the romance in this movie plain & simple. James Spader plays a cold, dominating, fiery lawyer. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays his timid, wide-eyed, submissive secretary/personal assistant. Just like in the book trilogy that got turned into a blockbuster movie franchise, both of the main characters teach each other valuable lessons on life & love, & also help one another open up their hearts & minds to enrich each other’s lives. Of course the steamy themes make this movie much more exciting & enticing to watch than your average romantic movie, but that’s just a tool to explore the many facts of love & relationships. Also, I remember when I was a kid, I wanted to grow up & become a secretary who typed on a typewriter, answered the telephone, & sent out hand-typed letters from the boss. This movie combined my childhood career fantasy with my adult romantic fantasy. I mean, wouldn’t it be so cool to pick up the phone & say, “Hello. You have reached the office of E. Edward Gray!
  8. I love the older works of actress Helena Bonham Carter, like: Lady Jane & A Room With a View. She just looked to fresh faced & angelic in those movies with her wild, curly hair, rosy cheeks, & child-like smile. This movie is one of my all time favorite romance movies. It’s so innocent & pure, & I could watch this movie a hundred times, & it will make my heart litter-patter every time. Having the city of Florence as the main backdrop only adds more charm & even more romantic feeling to this movie. After watching this movie for the first time, I was totally infatuated with Julian Sands‘ character. At the time, I thought he was so handsome, & Helena Bonham Carter’s character was so pretty & sweet. I was cheering for their characters to fall in love with each other from the beginning to end. I sooo wanted Lucy Honeychurch & George Emerson to fall in love & get married. The first kissing scene in the Italian meadow makes me blush fiercely every time I watch it. Also, it makes me so frustrated when George tries to kiss Lucy on the tennis court, & she quickly pushes him away. I wish he could’ve grabbed her again & held her tighter while kissing her more, not to force himself upon her, but to make an unmistakable declaration of love. I would like at least once to be pulled in close & passionately kissed by the man I love.
  9. This movie is part sci-fi fantasy, part romance. I can’t imagine having my soul so intertwined with another stranger’s soul that I can actually feel what the other person is feeling & to be able to see what they see through their eyes. It also doesn’t seem scientifically plausible, but it does make a cute movie plot. This movie vaguely reminds me of You’ve Got Mail, where the characters interact with each other by talking & getting to know each other before meeting in person, but to be able to talk to each other through telekinesis, that’s a bit weird. However, I do find it kind of cute & cool how the two main characters can see what the other person looks like  when they each look into a mirror. I love the initial awkwardness of Michael Stahl-David’s character. Of course there are some obvious themes in this movie such as: the guy who’s down on his luck with a rough past falling in love with the sheltered well-to-do gal. Both of the main characters in this movie have complicated pasts & hard futures ahead, but they both push through those obstacles to find each other & run off into the sunset (on a commercial freight train).
  10. Okay, I’ve saved the corniest/cheesiest chick flick (or bean flicker, as Jian likes to call it) for last. This movie franchise seems to be getting a ton of exaggerated negative reviews by movie critics & the general male population. However, the diehard fans of the book series seem to genuinely like the movies that have been released so far. This is the one movie franchise I straight up refuse to talk about with my friends & family because they immediately make fun of me for liking any aspect of this franchise (book, movie, or anything related). I don’t even know how to properly describe what I like about this franchise. There are many things. However, let me set one thing straight once & for all. I AM IN NO WAY INFATUATED WITH THE MAIN MALE CHARACTER. No, I do not wish to be swept off my feet by some extremely handsome billionaire to his seductive castle in the sky. My eyes are wide open here, & I know that this scenario is unrealistic & will never happen to me even in a thousand different lifetimes. I have no illusions, or shall I say delusions, here. I understand my reality, but I am a fan of this book series & its story. It’s a great literary escape to a fantasy scenario, & I think the movie adaptations of the books were pretty good considering all of the various restrictions (i.e. time-limit, how many scenes they can cram into one movie without overloading or making them spseem forced, etc.). By the way, I just watched movie 2 out of 3 last night, but I had to wait until everyone in the house was asleep.

Ok, that’s all I’m going to say in this blog post. I hate writing endings to my posts. I don’t know how to properly write a closing note. So, I’ll just say, Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“Baby’s Wearin’ Blue” by BOSLEY

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Hello. I was sitting at my local big box coffee shop again when I had the idea to write this post. These are more random thoughts & various things that I wanted to write about.

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  • I was casually & very conspicuously staring at the FedEx deliveryman who was wearing a pair of unflattering FedEx uniform shorts. I was thinking to myself, as I was so obviously gawking at this harmless gentleman, that thank goodness it’s sunny outside because this guy needs to get some color on his pale legs. I also fleetingly thought he had a generic pair of typical men’s legs, very average. Please don’t ask me why I was staring at this guy specifically. I was sitting at the counter right next to the drinks drop-off area & was just casually observing all the people passing through the coffee shop.

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  • An older adult gentleman sat down in the seat next to me after picking up his mail from the post office next door. You can probably guess what happened next. Yes, I had to stick my nose in this guy’s private business & snoop at what he got in the post. I know it’s controversial (in some societal, moral, mannerly way) to be so blatantly staring at other people & their private business, but I am an observer. I like to observe the things & people around me. Some people call it “openly staring in a creepy way”. Other people call it “an invasion of privacy”. I call it “being aware of my surroundings”. I wasn’t purposely trying to look at this man’s mail, but he was practically flaunting it by putting it right inbetween us on the counter in plain view of us both. The packages & post were just begging to be ogled at by all eyes.

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Illustration Credit: Rebecca Mock; Photo Credit: Pinterest & rebeccamock.blogspot.com


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Illustration Credit: Scott Campbell; Photo Credit: Google Images & designtaxi.com

 

  • As I’m typing this blog post, I’m listening to both the Midnight in Paris movie soundtrack & the Funny Face movie soundtrack (a.k.a. original motion picture soundtrack), both on Spotify. I’ve been listening to both soundtracks on repeat for the past couple of weeks. You should know me by now. Once I find something I like, I will stick to it until the very end of my days. So far I have two standout favorite songs, one from each soundtrack. On the Funny Face movie soundtrack, I love all of the songs, & can sing almost all of the songs by now, but my standalone favorite is “On How To Be Lovely”. On the Midnight in Paris movie soundtrack my favorite is “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love)” the cover of the famous Cole Porter song.

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  • Last week I watched a highly anticipated movie. Based on my above mentioned icon, you can obviously guess which movie I’m talking about. Since I’ve been a long-time devoted fan of the original source material for this movie, I went into the theater with a lot of unrealistic expectations…meaning, I went to watch the movie with the mindset of comparing the movie adaptation of the original source material. That was a stupid thing for me to do. I should’ve just checked my over-zealous fangirl mentality at the door & enjoyed the movie for what it was, pure entertainment through & through. After watching said movie, I went through the initial period of picking apart the movie & comparing it nearly word-for-word to the source material. Once I got over all of those trival quips & squabbles, I was able to appreciate the movie for its own qualities. I enjoyed the movie so much so that I already pre-ordered the digital download on iTunes. Yeah, I enjoyed the movie that much. Also, I highly admire the creativity & talent of the source material’s creator & actors. I wanted those people to make money off of me & help their success grow, plain & simple.

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  • Adding on from the last bullet point, because I was so enamored with the movie I watched last week, I went back to re-examine the original source material the movie was based on. I’ve gained a new perspective from re-examining the source material, & it has made me fall in love even more than I already am. Re-reading the source material again (for the **th time) has had me re-thinking about various scenes & pick up small details that were previously misinterpreted &/or overlooked. I am now appreciating the source material in a whole new way.

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  • For the past few weeks I have been on a tortilla eating binge. We’ve been stocking our kitchen pantry with loads of soft, medium-sized tortillas & eating them like crazy, especially for lunch. I enjoy making sandwich wraps & mini lunch burritos with the tortillas, & on ocassion (like on the weekends) I like to make quesadillas. Lately, my favorite lunchtime meal has been making veggie wraps/burritos using either pre-packaged mixed salad greens or baby arugula, sliced white onions, & thinly sliced tomatoes. Sometime’s I’ll add some sort of salad dressing, but I mostly eat it plain (a.k.a. sans dressing/sauce). It’s like I’m making a mozzarella-less caprese salad wrap/burrito. This wrap is so extremely quick & easy to make (as well as eat), & I LOVE no-fuss recipes/meals. Any recipe that takes less than 10 minutes to prep & eat  is a winner in my book, & this wrap is the best. I’ve been eating this salad-y wrap for lunch for the past two weeks & I’m still not tired of it. Sometimes I’ll add a slice or two of deli sandwich meat, but I mostly eat it plain, just veggies. I am by NO MEANS
    a vegitarian. God knows I love a good slab of medium-rare steak (& other delicious meats), but this no-meat wrap is sooo tasty too.

Well, this concludes my random blog ramblings. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“Fortunate Son” by Credence Clearwater Revival

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This inspiration hit me like a ton of bricks the other day, right after I took a shower to wash my hair. I was feeling so incredibly refreshed after washing my hair that I decided to write a post about it, but I couldn’t just write a bland post about hair washing, so I decided to include other things that made my heart flutter 『ドキドキ』 recently. Here is my shortlist.

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

  1. That feeling you get after washing your really dingy, greasy hair. You know how there are times when you’ll wait a couple of days to wash your hair, to really build up the grunge? You know those times when you’re trying not to over-wash your hair & strip it of its natural oils, & then it’s the moment of truth, hair washing day. You really slather on the shampoo & really work up a good, thick lather. You massage your scalp & thoroughly rinse all the suds from your glorious mane. Then apply a fresh coat of conditioner. It’s that really squeaky clean, refreshed, weight-off-your-shoulders, relieved feeling you get after finally washing your hair once & for all.That’s the feeling I got a few days ago after washing my own hair. For some unknown reason, my hair was especially greasy & stringy that day. I had been trying to stretch out the days between hair washes because I don’t want to strip my hair of its natural oils & nutrients. I guess I probably applied too much anti-frizz oil from my previous hair styling, so it really built up greasiness on my scalp & hair. Oh man, I gotta tell you that I felt so extremely refreshed after washing my hair that day. It made me feel so incredibly overjoyed that it compelled me to write about it. My hair felt like I had just gone to the hair salon & had a professional stylist spruce it up for me. I felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders, & the semi-germophobe/neat freak inside of me was screaming with happiness that I was clean from head-to-toe once again.Sunday Cologne1.jpg
  2. I got a new fragrance from BYREDO for Christmas from Jian. I’ve been wanting to try this Sunday Cologne scent for a very long time but always end up going back to my two favorite scents: Flowerhead  Black Saffron. Jian was generous to splurge on this fragrance for my Christmas gift, & I was so happy to be able to try it. This has been my go-to fragrance for this month. I love the gentle floral & slightly herbal notes of this fragrance. This fragrance provides a nice break between my other BYREDO fragrances, which are more strong on the sweet & floral notes. This fragrance makes me feel so light & happy. Also, the best part about this BYREDO fragrance, all of their fragrances, is they don’t give me any allergies. I am highly allergic to anything with a perfume smell & generic perfume in generall, so being able to find perfumes & colognes that don’t make me sneeze or make my skin itch is a win for me.
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    Took me 8+ hours (over a span of 4 days) to finish this set. It’s a little smaller than a typical LEGO set.

    3. I’ve probably never mentioned this on my blog before, but I love collecting LEGO modular creator sets & building them. So far I have nine city building sets (Café Corner, Green Grocer, Grand Emporium, Pet Shop, Town Hall, Palace Cinema, Parisian Restaurant, Ace Brickman’s Detective Office, & Brick Bank), & currently Jian is building the newest addition to our collection, the 10th Anniversary Assembly Square. I’ve also got 3 world landmark sets including the one pictured above (India’s Taj Mahal, London’s Tower Bridge, London’s Big ben).

    This Big Ben modular set was one my all-time favorite sets to build so far. Pardon my language here, but this was a real bitch to build. There were quite a few custom brick pieces, & a lot of the bricks & tiles had to be placed diagonally. You know the neat-freak/compulsive organizer iniside of me had to make sure every diagonal section matched up perfectly. That made the building process a real pain in the ass. On top of that, there were so many repetitive sections to build  that I was getting frustrated in the middle of building this set. However, once I completed building the set I felt so accomplished, & it was so rewarding. Surprisingly, my most favorite part to build of this entire set was the lone tree, not even the clock mechanism in the main tower. Also, building this set really ramped up my desire to visit England. I’ve been extremely wanting to visit London for many years, but building this set (as well as the Tower Bridge set) made me want to visit that city even more!

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    Photo Credit: Minimal Movie Posters

    4. A couple of weeks ago I re-watched the movie Midnight in Paris again. I started watching the movie while I was taking a shower. Ok, so I didn’t exactly watch it when I was in the shower. I just proped up my tablet on the bathroom counter as close to my shower as possible & just let the movie play in the background while I was showering. I continued to watch the rest of the movie after I got out of the shower. I think I’ve probably watched this movie 7 or 8 times already, & I’m still not sick of it yet. I love all of the famous characters portrayed in this movie, & I especially love the aspect of traveling back in time to one’s favorite era.

    If I could travel back in time, I would travel back to the 1950s-60s, but only if I would be spared the racial discrimination for being Asian…or, like if I slipped back in time to a place like the one portrayed in the movie Flower Drum Song. I wish I knew a guy like the movie’s character Gil Pender. I would love to explore Paris with him, & like he says in the movie, walk along the river with a baguette under my arm & sit at a café while scribbling away on a novel. That would be…lovely.

    Spotify-icon-256.png5. I’ve said in my previous post that I recently subscribed to a premium account on Spotify. I’ve talked on-and-on about how much I love the wide music selection on Spotify & the menu options & such. I just discovered the entire Midnight in Paris original motion picture soundtrack on Spotify, & it has made me so happy. Ever since I first saw this movie I had wanted to download the entire soundtrack on iTunes, but I never actually did it. Then, when I found out the entire soundtrack was available to listen on Spotify, I was over-the-moon with joy. I’ve probably listened to all the songs 20 times each since my Spotify discovery. I even listened to this soundtrack on repeat throughout the duration of my LEGO Big Ben build.

    Yes, I know it sounds weird to be listening to French classical music while I’m in the process of building a British historical landmark. I should’ve been listening to some Brit-Pop music like The Clash or the Arctic Monkeys instead, but I couldn’t help myself. I’m a creature of habit, as I’ve stated many times before, & I also love all of the songs from this movie. The music from this movie just puts me in a good mood, just like the music from the animated Pixar movie Ratatouille, which is also French in theme. (I am so envious that my mom got to visit Paris, France last year, even though I want to vist London, England more than any other place in the world.) Don’t laugh at me, but I’m listening to the Midnight in Paris soundtrack on Spotify right now, exactly as I’m typing this paragraph. I am currently listening to Can-Can From “Orpheus in the Underworld” as performed by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra on my Spotify app. See? I love this app. I’m using everyday to listen to all of my favorite music. I’ve hardly touched my iTunes app in the past month. All I can say now is that I am so happy I subscribed to Spotify.

Well, that’s all I have to say about that. I can’t believe that January just flew by like a crazy bat out of hell. I hope February doesn’t slip by so quickly. Until then, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“Gold On the Ceiling” by The Black Keys

gold on the ceiling.jpg

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

 

“A wheelchair-bound professional photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window, and is convinced one of them has committed a murder.” (via IMDB)

So I got this hankering, a real itch, to watch a movie the other night. I love watching classic films from the 1950s & 60s, but it’s hard to find movies made before the 1970s in a streaming format on the Internet. Sure, it’s much easier to buy a DVD & watch it on the home TV, but first of all, who watches DVDs anymore now that there are such outlets like: Netflix, Crackle, Hulu, & On Demand cable listings? Secondly, who has the time to buy DVDs and convert their formats into tablet compatible video files? Mostly, I enjoy the convenience of watching from my portable device, so I can do things like take a shower & watch my movie at the same time.

It really is hard to find Classic films to rent & stream or to buy & download on the Internet. Before Netflix took it off their streaming list, I’ve probably stream-watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s at least a dozen times or so…To Catch a Thief, perhaps half a dozen or more times, all while working out at the gym (or soaking in the bath tub, again). I rented Rear Window the other night on my tablet, & it just brought back to my mind all of the reasons why this movie is arguably my most favorite film of all-time. These are a few of the movie genres I like: Mystery, Romance, & Action & Adventure. This movie had all three genres rolled into one. There were thrills & suspense without the movie being overly predictable & corny. After all, this IS an iconic Alfred Hitchcock film.

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

 

I’ve always enjoyed the fine acting of James “Jimmy” Stewart, & of course, Grace Kelly. Of course, who doesn’t love director Alfred Hitchcock? He has directed several of my favorite films (i.e. To Catch a Thief, North By Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, & The Birds). I won’t remember Jimmy Stewart from the film It’s a Wonderful Life, as I haven’t seen the film in its entirety, but I’ll always remember him in this film Rear Window & in The Man Who Knew Too Much (since I saw the latter film in high school for a class assignment). I’ve also mistakenly seen the 1990s Christopher Reeve remake of this film, & it could never compare with the original. What a disaster the 90s remake was! At least I didn’t have to pay even a cent to watch that movie, it was such a flop in my book. The original version of Rear Window is so timeless; I could watch this movie a hundred more times & not get sick of it.

Jimmy Stewart’s character L.B. Jeffries would make a great detective if he ever decided to give up his photography career. I love how he uses his camera equipment to take a closer look into the lives of his fellow apartment neighbors. Let’s see, we’ve got the older couple with the friendly dog who pulls their mattress onto their balcony every night to sleep, the aspiring ballet/Broadway dancer, the newlywed couple who always keeps their shades drawn, the music composer who’s run out of inspiration, the bohemian art sculptor who likes to sunbathe in the afternoons, Ms. Lonelyhearts…the single woman who is so desperate for a man that she makes them up or picks up guys from bars. Then you have the most famous neighbor of them all, Mr. Thorwald, the costume jewelry salesman with a nagging invalid wife who begins to act suspiciously upon the sudden disappearance of his wife.

rear window2

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

I get such a thrill stepping into the shoes of Jimmy Stewart’s character, spying on my neighbors in an act of pure voyeurism. It’s so naughty, yet so fun to snoop on the neighbor’s living around you. Maybe it’s because Jian always says I like to snoop on my neighbors. He makes fun of me about this all the time. I don’t like to say that I’m snooping per-sé, but, I will embellish my answer by saying I am a glorified “neighborhood watchman”. I do like to know what’s going on in my neighborhood, so that I can be prepared in case of emergencies and natural disasters. Therefore, it’s not really being nosy or snooping. However, there are times when Jian & I are walking around the major city center & I will sometimes peek into apartments with large windows…not because I’m a pervert or a voyeur, but because I like to see how others decorate their own homes. I have a mild interest in home decorating & often watch home improvement programs on the HGTV & FYI channels.

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

OK, let’s get back to talking about the movie. I sometimes wish I could be as observant as Jimmy Stewart’s character L.B. Jeffries, taking mental notes about my interesting & colorful neighbors. This brings up old memories of when I was a young tween, reading the classic children’s book Harriet The Spy (I’ve also seen the 1990s movie starring Gossip Girl actress Michelle Trachtenberg). Oh man, when I was a young teenager I really, really, really wanted to be just like the character Harriet The Spy. I even started collecting notebooks just so I could write down everything I observed. I wanted to roam the city streets, sneak through dirty alleyways behind Chinatown, make friends with the local butcher & delivery truck guy, use my binoculars to peek through grimy back alley windows, & write down everything I see around me. I believe I’ve somewhat achieved that goal. I’ve got this blog after all. Now, I don’t want to ever discover a murder crime scene, or anything gruesome like that, but it would be a little cool to learn more about my neighbors quirky habits & getting to know them.

You know one thing’s for sure, Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s would not much care for L.B. Jeffries from this film. You know why? Because just as Ms. Golightly said to Paul Varjak just as he woke her from a nightmare, “Let’s get one thing straight. I hate snoops!” (You see! That shows just how many times I’ve seen ‘B at T’s’! I can quote parts of the movie off the top of my head.) Speaking of lead female characters, let’s chat a little bit about Grace Kelly’s utterly fabulous character Lisa Carol Fremont. Oh, how I truly admire a strong female such as she! A woman who knows her own mind, knows what she wants, & works hard at getting it, even if it comes in the form of a stubborn wheelchair-bound photographer who thinks she’s too good for him. It does not matter to Lisa that she’s an upper crust socialite & L.B. is a blue-collar guy who sticks his neck out for a smashing photograph. She’s in love with him, & she works hard to prove it to him: providing him a gourmet lobster dinner, warm after-dinner brandy, & one overnight bag carrying only the essentials a girl would need to stay the night at her lover’s apartment. Lisa also takes care of L.B., not only attending to his everyday needs while he is confined to that damed wheelchair, but she really gives him loads of TLC…ahem, plenty of kissing. Like I said before, she is a woman who knows her own mind. Lisa practically immediately believes L.B.’s claims that his across-the-way neighbor has been acting very bizarrely, ever since the invalid wife’s disappearance. She helps him in any way to gather evidence against the suspicious neighbor, helping him sort through crazy theories, & even providing a woman’s perspective with her “Women’s Intuition”. Lisa is quite brave sneaking off to the neighbor’s apartment in the middle of the night to snoop around for clues. That show how much in love & devoted she is to Mr. Grumpy Wheelchair Guy.

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

The other lead female character in this movie should also not be overlooked. Thelma Ritter’s character Stella, the insurance company’s home-care nurse, is also one of my favorite characters from the movie. Stella provides the quick wit & sharp humor that cuts through the thick tension throughout this film. She’s always trying to push L.B. to move his relationship forward with Lisa, never mincing her words. Hey, she’s a maladjusted misfit who’s been happily married to her other maladjusted misfit for years, so she knows a thing a two about love. The only way to get her wedding ring would be to chop off her finger. I think Stella needs to spread a little more common sense on L.B.’s sandwiches from now on. I really think Thelma Ritter was nicely cast for this role. I haven’t seen too many of her movies, but I still quite enjoy her acting. Her most notable acting role that I can remember was Alma the loveable, eavesdropping, drunk housekeeper in the film Pillow Talk, starring Doris Day, Rock Hudson,Tony Randall. She also provided much needed dry wit & sharp humor in that film as well.

rear window6

image credits: Universal Studios & Paramount Pictures via IMDB

One thing I really loved about this movie is that it was all entirely filmed in one sound stage. Everything was pretty much shot in the infamous apartment of L.B. Jeffries. No grand location shoots or car chase scenes, just one beautifully designed apartment. Oh, how I just adore the architecture & home decor of the 1950s & 60s!! What was considered Contemporary back then is now considered Mid-Century Modern nowadays. Well, I now live in an Eichler home, so I guess that influenced my love of Mid-Mod decor. I’ve always dreamed of living in a downtown city apartment decorated just like L.B.’s in the film. So, when I lived in my own apartment for a time, I felt so happy & content. I was really proud of & loved cleaning my apartment everyday & finding new ways to decorate it. If only I had an unlimited budget, then I would’ve surely decorated my apartment to look very Mid-Century Modern. I’m not sure how much Jian would’ve approved, but I would’ve been over the moon. I amazes me that the entire movie was filmed in such a small apartment complex, & yet there was so much action going on within the storyline. Each apartment neighbor provided their own little side story, which made the film seem like more & feel much bigger than it actually was.

And lastly, we shall conclude with the main character who really, truly, utterly stole the show within this movie…Grace Kelly’s masterpiece of a Chanel haute couture dress! I long to one day have a stunning figure like Grace Kelly. She’s not only tall & svelte, but she’s got just the perfect amount of feminine curves to give her a sensual aura. Her hair is always perfectly styled with not a stray hair out of place, & she never wears overly done-up makeup, only enough to accentuate her glorious femininity. No one can ever pull off wearing such a glamorous dress, except maybe Audrey Hepburn, if everyday was a Funny Face kind of day & Fred Astaire was your personal photographer & love interest. Just look at how stunning the actress AND the dress look…and I will end it at that. Cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

“Hoops” by The Rubens

Hoops

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