Monday, June 29, 2015

Movie Goer + Smoothie Parfait Recipe

Here we go again! Another Monday. And my last real Monday before my schedule starts getting crazy. Okay, not crazy, but it's my last week of freedom before I start having actual things to do with my days. I'm working a couple of Rice Volleyball camps, one of my friends is getting married, and I'm rounding out the summer with a trip to New York City. Because those three things are such a huge burden, so I am sure I am receiving all of your sympathy right now. But I am hoping to get a lot done this week, while still maintaining some regularity with this blog. Here's to hoping that I have a completed to-do list before I leave for a weekend in Austin on Friday afternoon!


I've got another new recipe to share with you guys today! It looks far more complicated than what it actually takes to throw this creation together. After waking up and going for a neighborhood bike ride, and running the hill up at Stratford, I was more than ready for something cool and refreshing. Thus, this smoothie "parfait" was born. 

For the smoothie -
  • Pink portion
    • 3/4 cup sliced strawberries
    • 1 sliced banana
    • 1/2 cup almond milk
    • Handful of ice cubes
  • Green portion
    • 2 handfuls baby spinach
For the parfait -
  • Granola
  • Blueberries
1. Line the bottom of a mason jar with granola. I used my own version of this homemade granola, but any granola will work.
2. Place all ingredients for the pink portion in a blender, and blend until smooth.
3. Pour half of pink portion into the mason glass, over the granola.
4. This is where it got tricky for me. I happened to have blueberries handy in my fridge, and they are not the most buoyant fruit. They didn't sink to the bottom, but they didn't quite float on top of the pink portion. In any case, I added in blueberries as my next layer.
5. Add two handfuls of spinach to the blender, blending the spinach into the remaining portion until smooth.
6. DO NOT JUST POUR THE GREEN PORTION OVER THE PINK PORTION! Instead, and this is a bit more time-consuming, spoon the green portion over the pink portion, going around the edge of the glass first. Once one layer is complete, keep spooning the green portion into the mason jar until full.
It really doesn't take that long, and you'll get an Instagram-worthy breakfast.
7. Top with another spoonful of granola, and another handful of blueberries.
8. Enjoy!

Movie Mania

You guys may or may not know that I am not a big movie-goer. It's rarely something that I will choose to do, and even if suggested by another person, it's a 50/50 chance that I will actually go with said person. It's not even that movies have gotten so incredibly expensive, because they have, but it's that I often feel guilty about sitting for two hours, doing nothing but looking up at a big screen. I feel as though there's something else I could be doing, and while that is usually true, sometimes being still is exactly what I need at that point in time. And even then, I'll often choose reading over seeing a movie. Which is why I haven't seen a movie in theaters since October, when I saw Gone Girl (which, by the way, didn't hold a candle to the book).

However, when my uncle came to Houston in late April, he talked about how he spent an extended afternoon at Sundance Cinema downtown. And this wasn't the first time I had heard talk of Sundance. Many of the teachers at school frequent it, because it's the type of place that won't be overrun with teenagers. Not that we don't like teenagers, of course, but if how they behave in the classroom is any indication of how they behave when they are out and about, I can speak for all teachers when I say that we'd prefer not to share a movie theater with them. I'm just saying. Anyway, I had heard that Sundance is the best of the Houston movie theaters, so as a devoted Houstonian, I knew I was going to have to check it out. So after Friday evening's massage, I made my way downtown, drove around a bit trying to find the best parking (sidenote: Sundance will validate parking up to three hours. Score!), and ventured inside for my first Sundance movie experience. And after having a Sundance movie experience, I'm not sure that I can ever go to another theater. And here's why -


  1. Reserved seating. This isn't required, but if you buy your ticket online, you get to pick your seat. So if you have a favorite spot in the movie theater, you can make sure it's yours.
  2. The seats rock, for lack of a better word. Roomy and comfortable, and the armrests are huge. Which is a nice plus because then you don't have to feel as though you're in your neighbor's lap throughout the entirety of the movie. It feels like you're on an airplane, you know, without the plane part. This would really be an ideal date night theater.
  3. Though I didn't check it out, as I was riding solo this round, Sundance has a bar, with food and drinks that are made to be carried into the theater with you. Like I said, ideal date night theater. 
  4. And mainly catering to the adult crowd, there are both indie and mainstream movies shown here. The prices aren't that much more than they are at any other movie theater, and to me, the experience was worth it. Though I don't see my movie-going percentage increasingly significantly, I will certainly be returning to Sundance the next time a movie craving hits.
And I actually saw two movies this weekend. I know. We're going 0 to 100 real quick over here. Friday I saw Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which I absolutely loved, but made me cry in such a way that no movie has done in a while. I'll even step out and say that this film was better than the film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars. I didn't love that movie, though I absolutely loved the book. I digress. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is actually based on a young adult novel as well, and it chronicles the senior year of three teenagers - Greg, Earl, and Rachel. It's the typical "high school" story - the relationship between a teenager and his overbearing parents, the reality of high school cliques, and the unique relationship between student and the "cool" teacher, but it does it in such a way that truly mimics reality. It captures the stereotypical high school moments, but not in a stereotypical way. It's tough to be a teenager, and that's highlighted in the protagonist, Greg, who is clearly not comfortable in his own skin, even preferring to call his best friend Earl his co-worker because he doesn't want to give someone the friend label and then be let down. High school is a time when self-esteem issues are commonplace.

And then we have Rachel, the girl with leukemia. Something no teenager should ever have to face, but unfortunately, something that teenagers do face. Rachel isn't interested in those who pull the cancer card, and while Greg originally hangs out with her on his mother's request, a genuine (doomed) friendship eventually develops between Rachel and Greg. And Earl, too. Greg lets his guard down when he lets Rachel view the films he and Earl have made growing up, and they even try to put together a film for Rachel as her condition continues to decline. 

I obviously have a soft spot in my heart for high schoolers. I really think they're the coolest. And I appreciated the way this movie captured the complexities of what it means to be a high school student today. Self-loathing, low self-esteem, selfishness, genuine friendships, feeling out-of-place, bumps in the road. And I really appreciated that this wasn't a cliche love story. Because believe it or not, high school boys and girls can just be friends. A raw and real portrayal of adolescence that gets five stars from me. 

Saturday's movie was an accident. I was hanging out with Gayle as she unpacked and organized her room from her big move home from College Station - okay, I probably distracted her more than anything - but she and a college friend who has also moved home to Houston had plans to hang out that evening. She invited me to join them, and it was decided that we would do dinner and a movie. Gayle's mom suggested we see Spy, but neither Gayle nor I am a big Melissa McCarthy fan. And I've heard only good things about Disney Pixar's Inside Out. So Inside Out it was. And I absolutely saw what all the hype is about. 

Another coming-of-age movie, this one focuses on Riley, a girl who is taken from her life and friends in Minnesota when her family moves to San Francisco. As is the same with everyone, she is guided by her emotions - Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust - the little voices inside her head who work in Headquarters to guide her through life. Joy prides herself on the fact that many of Riley's memories are just that - joy. But when she moves away from everything she knows, she begins to experience loneliness, isolation, and sadness. And I think what is most memorable about this movie is the importance of Sadness. Without it, Joy can't do her thing. It allows viewers to understand that sadness is real, sadness is normal, and that it's okay to feel it. We just can't be happy all of the time, and more often than not, sadness is what draws our loved ones closest to us, which allows us to feel that joy again.

I won't even begin to pretend that this is scientifically correct, because I do remember some things from my AP Psychology class senior year, but I thought it was a wonderful presentation of the complexities of our feelings and emotions, and how it's okay to feel them. We don't have to put on a happy face all the time, and acknowledging these other feelings will often result in genuine happiness.

And with that, I'm off to sit by the pool and read before heading up to Bellaire for tonight's open gym. I've got my fingers crossed that I'll even get to play tonight, as many players are in New Orleans for Junior Nationals. Catch y'all later!

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