Black Panther: A Review

For our Valentine’s Date, Michael and I saw the new Marvel movie, Black Panther.  I’ve been stoked to see this movie since I saw the trailer back in the summer.  I know that there have been a lot of great articles out there that articulate the amazing things this movie has done and is doing for the black community, such as this one from the New York Times.  But for my review, I just want to share my two favorite things about the movie from my perspective as a Marvel Universe loving girl.  No spoilers, I promise.

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My first favorite thing is the women in this movie.  Last year, I thought DC had really cornered the market on the female representation with Wonder Woman, but in this movie, there were three fierce, beautiful, intelligent women who kicked butt.  I call them the soldier, the spy, and the scientist (because I love alliteration and it works).  And even though I loved their fight scenes, car chases, and attitudes, my favorite part was that they each held to their own convictions.  Throughout the film, they each get told in one way or another that they are naive, or that they are assumed to act a certain way (and this is coming out of an egalitarian society), but they stick to who they are and what they believe.  In the end, they each prove themselves by just being themselves.  I’m afraid that I can’t give too many specifics, though, because of spoilers.

The second favorite thing is the set design/cinematography.  The sweeping landscapes and deep, rich colors of Africa are pronounced throughout the film.  My absolute favorite set, though, was the throne room of the Jabari tribe.  A close second is the throne room in Wakanda.  But what I loved the most was the intertwining of the traditional with the technologically advanced.  When I think of futuristic cities, I usually imagine pristine, minimalist buildings.  But in Wakanda, you had what seemed ancient ruins mixed with hovercrafts.  There was a point in the movie where they showed a part of Wakanda where people were selling things in a market, and a hoverbus goes by.  I wanted to pause the movie and just get lost in all of the details – the ivy growing along the buildings, people communicating from their bracelets.  It was absolute perfection in a way I hadn’t thought of before.

Overall, I highly recommend the movie.  Like in most of the Marvel movies, there are amazing themes of redemption and mercy, understanding where people come from, and caring about the people around you and doing what’s right.  Definitely in my top five favorites in comic book movies of all time.

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Recent Happenings

In my last post, I mentioned that January is usually the slowest month of our year, although this first week hasn’t really been an indication of that.  I suppose most of the weekdays are pretty quiet in this house, but this past weekend was filled with activity.  I took Tuesday to just rest and recalibrate.

So here are some of the things we did.

Friday night, we were invited to a pizza and game night party, where we made our own pizzas.  This was so much fun!  I really enjoyed helping to make the pizzas and getting to know some of the people at the party I had never met!

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Then, Saturday morning, I was invited to go see the movie, I, Tonya at the Alamo Drafthouse with a group of girls.

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I had a few takeaways from the movie.  The domestic abuse made me really uncomfortable, and I wouldn’t recommend people who have first-hand experience of domestic abuse to watch the movie.  Also, the role that the media played in this girl’s life was cringe-worthy.  I could just make media the bad guy, but even now, how many people would be ready to whip out their phones in hopes of views on their accounts?  In one of the statements made in the movie, Tonya had accused everyone in her life of abusing her, then turned the tables on everyone viewing the movie, and accused them of adding to the abuse.

Sunday, we had our last “in home” meeting for our missional community.  We are doing a trial run of combining both house churches in Dallas into one big gathering, which starts next week.  Michael and I have been a part of this house church for about two and a half years.  I’m looking forward to seeing what this new year will bring.

But my weekend didn’t stop there.  Michael and I got invited to a coloring and figure painting party at a friend’s house on Monday night.  I felt like such a cool kid to be out on a weeknight, even though I started to fade about 8:15pm.  Still, I had so much fun and laughed so hard.  I love being with people that make me smile.

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Needless to say, I took some much-needed downtime yesterday, and hope I have a little more downtime today as well.  This pregnancy energy level is no joke.  Most of my energy comes in the morning and I sputter out about 8 every night.  I’m so grateful to have friends who have been understanding and patient with me.  I’m sure it will only get more complicated with the baby is born.  So we will try to take advantage of friend time as much as we can!

How was your weekend?

Celebrating our 10th

Michael and I hit an anniversary milestone last month.  10 years ago, we promised to love and care for each other, through good times and bad, through sickness and health.  We had no real idea what we were signing up for that day, but it has been an amazing journey walking through this life with this guy by my side.

Originally, we planned to make this a big anniversary celebration, complete with an overseas trip.  But that trip has been put on hold due to my pregnancy.  I’ve mentioned before in one of my videos, I think, but we decided not to travel at all during this pregnancy, so a big trip was way out of the question.

Our anniversaries the last five years have become somewhat of a tradition, though.  And I love traditions, so it was still a great celebration.  First, we eat at a fancy restaurant.  Last year, we ate at Al Bernat’s original location.  We enjoyed it so much that we decided to try their new location.  It was still the same great food, but I think we prefer the other location a little more.

I didn’t take many pictures of the food.  I had the 12 oz filet mignon, Oscar style which included asparagus in hollandaise sauce and potatoes.  And Michael had the bone-in sirloin.  And we had brussels sprouts as well, with no bacon.  The restaurant does give out a complimentary dessert in honor of the anniversary.  We chose the seasonal fruit cobbler (apple) which was delicious and I did get a picture.

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After dinner, we headed to a bit of a nicer hotel than we usually use.  It was lovely and a nice, short getaway.  The next morning, we had room service bring breakfast.  I was chatting with the woman who brought it, and when she found out that we were celebrating our anniversary and pregnant (ok, I chat a lot), she came back with candy and some Tropicana drinks to celebrate.  It was so thoughtful!

Then, the next day we went to the Moviehouse and Eatery to watch Jumanji.  I have wanted to see this movie since I first saw the trailer.  It was really funny.  I probably won’t be writing a review but I thought it was quite clever that they also incorporated a lot of the actor’s personalities and quirks into the characters.

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I love being able to spend time with my husband.  These last two weeks he has been off of work, including celebrating our anniversary and Christmas and gender reveals to boot, have been truly special to me.  I look forward to where this next year and the future will bring for our little family.  I couldn’t ask for a better partner for this life!

Christmas Party!

Last weekend, Michael and I attended his work’s Christmas party.  I took it as an excuse to get a little gussied up with makeup.20171216_172136.jpg

And Michael took it as an excuse to wear his Ugly Christmas Sweater.  My parents just gave this to him during their visit earlier this month, and he has been wearing it to every Christmas function he can.  There are lights in the antlers that blink every time he moves.20171216_172358

We sat next to our friends who got engaged earlier this year.  Lizzi works with Michael.  I always have a good time hanging out with her!

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Towards the end of the party, we had a puzzle competition that had three levels.  Our table won one of the levels!  I thought this was pretty good, considering it was way past my bedtime.  I was pretty proud of myself for staying out until 10 o’clock, but I was definitely tired when we got home!

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It was a wonderful night, and I had so much fun!

Have you attended any Christmas parties this year?  

Our Thanksgiving 2017

If you watched my video last Friday, then you would know that our Thanksgiving holiday was quite a bit different this year.  Since it was just going to be Michael and me, we decided to try a new restaurant here in the DFW area.  There are so many fine dining restaurants here, even though we have lived here for almost 10 years, I still don’t feel like we have scratched the surface.  Mostly because when we find one we like, we tend to go back over and over again.

But we wanted to try something new, so Michael got reservations for a restaurant called Table 13 in Addison, TX.  Addison, to me, is kind of hipstery and the restaurants are always interesting.  Plus, this particular restaurant was suggested on lists with other restaurants we have enjoyed and it had good reviews.

Thanksgiving morning was spent in our PJs, watching the Macy’s Day Parade with the pups.  Teddy loves Jerzee.  Jerzee tolerates Teddy.  So, when the two dogs start snuggling, pictures are taken a lot.

After the parade ended, we got ready and headed down to the restaurant for our reservation.  It was packed, which is always a good sign.  But there was some mix-up with seating (people were taking longer than anticipated), so it took close to 30-40 minutes for us to be seated.  Also, quick note, the decor was….interesting.  It was mostly decorated with pin-up drawings of girls without clothes who were strategically situated.  So, not a place I would take kids.  Definitely had an adult vibe which I didn’t really pick up on with the reviews (plus, they had a special price that day for kids).

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They had their Thanksgiving special, which both of us got, but they also had other choices a la carte.  I feel like the a la carte menu was more their regular food, judging from how the meal went.

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So, the first course was a choice between their salads or lobster bisque (which were also starter choices on the a la carte menu).  I chose the lobster bisque which is good.  It was creamy, perfect temperature, and had bits of lobster in it that added to the flavor.

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The second course was a traditional Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green beans, and cranberry sauce.  All of it was pork-free, which was important to me because I have a pork allergy.  But after we finished the first course and our plates were taken, it took 30-40 minutes for the second course to arrive.  This was surprising to me because it was the special of the day, and that’s usually easier to get out than something else off the menu.  But maybe I’m wrong about that.  As far as taste, it was okay.  The one thing that really stood out was the cranberry sauce.  They added some kind of mint ingredient to the cranberries which complemented it very well.  But the rest of the meal was…just okay.

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The third course came out much more quickly.  It was a traditional raisin bread pudding with a pumpkin sauce and a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top.  The center of the pudding was soft and absorbed the vanilla ice cream pretty well.  But the outside was a little crispy and I didn’t really taste the pumpkin sauce.  Again, it was okay.

Overall, I don’t think we will go back anytime soon, not because it was necessarily bad.  It’s just that there are so many other options in the DFW area to eat for the same price point that are better in my opinion.  Still, I’m glad I didn’t have to cook or clean on Thanksgiving day, which really made it worth it.

The rest of the evening, we just spent at home, hanging out.  I had a wonderful day with my husband and my pups.  I was truly thankful for the time we shared together!

Recent Happenings

Originally, I was going to write just about the Family Retreat we went on this weekend with our church group.  I had planned to take so many pictures.  We had a campfire both nights, and I was excited to capture those moments, especially since I got a new phone.  But I forgot to pull out my phone both times.  I guess that’s a good thing, right?  That I stayed in the moment and didn’t take many pics.

I did manage to get a picture of Michael and me in the common room while we were waiting for the next event to start.  Excuse our crazy hair.20171111_172435.jpg

We had fun with everyone.  Our church group is divided into two house churches – one that meets in Dallas and the other that meets in North Dallas.  So, we don’t spend a lot of time together considering we live all over the metroplex.  It was nice to catch up and chit chat with those who I don’t see often.

But this month has also been a month of renovations.  We are right in the middle of it, but yesterday we had our roof replaced (which is step one).  20171114_100350.jpg

This meant that the dogs and I stayed inside for most of the day (and they were so good the whole day too!).  It sounded like our house was being beaten by hammers (which technically is true), but it was crazy.  The dogs, at first were concerned, but eventually managed to sleep through most of it (we had a lot of nap time to pass the day).

And the renovations aren’t complete, yet.  We still are getting part of our fence stained and our gutters replaced (I will try to remember to take an after picture).  This is all from the hail damaged we had earlier this year.  But I’m glad it’s being done.

Of course, my nesting instincts are already starting to take over, and I have a bunch of things I want to get done in the coming months.  Hopefully, we will get some other things checked off our list!

Thor Ragnarok: A review

This weekend, Michael and I saw the new Thor movie.

In short, the movie is hilarious, a much lighter movie than the other two Thor movies.  Some great one-liners, well-paced, clever writing.  Just an all around, great movie to see.  Highly recommend.

I find it really interesting, the contrast between Thor’s time on Sakaar versus what is happening on Asgard at the same time.  The cinematography and overall tone are completely different.  Sakaar is lighter, brighter, the fight scenes are almost comical.  On Asgard, the tone is similar to those on the previous two Thor movies – dark, serious, and a lot more death.  And it becomes even more apparent as they switch back and forth between places.

Also, at this point, if you have been watching the Marvel movies, then you know that each one builds off of the ones before and builds up to the ones coming up.  There is a really neat bonus scene at the end that ties into a bonus scene at the end of the last Guardians of the Galaxy movie, kind of a before and after.  Plus, there is a cameo of Dr. Strange towards the beginning of the movie, tying in the two universes.  I love how everything seems to be coming together.

I don’t want to give anything about the movie specifically away.  If you haven’t been watching the Marvel movies at all, I would recommend at least seeing Dr. Strange and the first two Thor movies and the first Avengers movie if you want to understand most of the references made in this one.  I really hope you go see the movie, though!  It’s a really fun ride!