Monday, July 25, 2016

Ride with Norman Reedus

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(Episode 2 Death Valley: Dante's View)

This feels more like a book review than anything else considering the show is already over, but I liked the idea of experiencing all of a show like Ride with Norman Reedus before talking about it. Its debut season was only 6 episodes so it felt a little like a mini-series, short and sweet, but just long enough to really miss it when it's over. (I'm sure there's a "that's what she said" joke somewhere in there...)

I've been on the Norman Reedus bandwagon for some time now, though I don't even like saying that because it's really The Walking Dead bandwagon. (But don't get me wrong, Daryl is my favorite character.) Everything about that show is incredible-the writing, the acting, the sets, the makeup, the zombies. Anyone who knows anything about me knows I love amazing, well told stories, and this is one of them. I have a hard time shutting up about TWD actually. After getting hooked on TWD, I got hooked on Daryl and then on Norman. Finding out what a talented, amazing man Norman is, it totally made sense that the creators of TWD invented the character of Daryl just to have Norman on the show.  There's a reason why everyone who meets Norman tends to refer to him as the kindest human being they've ever met. I've never heard him say a negative thing about anyone or anything, and everything he says and does is genuine. He's one of the amazing few who, with no force necessary, brings people together and generally makes the world around them a better place. It's no wonder people are drawn to him.

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(Episode 3 with Jason Paul Michaels in Appalachia: Blue Ridge Parkway)

It's also no wonder that Ride, which AMC created just for him (I'm noticing a pattern here), is such a pleasure to watch. This is all Norman, not a character he is playing, and it's incredibly endearing to see these different sides of him as he experiences new things all across the US. (He seems especially brave about trying new food, which he often let other people order for him on the show, and he would try whatever was put in front of him.) Some of these new things include, but are not limited to, riding a dune buggy for the first time at Pismo Beach, learning how to pop a wheelie on a dirt bike in the Nevada desert, racing porta potties in Georgia, and walking through a Louisiana swamp to catch crawfish. (Most of that Louisiana episode had me in tears I was laughing so hard.)

One of the my favorite things about watching Ride was that every episode made me want to get out and explore. All the places he visited, especially New Orleans, I would love to see. In episode one he travels up the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to Pismo Beach to Santa Cruz. I've grown up on the beach in Oxnard and I've only traveled as far north on the road as Santa Barabara. I was actually trying to plan a road trip up the coast to San Francisco for my birthday this year, and Vegas happened instead, but I'm still determined to make that trip happen. Maybe for my 33rd birthday next year. No matter when I go, I will be stopping in Pismo to ride a dune buggy.

Another great thing about the show, besides drooling over gorgeous motorcycles for forty-five minutes, is how fun and uplifting the episodes are. I was in the best mood after I watched them, and as I said before, watching episode five in Louisana with Brent Hinds from Mastodon made me laugh so hard. That's probably my favorite episode. Norman and Brent were just the best form of entertainment.

It's obvious, though, that the very last episode in Florida with Peter Fonda was Norman's favorite. He's said before that Peter in Easy Rider was the reason he got into motorcycles, and he was totally geeking out riding with Peter through the Florida Keys. But if that was Norman geeking, then I'm impressed. He totally kept his cool, and Peter seemed just as taken with Norman as Norman was with him. I sincerely hope that more of Norman's fans will take a lesson from him and keep their cool when meeting him. He's a person too, albeit an above average one on the amazing-human-being scale.

So here's to a second season of Ride. I would love to see where Norman explores next, and it's so cool that he's willing to share that with all of us. And really I hope there's another season because he looks like he's having so much fun. You deserve it, Norman.

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(Episde 2 with Balthazar Getty in Death Valley)

P.S. I find it fitting that this is my 500th post. What better way to celebrate such a landmark than with Norman?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Dream House: Kitchen Board

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I would say, out of most of the major rooms in a house, I probably spend the least amount of time in the kitchen. I'm not a terrible cook, but I don't particularly enjoy it. I love to bake, but when one is attempting to cut sugar out of their life, it doesn't make much sense to be baking things one can't eat.

I do know, however, that after living in apartments most of my life I've had my fill of white countertops. The top picture is basically my dream kitchen, just probably with grey cabinets, though I can't decide if I like the clean look of the cabinets in the top picture better than the more traditional look of the bottom picture. I figure it's a decision best left for when I have an actual kitchen to design. The easiest decision is the backsplash. Those Turkish ceramic tiles from Ann Sacks in the top picture really do take the cake.

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Jane Two

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I love this story. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it for the past two weeks. When I wasn't reading it, I wanted to be reading it. I can relate so much to Mickey, how he pines after this girl (Jane, obviously) who he knows without a doubt is the best thing to ever grace the earth, but is too shy to tell her, so he writes her letters instead.

I first heard about Jane Two when Norman Reedus posted about it on Instagram. I'm a fan of both Norman and Sean, and I'll freely admit I had every intention of reading Jane Two before I even knew what it was about. I was not expecting to be blown away with how good not just the story is, but the writing as well. As a writer myself, and an avid reader, I have to say, Sean, I'm impressed.

I love all the messages in this story: passing knowledge and wisdom from generation to generation, the relationships between grandparents and grandchildren, parents and their children, the sometimes tenuous love between siblings, family, what it means to be a kid, growing up, the power of music, a sense of belonging and home, loss, but most of all love--the unconditional, soul-deep kind that breaks boundaries and brings out who we really are, that makes us seek the impossible and makes it possible, that speaks without words; the kind of love that is even understood at the age of eight. And, most important, that life is too short to wait.

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Mickey is such a likable protagonist, and the situations he gets himself into--including, but not limited to, the opening of the story in which he climbs up a flag pole to rescue Jane's shoes--made me laugh aloud. I particularly enjoyed his conversations with his granddaddy (and the fact that he calls him his granddaddy.) who speaks with a thick Louisiana accent, as well as every single reference to the 70's, like every time I opened up the book I was going back in time. It brought back the feeling that I've had many times over my lifetime that I was born in the wrong time.

What's so great about Sean's storytelling is the vivid sense of place--using the culture of the 70's (I love all the references to music) and setting and all five sense puts the reader firmly in the small Texas town where the story takes place. Sense of smell is especially great, like when Mickey comes home as an adult and so much comes back to him with smell. It felt really clear to me that much of this story is semi-autobiographical because of the clarity of Sean's voice. If you've ever seen any of Sean's movies, you'll be able to hear him like he's telling the story to you in person. Even without knowing him, I heard so much of him in the story, which made it all the more poignant, especially the end. I was in tears. And I'm sure this story will move me to tears even after I've read it again and again.

So thank you for telling this story, Sean. You have no idea how much I could relate to it, and how much I needed to hear it.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dream House: Powder Bathroom Board

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I always start out with projects like these with every intention of posting monthly. Even the best of intentions cannot withstand the shitstorm that life sometimes churns out. As it was I didn't post my first dream house design board for the entry of the house until April (you can see it here, and since it's been a little while I thought I'd share the entire plan above again).

It wasn't long before I realized how much work I had cut out for me with just about every room in this house, and it was a great reminder as to why interior design is a full time job. Not that I need reminding. I do this for a living, but in a completely different field of design (commercial office spaces) and it's been a while since I had a hand in designing a home, even a pretend one. It was also a great reminder as to why I chose to go to college and get a degree and do this for a living and read design magazines like a fiend. This stuff is fun.

So this isn't the most traditional powder bathroom. It's technically just a guest bathroom, but I couldn't work an actual powder bathroom into the plan, so just go with it. I found the Ann Sacks Marrakech mosaic and was in love immediately. It would surround the shower and extend across the vanity wall. Feels like it would be a very moody bathroom.

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Sherwin Williams SW6510 Loyal Blue high gloss paint.
Restoration Hardware Classic wall mirror.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Life is Now

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Life is now, not tomorrow or the next day.

Do you know how difficult this concept is for me to grasp? It's like trying to hold water in my hands. (I suppose a smart person who does live in the present would say, "That's crazy. It's not a concept. It just is," like you either did the homework or you didn't.)

I don't know why but I've never (other than when I was small and didn't know any better) lived in the moment, always the past or the future, constantly worrying, wondering, dreaming.

I suppose my mulling this over in my head is close to living in the moment. It's a self-actualization moment. Or something.

Really, I was trying to fall asleep and these thoughts popped into my head, and some rang true and poetic so I had to turn the bedside lamp back on and drag out my pen and paper from the nightstand (because what self-respecting writer doesn't always have pen and paper on hand? or a smart phone; that works too.), and scribble it all down.

I don't know why writing my novel can't be as simple as spilling all my thoughts out on paper.

Well, I do know: I think too much. Dreaming can be a good thing; one must always have goals and plans and things to look forward to, but, as JK Rowling (via Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) says, "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." (you know, that might actually be from the movie, but whatever.)

When did I forget to live?

It must have been some time in elementary when I realized people harbored opinions of me, and I decided to fear those opinions, like walking through a minefield. That dreaded mis-step and poof!

It's absurd, I know. But the first step to recovery is acceptance, when you've past that stage of crippling denial and you want to change your circumstances.

So why am I laying here, my eyes burning, my hand already tired of writing out my random stream of thought? Perhaps I'm hoping I'll talk/think/write my way into an epiphany and everything, all this muck I've been stuck in, will become clear, everything will make sense.

And maybe I'm hoping that when I share these random thoughts on this little, insignificant blip of a blog, somewhere someone will read them someday and say, "Yes!" *lightbulb*

There I go again, grasping for the unknown future.

Oh, lord help the idealist who cannot save herself, for she knows there is no knight in shining armor coming to save her.

P.S. I'm still working on my design boards, in case anyone was wondering. I'm having a difficult time deciding what room to do next (and a difficult time with time), but it will most likely be the kitchen, dining room, or powder bathroom.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Dream House: Entry Board

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Last year I had so much fun collecting inspiration photos for my dream house. This year I wanted to use a floor plan I adapted myself and design it room by room using digital design boards as though it was my own house. I haven't been this excited about a make believe design project since design school. I've been delayed the first few months of this year with real design work and my novel (that still isn't done), but I finally got around to finishing up the plan above. It's probably quite a bit bigger than any house I'll end up living in, but you never know, and I wanted to have a few guest rooms just for the fun of showcasing different themes.

For obvious reasons, I thought I'd start with the entry.

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Paint: Sherwin Williams Slate Tile SW7624
Area rug: Overstock Safavieh Antiqued Vintage rug
Console table: West Elm Lacquer Storage Console
Side Chair: Wayfair Clairborne side chair
Side Chair Fabric: Maharam Chenille Cord, Tide (407808-003)
Table Lamp: Pottery Barn Glazed Glass Lamp
Mirror: Overstock

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