Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 [review]

You’re not friends.
No. We’re family.

(And suddenly, I wondered if I was watching another Fast & Furious movie!)

For your pleasure, feel free to listen to “Awesome Mix Vol. 2” while you read.

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Being a “Vol. 2”, everyone is comparing the latest GotG movie to the first one, the one that was a gamble, that was a show of Marvel Studios’ power over their audiences and their market share.

I really enjoyed watching Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It was super fun, even if the story and jokes were a bit alllllll over the place. But the humor at the core of the movie really held it all together. I dare you to not have fun watching. Vol. 2 knew what people liked from the first movie and brought a lot of it back, like:

  • Adorable baby Groot (so cute I cried a little bit and I am not ashamed)
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  • Awesome throwback soundtrack
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  • Drax being a weird alien who doesn’t understand things like societal norms
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  • Yondu and his bada** arrow
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Bonus: We get a Stan Lee cameo in this one!

I did really enjoy Guardians 2. There were so many different levels of jokes in this movie, and just the amount of humor packed into the movie made for a really entertaining ride. One minute, you’d be laughing really hard at a visual gag that even your kids could enjoy and crack up at. The next, you’re drying your eyes because this movie decided to touch on some pretty heavy themes of family.

(Also, Baby Groot is legitimately just SO cute and has such a cute little voice — that Vin Diesel does himself with very little processing! — and I cried on the inside during a scene where people are being really mean to him. That being said, his cuteness is what kept him alive to see that scene out, and I’m happy for that.)

The second scene, where we see the Guardians fighting a giant alien together, is a pretty good tone-setter for the rest of the film. We have the Guardians working together(ish) to fight a monster. We have a dancing Baby Groot. We see some great dynamics between the Guardians. We have a lot of action going on.

It’s worth mentioning as well that Kurt Russell was pretty great as Ego, and apparently his de-aging for the scenes in the 80s was mostly makeup and very minimal CG! What the heck!!

There are 5 sting scenes before, during, and after the credits, so stick around if you want to see them. Be prepared to laugh, cry, and be a little confused maybe, sure. More spoiler-y type comments after the trailer.

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Infinity Rooms, Disco Fashion, & An Assassination| week in review

Happy Revenge of the Fifth and Cinco de Mayo for the people of Puebla. Please be sure to observe respectfully and enjoy the magic of Star Wars on this lovely Friday.

This week has been one of my more eventful weeks, especially as I’ve been doing a lot of DC things and exploring parts of my base city that I haven’t in the past. (I arbitrarily posted on Instagram every day in April, and most of those were San Francisco latergrams, so many people reached out to me thinking I had moved to SF. Nope! I just hadn’t gone out very much in April. 😅)

INFINITE KUSAMA // I cannot believe that I was able to see Yayoi Kusama’s exhibit at the Hirshhorn a second time, and this time it was through my own tickets! I’ve been trying to get tickets literally every single Monday since the ticketing system opened up, but every week ended with disappointment. BUT I finally was able to get them AND they were for an early morning slot, so I brought Ben and my friend Vivian to see Kusama for the last time on Monday, as her exhibit will be leaving DC and headed to the next destination for her tour. I’ll try to put together a dedicated post with photos and a video if possible, but if you’re able to catch Infinite Kusama when it comes to your city, I highly highly recommend it. It’s a bit stressful with the lines and the short time limits in each room, but it is really accessible art and I find a lot of peace in the patterns that helped calm the artist’s mind.

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“All the Eternal Love I Have for Pumpkins” – Yayoi Kusama, 2016

TIM GUNN & DISCO FASHION // On Tuesday, the Library of Congress hosted Tim Gunn to talk about the fashion of disco as part of their month-long celebration of disco fashion, history, music, and culture. I got there early because my ticket had some nonsense about “ticket does not guarantee admission, we recommend arriving 30-45 minutes before doors open” but almost bailed because I was not in the mood for that nonsense, ya know? I don’t even watch Project Runway! I was thinking this and singing a little bit under my breath (I think it was “Till There Was You”, if you were curious) and it was an absolutely perfect day, weather-wise. The Library of Congress is this gorgeous building, and I was glad to see there was no line winding outside yet, so I started hurrying towards the entrance. As I walked up the steps, I noticed a few meters in front of me were a man and a woman. As I got closer and closer, with my hustlin’ pace, I realized:

I was walking about 10 feet behind Tim Gunn.
To go to see Tim Gunn speak at an event.

No one paid me much mind? They didn’t ask me to back up, and I feel like if I wanted to, I might have even been able to just walk through the staff-only door that he and his handlers went through. There was a funny incident at the security check, where the security guard asked for a handshake from Tim Gunn because he and his wife were fans… but I had my arms out waiting for him to wave the metal detector wand over me… and it was a wee bit awkward. (Also awkward: me trying not to bother Mr. Gunn because celebrities are people too, so instead of asking for a photo or anything I just said “thaaaank you…. and hiiiiiiiii~” when he held the door open for me.)

He was SUPER hilarious. While he only briefly talked about disco and how the fashion was a very logical progression from the 60s and how important disco was for people in terms of finding acceptance no matter what, I learned a lot about Tim Gunn like:

  • He comes from a background in academia, and didn’t even study fashion in school.
  • He hates leggings as pants.
  • His feelings towards the Kardashians? Disdain.
  • Ditto for the current White House administration.
  • He and Anna Wintour are arch-nemeses and he is not ever invited to the Met Gala because he once told the New York Post that the most outrageous thing he ever saw at a fashion show was Anna Wintour being carried down 5 flights of stairs. To be clear, he wasn’t trying to imply that she couldn’t work a Manolo and understood that this was the quickest way for her to get to the next show without waiting for the elevator, as no one in 6-inch Manolos can beat security guards down 5 flights of stairs.
  • He once met Vivian Vance at the FBI headquarters when J. Edgar Hoover was the director. Later, when it came out that Hoover was a cross-dresser, he realized that he never met Vivian Vance…
  • He adores Heidi Klum. But not his other Project Runway judges.

He was so well-spoken and charming and funny and thoughtful and kind. I really have a greater respect for how honest and genuine Tim Gunn is and will keep an eye out for his future endeavors for sure! In the meantime, disco on.

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Also I was OBSESSED with that white skirt in the background. I spent half the interview staring at it.

HISTORY ON FOOT – LINCOLN ASSASSINATION WALKING TOUR // I was invited by my Instagram friend Albert to an instameet at the Ford’s Theatre. It’s a walking tour that takes you through downtown DC to several key locations that are settings for the conspiracy that was President Lincoln’s assassination. I cannot recommend this tour enough, as it’s led by a fantastic actor who does all these great voices for different people’s testimonies of the evening, and the walk itself is really lovely. I learned so much about Lincoln’s assassination and US history in general like:

  • The General Post Office building (now the Hotel Monaco) was the first all-marble building constructed in DC and housed the first public telegraph office.
  • The term “lobbyist” was coined in the lobby of the Willard Hotel, from which you can see the White House, the Capitol, and the Washington Monument.
  • While Mary Surratt was the first woman to be executed by the federal government for delivering a package for John Wilkes Booth (the man who shot Lincoln), her son, John Surratt, who was one of the lead conspirators, escaped trial and execution twice and died at the ripe old age of 72. Tsk tsk.
  • The Treasury Building’s basement is meant to survive an attack on the capital in the event of an emergency. It is where the president and other high-ranking government representatives would have been evacuated to.
  • Tad Lincoln found out about his father’s assassination a few blocks away, while attending a different show at a different theater, when someone burst into the theater in the middle of the show and shouted that the president had been shot.

There was so much to learn but I don’t want to spoil all the details of the assassination for you. If you have an interest in US history and especially if you’re interested in Lincoln’s assassination and the conspiracy surrounding it, book this tour. (It’s a little over 1.5 miles, 2 hours, at $17.)

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Adjacent to Ford’s Theatre is Star Saloon, where John Wilkes Booth stopped for a drink right before shooting President Lincoln

That was my week! I’m wearing my Star Wars shirt today and listening to a lot of John Williams at work. Have a great Friday and weekend everyone!

What do you have coming up this weekend?
What are some DC things that I should do next?
I really felt a deep love for the District this week because of the beautiful weather and the amazing fun events I got to do here that I can only do here.
Do you take advantage of the unique fun your town/city offers? (Tell me how if you do!)

Practicing Patience?

How do you become a patient person?

I have been reflecting a lot on what kind of person I am and where I can improve. I think I’ve been pretty good about a lot of things I’ve wanted to work on as a person. Right now, the one thing I really lack seems to be patience.

I just… snap. And I do it more often than I’d like. I find myself doing it most often with the people I care about the most: members of my family, my significant other. I am a fairly defensive driver, but I am extremely prone to yelling (with my windows up) at aggressive drivers I share the road with.

This is something I’ve been pretty aware of lately, but I’m not sure how best to address it. I find myself catching myself snapping and immediately regretting not having taken a breath before saying something mean.

So how do you become a more patient person? I thought I would try a simple “count to 5 before you say something” type of trick, and it has improved things… a bit. But I feel this frustration bubbling up inside of me, and it finds its way out via some kind of verbal outburst. It doesn’t help that I’m the kind of person who just has a really strong desire to say what I have to say. That desire is the root cause of other undesirable habits of mine, like interrupting people or talking really fast without pause because I have a lot to say and I want to say all of it before anyone else tries to ruin my momentum by saying what they have to say.

(Maybe I need to revisit that self-improvement resolution about me talking less. It seems these are related areas of self-improvement.)

Being patient has never come super easily to me. I was always a very precocious child, and I didn’t like to wait. Heck, I will straight-up skip a line for the bathroom because I just hate waiting in lines. (My bladder is frequently forced to suffer as a result of this impatience.) (I do not recommend this, I think it’s bad for your health.)

But how do I slow down just enough to remind myself to… slow down? I’m still not sure. And really open to any advice.

Making Fitness a Habit (with ClassPass)

Back when I was setting my New Year’s Resolutions for the year, I really wanted to take my fitness resolutions more seriously, as they are pretty consistently the resolutions I take the least seriously and, as a result, see the least amount of progress on.

I set 3 concrete fitness resolutions and follow-up resolutions:

  1. Learn to lift + lift a certain weight once I did
  2. Run a mile without stopping + get that mile within a certain time
  3. Do a full split + both vertically and horizontally

We are almost halfway-through the year, so it is time for me to get to the point of looking at the follow-up resolutions and check in on my progress. While these resolutions have not been the primary focus of my short-term fitness goals, I have been doing really well with making fitness a regular weekly habit for myself since January and I really do have to thank ClassPass for it.

ClassPass is a monthly membership that gives you access to many, many boutique fitness studios and gyms in over 30 cities around the world. It’s great specifically if:

  • … you want to try out classes at a boutique studio or using the equipment at a gym but don’t want to commit to a membership fee without knowing if you like it
  • … you would rather go to many different studios and gyms throughout the month than commit to one kind of workout or one facility

In celebration of that “new year, new me” mentality, ClassPass was running a promotion in January: 50% off their usual $55 for 5 classes deal, which meant I got 5 classes a month for $27, with each class being just a little over $6, for 3 months. That’s an awesome deal, so I went for it, hoping that 3 months was enough time for me to form a habit.

Long story short, I think this was one of the better moves I’ve made with my time and money in a really long time. I’ve found studios and classes that I really love. With my ClassPass plan, I’m able to visit a studio 2 times within a month, so I’m able to switch it up while still visiting my favorite workout spots twice a month. It’s added something to my routine and I am seeing physical results. There are little baby pre-muscle bumps on my legs and my arms that weren’t there at the beginning of January, and I cannot tell you how exciting that is!

I won’t mince words: it was, and remains, really hard. I knew that the only time I could regularly commit to working out was in the morning before work, since my post-work schedule varies wildly but usually is filled with other activities. To give myself enough time to work out in the mornings meant I was choosing 7AM classes, which still kills me many mornings. The pain was also intense. I was going from being quite sedentary to working out 1-2 times a week (and up to 4 or 5 times a week some weeks), and that was extremely painful. I felt sore sore sore and the hardest class for me was my first session at a local kickboxing gym where I do high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Because it was so painful for me to just walk out of that gym, on top of the several days where I was so sore that it was difficult to bring food to my mouth, I have made that kickboxing gym one of the spots that I visit twice a month, every month. It’s one of my shortest workouts at 30 minutes and I love it loads.

One thing that has helped with the amount of soreness and reducing my recovery time from days to singular days is consuming protein powder. I know, I KNOW, I hardly recognize myself right now. But there are a lot of fitness and weight-lifting enthusiasts in my office, and I overheard one of them suggesting increasing another person’s protein intake upon hearing that the other person was taking a long time to recover from muscle soreness. I figured it wouldn’t hurt, and whaddya know, I am not feeling as sore for as long. (In fact, sometimes I am suspicious that I’m not working out hard enough because I am not feeling as sore as I did those first 4 weeks I started working out.)

On top of my 5 fitness classes a month, I am also trying to take advantage of the gym in my office building that is available to me free of charge! Especially during weeks that I only have one fitness class scheduled, I’ll try to make time to go to my building gym (again, at 7AM), and lift weights and then run on the treadmill. I’m going to be honest: I never have a real plan when I lift weights. This is a problem that I think may be remedied by me investing in a trainer, as was my original plan back in December, but right now I do essentially every exercise I know I can do with dumbbells and that takes me about 40 minutes. Then I run for about 20 minutes. I move up to heavier dumbbells when the ones I usually use are not on the rack. That is maybe not the best reason to increase weight but that’s what I do!

This is really uncharted territory here. I now own grippy socks and boxing handwraps, because my favorite classes are barre and kickboxing. (?!) I have a tub of protein powder in my pantry. I am increasingly finding myself in the unfamiliar dilemma of needing more workout clothes because I really don’t do laundry frequently enough to get by on how much I have currently.

And I like working out. That is maybe the most bizarre thing to me, but I look forward to my workouts. It’s a time when I am too busy trying to keep myself alive to worry about the myriad of other things I concern myself with usually. Exercise keeps me too physically busy to be anxious. It becomes an almost meditative experience, that I’m able to be so focused on physical activity that my mental activity has to take a backseat.

I’m not expecting to be swole (despite how much I joke about it). (It is maybe not funny how many times I now utter the word “swole” out loud.) I am still in that stage where I talk about my working out pretty often because I’m still in a state of shock that I’m doing it and I kind of need to vocalize it to confirm that it’s really happening. There are weeks where I don’t work out as much as I know I should and I’m still struggling with problem areas on my body that need more attention. I need to really get serious about weight-lifting if I want to set certain weight goals there to reach by December, and that will require me to do something different from just… all the dumbbell exercises I know. I also need to get more serious about running and flexibility.

But I think I like this new version of myself that is exercising and investing time and money and energy into my health. And I hope I like her enough to keep investing in her and making her better.


How do you stay in shape? The studios I have favorited are barre, kickboxing, and yoga. I am a creature of habit, which means I’m actually having a hard time trying out any new classes, so if you’re in the DC area and have specific studios to recommend or you just have a workout to recommend in general (I keep seeing Bodypump pop up!), let me know!

Do you like group fitness or doing your own thing at the gym more? I really love group fitness, because I think the peer pressure of a bunch of strangers really keeps me on track and helps push me a bit farther than if I were just working out on my own. I don’t like working out with friends very much because I know I’m not in shape and I fear judgement from people I know and care about. I am getting better about working on out my own at the gym, but my biggest source of anxiety there is just running into coworkers. This social pressure is all in my head, I know, and I am getting over it little by little as I get stronger, little by little. I also tend to not push myself quite as hard and, of course, not have a particularly good comprehensive workout plan when I am on my own.

This is not a sponsored post, by the way. I just wouldn’t be in the place I am in right now without having paid for a month of exercise upfront for 4 months, and I know that, and ClassPass has been really great for me and my needs specifically. I am including a referral link if you’re interested in trying it out for $30 off.

March Disneybound Challenge 2017

Another year, another March Disneybound Challenge!

Disneybounding is a phenomenon created by Leslie Kay as a way for people to channel Disney spirit into their wardrobes in a park-approved way. When Leslie was Disney-bound, literally on her way to a Disney park, she wanted to use fashion as a way to express how excited she was without getting into trouble for confusing children by being in costume. I would describe it as specific sect of closet cosplay, where you are able to wear closet items you could wear with other outfits in one themed outfit!

This year was different because Leslie put out a day-by-day challenge for everyone to follow.

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This was good and bad for me because:

+ I didn’t have to come up with outfits from scratch like I have in past years.
– I actually did have outfits from scratch that didn’t quite fit the themes…

+ I was able to rewear past Disneybounds to match themes
– I had to photograph old outfits creatively to keep it ~fresh~
(This is not necessarily a con.)

I stuck with the first half of the month pretty well, but the second half just fell off. Here we go:

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Day 1: Favorite Disneybound accessory

A piece I find myself wearing a lot even when I’m not Disneybounding is the cursed Aztec gold necklace I got for my Elizabeth Swann bound for the pirate cruise in Fort Lauderdale. It always gets double takes from coworkers who go, “Um….. is that….. Pirates of the Caribbean???” I typically wear daintier jewelry but I love this larger piece so so much.

Disneybound group

Day 2: #tbt to favorite DisneyBound

My favorite Disneybounding moment still has to be doing it with friends at Disneyworld a few years ago! Plus, I felt pretty magical doing Blue Dress Ariel, corset and all. It’s super fun to do with friends and I can’t wait to do it again.

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Day 2: Sidekick characters

I didn’t intend for my Meeko look to be so black but it was chilly and I didn’t want to take off my black jacket oops! This look was very inspired by one of my favorite Disneybounders, Chelsea (@brazzledazzleday), as many of my subsequent Disneybound and general outfit choices are very inspired by Chelsea and her great looks.

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Day 3: Snow White characters

Obviously, I had to do Snow White on this day, but I just didn’t feel like wearing the full outfit to work (I get Snow White comments whenever I wear this skirt to work though) so I tried my hand at a little flatlay and called it a day.

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Day 7: Disney villains

Busted out my favorite villain look, Ursula, which I wore as-is because it’s hard to go wrong with this look. I love mixing the purples of this cardigan and the plum tights, wearing this black dress, and the necklace and brooch make it Ursula.

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Just channeling Oswald because

I chose not to follow any of the themed days because I really want to do Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and so I did and I loved walking around San Francisco in this look.

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Day 10: Fab 5 Friday

The Fab 5 refers to the classic 5 characters: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy. I went with Mickey for my visit to the Walt Disney Family museum and awkwardly went back to this window because my shots weren’t good but people were walking around. The lengths I go to for vanity…

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Day 13: The Little Mermaid

As you may know, I love The Little Mermaid, and Blue Dress Ariel is my everything. I knew that with my red hair, not Disneybounding Ariel this year was simply not an option. It was tricky keeping these looks work-appropriate, so I let the bow do most of the talking and kept the rest of the look a lot more subtle in terms of the shades of blue I used. Holding this mermaid pose was actually very difficult and reminded me I have a lot of work on my core left to do!

White Rabbit

Day 15: Alice in Wonderland

Rewore my White Rabbit outfit from last year, minus the pigtails, and called it a day. I realized that I spent all this time on this photoshoot last year for these photos to put up on the blog, but I never shared them on Instagram, so this look was still very fresh over there. Hurray for past laziness helping out with future laziness!

Disgust

For St. Patrick’s Day, I busted out my once-a-year green dress and redid my Disgust look with the photo from last year. I always forget when I’m wearing it, but my friends do not hesitate to let me know that this dress makes me look very leggy!

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Day 27: Marvel

This was kind of the drop-off point with Disneybounding, so grabbing a hammer made for an easy Thor look. It was all downhill from here though, and it had already been so long since my last bound. (10 days! And I had outfits planned for the days in-between!)

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Day 30: Share a fellow bounder

I had to dedicate day 30 to Adam and Briana, who I got to meet last year in LA and to whom I basically confessed to having treated like celebrities in my head and being completely starstruck upon meeting in person on this Instagram post. Briana, in particular, put out excellent looks for all 31 days of the challenge this year and is just a shining beacon in the Disneybound community. I love these two to bits!


And that was the challenge this year! Sorry I’m so late with the recap but I didn’t feel as into it this year, maybe because I felt like my outfits were not as good and my photos of said outfits were definitely not as good. We’ll see how next year goes but this is definitely getting harder and harder every year as I try not to repeat old Disneybounds. (I think repeating outfits this year made me even less creative for the rest of the month??)

What should I Disneybound next?

Disneybound challenge in past years: 2016, 2015, 2014