Love Thy Neighbor

There’s a wonderful French cafe and bakery in Bee Caves. They’ve been in business for several years and serve the most delicious desserts. I recommend the 3 Chocolats. It’s a sweet treat that uses white, milk, and dark chocolate mousse. It’s a chocolate heaven. Think that’s too much chocolate? Try the Versailles! It’s dark chocolate mousse and raspberry jelly…oh and a praline feuilletine. If you want more savory flavors, check out their crepes and paninis (pst! The Parisien Brie is to die for!).

The place is small. It’s very quaint and the staff is super friendly. They close on Mondays, which when you first hear about this place you find it odd. But when you really think about it, who doesn’t want Monday off? 🙂

This is more than a food review. This is a call for support. My sister sent over these screenshots that she took of Baguette et Chocolat’s Facebook page. I am not political and if you want to comment political shenanigans, please think thoroughly or don’t comment at all.

My thought process is use common sense. This below drives me nuts. Why would anyone try to ruin an establishment? Especially a lovely establishment as Baguette et Chocolat. I will let the rest speak for itself. If you are an Austinite or a tourist who has visited this place and loved this place, please support them. Please give them rave reviews on yelp. Please tell your friends and neighbors and family and that odd cousin in Idaho about this lovely staff who work in the cutest joint in Bee Caves and who serve the best French food you’ll ever get in Austin, maybe even in Texas.

Love thy neighbor. That’s all I ask.

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Home Again (2017)

This past weekend, my mum and I went to the movies on a “Mommy and me” date. We decided to see Home Again (we are too afraid of clowns to watch It). Home Again is produced by Nancy Meyers (The Holiday), directed by her daughter Hallie Meyers-Shyer, and stars Reese Witherspoon.

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Home Again is a romantic-comedy (or divorce comedy depending on how you look at it) about Alice Kinney, a recently separated mother of two who moves back into her deceased Hollywood legend father’s home. On the night of her 40th birthday, she meets three young aspiring filmmakers and drunkenly takes them home with her, which leads them to stay with her for a period of time. The film was more like three young hunky versions of Mary Poppins. They take care of the children, give Alice advice and make life much more enjoyable. Of course you add the romantic aspect between Alice and Harry and the ex-husband Austin coming into the picture for a conflict to arise.

My absolute favorite part about the film is the house, the main set where all the going-ons take place. Conflicts arise and resolutions are made in this house. It’s a gorgeous 1920s home in the Brentwood, CA area. Fun little fact, I found out on  the house used in Home Again was previously owned by supermodel Cindy Crawford and then Jennifer Garner & Ben Affleck in the mid-2000s. Cote de Texas explores the history of the house’s interior design and even found pictures.

Home Again is a great “Mommy and me” date movie. It’s the tamest PG-13 movie I have seen in years. It’s a refreshing film amidst a deep sea of superhero blockbusters and their sequels, remakes and the too-often fight against Netflix binge-watching. Reese Witherspoon is bubbly as always and the film flows smoothly. If you need a simple feel-good film, then this is for you.

Poetry Games: The Head and the Heart

“Honey Come Home”

to “All We Ever Knew”

where the “Library Magic”

“Sounds like Hallelujah”.

 

“Oh My Dear”

all this was a

“False Alarm”.

Follow the “Signs of Light”

through the “Rivers

and Roads”, past

the “City of Angels”.

You’ll find me

“Down in the

Valley”,

“Lost in My Mind”

dancing away the

“Winter Song”.

 

Honey, “Let’s be Still”,

let’s “Turn It Around”.

so that I’m no longer

“Chasing a Ghost”.

Poetry Games: The Cure

First: Happy Friday!

Today’s turning out to be a real crappy day, as you can tell by today’s Quote of the Day post. I heard “Friday I’m in Love” on the radio just now. It’s my silly sign that things will be okay. Haven’t done a “The Cure” poem yet, so this should be fun. 🙂

 

It’s Friday and on

“Friday I’m in Love”.

 

It’s “A Strange Day”

to be in “A Forest”

wandering through the “Purple Haze”.

Wish you were “Close to Me”

again so I’m not trapped

in my memories with

these “Pictures of You”.

Alas, you are

“Jumping Someone Else’s Train”

“In-between Days”

Watching a “Strange Attraction” at a

“Freakshow”

 

Quick!

Quit being “The Perfect Boy”

for once in your life and

meet me at “10:15 Saturday Night”

on “Fascination Street” by the

“Hanging Gardens.”

If we make it in time,

we can catch “The Lovecats”

perform their “Lovesong”.

 

We’ll laugh and party

for old time’s sake

and it’ll be “Just Like Heaven”.

We’ll stay up ’til morning

before we part ways.

You’ll start crying like mad

and I’ll stop you and say

“Boys Don’t Cry”!

We’ll take “The Walk”

to the train station.

You’ll hum my “lullaby”

and promise we’ll

meet again

soon.

Poetry Games: The Beatles

 

The trumpets sound.

The officers send their demands:

“Let’s ‘Come Together’!

Go away to the ‘Revolution’

on the ‘Long and

Winding Road’

where the ‘Blackbird’

‘Twist and Shout’

in the ‘Norwegian Wood’!”

And you go.

 

 

You escape without so much

as a “‘Hello, Goodbye”.

You’re “Here, There, Everywhere”

in my view.

 

On my doorstep on “Penny Lane”

You called for “Help!”.

I come running out

surprised to see your face.

You tell me,

“‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’

so close your eyes

 

and let me kiss you!”

“‘Hey Jude’,” I say,

“This isn’t ‘Yesterday’.

You’re too late.

This ‘Elanor Rigby’ is not for you.

Take your ‘Yellow Submarine’

‘Across the Universe’ because

‘Here Comes the Sun’ and

You ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’.”

 

 

Poetry Games: Louis Armstrong

"Hello, Dolly!"
Why are you such in a folly?
Darlin' quit your shenanigans
And come see "La vie en rose".
Stop and look around you 'cuz
We got "All the Time in the World"!

Darlin' Dolly you're a silly girl
Wanting to dance "Cheek to cheek"
In the rain on "Blueberry Hill".
The world lights up "When You're Smiling" and "What a Wonderful World" that is!

Come with us, come with me,
Give me "a kiss to build
a dream on".
Everything will fine because
"Nobody knows the trouble
I've seen" (except for those
"Jeepers Creepers" at "St. James infirmary!).

Hun, let's be real.
You ain't "On the Sunny Side
of the Street".
So quit your "Muskrat Ramble"
And go back to your
"Rockin' chair".
You've had your chance
To come to the rain to dance.
Face the truth and
All that comes with it.
Hun, you ain't "That Lucky
Old Sun" anymore.
You'll just have to settle and
"Dream a little dream of me".

Poetry Games: The White Stripes

Because why not The White Stripes? Enjoy!

Let’s grab our “Seven Nation Army”

And head over to the “Hotel Yorba”

Because “I fell in love with a girl”.

Let’s sneak out of the rooms

“In the Cold, Cold Night” to 

Hear the “Icky Thump” rant away.  

Let’s see the “White Moon” rise

As the “Little Ghosts” draw 

a “Blue Orchid” on the walls.

30 in 3 Book Challenge Update: Anna Karenina

Update on the book challenge!

I finished Anna Karenina! My 771-page book has been mastered! Took a few months due to fluctuating interest, but закончено. I’ll be honest: When it comes to Anna’s portion of the story, I should have stuck to the Kiera Knightley movie. But that would be terrible. Though I have never seen the movie, I don’t think the movie could encapsulate the other literary aspects Tolstoy so carefully placed in his mega novel. AK is beyond a mushy story about an affair between a beautiful aristocrat and a Russian count. There’s gender roles, philosophy, questions of religion and mental states.

The romance between Anna and Vronsky is exciting at first, but as you keep reading (and reading…and reading…and reading…), you start to think if Anna’s choice to escape with Vronsky to the realm of love and passion was a good idea. You question her credibility and her entitlement. Then, you think “Jesus! I’m just like the Russians in the book!” when you realize you are scrutinizing the woman and not the man. In the beginning of the book, Oblonsky’s, Anna’s brother, affair comes out. No one really does anything though. They don’t exile him. They don’t genuinely scrutinize him because he is the man, the master of the home, the breadwinner. They pity Dolly, Oblonsky’s wife, but it’s only surface deep. And this was set in the mid-1800s! When I think of today’s world with female empowerment and equal rights for all, it’s sort of the same yet sort of different. Women can easily be breadwinners and masters of the home. The shame though when a woman partakes in “inappropriate matters”, like an affair, well from what I have seen and even judged, is gray area. You hear a woman cheats on her husband or partner and others instantly go “what a slut!”. In this time and age though, you also scrutinize the man. I mean, it takes two to tango. Way to go Tolstoy, you got me thinking of gender roles.

My favorite storyline from AK is Levin’s, the co-protagonist. He’s kinda the odd ball out in Society because of he’s not a rebel like Nikolai, his brother, or a bookworm like Sergei, his brother who’s the shining light of Society’s intellectual clique. He’s nowhere near a socialite and hundreds of miles away from bureaucrat city. He doesn’t fit in any category of traditional high society, hence the appeal. He also poses many questions when it comes to Russia’s future. During this time in Russian history, Russia hasn’t full gone Western. Throughout the book, many folks in Society switch from Russian to French to English. Levin refuses to see his homeland go Western, but knows his homeland needs to use Western technology to stay relevant. There is also Levin and Kitty’s love story that is adorable: lost love followed by suffering but triumphed in the end. I am happy that there was at least one happy ending in AK. Literary nerds say Levin is a self-portrait of Tolstoy, citing examples as Kitty and Levin’s wedding and Levin’s acceptance of faith. I can’t necessarily agree nor disagree since I have don’t have much knowledge on Tolstoy, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve been known to do that from time to time in my own stories.

Spoiler alert: The mental stability was great towards the end of the book. Anna and Levin’s reactions to their situation greatly juxtapose each other. Anna’s choice to be fully involved with Vronsky sends her down a spiral of living nightmares, delusions and mental anguish, leading to her downfall, both metaphorically and literally. Levin, on the other hand, experiences great inner anxiety about his position in life after his baby is born. He even contemplates suicide more than a few times. But, unlike Anna, Levin finds the moment when everything makes sense and everything will be alright. He accepts his position and his faith and lives happily ever after.

I did love the book, again, mostly for Levin’s storyline. Anna’s storyline did bring a little relief from the intense economic, philosophical and self-reflection aspects Levin brought about. If I read this four years ago, I would have been all over Anna’s romantic story. Now, it’s like “you’re a rich girl with first world problems. You’ll survive (or not….cough cough wink wink)”. I would recommend everyone to read it. I would also recommend you take a longgggggg break from the Russian writers afterwards because it does mentally drain you.

Next stop, the French!

#TBT: “She Received 65 Proposals, but Never Married” from NY Times

As I was listening to the hearing, I played around on the New York Times’ website. I know, I should have been doing my work but this was just too good.

I came across an article written in January 2017 by Lesley M. Blume. It’s a short piece on Mary London Baker, a socialite who throughout her life, as the title suggests, received 65 marriage proposals and denied every single one of them. Ironic how this is in the Weddings section of the paper.

She was known as the “shy bride” who denied her first fiance three times in the 1920s and then denied men 62 more times until her death in 1961. “Shy bride”? Really? Highly doubt that. In the article, it mentions that her father confessed Miss Mary was not shy at all but rather a party girl who like to tango with princes and travel the world.

It is interesting to see how her position and status cast her off from the typical role women played in the mid-twentieth century. Her father was a well-known (and very rich) financier, so she lived a very comfortable life. She refused marriage because she could. She didn’t need the support of a man to keep her social status among her fellow socialites or her pampered lifestyle. She was truly free to wander around, fool around and live life to the fullest.

Nowadays, it’s different. If a woman refuses to marry, it’s not because she’s some rich heiress who wants to travel the world and has the privilege (though they may be a few of those still around). A woman can refuse because she wants to focus on her career or because she does not like the idea of being tied down. She wouldn’t be refused by (most) social circles because of her choice. She’d be applauded. She wouldn’t be labeled as a “spinster”. She’d be labeled as a “modern woman”.

Or maybe I’m just stuck in my millennial mindset and trying to justify my choice to not get married anytime soon (or ever).  Hey I’m a busy girl with big plans. 🙂

What do you think? Comment below!

(Read the full article at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/weddings/165-years-of-wedding-announcements/mary-landon-baker-shy-bride)