29.5.10

Sex and the City 2: A Review

So yesterday I blow-dried my hair, put some lip gloss and mascara on and donned my most comfy over sized hoodie and converse sneakers and headed to see Sex and the City 2.  I got a few stares from the girl groupies cause I arrived alone.  The only others that came sans their best gal pals were creepy single men and retired widows looking for a bit more excitement in their lives.  A teeny part of me felt bad that I don't have gal pals to ogle the movie with but then I felt oddly free sprawling myself out on the recliner seats worry free about fashion, saying just the right thing or if I was eating too much popcorn.

After a very long session of pre-movie commercials the movie finally started.  Two years later the girls were in not much different places than the last film or the show (yes I've sadly watched both):  Carrie finally had her man but still wasn't happy, Samantha was still trying to find happiness IN men, Miranda wasn't happy in her job and Charlotte wasn't happy with finally being a mother.  So......to treat all this unhappiness they decide to go to Abu Dhabi in the middle east for an all expense paid $22k a night trip where (with a few twists and turns in the plot---no I'm not going to tell you everything) they end up leaving not much different than they arrived.  Cause you know happiness and who you are is about what you buy right?  For a person whose been trying to find work for as long as I have, I found the theme of  'You're only worth your income' a tad insulting.

Having been to several countries in the middle east and to Morocco (where it was filmed...not Abu Dhabi) I'm surprised that SATC was allowed at all to film there.  They did try to cover up a bit but still....sheesh it was so obvious that none of the writers had ever been to a Middle Eastern country before or knew much about Islam.  The idea that Burkas were bad and Western clothes were good was woven in between the lines.  Maybe the writers forgot to fact check that some women choose to wear them out of respect for their husbands and for themselves.

Anyway, I felt pretty empty at the end of the film.  Sure there were some fun moments that made me laugh (hello- Liza Minnelli!) and the clothes were interesting to look at (albeit slightly out of place sometimes) but I wanted more.  I wanted to see the girls actually dealing with real life issues that the rest of us girls deal with I guess.

Some will say well you don't go to Sex and the City to get substance---its all about the clothes, the men and the escapism.  Well true.  Part of the feminist in me is confused why I've even taken an interest in this franchise since the last film came out. Trying to figure out what real women are I guess and how I fit in to that picture?  I don't know and is it even worth thinking so much about it?   Honestly though there are more 'real women' on any episode of Oprah than these 4 gals of SATC.  I deserve better than to spend my time watching this.

So....gals save your money on this one.  Wait till Eat, Pray, Love comes out and see that instead.  You'll feel so much better about yourselves.  Trust me.



Here's some other reviews of the film:

Roger Ebert (love how he refers to the characters as flyweight bubble heads)
Daily Telegraph
NYT
Evening Standard

26.5.10

The Moment




Thanks Andrea.

25.5.10

Drama, Curry and the East End

Its Tuesday morning and I'm still trying to recover from the drama over the weekend.  James had a pretty rough weekend with drinking (as he does most weekends) and I'm physically and emotionally exhausted.  Its weird for weekends now cause I have to do everything possible to try to keep my head together and to not let what James is doing/saying get to me.  Its an incredibly difficult task, particularly cause my own spirits have been beaten so damn much out of me cause of my battle with long-term unemployment, etc.  I know he's picking up on my low spirit days too and it doesn't help things either.  We're both a bit of a mess I guess. Isn't everyone??

I do have a lot to be grateful for though.  I know that things could be MUCH worse than they are and I'm glad they are not.  A lot of wonderful things are coming up for me this summer and I know what I'm going through is temporary in the scheme of things.  I also know that I'm a lot stronger than I give myself  credit for.  Never thought I would ever be able to get through what I have and look at me now.  I should change my name to Xena Warrior princess.

I'm also grateful that in the midst of drama this weekend I got to see somewhere new we've never been.  James and I went to London's famous East End where Brick Lane, Whitechapel (famous for Jack the Ripper) and Spitalfields market are.  It was very hot this weekend but it was a great place to see a new side of London.  The East End is heavily populated by Indian families so when you walk down the street you smell the rows and rows of curry restaurants, hear Bollywood music and see the bright colors of the Indian clothes.  Sure its very run down, but its definitely worth it to at least pop over and see if you make it to the city.





Spitalfields is a shoppers dream.  Rows and Rows of THEE cutest clothes and boutiques ever.  I think everyday the market changes around things too (like Thursday is antique day).  One of London's best markets in my opinion. (Greenwich is the best I think but heck I'm biased).



Well, I'm going back to bed.  I'm a bit useless right now with getting things done.  Must rest so I can be productive again.

Lots of hugs to you.

Christine xoxoxo

20.5.10

Random-ness

Not sure really what to blog about at the moment.  My life is pretty darn boring right now. So here's some random-ness from my life:

-The most exciting thing I did today was get my arse whipped in yoga class.  My gosh...I love that teacher.  Not in a literal sense (hahah..he's married with children) but in a 'Praise Je-sus' I've found your class kind of way.  I love moments like this when you know your in the exact perfect place the universe wants you.

- The weather is brighter and warmer.  I'm not going to hold my breath with the way the weather is here...but sheesh its nice we're nearly in summer.  Have wonderful things to look forward to in the next few months:  a yoga class with Sean Corne, a Jamie Cullum concert, a 5K running race, a 'unravelling' e-course, seeing my family in America with a few days in Paris afterwards (James' treat) with a organic plant based cooking class for a morning in Paris booked as well.

-We're up to our ears in asparagus.  Its right smack in the season for the UK.  Just finished some a few minutes ago actually as they are great for snacking.  They are beautiful with a bit of olive oil, lemon and freshly ground black pepper.  Yummy.

- James is seriously bouncing off the walls.  He got tickets today to see 'live' the state opening w/the queen herself in the houses of Parliament.  Its a big deal.  Its kind of like getting tickets to see Barack Obama give the state of the union address.  I'm happy for James.  He's waited a long time for this job and these opportunities.  I just hope it opens things up for him to stay permanently.  Having this dream job and it disappearing in a year would be hard.

- Watching a lot of inspirational stuff online.  I think my spirit these last 34 years has been beaten to a pulp.  Doing things to try to nourish me (hell I've got the time).  Been watching Oprah (see my last post) and the TED talks.  TED is so freaking cool....20 minute videos from the greatest thinkers, artists, etc of our lifetime.

-Can't wait till the end of Lost.  I'm getting fed up with it at the moment and I think its time for it to end.

-Loving watching 'Ruby' on the style network.  I can SOOO relate to her (albeit not the exact same weight she's dealing with).

- The birds outside are really loud.  Not sure if this has to do with the lack of planes with the volcano thing again, or cause they are happy its sunny like me.

To end being even more random here's some pictures I've seen in blog-land recently that have stuck in my mind:






I want to be the lady with the saddle back shoes...what a rebel.



This picture is beautiful...the colors....the girl!!




I love ducks and how adorable is it to have a duck say hello?


Hoping to have some of my own pictures for you this weekend.  (yes, I'm actually getting out!!)

19.5.10

O Magazine Inspiration

O Magazine had their 10th anniversary celebration recently in NYC.  Some of the speakers at this event:  Martha Beck, Suze Orman and Elizabeth Gilbert gave talks.  Well they are online now at Oprah.com.   The last few days I've started my day by watching these videos.  Lots of pretty amazing aha moments for myself from what these amazing women had to say.  If you have a few minutes, watch these.

Here are the links :

Martha Beck- 10 steps to living your best life

Elizabeth Gilbert

Suze Orman:  Watch the intro, the last bit pertains to US financial stuff only

16.5.10

Sunday Walk

15.5.10

The Cove: A Review


Watched 'the Cove' this morning.  This 2010 Oscars 'best documentary winner' explores what's happening to the dolphins in Taiji Japan. 

Its upsetting, shocking but incredibly powerful and life changing.  I was a blubbering mess through half of it but I'm glad I saw it.  Educating yourself is not always comfortable but its how we change and ultimately the world then changes.

What I know for sure is that we're all connected.  The earth and its animals have so much to teach us if we just listen.   We're a reflection of how we treat even the smallest of creatures.  This planet is such a great gift to us all..a real testament of love.  I think giving back that love is the least we can do. 

Watch the movie.

12.5.10

Mid week colors

Been fighting off the blues all week.  Sometimes when I cant concentrate I spend way too much time on the internet.  Well today, I was perusing through my ever-growing blog feeds to take a break and saw these GLORIOUS pictures of a village in Greece by Stratis Vogiatzis.




Oh the colors!  They draw you in give such life to the place.  Just what a girl needs to see smack in-between a hard week of a serious case of the blues.

Just so you know..I'm on this whole 'blues' thing....and looking for ways to add a bit more color to my own life.  Its easier said than done and its not just a case of popping a pill or seeing a shrink.  I've been there/done that and they did nothing for me.

No, what I need is a complete demolition and re-model from the ground up.  A new me, with a strong foundation....not just another coat of paint to cover up things that are broken.  I've already started laying the ground work....with switching around some exercise goals to focus on the fun.  I've signed up to a yoga workshop with Seane Corn, going to see Jamie Cullum in concert, a running race in September and I'm off to see my family this summer which will be the first time I've seen them in over 3 years plus add in a little secret trip when I get back (I'll tell more later).   At the end of this month, I'm also doing another online class...but this one is a class using photography/writing in an efforts to discover the real you.  Trying to have things to look forward to beyond the painful process of being stuck at home applying for work.

I'm a work in progress, but I guarantee when I'm finished...the color in my life will be as bright and as beautiful as these pictures.




picture inspiration via PiaJaneBijkerk

11.5.10

A Mondo Beyondo Dream for James

James started a new job yesterday.  He gets to work here:


He landed a job at the House of Commons (the loving home of Big Ben and center of UK politics).  Its a long term (just over a year..maybe longer), part time position.  But with his other part-time work he's officially back in full time work which is a reason to celebrate. Its been over a year since he's had full time work which has been beyond challenging.

The reason why its EXTRA cool though is that working in the House of Commons has been James' MondoBeyondo dream since he was 11/12 years old.  He studied politics at school and has wanted this for over 20 years.  To top it off he's landed a coveted volunteering  position at Westminster Abbey to do on weekends.  So, I have no doubt that this is the beginning of wonderful things for him in his career and its proof that dreams REALLY do come true.

Now if I can just figure out how to deal with a boy whose now bouncing off the walls with excitement??

6.5.10

UK Election Day

Its election day here in the UK and I don't get to vote.  I've lived here for 10 years, but I don't get a say in things cause I'm not officially a 'British' citizen.  If I want dual citizenship it will cost me lots of ££ plus passing a very long boring test on details like when is the queen's birthday.  I'd like to see them ask most Brits those questions.

I don't understand the political system in this country....only 6 weeks of campaigning.  Sure its great in some ways (the US campaigning is WAY too long) but it makes it easier for all the candidates to avoid the questions.  Like the economy and jobs which the 3 parties are doing a great job of not answering.  How are they going to make all these deficit cuts without losing jobs??  Immigration seems to be a hot topic too.  I'm technically an immigrant and even though I'm legally in this country...I've often wondered if my current job situation is because when I open my mouth its automatically noticeable I'm different.  Britain doesn't seem to like 'different' and there's this worry that all the immigrants are taking the jobs.  Well, I'm proof that this just isn't true.  I would love it if I could get a job anywhere at the moment. Even if it means that I get a job no one else wants which is the only jobs I seem to have been getting these last 10 yrs.

James and I are on different political spectrum's.  I'm a Democrat and He's like an English version of a Republican...which ends up being a lot further to the left.  So he's voting for David Cameron today and if I had the choice depending on what the parties were saying...I'd vote Liberal Dem or Labour.  You don't necessarily vote for the person in the UK...you vote for change or the party.  That's why people like Gordon Brown and Margaret Thatcher ended up in power when they have/had the personality of a door mouse.

Anyway, interesting stuff being in a different country whilst they do their own version of a democratic process.  I'm pretty sure that David Cameron is going to end up getting in as the new prime minister.  Depressing stuff but it could be worse. The BNP could win who thinks all non-whites should leave the U.K.  I wish I was kidding.

Makes me grateful for the US.

5.5.10

Women, Food and God: A Review (and then some)


I decided to read 'Women, Food and God' because Oprah recommended this book as a "book that all women should read to finally end their war with food".  I sincerely admire and love Oprah so I bought it and finished it in less than ten days.

If the green highlighted sections now decorating the pages are anything to go by, this book truly resonated with me.  I've read a lot on food, including several diet books and I believe this book actually gets to the heart of why we overeat.  What you put on your plate reflects your relationship and beliefs about yourself and life whether you embrace love or fear.

She talks about how food is avoiding suffering and ultimately living life.  When the suffering is allowed, it dissolves and weight loss occurs naturally.  She says when you finally give up on trying so hard to have that perfect body, be present in the moment and 'feel' what you've been missing...everything falls into place.

I really like these quotes:

' The shape of your body obeys the shape of your beliefs about love, value and possibility.  To change your body you must first understand that which is shaping it'

'When you actually relax and listen to the truth of what is there, something bigger than your fear will catch you.'

....'Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness'

'You are not who you think you are'

I think with my own relationship with eating--I had a childhood deeply rooted in fear so I ate and ate.  I ate because I never knew when my next meal would be.  I ate because I was hideously lonely.  I ate because I craved love and comfort that was not available to me.  I ate because I was scared of what was happening.  I ate because I blamed myself for not being able to protect my brothers and sister. In college, I dropped a lot of weight the unhealthy way by depriving myself of real food and exercising way too much.  Of course when I moved to London I put it all back on and then some due to stress and the fact that that what I was running from (myself) still followed me across the pond.  I'm much wiser now though and I've educated myself about food but most of the weight is still here.  Its just now I'm eating healthy meals and then binging in between on things that are organic but still not what my body needs (like organic cookies).  I'm eating for entirely different reasons but mostly what is at the heart of it is exactly what Roth says, Fear and a lack of loving myself.  Trying to fix this in me seems to be like this huge wall.  I feel like I'm so deeply stuck in the mud that I give up because its too hard.  My head knows that I need to carry on and not give up hope and that I'm more than my body but trying to convince my heart that's been stamped on so damn much is another story.

I'm going to try to do what this book says but take it one day at a time.  I know, I know you're thinking back to half of every project I've started and stopped before....ya right...I'll believe it when I see it.  But, I have to try...to keep pulling myself up when I screw up (which is alot) and eventually I'll conquer my battle with food (and myself) and finally get it through my head that I'm freaking worth it.

To end I want to share a few things of inspiration about loving yourself and connecting to that loving universe out there.  When we connect to that and understand we're not our bodies but something much grander...life gets so much more beautiful.  You don't need to have a religion (I don't) to have that spiritual understanding/connection:




I've posted about Stephanie Nielson before. I'm no longer a Mormon and although this video is catered to that audience...I think the overall messages of this video can be applied to any belief system or religion you may have. I frankly find her story inspiring (and this video well done even if it is a 'church' oriented video) and if she can learn to love herself again and realize that she's not her body...maybe we too can stop beating up ourselves over not fitting into those size 10 jeans.

Finally here are some blog posts about other women going through the same thing with embracing their bodies and figuring out how to love themselves:

'Thank You, Lane Bryant'

The Grass on the Other Side

How to fall in love with yourself:  Step 4

How to fall in love with yourself:  Step 3

How to fall in love with yourself:  Step 2

How to fall in love with yourself:  Step 1

Real Beauty

2.5.10

Dale Chihuly at the V&A + quiet weekends

One thing I forgot to mention about my trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum on Friday was getting to see the Chihuly chandelier again which hangs in the entrance. Dale Chihuly is from my neck of the woods and its rather ironic that a bit of my hometown is hanging from a ceiling in London. Its gorgeous, big and blends in perfectly:

The courtyard at the museum deserves a mention too.  In true English tradition you can sit outside for a cup of tea rain or shine.  Whilst I was freezing my arse off getting these pictures a few of the grannies from the Grace Kelly exhibition were chatting away under their umbrellas with a nice cuppa and tea cake on the side.   To have immunity to the elements like that...well I wouldn't want to cross those grannies in a damp, dark alleyway anytime soon.

I also love how ambitious the English are by growing lemons in the courtyard.  Their optimism at the sun shining at least a little is admirable:



The rest of the weekend has been pretty darn quiet.  I've been a bit of a homebody...catching up on jobs, watching girly movies as James is gone.  I did manage to do a walk through the park before the horrid weather set in.  I always love an excuse to be outside and tote the ole camera along.