Things to Do

why don’t you… | …read a scary read

For some reason when the weather changes from humid and sweaty to crisp and clean, one of my favorite things to do is curl up with a big ol’ bowl of popcorn and watch a terrifying, sleep-with-the-lights-on movie. It’s actually the ONLY time you will catch me watching a scary movie and my limit is like one, maybe two if the first fell more on the suspense side that horror side.

Maybe it’s because I just had a baby or maybe because I’m getting older, but in the past year, I seem to have developed a terror threshold. I couldn’t handle some of the scarier ones; the effects were just too real! I decided to head to Library. Even though books can be equally downright scary, my visual imagination has to be more tame than a Hollywood make up artist.

Horror Books 2014

Here are my picks of stories that will seriously have you on the edge of your seat:

1. I Remember You: A Ghost Story by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. This is one of those novels that alternates between one story and another every other chapter leaving horrifyingly wonderful cliffhangers until near the end, you find out why they’re connected. Alternating between a group of friends who set out with the intention of renovating a dilapidated home into a bed and breakfast and a psychologist who starts out investigating a vandalism case that quickly leads to details about his missing son, they come to learn ghosts, twists, hauntings and suspense are their common bond.  It’s event based on true events, which I know, I know, whatever that means, but in my opinion, still makes the story better.

2. The Never List by Koethi Zan.

3. Dracula by Brahm Stoker (annotated by Leslie Klinger. Because vampires are so hot right now. Because the origin of the blood sucking legend is really rather interesting!

4. The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror by David J. Skal. Quite the interesting opinion that social and historical events directly impact the portrayal of horror in our media.

If those don’t do it for you, head on over to goodreads and check our their horror category to pick your own titles or if you’re a traditionalist and want to stick to the horror flick, check out this list available to stream on Netflix. Read or watch, make a night of it and don’t forget the popcorn!

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date night idea | grub crawl

As you may have read from my previous life update, I recently moved  to Rochester, MN. I love it here. I grew up here. I have made many memories here and am sure to make many more in the next few years. The most important people in my life live here.

There’s just one thing.

I’m a busy body. I’m familiar with the romantic whim of a large city. As a young, twenty-something, it’s important for me to be able to, at the drop of a dime, check out one of at least seven restaurants I’ve been dying to try, go see a concert or new art exhibit, head to Lake Michigan for a run, or roam one of my favorite vintage spots. Rochester on the other hand loves it’s big box stores and chain everything. I miss the spontaneity of a more local, original, lively scene.

In efforts to crave this hankering, I got creative and designed a “Grub Crawl” for Mr. A and I. An obvious spin off of the ever popular Pub Crawl. If you’re not familiar, the point of a Pub Crawl is to visit and partake in beverages at many different taverns. Similarly, I picked three different restaurants in the area for us to “crawl” to and get our “grub” on. It makes for a fun way to try several different venues and types of food in one night. To make it more than just going out for dinner, I kept where we were going a surprise and made a pseudo scratch card out of card stock and washi tape for Mr. A to reveal before each “course”:

Grub Crawl Rochester MN

Read more for how our date night grub crawl went and tips for planning one yourself!

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thing to do | 2014 Rochester International Film Festival

Mr. A and I were planning a date night to the twin cities for the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF) when I noticed a flick I was dying to see had a time listing at one of our local Rochester theaters. A few clicks later and I discovered the Rochester International Film Group and their upcoming event. Let’s just say fist pumps ensued; multiple fist pumps.

Through a partnership with the Film Society of MSP and their big event, the 19th Annual Rochester International Film Festival starts next week, Friday, April 11, goes through Thurs. April 17, and best of all, all the action takes place right here in Rochester, MN!

Foreign film and those of the more independent nature are my jam. You can tell the directing, acting, and scene set up is so much more art focused. It’s more of a passion than putting what people want to see on a screen. Now that doesn’t mean all films of these categories are ‘artsy fartsy’ and too complex for any movie lover to enjoy. In fact, a lot of the foreign films are actually the blockbusters of that country and star their top actors and actresses. It’s interesting to see how culture and attitude make such a difference in our cinematic experiences compared to those across the oceans.

I’m in love with this year’s line up; I literally want to see them all! For some suggestions, here is a sneak peak at my list toppers:

Half of A Yellow Sun | Drama | April 12 @ 12:30 p.m.
Based on the book of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun is a sweeping romantic drama about two twins that is set against the backdrop of the Nigerian Civil War. After receiving an education in England, Olanna, and Kainene return home to a newly independent Nigeria. Peace, however, is short-lived, and the two women are forced to make some decisions that their privilege did not prepare them for. With elegant performances from Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, Biyi Bandele’s debut feature is a richly drawn melodrama of epic proportions.

Also appeared: Toronto International Film Festival, London Film Festival, AFI Fest.

Club Sandwich | Comedy | April 12 @ 9:45 p.m.
Single mother Paloma and her 15-year-old son Hector have a very close relationship, until the duo decide to take a trip to a beachside resort a Hector meets 16-year-old Jazmin. Suddenly, Paloma finds herself competing for her son’s attention in awkward but often hilarious ways. Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke’s third feature takes a deadpan comedic spin on the coming-of-age story as a son learns to explore beyond his safe zone and, more importantly, a mother learns to let go. Told with a subtle and effective sensitivity,Club Sandwich is an off-beat winner.

Best Director at San Sebastián International Film Festival. Toronto International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam.

InRealLife | Documentary | April 13 @ 5:10 p.m.
InRealLife asks what exactly is the internet and what is it doing to our children. Taking us on a journey from the bedrooms of British teenagers to the world of Silicon Valley, filmmaker Beeban Kidron suggests that rather than the promise of free and open connectivity, young people are increasingly ensnared in a commercial world. Beguiling and glittering on the outside, it can be alienating and addictive. Quietly building its case, InRealLife asks if we can afford to stand by while our children, trapped in their 24/7 connectivity, are being outsourced to the web.

Also appeared: Toronto International Film Festival.

Broken Circle Breakdown | Drama, Romance | April 14 @ 8:20, April 17 @ 9:40
Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight. She has her own tattoo shop and he plays the banjo in a bluegrass band. They bond over their shared enthusiasm for American music and culture, and dive headfirst into a sweeping romance that plays out on and off stage – but when an unexpected tragedy hits their new family, everything they know and love is tested.

An intensely moving portrait of a relationship from beginning to end, propelled by a soundtrack of foot-stomping bluegrass, The Broken Circle Breakdown is a romantic melodrama of the highest order.

The Broken Circle Breakdown – Trailer (EN) – Felix van Groeningen from Menuet on Vimeo.

OH I have to add: It’s one of the top ten phenomenons in the world (probably right up there with gravity), but after a while, you don’t even realize you’re reading subtitles to understand the movie conversations.

For more information, visit the RIFG website. All films are playing at the Wehrenberg Theater.