Year: 2012

A Brief Movie Review: “Lés Misérables”

After indulging in Christmas cookies and thanking relatives for my presents (and sweating off my inevitable post-holiday muffin top), Reggie and I finally had a free moment to watch Lés Misérables. I had fallen in love with Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, and Jean-Marc Natel’s production when I was about five years old, memorized the score by the time I was seven, and finally had the opportunity to see the live stage production this summer in San Francisco. When I saw the trailer earlier this year, I had my doubts (as any fanatic would when their precious obsession is being adapted into a film, i.e. any book-turned-film in the history of Hollywood). But, after watching it, I’m happy to say that Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of my favorite Broadway musical (mostly) delivers. As I predicted, Hugh Jackman (the only man in Hollywood I could ever picture playing Jean Valjean) delivers a consistent performance and manages to convey Jean Valjean’s internal struggle with genuineness. His opening soliloquy is particularly emotionally strong. Russell Crowe’s Javert is not as polished …

Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas: Virtual Gifts

To all you procrastinators: it’s Christmas Eve, but do you still have a bunch of people on your Christmas list and have no idea what to get them? With Christmas less than 24 hours away, I’m here to help you out! I understand your pain and the inherent frustration that comes with last-minute gift shopping (and it distracts from the true reason for the season!). So, follow the jump for some virtual gift ideas for the Fashionistas, the Pop Culture Lovers, the Health Nuts, the Writers, the Photographers, and the Would-Be Philosophers in your life.

Mini Memoir: A Middle School Memory

When I was younger, about six years old, my uncles and aunties would beg me to sing for them. So I would gladly oblige them. I’d pull up one of my grandparents’ chrome-and-brown-leather dining room chairs, climb on top, firmly plant my feet one shoulder width apart, puff out my chest as I gulped down one big breath, and belt out “On My Own” from Les Miserables. I channeled my inner Lea Salonga and would probe the deepest depths of my child heart, imagining what it would feel like to be in love with someone who loved someone else… I would glance down at my audience (comprised of my Uncle Aldrin and two of my older male cousins), as I stood on my dining-room-chair stage, and I’d relish the audience members’ enraptured faces: without a doubt, my voice left them in awe. My six-year-old ego was satisfied. It felt good. *** For some reason, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Antolin, was fascinated with performance, especially singing. She would choreograph odd hand dances for hymns during school-wide …

Mini Memoir: Home

“Mom, where’s the hairspray?” I call out as I leave my and Sierra’s new bedroom. I pick my way through the stacks of cardboard moving boxes in the narrow hallway to make my way to my parents’ new master bedroom. Folded towels and freshly washed blue jeans are stacked on top of their queen-sized bed; plastic bins full of extension cords and spare toothbrushes are pushed against the wall. The mess and the gold trimmings around her new closet doors are uncharacteristic of my mother. I pinpoint the glistening black bottle of hairspray, shake the bottle, and lightly mist my sleeked-back ponytail. I can see the look in my mother’s eyes as I stand beside here at her bathroom counter: moves are exhausting, and the post-move mess is always overwhelming; she wants — no, needs — this mess to be put away now. “It must be weird for you, huh?” she asks me as I run my palm over my misted hair. It should be weird, I think to myself. Sierra and I left for school two …

Minute Musings: Big City Dreams, Pt. 2

My fingers, toes, and nose are numb. I silently scold myself for thinking that it was okay to wear ballet flats and a light leather jacket today, but it’s a moot point now. I’m on the ferry back home, after a long day in the office. It’s funny to think that — a mere two years ago — I fantasized about living this life: a job in the big city, a closet filled with killer shoes and ripped jeans (which I get half off, thank you very much), daily lunches with a to-die-for view of the water and the Bay Bridge. I even walk to and from the ferry building everyday with Mumford & Sons playing on my iPhone. My big city dreams have been actualized. I’ve gotten everything I wanted. So you think I’d be satisfied. I frustrate myself because I think about those aspects of my post-grad life that I haven’t yet attained: an apartment in the city; that Vespa; a puppy; the carefree mindset of a recent college grad who wants to …

Oh My “Gossip Girl”!: Top 5 Jaw-Dropping Moments

I’ve already shared the five life lessons I’ve learned from The CW’s “Gossip Girl.” But, in hopes of having one last hurrah before tonight’s series finale, I wanted to take another trip down memory lane and share my top five eye-popping, jaw-dropping, heart-racing, “OMG you have to be kidding me” moments from the past five years. These are the moments that — in my opinion — embody what my beloved “GG” is all about. So follow the jump for my list — and share your thoughts (and your own favorite moments) in the comments section! UPDATE: After watching the series finale, I feel obligated to update this list… But that will be for another post, at another time. :)

You Know I Love It: Five Life Lessons I Learned from The CW’s “Gossip Girl”

On the eve of the series finale of The CW’s “Gossip Girl” — once called “The Greatest Show of Our Time” — I can’t help but feel a bit heavy-hearted. After all, I’ve followed the show faithfully since it first premiered and stirred a pop culture frenzy in 2007. As a high school junior, my beloved “Gossip Girl” and its painfully attractive starring cast wiggled their way into my deeply impressionable heart. The weekly chronicle of Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf’s high-society life became my modern-day fairytale: they were princesses who wore designer duds to school, (literally) lived in The Palace Hotel, and had a steady string of flannel- and scarf-wearing princes at their disposal. While my vapid side envied their closets and ever-revolving boy toys, and my highly self-righteous side glorified in their chaotically spiraling lives, the perpetual teen within me ate up and empathized with their drama. My heart broke with Serena’s when her Lonely Boy slept with their English teacher, and my stress levels escalated with Blair’s when her dream …