7 End of the Year Questions for Amanda: Year 2015

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1. Was I happy?

Answer: Yes, but I believe I had more of a guarded happiness if that makes any sense. I moved to a new State on my own, which I’ve never done before by myself so that was a huge change. I’ve moved about 11 times in my life so I’m used to change, but moving cross country to a completely different place, was a big jump, but it was something I needed to do because I had wanted to do it for the last 10 years. Yes, I was happy this year, but I was also taking in new sights and taking in new experiences so during that moment I would say I was happy. There are still days I wake up and I can’t believe I live in Colorado-it’s so beautiful here! I am currently happy because I now realize what my purpose is now, now that I have moved here. I only discovered or was given that opportunity a few weeks ago. That is why I can not wait until 2016 starts because I am like a runner at the beginning of a race and just ready to burst out with so much energy for this coming year. I am so ready for this new year!

2. Did I live in peace?

Answer: Yes, I actually took a year off from a lot of things (work, relationships, etc) most of this year to really take time for myself and get a grip at what I needed to do next in this new phase of my life here in Colorado. In doing that, I have more peace than I have had in a long time. Sanctuary amongst the mountains and foothills. It is here I love listening to the waterfall sounds and hearing nature. Peace. I’ve always had it, I just needed to lasso it back in being in a new place. Each place I have lived has had its own unique peace about it. You can find a certain peace at the beach. You can also find a particular peace high up in the mountains. You just have to adjust to your local surroundings and find the best place to find it. Every place on earth has it. I promise you. I think with finding balance in your life as well, you also find peace.

3. Did I extend kindness?

Answer: Silly question because I normally practice this everyday. No one is perfect and I do have those days I want to just pull my hair out because people are driving me nuts, but I do like being kind to people. We live in a very selfish world where people feel entitled to how they should be treated. You open the door and they just whiz by you like a princess without a care. You offer to sit down and talk to someone who looks like they are lonely only to be rebuffed and ignored. Or you come across people who just ask so much of you because they know you are a giver (typical ENFJ downfall). They take and take from you until you suddenly realize you’re being completely taken advantage of. Oh well. Those are far and few between. Despite that, I continue on being kind to people. When people are kind to me I think, “Aww, you’re so nice!” It’s the greatest feeling.

4. Did I live in the present moment?

Answer: Yes! Since moving here, I’ve lived more in the present moment that I have in a long time. Sure I’ve shot videos and have taken pictures, but I’ve also learned to just enjoy the moment fully with every fiber of my body. The last “in the moment” I felt was climbing a rock in Garden of the Gods near my home. This place is so beautiful and we always see tourists, not so much now because it’s cold. When the tourist season is mostly gone, it’s nice to appreciate it without all the fuss. After climbing this rock, which you’ll see in the coming video in a future blog, I turned off my camera and just sat on top of the rock and took in the beauty of what was in front of me. America’s Mountain, known as Pike’s Peak, was off in the distant like a familiar friend and below the mountain you could see from that high vantage point the little town of Manitou Springs. Cars were driving along a road that snaked its way through the park and people looked like ants. It was dusk, but there was still a quiet beauty of where I was. Sometimes those off the camera moments you can only store in your heart and mind forever. No one or anything can every destroy that. I’ve experienced a lot of “Ghost Cat” moments since moving here and I know I’ll experience more. All the pictures I’ve posted on this blog, I have had experienced off camera “in the moment” feels. Every single one of them. I take pictures and videos to share with you all, but I also do it to remember it and how it made me feel those few minutes taking my eyes off the camera. I’m a collector of memories and the emotions that go with them. This scene below explains it perfectly. If you are a photographer, you’ll totally understand this scene. This is from one of my favorite movies “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and I wait the entire movie just for this scene-I love it so much because it means the world to to me on so many levels.

5. Did I take time for myself?

Answer: Yes, I would say so. A year for myself, abso freakin’ lutely.

6. Did I accomplish at least one goal?

Answer: Yes and it came within the last weeks of this year! My goal this year was to figure out my next step in life here as I started my new life in Colorado. Now that I am learning and training for my dream job (which I’m not sure I can say yet), I have accomplished my biggest goal of the year. This particular goal was going around my mind like crazy and I almost felt like I needed to hurry up and figure things out, but life as we know it, brings surprises and big opportunities when you least expect it. When it came to me, this opportunity, I ran with it and I plan to run with it until I achieve my next career goal with my dream job. I wake up now every morning knowing I am getting closer and closer to it (my dream job) and I get so excited about it. I have never been so excited about this new career change since I was in my early 20’s when I applied for a similar job to what I’m going to be doing in the future. This is my purpose. It’s not because I want to do it, it’s because I need to do it. And that my friends, is the biggest achievement I got this year in 2015.

Here’s to 2016! Let’s do this! Let’s begin a new year with new adventures, photographs and videos! Come with me and let’s live in the moment. Thanks for being part of MY 2015. Even if you subscribed today or even tomorrow, I’m so happy you’re part of my blogging life. I welcome you and I welcome my future subscribers in 2016. I can’t wait to meet you!

Much love from me to you. See you next year!

xoxo

Day 11 Writing Challenge: Write about anything that’s currently on your mind

Are you kidding me? Right now, this very second Star Wars is on my mind! This goliath of a movie release and the enormous anticipation is everywhere! Remember my post about when I went to the Great Sand Dunes here in Colorado? No? Well, for my newest subscribers, you can click and read it here: Exploring the Great Sand Dunes. One of the reasons why I wanted to go there this year was because of the new Star Wars movie coming out. Not only did I want to see these Great Sand Dunes and their beauty, but because I’m such a Star Wars nerd I wanted to see what it might have felt like running around in the sand which felt like being in the movie itself. First of all, there’s a lot of walking and you’d need a big container of water just to walk 3 hours to just get to one huge dune. Huffing and puffing, I thought, “Ok. Maybe running around in an actual planet full of sand is not as glamorous as it looks onscreen.” Ha. Anyways, seeing this video clip reminded me of my fun day out in the Great Sand Dunes and it just made my little Star Wars nerdy heart so happy! I just hope it’s as good as it looks. I loved seeing Chewy and Harrison Ford. Doesn’t Harrison look amazing? Wow. I mostly want to see the original cast members in the movie; I just think it’s so wonderful they could all be together so many years after the first Star Wars movie. It’s a great time to be alive people!! Back to how good the cast looks, look at Chewy with his fur all combed back looking debonaire and suave baby. Lol… So excited to see this film and I hope you are too!

I give you the behind the scenes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Video credit: ScreenSlam

Day 3 Writing Challenge: Write a review

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Cast:  This romantic comedy has a talented cast of actors who bring forth a fun and light hearted story of fate and romance. Kate Beckinsale plays a quirky British woman named Sara who is obsessed with fate and timing which she believes brings one to their own destiny. John Cusack is Jonathan who lives in New York City who believes in living in the moment and not so much in “signs”. During the course of the movie, Jonathan starts seeing “signs” which leads him to believe Sara clearly is the one for him. Jeremy Piven plays Jonathan’s bestfriend Dean who compliments Jonathan’s character and adds plenty of humor and sarcasm throughout the movie. Molly Shannon is Eve who plays Sara’s bestfriend. In the movie, Sara gives Jonathan her phone number which he writes on a piece of paper (only for it to be blown away by a gust of wind) then later writes her name inside a book for Jonathan to stalk every book store in the city to find out her full name and phone number. Jonathan learns that sometimes true love does not come right away, but sometimes years later. This movie explores the idea of not settling for convenient love, but to instead follow your heart and wait for the love that you truly deserve.

Basic movie facts: The restaurant Serendipity really does exist in New York City and so does the table where the two characters famously sat known as the “Star Table”. The drinks Sara and Jonathan drink is also on the menu as the “Frozen Hot Chocolate”. This movie came out October 15, 2001 a month after September 11, 2001. As a result of the tragedy, the Twin Towers were digitally removed from the movie in regards to any shots of the city. John Cusack played two different characters in different movies where he points out the constellation Cassiopeia to his love interests. John Corbett (Lars who is Sara’s fiancée) and Bridget Moynahan (Jonathan’s fiancée) both play the jilted lovers in the show “Sex in the City” who were dumped so that their fiancees could be with each other.

Pros: Life is rich with symbolisms and this cute little movie only amplifies it in regards to finding your destiny. This movies carries interesting symbolisms such as the little boy dressed up as the devil who prevented the two characters from being together. What this movie does so well is show you that you just have to allow fate to play out itself, which is sometimes hard for those of us who would rather just push the “instant” button to be with our soul mates immediately whether we know them or not. Patience is a virtue even if it does take the two main characters several years to reunite once again, but as destiny would have it, both of them become like fine wine with the timing being perfect when they eventually meet and the “stars align” for them.

Cons: None.

Music score:  Alan Silvestri was the composer for this movie and much like Lars (John Corbett), Alan also traveled around with his band in his early years. Alan also composed music for one of my favorite movies from the 1980’s “Romancing the Stone”. Other well known movies Alan put his musical touch to were movies like “Back to the Future”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, “Forrest Gump”, “Contact”, “Cast Away” and a Grammy for Best Song Written for Motion Picture from the movie “Polar Express” called “Believe”. Alan has a superior way of translating the mood and theme for each of his movies and the song “Believe” has a special place in my heart.

Favorite quote:
Eve:Oh my god! Prada! Ooh! Prada! I love this stuff!

Sara:Eve, that’s a horrific fake! At least my knockoff says ‘Prada,’ your’s says ‘Prado!’

Eve:Well, I say for a dollar I can buy a magic marker and fix it. I’ll take it!

Dean: (He wrote an obiturary for his friend Jonathan)
Jonathan Trager, prominent television producer for ESPN, died last night from complications of losing his soul mate and his fiancée. He was 35 years old. Soft-spoken and obsessive, Trager never looked the part of a hopeless romantic. But, in the final days of his life, he revealed an unknown side of his psyche. This hidden quasi-Jungian persona surfaced during the Agatha Christie-like pursuit of his long reputed soul mate, a woman whom he only spent a few precious hours with. Sadly, the protracted search ended late Saturday night in complete and utter failure. Yet even in certain defeat, the courageous Trager clung to the belief that life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Uh-uh. But rather, it’s a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan. Asked about the loss of his dear friend, Dean Kansky, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and executive editor of the New York Times, described Jonathan as a changed man in the last days of his life. “Things were clearer for him,” Kansky noted. Ultimately Jonathan concluded that if we are to live life in harmony with the universe, we must all possess a powerful faith in what the ancients used to call “fatum”, what we currently refer to as destiny.

Relatability: Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I too have often asked myself, “Wait, where is he? What is he doing? What’s the closest we’ve been from each other? Why? What? WHEN?! For people who have met or seen each other, the undeniable attraction and timing to be together again is a another beast on its own way and perhaps very complex in allowing the two to reunite again. I personally have never spent a few hours with a complete stranger, had such an amazing time only to never hear from them again. I have never met a stranger that lead me to want to search him to meet him again. Nope. Never experienced that. Even if I did, I would not let them go like Sara and allow fate to bring us together. I sure as heck would give them my number, Skype ID and get their full name before we said our goodbyes. I do have a bad habit (albeit it’s gotten better over the years) of leaving my scarf, umbrella or sunglasses somewhere. Overall, this is a very cute movie to watch even if it is predictable. If you are an Amazon Prime member like myself, this movie is playing for free right now. I’m not sure how long it will be on the free list, but you should check it out!

Gravity (2013) Movie Review

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Cast: Sandra Bullock (Ryan Stone), George Clooney (Matt Kowalski), Ed Harris as Mission Control (voice), Orto Ignatiussen as Aningaaq (voice),Paul Sharma as Shariff (voice), Amy Warren as the Explorer Captain (voice).

Basic movie facts: It took 4 years for Gravity to be produced. The entire movie was animated beforehand before it was digitally enhanced. For Sandra Bullock to have the effect onscreen of floating around in space, she was hooked up to 12 carbon thin wires that were attached to a carbon fiber copy of some of her main body parts. These wires obviously were not seen in the movie. The same puppeteers from the movie “War Horse” were used in this movie to specifically move Sandra around for the long scene shots inside the spacecraft. The original name for this movie was “Space Adventure in 3D”. I like the sound of “Gravity” much more. Simple and right to the point. I would have named it “Disoriented”.

Pros: The cinematography of this movie was out of this world! Pun intended. Earth never looked so beautiful from space and the feeling of peace and quiet from so far away was lovely. The opening scenes with Clooney’s character floating around the spacecraft in a free spirited and humorous manner and Sandra’s character all serious and tight, gave the audience a very clear picture of how they would be acting for the rest of the film. I thought Clooney’s character was going to be annoying, but he was actually tolerable in this one. I liked the fact that his character played a vital role in giving Ryan (Sandra) hope and humor to keep her going. I saw the entire psychology of what he was trying to do with her to prepare her to keep strong. I honestly think he knew he wasn’t going to make it after he roped her in and asked her about her life down on earth. He “knew” when he said, “I’ve got good news and bad news.” My absolute favorite part of the entire movie was a small role played by a major player in one of my favorite movies, ever. “The Right Stuff” starred Ed Harris as astronaut John Glenn. That movie holds a very, very special place in my heart and the reason why I love jet airplanes, astronomy and space to this day. Anyways, hearing Ed Harris’s voice in the movie provided the movie with a special connection to “The Right Stuff”.

Cons: As a former Para-Professional (that’s what they call EMTs, Lifeguards etc), one of the first things they tell you when facing danger or a circumstance where you would start hyper-ventilating is to remain calm and breathe through your nose so you can get the maximum oxygen to your brain, hence giving you a better function of thinking clearly. Why Ryan (Sandra) was hyper-ventilating in space knowing she was using up her oxygen faster than I can eat Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, is beyond me. I was surprised she lasted that long with how much she was panting. The wig! Don’t even get me started on her wig. As soon as I saw her short hair, I knew exactly why and it was painfully obvious to me. The hair was really rigid. Also, those tear drops you see her crying. You can’t cry in space! Tear drops attach themselves to your face, even if you sobbed and cried several teaspoons of tears, they will remain on your eyes or slide over to your other eye. The dialogue was ok, I think there could have been more eloquency with it though for such a masterpiece of a movie.

Cinematography: I tip my hat to Emmanuel Lubezki who was Director of Photography in this movie. Mr. Lubezki’s eye popping way of showcasing peace, chaos, terror, sadness and loneliness in space was a masterpiece and absolutely incredible. Kramer Morganthau is still my favorite cinematographer though. Emmanuel even filmed one of my favorite movies, “The BirdCage” starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams. I’m still in awe with the technology they used to film this movie, it’s definitely one of a kind. I think Emmanuel was perfect for this kind of movie and the scenes it required.

Music score: Steven Price (II) produced the score for this movie. The music was nicely composed and fit well with the scenes.

Favorite quote:
Ryan: “Thank you.”

Audience reaction: Adventure Boy and I saw this in 3D this past weekend. The theater was pretty full and the audience appeared captivated for most of the movie. The 3D effects had me dodge here and there a little bit whenever the satellite debris would come flying around. There is nothing more terrifying then knowing that all those things would be coming at me again after several minutes of orbiting the earth. I kept thinking, “Hurry up, all that debris is going to come back again and I’ll have to suffer from jerking back and forth with the 3D effects of debris flying into me!”

Relatability: (Spoiler alert) Ever since I was a wee child in Brazil, I was always fascinated by astronomy. I made up my mind to become an astronaut and declared it to my mom from 1st Grade until 8th grade until I discovered I was scared of heights. Nevertheless, I kept that dream alive and read everything I possibly could about life as an astronaut and the constellations. I will never cease looking up at the sky at night and being awed by how small we are in this universe, yet so important to our earth. I’m fascinated by Physics and seeing how it played out in this movie was enough to keep me interested.

There was similarities between this movie and “Life of Pi” with the characters and dialogue. As a parent, I could relate to the love she had for her only child. As most of the movies I review, I easily related more to the male character (Clooney) who was optimistic and carefree. I liked how the movie had him be her emotional support system when he was alive and after he passed away. The part where Clooney’s character is sitting with her in the spacecraft, I knew it wasn’t really him. I knew she must have been dreaming and that it wasn’t him coming back to her. That part of the movie was predictable. I did like how he came to her mind at a crucial moment in the movie so she could use that last energy left inside of her emotionally and physically to head back to earth. It made me think if I have anyone who is my constant life cheerleader who keeps me pumped up when I want to give up. There were only two times this entire year when I just though I didn’t want to blog anymore for a few months, but I kept on going anyways. One of the reasons why was because of the new subscribers I kept on getting. Those new subscribers saved me from walking away from blogging for a few months. Also, it was myself who kept telling myself to just keep on typing. And I have. And I will.

**BONUS MOVIE POSTER**
Taking it back retro style!

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Photo credit: Cinema Blend.com

12 Years a Slave: Movie trailer and Audio Book

Once in a while you watch a movie trailer that just captures your soul and heart. This is one of them. I’m looking forward to seeing this movie, not only for its gentle and smooth cinematography, but because it’s a true story. I smell Oscars for this film in several categories.

If you are interested in listening to the audio of the book this movie is based on, please listen to this audio at your own leisure like I will be doing in the coming days. This audio is 8 hour long or so, but I plan to listen to this before watching the movie. Click the video below to start listening to the entire book.

The audio book “12 Years a Slave” on YouTube below.

Video credit: GreatestAudioBooks

The Matrix Movie Review: Retold by Mom

Good morning my lovely friends! It’s Thursday and we have survived Hump Day and now have officially entered a new Month. I’m excited, are you? A little over 2 months from now I’ll be driving a jeep around the island of the Bahamas and hopefully swimming at the Dolphin Cover in Florida. More on that later.

Have you ever watched a movie with your mom that was probably not her “type”? You may cringe at certain scenes (in fear she may give you the glare) or laugh at the wrong name she called a character. It’s all in good fun! I found this cute video and thought I’d share it with all of you. I wish I had the talent to make a video like this with my mom in the background talking about a movie we both saw. Hope you all have a nice day and don’t let stupid people ruin your day just because they don’t like your blog! You are fantastic, awesome, lovable and all great things and it’s true because I SAID SO! Now go out there and continue writing your awesome blogs! xoxo!

Video credit: Pixelspersecond

Another movie date with you….

Hello kiddies!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a full movie on any of my blogs, but tonight is your lucky night! Tonight *you* and I will watch this together. Sounds fun, right? Ok, so let’s get comfy and watch this movie. The last movie date I had with you was last year and it was called “A Simple Curve” which you can still find somewhere in my blogs. Check it out if you can find it. 😉 I must confess. I already watched this movie earlier and will most likely be writing up my movie review as you watch this. It’s a cute movie! See you on my next blog post!

I could talk forever with you

My dear friend,

For some reason, the art of conversation came up in my mind during a very busy day. I guess I was thinking about it because I’ve had to make several phone calls today and trying to reach certain people, dealing with other professionals. One lady was especially rude and irritating to me over the phone, but I ignored her rudeness and let her spew whatever was in her head. I just asked her a simple question and she started to interrogate me over the phone. Even though she was rude, I artfully dodged her attitude and not let it bother me (it bothered me after I hung up with her) during our conversation. I could have gotten irritated myself (my goodness, it was morning), but I just pretended to let her act like she knew everything. I figured that if I said, “Oh yeh, you’re right, absolutely” she’d stop and calm down a bit. I ended the conversation with a chirpy thank you and said goodbye. Much to my amazement, she was polite and calm than when she began with.

Luckily, with my job I’ve had to deal with every kind of personality on this planet (mostly). The hardest ones to conversate with are the people who talk loud and nonstop. I can’t get a word in (I wait to see if they actually take a breath, some don’t, they must have gills or something). Then they look at me and wonder why I’m quiet and “shy”. I’m not shy by all means, but when someone is talking loudly and nonstop, I hope and try to speed in a verb or word during a microsecond of their break.

My favorite types of conversations (and often challenging) are people who are shy. Often it begins with me basically talking to myself as they sit there real quiet. Then I somehow ask them an open end question such as, “What was your favorite vacation spot and why did you like it?”. Ha, they can’t answer that with a “yes” or “no”. Once they answer, I then pick out a particular word from what they said and ask them about that. If they continue being shy, I then move on to my next phase of finding out what is their hobby or interest. Believe me, one time I thought I had gone through every hobby in the world to find out this one person’s interest. I’m persistant, so eventually I found out (20 minutes later of guessing and silence). Once you pinpoint someone’s interest or passion, suddenly they open up. Even if it’s about molecular DNA of a bottom feeder specie, just keep asking them about it. Experts say to immitate the body language of the person you are talking to to make them feel comfortable. They say leaning forward and having good eye contact is good (not a gawking or a lovestruck look- those creep me out).

I consider myself a good conversationalist even when I’m having a bad day. I find it very rude to be rude to people when I’m having a bad day; besides what did they do to be at the end of my wrath? Politeness goes a long way baby! But being realistic, there are days when I just want to listen.

Here is a clip of one of my favorite movies in the world. I have loved this movie since the first time I watched it. The entire movie is just two people conversating and getting to know each other. This is such a poetic movie. I love the dialogue between the two characters, the same rhythm of their words and sentences, the relaxed tone of voice and the simplicity of the entire movie. I feel a connection with Celine. I feel as though we think a lot alike about views of life in both movies. Have you ever met someone like this? Someone who just had a natural way of talking, or told you their dreams or didn’t feel shy about expressing their feelings? Whatever the experience you had, would you write a book about it? I would.

Kennedy Space Center

I meant to post this yesterday in honor of the last Space Shuttle going into space, but ran out of time. Instead, I’m posting it today. I’m saddened that the space shuttles will be retired. These are a few pictures and videos that I took while visiting the Kennedy Space Center in Florida 3 weeks ago. Since I was a child, it was my dream to be an astonaut. When I got a little older, the movie “The Right Stuff” really got my attention about the lives of the astronauts. Till this day, it remains one of my all time favorite movies. There is a scene where a man is running down the hall in the “race to go to space” that remains in my memory from that movie. There were scenes on Coco Beach in the movie that I remember. I passed by Coco Beach and was reminded once again of the film. I was in the same town as my heroes! A lot of the places seemed to have stopped in time in Coco Beach. I felt almost like I was some parts of the movie. Chuck Yeager continues to be my all time favorite test pilot. His life just fascinates me to no end as well as the 7 original astronauts.  If you ever get a chance, please see this movie. It’s my favorite and I think you’ll like it too.

This blog is dedicated to them.

 

 

 

Amadeus (the movie)

I finally watched the conclusion of one of my favorite movies, “Amadeus: Director’s Cut”. Wow, what can I say about it? It won 8 Oscars, that’s enough proof right there. The life of Mozart is so bittersweet. I feel as though I already have had a connection to his music since age 5. To see his life displayed in a movie (especially towards the end) was so heartbreaking. I believe, he was thee greatest composer ever. You can disagree with me and say Bach or Beethoven was better, that’s fine, but Mozart has and always will have a special place in my heart. The movie depicted him as a “man-child” which was beautifully played out by the very talented Tom Hulce. The costumes and scenes of the homes were incredible! I was quite fascinated by the ping pong work relationship he had with his arch nemesis. The life of Mozart appeared to show he spent most of his life either composing under pressure or trying to prove that his music deserved much more attention in regards to finances. Other than watching the movie, I still enjoy researching him and finding out interesting tid bits about his life.

This scene right  here from the movie is one that stands out of how Mozart’s brain worked. It showed the genius of his abilities to compose music. As you hear him dictate what notes to write down, you hear the actual music come to life. All of the music Mozart composed were heard in the movie as it complimented the storyline. The music itself is the third main character in my opionion. It’s grand. There is a scene where Mozart has fallen ill yet he still has the energy to compose a great piece of music. It is here one is marveled by how well he can conjure up the musical notes in his head with speed. Just between you and I, the part where Mozart “stares” at Salieri for a few seconds as he’s telling him what to write down, that was an actual film mistake. Tom Hulce (Mozart) was waiting for the cue from his earpiece regarding what to say. It’s funny to watch so I suppose the producers decided to keep it in the film much to my delight and others. Tom Hulce was a well chosen actor to portray this musical genius; I honestly can’t think of any other actor during that time period who could have played him better.

 

The Making of Amadeus video below.