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Top-5 Christmas Movies Lists

17 Dec


Compiling a massive list of Christmas movies we recommend has been a pet project for a couple years now. Over the years, Caitlin and I have developed a list of must watches every year (It’s a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown, Rudolph), some we mix in when we’re in the mood (One Magic Christmas, Die Hard, Home Alone) and then a few new ones we try out to see if they stick. Our collection of favorites grows and grows, but we still didn’t come close to covering the wide swath of Christmas movies of all genres, so we invited a few friends to help us cover all that Christmas has to offer.

We’ll go through top-5s from each of the following along with a bunch of our author’s over-all top-5s:

  • Animated and Under-Appreciated by Caitlin
  • Comedies by Brian
  • Dark Comedies and Action by Alec
  • Not Christmas Movies by Monte
  • Lifetime by Emily
  • Horror by Chris
  • Sitcoms by Rob

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Rock Love New York City

14 Nov


Back on October 5, Zack and I took a trip to my favorite city to see my favorite band perform* in a world-class venue. This was about as far as our planning took us — we had a couple more activities on our must-do list, but this was probably the least-planned trip we’d ever taken**. From my perspective, this was by design. I wanted us to be able to wander new corners of NYC I’d never seen before. I’d come up with this plan to have us spend a day closing our eyes and selecting random stops on the subway map so we could really get a sense of the giant, bustling city that never sleeps. This ended up being a better plan in theory than in practice, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning.

*I should explain that we were here to settle our LCD Soundsystem bet. Since LCD played a show less than five years after “retiring,” she had to pay for a concert of my choosing. When Sigur Ros announced their tour and had no Texas dates, I suggested the idea to Caitlin. She happily bought our tickets and I cashed in free miles and we were headed back to NY.

**It’s true. Typically we over-plan our trips and try to pack in three days worth of activities per day. We had nothing more than the concerts, a late night comedy show at the Cellar and an afternoon matinee of “Oh Hello” planned.

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Coachella 2016: The Final Chapter

12 May

tentI’m excited to talk about day three of Coachella, because it demonstrates how you learn from your horrible, horrible mistakes and make much better decisions later in life because of them. The first time we went to Coachella, we did not pay attention to certain details. We simply bought our car parking pass, bought our plane tickets for an early morning Monday departure from LAX, and drove with the (freezing) wind at our backs to the desert. To our great frustration and exhaustion, we only realized when it was too late that the camp grounds shut down on Sunday so that they don’t let anyone in or out until 2AM Monday. We had an almost 3 hour drive ahead of us. We did not sleep. Our flight was at like 7 a.m. so we barely even had time for breakfast before our flight.

Flash forward to take two this year. Zack and I lazily slept in, had breakfast bars and played Uno, then took a delicious hot tent nap* before changing into day 3 clothes and packing up our campsite. We then moved our car to day parking (with a bike-police assist*, thanks guys!) which was totally free, and then sauntered into the festival, assured that we could leave at any time we wanted to. FOR. THE. WIN. Y’all. This was a life-changing move. While I will grant you that we didn’t stay for the entire wind-down of the festival (we left at 10:35PM, after Miike Snow), we encountered almost zero traffic and were on our way to a hotel (thanks, Cousin Jon**!!) for a more elevated final night of sleep in California.

*I did get a funny back of the leg sunburn from napping half in the shade.

**My cousin runs a hotel in downtown San Diego and it was amazing to have a bed and shower waiting for us after the fest.

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“Popstar” Sneak Preview with Lonely Island Q&A

30 Apr

pop-star-movie-poster“Popstar” was the movie I was most looking forward to this summer after seeing the redband trailer and hearing Samberg and Pete Holmes describe the movie on “You Made it Weird.” So when the Alamo Drafthouse e-mailed their Victory members about a screening with the Lonely Island guys there in person for a Q&A, I was on the page within a minute refreshing and refreshing until I could snag a couple tickets for me and Caitlin*. I’ve loved the guys since their first digital shorts and Caitlin’s been into them for even longer**. I was just hoping the movie would live up to the hype I’d built up for it and that I could think of something interesting to ask in the Q&A.

*He is a nice husband. **I’ve been following this trio since they were posting up self-made videos on their website, and completely fell in love. Here is my favorite Lonely Island video of all time.
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Coachella 2016: The day of 22,000 steps

29 Apr

IMG_1511I set a personal record with 22,145 steps, or 9.61 miles walked on Saturday*. I got 5,000 in before we even fell asleep. LCD played until 1 a.m. and we more floated than walked back to our campsite. We put our tent up in the dark with help from our trusty new lanterns**, wrapped ourselves up in our sleeping bags and blankets and fell asleep around 2:30 a.m. It wasn’t the best night sleep***, but we stayed warm enough in the middle of the night and woke to a toasty tent. We were able air the tent out, play some Uno and take a nap before heading in. The Goddess salad and a whole lot more music was waiting for us.

*I don’t count my steps, but I DID double my “Move” goal on my Apple Watch for the first time ever.

**Zack really loves these lanterns, which I find adorable. I can’t really blame him, they were life savers out there.

***I had to pee. In a Port-O-Potty. In the dark. #pray4me #lanternlifesavers
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Coachella 2016: Day 1 in the Desert

24 Apr

desertkidsI was in a mood as Zack and I drove through the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm. Leading up to our trip out to the California desert, I was in high spirits — blinded by a particularly strong musical lineup (Miike Snow! Christine & the Queens! M83! Run the Jewels! LCD SOUNDSYSTEM!!), all I could think about was experiencing live music performed by my favorites, dancing and singing with Zack. But as our rental car’s odometer ticked up mile after mile from San Diego to Indio, the reality of a California camping festival starting to play mind games with me. Would it be freezing at night again, making us incapable of falling asleep? Would the festival be filled with skinny, tan fashionistas who would make fun of me like so many mean girls at so many cafeteria tables? Would we even be able to ENJOY the music we’d traveled so far to experience, with scenesters filling up the fields? WOULD I HAVE TO POOP IN A PORT-O-POTTY?!?!? 

I didn’t have nearly this many questions. I was more focused on: “We’re still going the correct way to Indio, right?” I knew Caitlin would have and was having those concerns, but I was hopeful we’d keep her warm and happy in the moment. Except for the port-o-potty moments. Those are more or less inevitable.

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The 5-year LCD Soundsystem bet

28 Mar

LCD Soundsystem is our band, but we’ve never had the chance to see them together*. The last time each of us saw them was the night before we met. We were both there the Saturday of their 2010 ACL show, but wouldn’t meet until the following night on the shuttle home. In a story we’ve told many times, Caitlin played their latest album as she drove me home and “I Can Change” became our song**. A few months later the band announced their final show ever would be April 2nd, 2011 at Madison Square Garden. Caitlin desperately wanted to drop everything and go***. I assured her they wouldn’t be retired long and bet her they’d be back within five years. The bet was that if they did return within five years, she’d pay our way to the first show back. If not, I’d take her to any show she wanted and pay our way. The bet finally came to a head this weekend.

*This always blows my mind a little bit.

**They are seriously such a huge part of our meeting and connection — I didn’t even OWN This Is Happening until after their performance on Saturday, when I went straight to the Waterloo tent and picked up a copy. Serendipity, indeed.

***My concert guru Melissa DID drop everything and go. Since I’d been recently laid off, I just didn’t have the capital to make it happen. Continue reading