28 June 2014

Watch: A Trailer, a Song, and an Inspirational Messages

Ben and I just recently finished watching this... chilling and beautifully dark and mysterious little BBC miniseries, Top of the Lake. It's about a girl who goes missing in a rural town in New Zealand (where the show was shot--man, just watch it because of the scenery. It's in-credible. ) and a detective (Elisabeth Moss) who becomes dedicated to finding her. There are a lot of secrets in this small town that are unwrap throughout the show, but it's utterly excellent. It's just so beautifully shot and so darkly told. I recommended this show to my friend Wes a few weekends back and he watch four episodes (out of 6) in one night. 

 Here's just some cute song I found on FreePeoples YouTube channel. Sometimes I wish I could just run off with some band and play the tambourine and travel across the states playing covered-wagon shows. Or something like that.

My goodness. I was in tears by the end of this video. I've been really appreciating a lot of the messages coming out of the beauty industry recently (the Dove commercial, the Pantene ads, etc) and they've been really opening my eyes to what being a girl means. And what it means for girls. And how society can just quietly pull away our strength. 

I was the ten-year old in this video throwing a baseball the right way and believing in myself. And I was fast and strong. My dad would take me out to the high school field when I was a kid and he would pitch my brother and I ball after ball and we would spend our afternoons just doing that. Hitting balls and then running after them. I had a lot of confidence in myself, especially in my physical abilities, but it just did not continue when I got older. 

I'm glad that any future children I have will be raised around messages like this. And I'm glad that advertisements--who have so much responsibility with how they effect people into buying their products--are finding touching and truthful ways to reach out to their audience. To remind us of our struggles don't have to continue to be our struggles if we make a conscious design to stop a potentially negative thought and replace it with, "I'm a girl, hear me roar!"

So what do you guys think about these? Are you going to watch Top of the Lake? Are you also keen on the idea of grabbing a flute and hitting the road with a band? Do these girl power commercials make you feel a little weepy/empowered? Let me know! And leave me some videos to check out too.

EDIT: My awesome mom has alerted me to the fact that some of the youtube links aren't showing up on here for some reason. Here are the direct links if you're interested:

09 June 2014

A Weekend in Vilnius

Oh my goodness. Vilnius. What a special little place.

Ben and I travelled there last weekend to renew our Russian visas (bureaucratic blahness, but we got to travel to somewhere we probably never would have otherwise) and we had an amazing time exploring that adorable little city.

So, first of all: I totally thought Vilnius was going to be like Russia. And I know that it is its own country and all that, I guess I--we--just figured that because it was so close and had been apart of the USSR that I don't know... it'd be like Russia.

Nope. We were both blown away by how European it was, how clean it was, how kinda the people were, how great they were to us as tourists (very helpful and welcoming), how inexpensive and good the food was (the most important factor when traveling to any city), everything. Totally different.

Ben actually got a good tip from one of his students before we left and that was not to just jump into speaking Russian with the locals--they do all speak Russian, but they don't like Russians. So we always approached people asking if they could speak English and when they said no, we spoke to them in Russian. The few times we skipped that step and went right in with the Russian, people were noticeably colder. It was quite interesting, honestly.

Anyway, Vilnius is a pretty small city and really easy to just wander around in. It, like many old European cities, has an Old Town and New Town. You can actually go up onto some hills around the city and take pictures looking down onto the Old Town (we didn't do this because it rained all of Sunday, but we did get to see the views from the walk to our flat), which is pretty spectacular.

On Saturday we wandered through Old Town and found ourselves in the middle of a little festival. Tons of people were dressed in traditional Lithuanian clothing and people were performing songs on a stage in the middle of an art market. Ben and I grabbed some kabobs and beer and took it all in. We bought a few pieces of art (including that tiny flute which literally caused the biggest ruckus at the airport-I can't imagine what they thought it was, but they sure were afraid of it when they were running my bag through the scanner over and over and looking through it) and added some freckles to our noses. We spent the night bar hoping and eating croissants and talking about all the places we've been and all the things we've learned from them.

On Sunday, it rained. And we realized that I--the Queen of Packing--had forgotten our converter for the outlets. So no technology for us. No bother, we walked down to the grocery store near the Airbnb flat we were staying and bought a deck of cards and played cribbage and drank the Disaronno and the Lemoncello we'd bought duty free in the Moscow airport. We actually had a really great day and it was kind of nice not to be pulled away from facebook or the news or our never-ending buzz of emails.

On Monday morning we got our new visas (three-years baby...) and walked around New Town a bit before we boarded our flight back to Moscow.

So another good, solid trip under our belt. I'm really hoping we'll be able to pull off a trip to Greece or somewhere beachy sometime in the early fall, but we've got to see where our money is when that time comes.

In the meantime, I think we'll be hitting up the local "beach" and going to see this circus hopefully this weekend.

I hope you all had a great weekend and make plans to go see Vilnius one day!
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