A good thriller, tasty snacks, a fabulous t-shirt, and more! (April Favorites.)

So much went on in April, you’d think it’d have seemed to go by fast… but actually, it seemed like a long month. It was long in a good way, though. The month didn’t drag. It lingered. Here are some little things I loved in April:

 

  1. Hush (movie)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Hush

 

 

So many cat-and-mouse horror/thriller movies have been made, it’s hard to be impressed by them. It’s a tired convention; most of these movies are formulaic and too predictable to be “thrilling.” But Hush surprised us in some subtle and not-so-subtle ways, not to mention, we found it to be largely unencumbered by the cheesiness that’s become an expectation of this genre. If you’re into such movies and you can get your hands on this one (we found it online), I recommend it!

ETA: Improvements. I wrote this in too much of a hurry.

 

2. Trader Joe’s frozen organic mango chunks.

 

Trader Joe's frozen organic mango chunks

Trader Joe’s frozen organic mango chunks

 

We’ve been eating these frozen organic mango chunks for dessert after dinner… frozen as in straight out of the freezer, straight out of the bag. It’s like eating creamy mango-flavored Popsicles. They are divine. We have to portion them out, or we’d eat an entire bag in one sitting! Refreshing, luscious frozen desserts don’t get better than this, and it’s just fruit.

 

3. Sun tea.

 

Sun tea

Sun tea

 

Making sun tea for iced tea in Arizona is a given – it’s a tradition; it’s how we do it  – but of course it can be made anywhere there’s sun, I imagine. One of many things I’ve been enjoying about working at home is easy access to iced tea and fresh lemon juice.

 

4. Pro Bar bite organic energy bar (peanut butter chocolate chip).

 

Pro Bar bite organic energy bar in peanut butter chocolate chip

Pro Bar bite organic energy bar in peanut butter chocolate chip

 

You know I’m always on the look-out for energy bars that are wholesome, organic, and chemical-free, and I’m happy to report that these bars by Pro Bar exist. They are delicious. This is my new go-to bar following Body Combat, when I want to replenish a little before dinner happens a couple of hours later. 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of fat, and 11 grams of sugar… not too bad.

 

5. Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Multigrain pita chips with sesame seeds.

 

Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Multigrain pita chips with sesame seeds

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Multigrain pita chips with sesame seeds

 

I didn’t even know that these were “reduced guilt” pita chips until after I bought them (I was just concerned with the ingredients and the type of carbs they contained). These light and crunchy chips are fabulous with Trader Joe’s incomparable Mediterranean hummus. They’d be great with any kind of hummus or dip.

 

6. Vega Protein & Greens drink mix (vanilla flavor).

 

Vega protein and greens vanilla flavor plant-based protein powder

Vega protein and greens vanilla flavor plant-based protein powder

 

I usually get the Vega smoothie mixes for my protein drinks, but recently I discovered their protein and greens product. One scoop gives you 20 grams of protein with two servings of greens, and it tastes wonderful… the alfalfa, spinach, broccoli, and kale powders are undetectable! With those greens in there, you could blend this powder into a shake with fruit and plant-based milk and get the nutrition you’d get in a complete meal. So far, I’ve only mixed it with cold water, and it’s awesome. (I don’t use it for meal replacement, though… I drink it as a supplement.)

 

7. Derma e antioxidant natural sunscreen with clear zinc oxide SPF 30.

 

derma e Antioxidant Natural Sunscreen with clear zinc oxide (SPC 30)

derma e Antioxidant Natural Sunscreen with clear zinc oxide (SPC 30)

 

I love Lavanila’s The Healthy Sunscreen, which I’d been using since I went cruelty-free last year, but 1). it’s expensive, and 2). I could only find it at Sephora, which I loathe and avoid at all costs.

So I was stoked when I discovered that derma e, my new favorite skincare line, makes a facial sunscreen. Derma e is available at two places we frequent – Target and Sprouts – and the quality of their sunscreen rivals that of Lavanila’s. It’s much more affordable, and I don’t have to fight against panic attacks when I go in to get it (maybe one day I’ll write a whole post about my misadventures in Sephora).

 

8. T-shirt from Tombstone.

 

T-shirt from Tombstone

T-shirt from Tombstone

 

I love, love, LOVE this t-shirt I got when we took Callaghan’s father to Tombstone. The design is totally up my alley, and the rendering of the art is gorgeous. I’m not sure that the picture does it justice! Also, the shirt itself is thin and soft; it feels like I’m wearing pajamas. LOVE.

 

9. Foot socks.

Sometimes I go to Target and I don’t know what happens. Like the time I went to get basic foodstuffs and next thing I knew I was at home trying to explain these socks festooned with dinosaurs, ostriches, and a sunglass-wearing pug on a surfboard.

 

Foot socks from Target that I totally did not need.

Foot socks from Target that I totally did not need.

 

10. Scrivener.

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Scrivener

 

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/index.php

My thoughts on Scrivener can be summed up in one question: How did anyone ever manage large documents before Scrivener?

 

Powers that be (Haiku 7: Power)

Questions I asked myself all week: Does power always, in every circumstance, corrupt? Is power breakable? What would it take to break chains of power, and would it take a super hero or a super villain to break them?

In these new haiku, I explore the correlation between power and corruption.

 

Haiku 7: Power

(by Kristi Garboushian)

1.

Grand tribulation:

oak doors hewn by elected

justice. Reckoning.

 

Power of position

Power of position

 

2.

Preternatural –

czars savoring backfire,

litanies of blood.

 

Power of risk

Power of risk

 

3.

Gold, palladium…

lustrous, incorruptible,

soft nobility.

 

Power of heritage

Power of heritage

 

4.

Ravishing spittoon:

molten glass posterity.

Inheritable.

 

Power of fortune

Power of fortune

 

In a lighter vein, the week wound back down to normalcy after the in-laws departed. It was a good visit. We took them to typical Arizona places (i.e. Tombstone, Sedona), and they ventured down into the Grand Canyon. They saw a fraction of what Arizona has to offer… one really needs more than a week to take in all of its splendors. Our guests enjoyed what little they experienced.

Sometimes, when one door closes, another one opens – with a hard right hand.

Body Combat class was cancelled at the gym last Saturday because of the holiday. Reluctant to miss a workout, I thought, what better time to find a heavy-bag somewhere? It had been so long!

I jumped online and honed in on a Saturday cardio kickboxing class at a boxing gym near our apartment. Going as a walk-in, I could avoid missing a workout and get in a heavy-bag bonus while I was at it. Their web site said to bring your own hand-wraps, so I knew I’d be punching something.

The rental fee for an hour with the heavy-bag walk-in cost for the class was only ten bucks. I was excited. It’d been about six years since I’d touched a heavy-bag, and just as long since I’d taken part in any kind of martial/fighting arts training (Capoeira and Kali were the last. Boxing, Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do and T’ai Chi – many people don’t realize it, but T’ai Chi is actually a deadly form of martial arts – seemed ages ago). The last time I’d climbed into the ring to spar was maybe 2008. My six years away from combat sports felt more like six cat years… that would be 40 human years, which is about how long it felt!

The class was fun, and I did get to work the heavy-bag. I had my old hand-wraps that I’d dug out of storage the previous week, and I borrowed some gloves from the gym. During the hour-long workout, we did cardio kickboxing drills (including punching with weights, which I’d never done before, so that was interesting, and throwing kicks), push-ups, bag-work, partner-work and abs.  It felt great. I felt great.

Until two days later, when I found myself gobbling four extra-strength Advil as we ran out the door to Monday evening Body Combat. Everything hurt. The boxing gym workout had settled into my muscles, and I literally felt it from my neck down. Trapezius muscles? RIGHT, those exist! And to quote Doc Holliday in Tombstone, “Oh. Johnny Anterior Delts, I apologize; I forgot you were there.” Pecs. LATS! Triceps. Abs. QUADS… I felt the intense soreness in my upper legs just walking.

It didn’t help that I’d forgotten to eat something beforehand, either. In addition to the post-workout soreness, my energy stores felt depleted in class that night. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love feeling that kind of pain again, and I still had a great workout!

When we started Body Combat on Saturday, March 29, Callaghan was looking for general fitness benefits, and I was looking to re-gain my skills and get back into shape after being ridiculously sedentary for over three years (NEVER AGAIN). Three and a half months later, I’m feeling immensely better, but I still have a long way to go. There’s the two Body Combat classes and a boot camp class each week, and sometimes I go an extra day to walk on the treadmill. I feel like I should be doing more.

On Wednesday, it happened again… we had tickets to see Def Leppard and Kiss, which meant ditching boot camp class. We made it up last night by doing a Body Attack class at a different gym location. I’d never heard of Body Attack (like Body Combat, it’s a Les Mills International class). It was a pretty good workout!

Here’s a picture of Callaghan and me at the concert on Wednesday night:

 

None of our pictures of us came out at the concert, but here's this, for what it's worth...

None of our pictures of us came out at the concert, but here’s this, for what it’s worth…

 

Happy Friday, All!

JUSTICE IS COMING: An Overdue Anti-Rant about My FAVORITE Film!

As of today, I’ve been actively blogging for sixteen months and 4 days. That’s not a long time (not even a year and a half), but I’ve spent a fair amount of it blathering about movies and television series. Because of this, and because I injected into this blog – from the deepest regions of my heart – my profound disbelief over the deplorable miscasting of the titular character in Jack Reacher, I feel I would be remiss to let another week go by without taking the time to exalt my favorite movie.

I’m talking about my favorite movie of ALL TIME.

Most movie buffs have one – a film we’ve seen so many times, we don’t even know anymore how many times we’ve seen it. Today, I’m going to rhapsodize about mine. Keep in mind that I’m not here to write a film review; I am not a film critic. I’m here to make a (fruitless) attempt to convey how much I love this movie. I mean, I’m passionate about a lot of movies, so when I say that one is my ALL-TIME FAVORITE, that’s saying a lot.

It’s the only movie I can see again and again with perpetual excitement, my ardor sustained at the same stratospheric level over the last 21 years. It’s also the only movie that compels my inner film-geek to come out and actually recite the characters’ lines out loud, right along with them, which Callaghan had the misfortune of discovering when we watched it together a couple of weeks ago.

[Aside: the first time I saw it with Callaghan, we were still new together, and I was too shy to recite all the lines. I bit my tongue the whole time. Now that we’re married and he’s stuck with me, I let it all hang out. Typical! I did warn him in advance, though.]

So what movie am I talking about? It’s not The Big Lebowski, as some of you are probably thinking, though that’s up there in my Top Three.

I’m talking about Tombstone.

 

From left: Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday, Sam Elliott as Virgil Earp, Bill Paxton as Morgan Earp and Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp in Tombstone (1993)

From left: Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday, Sam Elliott as Virgil Earp, Bill Paxton as Morgan Earp and Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp in Tombstone (1993)

 

Historical fiction set where the main events took place here in Arizona, Tombstone is a western. This film is perfection. I’m not even going to bother adding “in my opinion,” because I truly believe that Tombstone is objectively perfect.

When Tombstone was released in 1993, I went to see it with John, my boyfriend, in central Phoenix. I remember that he lost his wallet there, and we spent about half an hour searching for it. I don’t remember whether he found it, but I do remember leaving the theatre feeling like a ten-year-old at Disneyland jumping breathlessly off the Star Tours ride, eager to run back to the line to wait for another go. Let’s do it again!

We returned to the theatre a few days later… John wanted to see Tombstone again, too. Not long after that, we went back for a third viewing. The fourth time I saw it, I went with some friends. I’m pretty sure I went a fifth time, but I don’t remember with whom. I want to say I went to see Tombstone five times… that seems about right. I remember feeling sad when it left the theatres.

But then Tombstone came out on video (VHS)! I bought it and watched it repeatedly over the years, and when the tape wore out, I picked up another one. Obsession alert: the years were rolling by, and my Tombstone-watching zeal was not dissipating! When DVDs came into existence at the end of the ‘90’s, Tombstone was the first DVD I bought. Shocking! Since then, I’ve seen it maybe, I don’t know, several hundred times more. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

 

JUSTICE IS COMING!

JUSTICE IS COMING!

 

I figure between all the theatre tickets, video and DVD purchases, I’ve never paid a cast of actors so well as I’ve paid the Tombstone cast. Kurt Russell; Val Kilmer; Sam Elliot; Michael Biehn; Powers Booth; Bill Paxton; Dana Delaney, et al AND the entire film crew and production team behind them deserve every cent.

Also, may I just say that the music… that score! Just… never mind. Here, listen:

 

 

Many a film score stirs me, but Tombstone’s score fills me with happiness and revs me up like no other film score ever has… and it sure sounds a lot like mid-19th century Old West justice to me. It captures the essence of:

You tell ‘em I’M coming … and hell’s coming with me, you hear? HELL’S COMING WITH ME!

Ah, Wyatt.

I’m just fascinated with this segment of Arizona’s history – the historic gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the ensuing vendetta ride of Wyatt Earp’s posse – and this movie puts me there.

As I’d suspected, I’m finding it difficult to articulate why this movie impacts me to such an extent; the most flawless films in existence won’t make my “favorites” list if they don’t resonate with me somehow. Tombstone resonates with the core of my being. Critics may find flaws with Tombstone, but it’s a masterpiece as far as I’m concerned. My affection for Tombstone borders on adulation.

And yes, I admit it… the greatness that is Val Kilmer’s channeling of Doc Holliday kills me to this day, blah, blah, blah. I’m not going to bore you with that. I will say, though, that I haven’t seen cinematic charisma that potent before or since Tombstone. Val Kilmer’s performance is superb. If there’s ever been a more magnetic portrayal of Doc Holliday than Kilmer’s, I want to know about it, because I would have to see it to believe it. Kilmer manages to ooze Southern gentleman sex appeal and charm brilliantly from every tubercular pore in Holliday’s wasted, alcohol-saturated body in every one of his scenes. It’s not as unsavory as it sounds, believe me. He pulled it off.

 

Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday

Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday

 

You know what’s kind of unbelievable? I’ve spent 21 years of my life here in Arizona, and I still haven’t visited the town of Tombstone! Kind of like how I’ve been to Paris five times and never visited Jim Morrison’s grave. Unlike that, however, my failure to visit Tombstone isn’t an extreme first-world problem, because I can easily jump in the truck and drive myself to Tombstone any time I want. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Interestingly, Val Kilmer also played Jim Morrison in The Doors, and that’s my second-favorite role of his.

At any rate, if you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and watch Tombstone. I highly, highly recommend this film. Just trust me on this. It doesn’t matter if you’re not into westerns. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like action movies. (I know people who don’t care for either genre, but they love Tombstone.) I would be so bold as to predict that you’ll love this movie, or at least enjoy it. It draws you in, and what’s not to love about a sweeping tale involving family bonds and loyalty, lawmen and outlaws, revenge, romance and the sexiest Latin-quoting, quick-drawing, card-playing badass Southern gentleman you’ll ever see?

Oh, Johnny… I forgot you were there. You may go now.