Friday five

August 17, 2018

ONE || BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansman is based on the real-life black policeman, Ron Stallworth, who was not only the first African-American cop in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but was the first black klansman (unbeknownst, of course, to the KKK). Gripping and funny, this Spike Lee film is a timely piece of cinema that showcases how little we’ve progressed since the civil rights movements of the ’60s and ’70s.

Bonus: BlacKkKlansman features Denzel Washington’s son!

TWO || Rodrigo y Gabriela

Think metal meets flamenco, and you have Rogrigo y Gabriela. This Mexican duo is literally jaw-droppingly talented. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe what they can do with guitars was even humanly possible.

THREE || Robert Ellis

Robert Ellis opened for Rodrigo y Gabriela. A Texas native, he reminded me of Johnny Cash. His songs were like stories from his past, and he can kill it on the guitar, too.

FOUR || Sharp Objects

Gillian Flynn’s novel, Sharp Objects, has been adapted to an HBO mini-series. Amy Adams plays the lead, and she does an amazing job portraying the alcoholic journalist. It’s a whodunit show and an almost intolerable slow-burn that’ll keep you invested (even through the unnecessary Calhoun Day episode).

All in all, Sharp Objects is a classic Southern Gothic, and I’m here for every single ounce of it.

FIVE || Highway 1 is Now Open Again on California’s Big Sur Coast

After a devastating mudslide that took out a section of the highway in 2017, the coastal Big Sur drive was practically cut off from the rest of the state. It’s open now after millions of dollars and a year of difficult work.

Friday five

August 10, 2018

ONE || Eighth Grade 

Oh goodness, y’all. This movie is a heart-warming cringe-fest. All of the actors are actually eighth grade aged, so Eighth Grade is both awkward and earnest. Dealing with popularity and acceptance, social media and sexuality, clueless single dad and pre-teen angst, I mean, phew, this movie is full of adolescent post-traumatic stress.

I laughed and cried and remembered my most embarrassing eighth-grade moments. Bo Burnham, the comedian who wrote and directed the movie, got it just right.

TWO || Naty Michele

A petite lifestyle/fashion blogger that has stolen my bitter heart. Admittedly, I am tired of bloggers who have become business machines. They wear what is sponsored, and it looks good on them because, like models, they’re all thin (and photoshopped). Don’t even get me started on the impracticality of their outfits.

Enter: Naty. She’s 4’11 and super stylish. Her branding is focusing more on lifestyle over fashion, but I can still find inspiration from her choices.

Every body is different, of course, but it helps to see cute outfits on someone who looks a little more like me. If you’re looking for style and fashion inspiration on a body like yours, I found Naty in this Stitch Fix style post, “My Body, My Style.”

THREE || Good Things Happen in Bookstores

This article was written by Ryan Holiday, who ascertains that stoicism was born out of a man’s trip to a bookstore. I grew up in a bookstore, so I thought I was the only one who thought that good things happen there.

So here’s to bookstores: A haven and a lighthouse guiding us beyond the catastrophes and discord of our daily lives.

FOUR || Napoleon Dynamite

I watched Napoleon Dynamite for the first time ever this week. So there’s that.

FIVE || Christy Copywriting

Move over, David Ogilvy. It’s time to make room for Christy Wolff.

The lovely Christy Wolff is a talented copywriter and all-around great person. She’s super empathetic and kind, which makes her the perfect candidate for working with her to create engaging copy in your brand’s tone.

If you’re in need of any copywriting for your online bio, website content, or microcopy (calls-to-action, taglines), then Christy’s your gal!

(This isn’t sponsored. I just really like Christy and think she’s a killer copywriter.)

Friday five

August 3, 2018

ONE || Mission: Impossible — Fallout

Tom Cruise’s big swollen face aside, this movie is 100% amazing.

It is the quintessential uber action movie. I’m talking hardcore fist-fights, an extravagant party scene with mistaken identities, a helicopter chase, and nuclear threat (like, I mean, that’s in every movie, right?).

The best part, though, is that it’s easy to follow. I hate that spy movies have this bad habit of getting really convoluted with thousands of threads to follow and 1,000 bad guy names, and all the bad guy names are barely different. Like “Oh no, Alexi Alexandrovich has a nuclear bomb, and Alaster Alessandrovax has two nuclear bombs. They’ve never met but have similar goals, and they’re both inexplicably present at this party in Paris, and our bumbling spy interference has made them aware of each other. Now, they’re best psycho friends and have joined forces and have THREE nuclear bombs. Also, blueprints for world destruction that CIA agent, Aaron Alexanderson accidentally misplaced have mysteriously ended up in Alexandrovich and Alessandrovax’s hands. Exactly what they needed to end the world order as we know it.”

I digress. It’s the best MI movie since Ghost Protocol, and I don’t say that lightly. The entire theater gasped and laughed, and we collectively sat on the edges of our seats. It was weirdly communal. I dug it.

TWO || Dirty Computer

The latest album from the talented, stylish, all-around amazing Janelle Monae, Dirty Computer, has been on repeat for the last week, and I LOVE IT; I LOVE JANELLE MONAE; DO YOU THINK SHE WOULD MARRY ME? If you’re looking for your end-of-summer road-trip soundtrack or just some tunes that are both upbeat and intellectually-fueled, this is it. The first song features Brian Wilson and is so freaking cool.

The whole album is explicit, but just be cool.

THREE || Castle Rock

I started the first episode of Stephen King’s Castle Rock by myself (in the dark), and within the first ten minutes, I was aghast. Aghast. Then, when I didn’t think it could get more dramatic, the following scene was so scary that I literally screamed out loud and ran into the other room. Straight into Brian’s arms. His presence is mandatory for all future viewings of Castle Rock episodes.

Y’all, this shit is scary. But it’s also scary good.

Watch it on Hulu (in the bright light of day with your strongest friends).

FOUR || Casual

So, I binge-watched the first season of Casual almost accidentally. It’s not great. There are a few funny moments, but other than those few and far between redeeming moments, it’s difficult to watch. I don’t think I’ve seen such horrible characters since Girls.

Alex and Valerie are siblings. Valerie moves in with Alex after her divorce. Valerie has a 16-year-old daughter, Laura, who we’re first introduced to as she’s having sex in her uncle’s hot tub, which (as this article aptly points out), “would be creepier if the actress playing her looked even close to being 16.”

Some say Casual is Hulu’s perfect show, and maybe it gets better after its first season, but so far, I just want to strangle everyone.

FIVE || “Shade for Shade” | Issa Rae in Exhibitionist Lipstick by COVERGIRL

You know my love for all things Issa Rae, and this COVERGIRL YouTube video-acting-like-it’s-not-an-ad-but-we-know-it’s-an-ad is NO exception. The premise is that Issa and her three friends are ready to go out for the night and looking for something to do, and as they each put on their favorite lipstick they shade each other (get it “shade for shade,” it’s cute). My favorite line might be, “If you can’t handle black lipstick, you can’t handle me, baby.”

It’s fun to see women getting to be themselves with their friends. Get yours, Issa!

Our Dutch-Greek Adventure

July 30, 2018

DAY 1: Travel

Flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam

DAY 2: Amsterdam

Arrive in Amsterdam around noon

  • Grab lunch and nap; settle into the day.
  • Get a nice dinner.

DAY 3: Amsterdam

Full day in Amsterdam

  • Our local guide will do a comprehensive city tour to see all the city’s major sites. In addition, we will take a boat cruise through the famous Amsterdam canals.
  • After lunch, we will venture north to the quaint town of Volendam, located on the shores of the Ijsselsea. On the return to Amsterdam, we will visit a local cheese farm and a Dutch clog maker to learn about some of the long-time traditions in this culture

DAY 4: Amsterdam

Full day in Amsterdam

  • Visit many of the wonderful museums, like the Van Gogh or Rembrandt.
  • Visit the Anne Frank house (get tickets as soon as you can) and learn more about her life and journey. Enjoy shopping in one of the most beautiful European cities, walking along the picturesque canals.

DAY 5: Travel

Flight from Amsterdam to Athens

  • Start the adventure with a welcome lunch in the colorful Plaka district.
  • We will visit the major sites on a city tour and get to know our expert local guide. We will see the Acropolis Museum and the Athens Archaeological Museum as part of the in-depth tour
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Bus

DAY 6: Day trip to Delphi

Excursion to Delphi

  • After breakfast, we drive the panoramic route from Athens to Delphi. Delphi is the site of the well-known Apollo Temple, dating back to the 4th century BC. We will see the ancient stadium and theatre on the excursion today as well.
  • The best way of going is by hiring a car with the Swift rental company who deliver their car to your doorstep and picks it up later once you are done with the car. The cheapest way to get there. Drive is beautiful and takes 2 hrs to get there.

DAY 7: Athens


  • Have a hearty breakfast before beginning your free day in Athens. This is your day to explore this amazing city on your own. Shop in the Plaka Area, enjoy the local cafes and try souvlaki in a Greek tavern with a large pita. Take time to see other museums and the modern part of Athens, like Omonia square. Make time to take the funicular up to the top of Lycabettus Hill for amazing views of the city! If available, take a short Greek island cruise to see the crystal clear blue waters.

DAY 8: Day trip to Nafplio with stops along the way

Athens to Olympia to Nafplio

  • After breakfast, we will travel across the Canal of Corinth, following the Ionian Sea to Patras then on to Olympia for a full morning of amazing sites. In the afternoon, we continue through the Pelepones to the ancient site of Mycenae.
  • We check into the hotel in the beautiful city of Nafplio. After, we will conclude the day with a dinner in a typical tavern nearby.

DAY 9: Nafplio to Athens

Nafplio to Epidaurus to Athens

  • Have a pleasant morning in the harbor town of Nafplio then board the bus to travel to the nearby Epidaurus for a view of the most amazing Greek theatre. After the visit, we will go back to Athens for one last night in the city with a “Farewell to Greece” dinner.

DAY 10: Travel home

Flight from Athens to San Francisco

Friday five

July 13, 2018

ONE || Won’t You Be My Neighbor

This documentary about Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was sentimental and mesmerizing. To hear from the people who knew Mr. Rogers best–his wife, co-stars, children–was powerful. Behind the sweaters and puppetry, Fred Rogers was a complex, complicated man.

TWO || JREAMZ | Jabawockeez

While we were in Las Vegas. we saw the Jabawockeez dance crew. Their latest show is ethereal and funny. If you have kids, this is actually a really great show for the whole family.

Be warned, though: there is an element of audience participation. Eek.

THREE || The Shining

Somehow I made it through my entire literature life without having read any Stephen King. To remedy that, I picked up The Shining and powered my way through it. Though I didn’t find it so scary I needed to put it in the freezer (Friends fans, anyone?), it was a well-written horror show. The movie gets a lot wrong and doesn’t capture the psychological terror and torment that Danny (our actual protagonist, in my opinion) suffers at the hands of his dad at the Overlook Hotel.

If you haven’t read this bad boy yet, I suggest you give it whirl, girl.

FOUR || A New Biometrics Test that will Uncover your True Travel Desires

If you know anything about me, you know I’m a sucker for a personality quiz. And one that predicts the perfect travel destination?! Forget about it! This quiz requires a quick hand, so your truest desires are revealed through intuition-based choices. Your results are revealed along with a hotel recommendation in each location.

These are my results: Texas, Brazil, or the UK

Ashlee, you are craving a chance to reconnect with the world in a warm destination. You have a preference for modern and clean surroundings and need to recharge by exploring all that is new. You feel most at home in the serenity of the outdoors. A romantic getaway is what your heart wants.

FIVE || How to Work from Home without Getting Saddled with All of the Housework

I might be back working from home for the next few weeks as I wait to hear from a job prospect as a copywriter. Last time I worked from home, I felt overwhelmed by the self-imposed expectation that I do all the housework. This article helps people who work from home separate work life from home life.