Sunday, 18 February 2018

Movie Review: I, Tonya (2017)

i-tonya


I, Tonya (2017) is a movie about competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the sport is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes. It is based on irony free, wildly contradictory, totally true interviews with Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) and Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), her ex-husband. I couldn't resist watching this movie because I thought it was about ice skating and I'm crazy about that. However, it's not really about ice skating but rather Tonya Harding's life up to Nancy Kerrigan's attack and how it affected her and her skating. Here's a somewhat brief summary of the movie and most of her life leading to the big event. Spoilers ahead, I guess.

Tonya's mom (Allison Janney) was a smoker and alcoholic and was pretty much terrible to her while she was growing up, hitting her just because but still working double shifts to pay for her training. She's portrayed as not letting Tonya use the toilet while skating and hitting her because, as she said, Tonya would skate better when enraged. Something that made me angry is that we then see Margot Robbie in the 80s pretending she's 15 years old so we had an almost 30 year old woman playing a girl half her age. They cast a girl for 7 years old so I don't understand why they wouldn't cast a teenager to play teenage Tonya. Or rather, I do understand since Tonya was 24 in 1994 and they needed Margot to play the character. Still, in my opinion, she's just too old (even with braces) to play a 15 year old.

She ended up quiting school so she could concentrate on ice skating, got a boyfriend who also started hiting on her, which is lovely. However and despite her dedication, she wasn't graceful for the competition, neither were her choice of music or her presentation, as they also judge on appearance. She wasn't the image they wanted to portray as they wanted the "wholesome of american family".

Tonya was first american woman to complete a triple axel in a competition: "you skate backward and then take off from a forward position on your left leg and then somehow you hurl yourself in the air three and a half rotations land on the opposite foot on the back outside edge". After the triple axel, everything changed. Jeff started hitting her for no reason again (I don't think he ever stopped, it just got worse), and she left him and filed a restraining order against him. Despite everything, she went to the Olympics in 1992 but failed her triple axel because of her skate, allegely.

Her life leading to the main event, according to the movie, was full of ups and downs. She was constantly leaving Jeff and going back to him. Tonya received a threat before the National Championship and Jeff got thinking about doing the same thing to Nancy, allegely one of Tonya's friends. So after Nancy's practice she was attacked with a police baton on the right lower thigh but she recovered for the 1994 Olympics, getting the silver medal. Tonya had trouble with the laces on her skates and was given a re-skate by the judges but ended up in 8th place.

The FBI found a paper with Tonya's handwriting with Nancy's training location and schedule - the plan was to send her death threatning letters to mess with her head for the competition, not an assault. I must say the most difficult part to watch was Tonya's trial. They scheduled it til after the competition and Tonya ended up being banned for life from figure skating for life (she then became a lady boxer). It was heartbreaking watching Margot Robbie say how she'd prefer being sentenced to jail instead of being forbidden to skate, that was an amazing performance from her!

People say a lot of times this was the most important event in the year, that Tonya Harding was the most known person after Bill Clinton and but I feel like this was just in the USA, I'm not sure of how much of an impact this attack had on a global scale. I am disappointed there's not a lot of figure skating, as this was what I went for. I sort of lost the interest halfway through because it focuses too much on the attack instead of figure skating. I get they must feel like this was a huge event back then, but was it really?

Have you watched this movie? What's your opinion about it? Do you agree with me or do you have a completely opposite opinion?


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Sunday, 11 February 2018

Workshop: Healthy Breakfasts




Já há algum tempo que me tenho interessado por alimentação saudável e equilibrada (apesar de nem sempre o praticar) e desde então que ando a seguir algumas contas mais saudáveis e "fit" no Instagram. Passou pelo meu feed um anúncio a um workshop e pensei que não podia ser mais oportuno! Afinal, o pequeno-almoço sempre foi algo complicado para mim porque apesar da maioria dos especialistas defenderem que é a refeição mais importante do dia a verdade é que eu, como nunca tenho fome assim que acordo acabo por comer muito pouco, não comer como deve ser (olá chocapic!) ou mesmo sair de casa sem nada no estomâgo. Assim, no sábado passado, dia 3 de Fevereiro, decidi experimentar o Workshop sobre Pequenos-Almoços Saudáveis com a Patrícia, autora do blog Ele Cozinha, Ela Lava.

Confesso que inicialmente estava um bocadinho de pé atrás porque não arranjei companhia para vir comigo e porque sou ligeiramente esquisita com comida mas acabei por me inscrever e ainda bem que o fiz! A Patrícia foi super simpática, todo o grupo que foi ao workshop era muito porreiro e comi tanto que mais valia não ter almoçado antes de ir para lá! Conheci algumas das pessoas que já seguia no Instagram e descobri novas pessoas para seguir, todas muito simpáticas e terra-a-terra e todas com um objectivo: tornar os pequenos almoços mais saudáveis!

Foram quatro horas e um bocadinho onde a Patrícia nos mostrou como preparar seis receitas, onde tivemos que "pôr as mãos na massa" e tínhamos um cantinho especial para tirar fotografias dos resultados finais. Saí de lá a saber fazer matcha latte, papas de aveia proteícas, panquecas de banana e baunilha, crepiocas, tarteletes de aveia e com umas ideias giras para coberturas saudáveis em tostas e sandes.

Começámos pelo matcha latte, algo que eu nunca tinha provado, e confesso que fiquei um bocadinho reticente quando ouvi a Patrícia dizer que no último workshop que deu a maioria não tinha gostado e por isso ia fazer com metade da dose desta vez. Alguém também comentou que uma das propriedades era o efeito laxante, o que contribuiu ainda mais para o meu receio dado que eu sou bem esquisita com a comida! Sabem o sabor ao chá verde? É basicamente isso, mas com leite. Gostei bastante e, felizmente, não teve o efeito laxante nenhum. Prosseguimos para as tarteletes de aveia que, à falta de forno na altura, tinham sido cozinhadas pela Patrícia antes do workshop (e estavam tão saborosas!) mas mesmo assim fizemos na hora e experimentámos à mesma. Seguiram-se as papas de aveia proteicas, com três sabores para experimentarmos: maçã e canela, banana e cacau e bagas goji e arónia, O meu preferido foi o de maçã e canela com manteiga de amendoim por cima, estava delicioso! Depois disso aprendi a fazer crepiocas, ou seja, crepes com tapioca (algo que ainda hei de experimentar cá em casa) e por último, experimentei pela primeira vez abacate no pão.

Ontem experimentei pôr em prática a receitas das paquecas. Não tinha baunilha por isso fiz sem ela e acrescentei aveia de brownie em metade delas (ver fotos no final). Acho que não correu mal de todo apesar de ainda ter que trabalhar na minha técnica de viragem de panquecas e, talvez, investir numa placa ou numa frigideira maior. De qualquer maneira, apesar de ligeiramente desformadas, o sabor estava todo lá e é isso que importa!

Em conclusão, fiquei muito contente por ter decidido ir ao workshop apesar dos meus receios iniciais. Conheci pessoas novas, experimentei sabores que de outra maneira não me tinha aventurado e que irei introduzir no meu dia-a-dia e fiquei cheia de vontade de aprender mais por isso no próximo workshop (dia 4 de Março sobre snacks pré o pós treino) estarei lá!


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Sunday, 4 February 2018

Book review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus




Unless one of us is lying. Which is always a possibility.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide. Pay close attention and you might solve this. They say it's a mix between The Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars and while I've watched both and I can see where they're coming from I can say I was more entertained reading this book than I was watching both the movie and tv show they use to compare it to.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention for having phones (which are not theirs) with them with a certain teacher who doesn't tolerate technology. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess but holding together the cracks in her perfect life. Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing and is one misstep away from a life of crime. Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher who greatly improved during the summer. And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app, About That, and won't ever talk about any of them again.

Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, he's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident: he was highly allergic to peanuts and somehow peanut oil ended up on a cup he was drinking from. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

I really liked how this book started with presenting typical american high school stereotypes as main characters. It has multiple points of view, one for each suspect and, as you get to know them, McManus keeps breaking the stereotypes they are one by one so it is anything but cliché. The book has a few trigger warnings as it touches on cheating, emotionally abusive relationships, mental health and homophobia, but without making it all about it because this is still a mystery book. It does get side tracked sometimes but since it's narrated by the main suspects it's understandable they sometimes need to stop thinking about the crime itself.

So did I figure out who the murderer was? Yes, I had two main suspects from the beginning and I got very suspicious about a certain someone halfway through but they keep throwing new evidences at you. I ended up being correct, though! The problem with Simon being dead is that there's always someone updating this Tumblr with new information being thrown at you from the killer's prespective. I got very frustrated with the police because they are clearly incompetent and someone else actually had to solve the crime for them.

All in all, it's a very fast paced, fun to read book. The last two chapters are pure pain, so be prepared. If you like young adult mystery books this is definitely worth a shot! I look forward to reading more from Karen M. MacManus (and honestly I'm still trying to understand the peanut oil problem)!

You can get One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus on Book Depository with free shipping. Let me know if you figured out who the killer was!

Things'll get worse before they get better.

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Sunday, 28 January 2018

An Open Letter to My Cat: Questions I Have





As you might know by now, I recently got a cat. You can check his background and some tips of what you should and should avoid doing when you get a cat yourself in my last post. So Simba is around five months now, getting more and more comfortable every day and on his way to become an Instagram top model. We're hoping he doesn't start marking his territory for a while but we know he'll start doing very soon (another trip to the vet will be scheduled as soon as that happens).

While we're very happy he's in our lives, we still got a few issues. And by issues I mean we have some questions we'd love if he could answer so this is my open letter to my cat.

"Dear Simba,

Hopefully you look at us as more than the humans who feed you twice a day and occasionally rub your fur. I know we had a rough start and you took a while to warm up to these humans but after two or three weeks you started showing typical cat behaviours towards us. However, there are a few questions we'd like you to answer because those still baffle us.

1- How can you ALWAYS be hungry?
You've turned out to be a HUGE gluton, dear Simba. You're always begging for food and we can't leave the cupboards open for thirty seconds because you come out of nowhere and when we look again, you're searching for (and most times finding) something to eat. We know you've recently gotten the habit, which we're trying to work on, of climbing onto the kitchen counters to eat the food we sometimes leave there. You've even been able to work around the microwave protection I left on top of my breakfast bowl and managed to feast on it! While we're on it, please let your obsession with the trash can go, the food there is not for you.
You also got recently obsessed with your 4kg food bag and even managed to open the wardrobe it was in to get to it! We're running out of places within my reach but out of yours to hide it in!

2 - Why are you very still and suddenly start running around like a mad cat?
You know the situation. You're standing very still, your tail wagging left and right and suddenly you start running somewhere like your life depends on it. We, humans, are suspicious you somehow have access to a paralel world and when you do that it's because your life is being threatened in that other dimension but we'd like to have your input on it.

3 - What do you see in rugs?
You have an obsession with rugs. I don't know what you see in them but you like to stretch and put your claws out and do some weird movements on them we still haven't understood. You do this quite a lot during the morning, when I'm trying to not wake up, so I will give you food. We'd like to, so please do explan why you do this.

4 - What's up with the bites?
Sometimes we're having a petting session and you're enjoying it very much (I can hear you purr!) and after a while you just bite us out of nowhere. It's a light bite, yes, but what's up with that? Why do you do that and how can we make you see it's not okay to bite us, even if they're not meant to harm (at least I don't think so anyway)?

5 - Why do you ignore it when we call you by your name?
You've been Simba for two month now. We've been calling "Let's go, Simba, let's go eat" every time we feed you. We've been saying your name every time we pet you. Yet, you still don't respond when we call Simba. By now, we're almost sure you just don't care what your name is.

With love,
Vera (the human)"


If you know the answers to any of these questions, or any other tips in general (like how to make him stop going after his food bag), please don't hesitate in commenting, because these are truly intriguing behaviours. Meanwhile, don't forget that you can follow my Simba's adventures on Instagram!

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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life) by Mark Manson



Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.

In this self-help guide, a blogger shows us that the key to being happier is to stop trying to be "positive" all the time and instead to become better at handling adversity.

You know those self-help guide books that sell you the idea that lots of positive ideas and optimism thinking are the key to a happy, rich life? If you love those, this book is definitely not for you. "Fuck positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let's be honest; sometimes things are fucked up and we have to live with it." For the past few years, Manson - via his popular blog - has been working on correcting our delusional expectations for ourselves and for the world.  Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. Instead, he tells it like it is: a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today.  He now brings his hard-fought wisdom with The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed by both academic research and jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to better stomach lemons. As he writes, "Not everybody can be extraordinary - there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault." Human beings are flawed and limited. Manson adivses us to get to know our limitations and accept them. This, he says, is the real source of empowerment. Once one embraces their fears, faults and uncertainties - once one stops running from and avoiding, and starts confronting painful truths - one can begin to find the courage and confidence one desperately seeks.

"In life, we have a limited amount of fucks to give. So you must choose your fucks wisely." You need to figure out which ones really matter. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. This wasn't a breakthrough revelation to me. I have been doing this for quite a while now since material things solely do anything for me and I always ask for experiences/memories for my birthday. Manson brings a much-needed grab-you-by-shoulders moment of real talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor. I'm not much into self-help books but they say The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a refreshing slap in the face for all of us so that we can start to lead more contented, ground lives. For me, it wasn't only a slap in the face. It was an ice cold shower after running a marathon in 40ºC weather (which should be illegal in the first place).

So why did I enjoy this book? First of all, let me tell you, it's not a book designed to read in one sitting. I tried that at first since I had a deadline but the best way to read this is definitely in between some fiction or any other gender - unless, of course, self-help books are your favourite book gender. I feel like a chapter a day is a better way to read this because you have to let it sink in and you will miss a lot of good stuff if you just skim through it. I liked Mark's writing. It's easy to read, fun and very entertaining.

This book has good advice for those who, like myself, tend to overthink. It will make you go back to all those situations and think how you could have handled them differently. “The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.” and “If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success.”

You can get The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: (A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life) by Mark Manson on Book Depository with free shipping and let me know if it made you see life differently!

Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a fuck about what’s truly fuckworthy. 

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Sunday, 14 January 2018

FIFA 18: My Boyfriend Tried to Teach Me How To Play



After my last FIFA 18 post I tried to show more interest in this game (even though there's still no Sims crossover which, by the way, I've been thinking about and there will be a post soon with a list of ideas EA could implement) so I asked him to teach me how to play.

It was a sunny sunday and we sat in front of the tv. I was playing with Real Madrid against FC Porto (controlled by the game), the boyfriend chose some settings involving players' positions (and didn't explain me one bit), and I had already suffered two goals when the game decided to glitch and the players started playing by themselves while I was only able to control the goalkeeper - I must say they did play better without me controlling them, but honestly there's no need to rebel against me like that. We quit the game and restarted again. During this first trial I managed to learn how to pass the ball and direct it towards the players so that's something.

So the second game starts. Once again, it was Real Madrid against FC Porto. I must say I'd gotten the hang of the pass skill by now. However I now had a new problem: whenever I lost the ball I wasn't able to get it back because my players seemed to never run as fast as the other team, didn't go where I thought I was telling them to go and somehow mine never ended up where I wanted to. By halftime it was 4 null (one of which was scored by myself so technically I scored one goal, no matter it was in the wrong goal). I must say, however, I had 55% of ball possession and 85% of pass accuracy, which is something. These were the only stats I was better than them but considering they had scored three goals (let's not forget I did score one) they obviously had stats on shots and shot accuracy I didn't. They also had 2 injuries and 3 fouls while I had none so again, that's something!

The boyfriend ended up finishing the second halftime for me and scored twice not suffering any goals but he did something with the formation and the tactics during the game so I'm pretty much convinced that if he'd told me about that instead of making me focus on passes I would have been slightly more succefull in this first attempt. I simply cannot understand how they're able to control the players properly, mine never do as I told them!

In conclusion, while EA doesn't do a Sims crossover (I'll patent that idea one day) I think I'll stick to Sims only because at least my Sims do what I tell them to and they're way easier to control! When the boyfriend has a bit more patience to teach me the FIFA ways of playing (and not only passing) maybe I'll be able to win against the computer!

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Sunday, 7 January 2018

The Family Is Growing (Or Dos and Don'ts When You Get A Cat)



I have been living with the boyfriend for a while now and we had always agreed that once we moved we'd do this since it was something we'd always been looking forward to: we'd go to an animal shelter and get a cat. So we did that. We visited a couple of places to choose (or get chosed by) a cat and there were a lot of internet searches and cat pictures involved in this process. And we eventually fell in love with a little orange one from Amor ao Gato (Cat Love, in English), a small association which helps street cats in Odivelas finding a home, a city and a municipality in Lisbon Metropolitan Area. We were told he was three months old, had been found in a box in the trash and was still a bit scared. We decided to bring him home with us after looking at his pretty little pink snout. We then entered a discussion, going back and forth throwing names, always somehow movie related. This lasted a few days until we reached a final name for him: Simba.

And thus, an alternative title for this post: Dos and Don'ts When You Get A Cat. It's possible this is only the first part of a series of posts. Noobies as we were, we forgot pretty much everything we'd previously read. So here's a few tricks of things we wished we could have done differently or things we've learned so far, hoping to help some beginner cat owners out there:

1) Before you let your new cat out make sure you have covered all the holes your house has. This includes the space between the stove, the machines, the fridge and SPECIALLY that hole you don't even know you have behind the bidet. Yep, he decided to hide inside that.
2) Let the new cat out of the transporter where his space will be (where the food and sand box are) so he knows where everything is.
3) And close the door of said space so he doesn't bolt to an unknown hole you haven't covered yet.
4) If you ignored all the previous steps and the cat ends up in an unknown hole don't try to make him come out of it because he'll get even more scared. He'll eventually grow hungry and tired of being hidden, he'll know where his food is. When the cat finally comes out, quickly do step 3 and then 1.
5) Keep the door closed and spend time with the new cat so he gets used to you and his new space.
6) Be patient on this part of the process. Don't give up. It's a new situation, most likely stressful to the cat so be patient with him. Let him set his own flow.
7) After the cat is more used to you, you can let him explore the house a little bit more, opening one room at the time. Leave the problematic rooms with potential hiding spots for last (such as the kitchen and the bathrooms).
8) Make sure you ALWAYS have your windows closed. And if you have to open it, make sure the cat is not inside the room and then close the door.
9) Don't buy any noisy toys because after a while you'll get tired of getting up in the middle of the night to put it out of reach. Aluminium foil balls work just fine, honestly.
10) Don't switch the cat's food all of a sudden. If they're used to a certain brand of food, start mixing the new food you want to give him with the old one and go from there so he doesn't get gastro-intestinal problems.

As I previously said, Simba was very scared when he first arrived home but we've seen him get more confident every day to the point he sleeps at my feet, joined us on the sofa and decides to join us at the table when we're having dinner (we weren't too thrilled about this last one). We laugh when he decides he's a dog trapped in a cat's body and starts to meow at us whenver we arrive home so we give him food or when he decides to chase his own tail. We took him to the vet last week, who confirmed his age (he's around 4 months now) and behaved so well, I couldn't believe my eyes. I was expecting him to bolt to a dark corner once I let him out of the transporter but he stayed very still and cooperated very well.

We're still trying to make him respond when we call him. We've been calling him whenever we feed or pet him but still with no success. Do cat experts have any tips for this? Or any tips at all, to be honest, as we're open to every kind of useful tip.

All in all, it's been a great expercience so far and we're very happy we gave him a home. Don't buy a pet, adopt one!


You can follow my Simba's adventures on Instagram, I'll be sure to keep it updated.

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