Hey 2014 Alison, it's 2018 Alison here.

I so wish I could go back to this moment, with you standing on this overlook of Deception Pass, having your photo taken by a guy who would go on to emotionally destroy you for a little while, and tell you that things will be ok. 

It will take 4 years - 4 complicated years. 

Along the way you're going to :

  • lose your mom
  • move out of your home on bad terms
  • have a lame breakup
  • have a bad New Year's Eve
  • move to another state
  • be betrayed by employers
  • lose friends
  • get a new job
  • survive a heat wave
  • go a zine convention and have an anxiety attack and leave after 15 minutes
  • go to Sitka, Alaska and London, England
  • join some disappointing gyms
  • watch your friend get married
  • reconnect with family
  • and get another new job - among other things


It's going to be really painful leaving your boxing gym behind, and it will take some time, but you'll finally find a new one where you feel like you have a community.

You're going to go through some really lonely times. Like really lonely. 

You'll miss the island even though you were so glad to leave it. 

You'll feel like all your friends are married or getting married and despair. 

You're going to miss your family and your mom a lot. Every January is going to be hard.



But here's where you are at the beginning of 2018:

  • you're in a relationship (!) with the best guy you've ever met
  • you finally have a good job that's interesting and challenging
  • you like all your co-workers
  • you're back into photography again and feeling inspired
  • you live in a cute apartment with your best friend
  • you've paid off 2 of your student loans and are finally making progress on the rest
  • you box at a gym you really like
  • you just ordered a book on baking bread


2014 Alison - it's going to get better. You're going to get through the mess that is 2014 and the slightly lesser mess that is 2015 and come out the other side scarred but strong. 

2018 Alison is the happiest she's been in years. 


The beginning/end of the year seems to be the time when all the good movies come out and there have been some good ones this year. I'm still on my "see all the Oscar noms" quest (failed twice before - wish me luck for this year!). These are the top 5 movies I've loved so far this year: 



The Florida Project 

This little film caught me by total surprise. I went into it like I tend to do with movies around this time of year - knowing nothing about it. But right away I knew it had to be directed by the same guy who did Tangerine. This movie feels like the second piece of Sean Baker's oeuvre of stories of the overlooked. The Florida Project follows a group of children and their parents living in a motel on the outskirts of DisneyWorld. As their parents struggle with addiction, prostitution and scrounging up money for their weekly rent, the children amuse themselves with mischief. The color palette and cinematography are magical and sublime when contrasted with the rough lives of the characters. A gorgeous film and a must watch.


Lady Bird

I've been a fan of Greta Gerwig since I saw her in Frances Ha and her directorial debut did not disappoint. I'm a sucker for a coming-of-age story and this one about a complex girl (played beautifully by Saoirse Ronan) growing up in Sacramento is touching and hilarious. What I connected most with was the mother/daughter relationship dynamic - it felt real. So real in fact that I burst into tears right after the movie ended. I also love a film that not only explores a character's story but also explores a place and the love letter to Sacramento aspect of the film was equally moving. 


The Disaster Artist

I'd heard about The Room for years but never saw it until I saw an ad for this film and knew I couldn't see it in good faith without first watching the movie that started it all. The Room is a bizarre movie and Tommy Wiseau is a bizarre guy. Based on the book by The Room co-star Greg Sestero, The Disaster Artist showcases both Tommy Wiseau's problematic, delusional behavior and the earnestness of his dreams with equal measure - you end up rooting for Tommy without knowing really if you should. James Franco is incredible in this role and it's fun to watch him and Dave Franco play off one another. Even if you haven't seen The Room, see this film. 


Baby Driver

Never have I cared about a car chase movie until Baby Driver. Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a getaway driver trying to pay off a debt by participating in criminal heists. His plans get derailed when he falls for a local waitress and his cohorts make it impossible for him to escape his life of crime. This film is fun, action-packed and has a great soundtrack. You root so hard for Baby the whole way through. Just ignore Kevin Spacey - he gets his in this film. 


Kedi

This simple documentary about free-roaming cats in Istanbul, Turkey captured my heart. Seeing how the people of Istanbul respect and love the multitude of cats that come in and out of their lives is inspiring. There's nothing particularly investigative or earth-shattering about Kedi, but that's why it succeeds. It's a meditation on how the lives of cats and city-dwelling people intertwine. 


Honorable mentions: Wonder Woman, Atomic Blonde, Coco, Girls Trip, The Big Sick

Disclaimer: I still haven't seen several movies that could have potentially made this list, including Get Out, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Call Me By Your Name, I, Tonya, Logan, Molly's Game and The Shape of Water.


photo sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5


So.....Treatmas 2017....yeah...


So I was all jazzed up to do another year of Treatmas on this blog and well, it all just got away from me. I made some Linzer cookies which turned out half good (in retrospect, store-bought lemon curd was a gamble. Should have done all raspberry jam) and then ran out of time for the rest of the cookies I had planned. I feel a bit like a failure. But, here's my one good one!

I've made the same sugar cookie recipe over and over again since I began baking, and I make it every year for Christmas cookies. It's my favorite recipe and for some reason, I've always been a bit reluctant to share it with anyone. But it's not mine anyway, so here it is!





Sugar Cookies - Martha Stewart Entertaining 


Makes Aprox. 40 3-inch cookies

4 1/2 cups sifted flour
4 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter baking sheets (or parchment paper). Sift together dry ingredients.
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add dry ingredients, 1 cup at a time, alternating with milk and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Wrap and chill dough for at least 1 hour. 
Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll 1 piece at a time on a floured board and cut with cookie cutters. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. 

Icing: 1 egg white + 1 cup powdered sugar (add more or less to make icing stiffer or runnier)





It's all about the stars


I'm totally obsessed with stars - I gravitate immediately towards star-print items in shops. So this year, my gift guide is full of lovely starry items I've found that would make great gifts!
I've done some jewelry, pamper, apparel, accessory, and home items - most are pretty affordable but there are a few luxury items thrown in! 

This year I'm trying to not to go too overboard with gift giving because it's easy for me to get carried away (have you ever seen Leslie Knope in Parks & Rec give gifts? Because that's me.)

Happy shopping!




























Over the Thanksgiving holiday I got back a few rolls that I had sent to the lab for processing. A couple feature my family dog Gus who just recently passed away, so they were bittersweet to look at (check out that dopey grin - heartbreaker). 

I'm working on a floral series so I'm hoarding those photos until I'm ready to show it as a body of work - just know that I'm withholding some good stuff, but you'll see it soon!










and a picture of me even! 





Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm spending the day with my little family, cooking and laughing and making fun of movies on TV. It's been pouring all day and I'm worried I ate too many appetizers to enjoy dinner, but we'll see. I hope wherever you are you're having a lovely day. 



Happy Friday!!! Emily and I just finished Stranger Things 2 last night and all I can say is I LOVE STEVE. And also Season 3 please hurry up! Thank goodness for these wonderful shows coming out recently or I wouldn't be able to handle the constant barrage of horrible political news. Sometimes escapism is ok. And on that moderately depressing note, here's some web things!

+ This Stranger Things quiz is NOT ACCURATE! I am not Barb!

+ I was on the Haven't Seen or Heard podcast discussing two Halloween movies - Psycho and Nightmare on Elm Street.

+ What do you think about Blake Shelton being People's Sexiest Man Alive this year? Not sure I agree...

+ A Very Good Dog Hunts Very Bad Ants

+ I'm obsessed with this song!

+ Have a Nice Day!