Weekly Roundup: July 12 – July 18 Helen Mirren and Martinis

Welcome to the weekly roundup on Ink in the Archives! Every week I will share what I’ve been up to and interested in and ask you to fill me in on your week too.

Eventful Events and Happening Happenings

We purchased a little square ottoman with storage underneath and we bought French vermouth to make martinis (these were the highlights of the week).

The first time my husband and I made a martini, we were newly 21. We thought martinis were going to be our thing. Because Mad Men. And sophistication. And cocktail parties. So we made a martini using the vermouth that had been at the back of my parents liquor cabinet for lord only knows how long. And it was the most disgusting thing ever! We dumped so much olive juice in to cover up the taste. And it was not enough. We promptly declared that martinis are not our thing and that vermouth is terrible.

But! We have learned better. For his birthday, I took my husband to a cocktail making class (because though we thought better of martinis for years, we still love cocktails), and we found out that we had been doing martinis wrong. It turns out that vermouth is wine. Fortified wine, but wine nonetheless. And wine, when you open it, goes bad after a relatively short period of time. So please, do not repeat our mistakes. Buy a small bottle of vermouth (I use a dry French for martinis) and keep it in the fridge. Use it up in a week or so and you won’t have grimace inducing drinks. You’ll have a martini that doesn’t even need an olive.

That was pretty much the most eventful part of the week. Otherwise, it was fairly awful. We were both very grouchy. I can’t even blame that on a full moon or anything.

Books Read

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen : Last year I decided to reread all Jane Austen’s books. I chose to read them in alphabetical order because that’s the order they come in in my box set. I’m glad that I saved P&P though because one of my favorite Booktubers recently read the whole thing on Instagram live over the course of about a month and then uploaded it to YouTube as a sort of casual audiobook. So I read it along with her. You can find the playlist here. The way Jen reads is just delightful–her Mrs. Bennet voice cannot be beat.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Dark Monk by Oliver Pötzsch : This is a sequel. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Hangman’s Daughter. This book went in a totally different direction, but still follows a Bavarian hangman and his daughter through a new mystery involving the Knights Templar. It’s set in the 17th century and has a lot of action as well as interesting and engaging characters. I think I did like the first one a bit better than this one, but I am eager to read the third and fourth books since my Mom found them all at her favorite used bookstore and put them in my stocking a couple years ago.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia : I don’t normally read a lot of horror, but I really enjoyed the last Moreno-Garcia book I read, Gods of Jade and Shadow, and I didn’t want to miss this one. I found myself kind of surprised by how much I enjoyed it and its gothic overtones. It was horrific but not so horrifying that I won’t be able to sleep tonight. I call that a win.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Movies Watched

I have a lot of free time this summer. So I thought I’d use it to work down my ever-growing movie backlog. This is what happens when you’re a film student–you’re so busy reading philosophy and criticism there’s no time to watch the movies everyone is referencing. I’ve challenged myself to watch one movie from this list a day.

The Good Liar (2019) Starring Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen. I missed this one in theaters, but luckily HBO came to my rescue. My husband took one look at this movie and said it was going to be sad. I don’t know how he knows these things. The end of this movie about a con man and his mark was sad, but not in a way you probably won’t see coming.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Tempest (2010) This is a baffling adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. Baffling mainly because of the musical choices, which are jarring and bizarre, and the special effects. I actually really like Mirren as Prospero. In fact, most of the casting is really well done. Everyone can actually act. But it’s just lacking something. I don’t know if it’s the way it’s shot or cut together, but it just feels really….distant. Like you can’t really get into any of the characters.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Gosford Park (2001) You know when a film kind of feels familiar but also doesn’t? It’s very likely I’ve seen this before, but it held up to another viewing, so I can’t even be upset about it. If you’re missing the world of Downton Abbey and you haven’t seen this film, you should add it to the top of your list. There are so many great actors in this movie that revolves around the lives of servants and the upstairs people and then of course there’s the murder…

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Berlin, I Love You (2019) A compilation of 10 different stories in Berlin woven around the story of a thrown together couple that sort of anchors and weaves through the other narratives. Some of the stories are really compelling and interesting, while others fell flat for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Frank (2014) There’s just something compelling about a guy who wears a papier mache head and doesn’t take it off. Ever. And who composes bizarre music. This film is odd and a little uneven, but it has a lot to say about creativity and mental illness without trying to impose too much of a lesson.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Heathers (1989) After watching this movie I feel pretty confident in saying that Christian Slater may be one of the most annoying teen stars of the 80s. But I really enjoyed Winona Ryder in this film about popularity run amok. I kind of can’t believe I hadn’t seen it before because I love 80s teen movies, but all the murder must have put me off. Maybe I thought it was going to be scary. It isn’t. It’s not a great film, but it was probably the most fun out of everything I watched this week.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Last Christmas (2019) I’ve never really understood the whole Christmas in July thing, but this is a Christmas movie, and I did watch it in July, so I guess it counts. I know this movie only did okay at the box office and even less well with critics, but it’s just as endearing as any Christmas movie on Netflix and has better actors than most. I mean–yes the big reveal at the end is ridiculous in only the way a Christmas movie can be–but it’s still pretty sweet.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3 Things I Learned This Week

Why do 18th and 19th century novels have —- in them for omitted information? For example in Pride and Prejudice, there are lines like “At length, however, our kind friend procured the wished-for direction. They were in —- Street.” This has always baffled me. If you don’t want to give the street name, why not just remove the sentence altogether? Is this a censorship thing? The internet was not entirely clear on this point, but it looks like they were used for several reasons including to avoid potential libel and other lawsuits, to add verisimilitude (by not having to make up place names), to keep the reader in the world of the novel by being vague, and other similar reasons.

Don’t leave your cast iron skillet in the sink overnight because you’re too tired to deal with it. You will have to re-season it.

All the Myers-Briggs personality types correspond to court cards from the tarot deck. I am an INFJ, which corresponds to the Queen of Cups. My husband is an INTJ–the Knight of Pentacles.


Please know that I’m not paid for my opinions about anything. I just like to share things that strike me as interesting, useful, or engaging.

I really enjoyed this exhibit from the Eric Carle Museum about picture book artists and how they’ve been coping and adapting to shelter in place. This free online exhibit is really worth a look if you enjoy picture books and/or tours of artist studios.

Little konjac sponges. I bought a charcoal infused one.

Normally I am not the kind of person to rave over beauty products, but I have to admit that I am in love with this one. It’s a konjac sponge that I bought at Zero Waste Outlet. I am trying to transition my things as I use them up to less plastic-y alternatives, and this plant-based exfoliator comes as a little hockey puck that you soak in warm water and then cleanse your face with it. It’s hard to describe how great it is. And I feel like in the week I’ve started using it, my skin is clearer and smoother. Not bad for $3.99.

Poll of the Week

How was your week? Was it more of the same or did something good happen? Let me know in the comments!

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