I had all of my essentials (i.e. book, iPod, phone, laptop, Starbucks)...thank goodness or else I would have gone bat-shit crazy.
Once we rolled on into the Best Western Premier hotel at midnight, I was overjoyed to see that it met my first priority since I have a HUGE phobia regarding hotels...it was exceptionally clean and had great amenities including a fitness center that I vowed to hit up after all of the snacking that was done during the trip. Although the room appears clean, I MUST bring my own pillow and blanket (yeah sure call me weird) but I've heard enough horror stories and just thinking about how many people slept or engaged in other activities in that bed before me...yeah...I'll opt out of getting all snuggley between the sheets no matter WHAT hotel I'm at. It was a great, comfy bed though and I slept like a rock.
The following day, I met up with my cousin Anna while my grandmother and mom met up with some of my mom's cousins and other family. We saw The Great Gatsby and since I went into it completely expecting it to bomb since I'm a literary snob and a half, I must say that I liked it particularly because I like Baz Luhrmann's directing style. If you don't, you'll hate it. Just like Romeo & Juliet, the film is very outlandish and may distort the themes and your own personal vision you had in your mind as to how certain scenes played out in your head, but I think he was (for the most part) spot on with the main characters with the exception of Nick Carraway. I can't tell you how effing much I dislike Tobey Maguire and to see him playing this role almost ruined the movie for me. Since he's the narrator he's in every fucking scene. EVERY SINGLE ONE. The man cannot act, he's unattractive and aggravating. His presence in the movie was like the annoying third wheel on a date. You just wanted him to get off the screen so you could witness REAL acting from the rest of the cast. I really liked how Luhrmann really stayed faithful to a lot of the symbolism in the book such as the green light and really portrayed that quite well. Leonardo DiCaprio was quite brilliant as well playing Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy. One thing that really did piss me off was the soundtrack in some parts of the movie. I'm sorry, but Jay-Z has absolutely no place in this movie. None. It was awkward and just did not work. I absolutely LOVE Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful" though. Overall, I think I'll have to see it again, and although it's been quite awhile since I've read the book, I'd say Luhrmann's interpretation was pretty accurate although his focus was more so on the cinematics than the storytelling.
But again, my harshest criticism is casting Tobey Maguire. They even had to reboot the whole Spider Man series and here he is appearing in a movie adaptation from one of the greatest literary works of all time? Fail.
As my cousin and I voiced our own critiques of the movie, we headed on toward Mall of America and I can't believe I'm about to say this but...I didn't break the bank. I found the perfect Mother's Day gift at my mom's favorite store, got some cute journals and a huge coffee mug sporting Minnesota pride on it. Love it. Some people might think visiting Minnesota is boring but I have amazing memories visiting family here and where my family is...it's never boring. I still hate the fact that Mall of America removed Camp Snoopy though and replaced it with lame Nickelodeon crap. After we finished getting our moms their gifts, we headed on back to my aunt and uncle's place for some AMAZING ribs and dined on their back porch while celebrating with the soon-to-be-grad.
Now today was the day my cousin graduated from Mankato and wow was it quite the adventure getting there. Not only did my mom write down HALF of the directions to the place, but she ended up getting pulled over by a state trooper for speeding. I then got to hear about her conspiracy theories regarding the cop and her getting a ticket for the rest of the way there (almost 1.5 hours). Apparently the cop was out to get her because we're from out-of-state and she has a Chicago Bears license plate. Yes mom, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that you were definitely going 10 over the speed limit...*eyeroll. Granted the guy was ridiculously rude and should have probably just let her off with a warning since she has a completely clean record...but life goes on...well apparently not for the next eight hours. My patience was wearing thin by the time we finally got to the place.
I was ecstatic once we got there with primo seats to see my cousin walk across that stage. I'm soooo proud of her.
Once the ceremony was over, we gathered outside for pics, giving our congrats and many hugs of course. She did it and is now embarking on this huge adventure.
My aunt and uncle have been amazing hosts as well opening up their home to us. I love them so much and I really don't visit them enough!
Although we had to celebrate sans my sister and my other cousin Kelly, it was a great crowd where we toasted to Anna's bright future and chowed down on amazing food.
Tomorrow is Mother's Day and our final day in Minnesota. I hate saying good-bye to my fam but it's only until next time!!