Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Movie Challenge Update

The movie challenge ends at the end of this month and I've been able to watch fourteen of my movies, which isn't too bad actually! Especially considering we moved in the middle, then our internet wouldn't stay up, Quinn stopped taking naps, etc etc. Here's a few little mini-reviews in case any of you were wanting to watch any of these.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - watched 9/2/14
Category: Action/Adventure
It was a lot gorier than I expected and I felt like most of the cursing was unnecessary, but I've come to expect it especially in R rated movies. Besides that, I did like it. I don't think it's the best movie ever, but I don't think it deserved to get as many bad reviews as it did. My favorite part was how creepy looking the witches were and how quickly they moved, it was kind of like in The Grudge. Also, Gemma Arterton is SO pretty.
***/5

Legends of the Fall - watched 9/3/14
Category: Oscar for Cinematography
I can't imagine riding a horse in a three piece suit and in summer. No bueno. Brad Pitt was the most gorgeous he ever was in 1994. It's nice to see a movie that looks good even though it was made before all the fancy stuff we have now, I almost prefer it over all the fancy stuff. Slightly before the part where Tristan goes to jail, I got a little bored. This is not my kind of movie, at all, so that's probably why. It's good for what it is, though.
**/5

Seriously, 1994 Brad Pitt is the best Brad Pitt. Second is Fight Club Brad Pitt.

Camp - watched 9/24/14
Category: Actress Whose Last Name Starts with K (Anna Kendrick)
I really liked the idea of this movie, I was a theatre kid after all, but it was just okay. I don't know if maybe it's because it's 11 years old or what, but I just wasn't wowed by it. I did love Anna Kendrick, as usual.  I'm still jealous of Michael's glittery black comforter, though.
**/5

Mortified Nation - watched 9/26/14
Category: Drama/Biography/Documentary
This was okay. It was a documentary of a bunch of shows where people read from their teenage diaries and journals. It was interesting, but I didn't like how much back and forth there was between the shows and interviews with the crew. I guess that's part of why I don't like documentaries. I'd rather just watch the show OR the interviews.
***/5

All About Eve - watched 10/19/14
Category: Oscar for Best Picture
I loved seeing the differences from a movie from the 50's to today. Everything from costumes to acting nuances have changed. Even the how the actors and actresses looked is different. They all looked unique instead of the cookie-cutter image that's tended toward now. The story was good (and this was a much better theatre-centric movie than Camp was) and I'd highly recommend it.
****/5

The Fault in Our Stars - watched 10/21/14
Category: Adapted from a Novel
I did actually read this book before I saw the movie. I didn't cry when reading it, but I did tear up. I cried during the movie though. This is just such a great story and even though it's considered "young adult" I'd recommend it to all adults as well. Weird to me is that it was cast really well with Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley as romantic interests, but I also think Divergent was cast really well with them as brother and sister. Good actors, those two.
****/5 (only because movies are never as good as the book)

The Raven - watched 10/30/14
Category: Filmed in Budapest, Hungary
I have a soft spot for all John Cusack movies and historical fiction, so I was pretty much going to love this one anyway. And I did. I read a little online about Edgar Allen Poe and his last days and I really liked the fictionalized account. I did think it was funny that most of the actors were European (mostly British, I think) doing American accents.
*****/5


X-Men: Days of Future Past - watched 10/31/14
Category: Actor Whose Last Name Starts with J (Hugh Jackman)
Other than leaving me confused with what was retconned and what wasn't, I really liked this. I liked the introduction to Quick Silver (interested to see how Marvel tackles him in the Age of Ultron) and the progression of Raven to Mystique. And it's always good to see Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Always.
****/5

The English Patient - watched 11/1/14
Category: Oscar for Editing
Dear goodness this movie just about bored me to tears. That's all I'm gonna say about that.
0/5 (the ONLY one I'm giving ZERO stars to, that's how boring it was)

The Usual Suspects - watched 11/2/14
Category: Oscar for Original Screenplay
I knew the twist before seeing this, because it's 20 years old and the internet exists, but I still loved it. GREAT movie.
*****/5

Love Actually - watched 11/2/14
Category: Filmed in London, England
Oh my goodness, how did I not see this sooner? I don't usually choose romantic movies though, so that's probably why. I loved this. I might make Jarrod watch it with me closer to Christmas.
*****/5

Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day - watched 11/8/14
Category: Actor Whose Last Name Starts with U (Blair Underwood)
This was pretty good. I enjoyed the story and they did a good job teasing you with hints as to what else was going on. The kidnapping aspect (it says that in the blurb, not a spoiler) was kind of wrapped up quickly and there were some weird filming things with coloring and whatnot that I didn't like, but it was mostly good.
***/5

I did love seeing Nicole Beharie in something other than her Lieutenant Mills role.

The Hours - watched 11/12/14
Category: AMC's Top Movie Quotes (Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more. - Virginia Woolf)
I was so bored through this entire movie. But, I guess if you like Virginia Woolf maybe give it a shot?
*/5

Waiting for Forever - watched 11/17/14
Category: Romance
This was weird. The "protagonist" was a stalker, then it went from creepy romance to there's a murder. Just not good. I do like the actors involved, but that is it.
*/5

Monday, November 17, 2014

Just Fab for the Holidays


Quinn got another super cute outfit from FabKids the other day. Will she wear it and let me take pictures? Of course not. I can get a picture of her doing a million other things, but not in the review outfit. Silly girl. But, I shall not be deterred! I gathered a few of the holiday clothes on FabKids and put together a few super cute outfits.

First up, some of the cutest dresses and skirts!

The black one is the one I thought Quinn would pick, especially since she has the pink version, but she went with the red one instead and it's super cute on her. I'll share a picture one of these days! Let me just tell you that the red dress has lace sleeves and the rest is velvet and, oh my goodness, it is some of the softest velvet ever. Super cute on Quinn, and honestly the cut of the dress would be super cute on just about anybody. I love it.


I'm also surprised she didn't choose either of these sparkly ones. She LOVES pink and the blue one reminds me of Elsa.

Another awesome thing is that FabKids has a HUGE selection of both tights and leggings since the holiday season is also the coldest (for most of us). There is also a rather large selection of shoes. I'm partial to these blue ones with a super cute bow.

Now, this brocade skirt might just be my absolute favorite. Quinn loves the metallic one, although she said she wants it "more pink".

For the super fashionista in your life, FabKids also offers a (faux) fur jacket and vest. How stinkin' adorable?




And, don't worry I'm almost done, but I just couldn't forget about the boys. It is hard to find little boy clothes that are just as cute as the clothes for little girls, I think. I obviously don't have a son, but I do have a nephew I occasionally shop for (and a nephew due in just two months!) so I don't shop as often as I do for Quinn, but when I do it's difficult! But FabKids has some super cute little boy clothes!

 

How great are these jackets??? If I thought my nephew would actually wear it, I'd totally get the red one. It's velvet!

These plaid shirts are just adorable and, what I consider, the staple of boys' fancy wear.

 
I love seeing little kids all fancied up for Thanksgiving and Christmas and holiday parties. I almost wish we were doing more so I could get Quinn fancied up even more, but I'm not sure she'd have it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Winter 2014 Book Challenge

It's time for another semi-charmed reading challenge! My freebie is going to be whatever floats my boat after November 1st. If anybody has suggestions for a collection of short stories or a book with a song title/lyric as a title I would GLADLY take them. I couldn't find any that were already on my TBR list. (Also, sorry for the centered text. No idea what happened, but it won't move and I'm done attempting.)

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.
TBD

10 points: Read a book written by an author who has published at least 10 books. — Submitted byMegan.
Her Highness' First Murder - Peg Herring, 345 pages

This has been on my TBR list for five years, I figure I should probably get around to reading it.
10 points: Read a book of short stories. — Submitted by Meredith.
ETA: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories - Stephanie Perkins

This could probably work for the song category as well.

10 points: Read a book with a food (not a drink!) in the title. — Submitted by Megan.
I Was Told There'd Be Cake - Sloane Crosley, 230 pages


15 points: Read the first book in a series that is new to you (so no rereads for this one!). — Submitted by Crystal.
Matched - Ally Condie, 369 pages


Yet another YA dystopian that I'm way behind on, which is weird because they're one of my favorite types of books.
15 points: Read a book that was originally written in a language that is not your native language. — Submitted by Belle.
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafรณn, 487 pages


15 points: Read a book written by a local author (either an author from your state if you live in the United States, or in your country if you live somewhere else—note: author must be from where you currently live). — Submitted by Katelyn.
Fer-de-Lance - Rex Stout, 285 pages

So far this is the only one that wasn't already on my TBR list. It was difficult to find something that wasn't poetry and wasn't Laura Ingalls for this category.
20 points: Read a "bookish book" (in which books play an important role, e.g. the setting involves a bookstore or library, a major character is an author, or a book that celebrates reading and books. Examples: The Book ThiefThe Shadow of the WindThe Thirteenth Tale, etc.) — Submitted by Jen.
The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield, 406 pages

20 points: Read a book with a direction in the title (e.g. north, south, east, west or any combination of those). — Submitted by Donna
The Mark of the Golden Dragon: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Jewel of the East, Vexation of the West, and Pearl of the South China Sea - LA Meyer, 378 pages

THREE directions in the title. Wah-bam! I do have one book in this series to read before I get to this one, maybe it'll be my freebie.
25 points: Read a book from a genre you don't usually read. — Submitted by Jenn.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot, 370 pages

I'm not really a huge fan of biographies or autobiographies, but I do have a few on my TBR list.
25 points: Read a book with a song lyric in the title. Be sure to tell us the song name and artist as well! — Submitted by Daire, who was kind enough to provide several example books, as this challenge is quite tricky! A few possibilities include: Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson (English nursery rhyme of the same name), The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes ("Girl You Left Behind," Pixie Lott), or Somewhere Only We Know by Cheyanne Young ("Somewhere Only We Know," Keane).
ETA: Juliet - Anne Fortier (Juliet - LMNT)

I'm totally gonna have that song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
30 points: Read two books with a different meal in each title (e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, brunch; update: meals like feast, banquet, picnic will also count, but try not to get too "creative" with your meal words!). — Submitted by Amber.
Fifth Avenue, 5 AM: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman - Sam Wasson, 231 pages, and Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner - Jen Lancaster, 352 pages


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Meh

Moving is not very fun. That's, more or less, why I haven't blogged for a while. That and the fact that our internet kept going in and out. You might have seen my desperate/pleading tweets about it. But it's finally (FINALLY) fixed. But I still have boxes to empty and rooms to organize and an old apartment to clean. Thankfully I have until the end of the month for that last one and I got most of it done yesterday, but I'm sore today. Did not help that I didn't sleep well last night. Bljkadflknalgijdlkgjs. Anywho... I will probably be randomly tweeting and sharing sunrise pictures from our new place on Instagram, but who knows when I'll blog again? Soon, I hope. I have stuff I really want to share. Enjoy this picture for your time:


Friday, September 26, 2014

True to Title, It's a Knockout

Thanks to Blogging for Books, I got another book to review! And once again, all opinions are my own.

And my opinions are that I was so not ready for this book. I've only been knitting since February (ish) and there were a few things in this book that I wasn't confident in doing, but I did them anyway! I knit in the round for the first time, whoop!


The needles look all fancy on the book, but they're only there because the book wouldn't stay closed after I had kept it open for so long. I'm no photo stylist.

This next photo is the first thing I attempted knitting from the book. The instructions are super clear and there are guides in the front and back of the book for some stitches and abbreviations that aren't necessarily common. Now, here's what it's supposed to look like:


And here's what it does look like:


Not too far off, especially for my first try. But now I have to make a second one, which will probably look better since I know what I'm doing now. Unfortunately it'll have to wait until after we've moved (tomorrow!!!). The part I was most worried about was the thumb gusset (I love that word, by the way), but the way it's written was very clear. I'm really excited to try out some of the other patterns that I thought might be too difficult.

I also knit Quinn a bracelet when I got tired of knitting in the round. I love the technique of double and triple wrapping the yarn to create those ladders. I'm not sure if those are the technical names or not, but whatever. I like how the bracelet looks with the rainbow yarn and the wavy pattern. Quinn likes it too, so that's good.


There are some patterns that introduce beading and I'm not sure when I'll get to those because the beading isn't exactly my style. They might make good gifts and they do look pretty, at least. The thing I loved the most is that all of the patterns only require a skein or two (or less, for the bracelets) of yarn. That's really nice for my budgeting (aka cheap) self. I'm sure I'll go into sticker shock the first time I buy yarn for a blanket.

If you're interested in Knockout Knits you can check it out on Random House and Laura Nelkin's blog.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Non-Reality TV Shows Are Back!!!

I realized that the only shows I really watch over the summer are reality shows. While I enjoy Masterchef, Project Runway, and The Great Food Truck Race I'm really looking forward to some fiction coming my way. I'm not sure if I'm more excited for the new shows that look great or for my favorites returning.

Red Band Society: September 17, FOX, 8pm (all times are in Central since that's where I am)

I watched the pilot and it was GOOD. I called a few things, like what you discover about the cheerleader and the guy playing guitar, but I'm still excited to see how those things work out. I love Octavia Spencer and I think all the kids were cast well, at least as much as you can tell from the first episode especially with one character in a coma. This one is added to my "TV Shows I Watch" list provided it doesn't disappoint me.

Gotham & Sleepy Hollow: September 22, FOX, 7pm & 8pm respectively


I'm not really all that into Gotham, but Jarrod wants to watch it (he's Batman obsessed) and it comes on right before Sleepy Hollow, which I AM into, so I'll probably watch at least a little of it. Plus the actress for Selina Kyle looks cute. Mostly I'm excited for Sleepy Hollow (supernatural AND historical? I'm there!) to come back, especially with the way last season ended. HOW ARE THEY GONNA GET OUT OF THAT?

After watching: Gotham was okay, I don't particularly care if I watch it again or not, but I'm pretty sure Jarrod will be watching. As for Sleepy Hollow, I totally called it! I knew it was *an illusion and that Crane Jr was totally playing them* (highlight for spoiler). I'm excited to see what happens this season, but I'm gonna have to start watching it on Hulu because Quinn's too into it and I'm pretty sure it's not 3-year-old appropriate.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: September 23, ABC, 8pm

I LOVE THIS SHOW. I don't know what it is, but I almost love this show more than all the Marvel movies. Maybe it's because this show is more about the techy, behind-the-scenes people and that's more likely who I'd be. I was not quite expecting who the double agent wound up being, but I'm okay with who it was. Better than the other options! Also, Fitz Simmons are my FAVORITES.

How to Get Away with Murder: September 25, ABC, 9pm

Why is this on so late? I know all of you night owls are looking at your screen like I'm crazy, but seriously. I can't always stay up that late because Jarrod gets up at 5:30 and things just get wonky. I'm going to try because this looks SO GOOD. Plus, Dean Thomas from HP! It's also slightly reminiscent of Veronica Mars and her college profiling class, which I loved.

Saturday Night Live: September 27, NBC, 10:30pm

Obviously I watch this via Hulu instead of live, if I can't even stay up for a show that's on from 9 to 10. I'm excited because Chris Pratt is hosting the season opener and on Hulu you can skip past the musical guests, which I almost always do even if I like them. I think it's really cool that Darrell Hammond (known for Bill Clinton impersonations) is taking over the announcer position since Don Pardo passed away.

Once Upon a Time: September 28, ABC, 6pm (two hour season premiere)

I'm hesitant to be excited about OUAT this season since they're introducing Frozen. I think the Peter Pan story line almost had me quitting the show. It just dragged onnnnnn and onnnnnn, I'm glad it's done. I think the whole Zelena thing ended abruptly, but I did like her back story. We'll see if this one stays on my "must watch" list.

Castle: September 29, ABC, 9pm


I can't believe I've gone the entire summer without obsessing over what could have happened. I'm pretty sure deleting my Tumblr was good for my tv-watching sanity. This is another show I usually watch via Hulu since it comes on at 9. And since we're gonna be moving and may or may not having internet soon, I might be doing a LOT of catching up once we get it.

Gracepoint & A to Z: October 2, FOX 8pm, CBS 8:30pm

Gracepoint sounds like a book I'd like to read, not necessarily a show I'd want to watch. We'll see. Especially since I can't watch the entire episode AND A to Z, which I REALLY want to watch because of Cristin Milioti (aka the under used mother on HIMYM) and Lenora Crichlow (aka the awesome ghost Annie on the UK Being Human, it's on Netflix, watch it!).

Supernatural: October 7, CW, 8pm

I am so close to being done with this show, but I REALLY don't want to be. This will be it's 10th season and not many shows can last that long and stay great. I think Abaddon ended too abruptly, but it also didn't seem like it was going anywhere. I'm interested to see what happens, especially because it looks like the writers are tying stuff in from earlier seasons, which is nice to see. This is another show where it's good that I deleted Tumblr. Goodness that got annoying. It's much nicer to just tweet Kay about it whenever I want to.

Marry Me: October 14, NBC, 8pm


Casey Wilson: Hilarious. Ken Marino: Hilarious. Really, there's only good things that this show can bring. The premise is loosely based on Casey Wilson and her husband, a writer of the show, which makes it even cuter. I'm pretty excited for this, especially since Ken Marino will be a role where I can actually like him, instead of Vinnie Van Lowe where I ranged from utter disgust to not-dislike.

2 Broke Girls: October 27, CBS, 7pm

I'm pretty sure I've given up on this show. As much as I love both Beth Behrs and Kat Dennings, it's just kinda bleh. I LOVED seeing Ryan Hansen, aka Candy Andy, on the show, but eh. I'll probably watch the season premiere and see if it's worth sticking with.

Masterchef Junior: November 7, FOX, 7pm (I think)

I love this show. I love regular Masterchef, but seeing how the judges work with kids make me like them SO MUCH MORE. Seriously, even if you don't like cooking shows the kids make up for it. You should totally watch this show.

Obviously I have a few scheduling issues, but I'll make it work with Hulu if needed. Which shows are you watching? Any I should add?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

You Need to Read This

A few weeks ago, I read Tiffany's review of Lea Michele's book. This led me to see her disclaimer of "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review." And I thought "Blogging for books? TELL ME MORE." And that is how I came to be able to review How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Natural Disasters aka the best book ever.




First, if you haven't figured it out, I got this book from Blogging for Books for this review and all opinions are my own. Second, you need to read this book. And I mean NEED. It's the most amusing book I think I have ever read.

That is partially due to awesome lines such as:


"Your brain shorts out. Your legs won't move. Without this book, the best you can hope for is to be killed in a dry pair of underwear." (pg 15)

Then there are real science facts interspersed within the science fiction:


"Arachnoquake spiders live in a colony. While this isn't unique, it is rare. Out of close to 40,000 species of spider, less than two dozen exhibit social behavior. Forget dinner and a movie -- most spiders don't socialize outside of mating." (pg 28)

All of the (un)natural disasters mentioned in the book are based on SyFy original movies or have had movies based on them. I don't normally watch those movies, but I've seen bits and pieces of a few. I think once you come to accept the fact that they're not trying to win Oscars, they become better movies.

The two biggest things I learned reading the book are that the further from the coast you are, the safer you are (usually) and everybody should have access to a nuclear fallout shelter. In some cases, that's the only way to survive. At the end of the book, there's also the Shepard Survival Assessment Test (SSAT) to determine if you'd survive any of the aforementioned disasters. Jarrod and I both passed, luckily.

If you'd like to know more about Andrew Shaffer, you can find him on Twitter and at his website.



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