Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline (Book)

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline (Book)

First off... thanks so much to Maureen for recommending this book... you were SO right! (also, I will find out if she's a good enough friend to read my reviews ;)

Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog consists of a series of short newspaper-column-sized chapters about a myriad of auto-biographical topics... in fact, I think they are actually pulled from a column she does for the The Philadelphia Inquirer called Chick Wit.

Since I don't live in Philadelphia, I don't have access to this newspaper... ok, I probably do nowadays with the interwebs and all, but that's not really the point...

Here are a few reasons I LOVED this book:

(1) Short Chapters - If you're like me, you love a book with really short chapters... those are my favorite... it makes me feel really accomplished to say I read 50 chapters... it just sounds impressive... until somebody points out that the chapters are like a page and a half long... two at the most... whatever.

(2) Elicits Laughter (and/or Tears) - I found myself laughing out loud during most of the chapters... and I even caught myself crying during a few... while sitting in Starbucks... without a tissue... thanks, Lisa Scottoline.

(3) I Could Totally Identify - While she's a bit older than me, I found that there were many things I had in common with her, which I suppose made the book all the better to me... it was like she got me... although she clearly would rather get George Clooney... which I totally get.

My Recommendation:  Read this book.  Especially if you are a woman; a mother; have teenagers (or beyond); have ever tried to wear Spanx; whether or not you have a Thing One and/or a Thing Two; if you like dogs; and even if you like cats; if the adorable pup-in-a-cup on the cover seriously melts your heart... i mean it... how cute is that dog?

MB, I just gave the book to Dana the other day... have her pass it on to you when she's done... unless you've already read it... then have her pass it back to me :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Book 3 of The Hunger Games Trilogy)

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Book 3 of The Hunger Games Trilogy)

I FINALLY finished Book 3 (and thus the entire trilogy) of The Hunger Games Trilogy last night, Mockingjay...

The first half was really good... but when all the "going to capture the Capitol and kill Snow" stuff was going on, I admit I had a REALLY hard time getting into it... that said, I have to agree with my amazing hairchick, Trina, that the whole war part will be really cool in movie form... but I seriously just skimmed over all the fighting enough to know who died and who didn't... which honestly went on for the majority of the last half of the book... I won't spoil it for anyone, but suffice it to say that you don't really know how it ends until the one-and-a-half-page epilogue...

Ok... so I'm feeling especially accomplished now having finished an entire trilogy... even though they were super easy reads... but also pretty fun and entertaining... yay me.

My Recommendation:  If you've read the other two books, it seems a shame not to complete the series, but this was my least favorite of the three...

Monday, April 16, 2012

An Officer and a Gentleman (Movie)

An Officer and a Gentleman (Movie)

Thanks to AMC TV for advertising the heck out of An Officer and a Gentleman's 30-year anniversary... I totally caved to the sales pitch and watched this (again) over the weekend... this is one of those movies (like Top Gun) that when I see it on the Guide, I'll flip over and matter where it's at... it could only have 20 minutes left, and I still flip over and watch...

For those of us in the Pacific Northwest, we are especially proud of this film because it was shot right here in our own backyard with scenes shot around the Olympic Peninsula in Port Townsend and Fort Warden, and some exterior scenes shot at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton...

I was about to go recapping the whole movie here, but since it's been around for 30 years, and I think might officially be deemed a "classic" at this point, I figured most people would already know the story...soooo... I thought I'd throw in some cool trivia about the movie (that can all be attributed to Wikipedia, so take it for what it's worth...)

The title of the movie was derived from the US Uniform Code of Military Justice which states that "Conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman" is subject to court martial. oh snap.

The role of Zack Mayo (or as Gunnery Sergeant Foley called him "Mayonnaise" in a drawl only Louis Gossett, Jr. can pull off) was originally set to star John Denver... it was also offered to John Travolta, but he turned it down (as he also did with the lead in American Gigolo - another Richard Gere hit movie... hmmm, interesting!)  In the end, Gere beat out Jeff Bridges and Christopher Reeve for the starring role.

The role of Paula (Mayo's love interest) was originally given to Sigourney Weaver, who dropped it, then Anjelica Houston, who dropped it, and then Jennifer Jason Leigh, who also dropped it (to film Fast Times at Ridgemont High) and was evenutally given to Debra Winger... others who auditioned for the part (though virtually unknown at the time) included Rebecca De Mornay, Meg Ryan, and Geena Davis.

Officer Candidate Casey Seeger (the only girl recruit) was played by Lisa Eilbacher, who many of you might remember better as Jenny Summers in Beverly Hills Cop.  (My own funny side note here... in BHC, Jenny Summers was childhood friends with Axl Foley... in AOAAG, her Sergeant was Emil Foley... two Foleys...that's funny :)

One more disturbing fact (that is really more of an "ew" and my observation... not to be found on Wikipedia,) for even the short time that he's on screen in the very beginning of the movie, there is WAY too much nakedness from Robert Loggia (who plays Zack Mayo's dad.)  Gross.  Just sayin'.

My Recommendation:  If you've never seen this movie, watch it!!  And if you HAVE seen it, go ahead and watch it again... it's still an incredible movie... I know you'll find that, like me, you can still remember all the lyrics to "Up Where We Belong"... AND can sing them through the triumphant tears of that iconic final scene...  Way to go, Paula!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies (Food)

I found this recipe on Pinterest...  and since Shortbread is one of my favorite kinda cookies, I thought to meself... how can I go wrong adding ESPRESSO and CHOCOLATE to SHORTBREAD?  How, I ask??

Well, the fact of the matter is, I can't...

I made mine with mini chocolate chips and did NOT dust them with confectioner's sugar (that just didn't even sound good to me.)

And I did NOT get a ruler out and measure either... I winged it (or wung it... or whatever...)

I think my favorite part (besides eating about 16 of them in a half-hour period) was rolling the dough out INSIDE a gallon freezer bag... brilliant!  I typically don't make recipes that call for rolling out dough, because stuff always gets stuck to the roller and annoys me (and I try to avoid things that annoy me... like ironing...) but inside a freezer bag?  That was awesome on a whole 'nother level!

Also, it took me three baking sheets, which I baked one at a time, but I probably could've fit them all on two sheets because they didn't spread at all... which is a good thing to know when you're placing cookies on a baking sheet...

Anyhoo, my batch made exactly 48 cookies... and I'm pretty sure there are less than 20 left at this point... and it hasn't even been 24 hours... soooo...

My Recommendation:  Make these cookies... eat them all... and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jack and Jill (Movie)

Jack and Jill (Movie)

So, yep... I know everything else I've "reviewed" has resulted in a RAVE, but, not to worry... there's stuff I don't like too...

The first example?  Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill.  I should've listened to my gut on this one... at no time when it was being advertised ad nauseum did I ever think I would watch it... and then it came out on DVD... and I actually heard several people say that they were surprised by this movie, that it was actually funny!  Um, no... those people were wrong.  This movie is just as stupid and not funny as you would expect... at least that was my assessment after the first grueling 20 minutes, which is all of my life I could stand to waste on this...

That being said, I generally like Adam Sandler movies... in fact, a few of his movies are on my all-time favorites list... Big Daddy, Wedding Singer, and 50 First Dates, to name a few... so this isn't just an "I hate all Adam Sandler movies!" thing... but Jack and Jill?

My Recommendation:  Don't waste your money on it... and if you have a chance to watch it for free, don't waste your time, either... there are many other productive things you could be doing... like sitting on the sofa and staring at a blank TV screen... reciting the nursery rhyme over and over in your head... wondering to yourself why those two knuckleheads were going UP a hill to find water...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Downton Abbey (TV)

Downton Abbey (TV)

I have to admit that up until about Episode 5 of Season 1 of this series, I thought it was called Downtown Abbey... but I kept noticing the characters pronouncing it "DOWN-tun" all the time (which I thought was just a product of their fabulous British accents.... which it was... at least partly...)

I've been hearing about this show for several months, and have been casually thinking about checking it out... someday... but when I heard that the first episode started off with the Earl and Countess of Grantham (you know, the fictional owners and dwellers of the fictional Downton Abbey) hearing the news of the sinking of the Titanic... and also learning that two of their distant cousins were aboard and thought to be dead... I was all over it... I have now finished up Season 1 (7 episodes you can either stream from Netflix, or watch on Hulu Plus - either way, it's not free, but it IS worth it) and am EAGERLY awaiting Season 2 (not-so-patiently waiting for the discs from Netflix - not available on Hulu Plus... and still not free...)

Here's the skinny.  The fact of the matter is that I'm a sucker for a few things... 1) anything that at all includes anything at all regarding the Titanic; 2) period things  - like HISTORICAL periods/eras... not period periods... that would be gross; and 3) British accents... well, any sexy accents, but the British sorts fall into that category for me... that said, this show was a HOME RUN!  I am completely sucked in to the lives of not just Lord and Lady Grantham, but also their entire servant staff, and of course, the most recognizable (to me at least), the Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by the great Dame Maggie Smith, who many will know as Professor McGonagall (from a certain series of movies about a certain wizard.)  This show is reminiscent of many Jane Austen movies, which I also count as some of my favorites...

Season 1 has thus far provided all kinds of excitement... worrying who the estate will go to, since the Earl and Countess have only daughters... trying to marry off the eldest daughter who doesn't want to be married off to anybody as a business transaction... a death, and subsequent cover-up, at the abbey... juicy drama amongst the servants' ranks (who inevitably know more stuff and drama about their employers)  ooohhh, it's good stuff all the way 'round...

My Recommendation:  Watch it if you can... and then we can converse in our pretend British accents... because we can't help it after seven hours of listening to it...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Book 2 of The Hunger Games Trilogy)

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Book 2 of The Hunger Games Trilogy)

I finished Book 2 of The Hunger Games Trilogy this weekend, Catching Fire... and I was about to say that after the reading the book, I didn't really understand the title... and just now it hit me... whew.  I get it...

Anyhow, this book kept me just about as entranced as The Hunger Games and just ended without resolving... forcing me to pick up the third book, Mockingjay, to see what the H happens!  (Mockingjay review coming soon... or when I finish the book.)

I'm super curious to see how they interpret this book into a movie... but by the time it hits theaters on November 22, 2013 (yes, 2013!) I will probably have to read the book again twice to remember...

Ah well... in the meantime...

My Recommendation:  If you loved The Hunger Games, read it... unless you already have... in which case you should read it again in mid-November... of 2013...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Titanic 3D (Movie)

Titanic 3D (Movie)

So yeah... when this movie was released in 1997 I went to see it (in regular D) a total of 13 times... that is not an exaggeration.  This is quite certainly one of my all-time favorite movies of all-time (yep, I said "all-time" twice in one sentence... and I mean it.)  Seriously... something in my brain snapped... I was totally there... on that fated ship... in some other lifetime... yes, I'm certifiable... and I'm ok with that...  I can't even count how many times I've watched it on DVD... double-digits for sure...

So when I heard it was gonna be back in the theaters... I peed my pants... literally... I didn't really care about the 3D, but I guess when a movie is celebrating the 100 year anniversary (deathiversary?) of a horrific shipwreck that killed 1500ish people, it's pretty much the law to make it in 3D.

It was a total event going to see it again in the theater... on that giant screen... Jack and Rose... Never Let Go... and all that jazz... I cried... and then I cried some more... wiping my tears with the harsh movie theater napkins under the lenses of my fake gold plated signature Titanic 3D 3D glasses... oh yeah... It was spectacular.

My recommendation:  If you LOVE this movie... go see it again, at least one more time, on the big screen... the 3D doesn't add much, but it IS worth seeing in a theater again... and if you hold great disdain for this movie... then don't go see it.

Oh, and I plan to go see it at least one more time while it's in the theaters... on April 15, 2012... exactly 100 years after the Titanic tragedy...  (update:  challenge accepted and executed!  This time we didn't get any fancy pants 3D glasses - just boring regular ones, but we DID get a cool Boarding Pass!)

Thank you James Cameron for reminding me where I was a hundred years ago... and why I never ever ever ever wanna go on a cruise ever.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Book 1 of The Hunger Games Trilogy)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Book 1 of The Hunger Games Trilogy)

Do I feel a little silly absolutely loving a book from the Teen Fiction section of the bookstore?  Ummm, no.

Besides all the "hey all you kids, go kill each other..." kinda morbidity (one big word per post, that's my limit), this book was, in a word, A.W.E.S.O.M.E!  Could not put it down... the end of every single chapter just made me want to start the next chapter... that rarely happens for me... well, it was kinda that way with like ALL of the Harry Potter books, but that's a different review I'll probably never write...

My recommendation:  READ IT!  Set aside 3-4 hours of your life in one day... and READ IT!