Tag Archives: Entertainment

#MusicMonday – Ed Sheeran

18 Nov

Just when you think Ed Sheeran couldn’t get any cooler, he goes and releases a new song for the upcoming Hobbit sequel The Desolation of Smaug. I mean, really Ed? Really?

plus

A few months ago I discovered Ed Sheeran, and my music collection will never be the same because of it. If you’re not familiar with Ed, here’s the rundown: he’s a 22-year-old British, award-winning artist, bestie to Taylor Swift, soulful singer and amazing songwriter. He’s extremely talented, performing his songs with just himself and a loop pedal (which allows him to act as drums, bass, and background vocals) and has gained superstardom not only in the UK, but also in the States. His album, +, was released in 2011, and soon after Taylor Swift asked him to write and perform a song with her for her album Red. So they penned and recorded “Everything Has Changed” (love it!) and Taylor loved Ed so much that she asked him to come open her US Red tour with her, which of course he did. (Does anyone really say “no” to Taylor Swift?) His song “The A Team” was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy’s, where he performed with Sir Elton John. Ed recently sold out three shows at Madison Square Garden (sold out! wow) where he surprised concert-goers each night with a special guest opening act, and even brought Taylor out on stage at one point to sing with him!

taylor_swift_ed_sheeran

+  has become one of my all time favorite albums; some of the highlights you definitely need to check out are “Give Me Love“, “Lego House” (Harry Potter fans will love this one), “Drunk“, and “Small Bump“. The record has absolutely been played dozens of times in my house and I love watching videos of Ed performing. To get the full effect of the loop pedal and what all this kid can do, watch The Live Room performance of “Give Me Love” here. Ed Sheeran has gone on me and my husband’s list of live shows to see at some point in our lives.

So, we were thrilled when he announced on Twitter a few weeks ago that he was asked by Peter Jackson himself (whoa!) to write and perform the song for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. “I See Fire” is sooo good, I got goose bumps the first time I heard it. Ed captures the story of a dragon wreaking havoc on Middle Earth in this song so well, and I look forward to hearing it as the credits role at the end of the movie. Which my husband and I will be going to see on opening day. Because we’re nerds.

Here is the video for the song, which Ed performs all instruments and vocals on, except for the cello. (I guess there really are some things this guy can’t do.) Break out your hoodies and your cuppa tea and crank this one up, y’all.

Scream Queens – The Best of the Best

30 Oct

Scream Queens

Halloween is tomorrow and my annual Halloween horror movie marathon is in full swing. Fact: I am a fan of the horror genre.   I blame it on my Mother – she always made Halloween so fun and magical when I was little. From costumes and trick-or-treating, to staying up late each year, vegging out on the living room floor, eating candy while watching Michael Myers. I grew up thinking horror movies were fun.

One of my earliest memories is watching The House of Long Shadows starring the fantastic Vincent Price. Granted, this is probably one of my earliest memories because it scared the ever living crap out of me and scarred me for life. Nevertheless, I love me some scary movies. Particularly the cheesy nineteen-eighties films like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and my absolute favorite, Halloween. Since it’s that time of year again, I’d like to dedicate this blog post to all the classic Scream Queens of the silver screen.

Neve Campbell – Scream series

Neve Campbell Scream

Scream was released in 1996, a time when good horror movies were few and far between. When it was released, Scream took the world by surprise, reinventing the slasher film genre by none other than Wes Craven – the man who helped build it more than a decade earlier. Neve Campbell portrayed Sidney Prescott, a high school student who is targeted by a crazed, knife-weilding murderer known as Ghostface. Sid and her friends battle the murderer(s) while learning the “rules” of horror movies, which include (according to Randy): “1. You can never have sex. The minute you get a little nookie–you’re as good as gone. Sex always equals death. 2. Never drink or do drugs. The sin factor. It’s an extension of number one. And 3. Never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, say ‘I’ll be right back.’”

Scream movie poster

I will never forget seeing this movie in the theater when it came out and it is still one of my all-time favorite movies. Fans will always remember that creepy voice asking “What’s your favorite scary movie?” at the opening of the film. And Sidney is my top choice for Scream Queen in terms of what a good horror heroine should entail – she was a good girl who was determined to stay alive at any cost. Campbell went on to star in all four additional Scream movies, all of which were note-worthy horror films – something that rarely happens in the world of sequels.

Heather Langenkamp – A Nightmare on Elm Street series

Heather Langenkamp

In 1984 we were introduced to one of the most recognizable monsters of all time, known for his striped sweater, stylish hat, burned face and of course, the infamous knife hands – Freddy Krueger. The lead in A Nightmare on Elm Street was a character called Nancy Thompson, played by Heather Langenkamp. Nancy was a high school student (starting to notice a trend here with horror movie leads…) who, along with her friends, begins experiencing horrific dreams that are all too real, starring none other than Freddy himself. As her friends are killed off one by one in the most gruesome of ways, it’s up to Nancy to stay awake and figure out how to take down Freddy. Langenkamp went on to star as Nancy in 2 sequels –  A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Sadly though, her reign as a Scream Queen came to an end in Dream Warriors when Freddy finally caught up to her. But then she comes back in New Nightmare. Go figure. RIP, Nancy.

Nightmare On Elm Street

Linda Blair – The Exorcist series

Linda Blair

What do I say about this next Queen? She starred in one of the most scary movies of all time – The Exorcist. Linda Blair portrayed 12 year old Regan, a little girl who is possessed by a very, very evil demon while her mother is forced to helplessly watch. Regan endures some pretty sick torture by the demon possessing her, things involving crucifixes and pea soup that I don’t wish to repeat. And then there’s the head-spinning horror of the actual exorcism performed by the priests.

 

 

The Exorcist movie poster

Linda Blair starred in the sequel Exorcist II: The Heretic, which follows Regan years later, where she finds that some of the evil that once possessed her still lives inside her. All I can say is, if you don’t want to be thoroughly creeped out and not be able to sleep at night, absolutely do not watch these movies.

Jamie Lee Curtis – Halloween series

Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween

And finally, we come to my all-time favorite Scream Queen – Jamie Lee Curtis herself. Halloween was released in 1978 and starred Curtis, in her first movie role, as Laurie Strode, an awkward teenage girl who got stuck babysitting some neighbor kids on Halloween. Poor Laurie had no idea that her psychotic, long-lost brother, Michael Myers, would decide to come get his kicks by killing all of her friends and coming for her in the end. But Laurie kept her wits about her and was determined to live and keep those kids safe! She fought back (with a coat hanger to the eye) and made it to the sequel! Halloween II picked up right where Halloween ended – following Laurie to the hospital after her traumatic fight for survival. But once at the hospital, Michael rises from the dead in the  morgue and goes on another killing spree.

Halloween

 

Jamie Lee survived the hospital too, and went on to appear in two other Halloween films – Halloween H2O, which also starred Josh Hartnett and Michelle Williams, where she played Laurie as a mother and head mistress of a boarding school. Of course Michael comes for her there and she now has to protect her son and some kids at the school. (This one was also one of my faves!) And sadly, Jamie Lee’s reign as Screen Queen came to an end in Halloween: Resurrection in 2002, where Michael finally catches her in a mental hospital – where she has stowed herself so he couldn’t get to her. I gotta say, I was pretty upset when they killed her off. But Halloween isn’t the only horror movie Jamie Lee is known for. She also starred in such films as Prom Night, Terror Train and The Fog. I think she will always be the ultimate Scream Queen.

So, what’s your favorite scary movie? 

Happy Halloween!

Casting Christian Grey

15 Oct

The news broke this weekend that Charlie Hunnam will no longer be playing Christian Grey in next year’s highly anticipated big-screen adaptation of the Fifty Shades of Grey novel by E. L. James. I have to say, I was a little thrilled by this information. I read all three books in the Fifty Shades trilogy earlier this year after putting it off for a long time, thinking it was going to be some silly erotica/romance novel that was beneath me. Boy, was I wrong. It sucked me in and I unwillingly joined the ranks of millions of  totally obsessed fans of the series.

CharlieHunnam

When I heard that Charlie Hunnam had been cast to play the infamous Christian Grey, I was pretty disappointed. The anticipation of finding out who would be cast had built up so much and when they announced it, it was a pretty big let down for me. I never pictured anything like Hunnam as Grey when I was reading the books, and I know that when novels are adapted into movies they almost never cast someone you imagined…but still.

So, needless to say I am excited that there is still hope for Christian Grey, and of course I have a few suggestions of my own. Here are four fine fellas that I would not be upset about being cast as Christian in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.

Possible Christian Greys

1. Henry Cavill – You know the British actor as Superman from last summer’s blockbuster Man of Steel and also from the Showtime series The Tudors. I’m not going to lie, I first pictured Christian Grey as very similar looking to Henry Cavill while reading the books. He’s definitely got the body and the looks, doesn’t he? Cavill has been a fan favorite to play Grey since it was announced that it would be made in to a movie. But with intensive filming beginning very soon on Man of Steel 2, I’m skeptical that he’ll take the role as Grey.

2. Jamie  Dornan – Dornan gained popularity as Sheriff Graham / The Huntsman on Once Upon A Time, and in a much darker role as creepy killer Paul Spector on the European series, The Fall. This Irish actor certainly has shown us he can portray a dark and dangerous dude (perfect for Christian!) while looking drop dead gorgeous at the same time. I remember while watching The Fall thinking to myself, “this guy could totally be Christian Grey”. And rumor has it he is currently in talks with the movie execs for taking over Mr. Hunnam’s spot.

3. Alex Pettyfer - Best known as Adam from Magic Mike, Pettyfer is another British actor I’d like to see as Christian Grey. He’s come a long way since I Am Number Four, and I think it’s time he stepped in to a bigger acting role. I could totally see him giving a crooked smile and saying “Laters, baby”, couldn’t you??

4. Robert Pattinson – Ok, there. I said it. Yes, I’d like to see RPatz as Christian Grey. I mean come on! He’s gone to some dark, tortured places onscreen before as the oppressed and lovesick vampire in Twilight,  and I’ve seen him do some more serious acting since then. He could totally pull it off! I think it would shock a lot of people to see him in such a grown-up role for a change, and probably come as a pleasant surprise. And word on the street is E. L. James wanted Pattinson originally for the film adaptation of her novel. Surely she’s got some pull!

Now I want to hear your opinion. Have you read the books? Are you interested in seeing the movie? Weigh in and let me know who you would like to see as Christian Grey in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.

#MusicMonday – Tegan and Sara “Closer”

14 Oct

tegan_and_sara

Oh, Tegan and Sara. You two rock my world. These Canadian identical twins are not only cute, but extremely talented. They sing, play instruments and write their own music. They have released seven studio albums, and tour constantly. If you ever have an opportunity to see them live, take it! I first saw them in 2010 in New Orleans when they opened for Paramore during the Honda Civic Tour. I had heard their songs “Walking With A Ghost” and “Back In Your Head” before, but after seeing them live I was sold. They were amazing, and I’ve loved them ever since.

Their new single, “Closer”,  is off their current album Heartthrob and it is so much fun. If you haven’t heard it yet, watch the video below. I dare you not to get sucked in to its happy, catchy beat. The first time I heard it, it reminded me of an 80′s song – so of course I loved it.

If you liked what you saw, check out some of their other stuff here, here and here.

Copycat Fashion: Celebrity Couples Halloween Costumes

13 Oct

Halloween is less than three weeks away, and that means it’s time to decide on a costume! Many of you will be celebrating All Hallow’s Eve at parties with your friends, getting dressed up for each other in your most ghoulish attire. I love looking at costume ideas online, and always see some pretty fantastic ones from celebrities. They get to go to elaborate Halloween bashes and seem to always pick the most outrageous and creative costumes. This year I thought, “why not take some inspiration from the stars?” so I’m bringing you my favorites from some pretty cool celebrity couples (past and present).

First up – Christina Aguilera and ex-hubby Jordan Bratman got ghoulish in 2006 as a corpse bride and groom.

christina_aguilera_halloween

This is one of my favorite couples costumes, especially for an engaged couple or newlyweds. And it’s surprisingly easy to pull off. I don’t know about you, but every time I go thrifting at a local Goodwill or Salvation Army store I always see that one sad, lonely, and totally 80′s wedding dress. For the corpse bride look I think the tackier, the better! (Plus you won’t feel as bad destroying it with rips and fake blood.)

What you’ll need: Wedding dress, veil, silk flower bouquet, suit and tie, silk flower boutonniere, white costume makeup (or even very fair foundation, if you have a dark skin tone), and fake blood.
Optional accessories to complete the look: Opera gloves (tear them up a bit), fake eyelashes (if you want to go all out with the dramatic makeup), baby powder (put some in his hair to make him look dusty and decayed) a red lip liner pencil (draw on some cuts and scratches).

dress_suit

DIY Dead Bride and Groom Halloween Costume Accessories
Next, it’s Kate Beckinsale and husband Len Wiseman as horror royalty Frankenstein and his bride from Halloween 2010.

Frankenstein+Bride+Frankenstein+Len+Wiseman+Kate Beckinsale

I am a big fan of these two, and would expect nothing less than horror-ific from the Underworld star and writer/director themselves. Everyone loves Frankenstein, and this couples costume is easily one of the most classic choices of all time. Again, it’s very easy to pull off, and your guy wouldn’t have to do much in the way of dressing up, so they’ll love it.

What you’ll need: Old wedding dress, white dress or store-bought bride costume (get creative!), Bride of Frankenstein wig, white costume makeup, Frankenstein mask, black blazer or jacket, big black boots.
Optional accessories to complete the look: Ghoulish jewelry (check out the stitch choker below!), black costume makeup (rub some under your cheekbones for added drama), sunglasses, leather pants.

DIY Frankenstein & Bride Halloween Costume

Here’s another fun one – Sophia Bush and Austin Nichols went as now famous exes Katy Perry and Russell Brand in 2010.

Russell-Brand-Katy-Perry

Ok, so this really may just be an excuse to dress slutty and don a blue wig, but you have to admit, it’s pretty funny. For the Katy Perry look any low-cut dress will do – just remember, the more cleavage the better, and stick to wildly bright colors or patterns. For Russell Brand, a long curly wig is a must, and of course, the half unbuttoned shirt.

What you’ll need: A fun, California girl inspired dress, blue wig (you could also go with lavender), curly brown wig, men’s button-up shirt (not fully buttoned, as mentioned afore), lots of necklaces.
Optional accessories to complete the look: Vest (unbuttoned, of course), sunglasses, scarf.

DIY Katy Perry & Russell Brand Halloween Costumes
There are so many more great costume ideas from celebrities…
Celebrity Halloween Costumes
(Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart as nerds; Emma Roberts as her aunt, Julia Roberts, from Pretty Woman; Ryan Seacrest and Julianne Hough as Bonnie & Clyde; Gwen Stefani as Jesse from Toy Story; Kim Kardashian as Poison Ivy; Scott Disick as American Psycho Patrick Bateman; newlyweds Shenae Grimes and Josh Beech as Frankenstein and Bride; Lauren Conrad as Minnie Mouse; Katy Perry as a vampire.)
Of course, you could always choose the trusty (and my fave!) Lois Lane & Clark Kent/Superman costume!
Lois Lane_Clark Kent

Happy Halloween!

Music Monday – Electronica Obsessions

7 Oct

So I am pretty sure that in some alternate universe I am a club kid. You know, those people who live in NYC and go to nightclubs with glow sticks and lose themselves in techno music. Yeah, you know. I just can’t help myself when I hear it, y’all. Electronic, progressive, ambient, techno, I love it all. Sometimes it scares me that I am so into this kind of music but most of the time I just go with it.  I love turning on my deadmau5 Pandora station while I’m working at the computer – it’s hours of amazing, trance-like background tunes. Plus, it’s amazing workout music!

I’m lucky because right now there seems to be a spike in that genre and everyone is teaming up with DJ’s to make their songs more electronic. Here are a few that I can’t get enough of lately… if you’ve never given this type of music a try, here’s your chance!

(click images for links to awesomeness videos)

Lana-Del-Rey-Summertime-Sadness-Remix

Lana Del Rey – Summertime Sadness Remix
Miss. Lana is so alluring and so is the mix behind her sultry voice in this gem.

Calvin Harris-Ellie Goulding-I Need Your Love

Calvin Harris Feat. Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love
This guy is huge right now, and so is Ellie – double tap! I love this fun, upbeat song! And how cute are these two in this video??

Zedd-Stay-The-Night

Zedd Feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore – Stay The Night
Ok, if you haven’t heard me say it before, I freaking love Hayley Williams. Like, I’m obsessed with her. And now I’m obsessed with this song, too.

Skrillex-Scary-Monsters-And-Nice-Sprites

Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
This one is kinda cray-cray. If you’ve seen Spring Breakers you will recognize it. I dig the insane and erratic chords.

deadmau5

deadmau5 – Raise Your Weapon
I love this guy. He’s really creative and loves cats. Slow things down with this one and lose yourself in the trance!

La-Roux-in-For-The-Kill

La Roux – In For The Kill Skrillex Remix
She is super cute and reminds me of a little fairy. This song is light and airy but then Skrillex really mixes things up in the middle.

calvin-harris-sweet-nothing

Calvin Harris Feat. Florence Welch – Sweet Nothing
Ok, prepare to be blown away. Calvin is back but this time with the one and only Flo (minus the machine). She’s so amazing. This video is pretty amazing, too.

Swedish_House_Mafia-Don_t_You_Worry_Child_(Featuring_John_Martin)

Swedish House Mafia Feat. John Martin – Don’t You Worry Child
This is a great upbeat song that I can’t help but sing along to at the top of my lungs! (While dancing around like a nerd, of course.)

Do you like this type of music? If so, what are some of your faves?

Character Fashion Inspiration: The Girls of “Spring Breakers”

13 Jul

Spring Breakers movie poster

My husband and I watched the movie Spring Breakers last night. Let me start by saying this is not a movie for the faint hearted. This extremely controversial film follows four best friends as they embark on every college student’s rite of passage – Spring Break (obviously). It stars Disney alums Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Pretty Little Liars Ashley Benson, and relatively unknown (to me, at least) Rachel Korine. With a cast like that you are expecting good girl behavior, right? Well my friend you couldn’t be more wrong. These girls are wild, unpredictable, rebellious, and extremely violent.

Spring Breakers Still

Spring Breakers was fascinating to me. I honestly can’t say that I didn’t like the movie but I also can’t say that I particularly liked it. It was very intriguing, kind of like a car wreck – you don’t want to look at it but you can’t help wanting to see what happens. In addition to a graphic snapshot of our current society’s Spring Break beach activities (think lots of drinking, drugs and promiscuous behavior) the girls set the tone of the movie when a few of them decide to rob a restaurant for the money they’ll need to go on Spring Break. And that doesn’t even come close to the drama that ensues after James Franco’s character, Alien, comes in to the picture.

Spring Breakers James Franco

Spring Breakers

I am a huge Franco fan, and think he was brilliantly funny / disturbingly realistic as a dangerous rapper and drug dealer. I found myself wondering several times throughout the movie if this is what it’s really like to be a young adult in the world today, and I will admit, it scared me.  The fashion of Spring Breakers was really fun, though. Set during Spring Break, the cast mostly wore bikinis or beach attire the entire movie. There were some really cute bathing suits and accessories, and it definitely gets you in a summery, beachy mood. Here are a few fashion inspiration boards that I created with Spring Breakers in mind via Polyvore (click on each board for info on the pieces). You can also shop official Spring Breakers inspired clothing and merchandise here.

Spring Breakers Fashion Inspiration
Spring Breakers Inspired Bathing Suits 
Spring Breakers Inspired Accessories
 

Have you seen Spring Breakers? If so, leave me a comment telling me what you thought of it.
Did you love it or hate it? 

Music Monday – Ben Howard

17 Jun

Ben Howard Every Kingdom

Life gets hard sometimes. We all have things going on and from time to time it’s easy to get bogged down and let the negativity take over. I want to remind you all (with the help of a song) to take a minute and be thankful for your life and what you’ve been given. I can’t think of a better song to lift everyone up than one by Ben Howard.

I’ve been listening to my Ben Howard Every Kingdom record a lot lately (a gift from my wonderful husband) and wanted to share one of my absolute favorite songs off of it today. Ben’s music is so beautiful – if you’ve never heard it before I encourage you to check it out (especially “Only Love“). Originally from London, he’s an avid surfer and you really get a feel for his free-spiritedness in his folksy lyrics. I find his music to be almost spiritual, and turn it on lately when I’m in need of some positive vibes.

So turn that frown upside down, y’all! Have a wonderful week!

Music Monday – Fitz And The Tantrums

3 Jun

Fitz and the Tantrums

It’s June! When June rolls around every year, I start to feel like it’s really Summer. And that means long days, beautiful weather, and lots of fun and happiness. So let’s celebrate! Here’s a groovy new tune by Fitz and the Tantrums that will certainly make you want to celebrate. “Out Of My League” is the first single off the band’s new sophomore album, More Than Just A Dream. You may know them from their other hit, “MoneyGrabber“, which is equally fabulous. If you’re not familiar with them yet, you need to be!

Fitz and the Tantrums was formed by lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick in Los Angeles in 2008. Backed by a female vocalist and instruments like guitars, keyboards, trumpets, and even harmonicas and flutes, the band has a very eclectic sound. It almost reminds me of 70′s disco music. Fitz and the Tantrums got their start opening for Maroon 5 in 2009, played the Austin, Texas SXSW festival in 2010 and gained fan support after appearing on several late night talk shows including Jimmy Kimmel Live, Conan and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

Here is “Out Of My League” – go have yourself your own personal dance party!
Have a groovy week!

Quick Chick Flick: “Confessions Of A Shopaholic”

21 May

I recently read Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella and really, really liked it. I had seen the movie years ago not knowing it was a series of books. But when my best friend suggested I add it to my to-read list on Goodreads, naturally I took her advice. After finishing the book obviously I wanted to watch the movie again to compare. This won’t be a “Book Vs. Movie” post since the two were SO different, but rather just a review of the movie (definitely read the book, though!).

Confessions of a Shopaholic Poster

Isla Fisher stars as Rebecca Bloomwood, a girl with a serious problem. And I mean serious. She has a shopping addiction so severe that she comes up with the most outrageous (and hilarious) stories in her head to justify her spending problem. She’ll do anything to make it to a designer sale, and her problem has gotten her over $9,000 in debt. Living with her rich best friend, Suze, (played by the adorably quirky Krysten Ritter) Becky finds herself out of work as a journalist and constantly dodging pesky debt collector Derek Smeath.

Rebecca Bloomwood at a designer sale

Rebecca Bloomwood at a designer sale

Rebecca Bloomwood: Shopaholic

Desperate for money, she creates a very elaborate if not completely false resume and goes for an interview at her dream job – a top fashion magazine – only to find that the position has been filled. However, she finds out there is an opening at another magazine within the publication family – a financial advice digest. Thinking she can work her way to an “in” with the fashion mag, she goes on the interview at the financial digest and meets handsome editor Luke Brandon, played by charmer Hugh Dancy.

Hugh Dancy as Luke Brandon

Hugh Dancy as Luke Brandon

Following a very entertaining interview, Becky lands the job after Luke reads an article she writes for the fashion magazine that accidentally ended up in his hands instead. Seeing journalistic potential in Becky, he takes her to press conference where she shines with her tough, relevant questions about corporate raises after customer fund cuts. She writes a piece on it and becomes an overnight sensation in the financial advice world. The public love her. But what they don’t know is that Becky Bloomwood is the last person anyone should be taking financial advice from. Several hilarious plot twists later – including Becky telling Luke the debt collector is her ex-boyfriend turned stalker; getting into a pickle by being forced to speak Finnish (which she said she was fluent in on her resume); and her misadventures at a Shopaholic’s Anonymous group – Becky and Luke find themselves attracted to each other after spending more time together.

Becky and Luke Confessions of a Shopaholic

That is where things start to get interesting. Can Becky continue lying to Luke about her financial troubles and shopping addiction? Will her problem come between her and her best friend? The truth comes out in the end in a very shocking and embarrassing way for Becky, and she must finally confront her problem head on instead of running away from it. I won’t ruin the ending for you if you haven’t seen it, but I will say that everything works out in a way that none of the characters could have ever imagined.

Confessions of a Shopaholic is such a fun, absurdly amusing chick flick that I think anyone would enjoy. Be sure to check out the books, too! Sophie Kinsella created a character with Becky Bloomwood that girls everywhere will adore. She makes us laugh out loud, gasp at her ridiculousness, and find ourselves routing fiercely for her in the end, so proud to see her succeed that we may even shed a few tears (sniff). I’m currently reading Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, the second book in the series, and so far Becky still has a knack for getting herself into hilarious sticky situations.

What did you think of the movie and/or book? 

Book vs. Movie – “Beautiful Creatures”

1 May

Beautiful Creatures Book Cover

Since I love to both read and watch movies, I’m going to do another book vs. movie review! This time I chose a Young Adult novel that my best friend and I recently read, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Let’s begin with the book…

Our narrator is 16-year-old Ethan Wate, who lives in the small Southern town of Gatlin, South Carolina. Ethan is haunted by a recurring dream where he is desperately trying to save a girl, whose face he can not see. He doesn’t know who she is or why he’s dreaming this but he is so drawn to her and feels he would do anything for this beautiful stranger. Ethan’s mother died last year and his father has been cooped up in his study “writing” ever since, leaving Ethan to be looked after by their superstitious, grandmotherly housemaid, Amma.

The people of Gatlin’s favorite pastimes include attending church and participating in the annual re-enactment of the town’s historic Civil War battle, complete with Confederate soldier costumes and big antebellum dresses. (The authors goes on to paint the perfect picture of small-minded, Bible beating hypocrites for us.) At Jackson High School, where Ethan attends as a Junior, you are either on the inside or the outside with the popular group, and Ethan has recently broken up with his cheerleader girlfriend, thus leaving him dangerously close to being on the outside. But he doesn’t mind much as he longs for something more than a close-minded life in Gatlin. Ethan immerses himself in books that take him far away and applies to colleges anywhere and everywhere outside of Gatlin, which he sees as his ticket out of there.

But the peace in Gatlin is disturbed when Macon Ravenwood’s (the town’s alleged “Boo Radley”) niece, Lena, comes to live with him. As all of the town’s people consider Macon and his kin to be Satanists (told you these people are small-minded), when Lena Duchannes shows up at Jackson High…it ain’t pretty, y’all. She is quickly outcast and everyone’s fears are fueled by a strange incident that occurs at school – suddenly all of the windows are blown out in the classroom while Lena is being publicly ridiculed by the other students – causing mass chaos in their quiet little town.

On his way home from school that day in a severe thunderstorm, Ethan almost runs someone over in the road only to find out it is Lena Duchannes. He offers her a ride home and quickly learns she isn’t as bad as everyone thinks. The two begin to spend more and more time together and Ethan soon finds out that Lena and her family are more different than he could have ever imagined. They are “Casters” and all have special powers – kind of like witches. Ethan and Lena fall in love and he realizes Lena is the girl from his strange, recurring dream. This is when it starts to get real good.

Her 16 th birthday is rapidly approaching, and we find out Lena is in grave danger as she nears her “claiming”, where every Caster female is claimed as either a Light or a Dark Caster on her 16 th birthday, regardless of what they wish to choose. (Obvs a Light Caster is good and a Dark one is evil.) Since all of the females in Lena’s family have been claimed Dark, she fears she will follow in their footsteps and become a monster who will no longer recognize or care for Ethan, and could possibly even hurt him.

There are so many other little interesting elements to this story that I will briefly summarize: there is an underground Caster Library where Ethan finds out his mother worked as a “Keeper” of Caster records; Ethan’s maid and grandmotherly figure Amma turns out to have supernatural powers of her own and can communicate with spirits; Ethan and Lena find a locket that when they touch transports them to the Civil War where they observe Lena’s ancestor bring her dead lover back to life (whose name also happens to be Ethan Wate…mmm hmmm) with a powerful Dark cast, thus cursing all future females in her family to be claimed as Dark Casters. And then there’s Lena’s evil, estranged mother, Sarafine, who is so desperate to have Lena join her on the Dark side that she is willing to harm Ethan in the process.

All in all the book was very intriguing and had a climactic, exciting ending that left me eager to read the second book, which I am currently reading. There are four books in the “Caster Chronicles” and I am looking forward to reading each one.

Beautiful Creatures book review – 7/10

Beautiful-Creatures

When I heard there was a movie based on the book I was excited to see it as I obviously love reading a book and then watching it’s characters come to life before me on the big screen. As we all know though, not every movie adaptation turns out as well as fans of the book would hope. Unfortunately, this was the case for me with the movie Beautiful Creatures. Here’s my review of the movie…

The movie starts out with Ethan’s dream so I’m thinking, “ok this is good, they’re following the book already!” but I soon realized that was one of the few things that would be exactly like the book in this film. Ethan, played by Alden Ehrenreich, definitely lets the audience know the film is set in the South with an overwhelmingly Southern accent. (Side-note –  It makes me absolutely sick how the media portrays ALL Southerners as having this insanely twangy country accent in any movie set in the Southeast. Hello! We’re not all rednecks! Ok I’m done now.) Amma is introduced, played by Viola Davis, a much younger version of the grandmotherly figure we get from the book, and Lena is played by Alice Englert, who perfectly captures what I imagined Lena would be like in my mind while reading Beautiful Creatures (I love it when that happens). Uncle Macon is also spot on and played by the great Jeremy Irons, and I honestly can’t picture anyone else in the role.

Ethan & Lena

Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert as Ethan & Lena

Things in the movie get tricky as we jump around from scene to scene, and plot twists from the book are revealed to us in a somewhat distorted way. I found myself confused and saying “that’s not what happens in the book!” a lot throughout the film. For example, Lena’s family in the movie are not at all what we have come to know in the book. In the film they are almost comical and do not come across at all as they do in the book – like supernatural beings who you do not want to mess with. Take the character of Ridley (Lena’s cousin who is a Dark Caster) for example. She is supposed to have a hot pink streak in her hair, wear extremely short school-girl skirts and is constantly sucking on a lollipop (which drives all of the men wild) but she’s quite the opposite in the movie. Yes she is seductive, but played by Emmy Rossum, Ridley in the movie is dark, regal and sophisticated – nowhere near Valley-Girl-evil enough! And then there’s Larkin, Lena’s other cousin, who plays a very big role in the book with a huge twist at the ending. In the movie he is just an afterthought with only two scenes and plays no significant role to the plot.

Beautiful Creatures Ridley

Emmy Rossum as Ridley. Where is your lollipop, Rid?!

There were other disappointments as far as plot changes including a character being completely left out of the movie, the lack of Kelting – a special and very rare ability Lena and Ethan share that enables them to communicate with each other without speaking (I felt that leaving this out made it harder for the audience to understand just how close their relationship is), and the ending was totally different than the book ending.

beautiful-creatures-still-amma-ethan

Alden Ehrenreich and Viola Davis as Ethan & Amma

beautiful-creatures-stills-macon-lena-ethan

Jeremy Irons as Macon Ravenwood

beautiful-creatures-stills-lena-larkin

Alice Englert and Kyle Gallner as Lena & Larkin

Overall, the movie was entertaining and did feature some pretty cool special effects, but if they hadn’t read the book I don’t think the viewer would fully appreciate this bewitching and intriguing Caster world. I do not think they will be making a sequel or carrying on with four movies to match the books, as the estimated overall budget of the movie was $60 million and it only brought in $19 million in theaters (source). It will be released on DVD May 21, and may have more success as a rental.

Beautiful Creatures movie review – 5/10

If you have read Beautiful Creatures and/or seen the movie, leave me a comment with your thoughts! I would love to hear how others thought the movie compared to the book, or just what you thought of either one in general!

Music Monday – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

29 Apr

Good Monday to you all! Fresh off a weekend getaway with my sweetie, I have that happy, buzzing feeling you get when you are so in love. My husband is my best friend and he is home to me, no matter where we are in this world. Today I thought I’d share one of my favorite love songs with you that encompasses that feeling. It’s by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, called “Home”.

Home

This is an indie band from California and I absolutely love their vintage, old-fashioned aura. “Home” brings to mind a June and Johnny Cash timeless love story so sweet it puts a smile on your face. I would love to see them live, or maybe be a groupie in their band. How fun would that be?? Hope you enjoy this one and it puts you in a lovestruck mood!

Music Monday – Paramore!

15 Apr

Still-into-you-paramore

When I first saw Paramore on the 2008 MTV New Year’s Eve show performing “Crush Crush Crush” my initial thoughts were: 1) who is this adorable, amazing, energetic, orange-haired singer?? 2) I must hear more of their music, NOW! and 3) Oh my gosh I LOVE PARAMORE!! And I have ever since then.

Originally made up of four kids living in Franklin, TN (where I was born, y’all!) the band has had it’s share of band mate departures and additions over the years, and now they are down to three members – lead singer Hayley Williams, bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Taylor York. Last Tuesday saw the highly anticipated release of their first album since two founding members walked out on the band over a year ago, and the self titled album, Paramore, is set to take the Number 1 spot on the Billboard charts this week. Paramore outsold Justin Timberlake’s latest album, The 20/20 Experience, which held the Number 1 spot for three weeks by nearly three copies to one.

Paramore_NewOrleans

At the Paramore concert in New Orleans, 2010. They were ah-mazing!

The first two singles released on the new album are “Now” and “Still Into You”. I really love both of these new songs and can’t wait to check out the whole album (which obviously is spectacular). Below is the new video for “Still Into You”. This song puts Paramore’s signature characteristics on full display – Hayley’s ridiculously good vocals, pop/punk catchy beats and the band’s infectious energy. If you aren’t a Paramore fan yet get ready to become one!

Character Fashion Inspiration: Catwoman

9 Apr

In the second installment of my Comic Book themed Character Fashion Inspiration (click here for Superman inspired fashion), I decided to cover Catwoman. I chose this character for several reasons – she’s an extremely well-known character in both comics and movies, she’s got wicked style, and I might be a little obsessed with cats.

Catwoman originally appeared in 1940 in the first issue of DC Comics’ Batman as “The Cat”, the alter ego of Selina Kyle, a whip carrying burglar (get it, The Cat…cat burglar, see what they did there?). A popular villain, she and Batman have exhibited a love/hate relationship over the decades, and she is one of the most widely recognized female comic characters. Her costume has evolved over time from just a mask to a dress with a hood and ears, and eventually to a full-on sexy catsuit.

Catwoman

The original Catwoman, circa 1940′s

Catwoman

Our more modern Catwoman appearing in comics from 1993-present

Catwoman hasn’t just appeared in comics, though. She appeared in the television series Batman from 1966-1968, and reappeared in 1992 in Tim Burton’s classic, Batman Returns. In 2004 the movie Catwoman introduced a new character named Patience who is killed and brought back to life by an Egyptian cat, after which she develops strange, cat-like qualities. This movie was more of a spin-off of the Catwoman character, and was not directly associated with DC Comics. Finally, our most recent Catwoman came in the form of Anne Hathaway in Christopher Nolan’s brilliant film The Dark Knight Rises, just last year.

Catwomen

1) Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 2) Halle Berry in Catwoman (2004) 3) Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns (1992)

For this post I want to focus on the film costumes for Catwoman, like the ones above – dark, sexy and lots of leather. I think these are all things most people associate with Catwoman’s style. Here’s what I would choose for a daytime outing and a fancy dinner affair if I were Selina Kyle.

Character Fashion Inspiration - Catwoman
Character Fashion Inspiration - Catwoman
Character Fashion Inspiration - Catwoman
I adore those Charlotte Olympia kitty heels. That’s my favorite outfit, by far!
Which one is your favorite? Would you wear a Catwoman inspired outfit? 

Music Monday – Imagine Dragons

8 Apr

Imagine Dragons Night Visions

I decided to switch my (mostly) weekly music posts to Mondays. I like “Music Monday” better and Mondays are always kinda rough, anyway. A good song will help us get through the day!

This week I want to feature a band that I am obsessed with right now. Anytime I hear a song on the radio by Imagine Dragons a “Ooohhh I love this song!” is usually not too far behind. First it was “It’s Time”, then “Radioactive” and now I’m crushing on their new song “Demons”. Straight out of Las Vegas, Nevada, Imagine Dragons formed in 2008 and released their debut album, Night Visions, last year. Their first single, “It’s Time“, holds the record for the longest run on the 2012 Alternative Top 10 charts. Not bad, y’all!

So here’s “Radioactive”. I love the electronic sound in this song, and the video cracks me up (even though it is border-line creepy). Every time I hear this it gets cranked up and I do a little dance. How can you not?? Hope you guys like it as much me.

Friday Music – Michael Franti & Spearhead

22 Mar

Michael Franti & Spearhead

Spring is finally here and not a moment too soon! I am so ready for some sunshine and warmth. With my Spring Fever in full effect, I decided to start the weekend off with some happy, beachy tunes. I love this song by Michael Franti and Spearhead with it’s funky, reggae vibe. It came on my radio earlier this week and of course the volume got turned way up and I proceeded to sing along at the top of my lungs (don’t worry, no one else was in the car).

I hope you all enjoy it, too. If you close your eyes and bob your head you can almost imagine you’re on the beach, basking in the sunlight!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Five TV Shows That I Miss

16 Mar

I’ll admit it – I am a TV junkie. There are so many shows that I watch each week and my DVR is more organized than my monthly planner. Sometimes it makes me sad when I think about how addicted I am to the lives of television characters that aren’t even real. But only sometimes.

Naturally, when one of my favorite shows ends it is a very difficult time for me. I can’t tell you how hard I cried when Lost ended and I found out none of it was real to begin with. And just thinking about the day when Sam and Dean Winchester no longer exist on my television every Wednesday night saving humanity, kicking monster butt and taking names, all while looking fabulous and cracking witty one-liners…well it scares me, people.

Sam and Dean_

It scares them, too.

But sadly, all good things must come to an end. There are many shows that have been cancelled or simply come to an end over the years, but here are five that I am still mourning.

Freaks and Geeks

5. Freaks and Geeks – Judd Apatow’s depiction of high schoolers in the early eighties was hilarious and heartfelt. Watching young James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jason Segal and other stellar cast members go through “that awkward teenage stage” and all of the ups and downs of high school was so enjoyable. Not to mention the awesome 80’s aspect of the show (killer music).

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

4. Buffy The Vampire Slayer – As a young girl who loved horror and supernatural books/movies, I was stoked when Joss Whedon gave us Buffy in 1997.  The idea of a Valley Girl as humanity’s savior against the dark forces of the world was so fantastic to me. I loved watching Buffy and her friends, Willow and Xander, along with her sage mentor, Giles, kick evil’s butt every week. I guess Supernatural will have to fill my Buffy void for now.  Sigh.

The Muppet Show

3. The Muppet Show – Jim Henson’s The Muppet Show originally aired from 1976 to 1981, and although I was only one when the show went off the air, I remember watching reruns as a child (which is no doubt where my unconditional love for The Muppets stems from). Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Animal, Fozzie Bear and all the other Muppets will always have a special place in my heart. The weekly show featured skits and celebrity appearances and was kind of like Saturday Night Live for Muppets. Although the show ended it led to many movies to be made later.

Felicity

2. Felicity – Felicity (played by Keri Russell) was a female character that I think every girl can relate to in some way. She followed her heart across the country on a whim just to explore her feelings for her high school crush, which takes some serious courage. Not only did Felicity display courage but also vulnerability, romanticism, willpower and fierce friendship – all things women identify with.

I really loved this show and the raw emotion and experiences portrayed by some of my absolute favorite characters of ALL time (Noel, Ben, Elena, Meghan, Sean and Javier). So many small details about Felicity went a long way in creating this atmosphere that made you feel like you really knew these people and were right there with them at NYU: the lighting, the music, the sets. My heart broke watching the final episodes and I was blown away when creator J.J. Abrams (amazeballs) interpreted time travel in to the show. (Yes, time travel! I know!)

Firefly

1. Firefly – This one takes the cake for me as the biggest disappointment ever in terms of TV show cancellations. Although I just watched this series on Netflix last year after having it in my queue for ages (I knew that I was going to love this Joss Whedon gem) I was instantly hooked – and still am! Firefly aired in 2002 for only one season (blasphemy). Set in the year 2517, it’s about nine people aboard a Firefly-class spaceship who travel the ‘verse, rebelling against the controlling Alliance. Fourteen episodes were nowhere near enough for the fans of this show, so the crew went on to create a major motion picture inspired by Firefly titled Serenity, in 2005. The show is still celebrated at conventions like Comic-Con and last year a ten-year reunion special interviewing cast and crew members aired on the Science Channel (yes I watch the Science Channel and you should, too).

In my opinion, Firefly was leaps and bounds ahead of other television shows of its time (which I’m sure had something to do with its cancellation due to the simple-minded, reality-show loving population who wouldn’t tune in to it) and I have no doubt if a show like that was on television today, people would go crazy to get in front of their TV’s every week to watch it.

Honorable Mention: Smallville. That show was about Superman, y’all. Need I say more?

Smallville

What TV shows do you miss and wish still came on?

Character Fashion Inspiration: Comic Book Characters

9 Mar

So we’ve already established that I have a nerdy side (see examples 1, 2 and 3) but I also really enjoy fashion and other girly things. A thought crossed my mind the other day and I about fell out of my chair: Why not do a Character Fashion Inspiration post based on comic book characters!? How I did not think of this sooner is beyond me. Think about it, comic books are filled with color and artistry, and superhero costumes are so sleek and stylish… all things that inspire fashion. There have been many cases where superhero art has inspired runway fashion and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC even held an exhibit on this subject in 2008.

super_hero_by_psyshark-d4ddta0

So, which character do I cover? There are so many directions I could go and I’m thinking there will have to be multiple posts on different characters. A few of my favorites that I am having fashion ideas for at the moment are The Hulk, Batman, Dr. Who, Poison Ivy and Iron Man. Let’s start with my all-time favorite male superhero…

Superman!

Superman

Superman is an American icon who was created in 1932 and first appeared in comics in 1938. It is said he stands for  justice, morality and righteousness and has developed to a hero seen not only in comics but also in movies, television, video games and on merchandising worldwide. So, he’s pretty much The Man, y’all.

When I think Superman the colors red and blue immediately come to mind. But let’s not forget that he is also the Man of Steel, and the new movie of that same title coming to theaters this June will focus more on the “steel” aspect of Superman. From the trailers I’ve seen (which are ah-mazing, by the way – go here to see the latest) this new Superman costume is going to be more of a dark red and blue color. So I’ll do both a more traditional Superman outfit and a modern Man of Steel inspired one. Here we go…

Character Fashion Inspiration: Superman
 
Character Fashion Inspiration: Man of Steel

What do you think? I would wear either of these but like the navy pinstripe dress and those maroon booties the best!

Which comic characters can you imagine fashion inspiration coming from?

Friday Music – Of Monsters and Men

8 Mar

Of Monsters and Men Little Talks

Happy March and Happy Friday to you all! I am excited that Spring is on it’s way and can’t wait for warmer, longer days. Certain songs give me that happy, Springy feeling and this band certainly has a few songs that fit that category for me. Icelandic Of Monsters and Men is a fairly new band and this song is my current favorite off their album “Little Talks”.

Here’s “Mountain Sound” – I hope it puts you in a happy mood to kick off your weekend!

Red Carpet Review: Vanity Fair Oscars After Party

26 Feb

By now we are all caught up on who wore what to the Oscars last Sunday. We saw several show stoppers, my favorites being Jessica Chastain bringing some Old-Hollywood glamour in a stunning Armani Prive gown; Charlize Theron reigning the red carpet in a crisp, white Dior Haute Couture ensemble;  and Naomi Watts looking downright fierce in an edgy, metallic L’Wren Scott dress. There were many other notable dresses this year but the focus of this post is not what was worn during the big show but rather when the fun really started: post Oscars at the infamous Vanity Fair Party. Let’s get to it!

The big winners of the night were Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress and Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress. For the awards show, Anne chose a baby pink Prada gown, (which I was not too fond of, honestly) and JLaw wore a spectacular Dior Couture ballroom gown (that she proceeded to trip over while trying to accept her award, bless it). For the after party they traded their gowns for more comfortable, party-appropriate dresses. Also doing a costume change was Naomi Watts who changed in to another stunningly sequined dress.

Anne Hathaway image via

Jennifer Lawrence image via

Naomi Watts image via

Here are some of the other noteworthy fashion sightings at the party:

Leslie Mann  image via

Lily Collins image via

Natalie Portman image via

Amy Poehler image via

Isla Fisher image via

Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez image via

Amy Adams image via

Rashida Jones image via

Olivia Munn image via

Zooey Deschanel image via

I hope you all enjoyed the Oscars!

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