Thursday, December 18, 2014

What's NOT to love?!?

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about a year now, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week Moma Rock chose the topic: Tell us about something you really love that others can't relate to.

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic:
Darwin Shrugged
Froggie
Moma Rock

A while back, I wrote about things other people like that I don't like. So it's interesting to turn the topic around. Especially since I'm so mainstream and like most of the same things other people do. Reading? Check. The Mindy Project? Check. Broadway musicals? Check. Ice cream? Check. The list goes on and on...

There are some things that I know I'm in the minority for liking though. Maybe not universally, but at least in my little world. :)

I'm sure I've mentioned this many times before, but I'm still as addicted as ever to Special K Vanilla Almond. I eat it every single day for breakfast. When the stores have it on sale, I stock up like it's going out of style. My husband used to eat it but he doesn't anymore. Maybe he became satiated? I can't start my day without a bowl of Special K. My quirk is that I don't put milk in it. I eat it dry with a cup of hot tea or orange juice. The only time I don't eat it is the week of Pesach. I wish they'd invent Kosher for Passover Special K Vanilla Almond. Then I'd be all set. Of course, that week of just makes me appreciate it even more.

I'm not obsessed or anything...

Next is country music. I know there are a lot of people in the world who love country music, but very few whom I know personally. I'm hard pressed to find someone to attend a Band Perry, Luke Bryan, or Lady Antebellum concert locally. I started liking country music during my senior year of college. After I graduated, I'd buy CDs of my favorite country artists and even went to a Dixie Chicks concert. I still prefer the country station to all other radio stations, no matter how many songs are about girls wearing jeans and riding in a truck.

I have very few friends who have both heard of and love the movies Moving Violations and Sing. I still love both movies so much for their comedic factor or their feel-good factor respectively. If you know me well enough, you know that I can't shut up about these movies. My husband has seen both, but he doesn't appreciate them the way I do. So having people to talk about either or both movie(s) is few and far between. Here are the trailers for both. If you're able to get your hands on either movie and watch them, I'd love to hear your thoughts!





Tell me about something YOU love that others don't appreciate.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Looking up or looking down?

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about a year now, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week Darwin Shrugged chose the topic: Bill Cosby is all over the news for his alleged inappropriate activities. Many people struggle with accepting that Dr. Huxtable could have done the things for which he is accused. So I ask this: Is there a celebrity scandal that would really upset you, simply because you love that celebrity/hold him or her in high esteem? Has it already happened? If there's no celebrity, is there a person in your real life like that?

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic:
Darwin Shrugged
Froggie
Moma Rock

A month or so before the big Cosby scandal became a news story, there was a situation in DC involving an Orthodox Rabbi. I don't want to go into all the details again and I don't really have a personal connection since I never went to his shul, but at the point in time of our shul choosing a new Rabbi, it's given everyone a lot to think about. And since it involved the mikvah, I'm definitely checking for anything out of the ordinary whenever I go to the one close to my house. I know the situation has affected people who used to go to that Rabbi's shul and the reactions could be seen as post-traumatic stress. I remember one of my friends posting on Facebook that she's not sure she'll be able to completely trust any Rabbi. Scary to think about since they're leaders for our faith. I've never encountered problems with any of the Rabbis whose shuls I've attended, and I hope I never have to come into such a situation.

Having said that, time to move on to celebrities. Obviously, I'm having trouble reconciling Cliff Huxtable with the accusations made against him. It seems so unreal (and not in a good way, obviously). I remember when people made accusations about Michael Jackson and his relationships with children. I don't know how much of it is true and don't really want to either. I was a fan of Michael Jackson when I was growing up, but eventually lost interest in his music. I think that was around the time people started turning against him. Here's a recent story of such accusations against him. What can even be done about it now that he's dead?

Then there's Pee Wee Herman's movie theater incident. Upon reading about it again, it was at an ADULT theater. He wasn't doing anything in front of kids, nor was he touching anyone except, allegedly, himself. What else do people do during adult movies? Isn't it expected that it would happen. I don't really see what Paul Reubens does on his personal time has to do with his character of Pee Wee Herman. It doesn't stop me from wanting to show my kids Pee Wee's Big Adventure. It was a funny movie and it came out before the incident anyway. Comedic actor Fred Willard was also arrested for a similar situation. The charges were dropped shortly afterward. I should probably hold him to the same standard that I hold Pee Wee to, right? For some reason, I keep picturing him as his character from A Mighty Wind and saying "Wha' happened?" while he was, to put it nicely, entertaining himself.




George Michael was also arrested for a lewd act in the late 90s. Except this was in a public bathroom. There's a time and place for everything, but it's harder to excuse this than something that happened in an adults only theater. Good thing I wasn't really interested in him at the time, but I still like Wham's music.

A few years ago, Kevin Clash (the voice of Elmo) was accused of sexual abuse. This past year, the charges were dropped. At the time, however, people were blaming Elmo, like he had some control over what happened to the guy who gives him a voice. I'm glad to hear the charges were dropped though.

There are certain celebrities that I would never want to hear about any scandals from. If that happened, it would be a travesty!

* I know Mr. Rogers has been dead for over 12 years, but if a scandal were ever dug up about him, that would completely turn everything on its axis. I recently heard from someone that he is as good of a person as he appears on his show, so that's a relief! I watched his show every day when I was a kid and still see him as this gentle guide when it comes to parenting and even talking to kids about the difficult things in life.

* As you know, I'm obsessed with The Mindy Project and feel that Mindy Kaling can do no wrong. If she ever tarnished her image, I would be extremely disappointed and would be questioning whom I admire going forward.

* While I don't watch Ellen DeGeneres on TV all that much, I still admire her. She's funny, generous, friendly, and--most importantly--the voice of Dory! She even got the Golden Tweet award and it was for something cute and fun. So I can't even imagine her doing anything scandalous or shameful.

* Candace Cameron was my TV best friend growing up and I even got to interview her at Chick Lit Central last year. She has good family values and always seems positive and encouraging. The fact that people had to pick her apart for how she keeps her marriage going strong only shows that there's nothing shady about her. Now her brother, on the other hand.... Let's just say Candace may be boasting about her religious beliefs, but she doesn't cram them down our throats or use them as ways to back up hatred of any population.

* I don't watch The Tonight Show, but I hold Jimmy Fallon in high esteem. I've always thought he was funny and talented. He had me at his impression of Adam Sandler. In any case, I've seen his rise to fame and there have only been good things about him in the news, magazine articles, etc. He loves to entertain and make people laugh and he seems like a total family man too. So I can't see him messing that up anytime soon, nor would I want to.

* My kids were into The Laurie Berkner Band for a while and my younger son even won a Skype chat with Laurie herself. She not only sings cute and fun songs that the whole family can enjoy without getting annoyed, but she's also really nice to all her fans and so down-to-earth too. I think Earth would fold in on itself if she ever did something unsavory.



* Finally, there's a semi-new TV dad whom I totally admire. That dad is Phil Dunphy from Modern Family, played by the ever-so-funny Ty Burrell. I really didn't think much of him when I first started watching the show. He was just another nameless, faceless, TV dad at the time. And he was being overshadowed by all the other equally funny and talented actors on the show. However, he managed to surprise me and win me over pretty quickly. And then I kept seeing him pop up in movies, whether he's a French detective in Muppets Most Wanted or a talking dog in Mr. Peabody and Sherman. These days, if Ty Burrell is in it, you know it's going to be good. I recently heard that he's going to do a voice in Finding Dory, starring the abovementioned Ellen DeGeneres. (He was even on her show this past year.) So, needless to say, I hope Ty stays on the good side of the news for many years to come because I really don't want to see Phil meet Cliff's fate.



What celebrity scandal would really upset YOU?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My kryptonite

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about a year now, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week Froggie chose the topic: Unimaginable

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic:
Darwin Shrugged
Froggie
Moma Rock

Chick Lit Central is currently hosting a giveaway of Dina Silver's latest novel, The Unimaginable. For a bonus question, I asked our readers what is unimaginable to them. One of them said "Life without books would be unimaginable." While I originally had something else in mind to write about, it was a heavier topic and I had trouble tackling it without somehow offending someone. However, this reader hit the nail on the head and I couldn't agree with her more! Take away books from the world and you have tortured me for life. Oddly enough, my son once said that if I ever get in trouble, a good punishment is to have someone take away all my books. (I'm sure the same could apply to him because he also loves to read!)

Anyway, I've talked about my love for books many times. They have been my salvation when I was growing up and dealing with bullies or not having many friends to hang out with. They've also been the reason I've met some of the friends with whom I'm currently close. I can't go a day without having a book to read! And I definitely can't imagine ever not having books in my life. That would be like taking away spinach from Popeye!

Thanks to a meme I found on Facebook recently, I was directed to Bookfessions. There I found some "bookfessions" that really spoke to me. I'm sharing a few of them here so you can truly see why books are so essential to my life.



* 794. People who hate to read scare me. Books have kept me alive.
* 1033. Books are essential to life.
* 1024. Reading has been constant in my life ever since I fell in love with it.
* 997. I actually can't remember a time when I could not read.
* 948. I own so many books that I ended up starting my own library system. (This actually does apply to me and a friend even gave me an embossing stamp for them!)
* 838. I never want to stop reading. I just want to linger on my adventures for as long as I can.
* 828. Being in a bookstore, surrounded by tons of books I want to read, is one of the best feelings I can have.

Having said all this, I want to do a book giveaway. It won't be as big as the giveaways at Chick Lit Central, but maybe it will give a book lover like me something for their collection or will inspire someone to read more often. Whatever the case may be, someone's going to win a book and I hope they'll enjoy it!

How to enter: Use the Rafflecopter. If you have any questions on how it works, please comment below with your contact info and I will e-mail you to answer them. If Rafflecopter is not working on this page, go here to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Worldwide (e-books will be sent to overseas winner)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My first, my last, my everything....

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about a year now, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week I chose the topic: Five Firsts and Five Lasts (you can choose whatever you want for each separately or do a comparison for each.)

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic:
Darwin Shrugged
Froggie
Moma Rock

When I read People magazine, I love the last page where they ask celebrities what their last of something was, such as the last time they laughed, spent money, had a dream, etc. It's a cool way to get to know them on a different level. Also, a while back, my blog idols Liz and Lisa asked their visiting authors about firsts and lasts. I was reading their questions and having a hard time coming up with my answers to them. However, I thought it would be a fun, and yet somewhat challenging topic for this group. I decided to go the comparison route.

(As of November 19th at 10:20 pm)

First movie I saw in a theater: Mary Poppins when I was about three years old, even though I was apparently scared of the dark and didn't want to stay. (At least my parents were smart and took me out instead of letting me cry a lot and ruin other theatergoers' experiences.)

Last movie I saw in a theater: Big Hero 6, which was fantastic! My three-year-old sat so well the entire time, so it was the other patrons who couldn't keep their kids from attempting to ruin everyone else's experiences.

First time I flew on a plane: My second trip to Florida for Disney World when I was six years old. My (late) maternal grandma came with us too.

Last time I flew on a plane: Home from my most recent trip to Disney World in 2013. While I was with my parents and sister for most of the trip, I also shared the experience with my husband and kids.

First thing I posted on Facebook: A bunch of pics of my older son when he was a toddler back in summer 2007, when we lived in NJ.

Last thing I posted on Facebook: A timehop pic of my first trip to DC. After going on this trip, I decided I wanted to move out to this area. Less than a year later and we had a house and established our lives here pretty quickly after moving in.
Side note: I love that the monument reflects in the pool. On my most recent visit to the Lincoln Memorial, it was too cloudy to get any reflection. 


First job: Babysitting. If that doesn't count, then the Chinese restaurant job.

Last job: The job I will be celebrating five years at in December....working for a local Jewish non-profit. It's amazing how much has changed in five years between staff coming and going and a new office space.

First thing I did this year: Played board games with some close friends of ours. This lasted until about 1:00 a.m. after 2014 started.

Last thing I did this year (as of tonight): Aside from writing this blog post, I watched Jane the Virgin. I'm an episode behind at the moment, but will be caught up soon. Such a fun show!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Movies that "dare to be stupid"

When I found out about the Stupid Movie Tour that was going to take place this month, I just had to get on board! I've enjoyed reading about everyone's choices and coming up with my own. Originally, I just had one movie in mind, but then I thought about a few others and didn't want to neglect them. So I will share a little bit about each one, along with a fun video clip or trailer. Enjoy!

Teen Witch

Something came to mind recently that made me think of this movie and brought back a slew of fun memories. Teen Witch is about Louise (played by Blake Lively's half-sister, Robyn), a girl who is pretty, but shy and not fashionable, so she's practically invisible. Then she learns that she's a witch and she uses her powers to help herself fit in at her school, learning some important lessons along the way. Not only is Teen Witch a movie, but it's also a musical! Of course, the music is super cheesy as is expected with late 80s films. (My friend and I would randomly sing "I Like Boys" while getting ready for dance class.) There's a hilarious scene involving this teacher who is always mean to Louise. I don't even want to say any more as to not spoil the fun. I think the main reason I liked this movie is that it spoke to my fantasy of becoming popular. Oh, how I wished I had magical powers so that I could get the jacket of my favorite rock star, which would be used to make me the most popular girl (see video below). I just thought life would be so much easier that way. However, I like the lesson she learned after becoming popular and almost losing her best friend, who looked very similar to one of my closest friends. I think her friend forgave her since she gave her special rapping powers earlier in the movie. Oh yeah, and Zelda Rubinstein from Poltergeist has a special role.




Grandma's Boy

This was actually the first movie that came to mind when I heard about this blog tour. I knew I definitely wanted to write about it. My husband and I saw it for the first time in 2006 and we couldn't stop laughing. We've seen it again since then. Sometimes, we'll just randomly quote lines from it. I think this is the only time I've seen Allen Covert in a starring role. And I'm surprised he only plays bit parts or secondary roles in other movies (my favorite being "10 Second Tom" in 50 First Dates). He's really funny and adorable as Alex, the video game programmer who has to move in with his grandma. Playing an equally funny secondary role as Alex's best friend, Jeff, is Nick Swardson, whom my husband and I only like because he played Terry on Reno 911. Anyway, there are a lot of really funny moments and quirky characters. The villain of the story is socially inept and talks like a robot all the time. Linda Cardellini is cute as Alex's potential love interest. Doris Roberts, Shirley Jones, and Shirley Knight are the icing on the comedy cake though. I think Grandma's Boy even inspired my husband to design his own video game. Given that this is a Happy Madison production, you know you're in for a treat. Check out the trailer:




UHF

Before Michael Richards was Kramer and Fran Drescher was the nanny, they starred along with Long Duk Dong in a classic late-80s comedy that takes TV to a whole new level. And best of all, it stars the one...the only...WEIRD AL! (Hence my subject line.) I can watch this movie over and over and laugh each time, as well as quote most of the lines along with it. There are great lines and puns ("Badgers? We don't need no stinkin' badgers!"), as well as hilarious parodies, such as the Beverly Hillbillies version of "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits.

Really though, all the reason to watch this movie is right here:




Good Burger

"Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger. Can I take your order?" 

I first saw this movie when I was in college. The previews made it look pretty, um, cheesy. (My friend would even imitate Ed dancing around in the milkshake machine.) However, for a dollar at the second run theater, I figured it couldn't hurt to try it out. And you know what? I actually enjoyed it! It was funny with lots of slapstick moments, as well as an interesting plot. It's about this teen, Dexter, played by Kenan Thompson (who is now on SNL). He has to work at a burger joint to make money so he can pay back his neighbor, played by Sinbad. He's hoping to just do his job each day and get out of there. However, Ed, played by Kel Mitchell (who--kind of--disappeared after this movie), makes this more difficult by always getting underfoot and being his quirky and goofy self. (He's so convincing in his role that the New York Times thought he was a real fast food chain employee) Then he invents a sauce that gives them a huge boost in business, much to the chagrin of this more modern burger place across the street (along the lines of Fuddrucker's), run by the evil Kurt. Overall, it's a story about friendship and teamwork. Linda Cardellini (mentioned earlier for Grandma's Boy) even plays a small role in this movie before she became famous for Freaks and Geeks. I saw Good Burger again a few years ago and still found it just as funny and endearing as I did 16 years ago. I'm even excited to show it to my kids someday.

Check out this trailer and then "consider yourself tomatoed!"


What is your favorite stupid movie? Please share in the comments.

Visit Deb's blog on Friday for more stupid movie fun.
See the full tour schedule here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Disney's Heroic Effort Pays Off

This past week, I went to see Big Hero 6 with my kids. I wasn't all that interested to see it at first, since it's about science and robots and has a Marvel Comics element to it. However, one of my friends who has similar tastes in movies posted that she loved it, so I decided to check it out. I'm SO glad I did!

Big Hero 6 is about a boy genius, Hiro, who graduates high school at age 13 and creates robots to use for Bot Fighting tournaments, in an effort to make money. His brother, Tadashi, inspires him to get into San Fransokyo University, which is accomplished by creating a unique contribution to technology. Hiro's efforts are rewarded, but then disaster strikes and everything he created is gone. With the help of Tadashi's health-care robot, Baymax, Hiro finds out that his creation is still in existence, but taken over by an evil villain who is intent on using it for his own purposes. Hiro gathers his friends, along with Baymax, to overtake the villain and get back what is rightfully his.

I loved everything about this movie, from characters, to art design, to music (and not typical Disney show-stoppers, but the songs playing as the action is going on). The story is clever and emotionally driven. There are a lot of action scenes, as well as comedic moments. I was laughing as much as my six-year-old son, if not more. I even cried at times.

I totally loved Baymax as a sidekick. He's funny and not annoying at all. What's amazing is that even without a mouth, he can still convey emotion. He's mainly created as a revolutionary healthcare device. I wish he were around when my son was having ear problems. He could have resolved the issue in no time! I love that he won't go away until Hiro is satisfied with his care. How often do health care professionals even ask that of their patients? It's such a simple question too. There's so much more to Baymax than what he appears to be and the result is incredible. He's definitely the source of most of the humor too.

The main song, "Immortals," is really good and goes well with the action scenes. It's sung by Fall Out Boy, even though I thought it was Adam Lambert until I saw the credits. (Shows how much I mix up rock groups and singers these days.) The marriage of Tokyo and San Francisco was really cool in terms of what they were able to do with scenery. Most of the character voices were not well known, but Maya Rudolph played Hiro's aunt, which I thought was cool. Alan Tudyk, who was the voice of King Candy in Wreck-It Ralph and played Wash on Firefly, also did a voice in this movie. Another fun fact: Scott Adsit, the guy who did Baymax's voice, is from a town near where I grew up.

What worries me is that because this is not a movie about princesses with memorable songs, it will fade into the background. I felt like Wreck-It Ralph did that, and I loved that movie too. I highly encourage everyone to see Big Hero 6 and stay all the way through the end for a special celebrity cameo visit.

All I can tell you for now is that I'm glad I braved the theater experience to see this on the big screen and that my three-year-old princess-obsessed daughter sat better than most of the bigger kids in the theater. She told me she liked it a lot too.

Here's a trailer:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Grammar Police in the house

Sometimes I only get the chance to blog once a week. And since I can't always get up the motivation to think of a topic, it's nice to have other friends to blog with so we can take turns. I enjoy being challenged to write about stuff that might not normally come to mind and also reading everyone else's thoughts on the same topic. Blog Project 3.0 has been going on for about a year now, even though one of the group members changed after a few months. I love blogging with this group and I hope we can continue to inspire each other.

This week Moma Rock chose the topic: When you witness someone else making a mistake, what do you do? Do you believe it's a chance for lessons learned, or do you intervene?

First, read what everyone else had to share on this topic:
Darwin Shrugged
Froggie
Moma Rock

I will admit I had a hard time coming up with what to say on this topic. It was so broad that I felt the need to narrow it down. And even then, it still felt like it could go so many ways. I didn't feel comfortable talking about witnessing personal, life-changing mistakes because we all make them in one way or another at different times. Then my older son had me check over his homework tonight and I got all obsessive over the spelling errors. I also read what the assignment was asking and felt he didn't do that, so I made him correct his work. He's in third grade and I want him to be accountable. I know my younger son's first grade teacher is more concerned about his handwriting and understanding how sentences work. However, third grade is more complex. My son is smart and is doing well in school, according to the parent-teacher conference I attended. However, I feel the need to correct his homework before his teacher sees it. I don't make the corrections, but I ask him to do it. I'm not as hard on my first grader with his homework, but I will still point out little errors that drive me crazy if they don't go corrected.

I'm not only the Grammar (and Spelling) Police with my family (and believe me, I've corrected my husband on things too), but also with friends. I have this mini-proofreader living in my brain and they won't leave me alone until I make sure errors are fixed at once. Don't even get me started on punctuation either. If I see so much as a comma out of place, I have to intervene! I'm sure I've annoyed people when I've pointed out spelling or grammar mistakes, but other people have appreciated it. I've been known to stand over someone and correct what they're writing as they are going along. I'm like the back seat driver of the writing world. One thing that frustrates me is when a book goes to final print and comes out with errors all over the place. If I were an author and those errors weren't caught before my book went to final print, I'd be fuming! Maybe some authors feel they just have to let it go and hope the readers aren't as obsessive as yours truly.

I don't know why I'm so obsessive about little errors or why it's so important that something looks right. Shouldn't I allow my kids to be kids and let their teachers correct them, if necessary? Why is it so important that their work be turned in with proper spelling and grammar? I feel that I'm preparing them for the future, where a little mistake could cost them in the long run. (I recently witnessed a mistake that could have cost someone a large amount of money, but thankfully the responsible party realized what they did and was able to stop it in time.) Having my kids be accountable for their work and how they present everything is a step in the right direction. After all, I don't want them to be Rachel Green and send off their resumes with a glaring error.