Maleficent Surprises….

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As a little girl the witch in Disney’s Sleeping beauty was probably hands down the scariest for me. I don’t know if it was the horns or the dark high collared cape or the fact that she turns into a dragon, but whatever it was she terrified me! From what I recall about Disney’s animated version of Sleeping Beauty we never knew why Maleficent was so evil, other than  she wasn’t invited to the princess’ christening.

I really was happy when I heard that they were going to tell this villain’s story in a non animated feature with Angelina Jolie as the lead. I mean really who else could we see in this role. Angelina has a presence to her and I feel that she was perfectly casted. Without revealing too much, I was really surprised with the twists and turns Maleficent took. It was nice to find out her origin and why she turns so dark. In the end though it seems that the tale we have known all along leaves some important parts out. As a production the movie is FANTASTIC, the sets are beautiful, the costumes are amazing and the effects are great.   I didn’t take the boys I think some parts would have scared my 6-year-old, but I will probably take my almost 11-year-old if I get the chance. If you haven’t seen it I urge you to go see it. You will not be disappointed.

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My Holiday To Do List

It really has been one busy fall for our family and for the first time in a while it  looks like it will calm down this holiday season. For one thing we are not traveling, we are having family and then friends coming over for Christmas and then for New Years. This is a first for us, because normally we do make a trip somewhere during this season. I am so looking forward to my kids Christmas break. I am craving some quality time with my family. In the craziness of this past fall I have really felt that I have been distracted and disconnected from them. I was just going through the motions and really not enjoying the moment, because I was anticipating the next thing in our busy agenda. Fun mommy is coming back  for the holidays and I really hope she over stays  her welcome. With all that being said here is a list of what I want to accomplish with my family and friends this holiday season.

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1) Play with my boys. I really want to keep the electronics at bay this break. I am not crazy we will all be connected, but I want to keep it to a minimum and this includes me as well. I am looking forward to extensive games of Monopoly, Clue, Nerf gun wars and even the possible jog around the neighborhood since both boys have had an increased interest in running. I feel like, it is these activities that make the memories that they will remember when they are older. We are due for some memories like these.

2) Try out some new recipes. Just from a quick search on Pinterest I have found a few new recipes that I do want to try out. Here are some of them:

Lemon Chicken Romano click here for recipe

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Snowman Pizza click here for recipe

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Rudolf Pancakes which are perfect for Christmas Morning!! Click here for recipe.

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Beef Tenderloin, believe it or not I have never roasted a whole beef tenderloin before. I am not sure if I will make it with this port sauce or just make chimichurri sauce. I will be making this along with some shrimp, asparagus and my mom’s special Christmas rice for our Christmas Eve dinner.  Click here for tenderloin recipe.

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3) I want to FLY!!! Our dear friends the Barsotti’s are coming to visit us to ring in the new year. They also have 2 kids around the same age as my boys. On one of the days they are here we are going to go to Defy Gravity. Defy Gravity is a trampoline sports arena, it is advertised as fun for the entire family.  I am pretty sure we are all going to have fun!!

4) Craft and Bake: I really want to make this wreath

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It looks so easy and it’s something my younger son can help me with. Click here for directions. I also want to bake cookies I am by no means a baker, but my youngest enjoys it. So I think this year we will make Santa some sugar cookies. Nothing crazy, but just something that we can do together.

5) Go to see some movies. We haven’t gone to the movies that much this fall, but I for sure would love to go see The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, Anchorman 2 and so many others, but those 3 are ones I am willing to pay theatre prices for. My oldest wants to see The Hobbit and I am sure I will take them to see Frozen sooner than later.

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6) I want to be happy and merry! Most importantly I  just want be and enjoy the moment. School is out next Friday, presents are bought, the bulk of food will be bought next week, so there is no reason to just BE PRESENT and ENJOY!!

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My Favorite Things- Fall Edition

Happy Fall to everyone! This is my favorite time of year and I love that in my area the weather is getting a little cooler. Definitely helps to get into the mood of the season. I don’t know about everyone else, but fall also commences a busy time in our family. Always, seems our weekends are jammed packed with activities. With that said, I know I have neglected my blog a little bit so I decided to make a post that included a lot of things I have been wanting to write about.

12 ways to wear a scarf

In recent years I have embraced using scarves as an accessory. It really adds a pop to any outfit and also adds a finishing touch to a basic jeans and t-shirt ensemble. So if you don’t use scarves as an accessory I urge you to try it out. You can get fun scarves for under $10, just look at Old Navy or Target.

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Yes, I know this ‘anthology’ is on its third season, but the first episode of The Coven saga has left me blind sided. First of all I don’t know how Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk come up with creepy amazing twisted tales time and time again. American Horror Story is scary story telling at its best. One thing that stands true from the past two seasons is that the show always has strong amazing characters. They have a habit of leaving a mark on our minds and striking a chord with our deepest darkest fears.  I also love that the actors come back to play different roles each season. For example, Jessica Lange has been a creepy intrusive next door neighbor, an unrelenting Mother Superior and asylum warden and currently Supreme Witch. The Coven also boasts an all star-cast, Kathy Bates, Angela Basset and Jessica Lange to just name a few. This season will take us through the lore of witchcraft and voodoo of New Orleans.  If you haven’t I suggest you tune in, just remember to keep the lights on while you watch.

BACK ROW: HAYLEY ORRANTIA, GEORGE SEGAL, TROY GENTILE; FRONT ROW: SEAN GIAMBRONE, JEFF GARLIN, WENDI MCLENDON-COVEY I don’t know if it is, because I grew up in the 1980’s, but I find this show hilarious. I have a been a long time fan of Jeff Garlin ever since his Curb Your Enthusiasm days. It also reminds me a lot of my husband’s family. Not that I know how their family life was in the 80s, but it is how I imagined it. My husband has also commented that, its like watching his childhood at times. I wonder if the whole 1980’s setting will get old, but we will wait and see. I have really enjoyed the first few episodes and hope to see more.

Movie_4127_706If you haven’t seen Rush yet, run to the movie theater as soon a possible. It is the best movie I have seen all year.  Rush (directed by Ron Howard) is based on the true life 1970s rivalry of Formula One drivers James Hunt and Nicky Lauda. The movie depicts this rivalry very well. Nicky Lauda is played by Daniel Bruhl. I feel that he gives an award-winning performance. James Hunt is portrayed by Chris Hemsworth not only is he so nice to look a  but, he brings the sexy effortless swagger that James embodied perfectly. The driving sequences are pretty intense and well done, but also the human aspect of the film is just as good. Even if you don’t like car racing you will like this film. There is suspense, romance, action and some laughs. It has it all, go see it.

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Lastly, but certainly not least I want to give a shout out to my in-laws John and Joella on their 50th wedding anniversary! We had the pleasure of celebrating this momentous milestone with them and all our family this past weekend. It was really nice to see everyone and especially to have our kiddos hang out with their cousins for a weekend. Congratulations Mom and Dad!

I hope you all have a good rest of the week and remember even if life gets a little hectic, take the time to enjoy the present!

“Yeah, REALLY SCARY!”….

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I had been intrigued by The Conjuring since I read an article about the movie and Lorraine Warren in Entertainment Weekly. In the article, Lorraine stresses that of all the cases she and her husband Ed investigated, this is one of the most terrifying for her. To me, that means a lot. She and her husband have seen thousands of cases over the years. If you do not know about Lorraine and Ed Warren, they are a paranormal investigators. Ed was a demonologist (he passed away in 2006 ) and Lorraine is a clairvoyant. If you had a haunting, they were the people to have come and investigate (I would call a priest first, but you know that is just me). They also have a famous occult museum. They have kept many items from their investigations and they figure the items are best under their care then out in the world.  Click here to take a tour of the museum.

The Conjuring is based on a true story. The Perron family moves into an idyllic farm-house in Rhode Island. Little did they know is that there was a very dark history that came along with their dream home. You all can figure out the rest.  The trailer freaked me out from the beginning and when I heard from people who said the scariest parts were not even in the trailer I for sure had to go and check it out. I love a good genuine scare.

So this past Tuesday I gathered two brave souls (thanks for coming with me Meagan and Jen) and we went to the 7:40 pm showing. I asked the teenager selling concession if he had seen it. He was like, “Yeah it’s really scary.” I was like, “Really? “He said, “Yeah REALLY SCARY!” So now I was scared. The three of us walked to the theater, which was relatively empty, but thankfully it filled up by show time. We were nervously eating our popcorn, and once the movie started we were all huddled up in little balls. I can say I watched half the movie through my fingers and I screamed about 5 times (I wasn’t the only one screaming). At one point I had Jen’s knee in a death grip. The movie moves at a fast pace. The acting is good and the writing and direction is great. It’s not just one scare, it is  like five at once, and then you move on to the next scare and get 5 more! It’s a roller coaster of scary. There is no gore. This movie is scary because it conjures up things that we are all scared of. It messes with our feelings and our senses.  I could go more in detail, but I don’t want to give anything away. I will say one thing: being a mother I can see how Lorraine Warren (who was a mom herself at the point of this haunting) believes this is one of the more disturbing case they investigated.

Bottom line, if you like a good scare, go see this movie (It is up there now  in my top 5 scariest movies). It’s just a straight up terrifying ghost story. This story will stick with you, so be ready to sleep with your rosary and/or Bible and the lights on. Also, if you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t check the time!

A Night of Music

We are really lucky to have the Carolina Philharmonic in our small town. They do wonders for our local community, not only bringing us wonderful music, but also funding programs that cultivate musical interest to children. My oldest was lucky to participate in the Junior Orchestra class the Philharmonic sponsored this past school year. Like many schools, his elementary school fell victim to  spending cuts, unfortunately shutting down the orchestra program.  To the fill that void, the Philharmonic sponsored a weekly class to 3rd and 4th graders free of charge. My husband and I strongly believe that our son’s musical education doesn’t just end with practicing at home and going to his class once a week. Being exposed to live music and seeing other musicians play their instruments is a key element to that education. He and his classmates had the special opportunity to actually play a long side with the Carolina Philharmonic last month. It was a very special moment for all involved.

I was happy to find out that for their June concert the Philharmonic planned on doing their concert outdoors and play movie scores. This bode well for our younger son who is currently OBSESSED with Star Wars.  This concert was also in conjunction with opening a new memorial park in our town.

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Since the tickets were free (another bonus), it was first come first serve basis. We got there early so we could get good seats and also enjoy a picnic dinner. The weather was gorgeous we couldn’t have asked for a better night.

IMG_2556The selection of music was from notable movie scores from the last 50 years of cinema. They played scenes from the movies as they played the scores, which provided a really nice touch. It was a very well done classy performance. There was a lot of talent on that stage. It’s really nice that even though we live in a small town, we still get big city talent.

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Sometimes the best memories are made when you think outside the box. I was a little hesitant to take our 5-year-old, but he really surprised us on how engaged he was throughout the entire performance, and not just merely the Star Wars portion. We all had a great time and look forward to attending more performances in the future.

 

My Oscar Recap

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The Show

What did you think of the big night? Even though the reviews were mixed, I really enjoyed the 85th Oscars. Whether you deemed him appropriate or not I loved Seth MacFarlane and thought he did a good job. The opening monologue is one of the funniest I  have seen in years. Click here to watch it yourself.  I think Seth MacFarlane gave it his all and I was happy with the result. He had some good one lines throughout the show. Some might disagree, but I thought the Lincoln joke was funny and he recovered well, while it was not well received from the audience.  Like I said to many people, you have to like his stuff to really “get” him. To be honest I don’t think many people “get” smart comedy anymore.  He also wasn’t the cookie cutter host, which I appreciated. His song at the end of the telecast with Kristin Chenoweth was genius. Click here to see it.  There was one thing I was disappointed with and that was the tribute to Bond. I was under the impression that there was going to be a Bond reunion of sorts? Was I mistaken?  I did enjoy the musical numbers throughout the show. Click here to see my favorite.

Did you enjoy the show last night?  Do you think Seth MacFarlane did a good job?

The Winners

I was beyond elated that Argo won Best Picture! Like I have said in a previous post, it really is a superb film and I glad it has gotten so many accolades this awards season.  Ben Affleck is so humble when he accepts his awards. I just love it.

The only surprise wins for me were Ang Lee for Best Director and Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor. I am really glad Ang Lee won. I haven’t had a chance to watch Life of Pi, but I hear it was an epic film. I am actually not that surprised Christoph Waltz won, but I thought Robert DeNiro was going to get the win. I think he and Tommy Lee Jones might have split the vote.  As the rest of the main categories go, I was satisfied with who the Academy picked.  I really do need to see Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi and Django in Chains as soon as they are available for home viewing. Click here to see a full list of last night’s winners.

Did your top choices win last night?

The Red Carpet

Let me just start this off by saying I was super disappointed in the red carpet last night. I really find it annoying that during the last 60 min of coverage, they cut off E! from having a red carpet interviews.  Instead, you are left to listening all the hosts talk about the looks or going over to the ABC red carpet coverage, which I am sorry to say was just sad. I  normally don’t like to write negative things on this blog, but that coverage was awkward and boring.

The fashion trend for last night was metallic, sparkles and light colors. Again, I don’t want to be negative, but I was disappointed in the fashions. It’s the biggest night of the year in Hollywood and I really think the stylists and stars could have done better. There were few jaw dropping styles.  I can say that for me there were definitely more misses than hits. Here are the looks I enjoyed.

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I just love Jennifer Garner and I thought this Gucci gown looked lovely on her. The color looked great on her and the back is what makes this dress so great. Well done!

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Jennifer Hudson looked amazing in this Roberto Cavalli gown. I love the blue. It looks great on her. I also liked her hair and jewelry. I think she could haven’t gotten away with a little more color on her lips though.

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This Dior gown was meant to go to the Oscars. I am not going to lie it’s not may favorite look on Jennifer Lawrence ( maybe I would love it more if it was in a different color), but it is Oscar worthy and it did look great on the stage.

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Jessica Chastain was by far my favorite head-to-toe look of the evening. The Armani Prive gown she chose was made for her. It looked so lovely against her hair color. She looked amazing last night!

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This was a risky dress, but it is flawless on Naomi Watts. She looks so sophisticated and modern in this Armani Prive gown. Well, done!

What did you all think of the red carpet? What were your favorite looks?

Hello There Oscar!

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One of my favorite days of the year is soon upon us….Oscar Sunday! I really don’t do anything big. I sit in front of the TV from the pre pre red carpet coverage until the end of the awards show.  The last few years my friends and I started a Facebook viewing party. About 20 of us get on a thread on Facebook and comment from the red carpet coverage until the end of the show. We do it for most of the big awards show to prepare for Oscar night. It really is a lot of fun. My husband has also starting putting out a food spread for us. He figure since I do that for him for football games, he will do it for me on my Super Bowl. This year I also got my favorite champagne to drink during the telecast. Moet bottles will pop when the red carpet begins!

My dream is to one day host a massive Oscar viewing party at my house. I would love to plan the menu around the Best Picture nominees.  With year nominees my friends and I came up with a fun menu. This is what we came up with so far. Maybe you can help us to fill in the blanks.

Argo: Persian Grapes. Click here for recipe. A typical desert from Iran.

Amour: Heart shaped sugar cookies. Click here for recipe. The movie is about undying love.

Beast of Southern Wild: Crab Boil. Click here for recipe. It seemed that was all they ate during this movie.

Django Unchained:

Les Miserables: Loaf of Bread. Click here for recipe. The reason why Jean Valjean was imprisoned. He stole a loaf of bread to give to his starving nephew.

Lincoln: Oysters on the half shell. They were served at his second inaugural dinner.

Life of Pi: Tiger Pie. Click here for recipe

Silver Linings Playbook:

Zero Dark Thirty: Chicken Biryani. Click here for recipe.

I really think Argo will win Best Picture. Daniel Day Lewis will take Best Actor and Anne Hathaway will take Best Supporting Actress.  I don’t think the other big categories have definite front runners. I think Jennifer Lewis and Jessica Chastain might split the vote  in the Best Actress category. I am very excited to see who will take home gold on Sunday!

Click here for your own printable ballot.

Do you do anything special for Oscar Sunday? Who do you think will take home gold on Sunday?