June 9, 2017

friday favorites #34: week of june 9, 2017

Why yes, I do still have this blog! I haven't written in forever, but today deserves celebration—I submitted my yearbook today!!! I hope to blog a little more regularly now that my school year has officially officially wrapped up.

Here are some of the things that have made me happy recently:

1. Finishing the Yearbook

See that little purple circle on the screen? It represents the yearbook. It's a pie chart where the colors show the progress on the book. Purple represents "submitted." And now it's all purple! This was like the yearbook that would never end; the only time it ever took me longer than this to finish was 2012, when I had my gallbladder removed the week after school got out, and I didn't touch the yearbook for more than a week. Contrast that with this year, when most of my working hours since school got out have been devoted to yearbook, and I've worked well over 40 hours each week. But now it's been sent off to the printer, and I don't plan to read one bit of it after it's printed!

2. Free Music!

Tonight, in the middle of my marathon yearbook submission, I got an email from Ticketmaster saying my recent purchase of Lady Antebellum tickets included a download of their new album, Heart Break. I had no idea when I bought the tickets—I got in on a sweet $20 sale and didn't really pay attention to anything else—but I'll never turn down free music!

3. Wonder Woman

If you haven't seen Wonder Woman yet, what are you waiting for? My mom and I saw it last weekend, and it was amazing! Also, I got in free, and my mom got free popcorn and pop, thanks to a promotion one of our local theaters was running. (The fact that I just said "one of our local theaters" still astounds me. I live in a town of 3000, yet we have two movie theaters. Just over a year ago, we had none. Currently, both theaters are showing Wonder Woman. Small town politics.)

Anyway, Wonder Woman. Hands down the best DC movie I've seen, and it beats a lot of the Marvel ones, too. Forget the tortured "hero" who does decidedly anti-heroic things. Diana fights for those who can't fight for themselves. She is firmly on the side of good, and she values others above herself. Diana is the type of woman we should want our daughters to emulate.

4. The Cubs

It's true that the Cubs are having a rough go of it. As of today, their record is 30-30, they're second in the NL Central, and they recently went 0-3 vs. the Padres (RIP, Pitch!). But I am so enjoying following their games and watching the few that I can get on TV. Apparently (and I never knew this before because I didn't care), I live in Royals country. Pretty much every Royals game is on TV and on the radio. Where's the love for the Cubbies???

Anyway, I'm learning a ton about baseball, and I'm really enjoying it! I'm also enjoying this, which is admittedly a couple months old, but I still get a kick out of it every time I see it: 

5. Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

I've been eagerly anticipating this book for a while, and my review copy came today! It's a take on Sense & Sensibility, and you know I'm a sucker for all the Austen adaptations! I have a few other books I have to read first—after all, I've read virtually nothing but yearbook pages for a month—but I can't wait to pick it up.

So that's what's been making me happy recently. I'd love to know what's making you happy, too! 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the book mentioned in this post free for review. The opinions expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

March 24, 2017

friday favorites #33: week of march 24, 2017

Well, it's been forever since I participated in a Friday Favorites ... or even posted anything on this blog! I'm coming to you on my third—yes, third—sick day in a row. Influenza has been going around, but I'm pretty sure I just have a really (really, really) nasty cold. I spent the first two days flat on the couch, but today has been a bit better. I actually feel like reading and blogging, whereas during the first two days, I watched a lot of TV and Netflix. Let me save you some time if you find yourself home with a cold that makes your head fuzzy and you want to watch something. Say yes to Hallmark's Home & Family (I'm as surprised as you are!), Monk, Diagnosis Murder, Fuller House, and Army Wives. Say no to ... every single movie I started watching: Your Sister's Sister (did not finish), The Brothers (did not finish), October Gale (finished and wish I hadn't), and Blind Date (did not finish). (To be fair, Blind Date may be wonderful ... but it's a French film, and no way was my brain capable of following subtitles while in the throes of a cold!)

Anyway, on to the favorites!

1. March Madness

I love, love, this time of year! As I type this, I'm watching UCLA and Kentucky battle it out in the Sweet Sixteen. I wrote about the roots of my March Madness love a few years ago:
 I was bit by the MM bug in 1995, when I watched the UCLA Bruins win the National Championship. The fact that I still remember (a) the names Ed O'Bannon and Tyus Edney and (b) that the TV coverage of the event began with a montage of tournament moments set to "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" from the Lion King is perhaps pathetic, but it shows how much that game impacted me. 
I've really been enjoying this tournament, especially since Kansas is still in it! If they play like they played in the last 12 minutes of last night's game against Purdue, I think they're unstoppable. The problem is that it takes them a while to really get rolling!
In this tournament, it's always about KU!
Besides the basketball, my favorite aspect is the Capital One commercials with Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson, and Spike Lee. This year's are all pretty good, but my favorite by far is this one:

Cracks me up every time! (I do love "Snack Hoodie" and "Clapper," too.)

I'd be remiss if I didn't show you my favorite one they've ever done. This is from 2015. A classic:

2. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

 I started watching these when I was packing to move in 2013. I watched the first 20 or so, and then I just kind of forgot about it. I rediscovered them today, and I powered through about 40 before stopping for basketball. (It's not as bad as it sounds--each episode is only four or five minutes long.) I wish I would have thought to stream these two days ago ... I could have saved myself from some terrible Netflix movies :-)

3. Lentil chips

I recently began eating lentils. They're a great source of fiber, and they don't have much taste—so they mix into things well. At first, I was just eating lentils, but then I found lentil pasta at Trader Joe's, and then ... lentil chips! I bought these from Amazon. They totally remind me of Bugles (remember those?)! They make a great semi-healthy, low-guilt snack.

4. Time after Time

I mean, it's like this show was tailor made for me. H.G. Wells. Time travel. Romance. Of course I'm gonna love it!

It's based on the 1979 film of the same name (which I never saw). After H.G. Wells invents a time machine, he discovers his friend John is Jack the Ripper. Conveniently, H.G. has just explained the time machine to John, so when the police come looking for him, John hijacks the time machine. Because of some science thing I can't remember, the time machine returns to H.G., who then follows John ... to 2017 New York City. 

One thing about this show—it's violent, which you would expect from a show where one of the main characters is Jack the Ripper. So I do close my eyes and mute the TV at times, but I'm really enjoying the story.

5. For Love and Honor

If you like medieval fiction or YA romance, then you need to check out Jody Hedlund's An Uncertain Choice trilogy! For Love and Honor is the final book (maybe ... Hedlund has hinted that there may be another story about a minor character in the works), and it's definitely my favorite. Sir Bennet, one of the three knights featured in the series, finally gets his love story, and it's a great one! (See my review.)

So that's what's been making me happy recently. What have you been enjoying lately? Are you as crazy for March Madness as I am? Let me know!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the book mentioned in this post free for review. The opinions expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

January 23, 2017

movie mondays: pixl movie channel

Do you love clean romance movies, like what Hallmark puts out? You know I do ... I'm such a sucker for a good Hallmark movie. Recently, one of my blogging buddies wrote about a movie she watched on PixL. I'd never heard of the channel before, so I did some investigating.

PixL is a movie channel that you might be able to find through your cable or satellite provider, but it also has a YouTube channel, and that's how I've checked it out.

For a small fee (currently $1.99/month or $14.99/year), you can get access to a whole slew of movies. Some are PixL originals (I think—it's kind of hard to tell), but the majority aired on the Hallmark Channel, sometimes under different names.

One of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies, Matchmaker Santa, which has never released on DVD, is on PixL. So are all of the Love Comes Softly movies (not my cup of tea, but I know many people loved them).

I decided to sign up for a 14-day free trial, and I selected the yearly plan for if I choose to stay. (That's my one complaint—when you sign up for the trial period, you have to choose which plan you want.)

Last night, I watched Twist of Fate (aka Rescue Me—see what I mean about the multiple titles?). I know for a fact it's not a Hallmark movie, as I am totally on top of Hallmark's releases, but it might as well have been. The production values and acting were good, and it was full of faces you'll recognize if you've watched much Hallmark.

Twist of Fate was fairly predictable, though there was one twist (ha, ha) at the end that I didn't anticipate. Still, we don't watch romance movies to be surprised, do we? I look forward to checking out more of PixL's offerings soon.

I can't tell you if I'll power through the PixL movies I've not seen in the next two weeks and then cancel or if I'll stick with it for the year. But I'm certainly glad to know about it.

Have you heard of PixL before? What's your favorite Hallmark-ish movie?

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