Fort Building Time

Hey guys!  I just wanted to let you all know about my sister’s latest book called Fort Building Time!

She is now a two time author having previously written Finding Wild. Megan has always dreamed of being a writer and has proven to have a talent in writing picture books full of imagination. I know she wants to write a novel and is working on one as we speak but I think in a way these picture books tap perfectly into her gifts as a nurturer and mother.

Finding Wild is all about the adventures we can take outside year round and for kids to get away from the TV and begin exploring. Fort Building Time is more about creating adventures anywhere you are during any time of year.

I loved making forts as a kid and would often spend hours planning them out and making them perfect. Fort Building Time taps into that desire and I think your kids will really like it.

Abigail Halpin’s illustrations are perfect for the tone and feel of both of my sisters’s books so far. They remind me of the illustrations in Tasha Tudor books.

If you are interested in purchasing Fort Building Time use this link http://amzn.to/2xRxs0t (or anything else on amazon for that matter it would help me out a little bit).

Harassment, Selective Outrage and Gratitude for Good Men

I don’t know if anyone has noticed but I have taken a break from talking about politics on social media these days. It’s just became too toxic and was causing me anxiety. I haven’t cut off completely but I’ve definitely toned it way down. However, today I would like to say a few words about recent events.

As I’m sure most you know Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been exposed as an abuser of women and serial harasser. He particularly preyed on young talent who would be vulnerable to a high powered man’s influence. It makes me sick when I think of young women full of ideals and dreams going out to Hollywood, thinking they got their big break in meeting Weinstein and then being treated no better than your average stripper- if not worse.

The other news that made me very sad came from the world of youtube. Creator of Honest Trailers and head of Screenjunkies, Andy Signore, got exposed for sexual harassing many young women. This was honestly more sobering and sad for me than Weinstein because I was a fan of Screenjunkies and had watched many hours of Andy’s content. It’s particularly upsetting because apparently Andy preyed on female fans of the show and young interns. I mean if I had been invited to Screenjunkies I would have been so excited, so to hear such fans were treated so horribly is discouraging.

Then of course you have mixed in all of this the perpetual selective outrage of modern culture. All of these celebrities who were outraged by everything Donald Trump did were ignoring, excusing, or even silencing what Harvey Weinstein did. There were literally people outraged over Melania Trump’s selection of shoes one day but these types of behavior by Weinstein, and Trump for that matter, are ignored until they become politically inconvenient. I am not a fan of Donald Trump as a human being, but I recognize for the good of our country, we need to make the best out of a bad situation. Actual policy disagreement is fine but the continual outrage machine is exhausting and loaded with hypocrisy.

Honestly all of this mess left me feeling pretty depressed this week. I found myself saying ‘where have all the good men gone?’ I feel horrible for the women who are just trying to earn a living and do something they love. And I am fully aware this type of harassment is rampant amongst all the powerful and elite, not just Hollywood. It makes me glad I have chosen a simple life where I am pretty safe from these types of situations (one benefit to working from home is no harassment). Still, it’s not right, and I hope more women will be inspired to speak out in the future. The only way this mess stops is if we have clear consequences for the perpetrators. It’s sad but true.

While these events did make me feel depressed, I also had to remind myself that there are many good men in my life. They aren’t powerful men but they are good men. Naturally my father and brothers fit into this category. They all care deeply about those around them and are fiercely protective of the women in their lives. I also have many wonderful uncles, cousins and friends who have been great examples to me in many ways. 

One advantage to blogging and podcasting is most of my interactions are with men. In my experience men tend to be bigger film fans than women, so over the years I have had the privilege of meeting and becoming friends with many good men. I’ve never been someone who has a lot of good guy friends so this has been a very positive experience for me.

They may not get the articles or flashy attention, but I am grateful for the good men in my life. Thank you for showing me respect and being a loving and kind influence. It gives me something to hope for in this divisive and frustrating time we live in.

My Favorite Hallmark Stars

I think most humans would agree things have been a little bit depressing in the world lately. I’m not going to get into politics in this post but let’s just say it has been an intense time for our country. And when I get stressed and need a break from all this madness I look to escapist entertainment and my favorite escapism is on the Hallmark Channel.

In fact, recently my friend Amber and I started a podcast all about the Hallmark movies called The Hallmarkies. We did our first episode reviewing the August films dubbed Summer Nights. We are still working out some kinks but I’m proud with how it turned out.

Anyway, in honor of the new podcast I thought it would be fun to talk about my favorite Hallmark movie stars. These are all actors who seem to relish being in a Hallmark movie and they have such great chemistry with their costars which makes them really shine.

(There are a lot of favorites like Candace Cameron Bure and Alicia Witt who are great but didn’t make my person favorites)

I have 6 men and 6 women on this list:

My Favorite Hallmark Actreses

6. Arielle Kebbel-

Arielle has only been in 2 Hallmark movies but she should really be in more- especially if she is going to star Andrew Walker. In both films (A Bride for Christmas and Bridal Wave), she is super likable and funny and has terrific chemistry with Walker.

5. Danica McKellar

Starring in at least 5 Hallmark movies Danica is perfect for these types of films. She is bright, happy and the girl next door. I particularly like A Crown for Christmas with its Cinderella-like story

4. Jen Lilley

Coming from soap opera background isn’t always a good fit for Hallmark but it worked out great for Jen Lilley. She was recently in Eat Play Love which I really enjoyed and I also love her in A Dash of Love. She’s very grounded and easy to relate to.

3. Autumn Reeser

Autumn is in a word- adorable. She is in some of my favorite Hallmark movies including Country Wedding, Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade and Valentine Ever After. She is charismatic and sincere even in silly plots like Midnight Masquerade. She’s just great.

2. Rachel Boston

Rachel is probably the prettiest of the actresses I am mentioning but she’s also luminous and great in her roles. I think I’ve liked all the Rachel Boston movies I’ve seen on Hallmark. Most recently I saw Ring by Spring which I thought was great.

1. Lacey Chabert

The former Mean Girl, Lacey Chabert, has become one of the Hallmark staples and I love her. Whether it’s her Cinderella movie, A Royal Christmas, or sparring off with Brennan Elliott in All of My Heart, she is a delight!

My Favorite Hallmark Actors

I do love Dale Midkiff from the Love Comes Softly series but I decided to cover that series at another time

6. Eric Mabius

I really liked Eric on Ugly Betty but he’s also great in the Hallmark movies How to Fall in Love and Signed, Sealed and Delivered. He can be nerdy and quiet while always a gentleman

5. Cameron Mathison

I felt like I almost had to put Cameron Mathison because he is in so many of these films. You can tell his background is in soap operas because he has no problem selling the most corny lines ever. He’s handsome and is a great Hallmark leading man

4. Brennan Elliott

Brennan has actually been in 2 of my favorite Hallmark movies. I love him in The Nanny Express and with Lacey Chabert in All of My Heart. He plays a great single Dad and you feel for him right away. They are even making a All of My Heart 2 this Fall!

3. Andrew Walker

If you want charming nobody is better than Andrew Walker. He has great chemistry with Arielle Kebbel and all of his leading ladies. I like him with Taylor Cole in Appetite for Love, which is a super fun valentines movie.

2. Jesse Metcalfe-

If I was just going on pure handsomeness than I would pick Jesse Metcalfe as my favorite Hallmark man. He is super charismatic and pretty as a country boy in the Chesapeake Shores series and A Country Wedding with Autumn Reeser. Plus, he can sing and looks great in a cowboy hat. Win, win.

1. Paul Campbell-

Speaking of charming the current king of Hallmark movies is the charm machine Paul Campbell. He is handsome but in a very accesible way. He feels like someone you could actually meet and fall in love with, which is what makes him work in these movies. Hallmark movies are all about showcasing the women and he does that for his co-stars. He’s just great!

 

So there you have it! My favorite Hallmark leading men and women. Who are your favorites and are you looking forward to the Christmas Hallmark season? Let me know in the comments!