My Christmas Tree 2017

Hey guys! I just wanted to share with you a quick photo of my Christmas tree this year! It’s actually slightly different than the ‘memory trees’ I’ve done in the past. For years I put little frames with black and white photos on the tree, which I loved. Unfortunately after 10 years or so of use they were finally starting to fall apart and I just felt like switching things up a little bit. I am also in love with my new tree and I didn’t want it to be overly covered up.

The reason I am in love with it is I decided to purchase a flocked Christmas tree this year. I thought about getting a white tree and really do something different but when I saw this I knew it was perfect for me! I love the look of the snow and the white/green touches with the ornaments. I am excited to have my tree up early so I can enjoy it for over a month! It’s so pretty! 🙂

Have you ever switched up your Christmas tree and done something different? It feels good and less boring old Christmas! I highly recommend it. Let me know what you’ve tried and what you think of my tree. Merry Christmas!

Hallmark Christmas Week 2 Mini-Reviews

So today is Monday and that means we’ve had another weekend of Hallmark original movies. Make sure you are subscribed to our podcast on itunes and/or youtube to hear Amber and my full thoughts on the films every Wednesday.

Until then let me share with you my mini-reviews of the 4 new movies we got this weekend. Let me tell you guys- it was a little rough! There is one I particularly didn’t like but the rest were just ok for me. I think Amber and I will have a ton of fun hashing them out on the podcast and I did enjoy live tweeting them. One thread you can see my path to crazy town and how it went down! LOL

The Sweetest Christmas-

This movie was perhaps a little better than I expected it to be because the plot is pretty lame. Lacey Chabert plays a woman who wants to enter a gingerbread contest but needs to borrow her ex’s oven to do so and sparks fly! Some Hallmark movies rise and fall on the chemistry of the actors and this would be one of them. Also the side characters were really strong. I loved her sister who actually told her how stupid she was being (when Kylie asks her what she should say about the oven she said ‘You could say can I borrow your oven?’. That made me laugh). Also his buddy at work played by Jonathan Adams was a lot of fun. I also thought it was strange that the ‘wrong guy’ in this was the one that made more of an effort and seemed more invested in winning her heart. Still Lea was a charming single Dad and these high school boyfriends are hard to pass up on Hallmark Channel. This is no Miss Christmas but it’s an okay way to spend an evening.

Overall Grade- B

A Song for Christmas-

This is another one that was a hair better than I thought it would be because the plot is very tired. Becca Tobin was very cute as a singer who is left behind by her stupid manager in a small town and she gets to know the VERY hunky Kevin McGarry. They had good chemistry and the movie did a good job giving them lots of flirty situations that were fun (like getting a tree off of a truck never felt so cozy).

However, I did have some issues with the movie. First, she does not sound like a country singer at all so they should have just made her a popstar. I think this fact prevented us from hearing much music which we were kind of promised in the publicity. The title is A Song for Christmas and you literally hear 1 song. He spends a lot of time strumming on the guitar which was dreamy but I would have liked to hear more singing. And my other problem is this movie leans heavily on the ‘city girls are stupid’ Hallmark trope. There is so much dialogue about how the city has poisoned poor Addie and she needs to be rescued by the country. My favorite was the mother (a rescued city girl) says ‘When I got here I didn’t know the difference between a palm tree and a Christmas tree…’ It’s so funny because I would say most movies it’s the country folk that are perceived as less educated but not in Hallmark. LOL.

Overall Grade- B-

Enchanted Christmas-

Going into this weekend I was pretty excited about Enchanted Christmas. I love dance movies and the chance to see real life couple, Carlos and Alexa PenaVega, together was exciting. However, it was just okay for me. They obviously had great chemistry and the dancing was fun. I liked it was set in Utah and on twitter I got to make a lot of lame Utah jokes, so that was enjoyable.

My issues with the movie is a plot thread where he gets an opportunity to go on a world dance tour with a fellow dancer annoyed me. This friend is relying on him to join the world tour and it is a tremendous opportunity. I know we are expected to give up everything for love in these movies but shouldn’t our true love also be supportive of our dreams? Couldn’t you write the story so he did both? I saw another this week where a girl gave up her dream of being in a Broadway play because her love couldn’t handle waiting 6 months for her. Why not have the play and it ending with her doing both? That would be so romantic and meaningful. This was particularly weird because he left his partner in the lurch. I guess perhaps I am asking too much and should just get swept up in the magic but I think there are ways to do both (One Starry Christmas is an example of supportive work ending).

I also felt like the weak attempt at diversity was disappointing. Having one of your characters make tamales for Christmas is not enough Hallmark Channel! You need to do better!

Overall Grade- C+

Engaging Father Christmas-

So this movie was a sequel to last years Finding Father Christmas and Hallmark sequels have a dubious track record at best but this one was based on a book so I had hope. I ended up being severely disappointed!!! There are good things about this movie. The chemistry between Erin Krakow and Niall Matter was great and the proposal sequence and their kisses was very romantic.  I also love Andrew Francis in anything!

However, I could not get over the idiotic plot of Miranda getting blackmailed by a creepy reporter who is threatening to expose her background as the son of James Whitcomb, the famous stage actor of the previous film. The idea that anyone would care about the child of a stage actor is tough to believe but the lengths to which she goes to hide this made me crazy. In no world is it a good decision to break things off with Ian in order to save a family that won’t publicly recognize her shame. This is crazy talk and it made me crazy. Plus, it was all so telegraphed and the script expected you to be surprised by the reveal of the reporter. Groan. I hated it. At a certain point the gossip monger is telling the truth and the Whitcomb family needs to grow up and acknowledge that. It’s certainly not worth sacrificing your love for it!!!

Also, they make a big Christmas Carol error having Ghost of Christmas Future showing Scrooge his young self. No sir!!! (That’s a small thing but it did annoy me).  It was just all so stupid and annoying. I couldn’t take it!

Overall Grade- D+

So there you have it. My thoughts on this weekends movies. What did you think of the movies? Make sure to listen to the podcast and let us know what you think.

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.