S0 it got to be 103 degrees today. Let’s just say SUMMERRR is here! I have been having a great time. Summer is always so much more fun for me than Winter. Just the addition of open water swimming makes my life better. (Swimming in an indoor pool just isn’t the same). I’ve been able to see all my swim friends that I somehow miss in the winter.
Here are some highlights
I’ve been to plays including Wrinkle in Time at BYU which was mind blowing and Tarzan at Scera which was good.
I’ve been working really hard at my new job with Poler.
I’ve been reading a lot, especially rereading Jane Austen to get ready for book club. Its funny because I talk about them a lot but I haven’t actually read them in a long time. They are just as brilliant as I remember.
I’ve been swimming up a storm. I wish I could go everyday but with work and other responsibilities there just isn’t time. Went last Saturday to Deer Creek and today to Blackridge Pond in Herriman.
Other fun things…I performed in master class on Wednesday and sang Wishing You Were Somehow Here from Phantom of the Opera. I’m no opera singer but it was fun to let my diva out.
Speaking of diva’s Drop Dead Diva started on lifetime which made my BFF Emily and I very happy. We had dinner together and a little diva watching party. It did not disappoint. Great season opening. I think made even better by the fact that it almost didn’t happen.
The meal turned out really good. It was buccatini (my new favorite pasta) with fresh cherry tomatoes, sausage, parm and fresh herbs from my container gardens which drumroll ARE STILL ALIVE!
I also made flank steak for the first time to great success
I went to a Josh Turner concert with my friends Emilee and Rachel M (I know a lot of Rachel’s and Emily’s!). He was super entertaining and has the most sexy voice I think I’ve ever heard. Its low and he has an old fashioned southern drawl. His band was really good too. It was a great night.
All in all its been a great summer! Hope you all have a great 4th and enjoy the hot weather as much as I do. 🙂
Happy New Year! My neighbors are lighting a million fireworks so I’m still up despite coughing my head off. I thought it might be fun to give you some of my favorites of this year. Here goes
Favorite 2012 Book
1. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson- Should be no big surprise to anyone as I’ve been pedaling this book to everyone I know (and everyone else has liked it to.) It is a ‘regency romance’ in the style of Heyer or Austen. It is a juicy story of Marianne Daventry as she tries to train herself in the ways of good society at large estate of Edenbrooke. Along the way we get a highway robbery, kidnappings, miscommunications and tons of romantic dialogue.
2. Other books I loved this year- I read 50 books this year and some of my favorite are Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart, I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella, Going Solo by Eric Klinenberg, Boomerang by Michael Lewis, The Joy of Hate by Greg Gutfield, and the somewhat trashy but enjoyable Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
Favorite 2012 Music-
1. Chris Mann- Roads- The standout on season 2 of The Voice (much better than the winner who I can’t even remember his name!). A great debut album. If you like Josh Groban or Andrea Bocelli you will like Chris Mann. He has a light opera voice but isn’t afraid of a modern song like Viva La Vida
2. Phillip Phillips- Home- Probably my favorite single of the year. I must say I didn’t think his album was as good as the single but I still love this song. The winner of the last season of Idol made me wonder if I should watch the show again. A folksy, earthy song that I could listen to again and again.
Favorite 2012 Movies-
1. Perks of Being a Wallflower- I’ve mentioned it a couple times on this blog but this movie really spoke to me. It is set during my high school years (the setting could have been my high school) and I could relate to every character. Dark, sad, tragic, funny, bizarre, disturbing, intriguing and everything else. I liked all the performances and even little details like the music were perfect.
Written, and directed by Stephen Chbosky as adapted from his novel, it is one of the rare instances where I think the movie actually improves upon the book, which is written in the tired cliche of a letter-format. I loved Emma Watson who does a convincing American accent and all of the teens felt like teens with authentic problems, parties, attitudes and romances- something so rarely seen in the teen movie genre. I felt so inspired after seeing this movie for the first time that I went home and wrote a chapter of my book. It made me want to write, express myself, and be creative.
I will say that this movie is not for everyone. It is challenging but I found it exhilarating!
2. Les Miserables- The much hyped live performance version of the broadway musical adapted from the Victor Hugo novel (which I have never been able to get through btw). I first saw Les Mis when I was 14 years old and went to NYC with my choir group. I knew every song, every line of dialogue and for once my high expectations were completely met. I was blown away.
I then saw the show again in 2006 with my Aunt Kate when they did a revival and it moved me once again. I love the story of the merciful Jean ValJean hunted by the ruthless Javert who seeks only justice. I love the music and aside from a bit of over-the-top antics from the Thenardiers I thought the movie totally nailed it. I loved the performances, cinematography, long fading shots, singing (with the exception of Javert), staging etc. I loved it. It brought me to tears and I wanted to see it again almost immediately. I liked almost every single choice they made. Definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen in years.
3. Other movies I liked- Friends with Kids, The Hobbit, Bully, Pirates: Band of Misfits, ParaNorman, and Brave.
Favorite Television 2012-
Such a weak year for television. All the reality shows are getting tired including once reliables like Dancing with the Stars, Pawn Stars and Project Runway.
1. Downton Abbey- I got on the Downton Abbey bus early in 2011 but really loved both seasons this year, although I’m still traumatized by the recent Christmas episode! Still, Dame Maggie Smith’s scenes are worthy of note alone. There are so many well developed characters and the dialogue is always sharp. I’m a believer in soap so I don’t really mind those elements.
2. Drop Dead Diva- My favorite show this year. Drop Dead Diva had a great season with a huge ending that has me dying to know what is going to happen. They got slightly less ridiculous in the cases presented and the romance between Jane and Owen felt believable. With the return of Fred in a slightly altered form next season proves to be great. A campy, silly show but done so well I love it!
3. BYU TV- I’ve been enjoying BYU TV lately especially their shows American Ride and The Story Trek. American Ride is a bikers version of American history. Interesting and entertaining. The Story Trek is great. They literally go door to door and try to get interviews, hearing everyone’s story. It is great what they come up with. I like that I can turn on BYU TV and always find something enriching and clean. It is not overly Mormon, just squeaky clean and fun shows.
4. Other standouts- Go On about a widowed radio sports jock who goes to a grieving group, Up All Night about a couple struggling to raise their little girl in yuppie LA, Portlandia making fun of all things hipster, The Mindy Project basically the tv form of Mindy’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, which is another favorite book of the year and I thoroughly related to. I also enjoy Bunheads written by the writer of Gilmore Girls and has the same crackling dialogue. Plus, it has Sutton Foster in it who is divine.
So there’s some of my favorites of 2012. What are some of your favorite books, movies, music, TV?
Since I’ve been doing a lot of complaining lately about television I thought I’d profile a show I like- a show that portrays a confident beautiful woman, who just happens to be plus size. The show is called Drop Dead Diva and it is just wrapping up its second season on the Lifetime Network. I admit that the premise for the show is silly, but once you get beyond that hurdle the acting, writing and stories are thoroughly charming. The set up for the show is that a silly, selfish model named Deb dies in an accident. At the same time an unhappy, overweight, intelligent lawyer named Jane is shot. After riding the escalator in the sky Deb decides she’s not ready to die, hits the return button and ends up in Jane’s body. This leaves a model-diva type in a plus size body with the brains of a top-notch lawyer.
Basically the show is kind of like Legally Blonde: Plus Size Edition. In fact, Elle Woods and the new Jane Bingham are cut from the same cloth- weaving knowledge from fashion and modeling into the courtroom in funny, if completely ridiculous ways. The realism in the court doesn’t matter in this type of show because it is all about the writing and the characters. The dialogue is funny but also tender and engaging (although there may be one to many episodes using Jane’s weight as a point of conflict- would it really come into play that often in court!). Just as Elle Woods managed to underplay all the silliness with a real heart, the Drop Dead Diva plots always bring the flirty playfulness back to real and touching human emotion. It is not just a fluffy show. It deals with death, after-life, self-esteem issues, body issues, dieting, family drama and more.
The acting is also great with Brooke Elliott doing a marvelous job as Jane. She manages to play both Deb and Jane in the same performance. Even when she is suppose to be the serious lawyer you can see the twinkle in her eyes from Deb. I relate to Jane in so many ways. Like her, I am a workaholic who loves intellectually stimulating conversation, but I also have a side of me that loves painting my nails and throwing parties for my friends. I like to think I have the same twinkle in my eye that Jane has! 🙂
Brooke is also kind of a role model for me. She’s a Broadway star, has an amazing voice and is now a lead in a great television show. She hasn’t let her weight stop her. I actually think she is beautiful- in a way more beautiful and unique then the actress playing Deb in flashback. She makes the show.
Anyway, the other actors are all great including Margaret Cho (definitely doing her most tame role in years) who is very funny as Jane’s tough talking assistant. Also, need I mention the terrific cameos throughout the first season? (They must have gone through their rolodex because season 2 has not had as many). In season 1 they had Tim Gunn, Liza Minnelli, Delta Burke, Rosie O’Donnell, Paul Abdul, Faith Prince (another Broadway veteran- her and Brooke sing an amazing version of Love is a Battlefield!) and more.
There isn’t much more to say, but if I had a teenage daughter, Drop Dead Diva is the kind of show I would want her to watch- and not only because it has a plus size woman in the lead. Its more than that- it shows a woman like Jane who is spunky, loves to laugh, and is learning to love her body. It promotes the right type of image for women of any size- an image that life should be exciting no matter our weight.
The first season is available on DVD so I encourage all the girls out there to check Drop Dead Diva out. (It is a pretty girly show. I’d be surprised if any guys found it tolerable but you never know). I have the first season if anyone wants to borrow.