Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Red Carpet Eye Candy . . . {6}

I love that I have these as filler post possibilities. :D

I love the patterning and the colors of this piece.  Very simple, fresh, and pretty. :)

The whole look of the piece is so cool, and works so well for Emma Stone.  Her styling is awesome, too.  The dress makes me think of the "flapper" style, for some reason.

I love the red and the patterning (brocade??  That's just what comes to mind, probably not accurate), and this is probably one of the few instances where that kind of cut-out style would appeal to me.  

This is so pwetty.  Very classy and elegant. :)

As I've mentioned before, this isn't always my favorite color, but I've been finding more and more red carpet looks incorporating it that grow on me the more I look at them.  I think Carrie Underwood pulls this off well, even if it's still not her BEST color.  It's still very pretty, and one thing that CAN be said for the shade is that it really lets the face and the styling shine more.  

Yes.  *nods head*  I like the pop of red at the top, and how she tied that into her purse and her lip color. 

Sorry that this isn't the best quality!  But from what I can see of it, I reeeaaallly like this.  A good ombre effect, when it's done well, is soooo pretty, and I am Much A Fan. ;)

I so wish they hadn't put those flower things on the hem. :-[  Other than that, I love the look (although I'd appreciate a more modest top, obviously).

I really like the subdued, fairytale-like color and cut of this one.  And the overlay of the skirt, whatever it is, is lovely and keeps it from being too plain. :)

Which of these is your favorite?
Do you have favorite celebs to follow for red carpet looks?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Princess Bride {by William Goldman}

[I just spent an afternoon writing a very long and very fangirly Goodreads review of one of my top three favorite books:  The Princess Bride, by William Goldman.  And then I was like, "Hey, I should post this on the blog, too."  So here it is. :D  *confetti*]

"Sonny, don't you tell me what's worthwhile -- true love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops. Everybody knows that."

You know how you have favorite books, and they're on one level in your heart, and then you have one of your top three favorite books, and it's on entirely another level because you absolutely, utterly adore it and there's an actual soul-deep connection because not only do you get the book, but the book gets you?


I don't know how I can express how much this book means to me, or why it means so much to me. I grew up with the movie, yes, and I loved it of course, yes, but it was never what I'd call a 'favorite'. But then two years ago I read the book for the first time, and OHHHHH, DARLIN'S. I love it so much and I want to do it justice in this review and I have thousands of favorite quotes (hush, let me exaggerate) and I want to include them ALLLLL but I can't so I hope the review turns out okay anyway. :-P

For one thing, let's talk about Goldman's writing style. It's personal and rant-y and emotional and filled with run-on sentences and occasionally (*cough* often) heedless of grammatical rules. AND I LOVE IT. The way he sticks to his fable of this being only the abridgement of a longer book and pretends that it all started when his father read him a "good parts" version, and combines that with his own reflections on the story and on life in general is awesome and brilliant and by turns humorous or moving or both, and it gives the reader the chance to feel like they've really gotten to know a fellow story-lover along with the story he's telling them.

I never was worth beans at self-scrutiny. Everything I write is impulse. This feels right, that sounds wrong -- like that. I can't analyze -- not my own actions, anyway.

[Also, his use of italics (within the story itself; all of his "abridger remarks" are in italics, but the italics in the actual story part of the book) is SPOT-ON. He uses them really effectively -- not too often, but in precisely the right places.]

Then there are the characters. Some might complain that there's not enough character development in this book; personally, I don't mind whatever lack there may be. No, Goldman doesn't delve deep into his character's inner worlds very often, but the amount he gives is perfectly sufficient for me, at least in this story.

"Back when we were on the farm, I thought I loved you, but that was not love. When I saw your face behind the mask on the ravine floor, I thought I loved you, but that was again nothing more than deep infatuation. Beloved, I think I love you now, and I pray you only give me the chance to spend my life in constant proving."

And, too, Fezzik and Inigo -- especially Fezzik -- are developed SOOOO much more here than in the movie, and I just . . . CAN WE ALL JUST TAKE A MOMENT TO HUG FEZZIK, PLEASE? Okay, thanks. Fezzik's and Inigo's friendship is basically preciousness and I freaking adore the way Goldman wrote it. (I mean, honestly, I "freaking adore" nearly e.v.e.r.y. l.i.t.t.l.e. t.h.i.n.g. about the whole book, but, y'know.) Behold:

"Down is our direction, Fezzik, but I can tell you're a bit edgy about all this, so, out of the goodness of my heart, I will let you walk down not behind me, and not in front of me, but right next to me, and you put an arm around my shoulder, because that will probably make you feel better, and I, so as not to make you feel foolish, will put an arm around your shoulder, and thus, safe, protected, together, we will descend."

"Will you draw your sword with your free hand?"

"I already have. Will you make a fist with yours?"

"It's clenched."

"Then let's look on the bright side: we're having an adventure, Fezzik, and most people live and die without being as lucky as we are."



[I'd give you an example, but most of the funny parts aren't half so funny unless you've been reading along and then he hits you with it, plus there are too many to choose from, so I shan't.]

You get little fun facts from the book that you don't get from watching the movie (such as the fact that the albino at the Zoo of Death and Yellin, the guy with the gate key who's in charge of the Brute Squad, are cousins). The villains are developed more in the book, too, which is great fun.

"I'll leave you to your imagination, then," the Count said, and he looked at Westley. "But I want you to know something before tomorrow night happens to you, and I mean it: you are the strongest, the most brilliant and brave, the most altogether worthy creature it has ever been my privilege to meet, and I feel almost sad that, for the purposes of my book and future pain scholars, I must destroy you."

There are specific parts in this book that have meant SO much to me because they've actually helped me in some of my moments of trying to make sense of my own emotions and perceptions and issues. I won't quote them here, because getting into the why's and wherefore's behind them is too long and complicated and personal to get into in a review, but I will say that THEY'RE THERE. <3 And pages 234 to 238 are some of MY FAVORITE EVER (like, ever ever). Goldman's plot theme of "Hey, actually, no, life isn't fair" is just . . . gahh. IT MEANS A LOT TO ME, THE WAY HE DOES IT.

In short, this is one of my heart-stories (I love that term, whoever came up with it!). I totally adore it. (I mean, for crying out loud, I just finished re-reading it for like the fourth, fifth, or seven-hundredth time last night and a part of me already wants to read it again.) It's one of those books that you just want to shove in everyone's face and tell them how much you love it, and then you get sad when you feel like they don't get how important it is to you.

IT'S REALLY GOOD, FAM. Oh, it has some flaws: Westley's and Buttercup's relationship could be criticized as neither the deepest nor the healthiest to ever grace the page (for one thing, when Westley is still the man in black, before Buttercup knows who he is, he actually slaps her instead of just threatening to do it as he does in the movie, and that, of course, is Not Okay); there's the whole fact of Inigo's quest for the Count really being an affair of revenge, which is also Not Okay (although we must bear in mind that no one else would serve justice upon him if Inigo did not, and though that certainly wasn't the primary motive in Inigo's mind, the Count is definitely a Baddie); Goldman makes some rather inappropriate remarks, considering his marital status, in the beginning; there's some brief but strong language; and so on and so forth.

Is it still a book that makes me want to shout from the rooftops (figuratively, of course) that this is a book that matters and it deserves to be looked upon as such, and that it's one of my favorites in all the world? Bet your bottom dollar.

It won't be everybody's favorite thing since sliced bread. I can't tell you that you will or should love it as I do, but, if I may be so bold, I do think I might encourage you to at least try it? Because if it IS "your thing," then boy, will you be happy you did.

I'm not trying to make this a downer, understand. I mean, I really do think that love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops. But I also have to say, for the umpty-umpth time, that life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Movies: Month(s) in Review {September/October 2017}

It's been a while since my last month in review post, so I thought now might be as good a time as any, especially since I've seen quite a few new movies over the past two months. :)

[Instead of trying to do a content warning for every movie, I decided to just place an asterisk next to those titles that contain content that I would want to mention before universally recommending the movie.  (That sentence didn't pan out so well.)]

An Affair to Remember {1957}


In case you couldn't tell, this made me really, really happy. ;D  It was just my kind of love story.  First o' all, I need to address THE BANTER.  I love Cary Grant, and I liked Deborah Kerr from The King and I, but the two of them together had what might be the CUTEST FLIPPING CHEMISTRY I've seen in a long while.  Nicky's playboy-ness is of course very un-okay, but that's part of what makes this awesome, because THEN HE MEETS TERRY. ;)  I loved how the two of them were pretty upfront about their relationship from the get-go, but they never got sappy or melodramatic, and they never lost their sense of humor.  (And also everything was Clean, if you know what I mean, which is good.)  AND THE END WAS VERY FEELSY.

*SPOILERS!*  From the synopsis on the back, I was concerned that this would have a Roman Holiday - type ending, BUT IT DIDN'T. :D  Seriously, it made me so happy that this was an "old Hollywood" romance that actually ended happily.  (Well, that is to say, *I* found it a happy ending.  I guess others could disagree . . . maybe??)  *END OF SPOILERS*

MUST. BUY. IMMEDIATELY. :)  (Also, yes, you should watch it posthaste if you haven't.)

Megan Leavey * {2017}

This was very good.  I won't say anything more than that because I might be reviewing it at some point, but it was Touching, and I'd recommend it if you're interested in the (true story) plot.

Middlemarch * {1994}

I wish I had stuck with my original (albeit tentative) plan to wait until reading the book to watch this movie.  My mom and I watched it together, and while I think we both enjoyed it, we both felt that some of the characters really needed more development (which would probably be present in the book) in order for us to feel like we'd really gotten to know them. 

There was Rufus Sewell, though.  Rufus Sewell was nice.  (Actually, though, I almost didn't like Ladislaw as much as I hoped I would?  I mean, I LIKED him, but I didn't LOVE him.  And he seemed to be rather a hot-headed little youth.  But still.  He was Rufus Sewell. ;-P)

Ocean's Eleven * {2001}

I actually saw Ocean's Twelve first, a while back, but I finally got around to watching this one.  I enjoy these movies; I'm not entirely sure why.  I guess it's the cast and the whole camaraderie-of-a-heist-team angle (Leverage, anyone?).  Plus, I really like Danny and Tess.  They're cute together.  (Also really like the name Tess, for some reason?  Fun facts with Olivia.)  I'm excited for Ocean's Eight! ;D

Peter Pan {2000}

GUYS.  I finally found a film version of PP that I wholeheartedly enjoyed!!

As some of you may know, I've had trouble finding a movie version of Peter Pan that I think fully (or nearly fully) captures everything I love so much about the book.  The 2003 version with Jeremy Sumpter is great and all, and I LOVE the score in that one, but it's still not quiiiite there for me.  


And y'all, it is within an inch of being P.E.R.F.E.C.T.  It's kind of strange that a musical, with all those added songs, has stuck the closest to the book (in my opinion), but there it is.  Parts in the beginning, especially, were practically verbatim from the book.  Plus the general spirit of the show is SOOOOO the book.  (I mean, not 100%, because nothing will ever 100% be the spirit of the book, but IT WAS PRETTY DURN CLOSE.) 

Oh, and I noticed that this and the 2003 version do the same thing in having the actor who plays Hook double as Mr. Darling.  I don't know why, but I really like that.  

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales * {2017}

(I technically finished this today, but I watched most of it yesterday, so it counts. :-P)

This one was pretty good!  I think the first and fourth are still my favorite Pirates films, but this was a lot better than I thought it would be.  The trailer and reviews made it look slightly awful, IMO.

There was a bit more content in this one than in the other films, which I didn't appreciate (*huffs*), and I felt like the villain's backstory was a little weak.  Also, I won't spoil who, but those of you who have seen it, you know when A Certain Character dies?  That seemed SO easy to avoid, and almost like they only put it in there for "dramatic effect."  Like, really.  That wasn't necessary.  *frowns*

However, again, I was pleasantly surprised overall.  I mean, Jack is still Jack, and Gibbs is still Gibbs, and Barbossa is still Barbossa (I love that his name is Hector XD).  And the music is still the music.  And the new star-crossed lovers were cute (and actually not too cliché, wonder of wonders!), and this part made me feel all the happy nostalgic things. :D  (I'm not posting the picture here 'cause it's sort of a spoiler, sort of not.)

Sabrina {1954}

Oh, dear.  I didn't like this, guys.

It just didn't have any of the sparkle of the remake, if you'll pardon me for using so cheesy an expression.  It was just . . . to be honest, it fell pretty flat for me, and I was basically bored.  Humphrey Bogart was okay as Linus, but for me, Audrey Hepburn wasn't anywhere near as endearing in the role as Julia Ormond.  

The Magnificent Seven * {2016}

This was surprisingly not terrible, actually.

Mind you, it was none too great, either, but it wasn't absolutely awful.  It basically just didn't feel like a remake of the original, to me -- it seemed more like a separate film, even though it followed the general outline of the 1960 one.  

I liked Denzel Washington as Sam Chisolm, even though he was nothing at all like the Chris of the original.  And I actually liked Goodnight Robicheaux a lot more in this version than his counterpart(s?) in the original.  And I was surprised and therefore rather impressed with the choices they made as to who stayed alive at the end and who died.

(By the way, if you want a good, amusing review of this movie, check out this one.)

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. * {2015}

As you already know, I LIKED THIS.  I was a fan of this. ;)


The Mirror Has Two Faces * {1996}

Okay, so, I can't recommend this to anyone, really, just because of the premise itself and the content to which it naturally gives rise, but I actually rather liked it.  It was really, REALLY weird in parts, and then really, surprisingly adorable in others.  And I think God actually used it to help me with some self-image issues (since self-image and beauty and stuff like that are themes in the movie, and they're handled relatively well), so I think I'll always appreciate it for that.  Plus, as I said, it did have some adorable scenes, and the romance, while SUPER strange, was actually pretty touching. :)

The Sand Pebbles * {1966}

This was . . . not my favorite, let us say. :-P  

I liked the subplot with Frenchy and Mai-Li (however you spell her name) because it reminded me of Broken Trail, and Jake had a pretty good character arc, which was something, but . . . that was about all I liked about it, to be ruthlessly frank.

I don't really know anything about the historical events around which the story centers, so I'm sure I'm not really qualified to make a judgment on it/the characters, if they were acting in an accurate historical context, but . . . I did. :-P 

For one thing, *SPOILERS!* okay, so the captain guy didn't intervene that much when that mob was torturing Po-Ham because he (the captain) was afraid of upsetting the already war-leaning balance between the Chinese and the Americans, and he didn't want to start a war . . . but then like ten minutes later he opened fire with the "hose" when the ship was blocked by those protestors?? 



I think I've discovered that I can do tragedies as long as 1) I'm expecting it and 2) they don't leave me with a nihilistic feeling.  This one, unfortunately, did.  I don't know why, though, because there is almost no reason why The Sand Pebbles should make me think that there's a nihilistic vibe going on when Evita doesn't.  Ah, well.  

The last line was Poignant, though.  

So!  Let's talk movies. ;)
What have you been watching lately?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

// autumn reads //

Hello, friends! 

In honor of the autumn that is well underway (at least in name, if not in weather) for most of us (not you, Gabby, I know ;D), I thought I might compile a list of books that seem to be especially appropriate to read in the fall.  (Of course, some of these books are just always perfect; any place, any time.  But y'know. :-P) 

Some of these are ones that I've personally been reading/re-reading recently (or am planning to soon), and others are ones that I may not get to for years, if ever, but that seem like good autumnal choices. :)

(I don't necessarily love/enthusiastically recommend all of these books, just so y'all know.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

The Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien


As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been slooooooowly re-reading these off and on for the past couple months, and ALL THE PERFECTION IS PERFECT.  That's about all's I can say at the moment.

Peter Pan in Scarlet
by Geraldine McCaughrean 

Well, duh.  The original Peter Pan seems more of a spring read to me, if I had to assign a season to it (pssh, I read it all the time, anytime), but PPiS is actually about autumn coming to Neverland, so. ;)  

I actually wasn't wild about this one, but it did have some lovely, cute, nostalgic parts in it, and I liked some of the plot devices she implemented. :)

The Thief Lord
by Cornelia Funke

I haven't read all of this yet, but it's set in autumn (in Venice ;)), so . . . it seemed relevant.  

by Daphne du Maurier

I have not read this whole thing, so I'm not really qualified to say, but from what I've heard about it and the very little bit that I've read so far, it seems like it could lend itself to being a nice creepy tale with which to curl up on a rainy day.  Y'know, if you like that sort of thing. :-P

The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh
by A.A. Milne

Autumn is a perfect time for a visit to the Hundred Acre Wood, don't you think?

(ALSO.  Y'all, have you found out about this yet?!  GUUUUYYYYYYS. <3 <3 <3)

The Scarlet Pimpernel
by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

Again, one of those anytime-is-a-good-time-to-read-this books, TSP is a fantabulous tale of buckling swashes (thanks, whoever first coined that spin-off) and derring-do that is every bit as wonderful as you've heard.  READ IT POSTHASTE.  (I'm in dire need of a re-read, myself.)

Goodbye, Mr. Chips
by James Hilton

Such a sweet, gentle book with an aura of nostalgia and dusty regret that I loved.  So simple, so sweet, and very moving. <3

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
by Victor Hugo

Now, y'all, I know I've raved about the Disney version of THoND ("SANCTUARRYYYYYYY!!!!!!") before, so those of you who've read the book might be a bit confused as to why I would like the original book, but I actually did really enjoy it when I read it last school year.  It's very different, of course (#spoilers, it's really sad), but actually quite good. 

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jamie Ford

I haven't read this yet (I've started it a couple of times, but it hasn't grabbed me yet and so far I've lacked the motivation to stick it out until it does), but it looks like a good, sweet, albeit rather depressing story.  

One Hundred and One Dalmations
by Dodie Smith

This miiiight actually be more of a winter read, I'm not sure; but again, it's one of those that's good anytime. :)

I LOVE this adorable little book SO. STINKING. MUCH.  <333333

The Woman in White
by Wilkie Collins

I have this on my shelf, but I don't know if I'll ever actually read it, because I have such an extremely low tolerance (read: no tolerance) for anything remotely resembling a horror (or even just a scary) story, even such old, "mild" stuff as this.  But, as with Rebecca, it seems -- from my very cursory overview -- that it'd be a good chilly/rainy day read.

the Redwall series
by Brian Jacques

MY CHILDHOOD FEELINGS.  *hugs the books*

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Yet another good-all-the-time book!  This one is great, too (albeit has slightly more content than I was expecting).  You can read my Goodreads review for more thoughts on this one.

anything Jeeves and Wooster
by P.G. Wodehouse

Because my guess is you could use a solid dose of Wodehouse right about now (couldn't we all?), so get thee gone to read some J&W.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I think that's all for now! :)

What are some of your favorite books with which to cosy up on a chilly autumn day?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

"Gideon, say something nice." "Uh . . . nice night for a coon hunt."

This is my way -- apart from referencing the incomparable majesty that is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (you're welcome) -- of admitting that I don't know how else to cleverly title this post.  But if I did know how to c.ly  t.  the so-forth, it'd basically boil down to this:

// confessions, ramblings, & other nonsense // 

"Right.  Now you know where you are." ;-P  Shall we begin?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Okay, so y'all know Derek Klena and Christy Altomare and all those loverly people of the Broadway version of Anastasia?  Yes, of course you do.  Well, this confession is a few months late, but I shall make it anyway:  Back when it was first coming out and we were all acquainting ourselves with all of them, I watched a couple of interviews with Derek Klena and, um . . . *coughs*  I kind of fell a little bit in love.  No joke.  Seriously, I was literally sitting there thinking he couldn't possibly be that perfect and waiting for him to swear or do something inappropriate.  And . . . he didn't.  And I was like, "Drat."  (I'm sure he has, but for the moment I'm terribly afraid I'm a lost cause.)  


(I also watched part of an interview with Corey Cott and he mentioned that he's a Christian and faith is really important to him, so "sometimes church is [his] Santa Fe."  LIKE WHAT HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CAN.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I recently watched The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) for the first time, and GUYYYYYS.  ILLYA FREAKING KURYAKIN.  THAT IS ALL.  

(Totally not all; you ain't getting off that easy.)

I had to email Hamlette straightaway after finishing it, because I knew she understands and would fangirl with me.  (And yes, she kindly obliged. ;))

Illya is a precious lamb and I want to protect him from the big bad world. <3  But, great as Illya is, I have to say that I wouldn't have enjoyed him half so much if it weren't for . . . 

"Good night, little chop shop girl."

. . . the preciousness that is Illya and Gaby together.  GUUUUUYYYSS.  This couple activated my FULL-ON ROMANTIC FANGIRL MODE.  So lovely to discover a new favorite couple. :)  

(But for real.)

Actually, though, this whole movie bears some fangirling over . . . perhaps a review is in order?? *wink wink*  (Now watch me never review this. *sigh*)  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I want to start living freer, y'all.  That hit me recently while at a college night a local church was hosting.  I want to live freer.  You know, stop spending so much time obsessing over whether I'm feeling and thinking and doing exactly the right thing at every moment.  And the LORD's been helping me!  He's a great God.  

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  ~ Galatians 5:1  

(Actually, y'all should go give that whole chapter -- Gal. 5 -- a read:  One of the things God's been showing me recently is that giving in to these feelings of religiosity and works-based approval and perfectionism and all that stuff may actually be a much bigger deal than we realize.  Isn't it exciting how He's growing each of us into Him?!  Praise Him!! <3)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I've discovered lots of new songs lately, so that's always fun.  I love finding new tunes for the 'Pod. ;-P

I really like this picture, for some reason.

Speaking of which, have y'all listened to any of Lauren Daigle's music lately?  I've liked "How Can It Be" since it first came out a while ago, but here recently I've been listening to the expanded album, and GUYS.  FAM.  This girl is awesome.  (I've also watched a few interviews/studio session music videos, which has made me really appreciate her music a good deal more.)  I especially like "First," "Loyal," "Trust in You," and "Come Alive (Dry Bones)".  <33333

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Re-reading The Lord of the Rings right now got me like:

It's so beautiful. <3  And it's making me want to talk about it with my fellow Tolkienknight uncle. :-P

I'm re-reading them sloooooowly this time around -- reading other books at the same time and just plodding through them when I get the chance/am in the mood; really taking the time to soak in each beautiful sentence and paragraph and digest all the awesome. <3  It's great!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Oh, ALSO, I've realized that I really love the Rohan people, particularly in the movies.  I'm not entirely sure why, but . . . Théoden and Eowyn and Eomer and Hama and everyone -- they're just really cool.  And I love watching them develop.  

And I may or may not really really love the scene in the extended editions when Eomer finds Eowyn after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.  *ahem*

Like, ALL MY FEELINGS. <33333333


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do y'all ever get that thing where you feel like you have so many books you need to re-watch, except with movies?  Like, "Oh, that's such a good movie, I haven't seen it in forever [which really means like half a year]; I need to watch it again"?  'Cause I get that all the time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

ALSO YES IT'S FALL NOW SO THAT'S COOL.  (Thoughts on fall, anyone?)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

All right, I think that's all I wanted to say . . . short 'n' sweet. :)

What have you been up to lately?