Thursday, March 31, 2011

Friday Night Lights is the new Painted Veil

Have any of you been reading this blog long enough to remember my obsession with The Painted Veil? (Both the book and the movie.) Whew-wee. It took over my life for the better part of a month.

My friends, there's a new kid in town.

I checked out Friday Night Lights Season 1 from the library and very much enjoyed it. Very much. There are many reasons why I love this show, but here are my top 3.

1. There is a sense of realism and authenticity with Friday Night Lights that you don't see in other television shows. I heard an interview with Connie Britton on npr. Translation: I've been googling like crazy for more information about this show and read and listened to many interviews and articles. She explained how they film the show.

"Most film and television shoots with one camera. And so you keep shooting a scene over and over again. We shoot with three cameras, so they're always getting different - they're always getting different angles so there a lot - and we never know where the cameras are. We don't rehearse. They don't tell us where to stand, which is what you call having marks. We don't have marks. So there's a real freedom in it."

You can see how this easily lends itself to an honest and sincere vibe.

Further credibility: the characters are genuine. There are no characters to hate in FNL, no villians. Characters are bad and good. Makes it much more believable. (There are, however, annoying characters. No show is perfect.) Take for example, Tim Riggins. After the first episode, I thought he was pretty awful. He was awful. A few episodes in, you see different sides of Tim, you understand him better and you even start to like him. (But you really wish he would wash his hair.). The show does not resort to one-dimensional characters to create fake drama.

2. FNL has hands-down the best portrayal of marriage I have ever seen on television. Yes, I threw down a superlative. Another quote:

"Friday Night Lights has always been the story of a football team and its coach, but it's also been the story of a marriage - one of the most well-rounded, admirable, memorable marriages ever portrayed on television. Time after time, this show's depiction of Eric and Tami Taylor's relationship has revealed the "happily married couples are boring" theory of dramatic writing for the ridiculous, lazy lie that it is. This happily married couple has never been boring, and they've been as much a part of the show's core as the Panthers or Lions." (From Alan Sepinwall from Source

I have only seen Season 1 but I have read that throughout the entire series the Taylor's marriage remains a good strong marriage. No affairs. No addictions. How refreshing.

3. Matt Saracen. Great plot line. Great character. Great actor. Matt is the sophomore back up quarter back who is thrust into the spot light. He is shy, awkward, and insecure but also incredibly strong. He takes care of his Grandma, works at a local fast food joint, and tries to woo the coach's daughter. All the while turning you into a life long fan.

4. (Yes, I added a fourth.) Fantastic acting. Especially: Coach Eric Taylor. Tami Taylor. Matt Saracen. Smash's mom. Phenomenal. I've seen 22 episodes. I've laughed out loud in nearly every episode. (That Buddy Garrity, he's some serious comic relief.) I've cried in several. I attribute this directly to the great acting. Sure, good plot, good writing, but there is no denying that the acting draws out great emotion. There is a scene between Tami Taylor and and her daughter Julie in Episode 17 that completely stops you in your tracks. Even my novice self can recognize amazing talent.

A few final thoughts:

-Note on content: This is not a family show.

-My friend Thomas suggested 'Give it 5 episodes.' This is good advice. While I liked it from the beginning, Mark took about 5 to become a fan. But fan he is.

Needless to say, I am on hold for Seasons 2,3, and 4. And the DVR is set to record Season 5 on April 5th.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Try This at Home: Hair Styles

I saw this hair style here. It was billed as an alternative to the ponytail. I gave it a whirl.

I think it turned out pretty great. Got a compliment from a complete stranger at the store and everything. (And she was cute and stylish, some one I'd want to be friends with, so that made it an extra good compliment.)

We tried it out on my oldest.

Find easy to follow directions here.

Tried another one and these is the one terrible picture I took:

(Needs a little work.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I forgot to tell you. While I was in Chicago, I visited Sprinkles. One of those trendy cupcake establishments that have been all the rage the last few years.

And all I can say is it really lived up to the hype. Their chocolate frosting was super delicious.

When I came home, I looked up the recipe online. I found the actual recipe, from when the owner of Sprinkles was on Oprah. See it here.

My cupcakes turned out like this:

You must try it, it is very good.

Gone With the Wind by Magaret Mitchell

Gone With the WindGone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I gave this book 5 stars for many reasons. Not the least of which is that it is 947 pages long and held my interest the entire time. (I read it in 5 days.)

What I loved most about this book is how REAL it was. The characters were complex and difficult and you couldn't really decide whether to slap them or hug them.

Scarlett O'Hara is ridiculous, self centered, abusive and idiotic. And yet I rooted for her. (But I also wanted justice to take it's sweet vengeance.) If that is not great story telling, I don't know what is.

The racism in the novel is quite offensive by today's standards, but put in the context of Civil War and Reconstruction it feels brutal but honest.

I very much appreciated the even view of the war (I guess I expected the book to be pro-South.) Mitchell was fair, showing the follies and horrors of both the Union and the Confederacy. Same with Reconstruction.

What surprised me the most, was how the emotion that this book brought out in me. Anger, loads of anger (mostly directed at Scarlett.) Heartbreak, I bawled as I have never bawled before while reading. There was heaving and sobbing. Thoughtfulness, the true devastation of war and rebuilding. It made me think. That is my favorite thing about reading: books that stay with me for days and days, take me to another place and make my mind work over new ideas and different concepts.

5 stars. What are you waiting for?

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Wedding Dress Game

Do you ever play the wedding dress game? The rules are simple. It goes like this: if I was getting married tomorrow, which dress would I chose? You know, now that I am older, wiser and have much better taste.

These are both from Vera Wang's new "affordable" collection.

This one is so dreamy.

But this is the one I love, love, love forever. (I might omit the belt, especially for all the dancing I've got to do at the reception.)

Align Center
Have you heard of Anthropologie's new wedding store BHDLN? It's amazing.

(P.S. If I was to get married tomorrow, I'd marry Mark again. He's a keeper.)

Worth Watching

Adjustment Bureau is worth watching.

On a related note: Glee is officially not worth watching. I haven't really seen Glee for the last season or two but I caught a bit of this week's episode and it was so not for me.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What to wear

When I was in Chicago this is what everyone was wearing:

Totally practical. Totally adorable.

I love Wellies.
I love Hunters Wellies.
I love warm feet.
I think Hunters Wellies + Hunters Boot Socks = Best Idea Ever.

Remind me of this in November please.

And if you didn't want to buy Hunters, these boots are a very agreeable alternative:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Airhead by Meg Cabot

Airhead (Airhead, #1)Airhead by Meg Cabot

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Dumbest plot in the history of YA books, nay, of all time. Really. I read about 30 pages and then put it down. And I was at soccer practice with nothing to do for the next hour+ but I was not about to read another word.

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A Match Made on Madison by Dee Davis

A Match Made on MadisonA Match Made on Madison by Dee Davis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is pure Chick lit.

Started slow for me but then the story got going and I enjoyed it. Clean (with a little language) and very light. I myself could do without all the designer clothing descriptions and the cat subplot, but over all a 3 star read.

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Here is the thing about me and blogging. I have loads of fantastic ideas of things to post and in reality, I only really post one in ten of my brilliant ideas. Case in point: the other day while running errands, I ran into Talbots to check out my new favorite skirt in person:

And I was completely blown away by the fabulousness of the clothes. I have never really been a Talbots shopper and I thought, "Either I am getting old, or Talbots has really upped it's game." I planned in my head an oh so clever and beautiful post about Talbot's new clothes. I even wrote it on a blog to do list and then promptly did nothing.

Enter the hippest girl I don't know, Jordan. Who blogged about it here.

So, here's my late-to-the-party attempt. Talbots new model, the gorgeous Julianne Moore, modeling some of their new line:

Everything in the store is very Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O. Stylish, graceful, feminine.

Here are a few of my favorites:

And don't even get me started on their shoes.

Sadly I am sized (and priced) out of much their clothing, but it is still fun to look.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Did I mention I was in Chicago last weekend? We flew Grandma in to watch the kids and I spent the weekend with Mark. Who was working mostly. So I was alone mostly. For a busy mother of four, it is insanely luxurious to spend so much time alone, sprinkled with dates with my husband.

Here are some pictures of my travels. (Oh yes, I was super touristy and took loads of pictures.)

Wouldn't it be fun to live here?

A favorite shop:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran

The Wives of Henry OadesThe Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, this was another pull off the shelf at the library and give it a go. Such an interesting plot, which may or may not have been taken from an actual court case: In 19th century, a British family moves to New Zealand. Wife and children are kidnapped by natives and after years of searching, thought dead. Consumed with grief the devastated husband sails for America and begins a new life and eventually finds a new wife. Back in New Zealand, original wife and kids are freed and make their way to America - SURPRISE! You're a polygamist.

I thought this was compelling and was anxious to see how the author would handle this situation.

Unfortunately, not well. I didn't like how the author handled the story. At all. Not because of personal taste, but because it was poorly done. The husband in the first half of the book and the husband in the second half of the book were completely different characters. Consistency was only one of the problems with the plot. The differing narration was confusing and not well done.

Also, and this is a matter of personal taste, I found it really annoying that ALL religious people in the book were harsh, judgmental, and small minded.

Skip this. I gave it 3 stars mostly for an interesting premise.

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Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Prom and PrejudiceProm and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclosure: Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book. I have read several of the modern remakes of P&P. (Cowboy religious, British play, Florida retirees, I've read them all.) They ranged from terrible to painful. To be fair: How can you remake the best book ever written?

With that said: Prom and Prejudice was all that a YA modern day P&P should be: fun and entertaining. I thought her plot followed the P&P format fairly well. As I read I found myself anxious to see how Eulberg will work the plot into her modern day story. What will she do with Collins? How will the first proposal work in? So enjoyable to see it all unfold.

Without giving away plot, I liked the first 3/4 of the book better than the last 1/4. I thought the plot towards the end of the book was weaker and didn't follow the original as well.

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