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2018: My Top 5 Movies, TV Shows + Books

M O V I E S 

5. Mary Poppins Returns: You just can’t leave this movie without a smile on your face and a hop in your step. Pardon the cliché, but Emily Blunt is practically perfect in every way. The magic of the original movie was not only captured, but enhanced for another generation to love this enchanting story.

4. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Netflix): Okay, this is probably the cheesiest movie on my list and I’m sure to get some eye rolls, but guys, I LOVED this movie. Like, seriously, cheesy, rom-com loved this movie. The story is adorable, the acting is surprisingly good and we were all introduced to Noah Centineo, so there’s that.

3. A Star Is Born: You might be surprised this isn’t #1, but regardless this was a fantastic movie. I mean, Bradley Cooper as actor, director, writer, producer – can that man do any wrong? And Lady Gaga, OH MY GOSH Lady Gaga – I have an entirely new respect for her now. Also, how many times have we all collectively listened to “Shallow”?!

2. A Quiet Place: This is shockingly in the #2 spot, probably shockingly because I typically dislike scary movies. This one is SO unique though. Pre-Birdbox mania, this post-apocalyptic movie without sound keeps you holding your breath literally the entire movie. Also, can we give it up for cutest ever husband-wife duo John Krasinski + Emily Blunt (again!)!!

1. Bohemian Rhapsody: I LOVE LOVE LOVED this movie! The story, the music, the acting – Rami Malek is phenomenal. I’ve loved him since Mr. Robot, but I’m so glad he got to show the world how amazing he is. I couldn’t stop singing Queen for days and the movie just made me so very happy.

T V   S H O W S

Y’all, if you don’t know this about me – I watch a lot of TV, like A LOT. And I love it and am not ashamed by it. This list is always the hardest for me to write every year, but when it comes down to it – I just try and think about what shows I’m most excited to watch every week, so here it is:

5. Outlander – Starz: This was #2 on the list last year (when I binged the entire series), so it’s not quite as high up there this year and this season has been a little slower, but I still adore this show so freaking much and it’s one of my favorite love stories of all time.

4. The Assassination of Gianni Versace – FX: This show captivated me. I was fascinated by Andrew Cunanan (the assassin) and obviously the portrayal by Darren Criss – who deserves ALL the awards. It’s honestly less about the assassination of Gianni Versace and more a mental psych study of Cunanan.

3. You – Lifetime: Okay y’all, this one shocked me how much I loved it. I noted it as a new show to watch early in the season because it’s a psychological thriller with Penn Badgley (aka gossip girl) and my favorite pretty little liar Shay Mitchell. But, this show. THIS. SHOW. Watch it on Netflix now. This role was MADE for Badgley, and you’ll be thoroughly creeped out, but loving it by the finale.

2. Younger – TV Land: Looking for a show that’s funny and heartwarming and has the best wardrobe and the best girlfriends and the best love triangle? (Oh and Lizzie McGuire all grown up!?) This is it. Please watch it now, and text me when you love it as much as I do. #TeamJosh

1. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Amazon: Can Amy Sherman-Palladino do no wrong?! Also … can Rachel Brosnahan do no wrong?! This show continues to top my list thanks to the phenomenal acting, gorgeous set and costume design, and exciting plot. Give them all the awards, please and thank you.

Honorable mentions:
Riverdale – The CW, Dirty John – Bravo, The Crown – Netflix, The Good Place – NBC

 

B O O K S

5. Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis: Y’all know I love a good self-help book (Carry On, Warrior, Lean In) and this one was no exception. What I loved about this one though, is how structured and specific it was. Each chapter is about a lie we tell ourselves. For example, “I’m defined by my weight” or “I can’t get past this”. Rachel does a fantastic job of breaking down the lie, giving a personal anecdote and sharing 3 specific ideas on how to combat these lies in our lives. Highly, highly recommend. You should also follow her on Instagram because she’s awesome.

4. The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang: This book was so stinkin’ adorable! I would characterize it as Eleanor Oliphant (another favorite) meets 50 Shades of Gray – yes, it’s steamier than you’re expecting, but has such a great story about a 30-year-old woman with Asperger’s who just wants to learn how to date. I don’t want to say much else, just read and fall in love with this fun, original, sexy book.

3. The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager: It’s been a while since a thriller has kept me in suspense the ENTIRE BOOK. And a while since I’ve stayed up late (1am!) finishing a book because I had to know what happened. It’s basically Pretty Little Liars goes to summer camp, so I was obviously interested from the get go, but the storytelling is just fantastic without a single dull moment.

2. Women in Sunlight – Frances Mayes: From the author of Under the Tuscan Sun, this book did everything I wanted it to and more. The story follows four older women whose children want to put them in a retirement home, but instead become quick friends and decide to move to Tuscany. I laughed, I cried and I was transported back to Italy with every single page. The writing is terrific, changing with the character’s perspectives, and the story will give you passion to do something radical.

1. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman: This book. Oh my goodness, this book. As a friend said, “YOU ARE IN FOR A DELIGHTFUL TREAT.” It’s so charming, yet so unexpected. You fall in love with the main character by the end, despite thinking you’re not sure how you can possibly relate to her at the beginning. It’s an uplifting, feel-good book, but with serious substance.

What were your top TV Shows, Books + Movies of the year? I’d love to know!
xo xo

[Catalog – 201720162015201420132012]

 


halloween + an 80’s movie update

I love Halloween. Really I just love dressing up for anything specific – give me a theme and I’m there. Or as my favorite fictional mother says,

“I’ll do just about anything if I can buy an outfit!” – Lorelai Gilmore

This year, we decided to dress up as characters from our favorite TV show of the year – Stranger Things. It’s about a 12-year-old boy who goes missing and his friends are determined to find him. Also a lot of weird sh*t starts happening in the town. It’s creepy, but not too creepy, and it’s set in the 80s – giving major homage to Stand by Me, E.T., The Goonies and many more.

Go watch it on Netflix now. Seriously, I promise you it’s worth it. And after you see our costumes, you’ll be even more intrigued.

img_0407{husband as dustin}

img_0405{me as eleven, looking creepy AF || my own mother didn’t recognize me in that blonde wig…}

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img_0436{I will forever cherish this polaroid of us || also, we won best couple costume}

img_0412{convinced some friends to be “the wall” and joyce byers}

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img_0430{and two random, but amazing polaroids from the night, for good measure}

Since we’re talking 80’s, I thought this would be a good time for an update on my 80’s Watchlist. I’ve been making headway on the girly movies:

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (1985) – LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this movie. I want to be SJP and dance all day.

Can’t Buy Me Love (1987) – How adorable is a young Patrick Dempsey?! I also adored this movie. Can’t believe I hadn’t seen it until now.

Heathers (1988) – Okay, I know this is a cult classic, but someone should have warned me how dark it is!! Didn’t love it, but enjoyed seeing Winona Ryder and Christian Slater in their hay day.

Love Potion No. 9 (1993) – This movie was so cheesy and adorable and right up my alley. Sandra Bullock and Tate Donovan are so dreamy.

Teen Witch (1989) – Watched this one in honor of Halloween and again, LOVED. Please watch this scene. It’s hilarious, and awesome, and so 80s. TOP THAT.

xo xo


My Top 5 Shows of 2016 So Far …

It’s the golden age of TV, people. And I’m loving it.

We’re halfway through 2016 and we’ve already had some incredible TV shows. And the exciting part is, there’s still so much more to come! I will definitely do another post about upcoming fall premieres I’m excited about, but for now, here are my top shows of 2016 so far.

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The Good Wife, Final Season (CBS)

The Good Wife was overall an incredible show, and will definitely go down as an all-time favorite. However, after Will died then Kalinda left, it kind of lost its way. I wasn’t as interested and just kept watching to watch, but they really picked it up in the final season. It had the excitement of the episodic cases again, and the sexy allure with Jeffrey Dean Morgan they’d been missing since Will. While I didn’t love the finale, I still give the season two thumbs up. Cheers to Alicia Florrick and Mr. Big.

150316-news-peoplevojThe People vs. O.J. Simpson (FX)

I am still surprised by how much I was enthralled in this show. Since I was very young when this happened in RL, I didn’t remember all of the details of the case or the specifics of the trial, so it made it that much more dramatic. But even if I had known everything that happened, this show still would have pulled me in. It’s a classic drama with terrific acting and great storytelling. You won’t be able to stop watching, and will still hold your breath while waiting for the jury’s verdict.

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O.J.: Made in America (ESPN)

This is definitely one of the best, if not THE best, documentary I’ve ever seen. Comprised of 5 episodes at an hour and a half each, it goes into tremendous detail, but not once do you feel like it’s dragging on. This is a complex story and this documentary tells it so well. I was truly fascinated hearing about O.J. as a “Football god”, understanding the backdrop of race relations in LA and listening to present day interviews from the lawyers, jurors and journalists. I enjoyed watching the drama first, then watching this to see all the nitty gritty details.

orphan blackOrphan Black, Season 4 (BBC)

This is a constant favorite of mine and always makes my end of year lists, so if you STILL haven’t watched it, you clearly don’t value my opinion. Its one of the few shows where I can’t take my eyes of the screen because I’m so hooked the entire episode. Tatiana Maslany, playing multiple clones, is truly one of the most gifted actress I’ve ever seen. Next season is the last, and you can feel a deliberate storyline leading to answers, which I appreciate.

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The Affair (Showtime)

This one is kind of a cheat, because we haven’t finished this season aired in 2016 yet. We flew through season 1 and just started season 2, but thought I’d add it to my list anyway. This show is thrilling and intense and captivating in such a unique way. The cinematography is beautiful and the storytelling is fascinating as you see extremely different perspectives both sides of the affair. Wonderfully done, and I can’t wait to finish the season.

mr-robotBONUS: Mr. Robot, Season 2 (USA)

Okay, okay. I haven’t seen this one yet, but it airs TONIGHT and I’m so so excited. Since we finished season 1 we’ve been dying for more. And as husband said, we know it will be incredible, so it needs to be on the list.

Also ….
Currently Bingeing: Veep, The Affair, The O.C. (for the 100th time)
Summer Guilty Pleasure: The Bachelorette (#TeamLuke!)
Next on our Watchlist: Game of Thrones (seasons 3-6), Love (Netflix original), Homeland (season 4-5), The Americans, American Crime

What are you currently watching?
xo xo


Now That’s What I Call the ’80s [Movie Edition]

Y’all know I love entertainment and pop culture. I blog about my favorite TV shows all the time, and have been to Sundance Film Festival (and Bentonville Film Festival!) twice. For some reason though, there are a lot of classic ’80s movies I seem to have missed.

Yes, I was born in ’89 so it does makes sense why I wasn’t watching movies in the ’80s, but as a film lover I think this is totally unacceptable.

And so do my co-workers. So they’ve started me a list.

Husband and I have started on the list, and so far have made it through 4 of 21 – though the list grows by the day, so I’m not quite sure how we’ll keep up. Here’s what we’ve seen so far –

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Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) – Hilarious. Love Steve Martin and John Candy. We would totally watch this again.
Groundhog Day (1993) – Bill Murray humor is everything. They just don’t make good, clean funny movies like this anymore.
Ghostbusters (1984)- Funny and entertaining. Again, gotta love Bill Murray.
Animal House  (1978) – Pretty funny, but not hilarious. John Belushi had some classic moments, but overall movie was just so random.

The List:

Beverly Hills Cop
The Goonies
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Stand by Me
*Girls Just Want to Have Fun
*Splash
The Natural
The Money Pit
Better Off Dead
Rocky movies
Say Anything
*Can’t Buy Me Love
*Mannequin
Weird Science
Wall Street
The Lost Boys
Dumb and Dumber

*Denotes girly movie to watch without husband

What other classic movies should I add to my list?

(Note: I have already seen the following – All John Hughes movies, Top Gun, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Back to the Future, Dirty Dancing, Princess Bride, Footloose, When Harry Met Sally….)

xo xo


2015: My Top 5 Movies, TV Shows + Books

M O V I E S

Ex-Machina-Download-Wallpapers

5. The Martian: This was a great movie, and an even better book (see below). I put it as #5 only because there were a few things they changed in the movie that I didn’t like, but I still really enjoyed it.

4. Sisters: Husband couldn’t possibly believe I put this movie before The Martian (or Star Wars), but I laughed my booty off at this movie, harder than I have in a really long time. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler can do no wrong.

3. Still Alice: This one is hard to watch and really sad, but the acting is phenomenal. Julianne Moore absolutely deserved the Academy Award for Best Actress.

2. Inside Out: All the emotions! Seriously. I watched this on the plane to Europe and had to stop myself from full on sobbing. It was so sweet. This is the best Pixar in a long time.

1. Ex Machina: I was shocked by how much I liked this movie. I wouldn’t have even watched it unless someone convinced me, because the trailer makes it out to be a horror movie, but it’s not at all. It’s a little creepy, but so so good. Also, currently in love with Oscar Isaac.

Still on the list to see: Spotlight, The Big Short, Creed, Carol, The Room, The Danish Girl

T V  S H O W S 

Jane The Virgin -- "Chapter Fifteen" -- Image Number: JAV115a_0035.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Gina Rodriguez as Jane and Justin Baldoni as Rafael -- Photo: Danny Feld/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

5. iZombie: I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, this is such an underrated show! It’s a zombie comedy like you’ve never seen before, and you will fall in love with the characters.

4. The Jinx: This HBO docu-series was incredible. Husband was literally pacing the room during the last episode because it was so intense. If you don’t know anything about it, don’t read anything, just go watch it.

3. The Walking Dead: This show always makes my list of top shows, but I haven’t loved this season. It started out amazing and steadily went downhill, with kind of a dud of a mid-season finale. But still, of course, one of my favorite shows.

2. Pretty Little Liars: Guilty pleasure. Guilty, guilty, pleasure. But it continues to be one of the shows I look forward to watching the most every week. #HalebForever

1. Jane the Virgin: I don’t know how it happened, but I fell fast for this show and Gina Rodriguez. It’s hilarious, it’s dramatic, it teaches life lessons – it’s seriously so much more than you would imagine.

Honorable mentions: Hart of Dixie, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Making a Murderer

Editor’s Note: The below is my true #1, but not counting it in the 5 since it didn’t come out this year.
Friday Night Lights: I know I’m like 10 years behind on this show, but I binged it this summer and absolutely fell in love with it. Like, so much so, that I immediately bought a t-shirt and mug after finishing it (see below). Definitely on my list of top shows of all time.

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 2.02.34 PM

B O O K S 

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5. Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins:  I loved the way this story was told, through 3 different perspectives and in morning/evening narratives. It kept your mind reeling throughout, following different leads of what could have possibly happened to girl who disappears. Totally worth the hype, and I can’t wait for the movie.

4. The Martian by Andy Weir: I started and finished this on the plane ride home from Europe. I loved this book! It was fascinating. It was written so well and in such a unique way that you were hooked from the beginning.

3. Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling: Her second book wasn’t quite as entertaining as her first, but still a great, easy read that made me laugh out loud and gave interesting behind the scenes insight into the life of a comedy writer (and my celebrity spirit animal).

2. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica: Oh.My.Gosh. I cannot say enough good things about this book. It’s definitely one of my top books of the year. The character development was phenomenal, and it is so so suspenseful. Speaking of the ending, I did not see it coming at all.

1. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer:  This is a truly beautiful story with incredible writing. Though it’s a lengthy book, it kept me interested by switching perspectives chapter to chapter. I think I loved this so much because I’m not typically a historical fiction reader and this captivated me.

xo xo

[Catalog – 2014, 2013, 2012]


How to Throw a Star Wars Watch Party, By a Non-Star Wars Fan

Until last night, I had never seen a Star Wars movie. (Well, supposedly I saw one in the theater with Husband, but all I could tell you about it was that Natalie Portman was in it. And I didn’t know until last night that she isn’t Princess Leia…)

Well, now I’ve seen three. But it took about 6 months to convince me to watch them.

Here’s the secret – turn something into a themed party, and I’ll watch anything. I was inspired by this Buzzfeed list – 17 Foods Guaranteed to Excite Any “Star Wars” Fan – so I gathered the troops for a watch party. Star Wars themed attire encouraged. Star Wars themed food required.

Guess what, it was a success! Themed food and drinks are always so much more fun, as you’ll see below. The movies, well … I can’t say I’m a big fan, but I will absolutely be re-wearing my Star Wars shirt to the premiere. (And maybe sneak in some themed food …)

IMG_9390[We made it through 2 movies – Episode IV and Episode V]

IMG_9366
IMG_9395
IMG_9367
IMG_9387
IMG_9364[Just a few of my pun-y names, that I thought were hilarious.
Not pictured: Boba Fett-uccine and (my personal favorite) 5 Leia Dip]

IMG_9371
IMG_9394[This drink was EVERYTHING. I still don’t know who Qui-Gon Gin is, but the drink sure is delicious and looked so awesome.]

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May the Force be with you.
xo xo

 


Oscars 2015: Predictions

I LOVE the Oscars. I will be plopped in front of the TV from the second they start the red carpet coverage until the last word of the final speech. And of course, with ballot and champagne in hand. I’ve hosted several Oscar parties in the past [you can see pictures here and here], but after a month of hosting duties, including a Birthday blowout and 50-person wedding brunch, I will be very content in my joggers on my couch.

I was on a mission to watch all of the nominees for Best Picture, but unfortunately have failed. We will, however, make it to 6/8 after watching The Theory of Everything tonight.

Though I haven’t seen all the nominated films, I’ve read voraciously about who will win, who should win, and who will be a surprise. Below are my predictions – put your money on me or not!

B E S T  P I C T U R E 

Boyhood

[Nominees: Boyhood, American Sniper, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, Selma, Birdman, Whiplash, Grand Budapest Hotel]

I just adored this movie. It was all I wanted and more. I’ve read reviews people didn’t like it because it was boring, or too long, or didn’t have much of a plot. But that’s exactly why I liked it. It didn’t have a plot with a climax and grand finale, because it was just about life. Life doesn’t have a plot. It has it’s ups and downs and in betweens, and this movie captured it so perfectly.

B E S T  A C T O R 

Michael-Keaton-Birdman

[Nominees: Michael Keaton – Birdman, Steve Carrell – Foxcatcher, Bradley Cooper – American Sniper, Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game, Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything]

We saw Birdman and I wasn’t the biggest fan. However, there was no denying the acting was phenomenal. They were nominated in three categories, including Edward Norton and Emma Stone. If it hadn’t been for the acting, I might have walked out of the movie. Michael Keaton was so realistic as this schizo actor, he truly made me believe in what he was seeing.

B E S T  A C T R E S S 

Julianne-Moore-in-Still-Alice

[Nominees: Julianne Moore – Still Alice, Reese Witherspoon – Wild, Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night, Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything, Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl]

I haven’t seen this movie, though I’m dying to, but I’ve heard just incredible things about Julianne Moore. She seemed born to play this role she does it so well. She’s a very clear win, but I do want to also applaud Reese Witherspoon and Rosamund Pike for their performances. They absolutely deserved their nomination.

 B E S T  S U P P O R T I N G  A C T O R 

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[Nominees: J.K. Simmons – Whiplash, Robert Duvall – The Judge, Edward Norton – Birdman, Ethan Hawke – Boyhood, Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher]

Again, I haven’t seen Whiplash, though again, I’m dying to. Out of what I have seen, I would have picked Edward Norton to win. However, from what I’ve read and heard J.K. Simmons is a pretty clear winner and did an exceptional job.

B E S T  S U P P O R T I N G  A C T R E S S 

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[Nominees: Patricia Arquette – Boyhood, Emma Stone – Birdman, Laura Dern – Wild, Keira Knightly – The Imitation Game, Meryl Streep – Into the Woods]

Patricia Arquette was the clear star of Boyhood. Ethan Hawke was pretty good, the main boy Ellar Coltrane was really good, but Patricia was amazingly good. She was a mother – the good, the bad and the ugly, and made me feel for her throughout. My second choice to win this award would have been Laura Dern – surprisingly transcendent in Wild through her minimal scenes.

Will you be watching Sunday night to see who takes home the top honors?
xo xo

You might also enjoy: Oscars 2014: 5 Best + Worst Dressed, 10 Facts You Should Know About The Oscars