Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Can you get past the actor to the movie?

Last weekend I had a friend in to visit and after a late evening of catching up over multiple bottles of wine we popped in the DVD of Eat, Pray, Love. My guest had not seen the movie yet and even though I had seen the film in the theater I was happy to watch it again for the eye candy that is Javier Bardem.

As the movie started and I watched Julia Roberts in the starring role I started to think about Julia Roberts as a happy hooker in Pretty Woman and Julia Roberts as that busty lawyer and Julia Roberts in that horrible movie where she plays a maid with a terrible British accent (Mary Reilly or some other nonsense). Anyway, I realized I was watching Julia Roberts instead of getting lost in the movie. As my mind wandered I started making a mental list of all the other actors who never really become the character they are playing. No matter what the role, they are still the celebrity known as:
  • Jennifer Aniston. Love her. I think I would be friends with her, we would girl gab about our failed marriages over margaritas and guacamole while watching the surfers in Malibu and waiting for our personal yoga trainer to arrive. As an actress though...ya she is always the celebrity Jennifer Aniston. Same hair, same fabulous wardrobe, same girl next door role. Her movies don't get me in the theaters, but she does make good mindless movies for rainy Sundays.
  • Angelina Jolie. The anti Jennifer Aniston. I used to love her. Who didn't. I guess eventually the tabloids ruined her for me and I think every other movie watcher on the planet. I just can't separate the supposed husband stealer-mother to orphans-world peace-french kissing your brother wacko that she may or may not be from the actress on the screen. It doesn't help that EVERY movie she does is so depressing that I would rather be anywhere else than watching it. How many assassins can she play? Ridiculous.
  • Drew Barrymore. She's cute. In everything. Enough said.
  • Hugh Grant. He's cute in everything. Enough said.
  • Brad Pitt. So bored with him. Just don't care what he does, it's always "That former hottie now baby daddy to crazy Angelina Jolie in yet another pseudo wanna be indie film".
  • Keira Knightly. Love her. I want to drink Guinness with her in a London pub. Love her movies too. But I'm a little bored of the spunky English lass characters and the latest films I've seen her in, I just think about having a beer with her in the pub.
And those actors that become the character to where I can forget their real celebrity personality.
  • Meryl Streep. Obviously. Although her as Julia Child was pushing it.
  • Kate Winslet. Hands down my favorite actress working today. She WAS Marianne in Sense and Sensibility.
  • James McAvoy. From his doomed soldier in Atonement to playing a half man, half faun in The Chronicles of Narnia to a killer in Wanted to the wheel chair bound MS character in Inside I'm Dancing. So very, very talented.
  • Renee Zellweger. She WAS Bridget Jones. And Beatrice Potter.
  • Colin Firth. One of the finest male actors ever. From playing Mr. Darcy to King George VI, he is amazing.
  • Matt Damon, Javier Bardem, Ken Watanabe. What is there to say. Talented.
  • Daniel Day-Lewis. Every role he is perfection. My Left Foot is one of the most amazing performances ever.
  • Johnny Depp. He is borderline for me, cartoonish characters versus serious acting.
  • Liam Neeson. Sigh. Who knew he would become my new favorite ass kicker after Taken?
  • And the up-and comings, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Carey Mulligan. Sure they haven't been in many movies, but no matter what other small roles I've seen them in or how many internet pictures of Watson in college or modeling Burberry I've glimpsed or read about Radcliffe acting naked on Broadway, they ARE Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Mulligan was extraordinary in An Education and shined in her small role in Pride and Prejudice. She's a chameleon.
Who am I missing? Have any favorites?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday 5 List-#8

Gift Ideas for the Book Lover in Your Life

  1. Book Light-a must have for every reader. Wake up in the middle of the night and want to read without disturbing your sleeping partner? Reading on the plane, train etc? Here are 2 book lights I've used: the Fulcrum Multi-Flex task light for under $10 and the Zelco "Itty Bitty" slim booklight for just under $30. Book lights are also a must have for travel.
  2. An e-Reader. You've heard about them. The Amazon Kindle, the Nook etc. I sure wish I'd had one during my 22 hour travel day last week. Pros: dozens of books at your fingertips, slim and light design. Cons: some still don't have wi-fi and come on... how are some of these machines not supporting color graphics and pictures? Do your research, start with this article, The Best e-Readers Compared.
  3. Book cover/carrier/bookmark in one. I have had one of these cloth paperback book covers for years. It's practically a rag but I use it on every paperback I read and have traveled with it throughout the US and Europe. For the paper back romance reader in your life, this is a MUST HAVE. You can find them for sale with various sellers on Etsy. Here is one similar to mine.
  4. Garden Art. For your book lover who gardens, why not some art for their garden. My favorite is the Savannah Bird Girl statue from the cover of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Other ideas include rocks with a favorite quote painted or carved on and small figurines like Beatrice Potter's animals.
  5. Reading Gift Bag. Have an empty basket laying around or a pretty book bag? Put together a book lover gift bag. Fill it with their favorite paperback or classic novel, book mark, warm throw blanket, slippers, bags of tea or hot chocolate, a reading light or film adaption of their favorite book.
Happy Shopping and Happy Reading!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday-Shopping Ideas for the Chicagoan or Visitor

It's really cold in Chicago today. Like step out the door take your breath away go back to bed cold. And it's Black Friday. Reason enough to stay in bed. I have a friend coming to stay with me for the weekend, this cold will be shocking to any visitor to the Windy City. It's shocking enough to the residents who are still hoping "this season the Cubs are going to win it". Ya, our seasons run together here in Chicago, we are a bit confused since it was 70 degrees last week.

So for the Chicagoan braving Black Friday today or the Chicago visitor, here are my must haves for you. Really, don't hit the streets of this City without.

1. A great winter coat. I have this coat by Steve Madden. Absolutely the warmest coat I've ever owned. I've worn it snowmobiling, sitting outside for winter sporting events and walking Michigan Avenue at night in December. Best. Coat. Ever. It has the warmth of down but is poly filled so suitable for those who don't want to wear anything made from animal.

2. An unlimited bus and "L" train pass. Chicago is a great walking city but not in the Winter unless you are wearing the coat above. If you are not, do yourself a favor and get a pass. Available in 1, 3, 7 or 30 day unlimited ride passes.  $14 for a 3 days pass is a bargain, you can get all over Chicago by hopping on the "L" and the buses up and down Michigan Avenue are perfect for holiday shopping.

3. Warm Boots. You can layer your clothes and blow on your fingers to warm them up, but having cold feet WILL ruin your time in Chicago. Do you want to visit the German Christkindl Market for warm spiced wine and shopping? Your feet better be warm because you will be outside at this market for hours. Fashion is great, but not really practical during Chicago winters. Ugg boots are incredibly warm, but completely impractical for wet, slushy, snowy conditions. Try Pac boots like Sorel. Here is a tip, if a construction worker or snowboard enthusiast would buy them, you are good to go.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Must See Movie: Farmageddon

What are your rights as a consumer when choosing where your food comes from? What is happening to the rights of the farmer? If you are interested in sustainable, organic framing, your health and the rights of consumers and producers, check this out. Add this documentary to your Library's collection.
For more information, visit the Facebook and Twitter pages.

Farmageddon Trailer from Kristin Canty on Vimeo.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday 5 List #7

I am home from my Caribbean adventure. Due to a terrible day of travel on Saturday I thought today's Monday 5 List should be travel tip related. FYI, American Eagle/American Airlines service was terrible in St. Croix USVI, the worst I've ever encountered in my years of travel. If you are visiting a remote location or an island with a small airport or limited flights I suggest using a different airline or at least know what other airlines or ferry services are available in case flights are cancelled, overbooked or delayed.

  1. Pack your phone, computer and any other small electronic chargers in your carry on luggage. I was stranded at the airport for 12 hours on Saturday and had a 22 hour travel day, thank goodness I had packed my Blackberry and iTouch chargers in my purse. 
  2. Pack snacks in your carry on bag. Airline food is notoriously terrible and extremely unhealthy. Pack a few granola bars, bags of nuts etc for those unexpected delays while traveling. Also, don't contribute to the water bottle epidemic. Pack a reusable water bottle and fill it from a water fountain in the terminal once you pass through security.
  3. Explore options to resort food. I stayed at a beautiful resort where the only options for dining was the resort restaurant or bar. Expensive option for 3 meals a day for 7 days. The nearest town was a cab ride away which also wasn't economical. Solution: we visited the local small grocery store and stocked up on essentials to keep in our room which came with a mini fridge. Soda, pretzels, bread, peanut butter and jelly, tuna, yogurt, Twizzlers, beer and fruit. Saved us the cost of lunch every day and some breakfasts and was convenient for late night munchies.
  4. If you are checking a bag, save yourself the inflated cost of purchasing items such as bugspray and suntan lotion at your destination, pack small containers of each.
  5. Toss a few ziploc bags and even a garbage bag into your suitcase. If you have wet or dirty items or are taking back fragile gifts the bags can be used for separating them or protecting them
Happy traveling!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Looking for Jack Sparrow and Rum Drinks

I am off to the Caribbean today. Going scuba diving for a week.
Will post when I return.
Have a great week readers.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Smaller Life (book, article and website suggestions)

I'm downsizing and I love it. I recently moved from a large home to a small home and with the lighter lifestyle has come the unexpected gift of time and awareness.

 Here are a few of the changes I'm enjoying in my life:

  • Walking my dog. My former home had a large fenced yard for my beagle Eloise. I now walk her 4 to 6 times a day and I'm really enjoying exploring my new neighborhood, meeting other dog owners and watching the seasons change.
  • Childhood pleasures. There is a pond down the street from my new home. Every day I walk the dog to the pond and feed the ducks scraps from the kitchen. I haven't fed ducks since I was a little girl and it's now one of my favorite parts of the day. I love to watch them fight for the bread and enjoy that they sometimes follow me home looking for more. I've also started collecting pine cones on my walks, I've filled a pretty bowl in my dining room.
  • Nesting. I cook almost every day. I eat healthier. I crawl in bed with a mountain of pillows and my dog and I read, day dream and get more rest. I cuddle with my son. I write more letters and read more books.
  • Spending my time wisely. When I was married my life revolved around the weekends and the chores around the house, the dinners out, parties, events at the clubs we belonged too etc. It was exhausting and not always fun. I stopped laying in bed and reading the paper. Lazy Saturday mornings lingering over breakfast disappeared. Walking, talking, movie nights and just simply being wasn't happening anymore. I wake up now with an entirely new perspective on life. I spend my time wisely. I play more golf. I spend time with my friends sitting around a bonfire instead of a country club lounge. I started volunteering again. I've invited more people into my life now that I'm not competing with someone else for his time. I've made some lovely new friends and reconnected with some dear old friends.
I've read some good books on minimizing your life, your home and your job in order to maximize your time, health and happiness. Here are a few I've enjoyed:

The Minimalist Entertains : Forty Seasonal Menus for Dinner Parties, Cocktail Parties, Barbecues, and More by Mark Bittman. Good recipes and ideas. Simple can be better.

The Only 127 Things You Need: A Guide to Life's Essentials by Donna Wilkinson.  Excellent resources, tips and plain common sense on things from your health, your wardrobe, your home and more. A great book to get you started on downsizing your life.

City Chic: The Modern Girl's Guide to Living Large on Less and City Chic: The Urban Guide to Livin' Large on Less by Nina Willdorf. Tips on everything from dining out to decorating your home on a budget. Love the recipes for skin care from kitchen staples like olive oil and eggs. 

Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life by Sophie Uliano. Tips on "greening" your home, style, food, travel and more. Recipes, tips on eliminating junk mail, exercise, beauty tips and more.

Here are a few good articles to read. 

The Next Little Thing? by Steven Kurutz (the NY Times article that got a lot of people thinking small)
Think Small by Bethany Lyttle
Death of the McMansion, a Yahoo Finance article

And some great websites:

Small House Society
The Not So Big House
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

Friday, November 5, 2010

Flash Back Friday #44

Haven't posted a Flash Back Friday in a couple of months so I picked a favorite song from the 80's.
Hall and Oates singing Rich Girl.
Love, Love Love singing to this song in my car.
Enjoy and have a great weekend readers!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Unusual Book Titles-Can You Judge a Book by it's Title?

It's that time of the month. Book orders are due. As I flip through publisher catalogs, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal etc. I've discovered some odd book titles. Here are a few:

  • Elvis and the Memphis Mambo Murders by Peggy Webb.
  • The Corpse Wore Tartan by Kaitlyn Dunnett
  • Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin (This book I ordered, it looks charming)
  • Pepperoni Pizza Can Be Murder by Chris Cavender
  • Cat in an Ultramarine Scheme by Carole Nelson Douglas
  • Fatally Frosted by Jessica Beck
Oh and then there are the always humorously titled romance books:
  • SOS: Convenient Husband Required by Liz Fielding
  • Practical Widow to Passionate Mistress by Louise Allen
  • Sweet Surrender with the Millionaire by Helen Brooks
  • A Baby for the Flying Doctor by Lucy Clark
  • Tipping the Waitress with Diamonds by Nina Harrington
  • Emergency Doctor and Cinderella by Melanie Milburne
  • Under the Spaniard's Lock and Key by Kim Lawrence
I would love to be the book store owner for the book tours.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday List-#6

Because yesterday was Halloween and because it's been nothing but scary movies, ghost hunters and scariest location television shows on for the past month. Here are the 5 scariest movies I've seen so far.

  1. The Shining. "Come play with us Danny. Forever and ever and ever." Those bloody dead ghost sisters scarred me for life.
  2. Signs. Sure this movie is strange and stars the even stranger Mel Gibson, but geez those aliens freaked me out. Still have nightmares. Shiver.
  3. Nightmare on Elm Street. The 1984 original of course with a very young Johnny Depp.
  4. Children of the Corn. Another freaky movie from 1984. Every teenager who saw this movie in the 80's can quote it, name the scary kids and still avoids cornfields.
  5. Friday the 13th. Camp counselors, isolation, murder. The 1980 original spawned 11 sequels. This movie terrified me. I only saw it once. I will never watch it again.
What movies are on your list?