Thursday, April 17, 2014

Books Hitting the Big Screen

You know what I love? Books. And Movies.
Imagine what happens when I find out a book I love is hitting the big screen.

Yes there is jumping up and down. Yes, I tweet about it and yes, I watch the trailers over and over again.

And yes, I know that almost EVERY movie is NEVER as good as the book. I literally CRIED real tears when my favorite book, P.S. I Love You was butchered to pieces in the movie. I didn't even finish it and have boycotted it ever since. And when I say it's one of my favorite books, I mean I've read it more than Oh, The Places You'll Go.

So though it is with some hesitation that I endorse these movies, I just can't help but hope that they will be as riveting as the books and that the adaptations do the stories justice!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - the first book I reviewed on this blog (almost 2 years ago!). I will definitely reread this book before it comes out in October. I love Ben Afleck as Nick Dunn and am really excited to see this on film!


Gillian Flynn's other book, Dark Places, is also becoming a movie. There's no trailer or release date but it is just as (if not even more) twisted than Gone Girl and very creepy, so I am excited about it as well!

The Giver- The first book I remember really sticking with me. I read it when I was in middle school and it just spoke to me. The visuals in the trailer have my hopes high. I really think this could be a great adaptation!



 Alexander and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - My grandma had this book when I was little and it was like, my mantra growing up. I felt like Alexander and I were kindred spirits. I couldn't find the trailer but the stills from filming show a great cast including Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell. How could it  go terribly, horribly wrong?


Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand- This video leaves me speechless. I am just so humbled and inspired by Louis' story. The book was amazing and so full of information from historical events. I just really feel like this is going to be epic, especially with Queen Angelina Jolie in the director's chair.






 Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern- From the author that brought my favorite, P.S. I Love You, comes "Love, Rosie" which is being made into a movie under it's UK name, Where Rainbows End. Very excited about this one as well, as long as whoever the schmuck was who messed up P.S. I Love You isn't involved.


Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S. She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever.

All of these trailers have me so excited to get to the movies this year! AND speaking of trailers, have you seen this year?
 I. just. can't. 


Which movie are you the most excited about? 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jenni Pretends She's Engaged...

Are you guys ready to start some rumors?

I love a good gossip sesh. ALMOST as much as I love starting gossip about myself that's far from the truth. So when I was presented the opportunity to browse through engagement rings from Brilliant Earth and share my favorite, you betcha I took the opportunity!

So I present to you a tongue-in-cheek post:



And what happens at engagement parties? You get to show off your handsome husband to be...and more importantly...the ring! 

There'd be a grand celebration at a winery with white lights strong around a gazebo so densely, it created the illusion of a night sky with twinkling stars close enough to touch...a Sinatra look a like croons from the corner and the cicadas can be heard in the distant. The weather is a perfect 65 degrees with a breeze just strong enough to lift the hem of my flowing maxi dress as it brushes over the dance floor. 



I would be wearing a beautiful dress from Anthropology, wedges that extended my calves from Loft and Veienna Vintage earrings from Brilliant Earth for the celebration. 

 And as for the ring I picked my amazing pretend fiancee picked out? 


A beautiful cushion cut rose gold beauty.
On the Brilliant Earth website, you custom make your engagement ring with tons of choices on size, setting, center stones, color, cut, clarity and then some. The possibilities are endless! 

And now, it's back to reality, damn it. 
But for those days that I want to continue imaging about my make believe engagement party, wedding and everything else that will never happen, please get lost in my Pinterest boards. (Because we all know that's what I really do in my free time). 

For more proof that I dream about a make believe wedding more than normal people would, oooh and awww over my Pinterest board, "What If" 


If you could have the engagement of your dreams, what would you dream up? 





Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review: The Weight of Blood



You know how a good book sticks with you? I couldn't get this one out of my mind.  


From Goodreads: The Dane family's roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn't keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy's few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn't protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri's necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers.

Lucy and Lila are two female characters who are linked in a mother-daughter relationship that always hits an emotional note with readers (or at least it always does with me). What's great about this book is  that the author does an amazing job making Lucy and Lila's relationship powerful enough without ever having to the two really meet. Lucy doesn't remember her mother, who disappeared when she was just a baby. But with amazing storytelling and switching characters in such a talented story telling style that doesn't confuse the reader, McHugh connects the mother and daughter over generations.  

What is happening in Lucy's small town and even smaller world around her was actually way more guttural than I thought it would be. I really didn't see the twists coming. Honestly, I would have enjoyed the book without the deep secrets that explained Lila's disappearance and the murder of Lucy's childhood friend. That's how great the writing was. I didn't even need a plot. I just wanted to read more about the town, the neighbors, the interesting characters...I loved how the stories intertwined with each other. One character's chapter would leave some questions unanswered but in the next chapter, another character would unknowingly give me the answers I needed. 

You will read about Lucy's curiosity, and about how her beautiful mother ended up in the small town and how her best friend was murdered(and more importantly, why). You'll be jealous of her friendships but be just as relieved you don't have some of her questionable relatives. There are so many holes in Lucy's past that you'll want to find answers just as much as she does. 

Read this book if you love great character development, if you appreciate small town complexities, mysterious paths and family connections. Don't be afraid to read this book if you like a little danger and mystery but be weary if you have a weak stomach because even though the good people in this book are good people, the bad ones are really bad.  

Happy reading! 



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Uganda Read Chelsea Handler's Book: A Review

Oh what, you're surprised I finally have a book review on my book blog? 

I'm motivated to review this mostly because I'm going to see her on May 2 so I thought I'd better brush up on what stories she'll be telling. I've read all of Chelsea Handler's books and look forward to watching Chuy's her show whenever I can stay up that late. 

I give Uganda Be Kidding Me 5 stars. 5 stars as in, "Uganda read this book."

Why? Because she's frickin' hilarious and random and witty. 
And there's just something sadistically funny about someone tearing their ACL on a Swiss ski mountain. 


From Goodreads: Wherever Chelsea Handler travels, one thing is certain: she always ends up in the land of the ridiculous. Now, in this uproarious collection, she sneaks her sharp wit through airport security and delivers her most absurd and hilarious stories ever.

If you need a good laugh, or inspiration that will get you outta town and on an air plane, Uganda read this book. 

Her safari trip to South Africa takes the cake for the funniest trip but her ski vacation had me laughing out loud too. 

The icing on the cake was that I was reading about Chelsea Handler drinking and taking Xanax on an airplane while I myself was drinking and taking Xanax on an airplane so I pretty much felt like Chelsea herself. And what more could you ask for, really? 

The best thing I took away from reading Uganda Be Kidding Me was that A) I need to go on a Safari like, yesterday. B) Australian accents will always be hot and C) Money can't buy happiness, but it can certainly buy you trips around the world with your favorite people and that sounds pretty damn happy to me. 

At the end of the book, Chelsea shares travel tips and ends with: "Go for it. Go where ever you can afford to go with whomever you can get to go with you." 

She also shared a beautiful photo of herself as a little girl, along with an anecdote about her mother that showed a softer, sentimental side of her that I always knew was there underneath the hilarious self deprecation and drunken shenanigans. She's one of those characters that has so much to give because she's not just one-dimensional. I doubt she'll run out of material anytime soon. 

I also was inspired to drink more Bloody Marys, Mimosas and Margaritas after reading this book, which I honestly didn't think was possible, since I pretty much think about drinking them all day. So thanks for that, Chels. 


Friday, April 4, 2014

Plunge for Baby Landon: A Community Comes Together

There's something really amazing going on in my hometown right now.

They are all freezing their butts off because they are jumping in frozen farm ponds all over the state (and beyond) in honor of a little boy named Landon.

Landon is 5 months old and has cancer. 

And something amazing happened. People started taking off their clothes and "plunging" to raise money for his medical bills and for the trips his parents are taking back and forth between their home and the children's hospital.

Someone made a video and challenged their friends to jump into freezing water. For every person who took the challenge, they would donate money to Landon's family. And the plunges just kept coming.

Since March 30, over $60,000 has been raised and the Plunge For Landon Facebook page where people are posting their plunge videos has over 18,000 members. and I couldn't be more proud of my community.

We started plunging and then pretty soon, our Senator was jumping, fulling clothed in his suit, in to the Potomac in Washington, DC, the local sports teams, school faculties and everyone from age 3 months to 80 is taking a dip too.



This week, my kids and I all took the plunge for baby Landon. I jumped into a farm pond, Ryder took a dip in a fishing pond and we found a hot tub for Reese. (she didn't know why we all thought it was so cold!) and they had so many questions about why we were going swimming and who baby Landon is. It opened a great conversation with them about doing good things for others.

I just wanted to share this amazing story with you. What started out as a tiny community showing support for a little baby has not only raised a lot of money for his family but it's gone so far beyond that. I was in a meeting with complete strangers an hour away from home and 3 people I had never met were talking about their plunges. It's reached so many more hearts than anyone ever imagined. 

I feel like this circle of support and compassion has been cast around our community and it is so encouraging. 

It takes a village to raise a child. 

It takes a freezing cold farm pond in the middle of no where to bring people together who would have otherwise never crossed paths.

 It takes talking to your children about cancer for the first time to really realize that anything can happen. 

It takes freezing cold water to give you this rush that what may seem like a small act is actually a movement that means so much more.

 A movement of support, compassion, understanding and friendship. 

It takes a little baby boy to bring a whole world of people together and who can deny how special that is? 

Thank you for everyone who has taken this amazing challenge and for anyone who wants to learn more, visit the Plunge for Landon facebook page.

I officially challenge all of my blogging friends to take the Challenge. I know you are everywhere out there, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Philly, NYC, Florida, Wisconsin. Let's spread the Landon Love! Post your videos to Plunge for Landon and tag me in it as your challenger! For any blogger who plunges, I will donate $10 to the cause! 

Pit & Peak VACATION EDITION


VACATION EDITION 

Vacation. I'm still exhausted from it. I loved every minute of it but I'm still exhausted.  Have you ever noticed that sometimes, with vacations, there's aways the good, the bad and the ugly? So it goes perfect with my Pit and Peak link up theme! It's the perfect way to sum up of the fun times we had during our trek east to visit my aunt and introduce my niece to the ocean while at the same time tell you about the major pits that occurred as well. (since now that it's all said it done we can all laugh about my ear drum rupturing on the Jersey Turnpike). Ha. Ha.  

PACKING 
The Peak: I love seeing how small I can make a shirt by rolling it up in a tiny little ball. I love planning my outfits and exceeding the limits of what it looks like my suitcase can hold. 

The Pit: Having nothing to wear once I get to my aunt's house even though my suitcase it splitting at the seams. AND  Forgetting to pack enough underwear. (not saying it happened to me, just saying I'd assume it wouldn't be comfortable).

FLYING 

The Peak: Diet Coke on the flight. I don't know why but it just tastes better at 29,000 feet.

The Pit: High Altitude on my ear drums. Epic fail. 
Googling "how to pop your ears after a flight" and rupturing your own eardrum WHILE ON THE JERSEY TURNPIKE and having a complete pain/anxiety meltdown because of the sheer pain ripping through your ears.

The even BIGGER PIT: Spending one afternoon of vacation in urgent care trying to save yourself from the pain raging inside our ear and regaining proper hearing.

The REALLY NICE PEAK: Dating a Pharmacist who knows how to take care of you and your ear!

TRAVELING 

The Peak: Traveling with Manfriend. He's a pretty good travel companion and by the end of our day in NYC, he had those subway maps memorized. He never complained once, even when dragged into a Coach outlet, where he adorable asked what made the wallets so special and more expensive. "Do they have more compartments or something?" (adorbs) 






The Pit: Trying to find a nice public bathroom in NYC. Little tip: Duck inside a Starbucks, buy a caramel machiatto and step in line, because that's your best bet in finding a bathroom that won't scar you for life.

The Pittier: The looks we got when Manfriend's backpack bumped into a lady on the subway. Evil Eyes MaGee, we called her. Also, I was DIS CLOSE to meeting one of my favorite bloggers, Steph @ Insert Classy Here. But she did give us an awesome recommendation to check out an Irish Pub for dinner which we did and it was AWESOME! 

Peaks in Pics: 


Staying in the Westin right in the middle of Times Square


Seeing all of the Love Locks on the Brooklyn Bridge
(that's a whole separate blog post coming soon!) 


Just the Brooklyn Bridge in general. We walked across, grabbed some pizza at Juliana's and came back. By far the highlight of our day. 



More locks. :) 

PHILADELPHIA 

 The Peak: Taking in the historic sights and amazing food. We even mailed home a postcard from the first United States Post Office. Also, I'm pretty sure Ben Franklin and I would have courted back in the day. 


Another Peak: We scarfed down famous cheese steaks at Sonny's. 


The only ugly part I can think of about Sonny's is that I couldn't have 10 more sandwiches 


The Pit: Missing another blate with another Step _  Steph @Life According To Steph. Yeah yeah yeah I tried to steal her away while she was at work but I was still sad we couldn't meet up, we were DIS close!  Another pit is that we just didn't have more time. I simply loved Philly and I'm pretty sure I would have dated Ben Franklin back in the day.

FAMILY

The Peak: Spending time with my amazing family and capturing moments like these:


Introducing the ocean to little Lucy Wynn 


Goofing off on the shore 



And a quick kiss as well... 

The only real pit of the whole vacation was being away from the Rs, but the goodness of reuniting with them made up for it! 


Hope you have a wonderful weekend! 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TRAVELING MUSIC

In celebration of the plane that is taking off in the morning at 5:55 a.m. WITH ME ON BOARD...
I decided to think about all the signs that it has clearly been too long since I've been on vacation. 

It's been almost exactly 11 years since I traveled somewhere outside a 200 mile radius. Sad I know. But tomorrow that changes when I pop my Philly cherry, fly to New Jersey and tourist-ly walk around New York City on Friday. 

Excited? You betcha. 

Here are signs that it's been too long since you've traveled: 

  • Your suitcase has flappy ears and wheels that look like paws

  • You are disappointed when you don't get a Wing pin.

  •  You can't wait to recite as many Bridesmaids quotes as possible while in the air

  • When you are at the airport you stop and stare when people have passionate reunion hugs.

  • When you think about going to the airport, all you do is hope you'll see passionate union hugs 


  •  You get excited about riding the escalators in the airport 

  • You secretly wish someone was going to be holding a sign with your name on it when you land

  • You feel the need to drink on the plane even if they cost $5 and are watered down. 

  • You seriously consider how to join the mile club 


  • You get excited waiting to see your luggage emerge and ride down the baggage claim 

  • You look up celebrity's "airport" fashion on Pinterest. 

And that's my list of things I've been doing for the past 2 weeks.   "how you know you haven't traveled in forever" list. 

Mostly I am just excited to leave the world behind just for a couple of days. No blogs, no obsessively checking Facebook for no good reason, (Although you are guaranteed some major action on  Instagram (jennijo13) and Snap Chat (jennijoho13). Obvi. 


Bon Voyage, Friends! 






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