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YOU WENT WHERE?! THE STAR MOVIE PREMIERE (without kids)

The magic of films, the power of storytelling and the glitter of Hollywood remain a few of the reasons I choose to live near Los Angeles. Films entertain and educate us, they change our perspectives, and expand our views of our world – or what exists beyond. My favorite trend right now revolves around telling historic or well-known stories from a different perspective – whether showcasing a lesser known person who had a significant role in history, telling a side of history that we’re not familiar with, or telling historic stories through fictionally-enhanced side-stories. My new fascination with history lies not with people’s outcomes, but with their journeys.

When invited to the world premiere of Sony Pictures The Star, the twin angels on my shoulders, Oprah and Shonda, eagerly responded: Year of adventure! Year of Yes! Despite working at a film studio for many years, I rarely participated in a project’s release. What a fun opportunity to see a film first and a festive way to ease into the holiday season! Plus this was another amazing destination on my journey this year. With two of my #OMagInsiders blogging pals – Camesha [MamaMotivator] and Rachel [RachelSimmondsFitness] – we set out to support Oprah in her film project, and hopefully thank her in-person for inspiring my Year of Adventure in person.

Approaching the Westwood movie theatre, crowds of fans outlined the streets huddling to catch a glimpse of their favorites from this star-studded cast. The snowy white carpet glistened as elegantly decorated Christmas trees reflected the flash of paparazzi bulbs.

Glimpsing the well-choreographed dance between the celebrities and the press fascinated me – especially the young media with a larger camera and staff than ours.

To our surprise, we effortlessly walked past the will-call line and crowds to the back of the festival set up along the white carpet for the guests and their families! Stocked with comfort finger-foods and carnival games, smiles shone bright from all who lingered in this carved out Winter Wonderland before heading into the screening.

This film exceeded my expectations in so many ways because of the balance in the film. While it’s a familiar story, this film presents the stories of many less-visible characters, little obstacles we hadn’t thought of before and the shock of experiencing it first-hand. While it’s a story of great magnitude, it’s presented in a sweet, simple way that people of all ages can follow with a great balance of good, evil, struggle, humor, skepticism and faith. While it’s a religious story, the amount of religion infused in the story isn’t too much, or too little – it’s just right. I highly recommend this film for families this holiday season. I can’t wait to take my mom, children and my niece!

Seeing The Star film in this huge theatre filled with the magic-makers – who took months, even years to complete this film – escalated my excitement for this project. I always try to sit through credits but in this moment we could applaud the creators as they closed this chapter in their amazing journey! Plus this amazing soundtrack had us dancing in the aisles!

There were a few messages from the film that resonated with me, especially reflecting on my personal journey this year, yet will benefit all ages. Whether your destiny remains unclear to you so far or it shines like a beacon as obvious as the star in the sky, it’s not just reaching the point of achieving your goal that defines you as successful. Equally as valuable are how well you stay your course, face fears or evolve when unexpected things happen or undesirable situations are put in your way. If your faith in your journey and in your goals persevere you rise above the naysayers and reach your goals.

No, we did not congratulate Oprah this time, but I left the afternoon with amazing memories, new life experiences tucked under my belt – shared with my newest best friends, and a new holiday family film tradition (to balance out our tradition of watching Christmas Vacation)!

For more shots of who I met on the white carpet check out my Instagram!

What about you?

  • Have you seen The Star?
  • who was your favorite character?
  • Who is your favorite celebrity voicing a character in this film?
  • What was your favorite holiday song/performer from the film
  • What holiday film do you traditionally watch?
  • What is your favorite holiday tradition?
  • What is your favorite role that Oprah has played?
  • What was your last new experience that you were excited about saying yes to?
  • Are you ready for the holidays?

#thestarmovie #sonypictures #Oprah #OprahWinfrey #TylerPerry #TracyMorgan #Sony #AnimatedFilm #Animation #HolidayFilm #ChristmasMovie #ChristmasMusic #ChristmasCarols #Soundtrack #MerryChristmas #FirstChristmas #Mary #Joseph #Bethlehem #Thestar #film #movie #premiere #makesmewander

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SONGS MY HEART SINGS

kind

Happy Valentine’s Day! Are your favorite Love Songs listed here?

Every day, but especially Valentine’s day, music has the ability to alter my mood. With today being the national reminder to love one another, I pulled together a soundtrack of songs that put me in the mood… to skip down the sidewalk tossing confetti hearts at everyone I pass.

Love Will Keep us Together by Captain & Tennille

Your Song by Elton John

I Just Called to Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder

Crazy for You by Madonna

Groovy Kind of Love by Phil Collins

(Everything I Do) I’d Do it For You by Bryan Adams

Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion

Silly Love Songs by Wings

Still the One by Shania Twain

Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Michael Bublé

BONUS: Baby Baby by Amy Grant

I know, I missed a whole bunch that commercially were bigger love songs, but these are my songs that can break my heart and make it sing at the same time – what are yours?

What would be on your Valentine’s Day Mix Tape?
Share your all-time favorite love song – if you can pick one!
Any other favorite ways to say “I Love You!”
Any favorite Valentine’s Day traditions?
Wanna buy any of the songs? Click thru on the song title!

#lovesong #love #IHeartYou #Valentine #Baby #ILoveYou #LoveYou #Crush #BeMine #CaptainandTenille #Madonna #EltonJohn #StevieWonder #PhilCollins #BryanAdams #CelineDion #Wings #ShaniaTwain #MichaelBuble #AmyGrant #Soundtrack

CURRENTLY: November 2016

Here I am again, daydreaming and trying to distract myself from the election!  I’m hopeful for a quick and final decision so that we can shrug and move onto holiday preparation!  If you’d like to give yourself something else to think about and and do this exercise, share your links below!

CURRENTLY LOVING
Holidays are a family affair and I received this fun Knock Knock stuff that will weave the family together for this season. The 20 Holiday Vouchers help you enlist the family for assistance, but also remind you all to take family time over the holiday. The sweet Spread the Love journal becomes a keepsake remembering what about that person tugs on your heartstrings …and I guarantee it’ll pull on theirs!  Sorry, but the Vouchers already sold out for this year, but browse the Spread the Love journals – available in a variety of styles!

nov-hello2

CURRENTLY INDULGING IN
Don’t ever feel guilty about only sending a card again!  Letterpress Holiday cards by Papermum Press are a gift in and of themselves. The impression of the letterpress gives your card depth, and emphasizes the quality of the paper. For every color on the card, they pass each card through the printing press again. The printer’s expertise and artistic eye comes through in every card. Maybe we’ll get an up close look one day soon

nov-llttr

CURRENTLY DAY DREAMING ABOUT
My next themed birthday party.  I love doing themed parties – in the past I held a non-tragic TITANIC party for my son, a SPY TRAINING CAMP for my daughter.  For work, we recently hosted a conference but gave the guests the true California experience. Now, I’m creating an Oceans 16 themed event. Being a Walt Disney fan, creating events that appeal to every sense with unexpected surprises invigorates me. Pictures to come!

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO
This music choice perfectly represents my gemini-ness:
21 Pilots Heathens perfectly portrays the delicate line between pained control of Marvel’s Suicide Squad’s outward appearance but also the betrayal that deeply scarred their hearts.

The Weeknd (featuring Daft Punk) produced a song Starboy that takes me away! The strong beat supports The Weeknd’s dreamy lyrics and the melody just makes my body move –  I’m a star girl!

CURRENTLY OBSESSED WITH
In a world where life is often lived online for the world to see a gift with a secret code feels like something my loved ones would cherish. Though Morse Code was built for communication to connect two individuals, reinventing it into cherished modern jewelry as a way to connect two individuals warms my heart.  The style of the code easily fits with the styles worn by men or women!    

nov-morse

CURRENTLY ANTICIPATING
Every amazing movie from the 80s culminated in the new series Stranger Things!  My children and I binge-watched the series over two nights.  Though they don’t appreciate all of the symbolism from my teen years in the show,  they love the characters and the suspense.  We were thrilled to see that STRANGER THINGS SEASON 2 recently started production!

stranger-things

CURRENTLY WANTING
I know I’m in my mid-40s but the sloth ring may be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and I love the way the designer builds multiple parts to the ring to create depth with her animals. Maybe I’ll get one for myself “and for my daughter” (but it may escape and wander over to my jewelry box one night…)

nov-sloth

WTF: What?! Toes? Feet?

CURRENTLY AVOIDING
The media of all kinds (at least for the next 60 or so hours). Though this blog lives online and we all live in a social media world now, I feel as though the news agencies’ competition for ratings result in exaggerated, sensationalized and even falsified news. This crazy election exacerbated the problem.  So until the election washes over, my screen will be dark except to write my #NaBloPoMo posts. Now if only I could stop political mail from hitting my mailbox.

What favorite song represents you the best?
What indulgence reminds you of your childhood?
What happened to Barb?
Did you vote?

What about you? Consider these:
CURRENTLY REFLECTING
CURRENTLY DRINKING
CURRENTLY WATCHING
CURRENTLY PANICKING
CURRENTLY COVETING
Or dream up your own!

 

#Election #Vote #StrangerThings #MorseCode #Holidays #Sloth #Ring #Jewelry #Journal #KnockKnockStuff #TheWeeknd #21Pilots #Disney #Marvel #SuicideSquad #Heathens #Starboy #Letterpress #HolidayCards #NaBloPoMo #StarboyAMAs

GHOSTBUSTERS ANSWER THE CALL WITH A SMART REBOOT

Believe me, every time a new reboot appears my eyes roll, “Another 80’s movie makeover?! Why do studios insist on tampering with sentimental favorites that represent our prime years?  We love the generational inside jokes that bond us together. In most cases, the equation of bigger explosions + younger actors + less clothes – sprinkled with updated music and better special effects leaves me unsatisfied and worried for the next generation (of film-making). Reboots (or sequels) should add quality and depth to a franchise.

GHOSTBUSTERS answered the call providing us with what what I hope will be a smart, powerful (and insanely funny) film.  WATCH TRAILER!

gbgals

Photo from the Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/ghostbusters/

  • Balancing the playing field: Throughout Hollywood, conversations lately focus on equality: Racial, Gender, etc.  Sony Pictures chose to listen to the movements and their celebrity leaders – Emma Watson and Geena Davis – who rally for more women in lead roles.  Four wickedly funny women lead as studious, outspoken women: Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig!  
  • Being known as a number: Did Sony choose these women to be politically correct? Call it a hunch, but I’m thinking studios operate a bit more on a number$ ba$i$. Bottom line, these women slay box offices and television. For once producers stood up to ANYSTUDIO executive* who said “This film won’t succeed without more male leads.”
  • Passes a test most others fail: If you’re not aware, the Bechdel Test  measures whether a film features 1) At least two female characters 2) Who speak to each other 3) About something besides men. Many films fail this test. Ghostbusters not only passes, but doubled up!
  • Eye (ronic) candy: The stereotype of men hiring attractive, lovingly ditzy assistants extends beyond the film industry.  These Ghostbusters kick so much ghost-ass, only this male marvel understands their work.  Secondary win: Chris Hemsworth in an outwardly more conservative, smart role, not just banking on the brawn (raises his appeal in my eyes).

gbc

Photo from the Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/ghostbusters/

TRUTH: The trailer inspired my instant 180-degree change in opinion (or flooded me with hope) about film-remakes. I truly know nothing else about the film. Now I’m going to stalk all social media waiting for additional Ghostbuster gems and the summer release that, now, can’t come soon enough.

*I’m not implying that Sony ever had any Negative Nellie executive – but it’s an industry-wide issue.  If you want to see my really-long Master’s thesis, let me know – It’s the longest thing I’ve ever written.

#HeForShe #IfSheCanSeeItSheCanBeIt #BechdelTest #Ghostbusters #WhoYouGonnaCall #AnswerTheCall #LeslieJones #MelissaMcCarthy #KateMcKinnon #KristenWiig #ChrisHemsworth #Sony #SonyPictures

2015 Academy Awards Movie Haiku + Grey Bonus!

While I was on my 8-week leave from work, my kids loved to remind me that I was, essentially, on my summer break. They came home sourly asking if I’d done anything all day while they slaved away at school.

So, here’s my “What I did on my summer break!” report. With a new movie buddy en tow, I finally saw all of the Academy Awards 2015 nominated films for Best Picture – and a few more. The best part was lingering in conversation or online research afterwards to really submersed myself in each film.

Here are my thoughts after loving each film! I’d love to hear your film comments below! To buy them, click the titles (they’re worth a repeated re-watch, trust me).

2015 Best Picture Nominees Photo: TODAY.com

2015 Best Picture Nominees
Photo: TODAY.com

BEST PICTURE
American Sniper
Focused fight abroad
Fought to return home wholly
Evil was too near

Boyhood
Two hours, Twelve Years
The growth of these characters
Redefined filming

Birdman
(The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Runs too and from self
Looking for proof he mattered
Ignorance is bliss

Selma
One man led many
Learn what textbooks skimmed over
Still now, we march on

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Fail or fly, Darling!
Lobbying on own behalf
Loyalty pays off

The Imitation Game
War and Enigma
Him being one, he cracked one
Unfair cost for task

The Theory of Everything
Numbers can’t explain
Mind outgrew body’s limits
Live life, love fully

Whiplash
“Good Job!” serves no one
Each beat bore holes in his self
Bled out own rhythm

SOME FROM OTHER CATEGORIES
BEST ACTRESS
Gone Girl
Search for missing wife
Can’t clear him with muddy truth
Who’s the real victim

Still Alice
Insight to illness
She fights to stay for others
While losing herself

Wild
Hiked peaks and valleys
Faced fears, mapped wild heart alone
Load lightened each step

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Into the Woods
Forget fairy tales
Perhaps the happy ending
Lives outside the songs

BEST ANIMATED
Big Hero 6
Boy and his friend prove
Even artificial hearts
Help people soar, heal

The Boxtrolls
Misjudged trolls teach us
Life isn’t packaged neatly
Live in light, not dark

…and for fun (if you are into that stuff),
50 Shades of Grey
He is hot, she’s not
Eye-rolling sex and banter
Untie mess, sequel

Still hungry for more Grey?

#Oscars #AcadamyAwards #BestPicture #Nominees

COOL RIDER WEAKNESS

As I spin through the musical genius known as the soundtrack for Grease 2, let me divulge to you how I longed to be Stephanie Zinoni singing her heart out from the top of the ladder about her Coool Rider!

Remember Michelle Pfeiffer in this movie?
Thanks fanpop.com for being a Greasey resource for fans!

I don’t care that she sang horribly, nor that this movie was extra cheesy.  It boils down to one thing.  Women, or at least I, have a weakness for guys who like to go fast on big, loud machines!  I don’t care how dangerous my rational self knows these machines are, my heart flutters when I hear a deep engine accompanied by a handsome driver controlling the beast.

Think this film was aw(ful)esome?? Check out Bob’s Bad Movie Blog!

Random revelation, right?!  Well, last night my adorably studious son (more like Michael Carrington), up past his bedtime, was about to retrace his report in pen – his third draft. I asked why he didn’t write this draft in pen to begin with and he said he wanted it to be perfect so he needed it to be erasable.  His drive, coupled with the 10 pm timeframe, led me to offer to retrace everything myself.  I didn’t research or rewrite anything, simply filled in the pen. Know that this isn’t usual either – we have a rep to protect!

Michael Carrington – did anyone ever see him again?!

For background noise, I watched the new season premiere of The Bachelorette!  Emily is a charming, warm southern belle whose first fiancé was a race car driver who was killed in a plane crash heading to a race.  I won’t even touch on the Brad season, he doesn’t deserve another moment of discussion.  So she’s back trying to find another true love.  Of course, for dramatic flair, or the fact that he’s adorable and foreign, a racecar driver lined up to start. I thought the most “real” moments of the show shared how nervous he was to tell her his living, knowing her past, and it was sweet that she had moments where her light shone through her very well-composed exterior when she talked about her love of racing.

Arie’s taken the lead so far as I’m concerned!
(C) ABC television group/Craig Sjodin

Of course now I’m hooked, and the Pink Lady in me wants Arie to win because of his need for speed and his big heart! I will live vicariously through her.

Pink Lady Emily kissing frogs before she gets her prince.

…and her!  Hmmm… Distant cousins maybe?!