Friday, November 21

my fall in entertainment

books i read

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead - As an English teacher, I try to keep up with the books that receive the Newbery Medal, but had picked up When You Reach Me at the bookstore a few times to return it to the shelf, even knowing that it included references to A Wrinkle In Time and is in itself a science fiction mystery.  I don't know what finally got me to keep reading the book, but I'm glad I finally did.  When You Reach me is set in New York in the late 1970's, basically the same New York that books like From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, So You Want to Be a Wizard, and The Other Shephards - a city where middle-schoolers can walk to school and around the neighborhood and back to their apartments without fear of being mugged or kidnapped.  In fact, pretty much the only fear the main character, Miranda, has, is of the crazy, laughing homeless man on her street who spends most of his time lying under a mailbox.  The book follows the course of a sixth-grade school year in which Miranda loses one best friend, gains a new one, gets a job making sandwiches, helps her mother prepare for a game show appearance, and receives several mysterious notes from a stranger who seems to know more about her life than anyone should.

The Art of Racing In the Rain by Garth Stein - I picked this one up at the public library after seeing various recommendations, and I definitely wasn't disappointed - I was hooked from page one, when I realized that the narrator is a dog and became curious to find out how an author would sustain a dog's voice for an entire adult novel.  Garth Stein, I tip my hat to you.  Our narrator, Enzo, like most dogs, is loyal almost to a fault, and loves his owner, Formula One race car driver Denny, with all of his canine heart.  The book details Enzo's life with Denny, which is really Denny's maturation into manhood - falling in love, starting a family, and dealing with very real challenges.  It's a book with a dog on the cover, so have the tissues handy, but know that all will be well in the end.

movies i saw

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I - I have a trusty co-worker with whom I have seen each of the Hunger Games movies on opening night, usually in a theater packed with teenagers.  The theater crowd was not as large as I expected this time, but the film had me from beginning to end.  We pick up with Katniss already living in District Thirteen with her mother, Prim, and Gale.  Plutarch is there, convincing the rebel District's President (Julianne Moore being ABSOLUTELY AMAZING) to use the Mockingjay to overthrow the Capitol and President Snow once and for all.  At first, Katniss isn't ready to be used again - until she sees that Snow has made a puppet out of Peeta, and is hurting him to punish her.

Mockingjay Part I has none of the glamour of the first two movies and all of the ominous dystopian themes.  The two things I was reminded of while watching were the sinking of the Titanic and the Holocaust, if that tells you anything about the tempo of this one.  I have trouble imagining destruction and abuse while reading, and seeing the wreckage of District Twelve and poor Peeta's bruised and battered face onscreen probably affected me more than it did when I read the novel.  Effie Trinket's role is expanded from the book (probably because Elizabeth Banks has brought her to life so wonderfully) and she and Haymitch provide enough humor to break the tension and keep viewing the movie from being a completely stressful experience.  As President Snow exercises his grip on Panem and his residents go from cheering on child death matches on huge screens to witnessing it firsthand, it's obvious that the stakes have changed.  The point of view seems to change in this addition to the series - instead of watching and admiring Katniss, we are following her, looking right over her shoulder at the heartbreaks and horrors she witnesses.

A few things distracted me from completely loving the movie: I was distracted by the fact that the nameless residents of the various Districts are characterized using today's stereotypes in what is supposedly the future (i.e. flannel shirts = Lumberjack district!).  I also found it distracting that the propaganda videos starring Katniss use the same sound effects and even fonts as the Hunger Games franchise itself, so I got the feeling I was watching a Scholastic book fair trailer instead of a film-within-a-film.

television favorites

The Walking Dead - I'm digging what the show's producers have done this season: split up the core group of survivors, and spend each week following the smaller factions.  Not that much time has actually passed, but so much has happened.  Since I'm not a huge Rick Grimes fan, I'm perfectly happy spending an hour with Beth and new character Noah, Daryl and Carol, Tyreese and Judith, or Maggie and Glenn instead.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The television piece of the Marvel universe is finally giving viewers a bigger glimpse of how the superhero Avengers films, space opera Guardians of the Galaxy, and a Tuesday night show about spies are really connected.  One of the biggest complaints I saw about the show last season was the Skye was a Mary Sue character, and the writers clearly took that to heart because this season features a wiser Skye who wants to be a real S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and not just Hacker Barbie.

Red Band Society - For the first few episodes, I wasn't quite sure if I fit into the target demographic for this show - it definitely seemed aimed toward teenagers - but I think it's finally found a nice balance of teen hijinks and adult drama.  The characters are becoming more distinct and realistic, and I like the clever references to other shows and movies - the Breakfast Club inspired episode was cute, and Leo and Jordi's room being called "The Swamp" is a nice hat tip to M*A*S*H.

Nashville - I think this is the show I look forward to most every week right now.  So much drama.  So soap opera-y.  So, so much fun to watch.

So, what's been keeping you entertained lately?  Do 
you have any new recommendations for me to check out?

Wednesday, November 19

inspiration: cozy layered looks for grooms, groomsmen, and fall wedding guests

Is it just me, or do a growing majority of the grooms and groomsmen on our favorite wedding websites look like they're getting ready to audition for a Mumford and Sons cover band?  I'm not complaining - I love these stylish and festive fall looks for men.  More and more grooms are breaking away from the traditional tuxedo, and autumn's cooler temperatures mean plenty of ways to experiment with layers of gingham, tartan, tweed, and corduroy.

Both of these dapper gents are rocking plaid dress shirts with their suits.  I'm a sucker for a three-piece-suit, personally, and a bow tie gets me every time.

This group of groomsmen is rocking a pretty delightful mix of plaid, chambray, and tweed with both bowties and neckties.  Ladies, how do we feel about facial hair on the wedding day?  I kind of like it for a rustic wedding.

Not only are these gentlemen looking dapper in tweed, they are both sporting some seriously beautiful boutonnieres.

Ryan Ray via Project Wedding

In this party, the groom sports a stylish take on the three-piece-suit, swapping out suit pants for corduroys, and his groomsmen are wearing dress shirts, suspenders, and sweaters in an array of fall colors.  I am pretty sure I love everything about it.

Paula O'Hara via Ruffled | Gene Pease of Geneoh Photography via Ruffled

Serious gray jacket action going on over here, with some gorgeous natural boutonnieres.

This guy is rocking a plaid dress shirt, a tweed jacket, and a velvet bowtie.
Let him be an inspiration to us all.

I love the dashes of color and pattern paired with tweed, and these amazingly artistic fall boutonnieres.  I can hear "Wagon Wheel" in my head when I look at these guys.

Velvet bow tie.  Velvet.  Bow tie.  I bet this guy has elbow patches, too.

You know a man is well-dressed when you can call him ruggedly handsome without even looking at his face.

Okay, readers, time to weigh in - how do you feel about the mix and match trend for grooms and groomsmen?  Guys, would you sport this style as a wedding guest?  And let's not forget the facial hair question.

Monday, November 17

clicks of note: and tell you everything i'm thinking...

get your week off to a colorful start...
  • For some reason, my summer country phase has stretched well into fall this year. Thomas Rhett is one of my favorite newcomers on the country scene, and I could listen to "Make Me Wanna" on repeat. I'll be linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos... come join us!




Sunday, November 16

sunday simplicity: the binding...

“We are all a volume on a shelf of a library, a story unto ourselves, never possibly described with one word or even very accurately with thousands. A person is never as quiet or unrestrained as they seem, or as bad or good, as vulnerable or as strong, as sweet or as fiesty; we are thickly layered, page upon lying page, behind simple covers. And love - it is not the book itself, but the binding. It can rip us apart or hold us together.” ― Deb Caletti

Wednesday, November 12

Fall 2014: Mauve Mist

One of my favorite trends this fall is a shift towards soft, pastel shades used in unexpected ways - a moto jacket looks totally fresh in blush pink, stud earrings are edgy in gray and rose gold, and a quilted leather bag is perfect in taupe.

Fall 2014: Mauve Mist
1. Forever 21 faux leather moto jacket  2. Francesca's jeweled drop earrings  3.  Fossil stud earrings  4. GAP colorblock scarf  5. J. Crew Factory statement sweater  6. Ruche cable knit sweater  7. Vera Bradley quilted backpack purse  8. GAP colorblock socks  9. Butter London nail lacquer in "Teddy Girl" and "Fairy Lights"  from Sephora 10. Coach loafers (similar, similar)

Linking Up:
Manic Monday at More Pieces of Me and The Daily Express

Monday, November 10

clicks of note: i'm fearless with my heart...

get your week off to a colorful start...

  • Better known for co-writing "Bubbly", "Realize" and "I Never Told You" with Colbie Caillat, Jason Reeves is a talented performer in his own right.  I'm currently loving "Save My Heart" thanks to Pandora.  I'll be linking up with Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos.


"I was singing about, 'Where do the children play?' Guess what? I started a school with a big, big playground, so there you go. It's kind of like walking the talk. That's what I tried to do, and I think that it's not because other people are watching me. It's because I'm looking at myself, and I'd like to make sure I conform to my ideal as much as possible. That's all."


Sunday, November 9

I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not, to agree to disagree on red velvet cake, and to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home. - The Vow