Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Every now and then I get obsessed with some show on tv.  Not just mildly interested (which happens a lot), but fanatically so.

There was one summer I watched Gidget, and obsessed over the young Sally Field.  I think I was about about 20 years old... And I had also just discovered bell peppers.  I would eat bell peppers, and watch Gidget.  It's a great memory.  Good clean fun, living at Mom and Dad's house during a summer off from college.
Sally Field as Gidget

Another show I went mad for was That Girl.  I ordered all of the DVDs of the 5 seasons of the Marlo Thomas show that paved the way for the Mary Tyler Moore show. I loved Ann-Marie, and the clothes and fashions she wore so well in the late 60s. That was around the time I started collecting a lot of vintage jewelry and purses.  Influenced by Ann-Marie?  Most definitely!
Is Marlo Thomas eating at In and Out Burger?!
In the last few weeks, I've discovered The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  I LOVE THIS SHOW.  I love the whole cast, I love the quirkiness.  It's so fast and funny, and I LOVE Kimmy and her sunny outfits and attitude.
Ellie Kemper as Kimmy
I realize these 3 shows, and their lead female characters are all similar in that upbeat, glass-half-full attitude. I love how these girls take on the world! This attitude deeply resonates with me.  I think life is pretty great, and it's even better if you're always looking for the good stuff.

For today's Music Monday I've chosen the long version of the theme song from The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. This song was featured in the first brilliant episode, when Kimmy and her friends were rescued from the underground religious cult they were stuck in.  "They alive, dammit!"

*uh-oh.  I just realized today is actually not Monday.  But it feels like it since we had the long holiday weekend.  Please forgive me.  I hope you enjoy today's installment of Music Monday all the same.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Summer Reading Club

Today, as I was going through the check out line at my public library branch, Brian, one of the guys who works there, asked me if I had signed up for the summer reading program.  "No, I haven't but it sounds totally fun!"  Thrilling, in fact.

So I went over to the new head librarian and signed up.  She was super nice, and she and I hit it off immediately due to our (some might call it geeky) excitement over the summer reading club, and just books in general.  We started talking about our favorite genres, and the next thing I new, she was making me a list of authors and book titles I need to check out.  How awesome!!!

I'm stoked!  This reading program's not just for kids.  It's for grown ups too! 

All you do is log the books you read during the summer.  And you get prizes.  I don't know what these prizes are, but I was told they're good!  Just for signing up, I got to pick out a free book from one of the shelves today. 
My FREE book from the Summer Reading Club

I'm thrilled!  And they made me feel like a winner already!

Go to your local library and see how you can sign up. Join the coolest club in town with other cool kids like me!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Do You Believe In Magic?

As I kid, I believed in magic. And magicians. I believed in the tooth fairy, and Santa Claus too.  So magic was not really that big of a stretch.

One day, in a magazine I was looking at, a little leaflet fell out.  It was a postcard I could fill out to receive a box full of magic.  I was six years old.  This sounded awesome.  Someone was going to send me the magic stuff, and I would soon be on my way to becoming a true magician.  I believed that without question. So I filled out the information in my best 1st grader handwriting and checked the box that said, "Bill Me Later".

Within a few weeks, my box of magic arrived.  But the box was much flimsier than I expected it to be.  And as I pulled out the magical items, I was super disappointed to see a crappy plastic wand, and a dinky plastic flower.  And a set of directions for a few tricks.

A set of directions?  For magic?  WHAT?  This is not at all what I expected.  I thought I was ordering magic.  I didn't quite know what that meant, or what it would look like, but I was pretty sure I was going to know it as soon as I saw it.  But THIS crap?  This was NOT magic.

So I complained to my Mom.  And then Mom started questioning me, "Where did you get this?  Who gave this to you?"  Then, all of the sudden, Mom seemed mad at me.  I remember she either called or wrote a letter to the company berating them for fulfilling an order from a 6 year old.

I don't remember if we sent the fake magic back, or if we just threw it away.  But that was the day the jig was up.  Magic wasn't magical.  Magic was just a load of TRICKS.  Such a huge disappointment for a little kid.  I thought I was going to really be able to make some stuff happen.  Magical stuff.  I had no interest in trickery.

But some days, life still shows me that there's a different kind of magic than what I had in mind when I was 6.  And it this magic is real.  And it doesn't require any trickery at all.  (In some cases, it does require a harpsichord though!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Repurposed Vintage Earrings- Before and After

I love repurposing vintage jewelry.  Seriously, everything about it.  I love combing estate sales for the vintage jewelry, whether it's in great condition or in need of repair and/or TLC.  I love playing with all the different pieces I've collected over the years and then figuring out how to breathe a little new life into them, if necessary.  I also love buying beads, and other jewelry components.  I go to most of the bead shows that come to town, but what I love more than anything is going to bead shops when I'm traveling.  That way, I always have special little mementos from each trip I take. So, because I spend a lot of time gathering trinkets and supplies, I feel like I'm able to create some really special, one-of-a-kind keepsakes.

Sometimes, when I'm making something- or rather, tearing stuff apart and then putting it back together in a new way, I get so excited that I have to either show Lucy and Ricky...
"Unless you will let us play with it, or eat it, we don't really care about your jewelry. Sorry, not sorry..." - Lucy and Ricky Ricardo
...or I interrupt Fermin's work day by going into his home office to show him my new creation.  But he's probably even slightly less interested in jewelry than my dogs are.

But who cares?  I'm still excited.  Which is why I love posting these Before and After blog posts.  So thank you so much for indulging me!

Today's "Before and After" is one of my favorites in a long while.  I am absolutely in LOVE with these earrings.  But I was only lukewarm about them in their original form.  They were sweet, but they were clip earrings, and there was nothing ultra special about them.
1950s Gold Leaf Clip Earrings (BEFORE)
After sifting through beads for hours to find just the right ones for this project, I decided on these vintage cloisonne beads I found while I was in Hawaii, on the Big Island, a couple of years ago.  I bought 5 beads that were similar that day, but I haven't used any of them until today.  Sometimes, I can love something so much, that I end up hoarding it.  But I know that's not what was meant for these beads!  They weren't meant to sit in a drawer.  They were meant for much bigger and better things.  They want to see the world, and I know the world wants to see them.  So today, they got paired up with these earrings... And I think it's a magical combination.
1950s Repurposed Earrings with Vintage Cloisonne Beads

Monday, May 23, 2016

Rediscovering a Little KonMarie Magic

Some time ago- last year- I read the huge bestseller, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I did a lot of what Marie Kondo suggests in the book, and got rid of loads (and loads and loads) of stuff that no longer "sparked joy" in my life.  And it did indeed feel a little magical.  I never got quite all the way through the process though.  If I had, perhaps the real magic would have happened.  Regardless, I was really glad I did it to the extent that I did, and I found true value in it.  You can refer back to those previous posts here and here and here.  (Yep, I was pretty into it, and couldn't stop writing or talking about it...)

Marie says that once you tidy up using her KonMari Method, you really don't have to do it again.  And that's pretty much been true for me.  My clothes and other categories I followed through on have never gotten out of control since using her method! That's a huge accomplishment for me.

Now, nearly a year and a half later though, I felt like it was time to go through my closet again. I was ready to experience a little more magic and let go of even more things.  And who knows--- maybe this time around, I'll get through all the categories of items in my life.

While going through my clothes this time, I wasn't quite as thorough as I was the first time around because honestly, I didn't feel it was necessary.  (If you strictly follow the KonMari Method,  you take EVERYTHING out of your closet, drawers, etc by category put them in one central spot, and go through it all piece by piece, purging anything and everything that doesn't "spark joy".  I did this the first time.) This time, I went through my closet and drawers piece by piece, but without putting everything out on my bed first.  Instead of taking half of a day to "KonMarie Method " my clothes, this follow up session only took 30-45 minutes of my afternoon.

But look at all I was able to let go of today!...
clothes that were no longer sparking joy in my life
 I realized that although these clothes were sparking joy for me last year, they just aren't doing it for me anymore.  I know now how great it feels to let go of things I no longer care much about.  If I get rid of my brown skirt that I've worn often, but just don't love anymore, that means that when I run across a new skirt that is fresh and new and I fall in love with it, I can get it. Guilt free!  No reason to hang on to the old skirt just because I used to love it.  I don't love it anymore, but maybe someone else will.  So run free, Little Brown Skirt, and all the other clothes I'll be donating to Goodwill tomorrow.  May you find a new owner that loves you and will take you out to fun places the way I once did.

These clothes are ready to find a new person to love them!

Ahh... Magic! It feels great.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Music Monday- "Go Now" by Adam Levine

Happy Music Monday!  Not only am I recommending this great song, but even more so, the movie it came from...

I  had seen a trailer for the movie "Sing Street" at the Angelika before it came out, and it looked great.  But I haven't heard anything about it, or talked to anyone who's seen it. Thank God I didn't forget about it, and I finally got around to seeing it this weekend.

Now that I've seen it, I want to tell everyone I can to go out and see this movie.  It's a coming-of-age story about love and music that takes place in the UK in the 1980s.  So if you grew up during that era, or even if you didn't, RUN to your nearest indie movie theatre and see this! It was spectacular. My favorite movie of the year for sure.

I'm not going to recap it, but if you want to read reviews for Sing Street, just look it up on Rotten Tomatoes or another site like that. But, I will post a video that I'm choosing for today's Music Monday installment.  "Go Now" by Adam Levine.  He co-wrote this song with the director of Sing Street, John Carney.  I love how Adam's voice is a little grittier than usual in this song.  The video gives a good montage of scenes from the movie, and I think it gives you an good overall feel for what the movie is like.  And as I bonus, it's a great song! Enjoy...

Monday, May 9, 2016

Vacation Reading

Sunset in Cabo - (more about this vacation soon!)
Since I was on vacation in Cabo this past week, I had lots of time for reading. I'll keep it brief, but here's my mini-book reviews on the two books I read while lounging around.

As I mentioned in my last book review post, I read some reviews of this book before reading it that left me feeling a little unexcited.
The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner
Several of the reviews on Goodreads were pretty negative, and several people complained about the ending in particular.  I couldn't remember why I had chosen to read it by the time I got it from the library- But it probably showed up on my Amazon "recommended" feed or something.  The book was pretty short (194 pages) so I figured, even if it wasn't great, it wouldn't take much time for me to be done with it, and just see what I thought for myself.

Although I agree with what was said in many of the reviews I read (that it was "formulaic", that the characters were all stereotypically beautiful, that the ending seemed a little abrupt, and that there might have been a few too many characters than were necessary), it kept my attention and I wanted to find out how it was going to end.

Oh wait... I should back up and say the story begins with a house fire.  The narrator of the story, Sarah, saves a little neighbor girl from the burning house, but the Mom and Dad die.  Sarah has a concussion and can't remember what happened. So the book is all about Sarah trying to piece it all together to find out- was it an accident?  Or did someone plan this fire?  And was it suppose to be her house, rather than her next door neighbor's?  And was/is her husband having an affair?

Short chapters tend to work well for suspense books. And like I mentioned, it was a short book.  So I got through it pretty quickly, and enjoyed it enough. Although it wasn't awesome, and I can barely remember that much about it- even a week later- it kept me entertained for a few hours.  I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars.

But there are definitely better books in this genre...
Like, the one that I read next.
Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn
Although Hush Little Baby was much longer than the other book, (352 pages) it was a quick read too.  Partly because it was hard to put down.  Again... short chapters!  And in this book SO much was happening in each one!

The narrator in this book, Jillian, is married and has two kids.  On the outside, her life looks awesome...but, of course, that's not the case.  She's in the thick of an abusive marriage.  She stays married out of fear, but eventually decides to leave... also because of fear.  Fear that her husband is going to kill her! But, in leaving, she also fears that he will get custody of the kids~ because he's a cop and everyone thinks he's a great dad and all around great guy. All the while, he's her making look like the crazy person.

One part of the book that seemed stupid to me was when Jillian got a DUI- while driving her kids around.  The husband had a cop pull her over, because he knew she had been drinking and wanted her to get busted.  Later, the charges were dropped once they realized her husband was an a-hole.  But really?  A DUI is kind of a big deal.  Especially with two little kids in the car.  So that kind of bugged me.  But it wasn't a big part of the story...

By the way, I read the reviews of Hush Little Baby after I finished it.  (Probably a better way to do it!) Other readers seemed to really like this one.  Probably giving it more credit actually than I would. I think it got an over all rating of 4 1/2 stars on Goodreads site.  I'd probably give it about 3 1/2 stars. It was good, but I wouldn't say it was great. And the writing wasn't so good that it moved me to tears as a few people said.  But see for yourself!

Stay tuned for my recap of our trip to Cabo...