Welcome to Things Liz Loves!

Let me apologize in advance: I'm not the regular poster I used to be. I try to keep things interesting around here though, so check back from time to time.

Check the Contests page for info about our current giveaway!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Time Travel Tuesday: My High School Musicals

Please don't run away. This post is not about the horrid Disney product that launched many a girl's Zac Efron obsession. No, this post will focus on the greatness that made things like High School Musical and Glee possible: actual high school musical theater productions. Most of you don't know that once upon a time, little miss bloggy Liz was a theater geek. My high school didn't have a glee club. We had Ensemble, the school's premier auditioned vocal group. And yes, I was a member almost as fast as you could possibly be one. I made the group just before Christmas break freshman year. It was meant to be. That same year, I booked myself the title role in my first theater production: You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Yes, I cross-dressed as Charlie Brown for my craft. Stifle your laughter, please. I got involved in every theater production I could get a part in, playing a prairie girl extra in another school's show one week and a strung-out hooker in another one the next. I would ditch my other classes to go hang out in drama class and sing, dance and read lines. I freaking lived for this stuff. Even now, whenever I watch Rent, Chicago or Moulin Rouge, the musical theater geek bursts out of me and I sing along. And don't get me started on watching Glee. My husband has to leave the room...it's a bad scene. I just can't stop myself from getting into the groove. It's my first love before writing, and it will always have a special place in my heart. See if you can fight the urge to burst into song during these fabulous clips.







Monday, November 29, 2010

Winners!!!

We did it, everyone! We made it through the Gratitude Giveaways contest! And we even broke 150 followers last night, so we have an Amazon Gift Card winner to announce as well! Unfortunately, we didn't reach the goals I had for Facebook and Twitter winners, but I think we can still work out a prize or two in the next giveaway for my Facebook and Twitter buddies. All winners are being notified by email as we speak. If they don't respond within 48 hours, I redraw for their prize. So, without further ado, here are your winners!

Winner #1 - Immortal Beloved Prize Pack...


Danielle at Romance Book Junkies!


Winner #2 - Bloodthirsty Prize Pack...


Jennifer at Book Noise!


Winner #3 - Jane Prize Pack...


Stacy J.!


$10 Amazon E-Gift Card Winner...


Judit!

Congratulations to all the winners! If you didn't win this time, please don't get discouraged! I wish I could give everyone here a prize just for being so awesome! We will have plenty of sweet contests to enter very soon! Thank you all for entering and I can't wait for the next one! It's going to be a Christmas/New Year giveaway with a chance to win some ARCs and some more awesome crocheted goodies, so keep your eyes peeled for that post!

In regard to the awesome crocheted goodies, I wanted to say THANK YOU to all the wonderful comments I got on them! So many of you had such sweet things to say about them! To answer a few questions: Yes, I did crochet all those items myself. Yes, these items will be available in an Etsy store very soon. Yes, I can do custom pieces if you like a piece but want it in a different color or made with a different type of yarn. I will be setting up my Etsy store soon, and I'll be sure to let you all know when I do. You guys really made my day with all your comments!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Last Chance to Enter Gratitude Giveaways!

The end is nigh...we have a little over 12 hours until the Gratitude Giveaways contest officially ends! I hope you all got your entries in. If not, hurry over to the Gratitude Giveaways post and fill out that entry form! I'll announce the winners first thing tomorrow morning and send out the notification emails. Remember, winners have 48 hours to respond to the notification email before I have to choose a new winner. Prizes will be shipped via USPS. If this is a problem, tell me in your response email and we can arrange the shipping. Good luck to everyone! Also, don't forget that I will throw in some extra prizes for Facebook fans and Twitter followers if the counts on those pages reach 50 and 400 respectively. It's a great way to have a shot at an extra prize!

On a related note, we are three followers away from 150, which means someone is getting an Amazon gift card very soon! I hope all of you guys are entered in that one as well! Don't forget, you can still pick up extra entries for tweeting the contest! Just put a link to the tweet in the extra entries form. Also, you get TEN EXTRA ENTRIES for donating to the Gulf Coast fundraiser in the top right sidebar. I can see all the donations received, so just click to donate! The 150 follower winner will be the last winner for that contest, but there will be many more awesome contests in the future for everyone!

I am OVERWHELMED with the awesomeness of all of you! I mean, to start the Thanksgiving contest period ad 60 followers and to hit 150 in that time is just amazing! I love you all so much!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Special: Guest Post by Ashlie at Bookish Novelties!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my wonderful bloggy friends! I hope you're all having a fabulous day of food, fun and family! And good luck to all the brave souls hitting the shopping circuit in the morning...I'll be out there in the trenches with you guys, battling for good deals on Christmas presents. Here's hoping I get my hands on one of those $99 Nooks at Best Buy!

As a special Thanksgiving treat, we have a guest post from my good friend Ashlie at Bookish Novelties! She's got an awesome blog that is definitely worth a follow. She's got great reviews that she posts frequently, some great thought-provoking posts and she's hosting her first giveaway right now! So after you read this awesome post, head over to Bookish Novelties and check it out!

Now that the end of the year is brooding, everyone is gearing up for the new challenges that they will participate in for 2011. Did you do participate in a challenge this year that you didn't finish, or don't anticipate finishing? Are you feeling a bit down because of it? Me too! But hey, we're human, and life is busy! So here are some steps to realistic reading challenge goal-setting to ensure that next year, the challenges you participate in are successful :)

This year I am a bit over 25 books away from making my challenge goal. I'm kind of bummed about this, but I did only start it two months ago. I feel confident that if I had started it on Jan. 1, 2010 like almost everyone else did, I would have finished it.

Of course, it is SUPPOSED to be a challenge, a stretch, or a reach from what you're used to reading, but here are some general guidelines to help you when setting goals:

  • Calculate what your average number of books read per week, per month and per year was this year. This can be your guide. If you started getting into heavy reading late in the year, calculate weeks and months. (Example, I read 2-3 books a week & 8-10 books a month. I started late in the year. :)
  • Choose challenges that give you the liberty to chose REALISTIC numbers -- Example: 
I am participating in the 2011 Christian Fiction Reading Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to read at least 12 books from this genre. That means that as long as I read one book from this genre at least once a month, I'll be in the clear. Once I reach that goal, I can increase it in small increments, say 2, 3 or 5. This way you won't overwhelm yourself. 
  • Choose genres that you actually enjoy! It makes no sense to plan to read a ton of books in a genre or subject that bores you to death!
  • Find a friend (or even a book club -- or heck, start your own) to do the challenge with you! That way you guys can keep each other on track :) 


I hope this helps! If you have any tricks or ideas to share that you have learned, please let us know! Leave a comment below -- we LOVE new ideas from fellow bloggers! Fellow bloggers = fellow friend :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Haul-idays from Chronicle Books - ANOTHER Giveaway?!


Yep, another giveaway! Chronicle Books is hosting a fantastic holiday giveaway where one blogger and one commenter can win $500 worth of books! That is so many books!!!! So, if I win, you win! All you have to do is post a list of $500 worth of books from Chronicles catalog in a blog post, or if you aren't a blogger, post a comment on a Happy Haul-idays contest post for a chance to win! You can post a comment on all the participating blogs' posts for the best chance to win! The contest ends on December 10th, and the winner will be announced December 13th. Bloggers can enter the contest here. Here is a list of all the other participating blogs you can comment on to enter. And here is a link to Chronicle's website, where you can see all of the books they have to offer. Don't forget to leave your comment with a valid email address so you can enter to win my list!

Here's the list of stuff I would love to win:
Zombies by Don Roff and Chris Lane - $19.95
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Graham-Smith - $12.95
Night of the Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall - $14.95
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith - $12.95
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters - $12.95
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance—Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Jane Austen and Seth Graham-Smith - $12.95
The Punch by Noah Hawley - $23.95
Dante's Divine Comedy Box Set by Sandow Birk and Marcus Sanders - $100.00
Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood - $23.95
And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You by Kathy Kamen Goldmark - $22.95
Werewolves: An Illustrated Journal of Transformation by Paul Jessup and Allyson Haller - $19.95
Large Moleskine Sketchbook - $17.95
Fanzines by Teal Triggs - $40.00
Allure by Diane Vreeland, Christopher Hemphill and Marc Jacobs - $35.00
Let's Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious, and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone By, by Leslie M.M. Blume and Grady McFerrin - $19.95
Michael Chiarello's Bottega by Michael Chiarello and Frankie Frankeny - $40.00
Anna Sui Calico Cabaret Journal - $14.95
Beauty Rules: Fabulous Looks, Beauty Essentials, and Life Lessons for Loving Your Teens and Twenties by Bobbi Brown, Rebecca Paley and Hilary Duff - $24.95

That's almost $500 worth of books! Wowza! And you can bet that I would share the wealth with my fantastic followers if I won! So leave your entry comment and cross your fingers and toes that Things Liz Loves is the lucky winner!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time Travel Tuesday: Thundercats



Thundercats. That's right. You can't fight the power of the Thundercats. I loved this show as a kid. So much so, that I knew the entire intro by heart when I was just 3 years old. This show is so epically awesome that they are bringing it back on Cartoon Network AND making a live-action film (though the film project has been put on hold by Warner Brothers, we can still keep hope alive). Check out some videos.





Those silly Thunderkittens...You can watch full episodes on Youtube for a little nostalgia.

If you want to keep up with the latest Thundercat news, hop over to the Thundercats Lair. They've got top access to everything Thundercats, from the shows to toys. And you can always get your hands on all sorts of Thundercats merchandise from Amazon. Thundercats, Hoooooooo!!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Upcoming Awesomesauce

Hello everyone! Sorry for the lack of posting over the weekend. It was Harry Potter Weekend (as you know), so Stephanie's Friday Movie Pick wasn't posted due to her being in line for hours staking out seats for us. Also, my brother in law was in town, so I was doing a lot of family stuff. But never fear! I'm back, and there's some great things going on!

First off, I want to say WOW to the response we've gotten for the Gratitude Giveaways hop! I figured we'd get some new followers in thanks to this contest, but I'm overwhelmed with how positive the reception has been! Our follower count has more than DOUBLED since the opening of the contest! That is just amazing! Since we're doing so well, I added a way for our Twitter followers and Facebook fans to win something extra when we hit certain follower counts. Check out the updated chances to win here, and enter if you haven't already! Also, make sure you stop by all the other blogs to win. There are over 170 blogs participating, so you're bound to win something!

In upcoming awesomesauce news, I'm happy to announce that Ashlie over at Bookish Novelties is going to be guest posting for us very soon. Her blog is really neat and she does some great reviews, so check her out and look out for that guest post!

I'm going to have some sweet new reviews up vary soon! Please be patient with me, as the holidays are a very busy time and reading tends to go a little slower. I promise you some great content and more of it after the New Year! A little birdie told me there was going to be another sweet giveaway hop for Valentine's Day...shhh!

Welcome to all our new followers and thank you to all of you that have been around from the beginning! You all ROCK!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday's Picks (10)

It's Thursday, and you all know what that means...time to find out the best upcoming books, movies and DVDs for the next week. Anyone can play along! Just post what movies, books or DVDs you're most excited about that come out in the next week! Be sure to grab a button from the sidebar and leave a comment linking to your post so I can stop by and see what you're looking forward to.

Now, for my picks!

This Week's Movie Pick:
The Next Three Days

Release Date: November 19, 2010
Rated PG-13 (Lionsgate Films)
Starring Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Brian Dennehy and Lennie James

Summary (Courtesy of Moviefone):

Russell Crowe teams up with Academy Award-winning writer/director Paul Haggis (Crash) and co-star Elizabeth Banks for this Lionsgate thriller concerning a man willing to break his wife out of prison in order to get her out of a murder conviction. Liam Neeson heads up the supporting cast, which includes Brian Dennehy, Olivia Wilde, and RZA.
I know that it's Harry Potter Day, and having my movie pick be anything but Harry Potter is sacrilegious, but I thought it was unfair to have Harry Potter get the movie pick spot two weeks in a row. So I picked it a week early. Whatever.

The Next Three Days seems like a really interesting film. I am a HUGE Liam Neeson fan, and I have never been disappointed in anything he's been in. Yes, that includes The Phantom Menace. He was fantastic no matter what anyone says. The premise of Crowe and Neeson plotting a jailbreak for Elizabeth Banks sounds pretty awesome. We usually see Banks shine in comedic roles, but I have faith that she can pull of drama. Of course, you can never go wrong with Russell Crowe. He never disappoints on film. I think this one will be a gripping thriller. It will just have to wait until after Harry Potter Weekend.


PathfinderThis Week's Book Pick:
Pathfinder

Written By Orson Scott Card
Release Date: November 23, 2010
Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing

Summary (Courtesy of Barnes and Noble):

A powerful secret. A dangerous path.

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg's strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him—secrets about Rigg's own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.

Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent…or forfeit control of his destiny.
This sounds like such an interesting book. This type of story is something I haven't seen much before in the young adult genre, so I'm excited for something a little different. Not that I don't already have a billion books to read...


FlippedThis Week's DVD Pick:
Flipped

Release Date: November 23, 2010
Rated PG (Warner Brothers)
Starring Callan McAuliffe, Madeline Carroll, Rebecca De Mornay, Anthony Edwards and John Mahoney

Summary (Courtesy of Moviefone):

When second-graders Bryce and Juli first meet, Juli knows it's love. But Bryce isn't so sure. Girl-phobic and easily embarrassed, young Bryce does everything he can to keep his outspoken wannabe girlfriend at arm's length... for the next six years, which isn't easy since they go to the same school and live across the street from each other. But if Juli finally looks away, will it be Bryce's turn to be dazzled? 'Flipped' takes Bryce and Juli from grade school to junior high, through triumph and disaster, family drama and first love, as they make the discoveries that will define who they are -- and who they are to each other.
This looks like such a cute movie! I was hoping for a theatrical release nearby, but it never came. Luckily, the DVD release wasn't too far behind and I can get my greedy hands on this gem soon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gratitude Giveaways for Our Fabulous Followers Kickoff!

It's here! This is the kickoff post for the super-humongous Gratitude Giveaways for Our Fabulous Followers! Up for grabs are three prize packs that include an Advanced Reader Copy of a YA book, a nifty bookmark and a handmade crochet goody! Here's the prize packs:

Immortal Beloved Prize Pack
ARC of Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan (check out my review here)
Glinda the Good Witch Collector's Bookmark (it's glittery!)
Handmade Flowered Ear Warmer Headband (made with extra-soft and thick yarn for comfort)

Bloodthirsty Prize Pack
ARC of Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney (check out my review here)
Wicked Witch of the West Collector's Bookmark (also glittery!)
Handmade Crochet Book Bag (made of black acrylic yarn for stretchability; holds 2-3 paperbacks or 1-2 hard cover books)

Jane Prize Pack
ARC of Jane by April Lindner (check out my review here)
"Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake" Beaded Bookmark
Handmade Crochet Wristlet Bag (perfect size for a cosmetic bag or small purse)

This giveaway is for blog followers or email subscribers in the US only. (Sorry, International hoppers! My ongoing gift card contest is international, so you can enter that while you're here!) The contest is open until 11:59PM on Sunday, November 28th. You MUST fill out the Google form for your entry to count. Comment entries WILL NOT COUNT! There are no extra entries for this giveaway, so just follow and fill out the form! Don't forget to hop to the other participating blogs for tons of chances to win! The linky list is at the bottom of the post. Good luck, everyone!

Fill out the entry form HERE if you can't see it below.

UPDATE!!! The contests is going so well, I decided to expand a little extra to my Twitter and Facebook buddies! If we get up to 50 Facebook fans for our Facebook page, I'll pick a Facebook buddy to get an extra prize! And for the Twitter friends, if I break 400 followers on my feed, I'll throw in a prize just for my Twitter buddies! You guys ROCK! This is why I love my followers! Click the Twitter and Facebook links in this paragraph to get to the right places. Note that the Twitter and Facebook follower quotas have to be met by the end of this giveaway (November 28th) in order to get the extra prizes. So go follow!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Time Travel Tuesday: The Little Mermaid


This week's Time Travel Tuesday focuses on one of my favorite animated movies of all time, The Little Mermaid. I loved this movie so much growing up! I watched it whenever possible, and I knew every line and every song. I would tie my shirts up to look like seashell bras and pretend I was Ariel, waiting for Prince Eric to rescue me from Ursela the Sea Witch. Even in high school, I had red hair and was asked by at least one person daily to sing "Part of Your World" (I'm looking at you, Julie). I will never stop loving this classic story.

My childhood nightmares starred Ursela the Sea Witch. Creepy octopus.

This movie is fun and entertaining, no matter how old you are. I've introduced my daughter to The Little Mermaid (who, consequently, has red hair and blue eyes just like her) and she loves it. She carries a Little Mermaid pillow around with her everywhere she goes. And she loves dancing to the music.

I still make references to that funny French chef and his Les Poissons. (HEEHEEHEE, HAWHAWHAW!)

Make your move, Prince Eric!

If you haven't watched a good Disney film in a while, pick this one up. It will definitely take you back. Other totally awesome Disney flicks: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Rescuers Down Under, and Oliver and Company. That's my favorites, by the way. Have an Animated Disney day with your kids, or just yourself. I won't judge.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Stephanie's Friday Movie Pick: Unstoppable

Unstoppable
Release Date: November 12, 2010
Rated PG-13 (Fox)
Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson

Summary (Courtesy of Moviefone):
Denzel Washington and Star Trek's Chris Pine star in this action thriller from director Tony Scott. The plot surrounds two locomotive operators who team up to stop a runaway train filled with explosives. Live Free or Die Hard's Mark Bomback provides the script for the 20th Century Fox production, co-starring Rosario Dawson.

Like the rest of the world, I'm anxiously awaiting next week and the sure to be epic Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I am relying on Unstoppable to tide me over until then. Denzel Washington, Rosario Dawson, and Chris Pine star in this thriller that follows an engineer (Washington) and his newbie conductor (Pine) trying desperately to prevent disaster. The disaster comes in the form of an unmanned train that's carrying toxic chemicals and super combustable materials. The company that owns the train has lost control and its speeding toward a highly populated area.

Who knew movies about trains could be so exciting? Director Tony Scott certainly hasn't lost his touch. I like that this is a kinda true story. Of course, no one was as pretty and the engineer was a white guy, but Denzel is the man. The film has the moral dilemma for Mr. Washington, as he has already been informed that he is being laid off. Should he risk his life for a company that has taken away his livelihood? Of course not! He will to save all the people in the area the train is headed for.

The action propells this film, with the actors doing most of their own stunts on site. That's right, Chris Pine's head really was that close to the ground while he was dangling from a moving train. There's also some very intense dialogue over the radio between the two male leads and the representative for the company whose train they are using in this insane mission. I don't recall seeing this story anywhere before this year, so I look forward to seeing how it all works out in the end.

Review: Jane by April Lindner

Jane
Written by April Lindner
Release Date: October 2010
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ARC Provided by the Publisher -- Thank You!


Rated 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (Courtesy of Barnes and Noble):
Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.
But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?
An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.
This was a very enjoyable book. I really liked being able to see the classic story of Jane Eyre in a modern setting: something easier for someone of my generation to relate to without sounding forced or hokey. The characters were very real and believable, though I sometimes found myself getting frustrated with the two main characters (much like someone would get frustrated with real people). Full review after the jump. WARNING: SPOILERS!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday's Picks (9)


Here we go again, folks! Time for Thursday's Picks, my weekly feature where I tell you guys the best new movies, DVDs and books to look for in the next week. Anyone can play along! Just grab a button from my sidebar and post what you're excited to see premier next week. Comment on this post with a link so I can see your picks!

This Week's Movie Pick:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part IRelease Date: November 19, 2010
Rated PG-13 (Warner Bros.)
Starring Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes and Alan Rickman


Summary (Courtesy of IMDB):
Voldemort's power is growing stronger. He now has control over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to finish Dumbledore's work and find the rest of the Horcruxes to defeat the Dark Lord. But little hope remains for the Trio, and the rest of the Wizarding World, so everything they do must go as planned.
I have always dug the Harry Potter films (in spite of the fact that they weren't perfect translations of the books), and this one really looks amazing. I have already seen a couple of discrepancies from the book in the trailers, but it's okay. I don't expect books to translate perfectly into film, as no one should. I'm really excited regardless. I'll be live tweeting the pre-show madness for the midnight release if anyone is interested in following. I may even post a review...


Songs of Love and Death: All-Original Tales of Star-Crossed LoveThis Week's Book Pick:
Songs of Love and Death: All-Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love
A Short Story Compilation (Multiple Authors)
Release Date: November 16, 2010
Simon and Schuster Publishing

Summary (Courtesy of Barnes and Noble):
IN this star-studded cross-genre anthology, seventeen of the greatest modern authors of fantasy, science fiction, and romance explore the borderlands of their genres with brand-new tales of ill-fated love. From zombie-infested woods in a postapocalyptic America to faery-haunted rural fields in eighteenth- century England, from the kingdoms of high fantasy to the alien world of a galaxy-spanning empire, these are stories of lovers who must struggle against the forces of magic and fate. 
Award-winning, bestselling author Neil Gaiman demonstrates why he’s one of the hottest stars in literature today with “The Thing About Cassandra,” a subtle but chilling story of a man who meets an old girlfriend he had never expected to see.
International blockbuster bestselling author Diana Gabaldon sends a World War II RAF pilot through a stone circle to the time of her Outlander series in “A Leaf on the Winds of All Hallows.” Torn from all he knows, Jerry MacKenzie determinedly survives hardship and danger, intent on his goal of returning home to his wife and baby—no matter the cost.
New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher presents “Love Hurts,” in which Harry Dresden takes on one of his deadliest adversaries and in the process is forced to confront the secret desires of his own heart.
Just the smallest sampling promises unearthly delights, but look also for stories by New York Times bestselling romance authors Jo Beverley and Mary Jo Putney, and by such legends of the fantasy genre as Peter S. Beagle and Tanith Lee, as well as many other popular and beloved writers, including Marjorie M. Liu, Jacqueline Carey, Carrie Vaughn, and Robin Hobb. This exquisite anthology, crafted by the peerless editing team of George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, is sure to leave you under its spell.
I love a hopelessly romantic love story as much as the next girl, so a book full of hopelessly romantic love stories is definitely on my list. I can see myself curled up in a blanket with a box of tissues and some candy for this one.

Best Worst MovieThis Week's DVD Pick:
Best Worst Movie
Release Date: November 16, 2010
Unrated Documentary (Magic Stone Productions)
Starring Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Darren Ewing, Jason Steadman and Jason Wright


Summary (Courtesy of Moviefone):
Is 'Troll 2' really the worst movie ever made as claimed by IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes? Or is 'Troll 2,' as some would claim, a misunderstood masterpiece that never fails to entertain... a work of genius. Twenty years after 'Troll 2' was made, the feature length documentary 'Best Worst Movie' explores the phenomenon that is 'Troll 2' through the personal story of the cast of characters that took part in its creation and why it is celebrated by fans worldwide.
In the summer of 1989, Italian director Claudio Fragrasso cast small-town dentist Dr. George Hardy and a group of unwitting Utah actors in an ultra-low budget horror film, which eventually became the undisputed Worst Movie in History. Soon after 'Troll 2's initial release, Dr. Hardy decided he was better-suited battling tooth decay than goblins. He retired from acting and returned to dentistry in his hometown of Alabama unaware of the legions of fans that would one day recognize him as a cult movie luminary.
Nearly 20 years later, Dr. Hardy finds his days of drilling cavities are met by nights of signing hundreds of autographs at record-setting revival screenings throughout the world. Unlikely byproducts celebrating the 'Best Worst Movie' include fan sites, music videos, dress-up dinner parties and even homage in one of the most successful video games, Sony PlayStation’s Guitar Hero 2.
Drawing on his experiences reconnecting with the 'Troll 2' family, director Michael Paul Stephenson reveals the improbable heartfelt story of an Alabama dentist-turned-cult movie icon and an Italian filmmaker as they both come to terms with this internationally revered cinematic failure. The result is a hilarious and tender off-beat journey and a genuine homage to lovers of bad movies and the people that create them.
 Tell me this doesn't sound like a really fun documentary. I love cheesy horror films. B-movies make me super happy. So a documentary about how awesome such a film truly is probably will make me super duper happy. Plus, it will be super funny. Win!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Line in the Sand for Amazon

Today, it broke all over Twitter that Amazon did a horrible thing and published a terrible Kindle book that encourages people to victimize children and avoid being prosecuted for it. It's heartbreaking and disgusting for this to have happened. So, in order to help make Amazon see the error in this, I'm encouraging all of you to submit a complaint to Amazon about this book. I am also going to give them 24 hours to take the book down before I remove my Amazon store and close my affiliate account with them. I will never support a retailer that endorses this type of literature. As a mother and childhood molestation victim, I am so angry that a book like this would ever be written and that someone would take this information and use it to abuse anyone's kids and then avoid any sort of punishment. I hate to post a link to this terrible piece of garbage, but I figure that if enough people post complaints, Amazon will get the point and pull it before too may people buy it and make this sick person any more money. Please, everyone, complain to Amazon so they will pull this from their catalog. Don't buy anything from Amazon until they pull it. If you have an Amazon Associates account, tell them you will close it if they don't pull it from the site. Do whatever you can to stop this kind of thing from being spread and giving people encouragement to hurt our children.

Here's the disgusting book's listing. Link Disabled

Do whatever you can to stop this type of behavior from being encouraged. I will remove the link in 24 hours if the listing is still there so I don't do anything to give that creep advertising.

UPDATE: Amazon took down the listing, which I verified this morning. So thank you, Amazon! Hopefully, all the complaints and protesting will help Amazon be more diligent in their filtering of what gets through. I am all for free speech, but any book that incites people to do harm to others (especially children) should not be sold by family retailers. I'll stand by that statement for any book that encourages crime or violence against any group.

Anyway, the short of it: The book is gone, and I will continue to have Amazon ads on my site as long as they continue to protect the safety of their customers. Thanks for your help, everyone!

What's Cooking Wednesday - Street Tacos

What's Cooking Wednesday is a nifty meme hosted by The Kings Court IV and Turning the Clock Back. I decided to participate because I love to cook and share great recipes!

Street-style tacos are my favorite easy meal. They require so little effort for the main attraction (aka the meat), and all the ingredients can be prepped the day before if you want except for the tortillas. Some people even go all out and make their own tortillas (my heroes!), but you can just buy the pre-made corn tortillas for convenience. I make large amounts because my husband takes leftovers to work for lunch the next day. Here's my recipe:

Healthy Homemade Street Tacos
2 pounds of chicken breast, London broil, pork loin or whatever meat you choose, trimmed and cut into large chunks
Corn tortillas
Braising Liquid:
2 cup of water
1 cup of tomato sauce (unseasoned)
1/2 tbsp garlic powder OR 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp onion powder OR 1/3 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp chili powder/paprika combo (you choose the ratio)
Salt to taste
Toppings:
Chopped cilantro
Fresh salsa (made with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, chopped jalapeƱo, garlic, onion and lime juice)
Guacamole
Sour cream
Shredded cheese
All toppings are OPTIONAL

Place the chunks of meat in a stock pot with all the ingredients for the braising liquid. You can increase or decrease the seasonings as you see fit, or add other ingredients to increase the heat, like crushed red pepper or chipotle peppers. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cover. Braise meat for about an hour or until cooked thoroughly. You can drain the liquid from the pan or use a slotted spoon to remove the meat. Saving the liquid will keep the flavor fresh after you shred the meat. Shred the meat either by hand or in a food processor, then place it back in the remaining liquid. Keep warm on low heat while you heat the tortillas. Place the tortillas in a hot skillet and heat both sides, flipping frequently to prevent crisping. Do not use oil or your tortillas will get crispy and tough to chew. Add meat to the tortilla and your choice of toppings. Makes 12-16 tacos.

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Time Travel Tuesday is Taking the Day Off

Today is usually Time Travel Tuesday, but I'm taking my kids to see Yo Gabba Gabba Live, so today is Yo Gabba Gabba day.

What is Yo Gabba Gabba, you ask?

Besides the bane of my existence, Yo Gabba Gabba is a super-popular children's show. It's packed with star power and has had special guests like Jack Black, Andy Samberg, The Roots, Sarah Silverman and Snoop Dogg. They have one of the guys from Devo on regularly, which is way cool. Check out a video clip starring Mos Def as Super Mr. Superhero.



This show also teaches kids important lessons. They learn not to eat dirty food, that it's great to be yourself, to never say mean things to friends and to avoid biting, among other things. Sometimes it takes a super colorful show full of phat beats and celebrity appearances to teach kids life lessons.



I end up hearing and/or watching at least 8 episodes of this show per day. My kids both love it, but my daughter is particularly obsessed. It's the first thing she asks for when she wakes up. If she sees a TV, she's talking about Gabba. And don't even think of saying any part of the title around her. She lives for this show. Take a look at my little Gabba monsters getting ready for the show.

Here's the two of them...

My boy posing in his Plex t-shirt...

My daughter's not a big fan of getting her picture taken.
If you have pre-schoolers, and you don't mind them becoming obsessed with something that becomes mildly annoying for grown-ups in no time, then Yo Gabba Gabba is the way to go. I'll leave you with one of the Gabba crew's most popular songs.

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