Christmas Playlist

Let me get you in a Christmas mood. Enjoy my selection of a perfect Christmas Playlist. No Christmas celebration is complete without it!

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All I Want For Christmas Is You

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Joy To The World

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

White Christmas

Blue Christmas

Jingle Bells

O Holy Night

O Come All Ye Faithful

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Santa Clause Is Coming To Town

Little Drummer Boy

Santa Baby

Jingle Bell Rock

Winter Wonderland

Silent Night

Last Christmas

Merry Christmas Baby

Do you Hear What I Hear

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Feliz Nevidad

Silver Bells

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

This Christmas

I was Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Up On The Housetop

Here Comes Santa Claus

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Holly Jolly Christmas

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Home For The Holidays

The First Noel

Twelve Days of Christmas

Deck The Halls

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

An Amazon Original Series

IMDB: Set in early 1960s Manhattan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a 60-minute dramedy that centers on Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a sunny, energetic, sharp, Jewish girl who had her life mapped out for herself: go to college, find a husband, have kids, and throw the best Yom Kippur dinners in town. Soon enough, she finds herself exactly where she had hoped to be, living happily with her husband and two children in the Upper West Side. A woman of her time, Midge is a cheerleader wife to a man who dreams of a stand-up comedy career, but her perfect life is turned upside down when her husband suddenly leaves her for another woman. Completely unprepared, Midge is left with no choice but to reevaluate what to do with her life. When she accidentally stumbles onto the stage at a comedy club, she soon discovers her own comedic skills and decides to use this newfound talent to help her rebuild a different life for herself. The series will trace the trajectory of Midge’s journey as she goes on to pursue a career in the male-dominated, stand-up comedy profession, and transforms from uptown housewife to East Village club performer.

I am over the moon with this show thus far! I’m on episode seven, and I am in love with Rachel Brosnahan in this role! House of Cards just didn’t do her acting skills any justice. She sells the role of a witty housewife gone rogue and delivers it with a beautiful smile and a big middle finger. They couldn’t have cast the role any better, and I would bet she wins awards for this performance.

I don’t think I have laughed this hard at a series in a long time! Brosnahan’s interactions with all of the other characters including Tony Shalhoub and Alex Borstein leave me in tears.

“I still run this house, but from in here.”

“There, there.”

“Who wouldn’t want to come home to this?”

I am binge watching this show for sure, and I’m already sad this season will be over soon. Hopefully Amazon puts in for a Season 2!

Holiday Traditions

It’s Black Friday, and if you are one of the brave souls who venture out on this infamously crazy day, more power to you. For me, this day has come to mean clean up! 

My family and I are truly blessed with how amazing our family is, both blood and chosen. When we get together, a good time is had by all, and the feast is bountiful! Yesterday, for Thanksgiving, the story was tenfold. We all have so much to be thankful for, and I am so thankful for the full house of wonderful people, plentiful food, and beautiful memories made. 

Moving on to today, it’s now time to clean it all up, and I seriously just want to sell my house. Forget it all, and move out of the mess! The next person can deal with it. 

In reality, it’s really not that bad. Two loads into the dishwasher, a dozen wipes, vacuum, and mop later, my house is starting to look a bit more in order again.

Tomorrow, I am hopeful the true traditions will begin. Setting up the Christmas tree, decorating the house, making gingerbread houses; it’s time to start the Christmas traditions! And as I have said previously, I am overly excited for this year. 

Dishwasher just dinged. Onto the next load. Someone send a search party if I don’t post in a few days! First place to look, in the sink, under the dishes!

Family Values

I’ve become such a bleeding heart when it comes to children. I believe they deserve so much better than what they are given at times, and I wish I could help them all! My maternal insticts are so strong and kick in so hard whenever a situation includes children. 

My husband and I were watching a movie the other day, and the child was treated poorly. It literally broke my heart! If you know me, you know I’m not much of a crier, but I bawled like a baby! Silly hormones! They are just so innocent, and if given a chance, they could accomplish so much.

People are so concerned with the adults in any given situation. Like, oh, Tom and June are getting divorced, or Mark and Mary are going through a hard time. If there are children involved, I think the conversation should look more like: are Timmy and Julie doing well with the divorce? Are Mikey and Missy getting enough to eat?

When did family values start to exclude the well-being of the child? And when did Hollywood start exploiting the subtraction of the total members of the family until? When did we stop noticing, or stop caring?

I hope true family values come back in style. These children are the future, and they deserve the best chance at making this world a better place.

Life isn’t for you to control.

I had an epiphany while in the shower this morning, contemplating life as the warm water beat against my back. For as long as I can remember, I have always tried to have a plan that would map out my every move to get me where I wanted to be. Whether it was in my education, my career, even my personal life, I have always tried to control everything.

Then yesterday, I tuned into a TED Talk with Muniba Mazari, and she shared her story of an arranged marriage she entered because her father had told her to do so. She goes on to say that at some point in the marriage, she and her husband suffer a car accident, and while he came out unscathed, it was unclear if Muniba would ever walk again. She tells the audience that she came to terms with the news, but when the doctor told her she would never be a mother or paint again, she refused to listen. She asked her family to bring paint to her hospital bed and did exactly what they said she wouldn’t have been able to do. Years later, after leaving the hospital, she adopted a little boy and became a mother, doing exactly what they said she wouldn’t be able to do.

 Muniba says, “Don’t die before your death.” And while her message of doing the things you want rather than being complacent in your life is clear and I hear it, I also feel as if there is an even greater message behind her story. Something that spoke to only me perhaps, but during my shower, it hit me.

Muniba experienced a car crash she surely wasn’t planning on, but she had planned on children and painting. Nothing in my life as far as obstacles could ever compare to Muniba, but I have had moments where what I had planned was upset by an undesirable event, and because of that event, I abandoned the path to my goal. One little upset, and I gave up because I wasn’t in complete control.

And here’s where my epiphany comes in. While I stood in my shower, steam filling up the bathroom, I realized, life isn’t for you to control. Life is full of unexpected, sometimes tragic events, and never will anyone be able to fully avoid all of life’s curveballs, nor should anyone try. Life is meant to be lived through it all. You dodge those curveballs, and keep moving. It doesn’t have to be down the path you had imagined. It doesn’t have to be part of the same route at all. If you have in your mind your ultimate goals, big or small, daily or yearly, how you get there doesn’t matter. It only matters that you do. 

Life isn’t for you to control, but you can control your reaction to life.

Denver & South Fork, Colorado, A Journey pt. 3

Fying into Denver, seeing those huge mountains in the distance, it’s still so weird that we were there. I never would have guessed a few years ago that we would have made it out that far west, that far from home. Hubby hates flying, so his willingness to go out there for one of our longest known friends was the only reason we made it! And we just barely did.

After a near miss in midair freak out, we grabbed our rental car and started out on our five hour drive through the Rockies. In the middle of the night.

Denver seemed to stretch for miles in the valley beneath the mountain, and I felt a large familiarity as we sat in bumper to bumper traffic, but as the miles slowly slipped away, the mountains suddenly popped up and we’re right next to us as if we had only blinked. I swear the sun was more intense at that altitude as it descended below the looming mountains, and the night sky began to sprout sparkling light. I had no idea how much manufacturing was based out of Denver, but the Purina plant sticks out in mind the largest with it’s signature pet food smell. The skyline of Downtown sprawled across the horizon as the city passed us by just as the interstate gave way to the mountain pass.

Two things I realized about Colorado during this drive which may be exclusive to the mountain roads. One, whoever built the roads does not believe in guardrails, probably because if you’re going to fall, your gone regardless of speed. And two, streetlights are reserved for cities.

After a five hour plane ride, we drove for two and half hours in the darkest night I have ever seen on the windiest roads I have ever been on before we called it a night for sanity and safety reasons. We figured we’d finish the last half in the morning, so we pulled into the least spookiest hotel we could find. (I’ve seen too many scary movies to stay in a small hotel in a small town as a tourist.) 

Sleeping was another oddity at that elevation. Every time I tried to slip into a deep sleep, my breathing would cause we to wake again. My mind wouldn’t shut off, and my dreams sent me on wild rides through the dark mountains. I woke up many times through the night trying to catch my breath as my heart raced from my latest dream.

When we woke up in the morning, I dreaded getting back in the car and continuing the drive on those roads, but I wanted so badly to see my friend. With coffee in hand, hubby and I pushed on to South Fork, and our final destination for the weekend. We passed red rock mountain after mountain, but the last half of the drive was nowhere near as teeth clenching as the first. With the sun shining brightly, the land lit up in it’s vast array of colors of the changing leaves, rocks, and valley floors. It was beautiful! All apprehension melted away as the last two and a half hours melted away in gorgeous sights and breathtaking scenery! 

When we finally arrived in the sleep  it off South Fork, we checked into the hotel and before even making it to our room, we were out of breath! At 8,000 feet, breathing at what we knew was a normal rate was going to be hard!

When hugging a child..

I saw a meme the other day that had words of advice from a retired Disney Princess. It was Snow White hugging a little girl, and in white lettering it said:

When you are hugging a child, always be the last to let go. You never know how long they need it.cool-quote-hugging-child-Disney-worker

This pulled at my emotions, and as I have self-proclaimed numerous times, I really am not an emotional person. I do get emotional like anyone else, but my family jokes that there is a gene named after my grandmother that makes us all cry at the drop of a hat. Thankfully, I think it must have skipped me.

I don’t typically cry (unless it is a Nicholas Sparks book or movie) at random events, stories, or songs, but for whatever reason, this one got me. Call it my Bonnie-gene, or hormones, or whatever you want; this one meme hit me hard! Ever since my daughter came into my life, anything having to do with children targets the softest string in my heart and plays me like the most soothing harp until I’m a blubbering mess.

As I sat there, rocking my daughter to sleep and scrolling through my phone, tears filled my eyes as her little hands squeezed around my neck, holding me as close as her little arms could. I made a vow then to always be the last to let go.

Whenever she needs me, I will always be there, and whenever she holds on to me, I won’t let go first. I want her to be strong and independent, but to I also want her to know that she can always count on me to be there from through any moment in her life that she just needs to hold on a little tighter to me. And I absolutely need her to know that for as long as she’s holding on to me, I won’t let go.

As I laid her down in her bed after her arms relaxed on my shoulders, I kissed her little forehead and brushed her fine, wild hair from her face, knowing she is the exact reason why that meme meant so much to me.

I’m not crying. You’re crying!

Move Review: The Choice

IMDB: 6.6/10 – In a small coastal town, the veterinarian Travis Shaw works with his father Shep and is very close to his beloved sister Steph. Travis is very successful with the women and dates Monica every now and then. When the resident Gabby Holland moves to the next door house, she initially believes he is a pretentious man. But when her boyfriend Ryan MacCarthy, who is fellow doctor in the same hospital where she works, needs to travel to another city, Gabby and Travis have a relationship and fall in love with each other. Out of the blue, Ryan returns and proposes to marry her. Now Gabby has to make a choice between her two loves.

I really do not like the above “storyline” description for this movie. It misses the entire point and purpose of the film. There isn’t one choice that is the sole focus of the lives of Gabby and Travis such as the above leads you to believe. She doesn’t just have one choice “between her two loves”; she has a lifetime of choices to make.the-choice-mocie-quote-2

“Every path you take leads to another choice.”

Life isn’t about one big decision; the small ones count, too, in this continuous journey of life. No matter the circumstance, each choice pushes us onto another path and into a new decision, and every one of them make us who we are, put us where we choose to be. That is the message I found through this story.

10/10

I am absolutely in love with this movie and book! I purchased the book after watching the movie, and I love them both so completely. I’m sure I will receive a lot of gasps with this statement, but I do not like The Notebook or A Walk to Remember. Pause, please, as I add the disclaimer that they are wonderful movies and books in their own right, but I want a happy ending! Death is not a happy ending to me, so when Nicholas Sparks offs his characters in the midst of these great love stories, he may as well hack a piece of my heart out of my chest!

The Choice absolutely is now my favorite Nicholas Sparks movie and book! It delivered in every way I could have ever asked or wanted. It made me laugh, cry, sad, and happy, but most of it all, it had a happily-ever-after! I love it so much! It was perfectly cast with the most beautiful setting. I couldn’t get enough of Travis’s accent or Gabby’s attitude. The sunsets and marshy backdrops were amazing. I can’t say it enough; it was just perfect!

“Come bother me, baby. Forever.”

Movie Review – Boss Baby

IMDB: Sethe-boss-baby-718x1024ven-year-old Tim Templeton has always been a boy of an overactive imagination, and for the past seven years, life was all peaches for him, getting all the love and affection from his caring parents. However, life will never be the same and Tim won’t be the centre of attention anymore as the arrival of an improbable new brother named Boss Baby, dressed in a black suit complete with a tie and a briefcase, will shortly rob him of all love, as he takes over the whole Templetons’ house. Nevertheless, although this may be true, soon, Tim and the new Boss in a diaper will need to put differences aside and join forces, as a sneaky scheme involving the head of Puppy Co. threatens to tilt the balance of power towards their insidiously adorable furry antagonists, not to mention that the next Pet Convention is in only two days.. Brothers, hurry up.

Rating: 4 of 5

I really don’t understand how this movie got such low ratings. My husband and I were actually very surprised with how much we enjoyed this film. My daughter also liked it! And that is saying something! (Babies and puppies! How could it not interest her?)

Holding aside the lighthearted-ness of the kid-centric movie, I believe it really dove into a large issue many parents and kids face: new babies/siblings. I can’t tell you how many times I pointed out the way the main character, a seven year old boy, was feeling towards his new baby brother to my husband and said, “See, kids do think like that!” I get that it is just a movie, but I believe every child goes through these thoughts and feelings of having less mommy-daddy time than they did before the new baby came, so it was solidified in this film.

This coverage alone should have won it more favor with critics in my opinion because it actually held merit to a real issue. I guess that is why I’m not a critic; I can never guess what they will like and won’t, and they will never know what I will like and won’t, either. This movie was definitely a like!

 

Autonomous Cars

In the movie Back to the Future Part II, Michael J. Fox heads into 2015 where there are hover boards, automatic shoe fasteners, and interactive advertisements for movies. While some items from this movie have come to fruition such as the Cubs winning a World Series and a prototype for a hover board released, we are all still patiently waiting for the day when cars fly.3364_back-to-the-future-part-2_c61e

While flying cars may still be a way off dream, autonomous cars or self-driving vehicles may not be so far-fetched. I have been saying it for years that I believe the various aspects of a driverless car are being tested to ensure they are perfected before combining them into one vehicle. Think about the park assist that some cars have, or the lane assist, emergency stopping and collision detection, and even blind spot detection. All of these “smart car” options are only steps to the ultimate goal of a fully automated vehicle.

What I didn’t think about on our journey to automization, though, was how vehicles were going to be able to one day coordinate with each other. If all cars become autonomous, there would surely need to be a way for them to see or talk to each other in order to plan a route with ease. Detection once close to another vehicle would be too late for correcting a potentially traffic-y route, so knowing where other cars are heading could alleviate that if they were able to communicate. Well, according to Volkswagen, as early as 2019, pWLAN (Public Wireless LAN) technology which will allow vehicles to talk to one another wirelessly and within a certain distance range for such coordination purposes will be standard on their vehicles.

SAY WHAT? Just another piece in the puzzle toward autonomous cars!