Friday, December 31, 2010

The Christmas Dare Part 2 by Ivy Parker



Kristen had a hard time understanding her roommate Jenna. Life was so perfect for her. Jenna got amazing grades. Her hair was always perfect. She was so self assured. And yet, she looked down on everyone. Always finding the worst in people.

Kristen felt so beneath her. She'd never came from wealth, actually. Instead, she'd lived in and out of Foster care for the most part. Not that she ever felt misunderstood. People had helped her. And she was thankful for the little things.

First thing they did when she got home was to have Christmas cake with all her long lost brothers and sisters. They trimmed the tree, and then her Foster Mom paired them up with a list of Christmas presents to buy. She had coupons and the like to help them. Even so, Kristen found herself wanting to blow this off. How could Doris have waited to go Christmas shopping.

Oh, how she missed not being in her room full of sisters who talked about everything from makeup to how in the world could Beck from Victorious have split from the star of the show..for Miley Cyrus of all people. They would laugh about celebrities lives, although, they didn't envy them much. Now, she was put to the test to find the last Monster High Doll for an eight year old.

She and Kyle (her younger Asian African American brother) went to at least two Kids R Us stores. It seemed hopeless, but finally, they found the gift at Wal-Mart. She never felt this tired from a long run ever.

"Will you be running any?" Kyle asked while they were celebrating with burger and fries at McDonald's. It was beginning to sleet. Kristen peered out the big window of the fast food place. She shivered slightly, thinking of the cold and how hard the ice would feel on her back if she were out in it, running.

"I dunno." She felt goosebumps prickling up, along her shoulders and arms. "Maybe."

"Remember, how you cried last summer at that marathon, you ran?" He teased as he bit into fry.

"Those were tears of joy." She reminded him as she wolfed down her burger.

"That's just weird." Kyle grinned. "You didn't even get in the top twenty."

"So, it was a personal goal." She sighed. Perhaps, running was her life. She hadn't meant for it to be. Yet, they pestered her about her weight now. They told her she was too thing. Wondering if she were obsessing on running. Was it something she did to keep skinny? Of course, she ate what she wanted. And yes, this past semester, she took a class in nutrition. Honestly, she only wanted to be strong. Not anything else.

"You're a good role model, you know that." Kyle then told her.

Kristen thought she might melt into tears. See, she still felt so weak. Yet, she felt so far away from the life she'd left so long ago. No one thought of that mysterious girl who had been abandoned by her mother just to live that man who picked her up one day on a lonely highway in the middle of nowhere. No, she didn't think of that dark life, anymore, that had made her so old long before her time. Those days were gone. Long gone.

"You ever ran, in snow or ice, before?" She asked.

He shook his head, no. Kristen smiled then. It would be nice to have someone to run with.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

the slouchy hat



I've been in love with this crocheted hat since seeing Lydia from Hollyoaks in it. Granted, she was a villian on the show, but she always dressed cool. I have so wanted to make one of my own. And I have googled to find patterns for them. But to see it up close, would be a dream.  Check out this slouchy hat pattern.

learn more about Crafty Pants here.


But if crocheting isn't your thing, or you don't  have time for it. Its lovely to crochet in winter while watching TV. Only I would not say its the best thing to do while crocheting hats..since the count on the crown is very important.


SweetEdge from Esty has some of the best slouchy hats I've seen. And at very affordable prices too. Truly, this crafter is an artist in this field. Here are some of the lovelies.



Monday, December 27, 2010

Black Swan movie review


OK, you'll find that this might be considered brilliant, a master piece. Natalie Portman's best lead ever. And it might be all those things. Remember, it is a psychological thriller.

Barbra Hershey plays her has been ballerina mother who had Nina when she was 28 and is now an artist. She is very over protective which could be part of Nina's problem.  Her challenge is to be the star of the ballerina company. Although, its hit hard times. Thus, the lead queen of the ballerinas has been dismissed. Wyona Ryder.



We see mixed feeling Nina has about taking over Ryder's place. Then we soon discover something has happened to Ryder. Of course, the director Vincent Cassel is standard fare. One knows what he really wants from the girls in the company.

This film is full of sounds of what the ballerinas are put through to become working dancers. Cracking toes. Possibly breaking themselves into pieces to get in the right pose. Its a very intense world and the film definitely goes there.

But you will soon find Nina is her worst enemy.



For me the movie was quite difficult to watch. Yet, Mila Kunis as Lily has some of the best lines in the film. I really did like her character.

No doubt, its a film that could keep you talking for hours over the ending. Yet, as amazing as it is to some..I must admit..I did not enjoy it at all.

Perhaps its the thought of her listening to them over and over again how she wasn't giving her art ..enough, or not letting go...to that thought..no pain..no gain. Many parts were quite painful, imaginary or not. And I can understand where the euphoria comes from. Its a film I could only see once, yet it will be on my mind for weeks to come. Saying that, its definitely, unforgettable.



Storyline

Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side - a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas dare by Ivy Parker



Perhaps, Jenna was just feeling caty. OK, a complete bitch she guessed, but seriously, it really was the same old crap when it came to the holidays. Or maybe she'd miss her dorm and all her so-called friends. Even her frigid roommate Kristen.

"I dare you to have some fun this Christmas." She started. Well, it was the last fifteen minutes she'd see her roomie before next year. Jenna had a train to catch and then all that lovely family havoc would start. It would be like being in a big ball of happiness that somehow Jenna would imagine a vat of calories and fudge to take back to her home away from home.

"What are you getting at?" Kristen was a bit cross there in her cross-country yellow hoodie and gray yoga pants. She tighten her shoes string a bit more. Her parents would be picking her up in a few minutes.

"You know, what I mean." Jenna was being secretive of course, "A hook-up."

Kristen shook her head, no.

"You don't even go to parties, do you?" Jenna pursed her lips.

"Not really." Kristen pulled a face which made Jenna think there was no way this girl would get lucky with her stringy hair and her sheepish looks.

"Think about it, you're not getting any younger. Maybe you'll find someone, or at least use some of your conversational skills, at least once." Jenna hinted as if she didn't really want to live with a couch potato who ran sporadically when asked to. "Just give it a try."

She rolled her eyes.

"You can text me." Jenna smiled then.

"What about you? What's in it for you?" Kristen gave her a dead stare as she hugged herself.

"I dunno. Just the idea of meeting someone new. Kind of makes me forget about the same old Christmas cookie and sugar sweet holiday. I want a real one, you know. A real holiday." Jenna sighed, thinking Kristen must find her a complete nut job now. "All right, not asking you to sleep with anyone, just a connection, all right. Broaden your horizon, Kris. That's all." With that said, Kristen was on her way. It wasn't that she'd agreed, but Jenna smiled thinking perhaps she'd put a seed of some sort in Kristen head now.

Soon enough, Jenna was on her way. No telling what story Kristen would have in mind, but Jenna wanted something out of the ordinary which had nothing to do with Christmas carols or sweet egg nog shakes. She supposed she was asking too much, but then he sat down.



There he was. All warm and cozy and nothing at all of a college student. Yet, young. Possibly, his classroom was life in general.  She hoped. She imagined. But she was wary too. How could she be so blind?

She'd promised her grandmother that she would not waver. Jenna had an obligation, her education. So she sat their still. Trying not to look at him in the eye, but a little. Yet minute by minute, she was certain it would be a missed opportunity. Perhaps she'd be shot down. Already, in her head, she could sense it would happen. This instant. Some nerve she had.

"You, visiting family?" She finally said all breathy as if this was her own challenge that she doubted Kristen would even think on.

"Excuse me?" He looked up at her from his book. It was something vaguely romantic, 100 years of Solitude.

"Oh, sorry," Jenna said with a wince. Shit, she thought, he did have beautiful eyes and he was definitely not average.

His smile was quick as if he wasn't that offended by her blunder.

"You looking forward to the holidays?" He was personable, but he kept his finger on the page as if to keep it handy in case he could return to it.

"Not really." She shrugged.

"Why is that?" His gaze caught her and she forgot the question.

"I really don't know. Its the same old shit." She was closed mouth.

"I like your honesty, truly I do." He informed her. "But seriously, aren't their presents and old faces to see?"

"Oh, of course." She supposed she took too much for granted. "You must think I'm-" She didn't want to finish the line. She really didn't. Jenna looked away then.

"Maybe it could different this Christmas." His smile was kind and she wanted to know his name. She did, but he hadn't offered it to her.

She introduced herself. Just her first name. After wards, she wished she'd given him an alias of some kind. Soon enough he was back to reading. He hadn't cared to be really personal with her. Jenna was a bit hurt that he'd left it at that. Left her hanging. Wondering what that meant? How could it be different? It was always the same, trimming the tree, going to the same places. Why did she want to avoid it so?

And then she went to sleep as the train slowly lulled on to her destination.

"Make them remember who you truly are." A whisper shot through her head. Jenna let out a breath then. He was not there when she awoke. Jenna slightly shivered. A part of her felt so sad. Really, it bothered her. The idea that they didn't know who she even was anymore. Yes, it was a complete dare, wasn't it? A little smile rose to the occasion. She hoped she hadn't ruined Kristen's Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

OH NO OH MY









The members of Oh No Oh My are Daniel Hoxmeier, Joel Calvin, Greg Barkley, and Tim Regan. They've been learning their mad skills with various instruments since they were 14 when they started the band as the Jolly Rogers. They did live in Nashville but are originally from Austin, Texas, and are perhaps on the road these days so much to have a real home. They have opened for the Flaming Lips and Gnarls Barkley. Their music has also been heard on HBO's WEEDS.




Check out Dmitrij Dmitrij at Amazon.com

I fell in love with their music when I heard  I painted your house. Such wonderful song writing and melodies.


Official Site

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

my latest crush



OK, you might know Zach Roerig as Matt Donovon from Vampire Diaries. Granted, I think of him as just the ex who puts up with Caroline.



It wasn't until I started watching the 3rd season of Friday Night Lights that I fell in love with his Cash, the bronco rider. Talk about amazing writing. They created a true and genuine character. From the moment he tipped his hat to Tyra, you knew she couldn't wait to meet him. In reality he's a couple of inches shorter than this actress, but you definitely wouldn't notice it because you just wonder what's going to come out of that sly mouth of his.


Adrianne Palicki as Tyra with Zach Roerig's Cash

Its really made me reconsider Roerig's acting abilities. He's a lot more than just eye-candy. And too bad they can't use him more on Vampire Diaries. He got his start on As the World Turns which is definitely a good place to hone  in on the craft of acting. When he's not filming Vampire Diaries, he still considers himself a New Yorker, who learned to use his Texas Twang just right on Friday Night Lights. You just knew this cowboy would know what to do when it came to the Texas two-step. His character always stepped up too.

Needless to say, he did inspire me to want to create my own character. Of course, this character is nothing like Cash nor Matt on my on-going ..possibly slacker soap, Lucy and Sarah.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thomas McDonell


Thomas McDonell is a New Yorker just in his twenties.

Possibly, he got his break a few years back when he was in in Shanghai. He went to a casting call and they put him in a movie. The Forbidden Kingdom. "a crazy weird kung fu film," he says. "I played a thug and did a lot of glaring."



He still lives in the East Village for the most part and loves doing his own thing. Art.

Come April you can catch him with Amiee Teegarden in Disney's PROM. Perhaps their answer to last year's Valentines Day. Hard to say if its a winner or not, but he's pretty haute. This just might be his true calling. Acting.



For Nova Prescott (Aimee Teegarden), it’s a battle of wills as she finds herself drawn to the guy (Thomas McDonell) who gets in the way of her perfect prom.

Friday, December 17, 2010

chocolate gooey butter cookies - Paula Deen



Ingredients

    * 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
    * 1 stick butter, at room temperature
    * 1 egg
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
    * Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired.
food network cookies.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

nail winter sampler

OK, its that time of year. You're going crazy thinking what to do for prezzies. And then you stop and think, hey what about me. So, uh, you check out the free music at Amazon. OK, you're not me, you probably have more important things to do.

Anyway, I was actually looking for free Christmas music to give to co-workers, mixed in with a few tunes I like. Granted, I have co-workers who love my mixes and well, I feel kind of obligated. Only, they have different listening tendencies.

Of course, this is a sampler I wouldn't give to them because, it might not be what they expect.

Granted, saying all this you are probably so confused now.


Nail winter sampler is made up of alternative bands. This distributor comes out of Portland, Oregon. Naturally. And when I found out that Birthday Massacre had Pins and Needles on it, I thought I'd check it out. My favorite on this ten song compilation would have to be Grave yard's full by the growlers. Now, don't let that put you off. Its really got a nice melody to it. Although I couldn't find it on YOU TUBE. Here's Spider Swamp.



I Won't by Stereo is a Lie is more R.E.M. old school. Here is an interview with the lead singer.



Jen Wood's Morning Light is quite pleasing too. The CD sampler also has two hip-hop tunes by Watchmen and Diwon. Along with some full body rock with Lo-pan's DRAGLINE. It ends with the Deadbeats' Conveyer.

Really, for free music its one of the better ones I've found.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

CHATROOM

Storyline: A group of teenagers encourage each other's bad behavior.

Japanese director, Hideo Nakata brings us a UK film with some promising, up and coming actors. Naturally, Aaron Johnson is in the lead, as well as Imogen Poots and Hannah Murray.

Chatroom is about five teenagers, in an online chatroom. The film focuses on  their conversations as if they are happening in the real world, in a physical room. Yet, it takes you to the dark side. It is the Internet, anything can happen. One in the group is miserable and as they say, misery loves company.

Its a Cyber thriller yet a psychological horror story. Its every parent's worst nightmare. Naturally, Nakata is very good at horror. I'm not certain when this film hits the states, but I will definitely be on the look out for it.

aaron johnson, matthew beard, hannah murray, and imogen hoot

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tarwater

Tarwater is a German Punk rock band that started in the 90's, but this band was an intricate part of the French movie, Give me your hand. Of course, some might not notice what a beautiful and brilliant part of the movie through the soundtrack. This has to be my favorite music from the movie. Its rather quaint yet it grows its own energy of a story with two boys who never knew their mother but walked across France (mostly) to go to her funeral in Spain.

The story does shed light on what it is like to be a twin. It is also a postcard of France's country side, as well. A lot of sleeping outdoors. Really, it makes me think of how people traveled here in America when the trains first stretched across it. Back in the day, tramping. Which I'm sure still exist, we just don't wish to talk about it, anymore.

Alexandre and Victor Carril play Antoine (extrovert) and Quentin (introvert). I had mentioned this movie before.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Marc-Andre Grondin where have you been?



I've loved this very French ..Canadian since C.R.A.Z.Y.

I'm not sure he makes many 'English' films. Evidently, the French have embraced him. He has managed to be in a few French films over the last few years. If that's not enough he's French and Mexican descent. So international. He's been acting since age 3. His Dad is a radio personality. He's also been quite the drummer when he has time for his band in Montreal.  And there is a very close resemblance between he and French actor Gaspar Uillel, but they are no relation.



At the moment he's filming Goon with Alison Pill and Jay Baruchel..its a Canadian film, but we might get to hear him speak English. And be on the look out for films like The First day of the rest of your life and Beautiful Beast. This year he's made The Chamelon. He plays Frédéric Fortin who has taken up the identity of a woman's long lost son completely convincing the police and the boy's family of his identity.



All I can say, I can see why the French love him. He is a beautiful scene stealer.