Friday, September 30, 2016

Movie Review Madness - The Magnificent Seven

Yes, 1960 had Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson headlining a western. That was a long time ago and you can watch it on any classic movie channel. But there’s nothing wrong with rounding up a new herd of actors and bringing The Magnificent Seven to the big screen again. Director Antoine Fuqua lends a sweeping touch to glorious scenery. He throws a ton of firepower, stunt shooting, and riding, and oh no – a Gatling gun to the showdown. He gives each man a solid role, sharp dialogue, and a chance to squint into the sun as he reflects on his fate.

Denzel Washington lends the gravitas necessary for Sam Chisolm, the bounty hunter. Ethan Hawke is a twitchy former Confederate soldier. Chris Pratt is the slick cardsharp gunslinger, and Vincent D’Onofrio is the grizzled coot. Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Martin Sensmeier fill in the final seven. I read somewhere that it’s the United Benetton Western.  Peter Sarsgaard is the slimy villain who owns the mine and wants to run roughshod over the neighboring town and steal all of the land. Boo hiss

The seven choose to tilt against windmills and fight for the little guy. They help the townsfolk with their pitchforks and rifles and vow to save the women and children. It’s a noble fight and entertaining. The Magnificent Seven won’t be considered a classic, but it’s a popcorn worthy movie. Round ‘em up and head to the theater. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Book Review - Celibacy and Suburbia

I am a fan of Robyn Alana Engel's writing. Her blog, Life by Chocolate ( ) is a hoot. As the sole author in her household ( read Woman on the Verge of Paradise), Robyn draws upon her life, her humor, and a lot of chocolate. She is a small bundle of energy with a big heart.

I was not a part of her book launch or promotion tour. Now, as someone who bought the paperback and devoured it in a weekend, I officially recommend Celibacy and Suburbia by Robyn Alana Engel.

Her dating ad mockery demonstrates her wit. Her guest celebrity interviews (Martha Stewart!) will leave you in stitches. And finally there's Calenderotica - the holiday erotic poems that make you yearn for more treats in a year.

I have to quote Janie Goltz from the back cover blurb - Robyn Alana Engel hits the G-spot of hilarity.

It's a crazy world, and Robyn is mining it for comedy gold.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Turn down on the cruise ship - fun towel creations and of course, chocolate on the pillows.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Movie Review Madness - Bridget Jones's Baby

Our favorite bumbling Brit is back – Bridget Jones is now 43, a producer, and still endearingly klutzy, watching her weight, drinking too much, and looking for a man. Renee Zellweger brings charm and sincerity to the role in Bridget Jones’s Baby.  We join her at a memorial service for former boss/flame Hugh Grant’s character. Hard to believe he’s gone in a mysterious accident. However, she does run into Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and his wife. She manages to keep a stiff upper lip.

Bridget agrees to go to a weekend concert with a friend and the goal is to “shag”. Of course she immediately falls into a mud pit and is “rescued” by the very good looking Patrick Dempsey. And naturally they run into each other again and yes, there’s a bit of a passionate night. But, then it’s back to work and another meet-up with Mark Darcy. Turns out he’s getting divorced (oh darn) and maybe there is still a spark to light for Bridget. Oh my – two nights, two men, and oops – in three months, Bridget finds out she’s pregnant. Who’s the father?

I won’t give away more. Bridget Jones’s Baby is a comedy but it’s not all hilarity. The concepts of responsibility for the child, the idea of love, and loyalty, and growing up are addressed. There’s excellent chemistry among the leads and you’ll be rooting for all to work things out. This is an amusing chick flick, worthy of matinee price. Cheers!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Food Fun

 I don't take many food pictures but near the end of our cruise, I decided to take a pic of this dessert. They were always so pretty, yummy, and light
 I took this pic for my guys at work.  Lunch is expensive in Alaska
 Ray did a food tour of the galley. I had a bit of a cough by the end of the trip and decided to not subject the kitchen to my germs. He took these pics of their food carvings and presentations
 The pastry chef was showing off
 They prepare up to 12,000 plates a day on the ship.  Impressive. The room service group has its own kitchen. We used it a few mornings for breakfast - I needed my OJ and some fruit. They were right on time per my request.
And another dessert - this was a light as air strawberry mousse delight.

Happy Friday everyone. My brown bag lunch at work will be rather sad compared to the above.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Um, about alaska, ya think!!!

You folks are going to get so sick of Alaska, you will scream.........Will I hear you??

Nah.    Alaska is beyond awesome.  Start booking your trip now!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Vibrant Vancouver

 On September 3rd, Ray and I flew to Vancouver, Canada to begin our cruise adventure. Vancouver proved vibrant, sunny, and warm. We delighted in walking along the harbor.
 Any city on water is wonderful
 We toured Stanley Park. Here's a Little Mermaid statue
 Totem poles were unique and colorful, celebrating some native heritage
And the runner statue is emblematic to me of a city in motion.

We enjoyed our oh-too-brief time in Vancouver and thank our friends to the north for their hospitality.

Now it's Monday and I'm back to work for a full week slog. I shall be getting back to regular posts and visits. Hope everyone is well. Let's have a great week.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Alaska is Wild

 Oh yeah - boat, walk, canoe, and walk to see Davidson Glacier. Do I have stories for you, golly you betcha!!
And Denali - Tundra Wilderness Tour. This fella decided to cross the road in front of the bus, only twenty feet away. He was foraging for berries, not humans.

Wow is all I can say about our Alaska adventure.  We got back to Dallas Thursday morning at 7 am (4 am Alaska time). I am currently a zombie as I prepare this post, and I have to work on Friday (ugh - reality bites)

It's a teaser. I hope you are prepared for way too many Alaska pics and stories..... Are you with me?

Happy Friday and weekend. More to come

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Book Review - The Best of Enemies

Jen Lancaster is a hoot and her latest novel The Best of Enemies does not disappoint.  The cover blurb says it all – Bridesmaids meets Big Little Lies in a novel told from the alternating perspectives of two women who define the term frenemies.

Jacqueline Jordan is a journalist who likes a very spare life. In contrast her childhood friend, Kitty Carricoe, is a beast in the world of carpools and minivans and the latest in clothes, kitchens, and panic. However, a joint friend Sarabeth keeps the two connected. Sarabeth’s wealthy husband dies in a suspicious plane crash. Now Jack and Kitty “must bury the hatchet and hit the road for a trip that may just bring them together – if it doesn’t kill them first.” (cover blurb)

The Best of Enemies is fast paced froth. Lots of product placement, PTA, and uber woman drama. Can women have it all?  It’s tough, but these ladies manage to pull it together when they aren’t pulling their hair.  Jen Lancaster has amused me ever since her memoir self-effacing book Bitter is the New Black. Her style cracks me up. If you want a quick read with plenty of laughs, you can’t go wrong with this author.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Irving Penn - Photography Exhibit

I talked Ray into taking me to the Dallas Museum of Art. We needed some culture (he didn't know it!) It was the last day for Irving Penn  Beyond Beauty and the exhibit was worth the drive. Back in the day, Mr. Penn's photos popped from the pages of Vogue. He had an elegant eye for beauty and iconic fashion portraits. This exhibit was organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and featured over 140 photographs from 1930s to the 2000. He died in 2009 at the age of 92.

He traveled everywhere and again brought a distinct look to his pictures of people in their native state. Street scenes, still lifes, and private studio images rounded out the show.

Excellent exhibit - beyond beauty indeed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Book Review - Browsings

Browsings by Michael Dirda is a collection of nonfiction essays on the literary life. This man lives and breathes books, has opinions on books, collects books, and earned a Pulitzer Prize as a critic on books. This book is not for everyone and I admit I skimmed some chapters. However, he also offers some funny anecdotes. He discusses literary pets, the lost art of cursive writing, book inscriptions, author photographs, novelists in old age, Oberlin College, a year in Marseille, writer’s block, and more. (cover blurb)

And he offers up reading suggestions that would last more than ten lifetimes.  He gives lists of perfect book titles, great adventure novels, favorite words, books about books, and children’s classics. He offers this with love and hate – eager to steer the world in the proper direction toward good books. He himself cannot stay away from used book stores, and admits to almost hoarder status as far as boxes and stacks of books in his home. He is married, so it sounds as there is some control and he won’t be crushed by his collection.

Dirda’s enthusiasm shines through, and he does put a lot of work into his passion.  Browsings was a library book choice for me and worth signing out to browse.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


 Well - Ray and I are off on an adventure. In honor of his 60th birthday back in August, he chose an Alaskan cruise to celebrate. The time has arrived. Our bags are packed.
These photos from Dreamstock are a hint of what's to come. 

Cruise boat, trains, hikes, and more.  Yes, Ray can outrun me if there's a grizzly bear in view.
Hopefully I shall return with plenty of pictures of my own and stories to share

Until then - all the best to you, blog friends. I shall be off the grid for a bit, but shall visit upon return.

Ahoy Alaska!