Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Favorite Things Swap! The Recap Edition

So, this past week I participated in Mamarazzi's Favorite Things Swap:

The idea was to send your partner several of your very favorite things. I truly had a blast doing this, and hope that my swap partner Elizabeth enjoys all her loot!

She sent me a great package filled with things I will definitely enjoy!

Her favorite things include a lot of my favorite things, so I am so excited! The bath salts smell wonderful, and I can't wait to try them. And the book she sent looks perfect - I look forward to taking a break from my current Twilight obsession, LOL!

Elizabeth is, like me, a notecard lover. She found the most adorable notecards shaped like purses - another thing we both love - and I cannot wait to use those! I love handwritten notes, even though my handwriting is awful (since I type all the time!) I will have so much fun using those!

Lastly, but certainly not least, she included some Burt's Bees lip balm (if you've never tried Burt's, DO! It's awesome!) and a yummy Toblerone bar. I love ALL chocolate, and I had to stop myself from snarfing that right down as soon as I found it!

I love EVERYTHING and send Elizabeth a huge thank you!

Happy weekend all!

Love, Dahrlin'

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day in Miami!

I haven't disappeared off the face of the Earth, I promise! We've just been super busy the last few weeks. It feels like life has been going 400 miles an hour lately. Crazy busy, but in a good way :-) I hope everyone is doing well, and I'll be around soon to say hi and leave bloggy comment love, I promise! In the meantime, I wanted to show you a few pics from our Memorial Day getaway. We had a great time!

This past weekend, we went to Miami for a friend's son's wedding. We stayed at the Westin Diplomat Resort, which was just gorgeous. It's slightly up the road from Miami, but only a half hour drive. I think it must be pretty new, and it was luxurious from top to bottom! I can recommend it highly if you are in the Hollywood/Hallandale Beach area.

Even the lobby is beautiful, with a number of soothing fountains (I love water!), all done in black granite. It was really lovely. We had a great time just wandering around and enjoying the scenery, inside and out!

I also love palm trees, and we don't have many in Atlanta ;-) So these were fun to see as well. At night, they've got them all lit up.

We had a GREAT view from our room - and the height of the building made it feel like we were on a cruise ship - that feeling of looking out your window and seeing nothing but water.

Our room was an ocean view on the 20th floor, which was tons of fun - a little dizzying when you step out onto the balcony, but beautiful! I'm not too terrified of heights, but the fact that the balcony railing only came to a couple inches above my waist made my stomach flip anytime I got to the actual edge and looked down. It was a LONG way down there!

The pool was awesome as well - a two-level creation with a big hole in the middle (you can see through to the bottom pool from above). That feature was a big hit with kids (of all ages, LOL) and the "upstairs" pool was our favorite - a little better breeze at that level.

After we'd had enough sun for the day, we were able to go back to our balcony for some champagne. And - notice my other favorite item there on the table? Yep, that's me. So in love with Twilight that I was perfectly happy to lug a hardback book through the airports, on planes and trains and automobiles. (I can't be without my Edward, y'all.)

At night, the views were equally stunning - here's the pool deck all lit up for the evening... try clicking on the pic to see it a little better.

And in another version of a light display, we saw the most amazing lightning on Monday evening. Out over the water, it was literally lightning constantly. Check out this video - sorry for the loud wind noise - that's what happens on the 20th floor :-) But the lightning was truly amazing.

Hope you enjoyed the photo tour, and I WILL be back to posting regularly soon. Miss you guys!

Love, Dahrlin'

Friday, May 22, 2009

For the guys...

So today, Angie showed me this website. This may, seriously, be the funniest thing I have seen in a year or more. Truly hilarious, and scarily on-target, this guy deserves a shout out.

So this one is dedicated to that blog's author and to all the other guys out there who, like my husband, feel like Edward Cullen has stolen their wives or significant others - or at least occupies significant space in our heads! LOL

Enjoy! I'm still laughing!

** updated to add - this entry is also hysterically funny. I love the last part, about Darth Vader.

Love, Dahrlin'

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ranting and Raving! (Yeah, still about Twilight).

~This post is lengthy, gang. I don't want you to rush through it - read when you have time to enjoy. Go ahead, I'll wait right here!~

Back already? Okay, I know I've been almost completely absent here lately! Life got busy and I got sick the latter part of last week - ugh! Hateful summer cold (and now, apparently, bronchitis. Just lovely.) But on a happier note, whenever I'm sick I tend to watch a lot of movies. And that brings me around to my current favorite subject - yep, again - you're not really surprised, right?

Twilight. The movie, this time.

Now, let me clarify that last part - I'm not saying the movie is my favorite. Just the subject matter. And let me also say - this post will contain spoilers, if you have not already seen the movie. You've been warned! But I've watched it a couple times now, and I do want to throw a few thoughts out there, for fellow lovers of this series. I'm curious what you all thought, so let me know in the comments!

My BFF Angie and I had grand plans to get together this weekend and scrapbook, swim and watch the movie (since I had not seen it). However, we had lots of disappointment in store, including both of us getting sick, a rainy weekend (even if we'd felt up to swimming), and worst of all - no visit! Waahhh!! We have to plan like four months in advance, so I hated to miss our weekend! ~Sniffles~

So, to cheer myself up (and because the curiosity was killing me), I rented Twilight on iTunes. After reading a couple of reviews, I was prepared with my sackcloth and ashes. I also spoke with a couple friends, who made sure I went in with reasonably low expectations. But after seeing it, I have a few thoughts to share (in case you want to read them!) myself. So here you go - grab a cup of coffee, glance through, and then let me know your thoughts too. Here are my notes on the good, the bad, and the justplainfrugly (that's "just plain fricking ugly" - this site is rated E for everyone)!

We'll start with the frugly, so that we can end on a happier note. And there was, unfortunately, plenty of frugly to go around.

First and foremost - I agree with Lula's friend Kristen, who said we should bring out the sackcloth and ashes for the first half hour. Yep, that first half hour is painful, as the movie starts promisingly enough, but quickly begins to flounder in a sea of poor acting (I didn't say poor actors), valley-girl-speak (really? do teenagers really speak that way even today?) and (apparently) low-budget issues. Is it just me, or is it not missing...something? Identity? Depth? Feelings, emotions, inflection, maybe?? Of course for those of us who knew the plot going in, it's easy enough to follow what is supposed to be happening... but to me, it was as though the first half hour or so (up to the Port Angeles encounter, anyway) lacked a lot. Even the van scene. It just didn't pull me in, didn't engage me. It felt like everyone was simply reading their lines, rather than acting them. Not that the actors aren't all fine - just that the acting was not that great in this movie. There are exceptions (see: Peter Facinelli), but there weren't many. The general lack of inflection in many of Kristen Stewart's deliveries just made me want to scream (and not just in my head - I was doing that already). Bella had a LOT more personality than THAT in the books.

Second - DETAILS, people, DETAILS. Details are critical in any good story, but there is a special significance to detail when it comes to books made into movies. It never ceases to amaze me when makers of (book-based) movies don't play, as closely as possible, from the script that the public has already read. Of course, there will always be certain elements of any story that cannot be physically translated to the big screen. I get that. But come on - it's the little things that make a story ring true - or unhappily off key!

Perhaps my single biggest grievance in this category... the Cullen cars. Most specifically, Edward's car. What the @#$@#$@% is that? It may be a Volvo, but that is NOT the car Stephenie Meyer specified.** And it looks ridiculous. Not only is it not the model we've pictured Edward driving through four books now (go here to see the real deal specified by the author). And - seriously - can I get an amen on this? It looks like a Gremlin, people!! It's a ridiculous little car and does not suit Edward at all. I think I actually got gray hair the first time I saw that car in a trailer. I moaned. I wailed, y'all. I know there are mixed opinions on this switch and I respect everyone's right to theirs, but I, personally don't care if it's trendy, I don't care if it's cool (to some, I guess) - it's fricking-fracking freaky ugly and it's WRONG for the story. Ahem. (You didn't know I could feel that strongly about a car, did you?) I take my cars seriously, gang. I either love a car or hate it - I am not a woman of lukewarm emotions ;-) Edward may play a teenager in "real life", but the character is an old-fashioned man (yes, man) at heart. The car Stephenie Meyer placed in the book suits the character. A special GRRRR! goes out to Volvo here, as I am sure their product placement folks had a part in this fiasco.

And don't get me started on Rose's car. The Cullen cars are really almost characters in these stories. To make intentional deviations from those details - and for what? - makes no sense to me. And while I'm on the subject of details - why is Bella suddenly vegetarian? What in the world happened to the (real) meadow scene? And for the love of all that is holy, I agree with Lula on the glitter issue. Edward does, indeed, look like he's been Bedazzled. And not in a good way!

Okay, so moving on. The merely bad?

Mini-rant 1: The overall feeling of being rushed through the story. I think the lack of detail contributes to that feeling, along with hideously fragmented plot pacing. If you watched this without knowing the story beforehand, I'm not actually sure you could follow it. It's that bad. It feels like we're only hitting the high points of the story - with none of the texture that makes the story real. Where is the scene with Edward and Bella (with happy sparks flying, this time) in Biology during the class movie? Where are the scenes of Edward watching Bella sleep, and singing her to sleep? Why rush them through the lead up to the kiss in (literally) a two-minute scene? And what about the time Bella actually spends with Alice and Jasper in Phoenix? And okay, I like the actor they cast as Jacob, except that I already found the character of Jacob annoying enough. Am I the only one who thinks that poor kid is a fine actor, but has a terribly obnoxious voice? He sounds like a SoCal surfer dude, NOT a native northwesterner. GAH! DETAILS!!! I could go on... but I will (mercifully) spare you further raving.

This brings me to the good news - and there were good aspects of this movie - few and far between though they may have been. The high(er) points for me:

(1) Edward. Okay, you know by now of my love and devotion for this character. And we know my BFF has a thing for Robert Pattinson. Now, I would not dare disagree with her to say anything bad about her beloved Rob. And here, I actually agree with the casting decision - I think Robert looks the part of Edward just fine (exception - Bedazzled, above). My only gripe with Rob is that he needs to bring it a little more. He didn't quite sell me on the chemistry with Bella - almost, but not really. Something was missing. He was a little too rigid, too reserved through most of the movie - and not in the character sense, but in the actor sense. Blessed exceptions to this issue included his more natural behavior when he helps Bella out of the car at school, the treetop scenes, and during the baseball game. He was just a little too stiff in some places. But overall, I give Rob a thumbs up. This is a part I think he may mature into. And meanwhile, I liked what I saw.

(2) Peter Facinelli as Carlisle. This was, honestly, a true high point of the movie for me. His part is minor in this movie, but will factor in more later in the saga. Peter was perhaps the only character I felt was perfectly cast here, and who performed flawlessly. Excellent job, Peter! {throws roses and blows kisses}

(3) The first kiss. Ummm... now that part, they got right. It was hot. Hawt, even...swoon!

(4) The last kiss...during the dance. And the almost-bite. Also nicely done.

(5) Like many others, I enjoyed the baseball scene - perhaps my favorite of the movie. It seemed the truest to the spirit of the book - it had energy, and special effects were decently done (as opposed to elsewhere in the movie), music was good, and everyone seemed alive.

(6) The Cullen house - what a gorgeous place! And that, also, rang true to the book. Loved the group effort at cooking dinner for Bella, too. And the scenery. Breathtaking!

(7) Rob catching the apple. This was cute - nicely done, Robert. They needed more of that kind of thing - more of the little details that tipped Bella off. Less "creepyRobmovinginfastforward" and more old fashioned acting to get the point across.

(8) Have I already mentioned Peter? Oh yeah. {blushes}.

(9) Mike Newton calling Bella "Arizona." I actually liked that improv (at least, I don't remember it coming from the book) - it made his character more natural somehow.

(10) Bella's lullaby. I love piano music, I like the song, and I really enjoyed watching Rob play it. (Yep, Angie, I see it now!)

(11) And last but not least, I LOVED Alice. The actress they chose for Alice fit my mental image of her character perfectly, and she's just adorable. I hope she sticks with the production through each movie. She'll be a more central figure later, and they need a good image fit for the actress in that part.

So there you have it, gang. Those are my thoughts. And if I may, I am going to run over to Lula's now to ask if I can join her in prayer for New Moon. May it be soooooooooooooooooooo much better than its predecessor. So much better, in fact, that we only cry because of the plot!

That's it for now. If you've seen the movie, I would love to hear your thoughts too!

Love, Dahrlin'

**"Ed, this is not the car I ordered!" - Bonus points to the first person to name that movie! And extra points too because you actually read this far.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I love accessories!

I know, I know - long time, no blog! Catch up post coming soon, I promise!

Meanwhile, we went to a JDRF fundraiser* last night, which was tons of fun. And I'm not even hungover much. As part of the fun, I won this adorable little thing in the silent auction. I got into a bit of a bidding war over it, actually, but I REALLY wanted it, so I might have overpaid slightly won, of course. And it's for an excellent cause... (I really do feel badly for the poor lady who was bidding against me, because she definitely didn't know who she was messing with).

It's a purse, of course, but it can also be used as a jewelry box. Too cute!! I love to travel, so it caught my eye immediately. Only for special occasions, but I love it already!

Happy weekend, and happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

Love, Dahrlin'

*(I am adding this as a footnote only because the overall tone of this post is meant to be lighthearted. But there is nothing lighthearted about diabetes. If you're not familiar with this cause, please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself and consider giving if you feel led, becuase there is a good chance someone you know is struggling with this awful disease.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Going green!

No, no - not that kind of green. (Don't get me started!...)

No, I'm referring to spring green, which is currently showing up everywhere around our part of the country. And thank God for it! I love our backyard - mostly because after ten years of living in homes where the neighborhood was clear cut by the developer, we actually have trees - trees that are more than three years old - and lots of them!

Hope you enjoy - and Happy Friday!

(And yes, I know, I've been absent from blogging all week. I blame Twilight, Stephenie Meyer, Edward Cullen, and every. friend. who. recommended this insanely addictive series to me... no, wait, I could never blame Edward. Edward is perfect and is hereby declared blameless. But the rest of you - ya know who you are! LOL)

For more Foto Finish Fiesta Fun, head over to Candid Carrie's and join the celebration. TGIF!

Love, Dahrlin'
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