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#25. Take photos in photobooths!

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You know what that means! This weekend I went to the wedding of some amazing friends and good news for my 30 Before 30 List, they had a photobooth!

#25. Take photos in photobooths.ย 

You are probably thinking that’s an easy one. And the truth is… is is easy and SUPER fun. I want to take time to celebrate and appreciate all the amazing people in my life! Taking photos in photobooths is an easy way to document friendships and wonderful times! This particular set is with my former roommate, Meg! We had a blast even though we struggled a bit with the timing! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Movie Review: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire

O. M. G.

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When the credits rolled, my friend’s husband whispered reverently “maybe one of the greatest movies ever.” Now that might be a bit of an over statement. But, it was, nevertheless, an AMAZING movie. The poster is accurate because Jennifer Lawrence comes at you in this movie! I was sad that I couldn’t see it with Hannah, my VIP Bestie, but maybe I will see it again with her because it is DEFINITELY worth double-viewing. Fans of the books will be hard-pressed to find anything substantive missing from the books. Fans of good acting are going to be in hog heaven.

I should warn you that at dinner before the movie I jokingly called the Jennifer Lawrence Fan Club meeting to order. Obviously, we are huge fans of hers. She’s young, brilliant, and crazy — we identify with her. ๐Ÿ˜‰ BUT, HOT DAMN, this girl CAN ACT!

And before I get too far down this ranting path… I will give you five reasons to see and love this movie — even if you were like me and could barely get through the book because it was so sad and the main character goes through so much.

1. Jennifer Lawrence

There can be NO OTHER number 1 than Jennifer Lawrence. She is in every single scene. She doesn’t carry the movie so much as elevate it to higher plane. Her emotional range as Katniss is unbelievable. I will give three examples: the second reaping (it is actually the most intense underplayed and truly heartbreaking scenes), Joanna in the elevator (her faces alone will leave you laughing afterwards), and the last ten seconds of the film (fans of the books will know that this is the moment when the reality of her terrible, horrible, and heartbreaking fate is spelled out for her and in that moment Jennifer Lawrence KILLS it.)

I don’t want to ruin anything. But I think if they would seriously consider the acting in fantasy books for the Oscar, she’d be nominated again. Drop the mic.

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2. Chemistry.

I’ll admit that I struggled with the chemistry between Peeta and Katniss in the first movie and may have even been quoted this very week saying I wish they had cast someone else besides Josh Hutcherson. I am sorry. I was wrong. In this movie, they have the sweetest chemistry. He’s wonderful, he’s so soulful and kind. In the book, one of my favorite moments is when Haymitch points out that Katniss could live a thousand lives and never deserve him. The kind of powerful statement is hard without chemistry. It’s not a problem here at all. Also, I believe that the two of them acting together elevates the other and they both have emotional depth and surprising comic timing.

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(PS: the costumes in this movie were AMAZING. They were just enough less cheesy than the first and it was PERFECT. In particular, District 12’s costumes for the capitol (above) were just incredible.)

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Gale doesn’t get a ton of screen time but it’s still more than the first (his time is coming… brace yourself movie #3) but Liam Hemsworth continues to not disappoint and does Gale wonderfully and also has incredible chemistry with our heroine.

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3. Stanley Tucci (and all the supporting actors returning)

Ok, I love him, I do. He makes me laugh so hard. He and his fake teeth and falsies. Damn, he’s funny.

Everyone who returns, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz (who’d a thought he’d be crucial to the success of the movie), and Woody Harrelson. All give amazing performances and provide such heart to the movie. You enjoy every moment they are on screen.

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(this is her wedding dress, and in classic Capitol fashion it’s completely over the top, however, it will win you over in the movie especially once Cinna works his magic.)

4. The new cast.

This movie did the impossible, gave me actors playing roles who appeared EXACTLY how they did in my imagination. Mags, Finnick, and Joanna are PERFECTLY cast. It is a bit mind boggling actually. You should go see it solely for Jenna Malone’s slightly crazy but definitely deadly Joanna. Or Lynn Cohen as Mags doing so much without saying a word. And Sam Claflin who seemed a bit of a weird choice is perfection as the sexy, charismatic, but still incredibly loving and vulnerable, Finnick. The Jennifer Lawrence fan club was speculating if somehow her impeccable performance led others to up their game, because game was definitely upped in this movie.

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5. Captivating Story

This is a long movie. And when it ends, you are like, wait, isn’t there more?? The movie is beautiful. The acting (if you have not read the last 1000 paragraphs I wrote) was amazing. The story amazing. It’s just a wonderful movie. No sophomore slump or sequel issues whatsoever, it’s actually a more organic, smooth movie than the first and (no surprise here), Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss just gets better and better with time.

Go see it. Tell me what you think!

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Gaga for Graphic Sweaters!

Sorry, Paige. I know they aren’t your favorite but graphic sweaters are a serious trend this season and a fun way to stay sassy even as the temperature drops.

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Graphic sweaters couldn’t be easier to style. You can wear them easily with a pair of skinnies and a pair of leopard print/stripe/polka dot flats and that’s a great outfit. Or you can just as easily, put a striped or plaid shirt under and layer. Or combine them with a fun patterned skirt and a chunky necklace. They really dress up (fashion-wise) the simplest outfit. They range in graphics from the Eiffel tower to a pair of glasses or foxes (and other animals).

If you are thinking I don’t know about that, I would recommend that you stay on the Eiffel tower end of the spectrum. I think of it as Low, Medium, and High. This is what I consider low…. Check these ladies out:

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And for medium:

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And high impact:

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Camel for Fall

It’s easy to fall into the dark colors only for Fall and Winter. But camel is actually a wonderful option for fall and a very classy choice when it comes to coats.

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Here are some looks to inspire you to include camel in your wardrobe…

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These first two are my favorite. The show you how relaxed and easy solid fashion can be. Both of their coats are beautiful and they use of accessories, clutch.

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Dinner for Two (2nd Edition)

A couple of days ago, I reblogged “18 Things Everyone Should Start Making Time For Again” and it really inspired me…

Here’s what the other blog suggested:

4. Cooking a nice meal just for the sake of doing so. It really trains you to defy your need for instant gratification and of course puts you in touch with something thatโ€™s very human and can be lovely if done right.

Inspired to shed my need for instant gratification, I designed a menu for the evening based on what I already knew I had and what would be easy to grab at the store on the way home. I used this recipe from Martha Stewart as a jumping off point:

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But I made the recipe my own… so here’s how I did it.

I already had butternut squash and sweet potatoes so I cut them up and tossed them with olive oil, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and minced ginger. Taking that mixture, I spread it on a baking sheet covered in foil and left a place in the center for the pork tenderloin. I applied (weird verb choice) salt and pepper to the whole dish and then baked it for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. The recipe called for 475 but my over runs hot. I made a bed out of spinach and arugula dressed it with some lemon juice and then moved on to whipping up some quinoa.

It was really delicious all together.

Here’s a pic:

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For dessert, I whipped up some stuffed apples. I say whipped up because I really did. I grabbed some apples and removed their cores. Then I mashed up a scoop of brown sugar, a handful of chopped pecans, and three slices of butter – then stuffed them in the apples and baked the apples for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. They turn out beautifully!!!

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Then right before I sat down to eat, Sara called and asked if I had plans for dinner. I told her hop in your car! She’s came on over and we shared a lovely meal for two.

I wholeheartedly recommend this recipe. Both dishes turned out fantastically and were easy and delicious!

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Five Minute Hair

As you know, I follow the blog The Beauty Department. They do truly excellent tutorials. I saw this one:ย http://thebeautydepartment.com/2013/11/rodarte-fall-2013-braid-tutorial/

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This tutorial is great. I tried it myself on my friend Mallory’s hair. The tutorial looks long ONLY because its super detailed.

Here’s my take on it.

I started by braiding Mall’s hair in two braids into a half

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Then I braided it down the end so that the whole piece was braided.

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Then I took a piece from under the cross-section of the braid and wrapped into a little bun and secured it with three bobby pins.

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And BAM, five minute hair is DONE! ย It looks pretty awesome considering it literally took me less than five minutes.

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I think I got pretty close to the inspiration look and didn’t tax myself too much in the process

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Thor, The Dark World – Movie Review

So I begged, cajoled, and basically forced Meg and her husband Craig to see this movie on opening night because I was too busy to see it the rest of the weekend. It’s hard to go out and be wild on Friday nights when you’ve worked all week. So I was really grateful they agreed and we went. There is something to be said for seeing a movie with an opening night crowd, everyone is excited. It’s like having a room full of people rooting for the movie to succeed. Thor 2 did not disappoint. What kinds of things do you want from a movie like Thor 2? Here’s my bucket list:

1. Gratuitous torso shoots of Chris Hemsworth.

(I couldn’t find a pic from the movie. But now “thor shirtless” is in my search history. Great.)

When it happened, Meg and I started oooing and ahhing, and Craig, long-suffering as he is, just grinned at the adult women acting like preteen girls.

2. Snarky dialogue between Thor and Loki

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3. Surprisingly funny moments

Two words: Tighty whiteys… That’s a teaser if there ever was one…

4. Exciting action sequences…

Blah blah of course they had these.

5. Kat Denning popping in and doing and saying crazy things

To Thor: “How’s space?”

Here she is crashing Natalie Portman’s date…

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6. Badass lady characters

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7. Science that seems possible – or according to Asgardians and me, Magic!

I think if you actually understand physics there might have beenย some issues with the major plot points — or so I am told. To me, it was awesome and big and magical!

8. Manly hair braids…

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9. Bad guys in creepy masks

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10. Tom Hiddleston breathing…

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This movie delivered all of the above and more. We were all surprised at how many times we were laughing out loud. The chemistry between Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston was amazing. They played lines off each other beautifully. Natalie Portman wasn’t annoying and frankly, in an action movie that’s a real win for the heroine. She has no super powers but still holds her own literally amongst gods. I won’t say much more because there are plot twists and it will be a richer experience if you go in fresh and unspoiled.

I would totally recommend this movie for a fun viewing. It’s the kind of thing that won’t challenge you in any way but you will leave feeling lighter and with a smile on your face. I can’t wait for the next one!