Guess who has two thumbs

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:07 pm
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And was in a vehicular mishap that got him to work two hours early?

Where We're At

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:09 am
[syndicated profile] ittybittykitty_feed

Posted by Laurie Cinotto

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I spent a lot of time cleaning, editing, and rearranging the room once occupied by kittens. I hung a new pair of blinds in the windows that filter the fall light beautifully.  There's a soft new rug on the floor.  I made a little window seat and covered it with a comfy quilt and the girls have really enjoyed having this new vantage point that looks into the backyard and vegetable beds. The squirrels are working overtime right now so they've been offering lots of entertainment for Wylla and Charlene.

This room is a comfortable space and we've all been spending a lot of time inside of it.  It's very peaceful and serene.

We are all doing fine.

Of course, we were all very sad about all that happened, but we're moving away from that and now we're in the "well, what's next?" phase of processing.  And honestly, I don't know what's next.

When Panleuk enters your home, there is a mandatory one-year period of waiting before you can foster again.  Even after a thorough cleaning, the virus can live in porous surfaces for up to a year, so we're sidelined for now to prevent future litters from becoming infected.

But there's a very big part of me that's thinking we might be through with fostering. I'm not 100% sure, and not making up my mind about the future right this very moment, but this is where I am currently leaning.

And if that is the case, what will happen here on this blog?   I do want to continue something here, but I don't know what shape that will take yet.  I will figure that out. I know some might have ideas of what direction I should go, but I feel I need to find this on my own --  considering first how what I do impacts those closest to me first.


For now, I'll continue to share stories and photos here.  I am going to post less though -- without kittens, content isn't as plentiful.  I always struggle to fill five days when we're between litters or taking breaks. I would rather do fewer posts of quality than five posts of filler.


SO, that's where I'm at. Which really isn't any further along at all, but I'm not racing to make decisions right now. When a clear path appears, I'll start heading down it and a decent clip.


Thank you for your patience as I think things through.

And thank you again for all of your love and support -- the comments, sweet notes in the mail, emails, flowers, thoughtful gifts, and donations in memory of our precious Waddells.  We appreciate you so much and we love you.


I'll wrap things up today with a batch of photos of dear Wylla basking in the lovely fall light. She's been so happy spending time in the room. I hope you all can find as much peace in your day.

xoxo, Laurie




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the hilarious world of depression

Sep. 25th, 2017 05:05 pm
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Posted by Wil

I spoke with John Moe about my mental illness for his podcast, The Hilarious World of Depression:

Wil Wheaton was a child star in Stand By Me, a regular on Star Trek: The Next Generation as a teenager, and has been trying to figure out his role in show business for a long time since then. He was dealing with the pressures of fame and the fickle tastes of Hollywood, all while dealing with a chemical imbalance in his brain that made him prone to anxiety and depression. Wil’s better now thanks to medication, but despite his long IMDb page and regular work on The Big Bang Theory, his hit YouTube show, and a thriving and varied career, he sees himself primarily as a failed actor.

It’s a good show, as they say. Go give it a listen.

KJ Charles, Magic, & More!

Sep. 25th, 2017 03:30 pm
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

AppSumo has a great deal on 100 credits for DepositPhoto for only $49!

Sarah: This is my favorite of the AppSumo deals.

I bought this about two years ago and I still haven’t used all the credits. The credits do not expire, and the DepositPhoto collection includes vector images and stock photos, too. Most of the images on the site that aren’t custom designed begin with DepositPhoto options. Seriously, 100 credits will last you a very long time.

All In

RECOMMENDED: All In by Simona Ahrnstedt is $2.99! Redheadedgirl gave the book an A:

I felt like this was full of Shakespearean drama, and scheming families, and hot sex, and gorgeous clothes, but also some important things to say about how the world is functioning. There’s a lot going on, though, and the ending a tad rushed.

In the cutthroat world of Sweden’s financial elite, no one knows that better than corporate raider David Hammar. Ruthless. Notorious. Unstoppable. He’s out to hijack the ultimate prize, Investum. After years of planning, all the players are in place; he needs just one member of the aristocratic owning family on his side–Natalia De la Grip.

Elegant, brilliant, driven to succeed in a man’s world, Natalia is curious about David’s unexpected invitation to lunch. Everyone knows that he is rich, dangerous, unethical; she soon discovers he is also deeply scarred.

The attraction between these two is impossible, but the long Swedish nights unfold an affair that will bring to light shocking secrets, forever alter a family, and force both Natalia and David to confront their innermost fears and desires.

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An Unseen Attraction

An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles is $1.99! This book published earlier this year. It’s a gay historical romance and was recommended several times in a Rec League on neurodivergent characters. This is also the first book in a new series by Charles and has a 3.9-star rating on Goodreads.

A slow-burning romance and a chilling mystery bind two singular men in the suspenseful first book of a new Victorian series from K. J. Charles.

Lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer prefers a quiet life. He’s happy with his hobbies, his work—and especially with his lodger Rowley Green, who becomes a friend over their long fireside evenings together. If only neat, precise, irresistible Mr. Green were interested in more than friendship…

Rowley just wants to be left alone—at least until he meets Clem, with his odd, charming ways and his glorious eyes. Two quiet men, lodging in the same house, coming to an understanding… it could be perfect. Then the brutally murdered corpse of another lodger is dumped on their doorstep and their peaceful life is shattered.

Now Clem and Rowley find themselves caught up in a mystery, threatened on all sides by violent men, with a deadly London fog closing in on them. If they’re to see their way through, the pair must learn to share their secrets—and their hearts.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

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The Irresistible Miss Peppiwell

The Irresistible Miss Peppiwell by Stacy Reid is 99c! This is book two in the Scandalous House of Calydon series. The first book is also on sale and the rest of the series is available for $3.99 each. If you like the trope of an “ice queen” heroine, readers recommend this historical romance. However, some felt the pace dragged.

With a longing for adventure, the last thing Phillipa Peppiwell wants is to marry. After a painful betrayal by a man she trusted, she is wary when she unwittingly catches the attention of roguishly handsome – and sinfully tempting – Lord Anthony Thornton. Forbidden desires she secretly yearns for threaten to crumble her icy facade and reveal a past scandal best kept buried.

Dissatisfied with his empty life, Lord Anthony seeks a deep and lasting connection…and finds himself intrigued by the Ice Maiden of the haute monde. Undaunted by Phillipa’s aloof nature and her distaste for the idea of matrimony, he sets out to thaw the bewitching beauty by enticing her with adventures of the most sensual type. But he, too, hides a scandalous secret…and if it’s discovered it could rip them apart.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

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How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days

How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks is $1.99! This is the first book in The Embraced series and is a fantasy/paranormal romance. Readers felt it was light on the fantasy elements, which they wanted more of, but others enjoyed the Beauty and the Beast elements. It has a 4-star rating on Goodreads.

From the brilliant imagination of Kerrelyn Sparks comes a bold new fantasy romance series in which passion and magic collide. Behold the Embraced…

As one of the Embraced—one born with magical powers—the beautiful, innocent Luciana escaped certain death after her father hid her away on the Isle of Moon. Now, nineteen years later, her father has returned with a frightening request. He will be executed unless Luciana returns to the mainland and marries a man feared throughout the land: a terrifying brute known as the Beast.

Luciana accepts her fate and agrees to wed the Beast—Lord Leo—in order to save her father. Soon she learns that her betrothed is also one of the Embraced. With the ability to wield lightning, Leo’s immense power strikes fear into the hearts of men. . .and his mere touch can put an end to a woman’s life. But Luciana cannot deny the passion that burns between them. How can she resist the man who scorches her soul and makes her feel intoxicated with desire—even if surrendering to him could destroy them both?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

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A Failure To Communicate, Vol 67.

Sep. 25th, 2017 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

I think this is what our grandparents call "a senior moment."

The best part?
THEY WROTE IT IN ALL CAPS.

 

[sad face here]

 

"Sprinkles All Over Momther" is the name of my Cake cover band.

 

Ahhh, NOW you're speaking my language.

(The language... OF WRECKS. [eyebrow waggle])

 

In a word?
NO.

 

Thanks to Lani T., Donna C., Patrick L., Anony M., & Rebecca P. for keeping those lines of communication nice and squiggly-like.

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

Cover Snark: Rooter & the Sunburn

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:00 am
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

It’s Monday and Cover Snark is here for you! And I do mean for you. Need a laugh? Read through Cover Snark. Looking for a work break? Try a dose of Cover Snark.

Rooter by Teiran Smith. A tattooed man is gripping a woman by the shoulders. In bright blue letters, the cover says Rooter.

Amanda: Excuse me, what’s his name?

Rooter?

Oh okay, just making sure.

Elyse: Wow

Wowwwwww

Sarah: POOTER.

Now that I’ve stared at it, the Roto-Rooter song is in my head. Thanks, book cover.

Carrie: Obviously the title is the worst offender but I also give props to the ways he’s looking at her boobs like “Huh, what do you suppose those are?”

Fake Marriage with the CEO by Amanda Horton. A man, presumably the CEO, is lying in bed with the title covering his bits. The man is also extremely red.

From Gloriamarie: He seems like he is willing to take care of himself. Why does he need a fake marriage?

Amanda: He looks sunburned and I’m not enjoying this weird eye contact.

Sarah: Yes, I agree. I believe his sunscreen was also fake.

Carrie: He waxes his armpits? Do guys do that? I had no idea.

Protecting the Prince by Dana Volney. A woman has her back to the reader. She's wearing a white tank top and loose jeans. Tucked into the back of her waistband is a gun. The hero is embracing her and is looking directly at the reader over the heroine's shoulder. It's discomfiting.

Sarah: I am not on board with the new trend of “the hero is looking at me.” I find it rather unsettling.

Amanda: That gun looks like it’s one step away from falling straight down her pants. No one wants a bullet to the butthole.

Sarah: Is “hide my gun in your crack” a new game or form or foreplay? If so, pass.

RHG: I feel like she’s not being as observant as I would hope a protection detail to be.

Carrie: She’s whispering in his ear, “If you are going to cheat on me with the reader then get your damn hands off my ass.”

 

Romeow and Juliet by Kathi Daley. Essentially, two cats are acting out the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet right next to a fountain.

Amanda: Admittedly, this makes me smile.

RHG: Awwwwww

“But soft! What meow through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juli-cat is the sun!”

Sarah: “Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious cat toy, the laser pointer sick and pale with low batteries.”

Elyse: Would read immediately!

Carrie: CATS! Would not read as a romance novel. But would read for the cats. Because cats

Giveaway: Kate Spade Cat Print Tote

Sep. 25th, 2017 07:00 am
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Posted by Amanda

Fall is nearly upon (most) of us and that might be a change in wardrobe. Scarves, boots, and the most comfortable sweater you own. But why not change up your purse collection too?

Good thing it’s giveaway time! Just for you, we have a Kate Spade Daycation Bon Shopper Tote in an adorable black cat print set against a-not-quite-lavender-not-quite-lilac background. Seriously, what shade is that?

Kate Spade Daycation Bon Shopper Tote in a light purple with a black cat print

Though the bag is no longer on the Kate Spade website, Amazon has the bag’s specifications:

  • 13.5″ inches high x 12.3″ inches wide
  • The drop length of the hand is 8.3″ inches
  • Printed coated poplin with patent PVC trim
  • Dual interior slide pockets

I think the bag is perfect for a gloomy, misty fall afternoon!

Standard disclaimers apply: We’re not being compensated for this giveaway. Void where prohibited. Open to international residents where permitted by applicable law. Must be over 18. Must love cats. Or dogs. Any animal is acceptable really. Be ready to fit lots of books or an e-reader inside! Bonus points if your e-reader cover matches the bag. Comments will close Friday 29 September 2017 around noon EST and winner announced same day.

Ready to enter?

Leave a comment and let us know what book (digital or paper) will be the first to find a home in your Kate Spade cat bag! 

Best of luck!

I would have thought lawful

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:59 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I Am A: Chaotic Good Human Paladin/Sorcerer (4th/3rd Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-13

Dexterity-8

Constitution-16

Intelligence-10

Wisdom-8

Charisma-7


Alignment:
Chaotic Good A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. However, chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.


Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.


Primary Class:
Paladins take their adventures seriously, and even a mundane mission is, in the heart of the paladin, a personal test an opportunity to demonstrate bravery, to learn tactics, and to find ways to do good. Divine power protects these warriors of virtue, warding off harm, protecting from disease, healing, and guarding against fear. The paladin can also direct this power to help others, healing wounds or curing diseases, and also use it to destroy evil. Experienced paladins can smite evil foes and turn away undead. A paladin's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast. Many of the paladin's special abilities also benefit from a high Charisma score.


Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.


Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

A leaf

Sep. 24th, 2017 04:57 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Taken from a couple of angles over about a minute.

Read more... )

I am taking care of someone's cats

Sep. 24th, 2017 04:45 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
As one does, I keep a log of my visits.

The cats expressed their appreciation for my record-keeping.

Read more... )
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Posted by Amanda

This Is Just My Face

RECOMMENDED: This is Just My Face by Gabourey Sidibe is $2.99 at Amazon! This is a Kindle Daily Deal and isn’t being price-matched yet. Check out the other deals today; there are a few romances included! Redheadedgirl enjoyed this one and gave it an A:

This is a really interesting memoir by someone who I didn’t know much about. She’s got a complicated life story, and a great attitude as she sashays her way through her life. She’s funny, and touching. And, as ever, the inner lives of Black women are still not something that receives nearly enough attention.

The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir—wise, complex, smart, funny—a version of the American experience different from anything we’ve read

Gabourey Sidibe—“Gabby” to her legion of fans—skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.”

Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face takes its place and fills a void on the shelf of writers from Mindy Kaling to David Sedaris to Lena Dunham.

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Wicked Intentions

RECOMMENDED: Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt is $1.99! Elyse really enjoyed this book and gave it an A-:

Serial killer. And Ghost of St. Giles vigilante. And river pirate. And bondage.

If any or all of those things appeal to you, I’d really recommend this book. If you’re looking for a spicy historical, or one not focused around the glittering aristocracy, Wicked Intentions fits the bill. Aside from a few ball scenes, this book takes place among the working class of London.

A man controlled by his desires…

Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles, London’s most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows St. Giles like the back of her hand— she’s spent a lifetime caring for its inhabitants at the foundling home her family established. Now that home is at risk.

A woman haunted by her past…

Caire makes a simple offer—in return for Temperance’s help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will introduce her to London’s high society so that she can find a benefactor for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems, and what begins as cold calculation soon falls prey to a passion that neither can control—one that may well destroy them both.

A bargain neither could refuse.

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A Duchess in Name

RECOMMENDED: A Duchess in Name by Amanda Weaver is 99c! Redheadedgirl reviewed the book and gave it a B+:

This book involves a massive renovation, a HERO that was won in a card game, awkwardness, and learning to love each other despite a most inauspicious beginning. Throw in some terrible parenting, and we got ourselves what could totally be a miniseries jointly produced by ITV and HGTV.

Victoria Carson never expected love. An American heiress and graduate of Lady Grantham’s finishing school, she’s been groomed since birth to marry an English title—the grander the better. So when the man chosen for her, the forbidding Earl of Dunnley, seems to hate her on sight, she understands that it can’t matter. Love can have no place in this arrangement.

Andrew Hargrave has little use for his title and even less for his cold, disinterested parents. Determined to make his own way, he’s devoted to his life in Italy working as an archaeologist. Until the collapse of his family’s fortune drags him back to England to a marriage he never wanted and a woman he doesn’t care to know.

Wild attraction is an unwanted complication for them both, though it forms the most fragile of bonds. Their marriage of convenience isn’t so intolerable after all—but it may not be enough when the deception that bound them is finally revealed.

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Angel’s Ink

Angel’s Ink by Jocelynn Drake is $2.99! This is a paranormal urban fantasy, and the first book in the Asylum Tales series. The book has a 3.6 average on GR, and readers particularly liked the hero, who is a former warlock who now runs his own tattoo parlor. I’m actually pretty interested in this book, but I’m wary about buying it for some reason. Anyone care to weigh in on whether to buy or bypass?

Buyer beware . . .

Looking for a tattoo—and maybe a little something extra: a burst of good luck, a dollop of true love, or even a hex on an ex? Head to the quiet and mysterious Gage, the best skin artist in town. Using unique potions—a blend of extraordinary ingredients and special inks—to etch the right symbol, he can fulfill any heart’s desire. But in a place like Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires happily walk among humanity, everything has its price.

No one knows that better than Gage. Turning his back on his own kind, he left the magical Ivory Tower where cruel witches and warlocks rule, a decision that cost him the right to practice magic. And if he disobeys, his punishment—execution—will be swift.

Though he’s tried to fly under the radar, Gage can’t hide from powerful warlocks who want him dead—or the secrets of his own past. But with the help of his friends, Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx, Gage might just make it through this enchanted world alive.

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Sunday Sweets: Stained Glass

Sep. 24th, 2017 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

"Color is to the eye what music is to the ear."

- Louis Comfort Tiffany

What does "stained glass" make you think of? Church windows? Fancy light fixtures?

How about gorgeous cakes?

(By Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes)

Ooh la la! So soft and pretty; I love the watercolor feel to those colors.

 

(By Paige Fong)

This cake practically glows, it's so vivid. And I like how the flowers are mirrored in the artwork.

 

(By Maggie Austin Cake)

I can't imagine the time it took to pipe and paint even one of these layers, much less four.

 

(By Corrie Cakes)

These cookies look like sun catchers! Doesn't the blue background look like a cloudy sky showing through?

 

(By Melissa Alt Cakes)

One of my personal favorites today! There's a great little Tiffany museum here in Florida, and this one reminds me the most of some of his windows there. Something about all those glowing greens and rich orangey-browns... Just lovely.

 

(also by Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes)

Both are amazing, but that blue! WOW.

 

(By Bittersweet Pastry)

Perhaps more of a mosaic than stained glass, but I'm blown away by the 3D flowers! Such a great design.

 

And another tile mosaic:

(By Passionate Cakes)

So much detail! Can you imagine how long it would take to place all those tiny pieces?!

 

These flowers look like they're bursting out of the glass design:

(Also by Maggie Austin Cake)

So. Cool.

 

And finally:

(By Vinism Sugar Art)

I take it back; I think this is my favorite. The balance of dark and light, the perfectly blended colors, that butterfly...! It belongs in the Tiffany Museum! Or my belly. One of the two, anyway. ;)

 

Hope you guys enjoyed! Happy Sunday!

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

Lightning Reviews are back with another trio of quick thoughts on a few selected books. We have a must-have cookbook, a Clueless graphic novel, and a YA book that blends fantasy, Chinese folklore, and high school!

 

    Clueless: Senior Year

    author: Amber Benson

    While nothing can match the divine quality of the movie Clueless, the graphic novel Clueless: Senior Year is a fun reunion with Cher, Dionne, and Tai, the main characters from the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should watch it before reading the comic, because the comic will make more sense and because everyone should watch Clueless.

    The story picks up on Cher’s last day of junior year. One of her teachers tells the students that they are being assigned a project. By the end of their senior year, they have to turn in a report on what kind of adult they want to be. Cher, Dionne, and Tai each get a chance to answer that question in their own chapters while Cher’s romance with Josh, her boyfriend who is now in college, suffers due to her experimentation with being an “activist-environmental-entrepreneurial grown-up.”

    Cher’s storyline is, like Cher, adorable. She jumps into her project in the graphic novel with the same overboard enthusiasm with which she jumped into the Tai makeover in the film Clueless. It’s even more fun to see Dionne and Tai come out of Cher’s shadow and develop their own confidence. All three stories are relatable and celebrate both independence and female friendship, with some romance as well.

    My favorite thing about this is the art. It matches the aesthetic of the movie but throws in some grunge drab for a visit to Seattle, and soft earth tones for a trip to Tai’s family farm. Movie fans will be pleased to see that Cher’s poufy pen (what did we call those?) makes many appearances, as does some Lisa Frank-inspired art and a lot of cassette tapes. It’s a fun love letter to the movie and to the 1990’s.

    Carrie S

    This book is available from:

    Order this book from Barnes & Noble

    and

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    The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

    author: F.C. Yee

    Y’all, I gotta tell you, I’m getting some great pitches from Twitter these days.

    This was billed as a treatment of Journey to the West, and I totally admit that most of what I knew of Journey to the West is from The Forbidden Kingdom, which is not a good movie, and has significant problems, but also has Jackie Chan and Jet Li. As an introduction to “Hey you can read more about this!” for JttW, the film doesn’t suck and the fight scenes are glorious.

    Anyway, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is about our heroine, Genie, a Chinese-American high school student who is in the midst of college prep when a new student shows up and turns everyone’s life upside down, especially Genie’s. Quentin is annoying, and always around, and Things Happen around him….and he’s also the embodiment of the Monkey King. And he’s drawn to Genie because she’s a reincarnation of another member of the Journey’s party. Together, they have to save the world from escaped demons. And also get into college.

    This was a FUN READ. Genie is hilarious, and fights so hard against destiny because goddammit, this isn’t in the schedule, and also this Quentin dude is annoying and clingy! I find that romances based on literal destiny can be dicey – I like agency in my romances. But they spend enough time together that Genie gets to know Quentin on his own terms and like him for himself, not just because they are supposed to.

    There’s also some great tension between Genie and her mother which explores the children of immigrants dynamic. Add a little magic in there, and things get really fun. Yee also does a really good job of instructing the reader in the salient points of Journey to the West, so if you didn’t grow up with this tale as one of your childhood stories, you can still follow what’s up. I recommend this for anyone looking for fun adventure stories that invert a lot of destiny-romance expectations.

    Redheadedgirl

    ,

    This book is available from:

    Order this book from Barnes & Noble Order this book from Kobo Order this book from Google Play Order this book from iBooks

    and

    amazon

     

     

     

    One-Pan Wonders

    author: Cook's Country

    I don’t usually review cookbooks here, but this book has been making me so happy, I had to share. I first borrowed this cookbook from the library, because the Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks can be costly, especially if I end up liking one or two recipes. I ended up liking this cookbook so much, I bought my own copy and have been adding recipes to our rotation since it arrived in July.

    Y’all. Y’ALL. I love this cookbook. I love recipes where I can put a bunch of stuff on a sheet pan or in a dutch oven and let heat and time do their thing while I do all the other things I have to do. Some of the recipes are more hands-on than others, but the ones I’ve made I’ve enjoyed so much. Each section focuses on one container or method of cooking: skillets, sheet pans, dutch ovens, casserole dishes, roasting pans, and slow cookers. There are a set of recipes designed for each method, and I’ve tried several so far.

    I’ve made:

    • Lemony chicken with spinach and potatoes: This one is made in a skillet, and comes together very quickly (a number of the recipes are labeled as “weeknight friendly,” which I appreciate!). The flavors are simple but interesting, and I liked the wilted baby spinach. Usually spinach that’s not raw in a salad makes me gag.
    • Lime ginger chicken with rice: This made a lot of rice, but it was delicious. There are a bunch of different flavors and the combination didn’t get boring. I wanted to keep eating.
    • Italian sausage with peppers, onions, tomatoes, and polenta: I loved this recipe. It’s all cooked on a sheet pan, and the combination of textures and the balance of the sausage, the polenta, and the pepper/tomato mixture was perfect. We’re making this one again very soon.
    • Mexican-style spaghetti squash casserole: I’ve made this three times already. I usually hate squash – I think it has a weird aftertaste. But by heating the spices in olive oil, then tossing the spaghetti squash and the chopped vegetables with that oil means that the spices permeates the squash and yay, no weird aftertaste! I have eaten a portion of this casserole every day for lunch for a week and have been very, very happy about it. (Seriously, yum.)

    If you’re a vegetarian, alas, there aren’t too many recipes in here for you. Most involve meat or fish. And if you eat zero carbs, like no potatoes, rice, or pasta, the pickings get a little sparse.

    But for my weeknight cooking rotation, this cookbook has made me so happy. I am trying new recipes in the next few weeks, and I’ll report back how they go. I love the ease and convenience of using one method or container for the food preparations, and so far the flavors and combinations have been terrific.

    SB Sarah

    This book is available from:

    Order this book from Barnes & Noble Order this book from Kobo Order this book from iBooks

    and

    amazon

     

     

     

[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

Sarah: I had my hair cut this week, and as I got in the car, I thought that having very short hair is very appropriate for watching this film.

“And Introducing Audrey Hepburn…” Oh, we have met, I assure you.

I love the long opening credits. And Edith Head did the costumes! Of course she did.

This is a trope that works for me – individual bound by a massive weight of duty and expectation finds a temporary escape to be themselves or the opposite of their lives. It’s a lovely mix of behind-the-scenes and public self vs. private self, both of which I love.

CarrieS: If I were going to present her with stuff it would be cookies, tennis shoes, and a puppy.

“I’m just being veeery happyyyy” yes dear, I know that’s exactly what happens to me when I eat creme brulee. No lie.

Sarah: I also love the tension in the boring “please meet everyone” scene where she nearly loses a shoe, and then the Cinderella reference when she can’t get it back on in time. Adorable. Also the relief that they helped her avoid a breach of protocol.

Though I question the protocol that requires all these people from different countries bowing to her

CarrieS: What is it about Italy and romance? How many romance movies have we looked at so far with an Italian theme?

Sarah: That said: here is some fun, though not sourced trivia:

The Embassy Ball sequence featured real Italian nobility, who all donated their salaries to charity. The reporters at the end of the film were real, too.

Audrey Hepburn as a princess with a crown and dress

CarrieS: If there’s anything we should have learned from romantic comedy it’s, “Never make a bet.”

“What would you do for $5000” is a line with strange overtones when it’s spoken by one guy to another while grappling in a bar.

Sarah: “It’s nerves. Control yourself, Ann.”

Bugger off, lady! Girl is dramatically upset and it’s totally earned. And she gets a royal sedative.

Sarah: Nighttime gallivanting with a sedative in your bloodstream seems like a bad idea. But if you’re going to pass out on a low fence, Gregory Peck is the best thing that could happen, I think.

CarrieS: Peck improvised the Mouth of Truth so her reaction is genuine.

Sarah: I love the “dance” on the staircase going to his room.

“I’m terribly sorry to mention it, but the dizziness is getting worse.” I love the absurd politeness. I’m going to say this all the time now.

I love that he thinks he holds all the cards (ha ha) and he does not.

CarrieS: Gregory Peck should always be wet and disheveled.

Sarah: The haircut scene is one of my favorites. When I last donated my hair, and my stylist put my hair in a ponytail to cut it all off, even though we both knew what we were doing, I was so nervous, and so was she. Also why the hell is he back-combing her hair before he cuts it off?

And short bangs! She looks so good with short bangs. Interesting pacing note: she gets her hair cut at nearly exactly half way through the film. She buys ice cream and flowers at about 1:02 and the film is about 2 hours long. Epic change midway through!

CarrieS: Um they totally just smashed up a lot of other people’s stuff, people who probably didn’t have a lot of stuff to spare, and lied their way out of paying for it and that is a jerk move, also, how old are these characters supposed to be? Peck you are a little stalkery.

CarrieS: “You should always wear my clothes.”

“It seems I do.”

Sarah: I love how Joe is early on a varying level of jerk, and slowly does something unselfish. I also like the way the film parallels itself. Her princess agenda includes going to all these sites to improve trade relations and connections on one level, and her tour of Rome in semi-disguise is more personal, and focuses more on how real people in Rome live day to day. She’s supposed to be given a car which she will refuse, but then she steals a scooter and drives it all over Rome (and makes a big mess – geez, woman). And the movie begins with her dancing at a ball, distant, silent, and impersonal from each person, and midway through she’s on a barge dancing (scandalously!) close with Joe and actually talking to him. There’s the distance of her role contrasted with the intimacy and experience of her day as a (sort of) anonymous individual.

Her realization that her job and her role mean a lot to the people of her country: “Were I not aware of my duty to my country and my family, I would not have come back tonight, or indeed ever again.” Also: she’s wearing a dark almost-black dressing gown instead of white silk — o RLY?

Audrey Hepburn with short hair and bangs!
CarrieS: The grab and hug just kills me. Every. Damn. time.

The hug and kiss moment!

Sarah: They do a lot of subtle face reactions and they get my right in the hearty feels.

Also, I LOVE that the first question is like, “So, princess, what do you think about a European Union?” Well, let me tell you some things from the future! You’d better sit down.

Expressions of personal affection through bland press statements – I am terribly sorry to mention it, but I am a puddle of feels right now.

“I will cherish my memories here as long as I live.” I’ve seen this movie a mess of times, and I am all sniffly.

CarrieS: It’s an A movie, obviously. Am helpless before its powers.

Sarah: Meeting the press contrasting the opening meeting of the dignitaries — this movie’s parallels are so well done. My catnip, so much catnip.

And then he stays there, waiting longer than anyone before he leaves. Oh, gosh, this movie works so well on me.

I just did the dumbest thing: I wondered if there were fanfic for this movie. Can you imagine such a ludicrous question? Of course there is!

This is so timelessly effective and charming, and gets me every time I watch. It’s easily an A for me.

Audrey Hepburn sadly telling Gregory Peck that she doesn't know how to say goodbye

Complete aside for trivia via IMDBThe original writer, Dalton Trumbo, was blacklisted as one of the legendary Hollywood Ten, and therefore could not receive credit for the screenplay, even when it won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture Story. Instead, his friend, Ian McLellan Hunter, one of the writers of the final screenplay, took credit for the original story and accepted the Oscar. Hunter did, however, pass on the $50,000 payment he received for the job on to Trumbo. Trumbo’s wife, Cleo, was finally presented with the award in 1993, long after his death in 1976. The Oscar she received was actually a second one, because Hunter’s son wouldn’t give up his father’s Oscar. Thus, two awards for Best Motion Picture Story of 1953 exist. The story credit was corrected to credit Trumbo when the restored edition was released in 2002, nearly fifty years after the original release.

The drunken Ann recites a poem, “If I were dead and buried when I heard your voice, beneath the sod my heart of dust would still rejoice.” which prompts Joe to declare her “well read.” The poem is actually an original work by Dalton Trumbo, the blacklisted writer.

Sarah: The history of the blacklist in Hollywood is both fascinating and very eerie given current political media climate. I really enjoyed this series from You Must Remember This devoted to the history of the blacklist. If you’d like to know more about it, I hope you enjoy it.

Is Roman Holiday a romantic classic for you? Or does it not hold up to modern scrutiny? Let us know what you think! 

Sunday Secrets

Sep. 23rd, 2017 10:46 pm
[syndicated profile] post_secret_feed

Posted by Frank

        

Dear Frank-
Years ago I started writing notes and putting them in random places like behind paintings in hotels, between the pages at book stores and in Sky Mall Magazines on airplanes. While browsing through a PostSecret book, I found one of my notes. That small ripped piece of paper is featured above. I attended your event last week at CMU. I’m thankful for your ability to speak to people in their broken places.
-JM

April 2017

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