Thursday, April 6, 2017

After You

It’s book review time!

Last week I finished reading the book After You by Jojo Moyes. This is the sequel to the amazing book (and movie) Me Before You. Disclaimer: while I disagree with some of the decisions made in Me Before You (ok maybe just one of the decisions) I still loved the book and movie. I couldn’t put the book down and I loved who they chose for the movie. So as soon as I finished the first book and learned there was a second I ran out and bought it.

If you loved the first book like I did, prepare to be sorely disappointed with the second. In hindsight I kind of wish I wouldn’t have read it. I didn’t like what happened to the characters I loved in the first book. I just found it frustrating and painful to get through. The first book I read so quickly and couldn’t get enough. This book I couldn’t seem to finish it. I swear I was reading and had 50 pages remaining for a week straight. It felt like I was not making any headway with it. There were a few parts that started getting more interesting and gave me some hope that when I finished the book I would realize I actually liked it, but alas that did not happen.

So, my recommendation – SKIP IT!

Now I’m reading The Zookeeper’s Wife which is a movie coming out this week I believe. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but I’m hoping this book will be a lot better than the last one I read. I will write a review of that when I finish as well. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Beast Please

Last night I went and saw Beauty and the Beast at the movie theater. It was SO good!! I really loved every minute of it, but there were some things I found interesting and will now discuss here on my unofficial movie review/critique. *Warning, possible spoilers!*

Paris…. Or England?
I can’t be the only one who found it odd that they made it poignantly clear, over and over again, that this was France and she came from Paris. If that’s the case…. where did she get her British accent? Don’t get me wrong, I loved Emma Watson in this part and I don’t think her accent took anything away from the movie but just an interesting observation. She really was a perfect Belle though.

I had been listening to the soundtrack for the last few weeks so I’d heard all the actors singing before, but I must say, the one who surprised me the most was Gaston. I wasn’t a fan of his from just listening to the soundtrack, but I loved him in the movie. I thought he played that part so well and I was attracted to him while still thinking he would be torture to end up with. So, nailed it. I also liked his singing voice a lot better when hearing it along with seeing him acting it out. Not totally sure why that made a difference, but for me it did.

Oh LeFou. LeFou may just be my second favorite character, after Belle of course. He’s funny, self-aware of his clinginess and other flaws, and is a genuinely good friend. All the hoopla beforehand about their being a gay character is simply ridiculous (whether LeFou, Stanley, or both). Everything is so subtle that kids, and possibly some adults, are not even likely to know what’s happening. And when you do get it, it’s actually pretty funny. Also, any other New Girl fans out there, because I’m pretty sure every time LeFou came on the screen my mind instantly shouted “BEARCLAW!” Also I was hoping he’s break into the musical he and Jess created about woodland creatures. :)

Belle’s Mom
Ok, the part where Belle and the Beast went to Belle’s childhood home in Paris totally got me. I wasn’t expecting to cry, but I just couldn’t hold in the tears. It was such a sweet and heartbreaking moment. And it’s crazy to think that really used to happen back in the day when people were getting the plague. #thankyoumodernmedicine Also, that doctors mask… I really wish they would have kept the camera on that a bit longer. Why were they shaped like a bird’s beak?! Anyways, great and sad scene. Glad they included it.

Where’s the window coverings?
The castle must be constantly freezing with all those open and completely unobstructed windows. Also how weird was it that part of the “dungeon” was completely open. Sure it had a big drop off, but still… not the most secure way to lock someone up. Also am I the only one concerned about sleep walking and accidentally falling out of one of those openings? Or tripping and falling out of one? Or dropping things down them? Not that I’m super clumsy or anything, but crap happens. And what about when they have kids? That’s a lot of little gates to be putting up everywhere. :)

Did they feed her?
LOVED the Be Our Guest song/scene. They did such a great job recreating it and making it look so cool! But after everything they brought out it ends with her getting a little puddling cup? They’re kidding right? Give that girl a real meal!

Sporty or Sloppy?
I wasn’t a huge fan of that weird one-sided skirt tuck up thing Belle was doing. We get that’s she sporty and cool but it just made me think she’d gone to the restroom and gotten her skirt stuck in her underwear. I do kind of want a pair of the shoes she was wearing though. They looked comfy, cute, and very practical.

Really, that’s what she gets?
Don’t get me wrong. Dan Steven is a good looking guy. But you spend the whole movie falling for this big, strong, shaggy beast and all the sudden he’s this super clean guy who’s basically your same height/build. It’s not a diss on small guys. It happens, it’s not in their control. I get that. #shortguysneedlovetoo #justlikeuschubbygirls But come on, they had to know that’s not the look we were all expecting.

And then to make matters worse we go almost straight to a scene where he’s wearing high heels (customary dancing attire. I get that, but still. The dude is wearing heels.)? But, I mean, I’m glad Belle’s happy or whatever. :)

WOW, it really sounds like I have a bunch of harsh critiques of the movie. Haha But really none of these “observations” impacted my overall love for the movie at all. And I’m already thinking about when I can go see it again because I loved it that much! And listening to the soundtrack is more fun now too because I can recall the images from the movie and it makes it that much better! So, it’s safe to say I highly recommend Beauty and the Beast!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A New Growth

Last night one of my Facebook friends shared this article by David Kushner posted by The New Yorker called, “Can Trauma Help You Grow?” It is a beautiful article about loss, hope, and finding a way to live after losing someone important in your life. [Click on the hyperlink on the article name and read it. It's really good and will help give some more context to the rest of my post.]

In case one day someone stumbles upon this blog who doesn’t know me/my life well, my dad passed away on August 25, 2014 from renal cell carcinoma (cancer) that originated in his kidneys and eventually spread everywhere. A few days ago marked the 2nd year 7th month since his passing. (Although I don’t typically count the months anymore. One sign of healing for me I guess.) My dad was the greatest. He was kind and gentle and calm. He had strong hands and jagged fingernails from hard work and his habit of biting them. You never questioned his love or care for you because it was blatantly obvious in the way to spoke to and treated you. He was selfless and sacrificed constantly for others often resulting in more work and discomfort for himself. Which he never complained about. He was a calming force in my family. It’s hard to describe the hole he left in all our lives. Thus the reason this article caught my attention.

I really liked the entire message, but I’m just going to focus on the parts that stood out the most to me and felt the most applicable to my loss and life after loss.

I found it really interesting where he explained the meaning behind resilience and post-traumatic growth.

Resilience = the ability to bounce back and move on.
Post-traumatic growth = when trauma changes and deepens life’s meaning.

It’s not about just continuing to live, but rather living powerfully and with more meaning than before.

I loved this part, “In his recent book on the phenomenon, ‘What Doesn’t Kill Us,’ Stephen Joseph, a psychologist at the University of Nottingham, describes victims of trauma experiencing enhanced relationships, greater self-acceptance, and a heightened appreciation of life. ‘To only look at the dark side and negative side is to miss out on something very important,’ Joseph told me recently.”

I do feel like that’s all happened for me since losing my dad. It didn’t happen right away, that’s for sure, or even as simply as Stephen Joseph stated it, but over the past couple of years I do feel like I’ve tried to focus more on positive relationships in my life, I have greater self-appreciation and acceptance, and I have a different outlook on life.

The one thing I deviate from the most is that since losing my dad I’ve actually pulled back from my family a bit. I have a harder time dealing with my grief around them because without his calming presence everything just seems too loud and chaotic. It tends to make it too glaringly obvious he’s gone and how much we could really use him back. So technically I have not seen or felt enhanced relationships with my family. Except for maybe my dad’s sister. I still wouldn’t say we’re super close or anything, but I find myself wanting to be closer to her since she is the last link to my dad’s family. I have however felt greater strength and comfort in my close friendships. Those close friends who feel like family and in a lot of ways know me much better than my actual family does. For those friendships I am extremely grateful.

When my dad first died I remember seeing old men in town and thinking how annoying it was that my dad would never get to be an old-old man since he was only 65 when he died. Time has changed those feelings. Now I see those old men, frail and needing assistance, and am grateful to know that my dad will never have to get old and lose his independence. Barely a month before he died he did a fishing tournament with my brother. Less than 12 hours before he died he ate our traditional Sunday night dinner of spaghetti and chocolate cake. Even though he did have some struggles towards the end, they were brief. And while I’m sad he didn’t get more time I’m happy that he doesn’t have to spend years in pain, lose his ability to do the things he enjoyed for an extended period of time, and other struggles that come with advanced age.   

I also really liked when it talked about the fact we can’t choose. Losing our loved one wasn’t our choice. And if given the choice of course we’d want them back. But the question is… what now? What does their life mean? What does losing them mean? How will you carryon? Barely surviving? Or making their life and the impact it had on you mean something.

The author of the article shared a journal entry that his father had written years after their loss,

“There’s something built-in that enables most human beings, not all, to be sure, but most, to get thru this…. It is built-in to enable us to get thru, force us, to survive, to stay alive. After you’ve understood that it WILL be different, less raw, that the death can not be undone, that you will continue to live,” he continued, “the question becomes … ‘What shall I do with the rest of my life?’”

I feel like that is how I want to live going forward. I can’t change what happened. But what will I do because of that experience. Losing my dad gave me the courage to be bold and move to Texas in 2015. It reminded me the importance of having a worthy Priesthood holder in my home/family since we no longer do without him. It’s helped me try new things I’ve thought about doing but never attempted – traveling alone, taking dance classes, discovering new hobbies. His love of reading has been a huge influence in my life since his passing. I keep finding my way to the book aisles at Target and Walmart and picking up more books to add to the massive stack I have to read next. I am constantly trying to find peace and calm in my life and to pull back from the things that cause chaos and frustration.

One thing I’ve noticed since losing my dad is that I have a sense of appreciation for other dads. That sounds weird, but what I mean is that I try to find pieces of my dad in the other dad’s I’m around. Maybe it’s the way they have treats in their pockets that they’re passing around. Or in the way they tell a story just a little extra slowly. Or their rough calloused hands. Little things like that. I enjoy finding pieces of him living on.

The part of the article that spoke to me the most was when his dad was referencing Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s memoir and said,

“Lindbergh said that suffering alone doesn’t make for wisdom. One has to remain vulnerable, open to more suffering and to more love.”

I have a hard time wanting or seeing real love in my future. Still to this day I cannot picture a happy wedding day for me. Every time I even pretend to imagine one I find myself sobbing at the thought of trying to have that day, incorporate my dad somehow into it, and not end up crying uncontrollably. The even worse alternative would be to leave him out of it completely.

Perhaps with time I’ll find a way. But I do think I needed to hear that message from Lindbergh to try and remain open. I know my dad would want that for me too. I had a memory pop up on Facebook awhile back of a status update I made in college after my dad had called and asked me if any boys had swept me off my feet. Not really characteristic of him, but a great memory I’m glad I recorded.

So until someone comes along with that broom, I will be here trying to remain open to love.

At the end here I should probably apologize for this hodge-podge of thoughts pretending to be a coherent post. All I know is that loss is a tricky and personal beast. This article had some great reminders and tips I hope to more fully explore in my own life as I continue to deal with the loss of my dad and the inevitability of future losses.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Day I Killed the Kool-Aid Man

*This post was also started over a week ago, but I never got around to finishing/posting it till not. Not that timing matters that much, but now I have more info I can add towards the end of the post. So get excited :)*

We all know him. Most of us loved him as kid. Some of us still love him today. Yes, I am talking about the Kool-Aid Man.

Well... I killed him.

Ok, not really. But it definitely felt, and looked, like that the first time I washed my hair after getting it dye red.

This is the long-anticipated update to my previous post that tells what happened the week following the day I went red.

* * * * *

To be fair, I had been warned and was WELL AWARE that red hair fades. I had red balayage highlights for the 3 months leading up to my full head of red, so I knew that red fades. When I first got red highlights my hair stylist recommended I use this new shampoo that recently came out called CelebLuxury Viral.

love this stuff

This shampoo re-deposits red into your hair every time you wash with it and it totally helped me keep my red on point for the 3 months between my hair appointments. So I figured, sure red fades, but I have my awesome shampoo to help me keep it going for a while.

3 months after getting red balayage
 It was 2 days after getting my hair dyed and I couldn’t stand the texture of it any more. I have naturally curly, course, and (although I have a hard time accepting this) thick hair. Which means, unless you flat iron it like an obsessive crazy person (which I do, but people with straight hair don’t always know how to do) it ends up having this poofy, almost-crunchy texture to it even though it looks “straight”. I’ve also learned over the years that “straight” has different meanings to people depending on one’s own hair type. Unless my hair has been flattened and coerced into being smooth I do not consider it straight. So, that was a long about way to say that my hair was not up to my straight standards and still had that awful “I’ve just bleached my whole head” feel to it. The next day was my good friend’s wedding and I was a bridesmaid. I couldn’t handle my hair looking and feeling that way any longer.

So I did it. I hopped in the shower, made sure to use cold water, and I washed my hair.

what my hair looked like pre-washing
As I was getting my hair wet I looked over my should and saw the bright red stream of water going down my back and pooling at the bottom of the shower waiting for its turn to go down the drain. It looked like a scene right out of a movie. I didn’t use my red shampoo this time because I didn’t want to possibly impact the pretty red I had just had done if it wasn’t already fading out. I felt like I needed to give it a try on its own first. However, it didn’t take long after getting out of the shower to realize my gorgeous red hair was now completely pink. I started blow-drying it a bit to confirm my suspicions, but it was clear my hair was SUPER pink.

I started freaking out. First, because I was going to have full on pink hair in my friend’s wedding pics (sorry Rori) and secondly because it was already a stretch explaining red hair in my professional/serious job role. How on earth was I going to explain pink hair?!

So I did the only thing I could think of at that moment. I got back in the shower and used my red shampoo and hoped for a miracle.

A miracle did not come. It might have made it a slightly darker pink, but the difference was not noticeable enough to make me stop freaking out. At that point I couldn’t do anything about it but wait and text my stylist in the morning.

The next morning I straightened my hair and got ready to head to the temple for my friend’s wedding. Before leaving the house I snapped a pic to send my stylist and see what we could do to fix this situation.

after one washing - even pinker in person
Because here’s the frustration. I get that red fades. I expected that. I was ready for that. However, after spending the very, very large amount of money (and time) that I did to go red, I expected it to last longer than 2 days.

I texted my stylist and sent her the pics I’d taken that morning. She was also surprised and wasn’t sure why that had happened. I mentioned I would wash it again Sunday night and try my red shampoo again, leaving it on for longer this next go-around, and see if that would make any difference.

Just for fun, here are some shots of me and my pink hair at my friend’s wedding.

bridesmaids and flower girls
bridal party

bride's posse

at the ring ceremony - my feet were killing me


desperately trying to dodge the boquet
I had more than one comment made about how nice it was I dyed my hair to match my friend’s wedding color. I laughed it off because all the comments were made to be funny and not rude at all. But I was frustrated. I’m a 30 year old with pink here. #canyousaystrugglefest

I made it through the weekend and hopped in the shower again Sunday night to try and get my hair to take the red shampoo. Typically in the past I would lather the red shampoo up and shave my legs before washing it out. This time however I put it on and took a seat (I have a little sitting area in my shower, so it wasn’t like I was sitting on the floor of the shower). And I waited. I sat there a good 20 minutes or so and then washed my hair. If it made any sort of difference it was barely noticeable. If anything it made it a brighter pink.

I texted my stylist an update Monday morning and she said she could meet me at her salon Tuesday evening and we’d throw another round of red on my hair – a bit darker shade this time – and hope it sticks better.

So for 2 days I tried to slick my hair to my head as much as possible for work so it wasn’t as blatantly obvious that I had bright pink hair. My attempts were futile and I was still compared to Strawberry Shortcake on Monday.

Sidenote: I have been really surprised at how freely people give their opinions or jokes about what my hair reminds them of. It made me wish I didn’t bite my tongue sometimes and responded with a ridiculous retort about what some of their features reminded me of. But, alas, I’m trying to not be a terrible person all the time so I resisted the urges.

On Tuesday my sister and I met at a beauty supply store to get a bunch of new hair supplies to try and help my damaged hair (from the bleach and overall heat I’m constantly applying to it as well as it’s natural texture) and see if I could find any other stuff, in addition to my red shampoo, to help keep the soon-to-have new red hair from fading as fast. I picked up a bottle of this wash-in dye called Fireball.

I haven’t tried it yet (still haven’t at the time of this posting), but I’m excited to! And ironically when I met with my stylist later that even she’d also bought a bottle of that in case I wanted to get it from her and try it out. I ended up buying her bottle as well because if it can help extend my color and put off my next costly hair appointment it’s worth the $8.

So Tuesday evening I went back to my stylist and we threw on a darker shade of semi-permanent red. It was actually the same color we had used on my roots the first time around which hadn’t faded out nearly as bad as the color we used on the rest of my hair the first time. So I was hopeful.

While the final result of the second go-around wasn’t nearly as bright and bold as the first red, I loved it. And I felt like it was more natural (as far as a completely unnatural bright red hair could be) compared to the first red (which again I loved as well). It also didn’t seem so pink so that made me relieved that hopefully it wouldn’t wash out again to that same color.

someone's feeling pretty hahaha

trying all sorts of new looks
I procrastinated washing my hair for as long as I could… I got it done Tuesday evening and didn’t wash it until Saturday night. I was SO nervous! As soon as the water touched my hair it was a blood bath again, but I kept going. I used my red shampoo again and left it on a bit longer than I used to, just to be extra cautious. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to get out of the shower and still have red hair. I was so happy.

Since that first wash after the second round of dying I’ve only washed my hair one other time – two nights again, on Sunday the 26th. That’s right, I went a whole week and a day before washing it again. Haha Some people may think that’s gross. I think it was amazing my hair lasted that long and still looked good/good enough to not be ashamed of. Lol And this time around I had similar results – a flow of red down the drain and plenty of time letting the red shampoo do it’s magic on my hair. And the red is staying strong.

after second washing
Now it’s just a waiting game. Fading is inevitable. I have some tools to slow down/fix the fading, but I know what’s coming.... 

don't actually watch this show, but we all know this line

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Devil’s Tool (Better Late Than Never, Right?)

Disclaimer: I wrote this post last Thursday, March 9th. The day after getting my hair done. Plenty has changed since I wrote this so I will do a follow-up post, but I still figured I'd post this one. So just go back to last Thursday in your mind as you read this.

* * * *

So last night I spent 6.5 hours at the hair salon. Yes, you read that correctly. 6 ½ hours!!! Thankfully, while it did feel like a long time, it didn’t feel like THAT much time. At least it didn’t to me. My poor stylist may feel differently. *Ekk Face* (Where are the emoji’s when you need them.)

I don’t usually feel like I have thick hair. But every time I get it done I’m reminded that I in fact do have very thick, very coarse hair. Which was definitely the biggest contributor to the time spent there last night.

It also didn’t help that I slightly changed what I wanted within the 24 hours leading up to my appointment. To be fair, I texted my stylist a picture of the color I had found that I really like a week before my appointment to give her some time to think about it and possibly revise my time if needed/possible. However, I may have mentioned in that text that I wasn’t necessarily wanting a full head weave/color. It wasn’t until I was comparing pictures I loved versus ones I hated the night before my appointment that I realized I didn’t like the ones that weren’t full head coverage. See pics below.

Love this one (minus the dark roots)

Love this one!

Hate this one!

My "Before" Look
We started out bleaching my whole head. We did foils since I had different colors in it already that needed different timing for the bleach to pull it out. It took about 2 hours just to get my hair all up in foils. So that should have told us right then and there that it was going to be a long night. LOL And this was also the time my scalp starting burning, especially when she put the bleach directly on my head to make sure and bleach out all my natural roots. No pain, no gain right?

Then we washed out the bleach and my scalp was full on burning at this point. So sore and so sensitive. On the bright side I was left with this really gorgeous yellow blob of hair with some orange stripes through it. It looked, and felt, super great. #NOT!

Next up was a “quick” blow-dry (or not so quick since my hair takes forever to dry). Not gonna lie, this part almost brought me to tears. #wishiwaskidding My scalp was already so sore, but it hadn’t experienced the full extent of pain until this part, when the Devil’s tool came to play. What is that tool you ask? The cursed round brush. I’m pretty sure the bristles were made of broken shards of glass and that it was somehow knotting up my hair while simultaneously attempting to brush it out. I literally sat there with my eyes pressed shut trying to focus on making it through the pain. It’s not like the stylist was intentionally trying to kill me. Or maybe she was. We were like 4+ hours into it at this point.

The only positive that came out of that horrid experience was this lovely look that I had just long enough to snap some pics of while the red was getting mixed up.

Nothing like a screenshot of a Snapchat. lol
 At this point my scalp started to look like how it felt – like it was bleeding profusely. And, never one to miss a photo op, I captured this gem of McKenzie going full on kill mode on me. :)

That moment you realize your stylist is out to kill you :P

Finally the red was on and the end was near. It had to be by this point right?

One final rinse in cold water which momentarily felt very refreshing and then I was back in the chair trying to figure out a way to magically make my hair dry without a brush have to touch my head. I had a little reprieve thanks to the actual haircut portion of the night. And maybe it was the tiredness and giggles taking over, but thankfully this second round with the Devil wasn’t quite as painful. And just like that, 6.5 hours had gone by and I was officially a bright red head!

And then we had a photo shoot at the salon.

And maybe I had another one when I got home. Haha

I really hope this is true!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Movie Review – The Shack

**WARNING – SPOILERS! Come back and read this after you read the book/see the movie if you don’t want me to ruin anything for you.**

I attempted to go see the movie The Shack on Monday night for a little family-of-one FHE, but I ended up working a little too late and I’m WAY too old to see a 9pm showing on a weeknight. So alas I had to wait… until last night. Haha #thestruggle

Little not-so-secret about me. I love going to movies alone. Going with people can be fun too, but most of the time I enjoy going solo. Usually when I go solo to a movie I pick a time when the theater is unlikely to be busy/crowded. I HATE noisy theaters. I sit there wondering why the people around me never learned how to be normal/considerate humans that didn’t constantly make noise or check their phones in a public theater as I bite back the urge to say something to them. Yes, I am that person. Which is why I do what I can to prevent those annoying feelings by going at a less busy time. I totally botched that goal last night though when I picked not only the day the theater offers $5 movie, but it also seemed to be the time that Sun River (a retirement community in St. George) decided to all come to the theater. Ok, fine, maybe it wasn’t a sanctioned Sun River event, but there were a LOT of older movie goers yesterday. So not off to a great start. I was however excited to learn that the mini popcorn was also discounted that night down from $4.50 to $1.50. #score I was feeling pretty great about that steal of a deal, and then I tried to carry too much in my hands and I dropped my popcorn all over the ground. Wah. Wah. :( Luckily one of the theater workers ran to my rescue and got me new popcorn without me having to get back in the long concessions line. So after apologizing for covering their ground in buttery goodness I made my way into the crowded theater.

Now that I’ve set up the scene ad nauseam, should I actually start reviewing the movie?

But first, another little sidenote. :) When a book is made into a movie I like reading the book first so I know what to expect and then I’m always intrigued by what they decide to change when they turn it into a movie. That was the case with The Shack. I just finished the book last weekend so I was all set to see the movie and compare them.

First, let’s talk about Sam Worthington. I like everything about him being cast for this role except one thing. The book and movie very clearly point out that Mac is a farm kid from the mid-west. Well, Sam Worthington was born in England and raised in Australia (thank you IMDB). Needless to say, Sam has an accent that no boy from the mid-west would have. And it made it hard for me to believe him in this role when that accent crept into almost every line of dialogue spoken by Mac. Honestly that was one of my biggest critiques of the whole film.

Casting for God aka “Papa” (Octavia Spencer and briefly Graham Greene), Jesus (Avraham Aviv Alush), and the Holy Spirit aka “Sarayu” (Sumire Matsubara) I LOVED!! I think they all played their roles really, really well. And while I’m Mormon and am used to seeing images of God looking a certain way, it in no way made me feel like they were portraying Him inappropriately. I think the reasoning for why the book and, following suit, the movie showed God as a loving black woman made a lot of sense to me. And while I think we try so hard to fully understand who God is, I’m sure like Mac, we tend to think of God very differently than His true nature. So I liked the whole idea behind it and how everything worked when it was time for Mac to have a father figure. Also, can I just point out that Jesus reminded me a lot of my baby boyfriend (boyfriend I had as a young kid, not a young kid I am currently pursuing) so maybe I found him to be attractive. Nothing wrong with that right? :) I loved seeing someone from Middle Eastern descent portray Jesus. It felt really authentic. I also really liked the casting for “Wisdom” – the lady in the cave with the waterfall. Really the only casting that I didn’t love were the other kids besides Missy. Not sure why, but I just didn’t love them as those characters. #sorrykids

I loved the first 2/3s to 3/4s of the book, but I felt it got REALLY repetitive at times and so it took me a lot longer to finish reading the last few chapters than it did the first chunk of the book. I think the movie did a lot better job at moving the storyline forward without feeling too repetitive/stagnant. So kudos movie on that one.

Now, time for things the movie did differently than the book and my thoughts on it.

There was a point in the movie where Mac’s in a little row boat that starts taking on murky water and he starts sinking until Jesus comes to his rescue. When I was watching that scene I didn’t love it and wasn’t a huge fan of how that part and the walking on water scene unfolded. However, now that I’m thinking back on it I find myself liking that scene more and more because it feels a lot like real life. We start feeling overcome with a problem or challenge we’re currently facing and at times all hope seems lost. Until, of course, we remember to look to Jesus for help. In hindsight that may be one of my favorite scenes.

One change I didn’t like was how they showed the marking on the outside wall of the Shack right next to the front door during the scene where they found Missy’s dress. I have a really hard time imaging the FBI couldn’t have found out more about a serial killer who leaves such an obvious mark at part of the crime scene that isn’t found at other spots along the trail leading to the hidden bodies of his victims. Along with that, I was sad they didn’t include in the movie more about the trail Papa and Mac walked and all the different spots along the way the marking was shown including the process of Papa turning the rock at the front of the cave around as they were leaving to make sure that spot stayed marked. They showed a couple of the markings, but again I feel like the markings shown were WAY too obvious to have never been discovered during the normal course of the investigation/manhunt. And finally, the last point of this I want to touch on was how I hated that at the end of the movie Mac didn’t take his family to find Missy’s body and truly lay her to rest. That was such a pivotal piece of the book I felt that really brought legitimacy to Mac’s experience in the fact that he now knew how to find Missy’s body. So yeah, I’m kind of bitter about that part.

Another change I didn’t like was how they said the car accident happened on the way up to the cabin versus in the book it happened on the way back from the cabin. Again I just feel like it takes away from the legitimacy of Mac’s experience.

And of course I hated that the movie didn’t touch on the fact that because of Mac’s experience and how he was able to help the authorities find Missy’s body, they were then able to find the bodies of other victims of the lady bug killer AND were eventually able to find and arrest him. I was really sad to see that aspect not included in the movie.

In the end, I’m glad I read the book and then saw the movie because I feel like it gave me a more complete picture to work with. The movie was good. And I quietly cried through most of it. It’s not one I anticipate seeing over and over again, but I’m glad I saw it! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My 1st Dance Studio

As a kid I had one dream job… I wanted to own my own dance team/company. For a lot of years that’s what I was set on doing. (And then I became a tax accountant. Adult me really screwed over childhood me. :P)

I grew up dancing from preschool to ninth grade. I danced with a group called Super Steppers Jr. Drill Team – nicknamed Stupid Stompers by many. :) Joking aside, it actually was a great group to be a part of. I had the chance to perform all over – highlights included UNLV games, NBA pre-game performances, during the Olympics in SLC, and at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii. And I was in more parades than I can count (which is why I try to avoid parades completely as an adult). And then in high school my love of dance evolved as I was a cheerleader for those 3 years.

One of the things I’ve missed the most since “becoming an adult” was dancing and performing. So after seeing the Rockettes perform in NYC this past December I got super inspired to revisit my first love. In January I started taking a weekly tap dance class and it’s safe to say I’m obsessed with it. It’s my favorite hour of each week. We have a performance coming up in a few months and I’m not gonna lie, I’m really looking forward to performing again. Granted I’m no amazing dancer. I’m decent and will get even better with more practice. But what I really excel in is learning a routine. That’s always been a strength of mine and one I’m happy I didn’t lose after so many years of not using that skill. But, how should I say…. I don’t look quite as cute performing as I did when I was a skinny (skinnier) little kid/teenager. I can still get the job done, it just takes a bit more effort these days. So I’m still working on making it look more appealing for the audience. But that’s ok. The enjoyment I get is still the same. Haha

All of this is to say, that I finally did it – I opened up my 1st dance studio!! And while technically it’s just for me and it’s located in one of the spare bedrooms in my house, I LOVE IT! :) I went in there last night and ran through my tap routine a few times before bed. It’s my favorite room in my house and one I definitely need to spend more time in. I posted some pics below! One of the best features is the tv hookup for my phone so I can put the video of my teacher doing the routine up on the tv in case I need a refresher on any of the steps and so I can get my taps in sync with hers. I’m just renting my current house, but you can rest assured that the next house I buy will include a room perfect for this purpose and hopefully even bigger so I can expand the dance floor and have more room to do the routine full out without having to shorten steps! Anyways, dance on, childhood me. Dance on.