Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lawless


Lawless follows the three Bondurant brothers, who make moonshine in 1920s Virginia. It's based on the novel The Wettest County in the World, by Matt Bondurant, which in turn is based on the author's real-life grandfather. The movie combines a great soundtrack, exceptional acting performances, and an interesting story, and it ended up far exceeding my expectations.

Forrest Bondurant (Tom Hardy) is the oldest Bondurant brother, and he takes care of his brothers Jack (Shia LaBeouf) and Howard (Jason Clarke) by including them in the moonshine business. Jack figures out a way to produce even more moonshine per day, and business is good for the brothers. When a new man, Mason Wardell (Tim Tolin) comes to town, however, he brings with him a man from Chicago, Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce), and they want the Bondurant brothers to pay them a "toll" of sorts for still being allowed to transport moonshine across the county; the brothers have always had an "arrangement" with the law, but Wardell seeks to insert himself as the middle man. Forrest, being stubborn, refuses, and that's when things start to get ugly.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Premium Rush


Premium Rush knows its audience includes those looking for a fast summer "popcorn flick," and it definitely panders to them. That being said, it lives up to its poster slogan ("Ride Like Hell") and Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a strong performance throughout, even though most of the time he's weaving in and out of traffic in downtown Manhattan.

Wilee (Gordon-Levitt, 50/50) can't stand the idea of wearing a suit and working at a desk, and he loves to ride, so his job - bike messenger in New York City - is ideal for him. He's perfected dodging in and out of traffic and getting packages and envelopes where they need to be on time. When he receives an envelope at Columbia University, where he used to attend law school, he is told that it's important that it gets to Chinatown by 7pm; when a dirty cop (Michael Shannon, TV's Boardwalk Empire) starts stalking him in order to get the envelope, intercept the envelope, Wilee realizes that the envelope's contents are very important, and must get to the intended recipient before said cop gets his hands on it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hit & Run


The regular trailer for Hit & Run and the redband (rated "R") trailer almost play like two different movies. The red-band trailer focuses on something unpleasant that happened when Bradley Cooper's character was sent to jail. The trailer repeats this unfunny joke several times, and its crudeness almost deterred me from seeing the movie. The regular trailer tells the actual story, or at least a two minutes and thirty seconds synopsis of it, and previewed a decent movie. I'm glad I ended up seeing the film because it was one of the better ones I've seen this summer. I also enjoyed the Q&A session with Dax Shepard after the screening - he is as zany and pleasant in person as he was in the movie.

Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard, TV's Parenthood) is in the Witness Protection Program, and has been living in a tiny rural town in California for the past four years. His program agent (Tom Arnold, Madea's Witness Protection) is one of his only friends there, aside from his girlfriend, Annie (Kristen Bell, Safety Not Guaranteed). Annie works at a tiny college until one day her boss, Debbie (Kristin Chenoweth, TV's GCB) tells her that she found her a job at UCLA, heading up a new department there. The catch is that Annie has to get herself to L.A. in a few days to interview for the position. She knows she can't move to L.A. and leave Charlie behind (he's not allowed to leave the town, for the most part), but Charlie convinces her to go, and he decides to drive her there himself, in an old Lincoln he (illegally) brought with him from his former life.

Annie's ex, Gil (Michael Rosenbaum, Catch .44), who is still madly in love with her, follows them, as he thinks Charlie is going to "cut [her] up into little pieces"; he believes Charlie was a murderer who struck a deal to get into Witness Protection. Everyone seems to know that Charlie is in Witness Protection, but he had claimed that it was for witnessing a crime; it was, technically, but he later tells Annie that he was actually the getaway driver. Charlie's Lincoln is registered in his real name, Yul Perkins, and Gil figures this out and then promptly sends a Facebook message to Alex (Bradley Cooper, The Hangover Part II, sporting ridiculous dreadlocks) saying that he knows where Yul/Charlie will be in the next twenty-four hours. What happens after this is a crazy story that spirals out of control, leaving Charlie to defend his girlfriend from Alex and the rest of his robber buddies.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bring It On: Movie vs. Musical

Kirsten Dunst in Bring It On (movie; 2000)

Guest post by: Adam Riemer

Much like many other movies, Bring It On has become a musical and probably the dumbest thing you’ll ever love. Just like in the movie, you get to see amazing stunts and choreography, but in the musical version of Bring It On changes the story almost 100%.

Campbell, the main character, becomes the Cheer Captain of the Truman Squad. Unfortunately, she also gets redistricted and looses her title to someone else. In the movie version she stays at her school and discovers that her school has been stealing routines from an inner city school. In the musical she ends up being sent to that school and that school has no actual cheer squad. Instead they have a hip hop dance crew.

Bring It On - Broadway show
credit: USAToday.com
The next major difference between the movie and show is that the movie is learning about what is right and that you shouldn’t cheat. The musical is all about politics and current issues. They bring up politics, self esteem and weight issues, make jokes that will be outdated within the next 5 years and also throw a ton of very one sided views in your face. Whether you agree with them or not could actually have an effect on if you like the show or not. In the movie, most people agree with the story line, in the show, you have some people who get offended.

One last difference that is kind of fun is that they changed the characters around. Campbell’s boyfriend at Truman turns out to be gay. Her new boyfriend isn’t from the rich school, but is the popular guy and also outcast from her new school. Her best friend becomes the larger girl who she made the mascot at Truman and one of the girls on the “crew” turns out to be a drag queen.

The musical version of Bring It On is a brand new story with new plots and new messages. Unlike the movie you don’t have cheer based songs, but instead you get choreographed dance routines with actual singing and a ton of amazing cheerleading stunts. The show combines broadway actors, dancers and actual Cheerleaders to put on an amazing show that gives a new story to the hit movie Bring It On. I miss Big Red and the opening song from the movie, but there are a ton of great songs you can discover from the musical version.

About the Author:

Adam is a broadway blogger who has seen well over 100 shows. With a passion for sharing Broadway reviews, helping people discover new showtunes and save money when buying Broadway tickets both in NYC and locally, you’re sure to find something you’ll love on his site BroadwayReviewed.com.

Friday, August 17, 2012

ParaNorman


In one of the opening scenes of ParaNorman, we see Norman hanging out with his grandma in his family's living room. They're having a conversation: he talks to her and she responds. Pretty normal, right? When Norman goes into the kitchen, however, his parents scold him for talking to his grandma, and say that he needs to get over her death - which means, if you didn't know already from the trailers, that Norman can talk to dead people.

Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee, Let Me In) has an unusual gift. When he walks to school in the morning, he says hello to many people, but a "normal" person would just see him talking to himself, because Norman can see things that others can't: specifically, the "auras" of the deceased. When his crazy uncle, Mr. Prenderghast (voiced by John Goodman, TV's Community), suddenly passes away, his ghost tells Norman to go find a book that his corpse has and make sure that the infamous town witch doesn't come back to haunt the town for its 300th birthday celebration. Unfortunately, Norman isn't fast enough, and he and his enemy Alvin (voiced by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Fright Night) soon find themselves running from seven zombies intent on killing them ... so they think.

Sparkle (2012)


Sparkle is a remake of the 1976 film of the same name, and this Detroit-filmed version is especially notable for its cast. Sparkle is the last film starring Whitney Houston, as the singer passed away after in February 2012. It's also the first film starring American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, so there's a lot of pressure for this film to succeed at the box office. Luckily, the singing in it is fantastic, and although the film is a little lengthy (about 2 hours long), it tells an interesting story.

Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) has two sisters, Sister (Carmen Ejogo, Away We Go) and Dolores (Tika Sumpter, Think Like a Man), and they are all great singers. Sister (whose real name is Tammy) is the "showman" of the three, and with the help of Stix (Derek Luke, TV's Hawthorne), their manager, they form a girl band, with Sister as the lead singer and Sparkle and Dolores on back-up. Their mother, Emma (Whitney Houston, The Bodyguard), disapproves of their singing, as she tried to have a singing career when she was younger but failed. Sister has a boyfriend but quickly attracts the attention of a TV celebrity, Satin (Mike Epps, Jumping the Broom), and falls into a tumultuous and violent relationship with him. Sparkle and Stix have an off-and-on relationship, but when the group falls apart due to Sister's drug addiction (which is the fault of Satin, for the most part), Stix wants to move to California, since he's "done with Detroit." Sparkle, who also writes original songs, must decide if she has the courage to become her own act, and sing her own songs on stage.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Home Run Showdown


Home Run Showdown was filmed in metro Detroit in summer 2010, and it has some decent stars in it so I was excited to review it. They filmed it mostly in Milford, Taylor, and in Toledo, Ohio, and at the beginning of the movie Matthew Lillard's character is wearing a Groves (High School) t-shirt. The film had a red carpet premiere at Star Southfield on July 27, and Lillard was in attendance; both Lillard and Dean Cain, the other main adult star, were born in Michigan as well. Unfortunately, none of the jokes in the film turned out to be funny, and even the baseball storyline was a little convoluted as well.

Synopsis from CoveringMedia.com: Three kids, LORI, FASSI and TANKER, are desperate to get on a little league team so they can field balls for major leaguers at the Home Run Showdown -- the annual big league hitting competition. Tanker wants to get to the showdown and meet his baseball idol; Fassi just wants to play hard; and Lori wants his imprisoned dad to see him on TV. They form a team, coached by underachieving JOEY, a former minor leaguer in the shadow of his big league star brother RICO.

But each of the kids has a problem. Lori accidentally makes a powerful enemy of SIMPSON, the league commissioner; Fassi gets in hot water for her aggressive playing; and Tanker's overprotective mother MICHELLE doesn't want him to play. Meanwhile, Joey and Rico's rivalry boils over into a struggle to take over the bar owned by their father BIG AL. The brothers use the their teams to one-up each other, and Big Al sets a challenge: Whoever collects the most official Major League balls at the Showdown will get the bar.

As the kids struggle to get to the Showdown, and Michelle and Joey strike up a tentative romance, the stage is set for one of the strangest baseball competitions of all: a contest where big leaguers, kids and grownups all struggle to master the national pastime.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ruby Sparks


The screening for Ruby Sparks occurred when I was on vacation in Rhode Island (pre-BlogHer) and so I unfortunately missed it. I've loved Paul Dano since Little Miss Sunshine, however, and I still really wanted to see the film, so I went to my local movie theater this weekend to catch it while it's still on the big screen. I was not disappointed, and it's one of the better comedies I've seen lately, though it has some dark undercurrents as well.

Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano, Being Flynn) is almost 30, and he's a high school dropout that published his first novel at 19, which became a megahit and made him insanely popular (and rich, too, if his current house is indicative of his success). Since then, he's published a book of short stories, but not much else. His shrink, Dr. Rosenthal (Elliot Gould, Contagion) encourages him to write about a girl he's been dreaming about, even if it's only a page long. Calvin's dreams about this girl become more and more frequent, and he starts writing again; before long, he has a novel about her, who he's named Ruby. It is to his shock and amazement, then, that one day he wakes up and finds Ruby (Zoe Kazan, Meek's Cutoff) in the flesh, in his house, cooking him breakfast.

Calvin thinks he's going insane, and he calls his brother, Harry (Chris Messina, TV's Damages), to let him know about Ruby. Later, however, Calvin goes out to do some errands, and Ruby asks to come along; Calvin finds that others can see Ruby as well, and he - literally - scoops her up and runs home with her, as he's extremely excited that he isn't just imagining her. Ruby soon meets the rest of Calvin's family (including Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas, playing his parents), and Calvin realizes that he can change anything about her - her personality, her talents, her moods - by going back to his typewriter and writing it. Calvin must decide whether he wants to live with Ruby "as is" and not tamper with her, or if he wants to discard his morals and change her to be exactly to his liking.

BlogHer 2012, Part IV: Time to say goodbye

In which I deliver cupcakes ...
(thanks @cookiesandclogs for the pic)
On Sunday, my roommates and I all had tickets to the Blogalicious brunch. I wasn't sure what to expect but the food was great and the speaker, Demetria Lucas (@abelleinbk), was as well. I was thinking of hitting up a local Crumbs Bake Shop that day too but one of my roommates was still packing up all her swag (we started calling her Swag Mommy - I'm still surprised she was able to fit it all into 3 bags!), so I decided to go to a cupcake meetup at a farther-away Crumbs that Hanan (Lilac City Momma) had put together. Because the event had been moved at the last minute and wasn't within walking distance (and because it was the last day and people tend to forget/be too tired to come to these types of things then), it was a bit of a washout, BUT the nice people at Crumbs gave me some gift bags to take back to the Hilton, not to mention a RIDE back as well! I met a few bloggers in the lobby who were overjoyed to get some free cupcakes, and made some new friends in the process, too.

Lies.
(before it was delayed and subsequently canceled ...)
My car was scheduled to pick me and Tricia up at the hotel at 3:15, and I got back around 3pm from Crumbs and scrambled to retrieve my bags from the bellhop, grab lunch from the (delicious) Halal cart on the corner, and rush to meet the car. Though it turned out I really shouldn't have ... storms rolled in to the area and my 6:30pm flight from Newark to Detroit was CANCELED. I've never had a flight canceled on me before and I was freaking out just a tiny bit - the 4:30pm flight had been moved back to 8:30 too, and all the passengers on board had to deplane. It was raining and lightning outside but after standing in line at the Delta desk for 90 minutes, trying to talk with Delta on the phone, and frantically tweeting/Facebooking to try and secure a place to stay for the night, I was finally put on board the 8:30 flight, along with a few others who I had been talking/ranting/sympathizing with. After all of that, though, I got home to DTW at 9:45pm, only an hour later than scheduled ... even though my checked bag had to sleep at EWR (Newark) for the night.

So. I went to BlogHer '12 and lived to tell the tale. I had a lot of fun and networked with many people, most of whom I probably would not have met had I not gone to the conference. Was it worth it to spend money for hotel, incidentals, etcetera?

30 Rock!
Like I said in another post, I do wish I went to more of the sessions. I felt like I could have learned more than I did. BlogHer '13 is in Chicago, a quick 3.5-hour drive, and I am hoping to attend; I think I will change up my game plan a bit and go to more sessions / "official" events rather to run around to all of the unofficial parties. That being said, I actually declined some parties that I felt weren't relevant to this blog or my book blog, so perhaps next year I will just be even more choosy about which I attend, in order to fit in some actual learning and sessions.

Overall I was satisfied with the conference, though I did hear some attendees complain that the Hilton was not big enough for the 5000+ bloggers that attended, with which I agree - there shouldn't have been rows of us sitting on the floor or standing in the Google Analytics session, and if I had not arrived at the Martha Stewart keynote lunch early I might have been sitting outside the ballroom eating as I saw others doing when I left. Hopefully the Sheraton and the conference center (McCormick Place) in Chicago will be able to accommodate more, though, and this won't be a problem next year.

If you went to BlogHer this year or in previous years - what were your favorite events and sessions? And were there any things you wish you had done differently?


Me and the Lorax! Universal Pictures was a
BlogHer sponsor this year




Shannon and I at the red carpet premiere



Me and one of my roommates, Kailee, at the Disney afterparty
(Yotel terrace)
The Statue of Liberty, as seen from the boat ride

Saturday, August 11, 2012

BlogHer 2012, Part III: Worth it to sit on the floor?

First session of the day: Advanced SEO for bloggers
By now you are probably wondering something like, "Okay, so she went to all these parties and saw some celebs and had some drinks - but did she actually attend any sessions?" The answer is yes, but I wish I had attended more. On Saturday after breakfast I was planning to attend Advanced SEO for Bloggers, and then Google Analytics directly afterwards. Unfortunately, I took advantage of the 15-minute break between sessions, and when I got back there were NO seats open for the Analytics session. I sat on the hard floor for a little while and then left, because BlogHer tapes all the sessions; but I was disappointed because Google Analytics is something I really wanted to learn about.

Mimosas and lovely centerpieces
I then headed out to Ruth's Chris restaurant for the Glamorous Luncheon, hosted by Shannon (Glamorous Moms). The venue, the food, and the company were perfect, and I had a great time. I sat at a table with Amy, another Michigander, as well as Vanessa, The Queen of Swag (who was also Hanan's roommate - small world), and a bunch of other lovely ladies, and it was nice to enjoy a quiet(er) lunch away from the Hilton.

Saturday was to be my "busy day," because after the Glamorous Luncheon I had basically scheduled myself from 3pm till midnight without stopping. From 3pm to around 4 I stopped by the Getting Gorgeous event at the Warwick hotel, and was treated to a "summer hairdo" at the CVS booth as well as getting some nice swag from Coldwater Creek, Downy, and other companies that was there. I ran back to the Hilton after, and then Kailee and I headed to the Disney screening of The Odd Life of Timothy Green, along with fellow bloggers Amanda and Lance. After the movie, we walked to the nearby Yotel, where the reception was held, and their rooftop terrace had some of the best views I had seen of the city (besides the Hallmark suite, that is).

Awesome view from Yotel's terrace (Disney afterparty)
After that, we headed to BanShe at O'Lunney's Irish pub, also near Times Square, and finally had a roommate dinner at a small Italian place nearby. By the time we got back to the hotel we were all tired, and skipped CheeseburgHer (an official BlogHer event, sponsored by McDonalds), though I had heard that in past years it was a lot of fun. I started packing up some of my stuff and deciding what swag I wanted to bring to the Recycling Room (as it was listed on the map - aka the Swag Exchange room) the next day too.

Stay tuned for Part IV: Time to Say Goodbye ... 

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Campaign


With two popular comedians headlining The Campaign and a hilarious trailer, it looked like it was going to be a funny movie. Luckily, the film didn't disappoint, even though the final third of the movie wasn't as funny as the beginning.

Cam Brady (Will Ferrell, Everything Must Go) is comfortably running unopposed for his seat as North Carolina congressman, until two prominent businessmen, the Motch brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd), decide they want a politican they can easily control. They convince Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis, The Hangover Part II), whose father was a politician, to run against Brady. The Motch brothers have big plans for the district, and they think that Huggins will let them have their way. Cam Brady is not used to having competition, and he decides to give it his all in order to beat Huggins, a strange man with a strange family, so that he can maintain his place in Congress.

The Bourne Legacy


We were previously introduced to Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon, in 2002's The Bourne Identity, 2004's Bourne Supremacy, and 2007's Bourne Ultimatum. While the third movie closed the trilogy effectively, for some reason the studios have decided to reboot with a new Bourne here. Jeremy Renner plays the new anti-hero, with the idea that Jason Bourne wasn't the only trained "superagent" out there. Unfortunately, not even Jeremy Renner can save this film, as it's confusing, muddled, and drags for the first half-hour.

The movie starts out very slowly and doesn't really explain much. We see Aaron Cross (Renner, The Avengers) trying to survive in the Alaskan wilderness by warding off wolves, and for a second I thought I was watching 2011's The Grey. The stories flip back and forth between this and the CIA trying to institute a major cover-up of some of their old programs, some of which involved Jason Bourne. Cross meets another agent and narrowly escapes assasination, leading him to flee Alaska. When Cross finally gets back to the central U.S. he finds Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz, Dream House) about to be assassinated as well, and he saves her and they go on the run together. He's looking for "chems" to help sustain his physical and mental strength, only to find that the rest of the agents were weaned off of them months ago. Cross and Shearing must elude the CIA killers sent to find them, or at the very least find the killers before the killers find them.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Taking a ride on the #payitforwardexpress


On my second full day in NYC, as I mentioned in BlogHer Part I, I took a boat ride with Hanan (Lilac City Momma). We had both received tickets to the #payitforwardexpress by tweeting good deeds that we had done, and there were about 60 bloggers chosen to participate. The #payitforwardexpress was sponsored by fellow BlogHer attendees Madame Deals Media and Mommy Needs Her Coffee.

We were able to choose from four bus trips on Gray Line New York or a 90-minute boat cruise on CitySightseeing New York Cruise. A few of the bus trips were "hop-on, hop-off," but I LOVE boat rides, and the 90-minute time appealed more to me as well. It was about 90 degrees that day in New York but once the boat pulled away from the harbor we were able to experience some cool breezes, and it was nice to see all of the NYC attractions that I might not have been able to walk/cab/get to otherwise.

The ride was called the Midtown Cruise and we rode by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, 1 World Trade Center (the WTC memorial, and also going to be one of the tallest NYC buildings again), Brooklyn, and many other buildings and attractions. During my first time in NYC in 2007, my college roommate, her sister, and I took a boat ride but it left from Battery Park, and it stopped at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island; I actually was able to look up some of my ancestors (who immigrated here from Russia) in the Ellis Island database, which was pretty cool. The CitySightseeing cruise doesn't make any stops, but you still get to see a decent amount of the city, and it leaves from Pier 78 on the east side rather than Battery Park, which is near the southern tip of Manhattan.

Check out my photos below and also Lilac City Momma's photos at her site. Thanks again to Madame Deals, Mommy Needs Her Coffee, and CitySightseeing for an excellent ride!

*Disclosure: I received 1 ticket on the CitySightseeing New York Cruise in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.


A sailboat out on the Hudson 
Athena and Hanan (Lilac City Momma)
Bridges
1 World Trade Center.
It will be 1776 ft. tall in honor of the Declaration of Independence. 
Old factory
The Statue of Liberty off in the distance

BlogHer 2012, Part II: Bloggers everywhere!

When we last left off, I was sleeping ... and not wanting to get up at 7am because I hate getting up early. For the first full day of BlogHer, I had the choice of going to the Newbie Breakfast or the general one, but my roommates and I decided to go to the newbie one, though I didn't really learn anything about the conference there that I didn't already know. After that, I wanted to check out the expo - or the three expos, I should say - and make it back in time for the Martha Stewart keynote lunch.

I'm an Instagram addict now ...
After that, I took part in the StumbleUpon walk, which left from the Hilton and was a walking tour of NYC. It was nice to get out of the hotel for a little bit, and we walked to Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and other area landmarks. I'm a big fan of StumbleUpon and it was great to have a chance to connect with fellow bloggers. I ended up meeting Lori from Atlanta (My Life Unexpected) and her roommate Anna, from NYC, and I saw them again at breakfast the next day as well.

I hit the expo for a little bit more after the walk, but between that time and the morning time I had there, I was able to go to most of the booths. I had been forewarned that you should plan to spend 3 to 4 hours browsing the expo and making connections, but I think it only took me like 2 hours total, not including the time spent getting a manicure at the Bailey's booth or scarfing down treats at the So Delicious and Jimmy Dean stations.

Viola and Maggie at the Won't Back Down Q&A
That night I had one of the events I was most looking forward to, a red carpet premiere of the film Won't Back Down (in theaters September 28) with a Q&A with the director, Rosie Perez, Viola Davis, and Maggie Gyllenhaal after the screening, which I attended with fellow Michigander Shannon from Glamorous Moms. I'm a HUGE fan of Viola and Maggie, and I was definitely a little starstruck when they both appeared after the movie. Sometimes when there's Q&As at a screening, the host cuts off the questions or the stars have to leave, but at this screening neither happened, which I thought was really cool. Maggie had brought her mom to the film also, and she left with her and a woman I believe was her grandmother afterwards through the front door with the rest of the bloggers - also very cool. (Hey, Maggie - can you give me your brother's phone number?)

Sparklecorn, an official event, was that night as well, and I had heard it was one of the most fun BlogHer parties, so even though I was tired and hungry when I got back to the hotel, I changed into a less dressy outfit and went downstairs ... to find that it was more of a rave, with great music! I stayed for about an hour or so and even danced a bit, and then came upstairs to find my roommates fast asleep. Which I probably should have been too, since I had to be up for breakfast early again the next day ...

Stay tuned for Part III: Worth it to sit on the floor?
Sparklecorn ... aka a college frat party and/or rave, but with glow sticks

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

BlogHer 2012, Part I: The calm before the storm

I officially bought my ticket for BlogHer 2012 in June or July, I believe, but I had booked my hotel back in February to get the conference rate, at the Hilton New York. I took a little mini vacation to Rhode Island before the conference to visit family there, and it was very relaxing - which was good because I rarely had time to rest during BlogHer!

On August 1, I took Amtrak from Providence to Penn Station, where I met Suzanne from Bebehblog once she got on the train at the Mystic, CT stop. She and I were both in one of the Facebook groups comprised of people going to the conference, and we had planned to meet up on the train beforehand. I had brought my Kindle Fire and a book to read but I didn't even take them out of my purse, because we talked for the whole 3 hours or so about BlogHer - this was her second or third time going - and about blogging and New York.

Me, Kailee, Jenn. Thanks to Kailee for the photo.
We finally arrived to Penn Station, and waited in the cab line - in the drizzling rain, though both of us had the foresight to bring umbrellas. Soon we arrived at the Hilton, where one of my roommates, Kailee (Loose Screws and Terrible Twos, as well as Precious Cargo Bakery) had already checked in. I had been talking with Kailee and my other roommate, Jenn (Also Known As ... The Wife), on Facebook and Twitter since February, and once on Skype, and I felt like I knew them both even though we had never met in-person before today. Kailee had texted me the room number and I went and met her there, and then once Jenn arrived on the train from NJ we went out for a drink at Old Castle Pub, pretty much next door to the Hilton.

Kailee and I had plans to see Harvey, a Broadway play with Jim Parsons in it (aka Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory), and after the show we went to the stage door to try and get some autographs. Although I wasn't able to get Jim's autograph, it was still fun to see the stars up close.

The next day, Thursday, was also pretty relaxing. Jackie (Free Is My Life) had invited me and Laura (Laura in the Motor City) to be her +2s to a private event by Hallmark, across the street at the London Hotel, and the views from Hallmark's suite were breathtaking; you could see Central Park and the city skyline. I love Hallmark's cards but I didn't know much about their other products, and it was interesting to see what else they sell.

View from the boat
I was also chosen to ride the #payitforwardexpress, and later that day Hanan (Lilac City Momma) and I embarked on a boat ride on the Hudson River. I'll be doing a separate post about this but I will say meanwhile that although the temps were pretty hot that day - 90+ - when the boat eventually took off we got a nice breeze throughout, and the views were nice as well.

That night I was off to the California Dreams party, sponsored by Single Edition Media, and after that I attended the kickoff events for the actual conference, including Evening at the Expo, where I was able to pick up my Moo biz cards for my book blog, and the People's Party.

The next day I had to wake up at 7am for the Newbie Breakfast; I usually wake up around 8am for work. 7am is EARLY especially when I'm on "vacation" ... I like to sleep in when I can.

Was I able to wake up in time to get a seat at the breakfast? Stay tuned for Part II: Bloggers Everywhere!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green


I was invited to Disney's offsite event for The Odd Life of Timothy Green when I was in New York during BlogHer, and I was excited to attend since I had heard such great things about their events - last year they screened The Help to a packed audience in San Diego. We were treated to complimentary popcorn and soda at the theater, and I also attended the afterparty at Yotel, nearby the theater, where we got bags filled with goodies like green socks, fairy wings (in honor of their new Tinkerbell movie), and a notepad with a cover that contained seeds in it and can be planted.

The movie itself was very "Disney," which usually means that although it has a lot of morals and lessons in it, the story is sound and it's a good movie for families to see. Jim and Cindy Green (Joel Edgerton, Warrior, and Jennifer Garner, Arthur) desperately want to have a child, but are unable to conceive. They finally give up, and they write down all the qualities they would have liked their son or daughter to have, and put it in a hope box of sorts in the backyard. That night, there's a big storm, and they're woken up by noises in the house. They find a small boy, Timothy (CJ Adams, Dan in Real Life), in their house, covered in mud, and originally they think that he has run away from his family; until, that is, they see he has leaves growing from his legs.