Thursday, October 13, 2011

After All This Time...

Hello my friends and family far away! I need to apologize to you (and to my writer self) for not blogging in so long! It has been almost a year...I can hardly believe it...So I'll get you up to speed then get into what's coming up....

First, a tremendous thank you to my parents for giving me such a wonderful home to land in while I looked for a job and tried to get my life together. I'm thankful for being a part of my parent's home just a bit longer; watching TCM with Mom, yard work with Dad and snuggling with my baby kitty. Having Lesley home was great too! Well, when she was home....haha The Christmas and New Year seasons were blessed with low key chilling, many cookies were made and given away and we enjoyed each others' company.

I think I stopped writing as the job search became more burdensome. Interview after interview, cover letter after cover letter....but to what end? A little letter saying "Thanks, but No Thanks" Urg! In the pit of my despair I considered going with an agency to connect me with a position that could turn into a full-time job. The Lord heard my cry, alright. During my interview with the agency, the young woman handed me a job at Target Headquarters! The first position she found for me wasn't the best fit for that departments' needs, so I was off that position within a week. I wept because I didn't understand why I had been rejected. I wondered if there was something wrong with me. The Lord heard my cry again and the following week I was back interviewing for a long-term contracting position in Target's Community Relations department. I have been there since February!

Target is one interesting beast of a company. I'm fortunate to be where I'm at because I get to work with a variety of people (ages and backgrounds) as most departments are made up of 20-somethings. My title is Team Assistant. My job is unique since I assist two teams, including three managers and eight other team members from both of those teams. At this point I am up to my ears in projects, admin duties and other tasks that come up. The quote that best describes m job is, "Anything worth doing, is worth paying someone else to do," I am the person they pay. Not all that much, but enough for me to go on my own!

Ali Wulf suggested I reach out to her best friend Angie Miller. Angie and her friend from Cru/U of M, Hannah, were looking for a place to live in the big city! So in a matter of months we found a cute little house in Northeast Minneapolis. Close to everything, but not in the middle of college town USA. We have easy access to grocery stores, freeways and other friends' homes. After our house warming party in late August/early September, I was introduced to many of their mutual friends. The more I get to know them, the more we know that the Lord was essential in bringing us together in this blessed house; our Cair Paravel. We are such busy girls so it's a blessing when we can all be together. We have Girls' Nights, bon fires and rock climbing events! I almost forgot what having a social life was like, now I don't think I could go back! haha

The New House

However, my social outreach began a few months before that when I joined an a Capella group through acquaintances at work in June. We are now 15 members strong, guys and girls, with a few pop songs under our belt. We are now The Tune-Ups! Our weekly practices involve learning songs and getting to know one another. It's a blast when we can get together for karaoke! Before practice, a few girls and I get together for happy hour! And after a Monday, it's definitely a good choice haha!

So with Target, my new roommates (WHO I ADORE WITH ALL MY HEART), new church and new musical outlet, my life is feeling complete. I have things to write about now, so be prepared for awesome stories to come!

The one I'm anticipating most is my trip to SCOTLAND to see Lesley! She's studying abroad in Sterling, finishing up her degree. Her midterm break is at the end of October, so I'll be there ready to rock the UK! I'll take lots of pics and tell their stories here.

Thank you all for your prayers! They have been answered in a mighty way, Praise to the LORD!

Blessings to you all,


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday Movie Reviews: Part 1

Hello Everyone!

Since my lap is conveniently occupied by my baby kitty, Twix, (spoiled, she is!) I thought I would take this opportunity to write my thoughts about the latest movies I've seen. I have quite a few coming up as well. If you have any suggestions for me (movies I should check out, dis/agree with my opinions etc)I'm all ears!

The newest tradition in the Decker family is to see a movie on Thanksgiving weekend. Usually a good movie releases that weekend anyways, so why not? This year we chose Tangled!

The newest Disney fairytale is a cute movie. There's been a lot of hype around this film with the commercials, toys and clips all over TV and Internet. They portray it as a fun, fast-paced adventure with a little bit for everyone. It's absolutely that, but something seems to be missing...I can't put my finger on it...It's not up there with Beauty and the Beast or anything, but it delivers as a whimsical family film with a touch of Disney magic.

The magic is delivered through shining performances of the cast and creative characters. Mandy Moore blew me away as Rapunzel because she felt genuine and she was able to show off her voice, in speech and song! Zachary Levi was a the perfect choice for Flynn Ryder because of his versatility in humor and drama. He actually sings too! Even though the music is written by Alan Menkin (Disney composer extraordinaire!), the timing of the songs is awkward (forced, even) and the lyrics don't go very deep. There were a few songs which fit, like whenever Mandy Moore sang :), or when the Thugs in the tavern were given their moment to share their dreams! haha

My favorite characters other than the leads were Pascal the chameleon, the Thugs, and Max the Guard Horse! They were fantastic additions! Added a lot of humor and spunk to the film. I also really liked the way the story was modified to include magic, love and the characters still having a life after the 'magic' is over and they can move towards the 'happily ever after' stage :)

Overall, really liked it, but some key ingredients were missing. Easily overlooked because it's a fun story!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Wow...where to begin? Well, obviously, we've been waiting for this film for a loooong time, but it was worth the wait! The storyline is perfectly matched with the book (excellent!) and the visual elements only enhance the story telling; FINALLY!
My favorite enhancement was the choice to animate the Wizard Fable; very well done! It was wonderful to see Dobey again, for however short a time. *tear*(more of those to come, I'm sure!)

It's nice to see Ron/Rupert Grint having more than just a pout on his face. He's finally moving up to the same level as Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe. Rupert really beefed up for this role! He has SHOULDERS! haha For me, Emma Watson is the most talented of the three. I know no matter where life takes them, they're going to do very well.

I loved seeing more of the Death Eaters and Voldemort. So creepy and scary (could not believe there were kids some kids under 10 in the theater...parents are DUMB!) but that is the reality of that world.

Awkward Scenes: Harry and Hermione dancing (it was a nice break from all the tension), Harry and Ginny kissing (funny because she's obviously taller than him keehee, I'm mean, I know...), the Harry/Hermione make-out session (obviously not how the characters would act since Voldemort is trying to tempt Ron, I saw it as a lustful portrayal, not how the characters would really kiss if they had the chance) and Harry diving into icy water in just his underwear (not entirely unpleasant ;) just kidding!)

Rip-off Moment: When the Trio is running away from the Snatchers in the forest, the lighting and camera style are very similar to the running scenes in Twilight...Too similar....

Overall, enjoyed it thoroughly! Totally didn't feel as long as it was. Can't wait to see Part 2!

But until then, I know I'll have plenty of other films to see...

I've also been able to view some interesting films with the help of Netflix. My mom and I tried our first series. We can't wait to get a Wii so we don't have to wait for the next disc to come in the mail.

The series we watched was a bio/drama about the infamous actress of the Victorian era, Lillie Langtry. Simply titled Lillie, the series was made in 1978 by BBC. Obviously, at that time BBC didn't have the high production value they do today, so it was amusing to see the sets and you could tell the actors were on a sound stage. But the script and the cast bringing this story to life are so realistic and captivating, you really have to pay attention or you'll miss the clever comments and pivotal choices of the characters. My favorite character other than Lillie is Oscar Wilde. He has the best lines (which sound very much like lines from his books and plays) and he has great insight of others. Very interesting, but I would recommend it to those who are looking for a dramatic piece heavily influenced by actual events and people. Lillie led a very eventful life! She's an excellent example of how the life of a celebrity (and all the sacrifices that involves) hasn't changed in the last 100 years.

Movies Coming Up!

The King's Speech
Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
TRON Legacy (the Father-Daughter/Daughter movie this year since my big bros loved the original)

More to come!

all my love,


Monday, November 15, 2010

Keep Moving Forward!

Hello Everyone!

It's snowing in Minnesota! Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, but that means good family time, good movies coming up and reconnecting with people.

I know it has been awhile so I'll get right down to business!


I've added to my arsenal! While continuing to work with Brandon and Cat Auction Services, I'm now a PR Intern at Hennepin Theatre Trust in Minneapolis. I help out there once a week putting together press kits, writing press releases and learning about what it takes to promote theater programs. It's exactly where I want to be in the n ear future and this is a great step for me to take. If a job opens up there, I'll be considered for jobs based on my performance here. But if there's nothing there now, I can always put this experience on my resume. I'm also on a temp agency's list! The agency is called Hourglass. They specifically cater to non-profits because they always need short term hires for projects and Hourglass is a place they can go to find qualified people who want to work in non-profits. No jobs have come up yet, but I'm just glad I'm not the only one looking for myself anymore. I'm still searching, but I'm keeping busy!

Church Stuff:

This school year I'm working with Community of Hope's Wednesday night program TREK! I'm a small group leader for 4th grade girls. I love them so much! They share their hearts with each other, help each other look up Bible verses and get easily excited about Jesus! Sometimes they drive me crazy, but they are so sweet.

Actually, I get fed Spiritually a bit more from that program than I do on Sundays! The worship is so genuine, the messages simple but thoughtful, and hearing Truth from kids is priceless. This week since Jeri, the Children's Ministry leader for Weds nights, is on a cruise with her husband (lucky!), I'm taking over some of her duties like announcements, worship and Slam It Questions! Also, cleaning up, the leaders meeting and reminding the kids there's no programing for Thanksgiving week. Hopefully they remember to bring in shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, too! The goal is 200 boxes to get Jeri and Justin to get slimed! Oh, motivation...haha

Whew! It's going to be a cray night...Especially since I have worship team practice right afterwords! I've been on the worship team a few times lately, and I have a few more weeks to go. This coming week we're incorporating the choir, yay! It's been really fun to be part of a worship team again.

Blast from the Past!

Thanks to Facebook, I've been able to reconnect with people I grew up with in Bellingham, Washington. Many people from high school, middle school and elementary school! It's fun to see what people are up to, where they went to college, what they studied and where they are now.

I also was able to Skype with my friend David, from Washington, who's been in England attending grad school for aerospace engineering. (Yeah, he's too smart for his own good...) He was able to connect with me online thanks to his sister Ruth, who's also in England. Great conversation! I hope he finds a job out there so I can see him when I visit Lesley next year in Scotland! :)

Movie Review Time!

Nowhere Boy
Saw this movie with a Beatles fan (good choice!) and was impressed by the high quality of the film. It's rated R for a few reasons, but the story is so fascinating and the cast is excellent! It's rather dark and dramatic, but if you're a Beatles fan and interested in John Lennon's past, then go for it! 

Little Miss Sunshine
I've wanted to see this movie for awhile and I'm glad I finally did :) I loved the dry family humor and how the characters changed during the course of the film. Very kwirky, but fun. 

Extraordinary Measures
Great story and excellent dramatic role for Brendan Fraiser and Harrison Ford. It's based on an incredible true story. I can see why it didn't do so well in theaters, because it's rather deep content. But it's a good film to watch with families (with older kids/teens/adults).

Temple Grandin
My favorite movie this season! Go HBO! Claire Danes blew me away as Temple Grandin, a cattle expert with autism. She opened the doors for experts to find out what it's like to have autism and how cattle farms could be more humane in their handling processes. She's a genius with a PhD who self soothes with a squeeze box! She's helped so many people and is still active in the cattle and autism communities. Anyone interested in seeing what it's like to have autism need to see this film! Even if it's not something you've been exposed to, I still think you'll like it. Temple is funny, sweet and sooo autistic! but I mean that in the best way possible :) They see the world so differently! It's wonderful!

It's a modern-day fairy tale. I don't want to give anything away because the whole story revolves around the question of where a mysterious girl came from, who (and possibly what) she is. A gritty, realistic story with very human characters who mess up, but you still want to see the miracles that happen. 

Coming Up:

Experience at Hennepin Theatre Trust (and tickets to SHOWS!)

TREK Stories!

Harry Potter, Harry Potter (spaz!), Harry Potter, Harry Potter!
Can't hardly wait to see it! I hope it has more energy than the Half-Blood Prince.

Tangled (Disney's version of Rapunzel) 

Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Blessings to you all!


Monday, October 4, 2010

A New Season

Isn't it fascinating how the cool rush of fall seems to change everything so quickly? As the summer came to an end, I went into panic mode as my job situation had not changed...But there were great experiences to soften the blow and rejuvenate me. I wouldn't trade the time I spent with family and friends for anything!

Here are the highlights: things I've done, places I've seen and movies/shows I've seen!

Renaissance Fair with Hannah and Crew! 

Loved experiencing the Fair with newbies!!! It makes everything about this unique place come alive! Pointing out the best shops, best food and best costumes is a pleasure to share with those who have never seen it. That was the longest I had ever been at the Fair, but it was worth it. I found a bodice dagger as a souvenir laughed till my side ached at the Tortuga Twins, and ate my first turkey leg! (Outside of Thanksgiving, of course) I felt fully engulfed in the Medieval Life. Of course, giggling and hugging my dearest Hannah Gaydos was a pleasure in and of itself. The only time she was torn from my side was for a Pickle Boy...Oh, Hannah haha! Spending time with her school friends was also a treat!

Twins Games with Dad!

Dad and I attended two Twins Games in a week. They played two different teams because one game was Monday and the next was Friday. We lost one and won the other, but the crowd seemed pleased no matter the outcome, at least once we were on the light rail train heading home...The new field is excellent! I enjoyed to outdoor atmosphere, hearing the voices, watching every play from grand seats! and, of course, spending the time with my Dad. He and I took turns filling out the scorecards, cheering, clapping and calling pitches. The strangest feeling was of watching a country game in the middle of the city. Dad and I planned our evenings well with dinner on the road, warm coats and left plenty of time for the train to get us there well before the game started. We even ran into Justin and Jeri Austed! For all the work they have put into the Children's Ministry at CoH, they deserved this break!

CoH Preschool and My 4th Grade Girls

For the first week of preschool, Mom asked me to come in simply to be another set of eyes as the teachers get to know their students. They are all so precious! Now that there are three classes and new teachers, it was fun to show them how preschool is done. Mom has learned so much over the years, I haven't really questioned her methods. But the gift she has been given is already 'fixing' many children and preparing them to succeed in everything they do. Now that I have a former preschooler in my 4th grade small group on Wednesday night CoH Children's Ministry programing, I can see the positive affect this program has had on kids and families. The girls are energetic, thoughtful and honest. They are so talkative that I incorporated a flower to be passed around to give girls the chance to talk and be heard. That's so important for them to respect and love each other. Sometimes I get more out of our time together than they might. Worshiping with these pure of heart children has also lifted my spirits!


I decided to keep the tradition alive of Sam, Ruth and I celebrating our birthdays together, since they are all in the same week. Only Sam and I were close enough to connect, so I drove down to Ames to stay with her, see her new campus, apartment and kitten! We went out for supper, saw the movie Easy A  with Emma Stone and went on a WalMart run to get face masques and ice cream :) We drew two pictures of 'Ruth' (one regular and one with a chocolate masque) so that she would know that we were thinking of her! We mailed her the pictures we drew then put the 'group' pics online when we knew she had them! It was such a pleasant weekend. It was short, but totally worth it to get that quality girl time in. That weekend I also had dinner and Pardon My French cake with my family, and a Chevy's dinner before Lesley and her friend Moira went back to school. It was the perfect weekend because I spent it with people I love :) But Lesley still owes me a shopping trip! haha I don't feel 23, but I may never feel very old! haha

NC/DC Visit!

I found an excuse to visit my Northwestern and Dordt College friends this fall with NWC Homecoming Weekend! Since the beginning of summer Nick Rohlf pestered me to the point that I decided to visit. But I thought, since I'd be in the area, I could stop by Dordt to visit Meredith, Emily and Matt! Especially since Matt had visited me twice this summer...It had to happen :) He told me about so many people who I 'had to meet,' so what else could I do? So I spent Friday night and Saturday morning/afternoon at Dort, and then the rest of the weekend at Northwestern. That was the plan, but you know how plans tend to change...well, this change was good, and not too drastic. I ended up not having Sunday lunch plans so Matt invited me to meet his parents. Only fair since he had met mine twice! haha But the best part of the Dordt weekend was seeing Meredith and Emily again, meeting anyone and everyone I could and seeing Dordt campus/community through their eyes. They also shared a treasured hot spot with me, The Fruited Plain. I WISH I had known about that place when I was in the area. It would have been perfect for my 21+ crowd of friends who wished to have a cup of tea, coffee or a glass of wine without paying through the nose or feeling judged by anyone. Also, the company was fantastic, so my exposure to this place may have been too perfect. Which leads to my lesson learned on this journey: it's not the buildings that make a place wonderful, it's the people you enjoy the space with. So going back to NWC and not having many close friends around me like I was accustomed to was a little sad, but the company I did have was excellent! Nick was a great host! He reserved tickets for the Children's Show of Asian Folk Tales (FANTASTIC Production!), dinner, then a romp through Pumpkin Land with Cha, Abby, and Aleah, and other awesome theater gals. Then Nick shared a powerful Japanese film about a family torn apart by WWII titled Song of the Canefields. It made us cry...Find it if you can! It was hard enough for Nick to find! To see him so happily adjusted to West Hall was an answer to prayer. However, seeing my campus changed was a little strange, but it would be more disappointing if it never changed. Gotta Keep Moving Forward.

Entertainment Reviews! 

Well, I can't call it "movie" reviews since I've been watching some TV based shows as well, so this may be a more accurate phrase for the media I consume so often. *Thanks, Meredith, for encouraging me to write more reviews :)

Easy A ****

What a treat to enjoy a film for the cast, script and heart! Although it could be seen as an homage to John Hughes, the director/writer who defined teen drama/comedies, it is also a snapshot of what our teen culture is like. Messed up! To see a heroine with a servant heart, but with guts was memorable. I loved seeing some familiar faces like Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow and handsome Penn Badgley and Cam Gigandet, and fabulous Stanley Tucci! But Emma Stone carried the film very, very well. You rooted for her the entire time because she never changed who she was and never did something just because everyone else seemed to be doing it. However, the whole point of the movie is that she accepts, no, embraces and embodies the kind of girl everyone thinks she is, but at a price. Excellent movie for teens and parents. I'm sure PluggedIn hated it (yeah, the Christians are evil in this story) but I think it's a great conversation starter, or to continue having those conversations. Great for group dates, too! It'll be popular on DVD, for sure!

Widow's Peak ****

Joan Plowright, Mia Farrow and Natasha Richardson are the powerhouse women who lead this cast of eccentric Irish widows whose gossiping gets in the way of seeing the truth. It was so brilliant and funny, I was hooked through the end of the story! I can't say much more or I'll give it away. Just enjoy!

Parenthood **

I give the show props for the excellent cast and fun family dynamics, but I tend to get more stressed after watching it! The pace of the script and the volume at which the characters interact with each other is overwhelming sometimes. The arguments are most often the characters yelling and talking over each other. There's very little listening or respect. The family situations are easy to relate to, and much more realistic than 7th Heaven. However, I just want to rattle each moronic parent on that show! But I guess if they were smart, like most people, there wouldn't be a show. The only family dynamics they portray that I haven't seen before are of a child with autism and a stay at home dad. Those are the stories that fascinate me most. How accurate they are is debatable. Pretty well done, but too much drama for me to handle!

More to come!

Now what...?

Still on the job hunt, but very pleased that to be so fortunate as to have two jobs and interviews coming up for 'big kid' jobs. God has used this time well for me to reconnect with people and help Brandon's family. I hope the new season gives me confidence and motivation to keep moving forward. Thanks to everyone who has been praying for me and giving me bits of encouragement along the way. I love and appreciate every one of you.

all my love,


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Irish Fair in Saint Paul!

Hello Everyone!

This past Sunday, I went to the Minnesota Irish Fair on Harriet Island in Saint Paul!
The venue was beautiful! All the tents on the lawn, the fried food smell in the air and the Celtic tunes keeping everyone in good cheer...It was fun!

My parents and I saw the Irish Step Dancers with their sparkly outfits and bouncy, larger-than-life hair. Mom and I kept pointing and saying, "I'd wear that one, Ooo, or that one!" Those girls are so talented and it looks like a lot of fun. Something not too many people know: I did Scottish Dancing when I was in Elementary School. I wore a white dress with a plaid sash. It's more like country line dancing. I didn't get very far, because I didn't want to compete. It was all for fun.

Next we saw all the FOOD! We eventually had some Fish'n'Chips....YUMMMM! Then, in Irish Tradition, we needed some Good Beer. I finally found one I like! I'm a casual drinker, at best, so this is kind of a big deal. I tried Finnegan's Irish Amber and enjoyed it! It has a sweet, smooth taste with a little zing. Those who are of age should try it if you like sweeter drinks and haven't found that beer yet. I'm still a cider fan, but this is a good beer for me.

We also enjoyed all the tents full of different items of Irish culture. My mom and I enjoyed the older sheet music! The titles, illustrations and topics were categorized by name. So all the songs about Dublin were on the same wall etc. And I found a whole section of songs with the name Kathleen* in them! *my middle name, in case you didn't know :) It's a popular name! haha We all enjoyed the LIVE items too...the Irish Dogs! They were so sweet. The Irish Wolf Hounds were huge! Some were taller than the little children...Insane! But I can understand why the Irish tamed them and brought them along on hunting trips. I would want them on MY side, for sure!

But my one weakness is the market place...All the silver knotted jewelry; the rings, earrings and other fine pieces...LOVE IT! The most interesting item we found for my dad would have been the Utili-kilt. It's a kilt that functions as a utility belt and a casual cargo kilt to wear almost anywhere. If they hadn't been so expensive, we might have been more tempted. My dad was more attracted to adding to his instrument collection by adding a bow drumb. He didn't find 'the one' but he has a good idea of what he's looking for. There was a music shop that had these beautiful harps on display. I melted! haha I eventually went home with a sterling silver right-hand ring and dangly earrings. The ring is crafted with the most unique celtic knot I've ever seen, and, believe me, I've been looking for one for years! And the earrings are  celtic classy :) Best market visit ever! Crowded, but eh, there are worse things...haha

The Grand Finale, for us at least, was hearing The High Kings perform! They are legit, from Ireland! The harmonies were heavenly, the guitars perfectly plucked and strummed to create a festive atmosphere of people singing, dancing and swingin' their drinks to the beat. Love that Celtic Sound!

Overall, my parents and I had a ball! Now whenever I head to Saint Paul, I'm going to Harriet Island.

all my love,


Comimg Up Next: The Renaissance Festival!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Hello One and All!

This is the one you've been waiting for! JESSICA'S MOVIE REVIEW SPECIAL! 

Anyone who knows me is aware that I am the go-to person if you want to know about movies and the cast members. I know far too much about movies (new and old) and love sharing that knowledge. I like having active discussions about movies, so if you agree or disagree with me, let me know!

I go to the movies to be entertained and to share that experience with others. So that's what this blog is all about: starting conversations by sharing some of the films/programs I've seen so far this year. I'll give a number of stars out of 5 (scale seen below) and a snippet what I thought of it.


**= Okay

In Theaters:

Avatar *****
Best of Everything Film of the Year!
This is one of the films that has it all! I know that everyone loves it, and I have an idea why! The fictitious planet seems real; the people, the vegetation and exotic animals. I wish it were! Gorgeous film. It was an awesome adventure! The only thing I could have lived without was the obvious tree-hugger overtone...But it does show how our society's 'need' for energy sources can destroy everything if we're not careful.

Toy Story 3 *****
Best Family Film of the Year!
From start to finish, this film was a treat! Visually stunning, the story was engaging and the new characters were excellent! They rounded off the story really well. I'll admit, I teared up a few times near the end...I can't wait to see it again! I believe in the magic of animation :)  

How To Train Your Dragon ****
TS3's Only Competition for Best Family Film! So Best NEW Family Film!
 This was the most original family film I've seen in years! I loved the Viking culture, the characters and the dragons! Toothless reminds me of my baby kitty :D The flying was amazing in the theater! The creativity behind this film was impressive!

Alice in Wonderland***
Most Upbeat Tim Burton Movie of the Year!
I was expecting to see everything from the original film in computer animation, but nope! Burton changed up the story quite a bit, but it was fun! Since I've read the book, it was fun to hear Johnny Depp quoting the random poems. He was the strongest character but I also enjoyed the Cheshire Cat, the Red Queen and the Caterpillar. The only character I was turned off by was Anne Hathaway as the White Queen...I sensed she was making fun of her Princess Diaries role or something. I hope I'm wrong, but there was something insincere about her performance. Maybe it's just me :P Overall: Crazy, but that's what Alice in Wonderland is all about.

Iron Man 2***
"I love Robert Downy, Jr!" ~Lesley Decker, biggest fan
This was the perfect movie for Lesley and I to see together! I loved the technology, action and, of course, Robert Downy, Jr! *sigh* Les and I didn't like the new casting of Rhodey, but Don Cheadle tried. But that's what was wrong, he tried to be like the other guy instead of making the character his own. Lame! My favorite character other than Iron Man himself was Mickey Rourke's baddy Vanko! He was fantastic! Overall: Fun ride!

Inception *****
Best Action/Thriller/Mind Bender of the Year!
Chris Nolan is a genius! To be honest, I enjoyed The Prestige more, but the idea for this film must have been extracted from MY dreams! I have vivid dreams all the time so I enjoyed the general idea of not realizing you're dreaming unless something strange happens. The ending is very debatable, but I think that's the point! The only thing I would criticize about the movie is that sometimes the story dragged when I wanted it to speed up. Risky move when the audience is revved up by the desire to see how it ends. Great 'food for thought' type movie.

Twilight: Eclipse ****
Best Twilight Movie!
I wouldn't consider myself a Twihard, but I enjoyed the books and I make sure to see the Twilight films the first day/weekend they are released! Actually, my first experience with the story was with the original movie. I lost my breath! No lie! So for the next month or so the Twilight Saga became part of my bedtime ritual.
This movie sets the standard that the other films should have been at as far as the quality of photography and makeup. The vampire skin finally looks believable! The script is still very weak, but that's why the books are better. Everything happens over a longer time so it doesn't surprise you when Edward wants to marry Bella etc. Speaking of Bella, well, Kristen Stewart, I was relieved to see less spastic shaking from Miss Stewart. For this we need to thank the wonderful director and editors for choosing to do mostly close-ups of her so the shaking was out of the frame. Thank you!
Overall: Enjoyed it! Love the back stories of the other characters (boo on them for setting Rosalie in the wrong time period, grr!) and that the films are getting closer to the epic-ness of the books.

Clash of the Titans **
This is purely an action movie. Not much story (well, at least they started with a good story!), but the action scenes were the focus. Sometimes the fighting was a little overdone, and so were the few 3D elements. From seeing the trailers, this movie seemed to have it all: the cast, the special effects, and a great story! But it fell flat. Fun, but nothing too memorable.

At Home:

The Hurt Locker ****
I had been looking forward to seeing this movie for a long time and it didn't disappoint! Even before it won the Oscar for Best Picture, I wanted to see it. According to the trailers, it seemed like a witty war drama like those made in around WWII era. It turned out to be deeper conceptually because of the character-driven nature of the film. Some of the characters, like  Jeremy Renner's Sgt James, were just crazy but very human. The cameos were impressive too! David Morse, Guy Pierce and Ralph Fiennes! I think it won Best Picture because it takes you by surprise and keeps the tension pulled at just the right moments. Very human story about war and how it changes people and shows their true colors.

The Young Victoria***
Very sweet historical romance. The costumes and sets were fabulous! The story was told tenderly and succinctly. The writers incorporated many of the memorable aspects of the relationship between Victoria and Albert; the stockings, their taste in music, and their genuine care for one another. Rupert Friend was perfectly cast alongside Emily Blunt's vivacious Victoria! This film shows that sometimes romance did grow and blossom once upon a time... 

The Blind Side ****
By the time I saw this film, I was sick of hearing how great Sandra Bullock was...but since witnessing her performance, I totally agree! This was the best move she could have possibly made because she was playing a character, a real person, instead of the same modern women she usually plays. She truly transformed herself into someone else. That is the ultimate compliment for a actor. The overall movie didn't need to be nominated for an Oscar, but her performance did! I think they did it to recognize the impact this movie has on America. It's one of the highest grossing movies of this year because people were touched by it and told their friends to see it as well. Also, Tim McGraw was perfect! He didn't stick out like Taylor Swift did in Valentine's Day (I shiver thinking about her and that movie...not my favorite...) Overall: Heartwarming story and Sandra Bullock was AMAZING! 

Invictus *****
I have wanted to see this film for along time so I was pumped to see this film and it didn't let me down! I enjoy movies based on true stories. Definitely the most uplifitng Clint Eastwood film I've seen. I almost wish it had won for Best Picture, but, of course, the Academy can't pic something with such a positive, clear message. haha Morgan Freeman was fantastic and Matt Damon wasn't annoying! Bravo! Their accents were exceptionally believable. I would put this film in the same category as Chariots of Fire because of the way sports, politics and human nature are revealed through outstanding circumstances. I am also pretty confident that I understand Rugby! Witnessing the man power needed to play that game was impressive! Overall: Loved the Eastwood style of this engaging story.

Little Big Man ***
Dustin Hoffman became my hero after seeing his performance in this film! He plays the same character from the time he's a teenager until he's an extremely old man. Hoffman still holds the record for longest lifespan of a character, even more than Brand Pit did as Benjamin Button! The film follows the unpredictable life of a boy growing up in pre-Civil War era America. Raised by Native Americans, he understands their culture, and becomes a man of two worlds as he learns from the whites he encounters, including the idiotic Col. Custard as he fights the Sioux. There's some slow parts in the film as he 'discovers' himself, but it's an epic movie that I hope my friends are willing to give a chance.

On TV:

Phineas and Ferb*****
Honestly, I'm addicted to this show! Every time I watch an episode I genuinely enjoy every character, joke and musical number. It's the best show Disney has produced in many many years. I hope that they will keep this show on the air! I can't get enough of the brilliance that comes from every episode. 

Larkrise to Candleford ****
This is the best family show from PBS/BBC because it brings my family together every week with quality characters, universal life lessons and a genuine charm that can't be beat! The series revolves around the happenings in two early 19th century Oxford-shire villages; rural Larkrise and the more prosperous market town of Candleford. A young woman, Laura, from Larkrise works at the Candleford post office run by her mother's cousin, Dorcas. Laura witnesses these happenings as they apply to her life and to those around her. Simple plots, but great human characters. I can hardly wait for the new season to begin! They left it at a cliff-hanger as Laura is pursued by two very eligible young men :) swoon! Check it out when you can find it on your local PBS station!

Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express *****
From Masterpiece Mystery on PBS comes Agatha Christie's Poirot!!! The production value for this series has soared! The latest in the series, Murder on the Orient Express, was exceptionally mysterious and explored what justice really means. Dun dun DUUUN! Before the episode aired, they produced a special program where David Suchet, the actor who IS Poirot, traveled on the real Orient Express as Poirot would have! Definitely a possible honeymoon idea ;) haha There is something terribly romantic about trains...and exploring Europe in general. What an adventure it would be! Anyone who loves mysteries and hasn't checked out Agatha Christie's Poirot needs to NOW! 

John Adams: HBO Series *****
Ok American History buffs, you need to check out Paul Giamatti and Laura Liney as John and Abigail Adams! This HBO series is available on DVD and is a must see for anyone who wants a more accurate depiction of how our country was born. All your preconceptions of figures like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington will change! Some for the better (Washington was the sweetest man!) and some for the worse (Franklin was crazy!). Giamatti and Liney are perfectly cast and they carry the story, making these figures fully human. Watching it made me think: What would I do if I were in their place? Every step they took was a big risk, but looking back over 200 years, I'm thankful they did.


If you've gotten this far it means one of a few possibilities:
A: You looked at the star ratings and probably didn't read the blurbs.
B: You actually read the blurbs!
C: You skimmed through the blurbs and read the ones you were interested in.

However you got to this point, thank you for reading and I hope you found something new to discover for yourself. Please let me know if you agree, disagree or have questions about any of the films listed. If you think of something I should check out, let me know! I'm always on the look out for good entertainment.

Thanks again and Blessings to you!

all my love,


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kroll Komes to the Twin Cities

My friend Matt Kroll came to visit from Sioux Center, Iowa! We met in Chicago through the Chicago Semester program. Out of all the crazy fun things we did, we missed out on swing dancing. After the great experience at Tapestry Folkdance Center, I knew that was the place that Matt and I could make that idea come to life.

So here's the low-down of our fun-filled weekend!


SWING TIME!! @ Tapestry Folkdance Center! Social dancing is such a blast! Everyone's so friendly and willing to dance. An extra treat was running into a few people I knew including Jen Jorgensen from Rosemount High and Katie Gard who I went with last time (she was there with another group). The world gets smaller all the time, especially when dancing brings us together :)  


We went on a Trader Joe's run to get snacks for the Game Night at my place. We got fun cheeses and meat to put on crackers. For supper we went to Pardon My French (my favorite new restaurant) Before company came, Matt had the idea to make peach smoothies! Joining us were David Allen, Ali Wulf and Jen Mike. We enjoyed getting to know each other while playing games and chatting.
We played:
LadderBall aka Lawn Nuts (oh boys... haha)
Farkle (new favorite game!)
Apples to Apples
Catch Phrase (Davids face was too funny for words! He's so intense!)

Best Quote from the night!
Game: Catch Phrase
Players: Matt to David.
The phrase: "nail clippers."
Matt's description: "Use these to shorten the protein on the end of your toes."
There was a pregnant pause to digest what he said and we all keeled over laughing! LOL


We enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the Lebanon Hills lake. No, we did not get lost like the poor mother and child who did earlier that week. But I can understand how easily that could happen. We saw plenty of wildlife including a half a dozen little turtles all chilling on a fallen tree. They know how to enjoy a beautiful day!

Next, we trekked up to Minneapolis/St. Paul to the Sculpture Garden, Summit Avenue and Grand Avenue. The Traffic was not helpful between the Cities, but we survived! The best part of the Garden was, for sure, the Spoon and Cherry fountain (with a family of ducks! So CUTE!). But what was also amusing were the different wedding parties taking pictures there. One bride had, basically, a prom dress on with tiara! haha On Grand Ave, Matt especially liked the Cooking store. He drooled over almost everything in there! There were many items that we just laughed at because they were items that you would only buy if you had too much money. haha I hit the jackpot with that stop :)

For supper we went to Noodles & Company! LOVE! Then had a bon fire in the back yard roasting marshmallows and playing ladder ball/lawn nuts in the moon light.


Tagging along with my parents, we attended Community of Hope Church. We got some lunch and then went on a bike ride around Rosemount, the high school and some of the neighborhoods. I finally met Matt's aunt right before he left. It was very sweet of her to house him since my place is packed!

Overall: The time with Matt was awesome, tiring but completely worth it. Now I have a sun burn, bug bites and my body is sore all over...that means it's summer! haha Again, definitely worth it to be with a good friend :)

Next Time: MOVIE REVIEW!!! (Yes, I saw INCEPTION!!!)

Take care everyone!

all my love,