Tag Archives: opinions

Groovy Movies: Joker Edition

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Groovy Movies: Joker Edition

Hello, hello! My dad and I have been looking forward to seeing Joker and spent an afternoon together bearing witness to the amazing spectacle created by Joaquin Phoenix. The buzz on this flick has been strong, especially with talk already of Phoenix bagging Best Actor at the Academy Awards and an eight minute standing ovation at a Venice film festival. Within mere seconds, I understood that the hype was real, because Phoenix’s performance was one of the best I’ve seen in years. Take a look at the trailer and, without giving spoilers away, let’s discuss

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video!

Arthur Fleck, AKA the Joker – a villain that everyone loves to hate and was famously portrayed by the late Heath Ledger was gifted with a two hour film showing just how exactly he came to be. From the lack of care from his delusional mother, severe abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, and a penchant for uncontrollable fits of laughter, no one can say that the Joker had it easy.

And, now, as a middle aged man with a love for vaudeville trying to make his way in the hardened Gotham City as a hired clown and stand up comic, things seem far from hopeful for Arthur Fleck. Mentally unstable, down on his luck, and making the claim that he never felt like he “existed”, Joker explores the transition from man to villain. Showcasing every beating, disappointment, and uncovered truths from the lies he’s been fed his whole life, Fleck begins a dangerous downward spiral into a life of crime amidst a city devoured by darkness and political unrest.

What follows? Pure and total anarchy, just as the newly formed Joker likes it.

This movie was absolutely haunting to me. Joaquin Phoenix, who lost fifty pounds to play this role, was an emaciated skeleton of a man, which made his screeching high pitched laugh even more unsettling. Blatantly placing his violent behaviors on his mental illnesses was also a disturbing one and it begs the question of if this movie is a “safe” one to be viewed by the general public. Is it a popcorn flick that tells a backstory of one of the most well known villains in history? Or, could it be viewed as a manifesto for the bullied and scared to make a stand – especially in the current political state we are in as we speak.

Regardless of your views on the issue, there is no denying that it was a well made film with a stellar performance by Phoenix. The imagery of streets filled with garbage, rain pelting down, and a man in painted face and a suit is one that I will not be forgetting any time soon.

Joker took its sweet time building up and by the final action packed scenes, the tension was ready to be cut with a knife. This resulted in a simply delicious viewing experience of seeing all of the dominoes that were so carefully placed throughout the film begin to topple to form the big picture. My dad and I left the theater feeling nothing short of shook up. And, honestly, there were some scenes that were genuinely hard to watch. But, I think that was the whole point of Joker and every tense, gut wrenching moment was a testament to that.

Not for the faint of heart but a damn good flick, I’m giving Joker a prestigious ten out of ten stars. Love it or hate it, Joker is going to be talked about, analyzed, and either applauded or frowned upon for years to come. Joaquin Phoenix gave an iconic performance and I’m already ready to watch it again.

What were your thoughts on Joker? Who is your favorite comic book villain? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: IMDB

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Turn Of The Key Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Turn Of The Key Edition

Hello! In today’s edition of Lil Red’s Book Club, we are going to be discussing another one of Ruth Ware’s novels called The Turn Of The Key. If Ruth Ware’s name sounds familiar to you, that’s because it probably is! I have spent this past summer reading all of her novels and she has been featured in many a Lil Red’s Book Club posts these past few months.

While recovering from the car accident, I was able to dedicate my time to reading The Turn Of The Key in a matter of days and I enjoyed it very much. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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The Turn Of The Key revolves around Rowan, the new live in nanny for an extremely wealthy husband and wife architect duo and their four daughters. They live in a remote location in the hills of Scotland in an old house with an eerie combination of extremely modern technology and the original layout of the home from decades ago. The technology is so advanced, in fact, that everything can be controlled by an app called “Happy”. The shower settings, lights, curtains, doorbell, coffee machine, and oh yeah – the video monitoring in the bedrooms.

Rowan gets thrown right into her new position, as Sandra and Bill, the parents travel a lot for work and is almost immediately left alone with the girls Maddie, Ellie, Petra, and Rhiannon. The seemingly “perfect” position with the plush pay and fancy accommodations is anything but, though. Especially considering all four of the previous nannies were driven out by forces that can only be described as supernatural.

These powers that be get to work as soon as Rowan starts her new gig. From creaking in the attic to a freezing cold bedroom and the Happy app working on its own, all of the frustrations of caring for the difficult children and a lack of sleep begin to catch up with her and everyone is a suspect. The maid, handyman, children, – heck, even the parents could have a role in what’s going on because Rowan firmly doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Is what’s going on a prank, the old house just being an old house, or something far more sinister? And is everyone in the home really who they say they are? Read The Turn Of The Key to find out if Rowan can uncover the mystery before someone gets seriously hurt.

The Turn Of The Key has easily become one of my favorite Ruth Ware novels. Wrote in the form of a series of letters, this page turner keeps you guessing until the very last sentence of what really happened in the house during Rowan’s stint as the nanny. So many bombshells were dropped and twists and turns happened that I simply didn’t see coming and, normally, I’m really good at that!

I can’t give too much away in the synopsis of the book without spoiling the surprises but, if you’re in need of a good story to crack into, then definitely give The Turn Of The Key a try. Especially since I’m rating it with an: eight out of ten stars. For a unique story line, interesting characters, and being absolutely un-put-down-able. Bravo!

What book are you reading right now? Have you read any of Ruth Ware’s other novels? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Soba Sushi And Noodles: YUM!

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Soba Sushi And Noodles: YUM!

Salutations! Some of you might recall that my family had a vacation to Hilton Head planned. However, with Hurricane Dorian wreaking havoc, my dad didn’t want to take the risk and we ended up in North Carolina again for our yearly family vaca. My family loves Asheville, NC and have vacationed there at least three or so times in the past handful of years. The art scene, the nature, and, of course, the delicious food are all reasons why we keep coming back and I, for one, am not mad about it!

Speaking of delicious food, we ended up at an amazing Japanese restaurant called Soba in Weaverville and it was literally to die for. Normally, I’m not the type of blogger who has to take a picture of every meal I eat. But, I had to be “that girl” because my noodle soup bowl was out of control crazy good. Check it out:

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^^^ Peep me using chopsticks correctly for a whopping one time!

Before our main course, my mom and I ordered avocado sushi rolls to share, which was a vegetarian delight. My mom has never tried sushi before and, although she used a nose running amount of wasabi, she enjoyed it as much as I did! For my meal, I went with the Thai Coconut Noodle Soup Bowl with tofu and absolutely no mushrooms, which are the bane of my existence. According to the menu, this entree was made up of: “Red peppers, mushrooms, cilantro, lemon, spicy sesame oil & vermicelli rice noodles in creamy coconut & lemongrass broth”.

I have never tried a noodle soup bowl and it was actually my second option because I really wanted Pad Thai but, unfortunately, their recipe was made with fish oil which made it a no can do for me. So, I ended up with the noodle soup bowl which was a total blessing because it was one of the best meals I’ve had in months. The broth was rich and flavorful, the veggies were crisp and fresh, and the soft tofu was bursting with the taste of the broth it was soaking in.

I love a good, Oriental cuisine and, sadly, my stomping grounds in Ohio are severely lacking in that department. Akron and the surrounding areas have a lot of chain restaurants without much diversity so, when I can have an ethnic meal, I revel in it. I absolutely adored the bold flavors featured at Soba and it was nice to have a lot of vegetarian options to choose from, instead of having to opt for the veggie burger which happens at basically every Ohio restaurant ever, lol. *massive eyeroll*

If you find yourself close to Weaverville in North Carolina, definitely do yourself a favor and have a meal at Soba. The restaurant was cute and clean, the service was outstanding, and the food will blow your mind. 🙂

What is your favorite kind of food to eat? What kind of restaurants do you live by? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Groovy Movies: Aladdin Edition

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Groovy Movies: Aladdin Edition

Helloooo everyone! I can’t say that I am a HUGE Disney fan but it’s not like I don’t enjoy the movies, either. It has been an exciting time in the movie world because live action remakes of Disney classics are the new trend. Unfortunately, I wasn’t overly impressed with Beauty And The Beast or The Lion King’s remake. However, I absolutely LOVED the live action Aladdin, despite its poor reviews. So, take a look at the toe tapping trailer and let’s discuss:

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video!

Normally, a Disney film isn’t my first choice to play after a day at work but, I’m not going to lie, I was looking forward to watching Aladdin. Last Christmas, I had the absolute pleasure of being able to see the Broadway rendition of Aladdin at Playhouse Square with my family and I felt like the 2019 film was a wonderful blend of the Broadway show and the original cartoon. Spending the evening watching the movie gave me a new appreciation for the music and artistry that went into the iconic original and it was such a beautiful, modern nod to its predecessor.

The costumes, scenery, and *most* of the characters were divine but Will Smith as the genie completely made the film for me. He was utterly brilliant and I think Robin Williams would be proud of the performance that was so inspired by his own but with a fresh, new spin on it.”You Ain’t Never Had A Friend Like Me” reminded me so much of the Broadway performance that I really enjoyed and Will Smith’s fabulous flamboyance kept me in stitches the whole time.

I thought Jafar and Jasmine were also exceptionally strong characters and were cast well. But, I wasn’t too crazy about the choice for Aladdin. Had he not been acting alongside such powerful cast mates he would have totally sizzled out and he was outshined the entire movie. He was just too meek and mild and, although he was the title character, he didn’t stand out in anyway shape or form. But, because the rest of the film was so spot on, a poor casting choice for the lead was just a blip on my radar.

What I loved the most about Aladdin was the big picture that was created in every scene. The glorious palaces, the bustling market of Agrahbah, and the vast deserts all seemed so real that I felt like I was right there, too. The magnificent choices in color, costumes, and oh yeah – the fantastic musical numbers just seemed like the cherry on top of what was already splendid. Saying that Aladdin was visually stimulating is a severe understatement and the beauty of the rapidly changing scenery in “A Whole New World” moved me to tears.

If you’re a die hard Disney fan, I think you’ll love this movie. And, if you’re like me, who isn’t the most avid Disney fan – you are still going to love this movie. Aladdin was a fast moving tale of being true to yourself, unexpected girl power, and that everything is a little bit better with your friends by your side… magic powers or no! I rate this movie with a nine out of ten and I highly recommend it!

What were your thoughts on the new Aladdin? What has been your favorite Disney movie remake? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: IMDb

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Lying Game Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Lying Game Edition

Howdy! I recently finished another Ruth Ware novel called The Lying Game and have read The Woman In Cabin 10 and In A Dark, Dark Wood by her this summer, too. I have to say, I wasn’t overly impressed with either of those books but The Lying Game was a great read and I am happy that I chose to give Ware one more try before calling it quits and finding another author to read. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

lying

The Lying Game revolves around new mother, Isa, and her three best girlfriends from high school, Kate, Thea (Whose name I’m still not sure how to pronounce!), and Fatima. At their boarding school, the girls reveled in what they called “The Lying Game” and would keep a scoreboard to record the points from the tall tales that they would spin based on the quality and if people actually believed them. The game was supposed to be all in good fun and the rules were simple, including “never lie to your friends” and “know when to stop the lie”.

The girls spent one year at the boarding school together, which came to an abrupt halt when they were asked to leave quietly in the wakes of a possible scandal that directly involved them. And, although it’s a rarity that they talk now as they are all in their thirties, when a friend texts the three words of “I need you” the now women drop their responsibilities immediately and flock to the one in distress.

So, when Kate sends Isa the call to action, she packs up her belongings with her six month old daughter in tow and makes the journey to her, near the old boarding school. The text was indeed an urgent one because once the ladies arrive to Kate’s, it is revealed that a human bone was found in the sea – a result of their “game” being taken too far. With a police investigation nipping at their heals, the once best friends have to come up with a plan and unravel the truth behind their lies before an arrest is made. Were they murderers? Covering something up? Or just plain stupid? Read the book and find out!

I absolutely adored The Lying Game and devoured it in a matter of days. It was so refreshing to read a book with a tangible plot and told from the perspective of someone with a sound mind. Because, let’s be honest, the unstable narrator shtick has been hopelessly drawn out. The Lying Game was filled with twists and turns that actually seemed plausible and I really had no idea what the end result was going to be.

It was interesting to see how a mistake that happened in their teenage years has haunted each woman in the almost two decades since it happened. Each one dealt with the trauma in a different way and it made for fascinating characters with realistic flaws and personalities. The Lying Game was a wild ride and I am now ready to tuck into another Ruth Ware novel ASAFP!

And, now for the star rating…. I award The Lying Game with an eight out of ten. The plot was riveting, the characters were all likeable in their own ways, and I genuinely enjoyed myself while reading it. Highly recommend.

Has anyone read The Lying Game? What were your thoughts on it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Woman In Cabin 10 Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Woman In Cabin 10 Edition

Salutations! In the newest edition of Lil Red’s Book Club, we are going to be discussing the mystery thriller, The Woman In Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware. This author might sound a bit familiar to you, as I just recently reviewed another one of her books, In A Dark, Dark Wood. And, similarly to it, The Woman In Cabin 10 is another one that revolves around an unreliable narrator. Let’s discuss, without giving any spoilers away!

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Lo Blacklock, a writer for a travel magazine is your classic “can we trust everything she sees” narrator. Following the usual formula of a heavy drinker while on medication, sleep deprived, as well as recently traumatized by a break in, Lo is… well, at a low point. Ba dum chhhhh. Anyways, very shortly after the break in happened, Lo sets sail aboard a luxury “cruise ship” that’s more like a yacht as a fill in for her boss on maternity leave.

The Aurora is welcoming a select few in the travel industry to board for a week, sailing around Norway, to get the hype built for their launch. The surroundings are swanky and the guests are even more posh – ranging from photographers to heiresses as well as journalists and models. This is a big break for Lo and, while she should be networking her little butt off, she ends up investigating a murder that she only heard, instead.

Enter The Woman In Cabin 10, a cabin that was supposed to be empty.  Lo spoke with the tenant one time after knocking on her door to borrow a tube of mascara and didn’t see her again that night at dinner. A dinner that she ended up getting WASTED at, by the way. So, who’s to say that what she saw was accurate when she claimed she saw a bloody smear on the glass divider on her balcony once she was back in her room? Or heard a huge splash that sounded like a body falling overboard?

The whodoneit begins, as Lo questions all of the staff with the help of the head of security and prying into just what the guests were up to after the dinner party. No one has seen the woman who she saw in the cabin and absolutely no one is ruled out as a suspect. Filled with red herrings and hidden intentions, will the murder get solved or remain a mystery at sea? Read The Woman In Cabin Ten to find out!

I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan of In A Dark, Dark Wood and wasn’t expecting much better from The Woman In Cabin 10. But, I ended up enjoying it a fair amount. If I’m being honest, I am SO. Freaking. Sick. of the unreliable narrator angle. However, this murder mystery set at sea was too dishy and fun to not be a total page turner. The grand reveal at the end was also one that I wasn’t expecting at all and, normally, I am very quick to solve it on my own.

While I couldn’t stand any of the characters from In A Dark, Dark Wood, I quite liked the cast of players in this one. They all held my interest because all of their personalities were so different and it made for a fun reading experience to watch and study their interactions with each other. The finger pointing and guessing games between them kept me on my feet till the very end.

I didn’t love The Woman In Cabin 10 by any means but, I finished it in three days so that has to count for something, right? I’m going to give it a six out of ten rating and would recommend it for a quick summer read, if nothing else.

Who else has read The Woman In Cabin 10? What did you think about it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

August 2019 Finishes

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August 2019 Finishes

Yo, yo, yo! Can you believe that it’s the end of August already? Me either! I, for one, am ecstatic about it and have been waiting for summer to be over since it began. I absolutely despise hot weather and would rather experience the bitter cold than extreme heat. So, needless to say, bring on the fall baby! Although it definitely hasn’t been my favorite time of the year, August was good for using up a lot of products that I’ve been working on for a while and we all know how much I love when that happens. Check it out:

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Would I Use Again?

Why/Why Not?

Jergens Lotion: I purchased this big bottle o’ Jergens when I first moved into my apartment in April and I finished it halfway through this month after once weekly full body uses. I like that this lotion wasn’t heavily scented and it felt rich and creamy on my skin without feeling greasy or leaving residue. I used my lotion after my weekly shaving extravaganza and I think it definitely helped my shave last longer and my skin felt really healthy and hydrated after each use.

Softsoap Body Wash: I have never been one to believe in purchasing expensive or fancy body washes. My three dollar bottles of Softsoap suits me just fine, thank you very much. The pomegranate and mango sent was delicious and invigorating in the morning, it lathered well, and it didn’t dry out my skin. One bottle lasted me for one month with daily use and a weekly bubble bath.

TBS Facial Oil: I absolutely love the Oils Of Life serum by The Body Shop. It is so rich and leaves my skin feeling well loved but it somehow manages to absorb quickly and sits perfectly beneath makeup. One bottle lasted me at least three months with daily use and I wish I could use it all of the time throughout the year. I noticed visible differences in the brightness and fine lines on my face and I highly recommend this product!

Garnier Micellar Water: I have been using the Garnier micellar water for well over a year now and have never felt the need to use anything different. I happily shelled out close to seven bucks a pop monthly for a new bottle without complaints. So, you can imagine how excited I was to find an industrial sized bottle of it at Target for ten dollars! The big mama bottle lasted me for THREE MONTHS and I can definitely get down with that! 😀

B&BW Hand Soap: When I moved into my apartment, I utilized the five for twenty three dollar deal that Bath & Body Works was having on their foaming hand soap and I am so happy with that purchase. I freaking love that stuff and the Peach Bellini soap that I just finished up smelled divine. The soap never dried my hands out and really made them feel clean with its foaming goodness.

And, the best part is, one bottle lasted me a long ass time! I have had the same bottle in my bathroom since moving in and finally finished it halfway through August. Even when I was at the final dregs of it, the remainders lasted me for several more days. Highly recommend for your kitchen and bathrooms.

Garnier Cleanser: I am usually a big fan of Garnier products and, although I didn’t hate this cleanser, I don’t plan on using it again. It really was just your standard facial cleanser with nothing special about it. It lasted me about two months and I appreciate that but, I like something really crisp and refreshing in the morning when I’m washing my face and this one didn’t do it for me.

Drunk Elephant Cleanser: The Jelly Cleanser by Drunk Elephant was part of my Sephora birthday gift this year and I wasn’t impressed. And, this just goes to show you that sometimes the more expensive brands aren’t worth the money that you’re dishing out for it. The sample bottle lasted me for a little under two weeks, which was enough time to tell that I wouldn’t be using it again. It had no scent, it didn’t lather well, and my skin felt really tight after using it. No thank you!

Despite two no go’s on my August empties, I used up a lot of products that I am really happy with and would definitely recommend. I would buy all of the finishes that I liked again and I think that all of you would enjoy them too!

Which beauty products did you use up this month? What are your thoughts on any of the products above if you have used them? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah