Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Book Review: Chocolat

Before I give my review I have to admit that Chocolat is one of my favorite movies, it's right up there with The Notebook and Practical Magic in terms of girliness and cuteness and awesomeness. Needless to say I definitely had some expectations about the book before I even started. I wasn't even sure I wanted to read it at first, but it was on my book shelf so I gave it a chance and I'm glad I did.

In case you haven't read the book or seen the movie, Chocolat begins with Vianne Rocher, a single mother, and her daughter Anouk after they arrive in a small village the day before Lent begins. As soon as they arrive the villagers, especially the priest Reynaud, are both suspicious and curious about them. Despite a wary welcome Vianne proceeds to open up her own chocolate shop, La Celeste Praline, which just happens to be across the street from the church. The rest of the story continues throughout Lent and the struggles between Reynaud (and other church goers) religious assertions and Vianne (as well as other new friends) care free attitude.

One of the main things I loved about this book was the descriptions. Joanne Harris seriously made me drool when talking about all the kinds of chocolate Vianne was creating, it was almost like I was watching the movie all over again. So yes, note to readers, don't read this book while you're hungry it'll make you crave chocolate like no other, haha.

There were several things that were a bit different from the movie (of course, no book and movie are ever exactly the same) some of which I liked, others I thought were a little off. For one, I really liked the fact that Reynaud got to narrate some chapters and I got a more in depth look to his struggles and some of the reasoning behind his rash behavior. It also made Reynaud seem more human that he was visiting a fellow priest and telling him about everything that was going on in the village. I also enjoyed the fact that Armande's character was just as tough and hilarious as Judi Dench portrayed her in the movie version. I think she was the most accurate book to screen character from the story overall.

*spoiler* The main difference between the book and the movie that I did not like was how Vianne and Roux's relationship played out. In the movie it's more mysterious and flirtatious between them and yet nothing definite happens although he does appear at the end. However in the book the fact that they actually have sex (she gets pregnant! um say what?) seemed a little too much for the story. And then the fact that Roux and Josephine ended up together after all of that? Yeah I just didn't like that soap opera type ending with those relationships.

All in all I definitely enjoyed reading Chocolat and seeing where one of my favorite movies got it's start. However I didn't love it, but I definitely didn't hate it either, so it's right up there in the 'like' section. Feel free to check it out (or just watch the movie).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Movie Review: The Proposal

As I mentioned on Friday I'm a big Sandra Bullock fan and I couldn't wait to see this movie. And I was in no way disappointed, it was hilarious and oh so cute.

The movie basically revolves around Sandra Bullock's character, Margaret, who is a head editor at a publishing firm and the fact that she is threatened with deportation back to Canada due to a declined Visa. With that, she black mails her assistant, Ryan Reynold's character Andrew, into marrying her so she can stay in the country. From there they go to meet Andrew's family in Alaska and pretty much the rest of the movie takes place there and follows their crazy weekend.

Seriously, there are so many great things I can say about this movie I almost don't even know where to start. First of all, I loved Sandra and Ryan's chemistry, it was perfect. I wasn't a hundred percent sure about it at first but after watching them on screen I was sold. Their banter had me cracking up the whole movie and even their "oh we sort of really do like each other"ness was just as cute and funny.

Not only were Sandra and Ryan great, but Betty White was amazing. Seriously she had some of the best lines in the movie. And her forest chant scene, absolutely priceless. If you see the movie you'll know what I'm talking about and man it's amazing.

All in all I thought the movie (although a bit predictable at times, but really what movie isn't?) was so funny. Between the infamous nude scene (hello Ryan Reynolds!!), the every man Ramon, and Sandra's city girl character it was a great comedy. So guy or girl (yes really, guys will even laugh, I heard plenty in the theater) I say you see this movie and have a grand ole time. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Book Review: Bitter is the New Black

I requested this book a while ago from my library and was more than excited when it finally arrived. I had only heard great things about the famous blogger Jen Lancaster and her hilarious books so I was more than intrigued to read Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomanical, Self-Centered, Smartass, or why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office.

The story chronicles Jen, a haughty former sorority girl (as she mentions multiple times), as she goes from earning half a million dollars a year and living in designer heaven to almost being evicted from an apartment in the ghetto.

I think reading Jen's story now is even more amazing as so many people are experiencing similar occurrences in light of this awful economy. Jen was laid off right after 9/11 when so many companies were freaking out so to read her memoir was almost like reading it as if it was happening to her now. And as much as I am not a designer girl I still felt bad for. Yeah I laughed my ass off, but part of me thought "what would happen to me if I got laid off?" and it wasn't pretty.

However, Jen's story doesn't solely focus on her losing and trying to find a job it also focuses on her every day life with her boyfriend turned husband Fletch and her blog (well her first blog and then jennsylvania came next) and how it developed and helped lead to her writing career. I love Fletch. Seriously by the way she describes him, Fletch is perfect for Jen and she is perfect for him. For some of the stuff they go through together it's no wonder they're together. I especially loved his proposal to her, one of the funniest parts in the book I thought, so cute and too funny. Aside from Fletch, of course I loved the blog entries and emails Jen received, I'm a blogger how could I not? Seriously her responses were so witty and hilarious, I really wish I could even begin to be that funny sometimes.

Not only was the story itself hilarious, but the footnotes oh the footnotes. Every other page had at least one if not more footnotes that had me laughing out loud (or chuckling to myself, whatever). Jen can you write my next paper? Wait I don't write papers anymore, nevermind that then. But yes, the footnotes made the book even funnier and Jen seem even more real (and sarcastic, which I love) to me.

All in all I thought this book was great and I'm pretty positive I'll be picking up another one of Jen's books as soon as my library can send it to me (apparently there's a waiting list or something, pish posh!) and I recommend you do the same.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Movie Review: The Hangover

Oh man. I don't even know where to begin with this movie besides the fact that I think I laughed through the entire thing.

I can definitely see why it's gotten number one at the box office the past two weekends, it's freakin hysterical. I think I loved it even more because it really is a "grown up" version of Dude Where's My Car? and I secretly love that movie.

For anyone that doesn't know, the general synopsis of this movie is four guys head to Vegas for a bachelor party. They wake up the next morning in their destroyed hotel room, missing one of their friends, a random assortment of additions to the room and don't remember a thing. Basically the whole movie follows the guys as they try to piece together their night and find their friend Doug (played by Justin Bartha, who I heart!). And what an adventure that is, they go all over Vegas and meet the craziest people it's hard to not laugh.

Basically me, Matt and AJ were either laughing or saying "oh my gosh" the entire movie. Yes some of the humor is crude and isn't for everyone but I admit, it was definitely for me. Even if I did get grossed out with some of the ridiculousness I was still laughing all the way. And the baby! Ah I loved the baby! "His name is Carlos" was our saying for the rest of the night.

All in all a ridiculous summer comedy flick that I'm glad I went to see. And you should too if you feel like saying "WTF?!" and laughing non-stop :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Book Review: Handle with Care

Before I started Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult I already knew what I was getting myself into. I knew that the subject matter would be intense, I would love or hate every character because they would all narrate at least one chapter and that the ending would be surreal. And I wasn't wrong.

After reading My Sister's Keeper and 19 Minutes I kind of knew what to expect from Jodi's writing so I felt prepared for what I was getting myself into.

Handle with Care follows the story of a young girl, Willow, who has Type III OI and the difficult battle that ensues within her family when her mother decides to sue her obstetrician (who is also her best friend) for wrongful birth malpractice. (full synopsis can be found here)

So what did I think? I don't think I can say I looooved it, but I definitely liked it. I do love how Jodi switches narrators and you can get a feel of everyone's intentions/emotions/reactions. It definitely made sense for such a controversial story where every character had their own opinions. I also love that every character that narrated directed it all to Willow, it was all about her.

In addition to the varying narrators, I love how none of them are perfect. Jodi never makes perfect characters. Although someone may seem fine to everyone else, once they are narrating you get a look into their life and their issues and none of them are without a flaw of some sort.

I also liked that I learned something new. I believe the only time I had heard about OI was on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or something like that, so the fact that this book is all about it really opened my eyes to what an extreme disability it is. It was hard to imagine a five year old going through it all, but nonetheless it happens and wow, I couldn't help but feel sorry for Willow and her family throughout the story.

On the other hand there were just one thing I didn't really like about the book. Like I said before, the end of Jodi's books are always a big twist and usually incredibly emotional. To me, the end of this book seemed so quick and all of a sudden. Although I predicted what would happen, I didn't like how it played out.

But with that said, I was still a fan of the book and would definitely recommend you pick it up if you need a seriously intense story to make you look at your life a little bit differently because that's what every Jodi book does and that's alright by me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Food Review: Pizza Man

I love pizza. I'm pretty sure I could eat it every day for every meal if I had too, especially if I had some flavor options, mmmm. Love it. So tonight when Matt ordered pizza from Pizza Man I did not object.

We've ordered from them before but this was the first time we got a sausage and sun dried tomato pizza. Oh man. It was heavenly. So heavenly that I forgot to take a picture before I started eating, so alas half a box of pizza it is.

The sun dried tomatoes were plentiful and perfect, definitely a great addition to the pizza. And I can never object to sausage on my pizza either, and this sausage was cooked to perfection. So basically if you have a Pizza Man near you, try this pizza combo and you won't regret it!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Show Review: KA

And the first review is here kids and it's a good one.

While I was in Las Vegas this past weekend I had the awesome pleasure of seeing the Cirque Du Soleil show KA. And oh man was it amazing. Seriously, I love Cirque shows, LOVE them (ba dum ching!). I've seen three (or four, I really cannot remember) other shows before but none of them in Vegas and man was it a different experience.

First of all, this was the first Cirque show since I turned 21 so having a drink at the show was awesome. I had a delicious pina colada and Matt had some fantastic specialty KA drink, Archer's Arrow, that was mmmmtasty. Second of all, like I said this was the first show I had ever seen in Vegas so the stage setup was just astounding and I loved that each seat had speakers built in as well, just intensified the whole experience. And third, our seats were fantastic! Seriously, center section in the middle, amazing.

great seats!

And now on to the show itself. According to Wiki and the site description, KA is one of the only Cirque shows to have a definite plot. KA is about conflict and love as it follows the journey of the imperial twins and their ultimate encounter with KA, the fire that that has power to destroy or illuminate.

Not only did this show have a plot, it also involved a lot of martial arts and less acrobatics compared to other Cirque shows which I both liked and didn't like. I'm more of a fan of the acrobatics and stunts but the fighting and skills of everyone in the show was just as awe worthy.

I would run down the whole show for you but that could take all day, so I'll just hit on a few parts of the act that I loved. As silly and non-acrobatic of performing as it was, I loved a scene that was all about shadow puppets. The scene is with the twin boy and his caretaker and they made some of the most intricate and amazing shadow puppets, I loved it.

the bird show

Another scene that I loved was the slave cage. This huge contraption appeared on the stage that spun around and guys were in it and doing tricks and jumping off the top and jump roping and I'm pretty sure my heart stopped at least four times from being so nervous! Seriously, the stunts were phenomenal! I couldn't believe how risky and crazy and awesome it was.

so awesome.

Lastly, I looooved the final fight scene. Basically the stage was almost vertical and people were running up and down it and jumping and fighting and it was almost too much but it was amazing to watch. And after the final fight fireworks went off and lights were going, it was like I was in a rage or something, haha.

All in all it was a great show and I'm so glad I was able to see it. Cirque du Soleil has yet to disappoint me and I hope they never do!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Reviews are for winners!

Now I know what you're thinking. (really I do, I'm psychic didn't you know?)

One, you're thinking "pretty sandy reviews? Isn't your other blog called gorgeous footsteps in the sand...?" To which I would answer "Yes you are right, but really how does gorgeous footsteps in the sand reviews sound? Exactly. So pretty sandy reviews it is!

Two. You're probably wondering why I felt the need to add to the millions of review blogs out there and why you'd want to see my reviews? To this I would answer "Umm because I want to review stuff? And reviewing stuff is fun! And only winners review stuff, and I'm a winner! (yeah I don't know I just want to)"

Three. You're also probably asking yourself "Well what are you going to review?" And to this one I would say "EVERYTHING! Yes you saw that right, everything. I'll review everything from the books I read, the movies I watch to the yogurt I had for lunch. (well maybe, that's still debatable, but you get the point.)"

So yes, here you have it kids...my review blog! Sit back, grab a margarita or five and enjoy! :)