Category Archives: Entertainment

Oscars 2016 – Style Watch

The Academy Awards is one of my favorite nights of the year.  The glitz and glamour.  Star gazing and day dreaming.  There are a lot of dynamics that go into the Oscars each year, but one thing I look forward to the most is the fashion.

Oscars fashion can usually predict on trend styles for the rest of the year.  This year, however, there was not one particular style that went above and beyond what we can foresee for the rest of the season. There were a lot of different styles from plunging necklines to tiered skirts. Colors varied and jewels were almost non-existent. So, what were some of the favorite fashions this year?

I’ve done a bit of researching to see what us fashion junkies love and I’ve compiled my list of top 10 favorites.  If you don’t agree or have a different preference, let me know!  Here we go!

10. Cate Blanchett.  As much as I love her, this dress was not my favorite.  However, I love how this Armani Prive’ looked like something right from a fairy tale and reminded me of her role in Disney’s Cinderella.  This sea foam green dress was studded with Swarovski crystals.

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Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

9.  Saoirse Ronan.  Although the beaded pattern of this Calvin Klein Collection is not my favorite, I loved how tightly this emerald green dress fit this Irish actress.  My favorite addition to this look is the intentionally mismatched Chopard earrings.

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Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

8.  Brie Larson.  The Academy Award winning actress wore a regal blue ball gown style Gucci dress which she said was an organic fit to how she wanted to feel on her big night.  I love this dress, I was lost, however, at the pearl encrusted belt.

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Credit: REX

7. Tina Fey and Reese Witherspoon.  I had trouble choosing between these two because, well, it’s pretty obvious.  The purple dresses are nearly identical.  Reese’s custom silk Oscar de la Renta was accessorized  with Tiffany and Co. diamonds.  Tina’s completed the look of her fishtail gown with Bulgari jewels. I guess the biggest question is, who wore it better?

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Credit:  Jason Merritt/Getty Images (2)

6. Jennifer Lawrence. I expected something a little more fun from the Academy Award winning actress, but she still looked gorgeous.  Her sheer black silk gown from Dior Haute Couture looked great and paired beautifully with her Chopard jewels.  Perfectly simple and sexy.

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Credit: George Pimentel/WireImage

5. Rachel McAdams.  The best actress nominee wore a backless halter-neck dress by August Getty Atelier.  I thought she looked amazing.  She would’ve been higher on my list, but the fabric of this dress was not great.  Just look at how it wrinkled on the red carpet. I’m sure by the end of the night she needed to have someone with a steamer follow her around.

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Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

4. Olivia Munn. I’m not normally a fan or orange, but if you can pull it off, go for it!  I think she looked amazing in the Stella McCartney gown with the one shoulder caped neckline.  So minimalist.

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Credit: Getty Images

3.  Jennifer Garner. The Oscar presenter wore a black Atelier Versace dress which featured an asymmetrical neckline, half embellished bodice, and draped skirt.  This look was flattering and perfect for the 43 year old actress.  Eat your heart out, Ben!

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Credit: Todd Williamson/Getty

2.  Alicia Vikander.  The Award winning actress said of her butter yellow Louis Vuitton dress “I think if you would’ve asked 5-year-old Alicia what her biggest dream was, it was probably to be Belle in Beauty and the Beast.”  I couldn’t agree more!  And besides, if you can pull off a butter  yellow ball gown, you deserve to be treated like a princess.

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Credit: Dan MacMedan, Dan MacMedan/USA TODAY NETWORK

1. Charlize Theron.  Few people can pull off a plunging neckline like this.  The Oscar winning actress stunned in her red Dior Haute Couture, but I think the nearly $4 million Harry Winston diamonds completed the ensemble.

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Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

 

 

 

 

 

How to not be a Stage Mom. (This is for me, too)

A little background about my younger self.  When I was about 18, I told my mom that I wanted to act.  Yes, I was scared about what to expect, but that’s normal, right?  After several conversations, my mom, bless her heart, decided that I probably shouldn’t pursue acting.  Nerves, cost, failure were all reasons for her decisions.  And being the obedient daughter that I was, I concurred.  After all, my mom knew what was best for me.  So, I put my dreams on hold.

Fast forward 6 years.

At 24, I married my husband.  Not only did he encourage me to pursue my dreams, but pushed me onstage.  Although only performing in church productions for 3 years (OK, they were huge church productions involving audiences of nearly a thousand per show), I decided to take the plunge into community theatre.  GASP!  Yes, I was nervous.  “But if I didn’t do it now, when would I?  I mean, I’m already 28 years old!  I’m getting up there!”  (Now, at almost 40, this makes me chuckle.)  After several workshops, auditions, and call backs, I decided that acting wasn’t really my thing.  Yes, I loved it, but it was more work and less glamour than I thought.  My dreams of acting turned into merely day dreams.  But I was OK with it!  I tried.  I liked it for a minute.  Moving on.

Fast forward 8 years.

My oldest daughter, Audrey, was cast in her school’s production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as Charlie Bucket.  We were so excited for her!  Audrey had tried out for a few things at her new Jr. High and had not yet been successful.  But Audrey has a never-give up attitude.  Don’t ask me where she gets it.  People say it’s because of good parenting, but I’m not so sure.  I typically want to hide under my down comforter in my dark room if someone looks at me the wrong way at the gym.  But Audrey doesn’t stop.  She auditioned for this play hoping to get just a few minutes of stage time.  Her director saw something in her that, as of yet, no one had.

Of course, Audrey was a natural on stage.  She has a petite figure and a voice that hits the back of the theatre.  She was born BIG!  The stage is where Audrey wanted to be.  Forever. So, my husband and I decided that if this is what she wanted, we would support her.  A short 9 months later, she was on her way!

We did everything right.  We got head shots for her, an agent, and drove her to countless auditions, call backs, and performances.  Yes, we were the perfect stage parents!

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  What you don’t know is that because I had a desire to once perform at a young age, I carry a lot of regret.  Yes, I did say that I was ready to move on from acting.  But what if I had started when I was only 12, like Audrey?  What if my mom let me get head shots and an agent.  Where would I be today?  Probably exactly where I am.  You see, Audrey has something that I didn’t have.

She carries a desire to perform.  She loves her craft.  The head shots and agent bookings are fun. But Audrey really doesn’t care about that.  She loves stepping into a role.  Becoming something that she isn’t.  Creating a whole world for a character.  Me?  I like the red carpet.  The cheers and flowers during final bows.  The glamour.

So, how do I not become a stage mom?  By being a mom.  By letting my daughter be what she was created to be.  If she decided to be a veterinarian, a gardener, or a lawyer, would I treat her any different?  My job is to support her, her dreams, and her goals.  Not mine.

I’m certainly not a perfect parent.  No one is.  But by being her mom, and not trying to live vicariously through her, Audrey can do whatever she wants.  It’s my job to love her, support her, keep believing in her, even when she doesn’t believe in herself.  That’s what moms do.

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My beautiful daughter, Audrey Montague

I just like to remind her that she promised me that first guest spot when she makes it to the Academy Awards.  Yes, I still like the glamour.

A must-see movie before the holiday ends.

I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to movies. I typically go into a movie assuming that I’m not going to like it. Of course, if it happens to star Gerard Butler, Orlando Bloom, or any of the Avengers, I’m usually first in line. This holiday season was no exception. When my husband and 4 kids were all dying to see The Muppets, I tagged along, knowing full well that I wasn’t really going to enjoy it. After all, The Muppets hadn’t put out a good film since Muppet Christmas Carol in 1992, which happens to be one of my all time favorite Christmas movies. Much to my content, The Muppets did not disappoint.

As a child of the 70’s and early 80’s, I grew up with The Muppet Show as regular part of my weekly routine. Pigs in Space, cooking segments from the Swedish Chef, and science experiments from Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker were something I looked forward to every weekend. And The Muppets did an amazing job of helping my relive parts of my 80’s childhood.

A majority of kids born into the year 2000 or later have no idea how amazing The Muppets were in their heyday. So it seemed so aptly appropriate for The Muppets to seem like “losers” as the movie started off. However, us 30-somethings knew far too well that they weren’t, aren’t and wouldn’t be losers for long. The film had me sucked in from the moment it began with its broadway-style like production including Jason Segel dancing and singing down the street to “Life’s a Happy Song.” Amy Adams always looks amazing, but her 1950’s styled costumes were so gorgeous that she just seemed to glow. Complete with numerous cameos including, Neil Patrick Harris, John Krasinski, and Mickey Rooney, this movie went back to its Muppets roots and had me laughing from beginning to end. As with any good movie, I typically find multiple moments of happiness in the form of tears, but the highlight for me was “Rainbow Connection” sung by Kermit. I don’t remember the last time I cried so hard during a film. I even my kids questioning if I was going to be OK or not.

Fortunately, for you, it’s not too late to see this movie in theaters. Just go to fandango to see showtimes and locations. With or without kids, it’s just plain fun, and more important, super quotable. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

A week later. Why I can’t stop thinking about this movie.

I have had many opportunities in the last year to be part of a group that previews movies.  Through connections that my husband and I have made, various groups hold movie screenings and we are often able to attend.  Last week was no different.  We were invited to view the new Gerard Butler movie, “Machine Gun Preacher.”  I honestly had no idea what it was about, but judging by the title, I would have said something like, “It’s probably about a guy who uses tough guy exterior to save people.”  Ummm, yeah, so I was totally wrong.

Machine Gun Preacher is the true story of Sam Childers, a man with a rough past, a heart of gold, and a spirit that never quits.  Once a fighter, alcoholic, and drug addict, he now works on helping orphaned kids in Africa. But what I find unique about Sam is his love of kids.

Sam Childers dedicated his life to Christ in 1992. A short 6 years later he knew that the Lord was calling him to the missions field in Africa.  After seeing hundreds of orphaned children in Sudan, he knew that something needed to be done.  He used his construction skills to build an orphanage for these kids and hundreds more that followed.  He continues to fight the LRA, Lords Resistance Army, in which over 50,000 children have been abducted and as many as and 1.7 million people have been displaced. The abducted children are generally forced to be child soldiers or sex slaves until they escape, are rescued or killed. Thousands of children have become orphans as a result of brutal LRA attacks on remote villages in Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda.

Gerard Butler does an outstanding job playing Sam Childers.  He portrays him as kind, gentle, but also shows his brutal side when necessary.  He is even able to hide his thick Scottish dialect and bring out a heavy midwestern american accent. I’ve always had a fondness for Gerard Butler and his pretty face, and I thought I would be a little pulled into his sea of blue eyes and not be able to focus on the depth of the film.  However, I was quite shallow in my assumptions and Gerard’s performance was remarkable, memorable, and brought me to tears about a dozen times.

I also had the honor and privilege of getting to meet Sam Childers after the film.  He is probably one of the most humble, gentle, and kind men one will ever meet.  I’m hopeful that I will get a chance to meet him again someday.  I thank God for him, his family, and his charity for giving these innocent kids a second chance at life.

Please ignore reviewers suggestions of this movie and go see it.  It’s definitely one that won’t leave your thoughts for days and maybe even weeks.  7 days later, I’m still dwelling on it and trying to figure out how this non-traveling girl can help. For more information on Sam’s charity visit, Angels of East Africa.

Cheering for the underdog.

I’ve always kind of felt sorry for the underdog.  The loser.  The one who you know won’t come out on top.  I find myself cheering for them.  Routing them on.  “Come on, you can do it!”  I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I’m sensitive or because I can easily put myself in other people’s shoes.  Yesterday I was wholeheartedly cheering for the underdog – just in a different way.

I came upon this video of a couple of college students putting on a sports cast.  Yes, I was cheering for them.  Cheering for them to keep messing up!  Yes, I know it sounds really bad.  But this video is so over-the-top funny that I couldn’t help but find happiness in their misery.  I’m sure that neither of them will ever read this.  And I’m sure that this isn’t the first or the last time this will ever be said about them.  But this video is so bad that I just kept wanting to see more. More stutters.  More stumbles.  More confusion.

Well, you’ll see what I mean when you watch it.  And just a fyi to future sports casters:  Do NOT do any of this!  Click the link, then enjoy!

Amazingly Awkward Sportscaster – CollegeHumor – VideoWired.com – Get Wired!.

Winnie the Pooh

2 months ago I had the privilege of being chosen by Disney as one of 16 women of influence from around the country to preview the new Winnie the Pooh movie.  When I received the email in mid-May, I immediately jumped at the opportunity.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to be wined and dined by Disney? We were put up in a 4-star hotel, fed catered meals, driven around in limos, and met with Disney animators and legends.  It was definitely an experience that will live in my mind forever.  But one of the best parts of my 3-day adventure was getting to preview the new Winnie the Pooh movie.

I have never been a huge Winnie the Pooh fan, so when news came out that a new “Pooh” movie was being released, my first thought was, “Great, another Disney ‘remake.'”  Luckily, I was thoroughly put in my place when I saw Pooh and his friends come to life on the big screen.  This is not another Disney remake.  It’s a whole new story with JUST the original Pooh characters.  It is unlike the original movie in that it is fast-paced, funny, witty, and with more “grown-up” humor than the first.  In fact when the movie ended, I was surprised and a little disappointed that it seemed over so quickly.

With music done by Zooey Deschanel, this new Winnie the Pooh adventure is one that you and your kiddos will not want to miss!  Go see it and give me your thoughts!  I would LOVE to hear them!