January 30, 2018

The Book Club One with Eligible

Last time, I left off thinking I would read Pride and Prejudice {a.k.a. P&P} next. However, in my search for this classic, I found a parody, which was said to have a P&P storyline set in the current era. Who doesn't love a spin on their favorite classic? 
So I got some wine, hopefully you've got cheese. Let's do this. 

Book #3

I started out with pretty high hopes for this book. She's the Man is one of my favorite movies, and the fact that it's a parody of Twelfth Night by Shakespeare makes it just so much better. That was what I was expecting out of Eligible, but it wasn't what I got. 
First of all, I do not like Liz, Jane, or their parents in this book, but I do like Kitty and Lydia, which is basically the exact opposite of how I view P&P. 
I didn't like Liz because she is supposed to give zero you know whats about guys, but Sittenfeld made Liz's character highly dependent and involved in her love life. Jane has never been my favorite, but I like her even less in this 2000s version of P&P. In the name of not ruining things for you, I will just say that she and I probably wouldn't get along. 
Furthermore, I always loved the way that Mr. and Mrs. Bennett interact in P&P. They make sarcastic comments to each other, but I always thought it was cute and funny while still loving. In this version, they basically can't stand each other at all and make terrible decisions in general. 
On the other hand, Kitty, Mary, and Lydia are hilarious. I would definitely be friends with them as they are described as being crude and unaware of what is socially acceptable. Also, there is no Wickham, WHAT? I know right. We love to hate Wickham, but then he isn't there! I feel like Sittenfeld could have made Jasper into the Wickham character easily, which makes his absence more annoying to me. 
I also HATE the way that Liz and Darcy begin their relationship. For this part, I think that the author was just trying too hard to understand modern women and put it into their perspective. I just personally am not a fan of how he wrote that aspect of the story.
There were some parts he got right of course. I feel like he wove the end together pretty well and also nailed the attitude of their mother towards their marrying men from prominent families. I also liked the relationships between Liz and Georgie and Liz and Caroline Bennett who is called "bitchily gorgeous," which was definitely my favorite line of the book. I will have to find someone to use this on, because I think it is hilariously satisfying to say. 
While I won't read this book again myself, I would recommend it to anyone who likes Pride and Prejudice. I found it pretty interesting to compare the storylines, and there were still moments when I was completely unsure of what was going to happen. I'm a big fan of the element of surprise. However, I wouldn't recommend this book to just anyone, so I give it three stars. 

Up Next:
Truly Madly Guilty
By Liane Moriarty

January 21, 2018

The One with Wizard and Wand: The Great Harry Potter Festival

Last night, I was able to attend Wizard and Wand: The Great Harry Potter Bar Crawl in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. I found out about the event shortly after tickets were released and immediately purchased my entry to what sounded like a magical event.  It was after purchasing my $15 ticket that I then started inviting anyone who may be interested, so that I would not have to go alone. I ended up going with the perfect group, and we had such a fun time despite the many let downs of the event.
The bar crawl started at 3, but we were not able to arrive until around 4:30. This ended up being a blessing, as I've since heard that those who arrived on time were in line for almost twice as long as us. The line was wrapped around two street corners, which was a bit daunting, but it moved quickly.  We stood in line for 45 minutes, but honestly, I expected this after seeing the thousands of RSVPs on the Facebook event.
What I didn't expect, was the disarray that then ensued. When I purchased my ticket, the website said that the ticket would include
a wristband allowing access to 14 establishments
HP bar crawl drink specials (lackluster)
a cauldron crawler cup
a butterbeer sample (was apparently 2 oz. of root beer)
a welcome shot 
band performances 
being shot by the event photographer
entry into the costume contest
DJs and dancing
access to enter trivia
access to find all horcruxes first for a prize (photos of random objects taped inside of 7 of the establishments)
new friends (only because Pottheads are the best)
up to $50 in free ride credits (nowhere to be found)
and a few surprises (apparently "a chopstick dipped in wax" is surprising)
But honestly most of the things that were promised didn't happen. Nobody even scanned our tickets. They barely glanced at my phone, handed me a paper wristband and two pieces of paper, both of which ended up being useless, and gave no information on how to retrieve what was promised to ticket holders. 
I'll admit, we probably didn't proceed as was advised by the event throwers.  We made most of our decisions based on not wanting to wait in line.  But I am so glad that we did.  I believe this is why we had so much fun, while many other people did not. {Many people are now filing complaints against the host company}
Most people got their wristbands, then got directly into another long line to get into Kings Cross Station (Isaac Hunters). After being in line for close to an hour, we had no desire to wait in another line.
Instead, we first headed toward Jimmy V's where we got our first Butterbeers! Without waiting in line.

Maybe the long line that we skipped was where we were supposed to go in order to get our crawler cups, welcome shots, and ride credits? If it was, then oh well. In the end, we were all glad that we chose not to spend the majority of our time in line just for things that we wouldn't even have ended up using. 
From Jimmy V's, we made our way down Fayetteville Street. We skipped past the long line to get into Coglin's. The Big Easy had no line but had run out of their Harry Potter drinks an hour earlier. Lame. Pizza La Stella was next on our Hogwarts Express. The wait for a table was an hour and fifteen minutes, and the bar was slammed with other Pottheads. So we put down our name for the wait for a table and headed to the last place on the list for Fayetteville, Paddy O'Beers. They basically had just normal specials. We got one round, and skipped on over to London Bridge Pub. Here, we got a round of HP drinks, I think the name had something to do with patronuses? 3 out of 4 crawlers recommend.

We could hear the bumpin' music from The Architect, but there was a line, so we decided to check on our status at La Stella. We ended up eating some delicious pizza, getting some drinks, then heading back to The Architect to join the dancing Pottheads. We got a round of HP drinks here too. They were hot pink, and none of us could hear what they were called, but they were delicious! We got our name on the list for the secret bar behind the book case, but our time slot was going to be around 12. So we danced until it was time, 9PM, to run over to the Great Hall (Market Hall) for the costume contest, which we were really excited to watch! We did have to wait in a short line at this point, but once we got into the Great Hall, we were lucky enough to get seats in the front row and Butterbeers (the best drink of the night) without waiting in line. Right in time for the contest!!

And the winner is.... Sir Cadogan!!

The contest was the finale of the event, so we all danced our way out and about to the rest of downtown Raleigh. The night was so fun, but the event was not nearly as decked out as I expected. No place was decorated as a Hogwarts location and the "Knight Bus" wasn't decorated purple, which was really disappointing to me personally. The people who attended the event were what made it a great time, but I would've been very annoyed had I been one of the many who paid more than $15 for a ticket.

The moral of this story is to surround yourself with awesome people, and your surroundings will not be able to bring you down. Here's to all the Pottheads who braved this and made it a good time on their own. Cheers and Butterbeers to us!

The Book Club One with Velva Jean Learn to Drive

Okay. I know I said I was going to read Velva Jean Learns to Drive by Jennifer Niven next. I read five chapters, tried to convince myself to make it to half way without quitting, then tried to make it to the tenth chapter, then tried to make it to the sixth, but I couldn't do it.  I just wasn't interested at all, so I'm deciding to move on now, because if I don't do it now, I won't read another book for the rest of the year. Nonetheless, here is my review.  It is a little bit more whine than cheese, but still let's boookcluuub!

Book #2.5
Velva Jean Learns to Drive
Jennifer Niven

Once again this author has amazed me with how she gets into her character's head so well.  I feel like it makes sense when you consider that she is creating the character herself, but she really gets the psychology behind these characters who are going through things that she hasn't encountered. For yet another example, this book is written from the perspective of a girl from the North Carolina mountains (extra points for books based in NC). I wouldn't find it to be so difficult to understand, except that the book takes place closer to 1900 than any person alive would be able to relate to. 
I didn't get hooked, but that just means this book isn't for me. This one is just a bit slower than what I prefer to read. I did skip to the end, and spoiler: She learns to drive! 
I probably won't attempt to read this entire book any time soon.  Maybe in a decade, I will be more patient with storylines and can revisit Velva Jean then. For now though, because I couldn't finish it and also cannot recommend it, I'm going to have to give it one star. 

I recently decided that I would like to reread a few favorites to review in this book club as well! And for that reason, 
Up Next: 
Pride & Prejudice 
By Jane Austen.

January 19, 2018

The One that You Snow What It Is

I'm gonna go ahead and warn you. If you can't identify with this feeling...

Then you may want to skip on. Because this post is all about the best form of precipitation: SNOW.

Lorelei Gilmore may seem like a middle age woman who can't decide what she wants in life. And you're probably right about that. But this fictional character encompasses the love of 3 amazing things: caffeine, sarcasm, and snow. So don't mind me while I share my snow day along with some of the best Gilmore Girls quotes that exist. "When it snow, something inside me says, hey that's your present."
First: I wake up. "I smell snow." I immediately put on my jacket and hat. Yes, over my pjs. Which, yes, was a Pikachu onesie. Grab my camera, waterproof it with a ziplock bag and duct tape, then head out into a white wonderland. 

When I first got outside, it was a light snow cover on the ground and coming down steadily but slowly. "Flakes, flurries, swirls, crystals. Whatever form it comes in, I'll take it." But within a couple of hours, it steadily picked up and held constant, leaving us with about 6 inches. not gonna make a joke. not gonna make a joke. Insert Michael Scott gif here.
"I think some traditions are nice. Birthdays, holidays, taking that walk in the first snow of the season." So the first thing we do is go on an adventure walk. Then we go through the rest of my snow list. It's a real tangible thing, and it ensures that I leave out no snow activity, because the worst thing is watching the snow melt away and remembering that I never made a snow man on my one chance of the year. 
Snow List
Snow walk
Catch a snow flake on your tongue
Make a snowman/snowoman/snowdog/snowvillage
Have a snowball fight
Make and eat snowcream
Take snow pictures
Make a snow angel
Go sledding down all four hills
Drink hot chocolate

Add ons: (things I've done but don't always do)
Speed bump (we were kids, and our parents made us destroy it)
Make an igloo (or half an igloo, haven't been able to stick the ceiling yet)
Snow blowing (when the snow it powpow and not ice ice baby)
Shovel the driveway (or ice pick the driveway)
Have a fire
Make s'mores
Swing (not sure why, but we always end up swinging in the snow)

What's your favorite thing to do in the snow? Is there something I'm missing?