Begin Again

I snuck off for another solo movie night a couple weeks ago to enjoy seeing Begin Again.

It was a busy Thursday night & I almost didn’t make it in time. But once I settled into my comfy movie seat, I quickly became engrossed in the story of Gretta & Dan, two music industry professionals who were down on their luck. Keira Knightley & Mark Ruffalo do a great job, & Adam Levine as Gretta’s long time boyfriend who’s making it big is a fun co-star addition!

The music on Begin Again was fabulous. I loved NYC as the perfect setting.

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I was cheering on the characters from beginning to end. I loved how it didn’t exactly follow the typical romantic comedy story line.

And I need to go look for the soundtrack! Music lovers, you’re going to love this film.

Begin Again opened locally July 2. Check your local theater & don’t miss this fun film.

I was given free ticket to see the film Begin Again but no other compensation. The review includes only my unbiased, honest opinions.

July 4th weekend

We had a great time last weekend celebrating Independence day down at OIB with my family. Thanks to Hurricane Arthur, we delayed our travels from Thursday afternoon to Friday am. And instead of rain soaked, slow traffic, we were blessed with sunny skies & open roads.

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We made it down in time for the OIB parade. Except that we mistook the time for 1030 vs 10. I couldn’t resist the photo op as I’d packed parade watching outfits!

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We enjoyed a full beach day (thanks to beach naps – me included – an umbrella & inflatable swimming pool!

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We skipped the OIB Friday night concert choosing dinner at home, pjs & a Mexican Train dominos game (I won in case you wondered).

Saturday was so fun but WINDY!

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After playing at the local park & a grocery store & local fish shop run, we all hit the beach. A big gust broke my grandparents’ kick ass umbrella stand {& we as we learned Sunday, part of the umbrella too}.

So Saturday afternoon, we enjoyed play time & me a lil more sun on the back porch.

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Jason worked remotely from OIB Sunday, so Mom, L, Z & I went to beach church {Zach played with sand for first time!}.

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Then we spent most of day on the beach {rotating who held the umbrella for support}. After nap time, Zach got snuggles with Nana while Lucy & Nana let the bubbles (aka waves) touch their toes! That was big for our nervous about sand & ocean Lucy girl!

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Hope you & your family enjoyed a happy long weekend! Ours was such a nice break from reality!

Belle

A couple weeks ago now I had the pleasure of sneaking away on a Thursday evening to go see a movie. Just me. I cannot recall the last time I did something like that alone. These days our activities are usually toddler-focused & my me-time is minimal to none.

So it was a treat. A treat made even sweeter with the discovery that the old school theater served beer & had just popped fresh popcorn for us. Cheers!

I went into the theater knowing little about the film I was going to watch. And I came out a huge Belle fan ~ of the actors, their portrayal of these historical characters, of the set designers & the gorgeous dresses the ladies wore. I loved that Belle is based on true events.

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And I also realized I actually was aware of the court case that acts as a main issue for the movie thanks to a mix of my love of history & my working in insurance.

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If you have the chance to go see Belle, do! It opened in Raleigh at the end of May & it is still running nationwide. The film was excellent & I do expect to hear more & more buzz on it during film awards season!

Awesome Alethea

I met Alethea years & years ago on a wedding website message board. She was wild & crazy & over the top online. I was a lil in awe & intrigued & definitely couldn’t wait to meet her IRL.

And then we did & she was even more awesome in person. Then we joined/formed a local book club together & I continued to look forward to those meetings to hear her latest stories & her laughter.

Fast forward a few more years & suddenly through the shared crappiness that is infertility, we had this mutual bond. Which we walked miles & miles around local lakes, talking & talking & laughing & sharing the trials of seemingly endless doctor appointments/needles/stress through. I honestly don’t think I would’ve survived IF without her.

And before you go thinking we were fitness buff buddies, don’t. We also shared many cupcakes & beers & dinners. And traveled back & forth to Charlotte & OIB to have fun with our other mutual friends. Always a blast when Alethea was around.

Sadly she moved to OR in the summer of 2011. I cried a lot & missed her local friendship more than she probably knows. Our lives, as it often happens when people move cross country, drifted apart. I was busy with a crazy pregnancy then newborns while she was getting divorced & finding & establishing herself as a Portlander.

Fast forward til this April, when right before Easter her then boyfriend {now fiance!} found her on the floor of her home incoherent. A slew of tests & doctors & surgery revealed the news no one wants to hear, cancer in multiple places including her brain. #AweseomeAlethea was given 9 months at first, but thanks to a treatment that’s working, her timeline has been pushed to 3-5 years. And my fighting friend wants even more! She’s quit her job so she & all the family & friends who adore her can have as much time as possible soaking up all the fun & travel possible.

Where am I going with this? That this morning, an hour after this post goes live, a big group of her NC friends are doing an #AwesomeAlethea 5k behind Crabtree mall to help raise money for her extensive medical treatments. Then we’re continuing the celebration of Alethea with a pub crawl this Saturday night in downtown Raleigh. The BEST part ~ we were able to get Alethea here! So she’ll be with us as we walk, hug, laugh, drink & probably shred a few tears.

If you want to do something {watching a friend suffer not knowing what you can do to sucks}, some friends created an #AwesomeAlethea youcaring page where you can donate & all funds go straight to her.

Sesame Street LIVE!

The last weekend in May {after an awesome two prior weekends of birthday party fun & a long weekend at OIB with family ~ that I will post about soon}, Lucy & Zach’s minds were a little blown when we went to see Elmo & Abby & friends live!
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We had to buy four tickets, but Lucy was in such awe she wanted to sit in my lap the whole time. Zach bounced from Jason’s lap to his own seat between us to standing up dancing around.

While the kids missed the story line {Abby left her wand behind, Elmo cast a spell to make everyone sing which was fun until it wasn’t}, they loved all the singing & dancing. They thought it was amazing that the characters we have in books & see on TV were right there! And by right there I mean up on stage & just far enough back that L & Z weren’t afraid.
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To attempt to save us money, I brought goldfish & water in my diaper bag & I’d picked up some glow sticks & glow necklaces at the Target $1 section. L & Z thought those were fun & didn’t even seem to notice the other kids’ popcorn, $10 light toys & $20 stuffed animals.

But then during intermission, a guy came out with hundreds of double-sided Elmo & Cookie Monster balloons. Zach literally freaked shouting “Elmo! Balloon!” And we knew out plan to leave Sesame Street Live without souvenirs was foiled. $16 later, we had two over the moon toddlers {& thankfully two weeks later, those two balloons are still surviving}.
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We chose the right timing {1030a show} as we were home in time for lunch & an epic nap!