Sunday, August 30, 2009

Walmart: Mothership to the STRANGE!

We Texans understand the beauty and value of Walmart, and let me be the first to say, that I am NOT a snob. I'm a regular Walmart shopper and find great pleasure in cruising the Walmart aisles for deals and steals. Where else can you buy motor oil, children's clothing, and your mom a dozen roses if the mood strikes you? However, there is something to be said about the OTHER people at Walmart, besides the NORMAL people like you and me. If you've ever encountered strange beings at Walmart, and wondered where in the heck they come from, this post is JUST FOR YOU! My sister send me a link to a blog called "People of Walmart" and it is chock full of real pictures of Walmart customers. This blog is perfect for those of you who secretly ask, "What in the heck is wrong with that person?" as you are purchasing your weekly groceries. Thank you, Layci, and ENJOY Lenzi Likes It readers! Click on Daisy Duke below for a link to this fabulous find:

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen has been a notable name in YA fiction for quite sometime now, and it was only recently that I decided to pick up her latest novel, Along for the Ride, and give it a whirl. Do you remember the movie How to Deal with Mandy Moore? That was based on Sarah Dessen's 2003 novel of the same name, so Dessen is indeed a young adult literary powerhouse! Yet, for some reason, I was under the impression that she only wrote sappy-sweet romantic stories, but Along for the Ride would not fit into that category. Romance, yes, but not in the unrealistic and Disney Princess-ish way that lots of books in that genre can dish out to its teen readers. I love that Dessen creates real characters with depth and complexities - teens that have substance and do not embody the usual stereotypes. The romance factor of the book is also not a grandiose-night-in-shining-armor scenario that might leave girls with unattainable expectations of teen boys. (Because honestly, REAL teen boys are anything but romantic!) The boys in Along for the Ride are true-to-form teenage males but still have heart and sweetness in likable and believable doses. Dessen doesn't just use them as props in her novel, which is refreshing. They have purpose and play roles that aren't just romantically inclined. (Boys can be your friend...not just your make-out buddy!) Teen boys may be full of hormones, but they don't always have to be the jerk or the hero...they need to be handled with just as much care as teen girls when avoiding stereotypes. Dessen gives each sex their due respect.
Girls today will have no problems relating to the main character, Auden, who decides to spend her last summer before starting college with her father and his new wife, Heidi. Heidi and Auden's father also have a new baby that Auden has yet to meet, which is a subplot that is surprisingly heart wrenching and thoroughly believable. It doesn't shock me that Sarah Dessen has a new baby, due to her VERY accurate portrayal of home life with a newborn under the roof. (I teared up at the scene in which Auden comes home one evening to find her stepmother sobbing on the couch, spit up stains galore and yet to shower that day, clutching a frantically crying newborn. Only a woman whose had a child could relay Heidi's extreme exhaustion and desperation for a few hours of peace! Maybe scenes like this could curtail teen pregnancy??)
In addition to spending time with her father and his new family, Auden hopes to enjoy a summer of sand and fun since she spent much of her teen years playing the role of "perfect daughter", and would purposely stay up late to keep her parents from fighting. Long after her parents' marriage fell apart, Auden was still staying up late and unable to sleep like a normal teen. She filled her nocturnal minutes studying and readying herself for college. (Both of her parents are authors and professors, so the academic life is what Auden knows and school is her entire life.) During Auden's late nights in Colby, she meets Eli, who also can not sleep due to the recent (and tragic) loss of his best friend.

Before you assume that Eli and Auden will spend their nighttime hours making out and the like, think again. Eli creates a "quest" for Auden's lost youth spent studying and playing referee to her parents' arguments. He decides that they should attempt to do all of the activities that Auden missed out on in her childhood. In the process, both teens find friendship and learn more about each other's rocky past than they ever would have participating in a traditional dating scenario. Each teen must overcome their past in order to move forward with their future. Touching. Sweet. Real.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jane, Marcus, Aro, & Caius: A Creepy Look at the Volturi

Marcus (Christopher Heyerdahl)
Jane (Dakota Fanning)
Aro (Michael Sheen)

Caius (Jamie Campbell Power)

Apparently, I'm a dipstick and blogged about Alec's pic being the first of the Volturi. has had pics of the rest of the Volturi gang up all day, and I'm just now catching on! Here are pictures of Marcus (Christopher Heyerdahl), Jane (Dakota Fanning), Aro (Michael Sheen), and Caius (Jamie Campbell Power). The only pic that really bothers me is Dakota's. My hard-headed imagination demands that Jane have brown hair...or is it pale brown in the picture and I'm not seeing it accurately? Complaints aside, the costuming and makeup for New Moon seems to be top-notch, wouldn't you say? Well done, Chris Weitz!

Sam Moon On-Line!

Am I the only Texan who didn't realize that the go-to Dallas boutique is now on-line? Where else can you buy sunglasses for 5.95? If you've never known the joy that Sam Moon can bring to a gal, check out the website by clicking on a few of the items I've put in my shopping cart:

Cameron Bright as Alec of the Volturi Guard just posted official New Moon pics of Cameron Bright, who will be playing Alec of the Volturi Guard. What do you think?

Negative Review of Catching Fire...WHAAAAT?

I've been google surfing reviews for Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins ever since the ARCs were released. This is the first negative review I have found for the sequel to The Hunger Games. So those of you who are eagerly awaiting this release (only five days away), let's hope we can agree to disagree with Jennifer Reese of Entertainment Weekly! She gives Catching Fire a "C", which isn't what this teacher would consider a good grade. I also hate the fact that she compares the book to Twilight. Even though Stephenie Meyer recommended the first novel in the series to her readers, The Hunger Games (and I'm guess Catching Fire) do not have vampires or any other similarities to Twilight. I love Twilight, but why do so many YA reviewers have to mention the book in every critique? Katniss is not Bella, and Katniss's "man troubles" are not going to be at all similar to Edward's main squeeze. (I also admit that I've mentioned Twilight a time or two in reviews, but at least VAMPIRES are involved in the novel I'm comparing it to...Collins's only connection to vampires is through Meyer's recommendation.) To read the full review click on the picture below:

If you have time, check out the comments below the review. Not many of the readers agree with Ms. Reeves, and I hope that in five more long days I will be able to disagree with her!

Peeta Mellark...Hotter Than in my Head!

More fan art from by eerie_wiatt. and this version of Peeta on the left seems to be too chisled for me. I envision him a big, but a bit softer and not so Ken-doll esque, but either way, a great drawing. I've been having so much fun going through the tons of images at Deviant Art. The talent on that sight is amazing!
Below is also another drawing from burdge_bug:

What is Your "True Color"?

I love personality quizzes, but this one seems to be a national phenomenon. We even had to take a "True Colors" test this year during staff development. Many companies are having their workers follow suit and receive "True Color" training. Apparently knowing what type of personality (Blue, Gold, Green, or Orange) you are working with will give you insight on how to best get along with that person. My students took the short, on-line version of the "True Color" quiz, and not only was it fun for them, but it will also help me identify what type of books might match their color. For example, Blue personalities are typically emotional, so books that are tear-jerkers might be right up their ally! If you want to know more about your personality color, go to Just in case you are wondering, I am an ORANGE personality and I married a GOLD, which can result in fights galore...or great excuses to make up!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bella's Wedding Gown...

Thank you to my friend Jenni for sending me the link to this INSTYLE Magazine article. Designers at the mag are playing around with sketches of Bella's envisioned wedding dress to Mr. Edward Cullen....sigh! Check out a few of the amazing sketches that are pulling inspiration from Alice Cullen's description of Bells gown when she described her as looking like Bella "just stepped out of an Austen movie". Click on the sketch to view the full article and for links to other beautiful sketches of Bella's gown...oh, to be a guest at THAT wedding! My favorite sketch is the one below done by Monique Lhuillier. It does have an Austen-esque vibe, and the others are a little too bold in my opinion. Check them out at the link above and let me know your favorite!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

October 27th! Can't Wait to be TEMPTED...

The 6th book in The House of Night Series by P.C. and Kristin Cast will be released on October 27th. If you are needing a great series to start to get you through to the New Moon movie release date, you might enjoy Marked, the first book in the series.

Zoey Redbird is just a normal girl, struggling to survive boys, high school, and a pain-in-the-butt stepfather. To add to her teen trouble, she is "marked" to be a vampire, which like puberty or any other developmental phase, being marked means Zoey will either grow into being a vampire or die when her body attempts to complete the transition. To help with her transformation, she must move into a semi-boarding school for marked fledglings called, The House of Night.

The series is well-written and fast paced for those of you who love easy and pleasurable page turners! This is a young adult novel that has a bit of an edge to it, yet doesn't take the Twilight formula route I've complained other vampire-genre books attempt to take.

KATNISS, The Girl on Fire!

Cinna would be so proud of this illustration! I found this image on by the artist burdge-bug. Click on the beautiful work of art for a direct link to burdge-bug's other amazing drawings. (If you click on the pic, and then click on "burdge-bug's gallery" on the right hand side, you will find more pictures of Hunger Games characters that are as fabulous as this pic.)
The illustration above is Katniss in her interview gown from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for my readers who have yet to pick up the novel...get on board and read the dang thing!
Burdge-bug, who ever you may be, you are one talented artist! Exquisite!

Stonewords by Pam Conrad

When I was in elementary school, my good friend Kimberly and I were into ghost stories. Obsessed with ghost stories might be a more accurate portrayal of our fondness for all things macabre. I'm pretty sure we read EVERY book in our school's small library that dealt with the subject. During my "ghost phase," as I like to call it, I read the book Stonewords by Pam Conrad and aside from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle, the short novel became one of my favorites. Like the main character, Zoe, I wanted a best friend who was a ghost...I know, I was a little odd, and totally into my ghost phase! This book is the first I had ever read that dealt with time travel and the complexities that can develop in the plot of a novel because of time traveling characters...maybe this book is why I loved The Time Traveler's Wife so much! It had everything a girl going through a ghost phase could ask for: visits to a crumbling cemetery, an old, creaky house, and a mystery that must be solved before the last page or a main character will meet his untimely death! Loved it then, and still love it today when I found a used copy online, ordered it, and read it in one sitting. It's silly how a stroll down memory lane for me involves ghosts and graveyards, but it was a very great memory to rekindle! Maybe I should send my pal Kimberly a copy for Christmas...I just might do that for old times sake!

Read this review from Publisher's Weekly for a brief description of this moving novel. I ABSOLUTELY loved it as a girl and have had MANY students fall for it, too. If you have kids in the 10-13 year old range that like a great ghost story, this book will be their favorite!
From Publishers Weekly:
Zoe was overjoyed to find a playmate already in residence when she came to live in her grandparents' old house. The girls shared everything, toys, a playhouse, even the same name--everything except time: Zoe Louise is a visitor from another century. As Zoe grows up she begins to wonder about Zoe Louise's strange behavior. She follows her back in time to learn the terrible truth--that only she can prevent her soul mate's untimely death. For a ghost story, Conrad's latest novel is a surprisingly comforting tale of nurturing and forgiveness told in a direct, graceful style. Zoe, abandoned by her mother, adopts the life struggle of a ghost as her cause, and in winning is able to accept and love her mother just a little. This is a warmly poetic, atmospheric story shot through with bursts of fear, desperation and very real suspense.

Finished a Great Book Today - Gone by Michael Grant

I guess being sick has its perks, because I had a great excuse to hole up in my favorite chair and read ALL DAY LONG. Lucky for me, I had a great book to finish and enjoyed every last page of it! I've had Gone by Michael Grant for almost two weeks now, but with my teaching duties and training starting this past week, I hadn't been able to devour the book like I had wanted. The characters are intense, the plot intense and full of twists and turns, and each page offered new discoveries and surprises.
To explain a bit about Gone, the title is very self-explanatory to the premise of the novel. In an instant, every adult and teenager over the age of 15 disappears without warning. Babies, toddlers, kids and teens like Sam Temple and his friends Astrid, Quinn and Edilio are left to care for themselves, but survival in a world without adults is much harder than they anticipate. Who will care for the infants and small children, who will provide food, electricity, and care when resources run low, and who will stand up to bullies who threaten to take over Sam's small town of Perdido Beach? To make matters worse, a barrier has appeared around the town that is impenetrable and impossible to scale. Animals are mutating, and tensions are rising within the remaining teens. With only days left until his fifteenth birthday, Sam must find a way to protect his friends from the threats that abound, because teens who have turned fifteen since the disappearances are also vanishing the instant they hit the big 1-5.

This 500+ page book is fast-paced and full of action and adventure. Michael Grant creates a compelling, and oftentimes heart-wrenching story of teens who must take on the roles of adults to survive in a world gone mad. Young adults should be able to relate to Sam's struggles with being a leader, and dealing with the bullies that abound. Grant also ups the ante when teens begin to develop special "powers" that seem to connect to the animal mutations. A page-turner and entertaining read, Gone was a great first book in Michael Grant's future six-book series. I'm picking up the second, Hunger, tomorrow! Great start to a promising series, Mr. Grant!

Michael Oher and The Blind Side

Drafted in the first round this year by the Baltimore Ravens, Michael Oher walked a LONG and treacherous route to shine in the NFL spotlight. Oher's story is being told in the new movie, Blind Side, with Sandra Bullock. I saw the preview before The Time Traveler's Wife (which I LOVED, btw) and the preview sparked my interest in Oher. Of course my husband Donnie knew every detail about Oher's journey and filled me in after the show. I have a soft spot in my heart for ANY child who doesn't have love from the time they enter this world, and I still don't understand how a mother (or father, for that matter) can give birth to a child and not love that little being with all their heart and soul!
Michael was not a child from a home full of love. Oher was one of THIRTEEN kids and pretty much was left to fend for himself in a crime-ridden neighborhood. His mother was addicted to drugs and his father had been murdered, so Oher didn't have any parents to love and care for him. He attended 11 different schools in 9 years and bounced from foster home to foster home. Until he came to Briarcrest Christian School, Oher remained under the radar. Watch both youtube clips to see how a child's life can be changed when people who "have it all" open their hearts and their homes to a child whose never known the love of a parent. Stories like these are what should inspire us all to love one another and lead by example...I will DEFINITELY be watching this come November!

This is funny...

This is an image for a book lover t-shirt at If I have to tell you what song this shirt is parodying, then you are too young to get it! I REALLY like this shirt, but I'm not sure if it would be deemed "professional" to wear it at school!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Teaching The Hunger Games and a Tour of Mrs. Hart's Room!

Nanny-nanny-boo-boo, I get to teach The Hunger Games! Whoot-whoot! This will be my second year to teach the novel, but given the success of last year's teachings, I'm so pumped to repeat the process. Never before has a book been so loved and adored by my students. I only had the funds to purchase a class set, so the students couldn't leave my room with a book, which caused MANY of them to attempt to find excuses to come to Mrs. Hart's room to read! Many personal copies of the book were purchased after Chapter 2 because they couldn't STAND the fact they would have to wait until the next day to read. Suzanne Collins and Scholastic publishing, I'm still patiently waiting for my royalty check! ;)

If any of you are teachers of middle to high school age students, I HIGHLY recommend teaching this novel. Most students have read Lois Lowery's The Giver, and The Hunger Games is a great way to align with that classic work of fiction. I also teach about dystopian and anti-utopia societies and how they reoccur in literature and movies...hello??? ever hear of a little book called 1984 by Mr. George Orwell? Totally an example of an anti-utopia society! Or The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is another literary example of an anti-utopia! You knew you were a fan of The Games, but I bet you didn't know the literary significance of the piece, now did you?! If you are interested in teaching this amazing novel, shoot me a message and I can send you what lesson plans and activities I have that tie into the novel. I have also written a few articles with lesson plan ideas at that you can find by accessing this link: In the meantime, here is a tour of my reading classroom and a few snippets of my Hunger Games wall. I predict it to grow tenfold by the end of this school year!

Due to a very rude comment an "anonymous" viewer left (and which I promptly deleted), I would like to apologize for the gum smacking at the beginning of the clip! I had just put the piece in my mouth after lunch and was working in my room. I never smack or even have gum in my mouth whenever students are present! In the future, whoever you are "anonymous", don't visit my blog if you have only rude comments to leave. I'm not perez hilton, and do not welcome insulting comments...stop coming by if I offend you or make you upset! Sheesh!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The New Fall Season Needs to Begin ASAP...

Reason being - I've been watching the T.O. Show on VH1, or the "Terrell Owens" show for those of you who are not constantly exposed to football every waking moment of your existance like yours truly! No matter what your opinion of T.O., the self-proclaimed "8th wonder of the world, the show isn't half bad. My husband watches it because T.O. used to be Donnie's #1 fantasy football stud, and he secretly enjoys his cocky antics on the sideline. I'm not totally sure what I think about the guy, but the episode where he visited his grandmother (who is battling alzheimer's), had me tearing up a bit. Very sweet and sad! On a lighter note, here is T.O. doing Letterman's Top Ten last year....

Catching Fire - Stephenie Says It's Good!

For many of you, I forced The Hunger Games novel into your hands and demanded that you read it, and not a single student or adult has yet to tell me I was wrong about the book being phenomenal! Apparently the same thing is true for its sequel, Catching Fire. Stephenie Meyer started The Hunger Games craze through her recommendation of the novel on her blog, and she is continuing to stoke Suzanne Collins's flames with her recent post about Catching Fire. Here is what Steph had to say about the novel:
I also got an early look at a book I've been eagerly awaiting: Catching Fire, the sequel to Suzanne Collins' phenomenal The Hunger Games. It not only lived up to my high expectations, it surpassed them. It's just as exciting as The Hunger Games, but even more gut wrenching, because you already know these characters, you've already suffered with them. Suzanne takes the story places I wasn't expecting, and she's never afraid to take it to very hard places. Stunning. You won't sleep when you're reading this one. It hits shelves September 1st. I suggest beginning in the early morning and clearing your calendar for the day.
So with any luck, my friend Marci will be throwing the sequel down and screaming, "No way!" at the ending of Catching Fire. It sounds like the third book will have us eagerly anticipating its arrival as well! Why can't I be important enough to get ARCs? Ugh! What do I have to do, sell my soul? And for how much?! My friends, September 1st isn't that far away, and I hope to see you at B&N on the big day!
On a slightly different note, I found this picture of Katniss at Publisher's Weekly, and it has me considering being the strong heroine for my Halloween costume this year, but I doubt I can convince my husband to be Peeta. He wouldn't be Edward last year when I wanted to be Bella, dadgumit! There was also a HILARIOUS picture of guys dressed up like Paula Dean, and I really think it would be the BEST costume for my brother-in-law for some reason! Layci, maybe you AND Casey could each be Paula like these guys!

Strolling Down Memory Lane!

A 2004 interview with our local news daughter is not this tiny anymore and it is so sad to see how quickly babiness passes us parents by! FYI - my husband no longer has this thing on his face! Thank goodness! ;)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sookie & True Blood Fan Site!

For all of you Sookie Stackhouse readers and True Blood fanatics, you MUST check out the Sookie Stackhouse fansite ( that I found today while googling. It has tons of great pictures and the latest scoop on all things True Blood! Check out the faux magazine cover and Fangtasia calendar pictures below...Eric fans, you can thank me later...

Click on the image below for a link to the True Blood fansite that also has lots of info on the HBO hit show!

Eclipse Newborn Vamp Cast

Jodelle Ferland is not allowed to divulge the name of her character for Eclipse, but Jodelle did share with E! Online that she will "play a vampire who has just been turned". This has to be Bree, the newborn created by Victoria and who surrendered to the Cullens before the arrival of the Volturi. Here is the description of Bree from Eclipse, then check out the picture and let me know what YOU think! I'm pretty sure Jodelle fits the bill, if you ask me!

The girl was curled into a small ball beside the flames, her arms wrapped around her legs. She was very young. Younger than me - she looked maybe fifteen, dark-haired and slight. Her eyes were focused on me, and the irises were a shocking, brilliant red. Much brighter than Riley's, almost glowing. They wheeled wildly, out of control.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Entertainment Weekly Subscription Deal!

So I recently blogged about not having a subscription to Entertainment Weekly and wanting one, and since all I have to do to get what I want is pout to my husband, I subscribed today! Keep in mind, I'm giving up mani-pedis in the near future for this, but I think it will be so worth it. (I can scrub and paint my own dang toes, right!?)
I was so pleased to discover that if you pay for your subscription on-line, you receive a free "retro t-shirt" as a gift. By "retro" they mean 80's and 90's television/movies. There were several choices of tees, such as Sixteen Candles tee (I Heart Jake Ryan), the A-Team tee, Mr. Rogers tee, Magnum P.I. tee, and the tee I chose, Saved By the Bell (Bayside Tigers). I desperately wanted to be Kelly Kapowski and date Zach Morris, so the choice seemed appropriate.
I'm also justifying my purchase by the fact that Entertainment Weekly has reviews for not just movies and television, but for books, too. The books they review don't seem to be as boring and stale as the reviews at People Magazine. Lately, I think those reviewers are just trying to show off how smart they all are and how mainstream books are so beneath them and do not live up to their high standards of literary quality. If a book is boring, then I'm claiming it sucks in my critical opinion, so reading about a fictional characters struggles in war-torn Bosnia are not something I'm going to spend twenty bucks on just so I can look "smart" reading in the airport or wherever. Bring on the teen lit and such!

Why Do I Not Have a Subscription to This Mag Yet?

Click on the cover to read the accompanying article over New Moon. There is an adorable video at the bottom of the article with Kristen Stewart....I was soooo NOT that cool when I was her age, then again, I also wasn't staring in blockbuster movies. Filing insurance claims part time while going to college isn't as cool as being the star of Twilight! Also, if you click on the pic of Bella and Jake below, it will take you to Entertainment Weekly's nine exclusive pics from Kristen and Taylor's photo shoot.

I'm ticked I don't have a subscription to this magazine and plan on remedying that fact today! You KNOW there will be covers and articles galore as the filiming of Eclipse and Breaking Dawn continues. I see it as an investment, if my husband happens to ask why we have a subscription to yet ANOTHER magazine!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eric Beats Edward!

Those of you who have read The Sookie Stackhouse Series novels by Charlaine Harrison, and who have hopped on the True Blood (HBO) fan-wagon will be pleased to know that vampire Eric actually beat out Edward Cullen in something. Entertainment Weekly's Vampire Issue (August 7th, 2009) ranked the "Hottest New Vampires" and big boy Eric beat out Cullen by a small margin!

However, Edward fans, don't think Mr. Cullen didn't get his deserved respect - he out ranked both Bill and Eric in the overall poll, "20 Greatest Vampires". Click on Eric to see the list of the full 20 vamps. I was shocked to see Zoey Redbird from The House of Night Series and Schuyler Van Alen from The Blue Bloods making the top twenty list! I love both heroines in those series...yay for teen vampires!

You might also find interviews with vampire genre authors interesting as well. All four authors of the series I mentioned are in the magazine, and giving away details of how they created their series. Very interesting to find out that Stephenie Meyer was embarassed to show her hubby the first manuscript of Twilight because it was about vamps! I'm sure he has nothing against vampires today...the man will probably never have to work another day in his life because of Edward Cullen! Click on the magazine cover below to read the author interviews:

The Hunger Games Fan Site

Fan of The Hunger Games? This site is fan-created for the future trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Check it out! There are many topics and forms worth reading!

Click here:

Gone by Michael Grant

I'm not finished with this book, but I'm so excited about it I just had to share! I'm half way through it, and ticked that I have to start back to work and can't consume it in one sitting! I do know what I'm doing this weekend, though! Here's some info from the back of the book:

In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE. Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutatiing. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents ---unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers ---that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent.
The first in a breathtaking saga about teens battling each other and their darkes selves, GONE is a page-turning thriller that will make you look at the world in a new way.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ryan Seacrest Reaction to 14 Second Promo

This was on the website, and I love it when girls have to explain to boys the ins and outs of Jacob and Edward. Ryan Seacrest and his show staff are watching the 14 second teaser, which is apparently only a part of the trailer that will be viewable before Bandslam on Friday. Sort of a preview of the preview as he puts it. Ryan Seacrest seems to not be able to fathom what all the fuss is about, but only us girls can understand! (I wonder how this preview will impact sales of Bandslam tickets?? I know I am soooo tempted to buy tickets just to see this preview!)

Grilled Fish with Tomato and Watermelon Salad

I saw this on the Today Show this morning and bought the stuff to make it for dinner. Surprisingly, the watermelon mixed with the balsamic and sesame dressing is what makes it taste so yummy. Do keep in mind that I screwed the recipe up just a tad and added waaayyyy too much vinegar to the dressing, but if my husband will eat it, the dinner was a success in my book! We are starting a "diet" together in which we eat normally throughout the day, but for dinner we only eat a salad with a protein. You may be seeing more salad recipes on here, due to that fact, and no, I'm NOT doing the Clean program as of yet. I've decided I simply CAN NOT do it while I'm at home with my girls. Maybe when I start back to work this next week my goal of a CLEANSE will be attainable. Right now, I'm sticking to salads at dinnertime!

The Hunger Games Fan T-Shirts!

You can purchase these shirts on at this link:

I also love the shirts at Cafe Press that you can view at this link:

The "Team" shirts are a bit played out, but for some reason I want a "Team Rue" shirt! Check them out if you have a Hunger Games fan who needs one!

Stay Gold, Ponyboy!

I love teaching the novel, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. My students always groan when I pass the book out, thinking that they will not like it because it isn't "new", but it always ends up being their favorite by the end of the year...well, excluding The Hunger Games! To wear on Fridays while I'm teaching the book, I also purchased this shirt from Cafe Press. If you haven't read The Outsiders, pick up a copy, or at least watch the movie. I love how my 8th grade girls (who weren't even born yet when this movie came out) have NO CLUE who Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, and Matt Dillon are, but they fall madly in love with them by the end of our movie viewing. I creating a whole new generation of Karate Kid fans by showing The Outsiders!

My New Moon T-Shirt

Last year, my equally Twilight addicted friends and I purchased t-shirts to wear to the midnight premiere. I can't wait for the New Moon premiere and already have my t-shirt ordered. So, in honor of Bella's adventurous leap of faith, I ordered this t-shirt from Cafe Press. Click on the shirt for a direct link to the website. I also ordered a "Stay Gold, Ponyboy" t-shirt since I teach The Outsiders every year.

New Moon 14 Second Promo on BandSlam!

Here it is, the new promo that is running before the movie Bandslam! on Friday!

So, do you think Jake is "sort of beautiful" that "sort of" compliment! I'm not sure if I would enjoy telling me that I'm "sort beautiful", would you?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Less Than a Month Away!

It's no secret that I am a Texas Tech Red Raider fan, but I precursor this claim by saying that I think Michael Crabtree is being a big ole' idiot. Michael, take a deal, any deal offered by the Niners and look pretty on the sidelines for us next year, okay? I'm not your cousin, but I do have your best interests at heart!

Back to the lecture at hand, I need my Tech fans to listen up! Although my other challenges have been boo-ed and dismissed, I would like to pose one more for posing sake: LEARN THE TECH FIGHT SONG. Reading it on the monitor during the game does not count. Learn it without having the lyrics posted for you. I had to learn it when I was a freshman, and I'm not sure why others did not, but if you are a true-blue fan, you will rise to the challenge and learn the lyrics! You do not want to look like these idiots:

What is Wrong With These Women?

Kate Major, a journalist with obviously low self-esteem, is upset that Jon Gosselin is denying their romantic liasons. I would like to pose a question to my readers: Why would anyone want to have any sort of "liaison" with this ra-tard? Maybe I'm picky, but what is it about a dude who is forty pounds over weight, sporting a "I'm going through a mid-life crisis earring," and has been dubbed "octo-dad" by the media, is considered to be a hot commodity in the dating world? Why oh, why are these women dating the dipstick? I just look at him and shudder. And as for Kate Gosselin, quit crying over this loser. You are wayyyyyy too hot for him and these bar fly hoochies are much more deserving of his charm. Bleck!

The Vampire Diaries Series: The Struggle by L.J. Smith

Okay, so I'm getting "my facts straight" and acknowledging the fact that TVD was published BEFORE TWILIGHT. I am well aware of this that so many have been able to point it out to me! Sorry...sheesh! I'm not a professional blogger by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know that we can have differing opinions on books, movies, and the like without being tacky. My point is that so many books now ARE, INDEED following a "Twilight Formula" and even though TVD was published before Twilight, it is still very similar to the other stuff that is being shoved down teen readers' throats. TVD is okay in my opinion. Not great, but okay. If you love it, then AWESOME! I'm sure I love books (*clears throat*, Sookie Stackhouse Series) that many of you find repulsive or stupid, but that doesn't mean we can't co-exist in the blogging world, now can it?! So now that my "facts are straight", we can move forward in peace! LOL!

My last post on the first book in this series, The Awakening, wasn't one of my most positive reviews to date, and this post over the second novel, The Struggle, may be a smidgen better but not much. Damon takes a bigger role in this novel, but he's still the "evil vampire" and Stefan is the "good vampire." Maybe readers who do not need rhyme or reason as to why Elena is falling for both of them will enjoy this installment, but I for one couldn't get over the fact that no one explained to me that fact. Why if she hated Damon in the first book would she all of the sudden change her preferences in the second? I was confused by the lustful dreams on Elena's part, and the hatred that her former best friend Caroline has for her. I guess this is figured out in the third and fourth books, but I do not have enough endurance to read the others.

The love triangle seems forced, and again I'm blaming the author for trying to follow the Stephenie Meyer vampire formula. (FYI...TVD was published before TWILIGHT! So L.J. Smith is not a copy cat. Everyone else is! lol!) She should patent it or something! For example, while strolling through the teen section at Barnes & Noble, I attempted to count the vampire books on the shelves...I stopped at 23. TWENTY THREE! I know that Twilight is a money making machine, but really, this has to stop at some point, doesn't it? Many of the twenty three that I actually picked up and read the back of followed the same predictable plot line of girl in love with beautiful boy who turns out to be immortal, or a vampire. Either way it is old news in my book. This second installment in the Vampire Diaries is no different, and I'm not even going to bother buying the third or fourth. I'm not sure how long my vampire hiatus will last, but I am officially sick of this realm of literature...don't get me wrong, I will always love the Twilight Saga, but I'm off of the new vampire stuff. Corny. Stupid. Predictable. (My OPINION...FEEL FREE TO HAVE A DIFFERING OPINION!)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Julie & Julia Movie Review

After twisting my husband's arm and orchestrating a babysitter for the middle of the day (thanks Granny Deb!), I was finally able to see Julie & Julia yesterday afternoon. Can I just say how healthy having a jumbo popcorn, box of Rasinettes, and a large Coke are for lunch? And I complain about the size of my butt like I have nothing to do with it! Sheesh! Okay, so I digress...Julie & Julia wasn't bad, wasn't great, but it was good!

Just like the book, the film bounces back and forth between cubicle worker Julie Powell and the pre-famous Julia Child. The beginning of the film, I could tell (in my very unprofessional opinion) that the editing was very well-done and kept the pace of the film at an interesting level. I'm not sure what happened towards the middle, because parts of the script lagged, and I found myself wondering why certain aspects of the book were not included in many of these parts. There needed to be a hilarious account of Julie Powell's recipe mishap that contained bone marrow. Something needed to be put into the middle of the film to jazz it up a bit! The details of Julia's process of writing and publishing her cookbook were a bit much, and could have been cut and condensed for continuity purposes, but again, I'm paid to teach 8th graders Reading, not the big bucks to edit films.

Meryl Streep's performance as the larger-than-life Julia Child was amazing! I never knew what a dynamo of a woman Julia Child was, and Meryl had me cracking up just by watching her animated facial expressions! Julia Child's voice is her trademark, but Streep didn't overdo it like so many actors could have easily done! I would compare it to actors who have to perform a southern accent...either they over emphasize the twang, or they hit it head-on. Much like Julia's voice, you could totally over-do the pitchy quality, but Streep should win many awards this year for her perfect execution. Amy Adams also did a great job, but Chris Messina, who played Julie's husband, and Stanley Tucci, who was Child's spouse, were excellent counterparts to the lead roles. Great and hilarious husbands!

The film is a good one, and sparked my interest in Julia Child as a woman and mogul. I now want to read her memoir about her life in France (my grandparents also spent time in France during the fifties) and find her to be a very interesting woman. View a few clips from her cooking show below:

Friday, August 7, 2009

Debbie Gibson Reality Show?

My friend (and Debbie Gibson fan) Carmen, sent me a link to this post by People magazine describing a sort of "comeback" for one of my favorite singers from my childhood! If only she would team up with Tiffany and do a show, then I would be in reality T.V. heaven!

Posted on,,20295468,00.html, Monday, August 3rd.

Deborah Gibson has a secret weapon in her battle to stay fit: her boyfriend. For a year and a half, Gibson has been dating Rutledge Taylor, a medical doctor specializing in preventative medicine. To help Gibson keep in shape for her busy schedule, he developed a strict diet and exercise program. "I won't say it was easy," Gibson tells PEOPLE, "but it was really effective. He really came up with something that worked for me." "I thought I had just 5 lbs. to lose," she continues, "But as it went on, I realized that I needed to drop a few more." The final tally: 17 lbs. "It really gives me a lot more energy to be fit," she says, "and it's also empowering. I'll be 39 soon, and I'm in the best shape of my life." "And Gibson isn't afraid to show off her new body. Last week, she appeared in a halter top and skinny jeans at the Fatone Family Foundation charity event to raise money for the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. After several fans commented about her toned body, Gibson told PEOPLE, "It is really gratifying to have people notice, especially younger women. If I can do this, anyone can." But the biggest fan is clearly Taylor, who spent the evening making out with Gibson when she wasn't performing onstage with Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro. What's next for Gibson? After wrapping up the second season of her Deborah Gibson's Electric Youth summer camp, she is working on her comeback album and in negotiations for a reality show. "Everything's going really well," she says. "I'm really happy."

The Vampire Diaries Series: The Awakening by L.J. Smith

I had taken a break from vampire genre after finishing the Sookie Stackhouse series, and didn't plan on revisiting that realm of fiction for quite sometime. The premise for vampire books seem to try and follow the Twilight code: Girl falls in love with vampire, their love is forbidden, danger befalls girl. The formula is a bit old and stale, especially after Stephenie Meyer executed it so brilliantly within her series. I feel the same about The Vampire Diaries : The Awakening that I finished this afternoon. The first book, The Awakening, was intriguing, but just not up to snuff after reading Twilight and Sookie books. It felt like the same song, different verse, but this verse wasn't as catchy as the first!
The novel begins with Elena, the beautiful and confident "queen" of her high school, contemplating how wonderful the start of her senior year at Robert E. Lee high school will be for her. Stefan is the dark and mysterious new boy who snubs Elena's flirtatious advances within the first hours of the new school year. Ego bruised and seeing a new challenge before her, Elena is determined to make Stefan her new man. You can probably guess the rest of the plot, but let's just say....been there, done that!
The author, L.J. Smith, writes the tale in 3rd person point of view, so we are able to see what both Stefan and Elena are thinking and feeling throughout the novel. There are also several flashbacks to Stefan's beginning as a vampire, and within those flashbacks, we are introduced to his evil brother Damon, who is also a vampire. Although the flashbacks offer a bit more depth to Stefan's character, I never fell for him in the way that one might fall for another 17 year old vampire. Like I said, it is hard not to compare every teen vampire novel to Twilight, but I say if you're going to take that angle, it better be stinking good before you print it! Although the novel keeps the readers interest, I didn't find it to be particularly great. Apparently the execs at the CW disagree with me and have turned The Vampire Diaries books into a television show that will premiere this fall. I'm interested to see how the series compares to the book, and I will even read the second book in the series before I totally decide that I'm off of the TVD bandwagon. Check out a clip from The Vampire Diaries series below:

I can tell you that the preview looks promising and a few things are different in the preview than in the book. I'll be tuning in to see if the changes take this book series from "Ehhh..." status, to "Wow" in my mind!

Catching Fire Release Party!

Although my connections at the Lubbock B&N have told me that they can't host an "official" release party due to the store moving locations that month, I can still host an FMS/lenzilikesit version of a release! So with that being said, all of my former students, family and friends who loved The Hunger Games, let's meet at Barnes & Noble at 6:00pm on September 1st to purchase Catching Fire! We can lounge on the sofas, drink coffee and read the first chapter together, or just talk about what we WANT to happen in Catching Fire. If you have a Facebook page, you can RSVP to the event by going to my page and clicking on my events calendar, or just search "Catching Fire Opening Day Party" and it should come up in the search engine, or simply click on the image above and it will take you to the Facebook page! I already have 11 confirmed attending, and 19 "maybe"...I guess some of my soon-to-be 9th graders might be too cool to attend in a few months! Everyone who is a fan is invited, and I highly encourage you to bring a friend! The reviews I've read for the novel have been phenomenal, so I'm hoping that the sequel is every bit as intriguing as its predecessor!

Envy by Anna Godbersen

I finished the third book in the Luxe series yesterday, titled Envy, and I am so upset that the fourth, Splendor, will not be out until October! Godbersen has kept the quality of her writing and has stayed true to her characters with each installment in the series. This third book opened new doors for the rich society girls, and tragically closed many more! I do not want to give away any part of the third in case you are wanting to read the first two, but Envy kept my interest and had me wanting more up until the very end. I wonder if Splendor will be the last in the series and finally tell me what the future holds for the Holland sisters and the delightfully cunning and vindictive Penelope Hayes. Heart throb Henry Schoonmaker is starting to tick me off with his ability to muck up everything he has with Diana Holland, but I'm hoping he will redeem himself in the fourth installment. For those of you who love series like Gossip Girls, The Hills, and One Tree Hill, this series is for you! Although the setting is 1899, one thing remains the same, teen girls will always be back-stabbing gossip queens!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I'm Not Clean

Although I had grand intentions to start on August 1st, here it is August 5th and I didn't even complete a full day of the program. I have excuses galor, but basically I've decided I have no willpower. Zip. I also wasn't prepared due to my garage sale and didn't have the proper groceries. I'm starting on Monday, and hopefully the fact that I have to start back to work will make it a bit easier to endure. Being home and serving Fruity Pebbles and PB&J is not helping the willpower! I do want to give it another shot! Monday. Monday. Monday!

Breaking Dawn Lawsuit?

This is so silly! I'm sure this won't be the last lawsuit, but it stinks when a person is famous, they are subject to this kind of crap. Even though it has some similarities, the two books are not identical in any way! Anytime you write about weddings, and honeymoon, you will have similar descriptions. I'm not sure what the author of the Nocturne is trying to accomplish, but I think it is a gimmick to boost sales of her own book. Check out the link (click on the book above) and read the comparisons to decide if you think Stephenie Meyer copied her ideas for Breaking Dawn!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Twilight vs. New Moon recently posed the question: Which director got the look of the book right, Twilight or New Moon? I say "New Moon" all the way, but leave me your comment below to let me know what you think! (Click on the pick to see a larger version.)