Friday, November 21, 2014

Pretty please, with sugar on top. Nominate your favorites today.

I'm a little bit bummed today, you guys.

I have received VERY few nominations in my fourth annual blog awards.

I know some of you have needed time to think about who/m to nominate, but guess what. Time's up. I need the nominations done by tomorrow. TOMORROW. So that I have time to put everything together to unveil the official nominees on Monday and so that you have plenty of time to vote for the winners.

But as of right now, I've got a couple of categories with, like, 2 nominees. That's just not nearly enough. My biggest only has 4. That's not enough.

I need your nominations. These awards are for YOU. Not for me. This is your opportunity to showcase your favorite bloggers. Or showcase yourself. Guess what. No one will ever know if you nominate yourself. Not even yours truly.

So nominate the crap out of the blogoverse. Let's make these the best awards EVER!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wedding Bells

I always thought summer was the wedding season, but judging by the plethora of blog posts and Facebook posts and tweets and invitations in my mailbox, it seems that wedding season is year round nowadays.

I was at a beautiful wedding on Friday night. My roommate's daughter, Marie, married a really great guy, Brian.

Because I live with the mother-of-the-bride, I've been privy to the ins and outs of all things wedding-related for months. It has actually been fun to have a glimpse into the process without having to be actually invested in it.

And, suddenly, after months of engagement and planning, Friday was the big day and Marie and Brian went and got themselves married and I was in attendance.

It was a beautiful ceremony and a gorgeous reception. Every detail was perfect. The food was amazing. The toasts were heartfelt. It was really a lovely evening.

Chris couldn't make it because he had his kids that night, so I flew solo. In fact, I have never once in my life had a date to a wedding, but this time, I didn't mind. At least I was seated at a table where I knew almost everyone. And, of course, they wanted to know ALL about The Boyfriend. I happily indulged in that conversation.

But then one couple left because the wife has some health issues and needed to get home. Then another couple left because they had somewhere else to get to. And then the third couple disappeared, though I'm not sure they left. I think they were both on separate phone calls.

So I found myself sitting all alone at the table, watching people dance and just wanting to get out of there and go see Chris. And then he texted me.

Chris: Are you having fun?
Me: Um...well...Weddings aren't really my thing.

It was a big confession, one that I didn't even fully realize was true until that moment.

You see, I LOVE the IDEA of weddings. I love the bride. I love the groom. I love the gown and the wedding party and all of it.

But when it comes time for the actual wedding? Not really into it.

Maybe I've just been subjected to far too many of them. There have been exactly two in my adult life that were actually a lot of fun. I won't say which ones so as not to hurt anyone's feelings. But there have been only two weddings where I actually, truly enjoyed myself, let my hair down, and had a great time. Where I was actually glad to be there.

Otherwise, I go because I like the people. I go because it was nice of them to invite me to share in their special day. But do I go because I want to?

Nuh uh.

It's like this clip about weddings from Jerry Seinfeld. He is so completely right. In fact, he pretty much says it all, so I'm just gonna let him take it away.

It gives me a lot to think about if or when my big day ever comes. Because I know I can't be the only one who feels this way.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Confession Wednesdays are back!!

All right, so a couple of weeks ago I said I was bringing back Confession Wednesdays after Hump Day Confessions was discontinued. It seems that some felt there was a void left behind and I wanted to fill it by bringing back something I always liked.

And just what do I have to confess today?

Well...let's see...

I confess that...

It sounds silly because I live in Southern California, but I really think I have a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder. My mood drops drastically when the time changes and I've been dealing with some depression over the last few weeks. It sucks and I hate it.

I'm still looking for another job. I've officially been looking for a year. I'm getting nowhere. I haven't even had a single interview out of all the applications I've turned in and resumes I've submitted. I feel like a loser.

But, sweet Chris insists that I'm not. Things with him are going great. Our relationship is the one thing in my life right now that feels like it's headed in the right direction.

Someone posted a really negative comment on my review of Foxcatcher over at the Awards Circuit and it kind of totally made me happy. Something about getting trolled makes me feel special.

I don't know where I'm spending Thanksgiving. I have too many invitations and not enough hours in the day. Sadly, Chris is going out of town with his family, so I don't get to see him the whole weekend. So even taking him out of the equation, I have too many places to go. Decisions, decisions...

So...what are YOU confessing this week??

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Friday, November 14, 2014

I hung out with Mark Wahlberg, Clint Eastwood, and Steve Carell. How was your week?

I mentioned yesterday that I've spent the past week covering the AFI (American Film Institute) Film Festival. And it has been a lot of fun.

The best part is that, because I write for The Awards Circuit, I get to go to film festivals as press. Which means no paying for tickets. Woohoo!

It DOES mean standing in line with the commoners ticket holders, but one of the great things about festivals is that there are no strangers.

(Which is NOT the same as saying there are no strange people. Because....yeah...)

(I'm talking to YOU, ladies who were debating the merits of the Ernest films and decided Ernest Goes to Camp was the best one.)

(Everyone knows it's Ernest Saves Christmas. Hello!)

So, yeah, it's been a great and busy and exhausting and fun week. Here's a quick snapshot of what I saw during the Fest:

(Links go to my Awards Circuit reviews. At least, to the ones I've managed to get finished so far.)

Two Days, One Night--Marion Cotillard leads this small Belgian film about a factory worker who has the weekend to convince her coworkers to forgo a substantial bonus in order for her to keep her job. It's a good movie with an interesting conclusion and Cotillard shows that she can do anything from mainstream blockbuster to small independent.

Black Coal, Thin Ice--This is a Chinese detective film about a disgraced former detective who wanders into an investigation that is related to the case that ended his career. I wanted to love it. I expected to love it. Instead, it's a mess and I was sorely disappointed.

'71--Oh man. This was a good one. This is a British film about a young soldier who is accidentally left behind on the streets of Belfast in 1971 when a routine house inspection devolves into a full-blown riot. It's good. In fact, I probably should have rated it a little higher in my AC review.

Goodnight Mommy--An Austrian horror film about twin boys who think their mother, who just came home from receiving plastic surgery, has been replaced by an imposter. This was a fun, though very disturbing movie. It's like a lot of horror movies: fun and watchable, but not amazing cinema.

Manos Sucias--A Colombian film about two brothers who take a job smuggling cocaine with the hopes of escaping their poor circumstances in their small town. This was another good film. Sometimes intense and sometimes quiet with good performances, although the ending left me a little bit unsatisfied.

Self Made--Oh dear. This one could have been so good but was, instead, a total mess. It's an Israeli film that is supposedly about an Israeli and Palestinian woman who switch places Freaky Friday-style at a border checkpoint. The problem is that the switcheroo doesn't happen until nearly the end of the movie after a whole lot of nothing happens and there is no explanation as to how or why. It's just...not good. How this won the Critics' Award at the fest is beyond me.

The Tales of the Grim Sleeper--From the mid-80s until around 2010, Lonnie Franklin Jr (allegedly) murdered at least 10 and perhaps more than 100 prostitutes and crack addicts in South Central Los Angeles. Because they were women of little consequence, the LAPD did very little to track down the serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper. This documentary details the investigation and gives us a little bit of insight into Franklin, while mostly focusing on all the things that went wrong. It's very, very good and will be playing soon on HBO.

The Gambler--I wanted to love the new Mark Wahlberg movie that is a remake of the 1974 film. But it just didn't work for me. Ugh. Unlikable, unsympathetic characters abound and I had no reason to care about anyone. Except Jessica Lange who is always awesome.

American Sniper--Based on the true story of Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in US history with more than 160 confirmed enemy kills, this film from Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper is a good look at the experiences of Navy SEALs in Iraq and explores what would make a soldier want to return to the war again and again. Not perfect, but very good.

Foxcatcher--I have been anticipating this movie for over a year, ever since it got pushed back from 2013 to 2014. It's the true story of gold medal wrestler Mark Schultz and his relationship with billionaire John Du Pont in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, I kind of actually hated it. Which made me sad. And mad. And confused because my AC colleagues and many other critics absolutely loved it.

So there you have it. The films I managed to see at this year's fest. I had plans to see a few more, but time just didn't work out for me to do that. Oh well. There will surely be screeners coming to my mailbox over the next couple of weeks and months. And when they do, I'll be sure to let you know which ones to watch and what to avoid.

Some cool moments:

♦ When Sophia Loren walked right past me in the Egyptian Theater.
♦ Being in the same room as Clint Eastwood for the screening of American Sniper.
♦ When John Goodman pretended to walk off the stage during the Q&A after The Gambler.
♦ Talking to some really cool people about movies.
♦ Paying for parking after Foxcatcher at the kiosk next to famous film critic and analyst Leonard Maltin.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's time! It's time! The 2014 Karen's World Blog Awards is Now Open for Nominations!

Greetings, friends!

I know I've disappeared this week and I'm not even a little bit sorry.

Know why? Because I've been away covering the AFI Fest Film Festival in Hollywood for my other gig over at The Awards Circuit. And it's been a BLAST! I can't wait to share with you all the goodness I've been up to the last few days.

But that's a post for another day. Because today. Today! Today is ALL ABOUT YOU.

It's time for the 2014 Blog Awards. This will be my FOURTH year hosting these. Can you believe it?? And I am ready for YOUR nominations.

Nominate yourself. Nominate your friends. Nominate your favorite bloggers of the year!

I've also added some social media categories this year, so be sure to share you favorite Pinners, Facebooks, Tweeters, and Instagrammers too.

It's time to get to nominating!

You have until Saturday, November 22 to nominate your faves. And be sure to check back on Monday, November 24 to check out the official nominees!

And just in case the form isn't showing up for you, click this link access it.
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Friday, November 7, 2014

Bigs & Littles and Tayler

I can't believe it was back in September. Where DOES the time go?

No, I'm being serious. Where does the time go? Is there like a big, time-sucking vacuum that takes it away? Does it get lost in the dryer with the socks? Does it go to the same place as Renee Zellweger's old face?

Anyways, so back in September I stumbled across this little thing called the Bigs & Littles Blogging Network. It's a way to connect "bigger" bloggers with "littler" bloggers for a sort of blogging mentorship.

I'm not exactly sure why I signed up. I certainly don't consider myself a "big" blogger. But I don't exactly fit the criteria for a "little" blogger either. But I found myself signing up to join in. I guess because I just love a good party.

And a week or so later, I was matched up with Tayler Morrell of The Morrell Tale.

Tayler is an absolute sweetheart. She's married and has a super cute 4-month baby boy named Rhys and they are just an adorable family.

One of the things I really liked about working with Tayler is that she is very excited about growing her blog in a way that helps her develop a sense of community. For Tayler, it's not just about page hits or follower numbers. It's about a real connection with real people.

Which I love, because that is what blogging has always been about for me too.

(Well, and the occasional free swag. #notgonnalie)

(Okay, I was kidding about that.)

(Although it IS a nice perk.)

Anyway, this Bigs & Littles dealio is supposed to be about mentoring and helping and teaching and all that stuff. And I happily answered Tayler's questions when she asked them. Although, sometimes I had to kind of wing it. Because I really don't know the secret to blogging success. Besides sheer luck.

Through the last 6 weeks or so, though, I've learned a lot more from Tayler than I could have hoped to teach her. She is so good at reaching out to people. She knows how to take care of her sponsors and how to turn readers into friends.

Those are all things I need to get better at.

So I hope you'll take the time to get to know Tayler and her blog, The Morrell Tale. You won't regret the time at all, and you'll make a new friend in the process.

And I'd like to thank the lovely ladies that put together this awesome program. I got a lot out of it and look forward to participating again.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Renee Zellweger's Face

By now I'm sure you heard that Renee Zellweger paid a little visit to the plastic surgeon and had a little work done.

And by "a little work done" I mean she basically got a face transplant.

Here's Bridget Jones back in 2008. Adorable, right?

And here's what she looks like now:

The thing is, she's a beautiful woman. The surgery she had? It looks good. The surgeon did a great job.

The sad part about it, though, is that she just looks like a beautiful woman now. She lost that spark that made her Renee. That certain something that made her special.

It's like when Jennifer Grey had her nose job and then just looked normal.

It's fine if these women want to have plastic surgery. They're allowed to want to change their looks. There's nothing wrong with it.

It's just sad that Ms. Zellweger thought she had to make such a drastic change. Because she looked great before. She was adorable. She had a look that was unique. Now? Not so much. Now she's just pretty. But she's lost that certain something that made us love Dorothy Boyd and Bridget Jones and Roxie Hart.

And I think that's a shame.

What do you think?
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