Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Are You Ready for a Life Change?

Connie Sokol's new book is out and I'm excited about it! I love her work. She's inspirational and fun and just a really nice gal.

Admittedly, to get my review out for this tour I had to race through it, but that doesn't mean I didn't find it a wonderfully inspirational book. This is an expanded version of how to create a life plan that I had the pleasure of doing when I did her Faithful, Fit & Fabulous book and her online 8 week course (which I highly recommend btw). In reviewing the steps, it struck me that perhaps my own life plan needs a little tweaking.

I also, happen to be reading a book called The Kaizen Way which says to break things into small non-scary chunks to get around our fears and accomplish meaningful things and to give yourselves small inexpensive but meaningful rewards. It struck me that Connie uses a very Kaizen approach with all her books.

I've also listened to her Get Organized! and Becoming a More Christ-Centered Woman in the past two weeks and found echoes of all her works bouncing off each other.

The thing I love most about Connie and her works is that they are a true reflection of how she lives e her daily life and that she cares enough to share her bits of wisdom to the rest of us to make our own lives that much easier.

In short: Get the book. Do the work. Live the life you have always wanted but have been too afraid to go out and get. It's all there. All you have to do is believe.

Ready to jumpstart your life, but not sure how?

Years ago I was fat, unfulfilled, and unfocused. Then I got serious about making changes, writing an achievable life vision and goals. Starting with weight, I lost twenty-five pounds and gained great energy. This motivated me to organize my home and time, rediscover the joy in parenting, and speak professionally part-time to share with others what I had learned.

That was my ideal life change, what’s yours?

Create a Powerful Life Plan: 3 Simple Steps to Your Ideal Life! will help you achieve life changes in three stress-free steps. You’ll learn how to create a clear vision of your ideal life. Then, how to set and achieve simple, enjoyable goals to make that vision a reality. And finally, what to do when you become stuck, fearful, or frustrated.

You’ll also read the real-life experiences of five women who put their Life Plan into action. And receive online support through podcasts, video segments, blog posts and more at

Now is the best time to become the person you want to be, and live the life you yearn to live. No gimmicks, no hoopla, just solid, time-tested principles and practices that will help you achieve your dreams and goals, and enjoy the process.

So, are you ready to create your powerful Life Plan?

"I love your book!! I read it once last week and now I'm reading it again and marking it. I can see it making a difference in my life. I'm realizing that I don't have to do it all at once." Jodi Anderson

"Before I started this [book], I wanted to break down my goals into weekly accomplishments in a goal setting program. I can't believe it, this is exactly what I have been looking for!" Brea Mefford

"I love this program. It really helps me to be accountable, and more importantly, to see progress. I increased my weekly income by better than half. I paid off two credit cards and my overdraft. My husband was able to pay off his car, and I have completely revamped my business goals and direction. Thank you!" Andrea Johnson

Social Media Links:

Connie Sokol is a mother of seven, a sought after local and national presenter, and a regular speaker at Education Week. She is a monthly TV contributor on KSL’s “Studio 5” and regular blogger for KSL's "Motherhood Matters." She is a former columnist for Deseret News and Utah Valley Magazine, and TV and radio host for Bonneville Communications. Mrs. Sokol is the author of several books including the award-nominated Caribbean Crossroads, Faithful, Fit & Fabulous, and Life is Too Short for One Hair Color Series, as well as the creator of talk CDs, podcasts and the "8-week Challenge." Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats. For more, visit

Blog Tour Schedule for Create A Powerful Life Plan! 3 Simple Steps to Your Ideal Life by Connie Sokol

January 2013--
1/22/2013   1/24/2013

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Catch up on DVD's - MIB3, The Dark Knight Rises, & The Aviator

Did she just list The Aviator?

Yes, really. I hadn't seen it and my husband sat me down one night to watch it. Thus my three hour education on Howard Hughes commenced. Wow. No really, Wow. Talk about someone who lived life big and took risks and innovated/invented. But then had real self issues like some serious OCD and inability to maintain meaningful personal relationships. Had to do some looking up afterwards to find out what happened after the movie ended because he isn't old at the end. He was actually married twice and ended up living all over the world. It was interesting to wonder how his life may've been different if he'd lived when medication for OCD was available.

As for the acting, we all know DiCaprio can be the hero, the villain and the mentally shifted person from past films, but this one is pretty awesome. I also enjoyed Cate Blanchett and the total surprise appearance of Alan Alda. Not to mention the cinematography, the sets, etc.

In short: I'd see it once for education's sake. Not sure I'll ever look at a glass milk bottle the same way though.

This one might be my favorite of the MIB films currently it's still the first one. I'd need to watch it a few more times to be sure though. I'm always willing to watch Will Smith, esp. when aliens are involved. And while I never would've thought a successful franchise would be built on him and Tommy Lee Jones, they so work well together. This was my first exposure to Josh Brolin and he totally nailed it. It's uncanny how well he played a younger version of Jones' character.

Then there's the whole time travel and the chicken and the egg dilemma that goes with it. Wow.

Summary: A fun watch multiple times.

The Dark Knight Rises
Ok, I had serious reservations about this one. I've seen the first two and we own both, but I haven't been able to go back and rewatch The Dark Knight because, well, its just so dark! And I really didn't want to go through that feeling again with the third one. But, with reassurances from several family members, including my 12 year old nephew, that this one was lighter, I sat down and watched it.

Good thing my nephew tells the truth or he could've kissed his thirteenth birthday present goodbye.

This one was much lighter. Thank you! You still get the action, the angst, the twist, the world about to end, etc. but there's this thread of hope that runs through it. And I loved the end! No spoiler here. Just watch it.

As for the acting, I've been a fan of  Christian Bale since Henry V. Yes, really you need to go back that far and I can always count on him to give a committed performance. I adore Anne Hathaway. Loved her heels! Loved that she got to fight! Sorry she had to lose all that muscle to do Les Mis. What a yo-yo year for her body. Lovely, Michael Caine gives some of the most gut wrenching tear jerking performances of everyone in this film. Oh, and I loved that they brought back the Scarecrow as the judge. Awesome. Wish he would do more films.

Verdict: I will probably watch this one more than the other two and certainly more than the second one.

So, what movies have you been catching up on lately? What should be next on my 'to watch on DVD/BluRay list'?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lincoln & SkyFall

These reviews are a bit on the late side, but as two of them are still in theaters, you may still have an interest. (Don't worry, book reviews will be coming down the pipeline soon.)


This is Oscar winning stuff. One for the film, one for Daniel Day Lewis, one for Sally Field, one for the director, one for the screenwriter and possibly one for Tommy Lee Jones. BTW there are several faces you will recognize from other films that I can't possibly mention here, but every time one of them popped up on screen I thought, 'He's in this too?' (It is a rather male dominated film, sorry ladies.) All through the film I prayed that what I was seeing/learning was accurate, because I am not a history girl. Oh, I didn't worry about the battle dates being correct, my hopes were pinned on the characters/personalities portrayed. For ex. I really hope Lincoln was a story teller, because I really loved that about him in the film. I had no idea Mary Todd had mental issues (not that she didn't have just causes, being married to the President during the Civil War would've driven most women over the edge I imagine.) I researched that one after the film and she did indeed have some mental breakdowns. I also researched her children and only the oldest made it to live a full adult life and a very successful one at that. Why don't we learn about that in school? There were also all the underlying politics I had no idea were going on at the time to get the 13th amendment passed or refused. When teaching kids about the civil war, show them this one. It'll be more productive then making them memorize the dates of all the battles.

Warnings: I did close my eyes a few times. War isn't really my thing and watching someone get blasted by a cannon, etc. isn't an image I need burned into my brain. I esp. shut my eyes for the amputee veterans hospital. I could see that one coming and knew where that was headed and I just didn't need to see it to make it real.

This I would put on your must see once list. It doesn't necessarily go on my have to own on BluRay list. It's not one I would watch over and over. Though I may still rent it when it hits Redbox.


Well, it's James Bond. That pretty much sums it up. We've got Bond, the villain, some chase scenes, standoffs and a couple of girls for romantic interest. But there are holes all over the plot so don't look too closely. Watch for entertainment sake only.

The one thing I really liked about it was the opening scene which is a motorcycle chase across rooftops because I thought it was very original. Unfortunately, this has already been done in a past Bond film as a Bond aficionado informed me. Drat!

This isn't one I need to watch again.

What did you think of these? Are there ones you've seen recently in the theater that need to go on my 'see this' list?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Les Miserables The Film

Les Mis has been epic since Hugo wrote and printed it. The length alone grants it such a label. I've read both the bridged and unabridged books, seen it on Broadway, own three cast versions and have the Dreamcast dvd. While, I wouldn't call myself an expert on it in any way, I feel safe in saying that I have a good grip on the story/show.

There are no weak links in this film. None. If you find one, let me know and we'll discuss it. I'm so grateful that Cameron MacIntosh had his hands all over this film as he produced the stage musical and this adaptation doesn't disappoint in any way. And let's face it, when you are making this musical into a film, there were so many things that could've gone wrong.


I've been a big fan of Hugh Jackman's singing voice since I saw the dvd of the stage version of Oklahoma shot in West End London in 1999. You can probably find it at your local library. That's where I found mine. It's the only version of Oklahoma that I like. If you ever want a masterclass in acting in musical theater, Jackman's performance in Les Mis is THE one to watch.

And Anne Hathaway isn't far behind. I've also been a big fan of her since Princess Diaries and The Other Side of Heaven. Her singing voice was no surprise to me. Recall her Oscar songs with Mr. Jackman as well as some of her early movie roles and you won't be surprised either. Novel question, in the book, don't they pull out her two front upper teeth?

Russel Crowe as Javert? I was skeptical too until I caught a little snippet online that said he did musicals early in his acting career and while it may not go down in the history of Les Mis as the best musical voice ever, it's still suited to the part. I still have issues with his suicide at the end. As a reader, it still doesn't make sense to me with the way Hugo paints him but that's an author issue, not a film one.

Amanda Seyfried. We know from Mamma Mia she can sing but I wondered if she could hit all the notes required for the role of Cosette. If done in the written key, that meant hitting 2 high C's piano (soft)  which is tough even at times for a trained singer. No worries. She had no problems. No idea which songs may have had their keys changed to better suit voices for the film as I don't have perfect pitch, but even if it wasn't high C it was till pretty close. And for once I actually noticed that Cosette had a spine, so thank you for that. The only tiny thing I noticed with her is she has a very fast vibrato, which I'm not a fan of, but it only comes out a few times and as vibrato is something you're mostly born with and can only minorly control, I'll let it go.
New to me Eddie Redmayne: you have to love Marius' voice to love him and boy does this guy have a perfect Marius voice. I mean he can sing. The only thing that bugged me was his quivering jaw at times. Can't decided if that is improper singing technique or emotional intesity coming through, but just sit back and enjoy. He's been at this acting/singing thing for a while, but this will make him public in a big way.

Helena Bonham Carter & Sacha Baron Cohen are the perfect Thenardiers. They do it to a T! No idea if he could sing, but no problems there. The thing that made me giggle was a bit of an interview I caught online by Carter where she said she could just barely hold a tune, which is just so untrue as we know from her performance in Corpse Bride and Sweeney Todd. This pair are wonderfully immoral, although I thought the Santa bit was unnecessary.

Samantha Barks: All IMDB tells me is that she beat out Taylor Swift to play Eponine for this and much as I like Ms. Swift, I'd say this was a good call. I saw online somewhere else that she performed this role on Broadway (although she is a Brit so it may have been West End) and that she does the role well in film isn't a surprise.

Aaron Tveit: Enjolras is his first film role from what I can tell, but his theater resume is certainly up to snuff and I hope we'll see more of him. Liked his voice just as much as Marius

The rest: Like I said there are no weak links. The sets, costumes, etc. just marvelous.

Oh, the new song is wonderful. I'll call it Suddenly. No idea what the real title is. I thought when they announced an Oscar nomination for a new song in Les Mis it was going to be during the end credits like Phantom did, but no, I was dead wrong. It's smack in the middle of the film and is a solo for Val Jean (Jackman). Blessedly they had the original lyricist and composer write it and it fits in perfectly. I wonder if they'll retro it into future stage productions. I vote yes! Oh, you'll also notice that snippets of songs are skipped here and there or even missing entirely (like Gavroche's Little People song). But I'm good with that. With everything else they included (like the elephant) and considering it's getting close to Hobbit length I'm willing to let a few little bits of song slide.

Go. See. Enjoy. Cry. (You'll need tissues even if you've seen the production before.)

Most of all be thankful you didn't live in France in the 1800's!!!

What did you think?