Wednesday, December 21, 2011

RATE IT! Glittering Christmas Cities

I love a good Christmas city. I like snow, the decorations...

I recently wrote an article for Reader's about several gorgeous Christmas destinations perfect for people full of holiday spirit.

10 Festive Christmas Destinations

Hope you enjoy this enchanted holiday travelogue!

(photo: mine!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

RATE IT! Christmas CAN Be Sunny

I've been quite busy this holiday season with a bunch of articles toasting the Christmas season. Here's one of my most heart-warming - so to speak! 

The 10 Sunniest Christmas Vacations ~ My latest article for Reader's

Snow haters, rejoice! You do have options!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

HATE IT! Like Crazy

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will have seen a flurry of tweets in anticipation of the movie, 'Like Crazy'. It's been feted at Sundance and has had plenty of critic-worthy buzz, but for me none of those shiny accolades really matter. I'll like a movie if it speaks to me, or touches my soul in some way. It doesn't have to be a cinematic masterpiece, or winner of a truck load of glittering gold statuettes. If I like it, that's enough for me.

I took a weekday afternoon off work to catch this movie. I was so looking forward to it! The reason? The long distance relationship theme. I love movies that deal with this sort of relationship conundrum. You see, I've been there, done that and now have the husband to prove it. We endured an 18-month long distance relationship - me in Canada, he in England - and we found a way to make it work until we both had our feet firmly planted on the same soil. 

Back in the throes of our long distance drama, we weren't fortunate to have all the bells and whistles available for the distance challenged today. We had email, and the phone - THAT'S IT. Back in the late '90s, Skype didn't exist. I didn't own a cell phone, so texts were out of the question, nor did I have a computer at home. I could only send emails from work. Somehow, someway without instant messaging, texting, Twitter or Facebook, we made it work. It was a tough slog. I won't lie and say it was easy, because it wasn't. 

So... along comes this little movie 'Like Crazy', about two California college kids besotted with one another. She's a Brit. He's American. She overstays her time in the US and falls foul with her visa. Whoopsie. She's not allowed back into the US until they get this easily avoidable mess done and dusted. And so begins their long distance affair. 

Cut to the chase... I really despised this movie. For all the critics who are foaming at the mouth over this cinematic "gem", saying it's "so lifelike", and "real" -- have YOU ever been in the midst of a long distance relationship?  I sincerely doubt it. Having walked in the shoes of these two characters, I found their behaviour to be completely unrealistic. Here are my main beefs:

They were lazy -- constantly playing phone tag, leaving sad sack messages and texts for one another: "I missed you." "Please call me!" C'MON! You might have a day or two of phone tag, but if you're truly committed to the other person, this situ just does not happen! You set a time to talk and stick to it. They both had cell phones - more than me and my future husband had. Cry me a river. Through the time of their on-screen relationship, technology began to sprout all sorts of new communication toys - gee, wish I had that luxury during my tenure an ocean away from my guy. 

They whine way too much -- yes, long distance love is heartbreaking, sad, exciting and extremely difficult. The situation is constantly having its way with your emotions. I get it. But whining and complaining about it all the bloody time - enough! If you don't like how it feels, get out of the relationship - or, better yet, MOVE. Yes, up sticks and live on the same continent, in the same city. Cancel out the "long distance" part of the relationship. Okay, she couldn't return to the USA because of her Visa snafu, but he could of flitted over to London. Dude ran his own business. Surely, the boss wouldn't mind too much if you took a short leave of absence. Ultimately, as a long distance relationship participant, YOU have a choice in the matter. Either get with the program and ride the wave, or shut up and move on. But I guess if they did that, we wouldn't have a movie, would we? So cue all the stupid drama, longing looks through glass doors, and unrealistic nuances and fill those cinema seats with hipsters who think this movie is art.

The dude -- sorry, but I don't see how this fella is such a lady killer. Let's look at the evidence: first, he nets Felicity Jones. She's gorgeous, British, quirky and even more adorable than Zooey Deschanel. But while he's separated from her by the miles, his heart wanders and a new girl strolls into his orbit. It's Jennifer Lawrence, people! Another total fox (sorry, for sounding like Wayne's World here). This guy makes furniture in the movie - good job, resourceful... nothing wrong with that profession, but he doesn't seem to have an outstanding sense of humour, a magnetic personality, or a great intellect. He's no Aidan Shaw. He's not the best conversationalist (as seen in his lack of communication with his Brit honey back in the UK). What's to like here? Why does he have all the babes falling at his feet? I didn't buy his attractiveness to all these beautiful women. Not for one second. The guy was just so...oatmeal... all beige and blah.

What did I like about this movie?

I really, really loved Felicity Jones. She's a scene stealer, and all HER buzz is warranted. She's captivating on the screen and the camera loves her. No doubt she'll grab plenty of interesting roles after this star turn - and she deserves each and every one of them. 

But beyond this cute Brit actress, I didn't find much to rave about in 'Like Crazy.' It was flat, a tad boring and very unrealistic. I never once felt sorry for these characters. There was nothing really redeeming about either one of them. If you really want to be with someone who lives half a world away, you do ANYTHING to make it work. No expense is too much. Time is just a minor diversion. You make it work. These two didn't try hard enough. I know, I've been there. 

I've previously written about long distance relationships for Best Health and Slice. Click on the links to explore more. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

RATE IT! Love Hearts Coin Purse

How can you not love this perfect little stockings stuffer?

Love Heart coin purse - adorable. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

RATE IT! Cosmic Christmas

Love, love, LOVE this Christmas cartoon special from back in the late '70s. This Canadian gem called 'Cosmic Christmas' was a staple on TV screens in the Great White North for several years and then suddenly, like the aliens in the story, it disappeared. I'm guessing that there must have been a rights issue because we haven't seen this special on TV for years. I really wish someone would sort out their library or talk to their lawyers and get this program back on TV during the build-up to Christmas where it belongs!

Check out part one here... and if you like what you see, you can view the remaining parts on YouTube. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

RATE IT! New Holiday Tunes

It's now officially December - let the holiday tunes ring out! 

Now, I know that many retailers have already jumped the gun, and have been playing Christmas music for weeks now. But if you can still stomach a seasonal song or two, take a look at one of my latest articles for This piece is giving all the latest (and most noteworthy) Christmas albums the once over. Some albums are new this year, while others are from last year or the year before. 

A little bit of holiday flavour for everyone! Read and enjoy!

(photo © Jackie Middleton)
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