What I was Into in June

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Well – just like that, this year is halfway over! I can’t begin to wrap my head around how quickly 2015 is flying by…so I won’t. I’ll just share some of the things I’ve been enjoying this month!

Books I Read
An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon – The seventh book in the Outlander series; I feel like this book has been on the list for ages – probably because it has! I have to admit I’d gotten distracted by other books and lost interest, but I suddenly hit a place where it reeled me in again and I’m so glad. The story follows Jamie, Claire and their myriad of family members spread across the world (the American colonies and Scotland) as well as time (1776 all the way to 1980) and the battles they face; both the literal and figurative. This book’s end so cleverly pulls you into the start of the eighth and final book and I can’t wait to see how it concludes!

Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me (and Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling – I love any and all books by a funny lady (hello…Tina Fey’s book is amazing!) and I love Mindy Kaling! Her book was a really easy, very light read – I burned through this is 24 hours and cracked up while doing so. I love her take on so many things and I love her witty outlook on life. This was a good read for sure!

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon – The eighth (and final??) book in the Outlander series! I will admit that I’m not quite finished with this one yet…mostly because it has something along the lines of 150+ chapters! The story follows Jamie, (returned from his presumed watery grave) Claire and a myriad grouping of their extended family and friends as they navigate their way through the end of the Revolutionary War. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it so far and can’t wait to see how it winds up!

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – The book for our July meeting of book club! I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever read this one through all the way, even though I love Jane Austen! Also, who doesn’t love Mr. Darcy??

Books in the Queue
Well…I suppose I need to finish Written in My Own Heart’s Blood first…but then I have a few things I’d like to get around to…

Property by Valerie Martin – The book club book for the month of August! I’m very intrigued by this book, here is a little description of the story from Amazon: The year is 1828, the setting a Louisiana sugar plantation where Manon Gaudet, pretty, bitterly intelligent and monstrously self-absorbed, seethes under the dominion of her boorish husband. In particular his relationship with her slave Sarah, who is both his victim and his mistress.

The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory – This is the first in a series of six books about the House of Lancaster and York as they battle for the throne of England. I’ve read several series by Phillipa Gregory before and loved them all; especially her books about the Tudors and the Wideacre Trilogy. I’m sure this book (and the series) will be no different!

Can’t Miss Television
Game of Thrones – The fifth season wrapped up this month with the final two episodes and both packed quite a wallop. The 9th episode was both horrifying and amazing, a feat that Game of Thrones pulls off oh so well…although sometimes I wish they wouldn’t pull off the horrifying quite so much. The finale for this season was a bit of a let down; while the body count was high, the thrill factor just wasn’t there and it definitely left me wanting something…more? Different? I’d hesitate to use the word better but if I’m being honest with myself, that’s exactly what I’m thinking – I wanted something better. The finale certainly left viewers with plenty of cliffhangers and I’m desperately hoping season six can rectify some of the mistakes of season five. Until next March/April…we wait.

Amazing – not terrifying. At least not for Daenerys.
Nationals Baseball – Yep. I have discovered my Summer TV niche and it’s baseball games. Well, Nationals baseball games – duh! As I mentioned previously, if you can’t go to the games you might as well watch them on TV. Plus, getting into baseball is a lot easier than falling for another TV show…I’ll leave my TV shows for Fall and Spring and let the boys of Summer occupy my TV when it’s warm!
This game was intense! A 5-4 Nationals win after 11 innings!

Poldark – New Show Alert!!! Can I just tell you, I am loving this show! It’s only two episodes in and I’m definitely hooked! 🙂 The show tells the story of Ross Poldark, returned home from fighting the Revolutionary War and not exactly given a heroes welcome! Presumed dead, Ross returns home to find his Father has died and left him with very little money, the woman he was in love with and promised to has married his cousin and the life he’d planned for himself while away has crumbled into nothing. Ross rescues poor street urchin Demelza from her abusive Father and hires her as a kitchen maid and decides to re-open his family mine; he is determined to try and rebuild the life he once knew…

And that’s all I know so far, since I’ve only seen two episodes…but something (like maybe that picture and the preview for next week’s episode) leads me to believe that Demelza won’t be a kitchen maid for long…

Spoiler alert – just look at this picture of Ross & Demelza!

Parks & Recreation – Okay, so maybe I fibbed a little bit when I said I’d leave TV shows for Fall and Spring; because there’s this thing called Netflix and I spent the last weekend of June being bored on a rainy Saturday and fell into watching this show and I’m hooked! The antics of Leslie Knope, Ron Swanson and the rest of the scrappy staff of the Pawnee, Indiana Parks & Recreation Department make for a pretty hilarious 22 minutes of television; especially when you can binge it on Netflix! If you want a laugh, this show is certainly worth checking out!

So funny & awkward.

Movies I Watched
Tammy – This movie though; it cracked me up! This was a Friday night find on HBO and the girls I worked with had mentioned it being funny – plus, I love Melissa McCarthy. Tammy is a woman down on her luck: she hit a deer on the way to work, got fired and came home to find her husband is cheating on her…so she packs up her things, commandeers her Grandma’s car (with Grandma in tow) and takes off for Niagara Falls. What follows is hilarity and misadventure as Tammy learns that if she wants her life to be different; to be better, she has to make the changes. This movie is also hilarious because again…Melissa McCarthy.

The road did hit back & it was hilarious!
Hello Ladies-The Movie – So, this was a show on HBO and it kind of cracked me up…but it only got one season! It starred Stephen Merchant, who I know from watching way too much An Idiot Abroad (which, if you’ve never seen that…look it up on Netflix) as a smart but awkward, slightly too full of himself tech programmer in LA, looking for love. He always thwarts his own efforts by being a little too confident, a little too ridiculous and generally making an idiot of himself…all the while missing that the best person for him is probably right in front of him in the guise of his best friend, Jessica. I won’t spoil the ending but if you have HBO, I’d encourage you to check out the show – it’s funny; in an offbeat way, and somewhat endearing. It’s also not nearly as crass/violent/exploitative as most HBO shows…which may explain why it only had one season?
So awkward & wonderful – I love it!
The Maze Runner – I wanted this movie to be good because I really enjoyed the book…but it just sort of fell flat for me. I’m glad I waited to rent this because it didn’t just blow me away. I’m not sure if it was because it was changed so drastically from the book or what…but I just couldn’t stay focused. The story follows a group of boys living in The Glade; a large open pasture surrounded by walls that open into a maze, the walls open each day allowing “runners” to go into the maze in an effort to find an escape but the walls close at dusk and at night the maze is filled with grievers – horrible nightmare creatures. Once Thomas arrives in the Glade, things begin to change and most of the boys have a renewed hope for escape…but when Teresa…the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade, makes her appearance and remembers Thomas, the boys start to question why he is there and what he knows. – as they make a play to escape, the risks only escalate…but what’s waiting outside the maze may not be quite what they’d hoped for.
Not quite as thrilling as I’d hoped…

Jurassic World – I watched Jurassic Park years ago at a friend’s birthday party…I’m fairly certain I was about ten and it was just scary enough to be fun and creep me out a little bit simultaneously…so I ended up seeing The Lost World and Jurassic Park III…which were both disappointing. As soon as I saw this trailer though…I was intrigued – they’d gone back to what originally worked, given it a spin and then put Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard into the film as the leads – and it works! The story follows brothers Zach and Gray Mitchell as they travel to Isla Nublar to spend a week with their Aunt Claire, who also happens to be the Operations Manager at Jurassic World; the theme park rebuilt on the ruins of the original Jurassic Park. The boys arrive prior to the unveiling of the newest dinosaur that the park’s geneticist have cooked up: Indominus Rex – he’s bigger, louder and has more teeth. He’s also smarter and of course…he breaks free and chaos ensues. The movie is all around fun, will make you jump out of your seat (ask my Mom…she did more than once) and has plenty of tongue in cheek throwbacks to the original. Go see it! Also – the website is crazy cool..check it out!

Will they never learn? Dinos always escape & wreck havoc….

The Book of Life – This is an animated movie by Guillermo del Toro and man; it was definitely colorful! I think that is what I enjoyed the most; the vibrance of the characters and their settings, especially the Land of the Remembered. The story follows childhood friends Maria, Joaquin and Manolo, both boys are in love with Maria and want to marry her but what they don’t know is that La Muerte (the ruler of the Land of the Remembered) and Xibalba (the ruler of the Land of the Forgotten) have struck a bargain about the young children. If Manolo marries Maria, La Muerte wins and Xibalba will no longer interfere in mortal affairs but if Joaquin marries Maria, Xibalba wins and he gets to switch realms with La Muerte. The movie was cute and somewhat intriguing…like I said, I really loved the colors! 

This movie was crazy colorful!

This is Where I Leave You – I really enjoyed this movie! The film follows the reunion of the four Altman siblings and their Mother as they fulfill their Father’s dying wish that they sit Shiva; which means seven days of bonding time. The sibling start out at one another’s throats but as the week progresses, they grow closer and help one another through the trials they are each facing in their own lives. I’m a big fan of Jason Bateman and Tina Fey so that is what drew me to this movie but the ensemble cast is really excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed this. It was funny with some heart-tugging moments thrown in for good measure!

Families are complicated…this movie makes that an understatement…

Exodus: Gods & Kings – I really wanted this to be good…or maybe I just really wanted this to not be completely awful and inaccurate, but I should have known better. The acting was splendid and the sets were amazing; I still hope to visit Egypt one day. The story though; oh me. I just had too many issues with the story but was probably most bothered by God being portrayed as a petulant child who seemed to be looking to brutally punish the Egyptians and took too much sick glee in their pain. I think Christian Bale is an excellent actor but his portrayal of Moses made him seem slightly deranged; however after reading his comments that he believe Moses was likely “schizophrenic and mentally unhinged” I see why he might have played him as such. Impressive visually but otherwise, this left a bad taste in my mouth.

I wanted this to be good….
Music I Listened To
Games of Thrones:Music from Season Five – The show may not have wowed on all levels this year like it has in seasons before, but I still love the music and this soundtrack is no exception. The instrumental music builds and develops themes that already embody certain characters and also introduces new sounds. I do love a good instrumental score!

Poldark Soundtrack – Another instrumental score; I especially love the theme to the show, it’s absolutely beautiful and I wish it lasted longer than 45 seconds! The songs are very pretty; it’s calming and peaceful to listen to…so I usually listen to it on the way home from work – not driving to work, ha-ha!

Sports Radio – I know…that’s not technically music but I have been listening to it. Hehehe. I keep my radio tuned to 106.7 The Fan “DC’s Station for all things Nationals, Capitals, Redskins & United”…which, I honestly only care about the first one. They broadcast all the games and every Wednesday morning at 8 they talk with Matt Williams (that would be the General Manager of the Nats). Just in time for the drive to work! 🙂 One thing I’ve learned – even though the Redskins are supposedly “DC’s Team”…no one (at least on this station) seems to like them very much. I have to agree with them, ha-ha!

Yummy in my Tummy
Starbucks – Y’all, I think it is safe to say there is an addiction at play here. I think they put something in their drinks…besides coffee. I was already in deep, deep like with Starbucks after they introduced the S’mores Frappucino and then they went and brought out six new frappucinos and it was true love for sure! I think the S’mores is still my favorite though…yum….

I look like I have really good eyeliner going for me in the picture on the right…not sure how that happened…
What I’m Looking Forward To
Spending July 4th with friends! I mean – who doesn’t appreciate a good fireworks show? Besides most all dogs…because man, Watson HATES fireworks.

Game Two of the Battle of the Beltways Series – Which is what the games are called when the Washington Nationals face off against the Baltimore Orioles! And this year we are taking in one of those games…at Camden Yards! That’s right, the second thing on my list is baseball…and guess what, if you keep reading, the third thing on my life…also baseball! I know, who am I even? I don’t know but I do know that I’m thrilled to be spending the day in Baltimore – a city that I’ve loved each time I’ve been (maybe no one will riot??) and capping off that day with a baseball game at Camden Yards! It’s sure to be an awesome day!

This should be interesting….

Star Wars Day at Nationals Park – Oh yes, combining two of my favorite things? I’m so down for that! Will he be blazing outside on July 19th at 1 PM…probably! Do I care…NOPE! We are attending the first ever Star Wars Day at Nationals Park and I could not be more excited! Can’t wait! The first 25,000 people get an R2-D2 can cooler and that’s basically a fancy koozie but I’m pretty sure I need it. I’m also pretty stoked because my friend Jennie and her Star Wars loving little boy, Jimmy will be joining us! Although we have to convince him that he can’t actually wear his Darth Vader costume to the game…

I never knew Zimm was a Jedi…

Blackberry Delight 2015 – Oh my goodness, cannot wait for this! It’s an annual event held at Skyland Resort and it celebrates all things blackberry…and let me tell you, the blackberry ice cream alone would be reason enough to go! If you’re interested, I’ll just post this link and you can check it out. I plan to be there for sure! 

Blackberry Cobbler a la mode - Shenandoah National Park
Nom Nom Nom…

Well – I guess that about wraps things up for the month of June! I don’t know about you all, but my July, August and September are already packed with plenty of awesome things to do…and once those three months pass we get to the best three months of the year: October, November and December! Don’t blink…it will all be here before you know it! So, without further delay – go carpe some diem!

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