January Netflix Binge: The Carrie Diaries

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I watched and liked the original Sex and the City series and have seen both movies but flat out ignored the Netflix suggestion to watch The Carrie Diaries. However, after finding myself watching the first SATC movie on basic cable earlier this month, I decided I would give the defunct CW teen series a go.

But only after I cried my eyes out during the scene where Charlotte protects Carrie from Big after he leaves her at the alter. It kills me every single time.

Based on the YA novels written by Candace Bushnell, The Carrie Diaries is considered a prequel to her 1996 smash Sex and the City. As we all know, her book was turned into the long running HBO series. I think the CW hoped they would have captured the same success with The Carrie Diaries but sadly the show was canceled after two seasons.

I liked The Carrie Diaries more than I thought I would. The series begins with Carrie as a high school student living in Connecticut in 1984. She has been scarred by the recent death of her mother and lives with her hostile sister and widowed father. We are led to believe that Carrie Bradshaw is on the outskirts of the popular crowd at her high school. She has a gang of stereotypical high school girlfriends and a nemesis in the girl who gets all the boys. She is obsessed with “the city” and convinces her dad that she take an internship at a law firm after school in New York. This is where she eventually meets the editor of Interview Magazine and thus finds her voice as a writer. And of course there is a love interest named Sebastian Kydd.

This pretty much sums up the two seasons.

What I loved about The Carrie Diaries:

The soundtrack. It made me want to only listen to the 80s station on my satellite radio. Deeper cuts from the Cure, Devo, ‘Til Tuesday, Bryan Ferry and more were featured which made the show less pop and more underground.

The costuming for Carrie was gorgeous. I’m really not sure most 16 year olds in 1984 would have had the means to wear what we saw Carrie in but it sure was fashion eye candy for the viewer. I love this Tumblr page dedicated to the wardrobe.

AnnaSophia Robb was really charming as Carrie. I was left wondering why we don’t see more of her on TV or movies.

What I didn’t like:

The wig they put on AnnaSophia Robb during the first season. It was a hot mess of blonde ringlet curls. I’m pretty sure she wore her natural hair in the pilot episode but she definitely had a wig on in the episodes that followed. She was back to natural curls during season 2 and it was so obvious that they even mentioned how she had changed her hair after her summer in the city.

Her high school friends and their irrelevant story lines. Of course, a teen soap needs a cast and I think having a core group of gal pals foreshadows the importance of friendships to Carrie for later but blah. The story lines were painful, with the exception of Donna Ladonna who redeems herself as bad girl to empathetic friend.

What Surprised Me:

Maybe I’m getting too old for a teen series but I was shocked at the references to cocaine use. I get that was a thing in the 80s but it just surprised about how often it came up.

You can stream The Carrie Diaries on Netflix now. Have you seen what’s new on Netflix for February? You bet I’ll be watching Fuller House later in the month.

I am part of the Netflix StreamTeam and gladly share all my binge worthy finds. All opinions are my own.

December Netflix Binge: Making A Murderer

For December I set out to binge watch all six seasons of The L Word and share my thoughts on the series for this month’s Netflix Stream Team post. Well, I did finish all 70 episodes and really, really loved it. In fact, I was sad when it was over and still find myself thinking about what happened to those characters.

But, my review will have to wait because the internet blew up right before Christmas with everyone talking about the original Netflix true crime documentary series called Making A Murderer. After all the gifts were opened on the 25th, I settled in with my iPad for an hour and watched the first of the 10-episode series.

This pretty much sums up the first episode.

Episodes 2 through 5.

And then episodes 6 through 9.

And finally, the last episode.

Making A Murderer follows the arrest of Steven Avery over a ten year period. I don’t want to give any spoilers away because I really feel the series is worth watching, especially if you find true crime drama interesting. I finished all ten episodes in two days and I’ve been left dumbfounded at its conclusion.

Have you watched Making A Murderer? Tell me what you thought in the comments below. I’ll be back with another Netflix Binge in January.

I’m lucky to be part of the Netflix Stream Team. This post is non-sponsored however Netflix has provided me with an account and device to stream from the Netflix library. Gifs via Giphy.com

November Netflix Binge: River

I’m not really sure what it is about this time of year and my need for dark crime dramas. Last year around this time, I tore through The Killing, Happy Valley and The Fall. Over the holiday weekend, I found myself searching Netflix for something gritty. I love getting into bed with the lights out and the iPad streaming well into the late night hours.

I found River.

river on netflix

River is a new crime drama new to Netflix. The six episode mini-series debuted earlier this fall on BBC and stars Stellan Skarsgård as a tortured police detective who shoulders the investigation of his murdered partner. John River is consumed by voices. He still sees his partner, a street thug he accidentally killed, a young girl whose case remains unsolved and a 19th century serial killer. All these “ghosts” in some way help and hinder his investigation but also lands him into a psychiatric evaluation.

Skarsgård is excellent. The major story arch is good – nothing earth shattering – but the way we get to peek into the unstable mind is nothing short of compelling.

I’m not sure if River was intended only as a mini-series and this is all we get or if there is more to come. Six episodes was not enough. There is definitely more story to tell.

I’m thrilled to be working with Netflix again this year as part as their StreamTeam. This is a non-sponsored post but Netflix did provide me with a year long membership so I can binge watch until my heart’s content and share my finds.

What I Love About The League

I knew absolutely zero about football before I met my husband.

He was a big fan of the both college football and the NFL and I quickly realized that if I wanted to hang out with this guy on the weekend that I better learn a few things about the sport. (To be fair, he took me to see plenty of chick flicks. It was a very balanced courtship.)

I was a pretty quick study. One Sunday afternoon, my dad had a game on and I yelled “PASS INTERFERENCE!” at the TV. My dad couldn’t believe what he had heard. I followed up with “What? The guy didn’t turn to look at the ball.”

Fast forward several football seasons with lots of wins and a few heartbreaking losses for our favorite teams. My husband and his brother decided to create a fantasy football league and they needed another player to round out the league. I bet they thought I’d be an easy opponent. Sure, I might have learned the ins and outs of the sport over the years but what the heck did this girl know about the players?

Well, if it wasn’t for Andy Reid pulling out Eagles running back, Brian Westbrook, I would have locked up the championship that season. We still laugh every time we see Andy Reid on TV and my husband makes sure to remind me of my words that day I was robbed of the league championship: “DAMN YOU, ANDY REID!!!”

I have since retired from playing fantasy football.

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I recently started watching a hilarious and far too realistic scripted comedy about fantasy football called The League. It’s in its last season on FX but I’ve binge watched the entire first and second seasons on Netflix.

The League is about a group of guys who play fantasy football. The quips are sharp and the dialogue is both fast paced and wildly inappropriate. What I love about The League is that it’s not all football all the time. It’s largely about the friendships between the male characters and there lay the comedy gold. Spouses play a significant role in each storyline, too. The ongoing push and pull between Kevin and Jenny is hilarious. Especially when Kevin refuses to let Jenny join (even though she is clearly a better player than he) and it seriously backfires.

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My favorite is Paul Scheer as Andre. He’s a gullible plastic surgeon who believes he should take Tim Brady (yes, Tim, not Tom) in the first round of the draft. Andre often gets the last laugh (Shiva!) but I crack up every time the guys lay into him about his Ed Hardy shirts and when he erroneously shouts “child please.”

Season two introduced Jason Mantzoukas as Rafi and he delivers the best one-liners throughout.

I’m already mourning the end of this series because it’s so funny. I’m glad to know I’ve got Netflix to catch up to the season currently airing on FX. Thank God for Netflix and thank God for The League.

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam. This post is not sponsored but I did receive a subscription and tablet to stream content from the ever growing Netflix library.

Tig Notaro Documentary on Netflix

I had stumbled across a fantastic documentary just days after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was like divine intervention. Something had willed me to sit on my couch that morning and mindlessly scroll deep into the channel guide. The documentary followed a young woman through surgery and treatment and it totally and completely altered my perception of what I had anticipated for myself. I was and am still so thankful for that documentary because it left me hopeful.

I felt the same way after recently watching Tig on Netflix.

Tig Notaro documentary

Tig Notaro is a comedian. She has a very distinct style and voice that I like very much. I had first learned of who she was last summer after it was announced she would speak at a blogging conference I had planned to attend. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend her keynote at the conference but by then had learned about her story and the groundbreaking stand-up set she performed in 2012 where she opened with telling the audience she had cancer.

“Good evening. Hello. I have cancer.” Tig Notaro

I settled in earlier this month to see what the Tig documentary had to offer.

I laughed at her unique way she tells a story. I cried for her loss. I felt empathetic for her struggles and understood her desires. My heart broke all over that documentary and I learned that her story is so much more than having had breast cancer. Tig is about love, loss, fear and hope.

I highly recommend Tig for both my friends who have experienced cancer and for those who have simply been thrown a curve ball in their lives.

Tig is available exclusively on Netflix.

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam and gladly share my honest thoughts and opinions on their service each month. Netflix has provided me with a free subscription and device to stream their incredible content.

The Cure for the Afternoon Summer Slump

A few years ago, I had a friend declare that her household was going screen-free for the summer. My reaction was one of horror. There is just absolutely no way our family would make it through three months of summer days without a little TV down time.

Admittedly, we make it most of the morning and early afternoon without the television on. I have my favorite weekly podcasts and YouTube channels I like to listen to or watch as we putter around the house getting ready for the day. My daughter might watch one or two episodes of her favorite shows in the early morning or during breakfast and then we are out the door.

But then comes that dreaded afternoon slump. We’re usually hungry and tired and just need an hour or so to chill out with a snack and something good to watch. Thank goodness for Netflix! My daughter and I can find something to watch together or we can sit on opposite sides of the couch with our iPads and watch our own shows.

Here’s what to watch on Netflix this summer plus don’t miss our new go-to favorite afternoon snack below.

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Family Friendly or Movies Mom Can Stand Watching, Too

Bad Hair Day
12 Mile Road
The Muppets Take Manhattan
Bug Off
House Arrest
High School Musical 2

Mom’s Side of the Couch (with Headphones!)

Pretty Little Liars
Orange is the New Black
Wentworth
Chasing Life
Cake

Little One’s Picks

Bindi’s Boot Camp
An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars
A Second Chance
Monster High 13 Wishes
Cupcake Wars

Our go-to snacks include kid-friendly pizza muffins, apple nachos, salty-spicy popcorn and watermelon pizza. The watermelon pizza is so easy to make: slice watermelon into triangles and top with any sliced fruit and shredded coconut. Easy and healthy, perfect for a mid-afternoon snack.

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netflix disclosure Thanks to Netflix for providing me with a subscription and device to stream content. All opinions are my own. You can find me on the couch.

Netflix ReBoots I’d Like to See

Did you hear that a Full House reboot is coming to Netflix in 2016?

John Stamos announced in April that the show will return with most of the original cast and also tweeted two days ago that Bob Saget will also be back as Danny Tanner. Missing are the Olsen twins. Is anyone surprised?

It had me wondering if Mary-Kate and Ashley are necessary for a Full House reboot. A reunion? Maybe. But definitely not a reboot. It could easily be written that Michelle Tanner is off being a fashion mogul somewhere. I certainly hope she wouldn’t still be living with Uncle Jesse somewhere in San Francisco.

I’m not going to lie. I’ll definitely watch the 13-episode run of Fuller House when it hits Netflix. I watched the original series during its first run on ABC and my 7-year-old daughter now watches the re-runs all the time.

The absent Olsens had me thinking about which TV shows I could totally watch without a major returning character. Here’s my top three:

1. Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica

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Can I tell you how much I loved this MTV series? I was obsessed, like, OBSESSED. And can I say that I would be one happy girl if Netflix added this series to their library of streaming content. Anyway, we all know these two aren’t married anymore but Newlyweds could easily be rebooted. I’m just not sure though if I want to watch Newlyweds: Nick and Vanessa or Newlyweds: Eric and Jessica.

2. Beverly Hills, 90210

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Ok, I am a 90210 fan girl and I know that this show was rebooted back in 2008 but the new series was never as good as the original. So, ignore that the 2008 series existed and imagine with me the 2015 version. Donna (still married to David) is a reality TV show housewife for a popular cable network and Kelly is her PR rep. I could probably do without the rest of the original cast. But, the show would definitely need Brandon or Dylan. What say you?

3. Felicity

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ANOTHER original series that should be on Netflix! If you didn’t know, Keri Russell now plays a spy on The Americans and Scott Foley is on Scandal (both great shows!). A Felicity reboot with Ben, Sean and Meghan would be awesome but it obviously still couldn’t be called Felicity. Maybe it could be called Smoothaise. Please tell me someone knows what I’m referring to.

netflix disclosure

 

I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam and gladly share my honest thoughts and opinions on their service each month. Netflix has provided me with a free subscription and device to stream their awesome content.

Ever After High: Spring Unsprung Party

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 8.34.30 PMI am so stoked to be part of the Netflix #StreamTeam! I was hand selected to be part of their exclusive blogger network to help share the awesomeness that is Netflix streaming. Disclosure: Netflix provided me with a device and a year long subscription to stream content. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

Last month, Netflix premiered the brand new animated feature based on the popular Ever After High doll franchise. To celebrate, we whipped up an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung themed viewing party!

Tons of really great ideas for an Ever After High party. Food, crafts and decorations for an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung party.

If you aren’t familiar with Ever After High, the magical story lines follow the teenage sons and daughters of classic fairytale characters. Apple White is the daughter of Snow White, Alistar Wonderland is the son of Alice, Bunny Blanc is the daughter of The White Rabbit. My daughter’s favorites are Briar Beauty (daughter of Sleeping Beauty) and C.A. Cupid (daughter of Eros). If you are as confused as I was, see all the Ever After High characters here.

In Ever After High: Spring Unsprung, Kitty Cheshire’s mom plays a trick on Alistair Wonderland during Ever After High’s Spring Fairest, it might ruin the celebration’s happy ending. My daughter and her friends gave the movie two thumbs up! The really great news is that Netflix will release a 12-episode series later in 2015.

Let’s get to the Ever After High party details!

I was inspired by the characters and their extravagant headwear to create our own floral crowns. I followed this tutorial from Grow Creative to create the tissue paper pom poms. I made tons of extras because they packed such a colorful punch. Staple the tissue paper flowers to baker’s twine and wrap the twine tightly around a headband.

Tons of really great ideas for an Ever After High party. Food, crafts and decorations for an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung party.

Tons of really great ideas for an Ever After High party. Food, crafts and decorations for an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung party.

Tons of really great ideas for an Ever After High party. Food, crafts and decorations for an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung party.

I love following a theme for my parties and took my decorating cues from the Spring Unsprung storyline. Early in the movie, the students are preparing for the annual Spring Fairest celebration. Their palette was black and white to represent the passing of winter and tons of bright colors to represent the coming of spring. Easy enough!

Tons of really great ideas for an Ever After High party. Food, crafts and decorations for an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung party.

A black tablecloth, black and white striped paper products, and black and white polka dot paper straws mixed with the colorful tissue paper flowers and balloons set the foundation for the treat table. I attached an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung photo to the balloon as a centerpiece for the table.

Let’s take a closer look at the treats! I created labels for all the goodies by using a white chalkboard pen and the same paper punch I used to make the tissue paper flowers.

Tons of really great ideas for an Ever After High party. Food, crafts and decorations for an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung party.

The Well of Wonder leads the Ever After High students to Wonderland. Water + flavored water drops = Well of Wonder Water!

Tons of really great ideas for an Ever After High party. Food, crafts and decorations for an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung party.

The movie’s antagonist needs her own cookie! I piped on Wilton Sparkle Gel on store bought black & white cookies to create the Cheshire Cat’s famous smile.

Tons of really great ideas for an Ever After High party. Food, crafts and decorations for an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung party.

They serve Dragon Corn at the Spring Fairest celebration. We served Dragon Popcorn in black paper cones.

Tons of really great ideas for an Ever After High party. Food, crafts and decorations for an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung party.

These were almost too pretty to eat! Marshmallows on popsicle sticks dipped in Candi-Quick and topped with candy flowers.

Tons of really great ideas for an Ever After High party. Food, crafts and decorations for an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung party.

This was a store bought cupcake cake and perfect for our party!

Tons of really great ideas for an Ever After High party. Food, crafts and decorations for an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung party.

Treats in hand and now for the movie!

I decorated the mantle with black and white streamers and the tissue paper pom poms.

Tons of really great ideas for an Ever After High party. Food, crafts and decorations for an Ever After High: Spring Unsprung party.

What do you think of our Ever After High party?

Check out Netflix to stream Ever After High: Spring Unsprung! Here’s a tip: If you have trouble finding the Spring Unsprung movie, click the drop down function and select “season 2.” You can find four Ever After High short form webisodes under season 1.

All Good Things Come To An End: Parenthood

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We know well that all good things must eventually come to an end.

Parenthood was brilliant. Honest and heartwarming, tragic and heartbreaking. I expected to cry my eyes out throughout the finale but surprisingly held back the tears until the very end. With 12 minutes left of the episode, I texted a friend and said “I’m not crying yet” but montages set in the future kill me. Every time.

Early last year, I was lucky enough to visit the Parenthood set. I sat behind Larry Trilling as he directed the season 5 finale episode. During a break, he turned around and asked what I liked about the show. I told him it was the storytelling. I often cringe when I think about that thirty second exchange. Should my answer have been more profound? Should I have specifically mentioned Kristina’s breast cancer story and how I could personally relate? Should I have talked about what the show has done for autism awareness? Should I have asked if Joel and Julia were ever going to reconcile?!

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But, it is the storytelling that I loved and will miss most about Parenthood.

And Adam.

Yes, I loved Adam. A couple of weeks ago, I felt an overwhelming sadness for how I won’t see Peter Krause each week anymore. And especially Peter and Dax Shepard together. Man, those two have some kind of perfect synergy that worked so well as Adam and Crosby. It got me thinking that I needed to seek out their past projects.

Thank you, Netflix. (Unfortunately, not all titles are available to stream on Netflix but many are available on DVD)

Peter Krause: Six Feet Under, Sports Night (with Josh Charles from The Good Wife!), Dirty Sexy Money, Lovelife, The Truman Show. And how could I forget…He played Jay, Andrea’s older boyfriend, in three episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1992.

Lauren Graham: Gilmore Girls, Because I Said So, Bad Santa, News Radio and the short-lived sitcom Townies from 1996.

Dax Shepard: The Judge, Veronica Mars (how cute is it that he’s in his wife movie?), This Is Where I Leave You, Robot Chicken, Without A Paddle, and who remembers him on MTV’s Punk’d? I do. He Punk’d Nick Lachey when he pretended to be Jessica Simpson’s white trash relative.

Monica Potter: Patch Adams, The Last House on the  Left, Along Came a Spider, The Very Thought of You and Head Over Heels.

Erika Christensen: Traffic, Lie To Me, Flightplan and The Tortured.

Sam Jaeger: American Sniper, Hart’s War, The Riverman, Take Me Home (director credit), and an uncredited role in Friday Night Lights. Shout out Jason Katims for always putting his FNL actors in other projects.

Max Burkholder: Tons of voice work for Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, My Friend’s Tigger and Pooh. He also played Senator McCallister’s son on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters.

Joy Bryant: Entourage, The Skeleton Key, and About Last Night.

Miles Heizer: Rudderless, Private Practice and Ghost Whisperer (Ghost Whisperer feels super binge-worthy!)

Mae Whitman: Oh how I love Mae Whitman! She’s been in tons of things but I remember her first in Hope Floats with Sandra Bullock. Other work includes a 1996 episode of Friends where she plays a Girl Scout, Arrested Development, and tons of voice work in American Dad and as the voice of Tinkerbell.

Bonnie Bedelia: I’ll never forget her as Shirley Muldowney in Heart Like A Wheel! Die Hard, Presumed Innocent (loved that movie!), HBO’s Big Love and Sordid Lives.

Craig T. Nelson: Poltergeist, Coach, Troop Beverly Hills, Soul Surfer, My Name is Earl, The Family Stone, The Incredibles, The Skulls, Turner & Hooch and Private Benjamin.

Of course, Parenthood is available to stream on Netflix.

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May you stay forever young, Parenthood.

Friends Trivia Throwdown

{This giveaway is now over} Thanks to Netflix for allowing me to be part of their #StreamTeam! They have provided me with a subscription and device to stream content. As always, all opinions are my own. 

It’s a Netflix #StreamTeam/Long Story Short crossover event!

When the entire Friends series debuted on Netflix earlier this month, I KNEW I had to get Megan involved somehow to help promote it. See, Megan is what one might call a super fan. I feel like her love for a Friends rerun is one of the first things I learned about her. She gladly accepted my challenge to quiz her on some of the toughest Friends trivia on the internet.

How do you think she did? Plus, don’t miss out on how to enter to win a 3-month Netflix subscription! All the details are below.

Win a 3-Month Netflix Subscription!

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