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Friday, September 23, 2011
The Lion King 3D
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Entertainment

After work, I stopped at the movie theatre to see The Lion King 3D. 

I absolutely loved this movie as a kid—it came out when I was in fourth grade. I loved it so much I had bedding and curtains adorned with Mufasa and Simba.


Anyway, I really haven't watched the movie since then. I don't own it, don't care to own it, and I knew it was probably going to make me cry.

However, I can't pass up the chance to see a childhood favorite back in the theatre, especially when it's in 3D. wasn't that great.

Despite what other people told me, there are no additional scenes or new parts. It's the exact same movie as before, complete with prepubescent Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Simba.

The 3D effect of the movie wasn't even noticeable.

However, I won't go so far to say that it was a waste of my time or $10.

I was reminded why I loved it years ago—Hakuna Matata is a good motto to live by. And yes, I still cried when Scar killed Mufasa.  

Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011
For One More Day
Mood:  cool
Topic: Entertainment

I would put Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You meet in Heaven on my list of favorite books; so, I was really pumped to crack open Mitch Albom's For One More Day. 

It's the story of Charlie, or Chick. He's reached the lowest point in his life—in fact, he's about to kill himself.

In that moment, he tracks back to memories of his life. It was, at times, a life he loved, with a wife and children, and a loving mother.

But they were all things he took for granted.

And so, as he lays in a ditch, about to die, he moves throughout the memories of his life and wonders what he would change about it.

Truthfully, there are many memories he's ashamed of, but there's only one thing he would change.

I won't spoil it for you.

But I will say, I didn't enjoy this book NEARLY as much as the others. Guess you can't win them all! 

Posted by wittywriter7 at 10:44 AM CDT
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011
If You Have to Cry Go Outside
Mood:  rushed
Topic: Job Search

She's often called a bitch for the way she operates her business—but really, Kelly Cutrone just wants to be honest. 

And I love that about her.

So, I happily snatched her first book, "If You Have to Cry Go Outside," off the shelves during Borders going out of business sale.

This book is meant to be an empowering read for women of all sorts, especially those in business.

However, it's not really a how-to, as it includes several stories about Cutrone's life—how she came to be the "Mama Wolf" of her successful PR company, People's Revolution.

To my surprise and delight, Cutrone admitted to a prior life of drugs, homelessness, and even a job as a tarot card reader. And now, she's risen above it all, and is even a single mom.

Which brings to me to another point—why I enjoyed this book. Cutrone spoke my mind when she said that she wants women to understand that we don't need men to make us happy, instead, we need ourselves to make us happy.

If you want to get married, do it, she said. But if it's not for you, that doesn't mean you're less successful.

Go girl! 

Posted by wittywriter7 at 11:34 AM CDT
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Sunday, September 18, 2011
This is Where I Leave You
Mood:  energetic
Topic: Entertainment

At the recommendation of a fellow blogger, I read my first Jonathan Tropper book, "This is Where I Leave You."

It's Tropper's latest of five novels, and was on the New York Times Bestseller list—not to mention the many praises it received, printed all over its cover.

"This is Where I Leave You" is the story of Judd Foxman. The book opens with the news of his father's death. The first chapter is packed with action—not only does Judd's father leave the family with a wish for them all to sit shiva (seven days of Jewish mourning), but Judd also reveals his newly found bachelor status, as he walked in on his wife having sex with his boss.

The remainder of the story follows the Foxman family as they sit their seven days, trying not to kill each other. Each day, Judd encounters a new problem to solve—how does he return to his job? Where will he live? Should he start dating?

The plot thickens when his to-be-ex-wife arrives and tells Judd she is pregnant, with his baby.

How should he be the father when his to-be-ex-wife is still dating his boss?

All of this, not to mention the family drama going on around him.

This book, although complicated, is absolutely hilarious (I probably looked like an idiot laughing out loud at a book while sitting in Starbucks).

I would definitely recommend this one to anyone willing to admit that life is fucked up.  

Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
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Friday, September 16, 2011
Carmel San Diego
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Writing

Today, submissions for my writer's group were due. This is something new I'm trying, to keep my on track with writing in my spare time. Although I wasn't working on anything new, I whipped up a short story using this month's NPR 3-minute fiction. It had to be 600 words or under, and include someone coming into town and someone leaving town. This is what I came up with:

Carmel San Diego

By Holly A. Phillips

At 3:30 am, most of San Diego is still sleeping—minus those gulping down the last of their cocktails, or the white coats at the hospital. Sam’s alarm was set for 3:30 am; she rolled out of bed without the snooze button.

The drive to work was always dark and quiet, until she rounded the corner and the airport was in sight, lit up like Rockefeller Center. She parked in her same spot, gathered her ID and apron, and completed security—the morning routine.

Sam’s coffee house was in Terminal 2, a temporary home for passengers flying American Airlines, often traveling to exotic places she could only dream of visiting. The closest she had come to traveling was tasting the foreign coffee from shipped bags.

Arriving at her station, she unlocked the backdoor, and flipped on the light. She had to move quickly, so she could open at 5 a.m. Coffee first. In the freezer, she gazed over the brewing choices. She liked to have one pot of something local, for those coming home, and something distant, for those leaving home. So today she picked a medium Tijuana bean and a dark from Cameroon, Africa.

She loaded up the tall pots, but didn’t start them. She wanted the coffee to be as fresh as possible. Next, it was time to load the pastries. It was Sam’s personal goal to provide travelers with the best continental breakfast she could.

From the fridge, she unloaded the baked goods she’d prepared the night before; trays of cranberry scones, poppy seed muffins, chocolate-filled croissants, and orange cinnamon rolls. She unwrapped each one carefully, placing them on decorative trays for the display case.

She stocked the front with milk for the steamer, flavored syrups for the coffee concoctions, and fresh whipped cream to top it all off. Finally, it was time to open.

The customers came right away, as usual. Sam wanted to be friendly, but never wanted to bother those simply moving along. A droopy-eyed customer never wanted to chat, nor did those wearing a headset. But most didn’t mind a friendly “Good morning.”

“Here’s your soy latte, sir,” Sam said, handing the drink over. “Enjoy.”

He nodded, and was on his way out. He was dressed for cold weather, leaving Sam to assume he was headed east.

The next woman in line was frazzled, setting down her boarding pass and purse on the counter as she dug for her wallet.

“Large caramel macchiato,” she said. Sam looked at the boarding pass.

“You’re going to Paris?” she asked.

“Me? Oh yes. Business,” she said, slapping a credit card on the counter.

“Oh, wow,” Sam said. “I have always dreamed of going there, sipping a cappuccino at a café…”

Sam moved over to pull the espresso shots for the macchiato.

“You sound like a romantic.”

“I guess. Isn’t that what it’s like?” Sam asked.

“Well, I honestly never have time for that stuff, with work.”

Sam handed the woman her drink, wished her safe travels, and looked to the next customer.

“One of your scones, please,” he said.

“How was your trip?” she asked, remembering the young man from days prior.

“New York is fun, but man, it’s good to be home,” he said.

“I know what you mean,” she said.

As much as she wished to be on the other side of the counter, traveling to far off places, Sam was content knowing she could at least appreciate a fine cappuccino, even in San Diego.

Posted by wittywriter7 at 8:34 AM CDT
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Thursday, September 15, 2011
The Lucky One
Mood:  lazy
Topic: Entertainment

Nothing cures a bad case of strep throat like a good ole Nicholas Sparks' novel. It's been awhile. 

This afternoon, I finished reading "The Lucky One," which I just found out, like most Sparks' books, is going to be a movie soon. Great!

The Lucky One is the story of Logan, a soldier who just got back from Iraq. He considers himself an average guy, until one morning, he sees the corner of a piece of paper sticking up out of the dirt.

What he discovers is the picture of a lady, wearing a shirt that says Lucky Lady across the front.

He puts the picture on a community bulletin board, hoping the person who lost it will retrieve it. However, days pass and no one claims it. He takes it back and carries it in his pocket. And from then on, wherever he goes, he gains a feeling of luck. He survives IEDs, wins poker games, etc...

On his return home to Colorado, he goes fishing with a friend who tells him he thinks the picture is his destiny. That he owes the woman in the picture something for all of the luck she brought him. Although Logan didn't believe in destiny, his friend in the boat did. And moments after he spoke those words to Logan, the boat caught fire, killing him.

Logan then decided to find this woman in the picture, sending him on a journey across the country to North Carolina (where else) where this woman, Beth lived and worked.

He applied for a job at her vet clinic, and they soon became friends. He met her son, her mother, and even her ex-husband. And shortly, they fell in love.

But he never told her about the picture, or the real reason he came to Carolina. And soon, her ex husband catches on, and tells Beth that Logan is a stalker and that he is dangerous.

So, who will win the fight over Beth—the ex or Logan? How will the story end? We all know someone is going to die—that's just Sparks' style.

Honestly, this is the first Sparks' book that confused me at the end. The end of the book made me think one thing and then the epilogue was completely different—anyone know something I don't?

It's a good book, but not my favorite of Sparks'. 

Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
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Sunday, September 11, 2011
102 Minutes That Changed America
Mood:  blue
Topic: Politics

This morning, I awoke to an alarm I'd set last night. It was 7:30—17 minutes before I had planned to watch 102 Minutes That Changed America. 

I'd seen the previews for the documentary for weeks. The smallest fact that it was being shown at the exact time (8:47 on the East coast) the attacks happened ten years prior gave me chills.

The documentary was made of pure video footage from everyday people, who were in New York that frightening morning.

It started two minutes after the first plane hit, and jumped from video to video—some were newscasters, some were residents, some were moms, others were first responders.

It wasn't anything I hadn't seen before...but I found myself wondering about questions that had already been answered. What time does the second plane hit? Why do I remember those people running; why were they running? Oh, right the towers collapsed. Does the first tower fall before the second plane hit?

My mind had done me a favor and blocked the images from my memory that I was now trying to piece together.

About 45 minutes in, a camera is showing the view from an apartment window. The tower is smoking, the camera woman is talking with her sister...who sounds as if she is also in the room.

And then, she screams. The second plane hit.

And for the first time, I cried for September 11—today and ten years ago.

When the attacks happened 10 years ago, I was 16. I didn't know about Al-Qaeda. I just knew it was scary. And I remember seeing footage of other countries happy for our loss.

Since then, I've thought a lot about that day. On each 11th of September, I think about it. But not like today. Today, I cried.

Today, I wondered what it would be like to tell my child one day about September 11.

One of my editors wrote a column last week about how, for the first time, September 11 meant nothing to her—that it was just the day after September 10.

I could not disagree more. I hope that I never forget September 11, how it changed our country, how it changed me, and how lucky I am to be free.

God bless America.   

Posted by wittywriter7 at 11:19 AM CDT
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Monday, September 5, 2011
Magnetic makeup
Mood:  sharp
Topic: La vie

With all the hype from Tropical Storm Lee this weekend, I planned to stay indoors on Sunday and get something done—particularly a crafty project I’ve been thinking about for awhile.

I got the idea one morning after a usual browse through The Frisky, when they mentioned the idea on this blog: Makeup Magnet Board

A magnetic makeup board! This would display all of my different eye shadows that I usually keep hidden under my sink, while at the same time being useful.

However, a lot of my décor in my apartment are things I’ve made, painted, or put together myself. I often worry that my place looks okay to me, but like “Holly Hobby” to everyone else.

So, if I was going to make this board, I needed to make it right, and take my time—something I have trouble doing.

On Saturday, I went to Hobby Lobby with a list of all the materials I would need. I already had the magnetic board and frame, so I just need fabric or paper, magnets, and glue.

You would have thought this was a life-threatening decision. I spent hours inside Hobby Lobby looking for the perfect paper that would compliment the décor of my bathroom, and then deciding on cute little extras—ribbon.

Once I got home, I cleaned my frame and board. I realized the once bright white frame was a little dull. Luckily, I had some white paint leftover from a previous craft project, so I repainted the frame.


While that was drying, I got two empty pill bottles and covered them with the ribbon and paper, to be used as cups on the board for my brushes and mascara.


Next, I cut and glued the paper onto the board (being careful to match up the hounds tooth pattern the best I could).


And lastly, I glued magnets to the back of all the makeup I wanted to display. Most of it is eye shadows, but there is a blush and a lip palette, too.


The two pictures (one in the upper right corner and one in the lower center) are ones I took of my jewelry. I thought it would add something to the board, while filling space.




What do you think? Super chic, or Holly Hobby?

PS. I saw these boards on for $75-$150 a piece. Mine cost me $12. :) 

Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
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Sunday, September 4, 2011
The Happiness Project
Mood:  happy
Topic: La vie

Today, I finished a book I’ve been wanting to read for a long time—Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project.”

Rubin is the author of several other books including, “Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill,” and “Power Money Fame Sex: A User’s Guide,” among others.

“The Happiness Project” begins on a normal morning when Rubin is out and about. She catches her eye on a woman, crossing the street, while pushing a stroller and checking her cell phone. She realizes that’s her—just living life, letting the years pass her by, with no real thought or second guess.

And so, in that single moment, she decided to dedicate one year to happiness. She did a lot of research, reading books on how other people define happiness. She planned to start her year in January, with a chart full of resolutions.

She also created her own list of 12 Commandments. While she says everyone’s happiness project will be different, I am really fond of her commandments:

1. Be Gretchen, 2. Let it go, 3. Act the way I want to feel, 4. Do it now, 5. Be polite and be fair, 6. Enjoy the process, 7. Spend out, 8. Identify the problem, 9. Lighten up, 10. Do what ought to be done, 11. No calculation, 12. There is only love.

Starting in January, she followed a set of resolutions—each month had a different theme. While I won’t go into every month and detail, I will say this book was a real eye opener for me. There are many things about my life that I save for tomorrow, or even “one day,” and who knows when that day will come. Why not today? Why not now?

Along with many tips, reading suggestions, and tools to create your own happiness project, the back of the book contains a reading group guide. And boy do I love a reading group guide!

Question #2. The Happiness Project is packed with quotations. Which quotation resonated most with you? Do you have a quotation that has been particularly meaningful in your own life, one that you’ve included in your email signature, taped to your desk, for example?

One quote (among many) in the book that resonated with me was, “The days are long, but the years are short.” For whatever reason, as I’ve gotten older, a year seems to come and go, without me really getting in the habit of writing the correct year on my notes.

Although we, as people, tend to measure things in years, I’ve never really been one to make New Year’s resolutions. While I may not create extensive charts and do hours of research to make myself happier, one thing I can do is take one day at a time and appreciate the present for what it is.

As a writer, there are many quotes that inspire me for different reasons. One, I have taped on my fridge:

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” –Omar Khayyam

Some others I really love:

“If you are going to doubt something, doubt your limits.” –Don Ward

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” –Goethe

“Never give up on something you cannot go a day without thinking about.” –Unknown 

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared to believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.” –Bruce Barton

“Be yourself. There is something you can do better than any other. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that.” –Unknown

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” –Jerry Dunn

I would recommend this book to anyone who feels like the years are passing them by without much meaning at all. In the meantime, check out Gretchen’s blog at: The Happiness Project

Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
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Saturday, September 3, 2011
The Help
Mood:  energetic
Topic: Entertainment

Amidst running a ton of errands today, I made a special note to stop by the movie theatre to see The Help.

While I wanted to, and still want to, read the book, I also didn’t want to miss seeing it in the theatre. So, there I went.

The Help (movie) is based off of a fictional book, which is based off of a true story (that was written in a book). Whew! 


This story is truly complex. For starters, it is the story of a girl who wants to be a serious journalist (ah, don’t we all?). She revels in a job she gets at the local (Jackson, Mississippi) paper writing a column focused around house cleaning. Although she has friends, she is generally seen as an outcast because she isn’t married or dating, she works, and she just isn’t as wealthy as her peers.

Hrmm…this story is hitting home!

Although I’m unsure of her motivation, Skeeter (the journalist) wants to interview and write a book from the point of view of the help. I am assuming she gains her insight from witnessing her friends treat their maids/nannies poorly because they’re black—separate bathrooms, kitchen utensils, etc.

To Skeeter’s surprise, her venture is illegal, so she must find a way to make the help open up, while keeping their jobs safe.

When the book is released, the town is awkened to an entirely new point of view. But unfortunately, that doesn’t mean things will change for the better. Even Skeeter learns a lot about her family, and their treatment of her nanny growing up.

I’ll leave the ending a surprise. However, I will say this is one of the most emotional movies I’ve seen in years, if ever. Even the guy next to me was crying. But, there is plenty of room for laughter in this film, too. 


What I love most about this movie is that is drives home a point that I’ve spent years, as a journalist, trying to prove—everyone, even the janitor, has a story to tell. 

Posted by wittywriter7 at 12:01 AM CDT
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