Isn’t It Romantic (2019) ~ Movie Review

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★ (4.33)

Writing/Story: ★★★★
Cinematography: ★★★★ Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

IMDB STORY LINE:

A young woman disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy.

MY 2 CENTS:

I won’t lie, I love romantic comedies… they are my guilty pleasure! Plus, I am a huge fan of Rebel Wilson, her comedic timing is amazing. So, after watching the preview, I was all in!

Writing/Story: ★★★★

This movie was clever! Think of every romcom cliché you can… now, imagine them all in one movie… what you get is ‘Isn’t It Romantic’. The thing is, in this film, it works. It’s a parody on romantic comedies… The movie is making fun of all romantic comedies well being one of the funniest, wittiest, and most beguiling romantic comedies I’ve seen in a while.

This story could have gone south… and tanked, but writers Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, and Katie Silberman obviously have a clear understanding of what works in a romantic comedy and what we all make fun of. They gave us a perfect balance of comedy and emotion.

Cinematography ★★★★

I have nothing bad to say about the cinematography in this film… nothing amazing either.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

Rebel Wilson was amazing, as she always is. Her comedic timing alone could have carried the film, if that had been necessary. However, with the cast line up this movie had, there was no question it would be fun to watch.

Having Adam Devine and Rebel Wilson playing off each other, yet again, seemed like one of the most natural things in the world. Their chemistry on film may have started in Pitch Perfect, but I have a feeling it will continue for years to come.

Liam Hemsworth, as Blake, did a great job playing the arrogant, good looking, rich guy… and a bit clueless too.

Betty Gilpin, as Whitney, was fantastic. The part is a bit underrated but Gilpin made the role something to remember. If you don’t know Gilpen, then you need to watch GLOW… she is brilliant!

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“My life’s become a mother-BEEPing romantic comedy and it’s PG-13.”

TO SUM IT UP:

If you like Romcoms… laughing… and just an all around feel good movie, then you should watch this one. Grab a cozy blanket, a bucket of popcorn, a couple glasses of wine (or your favorite beverage), your significant other, and settle in for a great date night in!

Have you seen ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ yet? Let me know your thoughts, in the comments below. Tell me what you thought of the movie. As always, I do recommend seeing this film for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Isn’t It Romantic (2019) Trailer:

Love, Loss and What I Wore by Nora & Delia Ephron

Love, Loss and What I Wore
Date/Times:

Oct. 3rd at 7:00pm

Oct. 4th at 7:00pm

Oct. 5th at 2:00pm and 7:00pm

Oct. 11th at 7:00pm & 12 @ 7:00 pm

Oct. 12th at 2:00pm and 7:00pm

Carnegie Visual Arts Center, 207 Church St., Decatur, AL

Bank Street Players is honored to present “Love, Loss and What I Wore” this October at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center with proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Center at the University of Alabama Birmingham. The play by Nora and Delia Ephron is a powerful work about women that is both poignant and humorous as it explores a range of life experiences to which everyone in the audience will find a way to relate.


DIRECTOR: Sam Marsh
CAST: Colleen McNabb Samples, Margaret Bibb, Kailey Burkhardt, Nina Soden, Cherie Elise Evans, and Cathy Bell Altonji

Tickets:

All tickets are $15, general admission, and will be sold at the door beginning a half-hour before each performance. Tickets can be reserved for pick up at the will-call desk before each show by calling 256-318-3265.


Proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Research Center at the UAB.

For more information contact: carolcpuckett@gmail.com or 256-318-3265 or 256-341-0562

Week 32 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 32nd Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Austin the main character in my upcoming novel The Beast Within!

Today’s writing prompt:

Write about something you can’t forget!

His voice...
Deep.
Commanding.
Angry.
Slurred, from too many glasses of cheap whiskey.

I can hear it, almost as if he were standing right behind me. Yet he's been gone for years. Long since buried 6 feet under.

He used to scream at my mother and I, but his yelling wasn't what scared me. It was when he got quiet... still... that's when I knew he was really angry.

I'd have to strain to hear him. But it was in those moments, trying so hard to hear... to understand... that I knew pain would quickly follow.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

Write about something you can’t forget!


What books have made your September reading list? Are any of them on the New York Times Best Seller list? Comment below and let me know, then, CLICK HERE to check out the 10 Ten Best Sellers for September and see which ones you’d like to add to your reading list!


FEAR is INTELLIGENT!

Would you prefer to watch the video tips rather than reading them? CLICK HERE

Today’s #MindfulnessMonday Tip: No one likes to feel afraid, so when you do listen to your subconscious and act accordingly. Don’t judge… don’t doubt… don’t brush it off. Your fear is your subconscious telling you something and you should listen.   

Mindfulness of fear, what is it?

Emotional Mindfulness is staying in touch with your emotions. Therefore, Mindfulness of Fear is staying in touch with your fear and what triggers your fear. Staying present in the moment-to-moment embodied experience of feeling afraid. It means experiencing the sensation of fear, without judging it or trying to push it away. At the same time, mindfulness of these emotions means you don’t have to justify the feelings. Just feel them and act accordingly.

Today’s Mindfulness Exercise:

Emotional Mindfulness

For the next 24 hours, I want you to be open and accepting of all your emotions. Don’t stifle them, don’t ignore them, and don’t judge! Accept your emotions for what they are, your subconscious talking to you and sending you messages about how you feel about certain situations. Allow yourself to feel… everything… This act of emotional mindfulness will help you better understand yourself and keep you grounded in in who you are.

Mindfulness Journaling:

Throughout the day, as your moving through the emotional mindfulness exercise, I want you to take time to jot down what emotions you’re experiencing. Don’t judge them as right or wrong, don’t try to justify them. Simply write down the emotion and a quick note as to what you believe triggered the emotion. You’ll be able to go back to this journal time and time again to see if there is a pattern to your emotional reactions to situations either at work, at home, or among friends and family.

This exercise and journaling are designed to help you accept your emotions and better understand what events and who might trigger certain emotional spikes.

Mindfulness journaling can be very private. However, I would love to invite you to comment below and share your experiences with the ‘Clean a Room Mindfully’ exercise.


Check out my #MindfulnessMonday YouTube Series and don’t forget to click subscribe so you never miss an episode!

Fear is Intelligent

10 Mindfulness Tips for Everyday Practice!

7 Tips for Bringing Mindfulness into Your Life!


Would you like to take the 52-week challenge and experience a more mindful existence? Check out The Invisible You ~ 52 Weeks of Meditations, Activities, and Writing Prompts to Help you Discover You!

I’m certified in Holistic Stress Management and Mind/Body Fitness. I’ve been practicing Mindfulness for 10+ years and am passionate about helping others in their pursuit of a more mindful existence.

Photo by: Mikel Healy

IT Chapter Two (2019) ~ Movie Review

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★.★★★ (3.75)
Writing/Story: ★★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★ | CGI: ★★ Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

IMDB STORY LINE:

Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

MY 2 CENTS:

I have to say, seeing as Stephen King is my favorite author, this film is probably my most anticipated films of the year. I loved the book, thought the mini-series back in 1990 did an amazing job bringing the book to life, and really enjoyed the 2017 version of IT Chapter One. With the whole cast from the 2017 version coming back for Chapter Two plus the addition of Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, and so many other awesome actors I can’t deny I was very excited going into the theatre.

There is a lot to love about this film… there are also a few things I didn’t really care for. Now, I’ve heard complaints about the movie’s length, at 2 hours and 49 minutes it is a very long movie, but you have to consider the length of the book… Like most Stephen King novels, it’s not short!

Writing/Story: ★★★★★

As I said before, this movie is based on the novel IT by Stephen King. When IT was originally adapted to live action, it was a mini-series on television. I remember eating it up. I had just finished reading the book and couldn’t wait to see it. With it being a mini-series, they were able to really get a lot of the details from the book into the show… something you can’t really do when it’s a movie on the big screen, you just don’t have the time to fit it all in.

Splitting the movie into two parts, Chapter One and Chapter Two, did allow for more detail, but I felt as an audience member that chopping it up so much really made certain aspects of the films uneven. Plus, when you really look at what the movie is about, an evil clown comes to town every 27 years and kills kids… it’s a little surprising how long the movie is. Both movies pretty much have the same plot – Pennywise is back, killing kids, and the members of the Loser Club have to fight and kill him.

I think one of the reasons I really liked the original mini-series and even why I liked the 2017 movie a little more than this one is because you really get to feel what they are going through from a kids perspective. Think about it, evil creepy clown running around town in the sews killing kids… as a kid, that is some seriously scary stuff. However, with these characters, they approach Pennywise in much the same way they did as children, they have all the same fears they did 27 years before. However, that isn’t really realistic, as we get older, we change, people evolve, what we are afraid of changes and we approach our fears in a different way.

Cinematography ★★★

I think there are some really great shots in in this movie. However, I also think that the way it was filmed gave away a little too much too quickly. Sure, as the audience, we already know who Pennywise is and what he looks like, but I just think with a scary movie there is something to say for keeping the monster hidden that amps up the suspense. It seemed that Pennywise got a lot of screen time in this film, which took the scare level down significantly for me.

Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI):  ★★

Fun fact about the young actors who played the Losers Club members in IT Chapter One: They grew tremendously in the 2 years following filming that they actually had to be digitally ‘de-aged’ in some scenes because they looked significantly older than before. For me, every time I noticed it – which was often throughout the film – it pulled me out of the moment. I get that there really wasn’t another way to do it, since the flashback scenes with the kids had to look like they were from the same time period as the 2017 film, but for me the technique just wasn’t executed that well.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

Let’s talk about Character(s) and acting… First off, there isn’t a whole lot of character building in this movie. I understand that we, as the audience, already know the characters from when they were children in the first movie, however this is 27 years later… people tend to change, a lot, in 27 years. The movie gives us only one scene for each of the main characters to show us what they are like now. It just feels really rushed as the movie pushes the characters together, trying to get them back to Derry. Then, once they are there the pace slows down considerably and it almost feels to slow with not enough action.

In terms of acting… WOW! Everyone is really strong. Both the adults playing the Loser Club as well as their child actor counterparts.

I think one of my favorite scenes is when they all first come together, at the restaurant. They haven’t seen each other is 27 years and yet there is an instant connection. You can see and feel the comradery as if they have remained close friends all their lives. They do a really good job of making it seem like these adults are the grown versions of the kids we saw jut two years ago in the 2017 movie. Mannerisms and speech patterns are all very similar and it helps to be able to connect each of the children actors to their adult counterparts.

Best actor award has to go to Bill Skarsgard who plays Pennywise. Pennywise is just a wonderful role for an actor. Tim Curry was amazing as Pennywise in the 1990 mini-series and Bill Skarsgard has done a wonderful job in both the 2017 and 2019 files. He is creepy – Defiantly the thing that nightmares are made of.  

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“See, the thing about being a loser, you don’t have anything to lose. So, be true. Be brave. Stand. Believe. And don’t ever forget, we’re losers, and we always will be.” ~ Losers Club (IT Chapter Two)

“Here’s Johnny” ~ Henry Bowers

  • The reason I like this one so much is because it’s a throwback to another Stephen King book, The Shining when Jack Torrance has gone crazy and is chopping down the bathroom door with an axe to kill his wife.

TO SUM IT UP:

Although I enjoyed this film, maybe not as much as the 2017 movie, I have to say it just doesn’t fully live up to the 1990’s mini-series. However, I do tend to lean toward originals more so then remakes and books rather than movies.

Have you seen IT Chapter Two yet? Did you see IT Chapter One, or better yet did you see the Original IT Mini Series? And, even more importantly, have you read the book? Let me know your answers, in the comments below. Tell me what you thought of the book, the mini-series, or the movies! I’d love to know. As always, I do recommend seeing this film for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Open the video and watch it on YouTube so you can subscribe to my channel and never miss a video!

IT Chapter Two (2019) Trailer:

IT Chapter One (2017) Trailer:

IT mini-series (1990) Trailer:


Bright Side by Kim Holden ~ Book Review

Would you prefer to watch the video, instead of reading the review? CLICK HERE

RATING OVERVIEW 4.75 STARS

Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★★

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:

Secrets.
Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.

And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:

WOW… I ate this book up, binge reading it in just a couple of days. It is a super-fast read with so much amazing detail.

WRITING (★★★★★): Kim Holden draws you right in with her playful dialogue between life long friends Kate and Gus. Immediately we feel their connection and realize that these two friends have just been separated as Kate left for college and Gus is still home in southern California following his dream of being a Rockstar.

The way Kim tells the story, each chapter from one character’s perspective, really pulled me into the book. It makes you, as a reader, feel more involved and it gives the story an overarching personal feeling that telling it from third person just wouldn’t have accomplished.

STORY (★★★★): This story takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get pissed… but, if you’re like me, you’ll love every minute of it.

A little warning though, this one is for mature audiences. Topics covered in Bright Side include loss, disease, eating disorders, homosexuality, sex, drinking, and SO MUCH MORE!!!

CHARACTERS (★★★★★): As an author, Kim Holden understands character development. She has to be one of my top 5 authors for character development. She had me emotionally connected, not only to the main character Kate but also with Gus, Keller, and everyone else. Seriously, even Kate’s college roommate, who is kind of a jerk, is written in a way that makes her misunderstood… I found myself wanting to know more about her. Who knows, maybe Kim will write a book for her at some point too.

Kate, also known as Bright Side, is a beautiful person inside and out. She is optimistic in every sense of the word and sadly, life has just not been kind to her. She has been dealt a terrible hand, but she doesn’t let it get her down. With every line… even when she is saying Dude every other word, we get a sense of who she is. That is the magic of good character development.

APPEARANCE (★★★★★): Simple… Intriguing… and totally Bright Side! The cover made me smile even before I opened the pages to meet Bright Side!  

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Today, my life is awesome. I don’t want to think about tomorrow. Or the day after that. So I repeat to myself: Today, my life is awesome.”

“Don’t judge each other. We all have our own shit. Keep your eyes on yours and your nose out of everyone else’s unless you’re invited in. And when you get the invitation, help, don’t judge.”

“Imagine for a moment that you were free of all the expectations in your life. What would you do? How would you live your life with no one watching? What would your future look like?”

“Do Epic.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kim lives in what she calls the greatest city in the world: Denver, Colorado. Some of her favorite things: reading, writing, her husband and her son, her bicycle, Facebook, iced coffee, and music. She also loves dreaming. Her advice to anyone reading this, or any of her books… follow your dreams. It’s never too late. Get started today … heck get started RIGHT NOW! Make your dreams reality.
She loves to hear from fellow readers. So, if you want to reach out, find her on Goodreads at author/show/7445352.Kim_Holden

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

Also by Kim Holden

GUS (Bright Side Book 2)

This is the story of Gus.
Losing himself.
Finding himself.
And healing along the way.

“ … but the honest-to-God truth is I don’t even know how to function anymore. Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half … the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”

Note from the author: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is recommended for mature audiences.

FRANCO (Bright Side Book 3)

Franco Genovese is the drummer for world renowned American rock band, Rook. He’s got it all. A killer smile. Tattoos. Talent. Razor sharp wit and humor. And a heart as big, and generous, as they come.
Life is good. Steady. Uncomplicated. Just the way he likes things.
Until one night at an unassuming L.A. bar changes everything.
Enter Gemma Hendricks.
She’s a successful young architect from Northern England with an adorable smile, sarcasm for days, and an unparalleled trusting heart.
The attraction is instant.
So is their friendship.
It’s also temporary because they’ll both be heading home, thousands of miles apart from each other, in a few days.
Or is it?
There’s something Gemma wants more than anything else.
And when Franco propositions her to provide what she’s looking for, everything changes.
Will it transform friendship into love, or will it be their ruin?

THE OTHER SIDE

There are two sides to every story.
The surface reality that’s presented to the world…
And then there’s the other side.
The real one.
The one that matters.
Seventeen-year-old, self-proclaimed asshole, Toby Page, is alone.
No friends.
No family.
He trades maintenance work in exchange for room and board.
Every day he fights demons no one else can see.
Every day he wants to give up.
But he can’t.
Not yet.
When Alice Eliot moves in downstairs, she offers Toby some light in his dark world.
At a crossroads and barely hanging on, it’s hard to have perspective.
It’s difficult to see your own worth when you’re the villain in your story.
Luckily for Toby, Alice brings things out in him that no one else ever has.
As the two sides of Toby’s story are revealed, and the full reality comes into view, truth is gained, unlikely heroes emerge, and improbable alliances prove that kindness is fundamentally human.
The question is, Will it all be enough to save him?

ALL OF IT

Seventeen-year-old VERONICA SMITH has it all: a loving family, a funky car named Jezebel, and a plan to go to college after graduation. On the first day of senior year, she meets DIMITRI GLENN–a mysterious transfer student with gray eyes and a mischievous smile who seems determined to win her heart. But there’s something odd about Dimitri, leading Veronica to wonder if there’s more to him than meets the eye. Before long she finds herself in a whirlwind romance that seems too good to be true–until a series of devastating events leaves her questioning everything. It’s not until she chooses to think with her heart instead of her mind that she can rise from the ashes to learn the truth of their connection.

SO MUCH MORE

This is a glimpse into divorce: the lead-up, the aftermath, and the redemption that follows.
Love is strange. It comes out of nowhere. There’s no logic to it. It’s not methodical. It’s not scientific. It’s pure emotion and passion. And emotion and passion can be dangerous because they fuel love…and hate.
I’m now a reluctant connoisseur of both—an expert through immersion. I know them intimately.

When I fell in love with Miranda, it was swift and blind. She was the person I’d elevated to mythical status in my head, in my dreams.
Here’s the thing about dreams, they’re smoke.
They’re spun as thoughts until they become something we think we want. Something we think we need.

That was Miranda. She was smoke.

I thought I wanted her. I thought I needed her.

Over time reality crept in and slowly dissected and disemboweled my dreams like a predator, leaving behind a rotting carcass.

Reality can be a fierce bitch.
So can Miranda.

And I can be a fool…
who believes in dreams.

And people.


Week 31 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 31st Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

  • Read the writing prompt below,
  • Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
  • DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Ava one of the characters in a novel I’m currently outlinging.

Today’s writing prompt:

You look outside: It’s snowing! But look closer. Those aren’t snowflakes falling from the sky! What is it?

I could hear the sirens and smell the smoke before I could muster up the strength to open my eyes. I had been knocked out. Again. It was the second time in just under a month and I was sure my handler at Operation Atlas wasn’t going to be happy about it.

When I finally rolled to my back and opened my eyes, there was ash floating from the sky and landing softly on the ground all around me. There had to be two or three thick inches of ash coating every surface within a one-mile radius.

The fire wasn’t supposed to be that big. They had told me just to take out the warehouse, but they didn’t know about the chemicals being stored in the basement. By the time they exploded, it was too late. I was thrown clear across the parking lot and knocked out cold. The fire department came, but even they couldn’t stop the flames from jumping from building to building. By the time they found me, the fire had consumed the entire block.

Luckily, I was able to stop it before it jumped the road and spread deeper into the city.

Starting, and stopping fire… that’s my superpower. Although, lately, it seems like more of a curse.

© 2019 Nina Soden


Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with! 

You look outside: It’s snowing! But look closer. Those aren’t snowflakes falling from the sky! What is it?


What books have made your September reading list? Are any of them on the New York Times Best Seller list? Comment below and let me know, then, CLICK HERE to check out the 10 Ten Best Sellers for September and see which ones you’d like to add to your reading list!


Unplug and Recharge! #MindfulnessMonday

  #MindfulnessMonday 9/9/19

Would you prefer to watch the video tips rather than reading them? CLICK HERE

#MindfulnessMonday Tip: Anne Lamott said it best when she said, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”  

Why should we unplug?

Our lives have never been more automated than they are right now. We have instant access to information, which fifteen or twenty years ago would have been unheard of. Yet, with all these advances which are designed to make our lives easier and more efficient, we still spend less time resting then we ever did before. Hence the need to unplug and recharge!

Unplugging doesn’t necessarily mean sleep… it means rest. Rest from the constant overload of technology. It means to take a break, both physically and mentally. Step away from the screens, from 24/7 connection, and allow yourself to find calm, peace, and stillness.

The loss of truly recharging sleep, that so many of us experience, is a huge and sadly common factor in daily unhappiness and increased stress.

Our brains and bodies are resilient, but the more we add to our to do list, the more screen time we allow ourselves, the more stress we add to our daily lives the less rest we get when we actually lay down at night. A lack of restful sleep can lead to not only increased stress, depression, and a feeling over overall fatigue throughout the day – it can lead to severe medical conditions.

I encourage you to see your doctor for advice if you feel that your lack of restful sleep is getting worse or has been chronically poor over a long period of time.

Today’s Mindfulness Exercise:

24 Hour Unplug and Recharge Exercise

This one might be hard for some of you, but the benefits are worth it… I want you to pick a day, 24 hours minimum, where you are going to completely unplug. I recommend a non-work day. Turn off your phone, unplug your computer, television, gaming system, and any other electronic devise that might tempt you.
Spend time outside, reading, playing cards or board games with your friends and family, cooking, whatever activities that make you happy as long as there is no technology involved.

Mindfulness Journaling:

After you’ve completed your 24 Hour Unplug and Recharge Exercise, spend five to ten minutes journaling how the exercise made you feel. Its completely normal to have experiences a little anxiety about not being socially connected. Its even normal to experience the fear of missing out. Record everything you felt, good and bad, that way when you complete the exercise the next time you can see if and how these emotions have changed. The more often you complete the exercise, the easy you will find it gets.

Mindfulness journaling can be very private. However, I would love to invite you to comment below and share your experiences with the ‘Clean a Room Mindfully’ exercise.


Check out my #MindfulnessMonday YouTube Series and don’t forget to click subscribe so you never miss an episode!

Unplug and Recharge!

The Power of Napping!

10 Mindfulness Tips for Everyday Practice!

Mindfulness in the Workplace

7 Tips for Bringing Mindfulness into Your Life!


Would you like to take the 52-week challenge and experience a more mindful existence? Check out The Invisible You ~ 52 Weeks of Meditations, Activities, and Writing Prompts to Help you Discover You!

Photo by: Mikel Healy

I’m certified in Holistic Stress Management and Mind/Body Fitness. I’ve been practicing Mindfulness for 10+ years and am passionate about helping others in their pursuit of a more mindful existence.


The Art of Racing in the Rain (Movie Review)

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW: ★★★.★ (3.33)
Writing/Story: ★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★ | Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

IMDB BLURB:

Through his bond with his owner, aspiring Formula One race car driver Denny, golden retriever Enzo learns that the techniques needed on the racetrack can also be used to successfully navigate the journey of life.

IMDB STORY LINE:

Dog lovers often believe their canine family members understand language, comprehend events, have opinions, and exude loyalty. In “The Art of Racing in The Rain”, wise old dog Enzo Swift shares thoughts about the life experiences which prepared him to protect his family in times of greatest need.

MY 2 CENTS:

So, 2019 seems to be the year of dog movies. Earlier this year we had A Dog’s Way Home and A Dog’s Journey. Now, The Art of Racing in the Rain. So, have you seen this movie? If so, what did you think of it? I need your comments down below.

Let’s jump right in and talk about the critical points…

Writing/Story: ★★★

The writing is good… average. I wish I had read the book, so I’d be able to compare it, but I didn’t. So, I will say this, there isn’t a whole lot of meaningful dialogue in this one. There are a lot of cute little one liners but not a lot of substantial dialogue where the characters are getting to know each other or connecting on a meaningful level. It has a strong made for TV feel about it.

The story is cute… who doesn’t like a movie centered around a cute dog. However, when this one takes a turn… leaving the dog story for a bit and focuses more on the human aspect of the film, that’s when we really get to see it for what it is… a Lifetime movie with a pretty common plot.

Sure, there are some emotional moments and some tragic things happen. Things that could happen to anyone… things that will break your heart if they happen in real life. However, it’s the way they go about it in this film that just didn’t hit the right emotional buttons with me.   

With that said, most dog movies are seen as family films, but this one does hit on topics that are a bit too depressing for kids to be entertained by.

Cinematography ★★★

Honestly, there just wasn’t anything sensationally about the cinematography in this film. Nothing to wright home about. There was one scene, when Denny is racing in the rain and

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★

I have to say the Best Actor award in this one has to go to the dog. Or rather, dogs, plural. There were multiple dogs that played Enzo, but seriously these dogs did an amazing job. Kudos to the trainers on set, they did a fantastic job getting the dogs to do exactly what was needed for this film. Plus, with Kevin Costner’s voice giving life to the dog how could the film really go wrong, right? His timing and delivery of Enzo’s lines was perfect.

Our other two main characters were Amanda Seyfried, who played Eve, and Milo Ventimiglia who played Denny Swift.

Amanda was great, she always is. She is a natural on screen and wow… I didn’t see that coming. This movie, as I’m sure the book did, took a major turn with her character. I won’t give it away, but I wasn’t expecting it. She did a beautiful job showing true emotion throughout her performance, I just wish we could have seen a bit more of it from the dog’s perspective.

Milo did a good job too; I’ve enjoyed his acting since his days on The Gilmore Girls. I think he felt a little stiff in this one, but over all not bad. He had some good emotion driven moments, but all in all his character was more one liners than deep, true, conversation. The movie is called The Art of Racing in the Rain, I really wish we could have seen him race a bit more. We saw him drive around the race track… mostly when there weren’t other drivers on the track with him. I felt a little gipped that we didn’t get to see a few good races.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.”

TO SUM IT UP:

The story as a whole, wasn’t bad. When the focus was on the dog… telling the story from the dog’s perspective, I was really into it. It was when it took a turn and focused more on the human aspects of the story instead of what it was… a story about a dog… that’s when it lost my focus a bit.

Listen, with that said, this movie is still really good. If you loved it, I’m glad. I enjoyed it too. I know I might not have the most popular opinion about this film, but my job here is as a critic… I look at all aspects of the film and tell you what I think. This one just didn’t move me in ways other dog movies have moved me other the years. Sure, I got teary eyed once… I didn’t cry, but I got a bit of blurry vision when the Enzo road in the race car, and sure there are some serious – SERIOUS – topics discussed and things happen… terrible – sad things that I did get emotional about. I knew nothing about the movie before seeing it, other than it was narrated by a dog… I don’t want to give away to much since I’m sure not everyone watching this video has seen the film.

Have you seen The Art of Racing in the Rain yet? Have you read the book? If you have let me know, in the comments below, what you thought of either the book or the movie! I’d love to know. I haven’t read the book, but I plan to and I do recommend seeing this film. Watch it yourself and see what you think.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

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WHOOMP! WHOOMP! WHOOMP! (4 Chapter Short Story)

Whoomp! Whoomp! Whoomp!

The Day the World Stopped Making Sense

by Nina Soden

Dedicated to Wayne and Tanja Miller

©2019 Nina Soden

Based on the character Lynne Loveless and the fictitious facts of the play BAMGILA written by Wayne Miller the leader of Evil Cheez Productions

CHAPTER 1

I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the tragedy that befell Southern Alabama on the day Bamgila made his way out of the bay. It was over twenty years ago, August 2019, and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

Thousands were killed, more were injured, and hundreds were left homeless as billions were reported in property damage. It was a miracle how the community came together, over the five years following the tragedy, and rebuilt the city from the ashes left in Bamgila’s wake.

In order to explain what happened, I first have to tell you how it was that I came to live in Southern Alabama. I wasn’t born there, nor did I choose to make Mobile, Alabama my home; it was forced upon me. The journey had started ten years before Bamgila’s invasion in the summer of 2009. My husband, David, moved me, and our then 4-year-old daughter, Darby, from our home in Northern Washington to the depths of Alabama.

David’s work was transferring him, whether I liked it or not. He had cheated and I had considered letting him go without us, but for Darby’s sake, I decided to give our marriage one more chance. I had hoped that a new start would do us both some good. Besides, I had learned that my best friend from high school, Susan Miller, now Susan Garrison, had moved down to Mobile, Alabama about fifteen years earlier after marrying her husband. I hadn’t seen her in over twenty years, but we still talked from time to time and of course, we kept in touch through social media. Susan was a very successful real estate agent, with her own firm and a wall full of awards. She helped us find a home, my dream home, with a wrap around porch and a backyard pool.

Susan’s husband, Gill, helped get me a job at WCHZ, a local radio station. I quickly made a name for myself at the station and my co-workers became my family. I worked as an anchor, along side Walsh Chandler, one of the world’s most conservative republicans. He made Rush Limbaugh look liberal. Walsh and I never really saw eye to eye, but I suppose our disagreements made for entertaining radio. Deep down, I always knew Walsh had a soft side. That night, in the basement of the station, Walsh showed his true colors. He proudly exited the closet and came out to all of us while declaring his love for his secret lover, Douglas. If only he hadn’t died that night, I think we would have become fast friends.

Working in media, you’re trained to hold your composure. Don’t show fear or emotion, that’s the number one rule. It’s to easy to evoke mass panic if the audience hears fear in your voice or see’s it in your eyes.

It’s hard… It’s hard trying to encourage others and spread hope when you know people all around you are dying, if not already dead.

That night, the world grieved for the loss of thousands, but in that basement, we grieved for the loss of our co-workers—our family.

Until you’re in a situation like the Bamgila Invasion, which is what the history books are now calling it, you can’t possibly understand the pain and suffering that comes with such a loss. The decisions I made, hoping to keep myself and those I loved alive, and the relationships lost in those endless moments of fear will forever haunt me.

CHAPTER 2

The day started like any other Tuesday, except instead of dropping Darby off at school on my way to work she came with me. She was suspended, three days for skipping class. I suppose I can’t blame her; kids tend to lash out when their feeling stress. Darby’s life had been turned upside down, not once but twice. The most recent being the summer before she started ninth grade when her father decided to leave, moving into a flat in the city with his twenty-three-year-old mistress, Bambi.

Bambi had been Darby’s nanny, up until she turned twelve, and had spent many family vacations and backyard BBQs with us over the eight years she worked for us. It turns out her benefits package was better than my own. She walked with a new condo, money in her pocket, and my husband at her side. I got the house, 75% custody of Darby, and no alimony because David lost his job a month before our divorce became finalized.

When I found out Gill was cheating on Susan, with Crystal one of the stations anchors, I lost it. I gave him an ultimatum, tell Susan before their next anniversary or I would. That gave him five and a half months to decide how to do it, but it didn’t take that long. About two months later, Susan had cornered him in the den, demanding to know the truth. In Gill ultimate wisdom, he confessed thinking he had no other choice. It turns out, Susan had no idea about the affair and only wanted to know how he could possibly spend $2500 on golf clubs without talking to her first. I’m only thankful that Susan didn’t have to live with that pain for too long.

The very next day, Bamgila came walking out of the bay. I won’t go into the gory details of how Susan died, I don’t want to relive those memories. Over twenty years later and her death is still just as painful today as it was then. In fact, I’m tearing up just thinking about her now. If you had known Susan; her passion for life, her extraordinary lust for excitement, and her never ending love of friends and family, you’d understand the gaping hole her death left in all of us.

CHAPTER 3

Darby and I made it into the station about seven o’clock, in the middle of Sunny Storm’s morning weather report. She was a twenty-something, brunet with dreams of one day becoming an actress. The problem she ran into wasn’t a lack of talent, no, it was that no one was looking for fresh talent in L.A. That’s lower Alabama to those of you who haven’t lived in the south, not to be mistaken with Los Angeles, California.

Sunny’s personality was much like her name, sunny. She was eager to learn and although many of the men in the office saw her as a ditz, I knew better. She was a social media wizard. She had over ten thousand followers on Instagram and double that on Twitter. I’m not sure why they were so fascinated by pictures of what she ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner which she posted on a daily basis. However, I will admit I often found myself getting lost in her ramblings whenever she posted videos.

Gill was always the first one in and the last one to leave at the end of the day. He greeted Darby and I moments after we walked in. I could tell something was wrong, but with Gill you never know if it’s a stubbed toe or a plane crash, everything is over the top with him. Either way, I had my own drama going on, trying to deal with Darby and her recent acts of defiance. By the time I got Darby out of the lobby and settled into a quiet place to nap before hitting the books, Gill was half way into his story about how Susan had pulled the truth out of him. I wont lie, I was glad she finally knew. I hated lying to her.

By the time Gill was done ranting, I had barely finished my first cup of coffee. Kenny Kramer, the WCHZ office intern, came bumbling into the lobby in a very Cosmo Kramar way. If you’ve ever seen Seinfeld, the early 1990’s sitcom, then you know what I mean. The irony that his mother named him after Michael Richard’s character Kramer is not lost on anyone who meets him.

Kenny proceeded to bombarded Gill and I in the lobby, going on and on about something he found amazing and world altering. It wasn’t until Gill turned on the television and the image of Bamgila filled the screen that I realized Kenny had no idea how right he really was. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t excited about Bamgila’s existence, not like Kenny was. No, I was terrified, much like the rest of the world.

In a matter of hours, less than twenty-four, Bamgila had appeared as if out of nowhere. He walked out of waters of Mobile Bay defying all laws of physics and whether maliciously or not, wreaked havoc across the state. Fire exploded from his mouth, vehicles and buildings were crushed under the weight of his mass, and lives… so many lives were sacrificed to his will. The whole city fell under his shadow. We were all at his mercy, but Bamgila showed no mercy.

CHAPTER 4

Skip Starke was the sports anchor back then. No one really took him to seriously, though. He presented himself like a has been football player who thought he should have been more. To be truthful, the only reason I even remember his name was because he had professed his feelings for me only thirty minutes before Bamgila took his life. He didn’t go without a fight though.

Charging toward the fire breathing monster, Skip managed to put two bullets right between the monster’s eyes. It didn’t make a difference, they barely penetrated the skin, but that isn’t what mattered. What mattered was that he had done it, bravely and selflessly, in an effort to save us all.

The weather girl, Sunny Storm, or rather Ethel Eugenia Furbish as we learned that night, was never found after the attack. Members of the National guard were sifting through bodies for months, identifying those they could and contacting family members if any were still living. Sunny’s body never turned up. There have been reports, over the years, that she had run out of the building, heading west, and never looked back. Some even say she kept running until she reached the Pacific Ocean. Considering she only owned four-inch heels, I find it hard to believe she could have run that far. I’m sure she called an uber as soon as she was out of the state, but you never know. Secretly, I hope she did make it all the way to California. I hope she changed her name, again, and took up acting out on the golden coast.

Crystal and Gill ended up throwing a huge party a few months after the event. They called it a funeral, to honor Susan’s memory, but it was a party. The only thing Susan would have liked about the party was all the alcohol. Everyone was drinking in her honor and somehow it felt like she was there too. I couldn’t stomach it, I still missed her too much. Life just wasn’t the same without my friend. I ended up leaving thirty minutes in, just after Crystal announced she was pregnant… with twins. Somehow that didn’t stop her from taking shot after shot of Gill’s expensive tequila thought.

Kenny, the WCHZ intern, who Walsh had hired must to my chagrin ended up being my hero. When Darby and I attempted to get away from Bamgila, I lost hold of her hand. She slipped right out of my fingers. I searched through the rubble for what felt like days trying to find her. Then, after hours of interrogation by General Stone of the U.S. Army, Kenny brought her back to me. I will forever be grateful to him.  In the twenty years since the incident, Kenny has continued with WCHZ, moving his way up the ranks until just five years ago, I heard he had been promoted to General Manager in charge of all programing. He has turned into a fine man and has done the station, and all of us old-timers, proud.

The high school my daughter attended, like most of the city, was demolished. She ended up completing the year, and her next three, through a virtual academy out of Texas. She graduated with honors and moved back to Washington to attend university. She came down every few months to visit, but once she got married, I decided it was time to pack up and move back up north too. I let go of my wrap around porch and backyard pool, in exchange for living just down the street from my two beautiful grandchildren; Sydney and Ethan. I wouldn’t give that up for all the world.

Whoomp! Whoomp! Whoomp! ©2019 Nina Soden