It’s Here! TV Premieres of Fall 2014

Fall TV Preview - 2014

It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . .

Well, fine, maybe we shouldn’t compare the fall television premiere season to Christmas. We shouldn’t. Right?

Okay, so we won’t. But I also won’t deny that I am ridiculously (though, unsurprisingly) excited for old shows to return and new shows to start. Especially after the past two weeks of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BEING ON.

I asked on Facebook which shows you all are most looking forward to beginning this fall, and you had lots on your lists! You’re excited for Parenthood (tons of votes for this one, no surprise), The Good Wife, Scandal, Blacklist (the previews are making me question my choice to not watch this one last year…thoughts?), Person of Interest, Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, Newsroom, Agents of Shield, Big Bang Theory, NCIS, Galavant (I can’t wait for this one, but unfortunately it’s a mid-season premiere.), Gotham, Scorpion, and NCIS: New Orleans.

Wow! That’s a lot of shows and a lot of variety. You all have good taste! (Although I’ll confess I’ve never watched a single Batman movie and I’m just not sure Gotham would make sense to me.)

So let’s talk specifics. Shows. Dates. Thoughts. Opinions.

(NOTE: All times are CST because that’s where I live.)

Returning Shows I’ll Be Watching:

  • Once Upon a Time (Sundays at 7pm, premieres 9/28)
  • Castle (Mondays at 9pm, premieres 9/29)
  • NCIS (Tuesdays at 7pm, premieres 9/23)
  • New Girl (Tuesdays at 8pm, premieres 9/16 – tomorrow!!)
  • The Mindy Project (Tuesdays at 8:30 pm, premieres 9/16)
  • Arrow (Wednesdays at 7pm, premieres 10/8)

I’ll probably DVR Brooklyn 99 (Sundays at 7:30 pm, premieres 9/28) and About a Boy (Tuesdays at 8:30 pm, premieres 10/14), but I’m not quite ready to commit. Oh, and Hart of Dixie and Parks & Recreation are returning mid-season.

New Shows I’m Thinking About:

[Don't worry. I'm not planning to watch all of these. Yikes! Can you imagine? TOO MUCH TV!!!]

  • A to Z (NBC, Thursdays at 8pm) – This one feels like How I Met Your Mother all over again – partly because the main female character is The Mother, partly because the concept of the show is based on a relationship with an expiration date. I watched the pilot on Hulu, and it was cute. I’m not sure it’s a keeper, but I’m going to give it a try for now.
  • The Flash (CW, Tuesdays at 7pm) – A spinoff of Arrow, based on comic books. I don’t read comic books, but I do watch – and like – Arrow. So I’ll at least watch the first episode of this one.
  • Forever (ABC, Mondays at 9pm) – So. This show is about a guy who can’t die. Every time he does, he comes back to life, waking up naked and in water. Also, he’s a medical examiner and works with a pretty cop. I realize that might just sound a little ridiculous, but I will be watching it anyway.
  • Gotham (Fox, Mondays at 7pm) – Batman before Batman was Batman, apparently. Lots of people are real worked up about this one, but since – like I said – I haven’t watched any of the Batman movies, I think I’m going to sit this one out.
  • How to Get Away with Murder (ABC, Thursdays at 9pm) – Lots of you mentioned this one and lots of critics have talked about it. But…I don’t know. I gave up Grey’s Anatomy a long time ago and never got started with Scandal, so I’m not really inclined to add the latest Shonda Rhimes show to my list.
  • Jane the Virgin (CW, Mondays at 8pm) – A Christian girl accidentally gets artificially inseminated and then her show is compared to Ugly Betty. Ummm…okay? I figure I’ll give this one a try, since I liked Ugly Betty. We’ll see.
  • Madam Secretary (CBS, Sundays at 7pm) – Former CIA agent becomes Secretary of State and “shakes things up.” The preview looks good, so I’ve already put this one on my schedule. (Yes. I have a schedule.)
  • Manhattan Love Story (ABC, Tuesdays at 7pm) – Oh my gosh, shoot me. You know how people joke about reading each other’s thoughts and how it might not be a good thing? Yeahhhh, it’s NOT. Just watching the preview was painful. And this is coming from someone who’s currently watching Greek and loving it (the show this one’s main character was in).
  • Marry Me (NBC, Tuesdays at 8pm) – I liked Happy Endings, Penny included. And Vinnie Van Lowe from Veronica Mars always cracked me up. But I do not buy these two together, and I am not interested in this show. Watching the preview felt like watching a bit, like they could not possibly be serious – BUT THEY WERE.
  • Mulaney (Fox, Sundays at 8pm) – It’s the new Seinfeld. It might be funny. I’ll maybe watch it if it’s on On Demand.
  • NCIS: New Orleans (CBS, Tuesdays at 8pm) – No, I do not need another procedural in my life. But I liked the episodes that previewed this new spinoff last year, soooo…I don’t know. Maybe? I’ll try it? I guess?
  • Red Band Society (Fox, Wednesdays at 8pm) – Uggggghhhhhhh. You guys! It’s another show about sick kids! I blame John Green for this new trend, and I do not approve. Because TEARS. But the critics are all over this one. And I don’t want to miss out on the Next Hot Show (unless it’s about Batman). So I’ll watch the pilot. If it makes me cry, though, I’m out. (I mean, not really. Reruns of HIMYM make me cry. So.)
  • Scorpion (CBS, Mondays at 8pm) – A crew of super smart people save the world. I believe I saw one critic say it’s Big Bang Theory meets the Justice League of America and/or Fast and the Furious. Clearly I will be watching this from Day One.
  • Selfie (ABC, Tuesdays at 7pm) – I don’t know why (I was bored?), but I watched this pilot on Hulu. It was not good. I don’t plan to watch. Annnnnd that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
  • State of Affairs (NBC, Mondays at 9pm) – Katharine Heigl is a CIA agent, working with the president and tracking down the terrorists who killed her fiance. I know, okay? But I’m going to watch it anyway.

Some TV Resources for You:

What shows are you looking forward to this fall?

Photo source

What I’m Into :: August 2014

What I'm Into :: August 2014

Ahhh, the end of August, you’re the best. We’re saying goodbye to summer (which makes me sweat) and saying hello to school (which makes me smile). And best of all? The end of you means the beginning of fall. And fall is my favorite.

That doesn’t mean August is all bad, of course! It’s not. Really. {What’s that? I’m protesting too much? Psh.}

Seriously, this August has been full of family drama and blistering high temperatures. (Yes, fine, after a gloriously mild summer. But I don’t care how many nice days we’ve had, the nasty hot ones still make me mad. I am reasonable that way.) So I’m doubly thankful for What I’m Into this month – both because it means the end of a less-than-awesome month and the chance to remember the GOOD things that have been going on.

Here we go!

Reading August 2014

What I’m Reading

Lucky for me, it’s been a season of book reviews around here. I’ve had four (FOUR!) recent posts about books, and I have another one coming up next month. But that’s not all I’ve been reading!

The ones I’ve already mentioned: The Cure for the “Perfect” Life, Dark Hope, and The Best Time Travel Books of All Time

The ones on sale until Monday: Jesus Calling

Other books I’ve read: The first book in the Katie Parker series by Jenny B. Jones (Christian YA by one of my favorite authors) was on sale not too long ago and reminded me that while I’d read that first one, I hadn’t read the other two. So I fixed that problem. Oh – and to make it even better? Jenny is releasing a follow-up novella soon, so I’ll find out what’s happened to the main character since the series ended!)

I also read the fourth book of Dani Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series, Silenced. I enjoyed it a lot more than the third book, thankfully. I’ve so enjoyed this series that reminds me – in all good ways – of Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series, and I’m glad there’s still one more book to come. I hope Pettrey continues writing after she completes this series. I like her mix of suspense and romance, and she writes good dialogue (the most important thing to me).

The ones I’m reading right now: Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, Deluge by Lisa Tawn Bergren, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, and Power Play by Catherine Coulter.

Basically I need to take a week off from life and just read. That’s the dream…

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What I’m Watching

You guys. Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy? It is SO GOOD. Completely hilarious.

Look, I was wary. I only know Chris Pratt as schlubby-but-lovable Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation, and despite his ab selfie heard ’round the world, I just wasn’t sure he could pull off space cowboy hero.

Well, he did. And the other characters were great, too. (Not so much the big bad – sorry, Lee Pace – though.) The story itself isn’t anything innovative, but the movie is just pure fun and seriously funny. It reminded me of Star Wars, with more colors and less drama. I loved it. You [probably] will, too.

As for TV, we’re entering the end-of-summer wasteland now, as summer shows wrap up and we wait for new and returning shows to begin their fall seasons. I’ll talk more about those upcoming shows soon, but for now, I’ll report that I’ve been watching the same old, same old: Perception, Suits, Covert Affairs, Franklin & Bash, and So You Think You Can Dance. They’re all fantastic.

Especially Suits – holy cow, tell me somebody else is still reeling from the last few minutes of that finale!

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What I’m Listening To

Hold on, folks, because I’m about to get up on a soap box.

Now, if you don’t like country music, you might want to skim this section. (NOT THAT YOU EVER DO THAT.) But I do like country music. I love it, as a matter of fact. It – along with Barry Manilow, Chicago, the Beach Boys, Lionel Ritchie and hymns – is the music of my childhood. And, I’m not ashamed to say, it’s the music of my adulthood as well.

In the past year or so the biggest sub-genre of country is, well, I don’t know what it’s called. Country rock? Bro-country? (I saw that somewhere. I swear on my George Strait CDs I did not make it up.) Whatever it’s called, it’s fun. It’s loud and pretty much all about having a good ol’ time and not relevant to my own personal life, but I like it a lot. (Except when they add rapping, and then I have a problem.)

So I like this current trend except for one thing. What I don’t like (in addition to the rapping situation, in case you forgot) is the lame songwriting. I’m not talking about the fact that we have both a song called “Dirt” and a song called “Dust” playing on the radio right now. I am not even worked up about two songs – off the top of my head! – that start (THAT START!) with the word, “damn,” negating all attempts I make to only listen to profanity-free music when Annalyn is in the car, no matter how fast my ears and station-surfing fingers are.

No, I’m sick and tired of songs using empty words and phrases that mean absolutely nothing at all. Like “This is How We Roll,” “Yeah,” “Where It’s At,” and “All Alright.” I’d include, “Aww Nah,” but forgive me, I love that one. I just feel like, as a society, as a world in which talented songwriters live, WE CAN DO BETTER.

Right? CAN’T WE?

I don’t know. Maybe you all don’t care. But I just needed to get that off my country-loving chest.

Also, it’s funny. Because though I’ve been annoyed by the bizarre prevalence of rapping and the loss of decent turns of phrases in these country songs I otherwise love (I do. Honest.), it never once occurred to me to be offended as a woman. Even though these songs? They really are pretty stereotypically sexist. Nope. I’ve just sung along, forgetting everything I ever learned in COMM 560 Women’s Rhetoric (aka, one of my favorite college classes ever).

That is, until I heard the brilliance of “Girl in a Country Song” by the talented (and adorable) Maddie & Tae. Guys, these two 18-year-olds debuted this summer, swinging at some of the biggest names in country right now with their first song. They mock all these obnoxious lyrics in the best way. All in good fun, but still. Maddie and Tae can’t just play the guitar and sing. They’ve got nerve!

This song – it’s hilarious and catchy and, oh my word, SO TRUE. I love it. And I still love the other songs. But this is priceless.

Also, for you pop music lovers, I’m also going all girl power with All About That Bass. (And anything Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato or the likes of them sing. And Taylor Swift’s new song. Because yes, I am 14, thank you for asking.)

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What I’m Eating and/or Cooking

Well. See. The thing is…I’m tired all the time. So I wanted to try to learn to drink coffee. But coffee is gross. It is! I know. Everyone else in the world loves it, but I don’t. I want to, but I don’t. But I’m tired. So I keep trying it.

And then…well…I found a coffee drink I like.

Unfortunately it comes with a whole lot of sugar and about a million (or 600) calories. Even without whip.

OOPS.

Seriously, though, I have discovered the McDonald’s Frappe. And it is delicious and wonderful and I want one every day. Mocha or caramel, doesn’t matter. I love them equally. And I always get it without whip, but I looked up the calories and some things you can’t unsee. You know?

So I’m not sure if I’ve made any progress in my effort to learn to drink coffee. More likely I’ve just gained a few pounds. I mean…I’m not even sure if these delicious drinks give me any more energy! They just taste SO GOOD.

Maybe next month I’ll have something better for you in this department. But for now, I’m not gonna lie. I’m all about the bass AND the frappe.

How about you?

What were YOU into this month? Tell us in the comments!

I’m linking up with my friend Leigh at What I’m Into.

{Frappe Photo Source}

No More Putting Off the Cure for Perfectionism

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I wrote this post at 11:30 last night. I could give you a list of reasons why I just didn’t have time until then – and, thanks to years in public relations, I could make it sound real convincing – but the truth is I just procrastinated.

Like I do.
All the time.
ALL THE DANG TIME.
Because I’m a procrastinating perfectionist.

{Did I mention this was a review of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life?}

When I learned that Cheri Gregory and Kathi Lipp were writing a book about perfectionism, I had a couple reactions. First, I was disappointed. From the sounds of it, they were writing the book that I wanted to write. Second, I was annoyed. Not because they were writing “my” book – but because I knew I’d have to read it and then God would probably try to change me and THAT IS HARD.

Clearly I was not – and AM NOT – ready to write a book about fighting perfectionism! And, to be completely honest, I haven’t even been ready to READ a book about it, either.

I’ve had Cheri and Kathi’s book for weeks now. It’s got an adorable cover – the kind that makes you want to open it and read. And I really like Cheri and Kathi. And you know what else? This book is full of personality tests. I LOVE THOSE THINGS! Oh, and you know what else (again)? They sent me a hot pink highlighter with the book, with a note encouraging me to mark it all up.

Well, that is just too fun!

So, of course you know I devoured this book the day I got it…right?

Except…no. I didn’t. I’ve held it a lot. I’ve skimmed it a couple times, sure. But the part where I sit down, kids in bed and TV off, highlighter in hand and heart open? Um, no. I haven’t done that yet.

You know what’s funny? One of the early chapters of the book gets to the bottom of perfectionism by explaining that perfectionism is rooted in fear. And the subtitle of the book is “Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver.”

And yet…I’ve been afraid to dive into this book. So – to come full circle – I’ve put it off. Like I do so many things.

Kathi and Cheri talk about four major instigators of what they label “Try-Harder Living”: Perfectionism, People-Pleasing, Performancism, Procrastination.

Huh.

I’m off the charts on Perfectionism and Procrastination (with occasional bouts of People-Pleasing and Performancism). Strangely enough, when I took the quiz to discover what kind of rebel I am (as in, what’s my personality type and how does it relate to Try-Harder Living), I had equal high scores for being Analytical and Driving – which do not correlate directly with Perfectionism and Procrastination.

I’m so complicated.

Except – not really. Even if my personality test results aren’t textbook, THIS BOOK still identifies, understands and addresses head on the things I struggle with most. Which is why I’m not putting off a serious read any longer.

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I’m going to start reading – REALLY reading – The Cure for the “Perfect” Life this week. Will you join me? I’d love to hear what you’re learning from this book as we read it together!

And I’d also love to give away a copy to a fellow perfectionist.

To enter the giveaway, tell me which of the Try-Harder Living instigators you struggle with most. And for an additional entry, take the Rebel Quiz here and tell me what kind of rebel you are.

This giveaway is open to readers in the U.S. only {sorry, international friends!!!}, and it will close on Friday, September 5.

Photo source

The Best Time Travel Books of All Time

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I read a lot of books. I do not read a lot of books twice. Actually, I read VERY FEW books more than once. Aside from the Chronicles of Narnia (when I was a child) and the Percy Jackson series (when I was – OKAY FINE – last year), two of the only books that come to mind as second-readers both happen to be time travel stories.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I am a sucker for anything time travel. Sometimes – as in the case of Deja Vu, a less-than-successful Denzel movie from a few years ago – I even resort to drawing pictures to demonstrate how the story was or was not plausible.

Yep. Because time travel can be plausible. Mm-hmmm.

ANYWAY. If you haven’t heard, a new TV show premiered last weekend about time travel. Based on the very popular series by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander airs on Saturdays on Starz.

Now, I’m a big wimp when it comes to graphic…anything. So shows on Starz – time travel or no, really great trailer or no – don’t fit into my regular television viewing schedule. I am slowly working through the first Outlander book, however. So far I really like it – but I’m only 100 or so pages in. I’ve read reviews that make me a little nervous about what’s to come…but then again a lot of people love this series. And, well, time travel.

Since I’ve recently read a few other books featuring time travel, I thought I’d do a little research. What I found was a great list of the time travel books I’ve read – and quite a few more I hope to read soon. And just in case you all are big time travel dorks like me, I figured I’d share.

[Side note: These may or may not be the BEST time travel books of ALL time. In other words I reserve the right to use blog post titles that are clever but possibly not quite 100% accurate. Possibly.]

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22 of the Best Books About Time Travel

  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: A woman reunites with her husband after World War II, and they take a trip to Scotland…where she accidentally trips through a portal to 1743. I like the strong, sassy voice of the main character. Full review to come soon.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: This is a time travel love story. I read it a long time ago, but a few years after it was super popular. (And I haven’t seen the movie.) If I remember correctly, I loved it and hated it. Both. At the same time.
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King: A high school teacher’s dying friend shows him a portal back in time – and a way to potentially change history. Amy from MomAdvice recommended this one, and I checked it out of the library earlier this year. It was a huge book, really long – and I didn’t make it halfway before the thing was due. I blame that on the 8-10 feedings a day (and very few consecutive hours of sleep) that were happening then, and I’m determined to try this one again soon.
  • Timeline by Michael Crichton: A group of young scientists travel to medieval France. I LOVE THIS BOOK. It’s the one I’ve read twice. Except, actually, I’ve read it at least three times and plan to read it again this year. I don’t know. I just love it.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle: Time traveling teens! Secret government work! WHY do I not remember more of this book?!? I know I read it as a child, but clearly I need to give it another read since I don’t remember much of it at all.
  • Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren: In the first book of the River of Time series, a teenage girl travels to 14th century Italy. I’ve read this whole series…AND own it. That way I can read it again when I finish reading all these other books on my to-read list!
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: I read this book just a few years ago, when some of my co-workers at the ad agency and I formed a book club. I did read it. And it was good. I remember that part. But I cannot recall a single other thing about it – even after reading the book’s description three times. So – I got nothing.
  • A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux: You guys. I just…I just can’t. When I started researching time travel books, this one showed up on everyone’s list. I even saw it called a classic…more than once. So I got it from the library. And I read it. (Then I remembered that I’d read it before. *sigh*) It is definitely classic romance novel – woman is sad, man from the past hears her crying and travels through time to heal her broken heart, blah, blah, blah. I debated including it on this list, but full disclosure and all…
  • Timebound by Rysa Walker: A teenaged girl’s grandma tells her their family has time traveling abilities. The Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 is involved, as well as a serial killer murder and some time-traveling villains. I read this right after Adrienne was born and loved it – and am really looking forward to the sequel this fall.
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: There’s a witch and a vampire and a book. And to solve their problems, they have to travel through time. So, okay, fine. When I first read this, I said I didn’t see what the big deal was. But then I read the second book. And I realized that even after I was finished with them, I kept thinking about them. So, obviously I liked them a bit more than I first believed. I have the third book in the trilogy from the library right now.

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And then there are the time travel books I haven’t read. Several of them are on my to-read list, and one is already on my bedside table. Others I may never read, but maybe they’re your cup of time travel tea. Or not. But they are about time travel. So. Here they are.

So – am I alone? Or do you like time travel stories, too? What’s your favorite?

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What I’m Into :: July 2014

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August! It’s AUGUST! And school starts in 12 days! (Not that I’m counting. But I totally am.) July went by fast, as evidenced by my shorter-than-usual lists of books read, recipes tried and hours worked. But it was still a good month, and I’ve got a few things to share.

How did YOUR July go? I hope you’ll tell us all about it in the comments!

What I'm Into July 2014

What I’m Reading:

  • Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson – suspense that’s kind of like What Alice Forgot meets Sleeping with the Enemy. And it’s being made into a movie. EXCELLENT.
  • Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen – YA retelling of Robin Hood, if Robin and his men were teenagers and not all men. I really enjoyed it but the dialect of the main character got on my nerves.
  • The Target by David Baldacci – Corrupt government and assassins doing assassin things. It’s the same old, same old for Baldacci, but darn it, I love it every time.
  • The Cure for the “Perfect” Life by Kathy Lipp and Cheri Gregory – I’ve just started this one, but it’s fantastic so far. More to come.
  • How I Fall by Anne Eliot – This is a self-published YA novel about a sixteen-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and the super cute boy she likes. I’m not going to be able to write a description that makes it sound good, I know, because it didn’t sound good to me either. But I’ve read Eliot’s other two books and they were really good. This one was, too. Just believe me. I wouldn’t lead you astray!

What I’m Watching:

Well, basically all the same stuff I was watching last month: So You Think You Can Dance, Suits, Covert Affairs, Perception and Chasing Life. Most importantly, though, we’ve finished the first season of Friday Night Lights and are DYING for season two to come in at the library.

So, I have to ask those of you who watched FNL a million years ago (or Breaking Bad, I guess) – don’t you think Jesse Plemons looks JUST LIKE Matt Damon? In a, I don’t know, Ron Weasley sort of way?

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Finally. Tell me you saw this video. IT IS BRILLIANT.

So, spill it: What were you into last month?

I’m linking up with my friend Leigh. Check out other What I’m Into posts over there!