Chloe M. O'Connor | Layout, Illustration, and Freelance Design

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Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: “The Bachelorette”

Emily Manyard, "The Bachelorette" Season 8

Emily Maynard, “The Bachelorette” Season 8

I’m only a little bit embarrassed this show is my weekly obsession since I already admitted to you guys I’m watching it for the first time. Love-huntin’ Emily Maynard is about to meet her top four gents’ family members and I can’t wait to see how they influence the way she feels about each guy.

The reason I am obsessed with this silly ABC reality show is because of the leading lady. She is Southern sweet, pretty genuine despite the demand to fall in love on camera, and it’s clear she really does want to find a nice man for her and a great dad for her daughter, Ricki. And I’ll tell you what, three of the final four dudes seem like darn good catches (go home, Chris!).

I like Jef… and Arie and Sean … but mostly Jef. I hope Emily doesn’t marry him so I can snatch him up. The roommate and I loved the scene below. I want to meet his family after hearing him talk about them!

Video stream of the week: “Battle Royale” on Netflix

If you liked “The Hunger Games” for its dystopian story, you will love this Japanese film from 2000. Based on a book — which, by the way, came out long before Suzanne Collins’ megahit — the movie follows a ninth-grade boy grappling with the death of his father. By government decree, the boy’s entire class of 42 students is dropped on a deserted island and are forced to battle to the death. The boy and his classroom crush team up in an attempt to survive, even though there can only be one winner.

What makes “Battle Royale” more successful than “The Hunger Games” (film and book, both) is the children don’t know about the yearly killing event. There is no time for the kids to prepare for what they face on the island. It is a terrifying concept, an ultra-gory flick, and so enjoyable you forget you are reading subtitles.

Carly Rae Jepsen news of the week: “Good Time” by Owl City featuring Carly Rae Jepsen

I can’t go a week without mentioning my favorite Canadian! Her featured role on Owl City’s first single from his new album, “The Midsummer Station” coming out Aug. 21, is summer-worthy. It has that driving-with-the-windows-down feeling. And the flash video is super cute. Being a design junky, I love that lyrics videos are the new thing to do before making an official music video.

Big ole bummer of the week: NBC fires Ann Curry

I have been an NBC fan for a long, long time, but after the showdown with Conan O’Brien in 2010 and now the ousting of Ann Curry — decisions directly tied to ratings — I feel my loyalty thread fraying. Curry has so much journalistic integrity, more than anyone on “Today,” and she deserved a lot more respect than she received from NBC after 15 years on the show.

As for her apology to viewers? No need for that, Ann. The only person who should be saying sorry is whoever kicked you out the door without tact.

Check out her heartbreaking goodbye on Entertainment Weekly’s site. I cried, of course.

Filed under: Books, Design, Entertainment, Internet, Movies, Music, Netflix, Television, TV on DVD, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

‘I Quit Sugar’ … Wait, What?

"I Quit Sugar" by Sarah Wilson

“I Quit Sugar” by Sarah Wilson

Yes, it’s true. I am quitting sugar. To be more precise, I am quitting fructose, the big, bad sugar that turns into fat.

Don’t freak out, folks. I am not giving up all things sweet forever. I am merely going through the process of learning how to make better choices while at the same time breaking myself of my sugar addiction. And it is going to be quite a process — eight weeks, in fact.

I read a book aptly titled “I Quit Sugar” by Sarah Wilson, an Australian journalist and former editor of Cosmopolitan. Sarah very simply lays out the benefits of removing sugar from one’s diet, and explains why fructose is the culprit of so many common health issues.

Here are my reasons for breaking the habit:

  • I’m addicted. I have been eating about 10 times as much sugar as our bodies are made to handle. Ten times! Yuck-o!
  • I can’t lose the gut. I have been doing yoga/Pilates workouts from home, but can’t seem to slim down my lower belly.
  • I am sluggish, tired, and can get unbearably grumpy. No fun for all involved.
  • I have experienced painful digestive issues. These usually hit me at work, a most inconvenient time!
  • I want my face to clear up. I have battled acne since my early teens and I’m sick of it!
  • I eat my emotions. Instead of turning to food when I’m stressed, I’d like to create healthy alternatives — exercising, writing, playing guitar and whatever else I learn to love.
  • I spend too much money on food. I don’t even eat out but once a month, but I love to cook, bake and snack. Breaking the sugar habit will keep me from grabbing that pricey pint of ice cream and will help me stick to my budget.

“I Quit Sugar” suggests several things I can do to remain accountable throughout the journey, one of which is blogging. Here we go, then. I will check back in with you in a few days to tell you about how the first week works and how I have managed! You can still look forward to my picks of the week on Fridays and the random reviews.

If you have any questions along the way, I make a promise to be completely open about my experience of quitting sugar. And if you have any tips of your own, let me know!

Filed under: Books, Entertainment, Health, News, , , , , , , , , , ,

Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray.

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray

Sea Salt Spray

I love this hair product! I can create easy, beach breezy hair in seconds. The seriously salty solution is sprayed into damp or dry hair. Comb through and twirl your strands a bit. I just let it dry naturally on the run. I feel like I have hopped straight from Lumahai Beach to work. I bought it for $6 on

Free download of the week: The Northern’s “All I Live For”.

After a successful fundraising campaign, these talented dudes released their brand new album this week. You can download the first song off “The Shadowlands” for free, but you should probably pop over to iTunes or Amazon and snatch up the whole kit and caboodle. I can’t wait until my copy arrives in the mail!

Video stream of the week: “A State of Mind” on Netflix.

Most people know very little about North Korea, but not because we’re all ignorant. The communist country is completely closed off to the world and rarely lets in outsiders. In this British documentary, filmmakers were given an unprecedented look into North Korea in 2003 (when Kim Jong Il was still alive and ruling) as they follow two girls training for selection in the Mass Games, a gymnastics and dance performance of 80,000 children that cements nationalism into the country’s young participants.

The film is not so much about the Games as it’s about the loyalty citizens have to their ruler. I was shocked by the extreme hate for the United States, which is taught in schools, and the way privileged families live in close quarters and are rationed a chicken and five eggs per person per month. These facts are nine years old but I can’t imagine the country has progressed much with its internal way of life and power being passed down through family members, who are worshiped by the people.

Song of the week: “Keep Your Head Up” by Ben Howard

I just discovered Ben Howard. He sounds like a folksy James Blunt with better lyrics, and I’m not comparing them because they’re both British! He sounds Blunt-y. Sort of Tracy Chapman-y at times. She’s American.

It’s been a bit of a rough week, and this song is uplifting!

And because I can’t get enough of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” here’s Howard’s cover, which according to AOL Music’s blog, Howard wasn’t too thrilled to cover.

Filed under: Entertainment, Internet, Movies, Music, Netflix, Products, TV on DVD

Movie Review: Rock of Ages

"Rock Of Ages"

Just like the stage show, the motion picture “Rock of Ages” aims to please (with popular ’80s rock songs) and generally offend (in nearly every other way). The pure ridiculousness of it all translates mounds better on stage than on film, but that’s not to say the move is a bore. It’s actually loads of fun.

Let’s break down the best and the worst “Rock of Ages” has to offer.


  • Catherine Zeta-Jones. She should sing and dance in every film. Her role was written just for the screen (the writers reworked the hippie protester Regina into the mayor’s wife character).
  • Julianne Hough’s fabulous boots. After sporting some sweet red ones in the remake of “Footloose” she has transitioned to studded black ones.

    Julianne Hough's "Rock of Ages" boots

    The boots

  • “Here I Go Again.” None of the numbers really stood out to me dancewise, save for this one. It included the entire cast in their different states of life, and some slick moves at the Venus Club.
  • Russell Brand. He may not be popular, but he’s still good for a laugh in the role of Lonny, the business partner of Bourbon Room owner, Dennis (Alec Baldwin). Brand plays well off Baldwin’s one-note performance.
  • Debbie Gibson cameo! I’m not going to tell you where. Just look for her.
  • The Tom Cruise slow walk show. For the first half of the movie, there is too much focus on Cruise’s drink-drowning rock star, Stacee Jaxx. A lot of screen time is wasted on watching Cruise wander around at the pace of a snail, and he talks about as fast. I wish fewer frames were dedicated to him.
  • This camera shot:
    Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages"

    The money shot

    Somebody is real proud of this. It’s in the trailers, the film and the credits. I liked it the first time, but once is enough!

Obviously the good outweigh the bad. “Rock of Ages” is entertaining and a good two-hour escape from 2012. But if it weren’t for all the big name stars, this would just be a quality TV movie.

Filed under: Entertainment, Hollywood, Movies, Music, Musical, , , , , , , , , ,

Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: My new prescription sunglasses.

Elizabeth Arden sunglasses

Elizabeth Arden sunglasses

I was finally allowed to visit my optometrist last week (thank you, health insurance!). Thankfully my eyes have hardly changed, so I was able to forgo the purchase of new eyeglass lenses and invested in a pair of sunglasses. Prescription lenses are ridiculously pricey for a pair of shades (no thank you, health insurance), so thank goodness I had a $100 off a lens and frame purchase coupon from Lenscrafters. I am so glad I can protect my eyes from the summer sun. I even got to sport my newest fashion accessory at our company picnic Wednesday.

Video stream of the week: “Pretty Little Liars” on Netflix Instant.

"Pretty Little Liars"

“Pretty Little Liars”

Season 3 of this addictive ABC Family series began June 5, and Netflix is currently streaming the 22 episodes in Season 1. On July 3, Season 2 will be available. I hear the Rosewood girls find out who A is in Season 2!

Music stream of the week: “The Lion The Beast The Beat” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

AOL music is streaming this gem, the band’s fourth studio album. Grace Potter is a sweet-voiced rocker whose voice I had not taken the time to enjoy until this album, as I didn’t care for 2010’s single, “Paris (Ooh La La).” But I dig this good new-fashioned rock. Give a special listen to the upbeat “Loneliest Soul” and the killer ballad “One Heart Missing.”

I snatched up the album for $5 as Amazon’s daily deal Tuesday, but it’s worth the $10 it’s currently selling for on Amazon.

Viral video of the week: “Call Me Maybe” starring Jimmy Fallon, Carly Rae Jepsen and The Roots.

The most sugary pop song of the spring and soon-to-be summer hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart Wednesday. I venture to say this cutesy “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” version convinced enough people to request and buy the tune, causing Canadian Carly Rae to knock off Australian Wally De Backer aka Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.”

Filed under: Entertainment, Internet, Music, Netflix, Television, TV on DVD, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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