Tag Archives: review

TWSM Movie Review ‘Peppermint’

TWSM Movie Review ‘Peppermint’

When someone hurts your child do you ever sit and just let your mind wander about the things you would like to do and/or say to the person or people or hurt them. You think “If I ever see them, I am going to give them a piece of my mind!”   Sometimes you may even be so angry you might think about how good it would feel to punch them since they felt entitled to take a swing at your own child.  As much as it may make us feel somewhat better to imagine these things, all in all it’s something we would never do. But oh, how good it is to imagine the feeling of doing it!  Mess with me but not my child.

Now imagine not only losing your only child but your spouse as well.  At the same time.  In a senseless act of violence.  I don’t even want to imagine that scenario.  Well meet Riley North (Jennifer Garner).  Riley loses her daughter and husband in a drive-by shooting while leaving a carnival in celebration of her daughter’s birthday.  She too is badly wounded, but not too wounded to climb out of her hospital bed and identify all three shooters.

Because of her positive identification of the three and their well-known involvement with a drug cartel, it almost seems like an open and shut case.  At least one would think.  Due to what seems to be corruption within the local government, the judge sets the three criminals free. The District Attorney doesn’t even argue.  This enrages Riley and she flies off the witness stand in court to attack the killers.  Before she can reach them, however, she is overpowered by the guards and put into an ambulance to be taken to the hospital psych ward.  Before they can close the doors, she has knocked the paramedic and policeman out with an oxygen tank and flees.  She runs and gets away.  In fact, she goes off the grid entirely.  It’s as if she’s disappeared from the face of the earth.

Five years later the three men who killed her family are found hanging from a Ferris wheel at the very carnival where the dreaded killings had taken place.  No one suspects it would ever be Riley.  Little did they know, she had reemerged as her own vigilante to pay back all those involved in the loss of her family.  No one, and I mean no one, has been forgotten in her mind.

It turns out she has been traveling the world under false identities.  She studied martial arts and learned combat maneuvers. She knew what she was doing upon her return. The police and FBI finally realize she is back once the people who were responsible for letting her family’s killers go free start dying in “unusual” ways.  Yes, Riley is back, and she means business.

This movie obviously is very violent.  In fact, it reaches a point where you might think enough is enough.  Ironically as tough as Riley has become both mentally and physically, she still has a soft and tender side to her especially when it comes to children.   She has become their protector of sorts at Skid Row, where she lives out of an old cargo van.  As far as she is concerned, the same thing will never happen to another child that happened to hers.   

~S.

TWSM Movie Review ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’

Ahh, love.  Beautiful, wonderful, and yes “Crazy, Stupid, Love”!   When you see someone walk down the aisle you never know who will last for 50 or more years, and who won’t make it through the first.  There is no magic formula.

In ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’- Cal and his wife Emily have been together since their teenage years. Over the years Cal has become somewhat complacent and let himself go. While out to dinner one evening he asks Emily what she wants for dessert and she declares “A divorce!”.  He is undoubtedly stunned. He doesn’t realize there was ever a problem.  On the ride home Emily confesses that she had an affair with a coworker. She says, “I mean we really haven’t been a couple in quite a while, right?” Cal shows his remorse by opening the car door and throwing himself out as only Steve Carrell could do.

He moves out of the house and starts frequenting a bar that he used to drive by and admire, wondering what went on inside.  He eventually is noticed by Jacob, a lady’s man (played by Ryan Gosling) who leaves each night with a different woman.  After finding out Cal’s story he takes an interest in him and wants to help.   Jacob takes Cal for a wardrobe and hair makeover.  It really makes a difference in Cal’s outward appearance as well as his self-confidence.  Eventually, Cal becomes a lady’s man as well.  

He and Emily meet at a parent teacher conference for their son.  It is obvious that the two still have feelings for each other.  Emily, not knowing what Cal has been up to, realizes during the conference that the teacher and Cal have “been close”.  She is angry and hurt but even given her own infidelity, she is disappointed in his behavior.  Yet her love for him still shows through all the bitterness even though she tries so hard for it not to. 

 In fact, it is obvious throughout the entire movie that the two still have deep feelings for each other.  At one point Cal is secretly watching his family from his backyard, missing being a part of it all. He sees his wife through the window calling someone and it ends up being him.  Not realizing he is watching her she asks for his help in lighting the pilot light on the furnace. She just wants to hear his voice.  However, she pretends to go through every step that he tells her and once the pilot light is lit, it is obvious that both parties are sorry when the phone call is over.

This movie is not about infidelity.  It’s about love.  It’s about a love where two people have become a little too “familiar” and drifted apart. It shows our humanness and our vulnerability.  Overall, it is a sweet movie, and although fictitious, probably is a lot more real than most would expect.  Some loves last forever.  Some don’t last a month.  Life and love are both games of chance.  Wherever you find yourself in this thing called love, always remember to love yourself first. That is the most beautiful love of all!

 

~Sherri

TWSM Movie Review ‘Enough’

TWSM Movie Review: Enough

I really like to keep things light.  I mean I’m not going into the all the things that can bring us down.  Just watch the news for 3 minutes and that alone will bring you down.  However, this movie focused on something real that I felt that it wouldn’t hurt to discuss, and that is domestic abuse.

“Slim” (Jennifer Lopez) is a struggling waitress at a local diner.  After being harassed by a patron a hero emerges to save the day.  The “hero” “Mitch, who unbeknownst to anyone was a wealthy and powerful man, and Slim strike up a romance which can’t be contained.   He is her hero.  She is his queen.  They marry, have a child, and life is bliss.  At least that’s what Slim believes.  

One evening Mitch’s beeper goes off.  Feeling like something is off, she hesitantly looks at it looks at it and then calls the person back. It ends up being a woman with whom Mitch is having an affair.  When confronted, he profusely apologizes and tells her that it was a mistake, and it is only her.  She says “I thought we were happy.  I thought we were lucky.  You said I was safe with you”. 

Things were good for a while but one evening Slim hugs her husband when he arrives home.  She says, “I can smell her.”  Mitch ends up beating her up.  When she confronts him, he tells her “I make the money and set the rules.  I refuse to live without you.   This is the price for the life that you live” It’s at this point that Slim realizes deep down in her gut that she needs to get out!  

Finally she acts.   She makes plans to leave, and once in the safety of one of her best friends, she obtains a new social security number and an eventually a new identity.  She also has cut off all her beautiful hair to make herself look different on the outside, as she continues to work on the inside.,

She eventually looks up her wealthy “real” dad.  Obviously, a lady’s man, He accuses her among many others of using him to get money.  Not long after that, however, t he is met by people who threaten him if he helps her.  Realizing this is real he sends her thousands of dollars in cash to the diner where she worked.  The owner of the diner was aware of the situation and made sure it made it into her hands.  

This money gives her what she needs to buy a house and start a new life with her daughter.  She also begins to take self defense classes from a martial arts student because she is still afraid of her ex.  She realizes that she can run from Mitch for the rest of her life or take matters into her own hands. 

Eventually she makes plans to break into his house and prepares everything to take him down.  He catches her and starts to beat her again.  As she is lying flat on the ground, she remembers what her martial arts coach told her, “He thinks he has won.  And as sure as he is a coward, he will try to kick you”.  Just as she thinks it, it becomes reality.  She uses all the skills that she has been taught and fights for the lives of her and her daughter. 

Thankfully, I personally have never had to live in such dire circumstances.  Even though this was only a movie, it hits home for many women — many of them reading this right now.

The only type of advice that I feel I can give you is that there is more in life in store for you than this.  We were meant to live whole, happy, and healthy lives!  We all have gifts to share and that is what we should be doing; I would hate to see you as well as the world robbed of what you have to offer  

Please seek help.  There are shelters, support groups, friends.  The bottom line is that there are so many people who love you and want only the best for you.  What was described in this movie, or anything close to it, is not what was intended for your life.  You were meant to live free without being controlled and manipulated by another.  There is help there.  Please find it and go out and live life fully the way it was meant to be.  You are worth it!

~Sherri

 

TWSM Recipe Review ‘Lasagna’

Growing up in an Italian household there was always some type of pasta or bread. Over the years when I got into the restaurant industry my love for lasagna grew even more because of how much I could experiment with it. I will say serving lasagna in a restaurant fashion is interesting at times and can be very annoying but, when it is done right it is so good. This is a basic recipe but still so good. As usual when I make this, I make several pans of it and freeze so that I always have some on demand.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 packages lasagna noodles
  • 1-2 jars of a good quality Marinara sauce
  • 22 ounces of ricotta
  • A container of Parmesan and Romano blend grated
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh basil
  • S&P
  • Dried oregano
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 bags of Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 bag of Shredded asiago

Boil the noodles in heavily salted water. You may need to cook two pots for both packages. Do not cook the noodles to al dente drain them about a minute to a minute and a half before. Next in a large bowl put in all the ricotta. Next mince garlic, parsley, and the basil. Put it in the bowl with the salt, pepper, dried oregano, and a heavy handful of the parmesan mixture.

Next mix it with a spoon and in a separate bowl add the shredded mozzarella, asiago, and the parmesan mixture. Now get your pan or pans together and start building. Here are how the layers should be from bottom to top: Sauce, noodles, ricotta, sauce cheese, noodle, ricotta, noodle, ricotta, sauce, cheese noodle, sauce, cheese.

Now you can either bake at 425 right away but I recommend putting in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to set then bake covered with foil for 30 minutes then uncover and bake until golden brown. Also rub the foil with olive oil so the cheese does not stick.

~The Prosperous Plate

TWSM Movie Review ‘Double Jeopardy’

Double Jeopardy…I have my movies.  My go-to movies. The ones I watch every time I need a pick me up and/or they show up on to. Sometimes I seek them out because that’s just how much I like them.  This is one of those movies.

Libby is a happily married wife and mom.  She has it all.  Wonderful husband, beautiful son, great friends, and a life to be envied by many.  Her wealthy husband surprises her and takes her on a weekend sailboat trip – just the two of them.  She wakes up one morning to blood all over her and the boat.  It was everywhere.  Her husband was gone.  She found a bloody knife on deck, but he was nowhere to be seen.

To cut to the chase, she was charged and convicted of his murder.    After spending six years in prison, she was finally paroled after befriending two other women who did murder their husbands.

While in prison she finds out that her best friend, who she had asked to adopt her son while she was imprisoned, had run off and created a life with her still alive husband.  The puzzle starts to fit together.

This brings out a side in her that even she didn’t know existed.  She begins working out, getting into the best shape of her life.  One day while running in a pouring rainstorm her friend says “I’ve never seen anything like it.  What’s driving you is pure hate!”  

One of her best friends in prison happened to be a lawyer “once upon a time”.  She trains Libby on the exact words to say in order to convince the parole board that she has been reformed.  It works, and she is out.  

She tracks her ex-husband and ex best friend down to New Orleans and goes through a living hell trying to find her son.  Even as far as being trapped in a casket in a cemetery with a dead body, thanks to the hands of her husband.  But she tries everything.  

All to get to her son.

This movie shows true grit.  Once realizing she had been framed, a fire ignites inside her.  It drives anything and everything she would every need to get out of prison and find her son. 

What drives you?  Is it love? Hate? Passion? Fear?  The truth is we are all driven by hidden truths, none of which are necessarily wrong.  It’s the reason behind the drive that matters.  

This movie teaches us that we can find friendship in the most unlikely places.  The two women that Libby told in the beginning of the movie to back off and leave her alone ended up being her biggest allies and true friends.  We are all people.  We are all human.  We all have made mistakes.  It’s what we do with these experiences that forms us into who we were meant to be.

How do you think the movie ends?  You could probably figure it out.  But then, maybe you can’t.  Life is full of surprises both good and bad.  And so are movies.

Just remember, just as Libby dealt with whatever life threw at her she stood strong and never gave up.  We can do the same.  We are all strong.  It just depends on how we want to show up for life.

Streamed from Netflix,

~Sherri

TWSM Book Review ‘The Authenticity Project: A Novel’

 The Authenticity Project: A Novel by Clare Pooley 

If you are looking for an entertaining novel about seeking connection, friendship, and love in our modern world, I recommend The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. It’s a book about the stories we tell ourselves and others, and how these messages can get in the way of true connection or help us to grow. 

Set in London in 2018, Pooley creates a cast of lively characters for The Authenticity Project. They start out as strangers, but their lives begin to intersect and change as they get to know one another by way of an anonymous “traveling journal”. 

Here are some of my favorite quotes: 

“She kept scrolling, despite knowing this would not be a comfort, more of a form of mild self-harm. Hayley had changed her relationship status to “engaged”. Whoop whoop. Pam had posted a status about her life with three kids, a boast thinly and inexpertly disguised as self-deprecation, and Sally had shared her baby scan picture — twelve weeks.” (Chapter 5: Monica) 

“Riley wasn’t sure how much he believed. Julian seemed to have been present at every significant social event in recent history, from dinners with Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies to the party where Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull were arrested for possession of marijuana.” (Chapter 19: Riley) 

“Before she’d had a baby, he’d never seen her less than perfectly made-up, blow-dried, and waxed. It had all gone a little downhill since then… Alice thought back to the days when all she needed were her keys, money, and a mobile phone stuffed into a jeans pocket. It felt like a different life, belonging to a very different person.” (Chapter 25: Alice) 

The only negative that I have to share about The Authenticity Project is the way in which Pooley writes the character of Mrs. Woo. Although Mrs. Woo is a lovely woman who is both warm and tough as nails, her dialogue seemed a bit like a stereotype of someone who learned Chinese as a first language and English as a second language. I don’t know if this is a fair criticism or not, but it struck me that way. 

Overall, The Authenticity Project is a fun and thought provoking novel. I recommend that you brew a cup of tea, put your feet up, and give it a read. 

Rating 4 Stars out of 5 

Copyright 2020 by Clare Pooley 

Liz is a technical writer by day and a humor writer by night. She lives in Minnesota with her younger daughter and their two cats. When Liz is not reading, writing, or searching for new books to review, she can be found practicing yoga or enjoying time with friends and family. She is savoring the time that she has left before her younger daughter flies from the nest, yet she is also secretly looking forward to a time when she can travel more and not worry about anyone borrowing her socks.

TWSM Recipe Review ‘Cucumber and Radicchio Salad’

 

Cucumber and Radicchio Salad

I was missing the summer weather so I figured I would put together a summer salad as a side. If you are not familiar radicchio it is in the chicory family. Raw it has a bitter and spicy taste to it. It is fantastic when paired with something sweet or salty, the bitter balances out the flavors. A great addition to this salad would be cherry tomatoes and capers.

Prep Time: 5 minutes           Assemble Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cucumber
  • Half a head of radicchio
  • Fresh dill
  • Good quality Italian dressing
  • Fresh parsley
  • S&P
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • A small shallot
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Grated parmesan

First slice your cucumbers into half-moons, then cut the radicchio to the same size or smaller than the cucumbers. Now mince the fresh dill and add it to the bowl with the vegetables.

Now how much dressing you make will completely depend on your taste. I absolutely drowned mine, so I will not include the measurements. Roughly you will need 1.5 cups of the Italian dressing shaken, ½ cup of lemon juice, a hand full of parsley, the garlic and shallot, 1/3 cup of the parm, and S&P then blend it all together. You want it to be as thick as Caesar, if it is to lose add more oil or to thick add caper juice, lemon juice, or white balsamic. Once you have the desired texture taste it then adjust seasonings. Now just pour over the veggies and serve immediately. If you want to save some DO NOT dress all the salad. Only dress what you will serve then you can save and serve again with out it being watery.

~The Prosperous Plate

‘Experiencing the world one bite at a time.’

‘Always Be My Maybe’ TWSM Movie Review

Always Be My Maybe

Starring:  Randall Park, Ali Wong

Even though it was a cold February day, I was watching this movie with a smile on my face and the warmest heart ever!  It just makes you feel good about life and love, and the fact that even though life takes us through many twists and turns, we always end up right where we belong.

Sasha Chan and Marcus Kim were best friends since childhood.  They were neighbors.  Sasha’s parents weren’t home a lot and she was left to fend for herself, including fixing her own dinner.  (It was amazing what she could do with Spam and rice!) Many nights Marcus’s mom would have her come to their house and help her cook and then eat dinner with them.  In many ways, they were more like family to her than her own parents.

Sasha and Marcus were constant companions even though their teenage years.  Until one unfortunate day an argument ensued, and they parted ways, never to speak to each other again.  Sasha went on to become a famous chef owning fancy restaurants where only the elite dined.  Marcus never left home.  His mother passed away unexpectedly and in his grief of losing her, as well as his best friend, he claimed that he was his father’s “caretaker” even though his dad was not in need of such a thing.  He also continued to play in a band that he had been the leader of since high school.  In essence, his life hadn’t really changed at all while Sasha’s life had become a red-carpet walking life that most people only dream of.

Sasha decided to open a new restaurant in San Francisco where she had grown up.   She rented a house in an upscale neighborhood which is where she became reunited with Marcus – when he and his dad came to service the air conditioner in her rented home.    

The two became friendly again and eventually became romantically involved.  That is until it was time for Sasha to leave for New York to open yet another restaurant.  She wanted Marcus to join her.  He wanted nothing of it.  As she was leaving, she accused Marcus of hiding from life and never living.  He accused her of not living either, because her “living” a life that wasn’t really her.  It was full of glamour and fakeness, everything that the real Sasha was not.   Everyone could see that these two were meant for each other ….. but could they?

Life takes twists and turns and has ups and downs.  We make right decisions as well as wrong ones every day.  It’s through all these challenges that we learn about ourselves and what makes us who we are.  The truth is that we all grow and change, but in the end, true love and friendship will always prevail.  We just have to let it!

~Sherri

TWSM Book Review ‘An Invitation To Self Care’

“An Invitation To Self-Care” by Tracey Cleantis

An Invitation to Self-Care by Tracey Cleantis is a deep dive into taking good care of ourselves. Cleantis explores self-care in many areas of life — body, mind and emotions, relationships, finances, work, and play. The book includes exercises for assessing your current level of self-care and making plans to up your game. 

Tracey Cleantis is a licensed marriage and family therapist and the author of the critically acclaimed book The Next Happy: Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward. She includes examples from her own life in her books, which help to make them accessible and humorous. As she says, “Even french fries and facebook have their place.” 

An Invitation to Self-Care uses 7 key guidelines 

  1. Self care is a daily lifelong practice 
  2. Self-care is self-love 
  3. Self-care means taking personal responsibility 
  4. Self-care means noticing what matters to us 
  5. Self-care requires attention and responsiveness 
  6. Self-care must be realistic to be effective 
  7. Self-care precedes self-fulfillment 

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book: 

“To engage in self-care is to admit that you are a human being with limited energy and resources, and a fragile body that has an expiration date.” (Part One, Chapter Two) 

“You may be responsible for all kinds of jobs, tasks, and people, but ultimately what you are really and truly responsible for is your own well being.” (Part One, Chapter Two) 

“Knowing and responding to your introversion or extroversion will likely mean modifying your self-care based on what feeds you uniquely.” (Part Three, Chapter Five) 

An Invitation to Self-Care is about reflecting on how you learned to take care of yourself, how well you are doing that now, and how you can nurture yourself more deeply going forward to increase your health and happiness. If you are looking for a 15-minute read that will change your life, this isn’t it. By the way, please let me know if you ever find that book, because I don’t think it exists! I recommend that you take An Invitation to Self-Care one chapter at a time and see how you can use it as a valuable self-care tool on your journey.

Rating 4 out of 5 stars 

Copyright 2017 by Tracey Cleantis 

Liz is a technical writer by day and a humor writer by night. She lives in Minnesota with her younger daughter and their cats, Beau and Phoebe. When Liz is not reading, writing, or searching for new books to review, she can be found practicing yoga or enjoying time with friends and family. She is savoring the time that she has left before her younger daughter flies from the nest, yet she is also secretly looking forward to a time when she can travel more and not worry about anyone borrowing her socks.

‘Second Act’ TWSM Movie Review

Second Act

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Leah Remini, Mila Ventimiglia

If you’ve ever felt overlooked, underpaid, and possibly that maybe it’s just not in the stars for you, then this movie will touch your soul.

Jennifer Lopez plays Maya, the assistant manager of a big box store trying to work her way up the ladder.  However, with her lack of a high school and college education (she earned a GED) she continuously finds herself overlooked by corporate males who seemingly dominate the market.

Her last big disappointment comes when she is overlooked for a promotion to store manager by an outside applicant.  When she questions her boss about it, he questions her educational background and tells her that the job has “requirements” that her history just does not allow her to meet.  She is ready to give up.

That’s when her best friend’s son, also Maya’s godson, creates an entirely new Maya – on paper that is.  He creates an astounding resume with more accolades than most geniuses and creates a social media presence like none other – all of this without her knowledge.  Through this intervention she lands an interview with one of the top cosmetic companies based in Manhattan. Her brutal yet classy honesty about their product line lands her a job with the company.  She goes on to prove herself as a corporate executive who can hold her own.

This movie teaches us so much about how today’s world operates.  Most hiring managers today look at the letters after a person’s name and the degrees they’ve obtained before looking at what the person has to offer.  I would never discourage someone from acquiring a college degree or any sort of higher learning.  It gives one an education in a dedicated field and exposes them to other areas of learning that we may not seek otherwise.  But remember this, many people either never had the opportunity or chose not to take it.  And that is OK!  They have what the world likes to call “street smarts”.  Their education has been worldly and real-life training.

If you are one who did not have or take the opportunity to go higher with your education, don’t think less of yourself even if others do.  And believe me, there are many who look at the letters after a person’s name and may never look at the person.  A degree does not define a person.  But character always will.  Some of the smartest people I know barely made it through high school.  What if one of those people happened to be you! 

We only get one shot at life so go after what you want.  Go after your dreams and desires!  And whatever you do – NEVER GIVE UP!  Don’t let a piece of paper and other’s opinions define your future.  Be the creator of your own future!  Write your own story!  Live your own life!  Nothing is impossible with hard work and true and total belief in yourself!  And above all, never stop loving who you are!

SIDENOTE:  Maya’s best friend is played by Leah Remini who, according to media reports, is best friends with Jennifer Lopez in the real world.  The two of them play off each other like two best friends really would. So hilarious and natural with each other.  It makes me wonder how much of their interaction was acting.  Oh, and by the way, guess who went to college for only one semester and dropped out to pursue her dreams and is now one of the most successful people in the world! Successful because she’s living her dreams.  I’ll let you figure that out.  

Peace everyone!

Sherri