Book Review: For the Right Reasons: America’s Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Marriage, and Why Nice Guy Finish First by Sean Lowe, Nancy French (contributor)

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You may know Sean Lowe from The Bachelorette (Emily Maynard’s season) and The Bachelor on ABC. You may also know him from Dancing with the Stars Season 16. Not only is Sean Lowe America’s favorite bachelor, he is also mine. Sean Lowe seemed like a great guy from the very beginning of The Bachelorette to the very end of The Bachelor. For the Right Reasons: America’s Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Marriage, and Why Nice Guy Finish First is about Sean Lowe’s journey from his junior year of high school up until his wedding day with Catherine Guidici. In his autobiography, Sean talks about how his faith  and God led him to marrying the right woman. Sean opens up about how his relationship with God sometimes left him empty, confused, and broken, but how that didn’t stop him from believing that he was on the right path to happiness.

For the Right Reasons isn’t just about how God influenced Sean in life and his decisions to become a born again virgin. The autobiography is more of an inside look into Sean’s life before, during, and after The Bachelorette and The Bachelor. It’s also a behind the scenes look into these two popular reality TV shows.

I learned a lot about Sean Lowe from his book. I learned about how he could have been a professional football player, what he did after college, and what led him to join one of ABC’s biggest franchises. I watched both Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette and Sean’s season of the Bachelor. For the Right Reasons takes the reader into the shows as if they are happening all over again. I actually wanted Emily to pick Sean, not only on her season, but in Sean’s book. Even though I knew that it couldn’t possibly happen in the book, since they are both married to different people now. It was like watching the Titanic for the millionth timing hoping that just this time, it won’t sink or maybe Leo (Jack) wouldn’t die. I was holding my breath hoping for a Hail Mary while reading, and of course it never happened.

For the Right Reasons is just as addicting as a reality TV show; I could not put it down. (Sometimes I would read it to my son while he was in his jumper. He loves a good romance story.) Not only did I want Emily to pick Sean, but I also wanted Sean to pick Lindsay. I liked her a lot more than Catherine, at the time, and thought they would be perfect together. But I obviously didn’t get to choose the winner, Sean did. (I’m not going to lie, I googled spoilers to make sure he didn’t pick Tierra, I was going to stop watching if she made it to the top 4.) He picked Catherine and they are still madly in love. (Of course I watched their wedding on TV when it aired last year.)

It was really interesting to learn secret details from these seasons of The Bachelorette and The Bachelor. I won’t give too much away, but did you know that they never eat on night dates? They get food sent to their rooms beforehand and the food on their dates are just props. (If they ate, there would be too much noise on their mics.) For the Right Reasons is filled with things you would never know by just watching the shows. This is why I am stressing that if you are a Sean Lowe fan, a Bachelorette/Bachelor fan, or just a reality show junkie like me, this book is for you. It was well written and kept me interested all the way through. I only wonder if the producers of the shows had to change a few things around after Sean’s book came out. Especially because of the little detail he shared about the order in which they get out of the limo on the show. You’ll have to buy the book to find out what I mean.

Bonus facts for all of you Phillies fans out there like myself: Sean met Cole Hamels at a charity event that he was invited to by Cole himself. Also, Sean’s ex-girlfriend, former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Brooke Sorenson, is married to former Philadelphia Phillie Lance Nix.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday Five

1. Another week, another ridiculous amount of snow. I’m ready for the sunshine. Luckily we’re going to Disney next week where it’ll be in the 80’s the entire time. I may just sit in a chair and just bask. (Yea right, I’m going to ride as many rides as I can and act like a kid again.)

2. I just finished reading For the Right Reasons: America’s Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Marriage, and Why Nice Guy Finish First by Sean Lowe. Expect my review next week. If you don’t want to wait for the review, and just want to buy it, I won’t judge you. It’s really good!

3. After being sick last week, Jimmie is weaning off his bottle/formula. He is only eating about 20 oz a day, which the doctor says is fine, and eating more than double the amount of solids he used to eat. This week he had some Sonyfield whole milk plain yogurt, beachnut pumpkin/apple mix and spinach/zucchini/quinoa mix, Kashi waffles, and multi grain cereal.  This kid is seriously eating better than me. I didn’t even have time to eat breakfast yesterday. I’m going to try to start making him some homemade mixes when I get back from Florida.

4. I can’t believe Becca is still on The Bachelor. She is obviously not there “for the right reasons.” (See what I did there?) I did not want to see Kaitlyn leave, even though I wasn’t a huge Kaitlyn fan. Do you think she will be the next Bachelorette? I’m glad I’m not missing the season finale while I’m in Disney, I’ll just miss the “Women Tell All” show, which is usually a huge waste of time anyways.

5. I ordered more Honest Company diapers this week. (I am obviously out of “interesting” things to talk about.) I had another 50% off coupon. It really is the only way I’ll order their diapers. I love them SO much but they’re too expensive without a coupon. The coupon brings the bundle down to less than $40 and since you get 4 packs of wipes too, it is cheaper than buying Pampers from Target (even when they run the $10 gift card deal.) When we used Honest diapers before, Jimmie had less blowouts and less diaper rashes. They’re way cuter and don’t have that diaper smell. Their wipes are the best! I always buy the travel packs for my diaper bag because we don’t use them as much as the ones we buy for home.

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cuddling while Jimmie was sick. This is my sad face, not duck face.

 

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Jimmie will use anything to play peek-a-boo, even his sweatshirt hood

 

Kindle Daily Deal: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Have you ever read Maniac Magee? I read it in 6th grade. It immediately became one of my favorite books. Jim gave me a signed copy for Christmas one year; one of my favorite gifts he has ever given me. He student taught for Jerry Spinelli’s son. What are the odds?

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Today, on Amazon Kindle Deals, you can buy Maniac Magee for 99 cents for your Kindle. I want it and I already have two hard copies (my signed copy and a paperback copy). Hurry! The deal will only last until midnight (2/16/2015).This is a great price for an amazing book. It has so many references to the Philadelphia area. I remember in sixth grade, after we were done reading the book, our teacher brought in Butterscotch Krimpets. Yep, Tastykakes. Interesting fact: My Grandmom always gave us Tastykakes on our Birthdays, and today is the one year anniversary of her passing away.

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Giving Tastycakes to my Grandmom on her 80th Birthday

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Goodreads summary for Maniac Magee:

Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run–and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.

Happy Nine Months, Jimmie!

A little late this month, but I was waiting for Jimmie’s official weight at his 9 month appointment. Jimmie’s doctor said he is doing great and he is meeting all of his milestones, even though he isn’t crawling yet. (Which basically worries me every second of every day….CRAWL, JIMMIE!!!)

Favorites: Laughing, bath time with his toys, drinking water from a sippy cup, looking out the front window at the snow.

Weight: 21.9 pounds an 29 inches tall. He is in the 70% percentile for both height and weight. Jimmie is wearing a lot of 12 months clothing.

Firsts this month: First finger foods, first puffs, first time rolling a ball back and forth, first time drinking water from a sippy cup.

Nightly sleep schedule:  We finally figured out that Jimmie needs to go to bed earlier. He would always fuss himself to sleep until we started putting him to sleep between 7 and 7:15. Baby boy likes to sleep until 7 AM or later. Yes, I know, angel child. We are very, VERY lucky.

Favorite toy: Vtech Sit to Stand Learning Walker – he doesn’t walk with it yet, but he loves to sit and play with the buttons or stand holding on (with my help.) Playskool Busy Poppin’ Pals Toy – Jimmie LOVES to open and close things. He can close all of these but is still a bit confused on how to open them.

Hardest moment of the month: Teething is still hard. Jimmie got tooth number 5. We’re just waiting on number 6 now.

Best moment of the month: Jimmie laughing at things that he thinks are funny, not just when you tickle him. For example, he thought it was hilarious when I fed the animals at the petting zoo.

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I made Jimmie stay up past his bedtime to take these photos. He wasn’t a happy camper, but he enjoyed eating his sticker. All in a day’s work.

 

Friday Five

1. I’m a little late today because Jimmie has been sick for the past 24ish hours. I think he is on the up and up now, but it has been tough. It was his first illness and it was a doozie, some sort of stomach bug. More on that another time. My little trooper is feeling better and that is all that matters.

2. Yesterday, the start of Jimmie’s virus, was me and Jim’s four year anniversary. For four years you are supposed to give fruit or flowers. I gave Jim a cherry pie from the Amish market and a bottle of wine that my cousin suggested. It was tough sticking with “what you’re supposed to give” but I think I did alright. Jim is buying me the Disney Starbucks mugs in when we go to Florida.

3. Jimmie had his 9 month check up yesterday, before he got sick, and he was as healthy as they come. How he managed to get sick after, the world will never know. He is in the 70th percentile for both height and weight. Big boy! No shots this time around, thank goodness.

4. Last night was the coldest night in our area in the last 21 years. Yikes! It’s supposed to be cold all next week too. This is getting a little out of hand. We’re looking forward to some warm weather in Florida (hopefully!)

5. This week on The Bachelor, the girls went to Iowa and Chris went on Hometown dates. I don’t care who wins anymore. I honestly don’t really like anyone that much. Whitney is fun, but I don’t really see her leaving a job she loves so much. Kaitlyn is kind of crazy and too loud and Becca just seems too quiet. Everyone is so different and I have no idea who he is going to pick. Okay I lied, I think I kind of saw a spoiler by accident. whoops.

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taken just minutes before he started getting sick

 

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sick baby this morning

 

It’s Hump Day!

The week is already halfway over. I can’t believe that Valentine’s Day has come and gone and tomorrow is me and Jim’s four year Anniversary.

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Our weekend was very low-key and relaxing. We made pizza for Valentine’s Day and didn’t leave the house at all because it was too cold. On Sunday, my parents had to cancel their visit because of the cold weather, snow, ice, and wind. Jim and I were supposed to go out to lunch for our Anniversary, but ended up just staying inside all day because once again, it was too cold.

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Monday, we bundled Jimmie up and actually did leave the house. We decided he could be the third wheel on our Anniversary date. He was such a good little boy at Buffalo Wild Wings and only cried when I took my water away from him. He was sucking my water through the straw like he hadn’t had anything to drink for days.

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Buffalo Wild Wings was amazing. It was my first time there. Jim went while he was in Arizona and told me I would love it. I had my doubts, but went anyways, because sometimes guys should get to choose where us gals eat too. The Asian Zing was out of this world and so was the Parmesan Garlic. We also had Spicy Garlic (way too spicy for me) and Honey BBQ, which was okay. On Mondays they have 60 cent wings. Seriously, does it get any better than that? We will be back sometime soon, hopefully on a Monday!

Tuesday was a snow day for Jim. I love when he gets those in the Army! A snow day for Jim meant some alone time shopping for me. I went to Target and Kohls all by myself. Of course, most of the stuff I bought was for Jimmie. He needed 12 month winter clothes because his 9 month winter clothes are too small. Luckily, a lot of winter stuff is on sale at Kohls so I bought him a few things that should get us through the rest of the season.

Movie Review: The Last Five Years

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I have been dreaming of this moment since it was first announced: The Last Five Years the movie. I wishI could check how many times I googled this phrase since I heard about it more than a year and a half ago; I’m sure the number is pretty high. I figured the movie adaption would be great, because duh, it’s The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown. But alas, just like books to movie mishaps, there are also musical to movie mishaps.

For those who have no idea what The Last Five Years is about, I will enlighten you with the abridged version. The musical begins with Cathy singing about the end of her relationship with Jamie, her husband. In the next scene Jamie is singing about Cathy, his new girlfriend. As the show continues, Jamie sings their story from start to finish and Cathy sings their story from the end to the beginning. In the original off-Broadway musical, Jamie and Cathy only see each other face-to-face during the wedding scene, which is where their stories turn from good to bad (Jamie) and from bad to good (Cathy).  The show ends at Cathy and Jamie’s first date, Cathy’s version, and the show ends for Jamie when his relationship is over with Cathy. I feel like if you don’t have this information before you watch the movie you are going to be batshit confused.

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Now, moving right along to the two characters in the movie: Cathy and Jamie. Before we get to the one character that didn’t bring me to a standing ovation, let me talk about the one that did: Anna Kendrick. That girl can sing! She was the PERFECT actress to play Cathy. Perfect. She sang the role like it was made for her. Her song “A Summer in Ohio” was hilarious. Her facial expressions were spot on during every song. “Still Hurting” almost brought me to tears and the movie had just begun.

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And now for the other character in the musical: Jeremy Jordan who played Jamie. Sigh. He did not live up to my expectations. There are only two characters in this musical, and if one of them sucks, then the whole chemistry of the show is screwed. I guess Jeremy looked like Jamie, but he definitely didn’t sound like him. Didn’t he have an audition? What was up with his rendition of “Shiksa Goddess?” Why was it so choppy? (Although the scene with all of the Jewish girls his mother would have liked him to marry was nicely done.)

The only song that Jeremy Jordan sang up to par was “The Schmuel Song.” I normally don’t even like that song, but he made it better. That entire scene in the apartment was beautiful, and for a second, it made me rethink Jeremy as Jamie. But it wasn’t enough. I despised his next solo song  “A Miracle Would Happen.”  He just wasn’t a good enough Jamie.

The biggest problem I had with Jamie in the movie was how a lot of songs he sings in the musical have the F bomb in them. As an English major, we stress over and over again that words are just words. So why, oh why, did this word get dropped from so many songs where it brought so much meaning and emphasis? I can only assume it was because using the word too many times would have made the movie rated R instead of PG 13. Other words in other songs were changed, and could easily be ignored, but I could not ignore the lack of Jamie’s angry droppings of the F bomb. I guess this wasn’t Jeremy Jordan’s fault, but it really aggravated me.

“See I’m Smiling” is one of my favorite songs and I don’t think the movie portrayed it well enough. Anna’s acting in that scene wasn’t the best. “The Next Ten Minutes” wasn’t as beautiful as I had hopped (maybe because Jeremy sang too) and “Climbing Uphill” was pretty awful. I know I’m being nitpicky, but why was the lyric “I’m climbing uphill, Daddy,” changed to, “I’m climbing uphill, Jamie?” An unnecessary change. It ruined the whole song for me. “Moving too fast” was one of the songs that Jeremy sang okay and “Nobody needs to know” wasn’t the worst, although I didn’t like what was going on in the actual film while he was singing.

A big reason I like the musical better is because both characters aren’t in every scene together, like they are in the movie. I understand this would have made an awkward/boring movie, but it still kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like some of these scenes were awkward in the movie because Cathy and Jamie were in them together. Some of the dialogue was weird and forced.

The Last Five Years isn’t an awful movie, but it isn’t spectacular either. It’s just okay. I’ll watch it again, sing along, and get annoyed when words are changed/dropped etc. Kudos to Anna Kendrick for being awesome, I can’t wait until Pitch Perfect 2 comes out!

Friday Five

1. Happy Valentine’s Day weekend! Also, Happy President’s Day weekend! I’m so excited for Jim to have a three day weekend. I can’t wait to spend the weekend with two of (three if you include Toby) my favorite guys!

2. We usually have pizza for Valentine’s Day. Since we got married 5 days after Valentine’s Day, we decided to start a pizza tradition for the holiday and then go out to dinner for our Anniversary. We are going to make pizza tomorrow night and go out to eat on Sunday for our Anniversary. My parents are coming down to watch Jimmie.

3. I’m so glad Kelsey and Ashley I. got the boot on The Bachelor. I didn’t think Chris was going to send them both home on the two-on-one date but he is just FULL of surprises. Those two created a new definition for crazy. I can’t believe hometown dates are this week. I feel like this season went fast, even though it has been awful.

4. Jimmie had toast yesterday. He seemed to like it. He really hasn’t disliked anything yet. I read somewhere that you can spread pureed baby food on toast instead of jelly. Isn’t that a great idea? I’m going to have to try it soon.

5. Am I the only female in the world who isn’t excited to see 50 Shades of Grey? I have no desire to see it. I think I read maybe five pages of the book and decided it sucked. On the other hand, I am VERY excited to see The Last Five Years. It isn’t playing ANYWHERE near us, which is super lame, but we are going to download it on Itunes. Jim is probably happy because he can fall asleep while watching it at home now, instead of at the theater. I’m going to sing along too, which I couldn’t have done if other people were around. I’m sure I will write a full review on it soon.

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Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Cath and Wren are twins. Cath and Wren are starting college. Cath and Wren write fan fiction. Cath and Wren love Simon Snow.  Wren wants to be her own person. Cath wants to live with Wren. Cath’s roommate is kind of cooky. Wren’s roommate is kind of dumb. Wren parties. Cath continues to write fan fiction. Cath falls for a boy that she believe is unobtainable. Wren drinks too much. Cath and Wren’s dad works too hard. Cath and Wren’s mom isn’t really in the picture. The End.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is the book that never ends. It goes on, and on, and on. I am so glad I didn’t read it on the Kindle because then I wouldn’t have known how much torture I would have had left at any given moment. Sometimes, I want books to be full of details, this one wasn’t one of them. I hated all of the fan fiction in the novel. Not only was there fan faction written by Cath and Wren before every chapter, there was also “fiction” excerpts from the books they were swooning over; the books that just happen to be just like Harry Potter.  Not going to lie, I skipped a lot of those parts. And to be honest, you’re not missing anything if you skip them. They don’t really add to the story, they just make the whole novel longer.

Cath is an English major. I obviously like this fact about her. What I don’t like is how she is beyond obsessed with her fan fiction. She is so obsessed that she never works on her real school assignments. What kind of intelligent person actually believes that their fan fiction is going to get them somewhere, someday? It’s hard enough being a writer, let alone a writer in someone else’s world. I don’t care how many followers you have. Until you write your own stories, in your own space, you’re just a person that knows how to put words on paper. I also hate that a lot of books focus on the quirkiness of English majors. I get it, we’re weird and sometimes socially awkward. Get over it.

Wren is a selfish brat. I still don’t understand her logic for the majority of her behavior. She is definitely the “bad” twin. I understand that they grew up without a mother, and how their father needs a little extra attention than most, but how do you just blow your TWIN sister off as much as she does? That just doesn’t seem real to me, although I don’t have a twin. Best fact about the novel is the story behind the twins names. Crazy mom alert. She should have named them apple and orange.

Levi, the main male character in the story, lacks depth. He does work at Starbucks, which is obviously cool, and he makes secret drinks, which is even cooler, but he is just too happy. He needs to chill out and be mopey a little more often. The world isn’t full of happiness, buddy.

There is too much going on in this novel. Too many subplots and not enough focus on the main problem. Which is? I’m not really sure because I spent too much time skimming through fake stories about Simon Snow. The worst part of the whole novel (SPOILER ALERT) is how we don’t even find out what happens at the end of Cath’s fan fiction novel Carry On. Does Baz die? Do Simon and Baz live happily ever after? WHY AREN’T THESE QUESTIONS ANSWERED?! I read over 400 pages of meaningless words and then nothing. It ended. Point blank ended. Was this done to piss the readers off? I think so. And that’s all I have to say about that.

On one final note, I’m glad Rainbow Rowell didn’t reference The Catcher in the Rye. The Outsiders was mentioned, which is fine, but I hate when authors talk about The Catcher in the Rye. It’s an automatic dislike for me.