Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Hunger Games

You guys. I think I'm having withdrawal like I did when I finished The Hunger Games book series. It's been less than 24 hours since attending my first ever midnight premiere for a movie but I'm ready to see it all over again. It's like my brain needs to marinate on what I saw last night, process it and well, now it craves more.

Let's rewind to Thursday night. I love a good night's sleep but I was willing to give that up for The Hunger Games. I was so excited for this movie that I decided to go to the midnight premiere even though a long day of work in Salisbury was in my future. It was great to share the evening with a few of my best girlfriends. It's always nice to have a night out with just the girls. Dinner, movie, candy and popcorn. You just can't go wrong. Add The Hunger Games and you've got perfection!

Ready to watch The Hunger Games!
Kids dressed as Peeta, Katniss, Prim and Effie

I really don't know where to begin to describe how I felt about the movie. I think this is one reason I want to see it again. I was so fidgety and anxious all the way up until the passing of Rue. I guess I knew that was the part that would get to me the most. And it did. After that, I was finally calm. Weird, I know.

Now I didn't love everything about the movie. One thing that I wasn't impressed with were the two costumes for Katniss presented during opening ceremony. I liked the actual costumes. It was the fire that came off fake. It's 2012. I thought they could do a better job. I guess in my head I was expecting something flawless but what I was saw made me giggle at the effect they tried to portray.

I guess another thing is that it was all shown so fast. It took a minute to get used to how quick the camera moved or how shaky it was at parts. I wanted to take it all in where in reality, you can't do that in a movie. You gotta keep it moving. Even though the film was 2.5 hours long, it felt nothing like it.

Overall I think the production was very well done and I feel that the cast was spot on. Jennifer Lawrence did an AMAZING job as Katniss Everdeen. Kuddos to her. I have to say that the cast and crew did North Carolina proud! The movie had me laughing, crying, and jumping (yes, the muttations made me jump at that one part. I know I'm not the only one though!).

I'll probably see the movie again once Jeremy finally finishes the book. He gets the award for slowest reader of The Hunger Games. I couldn't put the book down whereas he has been on chapter 5 for the past month! I blame sports.

Happy Hunger Games! I love, love, loved the movie! What did you all think?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Basketball Diaries - 4

Part IV: It was an honor just to be nominated.

You can go hard or you can go home - that's the phrase many use to describe post season play. It's when the best team shows up and proves they're #1.

Our post season tournament began. As I stated before, we earned the top seed so we were able to get a first round bye. The team we played had a really good point guard and another player who we were all pretty sure turned 15 not too long ago (it's an under 14 league). Anyway, that week we practiced a certain "scheme" to run against them because their team was literally just those 2 kids. The rest of the team was... well terrible. They liked to play a lot of pressure defense and use the athleticism of their best 2 players to trap and cause turnovers. Unfortunately, our practice didn't go as well as I wanted, so all week I was fairly nervous about how we were going to play.

Game day finally came and it was time to play. Crazy thing happened though - only half of the other team showed up with 1 of their best players (their point guard) NOT there. It was certainly a small sigh of relief. The game started and we jumped out to a nice lead but then... their point guard showed up.


He enters the game, time goes by and eventually they're back in it. With under a minute left, they're point guard fouls out and we're down 1. We make it down court and get fouled. Our player had the chance to sink 2 free throws and give us a 1 point lead. I'm just praying he makes 1 so we can hopefully go into overtime. Well, the basketball gods decided to smile down on us because he actually hit BOTH free throws and we won by 1 point!

On to the championship game.

Our championship game was played a couple hours later that day. It was a great matchup. Both teams were from the Morrison Family YMCA and it was a fairly even matchup. In the second half we built a 12 point lead. This felt great! The other team's players were so frustrated. All we had to do was hold on for 5 minutes.

Of course that didn't happen.

One of the players on the other team started to heat up. No... he was on fire. He suddenly hit 4 three pointers in a row and just like that, we were tied. Now the crowd is pumped up. Both benches are cheering with each basket made. Suddenly there's 30 seconds left, we're tied and on defense. The other team is trying to hold the ball for last shot which is OK with me because we were prepared for overtime again. The clock ticks down to about 3 seconds and then... for some reason... we foul them.

At this point, I'm screaming, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO," in my head but remaining somewhat calm on the outside. So their player goes to the free throw line. He makes the first and now we're down 1. The second free throw goes up and he misses! We get the rebound and call timeout. This all of a sudden turned into a huge pressure moment for a coach. I actually drew up a play for a deep (basically half court) shot. Play works to perfection, the shot goes up... the buzzer goes off and... the ball cruelly bounces off the front of the rim.

The basketball gods were only with us for one game. We won the semi final by 1 and lost the final by 1. Talk about a heartbreaking defeat. This was the first time all season I was really kind of speechless. I somehow mustered up some encouraging words letting my team know that it just wasn't our day but I was proud of the way they played and progressed all season. Coaching turned out to be a really fun time and I'm so glad I was asked to do it. I had a pizza party for my team after the season just to congratulate them all once again. We played a "parents vs. kids" basketball game, then handed out awards and threw down some pizza. It was a great way to officially wrap up the season.

Below is our team picture. We're missing 1 player in it, but yeah, that's my team who had low expectations, fought all season and made it to the championship game. Very, very proud of these kids!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Will You Accept This Rose?

Happy 100th Blog Post! Jeremy and I wanted to do something special for the 100th post but nothing unique came to mind (guess you'll have to wait for the 200th post now). Instead, you'll get to read about my spur of the moment decision to be a part of ABC's reality TV show, The Bachelorette!

It seems that North Carolina has been quite popular for filming movies and TV shows lately (The Hunger Games, Iron Man 3, etc.) . The Bachelorette can now be added to that list as the cast and crew have decided to cater to Emily Maynard's (and my) current hometown, Charlotte, North Carolina. The past few weeks I've heard a buzz around town about where the suitor's mansion is located, helicopters hovering over Ballantyne and lights and film crews spotted in a gated neighborhood. I shamefully admit that it all excites me as I've been sucked onto the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad bandwagon for the past 3 years.

Charlotte's NC Music Factory tweeted early last week that an ABC reality show would be taping and that it would be open to the public. I brushed it off at first but once I got to thinking about it, I thought it would be pretty cool to be on the other side of things. Ya know, see how production of a reality TV show actually works (I'm kind of a reality show junkie).

I told my friend, Elyse, about the news and once she dug up some more information, we decided to give it a go and head into Uptown Charlotte for the evening. We rushed to the NC Music Factory not knowing how many people would be there waiting for the couple to arrive. To our surprise, we were some of the first people there. Through waiting, rain, sound check for Gloriana (the band that was doing a surprise performance),  and more waiting...Emily and her date (which we're thinking is one of the first ones picked) finally arrived in style! They drove up, walked the red carpet, and headed into the nearby restaurant, Osso, for dinner. You would have thought Jason Mraz, I mean Brad Pitt, had arrived (haha, see what I did there?). With the combination of camera flashes, people shouting, cameras recording and the red carpet, it definitely felt like Hollywood. We were then told by production that the couple would be back out in one hour for the surprise concert by country band, Gloriana.

One hour goes by.

Another 30 minutes goes by.

A sudden downpour of rain appears.

My hair gets super frizzy.

Two hours total go by.

After two hours of waiting in the rain with my hair getting frizzier by the second, Emily and her date (with a rose might I add) made their appearance and were lead to see the surprise for the night, the band Gloriana. They stood together on a raised platform (a little awkward at first but they finally warmed up) and danced to "(Kissed You) Goodnight" twice for filming purposes I assume, "Wild at Heart", and "Carolina Rose"(see the irony in that one?). Emily re-pinned the rose on the bachelor, toasted with champagne and they left to finish their date at the club, Butter. (I think that's what they did at least. I actually have no idea.)

Elyse and I decided to stick around for a few more camera angles the camera crew wanted of the crowd. Who knows, maybe my frizzball self will end up on national television this coming May when the season debuts! We also were able to swipe the champagne bottle (which was cheap champagne by the way) and took a few pictures with it! Please hold all snickers and keep them to yourself :)

It's not every Friday evening you get a chance to be on a hit reality show. I figured why not give it a shot...The Bachelor/Bachelorette will most likely never be filmed in my hometown ever again. I had to take advantage of the situation!!! It ended up being a fun night with a great friend and a free concert! Can't go wrong with that!

The top middle pictures were taken by Elyse. The rest were taken by moi on my good ol' iPhone.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Let the Madness Begin

It's not just any ordinary Thursday. It's the third Thursday of March where my news feed on both Facebook and Twitter are flooded with March Madness. Are you getting in on the action this year? I've joined two tournament pools (one with the Normans and the other with the Food Lion Van Pool) and can't wait to see the outcome of both.

This Thursday also marks only ONE week away from The Hunger Games movie premiere.  EeeEEeeEeeee!!!! I am beyond excited! The Hollywood premiere happened earlier this week and it just got me amped up for the midnight viewing in order for next week. I've heard many, many, many good things and I don't think I'll be disappointed.

Other than those things going on I've been listening to Dave Barnes' new album, Stories to Tell, all week. Dave doesn't disappoint and the album is as awesome as I imagined it would be. My favorite songs are currently "White Flag" and  "Love Will Be Enough for Us". If you're reading this and wondering who the heck Dave Barnes is, I'll give you a hint. You know him, but you don't. If you're a country music fan, Blake Shelton used his song "God Gave Me You" on his most recent album, Red River Blue. If you're not a fan of country music then you still may have no idea who Dave Barnes is. Just know that he's awesome and on my list of favorite artists. Can't wait for his show on April 29th in Charlotte!!!

Oh, and check out my cutie patootie little nephew. He turned 2 weeks old this week!

Lastly, I leave you with a video. I came home one day to an entire drum set put together in one of our spare bedrooms.  Apollo likes to sing along when Jeremy plays the drums. See below for the video! It's kinda funny...and cute.

P.S. This is Apollo's wimpy/play bark better known as his singing voice.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Introducing Keegan Michael Todd

Jeremy and I are proud to announce that our sweet little nephew has arrived! Keegan made his grand entrance into the world on Wednesday, February 29th at 7:48 AM. And yes, he is a leap year baby weighing in at 6 pounds, 12 ounces with a measurement of 19 inches long. We are so happy that he is finally here! Congratulations to Nickie and Michael, the proud parents of their adorable son!

Keegan Michael
The proud parents!
Auntie Asha
            Uncle Jeremy                                        With the Singletons!
Proud Mom!
Sisters :)
The whole gang!