3.29.2010

Thoughts on the New Emma

Has anyone seen the new BBC mini-series rendition of Jane Austen's novel Emma? I think it was done so well! The actors did such a great job portraying their characters- and it is so refreshing to see- especially since it's been a while since there's been a new rendition of an Austen film (in my opinion) since Focus Film's Pride & Prejudice in 2005. I am so surprised at the energy in this BBC film, especially compared to their traditionally long, blue-tinted movies with hardly believable energy/ emotion from some of the actors that really took away so much from the genius of Austen's realistic characters! I'm excited to see what they will do next! Hopefully more like this: bright, colorful, and lively!

Jane Austen was just so perceptive about people and their characters, and it's the reason why her stories are so universally understood and so easy to relate to in some way or another. It really is refreshing to finally sit down and really be able to enjoy a good movie thoroughly not just while watching it, but in looking back and having a lot to think and re-think and better understand more about the characters and their situations. You can actually walk out with so much to talk about. This is a movie worth having an opinion on because it's not just another "feel good" or just "funny" movie that once it's over, that's the extent of the "entertainment," like so many of the latest movies that have come out. It seems like the quality is deteriorating more and more in the entertainment industry.

Emma is so well played by Ramola Garai! And the "insufferable" Miss Bates...! I'm in the middle of watching it now along with my husband comparing it to the book, which we both recently read (thanks to my being bed-ridden a few weeks ago, and his long work commutes). Honestly- I had tried three different times to read the book, and always got so fed up with Emma's arrogance.
I just couldn't finish it 
but I forced myself and it was so worth it- especially if you're up for some good laughs!

I will say- a complaint with this new version is that the ending is wrapped up way too fast. . . but overall I do recommend it if you, like me, have been hoping for another good, longer film (it's about 4 hours) to watch and actually enjoy. . . maybe on a Sunday afternoon?

. . . "Badly done, Emma!" 
Gotta love that Mr. Knightly- he's really letting her have it now...!

3.24.2010

A Savannah House Project

Just got back from beautiful, historic Savannah, Georgia, where my husband, mother-in-law and I spent 4 days fixing up my parents' home.  It's been on the market for well over a year, and was in dire need of some updates. It was a very successful trip and we had a lot of fun!
Here's a peek into our week:

Sunday- Departure at 4:00p.m. Drove all night. . . stopping twice to sleep. . .. thankfully one of those times, found out the original route we were going to take would have lead us to a closed highway around North Carolina due to a rock slide!! Detoured down through Atlanta. I slept and was zero help driving....

Monday- Arrival in Savannah around 2:00p.m. It was such a beautiful day, warm and sunny, and so we spent the afternoon doing yard-work: raking, trimming, sweeping, cleaning the roof. . . and surveying the house to make a list of projects:

Fix-Ups To Do List:

  • clean all light fixtures
  • replace missing. burnt out light bulbs
  • remove all curtains, shades (for more light) and patch up holes
  • remove wall-paper & paint foyer, dining room and kitchen
  • add missing trim to kitchen floor
  • replace stove top drip pans
  • replace double oven? (it was an old brown one from the 60s though still working!)
  • clean and shine all appliances
  • vacuum and dust thoroughly entire house
  • fix draining in master shower
  • replace carpeting in dining and living room
  • finish yard-work- pruning, trimming, raking, sweeping, roof.
  •  . . and - have fun visiting lovely, historic Savannah!
Savannah Sights: Tybee Island, The Crab Shack, Dinner at Huey's.

Tuesday- After finding out there was wallpaper behind wallpaper behind unfinished wall-board, decided to skip removing it. Primed & painted one coat in the foyer and dining room as well as the kitchen. Had a lovely fire burning all the sticks picked up from the backyard and stayed up until 2 a.m. painting!

Savannah Sights: Downtown, St. Patrick's Day pre-festing, late lunch/early dinner at (best pizza & beers on tap in town!), coffee at Mellow MushroomsThe Gallery Espresso.

Wednesday- Painted 2nd & 3rd coats in foyer and dining room, shopped for and had carpet replaced in the living and dining rooms. Painted 1st coat of the kitchen. Cleaned out double-oven, replaced stove pan tops, thoroughly vacuumed house and trims. *insight idea arrived around 8p.m.- why not paint the old brown double oven since it still works and have it look like a cute antique?

Savannah Sights: SKIPPED downtown St. Patrick's Day Parade- avoided like the plague because of the crazy parade events (Savannah boasts a large Irish population and has the 2nd biggest parade in the U.S. and the population more than doubles on this day!) Lunch at my favorite fast-food-chain of the South: Chick-fil-a ! Dinner at the cute little hole-in-the-wall Greek/Med Toucan Cafe that I used to work at. Bonus! Got free coffee & cappuccino pie!

Thursday- Painted 2nd & 3rd coats (in some paces 4!) on kitchen. Cleaned out oven and spray painted it (special appliance paint) white! ! Looks like new! Shined sink, stove tops, dishwasher. Replaced missing trim, PACKED the van.

Savannah Sights: The beautiful  St. John the Baptist Cathedral where we wrapped up our novena to St. Joseph on the eve of his feast day, more downtown cute house sigh-seeing, and stop at the best bakery in town- (also where I used to work at!!) Rum Runners Bakery where I had a mini reunion and walked out with an awesome butter-buttercream cake that ended up eaten almost in its entirety on the drive home!!) & an amazing Indian dinner at the Nazareth's home!

Friday- Left the house at 5:30a.m. Dropped off my husband at the airport at 6:05 a.m. Stopped in front of the  grotto- shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes in front of the sugar refinery to pray. (My family and I always came here to pray about major life decisions since arriving in the United States!) Mass at 7:00 a.m. to celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph! Then the long haul- my mother-in-law each switched off. I redeemed myself driving most of the way... well- by half an hour longer than my mother-in-law. Arrival home at  11:15p.m.


 



























3.23.2010

Our First Home

 A month until our wedding and still we had no place to live! There we were- my husband-to-be and I, each on a laptop trying to efficiently search, while my mother-in-law on the other couch calmly opened up the Advertiser (who would have thought?) and after glancing around for a few minutes, picked up the phone and made an appointment for a half hour later. What?!

 So up the side stairs we went! Turns out it was an old home converted into businesses on the bottom floor, and a private apartment on top! We would have total privacy after 5 p.m. on weekdays and on every weekend, plus our own area for parking aside from the "backyard" converted into a business parking lot! (Parties, anyone?).It even had a walk-up deck/ front door area. and a bit of a garden on the side of the house.

First Impressions
Mine & my fiancee's: Eewww! Old, kinda smelly and ugly, dark colors!
My creative mother-in-law's: Ooo! Character! Look at those awesome, large, double-pane windows!

Needless to say after we spent some stressful two weeks last-minute looking at smaller, more crowded, expensive, not-so-great options, the first one certainly looked promising!

With lots of help from my family-to-be, and lots of paint, the place was totally transformed in just three days! It was such an eye-opener for me! I'd never known how easy manageable DIY home projects can be. Sure it was time consuming, but it is very rewarding because it all adds to the character of our home which we love! It's small, but cozy! We have great landlords who gave us all new appliances and a month-to-month rent! Unheard of!! Needless to say we are very satisfied happy!

. . .

A look back at the beginning of our first home project!







.

3.22.2010

Back to the Best!

At last... after going back and forth for a few weeks about starting a blog, and after much trial and error coming up with a good title in the past 2 days, I am blogging at last! I am a blogger! So... empty space just waiting for me to fill it up with thoughts! Hmm as to my purpose . . . 


I chose the title Back to the Best because I want this blog to be a collection of thoughts, ideas, excerpts, etc that reflect just that. Going back to the best of things- to the root of things- to purpose. If you stop and think about it, so many "little things" that make up our relationships, our work, our homes, our lives have so much meaning behind them, whether we realize it our not. There is so much joy in the little things. And it's these little things, when looking at them with perspective, that really reflect a much larger scheme. For example, take a house and a home:
A wife makes a home out of a house  for her family 
in the way she cares and keeps for it and for her family's needs, the way she decorates it to make it bright and cheerful within reasonable means, taking care that the things of the house serve, rather than  distract her or get in the way of the life in the home. (This point, I feel can at times be very hard to balance- I know it's something I myself have to keep in check being a new bride and excited about my first home! But more about this another time..)


So really, my theme is two-fold--little things and getting back to the best of things-- but I think they go together. 


In my own personal effort to get back to the best, I want to use this blog to compile food for thought on topics such as:
-home: caring & keeping, projects, good finds (garage sales!!),  & reflections on.
-health: since thanks to my husband and his family, I am being so enlightened as to how to truly get back to the best - how it was meant to be.
-faith: that is, of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and tradition - & of course on lots of
-reading: education never ends- it's such an essential part of our formation as a person. I love to read and want to share some of the good things I come across.
-little things / miscellaneous - since of course, those who know me know I don't always keep to topic and will naturally find random things to talk about. . . that somehow tie in. . . hopefully ;)
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