Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dumbo Double Dare: 10k Outfit Revealed!

Well my shirt has finally arrived and I am super excited about how my Maleficent inspired costume is coming together! While I still need to work on the horns, I wanted to share what I will be wearing come the morning of the first leg of the Dumbo Double Dare. I bring you - the Mistress of All Evil!!

I have had the skirt for a while - wearing it when I ran Tinkerbell last year as the Cheshire Cat - so it worked out well that I was able to find the Maleficent inspired shirt that matched perfectly. Since it will be Anaheim in August, there will be no arm warmers or calf compression to help complete the look but I will making my very own set of horns, thanks to good ol Pinterest!

While the directions for the horns are made for a little person, I still plan on making my very own set to rock! I bought most of my materials over the weekend - fingers crossed it works out well, otherwise I may be enlisting a craft savvy friend to help me out.

I am still waiting on my package to arrive the half marathon outfit. Once it comes in, I will take the necessary pictures and get them out to you.

Do you run in costume?!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Harding: My Review

I finally finished president number twenty nine! Happy days are here again! It took me along time to get through Harding, and while I learned about the often times forgotten president, I am happy to be that much closer to the "glamorous" presidents. These next few biographies are going to be tough!

If you know Warren G Harding at all, it is because you know about the Teapot Dome Scandal, one of the most infamous instances of bribery in presidential history. While Harding was already deceased when the true scandal emerged, he is often blamed for being an ineffective commander in chief and someone who was aloof and unable to handle the job of being president. Author Dean spends a good portion of the book trying to prove to the reader that Harding has had a unfair shake when it comes to historiography. He makes some great points, but I think Harding suffers most from having died in office - his is an administration that has no legacy because it was stopped short. Now whether or not he was effective leader or completely hapless is up to historians debate, but he lived a very interesting life and was one of the more scandalous presidents in our history.

The Good:
I appreciated Dean keeping the history succinct and clear - highlighting only the important stories, rumors and facts. While I was extremely disinterested in this president, I found myself enjoying the overall narrative presented. 

The Not So Good:
I have nothing really to complain about - I am just mentally ready to get to my favorite presidents. This was a very well written biography that gives a very concise and informative history.

My Grade:
Well written, interesting and peppered with just enough scandal to keep my interested. My grade? B.
Next up: Calvin Coolidge!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Derek Jeter - What he means to me

Today is the All Star Game - woo hoo! In all honesty, I don't normally watch the ASG - I used to, but then Bud Selig ruined it by "making it count" and I've held a one woman protest ever since. I will be breaking said protest tonight to watch Derek Jeter as he starts in his final All Star Game of his career. He was voted into a starting position - much to the chagrin of many reporters and commentators - but I think what all the naysayers are missing is the symbolism of it all. In a career that spans twenty years, this player has managed to accomplish so many things and bring so much to the game in such a classy, subtle way. I voted for Jeter numerous times, not because of his stats, home run power or on base percentage. I voted for him because he is an All Star. He represents everything that is right with the game. Over his career, Jeter has managed to win five World Series, five gold gloves, five silver sluggers, the MVP of both the All Star Game and the World Series [in the same year!] and rookie of the year. Not to mention the man has logged over three thousand hits - hence the reason I do not understand why people feel the need to belittle his accomplishments because he is a member of the Yankees. But I digress.

Jeter for me is more than just a phenomenal player. He represents a consistency and stability that I lacked in my youth. No matter what was going on in the outside world, I knew Derek Jeter would be there. Starting at short stop for the New York Yankees. I knew he would bring his A game and that his focus would be on one thing - winning. I also knew he would do it the right way. In an era of steroids, prima donnas and free agency, Jeter stayed true to the game and to his team. I delighted in watching the Bond and McGuire's of the world fall from grace knowing that I would never have to worry about that with my favorite player. I would never have to make excuses for him or his behavior - that just isn't who he is.

Jeter gave me a hobby I could enjoy outside of everyone and everything. When some of my friends were experimenting in drugs and alcohol or trying out the newest trend, I was content with watching my baseball and reading game recaps. He was a role model - a story of success that shows that hard work can accomplish more than it ever gets credit for. Jeter is famous for saying: "There may be people with more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you." That stuck with me. I take it with me every day and put it into everything I do.

So say what you will, but I will enjoy watching Jeter start in his final All Star Game. I will enjoy watching him play out his final season in pinstripes and being thanked and recognized in every city he stops. And while it will probably hurt my heart, I will enjoy watching him play his final game as a Yankee at Yankee Stadium. Because after twenty years and so many intangibles, I have nothing but respect and admiration for one of the greatest players of all time. And I feel honored to be able to call myself a Jeter fan.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club: My Review!

I may be a little late to the party, but I finally sat down to watch the Oscar winning Dallas Buyers Club. In case you haven't heard, Dallas Buyers Club tells the story Ron Woodroof a man who contracted the HIV virus and became an entrepreneur of sorts, creating a buyers club where people could get treatment for their disease for a monthly fee.

The film takes place in Texas in the mid eighties and Matthew McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, an electrician and womanizer who has an accident at work and wakes up in the hospital faced with a team of doctors who informs him his blood test show he tested positive for HIV and that he will be dead within the month. Initially, Woodroof writes the diagnosis off since, as a heterosexual man, there is no way he could have the disease that is for gays. Eventually he accepts his diagnosis and tries to work within the system to get treated, only to find that the FDA is moving at a glacial pace to get treatments approved and the one approved treatment seems to be making him worse. Eventually he meets a doctor in Mexico who suggests he try an alternative method and Woodroof decides he can make a profit if he can get the treatment across the border. Hence, the beginning of the Dallas Buyers Club.

The Good:
I can see why McConaughey won an Oscar for his performance. First there is the physical transformation - McConaughey easily looked like an HIV/AIDS patient, which makes your heart break as you watch him struggle to fight for his life. Then there is the performance! His performance, hands down, is the heart of this movie. Jared Leto also brought his A game to his character of Rayon. You see their relationship develop from an allegiance of necessity to a partnership out of respect and mutual understanding of what each other is going through.
The Not So Good:
I don't know if this is necessarily a bad thing, but there are moments when the movie gets a little graphic. Nothing terrible, but just some uncomfortable moments. 
Overall Grade:
Poignant, interesting and a very well told story. My grade?! A-.
Have you seen Dallas Buyers Club? What did you think?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Enough Said: My Review

I have been really bad at watching my Netflix queue. Enough Said had been at my house for over two months before the hubs and I finally decided to give it a whirl. The movie, one James Gandolfini's last, is about a couple of adults who come together with their own set of baggage from previous marriages. Julia Dreyfus plays Eva, a divorced mom and traveling masseuse who meets James Gandolfini's Albert, a divorced father who is preparing to send his daughter off to college, at a party. They connect and begin dating, but soon Eva finds out that one of her clients - and new friend - is Albert's ex wife. Awkwardness abounds!

The rest of the movie follows these two as they try to develop their relationship while Eva tries to figure out who to believe - her new friend or new boyfriend - while trying to protect herself. It has both moment funny and sad, perhaps even sadder because of the untimely death of Gandolfini.

The Good:
Gandolfini and Dreyfus have a very palpable chemistry that really worked for the film. They get along, they enjoy each other and it is very apparent on screen. This pairing worked very well and made me root for them - and very against Eva's new friendship - from minute one. 

The Not So Good:
It's hard to put into words, but I felt like some of the story was forced. This is an older audience love story. Did we really need to add the two daughters getting ready for college, the new friend who is bashing her ex and the "irony" of her being friends with her new boyfriend's ex wife?! I felt like it got too busy sometimes when all I wanted to do was get back to watching Albert and Eva.

Overall Grade:
It is a very cute story, with great chemistry between the two main characters. I felt it told a basically honest story about love, loss and trying again - even if it did try to busy itself in cliches and ironic plot lines. My grade? B. 

Have you seen Enough Said? What did you think?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Decision Made! It's Maleficent.

In all of the important decisions we make on a daily basis, a running costume is hardly important. However, when you sign up for a Disney race, the running costume soon becomes the most important decision you can make. I wanted to make sure my costume[s] weren't "predictable" but also were somewhat easy to run in and relatively inexpensive. Knowing that I had my purple running skirt from running as the Cheshire cat in a previous race, I was leaning more and more towards Maleficent as my 10k character. And though my search for the Maleficent ears headband proved unsuccessful, I found a great post on Pinterest on how to make my very own! To complete my outfit, I opted for the Raw Threads Evil Fairy running shirt.

For the half, I have committed to being Daisy Duck! My mom is running as Donald and since I will be running alongside her, I felt it would be fitting to be Donald's counterpart. I still need to acquire all the gear to be Daisy, but luckily I think I can grab all the required clothes without breaking the bank. I am still trying to decide if I will make a white/orange hat to go with the theme or not. Decisions, decisions! But I feel much better knowing that I have made strides towards having the best costumes for Dumbo Double Dare weekend!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Dumbo Double Dare: What to BE?

One of the best things about runDisney runs is that you get to dress up like your favorite characters. In fact, it is pretty much expected that you will show up in the best costume on earth. I am always in such awe of my fellow runners - they are some seriously talented individuals. I remember when I ran the Tinkerbell Half I saw great costumes: the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty, Flower from Bambi and many more. I knew when I signed up for the DDD that I had to bring it! So I have been searching Pinterest obsessively for costume ideas and have narrowed down my choices.

Of course, there is the Mistress of All Evil

The perk of this outfit: I already have the purple running skirt from when I was the Cheshire Cat at Tinkerbell. The downside of this outfit?! Disney is completely sold out of the Maleficent Ears. Also - the run will be in August, which means that I am not going to wear long black socks.

Then, there is the Haunted Mansion portrait [if she has an official name, please let me know!]

The perks of this costume?! Um.. IT'S FRICKING AWESOME! Seriously, though. It is from my favorite ride and is very creative. If people know the Haunted Mansion, then they will know exactly who I am. The cons?! It is so specialized that it is very expensive. The running skirt alone is almost $100. And being that I do not normally use running skirts, I am apprehensive to spend that kind of money on something I will more than likely only wear once.

Of course, there is the weekend's namesake, Dumbo:

The perk of this one?! Um, it's DUMBO! I am running the Dumbo Double Dare for crying out loud. Why  wouldn't I run as the best elephant ever? And it is also another costume where there would be no doubting who I was. The cons? I would literally have to buy every part of this costume. I do not own a grey running shirt or the fancy skirt. Not that I couldn't buy what was needed, but I have so many running shirts that I don't know how much my poor drawers can take.

For the half I am pretty set on running as Daisy Duck. My mom is going to be running as Donald and so I thought it would be a fun group costume we could do. But I just can't decide for the 10k. Anyone else out there having trouble deciding? Who are you going as for the Disneyland Half Marathon?