For awhile now, I've wanted to review books, movies, and books to movie adaptations, so getting this opportunity to review an upcoming film as the launch pad, is exciting. So let's get started.
Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a HUGE Facts of Life fan, even though I was born in the 90s. Thank god, for the internet and websites like Hulu an Youtube. The new Hallmark original film, "Hearts of Spring" stars Facts of Life alum Lisa Whelchel, who played Blair Warner, and Michael Shanks. However, the main focal point is that Lisa's on screen daughter is played by her own real-life daughter, Clancy Cauble, in her television debut. I was impressed to hear that Whelchel came up with the original story of the film, somewhat based off of her own life. Much props to Whelchel as she makes her way back to our television screens.
So, i ended up watching the film twice, once to enjoy the film, and the second time to write a review. To give a brief synopsis, Hearts of Spring is a film about a mother raising a teenage daughter who is about to go off to college, who runs a blog about parenting under the alias BestieMom. A frequent commenter, or some would see as a polite troll, named JugglingDad, is raising a teenage son and doesn't agree with her parenting views. Of course, you can see where this one is going: the two are attracted to each other, not knowing who each other is. Since it's Hallmark, I think you can guess how they tie up everything with a nice, neat bow. But, that's also what hooks us, its what gets us to return to Hallmark and watch their films. However, there were some twists and turns I didn't see, so Hallmark did surprise me in that aspect.
I was escited to see Whelchel's return to the screen after "For Better or For Worse" another Hallmark film, based off of the novel of the same name by Diann Hunt. Hunt is one of my favorite authors so I was excited to see the book being made into a film and to see that Lisa would star in it. After working in that film, with another Facts of Life alum Kim Fields, it was great to see her find a place she fit and create another film on the channel.
Overall, the film was nice. I felt the beginning was pretty slow and took forever to bring up the plot point of the film, whereas the trailer and released summaries of the film essentially give it away within 5 seconds. Whatever happened to trailers wanting to hook the viewers? But I'm digressing. Sticking true to Hallmark fashion, the film was sticky sweet, but that's not a bad thing. It had some good comedic points, some of which had me laughing, and some I felt would have been better even with the background music adding to it. Don't get me started on Awkward Date, or AD as I'll refer to him. On one hand I cringed at AD, and on the other hand I died laughing because it was so awkward it was funny. Although, he was a fairly better than Female Awkward Date aka FAD. Whelchel has stated that she likes comedic roles, she was on a sitcom for nine years, and you can tell she's grown a an actress by using her facial features to get the humor across instead of needing to use her body to do so.
The acting in the film is pretty good, could have been better in some places. What really got me was the casting of the film. You don't know how overjoyed I was to see that they actually cast young adults (who played the teens) to actually resemble their parents. However, in Whelchel's case, they just looked at her family. As mentioned above, her own daughter Clancy Cauble, plays her on-screen daughter. To be honest, there were some points in the film where I felt they could have just picked any blonde haired, green eyed actress and put her in Clancy's role, and then you'd have a mother/daughter pairing. However, there's something about Clancy that drew me to her. It's something about the energy or the way she portrays the character - its very easy to have someone like her character to come across as annoying or just following the crowd. Clancy made her standout and likeable. She's an actress I'll keep an eye on in the future.
Like previously stated, i ended up watching the film twice, once to enjoy the film, and the second time to write a review. Okay, so I also watched it a second time cause I was kind of blindsided at how good looking the actor playing teenage son was. :) All in all, if you want to watch a heartwarming film about parenting in the digital age, preparing yourself for your children to go off to school, and understanding the way relationships change then this is the film for you. Everything just felt believable, and being a young twenty-something, i really enjoyed that I could understand to the parents and the children. There's not much I would change about this film.
Well, okay, there is one thing: the title of the website Whelchel's character blogs on - Parenting for the Soul, and obvious play off of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I know it's Hallmark, but it could have been a more enticing title, like "Facts of Life - Lessons Parenting Taught Me". See what i did there? :)
"Hearts of Spring" will air on Hallamark on Saturday, April 9th at 9pm/8pm CT
I'm sure by now that some of you reading this know my news, but I'm going to announce it again for those that don't know.
An essay I submitted to an upcoming Chicken Soup book has been accepted for publication. The book is called "Chicken Soup: Thanks to My Mom" and the story is called "Quadruple Love". It is due out in March 2015.
The Chicken Soup for the Soul book series is one of the first series I've read that really got me into reading, aside from Harry Potter of course. I think it was just the idea that the stories submitted into the books weren't fiction in the slightest, they were about real and ordinary every day people so it made each category easy to relate to.
I think the stories and the book series helped spur my love of writing and wanting to become a published novelist, but of course I had some major help from my 6th grade Writing Workshop teacher. Although, it does make me cringe thinking about my past writings and the fact that she had to read and grade all of them. -shivers-
The books also help give budding writings a chance to try and obtain an accomplishment, have a piece published. Okay, maybe not everyone is a writer and they just feel that their story connects with a book topic. These books provide an amazing platform for everyone.
I've been submitting stories to this book series for a while now and the fact that I was chosen out of thousands of applications makes me feel special, not just because I want to be writer, but because they saw something special in my story and my words.
This book series has a wide range of topics so I'm sure anyone would be able to find something to relate to.
So, I went to my first Writing Conference on Saturday.
The conference was actually Thursday-Saturday but I didn't find out about the conference until Friday. Actually, i found out in such short notice that when someone was arranging for me to get a free ticket to go I was kind of hesitant, mainly because 1) I wanted to sleep in because I can't anymore because of commuting to work and 2) it was SUCH short notice.
I mean, i didn't have anything planned for Saturday but I had to plan out a lot of things. A free ticket came in so I went to the conference. I ended up going about two hours earlier than I needed to. The beginning was first 10 line critiques. I didn't need to be there for that but I sat in the back of the room and took some general notes.
Also, I had the option to pitch my story to other author and publishers. I would have done this for our book series, but, I was very under prepared for it so I decided not to. Too bad.
So, the keynote speaker was a suspense writer named Brad Parks. He was hilarious and I loved his keynote address. The reason why I responded so well to it is because he added in humor, lots and lots of humor. If I am sitting at an assembly and you are basically just giving a straight speech, I will stop paying attention after about 10 minutes because its just talking, talking, talking.
Parks' speech was basically a list of everything he knows about writing, all seventeen steps and I wrote down every single one of them. I took so many notes at this conference. I just finished typing it up; all my notes ended up being 7 pages long, single spaced. Now wipe those shocked looks off of your faces. I didn't type it all up in paragraphs, it was in bullets.
Anyway, I then went to a workshop entitled "Blogs, Blurbs, and Bios, Oh my!". This is around the time where I wished I had learned about the conference sooner so that I could have attended on Thursday or Friday. This panel was very informative and I learned a lot, but I would have benefited more from some of the other panels on the other conference dates. Mainly because I already know about blogging and blurbs.
However, I did learn more than what I already knew so that was a plus. I left the conference after the break for lunch because the rest of the workshops mainly focused on specific genres of writing that wouldn't have really helped me. See, another reasoning as to why I wish I went earlier.
All in all, it was very informative. I met a few people and got their business cards, unfortunately i didn't give any out, but when i would tell people that i was writing a book series with my sisters and that we were quadruplets they seemed really interested. This gives me hope for all the future projects my sisters and I have planned or would like to do.
Here's hoping with everything I learned and the few people I met, something good will come out of it, especially for our book series.
I've had a few people tell me over the years that they wish they had my creativity. Of course, I'm flattered when people give me this compliment, however they don't know the problems that come with a creative mind.
You get new ideas. A lot of them. All the time. All. the. time. And that, in itself, is a problem. Well, not a problem, but the problem.
I have a lot of hobbies. I love to read, write, draw, paint, craft, sing, play piano, play clarinet, sew, knit, and design. With all of these hobbies come new ideas. Normally, I'm very organized, but when I get an idea for a new project I just have to get to work.
For example, I'm currently working on the prequel to the Bluebonnet series, Cassie & Nikki. In the middle of working on this I get new ideas for new books I want to write. I have a two page long document (almost 3 pages) saved with all of my book or story ideas.
I have a habit of working on something, and when i get a new idea, I "drop" my first project and then focus on the new idea. However, its not all bad because some of my ideas can intertwine.
Currently, I have ideas for a new music project. I've been wanting to record and write music again for the longest time. Luckily, I can bring my writing and/or other hobbies into it as well.
So Jess and I (and Mack and Mere if they would like to join in as well) have another item to add to our resumes: contributors to a magazine.
It is an online magazine called Twin Life Magazine. It is an online magazine about multiples. Don't let the title confuse you, it is about any sets of multiples and not just twins.
I contact one of the editors asking if they were accepting submissions for works about multiples. I got into contact with a woman named Jenna who is one of the last few running the magazine. She said it is updated from time to time but not often since her boss moved to a new state.
We emailed back and forth and I said that I was a multiple and I was interested in submitting work to the magazine: in part to add to my portfolio/resume but to get my work out there. She thought that it was a great idea since I was a multiple, to add to the magazine.
I told my sisters of the opportunity and told them that they could submit to the magazine as well. Jess and I are currently the only two submitting to the magazine because of busy schedules, school work, etc. We decided to write about a common topic but to give our own points of view.
Jenna says if our submissions become more of a frequent thing, we will be named admins of the site so we can upload our submissions whenever we're finished with them. We hope to have our second posts up soon.
Our first articles were published on February 17th. Click below if you would like to read them:
--Jess's Article: Getting to Know You
--Steph's Article: Life as a Quadruplet: “4x the ___________”
"Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you." - Walt Whitman