Life · Pop Culture · Travel

Letters to Juliet…my own version

At Juliet’s tomb in Verona, Italy (I’m back row on the right)

I went to see Letters to Juliet a couple of weeks ago and was hit with nostalgia.

Why? Because once upon a time, I spent three months traveling through Europe. During that time, I visited so many amazing places. One of them…Verona, Italy. And you guessed it, I penned my own letter to Juliet while I was there!

So you can imagine my delight at seeing the movie. I love Italy. Love it. (I secretly consider putting all of my belongings in storage and bumming around Italy–writing, eating yummy food, and talking to cute Italian guys…)

And to get to revisit Verona on the big screen was cool. Honestly…I had all but forgotten writing my own letter to Juliet until I saw the movie. It all came back to me as I watched, and sure enough–when I got home and found the battered journal I filled that summer…

“Saturday, June 14, 1997…I am on a train headed back to Florence via Bologna. We visited Verona today, the city of Romeo and Juliet. We walked to Juliet’s tomb from the train station and it was so cool. There were a ton of letters and flowers and we were the only ones there. I wrote a ‘Dear Juliet’ letter and left it at the tomb. We walked to her house and saw the balcony and her statue…”

I won’t bore you with the rest of the entry, but will say that there was a pressed flower stuck in that page that I’d taken from one of the bouquets left at the tomb.

I only have a vague recollection of my letter to Juliet. If I remember correctly, it spoke of true love and soul mates–and was written on a piece of purple notebook paper I borrowed from one of the other girls traveling with me.

Thirteen years have passed since I penned my letter to Juliet. During that time I’ve had some really bad dates. And some really good ones. Along the way I’ve met Mr. Almost Right, Mr. WRONG, and Mr. Could Be…If He’d Get His Act Together. (LOL)  But like I told a group of students recently…the path I’m on is the one for me. I look back and those times I thought I was flailing around aimlessly, I was really gathering the experiences that I would someday write about. The experiences that would add up and make me who I am supposed to be.

And I’m thankful that one of those experiences was traveling through Europe and writing a letter to Shakespeare’s most famous heroine. 🙂

Photos of the trip below: (and yes, these are pre-digital camera pictures that I had to scan…so the quality isn’t all that great!)

On the train on our way to Verona…yes, that is a Yoda figurine with us. He was sort of our mascot that summer…

Plaque at Juliet’s tomb, quoting Shakespeare
Statue of Juliet, outside her house
At Castleveccio in Verona (mentioned in the movie)

And how about you? Have you ever visited a place that later showed up in a movie or in a book? Or is there an experience you wish you could “do over” because it was so cool?

Entertainment · In the News · Pop Culture

We’ll Miss You, Julia Sugarbaker

I’m so sad to hear about the death of Dixie Carter. I was a huge fan and to this day, Designing Women remains my all-time favorite TV show.

In tribute, here’s a clip of one of my favorite Julia Sugarbaker moments!

Life · Pop Culture · Reality TV

Random Ramblings

Okay. I know I should probably do a blog post about my recent book signings in Mississippi. Or maybe about the new series proposal I just sent off to my editor so everyone can cross their fingers and toes that it gets a green light. But no. Instead I have to get a few other things off my chest…

1. The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love.
Where to start? I admit that I am totally hooked on this show each and every season. My take on this season…Jake is going to walk away alone. I don’t think he has a good crop to choose from, but they certainly provide for some wonderful entertainment.

2. The end of college football season.
Although I am an SEC girl, I have to say that I was really cheering for Texas in the National Championship. And I totally believe they would’ve won if Colt McCoy, hadn’t gone out at the very beginning with an injury. And kudos to Colt for such a wonderful post-game interview. Here’s a quote from Colt: “I never question that God is in control. Whatever happens, I know I’m standing on the Rock.”

3. How much I love hot water.
My hot water heater busted over the weekend. It takes some time to get that replaced. I had to go to a friend’s house last night to take a shower where I was reunited with hot water. Briefly. Hoping to have hot water again very soon!

4. The Wii Fit.
This was one of my Christmas presents–actually I got it for myself with the money my dad gave me for Christmas. My little Wii person is a little shorter and rounder than I would like. And I think the groaning noise it makes when I step on the balance board is a little harsh…

5. My desire for a snow day.
Yep. I want one really big snow. The kind that you can get out and play in. Then I want to immediately fast forward to Summer.

6. My birthday.
It is coming up. 10 days. Birthdays are starting to freak me out a little bit. Better than the alternative though.

7. Justin Timberlake at the Telethon for Haiti.
I go back and forth on being a JT fan. But his performance of “Hallelujah” was incredible. Go now and get it from iTunes.

8. American Idol.
I don’t like the auditions. Why do they make fun of people who’ve clearly been made fun of most of their lives? Not cool, AI, not cool. I am ready for the nonsense to be over and the real competition to begin.

9. Board games, my love of.
My family is a game playing group. We are always looking for new games to play and I have officially found my FAVORITE GAME EVER. It is called “Things” and is just the most fun! Even my grandma loves it!

10. Red carpets.
I’m a sucker for awards shows. I love watching to see what everyone is wearing, what they’re going to say from the stage and who wins what. But what I don’t like is actually watching the red carpet interviews on E. The questions just seem so awkward.

Okay. I feel better now. Just had to get a few things off my chest. 🙂

And because this is a random post, how about a random song? One of my favorites…When the Stars Go Blue. This version is by Bono and the Corrs.

American Idol · Pop Culture

Ode to David Cook, American Idol Cutie

Well, I can’t help it. Lately I’ve tried to blog all reflective like and serious, and stay away from all the pop culture, but I guess the shallow side of me wins out. Especially with Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Greys, and Desperate Housewives all having had finales this week, I have some catching up to do. Starting with American Idol.

I was so glad to see David Cook win. Not that Archuleta wasn’t talented. It’s just that from the get go, David Cook has performed songs that could be on the radio tomorrow. And all of them sounded different. David Archuleta needs a little variety in his repertoire. Enough with the ballads.

The finale was great. Better than last year I thought.

Moments I loved:

  • Jason Castro doing Hallelujah. He’s so pretty.
  • Anytime Michael Johns was onstage. Sigh.
  • The guys singing Summer of 69.
  • The girls singing She Works Hard for the Money. That’s my theme song.
  • The medley of George Michael songs.
  • David Cook fronting for ZZ Top.
  • Simon apologizing to David Cook. I felt like it was a long time coming. I was still miffed from way back when he called him out for being a word nerd. I happen to like word nerds.
  • And of course, the Guitar Hero homage to Risky Business. But only the David Cook one.

Moments I could’ve done without or would’ve liked to change:

  • Anytime Amanda was onstage. Did they have to tie her up and drag her there to get her to perform? I’ve never seen anyone look so miserable on stage.
  • The Michael/Carly duet. While I liked the Michael portion (see above) I never cared for Carly.
  • Where was Kristy Lee Cook’s solo or duet? Why didn’t she get one and some of the others did? (She, Chickeze, and Ramile were the only ones from the Top 10 who didn’t get their own stage time…)
  • The Jonas Brothers. Why were they there at all?? All the other acts had AI Contestants with them.
  • The costume mistakes–putting pretty Jordin Sparks in that horrid gold dress, AND forgetting to put enough material on the bottom of whatever that was Carrie Underwood had on.

My other thoughts? First, the only thing I don’t like about David Cook is the pair of weird boots he wears. They are black and the toe of them points upward like elf shoes. They make his feet look like planks. Lose the boots David, and you’ll go far!

Was it just me, or did David Archuleta sound better on the One Republic song that the actual lead singer usually sounds? That style of music should be his niche, he just needs to learn to do some faster songs too. (and NOT in the style of Chris Brown as we saw him do a couple of weeks ago)

As usual, I hated the hokey American Idol winner song at the end.

I predict there will be a few from this season who go on to have reasonable success in the music industry. And some who will ride their wave of fame over to the TV Guide network along with their previous season counterparts.

The song of the day was hard to decide on. Obviously a David Cook song from this season. Billie Jean was good. Hello was good. So was You Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing. I was really torn, but I decided my favorite was his rendition of Mariah Carey’s Always Be My Baby. So enjoy!