Thursday, February 23, 2012

6 Things To Do To Get Ready For The Hunger Games Movie

The Hunger Games movie premiers one month from today as a PG-13 rated film.  For not liking the book, I'm a little too stoked about the movie.  I mean, I wasn't excited at all, UNTIL I saw a preview and realized that the first-person issue I had with the story is resolved in the movie because movies (with the exception of a very few) are not presented in first person.

So now I'm stoked about the movie.  And confident that The Hunger Games will be an exception to the "The Book Is Always Better" rule for me.

Anyway, I've been seeing a lot of fun The Hunger Games things come through my Pinterest feed, so I thought I'd share some with you in case you have a party or get your Hunger Games on a month early... enjoy!

#1 Print out some Movie Watch printables by Living Locurto
#2 Get the Hunger Games Training Days Board Game to get yourselves mentally ready:
#3 Don't forget some swag... this The Hunger Games Military Messenger is especially fitting if you ask me:
But you could always go the classic Mockingjay pin route:
#4 And send your friends some ecards while you're at it... no matter how you feel about them:

#5 Then make some Mockingjay cupcakes to get your friends inspired:

#6 Bone up on your Hunger Games geography:

Whatever you do, especially if you haven't read the books in a while, DO NOT REREAD THE BOOKS.  You'll just be disappointed with the movie.  And remember, movies are a different art, they're a different story.  They're not meant to be clones of the book, which is why we most often think they suck.

And lastly, HAVE FUN!! ♥

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday, Arizona!

ONE HUNDRED years ago, Arizona was granted statehood in the United States of America.  Being that my family had already settled these here parts long before statehood (I'm a fifth generation Arizonan), I feel a strong connection to the state I call home.  So I thought that in honor of my favorite state, I'd share some of my favorite things about it and places in it.  Here are a few highlights:

It's perhaps what our awesome state is best known for, being one of the seven natural wonders of the world and all.  Dude, it's right up there with Mount Everest and it's only 5 hours from my front door.  I've been several times, and my favorite part is not the new fancy skywalk, but that every time I go, even if it's the same time of day, the colors and experiences are different.  They're amazing.  And I can truly, honestly say that I ♥ this place.

FACT: It's illegal to harm a saguaro in Arizona.  Doing so can carry a fine of more than $10,000 and a jail term of up to 25 years.

Monster and I have only been here a couple of times because it's a protected riparian area in Southeast Arizona, but I've loved it both times we've gone.  It's gorgeous.  It's protected by The Nature Conservancy. And it's one of the few places I have successfully communed with wild water and not had a panic attack.  And that's only ever ever happened in Arizona. (I'm like three-quarters hydrophobic)

FACT: It's also illegal to refuse anyone a glass of water.

A local chain of Italian restaurants that Monster and I and my grandma love.  I was introduced to the restaurants through work, and no one I've taken has ever not liked it.  We eat there at least one time a month, and my favorite dish is the Pablo Picasso Salad (Junior) 'cause I can't finish a full-size.

FACT: The state reptile is the Arizona Ridge-Nosed Rattlesnake.  I've never seen one.  In fact, I've only ever seen ONE rattlesnake in all of my outdoor activities, and it was a Western Diamondback.  Arizona has thirteen species. 

I'm decidedly a mountain person.  I hate the beach.  And for seven and a half years, I lived in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains.  I've spent too many hours to count hiking through these trails (my favorite is Massacre Falls) and probably just as many sitting on a rock on the side of a trail reading a book.  I love these mountains and I love the lores and legends that accompany them.  While I'm happy that I moved back to the city for many many reasons, the only thing I miss is seeing snow on these in March and watching the sunset over them out my front window each evening.
[Photo: me]

FACT: There are 26 units of the National Parks Service in Arizona.

Regardless of your religious affiliation, the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple is a gorgeous place.  It's where Monster proposed to me.  And I've spent hundreds of hours by its reflection pool pondering life and meditating.  I love the Christmas lights and love the beauty it brings to my hometown.  

FACT: Pluto (that thing out there we used to call a planet) was discovered at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.

It's my favorite place to shop for produce.  It's dirt cheap.  Like I bought apples there on Saturday for 25¢ a pound.  And the week before that I bought strawberries for 2 lbs. for a buck.  Cilantro was five bunches for a buck this time and lettuce was three heads for a dollar for romaine and redleaf, and iceberg was 25¢ a head.  Get the picture?  Love me some Ranch Market. 

FACT: Taser International, Cold Stone Creamery, P.F. Changs, and Ticketmaster were all founded in Arizona.

It's not Arizona's only Indie bookstore, it's Arizona's most awesome.  The staff is supremely helpful and they all love love love what they do.  Not that employees at other bookstores don't, but man, it feels like I've got a friend and a place to adore when I head into Changing Hands.  It's just not the same at the others.  And their events are the bomb diggity, yo.

FACT: Arizona has haboobs.  We don't call them that though.  We call them dust storms.  But you really are driving down the road and see a wall of dust and sand coming at you from the right.  It's not just in movies like The Mummy.  And I've had the pitted windshields to prove it.  But I'll take haboobs and heat over earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and tornadoes any day.

Just to the east of Tucson lies these caves that were kept a very close secret until they were acquired by Arizona State Parks and developed by them.  The result?  Pristine cave formations without graffiti, that are still very much alive and very much jaw-droppingly awesome.  You have to plan well in advance to get your tickets, but man, it's totally worth it.  

FACT: We might reek of desert, but Arizona is home to the largest Ponderosa Pine forest on the continent, stretching from the White Mountains past Flagstaff.

When Monster and I spend a day in Tucson, it's never without at least one stop to Beyond Bread, a small Tucson chain.  They have the most delicious sandwiches.  And the sticky buns?  They're ridic.  Seriously.  And it's the only standing exception to my "I Hate Brie" rule 'cause they just know what to pair it with and how much to use to make it oh so yummy instead of oh so ew.
FACT: Arizona claims three of the 50 largest cities in the nation: Phoenix (#6), Tucson (#33), and Mesa (#38).

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of me, this little bit of culture from my home state and my little tribute to the place I call home.  I'm so wholeheartedly happy that I can call Arizona home and hope it continues to be an incredible place to live for at least another hundred years.  And with that, I'll leave you with a couple of lists.  Happy Birthday, Arizona!

Sandra Day O'Connor: first female member of the Supreme Court
Frank Lloyd Wright: totally dope architect (check him out on Artsy)
Jimmy Eat World: a band from my hometown, Mesa
YA Author like Jillian Cantor, Tom Levine, J.S. Lewis, Lisa McMann, James A. Owen, Janette Rallison, Janie Lee Simner and of course that Stephenie Meyer chick. (no means a complete list)


And since you made it this far, we're giving away a $20 Changing Hands gift card in honor of Arizona's birthday.  Enter the rafflecopter below:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Shakespeare Originated Phrases

This is for all the Shakespeare haters out there - people who think that he didn't really have any influence on modern-day English speakers.  I daresay there's not a person I know who hasn't said one of these phrases this week.   Saw this on Pinterest and just HAD to share with you bookish peeps. 

Via Pinterest via Tumblr

Friday, February 3, 2012

ARC: Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin [Giveaway]

Hey so... ARC Giveaway.  Clap your hands!  Scream for joy!  Meredith Zeitlin's FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS could. be. yours.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter below for your chance.  Open internationally, my lovelies. ♥

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Hate You, Kelly Donahue by Mark Svartz [Book Inspection] [Giveaway]

Plot Sketch:  Mark has seen Kelly Donahue and used this journal to plot her demise.  He forges a relationship with her so he can get to know her better and make her death a reality.  He goes to extreeeeme lengths in the relationship to get to know her well enough to plot the best way to kill her.

Verdict: For those of us who trend toward the morbid for our humor, I Hate You, Kelly Donahue is as enjoyable as crepes.  With Nutella.  And powdered sugar.  Even though I was ready for bed and just curious what the inside looked like when I picked it up, I couldn't put it down, or stop laughing, until I finished.  Fifteen minutes later I was wondering when I could get another glimpse into the demented and hilarious mind of Mark Svartz, and if there'd be another edition, Die, Beth Erikson, Die?

It's spiral bound, with a stiff cover - stiffer than your average notebook, but not as rigid as a hardcover journal. It's got full-color pages on both sides with drawings and pictures and even metro cards.  Okay, only one metro card.  That's gotta pique your interest, right? The whole thing is in Mark's handwriting... in different colored pens just like in my journal.

This is probably not appropriate for your teen.   There are a few f-bombs and depictions (not photos) of male genitalia.  Parental discretion advised ;o).

If you like Roman Dirge's Lenore, this is a sure hit for you.  And with it's release timing, it's perfect for the person who is both alone and bitter this Valentine's Day.  Enter to win your own copy below.

Mark Svartz seems to have his hand in everything from writing to film to inventing.  Check out his other projects on

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