Lifestyle, TV & Film, Writing

June In A Nutshell




*trilling like an opera singer*  Time for nutshells!!!   I didn’t get as much done during June as I would have liked due to Life Happening and also because I got sick. Like, Really Sick.  For a week, I was pretty much useless to everyone except my bed.



(I’m gonna be honest – the only reason I mentioned being sick was just so I could use that gif – haha! ?)


The nice thing about being miserable, it makes you feel REALLY GRATEFUL when you can be a normal again (er, relatively).






The Longest Day



In honor of D-Day’s 75th Anniversary, we sat down for a three hour marathon with this amazing movie.  The Longest Day is a true gem, a masterpiece of film-making of massive and epic proportions.  The semi-autobiographical storytelling is absolutely gripping as the sequence of events plays with a feeling of the inexorable for this historic campaign.  The black and white film (a particular favorite of mine) merely makes this movie all the more gritty. I also enjoy watching foreign films, so every subtitled sequence featuring the German or French side of the operation were particularly enjoyable to me.  Star-studded and magnificently produced, it’s an unforgettable experience not to be missed!

One of my favorite things about it?  This movie was intended to be an anti-war film, but it’s been thought of and lauded as a patriotic pro-war film! HA!


The Two Towers / Return of the King



I have a lot to say about this.



TRIGGER WARNING:  If you’re a huge Tolkien fan and can’t stand to see it critiqued, you might want to skip this.


Okay.  So, sure, the movies had some big battle scenes and some cool costumes and cinematography – but I could draw a movie out of a hat and offer you a movie just as epic that would be better, or at least more cheery.

To me, it felt like endless hours designed solely to depress its viewers with a few meager seconds of happiness tacked on at the end.  The trilogy was so heavy and depressing, it was like getting all four limbs chopped off and then having a cherry popped into my mouth as if that would make it all better. #IDoNotThinkSo

I know a lot of fans swear Tolkien was a Christian, and I’m not saying he wasn’t.  All I’m saying is that the fruit is pretty much devoid of the victory or hope or peace of Christianity in both the books and the movies and could easily be any other secular piece.  Sadly, I’ve watched secular movies that got closer to the Truth and felt more hopeful.  There is no clear hope in The Lord of The Rings or any presence of a higher power, and thus the characters in Lord of the Rings have nothing to rely on but their own fearful little selves.  Despite dragging himself across creation, Frodo STILL doesn’t have the strength to let go of the Ring, and has to have his finger bitten off to destroy the stupid thing.  Gandalf’s power doesn’t extend much beyond his LED staff and Aragorn, the supposed hero, has to call on the ARMY OF THE DEAD to save them all.



(Something like that wouldn’t have happened in Narnia – see Prince Caspian when the young King and Trufflehunter are affronted at the very idea of having “that rabble” on their side.  Just saying.)  

If the filmmaker’s had just used the books as a loose inspiration and created their own trilogy (more like the Hobbit trilogy) it would have been better.  Instead, too much of Tolkien’s private drum-beating was carried over into the film.  War is bad, technology is bad, life is terrible, blah, blah, blah.  And no matter what happens, EVERYBODY MUST BE AN EMOTIONAL BASKET CASE.

Everybody in the movie literally looked like this –


I’m puzzled that people hold up Lord of the Rings characters as paragon’s of bravery.  I’m part of the (unfortunately) old-fashioned camp that believes that it’s stronger and braver to hide as much of our negative emotions as possible and at least act like someone better than us (Jesus Christ) as opposed to letting all the gross emotions just spill out all over the place so that everybody else has to step in it.

So, obviously, that being said, I wasn’t impressed by these movies or these characters.


On top of all this, I never connected with any of the characters (except Gandalf).  The characters have that same removed treatment as they had in the books, and I was never able to really care about them, so, salt to the wound.


I’ll restraint myself and end my rant here.  For the semi-positive! There were a few good IDEAS in this trilogy and some decent actors.  The film-making (technically speaking, such as costumes, music, cinematography), were good (though, honestly quite comparable to any number of other epic films).  Some of the characters had potential (Gandalf was the only one that I absolutely loved and I literally fan girl screamed for several of his scenes) but, overall, this trilogy just made me mad because of the blatantly wrong ideology and depressing outlook.  I know Tolkien fans will say to dig deeper into the symbolism, etc – but to me, if you have to dig that far, you’re digging for nothing.  I ain’t going to call this thing good, or even great, just because everybody else does.



Annnnnnnd now I no longer have any friends and everybody hates me.







Sabrina (1954)



I am astounded when people say they like romances, but have never watched this classic!  This is what the genre romance is SUPPOSED to look like.  This truly sophisticated movie is full of witty banter, complex relationships and, of course, a sweet romance that is sure to capture you from start to finish.  Audrey Hepburn, as always, sparkles with personality and elegance.  Humphrey Bogart is well-cast as the wise-cracking, practical-minded business-man with a romantic streak.  Both of these magnificent actors pull off the May-December relationship with panache and grace.  William Holden plays the idiot playboy to a T (I never liked the guy, so it’s fun to laugh at him 😀 ) and becomes the humorous third wheel in this ever-shifting romantic scene. A film from another era that encapsulates a more elegant and classic time, and a movie that manages to create a social commentary that (unlike it’s modern counterparts) that does not annoy, but merely enhances the story.


Zulu (1964)



After the tiresome fearfulness of the characters of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, this film was a great relief.  It has everything The Lord of the Rings touts –  epic battles scenes, interesting characters, incredible music, great costumes and solid acting – but without all the sloppy emotions and tears.

Based on the historic Battle of Rorke’s Drift, where 130 British soldiers successfully held their post under the attack of an estimated 4,000 Zulu Warriors. Outnumbered forty to one, eleven Victoria crosses were awarded after the battle, the most ever received for a single action by one regiment.

The sheer guts of these characters and their stiff upper-lip tenacity is truly inspiring to watch.  My favorite line is when it is confirmed that no reinforcements are coming to aid the meager British forces. The terror is palpable and one of the young soldiers asks tremulously.  “Why us?” and the color-sergeant says sternly.  “Because we’re here, lad. Because there isn’t anyone else.”  It’s actually quite a powerful line.

This was a time in movie-making when film makers truly knew how to use SUSPENSE.  From the very first scene, the tension just keeps ratcheting up relentlessly, pushing the audience to the veritable breaking point. There are scenes in this film that almost make my hair stand on end.

No CGI was used.  This was filmed on location in South Africa and thousands of the descendants of the Zulu warriors who participated in the actual historic conflict were hired as extras for the battle scenes.

I dare you to watch this scene (where the Zulus first arrive) and tell me it isn’t epic.  I dare you.


– READ –


I read 14 books in June annnnnd . . . I finished my reading goal for 2019!  *cheers*




And guys, I’m on a winning streak!  Three 4-Star reads and two 5-star reads in ONE MONTH.  From ME!  What is this??  I mean, this is good, just SURPRISING.



So far, I’ve read 108 books this year.

Next goal, 150 books?  Why not?




I started buddy writing with a friend in South Africa (arranging sprints was interesting, but so fun!) and using NaNoWrimo’s monthly goal tracker, I set the goal of 10,000 words for the month of June.

*cracks knuckles*  Final word count for June:  Just shy of 14,000 words.



That was a nice improvement from my paltry 5,000-ish in May.

I also finished another Tales of Ambia short story!  It’s a prequel about Burndee and involves much baking, a little bit of mystery, and a cat.



Annnnd, actually, I lied.  It was SUPPOSED to be a short story, but it ended up being a novella and almost as long as The Reluctant Godfather.  *SOBS AND BEATS HEAD AGAINST DESK*  And it’s an horrid mess, and there’s going to be a lot of editing and CHOPPING ahead of me, but, oh well, the first draft’s finished.

In other writing news, remember that piece of flash fiction I mentioned submitting to a magazine back in May?  I heard back from the editors and it was a pass.

I’ve honestly received so many rejections at this point, I’m starting to lose track. But that’s okay.  All famous writers got rejected a bunch of times, so if my growing pile of rejections is any indication, I’m one step closer to that success!  If we’re going to be bold and put ourselves out there, we gotta learn to take the punch of rejection.



IN RETRIBUTION FOR BEING TURNED DOWN, I sent out both of the stories to TWO NEW MAGAZINES.  I keep swinging at it like –



*takes out ad in paper*  Wanted:  A home for two, well-behaved stories. Will accept any serious offer.




I met an Internet friend! 





It was the most wonderful visit!  *heart eyes*  No nervousness, nothing.  We just hugged, sat down, and started talking as if we were picking up in the middle of a conversation and kept it up for several hours.  Honestly, we could have gone on for days.


^ cutie sighting on the right ^


Angela is such a rock.  She is funny, down-to-earth, wise beyond her years, sweet as anything, and has a beautiful heart for Truth. She is a dear sister in the Lord and it was such a joy getting to meet her!



I watched the Belmont Stakes live! 


No exciting Triple Crown winner of course, but it was still an enjoyable race.  Though I must admit, my favorite part was the VERY enthusiastic crowd singing New York, New York.



I participated in my very first blogathon!


You can read about that here, in case you missed it.


I participated in my first Instagram challenge!


Of every social media outlet I’ve tried, I am really enjoying Instagram.  The community makes such a concentrated effort to be positive and kind and, being a visual person, the beautiful photos are candy to my soul.


I won two giveaways – count ’em, two! 


One was just an ebook and the other was just some cards, but still.  😀  Okay, technically, both of these events happened back in May, but I forgot to mention it in that Nutshell.  Let’s not split hairs.



Played even MORE board games with my brother.






^ behold Allison’s Baking Dance ^


Granted, it was stupid easy banana muffins, but it still made me very happy!


I finally posted on my Youtube channel!



I’m afraid it’s been six months since I posted something to Youtube (*hangs head in shame*).  I’m hoping to become more regular about this.  What can I say?  It’s been a bumpy six months.



Ahem, anyway, happy listening!  You can listen to the cover below, and check out the rest of my song covers RIGHT HERE.


Our family celebrated my wonderful, AMAZING, godly Daddy on Father’s Day.



Our hummingbirds have returned!


I really missed these little guys!  My brother (the official humming bird keeper) put out our feeder but we didn’t have any sightings for a while and were worried that our guys wouldn’t be back.  But, thank goodness, they remembered Bro’s Dash and Dine and now we can watch the adorable little hummers from our dining room window.




And – *abruptly pulls the chord*  – I’ve reached the end.


Now it’s your turn, mah friend.  How was your June?  Have you indulged in all the wonderful summertime activities?   Did you do anything special for Father’s Day?  DID YOU LOCATE THE LITTLE STINKER THAT GAVE ME THAT HORRID PLAGUE?  BECAUSE I’VE GOT A MARKER OUT ON THEM.  #kidding  #sortof


Tell me everything, gang.



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8 thoughts on “June In A Nutshell

    1. WUT???? Another Mary Stewart fan!? Have we talked about this before, Livia? *SWARMS YOU* Which is your favorite?

      Haha, yeaaah, but they’re distant cousins, so…

  1. 1.) How can anyone be mad about your LOTR opinions when yOU USED PENGUINS GIFS *heart eyes*
    3.) Meeting you was SUCH a blessing!! You are fantastic. ♥

    1. 1). HAHA! Penguins rock! 🙂
      2). *grins* I’m looking forward to the time when you can finally read it!
      3). *hugs* Thank you, Angela! SO ARE YOU!! 😀

  2. Sorry that Lord of the Rings wasn’t really your thing. It’s not for everybody. It’s more of a nostalgic thing for me, we watched them as a family growing up.
    Love that you keep submitting, it’s inspiring! I’ve gotten tons of rejections too, I need to have your outlook. 😀

    1. Aw, SOWWY! *ducks* I have so many movies that hold a lot of nostalgia for me and my famioy, so I know what you mean, Skye.

      Haha, well, thank you. ? It’s more of a concentrated mental effort thing for anyone, I think! Rejections are always disappointing, but not dwelling on them and “retaliating” by submitting again soon. helps keep the moxie up! Good luck with your own submisions, Skye! ??

  3. Honestly, I was surprised you watched any of the LOTR movies since I know they’re not your style. As others have said it’s okay that you didn’t get the same thing out of them that I do. We all have different tastes. 🙂
    Also, sorry you were sick for so long. 🙁

    *adds several books to the tbr*

    That gif of Thorin for submitting stories is perfect. XD #relatable I need to get back in the submission battle myself. I just took a little break to get some distance and focus on my longer stories for a bit.

    Yay for more Ambia!!!

    1. @Beth – HAHA. Well my brother really wanted to show them to me so I watched it from a mixture of wanting to make him happy + mild curiosity. 😛 Aw, thanks! *hugs*

      And thanks again. Hopefully, the day will come when I’m finally not sick. ?

      MUAHAHA! *piles more books on your TBR*

      HAHA! I loved that gif so much. Yay, sometimes we have to take a break before dusting ourselves (and stories) off and trying again. *nods in sympathy*

      I can’t wait to release another Ambia story! I know it was only last November when I released A Royal Masquerade, but it feels longer!!

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