weekly gems

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gift guide, etsy edition: valentine’s day cards

A lot of people don’t like Valentine’s Day, noting that it is mostly just an over-commercialized holiday that puts a lot of pressure on people to have some sort of big romantic night. I don’t care about those points; I love Valentine’s Day anyway. I always have, even when I was little and Valentine’s Day was just about collecting Pokemon and Snoopy cards from your classmates. I love the idea of a day that is devoted to romantic love, but that can also be used to celebrate the love you have for your family and friends in a cute and goofy way. PLUS Valentine’s Day always means chocolate, fluffy stuffed animals, mushy movies, and yummy meals. What’s not to like? ; )

Aside from the above reasons to love the day, my favorite part of Valentine’s Day is still the plethora of sweet and funny cards available to send to the special people in your life (although my tastes have upgraded a bit from elementary school when I would send out the entirety of my Disney-themed perforated 24 pack). While I do admire cards by big brands such as Papyrus, American Greetings, Hallmark and online top dog Minted, I always enjoy perusing Etsy for creative cards. Here are my favorite Etsy cards for this Valentine’s Day (a bit aways from the actual day, in case you decide to buy and send one):

Source: etsy.com via Kelly on Pinterest

“Heart Strings” card by Wild Beanlore

Source: etsy.com via Kelly on Pinterest

“I Love You More Than Ice Cream” card by Oh Geez Design

Source: etsy.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Valentine’s Day Peacock card by My Zoetrope

Source: etsy.com via Kelly on Pinterest

“Home Is Wherever I’m With You” card by JulieAnnArt

Source: etsy.com via Kelly on Pinterest

“You’re Perfect” card by HEN & CO.

Source: etsy.com via Kelly on Pinterest

“I Just Want to Eat You Up” card by Abbey Jay Handmade

Source: etsy.com via Kelly on Pinterest

“Love Roses Kraft White” card by Champagne Press

Source: etsy.com via Kelly on Pinterest

“Obi Wan” card by adelynSTONE
Which of these cards do you like best? Have you found any other cards on Etsy or a different website that you are enjoying for Valentine’s Day this year?
*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at beagleandbear@yahoo.com or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear’s Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!

the 84th academy awards nominations

Yesterday was the day that movie and award show lovers alike were waiting for: the 84th Academy Award nominations were announced! I haven’t seen all the movies and/or performances that were nominated (a list of 2011 movies I saw and my ratings of them can be found here), but I still had plenty of thoughts on the nominations as I read through them:

Source: imdb.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Why was Moneyball nominated for so many awards?
Don’t get me wrong, I saw Moneyball and thoroughly enjoyed it. The acting was certainly of a high quality and the story was compelling (at least if you enjoy baseball, sports movies, underdog stories, or any combination of the three). However, I did not leave the theater thinking, “WOW, Brad Pitt’s acting in Moneyball was just AMAZING! Jonah Hill, he was just UNBELIEVABLE! Overall, that picture was OUTSTANDING!” In fact, if I was texting someone my opinion of the movie right after seeing it, I would not have written any adjectives in all-caps. Like I said, I did like Moneyball, and I do think Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are great actors. I am just incredibly surprised Moneyball is being nominated for as many awards as it is. (As for film editing, I don’t know much about that to know if Moneyball deserves it, and the same for sound mixing, but I’m guessing it probably does since there were a great deal of baseball-games-in-action scenes).

Source: imdb.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Cars 2 wasn’t nominated for Best Animated Feature.
I have no opinion on whether or not Cars 2 is a good film; I haven’t seen it yet. I just found it very interesting that this was the first Pixar movie in what seems like forever that wasn’t nominated for the big award.

Source: imdb.com via Kelly on Pinterest

I apparently need to watch The Help again, because my memory must not be serving me well.
I LOVED The Help and think it deserves all the awards it can get (well, clearly, since I’m using all-caps to declare my adoration for it). I am beyond thrilled that Viola Davis is nominated and so is Octavia Spencer (in photo above). While I felt like the entire cast was fantastic and worked together beautifully, I did not expect anyone else to be nominated for an acting award. I’m surprised Jessica Chastain (in photo above) keeps getting nominated as well, over stellar performances by Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, and Sissy Spacek (who’s role was much too small to be nominated, but still well done). I also didn’t expect Emma Stone to be nominated for Best Actress or necessarily think she deserved a nomination over the actual nominees, but I do think she deserves as much recognition for her performance in that film as Jessica Chastain does for hers.

Source: imdb.com via Kelly on Pinterest

There are some serious sins of omission here.
How did Jonah Hill receive a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Moneyball over the great Alan Rickman (photo above) in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II? And if Jonah Hill’s performance was deemed Oscar-worthy, how in the world was Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance in 50/50 not Oscar-worthy? How was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II not nominated for Best Picture when it was highly praised by critics and audiences alike, whereas a film like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has gotten lackluster reviews? Harry Potter should have, at the very least, been nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay in addition to the nominations it did receive. I was also greatly disappointed Super 8 was not nominated for a single Oscar, even though visual effects, film editing, sound mixing, etc., (though I don’t know much about those categories to rate their quality) greatly contributed to the overall impressiveness of the movie.

Source: imdb.com via Kelly on Pinterest

The Academy did a decent job this year of recognizing comedy that deserves its attention.
I am mega-pleased that Melissa McCarthy was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Bridesmaids (pictured above). Believe me, I love everything about that movie, but Melissa McCarthy definitely stole the show. Whether or not she deserves an Oscar over Octavia Spencer in The Help is yet to be seen. I guess it will boil down to whether the Academy wants to give this year’s honors to an outstanding comedic performance or to an outstanding dramatic performance. That being said, I’m also psyched Bridesmaids was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Lastly, I love that “Man or Muppet” (from The Muppets, of course!) was nominated for Best Original Song. The Muppets was quite possibly the best family, hands-down feel-good movie I saw all year (if not in the past few years) and it deserves some recognition. And recognition in the form of my favorite song from it, all the better! Plus, Jason Segel possibly performing it at the Oscars…with MUPPETS? Yes please!!
Which nominations do you support? What were your sins of omissions?

*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at beagleandbear@yahoo.com or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear’s Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!

things I’ve been meaning to blog about, watch it edition: 2011 movies

Today the 84th Academy Award Nominations were announced. Full of opinions, I went to write a blog post about my thoughts when I realized I had not done a full recap of the movies I had seen in 2011 and my overall rating of them (like I did for 2010). Better late than never, right? Especially since some of these have been nominated for an Oscar and a lot of them have or will be released on DVD soon. So, without further delay, today I’m posting about my favorite 2011 movies, and tomorrow I’ll be discussing the Oscar nominations. Here we go!

My Top Movies of 2011*
(three instead of five because I saw
less movies this year than in 2010)

Source: imdb.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Bridesmaids – This movie will always be one of my all-time favorite films. It makes me laugh, cry, and cry from laughing no matter how many times I see it. It is an excellent story about female friendships, the ridiculousness of weddings, and believing in yourself. Awesome writing and amazing acting (my full review can be found here)!

Source: imdb.com via Kelly on Pinterest

The HelpFirst of all, if you haven’t read The Help, then you need to stop what you’re doing and start right now. Once you’ve finished reading it, you then need to watch the movie immediately. The acting in this film was truly outstanding. Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis certainly give the knockout performances, but Emma Stone, Allison Janney, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sissy Spacek, and Jessica Chastain are all superb. The film tells an important and compelling story that everyone needs to hear, and does so with both hilarity and dignity.

Source: imdb.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Super 8 – I feel as though this movie was highly praised when it was released and then quickly forgotten, and I can’t understand why. It takes place in the 1970s and is presented in a way that it really does feel like a classic Steven Spielberg sci-fi adventure movie (the best comparison I can say is that Super 8 is like a higher-quality The Goonies). The young actors were wonderful and their adult counterparts provided the perfect balance. It has everything a movie should: suspense, humor, action, love, friendship, family, mystery, stretches of the imagination, etc. Definitely worth a viewing – or a few!
Close contenders: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, 50/50, and The Muppets
*All the 2011 Movies I Have Seen & My Ratings
(five star movies are in bold and were the only
consideration for the my top three movies of the year list)

No Strings Attached ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Take Me Home Tonight ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Your Highness ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Bridesmaids ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Thor ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
X-Men: First Class ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Super 8 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Bad Teacher ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Green Lantern ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Transformers: The Dark of the Moon ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Captain America: The First Avenger ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Cowboys and Aliens ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Horrible Bosses ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The Help ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
30 Minutes or Less ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
50/50 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Moneyball ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The Muppets ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
What movies did you see in 2011, and which were your favorite?
*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at beagleandbear@yahoo.com or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear’s Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!

things that are making me happy

  • The screenshot above – it cracks me up every time I read it!
  • Watching wild animal segments on my favorite morning shows (like Good Morning America and Live with Kelly)
  • Nights spent simply chatting with hilarious and supportive friends
  • Curling up with my Kindle and a big cup of tea
  • Going to pick up my wedding dress, trying it on, and having to order the next size down instead : )
  • Delicious meals at my favorite local restaurants (like here and here)
  • Awesome performances by my swimmers at an invitational meet this past Saturday
  • A new pair of gray boots and a gray and white jacket from my fiancé
  • Hearing favorite songs on the radio
  • Breaks in the crazy winter weather that make it easier to walk the dogs

What’s been making you happy lately?


*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at beagleandbear@yahoo.com or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear’s Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!

outfit envy: stylish sweatshirts

It’s finally starting snowing significantly on a regular basis in Cleveland. Mother Nature seems to want to catch up on all the snow she didn’t send earlier this winter, and when it’s not snowing, it’s either raining or super windy. All this cold and messy weather makes me want to curl up with a good book (like all seven Harry Potter novels for the millionth time) and a cup of tea (like this), while decked out in one these comfy but stylish sweatshirts:

Source: ae.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Source: beauxx.com via Kelly on Pinterest



Anyone else take to hibernating when the weather gets gross? What do you do when you are lounging around your house, and what comfy clothes have you had your eye on?
*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at beagleandbear@yahoo.com or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear’s Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!

my life: i need a haircut

It has been way too long since my last haircut. As a result, my hair has had plenty of time to grow past it’s usual “time to get a trim” mark and is longer than it has been in a few years. I can’t decide if I should commit to having long hair or revert back to my medium-length ways. My hair is a dark blonde color with some light streaks from the sun (although I do plan on highlighting it once I decide on a cut). My hair is naturally wavy, tends to get a bit frizzy in humidity, and is of medium-thickness, though more thin than thick. I do tend to wear my hair up a lot when I am running around for work, but enjoy styling it and wearing it down when relaxing.

Should I try out one of these stylish medium-length styles…



Source: google.com via Kelly on Pinterest

...or stick to long hair, but possibly add some long layers
and long swingy bangs?


Source: twitter.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Source: bellamumma.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Source: google.com via Kelly on Pinterest


Let me know what you think!* I could definitely use some advice…I’m not the best with picking out the right styles for myself. And I promise I’ll post photos of the final choice! : )
*If for some reason you are having trouble leaving a comment, please e-mail me at beagleandbear@yahoo.com or leave me a comment on Beagle and Bear’s Facebook page. Thanks for your help with this issue!

use it: usps 2012 stamps

Hello, everyone! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty great! I had Starbucks with a friend Friday night, spent literally all of the day Saturday at the conference championship meet with my swimmers (who did AWESOME!), and went to a bridal fair on Sunday.

I really enjoy “snail mail,” for various reasons, and this week I plan on sending several cards and letters. Have you seen any of the United States Postal Service’s 2012 stamps? I’m excited to head down to the post office and pick up some. My favorite ones are:

Cherry Blossom Centennial
Dogs at Work
Mail a Smile (Disney Pixar)
Bicycling
Earthscapes: Natural
William H. Johnson
Heart Health
Frank Capra
The War of 1812: USS Constitution
Santa and Sleigh
Do you enjoy sending cards and letters to friends? Which of these stamps or other ones listed at the link above do you like?

weekly gems (and a wish for the world)