Category Archives: Movies

What I’m Lovin’ Lately

You know it’s been a really long time since you posted a blog when you’re faced with the log-in page as soon as you click over to Word Press.


The thing is, life has been…well, lively, lately. And after all, the whole point of life is to be an active participant. Am I right? So that’s what I’ve been doing. Participatin’.

When I’m not working out, working, or out, there are a few things that have been tying up my extra attention the past week or two. And since those things have kept me so busy, I thought the least I could do would be share them with you. Then we can participate together, and I’ll stop feeling so guilty about my lack of blogging, because you’ll be enjoying life, too.

Here’s a list of things I’m lovin’ lately.

National Grammar Day
You may or may not have known this, but yesterday (March 4, 2014) was National Grammar Day. Now, as a writer, every day is Grammar Day for me. But…it’s nice to have a day set aside in the year to highlight something as important as proper grammar. And no one does it with the same grace and panache as my friends, Fafa and Mario. If you haven’t heard of Glove and Boots, then please, let me introduce you to the funniest video blog on the internet with my FAVORITE one, ever: “Fix Your Grammar.”

NKOTB reference, FTW.

New (To Me) Music
I know, I know. I’m a little late to the Bruno Mars party. Truthfully, I was actually familiar with a few of his songs before his amazing performance on this year’s Super Bowl–I just wasn’t really aware that it was Bruno singing. Ya dig?

Anyway, after witnessing my entire family (ages 26-65, respectively) bobbing their heads along to the music during Super Bowl halftime, Brian and I decided it was high time we downloaded some new tunes. And so, Bruno Mars has taken over our iPods, and we listen to him with an almost religious fervor.

My favorite song changes from day-to-day, but the one that always sends me into a dance frenzy is “The Lazy Song.” And so, I’m here to share it with you today, so you can dance, too.

Also, the monkeys kill me.

Exercise That I Actually ENJOY
I never thought it would happen. I’ve been trying to find a fun method of burning calories since I was in college. Step aerobics–not fun. Bike riding–not fun after the age of 10. Running drills on the elliptical–fun like a root canal is fun.

But a couple of weeks ago, my shiny new Weight Loss Buddy (WLB) and I discovered Werq classes at our local gym. Now we’d tried Zumba, and while it was sort of fun, it was a little more challenging than either of us were quite expecting. But Werq? It’s like Zumba’s favorite hip-hop cousin. And ZOMG, it is SO much fun. I’ve been doing 2-3 classes a week, and have managed to lose 14 pounds and 8.5 inches since Jan 7.

Just watch—it even LOOKS like fun!

The best part is the energy in the class. Everyone who shows up is really ready for a fun hour of dance. So. Much. FUN. And clearly, it’s working!

The Most Epic Song-Bomb, EVER.
You guys remember the video blog I did awhile ago about being song-bombed, right? No? Well click HERE and go watch it….I’ll wait.

Now, if you think THAT song is the most epic bomb, ever, then you haven’t seen the new Lego Movie yet. We saw it two weeks ago, and we’re still walking around singing “Everything is Awesome.” (It doesn’t help that it also runs rampant through the video game, which Brian and I are currently playing together.)

I am warning you now…if you don’t want this ridiculously catchy tune stuck in your head from now until the end of days, you won’t click the play button. But you really do want to hear it, don’t you?

Now, readers, I release you back into the wild, where you’ll inadvertently share your new favorite song with the world. Believe me, you will. You’ll be singing it at the grocery store, in the shower, at the post office, in line at Target….

I told myself I wasn’t going to watch it…that it would be too painful after our very public breakup last year. I made a promise to myself to avoid the torture, especially when I learned that SHE would make guest appearances on the show centered around the Wahlberg’s new chain restaurant.

But when Wahlburgers started up a couple of weeks ago, I broke that promise to myself and DVR’d it.

And I hate to admit it, but the truth is…I’m utterly charmed.

It’s funny, it’s heart-warming, and Alma Wahlberg (Mother to Donnie and Mark) is just about the cutest thing in the world.

But I don’t watch it for Alma. Or Mark. Or Paul. Or the burgers.

Nay, I watch it for Donnie.

A bad habit is hard to break, ladies. Especially one that’s been practiced since childhood.

So…what’s been keeping you busy, readers? Got anything fun you’d like to share? I’m always looking for new forms of entertainment. Tell me all about it in the comments below. And remember…


I Had The Time of MY Life

Boredom set in last night by about 8 p.m. We flipped and flipped and flipped, and not a single decent television program could be found. That’s when I saw THIS in my cable lineup:

Dirty Dancing 1


I sat up and leaned in so I could read it a little better…

dirty dancign 2 copy

I looked over at my husband, who had become mysteriously interested in his laptop. With a maniacal laugh, I punched the play button and sat back to enjoy a movie classic–one I’ve seen so many times, I can recite certain scenes verbatim.

I giggled when Johnny almost lost his balance on the log. I cheered when he told off her dad for putting her in a corner. And I cried when she nailed the lift in the end…

(Oh, shut up. You know you wanted to see it, too.)

When bedtime rolled around, I pachanga-ed all the way to the bathroom, humming the music from the soundtrack under my breath.

I was squirting a line of toothpaste onto my toothbrush, singing away, when I noticed my husband standing in the doorway with THIS look on his face:

dirty dancing 3

That’s his “I’m so amused at you right now, so I’m just going to keep watching while you unknowingly humiliate yourself” face.

I stopped dead in my tracks, the melody I’d been singing dying off in a discordant manner.

“What?” I asked innocently.

“Nothing,” he answered. “Just wondering what the story was behind all those fun and cool noises you were just making.”

I giggled. “I wasn’t making noises, I was singing the song. The song from the movie.” (At this point, the hormones and lack of sleep kicked in and I couldn’t make words.) “You know…where they….” I mimed dancing. “And she…” I mimed running then jumping. “Then he…” And I mimed him lifting her into the air.

Brian shook his head, laughing, and said, “Whatever, crazy lady.” He then exited the scene, leaving me to ponder just what I sounded like to him. To me, I sounded like this:

Never mind. I get it.

The Post Where I Totally Solve Marvel’s Biggest Problem

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WARNING: This post may contain spoilers about the latest movie in the Spiderman franchise (The Amazing Spiderman). I won’t give away any MAJOR plot details, but if you’d rather be left completely in the dark, then this post may not be for you. Just sayin’.
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Fresh from a major victory over Donnie Wahlberg, Brian decided that yesterday was going to be a 100% Abby-and-Brian, no distractions, Just Us Day. He treated me to lunch (sushi–yay!). We toodled around Target and World Market. We held hands. We talked about our bright future, discussed design ideas for our (eventual) new home, and weighed the pros and cons of Toyota versus Chevy for our (sooner-but-still-eventual) new car. 
But the highlight of date day? An afternoon matinee viewing of “The Amazing Spiderman.”
Now, let me be clear. Spiderman has never been one of my favorite Marvel characters. There are several reasons for that, the main one being…well….this:
More than 6 legs = demon from the depths of hell. Remember?

And while I enjoyed the first two movies in the last Spiderman series, I never particularly found Tobey Maguire to be the right choice for Peter Parker. Yes, he had the awkward, nerdy, outcast thing going on. But the slight-swagger and sarcasm? Maguire never had a chance. Not to mention the whole “jazz hands” incident of Spiderman 3 that left me cold in my theater seat.

James Brown? Seriously? 

BUT, it was Abby-and-Brian, no holds barred, Just Us Day. And my hubby wanted to see “The Amazing Spiderman.” In fact, he was downright excited about it. So, off we went, 3-D glasses in hand. As the theater went dark, Brian leaned over and whispered, “Looks like it’s going to be a private screening.” I glanced around and realized that, other than one dude sitting in the very back row, we were indeed the only ones in the room. “Cool,” I whispered. “That way, when I scream about ALL THE SPIDERS, it’ll be less embarrassing.”

Brian laughed, squeezed my hand reassuringly, and said, “Don’t worry, honey. It’s just the ONE spider.”

Bolstered by my husband’s insistence that I’d only have to endure one creepy-crawly, I sat back and enjoyed the previews. 

And then…

The movie started.

With a GIANT spider web literally CRAWLING with spiders across the ENTIRE screen.

I started to throw my shoe, but I’ve been told that isn’t proper behavior while in a public setting. Even if you’re trying to save yourself from arachnids that are trying to eat your face.

And it didn’t stop there, readers. Oh, no. For instance, there’s the scene where a curious Peter Parker wanders into the lab where the infamous infected spider lives. Expecting one spider in a test tube, I already had my eyelids at half mast when Peter let himself in to that room. The camera was zoomed in on his face, leaving the rest of the room totally out of focus. By the time I realized what I was looking at, it was too late.

It was an entire room dedicated to an enormous, circular web covered in radio-active spiders.

Just before I had the chance to close my eyes tight, Peter backed into the web and all the hell demons started falling down on him like so much rain.

(Author’s note: I just threw up a little in my mouth.)

As promised, I screamed like a busty blonde in a slasher movie and dove for cover beneath my husband’s arm. 

Hours later, I was still traumatized by this scene in the movie. I had nightmares. Seriously. Here I sit, all wounded and stuff. So, I have a suggestion for Marvel. Let’s pretend Peter Parker got bitten by something less scary, ok?

Problem solved.

PS: Look honey, I updated the scorecard!! And you’re still winning!!

T.G.I.F. Indeed!

There are two very important facts that I need to make clear in order for this post to make sense.

Fact Number One: I am NOT a huge Nicholas Sparks fan.

Before you start to throw your Cheerios at your computer monitor let me explain. I wanted to be a Nicholas Sparks fan. You see, he moved to New Bern, NC, shortly after the success of his first novel. And that happens to be a little town in the same county where my husband grew up. So you see, Sparks is the resident celebrity in Pamlico County. So, when I finally picked up one of his books (I chose “Message in a Bottle”), I wanted it to be really really really good.


It wasn’t really really really good.

STOP throwing Cheerios, people!

In truth, the writing wasn’t horrible. I’ll give him that. But there were scenes in the book that I knew were specifically written to force me to feel something: sadness, anticipation, hope, deep desperation. I felt like Sparks, as an author, was pushing me to go the places he wanted me to go, rather than leading me there with good storytelling. And when it got to the end…well, I felt cheated and angry. Like I’d wasted my time.

I haven’t read another Nicholas Sparks book since.

(Confession: I did see The Notebook. And it was a good movie. But I won’t read the book. I also saw Nights in Rodanthe. I wanted to strangle Sparks after that one, too.)

Fact Number Two: I’m a musical junkie.

This you should already know, if you’ve been reading Abby Gabs for any length of time. It doesn’t take much to pull me in to a television series or a movie if there’s singing and dancing involved.

Rewind to 2007. I’m watching the Oprah Winfrey show, and she’s interviewing her bestie, John Travolta, about the upcoming revival of “Hairspray.” I was psyched about it from that point on. And a few months later, with the release of the movie, I was introduced to Zac Efron for the very first time.

Ok, that’s a total lie. I already knew about Zac Efron. And I might have also already known all the words from High School Musical

What? Don’t judge me. Musical junkie, remember?

At any rate, I loved Zac Efron before Zac Efron was cool. It didn’t bother me that he was young enough to be…well…my significantly younger brother. I thought he was adorable, and talented, and adorable…


Anyway, to say that I’m an Efron fan might be considered a slight understatement.

Bringing it back to modern day, I recently saw a trailer for a movie that I’m dying to see. Starring Zac Efron. Based on a book written by Nicholas Sparks. And because I love my readers, I’m sharing the trailer for The Lucky One here today.

There are two very important statements I need to make in order to close this post efficiently.
Statement Number One: Wow. Somebody grew up. Hello, Zac Efron.


Statement Number Two: TGIF, indeed!



If any of you have read The Lucky One by Nicolas Sparks, please warn me ahead of time if someone dies. Particularly if it’s Zac’s character, the love of his life, his mother, his dog, his ailing grandparents, the child, or anyone else. I know Nicky’s M.O. I’d rather be warned. Thanks a million!

Five Things I’m Grateful For Today (After Seeing Breaking Dawn Part 1, The Midnight Show)

This blog doesn’t really need much of an introduction. I mean, the title is pretty self-sufficient, dontcha think? Plus, I got approximately 4 hours of sleep last night, so I’m feeling like this set-up will work for today’s objective.

Number 5: I’m grateful today that I’m not a movie critic. 
Because I’d hate to be chased through the streets by an angry mob of tweens (and other Twilight fans) once they heard my REAL opinion about Breaking Dawn, Part 1.

This is the point in the show when a non-sparkly vampire (like Angel) jumps out of the shadows and saves me from the pitchforks.

I won’t go into details here, for fear of spoiler alerts, but let me just say one thing. The good people at iTunes, and all the obscure pop bands who contributed to the movie soundtrack, are going to make a KILLING today. Why? Because teenagers are easily convinced that, because a song played the first time Bella and Edward did the hibbity-dibbity, it MUST be on their iPod RIGHT NOW. I’m not overexaggerating when I say that the first half of the movie was little more than overly-long music montages. Seriously.

Ok, before a rant starts, I’m moving onto to
Number 4: I’m grateful we chose to see the movie at Cinebarre.
Not just because it’s quirky and fun and hip. But because we could have alcohol. And it was delivered right to our seats by a nice young lady who was only mostly confused by our large group of 30-somethings at a teeny-bopper movie.

I’ve never been happier to hand out $19 for a glass of Malbec IN MY LIFE.

Wine, paired with surprisingly good appetizers, a secret stash of candy, and always entertaining company, made the evening an enjoyable one for me. (Also, leaning over and sharing whispered witty comments about the movie, some of which might have been t-shirt worthy, if I could remember them now.)

Number 3: I’m grateful for my superstar husband, who I’m always grateful for, but I’m EXTRA grateful today.
Not only did he get up yesterday morning at 4:30 a.m. for a 9 hour day of class, he totally came along for the fun despite the fact that he’s not a Twilight fan AT ALL.

It’s true. He does.

And did I mention he was our designated driver? And that he had to be up and out the door by 7:30 again this morning? Brian. Is. Great.

Number 2: I’m grateful for free, glow-in-the-dark fangs. No further explanation needed.

After a 10-minute photo shoot, I went with scary. Because my sexy vampire face was more comical than come-hither.

Number 1: More than anything, I’m grateful I have an awesome group of friends who were willing to stay up till 3 a.m. to see a movie that ultimately sucked. 
And not in a sultry vampire way. More in the traditional sense.

I tried to do several things with this photo in Photoshop…including realistic fangs and adding sparkles to our skin. It was too hard, I gave up, and drew them in with the paintbrush. That’s because I’m dedicated to bringing you the very best of my work every day, readers. You’re welcome.

Not only were we treated to an array of cocktails, a delicious dinner, and a sinful dessert, we were able to share the evening with some of our dearest friends. All of whom agreed, in varying degrees, of the movies sheer suckiness. Now that is true friendship.

*Author’s note: Let me go on record as saying that I have read, and enjoyed, the Twilight series. I have also watched, and enjoyed, the previous movies. This post comes from the disappointment of a fan. If you’re a fan of the books, and have even enjoyed the previous movies (to a degree), you should go ahead and see Breaking Dawn Part 1. It hits all the high points you’ll expect as a reader. However, a few things to expect as a movie-goer:  the special effects took a major downturn in this film, and the sappy music montages make you want to drive a stake into the nearest vamp’s heart. Oh, and Kristin Stewart needs to eat a cookie or two. Even before she’s supposed to be “dying. Enjoy!