Month: June 2016

Favorite Book Prompts

I just realized it has been 6 days since I last posted. My apologies. I try to not have it go so long in between posts. I’ve just been so busy trying to get everything ready for my trip.  Make sure you are following my youtube channel for some great content that will post while I am gone and my movie blog which will have a series of art book reviews while I’m gone.

But never fear this blog is going to get the most attention while I am in Spain.  I will try and update you guys as often as I can. I hope to at least daily have some photos or experiences. Make sure you are following me on all the other social media because I will have stuff to share @smilingldsgirl.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to do one more of the 30 Days of Books prompts my friend is done over at Suey’s Books. Make sure to check out her great blog.

Favorite title:

I think I will go with the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society because it always amazes me that a book with that crazy title could get published (and it’s a really fun little book too).


A book everyone hated but you liked:

A lot of people like Sophie Kinsella and the Undomestic Goddess but when I picked it for book club it was very unpopular. I know it is a silly story but I think it is enjoyable and I thought it might give us some things to talk about with its themes of work, domestic life and womanhood. But it was not a hit.  I still love it!

Undomestic Goddess is probably my favorite Kinsella novel. I love anything that is about work, why we work, why we over-work, work vs. family etc. Especially interesting is the contrast of old vs new work.

Your favorite book of all time:

My favorites are either North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell or The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. I also love Pride and Prejudice, Cheaper by the Dozen, Christmas Carol, and To Kill a Mockingbird.



Surprises and Opinions on Books

My friend over at Suey’s Books is participating in a 30 Days of Books challenge where they have different writing prompts about books for 30 Days.  With my upcoming trip I won’t be able to do all of them but I thought I would do a few.  The first one asks 3 questions about books.

What is a character in a book I relate to most?

anne of green gablesI would say Anne of Green Gables. She is perhaps a younger version of myself but in many ways I can relate to her. She’s passionate, imaginative, extremely loyal, positive and has a bit of a temper. I’ve always related to her bosom friendships and her fierce love for people. She also knows how to hold a grudge which can be a weakness of mine as well.  Plus, she would definitely be a blogger in 2016!

A book that changed my opinion about something?

lisa seeLisa See’s On Gold Mountain really made me think about  my views on immigration in a new way. She manages to make a telling of the 100 years of her family ancestors gripping and interesting. What was particularly compelling is to see the way Chinese immigrants were treated and to listen to all the rhetoric over the years. I don’t know anyone that would see Chinese Americans as a horrible burden and yet the same rhetoric that is used against immigrants today was used against them. It also has something to say about interracial marriage and the way we look at race today (Lisa has blonde hair and blue eyes. You’d never guess she is of Chinese descent).

The most surprising plot twist or ending

snapeI’m not a big fan of twists as they usually leave me feeling manipulated rather than intrigued but I guess the last Harry Potter book had a great twist. I would never have guessed the character arc of Snape and what Rowling would do with him, transitioning him in one book from horrible villain to underdog hero. It’s pretty remarkable when you think about it and it says something to her writing that I bought it.

So there you have it! What would be your answers to these 3 questions. Share in the comments section.  Thanks


Friday 5: My Dad’s Favorite Songs

This week for Friday 5 we had a special topic. It was all about Dads and Father’s Day.  I tried to find songs about fathers like I had done for Mother’s Day but most of the songs were really depressing (like Papa was a Rolling Stone).  This certainly didn’t capture my Dad at all. So I decided to do something different and I asked my Dad what his 5 favorite songs were and he gave me 6 great choices.

I think the songs show  a lot about his personality and how much of a people person he is.  They are also diverse and songs filled with empathy.  I was a little surprised he went with a Fleetwood Mac song as I had no idea he was a fan of them.  That’s what’s cool about the Friday 5 is I’m constantly learning new things about music.  It’s neat because I think I know just about everything about my Dad or other relatives and then it turns out there is always more to learn.

So these are my Dad’s 6 favorite songs and they are all fantastic.  I particularly love Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Credence Clear water Revival. With the horrible events that happened in Orlando I found myself listening to that song and finding some comfort in it.

Anyway, let me know what you think of these 6 songs and to all you Dads out there have a great weekend!

What I’m Listening, Reading, Viewing and Doing

Sorry it has been a few days since my last post. I have been a little overwhelmed getting ready for my upcoming trip to Spain. I am trying to make sure my youtube channel isn’t dormant during that time so I am trying to get my Family Movie Night, Friday 5’s and Disney Canon Project videos all pre-filmed and scheduled before the trip. Of course, this requires watching all the films, taking notes, filming and editing the videos. No small task. Last weekend I finished all of the Friday 5s for when I’m gone.


I also did last week’s Friday 5 which was songs not in your native language and I went with Hawaiian music!


So last weekend I filmed the Friday 5 for a lot of fun upcoming topics. And I also filmed reviews for Finding Nemo, The Goofy Movie, Independence Day, Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron and 3 unboxing reviews. You can see the Finding Nemo review here.  I should be able to see Finding Dory tomorrow and post the review so keep an eye out for that.

On Monday I got to see an early screening for a new comedy called Central Intelligence and that was really funny. I genuinely laughed a lot.

And then today I did a podcast with my friend Tom on the 3rd Star Trek Movie- Star Trek 3: The Search for Spok

Not only have I had video reviews but also written reviews for my blog and my column for .Make sure you check all of that content out.  In addition I have done some posts for including a review of Make Mine Music and a piece that got a lot of discussion going on The Lego Movie and The Other Pixar Films. I’m tired just reading all of that! Nobody can accuse me of not creating enough content!


But it’s not all viewing I also have done some reading.  Recently I read Lady Susan and Love and Friendship the more obscure Jane Austen novels and loved them. It’s so funny with Love and Friendship Austen feels like a teenager of today complaining about her parents (she wrote it when she was between 11-15). Lady Susan has Austen’s most devious and selfish heroine but she is hilarious. I loved the book and the movie. Check out my review of the movie here. 

I have also finished reading I Am Malala for book club and found it very moving. Here’s my goodreads review:

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the TalibanI Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s not going to win any awards for great writing but sometimes life is just captivating on it’s own. I really loved learning about Malala’s family most of all. Her Dad seems like the coolest guy and her Mom as well. The fact they all spoke out at great risk and then had to deal with their daughter getting shot in the face is pretty remarkable. I felt like I got to know her well and that it wasn’t just a fluff type biography. It worked for me.

View all my reviews

I also read Burning Glass a fairly mediocre YA novel but it had some campy fun and good kissing scenes:

Burning Glass (Burning Glass, #1)Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I started out hating it as another YA love triangle, strong mystical woman book but after a while it won me over. It’s extremely silly but I felt it embraced the campy world. The kissing scenes were fun and it was all very over the top with auras melding together and an extremely silly bad guy. Definitely too long and drawn out for how silly it is but I had some fun with it. I don’t think I enjoyed it in the way the author was intending however. It’s pretty dumb. So if you are expecting a great fantasy read than you will probably be disappointed. If you want an over the top campy romance with fantasy elements than you might have fun with it.

I got my first taste of open water for the year last week with my friend Etsuko. That was so much fun! I can’t wait to be in Spain and swimming my heart out.

etsuko and rachel

I got 3 new swimsuits for my trip and I think they are pretty cute!

3 swimsuitsAnd I got my new passport so I am ready to go!

passportFinally I went and saw the Broadway touring company of Newsies and it was everything I wanted and more. I have a lot of nostalgia for the film and the Broadway musical has made it even better. It was so much fun! I also got to do it with the Utah Theater Lovers who I’ve wanted to meet up with for some time. I hope I will continue to be able to see more things with them.

newsies2Finally we had our first meeting Sunday of the new Midsingles Ward and it was amazing! I felt such a good spirit there and I know it is where I need to be. I can’t wait until some activities start and things really start going.

So all in all things are going pretty good in my life. I’m certainly staying busy. I hope things are going well for you.

Feeling Happy and Hopeful

Hey guys! After being sick for a few weeks and feeling a little discouraged, I am feeling great at the moment!

The biggest thing that has me feeling on top of the world is on Sunday we had our first meeting of the new Mid-singles ward.  This is something I have been dreaming of an praying for these past 4 years I’ve been in the family ward. The first fireside was better than I could have imagined. I felt the spirit more than I have in literally years and there were quite a few people I recognized from former YSA wards, activities and committees.  I think it is going to be an excellent fit for me and great thing for my life!!

The bishop and other leaders spoke and I felt a connection with them right away and that is something I have missed with my recent wards. Family ward bishops are so busy with marriage counseling and welfare concerns (and the youth) that it is tough to even meet with them, let alone get the kind of attention a YSA bishop can give. I just have a good feeling about this new bishopric.

And honestly I can’t wait! I can’t wait for the activities and FHE and just to have renewed spirituality and focus in my life. I know I will have to do  my part but I feel excited and enthusiastic- and I haven’t felt that way for a long time about church. The gospel and my faith of course are always huge in my life but the church has taken a back seat the last few years. I hope that will change with this new ward. I’m going to do my best to make sure it changes.

Anyway, I am feeling very optimistic and encouraged. I am also feeling good because this week has been a great week over on my youtube channel. Through various situations I ended up doing 3 podcasts this week. Yesterday I talked about Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan with my friend Tom and then tonight I talked with my friend Mark about the Best Indie Films of 2016.

These discussions were so much fun. And then on Saturday I am talking Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with my friends Abby, Jeremy and Richard, which I am greatly looking forward too.  I’m almost at 1000 subscribers so if you aren’t subscribed help me out! I think you will really enjoy the content. Thanks so much!

Tomorrow I am going to see the Broadway touring company of Newsies which I can’t wait to see as I loved the musical movie growing up.  And then on Saturday I have book club where we are discussing 2 obscure Jane Austen novels- Love and Friendship and Lady Susan. I LOVED the new movie based on Lady Susan but called Love and Friendship. If you can find it see it!

So things are looking good for me. Oh and I am going swimming with Etsuko on Friday. We decided we needed to get in the water to assuage our guilt at not swimming the GSL this year. It will be so much fun!

Friday 5: Favorite Beatles Songs

Hey guys! This week for Friday 5 we got to pick an artist we want to showcase 5 of their songs. Recently I picked my 200th song for Friday 5 and I haven’t redone any songs except for Over the Rainbow that I’ve done 3 different versions. However, surprisingly I had only done 1 Beatles song- Yesterday! This surprised me because I love The Beatles (most people do!).

I think what makes The Beatles so amazing is how much variety they had in their career. They have the early be-bop stuff from the 60s and then get psychedelic later on with a more subdued tone in later albums like Let it Be.

My personal favorite era is young The Beatles with songs like ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ or ‘8 Days a Week’.

But for this list I picked 5 of my favorites from different eras:

(In no particular order)

  1. Hard Days Night
  2. Let it Be
  3. Hey Jude
  4. Can’t Buy Me Love
  5. Something

What are your favorite Beatles songs? What era of their music do you like the best. If you like the video please give it a thumbs up and subscribe. Thanks!

Tomorrow I am not doing the GSL race this year 😦  I’m a little sad about that but it is the right choice for me this year. With being sick and getting little sleep I just can’t do it this year but I will miss it.

Anyway, it’s a bummer but the right choice.

So what are your favorite Beatles songs? Hope you have a good weekend.