Meet Me In St. Louis Part 1 (a tour of my city on Julia’s 15th birthday)

I’m BAaaaaaack!!!  Show of hands….  did anybody miss me?  Ah, no matter, I missed YOU enough for all of us!  lol  My life has been PACKED with so much excitement and activity and I don’t really know where a good place to begin!  I feel like I’ve crammed enough living for a year in these past couple of days.  Or close to it 🙂

So, you all know that last week was my baby girls 15th birthday, right?  I asked you guys for some ideas to help us celebrate in a special way.  You all had some fantastic ideas and we used some of them, so for that I thank you!  Carla suggested a photo shoot and a makeover.  These girls live their LIVES doing makeovers so we didn’t choose that but we DID have a blast doing photo shoots.  We spent the weekend touring the city of St. Louis and took over 500 shots.  By the end of the weekend I think the girls wanted to HURT my camera!  Maybe I over did it a little? Nah.  But they really did have fun and felt so special being the star of the show.  So Carla, THANK YOU!  The girls and I had a BLAST and more importantly, we made some memories that we won’t soon forget.

You know how I am about showing you too many pictures, right?  I do that because I’m proud AND I can’t decide which ones are the more important shots.  ALL of them are important to me.  Don’t worry though, I won’t show you all 500 of them!  lol  I’m going to do little segments, one day at a time.

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(I think Hannah was the one to smash the cupcakes… look at her evil face!  She wouldn’t admit it though)

We arrived at the Hilton with Julia’s birthday cupcakes NOT in one piece!  lol  One of the girls threw their luggage on top of the special cupcakes that I had made for the occasion!  ARGH!  NOT a good way to start the weekend.  These cupcakes were delicious and SO pretty before they got smashed.  There’s a place in a town near us called Sweet-T-Pies and they make the best cupcakes filled with any kind of filling you could dream of!  OMG!  They’re the most delicious little cakes any of us have ever tasted! Still divine even if they WERE smashed 🙂  Oh well, it’s the thought that counts, right?

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Once we got checked into our room, we made Julia hide in the bathroom so we could decorate for her.  Notice the little princess crown on her head?  Part of the deal was that she had to wear her birthday tiara everywhere we went so that the whole world would know that my princess was having a birthday!  Did she do it?  Nope.  She’s way too shy and doesn’t like unnecessary attention.  I’d say this was a weekend where the attention was NECESSARY!  lol

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Remember those expensive pretty little smashed cupcakes?  Yeah, as IF smashing them wasn’t enough, HANNAH (Julia’s bff) decided Julia should wear one too!  Silly girls 😉

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(Street car or trolley like the one used in Meet me in St. Louis.  Don’t mind the white cloud streaming into the pic.  It’s not a ghost… just the smoke from my cigarette cause I’m classy like that!  lol)

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Do any of you know the Judy Garland movie “Meet Me in St. Louis”?  Of course, being a St. Louis native, I grew up watching this classic and LOVE it still.  Every Christmas, it’s a family tradition at my house and we all sit down with popcorn and watch.  The song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” was first sang by Judy Garland in this movie.  The whole movie was filmed in University City on the Delmar Loop.  It used to be known for it’s streetcars or “trolleys”.  Well here’s a street car just like the one featured in “Meet Me In St. Louis”.  I can’t get the “Trolley Song” out of my head now!  lol

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(I know this is too dark but I wanted to show you the neon sign for the Blueberry Hill restaurant)

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(Chuck Berry’s guitar and other music memorabilia)

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(Julia can’t decide which crappy food item to order)

The first stop of the night (besides shopping at one of the cool stores on the strip) was Blueberry Hill Restaurant.  You all know Chuck Berry, right?  He’s a St. Louis native who’s legendary for his guitar playing and song writing.  One of my favorites is “Roll Over Beethoven”…  Anyway, this is his restaurant.  It’s a landmark, for sure but if you ever come to St. Louis and decide to visit Blueberry Hill, don’t judge our cuisine based on what you find in this restaurant!  It’s pretty sucky.  Only go here for the atmosphere, the music and their toy collection.  As soon as we walked through the door, we were greeted by a young college kid who didn’t say hello, instead he barked, “All minors have to be outta here by 10:00 p.m.”.  As IF I was going to keep my kids there doing shots of tequila!  So, not only was the food bad but they weren’t even friendly.  Too bad cause I’m generally a really good tipper and I LOVE to write reviews!  lol The girls had fun and soaked in the music and atmosphere though.  THAT was the important thing 🙂

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(I love neon signs and city streets at night)

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(the Tivoli lobby where we spent most of our time waiting for the couple to stop their love making inside the theater…  it was beautiful though *NOT the love making* …  I felt like we were transported back to the year 1924 when this place was new)

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(the ceiling of the Tivoli… LOVE the decor of these old city buildings)

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(my girls were a little bored and didn’t know when it would be appropriate to enter the theater room where the couple was making out… they didn’t want to interrupt)

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The big event of our first night was to catch a midnight showing of “A Place Beyond The Pines” with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper.  I couldn’t WAIT to show the girls the Landmark Tivoli theater!  This was a theater that made it”s debut in 1924 and it was known for it’s luxury.  For the day, The Tivoli was considered one of the most luxurious theaters in the USA.  It went through a period of decline in the early 90’s and eventually shut down.  The owners of Blueberry Hill renovated it in the mid 90’s and restored it to it’s original state.  However, it would appear to be going through another period of decline.  First of all, I should tell you that the Tivoli is THE place to go if you want to catch an “artsy” film.  Granted, “A Place Beyond The Pines” is NOT an artsy film (the girls HAD to see this one because they’re all in major LOVE with Ryan Gosling, and REALLY…. who could blame them?).  That being said, you’d think that a theater known for their showings of the “artsy film genre” would be a clean and well kept theater.  Or at least I would think that to be true.  Well…  it was clean in the lobby.  The room where we watched the movie had sticky floors and the seats were worn and appeared to have been new in the ’90’s, when it was last renovated.  Upon walking through the door, we were a little shocked to find a college couple doing some pretty HEAVY “petting” and making out!  The girls felt uncomfortable to have interrupted this lovely couple.  Soooo… we had to wait in the lobby until the movie started.  You all know me and MY big mouth!  I suggested LOUDLY that they get a room, which only seemed to embarrass my girls further!  lol  I’ve said this several times before… SUCKS TO BE MY KID!  lol  However, the couple didn’t take me up on my suggestion.  All in all, it was fun to stay out late and watch a midnight movie.  What was scary?  Walking the streets of Delmar after the bars closed down.  We were followed by a man who appeared to be way TOO interested in my girls.  I invited him to let me know what his intentions were.  He didn’t appear to want to mess with “Mama Bear”.  GOOD for him.  He, apparently wasn’t TOO drunk to miss the evil gleam in my eye 😉

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And this is how our night ended!  2 of the crazy girls crashed just as soon as we got back to our room!  I wanted to sit up and talk but THEY were tired and wouldn’t humor me!  lol

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Congratulations to me! I won the Liebster Award!

I’ll have to admit that this award is intimidating to me ONLY because they take so much time to ask and answer specific questions.  However, someone I admire VERY much, Comely Miss, nominated me and I love her AND am honored that she thought of me…  so here I am again!  Feel free to skip this post because I’m positive you’re all sick and tired of hearing all the fun facts about myself.  lol   I won’t know the difference and I know you all really love me, right?  lol

Here are the rules:

1. The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
2. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions given to you.
4. Choose 11 new bloggers to pass the award on to and link them in your post.
5. Create 11 new questions for the chosen bloggers.
6. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.
7. No tag backs.

Now the 11 facts about me.

1.  It’s getting extremely hard for me to come up with anything new and this is hurting my brain.

2.  My first “love” was named Pete and when he broke up with me, I started dating someone who looked a lot like him and his name was ALSO Pete.  Pete #2 became the father of my oldest daughter.

3.  I am an EXTREMELY strong woman who’s personality sometimes is intimidating to others, or so I’ve been told.

4.  I’m not very proud of this but I like to smoke.  I don’t ever smoke in the house or enclosed enviroments and I respect others right NOT to breath my smoke.  I try to hide when I’m outside in a public place.

5.  I appreciate art but am not good at it.  I can spend ALL day at the art museum.

6.  One of my favorite places to go EVER is the Smoky Mountains.  I could live in a mountain cabin, away from everyone.

7.  I’m a VERY social antisocial person

8.  I’ve been very blessed to have my husband’s family in Texas.  They’ve shown me unconditional love and are teaching me to show unconditional love.  Sounds like a no brainer for most people but I wasn’t raised with anything CLOSE to unconditional love and sometimes I put too much pressure to be perfect on my own children.  Here’s some pics of my family in Texas 🙂  They ALWAYS make me smile!

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This is Bobby, our cousin.  He doesn’t know it but he’s one of my hero’s.  He’s just a regular man who is probably one of the most funny people I know.  He’s studying to be a preacher but you’d never know it.  He’s so non judging.

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Bobby’s wife and our cousin Netta.  She’s always annoyed with me for snapping pictures.  lol  Another very strong woman and so accepting.  She’s a role model for me 🙂

ImageMy sister in law Lisa and her husband Stace 🙂  Love them both so much!  Lisa is the stereotypical Southern Belle and exudes LOVE.  She’s just like her mama.  When you’re around these people, you feel like you’ve always been in their family.

9.  In July of last year, I came very near to death.  After I was released from the hospital I had a dream that God told me I was supposed to go to a hot spring.  I woke up and told my husband that I needed to go to Hot Springs Arkansas so he packed us up on THAT day and we went.  I spent a day at the hot spring bath house and drank the mineral water.  I was barely able to walk when we arrived in Hot Springs.  By the time we left, I was SO much better.  I believe I was really supposed to be there and drink the waters.  Crazy I know but it worked.

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Here’s the view from our hotel room in Hot Springs.

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The bath house we spent the day in.  Awesome place.

10.  The only time of year that my mom’s enormous family gets together is at Easter.  She came from a family of 10 kids and between them and all of us grandkids and now great grandchildren…  there has to be 100 of us who gather at my cousins house.  I look very forward to seeing all my aunts and cousins every year.  Oh and EVERYONE is a fantastic cook so the food is something EVERYONE would be jealous of 🙂

11.  I’m having issues with “aging gracefully”.  I mean I believe in aging gracefully BUT, in all honesty, if I had the money to have a complete makeover (plastic surgery)… I probably would.  I know, vain.  Honest though 🙂

Here are the questions that Comely Miss wants me to answer:

♣ What caused you to start blogging? (I like this question, so I’m keeping it!)

Okay, I started blogging for a site called Vox and I LOVED the sense of community!  Sadly, Vox went away but I missed it and couldn;t get the same feeling on FB (although I love my fb friends).  I finally found WP a few moths ago and LOVE it 🙂

♣ What career did you think you’d pursue while you were growing up?

I thought I would be a psychologist.  I also PROMISED myself that I would open up an abused women and children’s shelter.  I have done work for some of these but I’m going to keep my promise, I think.  One day, before I die I WILL open up one of these homes.  I think it’s my destiny.

♣ Who do you think has had the biggest influence on your life?

Sadly, I think my mother has had the biggest influence on my life.  I was CONSTANTLY trying to receive her love and her pride.  I always, without fail, fell short of making her proud.  I viewed her as perfect and knew that if I could EVER do 1 thing that would make her REALLY love me and be proud of me, I would have succeeded.  That never happened.  I feel like I’ve wasted WAY too much time not loving myself because I always felt like I didn’t deserve to be loved.  If your mother can’t love you, there MUST be something wrong, right?  The problem lies with her, not me.  However, I feel pretty good about myself that I finally figured that out.
♣ What kind of games do you like to play? (I don’t care if it’s video, board, or mind games, I’m just curious. ;) )

I LOVE playing LIFE with my daughter and grew up playing board games.  Sometimes, I secretly play WOW (shhhhh… don’t tell), I loved Diablo and still love playing UNO, Skipbo, Yatzee and Dominos.  I pretty much just like playing games.  Oh and there Apples to Apples and Pictionary 🙂

♣ What is your favorite movie?

This is hard.  Sound of Music?  Breakfast at Tiffany’s?  Gone with the WiInd?  Beasts of the Southern Wild?  Wizard of OZ?  It’s a Wonderful Life?  I just have so many 🙂

♣ How did you meet your husband/wife/significant other?

I actually met Ben online.  American Singles.  I didn;t want to meet another man in a bar!  lol  Although I’m not entirely sure online dating is any better, from what I’m seeing on TV these days.  lol  It worked out for us though!  I met him when online dating was kind of new in the early 2000’s.  I don;t think the weirdo’s perfected the games they played with people.  I wonder, now, if I were single, what the best way to meet people is?  It’s ALL scary!

♣ Have you ever had any “unusual” pets? (This may be unusual based on species or attitude.)

The most unusual pet I ever had was a rabbit.  lol  In the 80’s and 80’s though I used to show and breed Alaskan Malamutes.  I also used to sled with them… like they do in the Iditerod?  Pretty cool.  I miss that!

♣ How do you unwind at the end of the day?

I blog when everyone is sleeping in my house.  lol  OR I’ll play a computer game or read or play the piano OR go on Facebook.

♣ What is your biggest pet peeve?

Oh GAWD!!!  I have so many I don’t know where to start.  I think the thing I bitch the most about is hair in the bath tub.  I don’t like dirty bathrooms and am pretty anal about keeping it clean.  When I go into the bath tub I don;t want to see little hairs stuck to my bath tub.  It will NEVER change, meaning it doesn;t matter how much I crab about it.  My husband is the culprit and I swear I’m going to start posting pictures of these little hairs.  GROSS.

♣ What item is to your left?

HAHA!  Good one!  My coffee cup on a coaster!  Never without coffee 🙂

♣ How do you think of material to blog about?

Whatever pops in my head.  I haven;t really had a problem running out of material.  If there’s nothing in my head, then I read all of YOUR blogs 🙂

Okay now I’m going to name some people to pass this award on to.  I’ll get as close to 11 as possible but I think people are getting tired of me nominating them.  lol  It’s a lot of work but I just want you guys to know that even if you don;t want to do awards (and I don’t blame you)… at least you know I believe you’re deserving of the award!

1.  http://thelazysuzan.com/

2.  http://kellyvision.wordpress.com/

3.  http://fleurdeselsf.com/

4.  http://theartstudiobymarkmoore.wordpress.com/

5.  http://transcendingbordersblog.wordpress.com/

6.  http://ssbits.wordpress.com/

7.  http://otrazhenie.wordpress.com/

8.  http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/  (haha  gotcha back FINALLY!)

9.  http://mamacristinasworld.wordpress.com/

10.  http://wordsforworms.com/

11.  http://canoecommunications.wordpress.com/

Here are my questions to all of you!  Now THIS will be fun!  And I hope that at least ONE of you will answer 🙂

1.  What’s your favorite thing to watch on TV?

2.  Have you ever experienced the death of someone close?

3.  Do you color Easter Eggs?

4.  How is the biggest influence in your life and why?

5.  What do you enjoy reading in a blog the most?

6.  What book are you reading now or what was the last book you read?

7.  How many people were in your family when you were growing up?

8.  What was the biggest disappointment so far in your life?

9.  What has been your biggest achievement in your life so far?

10.  Where do you go to find peace?  For example, a river, the woods, a room in your house?

11.  What do you want to be when you grow up?

*Deep breath*  It’s over.  lmbo  Remember, I don’t want any of you to feel obligated.  If you have time and feel like sharing, please do 🙂  If you don’t, that’s cool too.

Oz The Great and Powerful, Movie Review and trailer

This story is based on L. Frank Baum’s Oz novels. It’s the prequel to the “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and is set 20 years BEFORE the story that we all know and love.

What’s the story? (according to: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/oz-the-great-and-powerful)

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL opens in the familiar black-and-white landscape of early 1900s Kansas. Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a charming magician nicknamed Oz, charms a pretty country girl with an obviously fake story about his grandma’s music box. During his show, a young girl in a wheelchair (Joey King) asks him to make her walk, but he demurs and has to stop the show in relative disgrace — until he sees the one local girl he cares about, Annie (Michelle Williams). When a fellow carnie comes after Oz for flirting with his girl, Oz escapes in a hot air balloon that flies directly into a twister and then crash lands in … somewhere that’s definitely not Kansas. Confused by his colorful surroundings, Oz meets the beautiful Theodora (Mila Kunis), a young witch who explains that he must be the prophesied Wizard of Oz sent to deliver the kingdom from the evil witch. Theodora’s older sister, the powerful Evanora (Rachel Weisz), promises Oz the throne if he kills Glinda and destroys her wand, but once he meets Glinda (Williams), it’s clear that someone’s story isn’t quite right. With an adorable monkey Finley (voiced by Zach Braff) and a brave little China Girl (King) by his side, Oz must decide whether he’s just a con man magician or if he can truly be the Wizard of Oz.

Is it a good movie for kids? I personally think so. My husband and I sat in a movie theater that was 90% children, mostly 7 years old and up. There are very dark images and sometimes a little scary but I watched the kids surrounding us and they seemed non phased or afraid. Maybe it speaks to the society we live in? IDK. I WOULD bring my small children. I didn’t find it any more scary that the original Wizard of Oz.

Did we like it? I’d give it a two thumbs up for sure. I was prepared to hate it. I’d heard good and bad but I wasn’t prepared for how MUCH I’d love it. I completely got lost in the beauty and the story. I didn’t want to leave when the movie was over. I don’t usually see movies (especially in the theater) twice, but I’ll be bringing my daughter to this one.

Oh I HIGHLY recommend seeing this in IMAX or 3D! In fact, I can’t imagine NOT seeing it this way. It reminded me of the beauty of Avatar. You just have to experience it in 3D.

My favorite characters were Glinda, played by Michelle Williams. She’s PERFECT and I can’t imagine anyone else playing Glinda. I fell in LOVE with the little China Doll, voice of Joey King and Finley, the monkey, voice of Zach Braff, had me in stitches!

What struck me most is how I was transported back in time, back to a day when I was able to laugh and be amazed, freely. Back to when I was a child. I was in complete AWE, just like the other children sitting around me.

PLEASE go see this!

Lincoln … A better late than never movie review

As I mentioned HERE, I’m not the most “frequented” of movie goers.  lol  I usually can’t sit still long enough to enjoy my surroundings in a movie theater.  For some reason, January’s are always different and I end up seeing more films than usual.  My mom has a birthday in January and she wanted to see Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg, so by goodness Mama!  We’re GOING to see Lincoln!  lol

My thoughts?  I felt like I went into this film knowing pretty much about Abraham Lincoln.  I’d visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, in Springfield IL, many times and have read pretty many books.  However, I didn’t realize just how much I really would have loved his humor, wisdom and just overall Godly personality!  I was struck by his sadness and his genuine love of his fellow man.  He would have been someone I would want for a mentor, or friend.  Daniel Day- Lewis Did a fantastic job making me feel his emotions!  Lincoln was SO tender hearted, yet he wasn’t a “slouch” and wouldn’t be pushed around.  He calmly and for the most part, quietly, stood firm in his convictions.  I had never given very much thought, until seeing this film, how difficult it must have been to PASS the Emancipation Proclamation!  Dear lord, it was a miracle and passed by the skin of it’s teeth!

I adored Sally Fields performance as Mary Todd Lincoln was SPOT on, IMO!  She was also a person I would have loved to have known!  Bi-Polar and all!  She was actually pretty hilarious in the way she manipulated and demanded the $ to throw extravagant white house parties and redecorate!  lol  Sally Field is always a winner in by book, anyway.  I think she could make the most twisted of people look like someone I’d want to know!

So, yes, this was a dark period of time in American History and filled with so much grief and sadness.  There wasn’t a lot of action and it moved along a little slow BUT it kept my interest, and I actually laughed in quite a few places.  I’d definitely recommend seeing this, if you haven’t already.  I learned a lot…. you probably will too 🙂  Two thumbs up!

Django Unchained, Movie Review

Good morning my lil blogging world!  I dreamed about this movie last night so I’m pretty sure THAT was a sign the blogging gods weren’t happy with me for not sharing with you my thoughts on Django Unchained :-/  

I’m going on record here and admitting that I really have a hard time sitting through a movie.  It’s not that I don’t ENJOY a good movie, I do, I really DO!  I’m pretty sure it’s because my ADD won’t let me pay attention for that long.  I start fidgeting and noticing the popcorn bag that the guy next to me is loudly crinkling.  Or the lady behind me, bless her heart, blowing her nose and sharing her every thought on the goings on of that particular movie.

Now that you have my movie going background, you can imagine how I was a little reluctant to sit through 165 minutes of Django!  I LOVE Quentin Tarantino in a very strange way.  He’s revolting but revolting in a way that my jaw stays dropped because I’m trying to figure out what it must be like to live inside his twisted mind!  lol  I’d heard so much about this movie so hubby and I decided to make a “date night” last Saturday and see it for ourselves.  Yay date night!

My thoughts on Django Unchained?  It was dark in a hilarious sort of way.  I think the humor made the subject matter (slavery) a little easier to tolerate.  Kind of like “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”?  You know what I mean 🙂  The movie flowed quickly and kept even MY ADD addled brain’s interest!  I absolutely loved Jamie Fox as Django Freeman.  Leonardo DiCaprio was awesome, if despicable.  I think my very favorite character performance though was Christoph Waltz as the bounty hunter who freed Django!  He was SO funny, annoying and heroic!  I’d heard a lot about the cast of “stars” but nothing about Christoph Waltz.  The one thing about this movie that surprised me was that I expected it to be a whole lot more twisted and dark given that it’s a Quentin Tarantino movie.  It was more funny than twisted.  There’s a lot of blood and gore but you almost want to see the bad guys get what’s coming to them, trust me!  lol

I give this a strong 2 thumbs up!  If you haven’t seen it (Kelly), you NEED to see it BEFORE the Oscars!  😉

Here’s the story in a nutshell according to IMB:  With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Movie Review: Beasts of the Southern WIld

I’m late to the game on this one but I just saw a little film called Beasts of the Southern Wild directed by Benh Zeitlin.  It completely blew me away!  I can’t even begin to do justice for the performance of a tiny little girl named Quvenzhane Wallis!  In a nutshell, the movie is about a little girl named Hushpuppy growing up on the Delta with only her sick Daddy to take care of her.  They live in sort of a homeless community that they call The Bathtub and they’ve learned to be completely self reliant.  Hushpuppy is almost an orphan and a 100% Wild child but I fell completely in love with her!

Do yourself a favor and if you haven’t seen it, see it now!  My husband even loved it and he’s usually only into action, fantasy or sci- fi flicks.  Actually, it was his idea to watch this on On Demand tonight.  Way to go Honey!

Check out their link:

http://www.beastsofthesouthernwild.com/screenings/international