Monday, July 25, 2016

BelláPierre Cosmetics Banana Setting Powder Review

Photo Cred:
In my July ipsy Glam Bag, one of my samples was the BellaPierre Cosmetics Banana Setting Powder.  It came in a small pot with the little salt shaker holes in the lid and is quite a decent size of product for a sample.  I believe this 4 gram size is what is sold as a full size.

I don't normally use a setting powder, or keep it in my makeup repertoire. But when I receive a sample to try I'm always happy to use it.  The thought of a "banana" setting powder may seem odd.  It's not made from bananas, but the tint is a banana shade.  Yellow is a great color to hide redness and color correct in areas where concealer or contouring don't do the trick.  In fact, this setting powder is good to hide those under eye circles that can sometimes be tricky when using a cream-based concealer.  

The only other BellaPierre product I've owned was a sample lipstick (also full size) that I loved.  Even though I really do love this brand, I'm questioning myself now why I haven't tried any of their other products, which may have to be resolved soon.  Their products are mineral-based so you are putting good ingredients on your skin to conjure up a glow.

Though a setting powder, it can double as your concealer, or in addition to your concealer.  Products that have dual roles always get me.  It's a great bang for your makeup buck.  

I'd rate this a 5 out of 5 stars.  Full-size sample, dual purpose product, and a shade that can work wonders on your skin.  If you're looking for a powder that may be an answer to covering up redness or even in place of your foundation on these sweltering hot days, check out BellaPierre's Banana Setting Powder.     

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Movie Review: Eddie the Eagle

When you need an uplift, a good underdog story always does the trick.  Eddie the Eagle, starring, Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman, tells the real-life story of British ski-jumper, Michael Edward Edwards.  Eddie grew up always wanting to compete in the Olympics and the opening scene has him timing how long he can hold his breath under water.  His parents - specifically his Dad - try to dissuade him from such nonsense as pursuing a career at the Olympics, but this resilient fella won't stop dreaming.

As Great Britain has no ski-jumping team, Eddie's efforts are ironically all uphill.  He finds himself at 22 years of age doing what he should have been doing at 6 in order to compete as an Olympian.  As he is practicing to compete, he providentially meets Bronson Peary, a former US Olympic ski-jumper that was kicked off the team due to his behavior and alcohol usage.  After much cajoling, Eddie convinces Bronson to coach him to qualify for the Olympics.  No spoilers here, but Bronson did agree to coach him and you'll have to watch the rest of the movie to see what happens.

I wasn't sure when I watched this movie if this was a true story, and it was.  It was nice not to know the details going in so I could enjoy the story as it unfolded.  In this year of the Olympics (albeit summer not winter), it's refreshing to watch a positive story about a young man who never gave up on his dream.  The movie won't make you think too hard but will make you flap like an eagle - which you'll need to watch the movie to understand that.  Hugh Jackman does a good job, but I think this role is somewhat of a no-brainer for him.  Not much effort needed to portray the role and probably easy money for Mr. Jackman.  From my research of the real Eddie the Eagle, Taron Egerton did an excellent job in transforming himself physically into this character, including mannerisms.  He definitely did an amazing job in this role.

I give this movie 3.5 stars.  Good story and though somewhat predictable, that's excused knowing this was a true story.  Uplifting tale in a time when we all could use a little good news.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Review: Enchanted Islands

Last month I joined Book of the Month Club because I'm somewhat obsessed with subscription services and because BOOKS!  My first selection was Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend, and I have to say, if my first book is an indication of each month's experiences, I'm sold.

Enchanted Islands tells a fictional story based on the real-life experiences of Frances Conway.  This woman lived on the Galapagos Islands prior to World War II with her husband, Ainslie, and was thought to have served as a spy for our US government.  Frances left memoirs about her life, on which Amend relied upon to craft this excellent telling of Frances' life story.

The book begins at a nursing home for Jewish people where Frances and her lifelong friend, Rosalie now live.  From there, Frances flashes back and retells her life from childhood - when she first met Rosalie - until we circle back to the time where this book began.  Though some may read the synopsis of the book and expect the book's focus to be on the love story of Frances and Ainslie, it's truly about the life of Frances and her friendship with Rosalie.  Amend could have made this story drag on when you think of the years she spanned, but her writing style was flowing and I couldn't wait to pick up the book and read it to pick up where the adventurous story left off.

I enjoy stories set in the World War II era as my parents were married during that time and my Dad also served in the military as did Ainslie.  Seeing the differences of that time from today, and the ironic similarities is something I enjoy reading about.  I love a book when a character is compelling and Frances was just that.  I loved her, felt sorry for her and admired her.  Honestly, since she was a real person, I would loved to have had a conversation with her.  

I give this book 5 stars.  Great character development, interesting and engaging plot, and wonderful writing style.  Definitely a winner.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rice Cooker Review

I subscribe to a multitude of YouTube Channels.  Some of my favorites are families who vlog on a daily basis.  Go figure since I'm single and have no children that I love to watch the lives of parents raising children, planning meals, and dealing with the ups and downs of life with a large family.  One of the families I love - J House Vlogs - shows a lot of the recipes the Mom, Kendra, makes.  She is an avid user of her crock pot...and rice cooker.  When I saw her utilize her rice cooker, I thought "where have those been all my life?"  I polled my Facebook audience for recommendations for a good rice cooker and my friend, Liz, recommended this gem: Prep Solutions by Progressive Rice Cooker, 4 Piece Set - 6 Cup Capacity.  I ordered it and thought I'd try it out.

The set comes with a cooker bucket and steaming lid, an insert that sits inside the lid of the bucket while cooking, a beaker for measuring rice and water, and a rice spoon....or spaddle as I like to call it.  (Rice in the picture, not included).

The instruction book includes a step-by-step process on cooking your rice and, seriously, a trained monkey can do this.  You measure out the appropriate amount of rice in the beaker and pour it in the bucket.  You add salt - as much as you'd like - and then the amount of water in the beaker the instructions call for based on how much rice you want to cook.  For my first use, I cooked about 2 1/2 cups of rice.  

I make my own concoction that I love which is simply rice (or quinoa, which I'll test in this cooker in the future), black beans and grilled chicken.  Mix it all up and eat!  It's one of my staples for dinner.  

I usually would either boil the rice in a pan - which would sometimes stick and have an unpleasant result - or use the Minute Rice bags.  Though rice is rice, I never could perfect the goodness that I get when I dine out, at places like PF Changs.  I measured out my ingredients, snapped on the lid and set the microwave for 15 minutes - the time allotted in the instruction book for the amount of rice I was making.  In the meantime, I cooked my black beans and grilled my chicken so they'd be ready when the rice finished.  

The rice came out beautifully!  It had the consistency of authentic steamed rice.  I was in love! 

If you enjoy rice and don't have a large family to feed, or want a small appliance that won't take up much space, I highly recommend this rice cooker.  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

BirchBox April 2016 Review

Spring Awakening was this month's theme for Birchbox's April selections.  The samples came in a lovely Rifle Paper Co. box with an assortment of spring plants adorning the pattern.  

The first products I'll review are two that are from the same brand and related - Beaver Repair Rescue Shampoo and Conditioner.  First off, the brand name needs some overhauling.  Not the most appealing name for a beauty product.  The shampoo was surprisingly non-fragrant and light, which I liked.  Conversely, the conditioner was more thick in consistency and very fragrant.  I wasn't offended by the fragrance, just expected that to be from the shampoo and not the conditioner.  Neither left my hair feeling heavy and weighted, so that is a positive.  The sample sizes were really good for a hair care product when usually foil packages are sent.  I'll use the sample, but doubtful this will be a full-size purchase later.  I'd give these products a B. 

The next product was Acure Organics Pore Minimizing Facial Scrub.  I recently purchased a brightening scrub from the Acure Organics line that I like....very mud like in texture, but it did a good job.  This product is made with red clay, which is obvious in the look and smell.  The first time I used it, I liked it, but when I used it the second time, I could barely get it to squeeze out of the tube.  I poked through the hole to see if it was clogged, but it seemed clear.  I finally got some to come out after much lamenting.  If the next time I use it I get the same result, I may just have to toss it.  I give this product a B for effectiveness, but a C for packaging.

The next product was Penthaligon's Levantium Eau de Toilette.  Now that's a mouthful!  I love getting fragrance samples but of all the fragrance samples I've received from my various beauty subscriptions only one has been something I actually would have purchased (if the price point wasn't the cost of a small country.)  This fragrance was not my favorite and it was hard to discern what the exact problem was with the smell.  I found that if it lingered for a while on my clothing or body, I grew to like it more.  Translation: it needed time to settle and prime to make it ok.  It never became appealing, nor worth the exorbitant price to purchase.  I give this product a C.  

The final product in the box was Au Naturale Cosmetics Trio Set.  As you can see in the picture, it included a lipstick, blush and shadow.  Though the picture doesn't translate the size well, this sample is teeny.  The width of each of those pots is smaller than my pinky finger.  Application is near impossible and the colors aren't the best.  I love a fuchsia pink for lipstick, but this shade isn't great, and goes on very dry.  The blush is an odd peach hue and not really a shade I'd typically use.  The shadow might work better as a primer because once you apply it, you can't really see it.  Add to that the teeny tiny flip sample is tough to open.  This is my least favorite product in the box and I give it a D.

With BirchBox, you can pay for add-on items to come along with your editor-selected samples.  This month, I chose a Laura Geller set.  It included facial primer, concealer, blush and a makeup brush.  I have to say I enjoyed these four products more than anything I received in my actual Birchbox.  The primer consistency is thin and somewhat silicone, but very good on smoothing for foundation application.  The concealer takes very little (emphasis on VERY) to do the job which means this little tube may last me forever.  The blush is the absolute perfect color and the little compact it comes in includes a cute half mirror.  The brush isn't bad, but not the best brush I've ever used.  For travel purposes, though, this brush could be very multi-functional.  I give this bonus set an A. 

Overall, I'd grade this month's Birchbox a B.  The Laura Geller add on I purchased brought that grade up.  If you would like to start your own monthly subscription, click here to get started! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Movie Review: Hello, My Name is Doris

Sally Field has been a favorite of mine since her role in Steel Magnolias, one of my all-time favorite films.  This movie, Hello, My Name is Doris, is a somewhat unknown film amidst the Batman vs Superman hoopla going on right now.  But, the movie is quite endearing.

The story begins at the funeral of Doris' Mom.  An elderly woman who had an affinity for her cat, and Doris is quite shaken at the loss of her Mom after what appears to be years of caring for her.  We discover early on that Doris lived with her Mom and cared for her in a home full of stuff.  Lots of stuff.  Her brother and his wife urge Doris to clean out the house, sell it, and move to the city.  She currently lives on Staten Island in the home where she was raised.  You could tell Doris was offended by this suggestion.

To say Doris was quirky would be an understatement.  The movie unveils a very unique character that worked in data entry at an apparel magazine.  One day after going with her friend, Roz (played by the iconic Tyne Daly), to hear a motivational speaker, she decides to set her sights on a younger (very much younger) man in her office, John.  They had initially bumped into each other in the elevator, and Doris, who filled her life with romance novels while riding the ferry to work, had dreams of she and John together forever.

So began Doris' quest for love.  Roz' granddaughter, Vivian, helps Doris get "hip" and teaches her how to navigate this new world of dating and put herself out there so John would see her.  As you can imagine, a 60-year-old woman listening to electric rock and dressing in neon was pretty hilarious.

Doris' efforts did grab the attention of John and a friendship ensued.  Through this friendship, Doris shares her story, giving us more light into how she got to where she is in life.  Doris' Dad up and left one day leaving her Mom to raise their children.  Though Doris had never been married, she had been in love.  She once was engaged to a man who eventually moved away and thus ended their engagement.  Doris felt compelled to care for her Mom, as is revealed in one of the most moving scenes in the movie.

Although this movie may not be Oscar worthy, Sally Field's portrayal of Doris was amazing.  I could identify with her (in some ways, not in the Level 10 crazy that comes out in the movie) as an older never married woman who still dreams about falling in love one day.  This is great story of moving on and living life to the fullest, and in some ways, taking chances.  I don't want to provide any'll need to watch the movie for yourself.  I would give this movie a 4 out of 5 stars.  

Friday, April 8, 2016

Book Review: Looking for Lovely

***This post originally appeared on my blog Ruminations and Reflections***

Early this year, I applied to be on a launch team for a new Lifeway Book releasing by Annie F. Downs - Looking for Lovely.  I'd never participated in a launch team before and figured I'd have little chance to make it...but I did!  And there began my journey of lovely. 

I'd followed Annie on the socials and knew she'd written other books (of which I haven't read...yet), and that she was single, which is always something that endears me to a godly woman.  Those of us never marrieds that follow Christ have a desire to marry.  But, we're not going to settle for Mr. Maybe.  Some choose singleness.  Others follow God's choice for a season, however long that season lasts. 

I anxiously awaited my advance copy and it came with all the pomp and circumstance of a glorious royal entry full of glittery confetti!  Party started!

I paced my reading of this book because it would be a little over two months before it hit the market on April 5 and I wanted to savor every word.  And it didn't disappoint.  

Annie shared (quite vulnerably, I might add) about a season of life when she dealt with her "broken crazy."  A time in her life when her resilience was non-existent and she struggled to focus on the good in things; lovely was not a word in her vocabulary.  

The journey through this book of Annie's search for lovely takes you so many places - to the Holy Land, the Ryman Auditorium, a beautiful sunrise, a farmer's market and Monet's House.  Each chapter unveils the lovely Annie found in the midst of the ordinary things of life and packaging it up like putting lightning bugs in a jar in hopes they would blink forever.  At the end of each chapter after Annie had visually walked us through her lovely experience, she challenged us with our own assignment.  Get up early and watch a sunrise.  Paint your nails.  Whatever that challenge was, Annie encouraged us to find lovely in our lives.  

When I ruminated over this blog post review of the book, I wanted to share a lovely in my life.  There are so many in my life that I often overlook.  Earlier this week I was at dinner with a longtime friend.  As we ate, a man who was in the restaurant making balloon animals in return for donations for a mission trip walked up and gave us each our own animal.  I got a turtle that is cute as a button.  He said they'd probably last about two weeks.  Now I have a "lovely" sitting in my home to remind me of that dinner with a cherished friend.

To pick a lovely I could really share in depth, I wanted something that, even to this day, I recall and smile.  It was last May, the first Saturday in May, which for us in Louisville, Kentucky, is Derby Day.  I have a standing date with a sweet lady from my church, Martha, the first Saturday of every month.  Martha has known me since before I was born.  She and my Mom were dear friends.  She is a pillar of our church and when you look up hospitality in the dictionary her picture is there.  Recently, her two best friends have slipped from her life - one has gone on to Heaven and the other one is trapped in a world of dementia.  We started this standing date when I realized how I would feel in her shoes.  And, selfishly, because she is a connection to my Mom and Dad, who are both now gone.  Even more than that, she is so wise and special to me.

On every other first Saturday we would head somewhere for brunch or lunch in town, with Cracker Barrel as one of our favorite places (talk about lovely!)  But on that first Saturday in May, Derby Day, I suggested someplace special.  I made reservations at the Science Hill Inn just outside of Louisville in Shelbyville, Kentucky.  This historic building was a preparatory school for girls from 1825 to 1939.  It still stands today and houses a quaint dining room serving Kentucky delicacies.  For Derby Day, there was a lovely brunch and we headed there for our special day.

As we entered the building, you could feel the historic presence of girls who had dreams of being anything they wanted to be.  We made our way to the dining room and it felt like I walked into the 1800s.  The tables were colonial style and draped with bright, white tablecloths.  The serving staff was all adorned with tuxes or black and white attire and you could tell all of them had worked there for years and knew the regulars by name.  We were seated by a lovely window overlooking the gardens.  It was perfect.  It was lovely.  

We talked and shared and didn't feel rushed to leave. (Unlike the time they threw us out of Cracker Barrel...but I digress)  While sitting there, a sweet teenager came to our table and asked if she could pray for us.  Simply lovely.  Our server shared her Dad was a pastor in the area and they were a great family.  If the day wasn't lovely enough, this made it lovelier.  The weather was picture perfect and the company even better.  

As I mentioned, Martha and I do this every month, never fail, save one month when it just didn't work out.  And I look forward to it every month.  But this Derby Day 2015 will be a lovely I'll never forget.

If you are expecting an exegetical thesis on the book of Ezekial, it's not this book.  But, if you've ever had a problem finding lovely in your this world....and tired of being the strong one or adulting, this is a must read.  All of the lovely points to the One who is the Loveliest of all.  

"This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." - Romans 5:5

"Hope is an expensive commodity, not easily fought for, and the result of a process that will take some time." - Annie F. Downs

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Book Review: Me Before You

Photo Cred:

***spoilers included***

When I rated this book upon completion, I quickly gave it five stars.  I'm not a fan of the star rating because, really, to share my thoughts on a book takes more than merely assigning a number of stars.  My justification for a five-star rating is a book that is a page turner or one I can't put down, has good character development and a thought-provoking story line.  This book has all of those qualities.  But, the story itself has kept me thinking on this for a few days, which also makes it a five-star book.

I'll preface this review by stating that I listened to this book on Audible, so even though I didn't have "pages" to turn, when I'd listen to this book while in my car, I'd reach a destination and be bummed I had to pause the story.  That's how I define an audiobook read that's great.  

The story is set in England and features two main characters - Louisa Clark and Will Traynor.  Louisa, a Cafe worker who recently lost her job to the Cafe's closing, is looking for employment and finds herself as the caregiver of a quadriplegic, Will.  The story ensues of the challenge of Louisa and Will learning how to tolerate each other and eventually finding love between them, a certain unlikely pair.  

Louisa has little direction in her life.  Her paycheck at the Cafe helped support her family, putting her family's needs ahead of her desires.  She's quirky and very lovable for her spunk to not let the challenge of caring for a quad bring her down.  Will had been a successful businessman when an accident put him in this paralyzed position.  Strikingly handsome paired with his success meant he had lived a vibrant life...until now.  And his bitterness toward the events of his life and his desire to not live was evident.

During her time as his caregiver, Louisa was told by Will's mother of his imminent plan.  Six months he has asked to be taken to a hospital in Switzerland that would assist in his suicide.  Camilla, Will's Mom, hired Louisa in hopes she could change his mind and keep Camilla's son alive.  The burden was big for Louisa now.

Through many circumstances and experiences, Louisa began to fall in love with Will, though it seemed far fetched to her.  We learn toward the end of the story that Louisa gave Will a reason to get up every day, knowing that his life would not get better, but only decline.  Louisa declared her love, but was denied by Will in accepting her love. The touching scene between Louisa and Will when she fully declares her love initially is relieving and heart-wrenching.  Even more tortuous is the scene when he is in the Switzerland hospital preparing to end his life and she, again, declares her love.  Unwilling to accept it, Will moves forward with his plan against the wishes of Louisa and his family.

The end of the book goes into much more detail of the final days of Will Traynor and the days to follow, which are equally intriguing.  It sets up for JoJo Moyes sequel, After You, perfectly.  I expected to shed tears, but though I was sad, I was more discouraged at the underlying story line.  

Will had reduced the meaning of his life to his business success and physical abilities.  When that was taken from him, he no longer wanted to live.  He felt like he had no control over what happened, and this assisted suicide was a way to take back that control and end the insignificant life he felt he had.  Of all the good of this book, that is the most disappointing.  Yes, I know this is a fictional character, but I'm sure there are disabled people and quadriplegics in the world that feel the same way.  I couldn't help but think of Joni Eareckson Tada's story.  At 17, a diving accident put Joni in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic and today, at 66, she's become an artist, authored 17 books and has been an advocate for the disabled.  Her worth is not in what she could do before the accident but that God has used her in ways He couldn't have if she was an able-bodied woman.  What if Joni had decided to end her life so she could have some "control" over the circumstances that weren't in her control?  Many a life wouldn't have been touched these past almost 50 years.    

This book is a bit of a paradox for me.  Well-written, engaging, thought-provoking and a page turner.  I want to read the sequel and watch the movie that is coming out this summer based on this novel.  But I can't help but acknowledge the sadness of a life (albeit fictional) devalued.  I think this is more of a reality than we realize, and should encourage us to show others where their worth can be found.  

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Book Review: The Secrets of Midwives

Three generations of midwives are the central focus of The Secrets of Midwives
by Sally Hepworth. Neva, the 20-something midwife, who works in a hospital birthing center helping women give birth without the coldness of a doctor present.  Her mother, Grace, is also a midwife, but more of the traditional variety, working in the homes of her patients.  Floss is the mother of Grace, grandmother of Neva, and is an 83-year-old midwife who has long since retired.  I found this an interesting occupation to thread through three generations, but for this story it worked.

Each chapter is labeled with a character's name and is told in their voice.  This was an interesting aspect to the telling of this story, but honestly at some points I had to flip back to the beginning of a chapter to remember who was talking.  Chalk that up to such intertwined lives and occupations....and all three bearing some secret...and it got confusing at times. 

Not long after the story begins, we find out Neva is expecting, which is a nice touch to a story about women who help expectant mothers.  You learn the emotional and personal side of Neva and the secret she carries.  Her relationship with her mother, Grace, is different.  Neva refers to her as "Grace" most of the time.  It's clear Neva is more drawn to her grandmother, Floss.  

As the story unfolds, you follow the history of Floss' life and begin to uncover her secret.  Grace has a secret of her own that occurs about mid-story, but definitely the power of the story is from the bookends of Neva and Floss.  I can't say I was endeared to any specific character in the story.  Many times I like to identify with a character, but in this story the only one I came close to was Neva.  But, some of the actions of her character wore me out, and maybe didn't seem realistic.  I wanted more depth in Floss.  Her secret, and story, is rich, but is told very factually.  I could say the same about Grace, but her story line is minor in comparison to the other two.  Maybe all that was intentional by the author.  Midwives surely need to possess a certain stoicism to perform their duties and that clearly falls over into their personal lives.  

I'd give this book 3.5 stars. I would have liked more depth and maybe something for me to ponder when the book is done.  I read for enjoyment, but like stories and endings that leave me reflecting on some question from the book or topic, unless it's from the cozy mystery genre, where those books are simply tied up in a bow like a Murder, She Wrote episode.  But, it was an enjoyable, easy read.  

Monday, February 29, 2016

Launching a New Blog and Recapping the Oscars

Welcome to my newest creation - Rosie's Reviews.  I started this venture on YouTube in the form of video reviews, but given the work involved in producing videos (and my less-than-stellar home Internet), I'm moving this review concept to a blog, thanks to encouragement from my friend, Ashley.  

My original blog, Ruminations and Reflections, will continue.  I'll link reviews there to this blog, but that blog is like my child that will turn 11 this April.  I launched it at a time when I was creatively dry and needed an outlet.  Badly.  It will always remain my "first born."  This blog will be devoted entirely to reviews.  After my recent Oscar challenge and the in-depth look I had at many movies and performances, my friend, Ashley, suggested devoting a blog to my reviews.  She was a faithful viewer to my YouTube channel (of about 10 others) and she suggested it just when I was ripe for the picking.  Like I have time for another endeavor, but Carpe Diem, I say!  

You'll find reviews of books, movies, makeup, restaurants, and all other assorted products.  Be sure to interact.  Comment and leave your thoughts if you've read the book or seen the movie, or used the product.  Also, include comments of things you'd like reviewed.  I tried that tactic on my YouTube channel, but with 10 viewers, you don't get much response.  I'm hoping my promotional ability for blogs and my writing prowess will attract readership here that is engaged.  So, to recap - comment, engage, and lastly, share!  Word of mouth and social sharing is the best way to get the word out.  Writing is one of my passions and reviewing things is high on the list of things I love to write.  The Oscars spurred that along.

Speaking of The Oscars, I'm blurry-eyed today from staying up until the bitter end last night to watch the Oscars, but so glad I did.  Overall, my picks percentage was 63% correct.  For the top five awards, I came in at 80%.  You can catch up on my predictions here.  

The only real surprise was Best Supporting Actor, Mark Rylance, for Bridge of Spies.  I loved that movie, and ironically this award was the only one it would receive all night.  I thought his performance was good, but not award-winning.  He didn't even make my long shot pick.  There would have been something magical if Sylvester Stallone had won.  

Spotlight was my long shot pick for Best Picture so I was far from surprised.  That movie.  Wow.  Nothing epic or spectacular, just hard-hitting journalists doing their job, fighting for victims that had been kept silent.  The movie moved me.  I've said that more often than not.  No one but God is God.  No priest or pastor.  The manipulative ways the Catholic priests used their power to molest children was abominable.  Thank you to the team that brought us this movie and thank you to the cast who executed it so well, and continue to shine a light on the issue and victims.  

A word on the snubbing of African Americans and diversity within the Academy.  I think the opening monologue would have been sufficient to address it and move on, yet the theme continued throughout the show.  I doubt Chris Rock was the creator of that, as I'm sure the Academy produced much of that on their own as a jab at themselves.  As I watched the presenters and acceptance speeches, the diversity (though maybe not always in skin color) was striking.  I don't even see skin color when I'm watching a movie or making an assessment of performance.  Did their role shine bright?  Then, great, give them a nomination.  If we were to watch an Academy Award show in 1956 and compare it to today, we'd all say many obstacles and barriers have been torn down.  

I'll close with my prediction for Oscars 2017.  Yes, I'm already looking ahead.  I'm putting it in writing to prove I didn't jump on a bandwagon months from now.  "The Founder" - a movie about Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's.  The starring role is played by Michael Keaton, directed by John Lee Hancock who directed The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks.  It's going to have strength at the next Academy Awards.  Tom Hanks was offered this role, yet turned it down, and Michael Keaton accepted the role.  The same thing happened in 1993 when Michael Keaton was offered the role of Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia and turned it down.  Tom Hanks played that role.  And won an Oscar.  Could the tables turning be an indication of another Oscar winner?  We have a year to wait and find out.