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Countdown to Christmas!

We’re a week away from this annual tradition!

Yes, I know, we’re not even to Halloween yet! And trust me, I am so not one of those people that puts up a tree early or listens to Christmas music all year long. I follow the wait-until-Thanksgiving rule… But, the Hallmark Channel does not follow that rule.

And I love the movies on the Hallmark Channel; it’s my guilty-not-guilty pleasure. Each year, the Hallmark Channel shows only holiday movies beginning at the end of October all the way through Christmas. It’s sort of annoyingly fantastic.

This year, the holiday movie marathon, also known as “Countdown to Christmas” begins next Friday, October 27. This Sunday however, they are showing a preview of what’s to come, hosted by Candace Cameron, Jodi Sweetin, and Lori Loughlin (airing Sunday evening at 10/9c).

But, I thought I’d round up a little preview of my own (with help from the Hallmark channel website). The titles in green are the ones I’m particularly looking forward to. Let’s DO this:

MARRY ME AT CHRISTMAS
Premieres: Oct. 28, 8/7c
Stars: Rachel Skarsten, Trevor Donovan
Organizing a Christmas wedding is a true treat for bridal boutique owner Madeline Krug. She loves the challenge of finding the perfect dress for the bride and orchestrating an exquisite event. What Madeline didn’t expect was to be swept off her feet by the bride’s gorgeous brother, movie star Johnny Blake. Jonny came to the quirky town of Fool’s Gold to support his sister — not to fall in love. Yet Madeline is the most extraordinary woman he’s ever met. Planning the perfect wedding leads to candlelit dinners and strolls through snow-covered streets. Madeline finds the real Johnny even more captivating than her celebrity crush. Will the action star be brave enough to take on the role of a lifetime?

CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL OF ICE
Premieres: Nov. 4, 8/7c
Stars: Taylor Cole, Damon Runyan, Wendy Crewson
Those years of law school pay off for Emma but not in ways one would expect. When she finds out that her beloved ice-sculpting contest, part of her hometown’s Christmas festival, has been canceled, she springs into action. Determined to keep it going, she enlists sponsors and artists. Nick, the town’s ace artisan, isn’t interested in competing this year, but Emma wants him as her teammate. Considering what she’s managed to accomplish, Nick is impressed and signs on. As Emma and Nick work together, she realizes there’s more to life than legal briefs. And transformed by Emma’s can-do spirit, Nick is invigorated, too. They just might have a shot at winning this very special Christmas contest — and a lot more.

MISS CHRISTMAS
Premieres: Nov. 5, 8/7c
Stars: Brooke D’Orsay, Marc Blucas
Holly Kuhn (D’Orsay) is on her annual mission of finding a majestic specimen for The National Tree. While searching for the perfect Christmas fir for the Washington, D.C. Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony, Holly receives a letter from a boy detailing why his town boasts the most beautiful evergreen. Holly travels to the boy’s quaint New England town, where she meets his handsome uncle, Sam McCary (Blucas). Sam owns the land from which it grows and is a protective steward. It holds such deep meaning for Sam that he’s not about to let it be chopped down even for such an honor. Still, Holly finds herself falling for Sam, and they discover the magic that this perfect tree can bring, just in time for the holidays.

THE SWEETEST CHRISTMAS 
Premieres: Nov. 11, 8/7c
Stars: Lacey Chabert, Lea Coco, Jonathan Adams
When struggling pastry chef Kylie Watson (Chabert) learns she’s made it to the finals of the American Gingerbread Competition, she thinks her competitive spirit has finally paid off and hopes the publicity will help her jumpstart her new café. There’s just one problem — the oven she’s supposed to use breaks down right before the contest. Determined to enter, she reaches out to Nick Mazannti (Coco), her old boyfriend from culinary school who gave up his dream of being a pastry chef to take over his family’s pizzeria. Nick allows her to use his industrial pizza oven at night to craft her ambitious gingerbread confections. As the two reminisce about the dreams of their youth, their romance is rekindled. But just as Kylie is on the cusp of taking the grand prize — and embracing true love — things get complicated when her ex-boyfriend takes drastic steps to win her back. Kylie realizes she must embrace the Christmas Spirit or risk losing both the contest and her new love.

ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS
Premieres: Nov. 12, 8/7c
Stars: Alexa PenaVega, Carlos PenaVega
Weeks before Christmas, interior designer Laura is sent to her hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico to remodel a landmark hotel. As Laura is kept busy with the renovations, her 8-year-old daughter Nicole is introduced to the art of salsa dancing at a local dance studio. Laura is surprised to find that the studio’s owner is Ricardo, her old high school sweetheart and former salsa dance partner. When Laura and Ricardo reconnect, sparks fly on and off the dance floor. The beautiful Christmas traditions of New Mexico become the backdrop for spirited dancing and unexpected romance.

COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
Premieres: Nov. 18, 8/7c
Stars: Danica McKellar, Neal Bledsoe
Allie Richfield is at a crossroads when she lands a job as house manager for the exquisite Ashford Estate in the Virginia countryside. While preparing the place for sale, Allie plans one final Christmas Eve gala for the Marley family, though they seem to be a family in name only. There’s Kip Marley, who never met a party he didn’t like; Robert, the handsome but all-business executor of the estate; Sloane, who arrives with her two young children, sans husband, and the 90-year-old matriarch, Pippa, a spitfire who doesn’t want to put the house up for sale at all. As Allie is inserted into the home and the lives of the Marley family, she finds herself drawn to Robert — even as Kip pursues her. Can she navigate her suddenly complicated love life, while helping mend family feuds and maybe teaching all the true spirit of Christmas?

A GIFT TO REMEMBER
Premieres: Nov. 19, 8/7c
Stars: Ali Liebert, Peter Porte, Tina Lifford
An accident between a sweet bookshop worker and a handsome stranger leaves him without his memory. Determined to help him figure out who he is, she finds herself stepping outside of her comfort zone. In the process, she discovers taking risks can sometimes lead to the greatest rewards.

WITH LOVE, CHRISTMAS
Premieres: Nov. 22, 8/7c
Stars: Emilie Ullerup, Aaron O’Connell
Ad executive Melanie is teamed up with uptight coworker Donovan to come up with the ultimate Christmas commercial for a new cell phone. To complicate matters, Donovan is also Melanie’s Secret Santa recipient. When Donovan mistakenly assumes another co-worker is his Secret Santa, Melanie must work to show him that she’s the only Santa for him.

THE MISTLETOE INN
Premieres: Nov. 23, 8/7c
Stars: Alicia Witt, David Alpay, Casey Manderson
When aspiring romance novelist Kim Rossi is unceremoniously dumped by her soon-to-be-published romance novelist boyfriend, Kim takes stock and decides to take a leap. She signs up for a romance writing retreat at a quaint Vermont Inn shortly before Christmas, where a top romance novelist is scheduled to attend and read the work of one lucky writer. Shortly after arriving, she crosses paths with Zeke, whom she initially finds to be intrusive and, naturally, ends up being her assignment partner. Worse yet, her ex is also at the retreat. Despite these bumps in the road, Kim steps outside her comfort zone and plunges into the writing exercises, surprising herself. Equally unexpected is the attraction that seems to be building between her and Zeke that promises to take her down a road she never imagined traveling. Based on the book by Richard Paul Evans.

FINDING SANTA
Premieres: Nov. 24, 8/7c
Stars: Jodie Sweetin
Jessica was delighted to start running her New England town’s Christmas events after her mom died. The main event is the parade on Christmas Day when the jolly man in red greets the crowd. For the last 30 years, Henry, owner of a famous Santa School, played St. Nick. When Henry falls ill, and everyone else he has trained is already booked, Jessica’s in a predicament. The only possible replacement is Henry’s son, Ben, an Uber driver who never wanted to follow in his father big black leather boots. Desperate, Jessica sets off 200 miles north to find Ben and lures him to town by hiring him to drive her back. The trek is daunting; the real Kris Kringle makes it around the world easier than Ben and Jessica on their return. Still, once Ben dons the red suit, he feels the spirit of Christmas — and soon begins to realize he may have found the new, real-life Mrs. Claus.

THE CHRISTMAS TRAIN
Premieres: Saturday November 25th, 8/7c
Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Danny Glover, Joan Cusack, Kimberly Williams-Paisley
David Baldacci’s No. 1 New York Times bestseller comes to Hallmark Hall of Fame: A journalist embarks on a cross-country train ride at Christmas having no idea this journey will take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart as he rediscovers people’s goodness, holiday magic, and a love he thought he’d lost.

Note: I am especially excited about this one since this book has been on my reading list for a YEAR now!

SWITCHED FOR CHRISTMAS
Premieres: Nov. 26, 8/7c
Stars: Candace Cameron Bure
Just because they are identical does not mean these twins even like each other. Estranged twin sisters get together for an obligatory pre-Christmas lunch, a year after their mother died. Both women are unhappy and frustrated with their own lives. Though not close, each is envious of the other’s life. What’s a twin to do but take advantage of this? And who would be the wiser? They do what any identical twins in need of new outlooks would do — they swap lives until Christmas Day. And by doing so, each woman discovers the true meaning of her life and gains a deeper perspective and appreciation for what she already had.

CHRISTMAS IN EVERGREEN
Premieres: Dec. 2, 8/7c
Starring Ashley Williams, Holly Robinson Peete, Barbara Niven, and Teddy Sears

Snow globes can have a magical, mesmerizing sway over those who concentrate on them. No one knows that better than residents of Evergreen, Vermont. In this bucolic burg, where families have lived for generations and take care of each other, there’s a belief that if you wish upon the snow globe in the local café, that wish will come true. The only catch is the wish must be completely sincere. When the town veterinarian wishes that this will be her most romantic Christmas ever, she figures that will happen with her longtime beau. Stranded in an airport, she befriends a businessman and his daughter, who had made her own wish on the snow globe. The magical Christmas they share turns out to be more than anyone wished for.

CHRISTMAS AT HOLLY LODGE
Premieres: Dec. 3, 8/7c
Starring: Alison Sweeney
Sophie Bennett begins a new holiday tradition of spending every holiday at the Evergreen Inn and Ski Lodge, which she inherited from her parents. Evergreen Inn is a special place filled with people who cannot make it home for the holidays or who have had such wonderful experiences that it has become their home-away-from-holiday-home. This Christmas, Sophie will meet an unforgettable family, and her own life will be forever changed.

CHRISTMAS ENCORE 
Premieres: Dec. 9, 8/7c
Stars: Maggie Lawson, Brennan Elliott
A struggling actress is cast in her last off (off) Broadway show – a modern take on “A Christmas Carol” – before giving up her dream and moving home. Instead, she finds romance with her director and a renewed passion for her craft and the city. But when the historic theater loses its lease and the show is set to fold, she and her cast mates are need of a Christmas miracle.

THE CHRISTMAS SHOP
Premieres: Dec. 10, 8/7c
Anna works for a New York City real estate development company that is trying to buy an old building in a prime location, hoping to flip the property for a profit. Unfortunately, there is one tenant holding out—-the owner of an old-fashioned Christmas shop. Anna has been hoping for a way to step up in her job, and finally she’s been given the golden opportunity to take point on this assignment. Anna approaches the Christmas Shop’s handsome owner, Michael, who is not only protective of his family’s legacy but appreciates what the holiday means to everyone. But with sinking profits, Michael finally gives in to Anna’s attempts to change his mind. Anna will spend one week working in the store, and after that, if she doesn’t realize why this shop is so important, they can talk. When Anna’s company finds out about what’s going on and her career is on the line, she is forced to make a choice, one that will change her forever and make this one of the best Christmases she has ever had.

FATHER CHRISTMAS
Premieres: Dec. 16, 8/7c
Work-obsessed Eric Randall, chief technology officer of a major tech company in Kansas City, is laid off two weeks before Christmas. Divorced and the father of three, this will be Eric’s first Christmas alone with the kids. His ex-wife, Marie, encourages Eric to postpone a job search and instead make Christmas a true family holiday. Unfortunately, he’s better with computers than children. With baby Max strapped into a backpack, Eric is determined to build a sled with son Liam, no small feat for the math-challenged boy. Eric also gets roped into volunteering at daughter Chelsea’s junior cotillion class. At least her teacher, Kate Moore, is lovely. Kate teaches Eric some dance moves, and Eric realizes he’s avoided relationships by burying himself in work. Though enthralled with all old-fashioned romance, Kate finds a lot to like in this digital-age dad while Eric learns that family time does not need to be restricted to Christmas.

CHRISTMAS CONNECTION
Premieres: Dec. 17, 8/7c
It’s not easy being Henry, the only child of divorced parents. Every Christmas, he’s flown cross-country to be with his dad. Because he’s 8, a flight attendant looks after him from gate-to-gate. Henry instantly takes to the engaging Megan, who wears a Santa hat while helping him write a letter to the jolly guy. Megan promises to mail it to the North Pole, but slips the note to Henry’s dad. Henry has already decided Megan and his dad would be a great couple. And with all of the sophistication of a little boy, he tries setting them up. It turns out that Megan has no plans for Christmas dinner. Naturally, Henry invites her over, giving the adults a chance to see that they are perfect for each other.

CHRISTMAS GETAWAY
Premieres: Dec. 23, 8/7c
Travel writer Emory has never had a traditional Christmas. Although her free spirit makes her the perfect travel writer, a surprising breakup with her boyfriend takes her personal life back to square one. Hoping to spend the holiday relaxing and recovering, Emory takes the picturesque Christmas vacation planned for the two of them, alone. Through a mix up on the rental site – or maybe a little Christmas magic – Emory is forced to share the cabin with a handsome widower, his young daughter, and mother-in-law. What begins as an annoying inconvenience blooms into a romance she never knew was possible, and a Christmas they will cherish forever.

A ROYAL NEW YEAR’S EVE
Premieres: Dec. 30, 8/7c
That first kiss of the New Year is special: It’s supposed to signify that special person with whom we’ll spend the next year, and possibly, forever. So it’s wise not to squander those affections. When everyone else just puckers up to the nearest set of lips, Robin has always kept her wits — and her mouth — to herself. An established photographer at a lifestyle website, she’s assigned to work on a New Year’s Eve story with a new hire, Todd. When she confides in Todd that she has never kissed anyone as the clock strikes midnight, he sets about to correct this, by finding someone for Robin to kiss at the magic hour. His theory is a kiss is just a kiss, and she should enjoy the moment. Ultimately, they are both right. Todd finds a man for her to smooch, and Robin does find the right man. And guess who fits the bill?

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Holiday Movie Guide!

Settling in for a long Christmas movie season.

Settling in for a long Christmas movie season.

Okay, I waited until AFTER Thanksgiving to mention Christmas… but it’s exactly a month away from today, so let’s get this party started! I often have trouble getting into the holiday spirit, but I feel like this year – we’re all reaching for any drop of joy we can get, as soon as possible.

I’ll be putting up my Christmas tree this weekend, dragging out my homemade wreath for my front door, and of course, watching holiday movies – I admit I’ve already started watching them (as early as two weeks ago #SorryNotSorry).

So, I’ve put together a list of Christmas movies we can all watch, because they’re on TV! Some of them are the classics we all know and love, others are holiday specials, and some are made for TV (a true guilty pleasure of mine). Pick the ones you like, set your DVR, and re-watch them all season long!

The Classics

Christmas With the Kranks (Lifetime) – Starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, this Christmas comedy is the story of The Kranks, who decide to skip Christmas while their daughter is away… until she decides to come home, causing a party-planning ruckus. Airs Sunday, November 27 @ 8pm CST.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (ABC Family) – It’s not officially Christmas without the crazy adventures of the Griswold family! Join Clark and the gang as they attempt to survive Christmas between the stress of decorating, extended family woes, shopping, and waiting for the much-anticipated Christmas bonus. You’ll probably want to buy the official glass moose mug to drink your egg nog from while you watch. Airs Thursday, December 1 @ 6:05pm CST.

WORSE? How could things get any worse? Take a look around here, Ellen. We’re at the threshold of hell. – Clark Griswold

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (ABC Family) – I know there are so many versions of this classic, but the story of Mr. Scrooge and the three ghosts remains the same, and always gets me in the holiday spirit. Airs Friday, December 2 @ 4:10pm CST.

Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (NBC) – We all know a “Grinch” or two, and frankly, I really just want to be a Who in Whoville so I can hang with Cindy Lou! Airs tonight @ 7pm CST.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (ABC) – For the kid in all of us, Charlie Brown has got to be one of the best little holiday flicks of all time, if only for the great music, and for the tip on not eating December snowflakes. Airs Thursday, December 1 @ 7pm CST.

The Santa Clause (ABC Family) – Tim Allen stars in another holiday favorite with this one, when he TURNS into Santa himself. Gotta love it, and hey, I totally have a crush on one of the elves. Airs Thursday, December 1 @ 8:15pm CST.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (CBS) – A story for our favorite outcast, Rudolph with his bright red nose, and his visit to the Land of Misfit Toys. Produced in 1964, this is a timeless classic. Airs Tuesday, November 29 @ 7pm CST.

Christmas Specials

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

Christmas in Rockefeller Center (NBC) – This is a special I have watched each year since I can remember. I love seeing all of the singers in their sparkly outfits, all leading up to the finale of the big, fat tree lighting. This year, expect to see Tony Bennett, Neil Diamond, Josh Groban, Tori Kelly,  Dolly Parton, Jordan Smith, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, among others. Airs Wednesday, November 30 @ 7pm CST.

Saturday Night Live Christmas Special (NBC) – Because who doesn’t need laughs around the holidays? And we’re sure to see the Martha Stewart sketch! Airs Saturday, December 3 at 9pm EST. 

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A Christmas Melody (Hallmark) – Starring Mariah Carey and Lacey Chabert, this is the story of two women that meet each other again many years after high school, and a rocky competition over a Christmas pageant creates some small town drama. Airs Tuesday, November 29 @ 3pm CST.

One Starry Christmas (Hallmark) – This is one of my favorite Hallmark Channel Christmas movies! It’s the big shot corporate guy vs. the hot cowboy in a holiday love story, as they win the heart of the same woman. Complete with a starry country song. Airs Monday, November 28 @ 1pm CST.

Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors (NBC) – A movie based around Miss Dolly’s childhood, complete with many songs. Airs Wednesday, November 30 @ 9pm EST. 

Of course, there are so many additional holiday movies on this year. What are some of your favorites?

‘Chesapeake Shores’ finale & ‘Divorce’ premier!

The season finale of 'Chesapeake Shores'.

The season finale of ‘Chesapeake Shores’.

I can’t believe it’s already the season finale of “Chesapeake Shores”! After last week’s episode (starring Abby and Trace’s hot little date), I was curious to see how things were going to wrap up.

And the episode started right off with a kiss between the two of them – yeeee!

Abby’s dad made his flight safely, and he’s arrived on site of a project – I’m guessing the project he was upset about over the phone. And his in-person visit isn’t much different; it’s still unclear what’s happening here but it’s something shady and we only have 50 minutes to clear it up!

At Sally’s, Jess is talking about food with her new guy… and she orders a “breakup” – no, really. Then, she cancels the order… no, really. She explains everything to him, about her sister, and then she tells him he may have an opportunity to cook for her at the B&B… and even though she can’t afford to pay him, he’s oddly thrilled by this offer. What?

Abby’s dad, Mick, is confronting his partner – seems he’s (the partner) is backing out on funding due to too many variables; though still not many details here.

Meanwhile, people are STEALING books from the lending library. Oh, Chesapeake Shores and its crime-ridden streets…

Later, Abby gets a text from Wes and it shows her phone screen and she has the font set at, like, 72. Is she blind? It looked crazy. Anyway, she meets him and they go for a walk. He oddly backs down and says Abby and the girls SHOULD live in Chesapeake Shores and that he’s telling the court to go back to the old custody arrangement.

Kevin is still rehabbing, but he’s totally insane on the physical therapy: like doing push-ups when no one is looking kind of thing. Then, he tells Conner he doesn’t think he can get married. Duh!

Abby runs over to Trace’s building to tell him about her custody success, and mid-hug, Lee pops in, and Abby is a lit-tle pissed. Trace assures her that Lee arrived without warning and is excited to work on the album.

While the cook is prepping things in the kitchen, a man comes in looking for Brie – I’m guessing it’s her ex. And I’ll say, cook (can’t remember his name) seems a little jealous. And yes, it is indeed, Brie’s ex-boyfriend, who cheated on her. And it’s really obvious that Brie is not excited to see him.

Guess who else is staying at the B&B? Lee! Wow, this just got awkward…

There’s a BBQ at the B&B, and everyone’s exes have gathered. Then, Trace gets a call – something about needing an ambulance, and he speeds off in his truck. And he speeds right by a State Trooper, who goes after him. After showing his license and registration, Trace is arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Back at the party, Brie finds out she was accepted as the in-resident screenwriter, while Abby just now discovered that Trace is nowhere to be found.

So, then, Abby’s dad gives a beautiful toast to the campfire crowd, and the episode is over. I’m not kidding!! So Trace is in freaking jail while his dad is in the hospital… now I’m wondering if this wasn’t supposed to be the finale, and they just cut the season. Hmm…

One thing I kept thinking about as I watched this last episode was, will there be a season two? Unfortunately, a little bit of Google research didn’t provide me with any clear answers – I did find an article that says it hasn’t been renewed yet, but that article was from April, so who knows. I hope so!

Sarah Jessica Parker stars in HBO's 'Divorce'.

Sarah Jessica Parker stars in HBO’s ‘Divorce’.

You may remember HBO’s “Divorce” as one of the shows I listed on my Fall TV Guide – and I have been counting down the days ever since! I’ll be honest, I wasn’t wowed by the season preview, I think I was mostly excited about Sarah Jessica Parker’s return to HBO.

The 30-minute pilot starts off with Parker’s character getting ready in the bathroom, and her husband is upset because of the time spent in the bathroom between his wife and his daughter, and claims he actually had to take a shit in a coffee can in the garage.

Later, at a party, we meet Molly Shannon’s character – Diane, which is pretty much the same character she’s played in everything. The party is for Diane’s birthday, and her husband gives an oddly rude toast, saying how old she looks.

Parker’s character’s husband (they haven’t mentioned his name at this point) is outside the party looking in and he just looks said – he can see Diane and her husband arguing, while SJP sits inside talking to friends. He is also witness to Diane finding a gun, and frantically pointing it at everyone – even shooting it, but missing. While the bullet misses Diane’s husband, he grips his chest as a result of a heart attack, and Diane is arrested.

Afterward, SJP – I think her name is Francis – is wondering how this happened to a couple who was married for 8 years. She is asking her husband and talking about a memory she had of when he threw her laptop out of a window. She continues down this road, and basically tells him she doesn’t love him anymore, and she wants a divorce.

The next morning, her husband (Robert) wants to know if she really meant what she said. And she assures him, yes, she meant it. He’s frustrated because she won’t go to counseling, but she says they’ve already been to counseling.

Francis walks her kids to school to which her daughter calls her a bitch – yeesh. Francis is riding the train and telling her friend about the divorce. Her friend alludes to a man with whom Francis has been sleeping with, so that’s interesting.

She meets this man – Julien – for sex after her train ride, and she tells him she told Robert about her wanting a divorce. And Julien does not seem amused, at all, by this, which is not the reaction Francis was hoping for.

Back at home for the evening, she seems to kind of go back on her decision – and tells Robert this is their chance to go back and figure out where things went wrong.

The next day, Robert confronts Francis about Julien, and tells her he wants the divorce and that he’s going to make her miserable, and he’s going to make her children hate her. Whoaaaaa!

And then the episode is over. You know, this show got some pretty bad reviews, and many said it was sad. Sure, divorce is sad. But, I kind of liked it. I’m definitely going to stick with it for at least a few more episodes and see where it goes.

Chesapeake Shores: episode 8.

Dog + guitar + hot guy = winning photo.

Dog + guitar + hot guy = winning photo.

Y’all, next week is the finale – I can’t believe it! I’ve heard rumors that this show isn’t coming back, but I hope they’re wrong, because I’ve really enjoyed watching it.

But anyway, last night’s episode started off full of family drama. Everyone is stressed out and it’s obvious. Kevin seems to be recovering from his second injury, and Conner is still saucy as hell – I’m wondering what happened to the girl he met during the Bar exam?

Conner meets with Abby’s ex and they get into it regarding the investigation. “I need you to tell me the whole truth,” Conner tells him.

Jess is still seeing the cook from Sally’s, which is a little awkward for the other sister (I can honestly never remember her name).

Meanwhile, Trace stops by the bank to visit his dad, and things seem pretty serious. He tells Trace his loan was approved and he can open the bar. Trace isn’t very excited about it, because his dad basically gives to him as a favor. Trace declares that he does not need a handout.

“I’m not going to let you do to me what you did to mom,” Trace says.

And basically his dad tries to choke him. No lie, he throws him up against the wall, right in his office. YIKES.

Abby’s ex joins the gang for a family day of fun, and it goes over fairly well, until him and Abby exchange goodbyes. She gives him a good talking to over the insider trading, custody battle, and the investigation. Bam!

Back at the house, Abby’s dad is piiised over some business deal that – it sounds like – he is going to lose. Not sure what that’s about just yet.

Trace calls Abby and tells her he has a surprise for her, that he’s taking her dancing, and they’re calling it a date. Whaaaaaat?!?!

Meanwhile, Abby’s dad takes off in the family plane… and I feel like this could end in disaster. Especially since he starts gazing at a family photo just before takeoff.

Jess and Brie (that’s her name) finally meet and talk about the fact that they like the same guy. And it’s pretty awkward. Jess starts the conversation by acting as if she’s going to let go of him and let Brie talk to him since it’s obvious they like each other, but instead, Jess says she’s going to hire him to work as a chef at the B&B. Huh?

Trace takes Abby to the building that he’s going to turn into a dance/concert hall, and he tells her that it’s all thanks to her father for making it happen. Naturally, he flicks on the lights and it’s gorgeous, and he says he’s “waited 16 years for this”, and I want to die in jealousy.

They dance and they kiss… a lot. And it’s super sweet – le sigh!

…And then the episode ends, and they show previews for next week, which shows all sorts of happiness, and then someone needs an ambulance…

In other news, I looked into the music that’s featured on the show, and it turns out, most of it was written by Jesse Metcalfe himself! Color me impressed.

He is singing on the main theme song, and sings quite a few others throughout the season. Apparently, he wrote and sang on a Hallmark Channel movie, too! Pretty cool. Here’s one of the songs featured on the show:

I’m hoping you all have a great Monday – I know I’ve got a crazy week ahead, with dance rehearsals, and my blog class at UT starts its second semester this week! I am excited to meet all of my new students and share the experience of blogging that I love so much. Meanwhile, I’ve got lots of fun things planned for the blog this week, so I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

Chesapeake Shores: episode 7.

I need one of those cardigans.

I need one of those cardigans.

At the start of the episode, it appears there’s a new guy in town and he doesn’t know what a “Lending Library” is, so there’s that. He’s chatting it up with Abby’s sister, and although doesn’t give his name, he says he cooks at Sally’s (the neighborhood spot).

Back at the house, Connor throws Abby’s phone into the lake. Uhh… while she goes to look for it (not sure why), her daughters stumble across the fairy garden their great grandmother built for them. Pretty cute.

Trace runs into Abby’s dad in town and is pretty pissed about him buying the place Trace wanted. Her dad asks what his plans were for the building, and Trace explains his ideas. Abby’s father then suggests they go into business together. But of course!!

Abby heads to Sally’s to meet with Wes and talk about the investigation – he admits that his girlfriend, now ex-girlfriend, was in on it as well. He says he’s lost his clients, his money, and his apartment – everything but their children. He’s basically begging for her help.

Back at the house, Kevin is still recovering in his makeshift hospital room and his fiancee is still at his helm. Everyone still pretty much hates her, and Kevin tells her he wants to change the wedding plans and get married in Chesapeake Shores – because where else?! Not going to lie, I wish they would break up.

At dinner, great grandma tells the family she’s going home to visit Ireland, and she’s suddenly developed an Irish accent, which is borderline annoying. However, at the end of last week’s episode, she was admiring the ring Trace found at the church weeks before – I definitely think these two things are linked, and I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.

Later, Trace is on the phone with Abby and invites her over… dun, dun, dunnnn.

At the house, Connor takes Kevin for a little drive, and naturally his fiance freaks out. Connor asks him about the wedding, and Kevin says he’s not sure when it’ll happen.

Meanwhile, Jess is on a little date, walking along the beach, and they are hunting for sea glass. The climax of this date is when she finds a red piece… until I realize that she’s totally on a date with the guy from Sally’s, the cook, the one who was chatting up her other sister, who has a CRUSH on him!

Dear God! He’s talking about his dream of working in other restaurants, and she asks him if he’d cook for her… tonight, and what, they can invite her SISTER! Daaaahhhhhh!

Back at Trace’s, he’s emotional, and he tells Abby that he almost killed his bass player. He was driving the two of them, late at night while it was raining, and says he took his eyes off the road for a second, and hit an oncoming car. He said everyone else was fine except his bandmate – that he may never walk again.

Trace is crying at this point… and then it goes to a commercial.

Back at the house, Connor asks Kevin what happened in Afghanistan. Kevin doesn’t say much, but he does say he hit an IED. They are sitting in a treehouse, and on their climb down, they both fall…

At the B&B, David (the date), cooks dinner and gets an awkward introduction to Jess’ sister – like, really awkward.

As great grandma steps out to head to Ireland, she tells Abby goodbye and hands her the ring – she tells Abby it was “meant for her” and she will explain the story later.

Connor races back to the house, apparently okay from the fall, and he’s screaming for help explaining that Kevin can’t move. Ugh.

Seriously, at the end of this episode there’s so much left unsaid! And the previews for next week say there are only two episodes left. WHAT?!

Chesapeake Shores: episode 4.

Who's the new chick in Trace's life?

Who’s the new chick in Trace’s life?

The previews from this week’s episode looked emotional, and within the first few minutes of it, the family gets a call from their son, Kevin, who is deployed, and he tells them it’s going to be his last deployment. His phone cuts out when he tries to explain why, although the family is relieved.

Abby is finally heading back to work in Baltimore, and as she’s running out the door, she confesses she still hasn’t told the girls she’s planning to move to Chesapeake Shores. Hmm…

Meanwhile, a girl with some big ‘ole dreads heads over to Trace’s house, and she even walks right inside… but he isn’t home. This should be interesting.

Abby arrives at her new office, and it’s definitely not the New York high rise she was working at in New York. She’s overdressed, and there’s a yoga ball instead of a chair at her desk – not quite her cup of tea.

Back at Trace’s, he comes home to find this girl sitting on his bed. And he is piiiiiiised. He immediately raises his voice at her, “I told you NOT to come here and you think it’s a good idea to just show up here?” She explains that HE’S the one who left Nashville, where he had a life. He gets his things, and leaves, telling her she can’t stay.

Jesse runs into her, as she’s looking for a place to stay. Her name is Lee, and Jesse is a little starstruck, as Lee was a singer on Trace’s last album.

The Patriarch of the family seems disappointed that, even though it’s summer, the family isn’t spending much time together. At work, Abby introduces herself to her new staff, and it’s super formal, and kind of awkward.

Although Jesse is admiring Lee from afar as she is singing at the Inn, Jesse knows Lee is probably in town to see Trace, and she needs to tell Abby… but how?

Abby arrives at Trace’s after work, apparently he’d sent her a text about needed to show her something. He hands her a wedding ring, that he found in the floorboards of the church he’s working on. He suggests she give it to Mick,, since he’s on the board of the historical society.

It’s kind of an awkward moment, and she suggests going to brunch on Saturday so they can start making up their missed time. But he tells her it’s “not such a good idea” and gets out of her car.

Meanwhile, Conner and his mom are having a pretty nasty fight at his apartment after she makes a sly comment regarding the fact that his father pays the rent.

When Abby gets home, her dad is building a playhouse for her girls. She quickly gets a call from Conner and explains what just happened between him and their mom.

When Abby gives her dad the ring from Trace, her stepmom takes a look at it and seems emotional… hmmm!

Abby’s sisters pull her aside to tell her about Lee in town to see Trace; and she doesn’t seem upset at all. She tells the ladies that her and Trace are just friends, so it’s no big deal.

Lee and Trace are sitting around a fire, and it comes out that they were given an advance from a label to produce another album, before he left. He says he returned the advance, and she says it’s not about the money, the label wants them to record the album.

He also drops that he “almost cost someone their life”…uhhh WHAT?! She says he needs to forgive himself, and it’s pretty much left at that.

Across town, Abby is laying in bed thinking about what she said to her sisters. It’s obvious she feels a little different about Trace than she’s led on (duh). Later that morning, outside of Sally’s, Abby sees Trace’s truck and goes inside. He’s there with Lee… and it’s awkward.

But Lee knows they dated and she later asks Trace what happened; she knows it’s one of the reasons he won’t come back to Nashville. “Is it really that hard to choose?” she asks him… and he doesn’t have much of an answer.

At family dinner, the house phone rings… a call about Kevin. Their father says it was a PR officer saying they needed to stand by, because they lost communication with Kevin’s troop. …And the episode is over.

Cannot wait for next week’s episode!

Chesapeake Shores: Episode 3.

All of my images will contain Jesse Metcalfe.

All of my images will contain Jesse Metcalfe.

Last night, there was a fresh episode of “Chesapeake Shores”, plus the VMAs – so I made tacos for the occasion (beef and bean with hatch chili cheese), and prickly pear margaritas. It was a nice little Sunday night.

Episode 3 of “Chesapeake Shores” picked up right where last week left us – with Abby right in the middle of her custody battle. Abby wants to stay in Chesapeake Shores longer (because who works?), but her ex husband isn’t really a fan of this idea.

She meets up with Trace and quickly tells him they should NOT have kissed the other night – she said she can’t pretend like she’s “16 again”. Ugh.

Abby’s dad stops by Trace’s house and asks him what happened between him and Abby? Trace explains that they were together 16 years ago, and he thought they were going to get married one day (aawwww).

“Somewhere along the line, Abby started ignoring herself,” Trace says. When he is talking to her dad, he seems piiissssed.

Abby’s brother seems a little weary of Abby staying in town, because of the custody battle. He is helping her with the paperwork so she can try and get full custody instead of the kids having to go back and forth.

As they are going over the paperwork, Conner quickly accuses her of trying to get with Trace JUST to improve the way she looks on paper to the court. Naturally, this does not go over well and she storms out of the house.

Trace is at the park and Abby’s dad and brother are playing basketball. They ask Trace to join in and Abby’s brother basically tries to beat the shit out of him – it’s actually kind of an intense scene that shocked me. Hallmark is pushing it!

Later, Trace rides his motorcycle to a mural painted on the side of a building. The painting is of a woman who is standing on the beach looking out at the water, at sunset, her arms outstretched. And it’s signed by Abby.

Abby’s father questions his don about the incident at the park, and at first he denies it, saying he just plays “like that”. Turns out, he’s pissed about a lot of things – he wants to know the real reason why their father brought them all back to Chesapeake Shores. What were they supposed to discover? He’s referencing some sort of family event that hasn’t been revealed yet.

His father asks him to leave the town and head back to New York.

Later, Trace gets a phone call and all you can hear is his side of the conversation – he says it’s good news, but then later says “that’s not such a good idea for either of us.” HMM. In last week’s episode, he got bad news – could it be a former love?

Conner leaves, and so does their mother (she heads back to the city), and Trace ends up at Abby’s (family) home. They are swinging on the porch and it’s soooo “Full House”. The very last scene of the episode is Abby’s dad, sitting in his car in front of the mural, and he looks emotional.

They show the previews for next week and it looks intense – a woman from Trace’s past returns (just as I suspected!), and Abby’s family gets a call – something has happened to Dillon (the military brother).

Whew… could be a rough one!

The MTV VMAs

As for the MTV Video Music Awards… let’s just say I’m really glas I recorded it, because I fast-forwarded through a ton of it. I mean what was with them having like 5 hosts? There was way too much talking.

Rihanna opened the show with a really, really lame performance. She didn’t even try to sing; she was attempting to dance to a track – and the dance moves weren’t shit: step-ball-change, a step-ball-change. No girl.

Arianna Grande though? I’m not even really a fan of hers, but the child was dancing on a stationary bike! She was obviously singing to a track, but her performance was really good.

And then Calvin Harris won the award for best male video for his song “This is What You Came for” featuring Rihanna… and he thanked pretty much everyone MINUS Taylor Swift, who wrote the damn song! Shaaaaaade under those palm trees.

Taylor Swift didn’t even go to the awards because, well, she wasn’t nominated, and MTV gae Kanye West 4 minutes to do whatever he wanted. I understand Swift not wanting to be there for that, but isn’t she always the crazy one in the front dancing like an idiot? Why not show all your Swifties’ squad that you can stand up to Kanye – I mean, he’s the one that did you wrong, right? Or maybe you are a liar… heheh.

Kanye spoke for a few minutes and it made very little sense, per usual. He premiered his new video; which was… different.

Nick Jonas performed “Bacon” in a diner, which was pretty cool. Soo… most of you probably know that I’m not a huge fan of Beyonce, but I have to say… her performance was FIRE. I mean, there was so much emotion there – I was kind of scared to go to bed afterward. It was fantastic – take note Rihanna.

And then, Britney performed shortly after, and I hate saying it, but it was weak. The dancing was okay, but there were these like weird shadow hands in the background, and she was wearing this yellow outfit. I just couldn’t get into it.

So yeah, I pretty much went to bed after that. Better luck next year, MTV!

Chesapeake Shores: Episode 2.

Her brows tho...

Her brows tho…

Nothing like a good little show to sit down to on a Sunday night, right? After last week’s drama-filled premier, this week has something to live up to.

At the start of the episode, the kids of the family are sitting around a campfire (soooo dreamy), as they are recovering after their mom/grandma fell (last episode) and is safely recovering in the hospital.

Shortly after, we are blessed with the singing and guitar strums of Jesse Metcalfe, or I mean, Trace. Helloooo!

Abby runs by, and they start talking about how when Trace moved back, oddly her father offered him a job. Trace seems suspicious of this and asks her if he knew he needed work. She didn’t seem to know what he was talking about. Hmm…

There are tensions between Jess and her mom, and stepmom, but meanwhile, her father announces he’s “taking the summer off” and everyone seems shocked by this news.

Jess tells her family that she’s going to have the B&B ready for the weekend, but it’s clearly in no shape for that to be a true statement, and her dad seems irritated. I’m getting the eery feeling that something is going to happen to their father…

Abby and Trace go on a walk on the beach, and she asks him about his music career. He shrugs it off and says, “It’s there when I need it”, but she reminds him that music was his dream; is he really just going to give it up?

He turns the conversation back on her and says he remembers she had a lot of plans, too, but what happens to them? I’m sure this is not the last we’ll hear about it.

Abby’s brother is prepping to deploy, as in, he’s waiting for his cab to come and take him to the airport, and she asks him if he’s scared to go back. He tells her no, because he was baptized just last week. She seems shocked by this, and then the cab arrives.

He tells her not to worry about him, to just take care of herself.

Things are definitely heating up between Jess and her step mom – she wants nothing to do with her, despite having to live in her home.

And then, we are blessed with a shirtless Trace, despite an emotional scene – he gets news about someone having to have surgery, and heads out to the water with his guitar. And then he beats the shit out of his acoustic, yells, and tosses it into the water.

But by the end of the episode, Jess is hosting the grand opening of her bed & breakfast… and Trace is outside waiting. He seems pretty pensive and doesn’t understand why Abby didn’t want to kiss the other night.

He says, “Do you even know what makes you happy anymore?” Ouch. And then, Abby’s ex husband pulls into the driveway, and Trace is all “Great, love to meet him”, but she insists he keeps to himself. So, he watches from his truck as Abby starts to fight with her ex.

He presents her with papers from his attorney and says her summer plans to stay in Chesapeake Shores aren’t going to work for him. The last scene is her opening the letter, and she breaks down crying.

Hmmm! Stay tuned for next week’s episode! I’m excited to see what happens between her and Trace… of course 🙂

Chesapeake Shores: Episode 1.

I'll be recapping a new series from The Hallmark Channel!

I’ll be recapping a new series from The Hallmark Channel!

I don’t think I’ve been as vocal on the blog about just how much I love the Hallmark Channel, but it’s true! I love watching their marathons of “The Golden Girls”, adore their easy-going original movies (I have actually started working on a script to pitch their way), and mark my calendar when they strike up a new original series.

So, I will proudly admit that I’ve been counting down the days to the premier of “Chesapeake Shores” for MONTHS. Here’s the scoop from the Hallmark website:

The multi-generational family drama of “Chesapeake Shores” follows Abby O’Brien (Meghan Ory), a high-powered career woman, divorcee and mother to twin daughters, who makes a trip from New York City to her hometown of Chesapeake Shores. Her visit home brings Abby face to face with her past, including her high school sweetheart Trace (Jesse Metcalfe), her uncompromising father Mick (Treat Williams) and her esteemed grandmother Nell (Diane Ladd). Abby realizes the toll her career has taken on her ability to be a hands-on mother to her daughters, and considers a permanent move to Chesapeake Shores.

Before we go any further here, let’s start with these two words: Jesse Metcalfe. Hottie, hot, hotterson. You may recognize him for his role in “Desperate Housewives”, as well as in “John Tucker Must Die”. And he looks so good – I have a feeling you’re going to be hearing that a lot over the course of this season.

The “Chesapeake Shores” TV series is based off the book series (there are 13 books in total!) written by Sherryl Woods.

The premier episode opened with Abby running on the treadmill in her home, and we are immediately aware that she’s got it good. Her New York apartment is quite stunning, and she’s the person we pretty much all want to be: a fit, cool mom who’s organized and looks like Anne Hathaway.

At the office, we learn that Abby is successful, and extremely poised considering her coworker is dating her ex-husband. And that’s when things start getting interesting! Mid-meeting, Abby gets a call from her sister, begging her to come home for an “emergency” in Chesapeake Shores.

Abby goes home, possibly trying to avoid the news that her ex is getting remarried, okay and also to have an excuse to stop drinking kale-lemon shakes. Her family’s home is pretty much what dreams are made of: waterfront, sturdy cottage, with those heavy doors we all know from homes we felt safe in.

The emergency is, her sister, Jess, needs help at the bank after falling behind on a loan she took to fix up a house in order to run her own bed and breakfast. Though it takes some convincing, Abby heads to the bank the next morning to see how she can help.

To her surprise, her ex-fiance Trace (Metcalfe) is there, and immediately confronts her about why she walked out on him for New York. Which, I have to admit, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would leave a man looking like Jesse Metcalfe behind. Sorry, New York.

The small town embraces Abby’s return, though she says it’s just for a weekend… despite the fact that she gets news her daughters’ nanny just quit. It’s also apparent to Abby’s family just how busy she is with work, so busy, in fact, that she can’t keep track of her calendar or keep up with her daughters’ schedules, which results in a difficult, late-night conversation with her father.

During her regular morning jog on the beach, Trace catches up with her and tells her he bought the “beach shack” – a landmark they apparently enjoyed as teenagers. He says it reminds him of some of the best times in his life.

Later, Abby catches up with Trace and apologizes for leaving unexpectedly years earlier. She explains herself, and just as it seems like things are growing soft between them, some gorgeous girl appears in the mix to see Trace. Ughhh.

On Abby’s jog back to the family home, she spots an ambulance in front of the house. Abby heads to the hospital and makes plans to stay in town longer. In the midst of all this, her ex continuously calls her, because he wants custody of their two daughters.

A dramatic episode this one – slow clap for the Hallmark Channel!

Just when you thought all was lost, Trace rides up to the family home on a moped, looking cute, and offering to take Abby on a walk. He assures her that he doesn’t have a girlfriend, but he appreciated seeing her hint of jealousy.

So, off they go, and Trace ends up shirtless (DEAR GOD), and they go for a swim in the lake – I’m pleasantly shocked at how far Hallmark let this go. Sure, they only kissed, but, you know.

He admits to Abby that he went looking for her in New York, but didn’t have the courage to actually make it to her door… and then Abby confesses she paid attention to his country music career over the course of all these years… and now, they’re both back in town – though Trace has yet to admit why he’s back.

Amidst all the drama, Abby gets a job offer in Baltimore, and is feeling pretty confused about the state of her life. Don’t worry, the premier episode ended with fireworks. Literally. And the season preview looks quite fantastic. I can’t wait!

I hope you will continue to join me for my weekly recaps of “Chesapeake Shore”!