20 Best Romantic Movies of My Time

With all the hard work that we do on the daily, we sometimes need and deserve a break. I’m a big movie buff and love watching a good movie any chance I get. In my teen years, I worked at Blockbuster Video, which by the way I truly miss the concept of video stores. I used to walk the aisles after my shift and pick out rom coms and watch them sometimes through the night. I’m a sucker for fairytale endings. Life is much different now. I have a household full of boys so I usually am outnumbered with what we watch. It’s mostly animated, action, or superhero movies, which are perfectly fine. I usually enjoy them, too. HOWEVER, many times I am in desparate need of a good chick flick. So in the rare occurance I have some time to myself, I will watch one of my favorites. I am a hopeless romantic. I LOVE a good love story and if its a great one, I really get carried away by it. Romantic comedies are my favorite genre, but there are just so many good love stories out there that I can watch over and over and over again.

I want to share with you my list of the 20 best romantic movies of my time. I am pretty picky about my movies. I have to be thoroughly entertained and really vested in the characters and story, so if a movie made my list, then its one that swept me off my feet and made me want to live happily ever after with my prince charming.

Please note that I left out true classics like Dirty Dancing and Pretty Woman. I love those movies dearly, but I’m going under the assumption that you’ve already seen those (because who hasn’t) many times over.

So, if you get any free time, mamas, and in need of a good movie to watch, this list is for you.

In no particular order:

1. The Longest Ride
2015

Holy cowboy, ladies. This is one heck of a movie, y’all! Not only do you get 2 beautiful love stories in one movie, but the eye candy is just off the charts. The movie is based off of the book written by none other than Nicholas Sparks. Same author of The Notebook, so you know its going to be a doozy. The cowboy in this very entertaining movie is played by Scott Eastwood, the son of Clint Eastwood who is the ultimate cowboy. The movie is about two very different lives that come together in strange circumstances and fight all odds to be together. It has a very Tale of Two Cities feel to it. So, go ahead ladies, let Mr. Eastwood, make your day.

2. P.S. I Love You
2007

Well this one has all the feels. An emoitonal rollercoaster portrayed beautifully by Hillary Swank. The men in this movie are perfect, Gerard Butler, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Harry Connick, Jr. give stellar performances and are super easy on the eyes. Although the love story is a sad one, I love the unique concept of conveying a love everlasting despite tragic circumstances. It gives you hope in love and that it transcends all barriers and obstacles, even in death. I love this movie, and if nothing else, just for Gerard Butler’s delicious Irish accent.

3. The Holiday
2006

This is the cutest of all the movies on the list. This is another one that has two love stories in one, so you get a double whammy. Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet are thwarted in their respective relationships. They set out on a quest to find themselves and in the process meet people that forever change their lives and their outlook on life. The stories are cute and the characters loveable, including Jack Black and Jude Law and three very precious little girls. This is one of my very favorites to watch every Christmas, but you can enjoy it just the same any time of the year.

4. Safe Haven
2013

This romantic drama has a good mix of suspense, drama, and romance. The movie is based off of another Nicholas Sparks book. Katie, played by Julianne Hough, escapes her past to find safe haven in a small remote town, where she meets Alex, played by Josh Duhamel, and his kids. This movie is about second chances and starting over. She’s been running from her past, but when her past comes looking for her, Alex helps her face it head on. Now, I will say, that I’m a pretty good guesser of movie endings. Most of them, while enjoyable, are predictable. This movie has a plot twist that had me completely surprised. I love when a movie pulls the rug from under me and gives me a good gasp.

5. The Wedding Date
2004

This one is kind of a Pretty Woman-esque movie, but this time the man is the escort instead of the woman. Kat, played by Debra Messing, pays for an escort to accompany her to her sister’s wedding as her boyfriend to make an ex-boyfriend jealous. Her plan backfires as she starts to have feelings for her male escort, played by a very charming Dermot Mulroney.

6. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
2003

I love the dynamic between Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey so much so that it had me wishing they were together in real life. So, this movie is quite cheesy, but I loved it anyway and have watched it numerous times. I love the storyline and how these 2 met under false pretenses only to find something more real in the process. Kate Hudson is purposely annoying in the movie and it makes it more endearing. Matthew is just great on all levels and he plays the perfect male lead. Insert swoon here.

7. The Wedding Planner
2001

I hate to admit it, but I’m a sucker for J-Lo movies. I’m also a sucker for Matthew McConaughey as you can probably tell by now. This is a very cute movie about two people who can’t fall in love because of their circumstances, but still do. Their chemistry is off the charts and they can’t run away from it although they try. Another cheeseball movie, that I highly recommend.

8. Maid in Manhattan
2002

Yep! Another J-Lo movie…hee hee. I love a good cinderella story and this is one of them. Only this one has a unique way of portraying the fairytale. The characters are loveable, especially her cute son who plays a big part in her finding her prince charming. I love the mom and son dynamic in this movie, too.

9. Love Actually
2003

Several intertwined stories examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: LOVE. Among the characters are David (Hugh Grant), the handsome newly elected British prime minister who falls for a young junior staffer (Martine McCutcheon), Sarah (Laura Linney), a graphic designer whose devotion to her mentally ill brother complicates her love life, and Harry (Alan Rickman), a married man tempted by his attractive new secretary. Perhaps the most endearing love story is of a very young boy who falls in love with a young girl and goes to extreme lengths to let her know.

10. Something’s Gotta Give
2003
When an old womanizer Harry Sanborn played by Jack Nicholson, and his young girlfriend, Marin, Amanda Peet, arrive at her family’s beach house in the Hamptons, they find that her mother, author and playwright Erica Barry, Diane Keaton, also plans to stay for the weekend. Erica is scandalized by the relationship and Harry’s sexist ways. But when Harry has a heart attack, and a doctor, Keanu Reeves, prescribes bed rest at the Barry home, he finds himself falling for Erica — who, for once, may be out of his league. I love Diane Keaton! I love how the relationship between her and Harry plays out and when she takes us through the realistic emotions of a break up, its not only sad but very funny.

11. A Walk to Remember
2002
A Walk to Remember is a movie to remember. Such a sweet love story between 2 teens who are very different, but discover that they have more in common than they realized. Its a movie that inspires and gives you hope in God and the healing power of love. It has a plot twist that changes everything and changes their lives forever.

12. Failure to Launch
2006
This one is a very quirky movie and the storyline is interesting, although very peculiar. It has its fair share of slapstick comedy and cheesiness, but I enjoyed it. Sometimes you have to take movies for what they are, and this one is a corny, funny, and likeable love story portrayed by one of my faves, Sarah Jessica Parker, and one of my main men, Matthew McConaughey.

13. A Fault in our Stars
2014
Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley), a 16-year-old cancer patient, meets and falls in love with Gus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a similarly afflicted teen from her cancer support group. Hazel feels that Gus really understands her. They both share the same wit and a love of books, especially Grace’s touchstone, “An Imperial Affliction” by Peter Van Houten. When Gus scores an invitation to meet the reclusive author, he and Hazel embark on the adventure of their brief lives.

14. The Vow
2012
Paige, played by one of my faves, Rachel McAdamsm and Leo, played by Channing Tatum, are happily married newlyweds, but their beautiful life together is shattered when a car accident leaves her in a coma. When Paige awakes, she has severe memory loss and doesn’t know Leo. She also has a confusing relationship with her parents and still harbors feelings for a former fiance. Despite these difficult obstacles, Leo is determined to renew their bond and rebuild their marriage. I love how true this is to the saying that if you love someone, you have to let them go. What’s meant to be will be.

15. The Notebook
2004
What can I say about this love story. It’s just beautifully written and the characters played by Rachel McAdams and Ryan Goseling are simply perfect. Everyone wants someone to grow old with and this movie fights for that. Through all the struggles and obstacles and all of the heartache endured, love conquers all.

16. The Family Stone
2005
This is another one I love watching at Christmas, but its such a beautiful story and has many different love stories. The relationships between family, siblings, boyfriends, fiances, lovers….it just has so many stories to fall in love with. The heart of the movie ends up being a heartbreaking one, but one that brings them all together despite the oh so many conflicts. My favorite actresses are also in the movie, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Grab your tissues for this one, moms.

17. Serendipity
2001
I am a believer in fate and destiny, which is why I love this movie. On a magical night, Jonathan (John Cusack) meets Sara (Kate Beckinsale). He finds it was love at first sight, but Sara believes in destiny. After 10 years the two, with 3,000 miles between them, must decide if fate wants them to be together again. When love feels like magic, it is called destiny; when destiny has a sense of humor, it is serendipity.

18. Sleepless in Seattle
1993

A classic. The dynamic of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks is one of my favorites of all time. After the death of his wife, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) moves to Seattle with his son, Jonah. When Jonah calls in to a talk-radio program to find a new wife for his father, Sam grudgingly gets on the line to discuss his feelings. Annie Reed (Meg Ryan), a reporter in Baltimore, hears Sam speak and falls for him, even though she is engaged. Unsure where it will lead, she writes Sam a letter asking him to meet her at the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day.

19. You’ve Got Mail
1998

A modern day remake of Sleepless in Seattle. I love the remake and just as cute as the original. I love the characters and again Meg and Tom’s dynamic is the best. Struggling boutique bookseller Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) hates Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), the owner of a corporate Foxbooks chain store that just moved in across the street. When they meet online, however, they begin an intense and anonymous Internet romance, oblivious of each other’s true identity. Eventually Joe learns that the enchanting woman he’s involved with is actually his business rival. He must now struggle to reconcile his real-life dislike for her with the cyber love he’s come to feel.

20. When Harry Met Sally
1989

An oldie, but a goodie. In 1977, college graduates Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) share a contentious car ride from Chicago to New York, during which they argue about whether men and women can ever truly be strictly platonic friends. Ten years later, Harry and Sally meet again at a bookstore, and in the company of their respective best friends, attempt to stay friends without sex becoming an issue between them.

I know there are many, MANY missing from this list, but I’ll leave at it these for now. Watch them, fall in love, and get swept off your feet as I did. What are some of your favorites? Comment below!

The Perfect Makeup Tutorial for the Busy Mom

After over 20 years of doing my makeup, you would think I would have it down by now.  There are always new products and new techniques to use.  If you’ve seen any of the thousands of online makeup tutorials these days, you’ll notice that there are far too many steps and way too much makeup.  What happened to less is more? I’m excited to have found a well known artist in my area that will help us busy mamas achieve that natural look in very few steps, minimal makeup, in under 5 minutes.

Please watch and enjoy and I hope that this helps you in your daily routine, as it has for me.  Special thanks to my featured guest who really has an eye for beauty.  I truly appreciate his artistry.

What did you think of the tutorial?  Please comment below and if you try this at home, we’d love to see your before and after pictures.  Email them to me to be featured on the blog! workinglikeamotha@gmail.com

My confession to the one I love, but used to hate

I confess that I used to hate you. I never gave you a chance back then. I didn’t even want to give you a second look. I’d cringe whenever I saw you down the street. To be completely honest, I thought you were ugly. I know that’s so mean and incredibly judgemental…but I’m keeping it real. And you were always so big. So.damn.big. Why did you like being so heavy? You were so unpopular with your awkward looks and you had NO personality. I hate to say this, but you were completely unattractive. I don’t know what anyone ever saw in you….

Then one day, everything changed. Something happened as I got older that made me see you in a different light. I saw a side of you that I had never seen before. You made me see the importance of finding the inner beauty. You taught me not to judge a book by its cover, as I would be missing so much if I did. You made me feel comfort in a way I’ve never felt before. I regret that it took me so long to realize how much I needed you and now that I have you, I’m never letting go. You have brought our family so much joy and you have been there to comfort us and protect us when we needed it the most. You have changed our lives for the better. You are our unsung hero.

So here’s to you, my sweet, darling minivan. Here’s to all the things I didn’t see before. Here’s to the greatness of your sliding doors and countless cupholders. Here’s to your spacious interior and built-in vacuum. Here’s to the newly designed sleek body styles that have made you more attractive than before. It doesn’t matter what people say about us. We have each other and that’s all that matters. It’s me and you til the end….or at least for the next 8 years.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Art Activity for Kids


Moms, summertime has arrived!  As such, I’m sure you need ways to keep the kiddos entertained.  As an elementary Art Teacher, I know of so many fun and easy art projects you can do at home with your kids or just have them watch the tutorial and let their creative imaginations go! Many of the activities require things that you probably already have at home, so no need to go out and buy much, if anything. My son and I will be doing a series of art project tutorials throughout the summer, so subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

The first one in the series is called Reflections. You don’t need much for it and you probably already have these in your home.  Play the video tutorial for the steps and below is what you’ll need:

1. White paper – Most kinds of paper will work. We are using regular copy paper in the video.
2. Crayola markers or any kind of washable markers. Just make sure none of them are permanent markers (like Sharpies)
3. Paper towels
4. Spray bottle with water; if you don’t have a spray bottle you can just use a wet rag or sponge.

You can create almost anything with these reflections, so be creative and like I always tell my students……TRY YOUR BEST! Enjoy and happy summer!

How I got my babies sleeping through the night

I want to tackle this subject, although I was a bit hesitant, as I know people have some very strong opinions about the subject. I want to preface this post by saying that we all parent our kids differently and we each do what is best for our kids and for our home environment. I know what might work for one family might not work for another. And that’s ok. I’m ok with it and hopefully you are, too. We need to stop judging each other and accept that we are all trying to do this parenthood thing the best way we can in our own way. With that being said, I do want to share my experience with sleep training my boys and hopefully it will help other mothers, although, in the end, we have to really rely more on trial and error.

I have three young boys and my husband and I were able to get all 3 sleeping through the night at 3 months and for each it took roughly 1-2 weeks. We used the Ferber method to help sleep train our boys, which is also known as the “crying it out” method. In more technical terms, it is a technique invented by Dr. Richard Ferber. It involves “baby-training” children to self-soothe by allowing them to cry for a predetermined amount of time before receiving external comfort. Many have the misconseption that this method involves putting a baby in its crib and just letting them cry all night with no intervention. That is not the case, but because of this notion, I have heard people write and say that this type of parenting can be cruel or hurtful to the baby. I completely disagree and that misconception, in my opinion and experience, is inaccurate. What we did was far more complicated than sticking our babies in a crib and just letting them cry for hours on end. It was actually very difficult and much more strategic than that and we spent many sleepless nights close by our babies while we helped them each learn how to self soothe and not expect instant gratification by picking them up or feeding them at every cry. On the contrary, we actually did have to go comfort the baby throughout the night, but not by taking them out of their crib, as you will read in the steps below. The consistency of sleep training not only is helpful for the baby, as they adjust to a routine and also can sleep more restfully for longer periods of time, but it also helps with the overall family schedule.

Below are the steps we followed for all three boys and while it may or may not work for other babies, we were pretty impressed with how well all three did with this same method. Before I move on with the steps, another disclaimer. By no means, did we ever let our babies cry it out when they were not feeling well. We have spent many sleepless nights with our boys when they were sick, holding them and comforting them throughout the night. So there are most certainly exceptions. Also, all babies are different. Some are more fussy than others, some have colic, some are breastfeeding every couple of hours, and some have other issues that would make this method difficult or impossible to apply.

These are the sleep training steps we took with our babies:

  1. Decide on timing – We decided beforehand that our boys would move from our room to their nursery at 3 months. It helps to have a specific transition point so you can have a plan that you can stick with, whether its 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, or longer. That is a personal decision you’ll have to make that is the most comfortable for you and your family. We decided on 3 months because it was old enough to be able to sleep for long periods of time, but young enough where they hadn’t yet gotten too attached to our room. In the first few months of a baby’s life, there is no schedule or routine. You are at your baby’s beckon call and are pretty much holding him most of the time. My babies were in my arms or right by my side day and night after they were born. However, 3 months was the transition point. So, although it was difficult to have our boys leave our side, we decided on 3 months and stuck with it.
  2. Transition from your bedroom to nursery – Once they hit the 3 month mark we transitioned them from our bedroom to their nursery. The sooner they get used to their sleeping environment the better and more comforted they will feel, as they will grow accustomed to it. The alternative is that they grow accustomed to your bedroom, which makes it harder to transition them to their room later. We also had a monitor in their room so we could hear eveything.
  3. Establish a nighttime routine – This one is a big one and it requires consistency. Routine is key for babies to grow accustomed to a certain schedule. For us, we kept the same routine with each of our boys. In the evening around 6pm, we would have tummy time for a while with the baby to help with their neck movement and stability, which in turn helped with tiring them out a little. We would then bathe them and let them splash around in the tub for a while. Water usually wears them out too, especially if they are kicking and splashing around. Once they were out of the bath, I would lather them up with lavender scented lotion, which is supposed to help soothe and make them feel sleepy. I would then dress them in a comfy sleeper. Then they would get their last bottle of the night around 8:30-9pm and put to bed after. If you are consistent every night with a routine, they will quickly get used to it. Do it in the same order every night and they will learn to expect each step of the process.
  4. Change daytime napping habits – Babies sleep a lot, especially in the first few months of life. All of my boys slept a lot during the day and I didn’t really mess with that sleep schedule. They would typically drink their bottle, stay awake for a short while, then sleep again. That would pretty much happen all day. However, when they turned 3 months, I changed their evening napping pattern. I didn’t allow them to sleep after 5pm. If they were already napping, then I would wake them up at 5pm and keep them up until it was time for bed. Now, I know “they” say never to wake a sleeping baby. But I don’t agree with that in this case. By keeping them up longer in the evening, they were more tired at night and more likely to sleep longer at bedtime. For most of the day, I let them sleep as much as they wanted, but when evening time came around, mama didn’t let them doze off. Given that they were sleepy around that time, we had to really play with them and keep them entertained so they wouldn’t fall asleep. Luckily it was close to the time that we started their nighttime routine anyway, as stated in Step 3 above: tummy time, bath time, lotion, comfy sleeper, last bottle, then bed time.
  5. Crying it out – Now this is the hardest part. A mother’s instinct is to immediately comfort their baby and of course, it was super difficult for me not do that…at least not to do it immediately. Just as they did during the day, our boys would go to sleep at night, then wake up, then fall asleep again. However, I knew that they were ready to sleep at night for longer periods of time without feeding because their daytime naps were sometimes several hours long. So what would happen at night is that we would put them to bed around 9pm – 10pm, then they would wake up crying after a few hours. When they woke up crying, we had to resist the urge to go in there and immediately pacify them. We would always time it. We would say ‘ok, lets wait 15 minutes and if the baby is still crying we will go in there’. Usually, the baby would fall back asleep on his own. Then another couple hours would pass by, and again the baby would wake up. And again we would time it and say ok, lets wait it out 15 minutes. Again the baby would fall back asleep within that time. This would go on throughout the night. If the crying went past the 15 minutes, we would go into the nursery, pat him and try to soothe him by talking or singing for a few minutes then leaving the room. We wouldn’t pick them up though. They would usually fall back asleep not long after that.
  6. Decide on a morning feeding time – In the beginning of sleep training we would try to make it until 4am before feeding them. That was our marker. Once they were crying around that time, that is when we would get them out of their crib to feed them. We would make it a point not to feed them any earlier than 4am. Once they adjusted to that, we would push it to 430am, then eventually to 5am. After about a week or two of following the routine, the boys realized that nighttime was for sleeping. That is how long it took to get used to the routine and for them to start sleeping through the night. Sleeping through the night started as 10pm – 4am, then eventually, as we pushed the time, 930 pm – 4:30am.  Then eventually it extended to 9pm – 5am. My youngest is 7 months old now and he sleeps very soundly from around 8pm – 6:30am, so as they get older the timespan will continue to grow and adjust.

Sleep training is not for every mother, and that is completely understandable. As I mentioned before, there are many circumstances that would make this method very difficult and almost impossible to apply. However, this is what we did for our boys and it worked each time. I was happy to have well rested babies and the rest of the family was also happy to be able to sleep restfully after surviving all the sleep training.

What you choose to do for your little ones is your perogative as a mother. Whether your method of choice is co-sleeping, keeping them in your room until they are toddlers, or this Ferber method, it is all ok, in my opinion. I only share my own experience because we’ve had success in this area, and it may be helpful to some mothers.

What worked for you? I’d love to hear your experience. Comment below!