And now, it’s Hump Day! Welcome! I hope this fun little post can be that perfect little bright spot or breather you need to break up the day. Since this is the last Wednesday of February, I thought we’d switch gears a bit – take a break from the mystery, and hold on to the last remnants of Valentine’s Day. And what better way to do so than remembering a total classic?! The blue ribbon goes to…”All Things Valentine”.

A fun thing about this one is the WCTH involvement. There are three actors, but guess what! They’re all men! I don’t know why I find this so amusing, maybe because it’s such a dominantly female program. The other interesting part is two of the men play total nasties on WCTH, and all three characters here have the most tender hearts you’ve ever seen. There’s Serge Houde (Judge Parker) and Daryl Shuttleworth (Inspector Houston) from Season 2, then Jeremy Guilbaut (Ray Wyatt) from Season 4. Serge plays the owner of the Mexican restaurant Avery and Brendan love to frequent, and we’ll talk about the other two later.

This one is a real winner, and a total gem! In this blogger’s opinion, it’s pretty close to everything a Valentine movie should be. It’s well-written, well-directed, and VERY well-acted; a sort of “You’ve Got Mail” reverse plot. They get along famously in person, but are at each other’s throats in text. They even own up to it at the end when Brendan comes to apologize for the biting remarks his alter – ego typed to Avery’s anonymous column. Avery declares, “I think you and I do better in person than in print.” But my personal favorite element is the gradual building of the chemistry. It was slow and steady, but not absent. Sam Page and Sarah Rafferty do a fabulous job of showing initial attraction, then letting the chemistry grow and develop, until by the end, they’re in love.

 

 

Brendan plays his part in this very craftily. Every time he asks her out, he brings up the “anti-Valentine club” since neither of them is a fan. (By the way, he does a complete 180 by the end saying it’s his favorite day because it brought them together.) When he asks if he can come to her place, he says the anti-Valentiners, “a misunderstood lot,” need to “commiserate”. Then when he asks her to dinner, he casually throws in that “the club needs a hangout.” The references increase in “severity” when he asks her out for Valentine’s Day, saying he doesn’t want to “get kicked out of the club”, finally leading up to the big one: he jokes that the club will be “disbanded” right before they almost kiss, (which doesn’t happen that time thanks to her dog!). It keeps it light and fun, gives him an avenue to express interest, and honestly, gives him a shield to hide behind until he’s ready to come out.

Oh, and just to make sure we’re straight arrow here, yes, Avery did her part in the assertive arena. Brendan says the one thing he likes about Valentine’s Day is the chocolate. Avery jumps on that, inviting him to come to a confectionary, and learn to make chocolate…and she almost kissed him first!

My other favorite part of this movie is the friends and family. My dad’s name was Darryl, but obviously spelled a little differently from the actor. Still, it just drew me further in, and made me enjoy the father/daughter scenes that much more; every daughter out there knows how important it feels to know your busy dad has taken an interest in something you love! That, and how special the moment is when you see how long he’s saved something you made for him eons ago. I still remember finding a letter I had written to my dad at age 11 among his things after he died. Knowing that it was that crucial to him, that feeling has never left me.

The nephew’s acting was stiff and pretty mechanical, but he was still young and cute enough that he could get away with it. And the innocent perspective his character gave Avery when things went awry made their relationship heartfelt. When she and Brendan are on the rocks, Avery tries sulking. But she decides instead to focus on a different kind of love, that of her family and friends; and she encourages her readers to do the same. But she goes shopping to buy presents for them, dresses herself to the nines, and goes to be with them. Now, this is Hallmark, so of course there’s a happy ending. But when her character didn’t know that, it didn’t keep her down.

Then, friends. Actually they’re Brendan’s friends. First, there’s his ex-girlfriend McKennna, played brilliantly by Kimberly Sustad, because she annoyed me like crazy! But then you have his best friend, Kit, (Jeremy), who has fallen for McKenna’s best friend, Pru. I always love it when there’s a romance with secondary characters. It feels like the protagonists are sharing the wealth. It was funny when Brendan questioned Kit on his motives for exercising and getting fit. Kit lists very logical reasons: “I wanna get in shape, lose the love handles, work the cardio, live a little longer.” But what is Brendan’s comeback? “Who is she?” Yeah, he’s no fool! But poor Kit is a scaredy cat, and he doesn’t really have a way of words. So, he keeps buying scones from Pru’s bakery instead of talking to her. The one time he DOES try to talk to her, she shoots down every compliment and conversation starter.

 

 

But Valentine’s Day is D-day, or should I say V-day, for Kit. He throws caution to the wind, and trips into the bakery that evening, carting a load of a box of chocolate, a bouquet of roses, a huge teddy bear, and a bunch of balloons, leaving Pru with no doubt of his feelings. Then with his arms crowded with “visuals” as he calls them, he says, “No pressure, but I was wondering if you’d like to go to dinner.” Even though I think showing up at her work in front of her customers with a larger-than-life display screams “pressure”, Pru decides to relieve Kit from his suffering, trust that his intentions are honorable, and go to dinner; but only after making him promise that he won’t break her heart.

And there you have it: a Hallmark Valentine classic! One that I think is a cut above the rest. So I hope you enjoyed this final discussion on love, (*smirk, snort*) everyone. This is it for this week, so I’ll see you on Monday! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

 

Photo credit: hallmarkchannel.com  

Surprise! Hello, everybody! I know I never do this; I never post on a Tuesday. But I thought, given the occasion, it was warranted. So I’m bringing you a special Tuesday edition of #MondayMusings. I was going to try to do an early blog, but something occurred to me: “I’m throwing a Heartie Party tonight! I need to share my photos with everyone for my first blog of the season.” So I waited a bit, and…here we are now! And here we go!

 

First off, if you can’t fix it, feature it! My diaper corner is not exactly something to brag about, so I spruced it up! Nothing that a little red won’t fix. It’s just a visual of a modern-day Baby Jack area. Yeah, that’s what I’ll keep tell myself!

 

 

Keeping with the theme of kids, this door is all art done by my girls. It’s very convenient that When Calls the Heart premieres after Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s decorations are still up, and the heart assignments have been sent home for the express purpose of adorning my garage door. 😉

 

 

I have never created a Hearties bingo game before, but my friend Kaycee did. So thanks to her, I had an activity for my guests; I bought prizes and everything! And it was a blast! I even got a bingo!

 

 

What Heartie Party is complete without food? None! This Heartie Pound Cake is a recipe Erin Krakow did with Debbie Matenopoulos on Home and Family when we were all gearing up for the Season 4 finale. I still have the recording on my TV, and I bake it for every Heartie Party I throw! It’s yummy!

 

 

Personal adornment is crucial to accessorize oneself for a When Calls the Heart party. What better nail polish to wear than hearts! My dear friend Sarah introduced me to Color Street Nails, so I treated myself to this set for Valentine’s Day and this occasion. Daily wear and tear and lots of hand-washing has made a casualty of most of my other nails, but this one still survived.

 

 

What good is a get together if you can’t get cozy? So we have our thematically appropriate pillows and blanket. Funny story: I competed as part of a team in a virtual summer camp called Camp Hearties in 2018. Ben Rosenbaum was a judge, and Erin Krakow and Andrea Brooks were both guest judges at one point. Our group was called the Coal Valley Cuties, and we won first place! But life circumstances held off us getting our prize until yesterday afternoon. So all the pillows for me and my Texas teammates arrived just in time to transform my couch into the perfect décor! Then the yellow object is my handy dandy notebook, just in case I feel the need to jot something down.

 

 

The watching station itself, decked out in all its glory, complete with water tower and schoolhouse ornaments. And as you can see, we have a little bit of the nostalgic past just across from the hopeful future.

 

 

My piano is something of which I’m particularly proud! My editing talents are all but naught, but this idea made me giggle so much that I had to bring it about, albeit a little unskillfully. So we have a ring, our two competitors prepared to duke it out for their ideal; the precious princess on her pedestal, overseeing the events. Oh, and the teddy bear’s name is Heartie.

 

   

 

Finally, ANY party is meaningless without the people who attend. We had several last minute dropouts due to sickness and family circumstances, but it was a sweet and happy time! My short arms don’t do well with group selfies, but from left to right, it’s: Lissette, me, my mother, Jami, and Nancy. Nancy, I met at our local library, where I just happened to be wearing on of my Hearties shirt, and she stopped me! 😀

 

 

 

And finally, the pièce de résistance! The first podcast recap of the season! Enjoy the When Calls the Hallmarkies Heart to Heart. Hear what we think, how we feel, and what made us gasp! You’re in for a good laugh! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

 

When Calls the Heart images: Edify Films and Crown Media

Photos and Edits: Me! 

Well, we have arrived! It is the Friday before the premiere! We’re almost there! We can do this! And we have arrived at the FINAL COUNTDOWN! Well, at least for now, because I think it would be a ton of fun to keep score during the season. So we’ll see how it goes. But from this point, who will triumph? Who is our champion? For whom will the Christmas magic materialize the most effect? Shall we find out who the winner is? Okay! Onward! LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!!!

S7E1: HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

LUCAS:
+2 He created a beautiful carnival
-1 Putting Nathan on the chopping block about the “No crowds at Christmas”
+1 Talks about his travels with his parents
+1 Talks to Jack about making memories
+1 “Hope Valley deserves its reputation”
+1 Planning the lanterns
+1 Executing the lanterns
+1 “Breathtaking”
+1 Gives credit to “elves”
+1 Shared glance after the lanterns
+1 He opened up about reasons for the carnival & accepting new traditions idea

Photo credit: etonline.com  

NATHAN:
-1 The “shut up look” at Lucas with Christmas crowds.
+1 Bracelet
+1 Sweet surprise at Elizabeth being willing to take them to get a tree. “Would you?”
-1 Lying that everything is fine
+1 The glance after “When it’s right you can just feel it.”
+1 Empathizing with Elizabeth about parenting alone
+1 “There’s nowhere I’d rather be”
+1 About to tell Elizabeth about the promotion until Allie interrupted
+1 The glance after “That’s the key, Allie”
+1 Inviting Elizabeth to decorate
+1 Helping Elizabeth with the bird ornament
+2 That MOMENT!
-1 He didn’t tell Elizabeth they were leaving when asked again
-1 Foot in mouth – “There’s nothing holding us back”
+1 The decision to stay
+1 He wanted to tell Elizabeth himself
-1 He didn’t tell her
-2 He walked away twice

GRAND TOTAL FROM ALL 5 ROUNDS! DRUM ROLL PLEASE! ……………………………………………………………………

Photo credit: pinterest.com 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

 

LUCAS – 37, NATHAN – 34

 

Photo Credit: ©2019 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: David Dolsen

WOW! The debonair businessman of mystery has won it! I honestly thought the Constable would prevail since the Christmas special focused much more on him, but looks like he walked away one too many times! Well, there you have it! Is this a foreshadowing of what’s to come? Or will Nathan find a way to stop sprinkling salt on his boot to make it taste better? Only time will tell!

And now, I leave you. Things will be changing up a bit on Hooked Heartie with the new season beginning; this is my first season as a podcaster. 🙂 But my plan is, (and plans do change, I know,) to write my own #MondayMusings for the blog, review movies every once in a while on Wednesdays, and probably do #FaceOffFriday every other week or so. I’m also going to be recapping the episodes on the podcast, so I’ll include the links on the blogs, and you can hear perspectives other than mine. 😉 There will still be two posts a week, unless life gets in the way…which it probably will several times. But I’ll do my darndest! As always, I really appreciate likes, shares, retweets, comments, clicking on ads, and shopping on Amazon through this site. It sure helps me keep writing! Until next week, after we’ve all seen our Season 7 premiere! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

How did that title not make it in the movie somewhere?? 

Anyway…Hello, hello my lovelies! Not that anyone is paying attention, but if you’re slightly curious…3 DAYS TO GO! If we don’t count today, there are only 3 days left until the premiere! That means only 4 days until…my Season 7 Heartie Party! So remember, if you’re around on the evening of the 24th, come on over, we’ll do some watching…and VERY girlish giggling! If this schedule keeps up, I might have to change my hashtag to a Thursday! 😉

For now, I’ve got a little treat for you: a new movie review. Plus, there’s a little something at the end for super Heartie fans, which you obviously are if you’re reading my blog. 😀 I told you on Monday I was leaving it a mystery. Hint, hint! If you can’t tell from the context clues of the title, today’s pick is “Picture Perfect Mysteries: Dead Over Diamonds”. There are several actors with whom we are VERY familiar. POstables have three members present: 1) Jesse Moss (Topper from Lost Without You), 2) Karen Holness (Hattie from Higher Ground), and thanks to my rewatching habit I found, 3) MacKenzie Gray (Trevor from Something Good).

Hearties will once again recognize Paul McGillion who played the fraudulent Pastor Frank Hogan. Here he returns as Detective Acosta’s very understanding partner. And …(trumpet fanfare)! We have a newcomer to Picture Perfect Mysteries, but not to Hallmark, and certainly not to Hearties. One of my favorite people, Mr. Milo Shandel, who played the now-former bank manager, Mr. Jenkins. But here, he’s really rolling in the big bucks as James Risand, the necklace owner. So, does having one’s character name on a banner and in gold-lettering on an invitation equate having one’s own name in lights? Hmm…as a actress, I would have to say no! But nice try! However, that moment when Allie performed the “open mouth insert foot” maneuver, unknowingly calling him a recluse to his face? That comes pretty close.

Photo credit: baronessbooktrove.com 

Milo shared lots of fun details with me about filming this movie. For the full interview, find it on the Hallmarkies Podcast or on my #WonderWednesday blog from February 12th. One thing in particular that he shared is the mood director Ron Oliver created on set. He apparently dressed in a full suit everyday, and played music to set the tone needed for the scene being shot that day. His thematic vision was that they were in an old James Bond movie. That was my favorite part of the whole thing! The costumes, the set pieces in the mansion, the intro; all reminiscent of James Bond, Charlie’s Angels, and the like. And give it up for Lori Letzler and Steven Davis, because their music was AWESOME! Every time those cymbals started going, I wanted to start jamming. I expected to see Allie start to jam too.

I found lots of fun moments! I’ll just mention 3 to save on time. The first is when the police are questioning Patrick Risand. James comes in a takes over the whole situation, then storms out. But without looking back, he knows Nick has itchy fingers, and asserts, “Don’t touch!” For someone so “touchy” about others touching his priceless artifacts, he let a lot of people lay their hands on those glitzy jewels; didn’t you Mr. Mastermind? Who would have thunk it?!

Next has to do with my theater background, so I loved watching all the acting antics. I get a huge kick out of actors pretending to be actors; or better still, actors bristling at actors. So hearing Alexa Pena Vega, someone who makes a living by acting, asking, “Are you ALL like that?” – GOLDEN! Classic moment!

Last would have to be when Sam tells his uncle the one thing he HAS knocked off the to-do is the sink. The next thing we see is water drip-drip-dripping from the faucet.

Speaking of Uncle Luis, hello Erik Estrada! How long has it been since we’ve clapped our eyes on him? He lit up the screen, and added quite the twist to the team chemistry. His waking up before 5:00 am, dancing to his salsa music, and cooking eggs was very giggle worthy! I loved the breath of fresh air he breathed into the cast. One admission I will make is he seemed a little stiff, maybe because he’s a little out of practice? It doesn’t keep me from wanting to see more of him in later films. I just think he needed a chance to warm up a little, and get back in the game.

While we’re on things I’d like to see differently, there’s only one additional thing. Since there was such an emphasis on Sam calling her “Miss Adams”, and her insisting he call her “Allie”, I would have liked to see her react a bit bigger when he did just that.

That being said, I had no complaints whatsoever with their chemistry, or the brilliance of their interactions. Just knowing they’re married makes the awkward moments that much more fun to watch. Speaking of awkward, what about “I was on the varsity swim team.” 😀 I gotta say, I’m with Allie on this one. If her hands had been duct taped or something, I wouldn’t question Sam jumping in after her. It’s adorable that he did it, but wouldn’t a grown woman be okay if she’s merely tossed into the water? Regardless, that line was hysterical!

Even as I write that, I almost take it back. Seeing that Sam was once engaged to a fiery Assistant District Attorney whose car was found at the bottom of a lake, I can understand why seeing a woman he cared for in the water at all would prompt a spontaneous rescue.

Well, this is where I leave you. But not before I give you the promised bonus: the Hallmarkies Podcast preview for Season 7! And here’s a fun bit of trivia if you didn’t know: the Taylor Twins, Lincoln and Gunner (Baby Jack) turned 2 yesterday (February 19th)! Let’s hope they don’t turn terrible! 😉 Impossible, right?

Photo credit: etonline.com   

 

I’ll see you tomorrow for the ultimate #FaceOffFriday, the last one before the premiere of Season 7. Not long now! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Happy Monday, and Happy President’s Day! And Happy Week-Before-Premiere! Can you believe we get to return to Hope Valley in less than a week? I’m so excited!!! Now remember, if you’re in the Austin, TX area on Monday the 24th, let me know, and you are cordially invited to our Season 7 premiere party.

I know what you’re thinking. “Who are you, and what have you done with Kami? Hooked Heartie never posts on Mondays anymore.” Right? Well, the fact that we’re coming up on the premiere, that calls for some special posts this week! Wouldn’t you agree? So today is something we haven’t be able to do in a while – a #MeetYouMonday. We’re taking a different angle on it though – you get a whole group! May I present the South Texas Hearties, some of us anyway. And yes, I have their permission.

 

So there’s me, of course. You know me. But if there’s anything you want to know, just ask. On the right is Yvonne Davila, the amazing admin of the group. She is the real deal! When I first started this blog, SHE posted all over the group page to promote it. She likened me to Dottie, forging ahead with a new business venture.

She organized this whole meeting, and brought us together. We met at Panera Bread in San Antonio, so I had some incredible broccoli cheese soup, thanks to her! She also encouraged us to bring a favorite teacup or cookie recipe, and asked us to share the story behind it. Mine is the Swiss Miss cup, and I love it because I won it. I entered a contest to win a walk-on role in a Hallmark movie, and got a mug instead. 😀 But that was fun getting it anyway. I previously did not own a Hallmark mug. So thank you, Swiss Miss.

 

Behind Yvonne is Kay Kay Schiebel, a total delight! This was her first South Texas Hearties meeting, and she was so excited to be there. She went to a chocolate shop and bought all of us chocolate hearts. Then when there were extras, she asked me how many children I had. When I told her 4, she handed me all the extras. My children were VERY happy! The heart cookie was my own purchase at Panera Bread to mark the occasion.

 

 

In the back corner is Mary Jean Stolhandske, a true fan! Her teacup is the beautiful china one. Look closely! Seem familiar? It’s the very same set in Abigail’s café. She found it on Ebay, and snatched it up. Smart lady! I had never met her before this day, and by the end of a two-hour meeting, she was hugging me, telling me she would pray for my husband and me in our house hunting. Don’t you just LOVE Hearties???

Finally, right behind me is Riahn Ball, the lucky one of the group. She lived out every Heartie’s dream of attending the Hearties Family Reunion, number 5 to be exact. It was her first international flight. She documented the entire trip, then put all of her pictures in a beautiful album created by Shutterfly. She shared all kinds of stories from her experience, and we lapped it all up! I didn’t want to take any pictures of her book, but here’s how we decorated with our cups.

 

Well, me Hearties, there is your first #MeetYouMonday in a long while. And since it IS the week before the premiere, I’ve decided to post all three days this week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So watch out for a new movie review on Wednesday! Which one, you ask? I don’t know. I guess it remains…a mystery. 😉 This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!