• Header Right Box

    Liz Johnson on FacebookLiz Johnson on TwitterLiz Johnson on InstagramLiz Johnson on PinterestLiz Johnson on AmazonEmail Liz Johnson

  • Header Left Box

  • Christmas Movie Countdown – Number 1!

    We’ve made it! We’ve actually made it to my favorite made for TV Christmas movie of all time. It’s only been fouryears since ABC Family premiered this fantastic love story under the tagline:

    The fell in love. Then they met.


    Christmas in Boston is the story of two pen pals, who started writing more than 10 years ago.  They’ve seen each other through bad relationships, deaths of family members, winning science fairs, and much more. But they’ve never met. In fact, they’ve agreed to not even speak on the phone.

    Now Gina is all grown up and a newspaper reporter in Boston. Seth is a toy designer in Denver. But their pact to stay pen pals is thrown out the window when Seth’s company sends him to the big toy conference in Boston–the same conference that Gina’s boss makes her cover. But they each have a secret. They’ve given the other a picture of their best friend, claiming it was really them.

    So Seth sends Matt and Gina sends Ellen to meet each other. Meanwhile the real Gina and Seth bump into each other at the conference–they just don’t know who they’re talking to. Matt and Ellen add a whole lot of humor to this story of white lies that almost derail the a love that was meant to be.

    I love the romance, humor, and heart of this sweet story. What girl doesn’t dream of falling in love with her best friend, which is exactly what happens for Gina. Not to mention, I might have a little crush on Patrick Adams, who plays Seth. Whew! He’s so adorable!


    The worst part about this movie is that unlike every other made for TV movie, ABC Family only shows it once or twice a year. So if you can catch it, don’t miss out!

    And here’s what Katie had to say: I’ve seen this MFTVCM a number of times – I’m even watching it right now to try to refresh my memory. But I’ve been trying to think of something blog worthy for 20 minutes and am coming up completely empty…how do bloggers do this?!? OK I will say this – while this holiday movie is better than the average made-for-tv fare it apparently doesn’t elicit any emotional response or sense of loyalty from me. (Are we still friends Liz?) The story is good – I like the main characters but their bffs who spend time together under the ruse that they are the real MFEO pen pals are annoying – big time.

    And Stephanie says: Ahhh, pen pals who fall in love, literally the story of my life! This movie is cute but the secondary characters kind of ruin it for me. Definitely worth watching though.

    Also, I asked Katie and Steph to each offer one of their favorites that didn’t make my list. Here goes!
    From Katie: If You Believe – A Scroogey book editor rediscovers the Christmas spirit when her inner child (played adorably by a teeny tiny Hayden Panettiere) appears and reminds her of how fun & passionate she used to be. Lots of great moments and a little romance of course!

    From Steph: I love If You Believe as much as Katie does, it’s so great! But my favorite mftvcm is The Christmas List. It’s about a bleh kind of woman who has, on a whim, writes a Christmas wish list to Santa and all throughout the movie she mysteriously gets all she wants. I love it!

    I hope you enjoyed the countdown and will catch them on TV next year. Merry Christmas! -LJ

    Christmas Gift Giveaway Contest Winners!

    Congratulations to Readhead Kate and Betsy St. Amant, winners of the Christmas Gift Giveaway. I used Random.org to select a winning number from all the the qualified entries. Kate’s number was selected as the first prize winner. Betsy won the second place prize.

    Thanks to everyone for participating! And have a Merry Christmas!

    Christmas Movie Countdown – Number 2

    Four weeks into my countdown of favorite Made for TV Christmas movies (my dad left a comment calling them mftvcm–I’m so proud!) and we’ve reached one that my mom and I both love watching together.


    In A Boyfriend for Christmas we meet 12-year-old Holly Grant, who asks Santa for a boyfriend for Christmas. But years later, she still hasn’t found the man of her dreams, and she’s given up on Santa Claus. Holly is a social worker, trying reunite a family just in time for Christmas, but she’s up against the big-bad corporate law firm. Enter Ryan Hughes, one of said corporate lawyers, who isn’t sure that his job choice is best.

    Enter good old Saint Nick, who sends Ryan on a little mission–to give Holly the best gift ever. But when he shows up at Holly’s house with a beautiful tree, he realizes who she is so introduces himself as Douglas Firwood. In the days leading up to Christmas Holly finds herself falling for the kind and mysterious Douglas. That is until her sister in law surprises their whole family by inviting Ted–Holly’s old boyfriend and the key to Holly’s brother’s professional success.

    Will Holly fall for an old boyfriend or the man who deceived her? And will she find a boyfriend for Christmas?

    I think it’s pretty clear why I love this movie! 🙂 There’s romance. There’s humor. There’s a very handsome man. There’s a completely implausible storyline. Like I said, what’s not to love?

    If you haven’t seen this favorite, watch your TV listings, or pick up the movie for sale at Amazon or Walmart. It’s totally worth a watch with your family and friends.

    Katie’s 2 cents: Love, love, love this MFTVCM. I definitely think it’s one of the better ones out there. Here’s what I love about it: awesome 80s flashback complete with side ponytails and scrunchies, Jeff from the Max as Doug slash Ryan, and a love that is DESTINED to be. Holly is a likeable leading lady – just a normal, successful, not desperate, not annoying girl you can really root for. And here’s what I envy about her – she asks for a boyfriend, Santa sends her a boyfriend, one just shows up on her doorstep complete with a big red bow. Now there’s a system I can get behind – are you with me? (granted she has to wait 20 years but that’s just a minor detail…). Plus I feel like even though the movie spans Cmas to NYs, there’s a nice natural progression for Holly & Doug slash Ryan getting to know each other and the fact that they fall in love in a short period of time is totally acceptable because they are DESTINED. Like Santa says, when 2 hearts are ready…

    Confessions of a NanoWrimo Failure

    As previously mentioned on this blog, a little over a month ago I suggested to Jess Barnes that it would be a good idea for us to participate (unofficially) in National Novel Writing Month. The goal: write 50,000 words during the month of November.

    And the result: about 14,000 words.

    So, I’m a NanoWrimo failure. I could make some excuses–like how in the middle of the month my agent suggested that I work on a different book than the one I had been writing. Or how work was really busy. Or how I was working on a freelance project (which might not be entirely true, as I didn’t actually start it until December).

    But the excuses just don’t cut it. I shoulda written more. I coulda made my goal. I just got distracted by shiny things that seemed more fun than writing.

    So I failed to meet my goal, but I’m convinced that it wasn’t a complete waste to try. You know that saying: Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars. Cheesy, yes. But I think it fits. I mean, I might not have made my goal, but I certainly wrote more than I would have without any goal. And those 14,000 words? They’re not too shabby. They gave me a really strong start to my next book, gave me a foundation from which to write the synopsis. It helped me really get into the characters’ heads and figure out where the story needed to go.

    I refuse to beat myself up over being a NanoWrimo failure. I’m just glad that I’m still writing. And stretching myself as a writer is never a bad thing. Next year. Same goal. More discipline.

    Same attitude.

    Teaser Tuesday – A Cedar Cover Christmas

    teaser_tuesdays1MizB of Should Be Reading hosts the Teaser Tuesdays weekly event

    Here are the rules:
    * Grab your current read
    * Let the book fall open to a random page
    * Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12
    *You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
    * Please avoid spoilers!

    This week’s teaser is:
    “Linc removed the phone book  from a small shelf. The Seattle phone book had a bigger section just of government agencies than the entier Cedar Cove White and Yellow Pages. ”
    pg. 156 – A Cedar Cove Christmas by Debbie Macomber

    – I had the pleasure of hearing Debbie Macomber speak at the ACFW conference this year in Denver. And then one day, I randomly ended up at breakfast with her! She’s a lovely woman, very friendly, and such a talented writer and speaker. This book is definitely sweet story of small-town life, and I highly recommend.


    Monday Movie – Christmas in Connecticut

    Yesterday Katie, Stephanie, Amy, and I got together for our Christmas celebration. We went to lunch at Mimi’s (which was a bit of a disappointment, as far as lunches go), then came back to our place for a little gift exchanging–my first of the season! 🙂 Amy had a Christmas concert in the evening, so between the gift exhange and the concert, we slipped in a little movie watching. Obviously a Christmas movie was pretty much required … but what to watch? Well, Katie and Steph suggested Christmas in Connecticut, a oldie that I’d never seen before, so we gave it a shot.

    And let me tell you … what a hoot! I mean, it’s so old-school (circa 1945) and in black and white, but if you haven’t seen it, you should watch it at least once.

    christmas-in-connecticutChristmas in Connecticut is the story of Elizabeth Lane, played by Barbara Stanwyck. Elizabeth writes a cooking and homemaking monthly column for Smart Homemaking. In this column she presents herself as a wife, mother, and homemaker who lives on a farm in Connecticut. All lies. She’s a single woman living in New York City. That is until the magazine publisher agrees to let a sailor returning from the war spend Christmas with Elizabeth and her family in Connecticut.

    Reluctantly Elizabeth accepts her ardent suitor’s proposal of marriage, with the understanding that she does not love him. He tells her that she’ll learn to. But when she finds out that she has to host Jefferson Jones, the sailor who spent 18 days adrift in the ocean after his ship was torpedoed, Elizabeth decides to invite Jefferson and her publisher to her fiancee’s farm in the country for the holiday.

    Wildness ensues. Jefferson believes Elizabeth is married, so fights his attraction to her. Elizabeth finds herself falling in love for the first time. Then there’s the babies (yes, that’s plural) and Felix, the chef who actually writes all of the recipes that Elizabeth takes credit for.

    It’s quite a mess, but definitely has some laugh-out-loud moments. Like when Felix asks the judge, who’s there to marry Elizabeth and Mr. Sloan, to leave the house via the window.

    I don’t know that I’d watch it again and again, but it’s definitely a sweet Christmas movie to put you in the mood for a little romance this Christmas.

    Christmas Movie Countdown – Number 3

    Moving on with the countdown of my top five favorite made for TV Christmas movies, we come to …



    I love Mark Ruffalo. He’s a fantastic actor, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized that I’ve been head over heels for him since he played Bert the security guard in this movie from 1997. Bert wants to be a cop, like everyone else in his family, but he has some sort of eye thing so he can’t pass the test. He’s resigned to working security at a department store. But this Christmas season he catches Trish and her daughter Patsy working their pick-pocket scam on a customer.

    Trish is off to jail and Patsy to child services, until Bert steps in. They shouldn’t have to be seperated and in jail over Christmas, so he takes responsibility for them. But over the long holiday weekend, Bert and Trish begin to understand that they’re not as different as they thought … one who longs to uphold the law, the other breaking it just to survive.

    A sweet and totally cheesy Christmas movie, this is one of those movies that I’ll watch over and over, and not just because of Mark. 🙂 Mark Ruffalo is as sweet as all get out, and it’s just so over-the-top unbelievable that it’s good.  I have to agree with Katie’s comments below, so I’ll let you get to reading them …

    Katie’s thoughts: now we’re getting to the good ones! i have been a devoted fan of this MFTVCM (made-for-TV Christmas movie) since it’s first aired in 97. that’s a decade worth of love friends. truth is – you know how sometimes you know movies are bad but you still love them anyway? that’s the case with this one. i KNOW in my head that this movie isn’t great but my heart just doesn’t care. plus it’s how i first fell in love with mark ruffalo and his shoulders…his shopping mall security guard bert is so sweet and endearing that i makes me consider a life of shoplifting myself. oh – and here’s something i discovered just yesterday. this movie is oddly reminiscent of an old holiday movie with fred macmurray and barbara stanwyck called “Remember the Night” about a shoplifter who ends up spending the holidays with a district attorney and they naturally fall in love. maybe that’s what the creators intended with 2nd Day – whose to know? but the possibility gives me a little more respect for them and the movie. anyway – enough of the babbling – this one is worth your time – watch it!

    Stephanie’s thoughts: I’ve only seen this movie one time and that’s all I’ll ever need. The only thing that I rememeber about this one is a really bad wig. I do not recommend.

    For the record I (Liz) have no memory whatsoever of a bad wig in this movie. But even if there is one, it is so worth it! Don’t miss it on Lifetime this year!

    Is it too late to decorate?

    Why haven’t I decorated for Christmas yet?

    That’s a very real and valid question. I just don’t have an equally valid answer. It probably has something to do with a short-lived, though still unsettling bought of food poisoning this weekend. Or the fact that I leave for vacation to celebrate Christmas and New Years at home in Arizona in 2 and half weeks. Or how much I hate having to clean up the lights and tinsel after the New Year.

    Or maybe I’m just very, very lazy this year. That’s a terrible excuse, but likely the most true one.

    So if I did suddenly get in the mood to pull out the old tree and trimmings, is it too late to decorate?

    Teaser Tuesday – Chronicles of Avonlea

    teaser_tuesdays1MizB of Should Be Reading hosts the Teaser Tuesdays weekly event

    Here are the rules:
    * Grab your current read
    * Let the book fall open to a random page
    * Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12
    *You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
    * Please avoid spoilers!

    This week’s teaser is:
    “It was no wonder, therefore, that we positively jumped when a thunderous knock crashed against the front door and re-echoed through the house. Had Mr. Malcolm MacPherson dropped from the skies?”
    pg. 112 – Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery in Aunt Olivia’s Beau

    – What could be better than a slew of short stories by L.M. Montgomery in one book? Of course, fans know Ms. Montgomery as the author of Anne of Green Gables and the whole series of books about the redheaded orphan on Prince Edward Island. These stories are cute and fun and everything we’ve come to expect from this acclaimed author. So what’s your favorite book by L.M. Montgomery? Haven’t ever read a book by Montgomery? This is your chance to confess! 🙂