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Tuesday, 26 February 2013 12:42 Jennifer Devore
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As a very brief follow-up to a previous post, wherein Sugar Belle Gets Served, and to respond to those curious as to whether or not I am indeed alive ... my Winter Grand Canyon adventure is a fait accompli: eight wild miles down the mouth of the great beast and ten arduous miles straight back up said-beast!

Where there are "no ladies west of Dodge City and no women west of Albuquerque", yours truly emerged with tootsies in tact (thanks to my remarkable, pink-and-brown, Ralph Lauren hiking shoes and surprisingly steadfast Bubble Gum-pink polish by Wet 'N Wild), skin refreshed (thanks to my faithful, pink, Dresden VonZipper sunglasses and Rx-grade sunscreen) and my mind clear as crystal (thanks to a respite from most media, all devices and replaced with great convo, the sounds of nature and some analog Simpsons comic books).

Fret not though, friends. A detailed, Mark Twain-styled, Peter Mayle-inspired, Bill Bryson-worthy, Jenny-length recounting of my Western episode, plus glorious slideshow, shall post soon, after my mind and body doth recover. It may take a while, though; for, besides scribing my Grand Canyon post, I am also prepping for WonderCon and, as of last week, am still coming to grips with Julian Fellowes' cruel decision to dispense with our dear Matthew Crawley of Downton Abbey. Why, Julian, why?!

Until then, just FYI, life below the Rim was life-changing. More to come ...

 
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 09:36 Jennifer Devore
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An open Christmas greeting to Nordstrom, in Haiku form:

Grand Dame of the North

Nordstrom brings festive Christmas

Thank you, Seattle!

See, this is why I'm a novelist and not a poet. Iambic pentameter penschmatemer. Twitter and it's 140 hardline, btw, is killing me. I don't do brief, as many of you well know.

Anyhoo, après chatting with a Nordstrom representative named Renee, via their Live Chat, trying to nail down a package with no UPS information, I thought about how friendly Miss Renee was. Then, after a lovely weekend of Christmas shopping with my long-standing, fellow mall muffin, including hours and hours cavorting in Nordys, I thought to myself, "Magnolia," for I sometimes call myself Magnolia, "why are you shocked? Nordstrom is always pleasant, perky and professional."

Even in the one instant, over a very long family history of being Nordstrom devotees, wherein I encountered an astoundingly rude salesgirl at the South Coast Plaza Kiehl's counter, corporate customer service and then the Kiehl's manager and SCP store manager responded to my concern with the utmost of speed and apology. No worries, Nordys! One bruised apple shall not damage your entire barrel.

The Grand Silver Dame, Northwest born and bred, holds a top-three spot of companies, at least pour Moi, which still understand and adhere to the concept of customer service with a smile. (Soooo, difficult to find anymore!) Disney, Nordstrom and Starbucks, they be! Thank you, Walt, Howard and, apropos to this wee homage, John W. Nordstrom and Carl Wallin.

Beginning as a "simple shoe store" and four, Nordstrom-family generations later, the brand is synonymous with quality, luxury and customer service. Sales associates, floor and otherwise, are forever beyond friendly, helpful and cheerful. No bored and impolite teens on these marbled floors! To boot, the dapper gents and young men of the shoe departments are surely a sight for sore eyes; one can spot them a mile off when on their breaks about the mall. 'Tis lovely to see men in ties and pressed trousers, even if it just for a bit. Remember my post, George Will is Right, Mostly? Yeah, that.

Having been scolded elsewhere in the mall for taking holiday decor pictures -apparently security guards thought I was taking undercover snaps of styles to counterfeit fashion- , I was somewhat nervous about taking those you see in my slideshow here. "I'm not knocking off designers, I promise!" I initiated nervously to anyone with a name tag looking my way, anticipating a strong finger wag from floor personnel. "I'm blogging," I'd add with a shaky sparkle in my smile. To a person, each said how wonderful and "Why not?"; it's a beautiful store, why shouldn't I tell the world? Truth be known, I'd probably have better and more pictures if I hadn't been still slightly apprehensive, despite the cheerful go-ahead.

Well, clearly when I enjoy something, I write about it, like Ken Burns ... minus the respect and CPB support. To that end, similar to a Happy Birthday, Walt Disney post I recently scribed, I offer the best homage possible: an excerpt from my latest novel.

Merry Christmas, Nordstrom! Happy New Year to All!

 

Excerpt from The Darlings of Orange County:

She didn't return to Salon Shoes. It was clear there was either no good news, at the very least, or no news at all about her book sales at the Expo and, that said, she'd make herself wait on the booties. L.A.M.B. was a treat, a pricey carrot for work well done. She agreed to treat herself only if the tradeshow went well and as of now she had no idea. Treats were always sweeter when well-earned. They'd put the boots back on the shelf at the end of the day, but at least they'd be safe from other women's skanky feet for a little while. She had to get herself another agent. Glenn was proving to be a worthless hassle.

She instead browsed through the rest of the store. Nordstrom made everything better, even without an extravagant purchase. Her mother had introduced her to Nordstrom at a very early age. She had, in fact, introduced her to all things South Coast Plaza at a very early age. As Veronica's childhood friend, Dr. Mandy Fong, once said of both their mothers, "It's like a mother cat and her kitten. First, the mother cat catches the mouse, kills the mouse and gives it to her kitten to eat. Next, the mother cat catches the mouse, lets the kitten play with the mouse a bit, then takes back the mouse, kills it and gives it to the kitten to eat. Finally, the mother cat catches the mouse and passes it off completely as she proudly watches the kitten play with, kill, and then eat the mouse all by herself. So it is true with Nordstrom mothers and their kittens.

After canvassing all three floors, Veronica went to the Nordstrom Café and ordered her usual: an iced Americano with raspberry. She then exited the store and wandered past Tiffany's and Barney's, made a brief stop by the Escada window and then straight to the main drag where she turned left, away from Macy's and wandered aimlessly for hours in and out of her favorite shops. Eventually, she made a sharp right at the famed Carousel and courtyard, walking down to Bloomingdale's. If she were with her best bud Kieran, there would be long browses inside Brooks Brothers and the USC store.

 


 
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 12:49 Jennifer Devore
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Yeah, yeah, I know. "Shouldn't you be working on Savannah Book IV?" Yes, I should. However, like Ken Burns or Anthony Weiner, when something strikes my fancy, I attend to it. Last week it was the need for a shiny pair of red heels for the Holidays. Ca-caw! Ca-caw! (Done, BTW. Thank you, Jessica Simpson and Cap't. Bloodstone!) This week, it's Christmas shopping for others ... and a nice little harlot dress to go with those Jessica Simpsons for a Christmas partay!

As it pertains to reading, writing and even TV & film, I'm always in the mood for a good mystery, usually British and hopefully Victorian. Of course, in a video interview about The Darlings of Orange County with fellow author Natalie Wright, I admitted my brain doesn't seem to be wired for mystery writing; I have to watch the same episode of Poirot or Midsomer Murders over and over to recall who dunnit. Although I do know Maggie shot Mr. Burns. Ergo, I feel the need to challenge myself and do just that, write a mystery.

So, I've started a little something. It's still mise-en-scène in Colonial Williamsburg, but just a bit different. Want to see it? It's just page one, but here it goes!

 

Excerpt from Old Dead White Guys: The Colonial Williamsburg Murders (working title) by Jennifer Susannah Devore

 

“How many times a year do you see a dead colonial?” Agent Bruce looked up into the blinding January sun, her Ray-Bans doing nothing to block the glare bouncing up under the shades from the January snow that coated the oyster shell driveway.

“Depends which year,” Officer Hillstrand scratched behind his ear as he surveyed the crowd kept at bay by mounted police, a line of four horses standing stoic and still, their riders equally perfectly postured and unfazed by the dozens of cameras, attached to news teams and curious tourists alike, trying desperately to get a clear shot of the freshly deceased through a sizable gap in a series of white partitions placed around the crime scene.

“This is pretty damn bold,” Agent Bruce stood up with an audible groan, bracing both knees as she did so. “Smack dab in our face,” she placed her hands on her hips, her right hand instinctively upon her holster, and swiveled slowly to scan the crowds. “I guess the university dumpsters and the woods below The Green Leafe just weren’t flashy enough,” she snarked.

“This is flashy alright,” Hillstrand cringed as he looked at the body. “Where’s the other damn partition?!” he suddenly yelled. “Get that shit covered up now!” he pointed to the gap which opened slightly onto the Palace Green.

This time of year was actually excellent for a murder. The day was a bitterly cold one, hovering just around twenty-degrees. This was helpful on two fronts to the investigators: cold weather works like a walk-in freezer to preserve a dead body and nobody goes to Colonial Williamsburg in January. The gawkers grew in number, but nothing like the circus this could have been had this happened during the summer; not to mention the body would have been much worse twelve hours into rigor on a ninety-eight-degree Virginia day with ninety per cent humidity. Hillstrand shivered at that thought as he walked around the body to get another view from the backside. As he looked, he rubbed his neck. It was like sitting in the front row at the movies. He’d be happy once they could finally cut down the body. For now, he rubbed the growing crick and lolled his neck back and forth as he pondered the tempered, theatrical rage it took to stage this.

The body hung, dressed in full , British-colonial regalia: woolen knickers, a handsome, yet worn, frockcoat of a rust hue, white stockings and well-trod black clogs. A healthy fellow of about six feet and two-hundred-plus pounds, his sturdy frame swung awkwardly in the morning breeze on the front gates of the Governor’s Palace, one of Colonial Williamsburg’s most popular and photographed landmarks. Facing out toward town and the long Palace Green lawn, his hands were tied behind his back with his canteen straps. He hung by the neck exactly in the middle of the grand wrought iron gates that led into the Palace, where the two halves came together, suspended by his own leather mandolin strap; he was a musician, a strolling balladeer meant to give the living history museum an air of levity, entertainment and authenticity.

His mandolin remained strung to his body, but hung at an odd angle as it was still attached to the strap, securely ringing his neck. He also wore a smaller leather strap around his hips: a thin holster for his tin whistle. In fact, the whistle itself found a more intimate home where it now rested. The whistle had been rammed down his throat; but enough still emerged so that it made a sickening whistle when the winter breeze caressed and swung the body just right.

“Can we get this poor bastard down, yet?” Agent Bruce barked, just as what sounded like an A-sharp pierced the air.

“Just waiting on the M.E. He’s driving in from Richmond. I think he was fishing up there,” Officer Hillstrand offered.

“Fishing? In this kind of cold? Why? What the hell do you fish for in Richmond, anyway? Carp in a fountain?” Bruce, a San Diego native shrugged and pulled her Burberry scarf tighter.

Officer Edgar Hillstrand, himself a Seattle transplant and a passionate fisherman answered authoritatively, “Uh, the Chickahominy River runs up there and today’s the very last day of striped bass season.”

F.B.I. field agent Albie Bruce, who had started to walk away in search of hot coffee, turned back and raised her palms at Hillstrand, silently giving an all too clear, “Big whoop.”

“Well,” Hillstrand mistakenly took this gesture as a request for further information on local fishing, “see, today’s the last day you can fish for striped bass. After today, it’s illegal. Most likely, he’s doing his best to throw a few more hooks while he can,” he smiled, satisfied he’d offered up something pretty valuable.

Bruce didn’t look impressed or pacified and snapped, “I don’t give a crap what today is. I don’t care if it’s the last day to catch a damn mermaid and make her his personal love slave. We got a dead Robin Hood or whatever blowing in the wind here and I want him down. The longer he hangs here, the longer this whole case is compromised.”

Right on cue, the wind blew and the victim’s neck hit a nauseating C-minor. Bruce winced and looked at her victim. With a spark of pity for the method of demise, appropriate sorrow for the family members whom had yet to see the crime scene and a healthy bit of professional admiration for the killer’s attention to irony and detail, she shook her head and wondered why a grown man would dress up like Peter Pan, or whomever he was supposed to be, and run about with a bunch of other grown-up fools singing and strumming all over this overpriced, colonial Wally World?

She turned away from the body, then after a glance at an attentive Hillstrand whom was clearly awaiting instruction or query, watched as a couple of local law enforcement officers, bass fishermen she mused, finally secured the gap in the partition. She could hear audible disappointment from the Palace Green crowd and, disgusted, taught the oyster shell path a lesson as she crunched it mercilessly beneath her navy, Ralph Lauren, work pumps. She left the body and headed toward the temporary command center that was set up in the courtyard. She refilled her stainless steel coffee Thermos from one of the two large, metal coffee pots on a folding table. She splashed a dash of half-and-half inside, turning it the shade of Beyonce, screwed on the top, shook it, then unscrewed the top and filled the Thermos lid with steaming, bland comfort.

“First Colony coffee,” she scrunched her face in revulsion at the Virginia brew as she took a hearty yet vile gulp. “What a bunch of crap. Why can't I  get any damn Peet's in this town?”

 

As always, all material copyrighted and not permissible for copying, for commercial or private use. Cheers!

 
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 10:22 Jennifer Devore
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Just when I'm convinced the candy corn glow makes Hallowe'en the best season ever, Christmastime sprinkles me with cinnamon and nutmeg fairy dust and it's off to races I go! No more Pumpkin Spice lattes, no, Siree! Now, 'tis time for Gingerbread and Egg Nog lattes! ~insert Homer Simpson-style drool here~ Yes, what could be more glorious than Christmastime? If you know Moi, you know the only answer to that could be ... Disneyland at Christmastime!

I'm oft queried, usually accompanied by a snide, wrinkled nose, "How times can you go to Disneyland? Isn't it all the same, all the time?" In two words, respectively, "Googolplex" and "No". If I may  ...

Especially at Christmastime, Disney is aglow and alive with new designs, décor and discovery. California Adventure Park, par example, is sporting an all new, first-time ever, holiday overlay on Buena Vista Street, including the luxuriously Art Deco-inspired department store Elias & Co. If the mall is just a tad too modern for you, if it lacks the creativity some of us need, and if the likes of Target, Wal-Mart and Kohl's are just not our scene (hands up high!), a Buena Vista Christmas just might be A Christmas Story overload your contemporary senses crave right now: 50ft., old-fashioned Christmas tree, vintage toys, model trains and kiddie pics with old St. Nick.

Do yourself a huge favour. Get at least one day of holiday shopping in with Walt. Not close to a Disney park? Maybe you do live or vacation nearby, but don't want to pay the hefty entrance fee or commit to an annual pass? (You should, but that's a personal matter.) No worries, pals. Downtown Disney shopping and dining districts can feed your holiday needs, in both the Golden and Sunshine States. Tokyo and Paris each have a park and, if all else fails, a visit to your local mall's Disney Store can provide a travel-size portion of Mickey cheer. Not even a mall nearby? Wow. Well, gimme a minute. Ah! A little shopping at DisneyStore.com whilst watching Mickey's Christmas Carol will do the job nicely!

Disney merch isn't all Mickey ears, giant pencils and pinwheel suckers. Some of you would be happily surprised at the selections hidden amidst the back streets and castle crevices. Star Traders in Tomorrowland, at the egress of Star Tours, proffers an impressive inventory of Star Wars figures, apparel and collectibles for the sci-fi geek on your list. My geek faves? Muppets-as-Star Wars figures and the Obi Wan bathrobe.

New Orleans Square offers moderately priced, casually pretty pirate tees and other, pricier, Disney Couture gear. No hip-top kind of gals on your list? Mlle. Antoinette's Parfumerie boasts sleek shelves and shiny glass cases full of dear-but-worth-it designer scents: Christian Dior, Shalimar and more.

Main Street, Fantasyland and Frontierland have enough shops to keep you busy sifting through racks and shelves of crystal, porcelain, jewelry, fine leather goods, fine art, Disneyana, Pendleton, Dooney & Bourke, Tarina Tarantino and just about anything funky, wonky, pretty, sparkly, wacky, wild and weird to conquer that Christmas or Hanukkah list. As mentioned above, don't forget about Downtown Disney: no admission fee and plenty of Disney joy! My fave spot? Disney Vault 28, of course ... or, as I like to call it, Vault Disney. Get it? Ha ha. (As of late though, I do have to admit the unique selection here has thinned and the quality, especially where the Tarina Tarantino baubles are concerned, is, as the French would say with a shrug and a so-so wiggle of the hand, comme-ci comme-ca. Meh.)

Remember, Christmas shopping is not just about the buying; it's about the perusing, the strolling, the atmosphere and the hot cocoa, spiced cider and egg nog cappuccinos. IMHO, going into New Year's debt over gifts is just stupid. It really is the thought that counts. True, Disney may not be the least expensive brand; but there are enough goodies under $30 with a unique and personal factor that outweighs even Auntie Wilma's high-end Neiman-Marcus gifties. (Of course, that does not mean we don't still want Auntie Wilma's Neimans boxes!!)

Whether it's precious alone-time (Underestimate not the joy of Disney meandering by oneself.) or with a pal, whether with a lovey-dovey or a little loved one, Disney provides everything modern senses require for the perfect Christmas Story-Christmas: fireworks, festive drinks (adult and non-alkie), treaty-sweeties, parades,  characters in holiday haberdashery and loads of photo-ops everywhere you turn. Disneyland is for fun, friends and family ... especially friends! Who knows what next Christmas may bring? You owe it to yourself. Be happy! Go to Disneyland!

Fave Disneyland Holiday Attractions!

Haunted Mansion Holiday: New Orleans Square and The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay! If you're a regular reader of mine, you know full-well my love for Jack and Sally ... and Zero!

Buena Vista Street's Very First Christmas: California Adventure Park's 1920s, small town Christmas and department store, Elias & Co. ... get yourself some Midwest-America nostalgia.

Jingle Jangle Jamboree: Frontierland's "West Pole" f/ country tuneage by Billy Hill and the Holiday Hillbillies, Mrs. Claus' Christmas cookies, Holiday Corral and Santa's reindeer, plus a holiday crafting station!

A Christmas Fantasy Parade: The classic! Rollerskating snowflakes, minueting Princes and Princesses, wooden soldiers, prancing reindeer and all your fave characters in the gayest holiday gear!

 

All slideshow photos by Loren Javier

 
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JennyPopcorn: Netflix New Releases

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    Ambitious Mae Holland can't believe her good luck when the mightiest tech company on Earth -- The Circle -- hires her. But Mae's enthusiasm for her new job wavers after meeting a colleague who's skeptical of the company's objectives.
  • Gifted

    When his sister dies, 30-something bachelor Frank Adler assumes the care of her 7-year-old daughter. But his plans to raise her are threatened when the child reveals herself to be a math prodigy, and his mom suddenly gets involved.
  • The Boss Baby

    An addition to the family in the form of a suit-wearing baby brother has 7-year-old Tim worried about losing his parents' affection. But when a corporate plot threatens the balance of love in the world, Tim teams with his sibling to foil the scheme.
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    Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is an out-of-work party girl who, after getting kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend (Dan Stevens), is forced to leave her life in New York and move back to her hometown where she's reunited with her childhood friend (Jason Sudeikis). When news...

Meet Miss JennyPop

Jennifer Susannah Devore

Jenny Pop is the acclaimed Author of the Savannah of Williamsburg series of books and The Darlings of Orange County. In addition, Jen is a prolific consumer of media and pop culture. Never leaving the house without her journal and fave Waterman pen, an old-fashioned, analog book (usually Hunter S. Thompson) and a fresh coat of lipstick, she is constantly on the hunt for fun, espresso, animation  and comics of any kind and always ready for an impromptu day at Disneyland.  JennyPop.net is a natural extension of  Jen's World; so, spend some time visiting. You'll have fun, she promises!

Meet The Darlings

The Darlings of Orange County

The sexy, cashmere beaches of southern California aren't always what they seem. The dirty little secret here is what it takes to survive. Everyone has a trick up their silk sleeve. Liz Lemon meets Parker Posey, Veronica Darling is smart enough to know what it takes and is willing to soil her soul to bring Hollywood to the California Riviera. The Darlings of Orange County is a salacious, hilarious, harrowing romp chock full of eco-terrorism, horse-racing scandals, weed deals and the obligatory lipstick-lesbian affair that inevitably leads to murder. It all climaxes in a white-knuckled, glitzy, celebrity-stacked Laguna Beach Film Premiere that spells success for Veronica Darling and trouble for her friends and family.

Meet Miss Savannah Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Meet Miss Savannah of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Equal parts Amelia Earhart, Lucy Honeychurch, Scarlett O'Hara and Miss Piggy, Savannah is a scholar, adventurer and a lady. Moreover, she is a pebble in the silver-buckled shoe of injustice and with her best pals she is not a squirrel to challenge. She carries  the Magna Carta in one paw and the latest Parisian silk bag in her other. Whether fighting to end slavery, arguing for freedom of the press or scheming to end a duel, Miss Savannah does so with wit and persistence. Read more to meet her best friends and accomplices: Ichabod Wolfgang and Dante Marcus Pritchen. Prepare to also meet pirates, a Venetian fox and an Irish gull, The Commodore!

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Meet Miss Hannah

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

So, here's the low down, all you Joes and Janes ... I'm Hannah Hart, dead girl. Don't fret, it's actually a sweet dish being dead. Having perished in 1934 in a terrifically vicious accessories incident with actress Ida Lupino, I reside where I died: San Diego's gorgeous Hotel del Coronado. It ain't a bad gig at all, really! Great weather, swanky guests (not to mention a few fellow ghosties), amazing amenities, my own private turret overlooking the sea and all the java juice and giggle water I can handle; plus, these bartenders know how to make a Planter's Punch like nobody's business! See, I've been waiting for this Internet thing forever ... now, instead of slamming doors and moving lamps, I get to wag my tongue all I like at goodtobeageek.com

Abyssinia, kids!