Movie Review: My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Plot:A young Greek woman falls in love with a non-Greek and struggles to get her family to accept him while she comes to terms with her heritage and cultural identity

As we head into February, it seems like it’s that time of the year again. I am a big fan of romantic comedies that doesn’t make you want to puke, and this certainly fits the bill. I watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding in June last year, and found it a really fun and sweet comedy that I will probably watch twenty times in the future again. The question is: why haven’t I ever seen this film?


I LOVED it. It was the perfect pick me up when I watched it, and I have watched it once more already. It was so lovely. If you have a big, loud family, you will relate with all of Toula’s problems. I loved her dad and his Windex. I loved the mom and how she expertly handled dad who thought he was in charge of the house. I loved the sense of family from the women.  I loved how Ian Miller fell for and went after Toula, and how sweet and caring and understanding he was. Only a man with plenty of courage will go willingly marry in to that family! Aunt Voula was a delight, with her inappropriate comments and stories. The story about her dead twin made me laugh so hard. The film is a celebration of strange families and how we are stuck because you love them even when they embarrass you.  It is quick witted, sweet and caring. Toula’s wedding was hilarious – the level of makeup and tull and who knows what else they stuck on her was quite funny.

Definitely recommended as a delightful hilarity – it is also a quick watch so if you are like me and hate drawn out films, definitely consider this one!

Rating: 8.5/10


Book Review: Savour the Moment (Nora Roberts)

Book: 49/100


Laurel MacBane’s life as a dessert chef is wonderful. Not only does she work with her closest three childhood friends, Mac, Emma and Parker, she gets to live on the beautiful Brown estate where she works as well. Their wedding business Vows goes from strength to strength and she is happy. The only thing she still secretly wants is the love of Delaney Brown, Parker’s brother.

Del and Laurel’s relationship as friends get questioned one night when he annoys her, and she kisses him to prove she isn’t a sister he is supposed to take care of. He steals her shoes to get her to confront him again, but she is adamant that she isn’t going to. When Parker learns of the new development in her brother and best friend’s relationship, she is excited for them, but it takes some time before Laurel confides in her as she would about any other man.

Laurel and Del make a pact to first be certain that their relationship is going somewhere before they take it to the bedroom. As they start dating she realize that Del may indeed be the man for her, forever.

The only thing Laurel is insecure about is Del’s standing in the community. Though by no means a loser or cast-out, she still feels marked by her parents’ scandals. Compared to her, Del and his Brown legacy is almost royalty in Greenwich. They tackle their problems as they arise, and there is only one incident that she hides from him – her confrontation with Mac’s horrendous mother Linda. Laurel catches Linda trying to sneak into Mac’s home, and when the confrontation doesn’t go as Linda planned, she attacks Laurel and tells her that Laurel’s father slept with her, and that she will never be good enough for a Brown. Laurel tries to shake it off, but ultimately she believes what Linda said – that she isn’t good enough. When Laurel and the entire group head towards Del and Parker’s new beach house, the cracks start to show in their relationship. Can Del truly understand where Laurel is coming from, and will he be able to meet her halfway?

Rating: 6.5/10

Of all the books in the Bridal Quartet series, this is my favorite one. Laurel MacBane is the character I can relate to the most. She is cranky, dedicated, obsessed with her work and just a little bitchy. She and Del seemed like a couple that could actually happen – two people who love each other already, and have a firm base of friendship to work from. I liked Del – successful, sexy and good to the bone, he manages to appear more real than Jack did. I liked how no one needed to push him into admitting his feelings, or taking the final leap.

Read my reviews of Vision in White and Bed of Roses (one and two) respectively.

Have you read any of these books? Tell me what you thought!

What happened this weekend, feeling sorry for myself and such matters


Image source

Truly, nothing much happened this weekend. I devoted my entire Sunday to reading. More on that to follow.

Saturday I saw my one uncle. My extended family aren’t close, and I really don’t care much for it, but I arrived to say hi on my grandmother’s request. Which she turned around so it seemed I was dying to see him. Queue extreme irritation.  It was nice to see him, but also very obvious why my mother isn’t interested in staying connected with them. I am content with the family I have, as cold as it sounds. I don’t need people who only deign to show their faces every seven years.

Afterwards, I went to the shops, spent money I shouldn’t have, and got a new book. My little sister found a DVD she has been searching for ages for – Letters to Juliet. We also got Breaking Dawn Part one. That night we watched both. I will be posting reviews sometime during the next couple of weeks.

Books read

Last week I read about four books, and turned towards madness when I read Nora Robert’s the Witness the entire day yesterday, and finished it. 488 pages.

I think I will be giving reading a break, even if it is only for a few days.

PS: it was an amazing read

Feeling sorry for myself

My newly married sister and her husband are returning from Mauritius from their honeymoon, and it means I am back at home. I love home, but it is very crowded at the moment. I will miss my freedom and quiet so much. It is true motivation to get in a place where I can live in my own place.

Diet, exercise and studying

The three things I really need to get done. Like right now.

Starting with exams the first of November, and it is extremely close.

Chemistry, here I come.

The very extended weekend

I’m back! It has been a really long time since I have been at work. It feels very strange, I have to say.

The weekend was largely dedicated to my sister’s wedding. I was on leave from Wednesday, and I went and brought their wedding present. I got a DVD player – they didn’t have one until now, and I thought it would be something they can really use. Thurday we did our nails – it took AGES. We were four people who went at once, so it wasn’t unexpected.

Friday was such a crazed day. My sister, the bride, woke up with the terrible stomach bug that had been terrorising the entire Johannesburg last week. We rushed her to the doctor, and he gave her an injection. We tucked her into bed immediately and hoped for the best. Then I, my family and our soon to be extended family went and set up the reception hall. That evening, my best friend in the entire world arrived in Joburg. I am so touched that they made such effort to be here. Truly, their week had been terrible, and they still came – that is true friendship. Thanks, Zoë.

Wedding day

We started wedding day with getting our hair done. At that point, hair was the only stress factor I still had. During the week my sister went and checked that we were booked, and our names wasn’t even in the diary! Even after that was fixed, I was still worried. Luckily (and really luckily, as I would have blasted them on every single social platform I had access to if something had gone wrong) our hair was done as quick as possible. I won’t mention the salon’s name, as I wasn’t impressed with their attitudes at all, and at the end of the day, I could have easily done my hair like that myself. I can however say that I won’t be returning to them anytime soon.

Afterwards we went to the Lido hotel in the South of Joburg to get ready. In the last few years they made a lot of effort to fix and upgrade the hotel to a modern environment. It looked really great there!

Our wedding car driver (a dear friend) forgot the flowers at the church and raced to and from in ten minutes (quite a feat, I can assure you), and then we drove to the church. I was so stressed out by the busy road that I was five minutes from church when I realised that my sister was actually getting married. I arrived at church completely stressed out.

It was the most beautiful ceremony. I was close to tears a number of times, as you are supposed to be at weddings. Everything was so beautiful and happy and sweet. It was so right.

On Monday we waved off the newlyweds to Mauritius. Enjoy, Mr. and Mrs. Van Vuren!

I was on leave on Monday (to recover from an insane week) and slept so nice. It was wonderful. I am taking care of my sisters apartment when she is away, and I can guarantee that I will be sad when I have to move back home. I certainly see the advantages of getting my own place.

Tuesday, the 24th of September, was Heritage day in South-Africa. We are an incredibly culture rich society – we have eleven official languages. On Heritage Day we celebrate our diversity as people and our unity as a nation. It is also Braai Day now – where South-Africans do what they do best – braai. Going to a braai is the equivalent of going to a barbeque. Just don’t call it a barbeque. Foreigner.

My book challenge had a revival this weekend. Despite having a million things to do, I read five books this past week and a half. Four of them were easy – it is the Bridal Quartet books written by Nora Roberts. Appropriate. I am now busy with the Three Sisters Trilogy, by the same author. I have always loved both series. I am now at 52 books. It will be a miracle if I manage to read another 48 books by February (that is when I started my book challenge). I need to get through my two exams with Unisa before I can fully relax and just read. I wish I had known my year would be so insane, and then I would have made my challenge 52 books in a year. LOL.

That is what I have for you on this Thursday, which feels like a Monday.

PS: This post was for yesterday, but my internet chose to not work on the day I returned. Nice, I know.


Ode to my parents

My sister asked me to make a toast to my parents on her wedding. A terrifying thought, but not impossible, as I truly admire and respect my parents. I never went through a rebellious phase, and they never needed to lock me up and hide the key. I think that means they are truly outstanding parents. Not to gloss over our relationship – because sometimes I want to murder them like any other twenty year old – but they both have qualities that I find amazing. My dad is amazingly intelligent and well read. He knows something about everything. What I admire the most is his religious knowledge – he isn’t a Christian because he was raised as one, but because he has researched and studied the Bible and related theology for years. My mom has a rare and terrifying gift – she is able to take care of children. You might think it sounds like something small, but she is able to take care of 20 kids under the age of two effortlessly. I am not a kid person – they scare me senselessly. So I really admire her talent.

Here is the wedding toast, translated into English. I left the Afrikaans part as well, as tomorrow is Heritage Day in South-Africa.

Wedding Toast

Evening everybody

My name is Natasha Stander, and I am sure everyone here knows I am the bride’s sister. My toast tonight is to two people who is directly responsible for raising the amazing person who married Stefan tonight – my parents Jan and Theresa Stander.

I searched for a quote to describe good parents – the closest I could find was a quote by H. Jackson Brown.

“Live so that when your children think of fairness and caring and integrity they think of you”

These wise words describe something about my parents – they were always fair and honest. We never had to doubt their love for us, or that they care. We always had everything we needed. They taught us that you could have anything if you worked hard enough for it.

So this is not only a toast, but a thank you ask well – thank you for the love and wisdom and advice of a lifetime.

To Jan and Theresa!


Naand almal

My naam is Natasha Stander, en ek is seker meeste van julle weet Theranne is my sister. My heildronk vannaad is op twee mense wat direk verantwoordelik is vir die fantastiese mens wat met Stefan vanaand getrou het – my ouers Jan en Theresa Stander.

Ek het gesoek na iets wat verduidelik wat goeie ouers is. Die naaste wat ek kon kom was iets wat H. Jackson Brown Jnr gesê het:

“Live so that when your children think of fairness and caring and integrity they think of you”

Hierdie wyse woorde verduidelik iets van my ouers – hulle was altyd regverdig en eerlik. Ons hoef nooit te getwyfel het dat hulle vir ons lief is nie, of dat hulle vir ons omgee nie. Ons het altyd alles gehad wat ons gekort het. Hulle het ons geleer dat jy enigeiets kan wees as jy hard genoeg daarvoor werk.

Hierdie is nie net ‘n heildronk nie, maar ‘n dankie sê ook – dankie vir die liefde en wysheid en raad vir ‘n leeftyd.

Op Jan en Theresa!

5 Things Friday: Five romantic movies you have to watch

Happy Friday!

While you are reading this, I am probably running around like a headless chicken – my sister is getting married tomorrow. Many congratulations, sister and very-soon brother-in-law! May you have happiness and love in abundance for the rest of your lives. I am so proud of both of you.

Here is my installment of Five things Friday, and keeping with the theme of lurrrvee, Five Favorite Romantic movies I love and think you should watch.

Movie One: Crazy, Stupid Love

Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling star in this movie. Usually star studded films can steer horribly wrong, but I really liked this one. It had a few surprising twists and turns, and managed to be both funny and serious at times.

Movie Two: Dirty Dancing

dirty dancing

Patrick Swayze dancing. ‘nuff said.

Movie Three: Letters to Juliet


I think this movie is seriously underrated. Amanda Seyfried is one of my favorite actresses (it may be because she is one of the only young Hollywood stars not acting out right now) and she is wonderful in this touching romantic film about finding lost love, and how you can achieve something if you never stop believing.

Movie Four: 10 Things I hate about you

This movie is one of my all-time favorites. Heath Ledger as a teen? It is hilarious to see 90’s high school kids as well.

Movie 5: PS I love you


Prepare the tissues. I cry every single time when I watch it. Maybe it is only because Gerard Butler dies. But it is still excruciatingly sad.

Weekend and the final countdown


To what, you may ask?

My sister’s wedding!

Next week this time she is Mrs. Van Vuren, and happily on her way to honeymoon.

And I will have my life back 😉

Okay, I’m joking


This weekend my granny and uncle arrived from Mosselbay (East Coast, South-Africa). It is so wonderful to have them here. Our family, for various reasons, aren’t very close, and they will basically be representing our blood relations at the wedding. For that I am so grateful. I rarely feel bereft of family, because I have such good relationships with my sisters and parents, and I feel I don’t need much else. I also have so many good friends – they are true family. If I have to be honest, it is a bit strange having them in the house. By nature, I am not a talkative person – I will babble your head off if I know you, but other I am very shy.

I can also with certainty say I am not a case of being switched as a baby in a hospital – the resemblance between my gran and me is staggering – I am grateful, because I won’t grow into an old hag (I was hugely popular when I told my gran I now know I will age gracefully).

Saturday we practiced walking down the aisle. I still maintain I will strut down like a supermodel, but no one believes me. Hah. (I love my life, so I probably will gracefully glide down). Respect for my little sister – she was so sick and she still refused to stay at home and not practice. Well done little one!

Sunday night I received an email from someone I have truly forgotten about. It is one of those friendships that just died after school, and I am not sure it deserves a resurrection. Still, I will feel petty, childish and rude if I don’t reply, but as this friendship was fraught with drama, I can’t see how we can restart it. I wish someone could just tell me what to do, honestly. It is so difficult.

For such a busy weekend, I actually managed to an impressive amount of material. I finished Watermelon by Marian Keyes. I have been wondering about the missing link in the Welsh family series for ages, but never knew there was a book about the eldest sister, Clare. (I can hear you thinking that I should just have used Google). I enjoyed the book, but my favorite Welsh character remains Rachel from Rachel’s holiday. This book falls somewhere between my second and third favourite of the series. I am now really close to have read all Marian Keyes’ books. I think there is two left – I will see and read them. I really like her writing style.

I started on another Nora Roberts book – I know. It is one I read last year quite a bit. It is the first book in her Bridal Quartet series – the Vision in White. I love the entire series, and am now reading it through. It is fun and easy to read, which is just what I need right now.


I have taken a hiatus on Wuthering Heights for a few days. I am nearly done with it, but I am struggling. It is heart wrenchingly sad and depressing. I like love stories with happy endings, dammit.

Fitness and weight loss update: Just GUESS who lost 2kg’s last week?! ME! It is just amazing what happens if you don’t eat chocolate all the time and exercise properly. I am working really hard right now to maintain that loss, and even lose some more. I am now in a wonderful gymming phase – I am enjoying it. I think it is the warmer weather. Everyone seems to be in the mood for running if you take a look at the queue by the treadmills.

Unisa: I submitted my last two assignments this morning. The one is chemistry, so I really hope that the questions I think I did right, I did right. it is statistics all over again – I just want to pass. I can literally kick myself for not taking science as a subject in school. I can sense I will love it if it can just stop being so foreign and new – and it is my own damn fault. I have to seriously sit down and focus if I want to attempt passing in November. It is essential to pass, since most of my other subjects require me to do this properly. SIGH.

What did you do this weekend? I hope it was great!

Weekend and stuff


This weekend was so busy. At the moment it feels that there will never be something like a quiet weekend again. It is just so crazy right now.

Friday I went to the gym, and then watched movies with my sister, whose fiancé went away on his bachelor’s weekend. She was stressed so we spent the night watching movies and series. We watched some 2 Broke girls, which is always ridiculously funny and stupid, and we watched Silver Linings Playbook again. It is probably the most messed up and accurate portrayal of most relationships.

Saturday we had my sister’s kitchen tea. It was really nice. I love when people just click and have great conversation when they just meet. I can’t wait for the wedding! Two week countdown. My gran and uncle are arriving this Saturday. It will be amazing to have them here with us.


Sadly, my book challenge went nowhere this weekend. Just had no time. I am still working through the most depressing book on the planet, Wuthering Heights, and also started on the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. So far, I can confess it completely unique and well written.

 Wuthering Heights quotes

My dieting and exercise is just an uphill battle. I am exercising really well, but not seeing any results on the scale – no running away from a bad diet. I thought the wedding would motivate me enough, but alas, it hasn’t. I just need that final push to get my mind in the correct way of thinking.


What did you do this weekend?

Read my review on Silver Linings Playbook here.

Saturday Quotes

Happy Saturday!

While you are reading this, I am getting ready for my sister’s bachelorette party. It is going to be fantastic. This week hasn’t been easy – “friends” revealed their true colors, people cancelled last minute, unexpected situations had to be accepted, plans had to be adapted. And guess what? I survived. I am sure I will carry on surviving, because that is what you do. You learn to live with disappointment and stress, and find a way to be happy in spite of it.

Here is a beautiful quote. Enjoy the weekend!