Hallmark's "Winter's Dream" & Overcoming Defeat

Image:  Crown Media, United States LLC
Starring:  Kristy Swanson and Dean Cain

Released:  2018

Summary:  When a teenage downhill skier asks a former champion for help, the past winner-turned-coach gains new passion for the sport and a budding romance.

Don't you love when Hallmark movies feature veteran actors you've seen in prominent programs?

Did you place Kristy Swanson?  She played Simone in Ferris Buehler's Day Off, Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Marlowe in the TV series Psych.  

Although Dean Cain has been in over 100 movies, including several for Hallmark, he will always be best known as Superman from the 1990's series, Lois & Clark:  The New Adventures of Superman.  Despite his 54th birthday being just around the corner, he's still as handsome as ever.


The Pain of Defeat

Kat Miller (Swanson) is a former ski champion who has happily resigned herself to working in her father's ski shop, Heart of the Mountain.  His business is struggling, however, because neighboring Epic Mountain is newer and attracting most of the tourists.

When teenager, Anna Decker, asks Kat to be her coach, it stirs up a lot of bad memories.  Despite her skiing successes, the painful humiliation of wiping out in a past race paralyzes Kat from moving beyond instructing kids at the bunny slopes.

Isn't that how fear works?  Fear keeps us from moving forward.  It prevents us from fulfilling our dreams, using our talents, and walking in our destinies.

What's holding you back?

It only takes one criticism, one rejection, one mistake to shake our confidence and stop us in our tracks.  We avoid risks to guard our hearts.  Do you want to be plagued with thoughts of what might have been, if only. . .?

Kat's passion has always been skiing, but she squelches that spark to avoid potential failure, until she realizes the potential for success is worth the risk.

Is there something you've dreamed of doing but are afraid to try?  Fight your fears with faith and the determination to succeed! 

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What Coaching Style Do You Like Best?

Have you ever participated in a sport?  What was your coach like?

Maddy Morrison is Bliss Valley's skiing celebrity, and she's back in town to coach a new generation of competitive skiers.  She's a tough, harsh, and rigid taskmaster.

Kat's coaching style is just the opposite.  She's encouraging, understanding, patient, and positive.  She is creative in her instruction, incorporating marshmallows, music, and books into her lessons to get the desired result.  Anna is much more responsive to Kat's style than Maddy's, which is why she convinces Kat to accept her as a student.  It works--Anna finds the courage to try again after she falls, and she wins the race!

Which coaching method best matches your personality?  Would you prefer strict and demanding or upbeat and relaxed? 

Do You Ski?

Kat organizes Bliss Valley's Winterfest celebration (don't you love the tie-in to Hallmark's movie season?), and it's such a booming success that the right people notice and decide to hold the Junior Nationals in Bliss Valley instead of Epic.  The local businesses are saved!

Winter's Dream makes you feel like you're on the slopes, too.  Did you know that according to 2017 statistics, 14.94 million Americans enjoy skiing?

Skiers carry torches down the mountain at the conclusion of the Winterfest celebration, and it looks gorgeous against the night sky.  For me, holding a torch while skiing would end badly, so I'll just watch it on Hallmark.


Hallmark Seasons of Love Facebook Family

If you're not already a member of our Hallmark Seasons of Love Facebook group, join today!  We talk about Hallmark movies covering Winterfest, Love Ever After, Spring Fever, June Weddings, Summer Nights, and Fall Harvest.  For all things Christmas, join our sister Facebook group, Hallmark Christmas Movie Magic.  

#WintersDream #Hallmarkies #HallmarkChannel #DeanCain #Winterfest

Hallmark's Love On Iceland--Do You Have Wanderlust?

Image:  Crown Media, United States LLC
Starring:  Kaitlin Doubleday and Colin Donnell

Released:  2020

Summary:  A woman running low on inspiration for her job decides to get her college travel group back together, and they take a trip to Iceland.

My Rating:  3/5 snowflakes ❄❄❄

Do You Have Wanderlust?

Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel.

Does that describe you?

People create bucket lists of vacation destinations.  For some, the goal might be to visit all 50 states in the U.S.A.  Others delight in discovering new cultures and prefer international travel.  If you pine for salt life, you might map out the world's best beaches for future getaways.

People with wanderlust are always dreaming about their next adventure.  They would rather be anywhere other than home.

Then there are those of us who would rather be home than anywhere.  Home is a peaceful escape from the rest of the world.  At home, you don't deal with long lines, layovers, bed bugs, language barriers, unpronounceable food, or dirty hotel rooms.  The bed is always cozy, and you can sit on the toilet without fear of picking up a virus.


How Many College Kids Can Afford To Travel?

In Love On Iceland, Chloe reunites with her college travel group for a trip to Iceland.

My first question is, how do college kids ever afford being in a travel group?

Think back to your own college days.  Unless you came from wealthy stock, money was tight then.  You worked as much as you could to cover tuition, books, gas, car insurance, food, and lodging, and you hoped to have a little left over for incidentals and time out with friends.  Budgets didn't allow for expensive and exotic trips, unless your parents took you with them on vacation.

This was an unrealistic movie premise for me.  It would have been more believable had a group of college friends once dreamed of planning a trip together to Iceland and then making it happen once they were older, established in their careers, and financially capable.

How Much Does It Cost to Vacation in Iceland?

Iceland is not a cheap place to visit, but vacationers can plan a trip around their budget.  Some couples spend $5,000 for a week-long trip, but that price can go up or down depending on the type of accommodations, how many excursions are planned, the number of times dining out, etc.  

What is there to do?  

Experiencing the natural wonders is the highlight of the trip.  

You can tour an ice cave, as they did in the movie, snorkel, go in a volcano, see the Northern Lights, hike a glacier, visit the Gold Circle, and more.  

Just like in the movie, it is possible to sleep outdoors in a bubble! Just book an exclusive overnight tour at the 5 Million Star Hotel.  Personally, I would feel a little too exposed in a translucent room, and I would not be keen on sharing the "service house" for the bathroom, shower, and kitchen.  A night in the bubble costs around $285, but it is a novel way to experience the Northern Lights.

I'm content with pictures.  

If you had a chance to go to Iceland, would you go?

Did the Movie Remind You of Disney's "Frozen?"

With her love of Norse myths and surrounded by ice, I half expected Chloe to start belting out Let it Go, but she didn't, though she commented the country is "like a Disney movie."

Smart of Hallmark to capitalize on Frozen's success.

"Me" Time

Chloe needs inspiration because it's challenging to find podcasts that haven't already been done.  Sound familiar?  It's almost like Hallmark is playing off their own quandary in finding movie plots that haven't already been done and filming locations they haven't already used scores of times.  In Iceland, Chloe finds the answer to her dilemma, and Hallmark enjoys a new location.

While viewing the Mead of Poetry in the Viking Village's museum, Chloe is struck with the idea of hosting her own podcast and calling it Epic Tales of Love.  Charlie records her interviews with other Icelandic couples, and when her boss sees her in action, he can't help but offer her a podcast of her own.

Before her trip to Iceland though, Chloe laments there's "no time for myself."  She's single and without kids.  All she has is time for herself!  "No time for myself" is the mantra of parenthood, so it's hard to offer Chloe much sympathy.  Right, parents?

Dating a Photographer  

What would it be like to date a photographer?  Did you notice all the candid photos Charlie takes of Chloe?  

Wouldn't it feel a little weird to have someone always snapping shots of you?  At some point, it might be a little creepy and intrusive.  Maybe you eventually adjust.

In the event of a break-up, however, just think of all the ammo the photographer would have.  He could plaster the worst photos all over social media, embarrass you at work, and ruin your chances with someone else by using the right incriminating photo.

As much as Charlie clicks away, the one thing he's never been able to capture is the Northern Lights.  Yet, when the lights appear, he's distracted with Chloe and doesn't even photograph them.  Where's the continuity director?   

All in all, Love On Iceland provides the viewer with beautiful scenery and a different plot and allows us to experience Iceland--a place most of us wouldn't see otherwise.

Two Hallmark Facebook Groups to Join!

In our Hallmark Seasons of Love Facebook group, we post about Hallmark movies airing during Winterfest, Love Ever After, Spring Fever, June Weddings, Summer Nights, and Fall Harvest.  Our group is more insightful and interesting than most since our posts offer more substance and less monotony.  You are welcome to join us!

If Christmas movies are what you love best about Hallmark, we have a Facebook group dedicated to those too!  Just visit Hallmark Christmas Movie Magic to take part in the conversation about all the Christmas movies you eat up like catnip!

#Hallmarkies #LoveOnIceland #HallmarkChannel #HallmarkFacebook

Hallmark's "Love In Winterland--" Reality Dating, Blasts From the Past, & More

Image:  Crown Media, United States LLC
Starring:  Italia Ricci and Chad Michael Murray

Released:  2020

Summary:  A woman is a final contestant on a dating show, but she realizes she must face her high school sweetheart after getting selected for the Hometown Date.

My rating:  3/5 Snowflakes ❄❄❄

Love in Winterland is a fun story about a reality dating show.  Since reality programming is big business, Hallmark was smart to tap the vein.

The Interrogation

Ally Wilson (Italia Ricci) participates in Hallmark's version of The Bachelor, but it's just a publicity stunt for the hotel for which she works.  Its success lands her a promotion, and she's surprised how many boxes Tanner Dillon (Jack Turner) manages to check from her list of ideal mate qualities.  Personally, I'm a sucker for an English accent, even if he does have two first names.

Ally's dad, Tom, isn't convinced.  He says Tanner is P.O.P.--Perfect on Paper. Tanner is an entrepreneur (usually meaning without stable employment), a cook, a skier....he is well-rounded and proficient at many things.  Any parent would be concerned--how could a man so perfect still be single?  There must be something wrong.

At a televised dinner date with her parents, Ally's dad leads the interrogation.  He bluntly advises Tanner to pick a career path and stick with it because a Jack-of-all-trades is a master of none.  Ally's mom unabashedly brings up the subject of children. Most of us would mortified in Ally's place!

As a joke, Tom says he'd feel better if he could see Tanner's last two years of tax returns.  Despite the brutal cross-examination, Tanner stays in the game.

Any Hallmark guy who doesn't get the girl is usually arrogant, jerky, unattractive, or a doofus so the viewer won't be upset when he loses her to the better man.  Tanner is different.  He's sauve, well-spoken, and passably good-looking, so it's nice to see Hallmark deviate from the formula.

What's the most embarrassing thing your parents said to a person you dated?  If you remember, share your experience in the comments (you can use your name or comment anonymously)!

Guilty Pleasures

Ally's dad admits being hooked on the reality show Happily Ever After, much like we are addicted to Hallmark movies.  He chides, "Guilty pleasures--everyone needs one."

Do you agree with his statement?  

Aside from Hallmark movies, one of my guilty pleasures is "glug glug" night every Friday with my hubby.  We might chill a bottle of wine or mix some Sprite with a flavored rum or Schnapps, but that one little drink each week is something I enjoy after putting the kids to bed.

If you have a "guilty pleasure" that is G or PG-rated, feel free to share in the comments.

Blasts From the Past

We meet "Mean Helene" in the movie, and I would hazard a guess we all know someone like her from high school, or maybe even middle school.

What name just popped into your mind?

I have a list!  Lori, Ruth, Belinda, and Shammy.  Four big bullies from middle school who were older than me and haunted me through ninth grade, until they slipped through the academic cracks into Loser-ville and irrelevancy.  

Do mean people from school really change like Helene does?  I doubt it.  My mom once offered me this sage advice:  The *itches from school just grow up to be older *itches. 

If you can prove that theory wrong, please share your positive experience to encourage the rest of us that bullies sometimes do mend their ways.

Brett Hollister is another blast from Ally's past.  He's her high school sweetheart, and Brett admits there's just something about your first love and your first kiss that you never get over.  

Think about your first love.  Is there still a special place in your heart for that person?  

Hallmark is notorious for reuniting high school sweethearts who find their happily-ever-after.  Does that happen in real life?  Yes!  Sometimes it does.  I met my husband on a blind date when I was 17 and he was 19.  He took me to my homecoming and senior prom, but we parted ways after nearly a year.  Fourteen years later, our paths crossed again, and we were married five months later!    

Why isn't someone making a Hallmark movie about us?  I jest.

Notice the Belly?

Most of us do not have the Barbie doll figure of Hallmark actresses, but Italia Ricci is none too skinny in this movie.  

Turns out, she just had a baby two months prior to filming!

Facebook Fun!

In our Hallmark Seasons of Love Facebook group, we are talking about every seasonal Hallmark film, except Christmas--it is too special and has a group of its own, Hallmark Christmas Movie Magic.  

We would love for you to join us!  We answer trivia, take polls, chatter, enjoy an occasional contest, and more!  Don't miss out!

Shop and support  Hallmark Seasons of Love--it keeps this site going and allows for more contests! 
Just click on the Amazon ad below and shop as normal!


#Witnerfest #LoveInWinterland #Hallmark #ChadMichaelMurray

What Do You Love Most About Winter?

You don't have to like winter to love Hallmark's Winterfest.  Despite the nip in the air, our leading lady never gives her man the cold shoulder, nor does he ever dismiss her as a flake.  They fall in love in three seconds, and we are snow happy if the final lip lock melts thick ice.

Image:  Crown Media, LLC

What Do You Love Most About Winter?

Don't you dare say, when it's over!

In Winter in Vail, Lacey Chabert's character is fascinated by all the stars that are visible in the night sky--they are so clear, unlike in Los Angeles where the city lights make them impossible to see.

Her uncle's chalet is off the beaten path and insulated with snow.  She marvels at the absolute quiet.

Quiet--that's one of my favorite things about winter.  If you live in a warm climate, you may never get the chance to notice it.

The birds aren't singing.  An orchestra of mowers isn't playing.  Leaf blowers aren't whirring.  The joyful screams of children aren't echoing through the neighborhood.  Air conditioners are silent.  There's not even the occasional buzz of a passing bee.  Everything is quiet and serene.

On snowy days, passing cars are barely noticeable, their sound being muffled by the white, sparkling cushion.  

The hush doesn't last, but by spring, chirping birds are a welcome melody. 

Winter's Downside

If you love fun in the sun, then winter might give you the blues.

You have to don bulky outerwear to venture out, slush and salt muck up your vehicle, and your family can't spend as much time outside burning off energy and calories.

It's too cold to play in the water, and flu season often strikes with a vengeance.

Everything looks dead.  No produce growing in your garden.  No flowers blooming.  No feathered friends splashing in your bird bath.

The best way to beat cabin fever is to wring out all the good winter does have to offer.  Create your own Winterfest, and before you know it, warmer days will be around the corner!

Focus On the Positive

Since you don't have to spend so much time manicuring your landscaping during the winter, you have extra time to do the things you miss out on during warmer months.

It might be too cold for a bonfire in the backyard, but if you have a fireplace, you can still enjoy the coziness and warmth indoors.  All you need is a hot beverage (or wine!), a snuggly blanket, and a TV remote.  Plow through your DVR and watch all those recordings you don't have time for once the weather breaks.

Crack the covers of all the books that have piled up for you to read.

Tackle indoor projects you have put off for "when you have time."  Clear the clutter, list unwanted items on Facebook Marketplace, and maybe you'll make enough money to fund your summer vacation.

Speaking of vacation, console yourself by planning your summer trip while you are stuck in the house.  Do all of your online research to find where you want to lodge, what activities you want to do while you are there, the best places to eat and shop, and then make your reservations.  Focusing your attention on vacation planning will take your mind off the winter doldrums.

Put a puzzle together.  It's good for your brain!  

Find new recipes.  It might be too cold to grill on your deck, but  have fun looking through cook books and magazines or browsing online recipe sites to plan comfort foods for winter and some new dishes to try on the grill when you can fire it up without getting frost bite.

Image courtesy of franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Exercise!  If you haven't been walking or jogging due to the chill in the air, you might be getting despondent about gaining weight.  Invest in exercise DVD's you can do at home, grab a friend to walk with you at the mall or Rec Center, or join a gym.  You will feel better!

Best Parts of Winter

The mosquitoes are dead.  

Sweatshirts and sweatpants hide the extra pounds.

Make Winter Fun         

If you have kids or grand kids, look for special activities or events you can do together indoors.

  • Visit a trampoline park
  • Go to a giant soft play area
  • Play board games
  • Craft or color 
  • Plan a shopping trip
  • Stay overnight at an indoor water park
  • Try ice skating (If you're single, pretend you're in a Hallmark movie and fall into the arms of a good-looking stranger and let us know what happens!)
  • Go roller-skating
  • Visit an aquarium
  • Drive to the closest Children's Museum
  • Go sledding
If you don't have kids, there are plenty of things you can still do. 
  • Invite friends over for fun, food, and laughs
  • Volunteer at church or community organization
  • Pursue a hobby
  • Enroll in a class at your local Recreation Complex
  • Take a winter vacation
  • Go to an art museum
  • Buy tickets to a dinner theatre
  • Skip Redbox or Netflix and go to the movies

Attitude Is Everything

If you love winter, as I do, the cold days are energizing.  You can catch up on so many projects!  Snow days with the kids also mean sledding, snow ball fights, snowmen, and snow angels followed by steaming cups of hot chocolate--activities exclusive to winter.   Winter is beautifully tranquil and restorative, if you look at it from the right angle.

Non-traditional snow bunny

Many complain that winter is too cold, but I disagree.  Winter allows you to add layers of clothing to maintain an ideal temperature.  Summer can't do that!  You can wear your skimpiest outfit on a hot and humid day and still be drenched in sweat.  

If winter is a bitter chill for you to swallow, and you don't have the sleetest idea how to pass the time until spring, try one of the activities discussed above, or come up with your own winter bucket list.  If you use your imagination, there's no reason to be brrredstiff this winter! 

Have You Joined Our Facebook Group?

In Hallmark Seasons of Love Facebook group, we are chattering about Hallmark seasonal movies spanning Winterfest, Love Ever After, Spring Fever, June Weddings, Summer Nights, and Fall Harvest.  

If you join between now and June 18, 2020, you will receive a chance to win in our giveaway.  See Facebook group page or this blog site for details!

#Winterfest #HallmarkChannel

Hallmark's Winter in Vail--A Refreshing Start to a New Year

Starring:  Lacey Chabert and Tyler Hynes

Released:  2020

Summary:  A woman inherits a house in Vail, Colorado, and soon stumbles across a man she develops a connection with, and together, the two of them put on a festival.

My Rating:  5/5 Snowflakes ❄❄❄❄❄

Change of Pace

If you gorged on Hallmark Christmas movies for the last two months and have seen enough tree lightings, cookie baking, and gingerbread houses to last you until Christmas in July, then Winter in Vail is a refreshing change of pace.

Even though Hallmark still includes hot chocolate, ice skating, and a carriage ride, something new is added to the mix--a gondola ride up a mountain and then snow tubing back down it.  In lieu of perfectly decorated cut-out cookies, our love birds make a strudel together.

It might be the typical story of a girl from the big city escaping to a small town and finding romance that is sealed with a kiss at the end, but devout Hallmarkies notice the subtle nuances and sigh with relief.

Cranking out a mere 5 original movies for Winterfest instead of the 39 Hallmark produced for Christmas leaves wiggle room for new ideas.  Rather than recycling the same theme and changing actors, the viewer is treated to new plots and story lines.

A Story About New Beginnings

It might be a little cliché for Chelsea Whitmore (Lacey Chabert) to quit her job and start life over with a blank slate at the beginning of a new year, but it reminds us that it's never too late for a new beginning.

Sure, most of us have responsibilities that wouldn't allow for us to uproot and make such drastic changes, but there's no excuse for us to stay in a rut either.

Chelsea is an ultra-organized, talented event planner.  She thinks she needs to be in a big city where she's accessible to a larger clientele, but it turns out, she provides a service that everyone wants--even in a place as remote as Vail.  She can work anywhere.  Her reputation precedes her.

Are you working in a field that uses your talents to the fullest, or do you want more?  Owen Becker (Tyler Hynes) has put his dreams of being an architect on hold to help his father's business stay afloat.  What's holding you back?  Maybe it's time for you to take the next right step to make your aspirations a reality.  Join a gym, get back to church, commit to community involvement, get the degree, start a new career or business venture--the "right time" you've been waiting for could be now.

Towns Like Vail Exist

Winter in Vail was filmed in both Vail, Colorado, and Canada, but if you ever want to experience a Swiss-themed small town, Sugarcreek, Ohio, has many of the same elements.

Not only is Sugarcreek the home of the world's largest cuckoo clock, but it is near the heart of Amish country, which means tons of local artisans, bakeries, restaurants, cheese-making, bulk foods, wines, and so much more.  The Swiss-themed store fronts in the downtown are charming and quaint, and the surrounding area offers ample lodging--hotels, inns, and bed-and-breakfasts.  Walnut Creek and Berlin are two neighboring towns in Amish country that are fun to visit, especially since they boast beautiful views of gentle, rolling hills and Amish buggies along the way!  Plus, Berlin is home to Ohio's largest, year-round Christmas store--'Tis the Season.

Sugarcreek hosts an annual event that is similar to the "Strudel Fest" from the movie.  It's called the Ohio Swiss Valley Festival, and it includes Swiss food, dance, music, games, and a parade!

If you live near Ohio and want to plan a trip, e-mail me via the "contact me" link on this blog, and I can tell you some of the best places to visit!

Chabert and Hynes Make a Great Match

Sometimes Hallmark couples click and sometimes they don't.  

You watch them gradually inch closer and closer until that final moment of the climactic kiss.....aaand it's a dud.  Chabert and Hynes get it right--there are fireworks instead of a disappointing fizzle.

Chabert is the girl-next-door type with a sweet and engaging persona.  You can plop her in any Hallmark movie, and she makes it work. Hynes is a hot Hallmark favorite leading man, too.

Winter in Vail helps make winter a magical season.

Join Our Facebook Groups!

If you are addicted to Hallmark movies, then join our Hallmark Seasons of Love Facebook group to discuss movies showcased during Winterfest, Love Ever After, Spring Fever, June Weddings, Summer Nights, and Fall Harvest.

If you join between now and January 18, 2020, you will have a chance to win in our free giveaway.  See Facebook page for more details!

If you love Hallmark Christmas movies too, then we invite you to join our growing Facebook group devoted solely to discussing seasonal movies airing at Christmas, Christmas in July, and Thursday nights.  Visit Hallmark Christmas Movie Magic to join the discussion.

Everyone is welcome!

#WinterInVail #HallmarkChannel #Hallmarkies #SugarcreekOhio


Since our Facebook group, Hallmark Christmas Movie Magic, has been so much fun, we are launching a new Facebook group (and this new blog site!) to discuss original movies airing during the following Hallmark seasons:
  • Winterfest
  • Love Ever After
  • Spring Fever
  • June Weddings
  • Summer Nights
  • Fall Harvest
Our new Facebook group is called Hallmark Seasons of Love!  We would love for you to join us! Winterfest begins on Hallmark January 4, 2020, which is why we are having a wintry contest giveaway.


To celebrate our new Facebook group, we are giving away two prizes.

  1. One lucky winner will receive the novel Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale.  This book became a 2019 Hallmark Christmas movie! 

2.  The second winner will receive a Hallmark Holiday DVD collection, which includes:  A Very Merry Mix-Up, The Christmas Ornament, Hitched for the Holidays, and Come Dance With Me.

How Do You Get A Chance To Win?

Simply become a member of the Hallmark Seasons of Love Facebook group between January 2, 2020, and January 18, 2020.  

Entrants must be legal residents of the United States, 18 years of age or older.

All new members will be entered into a drawing, and two names will be randomly selected for each prize.

How Will Winners Be Notified?

Two winners will be announced on January 19, 2020, on the Hallmark Seasons of Love Facebook group page.  Winners will be tagged and must private message the group admin with mailing addresses to receive their respective prizes.  Addresses will only be used for prize mailing and will not be kept, used, or shared for any other purpose.

Winners must provide mailing addresses by January 25, 2020 or else forfeit their prize.  A new winner will be randomly selected.

Promotion Is Not Associated With Hallmark or Facebook

This giveaway is offered by Hallmark Seasons of Love Facebook group and blog and not sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook or Hallmark, and participating in this giveaway is done independently by each person.  Facebook and Hallmark are released from any responsibility to entrants or participants.