Yes! As of 5:30 today, I am on vacation. DH and I have a par-tay to attend this evening for a friend who just finished MBA exams. (Congrats K!) To start the festivities I made Glogg with the super-secret family recipe: One bottle Glogg + one bottle cheap merlot + (this is the secret family part) a heaping glass of Captain Morgan. Let me tell you, the house smells AH-MAH-ZING and I'm on my way to being quite tipsy. Woo!
Next I'd like to show off my old Christmas tree. Back when I was single, I lived in group houses, a closet in a rented house (yes, seriously, a closet. Like, they couldn't fit a twin bed in it), and a small condo. I therefore never got a big Christmas tree. I lived with my little silver tree that reminded me of A Charlie Brown Christmas, it was so bare and unfortunate looking.
Being a fun girl, I decided that decorations should primarily be pink, with some red and purple thrown in. One year I picked up some red and pink twinkle lights during Valentine's and my little tree has become quite the belle of the condo. :)
This is my favorite ornament, EVER. We call him Elton, though I think Liberace would have been better. :)
Piggy! I love the striped hat and scarf. I would totally wear it if it came in people-sizes.
Woo hoo...Christmas is here m'dears! Merry merry, y'all!
So I'm finally done with Christmas shopping. Yippee! DH and I have a $100 limit on spending for each other. Wanna see what I got him?
DH, don't look.
Fo' serious my shizzal. No looky.
I will seriously be disappointed in you if you look, DH.
Ok, here we go. Thanks to the shops practically giving away clothes, I was able to pick up several items for DH's closet and stay in our $100 budget. Christmas being the only time I'm allowed to buy clothes for him. Preppy clothes. Hee.
Eddie Bauer. Hard to tell but but the navy sweater on the left is a zip-neck. DH wears a lot of zip neck sweaters since he uses them instead of a coat. I guess it looks sportier? J.Crew. DH has very, very particular shirt requirements. They cannot be buttondown. They have to have decent arm length. (DH has really really long arms and a HUGE chest. He's my own little ape-man. Hee!) He also hates colored shirts with white collars. Oh, and he doesn't really do plaid, solid colors (except plain blue), or thick stripes. Anywho...I picked up three shirts (2 work and 1 going out), a deliciously soft green wool zip neck, and a pair of socks. And the socks had bullies in santa hats. AIYEE!! <-- sound of Elliott's squeal of joy. For his stocking (which I count outside of our $100) I picked up Trivial Pursuit, a logic game, the newest Radiohead cd, liquor filled chocolates, and a ski weekend at Big Bear.
I'm already fretting. DH is an aaaahmazing gift giver. He said that one of my presents was something I wanted last year but have apparently forgotten about. See how fabulous he is? Hopefully he'll like his pressies. Merry Christmas!
Lately my pants have caught up to my holiday noshing and are a wee bit too tight. *chagrin* So I've decided to get a jump on my New Year's resolution and have been hitting the gym for a few weeks and eating smaller portions. A few thoughts on what I'm working on:
Following some advice I saw in Self, I've been doing 10 pushups every day. Boy pushups. And let me tell you, I can tell I've improved in two weeks. It takes one minute and my arms no longer shake on the last one. Thumbs up! However, if you take a break (like getting sick), it feels like back to square one. Thumbs down.
I also take the stairs instead of the elevator. Living on the 9th floor makes for a quick, five minute cardio pick-me-up. However, I'm still out of breath by the 7th floor. Hopefully my cardio will get better. Thumbs down.
Our building's gym has tons of fabulous, top-of-the-line weight machines. I, however, prefer free weights. 3x a week I've been doing 30 minutes of lunges, squats, and various lifts. I see definition in my arms. Teeny, tiny definition but it's there! Thumbs up!
I've been working on the Couch to 5k program. I've done it before and while I hate running, I admit the program is quick and easy to get someone into jogging. It also trims down my thighs like *no other*. (Being of big Swedish stock and having ridden horses until I was 20 has left me with ginormous thighs. My waist and butt always stay the same but my thighs? Mamma mia!) Thumbs up!
Of course, I needed to stock up on some running essentials:
Gap high impact sports bras. Second to none, IMHO. As a 36DD, I need help keeping the bubbies where they should be.
Goody stay-put headbands and hair ties. They actually, shockingly, stay put in my extremely fine hair. and lots and lots of plain, white towels (because gym towels are icky).
I do, however, need to work on my workout music. Lately I've been listening to Jane's Addiction, The Bravery, and Spoon. Anybody have suggestions for songs that are really upbeat and pop-y but NOT pop?
I know, bad blogger. DH and I were sick a/o recovering most of the weekend. Thank you Mr. Killer Virus. And special big thanks to Berocca, to which I attribute our ability to get up out of bed.
Last night DH and I went to House of Blues to see Bloc Party. OMG. OMG. OMG! *AAAAAHHHH!!!!!* <---Sound inside Elliott's head, exploding in excitement. I cannot begin to tell you how AH-MAH-ZING Bloc Party is live. HOB was a great venue, the crowd was *exceptionally* receptive (lots of dancing/crowd surfing/no bullies), and the band was excited to be finishing their US tour. The highlight of the evening (for me) was the crowd jumping and clapping in rhythm to Helicopter:
Other thoughts on the evening: *BP are just fabulous, fabulous performers. I haven't enjoyed a show like that since I last saw BRMC at 9:30 in DC. *Kele Okereke (shout out to a Scouser!) can SING. I mean, a lot of rock stars shout/sing but Kele has a great voice. *I want to steal all of Kele's guitars. Especially the Gretsch. *The 4' woman behind me has caused permanent hearing damage with her high-pitched squealing. I'm excited too, honey. Tone it down. *Should anyone go to HOB - the venue is on 4th, the restaurant is on 5th. Also, buy your drinks upstairs. The bar is better stocked and cheaper, too.
I think that's all for now. I'm watching a Muppet Christmas and a muppet shrimp just started singing a song from Pagliacci. I think I must turn my attention there. :)
DH and I went to an ugly Christmas sweater party on Saturday. Hosted by the ever-gracious K, it was INSANE fun. Lots of fun people and the sweaters were hysterical!
We also had a $10 white elephant swap at the end. DH won a Nerf shotgun (by "won" I mean "black market swapping under the table") and I received a bar kit.
Here are a couple photos of us goofing off in our faaahbulous Christmas sweaters. You wouldn't believe how crazy hard it was to find a tacky sweater. We went to Goodwill which was too high-class to have what we wanted. Walmart was also a dead-end. DH said that no one would have sweaters like those I had in mind. Oh ho - here comes JC Penney to our rescue! If I do say so, they were uuuugly.
This is our "Sears portrait"
DH proposing. Again.
Do you have a little Captain in you?
My pants are from J.Crew. People didn't believe me when I said that I actually wear them as a "real" pair. Seriously, with a white button down and a black v-neck? Totally cute. :) How can anyone not like plaid??
So DH and I have been complaining that it doesn't feel Thanksgiving-y or Christmas-y. I think the Southern California weather has something to do with that. (70 on Turkey Day??) Anywho, we decided to start decorating and came up with this for all our mini palms:
Cute but kinda sad, no? (BTW - That's the best picture of me and my two best friends EVER. Except that you can see straight down my dress. Whatever...)
Anywho, determined to get this house into Christmas-y shape, I went down to Lowes and purchased this, in all its 7', pre-lit glory:
And let me tell you, it was FREAKING heavy. Probably around 100lbs but I got it 1) out of the store, 2) into my car and 3) out of the car and all the way up to our condo. Go me!
I popped in my favorite Christmas mix which includes such great songs as:
Donde Esta Santa Claus? by Guster
Oi to the World by No Doubt
Christmas in America by Melissa Etheridge (I loooove this song - it makes me teary!)
Winter Wonderland by Liz Phair
and as a shout out to DH, Purple Snowflakes by Marvin Gaye (A total DH secret - he admits that he hears Marvin Gaye in his head when he's walking around. I love my groovy husband. Hee!)
Music in place, I got to unwrapping our monster tree. (See DH? Our tree did not come out looking pretty. I spent FOUR HOURS putting it up and decorating.)Ok, so section A slots into the base... Cut the red wire and you get this. Hmm. Not so pretty. Better fluff but those branches (all 3000 of them!). 40 minutes later, 1000 little cuts on my hands, and one trashed manicure we have a semi-decent tree base! Woo, go me! Section "B" went up a heck of a lot easier. I had my fluffing technique down pat. My hands were getting pretty scratched, though. I went to wash my hands after a loo break and almost cried when the soap got into my poor hands. Approximately 3 1/2 hours later, I had the tree up and decorated. If I do say so, it doesn't look half bad! I did, however, grossly underestimate how much garland would be needed. Looks like I'll be heading back to the mall today!
DH was quite pleased when he came home. He was also very impressed with the massive amount of heat kicked off by the tree. Seriously, it's like our own personal fireplace. :)
We're heading to Christmas at the Prado soon. I've heard it's awesome but no one has actually told me what it is or what happens. It's a mystery...
Ok, so I know I'm a week behind the people who spent $70 million to make Twilight the biggest movie weekend since Dark Knight. In fact, most of the audience in my theater were teenage girls and their parents returning for another viewing.
Anywho, I promised my friend D that I would wait for her to finish the first book before we went to see it together on film.
All I can say is that 16 year old Elliott kept making this noise: "SQUEEEEEE!!!!!!" Yes, I totally got swept up in it. I think that they did a good job cutting down the novel while leaving the key plot points. Note: the two hours flew by, mostly because I knew how much was cut out.
However, I must admit that overall, Twilight was unintentionally funny. I hate to pick on her but the actress who played Bella, Kristin Stewart, kept me in constant giggles. She didn't have much of a script to work with, really: "I know what you are. You're impossibly fast. And strong. Your skin is pale white, and ice cold." But really, the delivery was hil-ar-ious. She made Bella a hell of a lot more twitchy than I imagined. And I didn't get the warmth from Bella that I did in the novel. Again, probably due to time limits in the script. But still...
Ok, so let's chat about each of the cast members:
Bella. V. pretty. Too twitchy. I totally didn't believe her when she would say she wasn't scared which I did in the book.
Edward. Le swoon. He also had some unforgivably bad lines but R.Pattz's so dreamy I didn't mind. (DH, I know you read my blog. Know that you're the one for me. And Edward's the vampire for me. You know, in my fictional life.)
Jacob. In my head Jacob was a pretty tiny dude. Definitely not as cutie-patootie as Taylor Lautner. I felt the chemistry between him and Kristen a heck of a lot more than between her and R.Pattz.
Charlie. Again, not what I pictured but a pretty good representation of a divorced daddy-o.
Billy. HILARIOUS. Love.
Carlisle. I couldn't stop looking at Peter Facinelli's hair. Icky.
Rosalie. She definitely nailed the bitchy part. Yikes.
Emmet/Jasper/Alice. Didn't really get a sense for any of these characters. Hopefully the sequel will make them more interesting.
James. Not scary. Meh. Buh-bye.
Things I likes in the film:
*The Cullens' house. Oh my, I want to move in right this second. *Edward's driving. Someone has taken a defensive driving course. *Edward was wearing eyeliner and lip gloss. Now we know how the Cullen men look so hottie-potatie - makeup! *The scenery was beautiful. I've never been to the Pacific Northwest but you can bet your buttons I'm going to go now! *R.Pattz's little tiny British accent slipups. Because DH is English, I think I heard them but no one else did. *The baseball game was better than I had imagined.
Things that made me laugh out loud: *I didn't really notice in the book but the entire thing is like an abstinence-only ad. Edward and Bella can only kiss because it's dangerous to do anything else. Edward might loose control. So instead they kiss and then spend the night talking until Bella falls asleep on Edward's chest. Hil-ar-ious. Good ol' Mormons - they really know how to date, donchathink? *Edward's skin glittering "like diamonds." Yeah...he looked like an Easter egg that had landed in a batch of gold glitter. Bad, bad, bad effect.
So, yeah, that's about it. Would I stampede to get a copy of the dvd? No. But I will definitely be looking for the sequel as soon as they make it. Thanks for reading!
Sorry I haven't been posting much. I have been writing so much at work that when I get home I can't stand to type another word. So I think I'll take it easy and do a top ten.
Top ten holiday movies:
10. A Christmas Story. You know how TNT plays this for 24 hours every year? Yeah...about five years ago I had a severe case of food poisoning. I was too weak to get up off the floor to get the remote to change the channel so I watched "A Christmas Story" for 20 of 24 hours. Surprisingly, I still love it. "Getting ready to go to school was like getting ready for extended deep-sea diving."
9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The original, Boris Karloff version. I remember watching this on the couch with my Daddy when I was little. "Then he got an idea. An awful idea. The Grinch got a wonderful, awful idea."
8. Christmas in Connecticut. My Muhmoo's favorite. She puts it on while making gingerbread cookies and I feel totally at home. Uncle Felix is my favorite: "Catastroph!"
7. Elf. Does Will Ferrell get any better that Buddy the Elf (what's your favorite color)? I think not. "You sit on a throne of lies!"
6. Die Hard. Some people deal with pushy relatives. John deals with German terrorists. Awesome. "The circuits that cannnot be cut are cut automatically in response to a terrorist incident. You asked for miracles, Theo, I give you the FBI."
5. The Holiday. Surprisingly fun British/American rom-com. I never understood why people liked Jude Law until I gave it a watch on Encore. "I'm looking for corny in my life."
4. Scrooged. Bill Murray's version, never Patrick Stewart's. "No, you are a hallucination, brought on by alcohol. Russian Vodka, poisoned by Chernobyl."
3. Love, Actually. I cry *every* time I watch it. Pitch perfect, really. "Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free."
2. Bridget Jones's Diary. I'm desperately trying to find DH a reindeer jumper so that he'll be my personal Mark Darcy. "I choose Vodka. And Chaka Khan."
1. Christmas Vacation. It isn't Christmas until the Griswolds make their appearance. "Merry Christmas. Shitter was full."
My inlaws gave me a really generous giftcard to Anthropologie for my birthday. I picked out this cardigan from Sparrow. It's ADORABLE with skinny jeans and dark brown boots. And now it's half price on the Anthro website. Run, kittens, run for your wallets!
I am strangely intrigued by the idea of PB Loco's Peanut Butter with Asian Curry Spice. Apparently they use it in the PB Loco restaurant to make a sandwich with cucumbers and pineapple. I don't know about you, but that sounds dang tasty, especially on some sprouted bread.
And you can bet a jar of their Peanut Butter with Sumatra Cinnamon and Raisins is already in my cart, waiting for check out. When I was little, my favorite breakfast was a slice of raisin bread with melted peanut butter. I'm sure this will be just as good as my Dahdoo's JIF!
So baking season is upon us. I love to bake but don't do it as often as I'd like because DH and I are total sweet tooth people. I mean, if I make cookies for my friends, at least a half dozen will be missing before we even start packaging!
Anywho, we're celebrating birthdays in my office tomorrow and I wanted to make Bobby Flay's coconut cake from Throw Down. I read through the recipe last night and it isn't difficult - a simple vanilla cake, coconut simple syrup, coconut custard filling, and coconut buttercream.
The cake was easy. Truly, it was. My mother always, always, always baked from scratch so I've been sifting cake flour since I was a lil' thing. Ditto the coconut syrup. (FYI - flavored simple syrup is awesome for baking but even better for cocktails. Mmm...)
Now here's where the recipe went to hell and a handbasket. The coconut custard is used both as a filling and as the flavoring in the buttercream. I approached this with apprehension - puddings are not my friends. You'd think bringing something to a boil while constantly stirring would be easy. No, no it is not.
Try #1: Boiled over when I went to turn off a timer.
Try #2: Scrambled eggs. 'Nuff said.
Try #3: Wouldn't thicken.
At this point I've wasted $20 worth of vanilla beans, I'm out of coconut milk, and my previously spotless kitchen looks like a Jackson Pollack impression from all of the milk explosions.
So now my cake is custard-free, the buttercream is just plain ol' vanilla, and it still looks pretty. It'll be way less coconutty than I wanted it but that's just fine, I think. DH is out of town this week so my favorite taste tester isn't here. Cross your fingers that it tastes ok!
Ok, I had a really, really disturbing dream last night and I've been pondering it most of the day. What do y'all think it means?
So in my dream I was sleeping. (This is a common theme. I sleep and dream in my dreams a lot.) I had a dream within my dream that Jesus was walking towards me. The then says something along the lines of "I'm Jesus Christ and you have been chosen to have my son..." and I think in my dream-within-a-dream that this is very much like the Biblical story of Mary. Yes, I know she was approached by an angel but I guess my dream-self is special because I got the big man himself, Jesus.
Anywho, I remember being very, very freaked out by the idea of a holy birth. My dream-within-a-dream-self grabs a phonebook and CLOCKS JESUS IN THE FACE while shouting "No Jesus! No impregnation!"
As my dream-within-a-dream-self then realizes "Holy shit - I just hit Jesus! I'm SO going to Hell for this!"
And then I woke up. For realsies.
Actually, typing this up, it's a pretty funny dream. I guess I'm not as ready for kids as I thought I was.
First video from the Twilight soundtrack, Decode by Paramore. Lots of snippets from the movie that aren't in the trailers. I'm not sure about the song, it's a bit "meh" but I LOVE the singer's red hair. I had that color hair for .2 seconds when I was a teenager. (Mama Elliott said "No. No, no, no, no, no!" when I walked in. It was stripped out of my hair shortly thereafter.)
I'm a HUGE Twilight fan. Yes, I read trashy teenage vampire love stories. Repeatedly.
I've passed my copies of the books to my girlfriends with the hope that they will finish before the movie comes out at the end of November. I plan on wearing my Team Edward tshirt on the first night it's out. (Yes, I had to go into Hot Topic to get my shirt. *ew* Not preppy.)
Thank goodness I don't have a jealous husband because I'm totally head over heels for a fictional vampire. I mean, I act like a swooning 16 year old girl when I read the books. DH thinks that my crush on Edward is hysterical. Phew.
Anyone else out there a fan of the series?
***Update*** Stephenie Meyer has posted soundtracks for each of the books. I'm downloading the one for Twilight right now:
1. "Why Does it Always Rain on Me?" — Travis 2. "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" [video edit] — My Chemical Romance 3. "Creep" [radio edit] — Radiohead 4. "In My Place" — Coldplay 5. "By Myself" — Linkin Park 6. "Dreaming" — OMD 7. "Please Forgive Me" — David Gray 8. "Here With Me" — Dido 9. "With You" [reanimation remix] — Linkin Park 10. "Time is Running Out" — Muse 11. "Dreams" — The Cranberries 12. "Tremble for My Beloved" — Collective Soul 13. "Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel)" — Billy Joel
I've been a verrra bad blogger lately. Happily, DH and I have been so busy with fun things that I haven't had time to post! Turns out people thought I was on the "cool kids" evite list when I wasn't. Now that it has been rectified, we're partying like we're college kids again. :)
Anywho...I need to be serious for a little post to get something off my chest. To begin, you have to know that I had a very long discussion today with a co-worker about the election.
From my previous posts you know I'm a recovering conservative. She, on the other hand, is as right-wing Republican as you come. I was, well...disappointed when she explained that one of the reasons she votes Republican is so that "My father, who has worked really really hard, doesn't have to pay for people who stay at home and watch Maury Povich."
And I totally agree with her on that point. If you can work, you should. HOWEVER, I also believe that it is our societal obligation to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. People aren't *worthless* just because they can't contribute much.
I get that people want to keep their money. They worked hard, they should keep it, right? Yes, that's a valid point. But if you follow any major religion (I'm Christian) then you should believe in helping the poor, the infirm, the old, and the sick.
Second part of the post (it'll loop back to the first part, stay with me). Tonight DH and I went out to celebrate a birthday at a piano bar with a bunch of friends. You should also know that we live in an "up and coming" downtown area. Read: it takes high six and seven figures to buy into our building but we also live across the street from an abandoned lot where a lot of homeless sleep.
Ok, so, anywho... DH and I were walking home and we saw a homeless dude sitting on a bucket, holding a sign saying "Hungry man needs help." Normally I walk by these guys without a second glance. A high percentage of the homeless in SD are schizophrenic and, to be frank, scare me. They cuss and hear things that aren't there. Some of them smell bad. I try not to make eye contact and walk by.
Tonight I was really struck by the guy with the sign. He wasn't bothering anyone. He looked tired. He was a little dirty but wasn't smelly. He didn't have a cup full of change in front of him. I had a pizza box from dinner tucked under my arm, filled with leftovers. I stopped and asked him if he wanted half a pizza. He said simply, "Yes. Thank you." As DH and I continued on, the man put down the sign and started to chow down.
I guess it really struck me tonight that I normally ignore people like this man. I don't know his story. I don't know if he's "gaming the system." I just know he was hungry and asked for help.
In the next couple days we have the ability to help a lot of people. I am extremely fortunate to have a good job, a home, and a family that loves and supports me. There are many people who don't. I believe that it is both my obligation and privilege to help those who cannot help themselves. Yes, I will pay higher taxes to support those who cannot work. Our fellow Americans aren't worthless. Ever.
Mad About You. Still my favorite sitcom - ever. I have the DVR set to record an episode on any channel, at any time. The Buchmans are a real couple. They bicker, they burn dinner, they have problems getting pregnant, they become redundant. And they deal with each situation with good humor and love.
Luigi's Italian Ice. 70 icy, fat-free calories that quench my ice cream cravings. Cherry's my favorite but lemon's a close second.
Crest Weekly Clean Intensive Cleaning paste. You know that awesome feeling you get after a dentist cleans your teeth? Yeah, this is pretty close. It's like exfoliation for your chompers.
Nicole by OPI nail slick pen. It's nail polish in a pen - awesome for the clumsy like me. I tried the Sally Hansen version of this product and it is clearly inferior to the OPI.
Glogg. Swedish mulled wine served with almonds, raisins, and gingerbread cookies. It goes down dangerously smooth.
October is very important for two reasons; it's Breast Cancer month and my birthday. As I love the color pink, I love cramming my birthday list full of Breast Cancer-related gift ideas. With no further ado, my birthday list 2008. (I am getting shockingly close to 30. Aiyee!)
Riedel Crystal Pink Crescendo Glass Set
Riedel Vinum Pink Rose Wine Glass Set
Coach Lexington Breast Cancer Awareness watch
Bop Basics Sophia Bush Breast Cancer shirt
Jo Malone Red Roses cologne
RL Mini Black Pink Pony handbag
On the non-preppy side, there is a group called Boarders for Breast Cancer (B4BC). As a snowboarder, I support these great companies for their commitment to Breast Cancer awareness.
Sessions B4BC Madonna jacket
Reef B4BC Stash CCS B4BC Bra tree shirt
Jimeale B4BC SoHo collectionAnything else I've forgotten? I'd love the Cartier love bracelet but it's a wee bit outside of my budget. Who knows, maybe DH will surprise me. ;)
So my in-laws have taken off for Vegas until Friday. It has been awesome having them here but it's nice to have the house quiet again (for a few days)!
We walked over to Little Italy on Sunday and cruised through the Festa. In a word, it was awesome. An entire block was covered in chalk drawings similar to this one:
There were lots of stalls selling wares. I picked up a ridiculously beautiful bread board from A-Skewed Creations for a Christmas present. I was thoroughly heartened that for every McCain/Palin button I saw, there were 20 Obama/Biden buttons. Woo hoo!
We spent time at the beach in the afternoon but the extremely high winds made it a wee bit uncomfortable. Let's just say I'm still getting sand out of places where exfoliation isn't needed.
I was a very bad wifey and went shopping this afternoon. I popped into J.Crew and found the madras halter dress that I've wanted all summer long. I also picked up a royal blue silk blouse, a black pink-tucked turtleneck, a great western-y brown, distressed belt, a tortoiseshell hairtie, and a bunch of their incredible bangles. I've collected every size of the bangles in black, saffron, and the gold-plate. They look fantastic when I want to display my Vandy spirit.
SPEAKING OF - MY GOD, VANDY - WHY MUST YOU ***ALWAYS*** LET ME DOWN? ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I stocked up on bananas this weekend so I'm going to go throw together a loaf of banana-coconut bread before bed. Hope all is well with all you bloggy ladies!