Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Life's a Beach

Another Where in the World Wednesday. In case you're new to the game, Classy in Philadelphia's hosting and the point is to share a picture of yourself somewhere in the world. This week I'm back in California at...
At the beach
Hermosa Beach.

This picture was taken over winter break my during my freshmen year of college. And just as a warning, don't be surprised if you start seeing a whole series of beach Where in the World Wednesday. While its slowly starting to be beach weather, living in Louisiana I don't have a lot of beaches to go to. So instead I might just have to live vicariously through my Where in the World Wednesday posts.

If you're looking to see even more Where in the World Wednesdays, head over to Classy in Philadelphia. Or you can check you where in the world I've been here.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Interstate vs. Freeway

Last Thursday I wrote this post about my daily commute. While I was writing it, I couldn't help but think how different the post would read if it had been written a few years earlier, back when I was living in California. Back then I never used the word interstate, instead I was also driving on the freeway. The Santa Monica Freeway, the Long Beach Freeway the San Diego Freeway. That's just what they're called. Just substituting interstate in there to make Santa Monica Interstate, Long Beach Interstate, San Diego Interstate, well it just sounds wrong.

Of course, there has to be a reason for the difference in name, right? My thought is that California is a pretty big state, so any highway you're on might not go to any state. And if it only exists in California, how could it be called an interstate. So freeway it is, because there are no red lights, you're free to drive without stopping.

While on the other hand, Louisiana is a smaller state. So you'd assume that any highways you drive on there would have to go through other states. Which makes them interstate, except for the fact you're still able to drive freely on them. But I think it makes at least a little logical sense, don't you?

Except there's one small hiccup with this exact answer. See the Santa Monica Freeway, well it goes by another name as well. It's actually the very same Interstate 10 I use to drive into work everyday! So the Santa Monica Freeway is an interstate too!

I want to know what is the "correct" way to refer to those things you drive on. Do you use interstate or freeway or something else completely different?


Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

Now that's it's starting to get warm, everything is slowly starting to bloom in our backyard.
To be honest, I really have no idea what most of the plants in our backyard are called.
I'm just hoping not to kill all the plants in the time that we're living here.
I really love our backyard. It's honestly one of the main reasons we bought the house.
I'm really looking forward to being able to spend more time in it as the days get warmer.
Kumquait Tree
I'm also looking forward to all the fruit trees being in bloom. The one above is a kumquat tree, if you look carefully you can see the orange fruit.
Possibly a Satsuma Tree
There's also a satsuma tree, and I think it might be this one. I believe there's a few other fruit trees, but I'm probably going to have to wait till there's actual fruit to find out what they all are.
Of course there's one negative with having such a awesomely big backyard.
Mowing the Lawn
Although I'm doing my best to stay lawnmower free!

Any ideas as to the names of some of these plants? Or any guesses as to what fruit trees we might have back here? Finally, if you could have any fruit tree in your backyard, which would you pick?


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dragon Training in 3-D

How to Train Your Dragon
When we decided to go see this Friday night we were a little weary. We'd read recently that this week lots of movie theaters in the country had decided to significantly raise their 3-D prices, and we afraid our theater would be one of those. But luckily, our tickets were only $12 each.

The question you have to ask when you're spending almost $30 for a 3-D movie is, is it worth it? The truth is that when you're halfway through the movie you forget its in 3-D. You definitely notice it during the previews and at the start of the movie, but you do get a little immune to it all. But even so I still think its worth it. Just looking at the animated water with the waves it really does look like real water. And the scenes with the dragon flying you really feel like you yourself are flying. They were definitely a few times when I ducked or leaned to the side to avoid hitting something while "in flight." Honestly I think its a great experience, but don't think the prices really need to be as high as they are.

As for the movie itself, I really liked it. It was a cute movie with a lot of laugh out loud amounts. Sure the kids in the theater liked it, but I think the adults enjoyed it just as much. It is fairly predictable, but that's what you'd expect in a movie aimed towards children. I would easily watch the movie again, and think a sequel to this could be a lot of fun. Even without the 3-D I would still say its a good movie, but I do think seeing it in 3-D is half of the fun.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rush Hour

Back when we lived at the apartment I was only a few blocks from my office. It was about a five minute commute, which meant I was able to come home on my lunch hour just to watch a TV show if I desired. But then we bought a house and my commute completely changed.

My new morning drive wasn't that bad. There was relatively little traffic and it took about 20 minutes to get to work. But the afternoon drive was ridiculous. The exit before mine, the interstate goes down from 3 lines to 2 lanes, because of this change my drive home was at a standstill. While this same drive took me about 20 minutes in the morning, it took closer to 40 minutes on the way home. Even more than the time was that it was so stressful just sitting in stop-and-go traffic. And I mean stopped to the point where I was easily able to check my twitter updates since there would be no chance of moving anytime soon.

But not only did I move recently, my office moved as well. Which means my commute changed again. The new location gave me a few options. I could take in the interstate as I'd been doing previously. Or I could in a major street.

In the afternoon the decision was no question, I always take the streets. While it takes me around the same amount of time that the interstate did previously, without the traffic my drive is far less stressful. Now I at least know the reason I'm stopped is due to a red light and I know when the light turns green I'll get to start driving again. Whereas before I had no idea what was happening or why every single day I was at a standstill.

My morning decision is a little trickier. Taking the interstate in, I think, takes slightly less time, but is a little more stressful. Not because of traffic, but due to the fact that it exists me on the right side of a large street/highway and I have to turn left within a block or two. Driving the streets in is slightly less stressful, but also takes slightly longer. At least it has the potential to be longer depending how many red lights I hit. I'm not completely decided on my morning commute yet, but I'm thinking I might start taking the interstate in everyday.

What's your commute like? Is it different in the morning versus the afternoon? Have you been able to come up with any shortcuts to make it any shorter?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where in the World...

It's time for Classy in Philadelphia's weekly Where in the World Wednesday feature. The way it works is to post a picture of you somewhere in the world. It doesn't have to be somewhere tropical or foreign, just some you consider to be traveling. Today I'm in...
Palm Springs, California.

These were taken in Summer 2004, just following my sophomore year of college.
The four of us drove up to Palm Springs and spent a long weekend all together. We spent almost all of our time lounging out at the pool, and went out to dinner each night.
Palm Springs
This trip was a little monumental for me, in that it was the first vacation I'd gone on with just friends, where we planned it all. Instead of all the family vacations I'd taken previously.
Group Date
I do realize the picture quality isn't that great on some of these. But that's because they were taken with film and scanned into my computer. It's funny to think how mainstream digital cameras are now, when just a few years ago most people didn't have one.

If you're looking to see more Where in the World posts, head over to Classy in Philadelphia. Or you can check out where in the world I've been here.


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Movie Version

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid
I haven't read this book, but I do know that back when I was working at the Y most of the 4th and 5th grade boys loved these books. And the movie catered right to the appropriate genre. It was definitely a movie perfect for that age group. It was the standard boys gross-up humor. But even as an adult I thought it was pretty amusing.

The main character is Greg, who's starting middle school. There's his somewhat dorky best friend, his mean and obnoxious older brother, and his somewhat annoying younger brother. There's a girl, who's maybe possibly a love interest, except for the fact 6th grade boys aren't really into girls yet.

While I clearly wasn't the target demographic I still enjoyed the movie. It reminded me a lot of the Nickelodeon movies and TV shows I used to watch as a kid. I could be crazy here, but I did feel a sense of early 90s nostalgia watching the movie, instead of feeling like it was similar to present day tween shows. But that could be just the fact that this was the type of movie I watch back then. I would say this is an almost surprisingly enjoyable movie, especially if you're looking to relive a little of your childhood.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Better Late Than Never

Almost a month ago now, Andie at Sweet.Sourthern.Spirited sent my the Sunshine Award.
The Sunshine Award is given to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blog world. And its rules are pretty simple

1. Post the logo on my blog
2. Pass the award on to 12 fellow bloggers
3. Link the nominees' blogs so others can get to know them
4. Let nominees know they have won this award by commenting on their blog
5. Share the love and link to the person you received this award from

Except I'm breaking the rules a little, because I'm not sending this to 12 fellow bloggers. Instead I'm sending it to all 65 of my followers. But if you really want it too, then feel free to become a follower and its yours!

I know it seems waiting a month to post the Sunshine award is a long time. Except that Anais at Through Green Eyes sent me the Beautiful Blogger Award on December 2, 2009!
The rules for this one are a bit more complicated, because not only do I have to pass this on to 7 bloggers I have to post 7 things about my self. To start with 7 things:

  • Yesterday I tired Starbucks' new Dark Chocolate Cherry Mocha. It tasted just like a chocolate covered cherry. Very delicious, but not quick delicious to replace my normal latte.

  • Speaking of Starbucks, Tuesday I'll be there for free pastry day. Not sure what type of pasties they'll be giving away, but I won't be missing it.

  • Growing up I used to sleep with a Cabbage Patch Doll named Bernard. Bernard was the name that came with the doll, and I decided to keep that name, but that Bernard would be a girl

  • Last weekend I went to Target to spend a $75 gift card. Except my total wound up being over $200!

  • The Backstreet Boys just released their Spring tour dates. They aren't coming to Louisiana, so I'm thinking I might need to head to NYC to catch a show with some friends.

  • At work I always have a box of Kleenex on my desk. I always buy Kleenex brand (I figure if I'm calling them Kleenex they should actually be Kleenex), and I always make sure to buy the boxes with the best design

  • Flowers are starting to bloom in our new back yard! I would have liked to have taken some pictures today, but while its been nice and in the 70s all week, it decided to drop down to the 50s today. Hopefully next weekend will be warmer and I'll have some backyard pictures to share.
Now for the 7 bloggers I'm sending the award to! Well I don't want to put any pressure on anyone to remember to post this within the next 3 months (or almost 4 since that's how long its taken me!), so instead this award goes to the first 7 people to comment on this post!

Even though its taken me a while to post both of these awards I really do appreciate them. Thanks Andie and Anais! And on the same note thanks for everyone whose stopping by a reading. I'm loving being able to take you from L.A. to LA and beyond!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Another Book Version

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
I actually haven't seen the movie for this yet, but I can now say I've read the book. The story is pretty typical for a Nicholas Sparks book. A "bad boy" whose really good inside meets and innocent girl, and they fall in love. Except something tragic happens to their relationship. Based on that we could be talking about A Walk to Remember or even The Notebook with a little imagination. The male in the book is John Tyree, a U.S. soldier on leave, who was raised by his single father and didn't have the richest lifestyle growing up. Savannah Lynn Curtis is a somewhat naive very religious Southern girl. Don't they sound like a few other Nicholas Sparks characters? Without giving anything away, the ending to the book is almost the perfect mix of the endings of A Walk to Remember and The Notebook. Although I've heard they changed it slightly for the movie.

Honestly its a typical Nicholas Sparks tearjerker. It is somewhat predictable in parts. But even so I couldn't stop reading it and was crying by end. And now I really do want to see the movie. While his books do seem to all be a bit formulaic, if you're looking for a good tearjerker this would be a great option.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Color My House

In the two months since we bought our house, I haven't done a lot of updates on it. The main reason is because nothing has really happened. I'm slowly unpacking and ridding the extra bedrooms of their randomness, but there really hasn't been a lot of work done on the house itself. I will admit a lot of that is laziness, but part of it is that I'm not sure what exactly to do. I know I want to paint more, but have no idea how I should paint. Which is why I'm coming to my readers for advice!

To start with here's what we've done so far. Half of the kitchen/dining room area was already blue, so we stripped wallpaper and painted the rest of the kitchen to match.
Kitchen with Refrigerator
This picture is actually pretty true to how it looks in real life.

The other room that already has paint is the master bedroom/bathroom. The walls closest to you are the walls in the bedroom, while the center is the bathroom.
Bedroom & Bathroom
The color is off in this picture from what it looks like in real life. The bathroom is actually a slightly darker blue than the actual bedroom, although I realize you can't tell from the picture.

Now that you've seen what we've done, you can hopefully give me ideas for the rest of the house. First there's the hallway that connects the kitchen and bedrooms. My original though was to do a white with a light blue tint. (Have I mentioned blue is my favorite color?) But I think I might be overdoing the blue. I'm thinking now maybe a light gold or tan color? Or maybe I should just stick with an off-white? I mean what color are hallways normally painted?

Then there's the living room.
Living Room
I'm thinking it might be fun to paint the walls behind the fireplace an accent color. My first thought, of course, was a dark blue. But moving past the blue again, maybe a dark purple would work? And if I paint a dark purple accent wall, what to do with the rest of the room? I'm sure the boy would tell me to do gold, but I don't really want to have an LSU colored room, so I'm open for suggestions.

I will admit I think I have little to no style, so I won't be offended if you hate my idea. Just let me know what you would do if this was your house! Any and all help would be much appreciated!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saint Patrick's Day Edition

Not only is today Saint Patrick's Day, but its also a Where in the World Wednesday. And in honor I wanted to post a picture taken in Ireland. Except there's one small problem. I've never actually been to Ireland. Fine, I guess that's a pretty big problem. Instead I started thinking if I've been to anywhere near Ireland. So this week I'm in Wales!
J & T Pic on the Ferris Wheel
It's near Ireland after all, and they're both part of the United Kingdom. I realize there aren't a lot of identifying features here, so you're just going to have to trust me that this picture was truly taken in ales.

This was taken in November 2003, when I visited my best friend who was studying abroad in England. We took a day trip out to Wales. We saw Millennium stadium, stopped in at a beer and ale feast, and road a ferris wheel which gave us a view of the city. The top of the ferris wheel is also where this picture was taken.

If you looking for more Where in the World Wednesday posts head over to Classy in Philadelphia. Or you can check out where in the world I've been here! And Happy Saint Patrick's Day!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Time to be a Pioneer Woman

This past weekend I made my first ever Pioneer Woman recipe. I'm sure you all know what exactly I made, right? I made her red pepper risotto!
Pioneer Woman Red Pepper Risotto
I actually decided I was going to make her risotto before I went to the store, which I know is not the way its supposed to work. The reason being you don't want to decide to make something and then get to the store and realize you can't buy the ingredients. So I of course I get to the rice aisle looking for risotto rice (aka Arborio rice), except they didn't have any. I must have stood in that aisle for 10 minutes, hoping if I was there long enough it would appear.

I never did find that rice, but what I did find was a prepacked mix for Archer Farms Red Pepper Risotto. I've tried making it before, and I wasn't a very big fan. But what it did have was Arborio rice. So I decided to buy the box, use the rice and throw out their separately prepackaged seasonings. It worked out pretty flawlessly. The only catch was I had no idea how much rice I was getting until I opened the box, but it worked out to be almost half of her recipe.

A second change I made was the addition of goat cheese. I didn't really want to add it to my risotto, so I went to Dee's standard risotto recipe for inspiration. There she recommended a mix of Parmesan, Romano, and Asiago Cheese, and Target actually sold a mix of the 3 all grated and packaged together. So I went with that, and now I can officially say that I've made my first risotto!

Now that I've master a Pioneer Woman recipe, I guess that means I need to keep making them. I'm thinking her cinnamon rolls might be a good one to try! Anyone else ever made a Pioneer Woman recipe? What's your favorite?


Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Movie Review

Green Zone
I'm guessing my review is going to be pretty short, because there's not a lot I feel the need to say about this. Matt Damon plays an army man whose mission is to find weapons of mass destruction at the start of the Iraq War. Except they can't find any weapons of mass destruction...

Or basically its a standard Iraq war movie. It probably isn't the worst, and it probably isn't the best. It was a little predicable, but given the subject matter that's to be expected. While I can't vouch for certainty since I haven't seen it, I'm guessing if you want to see an Iraq war movie, you'd be better off with The Hurt Locker. But if you have a need to see every Iraq movie, then you'd probably enjoy this. But really, from my point of view, the only reason to see this would be to look at Matt Damon.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Saturday Night at the Bass Pro

Last night the boy took me to the Bass Pro Shop, for my first time.
Bass Pro Shop
For a California girl like myself the place was a bit overwhelming. Although I'm guess its probably overwhelming for anyone regardless where their from. Outside is a lake so you can test drive any boats you want to buy. Inside there's an aquarium filled with fish, plus a swamp area filled with ducks and turtles.
Lake inside Bass Pro
When I say turtles I mean turtles of ALL shapes and sizes.
Huge Turtle in Bass Pro
I believe he said this was an alligator snapping turtle? That could be completely wrong, so feel free to correct me.

After exploring the boating/fishing area downstairs went we up to the hunting area.
Walking to Bass Pro Shop's Hunting Section
To start with their was a collection of bows. They even had a little room where you could test out any bow you wanted to try. Then came the guns. There was probably more guns here than I'd ever seen in one place before. Guns of all shape and size. They even sold pink colored guns.

Lest you think we actually went on a date to the Bass Pro Shop, the real reason we were there was to eat dinner at their fish company restaurant. We just walked around the store while we were waiting for our table. Every time I drive by the Bass Pro Shop on the way to the new house and see the restaurant I wondered about it and want to try it. In a way I was a little leery, mainly due to a fear of chain type seafood restaurants. But since it was connected to a huge superstore on fishing it had promise.

For dinner the boy had maple glazed salmon and I went with the shrimp boat which included popcorn shrimp, fried shrimp, and coconut shrimp.
Shrimp Boat
And the verdict was very promising. Everything was really good, probably one of the best meals I've had in a while. Not only was the seafood really good, but the side dishes were just as great. The boy's came with rice and potatoes. But the highlight was probably the homemade potato chips, which you can see in the center of the plate.

I of course wanted dessert and I went with key lime pie.
Key Lime Pie
The pie was only alright, and didn't quite live up to the rest of the meal. But there was A LOT of pie, and it was still able to meet my sugar craving.

Overall, the meal was a really pleasant surprise. Who would have expected a restaurant attached to a store would deliver a high quality seafood meal! Anyone else ever had a meal that surprised you a little. And have you ever been to a Bass Pro Shop?


Friday, March 12, 2010

Percy Jackson: The Book Version

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
I few weeks ago I saw the movie version of Percy Jackson so when I co-worked was willing to lend my the book I was more than willing to except. I enjoyed the movie, and in most cases when that happens you enjoy the book as well. Not only that, you normally enjoy the book more. Although I can't quite choose a favorite between the book and the movie, I think because there were so different.

First there were a few characters in the book who just weren't in the movie. Or there was even two book characters combined into one for the movie. I think both ways of telling the story worked depending on the genre. Mostly for the fact that its easier to keep track of multiple characters in a book, than it is in a movie.

Also different was the basic plot line. Both the movie and the book have Percy going on an adventure with the same ending location, but its the journey that's a little different. The movies is much more structured. They have set places they need to go in order to reach the final destination. Whereas the book, everything almost happens by chance. There do wind up at a some of the same locations as in the movie, but more due to chance, not because they were required to. Again the story worked for each genre. Is easier to follow along through a movie when there's a set path. Whereas in a book, where there's more thinking involved, a more meandering path it just as easy to follow.

Even though they were different I wasn't disappointed with either, but in general I think that's the case when you see the movie first. On the other hand while I think its possible to read the book and be disappointed with the movie based on the changes, I think most people would be fine with them. I did enjoy and actual book, and I think would enjoy to read the rest of the Percy Jackson books to see where the story takes. (Especially considering I don't see a movie sequel coming out.)

Anyone else read the books or seen the movie? Or have you ever read a book that's different from the movie version, and yet you are still able to enjoy them both?


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Adventures in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland
I've never read the actual book, but I've seen the Disney movies countless times, so I know the basic story. The characters you expect are all there including the white rabbit, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, the Red Queen, the talking flowers, and of course Johnny Depp at the Mad Hatter. There are of course a few characters not from the animated movie such as Anne Hathaway's White Queen, and the a talking dog Bayard.

While we know the basic story, Tim Burton tried to put a bit of a spin on the story. Instead of Alice being a little girl, she was a teenage girl on the brink of womanhood. But Alice has been to Wonderland before... or has she? The movie does try to explain the change of time, but by the end of the movie its still a little confusing.

We saw the movie 3-D, which I'm always a fan of. Although I think I've gotten to the point where I've seen so many 3-D movies, the technology has gotten to feel almost normal to me. What isn't normal is the cost for 3-D. In order to attempt to save money, when we head to a 3-D movie we do try to go to a matinee. But even a 3-D matinee is more expensive than a non-3-D evening showing.

Speaking of the fact we saw a matinee, given the time and the type of movie, there were a lot of kids in the theater, especially girls. At some points in the movie I thought things were a little slow, and I would have expected a lot of the kids to grow bored and restless. But I was surprised how quiet they all were. I guess because they also new the basic story of Alice they were able to follow along.

I really did enjoy the movie, but I'm not sure was as good as I had hoped. I feel like I came into the theater with somewhat high expectations. And while I wasn't disappointed, its not the type of movie that I'm dying to see again.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More Parade Fun

It's a Wednesday, so I'm participating in yet another week of Classy in Philadelphia's Where in the World Wednesday. This week I'm back in my home state in California.
To be more precise I'm in Downtown L.A. at Laker Parade. This was Summer 2002, just days after my high school graduation. The Lakers had just won their second championship in a row, and since I was officially done with school. So it seemed like a good time to celebrate. This was back in the days when Shaq was wearing the Laker purple and gold. (As opposed to back in the days when Shaq was wearing LSU purple in gold, in case you were confused!)

If you looking for more Where in the World Wednesday pots head over to Classy in Philadelphia. Or you can check out where in the world I've been here!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rain on my Parade

Who else was sucked into Jason's & Molly's, The Bachelor wedding last night? Although if I'm being honest, I loved their season for The Bachelor and was really excited about last night. The whole first half of the show, they were showing clips of the two of them together planning, and it was all being introduced and hosted by Chris Harrison. Now Chris Harrison was doing this intros at the wedding site in Ranch Palos Verdes, California in light rain. The whole time attempting to make the audience wonder, will it or won't it rain.

They kept speaking to the event planer, trying to get her grasp on the situation. If you read through the lines, you could almost tell she wanted to be inside. But it seemed like ABC wanted to have the wedding outside no matter what. Finally there was a break in the clouds, and they decided to go for it and start seating the guests.

Now by guests I do mean Jason and Molly's family and friends, but also every potentially successful Bachelor couple. There was Trista & Ryan, Charlie and Sarah, Jillian & Ed, Deanna & the twin brother of a bachelor from Jillian's Bachelorette season. But finally it was time for the wedding to actually start. I was curious as to whether they would be doing a Jewish ceremony since Jason's Jewish. But aside from a few scattered kippah, it was pretty secular.

But back to the weather. It looked like it was going to turn out beautifully. The rain had blown over, and had even left a rainbow behind. Until Molly started reading the vows she wrote. She started talking and the sky opened up into a torrential downpour. The two of them wound up soaked. Molly's hair was practically ruined. Her make-up was practically ruined. Pretty much a worse case scenario for a wedding day.

But did Molly let the showers ruin her day? Not at all, she laughed through it all and seemed to be completely stress-free. Granted ABC was paying for and had planned most of the wedding, so she didn't have a lot to worry about. But even so, I was impressed. Just to show you here's a shot of them soaking wet walking down the aisle more excited than anything else.
While I'm not planning on getting married any time soon, when I do I hope I'm able to appear as cool and collected as Molly. Who cares that if you're soaking wet, and cold, and your hair and make-up are practically ruined? Its your wedding day, there's still reason to be happy.

Even more than that you could apply this same principle to your everyday life. Even if everything seems to be going wrong, chances are there's still something that you can be happy about.

What were everyone else's thoughts on the wedding special last night? I'm guessing no, but did anyone else learn any life lessons while watching?


Monday, March 8, 2010

More Oscar Fun

Yes, I picked Best Director correctly, but everything else not so much. I wound up predicting only 8 out of 24 correctly. Pretty abysmal for me, especially considering last year I wound up with 17 out of 24. And I could be wrong but I believe it was 14 the year before. So it was clearly an off year for me. Granted I knew Mo'Nique was probably going to win for Best Actress, but I still needed to put Anna Kendrick down. And while Sandra Bullock's win and Avatar's loss were a little surprising, but it was the smaller categories that really lost it for me. Of course the boy wound up picking 15 correctly, so there goes my winning streak. Although he put a good bit of research into his choices, and went with the odds on favorite in each category, so as he told me last night, I didn't lose to him, I lost to the American people.

Moving past the winners, I think I was a little disappointed with the actual show. I think it's because I hype it so much in my mind, that it can't quite live up to expectations. There were still things I liked, for example that the kept the best actor and actress personal introductions. But other things that felt a little off. Even just little things, for example when Kristen Stewart said horror hadn't made an appearance at the Oscars since 1973 with The Exorcist. Except Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture in 1991. You could say maybe they don't consider it an horror film, except they still included in the montage.

Overall it wasn't a bad ceremony, but I just felt like the magic wasn't really there. Hopefully next year brings the magic back for me! Anyone else get that feeling, or were you still a big fan of the show? What parts were your favorite or least favorite?


Sunday, March 7, 2010

It's Oscar Time

I have to say I'm a little disappointed that I decided not to go all out for the Oscar tonight like I did last year. But I think its partly because the best picture nominees didn't quite lend themselves to food. Whereas last year we were able to have Slumdog Millionaire Chicken Tika Masala.
Slumdog Millionaire Chicken Tika Masala
I guess this year I could have gone with Avatar Blueberries?

Even though I have no fancy feast prepared it doesn't mean I'm not just as excited. Nor does it mean I didn't think long and hard about my Oscar picks. Here's to hoping to beat the boy for the third year in a row with my Oscar predictions. And without further adieu, here are my thoughts on who will hopefully win!

Best Picture: Avatar
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds
Best Actress: Meryl Streep - Julie & Julia
Best Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick- Up in the Air
Best Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air
Best Original Screenplay: Up
Best Foreign Language Film: Ajami (Israel)
Best Cinematography: The Hurt Locker
Best Visual Effects: Avatar
Best Sound Mixing: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Best Sound Editing: Up
Best Live Action Short Film: Miracle Fish
Best Make-Up: The Young Victoria
Best Film Editing: The Hurt Locker
Best Documentary Short: The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
Best Original Song: Randy Newman, "Down in New Orleans" - The Princess and the Frog
Best Original Score: Up
Best Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Best Documentary Feature: Food, Inc.
Best Art Direction: The Young Victoria
Best Animated Feature: Up
Best Animated Short Film: Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty

Wish me luck! And let me know your picks in the comments, not necessarily for every category, maybe one or two. Or give me to picks for everything if you'd rather do that.


Friday, March 5, 2010

The King's Bastard Grace

The King's Grace by Anne Easter Smith
I fell in love with Anne Easter Smith's first book A Rose for the Crown and while I enjoyed her second book Daughter of York, it didn't come close to her first for me. So I was a bit unsure of where this book would fall. Luckily I enjoyed it almost as much as much first, which says a lot considering that looking back on A Rose for the Crown I love its story just as much several years later.

This book, like her first two, is about a member of England's House of York. The King's Grace is King Edward IV's bastard daughter Grace Plantagenet. Grace was a real historical figure, however there is a single mention of her in history which gave the author a lot of freedom to write a novel that's still about a historical persona. While all of her books are about members of the York family, I wouldn't necessarily call them a series. But I was happy that there were a few big cameos with characters from her earlier books.

The story is told from Grace's point of view, but one could say the actual story is about Perkin Warbeck. Warbeck was a pretender to this English thrown during Henry VII's reign and was supposedly one of the lost princes of the tower. The story of the princes is something that really fascinates me, I think because even today its a real live mystery. Hundreds of years later there still isn't any solid proof as to what happened to the two princes and who was responsible for it all. And as time passes it seems even less likely that the mystery will ever be solved.

I would recommend this book if you enjoy historical fiction. Although I think it would probably be the best decision to start with her first book A Rose for the Crown. So far I'm a big fan of Anne Easter Smith's work, and I can't wait to read her fourth book about the Duchess Cecily, also of the House of York.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Voici La Poste

Look what came in the mail earlier this week!
Package from Anais
It's from Anais at Through Green Eyes! I won her giveaway, where the winner received a box of her favorite things. And everything she included is slowing becoming my favorite thing as well! I am doing my best to pace myself at eating all the chocolate, but I'm not sure how long it will last.

There's one thing I especially love about everything she sent, that doesn't actually have to do with the way it all tastes. Anais is from Ottawa, which is just south of Quebec. And because of that everything she included has both English and French on it. For comparison here's a Larabar I already had in the house, and one of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Larabars she included.
American Larabar vs French Canadian Larabar
See the difference in the packaging? I know its a small detail, but its something I loved. I won't say I'm fluent in French but it is the only other language I kind of speak, and in case you missed this post yesterday I've been to France as well. I guess its the little things that sometimes get you excited.

I just wanted to say thanks again for having this giveaway Anais, and for sending my such a fun package. Also, if you've never stopped by Through Green Eyes, I would definitely recommend that you head over and check it out!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Countess of LA

I'm participating in another round of Classy in Philadelphia's Where in the World Wednesday. The point is to share a picture of yourself somewhere in the world. It doesn't have to be somewhere foreign or tropical, just somewhere you consider to be traveling. And today's picture is from...
At the Chateau d'If
the Chateau d'If, which is just of the shore of Marseille, France. The was taken during my month long study abroad trip to Avignon, France in Summer 2005. The Chataeu d'If is a jail, on an island just off the coast of Marseille. Here's what the island looks like from the shore.
Veiw of Marseille with the Chatea d'If in the center
It's the smaller island in the center. The Chateau was built in the 1500s by Francois I as a fortress. In the 1700s it was used as an actual prison. The prison was made famous in the book The Count of Monte Cristo. Although I've never read the book, I believe the main character (the count perhaps?) escapes from the Chateau d'If early in the book. Hopefully with that explanation my not-so-cleaver title is making at least a little sense.

If you looking for more Where in the World Wednesday pots head over to Classy in Philadelphia. Or you can check out everywhere I've been here


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's about time...

that I attempted to make lasagna. It is after all one of my all time favorite foods, yet I've never tried to make it myself. It only makes sense that I learn to make it myself that way I can make it whenever I want at. Actually maybe that isn't the best idea.

I used this Ina Garten recipe as a guide, but made several changes. Most notably I used beef instead of turkey, I added mushrooms to the sauce, and I got rid of the ricotta. I'm not a big fan of ricotta, but I love lasagna so I have learned to suffer through it. But making my own, I wanted it to be exactly what I wanted.

There was one substitution I didn't make, but looking back probably should have. I baked the lasagna based on the directions in the recipe. However I used the type of lasagna noodles that doesn't need to be pre-boiled. And the lasagna noodles had slightly different baking directions. Because of this the are parts that are a tiny bit crunchy, or parts where a knife is almost needed to cut it. But I don't think it's that big of a deal.

After all lasagna's is my all-time favorite, and I don't think I've ever had a lasagna that I haven't loved. I guess now I need to not let myself make this every single week!

You didn't think I'd end this post without a picture do you?
Lasagna and Garlic Bread
Here is my masterpiece! Along with some quick garlic bread. (I just took some bread drizzled over some oil olive, sprinkled on from parmesan and garlic powder, and let it crisp up in the oven while the lasagna was cooling.)

Overall I think the meal was a success. But its my favorite food, I'm not sure I could have failed at this.

Anyone try to tackle one of their favorite foods? Did it live up to your expectations?


Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Movie Review

Cop Out
This is the type of movie where the plot doesn't really matter. But if you must know its basically about two cops (Bruce Willis & Tracey Morgan) who go on probation for being somewhat destructive on the job, and then go onto solve a crime almost coincidentally. The same generic plot as most cop movie. But while there are a few action scenes, overall it is a comedy, and it definitely had its funny moments. (It is also a rated R movie, but you wouldn't have necessarily known that by the number of kids in the theater. Just an fyi, Kevin Smith movies, in general, are probably not the movies you want to take your kids to see.)

I'm not normally big on cop movies, so it does say a lot that I did enjoy this movie. I won't say I want to buy it, nor that I can't wait to see it again. But most of it was pretty enjoyable for me. Although there's a few things in particular that stood out, at least to me.

First there's a wedding in the movie. And it's a wedding that's featured somewhat prominently. So that's a plus for me. Michele Trachtenberg is also in it. And while she doesn't have a huge part, I did enjoy her when she's on screen. But the best part for me? It's easily every scene that "Seth Cohen" is in. So while it definitely is more of a guy's type of movie, there are a few aspects that at least made it enjoyable for me.