Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Put it on the Table

I love laying out in the yard, but lately I've been having a bit of an issue. Normally when I lay out I bring a cup of water and some time of snack, and since there's nowhere else to put it I normally set it on the ground. The problem is the ants getting hungry and thirsty too! I've only noticed when I pick up my cup to take a sip and feel a pinch on my hand. I look down to see ants over the cup, some even taking a swim in the water. And I don't really enjoy drinking water with added protein.

But the Target near us is closing the garden section which means all types of outdoor furniture is on sale. So I came home with a table to use with my lounge chair! So hopefully next time I can drink my water without fear of being attacked by vicious ants.
Lounge Chair and Table
Yes, I know parts of that plant are damaged from the extreme heat we've been having. And the lawn clearly needs to be mowed, but luckily I'm not the one in charge of mowing in this house.

There were a few patio sets on sale as well, that we thought about buying. But we decided not to. Since we don't really need a patio set we've hoping that in the weeks to come they slash prices even more and we can come up with a new patio table and chairs at a mere quarter of the actual price!


Monday, August 30, 2010

How Do You Say...

The other day my co-workers and I got into a discussion over how you say:
This isn't the first time I've had this discussion. My and the boy have this argument talk all the time. What's this discreprency? Well I say "car-mel" and he says "care-a-mel."

I've actually gone to Starbucks and tried to order a "car-mel" frapicino. When she had no idea what I was talking about. But once I changed my order to a "care-a-mel" frapicino there was no language barrier.

And according to the boy there's an old Snickers commericial where Shaq argues with a kid on the right way to say caramel. We all know that the "right" way to say it is the way I do, as "car-mel." But how do you say caramel? If there some other pronuciation that I'm not even aware of?


Friday, August 27, 2010

Flashback Friday

Remember this post where I said I'd be posting reviews of some of my favorite childhood book series? Well here's the first of hopefully many. We're going to be talking about...

The All-of-a-Kind Family Series by Sydney Taylor
Similar to the Betsy-Tacy Series these books tell the story of the author's life growing up in the early 1900s. Except there's a few major difference between the two. First the books take place in New York City (instead of Minnesota), and the All-of-a-Kind family is Jewish.

The reason for their name is that when the series starts there are 5 sisters with 2 years between each of their ages, and they all dress alike (at least at the start). The from oldest to youngest are Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie. (Sarah the middle child is the author herself.) At the start of the series Ella is 12 and Gertie is 4, and by the end Ella is around 19. There's 5 books in the series and in order they're All-of-a-Kind Family, All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown, More All-of-a-Kind Family,All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown, and Ella of All-of-a-Kind Family. (It actually took me a while to make sure that was right when I just reread them. The reason being that while All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown is second in terms of the girls' ages, it was actually the 4th book published.)

One thing I really enjoy about the book is the chapters alternate between the narrator. That way you're really able to connect with each of the all-of-a-kind children instead of just one or two. But what I love most of all about this books is probably the fact that the family is Jewish. I love reading about how the celebrate all the different holidays. It's always interesting to compare the difference between how I celebrated them during my childhood almost 100 years later, but even more so are all the similarities.

This is another series where I feel like I'm the only one whose ever read it, but I know that's not the case. The main reason being that there's actually a Sidney Taylor award given the the best Jewish children's literature every year. I guess maybe the more accurate thought is that not many people my age have read them, but I'm sure they were bigger back in the 1950s when they were originally published.

Has anyone else ever read or heard of these books? Or are they the type of book you think you would have enjoyed reading when you were growing up?


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Theater Thursday

Down with Love
This movie tells the story of best-selling author Barbara Novack (Renne Zellweger) whose novels tells women they don't need love instead they can replace it all with sex and chocolate. This doesn't sit well with man's man, number 1 bachelor Catcher Block (Ewan McGreggor) who decides to get Barbara Novack to fall in love with him to prove that down with love author, really does believe in love. Except Barbara has quite a few plans of her own.

The movie is set in a fictional version of 1950s New York, where the fashion is almost of out this world. The entire film is full of sexual innuendos with the highpoint a completely innocent split screen phone call between the two leads where they're made to look like well... I'm sure you can guess.

There's a scene near the end of the movie where you can't quite believe what's happening, and the movie throws you for a complete loop. And in a way it makes the ending feel a bit unsatisfying, at least if your in a true man hating mode.

Another hiding gem in this movie is the music. It's a perfect compliment to the movie, but even more than that is the duet between Renee and Ewan of the credits. (That duet's been on my ipod for years now.) Its such a cute movie, and I would say the ultimate chick flick. If you're a girl and you haven't seen this movie, I would say you're definitely missing out.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

This is a new one for me, but I know a lot of my readers take part every week. This time I'm joining in on the fun at Roots and Rings! The way it works, at least this week, is that instead of a question I'm supposed to share a picture. I think this has the potential to be a lot of fun.

1. Your house.
This is the house, just from the back taken from the back corner of the backyard.

2. Your shower.
Not the best picture, but at least I avoiding showing the top of the wall which still needs to be painted.

3. The inside of your refrigerator.
I know there's not a lot in there, but honestly having to full of a refrigerator kind of freaks me out a little

4. Your pet.
Just kidding! But really, the random lizards in the backyard are really the closest we have to a pet right now.

5. Your favorite pair of shoes.
I'm in love with the sandals right now. Every time I wear them I seem to get compliments from someone.

6. The most comfortable seat in your house.
Honestly we don't have one. I'm not a big fan of our couch, but it was free so I really shouldn't complain. But the boy and I definitely dream about the day we own one of those couches you can just fall into.

7. Your favorite cup or coffee mug.
The one on the left is my favorite mug for coffee, the one on the right is my favorite mug to drink anything else out of.

8. Your laundry room.
It's a little messy, but really there isn't a whole lot in here.

9. The view from your office chair.
In case you couldn't tell, my laptop looks into the kitchen.

10. Your spouse/significant other/roommate.
There once was a Wizard
This is how the boy makes a point to look in almost every picture I have of him.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Movie Review

The Baster Switch
It's been a while since I've seen a real romantic comedy type movie. I could tell this instantly just be the previews. But even looking through my past reviews, the closest I've come in recent months is Sex and the City 2 and I'm not even sure that counts. So this movie was definitely needed and appreciated.

The movie was a pretty prefect romantic comedy. I wouldn't list it as the best ever, but its the perfect type of movie to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon, maybe with a glass of wine and a box of candy. There were enough funny movie that the boy didn't hate me too much for dragging him to see it. And I loved the little boy in the movie. He was really cute, and perfect as Jason Bateman's character's son.

This summer was definitely in need of a romantic comedy, and I really do think this filled the void. At least partially, I'd still be happy with one or two more. I think as long as you go in expecting that somewhat predictable, somewhat cheesy romantic comedy your expectations will be easily met.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Getting to Know You Sunday

I hope you're ready for a week full of day of the week posts. What can I say I'm a little short on inspiration. But I still hope it will be fun! (If anyone has a good idea for a Friday one, let me know.)
1. If you could host a Reality TV show, which one would it be?
Easily this would be Amazing Race. Because then not only would I be hosting a show I'd also be traveling around the world.

2. Do you put your seatbelt on before or after you start the car?
It's always the first thing a do when I get in the car. Even if I'm just moving my car a foot I still put on my seatbelt first.

3. Shave or hair removal cream?
Shaving. I can't say I've ever done anything else.

4. What's your favorite feature in a house?
Back when we were looking at houses the main thing I noticed was having a big open-ish kitchen. I also wanted a big closest and a big bathtub, but our house doesn't have those. So clearly that's where I was willing to compromise.

5. What is your favorite "Fall" scent?
Do Starbucks Pumpkin Spice lattes count as a scent?

6. What tv show are you looking forward to seeing the most this Fall??
I can't wait for Glee to come back. But there's a lot else I'm looking forward to.

7. Personal Shopper or Personal Chef?
Definitely Personal Shopper. I enjoy cooking, but I don't really enjoy shopping.

8. What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of "Fall"?
Orange actually. Mainly because I was thinking of orange leaves on trees. But I guess it could also apply to pumpkins.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Other Fried Cheese

What you're asked to think of fried cheese what comes to mind for most people is a goo-ey friend mozzarella stick. But that's not what I'm here to talk about. (Not that I'm not a fan of stick of friend mozzarella with a side of marinara. Because I love that too.) But today I'm actually talking about fried halloumi cheese. (The cheese is on the right, in the center is a bunch of minced garlic.)
Halloumi Cheese
Until a few years ago I had never heard of halloumi, but now I'm glad we've become acquainted. Our first date was actually on mine and the boy's first date where we split an appetizer of fried cheese. Since then we'd had the same appetizer an uncountable number and times, and we've even tried making it ourselves.
Frying Halloumi
What's fun about halloumi is that isn't does really melt. For comparison when frying mozzarella you have to coat the cheese with breadcrumbs to avoid a goo-ey mess. But with halloumi who can just throw the slices of cheese into the pan (of course you might want to add some spices, like the garlic we have in here). And as the cheese fries it forms it own "breadcrumb crust," minus the actual breadcrumbs. It might not be the most healthy snack, but it sure does taste good.
Fried Halloumi Cheese
Anyone else ever try halloumi? Or is the only fried cheese you've tried the kind with real breadcrumbs?


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If Testosterone & Explosions Had a Baby...

The Expendables
Clearly I wasn't the intended audience for this, but I still am able to see the appeal of having a movie with every action star possible in it. Yes, some of them had very limited screen time (after all you would hope running a state takes precedent over being in a movie), but with so many stars that's a little expected.

There wasn't a really strong plot, but I don't think people went into this movie hoping for something with a great plot. Instead picture everything possible you'd want in the ultimate action movie. And that really was it. Just as a recap, there was a car chase scene, hot girls, explosions, someone getting a tattoo, a girl being rescued from her abusive boyfriend, airplanes, explosions, torture, a girl being rescued from the evil villains, an evil dictator, lots of gory death scenes, and did I mention explosions?

It's not a movie I'd really be interested in seeing again. But for what it was, I'd say it lived up to expectations.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Restaurants and Horses

We spent most of this past weekend at the boy's parents' house-sitting and feeding their horses. (This wasn't taken this past weekend, but one of the first times we house-sat for them.)
With a mom and her baby
Overall the weekend was pretty uneventful except for when I feed on my own Friday night. Now I don't have arms long enough to just reach over and dump the feed into their "dish". So instead I have to reach my arms through the rungs to get the food low enough to I can dump it in. Which means it takes a little longer for me to give the horses their foods. And one of the horses (it was a "teen-aged" horse according to the boy) didn't quite have enough patience to wait. So instead it decided to eat my arm. Seriously! I was bit by a horse this past weekend. Luckily it wasn't too bad, and there's barely a bruise now.

Also this weekend, my dad will be happy to hear, the boy and I went to the restaurant. Its the first restaurant my parents and I ever went to in Baton Rouge back when I was finding an apartment. My parents split and order of crawfish, which they loved and have wanted to go back ever since. The problem was we had no idea what the name of this restaurant was, or even its location.

But now I can tell you the restaurant was Sammy's Grill. I have no pictures since I forgot my camera at home, and didn't think of using my phone until after the food was gone, but I'll probably be back in about a month when my parents are in town. But to share, I started off with crab bisque (which had surprisingly huge chunks of crab). The had a fried oyster po-boy and finished up with a slice of red velvet cake. It was as good as I remembered the first time, and I'm glad to be able to "rediscover" it.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Getting to Like You

I'm back participating in yet another edition of Mannland5's Getting to Know You Sunday. So let's begin!

1. What kind of athlete has the hottest body?
Since I grew up playing soccer, I'm partial to soccer player bodies. So I have to say soccer players. After all they have David Beckman and Landon Donavan. They definitely deserve it!

2. Are you a planner or a procrastinator?
In a way I'm both. I like planning things out, but never actually do them. So I guess I'd say a procrastinator, because a true planner would actually carry out their plans.

3. Diet or regular (soda)?
Definitely regular. I just feel like its more natural. And if I'm already having a treat, I might as well go all the way!

4. What's your one "must have" for Fall?
Ugg boots. Although I guess you could say that's more of a winter must have? So then, how about Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice lattes. They start selling them in October, and that's definitely fall.

5. What's your favorite fast food restaurant?
Either In-N-Out Burger or Rubios. Both of which don't exist in Louisiana. :(

6. What do you think is the sexiest profession for a guy?
I'm not sure. When you think of sexiest profession you tend to think of things involving manual labor. And yet I wouldn't find it very sexy being with someone who does manual labor. So I guess the type of profession where you have to wear suits to work each day.

7. Did you wear braces?
Yes, and I'm still a little bitter about it.

8. Would you rather have a guy that's super sexy or kind?
In theory I'd say super sexy. But if it's long term, you'd definitely get more out of kind.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Roasting Veggies

It's almost silly to say that roasting vegetables (especially carrots) is probably my favorite way to eat them, and yet I've never really tried making them myself. Which is crazy because it is so ridiculously easy to do. I cooked potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes, but you can practically use any type of your favorite vegetable. In case you're like me, and need some type of recipe to follow, here's a basic outline of you can make your own roast veggies. (This is what I used to make this dish, but clearly substitutions can be made.)
Carrots & Potatoes Out of the Oven
First I started chopping the vegetables so there were all about the same size (each about one cubic inch or so). Then I added them to the pan and drizzled olive oil on top. I threw in a ton of thyme (I probably went a little over board picking herbs from the garden), and sprinkled on salt, pepper, and some Tony Chachere's. Then it went into the oven (at 450 degrees) for about 30 minutes. About half way through I tossed all the vegetables so the wouldn't stick, but that was it.

Seriously the hardest part is not chopping your fingers off and remember to take them out of the oven. And the crazy part is that for something so easy, it really does turn out delicious.

Anyone else a fan of roasted vegetables? What's your favorite vegetable to roast?


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Celebrity Sighting

When people hear you grew in up California, one of the first questions seems to be, "Have you met any celebrities?" But honestly, it doesn't happen as often as people expect. Not to say it never happens, since I've been lucky a few times, but its not the type of thing that happens on a monthly or even a once a year basis.

Except of course for when it does! The first celebrity I remember seeing was Steve Urkel (aka Jaleel White). I must have been in 1st grade, and we had just seen Beauty and the Beast at Disney's El Capitain theater in Hollywood. After the movie we (my family and my best friends') went out to dinner, and some burger place I believe. And who should we find at that place but Jaleel White! We really had no idea who it was, but my friend's dad went up to him to get us both an autograph. I remember bringing it to school to show it off, and I'm guess I lost it the same day.

Fast forwarding a quite a few years to high school. We had decided to hang out at Universal Citywalk outside Universal studios for the night. We this time is a bunch of friends, one of whom is actually the same friend I met Steve Urkel with. We were in a Best Buy (or some similar store), when someone noticed Devon Sawa. We weren't completely sure it was him, so we went through trying to find copies of Wild America or Casper to see if we could compare it to him. Right before he left the store with the 20 or so movies he was buying, I managed to walk up to him and ask if he truly was Devon Sawa. When he agreed, we asked if we could take a picture together and he agreed.
With Devon Sawa at Universal Citywalk
As I do look like a loser with my eyes closed in this picture, but still it's Devon Sawa!

We have to fast forward a few more years to get to my next celebrity sighting. This was summer 2006, just after I graduated college. We were going to see an outdoor screening of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, and were able to be in the VIP section before the screening. Who else was in the VIP section? Bon Jovi who was doing a small concert before the show. Since Jon Bon Jovi was just mingling I convinced my dad to get him to take a picture with me and my brother.
Me and My brother with Bon Jovi
Thankfully I look a lot better in this picture! To the point that I have to admit I printed off a copy and I have it hanging up in my house. So when people walk by I can say something like, "O, that's just me and my good friend Jon."

I've never actually gone on a "See the Stars" tour, and made a point to stalk out celebrities. I've just been lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. Although that might change since I've heard they will be filming Breaking Dawn in Louisiana! After all how can R. Patz fall in love with me if I never meet him?

What celebrities have you met? Have you ever gone someplace specifically looking to meet someone, or have you just been lucky? Or if you've never met anyone famous, who would you most want to meet?


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Snacks for Dinner

Seriously this is why I should not be allowed to shop for groceries on my own. Although looking at it now there really isn't a lot of food. Which almost makes it worse since this was a triple digit purchase!
Let's see.. there's 3 kinds of cheeses (feta, brie with herbs, and halloumi). In the plastics bags are potatoes, a mango, white nectarines, carrots, and a sweet potato. Maybe I should have taken them out of plastics bags for the picture, but I would have had to put them right back. There's also a cut up package of watermelon in the back.

As for the packaged food there's hummus and pita chips, Asian noodle salad, an Amy's frozen black bean enchilada, chicken pot stickers, and chicken pesto empanadas. Then there's also olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a box of mini croissants, and a tomato and asiago foccacia. The hiding the the right corner of the is the only dessert I bought, a bag of chocolate covered berries.

Anyone else notice the problem with this spread? Its all pretty much snack food! There's not really a whole lot to build a meal upon. Which meals if I want to cook an actual meal, I'll have to buy more groceries. So instead I'll just make it easy on myself and eat a bunch of snacks for dinner.

Anyone else have an issue buying food to actually use for a meal when shopping and just wind up with a lot of snack food? Or let me know how you manage to actually shop and come up with a meal from what you buy!


Monday, August 9, 2010

Who Are These Guys

The Other Guys
To be honest, I really didn't enjoy this movie. Yes I did come into it with low expectations and I didn't really want to see it, but I was at least hoping to be proved wrong. Overall I'd say the movie just didn't really fit.

Of course there were funny moments, but there were far more moments where they tried to be funny and the joke fell flat. And the moments between the jokes weren't that great either. There was an extra scene after the credits which I always love, but again I didn't get the joke.

And then there was Mark Whalberg, who I like in most cases, but again here he didn't fit the movie.

The only real high points of the movie were Samuel Jackson and Dwayne Johnson. But (mild spoiler alert) they exited the movie FAR too earlier. Although they did have quite an exit.

I would say the movie isn't worth it, and I wouldn't even have the desire to watch the movie again while it aired on tv. (I know I'm not the only one since the couple sitting next to us left about 3/4 through the movie and didn't come back.) I would say wait till next weekend when they should hopefully be a more promising option.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Be Kind, Rewind

I've always loved rereading books, something friends of mine never seemed to get. "After all" they'd say, "You already know what's going to happen." And while yes, the mystery and surprise may be gone but the magic is still there. But rereading a book I'm able to relive a beloved story, and almost imagine myself in the world in the book.

During the summer especially is when I wound up rereading books, mainly due to the free time I had not being in school. While I'm no longer have a summer vacation, the heat still made me crave a some old time favorites. My parents have slowly been sending my mementos of my childhood some of which are my favorite books or book series. With them so accessible, I've decided this summer I'll be reading and somewhat reviewing some of my favorites, so hopefully I can inspired others not only to reread some of their favorites, but give them ideas of some new great reads.

Right now I'm in the middle of The Betsy-Tacy Series. Since I've already written about them, it seems silly to almost repost the same thing. (But if you missed it the first time, I'd highly recommend checking it out.) You'll notice in the weeks to come most of these books will be in a similar vein as most of these will be book series I loved growing up. I'm not sure how many I'll wind up posting, but I did want to get you excited for what's to come!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back to the Vampires

All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
It feels good to get back to the Sookie Stackhouse books! This one takes Sookie to Rhodes, Chicago for a vampire convention (and yes, that is as crazy as it sounds!). She goes as an employee as the Queen of Louisiana, in order to use her powers to find out how honest people are being. But of course things go wrong, and by the end it's all a little crazy.

One thing I thought was interesting about this book was that Hurricane Katrina was mentioned quite a bit. Interesting because the last book Definitely Dead had an author's note that it was written before the hurricane and so choose not to change the book. But if book #6 was written before the hurricane, then book #7 must have been written right afterwards. So much of the books seems to deal with the aftermath of the hurricane and it makes me wonder just how much of the book changed due to it.

I also loved that this book brought back Quinn, who I think might be my favorite guy for Sookie so far. Although I've heard rumors that Sookie winds up with Eric later on. (If you know please don't confirm or deny. I'm trying my best to avoid spoilers until I'm completely caught up in the books.)

I really did enjoy this book. While I wouldn't list it as my favorite of the series so far, it definitely lived up to the rest of the series. And like always I can wait to read the next!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Let's Go to Dinner

Dinner for Schmucks
From the previews I wasn't really looking forward to this one, but there wasn't really a lot of other options. (At least not other options we could agree on, because while I'd be happy to see Charlie St. Cloud other members of our two-some not so much.) But even with my hesitation, I was still able to really enjoy the movie, and was a little surprised at how much.

Based on the title and the movie's premise I was expecting most of the movie to take place at the dinner itself. But the actual dinner didn't occur till quite a ways through the movie. I was afraid that once the dinner scene happened that after waiting so long for it I'd be let down. But thankfully it didn't disappoint. It wound up being just the over the top ridiculousness I wanted to see. But even with one of the highlights of the movie toward the end, the rest of the movie was just as good.

One cute, though a little gruesome, bit of the movie was Steve Carrel's character's hobby of making dioramas out of dead mice. Some of them were so over the top, but even more I loved the little details that went into them. There's a bunch at the start of the credit, and if you're patients there's a final one at the end of all the credits.

Overall I'd say its definitely a movie that will hopefully exceed your expectations. You'll literally be laughing out loud the whole movie long.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's a Birthday

Yesterday was the boy's niece's 3rd birthday party. The theme was Sponge Bob Square Pants, and almost as expected at a party with such a theme there were a bunch of water activities. There was a slip and slide, which I loved growing up. But if only I knew what my childhood was missing out on!
Climbing the Water Slide
An inflatable water slide! Seriously where was this when I was growing up? There's a climbing wall in the center, and though its hard to see there's a second slide on the other slide. Its not even something that had to be rented from a party company, but its sold at a regular store by Little Tykes. If I had one of these growing up I probably would have played on it all summer!
Birthday Presents
For present the boy and I bought her a box of Disney Princess themed dress-up clothes, and the accompanying box of their shoes (which of course are sold separately). And how could we forget the books! I always have so much fun going through the children's section finding books I loved growing up that I want to introduce to her. I could easily by tons of books, but made myself stop at two. I can only imagine how many book I'll be buying for my future children.
First we went with Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird, a book I remembered loving growing up. I actually wound up buying a 25th Anniversary edition, and since I'm also 25 it seems to make perfect sense that they would a part of my childhood. I was actually a little surprise to see the listing in the back of the book as to how many Angelina books there are now. If I remember there were almost 20 or so! I only remember owning 1 or 2 myself.

The second book we decided on was Julius Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes. This is actually a book I don't remember ever reading or owning. However I do remember having a few Kevin Henkes books that I really enjoyed, so given the them of the book I thought it was a perfect fit. In case you haven't guessed from the title, the books about an older sister who doesn't understand what's so great about her younger brother. That is until someone else decides they don't like her brother either, and she feels the need to stand up for him. Since she has a younger brother about 2 years younger, and there's normal sibling jealousy issues I thought it'd be almost perfect.

Overall it was a lot of fun, and while I might not be ready to have my own children right now, its still a good time being around other people's babies.