Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Rewind

With the year coming to an end, it makes sense to take the time to remember the highs and the lows of the past 365 days.

We bought our first house together.
Gifts from our realators

The Saints won their first Superbowl.
Saints King Cake

It snowed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Snow on the grass

We spent the weekend in San Diego spending what would be my last time with my grandfather before he passed away.

The parents drove out to Louisiana to celebrate Passover for the first time in our new home.
First Seder in the New House

Harvested herbs, figs, peaches, aloe vera, and satsumas from our new backyard.
Ripe Figs

Celebrated the boy's neice's 3rd birthday.
Birthday Presents

Went on vacation to Destin, Florida.
Reading on the Beach

Celebrated an early 26th birthday with my parents and grandmother in Louisiana.
On the Bridge

Celebrated the boy's nephew's 1st birthday.
Wrapped Presents

The boy and I became engaged on our 4th anniversary.

Met Kellan Lutz at the movies.
Me & Kellan Lutz

Spent Christmas in California.
Photos and recap to come!

Overall a lot of highs, but unfortunately some lows as well. Here's hoping everyone has a happy new years, and that 2011 answers yours hopes and dreams for the future.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Starting to Plan

The New Jewish Wedding by Anita Diamat
As soon as we got engaged I pretty much went out and bought this book. It really is the book on planning a Jewish wedding. Even if you don't read a lot of Jewish non-fiction, it's likely you've still heard of the author since she wrote the novel The Red Tent.

As unbelievable as it may sound I've never actually been to a Jewish wedding. While I know all the traditions commonly associated with Jewish wedding like stomping the glass, or the horah, I was still at a loss about the actual ceremony. And this was really helpful outlining traditions from the seven wedding blessing to the ketubah (the Jewish wedding contract).

It doesn't just descibe what happens at the wedding. Instead it goes into the history or reason why certain traditions exist, for example that Jewish weddings are often outdoors to allude back to G-d's promise to make Abraham's decedents as numerous as the stars. It also brings up how some of these long term traditions translate into a modern ceremony, for example in a Jewish ceremony it makes sense to do a first look since the groom is supposed to veil the bride before the ceremony, once again going back to the Torah, based on Jacob wanting to marry Rachael and instead marrying her sister, this way the groom makes sure it is the who he expects waiting for him at the alter.

While I know I have months of planning ahead of me. This was definitely a great book to get the wheels to start turning. I'm glad I read it now, but definitely know it'll be coming back to it for reference once I start actually planning.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Engagements Gifts

When I got engaged it made some of my co-workers quite happy. Yes, there were happy for me. But there was a little bit more than that.

I have two co-workers who were married earlier this year. Since I was now engaged it meant that they could get rid of gift me with some of the wedding materials they still had lying around the house. Without lifting a finger on my part I am now the owner of the following...
2 wedding dress catalogs, 2 issues of Brides, 2 issues of Modern Bride, 1 issue of The Knot, 1 issue of For the Bride, 2 local weddings guides, and a box of thank you cards. There's also a copy of The Knot Complete Wedding to Weddings book, although that didn't make the picture. Of course it doesn't mean I won't adding my own stash of wedding magazines to the pile. I'm really looking forward to buying and reading Martha Stewart weddings when I fly back to California. But still, not too bad of an engagement present right?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Movie Reviews

This was a weekend of two great movies, both of which I'd recommend and both of which I'd see again. And interestingly, while I enjoyed each, both are almost exact opposites.

The Fighter
This one was actually based on a true story, except I really had no background so I wasn't sure what to expect. The boy does follow boxing so he knew what was to expect, and he found it quite amusing to feed me incorrect information about what to come, which in a way made the ending a bit of a surprise.

In general I'm not a huge fan of boxing movies. I just don't really enjoy seeing people get injured on screen and cringe every time it happens. But there was enough happening outside the ring for me to enjoy the movie. I really liked Amy Adams in this, although I love her in almost anything she is. I thought it was crazy when they showed footage of the real Mickie and Dickie over the credits how much Mark Whalberg and Christian Bale sounded like the men they portrayed. In a way it's not the most typical Oscar movie, but boxing movies have done well in Academy Awards in the past, and I expect this one to do so as well.

Tron: Legacy
Overall this movie was just fun to watch. We saw it in 3-D which I really think is completely worth it. The movie was actually preceded by a warning that the parts of it were in 2-D, which I think was a great idea. It's not necessarily the most novel idea, think of it as the Wizard of Oz, but with 2-D vs. 3-D instead of black & white vs. color. But while it isn't completely original, as far as I know it the first time they done it with 3-D.

While the plot might not have been the most original either (it really reminded me of an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark from back in the day), it was just a lot of fun to watch. It was followed by action scene after action scene, but each still each seemed even more exciting than the last.

This was definitely a strong weekend at the movies. I would easily recommend either one of these, I guess it just comes down to which one you would prefer to watch.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

No Longer a Princess

Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer
My mom bought this book for me several years back, and on a recent trip back I decided to pick it up so I could finally read it. Once I started I was a bit surprised that this was actually a young adult historical novel that is about Mary's childhood. It's not that surprising consider when my mom bought it for me, but a surprise nonetheless.

I tend not to read a lot about Mary Tudor, but mainly because I tend to take Elizabeth's side in general. I know there isn't really a right or wrong side, but I tend to enjoy reading books that have Elizabeth favored in a more positive light instead of the opposite.

I can't say there was a lot I learned reading this, which is something I like while reading historical fiction. But then again it is a young adult book, so that shouldn't be to surprising. Overall I did enjoy the book, and I am glad I decided to finally pick it up, it isn't one that I have any strong desire to reread again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Compromise

I've been kind of hesitant to write this post considering I'm still conflicted on the whole subject. But hopefully by actually articulating some of my confusions it can help me see a little bit clearer. It starts out simple in a way, this year we have our first Christmas tree.
Coincidentally it's also our first engaged Christmas which only makes me wonder about the years to come. It's hard for me because I'm Jewish, so not only is this our first Christmas tree, it's actually my first Christmas tree as well.

In a way I brought this whole thing on myself. My mom converted to Judaism, which to me meant that while we didn't have Christmas in our home I was still able to celebrate the holiday at my grandparents' or at my Aunt and Uncle's. I figured this was the best idea, and that I would find a guy who would convert for me so that my children would still get to celebrate Christmas with their extended family but that they would be Jewish.

I accomplished my first goal, since the boy is Catholic, except he isn't planning on converting. We have discussed this (over and over even) and the compromise is that I'll be raising the kids Jewish. But while we can talk about this all we went, it's hard to know what exactly this means, and how it will develop or change as time passes.

But this year the boy wanted to have a tree. It's really the first year it made sense since we've been living together since the last 2 years we've been in the process of moving. And while I can admit that having the tree in the house is pretty, I'm still not completely ok with. I feel like being Jewish and having a Christmas tree, is almost a way of saying, "my religion isn't good enough so I need a part of yours." I don't feel that way, but I think my worry is that other people will think that. Which I admit is kind of silly, but it's hard to shake.

But even if I'm not completely there on accepting the fact there's a Christmas tree in our home, I know how happy it makes the boy. And isn't that, wanting to make your significant other happy, so much what marriage is about?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Cupcakes are Coming

Baton Rouge is finally jumping on the bandwagon, and we officially have our first cupcake boutique. I've been hearing about the cute little cupcakes stores round the country, and I've been dying to try one too. While now I finally have own little neighborhood cupcake store.
Cupcake Couture Box
It's called Cupcake Couture and it opened up at the mall, within the last few weeks. The had all the standards (chocolate, vanilla, red velvet) in regular size and mini sized. They even sold cupcakes for puppies. I was so excited to try one, and after careful consideration went with a vanilla caramel.
Vanilla Caramel Cupcake
It was really and truly so good and probably one of the best cupcakes I've had. The inside was wet and moist, and the entire thing tasted like vanilla and caramel. It sounds like I need to come up with another excuse to go to the mall soon, so I can try to work my way through all of their flavors.

Anyone else have a cupcake shop in their town? What are your favorite cupcake flavors?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Movie Review

Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
I realize these movies haven't quite turned into the next Harry Potter as many had hoped, but even so I still find them enjoyable. They tell the story, and overall are faithful to the books. (At least as much as I can remember. It is interesting watching the movie as minor plots details spark a memory.) But I think my biggest complaint with them is that the haven't put a lot of money into them.

We opted to see the 2-D version, which considering how silly some of the effect looked in 2-D, I can't imagine paying extra to see them would have been worth it. Honestly with as much history as the books have, you'd have thought they would have put more money into them, and it's a little sad that they haven't. It's hard to say these are THE movie version, and think several years down the line they will be remaking the series yet again. I can only hope that the do decide to continue this version witth The Silver Chair which was my favorite book. But after the 4th, I don't necessarily see the rest of the movies being made.

Friday, December 10, 2010

To Triumph

Triumph: Life After the Cult - A Survivor's Lessons by Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer
After I finished reading Escape I knew I had to read the follow up. I just wanted to know what have developed in this family's life. While I am glad I finally settled my curiosity, overall I was a little disappointed with this book.

I think so much of it felt like a rehash of the first. I had read the first book, so it felt like quite a bit was repetitive. Clearly if you haven't read her first memoir this would be helpful, but I had so it wasn't. Also little things that bugged me about the first that I was able to set aside because I loved it so much, well I couldn't set aside this time. It just didn't feel like there was a good order to the book. Things weren't really chronological and it was a bit difficult to follow along.

But in some ways this was written as a user manual to achieve what Carolyn was able to do. In a way that worked, but that wasn't what I was looking for when reading this book. Like I said I really just wanted an update on the family. And while the last few chapter especially, do have this update I'm sure I could have found that information online without reading the whole book. But I enjoyed reading Escape so much, I know I would have always wanted to read the follow up. So in that sense I am glad I read Triumph. But to be honest, I would probably have to recommend sticking with Carolyn Jessop's first memoir.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ring Shots

Yes I realize I blogged a whole post on my ring yesterday, and yet still haven't shared any pictures of the ring itself. Since I'm without my ring, I can't take any new pictures but I still have a few to share from the night we officially became engaged.
Hand with Ring
Yes you can see my slightly ghetto sizer here, aka the reason I'm currently ringless, but I like it because you can see the some of the details from the setting in the shadows, plus it's one of the better views of the smaller ring of diamonds.
The Ring
I realize they're kind of blurry, but turns out my camera doesn't actually have a macro setting. I suspected as much, but it wasn't till I wanted to take pictures of my rings that I researched.
Ring Again
I realize there aren't a lot of pictures here, but I promise once I officially have my ring back I promise to take more!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Yes, as sad as it is to say, I'm currently ringless. Yes the engagement is still on, and no, I thankfully haven't lost the ring, but there is a little bit of a story here.

Back when the boy was ring shopping he found the ring he wanted and the diamond he wanted. The problem was that they weren't in the same ring. The jewelry store would have gladly sold him both, but they weren't able to move the right diamond into the ring he wanted. Since has was planning on proposing on our anniversary, they sold him the correct ring and would keep looking for a diamond with the right color, carat, cut, and clarity and get back to him.

When the boy proposed (and I said yes!), the ring he had hadn't been sized for me since he hadn't heard back on the diamond. So we wrapped a piece of cardboard around the ring so I could wear it without worry it would fall off. But with still no word on the diamond, and knowing we wanted to have a correctly sized ring before we headed out to California for the holidays we went back to the jewelry store.

Since no one had any idea when or even if the new diamond could be found the store is resizing my ring. Which means my hand is currently empty. Luckily, it is supposed to be ready by Friday so I don't have to wait too long, but even so my hand feels completely naked. It's funny that it's barely even been two and a half weeks, and yet I'm already so attached to it. I guess the only thing really to do is count down the days, hours, and minutes till I get it back!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cowboys vs. Ninjas

The Warrior's Way
As ridiculous as that title may sound it does pretty much some of the movie. It's about a ninja in some futuristic alternate reality that travels to a wild west town to escape his past. And there's a lot of circus people there to add more craziness to the mix.

There is a cute baby in the movie which was the high point of the movie for me. Although I did enjoy the romance between the Korean martial arts star and Kate Bosworth as well. I will admit that it was nearly as bad as I had expected, although that probably isn't what most movies strive for. I wouldn't necessarily see it again, but then again if you like martial arts movies, you would probably enjoy this.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Twihards Unite

This past weekend as we were leaving our movie (review to come) I noticed a bit of a commotion. The room that was normally used for birthdays was surrounded by girls peeking in the windows. I tried to figure out what was happening, but all I could really see were a few Twilight posters hanging inside. I would have been more than happy to hang around to find out, but the boy was hungry and ready for dinner so he practically dragged me outside.

We were walking across the parking lot the BJ's Brewhouse with me complaining the entire time. After all they were filming Breaking Dawn in Louisiana so it could easily be Robert Pattinson in there. As we got closer to the restaurant I could see there were tons of people mingling outside which meant a long wait, not really a surprise for this restaurant. So I told the boy to put our name on the list and that I was going back to the theater to investigate.

Luckily, I still had my ticket stub in my pocket so I made up some nonsense about leaving something behind. They just waived me through so I went back to join the throng of girls. I showed up at the perfect time, because right then Kellan Lutz, aka Emmett from Twilight walked out of the room.
Kellan Lutz!
Everyone was kind of in shock, but there wasn't really any screaming. He started handing out signed packs of Twilight Eclipse gum. (Clever promotional tie-in right?)
Kellan Lutz Signed Gum
Then of course girls started asking for pictures. I waited for most of the teenagers to have a turn, since after all I am a mature twenty-something and then asked for a picture of my own.
Me & Kellan Lutz
Now with my gum and pizza a was able to meet back up with the boy to share a pizza meal.
Mediterranean Pizza
Sounds like a great night of dinner and a movie right?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Love & Tangled

To start with this is a Disney Princess movie so is there anyway I wouldn't love this one? We actually took the boy's niece (although technically I guess officially my future niece) with us when we saw it, and to be honest while I love taking her to the movies I don't quite get as much into the movie as I would if I wasn't worried about her. But even so it was really cute.

I think Mandy Moore has the perfect princess voice to play Rapunzel, plus she can sing! As for the songs, while I liked them the didn't feel as amazing as some of the classic Disney songs. Maybe they're the type to grow on me, but there wasn't really a new "Part of Your World" or "Can You Feel the Love Tonight."

We did see it in 3-D, which even though it is expensive I still love. Although the boy's niece decided her 3-d glasses weren't fashionable enough and decided to switch to her sunglasses, aka NOT 3-d glasses, halfway through.

But overall it was a cute movie, and I'm sure if I was a little girl I would have completely fallen in love. Well I can say its my favorite Disney movie, still goes to The Little Mermaid, I do think it can hold its own beside them.

Love & Other Drugs
Talk about two polar opposite movies in one post. While this one is billed as almost a comedy I don't think that's quite right. I wouldn't even really classify it as a romantic comedy. Pretty much not to far into the movie you have a pretty good idea of how it's going to end, and it's not pretty. Watching the movie you know that even if there is going to be a happy ending, it is going to have to be a bittersweet one.

Then there's the part that everyone is talking about... the nudity. Let's just say if you ever wanted to see Anne Hathaway topless you'll have plenty of chances here.

But honestly, the movie really is as good as everyone says it is. But just as a warning don't go in expecting a light fluffy comedy or you may be disappointed.