Monday, April 30, 2012

Are We Safe?

If you're going to see this movie you probably know exactly what to expect, and the movie lives up to those expectations. Lots of car chases, lots of explosions, dirty cops, and lots of fight scenes.

The little girl in the movie isn't the best of actors, but I still enjoyed her scenes. Plus I thought she gave an interesting twist to a somewhat cookie cutter type movie.

There isn't a lot outside the box here, but it's still a fun action movie. And if you're a fan of Jason Statham movies than you'll probably enjoy this one as well.

Friday, April 27, 2012

She's the Bride

The Bachelorette Party by Karen McCullah Lutz
Given that the author of this book is one of the screen writers of movies like Legally Blonde, Ten Things I Hate About You, and The House Bunny, it isn't that much of a surprise that it feels like a movie. Think of it as Bridesmaids meets The Hangover.

It did take me a while to really get into this book and start enjoying it. But about halfway through, coincidentally once the bachelorette party started, things really started to pick up for me. Going into it I thought I had figured out exactly how things would end within the first few chapters, but the ending actually wasn't what I expected. Although looking back it fits perfectly compared to some of the movies she's also written.

One aspect I wasn't a fan of was the fact that the main character was a teacher, who had somewhat of an not-quite-right relationship with one of her students. Yes, he was over 18, and by the end of the book he had graduated high school. I know that there are teachers who have affairs with their students, but I don't, like I'm sure most people, approve of it. It just made it hard for me to completely feel for Zadie (whose name I love!), given this aspect of the story.

I did think it was fun reading this book now, while I'm engaged. Reading just how the bride acted at her engagement party, really made me think about just how I want to act at my own bachelorette party. Yes, I want to have fun, but within reason.

While I didn't love this one, I did still enjoy it, but I think I'd probably love it more as a movie. There was talk about about turning it into one a few years back, but from what I can tell, if it's happening, it won't be any time soon.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Got the Blues

It took a few tries, but Amber was the first to guess our dress. As for the big reveal, this is the bridesmaid dress for our wedding...

Official it's Dessy Collection Style 2860, and this is the description off their website, which can be found at the link above.

"Fabric: Lux Chiffon
Strapless full length lux chiffon dress with inset matching matte satin belt at natural waist. Shirred detail on bodice and skirt."
I had actually planned on the dress above in that exact color, which is midnight. At least until I took a look at the color swatches. And well, midnight in person, is dark, as in almost black. I guess as you would expect midnight to be. I started instead to think about the dress in sailor.
This is a comparison of the midnight to sailor. It is a little blurry, but it's the best picture I have that reflects the way the color looked in person. Except I kept going back and forth because on most pictures I took comparing the two fabric swatches, the midnight looked just like it did on the model, which was exactly the color I wanted.
I told myself that I could go with midnight because in pictures it would look great. Then I had a bit of a reality check, because after all, isn't the wedding as it's happening a little more important than the way it looks in pictures? With common sense making the decision, I decided to instead go with sailor as our dress color, bring us to the actual dress my bridesmaid will be wearing.

Did you wind up second guessing your color choice? Also, have you ever had the slightly ridiculous dilemma where you worry more about how things will look in pictures than about how it actually happens?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dressy Dress Time

After my mom died a lot of what happened in a blur. But what I do remember is my MOH asking what she could do to help with the planning, and me telling her to basically pick out bridesmaid dresses. I did her some guidance, mainly floor length and dark blue or purple, but basically I trusted her judgement.

She did some internet research, and made a few appointments to try on dresses and these are a few of the favorites she sent me. (Backing up a few moments before we get the the dresses though... I'm guessing the first line to this post doesn't scream "bridesmaid dresses" does it? But I guess that's kind of how my life is at the moment. But now... moving on to the dresses....)


This one was actually a suggestions from BM Chicago, that was passed onto me.






Which one of these dresses would you choice if it was for your wedding. And more important (at least to me), which one do you think we went with?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Girls in White Dresses

I'm not really a huge fan of shopping, which is why if you look through my closest you'll find a ton of clothes not just from college, but high school as well. But with my California shower coming up I needed something to wear, and I didn't feel like anything in my closest was shower appropriate.So needing a dress, the boy and I hit up the mall. We basically stopping the the first store we walked by, which happened to be Ann Taylor Loft.

There seems to be a big trend right now of brides-to-be where white dress to all of their pre-wedding functions. I liked the idea of it, but didn't think it was an absolute. My main goal was finding a cute dress, and if it was white on top of that even better. But funny enough the two dresses that called out to me both were white.
I actually like this dress more in the picture than I did trying it on. I really like the bottom half of the dress, but wasn't a fan of how baggy it was on the top.
It's kind of the opposite here, because while I don't love this picture I did love the dress while it was on. I bought the belt as well, because the boy insisted that it needed one, and I don't really own belts. (And yes, I take my fashion advice from him, because most times I'm a little fashion hopeless.) But basically after 1 store and trying on two outfit I had my shower dress and we were ready.
We did wind up in one other store where I again made a purchase, buying the cute flip flops above which matched the belt pretty perfectly. I think the sandals are adorable, but I'll do my best not to wear them until the actual shower.

With the shopping finished the boy and I stopped for lunch at Bravo where we split an appetizer of fried mozzarella ravioli.
And I had a plate of gnocchi with braised beef,
and creme brulee for dessert.
All before heading to the movies to go see 21 Jump Street.

All in all, it was a fun and successful Saturday.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jump Up

21 Jump Street
Without any movies coming out this weekend that we really wanted to see (or that we could agree on), the boy & I instead went with a movie we missed when it first came out. (Of course there's 4 movies coming out next week we want to see, but doesn't it seem to work out that way.) Although going back to see this one was a good choice, because after seeing it, it's not to be missed.

Seriously this movie is laugh-out-loud-hilarious. It's perfect for a 20-something because we don't realize how much as actually changed about high school since we were there. Yes, a lot of it is the same. But take for instance when Jonah Hill's character calls a girl, because that's what you do in high school. Except she tells him she only texts, and the only people who call are old people like her grandparents.

I did wind up really enjoying this one, and I'm glad that we found the time to see it, because now that I know what I I could have missed out on, I'm glad I didn't have to.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (38)

I never seem to expect to be participating in this link up, because I really don't need to pick up any new books. But yet again here I am linking up with The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. The damage was done a the library book sale of a local community college. The most expensive of these was $3, and on average the books were under $2. So with such a good deal, how could I pass it up. Now let's get to the books!
In My Mailbox
Swimming by Nicola Keegan
This seems to be somewhat chick-lit-y but in it the main character competes in the Olympics. And with the London games only a few weeks away, it seems like the perfect time to read it.

Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon
I've never read any of Gabaldon's books, but I do have the first book in her Outlander series sitting by my bed to read. Although I'm realizing now this is a spin off of the Outlander books, so I might read those before picking up this one.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
I've heard nothing by great things about the Stephanie Plum books, and now I finally have the chance to read the first in the series.

Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati
I knew nothing about this book, but it's hard for me to say no to any type of historical fiction. This one takes place in New York in the late 1700s.

Masie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
This is another series I've heard nothing but great things about, but I've haven't had the chance to read before.

Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
This is actually mentioned in my favorite book series, The Betsy-Tacy Series. This is the romance novel that Tacy's father finds her reading and burns it in the stove since it isn't the type of book a young lady should be reading. After hearing about the book through multiple re-readings, I'm excited to see if it's as risque now as it was 100 years ago.

Digging to America by Anne Tyler
This was a compemtory novel that caught my eye about a family adopting a baby girl from Korea.

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
I recently read my first Picoult book and wound up being a fan, so I can't wait to read more of her books.

The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland
This is another historical fiction that called out to me about an Italian painter.

The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer
I've heard great things about Heyer, but I've yet to read any of her books. So here's my chance!

I know there's a good amount of books here, but I had to stop myself because I could have easily found more. What's in your mailbox this week? Did you wind up with any good deals as well?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Soundtrack to Your Life

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Until this, I had never read a Jodi Picoult book. Obviously I've heard a lot about her, and I've seen the movie version of My Sister's Keeper, so I had an idea of what I was getting into. The book actually wound up being exactly what I expected, and I mean that in a good way.

This book is the type that you really don't want to put down. It presents a moral dilemma, which turns into a court case (as I believe in most of her books), and you can't wait to hear how it will all turn out. I have heard that once you've read one of hers you know what to expect with the others. But even though this was my first I still was able to guess a lot of twists and turns (although I will admit that might also be due to spoiler-y reviews I read before).

The book's moral dilemma has to due with whether its better for a child to be raised with her gay parents compared to a Christian based "normal" couple. Both views are presented, but I had a hard type believing the more evangelical Christian points of view. It may be because I have the opposite viewpoint already, but I also read some reviews online by those who had the more that opposite viewpoint and even they felt Picoult didn't due justice to it.

It does leave a few plots points ambiguous towards the end, and I'd love to know more exactly what happens to everyone involved. But with it's faults I still was big fan of the story and its characters. And could easily see myself checking out a few more of Picoult's books.


Disclosure: I was provided this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On the Web

There are a ton of free wedding website out there, and probably just as many website that charge of fee. Except when I came to making our website, I went with something a little less traditional, but something I was more familiar and basically turned a blogger blog into a wedding website. I included our website on our Save The Dates and had it up by the time they were mailed out. Except if any one actually went to our website, this is what they saw.
Basically a picture of us (the same on from the STDs even), and the words coming soon. You could barely even read the title, because I just had blogger add it on top of the photo and at places it was too dark for the background but too light at others. At least that's what they saw until a week ago, when I finally updated our website.
I edited the header imagine so you could actually read the title. (Which is a little funny to write because it's so small here you can barely read it. But if you click on the image to see it closer to the actual size it is readable.) I also added links for things like our hotel room block, our registry, and directions. Although most of those don't actually go somewhere yet, they soon will. And there are some that are functional, like the history of our venue.
I actually pulled the text directly from our venue's website, but the photos I used are ones I've taken.

The website is still a work in progress, but it's progress quite a bit in the past few days. Plus I'm a lot happier with it now, than I used to be.

If you have a wedding website, what service did you use? And any suggestions for other information I should add to our website?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rocking a Sweet Tooth

In case you hadn't already heard, Easter was last week. And why am I reminding you of this? Well the day after Easter, candy typically goes on sale, which means I stocked up on candy for our candy buffet.
I think it's pretty easy to guess which candy I bought now, and which candy I bought after Valentine's Day. I did try to buy candy that would keep (aka no chocolate... but somehow a bag of m&ms snuck in). I'm still planning on buying a lot more as we get closer to the wedding, but I figure I might as well make the most of these end of season sales.

Of course after writing this "update" on our candy bar I realize I've yet to post about it. So.... surprise! The plan is to do a candy bar at the wedding. The trend is to do something where all the candy is in the wedding colors. Something like this...

Except while I think that's pretty, I'd rather do something based only on the deliciousness on the candy. So something closer to this...

I still have a lot more work I need to do on this, mainly picking up more candy and the pretty glass jars, but I'm so excited to put this in action!

Would you want to do a candy bar at your wedding? If so, would you go for a pretty color scheme, or just whatever candy called out to you?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Time for Planning

My google reader hasn't been empty since October. At least until a week ago, it hadn't. Granted last fall wasn't normal for me, so it isn't much of a surprise that my blog reading stalled back then, and I fell behind. But a normal person would probably hit "read all", and start over. But I've never hit "read all" and I'd like it to stay that way. Although I did come to realize that after 30 days google automatically marks posts as read. While this does make me a little upset since there were posts out there I never got to read, I can only imagine how many unread posts I would have if it didn't do this.

So why am I telling you guys this? Well, I told myself I wouldn't do certain aspects of wedding planning until I finally made it through my reader. (Yes... unfortunately, this is where my priorities lie... Yikes!) But since I finally made it to that mark I'm out of reasons to procrastinate.

Since last weekend, aka the date my reader was finally empty, I've updated our wedding website, blocked off hotel rooms for guests, ordered our guestbook, and started work on the invitations, as well as a few other minor details. Obviously I still have quite a bit of planning ahead of me, but it feels good to finally start feeling accomplished. Now hopefully I can continue to work on wedding stuff and still manage to keep my reader under control.

Do you find that your priorities towards blogging are somewhat unconventional? And how often do you hit, "read all", in your google reader?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Movie Review

So maybe this isn't the greatest movie ever, but it still had its moments. The basic premise is that in the future criminals are sent to a space prison, where they spend their time asleep in stasis for their term. Except they all wind up escaping and take everyone whose isn't a prisoner, which coincidentally includes the president's daughter, hostage.

I thought the movie had twists and turns that were unexpected. Except halfway through the boy told me what he thought would happen, and wound up being 100% right. So maybe it is predictable, and I'm just bad at predicting.

Like I said, it has it's moments, and parts of it were enjoyable. But if you're looking to see a movie in the theaters right now, there's probably better options out there.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Back to the Pink Carnation

The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig
This book is the perfect mix of chick-lit meets historical fiction, so is it any surprise that I loved it? The story opens just after The Secret History of the Pink Carnation ends. While the two main characters of the first, Amy and Richard, are present the book focuses on Richard sister Henrietta and friend Miles instead.

It feels like it's been a while since I've read the first, although it's really only been about 3 and a half months. It did take me a while it get back into things and remember who every one, but once I did, I was right back in love with all the characters. I thought I'd be disappointed that Richard and Amy weren't in it as much, but I loved Miles and Henrietta just as much if not more.

Now to a slightly more somber note, this book was one of the last books my mom lent me before she passed away in November, so I couldn't help but think of her as I was reading. She had picked up this and the first in the series on paperbackswap, read them, and lent them to me, and I know she would have done the same with the rest of the series. It's a little bittersweet (although that isn't quite the word I want to use) to know that I'll be able to read the next books in the series, that my mom never had the chance.

But getting back to a happier note, and I am glad that my mom introduced me to this series and can't wait to continue with it.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

More Passover Fun

Every year since college I've made myself a big batch of charoset to get me through the week of Passover. (At least for the years when I haven't flown home for Passover.) For those not in the know charoset plays a part in the sedar and it's one of the first things you're able to eat. It's supposed to symbolize the mortar used by the Israelites while they were slaves in Egypt, and it's commonly made out of apples and nuts. (Although my mom used to make a version from dates as well.) It's one of my favorite parts of Passover and it's basically one of the foods I survive on throughout the week of Passover.

I've posted photos of charoset before, but I don't believe I've shared the recipe. I had two different Jewish cookbook (both for children actually), and I made a version based on both. One called for 2 apples the other 8. But both asked for the same amount of nuts, and the amount of wine needed for the 8 apple recipe was nowhere near as much, proportionally, as the 2 apple recipe. Basically there's a lot of leeway here, but this is how I made it this year.
I used four apples, which then were peeled and cut.
I had about half a cup each of walnuts and almonds.
From here, you could then throw ALL ingredients (including the sugar, cinnamon, and wine-which we'll get to) into a food processor and be finished. Except I don't have one of those, so basically I would take spoonfuls of nuts and apples and chop them up.
Once I got tired of chopping I added about 1 and a half tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Then chopped it all of more to get it to a better consistency and help mix into the spices.
But once it looked about right, added about 2/3 cup red wine (plus a little extra because... why not?), and we had charoset.
Some pieces here are probably a little too big. But hopefully next year I'll have a food processor and the whole thing will be a lot easier. This actually made a ton of charset, and I have a feeling I'll have quite a bit leftover by the time Passover ends. But I think this could be the perfect amount for a sedar full of people.

Do you have a favorite Passover food? Or holiday food, in general?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Wednesday - Toffee Matzoh

For the second week in a row I'm participating in Suz's pinterest inspired Wednesday. Again it's a slight cheat on my part, because I decided what I wanted to make, and then pinned it... but if it's been pinned does it really matter? But onto the fun!
With Passover starting last Friday, I knew I wanted to make some type of dessert to last through the week. I did wind up pinning a few different options, but nothing stood out to me. But I did remember having toffee matzoh before (my college roommate-turned-bridesmaid brought me some once from her grandmother, and my mom made some a few years ago too), so I figured I'd try that out. Turns out, it's one of the easiest things ever to make, so I have a feeling it'll definitely be making an appearance in the future, most likely becoming a Passover regular. Here's the pin, and the recipe with a few of my notes through in.

4 pieces of matzoh
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (plus a little for fun)
Toppings (I used chopped walnuts and sea salt, but you could use whatever you want.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the matzoh in one layer on the baking sheet.
In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly.
This step seemed to take forever (which is why there's double pictures), but it eventually got there.
Once the mixture reaches a boil, continue to cook for an additional three minutes, still stirring, until thickened and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Remove from heat and pour over the matzoh, spreading an even layer.
Put the pan in the oven, then immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn't burn. If it looks like it is starting to burn, turn heat down to 325. After 15 minutes, the toffee should have bubbled up and turned a rich golden brown.
Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate over the pan.
Let sit for five minutes, then spread the now-melted chocolate evenly with a spatula.
Add toppings as desired.
Let cool (which again took forever... I wound up putting it into the freezer for a minute or two, which got it done) and break into pieces.
Toffee Matzoh
This wound up being extra delicious, and the perfect candy to be able to snack on throughout passover.

If you were making this, what toppings would you add to your toffee?