Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meals, Moments, Reviews, & Remembering in October

Every month Lisa does a post called "Music, Books, Miles, & Looks" which I've always loved, where she recaps the previous month. I've been wanting to do something similar for a while now, but the prompt just didn't work for me. After all I'm not really a music person. I don't run. And I'm not big on putting a lot of effort into my outfit. Except last month, Amber took the prompt and made it her own calling it "Meals, Books, Miles, & Looks" which set off a light bulb moment for me. I could take Lisa's original idea, and teak it a little based on my current interests. So presenting the first inaugural "Meals, Moments, Reviews, & Remembering"

I'm not normally a big fan of broccoli, but for the first time the boy & I tried out roasted broccoli. In general, I'm a fan of roasted vegetables, so I thought it would be fun to try. The boy was a little skeptical, but after googling to make sure it could be done, we threw some broccoli along with carrots into the oven to try it out.
Roasted Carrots & Brocoli
And it wound up being delicious. I think we went through half of the broccoli by sneaking bites before the chicken was eaten cooked. I still wouldn't list broccoli on a list of vegetables I enjoy, but if I have to eat it, this is how I want it cooked. And it's definitely something we'll be trying out again.

The big moment of the past month had to be my 28th birthday. Also, speaking of upcoming moments I'm planning on joining NaBloPoMo for November. Which means you can expect a post on From L.A. to LA everyday for the next month! At least assuming I make it through.

This past month I reviewed the following books...
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Secrets of a Jewish Mother by Gloria Kaen, Lisa Wexler, and Jill Zarin
Against My Will by Benjamin Berkley
Divergent by Veronica Roth

and movies.
Here Comes the Boom
Cloud Atlas

Out of them all my favorite would have to be Frankeweenie, although both Divergent and Gone Girl aren't far behind.

One year ago today I was flying back to Louisiana after visiting my mom in the hospital. Which means that one year and one day ago is the last time I saw my mom awake and alive. What a year it's been...

Do you do any type of monthly recap post? If so, what do you highlight in those posts? Or if not, what would you highlight in such a post?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

From Miss to Mrs: Gifting the Girls

I think being as obsessed with wedding blogs as I was, put things in an interesting perspective for me. Reading about so many amazing bridesmaids gifts I felt a lot of pressure to live up to. But what I didn't realize is that what's normal in the blog world isn't as normal outside of it. What I'm trying to say is I thought the bridesmaids' gift I came up with weren't nearly enough to show my appriciation to the girls, so I was a little surprised when they told me they were far above their expectations.

I handed out gifts at our rehearsal dinner although since I didn't want to make a big production of it (after all the LSU game was one) we were out on the balcony outside our dinnig room.
Above you can see Bridesmaid NYC and my SIL opening their personalized hangers from Signature Hangers' Esty Shop. If you remember my MOH gifted me my own hanger so I wanted to make sure all the girls had matching ones.

Next I gave each girl one of the new Penguin Classics books which I think are adorable. They're the type of book that looks so pretty sitting on a book shelf. I was able to figure out which books I wanted farily easily, but it took a while to figure out which one went to each girl.
A Little Princess was one of my favorite books growing up and one I've read over and over. (I love the '94 movie as well, and still consider it one of my favorites.) It made perfect sense to to gift it to my MOH who shares a name with a main character. Pride and Predijuce went to BM NYC, who was my college roommate, since that book reminds me of her. The first time I saw the Kiera Knightly was with her, and while I havne't since the entire BBC version, the only parts I've seen have been with her. That left me then with The Secret Garden which went to my now sister-in-law and Little Women for Bridesmaid Chicago. Funny enough BM Chicago has the same name as one of the sisters, which I can't beleive I didn't remember till she said something. And I can't believe I'm admitting this here, but the only one of these books I've read is A Little Princess. Although I do know all the stories since I love the movies, and someday do plan on reading them all.

Thirdly, I gifted the girls (and myself) matching robes to wear the following morning while we were getting ready. (And yes you are getting a wedding day preview here!)
Taken by Sabree Hill Photography
I feel in love with Mrs. Castle's robes and knew I had to buy some for myself. Like her, I purchased them from Silk and More Esty Shop and was so impressed by their quality. The owner of the store is actually out of India, and even thought I ordered them with less time than recomended, she still got them to me on time. She sent me to her website with all her fabric swatches to pick exactly what patterns I wanted. I loved that the robe for me matched my blue and purple color scheme, and still wear it around the house on weekends.
Finally, I packaged all the gifts in bags I had found on theknot. I had concearns that these would feel cheap based on the reviews, but they didn't seem that way to me at all. From what I hear they been holding up pretty well even making it through trips to the grocery store with bridesmaid Chicago.
Moving onto the littlest girl of the bunch. I actually knew what I wanted to get our flower girl forever now, her first American Girl doll. It worked out perfectly because about a year before the wedding American Girl came out with a New Orleans girl, Marie Grace. As silly as it may sound, I can't wait to help her collect all of Marie Grace's collection in the years to come.
I wanted to get her a bag as well to match the rest of the girls', but all of theknot's flower girl bags had awful reviews. (Plus they didn't have a single bag that would work for a ring bearer.) So instead I discovered Personalized Mall, where I found both of these adroable flower girl and ring bearer bags.
In addition to the sports bag, we also gifted our ring bearer a box of lincoln logs as well as a giant monkey. I was actually arguing for something else in the store when the boy said, "Who doesn't want a giant monkey?" Turns out a little boy in the store heard him, and prompty asked his dad for a giant monkey, which made the decision quite easy.

What has been the best gift you've ever received from being in a wedding? And which of the four books do you think you would have wanted the most?

Miss a Recap Post?
From Miss to Mrs: The Calm Before the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: There's a Hurricane Coming?
From Miss to Mrs: Here Comes Isaac
From Miss to Mrs: Weathering the Cane
From Miss to Mrs: After the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: Trials and Tribulations
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Errands
From Miss to Mrs: A Night on the Town
From Miss to Mrs: The Hangover
From Miss to Mrs: Rehearsing in the Heat
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Single Supper

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Movie Review

Cloud Atlas
If I'm being honest, I was confused for a lot of this movie. But even so, the parts that made sense to me I liked, and even the ones I didn't completely get I was still able to enjoy.

It's made up of 5 different stories each at a completely different time and place. We're lead to believe that each story tells the tale of different souls being reincarnated, which is helped by the fact the same actors are in each story. Some are more connected than others, but they all work together. But even though the stories are so different, it's hard for me to pick out a favorite because they each have their moments.

I do think watching this a second time would make for a far different, and possibly better experience. And while I don't think a lot of people are going to see it in the theaters, I'm not sure how well it'd work for home viewing. At least for me, I don't think I'd be able to pay attention to it near enough at home (which I why in general I like going to the movies). But it still is an interesting tale, and different from a lot of other movies you're going to see.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mailbox Monday (11)

Twice in one month has to be a recent record for me, but yes I'm linking up with Mailbox Monday today. This is a traveling meme, with a new host every month. Although October is actually hosted by the official Mailbox Monday blog.
Mailbox Monday
Borrowed From a Friend
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephan Chbosky
Back in high school the boy I was crushing on (Lifeguard Mike for those in the know) told me this was his favorite book. Ever since then I've been wanting to read this book, and here I am, 10 years later, finally about to pick up the book. I have high expectations for this one, so hopefully it won't let me down. And while I haven't seen the movie yet, would love to once I'm finished.

What did you find in your mailbox this week? And have you ever read a book only due to a recommendation from a crush?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sunday Social (7)

I'm linking up with A Complete Waste of Makeup for some Halloween fun Sunday Social style!
1. What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?
I went through a few years where I always picked costumes out of American Girl Magazine. They always had such creative ideas, things that I never would have come up with on my own. From their inspiration I was both the day & night sky (in separate years) as well as a picnic. But since I don't have any photos of those costumes here are few other fun ones.
In 1990 (1st grade for me) dressed up as Ariel, with my brother as a knight
91-10 - halloween
As Belle in '91
At my Halloween party in 3rd grade dressed up as Jasmine.
My brother is the vampire in front
I beleive in 4th grade, my brother and I as Luke & Leia.
2. If you could go back and dress up as something what would it be?
Knowing that I was obviously obsessed with dressing up as Disney Princesses, I think it would be fun to have been able to dress as Princess Merida from Brave.

3. Favorite costume as an adult?
I loved when I dressed up as Ariel as an adult. (It feels like yesterday, but somehow it was 5 years ago back in 2007.) I loved it because it really just was an outfit, but by carrying around a stuffed Sebastian, I made it into a costume.
As Ariel
4. Favorite Halloween Candy?
I'm pretty much a fan of all things candy, but for a favorite (at least right now) it would be bottle caps.

5. Favorite Halloween Memory?
I had a friend when I was little whose birthday was at the end of October whose mom would throw her a Halloween party ever year. Her mom always dressed up as a witch and had a cauldron full of dry ice. Thinking back to it makes me want to have a late October baby so I can throw a Halloween party for them.

6. Whats your favorite scary movie?
I'm not a big scary movie person, but back in the day I used to be a fan of I Know What You Did Last Summer. And looking back now it really was an awesome group of actors in it.

If you haven't linked up with Sunday Social yet, you really should (if only so I can see your Halloween costumes). And if you have already, please let me know in the comments so I can stop by.

Friday, October 26, 2012

From Miss to Mrs: The Last Single Supper

After we all melted at our rehearsal, we headed to our rehearsal dinner. We decided to invite all out-of-town guests instead of just the wedding party, and I have to give thanks where they're due because my mother-in-law actually organized the whole event.

The dinner was at Boutin's, a local Cajun restaurant, which is actually where mine and the boy's parents actually met. I've been back several times since both with my parents and my MOH on her first trip out to Louisiana, so it's definitely a restaurant I was familar with and though would be fun for those in Lousiana for their first time.

Since we were getting married on a Sunday our rehearsal dinner was on a Saturday. But not just any Saturday. It was a Saturday in September in Louisiana on opening weekend even, so we had to have the LSU game on throughout dinner.
You could tell who was local pretty much by who was paying attention to the tv. Although since we were only playing North Texas, the Tigers cruised to an easy victory.
We were always supposed to have a limited menu of selections, but since we were only a few days post hurricane the entire restaurant wound up being on that same limited menu. But if I had to guess, I don't think anyone would have been able to tell the restaurant wasn't quite running at normal strength. Some of the options offered were Louisiana redfish, (at least I think that's what this is, it could also be tilapia, maybe?)
steak accompanied by the standard sides of dirty rice, maque choux, and your choice of potato,
and a crawfish platter with both fried crawfish and etouffee.
This is actually what I ordered, although barely ate any. I was still feeling less than stellar, and didn't even take a single photo (all of these are from my dad or other family memebers). The entire time I wanted to be in bed sleeping. I did manage to power through, but looking back wish I had made more of the time with all our friends and family.
While we were in a private dinning room, in the main room, there was live entertainment. But just because we were in a separate room, didn't mean we couldn't walk out and enjoy it.
We had a few guests, including my brother and grandmother below, made it out to the dance floor to practice for the big reception the following day.
Did you wind up inviting all out-of-town guests only the bridal party or some other combination to your rehearsal dinner? And would you have been the one watching the football game or out on the dance floor?

Miss a Recap Post?
From Miss to Mrs: The Calm Before the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: There's a Hurricane Coming?
From Miss to Mrs: Here Comes Isaac
From Miss to Mrs: Weathering the Cane
From Miss to Mrs: After the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: Trials and Tribulations
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Errands
From Miss to Mrs: A Night on the Town
From Miss to Mrs: The Hangover
From Miss to Mrs: Rehearsing in the Heat

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Drive Home

After watching LSU add another tally to their win column, we met up with some of the boy's college friends at Freebirds.
For anyone from Louisiana, Freebirds is basically the original Izzo's. I beleive the owner of Izzo's even went to A&M, and came to Louisiana to open a startlingly similar franchise. Although Freebirds did have a few other burrito options, and was just as delicious as Izzos.
Sunday morning far too early, we were on the road back to Louisiana. Although first we had to make a detour at Panera. Hopefully the long awaited Baton Rouge Panera will be opening in the next year or so, but until that I have to have it whenever I have the chance.
While I'm a much bigger fan of lunch at Panera, given the time we were on the road, I made the best out of an already positive situation and enjoyed a sausage and gouda souffle, french toast bagel, and pumpkin spice latte before getting back on the road. Thankfully for this trip traffic was much more normal, and we were welcomed back to Louisiana and Baton Rouge by early afternoon.
Welcome to Louisiana
Do you have a Panera near you? (If so I'm insanely jealous!) And any guesses on how long it will take to FINALLY have a Panera in Baton Rouge?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tigers vs. Aggies

Yesterday I posted about the first part of our trip to college station. Today is the reason we were there in the first place, so see LSU take on the Texas A&M football team.
We wound up with really good seats. We were field level, one section over from the end zone. Which did mean depending on where the ball was we had to watch on the screen, but it did mean we got to see LSU run on the field. Above you can see our coach, Les Miles, waiting for the rest of the team to exit the locker room.
Here's the team following Mike onto the field,
and kicking off to start the game. A&M did make us look ridiculous the first quarter, and took an early lead of 12-0. But after what seemed like forever we finally scored a touchdown, which led to the extra point in progress below.
At halftime we were leading 14-12, which I'm sure made Coach Miles awfully happy for his media interview.
For years now the boy has been telling me how great the A&M marching band is, since all its members are made up of corps members. It's hard to tell from a picture, but they really were impressive.
A&M Marching Band
The second half was a lot more fun, at least for us LSU fans. And once it was pretty clear we were going to be winning the game, the boy agreed to take a photo.
I'm pretty sure I'm yelling at him to stop making faces here, and even though it's not a perfect photo, there's something I really like about it.
To wrap up, one final shot of the cheerleaders,
The Golden Band from Tigerland
the band,
the team,
Final Score
and the final score.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

From LA to TX

This past weekend the boy and I were in College Station, Texas to see LSU take on Texas A&M. After we each worked about and half day we were on the road around 1. Of course we hit traffic on the Mississippi River Bridge which is fairly normal. Except once off the bridge we were diverted to Airline since I-10 was closed in between the bridge and Lafayette. So the drive that took me barely an hour the weekend before, took closer to 4 hours this time. And that was just the first half of the drive!

On top of that we also heard on the radio that A&M was being evacuated due to a bomb threat, so we didn't start the trip on the best note. (And I've even left off how I broke my windshield earlier that morning.) But eventually we made it to Texas, and a few hours later College Station.
Welcome to Texas
Our first stop on arrival before we even made it to the hotel, was Gumby's Pizza. This was a favorite of the boy's when he was in school, and he's been talking about these pizza rolls for years.
Gumby's Pizza
I decided to go with a small pineapple pizza. Of course after I ordered the boy told me their pizza wasn't that good. But it was still enjoyable, just didn't have the same garlic buttery gooey-ness of the pizza rolls.

After taking twice the amount of time it should have, it was far too late by the time we made it to the hotel. Especially since they decided to schedule the game for an early 11am kickoff. So we were off to bed, and all to early, back awake.
Waffle for Breakfast
After a kick breakfast at the hotel's buffet we were off to Kyle Field to see the Tigers take on the Aggies.
At Kyle Field
What's the most miserable road trip you've ever been on? (And don't worry, for those that are concerned, I'll be back with pictures from the game tomorrow.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

From Miss to Mrs: Rehearsing in the Heat

On Friday, two days before the wedding, I received a call from our venue letting me know that they had power back. Looking back I'm not sure if I misheard or if they meant they had generator power because the following day, as in a few hours before our rehearsal, I received a call hadn't that power hadn't actually been restored, but that they were hopeful. I told the boy, but besides him didn't tell anybody else. So close to the wedding, I didn't want to worry anyone else, and figure once we arrived for the rehearsal we would learn their plan.

As luck would have it, an hour before the rehearsal was scheduled to start power was resorted. (From what I heard the event planner at the plantation was on the phone and online telling the electricity company they needed power back because there was a wedding that weekend.) But while electricity wasn't an issue, the hurricane did cause other problems.
With the amount of rain they'd received the front lawn was wet, and unfortunately the front lawn was where we were planning on having the ceremony. We crossed our fingers that the grass would dry out in the next 24 hours, but made a backup plan to instead have the ceremony in one of the courtyards.

On to the next hiccup, the original plan was for our rabbi to be there to help lead the ceremony. She left New Orleans at noon for our 3pm rehearsal, for a drive would would normally take around an hour. Except at quarter after 3, she still wasn't anywhere nearby, and instead Caity, our contact at the venue, helped to give direction. (And in case your curious, I think she finally made it in around 4, and decided to spend that nith in with a friend in Baton Rouge instead of basically turning right around.)
It was so hot this day (which why you can basically see the sweat pouring off me), so we tried to get things down as quickly as possible. We lined up in order, then went to the ballroom where we'd start our walk to practice processing.
Our ring bearer and flower girl practicing their walk down the aisle
When it came time for me to walk down the aisle someone (I'm guessing Bridesmaid Chicago) got everyone to hum, "Here comes the bride."
The bridal party waiting for the bride
From there, with only one practice run, but everyone dying from the heat we were finished and ready to head out to dinner.

One quick word about the "attire" of the rehearsal. It was my original plan to buy a cute purple dress to wear to the rehearsal. Except that never happened. I figured I could buy it in the last days before the wedding, but instead dealt with a hurricane. I probably could have come up with a cute outfit out of clothes I already had, but after feeling miserable that morning, I just wasn't up to it. So instead you see me in the picture below in jeans and an LSU t-shirt. (And while you may not be able to see all of me, you can see my outfit, plus it gave me an excuse to share this cute photo!)
How many times did you actually rehearse at your rehearsal? And what are your thoughts on appropriate wedding rehearsal attire?

Miss a Recap Post?
From Miss to Mrs: The Calm Before the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: There's a Hurricane Coming?
From Miss to Mrs: Here Comes Isaac
From Miss to Mrs: Weathering the Cane
From Miss to Mrs: After the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: Trials and Tribulations
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Errands
From Miss to Mrs: A Night on the Town
From Miss to Mrs: The Hangover

Friday, October 19, 2012

One Choice

Divergent by Veronica Roth
I went into this book a little skeptical that it wouldn't live up to my expectations. I had just heard so many great things about it, that I was a little scared it was too hyped. But thankfully that wasn't the case. And even though I knew the basic outline of the story, it still was nothing like I expected, and that only made me like it more.

My biggest frustration with it was that it seemed to take forever to get to the big catch. You knew there just had to be something wrong going on, but it wasn't till the last quarter of the book you actually figured out what was going on. (Instead of something with The Hunger Games where you realize the conflict immediately.)

But instead of getting right into the conflict you get to witness some amazing world building. I love the world of Divergent, not that I'd want to live in it, but I love learning more about it. You really feel like you get to know the world, and so much of the story just comes alive. More than just the world too, since it feels like you're actually living this life as Tris. I couldn't help but wince in pain myself when Tris got in difficult situations.

Can we also talk about the fact that Veronica Roth is only 24, and I beleive just 22 when Divergent was first released. I can't imagine being able to produce such a complete story at that age, and I can't wait to see what else she comes up with, but first, I'm looking forward to picking up Insurgent


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