From our weekend

IMG_9051 IMG_9062

IMG_9085

IMG_9082

Last weekend we spent a much needed three days at home together. Jason took Friday off and we saw The Amazing Sider Man 2. We had a Starbuck’s date and tried out lots of new cheeses at The Cheese Course.

Saturday was the kickoff of iNSD and I got in a full day of scrappy goodness. I made ten pages, which is a personal record! Jason did a little gaming and watched movies.

Miss Kitty has been super snuggly and wanting All The Attention since we got back from Orlando.

Sunday we had our first swim at the new place. It was lovely. We did a few laps and sat in the hot tub, which did wonders for my knee. We came home and got caught up on Once Upon A Time. Can’t wait for the season finale on Sunday!

Good Reads, vol. 2

Here are the books I’ve been munching on the past couple of weeks.

The Green Mill Murder and Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher #5 and 6)
Still on my Phryne kick. The Green Mill Murder was typical Phryne book. Murder at a dance competition, family intrigue, and we get to see more of her famous flying stunts. I’m loving these books not only for the characters, but also because they give a look into Australian and WWI history.
Blood and Circuses went off the rails a bit. To help her friends, Phryne has to go undercover as a circus horse rider and solve a murder. She has to leave all her fancy clothes and luxuries behind, taking her far out of her comfort zone. I mostly liked this one, but one thing bugged me… I am accustomed to the fact that Phryne is going to take a new lover in each book, but does she need two? At the same time? And the men don’t even seem to mind. It just seemed a bit unrealistic.

You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap) How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too
This was a really interesting book, and one I can recommend to a few of the hoarders in my life. You probably don’t want to live in a Tiny House (300 square feet), but the author doesn’t expect you too. She tells lots of stories from her own life, and people she knows, that show the benefits of decluttering and “right sizing” your life (Side note, I have immense hatred for the term “right sizing” in any other context). She offers small action steps at the end of each chapter that almost anyone can benefit from. She also stresses that each person and family are different. You have to find your own version of happiness. This is something I super strongly believe in. We are much more into “experience gifts” than giving each other stuff. The part on time management and commuting was especially interesting to me, and something we’ll definitely take into consideration when our lease is up in April. The only downside to this book is that her writing style gets a bit repetitive. She says the same few phrases and tells the same stories over and over. If you can get past that, it’s definitely worth a read.

In the President’s Secret Service, Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect
This book was half interesting, informative book, half US Weekly. It’s so trashy in parts that it made me cringe. Do I really want to know about the President who took a leak in front of the press corps? Or about the (many) extramarital affairs of our government officials? Well ok, yes I do. But I don’t want those stories mixed in with Important Stuff, like the history of the Secret Service, assassinations, and budget and morale problems that are undermining the efficacy of today’s SS. It’s almost like you’re reading two different books. Two very interesting books, but two books that don’t even belong on the same shelf. The author shows a clear Conservative-leaning bias, and some of the anonymous accounts stretch credulity. But the actual fact-based parts of the book give a fascinating look into the men and women protecting our nation’s leaders.

Insatiable
I went from trashy politics to trashy vampire romance. Actually this wasn’t very trashy at all. An entertaining story about a woman who hates vampires falling for… wait for it… a vampire! I know, right? It was a fun read though, and despite a few truck driver sized plot holes, I enjoyed it. I have the unfortunate habit lately of picking up books in a series without realizing it. And then getting really pissed off when I reach the end. Do people even write one off books anymore?

Anyhoo, next up will probably be Cuckoo’s Calling. And I have a couple of gardening books in my queue. I’m not sure how well audiobooks about gardening will translate, but we’ll see.

Oh, and one other book-related thing. We watched Beautiful Creatures the other night. I talked about the book in my last post, and I’m happy to report that the movie was WAY better than the book. I know a lot of BC fans were pissed off about some pretty major divergences from the book, but I think they made it better. And Serafina made that movie. Totally. Jason actually loved it too. He thinks it’s even better than Hunger Games. I don’t agree, but I’m glad he liked it 😛

You can read more of my blatherings on books here.

High Five for Friday

1. Veronica Mars movie is green lit! Shooting starts in June! Yay!!! Two weeks after I nearly lost my s**t over the VM Kickstarter, it’s official! Super excited!

2. Call Me Maybe, orchestra edition. Okay I’m sure I’m probably the last person on earth to see this, but just in case I’m not…

3. This recipe for cucumber/ vinegar/ honey deliciousness. 

4. Green things. I planted iris bulbs this week and I can’t wait to go get more plant-y goodness this weekend!

5. Pop Culture Happy hour podcast. Catching up on a bunch of back episodes and really enjoying them.

Also loving….

Ice Cream for Breakfast Day on Thursday.
The Mentalist. Still. It’s our new comfort show.
Lazy weekend mornings when we can sleep until 9 and we don’t feel like Death on a Cracker.

Happy Friday!

Currently

Watching Real Housewives of OC reruns.
Reading Skinned again. Jason started it this week, so I’m rereading it.
Listening to Justin Timberlake’s new album free on iTunes.
Making many failed dishes. (I should not cook while sick).
Feeling congested.
Planning nothing really, trying to survive now atm.
Loving that he makes me laugh when I’m super cranky.
Blowing my nose constantly.
Missing the Pop Stuff podcast, but happy the hosts are going on to Stuff You Missed in History Class.
Craving chicken.

Also….

Super Duper happy and excited that the Veronica Mars Kickstarter has totally surpassed their goal! And in only one day!

IMG_9699

Okay, stop what you’re doing…

And go read this article.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Finished? Then go here.

Y’all know I watch a lot of TV. So believe me when I tell you, this is one of the best shows I’ve ever watched. Yes, it’s about high school. Yes, Paris Hilton makes a cameo. Yes, the first half of the third season was completely tragic. But other than that, it’s a really fantastic show. And it totally deserves to be made into a movie.

Because I need me some brooding. And if it’s in space, then well… I’ll just die.  (Okay I don’t really expect it to be in space, but how awesome would that be??)

High Five for Friday

This has been a week of ups and downs. Here are some of the highlights.

1. Jason is on the road to recovery. He’s asked me to keep details private, so I’ll respect that. I’m just happy everything went well and he got to stay home a few days this week. So great to have him home all day. I think the worst is hopefully over and we can get back to normal in the next couple of weeks. So happy and relieved. This has been a stressful couple of weeks for us.

2. This soup. My first attempt at cream of chicken soup and it was fantastic!

3. How Stuff Works podcasts. I love almost all of these podcasts. A couple of recent favorites are the Cult of Domesticity from Stuff Mom Never Told You (a must-listen for any hipster/ lifestyle blogger/ home cooks) and The Parenthood Wars from PopStuff.

4. Netflix Streaming. We’re blasting through the last season of Alias right now. The implausibility verges on the ridiculous sometimes, but it’s a nice escape. And they still make our jaws drop every couple of episodes. Last weekend we had an Independent film marathon. Ten Inch Hero, HottieBoombaLottie, Splinterheads, and Miss Nobody. All really good. Nice, light funny movies.

5. Cooking at home. Sometimes I get so tired of cooking. I just want to grab a box or bag of something and throw it in the oven or microwave. We all have days like that, right? Well I think my days of boxes and bags are numbered. I found something so disgusting in a bag of fries last weekend that I think I’m completely turned off of processed foods for the foreseeable future. It still makes me shudder to think about it. So my new rule is, if I can’t see what’s in the package, I’m going to think twice before buying it.  Which means if I want fries, I guess I’ll have to learn how to fry things. Which I’m terrible at. Anyone know of any good baked fries recipes?

 

Movie Marathons

Every once in a while we like to hole up in the house and watch movies all weekend. Sometimes we have a theme, like Stars of Twilight, but mostly we just take turns picking. Here are a few we’ve watched in the past month or so.

In honor of the final episode of Movielicious awhile back, I’ll use their rating system… Woot, Meh, and Lame

Plunkett and Macleane- This was the very first movie we watched together on Jason’s first visit to Nashville. Funny, a bit raunchy, great soundtrack. Woot.

Star Trek- I think this is the 4th or 5th time we’ve watched this, much to our friend Antoine’s chagrin. Woot.

It’s Complicated- We both liked this one a lot. We’re not necessarily the target audience, but it didn’t matter. Really funny. Woot.

The Island- Not as bad as the critics made it out to be. I liked it. Not really satisfied with the ending though. Meh.

Leap Year- This was awful. The characters are annoying, and the plot was totally predictable. Lame

Next- I’ve tried to watch this twice and fell asleep both times. It’s not terrible, I’m just not a Nick Cage fan. Meh

LOTR Return of the King- Another one I fall asleep to a lot. Still great though. Woot, of course.

Cabin in the Woods- If you haven’t seen this, run, don’t walk, to your Netflix queue and get it immediately. Do not under any circumstances look on the internet for spoilers. You don’t want to be spoiled for this. Trust me. Wootalicious

John Carter- Not too bad. Pleasantly surprised. Meh

Battleship- I wasn’t going to watch this one, but the first scene with the chicken burrito kind of hooked me a little bit. Another pleasant surprise. Meh

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter- I was fully prepared to hate this movie. I hated Pride and Prejudice and Zombies when I read it, so I thought it would be similar since the same author wrote both books. It wasn’t too bad though. Not my favorite movie ever, but it was ok. Meh

Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist- I liked this a lot up until the bathroom at the bus station scene. It made me want to puke. Pretty cute otherwise though. Meh.

Ghost Rider 2- So Lame.

Dark Shadows- Another one I was prepared to despise. I loved Dark Shadows the series and I was one of those fans that found the trailer to be utterly offensive. I swore I would never watch it. But I did. And it wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t awesome, but I did’t want to throw myself off the balcony like I did during Ghost Rider. The trailer is a bit misleading. There are funny bits, but it’s more love story + family drama. Meh.

Avengers- For the 47th time. Woot.

Would love to hear of any good movies you’ve been watching lately 🙂

‘Twas the weekend before Thanksgiving…

I’ve been a bit MIA for a couple of weeks. Part of it was due to general busyness, but most of it was because I had a secret. And I was so worried that I’d let the cat out of the bag, that I decided it was best if I avoided all social media last week. And omg it was So Hard!

So last Saturday we made plans to go see the new Twilight movie. Now that there aren’t any more Harry Potter movies, these are pretty much the only movies I want to see in the theater. It’s become a tradition for us to go see them opening weekend. Not because they’re good, but because we absolutely love making fun of them. It’s our own version of MST3K. So while everyone else in the theater is swooning over Jacob in all his shirtless glory, we’re whispering rude comments to each other. Very quietly of course. Don’t want to get mauled by the angry crowd.

But something strange happened around the fourth movie. They magically stopped being terrible. We were amazed! So I have to say, I was really looking forward to the fifth movie, especially how they were going to handle the ending. And it didn’t disappoint. Definitely the best by far.

Afterwards we decided to hit up Starbucks. We had a nice time sitting outside watching pigeons and talking. Christmas carols were playing. It was a really lovely afternoon. The subject turned to the holidays, and I said something about going to Tennessee for Christmas. That’s when Jason told me we’d have to stay in town this year because of some work stuff. We already knew we were probably not going to TN for the summer, so it just crashed in on me that it would be a long time before I saw my family again.

So we decided on the spur of the moment to spend Thanksgiving in Nashville after all. Because only my husband would think it’s perfectly fine to plan a 17 hour road trip on four days notice. Because he is amazing.

We decided to skip the tree lighting this year, but took a few pictures around City Place before it got too crowded.

Jason was starving, so we went to Miami Subs. We haven’t been there since we moved, so it was a nice treat. Then we headed home to do some plotting and scheming.

I knew that instead of having their usual Thanksgiving at my Aunt Marsha’s (she of the sausage ball fame), my immediate family was doing turkey day at my dad and stepmom’s house. My sister and her boyfriend have been staying there since their house fire, and they had also invited my mom to join them. Knowing that everyone would be under one roof this year gave me the idea of making it a surprise that we were coming up.

The only person we told in TN was my stepmom, Jeannie. Because I didn’t want to just show up uninvited at her house. I said “Definitely don’t tell mom or Jamie, but I’m not going to tell you to lie to your husband, so if you need to, you can tell dad”. She immediately wanted it to be a surprise for dad too, and I’m so glad she did. She is an awesome surprise keeper!

It was a pretty fantastic date day. It didn’t end up the way we’d planned, but some wonderful things came from that day 🙂

High Five for Friday

Photobucket

Wow this marks my 10th High Five for Friday post! I’m not always consistent about doing them, it’s been over a month since I wrote one, but I love gathering together snippets of things that I’m excited about and grateful for. These will be fun looking back at in five years, that’s for sure.

So here are five awesome things from the last month or so…

1. Hunger Games. Oh yes. Obsessed. Read of my love of all things HG here.

2. Looking (nearly) normal again. I had my eyelid I&D a couple of weeks ago. I looked pretty gross for awhile before and after, but on the road to looking like myself again. It’s awesome not to look like the bad guy in the Green Lantern anymore. Or like I got in a bar fight.

3. My sister got her first job!!!! SO proud of her!!! She has had so many struggles these past month with the house fire and the ending of her long term relationship. I’m so glad things are looking up for her.

4. Little Man made it safely back to CA and is doing well. He started school Monday. Will post a pic as soon as him mom sends me one.

5. Fluffy shows and books. I’m tearing through the Amelia Peabody mysteries. I started reading them back in high school, but I stopped somewhere around book 12 or 13. I picked them up again after I read HG. I decided to start over again, and I’m on the 12th book. It’s kind of interesting reading them as a married lady v. reading them in high shool and in my early 20’s. I was surprised to realize how these books have influenced some of my thinking, especially about men.

Also watching a lot of Big Bang Theory reruns, and our usual House Hunters and Bitchin’ Kitchen. Can’t wait to introduce little man to Nadia G. As Jason said, “He is so going to be in love with her”. I don’t think he’s the only one 😛

Okay one more thing that I’m ridiculously stupidly excited for…

6. Holy Balls Becky Higgins! I actually said that out loud when I saw that she’s going to be doing a SMALLER VERSION OF A PROJECT LIFE ALBUM!!! I am so intimidated by her 12×12 albums. I always have everything printed in 8×8 whether it’s pages or books. That’s one of my main reasons for doing PL in digital form. And I probably still will. But I would LOVE to maybe use one of her smaller books as Little Man’s next summer book. Or to make mini books of trips. Or… oh so many possibilities there! She has a ton of new announcements up on her blog this week, including designs by Elise Blaha (!), new baby kits, and new kits for kids. Hopefully these will all be available digitally too. Can’t wait!

Linkin’ up with From My Grey Desk.

Happy Hunger Games!

Okay I know I’m really late to this party. But I just read the Hunger Games books the week before last. And saw the movie last weekend. Twice. Jason and I have spent the last week scouring You Tube for anything remotely HG related. We might be slightly obsessed.

I was extremely wary of reading this series. Not only for the obvious reasons, I mean who really gets excited reading books about kids killing kids? I never could finish Lord of the Flies either. But I also have family issues that made me seriously doubt I would like these books. Mother issues. Little Sister issues. I know what it’s like to have a mom who’s “checked out”. I know what it’s like to need to provide when other people can’t. And I especially know about sacrificing your life to protect someone else. Only in my case it wasn’t literally, thank goodness.

I absolutely without a doubt would have done what Katniss did at the Reaping. I would have volunteered. No question. Then I promptly would have tripped and fallen off my platform and gotten myself blown up before the games could even start. Because I am no Katniss. I am also very clumsy  and have not an ounce of badass-ness. But on a very deep level I do understand her character.

So I didn’t want to read them. And when my sister read the first one, she told me not to read them. And when my husband read the first one, he told me not to read them. But he kept going in the series. And he loved it. And he told me to read them anyway. He told me that while the mother/sister stuff was important, it was so much bigger than that.

He finally talked me into reading them when I was waiting for my eyelid I&D to heal up. I said I would, under one condition. I wanted to be spoiled. I didn’t want any surprises. I wanted to know about every disaster, every death. I wanted to be mentally prepared. So I kept him updated on my progress, then over the course of a couple of nights he would feed me spoilers after work. I love him for that. He told me just enough, but not too much. He baby-ed me through reading them and I’m so glad he did. Because it was worth it. They are So Good.

I won’t get into a review or anything like that here. There are so many people who have done it more eloquently than I could have. And I don’t want to say anything because I’m hoping my sister will finish up the series and we can talk about it. Like Jason and I have. For hours and hours and hours.

We saw the movie last weekend too, twice. I loved it. I couldn’t find much fault with it at all. I think Jason loved it slightly less. He thinks it could have benefitted from voice over. I don’t necessarily agree, because I think the actress did a good enough job portraying what was in Katniss’s head without having to say anything. We both wish they had put in longer scenes between Katniss and Rue where Rue talks about her District. I think that’s where Katniss really starts to understand how different Districts are run, and how in some ways she hasn’t had it so bad. I think that’s a really important part of the story. But there is a lot of room in the second movie to drive that point home. Also, you don’t get quite a good enough sense of just how despicable the Capitol is. Maybe we’ll get more of that in the second movie too.

All in all I really loved the movie. I loved the contrast between the grey of District 12 and the vivid garishness of the Capitol. Loved the costumes. Loved the scenery. They made things even better than I had imagined them while reading the book. I think that’s really difficult to do, but they definitely pulled it off. I think the acting was pretty phenomenal. I was wary of Woody Harrelson playing Hamich, but he did an amazingly nuanced performance. You would get glimpses of the rage hiding behind his drunken condescension. Loved it. I was even more wary of Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, but as soon as he opened his mouth and started talking… oh yes I was sold. I just can’t say enough about the young actors and actresses. they were fantastic.

And I can’t believe I’ve blabbed on for this long. I just love it So Much. Seriously. I could go on and on for hours…. instead I’ll leave you with a couple of cool Hunger Games links.

Katie Scott has a fabulous scrapbooking challenge based on HG. I will definitely be working this one!

Here’s a fan-made video of the Second Quarter Quell.