Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Movie/Book Review: Twilight

I don't like to make blanket sweeping statements, so I won't overstate this: Robert Pattinson is the hottest vampire in the whole entire universe of vampires.

One of my gifts was a book called Twilight by Stephanie Meyers. It's a 4 part saga about a vampire who falls in love with a human. The tension between the two of them is palpable. The writing is mediocre at best but because of this electricity between the two, it makes for a most exciting read. I gobbled it up in about 2 seconds and was thirsty for more - more blood!!! (No, there's no real amount of blood in it at all, but it's still a good book).

Last night I went to see the movie. Watching movies after you read the book is like seeing the characters you imagined in your mind coming to life - it's awesome! The other way around, not so much, because the book is always better. I know it's a cliche to say that, but it's true. The movie was beautiful and I loved it.

I don't know about anyone else, but my wish for the new year is for a 35 yr old Robert Pattinson vampire to fall in love with me. There, I said it. You heard me. I'm sure all of you out there who saw it or read the book are thinking the exact same thing, so, yeah - don't be hatin'.

Really that was it for my post, to tell you all how much I loved the book and the movie. I'm going to start book 2 immediately and will be ordering 3 and 4 from Amazon forthwith.

I leave you with the trailer to wet your appetite:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Grim Reaper, Here I Come!

I'll tell you something that is totally true, right now, I kid you not - I AM SPENT! My entire body is tired, my mind is weary, my limbs lack coordination. Most people take it easy during the holidays, but NO, not me. Far be it from my posse to let me take it easy and simmah down nah (that means "simmer down now" for all of you non SNL lingo speaking folk) for a little while. (Note to self: get new posse.) The holidays here are a time for others to make messes, and for me to clean up. I'll tell you something else, I've heard some spooky knocking on my door recently and when I go and open it there's no one there. I'm thinking there are only two possibilities:
  1. It's a ghost. He wants to come in and contribute to the mess. He sees there's a lot going on and figures he can do his part to make it worse.
  2. It's the Grim Reaper coming for my soul. He knows I'm exhausted and he just wants to let me off the hook. Maybe he looks like Brad Pitt, maybe he doesn't, more's the pity.
Just between you, me and the TV screen, I prefer the second option - Brad Pitt optional.

I was watching that movie "Christmas with the Kranks", and in the movie Tim Allen wants to just skip the whole thing and go on a cruise. It doesn't work out, and he's considered Satan for suggesting it. I'll be honest with you, I was secretly (and not so secretly) envious of his plan. Does it always have to be me? Are we the only ones who can organize and sponsor Christmas? With every Christmas that passes and every time I wake up (at least for the past week), I'm thinking Tim Allen's idea is more and more genius. I don't even know what it's like to just chillax and not do anything during the holidays. I don't know what it's like to just show up at a holiday party as a guest. It seems like a dream that is far, far away, but man! would it be awesome.

On the 24th and 25th we had a couple of simple pasta dinners and some nice drinks and I was thinking - it would be so cool if that was it. When I look back, I wonder why I didn't think of that earlier. Sometimes I can be pretty thick and not catch on fast enough, but I swear, I did not think of it until afterward. Is that crazy or what? I just can't believe I was so stupid. Everyone (myself included) would be able to enjoy the holidays if I just simplified things a bit. Yes, I am quite certain simplicity is the key here and unless I start putting my foot down and doing what I believe is the right thing, I will always be overworked (and those lucky few I choose to help me as well), and others (bless their hearts) will always take advantage - no offense (you know who you are and I'm not so sure it's entirely your fault, it's mostly mine, I think).

Enough of that. Enjoy your last days of the year and start thinking about what you want for the coming year. Do whatever superstitious crap you do to herald in the new year and remember, don't do anything I wouldn't do.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gettin' Our Jingle Bell Rock On - The Gold Label Way

Saturday night we all went to James and Greti's for our annual Christmas Carol Night. This however, was the very best so far. It was a splendid way to kick off the season. We had a wonderful dinner which consisted of Pasta Caprese and an AMAZING wine Danny brought, Angelica Zapata - a malbec from Argentina. Our pasta had multi-colored penne, fresh mozzerella, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh seeded tomatoes, black olives, balsamic vinager and olive oil. The contrast in colors and textures made for a most sofisticated dinner that heralded the commencement of the evenings activities with class, elegance and simplicity. The wine worked to accentuate all of the delicate flavors and together they were a match made in heaven.

James made some bbq chicken, meat and sausages on his grill and they were awesome. The bbq sauce he used was delicious and I daresay my fave meat of the evening had to be the chicken because it was tender, juicy and spicy. Wonderful combination.
We had an abundance of good wine and drinks in general ranging from a quaint cachaca bought by James on the side of the road in Minas Gerais from an ancient man who made it himself, to a highly prized wine, to Gold & Blue Label whisky, and Grey Goose vodka. What an alcholic bunch we made. The writer of this blog cannot forget to include the delicious egg nog our host made us that was frothy, creamy and delish.We sang Christmas carols - for quite a while, actually - which was the reason we had gathered together in the first place. Fukui-san did the writers justice with his melodic plucking of the strings. I found a partner in crime that shares my passion for trying a hand at amatuer opera whenever the key was either too high or too low - Andre. Between Andre, Lua, Meury, Dan and myself we should've charged admission, it was just that good. The neighbors, I am quite certain, had never heard anything like that before, and I don't think quality singing like that can be easily found around the corner - if I may say so myself. Thing 1 and Thing 2 did extremely well and sang along the entire time. There were a few things we found out that night, however, and they are the following: our kids are tone deaf (how in frick did that happen?); if you drink a significant amount of alcohol en masse, no matter the quality of the drink, you will all sound like you're either singing at the bottom of a pirate ship amidst the barrells of rum and ale, or like you're in a tavern swinging your beer steins, and shouting rather than singing, in an effort to be heard above the noise of the patrons running wild about the place. And while your intentions may be good, you most probably do not sound as good as you think you do.

We gorged on cookies - orange raspberry thumbprint cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and mocha bites. They paired perfectly with the egg nog and I believe made the Christmas theme all the more real.

Because we were such a lively and - dare I say - silly bunch, I'm certain we could have dined all night on our wit, laughs, and jokes, but being the glutonous creatures we are - one and all - we had a feast of good eats and drinks as well making it a most memorable get together which I'm sure will be remembered fondly for holidays to come. Good times!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Deep Thoughts: Behold the Face of Evil

I woke up this morning, made my coffee and sat down to read the headlines. Thursday and Friday are newspaper days for me (I don't even glance in its direction during the week). Imagine my shock when I saw that the Spawn of Satan now wants another R$80 million in order to finish up the mammoth construction representing all the evil, corruption, selfishness, pride and iniquity in our fair city, the Cidade da Musica. It seems like now "someone" will be looking into the details of how the already R$518 million were spent - but at this point, who's counting? I'll tell you who - I am!

Good God, man! How can you justify this kind of extravagance during a time of crisis and in a developing country? How can you justify this expenditure when our school system is sadly lacking, our streets are in a deplorable state, our hospitals are in desperate need and most importantly, no one cares a button about whether we have a Cidade da Musica here or not, especially when taking into consideration the astronomical cost involved in making it, not the mention the maintenance.

Cesar and his minions tried to throw an inauguration ceremony there last night but the Fire Department declared that it was a hazard and needed some additions made before anyone could celebrate there. Cesar Maia called it "Murphy's Law". I call it divine intervention.

Did it ever occur to him that perhaps God does not want to reward evildoing? That moving to the dark side may have earned him some demerits as far as the "universe" is concerned? I wouldn't be surprised if hellfire, damnation, meteors, locusts, plague and lightning befall that cursed place. Beware of the Cidade da Musica people, because pissing off the "higher powers" has proven to be an issue in the past and there's a historic precedence for destruction as a punishment. I hope to God nothing transpires that jeopardizes the health of the innocent singers and performers there, or even worse - the audience. Pride cometh before a fall and you know I want to be far, far away when the proverbial shit hits the proverbial fan, and you'd be wise to do the same.

Shame on you, Cesar Maia and posse! May you reap what you sow a thousand times over. May you live in everlasting shame and contempt. May everything you touch turn to dust, and may you be removed from public office and never be trusted again. Shame, shame, shame on you! You know you're getting coal in your stocking this year! Watch out fool, Santa is coming to town - and he's not happy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Deep Thoughts: Je Suis Fini

Tomorrow is the last day of the work year for most of us and as far as I'm concerned, I am so there. I know I took a holiday smack in the middle of the year, but that doesn't seem to make a difference when the end of the year comes around. I'm done. Je suis fini. And that's all there is to it.

I'm done answering phones and trying to hedge everything I say so I never commit to anything. I'm done running and checking my email all day long to make sure that there isn't a single communication that goes unanswered. I'm done trying to figure out how to make lame people do what I need them to do and understand that I'm on their side. I'm done trying to impress my boss and others in the company. Well, at least until the new year. Gone are those days, at least temporarily, and I couldn't be happier.

If I look into my crystal ball I can see myself lounging by the pool with a good book - or several. I see myself (and everyone else) eating out of disposable dishes so that there is not endless washing to be done. I see myself laughing my brothers and sisters and having a great time. I also see a lot of Sagatiba in my future as well as the unopened bottle of Tequila I have just collecting cobwebs on my bar waiting to become relevant. I see movies and games and lots of lazying around.

When asking around, this is the general sentiment. My sister said that instead of finding something to be happy about every day, right now she finds something to be grumpy about. Chilax, simma down now, you're almost there.
(Insert deep exaggerated sigh)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Tree S.O.S

A couple of weeks ago Meury and I decided that we would bestow our kindness, talent and awesomeness to our good friend Greti who had a few days earlier fallen down some stairs and gotten pretty beat up - I'm not making this up, she really did. She was bruised and scabbed and feeling pretty fugly. We are so benevolent that we spread cheer wherever we go, so off we went to sprinkle some cheerful fairy dust. There was another urgent situation which prompted our expedition, her tree. It had been sloppily decorated with supermarket bows and mismatch items, and was not close to being ready to receive the most important celebrations of the year - my birthday and Christmas.
Being magnanimous has it's responsibilities, so we had an emergency Christmas tree S.O.S party where we took the decorations we purchased in Saara and some others we had here at home and headed for her house with bags packed (she lives pretty far away). Greti is a most gracious host so we had an amazing time with tea, cookies, cake, coffee and all manner of evil. We brought our Christmas music compilation CDs dating back to 2004 and sang along with all the bravado you can possibly imagine. I'm sure we scared the frick out of some of the neighbors, but we weren't there to make them happy, were we?
Our afternoon was a tremendous success and we accomplished what we set out to do, had a blast and enjoyed ourselves so much it was almost illegal. Fukui-san said that we should turn it into a business - going to people's houses and decorating their trees. I think it's a splendid idea, who knows if we'll do that next year or not, but there is some merit to the thought. Most mortals are not blessed with the celestial gifts my sister and I are blessed with, so if we can spread some Christmas cheer and make a buck here and there, all power to us!

I can see it now, Meury and I sweeping into houses like tornadoes of happiness, cranking up the Christmas music and forcing everyone into yuletide glee. Yes, it would be wonderful. Perhaps we could turn into eccentrics that wear outlandish robes and turbans like glamorous ladies of yore, jewelry dangling and clanging, and tons of tranny makeup. We would invade someone's house, work out magic and then off we'd go to the next poor victim of our charity (except we would charge a pretty sum, naturally). We could single-handedly change the neighborhood into Christmas glory. I can't wait until I have enough money and age to be a fabulously eccentric lady like Auntie Mame.

All the pictures are of Greti's tree during the process and after.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Movie Review: Never Back Down

Saturday night I ended up renting a movie because Samurai-Jack wanted to watch it. I thought it was going to be a dud and went into it holding a book in my hand. As it turns out, the movie was a pleasant surprise. It was full of good fights, your basic Mr. Miyagi lessons, and overall a winner.
I think you can tell by the pictures here that this is not the kind of movie for someone who doesn't like watching fights. It is, after all, the premise of the story. But I will tell you that nothing gets completely out of hand, there is no situation that is so hard to watch you have to see it through the cracks of your fingers (yeah, I do that sometimes, too).

While the actors won't be winning any Oscars any time soon, it does not distract. The editing is good and so is the directing. It's an attractive film for the young folk, and for the ones of us who consider ourselves young, as well.
For those of you (ladies) who like some eye candy, this is so your movie. Sizzling hot and shirtless for a good portion of the film. Nice! So, if you're in the mood for some serious fight scenes (not as bad as fight club, I promise you), hot guys and some good threaded through the story, this is the film for you. If, however, you are at home nursing your arthritis, or your sciatica that's acting up again, I would suggest you watch "The New World" - it's a total snoozefest.

I'll leave you with the trailer. Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekend Update: Sugar High

I don't really have much of any interest to say about the weekend. Friday we watched "Heroes" with the kids and ate thumbprint cookies. The cookies were awesome and the show is still fantastic. Then Fukui-san and I watched a very, very lame movie. The actors were: Clive Owen, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and the guy from Clockwork Orange, the movie is called, "I'll Sleep When I Die". Truthfully, I wouldn't even recommend it for the dead. It was awful. I stayed up and watched Alvin and the Chipmunks with Thing 2 and was very glad I did as I really needed something to take the horrible taste out of my mouth.

Saturday was a busy day in the house, Fukui-san had tons of work, and the kids were feeling less than awesome so I made tea and sat with them. We read and basically had a lazy day. I made an awesome red wine risotto and fish. Since it was a pretty bland day I went out and rented a movie which I thought was going to be mediocre, but Thing 1 really wanted to see it so I got it. As it turns out, it was great and we all enjoyed it a lot - more on that another day.

Sunday Fukui-san made pancakes - which were really great. The grown ups had pancakes with blackcurrant jam and the kids had a little pancake with demerara sugar. I thought for a moment I was going to have to call the family doctor for insulin shots. In the end the only issue with piles of sugar is the dreaded sugar high which made the kids extra wired, edgy and generally a real pain. (Note to self: find demerara sugar and throw it away, get "Men in Black" memory eraser and zap them.) They think it's fun to crunch on the crystals - I can do without it. In order to try to cure them of their ennui I decided we should have a little rainy day party, so we made Cholula burger with chips, carrot sticks and dip. Very fun! I don't think I have to tell you that I didn't give them any dessert.

It was one of those rainy days where you just feel like sleeping - so I did. Then I read some of my awesome book - more on that another day. Providentially, there was a classic favorite movie of mine on, "Funny Face" with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Meury and I watched it while we drank some awesome tea Greti gave me called Sweet Cinnamon Spice.

BTW, if you're wondering what the picture has to do with anything, I'll tell you right now that the answer is nothing. I didn't know what to put so I decided to go with a pic of my happy place.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Recipe: Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

'Tis the season to be jolly and what better way to make people jolly than fresh baked cookies. Oatmeal cookies are easy and nutritious. Thing 1 and Thing 2 don't eat any type of nuts unless it's in their cookies, oatmeal cookies to be precise. I usually make the regular raisin, cinnamon, almond variety, but decided to make chocolate oatmeal cookies this time around. They came out wonderful, I just had to tweak the recipe a bit as I thought the batter was a bit dry. It worked perfectly the first time around so I'm going to include the recipe here for all of you lovelies who want to try this at home.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup flour
3 tbs cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla (I used powdered vanillin which you can get at Casa Pedro)
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup oats (not too fine, not too thick, regular oats)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or raisins, I used raisins 'cause I didn't have choco chips at home)
1 1/2 eggs (I doubled the whole recipe and used 3 eggs - it was perfect)
  • Cream butter and sugars together
  • Add egg, vanilla
  • Mix all dry ingredients together (except for the oats)
  • Mix in all the dry ingredients
  • Fold in oats and raisins or chips
  • Bake in hot oven for about 8-10 min or until slightly brown on the sides
  • Wait a couple of minutes before removing carefully from baking sheet and cooling on cookie rack
  • Store in an air tight container, they keep for about 5 days, if they aren't eaten before then

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Movie Review: Shanghai Express

Maybe it's the way she moves? She slinks. Maybe it's the way light and shadow play on her face? It's hypnotic. Maybe it's her voice? It purrs. Whatever the reason, she earned every accolade she received.

I recently saw a movie and it quite literally took my breath away. The movie was "Shanghai Express" with Marlene Dietrich and Clive Brook. The story is pretty basic, several expats are traveling together to Shanghai during the war on the Shanghai Express. Two of them bump into each other and it's quite clear there's history there. There's no severe plot or edge of your seat action, or anything like that, but it is not boring in the least.

It's beautifully cast, scripted, directed and filmed. There are some amazing, classic scenes that I'm certain wouldn't be the same if they were in color. There is one in particular (please see image below), that relates everything she's feeling without a single word being said, music, or anything. That's the true test of genius. To impart all of those feelings (which ones I won't tell you, because this movie can be rented easily) in one glorious shot.

I've been watching the "50 Movies You Must See Before You Die" on TCM. I haven't seen all of them, but I've seen a good 30. Some I had seen before and some I hadn't. I recommend you watch what you can as most of those are impossible to find and are unlikely to show again.

I'll leave you with a clip from "Shanghai Express" just to show you what you're missing....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Love Perfume!

I love perfume. Every season I sit down and decide which perfumes are going to make it into rotation. It may or may not be a quirky habit, but it's just what I do. When the weather starts changing I sort through my perfumes and choose the ones I think will match depending on the season. I think of green, fresh, and of course flower scents for the summer. In general I'm not big on fruit, but I love the bubbly champagne happiness of my only 2 fruity scents: I Love Dior and Remember Me. They're cheerful so they're good perfumes to use in the heat, as I'm usually not.

When wearing a perfume I take into consideration such things as: weather, color, time, occasion. For example: if I'm going to a dinner party, I'll want to wear something that stays very close to the skin (so as not to clash with the food), and I'll want it to be a bit more sexy as dinner parties tend to take place in the evening. I won't want to wear anything over-the-top as for this type of occasion I won't want to draw unnecessary attention to myself, especially not negative attention by offending someone with my perfume.

If I'm going to a party, I'll want something that's going to bring the house down. Whereas a picnic or bbq calls for a flowery fragrance that's feminine and light. A serious more down to earth and not in the least bit sexy perfume is what I think is appropriate for a business meeting. For work, I think whatever you feel best represents without being overbearing or strong.

A signature scent is a capital idea, but I change my mind too often to make it stick. I know people with signature scents and I think it's the height of elegance. For example, a friend of my Mom's in Argentina always wore Shalimar. I thought it smelled like vanilla powder on her and I loved it. There are scents that no matter where I am or how long it's been since I've seen that person, I am reminded of them because I associate them with their fragrance. My advice to anyone choosing a signature scent however, would be not to choose any perfume that was made in the 80's. They may be good to wear every once in a while (Poison, Samsara), but like the frizzy hair and fanny packs of that time, they are loud and outdated. Of course, there are a few exceptions, so just use your discretion.

During the day at home I have a couple of staples that never leave my shelf. They are me in a bottle. I always smell like them and I love to wear them. They are unobtrusive, sophisticated, clean, fresh and most of all, they are not too expensive. They are Gap Heaven and Hermes Hiris (a little pricier but I bought a couple on sale and paid a fraction of the real price).

All this to say, I know it's been a little warm lately, but it hasn't been hot so I haven't been forced to take out my summer collection. I realized I was late to the party so I did it today.

My summer collection consists of:

CK Eternity
CK Eternity Summer
CK Eternity Purple Orchid
Patou Joy
L'Occitane Iris
L'Occitane Eau de 4 Reines
L'Occitane Lavande
Guerlain Apres L'Ondee
Gap Heaven
Gucci Envy
Burberry Summer
Clinique Simply
Hermes Hiris
Hermes Eau d'Orange Vert
RL Blue
Chanel Chance
Chanel Cristalle
CD Diorella
CD Remember Me
CD I Love Dior
Kenzo Flower
BBW Gardenia Lily splash

For any season I also use my Fleurs de Cerisier (L'Occitane) perfumed powder (it's lovely). I used perfumed soap all year long as well as Dove (which I have loved for more years than I can remember). I just got a new L'Occitane Eau de 4 Reines liquid soap, so that's what I'll be using all summer. By the by, speaking of soap, how awesome is Dove's cream shower oil? It's thick and creamy and washes completely but leaves this amazing velvety feel on the skin. Really amazing and super affordable. It's probably better for the winter, but it's such a treat and feels like such an expensive luxury I feel like using it all the time.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

SNL Faves

It's no secret that I love SNL. I've been a fan for many, many years. It's a tool which when used properly inspires friendship and makes for a lasting foundation on which to base said friendship. It is at the core of what I find humor in. Okay, there have been some misses, but overall, it's a hit. Great comedic actors have come from there, as I'm sure you know, most of which I'm too lazy to look up now, but you can totally Wiki that and find out if you're interested.

Some of my favorite skits and clips include: Church Chat with the Church Lady, SNL Digital Short (some of them), most of the stuff Andy and Justin do together, a lot of the 80's and 90's stuff. I love Adam Sandler's songs (St. Paddy's Day is my fave), the way Jimmy Fallon could never keep a straight face, Horacio Sanz, Will Farrell, Chris Kattan, and the ugly girl that looks like a little boy....what's her name?...Rachel Dratch, the Lady's Man (Tim Meadows), and tons more, but I just can't remember it right now. Oh, wait, I love Kenan Thompson as Jean K. Jean, Mike Myers, that Senator skit (don't remember anything else about it), the ugly guy (Fred Armisen)....well, if you remember others you can leave a comment. Oh, man, I couldn't find the clip I wanted to show you of Fred Armisen playing Camilla Parker-Bowles, but it's maybe the funniest thing in the whole world. I'll keep looking. OMG! Cowbell! I need more cowbell!

This clip of an SNL Digital Short I think is hysterical called Doppelganger, as well as Dear Sister. If you saw the OC season 2, you would totally know what they're making fun of, and of course it's much funnier that way.

Here's a collection of some of my fave clips from SNL. I hope you enjoy them!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Game Time: Find the Mistakes

Remember when you used to get those activity magazines that had word games, crossword puzzles and things? Well, there was always that game with the 2 pictures side by side and you had to find what was wrong with one of the pictures - find the mistakes, or whatever it was called. That's what we're going to do today, we're going to point out what's wrong with the picture. There are many, many things, but right off the bat I can count.... let's see....7, no...8 things that are terribly, terribly wrong. If, however, you find more, please feel free to share. In order to do this exercise correctly, please click on the picture to blow it up so you can see all the details better.

Funny thing about this picture is that it's the cover of the "Revista" from Sunday's paper in Rio. Inside the magazine there's a whole spread full of ridiculous shots of ridiculous people, doing their ridiculous thing, and wearing even more ridiculous clothes. I don't know what happened or who needs to get fired, but it was the sorriest fashion spread I've ever seen in my life (and I've seen some real doozies). If they thought they were being fashion forward and setting summer trends, they were sadly mistaken. The models look silly (where on earth do they get off calling themselves models, anyway?), the clothes... don't get me started (it would make Carson weap), the makeup.... unbelievably ridiculous (Kevin Aucoin is rolling in his grave right now). It is a sad day when some fashion editor is given 8 pages and the cover of the Sunday mag and can't come up with something better. Where's quality control anyway??

Let's start our little game:

1) The guy's hair. What is up with his hair??? Really? We're doing the 80's drug lord poof on the top of the head now? We're supposed to be evolving as a species, not moving backwards.

2) The sideburns. Dude, Starsky called from the 70's, he wants his hair back, and he said your sideburns are stupid and you're ugly.

3) The eyebrows. I guess he can save on sunglasses, cause those hairy caterpillars shield better than anything I know. It's casting a giant shadow over his face, which may be in our favor since... you know... what Starsky said.

4) The mustache. The MUSTACHE!!! OMG! Is he for real??? He looks like Pancho Villa or Sargento Garcia (old Zorro series). I guess a stupid mustache like his would look ok if he were posing with a sombrero, two bullet belts on, a taco in one hand and a cactus in the other...and of course lived 100 years ago when people actually dressed like that.

5) The shirt. Urgh.

6) The shorts. Uhh...Dude, you're wearing your girlfriend's short shorts. Did you have to run out of the house in a hurry because her husband came home early? I know what happened, you just grabbed the first thing you saw and ran like the wind to get to the photo shoot on time. Well, if that's the case it's totally understandable. If not....well, then I think you don't look very masculine, do you? You look like you bat for the other team, don't you? You know, a homosexual. It's ok if you are, but if you're not, maybe you're sending people the wrong message. You should look into that.

7 & 8) The girl's eye makeup. Looks like Helen Keller was doing arts and crafts on her face, and picked out her necklace as well. Here's a free bit of advise I'm going to send your way, chica: if you're wearing a bikini, Cleopatra's missing necklace may not be the best choice for you.

That being said, I don't think I've laughed so hard reading the news than I did on Sunday. So, thank you sloppy non-fashionistas for your amazingly wacked out spread. My kids learned to stay in school and stay away from brain cell destroying narcotics, and I learned that even if someone is totally ridiculous and completely incapable of doing something, if they have the right connections, they can get an entire magazine dedicated to their disastrous ideas and foolish notions of what's cool.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Recipe: Black Bean Casserole

What to do with leftover beans and rice? I know, make a casserole! This casserole is super easy and super yummy.

The cast of characters:

2 cups rice
2 cups beans
8 slices yellow cheese
1 large onion
cayenne pepper

Take your leftover beans and rice and mix them together. If your beans have thickened too much, add some water, the mixture should be creamy.

Put half of the bean and rice mix into a baking tray, cover with cheese, then spread the rest of the bean and rice dip on top. Put another layer of cheese.

Sprinkle with parsley and chives.

Slice the onions thickly.

Mix the cayenne with the flour and toss the onions in it and then fry.

Sprinkle the onions on top of the casserole and bake until melty and delish.

Bon Appetit!

Swiffer: Baby Come Back!

When I was in Atlanta I saw these commercials and thought they were hysterical. After I came back I was reading one of the blogs I read every day and they asked if anyone else laughed every time these commercials came on. So... I'm not the only one. Check them out to see what I mean:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Movie Review: Hot Fuzz

The movie Hot Fuzz has got to be one the best movies out there - as far as ridiculous, unrealistic, dark humor, not anywhere close to the vicinity of PC, nonsensical, foolish, absurd, and insane movies go. Utterly, and completely genius - and you have my permission to smack anyone who says otherwise.

It's the story of an overacheiver (a cop) who is so over the top he's making the entire London police department look bad. They get so fed up with him they ship him off to a podunk town in the middle of nowhere where they hope he'll be forgotten. He arrives in this perfectly idyllic town where no cop is needed at all and the police officers are complete slackers (they have nothing to do). He arrives and on his first night there he starts doing his exaggeratedly ridiculous cop routine. It gets old very fast, until he accidentally uncovers a mystery. Well, I'll let you see it for yourself, but I promise you, it's a million laughs.

If you even think you might like British humor, then please, run out right now and rent it. I'm telling you, you won't regret it.

You know those movies you watch and laugh, but you only laugh so much, for whatever reason it might be, you only have a certain amount of laugh in you? Then, after you're done watching it, you're putting the DVD away in the box, and you suddenly remember something and the laughter begins. You're minding your own business washing dishes the following day and again you remember something from the movie and - boom - you can't stop laughing. That's the way it is with this movie. The more you talk about it with others who've watched it, retell it and remember it, the funnier it becomes. By the time the week is out, you'll be recommending it to all of your friends.

Deep Thoughts: How To Get Your Christmas Mojo On

How Christmas-y are you feeling right now? For real. To be honest, I’m feeling pretty Christmas-y because of a few things I’ve done in the past couple of days. For example: I went to the mouth of hell (Saara) to buy the Christmas decorations, I’ve started listening to Christmas music and decorated the tree.

It’s the little things, really, that make Christmas come alive. It helps to bake cookies with the kids, or by yourself. Just don’t eat them all on your own, spread the joy, share the love. Look for movies that impart the principles and joys of this celebration. Listening to Christmas music is a great way to lift one’s spirits and help bring on the Christmas mojo.

In general it’s recommended to live in a peaceful state and cultivate an environment of love, giving, peace, joy, and happiness, especially during this time of year. If you’re looking for a home or family that represents this kind of Christmas spirit, don’t visit my house. I know I can talk the big talk, but when it comes down to it, we’re a loud, screaming bunch of heathens. But, we do what we can and one can only do so much, but I do make an effort.

During this season I take the following measures to ensure that our home is as PH as possible: I try to be very Stepford, my sister tries to tell me when I’m losing my cool, instead of screaming like a psycho I scream like a lunatic (which everyone knows is much better than a psycho), I try to pretend to like people I don’t (the hardest one of all). In order to do this I use underlying sarcasm instead of straight up, in-your-face sarcasm, which I’ve been told I do well and I think it’s a little better especially during the holiday season. That way if people want to understand it, they can, if not, they can take what I said at face value and everyone’s happy.

Another thing I do which I think helps a lot is I channel people out. If I don’t like the energy coming from one person or another I just don’t give them any air time, so to speak. They can say what they want, I’ll nod my head and acknowledge their presence (or not), but then I’ll just do whatever the hell I want. This strategy has proven extremely successful throughout the years. I would not be the same person today were it not for this method of keeping a peace barrier around me to shield me from Grinches who want to humbug everyone and everything, from the messy people who want to make my house a “no peace zone”, from the looters and leeches who want to take but not give, and last but not least children who think that fighting is synonymous with existing (they are so at that annoying faze).

The idea with tuning people out is a coping mechanism used to channel out negativity. Like Charlie Brown with his teacher, she would speak but all he ever heard was, “Wah wah, wah wah wah wah, wah wah”. You can see someone’s lips moving, but you don’t have to hear anything other than “Yada, yada, yada”. You see, there will always be some Grinch or Scrooge in your life, but you have a choice as to whether you want to listen to them or not. And I choose not.

When using the tuning out method, the way to create a peace barrier is to use your soothing words, whatever they may be, like: Woosah, Goosefrabah, Kumbaya, Serenity Now…. And the list goes on. You can create new ones like: Black Label, Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Caipirinha… Those are good soothing words. You see, I just threw you some precious jewels for to use during the holidays that will help you keep it together and most importantly, get your Christmas mojo on!

If you have a trick or two up your sleeve, please do share with the rest of us.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Gift Guide Part 2

I’m starting this post with things you should not give, and why. I think this is equally as important as what you should give, don’t you?

1) Socks and underwear. It’s just not cool. Unless the person you’re giving this to is your sibling and specifically asked for it, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s too personal. This is something that should be reserved for lovers, and even then, you have to be very careful what kind of undergarment you give. It has to be very expensive and very classy – or not, depending…

2) Random household tools. I don’t really know what to call this, but, some men think it’s ok to give their wife an extension cord, cutting board or hammer. This is not cool for a number of reasons. Let’s see… where to start? For one, it tells the woman that the man thinks she should be able to handle any maintenance things in the house on her own. You give a woman a hammer or pliers and it basically says. “I’m not doing this for you anymore. Se vira, mulher!” Like I said, not cool. The other reason why it’s not cool is because it’s not pretty. Unless you’re giving a cutting board that is worth its weight in gold, and to a chef or at least a wannabe, there’s no reason to be handing out such ridiculously practical gifts. Leave that for those unexpected little things you give someone because you want to make their life easier, and they’re not expecting anything at all because it’s not Christmas, birthday or anniversary. Now, if you’re the woman and you know “he” will appreciate a tool of some kind, all power to you. It’ll be a great gift.

3) Something you want. You know that person that really wants something, so they give it to their friend or loved one in the hopes that they won’t appreciate it and then they’ll take it and use it for themselves? This happens often with the handyman tools mentioned above. I hope you men reading this understand once and for all, we do not want your handyman tools masquerading as gifts, at any time, ever! If you need something, be a man and buy it for yourself. And ladies, no kitchen things for your man unless he’s a chef.

4) Gag gifts. If you want to disappoint someone, give them one of those stupid gifts that are supposed to be funny jokes. They’re not funny and they’re a monumental waste of money. I don’t know anyone who likes those things, other than children, and that’s a category where you can get away with a lot. Your friends and family are not so forgiving so leave those behind, grow up and buy a real gift.

5) Cheap gifts. I’m not talking about something that’s not expensive. You can spend your money wisely and still get something that isn’t going to send you to the poor house. I’m talking about something that screams low quality junk. If it’s poorly made, looks like it’ll break after one week of use, and smells toxic, don’t do it. Put it down and walk away now.

Here are some random things I thought of that would be great to receive. Here goes in no particular order:

1) Scarves and bandanas. They’re fun.

2) Earrings and stuff. Fun, really fun and totally cheap. No need to overspend. Just carefully choose something you think they’ll love, not something you would love, something they would love. For you millionaires out there: diamonds are a girl’s best friend!

3) Pens and mechanical pencils. Everyone always needs them and you can give something a little or much nicer than your friend would normally be able to afford.

4) Bags. Any kind. From makeup bag, to coin purse, beach tote, shopping bag (eco friendly one). It’s all good and well and extremely welcome. Keep the colors plain and don’t get carried away.

5) Note books and agendas. They may or may not receive many, so make sure you know in advance. Buying them something that is presentable in public is sweetness. Notebooks come in handy all the time and you can get something fun and different. They can be cheap or expensive. If it’s a gift, make it expensive – it won’t cost very much anyway.

6) Makeup. Some items are not ok to give out as you don’t know if the person will use it or like the color. In general, stay away from colors. Here’s what I suggest: gloss, mascara, nail polish. Depending on your budget you can either get L’Oreal, Bourjois, Boticario, Natura, Lancome or MAC. Just stay away from crummy brands. Never gift someone with funky mascara or gloss – I can’t think of anything worse.

7) Sun block. This may sound unusual, but here’s the thing; sun block is expensive, and it’s a mandatory item for everyone all year round. You can get a more affordable one, or a more expensive one. There’s one thing you can be sure of, it will never go to waste – ever!

8) Candy and Food. This includes chocolate and homemade goodies, or whatever your friend’s fave candy is. Giving someone cookies, brownies or truffles is very, very nice. You can make jams and compotes, chutney and hot sauce. Put it in a nice jar, cut out a little piece of cloth, wind an elastic band or thin ribbon in a matching color around the lid and voila, you’re good to go. You can get labels and write what it is on the outside of the jar, color it in or make a cute drawing depicting what’s inside. Handmade is the key here, so keep the writing by hand as well and not a computer print out. Nuts and assorted dried goods or caviar, you name it, if it’s chic and pretty, do it.

9) Spa. Here you can go from minimal (mani-pedi), or maxi (spa day with massage and everything). Just go to your fave place and ask for a gift card, pay for whatever treatment you want and then put it in a beautiful envelope with a nice card and a sweet message. Something like: “Your feet are so disgusting I can’t stand to look at you anymore. I’m giving you this free mani-pedi so I won’t be repulsed by you. From now on do this at least once a month, for God’s sake – we’re not cave women”. Too mean? Fine, write whatever you want, I don’t care.

10) Movies. This includes DVDs of their fave movies, or even a gift card from their favorite movie theatre. Nice.

I hope this was helpful. Now you have many options to choose from.

You’re welcome!