Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010, a revue:

I'm preparing to be busy with the theatre peeps for NYE, so I'm doing my year in review now.

2010 was, I'd say for most people, about 40% good and 60% bad. I feel like I saw so many people having rough times. While a lot of good happened in 2010, so much bad happened, too. A recap:

The Good!
--Ricky and I moved in together, and had a great full calendar year together.
--Two of my good friends had babies! Awesome!
--My cousins got a great little puppy named Murray.
--Coco and Nicky.
--New job continuing to be good.
--Amanda got married!
--Countless friends got engaged.
--Rachel got married.
--I got Alva the fish.

The Bad!
--Midnight died.
--Maggie the dog died.
--Pat died. (too upsetting for me to write about)
--Ricky had some job woes and it was stressful.
--A rat moved into my apartment and wreaked havoc.
--Shitty neighbors.
--Three friends had issues with fertility (I won't mention who for their privacy).
--Buying my car was a dog and pony show.
--Leo switched to being in a wheelchair full time.
--Dramas with my grandparents.
--Too much family crap to write about in one blog between me and Ricky.
--Numerous friends have had job woes.
--Dramas with all dads.

But I know a lot of people have had issues in 2010. So I'm actually kind of glad to be putting this year to bed and move onto 2011. I have strong hopes for next year. A lot of weddings, some babies, two years with Ricky, probably more engagements, and other good things.

Peace out 2010, and bring on 2011!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

THE Christmas gift

It's mine! All mine!

Christmas Eve morning, Ricky and I exchanged gifts. It's far easier to do that than to try and fit it in with all of our families. And we can leisurely enjoy the whole morning together, and do things like make breakfast and just relax. Ricky loved all of his gifts and then I opened my last one...

...and it was a KitchenAid Mixer.

I almost started to cry with joy, I was so happy. As you know, I've been dreaming of one for eons, but have never gotten it for myself because they're a little pricey and it's hard to justify it when you already have a hand mixer. And it's a Cornflower Blue. So pretty and it works like a dream! I'm a grown up now!

Ricky decided to go with the blue because it was the prettiest, but also subtle enough. Some of the other nice colors were a bit too loud and "HEY LOOK AT ME I'M A MIXER IN A KITCHEN!" which I think was the correct approach. And he had it sneakily shipped to his parents' house so I wouldn't see it. I was very surprised and pleased. I plan on using it later on today to make cookies.

To the right, you'll see it stationary, being pretty. And below, here it is in action, making a meringue top for a pie I made for Christmas day.

It was so nice to just put in the ingredients and hit the setting and not have to manually make meringue! It works like a dream. I see myself using it a in probably weekly. It's so wonderful. Best Christmas gift ever!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Christmas Song from Oranjuly

Honestly, who ever really wants a hoola hoop?

My friend Brian of the Band Oranjuly (I've hyped them quite a bit over the years here) just released a Christmas single. Hoorah!

Brian, with the help of musician Michael Scott, recorded a cover of The Chipmunks' "Christmas Don't Be Late". I really like it. It keeps the same spirit and vibe of the original, but is a million times less cloying. I believe it's because it's really good, the harmonies are nice, and it's not being sung my chipmunks. Check it out and download it here!

More Obamas Holiday Cheer

Thanks again Tom and Lorenzo for these delightful pictures!

The Obamas are pretending to sing with an a capella group. I love the goofiness of the pics. I don't know why, but Obama looks even more dad-ish in this than usual*. It's almost like you can picture Sasha and Malia sighing and rolling their eyes slightly somewhere right now.

Yeah, both of their parents are pretending to sing with an a capella group and fully committing to it... they are sighing very heavily right now.

*and by "usual", I mean when he wears dad jeans again and again and when he wears track pants to play pick up basketball with his friends.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Frog Pond Skaters

Last weekend, Ricky and I spent some time soaking up Christmasy things in Boston. It's nice being there without having to be at work, and to enjoy it at a leisurely pace. Anyways, at the end of our day, we found ourselves at the Frog Pond in the Commons, watching the ice skaters. Neither of us are particularly good at skating, nor did we want to leave our bags unattended. But it was still very relaxing and nice watching everyone else.

I took some photos of it, and this was my favorite shot:

I love that everyone is blurry minus that one couple in the lower right hand corner. I also love the lighting. I took this without flash, because when the flash was on, the pictures were turning out horrible.

Just a little something to get you into the spirit.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday times with the Obamas

I saw this photo on Tom and Lorenzo, and I have no clue what's going on right now in it... but I love the facial expression on President Obama.

In my mind, he's being charming and possibly a little goofy with the cute kid elves. That blonde one seems to be just getting in on the joke.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide: Crate and Barrel

Over the weekend, I got a good deal of my Christmas shopping done in Cambridge. I was in the area to see It's a Wonderful Life at the Brattle, and Ricky and I decided to make a day of it. Photos of ice skaters to come in a day or so.

I have the luck to work near a Crate and Barrel, which I have often hit up for gifts. I think for the quality and look of what you're getting, it's a relatively good bargain. They also cater to a wide array of needs and tastes. And did I mention that it's 2 blocks away from where I work?

Anyways, here are some things I've noticed in the store or have given as gifts myself in past years and why I think they're great gifts:

It's a candelabra that looks like a branch. How pretty is this on a table with white candles? They look like piles of snow on a branch. It's larger than I thought it would be in real life, but I would definitely consider getting this for a parent or even as a housewarming gift.

Way back in the day, on the once decent then horrible sitcom That 70's Show, the protagonist's mother had the line "they should call fondue fundue... because it's fun!" I'm pretty sure she was supposed to be stoned during this scene, but that's neither here nor there. I've actually given a fondue set to my friend Danielle a few Christmases ago as a gift, because she likes chocolate, snacking, and entertaining. I gave her with it some nice chocolates to make fondue with, and possibly a cheese. This set is not electronic, so it's not too expensive and also a nice intro to the world of melted sauces.

I've given this gift as a wedding gift once. Crate and Barrel makes nice frames, and I like the variety of picture sizes for this one. I gave the frame and the offer to purchase any wedding prints they want. As of today, the couple still hasn't decided which pictures they want, but they are very excited to decide and see the frame up in their house. Black and white frames are classy and go with all decors. I could also see getting this for a friend or family member, and printing out pictures of a trip or over the years. Erin's gotten her share of C&B frames from me over the years, especially when she moved into her boyfriend's house.

There'll be more gift guides as the weeks progress!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stocking Update

Earlier I had mentioned that I was trying to find cute/nice stockings to hang on my couch with care. All the stockings I came across were either:

a) too expensive
b) not crazy about the fabric choice
c) tacky

Then Ricky came across simple plain felt stockings in Target for $1 each with bric-a-brac trim. This is, literally, what I was looking for. I will admit, I was eying a different stocking at the time, along with recovering from gum surgery, so I was pretty cranky. Ricky suggested we should get these stockings and then get puff paint from AC Moore and decorate them while watching Christmas movies.

This ended up being the perfect plan.

Ricky's stocking in progress: Ricky dressed up as Santa, with some presents and snowflakes.

That night, we watched Scrooged (who doesn't love Robert Goulet's Cajun Christmas?) and decorated them. Ricky made his, and I made one for me and one for Alva.

I think they came out nicely. They were quick to whip up as well. The quality of the felt itself is pretty cheap/thin, but they will do the job. We also dated our stockings so that if we did this every year, we could see the histories of our stockings. Mine is just a snowman with a tree, and Alva is one of him wearing a Santa hat. We also got foam snowflakes to add some flair to the stockings as well.

Here's an up close shot of Alva on his stocking. It's very orange in real life, but taking pictures with the flash on proved more difficult than hoped, because all I could see was the shine of the puff paint.

And in case you were wondering, yes we did get things for Alva for "Santa" to put in his stocking. Him living over 2 months already is enough to put him on the nice list for life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Charlie Chaplin speaks!*

*this isn't news or new... he died in 1977.

So I was listening to a TBTL podcast where they mention John Wayne's Oscar acceptance speech, and I wanted to listen to it. Found it on Youtube, then went down that rabbit hole and found Charlie Chaplin's honorary Oscar presentation. A very nice tribute to a man who has had a HUGE impact on film and comedy. Then Chaplin himself said thanks at the end, and I was struck by two things:

1. He has a very regal and deep sounding voice.
2. He's British.

I think, while I knew he was from England, I didn't put two and two together that he'd have a British accent. Ah well. I wanted to then find more audio of him speaking, and I found the following video of his big speech in The Great Dictator. It's incredible. That he did it in one take, it's so eloquent, and he made this movie while the Nazis were in power and this entire speech is speaking against them takes great courage:

Just a little something neat. Enjoy!