Friday, February 24, 2012

MFT Day 23: New Beginnings

Friends and readers will know that part of the reason I'm focusing on things I like for the next 30 days is because January, for all intents and purposes, blew chunks.  What is the highlight of awfulness for me was the loss of Millie and Coco.  I'll admit it:  I'm still sad about Millie.  A memory will pop in my head or I'll see a Weimaraner on the street and find myself being sad.  I know it'll fade with time -- I was the same way when Penny died -- but it's still quite sad.

But we can't dwell and live in the past, and it's important to move on emotionally and also open your heart to new pets and experiences.  And so I introduce my parents' new dog... Sandy:

Sandy's about 3 months old, and a mix of a wide array of dogs.  She was adopted on Wednesday and is slowly and quietly getting used to her new digs.  She's very sweet, with hints of being feisty, but down to her core she is a snuggle bunny.  We're all quite taken by her.

And if you were wondering, no she is not named after the dog from Annie.  She's named after Sandy Bay and because we live near the beach.  And unlike another Sandy I know... she won't pick up a n'er do well on the beach in the summertime for a summer fling that turns into a high school fling.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

MFT Day 22: Julio Iglesias' La Mer

With all this Oscar talk, Ricky and I agree on one thing completely:  Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy should have been nominated for faaaar more than it was.  Gary Oldman was incredible as Smiley, and we carried that movie in our minds for days afterwards.  None of the other Best Picture nominees have managed to do that.  If you haven't seen this movie... GO SEE IT NOW.

The movie ends with a montage of various events that I won't go into, but over it is playing Julio Iglesias' La Mer.  Which is perfect for the scene and the tone of the whole movie.  It's a complete tonal shift, which makes this montage jump even more.  I've been listening to it regularly since the song is great, and makes me think of the movie.  You should, too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

MFT Day 21: Oscar Season

When I was in high school, my Mum would sneak me a print out of the Oscar Nominations while in class.  She would say that it was an important note from the front office (where she worked) and I would pull off my own award-winning performance, reading the list solemnly as if taking in an important message about after school activities.  Over a decade later, I still wish someone would secretly hand me over the list while I'm at work.

The last two years, Ricky and I have decided to make an event out of Oscar Season.  We've challenged ourselves to watch as many of the Oscar-nominated films as possible (now that there are 10, it's hard to catch all of them) so we can watch the ceremony informed.  I also make a nice meal for that night so we have a tasty meal for the awards.  We also fill out the ballot that's printed in Entertainment Weekly and whichever one of us gets the most correct gets a nice dinner out of it.  Last year, I smoked Ricky, so I'm hoping I can make my record 2-0.

I've enjoyed embracing the Oscar season with Ricky, because it gives us a reason to watch a lot of really good movies, have a nice meal together on a Sunday night, and a little bit of friendly competition.  I'm hoping that this is something we will continue for years to come.

As far as our rankings go, we've seen The Artist, Moneyball, The Descendants, and Midnight in Paris for the Best Picture nominations.  The Help should be arriving in Netflix soon.  And obviously my vote is going to Man or a Muppet, in case you were wondering.

In light of The Oscars coming up this week, here's Rex Harrison winning his Best Actor Award* for My Fair Lady.  I put this up because I always joke that Ricky is the Rex Harrison of musical theatre performances, since when he played Uncle Max in his high school's production of Sound of Music, he just spoke all the songs since he can't really carry a tune.  And clearly that's an award-winning strategy when you're carrying a movie musical...

*Peter Sellars was 10000% robbed, for the record.  Also, Audrey's trying to upstage this entire process.

Monday, February 20, 2012

MFT Day 20: Shaun the Sheep

I think at the end of this month, any "cool cred" I had earned will be long long gone.

We have Netflix, and sometimes it's fun to add random TV shows on there to watch when you feel like it.  We're making our way through a few series (Friday Night Lights, Doctor Who, The Wire) but then there are shows that are on there when we want to pick something up a little mindless (Cheers, Home Movies).

I've always liked Nick Park's work, and have a soft spot for Wallace and Gromit movies.  I noticed one day that they recommended I add Shaun the Sheep.  I decided to, because I liked that character in A Close Shave.

Shaun the Sheep is ADORABLE.  It shows Shaun on a farm with a flock of sheep, a sheep dog, a clueless farmer, some evil pigs, and a bunch of other characters.  There's no dialogue, which makes it like old slapstick silent films.  The sheep are super cute (I'm looking at you, Baby Timmy) and it's a fun show to watch every now and again when we have enough time to watch something quick before a program we watch on cable is on.

If you have kids or like this kind of animation, I highly recommend checking out Shaun the Sheep.  You're probably thinking I'm crazy right now, but it's definitely endearing and grabs you.

MFT Day 19: Instagram

I am late to the game, but my grandfather just gave me a hand me down iPod touch, which I've been enjoying while commuting.  The battery life is a lot longer than all other iPods I've had (disclosure:  they've all been about 4 years old and from him, which may have something to do with it) and I like having access to apps and the internet while on the train.  One app I've been really liking is Instagram.

This iPod doesn't have a camera on it, so what I've been doing is taking my favorite photos from the last few years and "Instagramming" them.  I like how low tech and slightly warped the images look, especially since they were so crisp on my digital camera.  I'm planning on getting an iPhone in the months between the two weddings I'm in (my current phone is on the decline, but I'm trying to avoid having to purchase a new phone to save money) and I can't wait until I have an Apple product with the camera so I can take new photos and Instagram them on the spot.

I wish there was a way to print some of them, because I love how they look and would definitely frame them.  Above is a photo of a barn I took when visiting my cousin's farm in Vermont.  I liked the photo before, but I LOOOOVE the photo now. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

MFT Day 18: MGMT's Electric Feel

Last night was Jess' bachelorette party, which was a lot of fun.  Great to spend a night out in the city with a bunch of good friends, being silly and dancing.  I wish there were more opportunities to that in life that didn't revolve around someone getting married.

Anyways, I was in charge of making the mix for the room while we were getting ready.  One of the songs I put on there was MGMT's Electric Feel, which I love putting on dancey mixes for friends as a surprise.  It's a great song and fun to dance to, but no one ever thinks to put it on (I feel like Kids or Time to Pretend makes it on there more).  So here it is for you!

I'll be posting something later on tonight, so that I stay on schedule.

Friday, February 17, 2012

MFT Day 17: Hunter Boots

Work has been a bit crazy, so I am (I fear) permanently behind a day.  I'll try to catch up, but if not... I'll just write #30 on March 1.  And so it goes.

With the weather on in the background, and the fear of snow coming over the weekend, I am writing about my hunter boots.  Walking to work was proving to be rough on my feet and socks, mainly because they kept getting wet all snowy winter and muddy spring.  Many students were wearing Hunter Boots, and looking adorable while doing so.  I asked one of them about it, and they came highly recommended.  The one rainy day well over a year ago, I trekked to The Tannery and picked myself up a purple pair.

This was an excellent decision. 

I love how simple they are, but that they look classically British.  I also like how they keep my feet dry.  Sadly, because they are only rubber, my feet aren't always super warm in the cold snow, but I just layer socks and then take off a pair at work. 

Last winter, when we had countless snow days, I joked that my snow day attire was as such:
--big sweater/tunic and sweater
--Hunter Boots
--hat and mittens

This was so shovel out my car and around the apartment, walk to get coffee, and then walk to get a bottle of wine.  This look served me well.

A blogger I love reading, Elsie from A Beautiful Mess, recently blogged herself wearing her berry Hunter Boots, and I love the look of it.  I am tempted to get a black and white striped dress and pull it off on my own.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

MFT Day 16: Orange juice + marshmallow vodka

Uggggh forgot to post yesterday.  My bad.

I'll write a short one to catch up, then later on tonight I'll write something a bit longer.  Also, for the children, a warning that this post will discuss booze. 

So in the last few years I've noticed more and more new and whacky flavors of vodka on the market.  Back when I was a college kid/early 20's kid, I loved me some flavored vodkas.  At parties, I pretty much wanted to drink things that tasted like candy and/or watered down beer.  My main jam was fruit-flavored vodka with Sprite or vanilla-flavored vodka with Coke.  After graduating, I also graduated to wine, non-watery beer*, and gin.  For the most part, I haven't looked back once.

Until recently, that is.  I was in a packie looking for wine when I found myself in the vodka aisle.  I was wandering around while Ricky was getting a bottle of wine for a party, and I spotted all the new flavors they have.  Gone are the days when "I'm being whacky" meant vanilla or (gasp!) sour apple.  No, they had root beer vodka, cupcake vodka, acai berry vodka**, whipped cream vodka, and marshmallow vodka.  I decided to regress for a moment and pick up some flavored vodka instead of my wine and try it out.

I went with the marshmallow, and since it was cold that night had it with my Tim Horton's hot chocolate.  It was definitely tasty, and nice to have that subtle flavor of marshmallow to cut through the chocolate.  About a week later, I had the idea to try marshmallow vodka with orange juice.  After all, marshmallows are vanilla-flavored, so it had to be good.  And ohhhhh was I right!  It tastes just like an orange creamsicle popsicle.  It's quite tasty and a nice weekend cocktail.  Strongly recommend it.

*It's life-changing when you realize there are better beers out there than Pabst.  And that you can taste quality.

**Seriously, why are acai berries so hip right now?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

MFT Day 15: The "if I had words" scene in Babe

If you want me to cry, just show me this scene, and I will.  Hand's down.  It's so sweet, I love it so much.

I'm getting emotional watching this clip it's so great.

And no, I don't want to talk about how the Pekinese just won Westminster.

Monday, February 13, 2012

MFT Day 14: The Westminster Dog Show

Since I was but a wee thing, every February has been marked by two intense days of showmanship that I have literally dropped everything I am doing to watch.  I am, of course, talking about the Westminster Dog Show.

At this point you may be thinking "wait, you just spent all day yesterday ranting about how you should adopt mutts and strays from shelters" and you are right, but hear me out.  I do really really love dogs.  And I love seeing all the different breeds.  And I love how slightly inherently nerdy all of it is.  And I love how all the people who are involved in it -- announcer David Fry, that lady who does color commentary for women's tennis, the handlers, and the dogs themselves -- are so devoted to this sport and so excited and happy to be there.  They're just so gosh darn happy to be showing the height and caliber of every breed.

I also like Best In Show, because it does mock the people and the proceedings, but it's also an easy target.  And I think they're doing it out of a loving mindset.  

Every year, my mum and I root for the Weimaraner to take it all.  Sadly, this hasn't happened yet.  A few years ago, it won it's group which the people at Westminster called an upset*, but it's never won best in show.  I'm hoping beyond all hope that this year the Weimaraner takes it, obviously for Millie.  We used to also joke that in a crazy alternate universe if Millie were competing for the breed and she came waddling out.  Then the entire garden would grow silent at the sight of Millie, who while quite pretty... was definitely never up to the standards of the breed.  But maybe this year the dog will be a little short, a little heavyset, and have beady eyes.  Again, dare to dream.

*I say that's bullshit, Westminster people.  Weimaraners are awesome.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

MFT Day 13: A year with Lewis

Lewis a year ago...

...and Lewis today!
I know I said it wouldn't be a month about Lewis, but today marks 1 year since we adopted our little pom pom!  It's so crazy to think that we've had him in our lives for one year, and it's been great watching him grow and develop a little personality.  Right now, he's sitting on the back of the couch watching the leaves outside.  Later on, we'll probably play with a toy and give him some snacks.  (again, we're very exciting)

When we got him, he was a nervous 2 pounds, looking for love and affection.  Today he's a confident 12 pounds, still looking for love and affection.  And snacks.

We've both said many times that we can't imagine having any other cat, and that our lives are so much better with him in it.  Every morning when he runs in to snuggle with me before I get up, I'm so very happy.  He's just such a great part of our little lives.

I also implore all of you (okay, both of you) who read my blog that if you're thinking of adopting a pet, please consider adopting from a shelter!  There are so many great pets out there who were abandoned or found that are living in shelters, and they all deserve a second chance and a home.  At PALS, where we adopted Lewis, there are so many cats there who just want to go home, and they all have such sad stories.  And there are other shelters all over the area or country that have pets in the same situation.  So please, think before spending hundreds on a designer pet, when there's one just as sweet and lovable and wanting sitting in a shelter right now.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

MFT Day 12: TLC's Four Weddings

This is definitely a guilty Friday night pleasure for me and Ricky.  It's this show we stumbled upon on Friday nights on TLC.  Four girls who are having weddings compete against each other to see who can throw the best wedding (based on reviews by their peers) and the winner gets a free honeymoon.

This description doesn't do this show justice, though.

What makes it great is seeing not only how the weddings look, but also just how catty some of these girls can be.  And judgmental.  Also seeing either how amazingly nice or slightly low rent the weddings are.  We also end up rooting for the sadder sacks or the sweeter girls, and then hoping against hope that the preachy girls who don't serve alcohol or food at their wedding and bitch about all the other weddings lose.  (this last statement is based on the worst wedding we've seen to date.  Fortunately, the girl lost)

Without a doubt, the Florida weddings are usually done on the cheap or involve weird things like a party boat, the New York weddings are a mixed bag but usually quite intense, and the Chicago weddings are generally nice.  But there are some universal rules and trends from episode to episode.

--No one cares what you wear to your wedding unless you change dresses for the reception to something slutty.  Then they super care.
--The #1 thing that can ruin your wedding is bad food.  The #2 is lack of dancing.
--Releasing butterflies after your ceremony is always a bad idea. 
--Cute children saves anything.
--Be true to yourself.
--Good drinks helps. 

If we don't have anything to do on a Friday night, Ricky and I will order in and drink quite a bit of wine while watching the girls duke it out.  It's so great.

Friday, February 10, 2012

MFT Day 11: Trader Joe's Super Spinach Salad

I work a few doors down from a Trader Joe's, so more often than not instead of packing a lunch I'll just go to Trader Joe's to get yogurt or something microwaveable.  A lot of Trader Joe's prepared foods leave little to be desired (I'm looking at you, sandwiches) but they tend to have really great salads.

My coworker turned me onto their Super Spinach Salad.  It is amazing.  There are a lot of calories to it, but everything that's in the salad is really good for you, so I think it's just a meal that fills you up and packs a healthy punch.  Spinach.  Quinoa.  Edamamme.  Chickpeas.  Sunflower seeds.  Carrots.  Cranberries.  It's SO GOOD.  I could eat it every day.

If you are near a Trader Joe's, I highly recommend getting this salad for lunch or dinner.  You will not regret it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

MFT Day 10: The Point!

The siblings Landry all mourned the last month in our different ways, but one thing that we all had in common was listening to an album that we all enjoyed as a kid.  That would be Harry Nilsson's The Point!  (I get the sense that subconsciously I listen to Nilsson music to be happy)  I could wax poetic about the album for hours, but I thought instead I'd talk about the movie The Point instead.

I joked to Ricky that to me, Ringo Starr was first famous to me as the narrator of The Point and not the Beatle drummer.  We grew up watching The Point, and I still know almost all the words to the songs.  I also love all the illustrations, that they're so simple (pen and ink and a lot of watercolor) but convey so much.  And honestly, who hasn't felt like an outsider and that they don't have a point in the world when everyone else does?

I was going to post Me and My Arrow, but it made me too sad, since it's about the greatest dog ever... and clearly I can't handle that right now.  So instead I'll do my favorite number, Are you Sleeping:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

MFT Day 9: Navy blue nail polish

I promise that this won't devolve into me plugging products I like. 

Last night, after a long run, I decided that my poor sad wintery feet (read:  dry, cracked, and all around gross) needed some love.  I gave myself an impromptu pedicure while waiting for Ricky to come home from work.  I automatically went for my navy blue nail polish.  I felt better after pampering my poor feet.

For years, I've liked nail polish on my toes but tend to never put it on my hands.  I find it distracting, I often end up chipping it an hour in, and I have short stubby fingers so it never looks good.  I think if I had longer fingers and nails, I'd be more apt to give myself manicures, but alas.

I have a lot of pinks and some crazy colors, but wanted to about a year ago try out a dark color, ideally navy blue.  I went to Sephora and got a great color of navy blue.  I can't remember the name of it, but if you go... it's the shiny navy blue polish.  I may need to get more soon because a year later I've used up about half of the bottle!  There are tons of blue polishes, and they let you try everything out at Sephora (thank God because that shit is not cheap) so definitely try a few colors to see what works best for you.

I may have a blue pedicure for Jess and Erin's wedding, as a secret fun way to tie in some "something blue" for both looks.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

MFT Day 8: Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm

Much like my friend Jess, I am a tad obsessed with chapstick.  I have to always have a chapstick on me, and if I don't I usually end up buying a new one to tie me over.  This may be slightly crazy, and it may also explain why I have 20 things of chapstick.  (I don't... it just feels that way)

Last year I made a discovery that may be life-changing, especially in the wintertime when my skin gets super dry.  Burt Bee's came out with tinted chapstick.  It's all natural, makes my lips less chapped, and has a hint of color.  This last detail I love, since sometimes lipstick feels like too much stuff on my lips but I also don't want to look like I'm super pasty and tired in the wintertime. 

It's a bit expensive, but totally worth it.  Right now I have a tube of hibiscus and I just finished using my tube of rose, so I may replace that one soon (read:  this lunch break).

MFT Day 7: Clementines

I had half of this written yesterday, but never got to finishing it until just now.  I blame this to a busy day at work and How I Met Your Mother finally being new again.

One things I love in the wintertime is that clementines are fresh and abundant.  I think you can get them year-round in some supermarkets, but they're not as good as this time of year, their sweet spot if you will.  So tiny and cute, they are such great snacks when it's cold and gray out.

We got a bag of clementines on Sunday, and a lot of that bad is already gone.  I've been packing some in my bag for work, and devouring them well before 11am. 

I inevitably will try to stretch out clementine season longer than it is, and then get disappointed by dry, bitter fruits, but for now I am reveling in these delightful tiny little gems.  So bright, and sweet, and juicy.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

MFT Day 6: Bagel World

Sunday mornings consist of two things at our house:  Bagel World bagels and Meet The Press.  Meet The Press is always interesting -- especially with it being an election year -- but my favorite part of this is getting a Bagel World bagel.

When I first moved to Salem 4 1/2 years ago, my friend Patti (who was my roommate at that time) told me I needed to eat at two places:  Crosby's and Bagel World.  I slightly discounted her for the Crosby's recommendation, only because it's a super market, so I never actually went to Bagel World until I met Ricky.  This might be one of the many reasons why I love him.  Him introducing me to Bagel World was a key turning point.  I love Bagel World.  Every time we're gearing up for a roadtrip, we get Bagel World coffees and sandwiches.  When we're recovering from a late and buy Saturday night, Bagel World egg sandwiches and coffees are the elixir of life (case in point:  after Amanda's bachelorette party, we all dragged our tired selves to the Bagel World, and it made Sunday a lot more tolerable).

I asked Ricky what his favorite bagel was from Bagel World, but it was hard to decide on just one, because it's all based on mood and level of hungry.  Sweet:  chocolate chip.  Savory:  spinach with smoked salmon spread.  Sandwich:  Chicken salad with veggies and honey mustard.  Every Sunday, it's definitely a long debate as to how hungry we are and what side of Bagel World are we leaning towards.

I also appreciate Bagel World's prices, since we can get two coffees and two bagel sandwiches for well under $20.  (are you listening, Jaho?)  Today, Ricky got one large coffee, one small coffee, and two bagels with cream cheese for a little under $9.  At Jaho, you can buy a banana for $9.  And not even a whole banana.  (I'm only slightly kidding)

So in short, Bagel World?  You're a-okay in my book.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

MFT Day 5: Old friends

It's like that old saying about make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.

Today I helped several ladies throw Jess' bridal shower.  I'm a bridesmaid in the wedding, and it's exciting to think that her wedding day is arriving in less than a month.  I've meet a lot of nice friends and family of the couple since they got engaged, so I'm glad I'm becoming closer to Jess and Giacomo's friends and family.

The shower went off well.  It was a very classy and pretty affair in Beverly, perfectly pink with many a cupcake to partake in.  We opted for a Saturday tea with snacks, old family teacups, and lots of pink things.  We also had lots of sweets, since the Jess and Giacomo are high school sweethearts.

I've been friends with Jess since 1993, when we were two awkward 9-year-olds in 4th grade.  It's great that we've managed to remain good friends since those days.  There were many guests where I remember being in elementary and middle school with, and it's nice that we've remained friends through the years. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

MFT Day 4: Harry Nilsson's The Puppy Song

I'm hosting a shower for Jess tomorrow along with the rest of your bridesmaid crew, so I took today off to run errands for it.  While driving around, I got a pang of missing Millie.  I think it was the nice weather and all the dogs going on walks, and also that I passed Modern Millie's Consignment shop.  Anyways, I was feeling a little sad.

Then the CD I was listening to played Harry Nilsson's The Puppy Song.  I've always associated this song in my head to Millie, because it's about having a puppy as your friend, and also because I first heard it about the time we got Millie.  So The Puppy Song has always been (to me) about my puppy Millie.

Instead of making me feel sad, though, the song put a smile to my face and made me think fondly of the Millie girl, as it always has and always will.  So today, I am sharing it here as one of my favorite things.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

MFT Day 3: mustard yellow sweaters (ideally from J Crew)

Photo credit:  What Would a Nerd Wear.  CHECK IT OUT!!
I'm a sucker for mustard yellow.  There have been times when my ongoing online J Crew shopping cart is filled with only two things:  Navy blue shirts and mustard yellow sweaters.  If I could, I would live in both.  It's a sometimes weird color, but one that I adore.  And I feel like it adds a muted pop of color during the dreary winter months.  I know other stores have mustard yellow sweaters, but there's just something about a mustard yellow sweater in the J Crew variety.  (I truly thing their strongest suits are sweaters and cords)

I recently made myself a cowl in mustard yellow, along with thrifted my very own J Crew cardigan in mustard cashmere.  There's also one at the thrift store around the corner from where I work that I've been eying and will probably snatch up today. 

I know I'm not alone on this, because when you google "J Crew mustard yellow sweater" you get hundreds of different results.  In doing so, I also found a blog called What Would a Nerd Wear that I'm in love with and will now be following.  I think we may be clothing kindred spirits.  (that's where the picture for this post are from)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

MFT Day 2: photos of baby bunnies doing cute things

I thing baby bunnies are adorable, because they are essentially animated pom poms that have wiggly noses.  I, however, never want to own a rabbit of my own, particularly after house-sitting for a neighbor who has two.  My reasons are:

1.  They are mean.
2.  The chew on everything.
3.  They shit everywhere.

So in the end, you wind up with a giant pom pom who shits everywhere and destroys your wiring and molding. 

This revelation, though, has not stopped my love of photos of baby rabbits who are doing cute things that litter the internet.  Seriously, google "baby bunny" and watch the cuteness the image results will garner.  If you're feeling sad or happy or whatever, you will immediately feel better or even more better than you were already feeling at the sight of a bunny clapping hands.  Or eating a carrot.  Or playing with a flower.  Or sleeping together.  Yep, pretty much one of the best things ever.