Monday, December 31, 2012

Bling in the New Year

Happy Last-Day-of-2012!!

Today is the reveal for the blog swap hosted by Allie, Allana, and Mia!

I was paired with Cindy from Purrincup!

Cindy sent me great gifts - bracelets and a necklace from Forever 21 - my favorite place ever!  I decided to pair them with some new sparkle nail polish.  I am still working on my outfit tonight, so I only included a little preview.  I will update with that once I'm a little more ready to "bling" in the new year!

12/31/12 4:30 pm update: Alright, here are my outfits for tonight: one for dinner out with Mike and another for a party we will be attending later on.
Dress: JCP         \\\     Top: Forever 21
Belt: Target          \\\        Jeans: American Eagle
Boots: Payless        \\\       Shoes: Converse from Journeys

Headband: Claires  \\\   Earrings: Claires
Earrings: Novica          \\\       Necklace: Handmade by my lovely roommate
Necklace and Bracelets: Forever 21 from Cindy!   \\\   Bracelets: Forever 21 from Cindy

My favorite part of either outfit is definitely these.  I bought them for my 100 Days Ball senior year of college and found them recently when cleaning out my closet.  NYE seems perfect!

Lastly, here's a little preview of what I sent Cindy - I really enjoyed shopping for her while I was on vacation in Florida!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snowed in... sort of

Aaaahhh Snowpocalypse 2012!! [Yeah. No. It's not.]

We got about 14 inches yesterday between 3:00 and 11:00 or last night - yeah, that's more than an inch an hour.  I'm not a big fan of snow, and by 6:00, I was convinced we were in for the night.  Mike had other plans.  A few days ago, we talked about making my famous pepperoni bread and calzones, [and getting more k-cups - we're obsessed] so we went for it.  Mike has a little BMW with rear-wheel drive.  Usually it can handle anything.  Our road hadn't yet been plowed.  We fishtailed and got stuck a couple of times... and then gave up, so we took my Jeep.  Why didn't we take my Jeep in the first place, you ask? He loves that little car!!

We went to Bertucci's to get dough and Stop & Shop.  I was surprised that there were a good number of people in both places.  We came back, made coffee and iced tea and bread/calzones.  [Recipes at end - they're short and easy, I promise.]

Then we relaxed, and decided to go back out and play in the snow around midnight.  We made snow angels, walked around the neighborhood, slid down the hills in our backyard on our backs, and threw snowballs at our roommate's window.  It was great!  I forget how quiet it is, especially when snow falls at night.  No one was snow blowing or shoveling or driving, all you could hear was the sound of snow hitting the ground and falling off trees.
Almost sideways on our street - then we did a 360 [on purpose] and went back to get the Jeep.

This time around we bought some caramel vanilla cream and sweet iced tea.  My next [and final, I promise] purchase will be peach iced tea, hot apple cider, or this fun family pack.  

And here are the recipes:
These are all of the ingredients you need for both.

Pepperoni Bread:
- Stretch a large Bertucci's dough [you can buy it at any restaurant location] out into a large square.
- Line dough with a thin layer of mozzarella, then pepperoni, then another thin layer of mozzarella.
- Roll up and pinch sides and all edges.
- Place seam-down on a cookie tray lined with corn meal.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Wait approximately 15 minutes before cutting with a serrated knife into slices.

Chicken Parmesan Calzone:
- Stretch the dough into a large square like for the pepperoni bread.
- Line the dough with a thin layer of sauces, slices of provolone, and another thin layer of sauce.
- Slice Perdue chicken breasts thinly and layer on top of sauce with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
- Fold into thirds and pinch edges.
- Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.

The reason the two are cooked for different amounts of time is because mine was more of a roll [many layers of dough], while Mike's - the calzone - was only 3 layers of dough in any place. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review: Les Miserables

Yesterday, Mike and I went to go see Les Miserables.  I've never really written a movie review before, but I thought I would give you my thoughts on the movie: casting, acting, and camera work.  I promise, there won't be any spoilers!  I was supposed to read Les Mis in high school, but I only used Cliff Notes, soooo I only knew/remembered a bit of the story, going in.

I had been looking forward to seeing this movie for a few months now.  When I heard that all of the singing was done live, I was hooked.  In various points while watching it, I just couldn't believe the incredible acting skills and emotion combined with the voices.  The whole idea of the spontaneity of acting instead of having the record the songs and make decisions a few months ahead of time makes it so unique.  It is amazing that the actors actually were able to set the tempo for the movie, because they had hidden ear pieces and heard a piano while singing, and the orchestra was added after.  For more about this, you really should watch this video.

The casting was overall amazing.  Hugh Jackman has mad pipes!  I have to admit, in the first scene, I couldn't get the image of Wolverine out of my head, but his ever-changing role of Jean Valjean was so perfectly executed.  Russell Crowe was a very good acting choice for the role of Inspector Javert, but his singing just could not compare to Jackman.  I love Anne Hathaway, and she has a beautiful voice.  Her role was smaller than I hoped it would be, but she definitely put her everything into each scene [even actually cutting her hair].  Before seeing the movie, I joked about only seeing Amanda Seyfried as Karen Smith or Sophie Sheridan, but her voice is unbelievable.  She had the perfect innocent quality for her role as Cosette.  Isabelle Allen plays the younger Cosette and was also a great choice.  I had never heard of Eddie Redmayne or Samantha Barks before, but their portrayals of Marius and Eponine, respectively, were great.  They provided great support to the cast and and Samantha did a perfect rendition of "On My Own."  Last but not least, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen as the Thenardiers.  Like I said, I had really only read the Cliff Notes of Les Mis before, so they were a bit of a shock to me.  The parts seemed a bit forced and didn't quite fit in with overall sense of struggle throughout the movie.  Obviously, I am not about to review the writing of the book or play, but they were perfect for what the part called for.  There were so many additional supporting characters, especially the many revolutionaries, that made the movie so perfect.

Now onto the cinematography.  At parts I felt the movie was a bit shaky.  I haven't read much into the camera work, but I felt as though it brought a very modern element to the movie.  During the scenes with a lot of action, I found myself getting a little dizzy as the director cut in and out of shots and the camera men seemed to follow the actors and actresses on foot.  However, what was perfect was the depiction of each character's monologues and solos.  They kept the camera steady and close up on each actor and did many songs in only one of two takes.  It really made the idea of singing live seem so much richer and more meaningful, since you could tell they weren't using countless bits and pieces to put together one song.

As for the accuracy of the movie, I cannot speak too much to its closeness to the book or movie, but I can speak to its historical correctness.  I was a history major, and have done a lot of reading, as well as took a class on French history.  The movie takes place after the first French Revolution, in 1815, 1823 and ending with the June Rebellion in 1832.  From what I watched, everything down to the costumes were perfect.

So, that's my opinion.  I was in no way paid or swayed by anyone or anything to write this review.

Mike and I have been watching trailers/behind the scenes/featurettes on Les Mis's YouTube site all night.  They are wonderful and I NEED to get the CD.  All of the music is just magical.  [Mike's response to reading this, "What's a CD? Are you going to put it in your jambox??" ...thanks.]

After reading this, if you are looking for a sort-of spoiler or overview of the movie, there's a video here.  It's actually the international trailer, apparently everywhere anywhere else besides in the US knows the story so they can tell the whole plot in 2:30.

Coincidentally, Mike and I also received matching "banned books" mugs for Christmas from his aunt - and of course, Les Mis is on it - can you spot it?  We have been drinking some warm beverages from them all night straight out of the Keurig!

Friday, December 28, 2012

After-Christmas fun

Yesterday we did some great after-Christmas shopping.  It was also my roommate's birthday - he's 28! Happy Birthday, Jeff!

We went to Kohl's and Home Depot - both VERY effective. 

At Kohl's, I went looking for a toaster.  Now with the Keurig, we have a few stainless appliances on our counter and I just wanted to get rid of our $7 white toaster haha.  We found a great one [a $60 Food Network floor model for $20]! We also got some tea and hot cocoa k-cups for the Keurig - all on sale AND a steam mop.  If you haven't seen or tried these before, you really should.  They are so easy to use and clean [and there's no waste like swiffers because you throw the pad through the washing machine].  
I love Kohl's and their 20% off coupons... and old roommates whose mail still comes to our house.  All in all, saved tons of money!

Then at Home Depot, we went looking for 50% off Christmas lights.  We do this every year, and they are such great deals.  LED lights are fantastic and save on electricity, but they can be expensive.  We got more icicles to do our shed next year and tons of colored lights to line windows and do more bushes next year.  Home Depot also had the Snoopy lawn ornament I've been gawking at since Thanksgiving.  However, I couldn't bring myself to spend $70 on it because we are so lucky to get so many hand-me-down from Jeff's parents.  I was even hesitant when I saw the floor model marked down today for half off because it's been on in the store for over a month.  I was worried that the lights might need to be replaced early next year, but my roommates ensured me they could handle it.  Soooo, Jeff got it down for me [because we couldn't find anyone to help us haha].
Now here's the best part, we went to check out and Mike asked twice if the guy wanted the bar code for Snoopy.  He shrugged him off said he would do it at the end.  We were joking with him about how silly it was to buy Christmas stuff now, and before we knew it, he told us what we owed and Mike paid.  It was about 5 seconds later that we looked at each other and realized he didn't ring it in.  Look at the photo above this, how do you not see it in the cart?!?!  We aren't sure if he was just so busy that he forgot or if he just wanted us to have the floor model.  Either way - free lawn ornament!!! And of course, it was promptly put out front!!  Don't worry, Mr. Home Depot Man, it went to a great home!

Of course, the night was finished off with lots of snow and a few beers [or hard ciders, in my case] out for Jeff's birthday!

Alright, so here are the before and after photos of our kitchen and our updated front lawn!

[yeah, this didn't change]

 I love stainless!!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

On Christmas morning, I'll wake up bright and early...

[Raffi? Anyone? 90s kid right here!]

Warning: photo overload

I just had to post all of these of our last 3 Christmases. [Yes, last 3... you can see photos from the first 2 from Christmas Eve here.]

I was very fortunate this year.  I also really enjoyed giving to my family and friends.  I'm all about practical gifts.  I received a Keurig, food processor, clothes for work, and boots.  However, I did receive a helicopter from my parents [because my dad texted Mike and asked if I should get something fun or money - and of course Mike went with the fun gift].  Mike got a ladder, puffy vest, work boots, and some flannel.

 my parents and some of their favorite gifts

My mom uses the SAME boxes every year - this bring back any memories for anyone??


Mike's big surprise!

 I know batteries means it has to be something fun!!

Paper pile /// and Mike went a little overboard for me...

Flying my copter!

Our little family's dinner - ITALIAN!!! [lasagna, chicken parm, meatballs, and antipasto]

Mike and his goddaughter

Mike's sister and her boyfriend

 New ladder, food processor, and cooling racks from Mike's family!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Keep Christmas with you, all through the year

[Preface: Here's the link to the song the title is from.  Christmas Eve on Sesame Street is one of my family's main traditions.  One of my favorite parts of my and Mike's Christmas is melding traditions.  For more on my traditions, follow me on instagram: megatronnn27.]

It's 2:00 am... it's still Christmas to me.  I got a Keurig for Christmas [YAAYYY] and am hyped up on some serious Dunkin peppermint mocha right now - aka Christmas will last until I go to bed aka NEVER.  Mike and I are watching some Office Christmas episodes and I thought I'd relive the awesome-ness of the past 36 hours by putting the photos on my computer.

Thanks again, Amanda, I will be using my mug ALL the time!!

These are a whole lotta photos that none of you probably care about, but part of the reason I started this blog is for me.  I want to remember all of these fun moments in this stage of my life, and Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter don't do it justice... and I'm bad at journaling haha.

Well, here are Christmases 1 and 2 from Christmas Eve [roommate Christmas and 2 church services - one with his and one with my family]...

Thanks, Adria, Mike and I LOVED your gifts! xoxo

 Roxy and Merp have been high for the last 24 hours straight... I think we overdid it with the cat nip!

Cookie trays all made up for 4 of the Christmases

Mike and my presents for each other under our tree before we left.  He did a BAD thing - way too much shopping!

Ready for church!

Can't wait to update you all tomorrow on our other Christmases!  

Did you do anything especially fun or get a great surprise gift for Christmas?  I can't wait to read all of your Christmas recap blog posts :)
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