Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Movie reviews

Some of these have been out for a while, but here goes, anyway...

I Love You, Man. I laughed hysterically throughout this movie. After seeing it opening night, Heidi's friend Josh came from out of town and it was the only movie he wanted to see, so I agreed to go a second time with them. Afterwards, Josh asked me what I thought about seeing it a second time. My response? "Are you joking, couldn't you hear me laughing the whole time? I was the loudest one in the theater!" I'm a big Rush fan (well, that's a slight exaggeration) and so there was plenty to love in this movie as Paul Rudd & Jason Segal not only sang a few Rush songs, but attended a Rush concert. Here's a taste. I kind of want to see it again! (Mom, it's not for you, though.)

Adventureland. This movie is right up my alley. The movie starts with James graduating from college and realizing that his degree does not qualify him to do much in the real world. Sound familiar? What else can he do but go to work in an amusement park? I thought it was funny, sweet and very entertaining. It's a much better version of an 80's movie than the 80's movies you probably know and love.

Duplicity. This is exactly the type of movie that I hate. You're supposed to like it because it has beautiful Julia Roberts and even more beautiful Clive Owen in beautiful settings, but it's all a bunch of crap. It was fun to see them hanging out in Rome, since I had just been there. Other than that, snooze.

State of Play was okay. I mostly saw it because it was a chance to hear Ben Affleck saying my name for 2 hours. Leolani liked it because of the journalism/reporter stuff, which is fine because she is a journalist. I felt like it's been done before and I didn't like the whole traditional newspaper man vs. flashy new blogger chick thing. So predictable. (however, this is a good movie for you, mom.)

so, there you have my two cents....

Friday, April 24, 2009

Other Seattle stuff

You mean there's more to a vacation than the food?

The first day I arrived, we went to the Mariner's opening day game. Here's baby Leah, all dressed up for her first, but certainly not her last, game.

We had beautiful weather, which is obviously not always the case in the Pacific Northwest. It was so nice that they could open the roof of the stadium, and we had to start worrying about the fact that we did not have sunscreen, which is also not always the case in the area. The retractable roof is the best thing about that stadium, and it would have been nice, among the billions of dollars they spent on the new Yankees stadium, if they had thought to put one of those in our stadium. It rains a lot here, too. What they don't have, that we do have, is reliable public transportation and it was a big issue to find parking. It made me so grateful for the D train that takes us just steps away from Yankees stadium.

The next day we went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which I have been wanting to do since Esther moved to WA several years ago. Unfortunately, I was about a week too early and we didn't see many tulips, but we did see these beautiful trees. Honestly, what is better than springtime?

30 Rock quote of the week -- 4/23

Another great one! I have two quotes from this week.

The first one is from Jack and it needs no introduction: "Somewhere right now someone is on a JDate with Monica Lewinski. Nobody is perfect."

The second one is dedicated to all my NYC friends and it comes from Liz Lemon to Jalisa, after she snuck into Liz's apartment: "How are you so quiet when your parades are so loud?"

The Office quote of the week -- 4/23

Michael to David and the new guy, after telling them that they wanted their old jobs back: "Our balls are in your court."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Seattle Cupcake Tour

Last year, I gave Esther the assignment to go to Trophy cupcakes and the report was good. I was super excited to finally try them for myself when I started planning to visit her this month. I also was intrigued to try the lavender cupcakes from Cupcake Royale because of this review. I had tried their cupcakes the last time I was there, but hadn't tried the lavender, so I figured this was my turn. Then, when Esther recently blogged that the woman that made her wedding cake started making cupcakes, I got even more excited for the possibilities. Sounds fun, right? Cupcakes from three different places?

A few weeks before my trip, Esther sent me a link and told me to choose which ones I wanted from Sweet Lorraine. I chose six and thought we'd just get two or three and split them between Esther, Paul and myself. Esther emailed me back and said, "Okay, I ordered them, I got all the ones you wanted... 18 cupcakes!" Now, I know I talk a lot about food in general, and talk a lot about cupcakes and dessert specifically, but eighteen cupcakes for three people... plus the additional ones from Trophy and Cupcake Royale? Honestly, I was freaking out! And not in a good way. It may not seem like it, but I actually would like to drop a few pounds (and have been somewhat successful until this trip) and the thought of having that much sugar around was causing me to panic. Panic!

Thursday was the day we decided to drive into the city and pick up the first batch. We went to Trophy and got one vanilla/vanilla, one lemon/strawberry, and one peanut butter & jelly. The vanilla/vanilla is so good, that it made Esther switch teams from a vanilla cake/chocolate frosting person to a shoveling-the-vanilla/vanilla- in-her-mouth-before-we-could-get-to-the-car person. As I've said before, I usually get the vanilla/vanilla because I like it the best, but also because it's easier to compare to other bakeries if I always get the same thing. As we were driving home, Esther was asking me how it compares... and I will agree it is, by far, one of the best. I have a hard time saying it is the best unless I try them in a side-by-side comparison, something that frustrated Esther to no end, but how can I? The cake was really good, the paper is scraped clean and the frosting is super creamy and not too sweet. Delicious!! The other flavors were good, but I wouldn't necessarily get them again. I don't know if you can see the frosting but they were definitely the cutest.
Next it was on to Cupcake Royale. I had these before and never thought they were that great. In fact, when I thought they were the only cupcakes in town, I actually felt sorry for Seattle people. Here I have several really good places to choose from and they have one mediocre place. Anyway, I still wanted to try the lavender cupcake because it was highly recommended and 18 cupcakes weren't enough, apparently. So, the report for these is... eh! The lavender is kind of interesting, but my first bite I felt like I bit into a weed. The cake part is pretty light and airy, which I might compare to, like, a Hostess cake or something. So, not great. Esther didn't even want to get one from there, but did get a lavender cupcake for Paul to sample, which he barely touched.

The next day was the big day. To appease me, Esther made a plan to give some of the cupcakes away and I stopped hyperventilating, but of course, we still planned to try lots of them. Here's what we got, from left:

Carrot, Turtle, Peanut butter cup, Bananas foster, Vanilla/vanilla, Lemon. We opened the boxes up just to check what we got, and we saw that we were missing the Mango lime. I heard about how good these were from Esther, so I was really looking forward to them... so Lorraine threw in two more (in front). So, instead of 18 we now had 20!! But now they were in my hot little hands and no longer hypothetical cupcakes, and I decided to enjoy them. So, here's my report. The vanilla/vanilla were delish and every bit as good as Trophy. I think, because I didn't compare them side-by-side. But great cake--perfect density-- and really smooth, really tasty frosting. The one I liked the most was the Peanut butter cup, pictured here. Look at that peanut butter filling! So good! I actually couldn't finish it all, it was that rich and creamy. I also loved the mango lime, and even though there were only two of those, I ate them both! (sorry Paul!) The others were all good, but I didn't think the banana or lemon were super banana-y or lemon-y, although Esther disagreed with me. I didn't try the carrot (Paul's faves--I let him have them all). The turtle was my least favorite. But you can see here that we enjoyed ourselves immensely and needless to say, none were given away!

I haven't weighed myself since I have been back -- too scared!

30 Rock quote of the week -- Jackie Jormp Jomp

A hilarious episode where Liz was out of work due to the fact that she was on "S-E-X probation" (Kenneth) to go to "pervert seminars" (Jack).

The quote comes from Liz: ... sigh .... "Eating right, working out, sleeping. Boy! Is anyone else BMing like a rock star?"

the Office quote of the week -- 4/16

Michael: "I color code all my info. I wrote 'gay son' in green. Green means go, so I know to go ahead and shutup about it. Orange means 'orange you glad you didn't bring it up?' Most colors mean don't say it."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Returning to my roots

A few weeks ago, I went to the quilt show here in New York. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to join the quilt guild. Isn't it inevitable that we all turn into our mothers? So last Saturday I attended my first official meeting. At the end of the meeting, there is a show and tell portion. All of the quilts were beautiful, but see if you can figure out which one I went nuts over.

It inspired me to start creating again. We'll see how long it lasts. But here's the last quilt I made for my BFF Esther, who recently had a baby. (the white fabric has little cupcakes on it, so she'll never forget who made it for her!) I'm working on a new one which I'll post when I get a little further.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

30 Rock quote of the week -- 4/9

This quote was nominated by Esther. She texted it to me on my phone on Friday, but since I hadn't seen the episode yet, I was thoroughly confused. Now that I've seen the episode, I agree that it's a winner.

Jack to Liz: "Top front? Good lord, Lemon, that's your worst quadrant."

The Office quote(s) of the week -- 4/9

First episode -- From Jim: "I've always subscribed to the idea that if you really want to impress your boss, you go in there and do mediocre work. Half-heartedly."

But also, Pam: "Next on the list... Song parodies."
Michael: "Okay, okay. 'Achey Breaky Fart'. No, no, 'My Stumps'. Like 'My Humps' but a guy with no legs."
I choose that because, honestly, could a parody about a guy with no legs called "My Stumps" be any more ridiculous than the real song? Don't think so!

Second episode (by the way, I love the new opening credits, too!) -- Michael: "Who would have thought that the thing that would save this company would be work? And pancakes."

Friday, April 10, 2009

another bit from The Daily Show

This clip is dedicated to my nephew, pictured here:

(I heart this picture!!)

And here:

He obviously loves Superman, but also loves President Obama! Last time I visited them, he said he wanted to go to Washington DC to meet President Obama. I was so proud! But, you can't blame that one on me, Dad, because I hardly see him.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

could it be true?

A little over a year ago, Batch opened around the corner from my office. Very early on, Heidi and I went in to try their cupcakes. They had all kinds of different, groovy flavors. I think we tried the Lemon and Chocolate and maybe green tea. They were really good, but since their cupcakes are almost $3.00 and pretty small, we decided that they are not worth it. Plus, Royale had just opened, and that became one of our favorites. So, believe it or not, I didn't go back for a cupcake, although I think I did try some other things. When I say it is around the corner from my office, it is LITERALLY around the corner. I still kind of can't believe they don't know me on a first name basis (which they do at Royale). But I digress.

So a few weeks ago, I was walking to the subway, and I saw some teenage girls with a page ripped out of a magazine in their hands. They looked pretty lost, and asked me where Waverly and West 10th was. I was on 6th Ave, and Waverly is right in front of me, so I point them in that direction, but I can't think of where West 10th is. Besides the fact that I have a terrible sense of direction, the streets are all crooked in this neighborhood. I even work on the corner of Waverly, but it crosses my street in two different places! It's crazy. Anyway, I finally just ask them what they are looking for, and when they say "Batch," I am no longer lost and give them perfect directions. I can't tell you where certain streets are, but name a bakery, and I'm on it!

Just last week, I was walking past Batch and saw that they have shut down. Is it possible that cupcakes have reached the saturation point in New York? Is it possible that one is actually going out of business?? (Just the fact that this place exists and I haven't blogged about it until now should tell you how plentiful they are!)

Heidi and I were walking by the next day and decided to ask and found out that they are moving uptown. So, maybe it's just the West Village that is cupcaked out.