Road To . . .

Have you ever heard of the "Road" series of movies starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby?  My mom is quite the fan of Old Hollywood black and white movies, so I watched a lot of these growing up.  Road To Morocco was always my favorite.  It's a mix of comedy, adventure, and satire and a bit of a spoof on the "Arabian Nights" genre of movies.  Every time I travel, I think of the opening sequence with Hope and Crosby riding camels singing, "We're off on the road to Morocco..." 

All of this is totally off topic and just intended to tell you that today I'm off on the road to Texas.  Nothing like Morocco, but a foreign land in its own right.  I'll be visiting my family for New Year's and may or may not have time to post very often.  I've been writing - and hopefully you've been reading - this blog for almost a year now.  It's been fabulously fun so ... thank you!  I'm looking forward to whatever mega-mushrooms 2011 may bring.  Happy New Year!!! 


Playing Hooky

I'm working remotely today, which means I'm having a hard time staying focused.  I thought I'd share with you some sweet little images from Christmas weekend.



Friday Foto - La Vigilia di Natale

Translation: Christmas Eve

I know it's more than one word but I didn't think you'd mind.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  BUON NATALE!!!



Thursday Morning Thoughts

1. It's Christmas Eve eve!!!
2. Christmas used to be the one day of the year I was excited to wake up early. 
3. Now, I'm excited to sleep in.
4. I think some cookie decorating is in order for tomorrow.
5. Can't wait for The Boyfriend's family tradition of Christmas Eve crab cioppino... yum!



The Fighter

The Boyfriend and I have been so busy the last few months that we rarely see movies in the theater, much less the weekend they open.  This past weekend, we decided to treat ourselves.  So many good movies are out right now we had a tough time deciding, but ultimately we went with The Fighter.

The Fighter is based on a true story about two boxer brothers from Boston.  Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg play the brothers, Dicky and Micky.  Bale as Dicky is one of the more impressive bits of acting I've seen in a while.  Dicky is basically a washed up boxer.  He found success early in his career and then found the crack pipe.  Bale has been rumored to be quite the method actor so I wouldn't be surprised if he actually became a crackhead in order to properly portray Dicky.  He was just that great.  Dicky is the kind of guy that you feel sorry for but hate all at the same time.  He shirks responsibility, uses his family, abuses the system but still has a good heart.  You can't help but root for him, no matter how much you hate him.

Wahlberg as Micky is equally impressive.  Usually Wahlberg is the bad-ass cop/detective/gangster/thug/etc.  In The Fighter, however, he's kind of a sad sack.  At the beginning, he's more pathetic than sympathetic.  It's hard to understand why he doesn't just stand up for himself.  Slowly, as his family relationships begin to unravel, you see why.  Micky's struggle to find balance between his devotion to his family and his desire to succeed on his own represent an inner fight he must overcome before finding success in the ring.   

I'm not much of a boxing fan (actually, I'm not a boxing fan at all), but I was riveted by the fight scenes.  Knowing the story made me feel personally invested in the fights.  I wanted Micky to win for the same reasons I want my friends to succeed - not because he was the hero of the story but because I knew he would be heartbroken by a loss.

It's worth mentioning Amy Adams as Micky's college-dropout-turned-bartender girlfriend Charlene is pretty darn fantastic.  When the movie first started, The Boyfriend leaned over and asked "What is she from?"  All the movies I could think of -- Julie & Julia, Enchanted, Talladega Nights -- were not really in line with the trashy, assertive redhead on the screen in front of us.  Needless to say, she's definitely breaking away from her romantic comedy persona.

Overall this movie was right up there with some of my favorites of the year.  The story is a compelling drama all its own, but knowing it's based on a true story (and seeing the real Micky and Dicky at the end) elevated it to a beautiful story of overcoming incredible odds to find success.  The Fighter is the perfect mix of emotion, heart, and bloody punches to please any type of moviegoer.  I highly recommend it.


Doc Review, Shmoc Review

You may have noticed I missed a few posts last week.  That's because I was doing that thing most first year law associates dread... doc review.  We have over 200,000 pages' worth of documents to look over, and that's just the first batch.  (I can't tell you what they're about, else I'd have to kill you.)  For those of you unfamiliar with this miserable right of passage, basically two or three other associates and I sit in a conference room scrolling through docs on a laptop--coding and archiving--for about 10-12 hours a day.  Honestly, it's not nearly as bad as it sounds.  I like my coworkers.  In fact, I consider them friends.  So sitting in a room, hanging out, while doing a relatively stress-free assignment is kind of the perfect way to spend the last few days leading up to Christmas.  We even listened to Christmas music for a little while on Friday (it was the only genre we could all agree on).  The only downside is that I've been getting home around 9:30pm and I typically pass out by 11:00pm so ... not much blogging time!  Other than that, it's not a bad gig.  Guess it just goes to show that anything is bearable when you're in good company.


Eggnog Latte: The Wallet- and Waist-Friendly Version

It's no secret I love eggnog lattes.  Here's the thing though - a tall, nonfat eggnog latte has 350 calories!!  Not to mention, it costs around $4 at the Starbuck's near my office.  My wallet and waistline can't afford to splurge very often.  So, I figured out how to make one on my own and it's actually pretty darn good if I do say so myself!  I opted for light eggnog and fat free milk, so it's not quite as rich as the Starbuck's version.  You can change it up, of course, if you want it a bit richer.  It's worth noting that my version is only about 155 calories and a whole container of eggnog costs about as much as one latte from Starbucks!

Homemade Eggnog Latte 
Basically, it's a 2-to-1 ratio of eggnog to milk.  (This is why the "nonfat" at Starbuck's still has so many calories - they don't use nonfat eggnog so only the 1/3 portion of milk is low-cal.) 

What You Need:
Nonfat Milk
Light Eggnog

What To Do:
1.  Measure about 2/3 cup eggnog and combine it with 1/3 cup milk.
2.  Steam/warm the mixture the way you normally do for a latte.
3.  Add a shot of espresso and enjoy!  I also put a little sprinkle of cinnamon on top for added holiday flavor.



I'm hosting a Buy One Get One Free Sale in my etsy shop all through the month of December!  Pretty pictures make for great Christmas gifts! :)  Click here to browse my shop.


Take A Walk In The Country



Friday Foto - Cavallo

Translation: Horse



Thursday Morning Thoughts

1. I think I'm going to start counting how many mornings per week I discover people digging through our dumpster.
2. When I walk into the living room and see our Christmas tree, it never fails to make me smile.
3. Mmm... Eggnog latte...
4. This weekend might be a good time to make the first batch of holiday cookies.
5. Sixteen days till Christmas!!

(Apparently, Christmas is really on my mind today!)


How To: Make a Heart Bokeh Filter

I love DIYs.  I read blogs like Centsational Girl and wish on falling stars I could make goodies like that.  But, somehow, any project I attempt always ends up looking like it was done by a 5-year old.  Actually, it ends up looking like a 5-year old could have done it better!

I've heard of others making heart bokeh filters.  When I read one how-to I thought, "I can actually do that" but I worried it would still be a challenge.  Lucky for me, it's even easier than I thought.  If I can do it, you can definitely do it!

What You Need:
Black construction paper
A lens

1. Trace a circle the size of your lens onto a piece of black construction paper then cut out.  Leave little tabs on the edges so you can attach it later.
2. Cut a small heart (about 1/4 of an inch wide) out of the center.
3. Cut a 1/2-inch strip of construction paper and make a ring.  Attach the heart circle to the ring with the tape.
4. Slip onto your lens and shoot away!  Manual focus is much easier than automatic with this filter attached.  You may also need to compensate with your aperture for the darkness.  Also, be careful not to cut the strip in Step 2 too thick, otherwise you'll get a weird tunnel/vignetting thing in your photos (which can be cool sometimes, but mainly results in blurry too-dark shots).



Christmas Tree Love

I finally got around to making a homemade heart bokeh filter and checking one more item off my 30 Before 30 list..  It was much easier than you think - all you need is some construction paper, tape, and scissors.  Of course, what better "test subject" than a tree filled with lovely white lights!



Fall Foliage

I know it's December and half the country is covered in snow, but here in California it's still fall.



Friday Foto - Caramella

Translation: Mob boss's wife.  Just kidding!  It means "candy."



Thursday Morning Thoughts

1. Home.  Let me come home.  Home is wherever I'm with you.  This song has been stuck in my head all week, and I kinda love it.
2. Day Two of Advent means day two of a little chocolate with breakfast!
3. I wish I could still eat a bag of Cheetos and call it a meal, like I did when I was 8.
4. I hope San Antonio has some awesome fireworks this year.
5. Should I add a Diana or Holga to my Christmas list?


New Glasses

Hey guess what.  I got new glasses!  I don't have them yet - they'll be ready in 5-10 business days - but I'm excited nonetheless.  I've wanted new glasses since last December and, you may remember, Number 9 on my list of 30 Before 30 requires that I get "cool hipster glasses" sometime in the next 13 months and wear them out in public.  I figured, why wait another year?  I want them now!  I tried on many different frames today in a wide array of colors - hot pink, green, blue, multi-color, and even leopard print.  You'll have to wait till I actually have them to see what I chose but here are some of the options I was considering (sorry, can't find a photo of the leopard frames!):

Nine West Brown & Lime

Calvin Klein Tortoise Shell/Lime
(The ones I was considering were bright turquoise instead of lime)

Emilio Pucci
(Okay, I wasn't seriously considering these but they were fun to try!)

Armani - Classic black
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