Tag Archives: movies

Weekend on the Couch

I was invited to a ton of fun events this weekend. Despite being sick, I told myself I’d be able to make it to every single one. I refused to admit that I wouldn’t be able to make it. I gave every person who invited me a “we’ll see, but probably!”

I could drag this out for a bit longer, but I’ll spoil the surprise: I didn’t make it to a single one.

Instead, I sat on my couch and ate a lot of soup, tried to consume a lot of immune system-boosting foods (read: garlic, cinnamon and blueberries), and drank a lot of tea, orange juice, and ginger ale. Oh, and I ate a lot of Saltines… but that’s different. Sort of.

Don’t believe me? Well, I definitely didn’t take a ton of pictures (pretty much the last thing I care about when I’m sick), but I did take a few just to prove my point.

Mark made the antioxidants part pretty easy. See, when I got home on Thursday, I found that Mark had made an entire batch of whole wheat, refined sugar-free blueberry muffins, simply because he wanted one muffin.

I’m a really good roommate because I’ve been all over eating the rest of them.

For the antioxidants, of course.

Alongside the muffins on Friday, I also had less than half a cup (all I had left) of nonfat greek yogurt with more blueberries and cinnamon.

Over the weekend, the muffins were enough. Seeing as how I haven’t really gotten off the couch, I haven’t really needed much food.

Alongside every breakfast? Orange Juice.

That cup you see holding the orange juice is a Tervis Tumbler, which was sent to me because I’m a part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program. Pretty sweet, right?

Foodbuzz tells us that these cups are “virtually indestructible” and that they keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. So far, so good! No arguments from me. I’m happy to have it. It seems pretty kid-friendly, too! Of course, I don’t have any kids, but I do have Mark. 😉

Anyway, I didn’t just limit my  Tervis Tumbler to OJ — it was also used for ginger ale, which I’ve been drinking fairly heavily alongside Saltines because my meds make my tummy hurt.

And the cup has been enjoyed alongside many a bowl of soup, too.

This bowl was filled with Chicken Pot Pie soup. It was good! I started to get a little sick of Italian Wedding and Chicken Noodle, so I had to start branching out.

The rest of my weekend has been basically taken over by my television. I have now not only caught up on almost everything on my DVR, but I also managed to watch four different movies.

I watched True Grit on Sunday, which I definitely enjoyed (though I felt it was a little bit long).


I think Hailee Steinfeld is amazing. I actually worked with her once on a movie when I was in grad school!

But it’s Saturday’s collection of movies, actually, that I think was interesting. I didn’t mean to do it with movies #1 and #2, but I realized the theme before #3 and thus made my choice accordingly.

Movie #1: Winter’s Bone


Movie #2: The Last Song


annnnd Movie #3: The Kids Are All Right


I know. Three Oscar contenders and The Last Song. The irony does not escape me.

Buuuut who can figure out the theme of the three Saturday movies?

The Hunger Games!

Winter’s Bone starred Jennifer Lawrence, The Last Song starred Liam Hemsworth, and The Kids Are All Right starred Josh Hutcherson. That’s Katniss, Gale and Peeta, respectively. And honestly, after seeing these three movies, I am absolutely sold on each of these actors. I am so happy, especially with Katniss and Peeta (the last of whom really matters to me!).


I am so excited for these movies, it’s not even funny.

Who else is a Hunger Games fan? How do you feel about the casting choices?


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The Rest of My Weekend

What does it feel like to have free time? I’m starting to forget.

So. The rest of my weekend.

Friday night needed to end early because I had an early morning on Saturday, but I was happy to have been able to sneak in my friend Alicia’s birthday dinner.

That’s Alicia, on the right. Happy birthday, Alicia!

We went to The Federal in North Hollywood, which is new. It’s… interesting. The downstairs is totally up my alley — a gastropub with good beer on tap and good food to munch on. Plus, it’s not ridiculously overpriced. The upstairs, however, is weirdly a club? I wasn’t so down with that. Especially since they turned some of my friends away for their attire (No nice hoodies or hats? I’m sorry, that’s so pretentious.).

Anyway, like I said, the food and beer were both good. My drink of choice for the evening was Napa Smith, a Czech Pilsner.

Big fan.

My friends Rachel and Bret kept it classy with some martinis.

How very Mad Men. (I think. Right? I don’t watch it.)

I got a turkey burger, which came with garlic fries.

It was great, but I ate some and passed the rest off to a friend that had arrived late and hadn’t ordered dinner. I fed a friend and ensured that I wouldn’t overdo it. Sharing is caring, right?

It was so much fun to catch up with these friends, many of whom I hadn’t seen in far too long.

Remember how I said I had an early morning on Saturday? Well, I knew it’d be early… but I did not know how much it would kick my ass.

No, not because of the beer. It was because, upon telling my trainer that I’m thinking about quitting the gym for a few months (I’m not stopping working out! No, far from it — but this is for another post), he decided to try to convince me not to. And his way of convincing me not to was to work me harder than, honestly, I had ever worked before.

I told my friends later that I felt like I had been on an episode of The Biggest Loser. I had sweat pouring out of me. I was shaking my way through multiple minutes of planks with my feet on the bench and my hands on the floor. I learned that I’ve been cheating on pushups forever, apparently, because my trainer wouldn’t let me do any less than having my chest TOUCH THE GROUND every time.

I cannot even begin to tell you how sore I was on Sunday. I felt like someone had ripped up my abs, shoulders, and chest.

Anyway, after that ass-kicking, it was time for the blogger picnic. You’re all caught up there.

That afternoon, the lovely Amanda came over to hang out with me while I attempted a baking experiment. I tried making black bean brownies.

I used the words “attempted,” “experiment” and “tried” because I really do not consider them successful. They were okay, and they taste much better refrigerated than hot out of the oven or at room temperature, but… I don’t know. They just taste fat-free to me. And, you know, if I’m going to indulge in a brownie, I’d rather it be a good one. Otherwise, I just don’t think I need the brownie at all, you know what I mean?

Anyway, the reason I was baking was because — yes, a few of you guessed it right! — I was going to Cinespia that night.

Basically, Cinespia is a summer series in which movies are held, drive-in-style, in the Hollywood Forever Cemetary. Creepy, right? Even creepier when you know what movie I was seeing…


You can bring picnics and can even bring alcohol, which is super cool.

Check out the spread our friend Brendan brought!

He totally showed the rest of us up. He especially showed my lame brownies up.

My plate (except multiply the orzo salad by three):

I also basically managed to polish off an entire bottle of red wine by myself. Lush.

No, Mom, I wasn’t driving.

Anyway, Cinespia is also really cool because the hour and a half before the movie starts is just time to hang out while picnicking, drinking and listening to the DJ they have. Pretty fun, right?

Mark and I entertained ourselves by awkwardly dancing like middle schoolers.

Obviously, everyone there wished they were hanging out with us. Obviously.

Don’t worry, we looked normal most of the time.

That’s Mark and his adorable friend Sarah, who stayed with us most of last week. I loved having her! Sarah, you are welcome any time!

And that’s Brendan, Chris, me (gosh, I hope you know that by now) and Rachel.

Hooray! It was a totally fun night and I will definitely be returning to future Cinespia screenings. When I got home, though, I was positively pooped. I didn’t set my alarm because Sunday was to be my lazy day, but didn’t expect to sleep past 8. I never do, even when I try.

But the sleeping gods smiled upon me and I slept until 9:30 on Sunday. NINE-THIRTY! It was glorious.

My Sunday, however, wasn’t quite as lazy as I had hoped it would be. I ended up feeling obligated to get some of the things on my to do list done, since I never have time to do them. The good news is that I crossed a bunch of errands off the list. The bad news is that I kind of missed out on the lazy day I so sorely needed.

I also spent a lot of time making three batches of granola bars!

I wish you knew how big this bowl was in real life so you could get a real sense of how much dough there was.

The result: this…

Times three. The final batch was baked last night!

One of them was a disaster (thank goodness one of the batches was meant for Mark and me anyway), one of them was for Tina’s Bake Sale winner and was shipped out yesterday morning (thanks, Mark!), and one was for my friend Parvin (shipped out this morning… thanks again, Mark!)!

I’ll tell you why I needed to send Parvin granola bars in just a few days. Hint: they were a thank-you gift for the same reason I’m quitting the gym for a little while.

Any guesses?


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Three-Party Weekend

Seriously, this weekend was so packed. Packed!

On Friday, I wanted nothing more than to go home and go to sleep. I was exhausted. But then, two very persuasive friends at my office convinced me that I needed to go with them to this Vietnamese restaurant.

Thank goodness I did. Not just because I was with wonderful new friends, but because this guy showed up at the restaurant:


I know, right?


Anyway, I couldn’t stay out too late, as I had a big day the next day.

On Saturday, I woke up, made the dough for my baking project, went to the gym for 2 hours, came home, threw the baking project into the oven, hopped in the shower, took the baking project out of the oven, got dressed, and headed out the door, hot baked goods in tow.

What is this baking project, you ask?

Oh, just some Butterbeer Bars. For a Harry Potter Movie Marathon Party.

Don’t worry, recipe to come. 🙂

Anyway, the party was awesome. I was there for the end of the first movie, all of the second, third and fourth movies, and the first few minutes of the fifth. We took group pictures before each movie.

As you can see, it got progressively bigger as the day went on. It was intense and wonderful.

There were lots of treats involved — some Harry Potter-themed and some not. Sadly, not all of them were photographed.

There was butterbeer (cream soda + butterscotch schnapps + vanilla ice cream + vodka), for instance.

It was good, but very, very sweet. I’m glad to have tasted it but I couldn’t do more than a couple of sips.

There were cheese and crackers (three different kinds of goat cheese, by the way)…

We also had Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavored Beans. My friend Chris, the host, modeled them:

There were Chocolate Frogs…

And, of course, my Butterbeer Bars.

There were also lots of other snacks — mini hot dogs, chips and dips, pizza for dinner, lots of beer, etc. But my great regret is that I somehow did not manage to capture the star of the show, which were Mark’s Chocolate-Covered Cheesecake Balls, dusted with gold to make them Snitches.

I can’t believe I didn’t take pictures. They were beautiful.

I KNOW. I’m sorry. 😦 Blame the butterbeer?

Or just all of the distractions?

Anyway, I was there until about 10pm on Saturday and then went home and promptly crashed. It was a long day! I also had another big day to come on Sunday.

So, on Sunday, I cleaned the entire apartment top to bottom (except for Mark’s room, of course), and then roasted up some veggies for a dinner party I was attending that night.

Here’s a tip: whether you’re looking to bring an easy, healthy side dish to a potluck, make this! I literally dumped a bag of broccoli florets, a bag of yellow and green wax beans, half a bag of baby carrots, and about half a bag of mini red potatoes (okay, I had to chop those first) onto a pan, drizzled them with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, topped them with salt, pepper and Garlic Gold nuggets, and roasted them for 45 minutes.

Easy as pie. No, easier.

Anyway, I dropped my roasted veggies off at Amy’s house for the dinner party that I’d be attending later, then headed over to party #1 of the day and #2 of the weekend.

This one was a lovely tea party!

Doesn’t everyone look so pretty?

This was a housewarming party held by my friends Tara and Marissa.

I could not get over how cute their new place is. Seriously, it made me realize that I could be doing such better things with my apartment. Mark, we have some work to do!

Similarly beautiful was the spread at this party. These girls know how to host an event!

See what I mean?

I wish I’d been able to take as many pictures at the party that followed, but my camera died very early on in the evening.

This party was a potluck dinner party so that a bunch of my friends and I could meet Amy’s little sister, Jenna.

We had quite the assortment of goodies!

In the spread: gluten-free lasagna, roasted chicken, roasted eggplant, roasted veggies, sauteed brussels sprouts, chicken salad, cantaloupe, and brownies.

My plate included tastes of everything.

Gotta say, though, the brussels sprouts were my favorite. It was Emily‘s recipe, made by my friend Claire. I love that Claire found out about Emily’s blog from me, but I learned about the recipe from her!

I was also thrilled to learn that my friend Mike had brought along one of my new favorite beers!

Though I hadn’t been planning on drinking, I couldn’t turn one of those down to enjoy alongside my dinner.

Then, once we were full and happy…

… it was game time.

Sadly, that’s when my camera batteries died. However, I can safely say that between a rousing game of Apples to Apples (at which I failed miserably, for the record) and a hilarious game of Charades, I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed so hard and so often in one evening.

Packed weekend, right? What did you do this weekend?

IMPORTANT NOTE! My Homemade Granola Bars and Mark’s Orange Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies are both up for sale as a part of Tina’s CNC Blog Bake Sale!

Please go bid! You’ll be helping a great cause and you’ll make us feel popular! 😉


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Oscars Party

My friend Meredith knows how to throw a party.

I mean, to start with, her Oscars party opened with – literally – a red carpet.

And then, naturally, you walked in to find the Hollywood sign.

What? You don’t have a Hollywood sign in your house? You should work on that.

Meredith also looked beautiful (she dressed for the occasion!), so I made her pose in front of the sign.

And then I took a picture with her, too.

The party was held at Meredith’s family’s gorgeous house, which is surrounded by the most amazing views. I’ve actually been to the house once before, at a party way back in August. Because I’d already been there, I made sure to bring my nice camera this time. I knew I’d want to catch a few of the amazing views.

For example:

Gorgeous, right? Gorgeous.

I really am loving southern California these days.

Right, sorry, back to the party.

So, the party was of the potluck variety and it was, of course, themed. So, everybody was responsible for bringing a movie-themed food or drink item.


There were lots of clever wines.

Inception Chardonnay, Director’s Merlot, Red Rock Merlot and The Dead Arm Shiraz. The last two have to do with 127 Hours. Clever! I was told people also knew of and had searched for Black Swan and True Grit wines. I think it’s so funny that there are wines with the names of three of the ten Best Picture nominees.

I sampled a few of the wines, of both white and red varieties. I particularly loved The Dead Arm Shiraz!

Alright, now for the food…


Trail mix (and unpictured Gatorade) for 127 Hours.

Franco’s Arm Under A Boulder for 127 Hours (this was my favorite!).

Kielbasa Pastry Snake & for Toy Story 3.

Apps without themes (but still delicious!) included chips & dips, shrimp cocktail, and deviled eggs.

A sampling of what I tried:

I went back for a few more of those pigs in a blankets! They were so good.

Main Dishes

Locally Grown Salad for The Kids Are Alright

This went so fast! It was delicious, so that makes sense.

There were also a variety of meat skewers, but I didn’t capture those.

I did, however, capture my plate:


There were two Oscars cakes, to start with.

Black Swan Cream Puffs (in both white and “black,” naturally!)

Those put everyone else’s offerings to shame.

Inception Cupcakes (my contribution! I’ll be doing a whole post about them later).

My Sweet Little Girl Banana Pudding for Black Swan.

Serious points for presentation there, am I right?

Winter’s Cone (cupcakes in cones) for Winter’s Bone.

Tart Story 3 for Toy Story 3

The King’s Peach Trifle for The King’s Speech.

Wasn’t everything so clever? I sampled a few:

The food was all incredible and so was the company. As the Oscars began (and the red carpet, too), we all gathered around the TV (and the food, throughout the night) to enjoy.

Oh, and we also had ballots!

I didn’t win, sadly, but I didn’t do too badly.

You know what I did win, though?

Best food!

Look, Ma, I won an Oscar!

Frankly, I thought the Black Swan Cream Puffs deserved the win, but the hostess made them… and I’m pretty sure she rigged it so she wouldn’t win. 😉

All in all, it was a fantastic party and I had the best time! Everyone really brought their “A game” to the party, which I thought was awesome. Too often, people phone in things like themed potlucks, but that was not the case this time around.

Oh, and two last things… I just want to show you these two fun “LA at night” pictures that I snapped on my way home.

So pretty.

Who did you think wins “best dressed?” I thought Natalie Portman looked beautiful. I also loved Anne Hathaway’s red dress!


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A Lovely Weekend

I had the nicest weekend. Nothing big, nothing exciting, just…. nice.

One of the best parts was reading all of your comments coming in about food commentary. It was really cool to hear all of your thoughts on the matter – I loved the discussion! I also loved that almost everyone had a similar (and very healthy!) outlook.

On Friday night, I got to see one of my favorite people, Mike.

He was the director of the thesis film I produced in grad school, but he has since moved home to Mexico, so I only get to see him when he comes up to California to visit.

Since we were both in the valley for other things that night, we met at a restaurant/ bar in North Hollywood that I’d always wanted to try, the Eclectic Wine Bar & Grille.

I wasn’t a huge fan, but I will say this: though I thought the food, especially for the prices, disappointed, I thought the staff was awesome.

For my entree, I ordered a bowl of their vegetable soup.

I don’t think you can tell, but that is one shallow bowl. Definitely not enough food for a meal.

So I ended up eating quite a bit of their bread.

Oh, well. At least my company was awesome.

I was supposed to go hang out with some other friends that night, but I ended up being out with Mike late enough that I had to make a rain check.

Saturday started bright and early with a return to spinning. I got back in the saddle again!

Pun intended.

Though last week’s spinning adventure didn’t go so well, I still loved it, so it wasn’t hard to return this weekend. I’m happy to say that I was absolutely fine afterward. Fantastic, in fact! I can feel myself becoming a stronger spinner.

Is that a word?

My post-spinning morning was so nice. It was in the 80’s all weekend – yes, in the 80s, in January! – so I walked around the downtown near my gym for a while, visiting both the local farmer’s market and, of course, Starbucks. I picked up an iced coffee and headed home to enjoy it with my breakfast, which was epic.

Into the mix went:

  • Pineapple 2% Chobani (love)
  • 1 piece Mark’s banana bread, crumbled (and yes, you’ll be getting the recipe soon)
  • pomegranate seeds


Hey look, you get to see how high maintenance I am with even a simple iced coffee. 🙂

Anyway, an errand I had to run brought Mark and me to the Americana in Glendale, which I’d somehow never been to before. It’s so pretty! It reminds me of Disneyland.

Plus, they have a store with my name.

Not quite the right spelling, but then again, neither was my coffee.

I was pretty hungry by the time we got there, so I made a stop at the crepe stand.

I got what I thought sounded like a fresh, light, veggie-filled crepe – the Opulence.

Unfortunately, it was anything but light. It was super garlicky and super oily, plus it had way more chicken and cheese than it did vegetables, so it got pretty old pretty quickly. I guess I didn’t realize that the artichokes/ hearts of palm were soaked on oil.

Oh well.

Dinner that night was lots of fun, but undocumented. I went out for Indian food with my friend Amy (whom you may remember from her surprise birthday party), where I got (super spicy!) Chana Masala and shared garlic Naan and brown rice with Amy.

We also saw The King’s Speech, which I loved but also felt had issues. The issues, however, were most certainly not with the acting. All three leads were absolutely phenomenal. See it for the performances. Speaking of movies, I also saw The Fighter, which was also incredible, and The Social Network (for the second time) in the past few days. There were so many wonderful performances across these three movies! The only big Oscar contenders I have left to see at this point are True Grit and Winter’s Bone. This is the first year that I’ve ever seen so many movies before the awards shows, so that’s pretty exciting.

Sunday was just as nice as Saturday. I started it with an almost identical breakfast, and then I headed out to Pasadena to run another errand I needed to do this weekend.

I decided to use the opportunity to visit Great Harvest, which I have wanted to try forever, given how amazing Kath makes it sound.

It did not disappoint. I am absolutely enamored.

I started off trying a slice of Raisin Cinnamon Chip, which basically melted in my mouth. I ate it so quickly that I didn’t even think to take a picture.

For lunch, I got a turkey & swiss sandwich on Dakota bread, which I’ve always thought sounded awesome on Kath’s blog.

After the slice of bread I’d already eaten, I only had room for half of the sandwich! I brought the other half home – don’t you worry.

After eating, I went back to the counter, chatted with the super friendly guy at the register, and I bought loaves of both the Dakota and Raisin Cinnamon Chip breads. I was so sold. Chewy, dense, flavorful, delicious… I never want to eat any other bread again. And I want to try all of the breads they have to offer. Every single one!

I also got to try one more bread – the Cracked Pepper Parmesan.

Wow. So packed with flavor. The pepper packed a lot of punch! I loved the chunks of cheese. This bread would make for incredible sandwiches… with not much else on the inside!

Anyway, if you’re in LA, check them out. And if you’re not in LA, you still might have one near you! It’s worth it. I promise.

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading in a park close to my apartment while enjoying these two treats:

A handful of dark chocolate-covered almonds and a Kombucha. This was my first taste of Kombucha and I am in love.

Anyway, the rest of the evening was uneventful but productive. While watching the Golden Globes, I worked on my recipe book, a project I’ve been putting off forever.

A perfect weekend!

What did you do? Did you watch the Golden Globes? See any good movies?


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