A chronicle of my attempts to live a classy life as a single girl in the Nation's Capital

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hannah Hart: my new best friend

So I've stumbled across this new.. blog?  youTube star? Comedian?  I have no idea what exactly her thing is, but Hannah Hart has been releasing these cooking videos called "My Drunk Kitchen" and I want to know her now.
 I watched her make "apple pie" and it was pretty hilarious.  She and I share the same opinion about baking... some of my favorite quotes from this particular video:

"I use the term 'pie' loosely."  

"That's what American's do.  When we make a mistake, we do the same thing again and hope something different happens this time."

"I think part of the reason I don't like baking so much is that baking...sucks." 
"This whole cooking thing is a matter of opinion.  There is no right and there is no wrong.  There's just food and inedible." 

"The directions for apple pie turned out to be really, really long.  So I skimmed 'em..."

"I'm just an American. I want everything constantly." 

"Step One: Give a f--- about baking."

Here's the video: Her website is here

I also have to include this one on tacos. Not a big fan of using turkey instead of beef--but I also constantly crave Mexican when drinking. What's with that??

Monday, July 11, 2011

Poaching a Chicken

Several months ago, my mom told me that I had to try poaching chicken.  I've been lazy about it until now.  Poaching chicken breasts is perfect for when you have a casserole, soup or stew (or chicken salad) to make.  The chicken is the moistest I've ever had and is infused with all sorts of wonderful flavors.

So now I'm telling you: you have to try poaching chicken.  It makes a huge difference.  Here's how it's done:


Chicken (duh)
Liquid--enough to cover the chicken  (I used water and bullion.  You can use water, broth, wine or some combo)
Large pan

The ingredients-- I used a smashed garlic clove (no need to chop, it's just flavoring the broth), pepper, cilantro and a chili lime rub from Pampered Chef.  Later I added some lime juice on a whim. This chicken is bound for a Mexican soup I'm making for dinner.  Notice there is no salt--you can add salt but I try to keep my intake low and the bullion already has a lot.

Add chicken to the pan in one single layer.  Do not let pieces sit on top of each other--they won't cook evenly if you do that.

Cover the  chicken completely in liquid.  It took me about 6 cups (2 cups bullion and then water to supplement)

Add all your seasonings-- you don't need to bother with stirring. 
Bring the mixture to a boil.  Stay in the kitchen during this step.  As soon as it starts boiling turn it down and simmer for 2 minutes.  Poached chicken = yummy, tender, flavorful.  Boiled chicken = stringy, tough, gross mess
After 2 minutes, remove from heat (transfer to a different burner) and let sit for about 30 minutes.
And that's it!  Store the chicken in fridge with some of the liquid until you are ready to use it, then discard the liquid and cube or shred the chicken.  The chicken will be infused through with the flavors and make your dish seem more gourmet.

Note that these instructions are for boneless chicken breasts.  Bone-in or dark meat takes slightly longer during the simmer step.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A better bookcase

Being an English major and all-around book lover, I have a lot of books.  Even though I have (finally) jumped on the digital books bandwagon, I still cannot part with my old fashioned paper books.  I like the way they look and I find them comforting. 

However, when I got my new chair, I noticed just how much of a royal mess my book case was.  It was a bad backdrop and dark corner of my apartment.
Awesome chair, total mess behind it.
I had run out of shelf space and was stacking things on the floor, I kept piles of magazines thinking I would want them someday (I didn't) and, perhaps worst of all, I had organized my books alphabetically and by genre.  You can imagine what happened when I got a new book--the entire shelf had to be shifted.

So on my first day of summer break, I spent some time purging my book collection and storing some books that I still wanted but didn't need out on the shelves. 

First I emptied all the shelves and sorted them into piles of "donate" "store" and "keep."  With the keep pile, I stacked the books by similar height. 
After doing this, I began putting them on the shelves, starting with the tallest and biggest books at the bottom.  I also made sure they were all flush with the edge.  It took a lot of fussing around. 
While putting books on the shelves, I broke up the vertical arrangement of books with some horizontal stacks--keeping in mind what was below.  You don't want each shelf to be identical, try to create a zig-zag so the eye moves around.

Finally, I accessorized with some items I had around the house--many of which had been sitting in corners looking for a home for 3 years...

The final result...
Much more visually pleasing and interesting

Vignette One: Vintage Anna Karenina books I wanted to feature and some small vintage glass jars.  No idea what their original purpose was, but I am starting to put mini collections in them.  One of them currently has a bunch of vintage keys 

The top shelf--I actually ran out of books!  But this gave me the perfect place to feature my favorite book in my collection: a 2nd edition Rebecca from 1941.  I also have that beat up paper back from the 70s.  I refuse to part with it!  It was my mom's once and then she suggested I read it.  I end up reading this book about once a year and that paperback version of Rebecca has been with me since high school.  I also put some pretty votive with electric tea lights and a needlepoint vanity tray.

A glass bowl I've had for years that just sat in a corner and 2 decorative "carpet balls" I made out of vintage dictionary pages.

Vintage mason jars and dried lavender

Really neat collection of vintage wooden spools with pretty thread still on them. 

Part of my collection of vintage prescription bottles.  They're a weird thing to collect, but I just think they are so cool.  I have a thing for tiny glass jars

Lace vanity tray, neat jars and vintage Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights

A much better background for the chair!  Now what to do about that desk area....

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Step Up!

So I've been very lazy about the blog this entire school year. But now summer is almost here and you can expect to see a lot more posts (for all 3 of  you who are maybe reading this).

Today I am spending a Saturday in by myself because my body decided it would be a fabulous idea to come down with a cold two days before summer break starts.  I'm watching random movies and saw that Step Up 3 was now on Netflix Instant.  I enjoy the dancing...  normally I can stomach the plot.  I enjoy a little brainless entertainment every now and then.  But OMFG (and that is one of the very few times I will use that acronym) this movie is ridiculous.

I may be 2 glasses of wine in (I know, I have a cold.  bad idea.  Whatever.) But I am still sitting here in such a state of WTF that I had to pause the movie 20 minutes in and express myself.   I will now give you commentary as I witness more and more craziness.  This may be a long post.

Firstly, I don't know why they even tried to set up a back story, because it just makes the whole thing even more asinine.  So Moose (yeah, that's the only name he's given) is at Freshmen orientation at NYU when he suddenly becomes ensconced in a dance battle royale with the "House of Samurai" in the middle of Washington Square Park.  Cause, ya know, NYC is just that bad ass.

So the 18 year old white boy becomes a force to be reckoned with and is immediately taken under the wings of an older man with a video camera who then takes him to his "secret practice area."

Totally Kosher.

Moose.  You will be intimated by his glossy curls and freshly washed face
  So Luke (AKA creepy older guy) sees some chica he has the hots for in his club downstairs (he owns it as a front for his little dance studio--did I mention he's creepy?) and proceeds to head downstairs to "court" her.  This happens:

yeah....  Number one.. why in God's green earth is she wearing a cape?!
Number two: A video camera?   Again?  Is he trying to start some porn empire or introduce himself to a girl he finds interesting.  Then again... she is wearing a cape.   Luke is starting to remind me of someone...
Remember Ricky from American Beauty?  The guy obsessed with plastic bags...

Meanwhile... Moose goes to the bathroom.  The entrance of which is straight out of Tron.  Can't find a picture of that, but trust me.  But it's no mere trip to the lou for Moose--because "nobody battles the samurai just once"

So that guy is trying real hard to be intimidating.  But those speakers on his pecs kinda sorta look like boobs.  Just saying...

So Luke takes his lady friend upstairs to his place (there's a "damsel in distress" situation) and he, I kid you not, makes her sleep in a tent.  A tent. They're in NYC not the &$@!#$ Adirondacks.

Next, The Santiago Twins (who are totally straight) show off their wall of shoes and Moose is like "F my engineering degree!  Let's Dance!"
I leave you with this clip and say no more. (except this)
  The Santiago Twins are the ones in matching long johns with easy access front flaps.  Totally straight.

Don't know how much more of this I will watch. If Mystery Science Theatre 3000 were still around (and if this were a SciFi film) this would totally be featured.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Upcoming Movies I Want to See

Summer will be here in about a month for me.  No more classes... no more books. This is the most accurate depiction of teachers and summer break I've seen:

So summer out means that I have time to catch some movies.  Here are a few I find particularly enticing that are coming out in the next few months.

1. Super 8

Same production company that was responsible for "Lost" (Bad Robot) and potentially cool 70s soundtrack--I'm in.

2. The Trip

Hilariously funny British guys, fine restaurants and food jokes, funny bad impressions. It's a little like The Odd Couple for restaurant reviewers.

3. The Art of Getting By

This has the potential of being good... or being trite and formulaic. However I have had many students like George and I love the term "Teflon Slacker."

4. Bad Teacher

So I have a major thing for Justin Timberlake... and Justin as a slightly nerdy teacher in glasses... too much! Also has Jason Segal, star of my fav. show HIMYM

5. Prom

Yeah it's a Disney movie and targeted at people half my age. But as a teacher, I find these kind of movies hilarious on a whole different level. It's Prom season now. The students are doing some silly things to ask out their potential dates. Including a student who stood on the roof with a poster rolled into a tube to unfurl when his date walked by. The tube looked like something else. Police and helicopters were called. True story.

6. Another Earth

When I was little--middle school and early high school--I would do nerdy things like read A Brief History of the Universe and journal about my ponderings regarding the universe. Another Earth was something I was frequently obsessed with--it's a possibility. Just think about it!

7. One Day
I've been following this one for awhile, loved the idea. And finally there is a trailer to watch.

Yes, the accents... But the story looks really good.

8. Tintin

I'll probably wait until this comes out on Netflix, but I am excited about this. I remember watching the original cartoons on HBO with my mom and I absolutely loved them. Gives me a fuzzy feeling of nostalgia.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Summer is rapidly approaching and while I am excited about the warm weather, pool, and time off; I am kinda freaking out about fitting 2 novels into the remaining 2 months of school.  It will be done! 

I have been embracing the weather by redecorating my deck.  I went to HomeGoods (an awesome discount store) and got some new, cool things.  I also got new chairs at 50% off from World Market.  I loved the old chairs, but they weren't really comfortable. 

Porch before--some cute pieces but that darn orange camping chair... It was comfy at least.  But I didn't want it on my porch anymore.

The other side of the porch before. Even the watering can is on its side...

New decor--view from my living room.

This is the side that had the orange chair.  I am going to be using that bag of soil so it will be gone soon.

Other side after--that wall needs something.  I have ideas...

There are no electric lights on my porch so I have lanterns.  I found these at HomeGoods and I LOVE them.  They are the blue color, the glass is pressed glass and the brass has intricate designs punched in it.

The plant stand I rescued from my grandma's last year.  I am still working on collecting cool (and cheap) pots.  I loved this mirror too--I think it's an unexpected touch. 

And finally, the rug I got from thefoundary.com for less than $20!  It has such pretty colors!  And keeps me from tracking stuff inside

Next week: plants!  I will, of course, have pictures to share.  I have also really been channeling summer through my cooking lately:

Fried shrimp, coleslaw and hashbrowns with dill.  Pan frying a few shrimp for one is really easy!  I recommend trying it.

Steak fajitas!  I made a quick pico de gallo and a Mexican rub for my steak.  The steak was so good!  Tip: cook the steak first, then the peppers and onions.  It gives the steak time to rest, seasons the veggies, and the hot pan gives the peppers the charred look and taste you want.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

New Chair!!

Over the past year, I have been in the process of updating my apartment and purchasing quality furniture that will last me for years and years.  I look at it like an ongoing art project--I just love interior design!  I got a new couch around November, purchased a really nice quilt (that I am STILL waiting for!) and yesterday--I bought a new chair!! 

I am member of several interior design flash sale sites--most people my age are members of designer clothes flash sales.  Not me.  I really recommend checking them out--amazing deals and neat stuff!  There's The Foundary, One King's Lane, and Joss & Main--where I got the chair. 

But first, let me tell you about my old chair... I bought it from a cheap furniture store when I first moved here 3 years ago.  It only cost about $299 for the chair AND ottoman.  I thought it was quite a deal, and it was the blue color I love.  But 3 years later, the thing is a blemish in my apartment.  The construction is quite cheap and time is a wrecker.  The fabric is also ridiculous. It's not microfiber, just regular fabric (polyester I think) but if i run my fingernails across it--BAM! white streaks that won't go away.  If I spill water--yes, water--on the chair, it creates a stain.  And the back of the chair has acquired some odd brown stain.  You'd think I was always dirty when I sat in it.  Which I rarely do anymore.   So here is my old chair in all its glory:
So when Joss & Main featured a furniture company I love (Hotel Maison), I was watching.  And saw the chair I had been waiting for.  Top grain leather (so excited!), creamy white, button tufted back, glamorous old Hollywood style.  And all for a very reasonable price thanks to the flash sale discount.  It's coming around May 5th and I can't wait.

Now I just have to decide what to do with the old chair... I'm too embarrassed to donate it.  So throw it off the balcony or burn it in effigy?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Break Up Songs

For some reason I just love break up songs.  It's not that I'm going through one--quite the opposite in fact--but there's just something empowering about this particular sub-genre.

But I don't do weepy songs, I've never been one to dwell on things. The songs I listen to as "breakup songs" are very far from "Everybody Hurts."  You have to try your best to see the brighter side, realize that you'll be stronger in the end and move on.  So with that in mind, I give you my 7 favorite "kick ass and take names" break up songs.

1. Reba McEntire "Consider Me Gone"  I love this one because we've all known guys like this--they're "fun" but just... shallow.  These are the immature "bros" who say such enlightened things as "I feel like a married couple" or "I just don't wanna be trapped."  Well: 1) you should be so lucky and 2) See ya!

2. Goodbye to You "Scandal" 
I love a little peppy 80s music when I'm down.  Also a great song for the elliptical (speaking of, it's been a few weeks since I hit the gym).

3. "Express Yourself" Madonna 
 Speaking of 80s music... This one helps to remind me what I need to wait for.  Favorite line: "You deserve the best in life, so if the time isn't right move on.  Second best is never enough, you'll do much better, baby, on your own."

4. "Wrong Baby Wrong" Martina McBride
Cause there's nothing a bottle of wine can't cure.  Except maybe a hangover from drinking said bottle...

5. "F**K It"Eamon 
So this one is a little more angry than sassy, but it's great for when you're going through the "angry" stage of grief. I'm not one to curse, but I still like this song.  And sometimes you just gotta drop the F-Bomb. (this is the edited version of the song; still probably NSFW though).

6.  "Bye Bye" Jo Dee Messina 
Notice the abundance of country songs?  Yes, I listen to them and these women just do it right.  This is the song for the guy that you thought was "the one" and you just hung around too long. We're all guilty of it as some point.  "Maybe I read you wrong thinking you could be my Mr. Right.  I was putting my heart and soul on the line, you said you needed more time... well it's been long enough and time is up."

7. "Harden My Heart" Quarterflash 
Hearing this song always brings me back to the first time I heard it.  Senior Year.  Kinda broken up over a certain college freshman who "broke" my heart.  I heard this and starting jumping on the bed and dancing.  Also gotta love a little early 90s sax a la "Baker Street"

Kafka and Arhaus

"Kafkaesque" is really the only way to describe the ordeal I'm being put through with ordering this comforter from Arhaus:
Pretty isn't it?  I wouldn't really know since I still don't have it

A close up--it's burn-out velvet.  It really is beautiful.
Now Arhaus is a "nice" store.  I really like their stuff and the employees have been very nice, but let me describe what I've been put through with this cursed quilt.

1. Went to store on Dec. 26 and have a post-Christmas, totally greedy "OMG I have to have it" moment.  Bought quilt with X-mas cash.
2. Now, the entire problem could have been resolved if they just kept the quilt in the store.  I understand why they don't have furniture there, but how much space would it really take to store a few quilts?  I doubt that many people are flooding the furniture store for $300 quilts.  But John happily takes his commission for doing nothing and laughs "Oh, we don't have a back room."  Like I'm supposed to swoon at how exclusive they are.  I just want the damn quilt.
3. Since they don't have something as pedestrian as a backroom or "storage"  I am forced to pay $24 for shipping and handling.  They better make my bed for me when it gets here.
This is how John sees storage.

4. It's on back order.  Of course--So I am told it will be in by February 2nd.  I patiently wait.  Later I figure out the quilt was on sale and I didn't get my sale price.  I call about that...
5. Mid-February rolls around and I am wondering where my quilt is.  After all, they already charged me for it.  Most companies wait until they actually send it.  I call the store and meet Robin, who is a very nice lady who seems sympathetic of my situation.  It was back ordered again.  Until March 2
6. March rolls around and guess what?!  No quilt!  I call Robin again, she says she'll look into it for me because it was back ordered again... and this is "not usual."  I sure hope not.
7. Robin leaves a message on my answering machine and I just have to laugh.  Turns out my quilt is made in Egypt and a certain revolution there has held it up.  However, there is ONE in the U.S. and since I've been waiting longer, they are going to remove it from one person's order and send it to me.
8. 2 weeks pass.  I call Robin again.  At this point when she answers the phone I find myself wanting to say "Hey Robin! What's up?  It's me Laura"  I actually do say "It's Laura" and she knows who I am--Quilt girl.  She's shocked that I still haven't received said quilt and is going to look into it again.
9. A weekend passes and then Robin calls me again.  Turns out there was some sort of shipping fiasco and UPS ruined my quilt THE ONLY ONE IN THE CONTINENTAL US!  UPS.. WTF??  And you wonder why you're going out of business. 
Too bad this guy wasn't around to sew it back up for me.  Seriously, what is going on in this picture?
So now I'm back to playing the backorder game--I'm told Mid-April.  I should just cancel the order at this point, but I feel like I've waited so long that I can't just give up now.  Will the quilt ever arrive?  Or will I be 80 and hanging out with my best bud Robin still waiting for the backorder that would not end?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

For someone so young...

And seemingly "normal" I sure have had to deal with a lot of tragedy in my short life.  I was confronted with this fact today when I learned that one of my former students, now a senior, committed suicide last night.

Having known this girl, I am in disbelief.  She was so smart, beautiful, outgoing, and always seemed so happy.  I keep checking my work email for an update from our principal, to tell us that it was actually some sort of tragic medical thing. Not suicide.

It just doesn't make sense. Somehow a heart attack at 17 seems more acceptable to me.

But, like this student, I am a good actor.  I can pull myself together quickly; know tricks to hide red, swollen eyes; and smile brightly, even though it takes every ounce of my energy to do so.

I'm not sure if that's a weakness of mine or a great strength.  But I do know that it means that others don't always take me seriously when I say that I do know great tragedy.

This is not the first death I've had to deal with--or the first suicide.

Though I wish it was.

I wrote the above the day I found out about Alyssa. I never finished or published it though.  I will now.

  Today, one week later, I am sitting at the computer in my black dress having just come back from her funeral.  I still find it so hard to believe and when a coworker told me how it happened... that's an image in my head I'd rather not have.  I found myself thinking several odd things while at the funeral, where over 400 people showed up. 

The first was that it was the first time I'd set foot in a church in about 10 years.  And when the priest kept talking about "forgiving sister Alyssa of her sin" and then refused to let any non-catholics take communion, I remembered why.  One of the coworkers I was with is actually a pastor's son--he was very mad about that.  At a time like this, when people need comfort, what kind of message is that sending? 

The second thing I kep thinking about was all of my students who were there.  Some in rather short, tight black dresses.  Clearly a dress meant for a night out and not a funeral.

But why should a 17 year old need a funeral dress? 

Seeing my students there was probably the hardest for me.  Just seeing them tear up made me start crying and I had to stop and ask myself a rather morbid question.

As a teacher, over the course of my career, how many student funerals will I end up attending?  I hope only one, because even that is too many.

And the final thing I found myself thinking about is something I have said before.  People like Alyssa are not the ones you "expect" to have problems or do something like this.  But those are precisely the people with real problems.  I've met many people who dwell on issues and who broadcast the fact that they are depressed.  But at the core of all that show is really a cry for attention or sympathy.  Not true depression.  I remember a roommate I had in college. She quite literally introduced herself like this: "Hi, I'm Danielle. I have depression."  Did she have problems?  Of course, but 90% of the things she did were an attempt at getting attention. She would never go to the extent Alyssa did because the root cause of her issues weren't the same.  
Alyssa never would have admitted to that, and never did.  Now I know she had been seeking help for years and was, in truth, quite troubled.  But depression isn't really something you can control; and when it is a part of you like that, you get really, really good at hiding it. 

Alyssa Marie Jupin
December 13, 1992-March 2, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snow day, jeggins, and the end of men

This is a post of random things because I want to paste this quote from and article on my iPad. I may update it later, or not.

Today was a snow day for my school district--it's one of the benefits of my job. I really don't think it was necessary though. The snow just started (it's 4:00) and the roads were only wet earlier.

In other news, I totally caved and bought jeggings--you know those leggings that look like jeans? I groaned and laughed when I first heard about them. So I was in loehman's the other day and picked up this nice pair of skinny, dark was jeans. Then in the fitting room I saw the words "Jean leggins" on the interior tag. I had been fooled!! But I put them on anyway. And then bought them. They are awesome!! So comfortable and nice looking (but they are very expensive for jeggings). I wore them out today with a tunic sweater and slouchy boots. The whole thing felt very Audrey Hepburn. When I got home I slipped on some black ballet flats and it totally looked like something she would have worn. In short: I recommend getting some nice jeggings. But the tunic length top is essential. Leggings=tight. And the general public doesn't want to be thrust all up in your business.

And finally, the quote and the reason I am doing this post on my iPad (which is why there are no pictures)

This comes from a great article in Atlantic Monthly called "The End of Men". The article is about how women are, for the first time, dominating the workforce and college. The economy and culture is changing to one that values interpersonal skills over brawn. Women are good at this and are better at adapting. Men just keep failing to adapt and play Call of Duty. I see in in class everyday... Here's my fav quote, I so know where she's coming from:

"In February, I visited with Ashley Burress, UMKC’s student-body president. (The other three student-government officers this school year were also women.) Burress, a cute, short, African American 24-year-old grad student who is getting a doctor-of-pharmacy degree, had many of the same complaints I heard from other young women. Guys high-five each other when they get a C, while girls beat themselves up over a B-minus. Guys play video games in each other’s rooms, while girls crowd the study hall. Girls get their degrees with no drama, while guys seem always in danger of drifting away. “In 2012, I will be Dr. Burress,” she said. “Will I have to deal with guys who don’t even have a bachelor’s degree? I would like to date, but I’m putting myself in a really small pool.”

If you want to read the whole article, here is the address (iPad won't let me create a link--get with it Apple!)


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Girls' Night In

Being (almost) the only single girl among my friends, I find there are times when I am the odd one out when it comes to weekend plans.  I want to go out.  They have other commitments.  Or are spending a night in with their significant other.  It can get a little frustrating at times--and I do sometimes feel caught in this awful cycle.  How will I meet anyone if all I ever do is have "girls nights" or feel left out because I am the "third wheel"? 

It's not that I bemoan my single status.  As my mom and many friends have pointed out, I could be in a relationship today if I wanted. But the fact is, I'm confident and happy by myself.  And I get bored with so many guys... I'm just not willing to enter a relationship unless it's really something.  So in the meantime, until I find a good solution, I feel I am spending too many nights at home (but in reality, I'm probably not. I'm just being neurotic/over-sensitive. I do that.).

So here is my list of great Girls' Night movies--even if you're just by yourself with a glass of wine (or three).

1. Love and Other Disasters -- Great fashion, gorgeous guy.  I've already told you all about this one.

2. Dangerous Liasions -- Early Michelle Pfeiffer, Glenn Close, John Milkovich, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves... So many stars in this great movie! A woman in power, deceit, sex and costumes I just drool over.  This is a movie I like so much, I bought it.  

3. Lady Chatterley -- There are many versions of this story, but this 2006 French version is my favorite. I rented it on Netflix and them bought it the day after.  As my friends will tell you, I don't shy away from risque movies.  So if you're faint of heart, move right along.  But this sensual movie is wonderful.  It tells the story of Lady Chatterley as she breaks free from her life and has an affair with the groundskeeper.  The scenery is georgeous and always makes me feel like I need to get "back to nature."  As French films sometimes do, it moves slow at times( think: slow, long shot of trees in autumn).  But there's even something sexy about that...

4. Persuasion --  Sense and Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice get all the glory, but this lesser-known Jane Austen film is just as good.  Some say this particular novel was the one that most closely mirrored Austen's own life.  A single woman in her 30s (the scandal!!) reunites with the man she loves, but rejected years ago because of family complaints, and realizes it's not too late for her after all.

5. He's Just Not That Into You -- I actually enjoy watching this movie after breaking up.  In a weird way it keeps me grounded.  That and I really identify with the optimistic protagonist who never truly gives up.

6. Love and Sex -- Love Famke Janssen.  Love Jon Favreau.  My favorite "relationship" movie ever.  It is at once realistic and idealistic; touching and hilarious.  If you're curious how I think about or operate in relationships: this movie explains a lot.  And I did actually do the "cheese sandwich" thing with a guy once (only it was "roast beef sandwich."  Don't ask.).

7. Sex and Lucia --  I loaned this to a friend once.  I think she fell asleep... and the guy she watched it with just described it as "weird."   But if you like foreign, intellectual, erotic films, this is a good one.  Lucia is a woman whose boyfriend just committed suicide (we see their relationship in flashback).  She runs off to a remote isle on a vacation and rediscovers herself.  For some reason, I really connected with it.  If you're going to watch it, make sure it's the unrated version.  Not for cheap thrills, but because there are amazing, touching scenes (that are important to plot) left out of the "rated" version.

8. I'm With Lucy -- The film starts on Lucy's wedding day.  She's getting married to a man she was set up on a blind date with.  The rest of the film goes back through the dates/relationships with these 5 blind dates--making it a bit of a romantic whodunit.   Each relationship is different and probably something you've experienced: the great guy who's just too nice (and you're a little too drunk), the guy only good for one thing (guess what that is), the "good on paper guy" (who turns out to be a real jerk), the guy who's just a big child, and the real thing.  Though I haven't experienced the last one yet, I have experienced many others.  It's cute and relatable.  That's why I like it. 

I feel like I should do 10, because that's a nice round number.  But then I'd be lying... these 8 are the only ones I really recommend--that I can remember right now--I'll probably post this and then say "oh!  That movie is so perfect, how could I have forgotten about it??" 

Which ones do you think should be added to the list?

A Little Grocery Shopping

I haven't posted anything since announcing that I was going through a "quarterlife crisis," which may have made you think that I had really fallen off the deep end.  In reality I was just really busy with holiday activities... and then too used to the lazy holiday attitude to post anything.  

I still certainly feel that I need to shake things up a bit in my life, and am working on that.  I saw Black Swan twice (it's really good) and decided that I am going to take up ballet again. I am also researching the possibility of a trip to Europe this summer... there's a few really cool art programs offered.  One is in a castle outside Paris, where you spend a week making art with a group of like-minded people.  Another is a class on developing and exploring your creative process in Barcelona.  I've never been to Europe and now is the perfect time in my life to do it: no kids, summers off, no major responsibilities holding me back. We'll see. 

In the meantime, I took a little trip to the store this past week and the contents of my cart cracked me up.  So I must share:

Could she be single?  Maybe...
One large bottle of wine.  Four Stouffer's Dinners.  I was slightly embarrassed.  In my defense, I usually make a weekly menu plan and have a cart full of fresh vegetables, meat and dairy.  But, as I said, I've been lazy since the holidays.  That's stopping now. 

At least it's not as bad as my purchases during the blizzard last year.  Here's a sampling of one such trip:
  • Box of frozen chicken wings 
  • Gummy Coke bottles
  • Cheez Puffs
  • 2 bottles of wine
  • Toilet paper

At least one of the items was "necessary."  But, when you're young and single you can get away with things like this. Unfortunately, I can't get rid of the slight embarrassment at the checkout.