Friends With Benefits

I really didn't expect to love this movie, but it is my new favorite romantic comedy. So much so that after I rented it I actually bought it too, and I haven't purchased a movie for myself since Netflix was born. It's a cute, funny, lighthearted - but not stupid, New York movie to put on when you are feeling blah or just need some familiar background noise. I've already watched it three times.

Probably doesn't hurt that I love Mila Kunis and JTL. This photo shoot they did for ELLE is one of my favorites:


love her, and her short dark nails here. [found via]

Pismo Beach

Wild pelicans covering the hills on our road trip a few years ago:


I finally finished reading Elizabeth I, and the end was actually pretty gripping - I couldn't put it down until I finished! In honor, I watched (for the first time) Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age as part of my epic movie weekend. I enjoyed both, although the second one was more historically inaccurate, and actually pretty unbelievable. (If you watch these, at lease read the movies' wikipedia sections on dramatic license for a brief rundown of what is and isn't true in each film.)

Cate Blanchett is genius as the queen. The casting for her favorites, Dudley and Raleigh, was great - I liked them much more in the movies than when reading the books. But I hated the way Mary, Queen of Scotts, was cast and portrayed.

Joseph Fiennes as Robert Dudley

Clive Owen as Walter Raleigh

English monarchy

Right now, I am quite obsessed with the British monarchy and I do not mean Wills and Kate.

I had to get this book after watching The Young Victoria:

Then I moved onto The Tudors, what a fascinating family. The first two-thirds of the book were great, but it got a little sloppy with Elizabeth I:

So, now I'm in the middle of a big book about Elizabeth I. It's possible that I just don't care for her as a historical figure, because while I couldn't put down the first two books, this one I'm stalled at about 30% through.

I never dreamed I would enjoy reading historical non-fiction, but I really love it.


How weird it must be to see pictures of your young self everywhere.

Laura Mercier

I am a plain soap kind of girl, Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar to be exact. I've used it for years, and always carry it with me when we travel. But, this pistachio body scrub from Laura Mercier could change all that. I got a little tube of it as a free gift with makeup purchase, tried it and am hooked.

It smells nutty and sugary, exfoliates wonderfully, and doesn't clash scent-wise with my cocoa butter body lotion.


Countdown to moving! I'm excited about starting over in a new city, but this is the longest I've lived anywhere except my hometown. Things I will miss, dearly, about our lovely little apartment include our view of the pioneer building.


and night:

butternut squash, carrots and oysters

I love butternut squash. Unfortunately, I am the only one here that does. So when I cooked up a big pot of this Butternut Squash Couscous, I ate it all. It was really, really good, and I only changed up the recipe a tiny bit by using dried cranberries because I really hate raisins, and vegetable broth instead of chicken. I also put a cup or so of shredded carrots into my bowl when I was reheating it - which was good, but that was only because I got a food processor for Christmas and went a bit crazy with a bag of carrots. I'd already made carrot bread*, and eaten several bowls of shredded carrots, and still had a ton left.

I want to cook a lot more in this new year, and more healthier foods too. I'm particularly excited about using another of my Christmas presents, this new cookbook:

For the record, I am not a vegetarian anymore. I ate two dozen raw oysters when we were in New Orleans for Christmas, and, shrimp and okra at my aunt's house on Christmas eve. Back in September, my initial reasoning for stopping eating meat, was that I didn't want to contribute to the animal suffering and cruelty of the meat industry. I thought a bunch about oysters, trying to decide whether they are sentient beings and capable of suffering, and I don't believe that they are. Same with clams and mussels. I didn't feel bad at all about eating oysters - I honestly feel much worse about eating dairy, which is something I need to work on cutting out - and I'm not willing to keep them out of my diet in order to keep the vegetarian label, because I don't care much about that. What I care about is that I feel ethically ok with my diet choices. It's a work in progress. (The shrimp though, I keep going back and forth about. They do have tiny brains. I'm not going to eat them again unless I find something to really persuade me.)

*Here's the carrot bread recipe that I used. I substituted applesauce for eggs and blackstrap molasses for honey. It was a decent way to use up shredded carrots, but I can't imagine it tasting good with zucchini.

2012 resolutions

For New Year's Eve, we watched the downtown fireworks from our balcony. The air was covered in smoke.

This year, I'm a bit at a loss on resolutions. Last year, I had a hard time enforcing them, or even caring about them, so they weren't very effective to say the least. I think overall, this year I want to focus more on the big picture, rather than obsessing over all the little things that happen. I want to keep enjoying life day-to-day, but also figure out what my life's journey is supposed to be.

Here's the bulleted list, pretty much the same as always:

  • Read: at least one book a month, and, read In Search of Lost Time for my 2012 long classic.
  • Be healthy: eat better (more fruits and veggies), exercise, cut out (err, cut back on) bad habits.
  • Like the way I look: exercise, regular hair cuts, spa visits, put on makeup, paint nails, get out of pjs.
  • Do things I enjoy: cook, listen to music, take photographs.
  • Learn something new: take a class, learn guitar, learn a language?
  • Keep my environment clean and organized, includes de-cluttering and not accumulating.
  • Do something good: recycle, volunteer?
  • Explore this city before we leave.