Everything’s Up In The Air

December 15, 2009

George in front of some airport somewhere

One of the problems of being a well-crafted movie that comes out this time of year — and I’m using “problems” loosely given the many real and insurmountable problems facing the world today — is that Oscar hopes get pinned on you early and often. And the hype builds. And then people go to see the movie and there’s almost no way it could ever be as good as it has been built up to be. And so it goes with Up In The Air, George Clooney’s latest. Some of you may recall I talked about this a few months ago as being the movie I couldn’t wait to see — the head of Paramount was spewing about how great the film was in early September. And don’t get me wrong — it’s very good, and well worth seeing. I highly recommend it, but with one caveat: do not go in expecting the greatest movie of all time.

Clooney plays a hatchet man, wracking up hundreds of thousands of frequent flier miles as he traverses the country, doing the dirty work for corporations everywhere. He has made an art out of firing people, and that ingrained detachment carries over into his personal life. I don’t want to spoil anything, but he meets up with another frequent flier (played by Vera Farmiga) and well, the sparks fly between the home baseless souls. Hilton Hotels and American Airlines both figure prominently in the film, and I thought for sure it was paid product placement. But in fact I read an article today that not a dime changed hands — both companies provided locations for shooting in return for the exposure.

The movie’s plot is so right for these economic times, and it’s incredibly well acted and written. My husband said to me afterward that Clooney looked old in the film. I told him I think that was by design — that lifestyle of never having a “home” takes its toll, year in, year out.

And since Oscar loves actors who leave their vanity at the door (think Charlize Theron in Monster — and no I’m not saying George looks that bad), Mr. Movie Star Clooney should be getting another place on his mantle ready.

Serve It Up on Sundays

The last couple of weeks I have made two big meals early in the week, and then we have them for lunches or dinners throughout the work week. It works really well — I find the initial labor truly pays off. Last week I made chicken and biscuits with a family pack of chicken breasts, and a big pot of pasta with meat sauce. This week I made turkey chili with rice and a turkey meatloaf. With all of the holiday parties and other after-work commitments, those two big culinary endeavors will get us through the week without any ordering in. I recommend it — if you do it on Sunday when you have the time, you can rest a little easier throughout the week. Just be sure you pick dishes that everyone likes and will want to have a couple of times!

Etc.

Irritating is my word for today. I’ll just leave it at that.

Ever since I got the H1N1 vaccine I’ve had a semi-stuffy nose. Not really a full on cold, but it’s leaving my mouth so dry from breathing through it more than usual. It’s weird because I always get the regular flu shot and I never have any symptoms, so it could be a total coincidence, but it’s highly annoying.

Halfway through Hannukah — hope your wishes are coming true! 🙂

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Fall Fling

September 30, 2009

This morning on my way to pilates a woman stopped me to ask where the justice of the peace was. Huh?

Anyway, given that the air is starting to feel a little crisper and we’ve all tucked summer into the recesses of our brains, it’s time to turn to a fall state of mind. And here are some things I’m looking forward to in the pop culture arena, in no particular order:

Curb Your Enthusiasm: When I first started watching this show, I found Larry David so grating that I wasn’t sure I could stomach it. But then I succumbed and realized the uncomfortableness (no that’s not a word) was so hilarious that I had to keep watching. This season seems promising, with Larry figuring out how to break up with his girlfriend who has just been diagnosed with cancer, his friend sleeping with a mental patient and the upcoming plotline where he reunites the Seinfeld cast. (David was one of the creators of Seinfeld.) It sounds crazy, and it is, but it is also laugh out loud entertainment. (HBO)

This Is It: Michael Jackson prepping for his blow-out concert series is the last performance footage we’ll ever have. Love him or hate him, he was an excellent performer, and I’m interested in seeing the final curtain come down on so many great songs. (Opens 10/28 for 2 weeks only)

Up in the Air: Yes, I make no secret of my love for George Clooney and his self-deprecating humor. This new movie of his is getting great buzz, as they say. He plays a corporate ax man (timely!) who travels around the country firing people, and somehow finds love. Some smell Oscar, I sniff a flick worth my $12.50. (Opens 11/13)

Go Yanks!: Though I miss Joe Torre, it’s time for the boys in blue pinstripes to return to the World Series and bring another ring home. This year seems like it could be the one. And while we’re on sports, I can’t wait for the Eagles to kick the Cowboys’ asses. Yeah!

Robbie Williams: I heard the first single and it kind of sucked, but I’m still holding out hope that Robbie’s new album, Reality Killed the Video Star, will recapture some of that old magic. Anything to get that freakin’ Black Eyed Peas song out of my head! (Drops 11/9)

Etc.

Back to work today — vacation is officially OVER! Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Doesn’t it feel like it gets dark so early already? It’s depressing how quickly things change. I forgot to wear a jacket and I left work late and it was definitely dark and chilly.

I’m still between time zones with my jet lag, and given that Addison has me up by 6:15am every day, I must get myself to sleep. Until tomorrow!

Bake and Freeze

March 19, 2009

turkeymeatloafsmToday’s recipe for turkey meatloaf is a good one — not only is it easy to make, tasty and healthy, but it’s ready to freeze so that you can pull it out any night of the week and heat it up.

Turkey Meatloaf

1/4 cup diced onion

3/4 lb. ground turkey

3/4 cup dry whole-wheat bread crumbs

1 egg white

Pinch salt

Pinch black pepper

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Lightly spray baking sheet or loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well.

Form meat into loaf shape on baking sheet or put in loaf pan. Bake about 40 minutes or until loaf is firm to the touch.

It’s so easy to make that I often make it along with whatever I’m cooking for Sunday night dinner, so that I only have to turn the oven on once. Then I freeze it, and whatever night I get home tired from work and want to reheat it, I put it into the microwave to defrost it, then I put it into the toaster oven at 350 degrees for about ten minutes so it gets that nice crispy outside. Broccoli and mashed potatoes finish off the meal. Barbecue sauce also makes a good accompaniment. Enjoy!

We Have a Pulse

Apparently George Clooney’s return to ER last week gave the show its highest ratings in two years. Oh, George. Give that guy a spin-off!

Me

My friend Katherine was in town from the West Coast and she threw a lovely cocktail party this evening. I have been in a total jeans rut but I actually put on a dress for the occasion so Kitty, you should feel honored! It was at the National Arts Club in Gramercy  — a really incredible building that has been the home of this club for artists and writers for over 100 years. Truly a taste of old New York, which is so good to see alive and kicking.

I think Addison finally ditched her fever. Unfortunately it has not stopped her from waking up before dawn so this whole week I’ve felt slightly out of sorts. My eyes/sinuses feel puffy, and I’m not sure it’s from lack of sleep or allergies kicking in. Yes, spring arrives for real on Friday! It went fast, didn’t it?

Hope you’re all doing well!

I’m Worth It

March 16, 2009

Splurgeworthy!

Splurgeworthy!

I know most of the time on this blog, particularly since I launched in a recession, I try to be money conscious and recommend things that I think not only work well, but are also good bangs for the buck. But sometimes, my friends, ya gotta splurge. And when I splurge, I like to make it count. So here’s something splurgeworthy: La Mer: The Eye Balm.

You may have heard of Creme de la Mer. A lot of people swear by it, I actually find it too heavy for my skin. Every once in a while in the dead of winter, if my skin is super dry, I put a thin layer on at night — I have been rocking the same free sample for like 2 years. But the line’s eye cream is just about perfect: fantastic texture, very mild to no fragrance, thick but sinks in almost immediately, moisturizing without being too slick. It makes an excellent base to concealer and keeps the area around my eyes primed all day. And I only use it for day — a facialist at Kripalu once told me that the ayurvedic method doesn’t recommend putting eye cream on at night, that your system needs time to reset. Between that and the fact that when I do put any kind of cream around my eyes and go to sleep I wake up super puffy, well, it’s just another way to simplify my routine.

I buy La Mer: The Eye Balm at Bergdorf’s, but any of the better major department stores carry it. It’s $140. Oh — one other thing — I don’t recommend asking your husband to pick it up for you on his next trip to, say, Bloomingdale’s. Nothing you can say will explain how an eye cream can be worth that money. Trust me.

Bring on the Savings

I am not a fan of Loehmann’s. There’s too much merchandise crammed into too little space, there’s always a ridiculous line to pay, I can only handle so much time in a community dressing room, and I usually find there’s a reason most of the merchandise is there. I pretty much go once a year for my birthday discount and buy socks and workout pants. But whenever my mother visits, she hears the place calling her name, and then she calls me to help her decide what to purchase. So I was there today. They had a lot of Marc by Marc Jacobs, Sigerson Morrison, Theory, Max Studio and DKNY, and I really only looked in one area. There actually seemed to be some good stuff — I got a cool top from DKNY. I think all of the merchandise that didn’t sell in the stores for the fall and winter has made its way to Loehmann’s, so you may want to check it out at a store near you. You could score a bah-gain.

Etc.

George Clooney did not disappoint! Dr. Ross was alive and well and living in Seattle. (Note to ER: Why Seattle? Are we supposed to think he’s friends with McDreamy?) Anyway, both he and Julianna Margulies slipped back into their old roles nicely, and the producers even got George to take his shirt off. So long, ER!

My daughter has a fever AGAIN! I lost count of how many colds this poor kid has had this winter. I am keeping the economy afloat buying Tylenol.

Hope you’re all feeling well!

Green Yer Mailbox

March 12, 2009

120x75-greenEvery day, catalogs I have never heard of and don’t want show up in our mailbox. Smith and Noble? Sundance? Title Nine? No thanks. And Garnet Hill, a catalog I actually buy from, started sending me three of the same catalog every few weeks. The unfortunate part is that all of this unwanted mail adds up to a lot of paper being unnecessarily wasted.

Enter Catalog Choice (catalogchoice.org), a website that simplifies the process of taking your name off of the mailing list for whatever unwanted catalogs you get. You can call the catalogs directly, but Catalog Choice streamlines the process and allows you to manage what you want and what you don’t. There are other services like this, but they charge a fee. Catalog Choice is free. In addition to saving paper, I find that stopping the catalogs from coming is just one less thing to go through when I get home every night. (One of their taglines is, “Control your mail preferences and simplify your life.” I agree!) Over a million people have signed up to use the service, so that’s a lot of trees saved already!

New Media, meet Old Media

You may have noticed the new trend in entertainment mags, to quote celebs from their Twitter feeds. I find them mostly inane, but I had to laugh at a recent Martha Stewart tweet: “The snow is paralyzing new yorkers — they are a bunch of wimps.” Ha ha — that’s so Martha.

And over on The View, Barbara Walters asked the question everyone’s been wondering about: “Why do people want to be on MyFace?” Never let them say you’re out of touch, Babs!

Etc.

Ken sent me an article today from the Wall Street Journal about the high number of assaults that happen at Chuck E. Cheese. Apparently alcohol, children’s birthday parties and costumed mouse characters add up to trouble, so many municipalities are forcing them to stop serving wine and beer. Yet another reason for us not to go there.

We have some free babysitting this weekend (my parents are coming to visit) so we were thinking abut going to a movie, but there’s not really anything playing we want to see. It’s that weird time after awards season and before the spring/summer blockbusters. So I think we will just go out to dinner.

Paging Dr. Ross!

Paging Dr. Ross!

 

 

 

NBC won’t confirm it but the rumor is that George Clooney is on tomorrow night’s (3/12) ER. I have to set the DVR.

 

Shout out to Gena in Connecticut, one of my midnight readers! 

 

Hope you’re all having a great week! I would rate mine about a 6.5 so far…

No More Betsy Wetsy

February 4, 2009

Go ahead, insult me

Go ahead, insult me

Sooner or later, there comes a time in every baby’s life when his or her regular daytime diaper just can’t hold the amount of urine that flows out through the night. Soaked pajamas and having to constantly change crib sheets gets old, fast. So does being awakened by said baby in the early hours when she realizes she is cold and wet. I am very partial to Pampers Baby Dry by day, but for night, I’ve found Huggies Overnites to be the most effective solution. (Prices vary but they run around $22.99 for 54 diapers.) They’re not always easy to find, but I’ve had luck at Target and Rite Aid, and online there’s diapers.com. (If you haven’t tried diapers.com, it really is great for baby stuff like diapers and wipes that they’ll deliver right to your door. They have free shipping on orders over $49 and they ship quickly. It’s especially good in the beginning with a newborn, when just getting out of the house is a challenge.) I’m not sure what they do to these diapers, but somehow the Huggies Overnites are made to withstand a bunch of insults without leaking. (Believe it or not, “insults” is the technical term for each time a baby soils his diaper. I learned this from a New Yorker article a few years ago that Malcolm Gladwell wrote all about the diaper industry.) Definitely give them a try if your growing little one needs a little extra absorption to make it til morning.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T The Chapeau
aretha-franklins-hat-1532-1232472744-2You’ll all be happy to know that the Smithsonian has made a request to include Aretha Franklin’s hat from the inauguration in its collection. Apparently the Queen of Soul has yet to decide if she’ll hand it over. And the designer of the hat, Luke Song, has been so flooded with requests that he’s going to sell a replica for $179. Get on the list now!

Etc.
Addison has been hit with the stomach flu that’s been going around, poor thing. I’m praying none of us, especially Austin, get it. If any of you adults out there do get it, when I was in college and had it the doctor told me to drink apple juice and suck on Lifesavers. And those Lysol or Clorox wipes that come in the canister are great for cleaning up, if need be. Not fun!

I find it hard to believe that there aren’t enough bright, capable people without tax problems to fill an administration. If nothing else, it’s just more nonsense to take attention away from the country’s real problems that need to get fixed.

But to end on a positive note, I am so excited for that rascal George Clooney (love him!) to reprise his role of Dr. Doug Ross on ER. I stopped watching the show years ago (hasn’t it been on for like 30 years?!) but when it was good it was good. Apparently my neighbor Susan Sarandon is somehow involved with his plotline. I loved the Dr. Ross/Nurse Hathaway days, so I will have to watch the episode he’ll appear in, which will air sometime before the show wraps up in April.