Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Favorites #6

Oh the Oscars!  I've never actually sat through an entire awards ceremony, until now.  I don't know if it was the prospect of Neil Patrick Harris (whom I love!), or the fact that I was wide awake.  Either way, I watched the entire show, which is entirely too long I might add.  One thing about the Oscars that has always bugged me is that I've never seen any of the movies that are nominated.  I should remedy that before next years Oscars!  I'm really looking forward to seeing Imitation Game after watching this year's awards.
So, my favorite thing about the Oscars is watching the actors and actresses.  I love a performer who seems so down to Earth and genuinely surprised when they win.   Lingering a little longer in Oscars week, I wanted to showcase some of my favorite performers, even though they may not be Oscar winners.

Will Smith
As a kid, I was never allowed to watch shows like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, although my son, who is 7, declares Fresh Prince and Full House to be his favorite shows LOL!  Mr. Smith seems to be a good character in his personal and professional lives.  That says a lot when an actor or actress can get slammed every which way in the media and tabloids and still come out the other end on top.  Films like Men in Black, Bad Boys, and Hitch will never go out of style.  Let's hope his new film Focus is a hit!

Michelle Pfeiffer
I've always been a fan of Michelle Pfeiffer, apparently everyone is!  Her name is on the tip of everyone's tongue these days and for good reason.  She makes 56 look like the new 30...she's gorgeous!  Anyway, I think I saw her first on Dangerous Minds as the former marine turned teacher of a high school in a poverty stricken area of California.  It's a fantastic film if you haven't seen it yet.  We can't leave out Hairspray, love her villainous role in that one!  My favorite by far is Grease 2, I love that movie!  She sings and dances and even though the movie didn't have great reviews, I loved it and continue to sing "Cool Rider" at the top of my lungs throughout the house.

Ms. Pfeiffer has been in far better movies, some of the greats being The Fabulous Baker Boys, Witches of Eastwick, and Scarface (which I have yet to see! *gasp*).  I rather prefer her smaller films like What Lies Beneath (which scared me to death!) and Stardust.
Benedict Cumberbatch
This guy is fairly new to the scene.  He has held numerous smaller roles in many big films like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Hobbit, and Star Trek Into Darkness.  Recently, his role in the film The Imitation Game was heavily nominated at the Oscars.  However, I love Mr. Cumberbatch in Sherlock where he brilliantly portrays the well-known sleuth Sherlock Holmes.  He's really fantastic and he has a lot of upcoming films in the works.  I can't wait to see more.
Debra Messing
I have to admit, I really did not like Ms. Messing in the beginning.  I was not a fan of Will & Grace.  I'll catch a few re-runs now and then, but on the whole I was not a follower.  For shame, I know.  However, I liked The Starter Wife, I loved Smash, and I absolutely cannot get enough of her new show The Mysteries of Laura.  She knows how to be funny and classy all at the same time.  Love her!

Tom Cruise
I know this one may get me some sideways glances; however, Tom Cruise has been on my favorites list for a very long time.  Despite his crazy antics, whatever he may believe in, or what religion he chooses to follow, he is an amazing actor in my opinion.  Put away what you see or read in the media and just see amazing films like Risky Business, Top Gun, A Few Good Men, The Firm, Jerry Maguire, and the Mission Impossible franchise......the list goes on and on.  He really is great at what he does and I've followed his works since I had a teenage crush in high school.  Don't tell me you didn't??

Maggie Smith
What can we say about Dame Maggie Smith that hasn't already been said.  She holds classy standards to a new level.  From a strict Nun, to a magical Hogwarts professor to a Dowager Countess, Ms. Smith has taken on every character as if they were a part of her.  Film and TV would not be the same without her.

Tom Hanks
Mr. Hanks is known for big box office roles like Forrest Gum, A League of Their Own, Green Mile, Sleepless in Seattle, Saving Private Ryan, Castaway, and Philadelphia.  He's a regular in our house as well, in the form of a multidimensional conductor on a train bound for the North Pole and a loveable toy cowboy afraid to be discarded.  We love The Polar Express and watch it year round and not a month goes by that Toy Story isn't on some channel.  I even love Tom Hanks in mysteries like The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and Road to Perdition.  He seems to be a very charismatic, likeable person.  It's very rare to find him in a film where he's not the main character.  There is even a list that shows he's on top as the all-time highest-grossing box office star.  That's quite an honor!

Patricia Arquette
We've come to my final favorite performer; however, she is by leaps and bounds at the top of my list.  If she makes it, I will go see it.  If she's on TV, chances are I'm watching it.  And not because she's a great actress, even though she is, but because she comes off as a genuine human being.  She comes from a big family and has really struggled to get where she is today.  And, recently, like regular people, she spoke up against wage equality.
My love for Ms. Arquette started with Stigmata, where she portrays a young hair stylist who is afflicted with crucifixion-like wounds.  I loved it, of course I'm a sucker for those sort of movies.
Then I saw her new TV show, Medium, and I followed that show from beginning to end.  I was outraged when it was cancelled.  The networks treated the show like a hockey puck from the beginning, changing time slots every season and then networks after the fifth season.  I don't really think it was ever the same after the 2007 writer's strike.  I have a whole lot to say about some of the shows that are consistent top raters that get cancelled, but that's a whole other post!

Who are some of your favorite performers??

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Little Piece of PIttsburgh

A few weeks ago, my friend Stacy and I went to see Garth Brooks in concert at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.  We made a day of it and went into the city early, mainly to avoid traffic, but also because I had never been to the Strip District.  It was bitter cold so we didn't get to walk to whole strip, but it was mainly restaurants toward the end and we already had lunch plans.
The Pittsburgh Popcorn Company
We started at the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company.  I love popcorn! If there was one thing I had to have every day for the rest of my life it would be popcorn.  I got big bags of Real Wisconsin Cheddar and Brown Butter Caramel and they were gone within the week.  They ship if you want to try =)

After I bought way too much popcorn, we walked a little further down the strip and ran smack into a candy store!  Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop has everything you can imagine, even a bulk section upstairs.

Then we walked the strip a little further and got a coffee at The Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange, which was excellent.  They had a great staff and fast, easy service.

We walked through the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, an amazing shop full of fresh meats and cheeses, which began in 1902 with three brothers making homemade pasta.  Along with the meat and cheese shop, they offer a produce market, any pasta you could ever want and the biggest wall of hot sauces.... ever.

I almost missed Bradley's Books, it was just a little tiny store squeezed between two stores with more merchandise on the sidewalks then in the buildings.  We almost walked right past it!  I didn't end up buying anything, but it was a small little shop that reminded me of the used book stores that I would see at the beach.

Our plans for lunch are always PF Changs.  I don't get to Pittsburgh a lot even though it's only a little more than an hour away, so when we go, we make sure to eat there.  They have the most wonderful food!  The lettuce wraps, the wonton soup, the Mongolian Beef.... to die for!!  We always get the same thing and it's always worth it.

At last it was time for the concert!!  I grew up with country music. My mom listened to it all the time.  She had tapes (yes I said tapes lol) of Lorrie Morgan, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire...all the country greats of the 90s.  I think a Garth Brooks concert was long overdue!  He is quite the performer and gave an excellent show.  I had to get a picture of the audience and their cell phone flashlights during a slow song, it was beautiful!  We even got a few songs from Trisha Yearwood!  It was really fun to sing along to all the songs I hadn't heard in awhile, but surprisingly still know.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Favorites #5

Soup's on!!  I don't know where you are....hopefully not with the piles and piles of snow in Boston, but it is freezing here!  The temperature was actually -11 yesterday.  Yes, that's right, NEGATIVE!  That hasn't happened here....ever that I can remember!  The coldest day on record is 37 degrees below in 1917!  That's insane.

Anyway, when it's that frigid outside, I want soup, chili, or chowder.  Big bowls of overflowing goodness make me feel all warm and fuzzy deep in my bones.  I love it!  Here are some of my favorites and a few that I will be trying in the next few weeks.
Red Thai Curry Noodles at Meal Planning 101
 I've always wanted to try Thai noodles and this recipe looks amazing.  I think it's something even my picky 7 year old might enjoy!
Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta Soup at Carlsbad Cravings
I didn't know Swanson had a Louisiana Cajun flavor broth, but now I must have it.  And let's get real, this soup just looks pretty!
Mushroom Dill Soup with Meatballs from Rachael Ray
I like mushrooms and dill.  I think I would use ground beef instead of ground lamb, but then I may have to switch the dill with basil.  Either way, it's bound to be a great tummy warmer!
Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili from Skinnytaste
I know I've had this one on here before because I absolutely love it!  It doesn't usually make it on top of rice because I like to eat it with tortilla chips. Ha!  But it's an amazing comforting chili without the guilty feeling....because it's healthy!!  (Ok, maybe not the chips!)
French Onion Soup at Slender Kitchen
French Onion Soup might actually be the best. soup. ever.  I order it every where I can.  Locally, I think The Boston Beanery has the best version!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


by Veronica Roth

544 pgs
10 CDs

Published: May 2012
Read: February 2015

Love, love, love.  That's all I can say about these books, (especially since this is the month of Love).  After Divergent sets the tone for what is a fantastic futuristic storyline, Insurgent picks up from the moment it left off and carries the storyline through crazy simulations,  fights for survival, and creating meaningful relationships in a world where everyone is purposely divided.

The fight for the truth really takes over in this second installment of the Divergent Series.  Jeanine, the Erudite leader, takes control to the next level with simulations that make Beatrice second guess what's real and what's not.  The Five Factions find themselves joining forces more often than not to fight the man....ahem woman....behind the disasters.

I really enjoy Roth's writing, I'm glad I've discovered this series.  She's an amazing weaver of tales and creator of characters.  It will be very hard when it all ends.

Saturday, February 14, 2015