Saturday, August 27, 2016

the best three months

So, three months ago this amazingly awesome little love bug came into the world and changed our family forever.



This is Kaden Michael, my as-of-today three-month-old nephew. He lives in Las Vegas with his mom, my little sister Kari, and his dad Lorenzo. And I have been extremely remiss in documenting his amazingness here. But I am going to let myself off the hook for lack of baby blogging because I've been too busy hanging out with him whenever I can, showing off photos of his cuteness to anybody and everybody, and spoiling him with cute outfits and musical sing-along play mats. (I also hereby freely admit that his first Christmas and first Birthday gifts are already purchased and stashed in my guest room.)

I've been a pseudo-auntie to a few (well at least 7) of my friends' kids over the last 12 years, and I love those kids a lot, but it's nothing like what I feel for Kaden. I've started driving four hours through the desert just so I can sit on the sofa and hold him. When my sister texts a new photo of him, it immediately brightens my day. When he gets fussy on Facetime, I want to go to him and comfort him. And I am already planning for his first LA Kings game in the 2020-2021 season when he's four. (He, of course, already has a Kings onesie and a Bailey binkie, but by then he will have a kids-size Drew Doughty or Anze Kopitar jersey. He may live in Vegas and they may be getting a hockey team next year, but he it going to be raised a Kings fan and will understand icing before his 8th birthday... mark my words. )

Here are a few of my favorite of the 125+ photos and videos I have of him on my phone. We're so lucky to have this little guy in our lives now :)

1-day old in his Foo-rific fashion, courtesy of Auntie Kim
The photo that drove my dad to buy a 2nd house in Vegas to be closer to Kaden
Happy Kaden on my visit to Vegas last weekend (Auntie Kim just changed his poopie diaper ;)

LOVE! #cheeks

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

game of thrones - part deux

So after this last season of Game of Thrones ended on June 26th, I felt like -- for the first time in six seasons -- I finally understood what was going on... sort of. (Probably because they'd finally killed off enough of the extremely large cast of characters that there were fewer people to figure out.)

All I really could tell you prior to the end of Season 6 was:
  • Sean Bean really doesn't have very good luck in fantasy dramas.
  • Dany and her dragons are awesome (except when they're charring goats and small children).
  • If anyone invites you to a wedding on this show, don't go!
  • Bran Stark -- who I don't really even remember from Season 1-5 (except for when Jaime pushed him out that window at the end of Episode 1) -- is apparently very important.
  • Jon Snow has the best luck of any character in television. (Well, except in the Season 5 finale...) 
  • These people sure are fighting a lot for what looks like an extremely uncomfortable chair.

So I decided to binge-watch the first six seasons again to see if I could actually make sense of all the "houses" and who is on who's side and why or why not. Here are some of my most eye-opening "Oh yeah.. forgot that" (or in more cases... "Huh? I TOTALLY missed that the first time") moments from watching it again:
  • That 3-eyed Raven has been around since Episode 1... who knew?
  • So have the White Walkers (I swear I don't remember them since before in Season 3).
  • So have clues about Jon Snow's real parentage...
  • Arya's had her "list" since her dad... well ... you know... in Season 1. Poor Arya. (And poor anyone whose name is on that list, even though they totally deserve it. But she's scary now... I'm worried about her)
  • The Red Wedding was Robb Stark's own fault... and his mother warned him.
  • The crazy lady with the giant hole in the floor of her tower is Catelyn Stark's sister. (Which explains the army coming to save the day at the end of "Battle of the Bastards"... well, that and creepy Littlefinger being obsessed with Catelyn and then Sansa).
  • Littlefinger took care of Joffrey... I forgot who had that honor. Gotta give him props for that too. (But that's enough.)
  • Jon Snow was working with the Wildlings back in like Season 3 or 4? And actually climbed UP and OVER the WALL?!?!? (Yeah don't remember that AT ALL.)
  • The Hound isn't all bad, he just acts that way... likely due to his emotionally (and facially) scarred childhood. 
  • Jamie Lannister isn't either... (Hey, he helped Tyrion escape. And he saved Brienne from a gladiator bear.)
  • A LOT of these characters cross each other's paths a LOT. And when you're paying attention (which apparently I wasn't the first time I watched this) the things they say and do make a LOT of sense.
  • The 100-year-old blind monk adviser guy at Castle Black is a Targaryen?!?! I thought they were all dead except for Dany and ... well, you-know-who (and if you listen to fan theories perhaps another very short you-know-who... 3 dragons. 3 riders.)
  • Ser Jorah (aka Dany's right hand knight) is actually a Mormont from Bear Island?!?! AKA related to 10-year-old badass "Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark" Lady Lyanna Mormont?? How did I totally miss this the first time? (Seriously. Multi-tasking is bad people. Bad.) 
  • That Sparrow that ended up following the little bird into the catacombs and setting off the big boom is the Lannister cousin Cersei slept with when Richard Baratheon was still alive back in Season 1?? Yeah, totally missed that too.
  • Bald weirdo Varys is seriously Game of Thrones' version of the game master from The Hunger Games

Other thoughts from the final episodes of Season 6...
  • "Hold the Door!" ... still heartbreaking.
  • Dany and her dragons ... still awesome.
  • Jon beating Ramsay's face to a pulp ... still made me cheer out loud.
  • Sansa and the starving hounds ... still the most satisfying moment of the series so far. Karma's a bitch (literally).. and then you die :p 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

hi my name is kim & i'm a starbucks addict

Change the word "coffee" to "chai tea latte" and yep... this is pretty much all true.

24 Things Every Hardcore Starbucks Addict Knows To Be True

Plus here's #25: You start cursing the Starbucks app loudly inside your car when it won't take your mobile order and you're forced to actually stand in line to order
(= me this morning)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

sunday funday in ojai

This tree is laughing at you. 



Had a lovely Sunday in Ojai last weekend. 

I wanted to see blue skies after a Saturday of smokey orange skies due to the #sandfire in Santa Clarita. 

Here's what I saw after a bit of shopping in "Downtown" Ojai :)
                                                                                                                                  



      Trips to Ojai (all two I've taken so far :p) always include lunch at Boccali's Italian restauarant... 
aka the home of the most delish and ginormous strawberry shortcake you'll ever experience!

Boccali's also has a winery and outdoor wine tasting that I hope to one day try if I ever go there with people who drink wine.



After filling up on carb-o-licious Italian food and strawberry shortcake, we took the "back way" back to LA and stopped at Frog Creek Farm for lavender... and photos. 

It's beautiful there!






Tuesday, March 29, 2016

spring has sprung!

While many people took this past Easter weekend to relax, hunt for eggs and go to church, I spent 3-5 hours each day Friday-Sunday in my happy place -- my gardens! It was outdoor spring cleaning weekend and now -- two packed full trash bins, six bags of mulch and two trips to the Garden Center at Home Depot later -- my back yard is all beautified and ready for spring... complete with a robin's nest full of pretty blue eggs tucked away under the garage eaves hidden by vines I almost ripped down (but saw just in the nick of time! Phew... don't need that bad karma!)





You wouldn't know by looking at them now, but I cut all this mess off my three jasmine vines, which exploded a few weeks ago when it rained. They are still super full and provide great privacy for my patio. (And smell awesome when they bloom!)

The rain also made my bougainvillas VERY happy finally... I had to put up new rods and wires to train them up the ugly gray cinderblock wall that I hope one day soon they will completely cover.




                                                                                                                                         

All of my roses are at least budding if not already blooming!

I put fresh mulch down for them and trimmed them a bit.

I also planted one new rose bush here (the pretty pink and white one in the lower left) to replace one that died last year, plus another new one in my corner garden, bringing my total to "way too many rose bushes for a person who is easily scratched" ;)

The corner garden with my new solar powered butterfly and peacock lights, one on each side of the rose bush I planted in memory of my sweet Lucky kitty last October. 

I also planted a new purple teacup rose bush here, which is named the "Barbra Streisand Rose"... after my mom's favorite singer.



Look closely and you can see the cute, handmade ceramic dragonfly and butterfly garden stakes I bought on my February trip to Santa Barbara.


And underneath my hummingbird feeder, the purple ceramic hummingbird that reminded me of my Granny and a ladybug :)






And finally, the repotted corner of the patio that was wiped out when it rained three weeks ago due to a REALLY full gutter directly above it. I had my own personal waterfall happening here!

The good part of that bad news was I put a trash can under the waterfall on Days 2 and 3, which was filled up by the time it stopped raining and used this weekend to water down all the fertilizer I placed under my giant orange tree. (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! )

  

Saturday, March 26, 2016

downtown adventure day

Last Saturday turned into one of my favorite kinds of days... wandering around downtown exploring! My friend James' sister Karen was in town from Austin to watch her favorite hockey team, the Boston Bruins, lose to my LA Kings. So along with Daryl, we set off downtown with the 7:30pm puck drop as our only scheduled activity.

Stop #1 was at my second favorite place to hang out downtown (after Staples Center, of course), the amazingly delicious foodie paradise on the corner of 7th and Grand, Bottega Louie. It was 1pm and the weekend, so the brunch menu was still in effect, and we took full advantage!

Daryl and Karen had Bloody Mary's, I had a Bellini.
Dessert was the caramel butterscotch parfait on the lower right, with a salted chocolate macaroon.
We also, of course, made Karen try the famous portebello mushroom fries! (Sorry, no photo. They were gone too fast ;)
Our brunch meals were (clockwise from top left): My lemon ricotta pancakes, Karen's smoked salmon benedict, James' salmon millefeuille with soft boiled egg on the side and Daryl's lobster hash.

After brunch, we were walking back to my car to put stuff (ie: my Bottega Louie sugar cookies and raspberry beinget, which I had for breakfast on Sunday) away, when we spotted R2D2 and some storm troopers. Now, I've seen a live cow wandering the streets of downtown, but seeing an actual celebrity like R2D2 had to be investigated! Turns out, they were there to promote the 24th Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (aka FIDM), which is a block from my go-to DTLA parking lot. The exhibit was free, so we wandered in and saw all the costumes nominated for Oscars this year, plus the wanna-be's (Jem and the Holograms anyone?). It was a welcome surprise on our Downtown Adventure Day!

The Force Awakens costumes, official exhibit greeter R2D2 and a combo land cruiser/back to the future prop car (it had a flux capacitor inside, along with a mini-BB8). Check out the cool "Kenobi 2016" bumper sticker and the "Yoda" "fish" :)

My fave movie surprise of the year, Brooklyn, Academy Award Winner Mad Max: Fury Road, and the Cinderella princess dress

After the stop at the car, we wandered to LA Live. Karen wanted to check out the Grammy Museum (which -- tip! -- only costs $10 with your AAA card). They had exhibits on Otis Redding (4th floor), The Supremes (3rd floor) and a Bob Dylan photography exhibit (2nd floor). But my favorite thing on the 2nd floor was found in the hallway on the way to the restroom... framed photos of Adele and the Foo Fighters. Apparently 2011 was an excellent year for the only two music acts I've listened to on the iPod in my car for the last four months (with the exception of an experimental week, which I'll be blogging about here soon ;)


After the Grammy Museum, we hit up Rosa Mexicana for their famous pomegranate margaritas, guac and a mini-dinner.

Then it was time for Karen and I -- well our hockey teams -- to go into battle. Luckily, the good guys prevailed so Karen got a ride home ;)


Sunday, February 28, 2016

random thoughts during the 2016 oscars...

So yesterday I had the bright idea to live blog my random thoughts on the Oscars today, so here we go....with a few disclaimers:

  1. I am already drinking a very nice Wild Horse Pinot Noir. (It's after 5pm!) 
  2. I apologize in advance for the negativity that will be spewed if The Big Short wins anything.
  3. I'll try to keep the Dave Grohl comments to a minimum since this is a movie thing and he's a music thing, but hey.. I'm not the producer that hired him to perform tonight :P
  4. If hours #2 and #3 (and likely #4) get boring, you may end up with random thoughts on the Kings vs. Sucky Ducks of Anaheim game that starts at 6pm PT. (That game will mean the difference between the Kings having a 6-point or 2-point lead in the Pacific division. #priorities)

First up: A Quick Red Carpet Summary

These people looked amazing: Alicia Vikander, Sofia Vergara, Saoirse Ronan, Bree Larson, Cate Blanchett, Charlize Theron

These people need to fire their stylists: Whoopi Goldberg, Olivia Wilde, Daisy Ridley, Rooney Mara, Charlotte Rampling, Amy Pohler

Fave quote from the Red Carpet: "I am presenting best live action short... because I'm short." -- Jacob Tremblay (who is wearing Milennium Falcon cuff links and Darth Vader socks with his mini-tux)

Missing from the Red Carpet: Jennifer Lawrence....

And now on to the show...

Nice of the producers to put Creed and Straight Outta Compton right next to each other, right at the end of the intro montage.... hmm.

The Monologue: 

  • Chris Rock is wearing a white tux jacket. Coincidence? 
  • "The Oscars... otherwise known as the white people's choice awards." 
  • Thank you Chris Rock for saying what I've been thinking for weeks about Jada Pinkett Smith: "Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna's panties. I wasn't invited.... But I get it. She's mad her man Will wasn't nominated for Concussion. I get it. It's not fair Will was this good and didn't get nominated. But it was also not fair that Will Smith was paid $20m for "Wild Wild West." Word. 
  • I think he handled the whole controversy well... and made some very biting, yet true comments. I give him an A.
This year the show is following the order a film is made... first up, the writing awards. Um.. ok. I was all ready for Supporting Actor....

Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight. Yay! Amazing film. 

Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe should do a comedy together. That was a fun intro.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short. No comment. (I'm trying to be good)

Um... that Stacy Dash bit.. What? She's not big enough to be on that stage even if she is trying a mea culpa for being a complete idiot.

Thank god for Sarah Silverman's brain... show is back on track.. sort of.

I can't believe this Sam Smith song got nominated. Did not like it in the Spectre opening credits and like it less now. Although it is very brave of him to attempt hitting those high notes on live television in front of 80 million viewers. (Sorry Sam, you're no Adele.)

These pop-up video factoids are going to get really old, really quick.

Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander. Yay! She so good in that film... she just makes your heart ache with hers.

Wait, so they are scrolling her thank you's on the bottom of the screen before she even gets to the stage. That's a little too staged for my liking.

"And we're black." Chris Rock on returning from commercial break... to the orchestrations of Huey Lewis and The News' "Power of Love."

Can I just say again how beautiful Cate Blanchett's dress is? Is that sexist?

Best Costume Design: Mad Mad: Fury Road. Bummer. My first prediction fail. And really... did a costume designer seriously wear black jeans, a scarf and a leather jacket to the Academy Awards?!?!?!? And then she gets played off while talking about the possibility of Mad Max's environmental prophecy coming true. Nice.

I heart Tina Fey.

Best Production Design: Mad Mad: Fury Road. Again... did these women not get the "black tie" memo on their invites?

Is Jared Leto wearing a rose as a bow tie?

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road. This film is going to be the top winner in terms of Oscar count tonight. Mark my words.

Why was Jennifer Garner smiling like a fool while Benicio Del Toro was talking about Leo being mauled by a bear and left for dead as he introduced The Revenant? Was she imagining Ben Affleck was under the scruffy beard?

"Shoulda-be nominee Michael B. Jordan." Chris Rock dig #? (I'm drinking wine and decided an hour ago to not even try to count...)

Best Cinematography: The Revenant. Yep. Beautiful picture....

When Liev Schreiber speaks, I can't help but feel like I'm watching an HBO documentary...

Best Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road. That's four.

[Kings/Ducks 0-0 with 5 minutes left in the 1st period.]

I can only imagine the broken THX intro that made Brie Larson look really confused is leading to the Sound categories....

Yep.

Going out on a limb and betting these will be #5 and #6 for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Best Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road.. and there was either a sound problem or a censor button going off right when they got to the stage. Those naughty Australians ;)

Best Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road. #6. Am I psychic or what? :p

Andy Serkis can only mean it's time for Visual Effects.. and I predict this is Mad Max: Fury Road's win #7.

Best Visual Effects: WHOA! Ex Machina UPSET! I am not happy. This is the award my friend Paige's hubby was up for for Mad Max. Bummer. If there was going to be an upset I thought it would be The Revenant's bear.

Okay, Jason Segal and Oliva Munn are pretty hilarious summarizing the Sci-Tech awards. A friend of my friends Daryl and James had something to do with "The Image Shaaaakkkkerrrr." I know this because James told me about it on our hike last weekend.

Yay! John Williams. Tonight is his 50th Oscar Nomination says C-3PO, so it must be true.

They keep teasing music.. where is Dave Grohl?

Okay Chris Rock, selling Girl Scout cookies in the audience was kind of genius. I hear the audience is usually starving. Way to win "Dad of the Year" and "Best Host" in one bit.

Best Animated Short: This is the one I predicted based on the posters. The Minons presented this in Minion-language. Bear Story won... well since a bear didn't win Best Visual Effects..... this is however the first Oscar for the country of Chile.

Buzz and Woody are presenting Best Animated Film and celebrating Pixar's 20th Anniversary. Gee, I wonder what is going to win this award ?? ;)

Best Animated Feature: Pixar's Inside Out. SHOCKER (not really)

Finally getting to the other Best Original Song performances... next up, The Weeknd performing "Earned It," the song that made Fifty Shades of Grey an Oscar Nominee the same year it swept the Razzies...  he is singing much better than Sam Smith, but not better -- I predict -- than Dave Grohl will.

[Kings/Ducks 1-1 to start the 2nd period. And check out this Drew Doughty hip check on Dave Perron.. apparently I'm missing one of the best games of the year according to the NBC Sports announcers, who, knowing it's Oscar night, also predict Dreeeeew will be up for a major award -- the Norris Trophy -- this year. Duh.]

Are those the same glasses Kate Winslet wore in Steve Jobs?

Chris Rock goes to the movies in Compton. This is going to be good....

  • Chris Rock: "Do you feel that Trumbo should've been a bigger hit?" 
  • Compton Movie-Goer: "What?"
  • Chris Rock: "What about The Bridge of Spies"
  • Compton Movie-Goer:"Where are you getting these movies from? You're making this up and messing with me, right? I come to the movies all the time..." 
  • Chris Rock: "These are real movies!"
  • Compton Movie-Goer:"Like in London and stuff?"
  • Chris Rock: "What was your favorite movie of all time?"
  • Compton Movie-Goer:"Super-fly."

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance in "Bridge of Spies"! Yay. His performance deserved it. Sorry Sly. And a hug from Steven Spielberg :)

[Kings up 2-1 thanks to Tanner Pearson! Woot!]

Louis C.K. presenting Best Documentary Short Film ... and changing someone's life in the process. "This Oscar is going home in a Honda Civic." As someone who used to own a Honda Civic, I'm kind of offended.....

Best Documentary Short Subject: A Girl in the River - The Price of Forgiveness

Best Documentary Feature: Amy -- the one documentary I saw. Sad, sad story of Amy Winehouse.

[Sucky Ducks just tied it. Dammit]

Chris Rock raised $65k selling Girl Scout cookies.. thanks in large part to Suge Knight. Way to ruin it...

Required statement on diversity from the Academy President...

In Memorium... with a special performance by Dave Grohl and his guitar (but not that guitar) of "Blackbird."  (Sniff .... Alan Rickman :*( Sniff David Bowie.)  And beautiful performance by Dave.

Yay! It's time for Jacob Tremblay to present Best Live Action Short..... from on top of an apple box.... cuz he's short. He's so cute, even if he's standing too far from the microphone. I blame Chris Rock for that for his inaccurate apple box placement. Yet cute Jacob still said "Thanks Chris. I loved you in Madagascar." Aww.

Best Live Action Short: Stutterer

Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul

Veep Joe Biden gets a standing ovation... as he tries to find his teleprompter. Based on the start of his speech -- about intervening when men and women are abused -- I think he's introducing Lady Gaga's "Til It Happens to You" performance from "The Hunting Ground." Yep... "Welcome my friend Lady Gaga."

She's amazing. And what a powerful moment bringing abuse survivors out on the stage with "Survivor," "It Happened to Me," and "Unbreakable" written on their arms. A most deserved Standing O for them too.

There are still technically two more Best Original Song nominees left to perform, but since they're not going to win, can we just give Lady Gaga and Diane Warren their Oscar now?

Pharrell and Quincy Jones are presenting Best Original Score. Pharrell's hair is blond. Did he, Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera start a "Voice Coaches Blond Hair Club"?

Best Original Score: Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight. Yay! He's there to accept. He and John Williams got to sit together in a box. Fancy. He gets a standing O too... and a hug from Quincy. He has an Italian translator, he give special thanks to his fellow nominee John Williams and dedicates the award to his wife Maria. Aww.

OOH, Common and John Legend are coming out. They won Best Original Song last night. Maybe we won't have to hear the other two nominated best songs.

Best Original Song: WHAT?!?!?!?!? The crappy James Bond song?!?!?!?!?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?

[And while that was happening, the Sucky Ducks are somehow now up 4 goals to 2 and the Kings acquired forward Kris Versteeg from the Hurricanes for a player I've never heard of and a draft pick.]

Now you bring out Sasha Baron Cohen to disrespectfully introduce Room?!?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

Best Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu for "The Revenant" ....that's Back to Back wins! And he's getting played off as he's making a point about diversity and "making the color of our skin as irrelevant as the length of our hair."

Alright.. the final stretch. I've eaten way too many crackers with cheese tonight. Should have bought Girl Scout cookies....

Best Actress: Brie Lawson from "Room" ... and little Jacob Tremblay (who was ROBBED of a Supporting Actor nomination! ROBBED!) gets her second hug! Her speech is so happy! No tears at all... that's good. She was miserable enough in that movie.

Okay... Best Actor is next. I'm afraid to say anything right now...

Best Actor: THANK GOD! Leonard DiCaprio!! First Oscar, 6th Nomination. Is Kate Winslet crying? In the wide shot she's jumping up and down clapping. Standing Ovation. He totally rehearsed this speech.. but that's okay. He had long enough to prep... And yay for the climate change statements! Note: He did NOT get played off. (The director's not that dumb)

Best Picture: SPOTLIGHT!  Not The Revenant, but not The Big Short either! Whoo hoo! YAY FOR JOURNALISM!!! And an amazing cast!

[And the Kings just lost 2-4 to the Sucky Ducks. Lead in the Pacific down to 2 points :( ]

And Chris Rock ends the show with... "I want to invite everybody here to BET Awards this summer. I just want to say good night, this has been an amazing experience, congratulations to all our Oscar winners, buy some Girl Scout cookies, Black Lives Matter. Thank you Brooklyn!"

And then all the winners came back out on stage.. nice touch.

The END!

Chris Rock was pretty great considering what he ended up having to deal with... that probably made him better.

  • Best bits: Compton Movie Goer Interviews and the Girl Scout cookies. 
  • Worst bits: Stacey Dash and the kid accountants

Final Tally:
  • Mad Max: Fury Road = 6 Oscars
  • The Revenant = 3 Oscars
  • Spotlight = 2 Oscars
  • Everything else that won = 1 Oscar







Correct Oscar Prediction Count: 18/24
(I think that's what I got last year too... )