Monthly Archives: December 2009

Happy New Year, amigos!

Here’s hoping everyone had a safe and healthy Christmas and that when the ball drops tonight at midnight you are eating and drinking something fantastic with someone you truly love. Hell, you ain’t even gotta love them that much if the food is good…know what I’m saying?

Anyway, in the true spirit of the season, wanted to share Greta’s latest Evite photo adventure with you. Uncle Ryan shot this pic a couple weeks back and if you click here, you can use it as an Evite tonight! So, have at it all you last minute party planners, and remember, even if you don’t use Greta’s baby new year Evite this time, there’s always next year. Happy New Year, amigos!

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Feliz Navidad, amigos!

If you’re anything like us, today is gonna be kinda crazy. Christine will be baking till she drops, Greta and the cats will continue terrorizing our Christmas tree and I will do my best to stamp and address the mountain of unsent Christmas cards on our kitchen table. I know, I know…kinda late in coming, but they will get to you before New Years, so, I say that still totally counts!

But while our cards will be late, our warm wishes for y’all are anything but. So, in the spirit of the season, please enjoy these pics of Greta’s first visit with Santa Claus. As you can see, they really hit it off…for like, ten seconds. Ah, well…there’s always next year. Happy holidays, amigos!

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Brittany Murphy (1977-2009)

Wow…I know this is kind of old news by now, but we’re both still really, really sad about the sudden death of Brittany Murphy on Sunday at the age of 32. Like most people we fell in love with her in “Clueless”, but “Girl, Interrupted” was the movie that really showed us what that little powerhouse could do.

I mean, whoa…if you ask me, they gave the Oscar to the wrong crazy girl at the institution that year. Angelina Jolie was great and showy/crazy enough to take home the gold, but Murphy was the real time bomb in that movie. She was like, scary good…and those chickens under her bed? Yikes!

And though I loved her in the deeply-flawed “8 Mile” and some of her fluffier fare over the years — my Mom was just recently raving about a movie of hers called “The Ramen Girl” which I am now dying to see — I gotta say, my favorite Brittany Murphy “role” was her voice work as Luanne Platter on FOX’s long-running animated series, “King of the Hill”.

All of the voice actors were amazing on “Hill”, but Murphy’s Luanne was always my favorite. In lesser hands, Luanne coulda been a stereotypical dumb blonde, but Murphy imbued her with such heart and genuine emotion that you really rooted for her, no matter how far off track she went.

I know Luanne was a cartoon character, but, in Murphy’s gifted hands, she seemed so real and annoying that sometimes you just wanted to slap her silly…or kiss her, or, you know, both. I know that sounds crazy, but, Luanne was a very complicated character…so, back off.

Anyway, I’m sure the tabloids will have a field day with the finer details of Murphy’s tragically short life and untimely death, but all I know is that I’m bummed she won’t be around to make any more movies.

Hell, Christine and I liked Brittany Murphy so damn much that we even Tivo-ed (and watched!) the “Nora Roberts Collection 2009” TV movie she did on Lifetime this past summer, “Tribute”.

The movie kinda sucked, but Murphy, as always, kinda rocked. And if that’s not a sign of someone with true star wattage, then I don’t what is. Rest in peace, sweet, beautiful, Brittany Murphy…we’ll miss you.

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“Alexa Chung” gets the axe…

While catching up on our “Alexa Chung” episodes over the weekend, Christine, Greta and I were stunned to hear an emotional Chung proclaim on last Thursday’s episode that not only would that be her last episode of the year, but also, her last episode…bum, bum, bum…ever! Ahhh! Say it ain’t so, Alexa!

Alas, a quick Google search proved that it was indeed so…and that MTV had canceled our beloved “It’s On With Alexa Chung”. Urgh…so sad!!

I mean, I know the show suffered in the ratings and that ill-advised retool at the start of season two certainly didn’t help, but Chung really seemed to find her groove in the last few weeks, and the show had finally settled into what it was meant to be all along: a fun, goofy half hour chat show with music.

I’m not kidding, the last few episodes were golden, baby…A-list talent, crazy skits, cutting-edge music by bands you’ve never heard of…it was awesome. So, to have the show yanked from the schedule just when it was really starting to cook with gas is just plain cruel. Thanks, MTV, for the worst Christmas present ever!

So, as we mourn the loss of the best daytime talk show in years, I’ll leave you with some pics of our favorite Alexa Chung moments from both seasons. She might not brighten our afternoons anymore, but the memory of the lanky, hipster queen of UK chat will live forever in our hearts…

Long live Alexa Chung!

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Joe Lieberman socks!

With that old turncoat, Senator Joe Lieberman doing everything he can to derail genuine health care reform in the Senate this week, I’m starting to think that maybe Al Gore “losing” in 200o wasn’t such a bad thing. I mean, seriously, can you imagine having someone like Lieberman in the White House? Yikes…

Not only does Lieberman regularly line his campaign coffers with big insurance cash, but his own wife, Hadassah, until recently worked at Hill & Knowlton, a major DC lobby shop. True, Mrs. Lieberman never officially registered as a lobbyist, but she did serve as Senior Counselor in their health care and pharmaceuticals practice. Yep, you heard me…health care and pharmaceuticals. Hmmm…kinda makes you wonder.

But even if all that other stuff wasn’t true, Lieberman has been showboating and holding health care reform hostage in the senate for so long that it was only a matter of time before he was parodied with sock puppets by our crafty friends at MoveOn.org. And, come on, who doesn’t love a good sock puppet parody?

So, check out the video, call Congress and the White House to make yourself heard, and spread the word far and wide…Joe Lieberman socks!!

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Christine’s award-winning Gingerbread House Bundt Cake

OK, we have been waiting to blog about Christine’s award-winning bundt cake for a year. Literally! See, by the time we finished making it for Christine’s work Christmas party, it was already too late in the season to blog about it, so, we skipped it. Well, not this year!

Actually, there isn’t much to this thing…all you need is a Nordic Ware Bundt Pan, Gingerbread cake mix and all kinds of crazy candy for the outside. We bought our Bundt pan the year before at an after-Christmas sale at Sur La Table, and from what I can gather, our exact style is no longer available on most sites. But I did find a similar pan at Wal-Mart that would work just as well.

For the cake itself, we used Trader Joe’s Deep Dark Gingerbread Cake and Baking Mix, which is freaking delicious on its own, but even better in tiny Christmas house form. Yum!

As you can see in the second picture above, the cake comes out of the over kind of rounded on the bottom, so, we cut that part off and promptly ate it. Then, with the bottom of our Gingerbread house flattened, we placed it in the center back of our cake plate (gotta leave room for a big, snowy front yard, yo!) and got down to decorating the outside of our house.

Aside from the little jelly candies we used in the windows — which we found in the candy aisle at our local CVS — we stuck to pretty traditional candy decor: M&M’s, Red Vines, candy canes, and marshmallows.

The most expensive “building materials” we used were probably the Williams-Sonoma chocolate covered peppermint sticks (aka North Poles) we used for the fence. They weren’t cheap, but we only needed a few of them and since we had them in the house already, we used them.

The snowy ground cover in the yard was powered sugar mixed with water and, lemme tell ya, that stuff was hard to work with! You have to wait for it to kinda half-dry before anything will stick to it and if you wait too long, it gets too hard and you’re screwed. Trust me, this is where having two people working on the house came in very handy!

After plopping down a marshmallow snow woman in the front yard, we dusted the entire house with more powdered sugar and hurried off to the party where, lo-and-behold, we actually won a prize! Hooray!

But even cooler than the shiny award certificate or the $20 Target gift card that went with it, was the fact that the people at the party positively devoured our Gingerbread house. I’m not kidding, man. I saw a dude scraping the sugar snow off the plate…crazy!

I’m not saying everything we used wasn’t edible, because it totally was, but, wow, we never thought anyone would actually eat the whole thing. Yikes…guess the pickings on the buffet table were slim.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a quick, easy-to-make Gingerbread house this holiday season, Nordic Ware has the pan for you. Happy Baking, amigos!

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“Merry Swiftmas” to all…

As you know, Christine and I are crazy Christmas music geeks with KOST 103.5 playing non-stop in the casa and XM Radio’s handful of holiday-themed channels pre-programmed in the Chenbot. And though we usually pick up a couple of new songs and CD’s here and there every year, it is very rare that a song strikes a chord like the one we just heard tonight.

Recorded by Avril Lavigne’s former musical director and lead guitarist, Evan Taubenfeld, “Merry Swiftmas” is a sweet, goofy ode to 2009’s cutie of the year, Taylor Swift. And not only is it funny as hell, but it’s also a genuinely catchy song with some great hooks. And best of all, it is now available on iTunes, so, yay!

Check out Taubenfeld’s new “Swiftmas” video below and if it doesn’t have you reaching into your pocket for 99 cents, well, maybe you just don’t love Christmas as much as you thought you did…

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2010 Golden Globe Nominees

With Greta teething like crazy, no one in our household has been getting much sleep lately. So, since I was still awake at 4:30AM this morning, I figured I may as well stay up to watch the Golden Globe Nominations at 5:00AM. I mean, what’s another half hour at that point, huh?

Well, apparently the Hollywood Foreign Press is as punctual as I am, because, even though their website said the nominations would begin at 5:00AM PST, they didn’t actually get to the good stuff till 5:37AM!! And trust me, trying to stay awake for those last 37 minutes sucked ass. Jesus, get it together, HFPA!

Anyway, there weren’t a whole lot of surprises this year on the movie side, except for the near total snubs of “The Lovely Bones”, “The Road” and “Where The Wild Things Are” — but it was cool to see three of our favorite actors (Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep and Matt Damon) score double nominations and, seriously, anytime Julianne Moore is nominated for an award is a happy day in my book. Now if she could actually win something sometime I’d be even happier!

Also glad to see Tarantino back in the thick of things with “Inglourious Basterds” raking up all kinds of Globes love, and though we haven’t watched our screener of “Up In The Air” yet, I am already in love with the movie from the trailers, so, kudos to Clooney and company on that front too. It was also very cool to see “Avatar” do so well and a smaller movie like “District 9” score a coveted screenplay nomination. Wow…who knew the HFPA dug Sci Fi? Awesome!

But the big news of the day was on the TV front where Fox’s “Glee” very-deservedly cleaned freaking house with three acting nominations and a nod for Best Television Series Musical or Comedy. Hooray! After years of kicking ass in everything she does, Jane Lynch is finally nominated for an award! Coolness! Go-to character actresses like Alison Janney better watch their backs in the years to come, because the white-hot Lynch is on a roll, baby!

Also very happy to see “Big Love” score a few well-deserved nominations (go, ChloĆ« Sevigny!) and we were very excited to see two of our favorite new shows, “Modern Family” and “The Good Wife” score some nods. Rock on, newbies!

My only complaint today are the three nominations for Lifetime’s God-awful “Georgia O’Keefe” biopic. That movie really, really sucked. Not only did it totally squander the considerable talents of it’s two lead actors, Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons, but it was so damn boring that it made Lifetime’s epic 2008 train wreck, “Coco Chanel” look interesting. And yes, I actually Tivo-ed (and watched!!) both of those lame-ass movies. Yikes…

But at the end of the day, the big story at this year’s Globes — which air on NBC on January 17th — isn’t gonna be about the nominees at all. I mean, with Ricky Gervais hosting and the booze flowing freely, who really cares who wins?

To see a full list of this year’s nominees, click here.

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A Mother’s Cookies Christmas…

One of the coolest things about Mother’s Cookies triumphant return from the dead this year was that it meant we would have one more variety of Christmas cookies to plate for our holiday guests…you know, provided we didn’t eat them all first. That’s right, amigos, Mother’s Holiday Circus cookies are back!

We were so excited at this news — thanks for the tip, Santa Fe Sarah! — that we actually bought two bags of the red, green and white Holiday Circus Animal cookies when we found them at the store. I also just now discovered another variety of Mother’s holiday cookies online: the all-white Holiday Frosted Cookies, pictured below. Wow, who knew?

So, although Mother’s classic Gingerbread cookies have gone the way of the Dodo, the good news is that you can still get your Christmas cookie on with Mother’s this year. But you gotta act fast, because this frosted goodness won’t be around for long. They were literally flying off the shelves at the Safeway in Santa Cruz when we bought them, and that was at Thanksgiving. So, the odds may be against you at this late date, but, happy hunting anyway!

Oooo…and even if you can’t find the cookies anymore, you gotta check out the Mother’s gift shop at Kelloggs.com. Mugs, t-shirts and even a magnetic Mother’s Cookies bag clip! Best stocking stuffers ever!

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Amazon’s 25 Days of Free!

One of the only things we love more than Christmas music this time of year are freebies — actually, who am I kidding, we love freebies all year long! — so when our friend, Ginger, told us about Amazon.com’s “25 Days of Free” Holiday Music downloads, we couldn’t click over there fast enough!

Not only do they have a wide array of tunes available, with everything from Sinatra to Lady Gaga ready to rock your Christmas playlist, but they also add new songs every day. So, by the time Christmas arrives, well, hot damn, you’re gonna have yourself a pretty substantial collection of free Christmas tunes, yo.

And lest you think this is the only deal on Amazon right now, they are also offering something called the “12 Days of Christmas 2009”, which offers daily deals on music downloads and actual CD’s through the 17th of December. For example we scored the new Bob Dylan Christmas album, “Christmas in the Heart” for $6.99 yesterday. Pretty cool, huh?

So, if freebies and discounts are your thing, get yourself to Amazon.com pronto. Oh yeah, and just for the record, Amazon did not pay us for this post, we just love them that much. Yay!

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Unique L.A. starts today!

Longtime readers are probably sick of hearing us rave about how cool the Unique L.A. independent design show is, but for the rest of you, please trust me when I tell you that Unique L.A. rocks, yo! This weekend will mark our third trip to the show and if history holds true, we are sure to come home with loads of groovy stuff and tons of great ideas for projects of our own.

Most of Greta’s favorite outfits and toys — not to mention a good chunk of the super cool artwork in her nursery! — were purchased at the last two shows and though we came home with dozens of bags, the prices at Unique L.A. are beyond cheap. Seriously, there are deals to be had here, amigos. And best of all, you’re supporting local artists and designers instead of, you know, Target and shit.

So, if you’re looking for art, clothing, home goods, jewelry, hell, even just some rocking-good food, Unique L.A. is the place to be this weekend. We’ll be there all day Sunday, so, if you see us foraging through the sale bins at Misha Lulu, by all means, stop and help us. Seriously. The more hands, the better!

Unique L.A. is being held today and Sunday, December 5th & 6th, at the California Market Center in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. For directions, hours, parking, vendor and ticket information, please visit the Unique L.A. homesite here.

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