Monday, February 27, 2012

Get It Together, Girl!

Happy Monday, Everyone! I will get right to it because I’m a very busy bee today. I weighed on Friday and I was roughly the same as the week before. I was OK with that. I didn’t lose but I understood because I didn’t have a flawless weekend. Speaking of not having a flawless weekend, I was out of control on Saturday AND Sunday. I don’t know what happened. It seemed I had some sort of caloric meltdown. I fully expect to get what I deserve when I weigh at the end of the week. I have already sulked and beat myself up about it and there isn’t any point in dwelling. I will suck it up and accept my weight and realize that I can’t be going crazy on the weekends if I want to lose weight. This, of course, slows the process of reaching goals but I am right back on the wagon today.

My recipe this week comes from the Hungry Girl cookbook. I know I did a breakfast recipe last week, too but I opened her book and pretty much started from the beginning. There may be another breakfast recipe next week but I will try and vary it up a bit. I LOVE this cookbook and I’ll probably be using A LOT of recipes from it. The Hungry Girl started as a blog and now she has a show on the Food Network. She makes healthy recipes with REAL portions and always lists the nutritional information. Also, she puts a lot of her recipes in single portions which is great for me since I’m usually just cooking for myself. She gives great tips and advice and I pretty much love everything she makes. This is a veggie burger breakfast scramble. Some people turn their noses up the instant they hear the term veggie burger. In recent years, however, they’ve made them taste pretty good. They are low in calories and fat and high in fiber (just make sure to check the nutritional facts to get the best ones) and they are a filling substitute for meat that is high in fat. I got to eat this whole plate that was high in protein and fiber so it was super filling. My advice is to give the veggie burger a shot if you’ve never tried. You might like it.

I have yet another Publix find to show you. These are cinnamon snack toasts and they are a little thicker than melba toast and they are topped with cinnamon and sugar. They are only 35 calories a piece so you can have two and they are crunchy, sweet little snacks. I have been dipping them in natural apple sauce for dessert. I love them!

The Oscars was last night and Jordan and I worked hard to see all the movies so we were excited! I was happy for all the winners. The biggest non-shocking shock of the night was the Meryl Streep win. I knew it was a possibility but I was still surprised. I think she deserved it. I would’ve loved to see Viola Davis win but Meryl did a fantastic job in The Iron Lady. She’s also funny and humble and just seems genuinely cool. It was a good show. It was also part of the reason I’m feeling like the world’s biggest fatty today. I have been on Pinterest a lot lately and I couldn’t decide which dessert to make to bring to the party I attended so I made everything! I made a Cake Batter Dip, Peanut Butter Cheeseball, Brownies and a Caramel Apple Turtle Cheesecake Dessert Dip. They were all so yummy. Other people brought appetizers and cookies and it was just a big ‘ole snack fest. Blech. I am feeling it today. I definitely have a dessert hangover!

Like I said, I don’t have much time today so that’s all I had. I guess it’s not that short …it just seems that way because of all the movies I’ve been talking about for weeks.

Have a wonderful week! Hopefully the scale won’t punish me too bad! Talk to you soon, BYE!

“Some point the finger, let ignorance linger
If they'd look in the mirror they'd find
Ever since the beginning,
To keep the world spinning
It takes all kinds of kinds…” All Kinds Of Kinds-Miranda Lambert

Monday, February 20, 2012

Oscar Week!

Happy President’s Day! I am working BOTH of my jobs but I’m not bitter or anything. Despite my Valentine’s Day binge after I had not lost any weight, I actually showed a loss this weekend. I weighed three times; twice on Saturday and once on Sunday. All three times I showed a loss from the prior week. Because I spent all day Saturday not eating much and watching Oscar movies, I weighed Sunday to see what the scale looked like and showed a weight lower than my lowest weight ever. Obviously, this low number is the one I recorded which means I’m down a total of 111.4. Either way, I’m super excited the scale showed a lower number this week. I went a little overboard with the cheat meal yesterday and ate WAY too many snacks and far too much dinner. I made myself sick, actually. I really wish I could work on just eating normal portions when I’m cheating but (and not to sound too dramatic) I have an addiction and I usually don’t stop until I am going to be really, really sick. It’s unfortunate and I’m still feeling ill today. Hopefully, the success will continue as I will be strict this week. I am so appreciative of the loss!

The recipe this week is another one that I just threw together. I’m a huge proponent of liquid egg whites. If you like steak and eggs, you’ll like this. All I did was take one serving of Steak-umms, threw them in a skillet and let them cook for a minute until they were brown. I dabbed off the grease and then added the eggs, salt, pepper and garlic. At the ended, I added some of my new fat free tomato-basil feta cheese. I added some toast for a whole breakfast. It was yummy and filling and just having the little bit of fat from the steak made it taste even better.

I wanted to share another Publix find. This is FlatOut’s Foldit Flatbread. It’s only 90 calories, has tons of fiber and it’s a cute way to make a sandwich or burger or anything really. It’s a great find and I’ve already used it several times.

I went crazy on Oscar movies so if you have no interest in my opinions on them, feel free to skip the next several paragraphs. I got done with all of the movies this weekend and I’m going to share my opinions, my favorites and my predictions since I won’t have another blog before Sunday. I really liked the Ides of March. George Clooney was good in it and Ryan Gosling is BEYOND hot. I don’t care for Evan Rachel Wood. I don’t think she’s a great actress and it kind of made the movie not as successful for me. I enjoyed it but I wasn’t blown away. The movie pointed out something many Americans already know: most politicians are corrupt. The movie didn’t come full circle with its story, in my opinion but I still think it’s good. It’s nominated for Adapted Screenplay. I guess I understand why but I don’t think it should win.

I did not like Margin Call at all. Despite the all star cast (Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Jeremy Irons, Simon Baker, Stanley Tucci and many others), it was confusing and boring. It was about stocks and trading and a company going under. I didn’t understand the lingo and it wasn’t good enough to mask that. I think the general idea is that rich people suck and take advantage of poor people. Again, this is something most people are aware of. It takes place in a 24 hour period and aside from a nice British accent from Paul Bettany, I wasn’t that impressed. Also, Aasif Mandvi was a writer and actor in the movie and he is a regular on the Daily Show…it was really weird seeing him try to be serious. I don’t know. It just wasn’t my favorite movie. It was nominated for Original Screenplay. I don’t agree with this and don’t think it should win.

I hated this movie. As I’ve mentioned before, I get choked up at the sight of dogs and horses in movies and TV even if they aren’t being harmed. This movie was a relentlessly torturous movie that made me sob uncontrollably for almost 3 hours. I was shocked to find out that this was initially a children’s novel and then Broadway play. I may be able to handle it better if it were on Broadway because I wouldn’t have to see real images of horses being killed or harmed. SPOILER ALERT: The main horse lives. This little fact might give a pretense that the movie is inspirational. However, I completely disagree. Someone told me the horse lived so I kept trying to remind myself as I watched but it didn’t help. Every person and/or animal the horse meets along the way either dies, gets hurt, tries to kill him, hurts him or leads a tragic life. SPOILER ALERT OVER. There are approximately 2-3 “lighter” moments in the movie but I was unable to enjoy them because I wasn’t over the previous, horrific scene. I was disturbed long after the movie, swearing off all Spielberg movies, whether I like them or not. I guess some people loved it and I for one, am concerned about those people and think they should seek help immediately. I have no idea if the movie was made well because I was too busy wiping snot off my pillow and trying not to have an anxiety attack. I am not exaggerating either, you can ask Jordan, I was a complete wreck. It’s nominated for best picture for some sick reason. It shouldn’t win and it won’t.

I didn’t care for this movie, either. I thought it was painfully boring, interrupted only a few times by some graphic murder scene. Perhaps I’m dumb but I don’t know much about what was going on in this movie. It’s nominated for Adapted Screenplay (I can’t IMAGINE trying to read this movie as a book) and Gary Oldman is nominated for Best Actor (I have no idea why). I was able to deduce some key components of the movie after discussing it with Jordan (who suggested looking up the plot line on Wikipedia to try and understand what the heck was going on) so that made me proud but overall, it was slow, unclear and all together pointless, in my opinion. It’s a British film about some sort of mafia and they are trying to find a mole. I was barely able to figure out who that was by the end of the movie and that’s only because he cried and admitted stuff and then later took a bullet to the face. Of course, you should feel free to make your own judgments. It was also very long. I love Colin Firth and Tom Hardy so at least I got to see them on screen. I honestly can’t think of anything else good to say about it. For the record, I just looked it up on Wikipedia and got bored half way through reading the plot synopsis. I don’t know if that tells you anything.

The movie A Separation is the film that was made in Iran. The best part of the movie is that it highlights the lives of normal people in Iran living their everyday lives. It shows that women are second class citizens, as we knew, but it gives different perspectives. The movie is about a couple going through a separation. The father is taking care of his father with Alzheimer’s (that part was sad) and he is also taking care of his daughter who has chosen to live with him. He takes on help from a woman and she ends up neglecting the man’s father and then they get in a heated argument, he pushes her and then she accuses him of causing her to miscarry her baby. The rest of the movie centers around this accusation. The movie was pretty good. Obviously, there are subtitles and there are many cases where they were speaking really fast so it was hard to keep up. I liked it overall but I wasn’t blown away. The movie felt sort of unresolved and not in a good way. I don’t have much negative to say about the movie and I’m glad that it’s getting attention because I think the perspective is important but as a movie, I am not sure it deserves the win for Original Screenplay.

I think two of the marks for a GOOD movie is when A) the movie can make you feel sympathy for a bad person (or a formerly bad person) and B) it can make you care about something that you couldn’t care less about in everyday life. For me, the movie Warrior did both of these things. I think it may have had something to do with the fact that the the four movies I watched prior to this one didn’t do much for me. This movie resembled last year’s The Fighter in many ways as it chronicled the fighting life of two brothers. It was also very different and shined in its own way. I was actually disappointed that Nick Nolte was the only nomination this movie got. I’m not really a huge fan of his but thought he did a great job in this movie and the nomination was well-deserved. Like Moneyball, this movie made me get into a sport (MMA fighting) that I am normally not a fan of so…I think that’s pretty good. Also, it doesn’t hurt that there were two highly attractive boys that spent most of the movie shirtless. The movie had layers, a plot that went all the way around, wasn’t pretentious…call me crazy…but it was a much needed break from trying to figure out why I’m supposed to be moved by all of these other movies.

The last movie I watched was A Better Life. Demian Bichir is nominated for Best Actor in the movie and that’s the only nod this movie got. He is in the show Weeds but he plays such a different role in the movie, I didn’t recognize him. This movie was…solid. It didn’t blow me out of the water but I thought it was good. It’s also another movie that gives an important, different perspective that I think Americans should see. It follows the life of an illegal immigrant and his teenage son who is contemplating the gang life. The father faces many trials and works very hard all the while trying to connect to his son. It shows the trials that Mexican immigrants face without shoving it in your face. There are two sides to every story and this shows the immigration process in another light. I thought the nomination was deserved and I think perhaps it deserved a bit more recognition than it got.

I also saw some of the movies in the minor categories and I will more than likely see more of them in the coming weeks but not in time for the Oscars this Sunday. I will make favorites and predictions only for categories that I’ve seen movies in…no sense in telling you my best guess in the short films and other smaller categories. Some of the categories were VERY hard to choose favorites so some of them are extremely close for me.

Costume Design- I’ve only seen 2 of the five nominated which were The Artist and Hugo (the other nominees I haven’t seen: Anonymous, Jane Eyre and W.E.). I think Hugo should take this, personally. Who I think will win: The Artist.

Sound Editing- I’ve only seen 3 of these: Hugo, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and War Horse (the other nominees I haven’t seen: Drive & Transformers: Dark of the Moon). I think Hugo should win this and I think it will.

Sound Mixing-I’ve seen four of these: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Moneyball and War Horse (the other nominee I haven’t seen: Transformers: Dark of the Moon). Who I think will win: Hugo.

Film Editing: My favorites in order: 1)Hugo 2)The Artist 3)The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 4)Moneyball 5)The Descendants. Who I think will win: The Artist.

The only foreign language film I’ve seen is A Separation and I think it will win. The other nominees are Bullhead, Footnote, In Darkness and Monsieur Lazhar.

Original Score-I’ve seen 4 of these: The Artist, Hugo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and War Horse. The other nominee I haven’t seen is The Adventures of Tintin. I don’t have a favorite in this category. Who I think will win: The Artist.

Visual Effects: I’ve seen 2 of these: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Hugo. The other nominees I haven’t seen are: Real Steel, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Clearly, I pick Harry Potter as my favorite and I think it might even win.

Art Direction- My favorites in order: 1)Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 2)Hugo 3)The Artist 4)Midnight in Paris 5) War Horse. Who I think will win: Hugo.

Makeup-My favorites in order: 1)Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 2)The Iron Lady 3)Albert Nobbs. Who I think will win: The Iron Lady.

Documentary Feature-I’ve only seen two of these: Hell and Back Again and If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (the other nominees I haven’t seen: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, Pina, Undefeated). They were both good but I liked If a Tree Falls, better. Who I think will win: Undefeated. This was based off research and different opinions of bloggers.

Cinematography-My favorites in order: 1)Hugo 2)The Tree of Life 3)The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 4)The Artist 5) War Horse. This was a tough call for this category. Who I think will win: The Tree of Life (the only one it deserves)

Adapted Screenplay-My favorites in order: 1)Hugo 2)The Ides of March 3)The Descendants 4)Moneyball 5)Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Who I think will win: The Descendants

Original Screenplay-My favorites in order: 1)The Artist 2)Bridesmaids 3)A Separation 4)Midnight in Paris 5)Margin Call. Who I think will win: Midnight in Paris.

Directing- My favorites in order: 1)The Artist 2)Hugo 3)The Descendants 4)Midnight in Paris 5)The Tree of Life. Who I think will win: The Artist.

Supporting Actor- My favorites in order: 1)Christopher Plummer, Beginners 2)Nick Nolte, Warrior 3)Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close 4)Jonah Hill, Moneyball, 5)Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn. These were all very close for me. Who I think will win: Christopher Plummer, Beginners.

Supporting Actress-My favorites in order: 1)Octavia Spencer, The Help 2)Jessica Chastain, The Help 3)Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids 4)Berenice Bejo, The Artist, 5)Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs. Again, all of them were great. Who I think will win: Octavia Spencer, The Help.

Leading Actor-My favorites in order: 1) Jean Dujardin, The Artist 2) Demian Bichir, A Better Life 3) Brad Pitt, Moneyball 4) George Clooney, The Descendants 5) Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. These were also hard to pick…1 and 2 were close and so were 3 and 4. Who I think will win: Jean Dujardin, The Artist.

Leading Actress- My favorites in order: 1)Viola Davis, The Help 2) Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady 3)Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn, 4)Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5)Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs. They were all fantastic. Who I think will win: Viola Davis, The Help.

Best Picture- My favorites in order(I choose favorites based on the movies that I would want to watch multiple times): 1) The Help 2) Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close 3)Moneyball 4) Hugo 5) The Artist 6) The Descendants (3-6 were all so close…it was a tough decision) 7) Midnight in Paris 8) The Tree of Life 9) War Horse. Who I think will win: The Artist.

Phew, that was a lot. Thanks for sticking with me. Don't won't have to endure anymore ridiculously long blogs about movies until next year. I know that I am supposed to be proper and use quotation marks for these movies (especially since I’m an English teacher) but mostly I was just lazy…so forgive me if you ever see punctuation errors. I know the rules, I just choose to skip them sometimes.

I am excited to see what all happens. It should be a fun night.

Obviously, these are all just opinions. That’s the beauty of it all…everyone reacts differently.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Bye!

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” Aibileen, The Help

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Week Or Whatever

Top of the week to ya! I’m not pumped about Valentine’s Day but shout out to Jordan and my parents for the Valentine’s treats…it’s nice to know that even if you don’t have a relationship, you aren’t alone. I already knew that, but it’s always good to have a reminder. I weighed on Saturday morning after having a flawless week and I had not lost any weight. I am still up about 3.2 from my lowest weight. I am in a slump or plateau, whatever you want to call it and I won’t lie…it sucks. I had a mini-meltdown about it because I’m frustrated. I have been working really hard. I reacted poorly to the news on the scale and had a candy, cheese and ranch filled weekend. I am ashamed of my food binge tantrum but it happened and today I’m over it and back on track. Get back on the horse right? Every, single, freaking week. Due to my misgivings and other feminine, water retaining monsters I’ll be experiencing this week, the chances of me losing weight are not great. I will keep on trucking. I don’t have words of inspiration. Working hard and not losing weight is a miserable place to be but I won’t give up…I hope you don’t either.

This week is less of a recipe and more of an awesome suggestion for tasty potatoes. My mom made these for me awhile back and I’ve been making them a lot lately. Potatoes are the food I probably consume the most because they are filling and full of fiber. The problem is that potatoes aren’t good on their own. They need flavor and a lot of it to taste good. All I do is chop a potato in bite size pieces and microwave them with a little water covering them for five minutes. While you are microwaving, you can preheat the oven to 425-450ish. When the five minutes is up, get them out, flip them around a bit, add some Worcestershire (“W”) Sauce to them and pop them back in the microwave for 3 more minutes. While that’s going, get out a cookie sheet, line it with aluminum and parchment paper (or the fancy stuff from Reynolds that’s a combination of the two: it’s an awesome invention). When the potatoes finish in the microwave, spread them on the pan, spray them with non-stick spray, load them up with pepper and garlic powder and then salt them. Bake them for 5 minutes or so, pull them out turn them over and around (mix it up a bit), spray them with non-stick spray again, add more pepper, salt and garlic powder and put them back in for another 5 minutes. After that, I like to broil them for 2-3 minutes so they crisp up. You can see that you get a huge portion and there are no calories in the spices, spray or W Sauce so it’s only the potato you have to count and they aren’t bad! It’s a great side dish and something a bit different than the plain old potato.

If I had money, I would do all my grocery shopping at Publix. Over the next few weeks, I will show you some stuff I found there that is awesome. This is President Herbed Feta Cheese, Tomato & Basil flavor and the best part is…it’s FAT FREE. Y’all, this is my new obsession. There is 35 calories in one serving. It’s great in salads and eggs and everything. I am really enjoying it. The downside is that it’s 6 bucks for one small container. Oh well.

This weekend, Jordan and I took Operation Oscar all the way to Atlanta to see My Week With Marilyn because it wasn’t playing anywhere else. I’m so glad we did! I get pretty grumpy when we have to travel (especially to Atlanta, it’s not my favorite place) but it ended up great. We had an awesome Italian dinner at Provino’s in Douglasville. They have one in Chattanooga that has always been a family favorite. It’s not healthy, in any way but…man, was it good! The movie was worth the drive as well. I haven’t always understood the acclaim that Michelle Williams has gotten in the past but she did a fantastic job in the movie. She looked gorgeous and I think she did a great portrayal!

I also watched the movie Beginners on DVD Saturday night. This movie who has a nominated Christopher Plummer was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting much but I really enjoyed it. I also found out that Christopher Plummer is the father from the Sound of Music (one of my all time favorite movies). I had no idea. He was brilliant in the movie. The movie is a story of a man (Ewan McGregor) and his dying father (Christopher Plummer)who after 40 something years of marriage comes out gay and it follows his new relationship. It highlights the relationships McGregor has with not only his father but his deceased mother and new love interest. It’s mostly sad but has some funny moments as well as moments that are heartwarming. I really enjoyed it.

I am a freak about dogs. I can see a dog on the screen and no matter what’s happening, good or bad, I start to tear up. So, I’m glad that dogs are a big part of this Oscar season. “Uggie,” the dog from The Artist was a precious counterpart to Jean Dujardin. He was extraordinarily talented with tricks and his personality lit up the screen. I personally don’t think the movie would’ve thrived without the cute little thing. “Cosmo” is the dog that played “Arthur” in the movie Beginners that I saw this weekend. He also was a scruffy, cute and pertinent addition to the film. He connected each of the characters and I thought he was great. I have read some comments that they need an animal category at the Oscars…I don’t see that ever happening but I would support it if it did!

Over the course of this Oscar season, Jordan and I began noticing (and I’ve mentioned it here, too) that there were many actors appearing in more than one Oscar related film. Since there were so many, I decided to create a little graph (you'll probably have to click on the picture to make it bigger so you can see the names) that shows which actors are in more than one movie. It’s interesting to see all of the connections. It may be that this happens a lot but I’ve never noticed it so much until this Oscar season. I only have a couple more weeks to finish up before the big night. I have 7 left to watch in the major categories and I hope to watch a couple more in the minor categories. It’s a lot but hopefully I’ll be able to finish…I just have to make time.

As an aside, I was published in a literary magazine called, Falling Star Magazine, and they paid me! I received a $10 check! It’s not much but it’s definitely the first time I’ve ever been paid for a poem. It was a cool feeling. My mom is making me keep the check to remember, she gave me $10 to make up for it, lol.

I hope you all have a fantastic week.

Happy Valentine’s Day, tomorrow!


“Take me, take me, somewhere trouble don’t go…” Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go-Miranda Lambert

Monday, February 6, 2012


I know I just blogged on Friday but I am going to try switching to Monday. I will post each Monday for awhile and see how that goes. When I weighed Friday, I was bloated from dinner the previous night and in the past I’ve also noticed that if I’m good on Friday, I often weigh less on Saturday. Well, I experimented with this and I was flawless on Friday and I weighed Saturday morning. I weighed 2 less pounds on Saturday than I did on Friday. I think the extra day of being strict makes a difference. Even though it was only one day, the lower number made me feel better. So, I am going to start weighing on Saturdays which is what I used to do when I started but I stopped because I wanted to have more lenient Friday nights. Weighing on Saturday will also help me stay on track on Fridays. I was good all weekend and stuck to my one cheat meal and one dessert. I ate way too much Super Bowl food last night though, I feel sick today.

The recipe for this week is Zucchini Casserole. This casserole had zucchini, grated onion, a little bit of Heart Smart Bisquick, egg whites, one whole egg, olive oil, grated parmesan, salt, pepper, parsley and garlic powder. It’s a lot like a quiche and the Bisquick gives it a more filling “feel.” It has awesome flavor and would make a great side dish.

My tip this week is one that I am having a hard time living by. I am trying to re-orient myself to measuring things. It is very easy to try and “guesstimate” a tablespoon of dressing or 3 ounces of meat or half a cup of cheese. The problem is, our “guesstimations” are usually in our favor. You can really add a lot of calories by over doing it in the measuring department. Being precise is a key factor in losing weight. So, when you are cooking, try and make sure to be exact. Even though it’s annoying, bring out the spoons and cups to measure. If you don’t have a food scale, I would invest in one. There are many things that give serving sizes in ounces and trust me when I tell you, you are more than likely wrong when you guess how many ounces something weighs. Also, you don’t want to cheat yourself either. You want to get as much as you should. Nothing more, nothing less.

Jordan and I set out again this weekend and between theatres and watching movies at home, I was able to check four more movies off of the list. We were a bit early to one movie and they had this photo booth sketch thing. Naturally, I insisted we go do it. I thought it was cute, so I shared.

Hugo, as a whole, was a good movie. It had amazing moments but wasn’t amazing overall because it ran slow a couple times. This year is an incredible year for children. I think both of the kids in this movie should’ve been nominated. I honestly think that the nominations for actor, actress, supporting actor and supporting actress could’ve been filled with names of children. They were the stars of the movie and did a fantastic job. This movie reminded me a lot of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close because both are movies about boys whose fathers have died and they are in pursuit of messages left to them by their dads and a key is an integral part to finding those messages in both movies. Having said that, they are worlds apart in design, time placement and subject. It also reminded me a lot of Little Orphan Annie except there were no playful songs to blend in with the sadness of the situation. Apparently, it is a requirement these days to kill the father of a small boy in order to have a successful movie. The little boy is precious and he has this enormous blue eyes that giant tears would fall out of…I cried every time he did. It would be the kind of movie I’d watch again, but I’d fast forward the first 20 minutes and then skip to my favorite parts.

I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo very recently (awesome read) and then I watched the Swedish version of the movie. Part of the problem with reading an intricate book and then watching the movie is that you find yourself scrutinizing every minute of the movie. The Swedish version makes a lot of changes and leaves several details out. It’s a good movie but I much preferred the American version. It could be that Americans just have different tastes in movies. I found the American version much more intense. It’s an extremely graphic book and I thought this movie handled that well. It’s quite disturbing in places, actually. There were some major changes in this movie, especially at the end but I thought it paralleled better with the book for the bulk of the story. Rooney Mara earned her nomination and even though I enjoyed the movie immensely and found it 100 times more watchable than Tree of Life, I can see why it wasn’t nominated. Perhaps if it had dug deeper into the back story of the characters like the book did, it could’ve been nominated but mostly, it was just a thriller.

Albert Nobbs was weird. It wasn’t weird because women were dressed as men in order to work, it was weird because it seemed a little unorganized. The storyline was trying to pull the audience in multiple directions but I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel at the end. It wasn’t bad and I wasn’t really bored but I just didn’t have any strong feelings about it. Glenn Close did a good job. She shouldn’t win, but overall a great performance.

Moneyball. Now, that’s the Brad Pitt I like. Messy hair, a bit crazy and playing alongside other actors that I enjoy: Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman. As a side note, since I’ve noted other actors that appeared in multiple movies with nominations, Robin Wright (Jenny from Forrest Gump) was in this movie as well as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I thought it was excellent. I don’t think the movie, Brad Pitt or Jonah Hill reinvented the wheel in any way and I don’t think it should win any major categories but it was a solid movie. I wouldn’t be mad if it took home any statues, either. It was interesting, funny and a movie that lots of people would enjoy. This was also another movie where a child shined, Kerris Dorsey from one of my favorite shows, Brothers & Sisters did a great job. It also had Chris Pratt from Parks & Recreation (another fave show of mine) and he did well. It’s loaded with some of my favorite people and even though baseball isn’t my go to sport, I do love a good baseball movie, and this qualified. It had intelligent humor, insight into the corrupt baseball world and glances at Brad Pitt’s famous side smile. I may even buy this one.

I am loaded up with movies to watch at home so I’m sure I’ll be working on that this week.

I hope you all have a wonderful, low stress week!


“I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason too.” Hugo Cabret-From the movie Hugo

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's My Pity Party & I'll Cry If I Want To

Hello All! The weekend is upon us! I weighed this morning and I am stuck…I went up a little. I’m still up around 5 pounds from my lowest weight. I wasn’t perfect last weekend so I guess that’s it. I won’t lie. I am immensely bummed about this. I spend a lot of time exercising. I was in the gym for an hour and 40 minutes last night and my alarm went off at 4:30 this morning to work out again. I’m tired. I can’t exercise more than I do. I will burn out. I know I can do better on the weekends so I’m going to try and do my best this weekend. I don’t know what it will take to motivate me. I’m very discouraged and it seems that I can’t find a way to perk up. Maybe I don’t want to. I think I want to wallow in self pity today. I am going to try and weigh in the morning if I’m good tonight. I had 32 oz of Powerade when I got home last night and a nice, big baked potato. I feel bloated from all of it. I tend to weigh less on Saturday mornings. If I do weigh less tomorrow, I think I will start weighing on Saturdays again and change my blog to Monday. It will also motivate me not to screw up on Fridays. I’ll give the scale another go next week. Blah.

This week, the recipe is Quick Skillet Steak With Onions. This is SUPER easy. If you buy Steak-umm’s or any brand of sliced steak, take ONE serving and sauté it in a pan and then add onions and mushrooms. This is so quick and tasty. You could get a low fat hoagie and add some low fat provolone cheese and make a nice sandwich. There isn’t much to this but the bit of fat you get from the steak gives the onions and mushrooms awesome flavor.

I wanted to share another snack with you week. These are Quaker Stila Oat Cluster Bits, Green Apple Flavor. The yummy snacks come in 80 calorie packs and have several little clusters. It tastes like granola with a hint of a green apple taste. They are nice for an afternoon snack. You could also put them on your yogurt. That would be good.

It’s that time of year again. Jordan and I have kicked off our Operation Oscar. I’ve seen a lot of the movies in the major categories so far but I’ve got a lot more to go. Before the actual Oscars, I hope to let you know what my favorites are…I typically vote on the movie that I would like to watch over and over again or the one that moved me the most. I don’t necessarily jive with the Academy.

I will start with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. This movie is not nominated in a major category so technically, I probably shouldn’t put it on here but I loved it. It had some nominations. It was up for Visual Effects, Art Direction and Makeup. Honestly, though I am biased, I think it got robbed. The movie is ahead of its time in special effects, tells an amazing story of good conquering evil and I also think the actors should’ve been recognized. Oh well.

The Help is still my favorite movie out of the Best Picture nominees that I’ve seen. I read the book and it was amazing. The movie did an outstanding job reflecting the book. This movie has everything. You laugh, cry, feel inspired and you leave temporarily sad but inspired. I haven’t seen all of the nominees for best actress but both Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain were incredible. I will own this movie and that says a lot for me.

Bridesmaids is nominated for Original Screenplay and Melissa McCarthy is nominated for Best Supporting Actress. I liked Bridesmaids, a lot. It was hilarious. However, it’s up against The Artist (and others I haven’t seen yet) for Original Screenplay so I’m not sure it can beat that. I guess I don’t really have an opinion as to whether The Artist or Bridesmaids should win that category. I know I’d rather watch Bridesmaids. Also, Melissa McCarthy was good but Octavia Spencer was amazing in The Help. She deserves it.

The Descendants was good. It was sad, but good. However, I don’t think it deserves quite the amount of acclaim it’s receiving. The character that George Clooney played has very similar character traits that he himself seems to have so I don’t think it was that big of a stretch. It’s simple and I’m fine with that. In fact, I really liked it but I wasn’t blown away. Up In The Air was better but that movie didn’t blow me away either but it stuck with me much longer and I would certainly watch it again. I don’t know if I care if I see The Descendants again. It’s not good enough to deal with the sadness.

Midnight in Paris should be a movie that I loved. It’s set in the beautiful city of Paris. It’s about a writer who hallucinates entire scenes where he meets famous authors and artists. It has Rachel McAdams. However, I will admit…I thought it was too slow. I was bored a big part of it. I also didn’t understand why Owen Wilson would be with Rachel McAdams. She plays this part where she’s not nice at all and she doesn’t support him in any way. I didn’t hate it and Jordan loved it so maybe someday I’ll give it another try. Maybe I was tired. I have found that I have movie ADD. If a movie can keep my attention from beginning to end, it’s a keeper. I do not agree with the Best Picture nominee but it’s Woody Allen…I’m not surprised it’s nominated.

The Artist was a pleasant surprise. I was sure that I wouldn’t like it. I did start to fade a bit when it had about 30 minutes left. I think it could have been a little shorter but it was kind of refreshing and the more I think about it, the more I like it. It’s a simple story but there is dancing and humor and it’s amazing how the music coordinates with the movie. I honestly am surprised I didn’t hate it. I’m not sure the actors deserve Oscars and it certainly isn’t my choice for Best Picture but it seems to be the darling this year so I wouldn’t be shocked if it swept up a lot of categories.

My reaction to the Iron Lady was also a surprise. Jordan ADORES Meryl Streep. I like her. I think she’s a fantastic actress but there have been movies (Doubt) where I didn’t think she was as stunning as other people did. Jordan also has a lot of interest in politics and seeing a movie with Meryl Streep about Margaret Thatcher is right up his alley. I was expecting it to be kind of like The King’s Speech. I loved the King’s Speech but you won’t ever see me buying it. I am a bit sensitive to movies and TV shows that are related to Alzheimer’s because my Aunt Allie died a victim of that horrible disease and I’ve seen what it does. I didn’t realize that Margaret Thatcher suffers from that, or at least she does in the movie. It takes place in present day and as she remembers things, it tells her story. I was a wreck. Meryl Streep not only deserves this nomination but in my opinion, should win it. I may change my mind after I’ve seen all of the movies and I loved Viola Davis but I’ve seen the same eyes Meryl Streep gave in that movie in my Aunt Allie. She was outstanding. The movie felt like it was running a bit long towards the end. It wasn’t nominated for Best Picture. Do me a favor. Watch Tree of Life and Midnight in Paris and tell me if you don’t think it should’ve been nominated. I’d love to know.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was amazing. Right now, it runs right with the Help as far as my favorites go. If you look at the reviews from critics, you will see that they say the movie uses 9/11 to get an Oscar nod. I disagree. First of all, PLENTY of movies base their plot off of historic and tragic events. How many movies have there been about the Holocaust, race, disease? I think there are stories to be told. This was based off of a book that I now want to read. I was worried that the movie would be gratuitous but it wasn’t. It was just a reliving of the tragedy. It was a journey. Was it sad? Absolutely. Was 9/11 sad? Absolutely. If you look at reviews from REAL people, they mostly say they were moved and thought the movie was amazing. I think the biggest travesty is that the kid in the movie, Thomas Horn, wasn’t nominated. He gave an AWESOME performance. This movie will have you in tears many, many times but the story is unique. Everyone who dealt with a death on that day had a unique story…this was just one of them. People are real. Real things happen to them. Some people need to cry. I am a huge proponent of this movie. Also, as a side note, this year has been a year where multiple people are in multiple movies. Viola Davis is also in this movie and so is John Goodman who was also in The Artist.

The Tree of Life is a different story. I read the reviews for this movie too and they made me angry. The critics loved it. The REAL people hated it. Here’s why. It’s the most pretentious movie I’ve EVER seen. I think there was a good movie somewhere in there without all of the crap. It’s about a typical family with a strict father. One of the brothers is reflecting on his life because his brother died in what I assume is a war. The majority of the movie is abstract. There are several moments of just a black screen, orange light and whispering. Sean Penn is at the beginning and the end. There doesn’t seem to be a plot for people to cling to and it’s boring as sin. The worst part of the movie is this 30 minute section in the middle of the movie that looks like a special from The Discovery Channel. I suppose it was supposed to represent Earth and the cycle of life, blah, blah. I can see why it got nominated for Cinematography. I wouldn’t mind having those 30 minutes as a screen saver. There is NO dialogue, no people and certainly nothing for the audience to hang on to. There are images of volcanoes, fish, dinosaurs, waves and all sorts of things. Then, it goes back into the movie. Then there’s another super abstract, weird scene at the end. I hated it. It made me mad. This is what I mean. The critics accused Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close of trying to take advantage of the audience. This movie does the same thing. I like intelligent movies, weird ones too but I also like movies I can relate to. Normal people do. It’s pretentious and it makes me angry. I’m not angry at people for liking it but I’m angry at the people who think they’re better because they do. Phew, I think I’m done now. On another note, as I said before about people appearing in multiple movies, Jessica Chastain was in this in addition to the Help and other than the main kid in the movie, she was the best part. The kid was awesome and should’ve been nominated. It’s not his fault the movie got on my nerves. Brad Pitt was annoying.

I will be doing this for all the Oscar movies but there won’t be as many each week. I just did the ones I’d seen.

Sorry this was so long. If you made it this far, thanks for your support.

Have a great weekend and if you’re a pro-football fan, enjoy the Super Bowl! I will be looking forward to treating myself with food and watching commercials.

“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.” Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (the book by Jonathan Safran Foer)