Monthly Archives

March 2012

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The It List

Five things I’m lovin’ right now …
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  1. The colors and shape of this Modcloth top.
  2. Anthropologie’s Rhys Chair, now in “Caribbean Blue.”
  3. Homemade frozen treats. This recipe sounds delish (and easy).
  4. Old-fashioned clocks. This one by Uncommon Handmade is right up my alley.
  5. This necklace by Frida and Marilyn. (The style name is “Alexa”! How cool is that?)

You can find more things I’m lovin’ over at Pinterest.

100 Movies: 98, 99, 100

100 Movies • Little Gold Pixel

Let’s talk for a minute about how, at the end of this post, I will finally be able to say that this 100 Movies project is complete.

The first time I posted about this project was in April 2009. That’s nearly three years, friends! I lasted longer than the now defunct link to Yahoo’s 100 Movies to See Before You Die, the list this project was based upon way back when.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up. “Bah,” I’d rationalize to myself. “No one reads these posts anyway. No one will notice if I don’t complete the task.”

No one except me.

Isn’t that what’s important here? I think I’m inspired more by my own actions than by any of the movies I was seeking inspiration in. Despite the fact that somewhere along the line I lost interest in doing this, I still did it. Despite the fact that I received virtually no feedback (even from my own husband, who repeatedly did not want to watch these movies with me!), I still did it.

I’m glad I did. It was sometimes grueling to motivate myself to watch these somewhat serious films, but it was worth it. I learned a lot along the way about what it takes to make good cinema. I learned why some of the greats are considered great. I learned that I’m not a western or war movie fan (with a few exceptions). I learned that some movies aren’t very inspiring (oops). Above all, I learned that I can finish a task — ANY task — if I persevere.

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Captain von Trapp: You are the twelfth in a long line of governesses who have come here to look after my children since their mother died. I trust you will be an improvement on the last one. She stayed only two hours.

I don’t even know where to begin with one of my favorite movies of all time. There is so much inspiration here. Is it standing up to the Nazis? Is it following your heart? Is it the very heart of this 100 Movies project (persevering)? Is it Julie Andrews herself? Yes, plus the fact that every song in this movie is amazing. Nearly every song has a lesson. “I have confidence in me!” “When I’m feeling sad I simply remember my favorite things!” “Follow every rainbow till you find your dream!”

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Carl Denham: Why, the whole world will pay to see this.
Captain Englehorn: No chains will ever hold that.
Carl Denham: We’ll give him more than chains. He’s always been king of his world, but we’ll teach him fear. We’re millionaires, boys. I’ll share it with all of you. Why, in a few months, it’ll be up in lights on Broadway: Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World. 

Beast captures a beautiful woman. He must be contained. Yadda yadda yadda. The real inspiration here? Stop-motion animation. Stop-motion animation. Stop-motion animation. Yes.

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[the Beatles are late for a rehersal]
TV Floor Manager: They’ll be here.
TV Director: Yes, well, if they aren’t on this stage in precisely thirty seconds there’ll be trouble? Do you hear me? Trouble.
[exactly three seconds after he stops speaking, the Beatles calmly amble on stage]
John: [to director] Standin’ around, hey? Some people have it dead easy.

I thought it would be appropriate to wrap up this project with one of my very favorites. God, I love The Beatles. (As if Beatles Week wouldn’t be tip-off enough.) I think it’s quite a feat to make a movie about Beatlemania that actually captures the ridiculousness of it all with wit and an actual, albeit silly, storyline. My high school friends and I used to quote this to one another. “Don’t be cheeky” was a staple in our lexicon. And how can you argue with the premise of this movie? A day in the life of a Beatle. As the character of Paul’s grandfather says in the film, “Look, I thought I was supposed to be getting a change of scenery. But so far, I’ve been in a train and a room, and a car and a room, and a room and a room.”

100 Movies: 96, 97

100 Movies • Little Gold Pixel

Getting oh so close to completing these 100 Movies. Finding inspiration can be so exasperating. Today: existential much?
100 Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Professor Isak Borg: If I have been feeling worried or sad during the day, I have a habit of recalling scenes from childhood to calm me. So it was this evening. 

A crotchety old professor reminisces about his childhood and life choices only to find that they have all led to what is a cold existence. What is inspiring is that, just like Scrooge, he finds redemption in the end. (Never mind the fact that apparently it was OK to marry your cousins in his family.)

100 Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Damiel: When the child was a child, it was the time of these questions. Why am I me, and why not you? Why am I here, and why not there? When did time begin, and where does space end? Isn’t life under the sun just a dream? Isn’t what I see, hear, and smell just the mirage of a world before the world? Does evil actually exist, and are there people who are really evil? How can it be that I, who am I, wasn’t before I was, and that sometime I, the one I am, no longer will be the one I am?

Before seeing this movie, I did not know it was the basis for “City of Angels.” It became quite apparent, though, in visuals and references and general storyline, as I watched it. First we have the angels who walk among and comfort humans in distress. Then we have the angel who isn’t content just observing. He wants to be human. He wants to find love with a lonely trapeze artist. And so it goes. Only there is no Nic Cage or Meg Ryan to distract you from philosophical questions. Inspiring: the idea that an invisible force (god, angels, Nic Cage’s acting career) can reach out and make things better. Let’s hope it is so.

Currently …

Loving: The fact that our move is nearly finished. It took four days (FOUR DAYS!!!) to get to the point we are now, where all the furniture has been reassembled and most of the boxes are emptied. The ones that aren’t are at least in the correct room of our new place. Never, ever again will we move ourselves. Next time it’s moving guys all the way. It didn’t help that our new place is situated on a hill with lots of stairs. Now that we’re done moving I can appreciate how lush and beautiful it is … in the words of a friend (who selflessly devoted himself to us for a day of back-breaking work), “it’s like an Ewok village up here.”

Thinking about: My new Shark vacuum. I’m ready to put that bad boy to use. I might be the only person on the planet who is thrilled to live in a place with carpet. No more cold tootsies. No more dust and furballs to chase around. Bliss.

Anticipating: Friday night. Sara and I are going to get our “Hunger Games” on after the baby is asleep. I am so excited!

Listening to: Foster the People. I am about a year late to this party, but the CD has been on repeat in my car for about a week now.

Eating: Yogurt-covered pretzels. Yogurt-covered anything is a moving ritual for me. When we moved from the East Coast to the West Coast I ate yogurt-covered raisins the entire drive.

Wishing: I had another week off work to get settled in our new place. But it’s back to the office for me!

So now you know what I’ve been up to the past few days. Sorry for my absence! Linking up with Sometimes Sweet.


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Feathering My Next Nest

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We are moving in two days. Nowhere far, just a few miles away, but still it’s stressful. It’s stressful because we need to find a fridge. We are trying to coordinate plans. There is an odd washer and dryer hookup we need to decipher. We are looking for an adoptive home for our beloved cat, whose dander is getting to be too much for the little one and H. It’s a lot to process in a short time.

Also needed: a step stool for the kitchen, which has these crazy tall cabinets I won’t be able to reach. So I have a lot on my plate, but nothing that can’t be cured by a little virtual nesting on Etsy. Something about looking at these items just makes me happy. Maybe they will have to find a place in our new home. But first, back to fridge hunting on Craigslist.

In a matter of days all the stress will be behind me. Visualize it now. Visualization is key.

Steppin’ Out


What I’m wearing:
Shawl: Missoni for Target, part of the capsule wardrobe
Jeans: Capsule wardrobe, too
Shoes: Frye, gifted

What Alexa’s wearing:
Dress: Koala Baby (last seen here)
Jeggings: Thrifted (last seen here)
Bunny shoes: Old Navy (last seen here)
Pink jacket: Gifted

This is what we wore out for coffee on St. Patrick’s Day. It was raining cats and dogs here in Los Angeles, and we just couldn’t face packing any more boxes till we scratched our itch to get outside for a little while. We braved the weather and sat on the heated patio at the coffee shop while passersby walked in the rain, all donning green for the holiday. We had not a stitch of green on. And we managed NOT to get pinched.

Later we finished packing up Alexa’s room and I watched “The Seven Year Itch” after H and Alexa went to sleep. Have you ever seen it? Pretty good flick, and the picture quality was amazing on Netflix. I swear, it looked like it was made just yesterday … besides the 1950s mentality and all.

Anyway, the weather was the perfect excuse for me to break out this Missoni for Target shawl. I love it. It’s so cozy and warm! I’m attempting to grow my hair out some, so I’ve been pinning it back with hair combs on each side to keep it out of my face. I might just have to come to grips with the fact that I can’t grow out my hair. This is the second time in a year I’ve tried, and it’s just not sticking.

Alexa is wearing an outfit that was 100% picked out by H. Daddy layered a red dress over jeggings. Like a fashionista-turned-tomboy. I think it turned out cute, and I’d like to encourage H to dress her more often (on Sundays she stays in her PJs all day!). I think those bunny shoes are permanently attached to her feet. It will be a sad day when she outgrows them/wears them out.

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Photoshoot: 13 Months Old

thirteen months old

Baby girl turned 13 months old on Feb. 28. Each month on the 28th I take a photo of Miss Alexa and her owl to mark her growth because, as everyone likes to remind me, “they’re only little for a short while.”

Well, here she is, standing up for her monthly photos now that she’s a big girl. Of course, the first thing she did was ditch Mr. Owl.

Alexa’s still wearing 12-18 month clothing. Her 12-month sleepers are getting tight. We’re going to have to invest in some new nightwear soon. Perhaps pajama separates since she’s such a toddler now. She is wearing size 4 shoes. Currently the only shoes that fit her snugly are her pink bunny slippers. She has about six size 5 shoes, barely too big, patiently waiting in the wings. Soon, soon.

It’s easy to tell when she is ready to sleep. She will stop whatever mischief she’s in and lie flat on the ground, face down. She’s also become quite attached to her lovey: this little pink blanket attached to a plush monkey. She carries it around the house and holds it out for “kisses” from Mama and Papa.

She is still toothless. I know.

This little girl eats everything. And she wants to feed herself, thankyouverymuch.

A day before the 13-month mark it happened. She started walking. It has been nonstop cuteness ever since. In general she’s a happier girl now that she’s as mobile as she always wanted to be. She’s been waiting for this since she was 6 months old. On the other hand, she’s also three times as moody. God forbid anyone try to pick her up mid-walk. Hysterics, fake tears, the works.

She is starting to climb on things. So far, she’s attempted scaling her little piano, pillows she’s dragged onto the ground from the couch, and toys like her walker (which in hindsight wasn’t a very smart purchase; she barely ever used it) and corn popper.

Today (13.75 months) I asked her if she was happy. She cheesed her gummy grin. I said, “Alexa’s happy.” She said, “Leksha hap-py.” I repeated, “Alexa’s happy?” She said, “Hap-py.”

Movies My Kids Will Watch (Part 1)

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I’m getting crotchety and old. I say this because I’ve found these words coming out of my mouth a lot: “They just don’t make ’em like they used to” and “In my day …” You would think I’m 90, harkening back to the days before the Internet and a time when there weren’t 5,000 cable channels to choose from.

I’ll probably still be saying these things when I’m 90, but I’ll be harkening back to the days of smartphones and HDTV. Oh, what will they come up next?

Anyway. “They don’t make ’em like they used to” is usually used in reference to movies. In particular children’s movies, which I feel have been watered down and politically correctified within an inch of their lives. That isn’t to say I don’t like some modern children’s movies (there’s one on today’s list), but mostly I find them milquetoast and lacking in soul.

This is why I decided to create a definitive list of the best kids movies of all time (according to me).

But Vanessa, these movies are “scary.” But Vanessa, this movie glorifies running off to the circus and a chimpanzee totes a gun therefore my kid will go crazy if he/she watches this!

Whatever. I believe in a child’s capacity to understand complex and scary ideas. I also believe that children are smarter than you think they are. They’re not going to run off to the circus. They will probably just want to pretend to. And isn’t imagination a good thing? I think so.

Without further ado, here’s the first installment (there are more to come) of movies my kids will watch, and yours should, too.

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WHY? Mr. Stubbs, circus costumes, riding horses, joining the circus, the value of a buck, learning the importance of home and family

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WHY? Traveling to new and exciting places, good music, vivid imagination, wizards and witches, using magic to fight evil, Angela Lansbury

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WHY? Hayley Mills, doing a good deed despite encountering discouragement, standing up for your beliefs, having a sunny outlook on life

Definitive List of Best Kids Movies • Part 1 • Little Gold Pixel
WHY? Perseverance, David Bowie, good tunes, stunning visuals, encourages a healthy imagination, gives value to make-believe, promotes self-empowerment, discourages judging others based on their looks

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WHY? Unicorns, fairies, the quest for light to overcome dark, beautiful costumes, learning redemption

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WHY? The beautiful AURYN necklace, enforces the power of believing in something, encourages fighting the “nothingness” aka depression or despair, Atreyu the fearless child warrior, standing up to bullies, the virtues of losing yourself in a good book, the idea that nothing is ever beyond repair, Falcor

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WHY? Implies that with a little faith you can complete an impossible task, Gelflings, awesome animatronics, asserts that the “little guy” can do something to change the world, encourages imagination, teaches the idea of balance, shows good vs. evil

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WHY? Lindsay Lohan pre-freakout, Jamie Lee Curtis, walking in a mile in someone else’s shoes, mother-daughter lovefest, teaches empathy and understanding, selfless love

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WHY? a flying car, a healthy imagination and knack for storytelling, Dick Van Dyke, promotes inventiveness and thinking outside the box, using ingenuity to make money

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WHY? Dick Van Dyke again, Julie Andrews, a spoonful of sugar, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, fun adventures, the importance of being there for your family, making ordinary tasks exciting, great music and dance numbers

The It List

Five things I’m lovin’ right now …
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  1. Geo floral paintings in embroidery hoops, by April Awakening.
  2. This little fox dress (among others) by Wild Things Dresses.
  3. Delightfully Tacky’s three spring milkshakes. Mmmmmm.
  4. The latest (and last?) adventures of Alexia Tarabotti.
  5. All the recipes on Fresh365, including this onion and sweet potato tart.

As always, you can see more things I’m lovin’ over on Pinterest.