Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Christmas Gift Guide 2016

2016: dreadful year, brilliant Christmas.

Let's get right into this guide, shall we?

NASA vintage posters. Here is the deal, you download and print. So basically these are "free" if you have a printer that can handle it. Or a few bucks at your local Kinkos (which are now called FedEx Office if you are trying to find one for real).


Download these and many more options here: Visions of The Future NASA Posters


Speaking of posters and exploring... I firmly believe the National Parks are a gift to America. 

An  Annual Pass that provides access to more than 2,000 recreation areas managed by five Federal agencies, with up to 100% of the proceeds being used to improve and enhance visitor recreation services. Anyone 16 years or older may purchase the pass; children under 16 are always admitted free. Each Annual Pass can have up to two "owners". Now warning: DO NOT buy this for someone aged 62 or older. They can get a lifelong pass for $10 on their own.

$80 America The Beautiful - Annual National Park Pass

Bonus: the worst site in the world, maybe not updated since the 1990s, run by our fine government of course, sells some pretty nice posters - including one of a National Park map and various Dept. of Interior promo posters, from like $5 to $20. Government Bookstore - Posters & Prints

Another far out gift for gals is changing color lipstick. It is one color in the tube, but is another (pink) on the lips.


Everyone out there is in love with Ina Garten. Me too. She has a new cookbook out, Cooking for Jeffery, and while it makes a great gift that many will love, it is the go-to cookbook gift of 2016.

You know what one I can pretty much assure you won't find a duplicate under the tree?This cookbook by Chrissy Teigen. Yes, that Chrissy. The model, married to John Legend, who has a wild wardrobe and a wild twitter account. She has an actual good cookbook. Now, I have flipped through and I wouldn't suggest it for a conservative family member. I will give a visual example below... but if you know someone who can handle the heat, get them in the kitchen with this one.

Hardcover, $18 or Digital on Kindle for $16 at Amazon: Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat


For those who like to eat, but don't like to cook... there is this tiny book of cooks will take you all over the world.

From Amazon, $20: Where To Eat Pizza


Got a green thumb in your fam? Or a black thumb? Or a red, white, blue, yellow, purple, pink thumb?

Seed bombs are the bomb. You toss and grow. Wildflowers, herbs, or edible flowers.

Packs from $9 & up from Seedles: Grow The Rainbow Seed Bombs


Speaking of the garden... A life-long reader of mine, Gwen, told me the other day she was a butterfly. I asked her how she knew she wasn't a moth. Argument ensued.

Look how cute this art kit is?

$17 from Amazon online Butterfly Color Kit
$20 in store at Papyrus Papyrus to check for in store stock


Another kid gift are these kids sized headphones. I can't stand be assaulted with noise, and I can't imagine having some kid around with some device with some annoying game ping, or background music, or even having to watch AND listen to the same Disney movie a million times over. Enter these earphones.

$49 for Bluetooth from Amazon Untangled Kids Bluetooth Headphones
$22 for certain colors of the wired version from Target Wired Kids Headphones


Now, the next two you can give as a set, or break it up. Both from Target, I have both. I love both. They are both quite affordable, but well made. For someone who entertains, or just likes nice things in their kitchen. These pictures really don't do either the justice they deserve.

Pitcher, $13 from Target Libbey Impressions Glass Pitcher
Serving Board, $20 from Target Marble and Wood Board


And, finally, to end the list as always, please give the gift of baked goods.

Shortbread: hard to mess up, hard to stop eating. Recipe found here: Salted Chocolate Shortbread Cookies


PS- bonus life pro tip: don't vape. It is super gross.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


I watched most. I won't watch a few. Who was excited that Joy wasn't nominated? I was too. On to the ones who were nominated...

This movie was well executed, as we watched characters find a sliver of "success" amidst the housing market crash of 2008 the international recession and utter dismantling of banking worldwide. This movie took a raw, complex, thorny event and made it digestible, though a style of filmmaking could be a bit condescending at times and pandered to this superiority complex that the filmmaker had, but then again many of then men in the story have the same issue. I almost appreciated the accidental mirroring of the movie talking to the audience as if we were idiots and the bankers trying to explain their discoveries to others as if they were the same. This movie had another thing going for it: Big names. 

Underrated and long as hell. While wondering if the movie would ever end, I really did enjoy it. It was interesting and emotional. It told a story worth telling and did it in a way that only a movie can. 

It was cute. 

Won't see. It's too much. 

Longer than Bridge of Spies by three minutes, but it felt like three years longer. Casting was on point. Obviously Matt Damon was able to pull it off, and he did with humor and grit and grace. Supporting characters also fared well. Deserves the nomination, doesn't deserve a win. As everyone has noted: it is Castaway in space. Had Castaway not been made yet, I'd like this more (and I don't even like Castaway and I liked The Martian) but the magic of a single-man-isolation-show was lost (on Mars). 

Didn't see. Afraid it will be too violent, but I think we can all agree that Leo deserves Best Actor- and hopefully he will win for this, but really we know he is winning for What's Eating Gilbert Grape and they just are getting around to giving him his due finally in 2016. 

Gah. This was a good one. An excellent one. It was tourmenting and dark and funny and sad and happy. All the emotions. It was also well done; well timed, well balanced, and overall impressed me. It impressed me with the acting most of all. Though it is a "composite" of various captives/victims I did have a pang of guilt for using such tragic stories as my entertainment. I mean, how absurd is it that people are making movies and "enjoying" them. Though, it was eye opening and educational and I can't imagine anyone "enjoying" watching this movie, though it is still a movie. A full length one at that. Sometimes I save short films to explore and expose topics in a shorter format that seems almost more respectful.  It was more complex than any other nominated film this year. It took bigger risks and therefore it had bigger returns. 

It also was a topic that is so sad and draining, at every turn I was more and more upset... but they made a good movie with the story. It was over acted (Mark Ruffalo) and it was a bit ridiculous with the costumes (Rachel McAdams pants). There were flaws. It might win, and I don't think it deserves it. 

What should win: Room

What could win (no primaries, split top votes, 2nd or 3rd then default wins): The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, The Revenant 

What shouldn't win: Spotlight, The Martian, Brooklyn, Mad Max

WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: Sicarco. It was my personal favorite movie of 2015. It did get some technical noms and I am over here, like, "the sum of the parts?". It really was good. It was a good movie. A good story. Good acting. Wasn't into itself. Made me think, really think. And didn't rest it's laurels on some hot topic or some hot story from the past. It was it's own.