Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Have you Elfed yourself for the holidays?

After seeing this on Amy's blog, I had to try it out for myself. It's fun and good for a chuckle.

I turned my family into Christmas elves here.

The photo application is great and it's so simple to use.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Wow. A perfect dance. Sabrina Bryan and Mark Ballas dance the Cha Cha in the season finale of Dancing With The Stars. I'm guessing they feel vindicated with this dance (even though they weren't competing in the finals).

Going back to when Sabrina Bryan and Mark Ballas got the boot, it was controversial since they were one of the best dancers (the judges loved them), but they failed to receive the number of votes they needed from the public resulting in the lowest overall score. Afterwards people questioned the voting elimination system. Did it need to be changed to ensure that the better dancers do in fact make it to the next round (due to their dancing performances and not JUST the number of popularity votes)?

Then you read Sabrina Bryan's bio:
Equally successful on screen and stage, Sabrina Bryan continues to demonstrate her creative versatility. Performing since she was seven years-old, Sabrina is currently a member of the multi-platinum recording act, The Cheetah Girls, as well as the star of the hugely successful Disney Channel movie franchise of the same name. Sabrina also starred in and co-produced a fitness-dance DVD called BYOU which was created so young girls can have fun learning cool, hip hop style dancing and get fit at the same time. BYOU was founded in early 2006 and has sold more than double-platinum. She is also co-writing the book Princess of Gossip for Pocket/MTV Books.

In case you didn't want to read all that
She's a professional dancer...

She definitely didn't deserve to be eliminated, but I question whether she should have even been allowed on the show as a contestant in the first place.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ice T pimpin' Dell for the holidays

Dell has a new campaign with celebrities selling your Dell gift wishes. You create your pitch by selecting a product and celebrity, and send this video pitch to your family and friends.

Check out the video featuring Ice T as "Silky Sell" here, pimping a Dell XPS notebook. It gave me a good chuckle. He's perfect for the part.

Other celebrities featured:
Burt Reynolds
Vivica Fox
Estelle Harris
Chuck Liddell
Brooke Burke

It's pretty innovative in that it gets people talking about Dell, and reminds us that we don't want to be stuck at the mall trying to find that perfect gift, when we can shop online and have it delivered to our front door. Plus, if you've been promised a new laptop for work, you can always send a video reminder to your boss.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Bob Baker Marionette Theatre

Bob Baker Marionette Theatre
1345 W. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Voted "Best Puppet Show" 2007 by Los Angeles Magazine.
Voted "Best of LA" 2007 by LA Parent's Magazine.

General admission for the show is $15 each for adults and children. Children under 2 are free. Reservations are required. (See website above.)

The theatre is the oldest, longest running puppet theatre in America. Bob Baker, the proprietor, has been doing puppetry for 72 years, starting when he was 8 in 1932. Offering puppet shows & commercial puppets including the Disney line of collectible marionettes. The theatre seats approximately 250/300. Adults sit in chairs, children sit on the floor around a "magic circle" where the marionettes are brought out to them. Ice cream is served after the show.

Promo Video
Watch their cute 30 second promo video here.

Can't wait!
Years ago when I worked in Downtown LA and lived in Silverlake, I took a shortcut using Glendale Blvd., (which intersects 1st Street), and passed right by the theatre. It perked my interest and I've always wanted to go. Now that my daughter is old enough, and the Christmas holiday is around the corner (they're performing the classic Nutcracker until the end of January), we purchased our tickets for the Christmas Eve show.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Can't forget the pooch on Thanksgiving

Our dog also enjoyed a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving 2007!

Happy Thanksgiving!
It's a beautiful day in Los Angeles, and I have much to be thankful for.
Enjoy your turkey day and subsequent food coma. **Gobble Gobble**

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Butterball House of Horrors

It's Thanksgiving Eve.

I was reading an article about Bush pardoning a turkey when I came across this video - Butterball House of Horrors.

It was taken at a Butterball slaughterhouse by undercover investigators from PETA. The violence and cruelty inflicted on the turkeys by the Butterball employees is horrific. They even sexually assaulted the turkeys. Torture is what it amounts to. Chilling and the stuff nightmares are made of.

This year we got an organic turkey so HOPEFULLY it was treated more humanely. But in addition to training and oversight of these poultry workers, it makes me rethink my plans for next year's Thanksgiving dinner.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Bachelor's most shocking final rose ceremony ever!

Did you watch the season finale of The Bachelor last night?

The exaggerated hook (so you'll stay tuned)
The host of the show always claims that what's coming up next will be
"...The most shocking ___fill in the blank___ ever!"
This claim is made so often in fact that it could be turned into a drinking game. Each time we hear it said (again!) we sigh, roll our eyes, and laugh when the show is at it's most ridiculous.

But last night really WAS the most shocking final rose ceremony ever!

Why do I keep watching?
Yes, I got sucked into watching a few episodes this season (season #11), which was sometimes painful and still a complete waste of time - but hey you can talk and laugh through the entire show - and with a glass of red wine in hand it's a nice way to end the day winding down with the spouse. (It also doesn't hurt that my husband likes the show more than I do.) And once in a blue moon you catch yourself smiling and hoping for true love. So says the romantic in me. And when there's a proposal at the end you wish the couple the best and hope they live happily ever after.

Jaws dropped all over TV land
After watching last night's season finale I thought, "Oh boy the blogs are gonna go berserk calling Brad Womack (the current Bachelor) a jerk" and sure enough - read this post by Celebrity Smack:
Brad Womack is a Jerk!!

Not only did he tell the 1st bachelorette finalist to go home, but while trying to tell the 2nd finalist that he loved her, he stopped, pulled at his collar, and looked like he was having a panic attack. After saying, "I can't" he walked off the podium, to pace around, only to return to tell her good-bye as well. Was he only on the show to become a B celebrity? I felt bad for the women who were humiliated on national TV. But of course we're all still talking about it. How could we not? Brad Womack made history as the first Bachelor to not choose either of the two finalists. As insensitive as it was, it also lived up to the hype of being the most shocking rose ceremony ever.

Quotable links
‘The Bachelor’s’ choice? Nobody!

'Bachelor' star Brad Womack rejects both Jenni Croft, DeAnna Pappas

Hopefully Brad Womack gets his ass beaten with a sock full of quarters by both of these vengeful ladies. Now that would be a surprise twist.

Reader Reactions: Brad Womack Still A 'Bachelor'

The Bachelor: Was Brad Still Talking To His Ex?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Are you still dreaming?

My husband brought up this thought-provoking subject - Are you still dreaming?

Matthew Kelly, founder and president of Floyd Consulting, was interviewed on Tom Peters' site about his newest book 'The Dream Manager'.

"The first time you ask people to list their dreams, they tend to put together a shopping list and a travel book. But, as they begin to live a little bit more and experience some of those dreams, they begin to ask, "What are my legacy dreams? What are my character dreams? What are my spiritual dreams? What are my adventure dreams? What are my creative dreams?" Those are the higher level dreams.

But it's important to recognize that a lot of people have stopped dreaming. And if they've stopped dreaming in their own life, good luck trying to get them to subscribe to a dream that you have for your organization. It's simply unreasonable to expect people to do something for your business that they are not willing to do for their own lives."

It got me thinking of my childhood dreams...
Photo by: SideShowMom

I dreamt of becoming a Pediatrician, (only to discover I couldn't stand the sight of blood). I also dreamt of a gum tree, because gum was my favorite candy. What could be better than picking gum off a tree whenever I wanted more? My mom helped me make this dream come true. Together we spent an entire afternoon scotch-taping sticks of Juicy Fruit gum (from an industrial sized carton) to the hanging leaves of the big tree in our backyard.I always dreamt of marrying a blond haired, blue eyed German - and we all know how that turned out.

On how to get back in touch with your dreams
"Sit down and put together a list of 100 dreams. It will be hard work at first, but take a look at the 12 areas: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, psychological, material, professional, financial, creative, adventure, legacy, and character. Essentially, if you come up with eight dreams in each of those areas, you've got your list of 100 dreams.

If you simply write your list of 100 dreams, put it in a drawer, and never look at it ever again, that one experience is life changing.

The next step is to start a conversation with the people in your life about their dreams, whether it's your spouse, your children, or the people you work with. You have to be careful with that. It will freak them out if you spring it on them out of nowhere. To ease into it, try saying, "If there were no limits on time or money, where are seven places you'd love to go in the next seven years?" And then you both make a list and talk about it. See which ones match up and which ones are very different. I think that's an easy way to start that conversation because lots of people dream of traveling. I think it's a great way to ease into the conversation."

My dreams
My husband's post inspired me to make my own dream list.

Photo by: kajo55



Intellectual Photo by: Anita Huang


Photo by: neloqua

Psychological Photo by:

Material Photo by: michael.heiss

Professional Photo by: nickherber

Financial Photo by: mark sebastian

Creative Photo by: catharina102

AdventurePhoto by: Luba Roniss

LegacyPhoto by: setev


So what are your physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, psychological, material, professional, financial, creative, adventure, legacy, and character dreams?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Sexiest Man Alive in 2007 (according to People Magazine) *Revised*

People Magazine came out with their “Sexiest Men Alive” 2007 edition today, and this year's winner is...Matt Damon. *Yawn*

Former winners include: George Clooney (2006 & 1997), Matthew McConaughey (2005), and Jude Law (2004).

Also on People's list of sexy men this year are Patrick Dempsey, Ryan Reynolds, Brad Pitt, James McAvoy, Johnny Depp, Dave Annable, Will Smith, Javier Bardem, Shemar Moore, Ben Affleck, Adrian Grenier, Will Yun Lee and Justin Timberlake.

My Sexy List U. (A reality star crush of mine.)

Christian Bale (Batman, American Psycho) James Franco ("Freaks and Geeks", James Dean, Tristan + Isolde) Peter Facinelli (Yes, Jennie Garth's husband. He was perfect for the role of Gregory Malina in the FX series "Damages".) James McAvoy (He’s the only one to appear on People’s list. He played the doctor in The Last King of Scotland. He also stars opposite Christina Ricci in Penelope, the modern day fairytale.) Heath Ledger (Lords of Dogtown, Brokeback Mountain)
Julian McMahon (He plays Dr. Christian Troy on "Nip/Tuck".)
Josh Holloway (He plays Sawyer on the TV series "Lost".)
David Duchovny (Have you been watching the Showtime hit series "Californication"? It's one of the best shows on television. Duchovny’s portrayal of Hank Moody, a down and out, but brilliant writer – think Charles Bukowski but better looking and loves women – is truly beautiful. You can’t help but fall in love with his character.) Ryan Gosling (The Notebook - need I say more?)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

No Country for Old Men

Tonight I saw the new Coen brother's movie, No Country for Old Men based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy.

The movie is worth seeing despite the awful title, (which no one can seem to remember). Take a classic shoot em up, chase em down, wild west outlaw movie with a cold blooded villain; modernize it and throw in lots and lots of violence, add one psychopathic killer, pepper with good actors and some Coen brother's humor - and you've got the recipe for this movie.

Within the first 1o minutes of this movie you see a man being strangled to death, and afterwards you're shown the scuff marks his boots left on the white linoleum floor as he struggled. It's shocking. The violence-o-dometer is off the charts. You see people getting killed in new and unique ways never before seen in a film. At the end of the movie I had a fever, literally from being so disturbed. I don't know what was more disturbing though...the violence in the movie...or the guy sitting next to me at the Arc Light who laughed while watching a man choke on his own blood.

But in summary, it's a movie that leaves questions in the end, and you're left thinking about those questions long after the film has ended. Plot
"Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash near the Rio Grande."

The cast includes Tommy Lee Jones (the Sheriff, Ed Tom Bell)
As always, he has the Texas drawl / speak down pat. He's believable as a 3rd generation lawman. He had some great lines. I'd like to see him nominated for an Oscar for this part.
Javier Bardem (if the Grim Reaper were human, Anton Chigurh)
He gave a bone chilling portrayal of a villain / killer. I also hope he's nominated for an Oscar for this role. Josh Brolin (the main character, Llewelyn Moss)
Who knew the teenager from The Goonies would grow up to play such a bad*ss? Woody Harrelson (the gentleman bounty-hunter, Carson Wells)
He's a hired man and cowboy with a sense of humor. I only wish there was more of him in this movie. There's even a cameo by Stephen Root (the actor who played "Milton" the guy with the stapler, in the movie Office Space), who plays the Boss in this film. It was fun to see him as a completely different character.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Top 10 Genetically Engineered Food Crops

I found this list on the Healthy Child Healthy World website.
Scary stuff! Especially when I haven't seen ANY fresh organic corn on the cob this year. And we're all worried about what we're feeding our kids.

1. Corn: Our number-one agricultural commodity. In 2000, 79.5 million acres of harvested cropland in the U.S. were corn, 25% of which was genetically engineered. This includes Bt and Roundup Ready corn varieties.

2. Soy: The number-two U.S. agricultural commodity. Sixty percent of processed foods contain soy ingredients, and 82% of edible fats and oils consumed in the U.S. are soy-based. In 2000, 54% of the 74.5 million acres of soybeans grown in the U.S. was Roundup Ready soy.

3. Potato: Currently, the only GE potato is a Burbank Russet variety, marketed under the name NewLeaf. This Bt-producing plant is lethal to the Colorado potato beetle – and possibly to beneficial insects.

4. Tomato: The first GE tomato, the Flavr Savr, was introduced commercially in 1994, but flopped because it proved tasteless. Since then, other varieties, including a cherry tomato, have been genetically engineered to delay ripening and extend shelf life.

5. Canola: Of the 15 million acres of canola grown in the U.S. and Canada annually, 35% is GE, mostly for herbicide-resistance.

6. Cottonseed Oil: In 2000, 61% of the 15.5 million acres of cotton grown in the U.S. was genetically engineered. Every year, half a million tons of cottonseed oil makes its way into salad dressings, baked goods and snack foods. About 1.4 million tons of cottonseed meal is fed to livestock annually.

7. Papaya: More than one third of Hawaiian papayas have been genetically engineered to withstand the papaya ringspot virus. Organic papaya growers in Hawaii worry that the pollen from GE papaya trees will contaminate their crops.

8. Radicchio: Currently one variety of radicchio, called Seed Link, has been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glufosinate.

9. Squash: Several varieties of summer squash have been genetically engineered to resist mosaic viruses. Some scientists are concerned that resistance to the virus may spread to weedy relatives, such as gourds, found in the U.S., creating invasive superweeds.

10. Salmon: A company called Aqua Bounty has engineered a salmon with genes from two different fish species so that it grows much more quickly than non-GE salmon. The company now seeks FDA approval to market this fish for human consumption. Escaped into the environment, (which is inevitable on fish farms), the GE fish may be larger and more aggressive, eat more food, and mate more often, though their offspring are less fit to survive in the wild, raising the possibility of wild species extinction. Human health effects are also relatively unknown. Currently, research on transgenic strains of 35 fish species world-wide is underway.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Steel Drum Friday

Happy Friday!
Here's a Jamaican steel drum band playing "One Love".

So glad The Amazing Race is back (12th Edition)

Best family show on network TV. You can watch this show with your grandparents, parents, spouse, child(ren), and friends. It's a race around the globe (this time traveling more than 30,000 miles from Ireland to Croatia in 28 days), a competition, a bonding experience (ripe for tension and meltdowns), a travel show, and a game show all in one.

Here are a few of my favorite teams this season:Ronald & Christina
(Gotta love the "Who's your Daddy" shirt.)

"A father/daughter team who are competing in the race to make up for lost time. Since Ronald was constantly traveling for work throughout much of his daughter's formative years, Christina hopes the Race will allow her father--a self-proclaimed workaholic--to stop and smell the roses and provide them with some meaningful time together."
Jennifer & Nathan
(Couple to provide best entertainment value with all their fighting.)

"This couple first met in college while living together with other friends. Both admit they couldn't stand each other at first, but soon grew closer and started dating. They've broken up several times in their two-year courtship (Nathan even admits to cheating with another woman), but remain true to each other. In one breath each will tell you that the other is their soul-mate and in the next, they'll tell you how much the other drives them crazy."
Kynt & Vyxsin
(Every reality show needs a goth couple.)

"These best friends have been dating on and off for over three years. Both are active in their local scene, regularly hosting and acting as emcee at rock shows and club nights. Between the two of them they've collectively had their hair dyed 18 different colors. The most difficult part of the race will undoubtedly be keeping up their daily make up routine."

I'm rooting for James, the gravedigger (Survivor, China)

He secured my vote when he shouted out, "B*tch!* in response to Jean-Robert yapping in his ear reminding everyone of their itchy bug bites on their backs, (JR's strategy to unnerve his opponents), while balancing on a floating barrel leaking water. He works hard. He dominates the game. He's a nice, shy guy with an unusual job. People respect him but underestimate him.
I hope it comes down to James and Todd (the flight attendant and puppet master) going head to head as the final two.

Julianne Hough & Helio Castroneves dancing the Samba

I don't get Julianne's bird feather bustier, but the dancing is great. Helio shows off his Brazilian moves.

Anyone remember your 1st Friendster friend? (Where are they now?)

Tom Anderson -dork ---vs---Tom Anderson 2.0 -rich Cali millionaire

Compliments of LAist

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fresh & Easy opens on Eagle Rock Blvd.

Today it finally happened - the highly anticipated, long awaited opening of the Fresh & Easy grocery store on Eagle Rock Blvd. in Los Angeles. The store has been touted as competition for Whole Foods (who coincidentally just opened a new store in Pasadena which is supposed to be the largest Whole Foods to date) and Trader Joe's so I couldn't wait for today's grand opening to the public so I could finally check it out.

Earlier in the day when I drove past the store, picketers were out front holding a "Shame on Fresh & Easy" labor dispute banner. In the evening, they were handing out flyers. One picketer was out there in the cold holding his toddler in a Baby Bjorn. Does anyone know what it's about? I read that they pay a minimum of $10/hour, and prior to opening they had want ads out for positions paying $13/hr with benefits. I had the impression they were good to their employees.

Pulling in anyway, every parking spot was taken and cars were circling waiting for a spot to open up. I remember when it used to be an Albertson's and there was always plenty of parking. Strange when it has a new face, but it's the same place, and now it's packed.

When Albertson's closed, the building remained vacant for a long time which wasn't good for the neighborhood. (Although I can't say I was sad to see Albertson's go, as I had stopped shopping there a long time before, after 2 consecutive visits I came home with spoiled chicken.)

So all this excitement about the building being newly occupied again, an upscale grocery store in our neighborhood, and an alternative to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's - I couldn't wait.

Q: Did it live up to all the hype?
A: Sadly - No.

What happened to the Organic items?
I had read that the store was "green" environmentally friendly and they had many organic items. However, after shopping there, I was very disappointed to find only a few organic items:
1) Chocolate (I snagged a bar.)
2) Milk (I stock up on organic milk from Costco which is a better deal, is really fresh with a later expiration date, and I don't run the risk of running out.)
3) Juice (Nice to have but my family rarely drinks juice.)
4) Frozen peas and corn (I snagged a bag.)
5) Amy's frozen pizza (I snagged one.)

Unlike Trader Joe's, there wasn't even a small organic produce section. Nor were there any organic eggs to be found (there was cage free as if that's any consolation prize). But the kicker came when I went to look for organic cereal for my 2 1/2 year old daughter. I couldn't find a single one! (Lots of Fresh & Easy knock offs though.) Both Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have shelves stocked with a variety of organic cereals. Also, their meat section was lacking of any organic (or at least "all natural" hormone/antibiotic free) fresh products (including poultry) that I shop for at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

Nor were there any organic or "salt free" snacks (like pretzels and tortilla chips). I found their selection to be less upscale, and more the "Doritos" kind of snacks that a Ralphs keeps in stock.
Decor that shouts minimal and cheap
I like their signage, (props to the graphic designers), but the store's decor reminded me of a Costco wholesale type store with it's merchandise packed into opened cardboard boxes stacked up on flimsy plastic shelving.

Problems with the Layout
They definitely didn't do a good job with the interior layout (no Feng Shui that's for sure). Many of the aisles are too narrow, or partially blocked with poles holding up the roof, which makes it difficult to maneuver around other shoppers. It might just be the mad rush of opening day, but it was MAD getting around that store. Shopping cart traffic jams everywhere. Also the check out system is way lame. You line up in front of the cashier, which causes more congestion in front of the store, so people are stuck waiting in line while people are trying to get by them. It would make more sense to have customers stand towards the end of the register lane so that at least one shopping cart would be out of the way. But here everything is done up front. I also have to reach over the cashier's screen to sign my name on the credit card machine (just awkward).

What they did Right
1) They opened a store in my neighborhood. Kudos and long overdue!
2) They mailed out $10 coupons to the neighborhood, which brought in more customers. And after my purchase I received a $6 coupon (on my next purchase over $30).3) They have a decent cheese section (varieties from Holland and Britain).
4) They had staff assigned to direct traffic (both in the parking lot and at the registers).
5) Their staff was friendly and easily identifiable with their green Fresh & Easy shirts.
6) They really brought out the community (look we're all talking about it!).
7) Although they're a British company, they really do feel local.
8) Easily accessible restrooms. (Hey I have a toddler who just started wearing panties, so good, clean, and easily accessible restrooms are important.)
The cashier was more than happy to let me take his photo.
The fellow bagging my groceries had them bagged in plastic before the cashier alerted him that I had brought my own bags. He complimented me on my wholesale sized/reusable bags that I picked up from Costco. He loved my one insulated bag with the silver lining so much he said, "I've never seen a bag like this before. It's so cool I almost want to buy it from you."
9) On the way out I heard one lady ask for a free bag - which they ran out of and said they'd have more tomorrow. So although I didn't receive one, it was still a nice gesture.

Constructive Feedback
I wrote to the company and gave them some feedback in case there's a chance they're listening and will makes some changes (more importantly stocking up on more organic products in the future).
Considering what could have gone into that vacant lot, believe me I'm grateful for a grocery store and I hope they're successful.

If they are listening - Great. If they're not, then I have to admit that as much as I like the idea of having an upscale grocery store in my neighborhood, there isn't a lot that I shop for in that store. It's conveniently located so I might make a quick stop if I need to run in and get an item or two, but other than that, I don't see myself shopping there for my weekly groceries. I hope they're listening. The store just didn't live up to the hype and my expectations (I was hoping for better), so it was disappointing.

The first thing my husband asked when he walked in the door was, "So how was it???" (Fresh & Easy)