Archive | September, 2013

What I’m Reading Wednesday

25 Sep

z-3_4_r536_c534More than 70 years after his death, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work is still very much alive. “The Great Gatsby” has been introduced to a whole new generation with the latest film, leading people to pick up a novel that was written in 1925.

But who was the woman behind the author? Who was Fitzgerald’s muse — and some think — demise? Who was Zelda?

Author Therese Anne Fowler brings to life Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, with her novel “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald,” in hopes to “bring a maligned, talented, troubled woman the justice she deserves.”

Fowler uses research and her imagination to piece together the tragic love story of Zelda and Scott, that started with a meeting in 1918. Then Zelda was a beautiful Southern belle and Scott a young Army lieutenant.

The story is told through the troubled life of the Jazz Age icon, from her young love for Scott to her hatred of Ernest Hemingway. The novel offers a personal and interesting glimpse into what might have been.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary works are still well known today, but Zelda too was a writer in her own right, and often had to fight for the credit and respect always awarded to her husband.

If you know the Fitzgerald saga, you know how this novel ends — a tragic finale to their love and life.

To read more about this fascinating novel or to learn more about the author, visit Fower’s website.

“I don’t want to live — I want to love first, and live incidentally.” — Zelda Fitzgerald

Ramen Girl

23 Sep

ramen3_sI’m on the hunt for a good bowl of noodles. I’m not talking about spaghetti, Cup of Noodles or even pho. I’m talking about ramen (not to be confused with Top Ramen).

The area I live in seriously lacks quality ramen options. I’ve been told the nearest place is in a different county than which I live in and I’m darn near ready to make that drive! Lately (as in the last couple months) my noodle craving was peaked and pho and packaged noodle soup just aren’t cutting it.

My brother and I grew up enjoying the fruits of the Asian culture with our Japanese grandmother. She makes so many amazing dishes and as a result we have become Japanese foodie snobs. Our grandmother took us to Japan about 10 years ago where we had the best of the best Asian cuisine.

Sidenote: In Japan you can order sushi and it will be delivered to your doorstep!

I’m starting to get hungry…

I traveled to San Francisco with my dad and brother a couple of years ago and as we wandered around unfamiliar surroundings we stopped for lunch at a ramen restaurant. It was pretty warm outside, but we had found ramen!

Have you seen the movie “The Ramen Girl” starring the late Brittany Murphy? No, just me? Brittany’s character learns the true art of making ramen in Tokyo. I’m not trying to endorse the film here, I’m just trying to say the ramen in the movie looks amazing!MV5BNjMyNjE3NzE0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDI3MjY1Mg@@._V1._SX355_SY500_

Recently I gave in to my noodle craving and decided to settle on a trip to a pho place near our house. My husband was busy so I made the trip to a sit-down restaurant solo. I pulled up in the parking lot only to see the neon light for bubble tea aglow but the open sign was dormant. Closed?! Nooooooooo!

I was defeated and dejected. So I settled. I walked over to the grocery story and straight to the Asian food aisle where I picked up a package of instant noodles.

Can anybody else relate to my story? Have you ever wanted a food so badly you didn’t care what the cost? What food do you crave?

Sometimes I wear purple

16 Sep
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The season it all began, 2009.

Every football season I have to explain myself. Why would a Coug wear Husky purple?

At least one person will call me a traitor, and every time I respond with “I wear purple and gold, but I bleed crimson and gray, blah, blah, blah.”

Let me tell you why I, a Washington State University graduate, sometimes wear purple.

My story starts five football seasons ago…

My husband Trevor and I were in the blissful dating stage where we could do no wrong and were celebrating our first birthday together (we have the same birthday). Being the creative shopper I am I thought I was a genius when I ordered my Rolling Stones loving boyfriend a custom-made Stones clock made out of his favorite album. I think I spent about $30.

As we exchanged gifts he handed me a gift bag from a jewelry store. Uh oh. Inside was a beautiful diamond pendant necklace. He didn’t realize it but he had left the receipt in the bag. Doh! It was more than $30.

I knew he didn’t care about who spent what, but in my panic I told a lie.

I told him the clock was just part of his gift. Surprise! And that I also bought him Husky football season tickets, but didn’t yet have them in hand. Trevor is a lifelong University of Washington fan and in five seconds I became the world’s best girlfriend!

Lucky for me it was easy to buy season tickets in 2009. It was coach Sarkisian’s first season and the Huskies were coming off their 0-12 season (he, he). I bought our first season tickets in the open air bleacher section and then I had to go shopping.

After I bought my first purple my Facebook friends/WSU classmates didn’t hold back their feelings about a Coug wearing the enemy’s colors. During our first season I acted as if I was working in a press box. There was no cheering. I was neutral.

And then we were at our first Apple Cup together. And the Cougs lost. And then they lost again in 2011. But you better believe I was wearing my crimson among the purple party.

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A painful loss.

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The long ride home.

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I seem pretty happy. Must be before the loss, 2011.

Little did I know, my 2009 lie has followed me every football season since then. When our birthday rolled around in 2010 it was kind of expected we would renew our tickets as our gift to each other Trevor. And so the cycle repeated itself year after year after year.

We were there to see Erik Folk kick the game-winning field goal against No. 3 USC in 2009. We won field passes and watched the Huskies beat Oregon State in double overtime from the field. As we rushed the field my husband ran into Jake Locker, shook his hand and gave him a half-hug. We have seen games from the “old” Husky Stadium, CenturyLink and now the “new” Husky Stadium.

It wasn’t until a couple years later I confessed the truth. I had lied in the moment, but I think it turned out OK. Our season tickets have guaranteed us date nights during a busy season of our lives. While I now cheer at UW games, I will not be pro-purple at this year’s Apple Cup at Husky Stadium. This girl will be all crimson and gray.

Oh, and that Rolling Stones record turned clock? It’s also still a part of our lives as a decoration in our bathroom.

What I’m Reading Wednesday

11 Sep

51v-sL2brjLA thank you goes out to my friend Melissa for lending me her copy of “Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns!”

The Runway drama continues a decade later in Lauren Weisberger’s sequel to the “Devil Wears Prada.” The same characters return, including icy Miranda Priestly.

The first book ended with Andy Sachs, or Ahn-dre-ah, quitting Runway and walking out on Miranda in Paris. Fast forward to the sequel and Andy and ex-Runway employee Emily have teamed up to create The Plunge, a high-fashion wedding magazine. But even though Andy and Emily have made it in the biz free from Miranda, the “devil” returns with an offer to buy out their magazine.

Even though it’s many years later Andy still suffers from anxiety and nightmares of not being able to deliver Miranda’s requests and demands. It bugs me how much it bugs her. And for the first 140 pages I wanted to pull my hair out because of Andy’s lack of communication with her significant other, Max. Be open and honest and address issues instead of letting them fester for days!

No spoiler alerts here, but the story line takes a dramatic turn that leads to an ending I was kind of expecting, but hoping wouldn’t happen.

I hope Hollywood turns “Revenge Wears Prada” into a sequel to the 2006 movie. With Emily Blunt in the original I think it would be cool if John Krasinski was cast as Max. Speaking of which, upon a quick Google search to double check spelling of names, I noticed the couple is expecting!

What do you think of sequels? What’s your favorite sequel?

Disney is for grown ups, too

10 Sep

What is the one ride at Disneyland or California Adventure you absolutely have to ride? It’s the first ride you think about when planning your Disney vacation. Once you enter the park it’s the first ride you race to and it’s the last ride before you leave. And we won’t even talk about the devastation we would feel if that ride was closed.

For this girl that ride is Toy Story Midway Mania. Two years ago my husband and I were nearing the end of Day 2 of our anniversary trip in the Anaheim parks. We were squeezing in every last ride we could before we headed back home and along California Adventure’s Paradise Pier, we noticed a ride we hadn’t noticed before.

2499381553_ae7babd520_oWith an interactive Mr. Potato Head outside we waited in the line of our final ride of the trip. My husband and I put on the 3-D glasses and sat in the two-seater cart. In front of us were our individual toy cannons. The ride spun us through an interactive game in which we had to fire our cannons at targets in different classic carnival midway games.

Always game for a little competition my husband and I went out firing aiming for the highest score. But alas my erratic aim during the excitement of the game led to the husband finishing victorious.

Two years later as we planned our California vacation there were two must do things on my list upon entering the park: 1, ride Radiator Springs (check!) and 2, Toy Story Midway Mania (check, check, check and check!)!

Yes, I made my husband ride Toy Story four times (even waiting up to 45 minutes once), because each time we played I continued to lose! I just kept thinking one more time! I know I can beat him!

But it wasn’t meant to be. By the fourth time our right arms were exhausted from firing our virtual cannons off in rapid succession. Again, I finished the runner-up.

During that trip I learned there is one game my husband can’t beat me at: Toy Story’s Astro Blasters. I made him “drive” the spinning cart so I could focus on my targets and maybe that gave me an advantage? So be it. I am a two-time Astro Blasters champion!

So what’s your go-to ride/game? Indiana Jones? California Screamin’? Splash Mountain?

Book Shower

4 Sep
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Books!

At a book club meeting a friend of mine shared her pre-wedding festivities included a bridal book shower. I thought it was a genius idea and set out to plan a book shower for someone!

First I had to find a bride-to-be! It just so happened a friend of mine was getting ready to tie the knot and also happens to be a bookworm. Bingo!

Then came the research. A Pinterest search revealed everything I could possibly learn about baby book showers, but not much about bridal themes. Hopefully this post will make the rounds and inspire others to throw their adult friends book showers for occasions of every kind!

The party planning started with the invitations. I was able to order old school library check-out cards on Amazon. Do they still exist in libraries?

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The invite.

My friend Sarah (also a bookworm and a member of the bridal party) became my event co-planner and the sushi lunch meeting/planning sessions began!

Invites were sent and requested the attendees to bring a book they enjoyed to give to the bride.

We decided on an outdoor covered picnic area at a local park for the location. We covered the tables with table cloths and created centerpieces of stacked books on each table. Sarah added tealight candles for ambiance. The food table included sweet treats and coffee.

Sarah brought a small bookcase for gifts to be placed in.

We created two games for the guests: 1, multiple choice book trivia and 2, write a quote, lyric, advice on a bookmark and the bride picked her favorite. Prizes were of course books.

The bride received a variety of books, including from her favorite young adult genre. There were classics, popular fiction, humorous selections and then the gem I brought: a “Baby Sitter’s Club” book because we’re products of the ’80s). Some guests also brought bridal shower-type gifts as well.

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Centerpiece.

Not that the bride needed 20 new books, but it was still fun to celebrate a bride who loves to read!

What ideas do you have for a book shower? Any special themes?