Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I'm taking the week off blogging to spend time with my family. I wish you and your loved ones all the best for the holidays!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Four Star Finds: Trader Joe’s Mini Hold the Cone Peppermint Flavored Ice Cream Cones

For my last holiday treat of the season, I just had to write about these mini ice cream cones-they’re awesome! The cones aren’t regular cones, they’re chocolate sugar cones that are lined with chocolate. They pair so well with the peppermint ice cream, and the combination just the right size for something sweet after dinner. Be sure to buy some before they’re sold out!

As always, I receive no compensation for endorsing this product.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Book Review: "Blood, Bones and Butter”

Blood, Bones and Butter
Gabrielle Hamilton

Because my son lives in New York City and I visit him about once a month, I’ve gotten very into the New York food scene. I love the restaurants there and keep a running list of restaurants I’ve tried and ones I want to try. Prune is on the list of great restaurants I’ve heard about but haven’t yet tried. When I read about this memoir by New York chef Gabrielle Hamilton, owner/chef of Prune, I thought it would be an interesting read.

Hamilton has lead an unconventional life, beginning in her childhood and continuing into her adulthood. Unlike most chefs, she is self-taught and not classically trained, but like most chefs, she has a deep love and appreciation for food. Reading this memoir about what tough lives chefs lead gives me a new admiration for those in this profession.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Movie Reviews: “The Disaster Artist,” “Daddy’s Home 2” & “Darkest Hour”

The Disaster Artist
Rated R

Eccentric millionaire Tommy Wiseau and his best friend, actor Greg Sestero, make a movie that becomes a cult classic.

Though I’ve never heard of The Room, it’s a beloved midnight movie with a huge following. Based on the true story of making this movie, The Disaster Artist is unique, different and unexpected.

Daddy’s Home 2
Rated Pg-13

Father Brad and Stepfather Dusty join forces when they end up spending the holidays together, along with their fathers and Dusty’s wife’s ex-husband.

Daddy’s Home 2 is a movie that surprised me. I went in expecting to be mildly entertained and figured the best parts were already shown in the trailers, but I genuinely liked this movie. It was sweet and funny and touching.

Darkest Hour
Rated PG-13

Darkest Hour opens with the call for Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s resignation and the installation of Winston Churchill. With the British Army stranded at Dunkirk, his unpopularity with King George and the machinations of scheming fellow Parliamentarians, Churchill must decide whether to negotiate with Germany or attempt to change the course of world history.

When I went into this movie, I thought it was the life story of Winston Churchill. Instead, it’s a glimpse into his first 30 days as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The acting in this movie is superb, the story is compelling, and I think this film will deservedly earn some awards later this season.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Home Comforts: Improved Shower Bottles

Before-bottles for shower products

After-Improved shower product bottles
Click here for more information on the bottles

A while ago, I wrote a post about decanting shower products into matching bottles (Click here to view it). The shower looked a lot better than with the unmatched bottles that were various sizes, but the clear bottles bothered me because I could always see how much product was left.

One day when I was shopping at Muji, a Japan-based department store that sells consumer goods and home products, when I came upon white rectangular plastic pump bottles. They’re perfect for shower products. The pump enables me to easily access the product inside, the bottles are design-savvy and the minimal look in the shower makes me happy. If you’re wondering how I know which product is in each bottle, Muji sells preprinted self-stick labels that I placed on the bottom of each bottle. What could be better?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Travel: Downton Abbey Exhibition in New York City

the kitchen, along with Mrs Padmore's and Daisy's outfits

Kevin and I were huge Downton Abbey fans and were sad when the series ended. I was thrilled to discover a traveling exhibition that was has sets and costumes from the series. The exhibition was structured like the Crowley’s home, and the first floor included a model of the kitchen, servants’ dining room and Carson’s butler pantry. The second floor has replicas of the family’s dining room and Lady Mary’s bedroom, along with a special display for Violet, the dowager Countess. The second floor is also home to many of the characters’outfits, along with articles providing insight into the times. The third floor is smaller and mainly has Lady Mary’s and Lady Edith’s dresses and accessories.

Visiting the exhibit was a pleasant trip down memory lane. It was nice to see the sets and to see how much detail goes into them. I was especially impressed by the workmanship in the costumes-they're stunning!

This exhibit is temporary, so visit soon if you’re going to be in New York City. Click here for more information on the exhibit.

the servants' dining room. Notice the servants' bells at the far right?

Carson's butler pantry

one of Lady Mary's dresses

the family's dining table

a very formal place setting

Lady Mary's boudoir