Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph

I had the opportunity to see an advanced screening of Wreck-it Ralph and I haven't been this excited about a movie in a long time! I thought the trailer looked great, but the movie even exceeded my expectations!

Fix-It Felix, Jr. is an 80s-era 8-bit arcade game. The object is to help Felix fix the building that is wrecked by Ralph, and after 30 years of his role in this game, well, Ralph is tired of being the bad guy. Ralph takes matters into his own hands and journey's across various arcade games to try and earn love and respect.
Along the way he encounters characters from a variety of games, from first person shooters to racing and old school games. Any fan of 80s games like me will LOVE the hilarious  nod to childhood memories. Candy is also featured heavily in this movie, and candy lovers will adore all the fun references to fanciful sweets.

I was pleased to see strong female characters play big roles in this movie, which provided guidance and unexpected turns to Ralph's journey. There are over 190 unique characters in the world of Wreck-It Ralph, more than in other Disney animated movie! The details of these characters added so many layers to the fun and surprises along Ralph's epic adventure.

Every scene had so much heart yet was full of excitement. It's a great show for everyone in the family and I can't wait to see it again. Wreck-It Ralph opens in theaters on November 2.

*Disney provided me with passes to the screening and no other compensation, the thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Land of Awes

Every Halloween the Natural History Museum outdoes itself and throws a fantastic party for upper level museum members. The museum is transformed for the night and guests get into the act, arriving in costumes and ready to celebrate!

This year the theme was Oz, or awes as in the Land of Awes and the museum pulled out all the stops. There were informative stations about animals, craft stations, photo ops and tons and tons of snacks. Oh yes, the best part of this were the free food stations. When else can you eat in a museum??

 There were drinks, hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, a quesadilla bar and a dessert bar. As I sat with my coffee and brownies we watched as kids went up to Glinda the Good Witch who was stuck in this bubble outside. She was right next to the quesadilla station which would be torture to me - stuck in a bubble not being able to eat Mexican food? That IS a scary Halloween.

 While I wouldn't have minded hanging around the dessert bar all night there was more to see! All the exhibits were open including the (UGH) Spider Pavilion. Hm, walking through the pitch black with a flashlight surrounded by UNCAGED spiders? Yeah that's my nightmare. Instead we looked at the cool animal exhibits and displays and did the scavenger hunt.

After we gathered all the clues and solved the puzzle it was off to see the wizard, and boy did he have a prize for us...halloween candy! The candy was generously donated by Ralphs and there were also stations that handed out all the healthy snacks you could want from GoGo Squeeze and Clif Z bars and Z fruit which made for some healthy Halloween options.

The kids had a blast especially because they got to see all their favorite exhibits without the crowds. It was a  night was full of fun and an event I look forward to every year!

Visiting or being a museum member is important to the culture and education of Los Angeles and it's a fun way to get your kids exposed to great events around town!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph is coming!

I'm very much a fan of old skool video games and I'm sure you saw the cool halftime show that was a tribute to gaming. So it makes sense that I've been on the edge of my seat waiting for Wreck-It Ralph to come out since they announced the project!

Wreck-It Ralph comes out in 10 days and it looks fantastic! If your kids can't wait like mine, give them these coloring pages, it's a fun way to do your own after-dinner-art project!

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Monday, October 22, 2012


Growing up in Southern California I have strong memories of going to Farrell's for ice cream birthday parties. The noise of the drums, the candy shop, the whirlwind that surrounded every. single. birthday child. It was chaos, crazy and I loved it.

Then all the Farrell's disappeared and no modern children ever got to know the fanfare that involved ordering 'The Zoo' ...until now. Yes Farrell's has made a small comeback, ironically the one I went to most recently in it's new introduction was in Hawaii but now there are a few stores here in California.
I finally made it over to Brea (which is a trek for a non-OC person) and I wasn't disappointed. It very much reminded me of the Farrell's of old. Fun, food, lots of ice cream and craziness.

My kids had gone there prior to me so it was old hat for them, but for me - going back for the first time as an adult, well - it was noisy. Every two seconds some sort of noise was going off and while I enjoyed that as a kid, as an adult I had a hard time...concentrating, holding a conversation, eating, etc. But I had to remember that's the fun of it and the whole reason you choose Farrell's for lunch.
Wanting to save my appetite for dessert, I ordered a half blt and half caesar which was tasty and plentiful and just enough to save room for something sweet. After all, the ice cream is what you come for and the dessert menu options were extensive.

Dessert menu items like 'ice cream nachos' and 'fake chicken dinner' sounded interesting, but not interesting enough to order them. The tried and true 'Belly Busters' were the ones that feed more than 2 people and when they arrive at your table it's very reminiscent of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. I found myself saying "ZIGGY PIGGY" when this "Pig's Trough" arrived.

All large sundae orders come along with custom songs and dances (it's amusing that the fine print on the menu says you can opt out of them.) If you power through and finish the large ones you get MORE fanfare and a celebratory pin. I decided to just stick with my favorite, the Mocha Nut sundae.
More importantly, true to the old days, if it's your birthday you get a free sundae, a pretty good deal nowadays!

My one complaint would be that the group of waiters and waitresses who do their song and dance took time to 'shame' an entire table for texting. I get it, texting in public is bad form but what about for us food bloggers who tweet, instagram and basically do free pr for some of these places? I get the shaming, but the fact that the waiters made us all BOO this one table was kind of off putting.
Per the norm, after the meal we stopped for the obligatory stroll through the famous Farrell's old fashioned candy shop. I somehow remember it being a lot bigger when I was a kid but maybe I was just smaller. Hm.

Farrell's Brea
215 S Brea Blvd
Brea, CA 92821

update! New location at Buena Park, across the street from Knott's Berry Farm!
Farrell's Buena Park
8650 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Martha Stewart Everyday Food

Last year was the infamous turkey cake incident. I bought the Baby a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake that was shaped like a turkey, only it was horribly wrong. I must update this by saying that Baskin Robbins found out about it and reimbursed me for the cake - totally unnecessary because it was still delicious just...ugly.

So it's even funnier that the turkey incident lives on as I was quoted in this month's Martha Stewart's Everyday Food about 'unusual holiday traditions.' Everyday Food is one of my favorite magazines and I have been a subscriber since the beginning, I still have my issues from 2005!

It's hilarious and thrill that the turkey cake memories continue and it's about that time of year for another one, though this time I'll probably just make it. Here's a shot of the quote from the November issue:

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Frankenweenie pumpkin carving

Halloween is a few weeks away! I usually carve an elaborate pumpkin every year but this year I'm a little short on inspiration. I've done Batman, Paul Frank's Julius, Peter Pan but what next? 

Disney has these Frankenweenie stencils which are pretty cute and simple to use! I like the bat in the window a lot. Feel free to download these and let me know what you plan on carving for Halloween!

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hello Kitty, Hello Art!

Last night I was invited to a private party to celebrate the release of the amazing book "Hello Kitty, Hello Art!" by Roger Gastman.

The party was held at Known gallery which was filled with some of the Sanrio inspired art in the book. Hello Kitty, Pandapple, Little Twin Stars, My Melody and other Sanrio characters, proved to be great inspiration for the artists. The bulk of the walls featured works from the artist Pose, full of color with characters overlapping and hidden, the more you look the more you find.
Cruisin by Pose
I love this piece where I found one of my favorite Sanrio characters, Kiki from Little Twin Stars, popping out in the corner.
Hello Kitty Chandelier by Adam Wallacavage
There adorable but creepy Hello Kitty chandeliers by Adam Wallacavage were another favorite. I need this over my dining room table.
Hello Kitty Block Party by Aiko
Hello Kitty neon - art by Risk
Hello Kitty statue - art by Risk
 Everywhere I looked, there was Hello Kitty. It was like a dream come true!
This is my candidate of choice this election
The party was fantastic,  I ran into a few friends and I got a lot of compliments on my shoes, thank you very much:
There were so many great pieces in the gallery and the book has even more, over 200 works of art, interviews and quotes with artists. Roger Gastman did an amazing job as always and "Hello Kitty, Hello Art!" is a treasure for every Hello Kitty fan.

To coincide with the release of the book Known Gallery is having a one day pop up (TODAY) October 14 from 1- 6pm.
Known Gallery
441 North Fairfax, Los Angeles

You can watch a video of Pose preparing for the art show here:

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Are you ready to rock...yourself back and forth in the shower

I have been a Morrissey fan for YEARS. Always a Smiths fan, it was exciting when Viva Hate came out and I listened to the cassette tape (what) over and over. I even went to three California stops on the Your Arsenal tour. Yeah, I'm a pretty big fan.

This Colbert Report interview cracked me up. A reknown vegetarian, Morrissey gets grilled pretty hard by Colbert but it's absolutely hilarious:

Sunday, October 07, 2012

I love Nutella

Last week when I instagrammed a pic of a big momma size jar of Nutella next to a 'baby' size jar, I realized how much I love Nutella.

The first time I ate it was when I was living in Italy and it wasn't even available in the US. I brought jars back in my suitcase, hoping to never run out. Then the markets opened in America and now you can find it everywhere!

I really enjoy using it for baking: Nutella Bread Pudding, Nutella pancakes, Nutella chocolate chip cookies, Nutella Ice Cream, Nutella Pie - I even make Nutella mochi.

But my favorite to eat it is always plain on toast or crackers I love these teeny individual serving packets...
...and just this week I saw these 'Nutella & go' that come with dippable breadsticks, very similar to a Japanese snack that's been on the market for years:

And possibly the best Nutella container of all time is the one I found years ago in a little deli: A Justice League jar featuring Flash - comics and Nutella, two of my favorite things!

Check out my Nutella board on pinterest!


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Third Grade

Somehow Third Grade snuck up on me and I was totally unprepared. I feel like everything has suddenly changed. I no longer seem to have the answers, I'm being passed by for google and Siri. Such is life in the world where encylopedias are extinct.

Two weeks ago I got the paperwork I'd been dreading: The Third Grade Diorama. Oh lord. I am not a pushy mom and I refuse to do the kid's homework for them, but I knew this was going to be an undertaking even to watch.
The Kid studied and googled and even researched rock formations to find exactly what he wanted. Yeesh. This Kid is going to make a fine, firm-handed Creative Director someday.

Here's where all those years of us doing art every night after dinner is going to pay off, folks. The Kid knew just how he wanted this thing to be so he sketched it out and we went and bought the supplies.

We didn't have a shoebox and I refused to buy one, so - much to the Kid's despair he had to make do with my empty Boccalone salami box, aka the coolest diorama box ever. Chris Cosentino would be proud. The Kid: "But Mom, why don't you have a shoe box??" In our house we spend our money on cured meats, son.

The idea was to do a Desert Habitat. The Kid built it two-sided to show the animals during the DAY on one side and during the NIGHT on the other. Are you catching what I'm saying? This is actually TWO dioramas in one. Thankfully he was up to task as I sat back and hoped for no mental breakdowns. And by that  I mean from me, not him.

Years of doing architectural models made me want to jump in, but I just waited to see what he needed. I measured and cut out the blank backgrounds for him so that they popped right into the box and he drew and colored them as he saw fit.

Night was pretty simple. It's dark at night and certain animals are noctural. Easy enough. Although he did want to create a crazy rock formation with an opening for a sneaky snake to peek out. And then there was the handmade cactus made out of clay and toothpicks. Otherwise, night time in the desert was a breeze.

On to daytime in the desert!

There was much clay forming involved as his one sticking point was to make sure the prairie dog 'popped up' out of a hole. So there was cutting and fitting and more fitting, getting that prairie dog to sit just right.

A few colored backdrops, some rocks from our garden and he was done. Not a bad job at all. Now I'm counting on the Kid to help his brother when it's *his* turn to make a diorama NEXT year...

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