Thursday, January 28, 2010

HOSTED

Last night, I was so happy to welcome my bunko club to Chris's house for our January gathering. The theme, as you may remember, was Hollywood Awards Season, so we had lots of stars to walk the red carpet.
We had quite a group! See if you recognize Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise from Risky Business, Princess Leia, Agent Hart from Miss Congeniality, Cher from Clueless, Bjork, Kim Kardashian, a red carpet, a paparazzo and.... me! Phyllis Nefler, Troop Beverly Hills, reporting for duty!
It's Cookie Time! This is fabulous! Kum Bay Yaaaaa, my Lord....

I had a red carpet and at the end of the night, everyone took a turn strutting her stuff. Here is Missy/Bjork, who not only won a prize for rolling the most bunkos of the night, but she also received the prize for best costume! Doesn't she (and my red carpet) look great?

What do stars eat when they play bunko? They eat delicious taco salad, black beans with toppings and some chips and salsa, all served to them from fancy new serveware! And, for dessert, they eat yummy cupcakes with chocolate stars on top!

These really crack me up. To designate the head table, middle table and lowest table, C made me these signs. Look at that one little paparazzo for the extras. So funny.
I even had a playlist going in the background, with hits from major motion pictures. We had fun listening and trying to name the movie that went with each song.

All in all, it was a great night. Everyone had so much fun (at least that's what they told me). Now I can sleep peacefully again.

BIG props to C, who helped me from start to finish with this - invitations, planning, cleaning, set up, etc. I couldn't have pulled it off without him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

SET

Camera charged
Lettuce chopped
Meat cooked
Cupcakes iced
House cleaned
Floors mopped
Playlist created
Costume completed
Tables set

Looks like barring a major catastrophe, those bunko nightmares are not going to come true after all, kids. Hoo. Ray.

In other news, while at Target to buy This Is It! - so wonderful in case you have forgotten - I also picked up the Office, Season Five for $16.99 on sale. Hard to pass that up!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

SHORED

Just because the Jersey Shore is over, doesn't mean the summer doesn't live on!

I stumbled across this little gem the other day - Jersey Shore yourself! Warning: the music is obnoxious so turn your speakers down.

So after a few minutes and a few clicks of the mouse, here's my inner Guidette:
Hot, isn't she? I was told by a Jersey Shore name creator that J-Scream was my nickname, but I don't see it. What do you think it should be?

GTL!

Monday, January 25, 2010

PRODUCTIVE

Things I Did This Weekend:

1. Watched W.
2. Replaced a toilet seat and lid
3. Let someone else clean my apartment
4. Got my feelings hurt by a cat
5. Planned for bunko and bought my costume
6. Had a yummy dinner with Kate and Evan

Wait, what was that? Replaced a toilet seat, you say? Yes, I sure did. From now on my productivity will be directly tied to how many toilet seats I replace. So, this was a pretty productive weekend.

And then Evan came over and decided he wanted to clean my kitchen. What was I going to say, no? Yeah right. He was bored! I filled a need. And he filled one too. Thanks, Evan!

And then Kate made us dinner, which has become a monthly tradition apparently. Take one chicken dish and follow it with a dessert that involves Oreos. Only difference is this time there was no fire and smoke, just a mean cat. Sorry Kate - I LOVE cats. But Funky is in a league of her own. I tried. Arguably too hard. That cat scorned me. Regardless... Thanks, Kate!

Friday, January 22, 2010

FREE

1. I can’t help but watch Conan this week. It’s television history! These stunts where he is spending ridiculous amounts of money just for the sake of it are so funny. So wrong, but so funny. Last night, he trotted out the 2009 Kentucky Derby winning horse, wearing a mink snuggie, and watching restricted NFL footage. Total price tag - $4.8 MILLION. Unreal…. but so funny! The night before it was some expensive car made to look like a mouse while playing the Rolling Stones (no, Sarah, it wasn’t “Beast of Burden”). That cost $1.5 million. Wonder what he’ll do tonight on his last show? UPDATE: the skits aren't real. I feel stupid. Was I the only one who didn't know that? Oh well.

2. Rain, rain go away! Now don’t get me wrong, y’all know I love my Ugg boots but I need some rain boots for weather like this. Target has a bunch of cute ones, so could someone please explain why I’d rather have the Hunter wellies instead, that cost $100 more? Can I make that purchase based on durability? I can justify anything, unfortunately. But until my ship comes in, I guess I’ll stick to Target’s. Where are you, ship?

3. I’m off like a prom dress this weekend. No plans at all. Except dinner with Kate, Evan and Kate’s cat Funky at Kate’s house on Sunday. Maybe I should say Kate one more time for good measure. No word yet on what she’s making, but it better not catch fire. I’m not sure we could handle that again. But at least we’d be prepared.

4. Media update: We watched Will Ferrell’s Your Welcome, America this week. It was funny, even to me who absolutely LOVES some George W.

5. Media update Numero Dos: Just finished One Fifth Avenue by C. Bushnell and picked up Nanny Returns, the sequel to the Nanny Diaries. I am always looking for good fiction to read, if any of you have any. I love to read. When I Walking The Valley (the stage of life I refer to as the 5 months post-grad/pre-job), I read a TON of books. Like, almost one every other day. It was all I had to do. Well, besides calligraphy and starting this blog.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

HOPPY

As if on cue, about an hour after I published yesterday's post, I got an email from C with the subject line: Hop for Haiti!

Turns out, even the 3-year-olds are stepping... or hopping... up to bat. T1 and T2's school is having a fund raising event next week, during which each child will get a turn to hop for 60 seconds. Donations will be taken in a pledge-per-hop fashion, or in static amounts, with all the money raised going toward the American Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund. So cute, I can't stand it.

I asked C if I could share this information with all of you in case anyone wanted to HOP on board. Remember the spiders? You guys certainly delivered then and I'm sure there are spiders in Haiti. If you are looking for a way to help those victims in Haiti but haven't chosen a charity yet, this promises to be a memorable teaching tool in the life of these little impressionable minds, and let's face it - a hoppin' good time!

Leave your e-mail address in the comments section if you'd like to participate, and I'll send you the details.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ASKING

When I was in college, my family switched churches from a traditional hymn-book type of church to a words-on-the-projector, praise-song type of church (both of which shall remain nameless lest we get into a church debate here and now). It opened me up to a world of music that I'd never heard before. The single thing I hold nearest and dearest to my heart that I took away from that second church is, and will forever be, this song:

You said, Ask and you will receive
Whatever you need
You said, Pray and I'll hear from heaven
And I'll heal your land

You said Your glory will fill the earth
Oh, Like water the seas
You said, Lift up your eyes
The harvest is here,
the kingdom is near


You said, Ask and I'll give the nations to you

O Lord, that's the cry of my heart
Distant shores and the islands will see
Your light, as it rises on us

O Lord, we Ask for the nations
O Lord, we Ask for the nations
O Lord, we Ask for the nations...

(If you haven't heard it, click here for a pop-up window through which to listen.)

This song gets me every time. I don't know what it means to you, but can I share what it means to me?

Tears streaming down my face, I remember standing in that church, Asking the Lord for Guatemala. The children and adults that I met there, the lives we hopefully impacted, the work that was done for the Kingdom. The harvest is here. Guatemala was my first trip outside of the country, and man, do we have it cushy here in the United States (for the most part).

This morning, this song came on my iPod, and instead of Guatemala, today I Ask for Haiti. By "Ask," I mean I intercede. That's how I interpret it at least.

However you choose to help, I think we all need to Ask for Haiti. 200,000 feared dead? Another 6.1 aftershock today? How do you even begin to repair the damage - physical and emotional? What a broken, hurting country. What a broken, hurting world.

Yes Lord, today I Ask for Haiti.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

DREAMY

So, last night I had my second bad dream related to hosting bunko. I had one right around Christmas, and this one was pretty similar to that. The running themes in both dreams are unpreparedness, hostility from my fellow clubbers and overall embarrassment.

In last night’s occurrence, I dreamt that I had come home from work and decided to take a nap before the festivities began. Brilliant! So naturally I overslept and when I woke up, everyone was there, I was not dressed in my costume and dinner wasn’t ready. Even worse than that, I didn’t HAVE a costume and I didn’t HAVE any dinner to get ready. I think I was contemplating serving them cereal before I admitted my mistake and told them I was ordering pizza and so dinner would be late. Awesome. Then, in a desperate attempt at a costume, I stumbled upon some Letterman’s* jackets (?!!??!??) hanging up in the house, and made a quick costume out of that. Know who I was?
Yes, that would be Henry Rowengartner. I went as the Rookie of the Year for my Hollywood-themed bunko. Great movie? Yes. Great costume? NO. And I ask you - does he even wear a Letterman's jacket in that movie? I don't think so.

At that point in the dream, most of the girls had left (as well they should've) and there were only 2-3 still there. And of those 2-3, none of them were in my bunko club, so that’s weird. Oh well.

All of this to say, my turn to host is next Wednesday. I’m really not stressed about it – I promise. I just need to pin down the menu and make my costume. I have a few options for both and just like I had to do with the theme, I'm narrowing down my choices. Anyone got a great recipe that feeds 13? (Yes, 13. I can't have bunko at C's house and then not save him leftovers!)

*One of the club levels in Auburn's stadium is the Letterman's Lounge. For years I always thought David Letterman had donated a bunch of money to Auburn and gotten his own lounge. Finally, someone corrected me. True story.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

PLEASED

Today, when I went home to eat my leftover serving of grilled balsamic and rosemary chicken - thanks Trader Joe's! - and oven-roasted asparagus*, I turned on my TV for some dining entertainment and noticed an updated look to my DVR menu.

Good job, Comcast, you finally did something right. My DVR, and hopefully yours as well, is so much easier to navigavte. My favorite change is that now the saved programs contain folders for shows that I have multiple episodes of stored in my DVR. Here are some folders I remember seeing during my quick scan of the new set up: Cougar Town (2), Will and Grace (36), the Office (30) and Glee (13).

Also, I noticed you can now search for shows in multiple ways. Search by title is so much easier now, because rather than it taking you to the one that's coming up next, it puts together a quick list of all the show times. So if you are looking for a particular rerun of say, Jersey Shore, you can scroll through the list until you find your rerun and set up a recording.

In a nutshell, it's much more efficient, much more user-friendly and much more organized. I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SAY THAT ABOUT COMCAST.

*I am eating asparagus like it's going out of style. I bought huge thick stalks of it at Trader Joe's earlier in the week. I toss it with some lemon juice, olive oil and garlic salt then roast in the oven and OMG I can't get enough. Oh well. I guess there a lot worse things that I could elect to eat my weight in besides asparagus.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

GLUED

Is it just me, or is TV getting really good right now?

First off all - three words: The. Jersey. Shore. If you are not watching this show, you are missing out. It's SO funny. I don't know what I like more -the hair, the tans or the vocabulary. Or the nicknames. Or the clothes? Ahhh! Get this - Pauly D is coming to Nashville next week. Guess who has e-mailed TWO different hosts trying to get on the meet-and-greet guest list? Kate is coming with me - we'll have a great ole guido time!

Then the show I am most embarrassed to admit I watch - The Bachelor. I was over this show for good until Little Miss Allison got me watching it again just in time for the trainwreck that was Shayne Lamas. I saw the error of my ways and checked out again following that season conclusion. No DeAnna or Jason for me. But then, in a pre-cable TV moment of boredom, I watched Jillian and was hooked. So naturally I have to watch this season right, since I am a big Jake fan? Right.

You know what starts tonight, don't you? American Idol. I am so sad Simon is leaving, but it had to happen sooner or later. I don't plan to give this show my full attention until at least Hollywood Week, since I hate the audition shows, so I can't wait for it to get going.

Project Runway starts next week and of course we have more Saturday Night Live episodes to look forward to. Did you watch this week's? The funnier skits were at the end, I thought. Like this one:



Happy watching!

Friday, January 08, 2010

INVITED

So since the invites went into the mail this week, I can reveal that my bunko theme is.... well here - just read the invite yourself:
Hollywood Awards Season! Wahoo. I'm expecting lots of great costumes and still working on my own. And if you don't think I have a red carpet all ready to roll out, you're wrong.

Major props to C for designing and printing my amazing, perfect invitation! Isn't it awesome?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

HOOKED

Dear Texas,

This is your chance to do something good. We all hereby agree to overlook the Kennedy Assassination, Jessica Simpson and Vince Young's underwhelming NFL career if you just pull this one out.

Sincerely,
The Rest of the Nation

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

WINNETKAD

As I mentioned yesterday, Chris and I made a little side trip while we were up north. I've mentioned before that the McCallister home is a quick trip from Chicago, so since I was there with a car and nothing to do...

Crowbars up, kids
- I visited the McCallisters! Let me preface this story by saying I had threatened to do this with or without Chris. But, I'm so glad he went with me to talk me out of knocking on the door or going in the backyard be my photographer and chauffeur. It’s no secret that he and I disagree on what is the greatest Christmas film of all time, so I was expecting polite tolerance for the situation and not much more out of him. However, he was SUCH a trooper, driving me to the house multiple times, making illegal u-turns and putting up with my incessant gawking and giggling. Thanks babe!
So with a camera in my hand and a dream in my heart, I pulled up the directions I had saved into my phone JUST in case. We got off the interstate, followed the directions and landed in the middle of a village. It reminded me of Mountain Brook Village but with a lot more snow. It was cute, but all I could think about was that Kevin didn’t live in a storefront, so where was the house? Had I Google mapped the wrong Lincoln Avenue? But then I saw were only on the 400 block and Kevin lived at 671. “Keep going,” I urged, hoping we were on the right track.

And then, at a stop sign, I looked up and to my right and saw It.The Home Alone House. “There it is!!” I squealed. “Where?” “Up on the right.” C sloooowly pulled up and parked the car right. in. front. of. the. house. Strike up the angel band, because surely I am in heaven:
I sat and stared for a good while before getting out of the car. While I was giggling and deciding my next move, another car pulled up and motioned for us to roll down the window. “Crap – the owners!” I thought. But then I saw it was three people my age, completely enamored with the Greatest Movie Ever and paying homage, just like me. “Pretty cool, right?” “Uhhhh yeah.” “We just went and found the place where he bought all the food – it’s just up the road.” “Neat! I’m thinking of going and buying a bunch of pizza and ringing the doorbell and saying someone owes me $122.50!”

I decide to get out of the car. Kevin’s snow was on my boots! I walk around, unsure of where I should stand or how I should pose and then I realize it’s 5 degrees and my camera (and boyfriend) are going to stop working soon if I don’t hustle. So we took a few shots in front of the house, I gawk some more, and then we get back in the car for even more giggling, gawking and staring.

The house looks a lot bigger on film and in pictures than it is in real life. It’s a nice-sized house, of course; but in the movie it looks so ominous and looming. I knew the interior shots weren't filmed there, but I was still surprised at how much bigger they can make the exterior seem on camera. That's the magic of a lens, I guess. A stone entryway in front of the house has been removed, and there’s a fence and what looks like a screened in porch out back. The tiny little greenhouse was there in the movie – you just have to look for it. Kevin's treehouse isn't there anymore and apparently neither are the basement stairs, but everything else looked exactly as I remembered it - right down to the shutters with tiny stars cut out of them. I am glad I went when it was cold and snow was on the ground - it looked just perfect.

"The cars are still here; they didn't go to the airport!" Guess we'll never know - alas, the garage was shut.

Side view of the house. Dark-colored greenhouse was in the film, everything else is new.
The Murphy house across the street - the Wet Bandits' first stop.

I eventually pick my jaw up off the floorboard and we decide to go find more filming spots. We found the grocery store where Kevin bought his “milk, eggs and fabric softener.” We also stopped by what was formerly Hubbard Woods Pharmacy, site of? You guessed it – “Is this toothbrush recommended by the American Dental Association?” Only problem is Hubbard Woods is now a Panera Bread, so the best we could do was go inside and order some hot chocolate.

I was taking in everything. It was all I could do not to ask if the hardwood floors were original. I did ask the lady who served us if they got lot of Home Alone fans in there, and she made a face and nodded. “Every Friday night. One time we had to call the cops on them.” I was super intrigued, but didn’t want her to call the cops on ME, so we took our drinks and left.
We walked across the street, and on the escape path that led to a bandstand and the ice skating rink where Kevin hit his knees and slid to safety. I didn’t go that far, but we did take a few photos and for your viewing pleasure – this video. Now, before you watch it - please know I was making this up as I went and had I put a moment's thought into what I was going to say, I wouldn't look like such a huge, huge loser. Unfortunately, there's no Windows Movie Maker Loser filter, so here we go: video
In case you couldn’t tell, I was awestruck and FREEZING. We got back in the car and decided to go BACK to the house, so I could video the house as well (and this time, I was a little more composed):
video
The “Where Are We, Linny?” is kind of inside joke – I have taken videos of Chris everywhere from Vegas to Florida, sitting at a hockey game and riding in the car after dinner on Valentine’s Day, attempting to documenting special time together. Each video starts with “Where are we Christopher?” So he was keeping suite.)

After we bid the McCallister house a final farewell, we made one last stop at Kevin’s church. Rather than get out and act like I was a shepherd in a nativity set that wasn’t there, I opened the sunroof and took this photo from the car. I would have gone in, but they filmed the interior church shots someplace else… and it was getting dark. So there you have it – mission complete. I cannot believe I finally got to see all of this with my own two eyes. I really am going to make a little PDF map driving directions for the rest of the fans out there. Judging by the number of cars we saw just while we were there, this is quite the pilgrimage for people my age. Someone should get a bus and take people on tours. It would make a killing. Especially if the tour guide dressed up like Old Man Marley. Or, I’m guessing the guy that played Buzz isn’t up to much these days – someone call him! Wouldn’t that be great? If you're a big Home Alone nerd like me and have questions, ask me in the comments section - I think the rest of the readers are getting tired of hearing about it.

Monday, January 04, 2010

NEW

Happy New Year!

After weighing our options, C and I decided to ring in 2010 in the Windy City. We left bright and early on Thursday morning, looking for a good time in Chicago, which is only a 7.5ish hour car ride from here.

In a flash of brilliance, C ordered a cookie cake for the trip. So picture me, in my Snuggie, eating some cookie cake, riding up the road - it was already a good trip before we even got there.

We arrived in Chicago with time to spare, so we all took a nap before it was time to put our party clothes on. After two trips to Walgreen's to fix a pantyhose situation , we were set and ready to go.
Our celebration was taking place at a bar called State. C's buddy Gary, who made his debut on this blog earlier in the year, knows the owner of this bar. We squeezed in with the group that had reserved a VIP booth.
After trying on all the different Happy New Year crowns and hats - I chose the one with a feather - and taking lots of pictures in our 2010 glasses that C purchased us, we hit the dinner buffet. At midnight, yours truly poured the champagne for our table and we all counted down to midnight. When the clock struck 2010, I got a New Year's kiss from the cutest man there, and then we celebrated the night away.

And as if that wasn't enough, guess who went home in a stretch hummer limo? The vehicle, which was 100% passengerless and thus looking for business, offered us a deal. Since there were no cabs to be found, $10 a person and two miles later, we arrived home in style.
We slept in Friday, hit up brunch, then C and I took a little side trip, which I'll tell you more about tomorrow... get excited! That night we dined on some AMAZING deep-dish pizza from a place called Pequod's and then watched a DVD at home. It was a low-key but great day.

Saturday morning, we had one more amazing meal: breakfast at the original Lou Mitchell's, a famous diner that had a line out the door when we arrived. Holy crap, was it cold waiting in that line. Two of us (cough cough) may have elected to go wait in the car... but I digress. After some yummy fixings, it was time to head home.

All in all, a great way to end 2009 and start 2010.

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