sarea: (beatrice)
Had to get up extra early today to run a colleague's meeting for him. And I didn't sleep well. So now I'm dead on my feet. ZzZZzzzzz...



That video. OMG. Dying from laughter.

My week off for the Thanksgiving holiday was AWESOME. And short, too short. I was looking forward to meeting [personal profile] adelagia and [personal profile] slitherhither for lunch on Sunday, but I was also appalled when it rolled around so quickly. Work the next day, NOOOOOOOOOO!!

I did some good shopping this week. I found an unbelievably awesome North Face jacket at Plato's Closet that was like new for $50. It retails for nearly $400.

I didn't bother to go out to any retail stores this year for Black Friday, but managed to snag a couple of deals anyway through Amazon. And I was able to do it through the comfort of my own home, in my jammies!

Probably the best deal I got was this TV. It's a Seiki 40" 1080p LED TV that I snagged for $169. When I bought it I had imagined using it as an especially awesome monitor. Then I realized I was certifiable. It would be like two feet from my face! So now it's set up in the guest room.

Also, I finally bought a sewing machine. I've never sewed in my life. I kind of thought that it would be a thing that was fairly self explanatory, at least what I'd be using it for (hemming jeans). Except after taking it out of the box and watching from YouTube vids on how they work, I feel like it would require me to get an engineering degree to operate. There are so many terms that I have NO CLUE what they mean. I now know of the existence of things like presser feet. What do they do? Why do there need to be different ones? Which one would I use to hem jeans? These are all questions to which I have no answers. And that's only about presser feet. Don't even get me started on the other stuff. Now it appears that I'm going to have to take some sewing classes, as I learn better by doing than reading or watching.

I was even productive over the holiday! I put together my new elliptical and have even used it a couple of times.

And I have been doing some writing -- I'm about 10k words into an original story! It's the most I have ever written of an original story, so this is a significant milestone for me. We'll see how far I actually can get with it, but at the moment it actually feels like something I'll be able to finish (fingers crossed, knock on wood, etc).

Due to my new love of Theo James, I've been watching the now-canceled CBS series Golden Boy. I actually really like it. I'd never even heard of it until it was already canceled and was looking at Theo James' filmography on Wikipedia.
sarea: (Default)
My manager has been on vacation this last week, and today is my last day of freedom. :-( It's sad, but it's been nearly as relaxing this week not having him around as it is to actually BE on vacation.

I have discovered the joys of the cheese/curated meats section at Whole Foods. Mmmm. But good lord, I'm going to end up spending my life's savings there. But the Prosciutto de Parma is just AMAZING. And today I spent $43 on a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano. >< How wrong is that... I was reading my Marcella Hazan cookbook and I wanted to make pasta tonight (with the aforementioned prosciutto), and she has a whole section about Parmigiano-Reggiano and how you should always get it cut straight from the wheel if you can, as long as it doesn't look dried out on the edge (and if you can find such a specimen, to buy extra, and she tells you how to store it). They had a bunch of little pre-cut wedges, which the cheese person was like, I only cut those like two days ago. I asked if they could cut a wedge from the wheel, as I wanted something bigger (and cut from the wheel). It was this big production and I felt kinda bad, so I bought an extra-large wedge (over 2 lbs). Now I have to guard it with my very life. :P

I got myself a really pretty toe ring. Picture of the ring! )

It's weird but I use to have a very plain toe ring that I wore every day and totally got used to having it on. I lost it at some point, can't even remember how now, but for years I still the "phantom" of it; I'd try to wiggle it around with my other toes like I used to. I don't know why it took me so long to get around to getting another one!

I'm watching a Korean drama called "The Master's Sun," recced by [personal profile] akscully. It's about a girl who can see ghosts, and whose life has basically been ruined by them, because they won't leave her alone (they're constantly asking her to do favors for them). She used to be really popular, pretty, ambitious, smart, etc., and now she's a shell of her former self. She meets a guy (a rich CEO type, of course) who has a past himself, and for some reason, when she touches him, the ghosts disappear. So they strike a deal in which he'll allow her to touch him sometimes if she'll help him track down the person who kidnapped him in his youth (the guy who plays the younger version of the lead guy is a total cutie -- he has dimples like Kim Bum!) so he can recover the ransom that was paid. I'm enjoying it so far, though I don't really "feel" for this couple so far. Partly it might be that I don't find the hero attractive. He has like... deep-set, "bruised"-looking eyes (I don't really know how to describe it) that I don't like. Jamie Campbell-Bower has similar eyes and I think he's hideous, and his eyes are partly why.
sarea: (Default)
Yesterday I had stinky tofu hotpot with T and B. :D Hotpot is soooooo delicious and good to have on cold days, which is all we've gotten recently. I'm mostly over my cold except for a slightly runny nose, and the chilly weather doesn't help. Then B had to work, so T and I headed over to Plato's Closet where I bought way too much stuff, including a North Face jacket that cost as much as like, 5 other items put together. But I really wanted it. Like I said, it's very cold lately! Then we went to a European deli, because I love buying salami and cheese from such places. Except the cheese I sampled (I asked for something sharp) ended up being even stinkier than the stinky tofu, lol. Then we went to Starbucks, where I made the mistake of getting a venti frappuccino with my free drink birthday card. I was really craving the taste of a frappuccino, but after awhile I was like, it really is too cold to be drinking this. T nicely did not say "I told you so."

I had to send my mom to the airport yesterday morning. Her flight was at 7am. You do the math. To add to the fun, the time change happened overnight, so we had to keep that in mind when planning the timing. (When are we going to STOP with this asinine time changing thing already! The reason for it is less critical than it used to be, and plenty of places are rightly opting to not observe the practice.) I couldn't even enjoy 'gaining' an extra hour due to how early I had to get up. All I could think about was getting back home/in bed!

It was really nice to have my mom around, but it's also best for our relationship that we don't live together. Her favorite meal while she was here was the salmon she had at Etta's, but her second favorite was the meal I cooked at home a few days ago! What I made. )

Saturday afternoon, we went to the Pacific Northwest Ballet with K and her little girls. The company performed "Love Stories," a selection of scenes from 5 love story ballets, including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo & Juliet. The girls love the ballet, and were totally enraptured the whole time; I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I fell asleep during the first act and the third. I guess I just do not appreciate ballet. There's no talking, or singing, or anything that keeps me engaged. They spend 20 minutes expressing themselves through dance, which frankly doesn't really 'speak' to me (they could get the same thing across in 2 minutes if they just freaking said what they were feeling); I don't find ballet dancing all that beautiful, in fact I find it kind of freaky and unnatural how they're always on their toes (which I know ruins dancers' feet), and the guys are not appealing at all. I mean, the girls get to wear skirts and such; why can't the guys wear something similar? Put on a pair of pants or shorts, for god's sake, you just look ridiculous. Anyway. So yeah, I'm severely lacking in appreciation for ballet. Even though I love Billy Elliot. Sorry, Billy.

An update on my media consumption!!

TV Shows: Still watching and enjoying Goong. Except for when they focus on matters relating to the adults/succession of the throne. That storyline bores me to tears.

I'm now three episodes behind on Merlin. >< I also haven't watched any more Vampire Diaries.

I've totally gotten into a reality TV show for the first time: Top Chef. :D I like it because it deals with "amateurs" rather than experts who everyone already agrees is at the top of their game. (It's the same reason I prefer college sports to professional sports.) Each season starts off with a selection of about 15 up-and-coming chefs, and they participate in challenges throughout the season until one is crowned Top Chef. It's really fun, I love the head judge Tom Colicchio, I love the guest judges, and I'm continually impressed by the creative/delicious-looking dishes that the contestants come up with. I could never do that with food; I'm much more a recipe follower than creator. I started with season 4, because that's the season Stephanie Izard won, but now I'm going to go back and watch the others.

Books: I read Room by Emma Donoghue. I didn't much like it, and only finished it because it was a very quick read. I found the narrator, a 5-year-old boy, REALLY annoying. Adults should stop trying to write from the POV of a little kid, because it never sounds right. The kid always sounds way too adult, and way too kiddie, at the same time. I also found his mother really annoying. They're both supposed to be victims, and the whole time I found myself disliking them, so either I'm heartless or the author simply wasn't good at making me sympathize (beyond the very basic human level of feeling bad about their awful situation). Also, it was disturbing subject matter, but it actually wasn't as disturbing as the real-life stories we've heard of the same, so in that sense it almost felt like a protective fantasy rather than some harrowing tale that really draws you in and makes you feel every second of the horror and desperation of the situation.

I've never read a single Stephen King book. At first it was because I didn't have any interest in his usual genre, and horror still isn't my favorite. But then it was because he was so hyped, and so prolific, that I couldn't imagine I'd really be able to enjoy any of his books. But it looks like I'll be reading him for the first time -- a coworker who really likes SK gave me the first three books of The Dark Tower series, and since he's reading ASoIaF on my recommendation, I feel that it would be nice to reciprocate.
sarea: (Default)
My Bag of Crap from Woot has arrived! :D :D :D There was some panic when I thought it had been lost in the mail, but it arrived safely yesterday. A Woot Bag of Crap is a legendary(ish) item for Wooters. It costs $3 (with $5 shipping plus tax if you live in WA or TX) and contains misc crap. But you see, there's a chance that it WON'T contain crap -- it could contain something valuable, like a digital camera or something. And I really love the not knowing, the part of it that feels like gambling. LOL. But I know I'm not the only one, because the BoC is so popular that people created scripts and auto-bots and what not, so that when it comes up in a Woot, these automated tools just buy out the BoC before a normal person just going to the site (like me) can do it. It often also crashes the server. To counter this, the last time Woot offered a BoC, they created a Flash game that you had to play and go through several levels in order to qualify to buy the BoC (by proving you're a human and not a robot, and are decent at bad Flash games).

I was lucky and was able to buy one at level 4 (each level has a certain number of BoCs available, and when those sell out, you have to play to the next level to qualify). The servers were a NIGHTMARE, they kept crashing. [profile] jade_okelani was not as lucky (the Flash game was really, really bad), and the level you needed to reach got higher and higher and then they were sold out.

I know, all this to buy something called a Bag of Crap.

Anyway, so it arrived yesterday. I did not get a really high-end item like a digital camera. I did, however, feel that I got $8.50 worth of stuff. The Crap. )

Cassie Clare and Holly Black were at Third Place Books (Lake Forest Park) last night, and it was fun. I was sorry that [personal profile] elle_blessing missed it due to RL stress. :( They both did a short reading -- Holly from her latest book Red Glove and Cassie from Clockwork Prince, which is yet to be published. There was a Q&A session after that, then book signing. I got all my MI books signed. I looooooooooooove signed books. *pets them*

Cassie and another girl in line admired my anal mylar-protected books. LOL. I have a thing about my books and always have... they need to be kept in pristine condition. I don't like lending books because the few times I did it in elementary school and they came back with the spines creased and pages dog eared, I was totally traumatized. So now I don't lend books unless I know the other person will be careful with them (or if it's a book I don't care about).

Anyway, Cassie and Holly were both funny and entertaining. I'm interested in reading Holly's various series now, especially her latest Curse Workers trilogy (I admit it's because Jace makes a cameo). I've only ever read Tithe by her. One piece of MI news that we did get is that after MI and ID are both done, Cassie does have an idea for another series based in the Shadowhunter universe -- in which we will get to see cameos of the MI characters as 20-somethings! Eeeeee!

I've started Downton Abbey. So it's Gosford Park with the Titanic tragedy as the backdrop. Y/N?
sarea: (Default)
The insane shopping spree continues. It's not my fault! Suddenly all the stuff I've been considering for weeks if not months has become available; it's not my fault it's all happening at the same time, is it???

The first thing is that today's Woot deal is the WiFi-3G Nook (refurbished) for $99. Hello, this thing is $199 new/retail! And Barnes & Noble sells the refurbished version of this Nook on eBay for $140! You guys might remember that around January I was asking about eReaders. I've been hemming and hawing about it ever since. But with a deal like that, how can I refuse? I can't.

The second thing is all [profile] corianderstem's fault. I looooooved her Twiggy Union Jack Studded handbag and wanted it, but it's been sold out at HSN for ages. On eBay people have been listing it at nearly double what it cost retail, which I refused to pay. But then recently someone listed it at retail price, in the brown leather (which is super rare)! So I had to get it too!!

*blows smoke off credit card*

Both things are good for my Chicago trip, though! Now I can return all my library books and check them out digitally! And that means there won't ever be a 'checked out' copy that I can't get, right? So the whole library catalog is mine! Or is that not how it works? As for the handbag... it's a really big bag so I can use it to travel with! It's a good bag to take onto the plane with me.

No more spending money, I swear. Well, there's the Restaurant Week stuff I already have planned, but that's it. No more merchandise.

Am more than halfway through B4 of the MI series. It's going really quickly. I just love Jace. And Simon's growing on me. I never really liked him as much as I think CC wanted me to, in the previous 3 books, but I'm getting there. I find that I like his interactions with the male characters a whole lot more than his interactions with the female characters (maybe because, for the most part, I like the guys more than the girls in this series).

Did some more Wii Fit yesterday. It can't decide whether I'm a couch potato or a yoga trainer, lol. Some of the yoga exercises I kick ass at, and then others... we won't speak of the others. The strength exercises are mostly fine, except for the one with the push ups. SCREW THOSE.
sarea: (Default)
I'm slowly coming out of my funk about Robert Sheehan leaving Misfits, though if he were actually near me I'd be clinging to him saying "Don't goooooooo" and he'd have to drag me along the ground as he walked. Sigh.

I have changed my mood theme to being Nathan specific. Apparently we won't be getting any more images of him. :(

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I brought doughnuts into the office today from Frost Doughnuts. Frost changes their doughnut selections daily. Today I selected the (in)famous bacon maple bar, Bavarian cream, double chocolate, banana walnut, Southern red velvet, coconut island, banana split fritter, and white chocolate raspberry truffle, among others. Photos of artery-clogging deliciousness. )

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The new TV arrived yesterday, woohoo!! I worked from home so that I could be there to sign for it -- it's way too big for me to try and haul from UPS myself, neither car I have would have been able to fit a package that big. It was over 70lbs and I seriously doubted my ability to get it set up... but I did it. I was sweating like a pig perspiring delicately by the end, but I got it set up on the stand as I wanted, and even set up my Wii and Wii Fit. Personally I think the Wii Fit should have allowed me to input the effort I spent setting it all up.

I even started using the Fit (I've had it forever but never set it up before due to lack of space), just the balance stuff (I like ski jump the most), but half the time was spent shooing Jaime away because he was bound and determined to attack the moving stuff on the screen. /sigh I really fear that one of these days I'm going to go home and find that he's knocked the TV over during one of his crazy cat sprints around the house (or digging around in the back for the wires). :/

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I've finally started City of Fallen Angels (speaking of which, what are our plans for this Thursday, [personal profile] elle_blessing)? I've only gotten to the beginning of chapter 2. Also, because I am a good friend, I transcribed Jace's letter to Clary from City of Glass, which was a bonus in the Barnes & Noble version, for [profile] jade_okelani. I'm posting it here for anyone else who would be interested (and if you haven't read the books, it's probably not that interesting).

Clary... )

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And because I'm apparently on a huge spending spree, I might as well confess that I have purchased six -- that's right, SIX -- pairs of shoes in the last 3 days or so. Lots of sandals... I figure spring is right around the corner and I'll be getting a pedicure soon!

I have no willpower. )
sarea: (peggy don)
Spring must be around the corner. My flist is full of people posting cute shoes, dresses, and handbags that they've obtained or will obtain in the near future. <3 ALL SO CUTE. Personally I really want this pair of Badgley Mischka heels but Nordstrom only has them in a size 10. /weeps

I envy y'all because it's SO not spring here yet. It freakin poured snow 2 nights ago. (You know the expression "pouring rain"? It was coming down like that but it was snow instead of rain. Not cute little flakes. Crazy.) /wistful sigh

Restaurant Week starts this Sunday and I am excited but also frazzled because I feel like time is FLYING by and I can't keep up with it. It all begins with Mistral Kitchen w/ K. for lunch, which I am looking forward to, but I'd completely forgotten about it until today. >.> I can't believe how packed April is, and then I'll be in Chicago! Eeek. [personal profile] ropo and I are very excited. Our Nikon D40s will be working overtime.

Nearly done with Carnivale. I have really mixed feelings about this show. It is really well done in many respects, and I like that, from the beginning, there were no MotW type stories and it was pure mytharc. Yet there's still something missing, and I think it's the fact that I don't feel strongly about any of the characters. It's not that they're badly drawn or anything; in fact I like a good number of them. But I don't feel strongly about them.

My coworker C. went to Singapore (where she grew up) last week and brought me back these handmade Peranakan cookies that are amazingly delicious. They're tiny so I keep eating them! The cookie part is like a short crust pastry (they're all freakin' hand pinched omg), and the middle is a little mound of hand-shaved pineapple. I'm so ungrateful but I'm like, you couldn't have brought me more? I could eat like 10 tins of this stuff. Of course it's probably best that I don't.

I am thinking of making some salted caramel cupcakes. Y/N?

Edit: Just saw some awesome cards [personal profile] rainbow_connec mentioned on her LJ. Love them!



Other favorites... )
sarea: (fauxlivia)
The Sno-Isle Libraries have switched to a new system! Yay! This is exciting because the new system allows for freezes on holds, which will enable me to maintain a list of items I want in the order I want them. Hallelujah! I haven't played with the new system in depth, but hopefully it will be a really good experience.

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I found an awesome deal on Hotwire yesterday for a Chicago hotel. :D I was surprised because Priceline has not been able to match Hotwire (usually you can get a better deal on Priceline). Anyway, it's only for the first couple nights of our stay. It's a 4★, the Affinia Chicago. I've heard from many sources that it's in a fantastic location. The published rates are over $300/night, I booked it on Hotwire for $84/night. :D :D :D Of course, the way Hotwire works, I didn't know it was going to be the Affinia until it was purchased, but it was a 4★ hotel in the area we wanted and it was recommended by 95% of Hotwire users, so I figured whatever it ended up being would be acceptable.

Since we got such a good rate we decided to upgrade our room to double beds (the regular rate just comes with 1 King-size). The first time I called the hotel's number to ask about rates, I waited and got transferred to the hotel's front desk. They said it would cost $25/night to upgrade. I contacted [personal profile] ropo and we discussed it... we realized it was like a 30% increase from the room itself, but it would still be an overall great deal and we'd be more comfortable. So I called back to book it, except this time I pressed 1 for room reservations. I told them what I wanted and they quoted $75/night to upgrade! O.o Outrageous. I was like, yeah, I'm not paying practically the same cost to upgrade as I got for the room, thanks. So then I called back and waited like I did the first time, got the front desk again, then got the $25 rate from them. Sheesh.

Anyway, so yeah, super excited about that. Of course, we still need to find a place to stay for the remainder of our trip, but I'm optimistic that once we get to a point where those days are less than a month away, they'll go down and we may be able to get another great deal. We'll see.

Update!!! The toughest part of hotel hunting for this trip has been that weekend of May 6-8, because it's butting up against Cinco de Mayo, it's Mother's Day weekend, and apparently there's some 22,000-person convention happening. O.o However, Priceline finally accepted one of my bids for that weekend!!! $120/night at the 4★ Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. Wheeeeeee! I have bid up to $135 before with no luck, so I am pretty stoked. The hotel's published rates are over $328/night.

The only downside is that we need to get a third hotel for the final part of our stay, and having to move around so much probably isn't ideal. But I figure it also gives us the freedom to stay in different parts of the city (both our current hotels are in the NMA area ... maybe we can stay in the Magnificent Mile area instead, for instance), and it's helped us get better rates.

Alternatively, we could extend our stay at the same price, but only for as long as our original booking, so we'd still have to get a third hotel regardless, in which case I feel like we might as well get a better price and move to a new area for the last leg.

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The Woot-Off is finally over, which is good for my credit card. I bought one more thing before the green-caped monkey came out and it was all over... some HDMI cables that I'm thrilled about because I have that new TV coming. :D Plus now I can hook up all of my peripherals that way too (I currently only have 1 HDMI cable). It cost me less than $20 for 4 cables. Woot! <-- so appropriate
sarea: (Default)
There's a Woot off going on right now, and I've purchased stainless steel water bottles and a vacuum sealer (and missed out on 2 other things that sold out too quickly). WHY are there so many irresistible ways to spend money?! Anyway, I've been wanting a vacuum sealer for awhile. It seems like such a handy item to have. Especially for someone like me, who tends to buy a lot of stuff that I freeze for later use, then totally forget about it. >.>

I'm reading this book called Peony in Love by Lisa See. I actually started it back in December while at Jade's, and recently picked it up again. See wrote Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which I loved and can't recommend enough. I don't feel the same way about this book, but I keep reading it because it's beautifully written and I love the cultural stuff. But the protagonist is so stupid and annoying.

I've been watching Carnivale. It took me awhile to get into it, and I still am not at the point of reccing it, but it's caught my interest enough to keep going, at least. It was canceled after two seasons and each season only has 12 episodes, so it's not a huge commitment.

Have I ever mentioned that you guys needs to watch Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles? It's so, so good. Unfortunately it was too expensive to produce so they canceled it after two seasons (I'm sensing a theme...), and it ended in a place where you're dying to know what happens next, but for all that, still worth it. One of the few friends I knew exclusively from WoW that I keep in touch with started it at my recommendation, and he loved it. It's for girls and guys alike!

Music wise, I have a few recs for y'all. Lately I've been wanting to listen to nothing but dance pop, something lacking in substance and has a constant, catchy beat. <g> I've had to turn to K-pop to find the best of what I'm looking for. :D

- Abracadabra by Brown Eyed Girls is seriously BADASS. If you're in a place where you can play some music, click on that link and crank it up loud. It doesn't matter that half of it is spoken in a language I can't understand, because with dance music the beat's what's important, it's not like any of it's conveying anything of significance anyway, lol.

- Can't Nobody by 2NE1 is also quite awesome.

I also read a positive review of Britney Spears's latest album Femme Fatale on Slate, so it made me want to check it out.

- Hold It Against Me is the first single from the album, and I like it OK, but it's not my favorite

- Inside Out is probably the one I dig most

- Though Till the World Ends is also pretty awesome

- (Drop Dead) Beautiful has that dance beat I've been enamored of

- I also like Criminal, which is about as ballady as this album gets

I've been bad about keeping up with my AeroGarden progress on LJ.

Week 3 )

Week 4 )

Day by day it doesn't seem like much growth happens, but when you look at the pics it's amazing, the difference.
sarea: (flapper girl)
So after all the drama and controversy (on my LJ if not RL), I ended up going to the Indian dinner after all. LOL. Long story short, K. got a sitter (without ANY prompting from me, I was not reluctant or passive aggressive at all in any of my talks with her about it) so I got to go. I'm really glad I didn't say anything to her now, even though I totally understand why so many people thought I should, because I would have created strife for nothing! I mean, I suppose there's still the fact that she asked me to do it in the first place, which I agree wasn't cool, but I also understood that at the time, she felt that she had no other choice, and she does a lot of cool stuff for me. (Like, say, the Billy Elliot musical!)

Case in point: She was at the farmer's market and one of the vendors was selling their special apple cider balsamic vinegar, which they age for 7 years. It's only sold once a year. She picked up a bottle for me. It is SO RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. It doesn't taste like any vinegar I've ever had. It's so apple-y and flavorful it's almost like a syrup, except it's also got the tang of balsamic vinegar. Delicious.

Currently [personal profile] ropo and I are still homeless in Chicago, lol. I won't start to panic until about a week from now. At the moment I'm still trying to get the best deals on Priceline/Hotwire. I've gotten many awesome suggestions for food places. :D They're in LJ and email, so I'm going to consolidate and have this be my easy reference post.

Grub in Chicago! )

I introduced K. to The Mortal Instruments series (she liked it) and she in turn introduced it to C., who loved it. Now C. is asking me for more recommendations and I find myself hard pressed to come up with any. I mean... I guess there aren't as many of those types of novels as I thought (she's already read The Hunger Games and Twilight) -- at least, good ones. I don't want to recommend really typical teen lit that has no other plot than the teen angst (like Meg Cabot or Elizabeth Scott). I'll mention A Song of Ice & Fire but I'm not sure that's what she's looking for. She's looking for books like The Mortal Instruments, and to my surprise I don't think there are any others of its ilk that I'd recommend.

I have a new shopping weakness: HauteLook. They sell really high-end designer stuff at steeply discounted prices, but you can't see what the deals are unless you're a member (it's free to join). Every day there's a different set of items/designers on sale that day (about a dozen), from makeup to clothes to rugs to vacation spots. As I said, it's all very high end and discounted. The other day I picked up a couple pairs of designer jeans, just because I couldn't resist! >< It's a brand I've heard of -- Not Your Daughter's Jeans -- but don't know how they actually look on me. This is the danger of HauteLook!! A few weeks ago I also ordered some makeup by Rock & Republic, and I have to say I LOVE it. Really good makeup and the packaging is awesome. I could never justify buying this stuff full price.
sarea: (fauxlivia)
You guys, OMG, Billy Elliot the Musical was SO AMAAAAAAAAAAAZING. Half the cast were kids and they fucking danced (and sang!) their hearts out so professionally and it was so flipping awesome and made me feel so awed over what they've accomplished in their young lives vs what I was doing when I was their age. >.> Faith Prince as Mrs. Wilkinson was wonderful. She's not Julie Walters, but despite that I loved her anyway.

It's the last week of the show but I'm considering getting the cheap $25 seats and going back to see it again. I loooooooooooooooooved it!

So yeah, the tickets K. got on Craigslist weren't a scam. <g> I wasn't really worried about that, but it was a possibility. The bigger concern was what kind of seats we had. The Paramount didn't say one way or another to the ticket winner, and they could have been bad seats. Instead, they were center orchestra, which are normally $80/ticket! So we totally scored on that. Had a great view of everything.

There are 4 different Billys, and we saw Kylend Hetherington, who of the four probably looked most like Jamie Bell (and therefore, to me, the "real" Billy). He was such an ickle woobie and soooooooooo wonderful. He's frickin 13 and has been doing this since he was 12, omg.

Now K. is all into it and is going to watch the movie, etc. Best movie EVAR!

Some of the plot points are different in the musical vs the movie, but for the most part I thought it was very true to the original. The one part of the musical that was different, but that I thought was very well done, was this one scene where Billy is dancing solo, but then an adult male ballet dancer starts to shadow him (they're dancing and spinning a chair at the same time), but the adult dancer is much more skilled/professional, and it was a wonderful way to show us "This is who Billy will become."

SO GOOD.

I found a sizzle reel! Watch iiiiiiiiit. )

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I've got [personal profile] laria_gwyn and [personal profile] slitherhither into A Song of Ice and Fire now. They're both reading (and enjoying!) A Game of Thrones. YAY!!!!!!!!

While on this topic...

Jon Snow is losing his latest cagematch! Noooooo! Go vote to right this wrong. Or if you're so inclined, contribute further to it. <g>

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Still reading Devil in the White City. Quote from the book:

"I have struck a city - a real city - and they call it Chicago... I urgently desire never to see it again. It is inhabited by savages." - Rudyard Kipling

Which I shared with [personal profile] akscully, and she replied:

"Chicago is unique. It is the only completely corrupt city in America." - Charles Merriam

LOL. I'm so glad I'm visiting!

I caved and bought my flight at the ridiculous price they were asking. Now I'm more motivated than ever to find inexpensive hotels (on Priceline). We're aiming for the N. Michigan/Loop area.

David Lebovitz is in Chicago right now and reporting on the great food places he's going to. It is so nice of him to be my little treasure hunter like this.

[personal profile] ropo, we need to go to Edzo's Burger Shop, Floriole Bakery, Xoco Hot Chocolate (for me, not you <g>), Kuma's (another burger joint), and perhaps most importantly, one of Rick Bayless's Mexican restaurants.

From other sources, I also have these on my list: Girl & the Goat, Publican, and Alinea (if we want to crazily splurge -- but even then, we might be too late as they fill up 2 months in advance -.-).

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I had the nuttiest experience with my phone yesterday. I was working from home because I knew I was going to see Billy. I dialed into a conference call at 9, which ended at 10. When it was over, they hung up, and since my screen wasn't on the 'phone' screen but on my menu page, I just assumed the call had ended.

BUT APPARENTLY NOT. Three hours later, I got in my car and my Bluetooth kicked in and informed me that my music wasn't on because I WAS ON THE PHONE. !!!!!!!!!! What!!!!! Apparently I hadn't hung up the phone and that meant that I had been "on the phone" with dead air for the last three hours!!

My monthly minute allotment isn't that high, particularly given that I am sharing those minutes with my parents (whose phones I am now paying for -- long story), so basically that ate up ALL the "any time minutes" that I had, and it's still not the end of my billing cycle. >< I called AT&T to explain, and they were fairly understanding, and gave me a one-time 1,500 minute rollover bonus to cover any overages. AT&T customer service >>>>>>>>>>> T-Mobile customer service. Not sure if I have ever talked about my horrendous experience with T-Mobile, but it was some of the WORST customer service I have ever experienced. Now that AT&T has announced they're buying T-Mobile (for $39B O.o), maybe they can clean up their act (in more ways than one, since T-Mobile also has a poor corporate reputation for their anti-gay policies).

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I've purchased another TV. It's a Panasonic TC-P42C2 plasma. It's not as big as the TV in my room, it's 42" instead of 50", and it's only 720p instead of 1080p, but at that size and at the distance I'll be watching, 720p is all that's needed. I'm paying a bit more because it's a Panasonic, but I love Panasonic products so it's worth it to me. I don't plan to wall mount it but will keep it on a TV stand. I did a TON of research about this (plasma vs LCD, size, resolution, etc.), so if anyone is thinking about getting a new TV for the moment I am a font of knowledge. In about a month, I'm sure I will have forgotten everything. <g>

Purpose of this TV: to use my Wii Fit. I've had the Wii Fit for like 2 years but have never used it, because with my current TV set up I didn't have enough space to actually do the exercises comfortably. Well I am sick of my excuses for why I don't exercise -- this will take care of that. The TV will go in the living room area, which has plenty of space, and I will have no more excuses as to why I'm not exercising.

This might also mean that I need to get myself a Kinect for Xbox 360. :D

The one thing I am kind of trepidatious about is that I bought it on eBay. Since it's a second TV I really wanted to be frugal. The thing with eBay is that it's almost always fine, but I seem to have bad luck with buying electronics there specifically. So hopefully there won't be any issues. >
sarea: (Default)
I've bought myself a bread machine. I don't need a bread machine. I don't have space for a bread machine. I don't how often I will actually use this bread machine. I don't even particularly love bread machine bread (because they make the soft loaves, and I love hard, crusty artisan bread). BUT I have this bread machine. Why? Two reasons. 1) It was $25. (Bought it from someone who works at my company.) And 2) It's a kitchen doodad, and I love and want all kitchen doodads. It's a sickness. I've never used a bread machine before, but it seems amazing to me that it makes bread as if by magic! This machine -- a Welbilt ABM7500 -- did not come with a manual, so I've found something online for a model that seems similar and am just going to use that. It's just the appliance and like, a bucket. Can you really make bread from start to finish with that? /doubtful

As I've gotten older I feel like I'm (finally) getting wiser about how I spend my money. WisER, not wise. I won't deny that there are many ways in which I spend 'irresponsibly.' What I've really started to realize is that it's not about how much I spend, it's about whether the things I spend money on are worth it. There ARE some things worth paying extra for, and some things that are all hype. Here are some of mine. Your mileage, of course, may vary. I've limited myself to 5 items in each category because I could go on and on.

I should also note that this is all about "stuff." It's not about organic food or traveling or anything like that. It's just about the "stuff" that we all buy -- or think about buying -- from time to time.

5 things worth paying extra for. )

5 things NOT worth paying extra for. )

[personal profile] mynuet has tagged me to do a meme! I think I shall save that for tomorrow, since I've rambled on enough in this post.
sarea: (joan)
I am feeling pretty accomplished! But tired... so tired. This week has felt about 3 weeks long.

Cheesecake - in oven!

Strawberry sauce - done!

Tax return - filed!

Reviews of the last 5 movies I watched - rewritten! Thoughts! Lots and lots of thoughts. )

Handbag I've been coveting - obtained! Yes!!! )

Pets - cute! )

Oh, I need to pimp the Academy Awards poll once again since we are getting so close, just a couple of days to go now. Remember, if you've already taken it, if you haven't already done so, you should probably go back and fill out the second poll I had to post because my first one left out a number of categories. Here is the first part; here is the second part. Fill out both parts for a complete entry. There's also an optional 'sentimental' version of both polls if you feel like doing those. :-)

true fax

Feb. 16th, 2011 09:17 am
sarea: (Default)
I am not a good person. Today is bagel day and I split two different bagels in half (one cheese, one sesame) and took the tops of both. I wish I could say I'm sorry, but I'm not.

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Recently I upgraded my computer at work. My previous machine had a battery life, of, oh, 2 minutes if it wasn't plugged in, 2GB of RAM, and a 100GB hard drive. Now I have a battery life of 9 HOURS (no joke) unplugged, 8GB of RAM, and a 300GB hard drive (you'd actually think that would be bigger, given the other improvements, but oh well). Speaking of massive hard drive space, over the holidays I got myself a 2TB external hard drive. It's so awesome.

Anyway, because of the new work computer, I had to give my desktop printer away. It was fairly old (though still in great working condition) and the cable was a regular printer cable, not USB, and the new computer only has USB ports. Now I have to use the regular network printers. WOE IS ME. Anyway, an admin from another group said that she wanted it for her team, so last week she came by to pick it up. And I realized that I knew her! From years ago, she actually used to work on our team (not as an admin). We're going to lunch at Pearl in downtown Bellevue tomorrow (she claims they have a wonderful cioppino... my favorite cioppino is at Etta's so WE'LL SEE how good it really is) to catch up. I'm super curious to hear how/why she went from where she was then to where she is now.

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Got an awesome deal today. There was a Groupon for a local movie theater -- 2 adult tickets and a large popcorn for $10. I bought it using the Swag Bucks special offers link, which gave me 315 SBs, which is 135 away from a $5 Amazon gift card, which means a fab deal overall. Woot!

=====

I'm getting pretty darn good at doing eye makeup by watching those YouTube vids, I must say. It's just that as with most artistic type things, I'm better at imitating than creating. If you gave me an eyeshadow palette and told me to create a unique look, I wouldn't be able to do it. At least not one that looked good, lol.

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I am going to make up a meme from various ones that I've seen. I'm going to list 5 true things, and 1 false thing, from the point of view of a fictional character. You have to guess who the fictional character is, and identify which statement is the lie. :D This might end up being really hard, so let's see how it goes, lol. I'll start with a fairly well known, less obscure one. Let's go!

1. I say I have trouble trusting people, but it seems I don't, really.
2. Sometimes it looks like I got my hair cut by a lawn mower.
3. I have a younger brother.
4. The more preposterous the claim, the more I'll believe it.
5. I like short, smart girls. I mean women.
6. I prefer snacks that are salted and shelled.
sarea: (Default)
I HAVE to pass along the best deal ever. Today's Living Social deal: $20 Amazon gift card for $10. The deal only lasts 24 hours (17 hours left). This is a no brainer, imho.

Since I am so awesome to pass this along to you, do me a favor and when you buy (cuz why wouldn't you?!), use my referral link?

Seriously, best deal ever, because there's no way you won't use it. It doesn't expire so you can use it whenever.
sarea: (arthur in bed)
I am having work stress. Typically this happens when I am asked to do something that is not a part of my job description, that I've never had to do before. This includes, but is not limited to, managing a video crew and having to edit release forms for participants. WTF? Am I now a TV producer/lawyer? I am really not paid enough for all these massive skills I bring to the table, y/y?

To make things even more fun, I took the bus in today, but the last one leaves before I'll be done, so I have to take a taxi home. And it will be on the company's dime, but it's a PITA and also kind of ruins the dinner plans I had with K. to go to Tavolata. I mean, those probably would have fallen through anyway, because her mom arrived today, but STILL. I don't like options being taken away from me. :P Tomorrow night though, K., our moms, and I are going to Crush, one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle. Psyched for that!

I wrote over a thousand words last night for this Merlin fic I'm working on. I thought it was going to be hard to make sweet and innocent characters like Arthur and Gwen cooperate with my dirty mind, but it turns out they're not so sweet or innocent! Well, okay, they are, but my dirty mind easily overwhelms their feeble protests. HAHA!

I've purchased a hoodie. IT'S PINK. But I bought it online so I don't know if it's going to fit right. Some mediums are really small, whereas others are just right... and then some larges will dwarf me while others are just really roomy and comfy, you know? Last night my ears were fine, but my nose was cold. Really what I need to do is turn on my heater. I'm still resisting though.
sarea: (russell excited - up)
Just picked up from the library:

- Dr. Who S2
- Merlin S1
- 500 Days of Summer
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish film)

Eeeee!

Still in the middle of:

- Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire)
- Mockingjay (Hunger Games)
- BSG (Blu-ray rewatch)
- The West Wing S1

The BSG series is so awesome right from the start, particularly considering the mini-series was rather slow going. I'm kind of stalled on Mockingjay... just not that into it, partly because I'm loving Tongues of Serpents, even though it might be the book in which the least amount of action/progression happens, at least so far. Not sure I'm going to be able to make it through The West Wing. That speed-talking jabber thing that Aaron Sorkin is so well known for bugs me. I was able to work past it on Sports Night, but that was a half-hour sitcom that only lasted a season, if that. I don't know if I can put up with 7 seasons of an hour-long drama in that style.

Just bought off Amazon:

- Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens. It's supposed to be one of the best if not the best Nikon lens to use in low light, and since I'm often photographing food in restaurants with bad/low light, I'm really hoping this will be awesome for that. Won't know for awhile though, because I had it sent to my parents' house to save over $40 in taxes. Freaking Amazon being based in WA state!

- My very first kitchen apron! I know, WTF that it look me this long. It is so adorable, lol! Fashion and function!
sarea: (lily & marshall)
Okay, I've been a member of [profile] doggie_pix for many months now, and there have been maybe 5 posts total. Suddenly today there are like, dozens! Post after post of doggie pics! I'm glad the community is more active, but does everyone have to post all at once? I'm going to have to stop watching it if this continues.

The pest control guy has come and gone. If you really want to know about my pest problems. )

Also, the fic-writing situation is becoming dire. I've made a deal with myself; for every sentence I write of this journal entry, I have to write a sentence of fic.

Had a very good weekend. First was Saturday, which I've already written about. Next was Sunday, with the D/G gals! Yay! What a lovely bunch of ladies: [personal profile] adelagia, [personal profile] elle_blessing, [profile] lyndsiefenele, and [personal profile] slitherhither. <3 Y'all are fab. I hope you know that. Can't wait to get together again.

I woke up early, so made my way to Kirkland with the intention of checking out some of the consignment shops there before lunch. Boring shopping talk. )

Then was lunch w/ the D/G gals, and we managed to make it through almost the entire meal without mentioning fandom, but then of course we HAD to go there. I mean, it's what we have in common! It's why we were meeting up in the first place! I'm sure it sounded like total gibberish to anyone who might have overheard us, and that's perfectly okay. There was a tense moment when Draco/Hermione was mentioned and I wondered if there was going to be bloodshed, but we managed to make it through with all limbs intact.

It was such a nice day that when I went home, I actually did some gardening. I know, I'm as shocked as you are. Earlier that morning (I told you I got up early) I'd gone to buy some seed packets and soil. (I really don't understand all the different varieties of soil there are, or how to use them properly, but I hope that dirt is basically dirt and if I use potting soil outdoors it won't totally ruin everything. I mean, nature has somehow managed to propagate itself all these many years without the help of mankind, so surely if I don't use fertilizer correctly it won't backfire on me too much?) I 'planted' some of the seeds (depending on what it said on the back of the seed packet), including: zucchini, carrots, beets, chives, Swiss chard, and watermelon -- just for fun! Then, again due to packet instructions, I started some little indoor ones, such as 3 kinds of tomatoes, basil, rosemary, and cauliflower. I really, really want the tomatoes to do well. That's the only plant I really care about. The other ones will be fun to see if they do well, but if they don't, I won't be too sad about it. But man, I really want dozens and dozens of tomatoes. Also it'd be great if one or two of the basil plants did well. But that's all I'm really hoping for. The watermelon, especially, is totally pie in the sky. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of that.
sarea: (Default)
Wow, I am so super full right now. I've got a half glass of that riesling I enjoy, my netbook on which I plan to work diligently on my DG Exchange fic, and the first HP movie on in the background for some noise. Of course, I'm taking the time to also do this write up, because I'm a procrastinator extraordinaire.

This morning I was woken by the damn critters in the attic (I called the pest people and they are coming on Monday to check things out). Then I baked a rustic chocolate pie (got very frustrated w/ the crust, I must say), half of which I took to my cousin's. We went to Spring Hill for their saimin, which we've been craving ever since the article about it in The Stranger. The noodles are handmade, and the broth takes several days to make.

Then I went and had a lovely time with [profile] corianderstem. I was ready and willing to do a bit of shopping. But here's the thing. When I'm ready and willing to shop, I can never find ANYthing I want! It's only when I'm not really looking that I find a bunch of stuff. First we went to a consignment store and I got a pair of Black House/White Market jeans for $12.50, which was kind of a score. Also a very pretty necklace for $7. I didn't find a marrow spoon, though. We went into several other shops/boutiques and I didn't find anything I really wanted. We even went to Starbucks because I wanted to get a bean grinder, but they didn't have any. :( We loved Savour though, a fancy little consumables place. There were so many things I wanted to try (like grapefruit marmalade!), but 'settled' for a 7.5oz container of Fleur de Sel from Guérande (in Brittany, France, generally thought to be superior to all other regions that produce this flaky finishing salt), which I've been wanting for AGES. It was actually a decent price at $13.95 (I found that same amount online for $33!). I have to admit I did love some of the things at this one boutique called The Horseshoe or something? Their stuff was super cute (and when tried on, looked great), but was rather pricey ... $250 was a typical price tag. :/

We also went to Kavu, where I was able to find lots of great things last time I was there, but didn't find anything this time. While in the changing room, we overheard one of the shop assistants talking to another one about "the most amazing grilled cheese and tomato soup" she'd ever had. We had to know where she was talking about. It turned out it was this place called The People's Pub just a couple of doors down. A. and I decided to try that place and go to Senor Moose another time; we were very intrigued!

The ambience leaves something to be desired, for sure. It's a bar, and a fairly typical one at that -- kind of dark and dank. The food is one step above typical bar food, however. They have a very long happy hour, from 3-7p and after 10p every day (including weekends), and the prices are VERY reasonable. The grilled cheese and tomato soup is $5. They even have fish & chips, again for $5 during happy hour. The Kavu sales associate says that she typically gets their cheeseburger, which she loves, and it's $5.50. I thought the grilled cheese was good, but average. The tomato soup, while not quite as spectacular as she was raving about, was very, very good. It was hot, rich, and creamy. The revelation, however, was the appetizer we got -- deep fried pickles. Now, I love dill pickles, and I love deep-fried things. But I'd never before thought about putting those two things together. They were served with garlic aioli and TOTALLY DELICIOUS! We got 7 spears for $4. A. even got an ale and our total tab was under $20. We would have spent at least that *each* at Senor Moose. Definitely worth another visit (to try their fish & chips) or for casual dining.

BTW, we got there in time to watch UW wallop New Mexico and Kansas lose to ... what was it, N. Iowa? That was a huge bracket buster. 90% of my office pool (including myself) had Kansas as the eventual champion. It was rather painful to see the disappointment on the Jayhawk players' faces ... but it's like, it does totally suck, but if you can't step it up for the Big Dance you don't deserve the championship. I originally had Kentucky as my eventual champ; I wonder how much I'll be kicking myself when this is all over.
sarea: (Default)
Well, I did nothing today but stuff my face and shop. Had a late lunch with my aunts, but one of them got hungry by 5:30 so we went to dinner before I was even feeling the least bit hungry and ended up taking basically my entire meal home. Now I'm actually hungry but it's late so I'm trying to resist eating. In between meals we went to the mall to pass the time and I came away with way too much stuff. It's a good thing I barely packed any clothes, so that I might actually have enough room in my suitcase for all the things I've gotten for myself. ><

And I bought yet another Patagonia jacket ... seriously, it's the very last one, I swear. I'm such a shopping addict, that's why I can't let myself do it too often. Anyway now I have 2 fleeces, a shell, a soft fuzzy jacket and a down jacket. That should cover me for just about every occasion in Seattle, I think.

It was 84 degrees today. :D Merry Christmas to me!!

More massive eating is on the horizon... tomorrow is Wood Ranch and then on Monday another aunt is taking me and my mom to Providence, and we are going to have the 9-course meal ($90/person!). It's supposed to be one of the best restaurants in LA. I've told my cousin I will take pictures, lol.

I'm nearly halfway through Dexter S2 and so far I'm liking it even more than I did S1. I find Julie Benz's character kind of annoying, but not as much as I found Debra to be in S1. I haaaaaated her in S1, but so far she's been tolerable in S2.

It really annoys me when I go to an eatery and they won't let me take pictures of the food. It doesn't often happen. But really it's like, okay, WHY? I could buy the food and take pictures of it. If I take pictures and post them somewhere it's free advertisement for you. So really, what is the reason you won't let people take pictures? How does it harm you in any possible way? It's the same short-sightedness as when networks used to go after fanfic.

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