Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Etsy Shop! platoon, one valley, one year.

Some of us have loved ones who are in the military and some of us are lucky enough to not, I am in the latter category. As Christmas nears,  my heart hurts for those who do.  Todd(my hubby) and I watched the movie Restrepo, a film by Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) and Tim Hetherington. It was about a platoon that was stationed to the Korengal Valley of Afganistan, the deadliest place on Earth at the moment. Junger and Hetherington were embedded in the area with this military outfit with the sole purpose of bringing to light the day to day life and voice of the men who are serving there. The film focuses on an outpost named Restrepo, named after one of their own fallen soldiers. The interesting thing about this film is it shows the unimaginable: Men building an outpost with their own hands, making major inroads into this dangerous valley while dodging bullets. Men with shovels in their hands one minute, then guns in their hands then next. For me it was important to get some insight into how the actual soldiers felt about their mission. I enjoyed their camaraderie, and cried with them in loss. For a topic that gets a lot of press, no one has shown the human side of it like Junger and Hetherington. You can catch it on Netflix. It's better than any reality show on TV! Check out the trailer below!
This video is about Sal Giunta, who received the Metal of Honor for actions at Restrepo.
He is the first person to receive the Metal of Honor since the Vietnam War. 

Next movie: Blind Sight!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

180 Degrees South, Conquerors of the Useless

Have you ever wanted to climb Mount Everest or Kilimanjaro? Not my thing, but for naturalist, Chris Johnson, it was his calling. His travels are chronicled in the movie 180 Degrees South, Conquerors of the Useless, directed by Chris Malloy. This movie chronicles the adventure of Chris Johnson, a young man set out to follow in the footsteps of his heroes: Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins.  You see, Yvon and Doug,who call themselves dirt bags,  took a bus from CA to Patagonia to summit Corcavado in the late 60's. They both fell in love with the area and would later start the companies of Patagonia and North Face. Chris, in 2008, decided to start his travels by boat instead of van and will meet up with Yvon and Doug in Patagonia. As Chris's journey unfolds so does the previous story of Yvon and Doug, all told though the most majestic cinematography and a beautiful soundtrack too! This film also highlights the horrible situation of dams being built on nearly every one of Chile's rivers to produce electricity for far way places. It educates about pulp mills ruining the shores and water ways of fishermen who make their living from the sea.

I am by no means a thrill seeker. I honestly can't relate to people who summit great mountain peaks, but I love to watch films about them. The overwhelming beauty of this film will bring you to tears. And there's something to be said for simple living and being one with nature. There are incredible messages to be learned by this film: conservation, preservation, and just plain ole, living life to the fullest. I rented this though Netflix and watched it instantly. You won't be sorry. Great website too:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Documentaries...the original reality show!

I'm not nearly old enough to be the grumpy, curmudgeon that complains about the youth of the world, but I'm seriously concerned. What is going on with the world when my middle school students admire/revere the stars of the most tawdry reality shows?? I'll take them worshiping rock stars and sports athletes over this!

I'm no expert in child psychology, but from what I know, adolescents' brains are not developed enough to process the information/ social ambiguities of these shows. As adults we're able to see these shows for what they are: sometimes humorous, mostly ridiculous, almost always brainless, escapes from our lives because we have the wisdom and experience to understand them. My 8th graders do not! So in class,(and probably out in public) they try to replicate characters from shows like the Jersey Shore. Don't get me wrong, I'm not for censorship, but I implore the viewers and producers of these shows to think about what they are teaching the youth of America. They should also consider what the world thinks of Americans when they view these shows. Someone told me a story of a friend that lived in the UK and only got the Jerry Springer show. So her only experience of American woman was what was represented on that show. She was presently surprised to learn that we don't all carry chairs, at the ready, to throw at people! Ok, rant over!

I could go on and on, but to get to the order of business: I've decided not to dwell on the state of the world, but instead to approach this with positivity. Upon reflection of the movie, Julia and Julia, I've decided to do a similar challenge but with documentaries. I've decided to counteract all the reality show drama of the world by watching a documentary every other day and blogging about it on the off days. Maybe others will decide to do the same. If everyone did this, poof! they'd disappear! What do ya say?

The first documentary I'll be reviewing is 180 Degrees South! Stay tuned!

Friday, October 1, 2010

10 thing you may not know about L'il Old Moi!

10. I've been in a Peruvian jail...Joren van der Sloot, you are screwed!
9. I don't have a middle name...feel sort of gypped about this one.
8. I'm addicted to watching whole seasons of shows on Netflix. I'm currently hooked on Rescue Me.
7. I think I was Spanish in my past life.
6. I'd love to be able to time travel.
5. I secretly wish I could be present when Karma bites people in the ass.
4. My dream is to travel the world and photograph its people. To inspire(coach) people to write poetry and incorporate the two into a book. I know we'd all write about the same things and the thought gives me goosebumps!
3.  I suffer from the mental illness of guilt. I have guilt for everything . Not big stuff, no regrets. I just mean I feel guilty sitting on the couch watching Netflix. I feel guilty for wasting time. Feel guilty for not working on my ETSY shop, etc. I pretty much feel like I should always be doing something productive. AND it has the opposite effect on me...I end up being less productive.
2. Guilty pleasure movies: Bring It On( I know I know), Fools Rush In,  Bridget Jones(the first one) If they are on TV, they are on in my house!
Drum roll!!

1. When I was growing up, these were the professions I wanted to be: Astronaut(1st grade), teacher (3rd grade), novelist (8th grade--I actually did write a book about being an Olympic gymnast), stunt person(9th grade), med tech/pediatrician(10th grade), teacher/wedding photographer (11-12 grade). I'm still as confused about it!

Happy October Everyone!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Ventures and Old Friends

My friend, Nigel, is about to embark on a new venture. He's designing and hand crafting chairs, and they are gorgeous! Let me tell you a little bit about Nigel. I met Nige, and his beautiful wife, then girlfriend Aly, while volunteering in Peru. They are from New Zealand. The three of us were assigned to work in a boy's orphanage and we became fast friends. The kids loved them. Nigel and Aly stayed for many weeks in Peru volunteering and then returned to working as crew members on boats for many years. Nigel is no stranger to woodworking, just new to selling his work around the world. Check out his facebook page:


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ode to the Frittata!

Frittata. What is it you ask? It's the place where you put all of your leftovers...sort of.

Frittata, originally from Spain, is sort of like a quiche. But a frittata doesn't have milk or a crust, and the difference in the way a frittata is cooked gives it a different texture. Quiche tends to be lighter and fluffier, while a frittata is denser.

I love to make frittatas. They are so easy and delicious. I take whatever is leftover in my frigerator and throw it in a frying pan. Then I add 8 or so eggs that have been whisked. Cook on low right in the frying pan until it starts to form, then throw in the oven at 350 degrees. Cook until golden brown or all the egg on top is cooked. These are the usual suspects for my frittatas: onions, diced potatoes(sometimes sweet if it's a leftover) chicken, beef, ham, bacon, or sausage(or sometimes a mix of a few), garlic (minced or cloves), cheese, herbs like basil or rosemary.

When I'm going to someone's house or hosting brunch, and I want to be fancy, I use goat cheese, tomatoes, spinach, basil, garlic, potatoes, and chicken sausage(apple flavored).  I like to serve it a room temperature with a little Frank's Red Hot sauce.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Lost Art of Reading

We readers are a dying breed! Being a former Reading teacher of course I'm an advocate of reading. In fact, every year about this time, when summer vacation starts, I think to myself...will this be the year you buy that old ice cream truck, load it with books, and head across this beautiful country to give away books(I don't have kids so it would be do-able). I will do it someday. I always loved when I lived in Newport, RI every Wednesday, the Book Mobile would park across the street from my house. The Book Mobile was a truck from the Newport Library that you could check out books. How cool is that. So maybe that is where I should start. Locally. Since I live in a city that doesn't even have a book kills me! I think it's so important to model reading to the younger generation. I learned it from my parents.

My parents are very inspirational. They grew up during the Depression(I'm the youngest of five--an oooops baby, really, so I'm not as old and you might think ;-) )and they barely finished, what we'd call middle school. My parents had to quit school and go to work to help the family. By the time I was born, my father was a carpenter and my mom was a stay at home mom, but for as long as I remember, going to the library was a weekly event. When we got to the library, my dad would read the periodicals about finance(stocks mostly) because with five kids having a magazine subscription would have been frivolous. My mom would search out crime and romance novels. And I'd be reading Romona the Brave(is it weird that I want to see this movie?) or the latest Judy Blume. At home, my mom always had a book in her lap...ALWAYS. So we thought this was normal behavior. The reason I'm telling you all this is because of a conversation I had with one of my brothers yesterday. We were talking about cable television. I was griping at how expensive it was. He said, get rid of it! If we all went back to reading, they'd(the cable co) get it! He's right, of course, but to hear my burly-also a carpenter-high school educated-brother tout the importance of reading, it just furthered my conviction of how important it is to model this behavior, because that was my mother's influence, right there. I knew he was an avid reader because he'd read right along with his three children. And I knew when and if they struggled with a book, he was reading that same book right along side of them. He went on to say that he'd severely limited the amount of channels he was getting from the cable company, and how that didn't go over so well with the family at first, but they were coming along to the idea. So this is the reason for this blog today.

I wanted to share with you my favorite top 5 books of all time and I'm hoping you all respond with your faves, too!!

5. Fall on your Knees--Anne Marie Mac Donald
4. The Life of Pi--Yann MArtel
3. The Kite Runner--Khaled Hosseini
2. Five Quarters of an Orange--Joanne Harris
1. A Fine Balance--Rohinton Mistry

I love to share books with friends. The best way to find out about a good book is a recommendation from a fellow reader, but I have another tip: I put in one of the books I just mentioned above, into Amazon and it will provide a list of other books I might like. BUT even better than that, I read the reviews about one of the above mentioned books and I click on the people that wrote them to see what other books they liked. It's a bit stalker-ish, but a good way to find additional book!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bringing Sexy Back One Housecoat at a Time!

I don't profess to be a fashionista, but I have to make you aware of a fashion that is right around the corner. You'd want to know, right? You want to be on the forefront of fashion, right? This summer, it's all about the 60's inspired -in your mother's closet-walmart bought-bringing back the ya-ya sisterhood(with a lucky strike and a bourbon)-muumuu like-kind of HOUSECOAT. That's right! This little number has so many uses.
1. wearing around the house doing laundry
2. wearing around the house doing dishes
3. wearing around the house whilst dusting
4. wearing outside to take your dog out
5. wearing around the house to watch your stories
6. wearing around the yard whilst gardening
7. lounging in the backyard with your bourbon

If I could sew, I'd make them in all the hottest colors and patterns! They should be a staple in EVERY wardrobe!

On any given day this summer, including right now as I write this, I have on my housecoat. And here's the kicker for many of you, in the fall/winter I'll wear it with leggings! HA!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

SO I started using Bixbe with my Facebook Fanpage.

    Bixbe is free and it allows you to sell right from your facebook fanpage.

Treasury--The Gang!

So a few days ago I was whining(in a forum) a bit about how I'm never on the front page of ETSY . A handful of some very sweet people gave me some advice about networking. So I made a treasury of their beautiful items.

Since I'm lame and can't figure out how to do f10 and create a screenshot, I've included the link for you to check out. I'd like to highlight one seller here right now though. I know "they" say that the jewelry market is saturated on ETSY, but I can't stress enough how much I love to buy unique, interesting, one of a kind or one of a few pieces of jewelry. I often get invited to Silpada parties and I hate them. Expensive jewelry that everyone owns. You can literally pick it out as people wear it. I hate that. I'd much rather spend my money(even more money than Silpada) on something unique for me and for gifts. I'd like to share with you today the works
In particular I love this piece:
The colors are gorgeous and it's so different. Check out: www.involution.etsy.comand decide for yourself! SALE on 8x10 and 8x8

I was a vegan, well, for five weeks....

So after watching an episode of Dr Oz, my husband and I decided we'd try to eat vegan. (this was in the fall of 2009)Now, I don't mean the vegan where you eat bread, chips and pasta(not that there's anything wrong with that), but we both needed to lose weight. We spent every weekend shopping in Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and the local healthy grocer, Green Grocer in Portsmouth, RI. It was so much fun trying new things and spending the time together trying to change our lifestyle. At the end of five weeks, I had only lost three pounds. For me, no amount of beans, tofu, soy, etc was enough protein, and although I felt good in the beginning, I was becoming tired and lacked energy. But even though we now eat meat, cheese, eggs, etc, there are some things I noticed and products we still love that I want to share with you.

The first thing I noticed, and this was significant for me, but omitting dairy helped me to breathe better. I no longer had sinus congestion or that chronic "ah-hem" in my throat.

Also, eating several small portions throughout the day(vegan, vegetarian, or not)will jump start your metabolism.

Ok, now for the real reason I wanted to talk about this today. There are some great products/foods that we eat all the time even though I don't always follow the first two things I mentioned.
I've always been a fan of Kashi, but when I backslide it's not the first thing that I reach for, however; the Kashi Blueberry cereal is really really yummy(even for the non-dieter) I find myself eating it for a snack/dessert after dinner. It's a great fix for that sweet tooth you may have.

Another great product is  EVOL burritos. It's Love backwards! These are so tasty. They come in chicken and shredded beef. Both are excellent. 
We discovered these recently, after returning to eating meat. They are simple and easy to bring for work!

Speaking of burritos, for a vegetarian option, I love Cedar Lane's veggie and couscous!
Nutrition Facts
Low Fat Couscous and Vegetable Veggie Wraps  
Serving Size 1 wrap (170g) 
Servings per Container 1 

Amount Per Serving:
Calories  220     Calories from Fat  30 
% Daily Value*

% Daily Value*
Total Fat  3g

Total Carb.  36g
 Saturated Fat 0g

 Dietary Fiber 3g
 Trans Fat  0g

 Sugars 2g
Cholesterol  0mg

Sodium  580mg

Protein  14g

Vitamin A

Vitamin C


Lastly, Morning Star veggie breakfast sausages are delicious.
So anyway, even though we aren't vegan, we still love these foods. Some day we'll get out act together and make a permanent change for the better. Until then, everything in moderation! Happy eating, everyone!