Friday, April 26, 2013
I went to see it because it's packed with heavy hitters - Robert Dinero, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Topher Grace, Amanda Seyfried, Susan Sarandon, and Robin Williams. And they certainly didn't disappoint. With lots of twists and turns - even one or two unexpected ones - the film is quite funny. But it also manages to carry some weight too.
The adopted son of a divorced couple is meeting his mom for the first time at his own wedding, his very Catholic mom from who doesn't believe in divorce and doesn't speak English. Without giving too much away, suffice it to say that everyone is quite entangled with one another, including the family of the bride to be and there are some messy familial relationships that beg resolving.
But, as you might expect, all's well that ends well.
I wasn't too thrilled when one character announces that she's sexually interested in women, calling her desire a fetish. It makes being a lesbian or being bisexual sound naughty or taboo. Not really what we need right now. I know the definition of fetish, and I suppose she could simply be implying obsession. Still, I think a better word could have been chosen.
Regardless, The Big Wedding is definitely worth checking out. I don't see any Oscars in its future. But I can certainly see it gaining a permanent place on the don't miss romcom/dramedy shelf.
Posted by Jenny B at 1:28 AM
Monday, April 22, 2013
For the whole scoop, check out my guest blog at CraveDFW!
Posted by Jenny B at 10:21 AM
Friday, April 19, 2013
I'm not always a salad girl. But when I am, I like them fresh with lots of topping choices.
A new Salata opened yesterday on Blackburn in Uptown and it fits my salad bill perfectly. I like my salads like I like most of my foods - with an Asian flair.
So, I opted for the Salata mix, which has a nice variety of lettuces, cabbage, and spinach. Then I added snow peas, bean sprouts, cranberries, oranges, almonds, pita crisps, and herb-marinated shrimp.
My salad maker was very nice about adding as much - or as little - as I wanted. Next time I'll remember to ask for more oranges. And the shrimp weren't very exciting. They were a tad bit overcooked and the seasoning didn't do much for me.
When I hit Salata again, I'll go for the chicken instead (of which there are four varieties - Herb Marinated Grilled, Pesto, Spicy Chipotle, Asian BBQ). My colleague over at the Cleansed Palate said the Spicy Chipotle was delish.
I tasted a couple of dressings and went with the Ginger Lime. It was awesome but a little fat heavy for me. So, I asked for a smaller portion. Next time I'll likely go fat-free mango.
They also offer salad wraps and soups.
Considering the size of the portions and the options, Salata is very nicely priced at $8.00 for salads and $7.00 for wraps. Adding chicken adds $2 to the salad ($1 to the wrap) and adding seafood (they also have salmon, krabmeat, and seafood mix) adds $3 ($2 to the wrap), a little pricey for the latter to my mind.
Bite size brownies and cookies round out their menu, and although I was a good girl and steered clear this time around, I have to say they looked very tasty.
The new Salata is bright and well-staffed and ideal for a quick bite at a nice price. And if their first days are any indication, this is going to be yet another busy Uptown eatery.
Dallas, Texas 75204
|Mon-Fri: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm |
Sat-Sun: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Posted by Jenny B at 10:42 AM
Monday, March 18, 2013
Saturday night we made our way to the Irving Convention Center for Savor Dallas' International Grand Tasting and it was well worth the trip.
I had never been out to Irving really and was surprised at how groovy looking the Convention Center actually is. And it wasn't nearly as far as I had expected.
This year's event seemed to have more alcohol than food. But that may have just been an optical illusion. Either way, that doesn't mean that there wasn't plenty of food. Not at all.
There was a ridiculous amount of bites and tastes and treats to be had. Some of our favorites included the ahi tuna tacos from Del Frisco's Grille; the avocado soup from Parigi's, and the pizza from Urban Crust.
One of this year's themes appeared to be pork belly, which was being served in various and sundry ways. And you won't hear any complaints from me on that. Another theme seemed to be tacos. Being as they are one of the world's most perfect finger foods, tacos are ideal for an event like this.
The portions were way to big, as always. But I was very happy to be handed one of those handy dandy food trays that have a holder for your wine glass, an accessory that is nearly impossible to do without at one of these events.
I was disappointed not to see any highboys where one could balance one's goodies while taking a bite or a sip. The trays were great. But sometimes a girl needs a table too.
We were able to get our wine glasses etched with our names by the incomparable Ken Brown at the vent. That was a really nice surprise. And we added to our growing collection of Stella Artois and Hoegaarden glasses, something we need to reign in before it gets scary...
Savor Dallas is definitely something we will attend again next year. Even if the event didn't have such an incredible selection of food and libations, it would be well worth the trip for the people watching alone. We saw it all.
Next year though, I think we might finally make it out to some of the other Savor happenings which we never seem to get to. If you have gone to some of those in the past, I would love to hear your thoughts on which events are not to be missed.
Posted by Jenny B at 11:23 AM
I had no idea how much I didn't know when it came to pillows until I met Pillow Bar founder Merrimac Dillon. I'm kind of a lousy sleeper. So I've been on the prowl to find out why. Turns out part of my problem might be my pillow. I went to talk to Dillon, to inquire if that really could be part of my problem. Turns out it was a huge part of it.
First lesson I learned was about down itself. Much of what is passed off as down is actually just feathers, or mostly feathers anyway. Those things that poke out of your pillow or coat are actually feathers, not down. The pillows from Pillow Bar are 100% Hungarian goose down and you can tell as soon as you feel it. If it's 100% down it's 100% soft and fluffy from the breast of the bird, with nothing to poke you. "Feathers are like the breadcrumbs in meatballs," Dillon explains.
Lesson two - size and shape and fill matter. When it comes to pillows, size and shape and fill are not at all equal. Everybody needs a different size, shape, and fill when it comes to a pillow. What you need for a good night's sleep is based on how you sleep combined with what your build is.
A side sleeper needs the Dr. Mary, which is L-shaped. Someone with a smaller build needs less volume in the pillow. An athlete would require a more dense pillow. You get the idea. And Pillow Bar makes all of their pillows custom, right down to the protector and cases which are made from 300-thread count sateen. And the protector can be personalized with a monogram or saying of your choice, like "Sweet Dreams" or "I love you."
Dillon started Pillow Bar because she couldn't find a pillow that afforded her the night's sleep that she craved. So, she invented a machine that would create precisely what she was looking for and then sourced all of the highest quality materials with which to make the pillows. The secret to the machines is that the down is sucked up into the case instead of shoved down into the case. The result is the softest, fluffiest, most luxurious pillow I've ever laid my head on. Dillon calls it, "Luxury with a purpose."
The pillows contain a little sachet of lavender too to help bring on the sweet dreams. Dillon, naturally, imports the best possible lavender she can get her hands on and has the sachets made in Dallas where the Pillow Bar studio is located.
Aside from the standard sizes, Dillon's pillows also come in travel versions (which come in grey cases so you don't leave them behind lost in a hotel's white linens), as well as smaller shapes and sizes.
Dillon's machines are located in a number of high-end linen stores where customers can walk in and have their pillows made by someone that Dillon and her staff personally trained. If you venture into a location looking to buy one for someone other than yourself, a back sleeper with medium fill is generally a safe bet. But the more info you can give the pillow maker the better. You can also buy the pillows online. Each one will then be custom made and sent out within 48 hours.
Dillon tells me that Pillow Bar has a number of celeb fans, including Whoopi Goldberg who is quoted as saying about the Dr. Mary, "If you're a side sleeper this is the pillow for you, baby" and named it one of her favorite things.
I had the chance to test out the Dr. Mary pillow myself. I'm both a side sleeper and a back sleeper. So it was tricky to determine what would work best for me. It took me a few nights to adjust to sleeping on an L-shaped pillow. But, once I did, I was amazed at how much happier my back and neck were.
The pillow is so soft and so perfectly filled that I don't find myself punching or pounding or squishing it to make it behave. Of course, I guess that's also because I am - finally - asleep.
Posted by Jenny B at 11:03 AM
Monday, February 18, 2013
If you want the truth, it's important to go to the source. That's why I wanted to share this press release from Camp Starlight, a camp for kids affected by and infected with HIV.
My sister is a long-standing member of the camp's leadership team. And, last year, I was the camp's dance teacher. It was a life-changing experience.
Camp Starlight began as part of another organization that unfortunately went under. Shortly thereafter, camp found an organization to serve as a fiscal agent to process donations for one year while they figured out what to do. At that point, because they believed it was in the best interest of the kids, instead of becoming their own organization, they partnered with Cascade AIDS Project (CAP).
Recently it became apparent that the partnership was no longer in the best interest of Camp Starlight or the kids they serve. So this year, by their own choice, Camp Starlight has parted ways with CAP and there is some confusion about what that means. Hence, this release.
The good news is - nothing will change for Camp Starlight! It's alive and well. The old gang running the show is still in place and hopefully all of the volunteers will be back as well. I know I will be. I can't wait to be back with the kids. For some of them, Camp is the highlight of the year for many of the kids.
Of course, same goes for many of the volunteers too.
Camp Starlight is a family and although CAP now has nothing to do with camp, nothing has really changed. Camp Starlight is still Camp Starlight. So don't be fooled by the rumor mill or other camp imitations, Nothing will dim the shine of Camp Starlight.
CAMP STARLIGHT CONTINUES TO SHINE,
CELEBRATES 15TH ANNIVERSARY IN 2013
PORTLAND, OR (Feb. 18, 2013) – A thousand stars will shine again this August as Camp Starlight proudly announces our 15th year of providing a safe, secure, and fun summer camp experience for children in Oregon and Southwest Washington whose lives are affected by HIV/AIDS. We are excited to announce that Camp Starlight will once again take place the week before Labor Day – August 24 through August 30, 2013 – and with many of the same caring, dedicated and passionate team of volunteers that our campers and their families have come to know and trust.
“The week of Camp Starlight has always been a magical experience for everyone involved,” said Angie Raffaele, Camp Director and co-founder of Camp Starlight. “And the source of that magic has always been rooted in the long-term friendships and trusting relationships that have developed over the years between our campers and our community of volunteer camp counselors. Camp Starlight is in many ways like a family reunion that happens each and every summer.”
After 15 years of growth and successful operation of our summer camp, Camp Starlight recently incorporated as an Oregon nonprofit corporation and is in the process of applying for its own 501(c)(3) status. We have also ended our 7-year relationship with Cascade AIDS Project (CAP), with whom Camp Starlight has partnered since 2005. These changes will permit supporters of Camp Starlight to make donations directly to Camp Starlight and to ensure that any contributions made to Camp Starlight will be used exclusively for Camp Starlight and the children we serve.
Camp Starlight’s core group of knowledgeable, compassionate, and devoted volunteers – which includes medical, educational and mental health professionals – will continue Camp Starlight’s mission to provide children whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS the opportunity to enjoy a caring, safe, recreational, spiritual and fun week-long summer camp experience. Our leadership team will continue to include:
· Angie Raffaele, Camp Director – A co-founder of Camp Starlight, Angie has served as Camp Starlight’s Camp Director since 1999. She is certified by the American Camping Association, is a former camp director at Camp Howard, and also currently serves as camp director for Girl Scouts of Oregon & SW Washington.
· Dr. Rebecca G. Block, Mental Health Director – An assistant professor at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute working in adolescent and young adult oncology, Rebecca has been part of the leadership at Camp Starlight since 2000. She supervises the team of mental health professionals who are on-site throughout the week of Camp to assure that the health and safety of our campers remains our #1 priority. Dr. Block is a licensed clinical social worker holding both her Masters and Ph.D. degrees in social work.
· Melanie Smith-Wilusz, Programming Director – Melanie (or “Mel” as our campers call her) is also a co-founder of Camp Starlight and has served Camp since its earliest days. A former Programming Director for Camp Howard, Mel has a Masters degree in special education with expert knowledge and training in behavior management. She has years of experience working with children of all ages, and has been a special education teacher at Sweetbrier Elementary School in Troutdale, Oregon, since 2003.
· Kit Noble, Operations Director – Another founder of Camp Starlight, Kit has over 20 years of experience overseeing the daily operating functions of summer camps on both coasts of the country. Since 1999, Kit has made sure that every meal at Camp Starlight is served on-time and that Camp runs like clockwork. She also maintains “Kit’s Kaboodle,” our on-site “store” where our campers can go “shopping” for free clothes, books, games and other items that have been donated to Camp.
Camp Starlight also maintains relationships with many of our long-serving volunteer camp counselors – individuals who have committed themselves for many years to being a part of the Camp Starlight experience and who are familiar faces to many of the children we serve. We are also happy to invite new volunteers to be part of our community. Anyone who is interested in volunteering at Camp Starlight again or who wants to volunteer for the first time, please contact Camp Starlight at 503-964-1513 or email@example.com. More information is available at our website: www.camp-starlight.org.
Camper applications for attending Camp Starlight this year will be available shortly and will be distributed at that time to the families of our previous campers, as well as to HIV/AIDS-related agencies and case workers throughout the region. Just look for the familiar blue-and-yellow Camp Starlight logo!
We look forward to another terrific week of summer camp this year, as Camp Starlight shines on during its 15th year of swimming, canoeing, arts and crafts, singing, playing and making friendships that last throughout the years. For more information about Camp Starlight, or to help support our mission, please contact us at 503-964-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Jenny B at 7:13 PM
The truth is I didn't know what to expect. Musicals created from movies can really go either way. And even with a good book and a good score, the wrong cast, designers, choreographer, costumer, and/or director and you've got a guaranteed flop.
Lucky for Catch Me If You Can, none of that is a problem. The book is very cute and the music fun, although you won't necessarily leave singing. The story, of course, is based on the film by the same name, which is based on the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., a fraud and con artist who managed to work as a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and a college teaching assistant. He was also known for kiting and forging checks.
It's a serious subject. But both the film and the musical take a mostly light-hearted view. Although the musical does have its dark moments as well.
The show begins at the end with Abagnale being caught and asking to be allowed to tell his story. The arresting officer says he won't allow Abagnale to put on a show, which of course, ends up being exactly what he does. Literally.
The show is great fun from the costumes, of which there are many, especially for the supporting cast, to the set and lighting design, which allows the stage to become everything from a police station to a hospital to an airport.
But what makes this show really tick is the cast. Both Stephen Anthony as Frank Abagnale, Jr. and Merritt David Janes as Carl Hanratty are nothing short of stellar. Anthony's singing voice will literally knock your socks off and Janes is impeccably convincing as the tough cop with a heart.
And the ensemble is amazing. They have more costume changes and dances to perform than seems possible. But they do it. And it's hard not to smile when they do. And the choreography is delightful to watch. Although it does make it a little tough to sit still!
It's equally tough not to be sad when Abagnale, Jr. is caught at the end. It's funny how a show can make you root for the "bad" guy. This is a clever, witty, light show that is definitely worth seeing. Word to the wise: it is a little bawdy for the younger set. But I sat next to a precocious sixth grader who loved it.
Just as an aside, the orchestra, which is also pitch perfect, is on-stage throughout the show. So, it's possible to get seats in the pit. Do it if you can. I thought it would be too close. But it was actually an amazing POV from which to watch the show.
An excellent start to the Dallas Summer Musicals season. Looking forward to what's to come!
Posted by Jenny B at 4:28 PM