Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Window shopping and street cart coffee...I can't wait for next week!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Wink and a Smile

About a month ago I caught myself doing something quite random and tweeted the following: "Driving. I just winked at myself in my rear-view mirror, without thinking. WHO DOES THAT?!"

After laughing at myself for being so lame, I realized that I actually do this every morning as I leave my house. I look in the mirror, give myself a last glance before facing the world, and, completely without thinking, wink and smile at myself.

I wonder a) when I started doing this and b) why I started doing this.

But you know what? The best way to start your day is with a wink and a smile!!

Try it!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Christians Are Hard to Tolerate; I Don't Know How Jesus Does It. --Bono

I'm reading a book for a class I'm taking on evangelism (a word that instills terrific fear in the hearts of many, I know) called They Like Jesus, but Not the Church. Yikes.

This book's purpose is to examine how Christians and the church come across to the "emerging generation," 18 to 35-year-olds. To put it bluntly, the book talks about all the stupid crap that Christians do to misrepresent Jesus...all the bullhorns and sandwich boards on the street corners telling people they are going to hell, the bumper stickers that say "Abortion is Murder!" and the T-shirts that say homosexuality is a sin. No wonder people think the church is negative and judgmental, homophobic, oppressive, and controlling. No wonder people don't want to be a part of a church, of a community, that really does stand up for the poor and oppressed, that is mobilized to serve others, that follows a God who lavishes us with his gifts of grace and mercy and whose greatest commandment is to love one another.

Every ten minutes or so as I read this book, some sort of sigh or "ugh" escapes from my lips; this book churns my stomach with conviction as I read it, because I know I am so often a stupid, judgmental, selfish, insensitive Christian too. I pray to God that I will not be the reason that someone doesn't like the church, that I would not get in the way of someone seeing the love, grace, and truth of Jesus.

Here's what I want to say to those of you who are open to the teachings of Jesus but do not like the church:

Jesus is real. Maybe you know this. Maybe you don't. I wish I could make Jesus real to you. I wish I could put a sense of longing in your heart, a desperation in your eyes for him. Keep seeking.
I know Jesus. I love Jesus. But I am fantastically inept at reflecting who he is to you, and to the world. I am sorry for this, and I hope you'll forgive my forever shortcomings. I hope that my imperfect life won't hinder you from knowing his power and perfection. And I hope that the collective church has not disenchanted your perception of who Christ is.

Christians have disappointed you. Shown you hostility. Spoken to you sanctimoniously. Demonstrated hypocricy. Embodied greed. Turned a blind eye. Communicated ignorantly. And maybe worst of all...expressed their faith inauthentically.

But Jesus will do none of those things. Ever.

Maybe you're going to church...and that's good. You're showing up into the kind of places where you and God might meet. Maybe you will meet Jesus. Maybe you won't. Maybe you already have but haven't acknowledged it for some reason...I don't know.

I pray every day for you, and I hope you don't think that sounds condescending. I want you to understand that I believe in Jesus enough to care about your eternity...and your life. And as much as my heart breaks for you to know him, his heart breaks for you so much more.

I love you. Jesus loves you, too.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What Should I Read Next?

Don't you hate starting a book, realizing you're just not that into it, regretting the wasted time, and then trying to find a new book to start? I mean, do you suck it up and finish strong, seeing things through to "the end," continuing to hope that the book will change for the better and fulfill your needs? How far into things do you find yourself until you're fully committed? A hundred pages? Fifty? Or do you duck out halfway after realizing things aren't working out between you and the unmet expectations, the broken promises of a great-smelling; well-clothed book that didn't turn out to be what you thought?
Well, now there is a new weapon that will help us make better commitment choices.
www.whatshouldireadnext.com is a website that will suggest, well, you know, what you should read next, based on the books you type in.
Now, I will admit that I have yet to use this website, but I'm hopeful that it will suggest some amazing books to me....smart, funny, and just really great.
Happy reading....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In the Red (Literally)

Sometimes, red is good....

Red Lobster's all-you-can-eat Shrimpfest
Red velvet cupcakes from Sprinkles
Red lipstick with an LBD

And sometimes, red is bad....

Being caught red-handed
The Boston Red Sox
And...running a red light

That's right. I got my first ticket ever last week, for running a red light! I'm so ashamed...I wasn't even speeding! Drivers kill people when they run red lights. And now I'm one of those people. I'm a red light runner. And I got nailed for it.
I'm red with embarrassment! I feel like I'm wearing a scarlet letter. It was not a red-letter day.

I've always considered myself a better driver than 99% of people on the road. This was a pretty big blow to my ego. To be honest, I still consider myself a pretty good driver. And I certainly don't belong in traffic school with all those bad drivers...and, I mean, what do you wear to traffic school, anyway? (Maybe I should wear a red dress?)

Right now, red is bad.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rhino What I Mean?

As you read earlier this year, something on my 2010 FUNgenda was to make my way to the San Diego Zoo. I had not been to the zoo since I was twelve, so a visit was well overdue (over-zoo?). But...there was a more specific reason I wanted to visit: I wanted to see the ugly beast that is the rhinoceros.

Rhinoceros, your hide looks all undone.
You do not take my fancy in the least:
You have a horn where other brutes have none:
Rhinoceros, you are an ugly beast.

--Hilaire Belloc in The Bad Child's Book of Beasts (1906)

In 2007, the Getty Center held a magnificent menagerie of an exhibit consisting of beautiful paintings of exotic animals created by the French artist Jean-Baptiste Oudry. My favorite painting in the exhibit was a life-sized portrait (fifteen by ten feet!) of an Indian rhinoceros named Clara. This painting was so amazing that I actually went back to the Getty before the exhibit left just to see Clara again. She swept me off my feet!

Clara really existed and was one of the rarest and most lucrative animals to have ever been displayed in Europe. She was brought by a Dutch sea captain and together they traveled all over 18th-century Europe for twenty years; her display in front of everyone from kings to peasants forever changed the way that people imagined the rhinoceros. Until Clara, many people even doubted the very existence of rhinos--from the 3rd to 16th centuries AD, no rhino had been seen on European soil.

In a world of zoos, TVs, and the Internet, it's hard to imagine the impact that seeing a real rhinoceros back then had on Clara's visitors. But I tried to have that mindset when I was at the zoo on Saturday. We have no real sense that a living species would ever remain a mystery to us. If we failed to see an animal at the zoo, it wouldn't be a huge deal. But when Clara stopped in a little European town, she offered people the only chance they would ever have to see a rhino.
Three years after learning about Clara, I couldn't wait to see the Indian rhinos at the zoo on Saturday, two brothers named Soman and Surat. They were doing what I would do on a Saturday at noon if I had nothing else to do--laying around, looking cute. Oh man, I was so happy to see them. I got myself a little souvenir, too! (His name is Pete.)

My other favorite animals of the day were the baby panda, lions, tigers, giraffes, and elephants. I don't know if you've been to the San Diego Zoo recently, but it was so much fun!

Bye, Soman and Surat!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

And The Award Goes To...

I make it a point every year to see as many Academy Award-nominated films as possible before the award ceremony. I have many thoughts about the Oscars this year, so to keep things organized, I'll just do bullet points before I share my predictions:

  • I'd make a really great Academy member. I'm just saying. (I'd also be a great person on the International Olympic Committee, but that's another blog post...)
  • I'm terribly disappointed that Viggo Mortensen wasn't nominated for best actor for The Road. His performance was hauntingly beautiful.
  • Invictus was not that great. It was a good movie, but it was a forgettable movie. (P.S. Where has Clint been this entire awards season? I haven't seen him around...like, support your film, man. Take a cue from Quentin.)
  • There are TEN best picture nominees this year; there are usually five. I have seen all but two (A Single Man and Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire.) I don't really have a favorite, but my least favorite is Inglourious Basterds.
  • While I despised Inglourious Basterds, I completely appreciated Christoph Waltz's performance and will be excited when he receives his Oscar.
  • "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" is much too long a title for a film.
  • James Cameron is incredibly talented at film making. James Cameron needs to get over himself.
  • An Education/The Last Station, Up/Up in the Air, A Serious Man/A Simple Man...people are going to make some serious errors on their voting ballots.
  • I hope James Cameron's ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, wins best director for The Hurt Locker. (She directed Point Break, too. I mean, she deserves it.)
  • I really wish that The Young Victoria, Bright Star, and The Road had gotten more recognition. These were three of the best films I saw in 2009.
  • Crazy Heart was a quiet, simple story and a simple film, with huge emotion and heart. I really hope it receives some big awards. Jeff Bridges is incredible in this film.
  • I wish I had seen A Single Man. I love Mr. Darcy...I mean...Colin Firth.
  • When Sandra wins best actress, I am going to cry tears of joy. I saw her at John Wayne airport once, and I've seen Jesse James twice, so we're practically family.
  • I cannot believe Christopher Plummer has NEVER been nominated for an Academy Award before....are you joking me? What a tragedy. How embarrassing for the Academy.
  • That being said, did anyone even see The Last Station?
  • Christopher Plummer and I have the same birthday.
  • Carey Mulligan is the new Keira Knightly, only more adorable.
  • Mo'Nique will win. And she'll thank God and point to the ceiling in her acceptance speech, which will make me cry.
Alright...now that that's all out of the way, here are my official predictions for the top categories (note that these are not necessarily the winners that I personally would like to see win):

Best picture:
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
A Serious Man
Up in the Air

Leading Actor:
Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
George Clooney in Up in the Air
Colin Firth in A Single Man
Morgan Freeman in Invictus
Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker

Leading Actress:
Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side
Helen Mirren in The Last Station
Carey Mulligan in An Education
Gabourey Sidibe in Precious...based on yadda yadda
Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia (she might tie with Sandra...it could happen!)

Supporting Actor:
Matt Damon in Invictus
Woody Harrelson in The Messenger
Christopher Plummer in The Last Station
Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds

Supporting Actress:
Penelope Cruz in Nine
Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart
Anna kendrick in Up in the Air
Mo'Nique in Precious

Adapted Screenplay:
District 9
An Education
In the Loop
Up in the Air

Original Screenplay:
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The Messenger
A Serious Man

Happy Oscar viewing!

Got Gaultier?

Did you know that major fashion designers sometimes create special collections that are featured at normal people stores? (Anna Sui for Target, Jimmy Choo for H&M, etc.) The above clothes are from Jean Paul Gaultier's spring collection for Target, available tomorrow at select stores. If Gaultier's name isn't familiar to you, just know that he designed Madonna's famous cone-shaped bra for her Blonde Ambition Tour in 1990. I'll definitely visit Target to check things out, but designers with a vision for the runway or red carpet don't always create wearable things for the rest of us (like, what's up with that dress with the eyes on it?). Regardless, I'm always so curious to see what designer collections look like at affordable prices. Some of these pieces look a little "out there," but I'll have to see for myself tomorrow!!

Monday, March 1, 2010


Why is Honey Roasted Barbecue sauce at Chick-Fil-A given so much special attention? When you come into Chick-Fil-A, you can endlessly grab greedy handfuls of every other tasty dipping sauce, stacked up and stretching across the entire condiment counter in the same manner the slaves of China stacked the stones of the Great Wall. But for some reason you have to ask for the Honey Roasted Barbecue sauce. Why?!

If you were, say, honey mustard (which I will die believing is the finest of all dipping sauces), wouldn’t you feel a little inferior? “Who does that Honey Roasted Barbecue sauce think he is,” you'd ask yourself. The perils of greasy hands and shellshock of sticky put-backs from overzealous guests who overestimated their dipping needs are concerns that are foreign to the Nectar of the Gods, the Honey Roasted Barbecue Sauce.

Even its packaging is different…its arrogance is marked in an easy-squeeze tube. Surely, you would wonder, “Thinks he’s so much better than the rest of us. A little foil-topped container just isn’t good enough for him, huh?” I mean, I just feel bad for the other sauces.

What’s the reason behind this communist-style rationing? Does Honey Roasted Barbecue Sauce contain trace amounts of truffle oil, gold specks, water from the Fountain of Youth? Why embrace the dated ideals of segregation, Chick-Fil-A?

I’m just wondering.