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Friday, 22 August 2014

Operation Tubetop August Giveaway!

It's that time again. I get to be a poor man's Oprah. An incredibly poor, down on her luck Oprah. An Oprah that should apply for food stamps, perhaps sell some clothes on Ebay. Poor poor man's Oprah.

Last time I said that everyone who participated and didn't win would automatically be back in the running this time. The peeps are: Kat, Sarah T., Giovanna, Angela, Dragi and Debra. Please let me know if I missed anyone! If your name isn't above, then you have to werk it. To qualify for the giveaway, all you have to do is share my blog on your wall and then let me know so that I can add your name to the raffle. And this is what I'm giving away!

Yeah, I like them too. So good luck and God speed and remember, I will mail these to anywhere in the world! Competition ends Sunday evening 6 p.m. Central European Time.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Dinner Inspired by a Film - The Birdcage

So my hair is dark brown and all is well in the world. Yesterday, after work, before hosting my film inspired dinner, I decided that I should check out some dirndls. I have two already. One fits which means that I am not fatter than last year but one does not fit which means that I am fatter than two summers ago. This is like an SAT question, right here. Anywho, I thought I would cheer myself up and consider purchasing another one. A friend discovered that C&A were selling some at amazing prices and after we oohed and aahed over the Interwebs, I decided to go forth and check them out. I picked out a couple in what I thought were bigger than my size so that mentally I could be all like "Oh shucks. Need to try a smaller size. How droll." Yeah, that didn't happen. I huffed and puffed and got the side zipper up only to my hip. I looked in the mirror and thought "Not today, Shamu".
I'll take a size Orca. Thanks.
After a couple of tries, I gave up and headed to my local for a small white wine spritzer and blasted myself for all the cheese I have consumed recently. I vowed to lose weight. I headed home and started on my cheddar cheese bechamel sauce for my burgers. Yeah, is that irony? Still don't know. Again, I curse you Alannis.
Oh, I forgive you. Only because Jagged Little Pill was like the album of my angsty teenage life
So back to the whole point of this post; The Birdcage. Now I know that the American version is based on the French version but I have only seen the American version and I love it. Adore it. C'est magnifique. The cast includes, Robin Williams (I miss you, man), Nathan Lane, Dianne Wiest, Gene Hackman, Calista Flockhart and the most incredible Hank Azaria character ever. I'm not going to recap it but let's just say that Nathan Lane is my spirit animal in this film. And in the dressing room yesterday, while I was trying on Nazi garb (SIDE ZIPPERS?! WHY?!? FASCISTS!), I kind of turned into him.
In fact, having re-watched the film recently, I have realized that my relationship to the Husband is eerily similar to that of Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in this film.

Now, the film is set in Miami and I was going to wait until the Spring to do this challenge but since the sudden passing of Robin Williams, I decided to do it pronto. I have always wanted to go to Miami. Ever since Will Smith sang about it, Ben Stiller chased down Cameron Diaz, or even when Horatio Cane first put on his sunglasses, I have wanted to go... I digress. But yes, I have been smitten with the idea of Miami.
I decided that since the film takes place in Miami, I had to figure out what is considered "traditional" food. First thing that popped up; Frita Cubana. This is pretty much a meat patty with has hashbrown potatoes on a bun. I decided to make up my own version because I am the boss of me. So I cooked some burger patties, fried up some shoestring potatoes and made a spicy cheddar bechamel sauce. I topped the burgers with some roasted onions and voila! Heart attack on a bun. I regret that I did not take a picture of the food but I had already downed a couple of cocktails so my mind was more on face planting into the food. I apologize.

Speaking of booze, I made a little welcome drink which I have named Tovnado. Yeah, I did. It pretty much was comprised of white wine, Blue Bols (how many terrible jokes have been made in bars over THAT name?!), a dash of coconut/pineapple juice and garnished with a gummy shark. Behold its beauty! Behold the fact that my shark is ending his life in my drink. Respect, homie. (Editor's note: The shark gummy was spicy because cutting chilis and then cutting gummy sharks makes the sharks spicy. It was a lucky mistake. Added totally to the drink)
Kind of an awesome way to go.
Of course we can't forget the table! I decided to make it is as FABULOUS as I could on a budget. Oddly, I had most things already. Except for the pink feathers... which is odd if you know me. Moving on.

For dessert we had cheesecake ice cream because I did not have time to make a schnecken. The schnecken did not beckon last night. It was a great evening and the Kid blessedly fell asleep just before 9 without too much DRAMA which actually would have been totally appropriate to the theme. Maybe he too is a little Nathan Lane. I'd embrace that. So happy Thursday and stay tuned for the next dinner theme. I'm thinking, Amadeus...

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Hair Diaries

Oh you guys. I did a bad thing. A very bad thing. I was away for the weekend for a funeral and I will write about that soon because it was a life-changing event and I am so glad that I was able to be there. So that will be a post in a day or two... but back to the very bad no good thing I did. I dyed my hair. Now, I be no stranger to the at-home hair dye. In fact, I probably could major in chemistry by now or test positive for asbestos. I have had every hair colour you could ever imagine and I would like to believe that I rocked them all. Well, depending on the lighting and my make up. So anyway, I got it into my head that I wanted to be a redhead again. Stupid stupid. I figured that after my recent haircut, I would have healthier hair and that the colour would just take to it. I figured wrong. Oh so very wrong. Monday morning, after a quick run to the drug store, I locked the Kid out of the bathroom (3.5 year olds are determined little buggers - we need to re-paint the door) and applied a ruby red dye. Deciding to go the extra mile, I added dye to my eyebrows. As the dye sat on my head and the Kid got high off the fumes, I Google Imaged pictures of famous redheads. Emma Stone kept popping up and I thought, also high off the fumes, I'm so going to be pretty. After the 30 minutes, I stepped in the shower. Washed out the dye. Wrapped my head in a towel and thought about how my eyes would just "pop!". Yeah. About that.

And this is what I saw an hour later. But my hair was darker in spots and parts were ketchup red. I looked like I was malting. And the best part? I had hot pink and orange eyebrows. The shame.

Since I was at home with the Kid for most of the day, I had to hide my shame from myself. I coloured in my eyebrows and waited for the Nanny to come. I then ran to the drugstore and bought two different packs of lightening dye and then visited a wine bar to convince myself that platinum blonde would be great on me. JUST GREAT. When the Husband got home, he looked at me and stuttered "Your eyebrows!" and I screeched "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!" and then I cried a little. After dinner, I started on the first pack. The burning I will never forget. After it dried, I did the next step that involved more bleach. I couldn't bear to look at myself so I went to bed with wet hair and ignored the scabbing. In the morning, I leapt out of bed, hoping to see a buxom Gwen Stefani in the mirror. And.... no.

Apparently I turned myself into a golden hamster. Fanfuckingtastic.

So I wore a bandana to work today. A nice one in cream and with an Hermes motif. I made it through with a minimal amount of GUFFAWING from co-workers and headed back to the drug store in the evening. I'm a junkie with customer loyalty points coming out of my ass. And so now, I sit with dark brown dye in my hair and literally am praying that I still have some hair left in an hour. Life, it's awesome.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Back to the Grind

Back to work and back to semi-normal life. I have a 3 day work week because I am flying to Zurich and then taking a train to Germany on Thursday evening for the funeral on Friday. Wish me luck that I don't end up in France. And I am totally being serious about that. When I had to meet the Husband on Friday for our trip to Graz, I told him I would take the city train to meet him. He wrote me like 3 times to make sure I knew to get on the right train. I'm sorry that I have the worst sense of direction, dude. Just cause I call you once in a while for you to look up my location on Google Maps when I get lost in a district I am not familiar with does not mean I can't find the right train. It happened only 10 times. Get over it. Jeeeeeez. Anyway, I know that the Husband is currently printing out schedules of every possible train I can take on Thursday night to get to my final destination. He worries so.

Our weekend trip away was amahzing. Will write about that in a day or so. Yesterday morning I hit up Bikram to sweat out all my bad life choices from the weekend. It felt good to sweat and I regret nothing. Well, a little. I do regret all the cheese I consumed. I have a problem.

In other news, I am excited to announce that I sent out the invite for our annual Halloween party. It will be on October 25th and I am pumped. I usually try to hold off until September but I couldn't help myself. I also ended up buying some orange and black wool because Mama needs a Halloween infinity scarf. I started last night and as I wrote on Facebook, it initially looked like a re-usable tampon but after an hour, it is starting to look a little better - now like a re-usable sanitary napkin. GOOD MORNING EVERYBODY!

Since Halloween is, like, only two and a half months away, I have a lot to do. Since we are hosting the party in our new place, I have to totally re-think the decorations. I am going for elegant, I am going for gothic, I am going for Martha Stewart will call me and say "Gurl, your place so fiiiiiiine" Just like that. She'll say it just like that. I know it. Last year, in November, I purchased a couple of Martha Stewart Halloween magazines and I have still not cracked them open. I am amazed at my patience and resolve. Stale croissant on the counter? MIINE! NOM! NOM! NOM! Unopened Halloween magazines chock full of ghastly delight? Wait a year. Weird. So I am setting up a date with myself, some red wine in my skull glass and black candles a-blazing on September 1st. The Husband better make other plans because I will be busy.

And, edited to add, since I wrote most of this last night, I am shocked by the passing of Robin Williams. He was one of the greats and I will never forget the laughter he brought. You were a king among men. May you finally rest in peace. I'm going to cry again.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Friday Wrap-Up

Woot! Friday! And this Friday is the bestest of Fridays because this afternoon, the Husband and I are heading on a mini-break to Graz. For about 6 months we have been thinking of going away (just us two) but things kept popping up. Now it is official, we are going away for the weekend. I am really excited! Oh the TV we will watch! I cannot wait! So let's have a Friday wrap-up!

Saturday: Did Bikram in the morning then headed to my friend's place for a bit. She didn't remember which capsules were caffeine-heavy and which ones were caffeine-free so we had two cups each of the varying kind. I believe both were caffeine-heavy. I flew a little. Then we headed to the supermarket and picked up provisions for my low-carb style lasagne and cheesecake. We got home, I made dinner, we chatted, we ate and then called it a night.

Sunday: Friend joined me at Bikram and then came over for some coffee and more sweating. The rest of the morning involved laundry and cleaning. In the afternoon I headed to the birthday party of my friend's adorable 2 year old. He is a doll with a little British accent and all I want to do is teach him to say "oh how lovely you are, Tova" Bucket list. I stayed for a couple of hours and then headed to McDonalds to pick up dinner because I am, if not anything, a perfect mother.

Monday: Workity work. Headed home for an hour. Then headed out to a cute tapas bar in the 4th with a friend. It's called Manzana and it is a super lovely place with great food! There is an outside seating area on Apfelgasse and the service was fantastic. Wine was drunk, tapas inhaled and I give an enthusiastic two thumbs up!
Tapas translated into English means "EAT ME"

Tuesday: Workity work. Then home to make a Mexican meal of tacos and nachos and wine. A friend joined us for dinner and I think I hit my limit in pepperjack cheese consumption. I have no regrets.
I'll always remember our time together fondly

Wednesday: Workity work. Then I briefly met my friend for a drink but before that I decided to buy a new outfit and shoes because I was heading to a Meet and Greet and felt orca-like. I changed in the bathroon and then headed to Sand and the City to meet some peeps, drink a violet infused white wine spritzer and eat french fries because I couldn't be assed to head to another stall to get a decent meal.

Thursday: Workity work. And then home to start my French meal which I wrote about below. Friend came over, we ate, we talked and then she headed home. I packed. Wrote a couple of blog post drafts. And then promptly passed out dreaming of two nights of uninterrupted sleep in another city.

So this brings us to Friday. Yay! The Husband and I are finally taking a trip together - just the two of us. We haven't ever left the city together without the Kid for more than a day. A little unnerving but I know that we truly truly need this weekend to re-connect after such a craptastic year. I wish you all a great weekend! Back online on Monday! Holla!

Food Inspired by Films - French Kiss

Bonjour! Welcome to the second attempt at the challenge regarding food inspired by films. The other week I made a dinner in honour of Under the Tuscan Sun and it was a hit. For me. It was a hit for me. I hope you just read the last couple of sentences in a French accent because, bien sur. Tu parles le Francais, non? I don't either, I really don't. I should. But I don't.

Anyway, as you might know, I want to go into my pea-sized brain and think of my favourite films from the past and make a meal based on some of them. I will, of course, re-watch the film and realize "ZOMG! I am so old! Why does Kevin Kline look younger than my husband in this film? WHY GOD WHY?" cough. Anyway, let's get started.
Why must you age, Jean? Why?
Back in the 90's, while living in Vienna, my father asked me if I wanted to join him for an event that Air Canada was hosting with the French Embassy. I answered "Mais oui, papa!" or, most likely being a sullen angsty teen I responded with "Yeah, whatever, sure". Off we went to the cinema for it wasn't any normal type of event where diplomats chortled over hardship postings (And then I said; Pass the bucket of caviar, Miguel, I'm famished, ho, ho, ho) but rather a screening of French Kiss. It was dubbed into German but it didn't matter. The minute the music started I was hooked. Meg Ryan in France was to be my spirit animal and Kevin Kline as a Frenchman was going to be my future husband.. or lovah.
What do you mean you are out of brie?!?
Since that first time of watching it, I have probably seen it at least a dozen times. I even owned the soundtrack and spent hours dreaming of Paris, Cannes and cheese. I recently watched it again for this challenge and I am happy to declare that it has aged well like a fine boxed wine. I'm terrible at metaphors so let me just clarify by saying "the film still be good, yo".

I've been to France a few times. The first time was to Paris when I was 12 with my mother. We were heading to our posting in Vienna and were able to spend 24 hours in the city of love. I was smitten. We walked, we paid too much for food and took a boat ride. I will never forget my first trip to Paris. When I was around 19 I also went for a quick trip to France to visit a boy. This time I saw Paris again and added Le Chatres, Rouen and Le Havre to my list of French destinations. All places I cannot properly pronounce the name of. That trip was a whirlwind and I pretty much only remember attempting to open a bottle of cider in a moving car. Yes, it exploded allover the Frenchman's rented Renault and yes, we broke up. I also remember impressing the boy's friends by getting blotto in a 17th century farmhouse in the vineyards and declaring "Vive la France!" every twenty minutes. He was a nice enough guy with a striking, gorgeous family. When they took me out one night the contrast was startling. In a group of well-bred gazelles, I was this guy.
Where are you taking me, guys? I could really go for a burger.. or, I mean, le burger.

Paris alluded me until my 29th birthday. The Husband, which was to be one of his most epic gifts of all time, booked us a trip for 4 nights in Paris in March. We froze but walked the city 10 hours a day and it was incroyable. My love for the city was back. Montmartre, the Latin Quarter, the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, the markets, the gardens, the the the EVERYTHING!

My most recent trip to France was Nice and it was very nice. The Kid was 8 months old and we booked a week long trip. Being in the South of France confirmed that France is a pretty spectacular country. The North coast, Paris, Provence, Cote d'Azure - all so very very different but all so special. Now I want to go back. Je t'aime France.
I would make love to that lavender so hard. And then dry it and make little sachets for friends.
As much as I am the biggest fan of Italy, I somehow always imagined I would end living in Paris. I'm not sure if it was because of the fashion, the food, the cities, the architecture, the passion, a young Jean Reno, or the cheese but it always seemed like it would be eventually home. Instead, I have to settle for a gorgeous, safe, beautifully affordable-for-a-capital city named Vienna. Woe is me.

So anyway, back to the challenge. I invited a friend over because I knew she would enjoy a good old fashioned French meal. The menu was:

Chicken in red wine
Roasted thyme potatoes
Green salad with a vinaigrette
Tarte with chevre, caramelized onions and rosemary

Red wine -mais oui

I made the chicken in a simple tanjine that I got from my mother (my mom has bought me two because she knows I love the tanjines). I put in sliced chicken breast, some red wine, chicken broth, zest of an orange, chopped onion, herbes de provence, thyme and rosemary and a dollop of creme fraiche and cooked it at about 120 C for 3 hours.

I roasted the potatoes with some butter and thyme and salt and peppa

The green salad was rucola with a balsamic, garlic and lemon juice dressing

The tarte was made with filo pastry spread out on a cookie sheet, schmeared (I'm Jewish) with creme fraiche, chevre, caramelized onions and rosemary and baked until the pastry was lightly browned.
Pretty much a dream kitchen right there. Minus the horse. That's just an accident waiting to happen with a toddler
I couldn't forget the table setting. I pulled out a tablecloth that I had gotten from my friend, who coincidentally was coming for dinner, years ago. She bought it in France so it was perfect. I decided to go for a more rustic French table setting and brought out the iron candelabra. I searched for lavender but since it is August most shops are closed with a sign saying "Eff you. It's August. I don't need your stinking money". So I kept it simple.
Candelabra blocking view of Dora

Candles lit, wine openend, bon apetit.

The tarty tart tart

My plate, it runneth over

The lovely Debra

It was a spectacular evening and I am loving this challenge. I will have to think of the next film to do. So I wish you all a spectacular day. Au revoir!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Bikram Yoga Poses 10-18 - My Interpretation

A big thank you once again to the Bikram Yoga Loft for not hating me for my previous post. Now I feel like I can continue with my irreverent interpretation of ancient poses. Yay me. No shame. So, we ended with pose 9 the other day so let us move onto pose 10. Walk with me... or limp if you just finished a class.

Standing separate-leg head-to-knee pose: Dandayamana bibhaktapada janushirasana
(Translation: Internal organs sucked into rib cage, can't breathe)

Benefits according to me: Getting a closer look at my hairy toes
Real benefits: Works digestive system, slims belly, stretches shoulders, etc.

Tree pose: Tadasana
(Translation: Buh bye knee cartilage)

Benefits according to me: Seeing my lizard feet and feeling shame
Real benefits: Relieves lower back pain, enhances mobility of knees and hips, etc.

Toe stand pose: Padangustasana
(Translation: Oh hell no)

Benefits according to me: When I actually can do it, I will let you know (est. time: 2035)
Real benefits: Builds balance and concentration, strengthens joints and stomach muscles, etc.

Corpse pose: Savasana
(Translation: Oh thank you sweet merciful gods of Yoga. Thank you (silent weeping in relief))

Benefits according to me: I excel at this pose
Real benefits: Cures fatigue and jetlag, focuses on breathing, etc.

Wind-removing pose: Pavanamuktasana
(Translation: Stupid chili con carne and your magical stupid beans and stupid delicious beer)

Benefits according to me: Getting rid of that stupid chili con carne and magical stupid bean bloat and stupid delicious beer bloat.
Real benefits: Cures and prevents flatulence (um, sure, prevents), improves flexibility of hip joints, etc.

Bikram sit-up pose

Benefits according to me: Learning to contain ire and desperation
Real benefits: Energizes body, tones torso, etc.

Cobra pose: Bhujangasana
(Translation: Big boobs lift upper body all on their own. How about that?)

Benefits according to me: Boobs strong, boobs smart like ox.
Real benefits: Targets lower back, relieves back ache, etc.

Locust pose: Salabhasana
(Translation: T-Rex arms do not turn like that. T-Rex mad. T-Rex also no can  breathe)

Benefits according to me: Wide upper body hides T-Rex arms
Real benefits: Boosts circulation, targets upper back, builds core strength

Full locust pose: Poorna Salabhasana
(Translation: Ugh, uch. Gah. Jdknfpisehfspi. Shit)

Benefits according to me: Temporarily get excited that I'm the attractive bendy woman in front of me reflected in the mirror. Then realize I am not Asian.
Real benefits: Increases spinal strength, improves function of liver and spleen, etc.

And so those are the next 9 poses. Stay tuned for the last set of poses.

Namaste Motherlovers!

Pictures courtesy of: