Monday, March 23, 2015

#voxbox review

Got my first VoxBox from Influenster. I didn't think that it would actually work, but boom... free samples :) So that’s fun. Though I’m a little afraid I got the middle aged lady one... there was detergent involved. That’s all I’m saying.

 On the other hand, I’m kind of obsessed with the John Freida "Beach Blonde" collection (still trying to figure out the name, as all the inserts say it works for "brunettes too!"). It's minty and leaves my hair all shiny and nice. The thickening stuff really works too I think. I've been getting compliments on my hair since I've started using it. I'm going to suck it up and buy some this summer. The only thing I don't like is the scent of the Sea Salt Spray. I thought it was going to be a nice, mild, minty smell like everything else, but it's pure coconut. It totally smells like the beach though, so I suppose they're on brand. I thought it would just make my hair look...dirty... but it actually makes it look nice. Kind of wavy and wind blown and nice. I was pleasantly surprised.
I actually got a SkinFix Hand Repair in December as a present, and just as I run out, my VoxBox shows up. It was fate. My hands are dry and disgusting all winter, and all I do is search for an acceptable hand cream to throw in my bag. The SkinFix is a heavy duty cream, and a little oily, but it soaks in quickly and makes my hands feel so nice.
The Colgate Optic White toothpaste, toothbrush and gel are an impressive system. I really like the toothbrush. It seems substantial, but still gentle. I have no idea if my teeth are whiter. I think they might be, but I'm a horrible judge. I drink a lot of white wine and coffee though, so I hope so. I should have taken some before/after photos to tell for sure. 
I've been eyeing Land Ends' pretty ponte dresses, they have such nice stuff! I actually got one, but the fit isn't quite right in the bust, so I'm going to exchange it for the petite. They used to have the "canvas" collection- does anyone know what happened with that? 
I didn't try the detergent. My husband did. I noticed because we usually use a "free and clear" formula, and the Tide Pods with Febreze have a definitive scent (looking at the website, there is a no perfume version though!). We're going to bring them with us on vacation, so I'll know better in a few weeks how they work.
All in all, the VoxBox was an excellent experience, and a lot of fun- it's like a present for me! I love learning about new products, and found some stuff I'll definitely stick with! If you have any questions, leave a comment!
"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Could it be? Oscars blogging 2012!

It's time to dust off my poor, neglected blog for my annual Oscars Liveblog! These days I live at my son's blog, so over here isn't getting much action.

First, and I'm just going to get this out of the way, Billy Crystal is not that funny. There, I said it. Throw shoes at me later or something. I used to like him, but I don't think I cracked a smile during his opening thing-a-ma-bob

I missed all the red carpet, but because I was eating dinner with some beautiful friends and forgot the Oscars were tonight altogether. Then I remembered, but the baby had to eat. And the baby can only eat in the pitch dark with a sound machine going. So I'm a bit behind tonight. DId Octavia Spencer make anyone else tear up?

But muppets! So yay! Piggy's hair looks great. And yes, I'm being serious. In hair terms Miss Piggy>Tina Fey.
(February 25, 2012 - Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America)

Does the phrase "let's go to the movies" remind anyone else of Annie, or is it just me? As a side note, I hate Sandra Bullock's dress. It just makes me so sad only that two years ago her lips were so red and shiny and her hair was so straight and shiny. Now she looks like she's wearing a pants suit.
Shiny Sandy circa 2010:

I don't know what movies Cirque du Soleil is going to, but I'm glad I'm not there.

Still not funny Billy.

Gwenny looks pretty. One of the few I saw on the red carpet. The nude lip looks good on her.

Chris Rock looks good. Thin, but good. And he's funny. And it's true.
Rango should not win. Neither should Kung Fu Panda 2. But there you go. Rango. Maybe it's super great and I'm judging what I have not seen. But I don't care. Rango?

Oh, it's that girl from that show. I'd watch that.

Love Emma Stone's fluffy dress. J said she looks like a dork, but in a good way. Ben Stiller is kind of a dork too.

Angie stole Sandy B's pretty shiny lips.

This feels anti climatic. Hugo is going to win, but I want Harry Potter to win. Lets just face it, I'm never going to see Hugo in 3D. I'll be lucky if I see it at all. Do you think it will be worth it without the fancy pants effects? This is why I'm planning on never seeing Avatar. And I called it. Hugo.

Ohh. Colin Firth. Just a fly by, but yum.

Yay Muppets! I love Brett McKenzie - I'm so glad he won!

Angie can't talk tonight. She looks good though, and I often am under-impressed with her. A bit too much leg though, no? The dress has some flair, and her hair has good body. And, of course, we all know how I feel about red lips.

Reese! I love Overboard too! Let's hang out! Call me!!!!

Oh! Mila Jovovich in a sparkle sparkle dress. Lots of white out there tonight.

Kristen Wigg looks good tonight. Really working the pretty. She does the awkward so often and so well that's it's nice to see her looking so good.

The Scorsese drinking game joke wasn't that funny until the cut shot of Scorsese cracking up.

Ellie Kemper's dress matches her hair. But it's working for me. I'm a sucker for sparkles.

And now I've caught up with my DVR. Commercials for me I suppose.

How much do I adore that Meryl pulled out her glasses?

Natalie Portman looks precious, doesn't she? The polka dots are adorable.

Is that Jonah Hill's mother? She looks exactly like him, so I hope so, because otherwise that's unfortunate. (Update: I called it!)

I had no horse in the ring (mixed metaphors for the win!) for Best Actor, but the french guy seems cool. I didn't watch any of the movies (Movies. Ha. Who watches those?). Best actress though, I'm kind of rooting for Viola Davis, even though I haven't seen any of these movies either. And have I mentioned how much I love Colin Firth? Okay. I can live with Meryl. She's simply lovely. And she's been nominated a million and one times. Have you seen this? It's hilarious.(side note: And then I read this guys blog for an hour because he's hilarious and was once on Toddlers and Tiaras as a judge)

Every time I hear the words War Horse, all I can think of is the Saturday Night Live skit making fun of it. At least J gets it and we crack up a lot over that. If you want in on our cheesy joke, here:

Tom Cruise looks surprisingly good. I'm so used to disliking him that this is a little disarming.

And the big win is The Artist. Interesting. I'm loving the first nominated silent film since 1923 aspect. I should probably watch it now, right?

Good night and good luck folks! I have a baby to go feed now, then I'll post this. You're probably reading this in sometime 2013, right?

Monday, February 28, 2011

3rd Annual live blogging the Oscars (from an alternate location)

So, despite being in the Lancaster NICU, I feel the need to find a sense of normalcy through my annual tradition of blogging the Oscar's for Kajal, who is somewhere much more interesting, sunbathing on a beach. Well, probably not during the Oscar telecast, but even if she watched every moment live, here you go, my viewing public. A brief reprieve from my accidental hiatus.

Tim Gunn hosting the red carpet! Oh la la!

Mila Kunis- pretty, unusual dress. Purple and ruffly. I love it. Some of the wrapping gives her weird lumps, but mostly I love it.

Hailey Seinfeld- Adorable and age appropriate. Sometimes I don't like the flesh colored dresses, but this one is pretty and not sexy. Just pretty. And she's adorable and gushing.

Boys are so boring. Jesse Eisenburg. Wow, he's wearing a suit (to be fair, probably a tux). Being dryly witty. He needs a haircut. Now he's standing awkwardly, with a message for his mom, being like, can I go now? Poor kid.

Amy Adams- love the dress. It's hot and unusual. Not sure about the jewelry, but love love the dress. Great color, and unusual with the cap sleeves and high neckline.

Jennifer Laurence- Girl I don't know wearing an "eh" boring red dress. Yawn.

And there's Kevin Spacey, wearing a tux. Wow.

Russell Brand brought his mom. How adorable. He's actually wearing a kind of interesting, navy suit with some sort of tone on tone pattern in the shirt. Hmm…

Melissa Leo- Eh, weird dress. Another high neckline, but instead it plunges in the front, but is high in the back. But it's white and covered in broken mirrors. Hmm….

Poor Tim Gunn. Being lowered to reading Facebook questions on the red carpet.

Note to self: Facebook automatically gets capitalized on TextEdit.

Justin Timbelake= hot. Even if he's just in a tux.

Awww… The PS22 Chorus. I <3 them.

According to the NYT, red is the color of the evening.

Cate Blanchett is adorable. Another lilac colored dress. I actually really like it. It's really interesting, and she looks striking. I like her pixie cut. The way the beads are a big circle around her chest is kind of weird, but the skirt is pleated and beautiful. And Tim Gunn was gushing, which was also super cute.

Mark Ruffalo's wife is called sunrise. Is that weird? Her dress is really dark and heavy. He's adorable though. He was in my favorite movie, 13 going on 30. (Not really my favorite movie, but you know…well, maybe you don't, but that's okay too)

Marisa Tomei certainly went for the drama. Cute dress, she's pretty easy going and fun seeming, so I'll go for it. Tim Gunn called her dress "staggering" and "fashion history"- I'm not sure if he means that as a compliment or not.

Don't know how much more I'm going to make…. have to go home, and then I'll come back.

8pm. Red carpet is still going on.

Natalie Portman- looks awesome in a more vivid purple. And pregnancy looks good on her.

James Franco- I kind of madly love him. He goes to Yale for like, literature. He's wearing a tux too, yawn, but seriously. I love him. He obviously doesn't take this all too seriously at all.

JT again. Talking to Tim Gunn this time, and still looking adorable.

Sandy Bullock. Doesn't look as good as she did last year (I still think about those beautiful, shiny lips), but still looks good. She's so pretty. She's wearing red too, and it's a great color on her.

Nicole Kidman- looks a little harsh. Her dress has a lot of angles and kind of weird sparkliness. I like the ponytail though. Nicole likes the structure, but I like her in something flowy-ier (more flowy?)

Gwyneth Paltrow- wearing gold, and looks very orange. I usually like her a lot, but tonight I'm not sure about her.

Christian Bale- Love his beard. DId he always have a beard? I also like the black on black on black tux. Suit? What distinguishes a tux from a suit?

Missed Scarlett Johanason earlier. Her dress is pretty stunning. So does Anne Hathaway.

Um, wait, just caught this, but Matthew Machonoey couldn't shave for the occasion? Mamma mia.

Okay, in the green room now; 5 minutes until the show:

Halle Berry looks amazing. Like a cloud. She looks floating and airy and beautiful. And her jewelry is just sparkly and beautiful while still understated.

Opening montage is pretty funny. I like how Morgan Freeman called James Franco "that guy from General Hospital"

You just got "inceptioned"

Back to the future? Gotta love the delorean.

Oh! Anne has another pretty pretty dress on.

I love James Franco. So weird. How could you not love someone who is so weird? And who loves his grandma?

"It's been a great year for lesbians."

Clark Gable still makes me a little woozy. Sigh.

Art Direction: I actually saw Alice in Wonderland and Inception. Go me. So I saw a winner! Awesomeness! And it was seriously beautiful. A weird interpretation of the film, but simply stunning to watch. (And thank you Netflix instant streaming)

Cinematography- Inception. Such a stunning film. Glad it won. For the record, I think I've seen only these two nominated films, so there won't be too much more for me to comment on.

Besides Anne Hathaway's pretty dress. Did I mention that? Cause pretty. And the shiny hair. So pretty.

Oh, Melissa Leo won best supporting actress, though everyone was making a big fuss over some trade magazine ads she put up. Weirdos. She looks seriously shocked. The dress looks better on stage than it did on the red carpet. I like her understated lipstick.

I like the way they keep James Franco and Anne Hathaway off to the side. I hope they let them sit down during the awards. Otherwise, poor Anne Hathaway and her poor feet.

JT: I'm Banksy. God, that felt good.


Is Toy Story 3 just a shoo in for the animated feature? I guess so.

Hmmm… White suits. Tuxes. Javier Bardian's though is sort of cream colored.

I'm glad Aaron Sorkin won best adapted screenplay, mostly because I love West Wing so much. He might be a huge jerk or something, but really, I love the west wing, and it is totally because of him. I can't believe they're playing him off the stage.

First Academy Award for The King's Speech (best screenplay). I think it is a favorite for Best Picture, so let's see how it goes.

I love Anne Hathaway's rendition of On My Own. And what shoes. Um… who is in drag as Marilyn Monroe? James Franco makes a surpisngly attractive, if borad shouldered woman. Seriously, very good makeup job. The lipstick is especially flattering.

Helen Miriam looks beautiful. The puffed sleeves looks surprisingly good on her. And the necklace… ohh la la.

Reese Witherspoon looks good. Very classic. I know some people don't like her, but I've always been a fan. Not nuts about her hair though, I'd like her to go a little more mature than a ponytail.

Christian Bale's beard won best supporting actor! Lovely for his wife "who's my mast, and I hope I'm likewise for you". Beautiful.

Anne is wearing another pretty (though not so pretty as her last two) dress. I'll reserve judgement on it until i get the full view though.

Trent Reznor won for music? Does this mean he sold out? And he looks very mainstream. I guess the 90s are over (long live the 90s).

James Franco: I am 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon away from our next two presenters.

Seriously, why didn't Matthew Machonoey shave? And wash his hair? Damn.

Anne's necklace is super pretty.

Marissa Tomei's dress is very pretty. Vintage, and very flattering on her, though not overwhelming. Also very subtle on the makeup. She's very pretty.

Still like Cate Blanchett's dress, though she might look kind of like a spaceman from the future. Well, space woman. You know what I mean.

Amy Adams is adorable. I really like her, even if I'm angry about Julie & Julia. Well, her part in it (and really, that's Julie Powell's problem more than Amy Adams' problem).

Love Anne's swingy dress. So pretty!

Autotuned Harry Potter! Whoo! Autotuned Twilight. Hilarious (Doesn't he own a shirt? He's too sexy to wear a shirt).

Even Anne loves the swingy dress. Awesome.

Oprah is all over the place this year. And sparkly. I love the sparkles.

Feature Documentary winner lady looks great (Audrey Marrs). I love her bows and pretty bun. Feature Documentary winner man doesn't know how political to go, but I think you have to when you win documentary. Oprah is still sparkly on the way out.

Billy Crystal is looking a little puffy these days. Still funny though.

Anne looks great in that color red.

Gwenyth is wearing (I believe) a different gold dress now, and still looks overly gold, but definitely looks less orange. Maybe. I don't like the super-pale lipstick thing on her though.

Jennifer Hudson's boobs look kind of weird in that dress, though it is very stunning.

Not a fan of Anne's dress now. Blue vinyl? really?

Hilliary Swank got a cloud dress too, but Halle Berry's is much prettier. And for the record, I'm in the Office's "Not Hot" category for Hiliary Swank. Eh, she just doesn't do it for me.

I didn't mention Annette Benning earlier, because she was on the red carpet when I was leaving the hospital, but she looks amazing. And that dress is very flattering. It's also just beautiful how much Warren Betty is in love with her. I love it.

Natalie Portman looks so good pregnant. Really.

It's kind of cute to have Jeff Bridges announce the best actress nominees, but I kind of like what they did last year better. I suppose this is a little faster probably.

Yay Natalie Portman! That's the movie I really wish I had seen that I haven't (though several other films are on the list). I don't like here earrings though. Tassels are for curtains, not for ears.

Anne Hathaway, how could you not have told me about the drinking game earlier???

Colin Firth. I love him, though it's so boring and typical to love him. I'm glad he won though I'm not sure that I'm going to see The King's Speech, even though it's supposed to be really good. And I love Helena Bohneim Carter.

Beautiful montage for best picture. I still haven't forgiven Steven Speilburg for the last Indiana Jones movie though.

Kings Speech. Did I call it? (Yes I did, see above). Total= 4 awards, including Best Picture. Pretty cool. Maybe I should see it.

Anne's last dress= a winner. Beautiful!! Another turtleneck. Who knew?

Awww. I love PS22. NYC represent! Lovely sweet. Those kids make me cry all the time.

And for the record, James Franco probably had as many wardrobe changes as Anne, but the only one I noticed was his stunning rendition of Marilyn Monroe.

Oh, and does the milestone of "both hosts dress in drag" count as a historic Oscars milestone?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

And the award goes to...

Welcome back to Amy's Magical Place's 3rd Annual Academy Awards blogging. So, if you happen to be traveling throughout South East Asia and don't have access to a TV, or are Kajal and happen to appreciate my specific brand of humor (I believe that covers my main readership), or if you are a huge lover of Sandra Lee's cooking and have no idea how you ended up on this page, I hope you enjoy!

So it begins...

I love Neil Patrick Harris!… and his sparkly tux. <3

Though might I just say that the flesh colored mike is a little creepy.

The opening sequence is reminding me of The Great Muppet Caper

Sarah Jessica Parker's hair looks awesome in this fancy huge coif!

Is Steve Martin buckled up for his trip down on the thing? Oh… I think they both were but Alec had his safety belt cleverly hidden beneath his tux jacket.

Vera Farmiga looks like Andie MacDowell. It's actually kind of creepy. I can't be the only one who thinks this, no?
(pictures by erotiQus and Modern Luxury Media on Flickr)

Ha! Damn Helen Miriam… took me a minute.

Love love love Sandra Bullock's red lipstick

Girl from Precious is adorable. Plus she has a nice dress. Win.

Seriously, she's wearing such great lipstick. I think the camera man likes it too, because they keep cutting to her reactions.

Who's Clooney with this year? (And why isn't it me?) She should ask Sandra Bullock for some lipstick. Her lips are looking a little lifeless there.

Lipstick again! At least this time Alec and Steven are talking about her.

Oh, Sandy is in the front row. That might be why they're paying attention to her. Well, that and her fabulous red lips.

Is Taylor Lautner there with Taylor Swift? I didn't catch. Hm, no it seems he's just sitting there with Kristen Stewart. Bummer for Taylor. Assuming they're still together. I actually don't keep up that much with the entertainment news. Unless it's funny or on The Soup.

Penelope Cruz is beautiful, but I'm not entirely sure what I feel about her dress. Color=10, but the weird asymmetrical boob thing is turning me off.

I've never heard of The Messenger. Should I have? I mean I guess so… Woody Harrelson is up for an award for it.

Oh, another movie I haven't heard of. But Gandolf is in it.

Um, why does ABC7 think I care about its little fight with Cabelvision? I mean, people with Cablevision care, but they can't see the little ticker at the bottom of the screen because you're not showing on their TVs. Dumbasses.

Steve Carell! I love him!

Ohh… Animated Feature Film? I've actually seen a film in this category! Two films!

Seriously, Cablevision, I hate you. ABC7, you're not that much better.

Aww. I haven't seen the Princess and the Frog yet.

Yay! Up! Though I've heard fantastic things about The Fabulous Mr. Fox.

Julianna Moore looks hot.

Amanda Seyfried is wearing a total Cinderella dress, but looks totally sweet. On the other hand, Miley Cyrus needs something that covers her boobs better. And to lay off the self tanner. And to stand up straight. The girl is slouching.

Oh, I've seen District 9 too… I'm feeling like such an Oscar expert. Three whole movies.

Tina Fey always gets slammed in the fashion columns. I like her dress, though I hate her hair. I might like the dress better with two straps. I keep wondering what happened to the other one. It looks kind of like two dresses. Two pretty dresses, but I'll be happy when this whole one-strap thing goes the wayside. Hm. Maybe I don't like her dress. Or maybe I'm over thinking this whole thing.

The Oscars are totally awesome when you never have to hear the acceptance speeches.

Molly Ringwald! Super cool. I like her hair too. Why does she look shell shocked though? She looks a bit crazy. I don't like her gold thing-a-ma-bobs, though I think her one-shoulder thing works way better than Tina Fey's.

McCauley Calken still looks like a tiny 9 year old version of himself. :)

Sweet tribute to John Hughes.

Kristen Stewart looks perpetually pissed off. Seriously, what gives?

Thank Heaven For Little Girls? My husband declared that a creepy choice for entrance music.

Who just came out looking like an avatar? Ben Stiller! That's awesome. I like his blue whiskers the best.

The deadpan "I am here… to present the award… for best makeup"

The fishing pole is super awesome.

I'm going to run out of DVRed Oscars soon. Might have to switch gears and watch some red-carpet stuff while I let the oscars get a bit ahead of me.

Jake Gyllenhall is hot. Is he really not dating Reese anymore? I adored them together.

Rachel McAdams dress is pretty. And so is her dress.

Best Adapted Screenplay- my bet is Push/Precious. Who's with me?

Oh, I saw The Education too. I thought it was horrible. Fail Nick Hornby. I expected better of you. Blah. I saw it on the way home from Frankfort.

Oh yeah, I can call it. Push won. Suck it librarian that I know that thinks it's trash.

Queen Latifah looks rockin'.

So, have I mentioned how much I love Sandra Bullock's lipstick?

Lauren Bacall is gorgeous.

Mo'nique totally deserved the win for Best Supporting Actress. She was awesome, based just on that clip.

Lots of red dresses tonight. :) Not crazy about the one shoulder on Sigourney Weaver either. Sigourney is the weariest name ever, isn't it? I never really thought about it before. She changed it from Susan in 1963 after a character in the Great Gatsby that apparently only she remembered.

Why is Keanu Reeves there? He wasn't in a movie this year, was he?

Not nuts about Sarah Jessica Parker's dress-- it obscures any figure she has. though she's totally the person to present for best costume. And I still like her crazy bun.

The winner- Sandy Powell is wearing an amazing dress. That's a print. With a cute sparkly pillbox hat. And great hair. I love her. J thinks she gave a bitchy speech though, so take from that what you will.

Why is Charlize Theron wearing these weird swirly spiral flower things over her boobs? Seriously. I keep staring at her breasts because of that stupid dress.

Here comes Kristen Stewart with her sour puss face again
Taylor Lautner is hot though. :)

Um, do you think I should tell them that Twilight and New Moon aren't horror? Someone at the Academy seems confused. They were comedy- anyone who has seen either knows that. Duh.

Morgan Freeman is hilarious. I love him.

I love Anna Kendrick. And she has a super pretty dress on, though some color wouldn't have hurt her. She is also the absolute best part of the Twilight movies, and I fear for the rest of them, because I know her character has a much smaller part the more anti-social Bella gets.

Seriously, I just went on IMDB- why is Keanu there??? On the bright side, he's in a new version of Jekyll and Hyde next year, which is a text has no good modern film adaptations- I know, I looked. Of course, that assumes that a version with Keanu Reeves would be a good adaptation. So I guess I'm back at square one.

Oh! Red lips. And pretty dress. Normally Sandra Bullock looks crazy and bad dressed up, but tonight she looks great. Fabulous dress. Fabulous lips. And for once great hair. Not stringy at all- just shiny and sleek and beautiful. Just woosh over her shoulder, just so. It's kind of amazing. And the dress- it's like painted on her. Sexy.

Not sure how I feel about Demi's dress- it's a little too "naked dress" for the memorial tribute, and a little too ingenue for an actress of her age (I just went to check and see how old she is, which is 48. I spent a harried minute wondering if I called a 40 year-old old or something. She's nearly fifty- I stand by my statement).

I kind of want to fast forward through this, but I love this song. And I don't think I have much room to fast forward anyway.

I forgot Brittany Murphey passed. That really is so sad- she was so young.

I hate J-Lo's dress. It looks like an iridescent comforter is attacking her.

I love that Clooney doesn't seem to take this too seriously.

Boo! Camera man who wouldn't let Rick O'Berry show his Dolphin text thing (44144) and instead cut to some guy. Text dolphin to that number and you'll get messages on how to stop the annual Japanese dolphin hunt.

Ohh…. I wish I had this "shot" sequence when I was teaching Monster. It's really descriptive on how the different shots work. My kids didn't get it at all despite the fact that I kept having them draw them.

Hm. Look, it's Keanu. He's introducing The Hurt Locker. Damn. There for a reason.

My DVR is only recording until 11:30. It's 11:14 now. They really need to step up.

I really like this way of introducing the Best Actor/Actress category, where their co-stars say something nice about them. It's pretty sweet and thoughtful (btw, my DVR conked out during Tim Robbin's intro of Morgan Freeman, but I foresaw it, so I set it to record the news. Hopefully this half hour will be enough).

Kate Winslet's hair looks much better this year (as opposed to her crazy-do last year). The silver dress is pretty, but the bottom half is a little square and severe on her. Fab necklace.

Yay Jeff Bridges!

I know that the reason that all the clips from Julie/Julia are of Julia is because Meryl Streep is the actress up for the award, not Amy Adams. But it still makes me happy that it looks more like a movie about Julia Child's life and not so much the movie of a whiney 20 something that had to suffer the indignity of living in- oh horrors- Queens. (Yeah, I don't take that personally. Don't worry).

And yet another opportunity to gaze upon the lipstick and perfect hair of Sandra Bullock. Seriously guys, I'm not even a huge fan of hers.

Oprah! That's sweet. Wouldn't you just die if Oprah Winfrey introduced you? I know I would. Gabby Sidibe must be living the most surreal life right now.

What is Sean Penn talking about? I can't understand what he's mumbling about.

Moving on… Really??? Sandra Bullock? And then she didn't hug Meryl? Hmm… I mean, The Blind Side looks like a great movie, but she had some super stiff competition out there. Well, it's another opportunity to look at this amazing lipstick some more. Not to mention her speech was touching and funny:
"George Clooney threw me into a pool years ago- I'm still holding a grudge."
"Meryl Streep, my lover"

Meryl Streep has gotten the best jokes of the evening. Who declared it "Let's make fun of Meryl Streep Day"?

Yay! First woman for Best Director! It's only taken 81 years…

Wow- The Hurt Locker cleaned up. I would say I should see it, but well, um… I've had Slumdog Millionaire at my house for a week now and I think at this rate I'm just going to send it back to Netflix, cause god knows that I'm never going to watch it.

Aww. Steve Martin just ran down to hug Meryl. So cute! Squee.

Well, that's a wrap ladies and gents! In a perfect world, I'll look at all the gowns tomorrow and give my critiques then.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Better Living Through Technology!

For christmas my dearest, darling-est husband (whom I ironically never, ever refer to as DH) indulged my whims and bought for me the camera flash of my dreams. The Speedlite 430EXII is now a permanent fixture to my camera bag, making me even more of a nuisance to my extremely patient and wonderful friends. Somehow, throughout the years they have taken to ignoring my constant clicking though all of our get-togethers, leaving me to get some great candids and fun shots.

However, now that I have the potential to be a massive presence, flashing away with bright lights and being anything other than inconspicuous, I'm thinking that maybe I should work more on my food photography. Food never has a bad hair day or gets camera shy. Food doesn't get annoyed that I take pictures of it. Not to mention, food is (mostly) extremely delicious.

My new flash (inspired by Deb from Smitten Kitchen) makes food look amazing. Traditionally, taking pictures in my kitchen is not a good thing. We have compact florescent lights and unfortunate green walls, so whenever I try to take food pictures, everything ends up with a sad greenish yellowish twinge.

Let's look at this example from when I made potstickers:

Waiting for the pot

See? It's a little weird and not entirely appetizing. As seen below, once cooked it photographed even worse (though it tasted delicious).

Potstickers. They were delicious

What happens is that food ends up looking a little oily. The two pictures above were taken with my Canon Powershot SD, but ones taken with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT turn out similar, as seen here.


I mean, sure, they look delicious- they are cookies after all. However, the bright sheen from a direct flash picks up all the shine and shadow making them look appetizing, but not mouthwatering.

If I take my new flash and use it properly (with a diffuser or even if I just aim the flash to the side) all of the sudden they become the most beautiful, mouthwatering cookies in the entire world. They become the epitome of all cookies. They make me want to take pictures of cookies all day.



Now *those* are cookies. No weird shadows, no greasy sheen. Just warm, mouth watering cookies that I want to eat.

In fact, please excuse me, so that I can get some cookies.

See you tomorrow for my annual Oscar blogging!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sandra Lee: Holiday Cocktail Party

Semi Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee: Holiday Cocktail Party

A point by point analysis.

1) Whoops. I stopped paying attention already- let me rewind.

2) Sandy is walking through the falling snow in a pine forest with echo-y audio waxing nostalgic about the holiday season being where tradition meets modern--- especially when it's 'Semi Homemade.'

3) Less than a minute in and she's already telling us about the booze. She knows where my priorities are. Thank you Ms. Lee.

4) Hmm. I don't know how I feel about the frozen blue martini. There are three drinks though-- no one can call Sandra Lee a slacker.

5) A hint of what's to come: there's a nutcracker tablescape.

6) It also appears that she's recycling old ideas- she made a "cocktail tree" last year, didn't she? I didn't mention it in my recap, so I don't know if I'm imagining cocktail trees or if I'm just a lazy blogger.

7) Her intro is way more polished than it's been in the past. She must have a bigger budget. She explains the 70% 30% breakdown during a montage of her being all blonde and smiling.

As a side note, I was making christmas cookies this year, and there is a Sandra Lee recipe on the side of my Domino's Sugar. After initially being freaked out, I'm now just comforted that this additional income is being put to good use.

8) Clothes: What should be a white knit turtleneck, biased cut with an asymmetrical hem, jeans, and ugg type boots.

9) What is she holding? A plaid treasure chest with nutcrackers at each corner? When will she explain this one? (addendum- she doesn't)

10) 1st recipe: marmalade meatball

-Put pre-made, thawed meatballs in a slow cooker.

-Cover with orange marmalade. She emptied the marmalade into a red bowl, then poured the red bowl in the crock pot. I don't know why she added the red bowl middle-man. I assumed she was going to mix something into the marmalade (vanilla extract? That's a favorite of hers…). but she didn't. Just plop. Into the slow cooker.

-Add whole bottle of Catalina dressing. I used to love that on my salads when I was 12. I would literally drown my iceberg lettuce in that. Damn. This is bringing back good memories. She didn't put that into a bowl first. At least she's not making sure we have too many unnecessary dishes.

-Worcestershire sauce. Nothing interesting about that. Carry on.

-Oooh. Hot red peppers. Getting fancy there Ms. Lee! Half a teaspoon- it really makes the dish.

-Sitr to cover all the meatballs and distribute crushed red pepper. Slow cook on high for 3 hours.

11) 2nd Recipe: Blue cheese date spread

-Open up one of those nifty packages of crushed blue cheese. I'd feel more comfortable teasing her about those if I didn't use them all the freaking' time myself. Stupid easy supermarket-cheese. Then she adds two bricks of cream cheese. That seems like a lot of cream cheese to blue cheese, but I really like blue cheese.

Literally just seconds to do!

-She's going to let that baby firm up now. Wait, she just compared it to gelato. I mean, only the consistency, but that's a little weird, no? Or am I just reaching? 3 hours to set??? Luckily, due to the magic of TV, she has some already made.

(She just called some basil in a red cup a "little christmas tree- how cute is that??" You can practically see the tablescape forming in her head as she suggests putting it on the table at dinner.)

-Wet cheese scooped with an ice cream scoop and then rolled into a ball. Roll into the chopped dates (she said she chopped them herself, though they were pitted) then put on a few leaves of the basil.

12) 3rd Recipe: Rock Shrimp with Spicy Cream Sauce

-She tells where we can find rock shrimp, and it seems totally dubbed and unnatural. The camera is on a bowl of rock shrimp for 11 whole seconds, and all you can see is her fiddling with the bowl and waving her hands above it like a crazy person. It's a little disturbing (especially after the third time you've watched it- these are the sacrifices I make for you, gentle reader).

The cream sauce first

-1/2 cup mayo

-1/4 cup heavy cream (she's trying to kill us all!)

-2 tsp sweshwan style seasoning. That's a "fabulous" spicy asian spice mix. There's cracked red pepper in it. That's how you know it's spicy.

- 2 cups of tempura mix (Sandy goes international!) and 1 1/2 cups of ice cold water. She literally has ice in the measuring cup. She doesn't mention if she adjusted her measurements because of that.

-Deep fryer at 375- I stand by the "she's trying to kill us" statement. Maybe not quickly, but isn't that the worst kind- the lingering, fat with unhealthy foods type of murder?

She then fries the shrimp one at a time, which might be correct, but seems like a pain in the butt- There's 80 shrimp there (enough for 8 people, and I assume that's appetizer size, because 8 rock shrimp wouldn't be enough for me for a main course).

She's blotting them- trying to convince me she's not trying to kill me- before she dumps them into the cream/mayo mixture.

Her garnish are endive leaves. She does way more garnish than I do, though I do like endives. However, I would not usually describe them as "festive."

13) Wow, she just insulted me. Humph. Apparently my lack of attention to details like this is making my guests feel like I don't like them enough to put in the energy and effort to make their holidays extra cheerful. Now you know the truth. If I make you deep fried shrimp without the endives, I don't really care about your holiday.

14) Cocktails next. Thank god. I need some booze. Sadly, the hot chocolate that I'm sipping on doesn't have booze in it. What was I thinking when I turned on Sandra Lee without alcohol???

15) Sandra just walked back into the kitchen with a life sized nutcracker. Seriously, he could take her in a fight, being at least 5 inches taller and broader than her.

However, if his extremely sparkling jacket is any indication, Mr. Nutcracker may be a bit fey and not into that. Maybe he'd just do her hair. I hear she's huge in the gay community. And why not? She's practically a drag queen. Though I must admit, I'm a bit disappointed in her clothes- no cleavage and she only has one outfit though we're 17 minutes in. My fingers are crossed she has a costume change planned for the tablescape reveal.

16) She called the nutcracker her "little buddy" and said he's going to help her in the kitchen. I think she's already tested of a few of those cocktails. She's also blocking her refrigerator with him.

17) She then points out what I somehow didn't notice before- her entire kitchen is filled with nutcrackers. Let's play the counting game. 17 on Screen right now. Nope. Wrong. I didn't see the wreath. 23.

18) She named them all. Simon. Fredrick. Bjorn. Eek.

19) Bib lettuce to garnish the meatballs.

20) Recipe #4-6 3 Cocktails:

1st up: Frosty Cocktail


-1 part vodka

-equal parts blue curaco and orange liquor.

-Rim your martini glass with honey and then coconut before pouring in the drink.

It looks like a slushy and tastes like blue.

2nd: Gingerbread cockail

Equal parts

-vanilla vodka


-Half part of butterscotch schnapps


-She pours it into a snifter and tops it with some dark rum and a splash of ginger beer. The lady does not mess around with her cocktails. I would not play asshole with her. I'm sure she can hold her liquor.

But then she goes and balances a poor gingerbread man onto the rim. Why can't she just leave the rims of glasses alone? What did they ever do to her? (see photo above re: Gingerbread man crotch)

3rd: Candy cane cocktail

Equal parts

-vanilla rum

-peppermint schnapps

-white chocolate liquor

Garnish that with… you guessed it-- A candy cane.

21) Next up: Spend a few hours making cursing at candy while attempting to make a Santa Sleigh favor.

22) Now I see that Sandy is shilling for Wii sports resort. Hmmm… (Though it is totally awesome. Seriously.)

23) Costume change!!!!

Sandy is now wearing a red tank top showing much more d├ęcolletage than before covered with a red, plaid shirt that's unbuttoned, and then I suspect tied together at the bottom, thereby mimicking my favorite outfit from the 11th grade. I wonder if she's also wearing men's jeans that are a few sizes too large. (I had horrible fashion sense in high school)

24) Hold onto your fashionably 90's shirt, she's already started on those sleighs.

Cover graham crackers with red and white royal icing (alternate per cracker.)

On the white cracker, set in 2 candy canes, curled side up and drizzle with some more royal icing and dust some coconut on top.

Sandy looks at the camera very excitedly as she tells us that the coconut will help hold the candy canes in place as they dry. I think she wants to do a little hop there, but she can't because she's on TV.

The red graham cracker goes on top of the candy canes and that sets.

Then she makes a licorice bench and uses some icing to attach it to the sleigh. She implies that she's not even going to show us how to make the licorice bench because it's soooo easy, but I am going to have to assume it's not because it involves a lot of cutting of licorice and outlining with royal icing. It probably has to set for awhile too. And I can't tell how the licorice is being held together. Is the royal icing acting as glue? And if so, how did she get it not to show?

She just pulled out a fruit roll up ladies and gentlemen. Things just got interesting.

She's putting unwrapped starbursts (though she called them fruit candies) in the middle of a circular fruit roll up and wrapping it up like a sack. Then she's tying it up with more licorice, but a single strand this time. Ah, it's the sack of presents for the sleigh. Ooh. No, bad. She is putting little x's of royal icing on more (unwrapped) starbursts to act as presents for the sleigh. Someone is going to die of a sugar coma. Maybe that's her evil plan.

Now she's putting a chocolate Santa (allegedly all over the place this time of year) on the seat. He's leaning all crooked on the licorice bench. Chocolate Santas don't have knees.

25) Into the living room. AHHHH. Her christmas tree is guarded by two of the most awesomely grotesque nutcrackers I've ever seen. I mean 3.

26) She has glasses dangling upside down on her tree. Champagne glasses, martini glasses, wine glasses, brandy glasses…She wired them there with floral wire. I can't imagine this is a very family friendly tree. If one of those glasses goes…. well, you can use your imagination.

27) The nutcracker on top of the tree (did you expect anything else?) has his own cocktail in his hand- I don't think it's a real drink, though it does look scarily like the "Frosty Cocktail." She never says what it is actually made out of though.

28) Her tablescape has even more nutcrackers on it. Each place setting is set off with a charger (I've never understood chargers. An extra plate to wash that you can't even eat off of? Seems like a waste of a plate to me) with either a red- or a green- plate on top of it. She sounds SO excited all of the time. She must be exhausted by the end of this show. Or trashed. Just saying, I can't maintain that level of "OH MY GOSH, HOW CUTE" all of the time.

And that's it. Hope you had a Sandy-Lee worthy holiday!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

'Tis the Season... of Sandra Lee

Scrolling through my StatCounter Statistics this afternoon, I noticed an upturn in hits. As I have not updated this blog since.... um.... yeah.... oh.... October 23rd, that seemed a little strange so I inspected the keyword analysis. Much to my surprise (or chagrin?) I found the following:

Out of my top 20 recent keyword searches, 16 17 were looking for information about Sandra Lee, and only one was trying to find out what I wanted for Christmas. If you're still interested, I'd like some earrings. And 2 were about Vermont, which is awesome

There were a multitude of questions (well, 17), like:

What does Sandra Lee's red and green christmas table look like?
Is she having a 2009 Christmas special?
How does she make chocolate liqueur?
Where does she buy her lace tops?
Does she have a 2009 Christmas magazine?
And how do you get those fruit roll up bows stuck to those festive little cupcakes?

This is what the public is clamoring for! So, say I, give the people what they want! Beginning tomorrow (tonight I'm playing the role of a 16 year old girl and see New Moon in theaters. Yup. Paying $12.50 plus tax for a teeny-bopper movie about emo vampires. And the sad thing is that I'll enjoy it) I'm on Sandra Lee watch. Stay tuned for new features here at Amy's Magical Places, such as:

The Sandra Lee Test Kitchen
Sandra Lee Runway
Top Tablescape
and more, once I think of a couple more catchy (ie- blatantly parodied from Reality TV) titles!

Stay tuned!

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