Thanks Okahoma for the pretty scenery during my drive today from Austin to Wichita.
It’s that time of year again!! Okay, sorry, yes, Thanksgiving hasn’t happened yet. ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas hasn’t started yet.
But is it my fault that Hallmark Channel is already playing Christmas movies morning, noon, and night??! Thank you, Hallmark Channel.
My DVR is already full of them.
Today, I’ll share 3 new (or new to me) Christmas movies that I’ve enjoyed this season so far.
3. Snow Bride
PS…not recommended: The Thanksgiving House, A Very Merry Mix-Up, The March Sisters at Christmas
When I go back to Kansas, I drive home instead of flying. It’s a 9 hour drive versus a 4-5 hour flight. But I figure that after you factor in time checking in at the airport, going through security, waiting at the gate, etc etc, plus the risk of flight delays & cancellations…I’ll drive. Plus it’s easier to drive with Haley than fly with her. Double plus, I can pack a ton of stuff and just throw it in my car. Triple plus, I have lots of time to catch up on my favorite podcasts.
8 of My Favorite Podcasts to Listen to
I probably listen to WTF more than any other podcast. I do generally skip the musical guest episodes, but all others I listen to regularly. A few of the more recent episodes I enjoyed: Illeana Douglas, Johnny Knoxville, Jim Breuer, Elijah Wood, and Laura Dern
It’s no surprise that I listen to Joy the Baker as Joy & Tracy are two of my favorite bloggers. They talk about totally important unimportant things. It’s basically like catching up with my two girlfriends, although they can’t hear me shouting my input at them. I only wish that they podcasted more.
Freakanomics is great! Anytime I can learn something, while still being entertained, that’s a good thing. I recommend their recent episode about pet cremation. Okay that’s a bummer, but it was interesting.
They did an episode called The Upside of Quitting too. That episode was one of the factors that led me to quit my blog. Quitting my blog didn’t stick, of course, but the podcast helped me during a time of uncertainty.
There’s really no explanation needed on this podcast. Everyone knows This American Life and if you don’t, shame on you! You can catch episodes on NPR (as you can with several of the podcasts on my list), but the podcast is great as you can listen whenever is convenient for you. There are SO many excellent episodes. But if you’re new to the podcast, I suggest starting with the Harper High School episodes.
Alec Baldwin has a good radio voice, not surprisingly. And he has interesting friends, again not surprisingly. He does at times interject his own story into his interview, but not so much that I’m overly annoyed by it.
Ohhh I see that he interviewed David Simon, creator of The Wire, this summer. I’m sure I skipped the episode back then, but will listen now as I’m currently watching the show!
But my favorite Here’s the Thing episode to date had nothing to do with entertainment. It was his interview with Martin Horn, former NYC Dept of Corrections Commissioner.
6. Uh Yeah Dude
America through the eyes of two Americans! It’s a comedy podcast about things in the news, but nothing serious. It’s like Joy the Baker but with dudes. It’s a fun time. Listen while you’re cleaning & time with fly.
The Moth is a true story podcast. Taken from live shows across the country, it highlights great storytellers. I went to see a live broadcast of it in Austin last year. Here’s two of the stories that I listened to live:
Sometimes Radiolab can be just…weird. But many times, Radiolab is thought provoking and that’s what keeps me coming back. The Blame episode had me thinking for days…especially the Fault Line story within that episode.
What are your favorite podcasts?
My Uncle Dennis passed away this morning.
Dennis was a voracious reader. I remember going to his house once and he had about 5 books that he was reading at one time. He had a list of where he was at in each book and a time line of when to get through current & future books.
I’m a one book at a time type of gal. But I always wanted to run home and read after visiting him.
Although I’ve been buying e-books for my iPad, I dream of being surrounded by books one day.
Surrounded by books and amazing friends like Dennis was.
1. Finally having a good wine bottle opener. No more breaking corks in half & having to pry out the broken cork from the bottle. I got mine from Crate & Barrel.
2. Happy to have renewed my subscription to Entertainment Weekly. How else was I to stay informed about new movies & TV shows? I also find out about some great books here too. And who doesn’t love the Bullseye??
I usually only get an EW subscription when I have enough Coke Rewards points to cash in for it. My subscription runs out before I ever have enough points though. That’s when I drink more Diet Coke. Or I steal my Mom’s Diet Coke codes when I’m back in Kansas. Shhhh, don’t tell.
3. I’m still on a big tea kick. I just bought this sampler and oh yes…the honey vanilla camomile is the best!
4. One of my guilty pleasures is back….The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. It’s the only series of the franchise that I still watch. I stopped watching NY after Bethenny left. I only watched one season of Miami. Both Atlanta & NJ were too violent for me. And now that Gretchen won’t be back on the OC one anymore, I doubt I’ll watch that again. I’m still hanging in for Beverly Hills though!!
Hope that you’re all having a great weekend!!
My goal at Fan Fest was to see some wealthy international people in town for the race. I was thinking rich Middle Eastern man walking around with his harem of women and body guards. No such luck. We did see F1 driver Felipe Massa though. But that means nothing to me…is he good? You tell me.
I’m not a race fan, but I do certainly have a lead foot. On the way home this evening, it reminded me of a little story.
Once when I was younger (driving age though), I was driving from my friend Amy’s house to my friend Matt’s house. I was driving down Hoover Road which is a two lane road on the outskirts of town. It’s not a busy street and I always always sped on that street. It was the type of road that was fairly deserted and just begged to be sped on.
I quickly caught up to a car in front of me that was going much too slow for my taste. I decided to pass the car. Once I was in the other lane, I realized that there was a car in front of them too. Oh well, I’ll just gun it even more, I decided! So I passed both cars and was probably going about 20 miles over the speed limit.
I continued on my merry way and pulled into Matt’s driveway. Another car pulled up behind me. It was my Mom & brother. What are they doing in Matt’s neighborhood?
JULIE LYNN!! GET OVER HERE NOW!!!
Ummmm oops…that second car I passed on Hoover was my Mom unbeknowndst to me.
JUST WAIT UNTIL I TELL YOUR FATHER ABOUT THIS!!
Uh oh! I was mortified due to the embarrassment of being yelled at in front of my friends. And I was scared to go home and talk to my Dad. Those Dad looks of disappointment are just killer.
I don’t really remember my punishment that day. Most likely I had to give my Dad back his Phillips 66 gas card for a while.
I still have a lead foot….not a 20 miles over one though! And I hardly ever pass anyone on a 2 lane road anymore.
Do you speed? Are you going to the F1 race this weekend? If so, tell Felipe hi for me!
About a month ago, I met up with my friend, Laura, for a vacation in New Orleans. I’d been meaning to go for years and finally followed through. Years ago, while still living in Charlotte, I won free airfare to New Orleans at a charity event. But due to a flight problem, we were bumped from our flight and had to get vouchers. We decided to trade in our vouchers to go to Las Vegas instead. No regrets on that! I knew that I’d get to New Orleans eventually.
Cut to 5 years later….
One thing I learned, everyone and their neighbor has a recommendation on where you should eat, drink, go in New Orleans. I can’t do it all people! There’s only so many meals to eat during a few days. So, if blah blah blah is better than where we picked, oh well I still had a blast & it was delicious!
Oysters & turtle soup at Felix’s.
Taking a walking break to listen to jazz at the Maison Bourbon.
The St. Louis cathedral…so lovely. It was great walking around there at night too with all the fortune tellers out. I got my palm read for the first time.
Beignets & cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde. I was sweating my ass off, but still had to get cafe au lait too. It was the experience of it!!
Drinks & dinner at NOLA. My meal was great! I had the cauliflower soup & the garlic crusted drum.
Besides eating some great food, I was most excited to go to the cemeteries. The history of them…so many unknown stories…the pain of them but also the beauty…the peacefulness. I felt calm there.
Smoked Pork Eggs Benedict
Listened to music at Pat O’Brien’s piano bar & drank hurricanes.
We took a bus tour around the city, which was nice. We also took a steamboat cruise along the river, which was pretty darn boring. Not recommended. It did give me a chance to rest up for more drinking though.
Hand grenades. Love love love, I wish I’d started drinking them the first night.
At dinner, I drank wine though. I’m classy at dinner.
Not a good picture, but this coconut cake at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse was the best!!! So tasty. And how confusing is it with all the Brennan stuff! We made the mistake of going into Brennan’s Bourbon House first and they had to redirect us. And don’t mistake Dickie Brennan’s with Brennan’s—because that’s closed now.
And PS they also own previously mentioned Commander’s Palace. (I listened on my bus tour of the city. )
We took a trip over to the Oak Alley Plantation as well. The trees were amazing and would have loved to have just sat under a tree and read a book. The house was underwhelming for me. It’s hard to get excited about exploring an old house when you’ve been to the Biltmore. They don’t compare! At Oak Alley, they did make a good mint julep though!
It was a fun trip and my stomach feels full just from writing this wrap-up, whew!
In October 2014, I’ll be vacationing with Laura again…but this time in Key West!
Where was your last vacation? Where’s your next vacation destination?? I know where Linda is going!!
Concert last week at Stubb’s to see Ben Rector & Tyrone Wells.
I read a blog post recently about New Year’s Resolutions. The post talked about how you should already be thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions.
What? No! I should live fancy free from Halloween until New Year’s Day. Well, maybe not.
The post suggested thinking about your New Year’s Resolution (or just one of them if you have multiple). Now think of several action items that can help you attain that goal. Decide on just one of those actions items and start focusing on it now. Theory being that it will slowly help you ease into the resolution instead of just having New Year’s Day be your D-Day.
So my New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. SHOCKING!! This is my goal (and so many people’s goal) every damn year. But maybe just maybe this will be the year!!
My one action item to start on now is to eat a salad every day. I know that eating more veggies is good for me, healthy, and will help me with my soon-to-be New Year’s Resolution.
Enter the hodge podge salad. A hodge podge salad is basically just throwing anything on a bed of lettuce. You can jazz it up or keep it super simple if you’re pressed for time. You can pretty much turn any previous night’s dinner into a salad the next day.
Here’s a few of my recent salads.
Arugula topped with sliced apple, walnuts, feta cheese & vinaigrette
Cobb salad that I grabbed while working from the office
I made Sloppy Joes for dinner recently. The leftovers became a fantastic Sloppy Joe salad!! Just throw the meat on top of lettuce and used mustard as the dressing.
My 2 ingredient slow cooker salsa chicken became a delicious salad. Versatile food like this is the best, especially for a single lady. I need to keep things interesting with so many leftovers.
Lettuce topped with carrots, celery, peas, tuna, and jalapeno ranch.
How often do you eat a salad? Have you decided on a New Year’s Resolution yet?
I’m not a fan of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. My Mom would offer to heat it up for me when I was sick. Ugh, no thanks, Mom. Can I just have some crackers and Ginger Ale instead?
That soup to me was just too brothy and boring. For my chicken soup, I need substance. Lots of ingredients…with some broth. And that’s what this soup is!
I’m certain that if I get sick, this soup will make me feel better. But I’ll still want crackers & Ginger Ale on the side.
Chicken & Cheese Tortellini Soup
Recipe adapted from Real Simple, March 2011
5 cups chicken broth
3 stalks of celery, diced
6 carrots, diced
10 ounces of cheese tortellini
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
salt & pepper to taste
chopped parsley, for garnish
In a large saucepan, add together your chicken broth, celery, and carrots. Heat on medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes. Bring the broth to a boil. Add in your cheese tortellini and cook for 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add in your shredded chicken. Cook until chicken is heated. Season with salt & pepper.
Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
***Notes: I used cheese tortellini from the refrigerated, prepared food section at Trader Joe’s.
For the chicken, you could use rotisserie chicken (which is what I did), or cook some chicken breasts and shred them, or even used canned chicken.
I thought of adding onions as well. I didn’t end up doing so, but think it would make a good addition.
As mentioned above, this soup isn’t too brothy. If you like lots of broth, add more….or cut back on the measurements of ingredients.