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
Since I hadn’t blogged 2 months, I figured that I’d do a recap/what’s Julie been up to lately post.
Let’s take a walk down recent memory lane.
1. I tried ramen for the first time!! I went to Daruma Ramen with some lovely ladies. It was very good, although I have no comparison! I doubt that I’ll try it again anytime soon due to the Austin heat.
2. I met Fabio of Top Chef fame! He came to Book People on his cookbook tour and met with local food bloggers early for a meet & greet. Very personable guy!
3. I’ve been back a few times to my favorite bar, Easy Tiger.
4. I tried fried fish bones at Kenichi. Crispy suckers.
5. I’ve been to Trailer Tuesdays at the Long Center for the past 3 months. Last week, my favorite truck, Llama’s, was there. Love their pork belly sandwich!
Lobster sliders from Dock and Roll
Yeti Frozen Custard
6. I went to the Bon Jovi concert with some friends. How does he still have the energy?!
7. My pupster, Haley, has arthritis. She’s on some pain meds now and seems to be feeling better.
8. I recently finished reading Honeymoon by James Patterson. I’d been in a book slump and hadn’t liked the last 3 books that I started to read. My Dad recommended Honeymoon. Really enjoyed it…a fast read.
9. Did you watch Behind the Candelabra on HBO about Liberace?? Crazy train wreck! I couldn’t stop watching!
11. I went to Kansas City for my friend, Alison’s wedding. The chapel was so beautiful! I loved the design and how the light at sunset came through.
12. I went on the Up & Down Tour at Casa Brasil & South Austin Brewery. An afternoon learning about coffee and beer….what more can you ask for?!
13. I attended the media tasting for Umami Mia Pizzeria in Austin. I wasn’t a fan of the pizza, but I was a big fan of their cocktails. My favorites were the Tuscan Sipper & the Blackberry Caipirinha.
14. I did try some awesome pizza though….at Via 313. Yummmmmmm!
15. I attended my first 2 crawfish boils recently. Such a fun time! I’m more into the corn & potatoes though. But crawfish boils make for good pictures.
16. Brunch at the Clay Pit! It was so good!! Glad that I finally tried it.
17. I binge watched Season 4 of Arrested Development in only 3 days. Has anyone else watched it?? Are they going to make more episodes? Because that last episode…what??
Annnnd I’m done!
I had another music filled weekend!
1. It started out right with margaritas at Mary Helen’s!
2. Then I headed over to the Belmont to see Ben Rector in concert. The opening band was Alpha Rev, a new to me Austin band that I really liked!
After a good set from Alpha Rev, it was time for Ben Rector. I was an immediate fan of his after I learned of him from my friend, Sarah. Sarah is my music guru!
Here’s a small sample that I recorded during the show from his song, Hide Away.
3. On Saturday, I went to Rodeo Austin. It was my first rodeo! I’m a real Texan now. The most important thing on the agenda was…
Best washed down with 2 cans of Bud Light! You can’t drink craft beer at the rodeo, right?!
Am I too old to get involved in mutton bustin’?? Also, I’m sure I would have been terrified as a 5 year to try this!! The girl that won was adorable!
We were really there for the Gary Allan concert. I don’t listen to country much, but he was really good!!
4. I finally watched Rock of Ages today. I loved the music. I’m having to force myself not to buy all the songs on iTunes. My favorite 80′s rock song is Here I Go Again by Whitesnake!
What’s your favorite 80′s hair band song???
5. I have to give a shout out to my alma mater, Wichita State Shockers for upsetting Gonzaga last night! Woot! #marchmadness
Hey there! How was your weekend?? Mine was great! Thanks for asking.
I went with my friends to see Magic Mike….along with lots of other ladies! I really enjoyed it! Hot guys that can dance…um yeah! I’m a big fan of Channing Tatum. He has really good comedic timing too.
After the movie, we went out for some drinks. One of my to-go/summer/I’m an adult drinks is a simple drink of bourbon + ginger ale.
1-2 fingers of bourbon
Diet Ginger Ale to taste (I go heavy on the Ginger Ale as bourbon is strong.)
Combine & sip again.
Are you planning on seeing Magic Mike??
What’s your go-to summer cocktail??
I took my nephew, Noah, to see Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked yesterday.
That movie is too cute!!
The songs are so fun and peppy too. I seriously want to buy the soundtrack. But I won’t. I mean…can a 32 year old single lady buy an album with songs sung by the Chipmunks? The answer is NO. Believe me, I’ve tried to justify it in my head all day.
So, instead I’ve just spent the day listening to previews of each song over & over on iTunes.
It’s a fun mix to listen to while in the kitchen too.
Creamy Bacon Dip
Recipe from Daisy
8 ounces softened cream cheese
2 cups sour cream
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped green onion
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Place prepared ingredients to a 1 quart baking dish. Spread evenly. Cover with foil and cook for 25-30 minutes.
Garnish top of dip with more green onions and crumbled bacon, if desired.
Serve with pita chips or whatever you desire!
Dip can served warm or cold. I preferred the dip cold the next day!
Once Thanksgiving comes and until Christmas, my DVR loads up with Christmas movies. Helloooooooo, Lifetime & Ion channel Christmas movies. I never even knew I had the Ion channel until this month. And ABC’s 25 Days of Christmas….it’s on!
Now, it always happens that I can’t remember which mediocre made-for-TV Christmas movies I’ve already watched. Often times, I start the movie and 5 minutes in, I remember I already saw that movie.
You have to be a bit choosy about which movies you give a chance. Anything from ’98 or earlier, pass on them! These movies do not stand the test of time. Any movies with Connie Selleca or the mom from Family Ties or any cast member from Facts of Life, pass on them!!
My tips for choosing made-for-TV Christmas movies to watch:
–Stick with movies made within the last 8 years
–Any movie with a former 90′s star, it’s a safe bet (examples: Dean Cain or Elisa Donovan from Clueless). Someone from 90210 is in it?? Gold!
–Any movie with a former WB TV star, go for that one too! ( examples: Joanna Garcia or Carly Pope from Popular).
–And finally, is Nicole Eggert (Charles in Charles, Baywatch) in it? Go for it! She seems to be the queen of doing made-for-TV Christmas movies.
So far this season, I’ve watched Dear Santa, Desperately Seeking Santa, 12 Wishes of Christmas and A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride. Dear Santa has been my favorite. I still have A Christmas Kiss and A Nanny for Christmas waiting on my DVR.
If you choose a few duds with TV Christmas movies, have no fear! Sometimes you have to break out the big guns!
Julie’s Top 5 Favorite Christmas Movies:
5.Love Actually: Who does love a great ensemble cast? And the scene with Hugh Grant dancing around the house as the Prime Minister? And when Colin Firth proclaims his love to his Portuguese maid? I cry ever time I watch this movie.
4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Clark!!!!!!!
3. Elf: We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.
First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie dough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle.
The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.
2. Home Alone: This movie makes me laugh so hard! When Daniel Stern falls down the icy stairs, hilarious!
1. The Holiday: I think I’ve seen this movie at least 12 times. I just love it so much. I even love it during the middle of summer. Can I please do a house exchange and meet a handsome widow??
Movies, movies, movies!!!
One of my favorite past times is going to the movies. I’d much rather go to the theater to see a movie. It’s the experience of the other people, the sounds, the cushy seats, the previews, the overpriced drinks….okay, I don’t love that part.
But when I watch movies at home, I get distracted. I rarely watch a DVD at home from start to finish in one sitting. I always start…then stop to fold some laundry…start again….stop to check my email, etc etc etc.
So, I went to see 3 movies over the past 2 weeks.
Drive with Ryan Gosling
I can’t even explain this movie! I mean, I understand what it’s about and what happened. But it’s just SO different from what I was expecting. I didn’t really research the movie. I just saw Ryan Gosling…hot…driving…action movie…Ryan Gosling…hot….I’m sold. This movie is NOT a traditional action/robbery getaway movie. It’s an artsy, brooding version of that.
I truly appreciated the uniqueness of it. The acting is great. Ryan Gosling has limited dialogue in the movie. He’s definitely the strong silent type. The movie HEAVILY relies on the music/soundtrack. And I can say I LOVED the music in the movie.
There’s even a line in the main song of the movie that says “It’s hard to explain.” My thoughts exactly. See this movie at your own risk. I still can’t even decide if I liked it or not! (I still love Ryan Gosling as an actor though. I love Lars and the Real Girl.)
Contagion with a crap load of famous people
I was supposed to see this movie last week. But then I caught a cold. There was no way I was going to go see this movie with a cold! Ha! I knew people would gasp in the theater and freak out if I started sneezing or coughing.
I did enjoy this movie. It’s like Outbreak, but seemed a bit more realistic. Or maybe since it’s more modern it seems more realistic. It takes you inside what would happen if a new vaccine had to be developed and how people/countries would react in the interim of a vaccine being readily available. It gets you a moral dilemma, not just the science of it.
The part I took away: people touch their face 2000-3000 times a DAY! Eww! I just caught myself doing it a few seconds ago too. Stop, Julie, stop!
Moneyball with Brad Pitt & Jonah Hill
I really liked Moneyball! Brad Pitts plays Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland A’s. He’s struggling with how to compete with teams like the Yankees that have a much bigger budget to use. In walks Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) who uses statictal analysis to help rate players that they can get for a “bargain.” The only factor for wins is how often they get on 1st base, because that equals runs which equals wins. They are no longer thinking about players’ other factors like traditional scouts used.
Okay, that summary may sound boring. But it’s not! It’s a really interesting movie. It’s written by Aaron Sorkin, so have some faith! And Brad Pitt is great in this movie! He has really great hair in this movie too.
Drive: see the movie if you’re up for something unique and love music
Contagion: don’t see the movie if you’re a germaphobe
Moneyball: see the movie. Period.
Also, check out Rock Star Dad’s blog! Kevin is super nice and featured 3 of my recipes today.